30 November 2006

1254) Media Scanner Nov 2006 (172+ Items)

  1. Cyprus As A Blackmail Tool EU struggles to avoid rift with Ankara George Parker in Brussels November 29 2006
  2. How Western Is Turkey? Time Magazine Nov. 27, 2006 Andrew Purvis
  3. Why Turks Are Not Pleased to See the Pope Time Magazine Nov. 27, 2006 Pelin Turgut/Istanbul
  4. Talking With Turkey Ottawa Citizen November 28, 2006
  5. 82 Of 100 Turks Consider Possible Starting Relations With Armenia By Hakob Chakrian AZG Armenian Daily 29/11/2006
  6. Pope must tread secular waters even as he embraces Greek Orthodox Church November 29, 2006 KRISTEN STEVENS ISTANBUL - Turkish Daily News
  7. Genocide recognition by Turkey is not a precondition for Armenia 26/11/2006 Nicosia - Cyprus - Greek Xpress www.financialmirror.com
  8. Majority in poll welcomes relations with Armenia, yet conditionally November 28, 2006 ANKARA - Turkish Daily News
  9. Gazeryan prefers Greek Cyprus to Turkey November 27, 2006 NAZLI TOPÇUOGLU – Istanbul
  10. Mamma mia, the pope is coming! November 27, 2006 Doğu ERGİL
  11. Armenian Businessmen Decline TUSIAD Invitation November 28, 2006 zaman.com
  12. Pro-PKK Programs Broadcasted on French Radio Paris, Istanbul November 26, 2006 zaman.com
  13. Turkey In Panic And Trying To Attack First Public Radio, Armenia Nov 27 2006
  14. What Is Turkey's Importance All About? Barin Kayaoglu Journal of Turkish Weekly, Turkey Nov 27 2006
  15. Educating Turkey Nazlan Ertan The New Anatolian, Turkey Nov 18 2006
  16. Turkey's 'New' Approaches In Armenian Genocide Issue By Kiro Manoyan Yerkir, Armenia Nov 27 2006
  17. Armenian joy but genocide row continues MICHAEL BLACKLEY (mblackley@edinburghnews.com) edinburghnews.scotsman.com 25 Nov 2006
  18. Letter signed by 90 NGOS to be sent to Chirac Hürriyet, Turkey Nov 24 2006 A.A
  19. Robert Kocharyan: Recognition Of Own History By Turkey Will Be A Difficult Way To Pass ArmInfo News Agency, Armenia Nov 24 2006
  20. Turkish diplomacy caught in French dilemma November 25, 2006 BARÇIN YİNANÇ ISTANBUL -Turkish Daily News
  21. Diplomacy caught in France dilemma November 25, 2006 BARÇIN YİNANÇ ISTANBUL -Turkish Daily News
  22. Turkey Owes 3.5 Bn To Heirs Of Genocide Victims Yerkir, Armenia Nov 17 2006
  23. American Armenian Community Should Pursue Genocide Resolution Adoption In Congress Yerkir, Armenia Nov 17 2006
  24. Turkey Will Recognize Or Will Collapse Lragir, Armenia Nov 22 2006
  25. President Of Kurdistan To President Of Armenia 10 April 1998 ANN/Groong -- Armenian News
  26. Ito Reproaches French Deputies Over Armenian Bill Turkish Press Nov 23 2006
  27. Turkey Trying To Make Genocide A Historic Debate Panorama.am 22/11/06
  28. Armenian Genocide Helped Turkey To Become A State PanARMENIAN.Net 22.11.2006 PanARMENIAN.Net
  29. Turkish MP's Visit USA To Try To Prevent Armenian Resolution Anatolia News Agency, Turkey Nov 21 2006
  30. Istanbul Trade Chamber, French Envoy Meet To Boost Ties Anatolia News Agency, Turkey Nov 20 2006 Istanbul
  31. It's Necessary To Form Armenian-Turkish Intergovernmental Commission For Solution Of Armenian Genocide Issue, Kiro Manoyan Finds Noyan Tapan News Agency, Armenia Nov 22 2006 YEREVAN
  32. Advertising Armenia On Cnn Costs 400 Thousand Dollars Lragir, Armenia Nov 22 2006
  33. 'Turks And Caicos' In The Blue Tropical Atlantis Of Piri Reis
  34.  © The Economist Armenia
  35. What Happened in 1915: Genocide or Fate? Armenian Issue Class Notes, November 2006, JTW
  36. Baku: Armenian Genocide ‘American Bludgeon’ against Turkey 21.11.2006 PanARMENIAN.Net
  37. Rwandans Protest Against France Over 1994 Genocide 24 November 2006 Mail and Guardian
  38. A Necessary And Positive Step (Etyen Mahcupyan) 24 November 2006 Zaman
  39. Discussing Armenian Genocide From Political Angle, Armenia Has Made Itself A Target For Turkey: Political Expert 24 November 2006 Trend AZ
  40. Anca Condemns Awarding National Medal To Armenian Genocide Denier 24 November 2006 Panarmenian
  41. Armenian Genocide Denier Awarded National Humanities Medal 24 November 2006 Yerkir
  42. Armenia Hopes Turkey's Accession Will Influence Relations 24 November 2006 Armenian Liberty
  43. Kocharian Banks On Turkey's EU Accession In Name Of Open Debate 24 November 2006 Turkish Daily News
  44. Kocharian Visits Greek Cyprus To Boost Support For Genocide Claims 24 November 2006 AB Haber
  45. Rwanda Rejects French Legal Call To Indict President 23 November 2006 Turkish Press
  46. Rwanda: France Shielding From Genocide Crimes 23 November 2006 All Africa
  47. New Stamp Dedicated To Armenian Genocide Issued In France 23 November 2006 Panarmenian
  48. Armenia Will Benefit From Steps Taken To Resolve Conflicts With Azerbaijan And Turkey ? Turkish Delegate At Bsec 23 November 2006 Trend AZ
  49. Mustafa Bash: Armenia Faces Economic Recession 23 November 2006 Azeri Press Agency
  50. France To Host Conference On Condition Of Turkish Armenians 23 November 2006 New Anatolian
  51. Algerian Genocide Statue For Bandirma 23 November 2006 Sabah
  52. Algerian Genocide Monument To Be Built In Turkey 23 November 2006 Zaman
  53. Baku: Armenian Genocide American Bludgeon Against Turkey 22 November 2006 Turkish Digest
  54. Armenian Genocide. Turkish Diplomats Getting Ready For Opposition 22 November 2006 Armtown
  55. Turkish Votes 'United' In Dutch Elections 22 November 2006 Turkish Daily News
  56. Sensoy Urges All-Out Efforts Against "Genocide" Move in US 22 November 2006 Turkish Daily News
  57. Armenia Does Not Need Foreigners 21 November 2006 Hetq
  58. Third French Company To Be Boycott is Citroen 21 November 2006 Journal of Turkish Weekly
  59. Dinner with a statesman where 'quality' was the menu November 24, 2006 David Judson
  60. Diplomacy Newsline November 23, 2006 TDN Ankara
  61. Turkey prepares for Pope Benedict's visit next week November 23, 2006 MICHAEL KUSER ISTANBUL - Turkish Daily News
  62. Turkey to the EU: Intimidation will not work November 23, 2006 Semih İdiz
  63. Will France deal the final blow?: MEHMET ALİ Birand November 22, 2006
  64. French Ambassador Lauds Turkey as Broker for EU, Mideast November 22, 2006 zaman.com
  65. French Armenian Bill Dissident to Settle in Turkey Ali Ihsan Aydin November 22, 2006 zaman.com
  66. The Caucasus - The art of levitation Nov 16th 2006 | YEREVAN The Economist
  67. Religion - Onward Christian soldiers Nov 16th 2006 The Economist Churchmen begin to speak up
  68. 'Turks And Caicos' In The Blue Tropical Atlantis Of Piri Reis Mahmut EsatOzan
  69. Lessons to be learned from Monsieur Sarkozy November 21, 2006 AYŞE ÖZGÜN
  70. No Mr. President, you are wrong: Mehmet Ali Birand November 21, 2006 © 2005 Dogan Daily News Inc.
  71. British Deputies Launch Campaign Against French Armenian Bill Selcuk Gultasli, Brussels November 21, 2006 zaman.com
  72. 12 Turkish Candidates to Run in Nov. 22 Dutch Elections November 21, 2006 zaman.com
  73. Çiçek calls TSK's France stance ‘normal': November 20, 2006 ANK - Turkish Daily News
  74. Diplomats wary of 'genocide' arbitration November 20, 2006 BARÇIN YİNANÇ Turkish Daily News
  75. Diplomats wary of conceding to 'genocide' arbitration November 20, 2006 Turkish Daily News
  76. Abdullah Gul: Armenians' Genocide Allegation Will Be The Most Serous Problem In Forthcoming 10 Years By Hakob Chakrian AZG Armenian Daily 17/11/2006
  77. The Armenian issue is being discussed by Greek historians too November 20, 2006
  78. Kocharian Wants Open Borders with Turkey Yet Refuse Any Step JTW and New Anatolian 19 November 2006
  79. Armenian Documents also Deny Genocide Claims Fatih Atik November 19, 2006 zaman.com
  80. An Open Letter to Mr. Michael Rubin Barin KAYAOGLU
  81. The Economist: France’s Armenian Bill Restricts Free Speech
  82. Three Deadly Mistakes of the U.S. Sedat Laciner
  83. Turkish-French feud won't undermine NATO, official says By Judy Dempsey and Dan Bilefsky International Herald Tribune
  84. Gyunduz Aktan Welcomes Fm Gul’s Readiness To Take The Genocide Issue To International Court By Hakob Chakrian
  85. Kocharian urges establishment of diplomatic ties with Turkey The New Anatolian / Berlin 18 November 2006
  86. Turkey excludes France from defense fair The New Anatolian / Ankara 18 November 2006
  87. French have little to complain about, but . . . Ilnur Cevik ilnurcevik@yahoo.com 18 November 2006
  88. Turks of Armenian origin condemn French airing of genocide claims The New Anatolian / Ankara 12 October 2006
  89. It is quite different now November 18, 2006 Gündüz Aktan
  90. Gönül says France not invited to defense fair November 18, 2006 ANKARA - Turkish Daily News
  91. The fourth wave is coming November 17, 2006 Murat Yetkin
  92. NATO, France downplay impact of Turkish military decision November 17, 2006 ANKARA - TDN with wire dispatches
  93. Ankara signals policy change on genocide claims November 16, 2006 ANKARA - Turkish Daily News
  94. Turkey needs to act on a communication strategy now November 16, 2006 Suat Kiniklioglu
  95. EU Leader Calls on Europe to Face its Past Sins Selcuk Gultasli November 18, 2006 zaman.com
  96. France not Invited to 2007 Defense Industry Fair November 17, 2006 zaman.com
  97. The Alliance of Civilizations and the Pope's Visit HUSEYIN GULERCE 11.17.2006 zaman.com h.gulerce@zaman.com.tr
  98. Diaspora Armenians Are In Continuous Contact With PKK Terrorist Organization, Egilmez 11/16/2006
  99. American Armenian Community Should Pursue Genocide Resolution Adoption In Congress 17 November 2006 Yerkir
  100. Turkey: Armenian Genocide Issue Spurs Government Action 17 November 2006 ADN Krono
  101. Bill On Genocide To Be Introduced Into House Of Representatives Till April 24, 2007 17 November 2006 Panarmenian
  102. April 24 Committee Urged Dutch Senate To Recognize Armenian Genocide 02.07.2005 /PanARMENIAN.Net/
  103. Armenians Are Their Worst Enemies! Is this headline offensive? Mirror On- Line 11-16-06
  104. Armenian Businessmen Come to Istanbul for Investments Ercan Baysal November 16, 2006 zaman.com
  105. Turkey needs to act on a communication strategy now November 16, 2006 Suat K?n?kl?og(lu
  106. We get letters... November 16, 2006 AYS,E ÖZGÜN
  107. Turkish Press Yesterday November 16, 2006 ANKARA - Turkish Daily News
  108. Ankara signals policy change on genocide claims November 16, 2006 ANKARA - Turkish Daily News
  109. The Relation Between History And Politics According To Hanioglu (Sahin Alpay) 16 November 2006 Zaman
  110. Nato Parliamentary Assembly Adopted Document Recognizing Armenia As Aggressor 16 November 2006 APA
  111. Turkey Challenges Armenian Claims: Ankara Considers To Appeal To The International Court 16 November 2006 Turkish Weekly
  112. Law Passed To Allow Churches Reclaim Land The Irish Times November 15, 2006
  113. Armenian Historian Rejects 15 November 2006 Demaz
  114. Algerian Pm Bilhadim Says France Should Accept Its Past Crimes In Algeria 15 November 2006 Turkish Weekly
  115. Tusiad Says No Cooperation With Armenia 15 November 2006 APA
  116. Ar?nç calls on France to open its archives November 15, 2006 ANKARA - TDN Parliament Bureau
  117. Sons don't Apologize for Their Fathers' Mistakes Ali Ihsan Aydin November 15, 2006 zaman.com
  118. Did we Win or Lose the American Elections? ALI H. ASLAN Washington 11.14.2006 a.aslan@zaman.com.tr
  119. Armenians urge Bush to drop ambassador-designate for Armenia November 14, 2006 ÜMI.T ENGI.NSOY WASHINGTON - Turkish Daily News
  120. Algeria To France: Recognize Your Own Genocide Hurriyet, Turkey Nov 13 2006
  121. France Should Face Its Own History Sabah, Turkey Nov 13 2006 The Prime Minister of Algeria criticized France's accusing Turkey of Armenian Genocide.
  122. A Noble Conscience Nahal Toosi Associated Press Providence Journal, Rhode Island Nov 13 2006 In another life, Orhan Pamuk could have been an escape artist.
  123. Dual Citizenship: How Much Is It Costing Canada? Bruce Cheadle Hamilton Spectator, Canada Nov 13 2006
  124. Armenian Lobby in U.S. Steps up Pressure on Bush November 13, 2006 zaman.com
  125. Netherlands Awards Hrant Dink November 13, 2006 zaman.com
  126. Those You Don’t Know . . . ELIF SAFAK 11.11.2006 e.safak@zaman.com.tr Xenophobia, a basic concept in our political and cultural jargon
  127. Curiosity: a most suitable state for cats and humans alike November 12, 2006 TurkishDailyNews Elif SAFAK
  128. It was that kind of week at the Turkish Daily News... November 10, 2006 David Judson
  129. Pulling the rug out from under? 11th November 2006 To The Editor The Economist letters@economist.com Dear Sir, I have read your report " Pulling the rug out from under?
  130. Former Culture Minister And Current Parliament Member Question Turks Talent To Produce Worthy Literature
  131. 29% Of Armenian Population Are Underfed
  132. Russia Acts As Go-Between In Turkey?S Relations With Armenia, Abdullah Gul Thinks
  133. Istanbul-Born Armenian Historian In Limelight Of Turkish Tv
  134. Euro MP claims ‘genocide’ recognition more than criteria
  135. The Eu Should Help Resolve The Turkish-Armenian Conflict (Nicolas Tavitian)
  136. Turkish, Swiss Justice Ministers View Terrorism, Armenian Bill
  137. A Short List Of Questions for The Members Of The Assembly
  138. Memo From Russia : In a Risky Place to Gather News, a Very Familiar Story
  139. Politicians Are Like Car Sales People...
  140. Reactions to the Genocide Bill Approved by the National Assembly of France
  141. In The Long Run Bill Is No Benefit
  142. Turkish Foreign Minister Says Armenia's Border Mostly Open
  143. Seeing Everything as a Conspiracy
  144. Erdogan Rebukes Armenian Journalist's Genocide Claims
  145. Armenian Bill Might be Passed in Next US Congress
  146. Anger At 'Offensive' Kebab Ban Birmingham Post, UK
  147. Translators Stand Trial In Turkey OhmyNews International, South Korea
  148. Turkish Scepticism European Report
  149. Why The European Union Needs Turkey By Guler SabanciFinancial Times (London, England)
  150. Turkish Speaker Meets Algerian Premier, Criticizes France Anatolia News Agency, Turkey
  151. Turkish Cosmetics Company Changes French Name in Protest
  152. Armenian Returns Medal to protest the "Genocide" Bill / Changed French Name to protest
  153. Patriarch: French sabotaged dialogue
  154. Turkey mulls putting genocide claims to intl adjudication
  155. Gul Says Turkey Working on New Initiative for Armenian Issue
  156. Armenians are afraid of it
  157. 10th Anniversary Celebrated at Russian-Turkish College
  158. Despite Defeat, Bush Administration Determined to Oppose Armenian Genocide Bill Ali H. Aslan, Washington November 12, 2006 zaman.com
  159. In the American system the president rulesNovember 12, 2006 Barry RUBIN Turkish Daily News
  160. Surrender to US Democracy Dr. Fahrettin Sumer zaman.com
  161. Bush may not prevent recognition of Armenian genocide in Congress Efforts to persuade Democratic Congress leaders to stop genocide resolutions may fail, the US administration acknowledges November 12, 2006 UMİT ENGİNSOY WASHINGTON - Turkish Daily News
  162. Poland seeks to mediate between Turkey, Armenia The New Anatolian / Warsaw 11 November 2006
  163. Armenians see advantage in US Congress shakeup The New Anatolian / Washington 10 November 2006
  164. Paris Court Of Appeals Rejected Lawsuit Filed By Armenians Against Turkey's Consul General In Paris 10 November 2006 Turkish Press
  165. Paris Court Rejects Lawsuit Against Turkish Consul General November 09, 2006 zaman.com
  166. Orhan Pamuk's 'Snow' To Be Heard In Armenian Anahit Hovsepian in Germany AZG Armenian Daily 10/11/2006
  167. Heirs Of Victims Of Armenian Genocide To Receive Compensation Of About $8 Million Aghavni Harutyunian AZG Armenian Daily 10/11/2006
  168. More closeness sought in US-Turkish relations November 10, 2006 ISTANBUL
  169. Can Europe ride to the rescue of Mardin's donkeys? Nov 9th 2006 | MARDIN The Economist
  170. Editorial: Pilgrimage to Constantinople America Magazine , NY Nov 10 2006
  171. Exhibition `Armenian Question in Documents' Opened in Istanbul Trend A.Aleskerov 10.11.2006
  172. "The Internet Has Created New Journalists" BİA (Istanbul)
  173. French MP Bernard ACCOYER's Response to (the Our UK Editor) baccoyer at assemblee-nationale.fr 24.10.2006




It Is So Obvious That Cyprus Was Admitted In Advance To Be Used Against Turkey As A Blackmail Tool! They Are Also Using The Armenians As A Blackmail Tool!

Wait Till Turkey Walks Away From It All And Europe Shall Have A Gaping Hole In The South Eastern Flank. That Will Teach Them A Lesson. Russia, China And Arabs Will Love That ..
Back To Time... 1900's Here We Come.

British European Turks
- - - - - - -

EU struggles to avoid rift with Ankara
George Parker in Brussels
November 29 2006
Europe’s leaders on Wednesday sought to prevent Turkey’s troubled European Union membership bid from plunging into a full-blown crisis, as Ankara responded angrily to a call for much of the negotiations to be put on hold.

The events were sparked by a recommendation from the European Commission to freeze talks on almost a quarter of the negotiating topics because of a dispute between Turkey and Cyprus. Turkish officials expressed anger that they were not informed by Brussels in advance. One described the decision and its timing as “a bolt of lightning”.

In meetings at a Nato summit in Riga, EU leaders pleaded with Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkey’s prime minister, not to walk away from the membership talks. He later struck a more conciliatory tone in a news conference at Ankara airport, while insisting that there would be no more concessions on Cyprus.

“Actually let us not view this as a suspension... There will be something of a slowdown,” he said. “We will continue on our path in the same direction... Our most important goal is to raise our country’s standard of living.”

Olli Rehn, EU enlargement commissioner, proposed on Wednesday that Turkey should be barred from opening detailed membership talks in eight out of the 35 policy areas.

The areas which related to items such as the free movement of goods, transport, customs and external relations consist of some of the biggest elements of EU policy.

The move was seen as too harsh by Britain, Spain and Italy, which argued that no more than three “chapters” in the membership negotiations should be put off limits.

But others like France and Germany wanted Mr Rehn to go further and Cypriot diplomats said his plan was “deeply disappointing”.

Cyprus wants the EU to set a date to review Turkish progress on the ports issue - the kind of new deadline Mr Rehn wants to avoid.

Mr Rehn hopes the EU’s 25 foreign ministers can bury their differences and agree to the new conditions for Turkey at a meeting on December 11.

He argues that the compromise plan would allow talks to continue on many other policy areas and keep the negotiations on track. “There will be no train crash,” he said.

But his officials admit the bigger concern is Ankara’s reaction to the conditions and the nagging fear that Mr Erdogan might eventually decide to walk away from the negotiating table.

The road to impasse

1999: EU declares Turkey is a ‘candidate’ for membership

2004: EU decides to begin negotiations with Ankara after concluding it has ‘sufficiently fulfilled’ human rights and democratic criteria

2005: Brussels approves negotiating mandate consisting of 35 topics or ‘chapters’ Ankara must fulfil, but warns ‘overall progress’ will be affected if Turkey refuses to open its ports to ships from Cyprus

June 2006: EU opens and closes chapter on science and research – the only part of the negotiations to date that has been concluded or even begun

September 2006 onwards: Progress on other chapters stalls as tensions rise over Turkish-Cypriot dispute. As an EU member state, Cyprus has a veto over all stages of the negotiations

November 2006: Commission recommends that the EU suspend negotiations on eight of the remaining chapters amid concerns that Turkey’s bid could be jeopardised. Several EU member states back Brussels’ stance. A decision is due to be taken next month

Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2006
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British European Turk NGOs serving the community.. Social Engineering in progress!

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How Western Is Turkey?
Time Magazine Nov. 27, 2006
Andrew Purvis
Analysis: Even as its effort to join the European Union faces growing obstacles, Turkey's economy is making it more European than ever

When Pope Benedict XVI travels to Turkey this week, most of the world's attention will be focused on the Christian-Muslim religious divide. But the pontiff is also crossing a political fault line: The gulf between Europe and the near East has been much in the news lately because of Turkey's troubled attempts to join the European Union. Ankara is keen to become a full member, but Europeans are having second thoughts. Skeptics, including the Pope himself, are openly questioning whether a mostly Muslim nation of 70 million can ever really be part of Europe.

And yet, in some ways, Turkey already is part of Europe, even in its most conservative Islamic heartland of Central Anatolia. A string of ancient cities known as the "Anatolian Tigers" are enjoying annual economic growth rates of over 10%, doubling their exports mostly to Europe and the U.S. over the past five years. "We are already in the EU," a local businessman, who sells jeans to Zara and Lee told TIME.

Not Quite. In order to qualify for full membership, Turkey has a long way to go in reforming its political and legal systems and its infrastructure. Still, analysts are impressed by the scale of its economic transformation. Says Gerald Knaus of the European Stability Initiative, an independent think tank, "We are seeing the transformation of an agrarian society into an industrial economy. If this continues, in 10 years time Turkey will be much less of a drain on Europe than the EU currently thinks. "

One of the region's fastest-growing cities is Kayseri, formerly Caesaria, founded more than 3,000 years ago. Today , it still has the appearance of an old Asian trading town. But a tariff agreement signed ten years ago between Turkey and the EU gave a massive boost to the city's textile, furniture and electronic supply industries, with 400 new factories having been built in the past five years alone. And the expansion of exports to Europe and the U.S. has improved local quality control and raised labor and industrial standards in the region. Signs of prosperity are everywhere as the city's transport infrastructure is overhauled, and locals begin to invest in new homes and cars.

Despite the economic surge, Kayseri and its region remain deeply conservative. There is only one bar in the city, and it is usually closed. Business leaders plough a portion of their profits back into schools, universities , hospitals and mosques a form of tithing. Many women wear headscarves. Still, the recent prosperity is lending new texture to Turkey's traditional image as the meeting place of East and West. Celal Hasnalcaci, a local manufacturer of denim jeans for export, prays five times a day but adorns his office walls with photographs of young women striking provocative poses in low cut jeans. Giant billboards on the main street downtown flog everything from bras to i-Pods. The region is at once a heartland of Muslim conservatism and Europe's biggest supplier of lingerie. "Business is business," shrugs Hasnalcac.

"It's very true. Business is in our blood," says Ikbal Cavdaroglu, head of the women's branch of Turkey's ruling Justice and Development Party. "But I get a bit nostalgic for the old days. I liked that time when we all knew each other on the street. But now we have opened up to the world!" Nonetheless, Cavdaroglu is proud of her city's achievements, of which she is living proof: As the first local woman to qualify as an accountant, she now trains other young women from rural Anatolia. "A lot of men said we could not do it but I am still standing!" she says with a smile, adjusting her brown silk headscarf. "There has never been such a peaceful productive period for Turkey. And we have no intention of giving that up."

Kayseri's growth is part of a broader growth of the Turkish economy. Between 2002 and 2006, exports fueled an 8% annual expansion of GDP, while inflation remains at a 25-year low. Still, average incomes are only around one-third of those enjoyed in the main economies of Western Europe, and corruption remains widespread. Those realities may be part of the reason that, despite Turkey's impressive economic performance, Europe appears to be cooling towards welcoming it into the club. Although formal negotiations over its membership were recently started after Turkey had spent four decades knocking on the door, those negotiations are plagued by difficulties, and next month, a portion of those talks aimed at bringing Turkey up to Europe's legal, economic and political standards are likely to be suspended. EU officials say Turkey has not made sufficient progress on key reforms, and that it has refused to open its ports to ships from the new member states in the European Union a result of its long-standing dispute with EU member Cyprus.

A growing number of Turks and Europeans are now voicing second thoughts about the whole idea. The Pope is hardly alone in publicly questioning whether Turkey can ever be part of Europe. French Presidential aspirant Nikolas Sarkozy and German Chancellor Angela Merkel both oppose full membership. In Turkey, meanwhile, a growing number of nationalists are arguing that Turkey should not be making sacrifices to join the EU because it will infringe on Turkey's sovereignty. For the first time, a majority of Turks say they do not believe Turkey will ever be accepted into the Union. And a majority of Europeans, for their part, are telling opinion pollsters that they would be happy if that proves to be the case.

If the economic changes already underway in central Anatolia and other parts of Turkey continue , it may not matter, because in the process of pursuing EU membership, Turkey has begun to fundamentally transform its economy and way of life. Turkey's entrepreneurs are not waiting for EU membership to maximize their participation in the world economy. They're already there.




Why Turks Are Not Pleased to See the Pope
Time Magazine Nov. 27, 2006
Pelin Turgut/Istanbul
For many in Turkey, the visiting pontiff personifies the mounting hostility they feel from Europe
It took a 12 hour bus ride for Hafize Kucuk and Sevgi Ozen, 21-year-old university students, to get from the northern Turkish city of Samsun to an Istanbul rally Sunday protesting Pope Benedict XVI's visit to Turkey this week. But they thought little of the inconvenience. "This is a man who insulted our Prophet [Muhammad] and didn't even apologize properly," said Kucuk. "Now he's coming to our country, a Muslim country. This is unacceptable. We came to make our voices heard."

The rally, attended by some 15,000 Islamist protestors, was a colorful affair. Huge, lurid posters linking Benedict to Crusader knights. Hundreds of young men, wearing white headbands inscribed with the message "We don't want this sly Pope in Turkey", chanted angry slogans.

Militant protestors are a minority, but many Turks are deeply skeptical about a visit they view as part of a Western design against Turkey, which is mostly Muslim but officially secular.

The Pope could not have arrived at a more sensitive time: Turkey and the European Union appear on a collision course over whether the bloc will admit Turkey and its 70 million citizens. Support in Turkey for the EU has plummeted a poll last week showed 60 percent in favor of suspending membership talks. And for many Turks, Benedict, who once warned that letting Turkey into the EU would be "a grave error against the tide of history," personifies European hostility towards them.

"At this point most Turks are deeply suspicious of the West," says Cengiz Aktar, political science professor at Galatasaray University. "They see this visit as yet another development to be suspicious of."

The protests have made strange bedfellows of the far left and the nationalist right. Their chief grievance concerns the Pope's scheduled talks with Patriarch Bartholomew I, the Istanbul-based spiritual head of the world's Orthodox Christians. The talks, many Turks believe, are aimed not just at healing the centuries-old schism between the two churches, but at paving the way for creating in Turkey a Vatican-like entity for the Orthodox.

Every detail on the Pope's four-day itinerary is fraught with complications, including a planned visit to Hagia Sophia, a sixth century Byzantine church which was converted to a mosque in 1453 when the Ottomans conquered Istanbul. It was transformed into a museum in 1935.

Nationalists believe the Pope's visit to Hagia Sophia, a major tourist attraction, is a sign of Christian desire to reclaim it as a church. Newspapers have speculated feverishly over whether he will pray while inside.

"Its not that we have anything personal against the Pope," says Zafer Emanetoglu, head of the youth branch of the Islamist party which organized Sunday's rally. "But we know that he is here as part of a greater plan against Turkey, and to unite Christians against Muslims."

The Pope's visit has also put the moderate, Islamist-rooted government in a tight spot. With elections slated for next year, Turkish newspapers have speculated that being photographed with the Pope could alienate constituents of the ruling party Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has used his attendance at a NATO summit in Latvia to excuse himself from meeting with the pontiff.

To prevent any protests turning violent, a tight security plan similar to that used for U.S. President George W. Bush on a recent visit will be in place. Thousands of policemen, including snipers on rooftops, are on duty in Istanbul, and the papal entourage will feature hi-tech scrambling devices and decoy cars.

"Every security precaution has been taken," said a Turkish foreign ministry official. "Turks are a tolerant people, I don't imagine there will be any problems." Still, Ankara will be holding its breath until Friday, when the Pope flies home.

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Talking With Turkey
Ottawa Citizen
November 28, 2006
Some 25,000 Turks hit the streets of Istanbul this weekend to protest the visit of Pope Benedict XVI. That's good news. Not the protest itself, but the fact that only 25,000 people took part in a city of 10 million. The Turkish "street" is perhaps more reasonable than people think.

True, other protests are planned and Benedict will be under a massive security blanket during his four-day trip. But the pontiff is working hard to improve Christian-Muslim relations. On Sunday he sent "cordial greetings" of "esteem and sincere friendship" to "the dear Turkish people." As a welcome show of good will, Benedict will visit the Blue Mosque in Istanbul, becoming only the second pope to set foot in a mosque, after John Paul II in 2001.

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, for his part, has been able to "find time" to meet the Pope today at Ankara airport.

Otherwise, Mr. Erdogan, en route to a NATO summit in Latvia, will be absent for the duration of the Pope's trip. The prime minister insisted his absence was no snub and that the Pope was welcome in Turkey, though he cautioned that "whoever comes here must show respect for the Prophet Muhammad."

Mr. Erdogan's awkward, somewhat conflicted attitude toward the Pope's visit is suggestive of Turkey's general ambivalence about the non-Muslim world. Turkey, though, is country of sufficient strategic interest that the West needs very much to nurture this relationship.

Sometimes this is hard to do. Turkey's human-rights record is shaky.

The country's refusal to admit the Armenian genocide is unfortunate.

The stubborn demand for an end to the isolation of Northern Cyprus, the breakaway Turkish Cypriot state that only Turkey recognizes, is putting the country's accession into full membership in the European Union on hold yet again.

Yet we need Turkey on our side. Turkey is a strong counterpoint to the geopolitical ambitions of Iran and Syria. As a Muslim country committed to the separation of mosque and state, Turkey is a buttress against religious fundamentalism in the region. Turkey has its flaws to be sure, but it remains a functioning democracy built upon a population that is mainly Muslim.

Western leaders should never surrender their prerogative to speak plainly to the Turkish government on matters of conscience. But as with any mature relationship, and we see this in the dialogue with countries such as Russia and China, the criticism ought to be balanced with positive and constructive incentives.

The pope has chosen the right path by visiting the Blue Mosque. It is a gesture of respect. Talking with Turkey about its place in the European Union must continue. At the end of the day, the benefits of having Turkey firmly within the western orbit justify the efforts needed to keep the relationship healthy. If there is one country that can demonstrate the compatibility of Islam and democracy, it will be Turkey.




82 Of 100 Turks Consider Possible Starting Relations With Armenia
By Hakob Chakrian
AZG Armenian Daily
29/11/2006
"82 of 100 Turks consider possible starting relations with Armenia" - a headline by the Turkish "Milliet" newspaper announced about a survey organized by the "Union Against Inconsistent Allegations of Genocide" organization in Istanbul, Ankara and Erzrum. 8714 people were questioned by the surveyors.

Thus, 16% of the questioned demanded Armenia to stop the relations with the Armenian Diaspora of Europe and USA and cease demanding recognition of the Genocide as a precondition for starting relations with Armenia. 6% found that it would be enough if the Armenians express their regret about the massacres of the Turkish people in the Years of the World War I, 5% found necessary to destroy the memorial of the Genocide in Yerevan and remove the claims of "Turkish people and Turkish territories" from the Constitution of Armenia. Only 2% of the questioned considered withdrawal of the Armenian military forces from the "occupied lands of Karabakh" as a precondition. 568 Turkish citizens, which is 18% of the survey participants said that no relations must be established with Armenia in any case.

Organizer of the survey, president of the aforementioned union Dr. Savas Ezilmez concluded that most of the Turks are willing to establish relations with Armenia under certain preconditions, in despite of the massacres and terrorism acts perpetrated by the Armenians. "The survey displayed the historical magnanimity of our people," he said. "Milliet" also informs that the results of the survey were represented to the presidents and diplomatic representations of all countries by the initiative of Mr. Robert Kopcharian, President of RA.




Pope must tread secular waters even as he embraces Greek Orthodox Church
November 29, 2006
KRISTEN STEVENS
ISTANBUL - Turkish Daily News
As billions tune into Pope Benedict XVI's visit here this week, Benedict's plans to embrace the ecumenical church while appeasing Muslim discontent could well unleash another tempest inside one of this country's biggest debates: the power of secularism over religion.

Meeting with the Greek Orthodox patriarch today, the pope brings attention -- unwittingly or not -- to the claim that the Turkish state maintains a firm hand of control over religious freedoms. This exposure could feed the flames of internal debate over secularism here, especially as radical Islamists become increasingly vociferous ahead of elections next year.

Meanwhile, the Turkish people are generally unwelcoming of the pope. Among the masses, however, is a quieter ecumenical Christian minority whose millennia-old schism with the Catholic Church takes a backseat to their hope of securing greater legitimacy under Turkish law -- a true leap of faith in a country founded on secular principles.

For practicing Muslims who make up the majority in Turkey, the vastness of the struggle to gain their own rights in matters of religious freedom is of greater concern than the claim that Turkey does not extend sufficient rights to religious minority groups. Thus, any assertion of religious minority mistreatment is best addressed when looking through the lens of Turkey's staunchly secular government. As the pope ventures into religious territory, he also implicitly enters into Turkey's secular domain, the only officially secular state in the Muslim world.

To maneuver this delicate terrain successfully, the pope, a lifelong scholar of scripture, will have to summon the diplomatic tact of a veteran statesman. His main purpose for coming to Turkey is to meet with the Istanbul-based spiritual leader of the world's 250 million Eastern Orthodox Christians in a show of ecumenical solidarity. Overshadowing this part of the journey, however, the media and Muslim world are keenly focused on a display of a more conciliatory nature. Interpreting the need for reconciliation with the Muslim world over the pope's negative references to Islam, Vatican representatives said that the pope's journey to Turkey “is an invitation to overcome the conflicts between Jews, Christians and Muslims that have taken place over the centuries.”

Last year Benedict planned the trip to meet the ecumenical patriarch of the Eastern Orthodox Church, Bartolomeos I. Healing the nearly 1,000-year divide in Christianity between the Vatican and Orthodox churches, which split in 1054, has been in the works since a historical meeting in 1964 and a priority for both Benedict and the patriarch.

By traveling to Istanbul, the consequences of the Vatican's message seem to encompass more than unifying the two churches and making good with Muslims. By focusing attention on achieving solidarity with the ecumenical church in the Patriarchate's own spiritual heartland, the pope will likely shed light on the charge that Turkey extends limited rights to its religious minority groups --- Muslims and non-Muslims alike.

According to a Vatican statement, part of the pope's mission here in Turkey is to pressure Islamic nations to offer greater rights and protection to Christian minorities. Last week the Vatican suggested that Turkey recommit itself to its traditions and history of secularism and religious tolerance. The Vatican Web site stated that Turkey, situated between Europe and Asia and home to various religious traditions, “is a balcony looking out on the Middle East, from which the values of inter-religious dialogue, tolerance, reciprocity and the secular character of the State can be reaffirmed.”

However, some commentators point out that it is precisely the “secular” nature of the Turkish state that creates problems. It is Turkey's uniqueness that creates this complex challenge for the pope, because unlike in many Islamic countries, the rights of “Christian” or “Jewish” minorities are not threatened by a dominant theological view, but rather by an anti-theological ideology. Secularism is understood in Turkey not as the separation of church and state but as the domination of the state over all religious institutions and practices. The military and the judiciary, with support from other members of the country's secular elite, continue to wage a private and public campaign against Islamic fundamentalism, which they view as a threat to the secular republic.

Even the term “minority” presents unique problems here. Turkey bowed to western pressure in the early days of the republic to designate certain non-Muslim groups, principally Armenians, Greeks and Jews, with a special and protected status. However, the Syrian Orthodox Christians, for example, who live in Turkey's East and who felt more comfortable with the tenets of the new republic, essentially said “no thanks” and were left out of the “minority” category. Many have regretted the decision. Today, while the European Union demands that “minority” status be accorded to the Alevis, there is sharp division among the Alevi community itself over whether this is desirable.

Despite the intended protection, non-Muslim minorities as well as the Muslim majority are critical about an overall lack of religious freedom. A number of prominent Muslim intellectuals argue for more religious freedom for all, including the non-Muslims. Muslim groups such as Sufi orders and millions of followers of the Alevi, religious groups, offshoots of Shi'ism, are not permitted to establish their independent mosques or religious centers. Secularism “watchmen” ensure that Muslim women who wear the headscarf are not permitted to attend state or private universities or work in state institutions such as Parliament and hospitals.

For a dwindling group of the once-thriving Greek Orthodox community in Istanbul, the same secular rules apply. The Turkish state's denial of legal rights to operate churches or religious schools under the churches' authority and without state permission reflects those limitations. While Turkey does not recognize the ecumenical status of the patriarch, it accepts a limited right of the Greek Orthodox Church as a legally recognized local religious authority. By default, interactions between the patriarch and the government become a political or diplomatic matter.

Most of the 100,000 Christians in Turkey are of the Armenian, Greek and other Orthodox denominations. Despite Turkish law recognizing these groups as minority communities, churches face hurdles in rebuilding, making repairs, and new groups have a difficult time establishing new churches. Property ownership restrictions have allowed the Turkish state to confiscate buildings in these communities. Facing adversity since the beginning of the republic, Christians, advocates say, have been unable to develop their communities. The Greek Orthodox population, for example, has fallen to 2 percent of the community's size in the 1960s, or less than 3,000.

As a rancorous brew of Islamic fundamentalism and nationalism grows, violent eruptions this year have led to the killing of one priest in Trabzon, the beatings of two others and the burning of a Christian place of worship. Christian historical ruins and tombstones are sometimes vandalized.

"More needs to be done to promote religious freedom for all denominations," Ali Bardakoglu, head of Turkey's powerful Religious Affairs Directorate, told the Los Angeles Times. Defending the government's treatment of minorities, however, he contended that Christians and other religious minorities do not face severe circumstances in Turkey.

In recent years, the Islamic-rooted Justice and Development (AKP) running the government has undertaken reforms that have improved the environment for minority religions. Last Friday, in a case that is likely to set a precedent in rulings on mandatory religion courses, a leader in the Alevi religious community won a legal battle in Turkish court to exempt his son from mandatory religion courses in public school. Since 2002, Protestants and others have been permitted to establish churches under the name of a foundation in Istanbul.

Historical reality during the last years of the Ottoman age evokes pain for many Christians. Ruling the region for more than six centuries, the Ottoman Empire was relatively tolerant of Jews, Christians and other non-Muslims. Western powers then joined forces with Christian and other minorities before and during World War I to wrest control from the Ottomans. The ensuing bloodshed that followed left as many as 1.5 million Armenians dead, a similar number of ethnic Greeks expelled and one million Turks deported from Greece. Turks experienced millions of losses, as well, during that bloody period, and attribute the tragedies on both sides to war and the inter-communal violence that erupted during the demise of the empire. Complicating any tally of atrocities if the fact that all sides suffered and died from three years of vicious famine wrought by the interruption of planting and harvest during World War I.

Ahead of his visit, the pope's provocative citation of a Byzantine emperor relating the Prophet Mohammed to violence and evil struck a nerve among the world's 1.2 billion Muslims. Public opinion in Turkey this month reflects equal parts disapproval and indifference for the visit. Thirty-eight percent of Turks were decidedly against the pope's visit while another 38 percent were indifferent, according to Turkish Information Research and Consultancy findings in 14 Turkish cities. Only 10 percent of Turks approved and 14 percent preferred not to express their opinion about the four-day visit.

Vatican spokesman Monsignor Georges Marovitch, who has served the Catholic community of some 33,000 in Turkey for decades, hopes that the pope's visit will help restore peace between Christians and Muslims. He said the pope's statements were misunderstood. “I'm sure that he will now find words of conciliation for those that have been hurt so that the dialogue between the two biggest religions is resumed as the world's peace depends on it,” said Marovitch, who is widely recognized in the country as a good friend to Turks and Islam.

Observers continue to worry about the pope's word choice. When asked if it wasn't arrogant to insist that Christianity is superior to all other religions, the pope once gave a candid reply: "But what if it's true?" The Muslim world -- and Turkey's majority -- will likely require a more sensitive approach to mending fences. When conveying to the Turkish government that they should improve their brand of religious tolerance, arrogance and browbeating are not recommended. During the young life of the republic, and this past year in particular, Turkish leadership has met foreigners' suggestions about minority rights and recognition with a certain amount of intractability.

Turkey's failure to make more progress on freedom-of-religion issues has been an obstacle in its years-long campaign to join the European Union. Handled with care, the visit could come as a break in the Turkey's public relations storm. If the pope can tap at the problem softly enough, Turkey might be compelled to take further steps toward changing laws that restrict the rights of minority religions. However, the most recent progress report from the European Union, while pointing to Turkey's weaknesses on religious tolerance, acknowledged progress for the Christian community.

With Turkey's EU membership negotiations on the ropes, war on the rise in the Middle East and mounting tensions over Islam's presence in Europe, this week's visit will require all the diplomatic intervention Pope Benedict XVI can find.




Genocide recognition by Turkey is not a precondition for Armenia
26/11/2006 Nicosia - Cyprus - Greek Xpress
www.financialmirror.com
A critical month lies ahead for Turkey as it must show good conduct during the visit of Pope Benedict XVI a few days before the European Commission report on Ankara’s progress towards European Union accession.

Turkey is also being tested on two other issues that could dash its hopes of joining the European club -- its refusal to recognise the Cyprus Republic and denial of the genocide of 1,5 million Armenians by the Ottoman rulers.

The policy of denying the historic events of 1915 has stiffened the stance of some western nations, while relations with France soured when the lower assembly in Paris passed a law making genocide denial a civil crime, similar to holocaust denial.

Lobbying for such resolutions is the Armenian diaspora of nearly four million in Europe and the Americas who are survivors of the genocide.

Standing by their side is the government of Armenia that has genocide recognition at the core of its foreign policy agenda, ahead of social and economic reforms, even more importantly than regional alliances in a turbulent Caucuses region.

But Armenia’s Foreign Minister, Vartan Oskanian, concluding a three-day visit to Cyprus with President Robert Kocharyan, told the Financial Mirror in an interview that “genocide recognition by Turkey is not a precondition for normalizing relations.”

“The purpose of our visit to Cyprus was to activate our economic ties. We have common issues that we discussed but we never ganged up against anybody. That should not be a concern to Turkey.”

“Genocide recognition is a common issue for all Armenians, whether they live in the diaspora or in Armenia,” he said adding, “it’s the moral obligation of every Armenian to remember, and also to pursue recognition because we think that will be the minimum compensation that needs to be provided after almost a hundred years.”

“In terms of getting more countries recognizing [the genocide], and through them increasing the pressure on Turkey, yes, there are positive movements. Whether this brings us closer to recognition by Turkey, the answer is no, because as more countries recognize, Turkey becomes more aggressive in its state policy of denial.”

“The reason we’re seeing developments like in the French parliament to make denial punishable by law, is a clear reaction to the aggressive denialist policies of the Turkish government,” Oskanian said.

“This shouldn’t affect French-Turkish relations because France is a sovereign country and its parliament has the sovereign right to take any decision, just as Turks consider denying the genocide their right, so they should not be upset and angry.

“Turkey itself has a law which punishes those who simply address and talk about the events of 1915 and use the term ‘genocide’,” he said.

-- Erdogan’s smokescreen
Oskanian said that Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayip Erdogan’s suggestion a year ago to create a committee of historians to study the problem was “a smokescreen.”

“That suggestion was not taken seriously despite that fact that President Kocharian responded to that letter and Turks never talk about that response,” he said.

“After that, American scholars, Armenians and Turks, wrote to Erdogan telling him that this study of the Armenian genocide has been exhausted and that their conclusions are very clear,” he added.

“But when you have a law [301 of the Turkish penal code] that punishes the use of the term ‘genocide’ how on earth do you expect those historians that will be appointed to be objective about this topic?”

Oskanian added that there cannot be a commission of historians between two countries that have no diplomatic ties.

“There has to be at least some normalcy between the two countries,” he said. “The borders have to open. President Kocharian had said that only then can we effectively create all sorts of committees to address all sorts of issues and Armenia is prepared to do it.”

“We would like to get there, eventually to live with Turkey in the same neighbourhood. We cannot simply avoid addressing these issues, but it can be addressed in a way that those memories can be replaced by new experiences of interaction between the Turkish and Armenian people”.

-- US can help with border opening
Oskanian said the United States is an effective power that can have an influence on Turkey especially on the issue of border opening, but the U.S. itself has not recognized the genocide for reasons of strategic interests.

“In the past eight years we have refused to choose between sides. Our foreign policy is based on complimentarity. We work with everyone and we seize the opportunities. There are areas where we see more opportunity with Russia, areas where the U.S. can provide more and others where the EU can be more effective,” he said.

“This is not the Cold war era that we need to choose between East and West.”

As regards maintaining a presence in Iraq or other Middle East conflicts, Oskanian said, “you can’t simply be a security consumer, you’ve also got to be a security provider. We have to acknowledge our role. When we were asked to play a peacekeeping role and play our part in Iraq we complied.”

But when it comes to Iran and his birthplace, Syria, the foreign minister said Armenia’s influence is not visible, despite historic ties with both.

“Our approach is engagement rather than confrontation and we think the world powers also would be more effective by engagement rather than confrontation.”

He said economic development is the main priority for next year.

-- Double-digit growth
“We’ve had six years of double-digit growth, we need to sustain this kind of high growth over the next few years. European integration is an important direction as is achieving peace and stability in our region through conflict resolution,” he said.

“Nagorno Karabagh is also a major foreign policy issue to continue our talks to reach a peaceful resolution on the basis of the right of the people for self-determination,” Oskanian said.

“The unequivocal solidarity with Azerbaijan also works against Turkey, because that undermines their credibility in the Caucuses, as well as their claim to be a bridge between east and west, between the Caucuses and the European Union.”

“The reason we negotiate on their behalf is that President Kocharian is from Nagorno Karabagh and the people trust him, but also because Azeris refuse to talk with Karabagh. In order for the process not to be stalled, President Kocharian has taken it upon him to negotiate with the Azeris,” the Armenian official explained.

“But the ideal situation would be if the Azeris will agree to talk with Karabagh and that would be the shortest and most effective way to reach a peaceful resolution.”

“When Karabagh emerged as an independent political entity, that happened out of the collapse of the Soviet Union, when a whole empire collapsed. The only period that Karabagh was part of Azerbaijan was the Soviet period and it was illegal.”

Oskanian concluded that economic reforms are the key for Armenia’s development, which has attracted foreign investments mainly from France, germany, the U.S., Italy and Russia.

“Since independence (in 1989) we’ve been very aggressive in pursuing reforms. We’ve got to go to the second generation of economic reforms so that process will continue. The most recent agreement we signed with the EU is called the Action Plan of the EU Neighbourhood Policy which includes a lot of reforms that Armenia is committed to pursuing in coming weeks.




Majority in poll welcomes relations with Armenia, yet conditionally
November 28, 2006
ANKARA - Turkish Daily News
An overwhelming majority of Turks would welcome establishing relations with neighboring Armenia, as long as Armenia fulfills certain conditions, a poll made public on Monday showed.

The poll, carried out by the Erzurum based Association for the Fight against Groundless Allegations of Genocide, revealed that 82 percent of 8,714 people polled “are positive towards establishing relations with Armenia,” as long as certain expectations -- such as abandoning their allegations of genocide and apologizing to Turkey because of those allegations -- are met.

“Armenians should apologize to the Turkish nation because of massacres that they committed during World War I, they should destroy a monument in Armenia dedicated to the alleged genocide, they should get rid of expressions in their constitution which are against Turks and the territorial integrity of Turkey, they should break off their relations with the Armenian diaspora, they should reject the so-called genocide and they should withdraw from Nagorno-Karabakh,” are the conditions listed by 4,618 people polled which makes 53 percent of the total for establishing relations with Armenia.

The survey was conducted over three months with 16 percent of those polled saying that Armenia breaking off its relations with the Armenian diaspora in Europe and the United States and their rejection of the so-called genocide would be sufficient enough for establishing relations.

Only 6 percent said that “Armenians should apologize to the Turkish nation for massacres they committed during World War I,” for having a relationship.

While 5 percent said the alleged genocide monument in Armenia should be destroyed and that expressions in the Armenian constitution against Turks and the territorial integrity of Turkey should be removed, only 2 percent put the withdrawal of Armenia from Nagorno-Karabakh as a condition for relations.

Meanwhile, 18 percent said they didn't wish Turkey to have relations with Armenia under any conditions.

The border gate between Turkey and Armenia has been closed for more than a decade. Turkey shut the gate and severed diplomatic relations with Armenia after Armenian troops occupied the Azeri territory of Nagorno-Karabakh. Ankara now says normalization of ties depends on the Armenian withdrawal from the occupied area, as well as on progress in the resolution of a series of disputes -- which include the support by the Armenian diaspora of efforts to get international recognition of the alleged genocide, claims strongly refuted by Ankara.

Savaş Eğilmez, head of the association which conducted the survey, interpreted the results of the poll as proof of the “forgiving” nature of Turks.” “The poll once again revealed our philosophy that ‘forgiving is a noble act,' a philosophy which we have embraced throughout history,” he was quoted as saying by the Anatolia news agency.




Gazeryan prefers Greek Cyprus to Turkey
November 27, 2006
NAZLI TOPÇUOGLU – Istanbul
Armenian businessman Arsen Gazeryan will not participate today in the meeting of the Union of the Black Sea and Caspian Industrialists' Confederation (UBCCE), set up under the leadership of the Turkish Industrialists and Businessmen's Association (TÜSİAD), sources said.

Gazeryan, head of the Armenian Industrialists and Businessmen's Association, who was earlier expected to attend the meeting in Istanbul, preferred to lay the foundation stone of a monument in Greek Cyprus dedicated to the survivors of the alleged Armenian genocide at the hands of the Ottoman Empire.

TÜSİAD invited Gazeryan for the UBCCE meeting, despite the French National Assembly's adoption of a bill last month criminalizing any denial of the alleged genocide.

The representatives of the Albanian, Azerbaijani, Bosnian, Bulgarian, Georgian, Kazakh, Macedonian, Romanian, Serbian and Greek associations will be attending the meeting, according to a statement from TÜSİAD.

Noyan Soyak, vice chairman of the Turkish-Armenian Business Council, said Gazeryan would be unable to attend the meeting as he would be on a visit to Greek Cyprus together with Armenian President Robert Kocharian. He said the Armenian representative could send his advisor for the meeting in Istanbul.

Tugrul Kudatgobilik, head of the Turkish Confederation of Employers' Unions (TİSK), said he did not believe that Gazeryan's move was political.

“I don't see it as political and I hope it is not. … I don't know why Gazeryan did not attend but it would be better if he could participate because the meeting is being held to reshape the future,” he added.

Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink said he saw Gazeryan's visit to Greek Cyprus as a business trip, independent of politics. Dink, however, said TÜSİAD did a right thing by inviting the Armenian representative for the Istanbul meeting.

On Friday, Kocharian, who hails from Karabakh, laid the foundation stone for a monument to the alleged genocide to be built on the Larnaca seafront of Greek Cyprus, where Armenian refugees from Ottoman Turkey landed.




Mamma mia, the pope is coming!
November 27, 2006
Doğu ERGİL
Ottoman forces approaching as close as Otranto led Italian townspeople to exclaim, 'Mamma mia, the Turks are coming!' Looking at the controversy raised around Pope Benedict’s visit to Turkey, the tide seems to have turned nowadays.

This exclamation was coined differently at the height of the might of the Ottoman Empire, constantly pushing its borders to the west. The Ottoman armies were roaming central Europe and its navy was threatening Mediterranean ports, including those of Italy. Ottoman forces approaching as close as Otranto led Italian townspeople to exclaim, “Mamma mia, the Turks are coming!” Looking at the controversy raised around Pope Benedict's visit to Turkey, the tide seems to have turned nowadays. How can this be explained? Maybe a cartoon that amused me a lot may help us to understand the stark truth. In the first frame of the cartoon the Janissaries (elite core) of the Ottoman army are running towards the west on the European map, rattling their sabers. In the second frame, men with a similar outfit and brushy moustaches are still holding the saber but cutting döner kebab from a spit on the European map. How do you think this “fall from heaven” affected the Turkish psyche, inflated with the glories of its imperial past? So every minute the relationship with Europe, or the West in general, is acquiring a symbolic meaning taken out of context and turns into a matter of national identity and prestige. The pope's visit, or better the pope himself, is no exception.

The previous pope was very much liked and revered in Turkey. His funeral was attended at the highest level. So the seat of the Papacy is not problematic. The problem emanates from the stance and rhetoric of the former Cardinal Ratzinger, who made negative references to Turkey's quest for EU membership. Bad as it was, his recent Regensburg speech, which degraded Islam as an irrational and violent religion, offended Muslims and secular Turks alike. A leader, no matter who he/she is, is expected to be conciliatory, not discriminatory. It seems the pope still cannot resist the urges he acquired during his youthful years in the turbulent Germany of the '40s. But this is not our issue. The issue is that the psychological atmosphere created by the pope himself laid the emotional mines he now has to avoid during his visit.

On the other side of the problem lies Turkey's response. Let us be cautious: There is more than one Turkey that will meet the pope. The first is the common people, who have always been the bearer of the common sense this country stands on. They bear little sympathy for the pope because they see him as a partisan and ideologically motivated person. But they oppose neither his visit nor the Christian community he represents. In fact they want officials to give him a proper welcome to demonstrate the traditional Turkish hospitality and decorum for religious reconciliation. The second is official Turkey, and that is rather confused. When the government first heard of Pope Benedict's wish to visit Orthodox Patriarch Bartolomeos in Istanbul they were alarmed. For official Turkey the visit could serve ends that could not be controlled by the Turkish government! What could these be? The pope could act as a strong agent endorsing the Patriarchate's claim to ecumenical status. The second is affording de facto statehood to the Patriarchate because the pope is not only a religious community leader but also a head of state. To avoid that possibility, the Turkish government extended an official invitation to the pope, obliging him to be the Turkish state's visitor rather than that of the head of a dependent institution. Now the secular part of the government -- represented by the president -- will host the pope, and the religious part -- represented by the incumbent government -- will lay low to show the pope that his ideas are not liked here, in this part of the world. However, after much soul-searching, the government is entertaining the idea that it could be a good idea to use the opportunity afforded by the pope's visit to prove to the world that the Islamic-oriented Turkish government is more tolerant and cooperative in inter-faith and inter-cultural dialogue than the pope himself. So let us not be surprised to see that upon his return from Riga, where he will attend the NATO summit, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan may just meet the pope on Turkish soil before he leaves for Rome.

The third party that will try to play a role, and a nasty and provocative one at that, is the chauvinist nationalists and Islamists, or an odd mixture of them. They are totally opposed to the pope and dislike his visit. But then they are antagonistic to anything foreign and to any idea or position other than their own anachronistic ones. They are the ones organizing protests and mass demonstrations to make the pope uneasy, letting him know that these lands have an owner and that they will defend their land against all odds. This group staged a demonstration last Thursday and prayed in Hagia Sophia -- the magnificent Byzantine church, later converted to a mosque following the conquest of Constantinople and finally closed to prayer as the prerogative of the secular state.

What these people are not aware of is that the secular government of Turkey is very worried about the probability of the pope instinctively genuflecting as he enters Hagia Sophia. This they are afraid would mean that the pope still considers this site a Christian shrine. You may say “So what?” You are either dead wrong or totally rational with no sensitivity to national matters. If the pope genuflects, this means he is challenging the sovereignty of the Turkish state, which has deconsecrated the site and turned it into a secular visiting ground. Don't be surprised, nationalism works this way. That is why French fries turned into “freedom fries” in the United States overnight. Or why Nicholas Sarkozy defended present-day France when his country was accused of inhumane acts in Algiers in the second part of the 20th century by saying, “Sons may not be condemned for the misdeeds of their parents,” even while endorsing a bill adopted by the French Parliament that penalizes denial of an Armenian "genocide" he and his friends believe took place in Ottoman Anatolia earlier in the same century.

Now that radical Turks have prayed in Hagia Sophia, the possible act by the pope is insignificant and there should be no fuss about it if it happens.

What is least mentioned in the Turkish press is the spirit of the pope's speech delivered at Regensburg and its relevance to his visit to Istanbul. In that speech he was appealing to his fellow Christians to be more pious and attentive to their religion since he was aware that religiosity in Europe was regressing. Consonant with his message, he compared Christianity with Islam, gaining ground even in Europe with its adherents seemingly more zealous than their fellow Christians. That is why he went out of his way to assert that his was a more superior religion to others, especially Islam. He sincerely believes that, too.

Following his logic, he has to strengthen the ties between Christian communities in order to increase solidarity and cooperation in the Christian world. If he succeeds, his efforts will yield another result: building a spiritual line of defense against the encroachment of Islam upon the heart of Christianity. What could be more appropriate than mending the bridges between the Catholic and Orthodox Christian churches, blown to pieces by the disavowal of the second by the first in the Middle Ages, a rift that lingers to this day?

Indeed, following the schism between the Roman Catholic and Orthodox churches in Constantinople in 1054, Crusaders organized by the former invaded and pillaged the capital of the latter in 1204. The rift and animosity between the two was so great that the Papacy closed its ears and heart to the cries of the Byzantine church and emperor before their demise in 1453. The Orthodox never forgave the Papacy for this betrayal. It was a political rivalry in the Middle Ages more than anything else. Indeed the Roman Catholic Church got rid of its main political rival then, but today religion itself is under threat. Christianity must be revitalized from within by generating a richer spirituality by this theologian pope, who really believes in the superiority of his belief. He can only do so by mending the bridges between other Christian denominations and churches that were once declared heretical by the Papacy.

This is a noble cause for a religious leader. He should definitely try. We Turks must give him a shoulder with the help of the Istanbul Orthodox Patriarchate, which oversees several thousand of Turkey's Orthodox citizens. But what about the claim of ecumenical powers by the Patriarchate, which sends jitters up and down the spine of official Ankara? My advice to those who fear that so much is to go and ask whether the heads of the Orthodox churches in Greece and Russia accept the superiority of their brother in Istanbul who bears Byzantine insignia and are they ready to concede leadership to him. They will really be surprised. We sincerely welcome his Eminence Pope Benedict XVI to Turkey and hope that he wins the hearts of the Turks and other Muslims with constructive statements that embrace all children of God.




Armenian Businessmen Decline TUSIAD Invitation
November 28, 2006
zaman.com
The Union of Businessmen and Manufacturers of Armenia (UMBA) did not attend a regional meeting organized to foster economic relations.

The Black Sea and Caspian Industrialists Confederation Union meeting was organized by the Turkish Industrialists and Businessmen Association (TUSIAD).




Pro-PKK Programs Broadcasted on French Radio
Paris, Istanbul
November 26, 2006
zaman.com
France had stopped broadcasting Turkish programs on Radio France International (RFI) on grounds of financial difficulties, while it remained silent on pro-PKK broadcasts. The Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) is listed as a terrorist organization by the European Union, which includes France.

Pro-PKK associations are allowed to broadcast on the Fréquence Paris Plurielle, a state radio station allocated to associations by France.

During the yesterday’s broadcast, PKK supporters were asked to attend a program that would be organized for the 28th anniversary of the PKK on Sunday.

The announcement was delivered in both in French and Kurdish.

A number of Kurdish artists will attend the program. “We celebrate the 28th anniversary of the PKK,” a program ticket reads.

One-third of radio frequencies were allocated to stations during presidency of François Mitterand.

Funded by France, many associations conduct their activities and organize broadcasts on French radio stations for an allotted time every week.

‘Year of Armenia’ Conference Addresses Turkey

The history of Kurdish, Pontus Greek, Chaldean and Armenian minorities in Turkey was discussed in a conference held in the Parisian suburb of Versailles by Armenians.

The conference was held as part of the “Year of Armenia” in France and attended by Pontus Greek historian Vassia Karkayannis-Karabelias, head of the Kurdish Institute of Paris Kendal Nezan, Secretary-General of the International Federation of Human Rights Raffi Kalfayan and President of the Chaldean Association of France Naman Adlun.

The French Chaldean community asserts Chaldeans were exterminated by Turkey and built a Chaldean genocide monument in Paris last year.

The monument was received with surprise by Turkish diplomats in Paris, who have good relations with Chaldeans.

Representatives from the Chaldean community were invited to this year’s Republic Holiday reception at the Turkish embassy in Paris as usual despite the genocide monument.

Chaldean priests in Paris attended the reception.




Turkey In Panic And Trying To Attack First
Public Radio, Armenia
Nov 27 2006
Turkey's statements about transferring the discussion of the Armenian Genocide issue to the International Hague Tribunal are attempts to find ways out of a panic in the country, Director of the Oriental Studies Institute of the Armenian National Academy of Sciences Ruben Safrastyan said in an interview with "Armenpress." He said that after the victory of Democrats in the US Congress and election of pro-Armenian politicians to responsible positions those in Turkey realize pretty well that the Democratic Party can pursue the recognition of the Armenian Genocide. Turkey is trying to attack first. In Ruben Safrastyan's opinion, Turks realize that if the Congress adopts a bill condemning the Armenian Genocide a new wave of Genocide Recognition will rise in the world, and 1-2 dozens of countries will follow the example of the US.

In Safrastyan's words, despite the statements that Turkey has launched a serious study of the opportunity to apply to the International Court, it will not take this step. Instead, it will continue the policy of denialism. Representatives of the Turkish elite also know that the Armenian Genocide really occurred, but they will not question the Turkish policy on this issue. The question of applying to the International Tribunal was discussed in Turkey still in the year 2000.

Director of the Oriental Studies Institute considers that Armenian should launch a serious preparation work. To transfer the Armenian Genocide recognition issue from the political level to the international legal field. In his words, we should create commissions comprised of historians, lawyers and political scientists, which will turn the great historical material on the Armenian Genocide into a legal document, and Armenia, as a state, should prepare to apply to the International Court, accusing Turkey as the successor of the Ottoman Empire, of committing the Genocide and demand reimbursement.

"It is a question that should assemble the whole Armenian nation. As the center of all Armenians, Armenia should take the initiative and call a pan-Armenian forum, where all the political forces and NGOs of Armenia and Diaspora will be represented.

"The Genocide is a heaviest international crime and the criminal should be punished," Safrastyan assures. Armenia should decide what kind of reimbursement it will demand. Forms of compensation should also be correctly assessed.

It should be noted that up to now 18 states have recognized the Armenian Genocide. Ruben Safrastyan emphasized the importance of adoption of the bill criminalizing the denial of the Armenian Genocide by the French Parliament. Discussions of adopting similar bills are underway in Belgium and Netherlands.




What Is Turkey's Importance All About?
Barin Kayaoglu
Journal of Turkish Weekly, Turkey
Nov 27 2006
News agencies recently reported that former German Chancellor Helmut Schmidt delivered a lecture at Florence last week, arguing that in contrast to popular thinking, Turkey was not a bridge between Europe and the Muslim world and that it was in fact disliked in the Arab world. The heyday of the address allegedly came when Schmidt said that "it is suffice to remember how Arabs suffered under Ottoman rule." Because of the Ottoman past, incorporating Turkey would be counter-productive to the European Union, Moreover, he continued, Turkey's EU membership was not in European interests and was indeed pushed by the United States. [1]

It is important to attend to such questions, especially when they come from senior statesmen. Let us embark on a mind-quest to figure out just exactly what Turkey's "importance" is all about. What do we really mean by Turkey being a "bridge" or a "model country" to the Muslim world? Is Turkey really a viable answer to the problems of the world today? If so, what are those lessons?

Modernizing the state and the socio-economy of the land was one of the greatest hardships that challenged the Ottoman Empire. Renowned historian İlber Ortayli calls the 19th century the "Empire's Longest Century." Ottoman reforms, even though always intended to modernize the armed forces first, extended to other aspects of the Empire's life: a secular legal system, a new education system, female emancipation, the advent of a lively press and intelligentsia all came about during the 19th century. It was during the 19th century that the power of the sultan was legally curbed through a constitution. This was extremely significant, one should bear in mind, because the Ottoman sultan held the title of caliph, the nominal successor of the Prophet Mohammed. What really happened with the Ottoman example was the limitations imposed to the authority of an Islamic absolute monarch who was believed to hold divine right.

For those who study political science or European history, there is nothing new here. But it was a historic precedent for a Muslim empire to witness the rise of a parliamentary and constitutional system.

Ottoman constitutionalism, for sure, was not trouble-free. Sultan Abdulhamid II suspended the constitution and kept the parliament shut for over thirty years from 1877 until 1908.

Another very important element of the Ottoman experience was what has been dubbed Pax Ottomana (Ottoman peace). As can be inferred from the name, this system involved the peaceful co-existence of different nations under Ottoman imperial rule. The central government did not interfere with the intra-ethnic workings of its constituent communities and sustained a multi-cultural social order until the very end. Pax Ottomana ultimately collapsed, with tragic consequences: present-day Middle East and Balkans, as well as the mutual headaches between Turks and Armenians are but a few of these.

The peace and tranquility that the Ottomans delivered to the Balkans and the Middle East remain to be resuscitated.

The Ottomans had the greatest misfortune of being on the losing side at the end of World War I. Faced with an ominous partition, Turkey managed to negotiate a more fair peace treaty with the Allies thanks to its successful conclusion of its War of Independence in 1922 under the leadership of its founding father, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk.

