31 December 2006

1338) HappyNewYear & MediaScanner Dec2006 (123 Items)

  1. OBJECTION - http://www.theherald.co.uk/news/77515.html Date: 31/12/2006, From: National Coordination (British CPTR) To: letters@theherald.co.uk
  2. Why Do Armenians Celebrate Christmas On 6 January? Lraper.org 24/12/2006
  3. French Historian Thibaux To Become "Atakan Turk" Hurriyet, Turkey Dec 28 2006
  4. Tan: We Expect Us Administration To Act With Commonsense New Anatolian, Turkey Dec 28 2006
  5. Adoption of genocide resolution threatens Ankara-Washington ties December 29, 2006 ÜMİT ENGİNSOY WASHINGTON – Turkish Daily News
  6. Armenian genocide issue may top US-Turkish troubles in 2007 December 29, 2006 Looming congressional passage of genocide resolution threatens Ankara-Washington ties ÜMİT ENGİNSOY WASHINGTON - Turkish Daily News
  7. Still resentful of mistreatment, Bedikyan dismisses Azeri excuses December 28, 2006 FULYA ÖZERKAN ANKARA - Turkish Daily News
  8. Ankara Gives Notice To Baku Turkish Daily News , Turkey Dec 27 2006
  9. French Historian's Turkish Citizenship Approved December 27, 2006 zaman.com / Thibaux to Become Turkish Citizen to Protest France Sunday, December 17, 2006 zaman.com
  10. Ankara warns US over Armenian genocide bill December 28, 2006 zaman.com
  11. Change in US Congress boosts prospects for ‘genocide’ resolution December 27, 2006 ANKARA - TDN with AP
  12. "Who Publicizes The Genocide More ? Armenians Or Turks ?" (Harut Sassounian) 28 December 2006 Armenews
  13. Turkey Feels Regret Over Efforts Of Armenian Lobbies To Exploit Political Developments, Tan 28 December 2006 Turkish Press
  14. Nicholas Burns: Bush Administration Never Denied Murders Of 1.5 Million Armenians 27 December 2006 Panarmenian
  15. Historian: Assyrian Genocide Claims Bogus 27 December 2006 New Anatolian
  16. The Views Of Sarkisian Ömer Engin LÜTEM, Retired Ambassador 26 December 2006 ERAREN
  17. Co-Operation Needed To Refute Armenian Allegations: Turkish FM NTV MSNBC, Turkey Dec 26 2006
  18. Turkish Organizations To Send Protests To Sylvester Stallone PanARMENIAN.Net 26.12.2006
  19. One Step To The Law Of Genocide 27 December 2006 Sabah
  20. Turkey Asks Azerbaijan To Explain Alleged Mistreatment Of Ethnic Armenian Musician 27 December 2006 International Herald Tribune
  21. Change in US Congress boosts prospects for ‘genocide’ resolution December 27, 2006 ANKARA - TDN with AP
  22. Turkish Armenian Pianist Is Sent Back To Istanbul From Baku Airport Noyan Tapan Dec 26 2006 ARMENIANS TODAY
  23. Armenian joy but genocide row continues & Readers Comments MICHAEL BLACKLEY edinburghnews.com
  24. “Zerkalo”: Attempts of Armenian Delegation Destined to Failure 22.12.2006 www.zerkalo.az
  25. Armenia Urges Unconditional Normalization Of Ties With Turkey The New Anatolian, Turkey Dec 25 2006
  26. Armenia Proposes Normalizing Relations 'Notwithstanding The Genocide' Turkish Daily News, Turkey December 25, 2006
  27. Change in U.S. Congress boosts prospects for Armenian genocide resolution, Mahmut Esat Ozan Chairman-Editorial Board
  28. Be More Respectful To Our Official Statements, Erdogan Warns Americans Hakob Chakrian AZG Armenian Daily 21/12/2006
  29. LETTER TO His Excellency Olli Rehn Nurver Nures E. Buyukelci - Ambassador (r) His Excellency Olli Rehn 11 December 2006 European Union Brussels
  30. Yerevan Expects EU Will Be Actively Involved in Establish Relations Between Turkey and Armenia 23.12.2006 /PanARMENIAN.Net/
  31. Fight against terrorism and European Hypocrisy October 1st, 2006
  32. Freedom of Speech and European Hypocrisy - 2 Published September 29th, 2006
  33. Freedom of Speech and European Hypocrisy September 28th, 2006
  34. More European hypocrisy - this time from Sarkozy December 4th, 2006
  35. Liberté, égalité, stupidité October 13th, 2006
  36. Caught in between: Turkish Jews December 20, 2006 Today's Holy Land YUSUF KANLI and BURAK BEKDIL TEL AVIV - Turkish Daily News
  37. There is now also a "Turkish Diaspora" in the World By Mehmet Barlas Sabah
  38. 'Call me a Liar, but US is Sincere' on Fight Against PKK By Ali H. Aslan, Washington December 17, 2006 zaman.com
  39. Turkey's EU quest December 22, 2006 Lubomyr Luciuk
  40. The Corridor December 24, 2006 GÖKSEL BOZKURT Friendship wins from time to time:
  41. Ertegün: A secret force behind Turkish-Armenian rapprochement bid Monday, December 25, 2006
  42. Gul Calls for Cooperation Against Armenian Claims December 25, 2006 zaman.com
  43. When East Meets West The Jerusalem Report December 25, 2006 by Yigal Schleifer
  44. Patriarch Of Armenians In Turkey Seeks Support For Turkey's E.U. Bid Anatolian Times, Turkey Dec 24 2006
  45. Kars-Akhalkalaki-Baku Railway Will Be Constructed 21 December 2006 Regnum
  46. 2006 Unprecedented For Armenia In Genocide Recognition Process 21 December 2006 Arka
  47. Turkish-Armenian Relations: A Russian Perspective (Sergei Markedonov) 21 December 2006 Research Institute for European and American Studies
  48. No Armenian To Take Part In Re-Opening Of Aghtamar Church If It Takes Place On April 24, Mesrop Mustafian States 21 Dec 2006 Noyan Tapan
  49. Bush's nominee for envoy to Armenia fails to win Senate approval December 21, 2006 Armenian groups plan to block any ambassador to Yerevan who fails to recognize Armenian genocide ÜMI.T ENGINSOY WASHINGTON - Turkish Daily News
  50. Open-close December 20, 2006 Gündüz Aktan
  51. Intricate bargaining over railway, gas in Saakashvili visit December 21, 2006 ANKARA - Turkish Daily News
  52. Armenia bans Turkish foodstuffs imports www.regnum.ru
  53. Wilson Releases Condolence Message For Shaw Turkish Daily News, Turkey Diplomacy Newsline Dec 19 2006
  54. Turks And Armenians Are Not Only Peoples, Which Are Separated By Genocide Issue PanARMENIAN.Net 19.12.2006
  55. EU Could Use Armenian Genocide Against Turkey Selcuk Gultasli, Brussels December 18, 2006 zaman.com
  56. Armenian group: Europe can use us against Turkey's EU bid
  57. Working towards mutual understanding between Turkey and Armenia December 18, 2006 Sylvia Tiryaki
  58. Thibaux to Become Turkish Citizen to Protest France December 17, 2006 zaman.com
  59. Turkey's EU bid debated at the Orientalism Symposium December 11, 2006 ISTANBUL - Turkish Daily News
  60. Notes From Yerevan About Time And Cyprus 11 December 2006 Turkish Daily News
  61. Rwanda: France And The Rwandan Genocide - Let Us Learn From Past Experiences 12 December 2006 All Africa
  62. Etyen Mahcupyan: Official Line To Normalize Armenia-Turkey Relations Faced Deadlock 12 December 2006 Panarmenian
  63. Famous Turkish Historian Ties Hopes for Solution in Eastern World to Ottomans December 12, 2006 zaman.com
  64. Armenian group criticizes EU decision on Turkey December 13, 2006 ANKARA - TDN with AP
  65. Can we go on in our EU bid despite Europe? December 13, 2006 Yusuf KANLI
  66. US Support for Student Exchange Disappoints Greek Cypriots Selcuk Gultasli, Brussels December 14, 2006 zaman.com
  67. Armenian Patriarch Urges Eu Leaders Not To Derail Talks With Turkey The New Anatolian / Ankara 15 December 2006
  68. A Politics Of Myth Seda Muradyan Open Democracy, UK Dec 12 2006
  69. 'Armenian Genocide: Facts Of Turkish Archives' Anahit Hovsepian AZG Armenian Daily 15/12/2006
  70. Argentina's Senate Endorses Bill On Armenian Genocide Dec 14 2006 YEREVAN, DECEMBER 14, ARMENPRESS
  71. New Armenian Lobbying Organization Founded In Usa PanARMENIAN.Net 14.12.2006
  72. Mensur Akgun: Armenia Is Better Than Turkey For Eu 08 December 2006 APA
  73. Joseph Knollenberg: Before Entering Eu Turkey Must Respect Armenia 08 December 2006 Panarmenian
  74. Çelik tells Turks in France: Learn French, counter genocide claims December 8, 2006 ANKARA - Turkish Daily News
  75. Orhan Pamuk Says ‘No Comment’ to Armenian Question December 07, 2006 zaman.com
  76. Nobel winner Pamuk pessimistic about Turkish-EU relations The Associated Press / Stockholm 07 December 2006
  77. Nobel winner Pamuk 'sad' about EU-Turkey relations December 7, 2006 LOUISE NORDSTROM STOCKHOLM - The AP
  78. Pamuk's Nobel prize: New Swedish delight December 7, 2006 KRISTEN STEVENS ISTANBUL - Turkish Daily News
  79. Silence In Turkey's Genocide Controversy Matthew McAllester AZG Armenian Daily 07/12/2006
  80. Gallup: In World Corruption Rating December 01, 2006 101 countries ranked according to perceptions of corruption in business, government Steve Crabtree and Nicole Naurath GALLUP NEWS SERVICE
  81. Us House Of Reps Blocks Eximbank Aid For Turkey-Georgia-Azerbaijan Railway 07 December 2006 Today Az
  82. Metro Station In Sao Paolo Called Armenia 07 December 2006 APA
  83. Isik Kosaner: Turkey Wil Have No Relations With Armenia Unless The Latter Releases Azerbaijani Territories 07 December 2006 APA
  84. The Holocaust And Armenian Case: Highligting The Main Differences Ibrahim Kaya 5 December 2006 Turkish Weekly
  85. Three Perspectives On The French Parliament Bill On The Armenian Genocide Of 1915-1917 Gündüz Aktan, Aghasi Harutyunyan, And Morgan Poulizac 5 December 2006 Peace Journalism
  86. Armenia Does Not Want Any Court For Genocide Claims 5 December 2006 Turkish Weekly
  87. Armenia And Turkey Miss Chance To Establish Relations Each Day PanARMENIAN.Net 04.12.2006
  88. The Views Of Oskanian Ömer Engin LÜTEM 4 December 2006 IKSAREN
  89. The Rational Papaturka Thomas Kleine-Brockhoff | December 4, 2006 blog.washingtonpost.com
  90. Isolated Armenia leads the way in using cleaner car fuel December 4, 2006 MARIAM HARUTUNIAN YEREVAN - AFP
  91. Armenian FM Vartan Oskanian gives exclusive interview to TNA Nursun Erel - TNA/Yerevan 04 December 2006
  92. Polemics (1) November 29, 2006 Gündüz Aktan
  93. Trauma (2) November 30, 2006 Gündüz Aktan
  94. Towards the final December 2, 2006 Gündüz Aktan
  95. The process (3) December 5, 2006 Gündüz Aktan
  96. Turkey: Pope, Armenian patriarch discuss Armenian-Turkish dialogue Anatolia News Agency Nov 30 2006
  97. Armenia Works For Improvement Of Relations With Turkey PanARMENIAN.Net 02.12.2006
  98. Argentina ‘genocide’ bill against spirit of relations, warns Ankara December 2, 2006 ANKARA - Turkish Daily News
  99. Ankara Condemns Armenian Bill in Argentina December 02, 2006 zaman.com
  100. Pamuk returns to Turkey December 2, 2006 ISTANBUL - The Associated Press
  101. The Pope in Turkey December 02, 2006 zaman.com
  102. France Warned Turks Could Scrutinize their History December 02, 2006 zaman.com
  103. Pope Visits St. Sophia, Prays at Blue Mosque December 01, 2006 zaman.com
  104. Nursun Erel: Armenians and Turks Should Communicate at All Levels
  105. 'Screamers' and Genocide: A Talk With Serj Tankian From System of a Down The Huffington Post RJ ESKOW 11.29.2006
  106. For the Turkish state, and many Turks, to admit their forebears committed genocide is something they will not even consider MATTHEW MCALLESTER, Newsday November 29, 2006
  107. Politicians Hamper Establishment Of Dialogue Between Armenia And Turkey PanARMENIAN.Net 29.11.2006
  108. Armenian Genocide Monument Unveiled In Rome ArmInfo News Agency, Armenia Nov 29 2006
  109. Diaspora No Longer Believes "Patriotic" Travelers Hakob Badalyan Lragir, Armenia Nov 29 2006
  110. Yerevan State University Does Not Tolerate Turkish Reporters Lragir, Armenia Nov 29 2006
  111. Armenian Genocide An Issue In Sweden by Afram Barryakoub Spero News Nov 29 2006
  112. Benedict XVI Between Constantinople And Istanbul Dr. Muhammad Shamsaddin Megalommatis American Chronicle, CA Nov 29 2006
  113. Istanbul Under Christianity, Islam And Secularism Thomas Grove, UK Nov 29 2006 ISTANBUL (Reuters)
  114. “We Speak About Each Other, But Not With Each Other” 30 November 2006 A1 Plus
  115. Vatican: Pope Not To Speak Of "Genocide" During Armenian Patriarchate Visit Anatolia News Agency Istanbul, 29 November
  116. How Dashnaktsutyun Will Become Opposition Lragir, Armenia Nov 30 2006
  117. For Turkey's Armenians, Painful Past Is Muted Anne Barnard Boston Globe, MA Nov 30 2006 ISTANBUL
  118. Pope Recalls Armenian Genocide Catholic World News Nov 30 2006 Istanbul
  119. Argentine Parliament Recognizes Armenian Genocide 01 December 2006 Armenia Liberty
  120. Wish Of Municipality Head To Co-Operate With Armenia Can Not Affect Foreign Policy Of Turkey – Head Of Igdir Municipality 01 December 2006 Trend
  121. Prof.McCarthy and Prof. Ataov passsing through London
  122. Pope Benedict XVI tours Hagia Sophia, prays in Blue Mosque Hurriyet
  123. Pope Benedict’s Visit To The Armenian Patriarchate Lraper

OBJECTION - http://www.theherald.co.uk/news/77515.html Date: 31/12/2006, From: National Coordination (British CPTR) To: letters@theherald.co.uk Dear Editor of The Herald We have read above news piece with great interest. It must be the only alleged genocide in the world where murderers of 521,000 innocent Ottoman Turks can claim to be the victims of genocide!. If there was such a sneaky expression as 'trying to turn the tables' this must be it. The Ottoman Armenians who have murdered Ottoman Turks not only committed a gruesome crime but they have also displayed a grand scale treachery against their own government back in 1915 and indeed prior to that date. For your information, the real problem started in 1821 and not 1915 and the cause of the problem was the desire of the Ottoman Armenians to side with the Russians (then enemy of Ottomans) to start a major rebellion in the Eastern Anatolia with the aim of breaking up the Ottoman Government and her military's back. If Scots had done a similar treacherous act against England by siding with the Nazis during 1939, how would the London Government may have reacted then? This is the crux of the issue and this is what we want Armenians to debate in public with the Turks; but they are shying away from it and preferring sneaky tactics at foreign press and Parliaments' level. It is our desire that truth is exposed in The Herald and not just printing of a lop sided news piece of a grand treachery. Armenian allegations must be tried at an independent International Court of Law. Anything less would be a racist act against Turks. You may find further information on the unacceptable acts of the Ottoman Armenians on following pages, together with comments from non-Turkish sources: You may peruse www.tallarmeniantale.com, read www.tallarmeniantale.com/c-f-dixon-BOOK.htm, Guenter Lewy's "The Armenian Massacres in Turkey, A Disputed Genocide" ISBN-13:978-0-87480-849-0 and Salahi Sonyel's "The Turco-Armenian Imbroglio" ISBN-0-9504886-6-6, watch "The Armenian Revolt 1894-1920" documentary DVD by Third Coast Films, P.O. Box 664, Clarion, PA 16214, USA and "Sari Gelin' documentary DVD through www.sarigelinbelgeseli.com info@sarigelinbelgeseli.com, peruse www.armenians-1915.blogspot.com (including free downloadable books and automatic translation of site text into several languages) It is also important to note that: 1) The United Nations does not accept the Armenian claims, 2) The International Court of Human Rights in Hague does not accept the Armenian claims, 3) The British Government does not accept the Armenian claims (available in writing) 4) The Malta Military Trials of 1921-22 of Armenian claims found these claims to be untrue and dismissed it, 5) So far, NO Internationally acclaimed Court of Law accepts the Armenian claims, but there is sufficient racism against Turks and many back-door attempts of entry by the Armenians. Kindly publish our objections in the The Herald for fairness. Wishing you a Happy New Year. Yours Faithfully, Hal Savas MBA for British Citizens' Proclamation of Turkish Rights & British Committee for the Protection of Turkish Rights,
Why Do Armenians Celebrate Christmas On 6 January? Lraper.org 24/12/2006 The festival generally called Armenian Christmas is a holy day celebrated as the Holy Nativity of Jesus Christ. Christmas is celebrated in the Armenian Church around the main them of the revelation and incarnation of God, "Asdvadz-a-haydnootyoon." The most important observances of the Armenians in the Christmas period are of the birth of Jesus Christ in Bethlehem and his baptism in the Jordan River at the age of thirty. The Holy Nativity of Christ is celebrated in the Armenian Church on 6 January. At the end of the Divine Liturgy, Christ's baptism is celebrated in the Tchrorhnek (Water Blessing) ceremony. A question often asked is why Armenians do not celebrate Christmas on 25 December, as the rest of the world generally does. Just as chronologically there is no clear date for Christ's Holy Nativity, the Gospels also do not contain one. But historically all Christian Churches up until the fourth century celebrated the Festival of Christ's Nativity on 6 January. According to the Roman Catholic Church, the date of 6 January was changed because the pagan traditional festival celebrated on 25 December that marked the birth of the Sun was declared invalid. But Christians continued to hold to those kinds of pagan festivals on that date. In order to break their influence, the Church hierarchy defined 25 December as Christmas, that is, as the Festival of the Holy Nativity of Christ, while 6 January was defined as the visit of the three magi to the newly born Christ. Because the Armenians did not experience the problem of Saturnalia, i.e. the Festival of the Birth of the Sun, and because the Armenian Church was not a satellite of the Roman Church, Armenians were unaffected by this change. According to church traditions, Armenians continue to celebrate Christmas on 6 January. The Coptic Orthodox Church of Egypt carries on with the same tradition together with the Armenians. However, the Ethiopian and Russian Orthodox Churches treat 6 January as the eve of the festival, which is celebrated on 7 January. Armenians greet each other as follows on the Festival of the Holy Nativity: --Christos dzenav yev haydnetsav! (Christ is born and revealed!) --Orhneal eh dzenuntn u haydnuteunn Christosi! (Blessed be Christ's birth and revelation!) French Historian Thibaux To Become "Atakan Turk" Hurriyet, Turkey Dec 28 2006 French historian and writer Jean Michel Thibaux, who announced he was applying for Turkish citizenship following the French Parliament's decision to approve the bill making it a crime to deny Armenian allegations of genocide by the Turks, has had his application approved by the Interior Ministry in Ankara. Following the initial approval by the Interior Ministry, Thibaux's application has been presented to the Council of Ministers. Following approval by the ministers, Thibaux will reportedly take the Turkish name "Atakan Turk."
Tan: We Expect Us Administration To Act With Commonsense New Anatolian, Turkey Dec 28 2006 Ankara yesterday called on the U.S. administration to act with commonsense against efforts in the U.S. Congress -- now controlled by the Democrats -- to adopt a resolution recognizing Armenian genocide claims. Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesperson Namik Tan, in his weekly press conference, yesterday, expressed Ankara's displeasure at efforts by the Armenians diaspora to take advantage of recent political developments in the U.S. to have their genocide claims recognized by Congress. Tan described the relations between Turkey and the U.S. as "strategic and multidimensional." "The U.S. administration has been pursuing a commonsensical approach so far. We believe that the U.S. administration will maintain relations with the same understanding. Relations between Turkey and the U.S. have importance beyond these small calculations. We have close cooperation with the U.S. We will continue informing them on the issue at all levels. We expect the U.S to act with commonsense in the following term," he underlined. Commenting on recent statements by Armenian officials proposing a normalization of relations without putting forward recognition of the so-called genocide as a precondition, Tan underlined that Turkey's constructive proposal on the issue still awaits a positive response from Yerevan. Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan in a letter to Armenian President Robert Kocharian last year proposed the establishment of a joint committee of Turkish and Armenian historians to investigate the 1915 incidents, in order to put an end to the major controversy between two capitals. Tan said concrete progress could not be made towards a normalization of relations so far because of the negative approach of Armenia towards Turkey's proposal. "A joint committee would be a mechanism that eliminates differences of interpretations with regards to the 1915 incidents and functions as a confidence-building tool between Turkish and Armenian peoples," Tan said. He also underlined that yielding a result from the efforts depended on a more flexible and constructive approach by Yerevan (to overcome bilateral and regional problems) and Armenia's acting in line with the international laws. Asked whether Ankara had protested to Baku about the mistreatment of Armenian-origin Turkish citizen Burak Bedikyan who is not allowed to enter Azerbaijan, Tan said that the Turkish side has asked for information from Azeri authorities and are still waiting for a response.
Adoption of genocide resolution threatens Ankara-Washington ties December 29, 2006 ÜMİT ENGİNSOY WASHINGTON – Turkish Daily News The Turkish and U.S. capitals have many differences to talk about in 2007 including those related to the terrorist Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) presence in northern Iraq, the more general Iraq question and a crisis over Iran's nuclear program. Nevertheless, potential U.S. congressional recognition of the alleged Armenian genocide may be the actual cause of a rupture in the relationship between the two nations. The new Democratic-dominated Congress elected in the Nov. 7 polls is due to open on Jan. 4, and pro-Armenian lawmakers are preparing to introduce fresh genocide resolutions to both the House of Representatives and the Senate. The Armenian groups have made it no secret that they are seeking congressional approval of at least one genocide resolution before April 24, designated by U.S. presidents as a day of commemoration for the killings of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire in World War I. New Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced before the Nov. 7 elections that she would back recognition of an Armenian “genocide” in the new Congress. On the Senate side, Democratic majority leader Harry Reid and Joe Biden, who is due to become chairman of the powerful Senate Foreign Relations Committee, are both sympathetic to the Armenian cause. And Turkish diplomats are concerned. “We are heading for a tough year in Congress, and anything is possible,” said one diplomat. Turkey's public is extremely sensitive on Armenian claims, and successive Ankara governments have warned Washington that any congressional recognition of genocide allegations would lead to a review of the entire U.S.-Turkish relationship. Several Western nations formally have classified the Armenian killings as genocide, but some form of U.S. recognition would be a grand prize for the Armenians. Turkish diplomats fear that U.S. congressional recognition will lead to a next phase of compensation demands and even territorial claims.
Armenian genocide issue may top US-Turkish troubles in 2007 December 29, 2006 Looming congressional passage of genocide resolution threatens Ankara-Washington ties ÜMİT ENGİNSOY WASHINGTON - Turkish Daily News Turkey and the United States have a lot of differences to talk about in 2007 including those related to the terrorist Kurdistan Workers' Party's presence in northern Iraq, the more general Iraq question and a crisis over Iran's nuclear program. But an unlikely matter, potential U.S. congressional recognition of the Armenian genocide, may be the actual cause of a rupture in the two nations' fledgling relationship. "U.S. Armenian groups feel that they now have their strongest position in recent history," said Bulent Aliriza, director of Turkey Project at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a think tank here. "Emboldened by the recent election victory of their Democratic allies in Congress and Turkey's worsening ties with the European Union, they believe they are cornering Turkey and are aiming at pushing for major changes in U.S. and Turkish policies on genocide claims next year," he said. The new Democratic-dominated Congress elected in the Nov. 7 polls is due to open on Jan. 4, and pro-Armenian lawmakers are preparing to introduce fresh genocide resolutions to both the House of Representatives and the Senate. The Armenian groups have made it no secret that they are seeking congressional approval of at least one genocide resolution before April 24, designated by U.S. presidents as day of commemoration for the killings of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire in World War I. New Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced before the Nov. 7 elections that she would back recognition of an Armenian “genocide” in the new Congress. On the Senate side, Democratic majority leader Harry Reid and Joe Biden, who is due to become chairman of the powerful Senate Foreign Relations Committee, are both sympathetic to the Armenian cause. And Turkish diplomats are concerned. "We are heading for a tough year in Congress, and anything is possible," said one diplomat. Turkey's public is extremely sensitive on Armenian claims, and successive Ankara governments have warned Washington that any congressional recognition of genocide allegations would lead to a review of the entire U.S.-Turkish relationship. Several Western nations, most notably France, and others including Russia and Argentina, formally have classified the Armenian killings as genocide, but some form of U.S. recognition would be a grand prize for the Armenians. Turkish diplomats fear that U.S. congressional recognition will lead to a next phase of compensation demands and even territorial claims. The last time the Armenian groups came very close to a victory in the United States was in October 2000, weeks before a presidential election, when a genocide resolution reached the House floor. But only hours before a final vote, then president Bill Clinton, a Democrat, personally intervened and urged Republican House Speaker Dennis Hastert to withdraw the resolution on grounds of national security. Hastert agreed, prompting a major disappointment for the Armenians. But the 2000 incident also caused then Vice President Al Gore, the Democratic Party's candidate, to lose the presidential election, according to some analysts. Republican George W. Bush, the current president, defeated Gore with a difference of only a few hundred votes in the key state of Florida, where the Armenian community fully backed him. But Bush as president also has followed Washington's state policy, and in the past six years has declined to endorse the g-word and urged Congress' past Republican leadership to avoid passage of genocide resolutions to the dismay and anger of the Armenians, who this year mostly supported Democratic candidates in polls. Many congressional Republicans also back the Armenian cause. Analysts agree that at least one genocide resolution very likely will reach a floor vote in Congress next year. What is not clear is what Bush would do if or when that happens. Like Clinton, would he reach out to Congress' Democratic leadership to stop such a resolution on national security reasons? Or even if he does so, would Democratic leaders listen to him amid rising political hostilities? No one knows yet. In a related development, a pro-Armenian senator in the outgoing Congress has successfully blocked the appointment of Richard Hoagland, Bush's pick for envoy to Yerevan, accusing the ambassadorial nominee of denying the genocide. For the Yerevan post Bush now may either nominate Hoagland again or send another candidate for confirmation to the Senate. But it is clear that pro-Armenian senators will continue to block any person who declines to utter the g-word. Some analysts believe that Turkey cannot afford to sever ties with the United States, its closest Western ally, at a time when its bid for membership to the EU is in trouble. [EU leaders earlier this month moved to suspend accession talks with Turkey on eight of a total of 35 political chapters because of a rift on trade with Greek Cypriots, a union member.] But Aliriza suggests otherwise. "Worsening the entire situation, the Armenians' planned April 24 timetable coincides with a critical presidential election in Turkey. In such a heated political climate, no Turkish government can come up with a soft response to the passage of a genocide resolution," he said. "So if that happens, one should prepare for the worst." Ankara and Washington still are recovering from the fallout from a critical dispute on Iraq four years ago, when Turkey's Parliament refused to allow U.S. forces to use Turkish territory in the Iraq war.

Still resentful of mistreatment, Bedikyan dismisses Azeri excuses December 28, 2006 FULYA ÖZERKAN ANKARA - Turkish Daily News Bedikyan, a successful pianist sharing the same stage with Turkey’s leading jazz musicians and who also plays in Sertab Erener’s band, says he is not planning to return to Baku for any concerts unless Azerbaijani authorities offer an official apology Well-known jazz pianist Burak Bedikyan says he was refused entry to Azerbaijan after being subjected to ill treatment at the airport because of his Armenian descent and denies Azerbaijani claims that he was to address thousands during a two-day performance last week together with Sertab Erener, Turkey's winner of the 2003 Eurovision song contest. “I went to Azerbaijan not to give an outdoor public concert attended by 10-15,000 people but to perform on two special nights at Baku's Gülistan Palace attended by only a VIP audience,” Bedikyan told the Turkish Daily News in an interview. Turkey formally sought information both from the Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry and the Azerbaijani Embassy here with regard to Bedikyan's allegations. Ankara's move came after the young pianist filed verbal and written complaints with the Turkish Foreign Ministry. “It's really ridiculous that [Azerbaijani authorities] give the lack of a visa as a justification for their refusal to grant me entry, but everyone knows that a passport is sufficient for all citizens of the Turkish Republic to enter Azerbaijani territory,” Bedikyan said. Azerbaijani Embassy officials here were not immediately available to comment on Bedikyan's charges, but news reports earlier said Azeri officials refused to issue a visa to the pianist, arguing that Bedikyan's name being announced during a concert attended by 10-15,000 could have sparked an incident because Azerbaijan and Armenia were in a state of war. Azerbaijan and Armenia, both ex-Soviet republics, are at loggerheads over Nagorno-Karabakh, an Azeri territory occupied by Armenian troops. The region's final status remains unresolved, and years of talks under the auspices of international mediators have brought few visible results. Turkey has close ties with Azerbaijan, with which it shares an ethnic and linguistic heritage, but it severed diplomatic relations with Armenia due to Yerevan's unsettled dispute with Azerbaijan. Bedikyan, a Turkish citizen, accused Azerbaijani authorities at Baku Airport of mistreating him and refusing him entry upon arrival for a concert on Dec. 19. He was forced to return to Istanbul and could not join his band, insisting that he was singled out and mistreated despite his Turkish citizenship. “We were taken to the VIP section upon our arrival at Baku Airport and waited for passport checks. Erener was given priority in her entry procedure and then sent to her hotel. Azerbaijani authorities called me, demanded my identity card and then asked for my surname. I answered them but later they again asked my surname. I again told them my surname was Bedikyan, and they asked my nationality. I said I was a Turkish citizen as set out in my passport and identity card and that I was of Armenian descent. Later they talked to one another, and the only words I could make out from their conversation were ‘Christian and Armenian',” he said. "Almost 15 minutes later three Azerbaijani officials took me from the airport," continued Bedikyan, "and made me get on a bus and took me to another part of the airport. They did not answer my questions, though I asked calmly and respectfully, and they rebuked me when I continued to insistently seek an explanation. They even threatened me. I waited for almost three hours. I was not allowed to drink water or make a call. They approached me in a very unfriendly and hostile way. In fact, I was sent back to Istanbul before realizing what had happened.” Bedikyan said he was refused entry without reason after being mistreated, just like an enemy, despite the efforts of production manager Serkan Güney, who was also threatened by Azerbaijani officials with being taken to the police station if he insisted on objecting. “It took me two to three days to get my luggage after arriving in Istanbul. I later informed the Foreign Ministry both verbally and in a written complaint, and thankfully the ministry took up the incident,” he added. Despite the absence of Bedikyan, Erener gave her concerts in Baku. The pianist says more could have been done and that Erener could have stood up for him, but he declined to elaborate further to avoid a battle of words. “I'm a jazz musician. I am not the only pianist in Erener's band. I'm accompanying Erener in her concerts together with another pianist, Tuluğ Tırpan; however, if I were the only pianist, the incident in Azerbaijan could have been more serious because it would not have been possible to perform the concert with only Erener and a guitar,” he said. Bedikyan, who shares the same stage with Turkey's leading jazz musicians, said he was not planning to travel to Azerbaijan again for a concert unless Azerbaijani authorities offered an official apology. “First of all, I certainly don't take the incident personally, but I see it as disrespect and a mistake against the Turkish Republic, of which I'm a citizen,” he said. But Bedikyan said he harbored no hostility against Azerbaijan, adding that he could go again after everything was settled amicably.
Ankara Gives Notice To Baku Turkish Daily News , Turkey Dec 27 2006 Turkey gave notice to Azerbaijan on claims that pianist Burak Bedikyan, a Turkish citizen of Armenian origin, was deported after having been subjected to ill treatment, news reports said yesterday. Ankara sought information both from the Azerbaijan Foreign Ministry and the Azerbaijani Embassy here in Ankara on the allegations, said Foreign Ministry officials speaking to NTV news channel. Bedikyan, accompanied by Turkish singer Sertap Erener, a well-trained soprano, departed for the Azerbaijani capital of Baku on Dec. 19 to perform on two special occasions but he was deported at the airport. Bedikyan claimed he was subjected to ill treatment because of his Armenian origin. In comments on Azerbaijani authorities' refusal to issue a visa to Bedikyan, though he was a Turkish citizen, officials from the Azerbaijani Embassy here reportedly said: "Azerbaijan and Armenia are at war. His name being announced during the concert attended by 10-15,000 audience could have sparked an incident." Azerbaijan and Armenia are at odds over Nagorno-Karabakh, an Azeri territory occupied by the Armenian troops. Ankara -- which has friendly ties with Azerbaijan -- closed its border gate with Armenia and severed its diplomatic relations with the country after Armenian troops occupied Nagorno-Karabakh.
Deported Pianist Burak Bedikyan Thanked Turkish MFA For Immediate Reaction 28 December 2006 APA Turkish citizen of Armenian origin, pianist Burak Bedikyan, deported from Azerbaijani airport Bine on Dec 19, made allegation against Azerbaijan in his release to the press, APA’s bureau reports. The pianist said that he visited Azerbaijan as a Turkish and the visit was professional. “I was insulted at the airport in Baku. They asked my surname. I answered that I am a Turkish citizen of Armenian origin. I also noted that I have always represented Turkey in other countries. Though I was calm, the Azerbaijanis answered my questions concerning the issue very rough and in ill-mannered way. I felt dizzy but they did not give me a cup of water, not even let me to the restroom. I could not get in touch with the embassy and friends. Three hours later I was sent back. I will defend my right till the end. I thank Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs for immediate reaction”, he said. He also noted that Sertab Erener failed though she tried hard to have him admitted to Azerbaijan. So, the singer performed without the assistance of the pianist at the concert on occasion of 10th anniversary of Azercell. Turkish MFA sent a note to Azerbaijan concerning the issue twice. Turkish ministry appealed to Azerbaijani MFA and Azerbaijani embassy and demanded the explanation on the issue. Azerbaijani ambassador to Turkey Zakir Hashimov rejected the information about the note. The counselor Jeyhun Mammedov told that Burak Bedikyan did not appealed to the embassy to get a visa
French Historian's Turkish Citizenship Approved December 27, 2006 zaman.com Jean Michel Thibaux, a French historian, has had his citizenship application approved by the Turkish Ministry of Internal Affairs. Thibaux accepted an academic position offered by Turkey's Akdeniz University and declared he would become a Turkish citizen in response to the Armenian genocide bill approved in the French Parliament in October 2005. After his application process began at the birth registration office in Konya, Thibaux's application was first accepted by the Population Register Directorate General before being passed to the Interior Ministry. The Ministry of Internal Affairs has approved the application, but it still requires the approval of the Turkish Council of Ministers and President Sezer. Mr. Thibaux’s new name will be Atakan Turk, the Turkish name he has chosen, following publication of the decree in the parliament’s Official Gazette. "I protest the trivial politics of the French on the Armenians. My home will be Turkey if I am accepted as Turkish citizen," Thibaux previously remarked in an interview.
Thibaux to Become Turkish Citizen to Protest France Sunday, December 17, 2006 zaman.com French Historian Jean Michel Thibaux, who has decided to become a Turkish citizen, visited Turkey’s tourism and culture Paris office. Thibaux, whose book “Princess of Lights” has been published in Turkey, gave a copy to Turkish cultural consultant Serpil Varol as a gift. “I protest the petty politics of the French concerning the Armenians. My home will be Turkey if I am accepted,” Thibaux said. Reacting to the Armenian genocide bill approved in the French parliament, Thibaux accepted an academic position offered by Akdeniz University and declared he would be a Turkish citizen. Thibaux is delivering a conference on “The First Crusade and The Clash of Religions” on Dec. 22 at Akdeniz campus.
Ankara warns US over Armenian genocide bill December 28, 2006 zaman.com Faced with the possibility that the U.S. Congress will consider a proposal with regard to the alleged Armenian genocide, Spokesperson for the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs Namik Tan asked the U.S. Administration to continue its long-lasting balanced and constructive policy. At a weekly press conference Tan discussed news reports indicating that with the Democrats in control of both houses of Congress, the U.S. legislative body would consider a proposal on the alleged Armenian genocide. Tan noted that Turkey was following the efforts of the Armenian lobby to exploit the political situation in the United States with great concern. Noting that bilateral relations between Turkey and the United States were multidimensional and strategic, Tan further said: “The U.S. has always been constructive and right minded vis-à-vis those kinds of efforts. We believe that the U.S. administration will continue the same approach. The relations between the U.S. and Turkey are so important that they transcend those insignificant issues.” Asked about the recent remarks made by Armenian authorities, Tan recalled that any concrete results from those efforts largely depended on Armenia’s flexible and constructive approach to resolve the regional problems in compliance with the international legal rules and regulations. EU invitation letter insufficient Tan noted that Turkey requested information from Azerbaijani authorities concerning the allegations made by Armenian-origin Turkish citizen Burak Bedikyan that he was maltreated and not admitted into Azerbaijan. Spokesperson Tan also noted that the European Union’s invitation letter to initiate negotiations in the field of industry and establishments has arrived in Ankara. Tan stressed that the letter did not meet Turkey’s expectations, as an invitation to start negotiations in four chapters was anticipated.
Change in US Congress boosts prospects for ‘genocide’ resolution December 27, 2006 ANKARA - TDN with AP With Democrats taking control of the U.S. Congress, prospects have increased that lawmakers will approve a resolution recognizing the World War I-era killings of Anatolian Armenians as “genocide,” despite the objections of President George W. Bush. The shift in Congress also reduces the likelihood that the Bush administration can break a deadlock over the president's nominee for ambassador to Armenia, Richard Hoagland. Senate Democrats have blocked Hoagland's nomination because of his refusal to call the killings genocide. The matters before Congress highlight how the deaths of the Armenians almost a century ago remain a sensitive international issue today. The Bush administration has warned that even congressional debate on the genocide question could damage relations with Turkey, a moderate Muslim nation that is a NATO member and an important strategic ally. Turkey has adamantly denied claims by scholars that its predecessor state, the Ottoman government, caused the Armenian deaths in a planned “genocide.” The Turkish government has said the toll is wildly inflated and that Armenians were killed or displaced in civil unrest during the empire's collapse. After French lawmakers voted in October to make it a crime to deny that the killings were genocide, Turkey said it would suspend military relations with France. In Washington, Armenian-American groups have been pressing for years for a resolution on the genocide issue. The House of Representatives' International Relations Committee last year endorsed two resolutions classifying the killings as genocide. But the House leadership, controlled by Bush's Republican Party, prevented a vote by the full chamber. With Democrats taking over the House, the top leader will be Nancy Pelosi, who has supported the genocide legislation. Pelosi spokesman Drew Hamill says she'll continue to support the resolutions. “I think we have the best chance probably in a decade to get an Armenian genocide resolution passed,” said Democratic Congressman Adam Schiff, a top advocate of the resolutions. The genocide question was the key issue as the Senate considered the ambassadorial nomination of Hoagland to replace John Evans, who reportedly had his tour of duty cut short because, in a social setting, he referred to the killings as genocide. Senator Robert Menendez, a New Jersey Democrat, blocked the nomination over Hoagland's refusal to use the word genocide at his confirmation hearing in June. With Democrats taking over the Senate, it will be even more difficult now for the Bush administration to circumvent Menendez's objections. Earlier this month, Menendez and the Senate's top Democrat, Harry Reid of Nevada, wrote a letter to U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice asking the Bush administration to withdraw the nomination. But an administration official responded in a letter to Menendez that it was continuing to back Hoagland. “Despite some claims to the contrary, neither Ambassador-designate Hoagland nor the administration has ever minimized or denied the fact or the extent of the annihilation and forced exile of as many as 1.5 million ethnic Armenians in the final years of the Ottoman Empire,” Undersecretary of State Nicholas Burns wrote. The letter was provided to The Associated Press by a congressional aide who requested anonymity because the administration had not agreed to its release. “It would be a shame for the entire Foreign Service should Ambassador-designate Hoagland, an experienced diplomat with a distinguished record of service, be denied confirmation due to past disagreements over Ambassador Evans,” said the letter.
"Who Publicizes The Genocide More ? Armenians Or Turks ?" (Harut Sassounian) 28 December 2006 Armenews The Foreign Minister of Turkey, Abdullah Gul, announced this week that the Turkish government is planning to launch in 2007 a new comprehensive propaganda campaign to deny the Armenian Genocide. All previous Turkish government attempts to bury the facts of the Armenian Genocide have ended in failure, after wasting millions of dollars on lobbying firms and books by phony "scholars." Ironically, the more the Turks try to deny the crime committed by Ottoman Turkey in 1915, the greater the number of countries, international organizations and individuals that recognize it. In recent weeks, after the Argentinean Parliament recognized the Armenian Genocide, Ankara warned that country’s Senate not to follow suit. Despite the Turkish warning, and maybe because of it, the Argentinean Senate adopted the Armenian Genocide resolution unanimously ! A couple of months ago, when the French Parliament adopted a bill that would make it a crime to deny the Armenian Genocide, the Turkish government gave a similar warning to the French Senate. If the Turks continue to irritate the French by their threats and obnoxious insults, I have no doubt that the Senate would reciprocate by adopting this new law by an overwhelming majority ! Here are a few other items of interest to our readers : — Several Turkish newspapers reported last week that the Armenian American lobby scored a major victory when Pres. Bush could not get the Senate to confirm Richard Hoagland, the Ambassador-designate for Armenia. The Turkish press quoted an analyst as saying that the blocking of Hoagland’s nomination was a major success for Armenians : “The Armenian lobby has never been this strong.” — The Canadian Jewish News reported on December 14 that Israel has developed “a rich friendship” with Shiite Muslim Azerbaijan. “The relationship was born in 1992 when Israel supported Azerbaijan against Armenia in the Karabagh War,” the Jewish publication stated. Since then, Israel has continued “to provide intelligence, security and military training to Azerbaijan.... Israel’s Backcell is the second-largest cell phone operator” in Azerbaijan and is “one of many Israeli businesses doing brisk trade” in Baku. — The Turkish Culture Minister announced last week that the official opening ceremonies for the renovated Aghtamar Armenian Church would take place on April 24. The Patriarch of Constantinople, Archbishop Mesrob Moutafian, issued an uncharacteristically bold statement, saying that holding the ceremony on that date would be exploiting Armenian people’s suffering for political gain. He said that neither he nor any other Armenian would participate in such a ceremony on April 24. It has been obvious to me from the very beginning that Turkish officials were planning to exploit the renovation of Aghtamar for political purposes, independently of the date of the ceremony. Maybe the Patriarch, instead of objecting, should have accepted that date and turned the ceremony planned for April 24 into a commemoration of the Armenian Genocide — which would have been a first in Turkey since 1915. — Sylvester Stallone announced last week that he is interested in making Franz Werfel’s famous novel, “The Forty Days of Musa Dagh,” into a blockbuster movie. Turks went into total panic and organized a worldwide e-mail campaign urging Stallone not to be “an instrument of Armenian lobbies.” Armenians on the other hand were so excited that they started celebrating as if the movie was already made. Surprisingly, neither Turks nor Armenians seem to remember that Stallone has made this same announcement several times in the past with nothing to show for. However, should Stallone end up making this movie someday, he can count on the Turks to provide a lot of free publicity, ensuring its success ! — Turkey’s Prime Minister, Recep Erdogan, told the editors of the New York Times last week that they had become “a tool in the hands of the Armenians.” He was unhappy that the N.Y. Times had decided that the newspaper would refer to the Armenian Genocide as a historical fact. This is the second time that the Turkish Prime Minister has personally complained to the N.Y. Times on this issue in the past couple of years. Maybe it’s about time that Erdogan realized that the N.Y. Times, true to its noble calling, is a tool for the truth and not a tool for Turkish denialism. - Father Serop Azarian, the Pastor of the St. Gregory Armenian Apostolic Church in Granite City/St. Louis, sent me an e-mail describing his encounter with Turkish novelist and Nobel Laureate Orhan Pamuk, at a lecture sponsored by the Washington University in St. Louis on Nov. 27. Fr. Azarian said in his e-mail : “Although in his speech Pamuk came close to mentioning the Armenians, denounced the criminal regime of the Young Turks and the delusional Turkish leaders of today, and spoke about the need for Turkey to be more open and responsible, he did not say one word about Armenians or the Genocide. He was cautious and, I think, rather cowardly in not telling the truth. While signing his books, I approached him and asked him if he would write a novel about prominent Armenian Genocide victims, such as novelist and Parliament member Krikor Zohrab. Initially, he warmly said (in a very low voice) : ‘I live there [Turkey]. I cannot do it.’ Then in a louder and more blunt tone he said : ‘As a novelist, I choose what I write.’ ” Later on, in December, while in Sweden to receive the Nobel Prize for Literature, when asked about the Armenian Genocide, Pamuk replied : "No comment !" It appears that Turkish denialists have succeeded in scaring this great writer into silence with their threats. Let’s see what 2007 has in store for the Armenian Cause. One thing is certain : Armenians can count on Turkish denialists to continue publicizing the Armenian Genocide by their extremist actions.
Turkey Feels Regret Over Efforts Of Armenian Lobbies To Exploit Political Developments, Tan 28 December 2006 Turkish Press "Turkey follows with regret the efforts of the Armenian lobbies (seeking to win votes) to exploit political developments in the United States," Turkish Foreign Affairs spokesman Namik Tan told a weekly news conference in Ankara on Wednesday. Asked to comment on a bill on so-called Armenian genocide, claimed to be discussed at U.S. Congress and on the recent statements of the Armenian executives, Tan said, "we have observed that there were expectations of the Armenian circles about adoption of so-called Armenian genocide after the elections held in the United States in November." Tan said relations between Turkey and the United States were "multi dimensional" and "strategic", and indicated that the relations included comprehensive topics. "The United States has been pursuing a commonsensical approach so far. We believe that U.S. administration will maintain the relations with the same understanding. Relations between Turkey and the United States have importance beyond this small expectations," he added. -STATEMENTS OF ARMENIAN EXECUTIVES- Commenting on the statements of Armenian executives on establishment of diplomatic relations (without any precondition) with Turkey, Tan recalled that Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan had earlier asked Armenian President Robert Kocharian to establish a joint committee of Turkish and Armenian historians to investigate 1915 incidents. Tan said a tangible progress could not be made so far because of the negative approach of Armenia towards the proposal in question. "We think that the joint committee would be a mechanism that eliminates difference of interpretations as regards to 1915 incidents and assumes the function of confidence building measures between Turkish and Armenian peoples," Tan stated. "Turkey believes that the committee will contribute to the normalization of relations between Turkey and Armenia. Turkey is decisive in restoration of peace, stability and tranquility in line with its traditional foreign policy principles," Tan said. Tan also said yielding a result from the efforts depended on a more flexible approach from Armenia (to overcome bilateral and regional problems) and Armenia`s acting in line with international laws.
Nicholas Burns: Bush Administration Never Denied Murders Of 1.5 Million Armenians 27 December 2006 Panarmenian Under Secretary of State Nicholas Burns said that the Bush administration has never denied the murders of 1.5 million Armenians. "Despite some claims, nether candidate for the US Ambassador in Armenia Richard Hoagland, nor the presidential administration have ever humbled and denied the fact that during its last days of existence the Ottoman Empire deported and executed half a million Armenians," writes Burns in his letter which has been spread by Associated Press. The agency claims that the letter was addressed to Senator Robert Menendez's assistant, who refused to say his name since the administration was against publishing the letter. It is well known that Senators Menendez and the leader of democrats in Senate Harry Reid sent a letter to State Secretary Condoleezza Rice asking to reject Hoagland's candidacy: "It will be shameful for the whole diplomatic corps if Richard Hoagland's candidacy, who has a perfect service record, will not be confirmed as US Ambassador in Armenia in connection with the disagreements of the previous Ambassador in Armenia John Evans," the letter says. AP also brings the words of Congressman Adam Schiff who stated that the USA during last years got a perfect opportunity to adopt a resolution on the Armenian Genocide. Also it is mentioned that new head of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi, as reported her press secretary, continues to remain a supporter for adopting such a resolution, RFE Radio Liberty reports.
Historian: Assyrian Genocide Claims Bogus 27 December 2006 New Anatolian Turkey is now being haunted by claims of an Assyrian genocide in 1915 during the country's relocations. Bulent Ozdemir, head of the Turkish Historical Society's (TTK) Assyrian Studies Section, responded yesterday to a draft report by Dutch Christian Democrat parliamentarian Camiel Eurlings, in which she asserted that Turkey should accept Pontic Greek and Assyrian genocide claims, in addition to those by Armenians. Speaking to the Anatolia news agency, Ozdemir said that claims regarding an Assyrian genocide during World War I are groundless and branded them "bogus" along with the Armenian claims. Ozdemir said that they had prepared a book on the issue and during its preparation process they mostly used foreign archive documents rather than the Ottoman archives to make it more reliable and exact. "After four months of research at the British National Archives from November 2004, we made a detailed study at the U.S. National Archives in May last year," he said. "The results of our meticulous research show that neither the Ottoman Empire nor today's Turkish Republic can be accused of genocide during World War I. Foreign archive documents strengthen the arguments of Turkey on this issue. Compared to the Armenian genocide claims these untrue statements about Assyrians can not trouble Turkey." Pointing out that Assyrians declared war on the Ottoman Empire at the beginning of the conflict and fought against the Ottomans along with Russian and the British soldiers, Ozdemir said that these statements were expressed in a petition presented by Assyrians at the Paris Peace Conference. "They chose a side in the war and combat occurred under the rules of war. At this point the title of Wigram's book clearly expresses the situation: 'Our Smallest Ally'," Ozdemir said. "At the end of the Ottoman reign, Assyrians were considered a 'Trojan horse' by Russia, France and the Britain. It's obvious that they were used by some nations." Ozdemir underlined assertions by some historians that the real culprit for the pain and suffering the Assyrians faced during World War I were the policies of Russia and the Allies in the region, and their not fulfilling promises given to Assyrians. "Today accusations regarding an Assyrian genocide are addressed just for the sake of politic interests and these accusations twist the truth," Ozdemir said. "Migrating to the U.S., Australia and Western European countries after the war for various reasons, Assyrians are organized and they have formed a diaspora. They use genocide claims as a means of identity." Attending a conference on the so-called Assyrian genocide held at Erciyes University's History and Culture Club, Ozdemir answered questions from students. The assertion that Turkey should accept the so called Pontic Greek Genocide in addition to the so-called Armenian genocide was in Eurlings' draft Turkey Report, which was presented to the European Parliament Committee on Foreign Affairs
The Views Of Sarkisian Ömer Engin LÜTEM, Retired Ambassador 26 December 2006 ERAREN The article “Inspite of Genocide” written by the Armenian Minister of Defense, Serj Sarkisian, advocating the normalization of relations with Turkey devoid of any preconditions, was published in the Wall Street Journal. This proposal has been voiced on numerous occasions by President Kocharian and Foreign Minister Oskanian. Turkey was one of the first countries to recognize the independence of the Republic of Armenia in 1991 and has later on requested that the two countries mutually recognize each others territorial integrity (or the inviolability of their borders). However, the Armenians have not approached this matter giving the impression that they could make territorial claims over Turkey. Furthermore, they have endeavored for other states to recognize the genocide allegation which has become a clearly implemented policy under Kocharian’s term of presidency. During this same period, Armenia occupied Karabagh (legally a part of Azerbaijan) and subsequently the Azerbaijani provinces surrounding this area. With a view to ending the occupation, Turkey closed its land border with Armenia. As such, the single problem of the mutual recognition of borders was now compounded with the additional problems of the occupation of Azerbaijani territories and genocide allegations. Despite several warnings, the Armenians, retaining a chauvinistic stance, failed to pursue a policy that would contribute to the establishment of peace and cooperation in the region. In response, Turkey did not establish diplomatic relations with Armenia. When Turkey applied to the European Union, the European Parliament and Commission requested that the candidate countries resolve the outstanding issues with their neighbors and that in this context Turkey open its border with Armenia. Taking advantage of the support granted to it by the European Union and with a view to presenting Turkey as uncompromising, Armenia began advocating that relations with Turkey be normalized void of any preconditions set forth by either country. In the light of how Turkey has been setting forth certain conditions for the normalization of relations, the Armenian position in this regard may appear as a conciliatory stance and engagement in rightful action. If this formula were to be applied, however, it would be detrimental to Turkey and beneficial only for Armenia. To explain, in the event that Armenia established diplomatic relations with Turkey devoid of any preconditions, it shall be able to continue propagating Armenian genocide allegations and will be disinclined to recognize Turkey’s territorial integrity. Furthermore, as the issue of opening the land border between these two countries shall come to the fore once diplomatic relations are established, the only concrete issue that could be used to exert pressure onto Armenia with respect to the Karabagh conflict shall be consumed whereby the recalcitrant stance displayed on her behalf would become all the more uncompromising. As mentioned above, the idea of the normalization of relations devoid of preconditions is not a novel one. What is new is the expression of this idea by Sarkisian in an renowned newspaper. All along Sarkisian, in control of the armed forces up to the security forces, has been known as the main force behind Kocharian. According to the Armenian Constitution Kocharian cannot be re-elected as President once again. Despite rumors of corruption , Sarkisian is the strongest contender for the upcoming elections and should he be elected, the fact that he has already espoused Kocharian’s views with respect to the policies to be implemented towards Turkey, no change in the present state of affairs or Turkish-Armenian relations should be expected. [1] Wall Street Journal, December 22, 2006 [2] Forbes Magazine has cited Sarkisian as Armenia’s 8th most wealthiest man with a fortune of approcimately 150 million dollars. President Kocharian ranks in at 7th place.
