29 October 2006

1188) Media Scanner Oct 2006 (134+ Items)

  1. Turkey's 'Democratic' woes
  2. Ankara set to get bad grades on reform pace
  3. WEEK IN REVIEW
  4. Freedom streets
  5. Museum honoring Atatürk chronicles birth of the Turkish nation
  6. Letters to the editor
  7. TÜSİAD invites Armenian businessmen to Istanbul
  8. Turkish businessmen invite Armenian counterparts to Istanbul
  9. French Radio Halts Broadcasting in Turkish
  10. Is Turkey's EU Bid Becoming a Mirage?
  11. EU's only Plan for Turkey is Membership
  12. How the Turkish Parliament Should React to France
  13. Czeck MP Calls French Bill 'Unfortunate and Inappropriate'
  14. Freedom of expression and the European Union by Graham Watson
  15. Pamuk is not invited for the October 29
  16. Schiff: High Time That We as Nation Recognize Armenian Genocide
  17. TURKEY NOT READY TO BE MORE VIRTUOUS -Opinion By Gohar Gevorgian
  18. French Senate against Armenian Genocide Bill?
  19. Armen Darbinyan: «We Want Turks to Become Better»
  20. Letter to the Editor: The Globe and Mail (Canada) From: AYDEMIR ERMAN, Turkish ambassador, Ottawa
  21. Milan Officially Recognized Armenian Genocide
  22. Aliev Says Armenian Genocide A 'Fantasy'
  23. Pamuk Invited for Speech on Armenian Genocide at European Parliament
  24. Hrant Dink: “An idiotic law”
  25. Europe Will Not Swallow Islamic State with 80-Million Population
  26. The Undemocratic And Unfair Behavior Of Pbs Network Stations Against Turks
  27. French Played Volleyball On Rwandan Genocide Grave
  28. Rwanda Mp Says 'France Abetted Genocide'
  29. Ethnic Armenian Set To Join European Commission
  30. Armenian daily attacks Mutafyan:
  31. Romania designates senator of Armenian origin for EU job:
  32. An Open Letter to Orhan Pamuk
  33. Mehmet Yilmaz: The last thing the Armenians want is a debate
  34. 62 Percent Of Armenians Think That The Country Is On The Wrong Track: Gallup Survey
  35. Nancy Pelosi: It Is Imperative That Us Recognize Armenian Genocide
  36. Turkey's Attitude Towards So-called Armenian Genocide Is More European Than France's, Babacan
  37. Turkish Women Mps Send Letter To Dutch Mp
  38. The Guide Of Istanbul Accuses French Politicians And Journalists
  39. Armenian-Turkish Exhibition Opened In "Moscow" Cinema
  40. France Maneuvers And Gives Armenia Some Time To Prepare
  41. M.F.A.: States' Reliability Depends On Their Standing By Values They Advocate
  42. Tan: We Hope French Authorities To Reject It
  43. Paris Court Of Appeals Adjourns Its Verdict On Sezgin Case
  44. Ambassador Of Sweden In Ankara Asp In Mersin
  45. Turkey's Attitude Towards So-Called Armenian Genocide Is More European Than France's, Babacan
  46. Turkish Business World's Reaction To France
  47. France Made A Great Mistake, Tusiad
  48. Decision Would Affect Cultural Dialogue, Prof. Dumont
  49. Resolution Has Not Been Legalized Yet, Poudade
  50. Reactions To Adoption Of Draft Law By France
  51. Turkish Prime Ministry Condemns Adoption Of French Resolution
  52. Gul On French Resolution & Orhan Pamuk
  53. Turkish Business Delegation In France
  54. Turkey's Allies Are Common Sense And Freedom Of Expression
  55. Senate Group Head: "We Will Not Approve It"
  56. France Writhing In Pain
  57. French Ambassador's Statement Criticized In Turkey
  58. "Zerkalo": "Punishment For Genocide" - Expensive Pleasure
  59. Paris Court Postpones Genocide Denial Case 2nd Time
  60. Hisarciklioglu On French Resolution
  61. Dokurcum Mill, Silent Witness Of Massacre
  62. Turkish - French Economic Relations
  63. Turkish People Do Not Believe In Friendship Of Neighbors
  64. French Ambassador's Goodbye Lesson Or Cold Shower For Armenian Diplomacy
  65. 500 Million Dollars Of Boycott On French Products
  66. So-Called Armenian Genocide: Protests In Front Of French Embassy
  67. French Companies Fear Losing Turkish Market
  68. Mumcu: Both The Inventor And Perpetrator Of Genocide Claims Is The West
  69. Felicity Party Launches Boycott Campaign Against French Products
  70. Turkish Deputies Object To Algerian Genocide Proposal
  71. Turkey, France: French Firms Set To Suffer From Turkish Anger Over 'Genocide' Bill
  72. Georgian Prime Minister: "We Feel Very Comfortable With Turkey"
  73. "Armenian Genocide" Film To Be Shown In Brussels December 13
  74. Turkey Returns To The East
  75. Debate Needed; What Happened In Armenia?
  76. Ottawa to soothe Turks angry over 'genocide' tag
  77. Angus Reid Global Monitor : Polls & Research Azerbaijan Best, France Worst for Turks
  78. Turkish Associations In France Reacts To Bill On So-called Armenian Genocide
  79. Turkish MPs Announce 'Shame List'
  80. Turks in France Self-Critical over Armenian Bill
  81. Ambassador's Genocide Denial Case Delayed
  82. 'Thousands of Armenians Converted to Islam'
  83. Paris Court Postpones Genocide Denial case 2nd time
  84. Benefits of waiting
  85. Accusations Of French Genocide Against Algerians
  86. Decision Would Affect Cultural Dialogue, Prof. Dumont
  87. Rwanda: France Played An Active Role In 1994 Genocide
  88. Warm Ties With The Diaspora
  89. If Our Ambassador To Paris Had Been Armenian?
  90. Chirac Did Not Promise Erdogan To Intervene In Armenian Genocide Bill Adoption
  91. Oskanian: Armenia Not Going To Corner Turkey
  92. Turkish Parliament to List Europe's Massacres
  93. Mr. Erdogan's Turkey
  94. The Right to Deny Genocide
  95. French radio RFI cuts Turkish broadcasts
  96. Mesrob II calls for dialogue, mutual respect among Turks, Armenians
  97. Armenian Conference to Discuss Dialogue not Genocide Allegations
  98. KAYSERI - Plenary discussion panel on: ''The Art of Living Together in the Ottoman Society: The Case of Turkish-Armenian Relations''
  99. Turkey: No opening border with Armenia before normalization of relations
  100. Armenian Woman Sends Grandchild to Turkish School
  101. French Consulate Door in Turkey - Best Photo  of the Month French Consulate Door in Turkey Best Photo of the Month?
  102. Austrian Turkish Candidate Stigmatized for 'Genocide' Denial
  103. Sweden Says History is Job of Historians
  104. Canada Backs Joint Committee for Armenian Claims
  105. US Urges France to Promote Discussion
  106. EU: Don't compare apples with pears on Article 301
  107. Poll: 58 percent of French oppose Turkish EU entry:
  108. US criticizes France’s ‘genocide’ bill
  109. EU envoy urges Turkey to act on free speech
  110. Armenian discussions again...
  111. Baykal: "No One Has The Right To Allege Turkey Committed A Genocide On Armenians"
  112. A prize affair Orhan Pamuk, the French parliament and the Armenian massacres
  113. Troubles ahead There may be serious fall-out from Turkey's present poor relationship with both the European Union and America
  114. The bill has no future French Ambassador to Ankara, Paul Poudade spoke about the future of the 'genocide denial bill' approved at the French Parliament last week.
  115. Turks to File over 6,000 'Genocide' Lawsuits
  116. Solve possible crises by adopting long-term strategies or using intelligence and know-how.
  117. Armenian Genocide: Turkish University to Send Millions Appeals to European Court
  118. A Bold Message, Lost On Turkey
  119. 'The So-Called Blockade Against The So-Called Genocide'
  120. Georgia confident on fate of regional railway
  121. Turkish-Armenian reconciliation is not far away
  122. "We Must Debate 1915 Ourselves"
  123. Exploiting "Genocide" to Cut Turkey from EU
  124. "History Requires Conscience Not Law"
  125. "Respond France by Promoting Freedoms"
  126. V.Oskanian Touches Upon Role And Problems Of Armenian Diaspora At Toronto International Conference Toronto
  127. Perversion
  128. French Against Turks: Talking About Armenian Genocide
  129. 'We Consider The Benefits Of Our Country In Relations With Our French Partners'
  130. French Law To Recognise Armenian Genocide Criticised
  131. DYER’S POINT -Keeping Turkey Out
  132. Is The West Losing Turkey?
  133. Fake Compassion Of Europe's Right-Wing: Armenian Genocide
  134. 'U.S. Governments Never Described The Events Of 1915 As Genocide'
  135. Dutch Labor Party Regrets Excluding Turks from List
. .



Turkey's 'Democratic' woes
October 29, 2006
ÜMİT ENGİNSOY
WASHINGTON - Turkish Daily News
Ankara fears fallout from likely Democratic victory in U.S. congressional elections on genocide, Iraq matters
"After the huge Republican responsibility in all this mess in Iraq that also hit Turkey, I would never think that I would be wishing a Republican win in the November 7 congressional elections," one Turkish diplomat said privately. "But it's ironic to see that a Democratic victory likely will be even worse for Turkey."All 435 seats will be renewed in the House of Representatives, Congress' lower chamber, and elections will be held for 33 seats in the 100-member Senate, the upper chamber.Currently President George W Bush's Republican Party has a clear majority in both houses, but recent public opinion polls suggest that the Democratic Party likely will win the control of the House of Representatives, while there is a close race for the Senate.

The Democrats need to pick up 15 seats to obtain a majority in the House and six seats to gain the Senate's control."If the election were held today, the Democrats would pick up 25 to 30 seats in the House of Representatives and at least four seats in the U.S. Senate," said leading pollster John Zogby on Wednesday.Still there are nine more days to go before the critical elections, and at a time when more that 15 percent of the voters is not decided, anything is possible. Some more bad news may step up the Republicans' downslide, or a last week mobilization of conservative voters could reverse the Democrats' rise.But most politicians, Republicans and Democrats alike, at this point are bracing for a shift of power at least in the House.

The repercussions of losing even one of the houses would be grave for Bush, whose "lame duck" presidency in his remaining 26 months in office may worsen under increasing attacks by a hostile Democratic-controlled House of Representatives.There also would be adverse implications of a Democratic takeover of Congress for Turkey, although Turkey is never an actor in U.S. domestic politics, Turkish diplomats fear. In another Sunday analysis here two weeks ago, this reporter indicated that a Democratic-controlled House of Representatives or Senate would tend to recognize last century's Armenian killings in the last days of the Ottoman Empire as "genocide," striking a huge blow on the already fledgling Turkish-U.S. ties. Developments in the last couple of weeks have strengthened this expectation, as the top House Democrat announced that she would work for the Armenian genocide's recognition in the next Congress."I have supported legislation... that would properly acknowledge the Armenian genocide.

It is imperative that the United States recognize this atrocity and move to renew our commitment to eliminate genocide whenever and wherever it exists. This effort enjoys strong bipartisan support in the House, and I will continue to support these efforts in the 110th Congress," said U.S. House minority leader Nancy Pelosi in a message to a prominent U.S. Armenian publisher last week.Pelosi is expected to become the first Democratic speaker of the House of Representatives in 12 years if her party wins a majority in that chamber on Nov. 7.In the outgoing House, there also were resolutions for genocide recognition, but Dennis Hastert, the current speaker and a close Bush ally, never had brought them to a full floor vote. As Pelosi points out, there is strong bipartisan backing for genocide recognition in the House, and her speakership will be a great encouragement for Armenian groups who emphatically will seek a genocide resolution's passage shortly before April 24 next year.

But that is not all. There is also the Iraq quagmire, and the Democrats want to shape U.S. policies in ways that could hurt Turkey's interests even more. Turkey has suffered enough from the Republican invasion of Iraq, but there is more to come from Democratic-inspired approaches. Presently, there is no foreseeable way out for a favorable future Iraq. But Turkey still supports continued U.S. commitment to a unified Iraq, because other options will present even worse outcomes. Recently, prominent Democrats, including leading former diplomat Richard Holbrooke, have called for a redeployment of U.S. troops in Iraq to Kurdish-controlled northern areas. At a time when Sen. Joseph Biden, a top foreign policy figure in the Democratic Party, calls for Iraq's effective partitioning through the creation of three statelets in a very loosely federated Iraq, such proposals are likely to be increasingly embraced bythe Democrats, as well as some Republicans.And such plans, including redeployment of U.S. forces in the north, are seen by Ankara as moves that would finalize the formal creation of a Kurdish state that could have huge repercussions on Turkey's Kurdish population.

So many Turkish officials believe that a Democratic victory in the congressional elections would give momentum to Iraq approaches -- with potential influence on the administration -- that would be increasingly unfavorable for Turkey.On the face value, a Democratic election win, coupled with a worsened Iraq, should discourage Bush from resorting to a military solution on Iran. But would it?Turkey emphatically wants a diplomatic solution to an ongoing international crisis over Iran's nuclear program, fearing that a second war in the Middle East would devastate the whole region."Iraq's invasion was an irrational act, and the Republicans did it. Military strikes on Iran would be another irrational act, and if the Republican administration, despite all its weaknesses, chooses to do it, I don't think that a Democratic-controlled Congress would be a major impediment," said the Turkish diplomat.




Ankara set to get bad grades on reform pace
October 29, 2006
DIPLOMACY
ANKARA - Turkish Daily News
The European Union Commission's progress report, due to be released on Nov. 8, is likely to avoid a verdict on Turkey's refusal to open its ports and airports to traffic from member Greek Cyprus to give chance to Finnish efforts to resolve the dispute before a summit of EU leaders in mid-December. Ankara, unless it takes visible steps to improve freedom of speech at home, should still brace itself for impact over the pace of its political reforms.

The EU criticism focuses, most notably, on Article 301 of the Turkish Penal Code (TCK), which criminalizes “insulting Turkishness.” Prosecutors have brought charges against dozens of intellectuals under this article and although most of them have been cleared of charges, some were not, such as Turkish/Armenian journalist Hrant Dink, who received a six-month suspended sentence for remarks relating to the alleged Armenian genocide.

Chair of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe Rene van der Linden was the latest European official to warn Ankara that it must tackle the issue of reforms and particularly that of freedom of expression, hinting that this is even more pressing than Cyprus.




WEEK IN REVIEW
October 29, 2006
PRESS SCANNER
Iraq's Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari has said that the de facto autonomous Kurdish administration in northern Iraq has been represented in a trilateral mechanism involving U.S., Turkish and Iraqi officials created earlier this year for cooperation against the presence of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) inside Iraq.

“Certainly, the representative of the Kurdistan administration is also participating in these meetings. And that is Interior Minister Karim Sinjari,” Zebari was quoted as saying by Doğan News Agency in an interview with Kurdistan Nwe. He was referring to the fact that Ankara and Washington had appointed special envoys for coordinating efforts against the PKK.

The Iraqi Embassy in Ankara said they notified the Turkish Foreign Ministry of Sinjari's name as well as the name of Shirwan al-Waili, who was recently appointed by Baghdad as Iraq's special envoy for countering the PKK, the agency also reported. The agency, however, cited anonymous sources who said that to date nobody having such a title or name has participated in meetings between U.S. and Turkish officials up.

The deficit in the finances of social security institutions is constantly increasing, despite attempts to narrow the gap.

Next year's allocation from the central budget to cover the social security deficit is expected to amount to 5 percent of gross national product (GNP). Although estimated at 4.3 percent at the beginning of the year, this year's figure will remain at 4.1 percent. The allocation from next year's budget is expected to exceed $20.5 billion, a 28.1 percent increase over this year's funding of $16 billion.

The world of Turkish politics did not cease its regime debates on the eve of Eid al-Fitr, the Ramadan holiday, with President Ahmet Necdet Sezer warning that Turkey's top priority should be protecting the principles of Kemal Atatürk, founder of the secular republic.

“Approaches that contradict the pro-enlightenment line of the Atatürk republic and its basic values should be avoided, and the protection of Atatürk's principles should be taken as a top priority,” Sezer said in his message celebrating the religious feast.Parliament Speaker Bülent Arınç also raised political concerns in his feast message, calling for “common sense” against those who attempt to ruin stability and peace by creating unnecessary tension in the country.Eid al-Fitr, which starts the end of the holy month of Ramadan, also heralds an official three-day holiday beginning today. Dozens took to the roads over the weekend for family reunions or holidays in tourist resorts during the feast, meaning, as in previous years, traffic accidents that spoil the mood of the holiday. Police officials in Turkey this week said that during the religious holidays of the past 26 years, 3,725 people have died in 4,534 traffic accidents.Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, taking some time off since being hospitalized on Tuesday for hypoglycemia, is spending the holiday in the Aegean resort town of Marmaris.

A continued deadlock over which attack helicopter to purchase between the military and the Undersecretariat for the Defense Industry (SSM) may lead to the decision to buy both U.S and non-U.S. helicopters in order to solve the problem, analysts say.In late June, the Defense Industry Executive Committee -- whose members include the prime minister, the chief of general staff and the defense minister -- narrowed down the competitors in the multibillion-dollar program for up to 90 gunships to two.

The short-listed candidates included the Italian-British AgustaWestland, maker of the A129 Mangusta International, and Denel Aviation of South Africa, maker of the Rooivalk CSH-2, in a contest for the purchase and co-production of an initial batch of 30 attack helicopters, worth around $1.5 billion. The number of aircraft is planned to rise to between 50 and 90.The army, upset by repeated delays in Turkey's subsequent attack helicopter programs, wants to be able to operate the gunships as soon as possible. Moreover, under a joint production scheme with either AgustaWestland or Denel, it will take a considerably long time for the new platforms to enter into service. In addition, the army and the General Staff have doubts over the feasibility and effectiveness of the joint production plan, whose elements include local design and manufacture of some key components, including the mission computer, a critical device integrating the platform's avionic and electronic systems.

Finnish Prime Minister Matti Vanhanen expressed optimism on Wednesday that the European Union would continue membership negotiations with Turkey and avoid a breakdown in talks over the pace of the country's reforms. “We're working very hard to find a solution so we can continue negotiations with Turkey. I hope that a reasonable solution will be found, and I hope it will be found this autumn,” he said in the European Parliament.Yet, in comments made public Wednesday, Greek Cypriot leader Tassos Papadopoulos has warned of a “serious problem” in negotiations with Turkey about EU membership unless it opens its ports to Greek Cypriot traffic by the end of the year. He said Turkey could not dictate or impose conditions on the EU. “If there is lack of political will to implement its European obligations, a really serious problem in Turkey's relations with the EU arises, and there is a real possibility for the two trains to collide,” Papadopoulos said. Until Turkey complies, Greek Cyprus is using its EU veto to block the opening of any new “chapters,” or policy areas, with Turkey.The Greek Cypriot leader's comments came at a banquet on Tuesday for visiting Estonian Prime Minister Andus Ansip. Vanhanen, meanwhile, also said the EU was working on a “new kind of initiative” to solve the situation but gave no details. He said the Turkish issue will be the most difficult of the final months of Finland's EU presidency, which ends on Dec. 31. He avoided indicating whether the EU would break off talks if Turkey did not open its ports and airports to traffic from Greek Cyprus by the end of the year as required.

The allocation of an aid package designed to help the economy of Turkish Cyprus has received final approval from European Union member states, despite opposition from Spain, a country generally known as a staunch supporter of Turkey's bid to join the EU.

The 200 million euro aid package, designed to help the economy of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (KKTC), was approved with a qualified majority vote at the EU's technical committee meeting last Friday. To Ankara's surprise, Spain was one of the four countries that voted against the aid package. The others were Greece, Greek Cyprus and Slovakia.

Spain's move to block the aid package for the Turkish Cypriots came as a shock, sources close to Turkey said, adding it had been expected that Greek Cyprus would be the lone opponents of the proposal.

When Turkish Foreign Minister Abdullah Gül visited Spain in March, both ruling and opposition parties in the Mediterranean country voiced support for Ankara's accession to the 25-nation bloc, saying that predominantly Muslim Turkey would enrich the largely Christian EU.

French troops in Rwanda during the 1994 genocide trained Rwandan soldiers and militia responsible for most of the killings and joked with them, an government inquiry commission heard on Wednesday.Rwanda's Tutsi President Paul Kagame, whose government came to power after the genocide, has accused France of training and arming Hutu militias who were the main force behind a 100-day slaughter that killed 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus.France had replaced ex-colonial power Belgium as Rwanda's main Western backer. When Kagame's Tutsi-dominated rebel army launched its war against the Hutu authorities in the early 1990s, France sent soldiers to Kigali.France helped stop the advance of Kagame's forces and then stayed on, as military advisers, up to the start of the genocide.Kigali says France backed the government of Rwanda's former President Juvenal Habyarimana, providing military training for government forces, despite knowing that some within the leadership were planning to use the troops to commit genocide.

The U.S.-led F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) seems to be leading the fierce competition over selling around 100 fighter aircraft to the Turkish Air Force over the next 15-20 years, with Europe's Eurofighter Typhoon lagging behind, procurement and military officials said. In recent months the government of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan was in favor of an idea to go for a combined solution: Proceed with an ongoing partnership in the F-35 JSF program and join the European Eurofighter consortium for other strategic purposes related to Turkey's European Union membership aspirations. But the military command recently told the government's defense agency that it favored only the F-35 JSF solution for the Air Force's future requirements, the officials said. In addition to locally produced military equipment used by the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK), the navy mostly belongs to the German school, while the army's inventory includes a mixture of U.S., European and other weapons systems. But the Turkish Air Force has always been a strong follower of the U.S. tradition in domains ranging from aircraft and weapons to training. And Turkey's current F-16, F-4E and F-5 fighter squadrons are exclusively U.S.-designed. The Eurofighter already is in service, while mass production of the F-35, now called the Lightning II, will begin in several years.Together with the United States and seven other Western allies, Turkey has been a member of the JSF's ongoing system development and demonstration phase since 2002, agreeing to pay $175 million.

Turkish Football Federation (TFF) Chairman Haluk Ulusoy, his two former deputies Ata Aksu and Orhan Saka, and former Financial Affairs Coordinator Haldun Kozakoğlu have been charged with spending TFF money on themselves and others in violation of regulations.The charges, filed by the Ankara Prosecutor's Office, carry a prison term of up to 11 years, three months, with a minimum sentence of one year, nine months.The indictment, prepared by Prosecutor Abdullah Şan, said TFF officials should be as careful with the money of the TFF as they would be when spending their own money.

European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso stepped up his criticism of Turkey's reform efforts on Thursday, warning of the risk of a “traumatic stop” to Ankara's accession talks with the European Union. “I'm sorry to say it, but things are going badly,” Barroso told Italian daily Corriere della Sera. “We're at a critical moment. The reforms in Turkey are proceeding very slowly and today I don't see the progress I would have hoped for.”In Ankara, Rene van der Linden, the chair of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, appeared to take a softer line, urging Brussels to take into account that Ankara's progress, albeit slow, was "in the right direction." But in a meeting with Foreign Minister Abdullah Gül, the Dutch Christian Democrat pressed Ankara to improve freedom of expression.He hinted that it might not look good for Turkey to condemn the French National Assembly's passage of a controversial bill to criminalize denial of the alleged genocide of Armenians on the grounds of freedom of expression while it still retains laws that restrict free speech.However, Gül responded with a clarification, saying that there was no law in the Turkish codes criminalizing denial of the alleged genocide and emphasizing that differing views could be freely explained.The EU, which Turkey aspires to join, is pressing Ankara to change, or even totally abolish, Article 301, under which numerous intellectuals, writers, publishers and others -- some of whom for comments on the alleged genocide -- have landed in the court.

A senior diplomat has responded harshly to European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso's recent remarks critical of Turkey's reform pace as he described Brussels' repetitive calls on Turkey as “incompatible with fairness and justice.”

“I'm sorry to say it, but things are going badly,” Barroso told Italian daily Corriere della Sera earlier this week. “We're at a critical moment. The reforms in Turkey are proceeding very slowly and today I don't see the progress I would have hoped for.”

Foreign Ministry spokesman Namık Tan stated that it was not possible for Turkey to agree with Barroso's view, when he was reminded of Barroso's remarks at a weekly press conference on Friday.

Noting that the bloc had wrapped up the screening phase in negotiations earlier this month, Tan said the technical process of negotiations was moving forward extremely systematically. In an effort to illustrate Turkey's determination regarding the reform process, he also noted that the Turkish Parliament had convened ahead of schedule last month in order to complete a reform package.

“However, if [the EU] wants to bring in further speed in this process and is eager for problems to be overcome quickly, then the EU should also fulfill its responsibilities,” Tan said, referring to EU pledges to ease the international isolation of the Turkish Cypriots -- pledges dating back to two years ago.

“Constantly reiterating the same calls on Turkey without remembering these responsibilities at all is not a situation that is very compatible with fairness and justice,” he said, referring to the EU's responsibilities that stem from those pledges.

British Prime Minister Tony Blair has sought the assistance of his Turkish counterpart, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, on Customs fines some scotch whisky companies are facing in Turkey, it was learned on Friday.Speaking at a press conference in Parliament, Republican People's Party (CHP) deputy parliamentary group leader Kemal Anadol said Blair had asked Erdoğan in a letter to suspend the tax fines imposed on international companies that export whisky to Turkey. Anadol said that Blair writes in the letter: “We agreed that I would write to you about the problems of Diageo and other exporters of spirits, particularly Scotch whisky. The argument is essentially about differential pricing between spirits imported for retail and duty free markets.”Blair continues by noting that if Turkey's top administrative court, the Council of State, finds against the companies and the courts seek to impose the original penalties demanded by Customs ($500 million), the companies would have no choice but to close down their operations in Turkey and that this would affect bilateral trade relations between Turkey and Britain and even those with the European Union. Anadol said that in the letter, dated June 26 of this year, Blair had the temerity to complain to the Turkish prime minister about a high judicial organ and that the letter proved that international companies could demand tax privileges from the state. Speaking about the issue later on Friday, State Minister for Trade Kursad Tüzmen said it was natural for ministers and prime ministers to get involved in the international affairs of domestic companies.




The Corridor
October 29, 2006
GÖKSEL Bozkurt
TDN Parliament Bureau
Freedom streets:
Turkey's reaction against the French parliament's decision to pass the bill that criminalized the denial of the Armenian genocide was one of fury. Some called for boycotting French goods, while others laid wreaths in front of the French Embassy.

There is now a new proposal from Mersin ANAVATAN deputy Hüseyin Güler. He prepared a draft bill that proposes to change the names of all streets that have anything to do with France or French culture. The changes also cover buildings, parks and gardens and squares.

The proposal ends with an interesting note.

“In order to voice our response to our strategic partner France, with which we have had perfectly friendly relations for years and have cooperated in international bodies, the policy of name changes has become a necessity.”




Museum honoring Atatürk chronicles birth of the Turkish nation
October 29, 2006
YASEMİN DOBRA-MANÇO
ISTANBUL - Turkish Daily News
A visit to the museum is essential for the well-being of Turkish democracy Republic Day celebrations throughout Turkey on Oct. 29 mark the commemoration of the 1923 proclamation of the Republic of Turkey and the election of Atatürk as Turkey's first president

Touring the Atatürk and the War of Independence Museum at Anıtkabir in Ankara, the visitor acquires a sense of the power within Turkish society that enabled it to forge national unity and create a modern nation-state. The museum was reopened to the public on Aug. 26, 2002 after new exhibition areas were added to the original museum. They are located within the mausoleum of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, Turkey's founder, first president and the leader of the Turkish War of Independence.

This exceptional museum offers visitors a unique educational experience to acquire a broader understanding of Turkey and the Turkish people. It also provides the opportunity to relive the birth of Turkey and gain insight into the enduring common goals and shared values. While the museum is dedicated to the life of Atatürk, his commanders and the people of this nation, it also aims to encourage a better understanding of the history of modern Turkey, the wartime conditions leading up to Turkey's independence and the importance of Atatürk's reforms.

One enters the museum through the entrance of the Tower of the National Pact, which is a statue of several hands placed upon a sword that symbolize a solemn vow. The museum consists of four sections. In the first section, the personal belongings of Atatürk are exhibited along with uniforms, medals and gifts presented to him by foreign statesmen. There are also many items that were donated to the museum by his adopted children. These displays provide visitors with the opportunity to see some of the Turkish nation's most cherished belongings and national treasures, such as the identity card issued to Atatürk after Turkey became a sovereign nation. The halls are rich with political, scientific, cultural and military history. Inside nearby towers Atatürk's private car, ceremonial and official cars and the carriage that was used during the ceremony for Atatürk's funeral are on display.

Among the many well-documented events, the second section of the museum displays how Atatürk's outstanding leadership qualities were first recognized during the 1915 Çanakkale Battle (also known as the Gallipoli Battle, or Dardanelles Campaign). The newly acquired collections in this section include large scale oil paintings, portraits of Atatürk's companions and military commanders, and immense panoramas of the re-enactment of historic battles and the national struggle.

Visitors are suddenly immersed in wartime scenes with special sound effects and three-dimentional displays, which enable the onlooker to acquire a sense of the wartime hardship endured by men and women. Authentic weaponry and artifacts are also used in these displays, which focus on the Gallipoli Battle, the Sakarya Pitch Battle and the Great Attack. A map illustrating the treacherous Sèvres agreement, which sought to dismember Turkey, is presented in this section. Many images illustrate how the successful resistance to foreign occupation was a result of the determination of the Turkish people to fight for their liberty and sovereignty. The War of Independence was concluded on July 24, 1923 with the signing of the Lausanne Treaty. Republic Day celebrations throughout Turkey on Oct. 29 mark the commemoration of the 1923 proclamation of the Republic of Turkey and the election of Atatürk as Turkey's first president.

The re-enactments include depictions of tragic deaths, acts of heroism and the fierce battles that were fought against invading foreign troops and collaborators.

Other depictions are of daily life on the battleground, with scenes that include such activities as reading a letter or playing a musical instrument. Compassion and acts of humanity between Turkish soldiers and the invading forces at Çanakkale are also portrayed. Although Gallipoli witnessed one of the bloodiest battles of modern history, with over 400,000 Allied troops killed or wounded, it was also known as the "Gentleman's War."

Educators and the public can learn the truth about the history of Turkey and the facts of World War I, where hundreds of thousands of Turks were killed and wounded on numerous Eastern and Western fronts of the Ottoman Empire. The study of such facts is of utmost importance at a time when military history is becoming increasingly distorted on subjects concerning armed Armenian revolts, deportations and civil war conditions (which have been alleged as genocide).

Before entering the fourth section of the museum, which is an exhibition of over 3,000 books from Atatürk's private library, the visitor passes through 18 vaulted galleries that are devoted to the national struggle and the period of reforms.

The visitor now becomes part of living history and of contemporary Turkey as he or she stands amidst showcases that exhibit the continuity of Turkey's heritage -- a result of the defining events in Turkish history and the fundamental pillars that gave rise to the principles and values on which Turkey today stands. The museum, thus, represents the torch of freedom and civilization that Atatürk lit to show the way forward for secular democratic advancement.

A hall of heroes honors notable men and women with biographies, busts and photographs of civilians and soldiers who made significant contributions to the War of Independence.

Major events in Turkish history are also presented in reliefs.

The history of Turkey from 1919 to 1938 is well documented in this third section under the following topics: Turkish Commanders in the War of Independence; Occupation of the Country (Mondros); the National Forces; the Congresses; Inauguration of the Turkish Grand National Assembly; Uprisings; National Struggle in Çukurova, Antep, Maraş, Urfa and Trakya; First Victories at the Eastern and Western Fronts; Grand Victory, Mudanya Armistice and the Lausanne Treaty; Political Revolutions; Reforms in Education, Language and History; Reforms in Law, Women's Rights, and Family Names; Reforms in Social Life; Fine Arts, Press, and Community Centers; National Security; Agriculture, Forestry, Industry and Commerce; Finance, Health, Sports and Tourism; Public Works and Transportation; and Domestic and Foreign Political Events (1923-1938).

By the end of 2006, a large percentage of the estimated 7 million people who will have visited Anıtkabir to pay tribute to Turkey's founder will also have visited this memorable museum. Because the museum serves an important role in educating the public and inspiring Turkey's youth, a visit to the museum is essential for the well-being of Turkish democracy. This educational center helps citizens become aware of their civic responsibilities and encourages them to be informed citizens committed to the values and principles of Turkey's Constitution. A better understanding of these historic events will no doubt help to preserve and protect these principles, encourage the next generation to contribute to Turkish democracy and inspire a new generation of citizens to transmit these ideals.

While the museum enables Turkish citizens to honor Turkey's heroes and the countless sacrifices they made for their country, foreigners who visit the museum can gain insight into the events, people, historic places, and constitutional principles that are significant to this nation. They can also better understand what it means to be a Turk and the important role Turkey has played in world affairs since World War I. As the year 2023 and the 100th anniversary of the Turkish Republic approaches, the museum offers an opportunity for special reflection on the meaning of Turkey for Turks and for peoples of other nations.

Correction:
Due to editing changes made in a previous article on Anıtkabir that appeared in the Sept. 10 edition of the Turkish Daily News, the TDN would like to publish a correction below:

To understand how Atatürk's legacy is very much a part of contemporary Turkish society, it is essential to understand how his spirit is not only very much alive, but deeply embedded in the Turkish national consciousness. The reason for this is not only because of what Atatürk did to keep the Turkish nation together, but also for what he bequeath the Turkish people -- a modern day nation with the laws and principles needed to democratically govern future generations.




Letters to the editor
October 29, 2006
Yusuf KANLI
Armenian discussions:
While I'm sure that petty arguments between academics are quite naturally of little interest to your newspaper, I feel obliged to reply to claims made in Ali Güneş's article “Armenian Discussions Again...” published on Saturday, Oct. 21. My name was specifically mentioned -- that is, Billy Gray, from Lulea Technical University -- as an example of how “people and even intellectuals are badly informed about the Armenian issue.” Güneş writes that “what surprised me about Gray's paper was that he established a parallel between what England did in Ireland and the relationship between Ottoman Turks and Armenians.” In fact, at no point in my paper do I make such a crass, historically inaccurate claim. The author with whom my paper deals -- Joseph O'Neill --does indeed state that the experiences of Irish Protestants and Armenians in the early 1920s share certain similarities, in that the experiences of both groups have been at the centre of a contested historical memory. This, however, has little to do with England, and in fact O'Neill openly criticizes the sectarianism of the Irish nationalist movement, not the colonialism of the English government.

As someone who has written extensively on Islamic mysticism and poets such as Rumi, I greatly resent being portrayed as an example of a westerner who is ignorant of Turkish history or culture. In fact, articles such as “Armenian Discussions Again...” serve only to exacerbate the cultural misunderstandings and misconceptions between East and West that your paper admirably attempts to overcome.

Dr. Billy Gray, Lulea Technical University

Editor's note:
Ali Güneş has conveyed his apologies for being misunderstood. He wrote, in response to your letter, that his argument was not about you but about the ways both Turkish governments and Turkish historians handle the problem internationally. Güneş recalled the conversations you shared during the conference on a variety of issues, including Rumi. He stressed that during that talk the two of you agreed that the memories of both nations, though they shared similar experiences, are different, through the actions carried out by Britain in Ireland and the Ottoman Turks in Turkey. Güneş conceded as well that perhaps the way he represented “memory” was wrong, but as seen in the article, he viewed that the introduction of the issue by both the Turkish government and historians is not effective due to the language problem and the lack of effective means to have the Turkish heard.

Orientalists:
I liked very much David Judson's article on Turkey and the orientalists. But orientalism is a problem because it's not black and white. Rather, the orientalist view of the Middle East is nuanced and sophisticated, that's why journalists succumb to it, and persist in succumbing to it. The problem is the nuance and sophistication is invented. Said's point was that the orientalist view of the Middle East was a very successful invention, because even though it was a fabrication, it gave westerners so much to write about, discover, and most significantly, control. If orientalism did cast the Middle East in black and white, smart writers and journalists would quickly grow tired of it.

I can appreciate Judson's annoyance with journalists who show up and want sound bites about Kurds or honor killings. I agree that this is black and white thinking, and probably results in a lame article. But these lame articles and essays and news reports are affirmed by a bigger and more sophisticated story the West has been telling for a long time: that in the mysterious East, irrationality, ritual, and violence rule, and the West should feel superior and entitled to judge and control it. Those black and white minds that show up at your office are each collecting, one by one, a mini-story that fits the big story.

Journalists don't think in black and white terms. They think in whatever terms allow them to write. So the problem isn't black and white thinking. The problem is the huge western market for stories that tell, each in their own way, the big story. This huge market exists because orientalism has been so successful; the orientalist invention of the Middle East is so sophisticated that is has consistently satisfied very smart westerners, and at the same time left them wanting more: more stories about a violent Middle East, more stories about a ritualistic and irrational Middle East, and more stories that perpetuate the West's sense of superiority.

Caleb Lauer




TÜSİAD invites Armenian businessmen to Istanbul
October 28, 2006
SELMA ŞİMŞEK BEKTAŞ
ISTANBUL - TDN/Referans
The Turkish Industrialists and Businessmen's Association (TÜSİAD) has invited Armenian businessmen to Istanbul following the approval of a bill on Oct. 12 in the lower house of the French Parliament to criminalize denial of an alleged Armenian genocide.

The TÜSİAD-led Union of Black Sea and Caspian Confederation of Enterprises (UBCCE) will hold its first general assembly on Nov. 27 to which executives from the Armenian Industrialists and Businessmen's Association have been invited.

The union was established with the aim of developing economic and commercial relations among neighboring Black Sea and Caspian countries.

Turkish-Armenian Business Development Council deputy head Noyan Soyak said they and TÜSİAD had been exchanging views since 2000. “Armenian businessmen are informed of every development in TÜSİAD. When Ömer Sabancı was elected president, Armenian businessmen congratulated him. We, as the council, also organize meetings where Turkish and Armenian businesspeople come together,” he said.




Turkish businessmen invite Armenian counterparts to Istanbul
October 28, 2006
SELMA ŞİMŞEK BEKTAŞ
ISTANBUL
Following the approval of a bill on Oct. 12 in the lower house of the French parliament to criminalize denial of an alleged Armenian genocide, the Turkish Industrialists and Businessmen's Association (TÜSİAD) invited Armenian businessmen to Istanbul.

The TÜSİAD-led Union of Black Sea and Caspian Confederation of Enterprises (UBCCE) will hold its first general assembly on Nov. 27 to which executives from the Armenian Industrialists and Businessmen's Association have been invited.

TÜSİAD President Ömer Sabancı initiated the establishment of the union with the aim of developing economic and commercial relations among neighboring Black Sea and Caspian countries. A decision was made at preparatory meetings in May and June of this year to locate the headquarters of the 12-member UBCCE in Istanbul.

The union was formed with the participation of several TÜSİAD counterparts from member countries. Armenia became a member of the union with the Armenian Industrialists and Businessmen's Association.

The UBCCE general assembly will be held at Istanbul's Sail Halim Paşa Yalısı on Nov. 27, at which Armenia will be represented by Arsen Gazeryan, head of the Armenian Industrialists and Businessmen's Association and also co-chairman of the Turkish-Armenian Business Council.

Continuous contact:
TÜSİAD's Brussels representative, Bahadır Kaleağası, said the UBCCE was formed after intensive studies around the Black Sea and Caspian region. “The preparatory meetings of the confederation have been completed. Armenia is a member of the union, and they have been invited,” he said.

Turkish-Armenian Business Development Council deputy head Noyan Soyak said TÜSİAD and the Turkish-Armenian Business Council had been exchanging views since 2000. Gazeryan served as a bridge between the business worlds of the two countries, both in his capacity as head of the Armenian association and as co-chairman of the council, he noted, adding that Gazeryan and TÜSİAD were in constant contact with each other.

“Armenian businessmen are informed of every development in TÜSİAD. When Sabancı was elected president, Armenian businessmen congratulated him. We, as the council, also organize meetings where Turkish and Armenian businesspeople come together,” said.

The meeting in November aims to develop Turkey's relations with its neighbors, Soyak said. “Armenia is invited within this context. We see this as the continuation of previous meetings. In the upcoming meeting, the launching of bilateral talks between the two countries may come up,” he said.

Karen Mirzoyan, Armenia permanent representative at the Organization of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation (BSEC) said the new union was not directly related to BSEC but that members of BSEC were also members of the union. "As a matter of fact, all of our members have been invited to this meeting. I know about the preparatory meetings. The real union will be formed at the November meeting,” said Mirzoyan.



© 2005 Dogan Daily News Inc. turkishdailynews.com.tr For Above Articles






French Radio Halts Broadcasting in Turkish
By Ali Ihsan Aydin
October 28, 2006
zaman.com
Radio France International (RFI) has cut Turkish broadcasts, which have been on the air for 35 years, on grounds of financial difficulties.

The radio station, which broadcasts in 19 languages, cut only its broadcasts in Turkish.

Ugur Hukum, coordinator of Turkish broadcasts at the RFI, called the decision an example of France’s imprudence and added, “This move confirms that France has never viewed Turkey and Turkish as a strategic partner.”

However, Hukum said the decision to halt Turkish broadcasts had nothing to do with the Armenian genocide bill, adding that it had been planned long before the bill was passed.

Dutch and Swedish radios had also cut their Turkish broadcasts.

The radio management announced the end of Turkish broadcasts was a part of financially-triggered reform program, but they decided to continue broadcasting in Lagos, Bulgarian, Albanian, Vietnamese and Serbian.

The broadcasts in Turkish will be replaced with a website to inform the public on Turkey-EU relations.

Hukum said they had suggested to the radio management a project called “Paris’s Europe Agenda.”

The RFI had broadcast Turkish programs once a week since 1971.

RFI Turkish broadcasts were set up to inform Turkish emigrants to France. The radio broadcasts in Parisian neighborhood and is available worldwide on the Internet.

The RFI Turkish broadcasts lost much of their audience when Turkish TV channels started broadcasting in Europe.




Is Turkey's EU Bid Becoming a Mirage?
The EU progress report on Turkey, to be released on Nov. 8, is just as important as the one that paved the way for membership talks with Ankara two years ago.

The report’s tone and the recommendation to be made on the Cyprus issue will, to a great extent, affect the opinions of leaders who will be attending the EU summit in December.

While an ordinary report was being expected on a country which has already started membership talks, both Turkey and the European Union agree that the document has become very important, amid rumors that the negotiation process will be suspended, making many people wonder how far the entanglement will go.

Or, as eloquently stated by an Arab writer, have the negotiations become a mirage? And if they have, is it wise to vent anger only against the European Union?

Turkey has started to believe that what it has done for the sake of progress does not mean much to the European Union. If the already ambiguous full membership goal is further diluted by the influential EU leaders, who believe 2025 is Turkey’s most probable admission date, it means it is time for those in Brussels to clarify their minds over what they have offered to Turkey. Jose Manuel Barroso, the president of the European Commission, whose remarks imply that Turkey cannot be a full member in 15-20 years, is as irrational as France’s bill on the so-called Armenian genocide. Just as the voices of those who sought amendments to Article 301 of the Turkish Penal Code have become weaker since the French bill was adopted, Brussels is now compelled to figure out how to encourage a candidate country to embark upon further reforms for the sake of a very vague membership perspective that will materialize in 15 years at the earliest.

And just as the anti-Turkey meeting between Paris, the capital of secularism, and the Vatican, the capital of Christianity, is seen as contradictory; it is also strange that the Justice and Development Party (AKP) administration, the innovator of the Ankara criteria, cannot comprehend what the reluctance in implementing the reforms signifies. This is because for the AKP administration, the EU membership process is like riding a bicycle; when the reforms come to a halt, the pedals of the administration’s bicycle spin aimlessly.

In such an environment, the visionary politician turns into a populist, while President Ahmet Necdet Sezer and People’s Republican Party leader Deniz Baykal “confuse” official messages with Ramadan holiday messages, and issue “progressive” warnings against reactionary movements. Then, Washington-based think tanks express support for the remarks of Baykal, who gives assurances that they will replace the reactionary order with the enlightened revolution of the secular republic. All of a sudden, these think tanks label Sezer and Chief of Staff Yasar Buyukanit as the Turkish “Senate.” Hence, the generals, aware that their statements will be reflected on the progress report, partake in politics with their uniforms on to show that the EU membership goal, in fact, is nothing more than a mirage.

No matter how negative it might be, the Nov. 8 report and the decision to be made at the December summit may present new dynamics that could possibly prevent the process from turning into a mirage, and make both Turkey and the EU question the weight of the whole issue. We are getting closer to the days when both sides will need to make such evaluations.

Brussels
10.28.2006
SELCUK GULTASLI
s.gultasli@zaman.com.tr




EU's only Plan for Turkey is Membership
October 28, 2006
zaman.com
Graham Watson, leader of the Group of the Alliance of Democrats and Liberals in the European Parliament (EP), is certain Turkey will become a member of the European Union.

Watson said accession would ultimately take place but some circles had an unfavorable opinion about free circulation and noted the European Union had no Plan B for Turkey.

Invited to Turkey by Zaman daily, Watson spoke at a meeting organized by the Confederation of Turkish Businessmen and Manufacturers (TUSKON).

Watson focused on Turkey’s E.U. process and said the European Union should keep enlarging and include countries that fulfill the criteria in order to continue the success it had so far obtained.

“No matter how long it lasts, this reform process should be a peg to increase economic stability and life standards,” he said.

Describing the supporters of Turkey’s E.U. membership process as optimistic and those who oppose it as pessimistic, Watson believes the optimists try to turn difficulties into opportunities whereas the latter group refuses to take advantage of any opportunity.

While there were vast opportunities for optimists, he said, pessimists remained reluctant in regards to politics, causing doors to shut in Turkey’s membership process.

There were still some difficulties for Turkey’s membership process but the Turkish government was determined to do its best, he added.

Calling for calmness in discussions on Cyprus, Watson said, “We should come through this storm because everything will ultimately settle down.”

Stating France was influential on the UK’s 10-year wait during the E.U. membership process, Watson believes the membership process should continue in agreement with the Copenhagen criteria. Confidence must be established without worrying over the increasing goals of politicians because getting public confidence is no easy task.

Seven percent of the Turkey believes in the European Union, a newspaper survey revealed. Turkey should overcome these obstacles in the public opinion and struggle against those opposing enlargement, he said.

Graham added that there were 12 E.U. members in 1980. Today, there are 27 countries because a single market offers great opportunities and the trade is an important tool in this sense.

Terming the French parliament passing a bill on an Armenian genocide as “madness,” Watson said: “Such a law is totally absurd in today’s world. If it becomes a law, they will regret it.”




How the Turkish Parliament Should React to France
The adoption of the Armenian “genocide” bill by the French parliament was met with expected reactions from Turkey. Boycotting French products (apart from those of OYAK-affiliated French companies), deporting Armenian citizens working in Turkey and even passing a counter bill were among the steps taken.

Certain people who support anti-democratic laws in Turkey said they would go to France and violate the bill, which was a good sign of how valor can be rendered valueless. During those days, a psychological movement was initiated to make the society react “sensitively.” Familiar Stereotypical “information” was relayed to the media under the label of “archives revealed by the Turkish chief of staff.” I think the “documents” claiming Armenians committed massacres in 1915 in Diyarbakir were a pleasing surprise to researchers who deal with that period of time. However, the intention was not actually to inform, but to foment our heroic sensitivity. Meanwhile, Turkey ignored the fact that Armenian President Robert Kocharian was against the bill and claimed that Armenia stipulated recognizing the genocide as a prerequisite without questioning the argument’s objectivity. During such a volatile atmosphere, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said, “There is no legal basis to penalize those who call a lie a lie,” which was very pleasing to nationalists. Our failure to realize that such attitudes legalize the “genocide” conviction worldwide shows the problem is a deep-rooted one. Fortunately, it was again the prime minister who prevented our natural reflexes from stretching to meaningless points by saying, “We use clean water to clear away dirt.”

