'Recognition is a strength, not a weakness' – Armenian President tells New York Times columnist
YEREVAN, NOVEMBER 2, ARMENPRESS. If you take Turkey recognizing the Armenian genocide, that will also be recognition of the fact Turkey is on its way to become a tolerant state, President of Armenia Armen Sarkissian said in an interview to the Opinion Columnist Roger Cohen of The New York Times.
“Recognition of something that you have done wrong in ordinary life, in your family, with your friends, recognition is a strength. It’s not a weakness”, the President said, talking about the recognition of the Armenian Genocide and Turkey’s denialist policy.
In his article published in The New York Times the reporter touched upon the recent adoption of the Armenian Genocide recognition resolution by the US House of Representatives.
“In every office there are images of Mount Ararat, which rises in Turkey, a symbol for Armenians of longing, pride, the hope of return and the suffering of the Armenian genocide that began in 1915 and involved the Ottoman Empire’s killing of more than one million Armenians.
The House of Representatives, defying familiar Turkish warnings, this week passed a resolution recognizing that genocide. President Barack Obama never recognized it publicly, despite a promise to do so as a presidential candidate in 2008. Realpolitik won out over his principles”, Roger Cohen said.
The opinion columnist also touched upon the history of the Nagorno Karabakh conflict, stating that today, Armenia’s borders with Azerbaijan and Turkey are closed. Only the borders with Georgia and Iran are open. “Yet I found Armenians in upbeat mood! What do physical borders matter these days? The nearly three million citizens of Armenia are in constant touch with the many more millions of Armenians in the diaspora, who are sending money home. With a strong tech sector, Armenia sees itself as a start-up country. It’s looking forward more than back”, Roger Cohen said. “The country’s bloodless revolution in 2018 has not delivered paradise, but it has eliminated fatalism. People feel they have the freedom to try what they want”, he said, adding that weeks of mass protests against corruption and cronyism brought down the old Armenian political class, much as massive demonstrations in Beirut, Baghdad and Santiago in recent weeks have brought down or shaken the governments of Lebanon, Iraq and Chile.
The author titled his article “The Spirit That Brought Down The Berlin Wall Lives On”. In a talk to the Armenian President, the opinion columnist touched upon the wave of changes taking place in the world. Talking about the topic Armen Sarkissian said old systems would not work. “We are living in a quantum world because more than half of life is virtual,” he said. The notion of democracies functioning through elections every few years is outdated. He called Armenia “one of the first labs” to find new “rules or behavior” for a world where every individual has a voice that “is exercised and expressed daily.”