Co-Operation Needed To Refute Armenian Allegations: Turkish FM NTV MSNBC, Turkey Dec 26 2006 Armenian has yet to formally respond to Turkey's proposal to set up a commission of historians to study the allegations, Gul said. ANKARA - A joint effort between state institutions and non-government organisations is needed to refute allegations that the Ottoman Empire committed an act of genocide against its Armenian community, Turkish Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul said Sunday. Responding to a question tabled in the parliament over the steps taken to counter the Armenian allegations, Gul said that a joint effort was required. "The fight against the Armenian allegations requires a collective effort and co-operation among state institutions and non-governmental organisations," he said. "We need contributions of universities, vocational organisations and businessmen to this end." Gul said there had still been no reply to a proposal by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, made in April last year, to Armenian President Robert Kocharian to establish a joint history commission to study the allegations and the evidence.
Turkish Organizations To Send Protests To Sylvester Stallone PanARMENIAN.Net 26.12.2006 Turkish organizations are going to send protest letters to American movie actor Sylvester Stallone who intends to screen Franz Werfel's 'The 40 Days of Musa Dagh'. As Turkish Milliyet reports, Savaş Egilmez, the chairman of the so-called 'Association on struggle against Armenian Genocide ackowledgement' stated that "movies are often used for propagandistic goals and this time the Armenians also are going to use such an opportunity. Austrian writer, a Jew by descent Franz Werfel has written this novel in 1933. It is full of lie since the author wrote it after talking to the Armenians with nationalistic and radical views," Egilmez claims. In his words, "it is necessary to take appropriate measures till the start of shoots, since after everything has already began it will be more difficult. "We have already sent appropriate documents about the events of those days to the producers of the film. Our compatriots will assist us to urge the producers not to shoot the film," he underlined. It's worth reminding that Sylvester Stallone declared about his intentions to shoot a film about heroic defense of Musa Dagh in 1915 in Ottoman Empire on the bases of 'The 40 Days of Musa Dagh' book. Alongside, he stated that Ankara near 85 years carries out a denial policy of the Armenian Genocide, reports the Armenian Public Television.
One Step To The Law Of Genocide 27 December 2006 Sabah The legislative power will pass on the Democrats in the US four days later. According to the specialists, this picture got Armenians close to the genocide bill more than ever. One senator said "this is the greatest opportunity for 10 years." Democrats winning the majority at the half term elections in November in the USA will take over as of January 1. Armenians are among the ones who are most pleased about the news. Armenian lobby attempting for the events in 1915 as Armenian genocide is close to their aim. According to the Herald Tribune newspaper, the new period got Armenians closer to the genocide bill. Their greatest supporter on the way to the bill is Nancy Pelosi to become the leader of the majority of the house of representatives.
Turkey Asks Azerbaijan To Explain Alleged Mistreatment Of Ethnic Armenian Musician 27 December 2006 International Herald Tribune Turkey has asked its close ally Azerbaijan for information on the alleged mistreatment and expelling of a Turkish musician who is of Armenian descent, a Foreign Ministry official said Tuesday. Murat Bedikyan — a pianist with Eurovision song contest winner Sertap Erener's band — accused officials in Azerbaijan of mistreating him and unfairly ousting him from the country on arrival for a concert Dec. 19, according to the Anatolia news agency. Bedikyan was forced to return to Istanbul and could not join his band. He insisted he was singled out and mistreated despite his Turkish citizenship, because he is a member of Turkey's minority Armenian community. Turkey had formally requested information on Bedikyan's allegations from Azerbaijan's Foreign Ministry, according to a Turkish Foreign Ministry official, speaking on condition of anonymity because of rules that bar civil servants from speaking to journalists without prior authorization. A similar request had been made with the Azerbaijani Embassy in Ankara, the official said. The ex-Soviet republics of Azerbaijan and Armenia are at loggerheads over the mountainous region of Nagorno Karabakh in Azerbaijan that has been under the control of Armenian and ethnic-Armenian forces since a 1994 cease-fire. The six-year separatist conflict killed about 30,000 people and drove about 1 million from their homes, including many of the region's ethnic Azeris. The region's final status remains unresolved and years of talks under the auspices of international mediators have brought few visible results Turkey has close ties to Azerbaijan, with which it shares an ethnic and linguistic heritage. It refuses to have diplomatic relations with Armenia because of Yerevan's unresolved conflict with Azerbaijan. Relations are further complicated over the World War I-era killings of Armenians. Armenians say that Ottoman Turks slaughtered 1.5 million Armenians in a planned genocide. Turkey vehemently denies that the mass killings were genocide, saying the death toll is inflated and Armenians were killed in civil unrest as the Ottoman Empire collapsed.
Change in US Congress boosts prospects for ‘genocide’ resolution December 27, 2006 ANKARA - TDN with AP With Democrats taking control of the U.S. Congress, prospects have increased that lawmakers will approve a resolution recognizing the World War I-era killings of Anatolian Armenians as “genocide,” despite the objections of President George W. Bush. The shift in Congress also reduces the likelihood that the Bush administration can break a deadlock over the president's nominee for ambassador to Armenia, Richard Hoagland. Senate Democrats have blocked Hoagland's nomination because of his refusal to call the killings genocide. The matters before Congress highlight how the deaths of the Armenians almost a century ago remain a sensitive international issue today. The Bush administration has warned that even congressional debate on the genocide question could damage relations with Turkey, a moderate Muslim nation that is a NATO member and an important strategic ally. Turkey has adamantly denied claims by scholars that its predecessor state, the Ottoman government, caused the Armenian deaths in a planned “genocide.” The Turkish government has said the toll is wildly inflated and that Armenians were killed or displaced in civil unrest during the empire's collapse. After French lawmakers voted in October to make it a crime to deny that the killings were genocide, Turkey said it would suspend military relations with France. In Washington, Armenian-American groups have been pressing for years for a resolution on the genocide issue. The House of Representatives' International Relations Committee last year endorsed two resolutions classifying the killings as genocide. But the House leadership, controlled by Bush's Republican Party, prevented a vote by the full chamber. With Democrats taking over the House, the top leader will be Nancy Pelosi, who has supported the genocide legislation. Pelosi spokesman Drew Hamill says she'll continue to support the resolutions. “I think we have the best chance probably in a decade to get an Armenian genocide resolution passed,” said Democratic Congressman Adam Schiff, a top advocate of the resolutions. The genocide question was the key issue as the Senate considered the ambassadorial nomination of Hoagland to replace John Evans, who reportedly had his tour of duty cut short because, in a social setting, he referred to the killings as genocide. Senator Robert Menendez, a New Jersey Democrat, blocked the nomination over Hoagland's refusal to use the word genocide at his confirmation hearing in June. With Democrats taking over the Senate, it will be even more difficult now for the Bush administration to circumvent Menendez's objections. Earlier this month, Menendez and the Senate's top Democrat, Harry Reid of Nevada, wrote a letter to U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice asking the Bush administration to withdraw the nomination. But an administration official responded in a letter to Menendez that it was continuing to back Hoagland. “Despite some claims to the contrary, neither Ambassador-designate Hoagland nor the administration has ever minimized or denied the fact or the extent of the annihilation and forced exile of as many as 1.5 million ethnic Armenians in the final years of the Ottoman Empire,” Undersecretary of State Nicholas Burns wrote. The letter was provided to The Associated Press by a congressional aide who requested anonymity because the administration had not agreed to its release. “It would be a shame for the entire Foreign Service should Ambassador-designate Hoagland, an experienced diplomat with a distinguished record of service, be denied confirmation due to past disagreements over Ambassador Evans,” said the letter.
Turkish Armenian Pianist Is Sent Back To Istanbul From Baku Airport Noyan Tapan Dec 26 2006 ARMENIANS TODAY. Pianist Purak Petikian who went to Baku to perform a concert with singer Sertab Erener, was badly treated at the airport and, after having been examined and persecuted continuously for hours, was sent back by the first Turkish plane. As Marmara states, quoting Milliyet, the pianist was taken to a separate room and asked questions about his national belonging. Purak Petikian said that he is a citizen of Turkey, an Armenian by his father's origin. He was very roughly treated at the airport and was sent back by the first Turkish plane leaving Baku for Istanbul. Purak Petikian criticized this chauvinist attitude and addressed a complaint to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Turkey. The Foreign Ministry stated that an examination will be held on the issue, probably, the airport officials acted wilfully in this issue.
Armenian joy but genocide row continues MICHAEL BLACKLEY (mblackley@edinburghnews.com) 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." Last updated: 25-Nov-06 12:41 GMT Comments Want to read yourself in print? Every day the Evening News publishes a selection of online comments on the letters page of the paper. Pick up a copy to see if your views have been published. 1. Hagop, Edinburgh / 1:36pm 25 Nov 2006 Michael Blackley’s article entitled “Armenian joy but genocide row continues” on November 25, 2006, was rather one sided and biased. Armenians and non-Armenians, in Edinburgh and beyond, seek truth and justice in acceptance of historical facts. They draw great comfort from the Council’s decision. However, the decision should not be seen as anti-Turk. We are pleased that more parliaments and governing bodies are recognising the genocide. We hope this will encourage Turkey to follow suit. We are fully aware that this issue is as painful to Turks as it is to us. Regrettably Mr Blackley quotes Cllr Attridge and ignores the views of the other councillors. Cllr Attridge’s Motion was voted down by a cross party free vote, receiving the support of only one councillor out of 58. Mr Hal Sausas makes derogatory remarks about the councillors, but the fact is they took their decision after being fully informed. Edinburgh citizens should be proud of their Council that is ready and willing to stand up for human rights and justice. 2. Groucho / 7:08pm 25 Nov 2006 Is judging cases which are 90 years old and happened thousands of miles away within the councils remit? Should the council condemn the Greeks for the slaughter of the population of Troy? What can they do about it anyway? Put speed bumps all over Istanbul? 3. Hecate, The Ether / 8:24pm 25 Nov 2006 And what about Cyprus?............................ 4. VANcat / 5:04am 26 Nov 2006 No Groucho we need not discuss Troy, but I have a feeling that you wouldn't want to discuss the Jewish Holocaust either in about 24 years, because in the year 2030 the Holocaust would be a 91 year old history. One wouldn't want to be bothered with an "old history". Mentality such as this is exactly the reason why we all should remember the 1915 genocide of the Armenians, and it's about time Turkey realizes that she cannot forever falsify history hoping to be bailed out by Britain and the US. Bravo to the courageous councilors who disregarded shameful manipulations and stuck to a just cause. Future generations might learn something from this lesson. 5. Seydali, Kienberg, Austria / 8:49am 26 Nov 2006 It is indeed absurd that Councellors feel qualified to judge century old historical events instead of doing what they are supposed, and elected to do! What on earth can such a debate in Scotland bring? I'll tell you; Reduce the consumption of Scotch Whisky in 70 million Turkey with 20 million tourists annually. Such a decision can only be the result of drinking too much of that so-called Scottish national drink! Cheers! 6. Ang / 8:11pm 26 Nov 2006 #5 Turkey's failure to even look at, let alone accept its history, is likely to have more far reaching consequences than Edinburgh council's position as regards the Armenian genocide. It is fairly simple - the less Turkey accepts its past, the more likely it is that it will not to be allowed to enter the EU. This is likely to be a lot worse for Turkey's economy than any reduction in whisky consumption on Scotland's economy. 7. Kaya K Ulubatli, Capri-Naples/Italy / 10:04am 27 Nov 2006 Dear Sirs, This sounds too much like a wishful Christian-Muslim confrontational issue for some opportunists! Maybe there are individuals in the Council interested in turning this into a racial matter or would like to see issue turned into one for political capital before the May-2007 elections. Isn't the Council aware that the United Nations does not accept the Armenian allegations nor the International Court in Hague? The British Goverment does not accept the Armenian allegations either! The Malta Military Trials of 1921-22 did not accept the Armenian claims, so what is the problem with Edinburgh City Council? are they playing the International judge, jury and the executioner game for a quick profit? My advise to the Edinburgh City Councillors is to pursue what is good for Edinburgh and leave International matters to International bodies. Let International historians form an independent research committee to investigate the claims of both Turks and Armenians. Why can't you accept this? as Turks accept it what are the Armenians afraid of? By the way, how many International lawyers and renown historians are Councillors in Edinburgh City Council, with a qualification to hear and pass judgement on this subject? maybe none! Come on folks, you don't know what you are doing, instead concentrate on Edinburg's practical problems and leave Armenians to do their own dirty work. Sincerely Kaya Capri 8. Kaya K Ulubatli, Capri-Naples/Italy / 10:12am 27 Nov 2006 a quick reminder...!! it is not what it seems. It sounds like half the Council does not agree with the other half on this subject. My information is that 29 Councillors voted for the Armenian case, 17 for the Turkish case and 12 not sure which way to go. So is it not logical to organise a big educational conference in Edinburgh to enlighten the people and the Councillors? Let the big guns of Turkish and Armenian historians tell their side of the story to the people of Edinburgh instead of Councillors taking pot shots in the dark? they are currently shooting each other. Do what the Romans did, bring in the experts take out the un-informed opportunist chaff. Sincerely Kaya Capri 9. Armen / 2:44pm 27 Nov 2006 Number 7 and 8 that is precisely what took place in 2005: both sides, the Armenians and Turks organised symposia, following which the councellors made an informed decision on novermber the 17th 2005 recognising the Armenian genocide. 10. H.T., U.S. / 3:00pm 27 Nov 2006 The upholding of the council members in recognizing the Armenian Genocide for what it truly is "A Genocide", is not Turkaphopic but is a brave act in that it supports justice and truth for 1.5 Million Armenians that where systematically extermintated by the "Young Turks" starting in 1915. Also the councilman who stated that the Armenians were not the only victims was right. So to were the Greeks and the Assyrians exterminated and eventually the Kurds. One has to only look at the history of the Ottomans to realize that no matter where they went they raped, robbed and murdered the inhabitants. Do you think that a culture that doesn't value another persons life will value the truth? I don't think so. Lastly, the only reason that the Genocide isn't officially recognized in the US and Great Brittan is not because it's not the truth. Afterall there are thousands of pages in the US archives written about the systematic murders of Turkey's Armenian population, but because Ankara always threatens some sort of political-economic severing of ties if the truth is recognized. Those days are changing and todays upholding of the Armenian Genocide is a small step in not only justice for Armenians but a step in trying to prevent future genocides. Bravo Edinburgh! 11. Kaya K Ulubatli, Capri-Naples / 8:13pm 27 Nov 2006 as regards no:9's assertion that symposia organised by both sides fully informed the Edinburgh Councillors, I have found out from our Swansea group that when they went to Edinburgh, the Armenian symposium was attended by 5 Edinburgh Councillors and the Turkish Sysposium by 4 Edinburgh Councillors, probably the same people. YOU ARE SO ILL INFORMED MY FRIEND. So, out of 58 Councillors only 8 attended to learn!?! What does that tell you? In my dictionary, this is called "manipulation of many by select few" As regards no:10 assertion, if what you say is true then why are the Armenians afraid to take the plunge and go for the International Court of Human Rights in Hague.. I think fear of losing their case comes up too strong for them. YOU SEEM TO HAVE FORGOTTEN THAT UNITED NATIONS DOES NOT REGISTER THE SO CALLED ARMENIAN GENOCIDE EITHER. In terms of Greeks et al, well they have lived under Ottoman Turkish rule for 400 years and not even lost their language. If you look at all the Ottoman lands, you will find that indigenous people never lost their language or culture. If what you say is true then all Greeks should be speaking Turkish and have Turkish fathers. I say "gumbetten atiyorsun kovboy" ask a Turk what that means! IN ENGLISH IT MEANS YOU ARE TALKING RUBBISH. TURKS ARE TOUGH IN WAR BUT NEVER AGAINST INNOCENT. In any event Edinburgh affair is not yet finished! Best wishes Kaya Capri 12. Armen / 12:02am 28 Nov 2006 Kaya: The symposia included distribution of ample literature to all the councillors through several months preceding the voting on Nov 17, 2005. Do not underestimate the knowledge and sense of justice of Edinburgh city councillors or that of Edinburgh citizens. The Turkish side tried to stop the voting last year, it failed. Then it tried to defeat the Motion recognizing the Genocide, it failed. Then it tried to sneak a Motion last week to reverse last year's recognition of the genocide, it failed. It willl keep on failing because the truth, on this tragic and sad issue, is on the Armenian side. Ask Orhan Pamuk the Turkish Nobel Laureat, not to mention many other Turkish historians and sociologists, and many other Turkish citizens. There are more than 50 million of you and only 10 or so million Armenians; be brave and just Kaya: accept the heinous crime the Ottoman Turks committed, bring forth reconciliation, and let the future generations of Armenians (& Assyrians, Greeks, Kurds) and Turks live in peace. Be an example to other nations so that less and less nations committ genocide. Learn from Germany's experience! 13. Suzanna, United States / 6:38pm 28 Nov 2006 It amazes me to see individuals who are still acting ignorant to the issue. I am constantly being asked what is really going to change if Turkey does acknowledge the genocide, it's not like it will bring back the lives that were lost? Well anyone that is of right mind understands that bringing someone back from the dead is impossible. That is not what we're looking for, we want the apology the recognition that 1.5 million lives were lost. To the statment of Cllr Attridge that "the Armenians make it seem like the only people who died during the war were Armenians..this is absurd, no individual has ever stated that and no we do not make it seem that way either. Of course other people have died but there was an attack towards the Armenian community they wanted to get rid of them and therefore went forward with the Genocide of the Armenians. I completely agree with Mr. Hagop Edinburgh, we are pleased to the fact that many more parliaments are recognizing the genocide and are in hopes of many more to come. 14. Erdal Firinci - Mumbles/Wales, Mumbles-Swansea / 11:59pm 28 Nov 2006 I've noticed from above messages that maybe only one person is based in Edinburgh; albeit, others are Turks or Armenians interested in the subject for valid reasons. I recommend that those with good intentions discuss their differences at truth-anatolia1915@yahoogroups.com where entry is open to all. Just send an email to truth-anatolia1915-subscribe@yahoogroups.com and fire away your worries and concerns. Do also note the footnote in messages on that list, which reads: read www.tallarmeniantale.com, read www.tallarmeniantale.com/c-f-dixon-BOOK.htm, Holocaust survivor Guenter Lewy's "The Armenian Massacres in Turkey, A Disputed Genocide" ISBN-13:978-0-87480-849-0 and Salahi Sonyel's "The Turco-Armenian Imbroglio" ISBN-0-9504886-6-6, watch "The Armenian Revolt 1894-1920" documentary DVD by Third Coast Films, P.O. Box 664, Clarion, PA 16214, USA and "Sari Gelin' documentary DVD through www.sarigelinbelgeseli.com info@sarigelinbelgeseli.com My own opinion is that whether Turks or Armenians like it or not the disagreements shall not go away and who ever has the most money in their pocket will win the argument. There is serious dose of religious bias and racial prejudice in this matter which obscures the truth. The chances are both side is wrong. Unless The International Court of Human Rights hears the case, you can all write for another 90 years in vain. If one thing is crystal clear though that is the fact that Edinburgh City Council has no expertise to deal with this matter and they may be acting in detriment of truth. They may be facing accusations of serious bias if insist on taking sides. Truly yours, E Firinci (Ottoman Turk by birth, Internationalist by choice) 15. B.B., Scotland / 7:25am 29 Nov 2006 Erdal: On November 23 last week Edinburgh City Council was addressed by three Turks and one Armenian. The three Turks had come from outside Scotland (including one from Ankara) at a cost of thousands of pounds; the Armenian (son of genocide survivors and nephew of four massared uncles) was a resident of Edinburgh and was there at no cost. Truth prevailed again because it is far more important than money. There is little to debate: The Turkish government would do well to save money and acknowledge the Truth, help heal the ongoing pain of Armenians, and herald reconciliation. 16. Armen, Scotland / 7:47am 29 Nov 2006 It is very impotant to stress that unlike Erdal implies, this painful issue is not a matter of religeous differences. Between 1915 and 1923 Armenian victims were helped and housed by Muslim Arabs. Morevover in many instances, many brave ordinary Turks, contrary to the orders of their Ottoman authorities, helped beleagured Armenians during that period. Armen (Marash, Turkey, by origin; Exiled by force without choice)
“Zerkalo”: Attempts of Armenian Delegation Destined to Failure 22.12.2006 www.zerkalo.az Rafael Huseinov underlines that discussion of “genocide” by Council of Europe Committee of Ministries will fail “I don’t believe that the issue on “genocide” will be included in agenda of Council of Europe by request of Armenian delegation, as Council of Europe doesn’t advocate inclusion of such sensible issues in the agenda”. R. Huseinov, MM deputy, participating in session of Council of Europe Committee of Ministers, declared it for “Trend”. Armenian delegation applied in written form to Council of Europe Committee of Ministers to discuss the issue of fictitious genocide of Armenians in Turkey at next session of the Committee to be held January 17. R. Huseinov told that in April 2001, Armenian lobby prepared some document on recognition of fictitious genocide of Armenians. “However, no one in Council of Europe recognized Armenian delegation to sign the document. Document was prepared by Armenian lobby and Armenian representative office in France. We immediately answered them: under the leadership of actual President Ilham Aliyev, who at that time was at head of Azerbaijan delegation to PACE, we have prepared document. It reflected real genocide committed by Armenians against Azerbaijanis. Secretary General of Council of Europe, Terry Davis, signed this document. Our document prevented forwarding of the document prepared by Armenians”, R. Huseinov underlined. Accordingly to him, today Azerbaijan delegation has document confirming the fact of genocide committed by Armenians against Azerbaijanis. It means that at least bearing in mind balance document of Armenians won’t go forward, and the issue won’t be brought up at upcoming session. “Last years these attempts of Armenians failed, and we believe that this time they fail likewise”, deputy underlined.
Armenia Urges Unconditional Normalization Of Ties With Turkey The New Anatolian, Turkey Dec 25 2006 Armenian Defense Minister Serzh Sarkisian stated over the weekend that Yerevan stands for an unconditional normalization of ties with Turkey, which includes not tying the establishment of diplomatic relations to recognition of the Armenian genocide claims. Writing in The Wall Street Journal, Sarkisian, who is tipped to succeed current Armenian President Robert Kocharian in 2008, stated that Turkey's membership in the European Union would strengthen Armenia's national security and bring the South Caucasus nation "geopolitically closer to Europe." He stressed that Ankara's ongoing accession talks with the EU represent a new "long-awaited opportunity" to normalize Turkish-Armenian relations. In line with his argument, Sarkisian urged the Union to exert efforts for normalization of relations between Turkey and Armenia, saying, "We look forward to the EU becoming increasingly involved in finding a way to a breakthrough for relations between Turkey and Armenia." "In addition to building diplomatic ties between our two countries, we believe that in negotiating for membership -- and perhaps as a future EU member state -- Turkey will contribute to an economically stronger and more stable neighborhood," he said. "This is in the interest of both Turkey and Armenia. "EU membership would also make Turkey much more predictable. It is always easier to deal with a predictable neighbor." President Kocharian argued in October that the accession talks will put Turkey under growing Western pressure to normalize relations with Armenia and reconsider its stance towards Armenian genocide claims. "In that sense, we don't see any dangers in that process. Perhaps quite the opposite," he said. Sarkisian made a similar point, saying, "Armenia does not regard Turkey's potential membership in the EU as a threat to national security. Quite the contrary, we hope it will mean that Turkey will change, and be in a better position to face both its history and future." "The entry negotiations hold seeds of hope that the impasse between Turkey and Armenia can eventually be broken. If Turkey lifts the blockade of its border with Armenia, my small country becomes geopolitically closer to Europe," he added.
Armenia Proposes Normalizing Relations 'Notwithstanding The Genocide' Turkish Daily News, Turkey December 25, 2006 Yeni Safak yesterday covered an article published in the American Wall Street Journal titled "Notwithstanding the Genocide" by Serge Sargsian, defense minister of the Republic of Armenia. Sargsian's article expressed hope that the negotiations for Turkey's membership to the EU will open a long cherished opportunity for the establishment of civil relations between Armenia and Turkey. Sargsian said that Turkey's membership to the EU would contribute to creating a richer and more stable neighborhood, which is in the interests of both Turkey and Armenia. He explained this by saying that EU member Turkey will become more predictable and easier to deal with. Sargsian expressed confidence that the Turkish-Armenian relations, and the issue of the Armenian genocide are important factors for the coming negotiations for Turkey's entry to the EU. "It's important to remember the past to avert the repetition of crimes against the humanity," he said, adding that he would welcome the natural establishment of diplomatic relations with Turkey without any pre-conditions, as the settlement of the current problems would be carried out through open dialogue. Sargsian said Armenia that he still hoped Turkey would change and face its history and future. "Our countries can't always remain enemies, as there is no need and sense in hostility," he said, adding, "Thus, for the sake of our future, let's move forward."
Change in U.S. Congress boosts prospects for Armenian genocide resolution, The Associated Press Mahmut Esat Ozan Chairman-Editorial Board With Democrats taking control of the U.S. Congress, prospects have increased that lawmakers will approve a resolution recognizing the World War I -era killings of Armenians as genocide — despite the objections of President George W. Bush. The shift in Congress also dims the likelihood that the Bush administration can break a deadlock over the president's nominee for ambassador to Armenia, Richard Hoagland. Senate Democrats have blocked Hoagland's nomination because of his refusal to call the killings a genocide. TO ALL U.S. DEMOCRAT REPRESENTATIVES AND /OR SENATORS ON THE EVE OF THEIR PREPARATIONS TO PASS AN ALLEGED ARMENIAN GENOCIDE RESOLUTION- EVEN DISREGARDING THE U.S PRESIDENT ! We, the regular hard-working, tax-paying, and vote-casting Turkish-Americans are wondering if you people were aware of the enormity of the deceptiveness, fraudulent, and unfounded claims displayed in front of your eyes by the Armenian caucus members and by the proponents of the powerful Armenian Lobby in the Congress of the United States of America? The constant illusory statements concerning the almost century-old allegations that the Ottoman Turks deliberately perpetrated a vile act of genocide, and ruthlessly attempted to annihilate 'one million and a half 'of their own Armenian citizens is ridiculous. This is a gross prevarication, if not an out and out lie. We, the Turkish-American citizens of this country urge you to consider for one moment the utter impossibility of their statements. Several statistics of Ottoman and foreign origin of that era attest to the fact that the entire living population of the Armenian citizens of the Ottoman Empire, at the time, barely reached the totality of their claimed losses. At that period of 1915, the sum of Armenians living in all provinces of the Empire was recorded as 1,300.000. The census figures of ALL inhabitants of Turkey proper were less than 10,000.000. The alleged genocide mythology with which the Armenians flood the hallowed halls of the U.S.Congress is not only mind-boggling, but it is also a thought-disturbing fact. It represents an accusation which they could neither prove nor justify. We beseech all of you to please understand that the declaration and the inauguration of the modern Turkish Republic took at least five long years after the collapse of the Ottoman Empire to become a reality. Yet the Armenians have always held responsible the grandchildren of the Turks who had defended their lands, as being the perpetrators of genocide. At the time of their unfair and unsubstantiated accusation of Turks, their country, the Ottoman Turkey was busy defending itself on seven different fronts, just struggling to stay alive. It had no time, strength, nor capability to wage a genocidal war against one million and a half of their own citizens, and for what reason? Armenians' baseless genocide clamor was deliberately initiated to attract attention to their movement of secession from their government, the Ottoman Empire. Another reason was to be able to extract Turkish land space and easy reparations from a weakened Ottoman government. The entire world was inundated by false cries for military help and monetary assistance to be given to these very insurgents fighting against the empire. Instigated by Czar Nicholas II of Russia and the rest of the European powers, Armenians began to rebel against their own government. Thousands of them deserted their posts in the Ottoman armies and took with them their weapons and ammunition, and thus created a military force of over 150 thousand men. These rebels did not hesitate to stab their own governmental units in the back. This was a rebellion, or a mutiny at best, and an act of insurgency punishable by the firing squads. They were causing the Ottoman armies of the Eastern Anatolia to bleed to death. Something had to be done to stop this enormous loss of life. The Ottoman government, while fighting the armies of the Imperial Czar of Russia decided to relocate the residents of the war zone in order to stop the sabotage and terrorism going on during this protracted war the country was fighting. on several fronts. The Turks were defending their land against the invading Russian Imperial Forces. It was during this relocation phase of the civil war that many Armenians lost their lives on the front or on their movement to other Turkish provinces. Nevertheless, the Muslim Turkish casualties were four times more than the Armenians'. But the Western news organizations reported only the Armenian casualties while ignoring totally the Turkish side. Fed by the biased false reports provided by the Christian missionaries, the western world, the world at large, and especially Americans read only bogus reports of the most atrocious kind imaginable. These falsifications were emanating from the American Embassy in the Ottoman capital of Istanbul .The U.S. Ambassador there, a Wilson appointee Henry Morgenthau, a truly self-avowed Turcophobe, kept on informing Washington, the U.S. President, and the news media such as the New York Times which were too eager to print any kind of unsubstantiated lies emanating from the 'war front'. A male Armenian secretary of the U.S. Ambassador, Aram Andonian diligently supplied the world press with copies of falsified Embassy records negating any and all news items coming from the war front. He and his falsifications were able to convince the world that the Turks were engaged in genocide against their own citizens, the Armenians, with whom they had lived peacefully for untold centuries. The duplicitous Armenians were determined then as they are today that they were, as a human race subject to a deliberate extermination by the Turks. However in contrast to the Jewish people, who perished during a genuine genocide in the middle part of the same 20th century, did not fire a single shot against the Nazi government, whereas the Armenians were recorded by honest historians as having killed more than half a million Turkish men, women, and children in hundreds of Turkish villages, towns, and cities of the Ottoman era. All this came to an end with the proclamation and the inauguration of the Turkish Republic following the Independence war with one of the seven occupier states, Greece, in 1923.. Armenians’ totally senseless propaganda is still continuing to this day. Whether they are at a high school or at any American private or state university, the minds of American students are poisoned by Armenian -leaning racist and discriminatory professors' venomous pronouncements in America today. No person possessing your mental capacity would be in sympathy with the cruel history of the Armenian demolition-plotters called the ASALA either. They are known as the Armenian death machine. Not only did they assassinate methodically 70 innocent Turkish diplomats and their family members between 1973 and 1989, but they have done greater harm than that by wounding the hearts and souls of the proud nation of Turks. Today, as the 24th day of April approaches, the degree of negative propaganda and misinformation being dispensed by these small but highly vociferous people, known as Armenians, should be at least ignored if not silenced altogether by your colleagues in the Congress of the United States of America.. The claims of the Armenians do not only falsify Turkish history, but the European and American history, as well. Their outrageous claims are so replete with so many fictitious statements that they can only be described as products of deluded minds. Unfortunately, unless you the legislative lawmakers move to put a stop to their innumerable phony resolutions, damage will take root. The truth is on Turkey’s side, but even as we speak, Armenian lies and misinformation are being spread all around the country and the world. The choice to stop them is commensurate with your desire to right something that was wronged a long time ago even by the inadvertent actions of the USA. There are not too many Turkish voices to match the Armenian ones in this country to be noticed, and unfortunately, the American public is uninformed about most happenings outside of its own immediate world or interests. You Ladies and gentlemen , the U.S.legistators may be able to help this small minority of Turkish-Americans by siding with their struggle to win this ugly war of words. The 91th year anniversary, on April 24, chosen by the Armenians for further pronouncements of calamitous falsifications on the happenings of the infamous year, 1915 is quickly approaching. Thank you for your attention and future positive consideration for Turkey and the USA. meozan@turkishforum.com The Turkish Forum- USA December 26, 2006


Be More Respectful To Our Official Statements, Erdogan Warns Americans Hakob Chakrian AZG Armenian Daily 21/12/2006 As we have already reported, Prime Minister of Turkey Erdogan, after meeting with Clinton, was also to meet with Henry Kissinger, Richard Holbrook and the heads of the Jewish community of the USA. On his meeting with former Secretary of State Kissinger and influential Democrat Holbrook, Erdogan mainly focused on the Iraq problem. He emphasized the involvement of Iraq's neighbors in the process of settlement and noted that Northern Iraq cannot be considered a safe region as the PKK terrorist organization headquarters is located there. To be reminded, on November 22 Richard Holbrook already proposed to concentrate the American corpses in Northern Iraq, a region controlled by the Kurds, so as to protect them from eth possible aggression of Turkey and the Americans - from terrorists. The main subject of Erdogan's meeting with eth Jewish community elite became Turkey's strict position on the events in Lebanon and the situation with "Hamas". Erdogan's meeting with Edward Kennedy nothing is said in the international media but a short phrase by CNN-Turk that "Kennedy is known to be an advocate of the Armenian Genocide formulas". This means that Kennedy-Erdogan meeting wasn't successful for the Turkish anti-theory against the Armenia genocide. Most likely, Erdogan's visit to New York wasn't a success for Turkey, either. As, after the abovementioned meetings, at the press conference, the journalists asked the following question: "The American printed press will comment your statements on "Hamas" and on "the civil war in Iraq" in different ways. Most likely, the mass media sources will state that Turkey contradicts that the official positions of both Israel and Washington. What do you think what is the problem?" In response, Erdogan stated that whether Turkey is deprived of its right to have its own viewpoint. He also urged to respect their official positions.
LETTER TO His Excellency Olli Rehn Nurver Nures E. Buyukelci - Ambassador (r) His Excellency Olli Rehn 11 December 2006 European Union Brussels Your Excellency, Introduction to this letter will have to be personal, I apologize. I am a Turkish citizen , a career diplomat, presently retired after nearly 40 years in the Foreign Office. In case you may wonder, the heads of the three Turkish missions in Brussels know me well. In your important post I find your statements on EU-Turkey relations, by and large, correct, understanding and encouraging. Coming from EU circles, this is rather rare but, I confess, heart-warming… Thank you sincerely. This induced me to write to you. I will deal frankly and honestly with various sour points regarding Turkey-EU relations which have a tendency to emerge as issues ahead. 1- Giving Turkey candidate state status was a bold act worthy of the "Big Europe Project". Even to reach this stage Turkey went through a gauntlet, a nightmare it was. Prolongation of the distressing atmosphere led to disappointment and frustration by the Turkish government and its people respectively. The latter, very much resent to be taken as a dart-board of EU in some circles of the Union, especially by several larger members. This is not bearable anymore. It accounts for the big fall of interest within the public towards EU. Yes, " Copenhagen Political Criteria" is still in; but remember, the unwritten civilized international norms of conduct are not ou t. Clearly there is need to change the present disdainful style towards Turkey and the dialogue to be conducted with due regard . 2- Underneath the above lies the sacred "equal treatment" which by the time applied to Turkey is a cursed discrimination, endless double standards never seen with any previous candidate state. Instead of denying this offhand, common to EU circles, I honestly wish you would graciously make an effort to understand this genuine complaint. I wonder at this stage whether EU has discovered the secret of being inviting and dispelling at the same time. Turkey has to overcome its shortcomings in line with the "Copenhagen Political Criteria". This is unquestionable and in the interest of Turkey . But posing frequently endless demands, deliberately stretching the said criteria, exhausts seriously Turkey 's patience. To change the rule while the game is on is an act neither of good-will nor good-faith. 3- EU has turned the Turkish military to a boxer's training sac and continues punching it; while with each punch it hurts the Turkish nation and its outlook to the Union. True, placing the military under the civilian rule, in principle, is a desired objective in Turkey. The army is not against this change and has no interest in ruling Turkey or interfering in political affairs. These must be clearly understood. Can we make an effort and see what lies here as facts. The Turkish people in general together with its military, are committed to founder Ataturk's secular democratic republic governed by the rule of law. This is a one-way ticket and irrevocable, unalterable. In this tenet although practically the entire Turkish nation Is Moslem, the state is not; hence referring to Turkey as benign Islam or its present government as political Islam are a political jargon that should be corrected . The place and role of the Turkish military needs to be assessed in this context. The anticipated military reform, like establishment of democracy, is a transition, an evolutionary process; neither importable nor exportable and shapes within a broader democratic process reigned by "good governance". The two dynamics, "good governance" and evolutionary process are interactive complementing one – another. The Turkish army in general is the best educated, the most trusted in the Turkish society , also apace with contemporary times. With these features it stands out unquestionably as the stalwart protagonist of secular, democratic Republic of Turkey, together with several other leading constitutional organs. Often accused undeservedly, the army is neither against democracy nor opposes EU; only it fervently wishes the accession process conducted with dignity . This is what the entire Turkish people yearn for. With or without EU, Turkey's secular democratization will surely continue and let there be no worry or fear, the military will fallow suite. Located in a politically combustible region within a broader global environment pregnant nowadays to newer risks and frictions , Turkey is an island of peace and stability and sets the example by being the only functioning democracy in the world of Islam displaying how Islam , democracy and market economy can live in co-habitation. Its architect is Mustafa Kemal Ataturk; he is the inspiration of the young Turkish nation in its democratization and development process and not an impediment , as some uninformed claim in the West, to Turkey's bid for EU membership. At a time when in general Islam is in revival , Turkey with these unique features is highly meaningful and equally important. The rest, I leave it to your esteemed interpretation . 4- As to the perennial question of Cyprus, its solution is necessary and urgent but frankly it has no place in the " Copenhagen Political Criteria". If ever, the settlement will come within its own parameter . It is amazing how short our memories are! Turkey did not create this issue nor was the North the villain of the April 2004 referendum in Cyprus. EU's promise of membership to the South, independent of and before the outcome of the referendum, was a major historic political mistake which wrecked the entire peace process and to this day the question remains in our lap stalemated. EU did this by discarding legally binding international instruments related to the founding of the "Republic of Cyprus" registered with the UN Secretariat and by pushing aside the "New European Spirit" (of neighborly relations) formulated by itself. Can any responsible voice in EU honestly challenge these? Having lived that unusual syndrome leading to the accession negotiations and the topical intemperate contacts between Christianity and Islam, now a growing number in Turkey tends to believe that the admission of Greek Cypriots is but an act of Christian solidarity . If this perception is true, are we moving gradually toward that precipice which I would hate to describe? And where could we go from there! With the above regarding Cyprus, EU has come to the end of land; ahead lies a highly distressed waters. Cyprus for the Turkish nation is a major national issue where, at this stage, there could be no more concessions . While EU's faults in this context are irreparable, to ask Turkey to comply with the Additional Protocol , without lifting the isolation of the North, that is demanding Turkey to pay the bills of all the mistakes mentioned above, is simply not just, neither fair nor equitable. Insisting solely upon this could create a backlash in Turkey beyond manageable proportions. For the satisfaction of a vociferous, irresponsible, intransigent Papadopoulos (Greek Cypriot administration-unfortunately emboldened by Athens) who has, and I regret to say, taken EU hostage, the Union would be lying on the alter that historic vision of "Big Europe Project," a Union with Turkey in it. I must insert here that for those who oppose to see Turkey in EU , Cyprus has become a convenient cover and they eagerly keep provoking Nicosia instead of containing it. Let us handle this promising venture in the interest of EU and Turkey with wisdom and foresight. By taking sides with the Greek Cypriots (and Athens) EU has become, unwillingly, a part of the Cyprus problem and not its solution anymore . Please note; we understand your stand, after all they are within the family, Turkey is not. Therefore the peace process needs to be returned to the UN, where it belongs. A united Cyprus to be rewarded by full membership should serve, even for the South, as a strong motive for sustained progress . If the South does not wish to be united, that is also fine; but then the obstacle falls and the venue to North's membership would open. For this purpose, in the meantime EU will have to use its influence upon Papadopoulos in order to start preparing the ground for the Turkish Cypriots leading to EU accession. This would be a clear message to Papadopoulos to start seriously the peace process under the UN. While the South deserves due respect as a member, it must realize that a miniscule state, please forgive me, can not chart the future course of half a billion people in Europe. Time has come to take the driver's seat. 5- Some confused minds with ulterior motives tend to stretch the "Copenhagen Political Criteria" to a breaking point by mentioning Armenia and "Armenian genocide" in this context. We redicule these circles among us and sarcastically ask "What next"? "Armenians and Turks have ill feelings for one-another," a Western cliché making good media rating ought to terminate. On the Turkish side relations from people to people, having lived together for more than eight centuries, are basically good. What divide the two nations is minimal to what they share in the daily flow of normal life. Despite debasing acts by various countries abroad , approximately 40[1] .000 Armenian economic refugees from Armenia live presently with us in Turkey and earn their living. There is very little that EU can give to Turkey in this respect. Armenia's de facto occupation by Russia is unnerving for Turkey and a growing irritation for the entire South Caucasus . A peaceful re-orientation of Armenian foreign policy vis à vis the entire region, ending its occupation of Azerbaijan lands and allowing the return of over 1.5 million dislocated Azerbaijanis, made refugees in their homeland, to their homes, dropping "Armenian genocide" claims abused as a cover to the misery of the refugees and finally establishing amicable relations with Georgia, largely battered in the past, would definitely end the present state of "no war - no peace" in the South Caucasus and a new era of peace, cooperation and progress will shape. Without addressing these elements, acting by EU as safe-haven for Armenia is not a helpful approach and can only prolong the present regional political impasse, if not deteriorate it further. For this broader vision EU should come in. If such an environment starts moving Turkey willingly can be the driving force behind. 6- As to "Armenian genocide" this is a fabricated false claim propagated by the Armenian millitants and radical circles. On the basis of the Ottoman archives, there never was an Armenian genocide. Only Turkey so far opened its national archives to show its open and good will for serious, in depth research on this matter. Turkey's stand here is simple and clear: Let an international group of academicians, historians and researchers study the matter scientifically and make the results known, whatever they might be. While in the closing years of the Ottoman Empire the Russian and British Empires, France , Germany, Italy and the USA were involved in its demise , they have not yet opened their archives. The topic primarily in the hands of diasporas, with the collusion of Armenia behind, has turned into a classical French theatrical farce acted perennially in April . The diasporas, so patriotic and committed are ready to do anything for the "motherland Armenia " but not willing to leave their comfortable affluent life-style abroad to join Armenia in its fight for nation-building and development. "Armenian genocide" is very often exploited in the home-land by politicians also in order to gain votes and support in parliamentary elections which keep the idea constantly agitated , distressing Armenia-Turkey relations. This will regretfully continue for the foreseeable future, until a scientific international at investigation is completed, if ever. EU is committed to create a "New European Spirit" of neighborly relations and yet a member country, legally demands recognition of the "Armenia genocide"; another forbids to be a candidate to the parliament if "Armenian genocide" is denied; a third, a most elderly statesman on the European political stage, despite heaving said initially "Writing history is the work of researchers and historians and not the politicians ," a wise counsel indeed from a seasoned political leader, flies to Armenia and with its President solemnly bow in front of the "Armenian genocide " monument thus making a mockery of his country's cherished "liberté" , "eqalité" and "fraternite" which inspired the world for over two centuries. A comparable development took place in Cyprus where, as we all know by now; any blow dealt to the Turkish side is a kiss-of-life for the presidency of Papadopoulos . I wonder if it is not the time for some members to open their colonial past, clear and clean it before they blame others . I ask sincerely, can these be explained by the "New European Spirit" of neighborly relations? If the answer is negative, has EU taken any step in this respect ? If positive, these are acts of animosity. Hence are we then trying to build the "Big Europe Project" or is Turkey considered an adversary? ... No wonder why inclination of the Turkish people to Europe is at its lowest ebb !... I must in all fairness confess, nowadays, it became practically impossible for the ordinary Turkish citizens to understand that which originates from EU or some member sta tes. Obviously the alleged "Armenian genocide" is a disinformation adventure, a ploy nowadays. Ignorance in this respect, even at the highest levels in EU and the member countries is mind-boggling. Access to it , whatever the purpose might be, is a gross mistake and has no place in EU-Turkey relations. 7. Kurds are not a minority in Turkey but part and parcel of the Turkish nation. They fought with the Turks in the War of Liberation which gave birth to modern Turkey. The Turkish Constitution guarantees their full rights and privileges, as the rest of the Turkish citizen. Settled practically all – over the country, well integrated into the Turkish society, Kurds contribute in all walks of daily life, private or public. In Turkey's social mobility determined by the performance of the individual there were two former presidents , a prime minister and a foreign minister, chiefs of navy and army, members of governments and numerous deputies in the parliament, past and present, as Kurds and/or Kurdish descendants . Istanbul is the largest Kurdish capital city in the world and home to some Kurdish businessmen among the richest in Turkey. This is hardly discrimination against, as claimed by EU circles, but rather positive discrimination for Kurds. The socio-politico-economic problems existing in South-east , where Kurds concentrate, are by and large faced in other corners of Turkey . However the armed confrontation between the Turkish army and the armed separatist Kurdish terrorist PKK not only retards the development of the region and costs heavy human and material loss to Turkey but it also creates friction between Kurds and Ankara. In this contest PKK continues to receive arms, political and moral support from abroad , including various EU member states which Turkish government and the people find astonishing and inexcusable. Any interference in this matter, even well – intentioned, creates manifold implications. Quiet dialogue and not public declarations are the means to entangle and solve this complicated problem . "Hurry slowly" should be the strategy because traditions and customs die slowly. Dear Mr. Rehn, One final but important point which at this stage might not have a bearing on Turkey's accession process: From the "Western" media I get the impression that new risks to the civilized secular set-up in the EU circles are in the making . I hope to be wrong. The contention surfaced recently between the Moslems and the indigenous Christian people on wearing head-gear (turban in Turkey ) and veil, political symbols of reactionary Islam, appears to be gaining ground . Behind this, have no doubt, is a new revival of Islam backed by Saudi Arabian Wahabism and principally Iran's fundamentalism, accompanied by monetary and other rewards, as its essential driving force with a view to relegating perpetually the state of the woman as "ordained by Islam's traditions and values". Islam actually forbids "exhibition" by Moslems in the exercise of their faith; hence those wearing articles and debasing women are the product of deranged radicals in Islam and not written in the holy Kuran. Mind you, this is taking place under the guise of freedom of expression and conscience. In other words, all starts in an atmosphere of simplicity and innocence, so peculiar to religious radicals. It will not stop here, mark my words, new demands will follow unless durable , informative and educational contacts, including interactive social functions are arranged with these Moslem groups aiming a more effective integration with the local people . Unfortunately the silent majority in Turkey is going through such a painful period which the same majority sincerely would not wish to see it permeate into the EU circles. I sincerely hope that you get the message. By the way, I am a Moslem and have no problem with my religion. (This section is to be considered in a separate bracet) . Thank you very much for being so patient. The above are my views and assessments but I think, they also reflect a major portion of the present public-opinion in Turkey . Please accept, together with good wishes, my respects and regards. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- [1] Latest figure was close to 100 000. ----------------------------------------- Source: TurkishForum ----------------------------------------
Yerevan Expects EU Will Be Actively Involved in Establish Relations Between Turkey and Armenia 23.12.2006 /PanARMENIAN.Net/ The Wall Street Journal has published Serge Sargsyan’s, the Armenian Defense Minister’s article ‘Despite the Genocide’, where he expressed hope that the EU during entry talks with Turkey will demand from Ankara to normalize its relations with Yerevan. The Defense Minister noticed that over the past few months, attention in Europe has focused once again on the Genocide of the Armenian people. The debate in the European Parliament over whether Turkey's recognition of the Genocide should be a precondition for membership in the European Union, and the French National Assembly's bill criminalizing Genocide denial, have put the spotlight on this tragic period of Armenia's history. “I want to look to the future and I hope that Turkey's negotiations for EU membership will provide the long-awaited opportunity for our two countries to establish civilized relations for the benefit of our peoples and the region. Armenia is part of the new European Neighborhood Policy and is seeking closer ties with the EU. As the country with the oldest Christian community in the world, we are a neighbor to Europe, but also to Georgia, Azerbaijan, Iran and Turkey,” Sargsyan said. On his opinion, the Turkish-Armenian relations and the Armenian Genocide are, of course, important factors that need to be considered during Turkey's negotiations for EU membership. “It is important to remember the past to ensure that such crimes against humanity are not repeated,” the Defense Minister writes. “We expect that the EU will be actively involved in establishing relations between Armenia and Turkey,” Sargsyan says. In his words, Armenia has a very straightforward and practical position in terms of future relations with Turkey. “We would welcome starting normal diplomatic and other relations -- without preconditions. That includes not tying the establishment of diplomatic relations to recognition of the genocide. More importantly, we want to profit from such diplomatic relations as a means to overcome the issues that burden our relations. We cannot expect solutions to come before we start talking to each other. Solutions will only arise when we work hard for them, starting by establishing an open dialogue,” Sargsyan underlined adding that Armenia wants Turkey to recognize that the Armenian Genocide took place in past and must be condemned. Serge Sargsyan reminded, that up till now Turkey refuses to establish diplomatic relations with Yerevan, maintains closed borders with Armenia despite growing international pressure and condemnation, throws every effort into isolating landlocked Armenia from international and regional transportation projects and does not play a constructive role in the Nagorno Karabakh conflict. “While these policies contradict contemporary principles of international relations and world order, Armenia does not regard Turkey's potential membership in the EU as a threat to national security. Quite the contrary. We hope it will mean that Turkey will change, and be in a better position to face both its history and future. Neither Turks nor Armenians will leave the region. The logical solution is to have normal relations with each other. That's what neighbors seek to do in today's world,” underscored the Armenian Defense Minister. Alongside he stressed that Armenia will not seek to build relations with Turkey at any price. “I am repeating that Armenia is ready to normalize relations without preconditions,” Sargsyan said. The Defense Minister closes his article with a call on Turkey. “We cannot be permanent enemies -- and even if we could, there is no need or sense in being such enemies. So for the sake of our future, let us move forward,” Armenian Defense Minister Serge Sargsyan says, reports the Armenian National Committee of Canada.