How should the Turkish parliament react to the French move? The parliament consulted the Turkish Institute of History (as if it was the first time it had heard such allegations) and agreed that the institute should conduct a comprehensive research on the so-called Armenian genocide allegations. The parliament also agreed to investigate the history of countries which recognize the Armenian “genocide” and prepare a list of shame.

The aim was to reveal how foreign countries that have their own checkered past throw mud at Turkey, with a clean history, in an effort to conceal their past misdeeds.

If only the Turkish parliament had looked at its institutional structure before making such a decision. If only the head of the history institute had also touched on such issues. If only a few deputies had remembered Ayse Hur’s article in the daily Radikal.

Then they would have learned that in 1923, as envisaged in an agreement prior to the Lausanne Agreement, it was legal to confiscate the properties of Armenians who were not living in Turkey at that time; and in September of the same year, Armenians who fled from Kilikya and the eastern Anatolia regions during the war were barred from returning.

They would have learned that according to a decision made in August 1926, the properties acquired before the Lausanne Agreement came into effect could be confiscated and that in May 1927, Turkish citizenship for Armenians who were abroad between 1923 and 1927 was revoked. They would also have recalled that travel restrictions imposed on Armenian Turkish citizens during those years made them lose their jobs and they were forced to migrate because they had to share their homes in Anatolia with immigrants.

Those willing could also recall the wealth tax and the issue of the properties of non-Muslim associations. All these decisions were made by the Turkish parliament and none of them were gloated over. It is not wrong to make others remember their past; however, to achieve our goal we should also look at our history from the same perspective.

10.28.2006
ETYEN MAHCUPYAN
e.mahcupyan@zaman.com.tr




Czeck MP Calls French Bill 'Unfortunate and Inappropriate'
October 28, 2006
zaman.com
Jan Zahradil, a member of the Czech Civic Democratic Party and the European Parliament (EP), said that distant historical events could no longer be manipulated as a political instrument.

Czech parliamentarian Zahradil commented on the controversial French bill to Cihan News Agency when he attended the celebrations of the 83rd anniversary of the foundation of the Turkish Republic at the Turkish Embassy in Prague.

The Czech MP labeled the French bill, which penalizes the denial of the so-called Armenian genocide, as "unfortunate and inappropriate.”

Zahradil stressed the French bill would aggravate ties not only between Turkey and France but also jeopardize the Turkey-EU relations.

Zahradil remarked that Czech Republic had its own negative experience with the retroactive abuse of its past.




Freedom of expression and the European Union by Graham Watson*
10.27.2006
Last week a founding EU Member State, France, suffered the indignity on receiving a lecture from the Turkish Government on fundamental human rights after its lower chamber of parliament approved a bill that, if passed into law, would make it a crime to deny the Armenian genocide.

Fortunately, it seems unlikely to enter into law as it must both pass through the Senate and obtain the signature of the French President.

It is significant perhaps that the number of French parliamentarians voting on October 12th was not significant - 106 in favour and 19 against, meaning that there were 432 missing or unwilling to sign up to an absurd and reactionary law making it a crime not to recognise that a genocide of the Armenians had taken place in 1915. This gives us a clue as to the politics that lay behind the initiative.

Without entering into the debate on the veracity of the genocide claim, this law would clearly be a limitation on the freedom of expression and indeed on the freedom of research. One of its numerous perverse consequences would be to make it very difficult for academics in France to produce any independent research on the Armenian question. Equally absurd, is that an individual of dual Franco-Turkish nationality could be condemned in one country for denying the genocide and in the other for acknowledging it!

But there are two very serious issues at stake. The first concerns the ability of parliaments to determine the correct interpretation of history. This type of action is closer to a totalitarian system than of a State that has been so closely associated with the development of human rights and freedom of expression. And it is not the first time the French parliament is guilty of such behaviour. Only a few years ago it adopted a law which obliged all teachers to present colonialism in a positive light. It was later struck down, but only after strong public reaction.

The second point concerns the 432 missing parliamentarians who did not vote. Why was this ? If they thought, as many claimed, that the parliament should not interpret history - then they should have opposed the law, but only 16 did. My explanation is that the adoption of the law suited many of them as it further strengthened the already adopted law on the recognition of the Armenian genocide. And the purpose of this is to make the recognition by Turkey a pre-condition to EU entry.

In reality, the criteria for accession are already well known and no such additional criterion exists - nor should it. Indeed, if the recognition of past crimes had previously been a pre-condition for entry, many current member states would not have been able to join - including my own and France.

None of this excuses Turkey however. Rather the episode serves to highlight the illiberal nature and purpose of Article 301 in the Turkish penal code which makes it a crime to undermine the image of the country. Men in glass houses should not throw stones. This applies to all who criticise their neighbour. The French political class should understand that and so should Turkey.

It is less than a year since the now Nobel Prize winner Orhan Pamuk's case was thrown out of the Turkish courts. Article 301 continues as a blemish in EU-Turkish relations and will eventually, if unreformed, cause the accession negotiations to run into the sand. For those Turks who have so much criticised the French law, the best possible response to the French vote would be to delete article 301 and demonstrate that Turkey is moving in a positive direction, even as some French deputies seek to drag France backwards. Article 301 is a symbol of an older Turkey, not the modern, vibrant, open Turkey of today. It would be a grand and significant gesture that Turkey is serious about reforming its obsolete laws and ready to take on the Community acquis. Moreover it would undermine the principle argument of its critics abroad.

The accession process is, as many commentators have remarked, approaching a potential sticking point. A number of instances of late have served to confirm old prejudices about Turkey that I do not believe reflect the truth. There are louder public voices questioning the European Union's enlargement strategy and calling for a halt or a pause to the process that is, inevitably, changing the character of the Union. For friends of Turkey this is the time to speak up and point out where the dangers lie and what still needs to be done, on both sides, to keep the accession negotiations on track. This applies as much to the Union and its Member States in adjusting to a larger entity that needs to go through its own internal reforms as much as to Turkey and other candidate states.

For Liberals and Democrats in the European Parliament, the respect for human rights, civil liberties, the rights of the individual and freedom of expression are non negotiable. They lie at the core of our understanding of society. The vote in the French parliament is proof that anyone, whether candidate country or founder member, will be constantly held to account in this regard.

*Leader of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe



Copyright© 1995-2004 Feza Newspaper Publishing Co. (For Above Articles)






Pamuk is not invited for the October 29
Sabah, Turkey
Oct 28 2006
The president Sezer invited many authors, artists and scientists to the reception of October 29; however, he did not invite Orhan Pamuk.

The President Ahmet Necdet Sezer showed his sensitivity about the author Orhan Pamuk with a Nobel Prize who said: "30 thousand Kurds and 1 million Armenian people were killed" in the reception of October 29. Sezer invited many authors, artists and scientists to the reception of October 29; however, he did not invite Orhan Pamuk.




Schiff: High Time That We as Nation Recognize Armenian Genocide
28.10.2006
/PanARMENIAN.Net/ US Congressman Adam Schiff, the author of Armenian Genocide legislation which passed the House International Relations Committee, commended Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) for her support of Genocide recognition legislation. Leader Pelosi recently committed to support Armenian Genocide legislation in the 110th session of Congress if she becomes Speaker of the House, Schiff's Press Secretary Sean Oblack told PanARMENIAN.Net. "There is no hiding the fact that one and a half million Armenians were deliberately murdered at the beginning of the 20th Century, and it is high time that we as a nation recognize these heinous crimes for what they were - a genocide," Schiff said. "I stand with Leader Pelosi in her commitment to get this important legislation passed. We need to acknowledge these horrible atrocities of the past, in order to progress towards a brighter future."




TURKEY NOT READY TO BE MORE VIRTUOUS -Opinion By Gohar Gevorgian
"I think we are unwisely misusing the Genocide of 1915. Maybe we have a goal today - to make Turkey and the Turks to accept responsibility for that bloody page of their history - that is gradually coming true. Also, to make them understand what was done and then go forward," Armen Darbinian, rector of Slavonic University, former prime minister, said about the Armenian Genocide at the yesterday's meeting with students.

The rector said that our longing to see a Turkey that has recognized the Genocide is conditioned by the fact that we want to see it cleaner, better and more virtuous. But to achieve that they have to be prepared. "This is perhaps a good aim but I think we have a more important aim - we have to become more truthful," the rector said.


French Senate against Armenian Genocide Bill?
27.10.2006
/PanARMENIAN.Net/ `The majority in the French Senate object against the Armenian bill,' writes the Sabah. Senate Group Head of the ruling party UMP Josselin Rohan said: "If the Armenian Genocide bill comes to the Senate, we will object to it with all our might. Our relationship with Turkey can not be taken in pawn." `This draft is a diplomatic mistake. It does not have any use to anybody, but it is harmful in many aspects," she said.


Armen Darbinyan: «We Want Turks to Become Better»
27.10.2006
/PanARMENIAN.Net/ «I suppose we are «exploiting» the fact of the Armenian Genocide very lubberly. Maybe, we have the task now, which is fulfilled to a certain degree - to make Turkey and Turks recognize their responsibility for that bloody action in their history. Make them, put pressure upon them, make them understand and only then go further,» Rector of the Russian-Armenian (Slavonic) University, former PM of Armenia Armen Darbinyan stated at the University October 27. «Judging from our policy, we want Turks to become better. This is my assessment of our actions,» Darbinyan remarked. «Our urge to worldwide recognition of the fact of the Genocide resulted in recognition of the Armenian Genocide and Turkey's need to apologize to us by 22 countries. What does apologize mean? Only strong ones apologize. Germans apologized for the Holocaust to the Jews publicly and adopted a law, criminalizing denial of the Jewish Genocide on the part of German citizens.

«Turks are not ready to apologize to us. We want to press on them and make them purer, better, more noble, but we will not manage by default, as they are not ready to it. Maybe, by recognition of the Genocide we make closer a date, when they will be ready to realize what they have committed - but we speak not of ourselves, but Turks. Thus, we make actions, put them in the center of our international policy - actions, which finally should result in improvement and ennoblement of Turks. Maybe, it is a good task, but I believe we have more important ones... We have the task to ennoble ourselves. This is a task we have to solve - otherwise the loss we have suffered will remain unrequited,» the former PM of Armenia said, reports IA Regnum.




Letter to the Editor: The Globe and Mail (Canada) From: AYDEMIR ERMAN, Turkish ambassador, Ottawa
October 27, 2006

The strong conviction reflected in your editorial (It's No Use Papering Over Turkey's Past - Oct. 26) shows just how difficult it is for Turkey to be heard with an open mind, even in Canada.

Given the near monopoly that the Armenian view enjoys in the public sphere, I am not surprised at the amount of bias we occasionally face regarding the Armenian claim of genocide. I also understand and share the natural sympathy Canadians would show to any group of people with a painful history. It is, however, sad that this translates into a reductionist and one-sidedly incriminating view of the past.

Your brushing aside of a substantive proposal by Turkey to get to the bottom of the Armenian claims through a joint archival study by historians and researchers (from Turkey, Armenia and other countries) is unfair and prejudicial. It only adds to the complacency of those trying to avoid risking their advantageous popular position through a serious study that could separate facts from exaggerations, half-truths or fabrications.

The tragic deaths of too many Turks and Armenians during the First World War should not be forgotten and the descendents of these two peoples need to reconcile with each other. But this can only take place on the basis of mutual respect and openness.

And equating Turkey's past with the "genocidal past" of "most of Europe" is in dire need of correction. The Ottomans were among the most tolerant empires in history.




Milan Officially Recognized Armenian Genocide
28.10.2006
YEREVAN (YERKIR) - Despite the efforts of the Consulate General of Turkey in Milan (Italy), the Council of the Province of Milan by overwhelming majority has adopted a resolution formally recognizing the Armenian Genocide perpetrated in Ottoman Turkey in 1915, independent French journalist Jean Eckian told PanARMENIAN.Net.





Aliev Says Armenian Genocide A 'Fantasy'
28.10.2006
http://www.armenialiberty.org
Reuters
Azerbaijan, which lost land in a war with neighboring Armenia, on Friday condemned French draft legislation making it a crime to deny the genocide of Armenians by Ottoman Turks and said the massacre was a "fantasy".

Azeri President Ilham Aliev, speaking in English, criticized the bill, which was approved by France's lower house of parliament earlier this month causing fury in Turkey.

"It has nothing to do with reality. The so-called genocide is the fantasy of the Armenian lobby ... to justify their aggression against other countries to present themselves as the victims," Aliev told foreign journalists. He said the bill was a "blatant violation" of democracy.

France is home to Europe's largest share of the Armenian diaspora.

Azerbaijan, which shares with Turkey the Muslim faith, common ethnic roots and a similar language, lost its Nagorno-Karabakh territory to its Christian neighbor Armenia in the 1990s during a full-scale military conflict in which some 35,000 people were killed.




Pamuk Invited for Speech on Armenian Genocide at European Parliament
28.10.2006
/PanARMENIAN.Net/ Turkish writer Orhan Pamuk, who lately received the Nobel Prize in Literature, is invited to make a speech on the Armenian Genocide at the European Parliament. MEP from Italy Mario Rgezio, known for his Armenian-leaning views, made that proposal to Orhan Pamuk, Trend reports. We remind that Pamuk himself was criticized in Turkey many times and was even prosecuted for statements on the Armenian Genocide.




Hrant Dink: “An idiotic law”
Caution: Google Translated from French in origin
Jean-Michel Demetz and Nükte V. Ortaq
L'Express
Hrant Dink directs the Armenian bilingual weekly magazine and Turkish Agos. It was condemned to have qualified the massacres of 1915 of “genocide”

What do you think of the French private bill penalizing the negation of the Armenian genocide?
I am opposed there, in the name of the principle of the freedom of expression, this universal right which one can sacrifice in the name of the “never again genocide!” Then, if the advantages and the disadvantages of this law are measured, it is manifest that the Armenian diaspora, while leading to her adoption, drew a ball in the foot. Until now, Turkey had the bad role and the Armenians were the victims of its injustice. From now on, it is Turkey which seems the victim, because one wants to deprive it of his freedom of expression.

Shouldn't the law punish the negationnism?
To be a negationnist, it is to deny reality. But neither Turkey nor the Turkish people know reality from what occurred in 1915. They defend what they believe it. It is not negationnism; it is ignorance. There cannot be law counters ignorance. Moreover, the Turks are not the only persons in charge for the events of 1915: this responsibility is more general and it includes also France. Do your deputies know it well?

But there is a true negationnism…
This private bill not concerns the States, but the individuals. However it is not necessary to trail the negationnists in front of the courts. They deserve just pity.

Summers you in anger?
Yes. As by chance, it is only today that the French Parliament pretends to be interested in the events of 1915. Why didn't it decide earlier, during the cold war, when Turkey was allied invaluable? Because, from now on, all is good to block Ankara in its road towards Europe. I say it to you, as a respectful Armenian of his ancestors and which carries in him this genocide: I do not need a hypocritical support. It is immoral of instrumentaliser a historical tragedy to fine policies.

How do you judge the activism of the Armenian lobby?
The diaspora is mistaken in program. Its priority should be to contribute with the stability and the democratization of Arménie, weakened by the tended relations which it maintains with its neighbors, among which Turkey. However, instead of helping Arménie to find the way of Europe, the diaspora fights to prevent Turkey from entering the European Union. The diaspora lets itself guide by the resentment - what I can include/understand. But, forgiveness to say it, it is to despize reason. The Armenian nation needs to support its State.

Does this law block the dialogue?
Yes. If Europeans are sincere, they must let Turkey progress towards the democracy. But how the spirits can change, if the debate is prohibited? Actually, neither the French deputies nor the diaspora want to see that Turkey is changing, that the Turkish people, under the effect of testimonys and the debates, question themselves, that the work of the consciences is with work. The French private bill is a repressive text which I place at the same row as the Turkish law which prohibits to speak about “genocide”. If it were adopted in France, I on your premise would violate it, by denying the genocide, while requesting forgiveness from my ancestors. Because this text is, like article 301 of the Turkish Penal code, an idiotic law.




Europe Will Not Swallow Islamic State with 80-Million Population
23.10.2006
PanARMENIAN.Net/ Politically Turkey’s reaction to the adoption of the French bill penalizing the Armenian Genocide denial is adequate, Political scientist, rector of the Caucasus Media Institute Alexander Iskandaryan said in an interview with PanARMENIAN.Net. In his opinion, French parliamentarians were guided by public opinion, which is not pro-Armenian but anti-Turkish. “The point is that France is against Turkey’s accession to the EU, against enlargement, against the European Constitution and it’s not alone in the opinion. Europe will not be able to swallow an Islamic state with 80-million population. Turkey has weak trumps in this game. Experiencing big problems with Article 301 of the Penal Code it speaks of freedom of speech. I think that a chain reaction may take place and some other European states may pass a similar law. But I would like to repeat, the point is not Armenians but Turks,” the Armenian political scientist underscored.



The Undemocratic And Unfair Behavior Of Pbs Network Stations Against Turks

LATE NEWS

"The Armenian Genocide” and the "Images of Armenia" began airing last week on dozens of PBS stations, including nine in the nation’s top TV markets. Through tattered photos, letters and celebrity voiceovers, the documentary created by New York-based filmmaker Andrew Goldberg depicts an alleged Turkish campaign of expulsion, rape, and murder that led to the deaths of an estimated 1.5 million ethnic Armenians between 1915 and 1920."

A LETTER FROM THE TURKISH FORUM TO THE LOCAL PBS STATION WPBT, IN MIAMI FLORIDA
President WPBT
Channel 2
Miami, Florida

Dear Sir,

Unfortunately yesterday your TV Channel 2 Station known as WPBT has once again polluted the broadcasting horizons with its inferior quality Armenian propaganda films.These crude and boring indoctrination vehicles were replete with the most unbelievable mendacity possible to imagine. This work was produced for the sole purpose of inciting hatred against one portion of the inhabitants of these United States of America, the Turkish-Americans.

The program was designed in a highly provocative fashion and way just to bring its viewing American public to an arousal of raw revulsion against these "Turkish murderers" as they claimed .It was designed to make the Armenian, and American viewers watching them on the screen of their television sets was enough to make them open up their pockets and pledge a goodly sum of money for WPBT, the station which you represent. .

There is a limit to one’s civility when one is confronted with uncivilized individuals such as you, Mr. Neal Hacker, the Program Director, of WPBT,Miami, Florida. Nobody in his capacity of the Public Broadcasting system should ever forget that the concept of Public Broadcasting System was created ages ago in order to serve equally all citizens of the United States, and not just one segment of the fabric of our democratic republic.

I have been watching your station ever since the early Sixties. That means long before you were entrusted with your present job at the WPBT. No doubt those who gave you your position thought that you would do your job properly, without reverting to any discrimination against any ethnic group of your viewers such as the Turkish-Americans who make their homes in the Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties.

Several years ago, your station , Channel 2 had again the temerity of broadcasting a similar type film which made the south Florida Turkish community infuriated. At that time we wanted to visit your office as a group of local citizens to find a way to convince you that we should be able to show also a film about Turkey in order to counteract and perhaps repair the damage the Armenian production had caused .However with flimsy excuses we were refused a meeting with Mr. Dooley, the then President of WPBT

A few years later the West Palm Beach affiliate of PBS , WXEL showed anotherArmenian production as defamatory and as derogatory as the type of lengthy film your Channel 2 showed recently in order to raise funds. The FTAA delegation then sent to the Palm Beach station WXEL did not get any better results either..

Nevertheless, we are going to urge you once more, as we did in the past, to read the U.S. Constitution and educate yourself a bit about the do’s and don’t’s of our human rights before you embark once more on an equally unsavory programming as the one we have witnessed recently.. Knowing that we won’t be welcome in your office, we canceled the consideration of visiting you.

There is a n adage :that says: " impudence is often the result of ignorance". With the hopes on remedying your insufficient knowledge on the history of world events which took place in 1914 -1916 I am forwarding you an article I wrote online on this subject . It’s title is quite prophetic as you will see. It is called “SPRING IS HERE, CAN THE ARMENIANS APRIL 24 FRENZY AND DELIRIUM BE FAR BEHIND?”

Within a short tine after the dissemination of this essay by the Turkish Forum, an Australian citizen of a non-Turkish, background, and presumably someone of the Christian faith , read and evaluated the article I had posted on the Turkish Forum online pages and was kind enough to send us the following meaningful message:

To meozan@turkishforum.com

“SIMPLY JUST A FEW WORDS TO SUM UP YOUR EFFORTS:” GOD BLESS YOU FOR YOUR WORK THAT YOU ARE DOING FOR YOUR FELLOW COUNTYMEN AND YOUR COUNTRY.”

Australianlether@iprimus.com.au

----- Original Message -----

From: "australianleather"
To: "'Mahmut Esat Ozan'" meozan@turkishforum.com March 17, 2005

“ SPRING IS HERE,CAN THE ARMENIANS' APRIL 24 FRENZY AND DELIRIUM BE FAR BEHIND? ”

(A portion of the editorial in question was as follows:))

Some things in life never change, like the constant vigilance of Turks in the defense of their national honor their history, their culture and sometimes even their physical being. They are always on the lookout against their vicious detractors of the Diaspora who are busy inventing ways with which they must debilitate Turks, and put them in a position of political paraplegia.

I have known young readers of mine who think that we Turks may be paranoid on this subject,and that we should get over it, and stop writing constantly on it. Fortunately, there are many others who are close to our opinion here in the Turkish Forum, that we are not spending sufficient amount of time and effort in respect pertaining to the topic at hand..

LET US DEFINE DIASPORA

The word Diaspora when analyzed gives us a very interesting definition According to my trusty old dictionary, the word comes from the action of scattering and dispersion of an ethnic group with a common origin, background and beliefs. The example offered deals with the Jews of the ancient Babylon expelled from the area and who are now scattered around the world and settled in various places on the globe.

The study of a similar situation illustrates the case of the Armenians who were scattered to the four corners of the world following their treasonous uprising against their own country and their back stabbing of the Ottoman Turkish government in a land where they lived for centuries and enjoyed a privileged status among all other minorities. There is a clear cut explanation for what they have done.:" THEY GAMBLED BIG AND LOST BIG !"

Yes, some things in life will never change. The Armenians' hatred for the Turks is one of them.. Like clockwork every Spring when the month of April comes closer a "frenzy and delirium" take over all Armenian society and institutions. Whether they are big or small in stature, a metamorphosistakes a hold of them .They become compelled to tell the rest of the world that they had a very important story to tell.

Consequently, you begin to notice writers popping up like mushrooms in the forest following a rain shower. Writers of every caliber, intent, and background start to grind out stories by the dozen, on their favorite fable, the alleged Armenian genocide. This is a yarn, told and retold like a broken gramophone record by aged grandmothers, old aunts and uncles.

These stories proliferate under any circumstance and condition.. You could name them anything you want. They could be:called: myths, legends, tales, fables, parables, allegories, inventions, fiction, fantasies or simply embellished reminiscences by those octogenarian, or even nonagenarian semi-senile folks. But their product has no relation to a "genocide". Nevertheless, whatever you may call them they are batches of old stuff which need to be revived and rejuvenated every year when the month of April approaches.

The Armenians know it instinctively that the time is ripe and the moment is propitious for the rehashing of the old stale tales which were kept in storage until the following year. So, the commotion begins. Everyone who can hold a pen in hand, or is able to click on the letters on the keyboard of a PC, feverishly begins to write his or her version of the April 24 fable.Thus a competition is on.

These drone-sounding-like individuals try to outdo one another in this fictional drama of mendacity and deception. They step over one another to assure sending the most variety of letters, faxes, e-mails, telegrams and web-grams to any and all publications, radio and television networks around America and the world.

Encouraged by the clergy in their Churches every Sunday, they go out to do their duty. They resemble swarming bees eager to deliver the content of thissham message. And this incredible unfair message proclaims that unilaterally the Turks alone were responsible for massacres. Armenians were completely and immaculately clean and innocent while thousands of Turks were being butchered. They claim that no Armenian has ever bloodied the nose of a single Muslim in 1915. It was only the terrible Turks who had deliberately planned and set up to annihilate the Armenian race.

The simple fact that they have no proof of any kind in their hands other than a bushel full of invented testimonials and a briefcase filled with falsified documents never bother their conscience. A half dozen or more so-called scholarly books are penned solely based on their very own falsifications.

THIS APRIL MADNESS IS NO JOKE TO THEM

There is no time to waste. This thing has to be done soon. All they need is some new inspiration But there's no shortage for them in finding new inspirations. You might even say that the inspiration they need is genetically embedded in their DNA. A built-in motivation gage urges them to go out there on every 24th of April and ruin the good name of Turkey and Turks by every possible means.

It may sound a little bizarre but some of their self-admitted confessions indicate that "they live every minute of every day just to be able to hate Turks." This histrionically-charged loyal labor force, religious to the core, is supported one hundred per cent by the mother Church. Tens of thousands of its members work in a strictly organized fashion, following a unified agenda in order to create a product, which will represent the sum total of all the alleged misery and calumny ever befallen the Ottoman Armenians in a far, far-away land, almost a century ago. The product they're busy fashioning is comparable to honey that the bees of the swarm need to produce in order to survive. This item is also as vital for the Diaspora Armenians' existence. It is extremely in demand, because this indispensable item is the glue which is holding their flimsy house of cards, without which there is no chance for it to stand up by itself. .
.
WHAT A DIFFERENCE A DAY MAKES !

We Turks have had a day in April ever since 1923. It is April 23. It has been there long before the invented April 24 of theirs. For us Turks April 23rd means love & peace. But for the Armenians April 24th reeks of rancor & hatred.

No matter how you look at it, a period of a single day makes a big difference We the Turkish people celebrate the 23rd of April with great joy and love because in Turkiye the anniversary of the establishment of the Turkish Grand National Assembly (TGNA) and the 23 April Children's and National Sovereignty Day are commemorated every year as usual with great enthusiasm. During the celebrations, many events are held throughout the country and many student groups visit Ataturk's Mausoleum. This is the final
resting place of the founder, and the first President Kemal Ataturk. Other student groups visit the presiding Turkish President, the Speaker of the TGNA, the Prime Minister and other Ministers and symbolically take their offices for one day. Thus, they convey the message that they are the representatives of the future.

The TGNA (,The Turkish Grand National Assembly) convenes in a special session on the occasion of the 23 April, Children's and National Sovereignty Day. Following is an example of speeches which are usually delivered for the occasion. by the Speaker of the TGNA. The leaders of the government speak on the importance and meaning of the day. Children perform at the 19th of MayStadium in Ankara. Another ceremony is held at the old Parliament building on the occasion marking the anniversary of the opening of the TGNA. This significant day has been an nternational event since 1979 when the Turkish Radio and Television Corporation (TRT) first organized it. Since then, children from all over the world have been getting together and having fun every 23 April. All colors of the World The '23 April International Children's Festival Gala', sponsored by the TRT, is held at the a different locale every year. Recently it was celebrated in Ephesus Antique Theatre. During the event, 600 children from 36 countries spoke in the same language, friendship, and sent messagesof peace to the whole world. These children were hosted in the homes of friends of the same age, who live in Kusadasi and SelCuk, two of the Western Anatolian cities.

IN STARK CONTRAST TO ALL THIS

Just one day after, following the Turks' solemn day of April 23, the Armenians' April 24th blows in like a calamity. What a difference a day makes," and it really does make a difference.No doubt about it . Wouldn'it be fair and equetable if the PBS stations reserved some quality time to show these peaceful activities of the Turks? It would be, but it takes a fair and evenhanded network to do so. That network unfortunately doesn't seem to exist yet, and consequently for this reason the PBS is the real loser.


(An Editorial)
Mahmut Esat Ozan
Chairman-Editorial Board
The Turkish Forum- USA
meozan@turkishforum.com




French Played Volleyball On Rwandan Genocide Grave
27 October 2006
Turkish Daily News

French troops in Rwanda during the 1994 genocide played volleyball on a mass grave of victims and were friendly with extremists accused of most of the killings, a Rwandan lawmaker said.

At the second day of public hearings before a government inquiry commission probing alleged French complicity in the massacres, the lawmaker said he was shocked by apparent insensitivity shown by the soldiers.

"I saw them many times," Elise Bisengimana told the panel, referring to a French unit posted near a primary school in his hometown of Murambi, about 150 kilometers (95 miles) south of Kigali, where the mass grave was located.

"They had set up a makeshift volleyball court on top of the grave," he testified. "While some played, others walked about."

"They seemed to have no regard whatsoever for what was clearly a grave holding remains of many genocide victims," Bisengimana told the panel, which is to determine if Rwanda should seek damages from France at the world court.

An estimated 800,000 people, mainly minority Tutsis and moderate Hutus, were slaughtered by Hutu extremists during the 100-day killing spree between April and July 1994, and the Rwandan government accuses France of playing a role.

Paris has adamantly denied allegations it trained and supported the radical Hutu Interahamwe militias but witnesses have told the commission that French troops in Rwanda at the time appeared to have cozy relations with them.

Bisengimana, a Hutu elected to parliament five years ago, said he was surprised by the "smooth working relationship that existed between the French soldiers and the Interahamwe militias."

He also said he saw French troops and Interahamwe militia jointly manning roadblocks in southern Rwanda.

Earlier on Wednesday, another witness told the commission he had seen French troops joking and exercising with both militiamen and members of the former Rwandan army, elements of which are also accused in the genocide.

"It wasn't rare to see French troops jogging alongside Interahamwe militias on the streets of Kigali neighborhoods," testified Venuste Kaijamahe, a Tutsi who worked for the French cultural center in Kigali for more than 20 years.

He also said his bosses boasted about training France had given Hutu forces and held frequent sessions to plot strategy against Tutsi rebels, who began fighting the then Hutu-led government in 1990 from bases in neighboring Uganda.

"My boss told me that their army had trained the young men so well that they could defend the country from any attack by Tutsi rebels or their accomplices," Kaijamahe said.

"French soldiers also often bragged about the success of joint operations with the Rwandan army and the skills of their local counterparts," he said.

"It's sad to see France denying any knowledge of things that took place in broad daylight," Kaijamahe said. "At the time they didn't hide their activities that much. Maybe they are now ashamed."

Kaijamahe and Bisengimana were the fourth and fifth of 25 witnesses expected to testify before the seven-member panel that has been looking at claims of France's involvement since April.

Witnesses testified Monday that France allegedly supported the former government and its Interahamwe militia out of fear it was losing influence in Africa to rebels backed by an English-speaking country, Uganda.

The public hearings are to continue until next week and the inquiry commission is expected to report its findings back to the current Tutsi-led government within six months.

Although France denies the allegations, a French former soldier last year alleged that French troops had trained the militia responsible for the killings in the two years leading up to the genocide.

Also, a French military tribunal is currently investigating claims by six Rwandan Tutsis who filed a complaint accusing French troops of being complicit "in genocide and/or crimes against humanity."




Rwanda Mp Says 'France Abetted Genocide'
27 October 2006
Journal of Turkish Weekly

The French soldiers established several communes in the former Gikongoro province, now Southern Province, on their arrival to what they called Operation Turquoise, MP Desire Nyandwi, the sixth witness in the role of France Genocide probe said yesterday.

MP Desire Nyandwi, a former local government Minister, said that he had that the French airlifted people from Bugesera in helicopters and brought them to be killed in Nyungwe forest, All Africa reported.

"Upon their arrival in Gikongoro, the French wielded a lot of power in that they dethroned some of the Bourgmasters whom they deemed incompetent and recruited others. An example is the one of the former Nyamagabe commune," he said in his two-hour testimony.




Ethnic Armenian Set To Join European Commission
27 October 2006
The New Anatolian

Liberal Senator Varujan Vosganian, an ethnic Armenian politician from Romania, is expected to become a member of the European Commission after his country joins the 25-nation bloc in January.

The politician's possible appointment to the Commission is causing concern in Ankara. NTV reported yesterday that Turkey is worried since the Armenian "genocide" claims could be re-ignited in the European Commission.

Vosganian is a prominent Armenian-origin politician and founder of Romania's Armenian Union. He has said Romania was for centuries a safe haven for Armenians fleeing political or religious oppression. He also has previously said that Romania was the first country to recognize the Armenian genocide claims.

He has worked to develop bilateral relations between Romania and Armenia. Vosganian played a key role in Romania's effort to mediate peace talks between Armenia and Azerbaijan over the disputed enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh in 2001.

In related news, the another new member, Bulgaria, will appoint European Union Affairs Minister Meglena Kuneva to the commission post after the country's membership.




Diplomacy Newsline
October 27, 2006
ANK - Turkish Daily News

Armenian daily attacks Mutafyan:

Calling him “Turkey's spokesperson,” a Yerevan-based Armenian daily harshly attacked Turkish Armenian Patriarch Mesrob Mutafyan in an article published on Thursday.

The article, published by the AZG Armenian Daily, was originally an editorial in the U.S.-based Armenian Mirror-Spectator written by Murad Muradian and published on Oct. 14.

The article said that it was hard to figure out if Mutafyan was “running scared of the Turks for whom he obviously has deep affection, or whether he simply opposes anything favorable for Armenia and Armenians in general.”

“The Turks do not hesitate to splash his comments in international newspapers because Mutafyan has become one of the favored Ankara-sponsored spokespersons in the world. Unfortunately, his title receives attention because most persons outside of Turkey do not know him or his style and assume that he really has deep concerns for Armenians and Armenia,” it said.

“That he is now a lobbyist for the Turkish government has become very obvious,” it added, criticizing Mutafyan's stance regarding Armenian allegations of a genocide of Anatolian Armenians at the hands of Ottoman Empire.

Most recently, just as the Turkish leadership did, Mutafyan criticized a French bill that would criminalize denial of the alleged Armenian genocide, saying it would not help improve “dialogue, empathy or mutual understanding.”

Romania designates senator of Armenian origin for EU job:
ANK - Turkish Daily News

Romanian Prime Minister Calin Popescu Tariceanu has made public the name of his candidate for the European Union commissioner post, reported an online news portal.

Liberal Senator Varujan Vosganian, which according to Romanian media, could be responsible for parts of the taxation portfolio currently held by EU Commissioner Lazslo Kovacs, the Web site www.euexpands.com reported. Vosganian, 48, is an economist and professor at the Academy of Economic Studies in Bucharest and also president of the Association of Armenians in Romania, the news report said.

The Turkish capital is annoyed with the candidate of Armenian origin, as he could raise and promote the Armenian genocide allegations on a EU platform, reported the NTV news channel.




An Open Letter to Orhan Pamuk
By Mehmet Niyazi
October 27, 2006
zaman.com

Dear Mr. Pamuk:
As you know, no other novelist’s writing style has been discussed as much as yours.

Some tend to portray you as the author of best-selling novels that are not widely read. Some argue it is only when your books are published that you create a commotion. Some describe your command of the Turkish language as weak, your linguistic style as stuttering and your novel technique as poor. And some regard you as a top novelist. As you know quite well, a novel as a work of art has its own limits; however, these limits are not based on units; they focus on subjectivity because they entail beauty, pleasure and harmony. Otherwise, we cannot explain why a man with great interest in the arts and culture like Cengiz Aytmatov, who boasts such works as “The White Ship,” “Jamilya,” and “The Day Lasts More than a Hundred Years,” has not won a Nobel Prize. However, no matter what they say, it is really pleasing to see you win the Nobel Prize as a citizen of the Turkish Republic.


Apart from the debates about what distinguishes Nobel Prize winners from the rest of us, your being awarded this very important prize will keep you in the spotlight for at least a year. You will gradually be relegated to the list of Nobel laureates because someone else will be awarded the prize next year. But nowadays, your utterances will have wide-ranging repercussions. Those recently included on this list, which excludes the names of several literary giants such as Leo Tolstoy, Anton Chekhov, Andre Malroux and Marcel Proust, have no significance today. Hence, their words have lost their impact. We sincerely wish that your name and works are never forgotten.


We have no right to expect the boldness of Fedor Dostoyevsky from you or any other novelist. Dostoyevsky was a pious Orthodox of pure Russian origin. The young man fainted from excitement during his nationalistic speech upon the death of Aleksandr Pushkin, which shook the whole Russian nation. He was never afraid to speak his mind because he believed he could resist international rejection and condemnation with his outspoken nationalistic writings. As an ordinary citizen, I do not expect you to defend our nation since great nations have always had great enemies. I am well aware of the fact that it is not easy to stand up against them, but expressing the truth is the first prerequisite for being an intellectual.

You certainly know that our historians, journalists and others really do not say anything when talking about the so-called “Armenian genocide.” I don’t know the circumstances under which you spoke on this issue; but it is clearly obvious that you did not do the necessary research. Of course, human beings are not flawless or faultless. We all make mistakes. Stubbornly insisting on making mistakes is tantamount to bigotry, whereas admitting a mistake and regretting it represents wisdom. Bigotry definitely does not befit an intellectual and world-renowned author. In fact, such an author does not have the right to insist on bigotry.

Even if you make a superficial review, you will see that the Armenian Diaspora did not even dare to launch an initiative during the British Empire to make the so-called genocide allegations recognized because there were millions of Muslims living in that country. Instead, they opted for recognition of their allegations in the United States. President Woodrow Wilson sent the U.S. chief of staff, along with a crowded delegation, to our country to investigate the claims. The delegation comprised mostly of sociologists, psychologists, anthropologists and historians began its inquiry with Armenians who migrated to Paris from Turkey.

When they asked an Armenian how the genocide was committed, they received this response: “It was awful, I was slaughtered twice.” They sensed the populist dimension of the issue and then conducted an investigation at Turkish sites where the genocide was allegedly committed. After completing the entire investigation process, the chief of staff submitted his famous report indicating no evidence of genocide. When the Armenians, unsatisfied with this report, put pressure for further investigation, Rear Admiral Marc L. Bristol was ordered to substantiate the genocide. However, he also conceded that no genocide was committed on Turkish territory. Istanbul was occupied and those suspected of committing genocide were arrested. Ziya Gokalp and those who shared the same fate were exiled to Malta. War crime tribunals were set up in Istanbul and Malta to try the suspects. All of them were acquitted. Sait Halim Pasha, the prime minister of the time, who was notified of the tribunals while he was in Italy, applied to the League of Nations and the International Court of Justice in The Hague for a trial in an effort to clarify and conclude the matter. Both replied that there was no need for a trial. It is stated in the book, on which the Armenians base their allegations, that we committed this heinous crime under instructions from the Germans. In the mid-1920s, the British government notified the German government that this was merely war propaganda. If you conduct basic research on this matter, you will discover these facts, and most probably many more. And if you so desire, I can send all of them to you by e-mail.

Mr. Pamuk, your style as a novelist has come under intense discussion, but you are an enlightened person anyway. An enlightened person is someone who understands his responsibilities. These responsibilities start from his family, then the society to which he belongs and the human race at large. You are expressing this as a fact, but this does not put you in a position to criticize the promotion of Turkish nationalism because you should definitely recognize the Turks as part of the human race. After all, past unanimity among Christian countries in making all these decisions to accuse Turkey must have relieved you of your doubts that a nation was facing a Crusader mindset. It is time to speak up if you are also upset by this mindset.

Yours truly,




French radio RFI cuts Turkish broadcasts
Hurriyet Newspaper

Radio France International (RFI) has announced an end to the Turkish broadcasts it has done since 1971. Speaking about the decision, Antoine Schwarz, the head of RFI's board of directors, said RFI is planning on forming a forum for the discussion of Turkish-French relations instead of the Turkish radio programming.

Turkish broadcasts a feature since 1971

RFI programming in Turkish had become a steady factor since 1971, when broadcasts in Turkish were aimed at Turkish immigrants to France who did not yet speak French. The Turkish programming provided Turkish immigrants with news about social and cultural events, as well as information on daily life in France.

Following the announcement of the end to RFI's Turkish programming, labor union representatives reportedly protested the management's decision, saying they found it "meaningful" that in the current political atmosphere, Turkish programming had been cut. Some labor union representative said that they saw RFI's decision as "reprisal" against Turkey.



Mehmet Yilmaz: The last thing the Armenians want is a debate

The Anadolu news agency has reported that the Armenian parliament has shelved a suggestion to form a commission dealing with genocide allegations and research. Deputy head of the Armenian parliament, Vahan Hovanisian, said recently of the unformed commission "It will only serve the purposes of Turks who wish to deny the reality of the Armenian genocide." He then went on to add "The forming of such a commission would mean that even Armenians didn't know what happened in 1915."


And so, once again, it becomes clear that neither Armenia nor Armenians in the diaspora actually have any real interest in what really happened in 1915. There is only one aspect of this all which really concerns them: officially registering Turks as genocide makers!

This should also highlight for us the fact that our traditional "let's leave this subject to the historians" suggestion will never receive a real answer. The Armenians, after all, are well aware of how their campaign, which they have carried on for years now, has helped them. They know well that real debate on research on the subject of the genocide allegations will only damage their campaign. Which is why they will never agree to it.

And this, I maintain, should show Turkey which road it should take from now on: the parallel but opposite road that the Armenians are taking! We need to start up a public relations campaign which involves all sorts of historical documents. It should be a campaign which involves not only the government, but civil society organizations too. I have been saying and writing this for years, and what I just don't understand is whether it is our brains or a lack of money which is holding us back on such a campaign.

© Copyright 2006 Hürriyet




62 Percent Of Armenians Think That The Country Is On The Wrong Track: Gallup Survey

ArmInfo News Agency, Armenia
Oct 25 2006

62 percent of Armenians think that the country is on the wrong track, while 31 percent think that the country is going in the right direction, say the results of a national poll conducted by Gallup Organization/Baltic Surveys in Armenia.

39 percent of Armenians see improvement in the country's economy, while 21 percent think it is declining.

26 percent of Armenians say their household's financial situation has improved, while 24 percent say it has declined.

29 percent of Armenians are satisfied with the development of democracy, while 68 percent are not.

An overall majority of Armenians think that it will take a long time to improve things in their country.

The poll was commissioned by IRI, was conducted by the Gallup Organization/Baltic Surveys in coordination with the Armenian Sociological Association, and was funded by USAID.

It was conducted from July 31 to August 10, 2006 among 1,200 Armenian residents (voters) aged 18 years and over who were interviewed face-to-face. The margin of error does not exceed 3 percent.

Gallup Institute: Majority Of Respondents In Armenia Optimistic About Future

Majority of respondents in Armenia (57%) are optimistic about future, say the results of a national poll conducted by Gallup Organization/Baltic Surveys in Armenia.

In addition, 31% of the polled have a neutral attitude to future, and only 10% are pessimistic about the future. 5% of respondents feel themselves insecure and feel fear for future, 4% feel apathy, 27% do not pin hopes with future, 45% hope that situation will improve in future. Majority of the Armenian respondents do not think that the situation improved during the last year. 23% think the situation worsened, and 18% see progress in the year passed.

The poll was commissioned by IRI, was conducted by the Gallup Organization/Baltic Surveys in coordination with the Armenian Sociological Association, and was funded by USAID.

It was conducted from July 31 to August 10, 2006 among 1,200 Armenian residents (voters) aged 18 years. -M-

Gallup Institute: Majority Of Respondents In Armenia Concerned Over Situation With Unemployment In Country

Majority of respondents (42%) in Armenia are concerned over the situation with unemployment in the country, say the results of a national poll conducted by Gallup Organization/Baltic Surveys in Armenia.

22% of the polled connect their concern with the Nagorny Karabakh conflict, 32% are concerned over the social-economic situation in the country. 16% of the polled are concerned over the development of economy and industry in the country, 10% are anxious at corruption, 10% at democracy and respect for human rights. In addition, 12% of Armenian residents are concerned over migration problem and 7% over the foreign political course. Recognition of Armenian Genocide arises concern of only 3% of respondents in Armenia.

Gallup Institute: Armenian Government Will Attract The Support Of The Majority Of The Armenian Population If It Fulfills Its Promise To Create Jobs

The Armenian government will attract the support of the majority of the Armenian population if it fulfills its promise to create new jobs, say the results of a national poll conducted by Gallup Organization/Baltic Surveys in Armenia.

Thus, 37% of respondents think necessary the creation of jobs, 18% of the polled are for the rise of wages and pensions, 14% are concerned over the development of economy, 21% are concerned over the democracy level, 15% of the polled think necessary fair elections. In addition, 8% of the polled residents of Armenia are concerned over insufficient measures of fight against corruption, 3% are for the change of the government, 3% are for assistance to the unsecured sections of the population. Only 2% of respondents are concerned over attaching Nagorny Karabakh to Armenia.




Nancy Pelosi: It Is Imperative That Us Recognize Armenian Genocide

PanARMENIAN.Net
25.10.2006

U.S. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), a longtime supporter of Armenian American issues who is expected to become Speaker if the Democrats win a majority in the House this November, pledged today to support Armenian Genocide legislation next year during in the 110th session of Congress. In a statement released to Harut Sassounian, Publisher of the California Courier, Congresswoman Pelosi stated that: "I have supported legislation, including H.Res.316, that would properly acknowledge the Armenian Genocide. It is imperative that the United States recognize this atrocity and move to renew our commitment to eliminate genocide whenever and wherever it exists. This effort enjoys strong bipartisan support in the House, and I will continue to support these efforts in the 110th Congress."

Congresswoman Pelosi's statement is consistent with her past record of energetic and principled support for U.S. recognition of the Armenian Genocide, dating back nearly 20 years, Harut Sassounian told a PanARMENIAN.Net reporter.




Turkey's Attitude Towards So-called Armenian Genocide Is More European Than France's, Babacan

BRUSSELS - "The attitude Turkey has assumed against so-called Armenian genocide allegations is more European than the attitude of France," Turkish State Minister & Chief Negotiator for EU talks Ali Babacan who spoke at round-table meeting organized by think-tank institution "Friends of Europe" in Brussels said on Thursday.

Regarding EU's enlargement process and Turkey's EU process, Babacan said that Turkey is ready to cooperate in every type of projects to eliminate misunderstandings in EU as well as in Turkish public. Babacan wanted EU to assess Turkey's membership in long-term by taking into consideration the economic and social transformation. He added that Turkey's EU membership should be based on logic and realities, not emotions.

"When the issue is considered from EU's point of view, Turkey's membership will strengthen EU's global actor role. If EU wants to be a big actor in global level, it can achieve it easily through Turkey's membership. Turkey can have important contributions to extension of peace and prosperity in Balkans, Caucasus, Central Asia and Middle East," Babacan noted.

Babacan said, "democratic institutions in Turkey are functioning better than those in several EU member countries. Also in economic aspect, Turkey is important with its location as a bridge between Asia and Europe as well as being a natural road between Europe and oil rich Iraq, Iran, Caspian basin and Central Asia. Turkey will have contributions to EU with its young, qualified and educated population."

Regarding adoption the draft law criminalizing denial of so-called Armenian genocide by French Parliament, Babacan said that Turkey's attitude towards the issue is more European than the attitude of France. "Parliaments are not responsible of making decisions about history. We proposed establishment of a commission to research the allegations. We opened all documents and military archives and wanted the same thing (from Armenia) but we did not receive a positive response," he added.

Babacan noted, "Turkey, by leaving the history to historians, assumed a more European attitude. French draft law contradicts freedom of expression which is one of the most basic values of EU."

