March 27, 2014 - 16:18 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - Turkey’s Foreign Ministry said that allegations that Turkey is providing support to opposition forces in Kesab by letting them use its territory or through other means during the country's conflict are "totally unfounded and untrue," Trend News reported.
Turkish Foreign Ministry's statement suggests that on one hand, Turkey tries to deflect the Syrian regime's attacks threatening the former's national security, and on another providing a shelter to Syrian refugees fleeing from the civil war.
The official's statement of Turkey's Foreign Ministry expresses the country's readiness to assume humanitarian responsibility in welcoming Kessab's Armenian population, with the Armenian communities informed accordingly. All the necessary steps will be taken to satisfy the need of Syrian Armenians along with other citizens of Syria, Trend News quoted the Ministry as saying.
Reaction of the Armenian authorities to the Kessab events lacks clarity, a representative of the Aleppo Armenian community’s executive body, activist Nerses Sarkissian told reporters in Yerevan, Panorama.am said.
According to him, it is a national problem. “Kessab is the last remaining part of historic Armenia. So drastic steps in order especially as Turkey is directly involved in the attacks.”
Another activist, Karo Yuzbashyan said for his part that the Syrian state performs its duty fully. “Kessab residents can return to their homes, but that will not happen soon. It will take time for security to be established in the region.”
Sarkissian further noted that the Armenian families are provided with maximum support in Latakia. “They have abandoned their homes so they are not in an easy situation. They are currently under the protection of the Syrian national authorities,” he said.
According to Karo Yuzbashyan, Kessab was assaulted by Turkish detachments, and Turkmen minorities also participated in the attacks.
According to Tert.am, secretary of the Heritage party Stepan Safaryan believes the Kessab Armenians’ expatriation is a serious challenge to Armenia.
“The Syria crisis arose in 2011, and we can only say our government has implemented a minimum of resettlement programs for Armenians. And we have to say to the Kessab Armenians ‘the homeland is with you, but only morally’,” Safaryan told reporters on Wednesday, March 26.
“Syria developments should have made Armenia extend a helping hand to Syrian Armenians. It has not been done, and we are now facing the consequences,” Safaryan said.
Earlier, the Nagorno Karabakh President’s spokesman David Babayan stated that the republic is ready to welcome Kessab Armenians. “It would preferable for Syria-residing Armenians to stay in the country and maintain a strong and consolidated Armenian community. But if the lives of Syrian Armenians are in danger, the Nagorno Karabakh Republic is prepared to support them in every way possible, as well as provide living conditions in Karabakh,” Babayan said.
As to the dispatch of Armenian volunteers to Kessab, Safaryan does not think it would be advisable. “Bashar Assad’s weak, and Turkey is well aware of the fact. So it has launched drastic steps.”
As Panorama.am reported quoting a member of Karabakh committee Ashot Manucharyan, “on the threshold of the Genocide centenary, it is not advantageous for Turkey to attack the Armenian-populated town of Kessab in Syria, given the fact that over the several past years Turkey has tried to show the international community that it is normalizing relations with Armenia.”
As Manucharyan told reporters, the situation is not beneficial for Turkey, with Ankara acting under the pressure of the outside forces.
“Our society should remember exactly who provoked Turkey’s incursion into Syria,” Manucharyan said, adding that the United States demanded that Turkey interfere into the Syrian conflict.
Meanwhile, according to Tert.am, civil movement representatives gathered in front of the UN office in Armenia to protest the UN’s silence on the events in Kessab.
“In defiance of all the international commitments, Turkey shelled the settlement of Kessab. Supported by the Turkish government, terrorists were looting and destroying. The local population was expatriated. It is no secret the Armenian-populated Kessab has always been a target for Turkey,” activist Arman Mkhitaryan said as he read out the letter addressed to the UN office.
“Under the circumstances, the UN’s silence is strange, to say the least of it, and we have decided to remind the UN of its aims. We condemn the UN’s silence. As a UN member, Turkey is grossly violating the UN Charter, and the activists demand that the UN denounce and make a legal assessment of Turkey’s terrorist acts.”
UN Resident Coordinator Bradley Busetto met the activists who passed him the letter.
As Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian stated at a parliamentary sitting, today (March 26) “a delegation of Armenian MPs met Kessab Armenians in Latakia, who are currently in a very difficult situation. A possible aid could be extended to the latters through the Ministry of Diaspora. Once the MPs are back with the details, we’ll continue informing the Armenians worldwide on the situation.”