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National Security and Foreign Military Bases in Armenia: Public Discussion and Opinion Poll Report

In the last two years, Armenia has undertaken a major foreign policy step by signing up to the Eurasian Economic Union, and by not pursuing the Association Agreement with the European Union. The Armenian authorities explained its decision by citing ‘security’ reasons.
The findings of the Civilitas Foundation’s previous poll in June 2014 indicate that public justifications for joining the Customs Union (later, the Eurasian Economic Union) were more linked to ‘security reasons’ than to economic factors, similar to the justifications of the Armenian authorities.
Still the question that remains is, to what extent does the public perception of the concept of ‘security’ or ‘national security’ match the conceptual framework of ‘national security’ inscribed by the Armenian government in its “Strategy on National Security”? This leads to the next question: To what extent do public expectations of national security match the current policy of deploying foreign military bases in Armenia? There is need to identify not only the public’s tolerance level against a particular country’s military units’ presence in Armenia, but tolerance against the presence of foreign military units in general. In this regard, it is worth surveying the conditions under which the Armenian public agrees to provide its territory to foreign military units and whether the conditions for providing territory match their own definition of ensuring ‘national security.’
In order to study the above-mentioned questions, in March 2015, the Civilitas Foundation conducted a public telephone poll with 600 residents of Armenia, randomly selected from all the marzes (regions) of the country and Yerevan. The purpose of the poll was to identify the attitude of Armenia’s population on the presence of foreign military bases in Armenia, to identify the underlying factors of this attitude, to compare the attitude towards foreign military presence with the public’s perceptions of ‘national security,’ and finally, to compare their perceptions of national security with the conceptual definitions of national security as adopted by the authorities in the strategy of national security. The opinion poll and this discussion do not aim at examining Armenia’s National Security Strategy (approved in 2007), its relevance to the current situation, its status of enforcement, public opinion regarding the internal and external threats stipulated in the document, although all these questions are valid for a separate inquiry.
The full report with the findings is available here. The telephone poll has identified, for example, that for the overwhelming majority of Armenia’s population (81 percent) it is not acceptable that another state or/and an international (intergovernmental) structure deal with ensuring Armenia’s national security. Of all those, who entrusted Armenia’s national security provision to a different state and/or international (intergovernmental) structure, the majority specified Russia. The situation is somewhat different as far as the population’s attitude towards the presence of military units is concerned. 55 percent of the population finds it acceptable that another state’s or a foreign institution’s military base be deployed in Armenia.
The Civilitas Foundation has also organized a public discussion on the topic with Manvel Sargsyan, Director of the Armenian Center for National and International Studies and Vladimir Karapetyan, Head of the Committee on International Relations of the ANC party being the keynote speakers.
The discussion held at the Armenian Center for Contemporary Experimental Art (NPAK) on June 2nd, 2015 is livestreamed by CivilNet.

Don't Miss Hearing Cemal Pasha's Grandson

The Civilitas Foundation invites you to another installment in the series entitled CLIMBING THE MOUNTAIN, THE PERSONAL JOURNEYS OF ARMENIANS AND TURKS. The main guest of the second event – to be held on Thursday December 11 in Yerevan – is Hasan Cemal from Turkey.

Hasan Cemal is a prominent Turkish journalist and writer. He has extensive experience as writer and editor of various leading newspapers of Turkey (Chief Editor of the daily Cumhuriyet (The Republic), main columnist for the Daily Sabah (Morning), main columnist for daily Milliyet (Nationality)). Hasan Cemal has extensively covered the Kurdish issue and has been criticized by the Turkish government for his articles and interviews.

In his book “1915: The Armenian Genocide ” published in 2012, Hasan Cemal describes how he went from being someone who denied the Armenian Genocide, to one who recognizes it. This is particularly significant since Hasan Cemal is the grandson of Cemal Pasha, one of the three key officials of the Ottoman Empire who conceived and implemented the Armenian Genocide. The Armenian translation of Hasan Cemal’s book published by the Hrant Dink Foundation, will be presented at this time.

Hasan Cemal will be in conversation with Maria Titizian of the Civilitas Foundation. Mrs. Titizian herself has long been a contributor to various media, she was the Associate Editor of the Armenian Reporter, wrote for several Diasporan newspapers and also served as Vice President of Socialist International. She is currently the Managing Editor of CivilNet online television.

The conversation will be livestreamed by CivilNet.am.

The second series of CLIMBING THE MOUNTAIN takes place within the framework of the programme Support to the Armenia-Turkey Normalisation Process, funded by the European Union.

Anadolu Kültür from Turkey is the program partner.

For more information on CLIMBING THE MOUNTAIN please visit its website.


What do we know about Armenia’s foreign policy options?

Civilitas Polls
The Civilitas Foundation attaches paramount significance to identifying public opinion on Armenia’s foreign integrational policy and encouraging broad public discussion. This need is especially highlighted in the current context of political decision-making, when the choice over Armenia’s foreign policy options is a one-man or one-party process lacking democratic support.

On October 6, 2014 the Civilitas Foundation organised a public discussion on Armenia’s foreign policy options. The event also featured presentation of the findings of a national telephone poll conducted earlier on the same topic. The telephone poll aimed to identify the knowledge of Armenia’s population of foreign integrational policies, including the possible benefits and harm from each option, their attitude and preference over these options as single or combined policy directions. It also identified the population’s mid-term projection of the situation in areas pertaining to domestic policy, such as education, health care, security, and economy (labor market).

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