10/25/2006
© 2006 Anadolu Agency




Turkish Women Mps Send Letter To Dutch Mp

ANKARA - Women parliamentarians from ruling Justice & Development Party (AKP) sent a letter to Dutch MP Tineke Huizinga Heringa, who submitted a resolution to the Dutch House of Representatives asking for imprisonment and fine for those who deny the allegations about the so-called Armenian genocide.

AKP MPs Zeynep Karahan Uslu, Nuket Hotar Goksel, Semiha Oyus, Fatma Sahin, Ayhan Zeynep Boru, Gulseren Topuz, Halide Incekara, Remziye Oztoprak also sent a book by Turkish History Society Chairman Prof. Dr. Yusuf Hallacoglu named "Facts on the Relocation of Armenians".

In their letter, Turkish women parliamentarians said, "no genocide was carried out during our history," and recalled that Turkey has opened its archives to all historians and researchers.

Turkish MPs stated that this resolution will serve the intentions of the Armenian diaspora to harm Turkey's EU membership bid, noting that this was a campaign based on defamation, slander and lies.

"We hope that you will withdraw this resolution," they added.


-JOINT STATEMENT OF MPS-

On the other hand, the same parliamentarians released a joint statement in which they reacted to the French parliamentarians who will debate a similar resolution tomorrow.

The joint statement said that these are wrong and one-sided allegations, and pointed out that this issue should be debated by historians.

Noting that Turkish nation has never committed a crime against humanity like genocide, the joint statement said, "we condemn France for its unjust and unfounded initiatives aiming to hurt Turkish people deeply."

10/25/2006
© 2006 Anadolu Agency.

The Guide Of Istanbul Accuses French Politicians And Journalists

Public Radio, Armenia
Oct 25 2006

The French version of the official website of Turkish tourism of Istanbul currently posts a banner to protest against the bill (October 12, 2006) voted by the French members of Parliament, penalizing the negation of the Armenian Genocide. While clicking on the red banner on which it is written "Turkey never perpetrated genocide in its history," one can see an addressed to the French politicians and to the journalists. In the second passage of the message, the writer does not hesitate affirming only the people about whom he says "those who do not know a minimum of the History of Our European Continent". Obviously, each European knows that Turkey is located in Asia, except Istanbul. Further, the precision is brought: "Turkey was born in 1923, therefore there was no Turkish army in 1915." Then, the French members of Parliament are remedied about the Madagascan "genocide" carried out by France "which has so much blood on the hands and so many skeletons in the cupboards.




Armenian-Turkish Exhibition Opened In "Moscow" Cinema

Public Radio, Armenia
Oct 25 2006

"Merhabarev" photo-exhibition opened in the "Moscow" cinema today.

The exhibition is the first joint project of Armenian and Turkish photographers. Coordinator and participant of the program Ruben Mangasaryan said that during the mutual visits in 2006 photo-correspondents of the Armenian "Patkerphoto" and Turkish "Nar" agencies had taken the photos of Yerevan and Istanbul, and now 130 photos will be exhibited in Yerevan.

"This exhibition will familiarize the two, which, being immediate neighbors, have isolated themselves with closed borders," said Turkish photographer Osjan Yurdalan, adding that in the photos they tries to present the everyday reality.




France Maneuvers And Gives Armenia Some Time To Prepare
Hakob Badalyan

Lragir.am, Armenia
Oct 25 2006

A strange similarity can be noticed in the actions of the foreign legacies in Armenia. The ambassadors do not make that significant steps over the years of their work than when they prepare to leave.

The reason perhaps is that since they are diplomats, representatives of other countries, their actions are restricted by the "imperative mandate" and they beware evaluations and comments, meanwhile as they are about to leave, they are more free, at least with regard to the given country. The evidence to this is that the ambassadors of two great states to Armenia the United States and France left with a noise although they worked quite tacitly.

We should not forget that after John Evans had left, the U.S. embassy announced about extending facts on corruption to the Armenian government. Meanwhile, they had insisted on the contrary before Evans left. Henry Cuny outdid Evans with his "post-diplomatic ease". His five years in Armenia were so unnoticed that some people were even surprised to hear that Cuny was ambassador to Armenia for five years. And it is possible that for this reason he decided to leave slamming the door behind him. And the slam was so hard because it concerned the recent delight of the Armenian foreign policy: the law passed by the French parliament and its influence on the Turkish and Armenian relations. Ambassador Cuny literally stated that our relations with Turkey is our business.

This was but an overt answer to the Armenian diplomacy with Commander Vardan Oskanyan and "Commander-in-Chief" Robert Kocharyan, who used their entire arsenal to present to the public from early morning till late at night what a diplomatic victory Armenia celebrated by the decision of the French parliament. Meanwhile, Cuny hints that it was not the goal of France to interfere with the Turkish-Armenian relation and solve a problem for Armenia but France solved its own problems, and the ambassador naturally did not speak about these problems because unlike Armenia in France they usually keep and solve their problems inside their own circle.

I wish Cuny had stated that the relation with Turkey is our business.

He also advised to listen not only to the opinion of people who hurry to thank France but also the young people who, besides gratefulness, say that their future, if they want to live in Armenia, depends on the dialogue with the neighbors rather than confrontation. In other words, the ambassador of France conveyed to the Armenians that before the delight and celebration of a decision made by another country it is first of all necessary to realize the effect of this decision on the future of their own country. Of course, Cuny cannot imagine that moral victories are of more value in Armenia because these do not require special intellect and efforts, all they take is some PR.

Moreover, he cannot imagine that the people who deal with the foreign policies and who should have calculated and analyzed for the people what practical use the bill adopted by the French parliament would have for the future of the country are in reality busy analyzing their own future, not the future of the country and people. And they concluded from their analysis that the decision of the French parliament is what they need to stir emotions and turn into a means of praising themselves. And while anyone in Armenia who would speak against this public psychosis propagated by the government would immediately be characterized as a betrayor, a false Armenian or a foreign agent, it is impossible to say the same about the French ambassador.

He cannot be a betrayor, a false Armenian and especially a foreign agent. Consequently, he did not have any motivation stemming from the logic of the Armenian government to announce what he announced only five days before leaving Armenia. In other words, the motivation is quite different, and the ploughmen of the Armenian foreign policies should at least now make an effort to analyze and get the meaning of Cuny's words.

It appears that by hinting that the bill on the genocide has nothing to do with the Turkish-Armenian relation and the future of Armenia Cuny definitely opposed to the parliamentarians of his own country, who asserted that they adopted the bill out of moral standards and support to the Armenian people. This may be true, and it may even appear that like in Armenia in France too the right had does not know what the left hand is doing. But again this is what the logic of the Armenian elite suggests. In reality, it is highly probable that Cuny is preparing the failure of the bill on the genocide in the Senate or at the Palais d'Elisees, where Jacques Chirac may simply decline to sign the law. We should not forget that Chirac will retire soon and he may agree to accept the blow, namely the dissatisfaction of the Armenian voters in France. In other words, it is more expedient that the French Senate adopts the law not to arouse dissatisfaction among the Armenian voters, meanwhile Chirac is the most convenient way of preventing the triumph of this bill.

France did what it needed to do and now it does not need to go forward. The bill will prove useful in their relations with Turkey, therefore it is not necessary to adopt it right now. It may appear that only several days ago Chirac spoke about the friendship of Armenia and France in Yerevan and he would never agree not to sign the law. Meanwhile, Cuny's words, who is announcing, in fact, that the bill is against the interests of Armenia, may serve this purpose. Hence, already an effort is made to justify the possible move by Chirac, presenting it in the light of the pursuit of the Armenian interest. Therefore, though it may seem that the Armenian government should be offended by Cuny revelations, it had better thank him for outlining so early the possible moves of the French policy. The point is that the French ambassador simply tried to help the Armenian government to take its time and work out an action plan not to be given a surprise when the Senate rejects or Chiract declines to sign the bill to include this move immediately into the national liberation propaganda and present it as another diplomatic victory of Armenia.




M.F.A.: States' Reliability Depends On Their Standing By Values They Advocate

Turkish Press
Oct 25 2006

ANKARA - "The reliability of the states depends on their standing by the values they advocate," the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) said on Thursday after French national assembly adopted a bill on criminalizing denial of so-called Armenian genocide.

Releasing a statement, the MFA said, "although enactment of the bill depends on a long process including approvals of the Senate and the President, it has caused a profound disappointment in Turkey. We will maintain our initiatives in all levels within this process."

"Recent strong criticisms against the bill have already unveiled that even France was not fully satisfied with it and that such an unfortunate initiative did not receive support of all public opinion.

However, it does not diminish the seriousness of the event," MFA said.

"This bill means a violation of French constitutional order regarding freedom of expression as superior over all other constitutional rights, and the relevant European Convention. It also contradicts the spirit of France which inspired the whole world by defending the concepts of freedom, equality and brotherhood," it said.

The MFA noted, "when it comes to dealing with France's own history, French parliamentarians advocate that it is the responsibility of historians. However, they consider themselves the authority that makes a decision on the history of another country. This is nothing but a contradiction. This bill has also revealed the double-standard attitude of France in a period when Turkey has been encouraged to take additional steps on freedom of expression despite all recent reforms aiming at further improving fundamental rights and freedoms."

"This bill contradicts democratic regime since it prevents freedom of thought and expression. It has caused a profound sorrow among Turkish people including our Armenian citizens. 70-million Turkish nation rejects such a restriction on freedom of thought and expression on basis of totally baseless allegations. Unfortunately, by adopting the bill, France has lost its privileged position within Turkish nation's point of view," the Ministry added.




Tan: We Hope French Authorities To Reject It

Turkish Press
Oct 25 2006

ANKARA - "We hope that French authorities will reject the draft law (criminalizing denial of so-called Armenian genocide)," Turkish Foreign Ministry Spokesman Namik Tan said on Wednesday.

In his weekly press conference, Tan noted that French government has launched some initiatives to counter the draft law, stating that it was a positive development.

"(French) government has undertaken some initiatives against this bill," he stressed.

On the other hand, a delegation headed by Rifat Hisarciklioglu, the Chairman of the Union of Chambers & Commodity Exchanges of Turkey (TOBB), met representatives of French Economy & Social Labor Council in Paris this morning.

Sources quoted Hisarciklioglu as saying in the meeting that the bill was against freedom of expression, stressing that it would harm relations between the two countries.

After holding talks in Paris, TOBB delegation left France for Turkey.




Paris Court Of Appeals Adjourns Its Verdict On Sezgin Case

Turkish Press
Oct 25 2006

PARIS - Paris Court of Appeals on Thursday adjourned its verdict in the lawsuit which was filed by Armenians in France against Turkey's Consul General Aydin Sezgin in Paris to October 25th.

The chief judge of the court said announcement of the verdict was adjourned to October 25th because of the problems in the computer system.

An association in France which defends so-called Armenian genocide, applied to Paris Civil Court of First Instance and filed a lawsuit against Consul General Sezgin after transmission of a text (that opposes to so-called Armenian genocide allegations) on the Consulate General's formal web-page.

The French Chamber 17 last year refused the application on grounds that Sezgin has diplomatic immunity.

In the case which was heard on September 6th after the Armenian association applied to Appeals Court, the Chief Prosecutor expressed his opinion that the case should be rejected.

In this lawsuit, Sezgin's lawyers stated that Sezgin has diplomatic immunity, there is freedom of speech and parliaments can not write history. They stressed that a consul general could freely state the formal views of his country in the country he was assigned, and asked the court to reject the lawsuit.

On basis of the law acknowledging so-called Armenian genocide which was adopted in the French parliament in 2001, lawyers of the Armenian association defended that the Consul General could not express views about several areas apart from defending the rights of his citizens so he could not have diplomatic immunity.




Ambassador Of Sweden In Ankara Asp In Mersin

Turkish Press
Oct 25 2006

-"BILL ON SO-CALLED ARMENIAN GENOCIDE IS A DISASTER" -"SWEDEN SUPPORTS TURKEY'S EU MEMBERSHIP"

MERSIN - "Adoption of the bill that criminalizes any denial of so-called Armenian genocide in France is a disaster," Swedish Ambassador in Ankara Christer Asp said on Thursday.

Ambassador Asp paid a visit to the governor of southern city of Mersin Huseyin Aksoy today. Asp thanked Aksoy for the hospitality extended to Swedish citizens who recently arrived in Mersin after fleeing war-torn Lebanon.

"We are thankful for the hospitality you have displayed to our citizens who arrived in Mersin and later were sent back to Sweden," told Asp.

In response to a question on a French bill that makes any denial of so-called Armenian genocide a crime, Asp stated that "it (bill) is a disaster. These kinds of issues also came up in Sweden. The answer Sweden gave to these issues was clear and firm. Certain incidents took place 100 years ago. Yet these incidents must be left to historians. Turkey has made all of its archives available to researchers. We are happy about this reality. There were Swedish scientists who studied these archives. This issue has got nothing to do with Turkey's EU membership process."

Ambassador Asp remarked that he has been in Turkey for the past one year. "We try to develop relations not only among our two governments but also between local administrations and private sector representatives," underlined Asp.

Asp added that "Sweden strongly supports Turkey's EU membership."

Meanwhile, Mersin Governor Huseyin Aksoy indicated that relations between Turkey and Sweden will get better as time passes by. We can expect commercial relations between the two countries to develop rapidly, expressed Aksoy.

Aksoy added that "more than 10,000 foreign nationals, including Swedish citizens, arrived in Mersin after fleeing war-torn Lebanon.

We helped these foreigners during their time of difficulty. It is a Turkish tradition to welcome and help guests."




Turkey's Attitude Towards So-Called Armenian Genocide Is More European Than France's, Babacan

Turkish Press
Oct 25 2006

BRUSSELS - "The attitude Turkey has assumed against so-called Armenian genocide allegations is more European than the attitude of France," Turkish State Minister & Chief Negotiator for EU talks Ali Babacan who spoke at round-table meeting organized by think-tank institution "Friends of Europe" in Brussels said on Thursday.

Regarding EU's enlargement process and Turkey's EU process, Babacan said that Turkey is ready to cooperate in every type of projects to eliminate misunderstandings in EU as well as in Turkish public.

Babacan wanted EU to assess Turkey's membership in long-term by taking into consideration the economic and social transformation. He added that Turkey's EU membership should be based on logic and realities, not emotions.

"When the issue is considered from EU's point of view, Turkey's membership will strengthen EU's global actor role. If EU wants to be a big actor in global level, it can achieve it easily through Turkey's membership. Turkey can have important contributions to extension of peace and prosperity in Balkans, Caucasus, Central Asia and Middle East," Babacan noted.

Babacan said, "democratic institutions in Turkey are functioning better than those in several EU member countries. Also in economic aspect, Turkey is important with its location as a bridge between Asia and Europe as well as being a natural road between Europe and oil rich Iraq, Iran, Caspian basin and Central Asia. Turkey will have contributions to EU with its young, qualified and educated population."

Regarding adoption the draft law criminalizing denial of so-called Armenian genocide by French Parliament, Babacan said that Turkey's attitude towards the issue is more European than the attitude of France. "Parliaments are not responsible of making decisions about history. We proposed establishment of a commission to research the allegations. We opened all documents and military archives and wanted the same thing (from Armenia) but we did not receive a positive response," he added.

Babacan noted, "Turkey, by leaving the history to historians, assumed a more European attitude. French draft law contradicts freedom of expression which is one of the most basic values of EU."





Turkish Business World's Reaction To France

Turkish Press
Oct 25 2006

ISTANBUL - "Adoption of the bill making a crime (in France) the denial of so-called Armenian genocide will affect both Turkish-French and EU-Turkey relations negatively," Istanbul Chamber of Commerce (ITO) Chairman Murat Yalcintas told A.A on Thursday.

"I would like to remind my French friends that a handful French parliamentarians cannot make a decision about Turkish history. French Parliament is not authorized to judge Turkey," he said.

"ITO will hold meetings with all French companies in Turkey, as well as executives of French-Turkish partnerships. We will also have meetings with officials of all French educational institutions in Turkey," Yalcintas said.

On the other hand, Independent Industrialists & Businessmen's Association (MUSIAD) Chairman Omer Bolat called on Turkish people to boycott French products.

Noting that it is necessary to make a long-term and collective economic boycott against France, Bolat called on members of MUSIAD to stop their commercial relations with French companies.

On the other hand, International Investors Association of Turkey (YASED) Chairman Saban Erdikler said that Turkey should not boycott companies which were established with French capital in Turkey and invested in Turkey. Erdikler told A.A that now Turkish government has important responsibilities, adding that the government should act with cold blood and take initiatives in ECHR and EU on legal basis.

Noting that the trade balance (between Turkey and France) is against Turkey, Erdikler said that Turkey imports more from France than it exports to that country. "Thus, France will be affected negatively of the decision" he said.

Economic Development Foundation (IKV) condemned the decision of French national assembly, noting that such decisions which restrain freedom of expression overshadows the reliability of a country which claims to be the cradle of democracy.




France Made A Great Mistake, Tusiad


Turkish Press
Oct 25 2006

ANKARA - Turkish Industrialists' and Businessmen's Association (TUSIAD) stressed that "France has made a great mistake" after the French national assembly adopted a bill on criminalizing denial of so-called Armenian genocide.

In a written statement issued by the association, it was underlined that French national assembly has taken a step against both the European soul and its demands from the EU candidate states about democratization.

France mortgaged its foreign policy in order to gain the votes of the Armenians in France and the French politicians didn't have the required authority and expertise to make a judgment on the issue, the statement said.

"In this context, we condemn the judgment made on political grounds by political mechanisms. French national assembly will deprive the judgment of its ability to judge independently by criminalizing any denial of so-called Armenian genocide" said the statement.

"Today the most proper response would be to walk on our path towards EU full membership without any deviation as a negotiating country and to accelerate the political reforms comprising freedom of speech," it said.

Turkey's call for investigation of the issue together with Armenia by a joint commission gained importance once again in terms of determining the truth. Turkey needs a consistent and legally sound policy to bring an end to the unjust accusations towards the Republic of Turkey," the statement added.




Decision Would Affect Cultural Dialogue, Prof. Dumont

Turkish Press
Oct 25 2006

ANKARA - "The bill adopted by the French National Assembly is a barrier against freedom. It seems impossible for the cultural dialogue not to get affected by this," Turkish History Professor Paul Dumont said on Thursday.

Attending a conference organized by Hacettepe University in Ankara, Professor Dumont answered the questions of the A.A reporter on French National Assembly's today's decision.

Dumont reminded that he teaches Ottoman and Turkish history classes at Strasbourg University and he also instructs Armenia-Turkey relations. He said that the decision of the Assembly would affect the freedom of speech.

"It is so bizarre in a free country like France that the scientists cannot study on some issues and can get pecuniary penalty or jail sentence if they talk on these issues," he said.

Prof. Dumont noted that the decision would be a barrier for the ones who defend Turkey and would affect the cultural dialogue.

-France Made A Big Mistake, Prof. Halman-

Meanwhile, Dean of Humanities and Letters Faculty of Bilkent University Prof. Dr. Talat Halman who attended the conference also answered the questions of A.A on French National Assembly's decision.

Halman said that France made a big mistake and Turkey has a justifiable disappointment. "Turks always respected and admired French. French culture affected our culture a lot. From now on probably there would be a big resistance. This won't be only an economic resistance. France will face difficulties in terms of political agreements. We won't support them easily from now on. But the worst thing is that our perfect cultural relations were damaged.

They wounded us, we did not deserve this. This is an injustice. I hope France would correct this mistake somehow."




Resolution Has Not Been Legalized Yet, Poudade

Turkish Press
Oct 25 2006

ANKARA - The resolution on so-called Armenian genocide has not been legalized yet, French Ambassador to Turkey Paul Poudade said today.

In an interview with the private NTV channel, Poudade said that the French parliament adopted the resolution, and therefore, bilateral relations will be negatively affected for a few weeks. "But, I will do my best to make them better," he stated.

Recalling that Senate's approval is obligatory for legalization of the resolution, Poudade said, "not only the governments but also parliamentarians, businessmen and intellectuals should continue dialogue."

Noting that history should be left to historians, Poudade noted that this matter is not a new criterion before Turkey's EU membership.

"Turkey has been disappointed, but we have deep-rooted relations," he added.

-NOBEL LITERATURE PRIZE-

On prominent Turkish novelist Orhan Pamuk, who won the 2006 Nobel Prize for literature, Poudade said that he only read Pamuk's book named "Benim Adim Kirmizi" (My Name is Red).

Stating that Pamuk narrated friendship with France and Italy in this book, Poudade said, "I hope this friendship will not change with a parliament decision."




Reactions To Adoption Of Draft Law By France

Turkish Press
Oct 25 2006

ANKARA - Adoption of the bill on criminalizing denial of so-called Armenian genocide by the French national assembly has given rise to nationwide reactions in Turkey.

United Nations Development Program (UNDP) Administrator Kemal Dervis expressed his regret saying, "this bill restricting freedom of expression is extremely erroneous. But we should not respond to such a mistake with another mistake."

Grand Unity Party (BBP) leader Muhsin Yazicioglu also condemned the decision saying, "France itself will suffer the heaviest economic and political loss. Western countries called us to annul Article 301 of the Penal Code on the pretext that it restricts freedom of thought and expression. Now, they will punish those who express historical facts. This is nothing but a serious contradiction. If the bill is enacted, I will go to Paris and shout that Armenian genocide never took place."

Another reaction came from True Path Party (DYP) leader Mehmet Agar.

Releasing a statement, Agar noted, "this decision is a violation of democracy, human rights and freedom of expression. It will lead to irrecoverable damage in the bilateral relations between Turkey and France."

Democratic Left Party (DSP) leader Zeki Sezer noted that France, in fact, stained itself not Turkey.

"Undoubtedly one of the targets of this initiative is to hamper Turkey's EU membership process. We should not give up our goal since any standstill will satisfy those who are trying to exclude Turkey from the EU," he stressed.

Meanwhile, Republican People's Party (CHP) leader Deniz Baykal said, "it is not possible to mortgage history by making such decisions.

This decision aims at preventing talks over historical facts."





Turkish Prime Ministry Condemns Adoption Of French Resolution

Turkish Press
Oct 25 2006

ANKARA - "We regret and condemn adoption of the resolution that makes denial of baseless Armenian genocide allegations a crime by the French parliament," announced Turkish Prime Ministry Press Center.

Releasing a statement, the Prime Ministry Press Center qualified this decision as a "historical inconsistency", and indicated that this decision is a big shame when respect to scientific facts and freedom of thought and expression are taken into consideration.

"Narrow-minded politicians, who have made France live with this shame, should think about what will happen from now on. Because the French parliament has contradicted its own allegations regarding the French history, and trampled the fundamental values it is defending.

Even though this parliament decision is not enough for legalization of the resolution, this is a grave and historic mistake. There is a big reaction against this resolution in France, and history will naturally try those who close their eyes to these reactions and insist on this wrong step," it noted.

"Unfortunately, it won't be possible to control all the results of this irresponsible attitude of some French politicians. We will neither accept nor tolerate such an unjust decision. Our public, including our Armenian citizens with whom we are living together for centuries, are upset. Mr. Prime Minister (Recep Tayyip Erdogan) is calling on our public, politicians and business circles to behave with common sense when showing necessary reactions to this decision," the statement added.

-ARMENIAN PATRIARCH-

On the other hand, Mesrob II, the Patriarch of the Armenians in Turkey, said that the resolution will strengthen the hands of not only Turkish but also Armenian extreme nationalist and racist groups.

"The French, who have put several obstacles before Turkey on its road to the EU, have hit a serious stroke on the very limited dialogue between Turkey and Armenia. I think that this resolution, adopted by the French parliament, is anti-democratic because it limits personal freedom of expression," he stated.

Mesrob II added that the Armenians in Turkey are monitoring the developments with concern.




Gul On French Resolution & Orhan Pamuk

Turkish Press
Oct 25 2006

ANKARA - "France will live with this shame," said Turkish FM Abdullah Gul when commenting on the resolution on the so-called Armenian genocide adopted by the French parliament today.

Gul and Afghan FM Rangin Dadfar Spanta held a joint press conference after their meeting at the Foreign Ministry Residence in Ankara.

FM Gul stated that France cannot define itself as "the homeland of freedoms" from now on.

Noting that Turkey will not underestimate this development, Gul said that Turkey will take every type of measure.

"I hope that France will take a backward step from this dead end," he added.

On the other hand, Gul said, "we are very pleased that a Turk has won such a prize" when referring to prominent Turkish novelist Orhan Pamuk, who won the 2006 Nobel Prize for literature.

"This is an important development for Turkey's promotion," he added.




Turkish Business Delegation In France

Journal of Turkish Weekly
Oct 24 2006

PARIS - A delegation headed by Union of Turkish Chambers & Commodity Exchanges (TOBB) Chairman Rifat Hisarciklioglu arrived in French capital of Paris on Tuesday to lobby against the resolution, which criminalizes rejecting of so-called Armenian genocide claims.

TOBB delegation held talks with leading French businessmen including members of the Paris Chamber of Commerce & Industry, the Union of European Chambers of Commerce & Industry (Eurochambers) and the MEDEF International after their arrival.

They stressed that enactment of the resolution would play havoc with the bilateral relations between Turkey and France.

The delegation is expected to return to Turkey tomorrow.

Turkish business circles believe in that the Armenian issue may damage Turkish-French economic relations a lot.





Turkey's Allies Are Common Sense And Freedom Of Expression
By Barin Kayaoglu
View: Barin Kayaoglu

Journal of Turkish Weekly
Oct 25 2006

Several bizarre reports exploded last week in reaction to the French parliament's vote two weeks ago. In a non-binding advisory note, the Higher Council of Radio and Television (Radyo Televizyon Ust Kurulu -RTUK) asked TV stations across the country to stop broadcasting French films. Meanwhile, quoting the French journal Le Nouvel Observateur, reports came in that France would open an official trade bureau in Northern Iraq to compete with Turkish businesses operating there. The news will likely draw a lot reaction from certain circles in the near future. One should not be too surprised to see if the French legation was to be blamed for being a backdoor initiative to create further chaos and turmoil in Turkey's southeast and Northern Iraq.

Turkey's worst enemy is the volatility of its reactions. Some people have already come up with weird ideas such as abandoning French classes in schools, boycotting French tourists, or even boycotting Turkish companies that are joint-ventures with the French. These are not healthy indications. Turkey must realize that in the tumultuous times ahead, its allies are nothing but common sense and freedom of expression.

Exercising common sense means that Turkish people have to think and act in a cool-headed manner. This might sound like a strange suggestion, but they have to behave in such a way that they would advise their kids to behave in stressful situations. "He who stands up in rage sits down at a loss" is a common proverb that every Turk hears while growing up. Everybody should adhere to this principle.

Everybody should see that the larger goal is to refute the claims that what happened to the Armenian citizens of the Ottoman Empire in the 1910s was not genocide by the definitions of international law, but a massacre of another sort, which was reciprocated by the Armenian side. Everybody should see the bigger picture that only by expressing their views in a civilized manner can Turkish people expect to succeed.

Another way to disarm the claims of the French parliament and the Armenian Diaspora is for Turkey to bring forward its other potential super-ally, freedom of expression. The American founding father Thomas Jefferson once said "it is error alone which needs the support of government; truth can stand by itself." In this light, Turkey must realize that any laws that punish non-violent forms of speech hurt Turkey more than its adversaries in the long run. Last week, the Armenian Foreign Minister Vartan Oskanyan called Turkish reactions to the French vote "hypocrisy" because Turkey still curbed discussions on certain aspects of its past. As much as the Armenian government has its own share of hypocrisy in this debate, Mr. Oskanyan has a point.

Putting intellectuals on trial for speaking their mind is unacceptable and unbecoming of a country like Turkey. Only by granting opposing voices an audience and nurturing meaningful discussion on the subject can Turkey thwart the baseless allegations.

Indeed, this will comport with Ataturk's legacy. It will be to the point to bring a story that was discussed in this column a few weeks ago: During the 1930s, President Mustafa Kemal Ataturk and Prime Minister Y'smet Y'nonu assigned the eccentric apparatchik Recep Peker to draft a report that would give a new sense of mission to Cumhuriyet Halk Partisi (CHP-Republican Peoples' Party). Peker's 1936 report, which proposed the reorganization of the RPP along the lines of the Italian Fascist Party, met Ataturk's bitter resentment.

Ataturk reportedly exclaimed "what the hell has Recep done again?"

and elucidated his vision for Turkey to his aide Hasan Ry'za Soyak as follows: "Should an anti-monarchical current take over the world in the future, even those who demand a sultanate can form a party in this country." Today, I believe, even those who call the Armenian tragedy "genocide" should be able to have their say.

Turkey must stop doing some of the things that it is doing right now.

It should stop racing the French to stupidity. It is a contest that is hard to beat. Turkey should refrain from passing futile laws about French imperialism in Algeria (that it was tantamount to genocide).

The point is debatable and precisely for that reason Turkey should gather a conference of scholars from both sides in a posh location in Istanbul or the Aegean coast in order to garner international attention. The juxtaposition would be too hard to miss for anyone: Whereas France forcefully curbs freedom of expression, Turkey is promoting it. But in order to augment that overture, all laws in the penal code that criminalize anything other than an open call to violence must either be changed or stricken out. By taking that last step, Turkey can go traverse vast distances.

Turkey's strongest allies in its struggle against the senseless and fruitless allegations by France and the Armenian Diaspora are common sense and freedom of expression. At the moment, by behaving the way that they are behaving, Turkish people are weakening these two partners. If their problems are addressed forthwith, they will help Turkey prevail.

--------------------

Bary'n Kayaoğlu is a Ph.D. student in history at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, Virginia and a regular contributor to the Journal of Turkish Weekly.

kayaoglu@virginia.edu

----------

NOTES

(1) "RTUK: Fransy'z filmlerini yayy'nlamayy'n" (RTUK: Do not broadcast French films), ntvmsnbc.com, October 20, 2006; available from http://www.ntvmsnbc.com/news/388522.asp.

(2) "Fransa Kuzey Irak'ta temsilcilik acy'yor" (France to open legation in Northern Iraq), ntvmsnbc.com, October 19, 2006; available from http://www.ntvmsnbc.com/news/388582.asp.

(3) "Oskanyan: Tepkiler ikiyuzluluk" (Oskanyan: The reactions are hyprocrisy), ntvmsnbc.com, October 21, 2006; available from http://www.ntvmsnbc.com/news/388673.asp.

(4) See Bary'n Kayao?lu, "The Armenian Question Between Genocide, Tragedy, and Hypocrisy," Journal of Turkish Weekly, October 11, 2006; available from http://www.turkishweekly.net/comments.php?id=2313.

(5) Teoman Gul, Turk Siyasal Hayaty'nda Recep Peker (Recep Peker in Turkish Political Life) (Ankara: Kultur Bakanlığı', 1998), 29.




Senate Group Head: "We Will Not Approve It"

Sabah, Turkey
Oct 25 2006

The dominant name of French senate guaranteed: "Armenian bill is a mistake, we will prevent it."

Senate Group Head of the ruling party UMP Josselin Rohan said: "If the Armenian bill comes to the senate, we will reject it."

Our relationship of ages can not and should not be taken in pawn

Senate Group Head of the ruling party UMP Josselin Rohan said: "If the Armenian bill comes to the senate, we will object to it with all our might. Our relationship with Turkey can not be taken in pawn."

New reactions against the denial bill are growing from all Europe including France. Senate Group Head of the ruling party UMP Josselin Rohan said: "The bill has not come to the Senate yet. However, if it happens, we will do our best to reject it as a group. Considering our a hundred year friendship with Turkey, this draft is a diplomatic mistake. It is really depressing and sad. It does not have any use to anybody, but it is harmful in many aspects."







France Writhing In Pain
By Etyen Mahcupyan

Zaman, Turkey
Oct 25 2006

The bill that criminalizes the denial of the so-called "Armenian genocide," which was adopted despite the low attendance in the French Parliament, a fact that gives a clue to the background of the entire issue, first encountered fierce reactions in France itself. Almost everybody agrees that the bill contradicts the freedom of thought and expression. Apparently, the basic fact that making somebody agree with an idea is possible only if others are allowed to express what they think has not been fully comprehended yet. If your objective is not to impose an idea by means of coercion, then, you need reciprocal conversation, which requires listening to the ideas or arguments of others, no matter how absurd and falsified they may be.

Hence, the French bill has too many defects, holes and ambiguities not only in terms of the freedom of thought but also in terms of the simplest socio-psychological knowledge. Based on this fact, we can say that the gist and objective of this bill is not the Turks accepting the so-called "Armenian genocide"... What is more, the objective is not even to make the "Turks" adopt a more constructive policy vis-a-vis today's Armenians. Because, this stance does nothing other than sabotage the dynamics and resurgence that guide both sides to reevaluate, understand each other, and express the outcomes gained through this experience.

If France had aimed at Turkey accepting the 1915 massacre as "genocide," it should have refrained from taking steps that could possibly hinder the normalization process in Turkey. Furthermore, what we are witnessing right now is not an approach based on humanitarian concerns which support the afflicted.

In other words, this bill does not serve Armenia's interests. French authorities reported that the Armenian President [Robert] Kocharian had stated his opposition to the bill during [President Jacques] Chirac's visit to Yerevan; and this report was extensively covered in the media. This is because Armenia is aware that its future depends on Turkey and does not approve of any action that could harm its relations with Ankara. Finally, this bill contravenes not only the legal criteria set by the European Parliament for member states, but also the EU criteria. If the EU is a peace project, perhaps what is expected of France is to pursue a policy that would foster peace among EU members and their partner countries.

However, France could not have done this... At first sight, it seems as if the votes of the Armenian community in the upcoming elections had a determinative effect over adopting the bill. No doubt about it, the Armenian lobby in France has no inherent power and political leverage to do this on its own. The lobby perception in Turkey is nothing more than an exaggeration that helps us conceal our weaknesses. However, when it comes to vote-hunting, it was already crystal clear that no party would refrain from populism. So, why was this bill brought to parliament and why was it adopted? The reason is that France's self-isolation suggests a new EU project implying Turkey's exclusion is under way. The bill on the denial of the so-called "Armenian genocide" is essentially a direct message to the EU, not Turkey. That is why EU authorities immediately realized the situation, and labeled the French move as "stupid."

What is behind all this is the inability of this country to adapt itself to changing conditions and circumstances. France is a country that sees itself on the zenith of modernity, thinks it is aware of universal truths and has solved all its social problems, and possesses a mood of psychological arrogance as inherent identity.

However, this is mere illusion... But the French have not fully understood this yet. They have only recently begun to understand that they are in fact adherents of an authoritarian mentality, which thinks positivist secularism is liberty, confuses homogenization with equality, and finds solidarity and brotherhood only in assimilation.

It is painful for societies which have abandoned critical thinking for a while to resume it. Just like us...




French Ambassador's Statement Criticized In Turkey

Azeri Press Agency, Azerbaijan
Oct 25 2006

"Ambassador of France to Armenia Henri Cuny's remarks on the issue of Turkish borders are not wise," Dr. Sedat Lachiner, Director of Ankara-based International Strategic Research Organization, stated, APA 's Turkey reports.

He said all countries have their own control on their own borders.

This kind of claims badly affects Turkish public opinion and undermine the credibility of the EU and France in Turkey.

"Most of the people now in Turkey consider France as hostile country and see the French support for the Armenians as the religious solidarity" Dr. Laciner added. Similarly Dr. Mehmet Ozcan, another Turkish expert, said that Turkey sincerely seeks to develop good relations with Armenia and air borders have been open between Turkey and Armenia. But no improvement was seen in relations because of Armenia. According to Mr. Ozcan, Armenia does not want to develop relations with Turkey.

"Armenia aims to increase the tension to get the Western support against Turkey. They do not recognize Turkey's national borders and they do expect open borders. If Turkey does not recognize France's national borders and occupies an EU member state, will France keep its borders with Turkey open?" he said.

Henri Cuny, Ambassador of France to Armenia, said when meeting with Armenian students in Armenia that once Turkey joins the EU, the issue of its borders will be decided not by itself but by the central EU headquarters in Brussels.

"This is the order. And entering the EU suggests open borders. The question is, when this is to happen", said Cuny.




"Zerkalo": "Punishment For Genocide" - Expensive Pleasure

Ï?aâî Âûaî?a, Azerbaijan
Democratic Azerbaijan
Oct 25 2006

Turkish Government established sanctions to be applied against France in connection with the law providing for punishment for denial "Armenian genocide" adopted by the Parliament of France. According to APA, official Ankara decided to freeze all bilateral relations with the official Paris, first of all, political and military relations.

Within the decision French companies will be deprived of the right of the involvement in defence and energy projects in Turkey.

First of all, French companies won't be involved in projects relating construction of atomic power stations. Furthermore, it is decided to keep away French companies from the mentioned tenders declared by the General Staff of Turkish Armed Forces: - "Eurocopter" French company made a proposal relating purchase of 12 helicopters for gendarmerie in the tender. This proposal won't be reviewed.

- French company won't be allowed to tender which to be held in connection with the purchase of 54 helicopters considered for various purposes of Turkish armed forces.

- The project relating purchase of modern submarines for naval forces won't take into consideration French companies' proposal.

- The proposal of GIAT, French company involved in the tender for the purchase of tanks for land forces will be rejected.




Paris Court Postpones Genocide Denial Case 2nd Time
Zaman, Turkey
Oct 25 2006

A Paris court postponed a decision on a case which was prepared by an Armenian group against Aydin Sezgin, Turkey's ambassador to Paris.

The court postponed second time the controversial case, which was prepared by Armenians against Turkish Ambassador Sezgin, for the second time.

The group has accused Sezgin of spreading denial propaganda regarding the so-called Armenian genocide during World War I, demanding that he remove the text from the consulate's website that denies an Armenian genocide.

The Paris Court said the decision of the case would be declared on Nov. 8. In beginning of October, the court had postponed its decision on the issue after the first hearing due to an error in the court's computer system.

During the last hearing the prosecutor had argued that the case should be rejected because of Sezgin's diplomatic immunity.

Sezgin's lawyers also had said that the court should reject the case, adding that the ambassador was free to defend Turkey's official stance on the issue.




Hisarciklioglu On French Resolution

Turkish Press
Oct 25 2006

PARIS - "I am having difficulty in understanding why a country like France, which is a pioneer in democracy, secularism and freedom of expression, has brought up a resolution on making denial of the so-called Armenian genocide a crime," said Rifat Hisarciklioglu, the Chairman of the Union of Chambers & Commodity Exchanges of Turkey (TOBB).

Hisarciklioglu, who is actually in French capital of Paris to lobby against the resolution presented by the Socialist Party, met representatives of Movement of French Enterprises (MEDEF) and French chambers of commerce at a dinner last night.

After the dinner, Hisarciklioglu told Turkish reporters that he expressed their concerns over the resolution.

Hisarciklioglu stated that Turkish-French relations would be hurt if the resolution is adopted.

"I told my French colleagues that they should behave with




Dokurcum Mill, Silent Witness Of Massacre

Turkish Press
Oct 25 2006

GAZIANTEP - "Dokurcum mill in (southeastern city of) Gaziantep where 14 Turkish youths were shot to death by French soldiers should be restored," Tourism Association Chairman Bekir Sitki Severoglu said.

Speaking to the A.A correspondent, Severoglu stated, "French soldiers committed massacres in Gaziantep (in 1920). All countries should be informed on this matter."

Severoglu noted, "I took several initiatives to condemn France, but I did not receive any positive answer on the matter."

He indicated that "Dokurcum Mill Monument" should be erected against the French draft law criminalizing denial of so-called Armenian genocide.

A group of French soldiers executed 14 Turkish youths by shooting in front of Dokurcum Mill on March 28th, 1920 (during Gaziantep Defence in Turkish National Independence War).





Turkish - French Economic Relations

Turkish Press
Oct 25 2006

ANKARA - Turkey's share in France's overall exports was only 1.3 percent last year, said economy bureaucrats a day before the French parliament debates a resolution that makes denial of the so-called Armenian genocide allegations a crime.

According to economy bureaucrats, France had 5.2 percent share in Turkey's overall exports.

Turkey imported French products worth 5.8 billion USD last year, while it earned 3.7 billion USD from its exports.

524 French companies are working in automotive, food, insurance, banking, retail and fuel oil industries in Turkey.

French insurance firm "Groupama" bought 41 percent of Turkish "Basak Emeklilik" (private retirement) last May.

On the other hand, Renault has a big automotive factory in Turkey.

Automobiles produced in Turkey are exported to European and Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) countries.

Turkish Ekonomi Bankasi (TEB) Mali Yatirimlar Corp. (Financial Investments) signed a partnership agreement with BNP Paribas on February 10, 2005. Thus, BNP Paribas had a share in TEB Yatirim (investment), TEB Leasing, TEB Factoring, TEB Sigorta (insurance), TEB Portfoy Yonetimi (portfolio management) and TEB NV.

-RETAIL INDUSTRY-

Meanwhile, French retail firm Carrefour cooperated with Sabanci Holding in 1996, and has 470 markets in Turkey. CarrefourSA employs 7,500 people in Turkey.

Lafarge is another French company functioning in cement industry in Turkey. It had a 350 million Euro turnover, and employed 1,500 people in Turkey in 2005.

French Danone firm has investments in dairy products and potable water industries in Turkey.

Elf and Total (oil companies), Sodexho Pass (catering), Citroen and Peugeot (automotive), L'oreal (cosmetics) are the other French companies investing in Turkey.




Turkish People Do Not Believe In Friendship Of Neighbors

PanARMENIAN.Net
24.10.2006

Most Turks do not believe in friendship of neighboring countries, indicate the outcomes of a sociological survey held in 32 out of 81 Turkish provinces, the Milliyet reports. "The survey has shown that Turkish people do not believe in friendship of their neighbors. Most Turks are convinced that European countries are not friends for Turkey," Milliyet writes. Turks do not trust US and Greece most - 78.5% and 78.1% of respondents respectively. These are followed by France, to which 76.1% of Turks mistrust. At that sociologists highlight that the survey was conducted before adoption of the bill criminalizing the denial of the Armenian Genocide by the National Assembly of France on October 12. Right after it Turkish officials criticized France and the Union of consumers launched boycott of French goods.

Russia is also among countries, which Turks do not trust. 64.8% of respondents do not trust it, while only 8.7% call it "friendly," reports the Milliyet.

Turks have most sympathies towards Azerbaijan - 71.4%.




French Ambassador's Goodbye Lesson Or Cold Shower For Armenian Diplomacy

Lragir, Armenia
Oct 20 2006

The French investors are becoming increasingly interested in the Armenian economy, and I am happy that this happened while I was the ambassador, said the French Ambassador to Armenia Henry Cuny in his news conference on October 24. According to him, the Armenian market is small and buying capacity is low, but it is of interest because it is a door leading to other markets. Henry Cuny enumerates Asia, the Near East and the Middle East, Russia as other markets.

However, everything would be different if the borders were open, says Henry Cuny. And in this sense his next words, which were answers to the questions of the news reporters, can be considered a lesson for the Armenian diplomacy and certain social classes. It is clear that the notion of the closed border concerns the Turkish border, and the reporters asked Henry Cuny what France does to facilitate the opening of the Armenian and Turkish border, and whether the law on the genocide adopted by the lower chamber of the French parliament favors the Turkish-Armenian reconciliation and opening of the border.

Cuny's answer to this question was logical and surprising at the same time. "When I had just arrived in this country, something astonished me. Most people, including young people came up to me and said we have a problem, what can you do for us. And my first message in the meeting with the students of the French University in Armenia was your future is in your hands, the keys to your future are in your hands," says Henry Cuny. This part of his answer was logical rather than surprising. The continuation of the answer was surprising, which was on the role of the adoption of the law on genocide in the Armenian and Turkish relation.

"I am not supposed to interpret the law adopted by the French parliament. At any rate, I hear what the Armenians and the Armenian youth tell me. They tell me two main things, both are very important.

On the one hand, they say we are grateful for this attentive attitude of France, and Armenia feels less lonely in these matters. But they also say our future, the future of the young people living in Armenia depends on our friendship with neighbors, and we think it will be much easier for us to overcome disagreement through a dialogue rather than through a confrontation," says Henry Cuny.

This is surprising, considering that the ambassador considers the opinion of young people as very important and much more legitimate, because they are going to live and work in Armenia. However, he also says that in expressing their gratefulness to France these young people emphasize one but according to which the dialogue with the neighbors is much more important. Henry Cuny's answer is at least strange and controversial in the sense that the law adopted by the French parliament does not promote the Turkish-Armenian dialogue. And from the point of view of the official Armenian diplomacy and propaganda, Henry Cuny's answers are a lesson for the people in charge of foreign policies in Armenia, who are delighted to announce about the diplomatic victory of Armenia. "I think the Armenians and only the Armenians should decide the fate of their borders, and I repeat that it is highly important for me to listen to young people, because the existence of the nation depends on the youth," says Henry Cuny.

The French ambassador to Armenia, who will not be an ambassador in four days, hints, in fact, that the adoption of the bill has nothing to do with the Turkish-Armenian relations, especially the prospect of opening the borders, and pursued a quite different goal. In other words, Cuny's words crash the delight of the Armenian state propaganda and foreign policy that was aroused by the lower chamber of the French parliament, and prove that this law did not solve any problems for Armenia, if it did not create new problems.




500 Million Dollars Of Boycott On French Products

Turkish Press
Oct 24 2006

ANKARA - Reactions to voting of the French draft law that makes any denial of so-called Armenian genocide a crime escalate among Turkish non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and people.

The draft will be voted in the French parliament on Thursday, October 12th.

According to Sabah newspaper, Turkish enterprises, chambers, trade unions and consumers' unions are considering a boycott of 500 million USD to consumer products imported from France. Especially imports of sophisticated products will be slowed down as a first response. In the second phase, imports of manufacturing products from alternative countries is on the agenda. Turkey has made imports of 4.5 billion USD from France in the first 8 months of 2006; 4 billion USD of this amount is manufacturing and mining products.

A committee from the Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges of Turkey (TOBB) will travel to France today to visit French employers' representatives in Paris. The committee headed by Ankara Chamber of Industry (ASO) Zafer Caglayan will point out the harmful consequences of the draft if it becomes a law.

-PLANE ORDER SUSPENDED-

Turkish Ciner Aviation company suspended its order for a new Falcon 2000 type plane. Owner of Ciner Aviation and Sabah newspaper, Turgay Ciner, called plane producer Dassault and said the order is suspended until the draft law is voted in the parliament. Ciner said he will cancel his order if the law is adopted in the parliament on October 12th.

-NGO REACTIONS NATIONWIDE-

Chairman of ASO Zafer Caglayan:

"There is business that increase French businessmen's appetite. It must be clearly stated that they cannot be included in the tenders in Turkey."

Chairman of Gaziantep Chamber of Commerce Mehmet Aslan:
"We will call on our members not to make business with French businessmen and call on our people not to buy French products."

Chairman of Consumers' Union Bulent Deniz:

"We will boycott a French product every week beginning on October 12th. We will increase this number gradually."

Chairman of YASED (Foreign Inverstors' Association of Turkey) Saban Erdikler:
"The reactions must be reasonable. We must not be agitated and punish ourselves with our reactions."




So-Called Armenian Genocide: Protests In Front Of French Embassy

Turkish Press
Oct 24 2006

ANKARA - Two separate groups of protestors from Turkish Labour Party (IP) and True Path Party (DYP) reacted to France in front of French Embassy in Ankara, regarding the bill which aims to criminalize denial of so-called Armenian genocide that will be voted in the French parliament (on October 12th).

