Episode 17 – The Case Against Reparations – The 1934 Turkey – USA Agreement

Armenian demands for reparations have been around for a century. Many Armenians still dream of a restoration of the Turkish-Armenian border as drawn by former U.S. President Woodrow Wilson in the 1920 Treaty of Sèvres. After the signing of this stillborn and never-ratified treaty on August 10, 1920, the Armenian army attacked Kars and surroundings only to be defeated decisively by Kazim Karabekir’s Third Ottoman Army. With the signing of the Treaty of Gumru (Alexandropol) on December 3, 1920, Turkey took back the former-Ottoman lands ceded to Armenia in the Treaty of Sevres. The treaty stipulated that Armenia cede to Turkey its entire province of Kars, accept the new border between the two countries, and renounce the Treaty of Sèvres. The Treaty of Gumru was further ratified by the Treaty of Moscow signed between Soviet Russia and Turkey on 16 March 1921. And ratified again by the Treaty of Kars signed on 13 October 1921 by Turkey and the three Soviet republics of Armenia, Georgia, and Azerbaijan. These international agreements, all signed back-to-back within a matter of 10 months, clearly validate each other. Their legitimacy and validity are sound as they are based on international law. All this closes the door on Armenia whose irredentist policy is enshrined in Armenia’s constitution in the reference to Eastern Turkey as “Western Armenia.” This hostile phrase remains a permanent obstacle to peace between Turkey and Armenia. While the Republic of Armenia is prevented from coveting neighbors’ territories, the Armenian Diaspora feels that no legal obstacles prevent individuals and groups from seeking monetary reparations. But they, too, are sadly mistaken. the Armenian Diaspora seem to have pinned their hopes on the irrational interpretations of law by a Philosophy major, Dr. Henry C. Theriault, from the University of Massachusetts, who deludes the Armenian lobby with absurd comments like this: I quote “…the treaty (of Sevres) itself is not superseded by the 1923 Treaty of Lausanne…” Unquote. What they do not know is that the claims of the naturalized American citizens of Ottoman Armenian origin are rendered baseless by the Turkish American Agreement. signed on October 25, 1934. Article II of the agreement was very important: “ The two governments agree that, by the payment of the aforementioned sum (i.e. $1.3 million) , Turkey will be released from liability with respect to all of the …claims…and further agree that every claim embraced by the Agreement of December 24, 1923 shall be considered and treated as finally settled…”

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