08 November 2006

1220) An Interview With the Member of the ARF Dashnaktsoutiun - Gegham Manukyan

Member of the ARF Dashnaktsoutiun - Gegham Manukyan Gegham Manukyan who attended, the 5th News Exhange Istanbul Meeting, as a journalist and had a word of exchanges with PM Erdogan in last week.

Mr. Manukyan was born on February 9, 1970 in Armavir city

In 1993 has graduated from the Turkish Department of the Faculty of Oriental Studies of Yerevan State University. He is a Turkologist.

Mr. Manukyan was elected as deputy of the National Assembly on May 22, 2006 through ARF proportional list of the electoral roll.

He is a member of the Standing Committee on State and Legal Affairs of the National Assembly. He is a member of the ARF faction also the president of Yerkir Media.

Mr. Manukyan is married and has two children.

Here's an archived copy of an interview with him: . .

Gegham Manukyan is a member of the Central Committee of the Dashnaktsutiune, Armenian Revolutionary Federation (ARF, HHD) in the Republic of Armenia. He was interviewed during festivities celebrating the twentieth anniversary of the Kurdistan Workers Party [PKK] organised by the Yezidi [Kurdish] community in Armenia, and staged at the Russian Theatre in Yerevan.

The Russian Theatre was full to capacity with Yezidi dressed in the Kurdish colours of red, yellow and green, and waving PKK and ERNK flags while live Kurdish music played. Representatives from Armenian political parties and other groups and organisations in Armenia voiced their support for the Kurdish national liberation movement, and for Abdullah Ocalan, President of the Kurdistan Workers Party [PKK].

Along with other Armenian political figures invited, Gegham Manukyan was in attendance to deliver a message of support to the Kurdish people on behalf of the Dashnaktsutiune, Armenian Revolutionary Federation in the Republic of Armenia.


OK: Are you here today as an official representative of Dashnaktsutiune?

GM: Yes.

OK: Does this mean that Dashnaktsutiune considers the Kurdish Question in Turkey is an important issue, and that Armenians should be concerned with what is occurring to the Kurds in Turkey?

GM: Armenians must respect the wishes of any nation that wants to be free, anywhere in the world.

OK: At the moment, many people are calling Ocalan a terrorist, and the PKK a terrorist organisation. Are you worried that you might be supporting an organisation that many consider terrorist?

GM: No leader who wishes his nation to be free can be considered a terrorist, and those that consider Ocalan a terrorist, are actually the terrorists themselves - the Turkish leaders are involved with the mafia. - And I think that in time people will consider Ocalan similar to Arafat. He was once considered a terrorist, and now he has been awarded prizes for peace.

OK: And interesting too, because Dashnaktsutiune itself was considered a terrorist organisation [Dro]. in Armenia. Perhaps "terrorist" is just a political label?

GM: Yes. I was in prison for three years. Do I look like a terrorist? [laughs].

It will be better when the Kurdish problem is solved not through force, but through political dialogue, and I am sure that this will happen now.

OK: I have been following closely the events in Italy [Ocalan's arrival]. It seems inevitable that people will have to realise the importance of negotiating some form of autonomy for the Kurds in Turkey. However, if the Kurds do get some form of autonomy how will you feel as an Armenian when you consider that some of this land is considered historically Armenian?

GM: It is a problem between the Kurds and Armenians, but we can solve this problem. We are discussing it already. According to Ocalan an agreement is possible.

OK: I came here in June to look at the Yezidi minority in Armenia, and found the community to be split. Some Yezidi consider themselves Kurdish - and support the PKK - while the others are trying to define themselves as definitely not being Kurds. Are you aware of this split, and that the Kurds in the hall today are mainly Yezidi - perhaps there are only one or two Moslem Kurds from Turkey?

GM: This is a very complicated question - a matter of ethnology -about the origins of the Yezidi and the Kurds. Only on a scientific level can this be solved, but everybody should be free to decide to call themselves either Kurd or Yezidi.

OK: It is Interesting because it appears that all of the Yezidi outside of Armenia consider themselves Kurdish, and the division only seems to exist in Armenia. Whatever the reasons, there is no mistaking the fact that the Yezidi speak Kurmanji [Kurdish], and I noticed that at the end of your address to the audience so did you.

GM: [laughs] I learnt Kurdish in prison. I was in prison in Armenia with three Kurds. They were refugees from Iraq, they traveled to Iran, and through Nakhichevan to Armenia. They were arrested and imprisoned - they taught me Kurdish.

OK: Kocharian has already stated that Ocalan would not be allowed political asylum in Armenia, and some people are concerned about PKK activities here. What response do you have to these concerns?

GM: The PKK has representatives in many countries. Most of these concerns are as a result of Turkish propaganda, and it is absurd to suggest that there are PKK military bases in Armenia.

November 30 1998
Onnik Krikorian
Armenian News Network / Groong By Onnik Krikorian

Erdogan challenged Armenian Parliamentary

*I am coming from Armenia. I am under strange feelings here. Armenians did good things here. But you murdered them. *I openly challenge. Tell your President to open the archives. If our forefathers did this, we will settle accounts with our history.

Prime Minister Erdogan explained Turkey to the World Press. In the 5th News Exhange Metting organized by EBU (European Publishers Union) in which 450 delegates participated from 53 countries, the PM faced the World Press. But at the Question/Reply part of the meeting, the provoking words of Gegham Manukyan, a Parliamentary and manager of Yerkir Media TV in Armenia, caused a cold shower effect in the room.

Manukyan said: "I am coming from Armenia. I am under strange feelings here. Armenians did good things here, But you murdered them," Erdogan's reply was harsh: "There were some incidents in the climate of war. No one will welcome Armenians who revolted and killed many Turks. If Mr. Kocarian trusts himself, let him open the archives. You reach nowhere with grudge and hatred. French Interior Minister said "You should open the Armenia gate; you should reconsider your relations on this subject." Our reply to them was: "We opened the air traffic to Armenia. We let Erivan-Istanbul cargo transportation free". Do you get any complaints from our citizens of Armenian ethnicity living in different parts of Turkey? The trouble is with the diaspora out of Turkey. Nothing happens to Turkey by decisions taken.

I offered Kocharian, to let scholars research the subject. Thereafter we will give our decision. If our forefathers did such a thing, we are ready to settle accounts with our history. But if you did, can you settle accounts with your own history? No answer !

Nov.4, 2006


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