Date: Mon, 12 Mar 2001 07:25:23 -0800 (PST)
From: Adil Baguirov
Subject: Gross mistakes in Armenia Report: Presidential Commission Head
 Demands Return Of Nakhicehvan, Kars, Ardahan (March 9, 2001)

To: RFE/RL,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,, 

Dear RFE/RL staff and editors, The March 9, 2001 Armenia Report "Presidential Commission Head Demands Return Of Nakhicehvan [sic], Kars, Ardahan" carried out a number of grossly erroneous statements, which must be clarified. The very nature of Armenia's groundless territorial demands are not new, however the outright distortion and falsification of facts, which went completely unchecked and thus perpetuated by RFE/RL, are notorious. In fact, the report by H.Tamrazian and K.Kalantarian is so ambiguous, that it is unclear to an average reader whether they cite P.Hairikian, or give their treatment of the subject, on behalf of RFE/RL. 1) The Treaty of Kars was not signed on March 16, 1921, as the Hairikian statement and RFERL Armenia Report claim. It was signed on October 13, 1921. 2) The mistaken date of March 16, 1921, refers to the Treaty of Moscow, which preceded the Kars Treaty. 3) Neither treaty has any reference whatsoever to Nagorno-Karabakh, historic Azerbaijani land. This is a clear and outright falsification on the part of P.Hairikian, an Armenian official and presidential contender. 4) Ironically, the signatories of the Treaty of Kars were Turkey on one side, and Azerbaijan, Georgia and Armenia on the other, with Russian participation. Thus, when Armenian officials begin any irresponsible talks of "renunciation" and "annulment" of the international legal treaties, they should remember that they too, signed it, and point their fingers appropriately towards Erevan and its officials, and not Moscow or Ankara. 5) Curiously, the ultra-nationalist statements of Hairikian did not contain any reference to Georgia, which was party to the Kars Treaty, and which has "historic Armenian lands, Akhaltsikh and Akhalkalaki." It is exactly the Kars Treaty that defined the Ajar Autonomous Republic within Soviet Georgia. Moreover, Ardahan for one, had more links to Georgia too. 6) There is no basis for the demands either de jure or de facto. Russia gained the provinces of Kars, Ardahan (and Batumi) from the Ottoman Empire as a result of the Treaty of Berlin which concluded the Russian-Turkish war of 1877-78. Turkey regained Kars and Ardahan in 1919, but Batumi, populated primarily by Georgian Muslims, remained part of the Russian/Soviet Empire, as described in the previous point. 7) Same applies towards Naxcivan, which was always inhabited by Azerbaijanis and part of their historic states and khanates, then made part of Russian Empire in 1928, and as the later crumbled, became part of the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic (ADR) of 1918-1920. Despite all the massacres, ethnic cleansing and annexation attempts carried out by the Armenian Dashnak formations in those turbulent times, it remained Azerbaijani even during Soviet Bolshevik invasion and throughout USSR. 8) The statement is once more incorrect to claim that "Russia agreed to place the Nakhichevan region under the control of Azerbaijan." Taking into the account the military-strategic situation at that time, it was Turkey which occupied Naxcivan, and thus _agreed_ to _leave_ it within Azerbaijan (also, in the conducted referendum in Naxcivan people voted to stay within Azerbaijan). For added protection, the treaty clearly specified that Azerbaijan has no right to transfer it to a third state (e.g., Armenia). Also, Turkey was specified as the guarantor of Naxcivan's security, thus allowing military interference, in case a third state becomes belligerent. There are several more points of this short, yet very false, report that provoke questions, from misspelling of Naxcivan as "Nakhijevan," to allegations of "genocide" by Turkey, a charge furiously disputed by many scholars, Russian and Soviet included. However, one can see what ignites these urges of aggression, disrespect of sovereignty and territorial integrity of the neighboring states. Armenians nationalists base their demands on the defunct Sevres Treaty of 1920. They constantly "overlook" the fact that it was declared null and void by the Alexandropol (Gumri) Treaty of Dec 1920, and its November 1920 Declaration, which was signed by none other than Armenian Dashnak government. Subsequent Treaties of Moscow, Kars and Lausanne superseded that treaty as well. Thus, all the territorial demands are groundless and illegal from any perspective, and the news coverage misleading at best. It would only be fair to issue a correction to the subscribers and on the website as well as publish a story with the above-mentioned facts, to better inform the reader about the history of the region. Sincerely, Adil Baguirov