Chanting slogans as "stop France, boycott is on the way" and "we did not commit genocide, we defended our country", protestors laid a black wreath in front of French Embassy.

-A DELEGATION OF DEPUTIES FROM CHP DUE TO PARIS-

Meanwhile, a delegation of MPs from main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) will go to Paris to attend the French Parliament's session on October 12th.

CHP delegation will consist of Haluk Koc, Onur Oymen, Sukru Elekdag and Gulsun Bilgehan.

" Not only our friends will watch French Parliament but also 70 million people will watch; history will watch," said CHP leader Deniz Baykal on Tuesday.




French Companies Fear Losing Turkish Market

Turkish Press
Oct 24 2006

ANKARA - French companies began to fear losing the Turkish market, after a draft law that makes any denial of so-called Armenian genocide a crime came up at the French parliament.

The draft law will be voted on Thursday, October 12th.

If the French draft law gets approved at the parliament, French companies will not be able to participate in Turkish government tenders worth over 20 billion USD.

Some of the sectors where tenders will take place in Turkey are transportation, energy and defense sectors.




Mumcu: Both The Inventor And Perpetrator Of Genocide Claims Is The West

Turkish Press
Oct 24 2006

ANKARA - "Both the inventor and perpetrator of genocide claims are Western countries. They inject their own crimes in us and want us to claim responsibility for those crimes," the Motherland Party (ANAP) leader Erkan Mumcu said when addressing his party group in the parliament on Tuesday.

Prior to his speech, Mumcu observed a minute of silence in the memory of Turkish citizens massacred by Armenians (during WWI).

"The West should go first through a process to get rid of 'Turk complex'. Otherwise, their enmity towards Turkey will not end. The history of the West is hypocritical," he said.

ANAVATAN leader Mumcu underscored that the target of France which prepares to adopt a draft law (that makes any denial of so-called Armenian genocide a crime) is to push its hinterland towards east of Turkey."

On the other hand, Mumcu defended that Turkey was weak on foreign policy, indicating that Ankara failed to take initiatives on issues concerning its own fate.

Felicity Party Launches Boycott Campaign Against French Products

Turkish Press
Oct 24 2006

ANKARA - Felicity Party (SP) has launched a boycott campaign against French products to protest French bill which aims to criminalize denial of so-called Armenian genocide.

Releasing a statement on Tuesday, SP leader Recai Kutan said there is no need to wait until the acceptance of legislative proposal.

"Turkey should launch economic sanctions, which is the most effective sanctions method. We, as Felicity Party, will no longer use French-origin goods," said Kutan.

Kutan also added that they expect participation into their campaign from Turkic and Islamic countries.




Turkish Deputies Object To Algerian Genocide Proposal

Turkish Press
Oct 24 2006

ANKARA - Chairman of Turkish Parliamentary Foreign Affairs Commission Mehmet Dulger and Chairman of EU Adjustment Commission Yasar Yakis objected to the submission of a draft law to the parliament's Justice Commission regarding Algerian genocide, to be debated tomorrow.

"In case of the adoption of a draft on Algerian genocide, we will reduce ourselves into a position like France," said Mehmet Dulger, a deputy of ruling Justice & Development Party (AKP). However, Dulger noted that French products could be boycotted. "We should hurt them.

Maybe this way we can let them see the realities," he added.

Responding to a question about 70,000 Armenians working illegally in Turkey, Dulger said "we see this fact as a generosity of Turkish Republic. Moreover 90 percent of MPs in French parliament do not know about Turkish-Armenian relations and its historical dimension".

Yasar Yakis, another deputy of AKP, also objected to the proposal about Algerian genocide.

"If there had been a genocide in Algeria, Algerians themselves should deal with it and pass a legislation. While Algerians have not made such a law, it won't be logic for us to make one," he noted.




Turkey, France: French Firms Set To Suffer From Turkish Anger Over 'Genocide' Bill

Monday Morning, Lebanon
Oct 23 2006

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who has appealed for calm and opposes launching a campaign which might end up hurting Turks more than the French

But the government is still weighing other responses which may hit French firms, from blocking the country's defense and energy companies from bidding for multi-million euro (dollar) contracts to the more symbolic, such as lawmakers replacing their official Peugeot cars.

And although an official ban is unlikely, consumers and businesses are set to cold-shoulder French goods, nearly five billion euros (6.25 billion dollars) worth of which entered Turkey last year.

On October 12 the French National Assembly, the lower house, passed a bill making it a crime to deny that the 1915-1917 massacres of Armenians by the Ottoman Turks constituted genocide.

The bill, which stipulates a prison sentence of up to three years and a fine of up to 45,000 euros, must be approved by the French upper house and by President Jacques Chirac before it becomes law.

The result has caused widespread dismay, not only in Turkey -- several hundred people rallied outside France's consulate in Istanbul --but also from French historians and European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso.

Turkey says 300,000 Armenians, and at least as many Turks, died in civil strife when Armenians took up arms for independence and sided with invading Russian troops as the Ottoman Empire fell apart during World War I. But it refuses to accept this was genocide.

Armenians, who constitute a sizeable minority in France, say up to 1.5 million of their forbears were slaughtered in orchestrated killings, which they maintain can only be seen as genocide.

In 2005 France and Turkey exchanged goods worth more than eight billion euros, and French imports to Turkey were worth 4.7 billion euros.

Commercial ties between the two countries run deep. Some 250 French companies have strong links with Turkey stretching back many years.

The carmaker Renault, for example, employs hundreds of people at a factory in the Northwest of the country.

As a result, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, together with the country's more liberal newspapers, has appealed for calm and not to launch a campaign which might end up hurting Turks more than the French.

"What do we have to win or lose by boycotting products? ... We should consider that with a great deal of caution", Erdogan said recently, adding that his government would proceed with calm.

Lutfu Yenel, head of the Turkish affiliate of the French telecoms group Alcatel, said he was astounded by calls for a boycott of his company.

But although an official ban is unlikely, Turkish consumers and businesses are expected to vent their anger by not buying French.

The country's consumer organization, for instance, has said that a boycott would begin at the 500 gasoline stations in Turkey owned by France's Total.

Every week there would be an appeal to boycott products from a new French firm until the genocide bill is scrapped, the organization threatened.

"From today onwards, we're going to boycott every week a French brand and show our reaction in a language that France can understand," said Bulent Deniz, the group's president.

In some commercial centers in Istanbul, Turkey's largest city, shops were calling on Turks not to buy French -- although it was business as usual at an outlet of French chain Lacoste in the city.

Ankara's merchants' association has also decided to post on billboards in the capital pictures of products that will be boycotted such as perfumes and cosmetics, according to the group's head Mehmet Yiginer. And across the country, commercial groups and businessmen have called on their fellow citizens to cold-shoulder French brands.




Georgian Prime Minister: "We Feel Very Comfortable With Turkey"

Regnum, Russia
Oct 24 2006

Countries, involved in project of construction of Kars-Akhalkalaki-Tbilisi-Baku (Azerbaijan, Turkey, Georgia - REGNUM) railway have sufficient will and capital, which enable saying that the project will be realized; Georgian Deputy Prime Minister and State Minister for European and Atlantic Integration Giorgi Baramidze said in an interview with the Turkish Daily News.

According to the minister, Georgia has no doubts that a proposed railway project linking his country with Turkey and Azerbaijan will be realized despite recent decision by the US Senate to block any funding for it from the US Export-Import Bank. Responding to question whether the US Senate's decision, backed by US Senate pro-Armenian group, would affect the fate of the project, Baramidze said: "Not at all. There is already money coming from Turkey and Azerbaijan. There is the will of three countries to do this. So it will happen."

Armenia opposes the Kars (Turkey)-Javakheti (Georgian area, populated by ethnic Armenians)-Tbilisi-Baku railway project, which would bypass Armenia from the north. Pro-Armenian groups in the USA argue against the project, saying the regional countries have already been linked by railway passing through Armenia. However, the route is not functioning because of blockade, imposed on Armenia by Turkey and Azerbaijan.

Meanwhile, Georgi Baramidze is sure that the Kars-Akhalkalaki project is economically viable. According to him, if it is realized, it may be of benefit for all regional countries, including Armenia.

According to Baramidze, Armenia should demonstrate constructive approach, rejecting its position, according to which the region does not need new railways because there is the existing one which is inactive due to serious problems between Turkey and Armenia, Azerbaijan and Armenia.

Baramidze believes that if the railway via Armenia were active, investors would not have thought about building another one. Also, he pointed to fact that it was difficult to say when the existing railway could ever become operational, given the rising tension between Turkey and Armenia. "Because the existing one is not functioning, certainly the new one should be functioning, making a profit."

It is worth stressing; Turkey has ignored the decision of the US Congress, stating the project never needed financing from countries not involved in the project.

As for French National Assembly's bill criminalizing public denial of Armenian Genocide in Ottoman Turkey, the Georgian state minister stressed that "such decision would not contribute to normalization of relations between Turkey and Armenia and regional safety." According to him, such decision does not contribute to healthy dialogue between Turkey and the EU, too. "We support Turkey's joining NATO," Baramidze stressed. In its turn, the Turkish periodical stresses that "Georgia, complaining of what it calls Russian imperialistic ambitions in its region, is eager for integration with Western institutions, most notably NATO." Baramidze said that his country was eyeing stronger ties with Turkey, particularly economic ones. Turkey and Georgia are negotiating a preferential trade agreement. "Georgia's economic borders are wide open to Turkey, and the Georgian economy is practically becoming part of the Turkish economy, as we feel very comfortable with Turkey," Baramidze stated.




"Armenian Genocide" Film To Be Shown In Brussels December 13

DeFacto Agency, Armenia
Oct 24 2006

According to the information DE FACTO got at the RA MFA Press Service, December 13 a Laurence Jourdan's "Armenian Genocide" film will be shown in Brussels.

The measure has been initiated by the Jewish Audiovisual Memory Institute and the European Sepharadi Institute.

After the film's demonstration the participants will discuss the issues referring to the Armenian Genocide committed by the Osmanian Turkey. The discussions will be held with the political and public figures' participation.




Turkey Returns To The East

PanARMENIAN.Net
20.10.2006

The European path of development turned out to be a difficult one and almost unnecessary for the Moslem Turkey.

After the French cold shower Turkey is likely to get one more of that and this time it will be directed from where the country expects it less of all. The case in point concerns the coming intermediate elections in the USA Senate. The Republicans, the internal and external policies of whose do not stand up to any criticism, are quite likely to lose in the Democrats' favor and at that time the issue of the Armenian Genocide recognition by the USA will again appear on the agenda.

/PanARMENIAN.Net/ Indeed, for the sake of justice it is worth mentioning that this question is always raised before the elections and right after the elections it is safely forgotten until the next ones come. However, this time the American lawmakers inspired by the French example can pass if not an analogous bill, then, at least will call "the events of 1915" to be Genocide. The support group of Armenia in the USA Congress is rather influential and it can persist in recognizing the Armenian Genocide, which in its turn will imperil the longstanding strategic relations between the United States of America and Turkey. As Turkish daily news has it, the administration of President George Bush, as well as the administration of the preceding president, both have been consistently evading the usage of the word "genocide" in authoritative statements, in this way trying to avoid the estrangement of Turkey. "But Turkey has always had weak positions in the Congress.

The Democrats' victory in the Senate can create a great deal of problems for Turkey in its attempts to hinder the process of the Armenian Genocide recognition. In case of the Democrats' victory the legislators will speed up the recognition of the Genocide before the new Congress will start its work in January, 2007",-writes the publication.

For the sake of justice we should mention that the relations between the two countries have become worse after the intrusion of the American forces into Iraq and after a new splash of interest to the Kurdish problem. Of course the Americans clamor against Kurdish militants but actually they rather back up the idea of the Kurdish autonomy in Northern Iraq. The recent decision of Iraq concerning the federal structure of the country in which the Kurds already get a legally fixed status can become one more headache for Turkey. And it means that the areas of Iraq that are rich in oil, including Kyrkuk, will become the center of regional confrontation. Turkey, obsessing with no natural energy supplies, is trying with all its might to take Kurdistan under control to somehow make up for the deficiency in energy.

The USA is trying to have its part in the situation of the unpredictable game of prices on the oil. And, surely America has more chances to win over the Kurds to its side than Turkey does. By the highest standards Turkey has nearly no more arguments for appealing to the world community-neither the abrogation of article 301, nor the realization of the obligations in front of EU concerning Cyprus give any chances to Erdoghan's government for joining EU. The recognition of the Armenian Genocide and the opening of the Armenian-Turkish border are both matters of such a far future as the membership of Turkey into EU is.

However, if we judge not by the Turkish politicians' statements but by their affairs, then it turns out that they do not need Europe so much. Certainly, it would not be bad to suppress Christian countries with Islamic presence. But nothing came out. And it means that it is necessary to return to the East, that is exactly what Redgep Erdoghan is doing since the idea of Cemal Attaturk, that used to be the founder of the Turkish State, lasted only for 70 years and the Turks returned. The occurrence is quite a strange one when it is considered that the history usually furthers and very seldom it happens to move back.




Debate Needed; What Happened In Armenia?
By Tulin Daloglu
The Washington Times
October 17, 2006

A few months ago, I came across an article in the Middle East Quarterly entitled "Armenian Massacres: New Records Undercut Old Blame." Its author, Edward J. Erickson, a retired U.S. Army officer, categorically dismissed the claims of genocide perpetrated against the Armenians by the Ottomans during World War I. "In bitter internecine fighting, many civilian Turks, Armenians, and other ethnic groups were massacred indiscriminately," Mr. Erickson wrote.

The claim of Armenian genocide is an incredibly emotional subject, fraught with political and violent undertones. Only a small number of scholars dare to question the notion that what happened was genocide.

When Stanford Shaw, a pioneer scholar and former UCLA professor, disputed it in 1977, a bomb exploded in front of his house.

Recently, two researchers have debated the nature of World War I Armenian massacres, Dr. Erickson wrote. The first, Vahakn Dadrian, is director of genocide research at the Zoryan Institute for Contemporary Armenian Research and Documentation. Mr. Dadrian wrote that Stange (a Prussian artillery officer known in records only by his last name) was the "highest-ranking German guerrilla commander operating in the Turko-Russian border" area and the Ottoman government ordered him to deport Armenians. Stange and his soldiers became principals in the Armenian massacres, Mr. Dadrian found.

But last year, Guenter Lewy, a professor emeritus of political science at the University of Massachusetts, challenged Mr. Dadrian's claim, concluding that Stange's unit did not even operate in the area. "Tribal Kurds or Circassians may have deported the Armenians in the spring of 1915," Mr. Erickson wrote.

The debate over the historical record goes on, and Turkey has finally begun to allow its citizens to engage in controversial debates. This makes one wonder what the members of the French Parliament were thinking last week when they made it a crime to question the claim of Armenian genocide. The lower house decided that the punishment for denying the genocide would be one year in prison and a fine of 45,000 Euros. It would only take effect if it passed the upper house and was agreed to by French President Jacques Chirac. According to Turkish media reports, Mr. Chirac called Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and said he would do his best to keep the legislation from becoming law.

Making it a crime to dispute the idea of an Armenian genocide is so outrageous that senior European Union officials sided with Turkey.

"This is not the best way to contribute to something we think is important," said Jose Manuel Barroso, president of the European Commission. Oli Rehn, the EU commissioner for enlargement, agreed, saying, "We don't achieve real dialogue and real reconciliation by ultimatums, but by dialogue. Therefore this law is counterproductive."

Indeed it is. This law displays the aggressive tactics of the Armenian diaspora to prevent any objective re-examination of history.

They demand that Turkey accept that what happened was genocide. But is the goal to find the truth, or to make political arguments? Mr.

Erdogan offered to open the Turkish archives to study the matter, and called for Armenians to do the same. They denied his request. The other side can't stand the idea of questioning whether what happened was genocide.

Turks have done a poor job in dealing with the claims. They let one narrative dominate the world's understanding of the incident. They did not write about the Armenian attacks on Muslim villages. But now Turks are paying attention. They are angry. But they are not hateful like the Armenians who killed almost four dozen Turkish diplomats over "history."

I sat down with Turkish Ambassador Nabi Sensoy in Washington, and asked him whether the French Parliament's vote will make it more difficult for him to deal with the resolutions likely to be presented this year in the U.S. Congress, calling for recognition of Armenian genocide. Sixteen countries have already passed legislation or resolutions to recognize the Armenian genocide, he said. "The Congress has never been affected by the decisions of the foreign parliaments," he said. "The U.S. knows to think independently in its own democracy, and they know their own responsibilities."

The French Parliament's law is even more absurd than the section of the Turkish penal code that calls for Turkish citizens to be punished if they insult "Turkishness" by accepting the genocide claims, for example. Orhan Pamuk, this year's Nobel Prize winner for literature, was charged under that law. The charges were dropped, and no one has been punished.

But even the existence of such a law is embarrassing to a country wrestling with how to deal with freedom of expression. What Mr. Pamuk said about the Armenian genocide claims is irrelevant. What's important is that he should feel free to say whatever he thinks. But historians should have the definitive say on the issue and they haven't written the final chapter yet.

Tulin Daloglu is a free-lance writer.




Ottawa to soothe Turks angry over 'genocide' tag

Brian Laghi
Ottawa Bureau Chief

The federal government has moved to mend fences with Turkey by qualifying its support for a controversial declaration that the Turks perpetrated a genocide against Armenians during the First World War.

The move comes just months after Turkey agreed to take in thousands of Canadians stranded in strife-torn Lebanon and after the Turks protested diplomatically by temporarily removing their ambassador and then pulling out of air exercises taking place in Alberta earlier this summer.

Canada and Turkey are both members of NATO and each are contributing soldiers to the war in Afghanistan.

In a brief address at the home of the Turkish ambassador last week, Foreign Affairs Minister Peter MacKay thanked Turkey for taking in the Canadians and then added that Canada supports a Turkish plan to convene an academic panel to study the events of 1915.

The government is in the position of apparently both recognizing the events as a genocide and of calling for a study to examine the issue.

Backing the idea for a panel runs counter to the adoption of a resolution by Prime Minister Stephen Harper earlier this year when it affirmed a two-year-old House of Commons vote to condemn the brutal treatment of the Armenians. That move was championed by Mr. Harper's parliamentary secretary, Jason Kenney, and earned the government plaudits within the Armenian community.

"The Canadian government supports the Turkish government's practical proposal to establish a joint committee comprised of Turkish and Armenian historians as well as historians from a third country to look into the events of 1915, and encourages the Government of Armenia to participate in this committee," said Mr. MacKay, according to a transcript provided to The Globe and Mail.

It is unclear what prompted the shift, although Canada and Turkey are traditional allies and Turkey's proximity to the Middle East is seen as strategically important to the West.

An official speaking on behalf of Mr. MacKay confirmed that the minister supports the idea of a panel. "Minister MacKay endorses an independent study of the events of 1915, with third-party participation, in order for all possible facts to be looked at," Dan Dugas said.

About two dozen other countries have recognized the deaths of 1.5 million Armenians during the First World War as a genocide, while Turkey maintains the deaths were caused by civil strife, diseases and famine. At the time, Armenia was under Turkish Ottoman control.

An official with the Turkish embassy said the move is a welcome development. "Genocide is a very serious accusation," Yonet Tezel said.

"Turkey's proposal aims to narrow the gap between the two sides by allowing historians and experts to work together and, more importantly, reach conclusions based on their research in all the relevant archives."

However, an official with the Armenian embassy said the Canadian issue is settled, as far as Armenia is concerned.

© Copyright 2006 globeandmail.com




Angus Reid Global Monitor : Polls & Research Azerbaijan Best, France Worst for Turks
October 25, 2006

- Few adults in Turkey express positive feelings on two European nations, according to a poll by A&G published in Milliyet. Only 2.8 per cent of respondents trust France, and 3.2 per cent feel the same way about Britain.

The United States was next on the list with 3.6 per cent, followed by Greece with 4.2 per cent and Russia with 17.7 per cent. The three most trusted countries are Azerbaijan with 71.4 per cent, Pakistan with 47.3 per cent, and Iran with 29 per cent.

On Oct. 12, France’s National Assembly approved a bill that makes it a crime to deny that the state-sponsored deportation campaign undertaken by the Turkish government from 1915 to 1917—which targeted the Armenian population—actually constituted a genocide.

Some Turkish consumer organizations have called for a ban on French products. On Oct. 22, Turkish prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan pleaded for calm, saying, "What do we have to win or lose by boycotting? We should consider that with a great deal of caution."

Polling Data

Trust the following countries?
Yes No Not sure

France 2.8% 76.1% 21.1%
Britain 3.2% 73.2% 23.5%
United States 3.6% 78.5% 17.9%
Greece 4.2% 78.1% 17.7%
Russia 8.7% 64.8% 26.5%
Germany 17.7% 56.9% 25.3%
Iran 29.0% 43.1% 28.0%
Pakistan 47.3% 24.3% 28.4%
Azerbaijan 71.4% 11.1% 17.5%

Source: A&G / Milliyet
Methodology: Interviews with 2,408 Turk adults, conducted in late September 2006. No margin of error was provided.
©2003 - 2006. Angus Reid Strategies




Turkish Associations In France Reacts To Bill On So-called Armenian Genocide
10/23/2006

PARIS - Turkish associations in France have criticized a French bill which aims to criminalize denial of so-called Armenian genocide on the grounds that "it is against freedom of expression" and "it will harm friendship between Turks and Armenians living in France."

Releasing a statement, the Union of Associations of Citizens of Turkish origin (RACORT) said that the mentioned bill would deepen the bluff between French citizens of Turkish and Armenian origin.

Recalling that Turkish and Armenian intellectuals started to discuss tragic incidents that had taken place in the past thanks to the process of democratization in Turkey, it stated that however a part of French politicians approached the matter "in a demagogical and self-seeking way".

On the other hand, COJEP --a Turkish nongovernmental organization based in Strasbourg-- issued a written statement noting that the bill was an offensive one for Turkish people living in France.

It stressed, "this bill will remove the ground for discussions aiming to enlighten the facts. Once again we are facing a bill which will end dialogues and restrict freedoms."

© 2006 Anadolu Agency.




Turkish MPs Announce 'Shame List'
October 24, 2006
zaman.com

On Thursday, the Turkish parliament took a new step in condemnation of the French parliament's acceptance of a bill criminalizing any denial of an Armenian genocide.

It compiled a "shame list" of massacres committed by European countries, including France, Germany and the Netherlands.

The necessary study for the list was conducted by the parliament's justice sub-committee as part of its debates over a bill that would recognize the Algerian genocide committed by France.

The commission is researching the past massacres and tyrannies of countries that accept the Armenian genocide.

The members of the commission listened to Turkish History Society President Professor Yusuf Halacoglu and decided that announcing the European list to the world would be more efficient than recognition of an Algerian genocide.

In this context, the commission requested that the Turkish History Society and foreign affairs department carry out extensive studies into the history of countries recognizing an Armenian genocide.

The "shame list" is expected to be announced following the Ramadan holiday.

Deputy Mustafa Nuri Akbulut announced that the parliament would publish the list rather than recognize an Algerian genocide.

Akbulut also asserted that this study would enable the international community to better see the objective attitude of the Turkish parliament and added human rights, freedom of speech and the process that this method was subject to would be discussed extensively in the document.

Justice and Development Party (AKP) deputy Akbulut also said the document would include a text that will explain the circumstances under which Turkey decided to deport Armenians in 1915.

Akbulut noted that while Ottoman soldiers were deployed in the Dardanelles and the Caucasus during World War I, Armenians committed massacres in Anatolia and betrayed Ottomans.

France, Germany, the Netherlands, Italy, Sweden, Poland, Belgium, Slovakia, Greece, Latvia and Greek Cyprus have all made decisions so far about an Armenian Genocide in different years, and some have issued declarations and reports on the issue.




Turks in France Self-Critical over Armenian Bill

October 24, 2006
zaman.com

Turkish businessmen in France have admitted their failure in handling the situation with the French parliament’s controversial Armenian genocide bill.

Murat Ercan, chairman of the Union des Entrepreneurs Franco-Turcs, a group for Turkish entrepreneurs in France, said that Turkish businessmen were not concerned with the Armenian bill passed in the French parliament.

Even the reactions against the law proposal remained weak and ineffectual, said Ercan, who focused attention on the need for the formation of a lobby.

Forming a lobby would require organization, said Ercan. “The French news media did not even ask Turks living here in France to express their opinions. We have to have full awareness of our position.”

There was a lack of coordinated action among Turkish people living in France against the Armenian bill, said Ercan.

“The parliamentary approval of the Armenian bill came as a blow to the reputation of Turkish people in France. Even the Turkish reaction against the law proposal was very weak,” said Ercan.

Ercan blamed inexperience and a lack of knowledge on the part of some Turkish companies, who in turn perhaps harmed all.




Ambassador's Genocide Denial Case Delayed
Ali Ihsan Aydin, Paris
October 26, 2006
zaman.com

A lawsuit opened against Turkish Ambassador to Paris Aydin Sezgin has once again been delayed because of problems with the court’s computer system.

Following a ‘computer breakdown,’ the Paris Court of Appeals delayed its verdict in a lawsuit opened by Armenians against Sezgin for openly denying the alleged Armenian genocide on the embassy’s website.

The court stated that it would announce its verdict on November 8.

Internet service provider (ISP) France Telecom is also being tried along with Sezgin for their role in publishing the information.

The case, which Ambassador Sezgin is strongly favored to win because of his diplomatic immunity, is notable in terms of the anticipated verdict on France Telecom.

The Paris Civil Court of First Instance, the first authority to discuss the case, ruled that Sezgin could not be tried because of his diplomatic immunity and France Telecom was not punishable by law because the 2001 Armenian genocide law does not carry any sanctions.

The delay reportedly came about because of another ongoing lawsuit the same day, again opened by Armenians, against an encyclopedia named Quid for its alleged “pro-Turkish” version of the 1915 events.

The court had previously confirmed that the Sezgin verdict would be delivered yesterday. However, judicial circles in France, who are very interested in the case, associated the delay with France’s yet-unclear policy on the Armenian genocide and its indecision over how to tackle the problem.

The government is reported to be in close contact with the court in regard to the issue.

Armenian associations have been seeking to convict ‘deniers’ by interpreting other laws in ways that suit their purpose.

At yesterday’s hearing, the prosecution asked the court to punish Quid according to Article 1382 of the French Civil Code, which covers civil liability for offences related to violations of privacy.

The first court that handled the case had found Quid guilty according to this article.




'Thousands of Armenians Converted to Islam'
Ahmet Dinc
October 26, 2006
zaman.com

Abdulilah Firat, grandson of Sheik Sait, asserted that thousands of Armenians converted to Islam and became Kurds during the Ottoman era.

More than 500 Armenian villages converted to Islam during his great-grandfather’s lifetime alone, Firat stated and in doing so, instigated a new debate.

Speaking to Zaman, the former Erzurum deputy recalled that those who had converted remained ambivalent during the 1915 incidents. Firat asserted that they chose neither side, but tried hard to prevent the events.

He further claimed that their offspring supported the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), when the separatist Kurdish movement gained momentum. Reacting to Hrant Dink’s remarks implying that the genocide was actually committed by the Kurds, Firat said Armenians first attacked Muslims.

European countries and Russia have been provoking Armenians since the eighteenth century, Firat said. “We only protected our lives and honor. The homeland of Armenians is Palestine. They were exiled by the Byzantines to Anatolia. Kurds called the Armenians ‘Fille’ in a special reference to Palestine. Those ‘Filles’ were sent back to their homeland during deportation. The number of Armenians who died during the armed conflict is not more than a few thousand.”

Firat further noted that Armenians and Turks lived in urban residential areas, while Kurds inhabited rural areas. He asserted that when Armenians began slaughtering Turks, the Kurds sent armed forces to the urban areas in an effort to protect their Muslim brethren. Because they had lived together in urban areas, Armenians mostly killed Turks rather than Kurds, he said.

Stressing that the incidents were triggered by the Armenians, Firat also stated that Hamidiye units were founded for the purpose of protecting Muslims from the Armenians.

His grandfather, Sheik Sait, was an influential figure, Firat said, and claimed that Sait urged Armenian leaders at the time not to give in to Western provocations and attack the Muslims.

Firat regretfully noted that Sheik Sait’s efforts were not fruitful and Armenians initiated a large scale campaign of massacre and slaughter, and that the Ottoman administration armed Kurds as the European countries armed Armenian guerrillas.

Firat also added that the majority of Armenian casualties were caused by famine and illnesses during deportation, and not by direct armed conflict.

Those who Armed Armenians Also Claim Genocide

Firat claimed that Armenians possess an inherent feeling of resentment against Kurds. According to Firat, this feeling was first created by Western countries, which offered the Kurds to a chance separate from the Ottoman state and form an independent country to be inhabited by both Kurds and Armenians.

Asserting that Europe has continued this conspiracy, Firat concluded that those who had provoked and armed the Armenians in the past are now in a similar fashion attacking Turkey with the genocide laws.




Paris Court Postpones Genocide Denial case 2nd time
October 25, 2006
zaman.com

A Paris court postponed a decision on a case which was prepared by an Armenian group against Aydin Sezgin, Turkey’s ambassador to Paris.

The court postponed second time the controversial case, which was prepared by Armenians against Turkish Ambassador Sezgin, for the second time.

The group has accused Sezgin of spreading denial propaganda regarding the so-called Armenian genocide during World War I, demanding that he remove the text from the consulate’s website that denies an Armenian genocide.

The Paris Court said the decision of the case would be declared on Nov. 8. In beginning of October, the court had postponed its decision on the issue after the first hearing due to an error in the court's computer system.

During the last hearing the prosecutor had argued that the case should be rejected because of Sezgin's diplomatic immunity.

Sezgin's lawyers also had said that the court should reject the case, adding that the ambassador was free to defend Turkey's official stance on the issue.




Benefits of waiting
October 26, 2006
Gündüz Aktan

Some time has passed since the French parliament passed the bill that criminalizes denial of the Armenian “genocide.” Now that it has lost its newsworthiness, we can better analyze the matter.

Passing such a law caused some problems for France, but we should not exaggerate them too much. The criticisms directed against France were all for needlessly limiting freedom of expression. Most EU citizens, especially the French, believe the Armenian incidents in 1915 constitute genocide. All those who have anything to say first voice their belief that the genocide actually occurred before criticizing the bill. Maybe they get the right to raise such criticism only after they present their credentials.

Most of the criticisms in Turkey are also for France limiting freedom of expression. That's why some argue that annulling Article 301 of the Turkish Penal Code (TCK) would prove we respect freedom of expression more than France and would provide a very wise response.

However, the problem goes beyond freedom of expression or academic freedoms.

Genocide is the worst of crimes. Just like every other crime, law defines it and the courts decide on it. Without a verdict, a person, a group or a country cannot be accused of having committed genocide. Moreover, it is impossible to refute a crime that has not been proven first.

That's exactly why a law passed by the French parliament in 2001 that recognizes the Armenian “genocide” cannot be enforced. On the other hand, the Gaysot Law (1990), which criminalizes denial of the Jewish Holocaust, is enforceable because it is based on the Nuremberg court sentences. Professor O. Duhamel, fervently praised former minister Jack Lang as the only person who had the courage to voice this. How unfortunate for France.

If the bill becomes law in its present form, the right of Turkey and the families of Enver Pasha and Talat Pasha to defend themselves against the charges are rescinded. This is a more severe human rights violation than limiting freedom of speech.

After this injustice, the gestures of French President Jacques Chirac and the French government, as if they share our concerns, are sickening. The Armenian government has also resorted to similar deception as if it has nothing to do with such initiatives. They place the blame with the Armenian diaspora. Actually, while one tries to protect its commercial interests, the other is working to ensure that the Armenians who illegally work here are not repatriated. They are after both material and moral benefits.

Armenians used Armenian Secret Army for the Liberation of Armenia (ASALA) terrorism to promote their genocide claims and largely succeeded. Westerners saw the courage to resort to terrorism as proof of Armenians having been victims of genocide. They ignored the carnage of terrorism until it also harmed them.

This incited Armenians to threaten academics in the United States who said there was no genocide. They pressured universities to dismiss such academics. They prevented publishers from printing anything that went against their thesis. Those that were published were collected. Dissident voices were not permitted in the meeting they held.

They walked through the corridors of the European Parliament, brandishing guns in 1987 in order to ensure the resolution the European Parliament was debating would support their thesis. They prevented deputies from entering the meeting hall.

The threats by some Armenians made against one Armenian member of the Turkish-Armenian Reconciliation Council (TARC) resulted in him hiding his family at a secret location and blood clots that caused him to undergo two surgeries.

Armenian lobbies that spend exorbitant amounts of money influenced administrations and parliaments. The Armenian diaspora used their votes for political blackmail. They bought hundreds of people and made them write books full of lies. It was proven that the Talat Pasha telegraph was false. What Henry Morgenthau wrote about Talat Pasha and Enver Pasha is full of falsehoods, too. Lepsius, who never set foot in Anatolia, talked about the incidents as if he were an eyewitness. The Blue Book is only war propaganda. They have now started to bribe Turks.

There is no United Nations resolution on the matter, but they look us in the eye and say there is. Our archives are open, but they say they aren't. They say the Teşkilatı Mahsusa (Ottoman intelligence services) organized genocide. Professors Lewy and Ericson smash this theory. Yet they still look the other way. The figures they quote are sheer lies and the documents they cite are a sham.

What does this disgrace have to do with freedom of expression?




Accusations Of French Genocide Against Algerians
26 October 2006
Turkish Weekly

1. Overview

According to the Algerian documents, between 350,000 and 1.5 million Algerians died during the Algerian War of Independence.[1] Algerians argue that the massacres should be named as genocide and France must apologise to the Algerians. Arab states and many Muslim countries, including Turkey, back the Algerian claims. However the French do not accept the claims. According to the French side, the number of killed Algerian civilians is about 350.000, but not more "France's Alledged Algerian Genocide". French Foreign Ministry responded to Algerian President Abdulaziz Bouteflika's call to France to repent for what France perpetrated in Algeria during the colonial period, by relegating such historical inquiries to historians' "France Left Algerian Genocide to Historians Again"

Algeria's President Abdelaziz Bouteflika said that French colonization of his country was a form of genocide.[2][3] In memoirs, some French officers have described torture of Algerians during the war. Edouard Sablier, for instance, one of the soldiers who took part in the repression, later described the situation: "Everywhere in the towns there were camps surrounded by barbed wire containing hundreds of suspects who had been arrested… Often, when we set out to inspect an isolated hamlet in the mountains, I heard people say, 'We should punish them by taking away their crops'."[4] A paper called Ohé Partisans, published by the French Trotskyists, described Sétif as an “Algerian Oradour”. Oradour was a French town where the Nazi occupiers had murdered over 600 people, including children..

Some Algerian intellectuals argue that the number of genocide against the Algerian people is not one but many. Prof. Dr. Ali Al-Hail for instance says "French constituted numerous genocides against the Algerians" - The French Definition of 'Genocide'. Similarly, Abdulkerim Gazali, editor of the Algerian newspaper La Tribune, likens France's occupation of an independent and sovereign Algeria to Nazi Germany's occupation of many European countries and claimed this was racism "Algerian Genocide - Algerian History

However France has never accepted its responsibility in tortures and massacres in Algeria. Paris says that the past should be left to historians. French President Jacques Chirac, upon harsh reactions to the law encouraging the good sides of the French colonial history, made the statement, "Writing history is the job of the historians, not of the laws." According to Prime Minister, Dominique de Villepin, "speaking about the past or writing history is not the job of the parliament."[5]

The Algerian president Abdelaziz Bouteflika said in a speech in Paris on 17 April 2006 that "Colonisation brought the genocide of our identity, of our history, of our language, of our traditions".[6]

2. History

Algeria first became a colony of France in 1830. When in 1954 the Algerian people rioted against the French colonial rule, the French dispatched 400,000 troops to pacify the anti-colonial uprising.[7] The French colonial forces launched an air and ground offensive against several eastern cities, particularly Setif and Guelma, in response to anti-French riots. The crackdown lasted several days and according to the Algerian state left 45,000 people dead YouTube Video - "Algerian Genocide by France" European historians put the figure at between 15,000 and 20,000.[8] French attacks continued not only in Algerian territories but in France as well. The Paris massacre of 1961 was the most vivid example: On October 17 the French police attacked an unarmed demonstration of Algerians, who demanded the freedom of their country from French colonial rule. How many demonstrators were killed is still unclear, but estimates range from 32 to 200 people. The incident had not been officially confirmed until 1999.[9][10] The Algerian newspaper Liberté was seized by the Police on 19 October 1998, presumably in connection of an article about these events.[11]

There were executions and widespread arrests during the War of Independence. "Villages were bombed from the air and a town was shelled from a cruiser at sea. The attacks were more or less random. The point was not so much to punish the original rioters as to teach the whole Muslim population to know their place. Settlers set up their own unofficial death squads and killed hundreds of Muslims. German and Italian prisoners of war were released to take part in the massacre".[12]

As Le Monde Diplomatique put it, "as France celebrated victory in Europe on 8 May 1945, its army was massacring thousands of civilians in Sétif and Guelma - events that were the real beginning of Algeria’s war of independence."[13] Bouteflika also urged the Paris Government to admit its part in the massacres of 45,000 Algerians who took to the streets to demand independence as Europe celebrated victory over Nazi Germany in 1945.[14] French authorities then responded by playing down the comments, urging "mutual respect" French Foreign Minister Barnier told Algeria in an official visit to make a common effort to search history "in order to establish a common future and overcome the sad pages". Giving interview to El Vatan, an Algerian newspaper, Barnier said that "Historians from two sides must be encouraged to work together. They must work on the common past".[15]

After a war which ended in Algeria's independence in 1962, eight million Algerian residents were deprived of French nationality and hundreds of thousands of pieds-noirs (French who settled in Algeria and were re-patriated at the end of the war) were forced "home" to a place which was not home.

3. Commentary

Ahmed Ben Bella also argues that the French committed a genocide against the people and Algerian culture: "Algeria's indigenous population was decimated in the early years of French settler colonial rule, falling from over four million in 1830 to less than 2.5 million by 1890. Systematic genocide was coupled with the brutal suppression of Algerian cultural identity. Indigenous Algerians were French subjects, but could only become French citizens if they renounced Islam and Arab culture. A ruthless policy of acculturation followed, and the remaining Algerians were forced to cease speaking their native Arabic and use the French of their colonial masters instead. The indigenous Muslim population of Algeria was not permitted to hold political meetings or bear arms. They were subjected to strict pass laws that required indigenous Muslim Algerians to seek permission from the colonial authorities to leave their hometowns or villages."[16]

Abdulkerim Gazali, editor of the Algerian newspaper La Tribune, likened France's occupation of an independent and sovereign Algeria to Nazi Germany's occupation of many European countries and claimed this was racism.[17]

4. Recent developments

Algeria called on France to apologize in 2005 for crimes committed during the colonial era.[18] Amar Bakhouche, speaker of the Algerian Senate, similarly reacted that France did not apologize for massacres it committed in Algeria.[19]

The archives in France on the issue have been kept closed until now. The French collected all documents regarding the massacres and genocide. For many, the closed archives are another sign of the Genocide in Algeria. Amar Bakhouche, the speaker of Algerian Senate, reacted against the fact that France keeps the archives related to that period closed. He said the greatest majority of archives related to that period were brought to France and they were kept closed. "They are not open for French and Algerians. We urged to immediately open them for public", he said.[20]

In response to the action of the French parliament, making it an offense to deny the supposed Armenian genocide, the Turkish parliament is drafting a bill to make it illegal to deny that the French committed genocide in Algeria.[21] Turkish party leaders, including CHP, MHP, BBP and ANAP called France to recognise 'Algerian genocide'.

5. References

1. ^ Wars of the World Algeria Independence France 1954-1962
2. ^ BBC News Algeria leader in French hospital
3. ^ The Scotsman Algerian leader calls colonisation 'genocide'
4. ^ Socialist Worker Algeria — the war didn’t end in 1945
5. ^ Zaman Online France in Favor of So-Called Genocide Resorts to Historians
6. ^ The Scotsman Algerian leader calls colonisation 'genocide'
7. ^ Al-Ahram Weekly Ahmed Ben Bella: Plus ça change
8. ^ Al Jazzeera [1]
9. ^ The Washington Post Back Issues A 1961 Massacre of Algerians in Paris - When the Media Failed the Test
10. ^ Al-Ahram Weekly Bullets in the water
11. ^ When the Seine was full of bodies
12. ^ Socialist Worker Algeria — the war didn’t end in 1945
13. ^ Le Monde Diplomatique Massacre in Algeria
14. ^ Al Jazzeera [2]
15. ^ Diplomatic Observer PARIS' GAME TURNS AGAINST DUE TO ALGERIA
16. ^ Al-Ahram Weekly Ahmed Ben Bella: Plus ça change
17. ^ Turkish Weekly Algeria Asks France to Recognize Algerian Genocide
18. ^ Turkish Weekly France's Alledged Algerian Genocide
19. ^ Diplomatic Observer PARIS' GAME TURNS AGAINST DUE TO ALGERIA
20. ^ Diplomatic Observer PARIS' GAME TURNS AGAINST DUE TO ALGERIA
21. ^ NTV-MSNBC Turkish parliamentary committee drafts law on Algerian genocide




Decision Would Affect Cultural Dialogue, Prof. Dumont
26 October 2006
Turkish Press

"The bill adopted by the French National Assembly is a barrier against freedom. It seems impossible for the cultural dialogue not to get affected by this," Turkish History Professor Paul Dumont said on Thursday.

Attending a conference organized by Hacettepe University in Ankara, Professor Dumont answered the questions of the A.A reporter on French National Assembly's today's decision.

Dumont reminded that he teaches Ottoman and Turkish history classes at Strasbourg University and he also instructs Armenia-Turkey relations. He said that the decision of the Assembly would affect the freedom of speech.

"It is so bizarre in a free country like France that the scientists cannot study on some issues and can get pecuniary penalty or jail sentence if they talk on these issues," he said.

Prof. Dumont noted that the decision would be a barrier for the ones who defend Turkey and would affect the cultural dialogue.

-FRANCE MADE A BIG MISTAKE, PROF. HALMAN-

Meanwhile, Dean of Humanities and Letters Faculty of Bilkent University Prof. Dr. Talat Halman who attended the conference also answered the questions of A.A on French National Assembly's decision.

Halman said that France made a big mistake and Turkey has a justifiable disappointment. "Turks always respected and admired French. French culture affected our culture a lot. From now on probably there would be a big resistance. This won't be only an economic resistance. France will face difficulties in terms of political agreements. We won't support them easily from now on. But the worst thing is that our perfect cultural relations were damaged. They wounded us, we did not deserve this. This is an injustice. I hope France would correct this mistake somehow."




Rwanda: France Played An Active Role In 1994 Genocide
26 October 2006
Turkish Weekly

Rwanda has launched an investigation into allegations French troops trained the soldiers behind Rwanda's 1994 genocide.

Rwanda's Tutsi President Paul Kagame, whose government came to power after the genocide, has accused France of training and arming Hutu militias. Former Rwandan ambassador to Paris Jacques Bihozagara said French involvement stemmed from concerns about its diminishing influence in Africa.

They were the main force behind the 100-day slaughter that killed 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus.

Kigali said France backed the government of Rwanda's former President Juvenal Habyarimana, providing military training for government forces, despite knowing that some within the leadership were planning to use the troops to commit genocide.

After the hearings, the Rwandan panel will rule on whether to file a suit at the International Court of Justice.

The panel is headed by former Justice Minister Jean de Dieu Mucyo and its proceedings, which began in the Rwandan capital, Kigali, on Tuesday, are being broadcast live on local radio.

It is hearing from 25 survivors of the genocide, who claim to have witnessed French involvement.

"This is an important inquiry that should be witnessed by everyone interested in this important episode of our history," Mr Mucyo was quoted as saying by the AFP news agency.

* FRANCE ALWAYS DENIES

France, which sent in soldiers under an operation authorized by the United Nations, has always denied any involvement in the killings.
Officials said a seven-man commission, appointed by the government in April, will hear testimony from 20 witnesses over the next week. The testimony could be used as evidence in any legal action taken by Kigali against France.
A French parliamentary commission in 1998 cleared France of responsibility for the genocide but said "strategic errors" had been made.

"The French sent troops, weapons, trained killers and manned roadblocks to facilitate murderers in achieving their mission of exterminating Tutsis," Jacques Bihozagara, a former Rwandan ambassador to France, told the commission.

In one case, French soldiers have been accused of facilitating the murder of up 50,000 Tutsis in Bisesero, a hilltop village in western Rwanda, by luring them out of hideouts.

Survivors said the Tutsis were abandoned and left vulnerable to militia attacks.

The UN's International Criminal Tribunal has indicted more than 80 people for genocide-related crimes since its establishment in 1994.

* FRANCE ALSO DENIES ALGERIA GENOCIDE

Apart from the Genocide in Rwanda, France has been accused fort he Genocide in Algeria. Approximately 1.5 million Algerian Muslim Arabs were tortured and massacred under the French rule according to the Algerian sources 1.5 million dead, while French officials estimated it at 350,000. Algerians argue that the massacres should be named as genocide and France must apologise from the Algerians. However the French do not accept the claims. Algeria's President Abdelaziz Bouteflika says that French colonization of his country Algeria was a form of genocide. In memoirs, some French officers have described torture of Algerians during the war, however France has never accepted its responsibility in tortures and massacres in Algeria. Paris says that the past should be left to historians. French President Jacques Chirac, upon harsh reactions to the law encouraging the good sides of the French colonial history, made the statement, "Writing history is the job of the historians, not of the laws." Writing history is the job of the historians" According to Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin, "speaking about the past or writing history is not the job of the parliament. The Algerian president Bouteflika said in a speech in Paris on 17 April 2006 "We no longer know whether we are Berbers (indigenous North Africans), Arabs, Europeans or French. France committed a genocide of Algerian identity during the colonial era. Colonisation brought the genocide of our identity, of our history, of our language, of our traditions."

Algeria first became a colony of France in 1830. After a war which ended in Algeria's independence in 1962, eight million Algerian residents were deprived of French nationality and hundreds of thousands of 'pieds noir' (French who settled in Algeria and were re-patriated at the end of the war) were forced home to a place which was not home.

Algeria called on France to apologise in 2005 for crimes committed during the colonial era. Bouteflika also urged Paris to admit its part in the massacres of 45,000 Algerians who took to the streets to demand independence as Europe celebrated victory over Nazi Germany in 1945. French authorities then responded by playing down the comments, urging "mutual respect".




Warm Ties With The Diaspora
The Armenian issue constantly confronts Turkey. Everywhere in the world – in France, America, Lebanon – when Turkey is mentioned, some group appears hating Turkey and opposing them to the death. I have written on this story of hate in previous articles.

More than in those subjected to deportation, this is a hate that has formed in later generations. The migration of Armenians, an Eastern Christian group, after World War II to Western countries played a big role in the transformation of the resentment of the first generation into the hatred of later generations.

Last year was the 90th anniversary of the deportation. 2015 will be the 100th anniversary. The Armenians, or, more accurately, those who want to put pressure on Turkey, are trying to keep this issue on the agenda as much as possible and are preparing for a finale ten years from now.

In World War II, which began in 1939 and ended in 1945, 35 million people died. Twenty million remained crippled. Twelve million mothers miscarried before holding their babies in their arms. Occupying France, Germany attacked Russia and caused the death of hundreds of thousands of people. A total of 35 million people from England, France, Italy and Germany lost their lives in this war. Killing millions of each other’s people just 60 years ago, these states are uniting under one roof today by their own desire. But the events Turkey experienced with the Armenians during World War I are constantly bearing down on it, growing larger with each passing day. This issue constantly confronts us in a different country.

