18 May 2006
Regarding your editorial "Turkey, Armenia and denial" (May 16): I was not recalled to Turkey to protest the French bill that would make it illegal to deny that the Armenian genocide occurred. I went home to hold consultations on the issue and returned to Paris within the same week. At the end of the consultations, we came to the same conclusion as your editorial: "Historical truths must be established through dispassionate research and debate, not legislation."
The charges against five journalists in Turkey mentioned in your editorial were the result of an interpretation by a prosecutor of the penal code adopted by the Parliament in September 2004 as part of the effort to harmonize our judicial system with the European Union's. The court's decision corrected this interpretation and charges were dropped, creating a legal precedent.
To pretend that the Turkish government "considers even discussion of the issue to be a grave national insult and reacts to it with hysteria" is not fair. Numerous conferences are being organized in Turkey that will include the participation of scholars on the tragic events that occurred in the time of the Ottoman Empire during World War I. Several articles and books reflecting conflicting interpretations have been published in Turkish. The subject is being freely debated in Turkey as acknowledged by the leaders of Armenia. It is regrettable, however, to see that in certain countries there are attempts to restrict the freedom of opinion and expression on this issue.
It should be remembered that there is no agreement among international scholars on the death tolls or the true nature of the tragic events that caused significant losses of life among Armenians and Turks during World War I.
Bearing this in mind, the prime minister of Turkey, together with the leader of the main opposition party, last year proposed to the president of Armenia to establish a joint commission with the goal of shedding light on this controversy; Turkey announced that it is ready to recognize its conclusions.
We expect this historic proposal to enjoy worldwide support so that the century-old conflict will be resolved and the traditional friendship between Turks and Armenians restored.
President Bush's one-sided statement on the Armenian incidents
On April 24, President Bush issued, as usual, a statement on the Armenian incidents. A comparison of this text with last year's statement can provide clues to the way the Armenian issue is progressing.
This year's statement too is one-sided. It refers to the Armenian incidents as a “horrible tragedy” in which only the Armenians suffered. It makes no reference at all to Turkish and Muslim deaths. It fails to point out that the incidents stemmed from a political clash between the two sides.
Yet despite these obvious omissions, this year's statement is, in some aspects, the most favorable one of its kind to date. This is no longer a declaration but a kind of message of condolence. It is no longer titled “President's Statement on Armenian Remembrance Day” but “President's Message on the Armenian Remembrance Day.” At the end of it, the president expresses his condolences to the Armenians together with “Laura,” that is, the first lady. In other words, this year's text is written in a more cordial and less formal style.
As in the previous cases, this statement does not describe the Armenian incidents as a genocide. It does not ask Turkey to “recognize the genocide.” Neither does it refer to Armenian demands for land and compensation. On the other hand, unlike the previous statements, it does not contain words such as “annihilation” of the Armenians. Since words of this kind had been used to describe the crime of “genocide” prior to the U.N. Genocide Convention of 1948, inclusion in the text of such words in the past used to imply that the incidents had in fact been a genocide.
However, the biggest change has been brought about by a play of words. In the 2005 text, there was a reference to the “forced exile and mass killings of as many as 1.5 million Armenians.” In the 2006 text, the order of these words has been changed. The 2006 text refers to the “mass killings and forced exile of as many as 1.5 million Armenians.” This change does not cause any significant change in meaning in Turkish. However, in English it implies that 1.5 million Armenians were not murdered. Moreover, this amounts to an indirect rejection of the Armenian argument that “1.5 million Armenians were murdered.”
The Armenians do not limit their genocide allegations to the mass relocation of 1915. They extend these allegations to the foundation of the Republic of Turkey in 1923 in an effort to create accountability on the part of modern and present-day Turkey. By referring to the year 1915 in the 2006 statement, the U.S. president has distanced himself from the “events of the early 20th century” phrase that had been included in the previous statements.
Just as the 2005 statement, the 2006 statement makes reference to a study conducted by the International Center for Transitional Justice (ICTJ). The ICTJ, which had taken part in South Africa's “justice and reconciliation process” after the fall of the apartheid regime, conducted that study at the instigation of the Turkish-Armenian Reconciliation Commission (TARC). The question that TARC posed to the ICTJ was, “Can the 1948 Genocide Convention apply retroactively to the 1915 incidents?” As would be expected, the ICTJ's answer was, “No, it cannot.” However, the ICTJ did not stop there. Transcending its powers, it went on to conclude that if the convention could be implemented retroactively, the Armenian incidents would have been deemed a genocide. Meanwhile, to please the Turkish side as well, it also said the Armenians were not entitled to get land and compensation.
We never came to meet the “great jurist” that prepared the ICTJ report. One could discern from the text that he was not well informed about the Armenian incidents. ICTJ Chairman David Philips had told us about the conclusion reached in the report on several occasions before it was actually released. It was obvious that the ICTJ report was written to fit the conclusion prescribed by Philips.
Unlike the 2005 statement, this time Bush does not express the hope that the report would bring about reconciliation between the two sides. He merely says the report has “made a significant contribution towards deepening our understanding of these events.” On the other hand, how can a person holding such a high position possibly make a reference to a report that is so sadly lacking in seriousness?
In the 2006 statement references are made to Armenia's democratization efforts and to the way the America is encouraging its inclusion in the Euro-Atlantic family. This in fact indicates that Armenia is still far from democracy and the Western world.
And, finally, as was the case last year, Turkey's proposal is being supported by linking the resolution of the issue to dialogue and the creation of joint commissions.
Readers may not be satisfied with this comparison of the texts from the standpoint of diplomacy. As a matter of fact, it does not satisfy me, either. However, it is obvious that the Armenians have lost ground to an extent that cannot be ignored. This can be easily discerned from the tone of the head of the U.S. administration's “message.”
April 27, 2006
Without Saying 'Genocide', Bush Advises Coop.
Once again US President George W. Bush did not use the word â€œgenocideâ€? in his message about the of events 1915 on the 91st anniversary of the so-called Armenian genocide.
In his written statement from the White House, Bush asserted that around 1, 5 million Armenians were exiled by force, resulting in the killing of many during the last years of the Ottoman Empire, adding that â€œIt was a tragedy and should always be remembered.â€?
â€œWe praise those in Turkey and Armenia who examine the historical happenings of that time with honesty and sensitivity. We urge all types of dialogue, including forming joint committees that strive for a shared understanding of these tragic events and move Armenia and Turkey towards normalized relations,â€? said Bush.
