Arman Kirakossian’s “Armenia and Soviet-Turkish Relations in Diplomatic Documents, 1945-1946” published

The Armenian Apostolic Church Catholicosate of Cilicia‘s Khatchig Babikian Fund has published Arman Kirakossian’s book “Armenia and Soviet-Turkish Relations in Diplomatic Documents, 1945-1946”.

The collection of diplomatic documents in this book covers an insufficiently researched period of Soviet-Turkish relations when the Soviet government in 1945 proposed – as a precondition for a new treaty between Turkey and the Soviet Union – the return, by Turkey, of the Kars and Ardahan regions. While numerous works of research address the history of the “Armenian Question” and Soviet-Turkish relations, no single academic publication has covered the issue comprehensively. This edition aims to fill that gap in historical research.

Arman Kirakossian serves as Armenia’s Ambassador to Austria and Armenia’s Permanent Representative to the OSCE and other international organizations in Vienna (UNIDO, UNODC, IAEA, CTBTO). He holds a degree of Doctor of Sciences in History (Dr. Habil.) from the Institute of History of the National Academy of Sciences of the RA. Dr. Kirakossian served as First Deputy Foreign Minister, Acting Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador to Greece, Ambassador to the USA, and Deputy Foreign Minister. He holds the diplomatic rank of Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary. Dr. Kirakossian has authored several books and more than 150 scientific publications.


The Armenian Apostolic Church Catholicosate of Cilicia‘s Khatchig Babikian Fund’s Committee for Publications on Research on Historical-political and Legal Issues undertook the translation and publication of Dr. Arman Kirakossian’s “Armenia and Soviet-Turkish Relations in Diplomatic Documents, 1945-1946” (First published in 2010, in Russian) for the timely subject matter it covers.

The book basically pertains to the territorial border between Armenia and Turkey. The compilation of the documents is in reference to that issue in Soviet-Turkish relations during 1945-1946.

The issue is timely because until today one of the Republic of Turkey’s preconditions to establishing diplomatic relations with the Republic of Armenia is for Armenia to officially relinquish any territorial claims. Although the Republic of Armenia has never officially raised the issue of territorial claims from Turkey, on 10 October 2010, in his address to the Armenian nation and to the citizens of Armenia, the President of the Republic of Armenia, Serzh Sargsyan, said: “The issue of the existing border between Armenia and Turkey is to be resolved through prevailing norms of the international law […].[1]

Later, on 29 January 2015, President Serzh Sargsyan signed and read to the world the Pan-Armenian Procla- mation on the Centennial of the Armenian Genocide. The proclamation, signed by the state, political, religious, aca- demic and civic leadership of Armenia, Artsakh and the Diaspora, reads in part: “Appreciating […] the role and significance of the Sevres Peace Treaty of 10 August 1920 and US President Woodrow Wilson‘s Arbitral Award of 22 November 1920 in overcoming the consequences of the Armenian Genocide.”[2]

It is possible, that as diplomatic documents of both Turkey and the Soviet Union, as well as other states with interests and positions on the issue, become declassified and published, we might find new information on the stances of those states. However, the major section in this compilation, namely “File No. 410: Occupation of Armenian Territories by Turkey,” was an unwavering assertion by the Armenian people and the Armenian Soviet Socialist Republic that “they have not lost hope for the return to […] Armenia of the territories of Turkish Armenia.” This fact is reasserted by the Armenian President’s 10 October 2009 address and the 29 January 2015 Pan-Armenian Proclamation.

Dr. Kirakossian’s comprehensive introduction and annotation of the compilation of documents is not only a professional endeavor, but also a personal mission, for the main part of the documents, “File No. 410: Occupation of Armenian Territories by Turkey,” was preserved in the personal archives of Dr. Arman Kirakossian‘s father, Dr. John Kirakossian, the Foreign Minister of Soviet Armenia from 1975-1985. John Kirakossian and his predecessors at Soviet Armenia‘s Foreign Ministry preserved a copy of “File No. 410” by keeping it in their personal possession, instead of handing it over to the state archives. Dr. Arman Kirakossian transferred the file to the National Archives of Armenia. In addition to “File No. 410”, Dr. A. Kirakossian has compiled and annotated USSR, USA, Great Britain, Turkey documents and materials of the 1945 Berlin (Potsdam) Conference relevant to the Soviet renouncement of the Soviet-Turkish Treaty of 1925.

In 1953, for the first time since 1945, the Soviet authorities claimed that “the governments of [Soviet] Armenia and Georgia now deem it possible to renounce their territorial claims against Turkey.”[3] However, in 1989, the parliament of Soviet Armenia —still part of the Soviet Union— on 23 September 1989, formed a “A commission to politically and legally evaluate the 16 March 1921 Russian- Turkish [Moscow] Treaty”; the commission never com- pleted its work.

Another recent incident relating to the timeliness of publishing Dr. Arman Kirakossian‘s study is the proposal[4], in February 2016, by two members of the Russian parliament‘s lower house to annul the 16 March 1921 “Moscow Treaty of Friendship and Brotherhood with Turkey”[5], in retaliation to Turkey‘s shooting down of a Russian warplane in November 2015 over Syria. In a response letter dated 1 March 2016 the Russian Foreign Ministry stated that the 1921 Moscow Treaty cannot be annulled since in “international practice peace treaties, establishing borders between states, are not subject to denunciation.”[6]

Armenia‘s 1990 Declaration on Independence acknowledges its “[…] historic responsibility for the destiny of the Armenian people engaged in the realization of the aspirations of all Armenians and the restoration of historical justice”[7]; the subject matter of this book is an important episode on the path toward restoring that historical justice.

Giro Manoyan

Committee Member, Khatchig Babikian Publication Fund

11 December 2017

[1] Address of the President of Armenia to the people of the Republic of Ar- menia and to all Armenians, 10 October 2010, en/press-release/item/2009/10/10/news-751/ (accessed on 11 December 2017).

[2] Pan-Armenian Declaration on the Centennial of the Armenian Genocide, 29 January 2015, 01/ 29/President-Serzh-Sargsyan-visit-Tsitsernakaberd-Genocide/ (accessed 11 December 2017).

[3] “The Soviet Note of 30 May 1953 and Turkey‘s Reply,” in Turkish Foreign Policy 1919-2006, Facts and Analyses with Documents, p. 304, ed. Baskin Oran, The University of Utah Press, Salt Lake City, 2010, pp. 967.

[4] “Russian lawmakers suggest annulling 1921 treaty of friendship with Turkey,” TASS Russian News Agency, 8 February 2016, politics/855155 (accessed 11 December 2017).

[5] Although this was a different treaty than the one which was being denounced in 1945, actually, as a Russian-Turkish treaty it constituted the basis of the Soviet-Turkish 1925 treaty of friendship.

[6] “RF MFA‘s letter on impossibility of dissolution of friendship Treaty with Turkey,” RUSARMINFO, 16 March 2016, 2016/03/16/rf-mfas-letter-on-impossibility-of-dissolution-of-friendship- treaty-with-turkey/ (accessed 11 December 2017).

[7] Declaration on Independence, 23 August 1990, independence/ (accessed 11 December 2017).