Fight against terrorism and European Hypocrisy October 1st, 2006 As the death toll in Turkey keeps increasing due to the terrorist attacks of one of the worlds worst terrorist organizations, PKK, it may be time to look at the history of this terrorist group and ‘remember’ its supporters. The PKK was formally established on November 7, 1978 by the chief terrorist Abdullah Ocalan. Since then, the group has evolved into a deadly insurgence against Turkey, reaching a strength of some 5,000 by 1992. So far, since the beginning of its operations in 1980, the PKK is primarily responsible for a war that has left some 30,000 people dead in Turkey and a number of murders abroad, primarily in Germany. PKK has been labelled a terrorist organisation by several states and international organizations including Turkey, the United States, the European Union, Syria, Canada, Iran and Australia. For almost two decades, Ocalan has operated from Syria and Syrian-occupied Lebanon. As the situation got worse in Turkey, the Turkish government openly threatened Syria over its support for the PKK and nearly went to war against Syria. The Syrian government backed down and expelled Öcalan, instead of handing him to the Turkish authorities. Here is where it gets interesting: Öcalan went to Russia first and asked for political asylum. While the Russian government denied any knowledge of his whereabouts, on November 4 the Duma unanimously voted to demand that he be given asylum. From there he moved to Italy. In 1998, while in Italy, the Turkish government requested the extradition of Öcalan. He was at that time counselled by the high-profile German attorney, Britta Böhler, then by Failos Kranidiotis, a Greek lawyer. The attorney argued that he fought a legitimate struggle against the oppression of his people. Instead of handing him to Turkish authorities, Italy also chose to expel him. Later, the Greek Parliament issued an invitation to Ocalan to come to Greece. Ocalan was brought to Greece and eventually found his way to the Greek island of Corfu. He arrived on a Lear jet provided by retired Greek Admiral Antonis Naxakis, one of Ocalan’s closest friends. Greece also refused to hand the terrorist to the Turkish authorities and offered to find him another ’safe haven’. Then, while being transferred from the Greek embassy to the Nairobi international airport, by a joint operation between the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency and the Turkish National Intelligence Agency, he was eventually captured in Kenya on February 15, 1999 and was flown back to Turkey for trial. As he sat strapped into the seat of a jet en route to Turkey, his face dripped with sweat and his eyes blinked nervously while he told his captors how much he “loved” Turkey and how eager he was to “render services” to them. The Italian refusal to extradite Ocalan irreparably damaged the European Union’s pontifications about “human rights” and international law. Moreover, the Turkish government provided substantial evidence that Greece supports PKK activities, particularly in the Mediterranean resorts of Turkey. First, there are admissions by certain PKK members that members of this organization are permitted to travel to Athens through some of the Aegean islands and then to a camp 75 miles outside the city. Second, Western observers including the American intelligence community openly argue about the existence of a PKK camp in Greece. Finally, pictures of several Greek deputies with Apo and permission in 1995 for the ERNK to maintain an one in Athens further arm the conviction that Greece is also behind the PKK. Although the Greek government deny supporting PKK at a state level, they do not rule out a possible link between some Greek private citizens and the PKK. One official clearly pointed out the existence of a “traditional” animosity between Greeks and Turks and that some Greek nationals may assist PKK terrorists based on this fallacious reasoning (“the enemy of my enemy is my friend”). It should be noted that the chief terrorist Abdullah Ocalan was caught with a Greek Cypriot passport, which was made available to the media by the Turkish Intelligence Agency. Once again, the European capacity for political hypocrisy has been proven. Freedom of Speech and European Hypocrisy - 2 Published September 29th, 2006 A proposed law that stipulates punishment for denying the alleged Armenian genocide is back on France’s agenda. The proposal, which designates punishment for denying the so-called Armenian genocide with a fine of 45,000 euros and up to five years imprisonment, will be discussed in the plenary session of the French parliament on Oct. 12. Observers are optimistic that the proposal will be adopted because of the upcoming elections and the Armenian Diaspora’s intensifying efforts. It has been reported that the French politicians would not be able to stand against the draft, even if they were hesitant about it, because of the Armenian Diaspora’s influential lobby. In order for the draft to be implemented it must be adopted by the National Assembly on Oct. 12 and then ratified by the French Senate without any amendments and revisions. Following Senate approval, the draft also requires the president’s ratification. Freedom of speech? Riiiight… Freedom of Speech and European Hypocrisy September 28th, 2006 The two largest Dutch political parties have expelled Turkish parliamentary candidates who refuse to acknowledge death of Armenians during World War I amounted to genocide, after strong lobbying by the Armenian diaspora. The candidates include Ayhan Tonca of the governing Christian Democrat Party. Tonca is one of the country’s most prominent Muslim politicians and is chairman of an umbrella organization of Islamic groups known as CMO. The Christian Democrats also retracted the candidacy of Osman Elmaci, and the opposition Labor Party ended the candidacy of Erdinc Sacan. Recognition of the Armenian genocide is not among the Turkish membership criteria that have officially been set by the EU’s executive body and member governments. Whether the mass killings of a million or more Armenians in the last years of the Ottoman Empire nearly a century ago constituted a genocide has been the subject of academic and political debate. A number of EU nations, including France and the Netherlands, have separately termed the 1915-1918 events a genocide, ignoring strong protests from Turkey. Turkey and many Turkish scholars, and others, vehemently deny the deaths resulted from systematic slaughter, saying the death toll of 1.5 million is wildly inflated and that both Armenians and Turks were killed in fighting during the collapse of the Ottoman Empire. The U.S. government has shied away from using the word “genocide” to define the killings. European hypocrisy at its best. More European hypocrisy - this time from Sarkozy December 4th, 2006 Here’s the fourth post in the ‘European hyprocrisy’ series, and I have a feeling that it won’t be the last. Sarkozy, a French presidential contender, was on an official visit to Algeria a few weeks ago. (News & commentary from The Economist). Sarkozy made himself heard by a large audience last year during the violent protests in France, when he referred to the rioters, many of them of Algerian origin, as “scum”. Sarkozy is also always first-in-line to object when the subject is Turkey’s membership to European Union and he is known for his outspoken critisism and hostility towards Turkey. This is not really surprising, given the unwillingness of the French people for Turkey’s EU membership and given that even Turkish people do not want to join the EU anymore (latest polls suggest that only about 30% of Turkey support joining the EU). What’s surprising and appalling is Mr. Sarkozy’s hypocrisy. Sarkozy, at every opportunity in the past, has “reminded” Turkey to “accept” its dark past and accept the claims of the so-called Armenian Genocide and went even so far as attempting to make this a precondition on EU accession talks. However, Sarkozy, when asked about the tragic 8 years (1954-1962) of Algerian struggle which left 1.5 million Algerians dead, for which the Algerian government has repeatedly asked for an official apology, said: “I told Abdelaziz Belkhadem [Algeria’s prime minister] that you can’t ask sons to say sorry for their fathers’ mistakes”. Wow. What a change of policy all of a sudden. The French parliament has recently approved legislation that makes denying the so-called Armenian genocide a crime, punishable by fines and a prison sentence. However, when it comes to the dark past of France, Paris is OK to leave the argument to historians. From Paris-Link: “Regarding French crimes during the colonial period, which included concentration camps and torture, Nicolas 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.” Sigh. http://aydin.net/blog/2006/12/04/more-european-hypocrisy-this-time-from-sarkozy/ Liberté, égalité, stupidité October 13th, 2006 In a mockery of the famous motto of the French revolution, the mass-circulation Turkish newspaper Hurriyet ran the following headline in French: “Liberté, égalité, stupidité” (Liberty, equality and stupidity). Today, the French government approved legislation that makes denying that the death of many Armenians in Turkey during WWI amount to genocide a punishable crime. If it is to become law, the Senate must also approve the measure. The law would set fines of as much as €45,000, or about $56,000, and a year in prison. —————————— From IHT: The National Assembly, defying appeals from Turkey, approved legislation Thursday that would make it a crime to deny that mass killings of Armenians in Turkey during and after World War I were genocide. Denounced by Ankara and criticized by the European Union, the legislation could further complicate talks for Turkey’s admission to the EU. Of the 577 members of the Assembly, 106 deputies voted in favor and 19 against, while 4 abstained and 448 did not vote at all, raising the question of whether there will be enough political will to push the legislation through the Senate. If it is to become law, the Senate must also approve the measure. The law would set fines of as much as €45,000, or about $56,000, and a year in prison for denying that the killing of Armenians by Ottoman Turks was genocide. Turkey denies allegations of genocide, disputing the number of deaths and premeditation in the killings, saying that tens of thousands of Armenians and Turks were killed in chaotic civil unrest after Armenian groups supported Russia during the war. The Armenian issue has complicated the country’s bid for EU membership. Chirac and the two leading contenders to replace him in elections next May - Nicolas Sarkozy, the conservative interior minister, and Ségolène Royal, a Socialist - all say Ankara must acknowledge the genocide before gaining EU membership. Two prominent national newspapers, Le Monde and Le Figaro, opposed the law. Le Monde said that while denying the genocide of Jews in Germany amounts to anti-Semitism and is worthy of criminal prosecution, arguments over the Armenian genocide should be resolved through diplomatic means. With roughly 500,000 citizens claiming Armenian origin, France has one of Europe’s largest Armenian populations. —————————— Reacting to this morning’s decision of the French National Assembly on Armenian ‘genocide’, Andrew Duff MEP, Vice-President of the European Parliament’s delegation to Turkey and Liberal Democrat Constitutional Affairs Spokesperson, said: “This is a sad day for liberalism in France. The Assemblée Nationale has rejected the fundamental right of freedom of speech. It has acted in direct contravention of the European Convention on Human Rights on which basis the European Union is founded. For friends of France, this is a poignant moment. “Who would have thought that it would be French deputies who would be the first in the 21st Century to reject the spirit of the Enlightenment. Voltaire must be spinning in his grave. “France has done huge damage to EU-Turkey relations and, in passing, to Turkish relations with Armenia. Progressive forces in Turkey have been given a gratuitous blow. How can the EU expect Turkey to develop its laws and practice on freedom of speech when France, one of its founding members, is going in the opposite direction? “Europe’s friends in Turkey should not despair. The French Sénat should throw out this Bill. But the Strasbourg Court of Human Rights should get ready to review the measure should it, unfortunately, pass.” —————————— Commentary from The Guardian, UK (Denis McShane): Where is Voltaire when you need him? The decision of the French politicians in the national assembly in Paris to legislate on the writing of the history of the Armenian massacres of 1915-1916 deserves the wit, the scorn, the satire and the derision of France’s greatest exponent of free speech. I cannot believe that the nation of Voltaire, Hugo, Zola and Sartre has decided to try and control what is written about history. But alas, Voltaire is dead and his spirit is slowly being extinguished as freedom of speech is being replaced by freedom from being insulted or hurt. The Turkish politicians who also want to dictate how the Armenian massacres are reported must be opening champagne that they now have fellow politicians who think they can control history. Let us be clear. What happened to a million or more Armenians in the dying days of the Ottoman empire as seismic changes took place in the political landscape of the region was an atrocious crime. It joins the other atrocious crimes of the 20th century from Stalin’s extermination of the Ukrainian Kulaks, Mao’s murder through calculated starvation of millions of Chinese in the 1950s, or, whisper it quietly in France, the killing of scores of thousands of people in Madagascar or Algeria by French soldiers. And more and more can be added. Was it genocide? The word has become devalued as almost every event in which innocent people are killed now seems automatically to get the tag “genocide”. Milosevic’s brutalities in the Balkans, the Palestinians killed by Israelis, the horrific ethnic-tribal-religious wars in Africa all get given the description “genocide” as if by using this awesome term the deaths of the innocent are elevated. What neither the Armenian tragedy nor any of the other mass killings constitute is the equivalent of the Shoah - the 4-year long, industrially organised, professionally executed transportation of Jews from many countries in Europe to face a scientific, hi-tech, engineered process of extermination. To deny the Holocaust is a deliberate ploy by today’s Jew-haters to begin the process of returning Europe to a past that begins with anti-semitic jokes and ends in gas chambers. It little matters whether the disaster that befell the Armenians is called genocide or not. It is not for states or parliament to award descriptions to what happened in the past. That is for historians and for a sense of deep cultural understanding. The Turks are as foolish as the French in pretending that politicians of today can define the events of yesterday. Last year I was attacked by ultra-nationalists in Turkey when I attended the trial of Orhan Pamuk, the new Nobel Laureate, who said that the Armenian massacres should be discussed openly. Turkish law allows private and public prosecutions against writers and journalists who want to examine Turkey’s past without any limits on what can or might be said. Now the French parliament have passed their own version of this kind of legislation. I appear regularly on French radio and TV. If I now say I do not believe that the deaths in 1915 merit the term “genocide”, will a gendarme arrive to arrest me? When the British writer and Labour MP, Michael Foot, was in Paris in 1958 he wrote an article criticising the behaviour of the then president, René Coty. He was expelled from France for the crime of being rude about a French president. Five decades later France is now declaring that any European citizen who decides to state that “genocide” is not the right term to use for the Armenian massacres will face punishment under French law. How has Europe come to behave like its own worst enemy? The Muslim intellectual, Tariq Ramadam, first came to fame in his native Geneva when he tried to stop the staging of a play by Voltaire in 1992, the bicentenary of Voltaire’s death. Like the fatwa on Salman Rushdie this was the beginning of the long assault against intellectual and artistic freedom that Europe has had to defend itself against in recent years. It is not a tragedy that the French parliament has now joined the enemies of freedom with this attempt to control history. It is a farce, which need to be laughed away with scorn. At a time when Europe should defend freedom of expression it is hard to believe that European politicians should be seeking to make thought a crime. We live in strange times. —————————— From EuroNews: Deputies in France have voted in favour of a bill that would make it illegal to deny that a genocide against Armenians took place in Turkey. The vote was 106 for and 19 against. However, observers are quick to point out that only a quarter of deputies were actually present in the house to vote. If the law comes into effect, those who deny the killings of Armenians between 1915 and 1919 amounted to genocide would risk up to a year in prison and fines of up to 45,000 euros. However, the bill would still need to be ratified by parliament’s upper house, the Senate, and President Jacques Chirac. Ruling UMP deputy, Patrick Devedjian, who has Armenian roots, said: “France is the country of human rights that welcomed people in pain and distress. France protected our memories, identity, and this law opposes the aggression we are suffering with the organisation in France of the revisionist ideas of the Turkish authorities”. Turkey maintains Armenians were killed in civil unrest during the collapse of the Ottoman Empire, and it cannot be described as genocide. “I do no t think the parliament is doing itself any favours by voting on laws, and going after the electorate for essentially political reasons,” said another UMP deputy, Pierre Mehaignerie: “I think historians have explained enough about what the role of parliament should be and what it shouldn’t be.” While the French government did not support the draft legislation, the ruling Union for a Popular Movement gave its deputies a free hand in the ballot. In the end, however, most of them decided to stay away from the vote. Sarkozy v. Turkey It seems like both French candidates need to attack a Muslim country of their choice. For Royal it has been Iran and its nuclear program, but for Nicolas Sarkozy, it has clearly become Turkey. Le Monde - At the time of a top of the European popular Party (EPP) with Meise, close to Brussels, the future candidate of the UMP in the presidential election showed himself very critical on the Turkish file. According to a German person in charge, the Minister of Interior Department (Sarkozy) "said to the others that if he were elected, he would have an obligation towards the French people". And to invite the participants in the meeting, among which the chancellors German and Austrian Angela Merkel and Wolfgang Schüssel, to think of what could resemble the "privileged partnership" which he preaches as an alternative to admission. (...) At the end of the meeting, Nicolas Sarkozy decided to strike at the Socialists on this topic during the presidential program. "I considered it regrettable that the European socialist Party calls for the accession of Turkey. It will be one of the debates which there will be in France ", he estimated. "the Socialists are for the accession of Turkey, I am not". "To speak about the accession of Turkey while at the same time the European family is not yet reunified, that does not have much direction", he added in front of the press, before returning to Paris. Sarkozy aimed much of his criticism at Turkey's refusal to fully recognize Cyprus, which has been a major roadblock in EU negotiations: "I do not even understand why the question arises. If Turkey wants to enter Europe, and you know my reserves, it must initially consider that Europe is twenty-five (states), not twenty-four. It is not a precondition only to recognize the whole of the States which constitute the European Union. It is a principle, it is a peremptory necessity." The Le Monde article goes on to note that Socialist candidate Segolene Royal has said she is in favor of continued negotiations with Turkey, but if necessary, would hold some kind of referendum to determine the will of the French people with regards to Turkish admission into the EU. For someone who is a French maverick in terms of foreign policy (admiration of US, support of Israel, etc.) it's really a shame that his strong position against Turkish EU membership is wrong and foolish. Turkey has been part of Europe since the Roman Empire, and in purely realist terms, would be an incredible asset to the EU. The Turkish population is not declining as are those of many Western European nations, their economy is growing, they have the second largest army in NATO, and they are a critical physical, cultural, and political bridge between Europe and the rest of the Eurasian landmass. Sarkozy thinks that by bringing this issue up he can expose the less than concrete position of the left and play up the fears of many French with regards to further EU integration and Muslims in general. Best wishes to him, but Sarkozy is just entrapping himself in an inescapable political hole: why would the French vote for fear when the other candidate has based her entire campaign on hope? http://frenchelection2007.blogspot.com/2006/12/sarkozy-v-turkey.html
Caught in between: Turkish Jews December 20, 2006 Today's Holy Land YUSUF KANLI and BURAK BEKDIL TEL AVIV - Turkish Daily News There is a large society of people in Israel who dance to Turkish music, enjoy the taste of Turkish food and communicate between themselves in Turkish as much as they do in Hebrew. They are members of the Turkish Israeli community, the people who migrated to Israel from Turkey and who define themselves as Turkish Jews. They do not want to talk politics, at least until they have established trust that their names will not be revealed. “We don't want to be troublemakers. On the contrary, we want to be living bridges between our two homelands; Turkey and Israel. We are Israelis as much as we are Turks,” one senior member of the community said. Now in his early 80s, he spent almost half his life in Turkey and stressed that at times of tension in bilateral relations between the two countries the community feels distressed but remains confident that “whatever misunderstanding might lead to such an unfortunate [lessening of] ties will soon be eradicated and mutual confidence will be re-established between our two countries which, because of the political geography of the region, the values they share and the strong bonds of friendship derived from a rich common past, are destined to be natural allies.” Still, they complain of hypocrisy on the part of the Turkish media and by some leading politicians of the country in their approach towards the “human suffering” of the intractable Arab-Israeli conflict. “We also deplore the inhumane behavior of some security personnel in their treatment of the Palestinians. We also deplore some government policies. We too complained, like many other people in Israel, about the overuse of force in security operations and in the latest operation on the Hezbollah presence in southern Lebanon. However, we would have expected Turkish leaders and media to understand that the Israelis suffer trauma and that we are suffering as well,” said a leading member of the community who still has strong business relations with Turkey and spends most of his time shuttling between Istanbul and Tel Aviv. “How you refer to suffering is important. If you describe the operation on Lebanon as ‘heinous' or as ‘genocidal' and splash photographs of suffering people on the front pages with subtitles condemning Israeli 'brutality' you are also required to use identical language for suicide attacks on busses, schools and restaurants that kill so many innocent civilians and for the Hezbollah rocket attacks on Haifa and other northern settlements imperiling civilian life, the economy -- everything. We, unfortunately, are unable to see such a considerate approach from present Turkish leadership and media,” he added. In Turkey, he said, people criticize members of the Turkish Jewish community for the mistakes of the Israeli government, and in Israel they are often faced with complaints of “Look at what your countrymen have said or written again.” He went on: “In a way, we are Israelis in Turkey and Turks in Israel… It's strange, but that's how we are perceived.” The complaints of the Turkish Jewish community seemed numerous, but what appeared to be most dominant was their reaction to Turkey's contacts with the exiled leadership of the Hamas organization and the reluctance of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) administration to condemn “Islamist terrorism.” “No one is saying that Islam is a terrorist religion. But there are terrorist elements using Islam and the values and norms of the religion as a pretext for their criminal and inhumane acts. Are there not extremist Jewish groups using religion as a pretext as well, or Christian? Religions preach peace, cohesion and tolerance, but fundamentalists are unleashing heinous acts in the name of religion. We all must stand up against such groups and condemn them. That's what we expect from the Turkish leadership too,” he said. Confident that Turkey can and should play a more active role in the Middle East, another senior member of the Turkish Jewish community stressed that, not only as a former ruler of the region but also as one of the strongest regional powers that had managed to develop democracy in a predominantly Muslim society, irrespective of whether Turkish leaders like it, Turkey has been perceived as a “role model” for the troubled area.
There is now also a "Turkish Diaspora" in the World By Mehmet Barlas Sabah Oray Egin of daily Aksam has recently raised the question "How Turkish was Ahmet Ertegun?" and added: "Perhaps we need to find a new concept for people who have spend their lives in America, and lived in American culture according to American criteria of success. Can we call them "American Turks"? Or would "Americanized Turks" be better?" Although Oray Egin is one the Turkish journalists most open to the outside world even he could not remember the concept of "Turkish Diaspora" while analyzing the status of Ahmet Ertegun of NYC or Abidin Dino of Paris. We'll chalk that up for "occupational hazard." We have learned what the word "Diaspora" means from frequent references in Turkish media to the "Armenian Diaspora," "Greek Diaspora" and "Jewish Diaspora." The word means "people living away from their homelands for various reasons." According to the Oxford Dictionary, the origins of the word goes back to God's desire to disperse the Jewish people all around the world, according to the Old Testament. We in Turkey have used the words "Lobby" and "Diaspora" interchangeably since we tend to index our discourse to an American frame of reference. During the height of the Turkish-Greek tensions, for example, we stressed the "Greek Lobby" and deemphasized the Greek Diaspora. Again, when the "Armenian resolutions" were brought to the floor of the US Congress, we forgot the weight of the American-citizen Armenians and attributed the whole thing to the activities of the "Armenian lobby." *** Lobby and Diaspora However, "lobbying" exists in every field and subject. For example defense industry lobby, whenever needed, lends its weight in the US Congress in Turkey's favor. As a result of pulling our heads into our shells during the first part of the Republican history, we never thought that a "Turkish Diaspora" could also exist. However, right now, there is a sizable Turkish Diaspora aboard spread over to many countries. There are millions of Turks who have migrated to Europe, Australia and the United States to find better work. They get elected to the legislative bodies of their respective countries. For example, isn’t Vural Öger who got elected to the European Parliament, a member of this Diaspora? Besides Turks who left Turkey due to brain drain, there are also those who made a name for themselves abroad as entrepreneurs and businessmen. Similar to this, at least a part of those who migrated abroad from Anatolia in the aftermath of the 1980 coup and asked for political asylum in Western Europe have formed the "Kurdish Diaspora." Thus in that sense, the "Ertegun Brothers" were also a part of the Turkish Diaspora. Just like the members of other Diasporas, they remained loyal to the host country where they lived and that trained them, made them the success that they eventually became. However, they have maintained both their business and emotional ties with their motherland as well. That's why the Turkish State honored Ahmet Ertegun with a "Superior Service Medal" for his contributions to Turkey. Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul's following words sums it all up nicely: "Nobody has accomplished what Ahmet Ertegun did for Turkey in America. Nor can anyone do the same even if they tried. His death has created a great vacuum for Turkey."
'Call me a Liar, but US is Sincere' on Fight Against PKK By Ali H. Aslan, Washington December 17, 2006 zaman.com Frank C. Urbancic is a senior U.S. diplomat who is familiar with Turkey. He had served as the U.S. Consulate General in Istanbul between 1999 and 2002. Now he holds number 2 position in the U.S. State Department’s office of Coordinator for Counter Terrorism. This week he invited a small group of Turkish journalists based in Washington for a meeting. His purpose was to explain the U.S. administration’s efforts against the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK). Likening the PKK to an octopus with tentacles at different places, including Europe, Turkey and northern Iraq, Urbancic pointed out that he is responsible for fighting against its tentacle in Europe. Journalists were eager to talk about northern Iraq. Most of the questions were coming from there. This is exactly what the US administration was trying to avoid. In private conversations, administration officials have been complaining the Turkish state and public were mainly focused on the Northern Iraq dimension of the issue, while they don’t take into account the damage inflicted upon the other tentacles of PKK. Frank Urbancic said ‘We want the Turkish people understand that US is really committed to working against PKK terrorism’, adding they are ‘serious about it’. When I asked “Do you think Iraqi Kurdish regional leaders are also serious about it?, he replied ‘Everybody should do more on all fronts. That includes us’ Recalling that the United States had been benefiting from its friendship with Turkey for a very long time, Urbancic stressed that ‘it’s now our time to help you’. We the journalists persistently brought up America’s visible inaction against the PKK in northern Iraq. Here is a summary of his responses: ‘I understand the skepticism. You can call me a liar, ..but I’m telling you, we are being serious and sincere about this. The death of a Turk is a very serious concern to us. It’s no less than the death of an American.’ He stressed that they are not just making ‘noise’ and ‘lip service’. However, when it came to northern Iraq, he was unable to give concrete examples. Instead, he drew attention to the efforts of generals Joseph Ralston and Edip Baser. And he confessed how difficult the situation is with the following words: “It’s clear Turks want more. How we do it in Northern Iraq right now, I am not sure. But believe me you have our attention.” While responding the questions why U.S. has so far remained inactive against the terrorists’ infiltration into Turkey from northern Iraq, he referred to the overall ‘stability’ problem in Iraq. The gist of the emphasis on stability is that America believes taking action against the PKK in Northern Iraq would have a deteriorating impact on that region’s relative stability. Hence, it is unable to garner support from the Kurds in the region to carry out a comprehensive action against terrorism. And because they desperately need the Kurdish support and cooperation in Iraq, America is unable to insist. The only criticism Urbancic was able to voice against the Iraqi Kurdish regional leader Massoud Barzani was indicating that Barzani or anyone else should not ‘deal with’ terrorists. Frank Urbancic took a tour to Europe to convince Europeans to address the PKK issue along with Doug Silliman, Director of Office of Southern Europe, and experts from Justice and Treasury departments. They visited seven countries, including Turkey in 10 days. He believes that America has more ‘ability’ than Turkey to draw Europe’s attention to the issue. Urbancic also said that there has been a ‘rising awareness’ among Europeans and ‘serious progress’. When asked about the examples of concrete progress, he stressed that ‘the process has just started’, and entering into the details might help terrorists. The only exception was the German law that banned PKK membership. Citing the same reasons, he did not provide a list of the countries he visited and the content of the demand list. We were told there are two more European countries that they have plans to visit. He noted that ‘We will go to every country where there is a significant PKK presence, propaganda outlets, fundraising efforts, political presence’ Meanwhile, journalists also asked about the recent California federal court decision that found President Bush’s directive aimed at preventing fund raising for the PKK in the United States unconstitutional. Urbancic stressed that such ‘legal questions’ would not affect America’s coordinated struggle against the PKK. His advice to the PKK and the Kurds who support the PKK is to renounce terrorism. Stressing that no political party had the right to use violence, he expressed support for freedom of speech: “If the PKK were not using violence but were just doing pamphlets we would be having a very different discussion” His advice to Turks is not to be ‘fooled’ by Iranian government who seems to be willing to cooperate in the fight against the PKK. According to Urbancic, “Iranians are clever people. They are a clever government. They play this situation very well..”
Turkey's EU quest December 22, 2006 Lubomyr Luciuk As I looked on, he asked them, “Should your country join Europe?” They all replied, emphatically, “Yes!” I was not surprised. These young women and men at Istanbul's Bogazici University were some of the best students I have taught, and I have been a professor for 20 years. Most were native-born Turks and almost all were Muslims, but they think themselves modern and secular and, as such, European. Certainly, they were pleased to hear me making positive reference to Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, who founded the Republic of Turkey in 1923. Its proposed entry into the European Union was our subject and they were all in favor. Yet, I wondered, how widespread was their enthusiasm? I placed my colleague's question before some men I first met in 1979, in Istanbul's Kapalıçarşı, the Grand Bazaar. For years I have nurtured those contacts, to the extent that Hasan and Metin and Ufuk have become old friends. Whenever we are together it seems as if we have been apart for only a few days, when the real interval between visits is measured in years. So over a fine fish supper on the shores of the Bosporus, below the bridge cementing Asia to Europe, I asked, “Should Turkey strive to enter Europe?” These Turks are as hospitable as I have always found true followers of Islam to be. Middle-aged, successful and well traveled, they also enjoy courageous conversation. Each got in his say. Aware of the historic hostility toward “the Turk in Europe,” they voiced grudges of their own. One reminded me that Turks were welcome when NATO needed their infantry divisions to shore up its southern flank and when Turkish guest workers took jobs most Europeans refused to do. Yet, as soon as Turkey expressed a desire to join Europe, they were found wanting. Another grumbled over how Europeans pontificate about the Ottomans' wartime mistreatment of the Armenians yet conveniently forget that most of the Middle East's problems were spawned by the perfidiousness of England and France, dismembering “the sick man of Europe” after the Great War then betraying the very same Arabs they had goaded into revolt. And who, they asked, injected Israel into their midst, a state with weapons of mass destruction and, apparently, carte blanche to do whatever it wants with Palestine's indigenes, an enduring source of geopolitical instability? Shocking perspectives for Western ears, perhaps, yet it is a shared text amongst students and shopkeepers alike. My friends came to a rough consensus. If joining Europe meant being told how they should live, or what they should believe or atone for, they aren't much interested. They are doing fine where they are. And, as one of them pointed out, they can visit Europe any time they want. No need to join. So I asked my students the question again, changing it a little. If Europeans require their society to make concessions to prove how truly democratic and inclusive they are, would they agree? Could they, for example, accept the Orthodox patriarch of Constantinople recovering one of Istanbul's greatest sites, the Hagia Sophia? Once mother church of all Eastern Christians of the Byzantine liturgical tradition, both Orthodox and Greek Catholic, a model for St. Sophia in Kiev, it became a mosque after the city fell to Mehmet the Conqueror in 1453. Since 1935, at Ataturk's command, it has been a museum. Why not return the Church of the Holy Wisdom to its original owners, a gesture of reconciliation? After all, anyone can visit Notre Dame in Paris, or St. Stephen's in Vienna or St. Peter's in Rome, be they Hindu or Catholic, Muslim or Jew. Those who wish to pray, can and those who do not, suffer no shaming. The only condition upon admission is the same for all, mutual respect. Yet at designated times, each of these great cathedral-museums becomes a place of Christian worship. Why not the Hagia Sophia? My students found this design uncomfortable. Some were puzzled that a Canadian professor, presumably a secularist, would propose making a museum into a re-consecrated church. Others were angry at the very thought. Why not just leave well enough alone? Among these bright young Turks, I realized, there would be more than a little dissent if Europe's entry fee becomes too dear. Not surprisingly, the recent visit of Pope Benedict XVI to Turkey was protested. He deflected much of that resentment, adroitly, by paying respects at Ataturk's tomb and later joining the Grand Mufti of Istanbul for silent prayer inside the Blue Mosque. The pope also met with Patriarch Bartholomew, the honorary leader of the world's 300 million Orthodox Christians, a step toward a restoration of full communion between Catholic and Orthodox worlds separated since the Great Schism of 1054, further alienated following the Fourth Crusade's sack of Constantinople, in 1204. And His Holiness went, briefly, into the very church my students and I discussed, the Hagia Sophia. While there I hope he beseeched our Lord above to bestow upon us all -- Catholic, Orthodox and Muslim believers alike -- the holy wisdom of forgetting. For dwelling too much on the past may not be wise, for any of us. Lubomyr Luciuk teaches political geography at The Royal Military College of Canada.
The Corridor December 24, 2006 GÖKSEL BOZKURT Friendship wins from time to time: Nobel Laureate Orhan Pamuk has been at the center of the Armenian issue in Turkey for some time. Pamuk is being exploited in politics to gain support. Columnists are clashing on newspaper pages to make a point. Well, isn't there anything nice happening on the issue? This week, Culture and Tourism Minister Atilla Koç said they would be renovating the Armenian Akdamar Church in the Ani region of Kars with cooperation of the Armenian Church. He said Armenian consultants and experts were involved in the planning stages of the project. According to Koç the opening ceremony of the renovated church will happen on April 24 in the presence of leading artists, scholars and historians. This is seen as a cultural and religious message of conciliation. ?I was happy about Orhan Pamuk winning the Nobel Prize. The culture and tourism minister can only be proud of a person who has dedicated his life to literature and won a Nobel Prize. I am proud of Pamuk.? The friendly initiative launched by Turkey against the incitement by the Armenian diaspora shows there are nice things happening from time to time despite the animosity.
Ertegün: A secret force behind Turkish-Armenian rapprochement bid December 25, 2006 YUSUF KANLI ANKARA - Turkısh Daily News It was rather interesting to learn that late Ahmet Ertegün was not just a “musical envoy” for Turkey, or a “monument to friendship” between the Turkish and the American peoples, but that he was also an important figure working diligently on such sensitive issues as the Turkish-Armenian problem, due to his conviction that such issues must be resolved for the better promotion of Turkey. “Ahmet Ertegün was one of our strong supporters,” Kaan Soyak, co-chairman of the Turkish-Armenian Business Development Council (TABDC), told the Turkish Daily News as he started explaining the “great contributions” the late president of Atlantic Records had made to efforts aimed at achieving rapprochement on the extremely delicate issue haunting Turkey's image in the United States. “He was the honorary chairman of the TABDC,” Soyak said, explaining how he first met the legendary personality. “It was 1996 and I was involved in efforts to set up an association dedicated to improve Turkish-Armenian relations. For a business trip I went to New York, where I have an office. One day, I was sitting in my office pondering what I could do to promote friendship between Armenians and Turks, particularly in view of the fact that there were many Turkish and Armenian associations in a fierce struggle against each other,” Soyak said. Than, he said, the name of Ahmet Ertegün came to his mind. “How could I reach him? Would he be interested in my efforts? I decided to call Arif Mardin first. Mardin, after listening to my idea, answered me after a long pause: ‘This is far bigger an issue than I can talk about. You better talk with Ahmet Ertegün.' That might have been a polite no, but I asked him how I could reach Ertegün. ‘Hold on a moment,' he said; a few minutes later Ertegün was on the other end of the line.” Soyak said he explained his idea to Ertegün. “This is a very important idea. Come over tomorrow and let's discuss it in my office” Ertegün reportedly told him. As someone who had served as a producer at the Turkish Radio and Television Corporation (TRT) in the past, Soyak said he was delighted to visit Atlantic Records' headquarters -- where he had applied for work in 1986, but had later had to forget such aspirations because he could not postpone his military service. “The legendary man that I had wanted to see for many years was standing opposite me in the charming atmosphere of Atlantic Records… I was about to start talking about music and my failed work ambitions when he very politely stopped me and said he wanted to hear my ideas about my ideas about setting a Turkish-Armenian association.” After listening to Soyak's ideas, Ertegün reportedly replied: “This is a very sensitive issue. Each side has its own perceptions. You cannot approach this issue with only one viewpoint and you must always be very objective.” After that initial encounter, Ertegün did not call Soyak for some time, but “After almost three months, he one day called me and invited to his office. ‘I am in' he said and we started an elaborate discussion on Turkish-Armenian problems. It was only at that time that I learned Ertegün had quite a large group of Armenian friends,” Soyak explained. Suddenly, during that discussion Ertegün stopped and asked Soyak a question he still remembers today: “What do you want from me? Money?” He said he told Ertegün he did not want money, but did indeed have two requests: To use Ertegün's name and, occasionally, his home. Ertegün was reportedly surprised with Soyak's unusual demands. “What would you do with my name? Who are you planning to bring to my house?” he reportedly asked. “I told him that I would use his name when telling others that he was with us in the association's work and that I wanted to invite some leading members of the Armenian diaspora to his house. He remained silent for a while, then told me ‘Fine, you can use my name and invite people to my house but notify few days in advance that we can have the house available and complete preparations.' That was the real start.” Soyak said he hosted many dinners at the house for members of the Armenian diaspora, executives of many institutions, senior representatives of some U.N. agencies. In a short while, he said, many more Armenians had become friends of Ertegün. He said that in the mean time Ertegün had became the honorary chairman of the TABDC. Even when Ertegün was traveling to some distant or far flung places, they never lost contact and continued to brief him about the progress of their work toward rapprochement. “Our meetings with him were mostly arranged to last 60 minutes, but we were rarely able to finish, even after three or four hours of discussion. Sometimes our conversations were cut by calls from prominent music personalities, such as Eric Clapton. Indeed, listening in on the discussion between Ertegün and Clapton was the most pleasurable moment of my life,” Soyak said. He said that over the past 10 years, whenever a senior political team from Turkey was visiting the United States, he would meet Ertegün for an assessment of the trip. When the Turkish-Armenian Reconciliation Commission was to be established, it was with Ertegün's help that the first appointments were made. Indeed, he was the host of a dinner held in honor of the commission members immediately after it was established. Soyak explained that Ertegün had been highly appreciative of both Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Foreign Minister Abdullah Gül and often referred to them as “very honest personalities.” “He was expecting a lot from Erdoğan and Gül toward the opening of the Turkish-Armenian border,” he said. Most recently, in September 2006, Soyak was working with Ertegün on a music project the revenues from which would go to the restoration of the Akhtamar Church in Van. Soyak said that Turkey's Los Angeles Consul General Engin Ansay was one of the most prominent architects of that project. “We three were following closely the restoration work at Akhtamar and were developing projects for a grand inauguration after the completion of the restoration. Ertegün was of the idea that, starting from May 2007, we should organize an annual International Akhtamar Music Festival. Unfortunately his life was not sufficient for him to see the project completed,” Soyak added We are in the opinion that the Armenian Patriarchate in Turkey should take over from late Ahmet Ertegun as the goodwill Ambassador rather than TABDC and both he Turkish and Armenian diaspora should help the Patriarchate in their endeavours.. Those did not agree can be left out, Pure and Simple British European Turk NGOs serving the community.. Social Engineering in progress!
Gul Calls for Cooperation Against Armenian Claims December 25, 2006 zaman.com Turkish Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul has called for cooperation between state institutions and nongovernmental organizations in the 'fight' against Armenian allegations of genocide. In response to a motion from an opposition member of parliament, Gul stated that Foreign Ministry and Turkish offices abroad carried out comprehensive work to discover the historical facts on the Armenian question. "It will be appreciated that Turkey’s universities, nongovernmental organizations, professional organizations and businessmen should pay close attention to the issue and every single individual should contribute to these efforts," Gul remarked. Gul recalled that, one year ago, Prime Minister Erdogan had suggested to the Armenian president the setting up of a joint committee of Turkish and Armenian historians to research the facts and claims regarding the 1915 events. “However, we have not been able to receive a positive response to this proposal,” he added.
When East Meets West The Jerusalem Report December 25, 2006 by Yigal Schleifer Turkey and the European Union appear to be on a collision course over membership talks Outside the French Consulate and Cultura Center on Istanbul's busy Istiklal Boulevard, along with posters advertising an up-coming film and art exhibit, there is a metal barricade manned by stern-looking Turkish policemen carrying submachine guns. The reason: widespread fury in Turkey over the passing of a law in France a few weeks ago, making it a crime to deny that the mass killing of Armenians by the Ottoman Turks in 1915 was a genocide. To the Turks, long intent on sweeping the Armenian issue under the carpet, this was like a red cape to a bull. Large protests were held denouncing France and stores put up signs in their windows proudly announcing that they no longer sell French products. One Turkish cosmetics company announced that it was dropping its French-sounding brand name, Francois Patrick, for the more innocuous MW. And by mid-November, the Turkish military had announced that it was suspending ties with its French counterpart, even though both countries are members of NATO. The uproar is symptomatic of what looks like a fraying in the relations between Turkey and Europe, casting a shadow over Turkey's long-standing bid to become a member of the European Union. Pope Benedict XVI's late November four-day visit here provided another illustration of that when he was greeted with angry protests and required a larger security detail than George W. Bush required during his visit to Turkey in 2004. The Pope, who as a cardinal had come out against admitting Turkey to the EU because of its cultural and religious differences, also inflamed Turkish passions in a September speech linking Islam to violence. For many here, this was yet further proof that Europe does not want the Turks. And much like the worker who tells his boss, "You can't fire me, I quit," Turks are increasingly starting to feel it is they who don't want Europe. A wave of anti-Western nationalism has been washing over Turkey, fueled by a perception that the EU is asking too much of Turkey and giving it little back in return. Cutting across Turkish society, from staunch secularists to Islamists, this nationalist trend threatens to turn the continuation of Turkey's bid for EU membership into even more of a challenge. After waiting at Europe's door for decades, Turkey was given the green light two years ago to start negotiations over becoming a member of the EU. A raft of reform packages were passed in the Turkish parliament, in order to bring the country's economy and political system into line with Europe. These included a new penal code, an easing of restrictions on the use of Kurdish, and measures aimed at curtailing the power of the military. However much has changed since that initial period of euphoria. Faced with the public's growing anti-EU mood, the Turkish government of Recep Tayyip Erdogan has significantly slowed down its reform drive. Laws such as the one passed by the French parliament have led many Turks to worry that resolving the question of the Armenian genocide will become a prerequisite for EU membership. Many are also angry over what they see as the EU's failure to reward Turkish Cyprus after its citizens overwhelmingly supported a 2004 UN plan to reunite the divided island. Greek Cypriots strongly rejected the plan, but were still able to become EU members. EU officials, meanwhile, have been alarmed by an article in Turkey's new criminal code that allowed for dozens of its writers and journalists - including its most famous novelist and new Nobel laureate, Orhan Pamuk - to be carted off to court for the vague crime of "insulting Turkishness" with things they had written or said. Some have been convicted, though Turkey has now announced that it will amend the offending article. While support in Turkey for EU membership stood at close to 80 percent two years ago, it has now dwindled to around 35 percent, according to EU-led surveys. Once a project that united Turkish society, the question of joining the EU has by now become something quite different. "I don't think joining the EU would be a good thing," says Faruk Yilmaz, a mustachioed 40-year-old who sells sandwiches of roasted meat in downtown Istanbul's historic Beyoglu neighborhood. "Turkey has wanted to be a member for such a long time. We are always walking toward them and they send us back to the start." Suat Kiniklioglu, executive director of the Turkey office of the German Marshall Fund, an American public policy organization, says a large part of the Turkish public today sees EU membership as a kind of threat. "Today it is a dividing issue," he says. "I am afraid that the people who believe that Turkey belongs in Europe are becoming a minority." A mirror image can be seen in Europe, where the public - especially in countries like France and Austria - has developed major qualms about admitting the predominantly Muslim Turkey into its ranks, fearing the mass immigration of low-wage laborers and an influx of yet more Muslims who will have a tough time adapting to "European" society. To make matters worse, EU diplomats have been warning for months of an impending "train crash" in the membership negotiations with Turkey. The slowdown in Turkey's reform process, the court cases threatening free speech and Ankara's continuing refusal to open up its airports and harbors to vessels from EU member Greek Cyprus have all raised concern in Brussels and other European capitals. The release in early November of an EU progress report sharply criticizing the reform slowdown was perhaps the most definitive signal yet that a further deterioration in Turkish-European relations could be in the offing. "The report represents a very important point, politically, as the trains are heading toward a collision," says Kirsty Hughes, a London-based European affairs analyst. "There's going to be a big fight between the member countries over what to do." An EU summit is coming up in mid-December, when it is expected that the 25-member body will agree to freeze its negotiations with Turkey in part, if not entirely. German Chancellor Andrea Merkel has already issued a stern warning, telling a German newspaper that if Ankara refuses to open up its ports to Cypriot trade - something it promised to do as part of the deal to begin the negotiations - "the EU accession talks cannot continue in this fashion." Diplomats and analysts in Turkey are downbeat about the prospects of Ankara breaking out of its reform slump anytime soon. Turkey will hold parliamentary elections next November, and observers here believe that the political parties will try to play up their nationalist credentials and distance themselves from the currently unpopular EU accession negotiations. "Certainly the military and the secularists have turned against the EU and for them a negative [EU progress] report would be welcomed," says the Marshall Fund's Kiniklioglu. In some ways, a very strange dynamic is playing out in Turkey. While the country is closer than ever to achieving the dream of the modern secular republic's founder, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, of firmly becoming part of the West, it is the military and Turkey's secular hard-liners, the inheritors of Ataturk's Westernizing legacy, who seem most opposed to the EU drive. They fear the Europeans' demands will threaten Turkey's sovereignty and force it to loosen its strict controls on religious life. Meanwhile, it is the Islamic-rooted Justice and Development Party (AKP), which leads the government, which has been pushing the country's EU ambitions forward and now finds itself trying to immunize itself from charges that it is selling out on Turkey's founding principles. But if not in Europe, then where does Turkey belong? There have been suggestions that the AKP might lead Turkey towards a closer alliance with the Islamic world. Ioannis Grigoriadis, a professor of political science at Istanbul's Isik University, says that rather than eastward, Turkey's growing nationalism is looking inward. "It could end up with a Turkey that is very introverted and self-reliant," he says. But the reorientation of Turkish policy is a distinct possibility. At the same time it has been pursuing its EU goals - and maintaining its close relations with Israel - Turkey, under the AKP's leadership, has also been forging closer ties with its Arab and Islamic neighbors. Relations with Syria and Iran have improved significantly in the last few years, while Turkey has also taken a more assertive role in the wider Islamic world. A Turk, Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, currently heads the Organization of the Islamic Conference and took a lead role in criticizing the Pope's recent comments about Islam. "I think that feeling of being pushed around and not being treated fairly is coupled with another dynamic in Turkish society, something which started after the Iraq war, which is that they have discovered that they are Muslims," says Cagaptay. "The AKP has accelerated and anchored that discovery with its rhetoric and policies. We are talking about a perfect storm," adds Cagaptay, "in the sense that the factors are exacerbating one another. More and more Turks are feeling as if they are not Western as a result of the treatment that they are getting from the EU and America... and are identifying with Muslim issues next door." A rupture between the EU and Turkey, even a temporary one, could also have important regional implications for Europe. One of the main benefits of Turkey becoming a member of the EU - even negotiating to become a member - is that it extends the organization's influence into the Middle East. Alienating Turkey deprives Europe of a strong Muslim voice, and of a literal and figurative bridge into the region. "Only with Turkey as a member can the EU be a player in the Middle East," Cagaptay says. With its large population of 70 million, which could help offset the potential labor shortage posed by the graying of most European countries, and its strategic location as a transit route for Central Asian oil and natural gas, Turkey has much to offer the EU, says Thierry Malleret, an expert with the Geneva-based World Economic Forum. "Turkey is perceived by many as a source of risk to Europe; it may just be the opposite, a potential source of major risk mitigation," Malleret says. Furthermore, any rupture with Turkey might be seen by the growing community of Muslims in Europe, whose own integration into the continent has been so difficult, as a signal that there is no place for Islam in Europe. "For them, this is a test of whether they are European. They are following this very closely," Cagaptay says. Despite the criticism from Brussels and the nationalist mood in Turkey, there are indications that both sides are working to reach some sort of compromise before the upcoming EU summit. Along with the willingness to amend the law limiting free speech, there are also efforts to work out an interim deal on the Cyprus issue. "I think all parties will try until the last moment to prevent this train crash," says Joost Lagendijk, who heads the European Parliament delegation to the joint EU-Turkey parliamentary committee. "A real crisis would be if both parties would be looking for a way out [of the negotiations], and I don't think that's the case right now." What may also be needed is a change in the way the EU approaches Turkey. Isik University's Grigoriadis argues that if the EU wants to bring Turkey closer, it has to reel the country in slowly. "You can't pull the line too tight, or it will break," he says. Patriarch Of Armenians In Turkey Seeks Support For Turkey's E.U. Bid Anatolian Times, Turkey Dec 24 2006 ISTANBUL - The patriarch of the Armenians in Turkey sought support for the country's European Union aspirations in separate letters he sent to the EU leaders, a bulletin of the patriarchate has said. Mesrob II, the Patriarch of the Armenians in Turkey, urged "maximum effort" to overcome "a critical period" laying ahead before country's EU bid. EU foreign ministers agreed last Monday to partially freeze Turkey's entry talks with the Union in response to Ankara's refusal to open up to trade with Greek Cypriot administration. EU leaders were expected to endorse that decision during a December 14-15 summit. "EU leaders will make a critical decision in Turkey-EU relations, which will have broad consequences," Mesrob II said in his letter. "My concern about this decision is that current unsolved problems could jeopardize the country's membership process and Turkey-EU relations in general," he noted. The patriarch praised country's commitment to the EU membership which he saw as "strengthened" by political and economic reforms. "These reforms have improved the basic rights of Turkish citizens including religious minorities," he added. "This positive process will of course continue," Mesrob II said. Mesrob II also urged EU leaders not to derail membership negotiations by imposing "unilateral" conditions before the country, "without taking into account Turkey's other commitments." "Your leadership is of utmost importance in preventing the European Council from taking a negative decision," he said. "I hope that your strategic vision would mediate putting the process back on track."


Kars-Akhalkalaki-Baku Railway Will Be Constructed 21 December 2006 Regnum Despite the fact that the EU and the US are displeased with the route of the Kars-Akhalkalaki-Baku railway route (because it excludes Armenia) and have refused to help finance the project, plans are still underway for the railway's construction. Armenia is concerned that the railway will further isolate the country stating that the Kars-Akhalkalaki railway construction will hinder development cooperation in the South Caucasus and prevent regional stability. With the help of the Armenian lobby in the EU and the US, both have declined investing funds in the project. The US Congress passed a bill forbidding the U.S. Export-Import Bank from financing the new railway construction in the Caucasus. (http://www.regnum.ru/news/751528.html ). Armenia wants to reopen the Kars-Giurma-Akhalkalaki railway route that isn't functioning due to political problems with Turkey and Azerbaijan. Kars-Akhalkalaki railway construction reportedly will begin in the spring of 2007. Turkey and Azerbaijan were able to find money themselves for financing the project that costs USD 420 million. Azerbaijan will allot USD 150 million for constructing 30 kilometers long part of the railway on the territory of Georgia. Totally Georgia needs USD 220 for the railway construction but Turkey will allot the rest money to the country. Armenian media regards the fact that the railway will be still constructed, as a big failure of the Armenian diplomacy and they are accusing the government of being inactive towards the issue. According to them this failure cannot be neutralized with the successes that the Armenian government has reached in the foreign policy and is proud of it.
2006 Unprecedented For Armenia In Genocide Recognition Process 21 December 2006 Arka The year 2006 has been an unprecedented year in respect of the work aimed at the recognition of the Armenian Genocide, RA Foreign Minister Vardan Oskanyan told a press conference. "The year 2006 has been an exclusive year for Armenia as to its transparency, discussions, workshops and work on the recognition of the Armenian Genocide," he said. Oskanyan also pointed out that the number of countries that recognized the Armenian Genocide increased this year. The Minister avoided making any forecasts for 2007 - whether it will be an effective year or not. He stressed that the recognition of the Armenian Genocide remains an issue on Armenia's foreign-policy agenda. "Armenia will be consistent in getting the Armenian Genocide recognized," the Minister said.