While Armenian Americans held a demonstration in front of the Turkish Embassy in Washington D.C., Turks and Azerbaijanis staged a counter demonstration in return.
By Cihan News Agency, Washington
April 26, 2006
Bush Says 'Tragedy' not 'Genocide' for 1915 Events
US President George W. Bush has describe the incidents that took place in 1915 as â€œa tragedyâ€?, in the message he prepared for the 91st anniversary of the so-called Armenian genocide allegations.
The White House announcement reads that the events were a tragedy for mankind and should never be forgotten. Bush, overlooking the demands of the Armenian Diaspora, did not term the incidents as â€œgenocide.â€?
The event is a source of pain for all Armenians, the. President acknowledged, and Americans feel deeply for this page in history.
Bush invited all parties to take part in dialogue and determine common understanding, and he praised the parties in both Turkey and Armenia who examine the happenings of 1915 impartially, accurately and sensitively.
The Armenian Diaspora alleges a genocide occurred, Armenians were forced to leave their home in 1915; Turkey, on the contrary, refutes these allegations and advocates the deaths were caused by difficult road and weather conditions during the migration.
By Cihan News Agency, Washington
April 25, 2006
An appeal to the Turkish government and Turks abroad on the Armenian issue
It would seem presumptuous of me, a mere soul of humble background, to pen this letter to the Turkish government and Turks abroad (diaspora Turks) giving a piece of advice on what to do about the Armenian issue. Hence, I write this letter with some trepidation. But having witnessed what I have witnessed over the years and experiencing personal anguish as a result, I have reached the point where I say, 'Enough is enough.'
HOUSTON - TDN Guest writer
It would seem presumptuous of me, a mere soul of humble background, to pen this letter to the Turkish government and Turks abroad (diaspora Turks) giving a piece of advice on what to do about the Armenian issue. Hence, I write this letter with some trepidation. But having witnessed what I have witnessed over the years and experiencing personal anguish as a result, I have reached the point where I say, “Enough is enough.”
This sentiment is notwithstanding the fact that Turks in all walks of life, inside and outside Turkey, want to live in ethnic harmony and peace not only with Armenians living in neighboring Armenia, but also with Armenians living in diaspora. But a large majority of Armenians, especially those living in diaspora, want to have none of that. Diaspora Armenians and their supporters, stuck in history, are engaged in a slanderous “genocide” (“g”) campaign against Turks and Turkey invoking events that go back 90 years.
Even if one ignores the anti-Turkish slime delivered by the Armenian camp through speeches, interviews, articles, books and exhibitions, just seeing productions such as director Atom Egoyan's 2002 movie “Ararat,” bankrolled by the Armenian lobby, is nauseating enough. Countless Muslims, even Jews, who suffered and perished at the hands of Armenians never had their stories told on screen or on stage. Their sufferings have gone pretty much unnoticed by the world. Turkey and Turks are under malicious attack.
Hence, I call on Turkey and the diaspora Turks to rise up and take the offensive on the so-called Armenian “g” issue. The Turkish side has been too timid and too defensive on this issue, and it is time to change the approach. It is time to grab the bull -- the venomous Armenian propaganda machine -- by its horns and tackle it head on. I am talking about legislative, juristic and legal action.
The Turkish government has long held that the “g” issue should be left to scholars, mainly historians, to settle. Normally, this would have been a sensible approach, leaving the matter in the hands of scholars who are supposed to be rational and objective. But just as it takes two to tango, it takes two sides to debate an issue.
The so-called scholars of the Papazian-Dadrian-Suny-Hovannisian bent on the Armenian side, however, have shown no willingness, and no courage, to debate the controversy with their adversaries. They spread their odious allegations with a singular mind, avoiding and running away from their adversaries like the plague. They are the Houdinis of the scholastic world, and they deserve a Nobel Prize for spinning the wheel. They claim, with a straight face, that the “g” allegations are a fact and there is nothing to debate.
The best example to such pseudo-scholarly approach has been numerous Armenian “g” conferences held from Chicago to Vienna to Los Angeles, where scholars from the opposite camp, foreign and Turkish, were deliberately excluded. Even the disgraceful “g” conference held in Istanbul last September excluded, by intent and design, scholars and intellectuals opposing the “g” allegations. Any real scholar worth a dime and deserving a semblance of academic respectability would frown upon and condemn such one-sided conferences. But not the Dashnakian scholars. They have an agenda to push.
What is more, the pseudo-scholars and their cohorts never talk about the atrocities the treasonous Ottoman Armenians committed against Turks, Kurds and other non-Armenians during World War I. They have incurable amnesia on how droves of Armenian guerillas at that time joined the ranks of the invading Russian and French armies in Anatolia, stabbing Turks in the back. Even Boghos Nubar, the unfettered head of the Armenian National Delegation at the 1919 Paris peace conference, who submitted a letter to the French foreign minister boasting of how Armenians fought alongside the Allies in World War I, if he were still alive, would be ashamed by pseudo-scholars' selective memory. And their memory, of course, is totally blank when it comes to ASALA terror.
They also would not like to be reminded of how Professor Stanford Shaw, a prominent American historian refuting the “g” allegations, was forced out from the University of California in Los Angeles (UCLA) some years ago after Armenian thugs exploded a bomb in front of his house. The professor and his family left UCLA under a death threat.
Instead, the pseudo-scholars, the purveyors of half-truths, talk ad nauseam about only how the Ottoman Armenians suffered during World War I, portraying Turks as barbaric subhumans committing horrific crimes against the Armenians. Some of the pseudo-scholars even push the limits of ignominy and dishonesty when they compare the 1915-1917 events with the Jewish Holocaust. It is a classic case of hate mongering. It is also historic revisionism at its worst.
Playing the “eternal victim” game, the pseudo-scholars and their cohorts hope to grab land from Turkey, though they wouldn't mind if the “poor” Armenians get some pocket money on the side. It is the same game that was played at the Paris, Sevres and Lausanne peace conferences after World War I, and the con game still goes on. Some Turks, of Akcam-Berktay-Gocek fame, attracted by the aphrodisiac and psychedelic effect of the sweet Armenian lollipop, have joined the con game.
So, it is time to drop the illusion that the “g” issue is something to be left to scholars to settle. It is time for the Turkish government to come to the realization that this approach, sensible-appearing as it is, will go nowhere. The fallacy of this approach became obvious when Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's well-intentioned proposal last year to Armenian President Robert Kocharian that a joint Turkish-Armenian commission of historians be formed to study the 1915 events was thumbed down by Yerevan. The Armenian lobby was unmoved as well.
