06 February 2007

1402) Media Scanner Feb 2007 Part I (179 Items)

  1. Turkey's global media spotlight growing
  2. Turkey is under severe attack, can't you see?
  3. Incirlik US Base Bargaining . . . Resolution 106 . . Proper Lobbying . .
  4. Telegraph: Why are we so afraid of Turkey?
  5. Srebrenica Ruling . . Serbian Genocide in Bosnia & Armenian Issue . .
  6. "French attitude is not the right way" Interview with Carl Bildth Swedish FM
  7. Game: Playing to the gallery Yusuf KANLI
  8. Is there a way out? GÜNDÜZ AKTAN
  9. Armenia needs a better course SEMIH İDİZ
  10. Turkish Chilli solutions to Turkish problems
  11. Zori Balayan confesses Armenians’ genocide against Turks in Khojali
  12. The European Article 301 in the making SELCUK GULTASLI
  13. Strategic railway to connect Pacific shores to Atlantic
  14. A proposal
  15. Ugly Side Of A Black Sea City Obsessed With The Beautiful Game By Vincent Boland
  16. U.S. Understands That Genocide Is Sensitive Issue Not Only For Turks But For Armenians PanARMENIAN.Net
  17. 'Genocide Denial Laws Will Shut Down Debate' Spiked, UK
  19. Attacking the dignity of Turkishness!
  20. If we all are Ogün, then we all are murderers
  21. Don't touch it…
  22. A test for Turkey to take on nationalism
  23. Turkey's reputation is at stake, not its honor Hans A.H.C. de Wit
  24. Lawmakers to take witness of Armenian atrocities to US Muzaffer Gülyurt
  25. US throws its support behind Turkey International Herald Tribune
  26. Genocide resolution
  27. Dink murder once again brings to surface gendarmerie, police conflict... LALE SARIIBRAHIMOGLU
  28. Mixing up nationalism with racism FATMA DISLI
  29. Gül warns US Congress against ‘genocide’ move
  30. 'The US made no objection' The New Anatolian
  31. Gul in Washington for uphill mission Ilnur Cevik
  32. Accusations fly between suspects in Dink killing The New Anatolian
  33. PM: East-West railway link significant step The New Anatolian
  34. 'Don't mend it, end it' The New Anatolian
  35. "Los Angeles Times": Resolution Recognizing Armenian Genocide To Be Adopted This Time By Congress Noyan Tapan Armenians Today
  36. Conclusions Are Anachronistic Panorama.am
  37. Turkey Is At The Crossroads By Harry Sterling
  38. About To Kiss The Assassin's Forehead By H. Chaqrian
  39. It is necessary to change Turkey's agenda
  40. Concrete proposal for Article 301
  41. West driving Turkey to edge
  42. Who is more national?
  43. Newspapers and authorities bicker over Dink murder
  44. Not 'deep' but 'decomposing' state Mehmet Ali Birand
  45. Turkey's critical test with nationalism Cengiz Aktar
  46. Regression Gündüz Aktan
  47. Can Turkey use Dink tragedy to open dialogue with Armenia? LALE SARIIBRAHIMOGLU
  48. Dink murder continues to shake Samsun police The New Anatolian
  49. 'Turkishness' remains under new joint Article 301 proposal The New Anatolian
  50. FM conveys concerns on bill, terror The New Anatolian
  51. NGOs propose reduction in Article 301 sentences
  52. News pollution or deception game FATMA DISLI
  53. ‘We are all Ogün Samasts’ SUAT KINIKLIOGLU
  54. From: Turkish Kultur Association in Austria To : Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi
  55. Affirmation of the United States Record on the Armenian Genocide Resolution (Introduced in House)
  56. Ankara takes Turkish agenda to Washington
  57. US Jewish lobby to support Turkey to prevent alleged Armenian genocide bill 05 February 2007 Today.Az
  58. Information pollution clouding Dink investigation February 5, 2007 TDN
  59. Why was the video sent to the TGRT channel?
  60. The Russian mentality of freedom:
  61. The striking similarities between two terrorists:
  62. The future of freedom in Turkey
  63. Anti-Americanism, nationalism and the US Congress
  64. The banality of evil
  65. Scandalous images cause stir in Turkey
  66. News pollution
  67. Turkey faces world jury after editor's killing WORLD BRIEFINGS By Andrew Borowiec
  68. Turks in Europe: Why are we afraid? Preface by Stephen Twigg
  69. The End of an Era in the Armenian Genocide Debate: Will Recognition Lead to a Turkish Policy Transformation? By Mehmet Kalyoncu
  70. Black and white vs. color ANDREW FINKEL
  71. Amend 301; Will it work?
  72. Faruk Loğoğlu: Even with successful March 1, Armenian resolution would still pass
  73. A security scandal as appalling as murder of Dink
  74. Diaspora’s moment, too YAVUZ BAYDAR
  75. Armenian lobby hits back with Time’s help
  76. Fury after police pictured posing with Dink murder suspect Guardian
  77. Two Resolutions At Once Ömer Engin LÜTEM
  78. USA Never Denied Tragedy Of 1915, Everything Is In Terminology Panarmenian
  79. A Bird's Eye View Advena Avis
  80. Everyman's 301: One man's surreal day in court TAYLAN BİLGİÇ
  81. Article 301 and Article 312: Waiting at the door: Mastering the tactics:
  82. Letters to the editor /TDN Turkey's trouble with its ‘nation': The ‘Armenian genocide' bill is not right for America:
  83. Turkey’s dangerous chasm Cengiz ÇANDAR A ‘second assassination' of Dink: Erdoğan's political concerns:
  84. Picture is an incentive for murder Mehmet A Birand The life of a journalist: To enjoy the Nobel:
  85. The bizarre state of Turkish security Yusuf KANLI The sultan and the court jesterWhat if the salt goes bad?
  86. Article 301 is different, claim Europeans TNA
  87. Police, gendarmerie clash on gunman photo peaks TNA
  88. Civil society seeks positive, moderate solution to Article 301 TNA
  89. I am from Trabzon, but not one of those... KERIM BALCI
  90. Talking too much, doing too little ABDULHAMIT BILICI
  91. Loving this country M. NEDIM HAZAR
  92. Turkey hit by scandalous aftershocks from Dink murder
  93. Former Armenian PM Darbinian: Turkey and Armenia should not be Enemies
  94. Questions Onder Aytac & Emre Uslu
  95. Bernard Lewis' Europe
  96. EP member Lagendijk sends letter to Erdoğan and Baykal on Dink
  97. Dilemma of saying 'we are Armenians' Ilnur Cevik
  98. Aksu runs risk of losing his seat, prestigeTNA
  99. Gül to meet top US officials on Iraq, genocide resolution ÜMİT ENGİNSOY
  100. How did we arrive at the white bereted?:
  101. The terminator and the Internet:
  102. Parliamentarians protest US on Armenian resolution
  103. Radikal calls on city leaders to resign:
  104. It is time for the Armenian genocide bill, what should we do? Mehmet A Birand
  105. 'We are all...' well, all sorts of things David Judson
  106. Opposition leader tears government apart over Dink murder
  107. Journalist's Murder Opens Window Of Opportunity For Turkish-Armenian Rapprochement Yigal Schleifer
  108. Turkey must loosen the grip of its founding myths Mark Mazower
  109. Why is the Istanbul Chief of Police still on his job? Mehmet Y.Yilmaz
  110. Trabzon police were warned 17 times of plans against Hrant Dink
  111. Those who allowed this murder should be penalized
  112. Touching the surface of the deep state
  113. The deep state vs. the real state
  114. The motive to keep Article 301
  115. Turkey's age of politics
  116. Revisiting an old question after murder of Dink: Is there a ‘deep state’?
  117. What’s wrong with saying ‘We are all Armenians’?
  118. Ertugrul Ozkok:Those Armenians will never be men
  119. 'Genocidal' crisis in the making
  120. What Others Say
  121. Searching for the enemy
  122. Turkish Press Yesterday
  123. Those who neglected duty have to answer for it:
  124. 7th suspect charged in Dink's murder
  125. 'If threshold is shame many EU countries bear it'
  126. Interior Ministry anticipates further turmoil in wake of Dink killing
  127. We are hurting ourselves
  128. Why can't we all be 'Armenians'?
  129. NGOs are meeting in Ankara over 301
  130. U.S. ambassador to Turkey: Bush administration will oppose Armenian genocide resolution
  131. Turkey: Probe Into Journalist's Murder Is Beefed Up
  132. EU: We never said we were OK with 301
  133. US-Turkey ties face test as ‘genocide’ resolution introduced
  134. Turkish-Armenians’ pivotal role in Turkey’s history revealed
  135. Friend of Turkey Feigl to be buried on Monday
  136. Which form of nationalism?
  137. Attaching the deep state to the normal state
  138. Tackling the ‘deep state’
  139. Turkish Embassy statement regarding introduction of House resolution
  140. Bekir Coskun; In what sense are we all Armenians?
  141. Holocaust denial is profoundly wrong. But should it be illegal? Peter Schrank
  142. Turkey and the Armenians How to honour Hrant
  143. Declaration Of The European Armenian Federation On The Occassion Of Hrant Dink's Funeral
  144. Turk police warned of editor murder plot -press 30 Jan 2007 Reuters
  145. Will a murder help Turkey?
  146. Let's not fool ourselves: Ethnic nationalism is alive
  147. Why Turks Are Losing Their Turkish Identity
  148. Turkey reels after killing Simon Tisdall
  149. The Martyrdom of Hrant DinkBy Gwynne Dyer *
  150. Corpse-Lotto: How Many Armenians Killed? Sedat Laciner
  151. Police warned about Dink assassination VATAN /TDN
  152. Ultranationalism is the real threat Ilnur Cevik
  153. Who are we? EKREM DUMANLI e.dumanli@todayszaman.com
  154. Five civilian guns for every military firearm in Turkey, records show
  155. What is going on in Trabzon? FATMA DISLI
  156. The construction of politics that plays on a funeral
  157. What if there is another assassination?
  158. When is the funeral for Article 301?
  159. A strong conscience
  160. In the name of love CEM OZDEMIR
  161. Dialogue at Home, Dialogue in the World ALI H. ASLAN
  162. Turkey's good guys have not lost yet Gwynne Dyer
  163. AGOS after Hrant
  164. A spectrum of reactions to Dink's funeral
  165. Government officials call for deeper investigation
  166. Turkish Press Yesterday January 29, 2007
  167. It's between Turks and Armenians SYLVIA TIRYAKI
  168. The Turkish deep state Yusuf KANLI
  169. What others say More on the “slogan” issue:Being the ‘other':What is the murderer of Father Santoro saying?:Xenophobia:
  170. Dink's slaying in US Congress
  171. One cartoonist, one philosophy
  172. Soul searching after Hrant Dink Doğu ERGİL
  173. ‘The suspect was an informer': Turkish General: Dink Murder was Part of a Greater Operation
  174. Rambo Is Like An Asala Militant
  175. Visitors flock to closed church
  176. Turkish historian says map published by Armenians refutes genocide claims
  177. Akdamar Church To Be Opened on 11th and Not 24th of April
  178. It would be logical to hold such conferences not in Armenia but in Turkey Yerkir.am
  179. Genocide Denial


Turkey's global media spotlight growing
The world press covered near 850,000 stories related to Turkey last year, including such stories as the Cyprus matter, Kurds, Armenians, tourism, human rights and terrorism.
Turkey was at the top of world news in 2006, grabbing global attention most often in connection with southern Cyprus, according to newly released information from the Prime Ministerial Press Information Directorate in Ankara.
Turkish journalists living outside the country counted 847,022 news stories from foreign press agencies, radio programs, and Internet news sites related to Turkey. Of these, more than 6,000 of the Turkey-related news stories were run in the South Cypriot press.
Stories on Turkey in the world appear to have increased in recent years. 2005 figures showed 813,000 stories in connection with Turkey, while 2006 figures revealed a rise in this number to 847,000 . When put together, the majority of these stories had to do with Turkey's Cyprus problems.
Press Information Directorate General Manager Salih Melek noted that the bulk of information on Turkey being relayed to the world press was originating from foreign press corps members based in Turkey. Melek also noted that due to the generally positive and/or objective news stories being generated about Turkey, the Press Information Directorate was encouraging foreign press members in their work. Melek noted that the current number of foreign press members residing in Turkey had increased to 265.

Asl?han Ayd?n Ankara

Turkey is under severe attack, can't you see?
The imperialist EU dares to tell us how to improve the rights of our women. Isn’t this yet another of those evil plots that have been cooked up lately against Turkey ?

I am tired of seeing negative news about Turkey, particularly in the foreign press. Like most Turks I believe the world is biased against us. But I cannot understand why. Is it because they are envious of us and do not want Turkey to be a superpower again as in Ottoman times or do they have a genetic defect that prevents them from liking Turks? Both questions beat me.

However, allow me to drive the point home by scanning the news about Turkey on the same day this article was penned.

Büyükanit's warning on ‘threats'
The first source out of Washington labels Chief of General Staff Gen. Yasar Büyükanit's speech delivered in the United States to a mainly Turkish audience under the heading “serious threats.” Under this title the news release read as follows: “The Republic of Turkey has never faced threats, risks and difficulties of this magnitude since 1923, the date of the republic's founding.”

Gen. Büyükanit urged the nation not to lose faith, adding, “We have fears that we need to overcome. Who can divide Turkey? There are vigilant forces to prevent such calamity.”

The next day he warned all Turks to be on the look out for a grand scale plot to pull the curtain open in order to legalize the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) by granting this notorious organization the opportunity to engage in politics.

Subversive forces in Turkey and abroad immediately started asking who those “vigilant forces” might be. The insinuation is to obfuscate minds and to let them think of the existence of illegal ultra-nationalist paramilitary groupings who allegedly are allowed to eliminate the enemies of the nation and the state. Kurds do not have any problem other than supporting a terrorist organization and thinking that they are ethnically different than what the constitution affords them to be a citizen.

Another unfair critique is the over emphasis on the risks, difficulties and dangers that Turkey is facing in an unprecedented magnitude since the declaration of republic. Perverse writers and irresponsible spokesmen of shady groups are asking why Turkey is under such duress. How can a modern functional, delivering system can end up producing a society more problematic than a backward, war-torn, poor society that it was at the beginning of the 20th century?

These wise guys mean that we should look at how Turkey has been managed so far, failing to be among the prominent, developed countries of the 21st century.

EU's warning on women's rights:
The second news emanates from the European Parliament. Its subject matter is a (second) report on Turkey's legal framework on women's rights. The report reads, “[Progress]…has in general been satisfactory, but its substantive implementation remains flawed.” It looks at women's role in social, economic and political life in Turkey.

The report emphasizes that respecting human rights, including women's rights, is a sine qua non for Turkey's membership of the EU, as if we do not respect our women. Furthermore, the report carries the fingerprints of Ms. Emine Bozkurt (PES, NL) and was adopted with 522 votes in favor, 15 against and 53 abstentions. Why would this lady work to tarnish Turkey's image? Do you think she is helping Turkish women by pointing at their difficulties in their homeland while she is enjoying the comfort of European citizenship and the prestige of membership of its Parliament?

We know that she has given up her nationality and instead become a Dutch citizen most probably because her father defected the country on the premise that he was a Kurd and under pressure. Otherwise how could the authors of the report unjustly “regret the slowing down of the reform process in Turkey over the last year and the persistent problem with women's rights…particularly in the poorer regions of the country."

MEPs also deplore the fact that, in parts of south-east Turkey, girls are not registered at birth. MEPs note that this hampers the fight against forced marriage and “honor crimes,” since the victims have no official identity, and they urge the Turkish authorities to continue taking all necessary measures to ensure that all Turkish children are registered at birth. This is really insulting.

The report condemns “instances of violence against women, including honor killings, domestic violence, forced marriage and polygamy.” It calls on the Turkish government and the commission to tackle “violence in general and honor crimes in particular” as a priority and to set up special high-security shelters. The report also “stresses the importance of systematic investigation and effective punishment” and therefore the training of police and judicial authorities in gender equality issues and the fight against violence.

In my mind this is a direct intervention into the internal matters of a country and needs a proper retribution. But European Parliament's insolence does not stop here. The report notes that the political participation by women in Turkey is too low and that there is an absolute need for female role models in positions of power and decision-making. MEPs point out that discrimination against women can sometimes best be remedied by temporary positive discrimination measures. MEPs also urge the political parties in Turkey, starting from the upcoming elections in 2007, to include more female candidates on election lists.

Offending our ‘national pride'!
Now let us be fair: Has the Turkish Parliament or the government issued statements that would hurt the national feelings of EU countries? And I do not know who else, other than conspiratorial forces in Turkey that work for foreign powers, would have given out such figures that further offend our national pride.

Based on this information, the EU Parliament expressed concern about Turkish women's vulnerability due to discriminatory practices because of education and a high illiteracy rate. Based on the (imperialist!) UNICEF estimates, each year between 600,000 and 800,000 girls are either prevented by their families from going to school or do not attend it because of logistical difficulties. MEPs therefore call on the Turkish government to ensure gender equality in access to education and the labor market, especially in the southeastern regions. The female employment rate in Turkey is just under 25 percent, compared to the average women's employment rate in the EU-25 of 55 percent.This is too much and unacceptable. Isn't it obvious that Turk's only friend is another Turk as we often repeat ourselves when faced with such unfounded slanders?

The internal ‘intellectual' enemies:
The third source is Turkish, obviously deceptive. It gives an account of writers, intellectuals etc., who have been prosecuted and penalized for crimes of thought and expression. Their numbers have risen to 293 in year 2006. This number was 157 the previous year. According to the news source, neither the incumbent government nor the main opposition party had heeded warnings and advices of independent law scholars and liberal institutions to annul or to drastically change the problematic Article 301 of the Turkish Penal Code (TCK) that penalizes attempts to denigrate Turkishness (by oral or written means) or the formal institutions of the state. Eight persons were prosecuted for insulting the personality of Atatürk and 24 for writing things that were interpreted by the prosecution with the intention of influencing court procedures of ongoing trials.

The news source has concluded its reporting by stating that intimidation on intellectual life and freedom of expression was on the rise in Turkey.

I believe this statement or judgment is equally liable for insulting the country and it judiciary. That is why Article 301 of the TCK should never be annulled.

Now, do you see under what unjust attacks and treacherous accusations we are experiencing? The Turk's best friend would be another Turk if the prosecuted and penalized ones had not have been Turkish. But then they may have converted from another ethnic and/or religious origin as many did in Ottoman times. We have to be agile and hawkeyed, for we are surrounded by internal and external enemies. Or is this a nightmare from which we will wake some day?

February 26, 2007

Incirlik US Base Bargaining . . . Resolution 106 . . Proper Lobbying . .
Erdem: Anti-genocide resolution letter sent to US congressmen
Key excerpts from House Resolution 106
Incirlik US Airbase bargaining
Armenians feel victory is close in US Congress
US 'outreach' diplomacy downplays Armenian resolution
Proper Lobbying in the USA

Erdem: Anti-genocide resolution letter sent to US congressmen
The New Anatolian / Ankara
27 February 2007
A ruling party deputy yesterday made public details of a letter he delivered to the members of the U.S. House of Representatives which is about to discuss a resolution to recognize the Armenian genocide claims.

Ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party Kirikkale Deputy and NATO Parliamentary Assembly Turkish Group Chairman Vahit Erdem delivered the letters at the Parliamentary Assembly of NATO in Belgium last week.

Erdem, at a press conference in Parliament, said that he underlined in the letter the need for historical research rather than political talk over the issue and that he persuaded several congressmen to work against the resolution.

Erdem also said that he told them the death toll was blown out of proportion by Armenian sources conveying the data in Ottoman Archives, which says the total population of Armenians in Turkey before the World War I was around 1,300,000.

Several Turkish historians give smaller figures on the Armenian population, while Armenian and European sources give a range between 1,500,000 and as high as 3,000,000.

"If the Armenian resolution is passed by the U.S. Congress, relations between the two allies would be deeply hurt, and U.S. Congress would fall into error, making a political judgment rather than a historical one, as several European parliaments have done," Erdem said in the letter.

He also added that genocide is internationally acknowledged as a crime against humanity that should be dealt with by independent courts.

In related news, a group of Turkish parliamentarians has begun anti-resolution campaigning in the U.S. The group is expected to hold personal talks with congressional representatives and officials from the U.S. Secretariat of State in order to persuade them not to pass the resolution.

Turkish deputies were set to lobby in the U.S. against the resolution weeks ago, but the delegation's visit was postponed in order to assess the outcome of Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul and Chief of General Staff Gen. Yasar Buyukanit's recent talks with American officials.

After the visit by the group, two others will pay visits to the U.S. in March.

Turkey denies the allegations that some 1.5 million Armenians were massacred during the disintegration of the Ottoman Empire in World War I, arguing that Armenian deaths were part of general partisan fighting in which both sides suffered.

Ankara and Yerevan are at odds over the Armenian claims of genocide. To break the deadlock, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan last year suggested the establishment of a committee of Turkish and Armenian historians to study the claims, in a letter sent to Armenian President Robert Kocharian. But Kocharian rejected Erdogan's proposal, saying that the two countries must first establish diplomatic relations and that committees could be formed only within the process of normalization of relations.

Key excerpts from House Resolution 106
February 26, 2007
– Calling upon the President to ensure that the foreign policy of the United States reflects appropriate understanding and sensitivity concerning issues related to human rights, ethnic cleansing, and genocide documented in the United States record relating to the Armenian Genocide, and for other purposes.

– The Armenian Genocide was conceived and carried out by the Ottoman Empire from 1915 to 1923, resulting in the deportation of nearly 2,000,000 Armenians, of whom 1,500,000 men, women, and children were killed, 500,000 survivors were expelled from their homes, and which succeeded in the elimination of the over 2,500-year presence of Armenians in their historic homeland.

– In a series of courts-martial, officials of the Young Turk Regime were tried and convicted, as charged, for organizing and executing massacres against the Armenian people.

– The chief organizers of the Armenian Genocide, Minister of War Enver, Minister of the Interior Talaat, and Minister of the Navy Jemal were all condemned to death for their crimes, however, the verdicts of the courts were not enforced.

– The Armenian Genocide and these domestic judicial failures are documented with overwhelming evidence in the national archives of Austria, France, Germany, Great Britain, Russia, the United States, the Vatican and many other countries, and this vast body of evidence attests to the same facts, the same events, and the same consequences.

– President George W. Bush, on April 24, 2004, stated: ‘On this day, we pause in remembrance of one of the most horrible tragedies of the 20th century, the annihilation of as many as 1,500,000 Armenians through forced exile and murder at the end of the Ottoman Empire.'

Incirlik US Airbase bargaining
February 26, 2007
Turkey could deny the United States basing rights at Incirlik airbase if the U.S. House of Representatives passes House Resolution 106 to recognize an Armenian genocide. Basing rights are renewed every six months and have been granted since 1954. Incirlik is just east of Adana in southern Turkey and is home to approximately 4,000 personnel.

Incirlik airbase is also currently home to 90 nuclear bombs, 50 of which are earmarked for American bombers and 40 for delivery by Turkish warplanes, according to a report published by Dr. Hans Kristensen from the Federation of American Scientists (FAS). This “burden-sharing” is a basic part of NATO's nuclear policy. If the United States were denied basing rights, deciding the fate of the 90 nuclear weapons at Incirlik would be a serious strategic dilemma. A declassified memo, obtained by Kristensen under the U.S. Freedom of Information Act, states that U.S. nuclear weapons at bases such as Incirlik are vital not only for traditional anti-Russian deterrence, but also because, “the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction by states within the [European area of interest] and their ability to target the capitals of Europe is of growing concern.” The United States would not want to risk losing Incirlik as U.S.-Iran tensions increase and as they gradually exit Iraq.

Incirlik airbase was the main base for Operation Northern Watch through the 1990s until 2003 as U.S. planes patrolled the “no-fly zone” over northern Iraq. Turkey denied the United States rights to use the base during the invasion of Iraq in 2003.

Armenians feel victory is close in US Congress
February 26, 2007
WASHINGTON - Turkish Daily News
U.S. Armenians have set their sights on a pending congressional resolution calling for the recognition of World War-I era killings of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire as genocide, and believe that, after several failed tries over the past two decades, this time victory is within reach.

"The chances of passing are the best they have been in recent years," Bryan Ardouny, a top U.S. Armenian official.

"We have a very strong bipartisan support. Over 170 members of Congress in just a few weeks have cosponsored this resolution," Ardouny, executive director of the Armenian Assembly of America (AAA), said in an interview with the Turkish Daily News. AAA is one of the two large organizations representing the United States' Armenian community. The resolution was introduced in the House of Representatives, Congress' lower chamber in late January, and the Armenians' biggest advantage is having Democratic congresswoman Nancy Pelosi as House speaker, following her party's landslide victory in congressional elections last November. Pelosi said before the elections that she would back the genocide measure's passage in the new Congress.

Independent analysts also agree that if a House floor vote is held, the measure has more than enough support to win approval.

The last time Armenians came very close to victory was in October 2000 when a similar resolution reached the House floor. But only hours before a planned vote, then President Bill Clinton, a Democrat, urged then House speaker Dennis Hastert, a Republican, to shelve the measure on grounds of U.S. national security, and Hastert agreed.

This time, the current resolution is also highly likely to overcome initial hurdles and again reach the House floor.

President George W. Bush's Republican administration, like its predecessors, opposes the bill's passage. However, this time it is not clear if Bush would similarly call on Pelosi to stop the measure at the last minute or if Pelosi would listen to him at a time of heightened hostilities between the Republican administration and the Democratic-controlled Congress.

The resolution's approval would set the U.S. record right on this sensitive matter, according to Ardouny. "The Armenian genocide is an incontestable historical fact," he said, without referring to a division among world historians over whether the Armenian killings amounted to genocide. Ardouny suggested that the resolution's purpose was not to humiliate Turkey, but a confirmation of "the truth of history in the face of denial." "The issue is how we can help Turkey to come to terms with its past," he said, adding that "building a relationship on truth will improve the relations between Turkey and Armenia." But Ardouny's recounting is in full contrast with how Turkey feels.

During a visit here early this month, Foreign Minister Abdullah Gül warned that the Armenian resolution's approval would poison U.S.-Turkish ties in a lasting way. Turkish diplomats also said the measure's passage would rule out any improvement in Turkish-Armenian relations in the foreseeable future. Asked if congressional approval of a genocide resolution would lead to additional demands, including compensation and even territorial claims, Ardouny said, "Right now we're focused on this resolution." Also asked if Armenia and U.S. Armenians recognize Turkey's border with Armenia, which they want to be opened for trade and passages, he said: "The border is where it is. And we think that Turkey, instead of attempting to isolate Armenia, should take positive steps and try to show good faith by opening the border."

Turkey officially recognized Armenia when the latter gained its independence from the former Soviet Union in 1991. But Ankara refuses to establish diplomatic ties with Yerevan and open the border, saying Armenia has been keeping the Nagorny-Karabakh region inside Azerbaijan and another 20 percent of Azeri territory under its occupation. Asked if a potential Turkish acceptance of Armenian President Robert Kocharian's recent proposal for the creation of a Turkish-Armenian intergovernmental commission to discuss outstanding issues could stop the pending resolution in the House of Representatives, Ardouny said the two were different matters.

"If Turkey and Armenia want to link them that's one thing. But in terms of our focus, we're looking at it (the genocide resolution) as the U.S. record," he said.

US 'outreach' diplomacy downplays Armenian resolution
February 26, 2007
Nancy Pelosi, the new speaker of the US House of Representatives, had promised her many Armenian constituents a vote in the House but is facing pressure from the Bush administration, as well as from Democrat and Republican politicians, to postpone the vote in order to preserve current US-Turkish relations

U.S. diplomats in Turkey have made clear their strategy of dealing with the possibility that the U.S. House of Representatives could pass House Resolution 106, the “Armenian genocide bill.” They want to get the message out that the bill would mean next to nothing in terms of U.S. foreign policy. Dr. Clyde Wilcox, of Georgetown University in Washington, told members of the Turkish media that such a vote would mean, “one chamber [of the U.S. Congress] said something. It doesn't mean our Congress said something, it doesn't mean that our government said it.” Dr. Wilcox was speaking via live video feed from the U.S. State Department to the U.S. Consulate in Istanbul, which hosted the 90-minute question-and-answer session last week.

Wilcox stressed that if the bill passed in the House, it would not reflect U.S. public opinion, rather the “organized opinion” of Armenian lobby groups working within the United States for a symbolic victory. However, journalists at the session repeatedly stressed that playing down the significance of such a resolution was not much of a strategy. Many of the questions posed to Wilcox indicated that any indication of U.S. support for Armenian genocide claims would be manipulated to fuel nationalist sentiments in Turkey and shift votes to nationalist parties. This would be crucial during this year's elections for both president and government.

Wilcox acknowledged this dilemma: “Symbols are often powerful for political actors. … [But] within the framework of U.S. governance, a vote by the House of Representatives would not be very important in American politics. It would not speak for America. It would not speak for the administration. It would not even speak for the Congress. However, symbols are important, because people interpret them as important. And so [Turkish] political parties would use those symbols [the U.S. genocide bill] as part of their election campaign.”

“Most Americans don't know anything about this issue. … They don't know what, where, or when, or whatever – it's a time of history in another part of the world. … I bet there's not 1 percent of the American public who has a position on this.”

Meanwhile, a minor vote in the House of Representatives, one designed to appeal to Armenian lobby groups in the United States, could change the distribution of political party power in Turkey.

Nancy Pelosi, the new speaker of the House of Representatives, had promised her many Armenian constituents a vote in the House (possibly up to 20 percent of voters in her district are Armenian-American), but she is facing pressure from the Bush administration, as well as from Democrat and Republican politicians, to postpone the vote in order to preserve current U.S.-Turkish relations.

“This is not party politics,” stressed Wilcox, “this is domestic constituency politics.” The vote has more to do with the fact that “party leaders in the House of Representatives have [in the past] promised to vote on this regardless of the party.” In addition, every U.S. president has pressured Congress not to vote on an Armenian genocide bill because it would damage strategically important U.S.-Turkish relations. “My guess is that every president will continue to do that because that's the president's job, to think about bilateral relationships [and] multilateral relationships.”

“For serious [foreign] policy to be made,” said Wilcox, “all three branches [Presidency, Senate, House] have to be in cooperation. The House is the least concerned with foreign policy. It is designed to focus on domestic policy, which is why it's listening to Armenian groups because they are organized and lobbying in domestic constituencies.” “They [the House] feel free to [listen to Armenian lobby groups],” Wilcox said, “because they know the Senate will not go along and so [a resolution] will not have the force of law.”

Regardless of U.S. diplomatic efforts to downplay the significance, if the bill passes, a crisis in U.S.-Turkish relations will follow. When asked what U.S. President George W. Bush might then do, Wilcox said: “It would not surprise me if he would make some kind of public statement or make some kind of personal phone call to the prime minister or president. … He's making a gesture to stop this [vote on the resolution] because he thinks it's an important bill to stop. If he loses on this I think he would probably at least make some verbal statement that ‘this does not represent U.S. foreign policy and this administration's policy has not changed'.”

Proper Lobbying in the USA
ISTANBUL - "If Turkish lobbying is not conducted properly in the United States, resolution on the so-called Armenian genocide will be troubling for us", said Ercument Kilic, president of the Center for Turkish American Chambers of Commerce, on Tuesday.

Ercument Kilic, who took the floor at a conference titled "Turkey - USA relations Within the Framework of Lobbying" in Yeditepe University, Istanbul, pointed out that an Armenian Museum will be opened in Washington, capital of the USA.

"If Turkey is promoted on a regular basis and under a schedule, this will have significant results in the U.S. parliament," he stressed.

-Relations With Japanese Lobby-
Pointing out that the Japanese have a dominant position in industries such as insurance and banking, Kilic said relations with the Japanese lobby must be enhanced.

Kilic, who lived in the USA for over 30 years, made some suggestions for a better promotion of Turkey in this country.

Establishment of a "Lobbying Ministry" in Turkey, steps regarding dual citizenship, new promotion campaigns, and establishment of a legal protection institution to protect Turks in the USA against unjust situations are some of Kilic`s suggestions.

© 2007 Anadolu Agency

Telegraph: Why are we so afraid of Turkey?
The anxieties of the West about Islam must not jeopardize the reconciliation between East and West, argued Boris Johnson, a Daily Telegraph columnist, in his article.

"If we get it right with Turkey, we could rebuild the whole ancient harmonious union around the Mediterranean" and "heal the rupture created by the Muslim invasions," Boris Johnson argued in an extract from his book "The Dream of Rome."

"What would be better for the long-term health of the planet -- a Turkey increasingly apathetic about Europe, and interested in forging links with Iran? Or one firmly entrenched in the European Union, reaching out to provide a stabilizing influence in what will remain, in our lifetimes, the most dangerous region of the world? I know what I want," Boris, himself of Turkish origin, wrote.

After presenting a historical background of the relationships between Turkey and the Western world, especially the Roman Empire, he argues that after the conquest of Istanbul by the Ottoman Empire, Turkey joins Egypt and North Africa and the huge tracts of the former Empire which our Popes and prelates and politicians think are not culturally congruent with modern, western Europe - because they fell to Islam.

"The French object to the Turks because of the Armenian massacres, as though France were guiltless herself. Brussels occasionally launches another of its sermons about gender equality, though it should be remembered that Turkey gave women the vote before Belgium," Johnson states, evaluating the issues that constitute the basic problems regarding Turkey's relations with the West.

Stating that the in Turkish record on human rights is one of the most important reasons for keeping the Turks on the tram-tracks to EU membership, Johnson asserts that the Greek human rights record when she was admitted to the EEC was also very far from perfect.

"We need reconciliation, not repulsion. We need reciprocity, not rejection. Instead of intensifying the differences, by burbling on about alien "values," we should see that we are coming to a critical moment in our discussions with Turkey," wrote Johnson, stating that a different way of understanding is necessary for the development of the relations.

Johnson argued that the West and Turkey could rebuild the whole ancient harmonious union around the Mediterranean, the rich and free dissemination of produce described by Henri Pirenne, from the Straits of Gibraltar to the Bosphorus; from Tunis to Lyons, if the West gets it right with Turkey.

Johnson also suggested that the EU needs to develop a new and deeper relationship with the Maghreb countries of North Africa, based on the old Roman idea of tolerance over time.
The New Anatolian / Ankara
27 February 2007

Srebrenica Ruling . . Serbian Genocide in Bosnia & Armenian Issue . .

Can Srebrenica ruling benefit Turkey on Armenian issue?
ICJ, Srebrenica genocide and some reflections on 1915 YAVUZ BAYDAR
Has the Bosnia verdict ‘closed a chapter’ in history? SELCUK GULTASLI
Kosovo’s ‘independence’ has shuffled a whole new deck of cards Barcin Yinanç
Serbia cleared of genocide in Bosnia

Can Srebrenica ruling benefit Turkey on Armenian issue?
The acquittal of Serbia on a charge of genocide was not easy for Turkey, while it was unacceptable for the Bosnians who were direct subjects of the worst massacre on European soil since World War II. However, the judgment is still considered an important landmark in international law.

The ruling of the UN International Court of Justice (ICJ) is significant for it confirmed that a genocide had taken place in Srebrenica and also that Serbia had the power to foresee and prevent the slaughter, but had failed to use it. Moreover, the judges found that Serbia failed to comply with its obligations to punish those who carried out the genocide. All in all, however imperfect Monday's decision was, it might serve to clarify the definition of genocide and the responsibility of states to prevent it in terms of international law, which is very important for Turkey, a target of claims that mass deportation of Armenians in 1915 at the hands of the Ottomans was tantamount to genocide.

The decision also came at a time when the Turkish Foreign Ministry is considering taking the case to the Court of International Justice, and put an end to Armenian allegations.

Analysts underline that the law of the ICJ, founded in 1945, might not prosecute crimes committed before 1948, when the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide was adopted by the UN General Assembly. Most say that although an acquittal decision might be positive, ideally, the decision of an international judicial body should not recognize the deportation as genocide. In a way, it remains unclear whether the court ruling on Srebrenica is encouraging or discouraging for Turkey to take the case to the Hague.

For Professor Hüseyin Pazarci from Ankara University's Political Science Department, the author of international law textbooks that prepare Turkey's future diplomats, it is hard to say whether the decision was good or bad for Serbia. However, he believes that any application to the ICJ regarding the Armenian genocide claims would fall out of the scope of the 1948 UN convention on genocide, the document which was the basis for the Srebrenica ruling.

"Normally, at least initially, on the principle of the non-retroactive application of laws, Turkey's case is outside the scope of the 1948 convention," Pazarci explained, since the incidents resulting in genocide claims happened in 1915.

Some experts, including political analyst Professor Hüseyin Bagci from Middle East Technical University (ODTÜ) Department of International Relations, said that the court ruling that what happened in Srebrenica was genocide without holding Serbia directly responsible could signal that in the event Turkey's case were taken to the ICJ, the outcome could be similar in terms of not attaching any retroactive political or financial responsibility to Turkey.

Retired Ambassador Ömer Engin Lütem, who currently heads the Crimes against Humanity Department of the Eurasian Research Center (ASAM), is also of the same opinion. In an interview with the ANKA news agency, Lütem said the Armenians pursued putting the blame on Turkey, insisting that Turkey was the successor of the Ottoman government. "However, this ruling accuses the individuals involved, rather than the state. This might mean that it has the potential to serve our interest," Lütem said, adding that the case was likely to set up an example ruling for future similar cases.

All experts emphasize that there is always the possibility of the ICJ refusing to hear the Armenian genocide, since incidents before 1948 fall outside its scope.

"Normally, it shouldn't be taking up such a suit," Lütem said. However, Lütem expressed that a decision to acquit Turkey of a genocide, but recognizing the forced deportation of Armenians at the hands of Ottomans in 1915 could create a backlash.

"The legal statements should express that forced deportation was essentially not genocide," he explained. In order to explain his interpretation that the ruling does and can not have any significance on Turkey's Armenian question, Sabah columnist Erdal Safak points out to two crucial points in how the ICJ works. He notes, in contentious cases, the ICJ produces a binding ruling between states that agree to submit to the ruling of the court. In other words, Turkey would need consent of the other party, Armenia, to apply. If the court, based on the 1948 convention, rules that the application is valid, then the party where the genocide claims originate has to document concrete proof of systemic, organized and planned action to eradicate an ethnic group, which is where Bosnia was weak in the current case, Safak notes.

In a case between Turkey and Armenia, it would be the job of Armenia to prove that the deportations were genocide, which would not be easy. In addition, for an international court ruling to set a precedent, at least two or three similar rulings should come out. At the end of day, it is almost impossible to express that the ruling has any significance for Turkey's case at all. The ruling is certainly a disappointment to the Bosnian people -- and to the Serbs to a certain extent -- and confusing for Turkey as its relevance to Turkey's concerns about the future of the Armenian question remains open to debate.


ICJ, Srebrenica genocide and some reflections on 1915
YAVUZ BAYDAR y.baydar@todayszaman.com
Monday’s verdict by the UN’s highest legal body, the International Court of Justice (ICJ), that the butchery of some 8,000 Muslims in Srebrenica, despite the fact that it might be perceived as schizophrenic in substance, is very interesting from various points of view.

First of all, as The Guardian pointed out yesterday, “The judgment should rank as an important landmark in international law.” Indeed. This was the first time an existing state has been accused of responsibility -- as a state -- for genocide as defined by 1948 convention.

The ICJ judgment tells us various things along a wide spectrum: a) the mass murder of some 8,000 Bosnian Muslim males in Srebrenica in July 1995 was an “act of genocide,” b) the massive ethnic cleansing by Bosnian Serbs, mainly in 1992, when tens of thousands were killed and up to two million uprooted, was not, c) Serbia (and Montenegro) cannot be called guilty of genocide because they did not aim to destroy “in whole or in part” the Bosnian Muslim population despite financing and supplying arms to the local perpetrators, d) Belgrade did nothing to prevent the act of genocide in Srebrenica, e) Ratko Mladic, the local Serb commander must be arrested.

It is obvious such a multifaceted verdict does not make every part involved fully happy. Serbs, despite the fact that they were found “not liable” to pay billions of euros in reparations to Bosnia-Herzegovina, are still bitter that they are victims of a “one-sided” decision that ignored their own losses during the Bosnian war. Bosnians also have their own legitimate reasons for being outraged. After all, the declaration as genocide of the tragic events of July 1995 is nothing new: the UN War Tribunal had already done that. For them, it meant a lot that a nation (or a state) should be pinpointed as guilty and pay reparations. This will not happen. Bosnians will have to live with that now. It is truly sad.
From the ICJ’s historical judgment we can draw two conclusions: we can probably never reach a fair verdict on crimes of humanity, particularly acts of genocide, and it is almost impossible to prove any state’s responsibility for such a crime (after all, if you are unable to provide evidence strong enough for “guilt” in such a “recent” case, then what can you do about earlier cases?).

As the Guardian pointed out in yesterday: “An important precedent has been established: where a state is in a position to exercise a positive influence or de facto authority to stop genocide taking place, it is under a positive obligation to do so. The same principle could be applied to Sudan’s responsibility for ethnic cleansing in Darfur… If yesterday’s ruling, however imperfect, clarifies the definition of genocide and the responsibility of states to prevent it, it will have performed a valuable service in bolstering international law.” I cannot agree more with the final sentence.

There is so much “unfinished businesses” in the past century that haunts us: American mass slaughter of Filipinos at the turn of the last century, the butchery of the Herero people by Germans in what is now Namibia in 1904-7, what Armenia calls the “genocide” of the Ottoman Armenians in 1915-18, the mass murder of some 40,000 Algerian civilians by French forces in Setif, Rwanda...

The verdict shows yet again how broad the 1948 definition of genocide is, though it also shows the burden (or shall others say “wisdom?”) of restraint in condemning nations in full. This might be particularly enlightening for today’s Turkey to clarify a new strategy to shake off the ghosts of the past, so widely used and abused. In the wake of the opening of the Pandora’s Box regarding what the foreign minister of Turkey calls “the tragedy of 1915,” the opinion, defended by some lawyers and diplomats here, that Turkey should go to ICJ against Armenia (or vice versa) will gain strength.

The Bosnian case against Serbia proved that you need extraordinarily strong evidence against a state in the context of genocide. Let alone the fact that we all know how tough it has been for historians worldwide to agree whether the 1915-18 events constitute a genocide. 1915 will be a much, much tougher case to handle for the ICJ -- although it will probably never accept a pre-1948 event to scrutiny. If not the ICJ, Turkey may even proceed further to the Permanent Court of Arbitration in the Hague.

Two more points: given the tense state of affairs in Turkey, I do hope that the US Congress takes the message from the ICJ decision and postpones its genocide recognition bill to the future. I also hope that Turkey and Armenia draw their conclusions on the spirit of the ICJ verdict and act together to get rid themselves of the poison of the past by joint efforts, by negotiations.

Has the Bosnia verdict ‘closed a chapter’ in history?
SELCUK GULTASLI s.gultasli@todayszaman.com
A court decision can hardly close a chapter in history, despite the EU declaration that the Hague verdict has done so in Bosnia. Neither the victims nor the aggressors have been impressed by the long-awaited decision that basically clears the Serbs of genocide but calls the Srebrenica massacre “genocide.” Even more confusing, the court said Serbia “could and should have” prevented genocide.

It is a stark irony that the country where the verdict was decided, the Netherlands, was responsible for the protection of Bosnians in Srebrenica, which was declared a safe haven by the UN. Not only did the Netherlands fail to protect those Bosnian men and boys on that faithful night in July 1995, the Dutch government rewarded the soldiers that handed Bosnians to Serbian “commanders” without firing a shot with medals of honor just a few months ago.

Genocide took place in the midst of Europe under the watchful eyes of European soldiers and politicians in 1995, yet it is not easy to judge who did what and who carries the responsibility.

The moral of the story is history is always difficult to judge! Just take a look at the German EU presidency proposals to reckon with the past. Germans, under the immense urge to cleanse themselves from all remnants of the Holocaust, want to criminalize the deniers of “genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity” with 1 to 3 years in prison in all 27 European member countries. While Britain, Italy and Denmark say it is against freedom of expression; the Baltic countries and Poland want the period of communism to be inserted to the draft law, which will squarely put the blame on the Russians. Not surprisingly, Russia is leading Europe to believe they will protest.

Germans also want a common history book, even if their first experiment with France hit some hitches. The 50th Anniversary Declaration of the European Union, which will be announced at the end of March to mark the achievements of the club, is also facing challenges as some member countries ask for the dark pages to be referred to as well. Who will decide on such dark pages and who will bear the responsibility is already a heated debate.

Europeans should draw some conclusions from the Bosnian verdict and the ongoing debates over the term president Germany’s proposals when brazenly judging what happened in 1915. While judging what happened some 10 years ago in Bosnia in an international court is a challenge, parliaments should stay away from giving their ideas on what happened almost 100 years ago.

Look at the number of people killed in Bosnia. It was 250,000 until very recently, it now stands at 100,000. Then how can you be so sure it was 1.5 million in 1915? I do not want to negate the life of one human being, killing one human being is like killing all the universe as the Holy Quran says. What I am humbly suggesting, is the West should be more sensitive and responsible when throwing around decisions on historical events. Yes, what happened in 1915 was a huge tragedy, but let go and help Turks and Armenians to discuss it before condemning the “terrible Turk.”

Kosovo’s ‘independence’ has shuffled a whole new deck of cards
Barcin Yinanç
February 27, 2007
We are witnessing a new trend in international arena. If a region can no longer be governed by a country due to its repressive policies and aggression, the international community will not let that country go with what it has done

The term, “the indivisible unity of our country” is rhetoric I have not come across in other countries' daily conversations. It reflects Turkey's sensitivity for the protection of the territorial integrity of the country. Hence, I am curious about how the recent developments on the future status of Kosovo will be perceived in Turkey.

The chief U.N. envoy to Kosovo, Martti Ahtisaari, unveiled the plan for the future status of Kosovo at the beginning of this month. Not once does the plan use the word “independence.” However, the general feeling of the international media, academics and experts I have talked to is that the plan opens the way for Kosovo's independence. Ahtisaari's plan gives Kosovo many of the attributes of a sovereign state while stopping short of independence. Under the former Finnish president's plan, Kosovo would gain the right to enter into international agreements and join international organizations. It would gain the trappings of a country, including a flag, an anthem, a lightly armed security force and its own border guards.

The minorities, the majority of which consist of ethnic Serbs but also include ethnic Turks, would enjoy special protection and would be granted special rights.

Ankara's view on Kosovo:
Dr. Michael Pravica, who wrote to us from the United States, seemed resentful of the headline we used in the Turkish Daily News, “The time has come for an independent Kosovo,” to describe the latest developments concerning the status of this province.

Pravica said regarding “the wholly illegal efforts to steal Kosovo away from Serbia,” he would be very interested in knowing “how Turks would feel if the ‘international' community recognized the ‘independence' of Kurds in eastern Turkey, allowing them to establish their own country.”

Naturally, Pravica is not the only one to draw parallels. I presume all the secessionist movements and those countries faced with these challenges have their eyes on Kosovo.

Actually I was curious myself about Turkey's stance on the future status of Kosovo.

First of all, Turkey supports Ahtisaari's plan. Furthermore, Ankara believes U.N. Security Council resolution 1244, which blocks Kosovo's break away from Serbia, is to be replaced by a new one, in order to facilitate the implementation of Ahtisaari's plan.

Ankara is happy to see that the rights of ethnic Turks in Kosovo are secured under the plan. However, this is not the only reason behind Turkey's support. According to Turkish diplomats I talked last week, Ankara also backs the plan because of the general approval it has received from the international community.

Nevertheless, the international community is far from being united. Although there is a general consent to back the plan, the EU is indeed divided on the issue and some key international players have diverging views on how to proceed.

Armenians, Cypriots and Kurds:
Actually, the international community cannot reach an agreement on the new Security Council resolution about Kosovo. According to Turkish diplomatic sources, Russia, interestingly, wants the new resolution to emphasize that it will set a precedent. No doubt it has in mind analogous post-Soviet Russian enclaves like the Trans–Dniester, the breakaway region of Moldova and other problematic areas like Abkhazia, which seek independence from Georgia.

On the other hand, Romania, an ally of Moldova, fiercely opposes Russia's position. Apparently, China (because of Taiwan) and Spain (because of the Bask region) are also against Kosovo setting a precedent. This group also includes Greek Cyprus. Greek Cypriots are obviously not very happy since it can set a precedent for the Turkish Cypriots.

Another country that follows the developments in Kosovo is Armenia, due to Nagorno-Karabakh, a predominantly Armenian region. Officially part of Azerbaijan, Nagorno-Karabakh is described by Wikipedia as a de facto independent republic.

Therefore, if you look from the perspective of Turkish Cypriots, Kosovo sets a “preferable example” for Ankara. However, looking from the perspective of Nagorno-Karabakh, where Turkey backs Azerbaijan, Kosovo does not really set a “desirable example.”

Hence, it is obvious that developments in Kosovo have caused a big question — that of whether it will or should set a precedent for other secessionist movements and breakaway regions.

America's friends in the Balkans:
Wasn't there any alternative to Ahtisaari's plan? “Under the circumstances he came with the best compromised solution,” they told me and U.N. sources familiar with Kosovo. Its success, they warned, would depend on the full implementation, which has to be monitored and supervised closely by the U.N. and the European Union.

The view of most of the experts on Kosovo is that there is no turning back. The conviction that it's no longer possible to convince Kosovar Albanians to be content with the autonomy offered by Serbia is deeply established within the international community. It seems nearly impossible to convince Kosovar Albanians to live within Serbia, after all the suffering they had at the hands of the Serbs.

Furthermore, an expectation for independence was prompted in Kosovo thanks to the U.N. administration supported by NATO military forces for the past seven-and-a-half years. My sources, who actually lived in Kosovo during this period, point to the existence of a strategic U.S. military base in Kosovo, and argue that Washington contributed considerably to the hope among Kosovar Albanians that one day they would become independent.

Indeed Kosovar Albanians have many American and British advisors. Apparently, a fraternity bond seems to have established between Kosovar Albanians and the United States and the latter is seen by the former as their savior. Remember, it is with the American initiative under Clinton administration that NATO began air strikes against Serbian targets in March 1999.

And this all sounds quiet familiar when you think of Northern Iraq…

The new zeitgeist
The standard answer provided by diplomats to the question of “wouldn't the example of Kosovo encourage all the secessionist movements throughout the world” is this:

“Every case is different and has its particular characteristics. There is no rule that obliges that a formula of self determination conceived for one particular case has to be implemented for all other cases.”

But it's not that simple. My understanding is that we are witnessing a new trend in international arena. If a region can no longer be governed by a country due to its repressive policies and aggression towards that region, the international community will not let that country go with what it has done. Hence Serbs are paying a heavy price for what they have done to Kosovar Albanians.

However, one should not undermine an important factor as far as Kosovo is concerned. Many believe, that the independence of Kosovo will not cause regional instability, although some disagree with this view, asserting that it might have repercussions in Republika Srpska of the Federation of Bosnia Herzegovina, and also in Macedonia. That's why experts warned that Kosovo should never be allowed to unite with Albania.

After all, who said that there are no double standards in international relations?..

Serbia cleared of genocide in Bosnia
February 27, 2007
ISTANBUL - TDN with Reuters
As Turkey is haunted by claims of genocide against Armenians, the highest United Nations court reached a controversial decision yesterday, clearing Serbia of “direct responsibility” for massacres against Bosnians in the nineties, but at the same time, calling those massacres “genocide” and deciding that Serbia did not do enough to prevent it.

The International Court of Justice (ICJ) cleared the Serbian state of direct responsibility for genocide in Bosnia during the 1992-95 war, but said it had violated its responsibility to prevent genocide, reported Reuters.

Bosnia had asked the ICJ to rule on whether Serbia committed genocide through the killing, rape and ethnic cleansing that ravaged Bosnia during the war, in one of the court's biggest cases in its 60-year history.

It was the first time a state had been tried for genocide, outlawed in a U.N. convention in 1948 after the Nazi Holocaust of the Jews. A judgment in Bosnia's favor could have allowed it to seek billions of dollars of compensation from Serbia.

Reparations out of question:
ICJ President Judge Rosalyn Higgins said the court concluded that the Srebrenica massacre did constitute genocide, but that other mass killings of Bosnian Muslims did not.

But she said the court ruled that the Serbian state could not be held directly responsible for genocide, so paying reparations to Bosnia would be inappropriate even though Serbia had failed to prevent genocide and punish the perpetrators.

"The court finds by 13 votes to 2 that Serbia has not committed genocide," she said. "The court finds that Serbia has violated the obligation to prevent genocide."

Some 8,000 Muslims from Srebrenica and surrounding villages in eastern Bosnia were killed in July 1995. The bodies of about half of them have been found in more than 80 mass graves nearby.

Still on the run:
Bosnian Serb wartime leader Radovan Karadzic and his military commander Ratko Mladic, both accused of genocide over Srebrenica, are on the run.

Earlier in the ruling, Higgins said the court found it established that Serbia "was making its considerable military and financial support available" to the Bosnian Serbs but that it had not known they had genocidal intent.