Volumes have been written on Ataturk's legacy. There are but two very important points to bear in mind about that legacy: democracy and secularism. One of the virtues of Ataturk - and there were many of them - was that he was a great visionary. He restructured the Turkish political system in such a way that despite all of the challenges, it has been able to remain both democratic and secular and adapt to changing global dynamics. Secularism, the separation of church -well, in Turkey's case mosque - and state, has been the core element through which Turkish society has been able to safely practice its myriad religious aspirations. For their part, Turkish statesmen have had an easier time in running the state as secularism freed their hands from addressing religious concerns and allowed them to operate pragmatically in the realm of politics. In other words, secularism has empowered Turkey.

Democracy has also been a blessing for Turkey. Since the establishment of the Republic in 1923, Turkey has always claimed to be a democracy of some sort. This claim was realized in the late 1940s with the advent of multi-party politics and an extension of the boundaries of freedom of expression. Those years were marked by incessant political turmoil and economic instability but today Turkish people elect their representatives and despite all the problems that trouble the country, such as poverty and the inadequacy of public services, they remain hopeful. In spite all of its deficiencies, Turkey sustains a vibrant civil society and press which exert a remarkable degree of influence over the state. Democracy, just like secularism, has empowered Turkish people.

One should aviod the trapdoor of self-righteousness, however. The setup of the Directorate of Religious Affairs (Diyanet İşleri Başkanligi - which does not sponsor non-Sunni Muslim places of worship) and the remaining obstacles to free speech (such as the hideous article 301 of the penal code) are still formidable setbacks for Turkey. The solution to these problems are not intractable, nevertheless. The inclusion of other major religious parties in the country -the leaders of Alawite foundations, Greek and Armenian Orthodox patriarchs, and the Chief Rabbi - would not only enrich the intellectual aura of divinity schools and the Directorate itself, but also grant tremendous legitimacy to the state's supervisory role over religion. As for freedom of expression, it has been stated time and again in this column to view free speech not as a danger, but as one of Turkey's most important allies. Anybody who wishes to disagree with anything - with the caveat that they do not espouse violence -should have their say. That is the best and luckily the only option before Turkey.[2]

Notwithstanding these nuisances, any objective commentator must appreciate the democratic and secular character of Turkey. Turkey is the only country that combines the elements of being Muslim, democratic, and secular. This is a unique thing in the world today.

No other Muslim country has managed to combine these three characteristics yet.

The question is, then, as to what can be done in a turbulent world.

Many people would agree that there is a significant democratic deficit in Muslim countries today. We cannot afford to ignore this problem that has global ramifications. Lack of proper governance in distant parts of the world affects each and every member of the global community. The answer to that problem is to empower Muslims around the world. The only way to do that is to follow Turkey's example. Islam is not inherently in conflict with modernization. The problem is not with Islam but with how Muslims interpret it. We ought to realize that not only are secularism and democracy not in contradiction with Islam, but they in fact augment it. Turkey is the case in point. For the past 80 years, and even before that, religious tension has not been a major issue in Turkey. Turkish people enjoy both the pleasantries of mundane life while practicing their religions freely.

Perhaps the statement by Prime Minister Mr. Tayyip Erdogan's former senior advisor sums all of what has been said so far. About a year ago, Mr. Omer Celik stated that secularism was the greatest power ("nuclear" power, as he put it) which Turkey had in comparison with the Middle East. The Republic's secular and democratic characteristics, according to Celik, were proof that Turkey's political ideals were compatible with those of Europe.[3]

Turkey is at a critical juncture in its accession negotiations with the EU. Those who follow this column already know that I have lost my enthusiasm for Turkey's EU membership. But it would be too foolish to deny the fact that there is still a historic opportunity before the EU and the West. By faithfully negotiating with a Muslim country that has been a part of Europe for centuries (bear in mind that the Ottoman Empire was a European power even more than a Middle Eastern one), the EU and the West have it within their grasp to turn to other Muslim countries around the world and convincingly make the case that there are genuine benefits by joining the global community through democratization and secularization. This appeal will not be easy and that Turkey will probably not join the EU. Nevertheless, by accepting Turkey as a legitimate partner, European countries can counter most of the criticisms that they are Islamophobic. Following Turkey's example, Muslim countries will finally ease their suspicions in their dealings with the West.

Turkey is the best asset that Europe can hope to incorporate in the brave new millenium. The European Union with Turkey would serve European interests more than Turkish interests in the long run. The decision to walk that bridge is for Europeans like Helmut Schmidt to decide.

+++

24 November 2006

Barin Kayaoglu 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.

E-mail: kayaoglu@virginia.edu

[1] "Schmidt: Turkiye Kopru degil" (Schmidt: Turkey is not a bridge), ntvmsnbc.com, November 18, 2006; available from http://www.ntvmsnbc.com/news/391283.asp.

[2] Barin Kayaoglu, "Turkey's Allies are Common Sense and Freedom of Expression," Journal of Turkish Weekly, October 25, 2006; available from http://www.turkishweekly.net/comments.php?id=2339.

[3] "Laiklik Turkiye'nin elinde nukleer guc gibi" (Secularism is like nuclear power for Turkey), Sabah, October 13, 2005; available from http://www.sabah.com.tr/2005/10/13/siy102.html.




Lecture On Ottoman Armenian Photographs In Getty Museum
Van Aroian of Worcester, MA, will give an illustrated lecture on "A World in Transition: Armenians in the Ottoman Photographs Collection of the Getty Museum," at the Ararat-Eskijian Museum, 15105 Mission Hills Road, Mission Hills, CA, on Sunday, December 3, at 3:30 p.m. The lecture will be co-sponsored by the Museum and the National Association for Armenian Studies and Research (NAASR).

The Getty Museum in Los Angeles, California, houses the Getty Research Library, which contains an impressive collection of Ottoman photographs. This collection is an invaluable resource for Ottoman scholars, ethnographers, historians of Ottoman photography, and students of Armenian Ottoman life. Furthermore, this collection provides a valuable resource for an investigator interested in developing the significant contribution of Armenian photographers to the early development of photography throughout the Ottoman Empire.

Sampling of an Important Collection
The program will provide a visual presentation and sampling of the Ottoman photo collection at the Getty Research Institute, with a focus on its Armenian flavor and contributions. On a fundamental level this collection provides investigators with a rare opportunity actually to see aspects of Ottoman life and culture - a presentation of a world in transition captured for succeeding generations. These photos will provide us the opportunity to walk down memory lane and share together some social and historic commentary.

Van Aroian spent some six weeks in 1999-2001 looking through the Getty's Ottoman photograph collection. He first presented the results of his investigations into the Getty's collection in an article in NAASR's Journal of Armenian Studies (vol. 7, no.1, Fall-Winter 2002-2003) entitled "Ottoman Photographs at the J. Paul Getty Research Institute: Armenian Themes and Contributions." There he offered an overview of the collection and provided detailed analyses of several photographs of direct or indirect relevance to the Armenians.

Aroian earned a BA at Boston University and MA in Middle Eastern Studies at Harvard University. He was a fellow in Urban Geography at Clark University and an Urban Planner and Deputy Director of the Worcester Redevelopment Authority. He later joined his brother in-law, Kevork, and wife Mary Balekdjian Aroian in importing and retailing Oriental carpets. He is currently a member of the NAASR Board of Directors.




Educating Turkey
Nazlan Ertan
The New Anatolian, Turkey
Nov 18 2006
The week, between the two key congresses of the right wing, was dominated by an issue just as explosive as the congresses itself: education.

Admittedly, education has always been the Achilles' heel of this government, and The New Anatolian certainly offers its tentative praise to Huseyin Celik, who managed to keep his post as education minister despite all the objections from the military, higher education officials and the public. Erkan Mumcu, who now has his eyes on the prime ministry, failed miserably in his short tenure as education minister, attracting both the anger and the scorn of university professors, who referred to him as "rookie" or "the boy."

But the 17th Education Convention, convening to grab headlines after -- years, proved to be a hot potato rather than an asset to the government. First of all, the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) was accused of imposing its agenda related to the university entrance of vocational schools, namely the clergy high schools known as imam hatip.

Given the time and effort allocated to facilitate students of vocational schools being able to enter any university of their choice, many accused the government of not looking at education strategy but at its own election strategy. Presently, the graduates of vocational schools get points in the centralized university exam when their points are calculated for universities of the field they studied, and have a disadvantage when they decide to switch fields. To give a concrete example, a graduate of an imam hatip school would get extra points if his score was calculated to enter a faculty of theology but not for political science.

The desire to recalculate the coefficient of high school average in the overall score has been constantly expressed by the AKP government but was stalled by the president and the Constitutional Court.

Thus, when this issue -- rather than the badly needed discussion on Turkish education's compatibility with international standards, the need for adult education, the need for vocational education to meet the needs of the public and language training -- dominated the news, many felt that this was an imposition.

Education Minister Celik defended the decisions, saying that the ministry did not impose an agenda on the convention. He said that several key academics will prepare reports after the convention, which he described as a platform for free thought, and added that no opposition party should use certain ideas expressed at the convention as a tool to denigrate the initiative.

Like Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Celik also gave assurances that the government respected secularism. "The Turkish Republic's education system is secular," he said, blaming, like the premier, the press for ignoring the big picture and just concentrating on a couple of mistakes or shortcomings at the convention.

The convention is now over, but alas, the problems and criticism in the education sector are not.

Search me

One would have thought that State Minister and chief negotiator for the EU Ali Babacan would have enough troubles without searching for more.

This time trouble went searching for him. When Danish security guards at the Copenhagen airport wanted to search Babacan, it blew up into a diplomatic crisis. Denmark apologized, and the event was described as one that is "unfortunate."

"Unfortunately," this was not an isolated action. Copenhagen security caused similar incidents over the last two years, including one with recently deceased former Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit in 2005. Ecevit, arriving in the country with full documentation, was kept waiting for half an hour during which he fell ill.

Fortunately, Babacan is in better health. Not so much can be said of Turkish-Danish ties after the cartoon crisis and the Kurdish and pro-PKK Roj-TV broadcasts.

French leave

The damage imposed on Turco-French ties after the French National Assembly passed the law to penalize denial of the so-called Armenian genocide had dropped from the front pages of newspapers. But it made a pronounced comeback when Gen. Ilker Basbug, the commander of the land forces, said that the military was boycotting France after the decision. Paris tried to shrug off the remarks, only to be told the next day, this time by Turkey's Defense Minister Vecdi Gonul, that France was intentionally left off the list of invitees to the Eighth Defense Industry Fair. A French colonel reportedly left as soon as he heard the remarks. Hurriyet daily gave the news with the headline: "Offended by a couple of words".




Turkey's 'New' Approaches In Armenian Genocide Issue
By Kiro Manoyan
Yerkir, Armenia
Nov 27 2006
The "exciting" announcements that Turkey makes about applying new tactics when dealing with the Armenian Genocide issue are nothing more than a new packaging for the old tactics.

The aim is the same as before: to dispute the facts of the Armenian Genocide for years with a goal to derail the process of the international recognition of the Armenian Genocide. In other words, this "new" tactics pursues the same goal as Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan's 2005 proposal to set up a "bilateral commission of historians," and by transforming the issue into a historical dispute, remove it from the political agenda.

Speaking two days ago at a meeting that was discussing his ministry's budget for the next year, Turkish Foreign Minister Gul said the Armenian Genocide will be among the key issues for Turkey's foreign policy in the coming ten years because it stands in the way of Turkey's relations with many countries. He also said they were seeking advice of Turkish and foreign lawyers for possibilities to take the case to the "international court."

The Turkish foreign minister's vague description of the "international court" was immediately explained by Turkish retired diplomats Sukru Elekdag and Gunduz Aktan. Aktan, who was also a member of the infamous Turkish-Armenian Reconciliation Commission, spoke about it at a recent lecturing tour to Canada.

It turned out that the "international court" is not the International Court of Justice but the Permanent Court of Arbitration. Though both courts operate in the same building in the Hague, their missions and authorities are quite different as their names show.

Apparently, the Turkish diplomatic circles are trying to first of all make a propaganda move. Aktan told Milliyet newspaper, "Though the trial process may take 5-10 years, but it ensures us a moral advantage now. If Armenia or France refuse to appear in the court, they will be embarrassed in the world."

According to Aktan, the process of passing the Armenian Genocide to the international law assumes: 1.Set up a commission to check the reality of the documents kept in the archives of Turkey, Armenian Patriarchate of Constantinople, Boston chapter of ARF, Russia, USA, Germany, England and France; 2.Carry out statistical work to study the ethnic changes of the population; 3.Study military movements and the activities of the Armenian armed groups; 4.Find out the causes of the deaths during the deportation; 5.Study the registration books of the hospital for the period in question; 6.Though a forensic examination determine the ethnicity of those buried in common graves.

The Turkish diplomats are trying to accomplish the goal that was supposed to be reached by the failed "bilateral commission of historians."

But the thing is that Article 9 of the 1948 Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide clearly states: "Disputes between the Contracting Parties relating to the interpretation, application or fulfillment of the present Convention, including those relating to the responsibility of a State for genocide or any of the other acts enumerated in Article 3, shall be submitted to the International Court of Justice at the request of any of the parties to the dispute."

In other words, the Turkish diplomats, violating the rules of the Convention, plan to take the issue to another direction, knowing well that Armenia has not signed under the 1899 and 1907 Hague conventions that have set up the Permanent Court of Arbitration.

If the Turkish diplomacy really wants to take the problems between Armenia and Turkey - of which the Armenian Genocide is just one part - to the international law, the issues should first of all include issues such: 1.Restoration of Turkey's eastern border as determined by US President Wilson under the Sevres Treaty of August 10, 1920; 2.The issue of non-validity of the December 2, 1920 Treaty of Alexandrapol; 3.The non-validity of the treaties signed on March 16, 1921 in Kars, and on October 23, 1921 in Moscow; 4.Violation by Turkey since 1991 of the main principles set in the Kars Treaty; 5.The illegality of replacing the 1920 Severs Treaty with the July 24, 1923 Lausanne Treaty.

However, if Turkey wishes to determine its responsibility in the Armenian Genocide through an international court, it should turn to the International Court of Justice.

It is important to reveal the real goals and efficiency of this new Turkish fraud for the international public opinion.






Armenian joy but genocide row continues
MICHAEL BLACKLEY (mblackley@edinburghnews.com)
edinburghnews.scotsman.com
25 Nov 2006
ARMENIANS in the Capital are celebrating after councillors stood by their decision to class a campaign against their countrymen during the First World War as genocide.

The city council voted to back an original motion passed last year regarding the deaths of up to 1.5 million Armenians in the Ottoman Empire in 1915 stating "it was indeed genocide".

Debate on the matter raged for an hour at a stormy meeting of the full council in the City Chambers - but Councillor Phil Attridge's attempts to approve a new motion were rebuffed. He wanted a motion that supported plans by Turkey to set up an independent investigation and make a verdict on whether it was genocide. He claimed the snub "reeked of Turkophobia".

Today, the Morningside-based man leading the Scottish arm of the campaign to have the deaths recognised as genocide said he was "proud" that his local authority had made the decision.

Armenian Dr Hagop Bessos, 55, chairman of the Scottish branch of UK organisation The Campaign for Recognition of Armenian Genocide, said: "I am extremely proud and moved that the council in Edinburgh have stuck by this decision. Although the genocide was 91 years ago, the consequences for Armenians continue today."

The council first passed a motion on the matter last August after it was presented by then city leader Donald Anderson.

But the decision led to a number of complaints to councillors and Cllr Attridge put forward the new motion in support of Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan's call for an international commission to carry out a probe. But it was widely rejected by councillors, with only two people backing it. Instead, they passed a new motion that reaffirms the original decision.

Cllr Attridge said: "In Britain we always seem to support the minority and the Armenians make it seem like the only people that died during the war were Armenian. The reek of Turkophobia in that room was extreme."

The British wing of the Citizens Proclamation of Turkish Rights group had arranged for a Turkish history professor from the University of Ankara to make a 3500-mile round trip to give evidence at the City Chambers.

Its chair, Hal Sausas, said: "The whole thing is absurd. Nobody on that council has the power to judge something like this. Most of the people on the council don't know anything about this. They couldn't even tell you where Armenia is."




Letter signed by 90 NGOS to be sent to Chirac
Hürriyet, Turkey
Nov 24 2006
A.A
A letter was written to French President Jacques Chirac, consisting of signatures of 90 non-overnmentalorganizations led by "Association of Victims of Massacre by Armenian gangs in eastern city of Van during the World War I".

In a statement, the association said that the city of Van, which lost 30 thousand innocent residents and was under fire and suffered great damage due to the attacks of Armenian gangs during the World War I, was acting as "one heart and one voice" against the decision of French National Assembly which adopted a bill on criminalizing denial of so-called Armenian genocide.

The association also underlined that residents of Van got united to strongly display their reaction and warning against France.

The letter which comprises of the signatures of 90 political, professional, unionist and civil NGOs will be sent to Chirac after it is introduced to the public opinion at a press conference on Sunday.




Robert Kocharyan: Recognition Of Own History By Turkey Will Be A Difficult Way To Pass
ArmInfo News Agency, Armenia
Nov 24 2006
"The readiness to normalize relations with the neighbors that Turkey will express will influence also Armenian-Turkish relations." President of Armenia Robert Kocharyan made this statement in Nicosia, Thursday, commenting on the fact that Turkey must revise its position regarding Cyprus. Afterwards, EU will express its position on the continuation of the talks for Turkey's membership of the EU.

Asked about Armenia's position on Turkey's admission to the EU in conditions when Turkey denies the Armenian Genocide, Robert Kocharyan said peoples must recognize their own history. "We hope that the membership process will create a new situation due to reforms when the discussions on this issue in Turkey will be more open. This will allow the Turkish public to voice the question. We understand that it will be a difficult way to pass. Nevertheless, we hope that the Turkish people will pass it itself and that the international community and the recognition of the Armenian Genocide by other countries will help the Turkish people pass this way," Robert Kocharyan said.




Turkish diplomacy caught in French dilemma
November 25, 2006
BARÇIN YİNANÇ
ISTANBUL -Turkish Daily News
With Turkish French relations already in a turbulent state, the possibility of the French Senate endorsing the bill before February on Armenian claims of genocide has intensified Ankara's push to avoid yet another crisis with Paris.

The lower house of the French Parliament passed a law on Oct. 12 criminalizing Armenian claims of genocide. The bill needs approval from the upper house, the Senate and the president to become a law.

The Parliament will go into recess in February ahead of presidential elections in April. Despite assurances from the French government that it will do its best to prevent an eventual endorsement of the bill in the Senate, Turkish diplomats believe the possibility is too strong to disregard. “Although there are no apparent signs for such an initiative right now, there is always a possibility for a last minute push, just before parliament goes into recess,” said one diplomat familiar with the issue.

Facing this scenario, Turkey finds itself trapped in a dilemma about which of two policies to follow.

One option is to try to prevent the Senate's approval of the bill.

Despite that it is easier to draw support for Turkey from senators compared to the members of the National Assembly, there is no guarantee that the French lawmakers will not endorse the bill, since they might not be able to resist pressure from the ethnic Armenian electorate. Furthermore, Turkey cannot rely on the assurances from the French government that it will try to press the Senate not to endorse it, since the government of Dominique De Villepin, and President Jacques Chirac, have lost their former influence over lawmakers. With sanctions already in place against France, Turkey is without substantial leverage to discourage French senators from voting for the bill.

Thus would Turkey not be wasting its time and energy in a matter where a positive outcome is not guaranteed? This is a question that has begun to be raised more frequently in Turkish diplomatic circles.

Suppose the Senate goes into recess in February without the bill appearing on the agenda. The situation will remain treacherous. Turkish diplomats are divided on the possible scenarios in the aftermath.

According to optimists, once the elections are over, the book will also close on the issue. “If we can hold our breath until February, the case will be closed after the elections, since the initiative to criminalize denial of Armenians' claim of genocide is purely related to the elections,” said one senior diplomat. “The French are uneasy about the controversial bill, not because of Turkey's reaction but because of the criticism it has received throughout Europe,” asserted the same diplomat.

The pessimists disagree. “Both the left and the right have committed themselves to passing the bill from the Senate. President of the Socialists François Hollande has given assurances to the Armenian community that the bill will become law. So even after the elections, this issue will not come off the agenda,” commented a diplomat familiar with French politics.

Hence, the Armenian bill might continue to hang over bilateral relations like a Damocles' sword. Instead of living with the constant threat of the French Armenians pushing the bill through ratification, wouldn't it be better to let the bill become a law? This would open the way for the French Constitutional Court to strike down the law, or enable Turkey to resort to international justice as soon as possible. Ankara is in the midst of considering this option.

In France only the president or the heads of both houses of the parliament has the authority to take the law to the Constitutional Court. The only other way to get to the Court is through a joint initiative by 60 lawmakers. Paris, contacted by Ankara, was unable to give assurances, that as soon as the Senate endorses the bill, it will be sent to the Constitutional Court. Actually, Turkey does not have to wait for the domestic judicial ways to be exhausted; it can directly apply to the European Court of Human Rights. However, there is no consensus as to a positive outcome in case Turkey brings the issue to the Court in Strasbourg. The evaluation of the international judicial dimension continues in Ankara.

Here is the Turkey's dilemma: Instead of living with the constant threat of ratification of the bill if Turkey shuts its eyes to France's ratification process, there is a risk that the government will not be able to finetune the reaction in Turkey. In the face of an electoral process, the Turkish government might not have the capacity to downplay the importance of a Senate decision or resist pressure from public opinion. If that situation occurs, bilateral relations could suffer a major blow.

If Turkey opts to spend energy preventing the ratification, there is the risk for bilateral relations to remain on a constant tight rope. “Armenian bill has taken bilaterial relations hostage. We just cannot continue like this. It's is not sustainable,” said one diplomat who admitted that Turkish diplomacy was looking for a way out of this impasse.




Diplomacy caught in France dilemma
November 25, 2006
BARÇIN YİNANÇ
ISTANBUL -Turkish Daily News
The possibility of the French Senate endorsing the bill on Armenian claims of genocide before February has Turkish-French relations in a state of disrepair and Ankara in need of a solution to prevent another crisis with Paris.

The lower house of the French Parliament passed a law on Oct. 12 criminalizing Armenian claims of genocide. The bill needs approval from the upper house, the Senate and the president to become a law.

If Turkey opts to spend energy preventing the ratification, there is the risk for bilateral relations to remain on a constant tight rope.




Turkey Owes 3.5 Bn To Heirs Of Genocide Victims
Yerkir, Armenia
Nov 17 2006
Turkey owes about £3.5 bn to the heirs of the Armenians killed and robbed in genocide of 1918 in Baku; Azerbaijan, in turn, owes £134,149,000, according to Khachatur Dadayan of Armenia's National Academy of Sciences. The figures appear in his book titled "Baku and Armenians" and published by Noravank Foundation.

Dadayan's study is based on the conclusions of a commission set up by England, France and United States in December 1918 in Baku; only 7 out 30 members of the commission were Armenians. The commission had suggested that Armenian population submit applications for compensating the massacres and robberies occurred in Baku in 1918. In 1919, the commission concluded that 453.1 million rubles should be paid to Armenians.

It also concluded that the money should have been paid by Turkey since that country was considered the founder of Azerbaijan; in addition, Turkish troops had entered Baku and submitted the Armenians to massacre along with the local Azeris on September 15, 1918.

To calculate the sum that was to be paid to Armenians, the author used the operations of Stepan Lianosian with English banks in 1919.

Lianosian had received a payment guarantee for 400,000 pounds and issued 4 million rubles in the North-Western Republic.

November 1 was taken as the beginning point for calculations. Dadayan says that Azerbaijan adopted a constitutional act on October 18, 1991, according to which, it is the successor of the Azerbaijani Republic that existed between May 28, 1918 and April 28, 1920; this means Azerbaijan has also assumed the obligation to make financial reparations.

After applying a 5% banking interest for the periods between November 1918 and April 1920, and 1992-2006, the author concluded that the successor of the First Azerbaijani Republic owes the heirs of the victimized Armenians 134,149,000 pounds.

However, the commission has also recognized Turkey to be responsible for what had happened and concluded that Turkey's debt was 59,210,000 pounds. If the 5% banking interests for each year between 1918 and 2006 is added to this sum, Turkey's debt accumulates to 4.552 bn pounds; 3.518 bn of this sum is the money owed to Armenians.

The author of the book believes that even in case Turkey and Azerbaijan refuse to recognize the Armenian Genocide, they cannot deny to pay the reparations because all the legal grounds exist for such reparations.




American Armenian Community Should Pursue Genocide Resolution Adoption In Congress
Yerkir, Armenia
Nov 17 2006
Armenian Revolutionary Federation Bureau's Hay Dat and Political Affairs Office Director Kiro Manoyan commented Thursday on possible developments following the midterm elections to the US Congress.

Manoyan was asked whether it was realistic to expect that the US Congress could adopt a Genocide bill taking into account that the possible candidate for the chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee has a pro-Turkish stance.

"It is an assumption, like the assumption that Nancy Pelosi is to become the speaker of the Congress," Manoyan answered. "Democrats would initiate nothing on their own, they have no reason to adopt a Genocide bill. The outcome depends on the extend of the influence of the American Armenian community. However, I believe the Democrats would make one step forward."

Manoyan added that it is the Armenian community that should pursue the case. Besides, Manoyan said, there have been similar resolutions endorsed by both Democrats and Republicans but no vote has been scheduled by the Congress speaker. The Armenian community should work toward including such resolutions on the agenda of the full Congress.




Turkey Will Recognize Or Will Collapse
Lragir, Armenia
Nov 22 2006
Kiro Manoyan, ARF Dashnaktsutyun, in charge of Hay Dat and political affairs, stated November 22 in Yerevan that the U.S. House or the Senate have adopted three resolutions in the past 30 years condemning the Armenian genocide, however the U.S. government has always avoided using the word genocide to refer to the Armenian Genocide in 1915.

Matthew Bryza, the U.S. co-chair of the OSCE Minsk Group, a high-ranking State Department official, stated they are against that the U.S. Congress adopt a new resolution, but the Democrats are majority in the Congress, and it is possible that such a resolution will be adopted, stated Kiro Manoyan. Like the previous three, the fourth resolution will be a mere tool for pressure on Turkey.

Kiro Manoyan notices that the U.S. government is not doubting the fact of the genocide but it does not speak about it not to exercise pressure on Turkey. Meanwhile, the U.S. ambassador to Armenia Richard Hoagland doubted the fact of the genocide. "This is Hoagland's fault," stated Kiro Manoyan, who thinks that the best solution of this problem would be appointing another person ambassador to Armenia. Or at least announce clearly that the United States does not doubt there was a genocide.
The U.K., which is closer to the political line of the United States, is against adopting resolutions on the Armenian genocide. Kiro Manoyan thinks that the U.K. also does not want to exercise pressure on Turkey because it views Turkey as bridging dialogues between the civilizations. But "Turkey became a Turkish Republic, dismissing the question of the genocide, and founded this republic on this purification acknowledging their guilt, and will continue living with this feeling until it collapses one day," stated Kiro Manoyan.




President Of Kurdistan To President Of Armenia
10 April 1998
ANN/Groong -- Armenian News
The President-elect of Armenia Robert Kocharian

Dear Mr President

I am writing to congratulate you on your election as President of Armenia and to wish you every success in forming your new government. I want particularly to wish you well in implementing democratic reforms and a political solution of the Nagorno Karabakh conflict.

I also welcome and endorse the passage of a resolution in the Belgian Senate calling on the Turkish government in Ankara to recognise the reality of the Armenian holocaust perpetrated by the last Ottoman regime in 1915-19.

This resolution of 26 March, I believe, can not be treated as a transient episode but is of paramount significance in the protracted campaign to end the political amnesia about 1915, deliberately contrived by Turkish and foreign governments in the past in order to perpetrate the carve-up of Asis Minor and the Mid-East by the imperial powers at the Lausanne Conference of 1923.

The massacres during the First World War which shocked the civilised world then became a precedent for an even more appalling and destructive demonstration of genocide of the Jewish people by the German Nazis in the Second World War. Let us recall Hitler's response to a critic of the "final solution" of the Jewish problem: "Who complained about the Armenians?"

Now, when the spectre of ethnic cleansing is once again stalking the Balkans the courageous stand of the Belgian Senate, we feel, must concentrate the minds of Turks, Armenians, Greeks and Kurds alike the necessity for a wide- ranging discussion and fresh analysis of the causes of the 1915 events as a precondition for a genuine reconcilliation of ethnic groups and nations and the settling of territorial disputes through negotiation. Such a process, we are firmly convinced, will help Turkish-Armenian and Greek relations.

Our movement will continue to support all efforts to set in train a genuine dialogue between all contending parties with the self-evident proviso that the Kurdish claim to self- determination and freedom will not be predujiced - as it was in Lausanne.

We urge the new governments of Armenia and Turkey to seize the historic opportunity.

We look forward to future co-operation with your government and the Armenian people and wish you all the success needed to move the peace process forward.

In the name of peace, freedom and reconcilliation, we remain

Yours respectfully,

Abdullah Ocalan




Ito Reproaches French Deputies Over Armenian Bill
Turkish Press
Nov 23 2006
Istanbul Chamber of Commerce (ITO) Executive Board Chairman Murat Yalcintas said yesterday that the French Parliament's recent passage of a bill criminalizing denial of the so-called Armenian genocide was regrettable. The ITO organized a meeting bringing together the heads of French firms in Turkey and members of the chamber with the aim of developing ties between the two countries. French Ambassador Paul Poudade also attended the gathering. Stressing that the recent move had badly affected both political and business relations, Yalcintas condemned France, saying that the country favored daily concerns over deeply rooted historical ties. He added that the French Parliament's decision had disappointed the Turkish people, and called on French allies to stop the bill. The French ambassador, for his part, said that the bill would not go into force.




Turkey Trying To Make Genocide A Historic Debate
Panorama.am
22/11/06
Kiro Manoyan, head of Armenian Cause Office of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation, told a press conference today that Turkey is developing a new strategy in its diplomacy to impose pressures on Armenia after France has adopted a law imposing punishment for refusal to recognize the genocide and democrats have made a majority in U.S. Congress who predominantly support the recognition of the Armenian genocide.

Turk diplomats, particularly, diplomats who are not in office, are going to apply to international court in Haag in order to question the existence of the Armenian genocide. "They are trying to change the problem into a historical debate," Manoyan said.

"There will be a day whey Turkey will recognize her history internally, consequently, also the genocide," he said.




Armenian Genocide Helped Turkey To Become A State
PanARMENIAN.Net
22.11.2006
PanARMENIAN.Net
Turkey became a state after the Armenian Genocide and that is why in case of its acknowledgement this state will stop existing, ARF Bureau's Hay Dat and Political Office Director Kiro Manoian said in Yerevan today. In his words, with 'cleaning' Anatolia from Armenians Turks managed to form a state and now are trying to gain a foothold.

"Over this very reason - but not out of fear of moral and material compensations Armenia can claim - Turkey does not recognize the Genocide," he remarked.

Manoian also said that recent proposal of the Turkish MFA to appeal to international court will yield no result. "Turkey is going to appeal not to the International Tribunal but to the International Court of Justice that gives a historical assessment of the events. Thus, the Turkish Foreign Ministry wished to reduce the Armenian Genocide issue to historical assessment," he underscored. At that he remarked that not all Turkish diplomats share the opinion of Abdullah Gul. "Ambassadors in European states call to restraint while diplomats supporting Gunduz Aktan urge to appeal not to the Court of Justice but to the International Tribunal," Manoian said.

As for the position of the Armenian side, Manoian considers that Armenia should not appeal to international instances for confirmation of the fact of Genocide of 1915. "Court in not needed for talking about history. If Armenia turns to court it will mean that it agrees with the Turkish viewpoint," he said.




Turkish MP's Visit USA To Try To Prevent Armenian Resolution
Anatolia News Agency, Turkey
Nov 21 2006
"Turkish MPs reiterate sensitivity on so-called Armenian genocide"

Washington D.C., 21 Nov: A group of Turkish parliamentarians visited Washington D.C. in a bid to persuade congressional leaders to halt so-called Armenian genocide resolutions after Democrats seized control of both the US Senate and the House of Representatives.

Nancy Pelosi, who is in line to become the speaker of the House, has promised to support a so-called genocide resolution during her election campaign, underlining fears in Turkey that the new Congress might adopt such a bill which has been prevented by the Bush administration since it came to power in 2000.

The group, headed by Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's foreign policy adviser Egemen Bagis, held meetings with US legislators as well as State Department's counter-terrorism coordinator Henry Crumpton and FBI's New York director Mark Mershon.

Bagis played down adoption of a so-called genocide resolution at a press meeting.

"The Armenian issue won't be the first priority of the Democrat Party. There are other issues," he told journalists after an annual session of the US Congress Turkey Working Group in West Virginia.

In September 2005, the House International Relations Committee passed a bill recognizing so-called Armenian genocide. But Republican Congressman Dennis Hastert, the outgoing House Speaker, did not take the bill to a full House vote.

Bagis also said a joint effort was underway with Mark Parris, former US ambassador to Ankara, and former Republican congressman Bob Livingston, Turkey's main lobbyist in the USA, against an Armenian resolution.




Istanbul Trade Chamber, French Envoy Meet To Boost Ties
Anatolia News Agency, Turkey
Nov 20 2006
Istanbul
A consultation meeting on boosting relations between Turkey and France was held by Istanbul Chamber of Trade (ITO) on Monday [20 November].

French Ambassador to Turkey Paul Poudade, representatives of French companies in Turkey and ITO members attended the meeting.

ITO Executive Board Chairman Murat Yalcintas said: "We feel sad over the decision of French National Assembly on the bill criminalizing denial of so-called Armenian genocide. Not politicians, but historians should write the history."

Stating that this bill harmed relations between Turkey and France, Yalcintas noted that they held this meeting to boost economic, cultural and friendly relations between the two countries.

On the other hand, Poudade noted that there were deep-rooted and significant relations between Turkey and France.

Recalling that Turkish and French authorities aimed to increase trade volume to 15bn euros in three years, Poudade underlined that commercial relations and mutual investment should be continued.

Poudade stressed that the mentioned bill would not be approved, because the (French) parliament would recess till the presidential election.

Stating that Turkey's EU accession negotiations should continue, Poudade noted that Europe could establish dialogue with Islam countries through Turkey.

Poudade stressed that if Turkey joined the EU, problems in the Middle East would be minimized.




It's Necessary To Form Armenian-Turkish Intergovernmental Commission For Solution Of Armenian Genocide Issue, Kiro Manoyan Finds
Noyan Tapan News Agency, Armenia
Nov 22 2006
YEREVAN
After the adoption of the law by France defining punishment for denial of the Armenian Genocide, a concerned situation was created in Ankara, and it is not accidental that Turkish Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul's statement that the genocide issue will be the most important problem of the foreign policy of Turkey during the coming ten years. Kiro Manoyan, the Armenian Revolutionary Federation Hay Dat (Armenian Cause) Office Director, expressed such an opinion at the November 22 press conference. In his words, the situation in Turkey became more hard after the democrats' victory at the Congress elections of the United States of America as the latters are known for their pro-Armenian posture, and newly elected Speaker of the Congress, democrat Nancy Pelosi promised to discuss the resolution on the Armenian Genocide at the plenary sitting of the Congress.

In K.Manoyan's words, in the created situation Turkey strives for using a new strategy, that's, to address to the international court and move the issue on the historic field. "The Armenian side must quickly oppose it and prove that it is necessary to discuss the issue not at the Court of Arbitration, but at the International Court of Justice," K.Manoyan mentioned. In his words, as the two countries' authorities must solve this issue, "it will be sensible" to create an intergovernmental commission. Though the authorities of Turkey state that the country society is not ready for the issue discussion, they themselves keep the people far from that issue.

Responding the question "Why do the United States of America avoid using the term "genocide?" K.Manoyan said that the U.S. avoids that word as "it does not want to offend Turkey," but not for it calls the fact of genocide into question. "The only state which is strictly against the recognition of the Armenian Genocide is England," K.Manoyan stated.




Advertising Armenia On Cnn Costs 400 Thousand Dollars
Lragir, Armenia
Nov 22 2006
The deputy minister of trade and economic development Ara Petrosyan stated in a news conference on November 22 that the government is implementing a number of serious projects. One of these projects is advertisement of Armenia on CNN since September 2006. One of the advertisements presents Armenia as a place tourists can visit. The second tells about the country. As for the question how much was spent for each show, "1000 U.S. dollars for each show," says Ara Petrosyan. It is foreseen to show the ads 400 times, 30 times within 8 days. Hence, 400 thousand U.S. dollars was spent on advertising our country on CNN.




'Turks And Caicos' In The Blue Tropical Atlantis Of Piri Reis

In order to relieve theunending pressure caused on our nerves by the present-day somber worldnewsand give my readers a chance to forget the times we livein, I decided to offer them the true account of atripI took to the Carribean islands of TURKS & CAICOS. The following is the narration of that week-end trip.
The Turkish families mightlike to share this with their children. MEO


Miami,Florida-USA:
Every Turk, who comes to reside in America, learns sooner or later about the existence of a group of islands in the Caribbean Sea, known as 'Turks and Caicos.'

I was no exception to this rule. Some years ago, not so long after my arrival to the United States, while looking at an atlas in my graduate school library, in the Indiana University, in Bloomington, my eyes wandered to the Southeast section of the Florida peninsula and beyond. There they were in bold letters: TURKS AND CAICOS.

It’s hard to describe my initial feeling. I was pleasantly surprised, perhaps, like many others before me, by this unusual geographical find. Why did these islands carry the word Turks as part of their names? What did the word Caicos mean, anyway?

After a while, other important things superseded my interest and unconsciously I placed the matter on the back burner of my mind , so to speak, thinking about it on the occasions of hurricane warnings or other situations when the islands names were mentioned.

Yet, my sense of curiosity was increasing during every passing year, and I knew that I was never going to be satisfied with the answers I was receiving for my questions from the ‘so-called’ experts. Neither did I wish to pay attention to some of my Turkish friends, who claimed that not only were the islands ‘discovered’ by Turks, who gave their name to them, but also the word Caicos was a derivative of the Turkish word Kayik !

Since the same people were also claiming that the famous falls at Niagara, described the Turkish exclamation, “Ne yaygara,!” and the South American river, the Amazon, meant “Amma Uzun,!” I did not take their claims too seriously.

Years went by. And then a friend sent me a German poster, which showed an interesting map, with pictorial drawings of ships and strange horned animals, monkeys, parrots, alligators, and colorful, painted ‘natives’ The legend stated:

Piri Reis,(1465-1555) the famous Turkish Seafarer, drew the first map of the Atlantic Ocean and the Americas in 1513 on gazelle leather. The original map can be found in the Topkapi Palace Museum in Istanbul.

This poster, together with the two books on Piri Reis’ exploits, purchased earlier from ATAA, peaked my interest to the point where I had to investigate this topic for myself. Was this map a clue? Could it be that the islands were named for Piri Reis? I could find no information in books or libraries. So, one fine week-end when I had not much to do, I booked passage on an airline and made reservations at a local motel on the island of Grand Turk.

With my notebook, cameras and video equipment in tow, I began on my fascinating voyage from Miami’s International Airport. My first destination, was Providenciales, a small town situated on the main island. Tropical breezes of the Caribbean Sea, and the calypso music were the first indications, telling me that I was away from and was beyond the Cuban culture of Miami.

This place had the atmosphere of a different era and time. I was here to seek answers to questions about a mysterious traveler from the Orient, visiting these shores many centuries ago. I found myself carefully looking around as if I were in the presence of an ancient mariner from Turkey, whose face might momentarily show itself, if not in real time, then in a lengthy passage from a lingering past.

Before I undertook this trip, I had read stories about the great Turkish admiral and cartographer, Piri Reis, who, in the early 1500s set out to discover the lands west of the existing known world of his day. His trip was made for the deliberate purpose of especially mapping the shores of the New World, which had been discovered by Christopher Columbus only a few years before his famous voyage.

What separated his mission from the one of the Italian explorer from Genoa, was that he knew where he was going, but Columbus did not. Piri Reis, meticulously charted maps of the Mediterranean Sea, the Iberian peninsula, the West African coast, the China Sea, South America and the Caribbean basin which are considered among the very first ones of these regions.

All this knowledge in my head and the totally new surroundings may have played a role in my thinking. But not to know what would be awaiting me on the outer island of Grand Turk was still very beguiling.

I felt that the first thing I had to do, was to get a taxi and go to the office or to the residence of the Governor General of the islands and ask for a short interview., I thought that the Hon. Michael Bradley,the Governor would surely have access to historical records which would explain the mysterious names of these islands . But I was told at the airport that he was in England with his family on a vacation.

At the airport the waiting room walls were plastered with the enlarged photographs of the Lieutenant Governor and other dignitaries, but I found out that to be able to talk to any of them, I had to submit a written request 3 weeks ahead of time. It was a pity that I missed the Governor General. He is said to hold open court daily from 10:00 am till 2:00pm in the afternoon when he was present.

As I was deciding to see what other options I had, the loudspeaker announced that my plane was ready for the short 45 minutes flight to the island of Grand Turk, where I had reserved my stay. Though the single engine 6 passenger airship did not seem to be very reassuring, there was really no turning back from this.

The plane was ready. We took off. After a few moments of anxious hesitations, I became as calm as the pilot in the open cockpit, who took off his listening gear, stretched his arms a bit and uncapped a bottle of water to quench his thirst. We , the passengers, had none of that luxury, but it was just a short hop, after all.

Contrary to my suspicions, everything went well. We were now on the ground. I signaled a taxi to take me to my motel. Even though the name of the island is Grand Turk, it is, nevertheless, the smallest of the islands, I was told this by my friendly and also very informative driver.

The main source of income for the islands came from seasonal tourism, coinciding with the winter months of the Western hemisphere and from attractive, colorful postage stamps they issue frequently. They also exported sea products, crayfish and conch. I was there on off-season, when not very many tourists were visiting the islands. To me this was a blessing since I was from Miami, Florida, where we have none other than wall-to-wall tourists all year long. This was going to be a quiet week-end when I could do my investigation comfortably.

I was set off at the motel ‘Coral Reef,’ a compound of tropical bungalow-style buildings, housing individual rooms, or suites for larger groups. Mine was small, very cozy, with all the amenities of a nice southern U.S. motel.

After a refreshing shower and a light snack brought to my room, I watched a bit of world news on CNN and went to bed. The next morning I was up and around early to begin to solve the ever-persistent mystery of TURKS and CAICOS, after a hardy breakfast, consisting of the same items to be found in the American breakfast; orange juice, eggs, sausages, hash-brown potatoes, toast and tea. This island has been, after all, a British Crown Colony since 1962. Luckily, I happen to prefer tea for my breakfast, especially when it is brewed in the British way.

My breakfast partner, sharing the same table with me, was a German tourist, who claimed that this breakfast could even revive the dead.’ It was hard not to agree with him. Our conversation was interrupted by the prompt arrival of John, my chauffeur from the previous day, who had promised to show me ‘everything worth seeing.’

On the way to the island’s seaport, I was given a concert y John, first humming , then singing some of the island’s folk songs. The radio was broken, he explained. After he had completed his repertoire, I attempted to get some information on the history of the island, but the only thing he could offer was that his grandfather had told of some pirates from the East, who had invaded the islands and ruled them for a long time before selling them to the British. This sounded as flimsy as the stories I had heard from the other side. However, not wishing to antagonize my driver, I changed the subject to the possibility of the existence of a museum. To my surprise, he said there was one.

At the town’s seaport, not more than 10 meters from the shore, we came to an old, stately building. While the waves broke gently on the sandy beach in front of us with a soothing swish all of their own, we entered the building, paid the entrance fee, and obtained the special permit to photograph with flash attachment, and to make video sequences. This special permit was obtained for an additional few American dollars, which are also the legal tender on the islands.

The walls of the museum were covered with oil paintings depicting the passage of Christopher Columbus at the islands known today as the Turks and Caicos. I was eagerly going through dozens of maps, reproductions of old etchings and carvings. At one point, I was able to stop at the cubicle, where an elderly lady was busy arranging brochures, and stamping posters.

I approached this curator, who surely must know a lot about the island, introduced myself and asked her about the name of the islands. After some conversation, in which I told her about Piri Reis, she replied, “even though I heard of the Piri Reis legend from a TV program I watched not so long ago, and I know that he was a mariner, I do not know the connection of him being a Turk and the name of our islands.” Then she paused for a moment and said, “However, I remember my grandfather telling me what he had heard from his elders, that at one time, before the British came to the islands, some turbaned people with black beards and mustaches, roamed among the different islands.”

She also mentioned a plant, a cactus, growing wild around the hills and dales of Grand Turk. “This cactus”, she said, “is the same size as a human head, with a bump of some sort on top. Every spring the upper part of this cactus blooms to a bright red in color.”

From afar, these plants have surely the appearance of a Turk’s head with a turban and a red fez, I imagined. It is not surprising that the natives call this plant, you guessed it ‘the Turk’s Head.’

The curator became my personal guide, leading me to a display of very old ship parts, of which she said, “They have been here for a long time. I am not sure from whose ship they come.” Looking at these fragments, pieces of wood, a few links of a chain, an anchor, hooks, metal bands, spikes, some sort of food utensil, I was waiting, hoping for some recognizable item, some sign that this is the link, the proof that Piri Reis was indeed here on this island. But, I saw no crescent and star, no gray wolf, no blue beads. I had no way of determining such a fact in a scientific manner, either.

Reluctantly, I moved onto the few other, more modern exhibits. When I was ready to leave, my guide had a favor to ask of me. She wanted me to sign the Honor Guest Book. I obliged her with great pleasure. After filling in the regular name and home town address stuff, I couldn’t refrain from scribbling the following lines: “As another Turk visiting your beautiful islands so many centuries after the first one, I’m signing your Guest Book in honor of the great Turkish Admiral Piri Reis. May He Rest In Peace!”

The last place my driver wanted to take me was a resort hotel run by a Frenchman. He said the name of the hotel was the Turk’s head. I was properly introduced to the owner of the establishment. Over a couple of Pernods, our conversation found its subject. I asked my gracious host what he knew about the name of the islands. The same mysterious silence dwelled over our talk as had happened in the museum. However, after some moments, he said that there is a legend still circulating among the better educated, that around 1560 it is believed that several galleons of pirates had invaded the islands. Either the captain, or one of the galleon’s name was the Grand Turk in translation.

Though this semi-legendary and somewhat fanciful information was not what I had hoped to hear. I had come to the end of my information sources, and I was ready to return to my home in Miami.

As the Jumbo jet was humming, while flying over the snow-white clouds, of the blue Caribbean, I was about to doze off after two rather busy and tiring days. I felt almost transported to a hypnotic level in a shadowy, soft, dreamy world. I found myself asking the question,

“Has this been the Blue Atlantis of Piri Reis? Were the legendary turbaned characters of the native lore, the descendants of the crew, who brought the great admiral to these shores? Was it because of this legendary figure that the islands are known as the Turks and Caicos? Was my trip to these tropical lands really productive?”

The answers to all those questions were about to be given by a white-turbaned, long-bearded gentleman, dressed in his full-length silk kaftan. He put down his sextant, with which he was measuring the distant horizons, and was about to speak when a gentle hand shook my shoulder. I woke up to learn from the hostess that we were about to land at the International airport in my home town in Florida.

Mahmut EsatOzan
Chairman-Editorial Board
The TurkishForum
meozan@turkishforum.com







What Happened in 1915: Genocide or Fate?
Armenian Issue
Class Notes, November 2006, JTW
Turkish researchers argue that most of the Armenians died during the First World War years due to the bad war conditions. According to the Turkish sources most of the Ottoman Armenians died in famine, bad weather conditions and epidemic diseases. The Ottoman documents and modern Turkish exports accept that many Armenians were killed in communal clashes. Kurds and Circassians in particular attacked the Armenian villages in order to get valuables. Mostly the Kurdish tribes also organized counter attacks against the Armenian civilians to take revenge. However most of the loses were due to the bad war circumstances. The Armenian historians generally do not accept ‘bad war circumstances’ and they argue that “epidemic diseases cannot remove hundred and thousands of Armenian people. They tend to believe in that Turks massacred all the Armenian population. However the scholarly articles prove the reverse. For instance researcher Ellen Marie Lust-Okar describe the circumstances the Armenians faced when they arrived in Syria, one of the Ottoman provinces at that time:

“Diseases spread rapidly. In Aleppo, more than 35,000 persons were said to have died from typhus between August 1916 and August 1917 alone. In almost all villages between Aleppo and Mosul 50 percent of the population is believed to have died, and in the district of Ra’sal-‘Ayn, this was to have reached 88 per cent. That thousands of Armenians and Arabs alike perished during the first years of immigration…” (Ellen Marie Lust-Okar, ‘Failure of Collaboration: Armenian Refugees in Syria’, Middle Eastern Studies, Vol. 32, No. 1, January 1996, pp. 53-68, p. 57).

Not only the Armenians and Arabs but also the Turks and the Kurds were also deeply affected by the bad weather, epidemics and famine. The Ottoman documents clearly show that more Muslim people died that the Armenian people due to these reasons during these years. Of course the Ottoman Government was responsible for all these loses, yet we have to accept that they were not able to provide the basic needs under the military attacks from almost all directions. The Armenian collaboration with the occupying Russians in the Eastern Anatolia and with the French armies in the Cilicia and the south worsened the security of the state. Thus the Istanbul Government decided to relocate the Armenian population to the remote part of the Empire. As a result, most of the Armenians from the Eastern and south eastern part of the State were forced to locate in the Syrian province in order to cut the link between the Armenians and the Russians. The decision obviously made the immigrating Armenians more vulnerable to the diseases, famine and weather conditions. However all these cannot be classified as systematic slaughter or genocide. Istanbul Armenians continued their normal life and many Armenians were among the richest and most powerful Ottoman citizens in Istanbul and some other parts of the State. Ten thousands of the Armenians continued to live in Turkey even the Ottoman Empire was collapsed and modern Turkey was established. Even some of the relocated Armenians in 1915 returned later to their own towns.

Another reason made the life worse for the ordinary Armenian people in the Ottoman Empire was the Armenian nationalist fanatics. The extremist Armenian nationalist fist hit the Armenian population. The armed Armenians killed more Armenian than the Turks between 1900-1911. They terrorized the relations between the Muslims and the Armenians. The extremist attacks against the Turkish, Kurdish and Circassian villages caused counter attacks. Many Muslim women were raped, killed and tortured. The conservative Kurdish villages were provoked by these Armenian attacks, and the security forces were not able to stop the communal attacks under the world war conditions. The clashes reached its peak when the Armenian extremists occupied the Van province. The Armenians were uniformed and armed. They had an independent Armenia flag and they handled the city to the occupying Russian forces. Though most of the Armenian population were not extremist and not in co-operation with the occupying forces, the irregular Kurdish gang counter-attacks, defense attacks and revenge campaigns badly affected the ordinary Armenians as well. At the end of the day more than 520,000 Muslims were slaughtered by the armed Armenian groups and many Armenians were killed by the Kurdish and Circassian tribes (asirets).

Today there are more than 100,000 Armenians in Istanbul. They have their own churches, schools and newspapers. They can freely educate their people in Armenian language, and the Armenian Patriarch provide many services special to the Armenians. Of course the Turkey Armenians also have problems like any other Turkish citizen, yet the European Union membership process has helped a lot in improving the rights. Even the Armenia citizens now prefer Turkey to live and work instead of Republic of Armenia. More than 70.000 Armenia citizens work in Turkey, mostly in Istanbul city with no serious problem.

Class Notes, November 2006, JTW
Copyright © 2005 Journal of Turkish Weekly www.turkishweekly.net/




Baku: Armenian Genocide ‘American Bludgeon’ against Turkey
21.11.2006
PanARMENIAN.Net
“The attitude of Senators and U.S. politicians to a country depends on many factors. If Turkey is not significant for the U.S. so we can expect recognition of the Armenian Genocide. Why is Western Europe so strict on Turkey’s accession to the EU and constantly raising the Armenian Genocide issue? Is it commemoration of the killed Armenians or special liking for Armenians? Not at all,” Director of the Department of Conflictology of the Institute of Peace and Democracy Arif Yunusov stated. In his words, “the matter is not Armenians but the attitude towards Turkey.” Western Europe is rather afraid of this country and doesn’t want her to enter the Christian club titled the European Union. If not the Armenian Genocide they will raise another question. The same story is with the United States. Not Armenians but the attitude towards Turkey dictates decisions. To all appearance the Genocide recognition issue will be constantly raised the U.S.

At that, Armenians will launch campaigns and suppose that the question will be settled at last. This fact will be used by the United States as an instrument of pressure upon Turkey in order to impose a decision on Middle East. Americans have plenty of problems in the region. Let’s take the Iraqi crisis, Palestinian problem or Israel’s relations with the Arab world,” the Azeri political scientist remarked. “Meanwhile Turkey can play a significant role that can turn both positive and negative for Americans. Thus, the problem of the Armenian Genocide recognition is just an ‘American bludgeon’ against Turkey. It will always be in the air. But will it beat? This question depends on the geopolitical situation in the region,” Arif Yunusov said, reports Day.az.




Rwandans Protest Against France Over 1994 Genocide
24 November 2006
Mail and Guardian
More than 25 000 angry Rwandans protested in the capital of Rwanda, Kigali, on Thursday over France's alleged complicity in the 1994 genocide after a French judge called for the prosecution of President Paul Kagame and associates.

Led by genocide survivors and community leaders, thousands paraded through the streets to Rwanda's Amahoro National Stadium, which filled to more than its 25 000-capacity, a media correspondent on the scene said.

Carrying signs reading "France = genocide", "France get out of Rwanda", "The hell with French imperialism", and "Stop shielding killers", the marchers converged on the stadium for the rally to be aired live on radio, he said.

"They killed our people," said survivor Mukamu Sana, repeating allegations that French troops in Rwanda before and during the genocide had trained and helped the radical Interahamwe militia blamed for most of the 800 000 deaths.

"I was afraid of the French as much as I was afraid of the Interahamwe e," she told the surging crowd at the stadium.

Francois Ngarambe, the president of Inuka, Rwanda's largest association of genocide survivors, echoed her comments and accused France of sheltering genocide suspects whom it has refused to extradite for trial in Rwanda.

"After the genocide, they hosted the masterminds in their country," he shouted. "France, France, France. If they want justice, why don't they start with such people."

"We denounce them, we denounce them, we denounce them!" chanted others, some of whom carried posters with the crossed-out picture of French anti-terrorism Judge Jean-Louis Bruguiere who this week called for Kagame's prosecution.

In Paris, a judicial source said Bruguiere had signed international arrest warrants for nine Kagame aides as part of a probe into the death of the country's former leader that touched off the genocide.

The warrants, signed on Wednesday, say the nine are wanted for "murder" and "accessory to murder" in the downing of the plane of then-Rwandan president Juvenal Habyarimana for which Bruguiere has said Kagame should be tried.

The huge demonstration in Rwanda, a rare government-authorised protest, was held amid rising tensions between Kigali and Paris over the genocide, including charges of French complicity, harbouring suspects and Bruguiere's inquiry.

Already strained relations were exacerbated last month when a government-appointed panel began holding public hearings on France's alleged role in the genocide, in which about 800 000 people were slaughtered.

They deteriorated further on Monday when Bruguiere suggested Kagame be tried for "suspected involvement" in the April 6 1994 shooting down of a plane carrying Habyarimana and Burundian president Cyprien Ntaryamira, both Hutus.

Kagame dismissed the call as "rubbish," and instead said a trial should be opened against France, which he accuses of abetting the 100-day genocide in which minority Tutsis and moderate Hutus were targeted by Hutu extremists.

"That some judge in France whose name I cannot even pronounce has something to say about Rwanda -- trying a president and some government officials -- that's rubbish," he told diplomats on Wednesday.

"That is justice of bullies, arrogance," Kagame said. "France cannot try anyone -- try who, over what? They should first try themselves because they killed our people."

Kagame, who headed the Tutsi rebel force that took power in Kigali in July 1994, halting the slaughter, has always denied any involvement in the attack on the aircraft carrying the Hutu heads of state.

Paris has adamantly denies any role in the genocide but Kigali's commission is compiling evidence to determine if there is enough to file suit against France for damages at the world court.

The commission is set to resume public hearings between December 11 and 19. – AFP




A Necessary And Positive Step (Etyen Mahcupyan)
24 November 2006
Zaman
Undoubtedly, one of the issues that has been giving Turkey the most trouble in recent years is the problem called the Armenian question; however, it has a multi-faceted character, and some of these facets are sometimes ignored. While one aspect of the issue is that a moment in history that is perceived and known differently by the two parties has reached a point where it can be discussed, at the same time, another aspect implies the normalization of Turkish-Armenian relations and the democratization of Turkey’s non-Muslim minority policy. However, the matter doesn’t end here… Since the world is global now, international and domestic politics are carried to a universal dimension by means of emigrant groups in the outside world, and the tension in the foreign countries sheltering the emigrants is used as a part of their own political search and tactics.

On the other hand, as is always the case in this kind of bottleneck, there are groups who aim to continue the tension on both sides and produce ideological profit for its own political community. Consequently, as a result of the multi-faceted pressure, demands and manipulations coming from both inside and outside, the Armenian issue creates paralysis. Because nation-state politics are based on an account of mutual compromise, instead of resolving the bottleneck, it wants to prolong it. Because whoever takes the first step will appear as having compromised in the eyes of it own nationalist sector, and, particularly in countries headed towards elections, taking these kinds of courageous steps in foreign policy becomes extremely difficult. As a result, “politics” is reduced to states mutually adorning themselves with a “constructive” image in an effort to show the other party as intransigent as possible.

In this way, the tendency of the periods of non-relations, which harm both sides, to continue forever is surrendered to…Until a change in conjecture that will break this mechanical balance appears and at least both parties agree that non-action is a risky position with a big price tag. This is the point to which we have come in the Armenian issue: In respect to the external conjuncture, the main change is, as everyone knows, the Democrats’ gaining a majority in the U.S. Congress after a long interval. Because there is a tradition of strong relations between the Democrats and the Armenian Diaspora and in an environment where the Bush administration is extremely fragile due to Iraq, the probability that a proposal for recognition of genocide will be passed by Congress is quite high. Of course, even if it is America, any country’s taking a political decision regarding history in another geographical land cannot be sanctioned. However, the U.S.’s acceptance of such a proposal may trigger a wave of “recognizing genocide” that will spread to other countries and drag Turkey to spiritual isolation in the global world.

For this reason, Turkey has to be pro-active regarding every facet of the subject called the “Armenian issue.” Even though the decision to “go to court” announced by the Foreign Affairs Ministry during the week appears to be courage imposed by necessity, it is a step taken in the right direction. If Armenia says yes to the workings of this kind of “arbitration” institution, at least both societies will have a chance to know our common history and understand events from the other’s point of view. However, of course, a legal decision includes a risk: No one can be one-hundred percent sure of which direction the decision will take… Consequently, regardless of what kind of decision is taken, it shouldn’t cause the losing party to become more introverted and give way to the habit of nurturing its identity with traumas. The way to do this is increasing as much as possible every kind of trade, cultural and social relations parallel to the judicial process. Even if the Turkish-Armenian border cannot be formally opened, it has to open in practice. Because the psychological atmosphere that will surround the discussions may cause not only the court to review history, but Turkey to review its current attitude.




Discussing Armenian Genocide From Political Angle, Armenia Has Made Itself A Target For Turkey: Political Expert
24 November 2006
Trend AZ
Discussing the issue of Armenian Genocide of 1915 in Ottoman Turkey from the political angle, Armenia has made itself a target for Turkey, said Levon Zurabyan, a well-known native political expert, at the Discussion Club "Mirror," Thursday. L. Zurabyan had occupied the post of the press secretary of the first president of Armenia Levon Ter-Petrosyan for long years, reports Trend.

L. Zurabyan believes that foreign countries adopting resolutions on recognition of Armenian genocide act within their political interests and not from sympathy for Armenia and Armenians. Discussion of the problem from the political angle will not lead to a war with Turkey, but the economic damage from this is evident, L. Zurabyan said. He mentioned the policy of the administration of Levon Ter-Petrosyan, when the issue of Armenian Genocide was in the moral plan, scientific conference were held and the Genocide Museum opened. Due to such policy, in 1992, at the height of military actions, Turkey, which openly supported Azerbaijan, allow transporting 50 tons of flour via its territory to Armenia, which was an unprecedented act, L. Zurabyan said.

In his turn, MP Ruben Hovsepyan, a member of ARFD faction, stated that Turkey could give such permission only in exchange for something else. He said that the Genocide problem must be further discussed from the political angle like the world does it. It is not Armenia's invention and there is nothing Turkey can do, he said. The moral category brings nothing, while now more and more countries recognize the Armenian Genocide.

Leader of the Union for Self-Determination party Paruyr Hairkyan stated that Armenia has done nothing for recognition of the Armenian genocide. Armenia has not adopted a bill criminalizing the denial of Armenian Genocide on the example of France, Armenia does not dispute the provisions of Kars and Moscow Treaties of 1921 which actually legalized the Genocide. "How can it demand anything from others?" P. Hairikyan asked. He harshly criticized also the administration of Levon Ter-Petrosyan. "They actually refused from this problem and made up to Turkey," he said.




Anca Condemns Awarding National Medal To Armenian Genocide Denier
24 November 2006
Panarmenian
Armenian Genocide denier and controversial Middle East historian Bernard Lewis was amongst those honored by President Bush this month with the prestigious National Humanities Medal, reported the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA.) President Bush, joined by First Lady Laura Bush, bestowed the medal at a November 9th ceremony held in the White House Oval Office. Bernard Lewis, Professor Emeritus at Princeton University in the department of Near Eastern Studies, began his career as a historian with an honest assessment of the Armenian Genocide as a "terrible holocaust." He soon reversed his position, serving as leading spokesman for the Turkish government's denial campaign. Lewis' genocide denial became international news on June 21, 1995, when a French court condemned him for statements he made during a 1993 interview with French newspaper "Le Monde." The case, which argued that Lewis' statements caused harm to Armenian Genocide survivors, was filed by the International League Against Racism and Anti-Semitism and the Forum of Armenian Associations, representing a number of French Armenian organizations, including the ANC of France. The Court found Lewis "at fault," stating that, "his remarks, which could unfairly revive the pain of the Armenian community, are tortuous and justify compensation." Lewis was symbolically fined one franc and "Le Monde" was ordered to reprint portions of the French court judgment, which appeared two days later.

"The President's decision to honor the work of a known genocide denier - an academic mercenary whose politically motivated efforts to cover up the truth run counter to the very principles this award was established to honor - represents a true betrayal of the public trust," said ANCA Executive Director Aram Hamparian.




Armenian Genocide Denier Awarded National Humanities Medal
24 November 2006
Yerkir
Armenian Genocide denier and controversial Middle East historian Bernard Lewis was amongst those honored by President Bush this month with the prestigious National Humanities Medal, reported the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA.) President Bush bestowed the medal at a November 9th ceremony held in the White House Oval Office.
The National Humanities Medal honors individuals or groups whose work has deepened the nation's understanding of the humanities, broadened citizens' engagement with the humanities, or helped preserve and expand Americans' access to important resources in the humanities.

"The President's decision to honor the work of a known genocide denier - an academic mercenary whose politically motivated efforts to cover up the truth run counter to the very principles this award was established to honor - represents a true betrayal of the public trust," said ANCA Executive Director Aram Hamparian.

Bernard Lewis, Professor Emeritus at Princeton University in the department of Near Eastern Studies, began his career as a historian with an honest assessment of the Armenian Genocide as a "terrible holocaust." He soon reversed his position, serving as leading spokesman for the Turkish government's denial campaign, along with Princeton University Professor Heath Lowry.




Armenia Hopes Turkey's Accession Will Influence Relations
24 November 2006
Armenian Liberty
Armenia said on Thursday it hoped Turkish moves towards EU accession would bring more open debate in Turkey over accusations Ottoman Turks committed genocide against Armenians early in the 20th century.

Armenian President Robert Kocharian, talking to reporters during a visit to Cyprus, said that Turkey's expressed wish to join the European Union should lead to normalisation of ties with all neighbours.

“Consequently the issue of Turkey’s accession course interests us and we’re waiting to see it become what it should become. This will certainly influence Armenian-Turkish relations,” he said.

Armenians say Ottoman Turks conducted systematic genocide against Armenians around 1915. Turkey, however, insists thousands of Muslim Turks as well as Christian Armenians were killed at that time as part of a general partisan conflict that raged as the Ottoman Empire collapsed.

Debate of the issue in Turkey is restricted by laws that can effectively make it an offence to discuss publicly let alone express support for any notion of a genocide.

“We believe the process of Turkey’s accession to the EU will lead to a more open and honest debate in Turkish society where people can express their opinions,” Kocharian said. “I know this a difficult process.”

Turkey is holding formal negotiations for EU membership but progress is hampered by differences over the Mediterranean island of Cyprus and over economic and political reforms.




Kocharian Banks On Turkey's EU Accession In Name Of Open Debate
24 November 2006
Turkish Daily News
Armenian President Robert Kocharian said on Thursday he hoped Turkey's moves towards European Union accession would bring more open debate in Turkey over an alleged genocide of Armenians at the hands of the Ottoman Turks early in the 20th century. Speaking to reporters during a visit to Greek Cyprus, he said that Turkey's expressed wish to join the EU should lead to normalization of ties with all neighbors. “Consequently the issue of Turkey's accession course interests us and we're waiting to see it become what it should become. This will certainly influence Armenian-Turkish relations,” he said.

Ankara has no diplomatic relations with either Armenia or Greek Cyprus.

The border gate between neighboring countries Turkey and Armenia has been closed for more than a decade. Turkey shut the gate and severed diplomatic relations with Armenia after Armenian troops occupied the Azeri territory of Nagorno-Karabakh. Ankara now says normalization of ties depends on Armenian withdrawal from the occupied area, as well as on progress in the resolution of a series of disputes -- which include the support by the Armenian diaspora of efforts to get international recognition of the alleged genocide; claims strongly refuted by Ankara.

We believe the process of Turkey's accession to the EU will lead to a more open and honest debate in Turkish society where people can express their opinions. I know this a difficult process, he added, in an apparent reference to the fact that Turkey is under EU pressure to amend or scrap Article 301 of its penal code, which has landed a string of intellectuals in court for denigrating Turkish identity or Turkishness, some for comments on the alleged genocide of Armenians at the hands of the Ottoman Empire.

Ahead of the visit that is scheduled to end on Saturday, a statement from Kocharian's office said that the main purpose of the visit was to strengthen the interstate ties, determine priority ties of the Armenian-Greek Cypriot cooperation, exchange views on issues of mutual concern and impart a new quality to the traditionally friendly relations between the two peoples. The visit is the first from Armenia to Greek Cyprus since the former Soviet republic gained independence 15 years ago.

During his visit, Kocharian is expected to lay the foundation stone of a monument to commemorate survivors of the so-called Armenian genocide, on the Larnaca Promenade.




Kocharian Visits Greek Cyprus To Boost Support For Genocide Claims
24 November 2006
AB Haber
Armenian President Robert Kocharian yesterday began a four-day visit to Greek Cyprus, where he will participate in an inauguration ceremony for a monument commemorating the victims of the so-called Armenian genocide. During the visit, the Armenian president will hold talks with Greek Cypriot administration leader Tassos Papadopoulos and other high-ranking Greek Cypriot officials to boost bilateral ties. The visit is likely to draw Turkish criticism since Ankara is at odds with Yerevan over the country's campaign for recognition of the Armenian genocide claims and has no diplomatic ties with the country, while Turkey doesn't also recognize the Greek Cypriot administration.

The Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) was formed on the island in response to a Greek coup aimed at enosis, or political union with Greece, along with Greek attacks on the island's Turkish population.

According to the Armenian Mediamax news agency, besides attending the inauguration ceremony of the Armenian "genocide" monument in Larnaka, Kocharian will also meet representatives of Armenian associations.

The Armenian source stated that the inauguration of the monument aims at expressing Greek Cypriot support for those who survived the so-called Armenian genocide.

Co-chairs tight-lipped on possible Kocharian-Aliyev meeting

No announcement has been made about a possible meeting of the presidents of Armenia and Azerbaijan after Tuesday's visit by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE9) Minsk Group co-chairmen to Yerevan.

The delegates from Russia and France, Yuri Merzlyakov and Bernard Fassier, met on Tuesday with Kocharian and Armenian Foreign Minister Vartan Oskanian.

In a recent interview with U.S-based Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) Vartan Oskanian said that during their visit to the region, the co-chairs will propose a meeting of the two presidents on the sidelines of next Tuesday's summit of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS).

The co-chairs left Yerevan for Baku. Analysts have expressed the opinion that a possible meeting may be announced after the co-chairs' meeting with Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev.

Last week Robert Kocharian said, "Unfortunately, despite the ongoing active negotiations, there are few grounds for optimism."




Rwanda Rejects French Legal Call To Indict President
23 November 2006
Turkish Press
Rwanda's President Paul Kagame during a meeting with US President George W. Bush (not shown) in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington in May 2006. Rwanda has rejected calls by a French judge to indict Kagame over his alleged involvement in the death of the country's former leader that sparked the 1994 genocide. Rwanda has rejected calls by a French judge to indict President Paul Kagame over his alleged involvement in the death of the country's former leader that sparked the 1994 genocide.

"The allegations are totally unfounded. The judge is acting on the basis of gossip and rumours," Justice Minister Tharcisse Karugarama said Tuesday.

Karugarama accused the judge, Jean-Louis Bruguiere, of playing political games over the allegations that will further worsen the already frosty relations between Kigali and Paris.

"These are political games rather than a judicial process," he said.

On Monday, Bruguiere said Kagame should face prosecution for war crimes before the Tanzania-based International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) because of his "suspected involvement" in the death of then Rwandan president Juvenal Habyarimana.

But Rwanda has accused France of abetting the genocide, in which around 800,000 people, mainly minority Tutsis and moderate Hutus, were slaughtered by Hutu extremists during a 100-day killing spree between April and July 1994.

Paris has adamantly denied the allegation but Kigali has charged a commission with determining whether there is evidence to file a suit against France for damages at the world court.

The panel said it would resume its public hearings between December 11 and 19.

The Rwandan minister said his government would not respond to Bruguiere's allegations by seeking to indict French President Jacques Chirac over the genocide.

Kigali would avoid "a sad situation where we would also engage in similar games by indicting Chirac or other senior French officials," Karugarama said.

The ICTR, where Bruguiere said Kagame should be arraigned, is currently hearing the case of several former high-ranking Rwandan army officers accused of genocide.

The tribunal's defence attorneys hailed the prosecution call, saying it would eventually see the real genocide perpetrators face justice.

"Finally there was a serious investigation that resulted in a serious outcome regarding the disaster that befell Rwanda," said John Philpot, the defence attorney representing Habyarimana's brother-in-law Protais Zigiranyirazo.

"We are relieved to see that the real perpetrators of this tragedy will somehow be brought to justice," Philpot told AFP.

"This is very positive even if it may seem as a tit-for-tat reaction," said Raphael Constant, who represents Theoneste Bagosora, the man believed to be the "brains" behind the genocide.

Formed in late 1994, the court has so far tried 31 suspects, convicting 26 and acquitting five. Twenty-five trials are now in progress, with 12 awaiting their start.

The tribunal last month turned down a request to consider an earlier report from Bruguiere into the killing of Habyarimana which reportedly named Kagame as the main decision-maker behind the April 6, 1994 attack.

The downing of Habyarimana's aircraft, in which Burundian president Cyprien Ntaryamira and a four-man French crew were also killed, sparked off the mass slaughter.

Kagame, who headed the Tutsi rebel force that took power in Kigali in July 1994, ending the genocide, has always denied any involvement in the attack on the aircraft carrying the Hutu heads of state.

French courts also called Monday for international arrest warrants to be served against nine of Kagame's aides in relation to the plane attack, including James Kabarebe, or Kabare, a senior officer in the Rwandan army.

Before allegations of Kagame's involvement, which surfaced in unofficial UN documents, it was widely assumed that Habyarimana was killed by Hutu extremists in his own entourage opposed to power-sharing arrangements with Kagame's mainly Tutsi Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF).

A confidential memorandum written by a UN investigator in 1997 and implicating Kagame is under seal at the ICTR, which has refused to give a copy to Bruguiere.

The ICTR chief prosecutor, Hassan Bubacar Jallow of Gambia, has said that the attack against Habyarimana is outside his mandate. The UN Security Council created the court to investigate, indict and put on trial the main suspects in the Rwandan genocide




Rwanda: France Shielding From Genocide Crimes
23 November 2006
All Africa
The Government has dismissed claims by a French magistrate claiming that the Rwanda Patriotic Front (RPF), was behind the attack in which former President Juvenal Habyarimana died in April 1994. Subsequently, the Minister of Justice, Tharcisse Karugarama described the French magistrate's call for the trial of RPF officials as a political subject, devoid of locus standi. "It is totally strange and very absurd that a foreign judge can issue an indictment against people here as if we don't have a justice system in our country," Karugarama said and explained that it is unheard of for a foreign judge to indict leaders in another country, accusing them of having a crime in their own country.

"We think this is harassment and intimidation of some sort," Karugarama said by phone yesterday, while reacting to the Habyarimana death claims made Monday by the French magistrate, Jean-Louis Bruguière. He added that if they had a case they should have used diplomatic channels.

He observed that France's move could be an attempt to pre-empt the findings of the ongoing Commission of Inquiry into the European country's involvement in the Genocide. The commission, commonly known as the 'Mucyo Commission' began its public hearing in the Rwandan capital, Kigali, last month and so far, all those who have testified are accusing the French of complicity in the Genocide in which over one million Rwandans were killed in just 90 days. "The government is ready to put up legal defence until the truth comes out," Karugarama said.

Full government statement

The attention of Rwanda Government has been drawn to the fact that the French Magistarate Jean Louis Bruguière is about to issue indictments against senior Rwandan government military officers under the allegations that they shot down former President Habyarimana's plane leading to the death of 3 French citizens.

Government would like to make it categorically clear that there is no basis whatsoever to these allegations. It appears to government that this is an attempt to intimidate Rwanda using strong arm tactics and to use the superpower position to hide the truth of France's involvement in the Genocide. It also is an unfortunate attempt to pre-empt the findings of a Commission set up in Rwanda to investigate the role of France in the 1994 Rwanda Genocide.

This is not the first time that some in French official circles have designed a plan to hide their known responsibility in the genocide of 1994. Under the guise of judicial independence, Magistrate Bruguière working together with other French organs of the state have organized genocide denials and revisionists and have provided them a platform for their political agenda and propaganda.

It is well known that France actively supported the Genocide and armed and fought along side the forces that committed genocide in Rwanda. When they faced imminent defeat she intervened through Operation Turquoise to save them from total defeat and to preserve them so they can fight another day. There are strong indications that some in the French official circles were involved in the military and political reorganization of these genocidal forces.

Rwanda is owed an explanation as to what the French citizens who perished in Habyarimana's plane were doing in Rwanda in company of the planners and authors of the Genocide, given the fact these were French military officers on a mission to Rwanda during the planning and execution phase of the Genocide.

Government believes that France's role needs to be fully investigated and fully exposed. This is why it set up the commission to investigate the role of France in these events. The work of this Commission is expected to clarify the role of individuals in the French establishment played, and whether their activities are criminally indictable. Understandably, such a prospect has made many in certain French circles extremely worried.

Judge Bruguière's reported attempt to indict the Rwandan officials is aimed at diverting international opinion from the emerging clarity about the role of France. Moreover it is unprecedented in the history of judicial proceedings for investigation, indictment and all processes to be carried out and concluded outside of the country where the crime is alleged to have been committed.

It is absurd that a foreign judge could issue an indictment against officials of a sovereign state for crimes committed on the soil of that sovereign state without going through either diplomatic channels or judicial institutions of that sovereign state. This political game and drama in judicial matters is a dangerous path and is inimical to international law and order. Those involved are advised to desist from it.




New Stamp Dedicated To Armenian Genocide Issued In France
23 November 2006
Panarmenian
A stamp dedicated to the Armenian Genocide was issued in France. According to Chian news agency, the stamp printed by a French philatelist is not sold in post offices. However people can buy one for 2.5 euros and use it when sending correspondence. The agency also informs that a conference dedicated to mutual cooperation of national minorities in Turkey which were subjected to annihilation and robberies will be held in Versailles November 25. The conference will focus on the past and future of Armenians, Assyrians, Greeks and Kurds. Outstanding figures of national minorities and scientists will attend the conference, reports RFE/RL.




Armenia Will Benefit From Steps Taken To Resolve Conflicts With Azerbaijan And Turkey ? Turkish Delegate At Bsec
23 November 2006
Trend AZ
Mustafa Bash, the head of the Turkish delegation at the Black Sea Economic Co-operation (BSEC), stated during talks with journalists in Baku that the absence of Armenia in a BSEC meeting in Baku is an internal issue, Trendreports. He noted that the development of co-operation amongst the countries, the resolution of problems, the achievement of progress in the region and the participation of all countries in the region, would be important, as well as the participation of Armenians at such meetings would be advantageous once the problems have been resolved, the Turkish MP stressed.

‘Turkey has voiced its position on the issue and in respect to Azerbaijan and the European Union. The EU sets a condition for Turkey on the rehabilitation of relationships with Armenia. However, we urge that the territorial integrity of all countries should be ensured and the territory of foreign countries should not be occupied, the Turkish delegate stated.

Bash said that Armenia is one of 12 countries of the BSEC, but it does not participate in the meeting because of failure to solve the existing problems and as a result, is suffering from economic problems. Steps taken by Armenia to resolve the conflicts with Azerbaijan and Turkey will be to their benefit, he added.




Mustafa Bash: Armenia Faces Economic Recession
23 November 2006
Azeri Press Agency
As the result of groundless claims against Azerbaijan and Turkey, Armenia faces economic recession,” said Mustafa Bash, the head of Turkey delegation participating in 28th plenary session of BSECO PA, APA reports. “Armenia gets benefit from its every step on the solution of the problem. Armenia only loses by creating the conflict,” he said. The Turkish parliamentarian said that it is necessary to strengthen the political relations between the countries for expanding economic relations in the region. “Armenia did not join the meeting today. We would like Armenia to participate at the meeting,” he said.




France To Host Conference On Condition Of Turkish Armenians
23 November 2006
New Anatolian
A conference on minorities in Turkey will be held on Saturday within the framework of Armenian Year celebrations in France, an event that will likely further damage the already fragile relations between Ankara and Paris. The event, which will be attended by representatives of minority associations and scholars, has been introduced as a conference for "the joint action of minorities who were annihilated or tortured by Turkey."

Relations between Ankara and Paris were damaged with the French Parliament's passage of an Armenian bill introducing prison terms of up to one year and fines of up to 45,000 euros for those who question the genocide claims. Turkey announced that it has suspended military ties with France and excluded French firms from the upcoming defense fair in Turkey.

In related news, France also produced for the first time, postage stamps to commemorate what it describes as victims of the Armenian "genocide," as part of activities within the framework of Armenian Year.

Those wishing to make donations can pay 2 euros for the stamps at French post offices.

France declared September this year through July next year as Armenian Year. Some circles claim that the announcement of Armenian Year ahead of the French presidential election, set for next year, is aimed at attracting some 500,000 Armenian votes.




Algerian Genocide Statue For Bandirma
23 November 2006
Sabah
Bandırma Municipality of Balıkesir has asked for help from Algeria Embassy for the statue which will represent the Algerian genocide. Mayor Cemal Öztaylan told AA reporter that the municipality has decided to build a statue in Bandırma City Central which will represent the Algerian genocide. Stating that they have already sent a letter to Ankara Embassy of Algeria and asked their advice about the statue.




Algerian Genocide Monument To Be Built In Turkey
23 November 2006
Zaman
The municipality of Bandirma, a northwestern Turkish city, has approved a proposal to build a monument to victims of the Algerian Genocide in the town in protest the adoption of the controversial Armenian bill in the French parliament. The proposal was submitted to the mayor during a municipal assembly meeting and has been approved unanimously. Bandirma Mayor Cemal Oztaylan said that they had asked for help from the Algerian Embassy in Ankara on how to address the genocide in the best way. Oztaylan remarked that the embassy would respond to their request in a month.

The mayor of the town noted that some citizens applied to the municipality to make donations for the construction of the monument, adding that their application would be evaluated.

On Oct. 12, French National Assembly passed a bill which criminalized denying the so-called Armenian genocide, which they claimed the Ottoman Empire committed against Armenians during World War I.

Interestingly enough, France does not recognize the claims of genocide which the French committed against the Algerians in the second half of the 20th century.

"Sons don't apologize for their fathers' mistakes" French Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy said during an official visit to Algeria last week, in response to the Algerian government, which urged France to apologize for the killings and suffering during 130 years of French colonial rule.




Baku: Armenian Genocide American Bludgeon Against Turkey
22 November 2006
Turkish Digest
“The attitude of Senators and U.S. politicians to a country depends on many factors. If Turkey is not significant for the U.S. so we can expect recognition of the Armenian Genocide. Why is Western Europe so strict on Turkey’s accession to the EU and constantly raising the Armenian Genocide issue? Is it commemoration of the killed Armenians or special liking for Armenians? Not at all,” Director of the Department of Conflictology of the Institute of Peace and Democracy Arif Yunusov stated. In his words, “the matter is not Armenians but the attitude towards Turkey.” Western Europe is rather afraid of this country and doesn’t want her to enter the Christian club titled the European Union. If not the Armenian Genocide they will raise another question. The same story is with the United States. Not Armenians but the attitude towards Turkey dictates decisions. To all appearance the Genocide recognition issue will be constantly raised the U.S."




Armenian Genocide. Turkish Diplomats Getting Ready For Opposition
22 November 2006
Armtown
By suggestion of the Foreign Ministry, Turkish diplomatic missions voiced caution about a possible move to seek international arbitration on the Armenian Genocide issue, a growing thorn in Turkish policy worldwide, reports Turkish Daily News. Discussion of a proposed new strategy was initiated by Foreign Minister Abdullah Gül to confront growing international pressure to recognize the Armenian Genocide at the hands of the Ottoman Empire. Turkish diplomatic missions in Europe and the United States should be ready to response to the Armenian campaign worldwide and elaborate new strategy on the Armenian Genocide issue, the Turkish MFA said.




Turkish Votes 'United' In Dutch Elections
22 November 2006
Turkish Daily News
Dutch voters flock to the polls today amid a controversy sparked by claims of Ottoman genocide by the Labour Party (PvdA) which have driven ethnic Turkish voters away from the party that has long been their first choice.

The vote was triggered by a June parliamentary decision to dissolve the center-right government of Jan Peter Balkanende. Economic issues are the main and most debated topic of the elections. Balkanende's Christian Democrats (CDA) lead in the polls. The Labour Party, which until recently was seen as the likely winner of the elections, scared away voters, when its leader Wouter Bos kicked off his campaign with a ‘promise' of higher taxes for rich pensioners. Whereas, an economic improvement in the economy seems to have ıncreased election hopes for Balkanende. Dutch economy has grown 2.8 percent this year, as a result of the strict economy policies he applied. The other side of the coin:

But the same strict policies “have also caused social economic problems like poverty, due to unequal distrubution of the welfare” said Guido van Leemput, member of parliament from the Socialist Party, to the TDN. Anne de Boer, local councelor of the Green Left Party commented that “While immigration was the main issue in the last election, today parties make economic policies the focus of their platform. In this vein, his party aims “to green the economy,” he added.

In the Netherlands, an entirely different political dynamic has put the votes of 140,000 voters of Turkish origin up for grabs, as many are abandoning the two leading parties in favor of the tiny ‘Democrats 66', which describes itself as a social liberal party, sensitive to minority questions. In July, Chistian Democrats (CDA) and the Labour Party (PvdA) removed three ethnic Turkish candidates from their party list who refused to accept the Armenian claims of genocide of 1915. “We feel like we have been hit in the eye” said Veyis Güngör, president of Turkevi Research Center, speaking to the TDN. Following the removal of the ethnic Turkish candidates from the parties' lists, Turkish associations representing a full spectrum of politics have convened in order to create strength in ballot numbers. ‘Strategic votes' to D-66:

After a series of discussions, ethnic Turkish voters have decided to use their votes strategically in order “to show our power,” said Veyis Güngör. Of the 140,000 Dutch voters of Turkish descent 60,000 of them voted in the last elections. In these elections, Turkish associations are campaining for the ‘Democrats 66', who has an ethnic Turkish woman candidate at the second place in its election list, Fatma Koşarkaya.

Sabri Kenan Bağcı, chairman of the IOT organization that speaks for Turkish interests, expects that 100.000 ethnic Turkish will vote for Fatma Koşarkaya who refuses “Armenian genocide” which is a very sensitive issue according to Ilhan Karacay, Editor-in-Chief of the Dutch-Turkish newspaper, Dunya.

Labour Party (PvdA) is in the center of the ethnic Turkish voters reaction, as the majority of ethnic Turkish voters has voted for it in the last elections. Labour Party, after July, has changed slightly its tendency vis-a-vis the Armenian genocide in order not to lose its votes from the minorities. Nezahat Albayrak, member of parliament of Labour Party, has organised meetings with the Turkish minority and declared that the genocide issue must be left to historians and jurists. Leading scenarios:

According to the last polls, 40 percent of the voters are undecided, thus it is difficult to estimate a future government. There are two leading scenarios: Christian Democrats (CDA), estimated to have 45 seats according to the poll of Political Barometer on November 19, can form a coalition in which the Christian Union - estimated to have 5 seats – is included. Labour Party is another possible coalition partner. Such a development will not affect minorities in the country, who are, according to Güngör, facing restrictions to their rights during the present government. If the Christian Union, known to be warm to Armenian claims, EU-Turkish relations might be affected negatively.

The second scenario is an all-left majority coalition in which Labour Party (PvdA), Socialist Party (SP) and Green Left (GL) take part. Because of clear support of GL and SP to Turkey's EU membership and the neutral attitude of SP, this coalition might influence Turkey's path to full membership positively.




Sensoy Urges All-Out Efforts Against "Genocide" Move in US
22 November 2006
Turkish Daily News
Turkish Ambassador to the United States Nabi Şensoy yesterday sought support from the Turkish government, opposition parties, the press and business circles as well as nongovernmental organizations in a move to prevent an alleged Armenian genocide resolution from being brought up in the U.S. Congress. “There is a need for all-out efforts,” Şensoy was quoted as saying by the Anatolia news agency. Şensoy stressed it was significant to obtain support from Turkish authorities, the government, the opposition and NGOs.

Şensoy also said no resolution on the alleged genocide was expected to appear on the agenda of the U.S. Congress by the end of this year but added that it might be likely after the new Congress takes charge as of January. “The U.S. administration will assume a stance on the issue by taking into consideration the integrity of bilateral relations [with Turkey],” he added.

A group of Turkish lawmakers including Istanbul deputy Egemen Bağış, a close aide to Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, and ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) deputies Reha Denemeç and Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, as well as main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) deputy Zeynep Damla Gürel traveled to the United States to attend the annual meeting of the Working Group on Turkey in the U.S. Congress.

The Turkish lawmakers' visit came after the election victory handed control of the U.S. House of Representatives and the Senate to the Democrats following the Nov. 7 congressional elections. U.S. Armenian groups have welcomed the Democratic Party's landslide win in the elections and voiced an expectation that the new Congress would formally recognize last century's Armenian killings in the Ottoman Empire as genocide.

In France, a conference on minorities will be held on Nov. 25 on the occasion of Armenian year, news reports said yesterday.

France declared September 2006-July 2007 as the Armenian year. Ankara has warned Paris not to let the activities be dominated by the alleged genocide. France welcomed the comment but said it cannot control local activities to that effect.




Armenia Does Not Need Foreigners
21 November 2006
Hetq
Pankaj Joshi, an Indian citizen, first visited Armenia in December 2003. He received a three-month visa to Armenia at that time, but stayed for exactly one year, remaining in the country illegally for a number of months. “In December 2004, when I decided to go back to India, Aghajanyan at the Passport and Visa Department (OVIR in Russian) asked me for 900 dollars. They then gave me a three-day visa, and I left Armenia with no problem,” narrated Joshi. The stamps in his passport corroborated his story. Samvel Aghajanyan is the deputy head of the Passport and Visa Department within the police structure, and his job deals with granting foreign citizens permission for entry to Armenia.

Joshi came back to Armenia in April 2005. He received a 21-day visa at the airport. After the deadline he received an extension for a further three months without any difficulty. He then managed to further extend his legal permit to stay, this time up to January 2006. Pankaj Joshi had a job offer, and continues to work to this day at the New Delhi restaurant in Yerevan. He holds a contract with George and Brandon ltd., the company that owns the restaurant, and pays his taxes on accordance with Armenian law.

Om Bahadur Khatri, Man Bahadur Sahani, and Yam Lal Kandel, all citizens of Nepal, are also employed by the New Delhi restaurant. These four restaurant employees have been unable to get visas for the past few months and are now staying in Armenia illegally.

“…Their reason for coming to Armenia was to work at the New Delhi restaurant, owned by George and Brandon ltd. On October 21, 2005, a letter was written by Karen Ghevondyan, president of George and Brandon ltd., to the Passport and Visa Department requesting temporary resident status in Armenia for the four foreign citizens mentioned, but this request was rejected,” noted Alvina Zakaryan, head of the Passport and Visa Department, in a written reply to our query.

Karen Ghevondyan was informed of the rejection. He then lodged an appeal with the prime minister of Armenia. “But the decision was not overturned. Despite this, they did not leave the territory of Armenia and continued to remain here illegally,” wrote Alvina Zakaryan.

Zakaryan, in her written reply, had the following explanation for the decision not to grant the foreign citizens temporary resident status in Armenia, “The police department committee for the administrative expulsion of foreign citizens from the Republic of Armenia decided to deport the foreign citizens from the country, based on articles 32 and 33 of the law regarding the legal status of foreign citizens in Armenia. This decision was confirmed by the head of the Armenian Police Department on June 20, 2006. However, they have not left the country to this day, citing the lack of the necessary financial resources to buy airline tickets.”

“Karen Ghevondyan said that he would deal with it. He told us to keep working and that he would take care of it. Then Karen said that Aghajanyan wanted money, but that he didn't want to pay. He said he would have to solve the matter with someone else's help,” said Joshi.

Ghevondyan never did “take care of it” and instead sold the restaurant to an Indian businessman, Sahani Ravinder. “If the visa problems of my employees are not solved then my restaurant may be forced to close, because they are the ones who make the Indian food – they are my main staff,” said Sahani Ravinder when we met with him. Coincidentally, he did not have a visa to stay in Armenia at that point either.

The New Delhi restaurant is a cozy corner in the basement floor of a building on Tumanyan street, in the Yerevan city center. Customers include representatives of the diplomatic corps in Armenia. Nani Oskanian, the wife of Foreign Minister Vartan Oskanian, frequents the restaurant with guests. Joshi informed the foreign minister's wife of their problems. However, she replied some time later that there was nothing she could do. The Indian citizen then sought help at his country's embassy in Armenia, but they were also unable to break down the door of the Armenian bureaucracy. The Foreign Ministry simply ignored calls from the Indian Embassy, and they were left with nothing to say to their citizens.

“We have invested here, started a business, are conscientious taxpayers, have created a few jobs. I don't understand why they have created these problems,” said the Indian restaurant owner.

“I tell them that there are so many Armenians in different countries of the world. Let us be ten foreigners working here. Can you imagine what would happen if they treated Armenians in other countries this way? These boys have never been detained by the police. Now they say that they've violated articles 32 and 33 of the law. Do you know what that is? Here, read it,” said Sahani Ravinder, giving us a copy of the Armenian legal code.

“The last time we went to OVIR , Aghajanyan asked for 1,500 dollars from each of us to take care of the issue. That came to 6,000 dollars for four people. We refused – how could we get that much money and why should we give it to him?” said Joshi.

“Since a decision had been taken to deport those individuals, no steps were being taken to extend their visa deadlines or grant them resident status. Therefore, there could not have been a demand for the sum of money you mentioned,” wrote Alvina Zakaryan in her reply to our query.

What of articles 32 and 33 in the law regarding the legal status of foreign citizens in Armenia, based on which the decision was taken to deport these foreign citizens?

“A foreign citizen may be deported from Armenia if his actions threaten the national security of the Republic of Armenia, the public order and welfare, rights and freedoms of citizens, as well as in other cases specified in the legislation of the Republic of Armenia” – these are the requirements of article 32.

Alvina Zakaryan failed to mention how these foreign citizens threatened the national security of our country, or public order, welfare or citizens' rights here. And if there was such a threat, why have they not been expelled from Armenia yet? Or why has the Embassy of India in Armenia not been informed?

Article 33 of the same law states that a decision for the administrative expulsion of a foreign citizen is taken by the Head of Police based on a conclusion reached by the committee formed by him. A state official representing the interests of the foreign citizen has the right to be present at committee sessions discussing the case.

Let us note that neither these foreign citizens nor their representative state official were ever informed of such committee sessions. Moreover, letters sent in February and September of this year from the Embassy of India to the Armenian Ministry of Foreign Affairs have remained unanswered to this day.

Pankaj Joshi, a citizen of India, does not want to leave Armenia and lose his job. But he cannot stay illegally in Armenia for long. The New Delhi restaurant will probably close soon, as decided by the Republic of Armenia Passport and Visa Department.




Third French Company To Be Boycott is Citroen
21 November 2006
Journal of Turkish Weekly
The passing of the controversial Armenian genocide denial bill in the French parliament has prompted strong reactions in Turkish business circles. The Turkish national consumption societies started a strong anti-French goods. After the Elf and Tefal, the Citroen company has also been added to the companies to be boycot.




Dinner with a statesman where 'quality' was the menu
November 24, 2006
David Judson
TDN
Here are a few questions on my mind: Can political dialogue embrace the concept of “quality”? Can political relations, if I can invent a new word, be “dequalitized”? Or the inverse, can international relations and negotiations be “qualitized”?" Or even more abstractly, can thinking about such matters be an exercise itself in “quality”?

When one hears the term “quality” in business or management circles, the subject usually relates to error reduction in manufacture or means to enhance productivity or some engineering issue in process planning. We've all heard and debated the quasi-religion of Total Quality Management (TQM). We've memorized the 14 point “quality checklists” of the late guru W. Edward Deming. But on Tuesday night, I had my mind opened to a new dimension in the discussion of quality. It came from Çetin Nuhoğlu, head of the Turkish Quality Association (KalDer). He asked a group of us to consider seriously the importance of “quality of thought.” For me at least, this was an original approach.

At a dinner on the eve of the beginning of the 15th Turkish Quality Congress, Nuhoğlu offered up this novel concept as he introduced an honored guest, former German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder. And as we went on to listen to this guest, Nuhoğlu's abstraction took on clear and concrete meaning.

Perhaps it was that Schroeder, who served in office from 1996 to 2005, represented a far clearer and positive era of politics than that with which we are faced today. While there is certainly no populist advantage to be derived from advocating Turkey's European Union membership in Germany, Schroeder nonetheless did so. Even in the 2002 election, which he won by a sliver's margin, Schroeder defended Turkey's EU quest. He has taken other contrarian views, of course, notably in opposition to the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003. While there were other dynamics at work in 2005, his defense of Turkey served rival Angela Merkel in the election in which she replaced him in Berlin.

Today we are witness to debate, over port openings in connection to Cyprus and Turkey's EU bid, which is little more than political theater of the absurd. We hope for a Finnish rescue in the wake of the failed “Annan plan” for Cyprus, which bears the name of the outgoing United Nations secretary-general. In the Dutch elections this week, ethnic Turkish voters flocked to an obscure and tiny party. This came after the main Dutch parties demanded Turkish candidates for office sign a pledge to support allegations of Ottoman genocide against Armenians in 1915. There is no need to mention France's legislative bid to cancel freedom of speech and thought in a similar style. Nor do we have to remind ourselves of the sad state of political discourse when we see a newly assembling Democratic Congress in Washington whose first order of business will include assumption of the task of history writing from the province of historians. Yes, political discourse has seldom seemed more shallow.

It was against this backdrop that listening to Schroeder was to transcend our current era. In reflecting on his own term in office and the future, Schroeder emphasized the importance of opening European markets to the agricultural exports of developing countries. “We can reduce poverty worldwide by half in just 15 years if we do this,” he said.

He reflected on European hypocrisy on the question of Cyprus and the EU retreat from pledges to end the isolation of the northern side of the island. “To set deadlines is to issue ultimatums,” he said, noting that a dialogue constructed on ultimatums is no dialogue at all.

He emphasized that Turkish membership in the European Union is a goal from which there can be no retreat. Yes, democratic rights must be deepened and strengthened here and the infamous Article 301 of the Turkish Penal Code (TCK) must be scrapped, he said. But his criticisms had none of the hectoring tone of the school marm. How refreshing these days.

In the realm of energy, in the building of a coherent strategy to cope with Europe's aging populations, and in the effort to create a globally competitive pan-European economy, Turkey, with a population to reach 100 million in the next 20 years, is inseparable from Europe. In fact, Europe has more to gain from Turkey's EU membership than the other way around, the chancellor argued. “In 10 years, it may be Turkey that does feel the need to be a member of the EU, I don't know,” he said. In other words, negotiations -- formal and informal -- need to be two-way, which is not the state today, he said.

If I am to look for a thread connecting his many views, it must come from Nuhoğlu: The chancellor's remarks were an expression of “quality of thought.” For the length of one meal this week, I was allowed to escape the banal and the shallow that often seems to define our new political age.

So I continue to wonder. Can political dialogue embrace the concept of “quality”? Can political relations, if I can invent a new word, be “dequalitized”? Or the inverse, can international relations and negotiations be “qualitized”? Or even more abstractly, can thinking about such matters be an exercise itself in “quality”?




Diplomacy Newsline
November 23, 2006
TDN Ankara
Yakış: History cannot be changed by force:
Yaşar Yakış, former foreign minister and head of the European Union Harmonization Commission in Parliament, said the Greek Cypriot move to build a monument to commemorate survivors of a so-called Armenian genocide was not surprising.

“Taking into consideration the fact that even countries that are friends of Turkey have built such monuments, such a move by Greek Cyprus and Armenia should not be found odd,” he said, when reminded of Armenian President Robert Kocharian's visit to Greek Cyprus.

Kocharian was scheduled to arrive in Greek Cyprus late on Wednesday night for an official three-day visit, the first since the former Soviet republic gained independence 15 years ago. On Friday he will lay the foundation of the monument commemorating survivors of the so-called Armenian genocide, on the Larnaca Promenade, Greek Cypriot media reported.

“You cannot change history this way, by force,” Yakış said.




Turkey prepares for Pope Benedict's visit next week
November 23, 2006
MICHAEL KUSER
ISTANBUL - Turkish Daily News
Sensitive trip follows a year of heightened tensions between the Christian and Muslim worlds

Two young sisters in a Syrian Catholic family here must decide between them which one will get to present Pope Benedict XVI with a rose at the papal mass planned for next Friday in Istanbul. Their little drama is but one of several playing out as Turkey prepares for a rare and sensitive visit by a Catholic pontiff.

The trip is rare because it is only the third such visit, the last being in 1980 when Benedict's predecessor, Pope John Paul II, came to Turkey. Sister Mathilde, one of 12 nuns from the Order of St. Vincent who help run the St. George Austrian Hospital and High School, remembers attending the papal mass that year. “We were all so excited to see the pope hold a mass, and it was at Saint Esprit in Harbiye, same as it will be this year,” she said.

The trip is sensitive because it follows a year of heightened tensions between the Christian and Muslim worlds, the most recent controversy arising over comments the pope made in September when he cited a Byzantine emperor's criticism of Islam.

The pope's visit also comes at a delicate political time, as Turkey's relations with the European Union it wishes to join have become tense. In an annual progress report issued on Nov. 8, the European Commission criticized Turkey for its lack of momentum on making needed political and economic reforms, as well as for intransigence in recognizing Greek Cyprus, which has been an EU member since May 2004.

The EU insists that Turkey should open its ports to Greek Cypriot-registered vessels, while Ankara accuses the EU of punishing the one side in the conflict that had agreed to a common solution, referring to the Turks having approved the U.N.-sponsored referendum calling for a political federation of the two communities.

Some see a threat to region:

Turkish stability is very important for regional peace, said Murat Somer, a professor of international relations at Koç University in Istanbul. “Just imagine what the Middle East and Caucasus would like without a stable Turkey,” said Somer. “Even Turks are amazed when they see how closely people in the region follow Turkish-EU relations.”

The mood on the street seems less concerned with geopolitics.

“Everyone can come and go to Turkey as he pleases,” said Mustafa Yılmaz, who sells pigeon feed in the courtyard of Fatih Mosque. “Of course talk is always good, and the pope can learn from us as well as we can learn from him.”

Fatih Mosque represents all of Turkey in a way, for it was built on the foundations of an earlier Byzantine basilica, just as the Muslim faith supplanted Christianity as the main faith in this historic land. The mosque is named after Sultan Fatih (The Conqueror) Mehmet, who captured Constantinople, today's Istanbul, in 1453.

In fact, Fatih Mosque is built on the site of the former Church of the Holy Apostles, on the basilica of the Orthodox Patriarchate, whose looted relics inspired this papal visit.

A thousand years:

Crusaders looted the relics in the 1204 sack of Constantinople, and many of the Byzantine art treasures remain today in European museum and church collections, the most famous being the bronze horses taken from the hippodrome here that now adorn the Cathedral of San Marco in Venice. The stolen relics included bones of saints John Chrysostom and Gregory Nazianzen, early church leaders of Constantinople.

Pope John Paul II had said he would like to visit Turkey back in 2004, when he made a goodwill gesture to the Greek Orthodox community by returning the saints' relics to the Orthodox Patriarchate in Istanbul. Bartolomeos had asked the pope for their return in a visit to Rome earlier that year.

Benedict also will visit the Armenian cathedral on Thursday to meet Armenian Patriarch Mesrob II, later seeing local leaders of the Syrian Orthodox, Jewish, Evangelical, and Muslim communities before dining with Catholic bishops on Thursday night.

As part of the effort to bridge differences between cultures, the prime ministers of Spain and Turkey on Nov. 14 presented their plan for an Alliance of Civilizations to U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan in Istanbul.

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan will be attending a NATO summit in Riga, Latvia during the pope's visit. The prime minister has denied that his absence was intended as any kind of a snub to the pope, saying that the meeting of NATO leaders had been scheduled long before the papal visit. Benedict will meet instead with Deputy Prime Minister Mehmet Ali Şahin.

Reporters outnumber clerics:

The eyes of the world will be on Turkey as an estimated 2,800 foreign journalists have applied for official accreditation to cover the pope's visit. Security will be tight, though the government downgraded Benedict's protocol by one level after the pontiff insisted that he would travel to the Orthodox Patriarchate in Bartolomeos' own car.

Turkish protests included a man hi-jacking a flight from Albania to Istanbul, another man firing a gun outside the Italian Consulate in Istanbul, as well as street demonstrations in Ankara and Istanbul. Relations between Turkey and Italy were strained earlier this year by the murder here of an Italian priest, Andrea Santoro, aged 60. The Roman Catholic priest was shot dead on Feb. 5 as he prayed in his church in Trabzon.

Turkish police arrested a 16-year-old boy for the shooting, reporting that he claimed to have been angered by cartoons depicting the prophet Mohammed that were published in a Danish newspaper last year. The cartoons created a storm of reaction by Muslim people in countries ranging from Nigeria to the Philippines, in several cities sparking riots in which dozens of people died.

Lucky few:

Beyond all the political analysis, beyond any religious controversy, Turkish Catholics only want to see their pope.

Monsignor Yusuf Sag represents the Syrian Catholic patriarch here and ministers to a congregation at Sacred Heart Church in Istanbul. At a church service last Sunday, Sag told his following of 174 families that organizers had allotted them only 150 tickets for the papal mass to be held at the French church of Saint Esprit on Friday morning.

“Be on time, and please, please, please, if you are not going to use a ticket, give it to someone who will,” said the monsignor.




Turkey to the EU: Intimidation will not work
November 23, 2006
Semih İdiz
The EU has apparently set a deadline for Turkey to open its ports to Greek Cypriot ships. Speaking on behalf of the EU as term president, Finnish Prime Minister Matti Vanhanen said earlier this week that he expects the EU executive to put forward recommendations in the first week of December, adding that EU foreign ministers would then take a decision on Turkey on Dec. 11.

This is clearly designed to increase the pressure on Ankara to comply on the ports issue before that date. It will, however, not work. The truth of the matter is that opening the ports under these circumstances is more of a political liability for the present government than not opening them. In fact, not doing so under the present conditions will bring more praise for the government than condemnation.

So Vanhannen's “ultimatum,” as more than one foreign news agency has labeled it, rings totally hollow for Turks. The truth of the matter is that Turks are not worried about the proverbial “train crash” in Turkish-EU ties anymore, but are actually expecting it.

Judging by the angry MHP congress last weekend and what is coming out of the main opposition party, the CHP, one can even start talking about a “desire” for the train crash to happen “so that the whole nightmare ends once and for all.”

It was not for nothing that Alexander Adler argued in Le Figaro earlier this week about a “conspiracy” by right-wing and fundamentalist Christian elements in Europe to keep Turkey away from the EU by using (or rather abusing) the Armenian and Cyprus issues.

What Adler has apparently discovered for himself somewhat belatedly is what 90 percent of Turks have believed in for some time anyway. What Vanhannen's “ultimatum” does, however, is up the ante as far as the EU is concerned.

It is clear that unless the Greek Cypriot veto can be overcome and the isolation of the northern part of Cyprus is ended, then Turkey will not comply with any EU demand concerning Cyprus. Put another way, the EU is now faced with a choice that will have far reaching implications way beyond the Cyprus question, and with global implications.

As I said in my last commentary here, if there are those in the EU who think that Turkey can be kept at arms length but still “anchored in Europe,” thus remaining “at Europe's pleasure,” in the interest of Europe, they are clearly dreaming.

In that sense, one may say that Vanhannen's ultimatum also signals a cautionary warning to Ankara to seriously start considering its EU alternatives, since it is clear that Europe has no interest in honoring its promises to the Turkish Cypriots and is trying to browbeat and intimidate Ankara into compliance in an unconvincing effort to show it “who's boss.”

Turkey is a “swing country” that faces the Middle East, the Balkans, Russia, Central Asia and North Africa. It contains some key energy routes and has a growing economy -- the 20th largest in the world at this stage, according to the International Monetary Fund (IMF). One can hardly say that Turkey is bereft of alternatives.

In this sense, the “Turkey is throwing its future away” argument simply does not wash, either. Judging by what the man on the street says, if Turkey joins an increasingly xenophobic and racist EU, for that is the message coming out of today's Europe, it would be “throwing its future away.”

So one way or another, it is clear that Turkey is a country that has a future, regardless of the political and economic turbulence that will initially and inevitably accompany a severing of ties with the EU. The only problem here is that this future may not be the one desired by Europe and pro-European elements in this country, since it will be more nationalist, more religious and more introverted.

Put another way, the EU will have played an active role in pushing Turkey away not only from Europe but also from its values, and it will not have one iota of leverage over a country that is strategically vital in a part of the world that will be increasingly important for Europe.

This is not only music to the ears of right-wing Turks, but also not as serious a prospect as some are trying to make it out to be as far as many Turks are concerned. For others, on the other hand, it may even be a welcome outcome, since the continuing public perception among Turks is still that if Turkey exists at all today, it is not because of Europe but in spite of Europe.

Put another way, the belief continues to be that not much that is good has come out of Europe for Turkey anyway, so it is probably best if the whole relationship with the old continent is reevaluated.

Apart from this, though, it is highly apparent that more than one key country in Europe is also preparing itself for the prospect of a severing of Turkish-EU ties and is therefore courting Ankara heavily on the bilateral level.

Put another way, severing ties with the EU does not do away with Turkey's option of dealing with individual European countries on their own merit and according to how they behaved vis-à-vis Turkey's EU perspective. All of this goes to show the “obverse” side of Vanhannen's “ultimatum.”

So, Dec. 11 might be the date when Turkish-EU ties are severed. But if that is the case, it will also be the date that the EU ends up with the seemingly intractable Cyprus problem in its lap and also with a serious loss of political influence in the Eastern Mediterranean.

So rather than ask Turkey “Is the ports issue worth risking Turkish-EU ties?” Those in Europe who are posing this question should direct this question to themselves first.




Will France deal the final blow?:
MEHMET ALİ Birand
November 22, 2006
France has had a significant role in the reconsideration of Turkey-EU negations and their reaching breaking point.

The Turkish public has come to see France as an “enemy,” because of both the law adopted by French Parliament to penalize those denying Armenian genocide claims and France's subsequent harsh attitude concerning the opening of Turkish ports to Greek Cypriot ships.

No matter how many times France repeats that its stance on the Armenian and EU issues have different reasons behind them, or how many times it reiterates that both issues are based on different emotions and historical facts, the Turkish public does not accept their explanations.

The negative perception of France has reached an extent never seen before.

The Turkish public is finding it hard to understand the underlying logic of the French stance. It can't understand why, all of a sudden, France is disrupting smoothly-running relations between the two countries and becoming so tense.

In addition, in comparison to similar past examples, the reaction of the Turkish public against France is not over exaggerated.

There is still a difference between the reaction shown to other countries that have trod on Turkey's toes and the reaction shown to France.

In this, the government's opting to play it safe played a significant role. The prime minister being the foremost example, nobody provoked public demonstrations. No heated declarations were made. Remarks from the military wing, which came in recent days, were also measured.

However, the real danger starts from this point onward.

The decision that will come out of the Dec. 14-15 summit might see a reoccurrence of the near train wreck avoided during the release of the Progress Report.

If the summit meeting chooses to suspend negations on 15 chapters, as France is said to want, instead of only over three chapters as the European Commission recommended, we will be facing a new train wreck.

Everybody knows that the Greek Cypriots don't have the power to ensure that 15 chapters are suspended. Again, everybody knows that France has a deciding role.

But what will Paris do?

Will it chose to tread on Turkey's toes?

Will it promote further worsening in the relations of two countries and provoke the boycotting of all French brands?

Will it sacrifice an immense roll of relations for calculations with unforeseeable consequence in domestic politics?

We can't make out what is going to happen at this stage. At any rate, French politics and politicians have for some time been increasingly impossible to understand.

In this sense, the EU summit in December is extremely important. In particular, the stance France takes at the summit will delineate the thick margins of relations with Turkey.

If we find a France campaigning for suspension of 15 chapters, that is more pro-Greek than the Greeks themselves and that is bashing Turkey right in front of us, in the public's eyes, this will be the final straw.

On the contrary, if at the December summit, France at least keeps silent, some of the damage that has been done until now could be restored. Wounds wouldn't run deeper, a balm for injured relations.

Perhaps we could pick up from where we left off.

I wonder if all this that we've been through is worth again trampling on the relationship between Turkey and France, which has taken great efforts and long years to restore to an important level?




French Ambassador Lauds Turkey as Broker for EU, Mideast
November 22, 2006
zaman.com
As the rift between Turkey and France over the French draft bill on the alleged Armenian genocide deepens, France’s Ambassador to Turkey Jean-Paul Poudade said: “Because of issues relating to internal politics, politicians are exaggerating something. This draft will not be ratified.”

Noting that the membership talks between Turkey and the European Union should continue without interruption, Poudade stressed the importance of this for both sides. Speaking at a dinner held by the Istanbul Chamber of Commerce, the French ambassador said: “If it wants to establish dialogue with the Islamic world, Europe could do it via Turkey. When Turkey is admitted into the union, the difficulties in the Middle East will be alleviated to a great extent. Sooner or later, one should maintain peace with their neighbors, especially if they are an EU member.”

Poudade further stressed that French and Turkish businessmen should collaborate more often to strengthen the ties between the countries.




French Armenian Bill Dissident to Settle in Turkey
Ali Ihsan Aydin
November 22, 2006
zaman.com
Politicians were not the only ones to react to the French bill that would make denial of the alleged Armenian genocide punishable by law.

Historian Jean Michel Thibaux, who strongly opposed the draft, is preparing to apply for Turkish citizenship and settle in the Turkish city of Antalya. Thibaux, who is planning to move in 2007, will lecture on history at Akdeniz University. The well-published historian is currently studying the Turkish language. His admiration for Turkish culture dates back many years. The French bill had the greatest impact on his recent decision: “I’ve loved Turkey for such a long time, and I was considering becoming Turkish. The draft accelerated that; I was outraged.” He offered an interesting analogy on the overall situation of his country: “My country is going bankrupt; it’s going straight to hell.”

Thibaux describes Turkish culture as “one which resembles me, speaks to me and amazes me…” Thibaux, who will arrive in Turkey to attend the Seb-i Arus ceremonies in December in commemoration of great Muslim thinker Mawlana, currently lives in a tiny yet lovely French town on the Mediterranean coast. Speaking to Zaman, Thibaux made important statements about his decision to live in Turkey, the draft on the alleged Armenian genocide, and the overall situation in his country.

How did you decide to become a Turkish citizen? How did this idea arise?
My idea to become a Turkish citizen dates way back. My father was very fond of Turkey and naturally this love passed onto me. Since my first visit to Turkey 25 years ago, the Turkish people and Turkish culture have amazed me. This was an extraordinary sentiment that I felt whenever I returned from Turkey to France. The idea of becoming a naturalized Turk was fully materialized in 2000. At last, I chose the soil that speaks to me, and resembles me.

So, it is not a reaction to the Armenian draft bill?
I have been fond of Turkey for a long time and I was already considering becoming a Turkish citizen. The Armenian draft bill accelerated the entire process. I was outraged! And I sent a letter to Mehmet Dulger. The first bill recognizing the Armenian genocide was outrageous. In reaction to this bill, I issued a historical declaration, which I sent to the Turkish parliament as well. With the adoption of the recent draft, I said, ‘I will become a Turk!’

Will you renounce your French citizenship?
It is impossible. Under the French Constitution, we do not have to make such a choice. However, we are permitted to live in accordance with the “other citizenship,” that is to say, the Turkishness. independent of French citizenship. My reaction is not with France, but with French politicians. If there had been wiser men in the French Assembly, the Armenian question would not even have been brought to the agenda of the country.

Have you applied for Turkish citizenship? At what stage is the process?
My application for Turkish citizenship will materialize in the weeks ahead. The Turkish authorities have all the information and documents they need about me. On the other hand, I also sent a letter of motivation to the interior minister. I was invited to Konya in December. I suppose we will discuss the issue there. I started learning Turkish with the aid of audio tapes and CDs. When I settle in Antalya, I will hire a teacher. I hope I will be able to speak Turkish within two or three months.

How did your friends and relatives react to this decision?
Contrary to what might be expected, pretty well. Nobody has strongly protested. My family was excited. My son will also become a Turkish citizen. The intellectuals I often debate with understood my rationale. One prominent French friend will accompany me to Konya. After my decision, those who are close to me adopted a different stance toward Turkey.

After becoming a Turkish citizen, will you consider living in Turkey as well?
I am considering living in Antalya from early 2007 on. Following the media coverage of my situation, the rector of Akdeniz University contacted me. He said they were considering giving me a chair in the university, and that they would be honored if I accepted it. I am an expert on antiquity. I have lectured extensively on this. I’ve published three dictionaries. I intend to give antiquity lectures in Antalya. As a resident of the Mediterranean, I would have a hard time living in a city like Ankara. On the contrary, in many respects, Antalya is similar to the place where I currently live.

What do you think about the denial bill? Will the draft be approved? What are your remarks about the French attitude when it comes to its own past? Sarkozy had said that ‘the sons would not apologize for their fathers’ faults.’
For me, the draft bill has no value. Only 119 out of more than 500 deputies approved it. The draft does not represent the French nation. I would like to recall that the person who put forward the draft is the deputy of the predominantly Armenian Drome region. If I rely on my own sources and President Chirac’s hidden will, I can say that this proposal will not be ratified at the Senate. The worst case scenario is the adoption of a bill with significant modifications so that it will be impossible to implement. France should stay away from another nation’s past. It should first look at its own past, and try to draw conclusions. Sarkozy quoted from my statement, “We cannot hold the sons responsible for what their fathers did.” It is the historians’ job to shed light on the past.

First the suburbs, then university youth rioted. What is going on in France?
France is having a serious identity crisis. Because it was unable to adapt itself to the modern world, it is now incapable of resolving the identity problems of the main constituents of the country. What is more, the middle class is becoming poorer. The situation of the laborers and small businesses is getting worse. I do not know how we can deal with this collapse. France is avoiding its problems. We are going bankrupt. It is the sin of our national arrogance and self-conceit. We are still living with the victories of the past. In the 1960s, France was the fifth-largest power in the world. Now it ranks 19th. When will its fall toward hell end?




The Caucasus - The art of levitation
Nov 16th 2006 | YEREVAN
The Economist
How Armenia copes with its isolation in the combustible Caucasus

NOWHERE is living next to big countries trickier than in the Caucasus. Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan were for centuries swallowed by rival empires; when the last of them, the Soviet Union, collapsed, three territorial wars broke out, all of which may yet re-erupt. Now Georgia is in a cold war with Russia.

Next-door Armenia's geographical plight might seem the worst in the Caucasus—or anywhere. It is landlocked and poor; of its four borders, those with Turkey and Azerbaijan are closed following its bloody but successful struggle for Nagorno-Karabakh, a province of Soviet Azerbaijan mostly populated by Armenians. Its other neighbours are Georgia (under an economic blockade by Russia) and Iran. Yet despite the war, the economic collapse that went with it and a terrible earthquake that preceded it, Armenia seems to have levitated out of trouble.

It benefits from an indulgence not afforded to pro-Western Georgia. Per person, Armenia is one of the biggest recipients of American aid (thanks to the powerful diaspora there, which remembers vividly the massacres of 1915). Yet that American help does not trouble Russia, which has a military base in Armenia. GDP is growing—though still pitifully low: monthly wages are around $150. Towns and villages in the beautiful, barren countryside are still poor and dilapidated, but Yerevan is full of construction cranes and posh cafés.

But levitation has its limits. After some progress in the late 1990s, reforms have stalled. The famed cognac aside, exports are puny. Armenia relies on foreign aid and remittances from the huge diaspora; emigration (see article) has put the population well below the official 2.9m figure. The international balance is also precarious. Some in Russia want the Armenians to take sides against the Georgians, perhaps by stirring up the Armenian minority there. “We refuse to choose,” says Vartan Oskanian, the foreign minister. Indeed: alienating Georgia would be suicidal.

But the Kremlin's leverage is growing. Russian firms already control the energy sector and want a greater stake elsewhere. Mr Oskanian says “our needs today are too dire” to worry about future risks. Azerbaijan's hydrocarbons windfall makes it sound confident, even bellicose, stoking Armenian reliance on Russia.

American interest in the pipelines that link the Caspian to the Mediterranean, doglegging round Armenia, mean that renewed fighting would echo far beyond the Caucasus. Internationally sponsored talks about Karabakh limp on—Mr Oskanian met his Azerbaijani counterpart this week—and Western diplomats try to sound upbeat. But a deal, or even a fudge that would at least allow normal trade relations, looks all but impossible. Sporadic shooting continues.

One reason is that bad governments in both countries bang the nationalist drum for want of wider legitimacy. Armenia's Robert Kocharian has emulated his sponsors in the Kremlin, squeezing the media and rigging elections. Corruption flourishes. It is hard to find an Armenian politician who does not want to succeed Mr Kocharian when his presidential term expires in 2008; it is harder still to find one who thinks the vote will be fair. Like Ilham Aliev, who inherited power in Azerbaijan from his father, Mr Kocharian promises just enough change to pacify America. Unsurprisingly, considering their history, most Armenians are too cynical to expect much better from their rulers.

Like acrobats in a human pyramid, the Caucasus countries are inevitably affected by their neighbours' behaviour. Russia's closure of its border with Georgia, for example, hurts Armenian traders. Such outsiders' jostling would be much easier to bear if the three (relative) tiddlers had a common line. But they are all, as Raffi Hovannisian, a former Armenian foreign minister, says of his country, “long on civilisation, short on statecraft.”

**********************************

Religion - Onward Christian soldiers
Nov 16th 2006
The Economist
Churchmen begin to speak up
ARE British Christians, weary of turning the other cheek to the twin challenges of secularism and rival faiths, learning to fight back? A string of public statements from senior church figures which have lacked the usual careful emollience suggests they may be.

Two of these blasts have come from Christian bishops whose origins make them immune to the charge of white paternalism. John Sentamu, the Ugandan-born Archbishop of York, made an impassioned attack on the removal of Christian symbols from public places in the name of political correctness. The rot started, he said, when the city fathers of Birmingham decided in 1998 to rename the Christmas holiday “winterval”. Since then, said the second-ranking prelate of the English church, there had been “many other instances where Christianity is being systematically eroded from public view”.

An even sharper note was sounded by Michael Nazir-Ali, bishop of Rochester, whose forebears included Pakistani Muslims. Some Muslims had a “dual psychology”, he said, that insisted on playing the victim in some places while asserting a dominant role in others. This culture of complaint—which demanded help for oppressed Muslims, but insisted that harsh Muslim regimes were untouchable—was impossible to satisfy and people would be wrong to try, the bishop suggested.

Some of the institutions which Archbishop Sentamu singled out for attack were at pains to defend themselves. For example, the prelate deplored the fact that greeting cards from government offices said “Season's Greetings” rather than “Happy Christmas”. This prompted Tony Blair's office to retort that the prime minister, at least, still referred to Christ's nativity in his cards, unless the recipient was known to profess another faith. Then there was the Post Office, with its new range of stamps showing “Christmassy themes”, such as Santa Claus, but not the new-born Messiah. It said its end-of-year stamps were decided by “rotation”—implying that Jesus Christ might yet make a comeback.

If Christianity's newly-raised voice does not always sound consistent or assured, that is partly because the faith occupies a peculiar place in Britain, both inside and outside the world of power. The Anglican church rests on deep and ancient privileges—not just as the state religion which the monarch must profess, but also as the guardian of the nation's most important monuments and the biggest force, after the state itself, in education.

But such is the cool detachment of Britain's established religious culture that passionate religious statements of any kind leave people confused and embarrassed. British Catholics, fighting for their own place in the sun, are also constrained by the taboo on strong expressions of faith.

Yet in a Britain where secularism and Islam have powerful, self-confident constituencies, Christianity may have to learn to deliver a more coherent message to society. That hope appears to underlie the recent creation of a new religious think-tank, Theos. The fact that it was blessed by both Catholic and Anglican hierarchs suggests that old inter-Christian rivalries are being set aside for the sake of a broader mission.

In a similar vein, Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, said this week that Anglicans and Catholics were now “two churches standing in the middle of a secular and unfriendly environment” with similar tasks. But he puzzled some of his own flock by hinting that Anglicanism might in time reconsider its 12-year-old practice of ordaining women.

Theos's starting point, says its director, Paul Woolley, is that secularism is on the decline: Britons are likely to become more religious, in part because of migrants from pious places such as Poland, the Philippines and much of Africa. Hence there is a need to encourage good, intelligent religious discourse over the opposite kind.

Perhaps—but British Christians still have some thinking to do about which corner they want to fight: is it that of an old institution defending its privileges, or that of a vigorous minority challenging the mainstream? Jonathan Bartley, of the liberal Christian think-tank Ekklesia, has argued that the Anglican church's “prophetic” role—as a deliverer of painful but necessary messages about the wrongs of society—is incorrigibly compromised by its privileged position as the state religion




'Turks And Caicos' In The Blue Tropical Atlantis Of Piri Reis
Mahmut EsatOzan
Chairman-EditorialBoard
meozan@turkishforum.com
The TurkishForum

In order to relieve theunending pressure caused on our nerves by the present-day somber worldnewsand give my readers a chance to forget the times we livein, I decided to offer them the true account of atripI took tothe Carribean islands of TURKS&CAICOS. The following is the narration of that week-end trip.

The Turkish families mightlike to share this with their children.
MEO
...................................................................
Miami,Florida-USA:

Every Turk, who comes to reside in America, learns sooner or later about the existence of a group of islands in the Caribbean Sea, known as 'Turks and Caicos.'

I was no exception to this rule. Some years ago, not so long after my arrival to the United States, while looking at an atlas in my graduate school library, in the Indiana University, in Bloomington, my eyes wandered to the Southeast section of the Florida peninsula and beyond.There they were in bold letters: TURKS AND CAICOS.

It's hard to describe my initial feeling. I was pleasantly surprised, perhaps, like many others before me, by this unusual geographical find. Why did these islands carry the word Turks as part of their names? What did the word Caicos mean, anyway?

After a while, other important things superseded my interest and unconsciously I placed the matter on the back burner of my mind , so to speak, thinking about it on the occasions of hurricane warnings or other situations when the islands names were mentioned.

Yet, my sense of curiosity was increasing during every passing year, and I knew that I was never going to be satisfied with the answers I was receiving for my questions from the 'so-called' experts. Neither did I wish to pay attention to some of my Turkish friends, who claimed that not only were the islands 'discovered' by Turks, who gave their name to them,but also the word Caicos was a derivative of the Turkish word Kayik !

Since the same people were also claiming that the famous falls at Niagara, described the Turkish exclamation, "Ne yaygara,!" and the South American river, the Amazon, meant "Amma Uzun,!" I did not take their claims too seriously.

Years went by. And then a friend sent me a German poster, which showed an interesting map, with pictorial drawings of ships and strange horned animals, monkeys, parrots, alligators, and colorful, painted 'natives' The legend stated:

Piri Reis,(1465-1555) the famous Turkish Seafarer, drew the first map of the Atlantic Ocean and the Americas in 1513 on gazelle leather. The original map can be found in the Topkapi Palace Museum in Istanbul.

This poster, together with the two books on Piri Reis' exploits, purchased earlier from ATAA, peaked my interest to the point where I had to investigate this topic for myself. Was this map a clue? Could it be that the islands were named for Piri Reis? I could find no information in books or libraries. So, one fine week-end when I had not much to do, I booked passage on an airline and made reservations at a local motel on the island of Grand Turk.

With my notebook, cameras and video equipment in tow, I began on my fascinating voyage from Miami's International Airport. My first destination, was Providenciales, a small town situated on the main island. Tropical breezes of the Caribbean Sea, and the calypso music were the first indications, telling me that I was away from and was beyond the Cuban culture of Miami.

This place had the atmosphere of a different era and time. I was here to seek answers to questions about a mysterious traveler from the Orient, visiting these shores many centuries ago. I found myself carefully looking around as if I were in the presence of an ancient mariner from Turkey, whose face might momentarily show itself, if not in real time, then in a lengthy passage from a lingering past.

Before I undertook this trip, I had read stories about the great Turkish admiral and cartographer, Piri Reis, who, in the early 1500s set out to discover the lands west of the existing known world of his day. His trip was made for the deliberate purpose of especially mapping the shores of the New World, which had been discovered by Christopher Columbus only a few years before his famous voyage.

What separated his mission from the one of the Italian explorer from Genoa, was that he knew where he was going, but Columbus did not. Piri Reis, meticulously charted maps of the Mediterranean Sea, the Iberian peninsula, the West African coast, the China Sea, South America and the Caribbean basin which are considered among the very first ones of these regions.

All this knowledge in my head and the totally new surroundings may have played a role in my thinking. But not to know what would be awaiting me on the outer island of Grand Turk was still very beguiling.

I felt that the first thing I had to do, was to get a taxi and go to the office or to the residence of the Governor General of the islands and ask for a short interview., I thought that the Hon. Michael Bradley,the Governor would surely have access to historical records which would explain the mysterious names of these islands . But I was told at the airport that he was in England with his family on a vacation.

At the airport the waiting room walls were plastered with the enlarged photographs of the Lieutenant Governor and other dignitaries, but I found out that to be able to talk to any of them, I had to submit a written request 3 weeks ahead of time. It was a pity that I missed the Governor General. He is said to hold open court daily from 10:00 am till 2:00pm in the afternoon when he was present.

As I was deciding to see what other options I had, the loudspeaker announced that my plane was ready for the short 45 minutes flight to the island of Grand Turk, where I had reserved my stay. Though the single engine 6 passenger airship did not seem to be very reassuring, there was really no turning back from this.

The plane was ready. We took off. After a few moments of anxious hesitations, I became as calm as the pilot in the open cockpit, who took off his listening gear, stretched his arms a bit and uncapped a bottle of water to quench his thirst. We , the passengers, had none of that luxury, but it was just a short hop, after all.

Contrary to my suspicions, everything went well. We were now on the ground. I signaled a taxi to take me to my motel. Even though the name of the island is Grand Turk, it is, nevertheless, the smallest of the islands, I was told this by my friendly and also very informative driver.

The main source of income for the islands came from seasonal tourism, coinciding with the winter months of the Western hemisphere and from attractive, colorful postage stamps they issue frequently. They also exported sea products, crayfish and conch. I was there on off-season, when not very many tourists were visiting the islands. To me this was a blessing since I was from Miami, Florida, where we have none other than wall-to-wall tourists all year long. This was going to be a quiet week-end when I could do my investigation comfortably.

I was set off at the motel 'Coral Reef,' a compound of tropical bungalow-style buildings, housing individual rooms, or suites for larger groups. Mine was small, very cozy, with all the amenities of a nice southern U.S. motel.

After a refreshing shower and a light snack brought to my room, I watched a bit of world news on CNN and went to bed. The next morning I was up and around early to begin to solve the ever-persistent mystery of TURKS and CAICOS, after a hardy breakfast, consisting of the same items to be found in the American breakfast; orange juice, eggs, sausages, hash-brown potatoes, toast and tea. This island has been, after all, a British Crown Colony since 1962. Luckily, I happen to prefer tea for my breakfast, especially when it is brewed in the British way.

My breakfast partner, sharing the same table with me, was a German tourist, who claimed that this breakfast could even revive the dead.' It was hard not to agree with him. Our conversation was interrupted by the prompt arrival of John, my chauffeur from the previous day, who had promised to show me 'everything worth seeing.'

On the way to the island's seaport, I was given a concert y John, first humming , then singing some of the island's folk songs. The radio was broken, he explained. After he had completed his repertoire, I attempted to get some information on the history of the island, but the only thing he could offer was that his grandfather had told of some pirates from the East, who had invaded the islands and ruled them for a long time before selling them to the British. This sounded as flimsy as the stories I had heard from the other side. However, not wishing to antagonize my driver, I changed the subject to the possibility of the existence of a museum. To my surprise, he said there was one.

At the town's seaport, not more than 10 meters from the shore, we came to an old, stately building. While the waves broke gently on the sandy beach in front of us with a soothing swish all of their own, we entered the building, paid the entrance fee, and obtained the special permit to photograph with flash attachment, and to make video sequences. This special permit was obtained for an additional few American dollars, which are also the legal tender on the islands.

The walls of the museum were covered with oil paintings depicting the passage of Christopher Columbus at the islands known today as the Turks and Caicos. I was eagerly going through dozens of maps, reproductions of old etchings and carvings. At one point, I was able to stop at the cubicle, where an elderly lady was busy arranging brochures, and stamping posters.

I approached this curator, who surely must know a lot about the island, introduced myself and asked her about the name of the islands. After some conversation, in which I told her about Piri Reis, she replied, "even though I heard of the Piri Reis legend from a TV program I watched not so long ago, and I know that he was a mariner, I do not know the connection of him being a Turk and the name of our islands." Then she paused for a moment and said, "However, I remember my grandfather telling me what he had heard from his elders, that at one time, before the British came to the islands, some turbaned people with black beards and mustaches, roamed among the different islands."

She also mentioned a plant, a cactus, growing wild around the hills and dales of Grand Turk. "This cactus", she said, "is the same size as a human head, with a bump of some sort on top. Every spring the upper part of this cactus blooms to a bright red in color."

From afar, these plants have surely the appearance of a Turk's head with a turban and a red fez, I imagined. It is not surprising that the natives call this plant, you guessed it 'the Turk's Head.'

The curator became my personal guide, leading me to a display of very old ship parts, of which she said, "They have been here for a long time. I am not sure from whose ship they come." Looking at these fragments, pieces of wood, a few links of a chain, an anchor, hooks, metal bands, spikes, some sort of food utensil, I was waiting, hoping for some recognizable item, some sign that this is the link, the proof that Piri Reis was indeed here on this island. But, I saw no crescent and star, no gray wolf, no blue beads. I had no way of determining such a fact in a scientific manner, either.

Reluctantly, I moved onto the few other, more modern exhibits. When I was ready to leave, my guide had a favor to ask of me. She wanted me to sign the Honor Guest Book. I obliged her with great pleasure. After filling in the regular name and home town address stuff, I couldn't refrain from scribbling the following lines: "As another Turk visiting your beautiful islands so many centuries after the first one, I'm signing your Guest Book in honor of the great Turkish Admiral Piri Reis. May He Rest In Peace!"

The last place my driver wanted to take me was a resort hotel run by a Frenchman. He said the name of the hotel was the Turk's head. I was properly introduced to the owner of the establishment. Over a couple of Pernods, our conversation found its subject. I asked my gracious host what he knew about the name of the islands. The same mysterious silence dwelled over our talk as had happened in the museum. However, after some moments, he said that there is a legend still circulating among the better educated, that around 1560 it is believed that several galleons of pirates had invaded the islands. Either the captain, or one of the galleon's name was the Grand Turk in translation.

Though this semi-legendary and somewhat fanciful information was not what I had hoped to hear. I had come to the end of my information sources, and I was ready to return to my home in Miami.

As the Jumbo jet was humming, while flying over the snow-white clouds, of the blue Caribbean, I was about to doze off after two rather busy and tiring days. I felt almost transported to a hypnotic level in a shadowy, soft, dreamy world. I found myself asking the question,

"Has this been the Blue Atlantis of Piri Reis? Were the legendary turbaned characters of the native lore, the descendants of the crew, who brought the great admiral to these shores? Was it because of this legendary figure that the islands are known as the Turks and Caicos? Was my trip to these tropical lands really productive?"

The answers to all those questions were about to be given by a white-turbaned, long-bearded gentleman, dressed in his full-length silk kaftan. He put down his sextant, with which he was measuring the distant horizons, and was about to speak when a gentle hand shook my shoulder. I woke up to learn from the hostess that we were about to land at the International airport in my home town in Florida.