Yerevan and the Armenian lobby figured, Why rock the boat when everything is already stacked in their favor? Why take the risk?
Indeed, Turks and Turkey have already lost the world public opinion war on the “g” issue. The war has been lost mainly as a result of the relentless venomous Armenian campaign -- generously funded by the Armenian war chest -- against Turks and Turkey. But anti-Turkish prejudice in the West, deeply rooted in history and religious divide, has been instrumental as well. Add to this the lethargic, so-far Pollyannaish attitude of the Turkish government on the “g” issue, then we have a recipe for disaster on the public opinion front.
The evidence is everywhere. The spineless, unscrupulous Western media, by and large, is already in the grip of the deep-pocketed Armenian lobby; the ethnic-pandering politicians race each other to pass, or try to pass, no-questions-asked pro-Armenian resolutions in their parliaments, and the gullible, clueless public falls silent. Turks are relentlessly accused without being given the chance of self-defense. It is a charade played on world stages again and again.
The European Parliament, suffering from a bout of amnesia about what many European nations did to the natives of their ex-colonies, unmindful of their shameful World War I and World War II histories soaked in blood, sweat and slime, unmindful of the ethnic cleansing and genocide that they allowed to take place in their midst only a decade ago in what used to be Yugoslavia, and amnesiac about the genocidal massacre of Azeri civilians by Armenian armed forces in Hodjali (Azerbaijan) in 1992, has had the temerity, in its self-righteous way, to call on Turkey to recognize the “g” event going back 90 years.
Or else, the European Parliament has warned, Turkey will not enter the European Union. Such hypocrisy!
As if that were not enough, a mere denial of the Armenian “g” can be a punishable crime in Europe. This is the same Europe where freedom of expression is supposed to be a cherished doctrine. Call it “freedom of expression” with a streak of double standard running through.
Faced with such unpleasant reality, Turkey should drop the reactive approach and get proactive. It should stop being defensive and be offensive instead. While still seeking dialogue and accommodation with Armenia and while still encouraging scholarly work and meetings on the “g” issue (which in themselves are intrinsically meritorious undertakings regardless of political implications), Turkey should take legislative and judicial steps as well.
On the legislative side, the Turkish Parliament should pass resolutions condemning human rights violations of Western nations in the past and ask these nations to recognize their genocidal excesses in their ex-colonies. As ex-colonies, Algeria, Congo, Angola and Herero come first to mind, but many others can be named as well. There is no need to call representatives of these nations for defense. Just raising hands will do. Take the cue from European parliaments -- and call it “adaptation to EU norms.”
On the judicial side, Turkey should take the “g” issue to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague to seek judgment on whether the 1915-1917 events could be called “genocide” under the 1948 United Nations definition, inviting Armenia to accede beforehand to the court's ruling. ICJ, the principal judicial organ of the United Nations, has jurisdiction not only to settle legal disputes submitted to it by states but also to give advisory opinions on legal questions referred to it. It is truly international in its composition, and it is the only competent body that can rule whether the 1915-1917 events can be called a genocide. Armenia, for obvious reasons, has shied away from approaching the IJC; but Turkey should on its own.
And if it receives a favorable ruling from ICJ, as is most likely, Turkey should demand compensatory damages from the perpetrators of fraud in Europe and North America.
The advantage of a judicial body such as ICJ is that both sides are given “equal time.” There would be no uncontested, one-sided monologues delivered by Armenian propagandists, no grotesque accusations without challenge and no hand-picked audience. The pro-genocide scholars, instead of playing the smear-and-run game, would face their adversaries. Furthermore, such a forum would be an excellent opportunity to expose to the world how the Ottoman Dashnaks back-stabbed Turks and other non-Armenians during World War I. That way the Armenian propagandists would taste their own medicine.
As for the diaspora Turks, they, too, should stop being passive and take action instead. The diaspora Turks are a diverse group that do not have, and are not raised with, any intrinsic animosity against any ethnic group, do not congregate in ethnically dominant neighborhoods (except poorly educated ones in Europe) and carry on with their normal daily lives trying to adapt peacefully to their host communities. The relentless anti-Turk campaign conducted by the Armenian lobby, however, has put these Turks in a difficult situation. With their ancestry accused of horrible crimes and their ethnicity and reputation smeared by insinuation, countless diaspora Turks experience insidious discrimination in the communities they live in.
Against these scurrilous attacks, I implore diaspora Turks to take legal action. That is the only way they will have a proper hearing. With regard to one-sided pro-Armenian positions in their local municipalities and school districts, Turks can insist that their views be taken into account by filing lawsuits invoking the right to freedom of speech. In this respect, the Massachusetts school-district case, launched with the participation of the ATAA (Assembly of Turkish American Associations) in Washington, D.C., is a good example.
Turks can file anti-defamation class-action suits against pro-Armenian scholars for denigrating their ancestry with slanderous lies. There must be accountability for disparaging a whole nation based on false claims. Thousands of foreign tourists and businessmen stay away from Turkey because of bad publicity.
Considering that discrimination based on ethnic origin is frowned upon by law in many countries, diaspora Turks, in particular those living in the United States, can file individual personal injury suits against instigators of ethnic animosity, which typically gives rise to discrimination.
Speaking of personal injury, I have failed to understand to this day why the families of Turkish diplomats who were murdered and wounded on foreign soil by ASALA terror have not filed civil suits against the Armenian organizations and groups that instilled hatred for Turks in the minds of young Armenians. It is such hatred that led to these nefarious crimes.
And finally, how about filing a lawsuit for perpetrating deception -- as an Italian atheist recently accused a Roman Catholic priest in a small town near Rome of unlawfully asserting that Jesus Christ existed? An Italian prosecutor is investigating.
Legal avenues are aplenty. Diaspora Turks should get off their comfy couches and act. This is particularly a good time to ponder the issue when the annual Turk-bashing Armenian ritual, due to culminate on April 24, 2006, is fast approaching.
And will the Turks on that day, feel satisfied when President Bush, while probably avoiding using the dreaded “g” word, remembers “the infamous killings of as many as 1.5 million Armenians during the last days of the Ottoman Empire,” but without saying a word about the sufferings of Muslims and without privately questioning the credibility of the number he is quoting? It all depends on how low the bar is set -- for Turks and for Mr. Bush.