After the decision, Serbian President Boris Tadic urged the parliament of Serbia to condemn the massacre. "For all of us, the very difficult part of the verdict is that Serbia did not do all it could to prevent genocide," Tadic told a news conference. Serbia had said a ruling against it would be an unjust and lasting stigma on the state, which overthrew its wartime leader Slobodan Milosevic in 2000.

Milosevic died last year, just months before a verdict in his trial on 66 counts of genocide and war crimes was due.

Disappointment in Bosnia:
Bosnia's Muslim and Croats were disappointed by the ruling.

"I am sorry that Serbia and Montenegro were not convicted of genocide and that they were not convicted of conspiracy in genocide," the Bosnian presidency's Muslim member Haris Silajzic told Bosnian television.

Silajdzic's Croat colleague Zeljko Komsic said he was "disappointed" the ruling did not class as genocide other crimes in the war in which at least 100,000 people died, three quarters of them Muslims and Croats.

"This makes me cry. This is no verdict, no solution. This is a disaster for our people," said 60-year-old Fatija Suljic who lost her husband and three sons in the Srebrenica atrocity.

Mehmet Y. Yilmaz: Following the Hague's Srebrenitsa decision: Time to change our Armenian strategy

As we all know, Turkey's usual response to Armenian claims of genocide has been "let's leave this subject to the historians."

Which means, we expect that historians will sit down, examine all the documents from both sides, as well as from third countries, and make a decision. I don't think I need to point out that this scenario is never actually going to take place. The real problem is what label the historians will decide to put on the tableau which emerges as they do their work; I don't think this is really a job which falls to them. Because opining on the tableau which emerges means the same thing as issuing a subjective view, and it is an unavoidable truth that everyone will act according to their own beliefs. So, once again, the problem will not be solved. Some historians will say "it was genocide," while others assert "it wasn't."

The recent decision from the International Court of Justice on the "ethnic cleansing" and the allegations of genocide in Srebrenitsa, Bosnia signals to us where we should be looking for solutions to this problem. Because it makes absolutely no sense to look for a decision to be issued on genocide in any of the local parliaments in the world. Turkey should start preparing for this case to be brought to the Hague's International Court of Justice, and should begin to focus its efforts in this direction. In fact, maybe it should even create a special undersecretariat simply for this purpose, a body which would be able to turn to domestic and internation law experts for information, and which would have easy and open access to all of the state's many documents on this matter. We have accustomed ourselves to leaving debate on this subject open to the flow of developments outside of us, rather than taking action into our own hands. But we have got to change our strategy, and bring the fast-paced developments on this subject under our control. The government must not be dissuaded by the atmosphere of election season, and must not allow this subject to be postponed!


"French attitude is not the right way" Interview with Carl Bildth Swedish FM

Carl Bildt, the Swedish foreign minister and a former prime minister of Sweden, says the European Union has an immense strategic . . interest in continuing accession talks with Turkey.

Carl Bildt: Turkey has changed. That is a good point you are raising. What we have seen in the last years is a very impressive commitment to reforms. We still have concerns on issues like 301, but there is no question that the situation is fundamentally different from the past in terms of commitments to human rights and in terms of commitments to reforms.

One of the most vocal supporters of Turkey in Europe, Bildt says it is sufficient to look at the map to see the huge strategic significance of Turkey. In an exclusive interview with Today's Zaman, Bildt says it is now high time to act on behalf of the Turkish Cypriots and approve the direct trade regulation. Bildt was given credit for his tough stance on the Greek Cypriots in bringing the direct trade regulation back on the agenda of the EU. Despite the decision on Dec. 11 to suspend eight chapters relating to Turkish accession, the Swedish foreign minister says there is no guarantee that there won't be another crisis in the next 15 days because of Greek Cypriot demands.

Though he avoids directly criticizing French presidential hopeful Nicholas Sarkozy as he did in his blog before becoming foreign minister, Bildt underlines that the decision to support Turkey's membership was taken years ago and recalls the fact that all EU decisions occur with a compromise. On the Armenian question, Bildt says the French way is not the right attitude. Giving examples from his own country of Sweden, Bildt says history should be left to historians. Implicitly criticizing the European leaders who hide their bigotry behind public polls and are trying to block possible Turkish membership, Bildt underlines that the hard decisions for the EU were all made by decisive political leadership not by playing to public opinion.

Bildt is strongly against Article 301 but still thinks Turkey has improved much in the last couple of years. Answering the question of why Sweden has become a champion of Turkey in the EU, when it was one of the most critical in the 1990s, he gives a terse answer: "Because Turkey changed."

Asked to explain what happened on Dec. 11, when the EU decided to freeze accession talks with Turkey, Bildt, who was reportedly very tough on the Greek Cypriots on that day, said: “There were quite a number of ministers there that day. These ministers were all for the continuation of talks with Turkey. It was very obvious that we needed to freeze some chapters as was recommended by the commission. And we had a discussion on how many chapters we should freeze and which chapters. Then of course there was Cyprus. But I was not alone, for sure. Had I been alone, we would not have been able to get those decisions on Dec. 11. At the end of the day, we reached a fair compromise.

You were critical of the freezing of the eight chapters at the beginning, though.

My original position was that the number of chapters frozen should have been fewer. But I had no difficulty in accepting those eight chapters. I was very much concerned that some other chapters would also be included.

In your now very popular article published at IHT on Nov. 7, 2006, you wrote "We should not forget that these efforts did not fail because of Turkey, but because key parts of the Greek Cypriot leadership refused to accept a plan by the UN secretary-general that had the clear support of the European Union." Do you think it was a mistake to admit the Greek Cypriots without a solution?

No, I would not say that. History is what it is. We live history only once. Your task is not to discuss on what happened in the past, but to shape the future. That is what I am trying to do. I think the EU has immense strategic interest in the continuation of accession process with Turkey and as well as the eventual membership. We have also an immense strategic interest in overcoming the division of Cyprus.

But the Greek Cypriots are blocking almost everything.

No. If you look at what we have achieved since December, we have prepared four chapters and there was no blockage. That has been done with the approval of Cyprus. So the balance in the compromise has been reflected by them as well.

Mr. Lillikas, the Greek Cypriot foreign minister, hinted that they could start asking for normalization. So there is no guarantee that we will not bump into a wall again.

I wish there were more guarantees in life. But we reached a compromise in December that has been respected by everyone so far, which includes opening and closing new chapters.

Do you mean that the Cypriot blockage has been sorted out once and for all after Dec. 11?

I cannot say that. Certainly I would not say that. The Cyprus issue can always create numerous complications from many different perspectives. That is going to take some time, we have a new UN secretary-general and we do not know what role exactly he is going to play.

There is no guarantee we will not face another crisis in the next 15 days, then.

Well, there is no guarantee that EU will not collapse. Guarantees are not something we have in political life. We have a good compromise that has been respected by everyone so far. There is no reason why I would not assume it would be the case further on.

What will the EU do after 2009 if there is still no solution to the ports issue? Another punishment for Turkey?

That remains to be seen. But if there is no solution, the eight chapters won't be reopened. It will also have ramifications for the rest of the negotiating process. That is fairly obvious. These eight chapters are essential parts of the process. They have to be reopened. I understand that we are now entering the election period in Turkey. It might be the case that we cannot witness much progress; that remains to be seen. But it is an issue that has to be sorted out in the coming years.

Do you think EU has let the Turkish Cypriots down by not keeping its promise to implement the direct trade regulation?

Whether they were let down or not is not the question; they felt they were let down. We know that Turkey should honor its obligation, which is a legal one; at the same time we should understand that we undertook an obligation as well. That might be a political one, but that does not make much of a difference in my lexicon. It is high time to put that issue back on the agenda.

In your blog on Sept. 10, 2006, you criticized Mr. Sarkozy's position on Turkey, arguing his position was "taking us to conflict -- inside the Union, but more importantly along some of its most critical borders." Now he is about to be the next president of France.

That is from my blog before I became foreign minister. Today if I were to correct myself, I would be more diplomatic, but the substance would be the same. Mr. Sarkozy is undertaking a presidential election campaign, and it is not up to us to judge his campaign tactics. We can judge his policies when they eventually materialize. But the policies of the EU have been decided by the EU. It is based on a compromise between the different member countries. We do have a policy when it comes to the accession of Turkey and it has been established for many years. That is of course still the policy that will apply.

You also argued in that blog piece on Sarkozy that he "wants to restrict membership to countries on the continent of Europe, although it's not clear if he wants to expel Cyprus, with its position off the coast of Lebanon."

There are some people who are saying that Turkey is not in Europe. But if Turkey is not in Europe, it becomes very difficult to place where Cyprus is. In my opinion they are both firmly a part of Europe, both in terms of geography and culture. So it is very difficult to say one is part of Europe, and the other is not.

Sweden was one of the most vocal critics of Turkey in the 1980s and 1990s. Now you have become one of the champions of it. What changed?

Turkey has changed. That is a good point you are raising. What we have seen in the last years is a very impressive commitment to reforms. We still have concerns on issues like 301, but there is no question that the situation is fundamentally different from the past in terms of commitments to human rights and in terms of commitments to reforms.

One day I read that the Austrians had saved Europe from the Turks, the other day it was the Poles. Then I come across the Maltese, they say they saved Europe from being "Turkified." Are you sometimes surprised and disappointed about the amount of history Turkey's possible membership has evoked?

History plays its part in public opinion, in Turkey as well as in the rest of Europe. The Treaty of Sevres still means something to Turks. Some people have quite strong views about that and think Europe is behaving in a way to resurrect it. So we are not alone to be affected by history. Europe was consumed by religious wars, roughly a third of the European population perished during the 30 Years War. The Danes killed half of our nobility in 1520 in an event we called a "bloodbath"; it is still a vivid memory in Sweden. It is no surprise that some Europeans still remember the Turks at the gates of Vienna.

Have you been disappointed?

I am not the one to say history has no role; history plays a role. The entire idea behind the EU project is to overcome the animosities of the past but not to forget them, either. Having said that, we have witnessed a fair deal of ignorance in the public debate about Turkey.

Since we are talking on history, what do you think of French efforts to punish the deniers of the "Armenian genocide"? Europe rightly criticizes 301, but is the French draft a European 301? Do you think it is the right way?

No. That is not the way Swedes are doing it. We have a tradition of a very wide interpretation of freedom of expression, and I think that should be the way in a democratic society. So we tend to be critical of 301, as you know. I do not think the French law will ever become law, by the way; we are very critical of that tendency which aims to restrict the freedom of expression. Questions of history should be left to historians to debate. There is always a continuous revaluation of history that is ongoing. We had a vigorous debate on our own history of 16th century, when the foundations of Sweden were laid. The king who did all these things was a hero, now we have a re-evaluation. There are now books about him that would have been difficult for publishers to accept only 100 years ago.

When I read your article in the IHT, for a moment I was confused, as if I were reading an American statesman so committed to Turkey's strategic importance. Not many European statesmen think like you.

I think you only need look at the map. The entire region around the eastern Mediterranean, the Black Sea and the Middle East -- the stability of these regions is of profound importance to the EU. I think Turkey, with its secular democratic system and zeal for reform, can project these values to the region, to a much wider area.

Have you received any criticism that you have exaggerated the strategic significance of Turkey?

No, actually most people have essentially agreed with me, but some have said that Turkey's membership would be difficult to realize with the current public opinion. That may be the case, but to overcome that depends on a fair amount of political leadership and much the same of political leadership in Turkey. There is certainly a need for political leadership for these issues in Europe. Now that we are celebrating the 50th anniversary of EU, and when we look back pivotal decisions were taken by decisive political leadership, be they the re-unification of Germany or the introduction of the euro, or the expansion, they have come from political leadership, not from public polls and opinion.


Game: Playing to the gallery
February 8, 2007
This contest of who sends the most provocative statement to the gallery and who receives the loudest applause must be abandoned

Getting the masses excited becomes an easy task if religious or nationalistic motives are employed and the exploitation of an issue is preferred for some political reasons rather than trying to achieve a resolution of any particular problem. This is more or less the summary of the “political culture” of not only Turkey but the entire neighborhood as well. On one day we may see, all of a sudden, the Danish cartoon crisis brewing amongst Muslim societies all through the Middle East and elsewhere into deplorable dimensions of torching embassies, killing people and burning flags. The next day we may see desecration and provocation by some kids against the Turkish flag turning into a national frenzy and a spread of a lynching psychology.

Playing to the gallery is definitely one of the most popular sports of this region and it is not being played only by the politicians.

Some empathy please:
Over 100,000 people, acting in empathy, tried to share the grief of the family of our dear friend and colleague Hrant Dink, declaring “We are all Hrant, we are all Armenian.” Naturally neither of them became Hrant or Armenian by saying so. They just demonstrated that they share the grief of the family and the ethnic Armenian community of this country. They were merely reacting to the remark of the confessed murderer of Hrant. What was done was a civilized act of empathy. What was done was an act of solidarity. What was done was demonstration of the spirit of togetherness against the professed and confessed aim of ethnic discrimination and animosity.

The mildest nationalistic reaction was “saying ‘We are all Hrant' was OK, but it was wrong to say ‘We are all Armenians.' That has spoiled everything.” Why? Was not Hrant an Armenian? Did not the confessed murderer who killed Hrant boast, “I killed an Armenian?” Why do we have this difficulty understanding the message of solidarity and togetherness the crowd that attended Hrant's funeral tried to pass on and still insist on keeping this country buried in an understanding of nationalism seriously tainted with racism and fundamentalism?

Malatya considering Elazığ a supporter of the separatist Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) and Elazığ responding with an accusation that the people of Malatya are Armenian - is it not absurd to make such claims? With what evidence can one claim that Elazığ is a supporter of the separatist gang or with what demographic data can one claim Malatya is Armenian? Besides, what is wrong with being Armenian? Why are we insisting on this rather fascist and racist discriminative perception of a segment of our society? Where do we intend to take this country with such an understanding?

Or can anyone see the consequences of Diyarbakır soccer club players and fans being booed at an İzmir stadium as “separatist PKK?” Such action, to say the least, is definitely a reflection of a racist, separatist and crooked communal mental setup.

Can anyone reconcile with reason or logic youngsters in any Turkish city demonstrating with white berets – Ogün Samast, the confessed murderer of Dink, was wearing a white beret according to pictures showing him fleeing the scene of the attack – and declaring “We are all Turks?” No one should doubt any one else's Turkishness as long as that person feels part of this nation; at least that's what we believe.

Dangerous polarization:
As if these incidents were not enough, we also have a widening rift between secularists and non-secularists, Kemalists and the reformists and the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and the rest of the country.

This is a dangerous game and it appears that many people insist on continuing it. Does this serve to the interest of anyone in this country?

As we are heading to presidential and later to parliamentary elections and at a time when we have so many ticking time bombs around the country be it the PKK presence in Iraq, the Kirkuk problem or a possible operation against Iran, the political leaders of this country should try harder to overcome this dangerous atmosphere of polarization rather than engaging in a contest of who sends the most provocative statement to the gallery and who receives the loudest applause.

Is there a way out?
February 8, 2007
Social regression takes place in an environment created by the AKP and the former left/present day neo-liberal intellectuals who support the government.

It is necessary to get society out of its psychologically regressed condition. Otherwise it may enter a downward spiral of violence as was the case before the military coups of May 27 and Sept. 12.

Social regression takes place in an environment created by the Justice and Development Party (AKP) and the former left/present day neo-liberal intellectuals who support the government. The regression that these two groups find themselves in contributes greatly to society's current predicament.

The “intellectuals” got trapped in a traumatized state as a result of persecution by the state and “abandonment” by the nation during military administrations. In contrast to the general impression they give, this group is stuck in teenage or even childhood years. Hence they constitute the most regressed group in Turkey.

They see their rivals in the small group of crude nationalists that they themselves created in caricature form. They try to prove that they are more democratic, intellectual, peaceful, good, honest and ethical, in short superior, to their rivals. This very attitude demonstrates the depth of their regression and the vacuity of their sense of superiority. Moreover this is an attitude that enrages all reasonable nationalists.

On the other hand, politicized Islam is the most regressed political movement in Turkey. The pious people who had been held responsible for the decline and dissolution of the Ottoman Empire were also excluded from the nation-building process in the republican era. Therefore they still oppose the republic's founding principles and modernization philosophy and take refuge in their own golden age, the “era of felicity” (the lifetime of the Prophet Mohammed). As became apparent in the last attack on the Council of State, the youngsters of this group, too, are becoming involved in the spiraling violence.

The common denominator between the “intellectuals” and the AKP administration is that neither envisions the “stresses” I've mentioned in my previous columns as stresses that upset the identity of the republic as shared by large segments of society. Both easily accept being pushed around, punished and having second-class European Union membership forced upon them. They think that their fear of the state, which has taken on a paranoia-like nature, can only be resolved in the EU.

They give the impression that they can surrender even more rights in the Cyprus issue just to ensure that it does not obstruct the EU membership.

Both groups believe that the solution of the Kurdish “problem” lies in sacrifices in the republic's identity.

The “intellectuals” support the idea that the Armenian genocide took place and that this fact should be accepted by facing our history.

Finally, both are against the modern republican secularism, with the AKP having a pre-modern and the intellectuals a post-modern interpretation of secularism.

Both groups consider it possible, even preferable, that these problems are thoroughly discussed within democracy and resolved through consensus-building. However, the other segments of society see these issues as non-disputable as they are the integral parts of the republican identity.

In order to escape the circle of violence in which this impasse has placed us, the “intellectuals” and Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan strive to approach nationalism in their own ways. The first group understandably feels uneasy at being forced to say “we (too) love our country.” Erdoğan, while presenting the idea of nationalism as “serving the nation,” seems to forget that the socialists have also served their country.

Contrary to what some intellectuals believe, nationalism is not a political ideology that emerged in the 19th century and will disappear tomorrow. “Nationalism” is the contemporary name given to the feelings of loyalty and belonging felt by individuals toward their large group and its organization (state), be it a clan, tribe, city-state, empire, or nation-state. It has existed since the dawn of history. It is the driving force to protect the group at the cost of individual lives, if necessary. In other words, it is the indispensable instinct for the survival of a society in a dangerous world.

The “intellectuals” and the politicized Islam in power, whose nationalist instinct has been destroyed in the past, tend to deepen the regression they have put the nation in. This dangerous course of events could even worsen if Erdoğan becomes president. Even a coalition government formed at the end of the general elections may be insufficient to reverse this process.

The politicians need not know political psychology to save us from this situation. However, political intuition and wisdom are necessary ingredients. There is only one person in Turkey with these virtues: Süleyman Demirel. As Demirel has emphasized, a great political transformation is necessary to save the society from this enormous abyss yawning in front of it.

I pray to God that what I have said is simply the product of my pessimistic mind.

Armenia needs a better course
February 8, 2007
The Dashnak mentality continues to prevail in Yerevan, mostly due to the promptings of the Armenian diaspora

The U.S. Congress is closer than ever to adopting a resolution which commemorates what it believes was genocide perpetrated against the Armenians in 1915 by the Ottoman administration. Diaspora Armenians in particular are enjoying a sense of victory, especially after the headway they made in the French Parliament last year.

An event took place yesterday, however, which shows what the real world is about, and how Armenia is the one to suffer the consequences of the campaign against Turkey on the genocide issue – an issue which Yerevan and the diaspora refuse to leave to a commission of historians from the two countries, also including international members, as suggested by Ankara.

Yesterday's event, mentioned above, was of course the inauguration by the President's of Turkey, Azerbaijan and Georgia of the Kars-Javakhati (Ahılkelek)-Tbilisi-Baku railway, which, when completed in 24 months, will effectively connect London and Beijing by rail; hence the “Iron Silk Road” appellation it has already gained.

But it will do so with a major exception. It will bypass Armenia, even though that country has a dormant line that would have been much cheaper to revive in providing this connection.

Scoring against Turkey:
The efforts underway to revive the old Baghdad Railway line – connecting Europe and the Middle East over Turkey in that case – is another example of how Armenia will be missing an opportunity to establish links which would end its isolation.

But the Dashnak mentality continues to prevail in Yerevan, mostly due to the promptings of the Armenian diaspora. This mentality is more interested in scoring moral and political points against Turkey than in partaking in the cooperation emerging in the Southern Caucasus and beyond.

Yerevan relied heavily on the diaspora to prevent the railway project and even forced a bill through the U.S. Congress in this way that would prevent the United States from financing the $400 million project. The misguided assumption here was that the countries involved could not come up with the money needed.

Yesterday's ceremony was proof of how naive this view is. It also confirmed the belief that the greatest advantage that Turkey has always had against those maintaining enmity towards it is their gross underestimation of this country's capacities and capabilities.

Thus two years of hard lobbying to prevent the railway came to nothing, just as years of even harder lobbying failed to prevent the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline project, which is now up and running but bypasses Armenia.

A pyrrhic victory?
In other words the victory the Dashnaks believe they are scoring against Turkey is pyrrhic and will continue to be much more so in the future as Ankara takes less notice of pressure from the West, mainly due to the shabby treatment it got over issues such as its European Union membership bid and Cyprus.

One can not understand how Armenians hope to serve the genuine interests of Armenia today in this way. Most western officials find Turkey's suggestion of a commission of historians to investigate 1915 to be a very good idea. The irony, however, is that they feel no need to pressurize the Armenian side on this, instead heaping all the pressure on Turkey to accept, a priori, the reality of an Armenian genocide before it is even discussed.

If congressmen in Washington believe that passing the Armenian resolution this year will change Turkish minds on this score, they are wrong. It should be apparent from the past that Turks are becoming even more stubborn in such cases.

If Turkey was a country with few resources and was seriously beholden to outsiders, matters might be different. That, however, is not the case and is unlikely to be so anytime soon. Surely there are sound minds in Yerevan that see this and desire a different kind of understanding if relations with Turkey are to open up in ways that really make a difference for Armenia. In the meantime the funeral of Hrant Dink should have shown that there is a pool of dormant empathy in Turkey waiting to be tapped in order to help come to some understanding of the painful events of 1915, needing no force-feeding with a specific understanding of those events by means of foreign legislature.

Turkish Chilli solutions to Turkish problems
I am an optimist. Yes, everything may go horribly wrong, but still there are plentiful reasons to cheer up. It is always helpful to start solving problems by thinking that the glass is half full rather than saying glass is half empty.

Realistically, the prospects for Turkey are not very bright. Cyprus, Armenians, Dink Murder, Northern Iraq, Ajdar (our megahyperwhatever popstar see it yourself), football terror and last but not least climate change are all messing up our hopeful foresights.

But as a Turk, it is hard to beat me. I survive when they think I am finished. Even sitting silent, I can dream a thousand Vienna sieges. Do not panic, it is just a joke.

So starting from the bottom of the list, climate change, these are my solution scenarios.

The first priority is global warming because I want to make sure that human survival is not at stake, so I and other Turks, Armenians and Greeks can enjoy another millennium of collective hostility.

Before developing my own solution, I made a quick research on the net for what to be done. From what I understood so far, we have to make personal sacrifices to stop global warming.

Some rich columnists promise to give up frequent flying and skiing. As a proletarian writer, I do not have those luxuries, but as a frontier I have the urge to be a correct and cost effective example to my readers.

Maybe it is not flying or skiing but I have managed to reduce my personal contribution to carbon dioxide emissions by nearly 99%. I gave up my girlfriend. Yes, to stop global warming, I found an excellent proletarian solution.

“You know I love you, but to save the earth, I am giving up the biggest carbon dioxide emitting thing in my life, and sadly that is you”, I said to her. Her initial response was “What?”. The next thing I remember before getting hospitalized was her bag, which is full of stuff enough for a plumber to fix Africa’s drought problems, approaching to my left eye.

Making a woman happy is enormously carbon dioxide emitting procedure. You have to buy gifts, have all sorts of conveniences, be clean, flowers, calls, dinner at the restaurants and all sorts of useless things have to be done.

After all these unnecessary capitalist consumer tasks, what you get is the unmatched, sacred love of a woman. My team Besiktas FC can do it for 15 euros in 90 minutes without any gifts.

So precautions to stop global warming are done. No girlfriend and more football.

But yet, this adds up to the problem of football terror. The more I am away from the girls and close to the patriarchal atmosphere of football stadiums, the more aggressive I become.

Things are not that bad. I still have “Valley of the Wolves” series starting tonight to satisfy my lonely ego and mimic a maniac’s acts to remedy my ailing personal character, try to persuade myself that “Crows fly in groups, hawks fly lonely”.

Hmm, you push a button, it pushes other buttons. Not a tree hugging hippie but an eco friendly girlfriend can be a wise choice.

Even if I fail to correctly solve my involvement in global warming, I can look to the events from a purple left eye with joy and happiness.

Maybe global warming is not a bad thing at all. The ice caps will melt, water will rise and hopefully Cyprus problem will be solved.

After Greek Cyprus’s EU accession, the road for dialog has been closed. Since then Turkish diplomats are working twice as hard to prove Turkey is right.

Flying from country to country, trying to explain the situation to every other diplomat is a big carbon dioxide emitting procedure. If the Cyprus problem was solved, Turkey will already be reaching the 1990s emission levels, by just freeing up diplomatic efforts.

But the solution in the near future is unlikely, so the only solution to the Cyprus problem can be global warming. Slowly they will sink into the bottom of Mediterranean. Cyprus problem solved, diplomats freed. But these Greek Cypriots are brilliant people, they can build an underwater community like Atlantis and continue irritating Turkey.

No luck with this problem either. About Northern Iraq, I have no idea… Ajdar has been beaten up by another star Alihan, case closed.

Still there is the Armenian problem. I broke up with my girl, football terror increased, waters rise, Greek Cypriots formed an underwater community, problem still continues deep under, but how about Armenians?

I am a proud Turkish and after Hrant Dink’s murder I have felt the doubling of this proud. Do not get me wrong! Not because he is dead, but because thousands of Turks showed the courage to chant “We are Dink’s, we are Armenians”.

This is the mercy and courage that Armenians have never expressed behind the Turkish diplomats killed by Armenian terror organization ASALA. Especially Diaspora Armenians didn’t express any sympathy for those killed cowardly. Yet Turks show the world that they are different. This is the premium I got by being Turkish!

But these lines will not solve any problem, on the contrary it will inflame. A solution to this Armenian-Turkish problem is from Mr Dink himself. The following lines are from an interview with Hrant Dink in Turkish. Translation mistakes are due to me.

“We are two diseased nations, Armenians and Turks” he says and continues:

“Armenians live with a big trauma against Turks and Turks live in paranoia against Armenians.

We are two clinically diseased cases
Who [What] will cure us?
The decision of the French senate? The decision of the US senate?
Who will give the prescription? Who will be our doctor?
Armenians are the doctors[cure] for the Turks? Turks are the doctors[cure] for Armenians.
Other than this, there is no doctor, no prescription..
Dialog is the only prescription
Doctors are each others.
There is no solution other than this…”
(Su Catlagini buldu)

Yes, Dink is certainly right. Dialog is the only solution, if we can build bridges first.

Dialog is a long process and does not happen overnight. With in the current discussions, the dialog is very unlikely because everyone knows each others stance. If any dialog is intended, the rule must be “Rejecting or Accepting genocide should not be discussed”.

We have one big conflict and millions of other similarities. Can Diaspora Armenians start a dialogue by placing their claims to bottom of the list for subjects to be discussed? Is the glass still half full?

Can the civil society start an initiative? Does it possible for people believing in dialog in both societies to start initiatives like a Hrant Dink award for Turkish Armenian Dialog?

There is a long way to go, which needs lots of courage and patience from both sides. As I demonstrated, I have given up my girlfriend to save the world. Do the Armenians have this courage?


Zori Balayan confesses Armenians’ genocide against Turks in Khojali
08 Feb. 2007
There are a lot of facts confirming involvement of Zori Balayan, one of ideologists of “Great Armenia”, in Khojali, APA reports.

Zori Balayan who is searched by Interpol justified the Khojali genocide in his book “Revival of our souls” and proudly confessed Armenians’ genocide against Azerbaijanis in Khojali region in February in 1992.

“When I and Khachtur entered the house, our soldiers had nailed a 13-year-old Turkish child to the window. He was making much noise so Khachatur put mother’s cut breast into his mouth. Then I did what their fathers had done to our children. I skinned his chest and belly. Seven minutes later the child died. As I used to be a doctor I was humanist and didn’t consider myself happy for what I had done to a 13-year-old Turkish child. But my soul was proud for taking 1 percent of vengeance of my nation. Then Khachatur cut the body into pieces and threw it to a dog of same origin with Turks. I did the same to three Turkish children in the evening. I did my duty as an Armenian patriot. Khachatur had sweated much. But I saw struggle of revenge and great humanism in his and other soldiers’ eyes. The next day we went to the church to clear our souls from what done previous day. But we were able to clear Khojali from slops of 30 thousand people”, the book reads.

Zori Balayan said that every Armenian should be proud of this action. The above mentioned crimes of Armenians against the humanity are at pages 260-262 of the book “Revival of our souls” published in 1996. /APA/

The European Article 301 in the making
SELCUK GULTASLI s.gultasli@todayszaman.com
It was almost shocking what Time magazine did this week by publishing a full page ad about "a compelling documentary on the Armenian genocide" combined with a 98-minute DVD on the "genocide," both paid for by the weekly magazine. The amount is huge when you consider that 550,000 copies are distributed weekly throughout Europe.
The Armenian lobby gleefully declared that the magazine came to this decision as a way apologize for the mistaken distribution of a CD made by the Ankara Chamber of Commerce two years ago that claimed no genocide occurred. As Time has not returned our emails, we only know this due to the statement from the lobby. Since the weekly hasn't denied this, we shall assume it is true.

The timing of the magazine's decision is interesting and wise. There are several initiatives around the world by the Armenian lobby that would be detrimental to Turkey's interests if approved. While the law penalizing the deniers of the Armenian "genocide" is awaiting vote in the French Senate, the US Congress is preparing to vote on a bill that would recognize the tragedy of 1915 as a genocide. Time's "free" support for the Armenian cause, coming in the wake of Hrant Dink's murder, also coincides with the EU term president Germany's initiative to legislate a pan-EU law that will criminalize the deniers of not only genocide, but also war crimes and crimes against humanity.
Germany issued a statement on Jan. 29 outlining its position on the matter. The scope of the draft is non-specific and open to proposals from member countries. Germans have recommitted themselves to revive the negotiations on the framework decision to combat racism and xenophobia that was first proposed two years ago by the Luxembourg presidency. However, because the scope of the draft is so wide, many acts can be criminalized that should be considered under the banner of freedom of speech.

The draft also creates a large vacuum for member countries to get involved. It says: "Pursuant to the draft, member states have the possibility of making criminal liability dependent upon the determination by a national or international court that a concrete historic event constituted genocide, a crime against humanity, or a war crime." Considering the efforts of the Armenian lobby both in France and Belgium to get laws issued to penalize the deniers of the "genocide," Turkey should be worried. Though it is too early to say, it could pave the way for a EU-wide law that would penalize deniers of the Armenian "genocide" and make it equal to the Holocaust. The Armenian lobby has invested a lot in the German proposal and they already declare that in the event of the approval of the German proposal, Turkey would have to change its mind on 1915 if it wants to be a member of the EU.

The European Article 301 is looming on the horizon.

Strategic railway to connect Pacific shores to Atlantic
Turkey, Georgia and Azerbaijan will take a major step today to start work for a strategic railway project, which ambitiously aims at providing an uninterrupted connection between Amsterdam and China.

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan will attend a signing ceremony in the Georgian capital of Tbilisi, along with Azerbaijani and Georgian leaders.

"Strategically, this project is as important as the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline," said Professor Ahat Andican, a former state minister. He said uninterrupted travel and cargo transportation that the project promises to provide was of crucial importance.

Erdoğan is scheduled to hold bilateral talks with Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili and Azerbaijani President İlham Aliyev to exchange ideas on regional developments following the signature of a framework agreement on the railway, which came to be known as Kars-Tbilisi-Baku railway.

Apart from its positive contribution to the relations between the regional countries, the railway has a also strategic value, Andican said. This project will serve to strengthen the sovereignty and independence of Azerbaijan and Georgia, two former Soviet nations, he said.

Recalling how the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline served to introduce energy security in the region, he said: "The KTB railway project will free the former Soviet countries from dependence on Russia in terms of travel and cargo transportation."

For Andican, this project will also confirm the strategic cooperation between Turkey and the regional countries. "First, we must note that this railway line is as important as the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline. The overall line extending from Amsterdam port to Central Asia and even, with a Kazakhstan-China deal, to the Pacific Ocean will be completed with the KTB project. This is a very important project for Turkey. As the pipeline served to confirm the sovereignties of the countries in the Caspian, so will the KTB railway line make significant contributions to Turkey's relations with the countries in this region. This is because both oil and natural gas transportation and travel and cargo transportation were dependent on Russia. The BTC pipeline was the first line which did not pass through Russia. With this project, Caucasian countries will be freed from dependence on Russia as regards to traveling and cargo transportation. At the same time, this will provide a great impetus for the strategic cooperation between Turkey and them."

Due to the strategic importance of the project, there may be attempts to hinder it and Turkey must take precautions in four important points, Andican cautioned.

Andican said that Turkey must take financial measures with a view of ensuring timely completion of the KTB project. "The volume of transportation will not be high in the first few years. For this reason, international companies do not have much enthusiasm. Georgia and Azerbaijan lack financial resources to fund the project. For this reason, the financial burden of the project will mostly be on Turkey's shoulders. Turkey must be determined and insistent. It must secure funds for the project," he said.

He pointed out that a second difficulty would stem from efforts of the US-based Armenian group's efforts to hinder realization of the railway project or at least block US funding for it. He said Turkey must develop ways to deal with the Armenian blockade.

The project may also be faced with problems stemming from Russia's attitude. Russia, which is not eager to see the project realized, may pose obstacles in ferry transportation over the Caspian, citing the fact that the issue of legal status of the Caspian is not settled yet.
A fourth problem stems from a dispute between Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan pertaining to oil fields in the Caspian. Turkey must take the initiative in launching high-level talks round between the presidents of Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan, Andican said.

The project is expected to cost between $500 million and $600 million and will be of strategic importance to the three countries involved. Some 76 kilometers of railway will be built in Turkey and 36 kilometers will be built in Georgia. The project also envisions the modernization of Georgia's 191-kilometer railway network.

First decision made in 2004
The first decision for the implementation of the Kars-Tbilisi-Baku railway project was made on Dec. 29, 2004.
Earlier, the railway connection to Georgia, Russia and Azerbaijan was through Doğukapı/Ahuryan, the border crossing between Turkey and Armenia. But that connection was halted after Turkey closed its border with Armenia in 1993.
Experts say Turkey is expected to strengthen its position as a transportation corridor between Asia and Europe with the implementation of the railway project. More than 20 million tons of goods are transported every year within the region interconnecting Turkey, the Middle East, Central Asia, Europe, Russia and China.


A proposal
Hrant Dink's murder remaining unresolved is not a problem. The parties want to consolidate their positions and seek useful tools for use against other parties, anyway.
The real problem is that every issue and development widens the already existing gaps between the parties. I propose discussing the real issue. The Islamists should tell their secular opponents: "The state model you have long advocated ended with the collapse of Soviet bloc. We are required to return to a multicultural structure. Religion will be part of this structure. Let us review global conditions together and do whatever we have to do." Maybe the secularists should reply: "We accept your offer. We are ready to do what needs to be done without any prejudices. But do not seek partners other than us. The Republican state was founded this way and Turkey will continue to grow in collaboration."


Ugly Side Of A Black Sea City Obsessed With The Beautiful Game
By Vincent Boland
February 8 2007
One evening last week, as a snowstorm arrived from the Black Sea to envelop the Huseyin Avni Aker stadium, the people of Trabzon had something to celebrate. Trabzonspor, their beloved football team, earned a deserved 1-0 victory in the quarter-final of the Turkish FA Cup.

The win lightened the mood in this city of 500,000, on the coast of north-eastern Turkey. Bars and restaurants filled up despite the atrocious weather. Post-match analysis dominated the local airwaves. The team has to travel south to Gaziantep later this month to play the second leg, and qualification is not assured. But the victory was at least a distraction, because these are bizarre times in Trabzon.

Since the murder in Istanbul on January 19 of Hrant Dink, a Turkish-Armenian journalist, and of Andrea Santoro, an Italian Roman Catholic priest, at his church not far from the Trabzon stadium a year ago this week, Turkey's gaze has turned on this city as never before. Anguished that the chief suspect in each case was a teenage boy from this city, Turks have only one question: what is the matter with Trabzon?

In their search for answers, experts have seized on the city's alleged status as a hotbed of ultra-nationalism and ultra-Islamism, the fiery nature of Black Sea Turks, the rise of organised crime and gun culture (a sign in the arrivals hall at the airport reminds people to collect their guns), and educational under-achievement.

There is substance to these arguments, but anecdotal evidence suggests Trabzon is no more nationalist or conservative than other Turkish cities.

And these are symptoms, not causes. Trabzon's problem, many here say, is economic decline and social stagnation.

Other cities in Anatolia - especially Ankara, Kayseri and Konya -are booming and vibrant places where people are flocking to live. But the economic revival that Turkey has enjoyed since 2002 seems to have passed Trabzon by.

There may be no better barometer of that decline than Trabzonspor, the fading giant of Turkish football. The city's self-image is wrapped up in the club, as if it were a national team representing an independent republic.

"Half of Trabzon's brain is Trabzonspor," says Sadan Eren, president of the chamber of commerce.

Selahattin Kose, vice-rector of Black Sea Technical University, laments: "We have seven newspapers and five television channels in Trabzon, and 90 per cent of what they cover is football." Karadeniz, a local paper, devoted nine of its 24 broadsheet pages to football on the day of the Gaziantepspor match. Another paper had seven reporters at the game.

A football club cannot be held responsible for the emergence of murderous teenagers. But Trabzonspor's waning fortunes - it won six league titles between 1976 and 1984 but is now flirting with relegation from the Super League - are part of the psychological make-up of the city. They add to the sense of grievance of a part of Turkey that once believed itself able to compete with Istanbul, at least in footballing terms. This puts Trabzon out of step with modern Turkey. The city is not only hurting from a failing local economy dependent on agriculture. As a port it has felt the impact of declining maritime traffic in this part of the Black Sea. Strung out on a narrow strip of land stretching many kilometres from east to west and hemmed in by 2,000m-high mountains to the south and by the sea to the north - from which its inhabitants are cut off by a new highway - the city feels cramped and brooding.

It seems to have no horizon. "It's hard work living in Trabzon," says Volkan Canalioglu, the mayor.

Trabzon has its attractions: spectacular landscapes, forests and an active cultural life. An Armenian play has been running every Friday at the city's Arts Theatre for the past two months. But the obsession with football seems incurable. Ahmet Sefik Mollamehmetoglu, a local journalist, says: "If the main institution in a city is a football club, the main topic of conversation is football, not the city's economic and social problems."

Cenk Altug Atalay, Trabzonspor's spokesman, does not agree that the club is too dominant for a small city. But he appreciates the umbilical link between the two. "It's true that people here live for Trabzonspor," he says.

"Perhaps if we won more often, people might be more relaxed."

U.S. Understands That Genocide Is Sensitive Issue Not Only For Turks But For Armenians
U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Turkish Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul had a private discussion, a one-on-one meeting that was just the two of them. They may have had one or two other aides present. Then they had the discussion at lunch, Mr Sean McCormack, the Spokesman of the U.S. Department of State said at a briefing in Washington.

"I was present for the discussion at lunch. Let me go down the list of topics that they discussed at lunch.

They talked about Lebanon. They talked Iraq as well as the PKK issue. They talked about Turkish-EU relations.

They talked about Kosovo. And Foreign Minister Gul also did bring up the discussion within the U.S.

Congress about a possible Armenian bill focused on the events in 1915. In terms of the discussions within the U.S. Congress, look, we understand very clearly that this is a sensitive issue not only for the Turkish people but for the Armenian people. We have made our views known on the potential for a resolution or for a bill. I have talked about in the past," he said.

'Genocide Denial Laws Will Shut Down Debate'
Spiked, UK
Feb 6 2007
She's one of the best-known warriors against Holocaust denial. Yet Deborah Lipstadt thinks EU plans to ban 'genocide denial' are a disaster.

'For European politicians, bringing in a ban on genocide denial is like apple pie. It's what I call a freebie. They're doing it to make themselves feel good. I mean, who could possibly be against standing up to nasty genocide deniers? Only when you get to the heart of it, this "freebie", this populist move, could have a dire impact on academic debate. Even on truth itself.'

Deborah Lipstadt, Dorot Professor of Modern Jewish and Holocaust Studies at Emory University in Atlanta, may be one of the best-known warriors against Holocaust denial. But she has no time for the proposals currently doing the rounds of the European Union which suggest making it a crime to deny the Holocaust, other genocides and crimes against humanity in general.

Last week it was revealed that Germany, current holder of the EU's rotating presidency, is proposing a Europe-wide ban on Holocaust denial and other forms of genocide denial. This would make a crime of 'publicly condoning, denying or grossly trivialising...crimes of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes [as defined in the Statute of the International Criminal Court].' (1) In some European countries - most notably Germany and Austria, which formed the heart of the Third Reich - it is already against the law to deny or minimise the Nazis' exterminatory campaign against the Jews in the Second World War. This new legislation might also make it a crime, punishable by fines or imprisonment, to raise awkward questions about the official history of conflicts that took place over the past 20 years.

'This is so over the top', says Lipstadt, in between sips of decaf coffee in the plush surroundings of the Athenaeum Hotel in Piccadilly, London. Her earthy New York accent sounds almost out of place in a building where even the doorman comes across as posh. 'The question of genocide, the history of genocide and what you can say about it, should not be decided by politicians and judges', she insists.

Lipstadt certainly can't be accused of being soft on deniers. Her book Denying the Holocaust: The Growing Assault on Truth and Memory, published in 1994, meticulously exposed the lies and the underlying racist agenda of those who deny the truth of the Nazi Holocaust.

Famously (or infamously) she was subsequently sued by the British historian David Irving, whom she had named in the book as a Holocaust denier. In January 2000, the 32-day trial, a showdown between an American-Jewish historian and a far-right British historian, became a legal debate about the history of the Nazis, and the nature of truth itself. Irving lost rather spectacularly. The judge branded him an anti-Semite, a racist and a Holocaust denier who had 'deliberately misrepresented and manipulated historical evidence'. Lipstadt recounts the experience in History on Trial: My Day in Court with David Irving.

Yet this ridiculer of deniers is no fan of the idea that Holocaust denial or genocide denial should be outlawed. The current EU proposal to criminalise denial of contemporary genocides and war crimes is an affront to serious historical debate, she says.

Consider Srebrenica, the massacre that took place at the end of the Bosnian civil war in 1995 in which it is estimated that 8,000 Bosnian Muslims were killed. 'Some people argue that, given there are only so many tens of thousands of people in Srebrenica and the Serb soldiers went after an X number of a specific group, then it is genocide. But someone else might say it's a massacre of the X population, not a genocide - because if you're going to use that word then you have to go back to what the Nazis did to the Jews or what was done to the Armenians [by the Turks in the First World War]', says Lipstadt.

'That is an entirely legitimate debate to have about Srebrenica. Are we now saying that the person who says it's not a genocide will be fined and punished?'

Lipstadt is also worried about the way in which debate about the Armenian experience might be closed down. During the First World War, as Ottoman Turkish forces fought against the Russians, some of the Armenian minority in Eastern Anatolia sided with Russia. Turkey responded by rounding up and killing hundreds of Armenian community leaders in April 1915, and then forcibly deporting the two million-strong Armenian community in marches towards Syria and Mesopotamia (now Iraq). Hundreds of thousands died as a result. At the end of last year, to the fury of Turkey, France made it a crime to deny that the Armenian tragedy was a genocide, and now Germany seems to hope that the rest of Europe will follow suit by accepting its proposals to outlaw denial of all genocides.

'This is another body-blow to academic debate', says Lipstdadt. 'I know serious historians who do not deny for a minute what happened to the Armenians, who do not deny the severity or the barbarity of what happened to them. But they question, they ask intellectually, "Was this a genocide, or was it a horrendous massacre?" They don't ask that question on ideological grounds; they don't have a shred of allegiance to Turkey. They ask it intellectually, because they want to get to the truth.'

'I happen to think they're wrong', she says. She believes the Armenians did suffer a genocide. 'But you can, indeed you must, have a vigorous academic debate about historical events. And in the course of that vigorous academic debate you probably would illuminate weaknesses in both sides of the argument, and hopefully sharpen the arguments as a result. That is what academic debate is about. This kind of legislation could put a kabash on that.'

Last year, in its reporting of the French decision to outlaw denial of the Armenian genocide, the BBC was forced to explain why it put the word 'genocide' in inverted commas. 'Whether or not the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Armenians during the First World War amounted to genocide is a matter for heated debate', it said (2). Yet if the proposed legislation is passed in the EU, then such things will no longer be a matter for heated debate; they will become legally-defined truths that you deny or question at your peril. Maybe even the BBC will find itself in the dock for putting 'Armenian genocide' in inverted commas.

It strikes me that as well as stifling open academic debate the proposed legislation could criminalise political protest. Very often these days, Western powers justify wars of intervention abroad in the language of combating genocide. Bill Clinton and Tony Blair described their bombing crusade over Kosovo in 1999 as an effort to stop Slobodan Milosevic's 'genocide' against the Kosovo Albanians. In truth, the final number of civilians killed in Kosovo - including both Kosovo Albanians by Milosevic's cronies and Serbs in NATO air strikes - was fewer than 3,000. The Nazis were capable of killing 12,000 a day in Auschwitz alone. As Nazi camp survivor Elie Wiesel said, taking umbrage at the use of Holocaust-talk to justify the Kosovo campaign, 'The Holocaust was conceived to annihilate the last Jew on the planet. Does anyone believe that Milosevic and his accomplices seriously planned to exterminate all the Bosnians, all the Albanians, all the Muslims in the world?' (3) If EU officials, in their infinite wisdom, decide that a conflict such as Kosovo is genocide, and therefore the bombers must be sent in, will protesters who question that line be criminalised under the new legislation?

Lipstadt finds today's over-use of the genocide and Holocaust tags, to describe conflicts or political repression, disturbing and distasteful. She seems still to be reeling from an article she read in The Times on Saturday, the day before we met. Under the headline 'We are vilified like Jews by the Nazis, says Muslim leader', the paper reported that Birmingham's most senior Muslim leader had compared contemporary political Britain to Nazi Germany.

'That is ludicrous. It is stupid and ridiculous', she says. 'Is there fear of Muslims today? No doubt. Do some politicians play on that? Of course. But to compare Muslims in Britain to Jews in Nazi Germany...that shows an utter lack of historical understanding, not to mention sensitivity. Here, the police go out of their way to explain to Muslims what is going on. In Nazi Germany if a Jew spoke to a policeman he got hit. It was a whole government dedicated to being against you, to eliminating you. So that is a disgusting kind of analogy. It is wicked, and cleverly wicked. Sometimes it is done in a calculating fashion to further your aims by playing that victim card.'

To the 'befuddlement' of some of her colleagues, Lipstadt is also opposed to laws outlawing actual Nazi Holocaust denial. Such laws already exist in Germany, Austria, Belgium, France, the Czech Republic, Lithuania, Poland, Romania and Slovakia, and under Germany's proposals these will be extended to the rest of the EU and will also cover genocide and war crimes denial. She points out that there is a huge difference between those historians who legitimately debate something like the Armenian experience, and the charlatans who distort the truth in order to show that the Holocaust didn't happen and 'the Jews' are all liars. Where 'genocide denial' laws might frustrate serious academic debate, Holocaust denial laws are only aimed at punishing weird and malicious pseudo-historians. Yet she is against the censorship of these charlatans, too.

'I'm opposed to Holocaust denial laws for three reasons', she says.

'First because I believe in free speech. Governments should make no laws limiting free speech, because it is never good when that happens. Second, because these laws turn Holocaust deniers into martyrs. Look what happened to David Irving when he was released from jail in Austria - he became a media darling, given room to spout his misinformation. We should ignore them rather than chasing them down.

'And thirdly, and most importantly, such laws suggest that we don't have the history, the documentation, the evidence to make the case for the Holocaust having happened. They suggest we don't trust the truth. But we do have the evidence, and we should keep on developing it and deepening it, and we should trust it.'

Ironically, given her outspoken opposition to laws against Holocaust and genocide denial, many point to Lipstadt's legal victory over David Irving as evidence for why the courtroom is a good place to resolve historical issues and punish those who lie about or deny historic tragedies. 'I wish they wouldn't do that', she says. She points out that her case was not about ruthlessly pursuing Irving in order to prove the truth about the Holocaust. 'He came after me! He sued me! I didn't want it. I tried to stop it. Our whole legal strategy was premised on trying to make this guy go away. Only when it was very close to the case, when I saw the wealth of evidence that showed how he had lied and distorted the facts, was I glad it had come to court. Aside from that, I can think of no other instance where history has benefited from courtroom adjudication.'

'Politicians should not be doing history', she says. 'They have a hard enough time doing politics right and doing legislation right.

Let them not muck up history, too.'

Brendan O'Neill is editor of spiked. Deborah Lipstadt's book History on Trial: My Day in Court with David Irving is published by Harper Perennial. (Buy this book from Amazon(UK)). Visit her website here.

The photographs of Professor Lipstadt were taken by Sasha Frieze who blogs at Sashinka.

(1) EU plans far-reaching 'genocide denial' law, Bruno Waterfield, Daily Telegraph, 4 February 2007

(2) Q&A: Armenian 'genocide', BBC News, 12 October 2006

(3) Quoted in 'Exploiting genocide', Brendan O'Neill, Spectator, 21 January 2006


Brand X
ANDREW FINKEL a.finkel@todayszaman.com
It was, as Marx said, tragedy repeating itself as farce -- although the scenes on Monday in an Istanbul criminal court were more reminiscent of some surreal, opera bouffe.

Although Hrant Dink has long been buried, his trial for insulting Turkishness continues. In a scene that would not be amiss in Orhan Pamuk’s novel “Snow,” inside the courtroom were a posse of 14 ultranationalist lawyers including, according to newspaper reports, Kemal Keinçsiz. They were there representing the “injured parties” -- presumably in this case, the Turkish nation. These were the same group who staged rallies outside the trials which Mr. Dink was able to attend because he was still alive, as well as other Turkish journalists and writers. It was the ugly and intimidating nature of these demonstrations now widely credited with having created the atmosphere in which a teenager from a Black Sea town was able to confuse murder with patriotic obligation. In a blinding moment of common sense, the judge denied the 14 any right of intervention.

It is hard to understand what motivated those people to troop down to the courtroom to stomp on a dead man’s grave. Even those who somehow felt offended by Hrant Dink’s outspokenness must surely have looked away in embarrassed silence. That, I suppose, is the reckoning of the prime minister, Tayyip Erdoğan, who appears to have calculated that those who claim to be the sole guardians of the public good may have trampled over the bounds of decency, let alone good taste.

In pronouncements these last few days, Mr. Erdoğan has launched attacks on the far right for luxuriating in a self-imposed sense of isolation. There was, he told his supporters, good nationalism and then there was Brand X -- or what he described as “negative nationalism,” something that was bigoted and racist. It was this bad nationalism that was the truly divisive force in Turkish society and which served to discredit the efforts of decent citizens. It was also the ethos of self-serving cliques hiding within state institutions who saw nothing wrong with manipulating common criminals to do their work. This was the “deep state” and he was determined to “throw a spoke” in the deep state’s wheels.

The prime minister’s remarks have already attracted criticism. He has, after all, been in charge of Turkey’s affairs for over four years and it might seem pious for him to be criticizing rogue state institutions outside of his control. Why has he waited until a tragedy to address what appears to be institutionalized racism inside of the police? Even so, it would be wrong to underestimate the importance of his remarks, particularly in what is now an election year.

The prime minister witnessed with the rest of Turkey the reaction to Mr. Dink’s assassination. In particular, he will have watched the spontaneous march of -- was it 100,000 people? -- in Istanbul alongside the funeral cortege, all of them determined to deny the Brand X nationalism any sense of triumph. There have been attempts by the far right to reclaim the public’s attention. Columnists in the newspapers are back to their old tricks of identifying enemies of the state, mobs at football matches proudly proclaim themselves to be politically incorrect and ultra-nationalist lawyers still turn up, uninvited, in court. However a far more astute political analyst than myself, namely Tayyip Erdogan, has clearly calculated that their political influence is on the wane. Accordingly he is moving his own party closer to the center.

This is not what I would have predicted even a month ago. Then, the government appeared to be flailing in the wind, stumbling not to be outflanked on issues dear to the ultra-nationalist cause like Kirkuk or the genocide resolution before the US Congress. Now the government appears to have found a cause on which it can stand its ground -- that those espousing an extreme version of the nationalist cause are doing so in a way that offends the general public’s sense of what is decent and what is right.

It appears to have scored a hit. Devlet Bahçeli, leader of the far-right Nationalist Movement Party has already accused the prime minister of being “pathologically ill” for attacking the sacred cow of Turkish nationalism and said that he belonged in the same box as Abdullah Öcalan, leader of the PKK. Mr. Bahçeli, also no political lightweight, is clearly dying to fight the coming election on who can wave the flag the most.
At least when the election comes, it will be the electorate, not the gunmen, who decide.