Lessons to be learned from Monsieur Sarkozy
November 21, 2006
AYŞE ÖZGÜN
With reference to the claim of the French committing genocide upon the Algerian people, I understand French Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy wiped the slate clean as follows: "Children should not be held responsible for the misdeeds of their fathers."

Touché, Monsieur! Commendable, isn't it? Almost genius.

The presidential contender/nominee Sarkozy knows which button to push when it concerns historical and serious matters facing his own country but prefers to sing and dance to a different tune when similar allegations are made toward a nation other than his own.

Isn't that just dandy?

Now why can't my governments learn to think and act like Sarkozy?

Take the case of the debts incurred by the Ottoman government but which the newly formed Turkish Republic paid back in full. Couldn't they have made the same excuse as Sarkozy? Couldn't they have said: "Look! The Turkish Republic represents the birth of a brand new nation. It is a country that has nothing to do with the Sultanate. The sultans of the Ottoman Empire may have incurred many debts, but why should a different, separate and brand new nation like us be responsible for their actions?"

And, furthermore, they could have added, "Since when have children been responsible for the misdeeds of their fathers, huh?"

It is as if Sarkozy passes the buck back to his father when the matter concerns a French genocide upon the Algerians but claims the buck stops with him when the Armenian diaspora pressures French lawmakers to discredit the Turkish people for the Ottomans, who they claim committed genocide upon their Armenian subjects.

Why can't members of my government in Ankara learn from such simple comments made by Sarkozy? It seems to me life is showing one example after another to my government, but who is listening




No Mr. President, you are wrong:
Mehmet Ali Birand
November 21, 2006
© 2005 Dogan Daily News Inc.
Armenian President Robert Kocharian says, “Politicians, not historians, should analyze the genocide.” The world should not fall into this trap. We are faced with a total deception.

The Armenian president's statement to German daily Die Welt last week was very interesting. He said: “The responsibility lies with politicians, not historians. We don't believe there are misunderstandings that can be resolved by historians. Every one knows about hundreds of thousands of Armenians being killed. Turkey's problem is its failure to accept this.”

You must have noticed it, too. Kocharian does not hide his intentions. He openly says what the biggest fear is of those who believe in the genocide.

This fear is the possibility of the genocide claims being assessed and discussed by historians. No matter how biased historians can be, they need to use certain criteria to assess the facts and reach a conclusion. In other words, they will question the genocide.

This is the biggest fear of the Armenians.

For the last 80 years, they have found it easy to make the world believe their claims. They used biased information, hearsay and fake documentation to prove their claims. They were successful at it too. They gave the world the impression that the Armenians were the victims of genocide and that Turks were the culprits. Many countries accepted this as a fact.

After all the effort they put into it, they don't want any new discussions on the matter.

What is Kocharian trying to say?

He says: “Genocide is a fact and the world accepts it. There is no need to gather a group of historians to discuss it. The problem is the fact that Turkey doesn't accept this result.”

He means there is no reason to debate the genocide. He wants the discussion to center on why Turkey is failing to accept it.

He is trying to divert the target.

He is trying to change the composition of the commission of historians proposed by Turkey to achieve his aim.

“Let's gather a commission of politicians instead of historians. The real responsibility lies with politicians.”

The commission of politicians will discuss why Turkey doesn't accept the genocide claims.

I don't believe the world can fall into such a trap. Kocharian seems to think everyone else is an idiot. If the Armenians really do believe in the genocide claims they have made over the years, they should not fear any discussions over it. Their objections show they are not totally convinced of their accuracy.

Kocharian may deceive certain groups with such an attitude, but he can't deceive us. He is also deceiving his own people.

What I am wondering about the most is how Ankara will spoil this game. If this deception is not exposed, this plan may succeed. We have failed to voice our case until now. We should at least be clever now. Let's not allow the Armenians to take over this commission proposal.




British Deputies Launch Campaign Against French Armenian Bill
Selcuk Gultasli, Brussels
November 21, 2006
zaman.com
In a written declaration, three British deputies in the European Parliament have harshly criticized France’s draft Armenian genocide bill, which was adopted in the parliament on Oct. 12.

For the declaration, a joint initiative by British Labor Party deputies Michael Cashman and Richard Howitt, and British Liberal Andrew Duff, to become a resolution, it has to be signed by 367 deputies.

Cashman asserted that the French draft bill was aimed at undermining Turkey’s EU bid and Howitt noted that the French parliament’s decision was hypocritical and provocative.

The written declaration states its regret for the French Assembly’s decision and noted that this contradicted the principle of freedom of speech, a universal right and one born in French enlightenment.

The declaration said that the genocide bill would impede the efforts of those who have been working on the amelioration of Turkey’s freedom of speech record.

Furthermore, it would not make any contributions to relations between Turkey and Armenia, and called on the French Senate to reject the draft.

The declaration also called on the EP President to transmit this document to the French Assembly, French government, European Council and European Commission.

Duff: The Ottoman State was not Strong Enough to Commit Genocide

Speaking to Zaman, British Liberal EP member Andrew Duff said that most EP members opposed the French Parliament’s decision, but it was not clear how much support their declaration would garner.

Asked whether he was hesitant to be labeled by the Armenian lobby and their supporters a “denier,” Duff recalled that they had already declared him one.

He said Turks should be able to face with their history: “However, I do not think this would mean the acceptance of the allegations. At its dawn, the Ottoman State was not strong enough to commit genocide. There were massacres; however, genocide is a strong expression to describe what had happened.”

Duff also said that it was not fair to force Turkey to accept the existence of an Armenian genocide while most European countries had a dark history of their own.




12 Turkish Candidates to Run in Nov. 22 Dutch Elections
November 21, 2006
zaman.com
Twelve candidates of Turkish origin from seven different parties will run in the upcoming elections in the Netherlands.

In September, three Turkish candidates had been previously expelled from their parties because of their refusal to accept recognition of an Armenian genocide.

The Turkish candidates are running for the Christian Democrats (CDA), the Labor Party (PvdA), Democrat 66 party (D'66), Liberal Party (VVD) and several smaller right-wing parties.

Approximately 12 million Dutch will vote for 150 members of the chamber of deputies on Wednesday.

None of the 26 parties is expected to win a majority of the vote. A struggle is anticipated between the rightist Christian Democrats (CDA) and the main opposition Labor Party (PvdA).

The previous expulsion of Turkish candidates has led to speculation that most Turkish origin voters will opt for Fatma Koser who is running with D'66.

She might even become a minister if the predictions are true.

More than 250,000 Turkish citizens in the country have double citizenship and approximately two thirds can vote.

There are already several Turkish MPs in the Dutch parliament.




Çiçek calls TSK's France stance ‘normal':
November 20, 2006
ANK - Turkish Daily News
The Turkish Armed Forces' (TSK) decision to suspend military relations with France in response to French legislation that would criminalize denying that the killings of Armenians in the last century amounted to genocide is “normal,” according to Justice Minister Cemil Çiçek.

Speaking to reporters over the weekend in Bucharest where he visited at the invitation of his Romanian counterpart, Çiçek first of all noted that what France did to Turkey with the bill in question was “unfair,” reported CNN-Türk on Sunday.

The bill is not compatible with the friendly relations between Turkey and France, Çiçek added.

“Turkey is trying to put forth its own manner. There is nothing more normal than this,” he was quoted as saying, referring to the TSK decision which was made public last week by Land Forces Commander Gen. İlker Başbuğ.

Only a day after Başbuğ, Defense Minister Vecdi Gönül said that France would not be invited to the International Defense Fair (IDEF) in Ankara next year. Gönül said recent developments in France had disappointed everyone and that Turkish officials had informed their French counterparts of Ankara's uneasiness during NATO meetings in Brussels and on other occasions.




Diplomats wary of 'genocide' arbitration
November 20, 2006
BARÇIN YİNANÇ
Turkish Daily News
Even those who sympathize with the idea warn against risks and say any step in that direction must be taken with utmost caution

A proposed new strategy tabled for discussion by Foreign Minister Abdullah Gül to counter Armenian genocide claims finding sanction in the French and other parliaments around the world, a plan that envisions turning the issue over to international arbitration, has met a cautious reception from Turkey's diplomatic missions abroad.

Turkey's government, faced with growing international pressure to recognize the allegations, has intensified its quest for a new strategy and fresh thinking on the intractable issue that has long tied up Turkey's relations with Armenia and a potent political tool for those seeking to obstruct Turkey's entry to the European Union. Following a tentative vote in France's lower house of parliament last month to make “genocide denial” a crime, the Foreign Ministry has consulted with the key Turkish diplomatic missions in Europe and in the United States about measures to be taken to counter the world-wide Armenian campaign. Diplomatic missions abroad have been also asked to comment particularly on a possible move to seek international arbitration to settle debate over events in the final years of the Ottoman Empire. Armenians claim 1.5 million Armenians were killed in Anatolia as part of a systematic genocide campaign at the hands of the late Ottoman Empire. Turkey, however, categorically denies the charges, saying both the death toll is inflated and that Armenians died in a revolt against the Ottoman Empire in collaboration with the Russian army then invading eastern Anatolia, a conflict which killed Turkish civilians as well.

But assessments conveyed to Ankara from the diplomatic missions in Europe and the United States reveal that senior Turkish diplomats are cautious towards the idea. Even those who sympathize with the idea warn against risks and say any step in that direction must be taken with utmost caution.

Diplomats have made their own recommendations on what the best steps should be. A majority of them insist that Turkey should pursue its proposal to Armenia to set up a joint commission of scholars to examine history. To date, Yerevan has rejected that proposal.

They also say Turkey should develop separate strategies for each country and reiterate old recommendations that academic publications on the issue should be increased. Other recommendations included winning over the Western public opinion through shooting a movie on the issue and establishing contact with the powerful Armenian diaspora.

Ankara is expected to finalize its new strategy after assessing recommendations from the diplomatic missions.

Signaling a shift in Turkey's policy on Armenian claims of genocide, Gül said last week that Turkey was contemplating international arbitration on the issue.

Gül said retired diplomats and Turkish and reliable foreign law experts were carrying out meticulous studies on the issue.

The government's quest for a new strategy is motivated by concerns that the issue will create more serious problems for Turkey in a short and medium term if no step is taken to counter the Armenian efforts.

In the United States, the House of Representatives is widely expected to pass a resolution recognizing the Armenian claims of genocide in the coming months after the Democrats won a majority in the U.S. Congress in Nov. 7 elections.

Nancy Pelosi, who is to become the speaker of the House of Representatives soon, is from the state of California with a large and politically powerful Armenian community. In her campaign this year, she pledged to push for the resolution, which was shelved in the past under pressure from the administration, should Democrats win control of Congress.

Armenians are expected to step up their campaign in the run up to 2015, the 100th anniversary of the World War I era events which Armenians claim amounted to genocide.

Lack of progress in Turkey's proposal to Armenia to set up a joint commission of historians to look into the events of World War I played a role in pushing Turkey to consider unilateral steps for a solution.




Diplomats wary of conceding to 'genocide' arbitration
November 20, 2006
Turkish Daily News
At the invitation of the Foreign Ministry, Turkish diplomatic missions voiced caution about a possible move to seek international arbitration on Armenian claims of genocide, a growing thorn in the side of Turkish policy making worldwide

Discussion of a proposed new strategy initiated by Foreign Minister Abdullah Gül to confront growing international pressure to recognize Armenian claims of genocide at the hands of the Ottoman Empire with a turn to international arbitration has prompted interest hued with caution on the part of Turkish diplomats abroad.

Turkish diplomatic missions expressed caution about a possible move to seek international arbitration on the allegations. The Foreign Ministry has asked key Turkish diplomatic missions in Europe and the United States to advise them regarding a response to the Armenian campaign worldwide. Turkish ambassadors have also been asked to comment in particular on a possible move to seek international arbitration. Gül stated recently that taking the issue to international arbitration was also being considered.

Senior Turkish diplomats from Europe and the United States have conveyed to Ankara that they should proceed with caution. Even those sympathetic to using international arbitration as a tool warned there may be risks and said any step in that direction should be taken with the utmost caution.

There was consensus among them that Turkey should pursue the call to work with Yerevan to form a joint commission to investigate genocide claims.

A new Turkish strategy will emerge after evaluating the suggestions of Turkish diplomats abroad. The concern that these new claims of Armenian genocide will become a much more serious issue in the short term and in the future has caused Turkey to step up efforts to form a new strategy.




Abdullah Gul: Armenians' Genocide Allegation Will Be The Most Serous Problem In Forthcoming 10 Years
By Hakob Chakrian
AZG Armenian Daily
17/11/2006
On November 14, the Budget Department of the Turkish parliament discussed the Foreign Ministry's budget. In his parliament speech Turkish foreign minister Abdullah Gul touched upon the Armenian Genocide saying: "Genocide claims and the resultant threat of worsening relations with the third states will be the most serious problem for us in forthcoming ten years."

Turkish foreign minister pointed out that his ministry is working jointly with Turkish and foreign lawyers on rebuffing the genocide claims, Milliet newspaper writes. "We will take all necessary measures up to taking the issue to the international court. Besides Armenia, Ankara has also turned to third countries with a request to set up a joint commission of historians," Gul said.

Deputy of the oppositional People's Republican Party, Shakryu Elekdag, welcomed Gul saying: "He is the first foreign minister who speaks about taking the Armenian allegations to the international court. His approach should be raised to the level of state policy and to inform the world about our readiness to go to court.

Turkey has to declare that it is ready to accept any definition of the 1915 event if it will stem out from the clauses of the UN Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide. Based on this definition, the issue should be handed over to an international court. The Armenians will reject this, but our readiness in moral and legal sense will greatly limit speculation of the genocide against Turkey."

Elekdag, who is also a former ambassador and is deeply into the Armenian issues, added: "In case of transferring the issue to court, Armenians will have to prove by facts that they were exterminated for merely being Armenians. They have no such evidence, whereas Turkey has documents proving that the deportation was carried out for self-defense reasons.

Armenians will fail to get the genocide confirmation at the International Arbitral Court. Turkey and Armenia will appoint 3 arbiters each that will be headed by an independent foreign judge. Let the commission decide whether the events of 1915 coincide with the UN's definition of genocide."




The Armenian issue is being discussed by Greek historians too
November 20, 2006
Ariana Ferentinou
Whatever the reason is, the Armenian genocide issue is here to stay as an important part of Turkey’s official foreign policy. Besides its serious political dimensions, there are also the historic dilemmas it has raised. Especially after the decision of the French National Assembly.

The Armenian issue is going to be the most serious issue in Turkish foreign policy for the next 10 years, said Abdullah Gül this week, speaking in front of the Budget Committee of the Turkish National Assembly. When he was asked whether Turkey is to seek international arbitration for the Armenian question, he replied, “Meticulous work is under way on this matter.” Gen. İlker Başbuğ's statement on the discontinuation of Turkish- French relations in the military field came as confirmation that Ankara is about to put a strong emphasis on the Armenian issue, as we enter the final month before the EU Summit in December.

There is a general consensus among the Greek media as to the reasons why Ankara has decided to shift the emphasis of its foreign policy to the Armenian issue. They claim that the government of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan wants to raise a “national issue” and try to claim some support against its failure so far to achieve any progress on other serious fronts, namely Cyprus, EU and the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK). One of the chief commentators of Kathimerini newspaper wrote about the “dead end” in relations between Turkey and the EU, which could have repercussions for Greece if a “derailment” did occur. He thinks that the Ankara establishment considers it a great success to have actually started membership negotiations without having recognized one of the members of the EU. Hence, he believes the Turkish government and the military will remain adamant on Cyprus and let the Europeans agonize over what to do with Turkey -- i.e. how to keep up appearances and be strict while at the same time not risking losing Turkey forever.

Whatever the reason is, the Armenian genocide issue is here to stay as an important part of Turkey's official foreign policy. Besides its serious political dimensions, there are also the historic dilemmas it has raised. Especially after the decision of the French National Assembly has given impetus for heated discussion among Greek historians, who are striving to find answers to such questions as “Who authorizes the state to legislate on why and how we should use our memory?”; “Is this a way to establish a singular truth?'; “How can state intervention against the freedom of expression be justified in the middle of Europe?”; and “Is the freedom of historical research and analysis restricted in that way?”

Here are some interesting views from Greek historians: in a recent article Professor Antonis Liakos of Athens University expressed his worries about the recent phenomenon of state or interstate institutions legislating over issues relating to historic memory. He recalled the resolution of the European Parliament which condemned communism. He thinks that people today through modern technology like the Internet, have infinite information resources. This enables everyone to create their own personal view of history without the intervention of the state or historians.

“Seeking aspects of the past has now become one of the basic ingredients of today's culture, which makes us continuously seek our cultural origins and identities. But while the preoccupation with issues of the past becomes a public practice, we are leaving behind more and more the view of history as an organized method. History becomes an issue of memory and cultural heritage… History gives emphasis to the framework which it analyses, while memory seeks the authenticity of the witness. The first approach is a skeptical approach the second is appealing to the feelings…It is difficult not to think that the decision by the French is connected to the denial of a European passport to Turkey,” writes Professor Liakos, who back in the first years of the '67 coup in Greece was condemned to death and then to life imprisonment as an objector to the Greek junta.

“We have to respect the memory of the victims, and to demand their recognition. The denial of the recognition of a victim is the survival of the ideology of the immolator. But this demand should not take the character of laws and restrictions which would interfere directly to issues of memory and conscience. Learning history does not mean anything if I do not learn how to think historically. Should it not be that the perception of History should be at the centre of historic studies?” he asks.

“Historic truth is the work of scientific research, not the legislator,” writes Professor Michalis Stathopoulos, a former minister of justice. “A law that seeks by itself to define the historic truth is either redundant (if what it stipulates corresponds to the truth, as the truth exists without the law) or distorts reality (if the historic truth is different). There are often different views as to what the historic truth is. Each one is free to have their own opinion and to bring their own proofs. This is part of the freedom of expression and the freedom of research. Whoever supports historical inaccuracies, history itself will answer them through independent historians. It is extremely sad that France took the same measure twice, once by making a crime the denial of Jewish Holocaust and second by penalizing denial of the Armenian genocide. Of course the starting point by the French is correct: Both genocides took place, history has registered them. What is still in question is the extent of damages, the circumstances, the number of victims,” states Professor Stathopoulos in his article “Betrayal of the Principles of the French Revolution.”

“The events of History and the Historic truth are not consolidated through processes of penalization,” writes Professor Anna Gazi from the University of Thessaly. “No historic truth, but no human suffering either, not even that of the Armenians, was ever established through a legal stipulation. The views of David Irving on the Holocaust are considered by many of us unacceptable and unsupportable. But his imprisonment in Austria did not contribute to the better understanding of the event, nor to the wider acceptance of the repulsive nature of his ideas,” she claims in an article entitled “The political usage of History.”

And the debate goes on. . .




Kocharian Wants Open Borders with Turkey Yet Refuse Any Step
JTW and New Anatolian
19 November 2006
Armenian President Robert Kocharian stated late Thursday that Turkey, as a candidate for European Union (EU) membership, should follow a "different approach" on the issue of establishing diplomatic relations with neighbouring Yerevan. Turkey on the other hand argues that Armenia should withdraw its armed forces from neigbouring Azerbaijan and should recognise Turkey's national borders. Armenia does not recognise Turkey's
and Azerbaijan's national borders.

Stressing that diplomatic relations should be established without preconditions and prejudices, Mr. Kocharian claimed that although his country had suggested to Turkey the establishment of diplomatic relations, Ankara refused. "Our suggestion is still valid," he said in a speech at a meeting organized by the Bertelsmann Association in Berlin. However a Turkish diplomat in Ankara does not find Kocharian's statement serious adding "Armenia is not in a position to offer diplomatic relations with Turkey". Reminding that Armenian forces have been occupying almost 20 percent of Azerbaijani territories, the diplomat added Armenia first must follow a peacefull policy in the region.

Kocharian accepted in his speech that Turkey was an important country. Kocharian said "Turkey closed its borders with Armenia" yet he did not give the reason behind the decision. Kocharian did also not touch the open air borders between two countries. Many Armenians travel every week between two countries via airplanes.

* 'Proposal for historians' commission is a ploy'

The Armenian president Kocharian further dismissed the Turkish Prime Minister tayyip Erdogan's proposal to establish a joint commission of historians to study the Armenian historical claims as a "Turkish ploy" by which he claimed Ankara will try to distance itself from the core of the alleged issue. According to the Armenian side, there is nothing to be discussed, and Turkey has to accept what the Armenian side says. Last week Turkish Foreign Minister Abdulah Gul declared that Turkey has been studying to go to the international court for the Armenian claims. Dr. Nilgun Gulcan from the Ankara-based USAK told the JTW "Armenians have never gone to the courts but parliaments, because they do want to keep the issue in the political area. They know that they would lose any case if they go to the international or local courts. International law says that the 1915 events is not genocide".

Kocharian made the remarks in response to former German Ambassador Dietrich Kyaw, who asked him why he had rejected Turkish Premier Recep Tayyip Erdogan's proposal of a historians' commission to examine the genocide allegations. Turkey has offered many alternatives to establish dialogue between Turkey and Armenia to solve all problems, including the genocide claims. Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan even invited Mr. Kocharian to Istanbul, yet all of these offers and invitations were strongly rejected by Armenia and its president.

Kocharian also stated that Yerevan wants the establishment of a commission of politicians instead of a commission of historians and said, "Politicians, not historians, have responsibility for the 'genocide'." However Assoc. Prof. Dr. Sedat Laciner, Turkish expert on Armenian studies, asked "why politicians?". Laciner further continued:

"Which politicians are responsible for the so-called genocide? The exisiting politicians in Turkey? It is really difficult to understand Mr. Kocharian. According to the International Law, individuals are responsible for genocide crime. It means that even if we consider the 1915 events as Genocide, today's Turkey or its politicians canno be responsible for the events happened almost a century ago. 1915 is past, Mr. President has to realise that we live in 2006, not in 1915. Historians, political scientists or lawyers should discuss the claims, not the politicians."

Kocharian: 'Nagorno-Karabakh is independent'

Armenian President Robert Kocharian also claimed that the disputed enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh declared its independence following the collapse of the Soviet Union and the enclave has never been a part of Azerbaijan, though the region was one of the provinces of Azerbaijan during the Soviet Union. The European Union and the OSCE officialy condemned Armenia as occupier in Karabakh. No state in the world, including Armenia officially recognises Nagorno-Karabakh. Apart from Karabakh, some other towns of Azerbaijan have also been under the Armenian occupation.




. .



Armenian Documents also Deny Genocide Claims
Fatih Atik
November 19, 2006
zaman.com
Armenians themselves have disagreed with genocide claims currently made by the international Armenian Diaspora.

Grateful letters written to Ottoman sultans by Armenians living in Anatolia in those times will be important trump cards in favor of Turkey.

A letter of thanks sent to the Ottoman Sultan Abdulhamit II by Armenians has drawn attraction. This letter refutes genocide claims and has been displayed in an exhibition since Nov. 14 in the Turkish Parliament.

The works in the exhibition drew attention to the freedoms Ottoman sultans provided for different religious groups.

The letter, written on behalf of the Armenian community sent to Abdulhamit II, stated that Ottoman sultans respected Armenians as well as other groups, adding they would never stop working for the Ottoman Empire despite some insurgents and their lies.

Speaker of the Turkish Parliament Bulent Arinc felt that the exhibition proved Ottoman tolerance with concrete examples and was crucial material for the Alliance of Civilizations project.

Dossiers to be Forwarded Abroad

The Turkish parliament commission in charge of European Union adaptation is determined to forward the dossiers in the exhibition to EU politicians.

Meanwhile, at the request of the EU Adaptation Commission, the Turkish State Archives head office has gathered a collection of peace agreements that the Ottoman Empire made with Western countries, as well as edicts announced for non-Muslims.




An Open Letter to Mr. Michael Rubin
Barin KAYAOGLU
On October 19, American Enterprise Institute scholar and respected Middle East expert Michael Rubin published an article on the Wall Street Journal. In “Mr. Erdoğan’s Turkey,” Rubin argued that the future of Turkey as a secular and Western-oriented state was at risk. Prime Minister Tayyip Erdoğan, according to Rubin, was using “the rhetoric of democracy to advance distinctly undemocratic agendas” while American diplomats were interfering to dismiss these concerns and downplay the Islamist threat.[1]

In making his case against Erdoğan, Rubin spared no punches. Even though Erdoğan had endorsed Turkey’s entry into the European Union, he was really using those reforms to dilute “the checks and balances of military constitutional enforcement” (the paradox in that phrase is too hard to miss). Following the European Court of Human Rights decision to uphold a ban on headscarves in universities earlier this year, Erdoğan criticized the court’s decision because they had not “consulted Islamic scholars.” Later in May, the chief-negotiator for the accession talks with the EU, Ali Babacan, removed reference to the secular dimension of Turkey’s educational system from one of the working papers.

Rubin further emphasized this point on how the Erdoğan government has been systematically attacking Turkey’s secular education system. The promotion of graduates of religious high schools (İmam Hatips) to enter regular universities and attempts to debilitate the influence of the secular-oriented Higher Education Council (Yükseköğretim Kurulu-YÖK) by founding 15 new universities indicated that.

Rubin’s harangue touched on other well-known objections to Erdoğan: appointing “like-minded” bureaucrats to various positions in the government, particularly the Central Bank; the failed attempt to ban the sale of alcohol from residential neighborhoods; endorsement of the Saudi businessman Yasin al-Qadi, who has been identified by the UN and the U.S. Treasury Department as an al-Qaeda financier; and Erdoğan’s background in Necmettin Erbakan’s Islamist movement in the 1980s and 1990s when he likened democracy to a streetcar that could be ridden until one arrived at the desired destination and then “hopped off.”

The article finally criticized the U.S. government for causing “more harm than good” by throwing “[politically correct] PC platitudes” at the Erdoğan government and for supporting a political party in “an established democracy” that was entering 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,” concluded Rubin.

Before talking about the things that I thought after reading Mr. Rubin’s piece, let me say that I am not a supporter of either Prime Minister Erdoğan or his party. I do not think that his government is doing a good job with running the country (although they have been much more successful than the chronically inept coalition governments of the 1990s and early 2000s). Following his catastrophic “the army is no place for slacking” remark, I do not champion Erdoğan’s presidential aspirations for the simple reason that I do not believe that he will be an effective commander-in-chief. He does not possess the intellect, the statesmanship, the wisdom, and the prudence to be the president of a country that sits at the most critical junction on the planet. For all intents and purposes, his Foreign Minister Abdullah Gül is a better candidate.

The Erdoğan’s governments education policy is also a wreck. Whereas his government should be aiming to elevate the intellectual quality of Turkey’s imams (prayer leaders) by promoting college-level education, his insistence to promote the İmam-Hatip high schools is not so much politically unwise but practically meaningless (Erdoğan himself is a graduate of an İmam-Hatip). Not many graduates of İmam-Hatips prefer to be imams and those who do are not trained well enough to meet the needs of their communities. As for Erdoğan’s confrontation with YÖK, it is equally futile. Instead of encouraging the council to improve academic standards across Turkish universities, which are quite below those of their Western counterparts, Erdoğan has been engaging in endless turf wars with YÖK which do not translate into better libraries, better facilities, and better faculty.

That I do not support Mr. Erdoğan, however, does not mean that I am furious about his rule. For one thing, as Mr. Rubin correctly asserts, Turkey is a consolidated democracy. The political problems that Turkey faces today are not the same ones that it faced thirty, twenty, or even ten years ago. Radical Islam has failed to offer itself as a viable political project; ethnic nationalism, despite extracting a severe toll on civilian lives, has failed to accomplish its ultimate goal to escalate terrorism into civil war. In bringing about economic development and increased political democracy, the past four years under Erdoğan have not been that bad.

One should also be honest, nonetheless. Turkey still needs a genuinely liberal political party that neither has a problem with the way that Turkish people live Islam nor with the way that the secular state operates. None of the political parties know (or even worse, care) how to raise the people’s standard of living. One of the things that they all have in common is that they do not have a vision to elevate the country to what its Founding Father Mustafa Kemal Atatürk called the level of “modern” countries.

It is worth noting that there is an even greater challenge to liberal democracy here in the United States. Many of my Democrat friends have been cheering about their party’s success in the midterm elections. I, on the other hand, am utterly disappointed. What I am disenchanted about is the electoral success of the incumbent senator from my state, George Allen. Even though he made an expressly racist remark last summer (calling an Indian-American student working for his opponent’s campaign a “macaca”), Allen still managed to get nearly half the votes from the electorate. His contestant James Webb beat him only by a 7,000-vote margin in what should have been a decisive victory. I can only read the results as an expression of endorsement for Allen’s ill-concealed racism.

There is a deep animosity between individuals from different “racial” groups in this country. African-Americans still feel discriminated and have developed a counter-culture to what they perceive as “white” America. On the other hand, many “white” Americans, especially in the South, who are not honest enough to admit that they are racist, champion “Confederate” symbols as a part of their “heritage” (imagine Germans coming up with a similar argument for their Nazi past).

One should be even more concerned for the future of a secular United States, for reasons similar to those that Mr. Rubin has about Turkey, though I believe that my worries are more justified. Last week, I went to see the British comedian Sacha Baron Cohen’s mockumentary Borat the Movie. What was absolutely disturbing in the film was the part when Cohen’s character went to a Pentecostal church, where the Chief Justice of the Mississippi Supreme Court James W. Smith argued how America was once a “Christian nation” and that it will once again become “Christian” in the near future.

It can be argued that Justice Smith is from one of the most backward states in the Union and what he says would not matter that much. But what about the case of Rep. Lynn Westmoreland (R-GA), who sponsored a bill last summer to put the Ten Commandments in the chambers of the House of Representatives and the Senate? For sure, the bill was killed almost instantly (probably owing to the fact that Westmoreland was not able to name all Ten Commandments in an interview with the comedian Stephen Colbert). But when one thinks about the part of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,” and the brazenness of a U.S. Representative to expressly defy that, it is time to feel uneasy. In Turkey, no politicians can expect to get away with suggesting to install religious symbols to any public building, let alone the Grand National Assembly.

Let us be honest with each other: the assault on secularism in the United States is not confined to a few legislators or judges; it is systematic and quite widespread. There is every effort to tear down the barriers between religion and state. The assault on abortion, sex education in schools, banning the study of the theory of evolution and trying to replace it with creationism are all done in the name of God. Furthermore, many politicians in this country believe that they are on a mission by God and are therefore infallible. It is completely lost to them that God really does not need human agency; especially one that is expressed in the form of self-righteousness.

Politicians’ use to of religious symbols is a lot more prevalent in the United States than it is in Turkey. Looking at this picture, I do believe that everyone should be more concerned about the future of secularism in America, the country that actually invented it. If secularism is gone, the United States will cease to exist as a democracy. Without a democratic United States, the world will be an even more unpleasant place to live.

It must be borne in mind that there is no such thing as a flawless democracy – the idea is perfect, but its application never is. In criticizing other countries for a lack of democracy, American intellectuals should question the possibility as to whether the same arguments can be made against them. “Stick the needle onto yourself, the awl onto others,” warns an old Turkish proverb. Reflecting one’s own position should precede passing judgments on others. Only by appreciating the short-comings in their arguments can intellectuals truly maintain the respect that they muster through hard-work.
+++
Barın 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
12 November 2006
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[1] Michael Rubin, “Mr. Erdoğan’s Turkey,” Wall Street Journal, October 19, 2006; available from http://www.meforum.org/article/1036.


Copyright © 2005 Journal of Turkish Weekly




The Economist: France’s Armenian Bill Restricts Free Speech
London-based The Economist reported that the main reason of the Armenian bill in France was growing hostility towards Turkey and its EU membership. ‘Free speech under threat’ titled article says that the Armenian bill restricts freedom of speech in France.

The Economist reports:

“The most vivid example of the creeping extension of Holocaust-denial laws has come in the French National Assembly, which last week voted for a bill to make denial of the genocide of Armenians in Turkey during the first world war a criminal offence. The political context for this was not just vociferous lobbying by Armenians in France but also growing hostility among voters to the idea of Turkish membership of the European Union. To appeal to such voters, the assembly proved ready to place restrictions on one of the most fundamental of all freedoms, that of speech (though in fact the bill is unlikely to become law).”

“This is a perfectly logical extension of a slew of laws imposing free-speech restrictions to suppress racial, ethnic and religious hatred. Indeed, it may be an offence to deny the Armenian genocide in France already, because its Holocaust-denial law was extended in 1990 to cover all crimes against humanity. Bernard Lewis, an American historian, was condemned by a French court in 1995 under this law. Britain also has laws against incitement to racial hatred; last January it tried but failed to extend them to religious hatred. On the face of it, then, it does not seem outlandish for Muslims to demand that Islam be equally “protected” under speech-restricting laws.”

17 November 2006
Copyright © 2005 Journal of Turkish Weekly




Three Deadly Mistakes of the U.S.
Sedat Laciner
The international community fully backed the United States (U.S.) after the September 11 in defending itself against the global terrorism. The motto “we are all American” was voiced by many countries including Turkey, Germany and France. Many states assisted the U.S. in its invasion of Afghanistan. However, the U.S. has made so mortal mistakes since 2001 that it has been the loneliest superpower ever. And the November 2006 elections have made the U.S. President George W. Bush the loneliest president ever in the U.S. history. The U.S.’ war on terror has been turning into a great failure. Today, there are more terrorists around the world than there were in 2001. The U.S.’ interventions have created much more problems that can be capitalized by the terrorists. Iraq has become a land of terror and chaos. The whole Middle East has been “Palestinianized,” let alone the lack of a settlement to the Palestine Question. Moreover, the entire world is getting more and more “Middle Easternized.” The cost of lives in Iraq has exceeded 700.000 and it continues to increase. Iran outspokenly defies the U.S., and North Korea is mocking with it. The U.S. president faces the insults of the Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez almost everyday. All the anti-American groups in the Central and South America are coming to power one by one. In short, the President Bush has wrecked the respectability of the U.S. during the relatively short period since 2001 and has been unable to attain almost any of his goals. So, where did he go wrong?

One can argue that the U.S. has made three essential mistakes in its war on global terror:

1. LACK OF SUFFICIENT ATTENTION TO ITS ALLIES AND THE INTERNATONAL LAW AND ORGANISATIONS: First of all, the U.S. has failed to heed the international law, international organizations and to respect the other great powers. The Washington has argued that it could still be powerful enough to protect its interests without the existence of those elements. One still remembers the words “the U.S. doesn’t need any other state or organization to protect itself.” The U.S.’ excessive self-confidence both has caused mistakes and has distanced its allies from America. But whatever the power of a country is, it is doomed to failure unless it is not supported by the law and its allies. As a matter of fact, there was no United Nations (UN) support during the invasion of Iraq. There was even no support of countries such as Germany and Canada. Though the U.S. blames these countries for the current situation, this is not the fault of only Germany or other allies, which has supported the U.S. in Afghanistan but not in Iraq. The U.S.’ recklessness and lack of paying enough attention to its allies has also affected its relations with Turkey. It has suggested granting Turkey $30 billion to use Turkish territories for the passage of American troops to Iraq. Washington thought that money could buy Turkish support. But the U.S. officials made so degrading statements regarding the Turkish people that the Turkish public opinion started to question the ‘real intentions’ of the U.S. Washington, having such a grave goal of invading Iraq and strongly in need of Turkey, a unique country in a strategic location, treated Turkey as if it was a tiny and unnoticeable country having to accept any deal from the Americans. Lacking even the most basic politeness, without informing Turkey on anything and without any elaboration in negotiations, the U.S. still thought the deal would be finalized. But the Turkish Grand National Assembly (TGNA), despite efforts by the government of Erdogan, rejected in March 1, 2003 the recommendation allowing the passage of U.S. troops to Iraq, and the Turkish parliament’s decision was appreciated by the majority of the Turkish public opinion. However, the U.S. was unable to understand the decision of Turkey, one of its closest allies until that time. Instead of focusing on its own mistakes, Washington blamed only Turkey again.

2. LACK OF REGIONAL SUPPORT: The second fatal mistake has been the lack of regional support. Apart from the Jews, there have been three great nations in the history of the Middle East: Arabs, Turks and Persians. In the past, the superpowers (the Ottomans, the British etc.) never ignored these three nations and always established their balance policies on the basis of these three elements. On the contrary, the U.S., a first-ever in history, did not base its Iraq policies on these groups. Iran has been the target from the very beginning and the tiny efforts in the Clinton era have been wasted. The Arabs have also been totally excluded. The invasion of Iraq, in a short while, has turned into a humiliation and punishment of the Arabs. On the other hand, the Turks were both punished and excluded from Iraq. No rights have been granted to the Iraqi Turks (Turcomen) and they have been marginalized from the domestic politics of Iraq. And Turkey’s all goodwill efforts have been rejected though it has wanted to send troops to Iraq to help the U.S. Turkey has been kept outside of Iraq. In brief, the U.S.’ Middle East policies lack three main pillars of the region, that is, the Arabs, the Turks and the Persians. Instead of that, the Americans have based their whole Iraq policy on the Kurdish tribe. This policy has no chance of success.

Let alone the cooperation with regional powers, the U.S.’ invasion of Iraq has frightened all the countries in the region except Israel. Not only Syria and Iran, but Egypt, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and other regional countries thought that it was their turn after Iraq. Thinking that the U.S. wants to divide them, their concerns have intensified as they have seen the alternative Middle East maps prepared by the Americans. The concerns reached their climax when the U.S. Secretary of State Rice declared that the borders in the Middle East have to be changed.

A similar case also exists in Afghanistan. The most significant nations in this region are the Turks, the Persians, Pakistanis and Russians. China and India can also be included as periphery. But the U.S. has the ambition of acting unilaterally there too. There are Turkish troops and troops of other NATO countries in Afghanistan. But the U.S. turns a blind eye to these countries. It takes all the decisions unilaterally and pursues a strategy similar to that of Iraq. However, everyone knows that the best and most successful troops in terms of relations with the local population in Afghanistan are the Turkish troops. On the other hand, the U.S. expects Turkey not to involve in the decision-making process but to implement the American orders in a larger area.

3. EXCESSIVE USE OF FORCE: The third deadly mistake of the U.S. has been its excessive use of force in combating terrorism and in dealing with the problems in the broader Middle East. Thinking that the evils of its enemies cannot be healed, Washington has never considered a compromise with its enemies. For the U.S., who defines terrorists and resistance fighters as ‘evil powers’, the struggle shall continue until the last enemy killed by the American soldiers. This is not the right approach. The success in combating terrorism cannot be measured by the body count. The real success is the drop in death rates and attacks. The U.S. has followed the Israeli example and people have remembered the Israeli troops in Palestine when they have seen the American troops in Iraq. However, Israel should be the last example to be followed. The end is quite clear if one models a country having security problems and causing bloodshed since its foundation till today. In fact, the U.S. troops has turned the success plans into a failure in Iraq by torturing innocent civilians in the Abu Ghraib Prison, conducting night raids in houses and causing the death of hundreds of thousands of civilians etc. Though the U.S. has achieved the occupation of Iraq in a short while and with considerably small number of deaths, it could not understand that a new period was beginning after the occupation. Had the U.S. not behaved as if the war was still continuing after the first two months, had it replaced the soldiers with the police force to ensure security and had it handed the administration to the Iraqis in the early stages of occupation, the current situation would have been better.

To put it short, the U.S., having committed such deadly mistakes in such a short period of time, not only has failed in Iraq and Afghanistan but also has caused the increase of anti-Americanism, religious fanaticism and terrorism all over the world. In comparison to the Clinton era, the U.S. in the Bush era has been a less respected, less powerful and less deterrent country. Only a few leaders could have committed so many mistakes in such a short period of time. George W. Bush has achieved this. But reversing these mistakes may take more time. As a result, a hard restoration period is ahead for Bush’s successor.

Sedat LACINER
slaciner@gmail.com
Translated from Turkish by Noyan OZKAYA (USAK)
10 November 2006
JTW Copyright © 2005 Journal of Turkish Weekly




Turkish-French feud won't undermine NATO, official says
By Judy Dempsey and Dan Bilefsky
International Herald Tribune
The decision by Turkey to freeze military ties with France will have no impact on NATO peacekeeping missions, a spokesman for the military alliance said Thursday.

"After talking with the French and Turkish delegations this morning in NATO, we have been assured that NATO missions will not be affected," the spokesman, James Appathurai, said in Brussels. In Afghanistan, France and Turkey jointly command troops in Kabul and the surrounding region as part of the NATO forces there.

General Ilker Basbug, commander of Turkish land forces, announced Wednesday that Ankara was suspending military ties to protest a vote last month in the French National Assembly to support a bill making it a crime to deny that Armenians had suffered genocide in the Ottoman Empire during World War I. The Senate has not yet acted on the measure.

Despite Basbug's announcement, neither the Foreign Ministry nor the Defense Ministry in Paris had received official notification of the Turkish decision. "To my knowledge, we have not received official word from the Turkish authorities on this subject," a Foreign Ministry spokesman, Jean-Baptiste Mattéi, said.

"I think we should not prejudge the evolution of these relations," a Defense Ministry spokesman, Jean-François Bureau, said. "It is not a sign of a crisis or of a major difficulty." He added that the Turkish government had said nothing.

In any event, Turkish officials and analysts said the suspension was likely to have more symbolic than practical effect because the bulk of Turkey's relations with France are handled through multilateral organizations such as NATO. Military contracts are offered through international consortiums.

Mehmet Dulger, chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee in the Turkish Parliament and a prominent member of the governing Justice and Development Party, said the French proposal had left Turkey with little choice but to retaliate. "The suspension of military ties with France is normal because the fact that the French National Assembly has accepted this law is an act of hostility against Turkey," he said.

"We are being incriminated by what has been done by our grandparents," Dulger said. "How is it possible? We have been made to act. We don't expect such a thing from a friend."

Oyur Oymen, deputy leader of the opposition Republican People's Party and a former ambassador to NATO, said the move could have a financial impact on France by reducing the number of French military contracts under consideration in Turkey. For example, he noted that French companies seeking to provide components for military helicopters would no longer be considered.

"The decision of the French National Assembly was against our traditional friendship alliance with France," said Oymen. "We tried very hard to stop this decision. But as they went ahead, we will retaliate. In international relations, you need to use leverage, and one of these levers is military spending."

French-Turkish trade amounted to €8.2 billion, or $10.5 billion, in 2005 but it was not immediately clear how much of that was defense-related.

Oymen did not exclude the possibility that Turkey could retract permission for French military ships to dock in its ports and make it more difficult for the French Air Force to obtain permission to use Turkish airspace. But he said Ankara would not breach international conventions it had signed.

"We want to punish France," he said. "We have no intention of punishing NATO. The suspension will have a psychological effect on France. The French need to realize that passing the bill has consequences. If they want to damage a long friendship they have to pay a price."

The dispute reflects a deep anger over what many Turks see as the hypocrisy of France, a country that they say purports to uphold free speech but is using the genocide bill to try to limit it.

Turkey acknowledges that a large number of Armenians died during the collapse of the Ottoman Empire in World War I, but it rejects the contention that the deaths constituted genocide. Armenians argue that as many as 1.5 million people were victims of a systematic genocide between 1915 and 1923.

Dan Bilefsky reported from Brussels.
Copyright © 2006 The International Herald Tribune | www.iht.com




Gyunduz Aktan Welcomes Fm Gul’s Readiness To Take The Genocide Issue To International Court
By Hakob Chakrian
He Suggests Putting America and France in the Dock Instead of Armenia
In its yesterday’s issue daily Azg informed that Turkish foreign minister Abdullah Gul’s statement saying: "Genocide claims and the resultant threat of worsening relations with the third states will be the most serious problem for us in forthcoming ten years… We will take all necessary measures up to taking the issue to international court."

On November 16, Turkish Milliet newspaper again touches upon Gul’s statement on taking the "Armenian allegations" to international court pointing out that his initiative was backed by another retired ambassador (former ambassador Shakryu Eleqdag also supported Gul) Gyunduz Aktan.

Milliet writes that the author of the idea is Aktam himself. Reportedly, he dubbed Gul’s statement "a very courageous step" and said: "I put forward the idea of taking the Armenian allegations to court at an event organized at US Congress in 2000. It’s time to act. By saying that the UN Convention of 1948 on genocide prevention has no retrospective force and therefore ‘’the event of 1915 cannot be described as genocide’ we will not escape from this issue. By doing so we do not prove to be right but instead fan the Armenians’ fire. But we have to challenge stating that we will turn to international court to find out if the events of 1915 match the definition of genocide. The International Court of Justice in the Hague is the best suited for that. To prove to the world that we are right instead of Armenia France should be invited to court and meanwhile the US must be warned that it will also appear in the dock if the Congress adopts an armenian resolution."

Aktan said that the court will try to ascertain whether the Armenians were purposefully exterminated. "We have around 1 million document at hand that show that there was no determination. Though the lawsuit can last 5-10 years, it will secure moral advantage for us right away. If either Armenia or France refuses to come to court they will appear in disgrace before the world. But if they turn in their lies will be disclosed, and Turkey will be saved a major headache," Aktan said.

According to Aktan, the lawsuit on "Armenian allegations" should include:
1. creation of a commission to study the authenticity of documents in the archives of Turkey, Armenia, Russia, USA, Germany, England and France as well as the Armenian Patriarchy in Istanbul and Dashnak Bureau in Boston,
2. to carry out statistical survey to find out if ethnic constitution has changed,
3. to the movement of the military and the activity of the Armenian armed groups,
4. to find out the death causes of people died during the deportation,
5. to study hospital rolls of the given period,
6. via forensic medicine to find out the nationality of those buried in common graves.



 © New Anatolian Kocharian urges establishment of diplomatic ties with Turkey
The New Anatolian / Berlin
18 November 2006
Armenian President Robert Kocharian stated late Thursday that Turkey, as a candidate for for European Union membership, should follow a "different approach" on the issue of establishing diplomatic relations with Yerevan.

Stressing that diplomatic relations should be established without preconditions and prejudices, Kocharian claimed that although his country had suggested to Turkey the establishment of diplomatic relations, Ankara refused. "Our suggestion is still valid," he said in a speech at a meeting organized by the Bertelsmann Association in Berlin, where he also met on Thursday with German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Touching on Armenian's relations with its neighbors, Kocharian also said, "Turkey, which is an important state in its region, closed its borders to Armenia. An important country like Turkey should follow a different approach."

'Proposal for historians' commission is a ploy'

The Armenian president dismissed the Turkish proposal to establish a joint commission of historians to study the Armenian genocide claims as a "Turkish ploy" by which he claimed Ankara will try to distance itself from the core of the alleged issue.

Kocharian made the remarks in response to former German Ambassador Dietrich Kyaw, who asked him why he had rejected Turkish Premier Recep Tayyip Erdogan's proposal of a historians' commission to examine the genocide allegations.

Kocharian also stated that Yerevan wants the establishment of a commission of politicians instead of a commission of historians and said, "Politicians, not historians, have responsibility for the 'genocide'."

'Nagorno-Karabakh is independent'

Kocharian also claimed that the disputed enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh declared its independence following the collapse of the Soviet Union and the enclave has never been a part of Azerbaijan.

Stating that Nagorno-Karabakh young people have grown up with the will to live in an independent state and won't retreat from the ways things are, Kocharian underlined the need for the concerned sides in the region to be ready for a solution in Nagorno-Karabakh before the EU makes new initiatives.

Kocharian stressed that no country that had gained its independence will give up this right and added, "The people of Nagorno-Karabakh also fought for for their independence and won it. Therefore they don't want to lose it."

Nagorno-Karabakh is a mountainous region in Azerbaijan that has been under the control of Armenian and ethnic-Armenian Karabakh forces since a 1994 cease-fire ended a six-year separatist war that killed about 30,000 people and drove about 1 million from their homes. The region's final status remains unresolved, and years of talks under the auspices of international mediators have brought few visible results.

Ankara: Armenia distorts the facts

Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesperson Namik Tan on Friday lambasted the claim of the Armenian Foreign Ministry, saying, "The claim that Kocharian's letter to Erdogan in 2005 did not get a response is another example of the Armenian aim to distort the facts."

Bringing up Erdogan's proposal to setup a commission composed of Armenian and Turkish historians to study the genocide claims, Tan said, "While the situation is like that, the Armenian Foreign Ministry claimed on Nov. 4 that Kocharian's letter to Erdogan did not get a response. However, the concerned Turkish and Armenian officials have gathered three times since April 2005, and our latest proposal was conveyed to Yerevan this September. Therefore, the latest claim of the Armenian Foreign Ministry is another example of the Armenian aim to distort the facts."




Turkey excludes France from defense fair
The New Anatolian / Ankara
18 November 2006
Defense Minister Vecdi Gonul announced on late Thursday that France hasn't been officially invited to a defense industry fair over the French Parliament's passage of an Armenian bill last month, introducing punishments to those who question genocide claims.

Gonul, at a meeting publicizing the Eighth Defense Industry Trade Fair, expressed his displeasure at the French Parliament's passage of the bill penalizing those who question Armenian genocide claims with prison terms up to one year and fines up to 45,000 euros, and said that they had presented Ankara's concerns to Paris on numerous occasions.

Gonul stated that Ankara gave a notice to French companies, instead of invitations, and added, "The French defense minister is a valuable government member. But he has not been formally invited here. We sent invitations to other countries."

The Turkish defense minister's remarks prompted a French official to leave the meeting. French Armament Attache Jean Claude Geay commented to reporters after leaving the meeting in the wake of Gonul's speech that an invitation was made to him by a retired general who heads the Turkish Armed Forces Foundation. "But after hearing the defense minister's statement, I realized that staying here for meetings was useless. That's why I'm leaving," he added.

In related news, the Turkish Culture and Tourism Ministry canceled the invitation of the a French music company to perform a remembrance ceremony for Turkish poet and Sufi mystic Mevlana Rumi.

The move of the Turkish Defense and Culture and Tourism Ministries came a day after Turkish Land Forces Commander Gen. Ilker Basbug announced that Turkey has suspended military relations with France over French Parliament's passage of the Armenian bill.

The French Defense Ministry played down on Thursday Turkish decision to suspend military ties with France, saying, "France believes that existing cooperation with Turkey will continue," and noting that the suspension was announced by a military commander, not Turkey's civilian government. However, no immediate response was made by France to the latest moves of the ministries.




French have little to complain about, but . . .
Ilnur Cevik
ilnurcevik@yahoo.com
18 November 2006
It's no secret that Turks are extremely angry and frustrated with a French National Assembly decision to make it a crime to deny that Turks were involved in a genocide against the Armenians at the turn of the last century.

The Turkish government was known to have voiced its dissatisfaction with this decision to the French administration, but it was generally believed that Ankara would take a "wait and see" approach to observe whether the French Senate would reject the bill or how the French president would block it.

But a development this week showed that either the government changed its decision and has started to prod the French not to make any wrong calculations about Turkey's silence or the Turkish military has jumped the gun and has decided to punish the French…

Land Forces Commander Gen. Ilker Basbug let the cat out of the bag, saying the military had shelved its relations with the French and that the first-ever meeting between the Turkish and French militaries scheduled for December was cancelled.

If this is the case, then there are several important questions to be asked.

Was this a unilateral decision by the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK), and if so why wasn't it made official by the General Staff headquarters but rather left to a Land Forces commander to make such a statement in an informal environment like a reception?

If all this is also true, then our adversaries can once again argue that the TSK is not acting like an institution controlled by the elected civilian government but has a mind of its own…

If all this is not the case and it was a government decision to start showing the French, we are unhappy then it should not have been left to a military official to make such an announcement.

It seems the government may be involved in all this because soon after this incident, Defense Minister Vecdi Gonul disclosed that the French will not be officially invited to the defense fair in Ankara scheduled for next May… The French were allegedly so annoyed that the French Military attache who was present at the meeting for the fair refused to attend a reception given later at the Dedeman Hotel…

The French should have been prepared for all this because what they have done has deeply hurt the Turkish people, who consider France an old and trusted ally. What we oppose is the way all this was done…

If the military is so forceful on the French issue, they should shelve all economic relations with French companies. The military-controlled and -funded giant OYAK company has strong ties with the French in all sectors especially in the auto industry and in insurance. Why don't they show the same courage through OYAK?



 © New Anatolian Turks of Armenian origin condemn French airing of genocide claims
The New Anatolian / Ankara
12 October 2006
Residents of a Turkish village where the majority of people are of Armenian origin yesterday expressed their condemnation of France and other European countries' persistence in bringing up the so-called Armenian genocide.

Berc Kartum, a local official in the village of Vakifli, located in the province of Hatay, told the Anatolia news agency that they don't approve of today's Armenian bill vote, claiming it is a ruse to win the votes of Armenians living in France.

Saying that the village's 200 residents are completely free to conduct both worship and business affairs, Kartum asserted that the community is an example to the entire world.

"Whenever France experiences problems with Turkey during election campaign time it heightens tension by airing the Armenian genocide allegations," Kartum said. "It's of no use to anyone to discuss things that happened 90 years ago."

Rebuking the French move, Kartum called on that country to assist the thousands of poor Armenians living in Armenia if it wants to prove its intentions are sincere.

"We've no problems with any country," said the official, adding that Armenians living in Turkey are especially troubled by such issues.

Stating that the village has an elderly population and is involved in organic farming, Kartum said that the younger generation visits the village during the summer holidays after returning from education in Istanbul, Europe and the U.S.

Kartum called on French people to visit the village of Vakifli to observe their good relations with Turks, while calling on them not to interfere in the issue any further.




It is quite different now
November 18, 2006
Gündüz Aktan
On Tuesday Nov. 14, during debates on the Foreign Ministry draft budget at Parliament's Budget-Plan Committee, Foreign Minister Abdullah Gül said Turkey would take the judicial path to solution of the Armenian issue. Then Şükrü Elekdağ of the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) suggested arbitration and Mr. Gül responded by saying that arbitration too could be considered. Thus a bipartisan consensus was achieved on a highly important foreign policy issue. To put it differently, the compromise that had been reached when the prime minister had suggested a commission of Turkish and Armenian historians was confirmed on this occasion by an all the more critical step.

Article 33 of the U.N. Charter specifies the methods to be used for the peaceful resolution of international conflicts. By agreeing to have the Armenian issue resolved through arbitration or adjudication, Turkey has accepted all the methods cited in that article.

The Armenian side and those individuals and organizations in the West that support them are not suggesting paths of peaceful resolution. They are convinced that the Armenian incidents were genocide. They expect Turkey to acknowledge this “fact,” engage in an exercise of memory and face up to its past. A judicial process would require both sides to strain to stretch their capacity to remember. It would also provide a chance to go through the history of the event in a hairsplitting manner.

However, this is not the only reason for Turkey to opt for the judicial path. The fact that Turkey is rejecting the genocide allegations attests to the presence of a conflict. Conflicts can only be resolved via peaceful means, and taking the legal path is one of them. On the other hand, the substance of this particular conflict pertains to law. For this reason there is no way other than the judicial path to resolve it.

Genocide is a word denoting a specific category of crime. Crimes are defined by law. The U.N. Genocide Convention of 1948 defines the crime of genocide in Article 2. According to Article 6 of the convention, only a competent court can decide whether the crime of genocide has been committed or not. In other words, legislative or executive bodies are not authorized to pass judgment on this issue. Yet the Armenians base their genocide allegations not only on made-to-order books they have elicited from certain “historians” but also on genocide resolutions they have obtained from legislative bodies in 18 countries and statements made by certain political figures.

In reality, the plaintiff itself, Armenia, should have taken the judicial path. It should have sought our permission for retroactive application of the 1948 convention so that it could be applied to the 1915-1916 incidents. Yet Armenia has consistently avoided that. The Armenian diaspora has been lavishly spending money to promote the genocide allegations. It would be unthinkable for them not to have consulted the best jurists in the world. Yet they have always preferred to limit their activities to the realm of propaganda. Obviously they must have received advice from those experts to the effect that the judicial path would not be “auspicious” for the Armenians.

However, the time has come for their ship to run aground. They will either travel the judicial path together with us or their allegations will lose all credibility.

Naturally they are likely to stick to their traditional path for some more time but each time they repeat their allegations the answer they will get will be, “Come and meet us in court.” If they happen to say, “But we have already taken this issue before the International Center for Transitional Justice (ICTJ),” the Turkish side will remind them that the ICTJ is merely a nongovernmental organization, specializing in South Africa's reconciliation process, and not a judicial body. The Turkish side will point out that the identity of the “bright” lawyer that drafted the ICTJ paper without discussing this issue with anyone has been kept secret. Turkey will also say, “If that is all you are putting forth as a thesis we see better now why you have avoided court action on this issue all these years.”

Then one day they will come to court. And they will regret it. They will see how the century's greatest baloney will evaporate. It is more probable than not that they will in fact end up as the side that “owes” Turkey something. Armenian gangs killed over 500,000 Turks. We have the names, addresses, ages and sexes of the victims.

The Russian archives will be another source of evidence. Having discerned that possibility, the Armenian side is already launching an intimidation campaign, claiming that the Russians were the Turks' accomplices in the Armenian “genocide.”

Meanwhile, we will seek access to the archives the Patriarchate moved to Jerusalem, the archives of the Dashnaks in Boston and Armenia's official archives. Naturally we will demand verification of the authenticity of the relevant documents by a committee of international experts.

In fact, Armenia does not have to be invited to court, since that would further upset the Armenian people, who are already feeling victimized. Instead, we could invite France to court for having acknowledged the “genocide” by passing a law to this effect, or the United States if the U.S. Congress passes a similar resolution.

Going to court is a risky business in any case. One can never know what kind of conclusion the court will reach. For this reason we should congratulate Mr. Gül and the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government for courageously taking political responsibility for such a step, and do our best to prepare an impeccable file for this greatest of all court cases.




Gönül says France not invited to defense fair
November 18, 2006
ANKARA - Turkish Daily News
Defense Minister Vecdi Gönül said late on Thursday that France would not be invited to the International Defense Fair (IDEF) in Ankara next year, a move which came after the French Parliament adopted last month a controversial bill criminalizing any denial of the alleged genocide of Armenians at the hands of the Ottoman Empire.

Gönül said recent developments in France had disappointed everyone and that Turkish officials had informed their French counterparts of Ankara's uneasiness during NATO meetings in Brussels and on other occasions.

“France has a renowned [defense] minister, but due to the recent developments we haven't sent him an invitation for the upcoming fair. France has not been officially invited to the fair,” Gönül told reporters at a reception to promote IDEF 2007 at the Dedeman Hotel in Ankara.

Gönül also said that decision-makers in the defense industry and high-ranking military officials from approximately 100 countries would participate in the international fair.

Land Forces Commander Gen. İlker Başbuğ announced the suspension of military relations with France on Wednesday in response to French legislation that would criminalize denying that the killings of Armenians in the last century amounted to genocide.

“Relations with France in the military field have been suspended,” Başbuğ said. “There are no high-level visits between the two countries.” But France downplayed Turkey's suspension of military ties in the dispute, with the defense minister saying on Thursday that the announced move had no immediate impact.

French Defense Ministry spokesman Jean-Francois Bureau said France believes that existing military cooperation with Turkey would continue, and specifically mentioned the two countries' operations in the Balkans and in Afghanistan.

“There is a relationship of work and cooperation in these operational commitments with Turkey that are extremely important and which, in our eyes, will continue,” he was quoted as saying by The Associated Press.

Bureau said the announcement of the suspended ties had not been officially communicated to Paris. “Until now, the announcement has not had any practical and concrete effects,” he said, although he added there could be some in the future.

He described military cooperation between the two countries as “constant” and “continuous,” noting joint maritime and air exercises and training as well as peacekeeping operations around the globe.

Turkey is scheduled to take over command of a NATO peacekeeping operation in the Afghan capital of Kabul from France in April 2007, Bureau said. Any Turkish decision to pull out of its engagements in Afghanistan would hurt NATO more than France, he said.

He also noted that bilateral military relations have recovered in recent years from a chill in 2001, when France passed a law recognizing the Armenian killings as genocide.

French Foreign Ministry spokesman Jean-Baptiste Mattei highlighted the extent of cooperation between the two counties, saying their armed forces worked together “very closely in several areas.”

“In Afghanistan, our troops, like those from Turkey and Italy, are stationed at the same base in Kabul,” Mattei was quoted as saying by AP.

“Our troops are also engaged side-by-side in Lebanon, Bosnia, Kosovo and in Congo,” he said, “so there is close cooperation and great mutual respect between the French and Turkish armed forces.”




The fourth wave is coming
November 17, 2006
Murat Yetkin
Turkish-US relations may receive a fourth blow in early 2007, and the consequences may be severe.

On the same day when Land Forces Commander Gen. İlker Başbuğ announced France had been put on a military black list because of an Armenian law passed in the French parliament, Deputy Chief of Staff Gen. Ergin Saygun was in the United States.

One of the reasons he was there was to have talks with U.S. officials on new defense projects. For instance, a U.S. proposal to sell C-17 transport planes to meet Turkey's needs until the A-400 transport aircraft project -- a European venture Turkey is also involved in as a producer -- is realized, is one of the issues being discussed. The C-17 is the new tactical transport aircraft that the United States began to put into service in the 1990s to replace the ageing C-130. The giant F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) project, for which a preliminary agreement was signed during Defense Minister Vecdi Gönül's recent trip to the United States, and the attack helicopter project, which is a never-ending story now, are also on the agenda. The scope of Turkey's military relations with France, which Başbuğ declared to be on the black list, is not big, but the scope of military and defense relations with the United States is very big. The Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) widely relies on the United States and NATO for equipment and technology. The rate of dependence is estimated to be 50-60 percent as far as the land forces is concerned. In the air forces, the rate goes up to as high as 80 percent.

Military sanctions against France for its passage of the Armenian bill would not seriously harm Turkey. Such sanctions somehow alleviate the anger culminating in society against France and perhaps flatter the nation's vanity. But one should think how the TSK defense capabilities would be affected if the United States is also put on the black list by the same token. Would back-stair diplomacy solutions of “buy it from Russia, buy it from China” be a remedy for the technology and weapons vacuum that would emerge?

These questions may be bothersome, but they deserve to be asked.

Turkish-U.S. relations are heading fast to a new shak-eup over the Armenian issue. The Democrats' victory in the U.S. congressional elections of Nov. 7 will have an impact on Turkey, notably vis-a-vis Iraq and, linked to Iraq, the Kurdish issue. Therefore, the entire world is waiting for the uncertainty in the United States to be overcome.

However, there is one political element that is not uncertain for Turkey. Nancy Pelosi, who is to become the new Democratic speaker of the House of Representatives -- as well as the first woman to get this position -- has promised to her voters in San Francisco, including many Armenians, to push for a bill for recognition of the Armenian allegations of genocide when she has the power to do so. Now she has the power.

The policy of the Turkish governments over the past years aimed at making the U.S. presidents postpone a vote in the House on such a bill in an act of outdated lobbying that puts all the eggs in the same basket, is about to run aground. Pelosi is known as a politician so partisan that she would take pleasure in rejecting any request from President George W. Bush on that matter, even if she personally did not like the idea of having such a bill passed.

In March and April of 2007, when the presidential election process gets under way in Turkey, efforts to pass a bill on recognition of the alleged Armenian genocide will be at their peak in Washington. There is little doubt that it will be passed if a vote is held.

This situation, according to experts, will be the fourth and perhaps the biggest blow to hit Turkish-U.S. relations. We had the Johnson letter crisis over Cyprus in the 1960s, then the arms embargo, again over Cyprus, in the 1970s, the March 1 reversal on Iraq war and the Sulaimaniya incident in the early 2000s and now the Armenian issue.

Can Turkey's decision to take the issue to international arbitration after doing nothing for years and preparations to take the matter to The Hague save the situation? It seems impossible without finding channels into U.S. domestic politics.

Perhaps for this reason, Saygun is visiting think tanks in Washington and explaining Turkey's position, particularly on Iraq. (One should not leave aside the fact that the prime minister of Iraq, where the U.S. invasion is faltering, is in Turkey now.) After disagreements with the United States over Iraq and the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) in recent months, he is trying to influence the new Iraq policy that Bush will announce from the military angle. U.S. Ambassador to Turkey Ross Wilson has been doing a similar job by explaining Turkey's importance and the criticalness of the situation to major U.S. think tanks. A non-official meeting of Turkish-American parliamentarians organized by Istanbul deputy Egemen Bağış, who has recently joined the executive ranks of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), will take place this weekend.

Will all these prevent the fourth wave from wreaking havoc on relations like a tsunami? Probably bigger efforts on a bigger scale are needed.




NATO, France downplay impact of Turkish military decision
November 17, 2006
ANKARA - TDN with wire dispatches
Both NATO and the French capital have remained calm over a decision by the Turkish military to freeze military ties with France in a growing diplomatic row, saying the decision would not have an immediate impact on the two courtiers' cooperation with NATO or on the existing cooperation between Turkey and France, particularly in NATO-led overseas operations.

French Defense Ministry spokesman Jean-Francois Bureau said yesterday that France believes that existing cooperation with Turkey will continue. Specifically, he mentioned operations in the Balkans and in Afghanistan. “There is a relationship of work and cooperation in these operational commitments with Turkey that are extremely important and which, in our eyes, will continue,” he said.

Turkish Land Forces Commander Gen. İlker Başbuğ announced the suspension of military relations with France late Wednesday in retaliation for a French parliamentary bill criminalizing any denial of the alleged genocide of Armenians at the hands of the Ottoman Empire. Başbuğ was speaking to reporters at a reception in Ankara on the occasion of the 23rd anniversary of the founding of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (KKTC).

“Relations with France in the military field have been suspended,” Başbuğ said. Asked whether there were any cancelations of military visits, he replied, “There are no high-level visits between the two countries.”

Bureau noted that the suspension was announced by a military commander, not Turkey's civilian government. “Until now, the announcement has not had any practical or concrete effect,” he said, although he added that there could be some in the future. He also noted that military relations have recovered in recent years from a previous chill in 2001, when France passed a law recognizing the Armenian killings as genocide.

In Brussels, NATO officials said the alliance's operations would not be affected by the Turkish army's decision. “It's a bilateral issue. It won't affect their relations at NATO,” an official said.

Both French and Turkish troops were operating in Kabul, he added. “They're there today,” he stressed.

French and Turkish troops operate side by side in the Afghan capital, under the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), combating a fierce insurgency by the Taliban.

Turkey has warned that bilateral ties will suffer a great blow if France adopts the controversial bill, which foresees one year in jail for anyone who denies that Armenians were subjected to genocide.

The bill was passed in the French National Assembly last month but still needs the approval of the Senate and the president to take effect.

“This doesn't concern NATO,” a diplomat at NATO said. “We don't foresee any difficulties in the NATO sphere. There won't be any impact on the functioning of the Alliance.”

Top military officers from NATO and partner nations were completing two days of talks in Brussels yesterday, two weeks ahead of a NATO summit in Riga to shape and inform military advice for the North Atlantic Council.




Ankara signals policy change on genocide claims
November 16, 2006
ANKARA - Turkish Daily News
The government yesterday signaled a policy change regarding the alleged genocide of Armenians at the hands of the Ottoman Empire, with Foreign Minister Abdullah Gül saying that Turkey was contemplating international arbitration on the issue.

Speaking to reporters in Ankara before departing for the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (KKTC), Gül said retired diplomats and Turkish and reliable foreign law experts were carrying out meticulous studies on the issue. “But these efforts should not be perceived as a single response aimed at finding a solution to problems that emerge at a certain time,” Gül said, hinting that the government was seeking to find a long-term solution to the problem.