Turkish-Armenian Relations: A Russian Perspective (Sergei Markedonov) 21 December 2006 Research Institute for European and American Studies The issue of the Armenian genocide remains a European headache. However, the issue of admitting Turkey to the EU is usually considered from two aspects: Turkey's ability to accept European values, and the EU's ability to absorb new members and spread European values to them. Experts are analyzing not so much the essence of integration as the timeframe and speed with which Turkey could acquire "European registration." But the European future of Turkey is not limited to the political struggle of Brussels bureaucrats, or discussions of where Europe ends and Asia begins. The "Europeanization" of Turkey is an acute problem of Caucasian geopolitics, which has a direct bearing on the issue of genocide. Firstly, the Europeanization of Turkey is related to the painful aspect of the "big Caucasian game", or relations between Turkey and the "Armenian world", which is not limited to Armenia. Other important parts of this "world" are the self-proclaimed republic of Nagorno-Karabakh and the Armenian diaspora, which seriously influences public opinion in Armenia and many other countries, notably the United States, France and Russia. These parts of the "Armenian world" are divided over the future of Armenian-Turkish relations. During the rule of Levon Ter-Petrosyan, the first president of Armenia (1991-1998), the Yerevan authorities and the diaspora quarreled more than once over the recognition of the 1915 Armenian genocide. Ter-Petrosyan was not ready to soften his attitude to the tragedy in the name of better relations with his country's western neighbor. Although Armenia's second president, Robert Kocharyan, is pursuing a harsher policy towards Turkey, Yerevan has withdrawn its territorial claims against it. But not all parts of the "Armenian world" are prepared to regard the issue of genocide without territorial claims, restitution, or compensation for the property lost during the 1915 tragedy. Tigran Martirosyan, a prominent Armenian political analyst, said: "The current demands of the Armenian people [part of the "Armenian world"] regarding Western Armenia [modern Turkey] are based on the international requirement on clearing up the consequences of genocide. This norm proceeds from the statutes of international [military] tribunals, UN General Assembly resolutions, and the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide [adopted on December 9, 1948 and enforced on January 12, 1951]." Secondly, Turkey's accession to the EU should outline the post-conflict settlement in the Caucasus and the region's development as a whole. The decision will also bear on Russia's presence in the South Caucasus. Apparently, the main problem in relations between Turkey and Armenia (and the "Armenian world") is the recognition of the Armenian genocide in 1915. Many people regard Turkey's interpretation of the 1915 tragedy as a genocide (not a civil war, massacre, or deportation of Armenians, as modern Turkish historians prefer to write about it) as proof of Turkey's "Europeanization". But Turkish historians and political experts on the Armenian problem have other arguments. Professor Halil Berktay said: "This is a very serious issue, and it represents a mistake on the part of Turkey, which seems unable to make a decision on its political and legal attitude to the Ottoman Empire. Turkey has not fully accepted the fact that it freed itself from Ottoman rule and created a modern republic in its place. This is a very serious contradiction. The republic is not responsible for those events." "The Turkish Republic can say that it was established in 1923, whereas the Armenian tragedy took place in 1915," the professor said. "The army and state institutions of the Turkish Republic are not responsible for those events. The Turkish Republic is a new state. From a legal point of view, it is not the successor to the Ottoman government or the reformist Young Turks of the Ittihad ve Terakki (Unity and Progress) party." Other Turkish researchers of Armenian-Turkish relations call for cleansing the 1915 problem of political complications and "leaving the issue to historians." But many Turkish academics, officials and politicians regard statements like the one made by Professor Berktay as excessively liberal. Taner Akcam, the first Turkish historian to describe the 1915 tragedy as a genocide, is currently a professor at a U.S.university. Turkey could make a point of "bidding farewell to its past," using the "liberal" historians' idea that the republic is not a legal successor to the previous regimes to denounce the "Ottoman past" that made the Armenian genocide possible (the absence of legal succession has been a key ideological precept of the Turkish Republic since the rule of its founder, Kemal Ataturk). Moreover, Ankara could accept the gesture of Yerevan, which has abandoned its territorial claims to Western Armenia, now part of Turkey. It could solve the problem by acknowledging the 1915 Armenian genocide. The point is to separate the territorial problem (and restitution) from the request for accepting responsibility for the Armenian genocide. One might think that Turkey's admission to the European Union would make the territorial claims of the "Armenian world" history, since the EU is categorically against territorial re-divisions even in the name of "historical justice." But the situation is not that simple. The Turkey of Kemal Ataturk, which rejects the heritage of the "anti-popular Ottoman regime," is mostly pursuing an old foreign and domestic policy. I am referring to its policy regarding Cyprus, relations with Greece, Bulgaria, Armenia and the former-Yugoslav territory, and its attitude towards ethnic minorities (the Kurd issue). Throughout the 20th century Turkey cleverly played on contradictions between great powers to strengthen its position in the world. During Kemal Ataturk's revolution, the Turks smartly used contradictions between Soviet Russia and the Entente. During the Cold War, they used the left-wing threat in Greece and Cyprus to solve the Cyprus problem in their favor. This is why Armenia and the "Armenian world" are concerned about the European future of Turkey, which has fully used NATO resources disregarding the high standards of "European security." We can also assume that Turkey will use EU resources to advance its foreign policy ambitions. No country has yet been excluded from the EU. Will Turkey, if it engages in unacceptable behavior, become the first outlaw? And if it is, what foreign policy strategy will the authorities in Ankara adopt? As an EU member, Turkey will use its European "privileges," notably the cover of "European interference," to pursue an active policy in the Caucasus. Acting not so much on behalf of united Europe, as in the pursuit of its self-serving goals, Turkey will use democratic rhetoric to try to minimize Russia's "imperial" influence in the region. Unlike other members of NATO and the EU, Turkey has its own national interests in the Caucasus. Just as in 1918-1920, Azerbaijan has become Turkey's main partner in the South Caucasus. Turkey recognized Azerbaijan's independence on December 16, 1991, and helped it during the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict. In 1993, it closed the border with Armenia but, unlike in 1918-1920, stopped short of a full-scale military intervention. In 1994, Azerbaijani President Geidar Aliyev spoke in the Grand National Assembly of Turkey about strategic relations. In the 1990s, Turkey acted as Azerbaijan's agent in NATO and other international organizations. Military cooperation is a major part of Azerbaijani-Turkish relations. Since 1996, Turkish military advisers have been working in Azerbaijan, and the Azerbaijani military has been trained in Turkey. Turkey has been energetically promoting relations with Georgia since the early 1990s, despite such minor political differences as the Abkhazian problem and the repatriation of Meskhetian Turks. In 1998, the Georgian Defense Ministry and the Turkish General Staff signed a memorandum of understanding on military cooperation, which provides for Turkey's assistance in the training of Georgian officers. The two countries are also promoting transportation and communications. Turkey may turn the Armenian genocide into an element of political bargaining. As a strategic partner of Azerbaijan, Turkey will most likely do this, pledging to accept responsibility for the crime of a genocide if pressure is put on Armenia over Nagorno-Karabakh. It may encourage the EU to pressure Armenia into forcing the self-proclaimed Karabakh republic to accept abstract and far-fetched peace plans of international structures. On the other hand, Turkey may suggest "an exchange of confessions" between Turkey, Azerbaijan and Armenia. On March 26, 1998, Azerbaijani President Geidar Aliyev issued a decree "On the Azerbaijani Genocide." March 31 was declared the Day of the Azerbaijani Genocide. The decree mentioned the "dismembering" of the Azerbaijani nation, the "re-division of historical [Azerbaijani] territory" and the "occupation" of Azerbaijan as a result of the Golestan (1813) and Turkmanchai (1828) peace treaties that ended two Russo-Persian wars. The Russian Empire, the Soviet Union, Armenia and the Armenian nation have been accused of the Azerbaijani genocide. Turkey may presumably pledge to assume responsibility for the Armenian genocide if Armenia accepts responsibility for the Azerbaijani genocide. If Yerevan rejects the offer (which it will most certainly do), Turkey would redirect the EU wrath from itself to Armenia. In short, the Europeanization of Turkey, which may be positive to a degree, would also create problems for Armenia and the "Armenian world". Turkey may devise all kinds of unacceptable conditions for admitting responsibility for the 1915 Armenian genocide. As for Europe, the advocates of integration, acting in accordance with the principle of political correctness and for the noble purpose of bringing an Asian country into the lap of European democracy, may sacrifice the interests of Armenians, just as they sacrificed the interests of Serbs in Croatia and Kosovo, and of Greeks in Cyprus.
No Armenian To Take Part In Re-Opening Of Aghtamar Church If It Takes Place On April 24, Mesrop Mustafian States 21 Dec 2006 Noyan Tapan ISTANBUL,ARMENIANS TODAY. Archbishop Mesrop Mutafian, the Armenian Patriarch of Turkey, responded the statement made by Turkish Minister of Culture Atilla Goc on the previous day, according to which "the reconstructed Aghtamar church must be opened on April 24." The Patriarch mentioned that it is nothing else but to speculate people's pains for a political purpose, even, to mock. In his words, opening of the recostructed church on that day will completely liquidate the positive influence of the opening. "The weak relations between the two countries will be done more damage than they were done by the decision made by the French Parliament, Turkey will be criticized on the international scene with the accusation of impudence. Such an approach towards the Armenians' pains is as wrong, as the ones using the genocide as a source for profit are wrong. I can say at the moment that no Armenian, including me, will take part in the opening of the church," Patriarch Mutafian said, adding that such an impudent attitude towards another's suffering is not admissible either from religious viewpoint or from the viewpoint of conscience. Patriarch Mutafian also expressed perplexity on the occasion of turning "Ani" place name into "An." "The issue that Armenians are native inhabitants of Anatolia is a reality which may not be renounced. Though names of some cities, regions, monuments having a historic value can be changed in the way they change names of cities and villages, but it is a blame against the heritage of the world history, insult against the historic heritage. Such a change of names means self-deception, and it puts our country and our scientists into a funny situation. The Ani ruins are a historic heritage left for our country, and I want to believe that Turkey, with outline of state ripeness, would not want to be engaged in such a wrong policy of changing the names," the Armenian Patriarch of Turkey said.
Bush's nominee for envoy to Armenia fails to win Senate approval December 21, 2006 Armenian groups plan to block any ambassador to Yerevan who fails to recognize Armenian genocide ÜMİT ENGINSOY WASHINGTON - Turkish Daily News The U.S. Senate has effectively declined to approve Richard Hoagland, President George W. Bush's pick for ambassador to Yerevan, who has been condemned by U.S. Armenian groups for refusing to characterize last century's Armenian killings in the Ottoman Empire as genocide. This embarrassment for the Bush administration came at a time when the Armenian groups, buoyed by a Democratic victory in last month's congressional elections, are gearing up for a major effort to push for a change in U.S. policy on the genocide issue next year. The outgoing Congress completed its term in recent days, and the administration's efforts to win Hoagland's confirmation in the Senate failed after a pro-Armenian senator refused to lift his hold on the ambassador-designate. As a result, the new Senate that will take office when Congress opens on Jan. 4 will have to deal with the problem. But as nominations that were not approved during the previous legislative term now become defunct, the process to appoint an ambassador to Yerevan will have to restart from scratch. Bush may re-nominate Hoagland or select a new ambassador-designate. But in any case, U.S. Armenian leaders have made clear that they and their backers in the Senate are determined to block any "genocide denier" as U.S. envoy to Armenia. Analysts view the blocking of Hoagland' as a major success for the Armenians. "Just a few days ago, the Senate returned Dick Hoagland's nomination to the president, marking the refusal of Congress to let an Armenian genocide denier represent America in Yerevan," boasted Ken Hachikian, chairman of the Armenian National Committee of America, a leading U.S. Armenian organization. The ordeal began in May when Bush fired U.S. Ambassador to Armenia Robert Evans, who qualified the Armenian killings as genocide in violation of Washington's official policy. Armenians blasted the move. Bush then nominated Hoagland to replace Evans. But the Armenian groups launched a campaign against Hoagland's approval after he declined to endorse the g-word at his confirmation hearing at the Senate's Foreign Relations Committee in June. The committee approved him in a vote two months later. But then Sen. Robert Menendez, a pro-Armenian New Jersey Democrat, put a hold on Hoagland's nomination. Under U.S. law, all senior government officials, including ambassadors, must win Senate approval, and any senator can block nominations indefinitely. But such moves are rare because they put dissenting senators under intense pressure. The State Department had hoped that Menendez would lift his hold after the Nov. 7 congressional elections, but he did not. As a result, Hoagland's nomination was unable to come to a Senate floor vote before Congress closed. Pro-Armenian lawmakers also are planning to introduce fresh resolutions early next year calling for genocide recognition in both the Senate and the House of Representatives. Out of concern for a potential collapse of relations with Turkey, Bush's Republican administration has never classified the Armenian killings as genocide, to the dismay of U.S. Armenians. However, the new Congress' Democratic-led composition and the next House and Senate leaderships are sympathetic to the Armenian cause. In an example, new House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said before the November elections that she would support efforts for genocide recognition. "The Armenian lobby has never been this strong, and they're aware of it," said one analyst here. "On the one hand they will aggressively seek congressional recognition of the Armenian genocide, and on the other they will push for a compromise from the Bush administration on the ambassador issue." Armenian groups have made it clear that they will press for the passage of at least one genocide recognition resolution in Congress before April 24, designated by U.S. presidents as the day of remembrance of the Armenian killings.
Open-close December 20, 2006 Gündüz Aktan Acting in line with the recommendation made by the European Commission, the Dec.15 EU summit suspended talks with Turkey on eight chapters. Thus the accession process has been slowed down. Meanwhile, EU officials and the EU press have said that the EU should not close the door to Turkey altogether on the grounds that that could bring the reform process in Turkey to a halt. What they really mean when they talk about reforms is that in Turkey the military should be subordinated to the civilian authority more extensively, that “minority rights,” that is, “collective rights for Kurds” should be granted, that Christians' religious rights should be expanded and that Article 301 of the Turkish Penal Code (TCK) should be amended so that it will no longer bar “free debates on the Armenian genocide.” Obviously, the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government is to continue with the accession talks under these circumstances. In other words, we will have accepted the punishment meted out to us for the alleged crime of not fulfilling our “commitments” under the Additional Protocol regarding “Cyprus.” Since it is not likely that the Cyprus problem will be resolved under the U.N. by the deadline imposed on us, that is, by the end of 2009, we will, on that date, once again be faced with the “obligation” to open up our ports and airports to the Greek Cypriots unilaterally. In other words, the crisis is merely being postponed until the end of 2009. This is typical of the approach with which our relations with the EU have been managed since the mid-1970s. Especially since 1981, when Greece became an EU member, we have not been able to hold Association Council meetings due to Greek obstructions. And we have not been able to actually get the financial aid earmarked for us. When we applied for full membership in 1987, that too met with similar obstacles. In the 1990s, the Greek Cypriots applied for EU membership as the representative of the whole of Cyprus. Despite the objections raised by the Turks, the EU accepted the Greek Cypriot application in 1993. With the customs union decision taken in 1995, the EU said that if the Cyprus problem remained unsolved until 1998 it would start accession talks with the Greek Cypriots. And it did exactly that when the time came. The current Turkish government, together with the Turkish Cypriots, has done everything imaginable to solve the Cyprus problem during the process of Turkey's EU candidature. Despite all that, the Greek Cypriots have become an EU member and the Turks have been left out in the cold. The EU's Dec. 17, 2004 decision amounted to offering Turkey a limited, conditional kind of membership. We accepted it. The Oct. 3, 2005 document drawing up the framework for the accession talks contained a number of “innovated” obstacles that had not been raised in the case of any other candidate country. We accepted them. And now we are faced with a punishment that amounts almost to an insult. And yet we are enduring that as well. We have reached this point by pursuing, at every step, a policy of “Let's just overcome this hurdle; we'll see afterwards.” We have paid a high cost for that policy. For example, we have fulfilled our commitments although we have not received financial aid from the EU. Also, we became the first country to enter into a customs union with the EU without being a member. We gritted our teeth and endured that policy during the association relationship, but it would be very difficult to implement the same policy during the accession process as well. EU membership is the kind of goal that covers all areas of life, a goal that sucks the entire energy of Turkish society. Such a goal cannot be attained when the EU fails to display the determined political will to make Turkey a member. The EU lacks that political will primarily because of the European prejudices against Turkey. All the other objective causes are of a secondary nature, merely bolstering that basic original cause. Those EU countries that object to Turkish membership display the typical symptoms of a pathological prejudice. In France, for example, the society and its ruling elite simply shift onto Turkey the “bad” aspects they deem unworthy of French society. Having failed to integrate the Muslims living in France into French society, they have come to hate them. Rather than admitting that, they transfer that hate to the Turks and say that the Turks hate and persecute the Kurds. They transform the genocide they committed themselves into the genocide the Turks are supposed to have committed against the Armenians. When you project your own unwanted unconscious parts onto a target group, you do not want that group to be like you. You would not want it to become integrated with you. If they made Turkey an EU member, admitting it into their ranks, they would unconsciously fear that the bad aspects they have shifted onto the Turks would return to them with the entry of the Turks, destroying the EU identity. Remember the remarks made by former French President Valery Giscard d'Estaing and Cardinal Ratzinger to that effect. For this reason they ignore certain facts: Turkey has taken the French Revolution as a model for itself. There are similarities between the Turkish Republic and the French Republic. And the two countries attach a similar importance to the principle of secularism. Yet, ignoring all these, the French tend to think that Turks would not be able to achieve those lofty goals the way the French people could. On the other hand, France would not want to distance Turkey too much, having turned this country into a receptacle into which to dump France's own unwanted characteristics. Turkey is expected to stand by somewhere close enough for France to dump the bad characteristics the French, like other societies, generate. For this reason the door is neither fully open nor fully closed to Turkey. Just like the soul of the dead man in Kipling's famous poem, “Tomlinson,” Turkey is trapped in the vast cold zone between heaven and hell.
Intricate bargaining over railway, gas in Saakashvili visit December 21, 2006 ANKARA - Turkish Daily News Intense and intricate bargaining over the Kars-Javakheti (Ahılkelek)-Tbilisi-Baku railway project and Georgia's desire to meet most of its 2007 gas needs from the Shah Deniz field has taken place during Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili's two-day stay in Ankara. Turkey wanted to sign a memorandum of understanding with Georgia for the implementation of the railway project, but Georgia was reserved, demanding concrete written commitment from Azerbaijan confirming it would provide appropriate financing for the project, sources said. The U.S. House of Representatives earlier this month approved an amendment to block the Export-Import Bank of the United States from financing the railway corridor linking Turkey, Georgia and Azerbaijan. The 258-kilometer project did not warrant U.S. support because it bypasses Armenia, with pro-Armenian U.S. congressmen calling the project an economic blockade against the Caucasus nation. But Turkey shrugged off the U.S. decision and vowed to go on with the project. The sharing of natural gas from a massive Caspian Sea field was the second issue of bargaining between Turkish and Georgian officials, sources said. Negotiators from Turkey, Georgia and Azerbaijan have been wrangling over how to divide quotas for gas from the Shah Deniz field in the Caspian, which is expected eventually to have a peak capacity of 8.4 billion cubic meters (bcm) of gas and 2 million tons of gas condensate per year. Turkey has agreed to give up some of its share of gas to the two countries, which are eager to avoid importing expensive Russian gas. But the terms of a deal have not yet been hammered out. Two bargains have been made, but ultimately no document has yet been signed between Turkey and Georgia. A preferential trade agreement on Tuesday has been the only document sealed so far by Saakashvili and Turkish President Ahmet Necdet Sezer. Saakashvili had talks yesterday with Parliament speaker Bülent Arınç and inaugurated the new Georgian Embassy building. He is expected to travel to Istanbul for a meeting with Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan today.
Armenia bans Turkish foodstuffs imports www.regnum.ru Foodstuffs imported into Armenia should be subjected to obligatory marking in Armenia, head of the Standardization and Compliance of the Trade and Economic Development Ministry Robert Dayan announced at a news conference on December 21. According to him, since January 1, 44 groups of foodstuffs are subjected to obligatory marking in Armenian, the rest types of foodstuffs will undergo such procedure since July 1. The country producer, date of produce and ingredients should be typed on the package or labels of goods. Robert Dayan noted that traders were informed about the obligatory marking and goods, particularly, seed-oil from Greece, eggs from Iran are already being imported with necessary marking. The goods that have been already imported and have no marking in Armenian will be sold freely until their expiration date. The official noted that many foodstuffs imported from Turkey do not meet Armenian standards and, taking into consideration that the question cannot be settled because of absence of diplomatic relations with the country, Turkish foodstuffs imports were banned. All imported goods should be certified, but Turkish foodstuffs are not. “Turkish food sold in Armenian markets are smuggled,” Robert Dayan said.
Wilson Releases Condolence Message For Shaw Turkish Daily News, Turkey Diplomacy Newsline Dec 19 2006 U.S. Ambassador to Turkey Ross Wilson on Monday released a message of condolence on the death of Professor Stanford J. Shaw, who passed away over the weekend at the age of 76. Expressing his "profound sadness" in a written message, Wilson described Shaw as "a great academic leader and a major figure in the U.S.-Turkish partnership." "His academic work strengthened our understanding of the Ottoman Empire and the Republic of Turkey, while his ideas and commitment will live on through the generations of students he educated in America and Turkey," Wilson said while extending his condolences to Shaw's family, friends and colleagues. Shaw was a renowned historian who challenged Armenian claims of genocide at the hands of the Ottomans and provided evidence of Turkey's aiding and protecting Jews before and during World War II. He was a professor of Turkish history at Bilkent University in Ankara and at UCLA as well as the founder of the International Journal of Middle East Studies, published by the Cambridge University Press for the Middle East Studies Association.
Turks And Armenians Are Not Only Peoples, Which Are Separated By Genocide Issue PanARMENIAN.Net 19.12.2006 Turkish professor of History Taner Akcam of Minnesota University delivered his lecture at University of Amsterdam December 18. It was devoted to his latest book 'A shameful act'. Previous to the lecture the participants to this event, among who many members of Turkish and Armenian community, watched Dutch documentary by Dorothe Forma, called "A wall of silence" featuring the meeting of Taner Akcam with Armenian historian Vahakn Dadrian. The Lecture was very impressive, said Inge Drost, the Public Relations officer of the Federation of Armenian Organizations in Netherlands to PanARMENIAN.Net reporter. "The historian presented his work in Armenian scientific documents, Ottoman archives, Istanbul tribunals as well as research into the German archives. After Akcam's speech many Turks stood up to protest rather then ask questions, but he peacefully and effectively managed to at the same time give clear response as to pacify by stressing by utterances like that "we have to learn to talk," said Drost. She also stressed that Taner Akcam underlined that the Armenian and Turks are not the only two peoples in the world that have problems with each other and that there are ways to solve those and that those processes need time and efforts.
EU Could Use Armenian Genocide Against Turkey Selcuk Gultasli, Brussels December 18, 2006 zaman.com Intensified efforts to make Turkey recognize an Armenian genocide during World War I have fallen on the European Union and Turkey’s membership process. The Armenian Revolutionary Federation says Turkey should be made to recognize the genocide before it can become an EU member. Kiro Manoyan, the director of the organization, said the EU had used Greece and Cyprus against Turkey and the time for Armenia would come as well. According to the PanArmenian agency, Manoyan said the Armenian issue would eventually become an instrument for the European Union and urged all Armenians to be ready for such a development. The genocide issue and the Armenian lobby have a significant impact on some EU countries. France and Holland, two countries seemingly against Turkey in the EU, have made the matter an internal one. A bill making it a crime to deny the existence of an Armenian genocide passed in the French parliament on Oct. 12. The bill awaits approval from the Senate and President Jacques Chirac, through probably will not pass. On Oct. 22, three Turkish electoral candidates in Holland were removed from their party lists for denying the genocide.
Armenian group: Europe can use us against Turkey's EU bid A group of Armenians are calling on Europe to use the nation as an instrument against Turkey's European Union membership bid, a pan-Armenian website reported on Monday. According to the site, Hay Dat (the Armenian Cause Committee of America) head Kiro Manoyan said in a statement that Europe used Greece and Greek Cyprus as an instrument against Turkey's EU bid in the past and added, "We must understand that we can become an instrument in the EU's hands against Turkey. Armenia's turn will come, and we must be ready for it." Stressing that Turkey should implement reforms for its negotiations on EU membership, Manoyan also urged Ankara to acknowledge the Armenian genocide claims of 1915. "The demand to acknowledge the Armenian 'genocide' comes from the Armenian diaspora, not from official Yerevan," he added. ABHaber 19.12.2006 thenewanatolian.com
Working towards mutual understanding between Turkey and Armenia December 18, 2006 Sylvia Tiryaki Given the balance of power in the Caucasus, keeping Turkey's EU accession process firmly on track is quite significant for Armenia. It was also the main impression I gained during a Turkish Economic and Social Studies Foundation (TESEV) fact-finding visit to Yerevan last week. Unfortunately, this dimension of Armenian-Turkish relations was the least discussed topic -- if discussed at all -- in the meetings with the representatives of Armenian civil society, media and even government circles. The discussions centered primarily on issues related to their borders, the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and the tragic events of the early 20th century. Neither the natural selection of themes nor their differences in meaning for participants from the two sides were any surprise. However, it also became clear during the visit that the importance of some of the focal disputes from the recent past has already faded with time. The border between Turkey and Armenia for instance… It has been closed since 1993, but until very recently the debate was not focused on the hermetic character of the frontier but rather on the fact that the Armenians didn't recognize its very existence. As we learned, at least one of the Armenian TV stations broadcasts the weather in Eastern Turkey under the heading “Western Armenia.” The border was delimited by the Treaty of Kars, concluded between and ratified by the Socialist Soviet Republics of Azerbaijan, Armenia and Georgia for the one part and Turkey for the other, with the participation of the Russian Socialist Federative Soviet Republic, in 1921 and 1922 respectively. For quite some, time there has been a passionate debate over whether Armenia was bound by the provisions of this treaty or not. Nevertheless, overall respect for borders delineated by international treaties these days seems to prevail in Armenian society. Foreign Minister Vartan Oskanian articulated the same view when he stated in an interview earlier this month that according to his understanding Armenia, as a successor of the Soviet Union, recognizes all treaties concluded by its predecessor, including the Treaty of Kars. Well, be that as it may, Armenia doesn't need to officially recognize or reject the existence of the border and, in fact, there is fairly little point in engaging in this kind of argument. A principle of international law of automatic succession to boundaries by a successor state, regardless of the boundaries being fixed by a treaty or an application of rules of customary law, as well as Armenia's membership in a number of international organizations makes any other ideas about this issue obsolete. Thus, objectively speaking, the list of disputed issues between Armenia and Turkey can be said to be one fewer. Now the burning issue for the Armenians is to have the border -- closed as a result of Turkey's retaliatory stance with respect to the ignition of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict -- opened. On the other hand, Turkey is concerned about the increasingly aggressive propaganda for the international recognition of Armenian “genocide.” All this is underlined by the more and more globally important discourse on the accessibility of energy resources. Besides, for Armenia, having neighboring Turkey stable is yet another essential. It is no secret that Turkey's EU accession process contributes to the predictable conditions in the country. It should be then in the Armenian interest that the negotiations continue smoothly. However, using Turkey's accession talks as leverage for getting an Armenian national cause internationally recognized certainly wouldn't be of any help in that direction. Dictates don't talk, they create only more hostility. What is needed is a mutual transformation towards a better understanding of each other's positions. As any transformation is hardly possible without communication, perhaps it is the right time for civil society initiatives.
Thibaux to Become Turkish Citizen to Protest France December 17, 2006 zaman.com French Historian Jean Michel Thibaux, who has decided to become a Turkish citizen, visited Turkey’s tourism and culture Paris office. Thibaux, whose book “Princess of Lights” has been published in Turkey, gave a copy to Turkish cultural consultant Serpil Varol as a gift. “I protest the petty politics of the French concerning the Armenians. My home will be Turkey if I am accepted,” Thibaux said. Reacting to the Armenian genocide bill approved in the French parliament, Thibaux accepted an academic position offered by Akdeniz University and declared he would be a Turkish citizen. Thibaux is delivering a conference on “The First Crusade and The Clash of Religions” on Dec. 22 at Akdeniz campus.

Turkey's EU bid debated at the Orientalism Symposium December 11, 2006 ISTANBUL - Turkish Daily News The two-days “International Orientalism Symposium” in Istanbul wrapped up yesterday with a range of scholars offering their views on topics such as Turkey's European Union bid, post-orientalism, Ottoman modernization, postcolonial theory, secularism, and the relation between civilizations. Istanbul, the meeting point of the East and the West, seemed the most appropriate place to discuss the issue. The symposium, organized by Istanbul Greater Municipality, was conducted in Cemal Reşit Rey Congress Hall. Nearly 900 people followed the debates, which especially focused on Turkey's membership bid to the European Union. Yesterday's sessions generally focused on Islam, and observing some harsh criticism of Edward Said was interesting, as the symposium was organized in memory of the renowned Palestinian-American thinker, whose most important work is seen as “Orientalism”. The criticism was based on the claim that “it is not possible to understand the East, without understanding Islam”, and Said was “trying to secularize Islam”. Turkey's modernization criticised: The highlight of Saturday's session was Prof. Dr. Gayatri C. Spivak's speech, in which he defined orientalism as “the project of the West, to control the East”. Spivak, a Columbia University professor of Indian origin, added that today orientalism is not capable to achieve this aim, thus the West is hard pressed to control the East. Spivak, pointing out a new tendency in Europe, the tendency to reproduce the image of the East, continued: “They reproduce you in their own understanding: First apologize, according to the Christian culture, and then reestablish. Such is the case of the Armenian genocide; a case rebuilt according to the political agenda of the ‘other'.” Spivak lashed intense criticism at Turkey's modernization process also, and claimed that Turkey has been stripped of its history. The symposium, brought together intellectuals who have done extensive research on orientalism. Hasan Hanafi, Reine Lewis, Pervez Manzoor and Boby S. Sayyid were among the foreign speakers; while from Turkey Şerif Mardin, İlber Ortaylı, Jale Parla, Fuat Keyman, Turgut Cansever and Korkut Tuna were among the participants.
Notes From Yerevan About Time And Cyprus 11 December 2006 Turkish Daily News I didn't want to write about Armenia today. I wanted to spare all impressions from the Turkish Economic and Social Studies Foundation's (TESEV) fact-finding visit to this country for next week's article. For today's session I have already had enough food for thought and my mind was very much preoccupied with the new development in the Eastern Mediterranean. The only missing part was the morning-news update -- and it has remained as such. Before I had a chance to gain more first hand information about Armenia and the life of the incredibly nice and warm people residing here, I was struck by the Internet network failure covering the entire state. I was told that though people are discontent with such accidents, these happen quite often and it was unlikely to get any better in the next 24 hours. Well, yes, I couldn't get my daily portion of information but I gained a lot of time that I otherwise would have spent reading. In fact, neither anything less nor anything more has happened. Since this was the only blatant outcome of the situation, I felt tempted to conclude that a blind obedience to the unspoken dictum of our society the sooner the better is desperately counterproductive and that there is no meaning in getting the world to turn faster. But then again there was this reality of Cyprus, a reality which I have encountered hundreds of times in the last few weeks and which has also become a weird emblem of Turkey's EU negotiations. Cyprus and the exhausting Cyprus problem were everywhere, urgently asking for a swift solution. What a pity that the ever-present maxim about the fast performance has not been accommodated yet for its settlement. But at least a fresh breeze has been brought to its most complicated part, to the field of property rights. The European Court of Human Rights didn't let us wait too long for the ruling in the Xenides-Arestis v. Turkey case and it announced its judgment on Dec. 7, possibly even a bit ahead of schedule. The European court brought greater solidity and security into the lives of the Greek Cypriots who either have applied or have planned to apply to the Immovable Property Commission set up on the Turkish side of Cyprus. The commission as a new compensation and restitution mechanism for the property claims of Greek Cypriots was established in its present form last December, according to the European court's requirements. Since its inception, a considerable number of Greek Cypriots have sought a remedy for their lost properties through this institution and their numbers are increasing. The court in its decision on March 14, 2005 and in its judgment of Dec. 22, 2005 asked for the establishment of a domestic remedy which could be used as an effective redress for Greek Cypriot property claims; but it was not until Dec. 7, 2006 before it broke a one-year long silence and regarded the commission as sufficiently effective. This, in practical terms, means that even though the court held Turkey responsible in the Xenides-Arestis case for pecuniary and non-pecuniary damages, all similar cases pending before the European court should be directed to the Property Commission at first, with the right to appeal to the High Administrative Court of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (KKTC) as the second instance. Nevertheless, this is not the end of the story. The world is not spinning so fast and people have to wait not only in Armenia. There is still a right to appeal to the verdict of the European court and waiting for more predictable conditions in Cyprus might seem endless. However, it is worth waiting, since a rightly balanced final judgment of the court can be a functional harbinger of the comprehensive settlement… Rwanda: France And The Rwandan Genocide - Let Us Learn From Past Experiences 12 December 2006 All Africa If one were to ask me today about the debate that is currently taking place between Rwanda and France, my answer probably would be that I am not terribly surprised. What France is trying to do is what Belgium, Britain, or the U.S.A might do tomorrow and blame African leaders and African peoples as the cause of their own problems. The premise of this is that history is not a thing of yesterday but a thing of today and of tomorrow. This is the reason why we often hear it said that people who do not learn from history live to repeat the same mistakes tomorrow. In many instances when Europeans are found to be party to the principle of genocide in other countries, supposedly third world, they have managed to get away without sanctions and blame almost every single time. This means that they commit atrocities with impunity in other countries and are not held to any account for it, if the recent past in African history is any yardstick. The question that needs to be asked is this: why have such practices been allowed by people of good will of the world to continue? The mistake of our past leaders and even some of our present leaders is that they have failed to deal with the colonial education curriculum once and for all. As long as we do not deal seriously and sufficiently with this eurocentric poison we will always be faced with this problem from France and its Sister/Brother Countries. I do not want people to get me wrong when I use the phase eurocentric poison. What I am saying here is the reality that we have to deal with the eurocentric perspectives that have been the cornerstone of our curriculum if we are to succeed in establishing real independent nation states that are free from any kind of neo-colonialism. This requires a new kind of education for the new generation of African children who must not first of all learn about the history of Europe before they learn about their own history, and who must be schooled in Afrocentric educational perspective as the cornerstone of a new education for the new African who will be prepared to fight his or her own battles. In spite of this argument for an African-centered education, it is imperative for me to stay focused on the topic of relations between Rwanda and France. In the words of Amilcar Cabral, it is long overdue for the Rwandan Government to return to the source of its strength, the people and African-centered philosophy. Had the Rwandan government dealt with the issue of France and its Brother/Sister Countries after the victory of the war we would not be in this situation now. It could be argued that in the aftermath of the genocide this approach would not have worked in favour of the new government. However, it is my understanding that it would have worked. The problem, I believe, is that the history between us and the coloniser is an open chapter only because the so-called education they provided us has destroyed us to a point that we do not even feel it. Our history from the turn of the century up to 1959, 1973 and other events that have gone unrecorded in our different communities all these years should have been our guiding light to shield us from unseen events. For justice to take root in Rwanda today, it should not begin with the events of 1994. If it were real justice and not justice in name only, it is imperative that the Germans, Belgians, The Vatican, the United Nations of that time (The League of Nations) and the United Nation of 1994, should be held responsible for their actions or inaction and pay the consequences for such acts of commission or omission. I am well aware that what I am talking about is a view that is not acceptable to some modern day African Intellectuals - in this case I am speaking of Rwanda intellectuals elites who still have connection to their former masters and African intellectuals as a whole. As discussed in recent days by Brother Tajudeen in Pan Africa Post Card in Pambazuka Magazine, Nov 30 and Dec 07 or in New Vision on November 30, 2007, followed by Brother David Kabuye's piece in The New Times December 6, and that of Mzee Kaguta in the same publication, their view point which I happen to share tells us that there is need for a new approach to this old problem. All of this indicates to us that there is the need to look into the problem we are faced with ourselves and seek answers from within rather than look for excuses from else where. I do commend the recent work of the Government of Rwanda in inquiring the involvement of France in the 1994 Genocide. My view is that this practice should not be limited to France alone but to all institutions and Governments within Rwanda during 1994 and outside Rwanda; in this case Belgium, the Vatican, and even from Cameroon to Quebec and Daytona, of which have become resting centres for individuals who at one time were members of the Interahamwe or supported it. It is an approach that defies easy execution but which is achievable through a clearly-defined foreign policy supported by the Rwandan people. It should not be problematic unless the elites are not willing to pay the price for such a rigorous policy that defines causes and solutions in terms of the past and the present. Only such long-range solutions have the best chance of bringing to an end a tumultuous past that has been in part the making of actors of yesteryear and actors of yesterday. I will end by saying that our struggles will achieve desirable objectives with no debt to anyone other than to ourselves and our willingness to seek just and lasting solutions. God willing, in future, I will get back to the issue of education in Africa and the need for change in focus and practice.
Etyen Mahcupyan: Official Line To Normalize Armenia-Turkey Relations Faced Deadlock 12 December 2006 Panarmenian Cooperation between non-governmental organizations and opposition forces will have a positive impact on the development of the Armenia-Turkey bilateral relations, said Etyen Mahcupyan, head of TESEV Democratization program and columnist at Zaman newspaper. In his words, development of democracy in Armenia and Turkey may become a stimulus for the development of bilateral relations. He also underscored that the official line to normalize the Armenian-Turkey relations has reached a deadlock and development of relations between non-governmental organizations appears as an alternative. Formation of a civic society is essential for the development of Armenia and Turkey, he considers
Famous Turkish Historian Ties Hopes for Solution in Eastern World to Ottomans December 12, 2006 zaman.com Professor Ilber Ortayli is a historian who never shies away from sharing his profound knowledge of history with those around him in a self-confident and comfortable manner. He thinks that getting to know the Ottoman Empire, which he describes as “the last real global empire in the world,” is not so easy. Getting to know the Ottoman Empire entails being knowledgeable about all other big civilizations on Earth, he says. Prof. Ortayli’s talks on the political events, institutions, and the important figures of the Ottomans and their relations with other states were published. The book is called “Rediscovering the Ottoman State.” A sequel to this book has been recently published by Timas Publishing House under the name of, “The Last Empire: Ottomans.” While reading the master historian’s latest work, from the last sultan Abdulhamid II, to Sultan Mehmed II the Conqueror, the Tulip Age, the Harem, Ottoman neighborhoods and cemeteries, printing houses and libraries, westernization, orientalism, the cities of Bursa and Edirne, relations with Russia and Europe; one realizes the endless horizon of the last empire in the world. “The roots of the problems the Eastern world is suffering from date back to Ottoman times. Hopes for lasting solutions lie in the Ottoman period. Being an Ottoman is the culture of partnership without a definite source. It is a historic period that carried the deserts of Aleppo to the Balkans; the architectural style of the Balkans to the East; Persian to Serbian; Greek to Arabian… While walking around the Terazija Square in Belgrade, capital of Serbia, if you ask the time to anyone, they would say, “…. je saat”, which is exactly the word used in Turkish to mean the same thing. Gentlemen in Egypt still address one another today as ‘Efendim,’ also used in current Turkish to mean the same thing, whereas the root of the word, ‘Efendi,’ comes from the middle period of the Greek language.”
Armenian group criticizes EU decision on Turkey December 13, 2006 ANKARA - TDN with AP An Armenian pressure group criticized the European Union yesterday for basing its decision not to open eight out of the 35 negotiating chapters with Turkey only on a dispute over Cyprus. It complained the EU ignored human rights issues and the controversy over the World War I-era killings of Armenians at the hands of the Ottoman Empire. “The silence of the [EU] member countries on other Turkish violations is a lapse that seriously endangers European integration,” said a statement from the European Armenian Federation for Justice and Democracy. EU foreign ministers on Monday agreed not to open membership talks with Turkey in a number of areas ranging from fisheries to external relations in response to Ankara's failure to open its ports and airports to traffic under the customs union protocol it signed with the bloc. Although the decision was a blow to Turkey's EU membership aspirations, the Brussels-based Armenian lobby group said it did not go far enough. It said the EU should have also punished Turkey for human rights violations, the mistreatment of minorities, a blockade of Armenia's border and a refusal to recognize the 1915-1919 killings of Armenians as genocide. “The member states' decision has added to the existing confusion in relations with Turkey,” said the group's president, Hilda Tchoboian.
Can we go on in our EU bid despite Europe? December 13, 2006 Yusuf KANLI Turkey's EU bid has become more elusive than ever, unless the Cyprus problem is somehow resolved. Will that be enough? Well, from that moment on we may have the Armenian issue, perhaps the Kurdish matter and who knows what else to keep on complicating our EU process. Subscriptions to news agency packages or news channels have become a fact of life for news people as well as those who want to be informed of domestic and international developments as they evolve. On Monday evening we were at a dinner hosted by the Turkish Daily News in the honor of departing Russian Ambassador Piotr Stegniy and his wife, Margarita Stegniy, attended by the senior newspeople of Ankara along with Foreign Ministry spokesman Namık Tan and his spouse. Naturally, everyone's attention was on what news would come from Brussels, where the EU General Affairs Council (the meeting of its foreign ministers) was meeting to decide what sanctions should be imposed on Turkey to punish Ankara's failure to conform with the pledges it made to open its ports and airports to Greek Cyprus. Though it is normally customary to turn off mobiles at such occasions, most of the guests of the evening were newsmen, and such a request would not have been followed anyhow. As our mobiles started to beep to notify us of incoming news, Tan vanished from the dinner table. Though he has started preparations to travel to Tel Aviv to become Turkey's new ambassador there, the appointment decree was not yet out and he was still the spokesman of the Foreign Ministry. For the rest of the night, Tan continued partly with us and partly trying to answer calls from other reporters trying to figure out Ankara's first reaction to the EU's partial suspension decision, which for the first time established a resolution on Cyprus as a criterion for the Turkish accession process. Was it a consolation to see the EU ministers admitting that the bloc had failed to live up to its pledges towards the Turkish Cypriot people and that at the January General Affairs Council meeting a proposal to allow trade to and from northern Cyprus would probably be discussed? Unfortunately not. Since the first beep of our mobiles informing us of the failure of Turkey's last-minute offer -- to open a port and an airport for Greek Cypriots unconditionally, but with the expectation that the EU would support Cyprus peacemaking under U.N. auspices, prod a settlement on the island within 2007 and allow opening of Ercan airport in northern Cyprus to international flights -- we unfortunately found Greek Cypriots even less enthusiastic to engage in any sort of meaningful talks. Turkey's EU process and the entire EU has been held hostage by the Greek Cypriot administration. If talks on eight of the 35 chapters Turkey is required to complete before it can qualify for accession -- which is not guaranteed -- are suspended and if the remaining chapters can only be closed if Turkey opens its ports and airports to Greek Cypriots -- which will be tantamount to its recognition -- why would President Tassos Papadopoulos or his future successors agree to sharing sovereignty and the Cyprus state with the Turkish Cypriot people? Is there any logic in such an expectation? It could be argued that the ministers' decision is not final until the EU leaders approve it at their Dec. 14-15 meeting. It might be defended that Turkey may unveil what Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has been talking about as a “Plan C” and may get a better decision from the leaders' summit meeting. Of course Turkey must do everything possible to avoid Cyprus becoming an official criterion for the continuation of the accession process. But, in view of the fact that the EU did not refrain from snubbing Prime Minister Erdoğan by stating that he would not be invited to the summit meeting, it must be clear to everyone that there is not much hope for any further efforts by Ankara to avoid the unpleasant and worrisome situation we are currently facing in our EU bid. The end result is a big fiasco for the Erdoğan government. Despite the last-minute offer that contradicted all the fundamental principles of Turkey's established Cyprus policy and which has already opened a huge rift between the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) government and the entire conservative establishment, the government has failed to score that “golden goal” into the EU's net. Rather, it seems they have put the ball in the back of their own goal. It was consoling to see the prime minister upset yesterday with the EU decision but determined to continue the reform process in the country. He was perfectly right in describing the EU move as “unfair.” Furthermore, Foreign Minister Abdullah Gül was correct in blasting the EU as “lacking vision.” Yes, this decision fails to reflect the level that Turkish-EU relations have reached, contradicts the objective of full membership that this country determined with the EU, and fails to recognize Turkey's importance from a global perspective. Thus, because of the absence of such a vision, problems like Cyprus have been allowed to damage Turkey-EU ties… And, so what? Let's be frank. The Turkish government has been playing this game on the wrong platform since Dec. 17, 2004, when it agreed to getting a date for the start of talks in exchange for opening its ports and airports to Greek Cyprus. Now we have come to the end of the line. Of course we will and must continue the reform process, but at the same time we have to understand that our EU bid has become more elusive than ever, unless the Cyprus problem is somehow resolved. Will that be enough? Well, from that moment on we may have the Armenian issue, perhaps the Kurdish matter and who knows what else to keep on complicating our EU process. Was not this “a long and winding road” anyhow? Can we continue it despite Europe?
US Support for Student Exchange Disappoints Greek Cypriots Selcuk Gultasli, Brussels December 14, 2006 zaman.com The Greek Cypriot administration, while trying hard in Brussels to sabotage Turkey’s EU bid, also launched a campaign in San Diego to deepen the isolation of Turkish Cypriots. The Greek lobby, which had initiated a campaign to cancel the student exchange program between the University of California-San Diego (UCSD) and the Eastern Mediterranean University (EMU) in Turkish Cyprus, lost round one, but seems determined to continue its efforts. Following extensive pressure from the Greek Cypriot embassy and the Greek lobby, UCSD initiated an investigation into the exchange program, but at a Dec. 6 meeting decided to continue the program. However, a separate meeting will be convened in late January to finalize the decision. While the Greek lobby was seeking the support of two U.S. Democratic senators to freeze the program, U.S. State Department Deputy Undersecretary Matt Bryza stepped in to back the student exchange program. Bryza’s letter to UCSD reportedly affected the university’s decision to continue the program. Despite the heavy influence of the Armenian-backed Greek lobby, both the United States and university administrations favored the continuation of the initiative. Bryza Sent Two Letters The Greek Cypriot administration has been surreptitiously working in the United States to bring the education system in Turkish Cyprus to a halt. As part of the exchange program initiated between UCSD and EMU, 26 students visited Turkish Cyprus last year. At the investigation meeting on Dec. 6, those students volunteered to testify, and expressed their support for the continuation of the program. Bryza sent two separate letters to UCSD where he stated his support for the program. In the letters, Bryza also noted that they supported the lift of the isolation imposed on Turkish Cyprus to unite the island. Recalling that the U.S. administration invited a number of journalists and academics from Turkish Cyprus every year, Byrza also stressed that participation in those programs was vital from their perspective. Byrza further praised EMU and underlined that visiting Turkish Cyprus was not illegal.
Armenian Patriarch Urges Eu Leaders Not To Derail Talks With Turkey The New Anatolian / Ankara 15 December 2006 Armenian Patriarch Mesrob II has urged the European Union not to take decisions during its current summit that would derail the negotiation process with Turkey, in a letter sent to EU queens, kings, presidents, prime ministers and foreign ministers. In his letter sent on Wednesday, Mesrob II noted that the founder of the Turkish Republic, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, urged the country to turn to Europe and stated that the Turkish people also made their choice long ago to follow the path of political and economic modernization. The letter, which was sent to Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom, stressed that the EU is going to take a decision at the two-day summit that will have crucial significance in terms of Turkish-EU relations and the impact of this decision will be felt in a much wider context. "The EU should not take decisions that would derail the negotiation process with Turkey through pressuring the country to fulfill unilateral conditions, while ignoring other obligations," it said. Underlining that Turkey's accession process is of first and foremost importance for the Turkish people, Mesrob II said, "The commitment of Turkey to be a member of the EU has encouraged the political and economic reforms in our country. The comprehensive reforms that have been carried out in recent years are also described by outside observers as a silent revolution. These have tremendously improved the fundamental rights of all Turkish citizens, including its religious minorities, and will certainly continue to do so." Mesrob II also stated that Turkey's accession process is significant for the future of Europe, since one of the major consequences of the accession process will be a modern and economically prosperous Turkey, which is to the benefit of the EU and a wider region. He urged the Union to handle this critical period with a sense of utmost responsibility. "Your leadership at this moment will be important in preventing a negative decision being taken by the European Council. It is my sincere hope that your strategic vision will be instrumental to put the process back on the right track," the Armenian patriarch said in his concluding words.
A Politics Of Myth Seda Muradyan Open Democracy, UK Dec 12 2006 As women in Armenia renew efforts to secure their role in politics, Seda Muradyan examines the challenges they confront, from flowers in place of debate, to systemic corruption. Twenty-two parties recently signed a document making proposals for Armenia's electoral code, to broaden women's access to politics. It suggests a 25 percent quota for women in party lists, up from the current provision of only 3 percent. But the chances of any real change emerging may be slim, given lack of support from two of the largest factions in government. Women make up more than 65 percent of the literate population with higher education. Yet they face an uphill struggle to achieve political influence. Armenia ranks among the lowest countries in the world for women's representation in parliament, with a participation rate of only 5 percent. In local government, this figure is below 2 percent. Seven of the National Assembly's 131 members are women, while one minister and three deputy ministers are female. So why is women's intellectual potential neglected in state management? Women engaged in the public sphere divide the underlying reasons into myths and realities. Seda Muradyan is Armenia country director for the Institute of War and Peace Reporting (IWPR) Myth or reality? "It is cultural: politics is a man's business" One of the commonest explanations for women's exclusion says politics is a man's business and Armenian women more frequently see themselves as housewives, mothers and wives. Alvard Petrosyan, of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (a ruling coalition member) does not think this is a myth. "Armenian women love ruling the country or the family from behind their husbands' backs. Might it be true that it is important to maintain a womanly image? I keep this in mind even when I am at the National Assembly... I frequently hold back and think: 'let these men speak out here'. In cases where I become extremely active, I don't show it off, and the reason is in the nature of Armenian women." However, she is confident that for the country to develop harmoniously both sexes should be equally represented at the National Assembly. In contrast, Hranush Kharatyan, head of the agency for ethnic minorities, says "frequently we become 'cultural conservatives', although our culture has no traditions of opposing women's activities". No matter how much women in Armenia might dispute cultural factors, the moral-psychological atmosphere dictates certain attitudes towards women politicians. In 2005, Gagik Beglaryan won the Kentron community local administration election over his rival Ruzan Khachatryan, the only female candidate for the post. Throughout the campaign Gagik Beglaryan presented his female rival with bunches of flowers instead of holding ideological debates with her. On 8 March 2004, some five hundred women marched to the presidential residence to demand the ousting of the incumbent authorities. The president claimed, "those women either have no families or lack family warmth". (Ruzan Khachatryan disputes this crude equation. "There are women in Armenia who are actively involved in social and political work, but it does not keep them back from being caring mothers and loving wives.") Meanwhile, a 2006 Gallup survey measuring pre-election tendencies revealed that, presented with a choice, Armenian voters would give preference to male candidates. Only 6 percent of voters were ready to vote for women against 64 percent support for male candidates. Political analyst Aghasi Yenokyan believes that men's predominance stems from social factors, and that women's inclusion remains a mere cosmetic measure from parties. "Women have not traditionally been engaged in politics in Armenia. It is not perceived as a matter of their daily activities. They are still not formed as a social group that could demand and get benefits." So is there a desire and understanding for women's participation in politics? Khosrov Harutyunyan, chairman of the Christian-Democratic Party of Armenia, regrets he can't see such demand, though he strongly believes that many things - from tolerance to corruption - would radically change if women played a decisive political role. Yet he is confident that women's suppression by men is not the problem. He too attributes women's lack of participation to social attitudes. But scratch the surface, and the reality may be more fluid than the myth. Armenia's national UNIFEM program coordinator Ilona Ter-Minasyan refutes the idea that the Armenian mentality is an obstacle. "There have been many other things that our mentality once lacked. But we are already seeing change in some spheres despite the fact only a short period of time has elapsed. We can't say our mentality in five hundred years will be the same as it was three hundred years ago. We can influence our mentality, to change aspects of it, and we must do so. We need to realise the necessity and orient ourselves to the country's development." Myth: "Women are unwilling to go into politics" That women are unwilling to go into politics is one of the most irritating stereotypes for politically active Armenian women. Women politicians are confident that they are "simply not allowed to come close to politics". Eighteen women ran for seats in the National Assembly during the 2003 parliamentary election in Armenia. Only one was elected. "Today the deputies in the National Assembly are mostly those who have gained property in the course of the time and their aim is to keep that property. They will hardly make way to others. That is why they need a myth about the unwillingness of the women to go into politics," says Jemma Hasratyan, chair of the Association of Women with University Education. Some experts think that the view that women are to some extent unready to be engaged in politics relates to women's lack of political experience rather than inadequate knowledge or education. Ruzan Khachatryan is confident there is quite a big number of politically active women, but they are not allowed to enter the field because the opponents exploit 'dirty political mechanisms' like the use of force, violence and fraud. She says this is why women do not want to be engaged in politics, despite their suitability. Realities Once myths are dispensed with, the underlying realities become clearer. The political and economic spheres are adjusted to suit male managers, such that women are more likely to bend to the system than to struggle against it. Women require the backing of a political party to enter politics, and cannot take part independently. The highest positions they can hope to achieve are head of an agency, advisor or deputy minister - not positions that would allow them to reform the system. "A woman moving in this milieu needs to adopt the laws and the rules. The environment does not create the conditions for a woman to manifest her other qualities," says Ilona Ter-Minasyan. And the system is frequently corrupt. A recent survey by Transparency International showed that 62.9 percent of the Armenian population thinks corruption has grown in the last three years. Amalia Kostanyan of Transparency International is confident that the system in Armenia is "corrupt from top to toe". Women politicians think a certain percentage of representation would help them avoid obeying the rules of the game set by men, in terms of corruption, and prevent them falling victim to the system. Will quotas solve the problem? International organisations promote women's increased participation in politics, in the hope of building democracy (a key requirement in a recently adopted action plan for greater cooperation with the European Union, for example). But their efforts have so far been successful only in the non-governmental sector, where women play a major role. Analysts believe the overall situation will remain unchanged unless women are artificially included in politics, with steps on the state level to promote women's entrance into the political arena. UN expert Dubravka Simonovich thinks the implementation of quotas is an effective mechanism to redress the balance, while specifying that it is not "a sign of discrimination towards men, because convention provides for quotas to promote women's participation in big politics". "A parliament that does not represent the interests of the half of the population is not representative. It's not an aim in itself, but the balanced representation of men and women provides the opportunity to consider problems raised by both men and women," says Jemma Hasratyan. Nevertheless, many believe legislation alone will not solve the problem: attitudes also need to change. Both opposition and pro-governmental parties accept the need for more women in the National Assembly. Yet they agree the attempt to artificially increase their number will not be very productive. At the parliamentary election 2003 it was decided that 5 percent of the party lists would be allotted to women. Because the position of women on the lists was not specified, men immediately took advantage, says Hermine Naghdalyan, elected on the Republican Party list. Women were included to meet legal requirements, but their names were set in the lowest places. To escape such disappointment in future the introduction of quotas needs to be accompanied by a relevant work with the political parties, says Ilona Ter-Minasyan. Women's names should be set in every fourth place in the list, and women should not be included simply for being women, but so they are engaged in the development of human and intellectual resources. Foreign experience shows the quantity gradually turns into a quality. Looking ahead: election 2007 Parliamentary elections in May 2007 will be another test of Armenian democracy. Armenia has failed its previous tests. It is too early to forecast the results this time, but the unofficial campaigns already launched do not inspire much hope. The Republican Party of Armenia, the largest coalitional political force in Armenia, has chosen to target young people by engaging them in various events and organising concerts by Russian pop stars for them. Gagik Tsarukyan of the Prosperous Armenia Party pays young people's tuition fees, distributes potatoes and seeds, and organises activities for rural villagers. Despite the prohibition of business activities by politicians, many members of the National Assembly of Armenia don't bother concealing their violations, and their entrepreneurial endeavours enable them to spend large amounts of money gaining voters' hearts. These unofficial campaigns tend to replace intellectual and policy competition, and distort the democratic process, since such "benevolence" - which is not within the responsibilities or the salaries of National Assembly members - generally amounts to bribery. Such methods add to the obstacles women face, as they are less able to raise funds for campaigns. So perhaps democracy itself will be the force that properly enables women's participation. "The artificial involvement of women in politics will not make the country democratic. If the country becomes democratic, women's inclusion in politics will grow without special efforts," says National Assembly member Shavarsh Kocharyan. In any case, it seems the two will need to go hand in hand. Lena Badeyan of the A1+ TV Company also contributed to this article.