Finally, and to sum up, Turks have already faced up to their history by admitting that Ottoman Armenians suffered greatly during the final days of the Ottoman Empire. But it was a suffering brought about unintentionally by famine, disease and lawlessness during forced relocation in time of war. The question is: Will the Armenians face up to their history by admitting that their sufferings were unintentional -- hence not “g” -- and that they share blame for the tragic events on both sides? Otherwise, the rotten relations between the two camps will likely continue indefinitely. This is no way to promote peace and harmony.
* Ferruh Demirmen, a Houston-based energy expert, can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
January 25, 2006
Armenians sue German banks to call attention to 'genocide'
Descendants of some Armenians who died in Anatolia in World War I have sued two of Germany's biggest banks, the latest in a series of lawsuits aimed at calling attention to what the plaintiffs say was genocide perpetrated by the Ottoman Empire. . . .
The suit, which seeks class action status, was filed on Friday against Deutsche Bank AG and Dresdner Bank AG in Los Angeles state court.
The class could include thousands of Armenians living in the United States and elsewhere who are descendants and heirs of deceased bank account holders, attorneys said.
The suit alleges that the banks possess an undetermined amount of cash and other assets deposited between 1875 and 1915 by Armenians who were later killed, according to court papers. It also alleges that the banks hold assets looted by Turks from Armenian homes, churches and schools.
"By participating in the ongoing conspiracy of silence, retaining these profits and denying access to information regarding said assets, the German bank defendants' misconduct is continuing," the complaint said.
The suit asks for an accounting of the funds, which would then be disbursed to the descendants of the account holders.
Deutsche Bank declined to comment on the lawsuit. Officials at Dresdner, a unit of Allianz AG, were not immediately available for comment.
Mark Geragos, an Armenian descendant who is one of the lawyers for the plaintiffs, said the amount of money owed by the banks, including interest, could be as high as the hundreds of millions of dollars.
"It could be astronomical," he said, adding that the suit's primary aim was to draw attention to deaths of Armenians.
Turkey categorically rejects allegations that there was genocide of Armenians during the First World War. The deaths occurred in partisan fighting and chaos during the collapse of the Ottoman Empire.
The Dresdner and Deutsche Bank suit is the third of its kind filed by Geragos and attorneys Brian Kabatek and Vartkes Yeghiayan. Last year, French insurer AXA and U.S. insurer New York Life agreed to pay a combined $37 million to descendants of their Armenian policyholders as part of two separate settlements.
"These lawsuits have allowed people to say, 'Wow if these companies are paying the money then there must be something there'," said Geragos, a high-profile litigator who also represented singer Michael Jackson for a year in his fight against child molestation charges and defended convicted wife killer Scott Peterson.
More lawsuits against insurers, banks and two governments are in the works, Geragos said. He declined to give details.
The United States does not officially recognize the Armenian deaths as genocide, though the state of California has done so on various occasions over the last two decades. California is home to an estimated 500,000 Armenians, the largest population living outside Armenia.
January 16, 2006
ANKARA - TDN with Reuters
Czech president: Who will benefit from Turkish recognition of Armenian 'genocide'?
Czech President Vaclav Klaus stressed on Sunday that stirring up and bring the past events back to the agenda of the international community is useless, saying, "Who will benefit from Turkish recognition of the Armenian 'genocide'?"
Speaking to German daily Der Spiegel, Klaus questioned the necessity of facing the past, saying, "The past is the past. Nowadays the European Parliament is urging Turkey to recognize the Armenian genocide claims. Who will benefit from this recognition? Russian President Vladimir Putin apologized for the suppression of the Prague spring reform process by harsh methods in 1968, saying that his country takes moral responsibility for the events of 1968. This was a gesture for the Czech Republic but I don't think that we have to discuss with Putin the things a former Soviet leader did to us. In other words Putin is not the inheritor of Leonid Brezhnev and I am not the inheritor of the communist regime that took power in 1948 in my country."
Armenian scandal at UN
A general sense of trouble was felt at the so-called “Genocide forum" held at the United Nations, following Turkish Professor Türkkaya’s disagreement with allegations by Armenians who had organized the event. Türkkaya Ataöv’s defense against the allegations caused the unsettled behaviour. While the UN was staging an "Armenian show", a New York Times journalists attempted to prevent Prof. Ataöv from talking causing a scandal at the forum.
Armenians in the US attempted to take the notion of “genocide” to the UN by organising the forum entitled, “Genocide: Then and Now. Lessons Learnt in the 21st Century”. Political Affairs Assistant to UN General Secretary Kofi Annan, Ibrahim Gambari’s name was also mentioned at the forum co-organised by Armenian, Rwandan Ambassadors and the Armenian General Benevolent Union.
However, on discovering that Turkey was targeted at the forum, Gambari stated that his name was placed on the list of speakers by mistake, and declined from making a speech.
Director of Genocide Research at the Zoryan Institute, Prof. Vahak Dadrian, put forward that the Armenian massacre had begun with the death of 200,000 Armenians during the reign of Abdülhmit. Dadrian also claimed that militant Islamists systematically massacred Armenians living in Anatolia, between 1918 and 1920.
Türkkaya Ataöv, a Turkish Historian also attending the forum, took the floor and asked, “You say that you are referring to secret reports from German sources stating that Ottoman rulers gave orders for genocide. You claim that the documents have been seen. Who has seen these documents and where are they?” causing a stir.
The forum Chairman, New York Times journalist, Andrea Kannapell attempted to stop Türkkaya Ataöv from speaking. Ataöv responded to this by saying, “You are taking sides. Dadrian gave a 40-minute speech, but you do not want someone of the opposite opinion to speak”, then went on to describe the important place Armenians held in Ottoman society, holding government positions amongst many others. Following Kannapell’s second attempt to quiet Ataöv, a group of Armenians in the room began to scold him.
Directing his words at the Rwandan Ambassador, Ataöv complained, “This forum is just for show.” Türkkaya Ataöv declared that the purpose of the forum was to take this “supposed genocide” to a global platform.
© Copyright 2006 Hürriyet
Ex-Turkish Prime Minister Ecevit, former socialist who later championed ties with the West, dies
Turkish National TV Screens Pro-Armenian Ararat Film
RFE/RL reported that Kanal Turk, a Turkish national channell, will screen Atom Egoian’s “Ararat” film on April 13 evening. TV Company representative said the film will be shown uncut.