There is only one action Turkey has taken against this situation. That is to say as loudly as possible to anyone who begins speaking about the alleged Armenian genocide that we didn’t’ butcher them, they butchered us. Repeated more so in Turkey, these words don’t reach the rest of the world. The whole world believes the claims of the Armenians; their voice comes out a lot stronger than Turkey’s. Turkey has no other approach or policy regarding this matter. When a few authorities repeat these words that we didn’t kill them, Armenian gangs killed Turks, the subject is closed for us.

For example, if we say that historians should handle this, it isn’t going to resolve anything. The subject isn’t closed for the Armenians and because it is useful for big states, it is constantly brought up against us. This situation could have been acceptable before because Turkey was a country squeezed between the Kapikule and Habur borders where only the rulers were happy. But things have changed today. We are finally living in a country integrated with the rest of the world.

Turkey should change its policy on this issue and create warm ties with the Armenian Diaspora. In fact, civilians should be doing more than the government. We should sit down and talk with them a little about Fenerbahce football. Eating stuffed grapevine leaves together, presenting gold jewelry at weddings, and occasionally speaking Turkish. In short, it’s necessary to remember again that we are societies that until yesterday did a lot of things together, ate the same food, sang the same songs, and reacted similarly when insulted; we shared the same emotions.

There are so many people in the Armenian Diaspora who have never met a Turk in their whole life. Through face-to-face encounters, seeing that Turks are different from the type of person they have created in their minds could make a deep impression on them. Seeing that the Turks they hate to death are not like the image they have in their heads could turn their beliefs upside down.

Turkey can overcome this issue with more human-oriented policies.

MEHMET KAMIŞ
19 October 2006
Zaman




If Our Ambassador To Paris Had Been Armenian?
The first Turkish novel, “Akabi Story” was written by Armenian Vartan Pasha in the middle of the 19th century and printed in the Armenian alphabet. What an interesting manifestation of fate is that the first Nobel Prize for Turkish literature has an Armenian element as well. Our successful novelist Orhan Pamuk, who was subjected to national anger after referring to events experienced by Anatolian Armenians during World War I in a way different than the ‘official history’ rhetoric, received this prestigious award.

Carefully followed by the world’s elite, the Nobel Prize’s presentation to a Turk should normally be expected to make a positive impact on Turkey’s image. However, the bestowal of the prize on an author whose name has been identified with the Armenian question due to some outdated legal practices, such as Article 301, that are contrary to freedom of expression will most likely create some new hurdles for Turkish diplomacy.

There are many who tie the Nobel committee’s choice to political reasons. We are also angry with the latest efforts of the French parliament to outlaw views that deny the so-called Armenian genocide with complete disregard to freedom of expression. However, it is obvious that we have not been able to overcome the vengeful Armenians. They increasingly gather the world intelligentsia behind them and deal defeat after defeat to Turkey. Wherever we go in the international community, an “Armenian genocide” ghost appears in front of us. The attacks in the U.S. Congress have been warded off so far, but actually the illness long ago infected that place as well. It comes out of incubation during periods whenever the immune system is weakened in Turkish-American relations. Sooner or later it will eventually reach its goal.

As a grandchild of the Ottomans, who treated minorities in a much more civilized way than my contemporaries did, I get upset when controversial aspects of our history are highlighted in the West. On the other hand, I believe that our neglect has also played a big role in events coming to this point, and I bemoan this.

If only we had been able to take reasonable precautions against the exploitation of some of our non-Muslim citizens by imperialists during the final period of the Ottomans. If only we had been able to realize our passage to the nation state model by better protecting our multi-cultural, multi-religious and multi-ethnical structure. If only we had kept Turkey’s ties alive through Armenian and Greek Ottoman Diasporas especially, which formed after the disintegration of the empire, instead of alienating them this much. If only we had kept the door open to a return to their motherland and over time forgive even those who tormented their Muslim brothers because they were fooled by the land promises of the imperialists. Had we done so, perhaps many hurdles that are now consuming Turkey’s energy and blocking its path might have been buried before they were even born.

The Ottomans appointed our Armenian citizens as ambassadors to Belgium, Italy and England. Here is what I think: If our current ambassador in Paris was also an Armenian, could the French parliament insult us this easily? During the 19th century in the Ottoman state, Armenian citizens were appointed to the following upper-echelon posts: 29 generals, 22 ministers, 33 members of parliament, seven ambassadors, 11 consul generals-consuls and 41 high-level bureaucrats. If as modern Turkey, we had done even a small portion of this, who would have adopted the Armenian genocide thesis?

But alas, Armenians and Greeks, whose century-old criminal records we haven’t yet erased, even the Jews, whose positive image generally persisted during the Republic period, still have difficulty today in openly taking jobs in the Turkish bureaucracy. Recently an ugly campaign was carried out against Chief of Staff Yasar Buyukanit with the claim that he is Jewish. I don’t know if the claim is true or not. But assuming it is, why should the religious preferences and ethnic roots of our statesmen be a problem, as long as they remain loyal to this country, flag and nation?

Actually, it would be a great contribution to both our nation’s internal harmony and international status if non-Muslim and non-Turkish elements were comfortable enough to put forth their real cultural identities in every aspect of life, including bureaucracy. Those who openly say “I’m Jew, I’m Armenian, I’m Greek, I’m Alevi, I’m Kurdish, or I’m a religious Sunni” can face serious obstacles, especially in bureaucratic careers. Hence, most of them hide their identity by survival instincts and trip up those they see as a threat. At the root of the political fights that shows our country as unstable to the world is this type of continuous quarreling. The Republic of Turkey should be rescued from being a kind of “republic of pretense” where different elements of the nation hesitate to put forth their original identities. Instead of trying to deter and punish those who would like to express themselves honestly, our legal system should provide them more assurance.

Our ethnic and religious differences can be turned from being our weak spot, particularly in foreign policy, into being an advantage. For example, we’re sending troops to Lebanon. Why not put at the top of our troops a commander who can, with no hesitation, express his Arab roots and can speak Arabic? After all, the United States is trying to utilize its ethnic, religious and linguistic diversity in its global policies. In Iraq, their ambassador (Zalmay Khalilzad) and number-one commander (General John Abizaid) are of Arab descent.

Turkey is a country which is a home for all cultural colors in the region. If we know how to respect, protect and utilize our human heritage, wouldn’t we have social and regional peace more easily? Wouldn’t we reach our goal of contemporary civilization and EU membership faster? Wouldn’t we be a more modern and stronger country? Wouldn’t our enemies lose their biggest trump cards?

ALI ASLAN
20 October 2006
Zaman




Chirac Did Not Promise Erdogan To Intervene In Armenian Genocide Bill Adoption
French opposition Socialist Party's lawmakers, who proposed the controversial 'genocide' bill adopted last week by Parliament, criticized French President Jacques Chirac for telling Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan he was sorry that French lawmakers approved the bill – making it a crime to deny that Armenians were subjected to a Genocide at the hands of the Ottoman Empire. "It is disappointing that he [Chirac] apologized over parliamentary work," said Didier Migaud, deputy from the Socialist Party.

Erdogan said over the weekend that Chirac called him and said he was sorry and also promised to "do everything he could in the following process," referring to the readings through which the bill must pass before becoming legislation. Chirac, during a visit to the Armenian capital of Yerevan last month, said Turkey must recognize the alleged Armenian genocide, before it can join the European Union. An official from the French Foreign Ministry, referring to a telephone conversation between Chirac and Erdogan, reportedly said Jacques Chirac did not make a pledge that he would intervene or ensure that the bill was annulled, Turkish Daily News reports.

20 October 2006
Panarmenian




Oskanian: Armenia Not Going To Corner Turkey
The purpose of Armenian Foreign Minister Vartan Oskanian’s visit to Canada was to strengthen Canada-Armenia bilateral relations in economic and political fields, cooperation in international organizations and obtain Canada’s assistance in enhancing Armenia’s peace-keeping capacities, the FM stated at a meeting with Canadian MPs. Minister Oskanian reviewed Armenia’s political, economic and social development, Armenia’s relation with its neighbors, and the French National Assembly's principled stand on the Armenian Genocide. Minister Oskanian stressed that Armenia has always advocated dialogue and the establishment of diplomatic relations between Armenia and Turkey without precondition. “It is not our intention to humiliate or corner Turkey,” stated Minister Oskanian. The Minister also thanked the House of Commons and the Senate of Canada members, and the Canadian Government for their recognition of the Armenian Genocide, the Armenian National Committee of Canada (ANCC) told.

20 October 2006
Panarmenian




Turkish Parliament to List Europe's Massacres
The Turkish parliament took a new step in condemnation of the French parliament’s acceptance of the bill criminalizing denial of an Armenian genocide. It compiled a “shame list” of massacres committed by European countries including France, Germany and the Netherlands.

The necessary study for the list was conducted by the parliament’s justice sub-committee as part of its debates over a bill that would recognize the Algerian genocide committed by France. The commission is researching the massacres and tyrannies that countries that accept the Armenian genocide have committed in the past.

The members of the commission listened to Turkish History Society President Professor Yusuf Halacoglu and decided that announcing the European list to the world would be more efficient than recognition of an Algerian genocide.

In this context, the commission requested the Turkish History Society and foreign affairs department carry out extensive studies into the history of countries recognizing the so-called Armenian genocide.

The “shame list” is expected to be announced following the Ramadan festival.

Deputy Mustafa Nuri Akbulut announced the parliament would publish the list rather than recognizing an Algerian genocide. Akbulut also asserted this study would enable the international community to better see the objective attitude of the Turkish parliament and added human rights, freedom of speech and the process that this method was subject to would be discussed extensively in the document that will include the shame list.

Justice and Development Party deputy Akbulut also said the document would include a text that will explain the circumstances under which Turkey decided to deport Armenians in 1915.

Akbulut noted that while Ottoman soldiers were deployed in the Dardanelles and the Caucasus during World War I, Armenians committed massacres in Anatolia and backstabbed Ottomans.

The Countries that Recognize the Alleged Armenian Genocide

France, Germany, the Netherlands, Italy, Sweden, Poland, Belgium, Slovakia, Greece, Latvia and Greek Cyprus have taken decisions so far about the so-called Armenian Genocide in different years, and some have issued declarations and reports on the issue.

Fatih Atik
October 19, 2006
zaman.com




Mr. Erdogan's Turkey
Michael Rubin
October 19, 2006
Wall Street Journal

Five years into the war on terror, inept U.S. diplomacy risks undercutting a key democracy (and ally) that President Bush once called a model for the Muslim world. The future of Turkey as a secular, Western-oriented state is at risk. Just as in Gaza and Lebanon, the threat comes from parties using the rhetoric of democracy to advance distinctly undemocratic agendas. Turkey has overcome past challenges from terrorism and radical Islam; always its system has persevered. But now, as Turkish politicians and officials work to defend the Turkish constitution, U.S. diplomats interfere to dismiss Turkish concerns and downplay the Islamist threat.

Resident Scholar Michael Rubin

A crisis has simmered for months, but earlier this month Ankara erupted. On Oct. 1, President Ahmet Necdet Sezer warned parliament, "The fundamentalist threat has not changed its goal to change the basic characteristics of the state." The next day, as Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan visited the Oval Office, Gen. Yasar Büyükanit, chief of Turkey's armed forces, warned cadets of growing Islamic fundamentalism and promised "every measure will be taken against it." Usually such warnings are enough to keep those transgressing on the constitutional separation of mosque and state in check.

Enter U.S. Ambassador Ross Wilson. At an Oct. 4 press conference he said: "There is nothing that worries me with regards to Turkey's continuation as a strong, secure, stable and secular democracy." He dismissed opposition concern about the Islamism of Mr. Erdogan's ruling Justice and Development Party (known in Turkish as the AKP) as "political cacophony." His remarks were consistent with those of his State Department superiors. Last autumn, Daniel Fried, assistant secretary of state for European Affairs, said "The development of the AKP into a democratic party...has mirrored and supported the development of Turkish political society as a whole in a liberal and democratic direction." He described the AKP as "a kind of Muslim version of a Christian Democratic Party."

Why are so many Turks angry at Washington's dismissal of their concerns? While democrats fight for change within a system, Islamists seek to alter the system itself. This has been the case with the AKP. Over the party's four-year tenure, Mr. Erdogan has spoken of democracy, tolerance and liberalism, but waged a slow and steady assault on the system. He endorsed, for example, the dream of Turkey's secular elite to enter the European Union, but only to embrace reforms diluting the checks and balances of military constitutional enforcement. After the European Court of Human Rights upheld a ban on headscarves in public schools, he changed course. "It is wrong that those who have no connection to this field [of religion] make such a decision...without consulting Islamic scholars," he declared. Then in May 2006, his chief negotiator for accession talks ordered the removal, from a negotiating paper, of reference to Turkey's educational system as secular.

The assault on the secular education system has been subtle but effective. Traditionally, students had three choices: enroll at religious academies (so-called Imam Hatips) and enter the clergy; learn a trade at vocational schools; or matriculate at secular high schools, attend university and pursue a career. Mr. Erdogan changed the system: By equating Imam Hatip degrees with high-school degrees, he enabled Islamist students to enter university and qualify for government jobs without ever mastering Western fundamentals. He also sought to bypass checks and balances. After the Higher Education Board composed of university rectors rejected his demands to make universities more welcoming of political Islam, the AKP-dominated parliament proposed to establish 15 new universities. While Mr. Erdogan told diplomats his goal was to promote education, Turkish academics say the move would enable him to handpick rectors and swamp the board with political henchmen.

Such tactics have become commonplace. At Mr. Erdogan's insistence and over the objections of many secularists, the AKP passed legislation to lower the mandatory retirement age of technocrats. This could mean replacement of nearly 4,000 out of 9,000 judges. Turks are suspicious that the AKP seeks to curtail judicial independence. In May 2005, AKP Parliamentary Speaker Bülent Arinç warned that the AKP might abolish the constitutional court if its judges continued to hamper its legislation. Mr. Erdogan's refusal to implement Supreme Court decisions levied against his government underline his contempt for rule of law. Last May, in the heat of the AKP's anti-judiciary rhetoric, an Islamist lawyer protesting the head scarf ban shouted "Allahu Akbar," opened fire in the Supreme Court and murdered a judge. Thousands attended his funeral, chanting pro-secular slogans. Mr. Erdogan was absent from the ceremony.

There have been other subtle changes. Mr. Erdogan has replaced nearly every member of the banking regulatory board with officials from the Islamic banking sector. Accusations of Saudi capital subsidizing AKP are rampant. According to Turkish Central Bank statistics, in the first six months of this year, the net error--money entering the Turkish economy for which regulators cannot account--has increased almost eightfold compared to 2002, the year the AKP came to power. According to the opposition parliamentary bloc, debt amassed under Mr. Erdogan's administration is equal to total debt accrued in Turkey between 1970 and 2000. Erkan Mumcu, a former AKP minister who now heads the center-right Motherland Party, accused the AKP in June of interfering in Central Bank operations. Accordingly, President Bush's Oval Office statement, based on State Department talking points--congratulating "the prime minister and his government for the economic reforms that have enabled the Turkish economy to be strong"--may have hampered transparency, if not reform.

In the past year, the AKP anti-secular agenda has grown bolder. AKP-run municipalities now ban alcohol. Turkish Airlines recently surveyed employees about their attitudes toward the Quran. On July 11, Mr. Erdogan publicly vouched for the sincerity of Yasin al-Qadi, a Saudi financier identified by both the U.N. and U.S. Treasury Department as an al Qaeda financier.

When Mr. Erdogan began his political career, he did not hide his agenda. In September 1994, while mayor of Istanbul, he promised, "We will turn all our schools into Imam Hatips." Two months later he said, "Thank God Almighty, I am a servant of the Shariah." In May 1996, he called for a ban on alcohol. In the months before his dismissal from the mayoralty, his cynicism was clear. "Democracy is like a streetcar," he quipped. "You ride it until you arrive at your destination and then you step off."

Diplomacy should not just accentuate the positive and ignore the negative. When a country faces an Islamist challenge, PC platitudes do far more harm than good. At the very least, U.S. diplomats should never intercede to preserve the status quo at the expense of liberalism. Nor should they even appear to endorse a political party as an established democracy enters an election season. It is not good relations with Ankara that should be the U.S. goal, but rather the triumph of the democratic and liberal ideas for which Turkey traditionally stands.

Michael Rubin is a resident scholar at AEI.




The Right to Deny Genocide
jeudi 19 octobre 2006, Stéphane/armenews

The Right to Deny Genocide Passing laws that criminalize denying past atrocities is no way to address historical grievances.

By Timothy Garton Ash,

TIMOTHY GARTON ASH is professor of European studies at Oxford University and a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University.

October 19, 2006

http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/commentary/la-oe-ash19oct19,0,5754827.story ?coll=la-home-commentary

WHAT A magnificent blow for truth, justice and humanity the French National Assembly has struck. Last week, it voted for a bill that would make it a crime to deny that the Turks committed genocide against the Armenians during World War I. Bravo ! Chapeau bas ! Vive la France ! But let this only be a beginning in a brave new chapter of European history.

Let Britain’s Parliament now make it a crime to deny that it was Russians who murdered Polish officers at Katyn in 1940. Let the Turkish parliament make it a crime to deny that France used torture against insurgents in Algeria. Let the German parliament pass a bill making it a crime to deny the existence of the Soviet gulag. Let the Irish parliament criminalize denial of the horrors of the Spanish Inquisition. Let the Spanish parliament mandate a minimum of 10 years imprisonment for anyone who claims that the Serbs did not attempt genocide against Albanians in Kosovo.

And the European Parliament should pass into European law a bill making it obligatory to describe as genocide the American colonists’ treatment of American Indians. The only pity is that we, in the European Union, can’t impose the death sentence for these heinous thought crimes. But perhaps, with time, we may change that too.

Oh brave new Europe ! It is entirely beyond me how anyone in their right mind - apart, of course, from a French Armenian lobbyist - can regard this proposed bill, which will almost certainly be voted down in the upper house of the French parliament, as a progressive and enlightened step.

What right has France to prescribe by law the correct historical terminology to characterize what another nation did to a third nation 90 years ago ? If the French parliament passed a law making it a crime to deny the complicity of Vichy France in the deportation to the death camps of French Jews, I would still argue that this was a mistake, but I could respect the self-critical moral impulse behind it. This bill, by contrast, has no more moral or historical justification than any of the other suggestions I have just made.

In an article last Friday, the Guardian averred that "supporters of the law are doubtless motivated by a sincere desire to redress a 90-year-old injustice." I wish I could be so confident. Currying favor with French Armenian voters and putting another obstacle in the way of Turkey joining the EU might be suggested as other motives.

It will be obvious to every intelligent reader that my argument has nothing to do with questioning the suffering of the Armenians who were massacred, expelled or felt impelled to flee in fear of their lives during and after World War I. Their fate at the hands of the Turks was terrible and has been too little recalled in the mainstream of European memory. Reputable historians and writers have made a strong case that those events deserve the label of genocide, as it has been defined since 1945. In fact, this year’s winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature, Orhan Pamuk, and other Turkish writers have been prosecuted under the Turkish penal code for daring to suggest exactly that. That is significantly worse than the intended effects of the new French bill. But two wrongs don’t make a right.

No one can legislate historical truth. Insofar as historical truth can be established at all, it must be found by unfettered historical research, with historians arguing over the evidence and the facts, testing and disputing each other’s claims without fear of prosecution or persecution.

In the tense ideological politics of our time, this proposed bill is a step in exactly the wrong direction. How can we credibly criticize Turkey, Egypt or other states for curbing free speech, through the legislated protection of historical, national or religious shibboleths, if we are doing ever more of it ourselves ?

Far from creating new, legally enforced taboos about history, national identity and religion, those European nations that have them should repeal not only their blasphemy laws but also their laws on Holocaust denial. Otherwise, a charge of double standards is impossible to refute.

I recently heard the French philosopher Bernard-Henri Levy going through some impressive intellectual contortions to explain why he opposed any laws restricting criticism of religion but supported those on Holocaust denial. It was one thing, he argued, to question a religious belief, quite another to deny a historical fact. But this won’t wash. Historical facts are established precisely by their being disputed and tested against the evidence. Without that process of contention - up to and including the revisionist extreme of outright denial - we would never discover which facts are truly hard.

Such consistency requires painful decisions. For example, I have nothing but abhorrence for some of David Irving’s recorded views about Nazi Germany’s attempted extermination of the Jews, but I am quite certain that he should not be sitting in an Austrian jail as a result of them. You may riposte that the falsehood of some of his claims was established by a trial in a British court. Yes, but that was not the British state prosecuting him for Holocaust denial. It was Irving suing another historian who suggested that he was a Holocaust denier. He was trying to curb free and fair historical debate ; the court defended it.

Only when we are prepared to allow our own most sacred cows to be poked in the eye can we credibly demand that Islamists, Turks and others do the same. This is a time not for erecting taboos but for dismantling them. We must practice what we preach.





ANKARA: It Is Not Like 2001 This Time
Yeni Safak , Istanbul, Oct 8 2006

Turkish foreign minister warns France not to pass Armenian genocide bill

Foreign Minister Gul has spoken to Yeni Safak. His reaction to France's [proposed] law punishing anyone who denies the "Armenian genocide" is tough: France acknowledged the genocide in 2001. This time is not the same as it was five years ago. This time you will lose Turkey!

Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul has spoken out strongly against the bill proposed for passage by the French parliament to make denial of the Armenian genocide a crime and make anybody who denies liable to face up to five years in prison and a fine of 45,000 euros. Gul said: "France acknowledged the genocide in 2001 but the reactions back then fizzled out quickly. We are not making threats but the attitude today is different from what it was in 2001. The French will lose Turkey."

Gul spoke on the telephone to France's Minister of Foreign Affairs Phillipe Douste-Blazy yesterday morning ahead of 12 October, when the bill is expected to be put to the vote. Gul asked his counterpart to try harder to prevent the bill from being passed.

Speaking to Yeni Safak, Gul said: "What we want is for these kinds of problems never to occur between two countries or between Turkey and Europe. However, if things continue to unfold as they are doing, it is inevitable that both the government and society in general will react to this." Explaining that he had told Minister Blazy: "There are political and commercial relations between the two countries, including the military sphere. If the bill is passed, there is no way these relations will not suffer." Gul added, "I told him this two weeks ago and I also asked him to convey our representations to Chirac."

Recounting the conversation he had with his counterpart, Gul said: "Of course we are not making threats but it is going to be hard this time to keep the public's outcry against France in check. This time the reaction will not be like the reaction to the laws passed in 2001." The minister also warned, "Naturally it will no longer be possible to work with France in the area of nuclear energy."

Saying, "France will lose Turkey if it accepts this bill," Gul added, "It shows once again the folly of letting political decisions interpret historical events."




ANKARA: Photos Of Turkish Diplomats Killed By Armenian Gangs Displayed In Igdir
Turkish Press Oct 9 2006

IGDIR - The photographs of Turkish diplomats, who were killed by the Armenian gangs between 1973 and 1984, were displayed in the Memorial of Turks killed by the Armenian gangs in eastern city of Igdir, Igdir City & Tourism Director Ziya Zakir Acar said today.

Acar told A.A correspondent that a section was set up in the memorial for the diplomats, and the curricula vitae of the diplomats were also exhibited in this section.

"Those who visit the memorial will see the massacre of Turks by the Armenians," he added.




PRESS SCAN: HURRIYET
Turkish Press Oct 9 2006

WHAT YOU`RE DOING WAS DONE BY STALIN AND HITLER
Journalist-writer Kenize Murad, citizen of Turkey and France, objected to French Parliament`s bringing draft on so-called Armenian genocide onto agenda again. Murad said that French Parliament`s initiative is an intellectual terrorism, adding that re-writing history for political interests was earlier done by Stalin and Hitler, and concluded with a disaster.

FORGET NUCLEAR TENDER TO FRANCE
Turkish FM Abdullah Gul assessed the tense relations with France to Hurriyet. Gul told French FM Blazy that if draft on so-called Armenian genocide is adopted at French Parliament on October 12th, then France shall forget all important tenders especially the one for nuclear power plant.


France: Punishment For Armenian Genocide Denial Shouldn't Be Applied To Historians
PanARMENIAN.Net 09.10.2006 17:25 GMT+04:00

/PanARMENIAN.Net/ A leading figure from the ruling People's Majority Unity Party, French Armenian Patrick Devedjian proposed an amendment to the bill penalizing the Armenian Genocide denial. The single-sentenced proposal reads "These regulations do not apply to academic and scientific researches and studies." To remind, the draft submitted by the opposition Socialist Party stipulates those who deny the Armenian Genocide be imprisoned up to five years and fined 45,000 euros. In a statement annexed to the amendment proposal, Devedjian, in reference to Turkey, noted that the bill should prevent any provocations and political demonstrations organized by a foreign country, reported zaman.com.




ANKARA: Emin Colasan: Ankara Takes "Action" In Advance Of The French Vote
Hurriyet, Turkey Oct 10 2006

Dear readers, a country which does not bow before others, which does not allow its honor to be violated, is also one which takes care of its own business.

We have been watching the Armenian disgrace in France for the past days, and by now, we don't even know what round we are in anymore.

France is doing all this for its own domestic politics. First of all, there are many, many Armenian voters in that country. Secondly, France has always been against our membership in the EU-despite all the pleading our government in Ankara has done-and is trying to put a note of finality on this business.

Now, let's ask ourselves this question: What would a country that protected its own honor and respect do in a situation like the one Turkey finds itself in? Right off the bat, the government would spring to action. Diplomatic envoys would be put into service, to use their skills in putting pressure on France.

But what do we do? The Prime Minister met on Saturday with representatives from French companies doing business in Turkey and shook a big stick at them.

He said: "If your government does not pull back on this Armenian bill, our trade relations with you will go bad. There are 450 French businesses in Turkey. Rather than writing letters to your government, why don't you go altogether to France, and do some lobbying. Put pressure on the Paris administration."

And so you see what Ankara has done: they have exported this issue, one which they could not take care of themselves, to French companies!

* * *

But who are these companies? Let me give you a few examples: Renault, Alcatel, Carrefour, Danone, Peugeot, Citroen, Total, Elf, Nestle, Lafarge, Sodexho......these are all world giants.

A full 24% of Turkey's automotive sector alone lies in the hands of French companies. France is Turkey's fifth largest partner in foreign trade. The French companies active in Turkey provide work opportunities for 70 thousand people. So, let's say that the French Parliament goes ahead and votes to pass the Armenian bill; what will Prime Minister Erdogan do? Kick these companies out of Turkey?

Of course not, this would not be possible. He can neither kick them out nor bring any limitations on their business about. Because the ultimate damage from such actions would be felt not by the companies themselves, but by the Turks working for them.

Interestingly, we experienced this same event during the collapse of the Ottoman Empire. When Austria decided to include Bosnia Herzegovina in its own land, there were giant protest meetings in Istanbul and throughout Anatolia. It was declared that there would be a boycott (!) of Austrian goods. At that time, the famous "fez" worn by males was produced in Austria. But in the end, nothing changed, and Bosnia-Herzegovina slipped from our hands!

So, knowing that we cannot kick out the French companies, what else can be done? Ah yes, Ankara is intoning that there will be contract bidding for a helicopter order Turkey is going to make.....and there is also the bidding for the nuclear reactor to be built! And so, warns Ankara, we will not allow French companies to bid in the high stakes for those contracts!

But please friends, let's not joke around.

Boycotts and such are not going to solve this business. It is when you gain respect for your country outside in the world that things like "Armenian genocide bills" cease to keep you from proceeding. Our current leaders have forgotten this. While there is no gravity or respect accorded to Turkey outside our borders, the leaders in Ankara are looking for savior in a few French companies doing business here.

It's like this: A man commits a crime, he's surrounded by police, and in desperate hopes of saving himself, he takes a small child hostage, and presses a knife threateningly against the child's throat. This is what Prime Minister Erdogan is doing. He says "My word is no longer effective, I have no gravity left outside Turkey. Hey, French firms, rescue me." What he forgets is that these same firms do business in both France and Armenia.

****

Let's imagine for a moment that France does not pass the bill. What would this mean? Would it mean that their stance on our membership in the EU, or on the whole Armenian genocide issue, had changed? No. And if they do pass the bill? Will French companies be scapegoated and kicked out of Turkey? Please don't make me laugh. As Turks, we watch the situation that the Turkish Republic has fallen into with amazement, horror, and embarassment. This is some sort of enormous spiritual torture that we are being exposed to. We have auctioned off everything we have to foreign firms. The US is now in charge of dealing with PKK terror, while Northern Iraq has been handed over to Barzani and Talabani. Meanwhile, our laws governing the insulting of Turks, Turkish Parliament and our republic are being guided by EU laws. And the economy is in the hands of the IMF and foreign capital.

The latest in this auctioning off is to hand over the business of the Armenian genocide bill to be taken care of by French companies and their representatives!

And so we witness the painful ending to endless pleading, begging, and the destruction of our country's own respect: the passing off of national problems to foreign concerns in the hopes that they can act for us! I don't know whether we should laugh or cry.




ANKARA: Yalcin Dogan: Should Turkey Take France To Court?
Hurriyet, Turkey Oct 10 2006

Among various scenarios being tossed around these days concerning the French Parliament's upcoming vote on the "Armenian genocide bill," there is one that has caught my interest. Here it is: Could Turkey take a case against France to the European Court of Human Rights?

France, which has played a central role through history in the protection of human rights, is now contradicting its own history. It is preparing to accept a bill which is in direct conflict with freedom of thought.

The French Parliament votes on the "Armenian genocide bill" in two days. Leaving aside issues like "freedom of thought" for a moment, this bill is so ridiculous as to even be anathema to the very basics of justice. Still, despite this, and despite the fact that the law proposed by the bill would run against the "equality" championed by the French Constitution, it looks likely that French parliamentarians will vote to approve this bill.

If the French Parliament does in fact vote to approve the bill, it will pass on to the Senate, where it will wait for two years before going into implementation.

Polish plumbers Ankara is testing different ways of putting pressure on France.

Barring any major surprises however, it looks like all preventative measures will come to naught. How can France accept a law like this one though? What sort of reasons lie behind hostility towards Turkey there?

More than hostility in fact, there is a fear of Turkey. When Poland entered the EU, France was reportedly mostly in fear of the Polish plumbers, fearful of the menace these plumbers presented towards French jobs. And now, with Turkish EU membership a possibility on the horizon, different bogeymen are being pulled out-one of these, the Armenian genocide allegations-to pull Turkey down in the public eye.

The weakest period

The debate of the "Armenian genocide" bill happens to coincide with a very weak period in terms of politics and economy in France. Also, in comes in advance of elections in May, 2007.

The French economy is not what it used to be. It is losing serious ground. President Chirac has lost much of his power that he used to hold in the presidency. And so, the French Republic, one of history's greatest states ever, has been stumbling for the past few years.

France has also not been able to deal with the problems presented by its 7-8% Muslim population. Each day seems to bring forward yet another problem connected with this section of citizenry.

Interestingly, the French press is extremely careful on this subject now, and does not carry echoes of the problems on TV or in the papers.

And so, with an economy that is losing power, and the fear of Muslims creeping in at every corner, the spectre of a future competitor like Turkey within the EU is a natural enemy. What the Armenian genocide bill really is then is a reflection of France's own fears.

Economic threat At this stage in the game, voices rising in chorus from Turkey are calling for economic sanctions against France if the bill is voted into law:

"Let's not let France bid in our contracts, let's limit our trade!"

But these are not reasonable solutions. These are not practical actions in a global world. Economic threats don't really even work in this age anymore. In the end, we ought to see that economic "punishments" would only hurt us too.

Which means we have to find a solution through politics.

Which is where I return to the beginning of this column. Turkey could bring France to the European Court of Human Rights if this bill is voted into law. Can countries bring other countries to this international court? Yes, and in fact, there are two examples from the past, one involving Greece and the other involving Turkey. Both were brought about by a group of European countries concerned about violations of democracy.

When all is said and done, Turkey is picking up a trump card here in terms of "behavior anathema to freedom of thought and expression." It doesn't have to bring France to the European Court of Human Rights, but it certainly has that option.

It may be time to use that option.



Mesrob II calls for dialogue, mutual respect among Turks, Armenians

The Armenian patriarch in Turkey, Mesrob II, yesterday urged Turks and Armenians to establish bilateral dialogue, underlining the necessity of mutual respect for fostering dialogue.

Delivering the opening speech at a symposium entitled, "The Art of Co-Existence in Ottoman Society: Turkish-Armenian Relations" held at Erciyes University in Kayseri, Patriarch Mesrob II stated that instead of nostalgic statements on historical good relations between the two societies, scholarly efforts towards showing examples that Turks and Armenians used to live together peacefully should be exerted

Noting that both Turks and Armenians are the communities of the same geography, Mesrob II said, "They must learn that they are obliged to live side-by-side."

Underlining the necessity for both societies to respect each other, Mesrob said, "The mentality of some Armenian historians who depict Turks as Central Asian barbarians and the mentality of some Turkish historians who say that the Armenians couldn't even establish a state should be changed."

The Armenian patriarch also urged both of the societies to get rid of a narrow understanding based on racism and nationalism and aims at alienating the other.

In a move to underline the responsibilities of both Armenians and Turks in brutal events of 1915, Mesrob said, "Reflecting reality is an art of courage and needs independence. Although the responsibilities of the two sides aren't equal in the brutal consequence, it is morally wrong to reject the responsibility or to put the entire responsibility on the other side."

Mesrob also stressed the necessity to make further investigation and hold discussions over the Armenian genocide claims, saying, "Instead of publishing books on the well-known Turkish and Armenian thesis, important books about relations between the two societies could be translated into each other's languages and also into English in order to present them to scholars and the public."

The New Anatolian / Kayseri

http://www.thenewanatolian.com/tna-5240.html

*********************************************************************
Armenian Conference to Discuss Dialogue not Genocide Allegations

Remembered mostly for the so-called genocide allegations, the Armenian issue will be taken up from a different angle at a conference organized by Erciyes University.

Turkish Armenians Patriarch Mesrob II, who had refused to answer questions related to the issue, will join the gathering to discuss the peace process of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire.

Professor Metin Hulagu, deputy dean of the Faculty of Science and Letters of Erciyes University and head of the organization committee, said Mesrob II rejected previous invitations, but what persuaded him this time was their aim: We plan to talk about peace and dialogue between the two nations.

Another remarkable aspect of this symposium is that those who had spoken harshly on the matter will now talk about how to manage co-habitation of Turks and Armenians.

The three-day conference organized by Erciyes University is titled The Art of Co-Existence in Ottoman Society: The Case of Turkish-Armenian Relations.

Hulagu says the Patriarch's refusal of previous invitations is understandable, “He naturally refused the invitation from a conservative city of Anatolia where the atmosphere was tense. We showed special consideration for his decision due to such concerns, and for when Mr. Mesrob visited Kayseri two weeks ago. I spoke with him about the symposium and its content, and he accepted an invitation when we assured him that we planned to focus on peace and dialogue.

Professor Hulagu assured politics will not be discussed at the conference. “We want to emphasize peace and tolerance. We want to demonstrate how Armenian and Turkish societies lived together for centuries. If we had not attempted to address such a topic the Patriarch would not have joined the meeting.

The professor reminded that nobody had touched on the topic of peace in relation to this issue so far. He said they plan to conduct a similar symposium to take place in Yerevan, the capital of Armenia are underway.

http://www.zaman.com/?bl=national&alt=&trh=20060419&hn=32234

By Sezai Kalayci, Istanbul
April 19, 2006
zaman.com
*****************************************************************

Aim of The Symposium:

Aim of Symposium

Turkish-Armenian relations are one of the principal issues of the late Otoman Empire as well as the Republican Turkey. This issue has been examined either in military or political point of wiev. But the relations between Turks and Armenians have never been examined systematically from the point of “The art of living together.

The principal objectives of the symposium is to bring together academics in their respected fields in the History of Ottoman Empire who wish to network and share their research endeavors. The Organizing committee for the symposium is commited to addressing the specific issues of a multi-cultural society and to finding solutions in order to support the full active participation of scholars studying in the Otoman history, regardless of their ethnic origin, race or religion. In doing so, to encourage and assist the scholarls in their respected fields as well as individual reserches come around in an effort in ensuring full participation in this coming gadhering in order to promote mutual respects and appreciation for the multicultural reality of Turkey's past and present.

As symposium orginizer, we must review our approaches to ensure that our programmes are developed to reflect the functioning of a multicultural society in many aspects of social, economic and cultural life. So, We invite you to participate actively in promoting dialoque and tolerance between the Turkish and Armenian nations. Further along, this event will expand on the meaning of key concepts. These include a discussion of objectives in a multicultural society, an elaboration of what is meant by ˜Living together analysis and a description of emerging mutual interests.

The three-day event will include as many as four prominent guests and keynote speakers. There will be special plenary discussion panel on: The Art of Living Together in the Ottoman Society: The Case of Turkish-Armenian Relations. We hope that you could kindly contribute to this event. We look forward to seeing you here in Kayseri-Turkey in April 2006.

The objective of the symposium is to bring together academics in their respected fields in the History of Ottoman Empire who wish to network and share their research endeavors. The three-day event will include as many as four prominent guests and keynote speakers. There will special plenary discussion panel on: The Art of Living Together in the Ottoman Society: The Case of Turkish-Armenian Relations. Other attractions include three complimentary meals, an evening of Turkish-Armenian music and art.

Specific themes covered by the conference encompass interdisciplinary social science approaches to analyze the functioning of a multicultural society and inter-communal relations in the Ottoman Empire and may fall within the following:

Turkish-Armenian Relations in Social and Cultural Life
Turkish-Armenian Relations in the Ottoman Legal System
Turkish-Armenian Relations in the Administration System
Turkish-Armenian Relations in the Art and Music Area
Turkish-Armenian Relations in Health System
Turkish-Armenian Relations in Literature Area
Turkish-Armenian Relations in Commercial Life
Turkish-Armenian Relations in Education Life

Papers and proposals for sessions are encouraged to focus on the conference theme.

Papers submitted in the symposium will be published in Turkish and English, and possible in the other languages like as French, German, and Armenian.

http://fef.erciyes.edu.tr/sempozyum/cfp.htm

*******************************************************************

KAYSERI - Plenary discussion panel on: ''The Art of Living Together in the Ottoman Society: The Case of Turkish-Armenian Relations'' will be organized in Erciyes University (EU) in Central Anatolian city of Kayseri, it was reported on Sunday.
EU Rector Prof. Cengiz Utas held a news conference and said the university will host the symposium between April 20 and 22

Utas said 125 scientists from various countries and Turkish Armenians Patriarch Mesrob II would attend the symposium where social dimensions of the Turkish-Armenian relations would be examined rather than political dimensions.

Prof. Metin Hulagu, the Chairman of the Symposium Organization Committee said they hoped the symposium to be a new start in Turkish-Armenian relations, stating that issues based on documents would be discussed.

''We want the symposium to establish a new bridge between Turkey and Armenia. We hope to organize the second symposium in Armenia. Peace, tolerance and dialogue between Turks and Armenian will be taken up,'' he noted.

http://www.turkishpress.com/news.asp?id=119329

4/17/2006



2006/4

Armenian Woman Sends Grandchild to Turkish School

Some Armenians oppose the Armenian Diaspora builds the identity on Turkish hatred and they try to maintain friendship with Turkey.

Maria Rosa Ayoriyan, an Armenian from Gaziantep registered her grandchild at Herkul College established by Turkish entrepreneurs in Buenos Aires last month


She sent a touching message to both Armenians and Turks, saying: "What has happened is in the past. We should look ahead and leave the past in the past. It is not possible to separate Turks from Armenians and vice versa. We have lived together with Turks for years. We took brides from Turks and also bestowed our daughters to them. Our cuisine, conventional proprieties and customs are very similar. We speak the same language."

Ayorian says she took her grandchild to the Turkish school despite the disapproval of some Armenians.

She believes a group of people are trying to separate the two nations by force, adding that what happened during a time of war should be forgotten.

In asked why she chose a Turkish school, Ayorian says, "I believe my grandchild will learn good manners and universal values there."

Armenians and Turks are two nations of the same land and culture; only the religion is different.

Her grandfather, Kirkor Nazaryan, was a lawyer in Gaziantep, a southeastern Turkish city, and she still speaks a little Turkish.

A kindergarten and a primary school are currently operating at Herkul College founded by the Turkey-Argentina Friendship Foundation.

The school has 95 students and offers education in both English and Spanish languages.

Mrs. Ayorian is referred to as "Aunt Maria" by school officials. She calls Turks the "men of honor" and says her father and grandfather spoke positively about Turks.

By Selcuk Gultasli, Brussels
April 24, 2006
http://www.zaman.com/?hn=32402&bl=national


Turkey: No opening border with Armenia before normalization of relations

Turkish officials decisively informed U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Daniel Fried that Ankara would not open a border gate with Yerevan unless there was a normalization of ties between Turkey and Armenia.

Fried, who paid an official visit to Ankara, met with Turkish Foreign Ministry Undersecretary Ali Tuygan and Deputy Undersecretary Ahmet Uzumcu late Thursday. During the meeting, he urged Ankara to open its border gate with Armenia in order to facilitate the peace process in the divided-enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh, still a point of contention between Armenia and Azerbaijan.

However, Ankara reiterated its previous position and made known that the issue was part of the normalization process of relations between Turkey and Armenia, sources said.

According to sources, Fried expressed Yerevan's willingness to normalize relations with Ankara. He also underlined both Armenia and Azerbaijan's decisiveness to find a solution to the Nagorno-Karabakh dispute, making reference to his separate meetings with Armenian President Robert Kocharian and Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev.

As a part of the U.S. efforts to contribute to a solution to the Nagorno-Karabakh dispute, Fried visited Ankara following his round of meetings in Caucuses.

Declining to predict a possible timetable regarding a solution on the enclave, Fried told the Turkish officials of the U.S.' readiness to extend any kind of support for the solution.

Fried took up with his Turkish counterparts Iran's nuclear program.

Ankara and Washington agreed to seek a diplomatic solution to the crisis which emerged between the West and Iran over Tehran's nuclear ambitions, diplomatic sources told The New Anatolian. However, according to the sources, Fried conveyed to Ankara that Washington will not rule out military operations against Iran if the issue were to be deadlocked.

The Cyprus problem also dominated the talks between Tuygan and Fried. Tuygan stressed the necessity to end the isolation of Turkish Cypriots. Although the Turkish side has always taken positive steps towards a solution on the divided island, it has not got a positive response from the international community, he said.

In criticism of the international community towards the Turkish Cypriots, Tuygan told Fried that although the Greek Cypriots have always been the uncompromising side, the international community has always rewarded them, said the sources.

During a press conference on late Thursday following his talks Fried also touched on the Armenian genocide claims, saying, "The attitude of the U.S. on this issue is well known. U.S. President George W. Bush is likely to make a statement on this issue in April, like every year."

The New Anatolian / Ankara



Austrian Turkish Candidate Stigmatized for 'Genocide' Denial

A Turkish-origin candidate for a seat in the Austrian parliament has been threatened since he denied the so-called Armenian genocide in a statement in a paper in Vienna.

Mustafa Iscel, candidate for Austrian People's Party (ÖVP) in the general elections held on Oct. 1, said that he had been threatened by Armenian lobbies in Austria and Germany after he told Austrian daily Die Presse that no Armenian genocide existed.

Iscel also printed a flyer that read "Vote for us if you do not want the Armenian bill passed” during the election campaign.

"People from both sides were killed in this historical event. Independent historians are needed to clarify the issue and politicians should not be involved in such issues," he told the newspaper.

Iscel went on to say that Armenians would threaten him till he resigned from his party, also pressuring the ÖVP to remove him from the list of candidates.

Late in September, three Turkish candidates were expelled from their parties in the Netherlands due to their refusal to accept the so-called Armenian genocide, ahead of general elections to be held on Nov. 22.

The Christian Democrat Appeal and Labor Party of the Netherlands removed three Turkish-origin politicians from their lists of candidates to run for a seat in the parliament after they refused to admit that Turks committed genocide against Armenians during the World War I.

October 21, 2006
zaman.com




Sweden Says History is Job of Historians
Last month in Sweden’s general elections a right-wing coalition under the leadership of the Conservative Party won with a small margin. The Social Democrat Workers Party, which has been in power for the last 12 years and has governed the country for the 65 of the past 75 years, became the opposition.

The exit of Goran Persson,57, prime minister for the last 10 years, and the arrival of Fredrik Reinfeldt,41, doesn’t necessarily mean Sweden will face major changes in its internal or foreign policies. In Sweden’s stable democracy there is a social market economy agreed upon by central right-wing and left-wing parties. This model combines the advantages of a competitive market economy and the virtues of a social prosperity government. Since the 1990s Social Democrats have successfully liberalized their economic policies and central right-wing parties have socialized theirs.

Well then, how is it that the Social Democrats in Sweden lost when the economy, enviously followed by all of Europe, has a growth rate this year of 5.6 and an employment rate that remains around 5 percent? The answer to this is the erosion of government trust by Swedish voters that have grown tired of the corruption and neglect (on a scale that wouldn’t even make it into our newspapers) of Persson and Social Democrat administrators. In fact, since the right-wing coalition has come to power, two female ministers were obliged to resign within one week due to irregularities (again of the type that wouldn’t even be a news headline in our newspapers) – a quirk of fate.

Well, will the right-wing coalition’s coming to power in Sweden affect its Turkish policy? No, it won’t, because the new administration supports Turkey’s EU membership at least as much as the former administration did. In fact, the appointment on Oct. 6 of former Prime Minister Carl Bildt as minister of foreign affairs is an indication that Sweden’s future support of Turkey will be even greater because Bildt is at least as close to Turkey as was former Minister of Foreign Affairs Anna Lindh, the unfortunate victim of a murder three years ago. He is a very powerful politician with intellectual attributes and he is aware of the importance of Turkey for the European Union.

Lat month on his web site Bildt commented on possible future French president Nicolas Sarkozy: “I am absolutely opposed to his recommendation for curtailment of membership negotiations with Turkey… The developments of the last several months should have shown Turkey’s geo-strategic importance for the EU… Sarkozy’s approach is taking us toward conflict both in the EU and, more importantly, in the most critical borders.”

As for the current atmosphere in Istanbul, Bildt interprets it as follows: “An obvious pessimism dominates. There is a danger of derailment if a solution isn’t found for Cyprus… However, history never advances on an even keel; there are always ups and downs. We are going to give a final decision on Turkey’s membership at least 10 years from now. At that time a different EU and a different Turkey will be on the stage. But if we have a clear interest in Turkey’s membership today, I’m sure this will become much clearer 10 years from now. It’s certain that Turkey’s geo-strategic importance is not going to diminish.”

The Swedish parliament has not yet taken a decision to recognize an Armenian genocide. But whether it will take such a decision or, as some claim, make it a crime to deny an Armenian genocide like France remains a matter of great curiosity. Last Tuesday in a meeting of EU foreign ministers, Carl Bildt said: “Freedom of expression is important for both Sweden and France… Just as such an idea as this will never be put on the agenda in Sweden, I don’t believe that it will become a law in France.”

I asked the above question to Ingmar Karlsson, ambassador to Sweden’s Istanbul Consulate. He said: “Sweden’s policy on this subject is very clear: History is written by historians, not politicians. The Swedish parliament hasn’t passed a law on this issue to date; it won’t do so after this either.”