'Armenian Genocide: Facts Of Turkish Archives' Anahit Hovsepian AZG Armenian Daily 15/12/2006 Taner Akcam, professor of Minnesota University, will deliver a lecture in English titled "Armenian Genocide: Facts of Turkish Archives" at the university of Amsterdam at 8 pm on December 18. Prior to the lecture, the 57-minute documentary "The Wall of Silence: Taboo About the Armenians' Fate" produced by the Humanist Broadcasting in 1997 and featuring Akcam will be shown. Akcam's last book "A Shameful Act: Armenian Genocide and the Issue of Turkish Responsibility" will be published in Dutch at the Nieuw Amsterdam publishing house in 2007. The event is organized by CREA-Studim Generale in cooperation with Humanist Broadcast and the Center for Holocaust and Genocide Study.
Argentina's Senate Endorses Bill On Armenian Genocide Dec 14 2006 YEREVAN, DECEMBER 14, ARMENPRESS: The Senate of Argentina has endorsed a bill passed earlier by its parliament designating April 24 as the Day of Tolerance and Respect Among Nations. The date- April 24-was chosen in memory of the Armenian Genocide. The bill had been approved by the lower house by a vote of 175 to 2 on November 29. The Armenian National Committee of South America said the bill will be sent to the approval of the president of the country. Turkish foreign ministry condemned the approval of this resolution, saying in a statement that 'Argentina's move did not comply with historical facts and spirit of bilateral relations between Turkey and Argentina."
New Armenian Lobbying Organization Founded In Usa PanARMENIAN.Net 14.12.2006 Gerard Cafesjian, an U.S. philanthropist and businessman of Armenian descent, has set up a new lobbying organization - U.S.-Armenia Public Affairs Committee (USAPAC). The group will be run by Ross Vartian. The main goal of the organization is to "complement" the existing Armenian-American advocacy groups and match their considerable influence in Washington. Vartian, insisted that the USAPAC is not a splinter group. "Our primary purpose is to add to the community of the Armenian lobby in a unique and collaborative way and make the Armenian lobby stronger in Washington," he told. Following traditions in Jewish lobbying groups, the organization will become one more link for forwarding the Armenian issues in the power structures of the USA. In his words, USAPAC will concentrate on countering the impact of Azerbaijani oil on U.S. policy towards Armenia and pressing Washington to take a pro-Armenian stance on the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. He said the Armenian Genocide recognition will also be on the USAPAC agenda but indicated that the new group will favor a softer line on Turkey's membership in the European Union. "What concerns Turkey's EU bid and the issues of the Armenian Genocide, we think that Ankara must do all the commitments for EU membership and join to the European Union. As a fully mature member of the EU, Turkey would be a much more friendly neighbor of Armenia. And the issue of the Armenian Genocide is always in our agenda," said Vartian, RFL Radio Liberty reports.

Mensur Akgun: Armenia Is Better Than Turkey For Eu 08 December 2006 APA Though Turkey has offered to open a port and an airport, it was possible for Greeks to accept this offer. Because, according to their view point, their recognition by Turkey side is more important than opening the port and airports,” the executive director of Turkey economic and Social Studies Foundation, one of the main specialists of Turkey in EU told the APA Turkey bureau. He said that Greeks tries to rescue from the restriction of Annan plan. Greeks consider that they will be able to make Turkey adopt it in the period when EU membership process continues. Turkey is fair to settle this problem in the frame of EU. But Greece part of Cyprus insists to solve this problem in the frame of EU. “ Mensur Akgun also said that he does not believe that Turkey will step back on Cyprus problem. “The problem will be settled in the frame of UN. The problem will continue if EU does not lift the isolation policy applied to Northern Cyprus republic. I do not believe that Turkey will step back, though EU delays some issues in the discussions with Turkey,” he said. Mensur Akgun stressed that Cyprus problem does not detain Turkey’s EU membership. “Turkey will not be the member of EU early than 10 years. That is why EU can discuss the issues concerning Turkey’s membership,” he said. Saying that Karabakh and Cyprus conflicts are alike, Akgun stressed that UN resolutions on both conflicts did not find its settlement. “Security Council has several resolutions concerning Nagorno Karabakh conflict. No-one, even EU does not put pressure on Armenia for execution of the resolutions. It has two reasons. First, Armenia is not a country willing to be member of EU, second, EU has special sympathy to Armenia. No-one can deny that Armenia is better than us for EU,” he said.
Joseph Knollenberg: Before Entering Eu Turkey Must Respect Armenia 08 December 2006 Panarmenian “Turkey must fulfill its commitments and gain economic, political and regional progress for entering EU,” yesterday in the House of Representatives stated Joseph Knollenberg, the Co-Chair of Congressional Caucus on Armenian Issues. In his words, it is a well-known fact that the regional policy of Turkey causes strain in the South Caucasus region and unfairly harms the welfare of their neighbor country, Armenia. “The European Union has repeatedly called for the Turkish Blockade of Armenia to cease as well as normalization of relations between the countries. These two pre-conditions to entering the EU have been blatantly ignored by Turkey. The blockade, now in its thirteenth year, is the only blockade of a fellow Council of Europe state, and is simply unacceptable. I implore the EU to stand firm in their recommendations to Turkey in order to ensure these unfair economic practices are eliminated,” Knollenberg said. In his words, Armenia is a friend of the United States; “they are a friend to many countries throughout the world. Yet, Turkey refuses to see the good Armenia brings to the South Caucasus region. This refusal has led to fierce tension within the region, as well as unjust economic outcomes that only harm Armenia. Before Turkey can become a member of the European Union, they must first acknowledge their mistakes, foster cooperation in the South Caucasus region, and respect their neighbor, Armenia.” “I encourage the European Parliament to consider the ramifications of Turkey's actions before granting them membership to the EU. The purpose of the European Union is to create cooperation between nations with similar interests. Turkey, with a history of bullying nations does not belong in this membership until they change their ways,” stated Joseph Knollenberg, the Co-Chair of Congressional Caucus on Armenian Issues.
Çelik tells Turks in France: Learn French, counter genocide claims December 8, 2006 ANKARA - Turkish Daily News Education Minister Hüseyin Çelik complained yesterday that the Turks in France were not strong and unable to counter the claims of the alleged genocide of Armenians at the hands of the Ottoman Empire because they cannot speak French. “In history we missed the target achieved by Europe, we always fell behind,” Çelik was quoted as saying by the NTV news channel, apparently referring to the importance of speaking a foreign language in today's globalizing world. “If we are to stand up to injustice made by France, we need to speak French,” he added. Çelik also said he received demands from the public that French should be excluded from the Turkish schools' curricula after the adoption by the French National Assembly of a bill criminalizing any denial of the alleged Armenian genocide. “If the Turks living in France could speak French well, we could have defended ourselves in the face of genocide allegations,” he added. In October, the French National Assembly infuriated Turkey by backing the bill, which requires the approval of the French Senate and the president to become law. 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 and known to a champion of liberties, of straining free speech with the bill it adopted. The Turkish Parliament also slammed the bill by releasing a joint declaration signed by all parties in the legislative body and said the bill was motivated by calculations of domestic political gain.
Orhan Pamuk Says ‘No Comment’ to Armenian Question December 07, 2006 zaman.com Speaking to the press on the Nobel Prize in Sweden, Turkish novelist Orhan Pamuk avoided commenting on the Armenian issue. Pamuk came to Sweden to receive his Nobel Prize in Literature with his daughter Ruya and stayed at the Grand Hotel. Pamuk made a press statement at Norstedts Publishing, which published Pamuk’s books in Sweden. Over 100 media members from all over the world followed the press conference. Reporters asked questions to Pamuk, who was very excited about the prize. A journalist reminded Pamuk of his controversial remarks on the alleged Armenian genocide. When asked about his views on the issue, Pamuk was reluctant to discuss politics and simply said, “no comment.” Before coming to Sweden, Pamuk had said he would focus on global issues, not just Turkey. Pamuk will deliver his Nobel speech on Thursday and receive his prize on Sunday. The laureate said he would return to Istanbul as soon as he received the prize.
Nobel winner Pamuk pessimistic about Turkish-EU relations The Associated Press / Stockholm 07 December 2006 Nobel Prize in Literature winner Orhan Pamuk on Wednesday said he was "sad" about the current state of relations between the European Union and his native Turkey. Pamuk, who was in Stockholm to collect his 10 million kronor ($1.4 million) award on Sunday, said Turkish membership in the EU would be beneficial to both sides, but added he was pessimistic about the prospects. "It's a subject that makes me sad these days," said Pamuk, whose life and works illustrate the struggle to find a balance between East and West. "And that's the most critical comment I can make these days." "If Turkey joined the EU, it's good for EU," Pamuk told reporters, saying the union would become more multicultural. "And it's good for Turkish democracy." The 54-year-old writer tried to stay clear of politics and dodged questions about the Armenian genocide claims, an issue that saw him charged with insulting his country last year. "It's an intense question. I don't want to go into it in the last three minutes," Pamuk said near the end of a news conference at a Stockholm publishing house. Pamuk, author of novels such as "Snow" and "My Name is Red," was tried after a group of ultra-nationalist lawyers accused him of "insulting Turkishness" for telling a Swiss newspaper that "30,000 Kurds and one million Armenians were killed in these lands, and nobody but me dares to talk about it." The charges against Pamuk were dropped in January.
Nobel winner Pamuk 'sad' about EU-Turkey relations December 7, 2006 LOUISE NORDSTROM STOCKHOLM - The AP Nobel Prize in Literature winner Orhan Pamuk on Wednesday said he was “sad” about the current state of relations between the European Union and his native Turkey. Pamuk, who was in Stockholm to collect his 10 million kronor ($1.4 million) award on Sunday, said Turkish membership in the EU would be beneficial to both sides, but added he was pessimistic about the prospects. “It's a subject that makes me sad these days,” said Pamuk, whose life and works illustrate the struggle to find a balance between East and West. “And that's the most critical comment I can make these days.” Last week, the EU's executive arm, the commission, recommended that the bloc not open accession talks with Turkey on eight of the 35 negotiating chapters because of Turkey's refusal to open its ports and airports to traffic from Greek Cyprus. “If Turkey joined the EU, it's good for EU,” Pamuk told reporters, saying the union would become more multicultural. “And it's good for Turkish democracy.” The 54-year-old writer tried to stay clear of politics and dodged questions about killing of Armenians during World War I, an issue that saw him charged with insulting his country last year. “It's an intense question. I don't want to go into it in the last three minutes,” Pamuk said near the end of a news conference at a Stockholm publishing house. Pamuk, author of novels such as “Snow” and “My Name is Red,” was tried after a group of ultranationalist lawyers accused him of “insulting Turkishness” for telling a Swiss newspaper that “30,000 Kurds and 1 million Armenians were killed in these lands, and nobody but me dares to talk about it.” The charges against Pamuk were dropped in January. The controversy came at a particularly sensitive time for the overwhelmingly Muslim country, which had recently begun EU membership talks. If Turkey joined the 25-nation bloc “it would set an example that there is no clash between civilizations, but harmony,” Pamuk said in the Swedish capital. “But in the last two years, this enthusiasm is fading away.” In pronouncing the Istanbul-born writer the winner of its prestigious prize in October, the Swedish Academy said Pamuk “in the quest for the melancholic soul of his native city has discovered new symbols for the clash and interlacing of cultures.” The announcement drew a mixed reaction in his homeland. Turkish nationalists professed shame at the selection of a man who speaks of the oppression of Armenians and Kurds, while many writers called it a historic moment for their rich literary tradition. Pamuk is to receive his honor from Sweden's King Carl XVI Gustaf at Sunday's Nobel Prize ceremony, which is followed by a lavish banquet at Stockholm's City Hall.
Pamuk's Nobel prize: New Swedish delight December 7, 2006 KRISTEN STEVENS ISTANBUL - Turkish Daily News Swedish readers have embraced Orhan Pamuk's books, as illustrated by his image being splashed across billboards, posters and advertisements in Stockholm, where the author will give his Nobel Prize acceptance speech this evening. The Scandinavian member of the European Union has a different way of embracing the Nobel laureate than his compatriots -- and a higher proportion of Swedes are in favor of Turkey's EU bid than the than Turks themselves, something Pamuk is expected to address tonight. With more than 60 percent of Swedes in favor of Turkey joining the EU, his prize and sudden popularity have given Swedes plenty of opportunity to discuss his work as well as the political situation of Turks, Swedish television reporter Gustav Fridolin said in a telephone interview from Stockholm. Since Pamuk's award was announced, Fridolin said, Swedish discussion forums have focused on the author in connection with such topics as Turkey's entrance into the EU, Turkish communities living in Sweden and Europe and challenges to freedom of speech in Turkey. As anticipation surrounding the ceremony grows, today's eagerly awaited speech has been the subject of much speculation in Turkey and abroad. It is widely expected that Pamuk will strike a similar tone to that of his acceptance speech at the Frankfurt Book Fair's presentation of its internationally prestigious award. Pamuk said that, after centuries of war and conflict, “…I cannot imagine a Turkey without a European prospect, I cannot believe in a Europe without a Turkish prospect.” In a recent interview with Milliyet's Yasemin Çongar in New York, where Pamuk was a visiting professor at Columbia University, he said he planned to share a story about his father, Gündüz Pamuk, in his Nobel acceptance speech. “My father always wanted to be a writer,” Pamuk said, adding that before his father's death, he had left him a suitcase filled with photographs and poems. During the speech he plans to “open the suitcase and tell [others] about the old tradition” which he said has never left him while he writes. While the buzz of the Turkish and international press probably came as no surprise to the famous author upon arriving in Stockholm on Tuesday, accompanied by his daughter Rüya, he might have been shocked to find his portrait plastered across town from train and bus stations to cafes and bookshops. His image was not just used to advertise his own books: One Swedish Web site featured the tagline, “Pamuk for president.” Swedes seem to have nothing but good feelings toward Mr. Pamuk, said Maria Schottenius, reporter for Dagens Nyheter. “I believe he is more controversial in Turkey than in Sweden,” she said. Pamuk, author of novels such as “Snow” and “My Name is Red,” was tried in his homeland after a group of ultranationalist lawyers accused him of “insulting Turkishness” for comments on the Armenian issue. He said, “30,000 Kurds and 1 million Armenians died in these lands, but nobody dares to talk about it except me,” in a newspaper interview. The charges against Pamuk were dropped in January. Today speaking at a press conference upon landing in Stockholm, he avoided the Armenian issue, which is one of the most divisive and emotional in Turkey. Schottenius commented that she and other Swedish readers of Pamuk's work think he is working to show the contrasts between the Oriental and Occidental cultures.“His way of writing feels a bit Oriental,” she said. “He's not telling a story with a beginning a middle and an end, he's rather painting a story as an ornamental piece of art.” Turkish Ambassador to Sweden Necip Egüz has organized two luncheons in Pamuk's honor, with a large turnout of Swedish Parliament members along with representatives of the government, academia and the press expected to attend. In Sweden interest in Pamuk is huge, Egüz told the Turkish Daily News on Wednesday. “Pamuk's books have been increasingly visible in Swedish bookshops during the last two years,” he said. “When I went for a walk over the weekend with my wife, people who recognized that I'm the Turkish ambassador congratulated me.” Each year the queen and king of Sweden organize an exclusive dinner attended by Sweden's prime minister and the chairman of the Parliament, held on the day after the award ceremony. For the first time in 105 years, Turkish representatives, the ambassador and his wife, have been invited to attend the dinner. On Sunday Pamuk will accept the prize at the Nobel award ceremony, where world dignitaries will be in attendance and “regal” is the dress code. Following the festivities, Pamuk will pack the prize and a check for $1.4 million up in his suitcase and head home for Turkey carrying a new tradition for himself and his country.
Silence In Turkey's Genocide Controversy Matthew McAllester AZG Armenian Daily 07/12/2006 ISTANBUL, Turkey - Mesrob II, the Armenian Patriarch of Istanbul and all Turkey, was silent for a second. He just had been asked by a reporter whether he acknowledged that the Armenian genocide happened. "Uhhhh," he said, "I acknowledge that people were killed." He was silent again. "Many people lost their lives." More uneasy silence followed. This from a man whose paternal grandfather was the only one of six ethnic Armenian brothers to make it back to Istanbul after being, as he put it, "deported to the Syrian desert" in 1915. They were among more than a million ethnic Armenians who suffered a similar fate at the hands of Ottoman Turks: They were rounded up, deported to concentration camps and, for the most part, killed. "So severe has been the treatment that careful estimates place the number of survivors at only 15 percent of those originally deported," the U.S. consul in Aleppo wrote to the State Department in 1915 in a dispatch quoted in a recent article in The New Yorker magazine. "On this basis the number surviving even this far being less than 150,000... there seems to have been about 1,000,000 persons lost up to this date." What Mesrob II, who will meet the visiting Pope Benedict XVI today in Istanbul, could not or would not say was that the Turks of the then-Ottoman Empire committed genocide against the Armenians who lived in modern-day Turkey. For the Turkish state, and many Turks, to admit their forebears committed genocide is something they will not even consider, and it makes many Turks extremely angry even to suggest the genocide happened. Authors and journalists, including Nobel Prize winning novelist Orhan Pamuk, were prosecuted for suggesting it took place. But for the 65,000 ethnic Armenians - mostly Orthodox Christians - who live in this country of 70 million Muslims, to speak publicly of genocide would not be just brave, but potentially suicidal. "Probably the state wouldn't do anything directly except make some statement" if Mesrob were to say there was a genocide, said Murat Belge, one of Pamuk's publishers and an organizer of an unprecedented conference last year in Istanbul about the genocide. "Very likely he would be assassinated by some fascists," continued Belge, who was himself prosecuted under a controversial law last year for writing critical articles about a court's ban on the conference. "The Patriarchate would be burned down. A lot of Armenians would be shot in their daily lives." Mesrob, in an interview at the well-guarded Armenian Patriarchate in Istanbul, said many different peoples, governments, political parties and even his own Armenian Patriarchate should share the blame for what happened in 1915. He said he believed the best way for Turks and Armenians to reconcile is for Turkey to open its border with Armenia and for the two countries to encourage exchange visits and other ways of generating mutual sympathy. "It's not a matter of being silent about the issue," he said. "It's a matter of how can you make friends with someone. Do you from the first moment simply confront the person?" If it's not silence, then it's a pragmatic sort of self-censorship. Growing up, Mesrob's father never talked to him about what happened to the previous generation, he said. "I think they didn't want us to be at odds with our Muslim neighbors." That parenting method continues today among the ethnic Armenians in Turkey, Mesrob said. "We don't tell our children about historical problems so they won't face problems." The Turkish government's position on the events of 1915 is that the people who died in the region at the time died as a result of inter-ethnic fighting, disease and hardships caused by war. More than 20 countries have officially recognized the genocide, as have a majority of the 50 states in the United States, including New York. It is long-standing State Department policy not to refer to the events of 1915 as genocide; many critics of this policy see it as a politically expedient way of avoiding alienating a crucial U.S. ally. Most Western historians agree the genocide happened. Last year, the International Association of Genocide Scholars wrote to Turkey's prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, about it, concluding: "We believe that it is clearly in the interest of the Turkish people and their future as a proud and equal participant in international, democratic discourse to acknowledge the responsibility of a previous government for the genocide of the Armenian people, just as the German government and people have done in the case of the Holocaust." Such an acknowledgment will not come easily or quickly - if at all. "Until the 1980s there was a total loss of memory," said a Turkish political power broker who requested anonymity because of the topic's sensitivity. "Nobody talked about this. It was the policy of the omnipotent state not to talk about anything negative." Last year's conference in Istanbul and a growing concern about the issue in Europe - a recent French law makes it a crime to deny the genocide - have moved Turkey slightly closer to coming to terms with its past. "The skeletons are there and they have not vanished," the Turkish power broker said. "Now we are going to open the cupboard." If Turkey is to gain entry to the European Union, it likely will have to acknowledge its actions in 1915 - although Turkey accepting the word "genocide" could forever remain a sticking point. Egemen Bagis, foreign policy adviser to Erdogan, said in an interview that last year Erdogan made an offer to the Armenian president: Both countries would establish an independent investigative commission and open up all countries' archives to establish what happened. "No other politician in Turkey's history has ever said he is ready to face his own history," Bagis said. But when asked whether he recognized that a genocide took place, Bagis responded quickly: "I don't."
Gallup: In World Corruption Rating December 01, 2006 101 countries ranked according to perceptions of corruption in business, government Steve Crabtree and Nicole Naurath GALLUP NEWS SERVICE PRINCETON, NJ -- Endemic corruption is one of the greatest impediments to stability and growth for many poor countries that might otherwise be looking to current international trends -- the spread of information technology, debt forgiveness for developing nations, economic globalization -- with great hope. The uncertainty posed by institutional corruption makes tapping into those trends difficult, curtailing much-needed foreign investment and aid opportunities. But far more costly is the effect corruption has on the residents in these countries: It diminishes their faith in the country's leadership. It reduces their incentive to work hard, making entrepreneurial efforts and civic engagement less likely. Perhaps most fundamentally, it robs them of the sense that they can control their own destinies. With the launch of the Gallup World Poll, respondents in more than 100 nations around the globe are being asked for their opinions in a variety of areas -- but perhaps none is more important than their likelihood to feel corruption is common in their countries. The 2006 Gallup Corruption Index is calculated from the responses in 101 countries to two simple questions: * Is corruption widespread throughout the government in your country? * Is corruption widespread within businesses located in your country? The resulting scores range from 12 in Finland, which is something of a model society in terms of the trust its residents place in their basic institutions, to 94 in the former Soviet republic of Lithuania. The countries included in the 2006 Index are ranked from the lowest score, indicating the population least likely to perceive corruption as widespread, to the highest. Index Scores Related to Leadership Approval, Satisfaction With Freedom Comparing confidence and optimism levels in countries that rank high on the list with those that rank close to the bottom reveals striking differences. Among the top 10 countries on the list, a majority of residents, 55%, say they have confidence in the country's leadership; among the bottom 10 countries the figure is about one-third (32%). Across the top 10 countries, 84% of residents say people in their countries are able to get ahead by working hard; in the bottom 10 countries, that number drops to 58%. There is also a strong connection between Index scores and respondents' sense of their personal freedom. Ninety-two percent of residents in the top 10 countries say they are satisfied with their freedom to choose what to do with their lives, compared with just 65% of those in the bottom 10 countries on the list. Gallup Index Correlates Strongly With Other Corruption Measures To test the validity of the Gallup Corruption Index, the scores were correlated with two widely referenced sources on corruption in business and government: * Transparency International's Corruption Perceptions Index, which compiles surveys with country experts and business leaders * results from three survey questions addressing corruption in the World Economic Forum's Global Competitiveness Index, which includes responses from approximately 11,000 executives in 125 countries In each case, strong correlations (r = .70 or higher) were found. Eight of the top 10 countries in the Gallup Corruption Index also appear in the top 10 of Transparency International's 2006 Index. Gallup's Index, however, is set apart by its consistency. Gallup supervises all the data collection using identical methodological standards. In every country, samples are designed to be representative of the entire population, rather than just urban residents or other subpopulations. Thus, the Gallup Corruption Index represents the true likelihood of residents countrywide to perceive widespread corruption. Survey Methods Results are based on interviews with randomly selected national samples of approximately 1,000 adults who are permanent residents in the 101 nations surveyed in 2005 and 2006. For results based on these samples, one can say with 95% confidence that the maximum error attributable to sampling and other random effects is ±3 percentage points. In addition to sampling error, question wording and practical difficulties in conducting surveys can introduce error or bias into the findings of public opinion polls. The Gallup Corruption Index is calculated using the responses to two questions: * Is corruption widespread throughout the government in your country? * Is corruption widespread within businesses located in your country? Scores are derived from the ratio of affirmative to negative responses (with "don't know" responses or refusals removed from the analysis). Rank Country 1 Finland 2 Denmark New Zealand 4 Singapore 5 Saudi Arabia 6 United Kingdom Norway Switzerland 9 Australia 10 Sweden 11 Austria Ireland 13 Uruguay 14 Vietnam 15 Canada 16 Netherlands 17 Belgium 18 Uzbekistan 19 United States Tanzania Chile 22 Madagascar 23 Greece 24 Cyprus Slovenia 26 Jordan France Belarus 29 Iran 30 Japan 31 Venezuela Botswana Georgia 34 Afghanistan 35 Guatemala Malaysia 37 Spain Dominican Republic Estonia 40 Benin Senegal 42 Brazil 43 South Africa Niger South Korea Burkina Faso Bolivia 48 Germany Mexico Mali Mozambique 52 Uganda Zambia Togo 55 Ethiopia El Salvador 57 Bangladesh Costa Rica Colombia 60 Ghana Cambodia Portugal 63 Sri Lanka 64 Turkey India Philippines Honduras Nicaragua 69 Czech Republic Palestine Sierra Leone Argentina Armenia 74 Pakistan Nigeria Angola Paraguay 78 Hungary Kyrgyzstan 80 Nepal Puerto Rico 82 Italy Kenya 84 Israel 85 Indonesia Zimbabwe Peru 88 Moldova Ecuador Latvia Panama Slovakia 93 Morocco Romania Russia Ukraine Cameroon 98 Thailand 99 Lebanon Poland 101 Lithuania
Us House Of Reps Blocks Eximbank Aid For Turkey-Georgia-Azerbaijan Railway 07 December 2006 Today Az The US House of Representatives on Wednesday evening backed a resolution that would bloc the US Eximbank from providing a credit loan for the construction of a railway linking Turkey, Georgia and Azerbaijan. A resolution put forward by Joseph Crowley, a Democrat congressman for New York and a supporter of the Armenian lobby, said the project should not be supported because it did not include Armenia in the plan for the 258 kilometre rail line. This exclusion of Armenia from the project was an illegal economic blockage of that country and would only serve to further undermine stability in the region Crowley said. The resolution was adopted by the House as there was no opposition to the motion. Crowley's office later issued a statement saying that a similar resolution would be tabled before the US Senate. The statement also said that it was planned to have the resolution passed into law by the end of the month
Metro Station In Sao Paolo Called Armenia 07 December 2006 APA Logos “Armenia” are pasted on the majority of the buses in Sao Paolo, Brazil, our compatriot in Sao Paolo told the APA. He said that one of the metro stations in Sao Paolo, the forth largest city in the world, is called Armenia. “We found out that the name Armenia was given to the station as a result of efforts of the Armenian community living here. There are monuments related to Armenia around the station. There was Armenian cultural center near the metro. And we still want to propagandize by brochures and posters,” he said.
Isik Kosaner: Turkey Wil Have No Relations With Armenia Unless The Latter Releases Azerbaijani Territories 07 December 2006 APA Azerbaijani Defense Minister Safar Abiyev received the delegation headed by Turkey Gendarme Forces Commander-in-chief, Army general Ishik Koshaner yesterday, Defense Ministry Press Service told the APA. The minister noted that Turkish Armed Forces played a great role in the development of Azerbaijani Armed Forces. Safar Abiyev and Ishik Koshaner discussed the military-political position in the South Caucasus and Armenia-Azerbaijan conflict. Ishik Koshaner said that Turkey will have no relations with Armenia unless the latter releases Azerbaijani territories.

The Holocaust And Armenian Case: Highligting The Main Differences Ibrahim Kaya 5 December 2006 Turkish Weekly Similarities do not make two things same. However, if two things are so similar they can be grouped in the same category. Common rules would apply to all the things in the same category. Therefore, similarities and abstraction are extremely important not only from academic but also from legal point of view. Surely if the things had nothing in common, or similarities are very low, they are different. Different things do not fall within the same category and are subject to different treatment and rules. With the increasing awareness of the Holocaust around the world, the concept of Holocaust gained currency as a most horrendous crime. Therefore, the charge of Holocaust became a weapon and many have tried to draw some parallels between the Holocaust and their cases.[1] The supporters of the so-called Armenian genocide are no exception, frequently using the term “Armenian Holocaust”. The efforts for drawing some, considerable, parallels between the fates of the European Jews and Armenians of the Ottoman Empire aim to expand the recognition of the 1915 incidents as genocide. Because the Holocaust is the most inhuman treatment of man to man and anything similar, or the same, deserves to be condemned and, consequently, punished. However, the calamity befell upon the Jews is so grave and it is not easy to call every instance of great human losses the Holocaust. Therefore, it is worth noting that Armenian historians tend to distinguish both the Armenian experience and the Holocaust from all other instances of great human losses. If they manage to make the 1915 incidents recognized as Holocaust, first simply to the public and later to the legislatures of various countries, laws of these countries prohibiting even academic criticism of the Holocaust would also apply to the Armenian case. A significant portion of Armenian efforts has been devoted to establishing a linkage between their own historical experiences and those of European Jewry during the World War II. The cornerstone in these efforts has long been the infamous Hitler quote: “Who, after all, speaks today of the extermination of the Armenians?”. The aim is to prove that Hitler was encouraged by the lack of reaction to the fate of the Armenians.[2] As examined in great detail and convincingly proved by Lowry, there is no historical basis for attributing such a statement to Hitler.[3] Yet, a comparative analysis of the Holocaust and Armenian case is worthwhile. The aim of this paper is to examine the Holocaust and 1915 incidents with a view exploring the differences, and of course similarities, between the two. If they have much in common, both deserves to be treated same. If not, the categorization applicable to one would not fit the other one. Firstly brief features of the Holocaust will be given to the attention of the reader. This will be followed by a comparative analysis of the Holocaust and 1915 incidents. Since the author comes from a legal profession, analysis of the legal elements of both incidents will also be emphasized throughout the paper. The sources on the 1915 incidents used in this article will be the sources of Armenian origin and official legal material the authenticity of which cannot be denied. To give a full record of 1915 incidents is clearly out of scope of this work which will only make an attempt to analyze the differences and similarities between the Holocaust and what the Armenians experienced in and around 1915. The Holocaust:[4] Evil for the Evil’s Sake[5] There has been so much cruelty, hatred, and killing in the history of mankind. It is also a fact that various communities have tried to exterminate other communities which were different from theirs in terms of race, ethnicity, religion, language. The most recent examples of this are obviously the Rwanda and former Yugoslavia cases. However, none of previous campaigns is in a position to challenge the uniqueness of the Nazi Holocaust. It is significant not merely because its victims were the Jews. Throughout the history the Jews were made the victims of mass murder campaigns, but none of them was called the Holocaust.[6] The Holocaust is generally regarded as the systematic slaughter of not only 6 million Jews, (two-thirds of the total European Jewish population), the primary victims, but also 5 million others, wiped off the Earth by the Nazis and their collaborators. 11 million people were killed because of racism and hate, all in a period of 11 years between 1933-1945. The most important feature of the Holocaust is, possibly, that it is evil for the evil’s sake. In this respect it differs from all other mass murder incidents. There is no ground upon which the conditions imposed upon the Jews of Europe by the Nazis could be explained. The Jews neither cooperated with Russians against Germany nor stabbed the German army from the back. They even did not form any armed organization to defend themselves, let alone terrorist groups to rebel against the legitimate government of the country where they live. The Holocaust was brought into being because it had meaning to its perpetrators. Anti-Semitism is the key point. It had its roots in the Middle Ages. According to the Christian belief of the Middle Ages, it was the Jews who killed Jesus Christ. Therefore, they were to be hated and punished. Every Jew was individually responsible for this crime and sin. On their way to Jerusalem, the Crusaders slaughtered the ‘infidel’ irrespective whether he was a Muslim or Jew. The Jews were required to live in the ghettos in the Middle Ages of Europe. They were also subject to some discriminative procedures like bearing certain signs and following certain dress code in many places. Thereby the Jews were differenced from the rest of the society, becoming the ‘other’. It is also a fact that with the Enlightenment an amelioration of the situation of the Jews was seen, since the equality of all mankind was a pillar of the Enlightenment. While the Napoleonic armies marched in Europe, the more Jews became free as the equalitarian principles spread. The hard-working and talented Jews became part and often the leading part of the social, cultural, economic, and scientific life of Europe in the end of the nineteenth century. Their success was also partly because of the solidarity among the Jews. On the other hand, the anti-Semitism was not buried, but this time instead of religious intolerance it was grounded on the so-called scientific knowledge. Nazi propaganda identified them as a "race" and an inferior one. To create a powerful nation inferior ones should be eliminated according to the Nazi scientists. The Nazis picked out and specifically targeted the Jews, and they did this from the very beginning -- the Nazi Party Program of February 1920 to the very end Hitler's Testament of April 29, 1945. The Nazis harassed and brutalized the Jews throughout the 1920s during the "struggle for power." Speech after speech painted the Jews as Germany's "misfortune" and prophesied a time of reckoning. The Nazis came to power in 1933 and the Jews were their very first target. The infamous boycott against Jewish businesses took place in April 1933 and the first laws against the Jews were enacted on 7 April 1933. Jews were progressively erased from almost every facet of German life. The Nuremberg Laws, passed in 1935, deprived the Jews of almost every remaining right and freedom. The "Nuremberg Laws" proclaimed Jews second-class citizens. Furthermore one's Jewishness, according to the Nuremberg Laws, was dependent on that of a person's grandparents, not that person's beliefs or identity. More laws passed between 1937 and 1939 exacerbated the problem further: Jews were more and more segregated and life was made much harder. Jews could not go to public schools, theaters, cinemas, or resorts, and furthermore, they were banned from living, or sometimes even walking, in certain parts of Germany. This culminated in the bloodiest pogrom to date the Kristallnacht (Night of Broken Glass) in November 1938. Over 100 Jews were murdered and a "fine" was levied against the Jews in excess of 1 billion Mark. Approximately half the Jewish population of Germany fled along with more than two thirds of the Austrian Jewry. Emigration took them to Palestine, the United States, Latin America, along with eastern and western Europe. The Jews who remained in Nazi Germany were either unwilling to leave or unable to obtain visas. Some could not get sponsors in host countries, or were simply too poor to be able to afford the trip. Many foreign countries made it even harder to get out due to strict emigration policies designed to thwart large amounts of refugees from entering, particularly in the wake of the Depression. The United States, Britain, Canada, and France were among these. Thirty eight countries met at Evian, France to discuss the treatment of the Jews in Germany, but no real help was offered. By the outbreak of World War II, actions taken against the Jews included marking them and ghettoizing them. Jews were forced to label all exterior clothing with a yellow Star of David with the word Jude (Jew). By the time of the invasion of the Soviet Union in 1941, the decision had been taken to kill the eastern European Jews by shooting them where they were found and by the end of that year, the decision was taken to kill all European Jews. Communists, homosexuals, Gypsies, prisoners of war, Russians, Poles, Catholic priests, Jehovah's Witnesses and others were more or less systematically murdered as the Holocaust continued. By the end of the war, as many as 6 million of these people had been killed, along with between 5 and 6 million Jews. Einsatzgruppen carried out these murders at improvised sites throughout the Soviet Union, following behind the advancing German army. It was between 1942 and 1944 that the Germans decided to eliminate the ghettos and deport the ghetto populations to "extermination camps," killing centers equipped with gassing facilities in Poland. This was known as "the final solution to the Jewish question," implemented after a meeting of senior German officials in late January 1942 at a villa in Wannsee (a suburb of Berlin). It was official state policy, the first ever to advocate the murder of an entire people. Six killing sites were chosen according to their closeness to rail lines (essential for shipping the victims) and for their location in semi-rural areas. The locations were: Belzec, Sobibor, Treblinka, Chelmno, Majdanek, and Auschwitz-Birkenau. The SS operated the killing centers, and their methods were similar in each location. Railroad freight cars and passenger trains would bring in victims. Men were immediately separated from women. Prisoners were stripped and their valuables confiscated. They then were forced naked into the gas chambers, disguised as showers, where carbon monoxide or Zyklon B asphyxiated them. The bodies were then stripped of hair, gold fillings and teeth, and burned in crematoria, or buried in enormous mass graves. They also were often used for medical experiments and subject to extreme brutality on the part of the guards. Many died as a result. With the tide of the war turned and the Allied armies liberated the German occupied soil an international tribunal for the prosecution of those who were responsible for the Holocaust was formed. the Nuremberg Tribunal condemned twelve to death by hanging. The Turks and Armenians Having briefly reviewed the Jewish question in Europe and the constituent elements of the Holocaust, now its time to turn to the comparative analysis of this with the Turkish-Armenian relations, including and especially what the Armenians experienced in 1915 under the World War I circumstances. Status of the Jews of Europe and Armenians of the Ottoman Empire It has been clear from the above examination that the Jews of Europe had lived in unfavorable, at best, conditions in Middle ages and the Nazi period in Europe, in terms of social and legal status as a predictable result of anti-Semitism. It would be wise to examine the legal status of the Armenians in the Ottoman Empire to reach a sound conclusion on the comparison. The principles upon which non-Muslims were governed have their roots in the earlier traditions of Persian and Roman rule and Islamic norms. Jews, Christians and Zoroastrians had a special place in Islam. They are all called “People of Book” and allowed to live in a country governed by Muslims as long as they accepted the Muslim rule and paid special taxes. There are two important categories of taxes that must be agreed to be paid by non-Muslims living under Islamic rule: namely cizye, a special pool tax and harac, the land tribute.[7] The Ottoman society, being a multi ethnic and religious entity, was divided into various communities along religious lines. Each group or individual belonged to one or the other millet according to religious affiliation. Each millet established and maintained its own laws and institutions to regulate conduct and conflict under its own leaders. The leader of each millet was called millet bashi (head of millet). The Greek and Armenian millets were each headed by a patriarch and the Jews by a grand rabbi. In addition to their spiritual authority over their own ecclesiastical subordinates and coreligionists the millet bashis had a fairly extensive civil authority in the internal administration of their millets. Some taxes also collected by the heads of the millets. [8] In the fifteenth century Sultan Mehmet II established the millet system to facilitate coexistence between the different ethnic and religious groups. After his conquest of Istanbul (Constantinople) in 1453, Mehmet II vested the new Greek patriarch, Gennadius, with ecclesiastical and civil authority over his coreligionists of the Empire and invited Bishop Yovakim, the Armenian primate of Bursa, to Istanbul in 1461 and conferred upon the title of “patrik” , thus placing him on the same footing as the patriarch of the Greek community. The authority of the Greek patriarch extended over the Serbs, Bulgarians, Wallachians, Moldavians and Melkites while the non-Orthodox Christian subjects, comprising the Syrian Jacobite, Ethiopian, Georgian, Chaldean and the Coptic communities were placed under the authority of the Armenian patriarch.[9] This shows that the millet system was based on the religious affiliation not that of ethnical. By implementing the millet system, the Ottomans restored peace and order in the classical period. The Ottoman Empire reached its height in the sixteenth century. The decline also started in this century, becoming more apparent in the following centuries. The Ottoman Empire did not fully experience the Renaissance. The decline of the Empire brought corruption and oppression to all subjects, irrespective whether they were Muslims and non-Muslims. Most striking of all was the armed forces. In some provinces they became oppressive, taking without payment whatever they wanted from the population, again notwithstanding whether it was Muslim and non-Muslim. The Ottoman system still included some men of integrity and of ability who proposed reforms for the survival of the country. In 1839 a reform edict was issued in Gülhane in the name of the sultan. The principle of equality of persons of all religions is recognized by the edict. However, in practice, it is not to be supposed that the immediate equality for all Ottoman subject was to be secured, for mainly two reasons. Firstly the transformation of traditional structure of any society takes some, important, time and secondly the state had not enough power to implement this policy. Therefore, in 1856 another reform edict renewed the commitments of 1839; guaranteeing free exercise of religion, charge of their own belongings, access to public employment, equal taxation and equality before the law. In 1876, constitutional monarchy was proclaimed and the parliament convened. The constitution granted all subjects equal rights and liberties.[10] As a result, between 1876-1915 twenty nine Armenians served in the highest governmental rank of pasha; twenty two served as ministers, including the ministers of foreign affairs, finance, trade and post; thirty three served as members of the parliament; seven served as ambassadors; eleven served as consuls-general, eleven served as university professors; and forty one served as other officials of high ranks.[11] To conclude this part, it could be conveniently suggested that the legal status of Armenians under the Ottoman rule does not accept any kind of comparison to that of the European Jewry. It is equally clear that the anti-Armenianism, as the counterpart of the anti-Semitism- the motive behind the Holocaust, has never existed among the Turks. Genesis of the Armenian Question The Jews of Europe had never tried to get sovereignty over a certain part of the European territory, never got armed and committed attacks against government officials and civilians of other ethnicities and religions. No foreign state intervened the affairs of a Jewish population living under the jurisdiction of any other state and no state tried to rescue the European Jews from prosecution, with the exception of the Turks who welcomed the Jews expelled from Spain in 1492 and the Republic of Turkey provided a safe haven for the Jews who had to flee from the Nazis.[12] Without adequately examining the roots and nature of the Armenian question, dealing only with the 1915 events from only one point of view would lead illusions. Therefore, being a part of the continuous process of the Armenian question the 1915 events would only the examined adequately by going to the roots of the Armenian question. This examination would also provide material that makes things easier in the comparison of the Holocaust and Armenian issue. The Armenian issue goes as back as the Eastern Question. Unity in the Ottoman Empire deteriorated as nationalism spread to the Empire.[13] Many Christian nations of the Ottoman Empire gained their independence in the following years of the Great French Revolution, as a result of the nationalist philosophies inspired from the Revolution. Among them were the Greeks, Bulgarians, Serbs. It must be noted that the Western Powers helped these nations to gain their independence. However, the Armenian nation which was widely dispersed geographically did not form majority in any place.[14] The Great Powers perceived themselves as the protectors of the non-Muslims living in the Ottoman territory. Therefore, the Great Powers had a free hand to intervene the domestic matters of the Empire. Russia became the protectorate of the Armenians by an international treaty, the Treaty of St. Stefanos of 1878. Other Great Powers also gained the same status with respect to the Armenians by the Treaty of Berlin in 1878. Article 61 of the Treaty of Berlin, signed on 13 July 1878, provided: The Sublime Porte undertakes to carry out, without further delay, the amelioration and reforms demanded by local requirements in the provinces inhabited by the Armenians, and to guarantee their security against the Circassians and Kurds. It will make known periodically the steps taken to this effect to the Powers, who will superintend their application.[15] With these treaties the Ottomans had to accept the international dimension of the Armenian issue officially. The Ottomans promised some reforms for the Armenians by the Tanzimat and Islahat edicts in 1839 and 1856 respectively and an Armenian National Constitution was approved in 1863.[16] These efforts never satisfied the revolutionary fractions within the Armenian community. There are also internal reasons for the Armenian issue to rise. Wealthy Armenians sent their sons to Europe for education. The first Ottoman Armenians who received advanced western education were sent to Italy.[17] Others went to various European capitals. In Europe most of these young men were given the opportunity to acquaint themselves with constitutional political systems and progressive ideas, including positivism and materialism. Many Turkish Ottoman students in Europe experienced the same. They compared their falling country’s conditions with those of European ones and came to the conclusion that nationalism was the essential element for development. The first Armenian societies were non-political, aiming at especially expanding education among the members of the Armenian millet. For example, on 27 April 1849 the Young Armenians formed the Ararat Society in Paris, which brought together almost all the Armenian students in the French capital. They declared that “... the happiness of a nation can only come through education...[The Ararat Society] is to bring progress to the Armenian nation and to provide for all its needs” in their society’s program. Most of the European-educated students took important posts in the civil service of the Ottomans.[18] However, not all Armenian organizations had this kind of innocent aims. Especially towards end of the nineteenth century, many revolutionary organizations with armed sections were formed. The Union of Salvation and the Black Cross were created in Van in 1872 and 1878 respectively. The Protectors of Fatherland was formed in Erzurum in 1881. The first non-local Armenian revolutionary party was the Armenekan, founded in Van in 1885. The Armenekan expanded to Muş, Bitlis, Trabzon, Istanbul and even Russia and Iran. The Armenekan bought and smuggled arms and engaged terrorist activities. This was followed by the Revolutionary Hunchak Party, created in 1887 in Geneva, and the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (commonly called by the name of the Dashnak Party) formed in 1890 in Tiflis. Although all were called parties, what they had common was their military wings which carried out many armed activities, or as called today terrorist activities. The flag of the Dashnaks which had on one side five stars encircling the number sixty one and on the other side the slogan “vengeance, vengeance” and a skeleton makes the aim and the method of the ‘party’ clear.[19] As most of the Armenian organizations formed outside of the Ottoman territory, their leadership took decisions on the activities, including rioting, in the European capitals. To cite an example, when the Armenian committees which had their leadership in Brussels, Paris and London prepared for battle in July 1996, Theodor Herzl, in the words of Yair Auron “the founder of political Zionism and “prophet” of the modern Jewish state”, tried to organize a ceasefire and persuade them to delay this for a month.[20] Since the places where the Armenian committees claimed independence were inhabited overwhelmingly in numbers by Muslims from different ethnic origins, including the Kurds and Circassians who were expelled from their historical homeland in the Caucasus where the Armenians were settled by the Russians, the activities of the Armenian independence caused a civil disturbance and clashes between Muslims and the Armenians, harming many civilians alongside with the fighting elements. These intercommunal clashes were presented as the slaughter of the Armenians by the Muslims in the European press with the influence of the Armenian leadership based in the European capitals. Again Theodor Herzl points out on this as follows: I did not visit Constantinapole without investigating the question of the subject peoples of the Turkish Empire, and I truly believe that people in England have not been entirely fair toward the Sultan. He personally abhors brutality, and he honestly yearns to live in peace with all of his subjects. In a recent discussion of this question, he made a particularly apt comment. ‘My subjects’ he said, ‘are like the children of different wives. They argue amongst themselves but they can have no quarrel with me because I am their father’.[21] The scope of the this work does not permit a detailed discussion of the activities carried out by the terrorist groups organized by the Armenians. Yet, it seems that one difference between the Jewish case and Armenian issue is that the Jewish case had one side full of power, Nazis, to carry out whatever they wanted to do and defenseless civilian victims, whereas in the Armenian issue some heavily armed Armenian terrorist bands were in an armed conflict with the official state forces and Muslim civilian elements. The Jews in WWII and Armenians in WWI The Jewish Holocaust is a result of an intended and well planned state activity carried out by the Nazi officials as explained above. Anti-Semitism and Nazism provided an ideological base for the annihilation of the European Jewry during the World War II. The innocent, defenseless and unarmed civilian Jews were the victims. In this part of the paper the Armenians in the World War I and especially the 1915 relocation of the Armenians will be examined to find out the differences and similarities of the Holocaust and what the Armenians experienced in the World War I. To this end, the most important material is the legal documents of the Ottoman archives that help us to reach sound conclusions on the perception of the relocation by the Ottoman state. It is clearly accepted even by the Armenian nationalist historians that the Armenians tried to use the entry of the Ottoman Empire in the World War I. For example Nalbandian pointed out that this was regarded by the Armenian revolutionary committees as “the most opportune time to begin a general uprising to achieve their goals”.[22] Apart from a general uprising, it must also be pointed out that with the start of the World War I some Armenians fought for the Allies, in particular for the Russians, against the Ottoman Empire. French Premier Clemenceaus’s letter of 14 July 1918 to an Armenian leader points out this fact in saying: The spirit of self-abnegation of the Armenians, their loyalty towards the Allies, their contributions to the Foreign Legion, to the Caucasus front, to the Legion d’Orient, have strengthened the ties that connect them with France.[23] On the one hand, the Ottoman army fought against the Allied forces supported also by the Ottoman Armenians and, on the other, the Armenians revolted, posing threat to the domestic order of the Ottomans in many provinces. In Van province, for example, although initially local Van Armenians, especially those who lived in urban areas, had no intention of rebelling, as a result of the activities of revolutionary committees with the help of the Russians, the Armenians were armed in anticipation of a widespread rebellion. In early April 1915 the Armenian uprising began. Coupled with the Russian advance, the government ordered their own Muslim population to evacuate the city. Many Muslims suffered and lost their lives during the process of evacuation. It is clear that it was the bloody Armenian rebellion in Van that left no alternative to the Ottoman government but relocate those citizens deemed disloyal and rebellious in other parts of the Ottoman territory. Enver Pasa, the Deputy Commander-in-Chief, send the following dispatch to the Interior Minister Talat Bey (later Pasa) on 2 May 1915: According to information provided by the Commander of the Third Army, the Russians, on April the 20th, began expelling their Muslim population, by pushing them without their belongings across our borders. It is necessary, in response to this action…either to expel the Armenians in question to Russia or to relocate them and their families in other regions of Anatolia. I request that the most suitable of these alternatives be chosen and implemented. If there is no objection, I would prefer to expel the creators of these centers of rebellion and their families outside our borders, and to replace them with the Muslim refugees pushed across our borders.