The experts name Ararat as Armenian propaganda film. The film was financed by the Armenian lobbying groups and supported by the Armenian Government.
Any pro Armenian film or book can be sold in Turkish bookmarkets. However no pro-Turkish study is allowed in Armenian bookstores or universities.
The government or any Turkish authority did not ban the screening. The Ararat film is considered the most ideological films of the Egoyan films.
KanalTurk's decision on film show was taken due to the desire of 72% of the audience.
JTW with news agencies
12 April 2006
Egoyan's "Ararat" Has Finally Reached Democratic Turkey- Yet Even The
Shortest Turkish Documentary Has Yet To Be Shown In Armenia
Mahmut Esat Ozan
Miramax To Loose Millions
Egoyan Is Said To Be Broke
Aznavour Out Of His Life Savings
It seems that the controversial Canadian movie director of Armenian origin,Atom Egoyan and his new film adventure called "ARARAT" have had their third strike against them. To the deep disappointment of the huge Hollywood distributor MIRAMAX Corporation, a Disney company subsidiary, "ARARAT" is termed by the world Press as a "FLOP". Disney, and Miramax corporation are not expected to recoup their millions for a long time to come, that is, if they ever do. The executives are infuriated, seeing their investment going down the drain to the sewers, the domain of rats. The French Press is abuzz
with stories how Egoyan and Aznavour invested heavily in their mutual "PET PROJECT" and may never recover from their losses.
Canada where the movie was made, won't be an exception. Everyone connected to the film is running around with sullen faces. Melancholy and depression is everywhere. What is most striking is the fact that Egoyan's dream of becoming a 'hero' for the Armenian Diaspora is also fast evaporating. Ironically, of all places, in France, "ARARAT" has been declared a disaster. Knowing that France is the birthplace of the famous singer-turned-actor Charles Aznavour, the principle actor of the film in the leading role, this
'flop' is considered the 'swan song ' of his long career.
The day following the first showing of the film in a plush Paris 'cinema',France's respected movie revue called 'Le Studio' had the following headline: " ARARAT, Egoyan's Huge Disappointment". In its main article the magazine was quite ruthless in its unexpected analysis. It said : "ARARAT" did not usher in the much hyped and certainly hoped illumination it was supposed to provide." The article continued: "When Egoyan had an opportunity to produce and direct a nice film, instead he left all reasonable approach aside and tried to revise and re-write history. At that point he had entered a very dangerous zone. There was nothing else left for
him to do but to butt his head against concrete walls. Though he was much traumatized, the lacerations and lesions he received from this sad experience were less injurious to him than to his Armenian pride."
The most virulent critiques with regard to the movie came from the Armenian community of Turkey, of which one of the representatives, a journalist,Hrant Dink, editor-in-chief of the Armenian language AGOS, which is the main Turco-Armenian communal newspaper, was present in Cannes. In the backstage conversation which took place In the presence of many journalists, some Turkish, he denunciated Egoyan, blamed him for having made a movie quite damaging to the Turco-Armenian relations. Hrant Dink also admonished Egoyan for having made a film that should not be shown in Turkey. He asks
the director: "Why weren't you able to make a movie that everyone in Turkey,including the Turkish-Armenians, would be satisfied to watch together? This is not entertainment, it is a propaganda piece for hatred."
Not so severe, but at the same time slightly similar situations to come were predicted in this column in April of this year. In a Turkish Forum essay entitled "Turks Smell a Rat in ARARAT", this author had warned its readers and said that "ARARAT" could be cast 'out of projection' at the Cannes Film Festival. The reason for reaching this conclusion was simple. "ARARAT" was not made to entertain . It was made with all deliberation to propagandize a point "HATE THE TURKS, despise them, because they are not
human beings like you and us Armenians." There are half a million Armenians living in France. Almost that many Turks also call France their home. Many of them had hoped that the Cannes Film Festival would nix this bigoted, racial monstrosity' Their dreams came true. The film was not placed on the regular fare of projection. In other words, it was ipso facto rejected.
After years of preparation, researching, ( inventing ) the script, after endless hours of hard work of casting the film's characters, and tedious fund raising sessions to be able to get enough cash to produce the story, after months and months of advance work to create a feverish hype to publicize "ARARAT", Egoyan and his partner, Charles Aznavour, received the shock of their lives. Even though their expensive venture "ARARAT" was not included on the menu, the evening of Monday May 20th the disappointed couple came to attend the opening of the Festivities. What they, and the
Cannes Palace of the Festivals were witnessing for the first time, was a large group of Turks who had arrived from all parts of France, to demonstrate in front of the promontory of the Palace of Festivals, loudly protesting the presence of Egoyan and Aznavour. The clamor of the young picketers was accompanied by traditional Turkish Davul and Zurna music.Armenians who have no understanding of and no taste for democratic criticism wanted to alert the local police, claiming that the action of these young Turkish students' manifestation was a 'dangerous and disruptive' thing. No law officers were observed anywhere. The Turkish students' carried on doing what they had come there for. Their purpose was to divert attention from the two, and be able to protest and inform the
crowd with their neatly prepared signs. They were there to show their
opposition against this highly inflammatory racial rubbish, this
hate-mongering monstrosity called "ARARAT"
The serious French publication"LIBERATION said that Egoyan had felt obliged to talk about the alleged Armenian genocide in his film but instead left the impression that he was discovering his Armenian identity for the first time. The newspaper asked the following question: "What ground level did he have to reach ,? and what price was he prepared to pay for doing so?
LE MONDE CRITIC PILLORIES
THE FILM AND HIS DIRECTOR
The well-known French daily, Le Monde had this headline: " ATOM EGOYAN'S ARARAT IS A MYTH ENCARCERATED IN AN INTELLECTUAL PRISON" The inside story of the same publication continued: This film was not narrating the story of a 'genocide' it was crudely trying to gauge the future influences and affects it may leave on the human animal" Le Monde continues: "Egoyan and his film are entrapped here. The Canadian director is in trouble. On the one hand he wants that his work be viewed by every movie-goer in the world, but his work "ARARAT" seems to have been filmed with undue complications created by his own script. The massacre scenes haphazardly injected here and there, the tasteless dance sequences performed by naked young women, their individual murder scenes after their being raped by those savage Turks, their being torched with kerosene and their subsequent deaths do not add any artistic or redeeming value to the film, on the contrary they contaminate Egoyan's work and leave a salacious taste in the viewer's mouth."