Gül was responding to news report yesterday published in one of the Turkish dailies.

“Historic step from Turkey,” headlined daily Milliyet, saying that the government was preparing for a new policy on the genocide allegations, which came after Ankara proposed to establish a joint commission of academics to study genocide claims. “Gül said the government could take the genocide claims to international arbitration,” it reported. Gül was speaking at the Parliament's Planning and Budget Commission on Tuesday.

Foreign Ministry officials avoided giving details about any policy change on the Armenian issue.

Turkey's move comes as a long-term policy against influential Armenian diaspora's efforts to get international recognition as the time for the 100th anniversary of the alleged genocide approaches. The powerful diaspora efforts reached their peak in 2005 all across Europe and other continents of the world, particularly in the United States, on the 90th anniversary of the so-called genocide.

The Armenian diaspora is expected to try to get the highest ever international publicity, as they did on the 90th anniversary of the alleged genocide, blaming Turks for what Armenians called the “first genocide of the 20th century.”

In 2005, Armenians held conferences, commemoration ceremonies across the globe and pushed more strongly for parliamentary resolutions in different national and regional assemblies acknowledging that the “genocide” did take place.




Turkey needs to act on a communication strategy now
November 16, 2006
Suat Kınıklıoğlu
Everywhere we go, every meeting we attend and every seminar we participate in we hear the same thing: Turkey needs a robust communication strategy. And it needed it yesterday. Last year I wrote two pieces on the need to establish a Turkish Republic Information Service as well as the need to make use of good public diplomacy practices. I received a good amount of positive feedback, primarily from Turkish readers living abroad. In 2004, a senior British diplomat complained to me that we Turks do not give friends enough ammunition to help us in our cause in Europe. Unfortunately, we are not at a very different point from where we were two years ago.

This week we hosted Turkey's chief negotiator for the EU Ali Babacan, Commissioner Olli Rehn and Ambassador Richard Holbrooke in Brussels. It turned out to be a lively and useful event, once again underscoring the need to integrate Turkey fully into the EU. Yet it is increasingly becoming clear that Turkey not only needs a chief negotiator who is doing a great job in this capacity but Turkey also needs a chief communicator. State Minister Babacan did a great job in Brussels and contributed to the debate forcefully. That said, he has two portfolios and cannot be expected to run around European capitals all the time.

What is needed is a new agency with a chief communicator who coordinates Turkey's communication with European and foreign audiences. More precisely, Turkey needs a new agency or institution that can take over responsibility for communicating Turkey's views effectively to foreign audiences. Such an agency or institution should be tasked with reaching out aggressively to targeted audiences with well-thought-out messages.

Currently, there are approximately 33 institutions tha in one form or the other provide information to a variety of domestic and international audiences from Turkey. However, there is almost no coordination, no strategic outlook and no resources to reach out to foreign audiences on key Turkish foreign policy issues. This is not only about branding or image making. Simple texts, messages and information on what Turkey's policies entail are difficult to find. The ideal arrangement for such an agency would be that it would answer only to the prime minister and has overriding authority on Turkey's external communications. This institution should, of course, be in cooperation with relevant ministries but must be independent in its internal work and should have adequate autonomy to do its work properly. No one needs another failed bureaucratic creature that does not do anything. Its funding should be secured for foreseeable time frames. Its executive board should include members from a variety of sectors, including business and civil society.

We have suffered too long from the inability to provide friends and foes with information that explains our stances on a variety of critical issues, including Cyprus, the Armenian issue, Turkey's EU drive and Iraq. The current impasse with the EU on the Cyprus issue is a prime example of how we have mishandled communicating Turkey's position on this. Few Europeans understand why Turkey has put a condition to the extension of the Ankara Protocol to Greek Cyprus. Fewer Europeans understand the gravity of the Cyprus issue from a Turkish perspective. The Annan plan and the great risks our current government took in the referendum are all but forgotten. The Armenian issue, which has been making the headlines for months, has not been effectively communicated to foreign audiences for decades. We are partly responsible for the one-sided interpretation of events prevalent in the Western discourse on this.

The Turkish Industrialists and Businessmen's Association (TÜSİAD) has been doing extremely useful work on the communication issue, but a country's communication strategy ultimately falls within the responsibility of the government. Although, for months there has been talk of something in the making, we feel things are progressing too slow. The government should start the process to set up a new agency that would work on coordinating with the 33 institutions in getting Turkey's message out. Turkey's foreign policy community has been suffering for too long to work without the help of an effective communication strategy.

What I offer is a new institution, with a senior person heading it, responsible for coordinating Turkey's external communications. This job would not only initiate its own communication strategy but it would also provide guidelines and content to Turkey's official channels such as the TRT, the Anatolia news agency and the Directorate General for Press and Information. Needless to say, this information agency or institute would work closely with State Minister Babacan, the Secretariat General for EU Affairs and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. It would no doubt enhance Babacan's efforts to communicate better with the European public. There are already a number of modest initiatives that can be made use of in this kind of an endeavor. What is needed is strong political will by our government to establish such an agency and support it after it becomes operational. Already, discussion about such a potential institution is creating resistance within some parts of the bureaucracy.

If Turkey wants to play the game of modern foreign policy, we need to act on this now. As one former U.S. ambassador once noted, Turks do not have PR genes. That may well be the case, but there is no reason why we cannot do this. Egypt, Ireland and South Africa were able to do it. We can do it as well. It only needs the Turkish government's determination and wisdom to put the right people and resources to work.



 © Zaman EU Leader Calls on Europe to Face its Past Sins
Selcuk Gultasli
November 18, 2006
zaman.com
Ahead of the Nov. 22 elections in the Netherlands, Dutch parties stepped up efforts to win Turkish votes.

In the Netherlands, where several Turkish candidates were removed from their party lists for denying the Armenian genocide, political parties are being forced to revise their stance on the issue.

The Labor Party admitted to having acted impulsively by using the word “genocide” and is now trying to win Turks’ support, while Greens and D-66, two parties which welcomed Turkish concerns from the beginning, are raising their voices.

Turkish Green candidate Birgul Donmez held a joint press conference with Green member Joost Lagendijk, the Turkey-EU Joint Parliamentary Commission co-chair.

Donmez said the Greens did not pressure her over the Armenian issue, adding: “I would quit if I were pressured.”

Lagendijk recalled that many European countries had dark periods in their history, so it would not be wise for Europeans to give lessons to Turkey over the Armenian issue.

Lagendijk pointed out that the Netherlands had not yet apologized for the massacres it committed when it left Indonesia in 1947.

“It is difficult for nations to face the dark parts of their history. They can only do so when they have achieved democratic stability,” Lagendijk said in support of Donmez.

Lagendijk : Turks Should cast Their Vote

Lagendijk said he had never supported Armenian allegations recognized by the European Parliament, and criticized Dutch Christian Democrats and Labor Party for removing certain Turkish candidates, adding: “Turks will have made a huge mistake if they do not vote to show their resentment at these two parties.”

Lagendijk claimed the Armenian lobby exploited the genocide bill approved by the Netherlands and added: “The point in approving the bill was to encourage debate over the issue, but the parliament is now trying to end debates. Many politicians disagree with the Armenian lobby regarding the issue.”

Donmez and Lagendijk criticized the D-66 party favored by Turks.

Donmez asserted D-66’s stance on Turkish concerns, headscarves in particular, was no different than the Christian Democrats’ stance.




France not Invited to 2007 Defense Industry Fair
November 17, 2006
zaman.com
France has not been officially invited for the 8th International Defense Industry Fair 2007 (IDEF '07), which will be held in Turkey.

Following a statement from the Turkish Land Forces commander saying that military ties with France had been suspended, a second concrete reaction to the French parliament's passage of a controversial draft bill on Armenian genocide claims came from the Turkish government.

France has not been officially invited for the fair, Turkish National Defense Minister Vecdi Gonul told press members on Thursday at a meeting for the introduction of IDEF'07, which is set to be held in May 2007.

This move is seen as an apparent reaction to the French National Assembly’s adoption of a draft bill making it a crime to deny that Turks committed genocide against Armenians during World War I.

Gonul remarked that, however, an announcement was made for French companies, adding that the participation of French companies in the fair was something different.

French Military Attaché Jean Claude Gea left the meeting immediately after Gonul's statement.

On Wednesday, Turkish Land Forces Commander Gen. Ilker Basbug said that Turkey had suspended military relations with France, adding that currently "There are no high-level [military] visits between the two countries,” he added.





The Alliance of Civilizations and the Pope's Visit
HUSEYIN GULERCE
11.17.2006
zaman.com
h.gulerce@zaman.com.tr
The 4th High-level Group Meeting of the Alliance of Civilizations held last Monday at the Ciragan Palace in Istanbul also pointed out the importance of the visit to our country 12 days from now by Pope Benedictus XVI.

The Alliance of Civilizations initiative was begun by the efforts of UN General Secretary Kofi Annan. Spanish Prime Minister Zapatero and Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan were named as co-chairmen of the organization. The enterprise has a High Level Group. After the September 11th terrorist attack in the US and the occupation of Iraq by the Bush administration using Saddam as an excuse and the Lebanese attacks in which Israeli massacres directed towards civilians once again appeared on the agenda of world public opinion, hostility and tension between the Western world and the Islamic world can only be prevented by dialogue efforts among countries and country leaders.

We see that Turkey has become a very important country in respect to both efforts. Turkey’s EU membership candidacy increases this importance even more. With the reality of “Turkey as an EU member,” it can be seen that the West hasn’t rejected Islam and doesn’t see it as the “new enemy” and, therefore, that it is possible to have dialogue and tolerance among members of different religions for the sake of permanent peace. If not, it is inescapable that interpretations will be strengthened to the effect that the Holy Crusades are continuing with ways and means compatible with this era. With the culture of tolerance that Turkey inherited from the Ottomans and its republican experience that doesn’t clash democracy with Islam, it has shown that it approves of coming together on universal human values and of integrating with the world, and that it can succeed in “sharing” in mankind’s common march.

In spite of voices raised on the inside by those who want polarization, but whose voices are not proportional to their strength, the Justice and Development Party experience displayed today in administration is accepted both by the society and the external world, and it is hoped that this experiment will be successful. There not yet being any alternative political party on the horizon according to public opinion polls emphasizes that it is. We see acceptance of dialogue and tolerance in society. Dialogue begun by Fethullah Gulen, a leader of this view, 10 years ago with the Phanariot Patriarch, Head Rabbi of the Jewish community in Turkey, and the Armenian Patriarch and later expanded with Gulen’s visit to Pope Paul VI at the Vatican was well-received by a large mass of the population, in spite of the protests of certain circles and their efforts to stir up muddy water. The dialogue dinners during Ramadan that were initially criticized were later officially stood up for. And these dinners are spreading today as meetings that build bridges of peace throughout the world from America to Europe and from Australia to Africa.

When dialogue and tolerance efforts that are continuing among peoples both by means of administrations with UN initiatives and the exertions of voluntary organizations are remembered, the visit to Turkey by Pope Benedictus XVI from November 28th-December 1st looks like a milestone. Prime Minister Erdogan’s attending the NATO summit on November 28-29 should not prevent him from seeing the Pope and taking advantage of this opportunity. The Pope will be in Istanbul on November 30th. There is still a possibility for this meeting to take place. Criticized for his words directed towards out Prophet, the Pope’s finding an opportunity for self-criticism and his doing this in Turkey would be meaningful world-wide. An Erdogan-Pope meeting would be an essential answer to domestic and foreign EU opponents allied to prevent Turkey’s EU membership. There are important historical moments that separate statesmen from politicians. The Pope’s visit to Turkey presents Erdogan with such an opportunity…




Diaspora Armenians Are In Continuous Contact With PKK Terrorist Organization, Egilmez
11/16/2006
ERZURUM - "Armenian Diaspora supported and expended large amounts of financial assistance to terrorist PKK to weaken and fragment Turkey," Associate Professor Savas Egilmez, the Chairman of Association on Fight Against Baseless Allegations of Genocide, said on Thursday.

In an exclusive interview with the A.A correspondent, Egilmez said, "we have been carrying out intensive efforts in the national and international platforms to explain that so-called allegations of Armenian genocide is a lie."

"Despite the affirmative responses, we started to get negative reactions recently. We have assessed that supporters of the terrorist organization is the source of the reactions that were sent through e-mail," he noted.

Egilmez indicated that Armenian-PKK relationship was once again revealed with the reactions, noting that "upon the reactions in the world in 1980`s, the Armenian terrorist organizations changed tactics and cooperated with the PKK terrorist organization."

Egilmez said terrorist PKK organization in 1980 proclaimed April 21-28 the week of "Red Week" and remembered April 24th as the so-called genocide day of the Armenians.

"Another remarkable example regarding Armenian-PKK relationship is the meeting in Beirut between January 6 and 9, 1993. Lebanese Armenian Orthodox Archbishop, Armenian party executives and 150 youngsters attended the meetings that were held in two separate churches. At the meeting, the Archbishop underlined that the Armenian society was growing gradually and strengthened in economic means. He said so-called genocide was started to be known better in the world thanks to the propaganda activities," Egilmez said.

"The Archbishop unveiled their real faces by saying, `Armenian state was established and broadens its territories day by day. The support to PKK activities in Turkey rises. Thanks to this support, Turkish economy will drop to zero, the country will be dragged into chaos, and Turkey will enter fragmentation process. Turkish territories will be in the hands of Armenia tomorrow`," Egilmez said.

-PKK-ARMENIAN AGREEMENT-
Egilmez said the Armenian diaspora in Lebanon made an agreement with the terrorist organization in 1987.

"A decision was made in the agreement that Armenians would get training in PKK. It was also decided that Armenians would pay 5,000 USD to PKK for each person," he said.

Egilmez said, "it was also decided in the agreement that Armenians would make the intelligence in the activities against security forces in Turkey. It was even stated in this agreement that the territory that would be seized after fragmentation of Turkey would be shared equally. Armenians also pledged to meet 75 percent of the costs of camps of the terrorist organization."

-U.S. AND OTHERS-
Underlining that the United States and the European countries accepted PKK as terrorist organization, Egilmez said, "the U.S. and European countries know about the relations of the Armenians with PKK. Those who want to accuse Turkey should not forget this fact."




American Armenian Community Should Pursue Genocide Resolution Adoption In Congress
17 November 2006
Yerkir
Armenian Revolutionary Federation Bureau’s Hay Dat and Political Affairs Office Director Kiro Manoyan commented Thursday on possible developments following the midterm elections to the US Congress. Manoyan was asked whether it was realistic to expect that the US Congress could adopt a Genocide bill taking into account that the possible candidate for the chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee has a pro-Turkish stance.

“It is an assumption, like the assumption that Nancy Pelosi is to become the speaker of the Congress,” Manoyan answered. “Democrats would initiate nothing on their own, they have no reason to adopt a Genocide bill. The outcome depends on the extend of the influence of the American Armenian community. However, I believe the Democrats would make one step forward.”

Manoyan added that it is the Armenian community that should pursue the case. Besides, Manoyan said, there have been similar resolutions endorsed by both Democrats and Republicans but no vote has been scheduled by the Congress speaker. The Armenian community should work toward including such resolutions on the agenda of the full Congress.





Turkey: Armenian Genocide Issue Spurs Government Action
17 November 2006
ADN Krono
Turkish Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul has suggested Turkey may seek the opinon of an independent international panel on the controversial Armenian genocide issue. "Retired diplomats and reliable foreign law experts are studying the case", Gul said on Wednesday. The remarks come amid growing pressure on Turkey to acknowledge the early 20th century massacre or Armenians under the Ottomans. Last month the French senate approved a bill which would make it a criminal offence to deny that the deaths amounted to genocide.

Observers have also suggested that last week's victory in US congressional elections by the Democrats - who have closer ties with pro-Armenian lobbies in America - could mean an end in Washington's current acquiescence to Ankara on the subject.

In 2004 Turkey tried to establish a joint Turkish-Armenian commission of academics to study the issue, but the initiative failed when Armenia rejected the proposal.

If Armenia accepts Turkey’s latest proposal, then the case would be examined before the Internatonal Court of Justice in The Hague, Netherlands. A commission would be set up consisting of, an equal number of Turkish and Armenian judges and would be chaired by a national of a third country.

The commission would examine archives in Turkey, Armenia, Russia, the United States, France, Germany and Britain. It would also examine military records, demographic changes, hospital records dating from the time of the killings mostly from 1915-20.

Still, not all the signs from Turkey have been reconciliatory. Also on Wednesday Turkish land forces commander Gen. Ilker Basbug said Turkey would cut all top level military contacts with the French military on account of the Armenian genocide bill which still needs to be approved by the French National Assembly, the lower house of parliament, before it becomes law.




Bill On Genocide To Be Introduced Into House Of Representatives Till April 24, 2007
17 November 2006
Panarmenian
One of the Armenian community’s prior candidates to the U.S. Senate was Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ), ARF Bureau’s Hay Dat and Political Office Director Kiro Manoian told a news conference in Yerevan today. In his words, Armenians are grateful to Senator Menendez for making the Senate freeze the process of Hoagland’s nomination for Ambassador to Armenia. “The Armenian community had agitators in all constituencies and called to vote for the candidate. We also hope that after the replacement of the House Speaker the issue will be included in the agenda and another nomination will be announced,” he remarked adding that an Ambassador denying the Armenian Genocide cannot represent U.S. interests in Armenia properly.

According to Manoian, newly elected House Speaker Nancy Pelosi have already stated that the bill on the Armenian Genocide will be submitted to consideration of the House. “In this view the victory of Democrats can be rated as an advance, because the Republicans headed by ex-speaker Dennis Hastert always blocked the adoption of the resolution,” he stressed.

New Jersey is mostly inhabited by natives of Near East, Iran and South-East Asia, specifically China and Thailand.




April 24 Committee Urged Dutch Senate To Recognize Armenian Genocide
02.07.2005
/PanARMENIAN.Net/
April 24 Committee for recognition of the Armenian Genocide, which forms part of the Federation of Armenian Organizations of the Netherlands, has submitted an application to the Senate on June 28, which urges the Parliament upper chamber to express attitude to the recognition of the Armenian Genocide in the course of World War I. The Dutch House of Representatives has acknowledged the Armenian Genocide on December 21, 2004. The Government hailed the move as stated by Foreign minister Bernard Bot. If the Senate adopts a statement on recognition of the Armenian Genocide, the Government of the Netherlands will have an integrated stand over the issue. The application also demands censuring Turkey’s denialist policy. Europe should pay serious attention to the policy along with its impact on the freedom of speech and national minority rights (as it is known, these are part of the Copenhagen criteria), which should influence the date of starting talks over Turkey’s accession to the EU, the document authors are sure, Regnum news agency reported.




Armenians Are Their Worst Enemies!
Is this headline offensive?

Mirror On- Line 11-16-06
It certainly is. It hurts reading it; it hurts even more to write it. But it reveals the unpleasant truth.

Most of the times Armenians are bright and successful individually, but not so collectively. They are charitable and kind when they meet destitute fellow Armenians, but try to see if they help each other professionally.

A true story may illustrate these statements better. Years ago, the American Armenian International College honored the celebrated movie director Rouben Mamoulian by bestowing an honorary doctorate degree upon him. As the speaker left the podium, after lavishing all kinds of praise on the honoree, another Armenian, who had spent a lifetime in Hollywood's movie industry, approached him and said: "Why do you honor this man? He has not helped a single Armenian in the movie industry."

Another case in point is the Armenian screenplay writer Steve Zaillian who upon receiving the Oscar for his "Schindler's list" screenplay, failed to mention the Armenian Genocide, in front of billions of viewers. Not helping a fellow Armenian may be dismissed as selfishness, but what to make of an Armenian in a position of power who denigrates other Armenians or undermines any Armenian cause, in the name of a higher noble cause? Unfortunately, there is an abundance of such cases.

In 2003, Dr. Raymond Damadian, the inventor of MRI, was bypassed by the Nobel Prize committee, which awarded the prize to Paul C. Lauterbur and Peter Mansfield, who had mainly improved the invention. When Damadian reacted angrily, a New York Times editorial ridiculed him, while a media debate was raging. One person, among the Armenians who was the best qualified as a scientist to defend a fellow Armenian, Dr. Leon A. Saryan, wrote an article saying why he did not deserve the Nobel Prize.

The trend continues even today. When the French Parliament passed a resolution to adopt a law punishing Genocide deniers, we saw a number of Armenians opposing or ridiculing it, in the name of freedom of speech. The opposition to that resolution may water it down, or even defeat it at the Senate or presidential level, given the media outcry that followed its adoption.

Unfortunately major news media in Europe and the US opposed the move and they enjoyed the benefit of supporting a sacrosanct principle - that of freedom of expression. That effectively disguised their main intent of facilitating Turkey's accession to the European Union.

No one has yet protested the Loi Gaysot, which the same French Parliament has adopted to punish the Holocaust deniers, because Jews have a very strong antidote or weapon: they label such individuals as anti-Semites. It was predictable that many Armenian leaders in Turkey would oppose it, to save their own skin. Since already the reverse law (Penal Code 301) exists, in Turkey and has been used extensively to prosecute writers like Orhan Pamuk, Elif Shafak, Ragip Zarakolu and Hrant Dink.

But it is difficult to comprehend the position of some Armenian writers and scholars in the West who decide to become more Catholic than the pope in their zeal to defend freedom of speech. Rather than using that position of power to defend an Armenian cause, they join the Turkish chorus, crying wolf in the name of freedom of speech. The Turks are the worst violators of human rights and freedom of speech but they seem to have found a goldmine in the otherwise-unassailable principle of the freedom of expression and they believe that the louder they shout about that principle, the more successful they will become in denying the Armenian Genocide.

Of course, for academic purposes, it sounds very healthy to find Armenian dissenters who defend that principle. However, we have yet to hear one Jew object to the Loi Gaysot in principle.

One such dissenter seems to be journalist and UCLA's Bruin Standard Editor Garin K. Hovannisian, who, having accessed the forum of the Christian Science Monitor, signed an article on November 7 titled "The folly of Genocide deniers." Hovannisian has used his superb talent to castigate the French, to ridicule the Armenian supporters of the bill and in the final analysis, to provide ammunition to the Turks.

He begins his argument with the following statement: "The bill reminds us that France's socialist party and many European elites believe truth is decreed, not discovered." The writer is not very happy either that "The news drove Armenian communities into raptures." Then, he tries to lambaste Hilda Tchoboian, president of the European Armenian Federation who has welcomed this "historic step," noting that "The hydra of denial is a tumor on freedom of expression" and then he defines that statement as proof "that you can mix metaphor and talk nonsense in the span of five nouns." Then he pontificates: "Genocide denial might be a tumor on the truth, memory or even human dignity, but it's not even a pimple on the freedom of expression." He continues in the same condescending tone: "That lesson, sadly, is lost on some French parliamentarians and the Armenians Diaspora, whose notion of politics ends where Genocide begins." Indeed, Armenians must be grateful to count amongst them pundits like Mr. Hovannissian whose bright ideas contribute to the sophistication of our political maturity, which otherwise would have been painfully primitive.

The writer uses even catchier phrases to press his point: "It is easier to shut up the deniers than to make them stop believing." "Censorship has long been the tool of people who are threatened by the facts, who can't win a debate on equal terms. Censors have sought to gain through power what they lack in arguments." The powerful have always used noble principles to commit the most atrocious crime; like Turkey today, by exhorting the principle of freedom of speech in France -- while cynically denying the same principle at home -- is only fighting the recognition of the Genocide. Additionally, Turkey has been using its state machine and powerful resources to fight that recognition. The French law is only a mild reaction to the Turkish campaign. In the same fashion, our own president tries to convince us that "democracy is on the march" in Iraq over the bodies of 655,000 casualties and 2500 US servicemen. Who can argue that "democracy" is not worth that kind of carnage?

After all it is a noble idea. Had the Turks recognized the Genocide, there would be no need to pass a law to punish the deniers. Therefore, we have to go to the root cause of this debate, if we really prize the principle of the freedom of speech. Armenians have paid the price for noble ideas and principles as the cost of their survival. Even in our earliest history, Ara the Handsome was killed and Assyria's Semiramis over ran Armenia, because we upheld family values over survival. By the same token, Vartan Mamigonian sacrificed his life to uphold the Christian faith. In more recent times, when in 1918 Armenian volunteers regained Cilicia, we were asked by the Allies to lay down our arms and we followed their instructions, but Cilicia was overrun by Kemalists hordes who challenged the same request.

Also General Antranik was on the verge of conquering Karabagh, when the British government stopped him, promising a positive outcome for that enclave at the Versailles Treaty. He abided by the request and Karabagh's fate is still in limbo to this date. Even today Karabagh Armenians are being named "aggressors" because they liberated their homeland and they determined their own destiny. Had they waited for brownie points from the international community for "good behavior," 150,000 Karabagh Armenians would be laying dead next to the Armenian victims of the Sumgait.

Without being cynical, all noble principles are made to fit the feet of the powerful like boots to trample the rights and existence of weaker nations. The Turks must have rejoiced in finding allies indirectly contributing to their case as many Monitor's editors have rejoiced. When the blood of 1.5 million martyrs is on the scale, freedom of speech becomes academic. Let others fight for that principle when our priority is the survival of our people.





Armenian Businessmen Come to Istanbul for Investments
Ercan Baysal
November 16, 2006
zaman.com
As the reactions to French parliament’s controversial Armenian genocide bill continue, the Turkish Industrialists and Businessmen Association (TUSIAD) is taking the initiative to loosen tension between Armenia and Turkey.

Members of TUSIAD and the Union of Businessmen and Manufacturers of Armenia (UMBA) do not want France’s stance to overshadow relations so they will come together in Istanbul. UMBA was officially invited to the Black Sea and Caspian Industrialists Confederation Union meeting on Nov. 27.

TUSIAD president, Omer Sabanci, and UMBA chairman Arsen Ghazarian will also discuss their countries’ relations besides regular business negotiations.

Kaan Soyak, the Turkish-Armenian co-chair of the Council on Development of Economic Ties said Ghazaryan will invite TUSIAD members to Armenia to invest in textile, energy and telecommunication sectors.

Soyak said this meeting was important for Russia and the Armenian Diaspora:

“Turkey has become an attractive market thanks to the atmosphere of stability. Armenians in the Diaspora want to make investments in Turkey mostly in hotels, real estate and port sectors. They have made their applications to our council in this regard. These issues will be discussed during the meeting.”

“Armenia is a virgin market, right now they only have relations with Iran so we want Turkish investors there too,” said Soyak and added that this kind of commercial relationship could diffuse the tension between the two countries.

Trade between Turkey and Armenia takes place unofficially via Iran. According to unofficial statistics, the total trade volume between the two countries reached $200 million dollars.

The Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) noted the Turkey-Armenia embargo costs about $570-720 million dollars to Armenia every year.

If the border gates were opened, Armenia’s transportation costs would drop by about 30-50 percent, its export volume would double and its Gross National Product would increase by about 30-38 percent.

According to World Bank statistics, Armenia’s savings in transportation costs would be about $6.4-8.4 million dollars, energy saving would be $45 million and its export volume would increase by about $269-342 million dollars. In this way Armenia’s total benefit from the opening of the border would be about $320-396 million dollars.




Turkey needs to act on a communication strategy now
November 16, 2006
Suat Kınıklıoğlu
Everywhere we go, every meeting we attend and every seminar we participate in we hear the same thing: Turkey needs a robust communication strategy. And it needed it yesterday. Last year I wrote two pieces on the need to establish a Turkish Republic Information Service as well as the need to make use of good public diplomacy practices. I received a good amount of positive feedback, primarily from Turkish readers living abroad. In 2004, a senior British diplomat complained to me that we Turks do not give friends enough ammunition to help us in our cause in Europe. Unfortunately, we are not at a very different point from where we were two years ago.

This week we hosted Turkey's chief negotiator for the EU Ali Babacan, Commissioner Olli Rehn and Ambassador Richard Holbrooke in Brussels. It turned out to be a lively and useful event, once again underscoring the need to integrate Turkey fully into the EU. Yet it is increasingly becoming clear that Turkey not only needs a chief negotiator who is doing a great job in this capacity but Turkey also needs a chief communicator. State Minister Babacan did a great job in Brussels and contributed to the debate forcefully. That said, he has two portfolios and cannot be expected to run around European capitals all the time.

What is needed is a new agency with a chief communicator who coordinates Turkey's communication with European and foreign audiences. More precisely, Turkey needs a new agency or institution that can take over responsibility for communicating Turkey's views effectively to foreign audiences. Such an agency or institution should be tasked with reaching out aggressively to targeted audiences with well-thought-out messages.

Currently, there are approximately 33 institutions tha in one form or the other provide information to a variety of domestic and international audiences from Turkey. However, there is almost no coordination, no strategic outlook and no resources to reach out to foreign audiences on key Turkish foreign policy issues. This is not only about branding or image making. Simple texts, messages and information on what Turkey's policies entail are difficult to find. The ideal arrangement for such an agency would be that it would answer only to the prime minister and has overriding authority on Turkey's external communications. This institution should, of course, be in cooperation with relevant ministries but must be independent in its internal work and should have adequate autonomy to do its work properly. No one needs another failed bureaucratic creature that does not do anything. Its funding should be secured for foreseeable time frames. Its executive board should include members from a variety of sectors, including business and civil society.

We have suffered too long from the inability to provide friends and foes with information that explains our stances on a variety of critical issues, including Cyprus, the Armenian issue, Turkey's EU drive and Iraq. The current impasse with the EU on the Cyprus issue is a prime example of how we have mishandled communicating Turkey's position on this. Few Europeans understand why Turkey has put a condition to the extension of the Ankara Protocol to Greek Cyprus. Fewer Europeans understand the gravity of the Cyprus issue from a Turkish perspective. The Annan plan and the great risks our current government took in the referendum are all but forgotten. The Armenian issue, which has been making the headlines for months, has not been effectively communicated to foreign audiences for decades. We are partly responsible for the one-sided interpretation of events prevalent in the Western discourse on this.

The Turkish Industrialists and Businessmen's Association (TÜSİAD) has been doing extremely useful work on the communication issue, but a country's communication strategy ultimately falls within the responsibility of the government. Although, for months there has been talk of something in the making, we feel things are progressing too slow. The government should start the process to set up a new agency that would work on coordinating with the 33 institutions in getting Turkey's message out. Turkey's foreign policy community has been suffering for too long to work without the help of an effective communication strategy.

What I offer is a new institution, with a senior person heading it, responsible for coordinating Turkey's external communications. This job would not only initiate its own communication strategy but it would also provide guidelines and content to Turkey's official channels such as the TRT, the Anatolia news agency and the Directorate General for Press and Information. Needless to say, this information agency or institute would work closely with State Minister Babacan, the Secretariat General for EU Affairs and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. It would no doubt enhance Babacan's efforts to communicate better with the European public. There are already a number of modest initiatives that can be made use of in this kind of an endeavor. What is needed is strong political will by our government to establish such an agency and support it after it becomes operational. Already, discussion about such a potential institution is creating resistance within some parts of the bureaucracy.

If Turkey wants to play the game of modern foreign policy, we need to act on this now. As one former U.S. ambassador once noted, Turks do not have PR genes. That may well be the case, but there is no reason why we cannot do this. Egypt, Ireland and South Africa were able to do it. We can do it as well. It only needs the Turkish government's determination and wisdom to put the right people and resources to work.




We get letters...
November 16, 2006
AYŞE ÖZGÜN

I ask all my readers to please keep messages as short as possible as I need to edit out a big portion to fit as many as possible into the column. Thank you! a.ö.

Dear Ms. Özgün,
You say in a recent article that deep in your heart you know your ancestors did not commit genocide against their fellow citizens. On deeper consideration you may accept your ancestors were not a homogenous entity. Most of you are not Turkic but have Armenian, Persian, Arab, Greek, etc., blood and genes and yet you are permanently hostile towards this ancestry. It should be a reason to come together, not separate.
M. Araratian
***
Dear Ayşe Hanım,
The subject of this note is once again the Armenian "question" (labeled by the ignorant as genocide). As a student of history (not an expert) I am familiar with the issue from both the Turkish and non-Turkish points of view. At the moment, the non-Turkish view is, to use an idiom, "doing my head in" (making me frustrated and angry). Any history from 1800 to the present will show the rise of empire-grabbing by the English, French, German, Russian, the United States, Italian and Austrian nations. Simplistically, everyone was jealous of everyone else's possessions and tried to grab as much (translation: wealth, power, land and resources) as they could.

They could nip and grab the bits they wanted. After they had agreed, they couldn't agree and each tried to cheat the other. How many times has greed led to situations now being labeled as "genocide"?
Lynne Lee
***
Dear Ayşe Hanım,
Before I was privileged to be granted Turkish citizenship I entered Turkey over a period of fifteen years many times from different borders.

Never once did I encounter anything but polite professional behavior from the customs and passport officers.

Once I did not have the correct paperwork for my car when entering Turkey from Syria. The officials could not have been more helpful and I was plied with tea while they sent a man to the nearest large town to sort out the problem. All this was done with no extra charge. In my book, I write of an incident 20 years ago when a gruff looking gentleman at Marmaris customs control on opening my large bag found all sorts of foreign food. When he asked in English what on earth it was for, I said, "For my husband, the most wonderful Turk in the world." Standing taller and looking dauntingly stern he said, "Are you sure he is the most wonderful Turk in the world?" Then with a beautiful smile he closed the bag and sent me on my way.

I am sorry other people have had bad experiences but I felt I had to write to you to show the other side.

Kind regards,
Azize Ethem
***



Turkish Press Yesterday
November 16, 2006
ANKARA - Turkish Daily News
Not appropriate for sons to apologize for what their fathers did:
Zaman yesterday reported that France, which has been promoting allegations of genocide against Armenians committed by Turks, changes its attitude when it is the target of an alleged genocide.

Nicolas Sarkozy, on a recent visit to Algeria, played down calls for an apology for French crimes committed during the colonial era and during the French-Algerian war.

Regarding French crimes during the colonial period, which included concentration camps and torture, Sarkozy insisted that suffering took place on both sides and that no official apology would be made, despite repeated calls from the Algerian government in recent days.

"Suffering took place on both sides during the colonial period," he said. "Men and women of both origins suffered, and I have told Prime Minister Abdelaziz Belkhadem that sons cannot apologize for the actions of their fathers."

A great surprise in Armenian policy:
Milliyet yesterday reported that Turkey was set to make drastic changes in its policy concerning Armenian allegations of genocide.

According to the report, Foreign Minister Abdullah Gül said, “We are considering every option, including judicial alternatives.”

Gül said Turkey was making a sincere effort to reveal facts about the Armenian question, recalling that it was Turkey that proposed to set up a commission made up of historians of both sides.




Ankara signals policy change on genocide claims
November 16, 2006
ANKARA - Turkish Daily News
The government yesterday signaled a policy change regarding the alleged genocide of Armenians at the hands of the Ottoman Empire, with Foreign Minister Abdullah Gül saying that Turkey was contemplating international arbitration on the issue.

Speaking to reporters in Ankara before departing for the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (KKTC), Gül said retired diplomats and Turkish and reliable foreign law experts were carrying out meticulous studies on the issue. “But these efforts should not be perceived as a single response aimed at finding a solution to problems that emerge at a certain time,” Gül said, hinting that the government was seeking to find a long-term solution to the problem.

Gül was responding to news report yesterday published in one of the Turkish dailies.

“Historic step from Turkey,” headlined daily Milliyet, saying that the government was preparing for a new policy on the genocide allegations, which came after Ankara proposed to establish a joint commission of academics to study genocide claims. “Gül said the government could take the genocide claims to international arbitration,” it reported. Gül was speaking at the Parliament's Planning and Budget Commission on Tuesday.

Foreign Ministry officials avoided giving details about any policy change on the Armenian issue.

Turkey's move comes as a long-term policy against influential Armenian diaspora's efforts to get international recognition as the time for the 100th anniversary of the alleged genocide approaches. The powerful diaspora efforts reached their peak in 2005 all across Europe and other continents of the world, particularly in the United States, on the 90th anniversary of the so-called genocide.

The Armenian diaspora is expected to try to get the highest ever international publicity, as they did on the 90th anniversary of the alleged genocide, blaming Turks for what Armenians called the “first genocide of the 20th century.”

In 2005, Armenians held conferences, commemoration ceremonies across the globe and pushed more strongly for parliamentary resolutions in different national and regional assemblies acknowledging that the “genocide” did take place.




The Relation Between History And Politics According To Hanioglu (Sahin Alpay)
16 November 2006
Zaman
No doubt M. Sukru Hanioglu is at the top of the list of historians illuminating the last period of Ottoman history. Leaving aside the articles he has written in various academic magazines and books, a list of the books he has authored is enough in itself to show the dimensions of his contribution: “Preparation for a Revolution: The Young Turks, 1902-1908,” Oxford University Press, 2000. “The Young Turks in Opposition,” Oxford University Press, 1995.

“Kendi Mektuplariyle Enver Pasha (Enver Pasha in Light of His Own Letters),” Der Publications, 1989.

Professor Hanioglu has been a faculty member at Princeton University, one of the U.S.’s most distinguished universities, from the 1990’s to date, and chairman of the Middle East Research Department for the last three years. He is a source of pride for Turkey as a social scientist, not only for being an extremely fastidious researcher and superior analyst, but also with his intellectual character tied to independent values and critical method.

His new book is entitled “Osmanli’dan Cumhuriyet’e Zihniyet, Siyaset ve Tarih (World-view, Politics and History from the Ottomans to the Republic, Baglam Publications, 2006), and it is comprised of articles published in Zaman newspaper from the fall of 2002 to the summer of 2006. I am very happy that a short time after I began writing for Zaman, I encouraged my old friend Professor Hanioglu to write for Zaman once every two weeks as well. His Zaman articles, which combine his broad knowledge of history with an analytical logic, are the most valuable contribution made in recent years to the understanding of Turkey’s presence in light of the historical behind-the-scenes reality of the transitional period from the Ottomans to the Republic.

In regard to the interest shown to these articles, Hanioglu says the following: “These commentaries that were aimed at bringing different perspectives to current issues received an unexpected amount of interest. While messages related to my academic publications generally don’t reach two-digit numbers, I received close to 50 notes after each newspaper commentary. I had an opportunity to exchange ideas with many people, even if it was in a virtual realm.” (p. 9)

In this article I want to dwell on his last piece, published in Zaman in two parts, entitled “History, Politics and the 1915 Tragedy in Light of the Vote in the French Assembly” (October 26-27), which was not included in Professor Hanioglu’s book, but which is extremely worthy of attention. Here Hanioglu interprets the relationship between history and politics in view of the bill accepted on October 12th by the French Assembly that makes denial of the “Armenian Genocide” a crime. He takes this “denial” argument even further: It is impossible to leave history to historians, and it is inevitable that politics interpret history. The problem is not with politics’ interpreting history; it is with imposing your interpretation, as the only truth, on society and prohibiting debate. (In this respect, Hanioglu reminds those supporting the thesis, “Let’s leave history to historians,” that the Turkish Parliament declared May 27th as a “Constitution and Freedom Holiday” on April 3, 1963, and that it made it a crime to “insult the memory of Ataturk” on July 25, 1951.)

Hanioglu points out that it is past the time for producing politics by means of free discussion instead of countering prohibition with prohibition, when taking up the issue stemming from the question, “What Happened to the Ottoman Armenians?” In other words, the most important historian of the Union and Progress period says to stop curtailing debate by means of Turkish penal code 301 and elsewhere and, instead, allow for the production of new and result-oriented politics by means of free historical debate to counter the campaign for “recognizing genocide” and now “punishment for the denial of genocide.” Actually, this is the task before us.

With this opportunity, I would like to note on the record that I am one of those eagerly awaiting his book-in-progress on the Committee for Union and Progress’ reign of power (1908-1918).




Nato Parliamentary Assembly Adopted Document Recognizing Armenia As Aggressor
16 November 2006
APA
The document “Role of South Caucasus in NATO” recognizing Armenian as an aggressor state was adopted in the 52nd session of NATO Parliamentary Assembly held in Quebec, Siyavush Novruzov, the Azerbaijani representative in NATO PA told the APA. “The rapporteurs had been to South Caucasian countries and prepared the report. We were discontent about the report and achieved fundamental amendments to the document. After hard discussions in the Azerbaijani side of the document adopted in the NATO PA the occupation of 20% of our territories by Armenia, 1m refugees, not fulfilling the UN Security Council and CE resolutions, committing arsons in the occupied Azerbaijani territories were reflected in the document,” Siyavush Novruzov said.
He said for the first time the fact of the occupation of 20% of Azerbaijani territories is reflected in the international document. Out of 26 participant countries 25 voted for the adoption of the document. The parliamentarian said that the role of Azerbaijan in the energy security of Europe was discussed at the session.




Turkey Challenges Armenian Claims: Ankara Considers To Appeal To The International Court
16 November 2006
Turkish Weekly
Turkish Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul declared that Ankara Government consider to appeal to the international court regarding the Armenian genocide claims. Armenians have never applied any court for their claims, but foreign parliaments. The details of the initiative will be declared in coming days.

Following Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s letter to Armenian President Robert Kocharyan last year in which he proposed the appointment of a joint commission of historians to discuss the 1915 incidents, Turkey intends on offering new initiatives.

Speaking at the Budgetary Commission of the Turkish National Assembly, Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul said Turkish and foreign lawyers were studying the issue. Gul noted that Turkey did not rule out international adjudication, an option for which the views of both domestic and foreign international lawyers were being sought. Minister Gul also recalled that Turkey had invited not only Armenians but also third parties to join the proposed commission of historians.

Sukru Elekdag, CHP MP, gave strong support to Gul’s proposal and argued that Turkey is right and Armenians will have noting in the appeal.
Sedat laciner, head of the Ankara-based International Strategic Research Organization (USAK) told the JTW that the Armenians never went to the courts, but the foreign parliaments:

“Armenians want to keep the problem in the political framework, because they do not have prove their claims in the political area.” Laciner added.

According to Laciner, no international court can support the Armenian allegations under the UN Convention. Dr. Laciner further continued:

“The Armenians were armed in 1915, they had political aims against the Government, they supported the other side, and there were communal clashes between the Armenians, Kurds and Turks. The difference between genocide and political clashes is very clear in the UN Convention. The Armenians wanted a seat in the Lausanne Peace Treaty Negotiations, claiming they also fought against the Turks. The Armenians vividly confessed after the First World War that they were against the Ottoman State and they joined the allies against their state. All these prove that the Armenian case was not a genocide. Apart from the Armenian claims, the international court should also look at the Turkish massacres committed by the Armenian armed groups during the First World War. Many family in Turkey want to go to the courts against the Armenians.”

Dr. Sukru Elekdag says the new initiative is a milestone in Turkey’s Armenian issue policies. “It is the first time a Turkish FM is speaking about international court” Elekdag added.

Armenia has rejected all Turkish offers and invitations to discuss the past. The Armenian side argues that Turkey has to accept what the Armenians say, “because there is nothing left to be discussable”.




Law Passed To Allow Churches Reclaim Land
The Irish Times
November 15, 2006
TURKEY: Charitable foundations can apply for restitution of property, writes Nicholas Birch in Istanbul

The reasons courts gave for confiscating eight properties belonging to an Istanbul Armenian church between 1987 and 1993 were always the same.

According to the deeds, the buildings belonged to St John and the Archangel Gabriel. But who were these people? Judges sent inspectors out to find them, but they came back empty-handed.

Now a new EU-backed law on charitable foundations is due to set the record straight. Passed last Thursday by parliament and awaiting presidential approval, the legislation gives foundations 18 months to apply for the restitution of state-confiscated property. It also foresees the appointment of a non-Muslim member to the state department that oversees foundations.

"These are positive steps towards wiping out the effects of 1974," says Diran Bakar, a Turkish-Armenian lawyer, referring to a Turkish Appeal Court decision to cancel real estate acquisitions made by non-Muslim foundations since 1936. Coinciding with war on Cyprus, the ruling led to the confiscation of at least 4,000 properties belonging to Turkish Greeks, Jews and Armenians.

"Its aim was to dry up the minority communities' economic resources," explains political scientist Elcin Macar, who believes that the "founding philosophy of the Turkish Republic never had any space for non-Muslims".

Brussels has long-warned discrimination will have to stop if Turkey's EU bid is to succeed.

In its annual report on Turkey released last Wednesday, it criticised Ankara for ongoing limitations to religious freedom, and recommended the adoption of minority legislation in line with European Court of Human Rights case law.

Yet, despite it providing the impulse behind the new law, few expect Brussels to be satisfied with the end result. The law not only fails to provide compensation for foundations whose confiscated property has been sold on by the state, analysts point out, it also maintains the distinction between Muslim and non-Muslim foundations.

"This is my country, I see my future here," says Lakis Vingas, businessman and member of Turkey's 3,000-strong Greek community. "Yet when I turn on the TV, it's immediately clear that I'm seen as a foreigner." He is referring to the furious rows that surrounded parliament's discussion of the foundation bill.

Some deputies insisted the legislation would enable the Greek Orthodox Patriarch - a parish priest for Ankara, first among equals for the world's Orthodox church - to build an Orthodox Vatican in central Istanbul. Others worried it would involve handing Istanbul's famed Agia Sophia - once a church, then a mosque, now a museum - over to Greece.

In the case of opposition deputy Bayram Meral, prejudice took a less whimsical form. "What's this law about? It's about giving Agop his property back," he railed, using a common Armenian name.

"Congratulations to the government! You ignore the villagers, the workers and the farmers to worry yourself with Agop's business."

Baskin Oran, an expert on Turkish minorities, thinks such sentiments are worryingly representative of an increasingly nationalistic parliament. "Not only will this law not satisfy Europe, it's highly likely to damage relations further, as just another example of the half-hearted reform process Turkey was criticised for in the report."




Armenian Historian Rejects
15 November 2006
Demaz
Levon Panos Dabagian: "Turkish history has never had genocide against Armenians"
While protest actions against the adoption of a draft bill concerning the punishment for denial "Armenian genocide" adopted by the Lower Chamber of the French Parliament are ongoing, the Armenians living in Turkey decided to join to the process. According to the Armenians, distinguishing with their more moderate approach to the 1915 events rather than the Armenian diaspora, political speculations developing around the so called "Armenian genocide" complicates the process of improvement of the relations between Turks and Armenians. Turkish Armenians informed that they condemn the draft bill that is expected to be adopted by the Parliament of France and stated that the document just serve for pre-election interests of French political circles.

Mesrop Mutafian II, the religious leader of Armenians living in Turkey also noted that such decision of the French Parliament won't give anything to Armenians but just make worsen unfavorable relations between the two nations. In general, Mutafian's view to the 1915 events (Patriarch do not call them genocide) are regularly critiqued by Armenian diaspora and Yerevan political circles. According to Mutafian, Turks as well as Armenians are directly relevant to the 1915 events. But as the Patriarch thinks, the both nation's be better leave behind this date and think over how to rehabilitate friendship once existed between the nations, rather than to day, several decades after that event to reveal who is to blame for that to a greater or lesser extent.
Levon Panos Dabagian, Armenian historian living in Turkey also thinks so. It is appropriate mention that Dabagian was one of the first of few representatives of Armenian lobby who openly speaks against "genocide" campaign. At the same time Dabagian considers Armenian demands concerning the "genocide" groundless on the basis of historical facts. The historian studying the history of the Ottoman Empire's Armenians for a long time published his own book entitled "The history of Turkish Armenians" in 2003. It is known that right away after the decision of French Parliament Dabagian appeared in Turkish mass media and criticized such action of French MPs.

Dabagian confirms that throughout all Turkish history there were never events even closed to Armenian genocide, and all statements relating that are based on the political interests: "During World War I Turkey deported Armenians living in its territory and it is generally accepted but Turkey has never had conducted a genocide policy against Armenians." According to Dabagian, the decision concerning the mentioned deportation was taken due to the wartime conditions: "Anyway, the actions cannot be called genocide."

It is appropriate mention that it concerns the "Law on Deportation" adopted towards Armenians living on front-line in 1915, when in the Eastern Anatolia the armed hostilities between the Ottoman Empire and the czarist Russia were in progress. According to the law composed of 3 Articles, the Armenian population living there who excited rebellion against the Ottoman armed forces had been deported to the territory of non-armed hostilities, including the Middle East. In addition, the multitude of Armenian population, not involving in the propaganda and armed rebellion against Turkey were subjected to the deportation and Turkey recognizes the fact today. But it was wartime and any state would act in so way.

As the Armenian historian thinks, the majority of Armenians excited rebellion in 1915 and living in the areas where armed hostilities between the Ottoman Empire and Russian Empire progressed were not indigene, and the Russians instigated them to the rebellion. He informed that in World War I the western countries as well as Russia had used the Armenians against the Ottoman Turkey: "Western world decided to make use of Armenians and undermine the power of Turkey. Thus, Russia, making use of the factor strived for the commencement of the majority of armed conflicts by the Armenians removed to Turkey from Russia."

As the Armenian historian notes, while the event used to be discussed between Armenia and Turkey, the majority of Western countries are still trying to make use of it in their own political interests. According to Dabagian, the use of the "Armenian genocide" in the issue relating Turkish accession to the European Union has no in common with the Armenian lobby activity in the United States and with the majority of Armenians' demands.
The Armenian historian's such statement is very noteworthy. But unfortunately, voices of such scholars as Dabagian are lost among deceitful speculations of Armenian lobby and their supporters, ongoing the groundless campaign for a long time. The Armenian false to date is echoed in different countries worldwide that assume the historical truth and even make use of it in their purposes as some Western countries do it. The draft bill adopted by the Lower chamber of the French Parliament can be exemplified once more.

Of course, it is impossible to say that Turkey makes absolutely no efforts to counteract to the campaign. It is impossible to deny that Turkey held just observance position for a long time as it did not believe in Armenian successes. But for recent two years Turkey began to undertake purposeful and complex steps, holding symposiums devoted to "Armenian issue", and organizing international conferences with participation of the distinguished foreign historians.

One of the foreign scholars exposing Armenian false on international scene, a British professor Andrew Mango made a report on the occasion in Turkey. In speech the English scholar informed that one of the key purposes of the dissemination of false information about Turkish "deeds" by Armenians is to cover up their own actions committed against the Azerbaijani nation. Talking of that he cited the Khojaly tragedy as an example.
By holding such arrangements Turkey is trying to bring the issue to the notice of international community, guiding by the historical facts and truth, but not false fantasy. As it is known, last year Rajab Tayyib Erdogan, a Turkish Prime-Minister offered to Robert Kocharian, the Armenian President to set up a common commission for studying the 1915 events and following period. But the official Yerevan rejected the proposal. Thus, the regulation of Armenian-Turkish relations under such context is very a complex task.




Algerian Pm Bilhadim Says France Should Accept Its Past Crimes In Algeria
15 November 2006
Turkish Weekly
* Algerians cannot understand why France, championing the genocide issues in Europe, do not apologize from the Algerians for the genocide committed by French in Algeria.

* Algerian Prime Minister Abdelaziz Belkhadem renewed his call on France to admit to crimes it committed during its colonization of Algeria, if it wanted full normalization of bilateral relations

* Abdulaziz Bilhadim, the Prime Minister of Algeria criticized France's accusing Turkey of Armenian ‘Genocide’. According to Mr. Bilhadim, France should first face its own history instead of accusing other countries

Umit YEKPARE (JTW) - Abdulaziz Bilhadim, the Prime Minister of Algeria, reminded France of their accusations about Turkey regarding the so-called Armenian 'genocide'. He said: "you should also face your own history. You should accept your crimes waged between 1830 and 1962. 1.5 million people died."

Algeria is "ready" to cooperate with France "so that it recognizes crimes committed against Algerians," Algerian Prime Minister Belkhadem said. "The Algerian can forgive, but will never forget." However Nicolas Sarkozy, French Interior Minister, urged the Algerians to forget their colonial past. "I come as a friend. I attach much importance to this trip," Sarkozy said on his arrival, yet he refused to apologize from Algeria fort he French crimes during the colonial years in Algeria. Sarkozy even accused the Algerians for “some past mistakes”:

"Suffering is not just on one side… There is suffering on both sides, and each one of us must travel the two sides of the Mediterranean towards appeasement and towards a common future. We should avoid words and deeds that harm, and try to understand" he added.
* “First apologize for the colonies”

The Prime Minister of Algeria, reminded of the words of President Chirac, said: "France should accept its crimes during the colonial period in order to establish friendly relationships."

Algeria, its colony for years, where more than 1,5 million of people were killed, is asking France to apologize from Algeria. France recently accuse Turks of committing genocide during the First World War against the Armenians. However Turkey says that France is not sincere in its accusations but abusing the Armenian Issue to prevent Turkey’s EU membership. Assoc. Prof. Dr. Sedat laciner from USAK says “if France is sincere in its accusations, it has to accept many genocides committed by the French in the recent past.”

* Sarkozy Does not Want to Speak About the French Past in Africa

French Home Affairs Minister and possibly candidate for the Presidency in France Mr. Nicolas Sarkozy has been deeply affected when Prime Minister Abdelaziz Belkhadem kept attached to Algeria’s claim consisting in France recognizance and apology for the colonial era crimes. Sarkozy, in his latest Algeria visit, argued that France is not a colonial country right now. The French official told Belkhadem “our generation has nothing to do with colonialism”, noting that “the colonial system deserves to be incriminated”. According to Mr. Sarkozy, Algeria should forget its colonial history to mend the relations.

The lack of a positive response of any sort from France, delayed Algerian-French friendship treaty that, was going to come into existence by the end of 2005. However, Normalization of ties, has since independence been very gradually, slow. Algeria always hoped that, France’s apology for the Genocide would be necessary in order to sign a friendship treaty by the end of the year similar to the 1963 Franco-German reconciliation treaty.




Tusiad Says No Cooperation With Armenia
15 November 2006
APA
Turkish Industrialists’ and Businessmen’ Association –TUSIAD-, based in Istanbul, which cooperates with Armenian businessmen, has no relations to the Union of Turkish Industrialists and Businessmen-TUSIAB,” TUSIAB issued a statement to make clear the article “TUSIAD establishes new union to expand business relations with Armenia” spread by APA news agency quoting Turkish Daily News.

TUSIAB said the news misled public and was misunderstood.

“TUSIAB condemns and is against any political, cultural social or commercial relations with aggressor-Armenia until the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan is restored,” the Union stated, adding there is no connection between TUSIAD and TUSIAB.

The previous news said 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, APA reports quoting Turkish Daily News.

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

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.

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,” he 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.
Turkish business circles said nay commercial or economic cooperation with Armenia doesn’t serve the interests of Turkey and those cooperating with Armenian businessmen are Jews and Armenians by origin.




Arınç calls on France to open its archives
November 15, 2006
ANKARA - TDN Parliament Bureau
Parliament Speaker Bülent Arınç called on France on Tuesday to open its archives as Turkey has in response to Armenian allegations of genocide, in an apparent reference to Algerian killings under French colonial rule.

Arınç made his remarks at Parliament while opening the exhibition “Living Together under the Same Firmament,” on the occasion of the 160th anniversary of the start of the register of Ottoman archives. Archive documents from the Ottoman Empire are being displayed at the exhibition.

“Open your archives as we have done. Show the whole world what you have done in the countries which you once ruled. We'll see then whether you have given peace and calm to all people of different religions and ethnicities or did something else,” Arınç said.

The French National Assembly infuriated Turkey last month by backing a bill making it a crime to deny that Armenians were victims of “genocide” at the hands of the Ottoman Empire, 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 to Turkish-French ties and also accused France, one of the European Union's founding countries known for championing liberties, of staining freedom of expression with the bill it adopted.

Slamming the bill, the Turkish Parliament then released a joint declaration signed by all parties in Parliament and said the bill was motivated by calculations of domestic political gain. They said the bill would also harm prospects for the normalization of relations between Turkey and Armenia.

Foreign Minister Abdullah Gül, addressing the special session before the declaration was read out, said France stood at a “historic crossroads” and would chose between “becoming the country of Voltaire and Montesquieu or following a colonialist tradition” when it decides whether or not to go ahead with the controversial bill.

The historical documents at the exhibition show the Ottoman Empire's tolerant approach towards non-Muslim and other minorities, Arınç also said: “This exhibition shows how freedoms were granted to every religion, every language and every race in our lands while Europe was still living in the darkness of the Inquisition, with people burnt at the stake just for being of different religions or sects.”




Sons don't Apologize for Their Fathers' Mistakes
Ali Ihsan Aydin
November 15, 2006
zaman.com
Though first in line when it comes to demanding that Turkey face up to its dark history, namely claims of a 1915 Armenian genocide, it seems that Paris is content to take a ‘let’s leave history to the historians’ approach when faced with its own colonial era trauma in Algeria.

French Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy has been on an official visit to France’s former colony Algeria. On Monday Sarkozy placed a wreath at a monument for Algerians killed in their war for independence and on Tuesday he visited a monastery in Tibhirine where seven French monks where killed in 1996.

In only eight years, 1.5 million Algerians died during their country’s fight for independence between 1954 and 1962. Torture was widespread.

The Algerian government has urged France to apologize for the killings and suffering during 130 years of colonial rule.

While the Algerian government has called on the French to recognize “the number of victims and the looting of riches” and “the deletion of national identity,” Sarkozy preferred to talk about the “dark moments” of the colonial era and suffering on both sides.

Sarkozy, a leading candidate for the French center-right political world to run for president next year, has strongly supported France’s recent notorious bill criminalizing the denial of an Armenian genocide at the hands of the Turks during World War I.

During his trip Sarkozy preferred to focus on an initiative to lift visa restrictions for Algerians traveling to Europe. Both the French interior minister and the Algerian leadership avoided talking too much on the two topics cooling relations between the two countries: Algeria’s call for an apology and the postponement of a 2005 bilateral friendship treaty.

The treaty was pushed aside after France passed a law last year requiring textbooks to talk about the “positive side” of French colonialism. An embarrassed Chirac quashed the law but relations have suffered.

Instead, both sides preferred to talk about Sarkozy’s trip in terms of a “necessary” friendship between the two countries “condemned” to a mutual future, said Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika.




Did we Win or Lose the American Elections?
ALI H. ASLAN
Washington
11.14.2006
a.aslan@zaman.com.tr
With the Democrats taking control of Congress by overpowering the incumbent Republicans last Tuesday in the mid-term elections, the political landscape in Washington has changed. A new era is beginning in America. The reason for President Bush’s defeat is another analysis entirely. So how will the current picture affect Turkey?


Ankara has been trying to repair the relations with the Republican Bush administration that were seriously strained during the Iraq war. However, giving precedence to strengthening relations with the party in power didn’t allow for the establishment of necessary communications with the Democratic opposition. Until now, a big part of the work was handled with the help of the lobbying firm of former Republican leader Bob Livingston. But now the Congress is in the hands of the Democrats…

Should Turkey take on an air of “the old king is dead; long live the new king”? I think not, because although the Republicans have lost the majority, close to half the Congress and the White House are still in their hands. Consequently, even if they are weakened, they still have power that shouldn’t be underestimated. On the other hand, there is no reason why Ankara shouldn’t show the Democrats flexibility in advancing relations. Even if we’re a little late, we haven’t missed the train completely…

Most of the Democratic leaders who will hold key positions in Congress’ foreign policy have problems with Ankara for different reasons. Future Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, Senate Leader Harry Reid, Chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee Joe Biden, and House International Relations Committee Chairman Tom Lantos can all be included in this category. It is important to dissipate the chilliness with key Democratic leaders. If Prime Minister Erdogan had been able to realize his Washington visit after January 2007, and had been able to meet with Democrats instead of coming during the election campaign period when Congress was on vacation, it would have been much more productive…

The Democrats’ general viewpoint on the issues of Iraq and the alleged Armenian genocide, which carry near-future crisis potential in Turkish-American relations, is rather far from Turkey’s. They may not be able to decisively implement everything they said before the elections. However, many influential Democrats have become dangerously engaged with the Armenian lobby regarding their genocide claims. When it comes down to the bottom line, President Bush will interfere again, but it’s questionable as to how effective the Republican White House’s request to the Democratic leaders in Congress will be. An important factor of most Democratic campaigns was Turkey’s not looking favorably on an immediate pull-out of troops from Iraq because of its anxiety about its leading to increased chaos. It is known that some like Senator Biden support possibilities that even include Iraq’s being divided into three different states.

If the Armenian resolution passes Congress in April, if steps are taken in Iraq to deepen Turkey’s concerns, and if concrete measures are not taken against the presence of the PKK, we might very well find ourselves in a new Turkish-American crisis in the spring. Just the Armenian genocide issue alone is enough to poison Turkish-American relations. Imagine how the already Washington-sensitive Turkish public opinion and ruling establishment would respond. Fears of the eastern part of the country being divided between the Armenians and Kurds would hit the roof. The perception that the U.S. is not Turkey’s friend would be strengthened. With Ankara entering an election atmosphere, it would not be easy to find a brave knight to stand up for Turkish-American relations. And the common strategic vision between the two countries could be seriously damaged.

Let’s look at the bright side. The tracks Democratic President Bill Clinton left behind in Turkish-American relations are an important legacy. The Democrats’ adopting a more internationalist and world-harmonious image than the Republicans is an advantage for Turkey. It is expected that the Baker-Hamilton Commission, which has turned into a vehicle for salvaging the situation for both parties, will recommend mechanisms that make Iraq’s neighbors a part of the solution. Consequently, our quotient of being listened to in Washington can increase. The Democrats will try and draw a more realistic and pragmatic foreign policy line than the idealistic, surrealistic and maximalist line represented by the neocons. They might want to put the breaks on democratization in the Middle East and partially return to former pro-stability policy and spread reforms out over a longer period of time. Most Democrats see diplomatic engagement with Syria and Iran as more suitable to American interests. They want to rejuvenate the peace process in the Middle East. All of these are compatible with Ankara’s line.

The change in the political picture in America can lead to tactical variation in its foreign policy, but its general strategic stance won’t change much. It is a strategic necessity that the United States not offend an important regional power like Turkey. Turkey can not be taken for granted as before. If Turkey becomes offended, it can not make a sufficient contribution to straightening out the grave position of the U.S. and Israel in the Middle East, and the hands of the radicals would be strengthened in the war against terror. Turkish-American strategic relations should not be sacrificed to internal political concerns in both countries. Train-wrecks could be avoided by intense dialogue.




Armenians urge Bush to drop ambassador-designate for Armenia
November 14, 2006
ÜMİT ENGİNSOY
WASHINGTON - Turkish Daily News
Under US law, the president can appoint senior officials for two years by bypassing the Senate when Congress is in recess, but it is not clear if Bush would do so for Hoagland because it could be a source of new friction with some leading Democratic leaders

A leading U.S. Armenian group has demanded that U.S. President George W. Bush withdraw the nomination of his pick for ambassador to Yerevan, who has refused to recognize the “Armenian genocide.”

“Dick Hoagland is absolutely unacceptable. A denier of the Armenian genocide should never serve as America's ambassador to Yerevan,” the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) said in a statement received over the weekend.

ANCA asked U.S. Armenians to send messages to senators asking them to demand that the White House drop Hoagland's nomination.

ANCA's move came in the wake of the Democratic Party's landslide victory in last week's congressional elections that gave the Democrats control of both the House of Representatives and the Senate.

Many prominent Democratic lawmakers supporting the Armenian cause are expected to assume key posts in the new Congress, and U.S. Armenian leaders already have said that the upcoming congressional session would provide opportunities for the passage of genocide resolutions in the House and the Senate.

Hoagland faced hostile reactions from Armenian groups after he declined to classify last century's Armenian killings in the Ottoman Empire as genocide during his confirmation hearing at the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in June.

The Republican-dominated committee then approved Hoagland's candidacy despite Armenian objections, but Sen. Robert Menendez, a New Jersey Democrat, in September put a hold on the ambassador-designate's nomination.

Under U.S. law, all senior government officials, including ambassadors, must win the Senate's approval, and any senator can indefinitely block nominations. But such moves are rare because they put such dissenting senators under intense pressure.

But ANCA's move to urge Bush to withdraw Hoagland's nomination means that the Armenians have no intention of accepting the president's pick for ambassador, particularly at a time when a new congressional leadership, more friendly to the Armenian cause than the present Republican-led one, is due to take office in late January.

U.S. Armenians blast Bush and his Republican administration for Washington's official policy to reject genocide recognition. As a result the U.S. Armenian community mostly backed Democratic candidates in the 2004 and 2006 elections, although there are many Republicans in the Armenian caucus in Congress.

Bush in May fired Robert Evans, America's former ambassador in Yerevan, for publicly qualifying the Armenian killings as genocide in violation of U.S. policy and nominated Hoagland to replace him. U.S. Armenians strongly protested Evans' firing.

Under U.S. law, the president can appoint senior officials for two years by bypassing the Senate when Congress is in recess, but it is not clear if Bush would do so for Hoagland because it could be a source of new friction with some leading Democratic leaders.

The larger danger for Turkey is the prospect of a genocide recognition resolution's congressional passage at some point next year.

Bush administration officials recently have admitted that the president's efforts to stop a new resolution may fail in this dramatically changed political climate after the Democratic victory.




Algeria To France: Recognize Your Own Genocide
Hurriyet, Turkey
Nov 13 2006
Algerian Prime Minister Abdulaziz Belkadem has called on France to "accept that it carried out genocide" in Algeria, an announcement that carries particular weight as French Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy leaves today from France for a 2 day visit to Algeria.

Belkadem recalled French President Jacques Chirac's statement that "Countries are called on to accept the dramas and mistakes that they have led the way to" in reference to Armenian claims against Turkey, and said "We call on France to accept that what it carried out was a genocide during the years between 1830 and 1962 when it occupied Algeria. This identification of genocide includes not only genocide itself, but the attempt to wipe out our cultural and national identity. They need to remember that in addition to massacring people, they also erased the cultural wealth of a country."

Meetings between the central-right Sarkozy, who is seen as a likely candidate for president next year, and Algerian officials are now expected to take place in the shadow of these calls for genocide recognition on the part of France.




France Should Face Its Own History
Sabah, Turkey
Nov 13 2006
The Prime Minister of Algeria criticized France's accusing Turkey of Armenian Genocide.

Abdulaziz Bilhadim, the Prime Minister of Algeria, reminded France of their accusations about Turkey regarding the Armenian 'genocide'. He said: "you should also face your own history. You should accept your crimes waged between 1830 and 1962. 1.5 million people died."

First apologize for the colonies

The Prime Minister of Algeria, reminded of the words of President Chirac, said: "France should accept its crimes during the colonial period in order to establish friendly relationships."

France is being forced to face its own music, after pressing Turkey to recognize the Armenian genocide in order to become a member of the EU. Algeria, its colony for years, where thousands of people were killed, is charging France with a similar accusation; using the words of president Chirac: "face your own history. Nations grow as they accept their mistakes." The Prime Minister of Algeria reminded of the words of President Chirac, said: "France should accept its crimes waged during the colonial period in order to establish friendly relationships."




A Noble Conscience
Nahal Toosi
Associated Press
Providence Journal, Rhode Island
Nov 13 2006
In another life, Orhan Pamuk could have been an escape artist.