Attacking the dignity of Turkishness!
Attacking the dignity of being a Turk has become an ideological battle when it is referred to in a legal sense; it is even now on the verge of becoming a battle over identity.
I hear words of increasing worry from people around me that annulment of Article 301 would leave the door wide open for anyone who wanted to attack the notion of Turkishness. It becomes necessary to understand and to respect such worry if respecting different identities is a matter of question. I'd like to make a proposal to modify Article 301 in two respects: Given the textual nature of the crime, the expression of "Turkish nation" and the "Turkish Republic" must be clearly stated before considering one as "attacking the dignity of Turkishness"; contemporary laws like the 1997 version of Polish Penal Code, for example, make it a crime to attack the dignity of the "Polish nation and republic."


If we all are Ogün, then we all are murderers
The Hrant Dink murder laid bare another scar. It demonstrated how young people grew up with an official culture of hatred. For this reason nobody should be surprised by the sheer number of Ogün Samast supporters.
By now it should be more than apparent why those political party leaders who sensed this unnamed situation did not attend Hrant Dink's funeral. Their concerns were losing electoral support. If Deniz Baykal, the leader of a Socialist International member party, the Republican People's Party (CHP), underlines "We are nationalist too," and if everybody's ambition is to appeal to pseudo-nationalists, no political party leader could attend Dink's funeral. Somebody should tell these young people that nationalism is not racism.


Don't touch it…
I didn't like the proposal from Turkish civil society groups to fix Article 301. I didn't like it because it reminds us of a deep-seated disorder that we have. I didn't like it because the groups pretended to reach a settlement.
I didn't like it because one group said that it would be a disaster to invalidate Article 301 only because Europe asked for its annulment, and that the murderer of Hrant Dink has probably never even heard of it. Strangely enough, any steps forward in the direction of creating more room for freedom of thought ends up ailing the situation all the more. Modifications of any kind to reinforce civil society are only consolidating the "state apparatus." This holds true even for the Turkish Constitution. The Constitution has been fixed several times over the past 25 years. Any steps in the direction of eliminating all traces of past junta(s) have only worked to consolidate the corporatist structure of the Constitution.


A test for Turkey to take on nationalism
Most of the opinion leaders who oppose a unification of Turkey with the European Union think this would damage the tendency to nationalism.

Over the past five years, a democratic situation of openness and clarity to which Turkey was introduced when its work to become an EU member began, has really worked to bring to the spotlight the kind of views that would remain under wraps in the recent past. The opinion leaders mentioned above never took delight in this. We even saw efforts to question both the legend and basis of nationalism that began with the Young Turks. As part of such efforts, the news media constantly spotlighted issues like the so-called Armenian genocide, the Sept. 6-7 events, and the question of the Kurds. But we possibly have started a new era that began after Hrant Dink was shot down. This appears to be an era that will allow a particular state apparatus to organize the state of affairs on the basis of a central power and nationalism and will eventually cause the country to remain far from meeting EU standards.


Turkey's reputation is at stake, not its honor
Hans A.H.C. de Wit*
February 6, 2007
The international perception of Turkey is still unfavorable. And the Turkish media at large is collectively responsible for this

The killing of Hrank Dink shows the fragility of Turkey's image. Certain internal and international nationalistic groups “hijacked” his death while other opportunists misused “his friendship” for their own purposes. The Turkish newspapers were full of condemnation, and the foreign press saw an opportunity to show the difficult lives of independent Turkish journalists and writers, exploring how some even have bodyguards and use police protection…

The common man on the street in Istanbul, Izmir, Ankara and Mersin might curse me for saying that Dink's death has to do with the ugly face of state propaganda, bad education and systematic massive misinformation. So, the tragic death of this fine journalist deserves more than just to offer an opportunity for a fleeting discussion. The doves that were released during his funeral instead of sacrificing another living being can be symbolic: peace for him and relieve the Turkish soul in mourning. And no more sensational news please, just let him rest in peace.

Enough with fatalism:
But ... can you blame the nationalist? Isn't it human nature to take a reactive stance towards anything that sounds, smells and looks different than what we are accustomed to? Yes, but by rejecting “foreign influences” you not only close the borders of your country but you close your heart and soul as well. What can be more tragic than the black burned soul of a youngster…

Turkey, which has been using the propaganda tool for a long time now in place of professional public relations and lobbying, has to finally stand up for its own citizens. It has to stand up not only in dull ceremonies but in everyday life, to protect the ordinary peaceful citizens all over Turkey. Mankind must know by now that nationalists are always using symbols and tragic events to get their points across and chasing rainbows over their country as if the sun only rises and sets in their own nation. What they practice is like voodoo and creates people whose eyes are wide shut and whose perception is triggered by blindness and hate.

Unfortunately, the Turkish rhetoric of fatalism is popular these days. The word inshallah was often used by Turkish people on the street, after Dink's killing, ashamed to give a fair answer. But is inshallah the message to the outside world that Turkey wants to convey? This is a murdered person who didn't believe in fatalism but who showed a pro-active attitude in faith and reconciliation.

Get over the conspiracy theories:
Could fatalism be the reason that the Turkish scene of filmmakers, artists, philosophers, writers, musicians are famous in Turkey but marginalized abroad due to their inferiority complex and bad reputation management? Could this be what keeps the Turkish image fragile? An image that will be fragile as long as Turks consider themselves as victims of imaginary conspiracy theories and until their leaders start to act responsibly towards their European counterparts.

Until it is shown that we have more in common than coffee, that the Siege of Vienna happened more than 20 generations ago and that blood shed then, turned into blood shared now, we can't fight intolerance. Some Europeans tend to have selective memories regarding their friends (Europe and Turkey together is called the Occident) as Turks tend to forget that they are Eurasians and member of the G20.

Again, Turkey's reputation is at stake, not its pride, blood and honor…

The international perception of Turkey is still unfavorable. The Turkish media at large is collectively responsible for this. So are the former governments of the Turkish Republic who failed to anticipate the economical boom of Turkey, which suddenly brought Turkey into the spotlight of the international media. The current government therefore became experienced in damage control!

Turkey' foreign policy should be more effective and have a solid communication strategy by now. It's still losing all kinds of PR wars since it merely neglected their reputation abroad. It must do more these days than pre-active verbal strikes. But, well, inshallah….

*Hans A.H.C. de Wit is an international communication manager based in Istanbul. (dewithco@consultant.com)

Lawmakers to take witness of Armenian atrocities to US
Muzaffer Gülyurt
Turkish parliamentarians who will visit the United States later this month to lobby against the passage of an Armenian genocide resolution have decided to include in the delegation a lawmaker whose father survived inter-communal fighting between Turks and Armenians and atrocities committed by Armenians in eastern Anatolia during World War I.

A resolution was recently introduced in the US House of Representatives urging the US administration to recognize an alleged genocide of Armenians at the hands of the Ottoman Empire. The sponsors of the resolution announced the resolution at a press conference attended by two Armenian survivors of the episode.

Turkey denies Armenian allegations of genocide and says the killings were the result of an inter-communal fight that killed Turks as well as Armenians. Clashes ensued as Armenians of eastern Anatolia, in collaboration with the invading Russian army, attacked Turks in a revolt aimed at creating an independent Armenian state in the region.
Passage of the resolution is expected to strain Turkish-US relations, and Foreign Minister Abdullah Gül, currently on a visit to Washington, is urging US authorities to exert efforts to prevent passage of the resolution.

The Turkish parliamentary delegation, led by Parliament's Foreign Affairs Commission Chairman Mehmet Dülger, will visit the United States on Feb. 11, the first in a series of planned trips to Washington until April. Dülger and Parliament Speaker Bülent Arınç insisted that the delegation should include Muzaffer Gülyurt, a ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) deputy from the eastern province of Erzurum because he could give an account of what happened in the World War I years in Anatolia in talks with US congressmen.

A grim story
Gülyurt, in an interview with Today's Zaman, said his father had gone through the hardship that almost all families in Erzurum had gone through during the years of World War I. His father's story included grim details such as an wound that saved him from a painful death in a house set ablaze by Armenian gangs.
His father, who was 15 when the Russians began invading Erzurum, told him that the invasion led to waves of migration from the province and that his family, too, was among those who were trying to flee. The rest of his story continues:

"As my family was preparing to set off for Tokat on oxcarts, the Russians launched a siege. They could not move. My father was among them. As whoever was capable of using a weapon was recruited to the army, the remaining population of Erzurum consisted of only the elderly, children and women. When the Russian invasion first started, my father went out for scouting purposes. But when an Ottoman arsenal was destroyed,my father was injured with a shrapnel wound to the head. Some women took him inside a house and hid him. As he was injured, he was not recruited as a soldier, so he was the only young person in the neighborhood.

"After the Russians left the region following the Bolshevik revolution, the city was dominated by Armenian gangs. They started to persecute Turkish people. My father had to work under their command for two more years. Since my father was a high school graduate, they made him a chief in the camp of Turkish prisoners. With the advance of Turkish troops toward the city, the Armenians started to incinerate Turkish prisoners, who were forced to work in quarries or in digging shelters, from early March to March 12. On that day, my father could not go to work since he contracted tetanus due to a nail cut on his foot. On March 12, Turkish prisoners were taken to a house in Yanıkdere, Erzurum, and the house was set ablaze by Armenians, incinerating them alive. My father would say, 'If I had not been hurt by a nail, I would have been one of those incinerated.'"

Gülyurt recalled that Turks and Armenians were living in peace until the Russian invasion and added: "In the US, I will state that it was the Turks who were massacred in reality. There is no need to generate hatred and animosity out of the incidents of the past. Using the evidence, historians can decide the ultimate truth in such issues. I will take the documents and photos I have to the US."

The parliamentary delegation includes Yaşar Yakış, head of Parliament's EU Harmonization Commission and Foreign Affairs Commission members Murat Mercan, Ali Rıza Alaboyun, Onur Öymen and Gülsün Bilgehan Toker as well as Gülyurt.

A second delegation will depart after Feb. 24 and is expected to include Şaban Dişli, one of the AK Party's experts on foreign policy, as well as Vahit Erdem, Necdet Budak, and Republican People's Party (CHP) members İnal Batu and Yakup Kepenek. The third delegation will consist of Egemen Bağış, who has close contacts with the US, Reha Denemeç, CHP's Zeynep Damla Gürel and Şükrü Elekdağ.


US throws its support behind Turkey
[International Herald Tribune]
US officials will reassure the Turkish foreign minister, currently visiting Washington, that they will try to quash a proposed resolution in Congress condemning as genocide the early 20th century killings of Armenians.
In talks with Foreign Minister Abdullah Gül, US officials also will discuss Turkish worries that the United States is not doing enough to prevent Kurdish rebels from operating in Northern Iraq.The meetings come at a tense moment for relations between the United States and Turkey, a moderate Muslim democracy and NATO ally crucial to U.S. operations in Iraq.President George W. Bush's administration is alarmed that the suggested congressional resolution could disrupt efforts to repair strains stemming from perceptions in Ankara that regional instability caused by the US-led war in Iraq have harmed Turkish interests.


Genocide resolution
The same story every year… the US Congress is ready to discuss a genocide resolution and once again Turkey is mobilizing to prevent the passage of the resolution.

There will reportedly be some lobbying in Washington, but Turkish columnists and intellectuals are silent on the issue. Foreign Minister Gül holds meetings on this particular issue but is unable to ask why they inquire into 90-year-old incidents while the killing of hundreds of thousands of innocent people in Iraq goes on. Discussing a genocide resolution in Congress every year is hypocrisy. If you believe Turkey committed genocide, then you pass the resolution right away. If you don't, you simply it shelve it. Instead, this is blackmail.


Dink murder once again brings to surface gendarmerie, police conflict...
LALE SARIIBRAHIMOGLU l.sariibrahimoglu@todayszaman.com
Turkey's gendarmerie forces and the police, which are both supposed to be taking orders from the Interior Ministry, have once again displayed their internal conflict, this time following the slaying of the prominent Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink in early January. Recent publication by the Turkish media of photographs and video of police and a gendarmerie officer posing with Ogün Samast, the alleged killer of Hrant Dink, treating him as if he were a hero, has not only shown us again the existing problem of ultranationalism within the two security organizations supposed to defend the country from internal threats and also an ongoing conflict among both forces, causing weaknesses in the internal security operations.

The photographs show the suspect in the killing, 17-year-old Samast, holding out a Turkish flag and posing with officers, some of them in uniform. Behind Samast a poster with another Turkish flag carries the words of Atatürk, founder of modern Turkey: "The nation's land is sacred. It cannot be left to fate." A voice in the video can be heard asking if the quote on the poster can be arranged above the suspect's head.

Then came also reports carried by some Turkish dailies that not only a police informant but also some gendarmerie officers were tipped off before Dink's murder that he might be killed. But unfortunately he still was killed.
Since we can't bring back Dink, the duty of the Turkish state now is not only to bring to justice those responsible behind Dink's murder, but also to rapidly put into force existing reforms that would enable both the police and the gendarmerie forces to effectively cooperate and share intelligence information, instead of sometimes seeing each other as adversaries.

The only way to ensure a close cooperation among these two security organizations is to put the Gendarmerie General Command (JGK) under the real control of the Interior Ministry, which would take orders from this civilian ministry instead of the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) during peacetime.

In theory, the JGK operates under the Ministry of Interior during peacetime, who is in charge of domestic security and public order, while affiliated to the TSK during times of war. But in practice, the JGK operates under the directives of the TSK during peace time, too. Their budgets are under TSK control while their hierarchical structures are supervised by the military. The JGK members also take orders from the TSK while fulfilling their internal security duties, bypassing governors and heads of districts assigned by the Interior Ministry.
Even in the treatment of the police officers and the gendarmerie personnel, some of which were posing with Samast, the ultranationalist alleged killer of Dink, we witnessed discrimination in their treatment. For example, police officers responsible for the photo scandal and mismanagement in Dink's murder were removed from their current posts while the TSK has assigned those responsible gendarmerie officers to different cities of the country, instead of removing them from their posts.

Whereas if both members of the security organizations were affiliated to the Interior Ministry in any real sense, they would have both been subjected to the same treatment. We should bear in mind that this discriminatory attitude does hurt, among other things, the public conscience.

The lack of the civilian democratic oversight of the JGK and the existence of the ultranationalist police and gendarmerie officers within the two organizations as witnessed during which some of them were posing with Samast furthers weaknesses in the protection of the country.

Thus this situation underlines the urgency of taking steps to bring the JGK under government control too while launching programs to train both police and the gendarmerie forces to act together and to refrain from ultranationalist attitudes.

Mixing up nationalism with racism
FATMA DISLI f.disli@todayszaman.com
There is no question the murder of journalist Hrant Dink has put the nationalism issue in Turkey under a bright spotlight; not least because the alleged killer reportedly disclosed he had shot Dink because of supposed "insulting" statements against Turkishness -- in other words because of the gunman's nationalist feelings.
Slogans chanted in street protests after Dink's murder saying, "We are all Armenians," disturbed some nationalist circles, claiming an "assault on national values" igniting a flurry of polemic and debate. Wanting to condemn Hrant Dink's murder and its immediate causes and aftermath, but not wanting to seem soft on "national values," a common view holds that nationalism and racism are mixed up in Turkey and unfortunately racism seems to be on the rise.

Bugün's Nuh Gönültaş complains that nationalism has come to mean racism in Turkey. He says the rapidly spreading neo-nationalism and nationalism among the youth in Turkey actually corresponds more to racism. Gönültaş explains that racism was a late injection into the veins of the Turkish public because Turks, having thousands of years of history, never adopted racism -- either before Islam or after, but rather created a wonderful culture by reconciling positive nationalism with their religion. "Nobody has the chance to choose their race, nation, or even their parents before they are born. It is foolish to assume something we did not choose ourselves as a reason for superiority," he remarks. He urges that racism is also on the rise in the western countries like Austria, France, Germany and the US. Gönültaş says that Turkey is being affected by this world racist trend thanks to the Internet. According to him, racist hatred is the major cause of assassinations, bomb attacks and other incidents in the recent history of these countries.

Yeni Şafak's Mehmet Ocaktan also complains about the rising nationalism in Turkey which is based on racism, which does not welcome "peace and brotherhood" and cannot bear to see Turkey as a democratic and lawful state. "Those who killed Hrant Dink and those who posed for photos with the alleged killer after his arrest are all the products of this racist mentality," remarks Ocaktan. He says that an understanding of patriotism built on racism unfortunately has resulted in the appearance of killers and hate in this country. Ocaktan thinks it will not be possible to rid Turkey of this malediction before the youth of this country are taught the virtue of living with others who think or believe differently.

Vatan's Okay Gönensin outlines the historic development of radical nationalism in Turkey and says the roots of racist nationalism date back to first years of the Turkish Republic. However, he clarifies that this movement became more collective and influential in the 1960s. He says in the 1960s and 1970s radical nationalism was intensively supported to counter the "rising communism threat" in parallel to the rising left. Gönensin holds the terrorist Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) and Kurdish nationalists also partly responsible for increasing radical Turkish nationalism. He also urges that it is not only right-wing people, but also leftists and Kemalists who are experiencing conflicting concepts of nationalism today, for example nationalism mixed up to the point of patriotism committing murder. "In a society in harmony with the world and itself, radical nationalism cannot be influential, but it seems that it will continue to be influential in Turkey for a long time," adds Gönensin.

Gül warns US Congress against ‘genocide’ move
Turkey's foreign minister has warned that strategic ties with the United States would be poisoned if Congress passed a resolution recognizing the 1915 massacres of Armenians as genocide.

US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice meets with Turkish Foreign Minister Abdullah Gül at the State Department in Washington
Abdullah Gül, who met US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice in Washington on Tuesday, said that passage of the resolution would "spoil everything" between the long-standing allies.
“The resolution submitted to Congress is a great threat which could poison all our relations," he told reporters in Washington. He noted that Turkey had "worked shoulder-to-shoulder" with the United States in Iraq and Afghanistan and warned that the resolution was bad "as much for Turkey as for the United States.”

In a wide-ranging one-on-one meeting and working lunch, Rice and Gül discussed the renewed moves in the US Congress to pass a law recognizing the 1915 massacre of Armenians under the Ottoman Empire as genocide. US officials are reassuring Gül that they will try to quash the proposed resolution in Congress. Before her meeting with Gül, Rice called Turkey “a strategic ally, a global partner (that) shares our values.”

State Department Spokesman Sean McCormack said, “We understand very clearly that this is a sensitive issue not only for the Turkish people but for the Armenian people.” A number of legislatures around the world have recognized the killing of up to 1.5 million Armenians in Turkey during World War I as genocide. But while US President George W. Bush commemorates the massacres each year in a speech, his administration had stopped short of backing the genocide bills.

Turkey illustrated how seriously it takes the issue in October when it said it would suspend military operations with France after French lawmakers voted in October to make it a crime to deny the killings were genocide. Gül made no such threats against the United States. Instead he highlighted the friendship between the two countries. “We have strategic issues of our relations based on the values,” he said.

US President Bush will have to persuade the now Democrat-controlled congress which does not need presidential approval for such a resolution. Members behind the proposed bill have said they expect a push by the administration and lobbyists working for the Turkish government to keep the resolution from a full vote by the House.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who will decide whether to offer the bill for a full vote if, as expected, it is approved by the House Foreign Affairs Committee, has expressed support. Gül said they do not plan to meet with Pelosi because she is “too engaged” in the issue but he will meet with his close aides and friends to make sure Turkey’s views are heard. Turkey rejects the genocide label and argues that 300,000 Armenians and at least as many Turks died in civil strife when Armenians took up arms for independence in eastern Anatolia and sided with Russian troops invading the crumbling Ottoman Empire during World War I.
Meanwhile, a planned visit by a Turkish parliamentary delegation to the US has been cancelled upon Gül’s request. A part of lobbying efforts at the US Congress against a possible genocide resolution, the Turkish Parliament’s Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Mehmet Dülger said Gül had called him from the US to postpone the visit.
“We informed our counterparts about the postponement of our visit. I think the Turkish mission in Washington D.C. would be overwhelmed by the Turkish delegations’ visits one after another.”

‘PKK problem needs to be resolved’
In meetings with Rice and other officials, Gül also raised US cooperation on preventing Kurdish separatists from using northern Iraq as a sanctuary and a base of operations against Turkey. The Turkish government has expressed frustration with the level of US help in rooting out terrorists of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), holed up in the Kurdish region of northern Iraq.

Retired Gen. Joseph Ralston, a former NATO supreme allied commander, has been coordinating US efforts for countering the PKK. Gül warned against suggestions in some US political circles that Iraq could be split into three autonomous regions, which Turkey fears would create an independent Kurdistan in northern Iraq and embolden PKK separatists in southeastern Turkey. “A soft partition of Iraq is a fantasy,” he said. “Iraq does not have internal boundaries.”

McCormack told reporters, “General Ralston is working to decrease those tensions on both sides of the border between the Iraqis and the Turks. We are engaging in diplomacy so that you don’t end up with an armed confrontation in northern Iraq. I don’t think anybody really wants to see that.”
He also noted that the United States wants to try to resolve PKK use of Kurdish territory in northern Iraq for attacks on Turkish territory. “Innocent people have died as result of the PKK,” McCormack said, adding that Washington wants a settlement that is acceptable to both Turkey and Iraq. He said Rice briefed Gül on Ralston’s activities.

During Tuesday’s lunch at the State Department Rice and Gül also exchanged views on Lebanon, Iraq, Turkey’s relationship with the European Union and Kosovo.

Today’s Zaman Washington

'The US made no objection'
The New Anatolian / Washington
08 February 2007
Turkish Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul late Tuesday signaled a cross-border operation into northern Iraq may be in the offing, saying the U.S. hadn't objected when he mentioned the possibility of an offensive against the terrorist Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK)

Gul, at a press conference after his meeting with U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, stated, "We asked the U.S. to take concrete and significant steps in the fight against the terrorist PKK."

Turkey has been unhappy with the level of cooperation in rooting out militants from the PKK, holed up in the Kurdish region of northern Iraq.

"Previously, PKK leaders were taking shelter in unfriendly regimes," said Gul. "But now PKK leaders are doing interviews on TV channels in friendly countries."

When asked whether Turkey will take military measures if steps don't come soon, Gul replied, "The United States made no objection to this (the idea of a military operation)."

Stating that Turkey has always had the right under international law to take cross-border action, he said that if necessary, Ankara won't hesitate to take action against the PKK.

"We have conveyed to U.S. officials that they are late in taking action in northern Iraq, and the Turkish people want to see an action. U.S. officials are aware of this," Gul said

U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for European affairs Matt Bryza, speaking last week, stated that the U.S. understands Turkey's uneasiness on the PKK issue, but added, "We haven't yet formalized a concrete solution against the PKK."

Bryza said that if concrete solutions are formulated there will be no need for military operations in northern Iraq. Stressing that northern Iraq is the most peaceful area of Iraq, he stated that they don't want a Turkish military operation there. However he acknowledged that the U.S. has to fulfill its promise to Turkey.

After U.S. Ambassador to Ankara Ross Wilson last week suggested that Turkey should cooperate with the Iraqi Kurdish regional government to eliminate the PKK presence in northern Iraq, his suggestion was immediately turned down by a senior Turkish official.

"Unfortunately, recent statements and the position of the administration in northern Iraq are in a way protecting and supporting the PKK presence," said Turkey's Envoy for countering terrorism Edip Baser. He underlined that the current policies of Iraqi Kurdish leaders are far from satisfactory and so dialogue would not not useful.

Baser said that military is ready for all options but an eventual decision would be a political one for the national interests of Turkey: "When the issue is assessed from a realistic perspective, it can be seen that there are some developments which could not and possibly would not be tackled. We have to bear in mind those developments and decide on the most appropriate policies according to the situation," he said.

Newsweek reported last week that "unless U.S. forces act decisively against the PKK, the Turks will warn, Ankara will take matters into its own hands."

In Washington, when asked whether the U.S. expects Turkey to develop a mechanism for the return of people in northern Iraq's Mahmur camp (to Turkey), Gul said, "People are occasionally return to Turkey in groups. These citizens are settled in villages, and the process is continuing about the issue. There are also women and children in the camp. The important thing is that we have to be sure the camp will not be controlled by someone else when it is evacuated."

Noting that not only Turkey but also other regional countries are sensitive about the issue of the northern Iraqi city of Kirkuk, Gul said that all countries in the region have some uneasiness about tensions there escalating. "A population census needs to be done to determine who can cast votes before the referendum is held in Kirkuk later this year," he said.

Gul warns US against genocide claims

The Turkish foreign minister also warned the U.S. Congress that passing a resolution on the so-called Armenian genocide would harm relations with his country.

"Passage of even a nonbinding resolution in either chamber would seriously harm our bilateral relations."

Gul described the possible resolution as an irritant to otherwise close cooperation with the United States on vital issues including bringing political stability to Iraq, preventing nuclear proliferation and connecting Asian energy supplies with European markets.

Even as the Bush administration says it will work with members of Congress to head off the genocide resolution, Gul warned that the U.S. government should not get involved in the sensitive dispute.

"I believe that Turkish-American relations should not be taken hostage by this issue," he said. "I see this as a real threat to our relationship."

The administration also sees the issue as a threat to relations with Turkey, a key strategic ally. The administration has opposed previous attempts by members of Congress to pass resolutions

Pelosi turns down meeting

However, the speaker of the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, avoided meeting with Abdullah Gul, even when the two leaders were in the same hotel.

Pelosi, who supports the so-called genocide bill, rejected a request from the Turkish Foreign Ministry for a meeting with Gul. Nancy's office said her schedule during Gul's visit to the U.S. would be too busy to fit him in.

Gul in Washington for uphill mission
Ilnur Cevik
08 February 2007
Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul is in Washington with a tough mission to raise controversial issues with the American leadership ranging from the future of Iraq to the Armenian resolution pending in Congress that could pollute Turkey's relations with the United States.

Gul is currently discussing Ankara's frustration with American inactivity against the terrorist Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) in northern Iraq, the future of Kirkuk as well as the Armenian resolution against some political odds.

He is dealing with a wounded American administration that got a beating in the mid-term congressional elections because of its current Iraq policy. So this is an administration that can hardly concentrate on the PKK holed up in the northern Iraqi mountains controlled by the Iraqi Kurds, the close regional allies of the U.S.

It is also an administration that has to find a fine balance between Turkey's demands to wipe out the PKK in Iraq as well as delaying the referendum on Kirkuk and the American need to court and appease the Iraqi Kurds to recruit their backing to deal with the current mess in Baghdad.

This is a dilemma for the Bush administration.

American officials who are hosting Gul in Washington have said they fully understand the seriousness of the situation regarding the PKK in northern Iraq but they also confess that there is not much they can do to please Ankara by allowing it to launch a Turkish military operation into Iraq at the cost of alienating the Iraqi Kurdish administration.

There are of course some positive developments where the Americans have displayed some sensitivity to Turkish concerns on the PKK but they are far from satisfactory for the Turkish public where people expect the Americans to help Turkey launch a military operation against the PKK in the Kandil Mountains and also apprehend PKK leaders and hand them over to Turkey. Turks say if the Americans can arrest Iranians in Erbil they can also do this with the PKK.

Besides this there is the issue of Kirkuk where Turkey says it wants the referendum on the future of Kirkuk to be delayed while the Iraqi Kurds insist the ballot should be held by the end of the year as stipulated in the Iraqi constitution. Ankara fears the rights of the Turkmens in Kirkuk will be lost in a fait accompli.

There too the Americans feel the issue is an internal matter for the Iraqis to decide and thus are not prepared to challenge the Kurds over the issue.

So at the bottom line, while the American's cherish their strategic alliance with Turkey, they are reluctant to deliver on the PKK and on Kirkuk simply because they cannot afford to alienate the Iraqi Kurds at this crucial stage when they need their help more than ever.

Gul should have realized that as he flew to Washington a long list of Americans were visiting Erbil to discuss the future of Iraq with the Kurdish leaders. There are rumors that the Americans are interested in building a major military base in the region.

Besides all this, there is the Armenian issue that is sailing through troubled waters in the Democratic controlled Congress. The pro-Armenian lobby is pushing an anti-Turkish resolution in Congress and observers said there is a real threat that the document may pass.

It is clear that while Gul has drawn American attention to the negative impact of such a resolution in Turkey the American congressional leaders are not too sensitive to these concerns. It is sad that Gul could not meet key people in the new congressional leadership.

This is an uneasy trip for Gul not because Turkey's importance for the U.S. has diminished but because the Americans are sidetracked with other considerations which may well be a passing phase but can still damage Ankara-Washington ties.

Accusations fly between suspects in Dink killing
The New Anatolian / Ankara
08 February 2007
A prime suspect in last month's murder of journalist Hrant Dink yesterday put the blame on another arrested suspect, who has turned out to be a police informant, for the murder, reports said.

Yasin Hayal, the alleged second man in the murder who ordered gunman Ogun Samast to kill Dink, claimed during interrogation at prison that Erhan Tuncel engineered both Dink's murder and a McDonald's restaurant bombing three years ago, private news channel CNN Turk reported.

Tuncel was arrested on charges of soliciting the murder but it latter came to light that he was once a police informant and passed a tip-off to the police about the murder almost one year before the killing.

Hayal was convicted on charges of bombing a McDonald's restaurant in the northern province of Trabzon. He had said that he committed the crime under influence of personal hatred towards the U.S.

Dink was gunned down last month by Samast, a teenager who was caught by police a day after the murder.

Hayal's father said earlier in the week that his son called him and said that if he talks Tuncel would spend a lifetime in prison.

Hayal was charged with providing money and the murder weapon to Samast, who is also a Trabzon resident.

The testimony of a relative of Hayal's also stirred the country as he claimed that Hayal had spent quite a long time in acquiring a weapon and that certain Gendarmerie officers were informed about Hayal's quest.

Hayal was given a six-month prison sentence for the bombing but the decision was appealed based on insufficient investigation and evidence. The Court of Appeals started to hear the appeal case on Tuesday after the file had waited almost seven months in the archives.
It was alleged last week that Tuncel told police last February that Hayal planed to kill Dink, but that police didn't give any credit to the tip-off.

Istanbul police chief faces probe
In related news, the Interior Ministry late on Tuesday gave permission to launch a probe into Istanbul Police Chief Celalettin Cerrah after intense political and public pressure.

Earlier this week Istanbul police head of intelligence Ahmet Ilhan Guler, who said, "I admit all my guilt for not sharing the intelligence I received regarding the assassination plot," was removed from office, following the suspension of five police and five Gendarmerie officers in Samsun.

Trabzon Governor Huseyin Yavuzdemir and Police Chief Resat Altay were also suspended soon after the murder.

The report, after a preliminary investigation into Cerrah, will be submitted to the interior minister for approval.

PM: East-West railway link significant step
The New Anatolian / Ankara
08 February 2007
A key agreement on the Kars-Tbilisi-Baku (KTB) railway project was signed yesterday at a ceremony with the participation of the Turkish premier, Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili and Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev.

The project aims to provide continuous, safe and fast cargo and passenger transportation between Asia and Europe.

Erdogan, at a press conference before his visit to Tbilisi, characterized the project as a "significant step."

He stressed that the KTB railway project would yield new opportunities. "I will also have bilateral meetings with Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili and Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev during my stay. We will especially discuss recent developments in the Southern Caucasus," he stated.

Erdogan added that he believed his visit would boost relations with regional countries.
Erdogan will hold talks with Saakashvili and Aliyev and also attend the inauguration of the Tbilisi International Airport, which was constructed by Turkish-Austrian consortium Tepe-Akfen-Vie (TAV).

The KTB project aims to join the railroad networks of Georgia, Azerbaijan and Turkey to further strengthen cooperation between these three countries. Many analysts have described the project as important as the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan (BTC) oil pipeline project.

The project aims at providing continuous, safe and fast cargo and passenger transportation between Asia and Europe through connecting the railways of the People's Republic of China and Kazakhstan in the east, through Turkey's Marmaray (Commuter Rail Mass Transit System) to the European railway system in the west.

Professor Suha Bolukbasi, who works on Caucasus and Central Asian politics at Middle East Technical University (METU), told The New Anatolian on Monday that Turkey has good relations among Azerbaijan and Georgia, stressing that this project will help to strengthen and deepen cooperation among these countries. He described the project as a constructive step in Turkey's regional interest.

"The project aims to unhook post-Soviet countries from the Russian Federation's impact. It also helps the European Union and the U.S. to establish effective relations with post-Soviet countries," he said.

Bolukbasi stressed that the European Union attaches importance to the initiative, saying, "Through the project, Turkey's position with the EU will be strengthened along with Caucasus relations. Turkey will play a more influential role in its region."

The framework agreement for this wide regional cooperation project will be signed tomorrow in Tbilisi, Georgia, with the participation of Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan.

A total of 76 kilometers of the project will be built in Turkey. The project's infrastructure will be constructed as a double-track railway line, while the superstructure will be realized as a single-track line.

The Turkish part of the project will cost an estimated YTL 380 million, with YTL 40 million appropriated in the state budget for this year. In 1998 Turkish State Railways (TCDD) carried out a tender for the project, but later cancelled it.

Azerbaijan will lend $200 million to Georgia to finance construction of its portion of the railway linking Azerbaijan with Turkey, under an agreement signed in Tbilisi last month.

Georgia will have to repay the loan with 1 percent annual interest within 25 years. Georgian officials said last week that they plan to use the revenues from the Baku-Akhalkalaki-Kars railway to cover the loan. The construction of the KTB project is expected to begin in June and finish in two years.

Armenian opposition
Armenia, which has diplomatic problems with both Turkey and Azerbaijan, has criticized the move. Armenian presidential spokesperson Viktor Sogomonian branded the project as politically motivated.

"Armenia has been always guided by the economic effectiveness of projects," he said at a news conference last month, adding that Yerevan will continue to oppose construction of the railway and will use negotiations at different levels as a lever of influence.

'Don't mend it, end it'
The New Anatolian / Ankara
08 February 2007
The only dissenter to a joint civil group proposal to change controversial Turkish Penal Code (TCK) Article 301 yesterday said the law should be struck down altogether, branding it the primary reason for rising chaos and violence in society.

The Confederation of Revolutionary Workers' Labor Unions (DISK), calling the TCK an undemocratic code crippling the country's quest for improvement in human rights and democratization, said that all undemocratic regulations should be sent to history's dustbin.
Several prominent civil society representatives worked out a proposal over the law at a meeting last week, which DISK declined to attend. The representatives, after the three-day meeting, declared that they agreed to keep the notion "Turkishness" in the law, which has been used as a tool to prosecute and sentence several authors and journalists.

DISK also made public their concerns over a range of issues in a new declaration.

Criticizing the government's inability to put an end to ongoing power vacuum, the union group said that the government should stop complaining about developments and instead take the responsibility to end the anarchical atmosphere triggered after the killing last month of journalist Hrant Dink, a target of prosecutions under 301.

"For years we have been witnessing political murders which are meant to silence the civil opposition," said the group. "Unfortunately, no previous government dared to expose the clandestine networks ordering such murders. Now the government should find both the perpetrators and the huge network behind the scenes."

DISK also blamed the government for recent economic and social turmoil, calling it the result of the government's failure to take responsibility and use its initiative.

"The government and the people on the street should in fact concentrate on finding a concrete solution to regional and general unfair income distribution and unemployment," it said.

"The ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party has done nothing apart from turning back the clock on employment rights and the rights of workers to organize," said the union, also threatening the government that in the upcoming general elections they will support political parties which propose solutions to the problems they highlighted.

The group also said that the controversial social security and general health insurance bill, shelved after the annulment decision of the Constitutional Court, should be immediately reviewed and that the government should lift reservations to the European Social Charter and pass it.

Mumcu proposes timeout on debate

On the other hand, Motherland Party (ANAVATAN) leader Erkan Mumcu yesterday, citing recent international developments and alleged abroad-based plots to drive Turkey into an identity chaos, said that the government should not be pressured to annul Article 301.

He said he was among those advocating changes to the law, but added that given Turkey has been under "psychological attack" the government should use its initiative to delay debates over the law.

'301 a legal absurdity'

The South East Europe Media Organization (SEEMO), a group promoting press freedom in the Balkans, also called on the AK Party government in a written statement to annul the law to help ensure a transparent investigation into Dink's murder.

The group branded the law a "legal absurdity."

TIHV: Lifting 301 not enough

Turkey's Human Rights Foundation (TIHV) yesterday said in a written statement that there are 14 provisions in the Turkish Penal Code (TCK) that can be interpreted against freedom of expression.

The group, underlining that the freedom of expression debate has been reduced to a fight over Article 301, said that annulling particular articles is not enough to establish freedom of expression in the country.

"When a provision considered a threat to freedom of expression is lifted or changed, it is substituted with another similar article," the statement said.

"Los Angeles Times": Resolution Recognizing Armenian Genocide To Be Adopted This Time By Congress
Noyan Tapan
Armenians Today
Feb 06 2007
It is mentioned in the article entitled "New Hope for Draft on Genocide" published in the Los Angeles Times newspaper being published in California that the resolution recognizing the Armenian Genocide will be adopted this time by the Congress.

"The probability of adoption of the resolution is very big, the main reasons of which are the democrates' presence at the Congress and Hrant Dink's murder," the newspaper wrote.

According to the Turkish "Milliyet" newspaper, the American periodical paid attention to the circumstance that George Bush promised during his 2000 electoral campaign to use the word "genocide": "Ankara has great influence and Turkey is the valuable ally from which one may not refuse because of decisions made by the Congress. But the time came for the U.S. when the reality must be given preference," the newspaper wrote.

Conclusions Are Anachronistic
We present answers of Executive of the Hye Dat office of ARF Bureau, Kiro Manoyan, to Panorama.am.

- Aren't the authorities of Russia consistent in the issue of revealing and condemning murders on the national ground?

- The fact that, in general, the most part of the murders in Russia on national ground, not only against Armenians, have not been revealed and or it is not always that the revealed cases get relevant accusation and sentence, testifies that not at all levels of the Russian authorities and not all branches show sufficient consistency. Taking into consideration that the murders on the national ground testify about the disease of one part, then the healthy section of the society, the intellectuals as well have the great thing to do to cure the disease.

- Was the reaction of official Turkey adequate in the aroused situation, and whether Ankara is ready to reveal the case of the assassination of Hrant Dink up to the end?

- Official Turkey tried to go out of the situation with minimum losses. The statements, made with propagandistic view, and the expressions of condolences did not show that official Turkey does not concern that the murder of Hrant Dink was committed just through their fault, that he was killed with just the motivation that the court of Turkey had judged him. Official Turkey will hardly display readiness to reveal the case up to the end, because it will mean a non-official conflict with the structures, which are called an aboriginal state. Official Ankara will not go to it for the murder of an Armenian.

- Whether the authorities of Armenia and the Armenian society have displayed an adequate reaction to the committed crimes. "In one case they didn't say anything, in other case were engaged in anti-Turkish propaganda".

- The assassination of Dink on political ground should not be compared with the murders being committed in Russia on national ground. The assassination of Dink was a terrorist act committed by the political order.

In general the reaction of the Armenian authorities and the society was adequate. And what happened in Turkey, was a political action to which an adequate response was given.

- Is it possible that the processes taken place in Russian and Turkey, will bring amendments in the consciousness of the society, in view of worsening of Armenian-Russian friendly relations on one hand, and mollification of Armenian-Turkish hostile relations.

- I have already said, if murders of Armenians on national ground continue, it is natural that anti-Russian mood will develop in the Armenian society. And in Turkey the processes are the same as before the assassination of Dink. The actions of a small part of the population of Istanbul, including of thousands of Armenians and non-Turks the day of Dink's funeral, should not be considered yet as the beginning of the process. Many distinguished Turks, who took part in the procession, already state that the behest of Dink, according to them, was not to use the word "genocide"... The process is out of question.

Turkey Is At The Crossroads
By Harry Sterling
The Gazette (Montreal)
February 5, 2007
The country can continue its march to political and human rights reform, or return to the dark days of the past

Hrant Dink would have been impressed by the gigantic turnout in Istanbul. More than 100,000 people jammed the streets, the main thoroughfare overflowing, stretching for blocks.

Regrettably, the massive outpouring of support came on the day of his own funeral, the ethnic Armenian newspaper editor murdered by a young ultra-nationalist Turk angered by Dink's writing about the controversial events of 1915 in which much of Turkey's Armenian community died at the hands of the Ottoman Turks.

Although Turkish Prime Minister Recep Erdogan was quick to denounce the murder, as did many Turks, Dink's assassination once again drew attention to the divisions within Turkish society. Those cleavages extend far beyond the Armenian issue, raising serious questions of where Turkey is heading, including it prospects for joining the European Union.

During the past year, there's been an escalation of bombings by radical groups, particularly Islamists and Kurds. A number of Turkish tourist resorts have been targeted, as have public buildings in Istanbul. A judge was assassinated in the capital Ankara by an Islamic militant.

That such attacks have taken place in a country where the security authorities and military have a reputation for not tolerating anti-government activities or demonstrations - even legitimate dissent - is worrisome for many.

This is particularly troublesome for those concerned by a dramatic decrease in popular support for Turkey's longstanding application to join the European Union. Until recently, there was a comfortable majority in favour of joining the EU. Now only one in three regard joining as important, many saying the Europeans demean Turkey by constantly demanding more respect for the rule of law and fundamental human rights. Nationalists and others, including Islamists, say Turkey should concentrate instead on developing closer relations with its neighbours and other Muslim countries.

The shift away from the EU has important implications for those who want Turkish authorities to carry out political and human rights reforms.

Numerous Turkish writers, journalists and others were charged with violating laws prohibiting criticism of the country's institutions or which denigrated "Turkishness."

It was only after an international outcry that Turkey's famous novelist, Orhan Pamuk - winner of last year's Nobel Prize for Literature - had his charges dropped. He had been accused of defaming Turkey in an interview by mentioning the Armenian massacre controversy and plight of the Kurdish population. Another Turkish author, Elif Shafak, also initially faced prosecution for having a character in her novel make critical comments about Turkey.

It's not just human rights activists and Armenians who would be concerned if the government lessens its commitment to reforms. A Kurdish observer pointed out that the government's desire to join the EU was a pivotal factor in its willingness to finally allow the use of the Kurdish language on the radio and in certain schools. A turning away from the EU could remove the gains of recent years

As it is, the situation of Kurds in eastern Turkey remains tense, partially due to widespread resentment of the security forces that harass and intimidate Kurds considered supportive of the PKK or independence.

Despite the imprisonment of the PKK's leader, Abdullah Ocalan, the PKK has been re-grouping from sanctuaries in northern Iraq where Iraqi Kurds now operate a semi-autonomous administration because of the overthrow of the Saddam Hussein regime.

However, the presence of the PKK in northern Iraq has introduced a further explosive element: Turkey threatens to invade northern Iraq to attack the PKK.

To further complicate an already volatile situation, Turkey is opposed to Iraq's Kurdish leadership trying to control the region across its border, including oil-rich Kirkuk, laying the groundwork for eventually declaring an independent Kurdish state.

Ankara sees this as highly dangerous for its national interests because it might encouraging its own Kurdish population to support the PKK in its struggle for an independent Kurdish state in eastern Turkey.

Turkish authorities have warned Washington that if it doesn't find a way to control the separatist tendencies in Iraq's Kurdistan region, Turkey could cross the border to take on the PKK and prevent the area becoming independent.

The Americans argue that given the current difficulties they confront in controlling sectarian violence in the rest of Iraq, they simply do not have the resources to deploy U.S. forces in northern Iraq.

Turkish authorities nevertheless want action to contain such Kurdish separatist threats. Some fear that if the Americans can't act, Turkey might do so.

But any such intervention would also have unpredictable consequences not just for Turkey and the Kurds but also for Turkey ever joining the European Union.

Harry Sterling, a former diplomat, is an Ottawa-based commentator. He served in Turkey.

About To Kiss The Assassin's Forehead
By H. Chaqrian
AZG Armenian Daily
Security Services, According to "Radical" Making a Hero of Hrant Dink's Murderer Samast

In 36 hours after Hrant Dink's murder the security forces of Turkey detained Ogun Samast in the region of Samsun. Major Turkish newspapers, publishing the photograph of the murderer were asking a question, "how did the Turkish flag with Ataturk's device "The native land is holy andits fate cannot be left to chance" appear on the background of the photo".

Experts, sent by Prime Minister Erdogan to Samsun, found out that the photograph was made at the Samsun Office of the Turkish National Security Service's Anti-Terror Department. Apparently, a criminal case will be roused against the photographers for violating the law about national state emblems. Nevrtheless, neither the photograph itself, neither its implication of making a hero of the murderer, rouses such interest as a video recording, broadcast by one of the private Turkish TV channels on February 1. The video tape shows servicemen of Turkish Police and Gendarme departments welcoming Samast as a hero and making a cue to take a photo with him on the background of the aforementioned flag. The leading newspapers of Turkey reacted rather griveously to the recording. "They were about to kiss the assasin's forehead, says "Radical".

On February 2 the Head Command of the Turkish Gendarmerie denied all the publicationc concerning the photograph of Samast. The representatives of the service stated that the publication of the tape was specially aimed at discrediting and defaming the Turkish law enforcement structures and the military forces.

It is necessary to change Turkey's agenda
The "Dink murder" is not the "Dink murder" anymore. Some are trying to change what is on the agenda, some are muddling things up and trying to mess up everything.
The security office and prosecutor office, instead of providing people with the right information, waste time explaining that the some news given by press was not correct. Well, what is correct, then? The event was sensationalized from the very first day and it went far. But the only hard evidence we have is radicalism coming from three young men, and the questions remain unanswered. It is understood the deep powers are in panic. The truth needs to come out as soon as possible. However, there could be sudden, sensational developments. If the mystery remains unsolved, other incidents could follow, causing others to be emboldened. They could find a dozen of Ogün Samasts. There are so many young people like them out there.


Concrete proposal for Article 301
Since the futility of seeking views based on national differences to understand Article 301 or the articles on the freedom of expression is obvious, I think it's best to find a similar article in EU member countries and translate it word for word.

For example, in France's Freedom of Press Law, Articles 30,31,32, and 33 cover the issues in Article 301 of the Turkish Penal Code. The important difference is that in France this law is for the freedom of press, while in Turkey the law is for criminal punishment. In addition, the law's name in France is not just named the "press law," it is the "freedom of the press law." In other words, when the law is at issue prosecutors and judiciaries always handle the law from the point of freedom of expression. As for us, we always handle the issues from the point of punishment, making it difficult to understand and implement such little details.


West driving Turkey to edge
Minister of Foreign Affairs Abdullah Gül is in the US. In his meetings in Washington and New York he will discuss the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), the Armenian genocide resolution, Cyprus, Iraq and Kirkuk.

After Gül, Turkey's Chief of General Staff Gen. Yaşar Büyükanıt will visit the US and he, too, will address the same issues. What will the results be? Maybe a plan to launch a small yet sensational operation against the PKK in northern Iraq. Of course, it is unclear who will head the operation and when and how it will happen. But America will not fight the PKK due to the support of the Iraqi Kurds and will not allow Turkey to launch an operation by itself in Iraq. In recent years, why haven't the US and Europe heeded the requests and expectations of Turkey? Aren't they afraid of losing Turkey? Or do they not like us? "Turkey won't do anything," they say because they don't want Turkey to do anything. They are afraid that if Turkey is successful, their almost-ethnic existence in the face of Islam and the East will evaporate.


Who is more national?
When Hrant Dink was killed, I realized that in this country to say "I am not a nationalist" required great courage. Frankly, we are living in a period where saying "love it or leave it" is actually the core of most ideologies.
In fact, this harsh slogan is considered not harsh enough. What they mean to say is "Love this country the way I tell you, or leave." So you can't just love your country the way you want to love it; you have to love it the way they love it. This is shallow. We see many people, including myself, having to defend him or herself by saying, "But I love my country." It's as if we have to prove our love for this country in order to have the right to speak.


Newspapers and authorities bicker over Dink murder
Truth may be the second casualty after the fatal shooting of editor Hrant Dink outside the offices of his own newspaper on Jan. 19. Newspapers competing to cover the story have come up with different version of events.

In comments published in the press, Justice Minister Cemil Çiçek warned of a campaign of deliberate misinformation and of the dangers that the police enquiry is now turning into "a war of retribution.”

However, newspaper watchdogs blame the authorities themselves for not providing a reliable stream information about a story vital to the public interest. “It is apparent there is a power game within the security apparatus and that reporters are having a hard time uncovering the truth. Add to this a traditional governmental lack of transparency, and you end up with information and allegations flying about in the air,” according to Yavuz Baydar, ombudsman for Sabah newspaper. The Istanbul police have now urged caution in newspapers' attempt to depict a second assailant at the scene of the crime. Several papers have identified a man photographed at the time Dink's body was being placed in the ambulance as Yasin Hayal, a person who confessed to having recruited 17-year-old Ogün Samast to commit the crime.

Aykut Cengiz Engin, an İstanbul state prosecutor, said the man in the picture taken by The Associated Press was in fact a police officer from the homicide bureau.

Radikal newspaper, which has a record of pursuing stories to do with state corruption, declared itself “happy to be corrected” when its account of preferential treatment for Samast after he was arrested proved to be untrue. The paper cited eyewitness accounts in İstanbul’s Bayrampaşa Prison that he was given special bedding, kebabs to eat and a room all of his own. Penal authorities in say that Samast was being held in isolation in deference to his age. Far from having silk embroidered quilt covers, he was denied any bedding at all out of fear he might use it to do himself harm.

Vakit, a newspaper of the religious nationalist right, has accused a cartel of media bosses of conspiring to muddy the waters around the crime. Such an interpretation, however, is just not fair, according to Radikal columnist Professor Haluk Şahin. Many of the leaks were the work of institutions trying to outmaneuver their organizational rivals. “The Turkish media is intensely competitive, and there is great pressure to be first with the news even at the expense of confirming that the story is a hundred percent accurate,” Şahin said.

Ombudsman Baydar: “The main problem is that there is not a regular flow of information from a central authority, say, a police spokesperson. This leaves eager reporters and honest editors adrift. They have no reference whatsoever to compare all other information that comes to them.

He added that certain segments of press, due to the “sensitive” character of the assassination, were willing to play along with certain circles that put politics before the rule of law. “It is hard to tell if the ‘honest’ segments of press will win in the end, but for sure we will find out a lot about the crime itself,” Baydar said.
Editorial writers have also come in for criticism. There is now a petition circulating among academics in the United States accusing among others Hürriyet Editor-in-Chief Ertuğrul Özkök of intemperate remarks about Zaman columnist Etyen Mahçupyan. Mahçupyan, like Dink, is of Armenian origin.

The petition refers to press coverage as “irresponsible,” “unethical” and “dangerous.” A proposed draft of the petition warns that Mahçupyan has been quoted selectively in order to misrepresent his message.

Milliyet columnist Hasan Pulur likened Mahçupyan to an Armenian who once struck a helpless Turkish officer as he was being led away by a guard of allied soldiers when Istanbul was under foreign occupation. The officer told the man to “hit him again” but that he would get what was coming to him in the end. The fear is that by questioning Mahçupyan’s patriotism, the press is setting him up as a potential target as well.

İstanbul Today’s Zaman

Not 'deep' but 'decomposing' state
Mehmet Ali Birand
February 6, 2007
The real danger comes from the hit men that one cannot see on the streets. They are geared up in various locations in Anatolia. They are given some money and a gun and sent off to their targets. Their portraits never change

The “deep state” discussions were revived after recent events.

Everyone blames different segments.

Incorrect evaluations of the subject run amok.

What is the truth?

Maybe none of us will be able to make sure what and where the truth is. However, looking at the developments through the years, we are able to draw a picture of it.

Turkish bureaucracy is divided into two parts.

A large portion of it is “clean.” It is made up of law-abiding individuals who stay within the limits allowed by the political authority.

Yet there is another portion that takes it upon itself to act “in the name of the country.” They see themselves as being apart from others. They do not abide by the laws. They have an image of Turkey in their minds and they oppose everyone and every idea that does not fit this image. If necessary they hire people from outside. They do not get their hands dirty. They always use others.

There is a struggle between these two groups.

The first group “cleans out” the second group when they go too far.

There have been such cleansings at all our military coups. The biggest of them took place after the Sept. 12, 1980 military coup.

On the other hand, during the phase that started on Feb. 28, 1997, the concept of deep state has started to change. Resistance points and activities have changed.

Four issues made it onto the state agenda: The Kurds will break the country apart. We should prevent this. The only way to prevent it is by acting fiercely. The Islamists will spoil Atatürk's principles. This must be prevented. Full-membership of the European Union should be halted. Turkish Cyprus should not be let go in order to enter the EU. Armenia has designs on Turkish land. This must be opposed.

Those involved in the deep state are involved in all fields – including the Justice and Development Party's (AKP) government, the opposition, EU membership, Cyprus and the Kurdish issue. However the latest developments have even exceeded the limits of the deep state. It started making more sense to talk about a “decomposing” state instead of a “deep” state.

Total chaos has broken loose.

Who is after which business?

The concept of deep state was first formulated about GLADIO, organized by NATO against the threat of communism in the cold war period. According to NATO, in case of a communist invasion, pre-organized civilians would grab pre-stocked arms and defend the country. This idea became so popular among some that they applied the same kind of organization in various other places.

No organization called deep state was ever founded. No one was ever appointed to a post. However there was collaboration between various groups sharing the same logic and way of thinking that gathered around the ideal of “defending the country.”

