Ninety Years of Injustice: Armenia to mark anniversary of Russia-Turkey agreement with protests

On March 16, an act of protest will be held in front of the Russian embassy in Armenia. However this time it won’t be an opposition rally but rather a protest by representatives of those social strata that every year this day recall the agreement signed in Moscow on “Friendship and Brotherhood” between Soviet Russia and Turkey, curtailing Armenian lands in favor of Turkey and Azerbaijan. This year marks 90 years since that fateful day for Armenia.

The Moscow agreement of March 16, 1921, expanded Azerbaijan’s and Turkey’s territories at the expense of Armenian lands. Nakhijevan was given to Azerbaijan, and Turkey came into possession of Kars and Sumali. The Moscow agreement outlined the current Armenian-Turkish border, with transfer of Armenian’s Biblical mount Ararat to Turkey.

However, the reason for the protest is not only that sad anniversary but also the fact that Moscow and Ankara intend to mark the day with a special session of the Russian-Turkish Cooperation Council.

Within the framework of the event, Russian president Dmitri Medvedev will be meeting Turkish Prime-Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan 16 to discuss the prospects for political and economic development of the two states.

Protestors intend to direct Russian diplomats’ attention to the fact that exactly 90 years ago such discussions led to seizure of Armenian lands followed by Nagorno-Karabakh’s transfer to Azerbaijan.

“The date of the Turkish prime-minister led delegations’ visit to Russia was selected deliberately and is timed to the 90th anniversary of the Moscow agreement,” stated Vahan Hovhannisyan, head of the Revolutionary Federation of Armenia Dashnaktsutyun parliamentary faction.

Speaking about the Moscow agreement Hovhannisyan reminded that this illegal and disgraceful document giving away Armenian lands was signed by Russia behind Armenia’s back and without its knowledge or participation, and Russia had no such right.

“In this case the key point is that Russia – Armenia’s so-called strategic partner –respects neither the feelings of the Armenian nation, nor the Armenian authorities since it is marking the 90th anniversary together with Turkey,” says Hovhannisyan.

Indeed, many become increasingly aware of the fact that Russia as Armenia’s main strategic partner could have chosen a different day to hold the high-level negotiations with Turkey. Holding the meeting on that tragic anniversary is perceived by Armenians as rubbing salt in the wound.

Participants of the March 16 protest - Nikol Aghbalyan student council, the youth branch of Dashnaktsutyn party, and the National Youth Council of Armenia – will march from Stepan Shahumyan Square to the Russian Embassy in Armenia.