Spend an hour with him, and you quickly wonder if he wants to be somewhere else, or even someone else. Ask him, and he'll admit that not being Orhan Pamuk is a constant fantasy.

But Pamuk has good reason to be himself these days. For years, he has been regarded as a novelist of exceptional talent. Now, he's a Nobel Prize-winning novelist of exceptional talent.

What does that mean for a man who wrote he once believed there was another Orhan somewhere?

Mostly just relief.

"The beautiful part of this prize is that I'm pleased from now on nobody else will ask me, 'Will you get the Nobel Prize?' " Pamuk says, laughing.

The Nobel is a coda to an extraordinary decade in the 30-year career of Turkey's most famous writer - one of steep rise in global exposure.

His works have now been translated into more than 40 languages. He has traveled to more than 20 countries to promote them. Along the way, he has made his share of political statements, one of which led to a trial in Turkey on the charge of "insulting Turkishness."

Meanwhile, the drumbeat for the Nobel grew louder and more maddening.

In a recent interview at Columbia University, where he is a fellow, Pamuk insisted that the Nobel would not change his character or work habits, but he also expressed exhaustion with the people who comb everything he says and writes for controversy. He seems unsure if the Nobel will be more of a shield or a magnifying glass.

"Politics do not influence my work; politics have influenced my life, actually," he says. "In fact, I am doing my utmost to preserve my work from politics."

Pamuk is a tall, slender 54-year-old, with a slightly pudgy face, almond eyes, ill-fitting glasses and rumpled hair. He laughs loudly, isn't above wagging his finger over questions he deems objectionable, and describes himself as a lover of solitude with a restless imagination.

"I have this urge to stop this life and start afresh," he says. "I am in a train, and the train goes into a town, or it passes close to houses. . . . You see inside the house where a man, a family, a TV is on, they're sitting at a table. You see a life there.

There's an immense impulse to be there, to be them, to be like them."

Pamuk was born into a wealthy family in Istanbul, and defines himself as Muslim "culturally," with religion never playing much of a role in his upbringing. In his early 20s, disillusioned with his architecture studies and painting aspirations, he decided he would write. It was nearly a decade before he was published.

"Till the age of 30, my father gave me pocket money," he says.

His artistic skills have influenced his structurally complex, visually piercing novels. He counts among his inspirations Proust and Tolstoy, and says he loves philosophically and emotionally layered works such as The Possessed and Anna Karenina.

His own lyrical, dreamlike stories - often drenched in melancholy -seek harmony in discord, but don't always find it.

In Snow, his most overtly political novel, Pamuk writes about the plight of young Muslim girls who wished to wear headscarves in school but faced legal obstacles in secular Turkey. In the book, published in the United States in 2004, every character's point of view seems to have merit, and in it, both secularists and Islamists in Turkey found much to like and hate. The topic was especially touchy, considering the ongoing debate in Turkey over the country's bid to join the European Union, a move Pamuk has openly supported.

The push and pull in Turkey, a country that straddles two continents and has deep religious and secular convictions, haunt Pamuk's work.

Besides Snow, his best-known novels in the United States are The Black Book and My Name Is Red. Another well-received book, Istanbul, is part memoir, part history of the home city Pamuk adores.

Pamuk spends years exploring themes before an idea is transformed into a book. He still writes in longhand with a fountain pen.

"One of the wonderful joys of writing novels is not the writing, but fantasizing about other novels one day you will write," he says. "I have notebooks, notes, so much material about the novels I may someday write. Then, of course you realistically know you cannot write all of these novels. But it's like fantasizing another life.

. . . I like doing that."

He doesn't believe his best work is behind him, but says the Nobel is unlikely to be a crutch.

"I'm sure that after two months when I write a page that I'm not sure about the quality, that I will be upset," he says. "I will be tormented again if I think that the sentence I'm writing is not good.

No Nobel Prize - no nothing helps that. You're alone there."

He hopes the Nobel, Turkey's first, has a positive impact on other Turkish writers, but he is not convinced that it will protect him from future political persecution, noting that he was already very famous when he was put on trial last year.

Pamuk was charged after telling a Swiss publication that Turkey was unwilling to deal with painful parts of its history involving the massacres of Armenians during World War I, which Turkey insists was not a genocide, and the killings of many in its Kurdish population.

The charge was dropped on a technicality in January.

He insists that he is merely "a novelist" writing about what he knows and what interests him, but that others have interpreted his works as political commentary during what are tense times between the West and the Muslim world.

Still, it doesn't take much to make him say something political. It is as if he can't bear to not be honest.

"It's a conscience," said Maureen Freely, who has known Pamuk for many years and served as a translator for him. "If it's important, he'll say something. It's something he regards as a duty he can't run away from."

Orham Pamuk will be at Brown University tomorrow as a participant in a sold-out, three-day public event titled Strange Times, My Dear: A Freedom-to-Write Literary Festival.

"Politics do not influence my work; politics have influenced my life, actually. In fact, I am doing my utmost to preserve my work from politics."

Orhan Pamuk "Politics do not influence my work; politics have influenced my life, actually. In fact, I am doing my utmost to preserve my work from politics."




Dual Citizenship: How Much Is It Costing Canada?
Bruce Cheadle
Hamilton Spectator, Canada
Nov 13 2006
Country looks good in retirement

For the record, Don DeVoretz doesn't criticize immigrants who come to Canada, stay long enough to become citizens, then leave to sow greener pastures in the world's economic hothouses.

"Nobody's breaking any law here," the economist and immigration researcher said from Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, where he's co-director of Research for Immigration and Integration in the Metropolis or RIIM.

"If we set up the policy to encourage people to come here, get citizenship and leave without paying taxes, I would do it. You would. It's not evil."

But DeVoretz does take issue with some of Canada's current immigration and citizenship policy.

In an increasingly mobile world, Canada's generous social programs, platinum passport and low threshold for naturalization make this country an attractive way station.

Whether that is a good or bad thing for the country depends on who you talk to.

Kenny Zhang, a senior research analyst at the Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada, writes eloquently of the benefits naturalized Canadians abroad bring to their adopted homeland.

The foundation has estimated there are 2.7 million Canadian citizens --9 per cent of the total population at home -- living outside Canada's borders.

That puts Canada ahead of the United States, China, India and Australia for the proportion of nationals living abroad.

Zhang and his colleagues believe economic considerations are going to keep increasing that number.

China and India are furiously recruiting their educated expatriates in western countries as their economies modernize and grow exponentially.

Canadian nationals of Chinese and Indian descent help foster valuable trade and cultural ties when they return to jobs in their mother countries, Zhang argues.

But there's a downside to the equation.

DeVoretz is working on a book that involved a series of interviews with Canadian returnees to Hong Kong, where he estimates close to 250,000 Canadian nationals live and work.

The academic says there's a uniform response in the interviews: "They would like to come back (to Canada) in their retirement years."

For a country that provides generous medicare benefits as well as social security and old-age pensions, the cost of servicing these retirees, "could be a very big issue," says DeVoretz.

Lest it appear he's picking on Hong Kong Canadians, DeVoretz makes the point that policy-makers seldom talk about the estimated 1.2 million Canadians -- including power earners such as Wayne Gretzky and Celine Dion -- who live and work in the United States but are equally part of the problem.

"There isn't criticism aimed at that diaspora, but it is at the foreign-born one. And that's where the racism comes in, clearly."

Canada's relatively relaxed entry standards for business-class migrants, generous family reunification policy and short, three-year residency requirement for citizenship were all put in place to help us compete for skilled immigrants with the attractive American market in the 1990s, said DeVoretz.

Now that those migrants are flowing back out, Canada needs to address some issues.

The range of options is staggering, from Israel and Switzerland's compulsory military service for citizens to the U.S. requirement that worldwide income -- after the first $100,000 -- be subject to American taxation.

Germany recently decided to revoke dual citizenship after age 18, forcing adults to decide on their nationality. The Netherlands has changed its citizenship policy three times in the last decade.

"Each country has addressed what it feels is the most vulnerable part of its overseas diaspora," said DeVoretz.

"I would like to have a Canada-first policy, like every other country has."

He proposes a couple of rather benign fixes.

First, make all citizens abroad file an income report annually in Canada, "just so we know where you are."

He'd also like to see evidence of political participation, through Internet voting abroad or some other option.

Zhang, in a paper this year, noted countries such as Israel and Armenia view their diasporas as "strategically vital political assets." Other countries, such as Mexico, India and the Philippines, see the economic power of their diasporas reflected in remittances sent home by expatriates working abroad.

Canada, up until this summer's Lebanon evacuation, seems not to have given its diaspora much thought.

Citizenship and Immigration Minister Monte Solberg now says his department is reviewing dual citizenship.

"From my point of view, that's the wrong medicine for the issue," Zhang said.

The majority of Canadians abroad probably hold only Canadian citizenship, since neither China nor the U.S. formally recognizes duals.

If the Canadian government has a problem with citizens living abroad for the balance of their working lives and returning in retirement for medical care and other services, the solution has little to do with dual citizenship.

http://www.hamiltonspectator.com




Armenian Lobby in U.S. Steps up Pressure on Bush
November 13, 2006
zaman.com
The Armenian lobby in the United States has urged the American administration to withdraw Richard Hoagland, appointed Ambassador to the Armenian capital Yerevan.

Hoagland’s appointment is not welcomed by the Armenian lobby because of his denial of the so-called Armenian genocide.

After the Democrats swept away the Republicans in last week's elections to take the majority in the House of Representatives and Senate, the Armenian lobby has stepped up pressure on the U.S. administration of George W. Bush.

If the lobby succeeds in preventing Hoagland from being ambassador in Yerevan, it would prove that Armenian lobby has the power and political clout to influence the U.S. president, a diplomatic source said.

This is seen as a "rehearsal" step before new draft bills on the genocide are brought onto Congress’s agenda.

Even if the Senate blocked Hoagland’s appointment, President Bush could appoint the ambassador bypassing the Senate.

The Armenian lobby disapproved of Hoagland because he had not referred to an Armenian genocide in a speech given to the Senate in the past.




Netherlands Awards Hrant Dink
November 13, 2006
zaman.com
A Dutch international aid organization, Oxfam Novib, announced that Hrant Dink, the editor in chief of Istanbul-based Turkish-Armenian newspaper Agos, has been awarded with this year’s “Pen Awards”.

A statement from the organization reiterated that this award was given to authors or artists under pressure and facing censorship in different countries every year.

With this award, the organization wanted to support Hrant Dink financially and morally in his work.

Dink has been in and out of Turkish courts in the past year for spoken out on sensitive subjects like the Armenian genocide and ethnic identity in Turkey.




Those You Don’t Know . . .
ELIF SAFAK
11.11.2006
e.safak@zaman.com.tr
Xenophobia, a basic concept in our political and cultural jargon, can be defined as a fear or dislike of foreigners. However, with regards to Turkey, it should not be perceived only as enmity against non-Turkish citizens.

Xenophobia can create a more comprehensive and complicated sphere of influence. A more precise definition should be a phobia against all that is unknown and foreign. Xenophobia accelerates and wins over new supporters at historical turning points and economic crises when societies are going through important transformations. It is mostly nourished by ignorance and grows stronger and spreads through propaganda. Unquestioned dogmas, internalized cultural codes and social prejudices zealously serve xenophobic ends. Since the human being is afraid of what he or she does not know or understand, and because lack of knowledge begets lack of empathy, it is typically ignorance that feeds xenophobia.

I have heard several innocent-looking pieces of humor, witty remarks and stereotypes about the “other”: “Jews are stingy,” “British people are cold and aloof,” “Germans do not like children,” “Westerners lack feeling toward family”; these are the utterances we hear frequently in our daily lives. There are definitely plenty of stereotypes about Turks in the West. These conventional conceptions are reciprocal; they look innocent at first but in fact confine our minds and restrict our points of view. As [Nicos] Poulantzas said, there is no innocent notion, especially when one is so emotional and has so many prejudices. The person who has these prejudices should be asked, “How many Jews, Germans or Britons has he closely known in his life?” Similarly, when you ask a Westerner how many Turkish friends he or she has had so far, the answer is either not even on or a few. It is very strange to see that the less you know a society, the more easily you can make generalizations about it. If we ask these people how they can make such grand generalizations from only knowing a few people, they keep quiet. How do these cultural stereotypes enter our language and minds if we do not acquire them through our personal experiences?

Edward Said, in one of the first comprehensive interviews with the West-Eastern Divan he founded along with Daniel Barenboim, largely deals with this issue. Looking for reasons behind the exacerbation of xenophobia in the world, particularly in the Middle East and West, Said pointed to globalization and global homogeneity as the root causes. “One way of defending yourself against a global concept that covers all is to return to the relaxing symbols of the past,” Said stated, adding that another fact accompanying this flow is the heritage of old empires. The remnants of old empires have still not been able to find a balance. The world order is still being formed.

The problem stems from clearly distinguishing yourself from others, believing you are different and superior to other cultures, nations or groups and assuming that these are your inherited traits. It also stems from considering yourself as part of a single culture and rejecting the fact that you are a “world citizen,” and being not only indifferent and aloof toward “the other” but also making generalizations to conceal your ignorance, constantly reacting and harboring grudges. Edward Said, known for his orientalist views but also as a versatile intellectual, thought such “emotional reaction” and exaggerated fetishism of the past stoke xenophobia. Turkey is going through a cultural, political and social transformation. This transition period is dynamic and creative, but it is also an atmosphere that contributes to xenophobia. If we can deal with prejudices in our minds and act against the rise in xenophobia, then we can become a fully democratic, mature and self-confident society.





Curiosity: a most suitable state for cats and humans alike
November 12, 2006
TurkishDailyNews
Elif SAFAK
The BBC broadcasts an auction show where people can bring in artifacts buried for the longest time in the depths of their homes or in the bottom of grandfather chests to learn about the appraised price, and in some sense, about the history of these objects from experts on the era a given object is from. The information one can learn about these erstwhile articles includes the time they were built, according to which style of the age it was designed and the dominant trends of that age in clothing, fashion and furniture and similar details. After acquiring this information, the item-holders might wish to put the object up for sale or continue to hold on to it, being knowledgeable about the artifact, if nothing else. Now imagine a similar show running in Turkey. Could that ever happen? Would we be interested at all in the story of an ancient grandfather clock, an engraved hardwood chest or an age-old set of china? Do we preserve these old objects, or do we rapidly defenestrate them in a coarse process of modernization and urbanization, only to replace them at the first opportunity we get? To what extent would this culture, which holds “tradition” to be the same as “bigotry” and deems the “old” as equal to “worn-out,” appreciate its own historical fabric?

We are a society ignorant about our past and with a dislike for history. A simple, practically essential value that we've been losing is eroding with every passing day -- the feeling of curiosity. Being intrigued by small things, by the curtains behind what appears to be ordinary. Wondering who lies beneath the tombstone we pass by every day or what the inscription of an epigraph says, wondering the names of the people hanged in this square or the story of that old mansion and thousands of other questions big and small are what reanimates our knowledge of history and keeps it alive. For example, being curious about what records of official history are silent on and what they conceal, and trying to read and understand the past through the eyes of those who have passed those curves.

One of the many reasons that many aspects of Turkish political history are left in silence and in the dark is the lack of “autobiographical and biographic” works. If more biographies were written and published, history would become more articulate, more readily sensible -- at least, our recent history would. However, in order for biography and autobiography writing to become widespread, before anything else the “individual” and “the ability to individualize” should be esteemed. It is no coincidence that portraits -- paintings based on the individual -- and biographies became a widespread form in arts only after the Renaissance. Culture and society should first treasure the individual to be interested in the story of the individual. Improvement of this genre would also prevent the idolization of popular personalities. Reading about the past of a political leader from his biography or autobiography would provide us the opportunity to get to know that leader with his deeds good and bad, his ventures and weaknesses. Even more than that, it will at the same time give the opportunity to know a historical period.

Last week, we lost Bülent Ecevit, whose story I had many times wished to hear from various angles and who, undoubtedly, is one of the most significant visages of Turkey's political history.

When we lost him, we did the thing we always do when a political funeral is in question. We covered his body with a coat of silence, a silence basically apathetic to death, albeit respectful. We did this by confusing mourning with indifference; with being devoid of curiosity and cognizance.

Yet, imagine a book on Ecevit, each of its chapters written from a different individual's point of view. One chapter is written by someone who was part of the communist movement of the 1970s, another chapter by someone with a background in the ultranationalist idealist movement. Both tell of what they witnessed, both tell of history from their own perspective. A chapter could be written by one of the many people who voted for him, who preserved confidence in him year in and year out -- say such as a miner. Still another chapter could be written by someone who found him to be a social democrat at one point but turned his back on him, finding him too nationalistic after a certain time. Likewise, say a chapter was written by a Cypriot Turk, while another was written by a Greek Cypriot. What a lively, striking and sophisticated book would emerge in the end. Just like, or at least like, the period it bears witness to.

Just like, or at least like, the leader it describes.

We lost Ecevit. We lost a socio-cultural icon who made his mark on a period and, whether we like it or not, consistently preserved his singular stance in politics. Being in the limelight (even being in government) does not necessarily amount to being known or being understood. I think, we, the generation that grew up seeing Ecevit almost every day, actually lost him without getting to know him. Now what? The rest is up to the feeling of curiosity. It is up to us to be curious about him and his ear with no pretense and inquire and up to our ability to perceive him from more than one angle.




It was that kind of week at the Turkish Daily News...
November 10, 2006
David Judson
A week ago, I left readers of this column, my first as editor in chief, with the lingering question: Now what? I promised more details as available. Well, let's see... My colleague Yusuf Kanlı boarded a plane on assignment to Italy this week, but not before he'd made reservations for his next trip, to Israel. A new reporter surprised us with a bit of background we'd overlooked on her powerful CV. She had spent two years as a consultant to small businesses in transformation, so-called SMEs -- small to medium-sized enterprises. So she was the logical candidate to send to Athens for a conference on the topic. I hope you have been following her work on our business pages. That Greek is among the four languages she speaks was an extra little bonus. I think they call that serendipity, and we will try and deploy that resource thoughtfully down the road.

The leader of our editorial team, Nejat Başar, was a little distracted this week. He's in the process of setting up housekeeping for a spell at an Istanbul hotel as we ready to move the TDN show from Ankara down the street. And as he is coming with five or six colleagues from the capital, this created a little confusion with the reservations clerk. Some of our new reporters have yet to meet the leader of our rapidly growing reporting team. That's because Barçın Yinanç, whom we recruited from CNN Türk, was in Brussels to cover the famous (or infamous) “progress report” from the friendly folks at the European Commission. A new editor who joined us from The Associated Press graciously stepped in to direct traffic in Barçın's absence. I think it was Mark Twain who said, “God takes care of small children and newspapermen.” Indeed.

And of course there is the staff box, the so-called “künye” in Turkish journalistic jargon. A number of readers skilled in the reading of grounds at the bottom of coffee cups have made much of the fact it remains unchanged. They will have to keep at it for a while, for I am only going to change it once, after everyone has found their new desk and made friends with Cumhur Sarı, who runs our canteen. Cumhur is actually very good at reading the grounds in the bottom of coffee cups. But I digress.

In truth, no one has been as addled as I by the struggle to artfully choreograph the resources of the TDN with our “sister paper,” the national business daily Referans. When I arrived early Monday morning at the office, I learned from Cumhur (it's just the two of us in the early hours at the office) that former five-time Prime Minister Bülent Ecevit had succumbed the day before. Reflexively, I sat down and penned a column on this hero of my youth for Referans -- the newspaper where I have been working for the past two-and-a-half years. I wrote it in Turkish. It was only at the end of a very busy day as I headed for the elevator that a colleague, Belgin Akaltan, asked me if I was planning to write a version for the TDN. A very good question. My self-incriminating reaction should not be repeated in a newspaper that may be read by the occasional person under the age of 18. So the task of rendering my Turkish back into my own native tongue fell somewhat absurdly to our diplomacy editor, Fatma Demirelli. She did a job that astounded me. In, I am told, about 15 minutes. Please do not expect my English to be of this lucidity in the future when Fatma is not available.

Then, again on Monday morning, I had to inform the new team that I had failed them on two heart-felt promises. The first concerns my resumption of the cigarette habit, a scourge I thought I had conquered. In a staff meeting three days prior, someone had suggested that this was less than becoming and something I had to take care of. I promised to emerge from the weekend nicotine free. The other promise that day involved all the new hires. When we assembled on Friday, one colleague asked, “David, do you intend to hire any men?” I had not really thought it through, and we all had to laugh when I looked around the room. Yes, all the new hires were women, I suddenly realized. I promised that the next new staffer in the door would have the requisite chromosome alignment.

Then over the weekend, my CEO Nuri Çolakoğlu sent me the CV of a reporter with eye-catching credentials in international relations and a term of service on the television side of our trade, Işıl Sarıyüce. What could I say?

So on Monday morning, after writing my column and introducing Işıl, I had to apologize on both counts. I am still smoking and we have hired yet another woman. But I am forgiven, said Gül Demir, the TDN's Istanbul representative for the past quarter century and the heart, conscience and institutional memory of this remarkable newspaper. At the TDN, these things can happen, Gül said.

But the foreign editor of another Istanbul daily, a serious intellectual with a decade's experience who is now thumbing through other competing offers with a promise to let me know if he can accept a post at the TDN, is indeed a man. If he accepts, redemption may be at hand. And this weekend, I have promised my wife, Nermin, that the cigarettes will be history. It has been that kind of week at the TDN.

Dear readers, please wish me luck in the days ahead.




Pulling the rug out from under?
11th November 2006
To The Editor
The Economist
letters@economist.com


Dear Sir,
I have read your report " Pulling the rug out from under? " in your 11-17th November edition, and with your kind permission, I wish to correct two points brought up in your article.

Your statement "Turkish intransigence over Cyprus could prompt the Greek-Cypriots to wield their veto at any moment to block talks on other chapters." is wrong and unjust. Who is really intransigent over Cyprus? We all know too well who is being intransigent, but it doesn't fit into the European, dirty game played over Cyprus. We also know that Turkey could have legally prevented Greek-Cyprus becoming a member, but she did not because of European lies and false promises (Helsinki, Dec. 1999). Yes, Turkey was tricked into a cul-de-sac position over Cyprus, but still maintains the military cards in her hands, and the real loosers will be the Greeks, as usual.

Furthermore, you claim that Erdoga's presidency could "spell an end to Ataturk's secular republic" ! Well, wrong again. What we saw during Ecevit's funeral is that, it will spell the end of Erdogan and his AKP, and with it the end of European dreams to become a world power, if not a super power with a say in the region!

Granting the Greek South unilateral EU-membership while keeping the Turkish side out tantamounts to ENOSIS (Union with Greece) for Southern Cyprus, and has already proven to be a historical error. It is amazing how history keeps repeating itself, and Cyprus is a place where things always change for the worse. I have a nasty feeling that while the Lebanese have already seeked refuge in Cyprus twice, next time it could be that the Greeks seek refuge in Lebanon.

Best regards

Kufi Seydali, M.SC., DIC.
Heinrichweg 9
A-3291 Kienberg
Tel: 0043- 7485 97496





Dear Seda, O P E N L E T T E R
Enough on Orhan Pamuk polemics and advertisement
Re: A- http://armenians-1915.blogspot.com/2006/11/1234-gul-says-turkey-working-on-new-html

# 1232 - Media scanner # 10 – About Orhan Pamuk
B- http://armenians-1915.blogspot.com./2006/11/1226-press-scanner-16-articles-in-one.html

# 1226 - Item # 9 – About Orhan Pamuk’s ‘Snow’ by Anahit Hovdesepian


In reference to above commentaries in your news letters, I give hereunder a translation of a “news-clip” which appeared in “VATAN” Newspaper dated Nov/ 19, 2006, which I trust is self-explanatory.

Sukru Server Aya

(About Orhan Pamuk)
He found four mistakes in one sentence. (Pictures of Orhan Pamuk and Prof. Ilber Ortayli)

(Reputed historian) Prof .Dr. Ilber Ortayli, in a conference in Adana, Seyhan, made an interesting remark for the Nobel Prize winner Orhan Pamuk. Rerplying a question of one listener, he said the following: “In one of the books he has written, there is a sentence reading:

“The imam (chaplain), at the hour of afternoon, got out on the balcony of the mosque and read the afternoon prayers call”.

Any person who is aware of the realities of his community, would know that, first, there is no “hour” of namaz-prayer, there‘ is “time”. Time and hour are different concepts. Mosques to not have a “balcony”, the “minaret has a gallery” (serefe). The imam (chaplain) does not make the call; the call is made by “muezzin”, and he does not go up on the gallery (serefe), he reads the call from the inside.

This example proves that persons who try to do something without knowing the community they come from, do not do right things, they cannot.”

(Translated from “VATAN” Nov.19, 2006)
********************************
Vatan Gazetesi 19.11.2006

Bir cümlesinde 4 hata buldu

Orhan Pamuk’un kitabındaki bir cümleyi analiz eden Prof. Dr. Ortaylı “İçinden çıktığı toplumu bilmiyor” dedi.

Adana Seyhan’da düzenlenen bir konferansta konuşma yapan Prof. Dr. İlber Ortaylı, Nobel ödüllü Orhan Pamuk için ilginç bir saptamada bulundu. Ortaylı, bir dinleyicinin Pamuk’la ilgili sorusu üzerine şunları söyledi. “Kaleme aldığı bir eserde şöyle bir ifade geçiyor. ‘İmam ikindi namazı saatinde caminin balkonuna çıkarak ikindi ezanını okudu.’ Bu toplumun gerçeklerini, inançlarını bilen her insan bilir ki, bir kere namazın saati olmaz, vakti olur. Saat ayrı, vakit ayrı bir kavramdır. Camilerde balkon yoktur, minarenin şerefesi vardır. Ezanı da imam okumaz müezzin okur, o da şerefeye çıkmaz içeriden okur. Bu örnekle de sabittir ki kişiler kendi içinden çıktıkları toplumu bilmeden bir şeyler yapmaya çalıştıklarında doğru şeyler yapmazlar, yapamazlar.”

Prof. Dr. Ortaylı konferansta ayrıca, Kozan ilçesindeki Anavarza Antik Kenti’ne dikkat çekerek burada kazı yapılması halinde büyük bir zenginliğin ortaya çıkacağını söyledi.







Former Culture Minister And Current Parliament Member Question Turks Talent To Produce Worthy Literature
03 November 2006
Armenpress
A former Armenian culture minister Hakob Movses questioned today the national identity of a Turkish writer Orhan Pamuk who was awarded Nobel Literature Prize this year saying the Turkish nation was incapable of producing a work of art or literature of world significance and value. "I am not a racist but I can say with certainty that this is simply impossible,' the former culture minister argued. "Man must have genetics in order to have spirit and genius, genius that derives from the Latin 'genus," Movses who is the author of several collections of poetry and prose claimed.

Movses claimed that many people in Germany where Pamuk's books were issued in millions of copies suspect him of being a pureblooded Turk. "Nevertheless I am happy that a Turkish writer was awarded this prize, because if ideas and culture enter a barbaric tribe it means it has not yet lost all chances to become a civilized nation," he said. He also praised Pamuk for referring to the Armenian genocide.

Pamuk, whose novels include "Snow" and "My Name is Red," was charged last year for telling a Swiss newspaper in February 2005 that Turkey was unwilling to deal with two of the most painful episodes in recent Turkish history: the massacre of Armenians during World War I, which Turkey insists was not a planned genocide, and recent guerrilla fighting in Turkey's overwhelmingly Kurdish southeast.

"Thirty-thousand Kurds and 1 million Armenians were killed in these lands, and nobody but me dares to talk about it," he told the newspaper. A parliament member Alvard Petrosian from the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (ARF) also welcomed the decision to award the most prestigious prize to the Turkish writer, saying, however, it was a political decision rather.

Ms. Petrosian, also author of several books of prose, echoed the former culture minister questioning the ability of the Turkish nation to produce a worthy literature.

"I have read only several poems of Turkish poets, but I cannot believe that Turks can have good literature. Even if Pamuk is a pureblooded Turk, which I strongly doubt, it is not enough to say that Turkish literature is good. There may be a couple of good Turkish writers but their literature is not good," she claimed, describing literature as 'something like milk that feeds a nation, but Turkey definitely lacks that sort of milk.




29% Of Armenian Population Are Underfed
03 November 2006
Lragir
29 percent of the population of Armenia are underfed, states the report of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization. The report states that Armenia has managed to halve hungry people. The authors of the report point to the immense number of malnourished people in Uzbekistan and Tajikistan. These countries and Armenia are included in the list of countries which are facing serious food security problems. The experts state that Azerbaijan and Georgia have made considerable progess in this sphere. There are 700-800 thousand underfed people in these countries against 2.5 million in 1993-1995.

The UN report states that there are 25 million undernourished people in the countries with a transitional economy, 21 million live in the CIS. The worst situation is in Tajikistan, 60 percent of the population is underfed.

The report states that it will be impossible to bring into being the goal set in 1996 in the summit of Rome to halve hungry people in the world by 2015.




Russia Acts As Go-Between In Turkey?S Relations With Armenia, Abdullah Gul Thinks
03 November 2006
Azg
Within the framework of the regular session of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation in Moscow on Nov. 1, Turkish foreign minister Abdullah Gul met his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov. At the end of the meeting Gul pointed out to Russian foreign minister’s readiness to act as a mediator in relations between Turkey and Armenia and stated that Russia backs Turkey in its wish to settle the Cyprus issue in the UN. "We think the Greeks’ strategy of transferring the issue from the UN to the EU is unacceptable. In this respect Russia backs our position. Meanwhile, president Putin and other responsible Russian officials display resolution to contribute to development and activation of trade relations with the ‘Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus’," Abdullah Gul stated.

Asked by a journalist, Turkish foreign minister said that they also discussed the Armenian issue, and Lavrov showed interest in Turkey’s proposal of a joint commission and expressed readiness to help in setting it up.




Istanbul-Born Armenian Historian In Limelight Of Turkish Tv
Istanbul-born Armenian historian Levon Panos Tapakhian has denied the fact of the Armenian Genocide. On November 3, the Turkish television posted the historian’s denial on its website under the title "Armenian Historian’s Truth Is Completely Different. Even Armenians Oppose the French Lie."

According to the website, Tapakhian delivered a lecture on Armenian Genocide at Istanbul’s municipal department of People’s Democratic Party. He underscored that the Armenian issue refers to the Turkish-Armenians and the Turks and that the so-called Armenian genocide allegations were invented by the Western powers which keep speculating the issue. Rounding off Tapakhian said: "Armenians underwent deportation from the Ottoman Empire. The West now calls this incident, which is described as deportation, genocide. There was no such thing. It was a deportation not genocide."

By Hakob Chakrian
Azg




Euro MP claims ‘genocide’ recognition more than criteria
‘I don’t see a positive result, and I see bitterness and frustration in Turkey in the event of the failure of EU accession talks,’ French member of EP says

Jean-Louis Bourlanges, a French member of the European Parliament, linked Turkey's European Union accession process to recognition by Ankara of the alleged genocide of Armenians at the hands of the Ottoman Empire, saying that it was a moral responsibility on the part of Turkey to come to terms with its past, which is beyond criteria required for full membership.

“I think it is more than a criterion. It is not a legal criterion. It is a moral duty,” Bourlanges told the Turkish Daily News in an interview.

The European Parliament's report on Turkey, engineered by Dutch rapporteur Camiel Eurlings, had earlier included a paragraph laying down recognition by Ankara of genocide allegations as a precondition for full membership. But the controversial clause was taken out from the report during debates at the Strasbourg-based parliament in September.

EU officials have also assured Ankara in their remarks that recognition of the genocide claims is not a condition for joining the 25-nation bloc.

Bourlanges complained about the current situation both in the EU and also in Turkey, which he said was a “gigantic denial of reality,” raising concerns over Ankara's denial of the so-called genocide. “I think it is necessary to answer the questions on whether we share the same views on having a common future, interpretation of the past and synchronization of democracy,” he said. “We should not make concessions on democracy; we should not be in a diplomatic game in which everybody tries to push its own advantage. We are a political community. It is not like a U.N. organization. You are not joining the United Nations. The EU is completely different. It is a unique union … and a kind of political body.”

Bourlanges, however, criticized a “genocide bill” adopted by the French National Assembly last month criminalizing any denial of the alleged genocide, saying that the bill was the opposite of the Turkish Penal Code's (TCK) Article 301, which has landed a string of intellectuals in court due to denigrating “Turkishness” -- some for comments on the alleged Armenian genocide. “Personally if I were a member of the French parliament, I would have voted against the bill. ... I am worried about the whole process. I think people in favor of Turkish accession and people who are opposed to it are behaving equally bad. It will create a lot of political frustration and probably a political disaster by accumulating decisions in opposite directions,” he said.

The French bill, which has badly strained ties between Ankara and Paris, needs to win the approval of the Senate and be signed by President Jacques Chirac to become law.

Bourlanges said there were three reasons why French lawmakers approved the controversial bill; one is the belief that there was a genocide; the second is the upcoming election in France, where many Armenian voters and citizens live; and the third is a very bad tendency on the part of the current French democracy to draft laws similar to the “genocide bill,” including one on slavery. “But my attitude concerning the Turkish problem is both a political and a moral one. What I want is that Turkey recognizes its responsibility,” he added.

“We are trying to establish a political and moral contract between the EU and Turkey. In my opinion recognition of history is the basis of this contract. It is different, of course, from the [Holocaust] in Germany. I agree it is not the same past but I believe what Armenians experienced is more than tragedy.”

The European parliamentarian voiced strong opposition to Turkey's bid to become a full member of the EU and claimed that the negotiations with Ankara, which opened last October, would probably fail. “It would have been more important if we had organized from the very beginning something like special partnership for Turkey. I think we'll go through a very difficult situation. I don't see a positive result, and I see bitterness and frustration in Turkey in the event of failure,” he added.

‘Entry talks with Turkey becoming more difficult':
The Cyprus row is one of the major hurdles standing in the way of Ankara's EU entry process. Turkey is under EU pressure to open its ports and airports to Greek Cypriot shipping by the end of this year, but Ankara refuses to do so unless the economic isolation of the Turkish Cypriots is eased.

“If a country wants to join the EU, you have to shake hands with all the members. If you have a problem with a member, it is necessary to solve it before being a member,” Bourlanges said.

Referring to the Finnish term presidency's intense efforts to craft a deal in a bid to avoid a crisis in Ankara's accession negotiations over the Cyprus standoff, he said: “I think we have everything in the wrong side and it will not help because we have too many difficulties which make negotiations more and more difficult.”

Bourlanges said there were lots of people who were in favor of Turkish accession but claimed that certain realities with regard to Turkey should not be ignored. “What is impossible is to make a monkey's move, which is to close your eyes, close your ears and close your mouth and not to consolidate as per the problem of Armenian genocide, the problem of Cyprus, the problem of human rights and the problem of freedoms. All these can be solved, and if they are solved, we'll follow the negotiations,” he said.

Asked whether Turkey would be a member of the EU one day, the parliamentarian said: “I don't know if Turkey will be an EU member before the dissolution of the bloc. I'm rather pessimistic about the future of the EU. I think we don't do what we have to do. We are not consistent. We don't know what competence we want to introduce. There is a lot of uncertainty. I think it is too difficult to build something strong and something that is understood by the citizens on such a basis.”

November 5, 2006
FULYA ÖZERKAN
STRASBOURG - Turkish Daily News




The Eu Should Help Resolve The Turkish-Armenian Conflict (Nicolas Tavitian)
01 November 2006
EU Observer
Turkey's accession process provides a historic opportunity to bring about a transformation of the country, and of its relationship with its neighbours. But in embarking in this new enlargement in 1999, the EU seems to have taken on more than it initially believed. A case in point: the recent vote in the French parliament in favour of criminalising the denial of the Armenian genocide. The vote generated an unprecedented interest in relations between Turkey and the Armenians. It is the clearest demonstration yet that, by opening enlargement negotiations with Turkey, the EU has unwittingly taken on the Armenian issue as well.

This is a welcome crisis. In 2000, the European Commission and the council [EU member states] both curtly dismissed the entire matter as a "historical debate,"and left it off the agenda of enlargement negotiations.

They should have known better. The issue is anything but historical. The republic of Turkey - with 65 million inhabitants and the largest NATO army in Europe - has blockaded the tiny Republic of Armenia - 3 million inhabitants - for more than 13 years now, and refused to establish diplomatic relations with it.

The issue of the Armenian genocide is quite different: most of the million or so Armenians in the EU are the descendants of the survivors of the 1915 genocide, which happened on the territory of modern Turkey but which is still being denied by Ankara. Without dwelling on the point, let us note the incredibly dehumanising barbarity of the event. It marked the survivors, and their descendents, for generations.

The current blockade of Armenia lends credibility to the notion that Turkish politics are still driven by a strong anti-Armenian impulse - or so Armenians generally see it. Little has happened in past decades to prove them wrong. It is hardly surprising that Armenians in the EU are not thrilled by the prospect of Turkish accession.

The Armenian government, by contrast, pins its hopes on the beneficial transformation of Turkey which EU accession is bound to bring about.

Turkish-Armenian border
At the same time, a great many Turks - businessmen in particular - would like to see the Armenian border opened. Many more aspire to opening up Turkish society and rediscovering its past. But Turkish leaders are unlikely to take the political risk of engaging with Armenia or Armenians of their own accord without some encouragement.

The EU could help. Regrettably, over the past four years, the commission not only ignored the whole problem, but helped it fester on occasion.

In 2002, Guenter Verheugen, enlargement commissioner at the time, persuaded the European Parliament not to include wording on the closed border and the genocide in one of its Turkey resolutions, arguing this would interfere with a dialogue which was ongoing in the US-sponsored Turkish-Armenian Reconciliation Commission.

The Armenian members of this commission, who saw the dialogue was being abused as an excuse for EU inaction, soon after withdrew from it.

Yet there is another way. By addressing the question of relations between Turkey and the Armenians head on, the EU could help resolve a conflict, contribute to Turkey's transformation and generate support for Turkey's membership in the EU.

In the first place, the EU should contribute to the establishment of two dialogues: one governmental and one between civil societies. The first is to be conducted between the republics of Armenia and Turkey: together, the two states must decide, with EU help, on the steps required to establish diplomatic relations and open the border.

Two dialogues
The second dialogue should involve Turkish society and EU citizens of Armenian descent - the Armenian Diaspora. That will be a more open and diffuse process, but it is indispensable to Turkey's successful integration into Europe.

It must involve the rediscovery by Turkey of its own Armenian heritage, and by Armenians of a changed Turkey. Most importantly, a successful civil society dialogue will contribute to appeasing Turkey's still strident sense of national pride, open the way to rediscovering history, and help anchor Anatolia to the European mainland.

The experience of the only existing Turkish-Armenian group, the Turkish-Armenian Business Development Council, should be valuable in this regard. Since 1997, against the odds, this non-governmental network has helped establish links between Armenians and Turks at all levels, and on several continents.

Both these dialogues must be sponsored and monitored by the EU. Without a credible mediator, and publicity where possible, dialogues are unlikely to produce results.

Secondly, the EU should lay down the rules with clarity. The commission has indeed relentlessly and effectively fought for freedom of expression. But Turkey is also already obliged in theory, under the current customs union agreement which entered into force in 1995, to entertain commercial relations with Armenia.

It should be made quite clear to the country that it will not join the EU until those borders are opened and trade relations fully functional.

Finally, whatever else it does, the EU should not subsidise the blockade of Armenia. The most destitute part of the Turkey is along the closed Armenian border, just 50 km from the Armenian capital, Yerevan, and its million consumers. But rather than opening the border to trade with its neighbour, Turkey prefers to rely on subsidies from Brussels - €40 million this year - to sustain the local economy.

Ultimately, the EU public opinion's acceptance of Turkish membership depends in large part on whether it feels that Europe is changing Turkey or that Turkey is changing Europe. Turkey's Armenian question will help us find out whether the EU is still serious about its ideals.

Nicolas Tavitian is director of the Turkish Armenian Business Development Council (TABDC) in the EU and also heads the Inside Europe Resource Centre, a public policy centre dedicated to EU affairs relating to Armenia.




Turkish, Swiss Justice Ministers View Terrorism, Armenian Bill
Anatolia news agency, Ankara,
4 Oct 06
"The asylum demands of the terrorists are not genuine, they don't rely on real reasons. You have to act accordingly," said Turkish justice minister on Wednesday [4 October].

Cicek received Switzerland's Chief of Justice and Police Federal Department Christoph Blocher today, in Ankara. Holding a joint press conference at the Justice Ministry, Cicek underlined the importance of the international cooperation against terrorism and said every country should do its best to fight against terrorism.

"The terrorists go to European countries after they commit a crime.

Because of the legal loopholes in those countries, they benefit from the democratic rights," Cicek said.

Cemil Cicek added that they expect the European countries to act accordingly to the terrorists who seek asylum.

"Switzerland behave timidly to terrorist organizations"

"Switzerland as an impartial country behave timidly to the terrorist organizations," Switzerland's Chief of Justice and Police Federal Department Christoph Blocher stated. Blocher added that, Switzerland only accepts Nazis and Al-Qa'idah as terrorist organizations.

Blocher mentioned that they cannot respond Turkey's demand to accept some of the organizations as terrorist organizations but there must be a cooperation against terrorism. "Some governments apply us and want us to help for a contact between them. Since we are an impartial country we may be beneficial to help them," he added.

So-called 'Armenian genocide'
Cicek said that the Turkish government is finding hard to understand why statements rejecting so-called Armenian genocide would constitute a crime.

"When you take into consideration freedom of expression of ideas, any penalty for rejecting so-called Armenian genocide can not be accepted. I conveyed our approach to the subject. This is a matter involving history. Historians, scientists and joint commissions can conduct research on the matter. As the Turkish government and administration, we have opened all archives. Trying to resolve historical matters with political decisions only makes the matter more complex to deal with and is not a realistic approach. I tried to explain our uneasiness on the matter," stressed Cicek.

Blocher reminded that Chairman of the Turkish Historical Society Dr Yusuf Halacoglu and Turkish Labour Party leader Dogu Perincek faced legal investigation for making comments that the so-called "Armenian genocide never took place". "We support the idea to establish a commission of historians so that they can conduct research on the matter," noted Blocher.

"There is a law in Switzerland that originally was designed to punish those denying the Jewish Holocaust of World War II. We could not have imagined that this law could be applied to so-called Armenian genocide. This law is a headache for us. My ministry will research ways to handle the matter without interfering in Halacoglu and Perincek cases," stressed Blocher.

Blocher added that he invited the Justice Minister Cicek to Switzerland and if Cicek says "Turks did not commit genocide to Armenians" in his country, nothing will happen. If Cicek goes to jail, he will also go to jail with him, he said.




A Short List Of Questions for The Members Of The Assembly
When was it, ladies and gentlemen, that members of the French government all became expert Turkish historians?

How correct and righteous would it be for the government of, let's say, Canada to pass laws concerning what the French did in Algiers and then to make these laws undebatable? How is that acceptable by anyone in a free country that thrives on free speech?

When was it decided by any International Court of Law that what transpired in Eastern Anatolia almost a hundred years ago, constituted genocide? Because, the definition of genocide requires just that, an International Court of Law, not the French Government, with all due respect.

If historians are to decide about one such accusation, please allow them to decide on the rest as well.

If it is International Courts of Law, as the UN definition of this horrific crime requires, then by all means, let's allow the UN to decide on all such accusations, including this one.

But if this is no more than a political vote where the votes are cast based upon the constituents demands and those demands require that we abandon impartiality and not bother follow the same guidelines that we authored; then, it is our own credibility and commitment to justice that will be questioned, and rightfully so.

I invite you, ladies and gentlemen, to let history be written by historians, let crime get punished by courts of law. That is after all, the European way, the right way.

Thank you.

Oct 8, 2006
Ismail Ayduk
Behire Ayduk




Memo From Russia
In a Risky Place to Gather News, a Very Familiar Story

STEVEN LEE MYERS
MOSCOW, Oct. 10 — The mourners stood in the rain, which fell heavily at moments on Tuesday, fulfilling their part in a ritual of sadness and anger and, politically speaking, inconsequence, which has become strikingly common in Russia today.

They gathered, in this case, on the western edge of Moscow for the funeral of Anna Politkovskaya, a tenacious, sometimes reckless, but always passionate journalist and human rights advocate, who died three days ago at the hands of, from all appearances, a professional killer.

Her murder has made her a symbol of what Russia has become, but it was only the latest in a series of them. She was 48; the freedoms that she used to make her post-Soviet career, to write openly and critically about the deeds of a new Russian power, are much younger. And, it would seem, equally fragile.

“Anna was, in my opinion, a glimpse of hope,” said Tatyana Ivanyenko, a doctor from Moscow who attended the funeral. “And now there is none.”

Unnatural death occurs with alarming regularity here, despite the carefully cultivated impression that President Vladimir V. Putin has presided over an era of stability, economic progress and resurgent national pride. Some say it occurs because of it.

“This state killed Anna Politkovskaya,” Grigory A. Yavlinsky, a once-prominent democratic leader, declared bluntly as the mourners filed out into a cold, gray afternoon.

Russia is unquestionably a dangerous place for journalists — less so than only Iraq and Algeria, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists. Thirteen of them have been killed since Mr. Putin came to power in 2000, a little more than two a year on average.

The killings — and the failure to solve them — have created an atmosphere of impunity and violence that extends beyond those whose writings or broadcasts anger those in government or business. That was also lamented here, inside an airy white-stone hall at Troyekurovskoye Cemetery.

Ms. Politkovskaya’s killing was the third mob-style assassination of prominence in the last month alone. Andrei Kozlov, the first deputy chairman of the Central Bank, who led efforts to clean up the dirty money of the country’s banking system, was killed as he left a soccer game on Sept. 13. Less than two weeks later, Enver Ziganshin, the chief engineer of Kovytka, a potentially lucrative gas field in Siberia at the center of a dispute with the government, was shot in the back and head at his bathhouse in the countryside.

None of the victims were radicals or revolutionaries, or, to use an old word, dissidents; that is, fringe figures operating outside the established law of the land. They were of the mainstream — representatives of the news media, the government, a major energy company — working at careers in the newly free, democratic and market-oriented country that the collapse of the Soviet Union promised.

After each death the ritual of mourning resumes, and little changes. The chief prosecutor, Yuri Y. Chaika, announced this week that he had taken the investigation of Ms. Politkovskaya’s murder under his “personal control,” fulfilling his own part of the ritual, as other prosecutors once took control of other killings, like that of the American journalist Paul Klebnikov in 2004, that nonetheless remain unsolved.

Russia’s ombudsman for human rights, Vladimir V. Lukin, noted Tuesday that three years ago he organized the funeral for one of Ms. Politkovskaya’s colleagues, the editor of Novaya Gazeta, Yuri Shchekochikhin, who suffered a fatal allergic reaction to an unknown substance assumed to be a poison.

“Now, it happens again,” said Mr. Lukin, one of the few government officials to attend the funeral on Tuesday, though he is hardly one of the highest rank.

Ms. Politkovskaya’s funeral, in fact, displayed the deep divisions in today’s Russia between those in power and those not. The mourners included her family and friends, colleagues and politicians, though almost all from outside the center of power, and several foreign diplomats, including Ambassador William J. Burns of the United States, whose governments have denounced her killing far more forcefully than Mr. Putin or any other senior government leaders here.

Mr. Putin, traveling in Germany, spoke about her death publicly for the first time on Tuesday, a day after the Kremlin reported that he assured President Bush in a telephone conversation that there would be a thorough investigation. He called her killing “a crime of loathsome brutality.”

Then he went on. “I think that journalists should be aware that her influence on political life was extremely insignificant in scale,” Mr. Putin said, according to the news agency Interfax. “She was known in journalist and human rights circles, but her influence on political life in Russia was minimal.”

Some of those at the cemetery agreed, though hardly in the sense that Mr. Putin intended. “Our press long ago lost any influence over society,” said Obdurashid Saidov, a journalist from Dagestan, a troubled southern republic.

Ms. Politkovskaya became famous for her investigations of the war in Chechnya and its messy, bloody consequences across the Northern Caucasus. Her reports — in Novaya Gazeta and in a book published in 2002 and called “The Second Chechen War” in Russian and “A Small Corner of Hell: Dispatches from Chechnya” in its English translation — served like few others in Russia to challenge the official view of the conflict.

And yet, as the war ground on, as Russia moved on, and as some Chechen separatists carried out terrorist acts, attacking theatergoers in Moscow and school children in Beslan, fewer Russians seemed interested in reading about the brutalities of the federal forces that she exposed.

The motive for her killing remains a mystery, though few doubt it was related to her work. Alternative theories have emerged. Some have suggested a dark conspiracy by the Kremlin’s opponents to kill her in order to provoke public protests, like those that followed the killing of a prominent journalist in Ukraine, Georgy Gongadze, whose murder in 2000 became a rallying cry of the “Orange Revolution” that swept that country in 2004.

One proponent of that line of thinking seems to be Mr. Putin himself. “We have information, and it is reliable,” he said in Dresden on Tuesday, “that many people hiding from Russian justice have long been nurturing the idea of sacrificing somebody in order to create a wave of anti-Russian feeling in the world.”

The hall where Ms. Politkovskaya’s coffin lay Tuesday had a capacity of 1,000; hundreds more lined up outside. After a few short eulogies, they filed past, laying flowers in piles that grew high and higher, and then dispersed in the rain.





Politicians Are Like Car Sales People...

October 20 2006
Jane Mark and Phil Basten
Well, another election has come and gone in the US and no matter which way you voted there are some important marketing lessons to learn.

First, you need to put aside the campaign rhetoric and focus on the strategy and tactics and there are a number of clear winners for both sides.

The Dems and the GOP
On the Republican side. The tactic to put the question of Gay Marriage as a referendum in 11 battleground states was a master stroke. Get people to vote on the small issue and they will follow suit on the larger issues.

It's like selling real estate. Top real estate sales people don't sell houses. They sell a room and the rest of the house goes with it. They look for potential client reactions to a room they see and zoom in on that. If they sell that room to the prospect, then question of getting them to sign a contract on the house becomes as simple as, "Your pen or mine?"

How can we apply this to selling a product or service on the internet?
Look for the most important benefit you offer and build your heading and sales letter around that. Sure there maybe other benefits and you need to highlight those further down the page, via bullets, but focus your sales message on the primary unique selling point.

As a famous direct Marketer, Seth Godin, once said, "One monkey, One banana." Most people have the attention span of an African gnat. Try to get them to focus on more than one thing at a time and you will lose them and the sale.

On the Democrat side, the decision to make the war on a Iraq a central issue was an equally powerful strategy which may explain why 55 million people voted for the Democrats.

It was thought by the pundits that this was playing to the Republican's strength, but this was true only as long as they could make it central to the war on terror.

The moment the Democrats were able to separate the two and make it a referendum on Iraq alone, it became a winner for them, especially in light of the 911 Commission report, which showed clearly, no wmd and no direct ties to Al Queda.

What can we learn from this?
Know your competition, know their strengths and weakness and clearly explain how their weakness are your strengths.

The way you do this is to create a powerful USP (unique selling point). Something about your product or service, or what you do that makes you stand out in the crowd. Something that sets you apart from your competition. Something you do much better than them.

Focus on this single issue and drive it home repeatedly to your website visitors, ezine readers and existing customers.

The other lesson to be learned here. Don't believe everything you read, hear and see. Both elections and the internet are full of people's opinions. Do your homework, look at both sides and above all use your mind and think.

Try to analyze your ideal customer. Picture in your mind who they are, what they are like, what their financial status is, have they bought similar products before. If you don't know who your target market is, how can you target them?

In the late 1990's the principle of the Harvard Business College outlined his belief as to the reason business exists.

The purpose of business is to: KEEP & GROW customers.
We looked at this and thought this definition was too narrow. We felt that in order to keep and grow customers, you first had to find them so we added the word find to the above formula....

The purpose of business is to: FIND, KEEP & GROW customers.

But this still wasnt enough because what if the customer was wrong for your business, that is, they couldnt afford your services or product?

So we added, the right kind of customers, and we ended up with a new formula to work with.

The purpose of business is to: FIND, KEEP & GROW the RIGHT KIND of customers, everything else is rubbish.

If you market or sell anything on the internet, either as a business owner or a reseller, you are in business for yourself and you MUST think of it as a business. Do your homework and your research. It pays off in ways you only dream of right now.

Phil Basten and Jane Mark run a well known online ad agency http://jpeadvertising.com - They have been helping people succeed on the net for more than 8 years.




Reactions to the Genocide Bill Approved by the National Assembly of France
On October 12, 2006 the National Assembly of France adopted a bill that would make it a crime to deny the Armenian Genocide with 106 votes `for' and 19 `against'. If the bill is ratified by the higher chamber, the Senate, and is signed by the president of the French Republic, those who deny the fact of the Armenian Genocide in France will face up to five years of imprisonment or a fine in the amount of 45,000 Euros. It should be remembered that there is a law in France envisaging criminal liability for denying the Holocaust.

Political affairs director of the Hay Dat office of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation - Dashnaktsutiun (ARF) Kiro Manoyan accepted that political calculations had played a role here but it was not only because of these calculations that the National Assembly of France adopted the bill. He didn't rule out that the Senate too would pass the bill and that in such event the French president would sign it into law.

`There is a political consideration, not necessarily vis-a-vis Armenians but Turks, if one takes into account the general attitude against Turkey's membership in the European Union in France, where the majority of the population opposes it. Even President Jacque Chirac stated that the issue of Turkey's membership in the EU must be put to a referendum in France. Bearing in mind that such a political consideration exists, I don't rule out that the Senate too will approve the bill. Only the president's signature will remain. And if they indeed don't want to make it a law they will prevent the Senate from passing the bill. But, I think that after going through all these stages the Senate will pass it, otherwise it would mean that it was intended just to make Turkey nervous without any tangible result,' Manoyan said.

The French government announced that it didn't support the bill making the denial of the Genocide of Armenians in the Ottoman Turkey in the early twentieth century a crime. The French Foreign Ministry noted that the bill still had to be considered by the Senate. `It is just the beginning of a lengthy legislative process. The government will continue to announce its attitude toward the bill at every stage of the process,' the statement by the Foreign Ministry read.

The European Union, whose legislature had earlier recognized the Armenian Genocide, criticized the French Parliament for adopting the bill. The European Union's Commissioner for Enlargement, Olli Rehn, said that the bill was `counterproductive'.

Reporters Without Borders has also condemned the adoption of the bill, saying that the act was incompatible with France's fundamental values, starting with freedom of expression. `It seems to us that this legalistic concept of history will be much more likely to stoke up antagonism rather than promote debate,' the statement read. Reporters Without Borders stressed it was `particularly symbolic that this vote should have been held on the same day of the awarding of the Nobel Prize for literature to Orhan Pamuk, who was himself taken to court by the Turkish authorities for having raised the issue of this genocide.'

Ankara reacted more than unhappy and nervously, calling the bill a `black spot'. Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul of Turkey said that this event would not fall into oblivion as was the case in 2001 when the French Parliament adopted a law recognizing the Armenian Genocide. Turkey's Parliament backed last Tuesday a declaration condemning the French National Assembly's approval of the bill. `Naturally, approval of the draft by the French Parliament will inflict irreparable damage on political, economic and military relations between Turkey and France,' the declaration said.

In 2001 when the French Parliament recognized the Genocide, Turkey threatened to apply economic sanctions, revise trade agreements, and prevent French companies from participating in tenders, but just one month later all relations were restored. The Turkish threats of five years ago remained just threats.

`Now, when Turks are again making the same threats one might say that France is ignoring them and this is what perhaps makes Ankara unhappy and nervous. The international reaction was indeed unprecedented; I have dealt with the issue of international recognition of the Genocide for 25 years but I have never seen such a reaction. Turks have helped us a lot - the clamor raised by them has multiplied our even modest efforts. And the day the bill was approved was indeed unlucky for Turkey because gifted writer Orhan Pamuk, who has, in some way or another, recognized the Armenian Genocide, was awarded the Nobel Prize for literature. For the international mass media these two events together became the news of the day,' Manoyan said.

Two years ago in an interview with a Swiss newspaper, Orhan Pamuk stated that `a million of Armenians and 30,000 Kurds' were killed in Turkey and no one except for him dared to raise the issue in Turkey. For this statement criminal proceeding were instituted against the writer in his home country.

Incidentally, Orhan Pamuk has also criticized the adoption of the bill by the French Parliament saying that it `flouted France's tradition of liberal and critical thinking'.

The Reaction of official Yerevan
As is known, the issue of the international recognition of the Armenian Genocide is on Armenia's foreign policy agenda but, on the other hand, Yerevan declares that it is not a precondition for establishing diplomatic relations with Turkey.

`The approval of the bill by the French National Assembly is a natural continuation of France's principled and consistent defense of human and historic rights and values. This decision is also a natural reaction to the intensive, aggressive and official denialism of the Armenian Genocide by the Turkish state. They have undertaken a premeditated, planned assault on the truth. To adopt such a decision is the French Parliament's sovereign right and is understandable. What we don't understand is the Turkish government's instigation of extremist public reactions, especially while Turkey itself has a law that does exactly the same thing and punishes those who even use the term genocide or venture to discuss those events,' Foreign Minister Vartan Oskanian stated.

At the same time the Armenian Parliament, preoccupied with the `sacred cause' of fighting against criminals in power and with participating in the televised show about whether to deprive parliament member Hakob Hakobyan of parliamentary immunity or not, completely ignored the initiative by their French colleagues.

On the agenda of the October 13, 2006 extraordinary session of the parliament of Armenia was one question - the Hakob Hakobyan case. Only parliament member Hmayak Hovhannissyan remembered the decision adopted by the French parliamentarians the day before. Later the vice-speaker of the parliament, Vahan Hovhannisyan, told reporters that `it would have been better to begin the parliament session by expressing our gratitude to our French colleagues for adopting the bill making a crime the denial of the Armenian Genocide.'

The Reaction of Official Baku
`It is with great surprise and concern that we followed development of the deliberations of the French Parliament's lower house and ensuing vote on the legislation to make denial of the so-called `Armenian genocide' illegal in France. Unfortunately, Armenia and its Diaspora continue to play a very destructive role in the ongoing developments in the region, instead of contributing to peace and stability.

'With full understanding that this initiative needs to be ratified by the Senate, we urge the French Parliament to apply a more careful, impartial, and balanced approach,' the statement by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Azerbaijan read.

`The approval by the French Parliament of the bill making the denial of the so-called `Armenian genocide' illegal once again proves how far that country is from the principles of justice and impartiality and its bias toward the Turks. A co-chairman of the OSCE Minsk Group, France is losing its credibility from day to day and that country has no moral right to continue its mediating mission in the process of the Karabakh conflict settlement. From this standpoint, Azerbaijan must reject French mediation and ensure the withdrawal of France from the Minsk Group,' read the statement by the national assembly of 400 Azerbaijani NGOs.

Baku's nervousness is more understandable. The Azerbaijani authorities are trying to support their Turkish brethrens by all means since the latter has blockaded Armenia since 1993 in solidarity with Azerbaijan in the Nagorno Karabakh conflict. There are apparently concerns in Baku that after all Turkey might give in to pressure from the European Union and establish diplomatic relations with Yerevan.

Is it possible that Ankara might give in? Kiro Manoyan thinks that Turkey will not provide a positive answer anytime soon. `The opening of the border is not a one-day action and the decisions by the European parliament often remind Turkey about that. The opening of borders is an urgent matter, but Turkey will not respond soon for several reasons: first, because it won't want to seem weak; second, there are general elections in Turkey next year and this will bind them to some extent; third, the very reason why the border was closed is still there - if they open the border with Armenia, Azerbaijan will consider them deserters. It is not so easy to get out this situation and I doubt that Turkey will take steps toward opening the bordersoon. Real pressure should be exerted upon Azerbaijan for the border opening, though the West is trying to make it understood that the day after the Karabakh conflict is settled the Turkish-Armenian border will be opened. In my opinion the truth is the opposite - if the border is opened the Karabakh conflict will be settled,' Manoyan said.

The Reaction of Istanbul Armenians
The Armenian patriarch of Istanbul, Archbishop Mesrop Mutafyan, expressed his concerns about the approval of the bill on the Genocide denial by the French Parliament saying that the French `have sabotaged the Armenian-Turkish dialogue'. The patriarch said that Turkish-Armenians are following the developments with `attention and concern' and are expecting `a more delicate public attitude' toward them since they are neither Diaspora-Armenians nor citizens of France. `The Armenians of Turkey are feeling serious pressure upon them in relation to the French bill. For this reason we have asked the Istanbul Municipality to provide for the security of the Church and the national schools,' the patriarch said.

As for the editor-in-chief of the Istanbul Akos newspaper, Hrant Dink, who is currently being persecuted for freely expressing himself, he stated that Turkey should accept the approval of the bill coolly. Dink said that Turkey should not get agitated and put the necessary democratic reforms aside. `On the contrary, Turkey should show composure and move forward. In my opinion more efforts are to be exerted for the development of dialogue and relations between Turkey and Armenia. The Turkish and the Armenian peoples should look for grounds for talking to each other,' he said.

The attitude of our compatriots residing in Turkey and, first of all that of the Istanbul patriarch should be understood. It is they who become the `mote in the eye' of Turks when in the parliament of any country the issue of the Armenian Genocide is discussed. In general, our compatriots from the Diaspora are, first of all, citizens of the country in question. And, from this standpoint, Turkey is not an exception. For example, in July of 1993, when in the course of the Karabakh war the Armenian forces captured Aghdam, not only did the religious leader of Iran, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, condemn the `Armenian aggression' but also under his personal pressure the leaders of three dioceses of the Armenian Church in the Islamic Republic were forced to condemn the actions by the Armenian forces.

Hetq Online
Tatul Hakobyan




In The Long Run Bill Is No Benefit
Lragir, Armenia
Nov 1 2006
How will Armenia benefit from the bill on the genocide adopted by the French parliament? The Lragir asked this question to its readers over the past two weeks. 24 percent think Armenia will not benefit, 18.8 percent think that the bill adopted by the French parliament will hinder the relation with Turkey. 29.3 percent think that it is merely another moral victory, and 27.9 percent think it enhanced the political importance of Armenia.




Turkish Foreign Minister Says Armenia's Border Mostly Open
TREND Information, Azerbaijan
Nov 2 2006
(PanARMENIAN.Net) - "The Armenian-Turkish border is mostly open," Turkish Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul said. In his words, 70 thousand Armenians live and work in Turkey at present and send finances to their relatives in Armenia, reports Trend.

"Besides, there is air communication. This is a political issue and for most part depends of the Armenian government," the Turkish FM said, reports RFE/RL. To note, Abdullah Gul is participating in the BSECO FMs' sitting in Moscow.




Seeing Everything as a Conspiracy
The most important pillar of the doctrine produced during the period of the Turkish Republic’s foundation was certainly the backward-facing historical discourse which never had much of a connection to the truth.

This approach, which aimed to cut itself from reality and idealize what we had lived through, tied the Anatolian people to Central Asia, and history was constructed on a migration map that had no basis. Meanwhile, the historical continuity of the Ottomans was concealed as much as possible. Consequently, history became a field where we could only feel the past and internalize it by establishing an emotional connection. Due to the vital function of nationalism in the official ideology, the emotionalism at issue became molded into national patriotism. The result was a society that neither knew what history was nor its own history. Even today, what historians pass on as “history” is mostly a form of a story. Anecdotes based on certain people’s strength of character and moral stories, which are meant to be taken as examples, still comprise the essence of perception in this field.

While the past is turned into a story like this, history’s natural complexity, contradictions and inconsistencies grow paler; the will that is drawn by perfectly consistent molded characters appears before us as a series of events. Thus, on the one hand, with the inner richness and human weakness of the characters removed, history is reduced to a struggle between good and evil. On the other hand, social and political events are understood not as an extension of a state with multiple determinants, but as the implementation of a willful plan which had been made beforehand. This unreal world, because it doesn’t permit real action, frequently makes things difficult for us. For example, to write that Mustafa Kemal put on a woman’s dress and left the house through the back door can be perceived as “insulting,” because we can’t comprehend that the Mustafa Kemal of our imagination could do such a thing. As a result, putting the real Mustafa Kemal aside, the official ideology produces an imaginary Mustafa Kemal based on already established patterns and we call this history.

Likewise, we have difficulty perceiving situations that appear to be the result of coincidence, variables and multi-actors who surround social and political events, as if we are uncomfortable with the complexity accompanying the truth. Consequently, it’s in our interest to see everything as a conspiracy, and we prefer the assumption that conspiracy begets reality. We are not aware that this approach consolidates an authoritative mentality to the degree that it exaggerates the will of the powerful and distances us from the consciousness of being a citizen and that we also degrade ourselves when we perceive groups as impersonal gangs that pledge allegiance to the state.

While diluting topics that are extremely important factors of Anatolian history, like the Armenian issue to the treachery of “internal powers” cooperating with “foreign powers,” within a conspiracy mentality, we think the artificial dialectic that has been produced is the truth. Of course, great European powers of that period were determined to protect the Ottoman minorities and, of course, a group of Armenians got involved in partisan politics. However, if we don’t ask why this happened, why these people behaved this way, what the approach was of those who didn’t behave this way and what the government was during while this was happening, we can’t understand this issue within its real historical connection. Then we will have to produce some dialectic to prove the government right, we’ll make a whole community traitorous, we’ll say they all rebelled and committed murder, and, by mixing events from different historical times, we’ll attempt to produce an imaginary “balance.” Unfortunately, the only thing that emerges from such approach is a tale or lullaby, not history.

11.04.2006
ETYEN MAHÇUPYAN 11.04.2006
e.mahcupyan@zaman.com.tr




Erdogan Rebukes Armenian Journalist's Genocide Claims
November 04, 2006
zaman.com
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan rapped an Armenian journalist who said that Turkey should recognize the so-called Armenian genocide, challenging the Armenian president to open its archives.

Erdogan attended the fifth NewsXchange conference on Friday, in which hundreds of delegates representing TV channels and news agencies participated.

The two-day gathering was held at the Conrad Hotel Istanbul.

Following a speech he delivered at the conference, Erdogan responded questions from reporters.

Erdogan reacted to Gegham Manukian from Yorki Media of Armenia, who said that Turkey should recognize the so-called Armenian genocide.

Recalling that Turkey had opened its archives on history, the Turkish premier called on the Armenian president to do so.

"Tell your president to open your archives, if he could," he responded.

Manukian later tried to wave a poster; however, security guards prevented him by seizing his poster.

---

"If Kocharyan is courageous enough let him make Armenian archives available. Let the specialists analyze them and find out truth.

Turkey makes available his archives to anyone, but Armenia refuses to do it," Tayyip Erdogan answered the question of Armenian journalist Greghan Manukyan in the News Xchange-2006 conference, APA Turkey bureau reports. 155 media groups and over 500 journalists from 55 countries took part in the conference. Armenian journalist said that Armenian s played a great role in the formation of Istanbul culture, but thousands of our compatriots were killed there in 1914.

His statement made the minister angry.

"I openly send a challenge to Kocharyan. If he is self-confident, let him open Armenian archives to anyone. I have copies of Ottoman pashas' aids to Armenian hospitals in my office. Armenians living in Turkey have no problem; the only problem is Armenian Diaspora," he said.