THE SYNOPSIS OF THE FILM A HATE CRIME SYLLABUS
The film called "ARARAT" packs a wallop of vengeance and teaches the younger generations that animosity and terrorism are permissible when you hate Turks. Is the Armenian movie, director Atom Egoyan's new production "ARARAT," an ordinary motion picture? The answer is: definitely "NOT". This movie could easily be labeled a HATE CRIME SYLLABUS shot in Canada, for the sole purpose of teaching everyone, including the innocent minds of the children of Canada and of the rest of the world, to begin to hate Turks.
The original proponents and the zealous supporters of this project, namely the 'Armenian Motion Picture Endowment,' (AMPE) gave statements in the past, at hastily announced Press conferences that they were extremely proud to have spent 14 long years on this project, which was characterized as an engrossing "true-to-life" documentary film. Their press releases showed that their project was delayed for many years for lack of funds. But now it is being taken over by one hitherto unknown movie director of dubious accomplishments. Press reports about him have been hardly positive.
This 40-year-old director Atom Egoyan-whose previous amateurish films have been classified as being : "cerebral" and "dispassionate," where all characters are often psychological misfits, not unlike their director who calls the scenario of his movie a "true but rarely discussed subject of the 1915-1917 annihilation of over a million and a half Armenians by the Ottoman
This statement of his alone, (the Armenian Genocide,) gives away his
ignorance on the subject matter. This has never been a rarely discussed subject. The Armenians have never stopped talking about it from day one. They've been talking about this very subject and nothing else but this subject in the last 87 years. They have had an obsession on this very subject. The reader may remember our 1999 article: GENOCIDE.COM which went into detail in explaining this popint.
NOW IT CAN BE TOLD
The fictitious scenario of the film is based on a poem written long before the alleged Armenian genocide, by another person called Atom, only this one had a different last name: Yarjanian , popularly known as 'Siamanto.' The title of his poem is " The Bride." The poet was born in Russia in 1878 and died of old age in 1914.
According to a Canadian reporter, Gale MacDonald who visited the filming while it was shot on location, says "the poem is very raw. It holds a mirror to ugly men ( all Turks ) who did unspeakably ugly things,: tortured 20 young (Armenian) virgin brides who were made to dance naked, hand in hand before the crazed mob, (the Turks), they twisted and twirled, and when they fell to the ground, exhausted, their captors, (the Turks) shrieked savagely for them to stand. They could not, so they raped them one, by one, and then they doused them in kerosene and torched the bodies. And the charcoal corpses rolled from dance to death," wrote the poet.
What Yarjanian was talking about may have been a Russian 'Pogrom', against the Armenians who were subjected to these types of brutality by the Russians who hated them. The plot, it seems, was cleverly and conveniently borrowed for this senseless slanderous effrontery called "ARARAT."
The publicist of the film says: "The death scenes have been grueling for many Armenians to watch. There are bodies burned, heads on sticks. It was a very barbaric extermination. Visibly pregnant (Armenian ) women had their stomachs sliced open," He continues :"This film "ARARAT" is not for the faint of heart. Egoyan is going to mess you up!" Siamento (Yarjanian) confronts pain, destruction, sadism, and torture as no modern poets have."
ON TOP OF IT ALL EGOYAN FEELS VERY COMFORTABLE WHEN HE LIES
Without batting an eye, Egoyan lies when he says: "In 1948 a United Nations Genocide Convention was adopted, and the Armenian Genocide was condemned by the international community as a crime against humanity." Here a correction is in order. The Convention took place in 1948, however, no such resolution was ever passed by the U.N. and Turkey was not condemned for any such crime by any U,N, body. This must be a figment of his fertile imagination. He also says that " a recognition from the Turkish government of the Armenian holocaust is imminent." To that we'd like to say : "That'll happen when hell freezes over." So don't hold your breath, Mr. Egoyan."
ARE TURKS," THE BIGGEST BARBARIANS WHO EVER LIVED"?
What is discussed in California's large Armenian ghetto circles today is the above-mentioned, "true-to-life" documentary which according to them, will teach the world that "Turks committed the first Genocide of the 20th century", and that for 87 long years Turks never owned up to its accountability. Unfortunately, for the Armenians the Egoyan film, "ARARAT" is no longer in a position of doing that. Because it has proven to be an unbelievable dishonest story by the critics who saw it, and passed their judgements on it. During this film's total entirety, not even the smallest reference is offered to the Turkish rebuttal of any sort. The Armenians deliberately concealed the existence of a civil war, which raged at the time, and that more than 2.5 million Ottoman Muslim citizens perished at the hands of the rebellious Armenian Hinchak and Dashnak hordes, helping and abetting the Caucasian Army units of the Russian Czar Nicholas II.
IN EGOYAN'S "ARARAT" HATE WILL STILL BE ALIVE AND WELL
The film "ARARAT," partially financed by the Disney Studios and distributed by Miramax Corporation, has already earned the title of the world's 'MOST HATRED-LOADED FILM ever attempted to be made to date Despite the fact that it was judged to be a 'flop' will not prevent it to do its damage. It will still influence generations to come, there are no two ways about it. Like in Mary Shelly's Frankenstein story' this monster will stay "Alive" will not die in our lifetime. What a shame ! Egoyan's deliberate malevolence will implant the seeds of 'ill will' and hatred for the detriment of not only the Turks, but also for the whole human race.
The Armenian film 'Ararat'
Kanalturk TV viewers must be congratulated for having voted by a majority of 85 percent for the first ever screening in Turkey of Atom Egoyan's film â€œArarat.â€? This vote was a welcome public display of fair play, tolerance and objectivity, remembering that the company that bought and imported the film was not able to lease it to any cinema hall for fear of adverse public reaction.
On Thursday, April 13 at 9:30 p.m., â€œArarat,â€? a Robert Lantos production, was shown in its two-hour entirety, exactly as shot by director Atom Egoyan in 2002. After all the adverse publicity about the film, millions of Turkish viewers must have been glued to their sets at this prime-time viewing slot out of curiosity and maybe with some prejudice in their minds since, after all the hype, they were about to watch an anti-Turkish movie, as was unnecessarily stated as a preamble to the film by Kanalturk executive Tuncay Ã–zkan, who prepared the viewers by saying, "This is a propaganda film and a great lie." These prejudicial comments were much criticized by viewers, who were quite able to draw their own conclusions about the film.