A portion of retired army members, police, prosecutors, and judges…

A portion of the media…

A portion of NGOs and academics…

In addition to these, there are those that are actively involved in bureaucracy. They do not receive orders. However such an environment is created that police and the gendarmerie do not see any drawbacks to having a picture taken with Ogün Samast. It is in this environment that the idea of deep state can grow and spread.

The portrait of hit men does not change:
The hit men of this deep state concept are always the same. The most utilized ones are some political parties' youth branches. The ultra-nationalists were always at the forefront until the current leader of the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), Devlet Bahçeli, took up his post. Youth branches of other parties that share the same world view are also active.

On the other hand some NGOs have become more predominant.

These are mostly seen in demonstrations and on the streets. They manifest themselves in front of court houses and conferences or exhibitions that are against their ideologies. They are usually destructive and harass their opponents. They are loud but they do not commit murder.

The real danger comes from the hit men that one cannot see on the streets. They are geared up in various locations in Anatolia. They are given some money and a gun and sent off to their targets.

Their portraits never change.

They are usually children of divided families. They are poor. They could not get an education. They spend most of their days in coffee houses or in Internet cafes. They always have an “older brother.” They listen to them. They read the same newspapers, follow the same columnists and watch the same television shows. They are made to believe that they will be heroes and that unless they commit the murder the country will be devastated.

However, it should not be forgotten that the “clean state” will one day take action and clean out the other part.

Turkey's critical test with nationalism
Cengiz Aktar
February 6, 2007
If the Ottoman art of making religious and ethnic differences co-exist is the solution to our current problems, there are some necessary conditions for its re-invention: mutual tragedies must be acknowledged, the common value must be patriotism and the consensus must be social, not ethnic or religious.

Many opinion leaders who oppose Turkey's integration with the EU think that this relationship will harm the nation in the making. The same people have been disturbed in the past five years because of the open and democratic setting that the EU process created, and in which issues that were not easily discussed before have surfaced. In the course of those years we have indeed witnessed initiatives that question the myths and foundations of the national process, which had started with the Young Turks a century ago. Issues like the Armenian massacres and deportation, the events of September 6-7, 1955 (during which non-Muslim shops were plundered in Istanbul) and the Kurdish question have come to the fore.

But with the murder of Hrant Dink we have probably entered into a new phase. This is a period in which the country will wither away from EU norms and standards and things will be taken under control by the center - whether we call it the deep or the shallow state - on the basis of nationalism. The question is what this trend will bring and take from the country's stability.

The curse of the French model:
Don't care about the covers and categories made up by the advisors of the government, or about the rhetoric of the opposition politicians. Whether it be the pop, lumpen, extreme, CHP-style, MHP-style, responsible, irresponsible, positive or negative version, or whatever its name is, nationalism is fed by the same vein in these lands. This vein is the French-inspired model of nation making, which denies different ethnic or religious sub-identities and tries to assimilate them in a single melting pot. But this process, with a 150-year delay from its original model, is being attempted without its crucial actors such as the bourgeoisie, and now in an open society that is globalizing rapidly. Here lies the difficulty and even the impracticality.

Turkey can't ensure its stability in the 21st century with the French-style nation (and secularism). Because this model, while trying to assimilate different components whose only commonality is religion in a single pot, excludes people from other religions. Moreover the Turkish version of the French model has not even been able to realize the French success in assimilation.

As a consequence of these basic flaws, the most official people can easily define the non-Muslim citizen as “foreigner” in the most official documents. That's also why a member of the security forces can easily say, “The suspect has committed murder with nationalist feelings,” in a way which excuses the killing.

Those who are discontent from assimilation are not only the non-Muslims. The assimilation of Kurds, for other reasons, is also a fiasco. In the final analysis, except the voluntary assimilation of Muslim immigrants from the Balkans and the Caucasus, the implementation of the French model of nation implies not assimilation but enforcement, and is problematic in this sense.

Where is the solution, if there is any?:
The Ottoman art of co-existence between ethnic groups has been consumed and lost due to the horrors these groups have committed against each other during their processes of nation building. If that Ottoman virtue of co-existence is a solution to our current problems, there are some necessary conditions for its re-invention: mutual tragedies must be acknowledged, the common value must be patriotism and the consensus must be social, not ethnic or religious. Here lies the real value of concepts like “constitutional citizenship” or “supra-identity.”

But is such an understanding possible today in a country where people write “Let the world be Turkish” on the streets, ambushes take place during the day, not at night, those who question the taboos are targeted as traitors and youngsters, although a handful, can happily chant “We are all Ogüns” in stadiums, glorifying murder and without facing the slightest blame?

The most serious threat facing Turkey is that the nation building process is now a dynamic that may harm, not contribute, to the country's stability. Because it has the potential for inward looking and for sparking clashes with Kurdish nationalism that gets more radical due to the rampant alienation of Kurds and Turks.

Gündüz Aktan
February 6, 2007
Rationalism loses ground in societies that regress to earlier psychological phases. It is thought that the state cannot provide society’s security needs, rights and honor in the face of external existential threats.

There have always been, and always will be, unemployed marginal young people. However, whether they tend to solve problems by killing people depends on the situation that society is in.

We are now encountering such a situation. As the usual approach to such a situation, we suggest the following: Let's be tolerant to each other, let's develop a culture of reconciliation and let's fortify our democracy.

However, under current circumstances it is very hard to realize these suggestions. They may even have a backlash. We need a different approach.

According to political psychology, “large groups” (societies) that cannot cope with important disasters and failures (stress), regress to the past – just like individuals. They run away from reality to take refuge in the past. This process is unconscious and is perceived as an identity crisis.

Rationalism loses ground in societies that regress to earlier psychological phases. Fears take control of the group, particularly in the face of threats from abroad. It is thought that the state cannot provide society's security needs, rights and honor in the face of external existential threats. The “protective paternal” role attributed to the state comes to an end.

The increase of unemployment, bankruptcy, hunger and poverty during times of major economic crisis causes individuals to feel abandoned to fate. This ends the state's role as “providing and nourishing mother.”

The state's authority weakens in societies in recession. The rate of common crimes soars. The state fails to protect society from the evil forces within.

Under these circumstances the society's all-embracing identity, built around the state, starts dissolving. Ethnic and religious groups, regions, even localities retreat to their own narrow and smaller identities. This development, which resembles tribalization, further heightens the fear of disintegration in society.

In this phase the dispute between those that support centrifugal policies in the name of democracy and those that support unity and integrity in the name of nation-state worsens. The huge anger that youngsters, especially marginal ones, feel toward the opposing side begins to turn into violence.

Let's have a look at the stressed that have put us into this situation.

Turkey has been fighting separatist terror for the past 20 years but cannot solve the problem. This alone is a big enough source of stress to cause society to regress. It destroys the belief in a unitary state and in the territorial integrity of the Turkish identity. This identity crisis is further aggravated by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's remarks, which – in an attempt to solve the Kurdish problem – aimed to reduce Turkish identity to the same level as other ethnic identities.

Speeches made by Parliament Speaker Bülent Arınç and Prime Minister Erdoğan on April 23 and 24, 2006 respectively revealed their aim to undo republican secularism. Along with the religious symbols they cherish, the point made in their speeches shook the very foundation of the republic's identity.

Foreign affairs constitute a major source of stress that result in social recession. It has been declared that the age-old “national cause” on Cyprus is baseless. Erdoğan repeatedly mistreated former Turkish Cyprus President Rauf Denktaş, a “national hero.” The “great” Turkey that yields on everything cannot escape being Greek Cypriot leader Tassos Papadopoulos' plaything in the European Union.

The EU, while bullying, punishing, and imposing second-class membership on us, hides the fact that it does not want us to become a member because of differences in culture and religion. This causes us to feel humiliated, defective and incapable.

The United States places bags over our soldiers' heads and virtually protects the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK.)

The Armenian genocide allegations force us to accept that a victimized nation, driven out of the Balkans and the Caucasus with massacres only to survive one last life and death struggle as they were about to become extinct, is actually now the victimizer.

A society that cannot deal with these stresses begins to regress to the most successful period in history, a typical feature of the problem. Events such as Anıtkabir's 8 million visitors last year, the popularity of the book “Şu Çılgın Türkler” (These Crazy Turks) and movements such as Kuvayı Milliye all indicate the wish to go back to that “golden age” during which we believe that our rights, laws and honor were fully preserved.

In psychology perception is more important than reality. Large segments of the society, whose number never ceases to grow, rightly or wrongly believe that the government is either incapable or treacherous in face of these “stresses.”

So the question is, what can be done now?

Can Turkey use Dink tragedy to open dialogue with Armenia?
LALE SARIIBRAHIMOGLU l.sariibrahimoglu@todayszaman.com
The tragic and devastating 1999 earthquake that hit western parts of Turkey, killing thousands of people, which was followed by a relatively minor earthquake in neighboring Greece brought the two countries closer in what was dubbed "earthquake diplomacy." Though deep rooted sovereignty disputes in the Aegean Sea and over Cyprus continue to deter complete normalization of relations between NATO members Turkey and Greece, at least we are witnessing more mature relations between both the military and the political leaders of the two countries. It was the 1999 earthquake tragedy that paved the way for opening a dialogue between Ankara and Athens.
Now is it possible for Turkey and Armenia to open a dialogue, moving up from the existing undersecretariat levels to, for example, ministerial levels, following the tragic murder of prominent Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink in January?

The Turkish people have already helped to create a positive image by displaying their disgust with the murder when hundreds of thousands attended his funeral, strongly protesting his slaying and carrying placards in many cities of the country condemning this ethnic violence.

However, we have not yet seen the reflection of the Turkish people's outcry against the Dink murder at the official level, a reflection which could be demonstrated, for example, by opening a high level dialogue between the two neighbors in an attempt to make something positive out of the tragedy of Hrant's slaying. Perhaps we may see some gestures on both sides following the end of the 40 days of mourning for Hrant Dink. Who knows? The 40-day mourning period for Dink will come to an end soon. But we may also soon see the adoption of an Armenian genocide resolution by the Democrat Party-dominated Congress, carrying the potential of inflicting another blow on relations between Turkey and the USA. The two NATO allies have had to heal the wounds of the Turkish rejection of a decree in March 2003 that did not allow the opening of a second front for US troops invading Iraq from the north through Turkey.

Turkey denies allegations of genocide while urging Armenia to sit at a table and discuss the issue with Turkish historians. But the balance in both the US Senate and the House of Representatives has changed in favour of the Democrats following the November mid-term elections last year, increasing prospects for the adoption of the so-called Armenian genocide bill by US lawmakers.

Turkey recognized Armenia together with all the other states of the Caucusus and Central Asia that declared independence after the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991. However, Turkey has not yet resumed diplomatic ties with this country due to Yerevan's ongoing claims over some parts of the Turkish territory, as well as Armenia's participation in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict with Azerbaijan, with whom Turkey attaches special importance in relations. Nagorno-Karabakh is an Armenian-dominated enclave officially located within Azerbajian and had been the scene of fierce clashes between Yerevan and Baku until a ceasefire was announced in May 1994.
Though at the moment there are several thousand Armenian workers based in Turkey and charter flights are flying between Yerevan and İstanbul, because of the above mentioned disputes the Turkish-Armenian borders remain closed, standing as one of the main factors preventing humane interaction between the two neighbors.
Despite the Turkish constraints on opening a tangible dialogue with Armenia, the Turkish-Greek rapprochement following the tragic 1999 earthquake could set an example for both Ankara and Yerevan to start a high level dialogue. After all, Turkish-Greek "earthquake diplomacy" has not yet contributed to the resolution of deep-rooted disputes but at least helped both countries to solve disputes through dialogue rather than threats.
If we could not prevent Dink's murder then we must develop our capacities and, despite this tragedy, open a dialogue with Armenia. Equally, Armenia should act sincerely in improving ties with Turkey that would benefit the peoples of both countries.

Dink murder continues to shake Samsun police
The New Anatolian / Ankara
06 February 2007
Yet another police officer was suspended yesterday in the country's northern Samsun region, while a fifth Gendarmerie officer was demoted and reassigned in the wake of the murder of journalist Hrant Dink.

The Interior Ministry said in a statement that the decision was taken in light of a request by a ministry investigator who has been looking into the possibility of negligence on the part of security forces regarding last month's murder.

Last month, right after the appointment of four inspectors -- two from the Interior Ministry and the others from the police and Gendarmerie -- Trabzon Governor Huseyin Yavuzdemir and the city's Police Chief Resat Altay were suspended.

On Friday, four police and four Gendarmerie officers were suspended in relation to a video recording showing gunman and Trabzon resident Ogun Samast standing before a Turkish flag poster and Ataturk's words, "The territory of the homeland is sacred. It cannot be left to fate."

It was also claimed last week that Samast had a very warm welcome from security forces at a prison he was temporarily sent to, but Justice Minister Cemil Cicek on Sunday denied media claims, saying that the assassin remains in solitary confinement.

Cengiz Aydin, an officer with Samsun Police's Anti-Terror Department and Gendarmerie Sergeant Birol Usluoglu were demoted. The Interior Ministry did not go into details about the decision.

The statement however said that the investigation is ongoing.

In related news, a suspect, identified as Engin Y, was released by Istanbul police after questioning.

'Turkishness' remains under new joint Article 301 proposal
The New Anatolian / Ankara
06 February 2007
A high-profile meeting bringing together several prominent civil society representatives to discuss controversial Turkish Penal Code (TCK) Article 301 came to an end Monday with an agreement in principle which is likely to bother anti-301 groups as well as the European Union.

The representatives declared that they agreed to keep the notion "Turkishness" in the law, which has been used as a tool to prosecute and sentence several authors and journalists.

The multilateral efforts -- stretching since since last year -- to submit proposals to the ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party government regarding changes to the controversial article may prompt backlash from the EU, as the bloc insistently asks the government to resolve the debate over the notion Turkishness.

The debate was rekindled after Armenian-origin Turkish journalist Hrant Dink, tried and sentenced to prison under the law on charges of "insulting Turkishness" in a column he wrote for his bilingual Turkish-Armenian weekly Agos, was gunned down by an teenager last month. It is claimed that Dink was subjected to a smear campaign during his trial and the state dropped his protection request.

Istanbul Police Chief Celalettin Cerrah, in an immediate comment after the gunman was caught, said that the teenager committed the crime under influence of his nationalist feelings.

The civil group representatives will make public the details of their proposal with a press conference on Thursday.

The latest meeting was held under the auspices of the Turkish Bars Union (TBB), which convened the civil groups in response to criticism from Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan that the government has yet to receive a concrete proposal from civil society.

The premier said the government's inclination was far from annulling the whole article. Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul also said last week that they are against changes which aren't in the interest of the Turkish people.

Major political parties, both left and right wing, are also against a change editing out the notion "Turkishness," from the article, but many argue that the vague language of the article should be cleared up to enable the judiciary to obey the wording rather than employing individual interpretations of the provision.

The proposal kept the notion but introduced "derision, or "hurling invective" instead of humiliation. The text agreed upon by all participants but the Revolutionary Workers' Labor Union (DISK) also introduced reduced penalty for the offense.

Under the proposal, people -- either in Turkey or abroad-- who deride or hurl invective at Turkishness, the Turkish Republic, Parliament, judiciary, military or police shall be given prison terms ranging from six months to two years.

The current article proposes different prison terms for insults targeting different organizations. While people insulting Turkishness, the Turkish Republic or Parliament are given three years prison terms at most, insults to the other institutions receive two years behind bars at most. The current article also proposes an increase of one-third of the original penalty should the offense is committed by a Turkish citizen abroad.

The proposal also defined Turkishness under Article 66 of the Constitution ,which says people who are tied to the Turkish Republic with a bond of citizenship are called Turks.

The civil groups also underlined that the judiciary should consider European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) rulings when interpreting the article.

TBB head Ozdemir Ozok had said in the meeting that their aim was to evaluate well-intentioned suggestions for solutions and that they don't want to push the political powers to a deadlock.

The main opposition Republican People's Party's (CHP) Onur Oymen, on the other hand, defended the article in its current form, saying the law doesn't ban criticism but bans humiliation and insult. He added that no human rights documents accepts insult as a part of freedom of expression.

FM conveys concerns on bill, terror
The New Anatolian / Ankara
06 February 2007
Turkish Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul met with U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney and President George W. Bush's National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley yesterday and talked about possible cross-border operations as well as Iraq, the Armenian genocide claims, Iran, the Cyprus issue, and the European Union.

Gul is paying an official visit to the U.S. to hold key talks. Before leaving for the U.S., he said, "I believe that my visit to the U.S. will further develop the cooperation between our two allied countries in every area."

"Gul will seek U.S. support in cracking down on the terrorist Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) terrorists," said one diplomatic source. "It's a major security concern for Turkey."
Gul is planning to meet with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice today.

In daily press briefing last week, U.S. State Department spokesman Sean McCormack, touched on the Turkish foreign minister's visit to Washington, saying that Gul and Rice would meet to discuss key issues on recent developments "As for the foreign minister, we're a little far out from the meeting right now to have a full list of what's on the agenda," he said. "But let me just put out there I'm sure they'll talk about Iraq. I'm sure they'll talk about this cross-border issue (against the PKK) that's of concern to us as well as the Turkish Government, talk about Iran. I'm sure that will come up. And most likely Turkish-European relations."

Newsweek reported last week that "unless U.S. forces act decisively against the PKK, the Turks will warn, Ankara will take matters into its own hands."

Gul will also meet with new United Nations General Secretary Ban Ki-moon on Friday and will discuss the Cyprus problem. During the meeting Gul will express Ankara's support for Undersecretary General for Political Affairs Ibrahim Gambari's initiative and will ask Ki-moon to continue the active policy of his predecessor.

Armenian genocide claims
The foreign minister is also scheduled to meet with Tom Lantos, chair of the U.S. House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee, to discuss a recent resolution introduced in Congress to recognize the Armenian genocide claims

Democratic and Republican lawmakers introduced a resolution last week urging the U.S. government to recognize so-called Armenian genocide.

The bill, which claims that 1.5 million Armenians were killed almost a century ago in what it describes as genocide, is likely to draw reactions from Turkey. The Bush administration has warned that even congressional debate on the genocide question could damage relations with a vital Muslim ally and member of NATO.

Turkey strongly opposes the claims 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 and the World War I conditions. Ankara's proposal to Yerevan to set up a joint commission of historians to study events of 1915 is still awaiting a positive response from the Armenian side.

After French lawmakers voted in October to make it a crime to deny that the claims were a genocide, Turkey said it would suspend military relations with France. Turkey provides vital support to U.S. military operations. Incirlik Air Force Base, a major base in southern Turkey, has been used by the U.S. to launch operations into Iraq and Afghanistan and was a center for U.S. fighters that enforced the "no-fly zones" that kept the Iraqi air force bottled up after the 1991 Gulf War.

NGOs propose reduction in Article 301 sentences
After a round of failed attempts, nongovernmental organizations have reached an agreement on a joint proposal for changes to Article 301 of the Turkish Penal Code, an issue that has been subject of a heated discussion since the murder on Jan. 19 of Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink.

The NGOs agreed that the term “Turkishness” should be kept in an amended Article 301 but said the phrase “denigrating Turkishness” should be replaced with “scorning and deriding Turkishness.” The proposal also foresees a reduction in prison sentences stipulated by Article 301. The NGOs are now expected to announce the text to the public at a press conference on Thursday and then present it to the government.
The government has been under growing pressure to change Article 301 since the murder of Dink, who had been tried and sentenced to a six-month suspended imprisonment. It has said repeatedly that it was against outright abolishment of the article, although it could consider partial changes on the basis of concrete proposals to be made by the NGOs. Since last November, Turkish NGOs have held several meetings but failed to come up with a joint proposal on how the law should be amended. Their last meeting was in Ankara on Friday, when representatives of labor unions, employers’ associations and professional organizations left without an agreement.
Convening again on Sunday, the NGO chairmen sought avenues for agreement. In a move to step up pressure on the government to take prompt steps for amendments to Article 301, the NGOs decided to announce the agreed text to the public on Thursday of this week. Only the Turkish Medical Association (TTB) is reported to have expressed a dissenting opinion on the draft at the Sunday meeting.
In the agreed text, NGOs do not demand removal of the terms “Turkishness” and “Republic.” But they do redefine “Turkishness,” although it is not visible in the text of the article, since a definition of the term is provided in a separate, appended text explaining the justification for the law. Under that definition, the term “Turkishness” is explained in reference to Article 66 of the Constitution, which states “everyone tied to the Turkish Republic by bond of citizenship is Turkish.”
The maximum limit for punishment imposed for crimes mentioned in Article 301 was decreased from three years to two years. The third paragraph, reading, “In cases where denigration of Turkishness is committed by a Turkish citizen in another country, the punishment shall be increased by one-third,” was deleted, meaning that the same punishment should be applicable irrespective of where the crime has been committed.

The existing and proposed texts of Article 301
ARTICLE 301: (1) Public denigration of Turkishness, the Republic or the Grand National Assembly of Turkey shall be punishable by imprisonment of between six months and three years.
(2) Public denigration of the Government of the Republic of Turkey, the judicial institutions of the State, the military or security structures shall be punishable by imprisonment of between six months and two years.
(3) In cases where denigration of Turkishness is committed by a Turkish citizen in another country the punishment shall be increased by one-third.
(4) Expressions of thought intended to criticize shall not constitute a crime.

The text proposed by NGOs
ARTICLE 301: (1) Public denigration of Turkishness [a reference to Article 66 of the Constitution is provided in the 'reasoned statement' of the law], the Republic or the Grand National Assembly of Turkey shall be punishable by imprisonment of between six months and two years.
(2) Public denigration of the Government of the Republic of Turkey, the judicial institutions of the State, the military or security structures shall be punishable by imprisonment of between six months and two years.
(3) Expressions of thought intended to criticize shall not constitute a crime.


News pollution or deception game
FATMA DISLI f.disli@todayszaman.com
Not a day has passed without hearing new details in the news regarding the murder of journalist Hrant Dink, the alleged killer and the masterminds behind the crime. Some of the media's theories are later proved wrong or turn out to be conspiracy theories. The environment prevailing in Turkey nowadays is something like news pollution, in particular regarding the motives of Dink's killer and his masterminds. Recently, the authorities cancelled the accreditation of a private TV stations who immediately broadcast shocking pictures of Dink's alleged killer posing with security officials and a Turkish flag with nationalist slogans. Such developments raised questions about the responsibility of the media and press. According to some, the media and press are not acting responsibly. But for others, news pollution claims are attempts to cover up Dink's murder.

Vatan's Okay Gönensin claims that the Turkish media has been deluged with disinformation in the days after Dink's murder. He makes sure to define disinformation as the deliberate dissemination of false information. Gönensin makes it clear that each disinformation campaign has an objective in journalism. Sometimes journalists do not pass on a certain news item to the public, aware of its misleading objectives, and sometimes they do. He says the newspapers and TV channels are doing their best to inform the public by departing from the smallest detail of a news item because they do not believe that public officials will properly inform them. "So, journalists are trying to unearth the links behind Dink's murder," explains Gönensin. He recalls the public prosecutor's recent statement regarding Dink's murder where he reminded the media of the confidentiality of the investigation and cautioned the media to comply. Gönensin feels there are many reasons to believe that the present flow of disinformation is aimed at muddling the traces of the murder.

Star's Mehmet Altan denies the idea of news pollution and characterizes such claims as attempts to cover up Dink's murder. "There is a very dirty thing in question, but this is not information." He says that the relevant institutions were already informed about a plot to kill Dink but they failed to prevent the murder. "This is a deep pollution," he says. Altan proposes that the prime minister, interior minister and justice minister should all watch the more than 20 video cassettes of the murder that the İstanbul Security Directorate is reported to be in possession of. He says that everything will be clearer then and explains that there will not be any efforts to cover up a murder that has been seen by all. "There is no news pollution, but there is the conflict of the "pro-law" state mentality and "pro-murder" mentality within the state," remarks Altan.

Sabah's Mehmet Barlas thinks that a good journalist knows the objective of a certain news source that passes information on to him or her. "Actually, news pollution happens to readers and sometimes to journalists because the public institutions where public officials and intelligence experts are employed know which information is 'pollution' and which information is 'correct' since they are the ones who pass information on to the media," explains Barlas. He also claims that the source of false information in the media may be foreign sources who want to bring about conflict in Turkey. Barlas thinks if foreign sources aimed to divide Turkey, such an environment as the present one would best serve them. If there is bureaucratic feudalism behind such news, then this means institutional decay, explains Barlas. If political powers do not take essential steps with determination to end such scenes, the fate of defunct past governments will undoubtedly befall them, he warns.

‘We are all Ogün Samasts’
SUAT KINIKLIOGLU s.kiniklioglu@todayszaman.com
Indeed, we are all Ogün Samasts -- as well as Yasin Hayals and Erhan Tuncels and all the unknown accomplices of the shameful assassination of Hrant Dink. Yes, we are.

Only a curious skimming of our newspaper headlines since Jan. 19, when Hrant was murdered, confirm that some part of this country’s security bureaucracy feels that his murder was justified. The scandal surrounding the filming and photographing of Ogün Samast in the gendarmerie station and the unfolding skirmishes between the police and the gendarmerie seem to have missed the primary point that should be addressed. We are trying to identify who murdered Dink, not who leaked the footage to whom and what is behind it. Every day new information is emerging from the investigation into the Dink murder. This case is likely to change the career paths of some of our bureaucrats, be they governors or police chiefs.

It is most depressing that some members of the police and the gendarmerie pride themselves on having been photographed with the prime suspect in the Dink murder. I am sure dozens of explanations will surface, but they simply will not fly with anyone. The fact remains that these irresponsible officials disgraced our flag, the founder of the Turkish Republic and the institutions they represent. What is more troubling is that they have seriously undermined public trust in the police and the gendarmerie. Also, it is very troubling to see that while the four police officers in question have been removed from their positions and will probably be charged, the four gendarmerie officials were simply assigned to other locations. Why have they not been held accountable and simply assigned to other cities? Why will they not be charged for disgracing our flag or inciting hatred?

Prime Minister Erdoğan astutely squared the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) with his comments on Saturday. In a most responsible and courageous manner, the prime minister underlined that the “either you love this country or you leave it” attitude exhibited by the MHP is racist, exclusionary if not fascist. It is time that these so-called nationalists are confronted publicly. For too long, this sort of unacceptable political discourse has been passing without a challenge.

I believe that the Dink murder and its aftermath has redrawn the lines of our domestic politics in a most curious manner. The principled stances of Prime Minister Erdoğan and Foreign Minister Gül on the Dink murder once again confirmed that Turkey’s Muslim democrats, the AK Party, are the only potent force in this country that can challenge the nationalist-conservative establishment. Turkey’s Muslim democrats remain the only organized, ideologically identifiable and motivated political force in this country that can shepherd change in this country. The key issue here is that this is also recognized by other progressive forces in this country. It is in the interest of our democracy that Turkey’s liberals and true leftists, who care about democratic change and not the status quo, recognize this strategic fact and work towards an alignment rather than being bogged down along the secular-Islamist divide. Needless to say, a smart adjustment to some of the AK Party’s less popular policies would even further ease this convergence.

This country and particularly its political elite have been seriously shaken by the murder of Dink. These are difficult times for all of us. We need to find the courage to separate ourselves from those who applaud the murder of intellectuals. We need to support the Turkish media’s persistent quest to unearth the truth behind the murder. We need to stand up and shout loudly that we are not all Ogün Samasts but are aspiring for a free, open and transparent Turkey where all of us, regardless of our ethnic, religious or sectarian affiliations, can prosper.

Türkische KULTURGemeinde in ÖSTERRIECH
Turkish Kultur Association in Austria
Postfach 70, 1010 Wien
01-513 76 15-0 ? Fax: 01-513 76 15-30

Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi
US Congress Speaker
2371 Rayburn HOB
Washington, DC 20515

Re: Let there be peace on earth. Reject hatred and vengeance. Please improve USA image in the world and not create new enemies?

Vienna, 03.01.2007

Dear Representative Pelosi,

I would like to congradulate your new post.

The most likely source of the story of the alleged Armenian genocide must have come to you from people who have been brought up to hate and seek vengeance from childhood by their parents. Hatred and vengeance are the instigators of wars. You are a person who would uphold the law, be unbiased in making laws and reject unfounded racist propaganda.

From 1890’s to 1920 the Armenian Hinchak and Dashnak terrorist organizations were responsible for ethnic cleansing and for massacring over 350 thousand Turks, Kurds and Jews living in Anatolia. They destroyed and burnt down 22 Moslem villages and massacred their residents. Excavations and documentations are being conducted at present. You could visit these sites.You cannot be impartial if you have not read the report of Hovannes Katchaznouni and compared the contents of that report with the misrepresentations and false facts presented by the Armenians of to-day. He was the first Prime Minister of the Armenian Republic before it was annexed by the communist Russian Republics. He was the head of the Armenian Dashnak Party and presented this report to the Dashnak Party conference in 1923 held in Brussels. At that time, the report was published in Armenian. The English translation was published in New York in 1955.

Katchaznouni essentially announced the following:
1. The Armenians tried their hands in uprising, terrorism, assaults, war, defense, organizing political parties, founding a State, etc. There is nothing else we could do but to make peace.
2. Creating the armed Armenian guerillas that came under Russian dominance was a mistake.
3. They had not counted on the segments of the Armenians who were siding with the Turks.
4. Turkey had acted in defense of its existence when it decided on the relocation.
5. Armenians had massacred the Moslem population.
6. There is no one guilty other than the Dashnak organization.

Do you believe in the American value of “Innocent until proven guilty”? This traditional American value is being trampled with in the accusations of the so called “Armenian Genocide”.

When the Ottoman Empire was defeated in WWI the Allies occupied its lands. They imprisoned more than 100 officials and took them to Malta for trial as perpetrators of war crimes. According to article 239 of the Sevr treaty signed by the Ottomans, the Occupying Nations were given complete access to all archives and documents of the Ottoman government. Archive specialists brought in by the Allies studied every document in the files of the Ottoman Government in order to find evidence of crimes committed against humanity. It took them 2 years, 4 months, and 27 days to come up empty handed. Since 1918 there still is no one that can produce a document that will hold up in a court of law. As a result, the High Court of the Allies which resembled somewhat the Nuremberg tribunals decided that there was not sufficient evidence to convict the Turks and released them. Attached are the documentations of these trials. Should you wish you could examine them.

Once proven innocent the retrying for the same crime is un-American when no additional documents of those times can be produced. The Armenians as well as the Russians refused to open their archives. Turkish archives were opened during the occupation and still is completely open and available to anyone. One can find many forged documents invented by Armenians of to-day. Most photos of alleged Armenian dead people could as well be the dead Turks of Erzurum. Museums in Erzurum and Van have the relics from the excavations of the mass graves. As a gesture of good will the Turks asked the Armenians to show where their dead were buried, but received no response.
Looking at the Armenian events from one side only means that you would legitimize the activities of the Hinchak, Dashnak and Asala terrorists whose methods were copied by the Al-Qaeda and you would find killing of Turks by Armenians very acceptable. Is it possible for you to review the works of historians who are not Armenian or Turkish nor employed by the Armenian Diaspora?

“The Diplomacy of Imperialism,” by William L. Langer, A. A. Knoff Publisher, NY, 1935.Mr. Langer received A.B., Ph.D. and honorary LLD degrees from Harvard. He has been awarded an honorary D. Phil. by the University of Hamburg. In July 1946, as a result of his outstanding wartime record, Mr. Langer was awarded the Medal of Merit by President Truman.

“The Armenians,” by C.F. Dixon-Johnson, G. Toulmin & Sons, Northgate, Blackburn, UK, 1916.Mr. Dixon-Johnson was an officer in the UK armed forces which were at war with Turkey. He was designated as a hero of the Boer War. He writes that the purpose of his book was to tell the truth. He adds: “Give a lie twenty-four hours’ start, and it will take a hundred years to overtake it.”


Turkish Kultur Association in Austria
DI Birol Kilic


Affirmation of the United States Record on the Armenian Genocide Resolution (Introduced in House)

1st Session
H. RES. 106

Calling upon the President to ensure that the foreign policy of the United States reflects appropriate understanding and sensitivity concerning issues related to human rights, ethnic cleansing, and genocide documented in the United States record relating to the Armenian Genocide , and for other purposes.


January 30, 2007
Mr. SCHIFF (for himself, Mr. RADANOVICH, Mr. PALLONE, Mr. KNOLLENBERG, Mr. SHERMAN, and Mr. MCCOTTER) submitted the following resolution; which was referred to the Committee on Foreign Affairs



Calling upon the President to ensure that the foreign policy of the United States reflects appropriate understanding and sensitivity concerning issues related to human rights, ethnic cleansing, and genocide documented in the United States record relating to the Armenian Genocide , and for other purposes.


This resolution may be cited as the `Affirmation of the United States Record on the Armenian Genocide Resolution'.

The House of Representatives finds the following:

(1) The Armenian Genocide was conceived and carried out by the Ottoman Empire from 1915 to 1923, resulting in the deportation of nearly 2,000,000 Armenians, of whom 1,500,000 men, women, and children were killed, 500,000 survivors were expelled from their homes, and which succeeded in the elimination of the over 2,500-year presence of Armenians in their historic homeland.

(2) On May 24, 1915, the Allied Powers, England, France, and Russia, jointly issued a statement explicitly charging for the first time ever another government of committing `a crime against humanity'.

(3) This joint statement stated `the Allied Governments announce publicly to the Sublime Porte that they will hold personally responsible for these crimes all members of the Ottoman Government, as well as those of their agents who are implicated in such massacres'.

(4) The post-World War I Turkish Government indicted the top leaders involved in the `organization and execution' of the Armenian Genocide and in the `massacre and destruction of the Armenians'.

(5) In a series of courts-martial, officials of the Young Turk Regime were tried and convicted, as charged, for organizing and executing massacres against the Armenian people.

(6) The chief organizers of the Armenian Genocide , Minister of War Enver, Minister of the Interior Talaat, and Minister of the Navy Jemal were all condemned to death for their crimes, however, the verdicts of the courts were not enforced.

(7) The Armenian Genocide and these domestic judicial failures are documented with overwhelming evidence in the national archives of Austria, France, Germany, Great Britain, Russia, the United States, the Vatican and many other countries, and this vast body of evidence attests to the same facts, the same events, and the same consequences.

(8) The United States National Archives and Record Administration holds extensive and thorough documentation on the Armenian Genocide , especially in its holdings under Record Group 59 of the United States Department of State, files 867.00 and 867.40, which are open and widely available to the public and interested institutions.

(9) The Honorable Henry Morgenthau, United States Ambassador to the Ottoman Empire from 1913 to 1916, organized and led protests by officials of many countries, among them the allies of the Ottoman Empire, against the Armenian Genocide .

(10) Ambassador Morgenthau explicitly described to the United States Department of State the policy of the Government of the Ottoman Empire as `a campaign of race extermination,' and was instructed on July 16, 1915, by United States Secretary of State Robert Lansing that the `Department approves your procedure . . . to stop Armenian persecution'.

(11) Senate Concurrent Resolution 12 of February 9, 1916, resolved that `the President of the United States be respectfully asked to designate a day on which the citizens of this country may give expression to their sympathy by contributing funds now being raised for the relief of the Armenians', who at the time were enduring `starvation, disease, and untold suffering'.

(12) President Woodrow Wilson concurred and also encouraged the formation of the organization known as Near East Relief, chartered by an Act of Congress, which contributed some $116,000,000 from 1915 to 1930 to aid Armenian Genocide survivors, including 132,000 orphans who became foster children of the American people.

(13) Senate Resolution 359, dated May 11, 1920, stated in part, `the testimony adduced at the hearings conducted by the sub-committee of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations have clearly established the truth of the reported massacres and other atrocities from which the Armenian people have suffered'.

(14) The resolution followed the April 13, 1920, report to the Senate of the American Military Mission to Armenia led by General James Harbord, that stated `[m]utilation, violation, torture, and death have left their haunting memories in a hundred beautiful Armenian valleys, and the traveler in that region is seldom free from the evidence of this most colossal crime of all the ages'.

(15) As displayed in the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, Adolf Hitler, on ordering his military commanders to attack Poland without provocation in 1939, dismissed objections by saying `[w]ho, after all, speaks today of the annihilation of the Armenians?' and thus set the stage for the Holocaust.

(16) Raphael Lemkin, who coined the term `genocide' in 1944, and who was the earliest proponent of the United Nations Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of Genocide , invoked the Armenian case as a definitive example of genocide in the 20th century.

(17) The first resolution on genocide adopted by the United Nations at Lemkin's urging, the December 11, 1946, United Nations General Assembly Resolution 96(1) and the United Nations Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of Genocide itself recognized the Armenian Genocide as the type of crime the United Nations intended to prevent and punish by codifying existing standards.

(18) In 1948, the United Nations War Crimes Commission invoked the Armenian Genocide `precisely . . . one of the types of acts which the modern term `crimes against humanity' is intended to cover' as a precedent for the Nuremberg tribunals.

(19) The Commission stated that `[t]he provisions of Article 230 of the Peace Treaty of Sevres were obviously intended to cover, in conformity with the Allied note of 1915 . . ., offenses which had been committed on Turkish territory against persons of Turkish citizenship, though of Armenian or Greek race. This article constitutes therefore a precedent for Article 6c and 5c of the Nuremberg and Tokyo Charters, and offers an example of one of the categories of `crimes against humanity' as understood by these enactments'.

(20) House Joint Resolution 148, adopted on April 8, 1975, resolved: `[t]hat April 24, 1975, is hereby designated as `National Day of Remembrance of Man's Inhumanity to Man', and the President of the United States is authorized and requested to issue a proclamation calling upon the people of the United States to observe such day as a day of remembrance for all the victims of genocide , especially those of Armenian ancestry . . .'.

(21) President Ronald Reagan in proclamation number 4838, dated April 22, 1981, stated in part `like the genocide of the Armenians before it, and the genocide of the Cambodians, which followed it--and like too many other persecutions of too many other people--the lessons of the Holocaust must never be forgotten'.

(22) House Joint Resolution 247, adopted on September 10, 1984, resolved: `[t]hat April 24, 1985, is hereby designated as `National Day of Remembrance of Man's Inhumanity to Man', and the President of the United States is authorized and requested to issue a proclamation calling upon the people of the United States to observe such day as a day of remembrance for all the victims of genocide , especially the one and one-half million people of Armenian ancestry . . .'.

(23) In August 1985, after extensive study and deliberation, the United Nations SubCommission on Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities voted 14 to 1 to accept a report entitled `Study of the Question of the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide ,' which stated `[t]he Nazi aberration has unfortunately not been the only case of genocide in the 20th century. Among other examples which can be cited as qualifying are . . . the Ottoman massacre of Armenians in 1915-1916'.

(24) This report also explained that `[a]t least 1,000,000, and possibly well over half of the Armenian population, are reliably estimated to have been killed or death marched by independent authorities and eye-witnesses. This is corroborated by reports in United States, German and British archives and of contemporary diplomats in the Ottoman Empire, including those of its ally Germany.'.

(25) The United States Holocaust Memorial Council, an independent Federal agency, unanimously resolved on April 30, 1981, that the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum would include the Armenian Genocide in the Museum and has since done so.

(26) Reviewing an aberrant 1982 expression (later retracted) by the United States Department of State asserting that the facts of the Armenian Genocide may be ambiguous, the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia in 1993, after a review of documents pertaining to the policy record of the United States, noted that the assertion on ambiguity in the United States record about the Armenian Genocide `contradicted longstanding United States policy and was eventually retracted'.

(27) On June 5, 1996, the House of Representatives adopted an amendment to House Bill 3540 (the Foreign Operations, Export Financing, and Related Programs Appropriations Act, 1997) to reduce aid to Turkey by $3,000,000 (an estimate of its payment of lobbying fees in the United States) until the Turkish Government acknowledged the Armenian Genocide and took steps to honor the memory of its victims.

(28) President William Jefferson Clinton, on April 24, 1998, stated: `This year, as in the past, we join with Armenian -Americans throughout the nation in commemorating one of the saddest chapters in the history of this century, the deportations and massacres of a million and a half Armenians in the Ottoman Empire in the years 1915-1923.'.

(29) President George W. Bush, on April 24, 2004, stated: `On this day, we pause in remembrance of one of the most horrible tragedies of the 20th century, the annihilation of as many as 1,500,000 Armenians through forced exile and murder at the end of the Ottoman Empire.'.

(30) Despite the international recognition and affirmation of the Armenian Genocide , the failure of the domestic and international authorities to punish those responsible for the Armenian Genocide is a reason why similar genocides have recurred and may recur in the future, and that a just resolution will help prevent future genocides.

The House of Representatives--

(1) calls upon the President to ensure that the foreign policy of the United States reflects appropriate understanding and sensitivity concerning issues related to human rights, ethnic cleansing, and genocide documented in the United States record relating to the Armenian Genocide and the consequences of the failure to realize a just resolution; and

(2) calls upon the President in the President's annual message commemorating the Armenian Genocide issued on or about April 24, to accurately characterize the systematic and deliberate annihilation of 1,500,000 Armenians as genocide and to recall the proud history of United States intervention in opposition to the Armenian Genocide .

How many Samasts we have in Turkey?
Ogün Samast, accused of murdering Hrant Dink, is a 17-year-old hitman. The mastermind behind the act, Yasin Hayal is a former bombing suspect.

With four more of their friends, they were arrested on charges of forming a "gang." Erhan T., who they referred to as "Big Brother," was reported to have frequently informed the police of the act in advance as an informer. As things get complicated with the removal of the Trabzon governor and security director from office, another debate as to the number of potential Ogün Samasts has erupted.
These debates were partially fueled by the statistical data presented in "Women and Men in OECD Countries," a report published by the OECD Statistics Directorate on Jan. 22. According to some flawed interpretations of these statistics, 25 percent of Turkish youth have the potential to become like Ogün Samast.
It seems making correlations between the data presented in the report and the murder of Dink would be a forced one as this report gives an overall evaluation of population, education, labor market, political and economic power, social issues and health. Accordingly, it would be a great unfairness to regard 25 percent of the youth at age of 17 as potential Samasts.
We believe, as the Turkish society is guided by the motto "To kill a person is to kill the entire humanity, and to save a person is to save the entire humanity," the number of the youth who have not received this message would be so high.


Ankara takes Turkish agenda to Washington
February 5, 2007
Turkish Daily News
Foreign Minister Abdullah Gül Iraq, before his departure for the United States yesterday, revealed that the agenda of his talks with top U.S. officials will feature the fight against the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) and an Armenian “genocide” resolution recently introduced in Congress. In addition to talks with Vice-President Dick Cheney on Monday, Gül will meet with his host, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, and the president's National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley the next day. On Wednesday he will visit key lawmakers in Congress.

During his meeting with Rice on Tuesday, Gül is expected to ask the U.S. administration to block a resolution, introduced in January by Democratic and Republican lawmakers, to urge the U.S. government to recognize as genocide the killings of Armenians at the hands of the Ottoman Empire late in the World War I era.

Speaking to reporters at Ankara's Esenboğa Airport before his departure yesterday, in reference to the Armenian resolution likely to pass in U.S. Congress, Gül said he would explain the Turkish thesis and the facts of the history during his talks in Washington. The minister complained of intense propaganda that was leading some politicians to vote for resolutions on historic events, on which they had no knowledge, and cited this as a weakness of the parliamentary system.

“It is our duty to provide information and tell the facts,” he said.

Gül also expressed appreciation over Parliament Speaker Bülent Arınç giving the go-ahead for a group of Turkish lawmakers to lobby in U.S. Congress in an effort to bloc possible adoption of the “genocide” resolution.

The first group of lawmakers will depart on Feb. 10 and deputies will be dispatched to the United States periodically for additional lobbying. As part of their activities, planned both in Washington and New York, lawmakers will present official documents and make it clear that adoption of the genocide resolution will cast a shadow on Turkey-U.S. relations. They are also expected to meet members of the Armenian diaspora.

Turkey denies claims that Armenians were subject to genocide and instead says Armenians were killed or displaced in civil unrest during the disarray surrounding the collapse of the Ottoman Empire. The Turkish government has recently proposed the establishment of a joint commission of Turkish and Armenian academics to study genocide allegations.

Asked what alternatives Turkey was working on to counter the alleged genocide claims, Gül replied, “We had said we'll seek every way including the court option. These are serious studies. … Officials, including former diplomats, are working on this and the steps we take will be announced when we are finished with them.”

Faced with growing international pressure to recognize genocide allegations, the Turkish government has intensified its quest for a new strategy and fresh thinking on the intractable issue that has long tied up Turkey's relations with Armenia and has been working on a possible move to seek international arbitration to settle debate over events in the final years of the Ottoman Empire. . . .

US Jewish lobby to support Turkey to prevent alleged Armenian genocide bill
05 February 2007 Today.Az

Gul will meet with Vice President Dick Cheney, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs Stephen Hadley and a number of leading members of the Congress as well.

He will explain to the US officials the damage of the adoption of the bill on alleged Armenian genocide to the relations between the two countries.

Jewish lobby is said to support Ankara to prevent the bill. Jewish organizations beware of damage to military-strategic alliance of the two countries and US deprivation of Incirlik military base used in operations in Iraq and situated near Iranian borders.

Chairmanship of Nancy Pelosi, who is close to Armenian lobby, to the House of Representatives increases the possibility of discussion and adoption of the bill.

Therefore, three Jewish organizations will try to prevent including the bill on the agenda of the House of Representatives.

hey try to use Rahm Emanuel, the main author of election strategy paving the way of victory for democrats in order to influence Pelosi's position, who is not so close to Jews.

The leader of one of the Jewish organizations told the Turkish journalists that Emanuel should be persuaded of the importance of preventing the bill. Nancy always follows Emanuel's advice.

Turhan Chomaz and Orhan Ziya Diren representing the Turkish government (Justice and Development) and opposition parties will also visit the US tomorrow.

They are expected to meet with congressmen and members of Armenian Diaspora. Yashar Buyukanit Chief of the Turkish General Staff of the Turkish Armed Forces will begin his official visit to Washington on February 11.

Army general Buyukanit will hold meetings with the US military and political leaders. APA

Information pollution clouding Dink investigation
February 5, 2007
A series of developments concerning the investigation of the murder of Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink are gradually obscuring the boundary between fact and fiction, with some newspapers arguing that the information overload is harming the investigation.

Dink, who spoke out about the mass killings of Armenians in the early 20th century, was shot dead outside his newspaper building on Jan.19 in a killing that raised fears Turkey may continue to be a dangerous place for intellectuals who openly express their ideas.

The public saber-rattling on Friday of the Police Department and the Gendarmerie over the video leaked to the press that showed the chief murder suspect, Ogün Samast, posing with security officials was followed by weekend reports that the suspect was receiving preferential treatment in jail along with witness testimonies over the presence of a second person with Samast at the scene of the murder.

Samast has confessed to murdering Dink and was apprehended while returning to his home in Trabzon after the shooting. He was arrested in Samsun and the video appears to have been taken as the Gendarmerie handed over the suspect to the police.

On Friday four police were dismissed and four paramilitary gendarmes were transferred to other parts of Turkey because of the role they played in the scandal, reported the Anatolia news agency.

Someone with Samast:
Yasin Hayal, convicted of bombing a McDonald's restaurant in the past and has been arrested for allegedly providing Samast with a gun and ordering him to kill Dink, is once again center stage with reports in various newspapers saying he was with Samast at the shooting.

The police have dismissed such reports, noting that Hayal was in Trabzon at the time of the murder. Officials have said that security cameras clearly showed there was no one else with Samast at the time of the murder, and that some people were trying to create information pollution in order to confuse investigators.

The witness who said there was another person with Samast had not been present at the scene of the crime, said the police, noting that they had filed a criminal complaint against the person for lying to the police.

Preferential treatment:

There have also been reports about Samast being given preferential treatment in jail; even that he was sleeping on silk sheets.

Istanbul Deputy Chief Prosecutor Aykut Cengiz Engin said Samast was being kept in a prison for inmates under the age of 18 and is in solitary confinement.

“There is no truth in reports about Samast having carpets, a television or silk sheets in his cell. He doesn't have any sheets as a precaution against the possibility of him committing suicide. They are saying he has a huge LCD television. I believe these reports have an ulterior motive.”

‘Deep state':
Suspicions of possible collusion between Samast, seven others charged with the murder and the security forces had already surfaced before the video scandal, when it emerged that authorities had repeatedly ignored warnings that ultra-nationalists planned to kill the journalist.

Even Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has speculated openly about the possible involvement of the “deep state” in the murder, though some analysts say this decades-old concept may be a convenient fiction to cover up official incompetence or neglect.

Deep state generally refers to a loose network of hard-line nationalists working within the security forces and state bureaucracy who are prepared to kill reformers and other perceived threats to Turkey and Atatürk's legacy.

Erdoğan, whose reform-minded government is under fire ahead of elections this year for failing to combat crime, defined the deep state as “gangs within state institutions.”

“We will not allow those in the state sector to organize gangs, ignoring the supremacy of the law and putting emphasis on their own separate values,” the prime minister said on Friday.

The government has sent inspectors to Trabzon – home of Samast, 17, and his co-defendants – to investigate whether local authorities were at fault. It has also recalled the town's governor and police chief.

Hard to combat:
But, reviewing past killings and other unsavory incidents laid at the door of the deep state, many commentators do not expect the government to make much headway.

“The deep state cannot be eradicated because it has no organized structure,” Ankara University's Baskın Oran told Reuters.

“It does not matter if the deep state was directly involved [in Dink's murder] or not. The car has been primed to drive itself,” he said, referring to an increasingly nationalistic atmosphere in Turkey that feeds on violence and intolerance.

“The deep state moves in at the moment when we are about to find something out [about a crime]. It does not necessarily direct the actions themselves.”

Oran, like many other intellectuals, has been given police protection since the Dink murder after he received death threats.

Nationalist-minded academic Hasan Ünal of Ankara's Bilkent University dismissed talk of a “deep state” as an attempt to undermine Turkey's armed forces and patriotism.

“The real culprits are the liberal elite and the Islamic fundamentalists who want to dismantle the Turkish nation state. The main obstacle for them is the military so they call it the deep state and try to link it to murders like this.”

What others say
February 5, 2007
ANKARA - Turkish Daily News
Why was the video sent to the TGRT channel?
Eser KAŞ, Star
A serious upset began when the TGRT news channel released footage showing officers from the police or gendarmerie in the northern city of Samsun posing proudly with slain Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink's ultra-nationalist murderer Ogün Samast.

Before talking about how wretched the incident itself is one must ask, “Why did TGRT accept and release the footage before any other channel?”

I doubt TGRT was the only one to have been sent the video. I think TGRT was the only channel that dared to air the footage.

When one looks at the harsh statement released by the Gendarmerie Command, it is quite obvious that running the footage takes some courage. Furthermore, news stories are already suggesting that TGRT's [media] accreditation has been revoked.

In my opinion, the reason TGRT was the only one that dared to air the footage was its recent purchase by a U.S.-based group. No matter what anyone might say, this gave it the courage to carry out news broadcasting relatively free of our disgusting relationship with interests and balances.

Discussions sparked last year on the sale of media companies to foreigners clearly showed that state officials were against foreign ownership of media companies. They objected then because they clearly sensed that a TV mogul rich enough not to need any of Ankara's deep relationships would not be concerned with obeying its orders either. State officials spoke out against foreign ownership of media companies to ensure the system's sustainability.

Interestingly enough, the statement released by the Gendarmerie Command about the footage did not focus on the malevolence of the recording, but on why this malevolence was relayed to the pubic.

I leave it to the reader to decide whether it is more alarming that those who are heroically posing with the murderer were members of the security forces or that the footage made its way into the media.

It is also impossible to understand why the security force members shown in the footage were reappointed elsewhere. I am really curious to know what part of this country is considered to be good for exile and what part is considered to be a reward.

To put it briefly, the more media companies we have with 51 percent foreign capital, the faster the enlightenment of this country will be.

The Russian mentality of freedom:
Arseniy YEFREMOV, Argumenty i Fakty

Russia has been insulted! The country has deserved the title of “not free state,” which includes countries where political freedoms and citizenship rights are non-existent or are being systematically violated. This is the conclusion of the U.S. human rights group Freedom House, which recently released a report on the state of freedom across the world.

Russia has six points out of seven on a scale evaluating political freedoms (with one indicating the most extensive freedoms) and five points in the citizenship rights rankings.

Our country has the exact same ranking as Rwanda, Qatar, Oman, Pakistan, Kazakhstan, Guinea, Egypt, Congo, Cambodia, Brunei, Azerbaijan, Algeria and Angola. Afghanistan (!), Armenia, Columbia, Honduras, Latvia, Lithonia, Estonia, Mongolia, Ukraine, Uganda and Venezuela have more freedom then we do. However, Russia left behind the United Arab Emirates, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Serbia, Sudan, Somali, Saudi Arabia, North Korea, Libya, Iraq, Iran, Cuba, Byelorussia and China. The regions of the world having the least freedom are Tibet under China, and Chechnya, part of Russia. Interestingly enough, even Abkhazia got the status of a “partly free” region with five points in political freedoms and five in citizenship rights. Western Europe on the other hand is absolutely free and at the same time happens to be the freest part of the world. In the Pacific Asia, 41 percent of the countries are free, 31 percent partly free while 28 percent are not free.

In the Middle East, the least free part of the world, 61 percent of the states are not free (well, this is the price you have to pay in the eyes of the Americans for sharing Islamic beliefs). The political establishment here is as generous as Freedom House in making comments.