The minister also answered the questions about the meeting with Pope Benedict XVI Erdogan said that he will be in the meeting of NATO member states' ministers in Poland at that time.

"Our President and Religious Affairs Minister will meet the Pope," the minister said.




Armenian Bill Might be Passed in Next US Congress
November 04, 2006
zaman.com
An Armenian bill that will recognize the killings of Armenians during World War I as genocide is likely to be passed in the U.S. House of Representatives, said Clyde Wilcox of Georgetown University.

Democrats are expected to have the majority in the in the upcoming congressional elections in the United States, which are scheduled to be held next Tuesday.

Wilcox, a political science professor at Georgetown, stated that Democrats had a chance to take Congress in the elections.

Since the prospective chairman of the House of Representatives pledged to vote on an Armenian bill, it is likely that such a bill would be passed in the House, Wilcox told the Turkish press in Ankara, where he arrived at the invitation of the American Embassy.

Wilcox said even if the House of Representatives adopted a bill recognizing the so-called the Armenian genocide; America’s foreign policy would not change. He added that the bill was less likely to be passed in the U.S. Senate.

Professor Wilcox also noted that the bills passed in the House were not binding; therefore, they would not reflect the U.S. government's polices and opinions




Anger At 'Offensive' Kebab Ban
Birmingham Post, UK
November 7, 2006
Armenians in Glendale, California, are trying to skewer the city's ban on outdoor restaurant grilling, saying it is an offence to the kebab culture.

But efforts to overturn it have stalled in the city council.

Glendale, whose 85,000 Armenian residents comprise the largest such population in the US, is 40 per cent Armenian and Armenian-American.

Last year, voters elected three Armenians to the five-member city council, partly on an agenda to remove the outdoor grilling ban. But they have been unable to win the four votes needed for passage.

That annoys Armenians who say indoor gas grills simply cannot do justice to their traditional cuisine.

Vrej Sarkissian says it takes more than salt, pepper, onions and olive oil to make a decent kebab. He cooks the skewered meat on charcoal outside his restaurant.

"People can always tell the difference," said Sarkissian, owner of Anoush Banquets & Catering. "They want the original flavour of home."

"It's what our culture is about," said his brother Sacco. "It's great, because they're able to hold on to their heritage. They haven't been forced to Americanise."

The ban may have a chilling effect on the city's dining, city councilman Ara Najarian said.

"Most Armenians are highly sophisticated, and they demand the best," he told the Los Angeles Times. "It's developed into a gourmet war between these folks. I once saw a place serve a flaming rack of lamb.

I think we all know that burgers on the grill taste better than on the frying pan."

But mayor Dave Weaver, who opposes lifting the ban, accused his colleagues of playing "the race card". "We're portrayed as anti-Armenian, and that's so far off the mark," he said.





Translators Stand Trial In Turkey
OhmyNews International, South Korea
Nov 8 2006
Government's war on freedom of expression extends beyond writers

Turkish translators and publishers facing charges for insulting the state have called for international solidarity for freedom of expression.

The Professional Association of Turkish Book Translators (CEVBIR) has launched a campaign to stop publishers and translators from being tried under the articles of the penal code on insulting the Turkish state and Turkishness.

Currently, three translators, two editors and one publisher face charges for the publication of two books.

In its declaration, the translators association states that "the translator does not express an opinion of his/her own, s/he has to abide by what is written by the author," and thus "cannot be held responsible for the content of the text s/he has translated."

"We move from the maxim that a book, regardless of its content, should not be tried unless it contains an explicit and direct call for violence and war. In our association, we do not defend translators on the basis of our ideologies. Our members share diverse worldviews. But our concern is to ensure that translators practice their profession without any fear of becoming their own censurers or prosecutors," said Tuncay Birkan, the association's president.

Legal Basis for the Indictments
The association explains that the Turkish law regarding intellectual and artistic property views literary translators as the owners of a "derivative work." In cases where the owner of the original work does not reside in Turkey or is outside Turkish jurisdiction, the translator becomes subject to prosecution as "the owner of the work."

This is made possible under the articles of the penal code on "crimes committed through publications" (i.e., "to humiliate the state, to insult the military forces, to deliver separatist propaganda, etc.") and the press law.

Criticizing this interpretation of a translator as the owner of the work, members of the association think that following this reasoning, "anyone could be brought before the court, from cover designers to those printing them in printing houses, and even readers."

Current Cases
Translators Lutfi Taylan Tosun and Aysel Yildirim, along with the owner of Aram Publications, are currently standing trial for the Turkish translation of John Tirman's "Spoils of War: the Human Cost of America's Arms Trade," which was published in 2005. They were charged under several articles of the penal code, including Article 301 on the denigration of Turkishness, the republic and the foundation and institutions of the state, as well as articles concerning the protection of the memory of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the founder of the Republic.

If found guilty, the translators and the publisher face up to seven and a half years in jail.

Translator Ender Abadoglu and the owner and two editors of Aram Publications are also standing trial under Article 301, and under Article 216, for the translation of "Manufacturing Consent: the Political Economy of the Mass Media" by Noam Chomsky and Edward S.

Herman, published by Aram Publications in March.

The book is purported to accuse Turkey of genocide against its own population, having incited people living in the southeast to hatred and hostility.

Abadoglu, the publisher and the editors all face up to six years in prison.

Previously, an investigation was carried out regarding Elif Shafak's "The Bastard of Istanbul." Charges were filed against the author, translator Asli Bicen and publisher Semih Sokmen for comments characters in the book made about the mass killings of Armenians in the final years of the Ottoman Empire. Later, the charges against Bicen and Sokmen were dropped because the author resides in Turkey.

Bicen said, "A translator under threat of being tried has either to self-censure when translating a book or give up translating it totally." Bicen asked readers: "Do you want to give up reading translated texts? Not having read Dostoyevsky, Edward Said or Chomsky even once?"

Many translators share this view, stating that during their careers they translate numerous texts from authors with whom they do not agree. The association emphasizes this point: "We do not have to agree with the statements about 'genocide,' Ataturk's nationalism, etc. in the books, but it is our duty to protest strongly when the authors, publishers and especially the translators of these books start to be tried in the courts."

Article 301 and 216
Translators and publishers have been tried under Article 301 of the penal code like many other writers, including Orhan Pamuk, the winner of this year's Nobel literature prize, who claimed that "one million Armenians and 30,000 Kurds were killed in Turkey."

Journalist Perihan Magden also faced prosecution due to a newspaper column she published in December 2005 in which she defended the principle of conscientious objection and the refusal to perform military service.

Both authors were acquitted.

Article 301 has been criticized due to its vagueness, which can be interpreted in ways that could criminalize a wide range of critical opinions. Paragraph four of the article states that "expressions of thought intended to criticize shall not constitute a crime." However, the attempt to draw a distinction between criticism and denigration is considered problematic. Many are concerned that the ambiguity would lead to arbitrary interpretation of the article by prosecutors and judges.

This article is not the only one in question. Articles 1 and 2 of the law numbered 5816 prohibit publicly insulting the memory of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, prescribing one to three years imprisonment.

Article 216 of the Turkish penal code prohibits the incitement to hatred and enmity of one group of the population against another group of a different social class, race, religion, sect or region. In the event of an open and immediate danger regarding public security, the law prescribes one to three years imprisonment.

Translator Tosun said, "In Western media, the problem was brought up through famous names such as Orhan Pamuk and Elif Shafak and Article 301. However, the restrictions on the freedom of expression in Turkey are not confined to Article 301. Writers, translators and publishers are relatively fortunate in terms of attracting media attention from the West. But there are many other politicians, NGO activists, women, and religious and ethnic minorities under pressure, who do not attract much media attention."

http://english.ohmynews.com/




Turkish Scepticism
European Report
November 7, 2006
Turkey is bracing itself for a critical European Commission report on its progress towards joining the EU, something which could further reduce the Turkish public's dwindling trust in the EU. "We are in a climate where Turkey feels besieged and the Turkish public views every EU requirement as unreciprocated concessions and interprets them as dishonesty and even ill-will on the EU's part," Professor Dogu Ergil, an Ankara-based political analyst, told AFP.

The sour mood clearly showed in a recent survey: only 32.2% of the people polled said that Turkey should join the EU while 25.6% said it should not. In a survey by the same institute in 2004, 67.5% said that Turkey should definitely join the EU while 57.4% expressed the same view in a poll in September 2005.

The 8 November report is likely to add to the disillusionment of the Turks. It is expected to issue harsh criticism on several issues, most notably the divided island of Cyprus and freedom of expression.

The moves in France to push through a law penalising anyone who denies that the killings of Armenians in 1915-1917 constituted genocide and the removal of Turkish-origin candidates from Dutch electoral lists for refusing to recognise the massacres as genocide "have led to the impression that even if Turkey fulfills all EU requirements, there is no guarantee that it will become a member", said Ergil.




Why The European Union Needs Turkey
By Guler Sabanci
Financial Times (London, England)
November 7, 2006
Asia Edition 1
Turkey has been an integral part the twists and turns of European history for 700 years. She has had her good days and bad days, she has played with strong hands and weak hands, but she has always been an influential player at the table of European politics. Our countries know each other rather well.

We should remember this long history of engagement when discussing Turkey's European Union membership negotiations, which formally began just last year. An EU report on the progress of the talks, due to be released tomorrow, is being seen by some as a "crisis point". Yet there will be no vote on accepting Turkey as a full member of the union for at least another decade.

The progress report is important but must be seen in this context. It is an interim document that underlines what still remains to be done as opposed to celebrating what has been achieved. By its very nature it cannot do justice to the profound importance of these talks when it comes to facing the global issues of tomorrow.

The main challenges facing humanity over the coming century cannot be tackled at the level of a single nation state. Climatic changes, potential pandemics, the gap between rich and poor, security and immigration all are problems that require a governance system that covers significantly more than current sovereign areas. The EU is a vaguely understood, but courageous, search for such a new governance structure. My country has to be a part of this. Turning inward and trying to close the world out is a backward step, both for the EU and Turkey.

The strategic importance of Turkey within Europe is undeniable. Her experience with multi-ethnic and multi-denominational governance structures, geographic position, historical ties with and knowledge of areas to its south and east, its young population, access to energy and control of water resources make Turkey a critical player in the emerging EU.

The main problem is political. Economic fears are often cited but those arguments are quite empty. For sure, the current rules of the EU would require a transfer of resources to Turkey for about 10 to 15 years. However, in plain business terms the discounted present value of Turkey's contributions to an ageing Europe beyond that period is greater than the outlay. In the long run, in economic terms Europe needs Turkey more than Turkey needs Europe.

We are moving towards a lofty goal but the road there is narrow and leaves little room for manoeuvre. After 700 years of dealing with each other, all parties can point to historical reasons for caution.

As the process is not really one of "negotiating" but checking to see if Turkey fulfils certain conditions for entry, it is by its very nature unilateral. Any unilateral process is open to all sorts of misunderstandings that need a conscious effort to prevent or undo.

There are some principles to follow that will make this process easier.

First, unilateral does not - should not - mean "arbitrary" or "variable". If it is seen that way the "candidate" may lose interest.

Something of this nature has been happening to Turkish public opinion, in particular with respect to Cyprus. After the accession of a divided Cyprus to the EU - in spite of the Greek Cypriot rejection of the United Nations plan supported by the EU - the agreement whereby sanctions on North Cyprus were to be lifted as a first step seems to have been forgotten. Yet the demands on Turkey remain.

Second, there is a need to find a way of providing "wiggle room" for all parties to allow politicians to win the support of their public.

It is in no one's interest to push any party into a corner from which they cannot emerge.

Third, the EU must avoid blatant asymmetry. Turkey can not be chastised for parts of its penal code that may inhibit freedom of expression while member states try to criminalise historical debate about what happened to Armenian and Turkish communities during the first world war in a manner that inhibits free speech and research to expose the truth.

Fourth, there is a need to keep "pressure" in the system to ensure that the requisite reforms are being implemented, in particular the legal protection of the individual. This should not be hard as there are many non-governmental organisations in Turkey pushing for such reforms irrespective of the EU talks.

Most important there is a need for sincerity, an honest effort on both sides to arrive at a successful result, Turkey's accession as a full member. It is unfortunate that pandering to domestic political concerns has led to suspicions that the ongoing process may be insincere, with member states going through the motions in full knowledge that they have a preference for an outcome other than full membership.

In spite of all the fears over a significant setback, I am optimistic that the talks will eventually reach a successful conclusion. A number of things can, and will, change in the next decade.

Politicians will come and go and old fears will be faced by new concerns. Our old continent has made errors of judgment in its long history but seldom has it been unable to sense where its true interests lie over an extended period of time.

The writer is chairman and managing director of Sabanci Group, the Turkish conglomerate.




Turkish Speaker Meets Algerian Premier, Criticizes France
Anatolia News Agency, Turkey
Nov 8 2006
Algiers, 8 November: Turkish Parliament Speaker Bulent Arinc met Algerian Prime Minister Abdelaziz Belkhadem at Algerian Prime Ministry Palace on Wednesday [8 November].

Belkhadem told reporters that Turkey, as it happened in Ottoman period, should pursue an active and sound policy, adding that the region needs Turkey.

Noting that Algeria does not think Turkey needs EU, Belkhadem said that Turkey, alone, is a strong country, adding that the EU is not sincere regarding Turkey's membership.

Criticizing policy of France regarding so-called Armenian genocide, Belkhadem said that Algeria, for long years, has been waiting for France to accept that it committed massacres and made mistakes in Algeria.

On the other hand, Arinc said, "it is a big contradiction for France to make statements about so-called Armenian genocide. I saw one more time in Algeria that France's statements about freedom, justice and equality are hollow."

He added that France is applying double standards.


Turkish Cosmetics Company Changes French Name in Protest
A Turkish cosmetics company, which has been using a French name for 24 years, has changed its name out of anger over France’s passing a bill in parliament that would make it a punishable crime to deny an Armenian genocide.

CEO of the Yildirimlar Group, Hasan Yildirim explained that the Armenian bill was an attack on the history and values of the Turkish republic and announced that they would no longer use the “François Patrick” trademark for their cosmetic products.

The group will begin to use the “MW” name for its products from now on.

“We could have established a medium-scale cosmetics company with the money we spent on changing our name,” explained Yildirim.

“We were operating with the brand name ‘François Patrick’ in the Turkish market but we couldn’t remain indifferent to the Armenian bill passed in the French parliament. So, we decided to change our name. We will market our new perfumes with the MW name within 10 days,” clarified Yildirim.

Yildirim claimed that they made a courageous decision and noted that they exchanged views with all their employees before doing so.

“This was a family decision,” said Yildirim.

Yasin Kilic, Istanbul
November 07, 2006
zaman.com

Armenian Returns Medal to protest the "Genocide" Bill / Changed French Name to protest

Israeli citizen Yuda Yagbes reacted to the French parliament’s passing of a bill that would make it a crime to deny an Armenian genocide by sending back his 1965 certificate and medal of “Merite Civique,” which France awards to those who represent the country best.

Yagbes, 94, was born in Turkey and immigrated to Israel in 1980. He returned his certificate and medal via a letter sent to the French embassy in Tel Aviv. . . .

Condemning France’s attitude, Yagbes commented that he never understood why the country showed so much concern for the issue. He said he felt very comfortable with his gesture, and added that if any problems occur it is strictly between Turks and Armenians.

As to why he returned his medal, he replied he was born in 1912 in Izmir where he served in the army; and when a fellow Turkish recipient decided to return his medal, he was inspired to do the same thing.

November 07, 2006
zaman.com

Patriarch: French sabotaged dialogue


The spiritual leader of the Armenians in Turkey has condemned a French bill criminalizing denial of the alleged Armenian genocide, saying it damaged the already restricted dialogue between Turkey and Armenia on the contested issue.


“The French, who have raised several barriers to block Turkey's entry into the European Union, have now dealt a serious blow to dialogue between Turkey and Armenia, which is already quite restricted,” Patriarch Mesrob II said in a statement.

Turkey, protesting Armenia's occupation of Azeri territory of Nagorno-Karabakh and its support for Armenian diaspora efforts to win international recognition for the alleged genocide, closed its border gate with Armenia and has no diplomatic relations with Yerevan.

Mesrob II said the bill, which foresees up to one year in prison and a 45,000 euro fine for those denying the alleged genocide, would strengthen the hands of ultranationalist and racist groups in both Turkish and Armenian society.

“I deem this bill to be anti-democratic since it restricts freedom of expression for individuals,” he went on to say.

During the vote on the bill on Thursday, French lawmakers rejected a proposed amendment that said scientific research on the issue should be excluded from the bill.


Security concerns:
The patriarch also urged a “more sensitive” stance towards Turkey's Armenians in the media, emphasizing that they are “neither diaspora Armenians nor French citizens,” and expressed concerns over safety following adoption of the bill.

“We, as Turkey's Armenians, feel serious pressure on us over this bill,” he said, adding that the Patriarchate has asked the Istanbul Governor's Office to take measures for the security of Armenian churches and schools.

October 14, 2006
ANKARA - Turkish Daily News


Turkey mulls putting genocide claims to intl adjudication
Behind-the scenes efforts are underway to find a method to bring the Armenian genocide claims before international adjudication, Turkish diplomatic sources said yesterday.

Retired diplomats, respected Turkish and foreign jurists, and Turkish officials are behind the efforts.

Both Turkish Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul and main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) Istanbul Deputy Sukru Elekdag signaled Ankara's efforts and willingness to bring the alleged issue to international adjudication after Turkey's proposal for the formation of a joint committee of historians to study the genocide claims failed to bear fruit.

In a letter to Armenian President Robert Kocharian last year, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan proposed the formation of a committee composed of Turkish and Armenian historians, but the proposal was rejected by Armenian president, stressing that such joint work could only be done after the two countries establish diplomatic relations.

Foreign Minister Gul, speaking to reporters ahead of his visit to the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC), stated yesterday that Ankara is considering bringing the issue to international adjudication but the final decision will be given following detailed work and consultations. "However, this work should not be considered a quick, magic bullet solution to the problem that stems from a period of history," Gul added.

CHP Istanbul Deputy Elekdag, in a speech Monday to Parliament's Planning and Budget Commission, suggested Turkey's application to "international arbitration" to prevent the Armenian genocide claims from becoming legitimate.

"Turkey should announce that it will evaluate the events of 1915 in line with the United Nations Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide and should apply to international arbitration to implement it," Elekdag said. "Armenians will reject this. However, this action will be an indicator showing Turkey's moral and legal just cause and will prevent the political abuse of the issue against Turkey."

The New Anatolian / Ankara
16 November 2006


Gul Says Turkey Working on New Initiative for Armenian Issue

Following Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s letter to Armenian President Robert Kocharyan last year in which he proposed the appointment of a joint commission of historians to discuss the 1915 incidents, Turkey intends on offering new initiatives.

Speaking at the Budgetary Commission of the Turkish National Assembly, Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul said Turkish and foreign lawyers were studying the issue. Gul noted that Turkey did not rule out international adjudication, an option for which the views of both domestic and foreign international lawyers were being sought. Minister Gul also recalled that Turkey had invited not only Armenians but also third parties to join the proposed commission of historians.

In his assessment on the situation in Iraq, Gul, strongly opposed division scenarios: “If Iraq is divided, a dark period will begin. Then, the attitudes of the neighboring countries would not be the same as today.”

Also rejecting the claims that the government had made concessions with regard to Cyprus issue, Gul asserted that in reference to the Turkish part’s interaction with the world, Turkish Cyprus had been recognized de facto. Minister Gul, who further denied that Turkey would hand over Maras to the Greek Cypriots, clearly stated, “This is something that only those who have lost their minds would do. Maras is part of a comprehensive solution.” Gul also stressed that the government would not compromise on anything that it would not be able to reinstate within the negotiation period with the European Union.

Suleyman Kurt, Ankara
November 15, 2006
zaman.com

Armenians are afraid of it

In order to take part in a series of meetings on the Armenian question I took a two-week trip to the United States together with Ambassador Ömer Lütem, director of the Research Institute for Crimes against Humanity (IKSAREN). Our aim was to meet with small groups of Turks living in the United States who are well educated, fluent in English and interested in the Armenian question.

We wanted to give them seminars on the 1915-1916 incidents, distribute CDs to them containing documented information on the issue and try to ensure that they would be able to defend their views on their own. We had already made similar trips to a number of European countries.

We were happy to see that a Turkish diaspora is now emerging in America, as is the case in Europe. Turks who, in the past, failed to come together despite all the efforts made by Turkish diplomatic missions abroad, are now burying their differences and joining hands.

Due to the fact that they had lived as subjects of an “empire” in the past, Turks failed to develop the kind of minority psychology that would have enabled them to wage a struggle to defend their rights when they found themselves living outside the borders of the Turkish Republic. They were in the habit of expecting the state to do everything. By now they have become disappointed with the state and are now putting up a struggle themselves. One feels proud to see those self-confident Turks living abroad who have successful careers and who do not hesitate to speak up when required.

This development has been due partly to the way the Turks have been pushed and pulled incessantly by the EU in general and by the Armenians and to some extent by the Greek-Greek Cypriot duo in particular. Add to that the denigrating attitude the racists in European countries take against the Turks. The Turkish people living in Turkey who had been unselfishly pleasing towards the foreigners in general and the Westerners in particular owing to their good intentions or their naiveté are now sobering up to the realities and the Turks living abroad are rising, being swept up by the same nationalistic wave. In a way, the giant is waking up.

The Armenians tried to prevent us from arranging meetings at U.S. universities. Despite their efforts we gave lectures at Columbia University and the University of Chicago as well as in Congress and held a closed meeting at Georgetown University. The Armenians who put pressure and issued threats, on the other hand, prevented the meeting we were to hold at the University of Southern California. Earlier they had prevented expression of the Turkish side's views at a program to be aired by American PBS television. (Greetings to our “intellectuals” who defend freedom of expression in Turkey!)

Whenever they have failed in their attempts to block these meetings, the Armenians have tried to prevent Americans and fellow Armenians from attending. When these efforts did not work they took the path of ensuring that handpicked Armenians who could argue with us would attend the lecture at the University of Chicago and take part in a luncheon meeting at the World Affairs Council.

On these occasions it became clear why the Armenians avoid meeting with us, calling us “denyers”: The Armenian theses are even weaker than they are sometimes believed to be. They become greatly upset when they are confronted with documented evidence of the population figures attesting to the size of the Armenian population in 1914 and at the end of the war. Under the circumstances, they cannot insist that 1.5 million Armenians were killed. Similarly, they can hardly deny that they had been a “political group” that aimed to ethnically cleanse the Turks in a sizable part of eastern Anatolia and waged a war with the aim of setting up their own independent state there. It is no secret that “political groups” are not among the groups protected under the U.N. Convention on Genocide. They cannot object when we point out that the transfer of population in 1915 was not the only reason or the most important reason for the deaths, that there were other factors that took a far greater toll: inter-ethnic clashes, regular warfare, epidemics and the way the civilians kept fleeing from one place to another as the armies advanced in the battle zone. They find it hard to respond, especially when it is pointed out that the Armenians massacred half a million Anatolian and Azeri Turks in the insurgencies and as they retreated with the Russian army.

The only thing they do is to refer to the archives of foreign countries, claiming that missionaries and people like Morgenthau cannot have lied. We asked them then why they were wary of taking their cause to the International Court of Justice in The Hague. In what seemed to be a pre-arranged way of behaving, they all acted as if they did not hear the question. This issue, which we have kept referring to in our articles in Turkey, is the Achilles heel of the Armenian cause. Those Americans who had been convinced that an Armenian genocide had occurred were appalled to see the way the Armenians were afraid of taking this issue to court.

The main problem seems to be those Armenian youths who have been convinced by others that during the transfer of population the Armenians had been subjected to the kind of cruel behavior one could only “see” during fits of hallucination.

April 8, 2006
Gündüz Aktan
http://www.turkishdailynews.com.tr/article.php?enewsid=40268

10th Anniversary Celebrated at Russian-Turkish College

The Russian-Turkish College celebrated its 10th anniversary with a brilliant ceremony.

Filling the Meridyen Cultural Center for the 10th anniversary of their founding, students, teachers, parents and graduates shared their joy with one another. Guest headmasters of other schools celebrated 10 years of success and achievement and rewarded the school with a “certificate of maturity.”

In a speech at the ceremony, headmistress Seda Galoyan of the Russian-Armenian school said that the school enabled them to feel at home. “We have been together for 10 years and are sharing the joy here with one another, I wish them many more decades,” she said.

The Russian-South Korean college’s headmistress greeted guests in the Islamic way by saying “Es-Selamu Aleykum” meaning Peace of God be unto you, while the Russian-Lithuanian College and the other guest schools demonstrated their appreciation and celebrated the school by giving presents.

Ata Ozer, director of education in Istanbul, remarked in her speech: “I celebrate all those who have been of help in bringing together the two neighbor countries, Turkey and Russia in the educational sphere and in conveying this beautiful mentality into the 10th year. The children entrusted to us are no longer children of a certain nation; they are children of the world, I wish them a safe journey in life from now on.”

Kurtulus Taskent, Turkish ambassador to Moscow, said, “It is the children of today who will decide the tomorrow, therefore the education we give these children today will help establish far stronger ties between the two countries in the future.”

Chairman of Russia-Turkey Business and Friendship Association Vahap Kucuk was also present at the ceremony, and said: “If Russian parents entrust their children to this school, it means this school is trustworthy. And so I celebrate all our teachers working here who give their hearts, love and self-sacrifice to establish this trust.”

The school gives education in Russian, English and Turkish. It ranks 25th out of 4,000 schools in Moscow and has won dozens of medals in various competitions in ecology, biology and chemistry. Renowned for its work in the Olympics, the school carries on its work with the Russian Science Academy.

Former Deputy Minister of Education Genry Dimitrievich Kuznetsov, now the school’s chairman of the board, said: “The school is my life. It is very important in terms of the Turkish-Russian relations. Not one student who graduated from here can ever be against Turkey.”

By Mirza Cetinkaya, Faruk Akkan
November 02, 2006
zaman.com


Final warnings to Paris

Turkish President Ahmet Necdet Sezer, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Chief of General Staff Gen. Yasar Buyukanit warned their French counterparts over the weekend about the need to block a bill that would make it a crime to question the Armenian genocide claims.

The top Turkish officials, in letters and telephone conversations with their French counterparts and through statements to the press, underlined three basic points: . .

"Such a law would result in great damage to bilateral relations in all fields, fuel anti-Western and nationalistic ideas among the Turkish public and seriously undermine Turkey's reconciliation efforts with Armenia."

Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul disclosed that he spoke to his French counterpart Philippe Douste-Blazy by phone and told him that French companies will be excluded from major tenders, including a nuclear plant, if the bill is adopted.

Military circles said that they will review military ties if such a law is passed by the French Parliament as it would create a major confidence crisis with France, a NATO ally.

Prime Minister Erdogan met with representatives of French companies doing business in Turkey on Saturday and asked for their help to block the controversial draft bill.

Meeting behind closed doors, Erdogan told the company representatives that the bill could harm economic ties between Turkey and France.

"I ask that you make all the effort possible to prevent this," the semi-official Anatolia news agency quoted him as saying. He also said the Turkish public view the bill as a "hostile act."

The French companies represented at the meeting included Danone, Peugeot, Renault and Lafarge, Anatolia reported.

French lawmakers, who caved into pressure from French businessmen, and a group of French intellectuals, put off sensitive debates on the issue in the lower house in May, but are now scheduled to redebate the bill on Thursday. Under the bill, people who contest that there was an Armenian "genocide" risk up to a year in prison and fines of up to $57,000.

Pro-Armenian deputies seek amendment

Diplomatic sources told The New Anatolian on Sunday that a group of pro-Armenian lawmakers were seeking an amendment to the draft, in order to defuse one of the strong arguments of the Turkish side against the bill in defense of freedom of expression.
The proposed amendment aims at excluding scholars and historians from the scope of bill and is also a move expected to influence undecided French deputies.

In related news, a group of frustrated Turkish deputies are preparing to bring up bills in response to the French move, asking for the recognition of what they described as an Algerian "genocide" committed by France and to make it a crime to deny that.

The drafts are expected to be discussed by the Justice Commission this week

The New Anatolian / Ankara
09 October 2006


He Was A Courageous Statesman
11/6/2006
BY OKTAY EKSI / HURRIYET
A legend of Turkish politics passed away last night. Former Prime minister Bulent Ecevit died at the age of 81. He spent 49 years of his life serving his nation. He was an honest politician. He is one of the few who didn't give up even when facing the most desperate conditions.

Ecevit was a man who could risk his life for his beliefs. There was once an assassination attempt on Ecevit when he was campaigning in Izmir . Another attempt took place in the US when he visited the country as prime minister. A radical Greek tried to kill him. In 1977 when he was leader of the Republican People's Party (CHP), then Prime Minister Suleyman Demirel warned him of an assassination plot in Istanbul 's Taksim Square . Ecevit went there despite the warnings, and nobody could dissuade him.

It was a very serious issue to intervene in Cyprus in 1974, and he made this decision and carried it through. Later, after the 1971 military intervention in the administration, Ecevit said that he wouldn't cooperate with this and resigned from his post as CHP secretary general. He was against the military government after the Sept. 12, 1980 coup and put out a magazine to express his view. He was put in prison twice due to his statements, but he never gave up defending his position. His Democratic Left Party (DSP), which he founded with the help of his wife when he was barred from public life, ended up bringing him to power again as party leader between 1999 and 2002. He was not only a courageous and patient man, but also a man of great abilities. That's why we'll continue to talk about him. I'd like to be one of the first to express my condolences and pay my respects to him.

Bulent Ecevit, a Political Survivor Who Turned Turkey Toward the West, Is Dead at 81

Bulent Ecevit, a resilient leader who served four terms as Turkey’s prime minister in a turbulent era, died yesterday in a hospital in Ankara, the Turkish capital. He was 81.

Mr. Ecevit, who suffered a stroke in May from which he never completely recovered, died of circulatory and respiratory failure, the Gulhane military hospital said.

For much of his political career — almost half a century — Mr. Ecevit was a leftist and a nationalist. An opponent of religious fundamentalism, he helped maintain Turkey’s position as the world’s most secular Muslim country.

During his final years in power, Mr. Ecevit turned away from the leftism that had shaped his career. He abandoned much of his hostility to private enterprise, and, after helping to keep Turkey out of the European Union in the 1970s, he came to believe that integration with the West was a good idea.

In his last term, beginning in 1999, Mr. Ecevit governed in a coalition with a right-wing party. He pursued pro-business policies and maintained Turkey’s status as a faithful NATO member and ally of the United States despite his lifelong skepticism about the sincerity of American commitments to democracy and human rights.

The hardships encountered when he finally embraced market economics to win the European Union’s confidence helped end his political career. With his health failing, his Democratic Left Party lost badly in the country’s 2002 elections, forcing him from office.

Mr. Ecevit was unusual among Turkish politicians in the simplicity of his lifestyle. He was never accused of participating in the corruption that plagues his country’s political and economic life. He was popularly known by the nickname Karaoglan, or Dark Boy, a reference to his black hair and mustache, which he continued to dye despite his advancing age.

After leaving office, he devoted himself to writing.

Bulent Ecevit (pronounced buh-LEHNT EH-jeh-vicht) was born in Istanbul on May 28, 1925. His father was a professor of medicine and his mother one of the first women in Turkey to become a professional painter. He was their only child. He graduated from Robert College in Istanbul, where much of the country’s English-speaking elite has been trained. He later took courses at foreign universities, including Harvard.

Interested in journalism, Mr. Ecevit worked as a press attaché at the Turkish Embassy in London. In the mid-1950s, on a State Department fellowship, he worked at The Winston-Salem Journal and Sentinel in North Carolina. The racism he saw in the South deeply disturbed him.

In a front-page article on Jan. 9, 1955, his last day with the newspaper, he wrote that he had found it strange that the United States should fight oppression in the world while white Americans were “guilty of refusing to drink from the same fountain as the man who has fought on the same front for the same cause; guilty of refusing to travel on the same coach or seat as the man who has been working with equal ardor for a common community; guilty of refusing to pray to God side by side with the man who believes in the same prophet’s teaching.”

After returning to Turkey, he joined the Republican People’s Party, founded by Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the founder of the Turkish Republic. He was elected to Parliament in 1957.

While establishing a reputation as a rising star on the non-Marxist left, he also worked as an art critic, columnist and newspaper editor. He published several volumes of poetry and translated the works of T. S. Eliot and Rabindranath Tagore.

Mr. Ecevit always considered himself a champion of the underdog, a view that linked his support for American blacks, Palestinians, Turkish workers and the Turkish minority on Cyprus.

His government maintained close ties with Israel, but he denounced Israel’s attacks on refugee camps in 2002 as “genocide.” Criticized for the remark, he said he had meant to accuse both sides.

He allowed American planes to use Turkish bases for their patrols over northern Iraq, but he sympathized with Iraqi civilians, who he said were suffering because of economic sanctions imposed by the United States.

Mr. Ecevit had no such sympathy for Kurds in Turkey, however. He insisted that they were not a minority and for most of his career opposed proposals to legalize education or television broadcasting in the Kurdish language, arguing that such steps would lead to separatism and strife. But in his final term, pressed by the European Union, he became less categorical.

From 1961 to 1965, Mr. Ecevit served as minister of labor, and in 1972 he deposed his mentor, Ismet Inonu, who had been Ataturk’s closest comrade, to take over leadership of the party. The next year he was elected prime minister.

In 1974, Mr. Ecevit ordered Turkish troops to land on Cyprus after the government there was overthrown by militants aligned with the Greek military dictatorship. The island has been divided between ethnically Greek and Turkish sectors ever since.

With the support of labor unions and some leftist groups, Mr. Ecevit served as prime minister twice more during the 1970s. He favored generous social programs, a large government role in the economy and protective tariffs to keep low-priced foreign goods out of Turkey.

Mr. Ecevit’s insular policies and those of his longtime rival, the more conservative Suleyman Demirel, had the effect of sealing Turkey off from many of the intellectual, political and economic trends surging elsewhere. Turkey remained stagnant while underdeveloped countries from Spain to South Korea became more democratic and prospered.

During Mr. Ecevit’s term as prime minister that began in 1978, hardly a day passed without political assassinations and bombings. After he and other political leaders proved unable to control the violence, military officers staged a coup on Sept. 12, 1980, and remained in power for nearly three years.

Mr. Ecevit and other political leaders were jailed after the coup. They were released after a few weeks but banned from politics. In 1981, he was imprisoned again for three months after publishing an article criticizing military rule.

During this period Mr. Ecevit’s wife, the former Rahsan Aral, his political partner and fierce defender over many decades, formed the Democratic Left Party on behalf of her husband. She survives him. They had no children.

After Mr. Ecevit was allowed to return to political life in 1987, he and his wife exercised total control over the party. No one could run for office on its ticket or even join it without their approval.

In 1995, he asked his supporters to “make me prime minister once more before I die,” but few believed he would realize that ambition. Scandals tarnished many of the country’s political leaders, however, and Mr. Ecevit emerged unexpectedly as prime minister in 1998.

He had the good fortune to be in office when Abdullah Ocalan, leader of a Kurdish rebellion that devastated southeastern provinces, was captured in February 1999, just before Mr. Ecevit’s interim government was to face the voters.

The prestige he gained from that arrest led him to victory in the April 1999 election. In his final term, he embraced many ideas he had once abhorred, like the value of free enterprise and close ties to the West. Many of his former supporters were alienated.

He also acknowledged that his earlier opposition to Turkey’s joining the European Union had been a historic error. “It is now understood,” he said, “that there can be no Europe without Turkey and no Turkey without Europe.”

Craig S. Smith and Sebnem Arsu contributed reporting.

By STEPHEN KINZER
Published: November 6, 2006

Ex-Turkish Prime Minister Ecevit Dies
November 5, 2006
By SUZAN FRASER
Associated Press Writer

ANKARA, Turkey (AP) - Former Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit, a political force in Turkey for almost half a century who ordered the invasion of Cyprus and later pushed his country toward the West, died Sunday. He was 81.

Ecevit died at Ankara's GATA military hospital after nearly six months in a coma following a stroke, the hospital said in a statement.

He started his political career in 1957 as a staunchly left-wing lawmaker, but later became an American ally, a transformation that mirrored changes in his country which has gone from a largely insular nation to one that is increasingly opening to the West.

Under Ecevit's leadership, Turkey was accepted as a candidate for membership in the European Union in 1999. He supported U.S. use of a Turkish air base for flights over northern Iraq in the years before the first and second Iraq wars and agreed to sell off key state companies to private investors.

Ecevit, who served five times as premier and was imprisoned following a 1980 military coup, ordered the 1974 invasion of Cyprus that led to the division of the Mediterranean island. He was in power during the 1999 capture of Kurdish guerrilla leader Abdullah Ocalan.

A published poet and former journalist, Ecevit was born in Istanbul in May 1925. He was educated at an American high school in Istanbul where he met his wife, Rahsan, a painter, who would become his closest aide and political ally.

He worked as a journalist in the 1950s with a newspaper close to the left-of-center Republican People's Party and entered parliament with that party in 1957. He quickly rose within party ranks and took over the leadership in 1972.

He was in and out of power as prime minister four times during the years before the 1980 military coup, a time marred by a deep economic crisis and violent street clashes between leftists and right-wing militants.

During his political comeback in the late 1990s, Ecevit - then in his 70s - abandoned his earlier nationalist rhetoric and backed Turkish moves toward a free-market economy, supported its bid to join the European Union and reconciled with the U.S.

Pushed by the International Monetary Fund, he also embarked on an ambitious privatization program in those years, agreeing, for example, to the sale of the telecommunications monopoly, Turk Telekom, and Turkish Airlines.

In 2002, after three years in power, Ecevit's party suffered a crushing defeat at the hands of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's populist, Islamic-rooted Justice and Development Party, knocking him from power.

Ecevit is survived by his wife. The couple did not have any children.




Ecevit, former socialist who later championed ties with the West, dies
The Associated Press
November 5, 2006


ANKARA, Turkey: Bulent Ecevit, a five-time Turkish premier and socialist leader who ordered the invasion of Cyprus and in his later years pushed his country toward the West, has died. He was 81.

Ecevit, a political force in Turkey for close to half a century, died at Ankara's GATA military hospital after nearly six months in a coma following a stroke. Ecevit passed away at 10:40 p.m. (2040 GMT) of circulatory and respiratory problems, GATA said in a statement.

Ecevit suffered the stroke after attending the funeral of a high court judge who was shot dead by an alleged Islamist extremist gunman and had been rushed to the hospital on May 18.

Ecevit served as premier from 1999 to 2002, when his party suffered a crushing electoral defeat at the hands of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's newly formed Justice and Development Party. Ecevit won just 1 percent of the vote — the worst electoral defeat of his nearly 50-year political career — after voters held him responsible for a 2001 economic crisis that saw millions of layoffs. Ecevit's ailing health also led to a loss of public confidence and turned voters toward the young and charismatic Erdogan and his populist, Islamic-rooted party.

Ecevit started his career as a staunchly left-wing leader but later became an American ally, a transformation that mirrored changes in his country, which has gone from a largely insular nation to one that is increasingly opening up to the West, but is not always comfortable with the changes.

Under Ecevit, Turkey was accepted as a candidate for membership in the European Union in 1999. He supported U.S. use of a Turkish air base for flights over northern Iraq and agreed to sell off key state companies to private investors.

When a trade unionist once asked for measures to shield Turkish industry from foreign competition, the soft-spoken, gentle-mannered Ecevit replied jokingly: "You are speaking like the old Ecevit."

Ecevit, who served five times as premier and was imprisoned following the 1980 military coup, was best known for ordering the 1974 invasion of Cyprus that led to the division of the Mediterranean island and for serving as prime minister during the 1999 capture of Kurdish guerrilla leader Abdullah Ocalan.

Several national television stations reported Ecevit's death as a breaking news story and began broadcasting programs about the life of the man who was considered a hero for ordering the Cyprus invasion.

President Ahmet Necdet Sezer issued a statement praising Ecevit for his political ethics, manners and intellect and for upholding Turkey's secular values.

"The Turkish people will always respectfully remember his services to the country," Sezer said.

"It is the end of an era," said Murat Yetkin, a columnist for Radikal newspaper. "He has put a stamp on Turkish political life."

"Our sorrow is deep," said Zeki Sezer, who replaced Ecevit as chairman of his Democratic Left Party said outside of the hospital. "We have lost a great statesman and a leader. His light however, will continue to shine over this country forever."

A group of around 30 of his supporters gathered outside the hospital despite cold weather at night, news reports said.

Ecevit, a published poet and former journalist, was born in Istanbul in May 1925. He was educated at an American high school in Istanbul where he met his wife Rahsan, a painter, who would become his closest aide and political ally.

Ecevit worked as a journalist in the 1950s with a newspaper close to the left-of-center Republican People's Party and entered parliament with that party in 1957. He quickly rose within the ranks of the party and took over the leadership in 1972, toppling Ismet Inonu, a one-time president and a national war hero.

Ecevit was in and out of power as premier four times during the years before the 1980 military coup, a time marred by a deep economic crisis and violent street clashes between leftists and right-wing militants.

Following the coup, Ecevit was imprisoned and wrote daily letters to his wife, which often ended with the words, "I have no complaints other than missing you."

Making a comeback in the late 90s, Ecevit - then in his 70s, abandoned the strong nationalist rhetoric of his earlier years and backed Turkish moves toward a free-market economy, supported its bid to join the European Union and reconciled with the United States.

Pushed by the International Monetary Fund, he also embarked on an ambitious privatization program, agreeing for example to the sale of the telecommunications monopoly, Turk Telekom, and Turkish Airlines.

Although Ecevit maintained an honest, corruption-free image throughout his life — he often spurned luxury cars for cheap Turkish-made models — he was accused of blocking corruption investigations into political allies out of concern for government stability.

He is survived by Rahsan. The couple did not have any children.



11/6/06
Ecevit, former socialist who later championed ties with the West, dies
The Associated Press

Bulent Ecevit, a five-time Turkish premier and socialist leader who ordered the invasion of Cyprus and in his later years pushed his country toward the West, has died. He was 81.

Ecevit, a political force in Turkey for close to half a century, died at Ankara's GATA military hospital after nearly six months in a coma following a stroke. Ecevit passed away at 10:40 p.m. (2040 GMT) of circulatory and respiratory problems, GATA said in a statement.

Ecevit suffered the stroke after attending the funeral of a high court judge who was shot dead by an alleged Islamist extremist gunman and had been rushed to the hospital on May 18.

Ecevit served as premier from 1999 to 2002, when his party suffered a crushing electoral defeat at the hands of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's newly formed Justice and Development Party. Ecevit won just 1 percent of the vote — the worst electoral defeat of his nearly 50-year political career — after voters held him responsible for a 2001 economic crisis that saw millions of layoffs. Ecevit's ailing health also led to a loss of public confidence and turned voters toward the young and charismatic Erdogan and his populist, Islamic-rooted party.

Ecevit started his career as a staunchly left-wing leader but later became an American ally, a transformation that mirrored changes in his country, which has gone from a largely insular nation to one that is increasingly opening up to the West, but is not always comfortable with the changes.

Under Ecevit, Turkey was accepted as a candidate for membership in the European Union in 1999. He supported U.S. use of a Turkish air base for flights over northern Iraq and agreed to sell off key state companies to private investors.

When a trade unionist once asked for measures to shield Turkish industry from foreign competition, the soft-spoken, gentle-mannered Ecevit replied jokingly: "You are speaking like the old Ecevit."

Ecevit, who served five times as premier and was imprisoned following the 1980 military coup, was best known for ordering the 1974 invasion of Cyprus that led to the division of the Mediterranean island and for serving as prime minister during the 1999 capture of Kurdish guerrilla leader Abdullah Ocalan.

Several national television stations reported Ecevit's death as a breaking news story and began broadcasting programs about the life of the man who was considered a hero for ordering the Cyprus invasion.

President Ahmet Necdet Sezer issued a statement praising Ecevit for his political ethics, manners and intellect and for upholding Turkey's secular values.

"The Turkish people will always respectfully remember his services to the country," Sezer said.

"It is the end of an era," said Murat Yetkin, a columnist for Radikal newspaper. "He has put a stamp on Turkish political life."

"Our sorrow is deep," said Zeki Sezer, who replaced Ecevit as chairman of his Democratic Left Party said outside of the hospital. "We have lost a great statesman and a leader. His light however, will continue to shine over this country forever."

A group of around 30 of his supporters gathered outside the hospital despite cold weather at night, news reports said.

Ecevit, a published poet and former journalist, was born in Istanbul in May 1925. He was educated at an American high school in Istanbul where he met his wife Rahsan, a painter, who would become his closest aide and political ally.

Ecevit worked as a journalist in the 1950s with a newspaper close to the left-of-center Republican People's Party and entered parliament with that party in 1957. He quickly rose within the ranks of the party and took over the leadership in 1972, toppling Ismet Inonu, a one-time president and a national war hero.

Ecevit was in and out of power as premier four times during the years before the 1980 military coup, a time marred by a deep economic crisis and violent street clashes between leftists and right-wing militants.

Following the coup, Ecevit was imprisoned and wrote daily letters to his wife, which often ended with the words, "I have no complaints other than missing you."

Making a comeback in the late 90s, Ecevit - then in his 70s, abandoned the strong nationalist rhetoric of his earlier years and backed Turkish moves toward a free-market economy, supported its bid to join the European Union and reconciled with the United States.

Pushed by the International Monetary Fund, he also embarked on an ambitious privatization program, agreeing for example to the sale of the telecommunications monopoly, Turk Telekom, and Turkish Airlines.

Although Ecevit maintained an honest, corruption-free image throughout his life — he often spurned luxury cars for cheap Turkish-made models — he was accused of blocking corruption investigations into political allies out of concern for government stability.

He is survived by Rahsan. The couple did not have any children.

IHT



Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has welcomed the acquittal of renowned Turkish novelist Elif Shafak in the case for which she was accused of insulting Turkishness.

PM Erdogan told reporters on Thursday that he was happy that Shafak was acquitted in the controversial case. Recalling that he phoned Shafak yesterday to congratulate her on the birth of her baby daughter, Erdogan stated that he exchanged his views with her on the case.

Erdogan also signaled an amendment on the much debated Article 301 of the Turkish Penal Code, under which many well-known Turkish writers and authors had been tried or sued. In response to a question on whether the government thought of an amendment on the controversial article, Erdogan pointed out that it would be possible provided that the ruling and opposition parties reach an agreement.


Charges against renowned Turkish writer and Zaman columnist Elif Shafak for “degenerating Turkishness” in her book “The Bastard of Istanbul” were dropped Thursday morning.

The Beyoglu Court in Istanbul decided that there was not sufficient evidence for the crime, so Shafak could not be prosecuted.

Shafak did not participate into the trial in person, but her husband, Eyup Can, and her lawyers were present in the court.

Joost Lagendijk, the Turkey-E.U. Joint Parliamentary Commission co-chairman, was also following the case.

September 22, 2006
zaman.com

Acquittal for S,afak, but is it over?

Should I be jubilant because a friend of mine who has just been delivered of a baby girl has been acquitted of the charges against her under the contentious Article 301 of the Turkish Penal Code (TCK)? She -- Elif S,afak -- was accused on grounds that she had “denigrated the Turkish national identity” in remarks made by fictional Armenian characters in her best-selling novel, “The Bastard of Istanbul,” or in Turkish “Baba ve Piç” (The Father and the Bastard). Or should I feel pity that with the court's decision yet another famous personality has escaped sentencing under a mentality that even in this day and age continues to hold that freedom of expression is limited to praise, flattery and talk of issues considered insignificant by the political elite and that it does not extend to expressing opinions not shared by the state or ones that are not in conformity with the mainstream line of thinking in this country -- meaning we may face the danger of losing the public's attention to the importance of getting rid of such primitive practices and understandings?

Of course no one can say, “We want the right to curse at Turkey.” And of course insulting Turkishness and the values and norms of this state might not be appreciated by our rulers or by the nationalist mob that has started acquiring the habits of the “religious police” in some neighboring Muslim countries, or, as we say in slang, that has started to act like the custodian of honor of the neighborhood or of the country.

I may or may not agree with what S,afak wrote in her book or with what Orhan Pamuk or someone else might have said on any subject. In democracies -- the backbone of which is not just holding elections every few years and allowing people to express their will on how the country should be governed but rather is true freedom of thought and speech -- people cannot and should not casually insult each other or the state and values of the people, but criticism cannot be curtailed, either.

We keep on stressing that the contemporary limit of freedom of thought was laid down decades ago by the European Court of Human Rights with its famous Nov. 4, 1976 Handyside ruling against the British government. Of course we have the right to say this country is not European and will not have European standards and therefore such concepts cannot be binding on us. But if we believe that -- irrespective of how Turkey's EU accession process progresses -- our target is to attain the “values of contemporary civilization,” how can we accept a primitive mentality enshrined in the contentious Article 301 of the penal code?

Yes, S,afak was acquitted yesterday, but the threat of prosecution remains a deterrent to people freely expressing their opinions.

Indeed, as enshrined in Article 90 of the Turkish Constitution, international law takes precedence over domestic legislation. Thus, verdicts handed down by the European Court of Human Rights, as elements of international law, have supremacy over domestic legislation in Turkey under the current Constitution. Therefore Article 301 of the penal code must be considered to be an element incompatible with international law and must be scrapped.

The European court, among other things, underlined in its verdict on the case of Richard Handyside on Nov. 4, 1976 that:

1 -- Freedom of thought constitutes the backbone of a democratic society;

2 -- Freedom of thought is a must for the progress and development of “every man”;

3 -- The concept of freedom of thought cannot be applicable only to ideas or information that are applauded by the majority or by the state but equally to such ideas that offend, shock or disturb the state or any sector of the population; and

4 -- Freedom of thought is a requirement of pluralism, tolerance and broadmindedness, without which there is no democratic society.

What are the real accusations against the intellectuals facing charges, sentenced, or acquitted after a lengthy and painful social lynching attempt under the controversial Article 301 of the penal code, or other articles that reflect the same mindset?

Are we supposed to speak of history only within the limits of official history? Are we supposed to talk of religious freedoms or the problems of our minorities only within the scope approved by the conservative establishment? How can we say that our history, of which we are proud, is made up of only victories with no defeats or unfortunate developments like the Sept. 6-7, 1955 shame in Istanbul or the sufferings of the Armenian population of this country in the first quarter of the last century? We may say things like popular frenzy or civil war and try to provide a rational explanation for totally irrational developments, but we cannot just turn a blind eye. We may have different opinions on these and other issues. But we cannot just criminalize a discussion on the hot issues of our recent history. At least for our own right to learn our own past, we have to discuss these issues irrespective of how much they may hurt us.

Come on, let's get rid of those paranoiac articles, that Sèvres phobia, that imperial attitude of overlooking our minorities, the rejection of our own history, culture and religion, and let's become a happy society made up of individuals aware of their rights and responsibilities.

TDN editorial by Yusuf KANLI
Friday, September 22, 2006
© 2005 Dogan Daily News Inc.


Shafak Acquitted, but Article 301 Continues

Renowned Turkish novelist Elif Shafak, who was charged with “insulting Turkishness” under Article 301 of the Turkish Penal Code, was acquitted Thursday.

Charges were dropped against Shafak, 34, who gave birth on Saturday, due to insufficient evidence.

She was brought to trial by the nationalistic Turkish Lawyers Association because a fictional character in her best-selling novel “The Bastard of Istanbul” made reference to the purported 1915 Armenian Genocide, a highly contentious issue in Turkey. . . .

Orhan Pamuk, Turkey’s best-known novelist, had similar charges brought against him earlier in the year, but he was similarly acquitted in February. Since Article 301’s inception in June 2005, more than 60 cases have been opened against writers and journalists.

While the trial’s dismissal comes as welcome news to Turks eager for E.U. accession, others believe that the root problem, Article 301 itself, hasn’t been resolved.

Shafak agrees: "The verdict is very pleasing in terms of Turkey's test of democracy and freedom of expression, but incomplete as long as Article 301 remains as it is, open to manipulation," she said in a telephone interview with the New York Times.


Well-known Turkish novelist Elif Shafak has been acquitted in the case against her for allegedly "insulting Turkishness" due to her remarks in her latest novel named "The Bastard of Istanbul".

The controversial trial of the famous author Shafak commenced this morning at Beyoglu court amid protests from ultranationalists against the European Union (EU).

Beyoglu 2nd Court of First Instance decided on Thursday to acquit Shafak in the case in which she was charged with "insulting Turkishness" due to lack of legal grounds for the crime in question and insufficient evidence.

Shafak, who gave birth to her first child, a girl named Sehrazat Zelda, on Saturday, was unable to attend the first trial due to her doctor's orders - although she had wanted to appear in court when the trial began.

Joost Lagendijk, the Turkey-E.U. Joint Parliamentary Commission co-chairman, and representatives from International Association of Poets, Playwrights, Editors, Essayists, and Novelists (PEN) also attended the hearing.

Turkey’s 35-year old novelist was sued under Article 301 of the Turkish Penal Code, the same law that ensnared Orhan Pamuk, one of Turkey's best-known contemporary authors, last year.

Late in July, an Istanbul court decided to open a case against author Elif Safak on charges of denigrating Turkishness for remarks made by Armenian characters in her book named "Father and Bastard" in Turkish version, aka "The Bastard of Istanbul." Shafak faces up to three years imprisonment if found guilty.

Shafak's book recounts the story of relations between an Armenian family and two Turkish families. An Armenian character in the book says that "Turkish butchers" killed her family and that the deaths were "genocide."

The ultra-nationalist Turkish Lawyers Association Chairman Kemal Kerincsiz, who is infamous for filing complaints against journalists and authors, was also responsible for opening the case against author Elif Shafak, an assistant professor of Near Eastern studies at the University of Arizona, in the U.S.

A group of ultranationalists gathered outside Beyoglu Court, where the trial began chanting anti-EU slogans. Some 20 nationalist protesters laid EU-flags, adorned with a Nazi swastika and the slogan that read "EU fascism," on the ground and stamped on them. The protesters were also holding several Turkish flags.

Strict security measures have been implemented around the court building to prevent possible clashes between the protestors and police or judicial officials, however, protestors became involved in several scuffles with the police and other groups outside the court who had arrived to show their support for Shafak.

The European Union has repeatedly criticized Turkey for its lack of progress on the freedom of expression of writers and journalists. Several writers have been convicted under the notorious Article 301; however, none have been jailed; instead, the courts have tended to hand down fines, the maximum amount being $4,000.

Earlier this year, an Istanbul court dropped a case brought against Turkish novelist Orhan Pamuk, also charged with 'insulting Turkishness', following remarks he had made concerning the killing of Armenians during the last years of the Ottoman Empire.

In July, Perihan Magden another famous Turkish author and journalist was acquitted in the case against her for discouraging people from performing their military service due to remarks in her column in a Turkish daily.



At last!
Elif Safak, a renowned Turkish writer, was acquitted of charges of "insulting Turkishness" at the first hearing in her high-profile case yesterday, a ruling which pleased all but ultranationalists.

The Beyoglu Criminal Court of First Instance, which concluded the case in just under two hours, said there was no evidence that she had "insulted Turkishness" in her novel. The ruling led to a clash between a group of ultranationalist lawyers and another group reported to be supporting Safak.

Safak was on trial on charges of denigrating Turkish identity under controversial Article 301 of the revised Turkish Penal Code (TCK) for which she faces up to three years in prison over a fictional dialogue in her bestselling novel "The Bastard of Istanbul" about the intertwined history of a Turkish family and an Armenian-American one.

(TNA had previously referred to the book by its Turkish title directly translated, "Father and Bastard," but the translated novel bears the new title.)

Safak, who recently had a baby, didn't attend the hearing.

It was another high-profile case seen as a test of the relationship between Turkey and the European Union, which has called for judicial reforms and increased rights to free expression in Turkey. The EU has warned Turkey that putting writers and journalists on trial under repressive laws could hamper its efforts to join the bloc.

"We want a country where people are not interrogated because of their novels," said Muge Sokmen, Safak's publisher, who urged people to attend the trial in support of the writer. "As the public, we need to be more tolerant of the thoughts of others," she added.

A group of ultranationalist lawyers, led by their reputed leader Kemal Kerincsiz, who pledged to fight against people or acts he considers as threats to the country's unity, waved an EU flag with a Nazi swastika in the middle and a slogan that read "EU fascism" outside the court.

Kerincsiz, who also handed out flyers urging people to protest Safak as well as others who have attempted to insult Turkishness, claimed that the court reached the verdict under extreme pressure. He also said that they will appeal the ruling.

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Wednesday called Celalettin Cerrah, Istanbul's police chief, and said that he didn't want to see Kerincsiz's group on the streets.

The same ultranationalist group also attacked authors Orhan Pamuk and Perihan Magden after hearings on similar charges, but the group hasn't been detained by the police to date.

Safak calls for greater freedoms
Talking to news channel NTV after the trial, Safak expressed satisfaction with the decision and called for greater freedoms.

"It is a shame not just for her but for Turkey," said Eyup Can, Safak's husband who attended the hearing. "The whole process is absurd. I'm not worried about the verdict; I'm ashamed by the whole process," he added.

Safak was charged over words uttered by fictional Armenian characters in her novel, a book she wrote while she was living in Arizona, the U.S. The book touches on one of the most disputed episodes of Turkey's history -- the mass killings of Armenians during the final years of the Ottoman Empire.

In the book, an Armenian character refers to "Turkish butchers." The Turkish government and some international historians reject the claim that a mass evacuation and related deaths of up to 1.5 million Armenians living in Turkey from 1915 to 1923 was genocide. Turkey also says the death toll is inflated.

Safak said the law on insulting Turkishness prescribed under controversial Article 301 of the revised Turkish Penal Code (TCK) "has been used as a weapon to silence many people. ... My case is perhaps just another step in this long chain."

Safak's book was released in Turkey on March 8 and has already sold more than 50,000 copies.

Article 301 appears set to stay
Although TCK Article 301 is a serious concern for EU officials, as well as scores of writers and journalists in Turkey, the government recently expressed its unwillingness to touch it.

Justice Minister Cemil Cicek said on Tuesday that the government doesn't consider amending the article a priority. "We will first monitor the implementation of the article before considering making any amendments," he stated.

Hrant Dink, an Armenian-origin Turkish journalist, was given six months in jail for similar charges to those against Safak and Pamuk. Dink's sentence was suspended.

Journalist Oral Calislar also commented on Article 301 after the hearing, accusing both the ruling party and the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) of advocating it. "[CHP leader] Deniz Baykal's attitude to the article is a shame. An opposition party leader should be engaged in fighting for individual freedoms but he's opposing the annulment of articles restricting freedoms. It's sad," he said.

CHP deputy leader Onur Oymen, speaking at a press conference in Parliament yesterday, said that they, the CHP, also want a European understanding on individual freedoms to prevail in the country, but added that no one should abuse these freedoms to jeopardize the state's security.

Oymen also criticized Europeans, accusing them of protecting certain ethnic groups in Turkey. He also called the EU "hypocritical," accusing the bloc of remaining silent on several other legal cases in the country.

The New Anatolian / Ankara with AP
22 September 2006

Current Mid-east Confusion Brings Historians Back to Ottomans

The Middle East experienced its most peaceful and glorious years during the Ottoman Empire.

Lands sacred to Muslims, Christians and Jews enjoyed peace and comfort for nearly 400 years.

However, the region has not experienced such stability and harmony since the fall of the Ottoman Empire nearly a century ago.

With the recent crises in the Middle East, historians have focused their attention on the Ottomans.

With the forthcoming 15th Turkish History Congress (TTK) to be held next week, 750 foreign experts have submitted statements and articles.

Responding to Zaman’s questions, Prof. Yusuf Halacoglu, chair of the Turkish History Council, said: “That the lands in the Middle East previously belonged within the domains of the Ottoman Empire encourages historians to study more.”

Foreign scientists are eager to present their statements on Turkish history during the 15th TTK.

Only 350 of the statements have been approved in the congress.

The participation demand derived from increasing curiosity about Turkey and the Ottomans from historians.

Halacoglu remarked that they had to reduce the number of historians from 750 to 310 due to the limited time.

The chair of TTK noted that the participants know both the Ottoman Turkish language and contemporary Turkish.

During the congress, the presentations will cover several different topics, and experts will be able to express their views freely, Halacoglu stated.

Controversial issues like the Armenians and missionary work will also be discussed in the congress.
Halacoglu claimed there might also be people backing the Armenian genocide, and added, “They should base their claims on firm ground because we have our own information to refute their claims.”

September 09, 2006
Zaman Copyright© 1995-2004 Feza Newspaper Publishing Co.





Despite Defeat, Bush Administration Determined to Oppose Armenian Genocide Bill
Ali H. Aslan, Washington
November 12, 2006
zaman.com
Matt Bryza, a top-level official from the U.S. State Department, asserted that the George Bush Administration would strongly oppose any draft law on the recognition of an Armenian genocide.

However, he added that given the complexity of the new political environment since the midterm elections, it was hard for them to precisely foresee any outcome.

Matt Bryza was speaking at the annual convention of the Assembly of Turkish-American Associations (ATAA) and commented on the possibility of an Armenian genocide bill introduced to the House of Representatives, where the Democrats have recently gained control.

He described the new situation as a change in the political reality and said that it was impossible for the administration to predict how the new mechanism would operate with regards to the fate of any proposal for recognition of the Armenian genocide.

Newly ensconced House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a Democrat, promised the Armenian lobby to support any bill regarding the genocide.

Asked whether President Bush would call Pelosi to ensure that any such draft would not be put on the agenda, Bryza said that he would make his own suggestion but was unable to know how the president would proceed.

The Armenian lobby is expected to submit genocide bills to both wings of Congress following its inauguration.

Meanwhile, in his address at the meeting, Bryza, drew attention to Russian attempts at being the sole energy supplier to the region and underlined the importance of Turkish-American strategic cooperation.





In the American system the president rules
November 12, 2006
Barry RUBIN
Turkish Daily News
The United States has a two-party system. Each party takes turns getting elected and failing.

Perhaps that is too cynical but it does, I think, reflect the contemporary pattern of U.S. politics, as much regarding domestic as foreign policy issues. Certainly, that is how the situation appears.

The media is so all-intrusive and massively critical that each government comes into office with high hopes and is soon as tattered and shattered as an old sailing warship after a full-scale battle.

Public opinion is so deeply split and partisan hatreds are so high that just about half the country is guaranteed pretty soon to loath their national leaders.

The issues are so complicated and not easily solved that it is hard to make any progress regarding the big problems.

Ideas are in such short supply that it is necessary to recycle them as soon as enough people have forgotten why they were dropped the last time around.

And perhaps the quality of politicians has fallen, though as a certified historian of U.S. politics that does seem hard to believe.

Is it like this in every country? You decide. By now, though, I'll bet some of you have a smile on your face and are saying sarcastically, “Oh no, that could never happen in [fill in your country's name].”

These reflections are prompted by the recent U.S. mid-term election which resulted in a Democratic victory, indeed the capture of a majority in both houses of Congress. The basic story repeated all over the world is that President George W. Bush (the name accompanied in many countries by loud hissing emanating from the reporter) suffered a big defeat and now (passionate partisanship barely disguised by a veneer of objectivity) things will be good again or at least better.

But wait a minute. Consider this recent history of the U.S. presidency: In 1963 John F. Kennedy was assassinated. He was followed by Vice President Lyndon Johnson -- so hated for his Vietnam policy that he was hounded out of office (1963-1969) -- who was succeeded by Richard M. Nixon (1969-1974), the first president in U.S. history to resign, due to the Watergate scandal. Next came his Vice President Gerald Ford (1974-1977), best remembered for falling down a lot, succeeded by Jimmy Carter (1977-1981), a total failure in office who was not re-elected to a second term.

Following him was Ronald Reagan (1981-1989) who, while it may be unfair, did fall asleep a lot in office; George Bush senior (1989-1993) who escaped with at worst merely being bland. Finally came Bill Clinton (1993-2001), who some equate with the devil, and George W. Bush (2001 to present) who even more people think is worse than the devil.

Do I detect some pattern here? Again, this is admittedly unfair. Probably of this list, Johnson and Reagan were the best presidents, though at the time they were in office I suspect that such a statement on my part would have resulted in my being chased down the street by an angry mob. But it is not misleading, every administration has been pretty much reviled for the last 40 years.

Meantime, though, the United States went through the civil rights movement, sweeping social reforms, rises in living standards and victory in the Cold War. Lucky is the country where it does not matter so much who is its leader.

Someone must have been doing something right but it is hard to find out who that was.

Let me make two more points about U.S. politics. First, I have worked in the U.S. Senate at a time when there was a Republican president and a Democratic majority. From the perspective of experience I can tell you that there is not all that much one can do. We used to draft great “sense of the Senate” resolutions which have no real power and hold hearings. But in the U.S. system the president rules. That is a fact.

Second, the key issue now is not the struggle between the White House and Congress (though you would never know it from the media) but the battle within the Democratic Party. Many decades ago, the great U.S. humorist Will Rogers said that he belonged to no organized political party, he was a Democrat. That joke still applies.

There is another common pattern in democratic (with a small “d”) politics that goes like this. The party on the left side of the spectrum is pulled to the left by its activists and ideologues. If it gets too far from the center it loses. The same applies to the party of the right, albeit with the directions reversed.

If the party leadership positions in Congress are taken by moderate Democrats, the party will be set up for a winning presidential campaign in 2008, presuming that such a person gets the nomination. If, however, the left wins out, the party may do the impossible and actually ensure that a Republican nominee succeeds Bush in the White House.




Surrender to US Democracy
Dr. Fahrettin Sumer
zaman.com
On Tuesday congressional elections were held in America for the 110th time since its founding. In America presidential elections are held every four years, and congressional elections are held every two years.

In these elections Americans cast their votes for a third of its senators, all congressmen and many state governors. In the American political system, in which two parties are dominant, President Bush’s Republican Party lost its control of Congress for the first time since 1994 to former president Bill Clinton’s Democratic Party. With results in the state of Virginia becoming final, the Democratic candidate won, and the majority of the whole Congress went to the Democratic Party. According to election results, for the first time a Muslim was elected to Congress from the Democratic Party. The Democrats won 234 seats out of 435 seats in the House of Representatives and 22 of the 36 governorships up for vote. In addition, the Democrats won 51 of the 100 seat Senate, as opposed to 49 for the Republicans, thus taking majority control of the whole Congress.

The Main Reasons for Bush’s Knock-out

As a result, for the next two years in America the presidency will be controlled by the Republican Party and Congress will be controlled by the Democratic Party. Consequently, Bush will have a lot of difficulty getting Congress’s support on internal and foreign policies. If it is taken into consideration that the Democrats and Republicans (especially President Bush) have differences in views regarding many issues like the war against terror in Iraq, the subject of how terrorism suspects will be followed and interrogated, health care, social security and the minimum wage, we can predict that Bush’s last two years in the presidency will pass with difficulty.

