While land claims are generally labeled as nationalist and expansionist, some demands make more sense than others. A new wave of activism argues that some land reparations by Turkey to the Republic of Armenia would be the only guarantee for Armenia’s sustainable development and security.


Advocating in particular for an access to sea, a notion that America’s WWI president Woodrow Wilson underlined for all free countries in his fourteen points and eventually drew a map of Armenia with that principle in mind, a new proposal by Armenian-American activist David Davidian advocates for a relatively minimalist land demand from Turkey.


Davidian’s project, www.regionalkinetics.com/, is featured in many languages. Unlike traditional Armenian claims to their ancient homeland, this project calls for a much smaller land concession to Armenia with the sole purpose of giving Armenia the ability to become self-sustainable and economically independent.


Ironically, Turkey and its ethnic ally Azerbaijan have been blockading the Republic of Armenia since the Armenian-Azeri dispute over Nagorno-Karabakh. Many Turks consider Armenian demands for genocide recognition as a long-term goal for land claims. Even many progressive Turkish scholars and democrats, who otherwise acknowledge the Armenian Genocide, become irritated by the discussion of land reparations.  


Many Armenians consider the Turkish reaction natural, given the wildly-held belief that Turks committed the Genocide to get the Armenian land in the first place. For the rest of the world, it is one headache less for Armenians to forget about their homes in Turkey. Yet CIA’s current Factbook on Armenia has removed a previous passage that used to say, “traditional demands regarding former Armenian lands in Turkey have subsided.”  


Armenian demands to return a homeland they have continuously lived in until 1915 for at least 2,500 years have been seem as idealist. When the Armenian Secret Army for the Liberation of Armenia (ASALA) carried out militant activities in the 1970s and 80s to attract attention to the Genocide, the demand was still seen as idealist-turned-to-terrorist.


Now, David Davidian and a growing generation are introducing more realist and rational reasons – including demonstrating consideration for concurrent claims by the Kurds – for a partial return of Western Armenia to their indigenous people with the aim of empowering the tiny Republic of Armenia and guaranteeing its self-sustainability. And the map they show is considerably smaller from ASALA’s demand – which was an Armenia that Turkey signed on, but later refused to ratify, in the 1920 Treaty of Sevres.


With the Russian-Georgian conflict, as a result of which Armenia’s trade options have diminished, and the growing Iranian-American tension, as a result of which Armenia may lose its only other access to the world, Davidian’s plan may be a dangerous dream but an inevitable alternative at some point.


But right makes might rarely. And the last thing Armenia needs is another war.