The head of the Presidential Council of the Russian Federation, Ella Pamfilova, ruled that the human right's group's conclusions are ridiculous and unprofessional. In her opinion Russia would do just fine without incompetent lectures in how to protect human rights.

She said, “Most haven't considered Freedom House as a human rights group for a long time and it is well known whose interests they serve.” However, she admitted that Russia has a long way to go in human rights. Head of the Federation Council Mikhail Margelov agreed, “Yes we are far from that ideal, but that is the evaluation of only a single human rights group in a time when Russia is a full member of the Council of Europe, the biggest human rights watch dog in the world.”

Finally, the Foreign Ministry of Russia reacted! “Those evaluations are absurd and don't leave any room for comment,” a statement from the ministry's information department said.

And really we don't need to say anything. We are different, with different understandings of freedom. Our freedom is different from the start. Our government here is charismatic just because it's the government. The origins of our democracy are different. If in the U.S. democracy was born with a declaration of independence, a constitution, civil war and slavery – well, our democracy was born many centuries earlier. We love power, simply because it is power. Instead of three weak parties, we'll be happy with a single but strong one. The people of Russia love the strongest. According to the report, in Russia the “independent press organs and representation of the opposition is increasingly marginalized.” A superficial glance would show that there are three state TV channels in the country, which are all the same except for their logos. Even independent press organs try to toe the official line.

Those living there can make calls for the rebirth of neo-Nazism from the columns of newspapers drawing cartoons of Prophet Mohammed. They live in a state where they feel completely protected, where nobody violates traffic rules or is scared to walk outside at night. We don't feel protected. Despite all its love for power, Russia also has a unique wish to circumvent the law. This is why in Russia laws are made to be violated. This is why power is always separate from the personality of the individual. This is why we don't write down the first thing that pops into our minds. Even independent press organs prefer to stand by the government's line in times of chaos.

Nobody can understand that except us, while Americans see the choking of the glory of freedom.

The striking similarities between two terrorists:
Soner YALÇIN, Hürriyet

Both had no “father figure” to look up to. They both liked and played football. Both were unemployed. Both formed their opinions on nationalism from respected elder brothers. They were both convinced that their victims were “traitors.” Both used guns. Before assassinating their victims one prayed in a mosque and the other in a church.

The similarities between the two terrorists, one Turkish and the other Armenian, weren't limited to these.

His name might be Ogün Samast or Arshavir Shiragian. This doesn't change the fact that a terrorist is a terrorist.

Arshavir Shiragian was born in Istanbul in the early 20th century while Ogün was born in 1990 in Trabzon.

Arshavir's father died, Ogün's father left home. Both dropped out of school and both young men were unable to find jobs. They both played football, but were not good players. They garnered their “political” knowledge not by reading, but from chats with friends. Both were members of nationalist organizations. One group was called the “Attic Brigade,” because the organization was founded in an attic, while the other one was called “The Brothers' Organization,” for it was established in a neighborhood coffeehouse.

Their first acts of murder came at an early age: Arshavir was 20; Ogün was 17. Both murders took place in Istanbul, one on Osmanbey Halaskargazi Street, the other on Taksim Tarlabaşı Boulevard.

Both were political murders based on the reason that the victim was a “traitor.”

Ogün Samast murdered journalist Hrant Dink who published the Armenian newspaper Agos, while Arshavir Shiragian murdered Armenian official Vahe Essaian, an Armenian who converted to Islam.

Both ran into the back streets after the murder and both were identified quickly. One was immediately captured, the other fled to Armenia.

Terrorist Arshavir Shiragian continued his murders.

He shot Halim Pasha on Dec. 5, 1921 in Rome. In 1922, he massacred nine people. He came to Istanbul four months after the massacre, but then ran off to France with his terrorist comrades and was not recaptured.

He never returned to Turkey.

Shiragian became a writer and he published the details of the murders and his memoirs in the book “The Legacy,” published by a Boston-based Armenian society. In 1982 the book was published in France with the title, “La dette de SANG” (The Debt of Blood). In 1997 Dr. Kadri Mustafa Orağlı translated the book into Turkish under the title “Confessions of an Armenian Terrorist.” (Kastaş Publications, May 1997.)

We will see what Ogün Samast will do once he gets out of jail. Will he too write a book of his memoirs? Regardless of what the name might be – Arshavir Shiragian or Ogün Samast – terrorism never has a religion, nation or a “sacred purpose.”

The future of freedom in Turkey
SAHIN ALPAY s.alpay@todayszaman.com
If foreign observers of Turkey believe that the main political divide in Turkey is the one between, on the one hand, Islamists who want to thwart the secular regime, and on the other those who want to protect secularism at all costs, they are terribly mistaken. They are equally mistaken if they assume that the main political divide in Turkey is the one between Kurds who want to separate and Turks who want to stop them at all costs. The main political divide in Turkey is not the cleavage between Sunnis and Alevis, between capitalists and laborers, between military and civilians, and not even the one between Europhiles and Euroskeptics. The main cleavage that cuts across all others in Turkey today is the one between those who want the country to move further towards a truly liberal and pluralist democracy and those who oppose it either out of anti-democratic ideological convictions or for fear of losing entrenched interests and privileges.

In Turkey today there are, on the one side, social and political forces that support change towards a society where citizens -- irrespective of political conviction, language, religion, ethnicity or gender -- live together in peace, freedom and mutual respect and towards a country that is increasingly prosperous, stable and respected worldwide. These are confronted, on the other side, by those whose priority is to preserve a conservative and authoritarian society that discriminates between citizens on the basis of political conviction, language, religion, ethnicity and gender, a country where restrictions on freedom and oppression prevail.

The reactionary alliance, which has a marginal following, lacks arguments to win over citizens who possess a minimum amount of reason and common-sense. In order to be able to broaden its ranks, its members claim that Turkey today finds itself under circumstances worse than the days of foreign occupation at the end of the First World War, when in reality the country has advanced both in terms of democratization and economic development. They brand as “traitors” all those who do not share their views, and declare Turkey to be “the country in the world which produces the greatest number of traitors.” They place their hopes on spreading a racist kind of nationalism, a fanatical kind of secularism or a fundamentalist kind of religion. They argue that reforms towards EU accession are simply moves imposed by “imperialist powers” to pave the way for the dismemberment of the country, or an Islamist takeover, or both. Some among them openly call for a military takeover, and many advocate a militaristic foreign policy. They incite hatred towards those who demand broader freedom and democracy by appealing to fears, prejudices and intolerance. Hrant Dink was surely a victim of the hate campaign against democratic and patriotic forces conducted by this reactionary alliance that is composed of fundamentalist secularists, ethnic-racist nationalists, radical Islamists, and former communists who have turned outright fascists.

The tens of thousands of people of all ethnic and religious origins who marched behind the coffin of Hrant Dink, a foremost representative of the patriotic and progressive forces, have shown the country and the whole world that the vast majority of the people in Turkey support the consolidation of a liberal and pluralist democracy. Turkey’s civil society in general and business class in particular has demonstrated that it firmly stands behind the continuation of political and economic reforms.

It is not just in the interest of the country but also of the ruling Justice and Development Party, not to give in further to the authoritarian conservative elements in its own ranks, but to regain the transformative energy it displayed during its first two years in power, and respond to the demands of the vast majority for broader freedom. If the West in general, and the EU in particular are truly convinced that preservation and consolidation of democracy in Turkey is in their interest, it is necessary that they avoid policies that play in the hands of the reactionary alliance which aims at nothing less then pulling Turkey out of the civilized world.

Anti-Americanism, nationalism and the US Congress
IHSAN DAGI i.dagi@todayszaman.com
It is back on the stage again. A resolution calling the treatment of the Armenians by the late Ottoman state in 1915 genocide has been introduced to the American House of Congress. Given the support for the proposed resolution by the Democrat majority and a mixture of inability and unwillingness on the part of the Bush Administration, the resolution is likely to pass this year.

As well, the latest initiative follows murder of Hrant Dink. Not just the murder, but also the scandalous treatment of the murderer by the security forces - these certainly increase the likelihood of its approval by the US congress.

It is crystal clear that if the genocide resolution passes it will have tremendous implications, both on the conduct of Turkish-American relations and Turks’ perception of the US. Afterwards it will be extremely difficult to make anyone believe in an alliance with the US, let alone strategic partnership, a trend that had started long ago. However a new strategic concept still justifying a partnership can be devised by officials from both sides in an attempt to repair the alliance. But the damage inflicted on the public perception of the US within Turkey would not be restored for a long time. It will give a strong push to the already heated nationalism, with strong implications for Turkish domestic politics, and force the Turkish government to go along with a more aggressive foreign policy, the first sign of which would be a unilateral intervention in Northern Iraq

We should therefore expect a peak in the resentment, disappointment and distrust among Turkish people directed towards the USA, an attitude labeled as anti-Americanism. There are already some hard data pointing to the phenomena of a widespread anti-Americanism. According to a public opinion poll conducted in 2006 by Pollmark, a public opinion research company, 82 percent of Turks have a negative view of President Bush, 80 percent oppose US policies in the world and 84 percent oppose the occupation of Iraq by the American troops. Moreover, 73 percent do not want the Turkish government to co-operate with the US in Iraq, while 44 percent regard the US as the greatest obstacle to a permanent peace in the Middle East followed by 34 percent believing the same about Israel. Maybe the most alarming figure is that 31 percent of Turkish people consider a direct military intervention in Turkey by US troops as a distinct possibility in the near future, a shocking result after decades of alliance between the two countries.

No doubt prevalence of such a public image of the US and US policies complicates the management of a co-operative relationship with the US, which will certainly be much worse if the bill is endorsed by the congress. It will be a perfect ground on which a xenophobic notion of nationalism will infiltrate further into the minds and the hearts of the Turkish people, overlapping and vindicating the nationalist worldview that the world comes together to destroy Turkey, that it does not have any friends in the world, and that to fight against the enemies surrounding the country requires a uniform society and authoritarian politics.

If the members of US American congress think that they will be better off when xenophobic nationalists rule this country then they should go ahead and approve the resolution, which will certainly bring those xenophobic forces even closer to power. But not only this country, but also the US will also be the losers.

Democrats in the US congress should think twice before losing the sympathy of the Turks. Anti-Americanism was before explained by many as a reaction of Turkish people to the policies of the Bush administration, and as such less of a persisting anti-American trend as much as a temporary anti-Bush and anti-administration resentment.
Therefore some, remembering the Clinton era, believe that the relationship will return to its normal course after an expected Democrat victory in the next presidential elections. It is important to keep this door open for a new start when a democrat is elected into the White House. Democrats have the chance to maintain the hope alive for a working strategic partnership between the two countries by rejecting the proposed resolution.

The banality of evil
OMER TASPINAR o.taspinar@todayszaman.com
The aftershocks of Hrant Dink’s murder reveal something deeply disturbing about Turkey. I am, of course, referring to images of security forces proudly posing with the young murderer. What made that particular scene so disturbing was its familiarity. After all, these police officers are hardly alone in Turkey. They are ordinary Turkish citizens with ordinary feelings. Looking too deep for the deep state may cause us to miss what is so obvious on the surface. The police officers posing with the murderer did not come from the moon. Nor did the crazed masses in football stadiums chanting “We are all Ogün Samast.” The defenders of Article 301, or editorialists in search of empathy for the murderer are also not exceptions. These people are all products of our failed and increasingly failing education system. An education system that is unable to promote civic patriotism without fueling xenophobic nationalism. An education system that produces rote learning instead of critical thinking. And most disturbingly, an education system that blindly promotes a personality cult at the expense of the real merits of democracy.

It is not a coincidence that the majority of ordinary Turkish citizens lack democratic virtues when our education is so pathetic. When ultranationalism is the norm, the evils associated with it look increasingly banal. This is why we need to avoid conspiracies about the deep state. There is no conspiracy. What we have is the banality of evil living amongst us. This concept of the banality of evil came into prominence thanks to Hannah Arendt’s 1963 book “Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil,” which was based on the trial of the Adolph Eichmann, in Israel. Arendt’s thesis was that people who carry out unspeakable crimes, like Eichmann, a top administrator in the machinery of the Nazi death camps, may not be exceptional fanatics at all but rather ordinary individuals who simply accept the premises of their state and participate in any ongoing enterprise with the energy of good bureaucrats.

Doing terrible things in an organized and systematic way often rests on “normalization.” This is the process whereby ugly, degrading, murderous, and unspeakable acts become routine and are accepted as “the way things are.” Similar dynamics are at play in today’s Turkey. The political class, mass media and state bureaucracy are all responsible for fueling a schizophrenic and paranoiac form of nationalism. A culture of victimization where the Sevres treaty defines yesterday, today and tomorrow is deeply ingrained in our nationalist psyche. This is also why Turkey’s conspiracy-prone public debate is increasingly producing an anti-European, anti-American, anti-Kurd, anti-Armenian and anti-liberal nationalism.

We have an incorrigible sense of insecurity. Such fear and insecurity are evident in the opening word “Do not Fear !!” of our national anthem. Yet we still fear. And such fear produces lack of tolerance. We have transformed the founding ideology of our republic into a reflex against imagined enemies such Orhan Pamuk, Elif Safak, Hrant Dink, Atilla Yayla and many others. It is time to get serious and realize that our fear offers no solution to any of the problems we are facing. We have nothing to fear but the fear itself.

Our Kurdish dilemma, our problems with political Islam, our relentless anti-Americanism and growing anti-Europeanism cannot be solved with more nationalism. Turkey’s already difficult chances of becoming a member of the European Union ultimately depend on Ankara’s willingness to deal with the country’s ethnic and religious identities in a less authoritarian and more tolerant manner. As long as the country continues to justify its reluctance to establish a civic understanding of nationalism and a more tolerant style of secularism, the political and cultural distance between Turkey and Europe will widen. Ironically, Mustafa Kemal’s Westernization program was designed to achieve the contrary.

Scandalous images cause stir in Turkey
FATMA DISLI f.disli@todayszaman.com
Turkey suffered another controversial shock with a development related to the murder of journalist Hrant Dink. Video footage of 17-year-old Ogün Samast, Dink's alleged killer, posing in front of a Turkish flag and holding another flag next to security officials sent shockwaves across Turkey when first broadcast on Turkish television Thursday night. In the ensuing controversy, the question where these photos were taken arose and quickly a conflict between the gendarmerie, Turkey's military internal security forces, and the national police developed. The commonly-held view is that the scandalous images are something to be ashamed of. But there are opposite views as well, claiming that some people are trying to foment divisions among the security units of this country who share policing and law enforcement responsibilities.

Yeni Şafak's Kürşat Bumin thinks it would be a waste of time to try and find out where those scandalous images were taken, either in the gendarmerie or in the police post. He urges that both units operate under the interior ministry. "So, it is first and foremost Interior Minister Abdülkadir Aksu's duty to give the public an explanation about these images," he says. Bumin thinks that Aksu should hand in his resignation by admitting that the appearance of such images is an indicator of failure in maintaining the rule of law in a country. He explains that this situation is so grave, even beyond anyone's expectations, stressing this incident cannot be explained with traditional sayings like "this is an isolated event" or "it is the fault of individuals not the whole organization." Bumin says officials should give up making statements like "we are sorry to see such images" and admit that they are facing a grave situation. "The mentality of those who are responsible for maintaining peace and security in our society should be revised, and members of the gendarmerie and police should be reminded that Turkey is a country where there is the rule of law, and this should be made clear by implementing heavy sanctions if necessary," Bumin asserts.

Radikal's Hasan Celal Güzel is at odds with Bumin in that these images are an indicator of a serious situation. He claims that the appearance and distribution of these images are part of a plan to build an image of the deep state in Turkey. He comments that some circles want to create a conflict between the police and gendarmerie in Turkey. "No one can show the police and gendarmerie of this country as being racist or discriminatory," asserts Güzel. He recalls similar cases in Turkey where even murderers and terrorists posed before the Turkish flag with the equipment they used in committing their murders. He says that there were even times when ministers of this country had their photos taken with terrorists. Güzel explains that it is not because those people appreciated those criminals, but because they were pleased with being able to arrest those criminals; just as it was the case in Samast's arrest. He says it is a very ugly claim to think those officers had their photos taken with Samast because they regarded him as a hero.

Star's Mehmet Altan explains that being a public official means adopting the principle of the rule of law. If this is replaced by sympathy for killers, this means that society is headed toward disintegration. He says those responsible are mixing up sympathy for killers with nationalism. If they really loved their nations they would not have cause such damage to their country because the entire world saw those scandalous images which really stained Turkey's image, Altan remarks.

News pollution
Too much news isn't always good for reaching the truth. In fact too much news can usually lead to confusion.
Does the poster with the flag, the intimate photos with the murderer, the celebrating welcome at the prison and the news which claims the man who directed the murder was at the scene of the crime, shed any more light? Not many have heeded the news published in Yeni Şafak saying that the police had been informed of the murder months before. But the pictures of the assailant holding the Turkish flag and standing next to police officers are being published everywhere. At this point, my only suggestion would be to close your eyes and ears to news pollution.


Turkey faces world jury after editor's killing
By Andrew Borowiec
February 4, 2007
NICOSIA, Cyprus -- The bullet that killed a Turkish-Armenian newspaper editor last month has put Turkey and its legal system before a world jury.

Hrant Dink, editor of the Agos weekly, died because an unemployed 17-year-old boy, Ogun Samast, claimed the editor had insulted "Turkishness," a concept that enshrines as sacrosanct the country's identity, state institutions and its army.
Critics of the concept are treated as criminals under Article 301 of Turkey's criminal code. Prominent writers, including Nobel Prize winner Orhan Pamuk, have been tried under the article.
The young assassin apparently acted according to the principles of patriotism instilled in him and in millions of others. His victim was a critic of some of the acts protected by a system he judged to be unjust and was a member of the Armenian minority all but extinct in Turkey.
Turkish liberals, international human rights organizations and European editorial writers demand a change in Article 301, which, if retained in its current form, is likely to keep Turkey out of the European Union. Turkey's EU membership negotiations are now stalled.

EU entry at risk
At Mr. Dink's funeral under the gray January sky of Istanbul, mourners carried placards denouncing the "301 Killer."
In Strasbourg, France, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, an advisory body, formally asked for changes in Turkey's criminal code, saying it "judicially limits freedom of expression and validates legal and other attacks against journalists."

Under the pressure of Mr. Dink's assassination, liberals hope for evolution in Turkish attitudes and laws, but rising nationalism across the country and the issues involved in parliamentary and presidential elections this year appear to preclude a change in the foreseeable future.

The country has become steeped in chauvinism, with schoolchildren reciting one of the favorite slogans of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, founder of the Turkish Republic: "Lucky is he who can say, 'I am a Turk,' " and troops on parade roar, "One Turk is worth the whole world."

Although Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan promised to submit a review of Article 301 to parliament, his absence at the funeral that drew about 100,000 mourners was seen as less than encouraging.
"Evidently, the prime minister is unwilling to lose nationalist votes," commented the daily Kathimerini in Athens.

Disagreement punished
Headlines across Europe expressed shock, concern and the problem of a country that has yet to conform to European concepts of morality and politics but protects its system from criticism and punishes those who disagree.
There were no clear-cut answers after two weeks of soul-searching and analysis, with most analysts concluding that Turkey has been wounded. It is aware of the extent of the problem but cannot easily come to grips with the implications of Mr. Dink's slaying.
According to the assessment of one Western embassy, the killing shows a "dangerous conflict, which pervades state and society in Turkey."
"The bullets that brought Dink down also wounded Turkey's hopes for better days," said Greek political commentator Nikos Konstandaras. "The battle for the country's future looks difficult."
On the island of Cyprus, where Turkish guns imposed the security of the Turkish-Cypriot minority, the English-language Cyprus Mail described the situation in Turkey as "pathological nationalism nurtured by the state, by its worship of the founding father, its obsession with the flag, its violent sensitivity to anyone who insults the nation."

Ataturk's mixed legacy
In Western Europe, analysts generally agree that Turkish nationalism has been nourished by political credos and myths rooted in the ideology of Ataturk, who founded the republic in the 1920s on the ruins of the Ottoman Empire.
"Dark nationalist forces rise in Turkey" was the headline in Kathimerini, the Athens daily.
Thus, nearly 70 years after the death of Ataturk, his effort to instill national awareness and pride in the population has stumbled over unsolved issues that include:
• The demand of Turkey's Kurdish minority for recognition of its language and culture, which has led to a stubborn guerrilla war that so far has claimed 38,000 lives and devastated entire villages.
• The slaughter of an estimated 1.5 million Armenians during World War I and a forced march across the desert sands to Syria, a massacre whose extent Turkey refuses to acknowledge to this day.
• The dominant role of the Turkish army, self-imposed guardian of Ataturk's heritage and of the country's republican system.
• Turkey's military presence in the north of the independent island of Cyprus, where a separate state under Turkey's protection has been established.
Kurds denied self-rule
Occasional explanations offered by Turkish officials over the years have shown little intention for significant compromise or an admission of wrongdoing.
Thus the demands of the Kurds, particularly for some form of ethnic autonomy, are seen as dynamite under the foundations of the republic. The Armenian massacres of 300,000 victims -- according to the official version -- were caused by the role of the Armenians as a "fifth column" aiding Russia in its war against Turkey.
The Turkish military presence in Cyprus is essential, Turkish officials say, to guarantee the safety of the Turkish-Cypriot minority on the divided island.
While Turkey has found some international sympathy for its stand on Cyprus, its refusal to admit the nature and extent of the Armenian massacres has caused diplomatic clashes, problems and condemnation from Western governments.
Unlike Germany's atonement for Nazi crimes, particularly the Holocaust, Turkey has shown no such inclination on the Armenian issue and has shrugged off all international appeals to acknowledge the 90-year-old atrocities. Today, an estimated 60,000 Armenians live in Turkey -- most of them in Istanbul -- the remnant of 2 million at the start of World War I.

France raises pressure
One of the latest examples of foreign pressure on Turkey was the adoption last October by the lower house of the French parliament of a draft law calling for up to one year in jail and a heavy fine for anyone who denies that the massacre of Armenians was genocide.
Ankara denounced the bill as a "heavy blow" to bilateral relations, but no economic sanctions followed. However, the Turkish army announced it was "freezing" military contacts with France. Both countries are NATO members, though France is not part of the alliance's military structure.
Although, under European Union pressure, Turkey has taken considerable steps toward reducing the military's political role, the army remains the country's most respected institution, though some critics call it "a political lobby with heavy weapons."

It is generally assumed in Turkey that political chaos or any form of internal turmoil would cause military intervention, as it did three times in the 20th century. In every case, the army purged the political establishment and returned to barracks when it judged that the country's stability was no longer threatened.
Turkey's ambition to join the EU is not new. The concept of "moving westward" originated with Ataturk, who introduced by fiat an ambitious program for the country's "Westernization." While not denying Ataturk's achievements, some historians say the reforms were superficial, without significant effects on the national mentality.

Though a penchant for Islamic fundamentalism is increasingly felt across Turkey, particularly in light of its EU membership application, little is being said of Ataturk's attack on the religion he thought to be the main obstacle to Turkey's European aspirations.
He abolished the Muslim Caliphate -- the reign of successors to the prophet Muhammad -- banned the teaching of religion in schools and the wearing of the fez, the red tapering man's felt hat once considered to be the Turkish national headgear. He also changed Turkey's Arabic alphabet to the Latin form and freed women from purdah -- their seclusion from most male contact.
The banning of the fez, replaced by European caps and hats, had more than a superficial implication: the brimless fez allowed Muslims to touch the ground with their heads while praying, while hats symbolized the non-Muslim West.

Ataturk's reforms profoundly affected the Turkish army, which has become their main defender. Typical was the case of Maj. Fethi Gurcan, one of the authors of the failed 1962 military putsch, sentenced to death after a three-month trial, who declared:
"Ataturk is dead, but he has not ceased to exist. I shall now die, but Ataturk's ideals, through my death, will acquire yet higher value."

Turks in Europe: Why are we afraid?
by Stephen Twigg
There is a new political contest about the relationship between the European Union and its 'national' components, and how they all should deal with 'outsiders'. The prospect of Turkey's entry to the EU has triggered a remarkable outburst of fear and anxiety in some member states. Voters know that issues of national identity, the economy, social welfare and future migration are all tied up in some rather momentous way with Turkey's projected accession, but cannot see too clearly how. This pamphlet, published by The Foreign Policy Centre, tries to bring the argument back down to the individual level.

The prospect of Turkey’s entry into the European Union has triggered a remarkable outburst of fear and anxiety in some European member states. In France, many voters that rejected the constitutional treaty in France cited Turkey’s prospective membership as one of the reasons.
This is awkward for Britain, which has taken a strategic lead in ushering Turkey into the EU.

British diplomats are working desperately behind the scenes to ensure that the British Presidency is not overshadowed by the collapse of the accession talks. While EU member states agreed last December for the first round of negotiations to go ahead, the rejection of the constitutional treaty gave fresh impetus to those who had nursed the deepest reservations about this historic step in the development of the EU.

In France, Dominique de Villepin has already demanded that an extra hurdle be placed in Turkey’s way, calling upon the Turks to recognise the present Republic of Cyprus before the talks can resume. Similarly, Angela Merkel, has made opposition to Turkey’s membership her flagship foreign policy during the election campaign. Turkey, she argues, should enjoy a ‘privileged partnership’ with the EU – a euphemism for second-class status – a proposal that has backing in other, smaller member states such as Austria.

Despite this strong opposition, it is still likely that – as so often in the deliberations of the EU – a face-saving diplomatic fudge will be negotiated behind the scenes. A probable compromise will be that enlargement criteria generally will be toughened, without singling Turkey out. Thus, the issue will be kept at bay, without the explicit rejection of Turkey’s membership. It is not difficult to imagine how potentially damaging and perhaps disastrous such diplomatic gamesmanship could be when reported in the Turkish media.

It is lazy to write this off as another EU fiasco. The real problem lies in the fear that the governments of certain member states have of their own publics. It cannot be argued often enough, or forcefully enough, that it is in our collective economic, geo-political and strategic interest to bring our key ally in the Muslim world into the EU. European politicians are rightly sceptical of the American inclination to see a ‘clash of civilisations’ in the 21st Century. At the same time, in the wake of 9/11, the Madrid bombings and the attacks on London, we cannot hide from the problem of militant Islam and its appeal to young Muslims living in the West. Here is a supremely important opportunity to welcome a secularised Muslim state into the family of European nations.

But hope will not win over fear unless we understand what makes Europeans frightened of Turkey’s membership. We have to grasp why so many are so afraid, and the role that labour market crowding and supposedly ‘insurmountable’ cultural differences play in nurturing these anxieties.

As Sarah Schaefer argues in this pamphlet, some countries such as Germany that have large Turkish populations fear further migration because they have not yet come to terms with the post-war influx of Turks. Rather than integrating migrants into German society, successive German governments have pursued the opposite policy. The result has been the emergence of so-called ‘parallel societies’ where Turks and Germans live alongside each other, often without subscribing to the same set of basic values and even without speaking the same language.
Many Turks living in Germany are economically disadvantaged, with unemployment biting particularly hard among the younger generation. In a country that is suffering from soaring joblessness, anxiety about further immigration is inevitable.

But millions of Turks already live in Germany and their alienation from mainstream German society cannot continue if that country wants to preserve a civilised level of social cohesion. Citizenship classes and a fresh focus on German language lessons have a part to play in drawing in the younger generation and ensuring that they feel a sense of belonging. This should be all about empowerment, rather than indoctrination. Common citizenship brings freedom as well as responsibility.

That said, integration is a two-way street, which is one of many reasons why Turkish membership of the EU is about much more than trade and defence. Accession would send a powerful signal not only to Turkey itself, but to those of Turkish extraction already living in Europe; it would be a dramatic step forward in the history of European multi-culturalism and in the more urgent efforts, post-9/11, to find ways of ensuring that Muslims and non-Muslims can live side by side. In the long term, Turkish membership might encourage the emergence of a truly modern, European version of Islam: that is a form of Muslim living that also incorporates a basic set of European values, women’s equality and human rights.

This in turn adds urgency to the task of European self definition and identity. To what, exactly, are we inviting new entrants to the EU to integrate? The past fifty years of migration are a story of mixed success. In a world of hectic mobility and change, we will need to be more confident of our own values and the boundaries we set. The prospect of Turkish accession is a welcome opportunity to revisit these questions.

The debacle surrounding the No votes in France and the Netherlands on the EU Constitution in May and June this year show that voters in those countries are unhappy with the way their governments are handling this rapid change. Much has been said linking the No votes to opposition to Turkey’s EU accession. Yet, as Greg Austin and Kate Parker argue in their paper, public disaffection toward Turkey’s accession is due more to general disaffection with enlargement of the EU. The real discontent and confusion seems tied more to migration and identity issues at a general rather than to any specific aversion toward Turks and Turkey.
So far, the British public seems untroubled by the prospect of Turkey’s membership. This may be explained by the low levels of unemployment in Britain and the heterogeneity of the Turkish-speaking ethnic group in this country. Many British Turks were granted full citizenship a long time ago, and the vast majority speak English.

This, more than the fate of the constitutional treaty, is the EU’s moment of truth in 2005. History will not judge us kindly if we fail to treat Turkey with respect, and – in so doing – signal to our own ethnic minorities that we have little faith in their capacity to integrate, or of others to follow them. Translated from political rhetoric into social reality, ‘privileged partnership’ is a shabby offer to make to the millions of Turks that already live in Europe. What will future generations say about us if we turn our backs now, with so much at stake, and so much to gain, on the best Muslim friend we have?


The End of an Era in the Armenian Genocide Debate: Will Recognition Lead to a Turkish Policy Transformation?
By Mehmet Kalyoncu
2/5/2007 (Balkanalysis.com)
If Turkey gives up its opposition to potential US recognition of the atrocities between Turks and Armenians that took place during World War One as ? “genocide,” will its diplomatic hand ultimately be strengthened? The following article argues that this just might be the case.

What should have happened ninety-two years ago in 1915 is finally likely to happen in 2007. Both Houses of the U.S. Congress are expected to pass a resolution that recognizes the bitter WWI experience of the Turkish Armenians as genocide after it is discussed in the House Foreign Relations Committee in April. Ankara reflexively and as usual warned Washington that bilateral relations may be damaged to a degree never before seen. A similar resolution was stopped in the year 2000 due to Turkish diplomatic pressure. But times have changed.

For many Turks, passing the resolution will verify their suspicions of the unfaithful friendship of the United States. Ankara is right when it maintains that bilateral relations would be damaged severely during a period in which the United States needs a reliable ally in the Middle East. Nevertheless, by acknowledging the distinction between recognizing the so-called Armenian genocide and letting the U.S. Congress recognize it, Ankara could actually benefit by letting the latter happen.

A sizeable part of the Turkish public, from officials to intellectuals and ordinary men on the street, view the recognition of the so-called Armenian genocide by the US Congress as an opportunity to break free from an area of coercion in the United States’ allegedly unfaithful friendship, and from an almost century-long hysteria surrounding the question of “what if the United States recognizes the so-called genocide?” In this regard, the recognition of the so-called genocide seems to present a more of a threat to the interests of the United States than to those of Turkey.

Recognizing the So-Called Armenian Genocide
Mr. Turgut Ozal, former President and Prime Minister of Turkey, was among the first who sought to get rid of the hysteria by signaling a tacit approval of recognizing the so-called genocide in 1991. However, Ozal had to back up when political opponent Suleyman Demirel, some high-ranking generals and the secular establishment accused him of not being sensitive to this most important national matter. Nuzhet Kandemir, then Turkish Ambassador to the US, ironically and yet somehow proudly notes that he managed to convince Ozal to believe that such an approval would not serve the Turkish national interests.[1] More ironically, Ilter Turkmen, former Minister of Foreign Affairs, suggests that Ozal did not in fact believe in what he said, but just seemed so in order to stimulate a debate when he asked if it would not be better for Turkey to recognize the so-called genocide.[2]

It is not clear whether Ozal thought the same way, but today it seems like the “genocide card” is destined to lose its value dramatically as a foreign policy instrument against Turkey once the United States, the long-time strategic ally of Turkey, recognizes the so-called Armenian genocide. For so many years, thinks the majority of the Turkish public, especially the Western European countries and the United States have exploited the genocide question as a stick to beat Turkey when the carrot did not indulge her. Today, US recognition is likely to make the genocide issue much less effective as a foreign policy instrument; with the threat of it gone, Turkey will be freed of a longstanding preoccupation in its relations with the United States.

Although there is no unanimity among them, some in the media and secular circles have speculated about the aftermath of the genocide recognition and foresee potential sanctions against Turkey. These speculations are often countered in the public debate by questions such as: What happened after France long ago passed the resolution in its parliament? What happened even after France declared it a crime not to recognize the so-called Armenian genocide? Would the case be any different with the United States?

International criminal law does not provide a guideline to deal with historical atrocities, argues Swedish historian Bertil Dunér.[3] Yet international law suggests the creation of an international expert body representing both historians and the legal profession to investigate such historical cases, and arrive at an eventual condemnation of the responsible party or parties. This is actually not much different from what Turkey, especially during the AK Party government, has been advocating.

Whether the U.S. recognition makes any difference is something to be seen in the future. However, it is not difficult to argue for now that such recognition will have implications at multiple levels.

Possible Implications of the US Congress’ Recognition
Turkey and Armenia are likely to gain from the US recognition of the so-called genocide, while the United States is likely to lose in the long term. First of all, the recognition will bring an end to a prolonged era throughout which Turkey has suffered continuous hysteria when considering the implications of the United States recognizing the so-called Armenian genocide. Consequently, by the end of its de facto liability to the United States for not recognizing the so-called genocide, Turkey is likely to increase its bargaining power against the US in their bilateral relations. Secondly, Turkish foreign policy, which has essentially revolved around three issues throughout the republic’s history (defending against Armenian genocide allegations, Cyprus, and relations with Greece), is likely to gain momentum that could be developed down lesser-explored avenues such as increasing bilateral relations with non-Western states.

Armenia has suffered profound economic hardship since the break-up of the USSR. Some of this would have been lessened had the country been able to develop economic relations with its immediate neighbor to the west. However, the Armenian Diaspora’s continuous efforts to inflict pain on Turkey in the international arena have not helped in this capacity. Beside its occupation of Azerbaijani territory adjoining Karabagh, Armenia’s constitutionally certified territorial claims on areas of Eastern Turkey caused Turkey to impose a blockade on Armenia, shutting off Yerevan’s road and rail links to the West.[4]

However, with the Turkish people’s overwhelming show of sympathy following the recent murder of Turkish Armenian intellectual Hrant Dink, Armenia’s Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Arman Kirakosyan stressed his government’s readiness to open full diplomatic relations with Turkey unconditionally.[5] Such a gesture hints that in the absence of the Diaspora influence, Turkey and Armenia are likely to sort out the problems hindering the two countries’ ability to engage in bilateral political and economic relations.

What is in it for the United States?
What are the pros and cons of the US recognizing the so-called Armenian genocide? Rep. Frank Pallone (D-NJ) notes, “[t]o truly dedicate ourselves to improving human rights across the world, our government must first learn from and properly condemn the mistakes of the past”[6] in order to express the rational behind his introduction of the Armenian Genocide Resolution. He is right in that the U.S. government should learn from and properly condemn the mistakes of the past, but it hardly needs to look at the mistakes of others or go that far back into history when it has more than enough of its own indiscretions to use for that educative purpose. Understandably, however, Pallone may not be able to distinguish between his own electoral interests and the US national interests.

US-Turkish relations are unlikely to radically change due to the Congress’ recognition of the so-called genocide. Nor is Turkey likely to take any radical action against the United States for that matter, given the fact that it needs the US support to deal with the Kurdish PKK separatists and the looming crisis in northern Iraq, over Kirkuk. Nevertheless, the very fact that the United States recognizes the so-called genocide would entail structural changes in Turkey’s foreign policy orientation, which would indirectly rather than directly impact the US-Turkish relation in the long term.

Diminishing Influence of the “White Turks”
There are likely to be losers on the Turkish side of the debate as well once the so-called genocide is recognized by the US Congress. These will include mainly the exclusivist and elitist secular establishment in the state apparatus, its extension within the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Ankara, and their contacts in Washington, who have been reportedly lobbying on behalf of Turkey. Throughout the republic’s history, a small number of elite members and diplomats have been considered to have the decisive influence on Turkey’s foreign policy orientation, formulation and implementation, serving as a conduit between Ankara and Washington. This diplomatic elite has earned the popular moniker, Beyaz Turkler (“White Turks”), and frequently derive from familial dynasties, some non-Anatolian in origin. The name implies a sort of “untouchable,” elevated image compared to the unwashed masses.

The prolonged conflicts such as the Armenian genocide issue, Cyprus, Turkish-Greek relations, which pretty much constituted the triad of Turkish foreign policy in the second half of the 20th century, entailed an exclusivist foreign policy apparatus independent of whatever particular government was in office. Understandably, dealing with such conflicts required diplomatic expertise and personal connections in Washington. Yet some have speculated that by prolonging these conflicts, the very exclusivist “White Turks” elite has kept the Ministry of Foreign Affairs immune from the more traditional-minded bulk of Turkish society, the so-called “Black Turks,” and maintained their grip on the country’s foreign affairs.

Winds of Change in Turkish Foreign Policy
Nevertheless, in the recent years the so-called White Turks grip on Turkish foreign policy, which is marked simply by an unconditional attachment to the West, has started to diminish gradually. Turkish foreign policy has gained multiple dimensions with the AK Party’s efforts to reach out to Central Asia, Middle East, Africa and even Latin America. This new foreign policy orientation has thus opened the door to those intellectuals who speak the languages, know the cultures, or have even lived in these new regions of interest.

This expansion of interests represents a welcome breath of fresh air for a foreign policy establishment that has become somewhat close-minded due to a limited orientation traditionally focused on a few narrow issues. By reaching out to other corners of the globe, Turkey will develop for itself a more sophisticated and cosmopolitan mindset and inevitably a more prestigious place on the global stage.

The most significant example of the new breed of foreign policy intellectuals is probably Dr. Ahmet Davutoglu, foreign affairs counselor to the Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs. He was allegedly the most influential thinker who crafted the new multi-dimensional foreign policy paradigm of the AK Party government, which resulted in closer relations of Turkey with its immediate neighbors such as Syria, Saudi Arabia, and even Iran. The US Congress’ recognition of the so-called Armenian genocide should only speed up the transformation within the Turkish foreign policy apparatus, which is in any case already underway, by eliminating a nagging issue that has for too long forced Turkey to expend its political capital in an investment promising little return.

[1] “Soykirimi tanisak daha iyi olmaz mi – Would it not be better if we recognize the genocide”, Hurriyet 7, March 2005, available at http://hurarsiv.hurriyet.com.tr/goster/haber.aspx?viewid=546223

[2] Ibid

[3] Bertil Dunér, “What Can Be Done about Historical Atrocities? The Armenian Case” International Journal of Human Rights, Vol. 8, No. 2, pp. 217–233, Summer 2004

[4] Jon Gorvett, “Armenia, Turkey Takes Steps towards Rapprochement,” May 29, 2002, available at http://www.eurasianet.org/departments/insight/articles/eav052902.shtml

[5] “Cenazede gordukleri tablo Ermeni diasporasini sasirtti” Zaman, January 25, 2007, available at http://www.zaman.com.tr/webapp-tr/haber.do?haberno=492256

[6] “Armenian Genocide Resolution to be Introduced Tomorrow,” posted by N.J. Dem. Rep. Frank Pallone, January 29, 2007 available at http://blog.thehill.com/category/politics/

Black and white vs. color

Turkish newspapers were among the first in the world to appear in color so I am sometimes puzzled by the desire of newspaper editors to explain the world in black and white. I am slowly forming an explanation why. This time last week I was advised to read a column in Zaman newspaper that was anything but straightforward. It was by a leftist columnist in that paper, Etyen Mahçupyan (Jan. 22) called “The Turks.” Let me confess that I don’t like reading Etyen’s writing -- not because I am not interested in what he has to say but because he uses language very well and as a rule of thumb the better someone’s Turkish, the more work it is for non-native speakers to understand.
In this particular instance I persevered because it was a very important column. It was his own tribute to Hrant Dink. Everyone, including myself, has written one, and you might think there would be no more platitudes left to bandy. However, Etyen was a close friend of Hrant, obviously of Armenian origin, as well as the guest editor of the issue of Agos that appeared after its editor’s death. In a terrible sense he was the chief mourner in the Turkish press, someone who carried the inevitable guilt of being left behind and therefore his views worth the sum of all the rest.

Etyen did not shirk his responsibility but wrote a complex and very personal tribute to his friend, if I understood it correctly -- and as I warned, it is possible that I did not -- it is about the bitterness that many Armenians feel for being relegated as somehow not native to their own soil. It began with a question that Turkish Armenians find themselves discussing with the Armenians of the diaspora as to whether Turks will ever change. People like Etyen’s father used to say it could never happen, but Hrant was the eternal optimist, the believer in the goodness of man and, of course, he is the one who died while the cynics were left to soldier on.

I read another column recently. One equally difficult to understand -- but not for the intricacy of its content. It could have been sprayed with a tin of paint onto the side of a bus and sacrificed none its subtlety. It was written by the editor of Hürriyet, Ertuğrul Özkök, and is the latest in a series of pieces hinting that the popular identification of the Turkish pubic with its Armenian citizens has gone that little bit too far.
“Nationalists have feelings, too,” he seemed to be saying in a piece (Jan. 23) that warned liberals not to be too aggressive in criticizing nationalism for fear of provoking just the sort of incident in which Hrant Dink died. In a column last Friday (Feb. 2) he accused Etyen Mahçupyan of being a little bit too big for his boots. He started by caricaturing his views on Turks’ immutability, by asking what people would think if he wrote that his own father had said Armenians could never be true men. He accused Etyen of being offensive and advised Armenian intellectuals in Turkey to be more circumscribed in their choice of phrase. Dink is dead, the article seems to be saying. It’s time for business as usual.

All this might be well-intentioned criticism if it were not for the fact that Hürriyet itself had also been highly critical of Hrant Dink (as well as Orhan Pamuk), who in turn accused the paper along with its peers in the media of distorting his words and whipping up the campaign that led to him being successfully prosecuted for insulting Turkishness. Now it is taking the lead in warning Etyen Mahçupyan to watch his step, not to say things they do not want to hear.

Who knows how many tens of thousands marched in sympathy with Hrant Dink’s funeral cortege under the banner that they too were Armenians. I hope I am not distorting the context what they meant but that they too were victims of an arrogance that tries to stop them from speaking their minds. They too were products of a system that fears even the most sanguine and forgiving of victim as a perpetrator.

Amend 301; Will it work?
With more than enough blame to go around following Hrant Dink's murder, Article 301 of the Turkish Penal Code (TCK) was immediately singled out as a primary cause. "Murderer 301" slogans brandished by protestors notwithstanding, the moral case for abolishing Article 301 and other similar laws remains strong.

This is the real world, however, and quickly the calls to abolish 301 were summarily rejected by the AK Party government. Mindful of the international condemnation of Dink's murder, the government was quick to say that "changes" to Article 301 were possible, and indeed Turkey is under pressure to do more than just arrest the alleged killer and his accomplices.

In an address to the nation, Erdoğan said shedding light on Dink's murder amounted to the fulfillment of a "sacred duty." He also reiterated that the government was open to proposals for amending the article but made it clear the government was against outright abolishment.

Justice Minister Cemil Çiçek also defended the article, saying similar laws existed in other countries as well. The justice minister, who has been one of the strongest opponents of amendments to Article 301 within the government, complained the issue was being politicized. "This must be discussed by legal experts," he said.
On Thursday, European Parliament (EP) member Joost Lagendijk sent a letter to Erdoğan and main opposition leader Deniz Baykal asking them to immediately change Article 301. Perhaps in deference to Çiçek's statement, he admitted that the penal codes of various EU member states contained articles penalizing the denigration of state organs and administrations, including "my own country, the Netherlands."

Lagendijk did, however, express certain caveats: Article 301 of the TCK was different because of two main reasons. "First there is the word 'Turkishness' in the first paragraph of Article 301. …The second point concerns the reasoning behind the article. … It should serve the orderly functioning of the public service," explained Lagendijk. The EP member said that none of the high-profile cases against writers and journalists brought before Turkish courts under Article 301 corresponded to this type of reasoning.

Both of Lagendijk's remarks point to fundamental flaws within Article 301 that were subject to criticism long before Hrant Dink's killing. Let us take Justice Minister Çiçek's suggestion and examine what legal experts say about criminal defamation laws -- of which Article 301 is a common example.

Information is readily available and the human rights organization Article 19 offers concise and accessible material on defamation laws and freedom of expression drawing on "international and comparative jurisprudence, as well as authoritative standard-setting statements by international bodies with frequent references made to cases decided by the European Court of Human Rights, because of its detailed jurisprudence regarding the balance between defamation, or protecting reputations, and the right to freedom of expression."

The trend in international law is to regard defamation as a civil offense. Legal experts say civil law is adequate to protect reputations, while maintaining an open society and a free press. Article 301 is of course part of the Turkish Penal Code and a criminal offense. The problem with criminal defamation laws is the "serious chilling effect they exert on freedom of expression" because prosecuted individuals face arrest by the police and a criminal trial, perhaps leading to a criminal record and the social stigma associated with this. "The chilling effect … is significantly exacerbated due to the fact that, in many countries, it is powerful social actors -- such as government officials, senior civil servants or prominent businessmen -- who bring the vast majority of cases." Removing the substance of Article 301 from the scope of criminal law would solve many of the problems brutally exemplified in the Dink case and likely to be repeated in the future. Since that course of action also remains very unlikely, let us move on.

Another common flaw that allows a defamation law to be abused is the use of words like "insult." Since an insult is a subjective feeling, it becomes very difficult to define. That ambiguity makes defending one's self difficult, putting the plaintiff in a very strong position because the only proof of insult becomes the plaintiff's word. This problem is compounded by laws that criminalize "insults" to the State, public bodies, State or religious symbols, flags and national insignia. These are all abstract entities and cannot feel "insulted." In reality, such laws are used to prevent the expression of unpopular opinions.

A court decision to block the September 2005 conference on "Ottoman Armenians During the Decline of the Empire" in Istanbul is a good example of how the wording and implementation of the law come together to restrict free speech. The Turkish Union of Lawyers applied to an administrative court to stop the conference and the court agreed to the plea. The issue at stake was, according to the plaintiff, "the nation's reputation." The intent and temporary result was to prevent the conference from taking place.

Article 301 in its current form embodies elemental features that work together to suppress free expression -- features that are replicated in many other laws with similar functions and goals in many countries. Regarding Hrant Dink's case, no recourse can be taken in referring to the actual wording of Article 301, especially part four proclaiming no need for penalties if the "insult" was "opinion with the purpose of criticism," since a court convicted Dink and another upheld the sentence on appeal. International practice requires a distinction between statement of fact and a "value judgment," otherwise know as opinion, to prove any defamation case. Most likely this will not be part of the debate on Article 301, just as it was absent during Dink's trial. If the law's purpose is to repress unwanted ideas, then it is working just fine.

Since abolition of Article 301 is not politically feasible, the Dutch MP's second point was about implementation of the law. Legal experts suggest some measures to mitigate the negative impact of such laws. Paramount would be "prohibiting public officials or bodies from instituting criminal defamation actions" because "defamation laws cannot be justified if their purpose or effect is to: prevent legitimate criticism of officials or the exposure of official wrongdoing or corruption; protect the 'reputation' of objects such as State or religious symbols, flags or national insignia; and protect the 'reputation' of the State or nation as such."
Will the amendments to Article 301 reflect the expert legal advice and institute measures addressing the fundamental wording of the law as well as operative issues to prevent abuses targeting freedom of expression? The answer depends on one's optimism, or perhaps, naïveté.

Look at it this way. Even if Article 301 vanished tomorrow, the Turkish Penal Code still provides many other opportunities to twist opinion on sensitive subjects into crime, including: Article 216 for statements against "inciting groups of the population to breed enmity or hatred towards one another"; Article 318 against "discouraging people from performing military service"; Article 305 against harming "national interests … independence, territorial integrity, national security and the fundamental qualities defined in the Constitution of the Republic"; and Article 130 against insulting "the memory of a dead person."


Faruk Loğoğlu: Even with successful March 1, Armenian resolution would still pass
Faruk Loğoğlu, a former Turkish ambassador and chairman of the Center for Eurasian Strategic Studies (ASAM), said that if the Armenian bill makes it onto the floor of the US House of Representatives, it will pass.

"Even if the March 1 bill -- which would have brought Turkish troops to northern Iraq and allowed foreign troops to use Turkish soil for the invasion of Iraq and which was rejected by Turkey -- had been approved by the Turkish Parliament, the resolution to be proposed on the alleged Armenian genocide would still be approved in the US Congress." Saying that those who support Armenian views dominate the Senate and House of Representatives committee chairs, Loğoğlu added: "That is why the passing of a resolution like this is very possible in either chamber. If it comes to the floor for a vote, it will most probably pass."

Loğoğlu urged Turkey to immediately start lobbying Congress against the passage of an Armenian resolution in an effort to avoid the damage, both permanent and temporary, that the bilateral ties would sustain in the event of its legislation. "An American politician would only consider the number of voters of Armenian origin in his or her constituency. They would not put Turkish-US relations on their list of priorities," said Loğoğlu. Noting that the murder of Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink could serve to support the Armenian genocide allegations, Loğoğlu said his assassination will not have a bearing on the Armenian genocide resolution that may be considered by the US Congress.

Turkey a familiar file for Bush
Loğoğlu, who was Turkey's ambassador in Washington between the years of 2001 and 2006, said he had the impression that Turkey was one of the countries the US administration was most familiar with. "In my four years there, I saw that Bush is most familiar with Turkey's 'file.' Marc Grossman and Eric Edelman --both former US ambassadors to Turkey --know Turkey very well. There are also negative factors against Turkey; there are Armenians and Greeks who are constantly trying to diminish our image in the United States."

Bahtiyar Küçük Ankara

A security scandal as appalling as murder of Dink
Images from footage broadcast on a private television station on Thursday evening showing members of Turkish security forces posing for a “souvenir picture” with suspected killer of Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink were, according to some media commentators, even more appalling than the murder itself.

Ogün Samast, the teenaged assailant of Dink, was seen in the video holding a Turkish flag and posing with officers, some of them in uniform. Behind Samast was a poster with another Turkish flag carrying the words of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, founder of modern Turkey: “The nation’s land is sacred. It cannot be left to fate.” A voice in the video can be heard asking if the quote on the poster can be arranged above the suspect’s head. Someone also tells Samast to fix his hair.
Several police and gendarmerie officials were removed from office after the footage was broadcast, but repercussions of the scandalous images are expected to widen further. In reaction to the scandalous footage, opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Deniz Baykal stepped up his criticism against the government and said the prime minister and interior minister were also responsible since they allowed an “invasion” of security forces by sympathizers of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party).
The incident also reheated an old debate on the “deep state,” a reference to shadowy elements within the state that are ready to resort to illegal means when necessary to protect the “high interests” of the state. Concerns over the existence and operations of the deep state were already resurfacing when it became apparent that the police had failed to take appropriate measures for Dink’s protection, although it had been warned of plans to murder Dink long before the assassination took place.

“A kiss on the forehead is the only thing the murderer was not given,” headlined daily Radikal. “This is the picture of the mindset that killed Dink.”

The incident also revealed a rift between the police and the gendarmerie, with the gendarmerie angrily denying earlier reports that the footage had been shot at one of its stations and saying that its leaking to the media was “purposeful.”

A man armed with a handgun who said he belonged to a Turkish nationalist group surrendered to police after briefly seizing a ferry in the Dardanelles Straits.
The man, who threatened to blow up the ferry, seized the vessel on its way from Gelibolu on the European side of the strait to Lapseki on the Asian side. The man shouted “I did it for the homeland” after giving himself up to police.

Jan. 29
Turkish police detained two more people in connection with the murder of Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink.
One of the suspects was detained in İstanbul while the second one was caught in the northern city of Trabzon, from where Dink’s suspected assailant and five other people jailed in the course of the investigation come from.

Jan. 30
Turkish police were allegedly warned a year ago about a plot to kill Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink, the latest suggestion authorities may have failed to act to stop the killing. The report, carried by several newspapers, came after the government dismissed the governor and police chief in the Black Sea province of Trabzon, where the main suspects come from.

Nobel-prize winning Turkish novelist Orhan Pamuk cancelled a trip to Germany on short notice because he was reportedly worried about his personal security. Pamuk is one of the intellectuals who had been prosecuted under the disputed Article 301 of the Turkish Penal Code (TCK).

An Istanbul court jailed another suspect, Salih Hacisalihoglu, a 30-year-old man from the northern city of Trabzon, over the murder of Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink, bringing the total number of people arrested in the investigation to seven.

Feb. 1
A Turkish court charged another man, Tuncay Uzundal, reportedly a friend of one of the other suspects over the murder of journalist Hrant Dink, bringing the number of suspects arrested in the investigation to eight.
A blast occurred at Turkey’s main oil refinery TÜPRAŞ in northwestern Turkey while workers were dismantling a storage tank, killing two South Africans but causing no health or environmental danger.