[24] To comment on the dispatch, it is obvious that there was no intent to annihilate the Armenian population of Anatolia and it was the security needs of the Empire that dictated to taking measures. Moreover, the Deputy Commander-in-Chief’s dispatch suggested two alternatives of which the expulsion of the Armenians from Anatolia to Russia was favored by the Deputy. Obviously suggesting some alternatives other than the extermination of the population shows the absence of any intention to annihilate the Armenians. After giving a full consideration the Interior Ministry chosen the alternative of the relocation of the local Armenian population in other parts of the country. Although the Interior Ministry did not give reasons why the Ministry preferred this to the expulsion of the Armenians, it could be suggested that the expulsion would have caused detrimental harm to the Armenian population. Because they would have passed through a war zone between the Ottoman and Russian armies and the soldiers on both sides would have attacked the relocated for various reasons like vengeance and looting. Moreover, they would have been attacked by the Muslim population expelled from the Caucausus by the Russians when their contact on their route was inevitable. On 27 May 1915, the Ottoman Empire passed a law for the resettlement of the people who posed security threat to the Ottoman Army. This obviously included especially the Armenians who were engaged in rebellious activities. The relocation was painful because displacing thousands of people and resettling them was not an easy task. The year 1915 witnessed the killing of some Armenians by some elements of the local Muslim population for revenge on their route to their new settlements. Some government officials also contributed to this campaign. However, Talat Bey made it clear that the relocation of the Armenians was not aimed at massacring them. In a coded telegram of 19 August 1915 to the highest ranking officers of the places from where the Armenians were forced to immigrate and the places to which they were relocated, Talat Bey explained the aim of the relocation as follows: The objective sought by the government in evicting the Armenians from their resettlement and moving them to the areas marked for resettlement is rendering this ethnic element unable in engaging in anti-government activities and prevent them from pursuing their national aim of founding an Armenian government. The annihilation of these people is, not only out of question, but also the authorities should ensure their safety during their movement and see to it that they are properly fed, making the necessary expenditures from the Refugee Fund. Apart from those evicted and moved, the Armenians allowed to stay should be exempt from further evictions. As communicated earlier, the Government has taken a firm decision not to move families of soldiers sufficient number of artisans as well as Protestant and Catholic Armenians. Firm measures should be taken against those who attacked the moving parties or any gendarmes or officials who instigate such attacks. These people should be immediately expelled and court-martialed. Provinces and sandjaqs will be held responsible for the recurrence of any such events.[25] Compared with the decisions taken at the Wansee meeting, it is clear from the position taken by the government that the extermination of the Armenians was not the objective of the 1915 Relocation. Equally true that many Armenians lost their lives during the relocation. The number of the Armenians and how they lost their live does not fall within the scope of this paper which compares the features of the official Nazi and Ottoman positions here. It also becomes clear from the above quotation that not all the Armenians but some of them were relocated in contrast with the Nazis who tried to exterminate all the Jews wherever they were found. The Nazis also tried to exterminate other ethnicities like the Gypsies, Poles, Slavs and all political opponents and homosexuals. As explained in the relevant section of this paper, the aim of the Nazis was to create a Europe with no inferior races. However, the Armenian relocation of 1915 contradicts with this total campaign, as an infamous Armenian author accepts that sometimes the Armenian Catholics and Protestants as well as the Armenians of Istanbul and Izmir (Smyrna) were exempted from the deportation decrees.[26] As pointed out by Halaçoğlu, of course, when some those allowed to stay were seen engaged in harmful activities, they, too, were relocated irrelevant of their creed.[27] Aftermath of the World Wars and Justice A special international tribunal was formed for the prosecution of those who committed war crimes in the Nazi era. The Nuremberg Tribunal condemned twelve to death by hanging. It is striking that only twelve people were responsible for the extermination of six million Jews and others. By prosecuting twelve was supposed to bring justice. Justice has been a key word with regard to the Armenian case as well. As the relocation was beginning, the Allies issued a joint declaration on 24 May 1915. They alluded to the “assistance of Ottoman authorities” in harming the Armenians and announced that “they will hold personally responsible ... all members of the Ottoman government and those of their agents who are implicated in such massacres”.[28] This declaration is a result of the wide coverage by the European press of the relocation which was presented as an attempt to massacre of the Armenians by the Armenian committees and some Allies that wanted the American entrance in the World War I on their side. However, the Americans maintained their neutrality towards Turkey. When the Armistice was signed on 30 October 1918, Turkey lay at the mercy of the European Allies. As they announced, they had to punish all those who were responsible for the alleged Armenian massacre. Justice, however, required appropriate jurisdiction, legal evidence, and the machinery to administer the applicable laws. There were two different mechanisms with regard to the Armenian case, one is domestic and the other one is international, to punish the alleged criminals. By the end of the war, the ruling party’s leading figures fled from the country and a new government with strong opposition, if not hostility to, the former ruling party was installed by the sultan. The new government formed a special Court Martial whose statutes were set forth on 8 May 1915. The principal task of the tribunal was the investigation of the alleged “massacres and unlawful personal profiteering” as well as the charge of “overthrow of the government”.[29] The second charge makes it clear that the tribunal directly involved in politics and the punishment of those associated with the former governing party. The political considerations of the special tribunal were reflected on its composition and decisions as well as the way it operated. It was composed of non-professionals of law, composed of Armenian members who may have not been completely unbiased, operated under pressure, sometimes with intervention, of the government and Allies which occupied Istanbul, relied on the testimonies of the people who had never been to the places where the massacres allegedly taken place and testimonies of the children who were even under the age of five as eye-witnesses.[30] Since the criminals of the Holocaust were not punished by the domestic tribunals, but by an international tribunal, there is no need to go deeper in the Turkish Court Martial formed after the World War I. The first attempt to form an international tribunal was made by the Ottoman government which requested two lawyers each from Denmark, Spain, Sweden and Holland “to participate in the international committee to be formed to investigate if any injustices were made during relocation”.[31] The delegates of the international committee were to visit places where the alleged massacres occurred to make investigations and to establish the facts which would have led to prosecution of alleged criminals. However, the attempt failed since the mentioned neutral countries were reluctant to participate. The inevitable biased decisions of the Turkish ‘special’ tribunals under the circumstances touched upon above caused disappointment in the Turkish population, often reflected in the Istanbul press. This prompted the British to initiate measures for the transfer of the detainees, who were arbitrarily arrested by the new government in Istanbul, often, by the directives of the occupying Allied forces, to British custody in Malta.[32] The total number of the Malta deportees were more than one hundred and forty. The prominent members of the Turkish society, like the former Grand Vizier, speaker of parliament, chief of general staff, ministers, members of parliament, senators, army commanders, governors, university professors, editors, journalists composed the deported.[33] On 4 August 1920, the British Cabinet decided that "The list of the deportees be carefully revised by the Attorney General with a view to selecting the names of those it was proposed to prosecute, so that those against whom no proceedings were contemplated should be released at the first convenient opportunity."[34] And the Attorney General wrote to the Foreign Office that the "British High Commissioner at Istanbul should be asked to prepare the evidence against those interned Turks whom he recommends for prosecution on charge of cruelty to native Christians. " [35] Sir Harry Lamb, the political-legal officer of the British High Commission at Istanbul, stated on the issue of evidence of the alleged massacre: "No one of the deportees was arrested on any evidence in the legal sense...The whole case of the deportees is not satisfactory...There are no dossiers in any legal sense. In many cases we have statements by Armenians of differing values...The Americans must be in possession of a mass of invaluable material..." [36] Then, the British Foreign Office decided to ask the assistance of the US State Department. On 31 March 1921, Lord Curzon telegraphed to Sir A. Gedes, the British Ambassador in Washington, the following: "There are in hands of His Majesty's Government at Malta a number of Turks arrested for alleged complicity in the Armenian massacre...There is considerable difficulty in establishing proofs of guilt...Please ascertain if United States Government are in possession of any evidence that would be of value for purposes of prosecution."[37] The Embassy returned the following reply: "I regret to inform Your Lordship that there was nothing therein which could be used as evidence against the Turks who are being detained for trial at Malta. The reports seen...made mention of only two names of the Turkish officials in question and in these case were confined to personal opinions of these officials on the part of the writer, no concrete facts being given which could constitute satisfactory incriminating evidence...I have the honour to add that officials at the Department of State expressed the wish that no information supplied by them in this connection should be employed in a court of law...Having regard to this stipulation and the fact that the reports in the possession of the Department of State do not appear in any case to contain evidence against these Turks..., I fear that nothing is to be hoped from addressing any further enquiries to the United States Government in this matter." [38] The Attorney-General's Department returned the following reply: "...It seems improbable that the charges made against the accused will be capable of legal proof in a Court of Law...Until more precise information is available as to the nature of the evidence which will be forthcoming at the trials, the Attorney-General does not feel that he is in a position to express any opinion as to the prospect of success in any of the cases submitted for his consideration." [39] Upon the receipt of this reply, W.S. Edmonds, Under-Secretary in the Eastern Department of the Foreign Office, minuted: "From this letter it appears that the changes of obtaining convictions are almost nil... It is regrettable that the Turks have confined as long without charges being formulated against them..."[40] Sir H. Rumbold, the High Commissioner in Istanbul, wrote: "Failing the possibility of obtaining proper evidence against these Turks which would satisfy a British Court of Law, we would seem to be continuing an act of technical injustice in further detaining the Turks in question. In order, therefore, to avoid as far as possible losing face, in this matter, I consider that all the Turks... should be made available for exchange purposes." [41] From now on, the Turkish detainees at Malta were not considered as "offenders" for prosecution, but rather as "hostages" for exchange against British prisoners in Anatolia.[42] Subsequently all Turkish deportees at Malta were exchanged with the British prisoners of war. The Law Officers of the Crown abstained from accusing anyone of Turkish deportees of massacre of the Armenians and all Turkish deportees were released and repatriated without being brought before a tribunal. The findings of the British obviously contradicts what the Tribunal found in the Holocaust trials. Conclusion This paper examined the main differences of the Holocaust and Armenian case. It has become clear that they had not much in common. Anti-Semitism and Nazism provided the ideological background for the Holocaust. There is no doubt that without anti-Semitism and racist ideology, the laws discriminating Jews would not have passed. The Holocaust was the intentional and planned organized crime as expressed by the Wansee Conference. Not only the Jews but also other ‘inferior races’ became the victims of the Nazis. Moreover, no victim involved in any activity against the Nazis. The perpetrators were brought before the justice after the World War II. The Armenian case greatly, if not completely, differs from the Holocaust. No anti-Turk or anti-Muslim element, let alone anti-Armenism, existed in the Ottoman legal and social system. In contrast with the victims of the Nazis, the Armenians formed revolutionary organizations and carried out activities to terrorize the civilian population of both Muslim and non-Muslim. The Armenians’ corroborations with Russians, hostile of the Ottomans, in the World War I left the government with no alternative but to relocate those who posed security threats to other parts of the Empire. It is unfortunate that during the relocation lost their lives. But there is no evidence that the casualties were intentional. On contrary, official legal documents provides that the casualties were to be kept minimum. Although the Western press widely covered the relocation and told the stories of massacres as a apart of the war-time propaganda, the alleged criminals were released even without charges being formulated against them before an international tribunal, because neither Britain nor the USA was able to provide any evidence capable of legal proof in any court of law. The following quotation from a Nobel Prize winning Israeli statesman, Shimon Peres, closes the discussion: “We reject attempts to create a similarity between the Holocaust and the Armenian allegations. Nothing similar to the Holocaust occurred. It is a tragedy what the Armenians went through but not a genocide...Israel should not determine a historical or philosophical position on the Armenian issue. If we have to determine a position, it should be done with great care not to distort the historical realities.”[43] * Ibrahim KAYA: International Law Lecturer. Canakkale Onsekiz Mart Universty and USAK - ISRO. BA (Ankara), LLM (Nottingham, UK), PhD (Keele, UK). ikaya@usak.org.uk [1] For example see Richard G. Hovannasian, ‘Etiology and Sequele of the Armenian Genocide’, in George J. Andreopulos (ed.), Genocide: Conceptual and Historical Dimensions, (Philedelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1994), pp. 125-126. [2] For a recent example of this see Vahakn N. Dadrian, ‘The documentation of the Armenian Genocide in the Light of Persistent Turkish Denials’ Conference paper delivered at Generations of Genocide, Wiener Library, 26-27 January 2002, London/UK. [3] Heat W. Lowry, ‘The U.S. Congress and Adolf Hitler on the Armenians’, Political Communication and Persuasion, Vol. 3, No. 2, 1986, pp. 111-140. [4] The facts given in this part is based on the information supplied by Haim Bresheeth, Stuart Hood and Lisa Jansz, The Holocaust, Turkish translation, Soykırım,(İstanbul: Milliyet Yayınları, 1996). Various internet resources, including thinkquest, Massuah, the Institute for the Study of the Holocaust, remember.org, United States Holocaust Memorial Museum are also referred to. The views contrary to those which summarized here may be found at fpp.co.uk and the works of David Irving. [5] Emil Fackenheim at http://news.bbc.co.uk/low/english/uk/newsid_618000/618352.stm. [6] Eight centuries ago the Jews were hunted in Germany, expelled from England, France and finally from Spain in 1492. [7] Yavuz Ercan, Osmanlı Yönetiminde Gayrimuslimler (Non-Muslims under the Ottoman Rule), (Ankara:Turhan Kitapevi, 2001), p. 3. [8] See Ercan, Osmanlı Yönetiminde…,pp.1-23. [9] Vartan Artinian, The Armenian Constitutional System in the Ottoman Empire, (Istanbul), p.11. [10] Yves Ternon, The Armenians, (Delmar:Caravan Books, 1981), pp. 37, 38 and 49. [11] Jamanak, Facts from the Turkish Armenians, Istanbul, 1980, p. 4. [12] For a full record of the Turkish-Jewish relations during the Ottoman Empire and the Holocaust see Stanford J. Shaw, The Jews of the Ottoman Empire and the Turkish Republic, (New York: New York University Press, 1991) and Turkey & The Holocaust, (London: MacMillan Press, 1993). [13] Telford Waugh, Turkey, Yesterday, to-Day and To-Morrow, (London: Chapman & Hall, 1930), p. 130. [14] Hovannisian, Etiology and Sequence…, p. 119. [15] Shavarsh Toriguian, The Armenian Question and International Law, (Beirut: Hamaskaine Press, 1973), p. 88. [16] Düstur, II, pp.938-961.Also cited by Gülnihal Bozkurt, Gayrimuslim Osmanlı Vatandaşlarının Hukuki Durumu (The Legal Status of the Non-Muslim Ottoman Citizens), (Ankara: Turkish Society for History, 1996), p. 181. [17] Artinian, The Armenian Constitutional…, p. 59. [18] Artinian, The Armenian Constitutional…, p. 65. [19] Ternon, The Armenians, pp. 74-82. [20] Yair Auron, The Banality of Indifference, (New Brunswick: Transaction Publishers, 2000) pp. 102 and 112-113. [21] Interview with a Jewish journalist and activist, Lucien Wolf, of the Daily Graphic, 6 July 1896. (Quoted by Auron, The Banality of…, p. 117.) [22] Louise Nalbandian, Armenian Revolutionary Movement, (Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1963), pp. 110.111. [23] Mandelstam, La Societe des Nations et les Puissances Devant le Probleme Armenien, 1970, pp. 472-473. (Quoted by Toriguian, The Armenian Question..., p.98.) [24] Journal of Military History Documents, 81, December 1982, Document No: 1830. [25] BOA, Chipper Desk, No: 55/292. (Also published in Armenians in Ottoman Documents Directorate of Ottoman Archives, Ankara, 1995, pp. 94-95. The English translation quoted by Yusuf Halaçoğlu, ‘Realities behind the Relocation’ in Türkkaya Ataöv, The Armenians in the Late Ottoman Period, (Ankara: Turkish Historical Society, 2001), pp. 111-112. [26] Hovannisian, Etiology and Sequence…, p. 124. [27] Halaçoğlu, Realities behind …, p. 122. [28] FO 371/2488/51010 (28 May 1915) (Also cited by Vahakn N. Dadrian, ‘Genocide as a Problem of National and International Law: The World War I Armenian Case and Its Contemporary Legal Ramifications’ The Yale Journal of International Law, Vol. 14, No. 2, 1989, p. 262.) [29] Takvimi Vekayi, No: 3540, 5 May 1919 and Takvimi Vekayi, No: 3571, 13 June 1919. [30] See Senol Kantarcı, “Speeches on the Armenians Attributed to Atatürk and his Help to the Victims of Armenian Terrorists and ‘Court Martials’” Armenian Studies, Vol. 1, Issue 4 and Nejdet Bilgi, Ermeni Tehciri ve Boğazlayan Kaymekemı Mehmed Kemal Beyin Yargılanması(Armenian Relocation and the Trial of Governor of Bogazlayan Mehmet Bey), (Ankara: Köksav, 1999). [31] BOA, HR:MÜ. 43/17, 6 May 1919. [32] Dadrian, Genocide as a Problem of…, p. 285. [33] Bilal N. Şimşir, The Deportees of Malta and the Armenian Question, (Ankara: Foreign Policy Institute, 1992), pp. 18-33. [34] FO 371/5090/E.9934: Cabinet Officer to Lord Curzon of 12.8.1920. [35] FO 371/6499/E.1801: Law Officers to Foreign Office of 8.2.1921. [36] FO 371/6500/E.3554: Inclosure, minutes by Sir H.Lamb, dossier Veli Nedjdet. [37] FO 371/6500/E.3552: Curzon to Geddes. Tel No 176 of 31.3.1921.
Three Perspectives On The French Parliament Bill On The Armenian Genocide Of 1915-1917 Gündüz Aktan, Aghasi Harutyunyan, And Morgan Poulizac 5 December 2006 Peace Journalism An account of the French Parliament bill recently passed condemning the Armenian Genocide of 1915-1917. The three articles below providing French, Armenian, and Turkish perspectives highlight the controversy and possible implications of the legislation. Varduhi Tovmasyan is responsible for commissioning all three pieces. Benefits of Waiting Gündüz Aktan Some time has passed since the French Parliament passed the bill that criminalizes denial of the Armenian Genocide. Now that it has lost its newsworthiness, we can better analyze the matter. Passing such a law caused some problems for France, but we should not exaggerate them too much. The criticisms directed against France were all for needlessly limiting freedom of expression. Most EU citizens, especially the French, believe the Armenian incidents in 1915 constitute genocide. All those who have anything to say first voice their belief that the genocide actually occurred before criticizing the bill. Maybe they get the right to raise such criticism only after they present their credentials. Most of the criticisms in Turkey are also for France limiting freedom of expression. That's why some argue that annulling Article 301 of the Turkish Penal Code (TCK) would prove we respect freedom of expression more than France and would provide a very wise response. However, the problem goes beyond freedom of expression or academic freedoms. Genocide is the worst of crimes. Just like every other crime, law defines it and the courts decide on it. Without a verdict, a person, a group or a country cannot be accused of having committed genocide. Moreover, it is impossible to refute a crime that has not been proven first. That's exactly why a law passed by the French Parliament in 2001 that recognizes the Armenian Genocide cannot be enforced. On the other hand, the Gaysot Law (1990), which criminalizes denial of the Jewish Holocaust, is enforceable because it is based on the Nuremberg court sentences. Professor O. Duhamel, fervently praised former minister Jack Lang as the only person who had the courage to voice this. How unfortunate for France. If the bill becomes law in its present form, the right of Turkey and the families of Enver Pasha and Talat Pasha to defend themselves against the charges are rescinded. This is a more severe human rights violation than limiting freedom of speech. After this injustice, the gestures of French President Jacques Chirac and the French government, as if they share our concerns, are sickening. The Armenian government has also resorted to similar deception as if it has nothing to do with such initiatives. They place the blame with the Armenian diaspora. Actually, while one tries to protect its commercial interests, the other is working to ensure that the Armenians who illegally work here are not repatriated. They are after both material and moral benefits. Armenians used Armenian Secret Army for the Liberation of Armenia (ASALA) terrorism to promote their genocide claims and largely succeeded. Westerners saw the courage to resort to terrorism as proof of Armenians having been victims of genocide. They ignored the carnage of terrorism until it also harmed them. This incited Armenians to threaten academics in the United States who said there was no genocide. They pressured universities to dismiss such academics. They prevented publishers from printing anything that went against their thesis. Those that were published were collected. Dissident voices were not permitted in the meeting they held. They walked through the corridors of the European Parliament, brandishing guns in 1987 in order to ensure the resolution the European Parliament was debating would support their thesis. They prevented deputies from entering the meeting hall. The threats by some Armenians made against one Armenian member of the Turkish-Armenian Reconciliation Council (TARC) resulted in him hiding his family at a secret location and blood clots that caused him to undergo two surgeries. Armenian lobbies that spend exorbitant amounts of money influenced administrations and parliaments. The Armenian diaspora used their votes for political blackmail. They bought hundreds of people and made them write books full of lies. It was proven that the Talat Pasha telegraph was false. What Henry Morgenthau wrote about Talat Pasha and Enver Pasha is full of falsehoods, too. Lepsius, who never set foot in Anatolia, talked about the incidents as if he were an eyewitness. The Blue Book is only war propaganda. They have now started to bribe Turks. There is no United Nations resolution on the matter, but they look us in the eye and say there is. Our archives are open, but they say they aren't. They say the Teskilati Mahsusa (Ottoman intelligence services) organized genocide. Professors Lewy and Ericson smash this theory. Yet they still look the other way. The figures they quote are sheer lies and the documents they cite are a sham. What does this disgrace have to do with freedom of expression? The Genocide Denial Bill: Charting the Armenian Reaction Aghasi Harutyunyan To understand the reaction of the Armenian public and leadership to the recent adoption by the lower house of the French Parliament of a bill declaring the public denial of the Armenian genocide a crime, one has to firstly understand the emotional intensity with which Armenians treat the issue of the recognition of the 1915-17 genocide in the Ottoman Empire. To put it bluntly, this issue is probably the cause which unites Armenians all over the world irrespective of gender, age, social status and even language and culture. Generations of Armenians have devoted their lives to this cause and after hard battles have managed to persuade the parliaments of a number of countries, but first of all Turkey, to join them in condemning the extermination of the Armenian population of the Ottoman Empire as an instance of genocide. No wonder, then, that any and all developments on this front receive an emotional response from Armenians residing both in the Republic of Armenia and outside, in the diaspora centers spread across the world.1 The response to the adoption of the French bill was no exception in this sense. The majority of Armenians saluted the October 12th decision of the French National Assembly although not everyone was quick to see pro-Armenian sentiment in that act. In the days following the act of adoption, the political forces and the media inside the country devoted significant attention to the issue and analyzed thoroughly the causes that made the French Parliaments lower house take the extraordinary step as well as the harsh reaction from Ankara. This article is an attempt at charting how Armenians received, perceived and analyzed the news of the adoption of the bill. Although the Armenian authorities welcomed the approval of the bill, they somehow distanced themselves from the process showing that it was a step the French took on their own without the interference of the Armenian diplomacy. Todays approval of the bill by the French National Assembly is a natural continuation of Frances principled and consistent defense of human and historic rights and values, Foreign Minister Vartan Oskanian declared in his first comment after the adoption of the bill. He noted that 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. What we dont understand is the Turkish governments 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. 2 Analysts believe that this kind of passive greeting (judged by the standards of the region) of the bill is due to official Yerevans efforts at avoiding further deterioration of the strenuous Armenian-Turkish relations.3 A few days after his initial comments, Vartan Oskanian reaffirmed Armenias contentment with the French National Assembly's vote, but declared that he would strive to normalize relations with Turkey. In an interview with the Swiss newspaper NZZ am Sonntag he stressed that these events... have not been condemned and not recognized once so far, is in reality a continuation of the genocide. However, as foreign minister I have a duty to look to the future and to seek to establish normal relations with Turkey. Interestingly the Foreign Minister noted, Whether the French or the Swiss legislation is a good starting point is hard to say,adding that the recognition of the genocide by other countries is not a goal in itself. Armenia also has no interest in humiliating Turkey, emphasized Oskanyan. le for the recognition of the atrocities committed at the beginning of the 20th century. On October 13th, hundreds of students gathered at the premises of the French embassy in Yerevan to express their gratitude to Frances parliament for passing the bill. Chanting Long live France! and waving French and Armenian flags the students who carried banners reading Justice won over Turkish blackmail and France - the standard bearer of justice in the European Union, marched through the city center in two separate demonstrations organized by the student organizations of one of the ruling parties, the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (Dashnaktsutyun),4 and another youth organization. We express our sincere gratitude to our French friends and welcome this historic step, an organizer of the first rally representing the Social Democratic Hnchak Party (the oldest Armenian political party) said, presenting the organizations thank-you declaration outside the embassy building. Most of the political forces in Armenia, too, were satisfied with the action of the French National Assembly. For instance, a local member of Dashnaktsutyun took the view that the law would serve a good purpose for Armenia. It would become a lever used by France to put pressure on Turkey to make them recognize the Genocide, said Kiro Manoyan, adding that France has expressed its viewpoint which will finally force Turkey to reckon with its history. Remarkably, the government forces were quick to downplay the reports (that appeared in the Turkish state media) that the French president Jacque Chirac (whose administration was against the passage of the bill) had apologized to the Turkish Prime-Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoghan for the act of the National Assembly reminding that few weeks before Chirac on his first state visit to Armenia had urged Turkey to recognize its past. However, as mentioned before, the omnipresent enthusiasm does not mean that there was no public discussion on the causes and consequences of the approval of the bill. Despite the heavily favorable attitude towards the bill there was also some dissent in the Armenian society. The opposition press put forward several points for consideration. One of the papers (168 Zham) was quick to note that the bill was approved not long before the French parliamentary and presidential elections. France has the biggest Armenian diaspora community (approximately 500,000 people) in Western Europe and the Armenian votes are naturally important for the French lawmakers. The same paper believes that the bill can not bring any tangible benefits to the Republic of Armenia itself, but will further rouse the anti-Armenian nationalist sentiment in Turkey, and the latter will respond by adding the pressure on the small Armenian community (around 60,000 people) that was left in the country after the massacres of the last century. The gist of these and similar arguments, of course, is that the Armenian woes have yet again been used for the attainment of internal and external political interests, something which has sadly happened too often in the distant and near past. But it was not only the Armenian Armenians who had a somewhat mixed reaction to the French bill. Hilda Tchoboian, the president of the Brussels-based Euro-Armenian Federation, an association representing the interests of the Armenian Diaspora in France and other European nations, echoed in a statement the mainstream Armenian sentiment. We welcome with emotion this historic step forward through which, once again, France points the way down the path of progress, humanity and dignity. The hydra of denial is a tumor on freedom of expression and a threat to public order that must be eradicated, she said in a statement. A few diaspora Armenians, however, were reluctant to endorse the approval of the bill and had the opposite opinion. Among them was Hrant Dink, the editor-in-chief of Agos, an Armenian paper published in Istanbul, who reportedly told Radio Liberty that the bill will not be beneficial in terms of the future of Armenians and in terms of the process of the recognition of the genocide in the world. Dink, one of several journalists in Turkey facing possible prison term for using the word genocide (under the same infamous Article 301), labeled the bill a trick by those who want to keep Turkey out of the EU. The journalist emphasized that in case it is necessary he would go to France and would break the new law just as he had broken the one in Turkey, simply to prove the idiotic nature of the law. Dinks position is interesting not only because of its dissenting nature but also because it gives some credit to the above-mentioned allegation that as a result of the adoption of the bill Armenians residing in Turkey can become targets of coercion. To sum up, the approval of the landmark bill that makes it a crime to deny that Armenians suffered genocide during World War One received an overwhelmingly warm response from Armenians across the globe. Although many Armenians understand that the bill might not be approved by the upper house of the French Parliament, the Senate, and even if approved might not be signed by the Chirac administration (which is weary of damaging the ties with Turkey and receiving another dose of criticism from the European Union and the United States officials for creating additional obstacles on the Turkish path of entry into the EU) they continue believing that the controversial legal act can bring them closer to the ultimate goal of persuading Ankara to accept its past faults. Nevertheless, as the following remarks made by the renowned French-Armenian chanson singer Charles Aznavour suggest, The law against denialism should have been passed for all crimes, not only the one against Armenians, because otherwise it leaves a bizarre impression. French Politics and the Armenian Genocide: An Uncomfortable Relation Morgan Poulizac Thursday October the 12th , the lower house of the French Parliament Assemblée Nationale approved a bill making it illegal to suggest the 1915 Armenian Genocide did not occur. This bill has been initiated by the Socialist Party. Contrary to a former law, voted for in 2001 (loi Gayssot), which already recognised the existence of genocide in Armenia, the new bill proposal criminalizes the disregard of the genocide atrocity. Despite the unlikelihood of the legislation being passed subsequently needing to be backed by the upper house and signed by the President the vote has created a division within French opinion. Ten days before, Jacques Chirac, the French President, visited Armenia and declared that the recognition of the Armenian Genocide might be a precondition of the Turkish entry into the European Union. However, when it came to vote, the French government declared the initiative unnecessary and untimely, in order for the MPs in the Chirac majority to abstain from voting. The Chirac administration noted that the 2001 law already asserts the existence of the Genocide and that the new text would only have some counterproductive effects. This new initiative could indeed damage the trade relations between the two countries, as Christine Lagarde, the French Minister of Trade, told to the press. In 2005, French firms exported more than 4.7 million euros in goods to Turkey. Moreover, as long as Turkey remains an important trading partner of the French, its important to keep tension between countries at a minimum. The parliamentary initiative raised, indeed, the anger of the Turkish government, which now threatens to boycott French products. The day after the vote, Turkish protesters threw eggs at the French consulate in Istanbul. The Turkish Minister of Finance, Ali Babacan, said he will reconsider the contract deal the Turkish government had with Eurocopter, a French helicopter firm. The bill did not solely spark a wave of protests in Turkey, but also created notable strife in France. This story is the latest episode of the bitter debate over the fate of the Armenians slaughtered in the 1915 Ottoman Turkey territory, yet also reveals the domineering relationship French politics have with history. Last year, some MPs tried to pass a law underlying the benefits of past French colonialism. At a standoff with waves of popular criticisms of their opinion, the MPs decided to give up the legislative effort in the end. There is, in fact, today, and since the beginning of 1990s, a large debate occurring in France about the legitimacy of the Parliament to write history. The divide between historians and politicians is profound. While historians insist that politicians refrain from intervening and misinterpreting history, politicians are progressively trying to impose their view on it. Several reasons may explain the opposition. One the one hand, MPs will always play to their constituencies and manage their agendas accordingly. On the other hand, media is perfectly content thrashing politicians on television and in print, giving them a difficult name to work with nationally and discouraging a vote in favour Armenian-appeasing legislation. Notwithstanding medias wrath, expect politicians to throw themselves in front of coming traffic to assuage their respective constituencies that is where the votes come from after all. So with elections approaching near the beginning of 2007, the well-established Armenian communities may, in fact, hold some weight. It shows once again how history is a political matter in France. ----------------------- 1 Up until 1991 the battle for the recognition of the genocide was mainly fought by Armenians living in the diaspora centers whose ancestors had been slaughtered in the Ottoman Empire. Since the independence of the Republic of Armenia from the Soviet Union (1991) activists in the country have joined their diaspora compatriots in demanding that Turkey recognizes the genocide. Interestingly, the administration of the first president of the country, Levon Ter-Petrosyan, was reluctant to officially put the genocide issue on its foreign policy agenda. The administration of the current president Robert Kocharyan, however, has officially included the issue in the list of its foreign policy priorities since it came to power in 1998. 2 Oskanyan refers to the controversial Article 301 of the Turkish criminal code which has recently been used to prosecute a number of public figures in Turkey, including a leading Turkish novelist Pamuk who went on trial for insulting Turkishness after telling a Swiss newspaper nobody in Turkey dared talk about the Armenian massacres. The court eventually dropped charges, and Pamuk received the Noble Prize for Literature on the same day when the bill under discussion was adopted. 3 Armenia and Turkey do not have any diplomatic relations and the border between them has been closed since Armenia gained independence in 1991. Apart from the genocide issue the relations between the neighbors are also soured because of a conflict between ethnic Armenians living in Nagorno-Karabakh (effectively, Armenia itself) and Azerbaijan, a neighboring country to which the region of Nagorno-Karabakh belonged during the Soviet times (at the beginning of the 1990s Nagorno-Karabakh fought a local war with Azeri forces and established a de-facto independent state strongly supported by Armenia). Azerbaijan and Turkey are close allies, and Ankara demands that Yerevan returns Nagorno-Karabakh to Azerbaijan. Until then it refuses to talk about the establishment of diplomatic ties with Yerevan. In recent years, however, both the European Union (EU) and the United States have strongly urged Turkey to reopen the border with Armenia, and many believe that Ankara will have to normalize its ties with Armenia before the possible entry into the EU. 4 This party is often characterized as nationalistic, and its representatives have for decades been at the forefront of genocide recognition efforts in foreign countries. Dashnaktsutyun, a junior partner in the current coalition government, is believed to have a rigid stance in the genocide issue and thinks that the Republic of Armenia should not talk to Turkey unless and until Ankara has recognized its gruesome past.
Armenia Does Not Want Any Court For Genocide Claims 5 December 2006 Turkish Weekly Armenian Foreign Minister Vartan Oskanian stated in an interview with the Turkish daily New Anatolian that "each day Armenia and Turkey miss a chance to establish bilateral relations". In Oskanian words, "Turkey unfortunately does not want to establish diplomatic relations equally with all three Caucasus nations and play a more constructive role". He added “So that opportunity was missed. The second opportunity has come out as closer cooperation with the European Union. At the same time that Turkey is negotiating its EU accession, today Turkey has the opportunity to play a role as a bridge between the Caucasus and Europe. That opportunity is also is being missed, but the biggest opportunity that we're missing is the interaction between our two peoples. Fifteen years have passed (since Armenia declared its independence in 1991), and no interaction is seen on the border. Our peoples do not know each other well and old memories are being reinforced, our focus today is the wrong focus. We have got to focus on new relations, open borders, establishing diplomatic relations and that is what I mean by saying missed opportunities”. Turkey last year called Armenia to establish a joint commission to discuss the historical disputes, yet Armenian rejected the offer arguing "there is nothing to be discussed". Commenting on the Turkish Government’s intention to bring an action and the International Court on the issue of the Armenian Genocide, the Armenian FM Oskanian said, “For us, there is no court case, we will never talk about this, because we grew up with the real evidence, our parents and our grandparents. That living evidence of this tragedy, survival of Genocide, I am the son of one them. So for Armenians there has never been an issue where we ourselves have to prove this by going to court, that this Genocide happened. The question for us is to get a political solution. Because the issue is neither historical nor legal, it is political. And Turkey has politicized this by pursuing a policy of denial at the state level.” However Turkish experts argue that the 'genocide' accusation is a legal matter. Dr. Nilgun Gulcan for insatance argues that "Armenia knows that they have no chance in legal area". She continued as: "Genocide, like murder, a crime. It is a legal matter. You cannot accuse anyone without any verdict. You have to go to a court if there is a crime. But the Armenians have always gone to the political institutions like the parliaments. Oskanian says that he grew up with the real evidence. 'Real evidence' means just the stıories of his grand mother and father. The old Armenians never spoke how many Turk they killed. They just spoke about the suffereings. Anatolia was full of sufferings at that time. Not only the Armenians but also the Turks suffered a lot. More than half a million Muslims were slaughtered by the armed Armenian groups. We also grew up with the real evidence. Our grand parents also told us how the Armenian attacks were bad, how many Turkish babies were murdered by the Armenians, how many Turkish women were raped by the Armenian criminals etc. Of course there is a need to go to a court. And I think Turkey fisrt should apply a court for the Turkish and Kurdish genocide committed by the Armenians."
Armenia And Turkey Miss Chance To Establish Relations Each Day PanARMENIAN.Net 04.12.2006 Each day Armenia and Turkey miss a chance to establish bilateral relations, Armenian FM Vartan Oskanian stated in an interview with the New Anatolian. In his words, Turkey unfortunately does not want to establish diplomatic relations equally with all three Caucasus nations and play a more constructive role. "So that opportunity was missed. The second opportunity has come out as closer cooperation with the European Union. At the same time that Turkey is negotiating its EU accession, today Turkey has the opportunity to play a role as a bridge between the Caucasus and Europe. That opportunity is also is being missed, but the biggest opportunity that we're missing is the interaction between our two peoples. Fifteen years have passed (since Armenia declared its independence in 1991), and no interaction is seen on the border. Our peoples do not know each other well and old memories are being reinforced, our focus today is the wrong focus. We have got to focus on new relations, open borders, establishing diplomatic relations and that is what I mean by saying missed opportunities," Oskanian remarked. Commenting on the Turkish Government's intention to bring an action and the International Court on the issue of the Armenian Genocide, the Armenian FM said, "For us, there is no court case, we will never talk about this, because we grew up with the real evidence, our parents and our grandparents. That living evidence of this tragedy, survival of Genocide, I am the son of one them. So for Armenians there has never been an issue where we ourselves have to prove this by going to court, that this Genocide happened. The question for us is to get a political solution. Because the issue is neither historical nor legal, it is political. And Turkey has politicized this by pursuing a policy of denial at the state level."
The Views Of Oskanian Ömer Engin LÜTEM 4 December 2006 IKSAREN During President Kocharian’s official visit to Cyprus, the Armenian Foreign Minister Vartan Oskanian, made remarks to the press regarding Armenia’s policy vis a vis Turkey. Oskanian began by reiterating his well known view that “recognition of the Armenian genocide is not a precondition for normal, good neighborly relations with Turkey”. However, he continued by stating that “genocide recognition is the moral obligation of every Armenian”. As such, he disclosed their intention of continuing to level genocide accusations against Turkey even after the establishment of normal relations. . Furthermore, Oskanian stated that recognition is the “minimum compensation” that could be afforded in this regard. Although he did not state what the highest compensation demanded would amount to, it is known that this would be the payment of a high sum of money alongside granting some land from Eastern Anatolia to Armenia. However, the Armenian Foreign Minister, asserted that what was on the Armenian foreign policy agenda was solely the recognition of the Armenian “genocide”. The Armenian Foreign Minister expressed that “as more countries recognize the genocide”, Turkey becomes more aggressive in its policy of denial”. He added that “the Turks have never been this organized at the state level to pursue a policy of denial”. These words reflect the lately prevalent disappointment among the Armenians. All along they surmised that as the number of countries recognizing the “genocide” would increase, this would pressurize Turkey into eventual recognition as well. However, despite a grave increase in the number of such countries alongside certain Turkish academicians acknowledging and propagating Armenian views, the will of Turkey to confront these accusations has strengthened. As Oskanian is now aware of this situation, to further their relations with Turkey it would be better for the Armenians to abandon their policies which hinge on Turkey’s recognition of the “genocide”. On the other hand, in contrast to the diaspora, the “genocide” issue does not lie at the forefront of Armenia’s agenda and the opening of borders is accorded priority. As a matter of fact, Oskanian has stated that “they held little hope in the U.S.A exerting pressure on Turkey and that it must be more assertive in calling on Turkey to open the border”. Stating that the proposal to establish a joint commission to inquire into the genocide allegations made in April 2005 by Prime Minister Erdogan was a smokescreen, Oskanian asked how this could be set up devoid of diplomatic ties between the two countries. In actuality, the lack of diplomatic ties between the two countries is not an impediment in the way of negotiations being held. Since the Republic of Armenia has been established, Armenian and Turkish authorities from all levels have carried out consultations and organized meetings. Oskanian himself has come together with various Turkish foreign ministers on many occasions. As 18 countries’ parliaments have taken decisions on the ‘genocide’ issue to date, the Armenians have been reluctant to take up the joint historical commission proposal, believing that the issue will be settled in their favor. Meanwhile the rise in the number of countries that favor the joint commission proposal reflects how such pretexts advanced by Armenia are not viewed as convincing. While making these explanations, Oskanian asserted that “the conflict of Karabagh posed a major obstacle in ties with Turkey”, and that “Ankara’s unequivocal solidarity with Azerbaijan works against Turkey because it undermines their credibility and weight in the Caucuses and their claim to be a bridge between East and West”. Apart from Armenia, Turkey’s relations with the countries in the Caucasus are positive ranging from good to excellent. Furthermore the importance attributed by the Pope to Turkey’s role as a bridge between East and West negates Oskanian’s remarks in this regard. In the final count it should be mentioned that although Oskanian has spoken upon the main issues between the two countries he has neglected touching upon Turkey’s probable recourse to international legal tribunals on the issue of Armenian genocide allegations.
The Rational Papaturka Thomas Kleine-Brockhoff | December 4, 2006 http://blog.washingtonpost.com Germany/USA - Now the Turkish media call him "Papaturka". The Pope surprised the world when he arrived in Turkey without a crucifix around his neck, when he was seen waving a Turkish flag and, most importantly, when he reportedly endorsed Turkish membership to the European Union. Undoubtedly, he does something courageous when he takes on Europe's culturalists and their standard-bearer. We are witnessing the battle of the German titans: Joseph Ratzinger v. Helmut Kohl. While still in office, the Chancellor had brought some honesty to the debate about Turkeys accession to the European Union when he famously declared Europe to be a "Christian Club". Kohl, the uber-culturalist, said what many people in Europe think, but don't dare to say. The culturalists believe that Europe is an association of free peoples bound together by tradition and identity. Consequently, Europe has borders. Christendom helps define these borders. In other words: Muslims don't belong here. To the culturalists the Siege of Vienna has never ended. 1683 equals 2006. EU accession is the new incarnation of the Turkish desire to conquer Europe. The culturalist's case, of course, has never been convincing. Indeed, Europe is an association of free peoples, but their common identity is shaped by the principles of liberal democracy. And as an EU member Turkey can all but help Europe to fulfill its own promise. Either Europe will be democratic, multi-religious and multi-ethnic - or it will not be. In fact, it is all of these things today, thanks partly to Turkish immigration. European Muslims already outnumber the Dutch. And not even European culturalists will doubt that predominantly Muslim Albania and Bosnia might one day be members of the EU -- because they clearly reside inside Europe's "borders". Europe's history and identity has included Islam for hundreds of years. The Pope's remarks have the power to change that debate. It will be much harder for the proponents of the "Christian Club" to make their case without God's Deputy on earth being on board. The more he spells out the details of his own argument (which he hasn't done so far) the more he will do to bring skeptical Christian traditionalists along. In that process he might alter the perception of Catholicism in the Muslim world. His tolerance opens up a world of possibilities. While Europe's culturalists always had a weak case, Europe's institutionalists continue to make a strong case against Turkey's accession to the EU. And the Pope's remarks do nothing to address their concerns. In fact, it would have been astonishing had the Pope injected himself into this type of policy debate. The institutionalists argue that Turkey might be ready for the EU, but the EU is not ready for Turkey. With 70 million Turks, the EU would collapse under a severe case of system overload. They argue that the lessons of Greek, Portuguese and Irish accession do not apply today. With its system of redistribution of wealth via structural funds and market access, the EU helped these countries to modernize rapidly. The new countries were small and had small economies. The big countries of the then European Community enjoyed enormous growth rates while they were taking on the extra load of integrating the new members. The governing mechanisms of the Community worked. None of that is true today. The EU had promised to reform its governing structure before it would accept new members from Central and Eastern Europe. It hasn't happened. The EU is a behemoth of 25 countries hardly able to take more than baby steps together. It's decision making process is archaic; it's farm policy is immensely costly and unprincipled; it's structural funds promise more intra-European solidarity than constituents are willing to deliver when that means French EU-contributions will help to send French jobs to Slovakia. In the end, the electorate defines the limits of European expansionism - as witnessed in France and The Netherlands. For years the integration of new members has been seen as a tool of foreign policy. The EU would help to export stability. But what, ask the institutionalists, if there is no stability to export in the midst of a constitutional, demographic and economic crisis? They argue that Europe will import instability instead of exporting stability. The consequences might be at least as grave as those created by a rejection of Turkey or a postponement of membership. Culturalists and institutionalists concur that Turkey should not become an EU member shortly. That agreement does not amount to much. The culturalists claim that Turkey can never become a member while the institutionalists are willing to change their mind some day -- when the EU has gotten its act together. By weakening the culturalist's case the Pope is refocusing the argument. A spiritual leader is helping to rationalize a big continental debate.
Isolated Armenia leads the way in using cleaner car fuel December 4, 2006 MARIAM HARUTUNIAN YEREVAN - AFP Cut off from world energy markets, the mountainous state of Armenia is making a virtue of adversity and may be leading the world in using cleaner car fuel, officials say. While the European Union is looking at 2020 before 10 percent of vehicles there will use alternative fuel, in Armenia up to 30 percent of cars already run on clean compressed gas, officials here say. This statistic includes about 45,000 private cars and 90 percent of public transport. Such high levels of clean fuel use are due "to the fact that Armenia, which has no energy resources of its own, is trying to use the most affordable alternative fuel," said Pavel Siradegian, an official from the Transport Ministry. In this the former Soviet Republic appears be leading a trend. Around the world some five million vehicles are run on compressed natural gas and liquefied natural gas, according to the United States Energy Department's Internet site. Natural gas vehicles are just as safe as conventional petrol and diesel-fuelled ones and produce lower harmful emissions, the department says. In Armenia, the switch has its origins in the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union. Before then, Armenia got petrol from its oil-rich neighbor Azerbaijan, but after the two countries plunged into a war over the Armenian-populated enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh, Armenia cut ties with both Azerbaijan and Turkey. Armenia buys its gas from Russia for $110 (77 euros) per 1,000 cubic meters, with 84 percent of the population having access to gas at home. The gas used for cars is three or four times cheaper than petrol and half the price of diesel fuel "and so people convert to gas of their own accord," Siradegian said. The gas containers are usually imported from Russia or Italy and are installed in the car's trunk at licensed centers -- an operation that costs the equivalent of $700 to 1,000 (530-760 euros). "Even with such high installation prices it's cheaper to use gas than petrol. A 20-liter canister of petrol would cost some $17, while topping up with gas costs only $4," said the head of Yerevan's Ultra taxi service, Aram Hachian, who has converted all his cars. "If we used petrol, many people here wouldn't be able to afford a taxi," he said. Armenia currently has 140 filling stations equipped with gas compressing equipment. "Drivers have no fear of being left without fuel," Siradegian said. But some admit the choice has been forced on them. "If I were rich, I'd fill my car with petrol because gas is bad for your engine and it is not very nice carrying an 80-kilogram container in your trunk," said one Yerevan resident, 37-year-old Artem. At the country's Environment Ministry, officials hail the benefits of increased gas use after the damage done to the environment in the 1990s. "Switching to gas has been a real salvation for Armenia, whose forests suffered during the energy crisis," said environment official Martin Tsarukian. "Gas-using cars emit half the amount of nitric oxide than petrol-driven cars," he said. "Conversion to gas was an economic necessity, but there have been ecological benefits as a result." The ministry is aware that the popularity of compressed gas could be time-limited if the country pulls itself out of economic hardship -- the average salary is currently $100 a month. However, it is now looking at ways of ensuring drivers stick to compressed gas -- for example through tax benefits.