As for the comic and ridiculous claims that Orhan Pamuk won the Nobel Prize for literature because of the Armenian lobby in Sweden, there is no Armenian lobby in Sweden.

SAHIN ALPAY
10.21.2006
s.alpay@zaman.com.tr




Canada Backs Joint Committee for Armenian Claims

Canadian Foreign Minister Peter MacKay said that his country supported a Turkish proposal of setting up a joint committee of historians to study genocide allegations, Turkish Foreign Minister Spokesman Namik Tan said in a written statement.

Tan stated that Canadian Foreign Minister MacKay attended a reception at the Turkish embassy in Ottawa Wednesday, on the occasion of the establishment of Turkish-Canadian Friendship Group established in the Canadian parliament.

Delivering a speech at the reception, MacKay noted that he supported the Turkish proposal. MacKay also related that he urged his Armenian counterpart, Vartan Oskanian, to support the Turkish proposal, Tan added.

Tan also stated that Mackay appreciated Turkey for its efforts to evacuate Canadian citizens during the conflict between Israeli and Hezbollah forces in southern Lebanon in July. MacKay also conveyed that his country welcomed Turkey's cooperation with Canada in Afghanistan.

October 21, 2006
zaman.com



US Urges France to Promote Discussion
The United States has expressed it views on the Armenian genocide legislation criminalizing the denial of the issue, noting that it did not make sense.

Washington, which has taken a firm stance against the regulation, called on Paris “not to take sides but to promote the debate in Turkey and the dialogue between Turkey and Armenia.”

Fried Meets Reporters

U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs Daniel Fried spoke on Friday in Brussels to a small group of reporters, including some from Zaman.

Asked by a Zaman reporter to assess the bill, he said “this is a very intricate matter, and it deserves a comprehensive answer.”

Noting that French President Jacques Chirac had sounded his concerns about the bill, Fried said, “We believe those concerns to be right ones,” and he emphasized that the U.S. governments never described the events of 1915 as “genocide.”

“This doesn’t mean that we belittle or deny the mass killings that took place in 1915. President Bush has always accentuated his grief caused by the events” said Fried.

Fried emphasized that forbidding any discussion about the issue made no sense and said “Every country has parts in its history that it is not proud of. For instance, slavery, the maltreatment of American Indians, and the gathering of Japanese-origin American citizens into camps during World War II are such examples from my country.”

Fried also said that his country discusses all such subjects transparently just the way it has to be in modern societies and Turkey should be encouraged to do so as well.

Warning that “the French bill is not going to promote discussion,” Fried uttered that the responsibility of other countries involved were to foster the air of discussion in Turkey and the efforts for dialogue between Turkey and Armenia.

Also calling on France “to promote dialogue instead of taking sides,” he pointed out that the subject in Turkey was already being discussed and Turkish intellectuals had started adopting different angles to evaluate the events of 1915.

It was very unusual of Fried to call on both the Turkish and Armenian side to look at the 1915 events “with pain but honestly.”

Also touching on the Cyprus matter, Fried said they hoped that a train wreck would not occur between Turkey and the European Union and considered it a positive development that none of the parties had rejected the Finnish plan yet.

Praising the president of Turkish Cyprus Mehmet Ali Talat’s efforts toward a solution, Fried never mentioned Tassos Papadopoulos, the president of Greek Cyprus.

By Selcuk Gultasli, Brussels
October 21, 2006
zaman.com




EU: Don't compare apples with pears on Article 301
Kretschmer makes it clear frustration over the French bill on the alleged Armenian genocide cannot be made an excuse for slowing down reform efforts or refraining from changing the infamous Article 301

The European Union reminded Turkey that it could not use the French parliament's approval of a bill criminalizing denial of the alleged genocide of Armenians as an excuse to avoid reforms on improving freedom of expression.

Hansjoerg Kretschmer, the EU Commission's envoy in Ankara, pressed the government to act on the Article 301 of the Turkish Penal Code (TCK), saying Turkey should not “compare apples with pears.”

“The French bill ... would prohibit the expression of one specific statement, i.e., that there was no genocide. But 301 is used to prevent public debate on general political issues,” he said in an interview with Reuters. “For example, one person ended up in court because she questioned whether conscientious objectors should have to do military service. So comparing the French bill and 301 is really comparing apples and pears.”

Some Turkish politicians say the EU no longer has the moral right to demand Turkey scrap or modify Article 301 after the French National Assembly passed the bill.

The EU has criticized the French bill, passed in the French National Assembly last week, with Enlargement Commissioner Olli Rehn saying that individuals may end up in jail for expressing opinions in an EU member country if this bill is enacted, but keeps pressuring candidate Turkey to amend Article 301 as it readies to release a progress report on Nov. 8.

The United States joined the chorus of those criticizing the French bill, with Assistant Secretary of State Daniel Fried saying the French legislation does not help EU-Turkey relations and urging the need for more discussion between Turks and Armenians. “The job of outsiders is to encourage Turkish-Armenian dialogue, not to take positions which make that dialogue harder,” he said.

October 21, 2006
ANKARA - Turkish Daily News




Poll: 58 percent of French oppose Turkish EU entry:
Nearly six out of 10 French people oppose Turkey joining the European Union, according to an opinion poll published yesterday.

The LH2 survey for RMC radio recorded that 58 percent of the public are against Turkish membership and 28 percent in favor.

The poll was taken in the wake of the row over the adoption last week by the French lower house of Parliament of a bill that would make denial of the alleged Armenian genocide a punishable offence.

The bill -- which now needs to pass the upper house or Senate -- has been condemned in Turkey, where it is widely seen as a sign of anti-Turkish sentiment in France.

Friday's poll findings were in line with a Europe-wide survey taken in June, which put French hostility to Turkish entry at 55 percent; however, the Eurobarometer survey also indicated that opposition in France is only slightly more than in the EU as a whole -- where 48 percent are against Turkish entry -- and well behind several individual countries.

Nine states were more hostile than France to Ankara's membership bid, including Austria at 81 percent and Germany -- which has a large Turkish population -- at 69 percent.

Diplomacy Newsline
October 21, 2006
ANK - TDN with AFP




US criticizes France’s ‘genocide’ bill
A senior U.S. official yesterday denounced a controversial bill recently adopted by the French parliament making it a crime to deny that Armenians were victims of “genocide” at the hands of the Ottoman Empire, saying that it gets in the way of establishing a Turkish-Armenian dialogue.

Daniel Fried, U.S. assistant secretary of state for European affairs, said he backed French President Jacques Chirac's opposition to the bill. “I certainly share the view that this legislation criminalizing discussion doesn't seem to make any sense,” Fried was quoted as saying at a news briefing in Brussels.

Fried said the United States would like to see Turks and Armenians address the issue honestly and that some Turks were already urging their government to do so. “The job of outsiders is to encourage Turkish-Armenian dialogue, not to take positions which make that dialogue harder,” he added.

He also said the United States and President George W. Bush had spoken out repeatedly about the killings of Armenians at the hands of the Ottoman Empire and did not want to minimize or deny them. However, he added: “We as a government have never termed these events genocide. We don't use that word.” The French National Assembly last week infuriated Turkey by backing the bill, though it is unlikely to become a law due to opposition from the Senate and President Jacques Chirac. Ankara said the legislation would strike a heavy blow in the Turkish-French ties and also accused France, one of the EU's founding countries known for championing liberties, of staining freedom of expression with the bill it adopted.

In a public statement it issued on Wednesday, Amnesty International (AI) raised deep concerns over the contentious bill, urging France to protect freedom of expression.

“The organization considers that this bill poses a serious threat to the right to freedom of expression, which is enshrined in Article 10 of the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (ECHR) and Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), to both of which France is a party,” it said.

“This bill, if it were to be enacted into law, might lead to people being imprisoned solely for exercising their right to freedom of opinion and expression, thereby becoming prisoners of conscience.”


Oskanyan: Turkish reaction is disingenuous:
Armenian Foreign Minister Vartan Oskanyan described the Turkish reaction toward the French bill as disingenuous and claimed that Turkey is continuing to evade its past. “As we observe the reactions in Turkey, we find it disingenuous for a country that itself doesn't allow free speech and criminalizes even the exploration of certain areas of its own [and therefore our] history to be so indignant over a law that criminalizes the rejection and denial of that same history,” Oskanyan said in an article published in the International Herald Tribune on Thursday.

Oskanyan criticized Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan without naming him, saying: “It is in Turkey that a free and open dialogue is deeply needed, and sorely absent. Those who cry ‘leave history to the historians' have gagged the historians.”

He said Turkey has made dialogue impossible “between our peoples and our states,” adding that Armenia has no preconditions for establishing diplomatic relations.

In the meantime, Canadian Foreign Minister Peter Mackay urged Armenia to extend support to a Turkish proposal of establish a joint committee of historians to study genocide allegations, said a statement released by the Foreign Ministry yesterday. The statement said Mackay, during a visit to the Turkish Embassy in Ottawa on Wednesday, expressed support for the Turkish proposal and said he urged Oskanyan to support it when he met with the Armenian foreign minister on the same day.

The Canadian Parliament passing in 2004 a resolution recognizing the alleged genocide and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper labeling in April the killings of Armenians at the hands of the Ottoman Empire as “genocide” has sparked a diplomatic crisis between Ankara and Ottawa.

Saturday, October 21, 2006
ANKARA – Turkish Daily News




EU envoy urges Turkey to act on free speech

Kretschmer believes that the Turkish military, which ousted an elected government as recently as 1997, would be more willing to withdraw from politics if it believed civilian institutions were strong enough to handle any potential threats

Turkey must refrain from using the French Parliament's backing for a bill on an alleged Armenian genocide as an excuse to keep restrictions on freedom of speech at home, the European Union's envoy in Ankara said.

Some Turkish politicians say the French Parliament's bid to make it a crime to deny that the Ottoman Turks committed genocide against Armenians in World War I means it is hypocritical and wrong of the EU to demand more reforms from Ankara.

In particular, they say the EU has no moral right to demand Turkey scrap or modify Article 301 of its penal code that makes it a crime to insult Turkish national identity. The article has been used to prosecute Turkish writers and intellectuals.

“The French bill ... would prohibit the expression of one specific statement, i.e. that there was no genocide. But 301 is used to prevent public debate on general political issues,” envoy Hans-Joerg Kretschmer told Reuters late on Thursday.

“For example, one person ended up in court because she questioned whether conscientious objectors should have to do military service. So comparing the French bill and 301 is really comparing apples and pears,” he said in an interview.

Leading writers including Orhan Pamuk, winner of this year's Nobel Prize in Literature, have also faced charges under Article 301 for questioning the official Turkish view that there was no Armenian genocide.

Ankara says both Christian Armenians and Muslim Turks died in large numbers in a partisan conflict as the Ottoman Empire was collapsing, but it denies any systematic genocide.

The French bill is not expected to win the approval of the Senate upper house or of President Jacques Chirac to become law, but it has badly strained ties between Ankara and Paris.

Hope:
Kretschmer, who leaves Ankara shortly after more than four years at his post, said he remained hopeful that Turkey would complete its EU entry talks despite persistent problems over its human rights record, the role of the army and Cyprus.

“We have the chance to show that a Muslim country can become a full-fledged European democracy,” he said.

Commenting on the powerful military, seen as the ultimate protector of Turkey's secular political order, Kretschmer said: “Some say a Muslim country cannot be a liberal democracy because there is a danger of radical Islamists coming to power. The task of the accession process now is to build and strengthen the civilian institutions in a way that any possible fundamentalist threat, if it should arise, can be contained. You do not need the military for this kind of thing,” he said.

Kretschmer added that he thought the Turkish military, which ousted an elected government as recently as 1997, would be more willing to withdraw from politics if it believed civilian institutions were strong enough to handle any potential threats.

October 21, 2006
GARETH JONES
ANKARA - Reuters




Armenian discussions again...
Six days ago the French lower house of parliament approved a bill making it a crime to deny that Armenians suffered genocide at the hands of Ottoman Turks after World War I. It is unlikely that the upper house, the Senate, will approve of the bill, but if they do, the new motion establishes a one-year prison term and a 45,000 euro fine for anyone denying the massacres. The approval of the bill has sparked justifiably widespread anger in Turkey because Turkey claims that the accusations of the Armenian massacres have no historical basis but are political and aim to cause difficulties, and thus Ankara adamantly rejects accusations that around 1.5 million Armenians died in a genocide in 1915. What it argues is that some Christian Armenians and Muslim Turks died in a partisan conflict that was raging at that time.

Six days ago the French lower house of parliament approved a bill making it a crime to deny that Armenians suffered genocide at the hands of Ottoman Turks after World War I. It is unlikely that the upper house, the Senate, will approve of the bill, but if they do, the new motion establishes a one-year prison term and a 45,000 euro fine for anyone denying the massacres. The approval of the bill has sparked justifiably widespread anger in Turkey because Turkey claims that the accusations of the Armenian massacres have no historical basis but are political and aim to cause difficulties, and thus Ankara adamantly rejects accusations that around 1.5 million Armenians died in a genocide in 1915. What it argues is that some Christian Armenians and Muslim Turks died in a partisan conflict that was raging at that time. Moreover, Turkey also maintains that France's attempt to pass this bill is an attempt to impede the prospect of its membership in the EU. For France, however, the crucial point is the presidential elections in seven months, and I think there are two reasons behind its attempt. First, the French public is against Turkey's EU membership, so that the top politicians, Jacques Chirac, Segolene Royal and Nicolas Sarkozy, due to their election worries, object to Turkey's EU membership. The second reason, which is also closely linked to the issue of the coming elections, is the presence of a large Armenian immigrant community of up to 500,000 in France. The community is a powerful political lobby that French politicians feel they have to take into account.

My argument about Armenians is a little bit different. Although the reactions of both the president and the prime minister as well as that of other civil rights groups are unmistakably right and necessary, I have observed for years that the ways Turkey has tried to have its rightful voice heard all over the world is not sufficient or effective. This insufficiency and ineffectiveness may be seen in two ways. First, there is no continuity in Turkey's attempt to have its voice heard. In spite of the fact that the Armenian issue has been a persistent obstacle before Turkey in international relations, we remember it whenever an Armenian discussion starts. We need effective lobbying activities and the means to inform the world of what happened in 1915. Secondly, most of our historians do not have a good enough command of English to get their articles about the so-called massacre discussions published in international journals. Due to the language problem, moreover, they are not courageous and able to organize or join international conferences, seminars and meetings in which they could present the historical facts they have. The world, particularly the Western world, thus remains ignorant or has prejudices about Turkey, since public opinion is shaped solely by politicians or by the dominant lobbying groups as in France

At a conference in Spain a month ago, I witnessed how the people and even intellectuals are badly informed about the Armenian issue. For example, Bill Gray from Lulea Technical University in Sweden analyzed Joseph O'Neil's “Blood-Dark Track,” a work of non-fiction published in 2001. As a historical investigation, it sheds light on the interaction between cultural memories, communal and national amnesia and the evasion of the past. O'Neil puts the massacre of the Protestants by the Irish Republican Army (IRA) into his narrative in County Cork in 1922. Gray suggested that O'Neil “argues that Protestants suffered a demographic cataclysm that has gone totally unmentioned in the literature of the period and claims this is because the pogrom represents the very antithesis of the type of nationalist vision that has appropriated and monopolized the restricted space of literary, political and cultural memory in Ireland.” But what surprised me about Gray's paper was that he established a parallelism between what England did in Ireland and the relationship between Ottoman Turks and Armenians. I objected to his views and said to him that this parallelism was thoroughly wrong in the sense that Britain had been the colonizer of Ireland since 1169. The Irish writer, James Joyce, writes fictionally in "Ulysses" of how Britain exploited Ireland in terms of language, culture and religion, and historians will account for the facts in detail. I continued to explain that the Ottomans were not a colonizer of Armenia, yet there was the relationship of majority and minority groups in the country of the Ottomans. Ottoman Turks and Christian Armenians lived in peace side by side until World War I, and Ottoman Turks called Armenians the “faithful nation” (Millet-i Sadık). Having given my explanation, the intellectuals and critics in the conference hall agreed with me.

As this example indicates, the majority of people, even intellectuals, in the Western world are totally unaware of what happened in 1915. If Turkey wishes to overcome massacre discussions in international relations, it should start effective and continuous international campaigns and lobbying activities to state its case of acceptance of the fact that “some Christian Armenians and Muslim Turks died in a partisan conflict that was raging at that time.” In addition, we should open departments of Armenian language and literature as well as departments of Armenian studies at Turkish universities where students can learn the Armenian language and literature and see how Turkey and Turks are represented in Armenia manuscripts, while Turkish intellectuals and historians examine Armenian historical texts about the so-called genocide issue.

October 21, 2006
ALİ GÜNEŞ*

*Ali Güneş is an assistant professor at Kafkas University's English language and literature department in Kars.
He can be contacted at gunesali1@gmail.com




Baykal: "No One Has The Right To Allege Turkey Committed A Genocide On Armenians"
AKSAM

Speaking at his party's group meeting yesterday, main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) leader Deniz Baykal commented on the Armenian bill passed last week by the French Parliament, saying that no one had the right to say that Turkey had committed a genocide on Armenians. Stressing that 17 countries had made this false allegation, Baykal stated that 10 of these were European Union members. Commenting on the recent dispute between Chief of General Staff Gen. Yasar Buyukanit and opposition True Path Party (DYP) leader Mehmet Agar, who suggested that terrorists should be encouraged to come down from the mountains so they can take part in politics, Baykal criticized Agar's suggestion. /Aksam/




A prize affair
Orhan Pamuk, the French parliament and the Armenian massacres

WAS it for his writing or his commentary? The question has consumed the country since Orhan Pamuk became the first Turk to win the Nobel prize for literature (or indeed any Nobel). The comments, about the mass slaughter of Armenians by the Ottoman Turks, led last year to Mr Pamuk's prosecution on charges of insulting the "Turkish identity".

The charges were later dropped on a technicality, but not before they had attracted a storm of international criticism.

Ascribing to him the Byzantine wiles displayed by some of his characters, Mr Pamuk's enemies are now saying that he engineered his own trial so as to win the Nobel. Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the mildly Islamist prime minister, urged fellow Turks to "put aside polemics" and congratulate Mr Pamuk, but the (pro-secular) president remained pointedly silent.

The novelist's detractors were given a boost, hours before the award was announced, by the French National Assembly, when it voted overwhelmingly for a bill to criminalise denial that the Armenians were victims of a genocide. The bill is unlikely to become law, but it still sparked a wave of anti-French demonstrations and vows that France would somehow be made to "pay" for its misdeeds. Why not boot out some 70,000 illegal workers from neighbouring Armenia, suggested Yasar Yakis, a former minister from the ruling AK party?

The European Union enlargement commissioner, Olli Rehn, said that the French bill "instead of opening up the debate [on the Armenians in Turkey] would rather close it down." Mesrob Mutafyan, the Armenian Orthodox patriarch in Istanbul, voiced fears that his 80,000-member flock might now become targets for ultra-nationalist vigilantes.

Happily, no Armenian has been hurt (or deported) so far. Nor have efforts to break the ice between ordinary Turks and Armenians stopped-an exhibition by Turkish and Armenian photographers depicting daily life in Istanbul and Yerevan is to open soon.

There may even be a silver lining to the French cloud. Basking on the moral high ground, Mr Erdogan said he would not be trapped into responding to France's "assault on free speech" in kind. The justice minister, Cemil Cicek, is hinting that Turkey's article 301, under which Mr Pamuk and scores of fellow writers and academics have been prosecuted, may be scrapped. If it is, Turkey's EU hopes would be resuscitated-and future award-winning novelists could then claim to have been judged solely by their works, not their deeds.

Economist
Oct 20 2006




Troubles ahead

There may be serious fall-out from Turkey's present poor relationship
with both the European Union and America


"THERE'S a lot of talk these days of a train-wreck later this year bringing Turkey's negotiations for membership [of the European Union] to a shuddering halt. Is this exaggeration? Or just brinksmanship? Neither, I fear. The danger is real." These valedictory words from the outgoing British ambassador, Sir Peter Westmacott, reflect a growing concern over Turkey's relationship with the EU.

The trigger for the looming derailment is Cyprus, which joined the EU as a divided island in 2004. The EU insists that Turkey must honour its pledge to open its ports to Greek-Cypriot ships and aircraft. Turkey retorts that part of the deal was to end the economic isolation of the Turkish-Cypriots. It will not budge on the ports until the embargo on Turkish-occupied northern Cyprus is lifted. If this row is not settled by the end of the year, the EU membership talks may be suspended.

A longtime NATO ally, Turkey's strategic importance and size mean that a rupture with the EU would have effects far beyond its borders. It would confirm suspicions across the Islamic world that the union is a Christian club. Mindful of the stakes, Finland, which holds the EU presidency, has been pushing a plan that would let Greek-Cypriots use Turkish ports and Turkish-Cypriots export their goods, under union supervision, from the Turkish-controlled port of Famagusta. This week Abdullah Gul, the Turkish foreign minister, and Ali Babacan, the economy minister and lead negotiator with the EU, both said they were hopeful of a breakthrough before the European Commission issues its progress report on Turkish accession on November 8th.

In private, Turkish officials say that any deal would have to include reopening northern Cyprus to commercial air traffic, because tourism is the only way of ending its dependence on handouts from Turkey. And the Greek-Cypriots say this is out of the question so long as Turkey refuses to recognise their government as the only legitimate one on the island.

Barring a last-minute miracle on Cyprus, the best hope is that negotiations are allowed to continue on chapters that are unrelated to trade or other matters that affect the Greek-Cypriots directly. But that means persuading the Greek-Cypriots to lift their veto on opening new chapters. And the suspicion in Ankara is anyway that countries such as Austria and France, where there is strong public resistance to Turkish accession, would be only too happy to see the talks suspended.

How else, say the Turks, can one explain the French National Assembly vote for a bill to criminalise denial that the mass slaughter of the Armenians by the Ottoman Turks in 1915 was genocide? Or the demands by French politicians that recognition of the genocide should be made a condition for Turkey's membership, even though the enlargement commissioner, Olli Rehn, has firmly declared that it should not be?

Given the public response in Turkey to what are seen as European snubs, some are now speculating that it will be Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the Turkish prime minister, who is the first to walk away from the talks. With support for EU membership dipping below 50%, a firm show of defiance might be a good way of drawing nationalist votes to Mr Erdogan's mildly Islamist AK party in the parliamentary election that is due by next November.

As ever, pro-European Turks are pinning their hopes on America to ride to the rescue. The economic and political ructions that many fear would follow a suspension of the EU membership talks might galvanise America into using its influence with heavyweights such as Germany's chancellor, Angela Merkel, who is due to assume the EU presidency in January.

The trouble is that Mr Erdogan now has so few friends left in Washington. His failure to deliver on promises to facilitate America's invasion of Iraq and his overtures to Iran and Syria have made him seem an unreliable partner. This matters as America ponders the best response to Iran's nuclear ambitions.

At home too, Mr Erdogan is facing problems with the country's hawkish new chief of the general staff, General Yasar Buyukanit. Since taking over in August, the general and his fellow commanders have turned up the volume of rhetoric they aim at both the government and the EU. When Mehmet Agar, leader of the opposition True Path Party, declared last week that he would not allow the generals to talk when he came to power, General Buyukanit responded that he would continue to talk "even if you are in charge."

The army's assertiveness is aimed in part at bullying Mr Erdogan into renouncing his presumed ambitions to succeed the determinedly pro-secular Ahmet Necdet Sezer as president when his term expires in May. Mr Sezer has spent the past three years blocking any legislation proposed by Mr Erdogan that he has deemed to be a threat to the secular tenets of the constitution. For secularists the presidency is their sole remaining bastion; should the overtly pious Islamist Mr Erdogan conquer it, they fear that it will be the end of Ataturk's republic. The knee-jerk anti-Semitism displayed by some of Mr Erdogan's colleagues has not helped him.

General Buyukanit may well be tempted to voice these concerns when he visits Washington shortly. His views on Iran (he once described Iran's theocracy as the "antithesis" of Ataturk's republic) will undoubtedly appeal to his hosts. Should the EU talks collapse, the army may be given an even freer hand. There is loose talk of a repeat of the generals' so-called "soft coup" in 1997, when they managed to lever Turkey's first Islamist-led government out of power.

Yet although some in America might be tempted to welcome such an outcome, the chances of its happening remain tiny. Unlike 1997, the opposition parties lack the parliamentary strength to form a government. Foreign investors, crucial to sustained economic growth, would take fright if the army moved. Another risk is that opposition to a military-backed government would no longer come only from mainstream Kurdish and Islamic groups, but from their militant hardcore detractors, with suspected ties to Islamist terrorists.

That such scenarios are now seriously conjured up only goes to show that EU membership, warts and all, is the best-and possibly the only-guarantee of Ataturk's dream of a firmly pro-western democracy. With the right vision and selfless leadership Mr Erdogan could still go down in history as the man who made it come true. But he will have to show statesmanship-and the EU (and America) will have to help him along the way.

19th 2006
AP




The bill has no future

French Ambassador to Ankara, Paul Poudade spoke about the future of the 'genocide denial bill' approved at the French Parliament last week.

Question: Ambassador Pou, what do you feel the future is for the bill approved by the French Parliament on October 12?

Answer: I do not believe that there is any legal future for this bill. I do not believe it will be passed into law. In order for it to become law, it must first be accepted, without a single word change, by the French Senate, and then signed by the French President to be implemented. This would mean the going back and forth between the Parliament and Senate many times, and if the bill were not approved by the time this particular parliament comes to a close, in February 2007, the bill would fall by the wayside. Moreover, barring all of this, the bill could even go to our Constitutional Court. I think this was an untimely and unnecessary initiative. This is why President Chirac's phone call to Prime Minister Erdogan expressing the hope that no damage would come to French-Turkish relations as a result of this bill was very important.

Q: What reaction did the French people themselves have towards this bill?

A: The French people feel much sympathy and closeness to the Armenians. But this bill created great displeasure in the general society, as well as raising many question marks.....As it was, all of the Paris newspapers, and even more importantly, all the provincial papers (aside from one printed in Marseilles) expressed the same opinion.

Previously published in Hurriyet on Tuesday, 18 October 2006.

Chirac sorry for Armenian bill

French President Jacques Chirac told Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan last weekend that he was sorry about the recently adopted French bill on the alleged 'Armenian Genocide'. Chirac made the statement last weekend in a phone conversation with Erdogan.

Press reports in Turkey claimed that the French President, in addition to saying he was sorry, also apologised for the adopted bill that was to open a way to punish those who deny the 'Armenian Genocide' in France. Nonetheless, dependent upon very reliable sources, the Turkish daily Hurriyet clarified on Tuesday that the President only said that he was sorry and that he would do his best to stop the bill's entering into law.

Reactions

Chirac's move created reaction at the French Parliament. "It is disappointing that he (Chirac) apologised for parliamentary work," Didier Migaud, a deputy from the Socialist Party, was quoted in an interview. "It is easier to talk about genocide in Yerevan, rather than in France," Migaud concluded referring to Chirac's pro-Armenian statements during his visit to Armenia last month.

Professor Erdogan Tezic, head of Turkey's Higher Education Board (YOK), returned an award from France on Monday in protest at the French bill. Receiving the Legion d'Honneur in September 2004, Tezic was the first and only Turk to hold it.

The bill still must be voted at the French Senate and signed by the President before entering into force.

Cyprus Observer, Cyprus
Oct 20 2006







'The So-Called Blockade Against The So-Called Genocide'
Turkey

On the eve of the vote at the French Parliament for the bill penalizing denial of the Armenian Genocide, when the Turkish press was denouncing the French, an Istanbul-based Referans daily touched upon Armenian-Turkish relations in an article titled "The So-Called Blockade Against the So-Called Genocide: Result of Armenia's Anti-Turkish Stance". This article published Oct 12 can well be considered a peculiar look at Armenia from Turkey. Though its author Selma Simseq could not shun exaggerations, her article is interesting particularly for raising the issues of Kars-Akhalkalak-Tbilisi-Baku railway and the blockade of Armenia.

Here is what she writes: "For the past 24 years 17 states defended the Armenian thesis in the issue of genocide. Turkey, which constantly adds 'the so-called' phrase to the Armenian genocide, has officially imposed blockade on Armenia. Yet, thanks to the dialogue between the two people the blockade has also turned into a 'so-called'. Kars mayor Naif Alibeyogli's following words evidence it: 'There are regular flights from Istanbul to Yerevan. 70% of goods in Armenian markets is Turkish. 70.000 Armenians work in Turkey. And we do not understand what kind of blockade is this. Turkey has opened its doors before Armenia, only the border of Kars is closed, as a result of which our town was deprived of benefit and investments for years'.

"As Alibeyogli put it, the important thing for the resident of Kars is not the railway project but the opening of Turkish-Armenian border. Armenia is of the same opinion.

"It's obvious once this project comes true, Armenia will be in a difficult situation. Its border with Turkey is closed because of genocide allegations and with Azerbaijan because of the occupation of Nagorno Karabakh. Moreover, the Iranian border areas are inhabited with Azeris thus putting Armenia in squeeze and isolation, in fact.

"Realizing that Kars-Tbilisi-Baku railway will result in an even deeper isolation, Armenia demands to open the Turkish-Armenian border as it will enable Armenia to act as a transit corridor for transportation of goods from the Caucasus to the Middle East and China.

"This project was turned down at the US Senate under the pressure from Diaspora Armenians. As a result, the US Eximbank denounced its credit of $400 million for the project.

"Since 1993 Turkey and Armenia have no diplomatic relations. There is no direct trade between the countries because of the blockade. Today, Turkish goods enter Armenia via Georgia or Iran. The goods turnover amounts to $100 million. Turkey exports mainly construction materials and food and Armenia imports row materials. The Armenian import amounts to $50 million.

"According to president of the Turkish-Armenian Business Union, Kaan Soyaq, goods turnover between Turkey and Armenia can be raised up to $500 million but Turkey has close the Kars border-gate and suffers losses. 'Only the residents of Kars pay for this mistake called blockade, as Istanbul is open for Armenia. When the Armenia-Turkish border was open trade between the two countries flourished. Now, both Armenia and Turkey are losing. Turkish businessmen are forced to go longer distances thus demanding higher price for goods. Armenia, on its part, is forced to by spoiled goods for a high price. If the border-gate is opened, both countries will gain access to the markets in the Middle East and China. Turkey has missed the chance during Ter-Petrosian's tenure and is missing it today as Kocharian prepares to leave the office. Though during Kocharian's tenure relations have aggravated a bit a more nationalist regime will change Kocharian's.'

"Soyaq meanwhile pointed out that Kars-Tbilisi-Baku railway can hardly become a reality as the US and Russian interests keep spreading in the region. Then he went on: 'These two countries have not come to terms. Without an agreement no railway project can be implemented. The USA is against the project as it demand opening of the Armenian-Turkish border. This project emerged as a result of the closed border. If it were open the US would not be against a second railway line through Georgia. But at present it does not want to lose Armenia.'

"Drawing attention to Russian-Georgian tensions, Soyaq assumes it will speed up the opening of Turkish-Armenian border. He thinks if Nagorno Karabakh issue is settled, and Turkey meets Armenia halfway the border can be opened. As to the genocide, it's not an issue that can be solved in a split second."

By Hakob Chakrian

AZG Armenian Daily #201, 21/10/2006




French Law To Recognise Armenian Genocide Criticised

By The Universe: Plans to introduce legislation in France which would make it illegal to deny that the massacre of Catholic Armenians living under the rule of the Ottoman Empire as genocide have been criticised by a leading member of the Catholic Church.

The Catholic Apostolic Vicar of Anatolia, Luigi Padovese, said the law, which was approved by France's lower house of parliament last week, has been engineered just to "humiliate Turks." The bill still needs to be passed by the upper house senate to become law.

"Even the fact that French president Jacques Chirac has taken a stance against the bill is significant," said Padovese.

"The Christian reality in Turkey is very complex. There are Catholics - both Latin and Orthodox - there's the [Orthodox] Ecumenical Patriarchy [of Constantinople (Istanbul)] and the one in Antioch, Armenian Catholics, Gregorians, Chaldeans Sirio-Orthodox and other denominations that participate in our liturgy (services).

"There is a significant number of families who were originally Christian, but out of necessity and for reasons of survival, they renounced their religious identity, at least from showing it externally," he added.

The Universe, UK
Oct 21 2006




Is The West Losing Turkey?

Turkish squabbles with America and Europe

Repair work is needed to mend a deteriorating relationship

THE relationship between Turkey and the West has always been awkward.

The age-old hostility between the rising Muslim empire of the Ottomans and the declining Christian one of Byzantium still casts a shadow-as the pope discovered when he unwisely quoted a Byzantine emperor's negative views of Muhammad. So it is no surprise that tensions should arise between Turkey and the European Union, or between Turkey and America. What is worrying is that, at a moment when these two relationships matter more than ever, both have simultaneously deteriorated.

Turkey is important to the Americans and Europeans for geographical reasons: it abuts the EU to its west and the Caucasus, Iran, Iraq and Syria to its east. It matters for economic reasons: fast-growing GDP and a rising population have made it an important trade and investment partner. It is significant militarily, with the biggest NATO army after America's. But it counts above all as the best exemplar of a mainly Muslim country that is a thriving democracy and a secular republic-a rare beast that the West desperately needs to encourage.

Yet Turkey's relations with the United States have been testy ever since its parliament blocked the passage of American troops to Iraq in March 2003. Now the Turks are simmering because they say the Americans have done nothing to stop Kurdish PKK fighters, who have resumed guerrilla and terrorist activities in Turkey's south-east, basing themselves in the northern Kurdish area of Iraq. The public mood in Turkey has turned hostile to America: in one poll this summer, more Turks had a good opinion of Iran than of the United States.

Ordinary Turks have also become more negative about Europe. In December 2004, when the government of Recep Tayyip Erdogan won the promise of an opening of negotiations to join the EU, the reaction across Turkey was euphoric. But the talks have progressed painfully slowly. The perception in Ankara is that the EU is piling on big demands-for constitutional change, economic liberalisation, more religious tolerance-but offering little in return. Over the past two years a stream of leaders from such countries as France, Germany and Austria have made clear that they are against Turkey ever joining the EU. And now Brussels is threatening to suspend the entry talks unless Turkey fulfils its promise to open its ports and airports to the (Greek) Republic of Cyprus, although the EU's effective embargo of northern Cyprus will remain ()see page 51.

In such a climate, even small gestures can be damaging. The bill just approved by the French National Assembly to make it a crime to deny the Armenian genocide of 1915 seems unlikely ever to become law. But it has created a storm of protest in Turkey, which has never acknowledged the genocide. In the run-up to next year's election in Turkey, Mr Erdogan, who leads the mildly Islamist AK party, is understandably inclined to pander to nationalist (and religious) feeling. Yet he is playing with fire: radical Islam is gaining fresh recruits, and mutterings can be heard in the Turkish army, which has a long history of interfering in politics, about its duty to protect the secular tradition of Ataturk.

Some in Washington might welcome a military intervention if it produced a more compliant ally. But it would be a huge setback in the impressive progress that Turkey has made under Mr Erdogan. He would do well to continue that progress, by returning to the goal that he first chose in 2003: to prepare Turkey for joining the EU. That also requires a new engagement by the Europeans. Rather than speaking out against Turkey's eventual membership, EU leaders should let the negotiations proceed without prejudice to their outcome. The current Finnish presidency of the EU also deserves strong support in its efforts to find a compromise that averts the "train-wreck" over Cyprus which threatens to scupper the talks. Both America and Europe must pay closer attention to Turkey in the next few months if they are to avoid the risk of losing it.

The Economist
October 21, 2006
U.S. Edition




'U.S. Governments Never Described The Events Of 1915 As Genocide'

* US Urges France to Promote Discussion

The United States has expressed it views on the Armenian genocide legislation criminalizing the denial of the issue, noting that it did not make sense.

Washington, which has taken a firm stance against the regulation, called on Paris "not to take sides but to promote the debate in Turkey and the dialogue between Turkey and Armenia."

Fried Meets Reporters

U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs Daniel Fried spoke on Friday in Brussels to a small group of reporters, including some from Zaman.

Asked by a Zaman, Turkish daily, reporter to assess the bill, he said "this is a very intricate matter, and it deserves a comprehensive answer."

Noting that French President Jacques Chirac had sounded his concerns about the bill, Fried said, "We believe those concerns to be right ones," and he emphasized that the U.S. governments never described the events of 1915 as "genocide."

"This doesn't mean that we belittle or deny the mass killings that took place in 1915. President Bush has always accentuated his grief caused by the events" said Fried.

Fried emphasized that forbidding any discussion about the issue made no sense and said "Every country has parts in its history that it is not proud of. For instance, slavery, the maltreatment of American Indians, and the gathering of Japanese-origin American citizens into camps during World War II are such examples from my country."

Fried also said that his country discusses all such subjects transparently just the way it has to be in modern societies and Turkey should be encouraged to do so as well.

Warning that "the French bill is not going to promote discussion," Fried uttered that the responsibility of other countries involved were to foster the air of discussion in Turkey and the efforts for dialogue between Turkey and Armenia.

Also calling on France "to promote dialogue instead of taking sides," he pointed out that the subject in Turkey was already being discussed and Turkish intellectuals had started adopting different angles to evaluate the events of 1915.

It was very unusual of Fried to call on both the Turkish and Armenian side to look at the 1915 events "with pain but honestly."

Also touching on the Cyprus matter, Fried said they hoped that a train wreck would not occur between Turkey and the European Union and considered it a positive development that none of the parties had rejected the Finnish plan yet.

Praising the president of Turkish Cyprus Mehmet Ali Talat's efforts toward a solution, Fried never mentioned Tassos Papadopoulos, the president of Greek Cyprus.

By Selcuk Gultasli
Zaman, Turkey
Oct 21 2006




Turks to File over 6,000 'Genocide' Lawsuits

Servet Saltan, president of the Turkish National Power Veterans Association said they would open lawsuits for each of the 6,317 Turks martyred by the French and Armenians while defending their hometown of Antep, a southeastern Turkish city which was occupied by France during World War I.

Saltan visited current Gaziantep Mayor Asim Guzelbey.

During their visit, Saltan announced their intention to pursue a legal course of action, adding, "Our aim is to prove that Armenians, in cooperation with the French forces, perpetrated genocide in Gaziantep."

Saltan remarked that they would not remain silent when faced with the notorious French bill and said that they were ready to provide all the documents supporting the atrocities perpetrated against innocent civilians during the occupation of Gaziantep by France.

Saltan said that they were going to open compensation lawsuits on behalf of the 6,317 massacred people and defend the violated rights of their ancestors in the international arena.

Saltan further noted that they spoke to Aziz Canatar, president of the Gaziantep Bar Association, and asked the association for assistance.

"The Gaziantep Bar Association is going to help us and will conduct the required research. We will call those accusing us of genocide to account for what they did in Gaziantep."

Emphasizing the documents in their possession concerning the mass killings of Turks by French forces, Saltan remarked "If we win the lawsuit, we will build a great monument for the martyrs of Gaziantep."

Saltan also said they discovered that 93 women were martyred in either their homes or in the street in addition to male victims.

Noting that 36 out of 93 women were martyred in their homes, he stated that their intention was to gather all the documents and information together in one place.

Gaziantep Bar President, Aziz Canatar said they would submit Servet Saltan's demand to the Turkish Bar Association, and confirmed that they were willing to take action on behalf of Turkey at the European Court of Human Rights after accumulating all the evidence and documents available

Adem Yilmaz, Anadolu News Agency (aa)
Gaziantep
October 19, 2006
zaman.com




As a nation, our judgment is easily clouded. It's our Achilles heel to win the hard way but lose easily. We still haven't learned how to solve possible crises by adopting long-term strategies or using intelligence and know-how.

A fine example of this phenomenon is the French controversy, perfectly timed just before the EU progress report on Turkey is released. It is as if the French wanted to seek help from Turkish sentiments that can lose control and direction easily. While France and other like-minded countries try to provoke us, so to speak, there are "customers" who are ready to buy this turmoil at home because their interests fit snugly into each other. I insist that the Algerian genocide should not be used to extract vengeance against France. This would burn bridges, whereas our duty is to build foundations and bridges for better dialogue and understanding.

The tension we experienced because of Italy's stance on the PKK and the street protests it triggered are still fresh in our memory. But remember Italy's full support for us to obtain an exact date for EU full membership negotiations. International relations are determined neither by love nor by hatred, but by national interests guided by common sense. Can't you see that today Japan and America are like identical twins, despite the two atomic bombs America dropped on its present-day ally? While discussing today's matters, we should not ruin future relations. In fact, France does not prefer Armenia, a country of five million poor people, over Turkey with this action. As is well known, Europe has had this France problem for quite some time. It is the same country that opposed Britain's full EU membership in the past, and that also rejects the current EU constitution. This notorious country is now trying to use Turkey as a scapegoat for its problems with the EU. What Turkey has to do is try to avoid being part of the problem, with little patience and sound strategy.

The other side of the equation is our homemade problems. Those who, until recently, had been tormenting people in order to impose European values on them are now pretending to be against the European Union. Since they are in search of a strategy to change course smoothly, they acted hastily in finding similarities between France's attitude and the present EU situation. Take a guess: What is the religion of our old aunt who yelled, "Religion is becoming lost?" As always, one of the most legal grounds is Ataturk. He said, "We have to reach the level of contemporary civilizations, not the European level." He meant rationalism, didn't he? But how can all this be combined with economic and political unity?

Let's not digress; I do support boycotting French products. But mine is a well-founded embargo. If a foreign product has a Turkish equivalent with the same quality, and if it can withstand the price competition, I would prefer the homegrown products. A stance and preference spreading across all parts of life with national consciousness is essential, not feelings that are set ablaze with tensions and then burnt away. For instance, rescuing the present volatile campaign launched against France from its narrow bounds and turning it into a campaign using homegrown products would be the most viable long-term strategy. On the other hand, punishing French capital that is assisting successful investments in our country, contributing to production and employment by launching a boycott, will amount to sawing away at the branch we are sitting on. Instead, not buying imported French products and brands would be the best way to boost the boycott spirit.

France may risk losing Turkey in an economic sense because Turkey is as good as a pill to cure an earthquake as far as French imports and exports are concerned. That would not move a leaf in France. However, France is our fifth-largest trading partner. More importantly, it seems as if similar things will occur with other countries, whether they're EU members or non-EU members. Almost 70 percent of Turkey's foreign trade is with European countries. We should reduce our dependence on Europe by expanding to new horizons, discovering new abilities and developing new long-term strategies. Furthermore, to increase our bargaining power we should be able to create other power sources. Otherwise any action taken by us would seem ridiculous.

10.20.2006




Armenian Genocide: Turkish University to Send Millions Appeals to European Court
In protest against the adoption of resolutions on the Armenian Genocide by parliaments of different states of the world, the Bahcesehir University has prepared a million of appeals to be sent to the European Court of Human Rights. According to university rector Suleyh Batum, "struggle should be led in political field for a while yet".

"Unfortunately, political influence of other states is felt in Turkey. That is why Turkey has to step on the juridical platform. Our state has a strong instrument - the European Treaty and the Court of Human Rights.

The aspiration to prevent Turkey from expressing reaction on historical and not grounded as genocide events is a limitation of human rights. We have prepared 1 million of application forms for the European Court of Human Rights over the decisions taken by the parliaments of Argentina, Russia, Switzerland and other states. We will garner signatures of people throughout the globe and send them to the European Court of Human Rights," Batum said, reports Azeri Press.

PanARMENIAN.Net
20.10.2006




A Bold Message, Lost On Turkey

YEREVAN, Armenia: Armenia should be rejoicing at the passage of a bill last week by France's National Assembly that would make it a crime to deny the genocide of Armenians by the Ottoman Empire in the early 20th century.

The message from France is clear: So long as Turkey refuses to confront its own history, others will feel impelled to do so. If, on the other hand, Turkey embarks on the difficult road of acknowledgement and reconciliation, then others will have reason to step aside and let the process take its course.

Instead, we note with dismay that this very strong message is being lost on Turkey. It continues to surround itself with myths, evade the past, and thus elude the future.

As we observe the reactions in Turkey, we find it disingenuous for a country that itself doesn't allow free speech and criminalizes even the exploration of certain areas of its own (and therefore our) history to be so indignant over a law that criminalizes the rejection and denial of that same history.

After all, the actual, difficult discourse must evolve in Turkey, and not in France, or Switzerland. It is in Turkey that a free and open dialogue is deeply needed, and sorely absent. Those who cry "leave history to the historians" have gagged the historians.

At the same time, Turkey objects vehemently to the involvement of third countries in a discussion that really must take place between Turks and Armenians.

No one wants such a dialogue more than Armenia. Yet Turkey has made such give-and-take between our peoples and our states impossible. In addition to the restrictions on speech, our borders remain closed. Nor are there diplomatic relations between our countries.

In other words, there are no opportunities for new experiences, new memories, new interactions to build up alongside the old. Instead, there is a lingering security concern about a neighbor that has not repudiated such state violence.

As Turkey continues to corner itself, it handicaps the future of this region and impacts the lives of its people and ours. Worse, those extremists who understand the great risks and costs of tolerance, openness and rapprochement, are emboldened.

We are not the only neighbors in the world who have a troubled relationship. Yet it is exactly because we live right next door that we must be willing and prepared to transcend the past.

France's principled acknowledgement of the 20th century's first genocide offers the hundreds of thousands of French Armenians, all descended from genocide survivors, the dignity that they have been denied because of the Turkish government's continuing insistence that the atrocities they lived through are unproven myths.

There is no doubt that if the word "genocide" had existed in 1915, every one of the hundreds of articles in newspapers around the world would have used it.

Look how frequently the word is used today to describe events and cases where the scale and depth of the carnage are even smaller.

When a government plans to do away with its own population to solve a political problem, that's genocide. The U.S. ambassador to Turkey from 1913 to 1916, Henry Morgenthau Sr., called what he witnessed the "Murder of a Nation." Others called it "race murder." They did so because the term genocide did not exist yet.

Those who deposed the Ottoman rulers - the early leaders of modern Turkey, including Kemal Ataturk - actually court-martialed those who instigated these crimes. Today's Republic of Turkey, which has inherited the nationalism of its founders but not their memory, spends untold amounts to convince the world they didn't happen.

Not just money. Today, their continued insistence on rejecting and rewriting history costs them credibility and time. Today's Turks do not bear the guilt of the perpetrators, unless they choose to defend and identify with them.

It is a political reality that both Turkey and Armenia exist today in the international community with their current borders. It is a political reality that we are neighbors. It is a political reality that Armenia is not a security threat to Turkey. Finally, it is a reality that today's Armenia calls for the establishment of diplomatic relations with today's Turkey.

Armenia has no preconditions for establishing diplomatic relations. Nor is Armenia opposed to Turkey's membership in the EU. We'd like to see Turkey meet all European standards. We'd like to see Turkey become an EU member so that our borders will be open and we can cooperate to build a secure, prosperous region.

We can only assume that Europe will expect that a Turkey which is serious about EU membership will come to terms with its past. A few in Turkish society have begun that difficult process of introspection and study. We can only welcome this process.

It is essential that the international community does not bend the rules, does not turn a blind eye, does not lower its standards, but instead consistently extends its hand, its example, its own history of transcending, in order for Armenians and Turks, Europeans all, to move on to making new history.