Turkish media published photographs and video of police officers posing with the alleged killer of Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink, which caused a great shock in Turkey.
The photographs show the suspect in the killing, 17-year-old nationalist Ogün Samast, holding out a Turkish flag and posing with officers, some of them in uniform. Behind Samast a poster with another Turkish flag carries the words of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, founder of the Turkish Republic: “The nation’s land is sacred. It cannot be left to fate.”


Diaspora’s moment, too
With the murder of our colleague, Hrant Dink, the Armenian issue has doubtlessly put a further strain on Turkey. It was apparent it would have a serious impact on Ankara, and now that eyes turned on the seemingly complicated police investigation, the way the story -- not to say, the plot -- unfolds will also affect the course on domestic policies. But there are other elements that have to do with international dynamics.

Will it have a speeding up of criminalization of “genocide denial” in France? Will the Congress of the US this time be able to pass the resolution that recognizes the tragic events in 1915 as genocide?

It is apparent that this time the matter, at least in the Congress, is taken very seriously. It would be a big surprise if the resolution met the same fate as its predecessors in previous years. This week we might have yet another defining moment in Washington, D.C.

The impact? Well, there are opposing sentiments about it in Turkey.
Some say enough is enough; this sword cannot be allowed to hang over the country indefinitely. So let it happen, let’s get it over with. This viewpoint has factions. Some are optimistic and believe that although the resolution might trigger a number of other countries to pass similar resolutions (simply because they have been on standby, waiting for the US Congress to act), at the end of the day it will be business as usual for Turkey. Others say it might encourage Turkey to take the issue to international bodies for a final settlement, although they are uncertain on how, and the outcome.

But there are also other viewpoints.

To these people, it is a serious issue that should be questioned on the basis of morale and purpose. Deeply concerned, they argue that the process of constant challenge to Ankara -- the state and the government -- will serve no purpose in helping the people of Turkey to understand the truth, nothing but the full truth.
Enter the diaspora. The Armenian diaspora is rather complex within, but ever keen on the issue of recognition as part of maintaining its identity.

In our candid conversations, my good friend Dink used to tell me the difficulties in his encounters -- there were many of those -- with the diaspora here and there. Some of them, he underlined, disliked him profoundly. “They can barely tolerate me,” he used to say, referring to those who wanted to test the limits by squeezing Turkey into a corner.

He always asked them the same question, which caused the debate to get rough.
He asked the following:

“Which one is important to you? That Turkey recognizes the events of 1915 as genocide as soon as possible? Or that Turkey becomes a full-scale democracy as to have been fully informed, as to have reached a closure in its conscience? You tell me clearly. Which one?”
He used to tell me that he received conflicting responses.

This question is the heart of the matter. The way you respond to it defines the way Turkey has to develop new approaches to deal with this bleeding issue. It might stop the bleeding or it might let it continue.
In the aftermath of the assassination of Dink, it is therefore reasonable to say that even the pattern of behavior of the powerful Armenian diaspora will be on a sensitive ground: by forcing the pace on further recognition of “genocide” in parliaments, it will have slowed down the progress of “understanding” the issue, simply because the latest tragedy showed that Turkey is unable to manage the process itself.

One can argue that this time, after the murder, it is much more about a powerful response to the pattern of blind denial of a tragedy than about patience. Though I can see that time is running out, the time left for Ankara to start a dialogue with Yerevan and allow full freedom to discuss the period of 1914-1923 is still present with the diaspora.

For us here, the freedom -- with security -- matters here, its is surely much more meaningful and constructive than having been squeezed between international, isolated pressures and stiff resistance that they feed, driving the mainly ignorant society to the edge.

Still very bitter about the loss of a bold colleague, I feel we may suffer further due to the choices that are to be made soon.

Armenian lobby hits back with Time’s help
Time magazine on Friday released a 52-minute documentary by French director Laurence Jourdan on the Armenian “genocide.”

With a full-page advertisement by “a coalition of Armenian Groups,” the DVD also includes a 46-minute interview with Dr. Yves Ternon on the Armenian “genocide.” The DVD and the advertisement have been paid for by Time, according to European Armenian Federation.
Delighted with Time’s reaction, the Armenian lobby announced that Michael Elliot, the director of Time International, had said Time had decided to call the 1915 events a genocide and called on all editors and correspondents to describe 1915 only as a genocide.

Time’s decision to distribute the DVD came after a CD made by the Ankara Chamber of Commerce last year was distributed by Time. According to the European Armenian Federation, Time decided to correct this mistake and agreed to financially back and distribute the documentary.

The distribution of 550,000 copies with the European edition of Time comes in the wake of the assassination of Hrant Dink. In addition, while a French bill criminalizing the denial of an Armenian genocide is awaiting Senate approval, EU term president Germany has proposed a pan-European law to imprison deniers of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity.

There are serious allegations in the one-page advertisement, which are considered to be baseless by Ankara. Some of them are:
“Who after all, speaks today of the annihilation of the Armenians?” Hitler posed this question on Aug. 22, 1939 before embarking on the Holocaust.
The New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, the Boston Globe, the Montreal Gazette and Time magazine call 1915 a genocide.

The UN Sub-Commission on Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities and over a dozen European countries affirmed that the 1915 events were a genocide.

Selçuk Gültaşlı Brussels

Fury after police pictured posing with Dink murder suspect
February 3, 2007
The Guardian
A video still showing Ogun Samast, who has confessed to the murder of Hrant Dink, holding a Turkish flag next to security officials. Photograph: Str/AFP/Getty Images

Outrage at the murder of the Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink deepened yesterday after the media showed images of the teenage murder suspect posing with the Turkish flag and security officials after his arrest.

The government launched an inquiry into the footage, which newspapers denounced as "hero treatment" of the 17-year-old suspect.

Ogun Samast confessed to the January 19 killing of Dink, a 52-year-old journalist who had angered Turkish nationalists with assertions that the mass killings of Armenians around the time of the first world war amounted to genocide.

The images showed Mr Samast holding a Turkish flag and posing with officers, some in uniform, shortly after his arrest on January 21. Behind him a poster carries the words of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the founder of modern Turkey: "The nation's land is sacred. It cannot be left to fate."

The Turkish media was outraged. "Shoulder to shoulder with the triggerman: suspected killer Samast was given the hero treatment," the Sabah daily reported on its front page.

Ismet Berkan, the editor-in-chief of liberal newspaper Radikal, said the release of the video images was like killing Dink a second time and showed nationalism in Turkey was on the rise.

Later Friday, the state-owned Anatolia news agency reported that four police officers in Samsun, where the photographs were taken, had been dismissed and four military police had been moved to other assignments.

It was not clear whether the eight officers were the ones who posed with Mr Samast.

Initial reports said the photographs were taken in a military police office at the bus station where Mr Samast was captured, but military police said they were taken at a police station nearby. A statement urged the media to be cautious in publicising "attempts aimed at fraying the Turkish armed forces" and expressed concern about the motives of those who leaked the images.

"We in the police will do everything necessary," national police spokesman Ismail Caliskan promised at a news conference. "Whoever is responsible will be given the appropriate punishment."

Two Resolutions At Once
Ömer Engin LÜTEM
02 February 2007
A draft resolution regarding Hrant Dink has been presented to the U.S. House of Representatives alongside the resolution regarding the Armenian genocide allegations. The former, whilst condemning the murder of Hrant Dink, further urges the Turkish government to continue investigating and prosecuting those responsible for this act. Also, the resolution requests the abolition of article 301 of the Turkish Criminal Code.

It is apparent that this resolution does not have much meaning in the light of how it has been issued in the wake of the condemnation of the Hrant Dink murder by all nations and organizations even remotely interested in the matter, and how Turkish authorities are quickly and efficiently carrying out the investigation of this murder and the prosecution of those responsible. On the other hand, the abolition and amendment of article 301 or keeping it as is, does not fall within the jurisdiction of the US House of Representatives but of the Turkish Parliament.

Bearing these points in mind it can be said that the resolution regarding Hrant Dink over extends the authority of the US House of Representatives and has arrived too late. However on closer inspection it can be surmised that this resolution has been purposefully delayed in hopes of allowing it to be of service to the resolution regarding the alleged Armenian genocide.

However, the resolution regarding the Armenian genocide allegations was also delayed, although it had previously received the approval of the House International Relations Committee and did not require further deliberation. This resolution was presented to the House of Representatives by six of its members, and according to Armenian circles it is expected that a further 150 to 160 representatives will back it. Still, taking into consideration the 190 members of the Armenian Caucus, the resolution has been presented short of the level of backing expected and therefore has most likely been delayed to garner further support. Nevertheless, under normal circumstances, it is foreseeable that the resolution will be adopted since the majority in the House of Representatives now belongs to the Democrats and the Speaker of the House Mrs. Pelosi is sympathetic to the Armenian allegations.

Finally,the resolution includes some ‘not so extreme’ demands which aim to make the adoption process easier. In contrast to acknowledging the Armenian allegations without reservations under the section entitled “Findings” the resolution uses cautious wording in the “Declaration of Policy” section. For example, as seen in the 2001 French bill, the resolution does not blatantly acknowledge that the US House of Representatives recognizes the Armenian “genocide”. This can only be inferred after encountering mere references to the Armenian “genocide” within the text. Also the reference made as to how US foreign policy must reflect an appropriate understanding and sensitivity concerning issues related to human rights, ethnic cleansing, and genocide is of a sort that would not offend anyone. Of the demands made by this resolution one garners special attention; the request of the usage of the term “genocide” in the annual speech made by the US President on the 24th of April which has tactfully been omitted in the past. However, this demand is not new; it is known that the US President has been criticized on this issue in the past by Armenian circles.

On the event that this resolution is adopted it will only function as a recommendation. Due to the principal of sovereignty it shall be non-binding in regards to Turkey and likewise not binding on the actions of President Bush. However, due to the fact that the resolution will have documented U.S. action against Turkish interests this will nonetheless have a negative impact upon Turkish-American relations.

USA Never Denied Tragedy Of 1915, Everything Is In Terminology
02 February 2007
The U.S. president administration is against political terminology in regard of the tragic events in 1915, stated State Department Press Secretary Sean McCormack during a briefing in Washington commenting on the Armenian Genocide resolution, which has been introduced in the Congress. “Our stance is clear. We mourn for the victims of the tragic events in 1915. We have never denied this fact. The U.S. president in his annual message remembers it. We are against political definitions in terminology, which is being used in this issue,” underlined the U.S. State Department Press Secretary, Mediamax reports.

A Bird's Eye View
Advena Avis
February 3, 2007
Sad and unfortunate events are happening in the country that we live in, Turkey.

A human was assassinated two weeks ago here in Istanbul, Hrant Dink. We mourned his death and in respect for his memory we did not write anything in our previous column. We do so today after expressing our deepest condolences to his family. We are in grief since the loss of human life cannot be replaced. We were also greatly moved by his last article that was published in this newspaper on Jan. 22, and his reference to us birds: "... I am like a pigeon. Like a pigeon I have my eyes everywhere, in front of me, at the back, on the left, on the right. My head is moving like the one of a pigeon. ... And fast enough to turn in an instant," he wrote to express his fear. He concluded by writing: "Yes, I can feel myself as restless as a pigeon but I know that in this country people do not touch or disturb the pigeons. The pigeons continue their lives in the middle of the cities. Yes, indeed ... a bit frightened, but at the same time free." Beautiful words with a deep meaning from a human that would acquire the ultimate freedom, death.

A few years ago, the Turkish Daily News published an interview that he gave. We would like to quote two points from that interview that we believe are still relevant. "... We have a problem as the Armenian community. We convey this to public authorities and expect them to find a solution and help us out. Yet this very simple demand is not addressed and a detour is taken. Pragmatically speaking, we are happy with the EU harmonization laws because they offer a solution to a vital problem, but this is not without a twinge of sorrow. This was a right that we had long since deserved and is unfortunate that it was recognized through such a painful process. This was very sad for us." In other words he would have preferred that Turkey had solved the problems facing the minorities by itself rather than having been obliged to do so by the EU. And still, today, these issues remain pending. Nobody listened to him when he was alive. Maybe they will listen to him now that he is dead.

Replying to a question concerning on how the mosaic that Turkey resembles could be preserved, he said: "We fully endorse the EU process. If the minorities and the Armenians can play a role in convincing the West, we will do so willingly. We are citizens of Turkey, we hail from Anatolia; we did not come to this country yesterday but have lived here for 3,000 years. Actually we believe that this country has very close links to Western Civilization. Suffice it to change our perspective a little and appreciate that differences are a source of strength. If we acquire this awareness, if we create a new social contract of coexistence through difference, if we take the oath that ‘we will not be divided, we will jointly carry society to the farthest limits of Western Civilization,' we will be very happy... As a minority group we want to live happily in Turkey. True as this is, our first wish is to live as happy citizens of the Turkish Republic. When this comes true we will not need to live like a minority.” In 2007 his wish expressed earlier has still not become reality. We hope that now it will.

It also seems that he had many "friends" or "dear friends." Almost everyone was describing him as a "dear friend" in the press. As the Ariana Ferentinou woman very correctly pointed out in her column published in the TDN on Jan. 22: "And I did notice that many of today's friends were nowhere to be seen when Dink was tried for ‘insulting Turkishness,' while being very keen in stirring up their Turkish readers and viewers against anybody who would dare to bring up the issue of ‘Armenian genocide,' here or abroad." Actually the number of true friends that stood by him at those difficult moments was no more than 10-15. It is a shame to see such hypocrisy over an assassinated human being.

May your freedom be ultimate, Hrant Dink, as you enjoy something greater than the freedom of the birds.

Everyman's 301: One man's surreal day in court
February 3, 2007
TAYLAN BİLGİÇ / First Person
ISTANBUL - Turkish Daily News
It's a bitterly cold Wednesday morning after weeks of warm rays in the middle of winter. Today I'm skipping out on work at the newspaper. I have to stand on trial at the Zeytinburnu Court House. Mine would be the second “301” case regarding the question of “insulting Turkishness” to be heard after the murder of Hrant Dink.

I enter the aging courthouse just in time and meet my lawyer. In an unpleasant surprise, the door of the tribunal hall is packed with all kinds of people; some accused, some witnesses and some plaintiffs. Bad news: they have all been given the same hour, 10:30 a.m., for their cases. A list of around 30 names, including mine, is pinned to the wall. We'd need a miracle to get out of here in one day, I'm thinking.

As we wait sitting on a bench, I notice that the walls are freshly painted, in violet. First floor violet, upper floors pink, to be precise. “A woman-friendly courthouse,” jokes my lawyer, who is a woman. We have some sandwiches, read some magazines and chat to pass the time.

The cold-blooded murder of the Turkish-Armenian intellectual and journalist has had at least some effect on the infamous law itself. While its abolishment seems a distant prospect, at least the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government is talking about “changing” it. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan even mentioned the “deep state” and “the need to dismantle it” last Friday. Is this another empty promise or is he serious? Time will tell.

The first 301 trial after Dink's passing was against Evrensel, a socialist daily. The argument of the prosecutor was that the newspaper had “humiliated the military” in an article it published in 2006. This trial was held on Jan. 24, and in a rare decision, the judge dropped the case, thus acquitting the newspaper's owner Ahmet Sami Belek and its sorumlu yazı işleri müdürü, or the responsible managing editor who represents the paper in legal matters, Şahin Bayar.

Sadly, Turkey's rusty judicial machine finds the impetus to do the right thing from horrifying incidents such as Dink's murder; in the past we have also witnessed “lightning-speed” decisions after similar tragedies. The system is open to change, it seems, until public outrage has faded away and the victim becomes a distant memory.

As a matter of fact, I am being accused because I was also the responsible managing editor of Evrensel, where I worked for several years. Dissident media outlets have these frequently rotating legal “fall guys” and my tenure lasted about a year and a half. Of the many 301 cases launched in that time period, all but two are left unresolved.

Luckily, Wednesday morning at 10:30 a.m., I was to stand before the court for both of these unresolved cases, a time-saving decision made at the preceding trial some three months ago, thanks to my lawyer, Devrim Avcı.

Article 301 and Article 312:
One of the cases dates back to 2001 and is a strange one because it involves two separate print articles. One was an opinion piece on the Kurdish issue and the other one was a news story on the same subject. The prosecution demands that I be punished in accordance with the Turkish Penal Code's (TCK) Article 312, a close cousin of 301, which states that one who “attempts to destroy the state of the Turkish Republic, or to obstruct it from performing its duties by using coercion and violence” should be punished by life imprisonment. Of course, the law holds that if the said crime were committed in the press, the punishment would be lighter.

The opinion piece is on “the Kurdish struggle for rights,” while the news story involves interviewing the people of Diyarbakır on the Palestinian issue. How these amount to “coercion and violence” is beyond us. The case had resulted in punishment but then it went to the Supreme Court, which dismissed the decision, and now it is back in the hands of the lower court.

The second case, this one from Article 301, involves an opinion piece that said two sergeants assaulted a Kurdish peasant and that the crime went unpunished. The case was re-launched back in 2002, under the old Article 159. But when 159 was abolished, in marched 301. It involves “insulting Turkishness, the republic, the Grand National Assembly, the government, the judiciary, the army or the police” and says those who manage to insult all or one of those should be punished by six months to two years of imprisonment.

Waiting at the door:
After half an hour, we decide to kill some time by going inside to watch other proceedings. The judge, a middle-aged woman, seems frustrated. “Please go outside,” she says. “You're distracting me.” Quietly we obey, though the laws state that all trials are open to public.

When we sit again in the hall, my lawyer comments that female judges are “worse than males.” “I don't know why,” she says.

The perilous noon hour approaches. If we cannot manage to get our file to the top of the heap, our trial will be delayed to the afternoon. We approach the clerk for help to no avail. He says he cannot do anything, though anyone with business in the courts would attest that, around here, these guys are boss. I remember another clerk, who in the past had helped us a lot. Surprisingly I see him a few minutes later, still not retired. We shake hands and talk for a while.

It is now 12:30 p.m. and we hope the judge sees us before her lunch break. We dare open the door again; she seems to be packing up. Devrim politely requests that she see our case. The judge looks into the two files, seems to think they will take too long and refuses. Then she lets loose an unexpected tirade. “You women lawyers have insulted me a lot in the past. Now it's my turn!”

Totally baffled, we vacate the courtroom. Devrim grumbles while I remember why I was grateful for dropping out of law school.

Mastering the tactics:
In another blow, Devrim has to go. She gave birth two months ago and has to rush back home to breastfeed her child. As veteran “responsible managing editor,” I know the drill, but I still take some notes and get some courtroom tactics from her. “In 312, you will request that the court obey the decision of the Supreme Court,” she says. “In 301, they had appointed an expert. You will demand them to overturn that decision, and in light of recent debate on the article, request acquittal.” Seems sound.

After seeing her off, having a sandwich and a stroll around Zeytinburnu, I am back to the bench at 2 p.m. The clerk takes me in first this time. The tribunal hall seems tidy: they use PCs now instead of typewriters. The PC in front of the judge has four extra monitors: one for the clerk, one for the prosecutor and one each for lawyers.

The judge also has a laptop, probably for personal business. As the judge reaches for her PC, the electricity cuts off. We will have to wait. After a few silent minutes, she suggests that the lovely clerk use the laptop. After some adjusting of keyboards, the judge exclaims, “How did you do that? I didn't know that was possible.” Then she begins a tech-chat with the prosecutor. After a few minutes I learn that she can only play games and write some stuff, but she still has yet to grasp the Internet.

Just as the clerk starts typing the routine case-stuff on the laptop, the electricity returns. Time to get serious.

The 312 case is resolved quickly as they must follow the Supreme Court decision. Still, it is obvious that neither the judge nor the prosecutor has any idea about the subject, and how could they, with nearly a hundred cases every day? We go through the past proceedings together and in the end she decides: acquittal. One down, one to go.

But the 301 case somehow gets complicated. The expert appointed by the previous court “did not reply to repeated phone calls as his phone was always engaged,” she reads from the file. Thus, no expert. That was what I wanted, anyway.

I remind the court of the recent debate on the article and demand acquittal. She seems unimpressed. Suddenly, she asks me: “Your homeland is Isparta (an inner-Aegean city). How come you got mixed up in all of this?” I do not reply. Then she tells me that her homeland is a neighboring city of Isparta.

After that she touches on “the issue” and advises that the problem is, in essence, one of poverty and ignorance. “Why do you make separatism?” she asks. “The real separatists are not us,” I reply. Does she really intend to discuss the Kurdish issue? I don't know, but to do that with a judge in the middle of a trial would be to venture into uncharted waters. At last, the judge decides the trial is adjourned. My weird experience with 301 is over, for now.

Letters to the editor /TDN
February 3, 2007
Turkey's trouble with its ‘nation':
The idea of the nation is democratic, but at various points it has been seized by one or the other class faction. Examples are numerous and include ruling bureaucracies, military, higher or lower bourgeoisie and communists, frequently in association with a religious establishment. But all converge more or less on bureaucratic self-rule.

In Turkey things are complicated by the people themselves. There are different ethnicities and denominations. They all are the nation, or none of them. Making one of them (say, the Sunni Turk) the virtual nation divides the real nation so that democracy is not possible and bureaucratic rule thus is the only option. Ethnocide and/or genocide are “natural” outcomes of this, as well as suppression and (attempted) extermination of religious communities.

Appropriation of history is also complicated in Turkey, not least because of its extension. There are historic shifts in the languages used, immigration and, unfortunately, expulsion – besides the more “usual” developments of different state forms, economic and social levels and relations and the development of different beliefs and customs.

Yet again the question for the upcoming nation is: All or nothing? You may not want Armenians, but this won't remove Armenians from Turkey's history, just leaving you with an “Armenian genocide.” The question is not whether or not the term is correct in its juridical meaning (which is nonetheless important in another context and not least for the upcoming Armenian nation of the state of Armenia).

You may apply this as well for Kurds, Rum, Alevis, Syriacs, Yezids, Tariqats or even Kemalists. And each of them have to make their decisions as well. The nation must negotiate among itself: under which conditions may unity be achieved?

Here is what Hrant Dink and the AGOS newspaper did for Turkey: Reintroduced Armenian people and history into the consciousness of the upcoming Turkish nation. That may be applied to other entities (or “sub-identities”) as well and Dink was well aware of this fact. He was a champion and hero of Turkey's democracy in general.

The call “We are all Hrant Dink” or “We are all Armenians” may be translated as: “We are the nation” or “We are the people.” This is what we heard in Leipzig (“Wir sind das Volk!”) just before the Berlin wall cracked. And yes, nobody should feel like “becoming Armenian” in an ethnic sense. But perhaps many should think about “becoming Hrant Dink.”

Hans-Peter Geissen, Germany

The ‘Armenian genocide' bill is not right for America:
As an American I must disagree with our Congress. Taking a stance on the Armenian Genocide is ill-advised and based solely on business and political interests. Our country has its own genocide. Slavery, Indians are things this country forgets. Full rights for blacks in this nation came only 40 years ago. Our politicians need to butt out of Turkish politics.

If you follow history, the Democratic Party was opposed to Civil Rights. We had the “Dixie-crats” from the south. Why didn't JFK do something, while his own party fought? The south after our civil war was controlled by Democrats. Now that same party represents itself as the civil rights party. A laughable representation.

I am neither Republican or Democrat. I vote for what is right for/and in America. This is not right for America.

Greg Natsch United States

Turkey’s dangerous chasm
February 3, 2007
Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is concerned the nationalist vote may drift away from his own ballot boxes to opposition parties. The result is the people who paved the way for Hrant Dink’s assassination will keep their posts in the government. With them, any amendment to the notorious Article 301 of the Turkish Penal Code becomes a pipe-dream

The assassination of the Turkish-Armenian intellectual Hrant Dink is rocking Turkey. It has been over two weeks since the assassination and Turkey is far from healing the wound from which Dink's blood spilled. Every passing day, new wounds are being opened with unprecedented dirt that intoxicates the imagination of the Turkish public.

The great show of public sentiment in the mammoth funeral procession of the slain intellectual where tens of thousands marched with banners reading “We are all Armenians” has seemingly been replaced with a deep societal chasm. The ultra-nationalism that appeared in retreat for a few days is moving forward.

Notwithstanding the dangerously deep cleavages in Turkish society following the assassination, the Turkish state structure started to show signs of the rot within. The dramatic turnout was the leakage of photographs and videotape showing the assassin Ogun Samast covered with a Turkish flag in the detention center where he is being held in custody. The police officials and the gendarmerie treated him as a national hero.

A ‘second assassination' of Dink:
For the editor in chief of the liberal daily Radikal, that footage amounts to “a second assassination” of Dink.

Every day a new security scandal erupts. The Istanbul police department was informed about the plans to assassinate Dink months ago, yet no precautions were taken to spare his life. The celebratory mood of police officials and the gendarmerie in the Black Sea town of Samsun where the murderer was caught in the wake of the assassination topped the sequence of scandals - every one of them sufficient to bring any government down in a country where civility prevails.

Turkey has a very loaded political agenda for 2007. The fateful presidential elections are only three months away, to be followed by general elections due to be held in autumn. Under such a charged political atmosphere, it remains to be seen how Recep Tayyip Erdogan's government will navigate until April and May, the date for holding the presidential election.

Prime Minister Erdogan apparently sees the developments as a plot to undermine his chances of nomination for the presidency. He is also keen to keep his party's solidarity for the following and the upcoming general elections in order to secure a firm majority in the next Parliament that would guarantee five more years in power for his party. Because of such calculations and considerations, he condemned himself to immobility in order not to endanger the electorate tainted by the upsurge of ultra-nationalist sentiment.

Erdoğan's political concerns:
Erdogan is concerned the nationalist vote may drift away from his own ballot boxes to opposition parties that vie for them to increase their fortunes to be represented in the Parliament. The 10 percent threshold to get represented in Parliament is what the prime minister counts on and thus tries to limit his competitor's votes as much as possible by trying to attract nationalist voters.

As a result the people that paved the way for Dink's assassination keep their posts in the government and any amendment to the notorious Article 301 of the Turkish Penal Code (TCK) becomes a pipe-dream.

The vicious circle paralyzes the crucial decision-making functions of the prime minister at a very critical period of Turkey's politics.

Only the resilience of the Turkish economy and the alertness and awareness of the middle classes and the intellectuals generate a beam of hope for Turkey to get out of this unfortunate impasse.

on the U.S. Senate to condemn Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink's murder and to urge Turkey to abolish a controversial penal code article restricting freedom of expression, a U.S. Armenian group said.

The measure sponsored by Joe Biden of Delaware, chairman of the powerful Senate Foreign Relations Committee, also calls on Turkey to establish full diplomatic, political and economic ties with Armenia. Biden earlier this week announced his candidacy for the U.S. presidential elections in 2008. But in a long list of Democratic contenders, including Senator Hillary Clinton of New York and Senator Barack Obama of Illinois, Biden is considered a long shot. However, analysts said his resolution on Turkey was certain to be approved by the Foreign Relations Committee, paving the way to a likely endorsement on the Senate floor.

"Hrant Dink was a leading voice in Turkey's Armenian community and an eloquent advocate of human rights, press freedom and democracy," Biden said, according to a statement by the Armenian Assembly of Assembly (AAA), a major U.S. Armenian organization. "[Dink's] assassination was an outrage and a tragedy," he said. "Hrant's legacy deserves the Senate's respect. His murder demands our action." "We commend Senator Biden for spearheading this important legislation," said AAA's executive director Brian Ardouny.

Biden's resolution is similar to another measure introduced earlier this week in the House of Representatives by New York Democrat Joe Crowley. However, the Senate version also demands that Turkey set up diplomatic, political and economic ties with Armenia.

The Biden resolution also "urges the people of Turkey to honor Dink's legacy of tolerance."

Picture is an incentive for murder
February 3, 2007
Mehmet Ali Birand
The day right after the Hrant Dink murder, Justice and Development Party (AKP) deputy Ömer Çelik suggested that Dink's coffin should be wrapped in the Turkish flag. The aim of this gesture was to show that Turkey stood by Dink. There were protests from some groups and was argued that the Turkish flag could only be wrapped around the coffins of martyrs (those fallen while battling for their county) or prominent statesmen. There was much talk about the honor of the flag. Even Parliament Speaker Bülent Arınç did not support this idea and said that “the practices about the usage of the flag are determined by laws.”

And what do we see now?

The same flag was given to Dink's murderer Ogün Samast and was employed for a pretense of bravery. Is our flag better honored now?

This image broadcast by TGRT News clearly displays the undercurrent that created the Dink murder.

Let's assume that the capturers of a murderer had a “souvenir photo” taken to brag about having caught him. And let's also assume that it was solely this feeling that compelled all those in that photograph to pose. This does not change the result. It is horrible enough to be in that photo even with such reasoning and not to perceive any drawbacks about it, because at the end of the day, a murderer takes on a heroic posture in that picture.

No one should dare claim “the act of a couple of mindless people cannot be attributed to the whole police force.”

Whatever the goal of this photograph, it is an incentive for murder because this photo establishes that it is very normal to murder specific people, that the killers should be considered heroes and not murderers.

In other words, it is a picture of the disclosure of a mind set.

The life of a journalist:
The book “Bir Gazetecinin Hayatı–28 Yıl Sonra Abdi İpekçi” (The Life of a Journalist–Abdi İpekçi 28 Years Later) and published by Doğan Kitap (+90 212 246-5207.) The book, telling the life story of prominent journalist Abdi İpekçi, was written by Tufan Türenç and Erhan Akyıldız and first published in January 1986. The reason behind why the book has been published once more 20 years after its first release is explained by co-author Türenç in the preface. And in detail … How these events of years ago overlap the events of today is also apparent among the pages of the book. Even 27 years after the murder of İpekçi, bullets still hit brave journalists. And the source of these bullets is still unknown. I am sure the 50-year story of moral, brave, and responsible journalist İpekçi will draw everyone's attention. And, even with many years gone by, the similarity between Turkey's problems of today and those of the past will be baffling. I recommend everyone to read this book.

To enjoy the Nobel:
A Turkish author won the Nobel Prize at a time we least expected. The majority of us were overjoyed but some got very angry. They did everything to show their anger.

Now the Nobel winning author Orhan Pamuk's visits to Germany and Belgium, where Pamuk was expected to give a series of conferences, have been cancelled. We would have been honored by each conference a Nobel-winning Turkish writer would have attended and wonderful for Turkey to be in the European media with good news.

No, it could not happen…

It even got the Europeans scared. So, the groups that aim to threaten Pamuk ended up hurting Turkey which they claim “they love more than their lives.” They prevented us from enjoying the Nobel Prize.

The bizarre state of Turkish security
February 3, 2007
As they say, if you don’t want meat to rot then salt it to protect it. But if the salt has gone bad then what are you going to do? The salt in this country is rotten too… This problem requires urgent and national attention

The video footage of the treatment extended in Trabzon to Ogün Samast – the suspect who reported to have confessed killing journalist Hrant Dink on orders from an “elder brother” who apparently received instructions from yet another “elder brother” – demonstrate without much exaggeration the desperate state of affairs in the Turkish police force to whom we have entrusted domestic peace in this country.

Even in one's wildest dreams one could not have imagined seeing gendarmerie personnel and policemen competing with each other to have their pictures taken with the suspected murderer of a journalist in front of a Turkish flag and an inscription of a quotation from Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the founder of the modern Turkish Republic. “The soil of the homeland is sacred, it cannot be abandoned to its destiny.”

Our colleague İsmet Berkan, editor in chief of daily Radikal, wrote on Friday that this shocking video footage was proof that the Dink's murderers were not alone and that their supporters have infiltrated the state and the police and that the connection was worst than the murder itself. He was unfortunately utterly correct.

The Gendarmerie General Command issued a statement on Friday stressing that the video and the photo of Samast almost being celebrated as a hero by the people supposed to be providing security for all of us were not taken at a gendarmerie station but at the tea room of the Trabzon police headquarters.

The sultan and the court jester
It reminded us of a famous joke: One day the sultan calls his jester and tells him he has a day to pull a prank, the excuse for which should be even worse than the trick itself. Some while later, as the sultan and his jester were climbing the stairs towards the main entrance of the palace, the jester goosed the sultan. The angry sultan turns on the jester and thunders “Idiot! What did you do?” The frightened jester takes a step back in deep respect and quips, “Sorry my benevolent sultan… I mistook you for the sultan's mother.”

For days various security departments in Turkey were engaged in a game of ping pong, each denying that the photo was taken at its premises and implying that some other security element of the state might have been responsible. Now we will have a debate over whether the video footage and the photos were released to hurt the gendarmerie or the police. For some people the target was the gendarmerie and thus this was a government plot to undermine the military. For others the military must have leaked the video and photos with the target the police and the aim undermining the government.

That will be a futile discussion. Will it make any difference for anyone whether the video and the photo were taken at a gendarmerie station or at a police headquarters? Similarly, the sacking of four policemen and the reassignment of four gendarmerie personnel, who had posed for photos with the alleged killer, will not solve anything. The problem goes far deeper. The bitter truth is that in the video footage and in the photos the suspected murderer of a prominent member of society, one with a different ethnic and religious background than the majority in this land, was being treated like a hero by the very people who were supposed to have taken measures to prevent our dear friend Hrant falling victim to such heinous crime in the first place. If anyone can say “Such things can happen anywhere in the world,” we would like to tell them that such things can happen only in places such as Saddam Hussein's Iraq or Idi Amin's Uganda: countries that are under primitive dictatorial autocratic administrations. Definitely not in any civilized society where the state is responsible for the wellbeing and security of individuals.

What if the salt goes bad?
We have been complaining for a long time that Turkey is badly in need of a mindset reform in the judiciary, because our prosecutors and judges have so far been slow to keep up with the pace of advancement of legislative reforms providing enhanced democracy, wider freedoms and rights to the Turkish people. This sad video coverage and photos have revealed how urgently this country also needs a mindset reform in its security apparatus.

The happy mafia-bureaucracy-politician triangle that was revealed few years ago with the Susurluk case should be considered a trivial, commonplace development in view of this new scandalous revelation that demonstrated in the clearest way possible if not the infiltration of Islamist-nationalist hordes into our gendarmerie and police then certainly the strong admiration of some members of our security personnel for people who – in any society – must be considered as a threat to social peace and security.

Only after seeing such hard-to-believe images can one really understand how it happened that, although the police received more than a dozen tip-offs over the past year-long period on the plans of a far-right grouping in Trabzon to murder Hrant, our dear friend was given no protection and no action was taken against the plotters until their deadly aim was achieved and our friend was felled in front of his office on Jan. 19.

We have to understand that we have a serious security problem. As they say, if you don't want meat to rot then salt it to protect it. But if the salt has gone bad then what are you going to do? The salt in this country is rotten too… This problem requires urgent and national attention.

Article 301 is different, claim Europeans
The New Anatolian / Ankara
03 February 2007
Turkey, which has draw international criticism over Article 301, has defended itself in recent days by claiming that European Union member countries also have similar laws and articles penalizing the denigration or insults against state organs and the administration.

The answers to these claims came quickly from European countries as well as a message from the U.S. Although admitting that EU countries do have similar laws, all underline there are major differences between Article 301 and others.

Joost Lagendijk's letter
EU Joint Parliamentary Commission Co-Chair Joost Lagendijk sent a letter to Premier Recep Tayyip Erdogan and the main opposition leader saying, "At Hrant Dink's funeral more than 100,000 people made it clear they want to live in a country where writers and journalists do not have to fear for their lives if they express controversial opinions or touch on sensitive issues. Now the time has come for you to act."

Lagendijk claimed Article 301 of the Turkish Penal Code (TCK) is a symbol, which represents a climate of rising intolerance and aggressive nationalism that has been growing in Turkey over the past two years.

Although underlining that the penal codes of various EU member states contain articles penalizing the denigration or insults against state organs and the administration, and even that the German and Austrian texts are among the most explicit, Lagendijk said Article 301 is different.

He criticized the inclusion of the term "Turkishness," saying, "This is an expression which you will not find in any European penal code; Denigrating 'Germanness' or 'Austrianness' is not forbidden. In these countries, the issue at stake is the insult of the state ...The word is vague, open to various interpretations and lacks legal certainty for Turkish citizens; what can they say and what not?."

Secondly Lagendijk voiced concerns about the reasoning behind the article. "In European states, the reason is that it serves the orderly functioning of the public service. Due respect for the administration is important in a democratic society ...The articles written and opinions expressed did not constitute a threat to the general interest. Prosecution of the authors was therefore not necessary in a democratic society," he explained.

Linking Hrant Dink's murder to his conviction for insulting Turkishness, he said, "Article 301 in its present form and with the present interpretation by the judiciary, leads to life threatening situations."

He added, "The article needs to be withdrawn. If it is deemed that protection of the state against insult is necessary for the functioning of the Turkish democracy, an article should be adopted that no one can misinterpret or exploit for criminal purposes."

EU term president Germany's view
A German Embassy spokesperson gave an explanation saying the legal arrangements in Germany are not the same as the TCK's Article 301. He underlined judicial matters were restricted regarding "freedom of speech," and there aren't any ambiguous words such as denigrating "Germanness" in German laws.

The spokesperson told the Anka news agency, "The EU showed clearly that Article 301 does not fit in with EU standards. The Turkish public is also aware that Article 301 causes problems. It is wrong to look at other countries' laws if the Turkish government really wants to change 301."

US calls for solution
U.S. Assistant Secretary for European and Eurasian Affairs Matt Bryza said, "We understand that it is hard to annul the article due to the political situation. But Turkey needs a solution to this issue so as to stop those who use this article as a tool to criticize Turkey."

Police, gendarmerie clash on gunman photo peaks
The New Anatolian / Ankara
03 February 2007
Following a sharp open exchange of accusations between the police and gendarmerie over last month's murder of journalist Hrant Dink, both the premier and the police spokesperson on Friday stressed the incorrectness of inter-institution debates before public.

After a picture of gunman Ogun Samast appeared in newspapers a day after the assassination, raising questions of where the photo came from, the Interior Ministry, the police and gendarmerie all launched investigations.

The pictures, reportedly taken from camera footage dated Jan. 21, two days before the murder, showed Samast standing before a Turkish flag poster and a statement from Ataturk reading, "The territory of the homeland is sacred. It cannot be left to fate." Voices in the video capture the image was taken from make it clear the tableau was deliberately prepared by those who captured the images.

Initial reports Friday said that the photos were taken by the gendarmerie at the Samsun gendarmerie post near the Samsun bus station where the gunman was caught two weeks ago.

However the gendarmerie, in an immediate comment later in the day, said that the images were recorded at the tea house of the Samsun Police's Anti-Terror Department. Police Spokesperson Ismail Caliskan, speaking to the press last week, confirmed the claim, but many said that officials from the gendarmerie were also at the scene during the shooting.

At Friday's press conference, Caliskan said that he cannot give all details about the incident as inspectors are carrying out an investigation into both the location of the footage and the alleged negligence of the security officials on the Dink murder.

He reiterated that the police don't hesitate to launch investigation into its members whoever they are. "I conveyed the information I received last week. The details will immediately be made public after the inspectors finalize their probe," he said.

However he added that it was quite wrong to leak the photos to the media. "No good comes from driving state institutions to a public fight," he underlined.

He also scolded the accused police officials by saying, "Police must never forget that they are professionals. No one has right to do his job under the influence of his feelings or thoughts," he said.

He also refused to confirm the relationship between the police and the detained Erhan Tuncel, alleged to be the third man behind the murder and later a police informant. "It isn't appropriate to speak of people aiding the police with the press. People assist the police in various ways. It would be better if rumors about Tuncel didn't appear in the media," he said.

PM: It's no good to bring public institutions at odds

Premier Erdogan, speaking to a press conference in Istanbul on Friday, also scolded the debate between the police and gendarmerie, said that it is no good to lead public institutions into a fight.

He also said that the investigation into the footage is underway, adding they are committed to do what ever they can and go the whole way.

Erdogan lambasted the opposition, who put pressure on the government to suspend Istanbul police chief and Interior Minister Abdulkadir Aksu by saying that censure and suspension mechanisms lost their significance in Turkey.

In related news another suspect, university student Tuncay Uzundal, was arrested in relation with the Dink murder, raising the number of arrests to eight.

Civil society seeks positive, moderate solution to Article 301
The New Anatolian / Ankara
03 February 2007
Turkish Bars Union (TBB) head Ozdemir Ozok, at a joint meeting on Article 301 attended by several prominent civil groups on Friday, called on all to use commonsense and avoid vain debates over the article for a moderate and long-lasting solution.

Responding to a recent claim by the premier and justice minister that civil groups have yet to make concrete proposals on the controversial Turkish Penal Code (TCK) Article 301, the TBB head gathered civil society for a meeting on Wednesday.

The debate over the controversial article, which led to several journalists and authors to stand trial, stepped up after the killing of journalist Hrant Dink, who some have said was a victim of the article and a simultaneous smear campaign fostered by the media.

In a very moderate and peaceful opening address, Ozok said, "Our aim is to evaluate benevolent solution suggestions. We don't want to push the political power to a deadlock. What we want to work out here to contribute to the emergence of a Turkey with a good justice system."

He said that all segments of society have been following the debates over the article and added that as the primary actors to resolve the problem on the article, they will try to bring about a proposal to submit to the government.

He however criticized the government for recent remarks that they haven't received a concrete proposal from the civil society so far, but refused to further comment on the issue.

He also expressed his hope for a collective solution and said that he wished there was no anti-democratic provisions in Turkish laws.

After Ozok's speech, Mehmet Alkan, head of the Turkish Veterinarians Union, left the meeting saying, "We don't want Article 301 annulled. Instead, we want the penalties increased. I am leaving this meeting as I don't want to listen to those inside."

The meeting went on closed to the press after Ozok's address.

Late on Thursday, Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul, speaking contrary to his colleagues in the Cabinet, said that they are not inclined to make a change to the article if it is not in the interests of the Turkish people. "No matter how much the government faces pressure outside, the government will act in light of its own thoughts," he said.

Oymen: We won't allow those who want to insult Turkey

Also commenting on the article on Friday at a press conference in Parliament, main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) deputy leader Onur Oymen said that certain circles displayed the article as the main reason for Dink's murder.

"The article doesn't ban criticism but it bans humiliation and insult," said Oymen adding that no human rights documents accept insult as a part of freedom of expression.

He also cited data from a couple of European Union member countries, comparing them with Turkey over similar legal provisions, said, "If one's aim is to degrade the state, the nation, we won't allow this.

He also said that some European countries consider the word "Turkishness" in relation to racism, however the word describes all who consider themselves a Turk.

"Hrant Dink was also a Turk. Turkishness is the supra-identity. No one has right to make it free to humiliate Turkishness, considering Dink's murder a pretext," he added.

I am from Trabzon, but not one of those...
KERIM BALCI k.balci@todayszaman.com
Identifying oneself with a hometown is a human need. Being from a certain city provides a person a reference point to give meaning to the world. “I am from this and that place” refers to a consciousness standing in this and that place and perceiving the surrounding realities from the angle that place supplies. In many languages, the relationship between “temporal-spatial reality” of the self and “cognitive meaning given to the world around that self” is reflected in the words: stand-understand in English and mawqif-wuquf with the same meanings in Arabic.
Identifying with a city as a hometown, with a country as a fatherland or with the geography of a religion as the Holy Land is not only about the nostalgic backlash of memory nor about a social mechanism to relate to other “co-placer.” It is about who you are. You not only identify yourself with a place; you make it a part of your identity.

And the perceived identity of your city, your country, may stick onto your identity in an unpleasant way. This was the main reason why the Greek philosopher Diogenes, who, upon being asked to give the name of the city-state in which he had been brought up, responded with the remark that he was a citizen of the world: cosmopolitan. If you are not an Athenian in Athens, it is better to be cosmopolitan, he should have thought.

Well, I am from Trabzon. I was born and raised in Samsun, but my reference point in life, my identity has always been Trabzon-centered. The perceived image of this city has suddenly turned to an ultranationalist, violent and lawless one. This pejorative image spread so quickly that many from Trabzon feel the need to say “I am from Trabzon, but…” This is the same apologetic feeling I observed in Muslims of the West after 9/11. Deep inside every Muslim in the West was an imposed sense of guiltiness.

Ogün Samast, an ideologically poisoned and manipulated young man from Trabzon, murdered Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink two weeks ago. Within those two weeks, Trabzon was put under inquiry by the police and politicians and worst of all, by journalists. Some had neo-Marxist ideas that economic inequalities were pushing the youth to marginal ideologies and violence. Others were more thinking more in terms of social psychology, claiming that as a frontier city against Russian and Georgian Christian influence, Trabzon developed a nationalist version of Islamism. There were more to-the-point analyses of the inner dynamics of Turkish educational politics and the influence of “Almancis,” the second and third generation Turks who settled as workers in Germany and other European countries.

None dared to say that this was an isolated case, and stereotyping all the people from Trabzon on the basis of two or three cases is as silly as this joke: An imam in Rize, a neighboring city, had recited the call for evening prayer during a Ramadan earlier than he should have. Since this call is also the call for breaking the fast, all the people of Rize broke their fasts earlier than they should have. Later, the Mufti of the city decided that this early fast-breaking was unacceptable and made a public call to the people of Rize to fast one day extra as a substitute for that day. To his astonishment, he received calls from people of Rize who were settled in Germany on whether they should also fast that extra day.

Tragicomic as it is, the sense of guilt among the people of Trabzon is almost the same. What happens to me when I, as a person born and raised in Samsun but who has visited Trabzon only twice in my life, feel a necessity to say that I am not of those radicals? This feeling itself is more dangerous than the fact that there are some marginal groups in this wonderfully beautiful city, my hometown...

Talking too much, doing too little
ABDULHAMIT BILICI a.bilici@todayszaman.com
I love chatting with taxi drivers, especially when I am in a foreign capital for a very limited time. Most of the time, it may be your only occasion to interact with real people in a host country.

In one such encounter, I was talking to a Greek taxi driver in Athens. What shocked me was his rather elaborate analysis of how the political system works in Ankara. He was able to differentiate the Turkish state from the Turkish government. He also had quite a good concept of the Turkish deep state. As a Turkish citizen who believes in the value of democracy, it was worrying, but it was a fact.

I have met newly appointed ambassadors to Turkey who were familiar with the deep state concept. This is typical because the issue is everywhere, from international reports on Turkey to quality books describing Turkish politics. Besides, Turkey has been talking about the same issue for decades while hardly doing anything.

Because of this, talking too much, doing too little has became one of our unfortunate characteristics. This is relevant to the current debate about the deep state, though I like to believe that this time some concrete steps may be taken and we can save the next generation’s time and energy.

Nowadays, it is fashionable for politicians and pundits to talk about and write on the issue. This time it was Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan who started the discussion by saying that the deep state had existed since the Ottoman times and “it should be minimized or eradicated if possible” during a TV interview.

Later, he continued on the same topic by giving his own definition of the deep state: “We can describe it as gangs inside a state organization, and this kind of structure does exist. Our state and our nation have paid a high price because we have not been able to crack down on such networks.” Erdoğan added that the government had limited capacity to cope with the phenomenon and said the joint efforts of the government, judiciary and legislative bodies of the state had to work together to deal with the problem.

It is an unending habit for Turkish politicians to talk about the deep state whenever Turkey witnesses a tragic murder similar to Hrant Dink’s one.

Before Erdoğan, it was former President Süleyman Demirel who expressed his own understanding of thedeep state. For him, “The deep state is the military. They are not a separate state, but when they intervene they became the deep state. Turkey’s need for the deep state emerges as a result of our inability to rule the country.”

Before Demirel, it was the leader of the 1982 coup and former President Kenan Evren who said that “If the state fails, the deep state intervenes. It happened. No one told us not to intervene; in fact, they invited our intervention.”

We can go back to the 1970s when then-Prime Minister Bülent Ecevit was complaining about the deep state. He had referred to the deep state as a Gladio-type counter-guerilla structure having ties to international organizations like NATO.

Everyone is talking, from the heads of states to humble people in the corners of cafes. If I were an element of the deep state, I would have listened to all these debates with joy because I would know that after some time everything would be forgotten and life would until a new tragedy arose. But are we doing anything concrete? What is our attitude toward those rare examples of brave men who took initiative to unearth the deep state?

In that context, I would like to leave Dink’s case aside and to ask about the fate of Semdinli prosecutor Ferhat Sarıkaya. Where is the man who prepared an indictment on the Nov. 9 bombing of a bookstore in Semdinli in the southeastern city of Hakkari? Where is the man who tried to find the high-level links between Gendarmerie Sergeants Ali Kaya, Ozcan Ildeniz and Veysel Ates, a former member of the terrorist Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) turned-informer? It was not in the distant past; it was last year.As a result of obvious pressures, he was kicked out of his post. He lost his job by almost unanimous decision by the High Council of Judges and Prosecutors in the Ministry of Justice. The matter was not handled secretly; it happened in front of politicians and columnists who are now busy with the discussion of the deep state. This happened in spite of the fact that the government, the opposition, the then-chief of staff and almost all the media said in the beginning that it should be investigated all the way to the top. This happened despite keen international concern on the case.

Under this circumstances, is it wrong to expect more action rather than philosophical discourse?

Loving this country
M. NEDIM HAZAR n.hazar@todayszaman.com
Since we cannot go beyond a shallow interpretation of the slogan “We all are Hrant Dink” and even the country’s leading figures are under the influence of this conjectural position, what about making a few daring comments on it? You might have read these words on the back of minibuses or trucks: “I love you, I love the one who loves you, too, but I do not love the one who loves you more than I.”

I have also read a twist on this sentence: “I will kill the one who loves you more than I.”
The wave of reactions that emerged after the assassination of Dink, the wave of counter-reactions that followed it and the souvenir photo that was taken by the gendarmerie who captured him in front of a Turkish flag with the murderer reminded me of this sentence on the minibuses.

The psychopath who solicited the murderer and threatened Orhan Pamuk even when he was being taken away by security forces motivated the murderer with the logic that this country needs protection and it was his mission. This is not a stance to be reduced to simple terms. Several groups in the country, from those who call for a military coup to those who detonate bombs, from the supporters of the Feb. 28 coup to deputy rectors who appear on TV and declare half of the nation traitors, must have been in a similar mood.

There is not much difference between the mindset that becomes a Dink, that becomes Armenian and internalizes a symbolic sentence and slogan and the mindset that causes a person to kill innocent people and bomb bookstores while sincerely believing that nobody but them loves the country.

Following the assassination of Dink, I am astonished to see that such darkness is in even the wisest of men. I’ve seen blind support for or against defending or attacking Dink from people I never would have expected to see. And I understood that this mindset that voices threats at the police runs through all our blood.
I do not believe the security forces who were tidying up the murderer’s clothes in enthusiasm, as if taking a family photo, are malevolent. We may not think the same for the media that brings us that photo, but I do not see those images as an attempt to make a murderer a hero. It was maybe “an unconscious mistake made in the excitement of the day” as the speaker who spoke on the news said.

I do not want these security officials to be blamed for the event. It would not be an exaggeration to say that the officials who took the photo will be accused for the event. Such articles had begun to be published as I was writing these words.

I do not approve of what they did, and I have a message for those who didn’t understand my article “Are we all Armenian?” and thought I didn’t understand the message: I think this was a mistake, a stupid act. They were trying to show that they were the ones who arrested him and took a photo to prove it.

However, this does not require us to ignore the disease of belligerent nationalism. The main problem is not to take a souvenir photo with the murderer but it to ignore disastrous intrigues that would destroy the state for the sake of this morbid love if it could, to be part of these intrigues and be proud of them.The last stage of this destructive nationalism is believing that if we can’t have someone, nobody can. This is another way of saying Prime Minister Erdoğan shouldn’t let the state collapse even at the expense of his own downfall.

Turkey hit by scandalous aftershocks from Dink murder
The police launched a probe and the government vowed not to tolerate gangs within security organizations after Turkish media published scandalous images showing members of security forces posing for pictures with the alleged murderer of Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink after his arrest.

Video footage of 17-year-old Ogün Samast, the suspected murderer of Dink, posing in front of a Turkish flag and holding another flag next to security officials sent shockwaves across Turkey when it was first broadcast on private Turkish television, TGRT, on Thursday night.

The Turkish press was outraged yesterday, describing the footage as scandalous and saying it was as appalling as the murder of Dink on Jan. 19. Dink was gunned down outside his office in broad daylight, and Samast reportedly told the police that he killed Dink because he had said "Turkish blood is dirty."

Samast was seen in the video holding out a Turkish flag and posing with officers, some of them in uniform. Behind Samast was a poster with another Turkish flag carrying the words of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the revered founder of modern Turkey: "The nation's land is sacred. It cannot be left to fate." A voice in the video can be heard asking if the quote on the poster can be arranged above the suspect's head. Someone also tells Samast to fix his hair.
Blasting the episode, daily Sabah said in its headline: "Shoulder to shoulder with the triggerman: suspected killer Samast was given the hero treatment. "A kiss on the forehead is the only thing the murderer was not given," growled daily Radikal. "This is the picture of the mindset that killed Dink."

“We are in an effort to prevent such formations and attempts to set up gangs in violation of the supremacy of law,” Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said in response to questions over the footage. But when reminded of growing calls for resignation of senior officials, including Interior Minister Abdülkadir Aksu over the way the murder case has been handled, Erdoğan was cautious, saying such concepts should not be watered down.

The police launched a probe after the leaking of the footage. "The pictures were shown on television in the evening and inspectors will clarify who took the pictures and why. We in the police will do everything necessary," police spokesman İsmail Çalışkan told a weekly news conference. "Whoever is responsible will be given the appropriate punishment."