Armenian FM Vartan Oskanian gives exclusive interview to TNA Nursun Erel - TNA/Yerevan 04 December 2006 Armenian Foreign Minister Vartan Oskanian said that Armenia doesn't see the "genocide issue" as a precondition to normalize relations with Turkey, but called on his Turkish colleagues to remove all their preconditions too. As a successor of the Soviet era, said Oskanian, Armenia recognizes all treaties including the Treaty of Kars, but he claimed the Turks are the ones violating the agreement by keeping the border closed. Oskanian also pointed to the historical city of Ani as a good step for mutual cooperation and asked Turkey to open the border at least for visitors to the city. Oskanian also told us that Orhan Pamuk's two most recent books are on his desk and he will start reading them soon. Our appointment with Foreign Minister Oskanian was on the day after our appointment with Yerevan State University students was cancelled by the personal initiative of University Rector Aram Simonyan, so when Oskanian brought up the Armenian press' great interest in our visit, I had to tell him about the cancellation too. Here's what Armenia's top diplomat had to tell us during our interview in his office in the Foreign Ministry building: OSKANYAN: From what I see in all the newspapers, you've become a star in Yerevan! TNA: Well I doubt it, because yesterday I was supposed to meet with journalism students at Yerevan State University but the rector cancelled our meeting. OSKANYAN: Why? TNA: From what I heard, he finds my opinions a "virus" that I could infect the students with, so he cancelled the meeting. OSKANYAN: Well, I'm sorry to hear that and certainly that isn't good, and I don't think he made the right decision. Missed opportunities TNA: So thank you very much for your kindness in receiving me here for a second time, because back in 2001 I had another chance to interview you. But I can't say that I see much change in Turkish-Armenian relations. What's your view of this? OSKANYAN: That's a pity and it's very unfortunate really because we're missing huge opportunities with every passing day. Turkey is classically not raising any option to see those opportunities and unfortunately doesn't want to establish diplomatic relations equally with all three Caucasus nations and play a more constructive role. So that opportunity was missed. The second opportunity has come out as closer cooperation with the European Union. At the same time that Turkey is negotiating its EU accession, today Turkey has the opportunity to play a role as a bridge between the Caucasus and Europe. That opportunity is also is being missed, but the biggest opportunity that we're missing is the interaction between our two peoples. Fifteen years have passed (since Armenia declared its independence in 1991), and no interaction is seen on the border. Our peoples don't know each other well and old memories are being reinforced, our focus today is the wrong focus. We've got to focus on new relations, open borders, establishing diplomatic relations and that's what I mean by saying missed opportunities. TNA: Recently some people in Turkey have said that the government should seek arbitration in an international court on the issue of the events of 1915. What do you think of this? (NURSUN: I MEAN GOING FOR ARBITRAGE AM I RIGHT TO WRITE THIS WAY? LET NAZLAN HAVE A LOOK) OSKANYAN: For us, there's no court case, we'll never talk about this, because we grew up with the real evidence, our parents and our grandparents. That living evidence of this tragedy, survival of genocide, I'm the son of one them. So for Armenians there has never been an issue where we ourselves have to prove this by going to court, that this genocide happened. The question for us is to get a political solution. Because the issue is neither historical nor legal, it's political. And Turkey has politicized this by pursuing a policy of denial at the state level. So the real issue isn't legal but political and it's between the governments of Turkey and Armenia. Genocide recognition no precondition TNA: Last week after your President Robert Kocharian visited Greek Cyprus, I read your statement to Agence France Press saying that the genocide issue would no longer be an obsession or dominant issue for Turkish-Armenian relations. Could you elaborate on that? OSKANYAN: I've always said and will continue to say that. Genocide recognition isn't a precondition. It's an issue that's there and won't go away, it's our moral obligation to pursue recognition. But that shouldn't impede the normalization of our relations. As long as the Armenians don't say that unless Turkey recognizes the genocide we won't normalize our relations, Turkey shouldn't say the reverse, that Armenia should drop the complaint of genocide. Neither side should put any preconditions. We pursue recognition; Turkey is pursuing policies of denialism. I really cannot see the reason why the borders cannot be opened, so that our people would interact. That certainly would create more favorable conditions, so that we can address those issues in a more constructive manner at the government level and create new memories that certainly will create a more constructive manner. TNA: But do you think it's democratic to punish someone who argues against the genocide thesis? OSKANYAN: But is it democratic to punish those in Turkey who say the events of 1915 are genocide? Article 301 TNA: Do you think it's a crime to say this in Turkey? OSKANYAN: But the law is there, Orhan Pamuk, Hirant Dink (a famous novelist and an ethnic Armenian writer-editor both charged under Article 301 of the Turkish Penal Code, TCK, for "insulting Turkishness"), and the others. What I'm trying to say here are two things: One, Turkey isn't in any position to criticize the French Parliament's decision (in September, passing a bill criminalizing denial of the genocide allegations), second, the French Parliament's decision is a reaction to the Turkish denialism. It is as simple as that. That has come as a community request, so that the law will be passed. But the French parliamentarians did it in reaction. If you listened to the arguments before the vote, the main issue was your Article 301. I was listening to the debate, and every single speaker said it's because there's Article 301 in Turkey. So it's a reaction. Because the frustration among the Armenian people is the fact that the events 1915 are denied. And every Armenian would say that it's a fact that genocide denial hurts. And it's natural that Armenians will react the way they were reacting. They will go to the parliaments of the countries they're living in and try to past these similar laws, and some parliaments will listen to their citizens and the laws will pass. TNA: Do you think the wording is that important, even though everyone thinks that 1915 was a real tragedy and everyone must be sorry for that? OSKANYAN: No, certainly it's, it's important… We've got to call things by their names, you can't just devalue what happened. Because as we speak, there are similar acts that are being committed. That is a whole study, if you say that this is a criminal act, then there would not have been the scholarship on genocide. It's a convention, it has a clear definition and it has become a science. TNA: Even Turkish journalists are very critical of Article 301. If it were changed or eliminated altogether, do you think it would be positive? OSKANYAN: You know the positive step will be when Turkish scholars will step out, and once they are all outspoken and have no more fear to call things by their names, we will see it. That will make for more healthy discourse without fear of punishment between Turkish scholars. So there will be more exchanges of ideas, more seminars, more conferences, and Armenians will be invited too. So that taboo will be removed when 301 is removed. I'm not saying that without recognition the Armenians will be satisfied, but we will create the normal conditions. We have to find a democratic environment for this discourse. Pamuk's novels TNA: Have you read any of Orhan Pamuk's novels? OSKANYAN: Well, actually I have "Istanbul: Memories and the City" and "Snow" on my desk so I'm planning to read them soon. TNA: But they haven't been translated into Armenian, so will you be reading them in English? OSKA: I think they will be translated soon, but for now I'll be reading them in English. TNA: When we were talking about positive steps to be taken, some in Turkey say that the Armenian Constitution has articles referring to your Declaration of Independence which speaks of "Western Armenia," meaning Turkish territories. And they also bring up how the Armenian Republic has yet to recognize the Treaty of Kars (which defines the Turkish Republic's eastern borders). OSKANYAN: The Treaty of Kars is in force as far as I'm concerned. Because Armenia is a successor in recognizing the Soviet treaties. And as long as any treaty hasn't been renounced officially or replaced by a new one, it has been in force. But the problem is that the agreement has been violated so much by the Turkish side. If a legal expert looks at this agreement and the way it's been implemented, I'm not sure if the legal experts would conclude that this is a valid treaty. The violation is from the Turkish side, (because of) having closed its borders with Armenia, and this is a violation of the Treaty of Kars. Armenian Constitution TNA: And what of the Armenian Constitution referring to the Declaration of Independence? OSKANYAN: First of all let's be correct, it's not the Constitution, but the Constitution makes reference to our Declaration of Independence. The Declaration of Independence has one phrase that if we look carefully I don't think it reflects what you think it does. If you read it carefully, word for word, maybe you should look at it. It's a general statement about our past, not necessarily a statement about our future claims. TNA: Earlier this year I visited Akhdamar Island in Van and had the chance to see the perfectly renovated Armenian church there. Do you think the Ani ruins in Kars could also be renovated through a joint initiative? Our culture minister told me they don't have the budget to do this, but that the Armenians wouldn't allocate money either because they have their own economic difficulties, and the Armenian diaspora wouldn't be interested because they have other issues to deal with, meaning their efforts to provoke world parliaments against Turkey. OSKANYAN: Tell me if the Turkish government will agree to make Ani a common visiting ground for Armenians and Turks. The money would certainly come from international organizations. That would be an ideal confidence-building measure between Armenia and Turkey, an ideal cooperation between our two peoples. It's a common history. It's on your territory; it's been our historic capital. It can be a common visiting ground for tourists from both sides. I've been suggesting this to the Turkish governments. Open the borders, so that at least we can visit Ani. We can simply start with no Armenians or Turks, but with foreign visitors who carry foreign national passports. Imagine, you have tourists from America coming to Turkey and they can come to Ani, cross the border and go to Armenia and vice versa is possible too. But there's a wall there, an imaginary wall that Turks have erected, and that's very unfortunate. Ani can be a symbol of our cooperation and we call on Turkey to revise its position on this issue, but there's been no response. TNA: If there isn't even agreement among the world's leading historians and experts on the 1915 tragedy, what was wrong with Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan's call last year to set up a joint committee of historians and experts to deal with the issue together? OSKANYAN: I've got to be very honest with you here, we think it's not a genuine proposal, it's a smokescreen for Europeans to think that Turkey has made a positive step. Let me explain why we think it's a smokescreen. Because of three reasons. One, there's already such a commission like many Turkish scholars, Armenians and foreign scholars have debated the issue, they have discussed the issue and they have declared their position. Those scholars wrote a letter to Prime Minister Erdogan when he issued this invitation and they said: Mr. Prime Minister, that issue has been already studied by different scholars and the conclusions are very clear. It is a genocide, so there's no need for further discussion. And second, with the law within Article 301, you can't be serious about such recommendations. I guess that if your scholars are on the commission, study this topic, they can't accept that it's a genocide. This is what it is. You have 301, that says if you say there's a genocide or even discuss the issue of the events of 1915, you can be punished. It's not compatible. Then today there's a vacuum between the Turkish and Armenian governments, between those two states, because there's no diplomatic relations. The border is even closed. So how do you imagine creating that commission among historians? How will they meet? Where? How will they interact? So there are many problems to be dealt with correctly. TNA: Do you believe that someday a Turkish government will admit that Turks once committed genocide? If not, and if this issue remains a stubborn obstacle freezing Turkish-Armenian relations, do you see any way out in the future? OSKANYAN: The way out isn't to set preconditions before each other. This is the way out. The rest will run in its normal course. Turkey is willing to become an EU member so all those laws, limiting society will be eliminated eventually, so the path towards a more healthy discourse will be opened, even to discuss the genocide. So now the task isn't to put forth any preconditions. And it's very unfortunate that many opportunities are being missed. So that we can't normalize our relations. TNA: You've had many face-to-face meetings with our Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul, so why do you think no concrete steps have followed? OSKANYAN: We started very well with him but then things backtracked because of the preconditions. Karabakh, genocide and the rest of it. Once Turkey understands that its strategic interests are more important than their narrow ethnic interests, I believe things will change. Today unfortunately Turkey is being guided by Azerbaijan's demands, by their Azerbaijani brothers' narrow ethnic interest,s but Turks don't understand that there are broader interests, regional interests that are good for Turkey, good for the region and good for Europe. Turkey uses these opportunities to become a bridge between East and West as it always claimed to be. Between the East and West, between the Caucasus and Europe. TNA: The last time I was here I came across a long line in front of the American Embassy and I learned that every day dozens of families are leaving Armenia. Now, coming back here five years later I asked about the situation, but some people joked that there aren't many people left in Armenia so there aren't any lines. How do you see the future of your country? OSKANYAN: I'm very optimistic about Armenia's future and that the future can be achieved much quicker if we have normal ties with Turkey and Azerbaijan. TNA: Would you also like to say some words about Nagorno- Karabakh and why the UN resolutions on it haven't been implemented by your government? OSKANYAN: The UN resolutions are absolutely unhelpful. First there's no UN resolution yet and if it happens I believe it will hurt the process. But if you mean the Security Council resolutions, which put obligations on both sides, I believe that Armenia has done much more on behalf of itself, but I can't say the same for the Azerbaijanis. TNA: So do you have any message to the man on the street in Turkey? OSKANYAN: We have to change this status quo, we have to normalize our relations without any preconditions.
Polemics (1) November 29, 2006 Gündüz Aktan I learned upon returning home from an overseas trip that daily Zaman had published an open letter addressed to me on Nov. 4. The letter was written by Professor Atilla Yayla, who made headlines with remarks he reportedly made about Kemal Atatürk and the Turkish Republic at a meeting in İzmir. The letter looked a highly polemical piece overflowing with the kind of anger the destination and timing of which one could not know. And that anger soon found its real target. Yayla's speech undoubtedly comes under the scope of freedom of expression. I just hope that he did not make that unethical and tactless statement about Atatürk as reported by the press. There is nothing wrong about having public discussions freely on such ideas. Teaching them to university students is another matter. In the United States, for example, no one can make a “denier” of the “Armenian genocide” a university staff member regardless of whether he or she is a Turk. For quite a long time the critics of Atatürk and the republic have made comments more severe than the criticism voiced by Yayla. On the other hand, in the country and abroad, there is a broad consensus on one point: Kemalism is modernity. The problem seems to be somewhere else. We would probably be wiped out if Atatürk had not appeared on the stage at the historic moment when the Ottoman Empire collapsed and the future of the Turkish existence was plunged into jeopardy. Without Atatürk, however, the Ottoman heritage, the experienced commanders, the people rising to the occasion with religious fervor, the patriotic deputies of the first assembly convened after the collapse of the empire, the imams and the sheikhs would not have been able to do much. There may be no other case in history where a whole society owes its survival to a single person as in the case of the Turkish people and Atatürk. When we look back we see that this feeling of indebtedness has generated not only a deep gratitude but also a strong adverse reaction. It may be said that with the exception of the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) almost all segments of Turkish society have criticized Atatürk at one point, sometimes debasing and belittling him. But in the end they have become “normalized” so to speak. This has proved to be a process of social maturing for us. In the course of that process İsmet Pasha came to be “sacrificial victim” for the sake of the “blond pasha,” that is, Atatürk. There were those who, in the name of the left, embraced Kemalism by reducing it to anti-imperialism alone. They blamed İsmet İnönü for those aspects of Atatürk that they found unacceptable. Even the Republican People's Party (CHP) itself belittled the Kemalist reforms by referring to them in Marxian terms as super-structural reforms when the late Bülent Ecevit's “left of the center” ideology underlined the importance of making “infrastructural reforms.” When Ecevit, once the CHP leader, set up the Democratic Left Party (DSP), that process came to an end. Abandoned by Ecevit, the CHP adopted, in the name of social democracy, the kind of multiculturalism that caused it to bring into it the Alevi and Kurdish circles. The current CHP leader, Deniz Baykal, is now being criticized for being “nationalistic.” That criticism shows that Baykal's CHP has returned to the Kemalist line. Although he was the third man of the republic, Celal Bayar's Democratic Party (DP) was a deviation -- especially from the principle of secularism. The sense of injustice created by the March 27, 1960 coup prevented the DP-AP-DYP movement from making a full comeback to the Kemalist line until Suleyman Demirel became president only at a much later date. Nationalism was the basic doctrine of the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) but that was different from Atatürk's nationalism. That situation started to change during the final days of the late Alparslan Türkeş. Now, it is obvious -- especially from the latest speech made by the current MHP leader, Devlet Bahçeli -- which the MHP too has, by now, embraced Kemalism. In this context the correct term to be used may be “embracing the republic” instead of Kemalism since this is a matter of defending the republic (that Atatürk had described as his greatest work) and its founding principles rather than endlessly analyzing Kemalism and trying to adapt it to the changing conditions of the day. Until a few years ago the “republic” had had to remain in the negative shadow the “state” concept had cast on it. In our day the republic is being defended through a consensus of a very big and increasingly bigger section of society. The pious circles that have still not abandoned the Salafi line, the separatist Kurds and the leftist-turned-liberal intellectuals are yet to become part of that consensus. Sadly, their failure to fully embrace the republic stems not from differences of view or belief but from their failure to reach the maturity needed to grasp Atatürk's lonely greatness and to acknowledge our extraordinary debt to him. This process of awareness has taken so long in their case because of the traumas they have experienced in the past. When all segments of society complete that process there will still be nationalists, leftists, social democrats, conservatives, pious believers and liberals. However, their rhetoric will no longer cause uneasiness because the sub-text will no longer reflect hostility towards the republic. Then it will be possible for us to have a much more liberal democracy. Trauma (2) November 30, 2006 Gündüz Aktan Professor Atilla Yayla has apparently been upset by the way I wrote that the leftists-turned-liberals in Turkey had been traumatized in the past. Undoubtedly, not all liberals suffered traumas. And they were not all necessarily leftists. Besides, it is only normal for people to change their minds. Also, traumatized people can solve their problems through analysis. In my columns I do not mention any names when talking about traumatized people. I am not attaching any stigma to the word “trauma.” It is not right that Yayla should see himself as the person to whom my columns were addressed. Also wrong is the way he raps me by mentioning my name. It would be more useful to focus on a discussion of views rather than getting personal. A traumatic experience is not an ordinary event. It is a dramatic blow. The inability to avoid such a blow gives a person deep feelings of helplessness. The emotional tremors triggered by a trauma cannot be integrated into the sufferer's personality. In other words trauma plays havoc with a person's psychic structure. It is no secret that a considerable number of those intellectuals who uphold liberal views today suffered traumas during the March 12, 1971 and Sept. 12, 1980 military regimes. In this context, the important thing is the effect the trauma has on the sufferers' ideas and behavior. The traumatized person becomes fixated on the traumatic event. He starts to see the world through the prism of that trauma. His ideas and behavior take shape under the effects of the traumatizing event of the past and not on the basis of actual reality. If he has been traumatized by the state, he may lose his sense of belonging and allegiance to the state. He may orient himself towards a “more civilized” external source of authority such as the European Union or the United States. Strangely enough, that enables him to feel like a hero, a freedom fighter struggling against the state which he perceives as the source of all evil. When others fail to appreciate the revolutionary struggle he waged for the sake of the people he cries out, “Oh, my people…!” He reaches the conclusion that people did not deserve his sacrifice. In other words, he loses his trust in the inner dynamics for change in the country. However the traumatic experience of the past creates in his soul an acute need for change. He perceives change as something that would rid himself of his sense of being stuck with his trauma. Nevertheless he cannot clarify in his mind exactly what should change and how. Since his own inner ability to adapt has been damaged, he attaches more importance to adaptation to the external world rather than to development and progress. The same feelings of being stuck create also a need for unlimited freedom. This too is a way of trying to get disentangled from the traumatic fixation. Thus, he turns freedom into a mythological force that would solve all the problems automatically. When he abandons the leftist ideology and becomes a liberal, he thinks that something has radically changed in him. He does not see that his liberalism is based on the same intellectual/faith pattern as his leftist views had once been. In the past he used to believe that history would render socialism dominant in the world. Now he relies on the liberal utopia for that end. He believes that the great and civilized authority to which he now belongs is bound to shape up the old tyrannical authority (in other words the state) that had traumatized him, rendering it liberal and democratic by giving it a good beating, so to speak. These liberals have an influence that far exceeds their numbers. They aim to get social positions where they are able to cry out the pain they have in them. In this respect the media serves as a highly important loudspeaker for them. Since their souls have not “aged” with the passing of time, fixed at the time of their youth when they were traumatized, as academics and columnists they easily manage to influence youngsters. Since they have wounds, they cannot tolerate even the slightest criticism. They preach self-criticism to others but they cannot engage in it themselves. Their sense of having become victimized makes them egotistical and this, in turn, makes them indifferent to other people's sensitivities. The most dangerous thing about a trauma is that the traumatized person may have “repetition compulsion” i.e., a tendency to re-experience his trauma over and over due to the fact that the unconscious mind tells him -- wrongly -- that a re-enactment would ease the effects of the trauma. For this reason, they have an extraordinary yen to provoke the one that had traumatized them in the past. When they hear the warning, “If this continues your worst fears will materialize,” they perceive this as a threat rather than a warning. We all have a problematic relationship with authority. For this reason liberalism will always be an important political movement. However, the traumatized “liberal intellectuals” that have a pathological relationship with the state and the nation are rendering democratization all the more difficult. Naturally one could ask the following question: The Democratic Party circles suffered the May 27, 1960 trauma and the nationalists experienced the same process as the leftists during the Sept. 12, 1980 period. Why have they not developed the aforementioned symptoms? Towards the final December 2, 2006 Gündüz Aktan Due to the latest developments regarding the European Union I am postponing the third and last article in the series I have prepared on Professor Yayla and the Turkish liberals. Instead, I have written this column on the EU at a time when the outcome of Finnish prime minister's Dec. 1 visit to Ankara was still not known. The EU Commission on Dec. 29 disclosed the content of the recommendation it was supposed to make on Dec. 6 regarding the accession talks with Turkey. It is advising the EU Council to suspend negotiations on eight chapters on the grounds that we have not opened our ports and airports to the Greek Cypriots. The reason the commission has acted in haste and has suggested suspension of talks on eight rather than the three or four chapters related to the customs union is quite simple. They want to bargain with us. It is for this purpose that the EU is sending the Finnish prime minister to Turkey. If we react strongly enough it may even abandon its unjust decision altogether. If we do react but not with enough force it is likely to content itself with suspending talks on three or four relevant chapters. Foreign Minister Abdullah Gül did the right thing by declaring in advance that we would not accept suspension of talks on any chapter. Similarly, the prime minister did the right thing by saying later in Riga that the commission's decision was unacceptable. Yet, during the press conference he held at the airport on his return from Riga a mysterious change occurred in the prime minister's stance. He stressed that Turkey was determined to go ahead with the EU accession process, that the EU Commission decision would only slow down the process a little, that the negotiations would not come to a halt etc. Did he have to comment immediately on the EU's decision? Should the reaction come from a person as highly placed as the prime minister? Did Turkey have to give the impression that it is bowing down to that decision without any bargaining? Turkish officials may say, in reply, that they are indeed bargaining -- behind closed doors. But then why should that take place behind closed doors? Even the fact that we would opt for silent diplomacy while the EU officials do not hesitate to conduct their bargaining before the general public would be reason enough for us to fail in the bargaining process. When the EU announced on Dec. 17, 2004 its decision to initiate accession talks with Turkey with too many conditions, we had in a similar manner raised no objections. The Swedish prime minister of the time had said he could not understand how we possibly could accept such a decision. This time too British politicians and journalists are saying loud and clear that the EU Commission has punished Turkey with its recommendation. Yet, as if nothing has happened, we are talking about going ahead as usual. Each time the EU takes a decision of this kind, that is, a decision that would act against Turkish interests, the EU “explains” to us that in reality the decision is strongly in our favor. Accordingly it now says: “On the contrary this will speed up the negotiations. The Cyprus issue will thus be pushed to the background. While some EU members were demanding suspension of the talks on all chapters for good and Germany and France were seeking an 18-month suspension, the commission has taken the best possible decision in Turkey's favor etc.” How can we be so easily fooled? Meanwhile, the lobby of “those who foil the membership by desperately wanting it” is stirred into action in Turkey. After criticizing the EU stance on Cyprus in a tear-jerking manner -- they go on to say that the commission's recommendation is in our favor. If this is not clowning, then what is it? There were those who said that if a road accident occurred during the accession talks we would be left without the EU “anchor” and that the stock exchange would plunge into turmoil leading to an economic crisis. By now, it has been seen that these fears are not well grounded. Yet the prime minister starts displaying a defeatist attitude all of a sudden. What is the meaning of that? Is he influenced by the Newsweek article? In order to overcome the barrier in his path to presidency is he trying to maintain the EU process so that the pressure exerted in favor of the supremacy of the civil authority would continue? The “hard power” the United States is using in Iraq has created a situation that Turkey finds disturbing regarding the partitioning of Iraq, the way Turkmens are being pushed to the sidelines and the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) is using northern Iraq as a safe haven. Meanwhile, the EU's “soft power” is about to strike the final blow on our relations with the West. In a blatantly unfair manner the EU punishes us by supporting the Greek Cypriots. It condones the “peaceful” PKK activities in EU countries. The legislation process goes on regarding bills criminalizing the “denial” of the “Armenian genocide” in some member countries. Due to religion-based identity differences, Turkey is being offered a “privileged partnership” with the EU. What is called the political reform process now largely consists of demands on Turkey in terms of granting collective rights to the Kurds, freedom to promote the Armenian genocide allegations and expansion of Christians' rights and interests. The EU, while pushing the negotiating process with Turkey into limbo, aims to ensure continuation in Turkey of the aforementioned “reform” process. Is this politically possible? The EU's blunder has created a historic opportunity for Turkey to overhaul the negotiating process. If, with petty political considerations, the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government misses this chance, not only will the EU membership prospect be shattered but also our relations with the entire West will slide into a crisis situation. In that case the much-feared regime crisis may become unavoidable. The process (3) December 5, 2006 Gündüz Aktan This is the last article in a series I had interrupted in order to write about the European Union issue. Contrary to Professor Yayla's claims, the Turkish liberals are neither principled nor respectful of rules. Since they do not come from the Anglo-Saxon “libertarian” tradition, they confuse freedoms with “anomie.” They seem to have sprouted from some stage of the anarchic or the revolutionary leftist tradition. For this reason the term “old left/new liberal” is suitable for liberals of this kind. These liberals know that democratic development has been a very long and difficult process in the West. Yet, when engaging in polemics they sound as if they are not aware of this fact. They argue that the final product that resulted from that process can simply be imported anywhere in the world from the West, including to Turkey, and used successfully. The Magna Carta (1215) can be taken as the starting point of the democratic process. That document entailed property rights and a number of negative rights concerning protection of the physical integrity of the person. In other words, it was about a handful of feudal lords rather than the people as a whole. Property rights were the main driving force behind that process. Even the other types of human rights were based on the analogy, as Locke and Hobbes pointed out, that a person “owns” his own body just as the way he owns property. The emergence of the commercial and industrial bourgeoisie followed agricultural development. People chose their lines of business, worked and earned. Thus the market economy was born. First the feudal lords then other groups that had flourished economically, took part in the administration. With the industrial revolution, workers too have joined this process. The Reformation brought about the national churches as of the second half of the 16th century. Following Britain, a century later continental Europe stepped into the age of the Enlightenment in the mid 1700s. As an institution religion took the backseat while reason and science came to the foreground. Modernity began. Education, urbanization, industrialization and the creation of a middle class --which had all already reached a certain level -- developed further. All these developments led to the emergence of nation-states. Democracy took its final shape in the mid-20th century within nation-states when women and black people were given the right to vote and to be elected. During that process the West did not make any utopian abstractions to the effect that the most advanced democracy would be good under any condition and that people deserve democracy as human beings. Democratic initiatives simply followed socioeconomic development with a time lag. Later, Japan followed the same development process as the West in the same sequence to attain its current level. Now China is proceeding on the same path. Our socioeconomic structure was not ready in 1946 to adopt a democratic system. Saying “We have switched to democracy prematurely” does not mean “Let us abandon the democratic system.” On the contrary, this is to point out that we should know well the problems caused by that premature move and we should solve these within a democratic system. The biggest difficulty with having an “early democracy” is that those segments of society that have not yet completed the modernization process bring to power the kind of political cadres that prove unable to govern the country well. These cadres have not yet incorporated the concepts of nation-state and modernity into their mentality and value system. Therefore their mentality and their values are not compatible with democracy either. As claimed by the liberals, isolating democracy from the mistakes of the politicians and adulating it in an abstract manner would not serve any practical purpose. These politicians are both the product and the producer of this democracy. To ensure the proper functioning of democracy we must achieve socio-economic development without much delay. In this respect having a competent bureaucracy is very important. However, non-modernized political cadres do not allow that. No one is saying that the democratically elected political power should be subordinated by the bureaucracy. The Foreign Ministry is the best example in this respect. The military's position is a little different. The army had played a leading role in the establishment of the republic. At that time there was no “nation.” Atatürk aimed to build during the life span of a single generation a nation, something that had emerged naturally in the West over a period spanning five centuries. Since, contrary to what happened in Japan, Turkey adopted the democratic system before the nation-building and the socioeconomic development processes were completed, the military in Turkey sometimes feels the need to protect the founding principles of the republic. This is the simple and naked truth. The concepts of religious and ethnic multiculturalism of post-modernism, as often advocated by the liberals, cannot be used to redefine the founding principles of a republic in non-modernized societies. After all the bitter experiences of the past everybody should have realized by now that the necessary steps should be taken so that the military no longer has to “speak up.”
Turkey: Pope, Armenian patriarch discuss Armenian-Turkish dialogue Anatolia News Agency Nov 30 2006 Istanbul, 30 November: "A peaceful dialogue between Turkish and Armenian peoples is obligatory and our most important expectation," Patriarch of Turkish Armenians Mesrob II said. During the religious ceremony conducted by Pope Benedict XVI at the Sourp Asdvadzadzin (Virgin Mary) Church in Istanbul, Mesrob II noted, "our Patriarchate was improved during the Ottoman period, and became the most important catalyst for reviving the western Armenian culture and literature." After the ceremony, Pope Benedict XVI left the patriarchate. Tight security forces were taken during the pontiff's visit to the Ayasofya (Hagia Sophia) Museum, Sultanahmet Mosque (Blue Mosque) and Turkish Armenians Patriarchate. Roads were closed to traffic, snipers took positions on the tops of the buildings, and two helicopters flew over the area.
Armenia Works For Improvement Of Relations With Turkey PanARMENIAN.Net 02.12.2006 Armenia works for improvement of relations with Turkey, however it does not accept preconditions put forward by it, Secretary of the National Security Council at the President of Armenia, Defense Minister Serge Sargsyan stated Friday, when presented the draft National Security Strategy of the country. "Armenia works for improvement of relations with Turkey via establishing contacts both at the state and non-state levels," the Minister said. Nevertheless, in his words, Armenia does not accept preconditions put forward by Turkey for establishing relations. Sargsyan also added that Armenia also considers the necessity for Turkey to recognize the Armenian Genocide as restoration of historical justice regarding the Armenian population of the Ottoman Empire and their descendants, and ruling out new infringement against Armenia within that context, reports Novosti-Armenia.

Argentina ‘genocide’ bill against spirit of relations, warns Ankara December 2, 2006 ANKARA - Turkish Daily News The Turkish capital has condemned the approval of a bill by the House of Representatives of Argentina in which it decided to mark April 24 as “The Action Day for Tolerance and Respect between Peoples for the Memory of Armenian Genocide.” Ankara labeled the Argentinean move as being incompatible not only with historical fact but with international law. The Foreign Ministry in a statement expressed regret over the fact that such bills were being approved by accepting groundless Armenian allegations as historical truths while ignoring -- rather than lending support to -- the Turkish government's offer to set up a joint commission of Turkish and Armenian historians to examine the killings of Anatolian Armenians during World War I. “The expulsion decision made in May 1915 by the Ottoman Empire was a legitimate precaution taken purely on security motives against certain Armenian groups who were in collaboration with invading forces. However, it was not a decision made by the Ottoman Empire for the destruction of Armenians, as is alleged by Armenian circles and their supporters,” the ministry said. Ankara has also warned that this attempt -- favoring Armenian allegations, the veracity of which has not yet been proved -- fails to comply with the spirit of improving bilateral relations between Argentina and Turkey. Expressing a wish for a commonsense approach from Argentina in the near future, Turkey urged the Argentinean Senate not to approve the bill, thus preventing it from coming into effect. Armenians claim up to 1.5 million of their kin were slaughtered in orchestrated killings during the last years of the Ottoman Empire. Turkey categorically rejects the claims, saying 300,000 Armenians and at least as many Turks died in civil strife when the Armenians took up arms for independence in eastern Anatolia and sided with Russian troops invading Ottoman soil. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan last year sent a letter to Armenian President Robert Kocharian proposing the establishment of a joint committee of Turkish and Armenian academics to study the allegations, but his proposal was turned down by Kocharian, who instead offered an intergovernmental commission that would study ways of resolving problems between the two neighboring countries. Turkey says its proposal is still on the table.
Ankara Condemns Armenian Bill in Argentina December 02, 2006 zaman.com Turkey has condemned the adoption of a draft bill regarding the so-called Armenian genocide in the Chamber of Deputies of Argentina and called for a refusal of the bill. On Nov. 29, the Chamber of Deputies, the lower house of the bicameral Argentinean Parliament, passed a draft bill on the Armenian claims. During the debates, at least eight lawmakers spoke about the draft, which passed with 175 votes in favor and 2 abstentions. Recalling that Turkey opened its archives to international historians to conduct research on the allegations of the Armenians, Turkish Foreign Ministry condemned the passage of such bills in a statement issued on Friday. “We condemn and find it unacceptable the adoption of such drafts snubbing Turkey's proposals to examine its archives and presenting baseless Armenian allegations as if they were unquestionable historical facts,” the statement said. The law, which still must be ratified by the Argentine Senate to become a law, designates every April 24 as the Day for Tolerance and Respect between Nations in memory of the "genocide of the Armenian people." The statement also accentuated that the draft in question was not also violating historical fact but also the international laws, adding that it would damage the sprit of relations between Turkey and Argentina. The ministry also requested that the draft be rejected by Argentinean Senate, the upper house of the parliament, and prevented from being enacted.
Pamuk returns to Turkey December 2, 2006 ISTANBUL - The Associated Press Novelist Orhan Pamuk returned on Friday to Turkey for the first time since winning the Nobel Prize in Literature, and he said the award would not change his life. “I am attached to my desk, to writing, to working and to my old habits,” Pamuk told journalists at the airport. “I will continue to be the novelist Orhan that you all know.” Pamuk, a fellow at Columbia University in New York City, was in the United States when he won the prize in October. He said he would stay in Istanbul for three or four days before traveling to Stockholm, Sweden with his daughter, to receive his prize. Pamuk, author of novels such as “Snow” and “My Name is Red,” was tried earlier this year on charges of insulting his country. He was tried after a group of ultranationalist lawyers accused Pamuk of the crime of “insulting Turkishness” after the novelist told a Swiss newspaper that “30,000 Kurds and 1 million Armenians were killed in these lands, and nobody but me dares to talk about it.” The charges were dropped over a technicality. The European Union, which Turkey aspires to join, is pressing the country to change the law, Article 301 of the Turkish Penal Code (TCK), which was used to charge Pamuk along with dozens of other writers, academics and journalists. December 3, 2006 From my notebook YÜKSEL SÖYLEMEZ The award of the Nobel Prize in Literature of 2006 to a Turkish literary figure was a far-fetched dream turned into reality. Orhan Pamuk was the honored and deserving Turk who made that dream come true. Turkey must be profusely grateful to him and should be truly proud of this greatly cherished and outstandingly unique distinction given to him. But rather than enjoying this extremely rare honor and literary privilege, alas Turkey's intellectual elite questioned whether he merited the prize or not. So much so that some Turkish writers, green with envy, ganged up against the prize and his literary worth and value, beyond all reason or professionalism. It was a pity that this rare historic event was not unequivocally celebrated and enjoyed as it should have been. A “sour grapes” attitude prevailed because of Pamuk's utterly unnecessary and out of place remarks about the Armenian tragedy of 1915 and about the Kurds killed in Turkey. It was not his mission to speak out on recent history and current politics, as he is neither a historian nor a political personality. Hostile remarks reached a pinnacle with claims that Pamuk was not “one of us,” to say nothing of a traitor, because of those remarks. While he was undeservedly brought to trial through nationalist machinations, he was happily and correctly proven not guilty by an Istanbul court. It was beyond imagination when his books, which were nonpolitical, were thrown out of a public library, although in an insignificant township, despite their being published in no less than 46 foreign countries and translated into many languages -- an international tribute to his success, with millions of copies sold all over the world, a first for a Turkish writer, generating an astronomical revenue for his publishers. Such an unprecedented success was bound to create literary envy and jealousy, which is humanly understandable, but the degree of animosity by his own countrymen, akin to that shown to Salman Rushdie, was not. Those narrow and parochial minds, so-called intellectuals or otherwise, apparently have no knowledge as to how the Nobel Prize selection process works. It is vastly intricate in detail, starting with the mailing of hundreds of letters internationally to prominent literary figures requesting them to submit names of candidates. The selection committee then works for many months preparing a shortlist to be presented to the Nobel Committee for their selection of the winner of the literary prize of the year. Pamuk was obviously a front-runner in his own right, with international prizes to his name. It had been predicted for the last four years, with his growing popularity and awards won one after the other in Germany, France and Ireland, to name but a few. It was the talk of the town that he was nearly given the Nobel Prize in Literature in 2005, but the committee was rumored to be divided, probably over his controversial remarks about the doyen of Turkish literature, novelist Yaşar Kemal, which were later retracted. My late wife Nur, who was a bookworm vis-à-vis Turkish and English literature, predicted “he will definitely be given the Nobel Prize in Literature.” This was at a time when I was arguing that Yaşar Kemal, who had been for decades on the committee's short-list, was much more deserving. If politics and political preferences were the yardstick, the generally left-leaning liberal committee would have awarded the prize a long time ago to Yaşar Kemal for his Kurdish origins rather than to the elite Orhan Pamuk. Pamuk was never considered or accepted as one of them by the Turkish literarati, as leftist novelist Yaşar Kemal was with his humble origins. Orhan Pamuk was -- and is -- an ivory tower loner who does not mix socially in Turkish literary circles. He was viewed as highbrow, as being at a higher and different level from the rest, born as he was to a rich and elite Istanbul family of an upper class bourgeois background. He showed no leftist leanings and his political preferences cannot be described as such. He is a sui generis case -- a self-studied, and self-made intellectual, neither on the right or left. He read extensively the masterpieces of western literature in their original language. He wanted to be an architect or a painter before deciding to be a novelist. Pamuk could have written his novels in English to attract Western attention, but preferred his native Turkish. This is one of the reasons why he said, so diplomatically and humbly, that “the Nobel was given to Turkey and the Turkish language.” It is beyond belief that his use of the Turkish language was antagonistically described as “faulty if not pedestrian” by his small-time critics, who claimed that his mistakes were corrected in the English translation. What a Turkish literary critic said about him many years ago, that “he is a bad writer but a good novelist” is frankly risible. It is correct, as it is agreed, that the Nobel Prize was given to Pamuk for his creative insight and literary qualities which transformed the art of the novel to completely different heights and planes. The success of this literary man, who has been busily writing for the last 32 years, coming from a country where the literary genre of the novel has not been a long tradition -- the novel being of 19th century European origin -- is absolutely remarkable. Pamuk's literary leitmotif was Turkey caught in the East-West divide and her deep-down built-in contradictions in terms of old and new, rather than interest in local concerns. This is what made him so much loved and gained him a universal literary sex appeal. The Nobel Prize going to a Turkish literary personality like Orhan Pamuk will now put the spotlight on the Turkish literature still waiting to be explored and translated into Western languages. The Nobel Prize in Literature was unfortunately belittled and devalued by our usual shoot-ourselves-in-the-foot mentality. The labeling or identifying of the prize with political overtones, as the Nobel Committee spokesperson said in response, is something they are long familiar with. Orhan Pamuk was teaching at Columbia University in New York when the news reached him in the middle of the night, via his New York publishers who have already made a profit of $50 million from his novels, less than 10 percent of which went to him. Pamuk's books have sold a record number of 1 million in Turkey alone. Orhan Pamuk returns this weekend to his native Istanbul to prepare for the great occasion of pomp and pageantry in Stockholm on the afternoon of Dec. 7, where his acceptance speech is awaited with great interest. This Turk wears the laurels of a victor joining the long line of immortals, where Turkey's name will be carved among the literary giants of contemporary literature. What a pride and what an honor for generations to come.
The Pope in Turkey December 02, 2006 zaman.com Pope Benedict XVI’s Turkey visit, which was closely followed by the world press with great interest and curiosity, turned out to be far more positive and beneficial than expected. The pope gave a much anticipated message at the Blue Mosque. The pope faced toward the holiest sanctuary of Islam, the Kaaba, in Mecca with Istanbul Mufti Prof. Dr. Mustafa Cagrici and stood in meditation and prayed with his hands folded in the proper Muslim prayer position. With this gesture of goodwill, the pontiff had provided great support to inter-religious dialogue and the project of alliance of civilizations. Also giving warm messages for Turkey’s EU membership, the pope showed his close relationship to Patriarch Bartholomew and the two churches, by holding his hand. After the pope’s speech at Regensburg University in Germany, which had prompted world-wide reactions in the Islamic world, the visit to Turkey was an issue of global interest. About 2,000 journalists from Turkey and abroad had made reservations to follow his visit. There were also various conspiracy theories about his meeting with Patriarch of the Fener Greek Patriarchate Bartholomew. As expected, the pope mentioned the Fener Greek patriarch as being “ecumenical,” but he balanced his speech with his sincere prayers and wishes for unity in the Middle East. During the visit to Armenian Patriarch Mesrob II, Benedict XVI never mentioned the word “genocide.” The pope not only made visits to the spiritual leaders of the biggest congregations in Istanbul, but also to the heads of the Syrian Orthodox, Syrian Catholic churches and the chief rabbi of Turkey, thus giving important messages about interreligious dialogue. The most important parts of the visit were the Hagia Sophia and the Blue Mosque. Frustrating theories that he was going to pray in Hagia Sophia, the pope toured the huge museum like an ordinary tourist while he chose to pray in the Blue Mosque. Both native and foreign news agencies broadcasted this historical moment to the world describing it as the most striking part of the visit. The pope gave very positive messages about tolerance and dialogue. He demonstrated his love and respect for the Turkish nation by first saying “We’d like to see Turkey in the European Union” and secondly by waving the Turkish Flag given to him in Ephesus. These gestures of goodwill of the pope made a great contribution to the project of alliance of civilizations. Pope Benedict XVI left Turkey saying, “part of my heart will remain in Istanbul.”
France Warned Turks Could Scrutinize their History December 02, 2006 zaman.com France, which is preparing to pass a law to penalize those who deny the alleged Armenian genocide, received a historical warning from its own public that it should not history like Stalin’s USSR, Hitler’s Germany, and Mao’s China and leave history to historians. Historian Henri Amouroux, a member of the prestigious Institut de France spoke out against the political move to penalize the denial of the alleged Armenian genocide and mentioned the 1792-1794 Vendee massacres. In his article in Le Figaro, Amouroux asked what would happen if the Turks recognized the Vendee genocide. He said that the French would certainly respond that this was none of their business and they should first look at their own past. Stating this would be a “reasonable” decision, the French historian wrote it was unacceptable for the Turks to attempt to ban a denied but apologized for historical issue freely discussed in France. Amouroux later recalled the terrible massacres in Vendee conducted by the Republican Army and said no law in France bans discussing or denying the Vendee genocide. “The task of the politicians is not to impose their own realities, let us leave history to time,” Amouroux said. The French historian reiterated the historical manipulations in Stalin’s USSR, Hitler’s Germany and Mao’s China and warned French politicians not to make the same mistake. Amouroux said he thinks his country’s legislators “do not intend to imitate the shame of those making up an official history.” The 1792-1794 Vendee incidents are one of the taboo issues of France’s history. People working on farms in several regions in Western France revolted against the Republican government’s practices to defend their freedom, church, and king. Angry at the revolt, Paris initiated a terrible massacre in Vendee. About 380,000 of the 900,000 people living in Vendee were murdered in the 1790s, General Hoche informed. The methods of the Republican army, which including strangling, burning, and drowning, still spark reactions. Several French historians regard the incidents as genocide whereas the state rejects it.
Pope Visits St. Sophia, Prays at Blue Mosque December 01, 2006 zaman.com Leader of the Catholic world Pope Benedict XVI and Greek Orthodox Patriarch Bartholomew I expressed their wish to promote inter-church cooperation in a joint declaration. The pope described the division of Christianity as scandalous and called on all Christians to revive Christian roots, traditions, and values of Europe. The pope’s emphasis on Christian roots of Europe and minority rights raised interpretations that the pontiff had sharpened his criticism against Turkey. The two Christian leaders urged inter-religious dialogue in the joint declaration. The declaration read: “Above all, we wish to affirm that killing of innocent people in God's name is an offence against him and against human dignity. We take profoundly to heart the cause of peace in the Middle East, where our Lord lived, suffered, died and rose again, and where a great multitude of our Christian brethren have lived for centuries. To this end, we encourage the establishment of closer relationships between Christians, and of an authentic and honest inter-religious dialogue, with a view to combating every form of violence and discrimination.” The declaration stressed the significance of preserving Christina roots, traditions and values of Europe and cautioned against the rise of secularism and nihilism. “We have viewed positively the process that has led to the formation of the European Union. In every step towards unification, minorities must be protected, with their cultural traditions and the distinguishing features of their religion,” the declaration noted. Pope prays facing Kaaba The pope prayed at the Blue Mosque facing Kaaba. Although the pope had the right to cross himself after praying, he did not do so, which was interpreted as an important act of sensitivity. The Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly invited Bartholomew I as a “ecumenical” to address the general assembly on January 22-25 in Strasbourg. Ankara reacted to the invitation of the Council that described Bartholomew I “His Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I,” because the Turkish administration does not recognize the “ecumenical” attribution of the Patriarch. Pope Prays in Blue Mosque Pope Benedict XVI visited Istanbul's gorgeous Sultanahmet Mosque, also known as the Blue Mosque, on Thursday evening and prayed silently, making another gesture of reconciliation to the Muslim world. Benedict XVI, the second pontiff to walk into a mosque -after his predecessor John Paul II in Damascus in 2001, took off his shoes and put on white cloth slippers to enter the mosque. Guided by Prof. Mustafa Cagrici, the Grand Mufti of Istanbul, he was briefed on the mosque's attributes and history. Upon the Muslim cleric's suggestion for "a moment of silence ", the two stood side by side for about a minute towards the end of the 20-minute visit. Having turned to Mecca, where Muslims turn their faces during their prayers five times a day, the pope kept his arms crossed at his waist. His lips could be seen moving silently. Istanbul Mufti touched his faced in the traditional Islamic gesture at the end of prayer. The pope nodded and the two exchanged gifts before leaving the mosque. The Pope gave the Mufti a picture of four doves and the Mufti gave the pontiff a ceramic calligraphy in the shape of dove which read 'In the name of God the Merciful, the Compassionate'. The similarity of the symbols on the gifts created a curious coincidence, which pope labeled as "the will of the God". As he finished the prayer, the pope was heard telling the Mufti: "Thank you for this moment of prayer". In response to questions whether Pope had prayed, Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi said that it was “a moment of personal reflection and meditation”. “You can even call this personal, intimate prayer but there were no external manifestations or characteristics of the Christian faith", the spokesman added. Pope Holds Mass, Frees Doves at Holy Spirit Cathedral Pope Benedict XVI held a mass at the Holy Spirit Cathedral in Istanbul on the last day of his historic visit to Turkey. Syrian, Keldani, Armenian and Latin Catholic congregations from all over the country on Friday morning gathered at the cathedral where the pope presided over the mass. Prayers in Armenian, Latin and Assyrian were read at the ceremony. The pontiff freed four doves given to him by Mustafa Sarigul, the mayor of Sisli district of Istanbul, where the cathedral is located, in a gesture symbolizing peace. He freed them near a statue of the WWI-era pontiff that inspired his papal name, Benedict XV, which was erected by Turkey in honor of that pope's work "as a benefactor of all people, regardless of nation or creed". "You know well that the church wishes to impose nothing on anyone, and that she merely asks to live in freedom," the Pope said at the cathedral. Greek Orthodox Patriarch Bartholomew I and Armenian Patriarch Mesrob II were also present at the mass. Benedict XVI also thanked Istanbul Municipality for the restoration of the statue of his predecessor Pope Benedict XV, who set up a hospital for wounded Turkish soldiers during World War I near the Syrian boarder.
Nursun Erel: Armenians and Turks Should Communicate at All Levels The Armenian-Turkish relations tend to animate. This can be proved by frequent private visits of experts and journalists. But there are and will be issues without settlement of which the two states cannot enjoy normal relations. These are the Armenian Genocide, closed borders and Turkey’s stand on the Nagorno Karabakh conflict. Political observer of The New Anatolian Nursun Erel commented on position of the Turkish media to PanARMENIAN.Net. The Armenian Genocide in the Ottoman Empire still remains a stumbling block for Armenia and Turkey. Can Turkey introduce any changes in its position? Both sides speak of the Armenian Genocide, at that positions of the states are absolutely opposite. Each side produces figures, refutations or confirmations. Armenians and Turks should overcome all taboos and start open dialogue. As you know, a conference on the Armenian Genocide, that was constantly postponed, was held in the Istanbul University. At last it took place. Documents referring to the rule of Young Turks were made public. I have read two absolutely different versions of the decree by Interior Minister Talaat pasha on the deportation of Armenians. One contains his telegram ‘on deportation of all Armenians irrespective of gender and age’; the other quotes an extract from his diary, where he writes he could not issue such an inhuman decree. Thereupon, all the documents should be made public. Politicians hamper the establishment of dialogue between the two states. It’s wrong to use a bypass route instead of the Kars-Gyumri highway. We should communicate and maybe the relations between our states will improve. The appliance of Article 301 is often immediately bound with the Armenian Genocide issue. To what extent does it correspond to the ideas of free and democratic press? Article 301 of the Turkish Penal Code is incorrect and should be amended. Turkish media stands against the Article and presses for its cancellation or at least alteration of the chapter penalizing ‘insulting Turkishness’. The Turkish government faces difficulties under the pressure of media and EU to amend or cancel Article 301 of the Penal Code. I hope we will succeed. It’s impossible to write about serious things if the Article is not amended. For most part the matter concerns the Armenian Genocide. Prime Minister Erdogan said Article 301 does not impede Turkey’s accession to the EU but it’s not so. This article limits freedom of speech and expression. Editor-in-chief of Armenian-Turkish newspaper ‘Agos’ Hrant Dink and many others were sentenced in compliance of the article. The adoption of the French bill penalizing the Armenian Genocide denial badly damaged the French-Turkish relations. I do not know whether the Armenian Diaspora needs this bill. But the provision calling to responsibility historians and scientists should be excluded. They can express various opinions and cannot be judged for it. This is a violation of freedom of speech. The EU-Turkey talks can be broken over the Cypriot issue. Do you think both sides can somehow change their positions? The European Union and Turkey speak much of the Cypriot issue but the hope for the resolution of the problem is vague. Certain hopes are anchored with the UN plan that can get things moving. However an atmosphere of distrust and disappointment reigns among Cypriots and Turks. We should undertake joint steps to improve the situation. As it’s known, Azerbaijan is a fraternal country for Turkey. Doesn’t it hamper the normalization of relations between Armenia and Turkey? Turkey should not take any stand on the apple of discord, that is the Nagorno Karabakh problem. This fact impedes badly the establishment of neighborly relations in the whole region. Azerbaijan is very jealous of the Armenian-Turkish contacts. The Milli Mejlis chairman was very ‘discontent’ with the meeting of the Turkish and Armenian parliament speakers. I think that we should communicate with Armenians at all levels. This nation left a deep trace in Turkey’s history and culture. Let us take, for example, the temple of Akhtamar, which has been recently reconstructed by a Turkish architect of Armenian origin. «PanARMENIAN.Net», 29.11.2006
'Screamers' and Genocide: A Talk With Serj Tankian From System of a Down The Huffington Post RJ ESKOW 11.29.2006 'Screamers,' a documentary by Carla Garapedian, just won the Audience Award at the AFI Film Festival. It uses archival footage, interviews, and live music to reflect on the Armenian genocide, its aftermath, and the effect that later denials of the atrocity had on history. 'Screamers' examines efforts to have the Armenian genocide internationally recognized, and ties it to other genocides, past and present - particularly Darfur. It's a powerful document, both politically and artistically. The film centers around the highly popular Armenian-American rock band System of a Down and its lead singer, Serj Tankian, as they tour Europe and discuss the issues of Armenia, genocide, and human rights. Last week I spoke with Serj about the film and his own political work. Serj cofounded Axis of Justice with Rage Against the Machine/Audioslave guitarist Tom Morello, to mobilize musicians and music fans around progressive issues. Here are some excerpts from our conversation: What politicized you? As an Armenian-American, was it your family's memories of the Armenian genocide? It was the denial of genocide, more than the genocide itself, that politicized me. I was troubled by the idea that this kind of violence could occur, only to be ignored or covered up. It made me feel I had to act and react. There are so many things going on in the world today that are receiving the same treatment - including, but not limited to Darfur and Rwanda. In a way, the hypocrisy of the denial is more politicizing than the act itself. I think that the memory of Armenia's genocide opened my eyes at an early age to the existence of political cynicism. What's your definition of "genocide"? The diplomatic community has one, but does the word have a more personal meaning for you? My thing is figuring out how to put things in a simple way, so here's my definition: If someone gets attacked because they look different, act different, or pray differently, that's genocide. And if the mass execution of a people is organized and perpetrated by a government, that's definitely genocide. But anytime people are made to suffer as a group because they're different from others - to me, that's genocide too. ____________ A lot of political leaders, even well-meaning ones, might say that forcing Turkey to acnowledge the Armenian genocide would limit our ability to fight terror or do other good things in the world. What would you say to someone who argues that the genocide took place almost a century ago, and that they'd rather concentrate on what we can do today? Look: Correct recognition of the past affects the present. It's as simple as that. If we're at the point where we're going to use genocide as currency to get something we want from another nation... well, we're really fucked, aren't we? Let me put it another way: You can't do the wrong thing for the right reason. It won't work. It never has. _________ The movie shows your efforts to get Denny Hastert to advance a resolution recognizing the Armenian genocide. The film's equally rough on the first Bush administration and Clinton's over this issue. Do you think the resolution will do any better now that the Democrats control Congress?; You mean, are they real reformers or just "corporate Democrats"? We'll see. So far everybody's enjoying the general feeling of optimism, but Congress hasn't even convened yet. Nobody's really "in" over there right now. __________ What do you say when people complain about musicians and other celebrities who speak out about politics? I agree with them, in a way. What do musicians know that other people don't? Nothing. Plumbers can speak. Electricians can speak. Everyone can speak. They should speak. Lech Walesa was an electrician, and he became the leader of Poland. Exactly. Good for him. I don't want to spend all my time working as an activist. I don't get satisfaction out of it. I'd rather be doing something else. I'm a musician. I've noticed something about people who say they don't like actors and musicians having political opinions, if you ask them who they think was the greatest President eve,r they always answer "Reagan." And what was Reagan before he went into politics? (laughs) Exactly. If anybody wants to speak up, they should speak up. I don't want to be a politician ...