â€œAraratâ€? as a commercial venture must have had a considerable shooting budget, especially for its crowd scenes, but it has proven to be a box office disappointment and financial failure and loss, as much as a cinematic failure, for Egoyan. It was not rated as one of the better films from this internationally recognized Canadian-Armenian director, who had been under psychological pressure from the Armenian diaspora to make such a film, being a member of that diaspora himself.
He must have thought to pay tribute to the tragedy of their forefathers who lost their lives in the infighting in the middle of World War I in their Anatolian homeland, which is understandable. Egoyan wrote the fairly political and rhetorical script and directed it with at least two international celebrities, Charles Aznavour playing the part of the famous Armenian-American story writer William Saroyan and Christopher Plummer playing the part of the humane and mature Canadian customs officer who catches a young Armenian smuggling heroin from Turkey in three film reels. There is a so-called half Turk, David Alpay, a Canadian-born actor who plays the part of Ali Cevdet Pasha, the governor of Van in 1915, impeccable in formal uniform, an admitted admirer of Saroyan's writing in a well-suited part, who believes that "one has to look forward and not get lost in the past," which was one plus for objectivity in Egoyan's film.
The cast includes Egoyan's wife, Arsinee Khanjian, in the part of art historian lecturer Ani, an expert on the work of famous modern painter Archille Gorky. Gorky was a child in Van at the beginning of the bloody fighting and recounts his memories of his deportation-survivor mother, which is one of the four intertwined stories that overburden the film heavily while doubtless intending to cushion the political message of genocide blame, which was repeated on no less than four occasions with the Turkish version of events depicted only once. To be on the same side legally, the film ends with one line stating that "Turkey still continues to deny the Armenian onslaught or slaughter."
Bruce Greenwood, Eleas Coteas, Brent Carven, Eric Bogosian and Marie Josee Crose round out the rest of the main cast. Their acting standards are high. The film is alternatively in Armenian, French, English and Turkish to give local color as necessary to the accompaniment of nostalgic and deeply moving Armenian Gregorian religious chants. The one source script is largely based on the partial memories of an American missionary doctor in Van named Clarence Usher that were published in Boston in 1917 and alarmed the American public against the Ottoman Turks on false pretenses by saying that "American lives are in danger."
Raffi, the handsome son of twice-married Armenian Ani, is out to discover his roots in eastern Turkey, wanting to believe that his father, who was killed trying to assassinate a Turkish diplomat, was a hero rather than a terrorist, but he too gets caught in the web as a smuggler of heroin and finds himself having to lie to the customs officer. What is obviously imbalanced in this film is that all the Armenians are portrayed as good and the few Turks in the film are shown as bad.
The sympathetic customs officer letting the Armenian Raffi go free even though he had clearly lied about not having known there was heroin in the film reels he brought back from Turkey is another example of this. There is little or no soul searching, although Egoyan, who researched the subject for five years only to reach a biased conclusion, gives the impression that he doubted the historical clichÃ©s and intended to find out the truth of this great human tragedy that resulted in so many Armenians and Ottoman Turks losing their lives.
The dilemma of the classification of terrorist or freedom fighter is generally underlined in favor of the latter, after all if 34 Turkish diplomats and their family members were assassinated by Armenian terrorist group ASALA, then how should the murderers be classified? The film's heavy bias betrays its blinding subjectivity, "using history as a weapon."
The Armenians' favorite quote from Hitler, "Who remembers the onslaught on the Armenians by the Turks?" blunts the objectivity of the film with only one mention of the Armenians' betrayal of the Ottoman state as Ottoman citizens siding with the invading Russian enemy, which was mentioned by actor David Alpay to actor Charles Aznavour, whose character remained silent, without any reply.
Egoyan underlines the divide between the young generations of Armenians vis-Ã -vis the older-generation diaspora, displaying the two generally contradictory and opposing attitudes in their approach to Armenian history.
April 23, 2006
Turkish, Armenian ambassadors face off in TV debate
High-ranking diplomats from Turkey and Armenia, two countries without diplomatic ties, on Monday participated in a first-ever TV debate on sensitive.. issues including the Armenian genocide claims.
Turkish Ambassador to Rome Ugur Ziyal and his Armenian counterpart Ruben Sugaryan debated Turkish-Armenian relations on Italian state television channel RAI, where the recognition of existing borders, the establishment of a commission to investigate the alleged genocide and the opening of borders were discussed.
Concerning the recognition of existing borders, Ambassador Ziyal stressed that although Ankara wants to establish good relations with Yerevan, he urged Armenians to recognize the borders established by the Kars and Gumru treaties of 1921, and make giving up claims to Turkish territory a priority to establish diplomatic relations.
Commenting on Ziyal's remarks, Sugaryan said that Turkey's unilateral decision to close its borders to Armenia was a violation of the 1921 treaties.
In a move to put pressure on Sugaryan, Ziyal asked for a clear answer from Yerevan and said, "Unfortunately, I haven't gotten an answer from the ambassador. It's only our border gate with Armenia that is closed but our airspace is open. As two neighbors we have to look to the future. If you can give a positive answer to my question, cooperation is definitely possible."
In response to Ziyal's insistence, the Armenian ambassador stated that Yerevan would accept the latest agreement if a new one was not to be signed and implemented.
The recognition of current borders was one of the issues that dominated the agenda of secret talks between Turkey and Armenia last year. During the talks, Ankara suggested an exchange of letters between the two countries in which both parties would reaffirm their commitment to the Kars and Gumru Treaties of 1921. Armenian diplomats rejected this suggestion, stating that while they do not have any territorial claims or problems with recognizing the existing borders, they cannot accept this since the treaties set down Nagorno-Karabakh as Azerbaijani territory. The Armenian side proposed other formulas to meet Turkish expectations.
The second point of discussion raised during the televised debate was a Turkish proposal to establish a joint commission composed of historians to investigate Armenian genocide claims.
While Ziyal stated that the truth about the 1915 events can only be brought to light through the investigation of archives by historians, Sugaryan defended the view that only joint governmental commissions, not historians, can solve the issue. "We can't escape responsibility by handing the issue over to historians," Sugaryan added.
The Turkish ambassador, for his part also touched on the differing views that exist between Turkey and Armenia over the tragic events of 1915 and said, "Turkey's position on this issue is not based on denial but based on historians starting a comprehensive investigation of the archives."