The episode comes amid heightened debates over "deep state," the code for shadowy ultranationalist elements in the security forces, ready, if need be, to act outside the law. Authorities have been accused of failing to act on warnings that ultranationalists planned to murder Dink. Last week, the Interior Ministry dismissed the police chief and governor of Trabzon and sent prosecutors to investigate whether local authorities were at fault.
The Dink murder case also raised possibilities that the police and the Gendarmerie Command, attached to the General Staff, could be at odds over the case.

Earlier in the day, the gendarmerie released a statement, denying reports the footage was shot at one of their offices in Samsun, the city where Samast was arrested after a nationwide manhunt. It said the footage was shot in a police station cafeteria and angrily blamed its leakage to the media as a "purposeful act."
"The military police personnel seen in the images were personnel assigned to hand over the suspect to the police," the gendarmerie statement said. Some of the security personnel were wearing gendarmerie uniforms while others were in police uniforms.

Asked whether there was tension between the gendarmerie and the police, Erdoğan said there could be "ill-intentioned people who do not respect this country's values" in every organization and added that it was important to get the state organizations of such elements.

"It needs to be emphasized that no one should be engaged in efforts to pit our institutions against each other," he told reporters in İstanbul. Erdoğan has already acknowledged that the "deep state" has operated in Turkey since Ottoman times and said Turkey has paid a heavy price for not dismantling it.

İstanbul Today’s Zaman

Former Armenian PM Darbinian: Turkey and Armenia should not be Enemies
02 February 2007
Former Armenian Prime Minister Armen Darbinian started a political campaign to develop relations between Turkey and Arsmenia. Darbinian told the daily Milliyet (Istanbul) that the Hrant Dink Funeral was a milestone in the relations. Drinian argued that the Armenians should
question themselves after the funeral.
Darbinian, who is the Rector of the Russian-Armenian University right now, said in his essay in Russian daily Vedomosti “the enemy Turk image does not match with the facts in the history”.
According to the former Armenian PM Mr. Darbinian the Turkish people’s respect to the Dink’s funeral clearly showed how Turkish society has changed. “As a matter of fact that, none of us expected such a sincere solidarity with the Dink’s ideas from the Turkish people” he added.

Mr. Darbinian also called the Armenian Government to clarify its Turkey policy. “Yerevan should declare that we have no territorial demand from Turkey. The most important reason for that Turkey does not have diplomatic relations with Armenia is the Armenian territorial demands mentioned in the Constitution”.

Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink was defending a re-defining of the Armenian identity. Mr. Dink argued in his Agos weekly that Armenian identity has been established on hostility against the Turks. He further said “the Armenians should focus on surviving of Armenia instead of fighting the Turks”.

Dr. Sedat Laciner, head of the Ankara-based USAK told the JTW both, Armenians and Turks should follow Hrant Dink. “The foremost priority for the Armenians should to survive young Armenia. The diaspora in particular should not motivated by the revenge policies. The fighting between Turks and Armenians damage Armenia. Turkey needs a strong Armenia in the region. However the aggressiveness in the Armenian side limits Turkey’s maneuver area. On the other hand, the aggressive diaspora and Armenia policies isolate Armenia in the region. Armenia is now in none of the regional co-operation projects” Mr. Laciner added.

Onder Aytac & Emre Uslu
02 February 2007
Since the Hrant Dink assassination the media has demonstrated a deliberate effort to show the police as having some level of involvement in the murder. In fact, a media report revealed that police informant Erhan Tuncel had shared some information about a possible assassination with police, yet they failed to prevent it.

The media, rightly so, focuses on the "informant" connection and attempts to uncover a shadowy involvement by the police. This is a nice aspect of democracy: the media' investigations put pressure on state institutions to act according to the rule of law. For this very reason, we are deeply thankful for the media pressure on the police to reveal the truth.

However, the Turkish media is constrained by many factors; either prejudices built into editors' minds, or the immense pressures of an "invisible power" put the media in an awkward position. For instance, while Sabah is playing a proactive role to reveal the wrongdoings of the police, which we appreciate, we are reminded that during the operations against the Atabeyler gang, its editors and commentators manipulated basic facts.

Influential Sabah columnist Ergun Babahan rightly asked a question regarding a "poster" depicting Dink's murderer -- a picture taken in front of the Turkish flag on which there is also Ataturk's words: "The Turkish land is a holy land; hence it needs to be protected." Yet perhaps because Mr. Babahan learned the truth, the photographer is an untouchable, he zipped his mouth and scaled down his criticism of the police. Mr. Babahan's attitude is disappointing because he is one of the few journalists courageous enough to criticize all wrongdoing institutions. Yet, for whatever reason, he preferred to stop questioning in this case. "Who shot the picture? We wonder why?" Mr. Babahan ended one of his columns sarcastically saying, "O invisible photographer, come up when I say 'apple,' don't appear when I say 'orange'." We ask Mr. Babahan why he can't say "apple" now! Is it because the "apple" dropped on his head, and he suddenly discovered the "law of gravity" on that photo?

Here we need to raise further questions that you may not hear from embedded journalists:

Where had Yasin Hayal, the mastermind of the Dink assassination, been residing?

Did security agencies in Hayal's area of residence do a background check on his Chechnya adventure? Why did he go there, and what did he do? Did he receive training in making bombs? Or, did he receive formal training on bombs in any security institution? Does he have a "certificate" for that? Was there an attempt to bomb the Russian Embassy by people connected to Chechnya, and where are they now? Do they have some kind of connection with Yasin Hayal? The media reported that Ogun Samast, the murderer of Hrant Dink, was caught on the way to escape to Russia, perhaps to Chechnya. Where was he going, and who was behind him? Just Yasin Hayal? Why has the media stopped investigating this aspect?

Who's behind the anti-Kurdish incidents in the Black Sea region? Are the people agitating the anti-Kurdish feelings of the inhabitants benefiting from what they're doing?

Most importantly, is anybody outside the investigative circle trying to influence the case? Are the police being pressured to change the nature of the Dink investigation? Who are they? Is it somehow related with Hayal's "deep" connections, which helped him to go Chechnya or Azerbaijan?

Are there any plans to sow chaos or attempts for the next five to six months? If so, who's behind these plans, and why? What is the relationship between these plans and the associations of the people involved in the Dink assassination? What does the "We are all Turks" graffiti around the country tell us? Who's behind these attempts at agitation?

There are many more questions to ask, but no matter what you ask and how you answer, all answers point in one direction. A group of people are now attempting to sneak into a nationalist political party and create chaos in this country. Unfortunately, people who are holding key positions are either unaware of the fact, or ignore this looming danger because of their cupidity.

Bernard Lewis' Europe
Bernard Lewis, who asserted that the future of Europe basically much depended on whether it was "the Islamized Europe, or Europeanized Islam" has interpreted historical facts in a way to justify the Crusades by repeating an outdated Orientalist argument.

He is a respected academic who tried to prove that the growing tension in the Islamic world against the imperialist West does make any sense in the context of the Ottoman Empire's collapse due to the end of the clash between East and West by the party who was in the right as the main evidence for his claim. His alienating argument, which tries to equate Islam with terror, actually recalls Europe's historical experience; that is to say, the social schizophrenia fostered by the Europe's "either integration or exclusion" policies have surfaced in our country through such slogans as "love or leave it."


EP member Lagendijk sends letter to Erdoğan and Baykal on Dink
European Parliament (EP) member Joost Lagendijk has sent a letter to Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Deniz Baykal asking them to immediately change Article 301 of the Turkish Penal Code (TCK) which Lagendijk thinks is responsible for the murder of journalist Hrant Dink.

Lagendijk explained that Article 301 was behind rising intolerance and aggressive nationalism in Turkey. He admitted that the penal codes of various EU member states contained articles penalizing the denigration of state organs and administrations. “In my own country, the Netherlands, insulting the authorities or a public body or institution can lead to imprisonment,” Lagendijk gave as an example.

However, Article 301 of the TCK was different from other similar articles in the EU because of two main reasons. “First there is the word ‘Turkishness’ in the first paragraph of Article 301. This is an expression which you will not find in any European penal code. The second point concerns the reasoning behind the article. In the Netherlands and in other European states, the reason is pragmatic: it serves the orderly functioning of the public service,” explained Lagendijk. The EP member said that none of the high profile cases against writers and journalists brought before Turkish courts under Article 301 correspond to this type of reasoning.

Lagendijk said it was very urgent to amend this article following the murder of Dink as it leads to life threatening situations in its present form. “We cannot wait any longer,” expressed Lagendijk. If the state needed protection against insult for the functioning of Turkish democracy, Lagendijk added, an article should be adopted so no one could misinterpret it or exploit it for criminal purposes.

He asked both Erdoğan and Baykal to have the courage to amend this article, expressing that Turkey needs political leaders to take the country forward not backwards; leaders that realize that Turkey’s long term interests are not served by giving in to extreme and violent nationalism; leaders that are willing to lead the country in a more democratic direction, with tolerance and respect for divergent views.

Brussels Today’s Zaman

Dilemma of saying 'we are Armenians'
Ilnur Cevik
02 February 2007
The day journalist Hirant Dink was assassinated by a Turkish extremist nationalist youth, Turkish newspaper editors wanted to make a point by declaring "we, too, are Armenians," so they carried this to their banner headlines and editorials. They said it is time for all of us to be united to show that this murder of a Turkish citizen of Armenian origin cannot be tolerated by any of us and Turks are prepared to own up an Armenian as an act of defiance against these extremists.

Turks made a point that they have great respect for their Armenian brothers and sisters and will stand by them in times of trouble.

So far, so good.

In those days this columnist went out for shopping and during some small chats with vendors he realized that while we as intellectuals were full of rage at the murder of Dink, there were some ordinary people in the street who were prepared to say "so what?"

One told this columnist, "The Armenians killed so many of our diplomats and their relatives and not one Armenian abroad shed any tears for us…"

Then we realized that publishers of leading mass-circulation newspapers were telling their editors to tone down their backing for the Armenians so as not to further stir up Turkish nationalist sentiments…

So there is the other side of the coin in Turkey, where everyone has to take note of the strong nationalist sentiments that are abundant in our society especially in Anatolia, and thus have to act accordingly…

The people living in various Anatolian cities are full of anger with reports that our soldiers are being killed at the hands of Kurdish PKK terrorists. Anti-Kurdish sentiments are on the rise. But we see that those who cannot target the Kurds, as they are a huge minority in Turkey, are directing their anger against the Armenians…

It is not only nationalists but ordinary Turks who feel Turkey is being the target of an unfair international campaign aimed at declaring the events of World War I an act of genocide by the Ottomans against the Armenians living in eastern Turkey. Turks are aware that the Armenians extremists who unleashed a campaign of terrorism that took the lives of dozens of Turkish diplomats and their families over the past two decades will now try to capitalize on the claims of genocide to make further claims against Turkey. Turks simply cannot tolerate that.

Thus the boiling anger against Armenians. Thus the insensitivity of our man in the street to the Dink assassination.

All this should be a wake-up call as we are confronted not only by a political problem but a social dilemma that has to be addressed by our intellectuals and those running the country.

Aksu runs risk of losing his seat, prestige
The New Anatolian / Ankara
02 February 2007
In the wake of the shocking murder of journalist Hrank Dink, which triggered public outcry and calls for the interior minister and the Istanbul police chief to resign, the government has faced accusations of failure and even ignorance.

Main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) leader Deniz Baykal questioned the actions of the police, citing reports that security circles were aware of a threat to the journalist.

"The police force is a valuable institution but the body has recently been paralyzed," he said, adding, "Turkey should give up fighting mosquitoes and drain the swamp. The swamp was created by the government."

"How could they dare fill police posts with Islamists?" he asked.

Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) deputy leader Mehmet Sandir, continuing with similar accusatory statements, yesterday called on both Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Interior Minister Abdulkadir Aksu to resign as well as to account for the Dink murder.

His comments followed demands from the CHP in a Parliament session late on Wednesday, where the CHP leader himself urged the top of the government to resign immediately.

Sandir claimed that the only one responsible for the murder is the government itself as it failed to guarantee public security and fell short in taking necessary precautions.

The government should accept responsibility for the murder, said Sandir, adding that it should order all state institutions to investigate all aspects of the murder and its aftermath in full coordination.

He also lashed out at the premier for remarks laying the blame on nationalist circles and called upon him to show his evidence linking nationalists to the murder.

Baykal, in Wednesday's session in Parliament, said that the government cannot escape from this incident through suspending a couple of local officials.

Baykal also said that several unsolved murders were committed during the Aksu's term in office. The minister is a former Motherland Party (then ANAP) member and deputy who served twice as interior minister and once as state minister.

Baykal announced that his party will prepare a motion for a parliamentary investigation into the premier and the interior minister and submit it to the Parliament Speaker's Office next week.

Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul rebuffed allegations that the police were negligent and gave reassurances that the government is committed to shedding light on the issue. "Please have faith in the government. In the past such murders remained unsolved but as our government undertook full responsibility, the perpetrators were caught immediately," said Gul.

Gül to meet top US officials on Iraq, genocide resolution
February 2, 2007
WASHINGTON - Turkish Daily News
Foreign Minister Abdullah Gül will meet next week with top U.S. officials, including Vice-President Dick Cheney, in an effort to win their backing on Iraq; on the agenda will also be the threat posed by the terrorist Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) and an Armenian genocide resolution recently introduced in Congress.

Gül's trip comes at a time when Turkey is gearing up for presidential and legislative elections later this year and uncertainty prevails over Iraq's future and the Turkish public's patience is diminishing on the PKK problem.

In addition to his talks with Cheney on Monday, Gül will meet with his host, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, and the president's National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley the next day. On Wednesday he will visit with some key lawmakers in Congress.

Cheney rarely meets with foreign ministers, except during critical times.

“I'm sure they'll talk about Iraq,” State Department spokesman Sean McCormack told reporters on Wednesday about the expected agenda of the Gül-Rice meeting.

“I'm sure they'll talk about this cross-border issue that's of concern to us, as well as the Turkish government, talk about Iran, and most likely Turkish-European relations,” he added. By “the cross-border issue,” he was referring to the PKK's attacks inside Turkey from the terrorist group's bases in Iraq.

Gül will call for more effective measures against the PKK and warn that there is growing public pressure on the Turkish government to send the army to neighboring northern Iraq to eliminate PKK bases there, according to analysts.

Another sticking point is the oil-rich city of Kirkuk in northern Iraq, a tense mix of Kurds, Turkmens, Sunni Arabs and Christians.

Turkey calls for a major delay on a constitutional referendum planned for Kirkuk's status later this year, saying that at a time when the Kurds have altered the city's demographic structure by bringing in more than 100,000 of their kinsmen, holding the census could lead to regional conflict. But seeking to make Kirkuk the capital of their region, the Kurds insist that the referendum be conducted this year.

Some analysts expect little progress on matters related to Iraq, as the Americans are already saying that they are trying to do whatever they can to counter the PKK in northern Iraq at a time they are involved in deep problems in the rest of the war-torn country.

On Kirkuk, State Department officials have said the referendum process should go ahead as planned.

In any case, Gül's talks are expected to be a strong reminder of Turkey's critical concerns over Iraq.

Another issue that may further spoil the U.S.-Turkish relationship is an Armenian genocide resolution introduced in the House of Representatives earlier this week. If the House approves the measure, it will formally recognize the genocide claims and urge the administration also to classify World War I era killings of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire as genocide.

President George W. Bush's administration is already against the resolution's passage. But Gül will call for a stronger commitment from the administration to stop the measure.

He will also meet with Democratic Congressman Tom Lantos of California, chairman of the influential House Foreign Affairs Committee, and other committee members. This panel is expected to discuss and vote the resolution, probably in March. If the measure is approved there it will go to the full House floor.

Turkey's public is extremely sensitive on the issue, and successive Turkish governments have warned Washington that a genocide resolution's passage will lead to a review of the entire U.S.-Turkish relationship.

Recent tensions related to the Cyprus problem and Turkey's faltering ties with the European Union will be other major agenda items.

What Others Say
Friday, February 2, 2007

How did we arrive at the white bereted?:
Abdullah MURADOĞLU, Yeni Şafak In the middle of the '70s, when we were still almost kids, some of us hung out with “Idealists” [extreme-nationalists] while some of us hung out with our “revolutionary” elder brothers. That was an era of ideological brands.If you saw someone with a moustache hanging down, you would be able to tell immediately that he was an “Idealist.” If the moustache covered the upper lip like the hairs of a toothbrush, that would mean he was a revolutionary.

The idealist brothers wore calpacks [traditional black high-crowned caps made of sheepskin or felt], while the revolutionary brothers walked around in army boots and green parkas. We, the kids, would be wearing calpacks or parkas to show which side we were on since we didn't have any facial hair. We didn't know yet that people were going to be shot dead because of these brands. And now what? The hanging-down moustaches are gone, so are the brush-shaped Stalin moustaches. Some fans of the Trabzonspor football team wore white berets on the stands [The killer of journalist Hrant Dink is now synonymous with the white beret he wore at the time of the assassination].

Perhaps this was a reaction to the negative public image of Trabzon. At least, I really hope it was. What if it's not?Mehmet Ali Ağca [the Turk who killed journalist Abdi İpekçi and attempted to assassinate Pope John Paul II] had become an “idol” at the end of the '70s. Children would try to imitate him. The investigation revealed that one of the suspects under arrest also envies Ağca. This is not good news. I fear that a white beret used in dark deeds might turn into an ideological symbol.Don't be surprised if there a Web site called “The White Bereted” springs up on the Internet. You might shout at football messages that you are “Neither Armenian nor from Malatya.” The people of Malatya would only laugh and forget about it.The real danger is in “ethnic” discrimination. Do we realize that while we try to get rid of one type of darkness, we are creating a new darkness?We should all be extremely careful. We can't be like anyone else. This is Turkey.

The deep state:
Ekrem DUMANLI, Zaman Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has brought up the issue of deep state [a network of dark connections said to be nested within the state apparatus; often believed to be the behind-the-scene force in some violent public incidents and killings]. Recently he complained about the deep state on a TV show. Then he touched upon the same subject talking to journalists during his visit to Ethiopia. Some criticize him, saying, “You are the prime minister and you should look into the topic.”Although it sounds good reasoning at first, in reality it is not such a simple matter. The prime minister refers to the deep state as “gang formations among state institutions.” This means that it is not a single unified entity. First we have to understand one fact: Tayyip Erdoğan is not the first prime minister to complain about the deep state. Bülent Ecevit in the '70s had stated that some forces in the state got involved in “dirty dealings,” going beyond their legal powers.

He was the first to use the word kontrgerilla [literally counter-guerilla, used to refer to involvement of security forces against what they perceive as threats, relying on illegitimate means and without orders from the government] However, Mr. Ecevit didn't look into this monster, despite an armed attack against him and despite the fact that involvement of ambiguous and dark forces was clearly observed in the events of May 1. [In 1977 – also referred to as “the bloody May 1” – when at least 34 people were killed when unidentified snipers started shooting at a crowd of 500,000 union workers demonstrating in Istanbul's Taksim Square].It is really not that easy to investigate organizations nested within the state, depending on civilian supporters.

A former ministry of interior on a TV show recently talked about the assassination of [Milliyet journalist] Abdi İpekçi. He said they couldn't interrogate Ağca even after his capture because of the martial law regulations. And Ağca manages to escape from the highest-security prison in the country. Can we grab him by the throat and ask that minister of interior affairs “Where is the deep state?”An assassination attempt on [former Prime Minister and President] Turgut Özal during a Motherland Party (then-ANAP, now ANAVATAN) congress similarly went uninvestigated. To this day the sudden death of Özal later on is surrounded by suspicion, according to his brother Korkut Özal.

Telling a prime minister complaining about the “deep-state,” to “solve it” is really not serious. Any expectation that this can be solved, unless a collective stance is taken against deep-state gangs, would prove to be in vain. During the Susurluk scandal [Following a traffic accident in Susurluk in 1996 a parliamentary deputy, known right-wing gang leader, former beauty queen and senior police officer were found among the dead and injured. The resulting political and social turmoil has come to be known as the “Susurluk scandal,” and the accident was described as definite proof of the “deep state” link between politics, organized crime and bureaucracy] the press stood firm but the Refah-Yol government got scared.The existence of gangs inside state organs was proven through a number of similar incidents, but they have never been seriously investigated. The cooperation of the political authority and the press won't even be enough to solve it. Resistance from civil society and the judiciary also has to be there. Otherwise, the “deep state” will remain a topic of complaint and continue to spice up newspaper headlines every now and then.

The terminator and the Internet:
Nihal B. KCA, Zaman Granted, the assassination of intellectuals, journalists and statesmen in Turkey always have their source in some sort of a political project. The Hrant Dink murder could be one of these “projects,” where the perpetrators could be traced back up to only a certain point; with the culprits beyond that point remaining unreachable.

The question “Who could be behind this murder,” is no search for a conspiracy theory. However, it is also true that some details of the murder that have been already revealed give us serious information on certain issues and also serve to warn us. In that sense, getting focused on the behind-the-scene organization is good, but it also has the disadvantage of questioning the aspect of the reality that has been revealed. There are certain conditions which cause people like Ogün [Samast] and Yasin [Hayal – prime suspects in the Dink murder] to be impressionable and easy to “buy.” There are conditions which enable them to physically realize what they plan in their minds.

Looking into these conditions and passing the necessary laws is a major responsibility that lies with the state officials. According to press organs, Ogün's first statements showed that he decided to become a “terminator” when his sense of being the underdog peaked. He said he was influenced by what he read on the Internet. There is the gun, the appropriate state of mind. The only thing he needed was “motivation,” which he got from the Internet. Some Internet sites, apparently inspired by the mainstream media, work to create aggression. However, there is the expectation that the reader has the common sense to remain distant to these messages. However a majority of sites have as their target audience youths who have little to do with books and reading. Many Internet sites can show faces to the public as targets. Democracy is not the freedom to mask your face behind a relatively safe mask and attack someone more or less known to the public. The Internet, under normal conditions a democratic tool allowing different ideas to circulate, turns into something determined by the culture of its users. Could we say here, “There is no problem as long as it stays on the Internet.” We can't really blame the Internet as the only reason for the Dink murder. However you don't need to have a murder to understand that this tool has potential dangers. The tide of motivation behind the Dink murder was high, as can be seen in the messages on such Internet sites and death threats sent to Dink. It really isn't that hard to see.

Parliamentarians protest US on Armenian resolution
February 2, 2007
Turkish Parliamentarians Union (TPB) head Hasan Korkmazcan said yesterday that the union sent a letter of protest to the U.S. House of Representatives about the so-called Armenian genocide resolution that was brought to its floor on Tuesday.

Briefing the reporters at Parliament about the content of his letter, Korkmazcan stated that one-sided comments made about the historic issues could be developed in the interest of some circles that want to undermine the current alliance between Turkey and the United States.

“Turkey's suggestions to reach a compromise on the basis of scientific truth were rejected. Still, Turkey is continuing with its serious studies of the archives and is keeping its realist manner. This baseless statement, which has become an issue of politics, not only does not reflect historic truths but also prevents discussions about history. I hope we find the opportunity to discuss the issue in the platform it deserves since these racist accusations are lacking evidence. I believe our suggestion to study the issue together will be a good answer to those who want to prevent the development of Turkish-Armenian relations,” he added.

Kormazcan went on to state that following the murder of Hrant Dink it was understood that the events that take place in or outside of Turkey cannot only be evaluated by the police and judiciary. He added, “The murder showed that international terrorism against Turkey has gained new dimensions within the country.”

Press Scanner
February 2, 2007
Radikal calls on city leaders to resign:
Yesterday Radikal, with a justifiably angry headline, called on Istanbul Police Chief Celalettin Cerrah, Police Intelligence Unit Chief Akyürek and Istanbul Governor Muammer Güler to resign following recent reports suggesting that the Turkish police were warned a year ago about a plot to kill Turkish Armenian journalist Hrant Dink.

Recent reports suggested that Turkish police were warned a year ago about a plot to kill Dink. The government sent two inspectors to Trabzon to investigate the allegations and the police confirmed that Tuncel, a university student in Trabzon with links to the ultranationalist group blamed for the killing warned local police in February 2006 of a plan to assassinate the prominent journalist. Tuncel reportedly told police that Yasin Hayal, also under arrest in connection with the murder, planned to travel from Trabzon to Istanbul to kill Dink, the 52-year-old editor of the bilingual Turkish-Armenian weekly Agos. The intelligence was passed on to Istanbul police, who found nothing suspicious at the address and took no further action, Radikal reported.

They said Tuncel turned informer in 2004 in exchange for immunity after he was detained in connection with a bomb attack on a McDonald's restaurant in Trabzon, for which Hayal served 11 months in jail.

Akşam comments on Hrant Dink and troubles in Trabzon:
Yesterday's Akşam, like most other newspapers, focused on the appalling details of the Hrant Dink murder. The daily newspaper said that Interior Minister Abdülkadir Aksu made no statement regarding the scandal that the police had been tipped off about the plot to assassinate Dink.

In another news story, Akşam reported that some of Turkey's most famous opinion leaders from the town of Trabzon, hometown of Dink's shooter Ogün Samast, were traveling to the city to break the recent spate of negative publicity the town has attracted.

It is time for the Armenian genocide bill, what should we do?
February 2, 2007
Mehmet Ali Birand
Last year we discussed a train crash between the European Union and Turkey. While we were still trying to estimate whether the crash would occur, we got survived with only minor injuries.

On this year's agenda there is a possible train crash between Turkey and the United States.

This time the crash is about Armenian genocide allegations.

It has been the same scenario for years. As April nears, the members of the U.S. House of Representatives close to Armenians take action and try to make the U.S. Congress officially accept an Armenian “genocide.” A bill is sent to the House of Representatives to be voted on followed by the Turkish government's knocking on the U.S. government's door. The Turkish government gives warnings on a wide variety of issues from strategic significance to arms bids. A crisis that lasts weeks takes place on the Ankara-Washington axis, and the current government forestalls the passing of the bill, drawing attention to “the prominence of Turkey's strategic being.”

It will be the same scenario this year.

However, things took a more serious turn this year. This time, it looks like Armenians can get what they want. Unlike the previous years, the winds are blowing the Armenian way. Nancy Pelosi, who supports the Armenian cause whole-heartedly, was appointed as the speaker of House of Representatives. The number of democrats who approach Armenians sympathetically have increased in the House. More important is the weakening of the White House, regarded as the most powerful establishment supporting Turkey in the House of Representatives. President Bush does not have the influence he used to.

So what will happen now?

Our worst habit is to wait until the last minute to take action. For us to take any measures, we need to first get terrible results. Then we start shouting and uttering threats that we will not grant them the bids and that we will embargo them.

This was how it used to be. We would threaten, get what we want, and then lie down and hibernate. We would not make preparations or develop new policies.

The situation is very different now.

There is little time left before the train crash. It is very hard to get out of the mess with threats now.

Now, we need to wake up, get rid of old habits and come up with a new policy. It is inevitable for us to get rid of the old rhetoric, to look at the issue from a different point of view and to escape the genocide stain.

Let's not wait until the last minute.

We have no other options left but to surprise the world:

Maybe we do not take it seriously, but the Armenian genocide allegations are getting much more serious. This official clamp gets tighter each year. The parliaments of 18 countries have carried resolutions that Turkey has inflicted genocide on Armenians. There are at least as many more on their way.

We should not just be uneasy but we should in fact panic against this scenario. Those parliaments who have resolved that Turkey committed genocide will in the near future decide that it is “against the law” to deny an Armenian genocide. They will then pressure their governments to “apply sanctions on Turkey to force it to accept the genocide.” Then paying indemnities to the families of deceased Armenians during those incidents will become a subject for discussion.

Above all, if the bill in the U.S. Congress passes, it will be exemplary and other countries will follow course.

Turkey needs to see this fact and show the courage to take realistic steps. From now on it will be impossible to go anywhere claiming, “We are right, the Armenian community is deceiving the world.” The international public opinion cannot be affected by broadcasting documentaries, distributing books and organizing conferences.

We have missed that train.

If we would like to get rid of genocide allegations or postpone them for a while, then we need to take measures that will surprise the world.

The choice is clear.

Either the same policies will be followed (i.e. there will be much “empty” rhetoric and only the Armenian community will be blamed) to end up pressed against the same genocide wall, or completely different approaches will have to be followed and people will be baffled.

I do not personally see any other way to prevent the genocide bill in the U.S. Congress, or any other country's parliament.

'We are all...' well, all sorts of things
February 2, 2007
David Judson
Many things in Turkey are as complex as Euclidian geometry, identity among them. Surprise is the rare certainty, as I realized at a bar table discussion with fellow journalists this week

Turkey's complexity never ceases to surprise. Not even when the subject turns to the powerful and much-debated topic of symbolism and national identity.

So I was reminded again this week when chance treated me to an emotional conversation with colleagues from another Doğan Group publication. Our conversation took place after all of us were off deadline, here in the Hürriyet building's restaurant. After 7 p.m. or so, this watering hole becomes a fascinating cross-section of Turkish journalism.

The topic at the table among this group of senior editors was, of course, the treatment given by us all to the placards carried by the tens of thousands at the funeral of slain Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink two weeks ago: “We are all Hrant. We are all Armenian.”

Not a watershed for all:

To many, myself included, these were transcendent gestures of solidarity in the face of sorrow and challenge. It all echoed with the resonance of U.S. President John F. Kennedy's defiance of the Berlin Wall, with his “Ich bin ein Berliner.” It brought to mind the Greek headlines in 1999 after the devastating earthquake here: “Hepimiz Turkiyeliyiz” or “We are all of Turkey,” or “Komşu Dayan,” which might translate as “Neighbor Hold On.” There was “Nous sommes tous Americains” in Le Monde of Paris after the terrorist attack of Sept. 11, 2001 on the World Trade Center of New York. That headline from the nationalistic French gave no shortage of comfort to many a devastated American in those dark days. Given the historic sensitivities and familiar debate of history between Turks and Armenians, the carrying of this tradition forward indeed represents a watershed in symbolism.

But as is now well established two weeks after the Dink murder, that “watershed” is not embraced with universal enthusiasm. Many, from Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on down to any number of soccer fans in recent days, have made this clear. “We are Hrant,” is OK, it seems, but the second part represents new and difficult terrain in the juxtaposition of symbols. The other night I watched one journalist/politician drive a rally in İzmir into a frenzy with his criticism of the line, followed by mass chants in unison, “We are all Turks.” I caught a fragment of a Turkish singer on television who elected to interpret matters in religious terms, drawing applause with her alternative slogan: “I am a Muslim, I am a Muslim, I am a Muslim.” The audience broke into wild applause.

Back here at the office, my colleagues at the table were decidedly in this latter camp. And they were eager to robustly share their views on our headline in the Turkish Daily News. For not only did we lead with the controversial line, we did so in the Armenian language, “Polorıs Hay Yenk.” An inadvertent contribution to the slide we now witness into angry polemics was not my intention; the thought I may have done so is sobering. These were – and are – very difficult issues to discuss.

The Kurds who were no more:

The conversation was heated. And emotional. For a while, I thought I was making headway with the argument that one of the virtues of Turkish nationalism is that it can, and does, embrace the cultural “mosaic” that is Turkey. That the river of Turkish identity is fed by many tributaries is a mighty strength, I sought to suggest. This tack was intriguing, and bought me a few moments' reflection. Quickly, though, we were back to arguing. My unique status as a foreigner in a Turkish media company probably netted me a bit more patience than I deserved. At least it exempted me from the bar tab when it arrived. But alas, this was not to be an evening that included a meeting of the minds.

All a bit exhausted from our intellectual tour of the world's ideologies and sources of identity, we chose to call it a night with a clinking of glasses to the spirit of democratic debate and we toasted ourselves: “We are all journalists.”

With tempers dampened down it was time to head home, which left just one more parting ritual to ensure we'd all be friends in the morning: a round of kisses on both cheeks before heading into the night.

I was about half way through the drill. One of my sparring partners gripped me by one shoulder, kissed my check, and shared in my left ear, “I am a Kurd.” There was nothing conspiratorial or secretive about this. When we caught up to the other cheek, and the other ear, he offered, “We are all Kurds.” The group all smiled a bit. The only sense of irony was apparently mine. Another day at the office.

As I say, many things in Turkey are as complex as Euclidian geometry, identity among them. Surprise is the rare certainty.

Opposition leader tears government apart over Dink murder
February 2, 2007
Main opposition leader Deniz Baykal has leveled harsh accusations at the government for tolerating negligence by security forces in the Dink murder. A pattern is evident, he says.

Turkish Daily News

The murder of Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink was committed despite security forces being in the know, main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) leader Deniz Baykal claimed on Thursday.

Speaking to press members following a meeting of his party's central executive committee on Thursday, Baykal said, “This murder was committed despite the police being tipped-off about the plot.”

Baykal said his party discussed the developments in the Dink murder investigation “extensively” in Thursday's meeting.

His remarks come at a time when recent media reports have claimed that the Turkish police were warned a year ago about a plot to kill Dink.

The incident has proven that Turkey's police force is faced with very serious problems, Baykal said, expressing concern that Turkey is being dragged into a profound crisis of security and safety.

“Recent developments clearly indicate the first signs of this,” Baykal said, calling for a reconsideration of the structure of the security forces and its security policy.

Expressing that no excuse could explain the recent allegations, Baykal said, “It has now become obvious that a tip-off was sent to the authorities 11 months before the murder. It has also been understood that the tip-off was communicated repeatedly in oral and written form to the Intelligence Department of the national police force as well as to the Istanbul and Trabzon police, although no thorough investigation, arrests or detainments were made in accordance with the tip-off. There is no excuse or explanation for this picture.”

This is unacceptable:

Baykal said, “The picture at hand is unusually appalling. This is not a murder committed secretly. It has been committed with the knowledge of the security forces. This is unacceptable. The bureaucratic authorities and also the politicians responsible for this negligence should be revealed.”

Baykal also drew attention to the curious fact that most of Turkey's political murders with perpetrators never caught were carried out at different periods when Abdülkadir Aksu, who is also currently in office, was the Minister of Interior Affairs.

Baykal said the killings of journalist Çetin Emeç, academics Bahriye Üçok and Muammer Aksoy, writer Turan Dursun, academic Necip Hablemitoğlu, retired Gen. Adnan Ersöz, retired Gen. Temel Cingöz and retired Gen. İsmail Selen, Memduh Ünlütürk, Hulusi Sayın, Ata Burcu, National Intelligence Agency Deputy Undersecretary Hiram Abas, son of a deputy Mustafa Güngör, State Council judge Mustafa Yücel Özbilgin, two synagogue bombings, an attack on the British Embassy and the HSBC headquarters, the killing of an Italian pastor, a lynching attempt in the İsmailağa Mosque and Hrant Dink's murder had all taken place when Interior Minister Abdülkadir Aksu was in office.

Baykal said Turkey seriously needed to question the state of its security forces and the mentality of the people leading them.

Journalist's Murder Opens Window Of Opportunity For Turkish-Armenian Rapprochement
Yigal Schleifer 2/01/07
In the days immediately following the shocking murder of outspoken Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink, many observers expressed hope that the tragedy could serve as a catalyst for reconciliation between Turkey and Armenia. Initial signals, however, show that a rapprochement still will not be easily achieved.

Dink was gunned down by a 17-year-old ultranationalist on January 19. The journalist's January 23 funeral in Istanbul drew over 100,000 mourners, including - in what was seen as an encouraging sign -Armenia's deputy foreign minister, Arman Kirakossian. The occasion marked the first high-level visit by an Armenian official to Turkey since relations between the two countries were cut off in 1993. Joining Kirakossian were several leaders of Armenian diaspora organizations - many making their first-ever visit to Turkey - as well as the archbishop of the Armenian Church of America, Khajag Barsamian.

Before leaving Turkey, Kirakossian reiterated his country's desire to renew relations with Turkey without "any preconditions."

"It looks as if we have a window of opportunity here because of the sympathy that was created after [Dink's] funeral, the new atmosphere that was created in the country and the fact that the government was quite resolute on the issue of investigating the murder," says Sami Kohen, a columnist with the daily Milliyet newspaper and a veteran observer of Turkish foreign policy.

Many in Turkey compared the aftermath of the murder of Dink, editor of the bilingual Turkish-Armenian newspaper Agos, to the time following a devastating earthquake in 1999, which saw historic rivals Turkey and Greece enter a period of rapprochement -- brought together by the shared experience of the temblor's destruction.

"We are hoping that a tragedy like Hrant's loss will have the same effect," says Noyan Soyak, an Istanbul businessman who is vice chairman of the Turkish-Armenian Business Development Council. "The will is there in both countries, but what the problem is nobody knows."

The initial replies from Ankara to the Armenian gesture have not been positive, though. Turkey's Foreign Ministry said Kirakossian's statements contained "nothing new," while Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Yerevan should first reply to his previous offer to set up a joint commission to study the tragic events of 1915. [For background see the Eurasia Insight archive]. Armenians contend that the Ottoman Turks committed genocide, while the Turkish government disputes the genocide assertion, saying that Armenians were largely victims of a vicious partisan struggle that raged during and after World War I. "They haven't responded to my suggestion. These statements don't show good will. Therefore, I don't find their manner genuine," Erdogan told reporters in Ankara.

Egemen Bagis, a parliamentarian with the governing Justice and Development Party (AKP), says a foundation exists for rebuilding relations, but that Yerevan has rebuffed Turkey's reconciliation gestures. "Armenia has always played a very cold, non-cooperating attitude with Turkey," Bagis says. "They should take advantage of Turkey willingness for dialogue."

Some analysts in Turkey believe that, despite the tough talk, Ankara may be compelled to make some progress on the Armenia front. The murder of Dink, who was hauled into court numerous times under a controversial article in the Turkish penal code which makes it a crime to "insult" Turkish identity, has placed Turkey in the international spotlight. [For background see the Eurasia Insight archive]. An improvement in relations with Yerevan would help ease some of the pressure Ankara is now facing on the freedom-of-speech issue.

In addition, the Democrat-controlled US House of Representatives is likely to vote in the near future on a resolution recognizing the Armenian genocide. Any positive movement by Turkey regarding its relations with Armenia would likely assist its lobbying efforts to defeat the resolution. "Turkey can start a dialogue with Armenia this time by slightly tuning its attitude. And it must," political analyst Mehmet Ali Birand wrote in a recent column in the English-language Turkish Daily News. "Talks should start. A dialogue should begin. Prerequisites can be brought to the discussions later."

Milliyet's Kohen suggests the Turkish-Greek model could serve as an example for fostering a dialogue between Ankara and Yerevan. In the Turkish-Greek case, thorny issues like territorial and historical disputes were initially set aside in order to get talks started. While Turkey and Greece have yet to resolve their territorial dispute, commercial and cultural relations between the two countries have taken off since 1999.

"You know that you have differences, but you enter into a dialogue, you get to being on speaking terms," says Kohen. "The problem right now is that the two countries aren't even on speaking terms, and there is a lot to talk about."

Turkish experts in Turkey believe that, ultimately, any move regarding relations with Armenia will be determined by domestic considerations. Turkey is heading towards parliamentary elections in November and the government, facing a rising wave of nationalism at home, will find it hard to make any dramatic moves on nationalist hot-button issues touching on the issues of Armenia and Cyprus.

Soyak, representative of the Turkish-Armenian Business Development Council, believes opening the border with Armenia, closed since 1993, would be a step in the right direction, fostering goodwill and bolstering Turkish trade at the same time. [For additional information see the Eurasia Insight archive]. "The closed borders haven't helped anybody," he says. "They haven't helped the Azeris gain back territory. It hasn't helped Turkey with fighting genocide resolutions around the world. We should open the borders and see what happens."

Editor's Note: Yigal Schleifer is a freelance journalist based in Istanbul.
Eurasia Insight

Turkey must loosen the grip of its founding myths
Mark Mazower
Financial Times , UK
31 January 2007
The banners read "We are all Armenians" at the funeral in Istanbul last week for Hrant Dink, the Turkish-Armenian journalist shot in January by a young nationalist assassin. "We are Turkish. We are all Mustafa Kemal Ataturk," nationalist football fans chanted in reply from terraces across the country, referring to modern Turkey's founder.

As Dink's tragic death and the polarised reactions to it demonstrate in the most graphic way, the ongoing reckoning with events now nearly a century old remains a huge factor in Turkey itself. It is not merely that, fairly or unfairly, its pursuit of European Union membership is generating international pressure on the government to recognise the Armenian genocide. The issue polarises the country internally as well and raises more acutely than any other issue the question of how tightly it remains within the ideological grip of its founding fathers.

In many ways, the government of Tayyip Erdogan has moved further on this issue than any of its predecessors. While still publicly insisting the point has acquired an almost theological quality that the mass murders of 1915-16 were not genocide, it has opened up the Ottoman archives and even proposed to the Armenian government that they jointly sponsor an international commission to settle the issue once and for all. That the Armenians showed little interest may have been just as well. States generally need to get out of the business of adjudicating on history, not deeper into it.

Just as French parliamentarians would have done much better recently to avoid laying down the law on a whole range of past (non-French) crimes and (French) achievements, so the Turkish government should not imagine that a bilateral commission of official appointees will do anything more than continue politicking in another form. Government committees, parliamentary resolutions and even state-sponsored anniversaries often possess a powerful headline-grabbing symbolic charge but, precisely for this reason, they are a crude means of getting at truth.

The process of coming to historical understanding does not work through officialdom. It is essentially uncontrollable, often acrimonious and cannot be wrapped up fast to meet a ministerial deadline. After 1945, Holocaust scholars enjoyed uniquely favourable access to documents, survivors and perpetrators. Sixty years on, they are still debating some fundamental matters of interpretation. Serious discussion of the events of 1915-16 is at a much earlier stage. Right now, it seems fairly clear that much of the killing was centrally organised, and genocidal in scope; denial of this point simply flies in the face of the evidence. Yet how the killing was organised is poorly understood. Moreover, most Turkish nationalists do not so much deny the killings themselves as claim they need to be seen in the context of an all-out assault on what was left of the Ottoman empire itself. It is certainly true though Europe still ignores the unpalatable fact that the expansion of national states, mostly Christian, was accompanied by the killing and expulsion of Muslims from the Balkans and Russia. To explain is not to justify. Yet the escalation of violence in Anatolia after 1914 was certainly linked to the upheavals that had preceded it. Franker discussion of the Armenian genocide thus has the potential to open up an entirely different perspective on Europe's modern history as a whole.

There are many ways the Turkish government can help this along. Its key responsibility lies in fostering better conditions for such discussions to flourish. Repealing the now infamous article 301 of the penal code, under which Dink among many others was convicted, would be an important step towards ending the legal intimidation of writers: the government's talk of reforming it is not really enough. It could do more to support the dissemination of the exciting research that is emerging from Turkey's flourishing universities.

Above all, it should take a hard look at how the country's history is taught in schools. Right now, the Kemalist old guard still talks and acts as though any discussion of the republic's founding myths will jeopardise the security of the state. This is absurd: Turkey is not going to crumble if its leaders finally acknowledge the Armenian genocide. The Turkish army is not suddenly going to be weakened by a more critical look at what happened 90-odd years ago. The alternatives right now look pretty stark. On the one hand, an opening to Europe. On the other, continuing to live in a world where the work of defining patriotism and historical truth is placed in the hands of trigger-happy 17-year-olds.

The writer teaches history at Columbia University

Mehmet Y.Yilmaz:Why is the Istanbul Chief of Police still on his job?
Hürriyet, Turkey
Jan 31 2007
As the investigation into the murder of journalist Hrant Dink deepens, more and more information pointing to negligence on the part of the Istanbul police force is emerging. In February of 2006, "police informant" Erhan Tuncel, who is currently arrest in connection with Dink's murder, told the Trabzon Police Headquarters that Yasin Hayal was concocting plans to shoot Dink.

And on February 19, 2006, the Trabzon Police Headquarters sent a written message to the Istanbul Police Headquaters warning about Tuncel's statement. Contained in the written message was information pertaining to the address in Istanbul where Hayal might be found. But when the Istanbul police weren't able to obtain any real information from the address given, they left the written warning from the Trabzon police somewhere in the whirlwind of the city's bureaucracy, forgetting all about it.

What this news does is illuminate two separate and clear cases of negligence:

1-The Trabzon police did not watch carefully the actions of a person that they had been given serious warnings about by another person involved in the McDonald's bombing. And while ignoring these warnings, that person, Yasin Hayal, gathered youth from the region around him, started to train them in weaponry, and then sent one to Istanbul to kill Hrant Dink.

2- The Istanbul police forces ignored the one warning sent to them by the Trabzon police, and never offered Hrant Dink the protection he should have received.

The person who is responsible for the first case of negligence, the Trabzon Police Chief, was removed from his position. As for the person responsible for the second case of negligence, the Istanbul Chief of Police, he is still on the job. Meanwhile, the Interior Minister, Abdulkadir Aksu, says that the inspectors in this case are working hard in their ongoing investigation. And so I ask: wouldn't the removal of Istanbul's Chief of Police from his position provide some salvation for this operation?

Trabzon police were warned 17 times of plans against Hrant Dink
Hürriyet, Turkey
Jan 31 2007
It has emerged during the investigation into journalist Hrant Dink's murder that suspect Erhan Tuncel, who was arrested in a sweep of mostly Trabzon-based young men thought to have been involved in the incident, had informed Trabzon police a total of 17 different times of plans to kill Dink.

Tuncel, who had agreed to become an informer for Trabzon police following his arrest in 2004 for involvement in the bombing of the Trabzon McDonald's, had reportedly warned Trabzon police that "Yasin Hayal could shoot Hrant Dink." Authorities are currently looking into why it is that of the 17 times Tuncel warned security forces about the threat to Dink's life, only 1 of these warnings made it as far as Istanbul, where Dink worked and resided. In the 1 warning which reached Istanbul police, Tuncel said that Yasin Hayal would be staying at the home of his older brother, Osman Hayal, and that he would carry out the shooting while staying there. Police reportedly researched the address provided at the time, but finding nothing, dropped the case.

Those who allowed this murder should be penalized
Mehmet Ali Birand
February 1, 2007
Turkish Daily News
Let's save ourselves all the big talk. We expect those responsible to be accountable. We want those who have contributed to this murder by taking their jobs lightly to be exposed.

We were all given the creeps by the latest developments.

As the intricate working of the Hrant Dink murder is revealed so is the decay in the Turkish police force, exposing how our security is in incompetent hands.

Hrant Dink's murder could have been prevented.

I protest and become more concerned when I read the newspapers. I fear that soon there may be others who will point a gun against another and pull the trigger.

Istanbul Police Chief Celalettin Cerrah and in particular the president of the Intelligence Bureau, Ramazan Akyurek, seem to be responsible.

I do not know who are really accountable but I would like to see someone pay the price for this murder. The public conscience, too, would like to see some people penalized.

The picture is crystal clear.

It is obvious that the starting point is Trabzon. The authorities in Trabzon have turned a blind eye on the preparations of this murder, with the excuse `They are young kids; they act out of a sense of national identity.' They have not taken the denouncements seriously. They have brushed aside the growing activities in Trabzon as `the kids getting worked up again.'

The Istanbul police, on the other hand, has made its biggest mistake by not safeguarding a target like Hrant. It did not communicate with Trabzon.

The intelligence units in Ankara settled for only watching informants.

No, the lives of our people cannot be taken so lightly. We will not be at ease until the mentality in the police force is changed and its effectiveness improved.

Let's save ourselves all the big talk.

We expect those responsible to be accountable.

We want those who have contributed to this murder by taking their jobs lightly to be exposed.

Touching the surface of the deep state
FATMA DISLI f.disli@todayszaman.com
Everyone is diving into the "deep state" debates in Turkey, ignited by the murder of journalist Hrant Dink and recent statements by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. In a conversation with journalists, the prime minister complained about the deep state in Turkey and said it was an old phenomenon. He also said that it was crucial for the judiciary, legislative and executive powers to work together to fight against the deep state. Those statements shifted everyone's focus onto the deep state in Turkey. The prime minister's statements also made him the target of criticisms as some accused Erdoğan of seeking political benefits ahead of the presidential elections. Some claimed that Erdoğan had no right to complain about the existence of the deep state in Turkey as the head of the government in this country. Mostly, everyone is talking about the deep state.

Star's Mehmet Altan talks about the ineffectiveness and negligence of state organs regarding Dink's murder because of reports they were informed about a plot to assassinate Dink a year ago. He disagrees with Erdoğan in that the judiciary, executive and legislative powers should work in coordination to fight against the deep state. "The Turkish public should impose pressure on the judiciary, executive and legislative to bring down the 'gangs' within them because we observe that the state organs and institutions cannot rid themselves of the gangs by their own will. Unfortunately, we will continue to observe this," Altan asserts.

Vatan's Mehmet Tezkan thinks that it has become a tradition in Turkey to refer to the deep state after the assassinations of important figures. He recalls the debates after the attack on the State Council and urges that the deep state has become a scapegoat. He claims the issue of dark murders in this country cannot be closed just by referring to the deep state. Tezkan also acknowledges that the negligence of relevant persons or organizations played a major role in such incidents, just as it did in the murder of Hrant Dink.

Radikal's Türker Alkan basically agrees with Erdoğan on tackling the deep state structure in Turkey in that the judiciary, executive and legislative powers should act in coordination. Alkan thinks it is necessary to take more concrete and realistic steps to tackle the deep state. "Steps for democratization come first," says Alkan. For example he mentions supporting non-governmental organizations, strengthening the media, abolishing Article 301 of the Turkish Penal Code (TCK), and restricting immunity. He thinks such steps will help fight against the deep state in Turkey.

Yeni Şafak's Fehmi Koru recalls recent deep state issues such as the murder of Catholic priest Andrea Santoro, the Council of State attack and finally Dink's murder. Koru explains that in all these cases the perpetrators or their masterminds were found and their motives were known by everybody. "So, it is possible to get the bigger picture by departing from the organizations around these three attacks to find the extensions of the organization within the state," asserts Koru. He hopes that the opportunity to reveal these links will not be missed this time.

The deep state vs. the real state
BULENT KORUCU b.korucu@todayszaman.com
With Hrant Dink’s Jan. 19 murder, Turkey is bringing up the deep state once again. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s placed the issue in the spotlight when he said: “...We can describe it as gangs inside a state organization, and this kind of structure does exist. Our state and our nation have paid a high price because we have not been able to crack down on such networks.” He added that the government had limited capacity to cope with the phenomenon and said the joint efforts of the government, judiciary and legislative bodies of the state had to work together to deal with the problem.

A document discovered among the personal belongings of former prime minister Bülent Ecevit claims that members of the National Intelligence Agency, Turkey’s CIA, actively took part in the Maraş events, but this document has not receive the attention it deserved. Ecevit had pointed toward the “Counter-Guerilla” [NATO’s “stay-behind” army in Turkey belonging to “Operation Gladio”] in relation to the armed actions that also targeted him. The bloody May 1, 1977 shooting of protesters in Taksim Square are still remembered as the greatest action of the state-within-the-state.

The structure, which was unearthed following the notorious Susurluk accident on Nov. 3, 1996 -- in which links between the government and organized crime leaders were exposed -- was quickly covered with a shawl on Feb. 28, 1997, the “post-modern” coup. The illegal structures within the state were deciphered despite an unwillingness to impose sanctions and the governmental shortcomings that blocked the way to a desired result. Susurluk was the best opportunity to purge the deep state, and those efforts were backed by the public. But Feb. 28 was a distraction and the process of purging could not see completion. That such a huge scandal could pass without incident encouraged the illegal structures within the state.

What was also overlooked were the ties between Hezbullah, which was greatly afflicted Turkey at the time, to the deep state. It is still not known what became of the weapons purchased by the governer’s office of Batman, which later disappeared. Even then-President Süleyman Demirel’s statement on the matter that “the state may sometimes deviate from the routine path” has been forgotten. Each and every NATO country has uncovered and purged its own “Gladio,” once formed for protective purposes against communism and a possible Soviet occupation. Yet as a neighbor of the Soviets and thus a country which ran the highest stakes, Turkey acted as if it had heard nothing.
The current discussions will most probably take their place in history as more of our idle talk, which we love to do. Every time the subject comes up, we discuss criminal gangs but we never reach the desired result. We waste our time trying to kill the mosquitoes, while we fail to drain the swamp. I wish it were possible to hurt a few mosquitoes, at least, but it seems we can’t even manage that.

These futile discussions will go on and on unless we are able to produce tangible results and hold academic, serious talks over legitimacy by going to the root of the problem.

Theoretical definitions portray the state as a tool that represents all legitimate political institutions, making possibly to have a common society. It bases its legitimacy on public endorsment and the law. The deep state is the name of the illegal structure exempt from inspection and organized parallel to the legitimate state. When we organize the state as a bureaucratic oligarchy that is above law-enforcing, legislation and adjudication, we pave the way for the deep state. This is the actual problem in Turkey: our inability to become a democratic state of law.

The exceptions allowed for the general rule in law that “all the processes of the administration are subject to inspection and adjudication,” form a binary structure. While all the actions of law enforcers and judicial authorities are subject to inspection and adjudication, the president -- with all his exaggerated authorities -- is totally exempt from inspection.