Vartan Oskanian International Herald Tribune,
Published: October 19, 2006
AZG Armenian Daily #201, 21/10/2006




'The So-Called Blockade Against The So-Called Genocide'
Turkey

On the eve of the vote at the French Parliament for the bill penalizing denial of the Armenian Genocide, when the Turkish press was denouncing the French, an Istanbul-based Referans daily touched upon Armenian-Turkish relations in an article titled "The So-Called Blockade Against the So-Called Genocide: Result of Armenia's Anti-Turkish Stance". This article published Oct 12 can well be considered a peculiar look at Armenia from Turkey. Though its author Selma Simseq could not shun exaggerations, her article is interesting particularly for raising the issues of Kars-Akhalkalak-Tbilisi-Baku railway and the blockade of Armenia.

Here is what she writes: "For the past 24 years 17 states defended the Armenian thesis in the issue of genocide. Turkey, which constantly adds 'the so-called' phrase to the Armenian genocide, has officially imposed blockade on Armenia. Yet, thanks to the dialogue between the two people the blockade has also turned into a 'so-called'. Kars mayor Naif Alibeyogli's following words evidence it: 'There are regular flights from Istanbul to Yerevan. 70% of goods in Armenian markets is Turkish. 70.000 Armenians work in Turkey. And we do not understand what kind of blockade is this. Turkey has opened its doors before Armenia, only the border of Kars is closed, as a result of which our town was deprived of benefit and investments for years'.

"As Alibeyogli put it, the important thing for the resident of Kars is not the railway project but the opening of Turkish-Armenian border. Armenia is of the same opinion.

"It's obvious once this project comes true, Armenia will be in a difficult situation. Its border with Turkey is closed because of genocide allegations and with Azerbaijan because of the occupation of Nagorno Karabakh. Moreover, the Iranian border areas are inhabited with Azeris thus putting Armenia in squeeze and isolation, in fact.

"Realizing that Kars-Tbilisi-Baku railway will result in an even deeper isolation, Armenia demands to open the Turkish-Armenian border as it will enable Armenia to act as a transit corridor for transportation of goods from the Caucasus to the Middle East and China.

"This project was turned down at the US Senate under the pressure from Diaspora Armenians. As a result, the US Eximbank denounced its credit of $400 million for the project.

"Since 1993 Turkey and Armenia have no diplomatic relations. There is no direct trade between the countries because of the blockade. Today, Turkish goods enter Armenia via Georgia or Iran. The goods turnover amounts to $100 million. Turkey exports mainly construction materials and food and Armenia imports row materials. The Armenian import amounts to $50 million.

"According to president of the Turkish-Armenian Business Union, Kaan Soyaq, goods turnover between Turkey and Armenia can be raised up to $500 million but Turkey has close the Kars border-gate and suffers losses. 'Only the residents of Kars pay for this mistake called blockade, as Istanbul is open for Armenia. When the Armenia-Turkish border was open trade between the two countries flourished. Now, both Armenia and Turkey are losing. Turkish businessmen are forced to go longer distances thus demanding higher price for goods. Armenia, on its part, is forced to by spoiled goods for a high price. If the border-gate is opened, both countries will gain access to the markets in the Middle East and China. Turkey has missed the chance during Ter-Petrosian's tenure and is missing it today as Kocharian prepares to leave the office. Though during Kocharian's tenure relations have aggravated a bit a more nationalist regime will change Kocharian's.'

"Soyaq meanwhile pointed out that Kars-Tbilisi-Baku railway can hardly become a reality as the US and Russian interests keep spreading in the region. Then he went on: 'These two countries have not come to terms. Without an agreement no railway project can be implemented. The USA is against the project as it demand opening of the Armenian-Turkish border. This project emerged as a result of the closed border. If it were open the US would not be against a second railway line through Georgia. But at present it does not want to lose Armenia.'

"Drawing attention to Russian-Georgian tensions, Soyaq assumes it will speed up the opening of Turkish-Armenian border. He thinks if Nagorno Karabakh issue is settled, and Turkey meets Armenia halfway the border can be opened. As to the genocide, it's not an issue that can be solved in a split second."

By Hakob Chakrian

AZG Armenian Daily #201, 21/10/2006




Georgia confident on fate of regional railway
Georgian vice prime minister says the countries involved in the Turkey-Georgia-Azerbaijan railway have sufficient funds and the will to realize the project, so it will happen

Georgia has no doubt that a proposed railway project linking the southern Caucasus country with Turkey and Azerbaijan will be realized, despite a recent decision by the U.S. Senate to block any funding for it from the U.S. Export-Import Bank, a senior Georgian minister said.

Asked whether last month's decision in the Senate, backed by U.S. Armenian groups, would affect the fate of the project, Giorgi Baramidze, vice prime minister and state minister on European and Euro-Atlantic integration, said, “Not at all.”

“There is already money coming from Turkey and Azerbaijan. There is the will of three countries to do this. So it will happen,” Baramidze said in an interview with the Turkish Daily News.

Armenia opposes the Kars-Javakheti (Ahılkelek)-Tbilisi-Baku railway project, which would link Turkey, Azerbaijan and Georgia in a route bypassing its territory; Armenian groups in the United States argue against the project, saying there is already a railway passing through Armenia that could be used to build a trans-Caucasus railroad.

Baramidze insisted that the project was an economically viable one that could benefit everyone, including Armenia, provided that it adopted a constructive approach, and dismissed the Armenian argument that no new railroad was needed in the Caucasus region on the grounds that the existing one was inactive due to serious problems in Turkey-Armenia and Azerbaijan-Armenia ties.

Turkey closed its borders and severed diplomatic ties with Armenia in the last decade after Armenian troops invaded Nagorno-Karabakh, an Armenian enclave in Azerbaijan. Armenia's support for Armenian diaspora-led efforts to win international recognition for the alleged Armenian genocide at the hands of the Ottoman Empire has further strained relations between the two countries.

“This is the point; it's not active,” Baramidze said, in reference to the railway through Armenian territory. “If this railway were active, investors would not have thought about building another one.”

He also said it was difficult to say when the existing railway could ever become operational, given the rising tension between Turkey and Armenia. “Because the existing one is not working, certainly the new one should be working and yield profit,” he said.

Turkey has already shrugged off the U.S. Senate decision, saying the project never needed funding from countries not involved in the project.

‘French bill not helping':

Prospects of normalization in Turkish-Armenian ties may have been further damaged by the French National Assembly's backing a bill criminalizing denial of the alleged Armenian genocide earlier this month.

Baramidze echoed concerns of critics of the bill: “This would not help normalization of relations between Turkey and Armenia. It would not contribute to the security of the region, either. It would also not contribute to a healthy dialogue between Turkey and the European Union.”

Georgia, complaining of what it calls Russian imperialistic ambitions in its region, is eager for integration with Western institutions, most notably NATO and the EU, and says Turkey's membership in the EU would be favorable for itself too. “We very much support Turkey's accession into the EU, this is a great chance for Georgia as well,” Baramidze said, adding that the EU would hopefully properly acknowledge the importance of Turkey.

He also said his country was eyeing stronger ties with Turkey, particularly economic ones. Turkey and Georgia are now negotiating a preferential trade agreement that will hopefully be followed by a free-trade agreement in future.

“Georgia's economic borders are wide open to Turkey, and the Georgian economy is practically becoming part of the Turkish economy, as we feel very comfortable with Turkey,” he said.


October 22, 2006
FATMA DEMİRELLİ
ANKARA - Turkish Daily News




Turkish-Armenian reconciliation is not far away

EUOBSERVER / COMMENT - The European Parliament, the European Commission, the majority of the European and French media, intellectuals, historians and jurists have pointed out that the recognition of an Armenian genocide is not a legal process. I agree with that.

To impose it as a new pre-condition to Turkey's EU membership would be counter-productive and unjust. This is also the view of the Turkish citizens of Armenian origin. Patriarch Mesrob II and the intellectual leader Mr Hrant Dink are very clear on this.

As Mr Dink pointed out several times to the media, "it is immoral to take advantage of the debate on the Armenian genocide to create new obstacles for Turkey's EU membership process."

The Armenians of the Ottoman Empire suffered terribly during World War I. This was a very difficult era of human history with rising nationalisms, falling empires and geo-strategic games over the oil resources of the Middle East and the Caspian Sea.

I share the pain of the Armenians and understand them extremely well, being the descendents of peoples who suffered immensly during those years.

It is a clear disinformation to claim that Turkey is in denial towards this human tragedy, however. Several court cases and condemnations took place during the last years of the Ottoman Empire on this issue.

Blow to freedom of expression The Turkish parliament in a recent resolution called for the establishment of an international and independent committee of historians to examine the whole truth and to find out about the responsibilities of all government officials from all countries concerned in the loss of innocent Armenian lives during World War I.

Probably, it is around the term of "genocide" that an intellectual blockage occurs in the minds and positions of all parties - because it reminds one of the Holocaust which was another horrible event, but of another nature.

Actually, Turkish Armenians are part of the Turkish republican and secular society. Moreover, there are more than 100,000 immigrant workers from the Republic of Armenia in Turkey.

They usually work as baby-sitters, nurses or in other services which require close human contact and deep mutual confidence.

There are a lot of reasons why some Armenian voices on the genocide are wrong.

Not only could they further fan anti-Muslim feelings in France and in Europe, they could also be a blow to freedom of expression - not exactly the standard that EU members want to adopt while lecturing Turkey about being ever more respectful of human rights and democratic norms.

A dozen European countries have laws against denying the Holocaust. Those laws are based on the threat posed by die-hard anti-Semites who still subscribe to Hitler's racist theories.

The Armenian question poses no such dangers in Europe. Playing politics with it trivialises not only the Holocaust, but also the Armenian tragedy. Turkish and Armenian peoples are culturally close to each other and share a common past and a common geo-strategic destiny.

Reconciliation is not far away This is why I am confident that reconciliation is not far away. This also is why any aggressive and non-constructive attack against Turkey is harmful to this process. The reconciliation will naturally happen within Turkey's EU integration process.

This can only happen in a European atmosphere of mutual respect and understanding rather than via aggressive accusations.

Some positions and actions of certain political segments in France on this issue serve only the interests of ultranationalists in Armenia and anti-Europeanists in Turkey - for example the proposed law passed by the French National Assembly on criminalising different opinions on the Armenian victims in the Ottoman Empire.

Many prominent French historians, jurists and other intellectuals have already expressed their concerns about this. Let me just emphasise once more that Turkish and Armenian peoples will find their historical reconciliation. The European integration process can contribute to this achievement.

Initiatives to divert Turkey from the EU process or to introduce anti-democratic laws are by definition gifts to ultranationalism and an invitation to further conflicts.

The European integration process is a great achievement of the 20th century. Let's take the example of this visionary project to continue to overcome the remaining problems of our small European continent.

The same vision, rationalism and wisdom is required to reach reconciliation between Armenia and Turkey. As global citizens of the 21st century, we have the responsibility to face our common destiny and common future peacefully, respectfully, rationally and without prejudice to each other's dignity.

Bahadir Kaleagasi is the representative to the EU of TUSIAD - Turkish Industrialists' & Business Association. The article represents his personal view.

Bahadir Kaleagasi
EUObserver, Belgium
Oct 19 2006




"We Must Debate 1915 Ourselves"

"Genocide Denial Law" will neither serve to resolve incidents in 1915 nor benefit Armenians in Turkey says minorities law expert attorney Cetin. "Turkey should come to the level where it can solve its problems itself" believes EU specialist Dr. Aktar.

16/10/2006 Tolga KORKUT BİA (Istanbul) - Minority Law expert, attorney Fethiye Cetin has said the French Parliament’s passing of the bill on the denial of an Armenian genocide will neither serve to resolve what happened in 1915 in Turkey under Ottoman rule not benefit the Armenian community in today’s Turkey.

“Just the opposite”, she said, “as we have seen in the past it will inflict harm. Because the nationalist circles in Turkey use such bills and decisions as an excuse and increase the repression and expression of resentment of Armenians. Unfortunately we hear such expression from official mouths”.

Cetin, also the author of the Turkish book Anneannem (My Grandmother) based on the true story of her maternal grandparent being converted to Turkish Islam in the broader concept of Christians and Armenians later becoming Turks and Muslims, believes it is wrong to "turn such grief in history into material for political purposes” and that Armenian, Turkish and French intellectuals need to work together to preempt the goals of this latest legislation and similar other.

"Turkey should do the same thing” she said. “Intellectuals should preempt all legislation that can block mutual discussion, dialogue, refreshing of memory and empathy”.

According to Cetin Turkey needs to come to the point where it can solve the problem itself and that the only way forward for this is to conduct work based on refreshing of memories and empathy.

"Unless we solve this problem ourselves, it is tying up Turkey’s feet. It is being turned into material of political benefit to some parliaments. This is very painful. Turkey should as a priority solve the problem and should get rid of these things that tie her down.”

Cetin says a solution to the problem related to what the Ottoman Armenians encountered in 1915 is based on two things:

Memory revival: "We need to work on memory based on mutual dialogue in Turkey”.

Developing empathy: "We have an empathy problem in the society. We need to be able to see and feel the grief of others for real outside of the bounds of all political conflicts and nationalist prejudice. We need to be able to listen to each other’s grief, see it and feel it. Such initiatives have started and it has been seen they have very positive effects. People have started to isten to the grief of each other. The path should be opened for this.”

Cetin believed that what happened in 1915 "is sensitive and painful, requiring a priority solution” but that the sharing of memories on mutual dialogue and developing empathy between the communities is an essential part of that solution.

"If we look at the law adopted at the French Parliament” she adds, “it can be seen this serves neither memory work nor developing empathy”.

Aktar: We need to debate the massacre

Bahcesehir University European Union Center President Dr. Cengiz Aktar also believes that France took a mistaken decision which he describes as being “foolish”.

In an interview with the Turkish NTV television on the issue, Aktar said that rather than allow third parties to take over the issue “we must talk ourselves that there was not a genocide but that there was a serious massacre. If this happens, we will not leave the discussion up to lawmakers at the French Parliament”.

Aktar believes it would be a mistake to regard the issue only in the context of Franco-Turkish relations or give impulsive reactions. He says the Turkish government can overcome this period.

"In France there has been no debate that Turkey would be further excluded or that it would be excluded from the EU process. But if we give a response in the same way, it will mean a continuation of a no-solution” he said.

Noting that there could be economic reaction to the decision, Aktar recalled French capital had over 5 billion euro in investments in Turkey and said “it would be mistaken for us to touch the industry”. (TK/II/YE)

BIA News Center




Exploiting "Genocide" to Cut Turkey from EU

Prof. Oran says France is using Armenians and the "genocide" question to exclude Turkey from the EU: "Fear of globalization has spread everywhere". Economist Sonmez warns that this debate can put Tukey off the rail on the way to EU membership.

11/10/2006 Erol ONDEROGLU BİA (Istanbul) - Ankara University Political Sciences Faculty lecturer Prof. Dr. Baskin Oran has sarcastically said he is in favor of the passing of the "Bill to punish the denial of an Armenian Genocide" which is to be debated by the French Parliament on October 12, Thursday.

"With the passing of this law the French will come face to face with such a terrible debate that as a result they may re-discover Voltair. This will increase the support to 16 historians in France who see this bill as the intervention of politicians into the affairs of historians" Prof. Oran said.

French author and philosopher Francois-Marie Arouet de Voltaire's famous quote "I do not agree with what you have to say, but I'll defend to death your right to say it" is an international reference for the freedom to express supporters.

Speaking on the same issue, economist Mustafa Sonmez has said that French President Chirac's visit to Armenia and this bill being brought to the French agenda had no other meaning but "to constitute a form of salute for the Armenian lobby" and does not believe there will be any positive implications of it being passed.

"It will have very negative effects" he said. "Turkey could enter a serious era of instability. Investment in Turkey could end up in difficulties due to cold money and one could even talk of evasion".

The purpose is to exclude Turkey

Evaluating the bill for bianet, Prof. Oran and economist Sonmez share the common view that the purpose is to exclude Turkey from the European Union even if they see different reasons to this.

Oran says the bill reflects French fears of globalization that are not limited only to Turkey while Sonmez believes that if the bill is passed, Turkey's overall relationship with the EU will be affected.

The reactions of Oran and Sonmez come in the midst of warnings issued in Turkey from parliament, government, business and civilian community circles against the "Genocide Bill" in the wake of debate of a Turkish retaliation that includes an embargo of French products and more specifically, rejecting new contracts to French companies that have in the last year realized $10b worth of trade with the Turkey.

Despite a recent attempt by the ruling Peoples Movement Union (UMP) leader Nicolas Sarkozy's advisor Patrick Deveciyan to amend the bill to exclude historians and academics from its scope, economic and political consequences of the law if passed are expected to be maximum.

Sonmez believes that it is very difficult for Turkey to accept the bill being passed and said "Turkey must initiate this boycott and take measures such as not accepting them into public tenders". He added, however, that although it was known months in advance that the bill would be brought to the agenda, Turkey's response had been delayed and insufficient.

Noting that the bill has consequences far beyond French-Turkish relations, Sonmez said "the draft may serve to tense Turkey's EU relations and to derail them".

"If the draft is passed, it will mean Turkey has come to a new position, that Turkey-EU relations have reached a new corner" he said.

Pointing out that the EU and the IMF were two of the most important things for Turkey, Sonmez said that if this bill was added to a relationship that was already not going the way it should, "it will severely affect the EU project, putting it in a bottleneck. The concern of the business community should be viewed this way".

Oran: 16 French historians will win if bill is passed

Prof. Oran, on the other hand, says that with the approval of the genocide law, the bill that has so far been "a sword of Democles" over Turkey will have been lifted and that with the pursuant debate that would hit France, the country would return to Voltair by going back to the future.

"Globalization had killed Voltaire" Oran said. "By passing this law the French could re-discover Voltair. Then there will be more to join the 16 French historians that see this as an intervention into their work".

Oran argued that the Armenians and this issue were being used to exclude Turkey from EU and said globalization not only effected the economy but was a blow on national identity too.

He said that while Turkey itself was entering a period where non-Muslims were being regarded as citizens as part of a new national identity, the changes in the "geography of identity" were not limited to this country and raised reaction in country's such as France and Holland where the European Constitution was being rejected.

"The fear of globalization has spread everywhere" he said.

Oran pointed out that there was a contrasting situation in Turkey which was parallel to these noting that those who said a genocide had taken place were put in prison under 'racist article 301".

"Just as the French are using the Armenians to restrict the Turks" he said, "we are using the Armenians and restricting the freedom of expression. The reason is the same. It is the fear of globalization."

Oran stressed that fears fanned each other and said "enemies of the EU in Turkey and the enemies of Turkey in the EU are suckling each other, lactating each other. If you do not know the concept of hot, you cannot know the concept of cold".

Asked whether the bill could still play a positive role in the freedom of expression if passed, Oran said that in the short term relations would "go very bad" but that what was more important was what would happen in the medium term. "In any case, we will be living through hell until the elections" he concluded. (EO/II/YE)

BIA News Center
www.bianet.org




"History Requires Conscience Not Law"

Journalists Mahcupyan, Dink and Zarakolu blast French "Genocide Bill" as a product of "repressive mentalities" similar to the ones in Turkey: "This bill is ethically illegal and Armenian history needs to be treated with conscience, not laws"

11/10/2006 BİA (Istanbul) - Journalists Etyen Mahcupyan, Hrant Dink and Ragip Zarakolu have issued a joint statement in which they have said the "Draft law to Punish the Denial of the Armenian Genocide" to be tabled by the French parliament on Thursday" is the consequence of a repressive mentality and outside the bounds of "a democratic mind", such is the article 301 and other legislation in Turkey.

The statement said the law that's being proposed in France was, in principle and ethically "illegal" and was as diseased as the reflex reactions Turkey are developing in a nationalist viewpoint.

"In a period such as this where the communities are in such a great effort to undertand each other, reciprocal political tactics are treason to the forming of a more peaceful and just mutual world" the statement said. "We invite those involved to show common sense".

The three intellectuals, two of them leading names in the Armenian-Turkish community, said that the West had in the past carried a great responsibility "in exhausting the relationship between Armenia and Turkey" and stressed that the duty of these countries now was to re-initiate relations between the two peoples, find ways of solution and to support these by compensating for past mistakes.

Rights Being Violated

The statement of the intellectuals coincided with a letter sent this week by the Human Rights Association (IHD) and Turkey's Human Rights Foundation (TIHV) to the International Human Rights Federation (FIDH) based in France.

Signed by IHD Chairman Yusuf Alatas and TIHV Chairman Yavuz Onen, the letter expressed concern that the Armenian Genocide bill was a severe violation to the freedom of expression and that if the draft was passed, there were fears it would lead to rights violations in enforcement.

The IHD and TIHV letters said the draft was setting a world-wide precedent to lifting the freedom of expressing opinions and that it threatened the freedom of expression both in France and in Turkey.

"It cannot be accepted in the view of human rights for an event that has taken place in Turkey in the past to be exploited in France for political purposes or electoral concerns" the letter said,

It recognized that there were things to be done in Turkey both in the official and civilian fields due to the "tragic incidents that the Armenian people have lived through in the past" and asked FIDH to actively work to stop the draft and to share these views with the French Parliament.
(EO/KO/TK/II/YE)

BIA News Center
www.bianet.org




"Respond France by Promoting Freedoms"

PEN's Sayar gives out signals on freedom of expression after "genocide vote" in France saying "retaliation should be by abolishing article 301". TGC's Erinc refutes France PM's statement. Prosecuted journalist Duzel wants to see what happens ın practice.

18/10/2006 Erol Onderoglu BİA (Istanbul) - What kind of messages do statements made by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his government after the French Parliament's vote on the "Draft Law to Punish Those Who Deny The Armenian Genocide" entail for development of freedom of expression in Turkey?

International PEN Turkey Chair Vecdi Sayar who believes the statements are encouraging says "In retaliation to the Genocide Bill, Turkey should rid herself of article 301 and similar constraints on freedom of expression".

Journalists Association of Turkey (TGC) chair Orhan Erinc, meanwhile, refers to television news program on which the Prime Minister is being quoted saying "Freedom of expression is banned in France. Over here we can talk as we wish".

"I wish" says Erinc. "I prefer to see these remarks of the Prime Minister as a message that the obstacles placed in front of the freedom of expression in the Penal Code (TCK) and the Anti-Terror Law (TMY) will be lifted".

Subject to a series of enquiries and prosecutions based on her important interviews published in the "Radikal" newspaper, journalist Nese Duzel believes one should not take the government for its words.

"I don't know what will be changed in Turkey. Let's see what happens in practice" she cautions.

Government doesn't give credit to "tit for tat"

In the days during which the Armenian genocide bill was being debated in France and passed at parliament, messages of "boycotting French products" spread in Turkey.

The Parliament Justice Commission chaired by Justice and Development Party deputy Koksal Toptan intended to react to the bill with a Turkish draft that was alleged to be five months old which would recognize the Genocide in Algeria [committed by France] and criminalize the recognition of the Armenian genocide.

Although criticism of France was severe and sporadic boycotts occurred at public level in some wok places, government members agreed on the position that Turkey should not make te same mistake.

Historian, EU and RSF reaction to France

In this period France, a part of the European Union that has on the international arena wanted for article 301 in Turkey to be abolished, was accused itself of shackling down opinions.

Not only Turkey but officials of the EU as well as the Paris-based Reporters Without Frontiers (RSF) organization reacted to France.

Following these developments, bianet asked their opinion of the future of freedom of expression from International PEN Turkey Center chairman Vecdi Sayar, TGC chairman Orhan Erinc and journalist Nese Duzel.

Sayar: Retaliate by lifting 301

PEN Turkey Center chairman Vecdi Sayar believes that in retaliation to the French bill, Turkey most conclusive step would be to abolish article 301 of the TCK and similar other restrictive legislation.

"Government statements are giving such positive indications in this direction" he says. "I believe this would be the correct thing to do. Perhaps we can extract something right out of the mistake in France".

Erinc: We can't talk how we want

Referring to PM Erdogan's remarks on a CNN Turk television program saying "Freedom of opinion is banned in France. Over here we can talk the way we wish" TGC's chairman Erinc says he does not share this view.

"While it is impossible not to share he view of the Prime Minister in his first sentence, the remark that we can talk the way we wish is a view that unfortunately we cannot share" Erinc said.

Erinc prefers to see Erdogan's remark as an indication that restrictions on the freedom of expression brought on by some articles of the TCK and TMY will be lifted and adds, "Otherwise, looking at the prosecutions launched against freedom of expression, it is not possible to accept these words of the Prime Minister".

Noting that 69 court cases had been filed in Turkey under article 301 in the past year, Erinc says the effect of the French vote on Turkey could have been negative. In his words, "With its vote France has not only completely disregarded its own freedom of expression, but has also pulled up a wall in front of the changeability of the articles of law that impose a bottleneck on the freedom of expression in Turkey".

Duzel: Not waiting for anything, looking at practice

Journalist Nese Duzel who has been charged for "enticing hatred and enmity" but later acquitted for her important interviews in "Radikal" newspaper with Alawite leaders is now subject to an enquiry and prosecution for "propaganda of a terrorist organization" due to her reporting on the views of various experts and politicians on the Kurdish issue.

"I don't know what will be changed in Turkey" she says "but we need to look into what happens in practice".

Duzel has a gloomy look at the future and recalls "With 301 the government withdrew what it had given. Many leaps towards democratization in the past two years have been withdrawn with the TMY and the new TCK".

Noting that legislation restricting freedom of expression continued to exist in the new penal code, Duzel says "A progressive step has not yet been taken. In practice it has started to become like the past too because cases that to me once had come to an end are being revived again".

Dink: Let us do what is correct

Appearing on an NTV live program the previous evening, Armenian-Turkish journalist Hrant Dink who is prosecuted in Turkey for his remarks recognizing an Armenian genocide, said the French vote results could actually be favorable for Turkey and that Turkey should do what is correct.

Editor-in-Chief of the Armenian-Turkish "Agos" newspaper, Dink said, that Turkey would not be the one to lose out of this bill and expressed belief that "after this, Turkey will display the freedom of expression that has been taken from its hands".

Stating that until the French vote the world public opinion saw the Armenians as the aggrieved and the Turks as being unjust, Dink noted "From now on the Turkish expression has become the one that is aggrieved. I believe that the Turkish official expression will use these conditions and will display the freedom of expression that has been taken from its hands".

Dink said that anti-EU circles could be expected to exploit the development and that this itself could lead to problems in Turkey's relations with the Union.

Saying that the French Parliament continuously used the expression that "Turkey should look to itself", Dink asked "is Turkey going to be able to look to itself? They have mentioned [Penal Code] article 301. These are not wrong either. There we are against the [violation of] freedom of expression. But in Turkey there are laws, cases, that repress the freedom of expression. Let us do what is right. After that, as France has done in their mistake, they will be left isolated".

What did government officials say?

On the freedom of expression, senior government officials have made some recent remarks that were widely reported in the media. State Minister and chief negotiator Ali Babacan told Turkish journalists in Brussels that the French decision would affect feelings towards the EU in a negative way.

Babacan said, "If the French make mistakes, it is not correct for us to give a response with further mistakes. We will continue with our reforms. What is correct is clear and we will continue what is correct with reforms".

Gul: Progress will continue

Visiting Luxembourg for a meeting Turkey's Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul emphasized the difference between Turkey and other countries. "Our difference is that we are aware of what we are missing," he said adding, however, that the country had advanced much in a short time.

"Some things do overshadow the progress we have made," he said. "We still have things to do and we are determined to do them". (EO/EK/II/YE/EU)

BIA News Center
www.bianet.org





V.Oskanian Touches Upon Role And Problems Of Armenian Diaspora At Toronto International Conference
Toronto

RA Vartan Oskanian who is in Canada on a working visit, made a speech at the international conference "Building of Possibilities Aimed at Peace and Development: the Role of the Diaspora" organized by UN jointly with the University for Peace in Toronto. NT was informed about it from RA FM Press Service.

Chairman of UN General Assembly 61st session, Sheikha Haya Rashed Al Khalifa made a greeting speech at the conference.

Minister Oskanian presented the Armenian Diaspora's experience, spoke about Diasporan structures' activity in various countries and problms of its development. Presenting the history of emergence and formation of the Armenian Diaspora, he touched upon the problems of Diaspora's identity.

Armenia-Diaspora relations were also touched upon. In particular, it was mentioned that the latter's assistance to Armenia is provided in economic and political directions: economic assistance through investments, philanthropy and monetary transfers, political assistance through support in Nagorno Karabakh settlement, recognition of the Armenian Genocide and in issues relating to Armenian-Turkish relations.

After the conference Minister Oskanian continued to communicate with the representatives of Canadian Armenian community. Issues of Armenian villages' development, as well as of Armenian community's and individuals' participation in various business projects were discussed at the meetings.

OCTOBER 20,
Noyan Tapan - Armenians Today





Perversion

Turkey is an incredible country. The agenda changes every week, if not more frequently. Hence there is never a dull moment for a diplomat, journalist or social scientist in Turkey. But is this a change for the better? That is debatable…

My article published last week seemed quite out of context with the events that later surfaced. With the eruption of two phenomena -- namely Orhan Pamuk's Nobel Prize and the adoption of a bill by the French Parliament's lower house that would criminalize the designation or even the discussion of the events that transpired in the last years of the crumbling Ottoman Empire during 1915-1917 as anything other than “genocide” -- all other issues became irrelevant. However, a week late, I will try to catch up.

Pamuk, a Turkish novelist, won the Noble Prize in Literature, perhaps the most prestigious award of all times for a man of literature. He brought pride to his nation and recognition to the culture he was inspired by. Yet some circles responded in such a way that if they had the chance they would put him before a firing squad. Mr. Pamuk could be the first Nobel laureate executed for winning the award. The only reason those people and circles denied the award in his name was because he said, “One million Armenians and 30,000 Kurds have been killed in these lands” in an interview given to a foreign journal. How dare he! A Turk does not criticize his country and nation! What in fact he was pointing out was that we have not and still do not even analyze the most wanting questions that complicate our lives. It is not the numbers but the magnitude of the questions that haunts our days and our past. He meant to say to us that silence is either a sign of helplessness or complacence. He wanted to confront us with our ignorance and callousness: cleanse our collective mind and soul. What did we do in return?

We accused Orhan Pamuk of two things: “selling out his country by way of distorting its history, and luring the Nobel literary committee by controversial political statements to cover up for his mediocre literature.” It is hard to believe, but these and harsher statements filled newspaper columns and TV commentaries. Isn't this something perverse? After the entire nation craved international recognition and at times complained that “those Westerners will never give the Nobel Prize to a Turk.” Was this statement based on rational evaluation?

This is a country that has not yet rationally explained why, once a major world empire, it has become an underdeveloped country that is not counted among the first league of nations. Yet it chose to put the blame on the “(Western) imperialists” and their internal cronies. On the other hand, this is a country that yearns to catch up with the “West” set as a national target by its much revered hero -- Mustafa Kemal Ataturk -- and chants “hear our voice (our footsteps) Europe” after each soccer match won against a European football team. And now a Turk has received the most acknowledged prize of all time, which no other Turk has won since the initiation of the award in 1901. He has been chosen among Western and non-Western literati alike for his work, not for his statements. The name of his prize is the Nobel Prize in Literature, not the Nobel Prize in Political Criticism.

Then what is the problem? The problem is in the absence of a culture of criticism or lack of critical thinking in these lands. “Why is there rebellion?” “Why do people rebel and get killed?” are questions seldom asked. The act of rebellion, which is always interpreted as treason, is severely punished without understanding its causes and the tranquility until the next rebellion is deemed living in peace and harmony. We Turks have often deluded ourselves with a false peace or transitory periods of peace. Our reaction to Pamuk's success has been either shameful silence or insolent criticism in the name of patriotism or derogatory jealousy that reveals the mediocrity of those who advise Mr. Pamuk to give back the award, which he does not deserve as a Turk.

Let us decide whether we want novelists (or better chroniclers) in uniform or not. For only those “official” artists (even this term is contradictory) write, paint and compose what their masters tell them to do. A universal intellect or a natural talent owes nothing to an authority for being what she or he is and the quality of her or his work. Pamuk is no different. He owes nothing to any authority that criticizes him for what he stands for and the potent work he has produced. Then why do they want to be part or party to the honor he won by suggesting not so honorable ways of dispensing the fame and prestige he has won? Didn't he win this honor in spite of them all? “Them” -- meaning those who insulted him -- wanted to put him behind bars and make his life miserable.

What has Pamuk offered to us human beings (not only as Turks) that was rewarded internationally?

He offered us things to read with pleasure. We felt we were doing something refined and worthwhile. His novels reward the reader not only with a feeling of literary aesthetics but also by challenging them intellectually. He offers us mental puzzles that we have to solve and feel satisfied when we do. He offers us not problems to solve but problematic themes to ponder and does not force us to take sides or make final or definitive decisions.

We are a people who shoot when we are in battle, but we also shoot when we are happy. If not every, then many wedding ceremonies, circumcision feasts and football games that end victoriously offers scenes of men with guns in their hands shooting at will, including members of Parliament and Cabinet ministers. Those people who cannot differentiate between instruments of war and leisure can easily mistake a universal novelist for a nationalist propagandist.

Is it true that the president of the republic and some of the leading party leaders have refrained from congratulating Mr. Pamuk, who has brought pride and prominence to their country? If so, they have to decide whether they want to lead a nation among nations or a closed society that suffers from political incest and has no ability to see the wider world.

October 23, 2006
Doğu Ergil




French Against Turks: Talking About Armenian Genocide

Why has the French government now chosen to punish its citizens for denying the Armenian genocide? On Thursday 12 October, the lower house of the French Parliament adopted a bill which would provide a jail sentence and a heavy fine to anyone denying the genocide committed by Ottoman Turks against the Armenians in 1915. The bill was passed in the National Assembly by 106 votes to 19. The punishment to be issued for the denial of the Armenian genocide - set at a maximum of one year prison term and 45,000 euros (£30,000) fine - is equal to the punishment already dealt under French law for the denial of the holocaust. To many states in the international community -in particular Turkey - this move aggressively counters an already problematic Turkish law, under which a writer may be prosecuted for the opposite: proposing that there were a set of atrocities in 1915 that the government should accept as "genocide".

To be clear, according to the UN and many Western scholars, the Armenian genocide did happen. International authorities do recognise the event as the Armenian genocide of 1915, a direct case of that led to the persecution and death of 1.5 million Ottoman Armenians. To date, the Turkish government and a number of Turkish nationalists do not recognise those series of events as constituting anything like "genocide." There is, in this sense, a huge open public space prepared for discussion.

Yet in this new legislative development, it seems important to ask why the French government has adopted the bill? Will this bill greatly disturb Franco-Turk relations? Why have the French chosen to intervene on the free expression of the Armenian genocide at this peculiar time, marked by the attempted Turkish EU-membership and the high profile controversies surrounding the freedom of speech in Turkey? In my view, there is a decisive background to how the French authorities have adopted the "denial bill" - but there is a huge vacuum in explaining why it has asserted the bill at the cost of infuriating Turkey. The French government has passed a bill which first, not only threatens the freedom of expression on the Turk-Armenian genocide issue but second, will possibly damage Euro-Turk political and economic relations irretrievably.

The adoption of the French "anti-denial bill" was taken as an insult by the Turkish government. The Turkish had warned France not to pass the legislation. Furthermore, almost as soon as the bill had been passed in the National Assembly, the Turkish Foreign Ministry issued the following statement: "Turkish-French relations, which have been meticulously developed over the centuries, took a severe blow today through the irresponsible initiatives of some short-sighted French politicians, based on unfounded allegations." Given the degree of disgust experienced by the Turkish authorities, why did the French even choose to consider the nightmare legislation? The only alleviation of the tension seems to have come from President Chirac's subsequent half-hearted apology to the Turkish Prime Minister - and perhaps the fact that the bill has yet to pass before the Senate and the President before it can finally become law.

In several high profile literary controversies, it became immediately noticeable that the Turkish penal system opposed the free discussion, publishing and writing on the Armenian genocide. The most influential of those trials were those of Orhan Pamuk - who has since won the Nobel Prize for Literature - and Elif Shafak - who courageously gave birth as her trials were being held. Both authors faced charges of "insulting Turkishness" under the notorious Article 301 of the Turkish Penal Code. In late December 2005, Orhan Pamuk was charged with "insulting Turkishness" after the author had claimed in a Swiss newspaper that 30,000 Kurds and one million Ottoman Armenians were killed in Turkey yet nobody in the Turkish population would dare talk about it. The trial was dismissed by the Turkish Ministry of Justice at the beginning of 2006. Later this year, author of Bastard of Istanbul, Elif Shafak, also faced charges of "insulting Turkishness" under the antediluvian legislation. Subsequent to an earlier dismissal in the year, the seventh High Criminal Court had revived the charges made by Kemal Kerincsiz's nationalist jurist group, 'The Unity of Jurists.' Fortunately, in the final week of September, Shafak was immediately acquitted - but not without significant intimidation of her novel-writing which delved into the dialogues of the 1915 genocide.

The suppression of free expression in Turkey has occurred for writers and journalists such as Pamuk and Shafak because of the notorious Article 301 of the Turkish Penal Code, prohibiting "insulting Turkishness". Ironically, the troubled legislation was passed in 2005 as a measure of bringing Turkish law into alignment with the Copenhagen criteria of the European Union. After the Shafak trial, the EU Commission spokesperson, Krisztina Nagy, insisted that Article 301 "continues to pose a significant threat to freedom of expression in Turkey and all those who express a non-violent opinion." That, in many respects, reflects the majority-opinion of the EU.

Then, more recently, it became visible that the Turkish genocide issue was not only angering the French government but it was an identifiable issue upon which the French were pushing for Turkish EU-access membership to be granted - i.e. 'the Turkish should be pushed to admit the Armenian genocide, and if they refuse, then they shall forfeit a place as an EU-member state'. The opposing French Socialist Party - which pushed through the legislation - held that the bill protects and rewards the Armenians in exile from a country that still refuses to accept the atrocity. Then, on 30 September, in a visit to Yerevan, the French President confirmed his position: "Should Turkey recognize the genocide of Armenia to join the EU? ... I believe so. Each country grows by acknowledging the dramas and errors of its past. ... Can one say that Germany which has deeply acknowledged the holocaust, has as a result lost credit? It has grown."

I subsequently reported on how France had been left alone on this position since other EU-member states seemed ready to treat Turkey softly on this issue - I also speculated, quite rightly, that this would have detrimental diplomatic relations with the Turkish government, by arguing: "It might also be thought that Chirac could not afford to push the condition too far, since it may bring substantial damage to Franco-Turk relations before Turkey has even begun to attempt its progress towards European harmonization." Now, that problematic tension has evolved, it is clear enough for us all to see the aggravation caused, illustrating both bilateral and multilateral tensions.

The various European institutions, eager not to be seen as possessing double-standards, have been as strong in their condemnations of France's new bill as they have been of Turkey's Article 301 in the past. Both pieces of legislation condemn the freedom of discussion on the 1915 genocide issue; in opposition, the respective governments only recognise the acceptance of the genocide (France) or the rejection of it (Turkey). EU Enlargement commissioner, Olli Rehn, has issued many warnings to Turkey over the literary controversies for "insulting Turkishness" but on 9 October, he turned to France to issue a similar warning: "...The French law on the Armenian genocide is of course a matter for French lawmakers, but there is a lot at stake for the European Union as well, and the decision may have very serious consequences for EU-Turkey relations ... This [legislation] would put in danger the efforts of all those in Turkey - intellectuals, historians, academics, authors - who truly want to develop an open and serious debate without taboos and for the sake of freedom of expression." That is to say, in a nutshell, that the predicament of problematic tensions is characterised by a removal of free expression on a very pertinent political issue as well as the damage to Turkey's future relations in Europe.

The most flawed of all the French proponents of the bill was French MEP, Patrick Gaubert, claiming that "Europe is a continent where freedom of speech is guaranteed in an extraordinary manner. But free speech ends when the memories of a people are abused and their feelings are suffering from lies." Obviously, Gaubert needs to radically revise his reviews since that is not the accepted view of defending free expression and contrary of his opinion, it is more important to talk about sensitive issues such as "genocide" than to lock people up for them. Unfortunately for France, it is widely recognised that one of the most fundamental defences of free expression in relation to a diversity of religious and political doctrines derives not from a French source but from one of Britain's great philosopher's, John Stuart Mill. In the doctrine of John Stuart Mill's On Liberty, published in 1859, the right to freedom of expression and its conditions are stated concisely and transparently.

The most fundamental principle of a freely operating liberal society is the right to the "freedom of opinion." The only exception in which Mill could conceive that this freedom might be limited was if it were to impose severe physical harm onto others - and only under very rare conditions could this exception be true. As a result, the French government's intervention into a literary controversy should not have been at all possible. In France's peculiar rationale, it somehow thought that the socialist cause, with the backing of the free vote from the ruling Union for a Popular Movement (UMP), was enough to bar free expression. For the rest of Europe, that is not reason enough to bar the fundamental right to free expression. Nor does the new French reasoning seem reasonable enough to destroy further diplomatic relations with Turkey - whether it enters the EU or not.

James McConalogue
Brussels Journal, Belgium
Oct 21 2006
http://www.brusselsjournal.com




'We Consider The Benefits Of Our Country In Relations With Our French Partners'

Oyak Holding General Manager Coşkun Ulusoy told that they will evaluate their relations with French partners within the framework of Turkey's benefits. Ulusoy asked the government to shed light on this issue.

Oyak Holding General Manager Coşkun Ulusoy has gathered with reporters in Ereğli factory of the Oyak Holding and evaluated the relations with France after it approved the bill which imposes penalty on those who deny the Armenian genocide. Ulusoy said: "I do not understand why we always try to do something at the very last moment. Why don't we pursue a deterrent policy? We have partner companies which would defend us in their own countries. What do we gain if we boot them? As Oyak we do not only have partners in France but we also have partners from other countries. We do not oppose the benefits of our country. But what we need is the government shedding light on this issue. Boycotting France is not a decision we can make all by ourselves."

Sabah, Turkey
Oct 21 2006




Dyer’s Point
Keeping Turkey Out


Words matter. The Holo-caust of the European Jews during the Second World War was a genocide. The mass deportation of Chechens from their Caucasian homeland during the same war was a crime but not a genocide, even though half of them died, because Moscow’s aim was to keep them from collaborating with German troops who were nearing Chechnya, not to exterminate them. Which brings us to the far more controversial case of the Armenians and the Turks.

On 12 October, the French parliament passed a law declaring that anyone who denies that the mass murder of Armenians in eastern Turkey in 1915-17 was a genocide will face a year in prison. But the French foreign ministry called the law "unnecessary and untimely," and President Jacques Chirac telephoned Turkish prime minister Recep Tayyib Erdogan to apologise.

Why would the conservative majority in the French parliament deliberately set out to annoy the Turks, knowing that the law would eventually be vetoed by the president ? Because they hope to provoke a nationalist backlash in Turkey that would further damage that country’s already difficult relationship with the European Union.

French public opinion is already in a xenophobic mood over the last expansion of the EU, with folk-tales of "Polish plumbers" working for peanuts and stealing the jobs of honest French workers causing outrage, especially among right-wing voters who never much liked foreigners anyway. The prospect of eighty million Turks -- MUSLIM Turks -- joining the European Union, even if it is at least ten years away, is enough to make their blood boil.

So a big row with Turkey should attract lots of votes to the right’s presidential candidate in next May’s election, who is likely to be none other than current prime minister Nicolas Sarkozy -- who announced last month that Turkey should never be allowed to join the EU : "We have to say who is European and who isn’t. It’s no longer possible to leave this question open." The new law is not really about Armenians or Turks. It’s about the French election.

Meanwhile, in Turkey, anti-EU nationalists have their own game underway. While Turkey was busy amending its penal code to make it conform to EU standards over the past few years, hardline lawyers and bureaucrats smuggled in a new law, Article 301, that provides severe penalties for "insulting Turkishness." In practice, that mainly means trying to ban public discussion of the Armenian massacres, and some seventy prosecutions have already been brought by the ultra-right-wing Union of Lawyers against Turkish authors, journalists and other public figures.

For several generations the Turkish government flatly denied any guilt for the Armenian massacres, insisting that they didn’t happen and if they did, it was the Armenians' own fault for rebelling against the Turkish state in wartime. Latterly, a new generation of Turkish intellectuals has been saying that a million or more Armenians did die in the mass deportations from eastern Anatolia, and that Turkey needs to admit its guilt and apologise -- though most still refuse to call it a genocide, as that would put it in the same category as the Jewish Holocaust.

The prosecutions for "insulting Turkishness" -- even against Turkey’s greatest living novelist, Nobel Prize winner Orhan Pamuk -- are not just an attempt to stifle this dialogue among Turks, or between Turks and Armenians. The ultra-nationalists also want to derail the negotiations for EU membership by painting Turkey as an authoritarian and intolerant state that does not belong in Europe. They are, in effect, Sarkozy’s objective allies.

But prime minister Erdogan will probably repeal Article 301 once next year’s elections are past. France’s law, which REQUIRES people to discuss the Armenian massacres in precisely the terms that 301 bans, will probably be vetoed by Chirac. And Turkey’s best-known Armenian journalist, Hrant Dink, who has already been prosecuted several times under 301, has just announced that he will go to France "to protest against this madness and violate the (new) law… And I will commit the crime to be prosecuted there, so that these two irrational mentalities can race to put me into jail."




Fake Compassion Of Europe's Right-Wing: Armenian Genocide

On the surface, this appears to be a Left cause - Turkey seems guilty of holocaust-denial. Rewriting history is always a dangerous route to take, especially when those doing it are heads of state; the result is traditionally scapegoating and repression. Anyone who stands for justice and equality takes a firm stance against such behavior. With that said, one has to wonder why this particular event, which took place over a hundred years ago, is suddenly making headlines. To view this emerging topic as a simple case of holocaust-denial is to align oneself with the anti-Islamic wing of Europe who are using the topic to inflame ethnic and religious tensions, consolidate their racist constituency, and shift national issues away from the ever-worsening social reality- much like what is happening in the U.S., not to mention Australia.

The spark that united the current debate occurred in France, where Jacques Chirac, the right-wing President, and Nicolas Sarkozy, Chirac's ultra-right Interior Minister, co-supported a law making denial of the Armenian genocide a crime; earlier in the year France officially recognized the event as genocide. Now Chirac has publicly stated that Turkey, who does not recognize the WWI happenings as genocide, should do so if it wants entrance into the European Union.

Once again, taking this move on its face, the usually-callous French leaders appear to be putting humanity ahead of politics. Just the opposite is the case, as it always is.

Before an opinion is formed on this issue, some preliminary details should be pondered. One should first reflect on the fact that the Armenian genocide was the work of Ottoman Turks (Muslims), responsible for killing Armenian Christians. This particular detail should raise an eyebrow, considering the current climate of religious tension in the world.

Additional suspicion is required when one considers the credibility of these suddenly-virtuous French leaders, whose past actions have made them the object of contempt from much of French society. Chirac is the French equivalent of George Bush- he is widely unpopular and considered by many to be a lame duck. The massive protests that took place in response to the First Employment Contract proposed by Chirac had revolutionary potential, and forced the President to make a substantial, albeit temporary retreat in his right-wing policy-making. The sad state of France has forced its leaders into the cellars of society to find political support; religion, racism, and demagoguery are the tactics now relied on to divert attention from the pressing issues of the country. Suddenly, the most prized constituents are the most backward, content with easy answers to complex questions. Immigrants and Muslims have been hardest hit by this shift of strategy.

