Today, Concordia University’s Strategic & Diplomatic Society, and the International Relations Society, under the umbrella organization of the Political Science Student Association cancelled their event with Mr. Karim Uras, the Turkish Ambassador to Canada, the Quebec Armenian Student Associations (ASAs) and the Armenian National Committee of Quebec inform Zartonk Media.
The event was originally scheduled on today, March 19th, regarding the Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh) conflict where the host Mr. Karim Uras, the Turkish Ambassador to Canada would have given a “unique perspective” about the Artsakh war,
As Zartonk Media was informed from the Quebec Armenian Student Associations (ASAs), the statement runs as follows,
March 19th, 2021, Quebec Armenian Student Associations (ASAs) Prevent Turkish Ambassador’s Conference on Nagorno-Karabakh in Concordia University.
The ASAs are proud to inform you that the event at Concordia University which was scheduled to host the Turkish Ambassador, on a matter concerning Armenian ethnic cleansing in Nagorno Karabakh, a conflict between the Republics of Artsakh, Armenia and Azerbaijan, is cancelled. We appreciate the cancellation of the event organized by International Relations Society and the Strategic and Diplomatic Society, two subsidiaries of Concordia Political Science Students Association – PSSA.
The ASAs acknowledge the efforts made by the aforementioned organizations to rectify the errors of inviting a Turkish official to spread misinformation and propaganda on the subject, in addition to the clear armenophobia that is codified in Turkish policy.
Following our efforts to restructure the biased event into a more diplomatic dialogue presented as a series of conferences on Nagorno-Karabakh, the societies sought permission from the Turkish Embassy to invite her Excellency, Anahit Harutyunyan, the Ambassador of the Republic of Armenia to Canada, for a completely separate event. Furthermore, by deleting Armenian students’ comments which questioned the ethics of this event on Facebook and Instagram, the moderators countered their declared neutrality, obstructed free speech, and exhibited clear favoritism. In an academic setting, we condemn any efforts to present a biased and one-sided argument, all while silencing the other party.
It is important to note that any steps taken to raise awareness on Nagorno-Karabakh is praiseworthy, but this awareness cannot come from the side of the aggressor’s accomplice, the misinformation spreader, and genocide perpetrator. The ASAs remind their audience that the Nagorno-Karabakh (Artsakh) conflict is not a matter of controversy or contention; rather, it is a matter of human rights violations, a denial of inalienable right to self-determination, and cultural genocide. By choosing to provide a free platform to a representative of a State with an official policy of Armenian Genocide denial, and invite them to speak about the Artsakh conflict, the IRS and SDS failed to evaluate the harmful and offensive consequences of the “perspective” of the Turkish official.
We invite any and all student organizations to host appropriate and academic discussions on the subject of Artsakh, with the condition that there may be adequate representation of the oppressed party.
For those of you interested in learning more about Nagorno-Karabakh (Artsakh), please visit the official website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Artsakh : http://www.nkr.am/
Lastly, we would like to thank all students and members of the community who voiced their concerns, and to the International Relations Society and Strategic and Diplomatic Society for their understanding and collaboration.
As Zartonk Media was informed from the Strategic & Diplomatic Society and International Relations Society of Concordia University, the statement runs as follows,
In light of recent friction regarding our event, the Nagorno-Karabakh event has been cancelled. Over the past several days, many have voiced their disapproval of this event. Given the controversy and delicate nature of the conflict, we would like to clarify that this event was not meant as an endorsement of any State or political actor. The Ambassador was contacted in order to learn more about the details surrounding their role regarding involvement in the conflict. We had planned to take student questions during the question and answer period of the event. It is important to note that the opinions of any actor is not representative of the opinions held by the IRS and SDS. We would like to reiterate that the objective of the IRS and the SDS is to bring to light contentious issues in international affairs, and encourage further independent research. There were plans to host another perspective to ensure fairness to the communities involved but all plans have now been cancelled. We hope that the cancellation of this event does not discourage those interested in learning more about the conflict to conduct their own independent research. The basis behind this cancellation is found in two main points. The first being the academic event-planning approach from our behalf was suboptimal for providing an admissible and appropriate comprehension of the conflict. Secondly, considering the delicacy and complexity behind the situation, we have come to recognize that it is a topic best discussed later years as extensive and thorough research by academics has been achieved. Moreover, we insist that this cancellation does not create a precedent to the cancellation of any event that voices a distinct opinion. No pressure from any society, student organization, community organization, or individual should prevent any political exploration in an academic setting. We thank those who have voiced their concerns politely and respectfully.