In April last year, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan sent a letter to Armenian President Robert Kocharian proposing to set up a commission of historians who would jointly study the events of 1915 to 1918 and the genocide allegations. Kocharian responded by calling for the creation of a Turkish-Armenian intergovernmental body that would tackle this and other issues of mutual concern.
The third issue that dominated the discussion was the opening of the Turkish border gate to Armenians.
While the Armenian ambassador expressed Yerevan's willingness to establish diplomatic relations with Ankara without proposing any preconditions including the Turkish recognition of Armenian genocide claims, he also called on Turkey to take steps toward establishment of relations, initiating dialogue and the opening of the Turkish-Armenian border.
Turkey is considering reopening its border with Armenia on the condition that Yerevan commits to a partial pullout from the occupied Nagorno-Karabakh region of Azerbaijan. Ankara seeks a withdrawal from four regions in Nagorno-Karabakh and believes that such a move can facilitate a comprehensive agreement between Yerevan and the Azeri capital Baku.
The New Anatolian / Rome
Deputy Armenian FM: Who Said we do not Recognize Turkish Border?
Celebrating the anniversary of the so called genocide today, the Yerevan administration indicated they are working for recognition of the so-called genocide, and emphasized they have never requested land from Turkey
Despite this statement of Armenia, references to the eastern part of Turkey in Armenia's constitution and declaration of independence have already been made. The Mount Ararat is among the state's symbols. In an interview with Zaman, Armenian Deputy Foreign Minister Arman Kirakossian also evaluated this contradiction. Upon being reminded the 1921 Treaty of Kars that determined the border between the two countries, Kirakossian responded by asking, "Who said we do not recognize the Treaty of Kars?" and posed for a photograph in front of the painting of Mount Ararat hanging in his office.
Kirakossian responded: "Things I say have no importance unless diplomatic relationships between Turkey and Armenia are established. We can say we are respectful towards each other's unity of territory in reciprocal agreements" when asked, "Can you say Armenia does not have any demand for Turkish lands?"
When reminded of Turkey’s proposal to "Have the incidents of 1915 be investigate by an independent commission made up of historians, and accept the results,” the Armenian authority said: "Our history is an indisputable reality," and referred to Armenian President Robert Kocharian's proposal to "Establish an intergovernmental commission. If Turkey had set up a diplomatic relationship with us in 1991, we might be speaking at a different level now."
The Armenian Deputy Foreign Minister Arman Kirakossian responded to the following questions Zaman posed:
You want Turkey to open its Armenian border? Does this mean you accept the 1921 Treaty of Kars and therefore recognize the border you want to be opened?
Who said we do not recognize the Treaty of Kars?
But there are references to the eastern regions of Turkey in your official documents...
I want to say something officially as a representative of the Republic of Armenia. After Armenia's independence in 1991, Armenia has wanted to set up relationships without preconditions with Turkey. The Republic of Armenia has not declared that it does not recognize the Treaty of Kars. The preconditions have always been set forth by Turkey during this time, especially with the problems of the Mountainous Karabag (Karabakh) and the Armenian genocide.
Can you say that Armenia has no documented evidence of its claims over eastern Turkish provinces?
What I say will not have any value until we establish actual diplomatic relations between Armenia and Turkey. Only after we build ties we can claim to have respect for the territorial integrity of both countries in mutual agreements.
Because of the ongoing Armenian efforts to prove the so-called genocide happened, the border is closed and your country is suffering from an economic depression. Many Armenians tend to leave the country. How much longer can you keep this up?
Armenia does not suffer economic difficulties. A look at the traffic in Yerevan will explain my point. Our economy adjusted itself to the situation within the past 15 years. Of course, we would like to have a stronger and advanced economy. The opening of borders would be of great benefit to us. We would like to say that we are ready to have relations with Turkey and without any prerequisites. If Turkey accepts it, we could sit around the table and discuss our problems. Your newspaper [Zaman] is reporting that we are in talks.
Washington will host a guest, President Ilham Aliyev of Azerbaijan, for an exchange of official contacts at a time when there is concentrated discussion of Iran's nuclear involvement. Are you worried about this visit?
No, I am not, since we have excellent relations with the administration in the United States (US). In accordance with the Millennium Challenge Program, there has been a transfer of $235 million to Armenia, and US President George W. Bush acknowledges this program is useful to our economy. Azerbaijan is not eligible for this transfer of financial aid, since the government in Azerbaijan is not eligible to be part of the program. The Armenian president will probably be another guest in Washington in the upcoming days, after Aliyev.
Armenia and the Diaspora carry out intense efforts regarding the events of 1915. They have 450,000 web-sites set up for this purpose alone. While efforts are being made regarding an event that happened 90 years ago, 800,000 refugees exiled from Azerbaijan struggle to survive in negative conditions. Have you ever considered empathizing with them?
We do not accept the figure of 800,000. However, the number is unimportant. We have 300,000 refugees from Karabakh and Azerbaijan. The dialogue, which includes this issue between Azerbaijan and Armenia, still goes on.
Turkey proposes to leave the allegations regarding the events in 1915 to the historians and accept the outcome. Will you keep rejecting it?
Right, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has made such a proposal. On the other hand, Armenian President Robert Kocharian proposed to the formation of a commission to handle various problems concerning politics, economy, borders and agreements.
We believe the Turkish people are not responsible for the events of 1915. The Turkish administration at that time is the responsible party. We expect a step from Turkey akin to the one taken by the German government. Armenia wants to have unconditional, good and friendly relations with all its neighbors, especially with Turkey. The future of the two countries will not be decided by the findings of historians. Politicians will determine the fate of the two countries. If Turkey had made diplomatic relations with us, we could have been holding this conversation at a much different level.
By Selahattin Sevi, Yerevan
April 24, 2006
'Armenian Genocide Allegations is a Complicated Issue'
Daniel Fried, the US Assistant Secretary for European and Eurasian Affairs, said the Armenian genocide allegations is a "complicated issue" and must be examined by the parties in a courageous way
Fried together with Upper Karabag (Karabagh) problem negotiator Steven Mann met Turkish Foreign Ministry officials yesterday.
Speaking after the talks Fried said, "Tragedies of the past must be handled with courage and nations must look at their futures."
The US diplomat underlined he has no message about the Turkey-Armenia relations, indicating the US's attitude towards the issue is well-known, and President George W. Bush will probably make a relevant statement on the issue this April as he does every year.
The American official added the issue of Washington's demand of opening the Turkish-Armenian border also came to the agenda during the contacts.
By Suleyman Kurt, Ankara
March 17, 2006