The subtle anti-Islamic rhetoric that both politicians and the media had been using evolved into the most racist and reactionary state policies. French schools are now under a country-wide ban of Muslim headscarves and other "conspicuous' religious symbols, a blatant violation of a founding principle of the French republic- freedom of religion. Chirac's national address concerning the issue was greeted by the media with fanfare and hysteria as he tried to twist the issue into one of great historical importance. The social problems of France were now blamed on a 'clash of cultures'- the method used by every despotic regime in history facing desperation and crisis. The Muslims of France were painted as foreign entities, unable to acclimate themselves to French society, something that is now blamed for their devastating poverty and consequently, overt rebelliousness.

In October 2005, the culmination of the 'Muslim question' took place in riot form, spreading quickly across France and eventually throughout much of Europe, reflecting the continent-wide significance of the issue. Those rioting were mainly Islamic youth of African heritage, unhappy with unemployment, poverty, and state-sponsored racism. The French government responded with ruthless repression, implanting curfews and a three-month long state of emergency. Little was mentioned about the social conditions responsible for the uprising. Nicholas Sarkozy, always in the vanguard of anti-Islamic rhetoric, referred to the rioters as 'rubble' and 'scum', using the event as a pretext for even harsher laws and a 'monitoring program' aimed at the extremely early detection of troublemakers; Muslims will be the overwhelming target in this case.

With the above taken into consideration, the new genocide-denial law cannot be supported. It is an insult to the memories of those Armenians actually persecuted during WWI; their deaths are being shamelessly exploited by a regime in crisis, looking for any reason to shift the country's problems away from those responsible for decision-making. Chirac and his cohorts are literally incapable of such empathy, responding with genuine emotion only when their corporate masters are threatened.

Fortunately, many Armenians of the region understand the racist intentions of the new law, and have vowed to travel to France to become criminals for breaking a law that is allegedly meant to protect them. This level of political consciousness is severely lacking by many of those interested in the subject.

It is enough to know that most governments in the world today are mirrored reflections of an internationally unhealthy business environment; the corporations that have long controlled the mainstream political parties are expressing their desperation through their electoral voice boxes. The ever-deepening conflict of interests between the needs of corporations and that of average people has created an environment of hostility towards governments across the globe, resulting in the low-brow political maneuvers so familiar to those living in the U.S. At this stage, EVERY policy implemented by every 1st world government should be looked upon with deep suspicion. Scratching the surface will usually reveal the most sickening of intentions.


James Cooke
PEJ News, Canada
Peace, Earth & Justice News
Socialist Perspectives
Oct 21 2006




'U.S. Governments Never Described The Events Of 1915 As Genocide'

* US Urges France to Promote Discussion

The United States has expressed it views on the Armenian genocide legislation criminalizing the denial of the issue, noting that it did not make sense.

Washington, which has taken a firm stance against the regulation, called on Paris "not to take sides but to promote the debate in Turkey and the dialogue between Turkey and Armenia."

Fried Meets Reporters

U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs Daniel Fried spoke on Friday in Brussels to a small group of reporters, including some from Zaman.

Asked by a Zaman, Turkish daily, reporter to assess the bill, he said "this is a very intricate matter, and it deserves a comprehensive answer."

Noting that French President Jacques Chirac had sounded his concerns about the bill, Fried said, "We believe those concerns to be right ones," and he emphasized that the U.S. governments never described the events of 1915 as "genocide."

"This doesn't mean that we belittle or deny the mass killings that took place in 1915. President Bush has always accentuated his grief caused by the events" said Fried.

Fried emphasized that forbidding any discussion about the issue made no sense and said "Every country has parts in its history that it is not proud of. For instance, slavery, the maltreatment of American Indians, and the gathering of Japanese-origin American citizens into camps during World War II are such examples from my country."

Fried also said that his country discusses all such subjects transparently just the way it has to be in modern societies and Turkey should be encouraged to do so as well.

Warning that "the French bill is not going to promote discussion," Fried uttered that the responsibility of other countries involved were to foster the air of discussion in Turkey and the efforts for dialogue between Turkey and Armenia.

Also calling on France "to promote dialogue instead of taking sides," he pointed out that the subject in Turkey was already being discussed and Turkish intellectuals had started adopting different angles to evaluate the events of 1915.

It was very unusual of Fried to call on both the Turkish and Armenian side to look at the 1915 events "with pain but honestly."

Also touching on the Cyprus matter, Fried said they hoped that a train wreck would not occur between Turkey and the European Union and considered it a positive development that none of the parties had rejected the Finnish plan yet.

Praising the president of Turkish Cyprus Mehmet Ali Talat's efforts toward a solution, Fried never mentioned Tassos Papadopoulos, the president of Greek Cyprus.

By Selcuk Gultasli
Zaman, Turkey
Oct 21 2006




Dutch Labor Party Regrets Excluding Turks from List

Wouter Bos, leader of the Dutch Labor Party, issued a statement shortly before the early parliamentary vote on Nov. 22 in a bid to ease the Turkish reaction against his past decision to exclude some Turks from party lists because they had refused to acknowledge an Armenian genocide.

Bos said he was sorry for his offhand use of ‘genocide’ as a word.

“There is too much confusion about our views. We’re solely responsible for this. I’m so sorry for lackadaisical use of genocide as a word,” Bos told a news conference.


Dutch Labor Party Chairman Michiel van Hulten, Nebahat Albayrak and other Turkish members of parliament who managed to remain on the list were also by Bos’ side when he apologized.

“So many people, both Turkish and Armenian, lost their lives in a war in the early 20th century,” said Bos in an attempt to clarify his party’s view on the Armenian question.

The question calls for historical and legal examination, said Bos, adding his hopes that Armenians will match Turks in their attempts to reach a settlement over the question.

Bos admitted to his lack of knowledge in this area of history.

Bos expressed his feelings of disappointment for excluding Erdinc Sacan from the party list as a candidate for a place at the parliament, but he defended that Sacan was not totally excluded from politics.

Turkish-origin members of Dutch society will take a cautious approach to such statements from Bos, as they were made prior to the upcoming elections.

By Basri Dogan, Ali Cimen, The Hague
November 08, 2006
zaman.com






WEEK IN REVIEW


Writer Orhan Pamuk became the first Turk to win the prestigious Nobel Prize on Thursday for a body of work that probes the crossroads of Muslim and Western cultures.

The Swedish academy said Pamuk "in the quest for the melancholic soul of his native city (Istanbul) has discovered new symbols for the clash and interlacing of cultures."

The 54-year-old writer is Turkey's best-known author at home and abroad but also a political rebel whose pronouncements on his country's history have put its respect for freedom of expression under the international spotlight. "In his home country, Pamuk has a reputation as a social commentator even though he sees himself principally as a fiction writer with no political agenda," the Nobel jury noted. Pamuk's win came as no surprise. Pamuk mostly shuns the public eye, writing for long hours in an Istanbul flat overlooking a bridge on the Bosporus. Born in 1952 into a prosperous, secular family, Pamuk was intent on becoming a painter in his youth. He studied architecture but later turned to writing and studied journalism in Istanbul.

His latest book is the critically acclaimed "Snow," set in Turkey's border town of Kars, once a border city between the Ottoman and Russian empires. "The novel becomes a tale of love and poetic creativity just as it knowledgeably describes the political and religious conflicts that characterize Turkish society of our day," the academy commented.

The elation generated by Orhan Pamuk's achievement of winning the Nobel Prize in Literature was tainted by claims that the main reason he was awarded the prize was due to his comments over the Armenian genocide allegations. The Foreign Ministry was quick to note its pleasure over the award, asserting its belief that it meant Turkish literature would make its mark on the world scene. Despite the general elation, some commentators qualified their praise by noting their reservations.

October 15, 2006
www.tdn.com.tr








Armenian writers delighted at Nobel prize for Pamuk
Prominent Armenian writers on Thursday hailed Turkish novelist Orhan Pamuk's Nobel prize for literature, praising his stance on the claims that Armenians were victims of genocide at the hand of Turks during the World War I.

"This a lesson to those Turks who wanted to put him on trial. This is a victory for democracy in Turkey," said Perch Zeituntsian, a leading Armenian writer and playwright.

Pamuk was charged last year and faced the threat of prison for telling a Swiss newspaper in February 2005 that his homeland was unwilling to deal with two of the most painful episodes in recent Turkish history: the massacre of Armenians, which Turkey insists was not a planned genocide, and recent fighting in Turkey's southeast.

The head of Armenia's Union of Writers, David Muradian, said the decision to award Pamuk the Nobel prize sends a strong message. "This is a both a literature prize and about morality."

Armenians claim that as many as 1.5 million of their ancestors were killed in 1915-1923 in an organized campaign to force them out of eastern Turkey, and have pushed for recognition of the killings around the world as genocide.

Turkey acknowledges that large numbers of Armenians died, but says the overall figure is inflated and that the deaths occurred in the civil unrest during the collapse of the Ottoman Empire. But Ankara is facing increasing pressure to fully acknowledge the killings, particularly as it seeks EU membership.

"I am genuinely glad about this event. It means that not all Turks are deniers," said Armenian literature critic Alexander Topchian.

October 14, 2006
YEREVAN - The Associated Press




US stays out of France's genocide bill controversy
The United States said on Thursday that it had its own views on Armenian genocide claims but declined to criticize France for a parliamentary move making it a crime to deny the alleged genocide.

"We have our views on this. ... We issue usually an annual statement on the topic. I don't have anything to add to that annual statement," State Department spokesman Sean McCormack told reporters when asked to comment on the French vote.

In his April 24 Armenian commemoration statements in recent years, U.S. President George W. Bush consistently has declined to qualify last century's Armenian killings in the Ottoman Empire as genocide.

In his last statement, Bush classified the killings as a tragedy, a term that fell well short of meeting Armenian demands for a formal U.S. recognition of their genocide claims.

France's lower house of parliament, the National Assembly, approved a bill earlier on Wednesday making it a crime to deny that the Armenian killings in the final years of the Ottoman Empire were genocide. The bill, approved by 106 votes to 19, still must be approved by the Senate and signed by the president to become law.

Ankara said the French parliamentary vote had dealt the Turkish-French relationship a severe blow.

Asked if the French move would hurt Ankara's ties with Paris and the relations between Turkey and the European Union, McCormack said that it "will be up to Turkey and France, and Turkey and the EU." "We certainly hope that they are able to work through the issues that are quite clearly on the table in terms of Turkey's accession discussions with the EU," he said. "It's quite clear there's been a formal process where the issues are before everybody, and it's up to the two sides to work through them all."

McCormack also defended U.S. Ambassador to Turkey Ross Wilson, whose recent remarks on Turkish internal politics prompted criticism by the Turkish Foreign Ministry and some politicians.

Wilson's remarks came in an Oct. 3 conversation with Turkish reporters here in the wake of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's talks with Bush at the White House.

When asked to comment on a dispute on secularism between Erdogan's civilian government and top military commanders, Wilson said: "Although my perspective as ambassador is there's always a certain amount of cacophony in Turkish domestic politics and in the media, there's nothing that I see imminently on the horizon that makes me particularly worried about Turkey's status as a strong, secure, stable, secular democracy."

"I haven't seen the specific quote, and I haven't talked to Ross about it. But I do know that he is doing a good job there," McCormack said.

October 14, 2006
ÜMİT ENGİNSOY
WASHINGTON - Turkish Daily News




These are selected stories and their summaries from Turkish newspapers on October 13, 2006

France's blow to freedom, genocide shadow cast over Pamuk's Nobel:

Zaman yesterday dedicated half of its front page to France's adoption of a bill stipulating jail terms for those who deny the alleged genocide of Armenians at the hands of Turks and Turkey's first Nobel Prize winner Orhan Pamuk.

Zaman referred to the French parliament's decision as a historic mistake. Criticism directed at France by the European Union, the Turkish government and a prominent French legal expert was included in the story. The European Commission said the decision was “stupid and far from Europeanness,” while the Turkish Foreign Ministry in a harsh statement said the Turkish public was deeply infuriated. French lawyer Olivier Duhamel asserted that the regulation adopted in Parliament was in violation of the French Constitution.

Zaman in its coverage of Turkish author Orhan Pamuk's Nobel Prize for Literature in 2006 said his success is being overshadowed by the French bill and the writer's previous statements suggesting that Turkey had killed 1 million. Recalling that Pamuk was brought before a court for words that were taken to be humiliating for Turkey and its history, Zaman said Turks have mixed feelings towards the Turkish writer, with some lingering resentment of his remarks about the alleged genocide. Zaman said the controversial prize has also divided Turkish literary circles. While some authors expressed pride, some said the Nobel was a humiliation because it was awarded to Pamuk for his controversial statements about the alleged genocide.

J'accuse...!, Pamuk calls his daughter first:

Sabah's report yesterday was headlined “J'accuse...!” The daily explained the headline in French recalling the Dreyfus Affair -- a political scandal that divided France during the 1890s and early 1900s. It involved the wrongful conviction of Jewish military officer Alfred Dreyfus for treason and a subsequent political and judicial scandal. Author Emil Zola is often thought to have exposed the affair to the general public in a famously incendiary open letter to President Félix Faure to which French statesman and journalist Georges Clemenceau appended the eye-catching title "J'accuse!" (I Accuse!); it was published on Jan. 13, 1898 in the newspaper L'Aurore.

The reported said the French parliament, which considers itself the judge of history, has ratified an unfair decision that has deeply hurt the Turks. It was the same France that had wrongfully convicted one of its officers 112 years ago.

The report also featured a picture of Republican People's Party (CHP) deputies Haluk Koç, Onur Öymen, Gülsün Bilgehan and Şükrü Elekdağ, who were present in the French parliament to observe the vote on the genocide denial bill. The four are shown in the picture seconds after the voting ended, with extreme frustration evident on their faces, with a caption reading “The moment the Turkish delegation broke down.”

Sabah also noted that the law adopted in the lower house of the French parliament had yet to be ratified by the Senate.

In its coverage of the Nobel Prize awarded to Turkish author Orhan Pamuk, Sabah concentrated on the joy of the author, who told the newspaper: “I called my daughter first when I heard about the news. She was in class and told me: ‘Dad, I heard it, I'm very happy but the instructor is looking at me, I have to go.' I asked to talk to the instructed but she said no.”

Pamuk also told Sabah that winning the Nobel is a proud moment for Turkish culture.

Genocide of thought, Nobel pride:

Yeni Şafak yesterday referred to the French genocide denial bill as a disgrace for democracy. The paper also said civil society organizations would stage a boycott against French products in retaliation for the bill. The president of Turkey's Consumers' Union announced that one French brand would be added to the list of boycotted products every week.

In its coverage of Orhan Pamuk's Nobel, Yeni Şafak made little mention of the author's previous statements that had caused resentment among Turks. “Orhan Pamuk, author of 'Cevdet Bey and His Sons,' 'The Black Book,' 'Snow,' 'The White Castle' and 'My Name is Red,' won the Nobel Prize with his years of hard work,” said the daily, proudly adding that Pamuk outperformed prominent authors nominated for the Nobel this year including Philip Roth.

The decision is hostile, Pamuk first Turkish author with Nobel:

Cumhuriyet in its coverage yesterday of the French vote on the genocide denial bill said the decision was a violation of both democracy and of history. It highlighted reactions of European Union Commissioner for Enlargement Olli Rehn, who harshly criticized the regulation and warned that its eventual enactment in the Senate would be a catastrophe.

In its coverage of Pamuk's Nobel, Cumhuriyet downplayed the controversy claiming a link between Pamuk's controversial statements about the alleged genocide of Armenians and his being awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature this year. The newspaper said the great prize had been awarded to a Turkish author for the first time and quoted Pamuk, who said the Nobel was an honor for Turkish culture and literature rather than a personal one.

106 idiots, Armenian shadow over Nobel:

Bugün, in its coverage of the Armenian genocide denial bill said “France, the cradle of freedom, has surrendered to 106 Armenian supporters.” The proposal that violates freedom of thought was accepted in the French Parliament with 106 votes. Bugün claimed that the French government had acted as if it was against the bill sponsored by the French opposition Socialist Party, but in reality had done nothing in its power to block the bill. Bugün also quoted the hateful statements of Patrick Deveciyan, a French member of parliament of Armenian decent against Turkey. Deveciyan said Turkey was exporting denial policies, and freedom of expression did not exist in Turkey.

Bugün's coverage of Turkish author Orhan Pamuk's Nobel for Literature underlined the author's previous remarks supporting Armenian allegations, which had caused deep resentment in Turkey. Bugün said the author's great success was overshadowed by the French parliament's decision and reported that Turkey was divided in its reactions to the Nobel. Some congratulated the author while others expressed anger, suggesting that his Nobel was given only because of his controversial remarks against Turkey.

October 14, 2006
ANKARA - Turkish Daily News




Pamuk’s Armenian conference put off
Turkey's internationally acclaimed author Orhan Pamuk, who won this year's Nobel Prize in Literature on Thursday, must postpone his trip to the University of Minnesota until later in the year because of all the notoriety surrounding the announcement of the prize, the Web site of the university said yesterday.

The Web site first announced that Pamuk was to deliver a lecture Oct. 16-18 under the theme “On Making the Other Talk,” but after Pamuk won the Nobel Prize, the lecture was postponed.

Pamuk has won numerous awards for his works while sparking controversy in Turkey for speaking out about the alleged genocide of Armenians at the hands of the Ottoman Empire.

The visit by the Turkish author will be supported by the Arsham and Charlotte Ohanessian Chair in CLA, the Institute for Advanced Study, the Institute for Global Studies and the Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies.

October 14, 2006
ANKARA - Turkish Daily News




So, we have the political agenda for 2007
While most of us were experiencing the aftershocks of both the indignation of the vote in the French parliament criminalizing denial of the so-called Armenian “genocide” and the historic first-ever win by a Turk of the prestigious Nobel Prize for Literature, the ruling and the opposition parties in Parliament joined forces and in only a few minutes legislated a law setting Nov. 4, 2007 as the parliamentary elections date, quashing long-running speculation that the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) might call snap polls.

Since under the Constitution we have a clear date for the presidential election next year and since Parliament has decided on the parliamentary elections, we can say that we finally have a clear political agenda for the coming year. How accurate we are in saying so, of course, will be tested by time. But at least at this moment we know that on April 16 the process of the election of the next president will get under way. From now until that day, and perhaps until the end of the candidate nomination period, we will have a very heated discussion on the fundamentals of the republic, particularly the principle of secularism, as well as the place of the military in policy making. Who the presidential candidates will be will remain a question dangling in the air until the closing hour of the candidacy period. Will Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan become a candidate? If he does, what will the impact be on his AKP and the general political climate in the country? This will be the subjects of heated discussion.

The presidential election, however, cannot and should not be approached without taking into consideration the parliamentary elections. There are still many people in this country who believe, despite Parliament's decision to hold elections on Nov. 4, that an early election before the presidential election would be in the best interests of Turkish democracy. Though that probability appears rather slim at the moment, technically parliamentary elections can be held within 45 days after such a decision is taken by Parliament. Again, because of constitutional stipulations that no change in election laws can be implemented in polls that are to be held 12 months before the adoption of such amendments, there are differing views as to whether an early election can be held within one year before the scheduled polls. Still, such a development may help defuse the tension that has already started brewing over the presidential election.

According to the latest polls, it appears that the AKP has dipped to its lowest approval rating since coming to power with a landslide election win on Nov. 3 with 34 percent of the vote. A poll commissioned by the AKP itself showed that the ruling party would get 26 percent of the vote if polls were to be held today. Other polls say the AKP has dipped as low as 21 percent. It is clear, in any case, that the AKP's playing of nationalist tunes has not helped it recuperate lost electoral sympathy but rather has consolidated nationalist parties. Still, while in some polls there are four parties above the 10 percent election threshold, in most only the AKP and the Republican People's Party (CHP) are above the threshold, while there is a very high -- 33 percent -- number of undecided voters.

The undecided group, like this writer, are mostly the social democrats and people on the center right who won't vote for the CHP and have difficulty considering the AKP a party on the center right but who at the same time don't have a party to their liking.

Recent statements of True Path Party (DYP) leader Mehmet Ağar proposing revolutionary concepts vis-a-vis the Kurdish problem and the fight against the separatist Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) gang has won much praise for both Ağar and his party. In polls, anyhow, the DYP is hovering around the 10 percent threshold. Whether or not Ağar will manage to continue the upswing in the popularity of his party in the months ahead is indeed a question that will shape the future political panorama of Turkey.

On the other hand, it appears that there is gross discrimination against the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) in the opinion polls, similar to the situation in the polls held in the run-up to the 1999 election. At the time the MHP was claimed to have the support of only 8-9 percent of the electorate, but it won the election with an unexpected 18 percent of electoral support and came second after the Democratic Left Party (DSP) of Bülent Ecevit, which had scored 22 percent. The DSP success was a big surprise as well. Why? That was the fallout of the rise in nationalist sentiments after the capture of PKK chieftain Abdullah Öcalan.

Today, the EU's treatment of Turkey, the Cyprus developments, the U.S. war in Iraq and elsewhere and the situation in northern Iraq are just some of the factors that again are boosting nationalist sentiments. This factor has so far been neglected in forecasting the future of Turkish politics.

The 2007 agenda might have been established, but we without doubt will experience many surprises next year.

October 14, 2006
TDN editorial by Yusuf KANLI




From the columns
These are summaries of selected opinions from Turkish newspapers on October 13, 2006

The author who universalized Turkey with his pen:

Milliyet's Çetin Altan yesterday shared his opinion about Turkish author Orhan Pamuk being awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature. An author of Turkish literature has finally taken his deserved place among the diamonds of universal art. Turkish literature has seen great and creative writers such as Nazım Hikmet, Sabahattin Ali, Kemal Tahir, Orhan Kemal, Rıfat Ilgaz, Peyami Safa, Haldun Taner and Sait Faik. This vivid and colorful bouquet also includes Yahya Kemal, Necip Fazıl, Kerim Korcan, Abbas Sayar, Fakir Baykurt, Refik Halit, Yakup Kadri, Memduh Şevket, Reşat Nuri and many others. They must be applauding Pamuk's Nobel from distant galaxies. Even educated people in authority are far from the mastery of the Turkish language that they display. Endless accusations have been directed against authors, such as those against Pamuk, claiming they are harming the country's image and backstabbing the country. Pamuk's novels are a humanistic synthesis of worlds dichotomized as “we and they,” made great by his discipline and hard work. Pamuk, whose novels have been translated into 45 languages, is almost more readily accepted abroad than by his own people in Turkey.

Thank you very much, Orhan Pamuk!:

Bugün's Cengiz Çandar yesterday praised Pamuk for being the first Turk to have won the Nobel Prize. He won this prize by writing in Turkish, our native language. Pamuk's prize will make bigger waves in the world than the idiotic decision of the French parliament to criminalize denying the alleged Armenian genocide. Yesterday (Thursday) was Turkey's day all over the world thanks to Pamuk. Pamuk won his award using Turkish and telling the stories of Turkish people. Thank you very much in the name of Turkey for honoring us all so greatly, particularly at a time when we really need something to be proud of. The list of those awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature is worth taking a look at. When you do, you'll see many familiar and “everlasting” names on that list. Now, one of ours, Pamuk, is included on that list.

Should we be happy or sad?:

Sabah's Fatih Altaylı yesterday recalled that he had not long ago stated that Pamuk was this year's favorite for the Nobel Prize in Literature. That has happened; he has received the award. Ironically, he -- who uttered words supporting Armenian claims of genocide -- was awarded the Nobel on the day when the French parliament passed a bill making denial of the alleged genocide a crime. When Pamuk had uttered those words, it had been stated in this column that “he said those things to grab the Nobel,” because that is what the Nobel is all about; an opposing political stance, being an outcast in one's own country and being unwanted are all plusses for the Nobel. In fact, we should be glad. A young Turkish author getting the Nobel is a great honor for Turkish literature that will open the doors of world literature for many of our writers. However, we can't be happy. We can't really be elated because we can't bring ourselves to see Pamuk as “one of ours.” On the contrary, we see him as someone who “sold out” on us, as someone who “accused his nation with lies” to get the Nobel. At the same time, we can't view him as a man who would stand up for his ideas, who would defend what he said no matter what. Instead, he twisted his own stance when he was cornered. Many great writers and Nobel winners had significant personal shortcomings; however, the prizes they won moved their countries up a notch. Just like this. So thank you, Orhan Pamuk, still.

Measure of reaction:

Zaman's Mustafa Ünal in yesterday's column discussed the French parliament's adoption of a controversial bill making denial of an alleged Armenian genocide a crime. The dreaded has happened; the lower house of the French parliament has ratified the bill. However, the process is not yet over. The Senate must approve the bill next, followed by the president. Still, it does have the possibility of enactment. In France, there are many voices with common sense that see the bill as an intervention into history. The government said, “We do not think the bill is necessary,” but it did not apply the weight of its power to block the bill. You never know; reactions both from Turkey and Europe could change the air. The bill could be blocked in the stages ahead. No matter what the result is, the bill will be etched into French law as the bill of disgrace and shame. Apparently, Turkey's harsh reaction to the bill will not be limited to words. Parliament and business leaders are set to take retaliatory measures. Although reacting to France is natural and necessary, the extent of the reaction is important and should be carefully watched. Initial emotional reactions should be replaced by sensible and calm approaches. If Turkey loses control, it will inflict damage on itself and not France.

Our author got the Nobel!:

Vatan's Necati Doğru yesterday underlined that the announcement by the Nobel committee that Pamuk was this year's winner for the literature prize coincided with the French parliament's decision to adopt the genocide denial bill. Results of the voting and the Nobel announcement came around the same hours, even minutes; it was a painful coincidence, a coincidence that proves right those who say, “Whoever was born and bred in Turkey but attacked the Turks later will be crowned, even awarded the Nobel.” It is a coincidence that bears testimony to doubts that he was awarded the Nobel not for his work but for his slanderous statements against his own nation regarding the alleged genocide of Armenians. At the same time, it is a suspicious coincidence. They added him to the list of the world's greatest writers. This world-class author aided those calumnious circles trying to corner Turkey and the Turkish nation in front of the civilized world. He made statements as if he were a prominent member of the Taşnak (a socialist Armenian political party founded in 1886 that operated clandestine and armed groups). Just like the Taşnaks, he was unable to provide any solid evidence and sufficed it to leave his accusations as unfounded claims. And he got the Nobel. A very sad coincidence.

October 14, 2006
ANKARA - Turkish Daily News




Sadness and elation at the same time
In author Adalet Ağaoğlu’s opinion, what we went through the other day was something that could only be encountered in novels.

In author Adalet Ağaoğlu's opinion, what we went through the other day was something that could only be encountered in novels.

Most certainly, I am talking about finding out that Orhan Pamuk was awarded the Nobel Prize in those very moments we had locked our gazes on TV screens in anticipation of the vote in the French parliament on the Armenian genocide denial bill.


In Turkey, Mesrob II signals his disapproval for bill
Meanwhile in Turkey, the leader of the Armenian Orthodox community, Patriarch Mesrob II, has also expressed his worry over the "genocide denial" bill, saying "Our goal is always dialogue, and efforts which have included in them empathy and reciprocal understanding. Efforts which do not fit this description are not useful to us. In order for the subject to be discussed, all countries, including Turkey and Armenia, rather than taking precautions to limit discussion, must do everything possible to lift the blockades from the debate."

In the media world, well-known author and general editor of the Armenian newspaper "Agos," Hrant Dink, joined together with Zaman newspaper journalist Etyen Mahchupian and publisher Ragip Zarakol (both of whom are Armenian) to print a declaration of their lack of support for the French bill being voted on tomorrow.

12 October 2006
Hürriyet




Austrian Historian Collects Materials Regarding Facts Of Armenian Genocide Against Azerbaijanis And Jews
Historically Azerbaijan has been a tolerant country where Armenians have peacefully lived for centuries, by not facing any racial or religious discriminations, the world-famous Austrian scientist-historian Erik Faygl told on October 11 in Baku in the meeting with Azerbaijani scientists in the Human Rights Institute of the Azerbaijan National Academy of Sciences, Trend reports. Faygl arrived in Azerbaijan to collect materials for the next book regarding the facts of Armenian genocide committed against Azerbaijanis and Jews.

With his work, the Austrian historian intends to present to the attention of the world public the true historical facts regarding the tragic incidents in 1918-1919 when in result of Armenian genocide, thousands of Azerbaijanis, including Jews, Germans and the representatives of other national minorities living in Azerbaijan at that time, became the victims of this vandalism. The Austrian scientist intends to closely co-operate with the Human Rights Institute of the Azerbaijan National Academy of Sciences, as well as a series of public organizations researching these historical facts in order to jointly reveal these facts and deliver the reality to the attention of the world public

The researches of the Austrian scientists regarding the facts of Armenian genocide committed in 1918-1919 against the peaceful Jews living in Azerbaijan have created a great resonance in the world, the Director of the Human Rights Institute Rovshan Mustafayev stressed. He regretfully emphasized that these facts haven’t been fully studied by present in Azerbaijan (according to conservative data, nearly 3.000 Jews have been killed at that time). According to the Director of the Institute, the recent researches of the Georgian scientists show that the facts of the Armenian genocide committed against Georgians are more than the facts of Armenian genocides against Azerbaijan. The facts of Armenian genocide against Germans densely populated in Khanlar district of Azerbaijan are studied by the scientists of the “Center for Initiatives” headed by the scientist and member of the Azerbaijani Parliament Rovshan Rzayev. A series of evidences regarding the facts of Armenian genocide have been revealed and they will be presented to the Austrian scientist to include in his book.

12 October 2006
Trend




Elekdag: Turkey Should Decrease Direct Flights From Armenia
ANKARA - Yasar Yakis, former foreign minister and MP from right-wing AK Party, argued that Turkey should expel 70,000 illegal Armenian workers in Turkey in apparent retaliation for the probable adoption by the French National Assembly. However many Turks oppose this idea.

Sukru Elekdag, former diplomat and MP from left-wing cHP party, also a former senior diplomat and deputy of the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP), at a press conference at Parliament on Monday, said that France has been exploiting Turkey's EU membership process and was trying to get Turkey to eventually cave in.

Over 70,000 Armenian citizens have been illegally working in Turkey but have been tolerated, Elekda? said. However, Turkey should now implement the related laws and gradually send these illegal workers back, he added.

In addition to this measure, Turkey should also decrease the number of flights between Istanbul and Yerevan, which is seven flights per week at the moment, Elekda? also added.

The idea was originally voiced by former Foreign Minister Ya?ar Yakis, head of Parliament's European Union Harmonization Commission, during a meeting in the northwestern province of Duzce province in a show of reaction against the French bill penalizing any denial of the claimed genocide of Armenians.

"Seventy-thousand illegal Armenian workers in Turkey should be sent back to Armenia in response to the bill", Yakis offered.

"You may say that the mistake was made by France, but the ones punished are Armenian. However, Armenia should as well be aware of its responsibilities," he was quoted as saying by the Dogan News Agency.

However some of the Turkish parliamenterians say that "if they are illegal, they should expel immediately without making any connection with the French draft".

Yakis based his argument on the fact that the Armenian lobby in France played a key role in bringing the controversial bill to the agenda of the French National Assembly.

Assoc. Prof. Dr. Mehmet Ozcan, Turkish EU expert, however argues that "Turkey should not expel anyone as a measure against France's Armenian attempts: "France makes mistakes. Turkey should not do the similar mistakes. Armenians came here, because they are not happy in Armenia. They found jobs and stable life here. We should not disturb these people. They continue to make contribution to Turkey's and Armenia's economies" Prof. Ozcan added.

Mucahit Taskiran (JTW)
Journal of Turkish Weekly, Turkey
Oct 11 2006




Baku-Kars-Akhalkalaki Railway Project To Cost $400 Million
Azerbaijan and Turkey will assign joint funds for the Baku-Kars-Akhalkalaki railway construction, Turkish Ambassador to Azerbaijan Turan Morali told reporters October 11. He remarked that the construction will cost some $400 million. "A Turkish delegation has arrived today to discuss the issue. The construction of this railway will promote the development of political, strategic and economic relations between Turkey and Azerbaijan," Morali said.

According to the Ambassador, transportation of cargo by the railway will cost three times cheaper than by other kinds of transport, reported Trend news agency.

PanARMENIAN.Net
11.10.2006




Restoration of Armenian church in Van complete

With the church refurbished, the number of tourists to the province will increase, says the provincial culture manager

A project to restore the Armenian church on the island of Akdamar in Lake Van is complete, according to reports.


Cahit Zeydanlı, the owner of the company that restored the church, said the restoration process began in May 2005. The process involved the cleaning of the roof and the frescos and figures inside and outside the church, laying floorboards and putting in windows, he said, noting that they had found 34 rooms in the church during the restoration.
He said the rooms were cleaned up but were not restored because they weren't included in the project.

“The restoration was finished on Aug. 30 at a cost of YTL 2.6 million,” said Zeydanlı, noting that five experts supervised the efforts.

“Right now, we are in the process of refurbishing the environs of the church. We built a pier and walkways on the island. Toilets, guard posts, ticket booths and gift shops were built. We are also building a cafeteria behind the church. These will be complete soon too.”

He said the church on Akdamar was the second Armenian church he had restored, noting that the Armenian church in Bitlis his company had rebuilt was now being used as a house of worship.

Zeydanlı said they were aware of the dangers of restoring the church and consequently were in constant contact with the government, Armenian officials in Turkey and around the world. He said an Armenian architect had helped them throughout the process.

“The church is a registered work of art. That's why it was very important to pay the utmost care on the rehabilitation of the church.”

He had talked to Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan about the church, said Zeydanlı, noting that Erdoğan was very interested in the process. “The past problems between Armenians and Turks are harming the current state of relations. I hope this church will help in finding a common ground. This restoration is the proof that Turkey can handle such projects. The opening ceremony may take place on Nov. 4. We are expecting the prime minister at the ceremony.”

A tourism boost to the region:
Van Culture and Tourism Manager İzzet Kütüoğlu said a science board and their bureaus had constantly checked the progress of the restoration process and were pleased with the end result.

“The number of tourists coming to Van will increase with the completion of this project. There are some groups who want to come even now. However, we don't want anyone here before the restoration is complete.”

October 7, 2006
ANKARA – Turkish Daily News


Erdogan: Some Forces 'Trying To Blacken Glorious History Of Turkish People'

Some forces are “trying to blacken the glorious history of the Turkish people and the statements on the Armenian Genocide are a typical example of this”, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan stated. “It’s hard to find a nation with such huge historical heritage.

As Turkey’s Prime Minister I personally proposed Armenia to form a joint commission for investigation of the last years of the Ottoman Empire,” Erdogan said, stressing that the government headed by him does the utmost to support the department of Turkish history and language. “These two departments lay in the basis of the formation of the Turkish Republic,” the Prime Minister concluded.

12 Sep 2006
Yerkir




PM Erdogan speaks about Armenia at Turkish history congress

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan participated yesterday in the 15th Turkish History Congress in Ankara. Speaking to congress attendees, Erdogan touched on questions surrounding the so-called Armenian genocide, noting "It is nearly impossible to come across a people as free of guilt as ours in history. Still, there are those who try to blacken our history for political reasons. This is where the accusations of a so-called Armenian genocide come in. On this subject, as the prime minister, I proposed to Armenia that we form a commission. I still have not received a positive response to this request. Still, we have hope. All of the Ottoman archives are open to those who wish to investigate. In fact, foreign researchers talk about how our archives are more open than those of other countries."


Turkish President Ahmet Necdet Sezer also sent a message to the president of the Turkish History Foundation, Yusuf Halacoglu, noting that "no efforts would be successful in hiding the truth about Armenian genocide accusations."

© Copyright 2006 Hürriyet


Babacan: Recognition of the "Genocide" is possible through joint Historians . . .

Turkish Minister of Economy and Special Envoy in the negotiations with the European Union Ali Babacan considers that the acknowledgement of the fact of the Armenian Genocide by his will become possible in case such conclusion is drawn by the joint Armenian-Turkish committee of historians.

Ali Babacan made the statement in an interview to the Dutch NRC Handelsblad newspaper titled "The Recognition of the Armenian Genocide by Turkey not ruled out," MEDIAMAX agency reports.

In response to the question whether Turkey will accept the decision of the committee to characterize the 1915 events as genocide, Ali Babacan declared, " We'll agree to any decision."

At the same time, the Economy Minister criticized the position of the European parliament on the issue, noting that "parliamentarians are not historians" and "the European Parliament is not the institution that can assert what has happened in reality.

Ali Babacan declared that all Turkish archives are open for scientists, and the suggestion to form a joint Armenian-Turkish committee of historians remains in force.

ArmRadio.am
11.09.2006




"Turkey's recognition of genocide is not out of the question"

A news item of Dutch daily newspaper NRC Handelsblad, featuring an interview in the Hague with Turkish EU-negotiator and Economy Minister Ali Babacan, reacting on EP Foreign Commission Report on Turkey, and especially the precondition of Genocide recognition for Turkey¹s EU accession.

See English text below, after Dutch text.

More news on this topic at http://www.24april.nl

You can also see (in English and Dutch) and discuss this topic at Holandahay Forum at: http http://forum.nedarm.nl/index.php?showtopic=608



NRC Handelsblad 9 september 2006

ŒTurkse erkenning van genocide niet uitgesloten¹ Vraaggesprek met EU-onderhandelaar Ali Babacan

Niemand moet verwachten dat Turkije zijn standpunt over de Armeense kwestie wijzigt¹, zei de Turkse premier Erdogan. Maar zijn eerste onderhandelaar met de EU is genuanceerder.

Door onze redacteur Wilmer Heck

Den Haag, 9 sept. De vrijheid van meningsuiting laat nog veel te wensen over, de rechten van minderheden zijn niet gegarandeerd, de positie van het leger is te sterk, de kwestie-Cyprus verkeert in een impasse en Ankara weigert te erkennen dat honderdduizenden Armeniërs in de EersteWereldoorlog slachtoffer werden van genocide door Ottomaanse Turken.

Kortom, EU-kandidaat Turkije wordt stevig aangepakt in het rapport dat CDA-europarlementariër Camiel Eurlings heeft opgesteld en dat deze week veel steun kreeg in de buitenlandcommissie van het Europees Parlement (EP).

Ali Babacan, de Turkse minister van Economische Zaken en hoofdonderhandelaar met de EU, bezocht deze week Den Haag om de Turkse zaak te bepleiten. Hij wijst de meeste Europese verwijten van de hand. Maar erkenning van de massamoord op Armeniërs in 1915 als genocide sluit hij niet uit.

Op de Turkse ambassade ligt Babacan de Turkse positie toe.

Erkent u dat het Turkse hervormingsproces steeds trager verloopt? ³Nee, het kost gewoon tijd voordat de resultaten van de hervormingen zichtbaar worden. Onze bereidheid tot hervormingen is in ieder geval even groot als voorheen en zal eerder toenemen dan afnemen. Het voltallige Europees Parlement stemt over enkele weken over dit rapport. Tot die tijd zullen wij proberen het op andere gedachten te brengen.²

Wat vindt u van de eis dat Turkije de massamoord op Armeniërs in 1915 erkent als genocide? ³Turkije staat open voor alle uitkomsten van wetenschappelijk onderzoek naar deze kwestie. Daarom hebben wij voorgesteld om samen met de Armeniërs een onderzoekscommissie in te stellen. Verder hebben we al onze archieven opengesteld voor wetenschappelijk onderzoek. Wij zijn alleen van mening dat het Europees Parlement niet de aangewezen instelling is om zich uit te spreken over wat er is gebeurd. Volksvertegenwoordigers zijn geen historici. De opstelling van het Europees Parlement, die niet ondersteund wordt door wetenschappelijk onderzoek, past ook niet in de Europese manier van handelen.²

Als een door Turkije gesteunde onderzoekscommissie concludeert dat sprake was van genocide, erkent Turkije dat dan? ³Ja, wij accepteren elke uitkomst.²

Gaat Turkije ervoor zorgen dat schrijvers niet langer worden aangeklaagd voor Œbelediging van de Turkse staat¹? ³In de komende twee tot zes maanden evalueren we het bewuste wetsartikel 301. Als we zien dat dit artikel ongewenste gevolgen heeft, zullen we bekijken wat we kunnen doen.²

Wat vindt u van de toon van het rapport-Eurlings? ³De manier waarop het geformuleerd is, laat achterliggende emoties zien. De negatieve invloed hiervan op de stemming onder het Turkse volk is groot en bemoeilijkt de onderhandelingen. Als de Turken het gevoel krijgen niet welkom te zijn, zullen ze zich afvragen of zich zo sterk op EU-toetreding moeten blijven focussen.²

Struikelblok in de relatie tussen de EU en Turkije vormt ook de Turkse weigering om de lucht- en zeehavens open te stellen voor verkeer uit Grieks-Cyprus (dat niet door Ankara wordt erkend). De kwestie frustreert de onderhandelingen en leidt er mogelijk toe dat ze deels worden opgeschort.

Babacan sprak in Den Haag ook met minister Ben Bot van Buitenlandse Zaken. Na afloop stapte Bot op het vliegtuig naar Cyprus. Om “te bekijken of er links of rechts ruimte² is om uit de impasse te komen, aldus diens woordvoerder. Bot rapporteerde aan Europees Commissaris Olli Rehn (Uitbreiding), met wie Babacan op zijn beurt donderdag een ontmoeting in Brussel had.

Is Turkije bereid als eerste een nieuwe stap in deze kwestie te zetten? Ali Babacan: ³Nee, zeker niet. Zoals de Europese Unie heeft beloofd, moet eerst het isolement van de Turks-Cyprioten worden opgeheven. Daarna zijn wij direct bereid onze havens en vliegvelden te openen voor Grieks-Cyprus. We hopen op nieuwe bemiddelingen door de Verenigde Naties. Het zou oneerlijk zijn om de partij die in 2004 bereid was tot een compromis, nu te straffen met het stopzetten van onderhandelingen. De Grieks-Cyprioten stemden destijds tegen het VN-compromis voor hereniging van het eiland, de Turks-Cyprioten stemden voor.²

Het bezoek van Bot aan Cyprus leverde volgens diens woordvoerder niet direct nieuwe inzichten op. “Maar het is belangrijk dat er beweging blijft¹¹, aldus Bots woordvoerder, “want deze kwestie mag niet tot een echte impasse in de onderhandelingen leiden. Hoopvol is wel dat er onder VN-toezicht ondertussen een voorzichtig begin is gemaakt met heropening van de onderhandelingen tussen de Grieks- en Turks-Cyprioten.² De woordvoerder benadrukt dat er geen sprake is van officiële bemiddeling namens de EU.



NRC Handelsblad (Dutch daily newspaper) 9 September 2006

"It is not excluded that Turkey will recognise the Genocide"

Interview with EU negotiater Ali Babacan

By our editor Willem Heck

Nobody should expect Turkey to change her mind about the Armenian question", Turkish PM Erdogan said. But his first negotiator with EU is more balanced in this.

The Hague, 9 September. Freedom of speech has not improved sufficiently, the rights of minorities are not guaranteed, the position of the army is too strong, the Cyprus item is in an impasse and Ankara refuses to recognise that hundreds of thousands of Armenians became victim of Genocide by the Ottoman Turks in World War I.

In short, the EU report by Dutch Member of European Parliament Camiel Eurlings of Christian-Democrat Party took a firm line with EU candidate Turkey and the report is largely supported by the Foreign Policy Committee of the EP this week. Turkey's Economy Minister and Chief EU negotiator Ali Babacan this week visited The Hague to advocate the Turkish interests. He rejects most of the European reproaches, but does not exclude recognition of the massacres of Armenians in 1915 as Genocide. In the Turkish embassy he explains the Turkish viewpoint.


DO YOU ADMIT THAT THE TURKISH REFORM PROGRESS IS PROGRESSING TOO SLOWLY? "No, it just takes time before the results of the reforms are visible. We are at least as committed to the reforms as before. Our commitment will rather increase than decrease. The plenary vote of European Parliament on the report will take place by the end of this month. Until then we will try to change its mind".

WHAT DO YOU THINK OF THE CONDITION THAT TURKEY SHOULD RECOGNIZE THE MASSACRES OF ARMENIANS AS GENOCIDE? "Turkey is open for all outcomes of scientific research on this matter. That's why we proposed to establish a research commission together with Armenians. Also we opened all our archives for scientific research. We just think that the EP is not the right institution to pronounce about what has happened. Representatives are no historians. The position of the EP is not leaning on historical research, and it does not suit the European way of acting".

IF A RESEARCH COMMITTEE BACKED BY TURKEY CONCLUDES THAT IT WAS GENOCIDE, WILL TURKEY RECOGNISE THAT? "Yes, we will accept any outcome"

WILL TURKEY ENSURE THAT WRITERS WILL NO LONGER BE CHARGED FOR "INSULTING TURKISH NATION"? "In the coming 2 to 6 months we will evaluate the Article 301. If we see that this Article has an undesirable impact, we will examine what we can do"

WHAT DO YOU THINK OF THE TONE OF EURLINGS REPORT? ³The way the report is phrased shows the emotions behind it. The negative influence that has on the feelings of the Turkish population is large and complicates the negotiations. If the Turks get the feeling they are not welcome, they will ask themselves if they should keep on focussing so much on EU admission².

Another stumbling block in the EU-Turkey relations is Turkish refusal to open air and sea harbours for traffic coming from Greek Cyprus (which is not recognised by Ankara). The issue is frustrating the negotiations and may lead to a partial hold up. Babacan also met with Foreign Minister Bot in the Hague. After the meeting Bot took the airplane to Cyprus, to ³find out whether there is room on the left or on the right² to come out of the impasse, his spokesman said. Bot reported tot EU Commissioner (for Enlargement) Olli Rehn, with whom Babacan on his turn, met on Thursday.

IS TURKEY READY TO BE THE FIRST TO MAKE A NEW STEP FORWARDS IN THIS ISSUE? Ali Babacan:²No, certainly not.² As the EU promised, first the isolation of the Turkish Cypriots must be terminated. After that we are immediately ready to open our harbours and airports for Greek Cyprus. We hope for new mediation by the United Nations. It would be unfair to punish the party that was ready for a compromise in 2004, by stopping the negotiations. The Greek Cypriots in that time voted against the UN compromise for the reunification of the island, while the Turkish Cypriots voted in favour of it².

Bot¹s visit to Cyprus did not bring new visions, his spokesman said. ³But it is important that we keep on moving², according to Bot¹s spokesman, ³because this issue should not lead to a real impasse in the negotiations. It gives hope that meanwhile under UN survey a careful start has been made to reopen the negotiations between the Greek and the Turkish Cypriots.² The spokesman emphasised that there is no official mediation on behalf of the EU.

0 comments:

Post a Comment

Would You Please Update/Correct Any Of The
3500+ Posts by Leaving Your Comments Here
- - - Your Opinion Matters To Us - - -


We Promise To Publish Them Even If We May Not Share The Same View

Mind You,
You Wouldn't Be Allowed Such Freedom In Most Of The Other Sites At All.

You understand that the site content express the author's views, not necessarily those of the site. You also agree that you will not post any material which is false, hateful, threatening, invasive of a person’s privacy, or in violation of any law.

Please read the post then write a comment in English by referring to the specific points in the post and do preview your comment for proper grammar /spelling.

Note To Spammers
If you believe Your Comments will ever appear here, You are DREAMING

You need a Google Account (such as Gmail) to publish your comments


Publishing Your Comments Here:
Please type your comment in plain text only (NO Formatting) in an editor like notepad first,
Then copy and paste the final/corrected version into the comment box here as Google/Blogger may not allow re-editing/correcting once entered in some cases.
And click publish.
-If you need to correct the one you have already sent, please enter "New Comment" as we keep the latest version and delete the older version as default

Alternative way to send your formatted comments/articles:
http://armenians-1915.blogspot.com/2007/05/Submit-Your-Article.html

All the best