Immediately after the elections, House Majority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid made statements to the effect that American policy in Iraq must change. In the hours following this statement, Bush announced the resignation of Defense Minister Donald Rumsfeld, known as the architect of Iraq policy, and his replacement by former CIA director Robert Gates. Thus, stating that he wanted to work in cooperation with the Democrats without partisanship, Bush gave a signal for this cooperation. However, because Congress’s influence is limited on foreign policy issues and Democrats don’t have an alternative policy, it’s necessary not to expect fundamental change in America’s Iraq policy and other foreign policy positions. Taking into consideration the diminishing public support for Iraq policies before the elections, Bush already gave signals that on the tactical level some policy changes would be made.

For this purpose he set up an “Iraq Survey Group” under the chairmanship of James Baker, a former member of his father’s cabinet, and likely Defense Secretary Gates is in this group. Shortly, the ISG is going to announce its recommendations and with the new perspective Gates is going to bring in this direction, some changes will be made in the Iraq policy. In addition, on other foreign policy matters such as Iran and North Korea, the Bush Administration will have difficulty getting the support of Congress. Knowing that the people will not approve hawkish policies like Iraq, they will probably give precedence to diplomacy, taking into consideration international reaction.

As is known, things in Iraq not going as the Bush Administration desires and daily bombings and news of American soldiers’ deaths have greatly reduced the people’s support of Iraq policies. They showed this in the elections. From this respect, Bush’s relieving Rumsfeld of his duty is a response to the voter. However, the reasons for Republicans’ losing the elections should not be reduced to their Iraq policies. According to public surveys made before the elections, two-thirds of voters indicated that the Iraq issue was important for them; however, an even greater majority of up to 80 percent said that economic issues, political corruption and sex scandals influenced their votes. Consequently, internal policy issues and scandals involving Republicans influenced the results of the elections as much as the Iraq issue. Making lobbying activities in Washington in recent months, Jack Abramoff was accused of giving bribes and he admitted his crime in court.

Toward 2 Hard Years

Some Republican (and Democratic) members of Congress who were found to have close connections with Jack Abramoff were in trouble. In addition, just before the elections sexually explicit e-mails written between Mark Foley, a Republican House member, and teenage boys surfaced. Corruption and sex scandals like this reduced the Republicans’ support. Previously, upon Republican House Majority Leader Tom DeLay’s being taken to court on corruption charges in Texas, he was forced to resign. After this, taking into consideration election results, the Republican Party is going to have to do some soul searching.

However, in the next two years the Democrats are going to give Bush a hard time, particularly on internal policy issues. We can say that he will have to bow to their authority in making legislation, approving the budget, and the money spent by every unit of the federal government. In this situation the Democrats are going to constantly put forth their own internal policy agendas as a bargaining factor. Due to presidential elections being held in 2008, both parties are going to be insistent, especially on issues their voters give importance to, and from time to time the struggle between them will tie knots in the political process. What Bush wants to avoid are these kinds of knots.

Perhaps the most influential name in determining the Democrats’ relationship with Bush during the next two years is Democratic House Leader Nancy Pelosi. Elected from the state of California, Pelosi is now the House Minority Leader. With the Democrats gaining a majority, Pelosi will probably be elected Speaker of the House. This will not only give her the title of being the first woman coming to such a position in American history, but it will also give her important authority. In addition to determining what will and will not be discussed in the House, she will also be spokeswoman for the opposition until the Democratic Party decides on a presidential candidate. Moreover, according to the American Constitution, if something should happen to President Bush, the second person in line after Cheney is the speaker of the house. If we take into consideration that Pelosi has different views from Bush on many issues, we can say that their relationship will not be very smooth. In short, Bush’s presidency is not going to be as comfortable as it used to be.

Dr. Fahrettin Sumer is a South Carolina University faculty member.




Bush may not prevent recognition of Armenian genocide in Congress
Efforts to persuade Democratic Congress leaders to stop genocide resolutions may fail, the US administration acknowledges
November 12, 2006
UMİT ENGİNSOY
WASHINGTON - Turkish Daily News
U.S. President George W. Bush may not be able to prevent the passage of an Armenian genocide resolution in Congress after the rival Democratic Party won the control of both congressional houses in this week's landslide election victory, administration officials admitted.

The Democrats now have the majority in both the House of Representatives and the Senate following the largest political earthquake in the United States since Bush's election as president in 2000.

Nancy Pelosi, a California Democrat who is expected to take over the House speakership from Republican Dennis Hastert, already has pledged to support the adoption of a genocide legislation in the new Congress.

And Bush administration officials now acknowledge that the president's efforts to stop a new resolution may fail in this dramatically changed political climate.

"The administration will oppose an Armenian genocide resolution as strongly now as it ever has in the past," Matt Bryza, deputy assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian affairs, told a small group of reporters here.

"What I'm saying is there's a change in political reality, so it's impossible for us to predict how this new mechanism will work," Bryza said. "We don't have the same mechanism we used to have in place."

In the outgoing Congress, the House International Relations Committee in September 2005 passed two resolutions recognizing last century's Armenian killings in the last days of the Ottoman Empire as genocide, despite opposition from the Bush administration.

But Hastert, a close Bush ally, never has taken the resolutions to a full House vote, prompting angry reactions from U.S. Armenians and their backers in Congress.

However, now it will be up to Pelosi, a member of the Armenian caucus in Congress, to determine the floor vote agenda in the House. On the Senate side, many leading Democratic senators, including new majority leader Harry Reid, are sympathetic to the Armenian cause.

On the eve of the 2000 presidential and congressional elections, the passage of another genocide resolution in a House floor vote was prevented at the last minute. Hours before the planned vote, then President Bill Clinton, a Democrat, intervened personally and successfully urged the Republican House leadership to stop the resolution on grounds of national security.

But under U.S. law, the president dost not have a power to order the House speaker to do or not to do something. In the 2000 case, it was up to the Republican speaker to agree or disagree with Clinton, and he agreed at the last minute, preventing a huge risk of a destroyed relationship with Turkey.

But now when a fresh genocide resolution comes to a full House vote, even if Bush personally intervenes to stop it, as Clinton did in 2000, there will be no guarantees that the new Democratic leadership will step back.

"The Armenian genocide issue probably will be the largest hurdle in U.S.-Turkish relations in the shorter term," said one Washington analyst.

In past cases Turkey has threatened to minimize its relationship with the United States in the event of the passage of a genocide recognition resolution.

A U.S. genocide recognition would be a grand prize for Armenians, and Turkish diplomats fear that such a move would be followed by compensation demands and even territorial claims by the Armenian side.

Although Bush's move to invade Iraq badly damaged Turkey's interests in the region, the Turkish government and diplomats still wished a Republican victory in last Tuesday's elections, fearing that a Democratic control of Congress would bring even worse consequences for Ankara.

But Turks bet on the wrong horse, and the Democrats won.

In the coming months the Turkish side is expected to seek a dialogue with key Democrats in the Congress, including Pelosi and Senator Joe Biden, who is due to become chairman of the Senate's Foreign Relations Committee. But analysts say that chances are slim for Turkish diplomats to dissuade the new Democratic leaders on the Armenian issue.

Pro-Armenian lawmakers are expected to submit fresh genocide recognition resolutions to both the House and the Senate shortly after the new Congress opens in January. The aim will be the passage of at least one resolution before April 24, the Armenian remembrance day in the United States.




Poland seeks to mediate between Turkey, Armenia
The New Anatolian / Warsaw
11 November 2006
Polish Senate Chairman Bogdan Borusevic on Friday requested to mediate between Ankara and Yerevan, through representing Armenia in Turkey and vice versa until the two countries normalize their relations.

Speaking to reporters following his contacts in Baku, Azerbaijan, Borusevic stressed that the Polish initiative aims at easing tensions and strengthening trust between Turkey and Armenia, noting his country's good relations with both countries.

"Although the border between Turkey and Armenia is closed, there are limited and indirect economic relations between them," he said. "There is the need to establish the appropriate atmosphere to solve the problems. Therefore, the Polish Foreign Ministry has requested to represent the interests of Armenia in Turkey and Turkey in Armenia. We are awaiting replies." He also underlined the need for a positive stance from both sides for the Polish initiative to succeed.

Borusevic also touched on the situation of Nagorno-Karabakh, saying, "Poland thinks that the problem of the disputed enclave should be solved through peaceful means through protecting the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan."

Praising the efforts of Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) Minsk Group towards finding a peaceful solution to the dispute in Nagorno-Karabakh, Borusevic said, "They are bringing apparent suggestions and direct parties about what kind of steps should be taken."

The disputed territory in Azerbaijan has been under the control of Armenian and ethnic Armenian Karabakh forces since a 1994 cease-fire ended a six-year separatist war that killed about 30,000 people and drove about 1 million from their homes. The region's final status has not been worked out, and years of talks under the auspices of international mediators have brought few visible results.




Armenians see advantage in US Congress shakeup
The New Anatolian / Washington
10 November 2006
After the U.S. House of Representatives returned to Democratic control after Tuesday's blowout elections, American-Armenians saw advantages in the Congressional shakeup, which is likely to strengthen their hand in pressuring for recognition of genocide claims by the U.S.

The Armenian Assembly of America (ANCA), in a statement yesterday, cited the likely elevation of Representative Nancy Pelosi, a member of the Armenian Caucus, to become the first female speaker of the House.

The statement said that with these elections, the anticipated leadership of the next Congress will offer new opportunities to pass an Armenian genocide claims resolution.

Pelosi has regularly called on the administration to acknowledge the Armenian genocide claims. In a statement to a newspaper, Pelosi had this to say: "It is imperative that the U.S. 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."

The man Pelosi is likely to succeed, Republican Dennis Hastert, on more than one occasion used his power as speaker to block so-called Armenian genocide resolutions from reaching the House floor, sometimes under presidential pressure. However, Pelosi and President George W. Bush have conflicting and sometimes bitter party affiliations, and this may blunt the impact of such pressure in the future.

Tan declines comment on Pelosi

Foreign Ministry spokesperson Namik Tan said on Thursday that the Congressional elections in the U.S. reflects the American people's will but avoided commenting on Pelosi's stance on the Armenian genocide claims.

Tan, in a weekly press briefing, asked about the impact of the Democrats' victory on Turkish-U.S. relations, stated, "Relations between the two countries will continue within the framework of friendship and alliance. We don't have anything to say about the elections other than respecting them. The American people chose who they wanted to see in their Congress."

Asked about Pelosi as speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, Tan stated that it is not a good time to talk on a personal basis. He underlined the importance of relations between Ankara and Washington, stressing that developments on specific issues were not foreseeable. He added that Turkey will continue to have warm relations with the U.S. in terms of friendship and strategic agreements.




Paris Court Of Appeals Rejected Lawsuit Filed By Armenians Against Turkey's Consul General In Paris
10 November 2006
Turkish Press
Paris Court of Appeals rejected the lawsuit filed by Armenians in France against Aydin Sezgin, Turkey`s Consul General in Paris. Court affirmed today the earlier decision taken by the 17th Civil Court of First Instance regarding the lawsuit. Sezgin`s lawyer Michel Jeol told A.A correspondent that he was pleased with the court`s verdict. Paris Court of Appeals had delayed its verdict against Aydin Sezgin and France Telecom twice.

-THE CASE-
The Association of Defending Armenian Cause in France filed a lawsuit against Consul General Sezgin and web-page service provider France Telecom last year, showing a text published on the official web-site of the Turkish Consulate General in Paris against the so-called Armenian genocide allegations.

The 17th Civil Court of First Instance ruled last year that Sezgin could express his views freely, and rejected the lawsuit. Then, the Armenians applied to the Court of Appeals.

-PROSECUTOR HAD DEMANDED REJECTION OF CASE-
In the hearing held by the Court of Appeals on September 6th, the prosecutor demanded that the lawsuit must be rejected.

Sezgin`s lawyers talked about "diplomatic immunity and freedom of expression", and said that "parliaments could not re-write history". Noting that "the consul general could freely express the official theses of his country as long as he served in another country", the lawyers demanded that the lawsuit should be overturned.

On the other hand, lawyers of the Armenian association said that the consul general could not express political views on some matters, and argued that he could not have diplomatic immunity in such a case.




Paris Court Rejects Lawsuit Against Turkish Consul General
November 09, 2006
zaman.com
The Paris Court of Appeals has rejected a lawsuit filed against Aydin Sezgin, Turkish Consul General to Paris, by an Armenian group for openly denying the alleged Armenian genocide on the embassy's website.

The court of appeals upheld on Wednesday the decision previously taken by a Paris court. The Paris 17th District Court, where the case was first seen, ruled in 2004 that Sezgin could not be tried due to his diplomatic immunity. Armenians later took the case to the Supreme Court of Appeals.

The court's decision was welcomed by Michel Jeol, lawyer for Consul General Sezgin.

The lawsuit against Sezgin was delayed twice last month because of problems with the court's computer system.

Sources say that the case is merely a ploy by Armenians to keep pressure in favor of the bill that calls for penalizing those who deny the so-called Armenian Genocide on the agenda.

Aydin Sezgin's lawyer had demanded the dismissal of the case on the grounds of Sezgin's diplomatic immunity based on the Vienna Convention.




Orhan Pamuk's 'Snow' To Be Heard In Armenian
Anahit Hovsepian in Germany
AZG Armenian Daily
10/11/2006
On November 10, at 7.00 pm "Snow" novel of 2006 Nobel Prize winner Orhan Pamuk will be declaimed in parts in 5 language at Lev Kopelev forum in Cologne, Germany.

The international literary soiree, as the event is dubbed in the invitation letters, will be accompanied by a performance (Grigor Manukian) and a slideshow.

"Snow" is a wonderful novel, a travel into a village narrated with great imagination. Parts of the novel will be read in German by Albrecht Keezer (journalist), in Armenian by Hasmik Hakobian (translator), in Turkish by Hyula Engin (translator), in Kurdish by Adnan Dindar and in Russian by Harutyun Harutyunian. The town of Kars depicted in the novel will be displayed in the slideshow.

The gathering will help give new push to the 54-year-old novelist's work that was translated into 34 languages.

The novel that deals with love and fanaticism, traditions and modern trends place Pamuk among the greatest authors of our time, Kolner Stadt Anzeiger magazine reports. The magazine intends to organize 4 more such events.




Heirs Of Victims Of Armenian Genocide To Receive Compensation Of About $8 Million
Aghavni Harutyunian
AZG Armenian Daily
10/11/2006
This week, the heirs of the victims of the Armenian Genocide will receive about $8 million of compensation from New York Life insurance company. According to the press release disseminated by the company, about 2500 people will get $7 million 954 thousand 362. This compensation sum will amount to $10 million as a result of the court investigation instituted since 1999. Besides, about $3 million were already sent to various Armenian benevolence organizations.

According to the geography, the heirs dwelling in Armenia will receive about $3,7 million, the American-Armenians will get $2,7 million of compensations, while the French Armenians will get about $650 thousand. In general, Armenians dwelling in 26 countries will get the compensations.




More closeness sought in US-Turkish relations
November 10, 2006
ISTANBUL
American-Turkish Council (ATC) President and CEO James H. Holmes and the ATC's chairman of the board of directors, Brent Scowcroft, together with their delegation, met with members of the Turkish-American Business Association (TABA) in Istanbul yesterday.

After the closed-door meeting, TABA President Uğur Terzioğlu told reporters that during the meeting the issue of Turkey and the United States moving closer in every field was discussed. with particular emphasis on the commercial, military and political areas. He said that while in previous years only the issue of military cooperation was raised, today cooperation in tourism, textile and energy was being discussed. He underlined that TABA was not a political association and that it was aiming to increase friendship and cooperation at every stage between Turkey and the United States as well as to bring American capital to Turkey.

American elections:
Commenting on the American mid-term elections, Terzioğlu said he thought that the Democrats' victory would not cause any changes in U.S. policy towards Turkey. Concerning the criminalization of the denial of the alleged Armenian genocide, he said that there was no need to panic before anything was put on the table. “But we have to consider what we should do if it is,” he added.

Scowcroft also emphasized Turkish-American friendship, according to Terzioğlu. “He is concerned about the Armenian issue as much as we are,” Terzioğlu said.

Terzioğlu also mentioned that Scowcroft, a retired lieutenant general who served as national security advisor to former U.S. Presidents George Bush and Gerald Ford, and retired Ambassador Holmes emphasized the development of Turkish-American relations and asked for support from TABA.




Can Europe ride to the rescue of Mardin's donkeys?
Nov 9th 2006 | MARDIN
The Economist
EVERY day at sunrise the clip-clop of hooves echoes through the ancient town of Mardin, overlooking the Mesopotamian plain towards Syria. A pace of donkeys fans out in different directions.

For centuries, the asses have served as Mardin's rubbish collectors, penetrating streets so narrow and steep that no car, let alone a dustcart, can squeeze through. Carrying loads of up to 70kg (150lb) in rusting metal containers strapped to their sides, the donkeys are “the lungs of Mardin”, says Ali Babayigit, one of 80 municipal workers who use them. “Without them we would be dropping like flies from disease.”

The donkeys' task gets more vital as more visitors come to see Mardin's exquisitely carved stone houses, madrassas and churches. All are being restored (some to be converted into boutique hotels) after decades of neglect. They were built by ancestors of the town's 70,000-strong population of Arabs, Christians, Kurds and Turks, who live together untouched by any clash of civilisations.

More tourists means more rubbish—and more donkeys to keep the town clean. But local officials have no room for them. Conditions in the tiny stable where some 42 donkeys live are appalling: the floor is carpeted with dung, the air fetid, there is no grazing. When they are no longer fit to work, some are let loose in nearby fields. More often, they are said to end up as sucuk, a spicy garlic sausage produced under the counter by butchers from the province of Urfa, who spirit Mardin's donkeys away.

Mardin's cash-strapped mayor, Metin Pamukcu, is looking optimistically to the European Union as a source of cash to buy land for new stables and grazing grounds. But even if he were to apply, penetrating the Brussels bureaucracy is a task that takes donkey's years.





Editorial: Pilgrimage to Constantinople

America Magazine , NY
Nov 10 2006
With the exception of his appearance before his old faculty at the University of Regensburg, Pope Benedict XVI's travels have been quiet affairs. Even a trip to Spain last July, which threatened to erupt into controversy over policy differences with that country's Socialist government, transpired so uneventfully that some Vatican officials were surprised. The pope's upcoming trip to Turkey, Nov. 28-30, may be a different matter. It will be his first visit to a Muslim country, where hostility toward Christianity has been growing.

In the last year, one priest has been killed in Turkey and at least two others attacked. Various individuals have threatened the pope's life if he persists in his mission. Earlier this month a gunman was arrested for firing at the Italian consulate in protest of the visit. Memories of the pope's public opposition, when he was a cardinal, to Turkey's admission to the European Union on the grounds that it does not share Europe's culture are still raw; and his use of a controversial quote about irrational violence in Islam in his Regensburg lecture has unfortunately further inflamed those who oppose the visit. Still, the Turkish government has continued to extend its invitation, and the pope has bravely held to his commitment.

A principal purpose of the trip is to strengthen relations with the Orthodox Church and Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I by attending the celebration of the feast of St. Andrew the Apostle (Nov. 30), patron of the see of Constantinople. How fraught with difficulty the journey may be is evident from the tensions between the Turkish government and the patriarchate over constraints Turkey has imposed on the religious freedom of the Greek Orthodox Church. Following a recent meeting, the North American Orthodox Catholic Theological Consultation identified several of the difficulties faced by the ecumenical patriarchate.

The group's statement declared: `By decisions reached in 1923 and 1970, the government imposed significant limitations on the election of the Ecumenical Patriarch. Even today, the Turkish state does not recognize the historic role that the Patriarch plays among Orthodox Christians outside Turkey. The Turkish government closed the Patriarchate's Theological School on the island of Halki in 1971 and, in spite of numerous appeals from governmental and religious authorities, still does not allow it to reopen, severely limiting the patriarchate's ability to train candidates for the ministry.'

Pope Benedict's pilgrimage offers an opportunity not only to express solidarity with the Orthodox in their straitened circumstances, but for all sides to find ways out of these historic difficulties.

The Turkish situation is not, as some wrongly imagine, a straightforward Islam-versus-the-West scenario. Turkey is a bridge between Europe and the Middle East - and not just geographically. It is an Islamic country with a moderate Muslim party now leading the government, but its constitution, vigorously upheld by the military, involves an especially stringent form of Turkish secularism that struggles to hold down religious fundamentalism among the population. Since the time of Kemal Ataturk, modern Turkey's founder and first president (1923-38), the country has struggled to modernize - that is to say, Westernize - by adopting European fashions, technology and economics as well as the forms of parliamentary government; but it has often fallen short of adopting the deeper Western values of respect for human rights and the rule of law.

Among Turkey's elites there is profound fear of political and cultural fragmentation, particularly of secession on the part of the sizable Kurdish population. Intellectual dissent from the standards of official Turkish identity - by acknowledging, for example, the Armenian genocide - remains a criminal offense. Though members of the Greek Orthodox Church make up only a minuscule group, Turkey, as heir to the Ottoman Empire, clings to a centuries-old enmity toward Greece and in particular the Greek Orthodox Church, as the custodian of the Hellenic soul.

The pope deserves credit for supporting the Orthodox Church on such hostile terrain. In choosing to visit Turkey, he has taken on a Herculean challenge that combines Turkish-European, Muslim-Christian and Orthodox-Catholic relations. At the heart of each problematic relationship lie questions about the status of human rights and religious liberty. God willing, even if the trip provides no immediate breakthroughs, the pope's journey will prepare the way for peaceful progress on these issues in the future.




Exhibition `Armenian Question in Documents' Opened in Istanbul
Trend
A.Aleskerov
10.11.2006
An exhibition `Armenian question in documents' has been opened in the building of the Military Museum in Istanbul.

The exposition of the exhibition is based on the documentary material linked with the decision of the Ottoman Government regarding resettlement of the Armenians, Trend Special Correspondent in Turkey reports.

The number of documents on display in the Museum includes the original document of the Government's decision regarding the replacement of the Armenians from the military districts, their lists, letters of Armenians serving in the ranks of the Turkish Army and photographs of Turkish victims of the Armenian terrorist acts. The report of the Commander of the Turkish Army, Kazim Karabekir, concerning the brutality of the Armenian groups against the peaceful Turkish people is of great interest to the exhibition visitors.

The Museum's material has been placed on the Internet.




"The Internet Has Created New Journalists"
BİA (Istanbul)
LMD's Ramonet says to Independent Media Forum: "the number of news items increased with the Internet, free papers; everyone's a journalist by mobile phones and the Internet". IPS's Lubetkin: "the need for alternative media should be explained everywhere".
Scheduled to attend this weekend's International Independent Media Forum held in Istanbul but failing to turn up due to personal health reasons, Le Monde Diplomatique (LMD) Editor-in-Chief Ignacio Ramonet has participated in the forum with an exclusive video message.

Ramonet, who was supposed to deliver the Forum's opening speech alongside Inter Press Service (IPS) General Director Mario Lubetkin, spoke to the gathering on the effects of modern communication means that challenge the stance of the traditional media in Europe and his experiences in LMD through a video recording made by Selami Sakiroglu.

"Effect of the internet" and "future of journalism"
In his speech screened at the Forum on Saturday, Ramonet reflected on the increase of internet users throughout Europe and a parallel increase of internet news, blogs as well as free newspapers, saying that these actually effected the newspapers which once appeared as if they could not be effected as well as effecting the stance of the readership.

Ramonet noted that the surge of the role of the internet on daily life had led to an extraordinary increase in information and news items. He said those who follow the classic media faced serious difficulties now in classifying and categorizing such a vast number of news items according to their importance and that this situation was leading to a lack of confidence in reporting.

Ramonet said the only effect of these factors was not felt by the public opinion but that the developments actually jolted the very definition of journalism.

"We are living through an era that is transforming professions such as journalism" Ramonet said. "Thing of it, everyone can provide photographs using mobile telephones. People with blogs can prepare news reports of the same quality as journalists. In an environment where everyone can conduct journalism, the very concept of journalism is in need of a description".

LMD published in 62 countries with 1.5 million circulation
Ramonet said that although the monthly LMD newspaper appeared to be a part of the high capital Le Monde establishment, it was in fact a publication that created its own strength that had a circulation of 300 thousand in France.

He explained that the magazine was published in the native tongue of 62 countries in those countries including Korea and Iran, which brought it a total world-wide circulation of 1.5 million.

"This success did not come out as the result of an expansionist and imperialist policy" Ramonet explained. "It was result of the newspaper's mission being accepted in other countries".

Ramonet said that with the influence of globalization a mad circulation was taking place in news and advertisements and added, "those following the mainstream media are getting the idea that news reporting is not reliable. Democracies have problems because the situation of the media is not good".

Lubetkin: Need for the alternative journalism should be stressed
After the screening of Romonet's message to the forum, IPS General Director Mario Lubetkin addressed the meting saying that solutions had to be found to very basic problems for the future of alternative media. Lubetkin stressed that the need for an alternative media had to be debated and explained in the widest of circles, from universities to artisans and civil society organizations.

Noting that the IPS News Agency was created in 1964 as part of a rebellion of the third world, Lubetkin said its activities now were conducted in the mission of a world rebellion.

Lubetkin said the IPS Agency owed its existence to objective conditions alongside the capacity of its founder Savio and explained that it now served over a thousand media establishments world-wide, out of which 500 were radio stations.

"We are trying to deliver a better service over the internet" the IPS executive said. "Because millions of people want to be informed in different ways. But what must not be forgotten is that of those who want different information is 90 percent of the world that does not have internet access".

Lubetkin explained that under the current conditions the mainstream media was continuing its own search and stressed that the alternative media had to find its own difference in this era.

Noting the possibility of a dialogue between different games, Lubetkin said "if we do not find synergy in our mission and create alliances, we cannot reach our goals".

Pointing out the rapid transformations in the process of communications, Lubetkin ended his speech saying "in the new international communications era why do we play the 1970s better? Because we are now the new players".

BIA News Centre
04/11/2006 Erol ONDEROGLU




Caution: Following text has been translated by an online translation engine and It may not be accurate.
Original French Version is to follow:

French MP Bernard ACCOYER's Response to (the Our UK Editor)

From: Bernard ACCOYER
baccoyer at assemblee-nationale.fr
24.10.2006

Dear Sir,

I took note well of your courriel in which as you make repressing me share of your reflexions to the private bill the negation of the Armenian genocide, and I thank you

January 29, 2001, France recognized the Armenian genocide, and the words of the President of the Republic at the time of his voyage in Arménie, pointed out the tragedy of the genocide and the painful exile of the survivors.

Arménie which carries in its memory the suffering and its c?ur, of the hundreds of thousands of deaths caused by the genocide of 1915 in the Othoman Empire, deserved our recognition.

However, the socialist group wanted to legislate once again on the Armenian genocide to accuse the negation of it. The debates of last year on colonization had however marked the spirits of a strong print: it is not with the law to write the history.

As Michel PIRON, deputy of Maine and the Loire pointed out it, at the time of the debate during the meeting on last 12 October, Pierre NORA, historian, wrote that "the divided memory, the history links".

Indeed, the hemicycle is not the place where a war of the memories must be fed.

The UMP Group, which I chair, knew of the divergences of opinions on this text, which I respected and this is why the deputies had a total freedom of vote.


I also make a point of forwarding to you the platform published in the Barber of last 12 October and per which I express my point of view on this socialist private bill.

Sincerely yours
Bernard ACCOYER
baccoyer@assemblee-nationale.fr
24.10.2006

Attachment to the email:

Armenian genocide: let us not poke the war of the memories! Bernard AccoyerL' Histoire will justify me, in particular because I will write it myself. ” This famous joke of Churchill summarizes well all ambiguities of the bonds woven by the History and the policy. The writing of the History, in particular most recent, has too often been a political stake in our country for two centuries. With each change of mode, the new capacity felt obliged enjoindre to the academics to denounce the work of its predecessors.

This Manicheism does not have fortunately any more course. The history of the second Empire is not written today any more such as she was written under IIIe République. In the same way, work of François Pipe cleaner, and others, made it possible to write a history of the finally released French revolution of the ideological blinkers still prevailing in the debates with the House of Commons, one century after the events, when Clemenceau proclaimed: “The Revolution is a block. ”

The French history is old, with its glorious pages and others darker. With us all to assume, with intellectual honesty, retreat and impartiality, without falling into the misleading short cuts or anachronisms. Without yielding to this intellectual terrorism which wants to rewrite our national history by making feel guilty France systematically, by reducing it in a state permanent repentance. If, like Karl Marx wrote, to avoid “being condemned to revive it”, the policy cannot lead his action without knowing the History, it should not seek for imposing an official truth as much.

It is not with the Law to write the History. It is a drift which one notes in the States subjected to totalitarian temptations. Our Parliament has legislated much in this field for a few years. Too much. Always, certainly, with a creditable intention: recognition of the Armenian genocide, that of the draft and slavery as crimes against humanity, or that of the positive aspects of the French presence overseas. Do we have to continue to hold in the hemicycle of the debates which raise more scientific controversy and history that missions fixed at the legislator by the Constitution of 1958? I do not believe it.

Each one had recognized, at the time of the debate of last year on colonization, that is not with the Law to write the History. Our assembly cannot turn unceasingly to our past. She must look at the future and answer the concrete concerns of our compatriots. However, the socialist Party proposes to us to legislate once again on the Armenian genocide, to accuse its negation of it. The strong words of the president of the Republic at the time of his recent voyage in Arménie pointed out all the horror of this crime and the atrocities whose were victim the Armenian people. But official recognition of the genocide being acquired, do we more owe judiciariser the field of historical research, even that of teaching, and to frame the scientific debate by prescribing with the historians what they have the right to write or not to write on the subject? I do not think it. To defend a genocide, to call with the violence and hatred towards a community by demonstrations of street, is obviously an offence, sanctioned right now by our Penal code.

To comment on these horrors, to discuss their significance and their range, to discuss extent of the crimes committed in 1915 should not lead the historians in front of courts which are not qualified to deliver historical truths. The legislator and the judge cannot and do not have to replace for the historians and the researchers. The concerns expressed per many historians are not a reaction supporter of corporatism. Whereas, according to Pierre Nora, “the hour is with a dangerous toughening of the memory and its interested use, abusive and perverse”, our responsibility for members of Parliament is not to feed in the hemicycles and the courts a war of the memories started by associations communautarists which are useful of the mémorielles laws. It is not while seeking to legalize the historical truth, to frame work and the expression of the historians and the researchers, whom one will prevent some from disputing them.

At is the time when dogmatism and fundamentalism are caught some violently with freedom to think, for freedom to be expressed, necessary that the French Parliament invests itself in an additional penalization of matter and already condemnable attitudes? * President of the UMP group to the French National Assembly. © 2006 Le Figaro. All rights reserved.

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Original French Version of the Email

Monsieur,

J’ai bien pris connaissance de votre courriel dans lequel vous me faites part de vos réflexions quant à la proposition de loi réprimant la négation du génocide arménien, et je vous en remercie.

Le 29 janvier 2001, la France a reconnu le génocide arménien, et les paroles du Président de la République lors de son voyage en Arménie, ont rappelé la tragédie du génocide et le douloureux exil des survivants.

L’Arménie qui porte en sa mémoire la souffrance et en son cœur, des centaines de milliers de morts causés par le génocide de 1915 dans l’Empire ottoman, a mérité notre reconnaissance.

Toutefois, le groupe socialiste a voulu légiférer une nouvelle fois sur le génocide arménien pour en incriminer la négation. Les débats de l’an dernier sur la colonisation avait pourtant marqué les esprits d’une empreinte forte: ce n’est pas à la loi d’écrire l’histoire.

Comme le rappelait Michel PIRON, député du Maine et Loire, lors du débat en séance le 12 octobre dernier, Pierre NORA, historien, a écrit que « La mémoire divise, l’histoire unit ».

En effet, l’hémicycle n’est pas le lieu où doit être alimentée une guerre des mémoires.

Le Groupe UMP, que je préside, a connu des divergences d’opinions sur ce texte, que j’ai respectées et c’est la raison pour laquelle les députés ont eu une totale liberté de vote.

Je tiens également à vous faire parvenir la tribune publiée dans le Figaro du 12 octobre dernier et par laquelle j’exprime mon point de vue sur cette proposition de loi socialiste.

Je vous prie de croire, Monsieur, en l’assurance de mes sentiments les meilleurs.

Bernard ACCOYER


----- Original Message -----
Sent: Friday, October 06, 2006
Subject: Je vous prie d'agréer, Madame, Monsieur , l'expression de ma considération

Madame, Monsieur,

J’ai appris avec beaucoup de surprise la tentative d’intégrer les événements de 1915 au sein de l’Empire Ottoman, dans le cadre de la loi de la négation.

Ma surprise est d’autant plus grande que très récemment les responsables de l’Etat ont affirmé, d’une manière sans équivoque, que le rôle de l’Assemblée Nationale n’était pas d’écrire l’Histoire.

Non satisfaite d’avoir promulgué une loi concernant l’histoire de l’Empire Ottoman, sans jamais avoir effectué ni les enquêtes ni les vérifications historiques ni les études des archives, la France s’arrogerait maintenant le droit d’intégrer cette loi dans le cadre de la loi de négation !

Cette loi concernerait le peuple Turc qui doit continuer à subir cette humiliation. Bien sûr, ce n’est pas le CPE et les foules ne descendront pas dans la rue pour rétablir les vérités historiques !..

Je vous prie d’agréer, Madame, Monsieur , l’expression de ma considération.

Seda Goulizar

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Ce message, ainsi que les pièces jointes, sont établis, sous la seule responsabilité de l'expéditeur, à l'intention exclusive de ses destinataires ; ils peuvent contenir des informations confidentielles. Toute publication, utilisation ou diffusion doit être autorisée préalablement. Ce message a fait l'objet d'un traitement anti-virus. Il est rappelé que tout message électronique est susceptible d'altération au cours de son acheminement sur Internet.
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Vous pouvez consulter le site de l'Assemblée nationale à l'adresse suivante : http://www.assemblee-nationale.fr

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Email Attachment (Bernard ACCOYER)
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Le Figaro, no. 19344Le Figaro, jeudi, 12 octobre 2006, p. 14Débats

Génocide arménien : n'attisons pas la guerre des mémoires !Bernard AccoyerL'Histoire me justifiera, en particulier parce que je l'écrirai moi-même. " Cette célèbre boutade de Churchill résume bien toutes les ambiguïtés des liens tissés par l'Histoire et la politique. L'écriture de l'Histoire, en particulier la plus récente, a trop souvent été un enjeu politique dans notre pays depuis deux siècles. À chaque changement de régime, le nouveau pouvoir s'est senti obligé d'enjoindre aux universitaires de dénoncer l'oeuvre de ses prédécesseurs. Ce manichéisme n'a heureusement plus cours. L'histoire du second Empire ne s'écrit plus aujourd'hui telle qu'elle s'écrivait sous la IIIe République. De même, les travaux de François Furet, et d'autres, ont permis d'écrire une histoire de la Révolution française enfin dégagée des oeillères idéologiques prévalant encore dans les débats à la Chambre des députés, un siècle après les événements, quand Clemenceau proclamait : " La Révolution est un bloc. " L'Histoire de France est ancienne, avec ses pages glorieuses et d'autres plus sombres.

À nous de tout assumer, avec honnêteté intellectuelle, recul et impartialité, sans tomber dans les raccourcis ou les anachronismes trompeurs. Sans céder à ce terrorisme intellectuel qui veut réécrire notre histoire nationale en culpabilisant systématiquement la France, en la réduisant à un état de repentance permanent. Si, comme l'a écrit Karl Marx, pour éviter d'être " condamné à la revivre ", le politique ne peut conduire son action sans connaître l'Histoire, il ne doit pas chercher pour autant à imposer une vérité officielle. Ce n'est pas à la Loi d'écrire l'Histoire. C'est une dérive que l'on constate dans les États soumis à des tentations totalitaires. Notre Parlement a beaucoup légiféré en ce domaine depuis quelques années. Trop. Toujours, certes, avec une intention louable : la reconnaissance du génocide arménien, celle de la traite et de l'esclavage en tant que crimes contre l'humanité, ou celle des aspects positifs de la présence française outre-mer. Devons-nous continuer à tenir dans l'hémicycle des débats qui relèvent plus de la controverse scientifique et historique que des missions fixées au législateur par la Constitution de 1958 ? Je ne le crois pas.

Chacun avait reconnu, lors du débat de l'an dernier sur la colonisation, que ce n'est pas à la Loi d'écrire l'Histoire. Notre assemblée ne peut se tourner sans cesse vers notre passé. Elle doit regarder l'avenir et répondre aux préoccupations concrètes de nos compatriotes. Pourtant, le Parti socialiste nous propose de légiférer une nouvelle fois sur le génocide arménien, pour en incriminer sa négation. Les paroles fortes du président de la République lors de son récent voyage en Arménie ont rappelé toute l'horreur de ce crime et des atrocités dont a été victime le peuple arménien.

Mais la reconnaissance officielle du génocide étant acquise, devons-nous judiciariser davantage le champ de la recherche historique, voire celui de l'enseignement, et encadrer le débat scientifique en prescrivant aux historiens ce qu'ils ont le droit d'écrire ou de ne pas écrire sur le sujet ? Je ne le pense pas. Faire l'apologie d'un génocide, appeler à la violence et à la haine envers une communauté par des manifestations de rue, est évidemment un délit, d'ores et déjà sanctionné par notre Code pénal. Commenter ces horreurs, discuter de leur signification et de leur portée, débattre de l'ampleur des crimes commis en 1915 ne doit pas conduire les historiens devant des tribunaux qui ne sont pas qualifiés pour délivrer des vérités historiques. Le législateur et le juge ne peuvent et ne doivent pas se substituer aux historiens et aux chercheurs. Les inquiétudes manifestées par beaucoup d'historiens ne sont pas une réaction corporatiste.

Alors que, selon Pierre Nora, " l'heure est à une dangereuse radicalisation de la mémoire et de son utilisation intéressée, abusive et perverse ", notre responsabilité de parlementaires est de ne pas alimenter dans les hémicycles et les prétoires une guerre des mémoires déclenchée par des associations communautaristes qui se servent des lois mémorielles. Ce n'est pas en cherchant à légaliser la vérité historique, à encadrer les travaux et l'expression des historiens et des chercheurs, que l'on empêchera certains de les contester. Au moment où le dogmatisme et le fondamentalisme s'en prennent violemment à la liberté de penser, à la liberté de s'exprimer, faut-il que le Parlement français s'investisse dans une pénalisation supplémentaire de propos et d'attitudes déjà condamnables ? * Président du groupe UMP à l'Assemblée nationale. © 2006 Le Figaro. Tous droits réservés.





Dear Seda, O P E N L E T T E R

Enough on Orhan Pamuk polemics and advertisement
Re: A- http://armenians-1915.blogspot.com/2006/11/1234-gul-says-turkey-working-on-new-html

# 1232 - Media scanner # 10 – About Orhan Pamuk
B- http://armenians-1915.blogspot.com./2006/11/1226-press-scanner-16-articles-in-one.html

# 1226 - Item # 9 – About Orhan Pamuk’s ‘Snow’ by Anahit Hovdesepian


In reference to above commentaries in your news letters, I give hereunder a translation of a “news-clip” which appeared in “VATAN” Newspaper dated Nov/ 19, 2006, which I trust is self-explanatory.

Sukru Server Aya

(About Orhan Pamuk)

He found four mistakes in one sentence. (Pictures of Orhan Pamuk and Prof. Ilber Ortayli)


(Reputed historian) Prof .Dr. Ilber Ortayli, in a conference in Adana, Seyhan, made an interesting remark for the Nobel Prize winner Orhan Pamuk. Rerplying a question of one listener, he said the following: “In one of the books he has written, there is a sentence reading:

“The imam (chaplain), at the hour of afternoon, got out on the balcony of the mosque and read the afternoon prayers call”.

Any person who is aware of the realities of his community, would know that, first, there is no “hour” of namaz-prayer, there‘ is “time”. Time and hour are different concepts. Mosques to not have a “balcony”, the “minaret has a gallery” (serefe). The imam (chaplain) does not make the call; the call is made by “muezzin”, and he does not go up on the gallery (serefe), he reads the call from the inside.

This example proves that persons who try to do something without knowing the community they come from, do not do right things, they cannot.”


(Translated from “VATAN” Nov.19, 2006)
********************************
Vatan Gazetesi 19.11.2006

Bir cümlesinde 4 hata buldu

Orhan Pamuk’un kitabındaki bir cümleyi analiz eden Prof. Dr. Ortaylı “İçinden çıktığı toplumu bilmiyor” dedi.

Adana Seyhan’da düzenlenen bir konferansta konuşma yapan Prof. Dr. İlber Ortaylı, Nobel ödüllü Orhan Pamuk için ilginç bir saptamada bulundu. Ortaylı, bir dinleyicinin Pamuk’la ilgili sorusu üzerine şunları söyledi. “Kaleme aldığı bir eserde şöyle bir ifade geçiyor. ‘İmam ikindi namazı saatinde caminin balkonuna çıkarak ikindi ezanını okudu.’ Bu toplumun gerçeklerini, inançlarını bilen her insan bilir ki, bir kere namazın saati olmaz, vakti olur. Saat ayrı, vakit ayrı bir kavramdır. Camilerde balkon yoktur, minarenin şerefesi vardır. Ezanı da imam okumaz müezzin okur, o da şerefeye çıkmaz içeriden okur. Bu örnekle de sabittir ki kişiler kendi içinden çıktıkları toplumu bilmeden bir şeyler yapmaya çalıştıklarında doğru şeyler yapmazlar, yapamazlar.”

Prof. Dr. Ortaylı konferansta ayrıca, Kozan ilçesindeki Anavarza Antik Kenti’ne dikkat çekerek burada kazı yapılması halinde büyük bir zenginliğin ortaya çıkacağını söyledi.







Re: http://armenians-1915.blogspot.com/2006/11/1226-press-scanner-16
-arricles0in-one.html #13

O P E N L E T T E R - Reply to “American Magazine” NY Nov.10, 2006
Editorial : Pilgrimage to Constantinople


Dear All,

I have been greatly disturbed by the “air” of subject editorial, and wish to convey below reply, which I hope someone can manage to relay to subject magazine and members of “North American Orthodox Catholic Theological Consultation”. Full article can be viewed under above reference. I am taking an excerpt of this “typical bigotry” in further down section of my “draft book chapter”, named “DIVINITY for BIGOTRY and ANARCHY” which will be self-explanatory when the full chapter and other references will be printed in the book. It so happens that the fast progress of some events, reconfirms the promptness of some of my remarks and approaches.


I would like to name this “REPLY” to above impolite editorial as “ LOGICAL SERENITY or CLERICAL DIVINITY? In my preferential style, I will let other Christians of history, teach Christian bigots of today, of the past incidents which had become “past history” but it is apparent from subject article, that “much is desired to revive Constantinople”, in which Christians and Jews were fully protected by Ottomans for nearly eight centuries. It becomes clear that Catholics – Orthodox – Protestants, who were cutting each other’s throats for centuries (other than in Ottoman ruled lands) now are in a “holy – crusade type alliance” and some priests, feel free to “use their Celestial Supremacy Rights” and lecture the Secular Republic of Turkey and her citizens, who are not restricted to use their common sense and intelligence versus the sermons of priesthood, and which should appeal only to their churches where they can give their sermons to their own believers. When priesthood, starts to preach the stale dictums, and expect to rule today’s life, , then we must start with the flatness of the world and creation! Below paragraphs have been quoted with references. Since some excerpts have been taken at random, I should be excused for the arrangements, if found confusing or retroactive, but the contents’ I hope speak for themselves clear and loud!


* (Translated from “VATAN” Nov.19, 2006)

Protest in France for Erection of Pope’s Statue

In the town of Ploermel, France, a group of about 500 persons arranged a demonstration against the decision to put a statue of Pope Jeran Paul 2, in the town square. Demonstrators gathered around the base of the statue, constructed for ten thousand dollars. The township had a budget of $ 38.500 for the statue. A teacher, wearing a red beret as symbol of French Republicans, spoke to the AFP Agency correspondent and said: “They are spending public money for showing a subject of religion. This is wrong. It is against secularism.”


* "(Excerpt from “Protestant Diplomacy and the Near East” Joseph L. Grabill, ISBN 0816605750 – p.180)

On February 8, the President wrote to his Secretary of War, asking if it was legal to dispatch American soldiers to Armenia and Constantinople. He got an affirmative opinion, with the caution that bring-the-boys-home demands were increasing. Then the New York Federation of Churches cabled Wilson asking British or American supervision for the Armenians in Asia Minor."


*(Excerpt from “Imperialism Evangelism and the Ottoman Armenians” ISBN-07146-3448-4, p.132)

"The circumstances gave rise to what might be called gunboat Christianity. Ottoman Christians were being slaughtered and the fleet should be sent with orders to bombard Ottoman ports if necessary. The Evangelical Alliance of Boston passed a resolution calling on the US government to send such a naval force to ‘Turkish’ waters as would ‘make the American name respected in the Mediterranean or on the Kurdish mountains’ and to take action with other governments to ‘forcibly prevent the butchery of fellow Christians in Armenia".

From Chapter 6: DIVINITY for BIGOTRY & ANARCHY

" The Bible is the Book of the Church… The Jewish Church stands behind the Old Testament. The

Christian Church stands behind the New Testament. The Bible is the Making. And behind the

Church stands Priesthood. # 1

Lloyd M. Graham, DECEPTIONS OF MYTHS OF THE BIBLE, Citadel, (ISBN 0-8065-1124-9) (Preface)


Truth is never pure and rarely simple. Oscar Wilde

Superstition is the religion of feeble minds. Edmund Burke

Religion is the opium of the people. Karl Marx


The prerequisite of a priesthood is a divine Avenger with man as a sinner and hence dependent on priests for salvation. To this end the process was continued: first the semimythic Elohist, rewriting and holifying the Jhwist’s characters, and finally the Priest declaring a personal God created the world in six days by saying Let it be. This God-concept of the priestly mind is the cornerstone of the bible, and if it is false, everything based upon it is also false. # 2-A

2-A, Ibid preface 2

To execute, every one for himself, the law of God’ is, no doubt, an admirable principle. For a Catholic, who believes that the Church knows the law of God, it may even be made into a rule of government. The results, as seen in Papal States, may not have been quite what most moderns would think desirable; for example, the Inquisition still practiced persecution, and issued edicts so late as 1841 ‘commanding all people to inform against heretics, Jews, and sorcerers, those who had impeded the Holy Office, or made satires against Pope and clergy’; while in 1851 a railway across Romagna was prohibited on the ground that ‘railways produce commerce, and commerce produces sin’. # 2-B

2-B, Bertrand Russel, FREEDOM VERSUS ORGANIZATION, 1776-1914 , London, Unwin Books, p.139

These reasons are derived in some sacred book which is considered so authoritative that its dicta must never be questioned. Most of the moral exhortation which is practiced by the clergy or by those who give strengthening advice in the Y.M.C.A., is concerned with exhorting hearers to obey such precepts; and failure to obey them is viewed conventionally as much more heinous than unkindness, or malice inspired by envy, or group hatred leading to political disaster. " # 2-C

2-C, Bertrand Russel, HUMAN SOCIETY IN ETHICS AND POLITICS, Londo, Unwin Books, p.139

You shall not take the name of the Lord, your God in vain… # 3

Bible - Exodus Chapter 20

You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor… # 4

Bible - Exodus Chapter 20

You shall not covet your neighbors house nor anything that is your neighbor’s # 5

Bible - Exodus Chapter 20

The great hypocrisy of humans is that “when end justifies the means”, even the corner stones and pillars of Christianity may be denied or reverted to “win some converts into the advertised showcase of the same faith”. Now let us read some more excerpts:


“Some moderate to liberal theologians have begun to challenge half-baked preaching about the rapture and the end times ‘a toxin endangering the health-even the life- of the Christian churches and American society.’ Suburban mega-churches, in turn, find themselves explained as offering spiritual equivalent of shopping mall; would you like physic healing today…” # 6

Kevin Phillips, AMERICAN THEOCRACY, Viking – Penguin, (ISBN 0-670-03486-X) p. 101

“ …many Protestants, lacking priests to assure them forgiveness, searched God’s grace in personal experience. By the 1890s holiness Methodists were defecting from their old church. Baptists were overtaking and passing Methodists…” # 7

Kevin Phillips, AMERICAN THEOCRACY, Viking – Penguin, (ISBN 0-670-03486-X) p. 112

“ … Moreover, in these cases the clergy were commonly among the most prominent drumbeaters. “ # 8

Kevin Phillips, AMERICAN THEOCRACY, Viking – Penguin, (ISBN 0-670-03486-X) p. 122

“ Besides inner conversion, evangelicalism also emphasized outward conversion efforts by its adherents. As a result the nineteenth century saw a huge increase in foreign missionary activity, along with an upsurge of moral imperialism –belief in Britain’s duty to save the world- that abetted and reinforced the everyday patriotism of parades, naval reviews, music-hall songs, and saber-rattling literature. Initial public enthusiasm for World War I, as we will see, marched in part stirring cadences of Onward Christian Soldiers” # 9

Kevin Phillips, AMERICAN THEOCRACY, Viking – Penguin, (ISBN 0-670-03486-X) p.226

“ By 1914 many British churches were but all draped in flags…” # 10

Kevin Phillips, AMERICAN THEOCRACY, Viking – Penguin, (ISBN 0-670-03486-X) p. 255

“ Yet much of their activity purports to be missionary. Instead of British church people and Bible societies accompanying Queen Victoria’s soldiers to India, we have U.S. missionaries following the flag to the Middle East..” #11

Kevin Phillips, AMERICAN THEOCRACY, Viking – Penguin, (ISBN 0-670-03486-X) p.259

Before we proceed further with other excerpts, let us take a break and glance through the book written by Prof. Edwin Grosvenor about Turks in Constantinople, how they treated Christians (when Orthodox – Catholic – Protestants) were fighting each other but they always put the blame on the “Antichrist Muslims”. Knowing how the empire was drained of all resources under capitulations and heavy debts, it is worth while to read how much money the Sultan spent for restoration of St. Sophia, which was used even as stable by Catholic crusaders. What an irony, that the founder of Robert College, Cyrus Hamlin was such an extreme Armenophile, that he preferred to learn Armenian instead of Turkish (the host country) and eventually saw the right in himself to request US Battleships, which were sent, to “teach Turks”!

“The church has never, before or since, been in so pitiable condition as just before the Ottoman Conquest. It and the Empire had grown old together. It was a question which would outlast the other, the feeble, dying Empire, or the decaying church. The historical importance of Sancta Sophia is almost boundless. No other church in any land, no other structure reared in any age by human genius, has held so large a place in a nation’s life. “In its name is centered the entire duration of Byzantine history.” The Cathedral of Rheims, Notre Dame, Westminster Abbey, Saint Peter’s, the Parthenon, tenanted and crowded as they are by thrilling associations, evoke not so countless memories. This is the official sanctuary of an Empire wherein Church and State were one, and which through more than eleven hundred years was the heir and equal of Rome. Up its nave and aisles swept the pageantry of monarch and pontiff …” # 13

Edwin A. Grosvenor, CONSTANTINOPLE, Boston, Little Brown and Company, 1900, p. 530

“On July 16, 1054, while the church was thronged by the Orthodox clergy and people, Cardinal Humbert and two other Latin bishops, legates of the Pope, walked steadily up the nave till they reached the altar in the holy place. Then, standing under the colossal mosaic picture of the meek-eyed Christ, whose arms were stretched in blessing, they laid upon the altar the papal excommunication of the Orthodox Eastern Church, and the anathema against the seven deadly heresies of the Greeks, devoting them and all who shared their doctrines “to the eternal society of the devil and his angels.” Then “they strode out, shaking the dust from their feet, and crying, ‘Let God see and judge.’ ” Thus the seamless robe was rent; the hitherto undivided Christian Church was tom in twain, and has never since been reunited. The Protestant may ill determine or appreciate the rights and wrongs of the contending parties, — of Michael Keroularios the Patriarch, or of Leo IX time Pope ; time points at issue, so vast to them, may appear trivial and of almost microscopic littleness to-day …

… Here, on Easter morning, in April, 1204, the warriors of the Fourth Crusade, red-handed from their conquest of the city, caroused and feasted. A courtesan, seated on the patriarchal throne, sang obscene songs in nasal tones to mock the chanting of the Greeks. Meanwhile the drunken soldiers indulged in nameless orgies with women of the street, and the fane resounded with their indecent and Satanic glee. In derision the consecrated bread and wine were mixed with blood and dung. Meanwhile strings of beasts of burden were driven in, covered with priestly robes and loaded with plunder…” # 14

Edwin A. Grosvenor, CONSTANTINOPLE, Boston, Little Brown and Company, 1900, p. 533-534

“… Some were indeed clinging to the ancient legend that when a victorious enemy reached the Column of Constantine an angel would place a flaming sword in the hand of a little child, who forthwith would drive back the invaders. The Ottoman beat open the doors of the southern vestibule, whereon may still be seen the narks of their impatient violence. The crowded mob of refugees, paralyzed with horror, offered no resistance. No blood was shed, either of conquered or conqueror. No violence was used. The half—dead captives—ascetic monk, and maiden on whose veiled face the sun had hardly shone, high—born lady and kitchen scullion, patrician and beggar — were bound together in couples, and driven forth in long files to be sold as slaves.” # 15 *
Edwin A. Grosvenor, CONSTANTINOPLE, Boston, Little Brown and Company, 1900, p.536-537

“The sultans have shown as much solicitude for the preservation of Sancta Sophia as did their predecessors the emperors. The oft-shattered eastern semi-dome, thrown down by earthquake, was rebuilt by Mourad III in 1575. The same Sultan undertook thorough renovation of time mosque, as had also done his great ancestors, Mohammed II and Souleiman I. But the most important of all was that accomplished by Sultan Abd-ul Medjid. This occupied more than two years, involved an expenditure of over 1,500,000 dollars, and was performed in the most satisfactory manner by the Italian architects, the Fossatis. Every part was tested, and whatever lacked was supplied. A framework of iron girders was wrought in throughout.

Each mosaic was laid bare, carefully cleansed and restored, and then as carefully covered over. When all was complete, Sultan Abd-ul Medjid, on July 13, 1849, performed his devotions in the renovated mosque, and afterwards, with his accustomed munificence, rewarded whoever had any part in its renewal. A commemorative gold medal was struck, bearing on one side the picture of the mosque, and on the other the ‘toughra,’ or seal of the Sultan.” # 16 *

Edwin A. Grosvenor, CONSTANTINOPLE, Boston, Little Brown and Company, 1900, p. 539

“The Ottomans regard Sancta Sophia with the utmost reverence. Therein they but follow the example of the illustrious Conqueror, whose eager steps first turned hither after his hard-won victory, and whose first official act in his blood-bought capital was its conversion into a mosque. Alone of all churches submitted Islam, it retains its Christian name, the Aya Sofia of the Moslems being but the literal rendering of the ‘Aya Sopia’ of the Greeks.”

# 17 * Edwin A. Grosvenor, CONSTANTINOPLE, Boston, Little Brown and Company, 1900, p. 541

“Among them were the Duke of Argyll and Gladstone – drawn in Punch as the ‘Old Crusaders’ sitting on white chargers with lances in hand – and the Duke of Westminster, Lord Bryce and an assortment of higher eclastics. Symbolically the first mass meeting of the “Armenian agitation” (May 1895) was held at St. James hall, Piccadilly. The mood was one of uncompromising hostility to the Turks and their religion. The Duke or Argyll began by insisting that England had the duty to impose a protectorate over the Christians of the Ottoman state. The Moderator of the Church of Scotland spoke of the sacred right of insurrection, of England’s right and duty to intervene alone if necessary and if his reopening of the Eastern Question meant ‘the abolition of the open scandal of the worship of Mahomet in the first great Christian church erected by the first Christian Emperor, the sooner the question was reopened the better’ (The Times so reported).

Both the Bishop of St, Asaph and Canon MacColl argued for a show of force to save the Christians and bring ‘that abject coward the sultan’ to his senses. The contribution of Lady Henry Somerset can scarcely be ignored. She spoke of love of Christian women ‘for their sisters yonder in the clutch of the harem-despot of Constantinople’.” # 18 *

Jeremy Salt, IMPERIALISM EVANGELISM AND THE OTTOMAN ARMENIANS (ISBN - 07146-3448-4) p.125 .

“The Duke of Westminster outlined the case against the Ottoman government and the need for a European supervision to stop the inhuman treatment of Christians in a land where ‘Islam crushed up all prosperity, all progress, all happiness, as it did in the lands to which its withering influence extended’.”

# 19

Jeremy Salt, IMPERIALISM EVANGELISM AND THE OTTOMAN ARMENIANS ISBN - 07146-3448-4) p.128

“Gladstone suggested that recent action of the Porte ‘in Armenia particularly but not in Armenia exclusively’ were founded on ‘a deliberate determination to exterminate the Christians of that Empire’. No one apparently asked for the evidence or suggested that without it such a statement was inflammatory and irresponsible. The rhetoric was unchanging, generally predicated on England’s rights and responsibilities as a Christian nation and it was usually England’s failure to ‘do something for the Armenians was contrasted with its apparent readiness to go to war with the United States over Venezuella. ‘To fight for a few miles territory did not become us: but war on behalf of the Armenians, on behalf of men being butchered and women who were being ravished, was surely if ever justified. Not everyone was impressed. ‘The ministers of religion who stood up to preach a crusade on Monday night’ The Times wrote in an editorial after a protest meeting just before Christmas in 1895.” # 20 *

Jeremy Salt, IMPERIALISM EVANGELISM AND THE OTTOMAN ARMENIANS ISBN-07145-3443-4, p.129

“How a declaration of war against Turkey is to be reconciled with the preaching of “peace, goodwill towards men is a point which these champions of the Armenians are no doubt able to settle to the satisfaction of their conscience”. ‘There is a time in the history of a nation like Great Britain’ asserted the Bishop of Hereford, ‘when it should face for a just, inevitable and humanitarian act towards a suffering people’. England’s honour, it seemed, was more important than peace. How England could launch an invasion of the Ottoman Empire was not a question which the Bishop of Hereford or other clerics addressed in specifics. Presumably the generals would sort out these petty details once the decision had been taken. If England would not act, suggested G.W.E. Russell, Russia was well placed militarily and geographically to take to take the responsibility for the Armenians herself and even occupy Istanbul ‘if necessary’. Even Wilfred S. Blunt, the fierce opponent of British intervention in Egypt supported it for the same of the Armenians.

We have taken the Armenians solemnly under our protection, receiving substantial payment from their master for the protective right in the island of Cyprus. We have encouraged them for our own purpose to organize themselves and rebel, and the Sultan has now got them by the throat and backed by Europe is defying us to come on and deliver them. If we do not go to war we shall be sitting down under the greatest affront we ever suffered as a nation. We bombarded Alexandrian rabble, with Sir Beauchamp Seymour’s valet, had lost their lives. Here some scores of thousands of peaceful citizens have perished through our fault and we have done nothing but talk.” # 21 *

Jeremy Salt, IMPERIALISM EVANGELISM AND THE OTTOMAN ARMENIANS ISBN - 07146-3448-4) p. 130

“Evangelical Alliance of Boston passed a resolution calling US government to send such a naval force to ‘Turkish’ waters as would ‘make the American name respected in the Mediterranean or on the Kurdish mountains’ and to take action with other governments to ‘forcibly prevent the … butchery of fellow Christians in Armenia.’ “ # 59

Jeremy Salt, IMPERIALISM EVANGELISM AND THE OTTOMAN ARMENIANS ISBN – 07146-3448-4, p.132

“But Revd. Hamlin goes further, for he affirms that the ‘right of revolution is not to be questioned’. It is true, however, that he adds ‘but when circumstances make success impossible, attempts and plots for it become criminal’. …

In his letter to the ADVERTISER Hamlin went even further, giving the name and address of the leading Hunchak in the United States ‘for those desiring to get further information’….

As we have seen, Hamlin later had a change of heart and condemned the Hunchaks and the Russian gold and ‘Russian crafty’ which he saw standing behind them. “ # 60

Jeremy Salt, IMPERIALISM EVANGELISM AND THE OTTOMAN ARMENIANS ISBN 07146-3448-4 p.112


Above excerpts need no other comments, since they are self-explanatory, but let us compliment:

“The seventy-eight-foot Papyrus of Ani is the longest papyrus of the Book of the Dead from the Theban period. Dating from 1420 B.C., it was created for Ani, a royal scribe. The ancient Egyptians believed that after death the magic powers of the right words- contained in the various Book of the Dead texts- would help them on their journey through the Underworld. The Papyrus of Ani contains many hymns to the gods, as well as spells for opening doors… The famous “Negative Confession” describes the values they coin the Ani and other papyri they considered important to uphold while on earth to merit eternal life after death’ on the day of judgment, the deceased enumerates the sins he has not committed; “I have not stolen… I have not uttered lies… I have not committed adultery…” # 62*

E. A. Wallis, THE BOOK OF THE DEAD, Gramercy Books, N.Y.(ISBN- 0-517-12283-9) Original in 1895– Cover page

- Note: Do you see much difference between this and what the First and Second Testament and Quran teaches?

And today how far or close, are Merkel and Pope to Ani papyrus?

“German chancellor Angela Merkel has suggested Europe needs a constitution that makes reference to Christianity and God following her audience with Pope Benedict XVI on Monday (29 August. 2006) German leader, the daughter of a protestant pastor, visited the Pope at his summer residence in Castel Grandolfo, Italy, to discuss several issues in European and international politics, ahead of the Pope’s September visit to Germany his homeland. We spoke about freedom of religion,’ Ms Merkel told journalists following the 45-minute meeting.

She added ‘ underlined my opinion that we need a European identity in the form of a constitutional treaty and I think it should be connected to Christianity and God, as Christianity has forged Europe in a decisive way,’ according to press reports...... During earlier negotiations on the content of the new EU charter, Spain, Italy and Poland were among the strongest supporters of a reference to God in the treaty. but its opponents argued it could prove controversial in view of Turkey's potential membership of the EU as well as due to the strict separation of state and church in some countries, such as France…”

URL: http://euobserver.com/9/22280/?rk=1 29. 08 2006 – 0946 CET | By Lucia Kubosova

And a last Jewel of hypocrisy defying logic and intelligence !


And about a century later in Nov. 2006, it is indeed regrettable for average “human intelligence and conception” to be indulged in world politics and confrontations, provoked by clergy people. Below excerpt from “America Magazine NY, Nov.10, 2006” refers to the scheduled visit of Pope Bendict XVI to Istanbul, sprinkles the seeds of fomentation, without giving any explanation as regards the cause, nor any leniency between different faiths exploited by fundamentalists of all religions.

" “A principal purpose of the trip is to strengthen relations with Orthodox Church and Ecummenical (?) Patriarch Bartholomew attending the celebration of the Feast of St. Andrew the Apostle (Nov.30), patron of the see of Constantinople. How fraught with difficulty the journey may be is evident from the tensions between the Turkish government and the patriarchate over constraints Turkey has imposed on the religious freedom of the Great Orthodox Church. Following a recent meeting, the North American Orthodox Catholic Theological Consultation Identified several of the difficulties faced by the ecumenical patriarchate.

The group’s statement declared: ‘By decisions reached in 1923 and 1970, the government imposed significant limitations on the election of the Ecumenical Patriarch. Even today, the Turkish state does not recognize the historic role the Patriarch plays Among Christians outside of Turkey. The Turkish Government closed the Patriarchate’s Theological School on the island of Halki in 1971 and, in spite of numerous appeals from governmental and religious authorities, still does not allow to reopen, severely limiting the patriarchate’s ability to train candidates for the ministry.’ "

This kind of religious bigotry, goes much beyond any “logic and rights of sovereignty”, and brings back the whole status, to even older times than the conquest of Constantinople in 1453. As much as there is no “Batavia” or “New Amsterdam” the religious bigots should understand that there is no longer Constantinople for over 550 years, nor any island named “Halki”.

Republic of Turkey is a secular state. Ruling by “religion” (Shariat) caused total destruction of the Empire, because all laws and rules had to comply with Quoranic tribal rules, fifteen hundred years old, versus “science and intelligence”. Too bad that the “Consultation members” who made such a an presumptuous declaration or demand, are not aware of the experiences Missionaries and Turkish Educational System had in the near past, and divert simple realities, assuming “celestial rights” advertised under “human rights camouflage” or “freedoms” to (foment trouble and) interfere in the sovereign rights of a country, ruled by and not by “Clergy-written fiction books”. As a citizen of Turkey, I suggest that below facts may be also taken in to consideration, as an “opposite freedom of opinion”.

The “Pope” not aware of the facts written by Prof. Edwin Grosvenor, about the past of Catholic and Orthodox relations, nor the tolerance granted by Turks throughout the past, and which has been repeatedly abused, has already given blundering speeches, fomenting the Muslim world, not realizing that Republic of Turkey is the only country in the Muslim hemisphere, where he was invited and where he can visit as “guest of our State”.


a. Republic of Turkey abolished the office of Moslem Caliphate, which was a higher position than Patriarchates.

b. At the Lausanne Treaty, Turkey offered movement of the Orthodox patriarchate out of Turkey, (because of too

many sad experiences) but after petition of the Conference parties, “agreed to keep this institution, only as a

‘Priesthood within the town of Fatih’. Turkey does not have to know, or acknowledge any exceptions for

“ecumenical or other titles of nobility or divinity”. The Greek Orthodox community in Istanbul is reduced down to some 2000. Much like the “imam” of a Mosque in USA has to be a U.S. Citizen, the head of the Orthodox Greek Church in Turkey, has to be a ‘Turkish citizen’. There is no Constantinople see, nor any patron to be

‘diplomatically accredited’ by Republic of Turkey, under our constitution and sovereignty.

c. Election for a Patriarch active in Turkey, has to be made by “residents of Turkey”. If another sovereign State of Vatican is intended, sorry, but we the Turks are fed up with this type of clerical domination and interference with State affairs.

d. The Priests’ School in Heybeliada, was shut by the Patriarchate, who refused to comply with Turkish law of education. The school can be reopened, connected to one of our University Faculties of Divinity, but the Patriarchate want their own independent self-sovereign-rule and the “right to freely educate citizens of other countries”. Does the Greek State permit Moslems, to even elect their own ‘Greek citizen’ leader of Moslem community? No! Personally, after having made this study and presenting the menace and catastrophes they infected on humanity, just to hang on their dominant and wealthy status all over the world, I think returning of capitulatory rights to clergy classes, should be rather, totally eliminated and brought to equality, instead of “dictatorial unquestioned supremacy”.

The paradox between the simple life of Christ, and the wealth of the Pope or Patriarchs (in their golden robes), speak for themselves. In other chapters of this book, there is sickening examples of the “war mongering of churches” and it appears that Clergy Unions (Vatican and other Churches, as well as fanatics such as Taliban or alike) will keep on poking the “logic and common sense of humans” to differentiate, so that they exist and their profession becomes ‘indispensable’. The equation which stands unsolved, from the very start of all religions is the following: “Are clerics serving or exploiting the public ?”

Hence, I offer my best wishes (not empty prayers) to a safe arrival and return of the Pope in Turkey, without new scandals or scars under the dark clouds of religious fanaticism. Divinity may only serve to comfort the personal beliefs of individuals, not to cause new catastrophes similar to what we had and regretfully evidencing in other parts of the world where human intelligence is suppressed.

Sukru S. Aya, Istanbul 20.11.2006


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