For the Turkish state, and many Turks, to admit their forebears committed genocide is something they will not even consider MATTHEW MCALLESTER, Newsday November 29, 2006 ISTANBUL, Turkey -- Mesrob II, the Armenian Patriarch of Istanbul and all Turkey, was silent for a second. He had just been asked by a reporter if he acknowledged that the Armenian genocide happened. "Uhhhh," he said, "I acknowledge that people were killed." He was silent again. "Many people lost their lives." More uneasy silence followed. This from a man whose paternal grandfather was the only one of six ethnic Armenian brothers to make it back to Istanbul after being, as he put it, "deported to the Syrian desert" in 1915. They were among more than a million ethnic Armenians who suffered a similar fate at the hands of Ottoman Turks: They were rounded up, deported to concentration camps and, for the most part, killed. "So severe has been the treatment that careful estimates place the number of survivors at only 15 percent of those originally deported," the U.S. consul in Aleppo wrote to the State Department in 1915 in a dispatch quoted in a recent article in The New Yorker magazine. "On this basis the number surviving even this far being less than 150,000 . there seems to have been about 1,000,000 persons lost up to this date." What Mesrob II, who will meet the visiting Pope Benedict XVI today in Istanbul, could not or would not say was that the Turks of the then-Ottoman Empire committed genocide against the Armenians who lived in modern-day Turkey. For the Turkish state, and many Turks, to admit their forebears committed genocide is something they will not even consider, and it makes many Turks extremely angry even to suggest the genocide happened. Authors and journalists, including Nobel Prize winning novelist Orhan Pamuk, have been prosecuted for suggesting it took place. But for the 65,000 ethnic Armenians -- mostly Orthodox Christians -- who live in this country of 70 million Muslims, to speak publicly of genocide would not be just brave, but potentially suicidal. "Probably the state wouldn't do anything directly except make some statement" if Mesrob was to say there had been a genocide, said Murat Belge, one of Pamuk's publishers and an organizer of an unprecedented conference last year in Istanbul about the genocide. "Very likely he would be assassinated by some fascists," continued Belge, who was himself prosecuted under a controversial law last year for writing critical articles about a court's ban on the conference. "The Patriarchate would be burned down. A lot of Armenians would be shot in their daily lives." Mesrob, in an interview at the well-guarded Armenian Patriarchate in Istanbul, said many different peoples, governments, political parties and even his own Armenian Patriarchate should share the blame for what happened in 1915. He said he believed the best way for Turks and Armenians to reconcile is for Turkey to open its border with Armenia and for the two countries to encourage exchange visits and other ways of generating mutual sympathy. "It's not a matter of being silent about the issue," he said. "It's a matter of how can you make friends with someone. Do you from the first moment simply confront the person?" If it's not silence, then it's a pragmatic sort of self-censorship. Growing up, Mesrob's father never talked to him about what happened to the previous generation, he said. "I think they didn't want us to be at odds with our Muslim neighbors." That parenting method continues today among the ethnic Armenians in Turkey, Mesrob said. "We don't tell our children about historical problems so they won't face problems." The Turkish government's position on the events of 1915 is that the people who died in the region at the time died as a result of inter-ethnic fighting, disease and hardships caused by war. More than 20 countries have officially recognized the genocide, as have a majority of the 50 states in the United States, including New York. It is long-standing State Department policy not to refer to the events of 1915 as genocide; many critics of this policy see it as a politically expedient way of avoiding alienating a crucial American ally. Most Western historians agree the genocide happened. Last year, the International Association of Genocide Scholars wrote to Turkey's prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, about it, concluding: "We believe that it is clearly in the interest of the Turkish people and their future as a proud and equal participant in international, democratic discourse to acknowledge the responsibility of a previous government for the genocide of the Armenian people, just as the German government and people have done in the case of the Holocaust." Such an acknowledgement will not come easily or quickly -- if at all. "Until the 1980s there was a total loss of memory," said a Turkish political powerbroker who requested anonymity because of the topic's sensitivity. "Nobody talked about this. It was the policy of the omnipotent state not to talk about anything negative." Last year's conference in Istanbul and a growing concern about the issue within Europe -- a recent French law makes it a crime to deny the genocide happened -- have moved Turkey slightly closer to coming to terms with its past. "The skeletons are there and they have not vanished," the Turkish powerbroker said. "Now we are going to open the cupboard." If Turkey is to gain entry to the European Union, it likely will have to acknowledge its actions in 1915 -- although Turkey accepting the word "genocide" could forever remain a sticking point. Egemen Bagis, foreign policy adviser to Erdogan, said in an interview that last year Erdogan made an offer to the Armenian president: Both countries would establish an independent investigative commission and open up all countries' archives in order to establish what happened. "No other politician in Turkey's history has ever said he is ready to face his own history," Bagis said. But when asked if he recognized that a genocide took place, Bagis responded quickly: "I don't." Turkish achieves are open to everyone. Armenians achieves aren’t open who isn’t an Armenian
Politicians Hamper Establishment Of Dialogue Between Armenia And Turkey PanARMENIAN.Net 29.11.2006 Both sides speak of the Armenian Genocide, at that positions of the states are absolutely opposite. Each side produces figures, refutations or confirmations, Nursun Erel, a political observer of The New Anatolian told a PanARMENIAN.Net reporter. In her words, Armenians and Turks should overcome all taboos and start open dialogue. "As you know, a conference on the Armenian Genocide, that was constantly postponed, was held in the Istanbul University. At last it took place. Documents referring to the rule of Young Turks were made public. I have read two absolutely different versions of the decree by Interior Minister Talaat pasha on the deportation of Armenians. One contains his telegram 'on deportation of all Armenians irrespective of gender and age", the other quotes an extract from his diary, where he writes he could not issue such an inhuman decree. Thereupon, all the documents should be made public," she said. At the same time Ms Erel underscored that politicians hamper the establishment of dialogue between the two states. In her opinion, it's wrong to use a bypass route instead of the Kars-Gyumri highway. "We should communicate and maybe the relations between our states will improve," she emphasized.
Armenian Genocide Monument Unveiled In Rome ArmInfo News Agency, Armenia Nov 29 2006 A memorial to the victims of the Armenian Genocide in Ottoman Turkey has been unveiled in Rome in the yard of St. Nicholas Church. During the ceremony representatives of the Armenian community of Italy expressed their commitment to consistently fight for the international recognition of the Armenian Genocide so that no such crimes recur in the future.
Diaspora No Longer Believes "Patriotic" Travelers Hakob Badalyan Lragir, Armenia Nov 29 2006 The annual telethon of Armenia Foundation made it clear that it is becoming crucial to unite the nation's potential and use it for the common goal. Perhaps, in this situation the question "who is to blame" is not as important as "what should be done to solve this problem". However, it is impossible to find an answer unless the group of people to blame are not exposed and isolated from the all-Armenian donations. Otherwise, no solution will work, because there will always be the "guilty" who have turned the national donations into a shield for their own careers. For instance, the NKR president believes and is trying to persuade everyone that donations are made for the reconstruction of Karabakh considering his personality. The executive director of Armenia Foundation Naira Melkumyan believes that the telethons have record high results especially in the period when she is the executive director. The president of Armenia Robert Kocharyan believes that under his office the Diaspora started trusting the Homeland more. If Armenia gains from this competition, it could be overlooked to let it "favor" Armenia: let everyone believe that the nation sets records on the pages of history of national donations thanks to them. After all, the thing that matters is to raise money for the reconstruction of Karabakh. But is this competition helpful to raising money and is this money spent on the reconstruction of Karabakh? It would be wrong and unrealistic to state that there are no results in either aspects. Money is certainly raised, and something is certainly reconstructed in Karabakh. However, it is seen by the naked eye that it is not adequate considering the nation's potential within the Armenia-Diaspora-Karabakh triangle. However, before getting down to the nation's potential it is very important to find out if the volume of reconstruction in Karabakh corresponds to at least the local potential - that of Armenia and Karabakh. If we consider the budgets of both countries, it is adequate. But when we consider the way of life and the financial possibilities of the leaderships of these two states, the presidents, the prime ministers and the ministers, we start to doubt that the potential of Armenia and Karabakh is used at full to reconstruct Karabakh. In this case, the question occurs whether the donations by the Armenians worldwide are helpful for the future of Karabakh or in reality, in its depth, these donations obstruct the formation of Karabakh and, why not, also Armenia as states. What is the problem? When the leaderships of Armenia and Karabakh turn the local potential for reconstruction and development into personal wealth, the donations by Armenians worldwide become a shield and justification for this action. All that should be carried out with the local potential is carried out with the donations of the Diaspora, and whatever could be done on these donations is not done. It appears that the telethon of Armenia Foundation is used to justify the failure of the governments of Armenia and Karabakh, serving the longevity of this government because if there were no progress thanks to these donations, the population of Karabakh would demand account from their own and also the Armenian government to some degree, but not from the Diaspora, of course. In that case, they would have to explain to people why they ride in cars that cost as much as the water pipeline or a school but cannot extinguish fire on the wheat field that inflicts immense losses on the farmers. Or why they live in castles that cost an entire village, whereas in villages people do not have basic conveniences. Either they have to explain or they have to quit quietly. Therefore, they prefer to leave for America and explain some military and patriotic things to the Diaspora. It is easier and more profitable. However, Diaspora seems to have stopped believing these patriotic travelers because the more money the developing Homeland-Diaspora relation promises, the better they know how and on what these people live in reality, who persuade them to open their purses during 12 hours of the live telethon and yet for the 11 months that precede it. They cannot understand that if they beg the Diaspora for money, they had better not show up during the telethon. In that case, there will be more donations. For instance, a Diasporan cannot give money to the Homeland as a national donation when he sees that an actor or a singer is speaking about national values, who was advertising a definite presidential candidate two years ago, forgetting about national values he confesses. The Diaspora would perhaps agree to give money to the Homeland if there was 12 hours of silence instead of 12 hours of hypocrisy, and I believe that in that case they might agree to pay for silence separately.
Yerevan State University Does Not Tolerate Turkish Reporters Lragir, Armenia Nov 29 2006 The Caucasian Center for Peace Building organized a dialogue between the reporters of Azerbaijan, Turkey and Armenia in the framework of the Alternative Start project. The project started on November 28, and the Azerbaijani and Turkish reporters were supposed to meet with the students of the Department of Journalism of Yerevan State University. However, the meeting did not take place. It appears that the leadership of alma mater is indignant with Turkish reporters. The reason was that several years ago some Turkish reporters visited Yerevan State University and made a "negative report" about the university. The leadership of Yerevan State University did not allow holding a meeting at the university. The organizers of the Alternative Start are hopeful to win over the leadership of Yerevan State University and hold the meeting of Turkish reporters and Arrmenian students.
Armenian Genocide An Issue In Sweden by Afram Barryakoub Spero News Nov 29 2006 Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt has received an interpellation from parliament demanding an investigation into finding of human remains of genocide. The finding of a mass grave in south eastern Turkey, believed to date from the 1915 genocide of Assyrians and Armenians, and the Turkish government's silence regarding the finding has prompted a debate in the Swedish parliament on the matter. It was on October 17 this year that villagers from Xirabebaba (Kuru) in southeastern Turkey came across a mass grave when digging a grave for one of their deceased. The villagers took pictures of the skulls and bones in the mass grave before Turkish military came and blocked the site. The villagers were certain that they had found remains of victims of the 1915 genocide. The military personnel forbade the villagers to tell anyone about the site and then closed it. Some of the villagers chose not to follow the orders of the military and told the story to a local newspaper who followed up on the story. As soon as the military learned that someone has leaked this information to the press, they pressed the villagers to give the names of those responsible for this. Since then journalists trying to get near the mass grave have been denied access by the military. Turkey still denies that its Christian population of Assyrians (also called Chaldeans and Syriacs), Greeks and Armenians were subjected to genocides. That could explain why the Turkish state and most of the Turkish media has remained silent about the finding. But now one of Turkey's most popular weekly magazines, Nokta, has highlighted the mass grave finding with a cover story in the latest issue with the main heading "Again acting the three monkeys -a mass grave was found one month ago in Nusaybin and the jurisdiction, execution and legislation bodies as well as the media are silent." The writer, Talin Suciyan, accuses the Turkish state of turning a deaf ear to the mass grave finding. "None of the three 'powers' of our democracy, legislation, jurisdiction or execution made a move to deal with the issue. And when the fourth power - the media - swept the bones under the carpet (the Turkish) public remained completely unaware of the issue." she writes. In fact, the only Turkish group that has reacted to the finding is the Turkish Human Rights Association who sent an open letter to the ministry of interior calling for an investigation into the matter. The mass grave finding has yet to enter Turkish politics but in Sweden the matter has stirred up a debate on the highest levels, much due to the efforts of the Assyrian Chaldean Syriac Association (ACSA). The news about the mass finding was distributed by Tidningarnas Telegrambyrå (TT), Sweden's top news agency and was thereafter published in several Swedish media, including the two leading morning papers Dagens Nyheter (DN) and Svenska Dagbladet (Svd). As a result of the above the mass grave issue has now entered Swedish politics as MP Hans Linde from the left party recently submitted an interpellation to the Swedish foreign minister Carl Bildt, asking for an independent commission of scientists and historians to examine the findings. The foreign minister must now ask the foreign ministry to launch an investigation into the matter before he can respond to MP Hans Linde. The response of the foreign minister on this issue is due to be presented on the 12 of December before parliament.
Benedict XVI Between Constantinople And Istanbul Dr. Muhammad Shamsaddin Megalommatis American Chronicle, CA Nov 29 2006 When, within a few hours, the Pope will land in Istanbul, he will find himself for a few days outside Time; the evenly balanced gravitation of Istanbul and Constantinople will place the Pontiff at a uniquely equidistant point between Turkey and Europe, Christianity and Islam, and Orient and Occident. Few moments counted as much as this in the World History. Pontiff's visit is the Terminus Post Quem Conflicting interests and disastrous policies cultivated and pursued for hundreds of years by all parts involved, in the past and the present, have brought the world at the brink of the abyss. Few realize how close the Mankind has reached to the point of collapse. >>From ecological disasters caused because of the Industrial revolution, the emergence of a besotted society of consumers, and the repeated arms races of all sorts to cultural and educational alienation of hundreds of millions of people, the Mankind deviated to the utmost materialism, extreme oppression, and absolute disregard of the Other, let alone the other's sensitivities. Suddenly, the world has become too small to accommodate an ill-conceived European unification, an American presence in five continents, two expansionist economies like those of China and India that are based on extreme and at times inhuman exploitation of masses without alleviating poverty and misery, plus unjustified and unsolicited anti-Americanism that emanates from uncultured and thuggish dictators like the Venezuelan clown, and last but not least, the hysteria and the hatred directed by the pseudo-Islamic sheikhs and their millions of followers against all the rest. And all interconnected and interrelated to an extent that you almost cannot mend this without deteriorating that. What to do, and where to start? Benedict XVI does not represent the Occident! To some this statement may sound odd and erroneous, but brief thought is enough to drive us to the conclusion that Benedict XVI does not and by definition cannot represent the gay couples legalized in Spain or the accepted adoption of children by them. Furthermore, Benedict XVI does not represent abortion, pedophilia, and the ceaselessly increasing consumption of drugs by Western youth. No one can disagree on this; Benedict XVI and the Roman Catholic Church do not represent the advanced materialism that invaded the Western societies, taking all possible forms of existentialism of the Left, Marxism, anarchism and/or nihilism. Even more so, Benedict XVI does not represent secretive groups, plots and conspiracies, racism and anti-Semitism, all the ideological contaminations that brought wars and disaster to Europe and the world. Benedict XVI represents, is the only Authority in the West to represent, Justice, Equity, Humanism, dedication to Spiritual Concern, and a certain Hope for many. Benedict XVI represents Jesus, a person highly revered by Muslims, and adored by Christians. There is no divergence between the Christian and the Muslim sources about, and references to, Jesus as regards his Foremost Authority in terms of Justice and Equity. Representing Jesus' Legacy - or at least part of it as Muslims claim that too -, Benedict XVI can truly offer great service to the confused Mankind of our times, by sticking to the most representative Criterion for Jesus' Concept of Justice; he must make it his, apply it everywhere, and support the approach: Then give to Caesar what is Caesar's, and to God what is God's. Representing this sentence, Luke, 20:23-25, bringing forth Justice in the relations among states and nations, religions and ideologies, Benedict XVI has a chance to be heard and accepted by a significant number of Muslims, who know that the Right and the Just is not the monopoly of those who pray - like the Pharisees of Jesus' times -five times per day, but forget to endure self-criticism and rejection of egoism. Benedict XVI to vigorously support Turkey's adhesion to the European Union The Pontiff is a Head of State; and as such, he is able to understand that Vatican's policies are not situated at the miserable level of parochial politicians like the former French Prime Minister Alain Juppe and other lower and lewder fellows of the French Right. The Pontiff cannot tolerate perverse political interests that would jeopardize the entire relationship of Christianity with Islam. As an institution, millennia long Vatican cannot be compared with, and therefore cannot allow policies corresponding to those of, the French Fifth Republic (est. 1958). The horizon of the universal Christian -Muslim relations cannot be damaged at the hands of people like Angela Merkel, Nicholas Sarkozy, and their likes. Looking at the centuries ahead, Benedict XVI, although German of origin, cannot take into consideration the current pocket interests of German employees and workers. What could all this miserable microcosm of the European politicians say, when Benedict XVI stipulates that Ephesus, Smyrna and Thyateira are as European as Stockholm and Dublin? What would they answer to the Pontiff stating that Basil of Caesarea is as European, although Cappadocian, as Mohyieldin Ibn Al Arabi of Andalusia? One sentence of the Pontiff can avert a most perilous blockage of the Turkish candidature at the hands of the Southern Cypriot president who is known for his long dated hatred of Catholic Christianity. Benedict XVI to adamantly denounce colonial practices The possibility to understand is one of the most significant privileges of the human being. Certainly the Pope understands that the masses gathered at the Aghia Sophia Museum two days ago do not hate him personally; they reject the injustices and the crimes carried out by the French and the British in Algeria, Greece, Egypt, Syria, Arabia and Mesopotamia. By denouncing practices that were never accepted by Vatican, the Pontiff will demonstrate to hundreds of millions of Muslims that he agrees with them in the Search of Justice, namely that he indirectly condemns the murderous work of the colonials, and their illegal, unjust, and ultimately antihuman interference in the lands of the Ottoman Empire. The Pontiff understands very well that the manipulation of Christian populations of the Ottoman Empire by the French, the Russians, and the British, who mercilessly and cynically abandoned these populations, after they had first long incited them against their own country, was a disreputable work for which the absolute condemnation is badly and urgently needed. France rather than Turkey stands accused for the murder of hundreds of thousands of Armenians of Van and of Aramaeans of Julamerg (the Kutshanus Patriarchate) and Tur Abdin. What does it mean except dishonesty and duplicity that France is vociferous when it comes to Armenians killed in WW I, but keeps silent about the parallel extermination of hundreds of thousands of Aramaeans? Either all will be denounced or we all will forget it all. The cynical, unethical and disreputable attitude of thugs like the racist Kotcharian tyrant of Armenia, and his French presidential friend, must be castigated in Jesus language and terms. Only then, the Muslims will be able to repent for their mistakes, regret for the oppression of millions of Aramaeans and Copts at their hands, be apologetic for their anti-Semitism, and finally, commonly with the Roman Pontiff, and all those who seek Justice and Truth on Earth, contribute to shaping a future faraway from the contamination of the anticlerical French conspirators. Dr. Muhammad Shamsaddin Megalommatis Orientalist, Assyriologist, Egyptologist, Iranologist, and Islamologist, Historian, Political Scientist, Dr. Megalommatis, 49, is the author of 12 books, dozens of scholarly articles, hundreds of encyclopedia entries, and thousands of articles. He speaks, reads and writes more than 15, modern and ancient, languages. He refuted Greek nationalism, supported Martin Bernal's Black Athena, and rejected the Greco-Romano-centric version of History. He pleaded for the European History by J. B. Duroselle, and defended the rights of the Turkish, Pomak, Macedonian, Vlachian, Arvanitic, Latin Catholic, and Jewish minorities of Greece, asking for the international recognition of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus. Born Christian Orthodox, he adhered to Islam when 36, devoted to ideas of Muhyieldin Ibn al Arabi. Greek citizen of Turkish origin, Prof. Megalommatis studied and/or worked in Turkey, Greece, France, England, Belgium, Germany, Syria, Israel, Iraq, Iran, Egypt and Russia, and carried out research trips throughout the Middle East, Northeastern Africa and Central Asia. His career extended from Research & Education, Journalism, Publications, Photography, and Translation to Website Development, Human Rights Advocacy, Marketing, Sales & Brokerage. He traveled in more than 80 countries in 5 continents. He defends the Right of Aramaeans, Oromos, Berbers, and Beja to National Independence, demands international recognition for Somaliland, and denounces Islamic Terrorism. www.americanchronicle.com
Istanbul Under Christianity, Islam And Secularism Thomas Grove, UK Nov 29 2006 ISTANBUL (Reuters) -- When Ottoman Sultan Mehmet conquered Constantinople in 1453, his first destination was Haghia Sophia, the towering seat of Orthodox Christianity. In front of what was then the largest church in the world, he knelt, sprinkled soil on his turban as a sign of humility and recited the Muslim prayer of faith, turning the church into a mosque: "There is no God but God, and Mohammed is His prophet." When Pope Benedict visits on Thursday, he will enter what is now Aya Sofya museum in the renamed city of Istanbul, reflecting the transition from Christian to Muslim to secular. While evidence of faith is everywhere in this city, which has been the capital of both Christian and Muslim empires, the modern republic's secularism has robbed the city of its role as a religious capital. The two empires have left behind a patchwork of faiths, with Christians -- Greek, Armenian and Syriac Orthodox and Roman, Armenian and Chaldean Catholics -- and a tiny Jewish community living among the mostly Muslim population. CONSTANTINOPLE The Roman Emperor Constantine, who embraced Christianity, made the ancient site between Europe and Asia the capital of the Roman Empire in 330 AD and it became known as Constantinople. Constantine imported the holiest relics, including wood said to be from Noah's Ark for the doors of Haghia Sophia and a piece said to be from Christ's cross to keep behind its altar. When the Orthodox Church broke away from Rome over the issue of papal authority in 1054, Constantinople became the undisputed political and religious centre of the Greek-speaking world. The city was sacked in 1204 by Western Catholic crusaders, cementing the split between Catholic west and Orthodox east. In 2004, the late Pope John Paul expressed "disgust and pain" for the sacking of the city by the Fourth Crusade. After 1453, the Ottomans made the city preeminent in the Muslim world as older centres Damascus and Baghdad faded. Their practice of bringing minorities into the capital to work as artisans ensured a rich cultural mix, and each minority was allowed to govern itself according to its religious laws. "The Ottomans were masters of pragmatism and their solution for religious minorities was to let them rule their own affairs," said Benjamin Fortna of the University of London's School of Oriental and African Studies. SECULARISM After Turkey's defeat in World War One and its subsequent war with Greece, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk founded modern Turkey in 1923 and established a secular republic that officially removed religion from public life. He dissolved the Caliphate, moved the capital to Ankara and officially changed Constantinople's name to Istanbul. Aya Sofya, which had up until then served as a mosque, was closed and reopened as a museum in 1934. Large-scale exchanges of ethnic Greeks and Turks in the 1920s depleted the Christian population in Istanbul, without easing tensions between the two countries, A two-day pogrom against Istanbul's ethnic Greeks in 1955 drove out even more of them, although the city remains the seat of the Christian Orthodox Ecumenical Patriarch. Some 100,000 Christians now live in Turkey, far from the 2 million a century ago.
“We Speak About Each Other, But Not With Each Other” 30 November 2006 A1 Plus «Do you know where you are going? Are you sure where you are going? Have you thought it over well enough?» - these were the questions the confused Georgian frontier guard asked the Azeri journalists who were coming to Armenia. The journalists themselves told about it today in Armenia who explained half-jokingly what results the mutual visits can have. The representatives of Azerbaijan and Turkey have been in Armenia since November 27. The visit has been organized by civic movement “Alternative Start” according to which it is the fourth power that forms the society, thus it is necessary to organize a dialogue between Armenia, Turkey and Azerbaijan on the level of the journalists. Representative of the Embassy of Great Britain who supported the organization of the visit, mentioned that today the following principle is applied, “We speak about each other, but not with each other” which is supposed to change the philosophy of the meetings. The guests are to meet students and journalists. The Azeri journalists agreed that until now suchlike meetings and visits have been organized in Armenia only. “Before 2001-2002 Armenians used to visit Baku where meetings were organized. During the last meeting over 30 Armenians came. I don’t know what happened, but after Heidar Aliev there were changes for the worse”, mentioned writer Alekper Aliev. He also added that «the image of an enemy has not yet been eliminated». Correspondent of newspaper «Anatolia» and radio TRT Nursul Erel represented a report about the situation of the press and answered the questions of the journalists. First she tried to prove via a historical flashback that press has a long history in Turkey, and then by the example of the covering of the Armenian Genocide she tried to prove that there are no restrictions on freedom of speech in the Turkish press. The representative of Turkey has her own opinion on that historical fact. «I personally think that there has been such a tragedy, but it should not become a mania». According to Mrs. Erel, she was glad to hear about the letter of Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan to the RA Prime Minister asking to create a joint committee of historians in order to investigate the documentation concerning the Genocide. «Don't you think it would be nice for historians to investigate the issue?», the representative of Turkey asked the Armenian journalists with a naiveté not peculiar to journalists. She also mentioned that she visited Armenia in 2001 and paid a visit to the Museum of Armenian Genocide, and if there were a chance, she would like to go there again.
Vatican: Pope Not To Speak Of "Genocide" During Armenian Patriarchate Visit Anatolia News Agency Istanbul, 29 November: Pope Benedict XVI, spiritual leader of the Catholic world, will not use the word of "genocide" during his visit to the Armenian Patriarchate in Istanbul on Thursday [30 November]. Vatican sources said that the Pope would refer to the past sufferings and difficulties of the Armenian people during his scheduled meeting with Armenian Patriarch Mesrob II. According to the sources, the Pope will not use the words of "genocide" or Armenian "Medz Yeghern" (malice) during the meeting. The same sources noted that the Pope decided not to use those words by taking into consideration Turkey's sensitivities.
How Dashnaktsutyun Will Become Opposition Lragir, Armenia Nov 30 2006 The Armenian Revolutionary Federation Dashnaktsutyun voiced another threat through Armen Rustamyan, member of the ARF Supreme Body, that it will become opposition. This happened on November 30 at the Friday Club when the reporters asked if the ARF disagrees with the policy of official Yerevan on the settlement of the Karabakh conflict. Armen Rustamyan said Dashnaktsutyun views the problem in a package, and since the package is not complete, he cannot state whether he agrees or disagrees with the policy of the government. "We are constantly withdrawing details from the package, losing the essence and the logic of settlement of the issue. The components of the package are interrelated and indivisible. In order to be able to state if this question was given a pro-Armenian or a fair solution, you need to see the entire package. We haven't seen the package, this is the problem. This package will be there, it will be published, and everyone will start going into detail and assessing if in total it is acceptable or not," stated Armen Rustamyan. He disagrees that the present government stated on taking up power in 1998 that it will not return a patch of land. Armen Rustamyan said no such statement was made. There were three principles: Nagorno Karabakh cannot be an enclave, it must have a legal status equal to that of Azerbaijan and guarantees of security. The representative of the Supreme Body of the ARF Dashnaktsutyun says there have been no controversies between the policy of this government and the approaches of the ARF Dashnaktsutyun. If controversies occur after the situation becomes fully clear, Dashnaktsutyun knows what its next step is going to be. "What will we be doing? What were we doing when Levon Ter-Petrosyan was president? We will become opposition, because we wanted to change the trajectory. We are saying that in 1998 the trajectory changed, the national trajectory changed. This change of trajectory is clear, it must be aimed at clear aims, the vector should be visible," Armen Rustamyan said. If there is a difference of line, Dashnaktsutyun cannot be inside or beside the government that follows this trajectory.
For Turkey's Armenians, Painful Past Is Muted Anne Barnard Boston Globe, MA Nov 30 2006 ISTANBUL -- When Mesrob II, the Armenian Patriarch of Istanbul and All Turkey, meets today with Pope Benedict XVI, the one topic he says he definitely won't bring up is the one that most intensely interests his people around the world: the Armenian genocide. Getting Turkey and the rest of the world to acknowledge the slaughter of more than 1 million Armenians in the early 20th century, many by troops of the collapsing Ottoman Empire, is a cherished goal of the Armenian diaspora. The visit from the spiritual leader of 1 billion Roman Catholics might seem the perfect opportunity not only to draw attention to the problems of the tiny Christian minority here, but also to ask the pontiff to press Turkey for an apology. But for about 68,000 Turkish citizens of Armenian descent, who --along with 20,000 to 30,000 people from neighboring Armenia who have migrated here in search of jobs -- make up by far the largest Christian community in Turkey, the situation is much more complicated, even dangerous. Armenians here must balance a deep need to preserve the memory of the killings, known in Armenian as metz yeghern, or "the big calamity," with safeguarding the small community that remains, which to them means avoiding conflict with the Muslim Turk majority or the nationalist government. Turkish citizens who mention the killings -- including Orhan Pamuk, the Turkish author who won the Nobel Prize this year --have been charged with the crime of "insulting Turkishness," and risk fines, jail sentences, and even death threats. The Armenian community is treading cautiously around the pope's visit. Leaders are seeking his support on general issues of religious expression; during his first two days Benedict has already stressed the importance of religious freedom. But they are being careful not to embrace too closely a pontiff widely seen by Muslims as having insulted Islam -- and they are avoiding any public reference to the genocide. Many Armenians here say they have chosen to leave the past buried --or partly buried -- in order to press for more immediate benefits. They want to persuade the government to ease onerous restrictions, such as laws that ban Christians from bequeathing land to the church or running independent seminaries to train priests. And they want to live in peace with the rest of this country of nearly 80 million people, about 99 percent of whom are Muslim and overwhelmingly ethnically Turkish. Mesrob, the leader of the Armenian Orthodox Church here, is a case in point. Speaking the confident English he perfected at Memphis State University, he chose his words carefully in an hourlong conversation with three foreign reporters. Asked whether he would discuss the genocide with the pope, he said he never brings up "local issues" with visiting dignitaries. Asked whether he could state for the record that a genocide took place, he fixed a reporter with a friendly gaze and was silent for a long moment. Then he said, "I acknowledge that people were killed." But Mesrob, 50, spoke more readily when asked what had happened to his own family at the time. His grandfather's six brothers were all deported from the town of Izmit, during a time when many Armenians were shipped off to the Syrian desert. His grandfather, who escaped to Istanbul and became a baker, never heard from them again. He assumed most of them died. Mesrob's parents and grandparents never told him the details. "They never talked about it. They didn't want us to be at odds with our Muslim neighbors," he said. "There is no family that didn't share this situation," said Navart Beren, 51, an administrator at St. Mary's Church, across the street from the patriarch's residence on a winding street near the Sea of Marmara, where she was attending Mass last Sunday. Her parents were close-mouthed, too, she said: "They didn't want us to carry revenge in our hearts." "All that is in the past," said her friend Margarit Nalbantkazar, 52. "But this did happen: My husband's father was 8 or 9 years old. He saw them take his father by hitting him on the back of the head with a gun. . . . They never saw him again." Murat Belge, a Turkish academic who runs the publishing house that prints Pamuk's books, explained why Armenians inside Turkey walk such a fine line between forgetting and accusing. Told of the patriarch's comments, Belge said: "If he had said there was an Armenian genocide, it's very likely that he would be assassinated by some fascists, the patriarchate would be burned, and Armenians leading their daily lives would be shot by unknown people." Turkey has always insisted that the deaths, most of them in 1915, were part of a war in which a beleaguered Ottoman Empire was facing Armenian rebels allied with its enemies, which included the United States, Britain, and Russia. But most historians agree that Armenians were systematically killed and driven out. The subject is extremely sensitive in Turkey because many of the military leaders of the dying Ottoman Empire went on to found the secular Turkish republic in 1923. Also in the 1920s, hundreds of thousands of Greek Orthodox Christians were forced to leave Turkey as smaller numbers of Muslims were forced out of Greece, under the agreement that established the Greek and Turkish borders. Today, Christians make up less than 1 percent of the population. US policy on the Armenian deaths is to respect the position of Turkey, an important NATO ally, though the 1.2 million Armenians in America fiercely lobby Congress to recognize the genocide. Pope John Paul II called the events a genocide in a 2000 document, and in 2001 visited a memorial to the victims in Yerevan, Armenia's capital. In a speech there, he avoided the term genocide but adopted the Armenian phrase "big calamity." The Vatican has given no indication of whether Benedict will mention the issue. Mesrob said he hoped the pope's visit would improve interfaith relations, but whether it does "depends on what kind of language he's going to use," he added with a chuckle. He said the pope's September remarks, quoting a Byzantine ruler's criticism of Islam as violent, "jeopardized" Christian minorities. A metal detector and security checkpoint stand outside Mesrob's ornate residence, and security will be extra tight during the pope's visit, he said. Mesrob said Turks do not bear all responsibility for the killings of Armenians but have "the most important responsibility" because "they were ruling the country." He said many people believe "ethnic cleansing" was carried out to "remove Christians from public life." When asked if Armenians in Turkey have a ceremony or memorial site to commemorate the killings, he said that they do not, but that people remember the date April 24, 1915, when Armenian intellectuals in Istanbul were rounded up and deported, as a kind of "beheading of the community." Mesrob dismissed recent allegations that he forbids church officials to speak of the killings. "It's not a question of silence," he said. "How can you make friends with someone if you confront them?" Instead, he recommends cultural exchanges between Armenia and Turkey to pave the way for an honest discussion of the events, he said. In the meantime, he said, when foreign governments raise the issue, ethnic Armenians in Turkey get nervous. Aida Barsegian, 56, a house cleaner who moved here from Armenia, said it didn't help when France passed a law last month declaring it a crime to deny the genocide. "If they care so much, they should open the borders of France and let us find work there," she said after lighting candles at the church. "Here they give me work."
Pope Recalls Armenian Genocide Catholic World News Nov 30 2006 Istanbul - Pope Benedict XVI brought up the sensitive topic of the Armenian genocide-- although he did not mention it explicitly-- during a November 30 meeting with the Armenian Apostolic Patriarch of Istanbul, Mesrob II. In his greeting to the patriarch, the Holy Father praised the Armenian people for their faithful witness to the Gospel, even under "truly tragic conditions, like those experienced in the past century." He was clearly alluding to the slaughter of Armenians under the Ottoman empire. To this day the Turkish government refuses to acknowledge the genocidal campaign of 1915- 1917, in which an estimated 1.5 million Armenians were killed during massacres and forced marches, as the government of the "Young Turks" forced the relocation of an entire people. The Armenian Apostolic Church remains the largest Christian community in Turkey, but today numbers only about 50,000 faithful; in the late 19th century the number was several million. There are about 2 million members of the Church living in the country now known as Armenia. In his remarks to Patriarch Mesrob, the Pope expressed regret over the divisions among the Christian faithful, repeating what he had said to the Orthodox Patriarch Bartholomew: that these divisions are "a scandal to the world" and a handicap to effective evangelization. The Armenian Apostolic Church dates back to the year 506, when the Christian leaders of the region broke away from the Catholic Church over disagreements with the doctrines put forth by the Council of Chalcedon in 451. Those theological disputes have been resolved, and in 1996 Pope John Paul II (bio - news) and the former head of the Armenian Church, Karekin I, jointly signed a document affirming that the two churches have reached accord on the Christological issues that originally caused their separation. Pope Benedict joined with the Armenian patriarch in a prayer service at the Armenian cathedral in Istanbul. Later he would meet with the city's grand rabbi, then end the day at a dinner with the Catholic bishops of Turkey.
Argentine Parliament Recognizes Armenian Genocide 01 December 2006 Armenia Liberty The lower house of Argentina’s parliament adopted late Wednesday a resolution recognizing the 1915-1918 mass killings and deportations of Armenians in Ottoman Turkey as genocide. The bill overwhelmingly approved by the assembly declared April 24, which sees annual commemorations of more than one million genocide victims in Armenia and its worldwide Diaspora, an official “day of mutual tolerance and respect” among peoples around the world. It gives Argentine citizens of Armenian descent the legal right to be absent from work or university classes on that day. There was no immediate reaction to the move from Turkey, which has strongly condemned similar resolutions passed by about two dozen other nations and insists that the mass killings did not constitute a genocide. The bill has to be approved by the Argentine Senate in order to become a law. Officials in Buenos Aires say the upper house could discuss it as early as next week. Argentina is home to tens of thousands of ethnic Armenians, most of them descendants of genocide survivors. They have long been lobbying the authorities in Buenos Aires to officially recognize the genocide. Neighboring Uruguay, which also has an influential Armenian community, did so several years ago.
Wish Of Municipality Head To Co-Operate With Armenia Can Not Affect Foreign Policy Of Turkey – Head Of Igdir Municipality 01 December 2006 Trend The wish of the municipality head to co-operate with Armenia can not affect the foreign policy of Turkey, the Head of the Igdir Municipality (Turkey), Nurettin Aras who is on the visit to Azerbaijan briefed the media on November 30,Trendreports. He stressed that the Turkish Government condemns Kars for its effort to co-operate with Armenia in various spheres. “Armenia still maintains Nagorno-Karabakh under occupation and wants our lands, and we consider that it is impossible to release their hands. We also consider the wish of the municipality head to co-operate with Armenia as impossible,” Aras said. He expressed his regret for the erection of a monument in Kars, which is the symbol of fraternity with Armenia.
Prof.McCarthy and Prof. Ataov passsing through London Prof. Justin McCarthy delivered a a powerful speech at the British House of Lords yesterday evening. He concentrated on Rebellion at Van and distirbuted his new book on the subject. Gathering was sponsored by Lord Ahmet and Remzi Gur (TBCCI) . There were about 50 people attending and the room where it was held was full. Although I did not see many British Lords and Members of Parliament (MPs) in the crowd, it served its purpose by exposing the Armenian treachery. One wished that the room was full of Brits instead of Turks. Unfortunately there were not many questions asked at the questions&answers time, but nonetheless the single question that was asked brought home the message. That question was: " We have no problem confronting the Armenians with historical facts but we always have a problem with Turkophobia, Islamophobia and racism. When you are confronted with such a situation what do you do? " his answer was : " confront it head on do not go soft on them. I have seen many a times when Turks were too soft on Armenians out of their soft nature and Armenians misinterpret that" Within a period of 2 weeks we have had the real heavy weights of the Turkish anti-Armenian defence and both Prof. McCarthy and Prof. Ataov were impeccable. Having had the pleasure of listening to both the superweights, it is an inescapable fact that we have to ponder strategies for confronting Turkophobia as well as the Armenian lies. I have asked Prof. McCarthy if he was going to be in London in late January-07, to coincide with the arrival of Prof. Ataov, he said he could not make it as he already had bookings for the same period. Nevertheless, it is our wish to see them both in London for the next House of Lords gathering. Haluk TurkishForum Advisory Board TURKISHFORUM.ORG
Pope Benedict XVI tours Hagia Sophia, prays in Blue Mosque Hurriyet Pope Benedict XVI yesterday in Istanbul put an end to weeks of speculation in the Turkish press over whether or not he would pray in the Hagia Sophia museum. Instead of stopping to pray in the ancient Byzantine church, the Pope chose to pray in Istanbul's formidable Blue Mosque, turning to face Mecca alongside his Turkish host, Minister of Religious Affairs, Ali Bardakoglu. Pope Benedict's stance, with his hands folded in the proper Muslim prayer position, was immediately relayed as "flash" news across international media sources. The Pope was greeted on his entrance to the Blue Mosque by the Muftu of Istanbul, Mustafa Cagrici, as well as the Muftu of Eminonu, Muharrem Bilgic. The Catholic leader removed his shoes at the door to the mosque, and placed some slippers especially prepared for him by Vatican aides on his feet. Muftu Mustafa Cagrici accompanied the Pope around the mosque, explaining the ceiling decorative tiles, the mihrap and the minber's functions, and then inviting the Catholic leader to join him in "peaceful moment" at the front of the mosque, facing the kible which itself faces Mecca. The Pope joined Cagrici, folding his hands before him in imitation of Cagrici's actions, and prayed.
Pope Benedict’s Visit To The Armenian Patriarchate Copyright © Lraper Org In Istanbul, on Thursday evening, 30 November 2006, after visiting the former cathedral of Santa Sophia, Pope Benedict XVI went to the Sultan Ahmet (Blue) Mosque where he and the Grand Mufti of Istanbul Prof. Dr. Mustafa Cagrici paused for a moment of prayer. The Pope then travelled to the Armenian Patriarchate where he participated in a celebration of the Word in the Patriarchal Church of the Holy Mother of God. Upon his arrival, Pope Benedict was received by His Beatitude Mesrob II, Armenian Patriarch of Istanbul and All Turkey, with whom he entered the patriarchal basilica in procession. The Liturgy of the Word of God was held, co-presided by Pope Benedict XVI and Patriarch Mesrob II. Following the reading of the Gospel, Patriarch Mesrob addressed the Pope as follows: “Your Holiness, It is indeed a spiritual joy to welcome Your Holiness in this Patriarchal Basilica of the Holy Mother of God, following our short encounters in Cologne, on the occasion of the 20th World Youth Day, and also at the Vatican, following the 39th World Prayer Day of Peace in Assisi, organized by the Saint Egidio Community. Established in the 15th Century, the Armenian Patriarchate of Istanbul has had relations with your Holy See which have been at times spiritually most pleasing and rewarding, and at times quite sad. For example, the very first Armenian Church in this historic city, Saint Nicholas in Karagumruk, was first shared by the Armenian newcomers from Crimea and the Roman Catholic community in the 10th Century. Likewise, the Armenian Church of Saint Sergius was located in the Genoese Quarter of Galata. Later, Sultan Mehmed II, having conquered the city, invited the Armenian Bishop Joachim of Broussa, responsible for Western Asia Minor, and invested him with the title and prerogatives of Armenian Patriarch of Istanbul, initiating the line of autonomous Armenian Patriarchs in this city, who have always recognized the primacy of the Holy See of Etchmiadzin, the venerable see of the founder of our Church, Saint Gregory the Illuminator. Being presently the 84th Patriarch in that line, I would also ask your prayers for the constituents of the 45 Armenian Dioceses which once existed in Thrace and Anatolia. This Patriarchal See prospered during the Ottoman period and became the major catalyst in the renaissance of Western Armenian culture and literature. As our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ remarks in today’s Holy Gospel, the pure, peaceable and loving message of the Gospel may sometimes be misunderstood, simply by its being contrary to the ways of men. The Armenian Church, and especially this Patriarchal See can, in the words of Saint Paul, indeed claim the hope, the joy and the “Crown of Exultation” (I Thessalonians 2:19), since it has had the greatest privilege of working for the Lord, along with the other Christian communities in this land, witnessing to the Gospel of Salvation. Our witness to the Lord continues today with one Patriarchal Diocese, two suffragan bishoprics, 46 churches, 17 community schools, the Holy Saviour Armenian Hospital and 20 lay associations. The Armenian Church has indeed been tested (I Peter 5:12), but to the degree that we have shared the sufferings of Christ, we have learned to keep on rejoicing; so that also at the revelation of His glory, we may rejoice with exultation (I Peter 5:13). Having suffered for a while, we are daily perfected, confirmed, strengthened and established by the God of all Grace as we seek a meaningful dialogue between the Turkish and Armenian peoples with the aim of reaching a peaceful reconciliation, pleasing to God. A champion of faith and ecumenism in the Armenian Church was Saint Nerses the Graceful (1166-1173). In his spirit of humility, gentleness and prayer, we would like to ask Your Holiness to accept our gift of love, an old handmade chalice, the work of Istanbul Armenian silversmiths, with our fervent prayers to achieve Christian Unity, around the Lord’s Supper, as our Lord and Saviour wished during his passion in the Garden of Gethsemane: “So that they may be one!” (John 17:11). Amen.” His Beatitude Patriarch Mesrob II then presented His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI with the old chalice dated 1820. In return, Pope Benedict XVI gave Patriarch Mesrob II a silver chalice decorated with angels. Pope Benedict XVI then read the following address: “Dear Brother in Christ, I am pleased to have this opportunity to meet Your Beatitude in this very place where Patriarch Shnorhk Kaloustian welcomed my predecessors Pope Paul VI and Pope John Paul II. With great affection I greet the entire Armenian Apostolic community over which you preside as shepherd and spiritual father. My fraternal greeting goes also to His Holiness Karekin II, Catholicos of Holy Etchmiadzin, and the hierarchy of the Armenian Apostolic Church. I give thanks to God for the Christian faith and witness of the Armenian people, transmitted from one generation to the next, often in very tragic circumstances such as those experienced in the last century. Our meeting is more than a simple gesture of ecumenical courtesy and friendship. It is a sign of our shared hope in God’s promises and our desire to see fulfilled the prayer that Jesus offered for his disciples on the eve of his suffering and death: “that they may all be one. As you, Father, are in me and I in you, may they also be one in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me” (Jn 17:21). Jesus gave his life on the Cross to gather into one the dispersed children of God, to break down the walls of division. Through the sacrament of Baptism, we have been incorporated into the Body of Christ, the Church. The tragic divisions which, over time, have arisen among Christ’s followers openly contradict the Lord’s will, give scandal to the world and damage that most holy cause, the preaching of the Gospel to every creature (cf. Unitatis Redintegratio, 1). Precisely by the witness of their faith and love, Christians are called to offer a radiant sign of hope and consolation to this world, so marked by conflicts and tensions. We must continue therefore to do everything possible to heal the wounds of separation and to hasten the work of rebuilding Christian unity. May we be guided in this urgent task by the light and strength of the Holy Spirit. In this respect I can only offer heartfelt thanks to the Lord for the deeper fraternal relationship that has developed between the Armenian Apostolic Church and the Catholic Church. In the thirteenth century, Saint Nerses of Lambron, one of the great Doctors of the Armenian Church, wrote these words of encouragement: “Now, since we all need peace with God, let its foundation be harmony among the brethren. We have prayed to God for peace and continue to do so. Look, he is now giving it to us as a gift: let us welcome it! We asked the Lord to make his holy Church solid, and he has willingly heard our plea. Let us climb therefore the mountain of the Gospel faith!” (Il Primato della Carità, Ed. Qiqajon, p. 81). These words of Nerses have lost nothing of their power. Together let us continue to pray for the unity of all Christians, so that, by receiving this gift from above with open hearts, we may be ever more convincing witnesses of the truth of the Gospel and better servants of the Church’s mission.” Following the two addresses, the Lord’s Prayer was sung in unison. Then, a khatchkar, a stone tablet in the form of an Armenian cross, was unveiled, bearing inscriptions in Latin and Armenian recalling the visits to the patriarchal basilica by Paul VI, John Paul II and Benedict XVI. Following the church service in the Patriarchal Basilica, Pope Benedict XVI and Patriarch Mesrob II were escorted to the Patriarchate where a simple reception was held in the Audience Hall. Dr. Karin Yastangackol, a former student of His Beatitude the Patriarch, sung Franz Schubert’s “Ave Maria” accompanied by the Bulgarian pianist Reina Popova. Then, home-made sour cherry liqueur and chocolates were offered to Pope Benedict XVI and the other guests. Near the end of the reception, His Beatitude Patriarch Mesrob II introduced to the Pope His Eminence Archbishop Dirayr Mardigian of the Armenians of Romania and Bulgaria; His Grace Archbishop Shahan Svajian, Patriarchal Vicar; His Grace Archbishop Aram Ateshyan, Grand Sacristan of the Patriarchal See; the members of the Brotherhood of the Patriarchal See and lay guests who had been invited by the Patriarchal See. The Orthodox communion was represented by the Very Reverend Hegumen Andrew (Wade) from Turin, in Italy (Moscow Patriarchate). Just before the Pope left the Patriarchate, the Patriarch gave him another gift which was Pope Benedict XVI’s portrait in oil on canvas by a local Armenian artist, Erol Sarafyan. The Pope delighted with the canvas and expressed his thanks. Patriarch Mesrob II then accompanied Pope Benedict XVI to his car, at the door of which the two religious leaders exchanged an embrace.

Back to the churches in Armenia When I was invited to Yerevan by an Armenian non-governmental group, the Caucasus Center, I was really very excited. Our northeastern neighbor Armenia, which Turkey has consistently refused to establish diplomatic relations with, was a real mystery for many of us. It was my second visit there, but I was sure that I'd find many answers to hundreds of still-burning questions in my mind. So at 5:00 a.m., at Yerevan Airport I met with the program coordinators, Georgi Vanyan and Luiza Poghosyan. We took a taxi and headed to Yerevan. It was still dark outside, and seeing many buildings gaudily lit, I was surprised and asked if they were casinos. "Yes they're all casinos," said Luiza. "They're open 24 hours, but under the new law they have to operate far from city centers." So our program started. We had many appointments with various people, including government officials, university students, reporters and editors, and even clergymen. The pull of faith On a beautiful Sunday morning, we went to Echmiadzin (*) and attended a ceremony in the beautiful ancient Echmiadzin Cathedral (built in 480). The cathedral was believed to be built at the order of Jesus Christ; I was told Echmiadzin means "the coming of the only begotten" because it was built where Jesus himself descended from Heaven to show where he wanted a church. The cathedral was incredibly crowded with Sunday churchgoers, and a large group of army officers was even there. During the Soviet era, as part of the Kremlin's deliberate policy, Armenians were discouraged from practicing religion, so after all those years they now seem to be hurrying to catch up. Many babies and small children were also in church with their parents. Akhtamar Church That's why it was easy to understand importance Armenians pay to historical Armenian sites, especially the churches in Akhtamar and Ani. I had difficulty convincing people that Akhtamar Church in Van had been beautifully renovated and even has a historical sign identifying it as Armenian. I spoke at length about it with a fellow Armenian reporter, Gegham Manukyan. "I'd never believe this without seeing it with my own eyes," he said. "I was told that there won't be any sign saying that it's an Armenian church. I'm also sure that Turks will never put a cross on it." So I had to ask some friends to email me the pictures I took there four months ago. But even after seeing the pictures, Manukyan wasn't satisfied, and then he complained about the opening date of the church. I couldn't convince him that the delay was due to the cold winter, because it was impossible to complete the paintings inside the church. But then Manukyan spoke a bit about himself. I realized that he had become something of a local hero after he recently attended the press conference of Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Istanbul and held up a banner saying, "Recognize the genocide." But then it was a surprise for me to see his business card because Manukyan wasn't only a journalist, as he had told me, but also secretary of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (ARF, or Dashnaktsutyun) party. Obsessions It was quite apparent that the 1915 events have become a real obsession for almost all Armenians. All the school textbooks and mass media were designed to promote such an atmosphere. It was hard to find anyone broke with this mindset. One of them was Ashot Boleyan, formerly education minister under then Premier Ter Petrossian. "We couldn't manage to create a positive atmosphere between Turkey and Armenia," he told me. "Ter Petrossian was a chance also for Turkey, but Turkish politicians didn't see this, so we lost the chance. I hope future generations will be able to do this.' He was also critical of the education system. When I asked him about the hostility in school textbooks, he said: "Certainly education is everything for a society. All the textbooks and curriculums are prepared under the auspices of the Education Ministry. But as long as they keep their authoritarian stance on that, I don't think there will be any radical changes. But I believe that Armenian society is one step ahead of their rulers. I believe our past, our bitter memory is as an obstacle in front of us, and it holds us back.." Image of Turkey I spoke with many people on the streets or during meetings; they were obsessed with saying almost the same thing: "We can't forget the past. The genocide is a fact, so it should also be recognized by the Turkish government. We don't blame the Turkish people, but the burden is on the government." But there seemed to be more suspicions about Turks. One young university student told me: "I think Turks can't forget the past either. They believe they committed the genocide but don't want to admit this officially. But during our talks in different forums, we keep hearing many young Turkish people warning that Turkey committed the genocide and if necessary they wouldn't hesitate to kill Armenians today too." I tried to tell him that such a stand was nothing but hooliganism and no one in Turkey would believe such ridiculous words. Hospitality from uneasy neighbors I listened to the stunning impressions of our Program Director Luiza Poghosyan, 36, who recently visited Kars for a few days. She said it was her first time in Turkey and added: "I was very excited. I was also raised and educated with the official ideology of genocide. So I was wondering, 'When I'm in Turkey, when the people know that I'm an Armenian, will they still smile at me? Or feeling the guilt of the past, will they choose not to greet me?' But almost all the Turks were such warm hosts, so when I got back to Yerevan, I was sharing my impressions with my son, who is a middle school student. He asked me, 'Mother, can it be true that the genocide is a lie?' You see, we're trying to fight our obsessions and stereotypes too." Economic difficulties After talking to many officials I began to ask myself: "Why can't we normalize our relations with Armenia? All other issues can be discussed, but can't we at least open the border?" On the streets of Yerevan it was clear that life is quite difficult for the majority of Armenians. But also it's not easy for the government, trying to stand with only the help of the diaspora. Otherwise who could explain that five years ago the minimum retirement age for women was 50 and 55 for men, but all of a sudden this year they were changed to 60 for women and 65 for men? (*) Echmiadzin (known as Vagarshapat before 1945) was founded by King Vagarshak (117-140) in the place of Vardkesavan. An ancient settlement of the third to second centuries B.C. In view of the might of the town's fortifications -- fortress walls, ramparts and moats -- the Romans, upon the second destruction of Artashat in 163, transferred the capital of Armenia to Vagarshapat which, after Christianity was proclaimed the state religion in 301, became the country's religious center as well. Nursun Erel - TNA/Yerevan 13 December 2006

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