Military adjudication is held through private trials, contradictory to the basis of a single and independent judiciary. The Interior Ministry’s circular that followed the operation in Atabeyler said: “Police forces cannot interfere with military personnel, even if they are caught red-handed, and must wait for a military unit.” It was never scrutinized.

Areas exempt from inspection, set by the law itself and even by the constitution but which cannot be expressed with judicial terms, open the doors for illegal structures.

We are talking about structures even prime ministers complain about. Current True Path Party leader Mehmet Ağar, who said, “You are the prime minister, so do what is expected of you!” is also the person who knows this fact the best. We will continue discussing the states within the state as long the separation between the state and the government persists.

The motive to keep Article 301
I do not think it is imperative to keep Article 301 of the Turkish Penal Code in its present form simply because the goal of a democracy cannot be to establish a system where an uncontrolled power dominates all social and institutional interactions and relations.

The prevention of actions not compatible with social order as mentioned in this article could be ensured through general provisions. As for the protection of "Turkishness," in a state structure whose constitution puts a special emphasis on respect for human rights and equality, this bears a significant value only as a general principle and in the context of a probable benefit such as the prevention of racism and discrimination. It seems that the current penal code that many of its articles other than Article 301 provide provisions that would ensure the protection of this benefit. Is the only reason to keep Article 301 in its present form a legal fetish to keep a legal provision with this title and content?


Turkey's age of politics
Turkey has not entered the age of politics yet. Some would object, asserting that politics is the issue we talk about most. Some may say that my words make no sense.

But to clarify my argument, the thing we refer to as politics actually has nothing to do with politics. We do not talk about anything at all. War turns into a legend of heroes; neither the strategy pursued during the war nor the rationale behind it is discussed. Each event is used as a means to prove the accuracy of a prejudice. Nationalists talk about hostile entrapments, Islamists about enemies of the religion and liberals about the lack democracy. The states we regard as big powers are now under the control of a small number of select groups and the place of our country in the world stage has lost its meaning. For instance, in the US or Europe nobody has bothered developing strategies or projects to be implemented in the future.



Revisiting an old question after murder of Dink: Is there a ‘deep state’?
Have Turkish institutions been infiltrated by a shadowy deep state»? The slaying of a prominent ethnic Armenian journalist has renewed debate about whether a network of renegade agents within the state, driven by hardline nationalism, is targeting reformists and other perceived enemies.

Turkish teenager Ogün Samast, suspected of killing journalist Hrant Dink, center, is escorted by plainclothes policemen as he arrives at a courthouse in İstanbul

Skeptics say the claim fans conspiracy theories and only creates a bogeyman for Turkey’s ills. Whatever the truth, the investigation into the murder of Hrant Dink _ who was loathed by nationalists because he urged Turks to recognize the mass killings of Armenians during World War I as genocide - is under scrutiny despite its seeming success. Seven suspects, including the teenager who allegedly pulled the trigger and the man accused of supplying the gun, have been arrested since the killing two weeks ago.

Uneasy questions are being raised about who holds the levers of power in a nation where tensions between secularists and Islamists, and liberals and rightists, have created deep faultlines in society.
The consensus among many government critics is that the plot to kill Dink involved more than a few nationalists, and that a professional group with considerable resources at its disposal may have played a role. Police say they have uncovered no evidence suggesting a wider conspiracy, and investigators have promised to follow all tips despite skepticism about how aggressively they will do so.

The idea of “deep state,” or “derin devlet” in Turkish, has been around for decades. One definition says it is a clandestine group within the security and intelligence services, as well as the state bureaucracy, that resists change, sometimes violently.

Another theory says it is not a single group, but a set of beliefs that espouses the centrality of the state in politics, and whose protectors include the judiciary and the educational system. The expression is so common that Turks often joke about it, blaming some unforeseen development in the workplace or daily life on the “deep state.”
Little hard evidence has emerged that a “deep state”exists, but even Turkey’s prime minister has given the idea credence.

“The ‘deep state’ has become a tradition. It is a term that has been used since the Ottoman period,” Erdogan told reporters on Sunday aboard an airplane bound for an African Union summit in Ethiopia.

“We can describe it as gangs inside a state organization, and this kind of structure does exist. Our state and our nation have paid a high price because we have not been able to crack down on such networks,” the daily Zaman newspaper quoted the prime minister as saying. The topic is so murky that Yeni Safak, an Islamist newspaper, once addressed the cloak-and-dagger concept with a reference to the signature introduction of fiction’s most famous spy, James Bond. “My name is State, Deep State,” read the title of a 2005 column. The prominence of “deep state” in the Turkish imagination exposes concerns about the accountability of the military and other institutions in a nation that seeks to seal its modern status by joining the European Union, a bid that is virtually on hold because of a dispute over divided Cyprus.

The military has staged three coups in modern Turkey, and remained influential after ceding control to civilian governments. Supporters view it as a guardian of secular values, a vital tool in the fight against separatist rebels in Kurdish-dominated areas, and the champion of Turkish Cypriots whose government is unrecognized by any other nation. Dink, who was shot outside his Istanbul office on Jan. 19, had been prosecuted under a broadly defined law that bans the denigration of Turkish identity, and he had suggested that judicial rulings reflected behind-the-scenes allegiance to the state rather than the rights of citizens.

“The great force, which was just there to bring me down and which let its existence be felt at all stages of the case with methods unknown to me, was again behind the curtain,” Dink, 52, wrote obliquely in one of his last columns in Agos, the weekly Turkish-Armenian newspaper that he founded.

Dink said he received constant threats for his espousal of minority Armenian rights, and he criticized top authorities for apparent indifference. “Other opponents of the bureaucracy have suffered a similar fate,” said David L. Phillips, a friend of Dink who served as chairman of the Turkish-Armenian Reconciliation Commission and is now executive director of The Elie Wiesel Foundation for Humanity, based in New York City. “The ‘deep state’ has a history of eliminating its opponents.”

One case that fueled speculation about the “deep state” was the 1996 Susurluk scandal, named after the town where a car crash revealed alliances between state officials and mobsters. Passengers who died in the wrecked Mercedes included Istanbul’s No. 2 police officer and a fugitive hit man.

A probe confirmed suspicions that officials were using radical nationalists and criminals to intimidate or kill perceived enemies. A 1997 government report accused some police and politicians of hiring hit men to target journalists, Kurdish rebels and Armenian activists since the 1980s. Erdogan pledged an investigation “at full speed” into Dink’s killing and his government removed the governor and police chief of Trabzon, the city on the Black Sea coast that is home to suspects in the murder.

A year ago, a Turkish teenager shot dead a Roman Catholic priest in Trabzon; investigators believed that attack was linked to Islamic anger over the publication in European newspapers of caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad.
Erdogan, a moderate whose Islamic-rooted Justice and Development Party is distasteful to some in the secular military, has indicated that authorities need to tackle more than just youthful triggermen likely to get relatively lenient sentences if prosecuted as minors. But Justice Minister Cemil Cicek was ambivalent in an address to the Ankara Chamber of Commerce on Wednesday.

AP İstanbul

What’s wrong with saying ‘We are all Armenians’?
ALI H. ASLAN a.aslan@todayszaman.com
Last night a friend forwarded me a sarcastic e-mail. It was a fabricated public invitation to a funeral for a transvestite, Cansu, who was supposedly killed on the streets of Istanbul. They were calling everyone to shout “We are all Cansu’s, we are all homosexuals.” Can you imagine tens of thousands of masculine Turks doing that? I like the way the Turkish mind works, especially when it comes to jokes. There are Turkish jokes that could kill you from laughing. On the other hand, there are facts of life in Turkey that might literally kill you. At times it can be very difficult to communicate with the Turkish public. Some of us made a big issue out of the chanting of “We are all Hrant’s, we are all Armenians” during Hrant Dink’s funeral. But I still don’t get what’s wrong with saying that.

Dink’s funeral has become an international litmus test for Turkey. We passed it with the peaceful attendance of huge crowds. But we later lost much of the credit gained by that as a result of the disputes over the slogan. Politicians have repeatedly been asked about it. Unfortunately most responses were disappointing. They have chosen to shy away from it probably due to fear of a political backlash.

Was it okay to say “We are all Armenians” when an Armenian citizen of Turkey was killed mainly due to his ethnic origin and conciliatory views? To me, yes. Yet an obvious sign and gesture of sympathy on the part of funeral organizers was turned into a fierce debate.

Everybody knows that the French are generally not in love with Americans, and they are extremely proud to be French. But following the attacks of Sept. 11 the front page of country’s prominent newspaper Le Monde read “We are all Americans.” Did that mean that the French had suddenly discovered American roots? Or was it an elegant way of saying “We feel your pain as if we are also Americans”?

I wonder if Turks who object to other Turks saying “We are all Armenians” in the wake of a hate crime are unable to comprehend such civilized gestures. Or they are simply mad at seeing some Turks actually feel pain for a murdered Armenian? Or are they fearful the statement could be used as evidence by the Armenian lobby to claim Turkish land because we finally “confess” we are all Armenians?

Isn’t it such unsubstantiated fears, prejudices and ignorance that have inflicted great damage to our nation for such a long time? How many more civil wars should we engage in to finally respect our differences and embrace the “other”? When are we going to give up othering at all? One of the instigators of Dink’s murder, Yasin Hayal, was so full of hatred towards minorities that the police have reportedly asked him whether he was aware of Sultan Mehmet’s 1478 decree to protect Christian priests in Bosnia. “I didn’t know that,” the young man responded. Well, it was too late for Dink… Ironically, main plotters are from Trabzon, a city where another great intellectually able and tolerant Ottoman sultan, Suleiman the Magnificent, was born and educated.

The main cure of excessive othering is free thinking which could best be gained through better civic and social education. Ignorance is the breeding ground for hate and bigotry. Our textbooks, starting with the elementary level, should emphasize the diverse nature of our nation’s tradition. History education should not be reduced to tales of armed conflicts. Instead, a deliberate effort should be made to acknowledge the contributions of non-Muslim and non-Turkish elements in our early and modern history.

The fact that a challenging slogan like “We are all Armenians” was possible to be put out and approved by millions of Turks proves democracy and freedoms in Turkey have come a considerable way. But widespread displeasure also hints we still have a long way to go.

Ertugrul Ozkok:Those Armenians will never be men
I grew up with the following phrase, which my now-dead father used to whisper often into my ear when I was a child: "My son, these Armenians are incapable of being true men...."

Even when I protested, he would insist "You just don't know these things." In France, when I was student, many of my friends held the same views as my father. When I would say "Armenians have been changed by the Armenian diaspora," my friends would reply "No my friend, these people can never change. An Armenian is an Armenian."

I was naive. Very naive. Even when the father of one of my best friends was killed by an Armenian terrorist in Madrid, I still held onto my beliefs. Even when I saw that not a single Armenian tear was shed for one of our many diplomats killed in Western capitals, I still didn't sway from my naive beliefs.

When I learned that one of these Armenian killers wasn't even a full adult yet, one of these same friends of mine said "You see, that's it. Is the Armenian society as a full even adult?" He then went on to add:

"The Armenians live in a society that has been prevented from maturing. The time has come to ask this question: I wonder if the Armenian society, which turns its own character problems into violent acts against others, is a society which remains immature in order to carry out these acts?"

I was always told this by those around me: "Of course some Armenians can change, but the other Armenians? Never."

Yes, my whole life has passed hearing these things about Armenians.


OK, let's leave this idiocy behind and return to reality. My own now-dead father in his whole entire life never said anything about Armenians to me. And not just Armenians; he also never said a bad word about the Bulgarians, despite the fact that he had escaped from Bulgaria to Turkey with just his life. I never heard anything like "Those Bulgarians will never be men. They are killers who will never change" from him. This, despite the fact that we lost many many relatives in the Balkan Wars. Also, my friend whose father was killed by ASALA terrorists in Madrid actually never said anything bad about Armenians either. To the contrary, he put extra effort into strengthening the bonds between Turks and Armenians living in Turkey. And we, as a society, when putting our murdered diplomats to rest after their deaths, spoke only of "ASALA terror," not of the Armenians.


But then where did I come up with the disgusting first part of this column today? Well, I did not make it up. I read it in a column by Zaman newspaper's Etyen Mahcupyan. In other words, in a column by the new general editor of the Agos newspaper. Not only this, I read it only days after one of the biggest funeral ceremonies this country has ever participated in. After the most sincere songs ever sung for someone for whom we mourned were sung. What I wrote above, in the first part of this column, was exactly what Etyen Mahcupyan wrote in his column, with one difference: instead of writing about Armenians, he was writing about Turks. The main point of his article was that "Turks can never change...." And so, I decided to write my today's column just to show how incorrect this perspective is. I also apologize to all the Armenian citizens of this country who I know love this country as much as I do. I am sure they were made uncomfortable by the tone of the start of this column. And for that reason, I think it's necessary that the Armenian intellectuals in this country use a more careful style from now on in their writings.
Turkish Embassy statement regarding introduction of House resolution

'Genocidal' crisis in the making
February 1, 2007
The move at the US Congress may hurt Turkey-US ties and hamper prospects of a rapprochement between Ankara and Yerevan
What was feared ever since the dual Democratic victory in U.S. Congress has become reality. Pro-Armenian lawmakers in the U.S. House of Representatives on Tuesday introduced a resolution calling for the recognition of World War I-era killings of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire as genocide. The resolution, sponsored by Democrats Adam Schiff of California and Frank Pallone of New Jersey and Republicans George Radanovich of California and Joe Knollenberg of Michigan, has garnered written backing from more than 140 members in the 435-seat House of Representatives. The move to Democratic control of Congress and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's backing for genocide recognition has increased the chances of the resolution's successful passage.

The George W. Bush administration, as well as the Jewish lobby, will perhaps do whatever they can to block it, but the Democrats may insist on this issue to teach Bush a lesson on the changed real politik in Washington – very much like the 1975 arms embargo resolution, adopted despite the opposition of the then U.S. administration.

Once and once only:
The Armenian resolution is like a gun that can be fired only once. This issue has been exploited so much over the past decades, and Turkey forced to make such compromises over the years to avoid it, that perhaps its adoption will indeed be a service to Turkey in the long run, though in the immediate future we would be bound to have a serious crisis in Turkish-U.S. ties.

Even the most liberal of Turks cannot accept the description of the sad events of the first quarter of the last century, which produced immense sufferings to large segments of the Ottoman society of the time, as “genocide.” As members of a society proud of our past treatment of our minorities; after generations of history education that concentrated on nothing but the glorious victories of our nation; as descendants of Mehmet the Conqueror who issued that famous imperial edict ordering full respect to non-Muslim people of occupied territories; and as a result of thousands of other factors that are all related to the pride and honor of the Turkish nation, Turks cannot accept that their ancestors might have committed a heinous act on part of a population under their administration. The closest they may get it the acknowledgement of the sufferings of the Armenians and a show of empathy after the murder of a Turkish-Armenian journalist; attending the funeral chanting “We are all Armenians.”

There is a mental barrier. We may produce a long list of reasons trying to explain that what happened was not a systematic or state-sponsored effort to annihilate the Armenian element of the population of this land. The war with Russia. The collaboration of local Armenian gangs with the aggressor. The need to relocate the local population that aided and abetted the enemy. The ethnic confrontations between local Armenian, Kurdish and Turkish gangs. More Turks than any other minority, including Armenians, died in the violence produced by ethnic gangs due to the disruption in state authority as the empire crumbled. We can continue this list and cite hundreds of reasons more…

Prospects for a joint history commission:
However, at some point we have to accept that immense suffering was weathered by the population in the eastern provinces, particularly by the minorities, during those painful years of the dissolution of the empire. Acceptance of this fact, irrespective of whether what happened is described as a genocidal development or not, is the sole way of starting reconciliation efforts. Furthermore, this is also a must for us to begin a process of making peace with our own history.

Because of our “over sensitivity” for decades the Turkish state did nothing comprehensive on the issue and left international public opinion to be shaped by Armenian allegations. Only lately has this country started taking some meaningful initiatives, such as opening the Ottoman archives and Turkish academics researching that period. The real and meaningful political opening, however, came only very recently when Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, with the support of the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP), made a call to Armenia to launch a joint history commission, open to international historians, that would work under the aegis of the United Nations. That constructive move, however, has not yet been answered positively by Armenia, still unprepared to open a discussion on the “genocide” issue on grounds that such a discussion would cast doubts in the international community on the “reality” of the Armenian allegations.

Lately we have heard information – which could not be independently verified – that the Armenian administration has started tilting towards accepting the Turkish offer, provided a second commission is established to examine all “outstanding” issues between Turkey and Armenia and Turkey opens its border gates, allowing landlocked Armenia to have access to international trade. However, the move at the U.S. Congress will unfortunately have a backlash here in Turkey and may kill all such prospects of improved relations between Ankara and Yerevan.

This is a crisis in the making.

What Others Say
February 1, 2007
Turkish Daily News
The prosecutor's job is tough: İsmet BERKAN, Radikal Indeed, one is left speechless on the controversy surrounding the Hrant Dink Murder. The more I read about the connections involved in the murder, the angrier I get, for, every piece of information I've read until now clearly shows that this murder could have been prevented. Imagine, a mole informed the police of the plot in full detail at least one year before the assassination. The informer is not an ordinary person. He is someone recruited - and perhaps even paid - by the police for being close to ultra nationalist circles. So he gives away the information, but what happens then? The police literally ignore it. They don't monitor the activities of Yasin Hayal [one of the key suspects in the Dink murder], they don't investigate his connections and they don't even pay attention to the things written on his favorite football club's Web site [messages praising Hayal as “the bomber” were posted on the site]. As Radikal journalists found out, an entire neighborhood actually knew that Dink was going to be assassinated and that he was going to be killed by Ogün Samast. They gathered in coffeehouses and openly talked about killing Dink, passing around his pictures. They actually went to a store to watch the news on TV together as a group.

What is the most mind-blowing of all here is that Hayal was never taken seriously by the police, despite his documented predisposition to violence. This is not all. Look, governors and police chiefs are trying to protect those “nationalist” youths even after Dink's murder. It is as if we are faced with a simple crime network formed for a single action only to be dismantled afterwards. In reality that is not the case. Nothing can be done unless it is commonly understood and acknowledged that the murder was terrorism and the culprits are a large organization with a serious ideological background. Unfortunately, we have lost Hrant to a terrorist attack that could have been prevented. Nevertheless, we still do not know how many more “brothers” in Turkey there are. We do not know of their future plots against their next victim. In order to find out, we need to monitor closely the environments that spread hate directed at potential victims and prevent the next crime through intelligence and regular police investigation. Our police, although they want to prevent such terrorist acts, do not have the ideological and legal background needed for the struggle. This is why the task of Istanbul chief prosecutors is so hard. If the crime is only killing Dink, then the case is pretty much solved already. The prosecutors now need to deepen the investigation and identify this new terrorist group and register its name in court decisions. This is why the Dink murder investigation is not, and cannot be, solely a murder investigation.

The “Kemalist” rectors:Taha AKYOL, MilliyetFour university rectors have been voted to the board of the Kemalist Thought Association (ADD). Was that a good thing?The ADD was founded in 1993 as an “association working for the common good” by a decree of the Demirel-İnönü government. I have always wondered why Erdal İnönü, who supported the ADD at the time, has stood distant to it after he stopped engaging in active politics. I don't know if ADD members consider İnönü to be a Kemalist of their caliber but I know that İnönü simply doesn't agree with some ideas of the ADD. For example, the ADD wants Turkey to quit NATO and similar pacts. The ADD considers the European Union to be an imperialist, occupying and chauvinistic union. It also considers sale of property to foreigners is tantamount to sale of “territory of the motherland.” According to the ADD, Turkey is currently under occupation. Many more examples could be enumerated. İnönü does not agree with any of these. I mention this to explain that the ADD is a narrow “left Kemalist” organization that cannot get along with İnönü. Most certainly left Kemalist ideas are as welcome as liberal, social democratic, conservative and socialist ideas in Turkish social science. If four university rectors are elected, however, to the ADD board then there is a complex problem. The Sep. 12 constitution has equipped rectors with the authority of a “chief.” It is documented that rectors recruit staff on the basis of nepotism along ideological lines. Now, can the instructors working at the university where the rector has so blatantly displayed his ideological preferences, look at history in different ways? Can they adopt alternative views on political science and political philosophy in their lectures? What about academic freedoms?Rectors are in public service and they use public authority, which, in our case, is too great. Facing the public and the academic community with any ideological identity or political belongingness beyond the general frame of having adopted the constitutional fundamentals of the Republic of Turkey would damage both the nature of public service and the academic profession. I would like to address Higher Education Board (YÖK) President Professor Erdoğan Teziç and ask his opinion on this. Am I wrong? Are the actions of these rectors in harmony with the philosophy of the “academic community?”

These Armenians will never “shape up”:Ertuğrul ÖZKÖK, HürriyetMy father, may he rest in peace, would frequently tell me as a kid: “Son, these Armenians will never shape up.”I would oppose but he would dismiss my objections saying, “You wouldn't know these things.”In my university years in France, I found that some of my friends were of the same opinion as my father. I would tell them that both homeland Armenians and diaspora Armenians are changing. They would reply, “No, friend. These people will never change. An Armenian is always an Armenian.”I, on the other hand, was naïve. Too naïve even. I preserved my belief that the “Armenians will change,” even when the father of one of my best friends was shot dead by Armenian terrorists in Madrid. Even seeing that not a single Armenian tear was shed after our diplomats were killed by Armenian terrorists in Western capitals could strip me of this perfect naivete.

I was told, “Some Armenians might change, but the others will never change.” All my life, I listened to such views on Armenians. I also agree with this last one. Now, let's leave behind all this rubbish, and return to real life.My father, may he rest in peace, has never uttered a single such word about Armenians during his entire life. My dear friend who lost his father to Armenian Secret Army for the Liberation of Armenia (ASALA) terrorists' cowardly bullets never has, either. On the contrary, he always worked to improve friendship and dialogue between Turks and Armenians. We always talked about “ASALA terrorism” when we lost our precious diplomats to terrorism. So why did I make up such repulsive dialogues? I didn't make any of it up. I read these in a column in the Zaman newspaper by Etyen Mahçupyan, the new editor in chief of [Hrant Dink's newspaper] Agos. I read these in the very days when we were singing the most sincere eulogies and organizing one of the most crowded funerals of our history. There was a slight difference though. The main theme of his column was, “These Turks will never change.” Everything I wrote about in my first sentences was written about Turks. I wrote this column to show how twisted that kind of logic is. This is why I would like to apologize to all Armenians of this country, whom I love as much as I love myself. I am sure that the Armenians I know were irritated by that column.

This is why intellectuals of the Armenian community should adopt a more measured style.

The terminator and the Internet:Nihal B. KCA, ZamanGranted, assassinations of intellectuals, journalists and statesmen in Turkey are always rooted in some sort of political project. The Dink murder could be one of these “projects,” where the perpetrators can only be traced back to a certain point beyond which the culprits pulling the strings remain unreachable. The question “Who could be behind this murder?” is no conspiracy theory investigation.

However it is also true that some details of the murder that have already been revealed give us serious information on certain issues and also serve to warn us. In that sense, getting focused on the behind-the-scene organization is good, but it also has the disadvantage of questioning the reality that has been revealed. There are certain conditions that make people like Samast and Hayal [the prime suspects in the Dink murder] impressionable and easy to “buy.” There are conditions which enable them to physically realize what they plan in their minds.

Looking into these conditions and passing the necessary laws is a major responsibility that lies with state officials. According to press organs, Samast's first statements showed that he decided to become a “terminator” when his sense of being the underdog peaked. He said he was influenced by what he read on the Internet. There is the gun; there is the appropriate state of mind. The only thing he needed was “motivation,” which he got from the Internet. Some Web sites, apparently inspired by the mainstream media, work to create aggression. However there is the expectation that the reader has the common sense to remain distant to these messages. A majority of sites target young people that have little to do with books and reading. Many Web sites can act as a tool to show the faces of targets to the public. Democracy is not the freedom to mask your face behind a relatively safe sphere and attack someone more or less known to the public. The Internet, which is a democratic tool allowing different ideas to circulate under normal conditions, turns into an interface decided by the culture of its users. Could we say here, “There is no problem as long as it stays on the Internet?” We can't really blame the Internet as the only reason behind the Dink murder. However, you don't need to have a murder do understand that this tool has potential dangers. The motivation for the Dink murder was gathering steam as can be seen in the messages on such Web sites and death threat messages sent to Dink. It really isn't that hard to see.

Searching for the enemy
February 1, 2007
Semih İdiz
We see evidence of this in the streets, at football matches, at political rallies, at concerts and on television. Moneyless, brainless and futureless, scores of young people are merely waiting for instructions to take to the streets and avenge their sense of having been wronged

A climate of nationalism mixed with racism, anti-Semitism and xenophobia is dangerously taking hold of Turks, largely due to power-hungry politicians desperately seeking to gain votes for their parties in this election year.

The country appears increasingly to be searching for an enemy in the belief that this will somehow be “revitalizing and replenishing for the nation.” This of course is the parlance of fascism. This country has even had politicians in the recent past, the late Turgut Özal being one, who believed that İsmet İnönü's policy of neutrality, which was brilliant and kept Turkey out of World War II, had done a disservice to the nation.

Meanwhile the brutal murder of the Armenian-Turkish journalist Hrant Dink, rather than galvanizing a sense of soul-searching for the nation or prompting questions about where it is headed, appears instead to be doing the opposite for the uneducated masses, thus feeding the hate-filled environment.

We are seeing fresh examples in this context of how the mere mention of the name “Armenian” is enough to send significantly large elements of this society into paroxysms of hatred. The fact that politicians are cultivating a “siege mentality,” with their constant bickering about how “Turkey is being wronged by its enemies,” is all that such an environment of hate needs to explode into violence.

It was a similar sense of “being wronged as a nation” that gave birth to Hitler and plunged the Germans – and the rest of the world – headlong into war half a century ago. Meanwhile Turkey's uneducated “lumpen masses” are nothing but “storm troopers waiting to be made” and assigned a mission for the Fatherland (or Motherland in Turkey's case).

We see evidence of this in the streets, at football matches, at political rallies, at concerts and on television. Moneyless, brainless and futureless, scores of young people are merely waiting for instructions to take to the streets and avenge their sense of having being wronged.

The “enemy,” for them is also apparent: Namely the West and its lackeys the Greeks, the Armenians and the Kurds, as well as their hated “domestic collaborators,” the intellectuals and all those who have an objective approach to the country's problems.

In days gone by the “enemy within” was anyone who was left-leaning. Now it is the liberals and intellectuals. It is telling in this context that those who killed Dink, rather then feeling any sense of remorse, actually believe that they did well and good for the sake of the nation and for the ideal of “Turkishness.”

Neither have they felt any need to restrain themselves in issuing new threats to the intelligentsia in this country who they abhor. All they have to do to cultivate such hatred is listen to what politicians are saying. It is clear that the republican People's Party (CHP), while being one of the main offenders, is not the only culprit here.

Take for example our justice minister, Cemil Çiçek, who castigated the organizers of last years Armenian Conference in Istanbul as “back-stabbing traitors,” and has on numerous occasions supported the notorious Article 301 with the demagogic argument that “enemies within will not be given the privilege to insult Turkishness with impunity.”

Neither does there seem to be a way out of this morass at the present time, since the only way to prevent this slide towards fascism requires that the organs of state and the powers that be cooperate for the benefit of the whole, rather than serving the interests of specific parts.

This of course requires that the presidency, the government, Parliament and other power centers specific to this country, most notably the military and civilian bureaucracy, overcome their subjective agendas and come up with a joint agenda.

But it is these organs of state and centers of power that are involved in internecine fighting in what is basically a “post-modern civil war.” Political maturity is required if Turkey is to get better without first getting worse. That, however, does not appear a likely prospect from today's perspective.

Turkish Press Yesterday
February 1, 2007
ANKARA - Turkish Daily News
Love it or leave it:
Star yesterday headlined recent discussions on slogans like “Love [Turkey] or leave” and “We all are Turks,” which have been dominating football matches after the assassination of Turkish Armenian journalist Hrant Dink as well as public discussion over the slogans “We all are Hrant, we all are Armenian” used by protesters in his funeral.

Slogans of nationalism are carried by fanatics to in the streets and football stands, the daily said. A front-page photograph taken at the Diyarbakır-Karşıyaka football match featured a fan trying to take a policeman's gun highlighted the extent of the potential danger of fanaticism.

“Extreme nationalism,” fed by provocative speeches, brought Turkey to the verge of a very dangerous game, it commented.

The police had to interfere with the fans during the same match because of violent brawls sparked by fans angered at the slogan “PKK out!” at Alsancak Stadium in İzmir.

"Fortunately he couldn't get hold of the gun. Otherwise really bad things might have happened," Star quoted Governor Oğuz Kağan Köksal as saying.

Star also reported that Deputy Prime Minister Mehmet Ali Şahin issued a warning to the Interior Ministry and Turkey's Football Federation about banners and slogans with racist content

‘Shoot him and you'll be a hero':
Hürriyet yesterday reported that Yasin Hayal, who confessed to having incited the confessed murderer of Dink, had first approached a young man named Zeynel Abidin Yavuz for the shooting, promising that he would become a world-famous “hero” if he shot Dink.

"The first one I assigned to shoot Dink was Zeynel. Zeynel was hesitant, so I assigned Ogün," Hayal told investigators. Hürriyet underlined that Yavuz's police statement also confirmed that Hayal had shown him photographs of Dink.

Later, when he came back from a visit to his brother in İzmit's district of Kocaeli, Hayal told Yavuz he was done with him.

Elsewhere Hürriyet said Erhan Tuncel, one of the suspects who later confessed to being an informant working for the police, informed the Trabzon Police Department 17 times about the assassination plot. Istanbul's Police Department ignored the warnings from the Trabzon police, the daily claimed.

Police chief and intelligence officer under scrutiny:
Yesterday's Vatan also focused on recent media reports claiming that the police had ignored intelligence reports on the Dink murder.

Vatan highlighted that Intelligence Department Chief Ramazan Akyürek and Istanbul Police Chief Celalettin Cerrah stood at the mouth of a volcano for their negligence in investigating the intelligence reports related to Dink's murder.

The Intelligence Chief is being accused of recruiting Erhan Tuncel, involved in a McDonald's store bombing in Trabzon, as an informant for the Trabzon police in return for dropping the bombing charges against him.

Tuncel, who is also one of the prime suspects in the Dink assassination, confessed he worked as an informant saying that he had informed the Trabzon office many times about plans to shoot Dink.

Akyürek is also accused of not monitoring the activities of the Dink suspects during his term in office as Trabzon police chief, despite the many reports he received on the assassination plot. Akyürek sufficed it to inform the intelligence department and do nothing more.

Cerrah on the other hand is facing accusations for not thoroughly investigating intelligence reports on Dink's assassination.

Those who neglected duty have to answer for it:
Yesterday Cumhuriyet carried parliamentary discussions over recent claims that Turkish-Armenian journalist Dink was murdered despite the presence of intelligence reports of the plot.

Motherland Party (ANAVATAN) leader Erkan Mumcu vowed to demand an interpellation on the responsibility of Interior Minister Abdülkadir Aksu.

Meanwhile Republican People's Party (CHP) leader Deniz Baykal said, “If they had intelligence about the assassination 11 months before hand, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his government should be the first ones to explain why the murder had not been prevented.”

Cumhuriyet also printed reactions from the Human Rights Association (İHD). The association had charged a complaint against Istanbul Police Chief Cerrah for being the one who prepared the ground for the assassination.

7th suspect charged in Dink's murder
February 1, 2007
Another suspect in the murder of Hrant Dink was jailed on Wednesday as the press called for more heads to roll in the case pointing to the negligence of two high ranking police officials

An Istanbul court on Wednesday jailed another suspect over the murder of Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink, bringing to seven the number of people arrested in the investigation, the Anatolia news agency reported.

It was not immediately clear on what charges Salih Hacisalihoğlu, a 30-year-old man from the northern city of Trabzon, was sent to prison.

Among the other six suspects is the confessed assailant, 17-year-old Ogün Samast, a jobless secondary school graduate. Officials say he confessed to gunning down Dink, 52, on Jan. 19 outside the offices of Dink's bilingual Turkish-Armenian weekly Agos in downtown Istanbul.

The probe has so far suggested that the suspects, all of them young people from Trabzon, did not belong to any known underground group but were under the sway of ultra-nationalist ideas and wanted to take the law in their own hands against what they saw as rising threats to Turkey's unity.

The city's governor and police chief were removed from office last week after they came under fire for failing to act on a series of violent incidents in the city, including the murder of an Italian Catholic priest by a 16-year-old boy last year.

Some news stories regarding details of the assassination of Dink were speculative and untrue, asserted National Police Department spokesperson İsmail Çalışkan in a statement he made to Anatolia.

His remarks come at a time when recent media reports have claimed that the Turkish police were warned a year ago about a plot to kill Dink.

The government has sent four inspectors to Trabzon to investigate the allegations.

The press called for more heads to roll Wednesday following the allegations. Istanbul's Police Chief Celalettin Cerrah and head of the Police Intelligence Unit Ramazan Akyürek are now under fire for not following up on the intelligence.

Interior Minister Abdülkadir Aksu on Wednesday told press members that the two officers wouldn't be removed from office unless a thorough investigation confirming the negligence of duty allegations was completed.

Aksu said the four inspectors currently carrying out an investigation in Trabzon would also look into the current allegations faced by Akyürek and Cerrah when they travel to Istanbul.

Amidst the myriad of allegations, the Istanbul Police Department was very quite on Wednesday. Police Chief Cerrah did not make any statements about the allegations. In response to Cerrah's silence, media reports on Wednesday recalled that even before the murder investigation was started, Cerrah had declared that there were no known political groups behind the murder.

Yet another investigation was launched into the gendarmerie unit that took a picture of Dink murderer Samast proudly standing before a Turkish Flag. Two inspectors were sent to investigate the photograph Aksu said.

Investigation lies with judiciary, says PM:
In comments on the Dink investigation, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said the responsibility of the investigation now rested with the judiciary. “From this point on if we, as the executive power, get hold of any information, evidence or documents, we will be handing these to the prosecutors. Any decision on this matter from this point on lies with the judicial authority.”

Interior Affairs warns against provocations:
The Ministry of Interior Affairs has warned authorities to take urgent measures for possible provocations related to the controversy sparked by slogans shouted at Dink's funeral. Ministry of Internal Affairs Secretary Şahabettin Harput sent a warning note to governors of 81 provinces to be watchful of possible violence. Harput's note said some segments of society, offended by the banners reading “We are all Armenian” carried at Dink's funeral, have begun showing violent tendencies. “In the days to come, there might be possible violent protests across the country. In order to prevent those who aim to inflame popular feeling by provocative actions, local governor's offices should pay extra attention to the activities of such groups and organizations. In order to prevent such provocative incidents, police units should increase efforts to gather intelligence,” said Harput.

'If threshold is shame many EU countries bear it'
The New Anatolian / Ankara
01 February 2007
Turkey should stop discussing the 10 percent election threshold after the decision of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR), said Justice Minister Cemil Cicek yesterday.

Attending an Ankara Chamber of Industry's (ASO) Parliament meeting, Cicek stated that numerous reports have been prepared, many officeholders talked about the issue, claiming that this 10 percent election threshold is a shame in the name of democracy, yet everyone should think. "Instead of discussing the result of the ECHR's decision, we have to think about how wrong this approach is," said Cicek. "Why is the threshold a shame on Turkey? Every country has an election threshold. Instead of using the word shame, they might have adopt a softer approach. Everyone should read the verdict of the ECHR once again and take the verdict into consideration while discussing the issue."

Cicek also said that legal issues shouldn't be discussed on political grounds as every part would reflect its political stance, position and ideology to the discussion.

"Painting Turkey as a country decorated with shames greatly harms the country. After such a stance it's almost impossible to change the image of Turkey in their minds," said Cicek and who went on to say that we have to evaluate the events Turkey is passing through calmly and think twice before saying "yes" or "no." "We have to do this, not for ourselves, but for our children and the unity of the country."

Cicek also dealt with Article 301 of the Turkish Penal Code (TCK). "Some circles claim that Article 301 is also a shame on Turkey. If this is shame, then there are many countries bearing the same shame, especially European Union countries," said the justice minister.

Citing the ECHR's verdict, Justice and Development (AK) Party deputy group leader Faruk Celik said that the verdict is an appropriate evaluation in terms of the situation Turkey is in and there is no human rights violation.

Democratic Turkey Party (DTP) deputy leader Sirri Sakik claimed that the verdict is not fair. Sakik said that the verdict doesn't mean that the ECHR accepts the 10 percent election threshold and accepts it as legal. "It says in the verdict that the threshold is quite high and does not fall into line with requirements of democratic society," said Sakik, adding that the decision process of the ECHR is not yet over.

Interior Ministry anticipates further turmoil in wake of Dink killing
The New Anatolian / Ankara
01 February 2007
The Interior Ministry yesterday sent a circular to all governors' offices throughout the country warning of possible provocative activities to further exploit last month's murder of Armenian-origin Turkish journalist Hrant Dink.

The circular came after the high-profile assassination case grabbed all media attention with even speculative news articles promptly denied by the authorities.

Police spokesperson Ismail Caliskan yesterday also told reporters that a great majority of the media stories don't reflect the truth about the killing and the suspects.

Caliskan said that the police managed to catch the perpetrators in a very short time and that they are working to shed light onto all hidden aspects of the incident.

The media has run stories claiming that a third man behind the gunman, Erhan Tuncel, was a police informant and that he informed his superiors about the planned Dink assassination and that his tip-off was neglected due to a clash of interest within the police force. However a high-ranking police official said that informants always come in with tip-offs about people like Dink being threatened.

However reports also claimed yesterday that Tuncel's connection with the police was cut after his tip-off about Dink. Both Istanbul and Trabzon police have yet to deny the claim, while the inspectors are continuing inquires into whether the Ankara Police Intelligence Department called on Istanbul police to protect Dink.

The second man Yasin Hayal, who was arrested and sent to an F-type prison on charges of inciting murder, was said to have spoken about Dink's murder around the northern province of Trabzon, the homeland of arrested gunman Ogun Samast and Hayal.

Another high-profile story claimed that, based on eye witnesses, Samast was not alone when he gunned down the journalist.

The Interior Ministry at the same time ordered the appointment two more inspectors -- a Gendarmerie inspector and a police chief inspector -- to the city to aid two ministry inspectors currently carrying out an investigation into the alleged negligence of state authorities in Trabzon.

The ministry, in the circular, warned the governors of ongoing protests throughout the country and said that certain circles may manipulate this highly sensitive atmosphere.

It ordered provincial authorities to police, monitor and even record public gatherings and to act in coordination with the judicial bodies to intervene in unwanted violent activities in a timely manner.

In related news, another suspect, Salih Hacisalihoglu who is charged with providing bullets to the gunman, was arrested yesterday raising the number of arrested to seven.

The killing led to turmoil in society with a group accusing the police and the state of failing to protect Dink while another raising anti-Armenian slogans praising the state authorities. The anti-Armenian stance, believed to be triggered after pro-Armenian slogans chanted during the funeral ceremony of the late journalist, even spread to football matches prompting a Cabinet minister to urge football fans to use common sense.

Amid the disturbance, Trabzon's governor and police chief were suspended, while the opposition parties demanded the government to suspend Istanbul police chief partly due to his immediate comment after the detention of the gunman that he committed the crime under his nationalist sentiments and he has no link with an organization, and presented a censure motion against Interior Minister Abdulkadir Aksu.

However a motion submitted by the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) asking Parliament to establish an investigation commission to carry out a study over the recent incidents in Trabzon was dropped.

Ibrahim Ozdogan, the Erzurum deputy of the Motherland Party (ANAVATAN), which on Tuesday submitted a censure motion against the minister, said that the government should punish the Interior Minister in the way it punished the two local authorities in Trabzon.

Ozdogan, speaking at a press conference in Parliament, accused the minister of neglecting his duty.

'Armenian community's concerns rising'

In related news, Fethiye Cetin, an Armenian lawyer in Turkey, yesterday claimed that ultranationalist circles have increased attacks against the Armenian community in the country after the killing of Dink.

Voicing rising concerns of the community, she branded two public polls conducted by mass-circulation daily Hurriyet as to whether the slogans shouted at the funeral saying, "We're all Hrant, we're all Armenians," were appropriate or not, and whether it is right to recite Islamic verses for Dink, as a rather dangerous and ugly move. The daily has yet to make public the outcomes of the polls.

On the other hand, a spokesperson for a Trabzon platform expressed the city's rising tension and said that they will not remain indifferent to those who attempt to damage the country and the nation's unity by taking advantage of the highly sensitive atmosphere that emerged after Dink's murder.

Ilyas Guven Eroglu, the spokesperson for the Trabzon Associations Union Platform, made up of 18 local civil groups, also criticized the press for news stories humiliating and laying the blame on Trabzon and its people.

Eroglu told a press conference in front of a Turkish flag, an Ataturk poster and banners reading, "We're from Trabzon, Turks, and we're all Mustafa Kemal [Ataturk]," that media stories have turned into a psychological war to wear down the resistance of the Turkish people.

"International circles have been carrying out secret activities in the region and particularly in Trabzon with hidden purposes," said the spokesperson, claiming that there are plans to turn the Black Sea basin into an Orthodox influence region as part of aims to disintegrate the country.

He went on to claim that ethnic groups, terror organizations and missionaries are highly active in the city.

We are hurting ourselves
January 31, 2007
Mehmet Ali Birand
It must have been that we are bothered by tranquility so we started a race to damage each other just when we had achieved stability and the economy gotten back on track. When I look at recent events I see how relentlessly we mistreat ourselves.

The banners and the slogans during the last week's soccer matches intimidated me. A group called another “Armenians” and the other party replied “PKK, get out.” We are harvesting what we have sown.

Groups who would like to gain prestige and votes by reacting against the “We are all Armenians” slogans have engaged their own supporters. A confusion of concepts has broken loose. Everyone is angry at each other. The allegations have gone as far as calling one another traitors.

Our approach to the subject is so clumsy that if we keep it up, we will end up crashing into a wall.

We are constantly forming cliques.

Nationalists – State-supporters – Seculars – Religionists – Liberals – Kurdists

Everyone is searching for others' weak points. They search for ways to destroy others instead of trying to understand each other. We are witnessing the formation of cliques just like those of the 1970s.

It must have been that we are bothered by tranquility so we started a race to damage each other just when we had achieved stability and the economy gotten back on track. When I look at recent events I see how relentlessly we mistreat ourselves. Moreover we do all of this for our country. But we do not realize how we will tear our country we so dearly defend apart if we continue in this mindset.

Heartbreaking, isn't it?

Let's ask outsiders about Turkey:
I had a long interview with World Bank President Paul Wolfowitz on Monday.

Wolfowitz is neither a close relative of the Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, nor does he benefit from the well-being of the Justice and Development Party (AKP), nor does he have any interest in lying to us.

I was amazed by the portrait of Turkey he drew.

He started his description by saying: “You only look at today. You do not look at how long a distance you have come. You do not think about 30 years ago. You even forget the circumstances you were in, even as recently as 2001.”

The picture he painted pleases one: “If you do not believe what I say then watch those that invest in Turkey, those that put their money in the Turkish stock exchange. The Turkish economy is stable and has been developing in a healthy environment.”

He draws attention to the current account deficit in the short term.

There is no need for Wolfowitz to remind us of this, we also know it – we are aware that we cannot educate our youth well, that we cannot train brilliant cadres. We have bright staff but their numbers are minimal. We do not have enough of them to carry a country of 70 million forward.

One can tell from the gestures of the president of the World Bank that he is happy with the AKP government's performance. Even though the exact words are not uttered, Erdoğan lies beneath his remarks. Wolfowitz does not hide his satisfaction over the prime minister's attitude, while he says, “What made me the happiest was that the prime minister guaranteed he will not slacken measures because of the upcoming elections.”

Wolfowitz's most striking observation was that poverty in Turkey is on the decline.

According to World Bank data poverty has been decreasing, relatively speaking. Of course it is not expected that this will substantially manifest itself in the short term, but the developments are positive…

There will certainly be those who have objections to these words. Their objections will have just points. Still, one should not disregard the stability and well-being of our country…

The government is neglecting 301:
The government has a bizarre attitude toward Article 301. When the statements made by the government are summarized the situation gains some clarity.

Both the prime minister and Foreign Minister Abdullah Gül repeatedly say “there is nothing stating that 301 cannot be changed.” The same approach is also followed by Justice Minister Cemil Çiçek. When events force them to they take a step further and declare, “We are also uncomfortable with Article 301.” They say, “We cannot abolish the article completely, but we can make revisions to it.”

I think that the government does not want to get into a struggle over 301 in the pre-election period. They prefer not to have an approach that will lose nationalist votes.

However, what surprises all of us is the prime minister's brusque words regarding parties that galvanize nationalist feelings. It is very hard to understand these two conflicting attitudes. It is possible that the government will neglect the issue of Article 301 until the elections by giving such mixed messages.

If the government puts its mind to it, it will get to work and either make revisions to Article 301 or abolish it completely. However, it cannot hide behind nongovernmental organizations.

Why can't we all be 'Armenians'?
January 31, 2007
Today we are passing through an era of impasse, underlined by a serious clash between the state and society that threatens both the legitimacy of the state and the order of society


Unsurprisingly the social and political agenda of Turkey has been shaped by the murder of Hrant Dink during the last two weeks. Both local and international writers produced diverse ideas that mainly focused on this murder's causes and consequences – which turned out to be quite hard to follow. The essential question, however, still remains unanswered: What should now be done?

Nowadays the vocalizing of democratic demands, particularly tolerance as a democratic value, has become almost all but ubiquitous. Turkish society, thanks to its cosmopolitan Ottoman past, has on certain occasions and conditions displayed a considerable amount of tolerance at the societal level. Most of us have heard stories from our grandparents that narrate the peaceful and harmonious environment of the past. However, this sincere practice among the different religious and ethnic segments of society has never been transferred to the political sphere, thus providing the backbone of our current problems.

Historically, in the Ottoman-Turkish continuum, the state's elite either ignored or suppressed the political demands from constituents of society that were not parallel to their pre-determined absolute or unfocused interests. Unfortunately over the years this political choice by the state's elite spilled over into the societal sphere and regrettably Turkish society became more segmented then ever. Today we are passing through an era of impasse, underlined by a serious clash between the state and society that threatens both the legitimacy of the state and the order of society.

Without any difficulty one can make a long and detailed list of the steps leading to this impasse. I want to bypass this discussion and instead focus on the real danger; the overspill potential of this problem into society. I want to illustrate my argument with the slogans used during Dink's funeral: “We are all Hrant” and “We are all Armenians.” Although the former was welcomed by all segments of society, some, including Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, rejected the latter. I presume the approval of “We are all Hrant” was because of its “identity-free” character. Dink, at the end of the day, was known to be very decent and honest as well as an excellent person and citizen. Most of the comments referred to his patriotic character, sometimes noting stories related to his military service. Undoubtedly that portrayal of Hrant is an “acceptable” one and every one of us can be Hrant, no problem. However when you decide to be an Armenian, things change radically. As an Armenian you can easily be blamed for being an unfaithful traitor who constantly produces malicious ideas against Turkey and Turks. So accordingly, if one carries a banner proclaiming “We are all Armenians,” that should be understood and processed as being at least dangerous and, more importantly, as having the potential to “disturb the citizens' sensitivity.”

What should be corrected or discarded is the latter position, which serves to deepen divisions within Turkish society. We should comprehend the danger of “being disturbed” by others' ideas and opinions. We should stop creating “the other” and attributing characteristics to it as soon as possible. Of course the basic responsibility here lies with the state and the political elite. Society will be balanced to the same extent that they try to highlight the differences of the “other” and produce ideas and policies based on these differences.

In contrast with the pessimistic portrayal I have sketched in previous paragraphs, witnessing the march for Dink forced me to think again. I thought that this might be a display of society's potential to create a peaceful and tolerant environment in spite of everything. I was further convinced of this while watching a football match this weekend. One fan, during the moment of silence for Dink, shouted in protest, “We are all Turks.” However this fan's attitude was reproved by others and his slogan was not repeated. Not one voice echoed his call. This silence was another way of saying “We are all Armenians.” Let's hope this attitude finds more ground within society. At the end of the day it is only in hope that we can trust …

*Emre Toros is a political scientist and teaches at Atılım University, Ankara. toros@atilim.edu.tr

NGOs are meeting in Ankara over 301
Tuesday, January 30, 2007
ANKARA - Turkish Daily News

After Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's call for non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to propose how to amend the controversial Article 301 in the Turkish penal code, NGOs are expected to gather in Ankara this week. The Ankara Bar Association called the meeting and invited only professional organizations. The NGOs will discuss an amendment to or the abolishment of Article 301, which has been widely criticized for limiting freedom of speech. The state, on the other hand, seems to be headed toward amending the article, but not before May.

The assassination of Hrant Dink re-ignited discussions about Article 301 in Turkey because many claim that the law, under which Dink was convicted, perpetuated the nationalist sentiment behind his murder. The Bar Association, the Confederation of Turkish Labor Unions, the Union of Notary, the Turkish Public Workers' Labor Union, the Civil Servants Trade Union, the Turkish Union of Engineers and Architect Chambers, the Turkish Doctors Union, the Confederation of Public Sector Trade Unions, the Turkish Union of Chambers and Commodities Exchanges and the Turkish Penal Code Association are meeting this week to discuss “amendments or abolition” of Article 301.

Erdoğan announced last week that the government is ready to discuss a proposal if NGOs reach a consensus. These words have led NGOs searching for a platform. The President of the Bar Association, Ozdemir Ozakman, is hosting the meeting. Ozakman told the Turkish Daily News on Monday, “We are looking to have the same model as the civilized countries have. We had to be cold-blooded in this process. It is not only 301 but all the regulations we have. The government is creating populism by blaming the NGOs. They are taking the risk. (The government) is passing the ball but they should not. This is the political responsibility of government. And we will send the ball back.”

Ozakman said that this meeting will take place in Ankara and most probably it will take place on Friday. He mentioned that he did not invite the other democratic NGOs because the other platforms had not been successful in reaching a consensus before. He mentioned that they will discuss all the proposals as well as preserving Article 301. He also said the meetings of the Labor (Emek) Platform and the Group for Dialog that took place last year did not reach a consensus among themselves even. Confederation of Revolutionary Workers' Unions (DİSK) and the Conservative Labor Confederation wanted the law to be completely abolished while the others were in favor of it. Ozakman announced that after the meeting they would establish a committee to meet with Justice Minister Cemil Çiçek and Prime Minister Erdoğan.

The President of the Doctors' Union, Gençay, Gürsoy, said they are looking for a platform to have a consensus over NGOs. He said, “After the meeting in Ankara we may have a second meeting in Istanbul.” He was supportive of Ozakman's initiative.

President of the Economical Development Foundation Davut Okçu is also optimistic about the NGO meeting in Ankara. He said, “11 NGOs reached a consensus last year and the result is to change the law according to the European Convention on Human Rights and according to legislation of the European Court of Justice. The law should be clear and should not lead to any more interpretation.” He also criticized the government for asking the NGOs to make the law. “The legislation is the responsibility of the government,” he said.

Defining citizenship:
The main discussion on 301 is about defining Turkish citizenship. After the Supreme Court of Appeals decision about Kurdish identity, the discussion on 301 changed. An ambassador from the Turkish Foreign Ministry said, “to change the word ‘Turkish Nation' has become meaningless. The need is for a constitutional citizenship definition.”

Government wants amendment:

The secretary general of the European Union proposed some amendments last year by taking the views of the Interior Ministry, Justice Ministry and military. But the government refused to make any amendment at that time. It has been learned that the secretary general of the European Union will not generate any proposal until the government requests it. An adviser to the government told the TDN that the government is not ready for an abolishment and even an amendment on the law can be difficult for the Cabinet to handle before the presidential elections.

U.S. ambassador to Turkey: Bush administration will oppose Armenian genocide resolution
The Associated Press
January 31, 2007
ISTANBUL, Turkey: The U.S. ambassador to Turkey said Wednesday that the Bush administration would actively oppose a resolution to recognize the deaths of 1.5 million Armenians at the end of World War I as genocide.

Democratic and Republican lawmakers introduced the resolution at a press conference on Tuesday. The Bush administration has warned that even congressional debate on the topic could damage relations with Turkey, a NATO member with close ties to the United States.

"The Administration will be actively involved with Congress to oppose this resolution," U.S. Ambassador to Turkey Ross Wilson said in a statement e-mailed to news organizations in Turkey. "The Bush Administration's position on this issue has not changed."

In keeping with traditional U.S. policy, Wilson's statement referred to the killings as "tragic events that took place at the end of the Ottoman Empire," not as genocide.

Turkey has adamantly denied that its predecessor state, the Ottoman government, caused the Armenian deaths in a planned genocide. The Turkish government has said the death toll is inflated, and that Armenians were killed or displaced in civil unrest during the disarray surrounding the empire's collapse.
Today in Europe

Despite strong Turkish opposition, however, an increasing number of governments are recognizing the killings as genocide.

Rep. Adam Schiff, a Democrat from California, and other lead sponsors of the resolution in the U.S. House of Representatives, say they have commitments from more than 150 other members who wanted to add their names as co-sponsors after the legislation's introduction.

That would be a strong show of support in the 435-member body.

The resolution's supporters say that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who has expressed her support, is likely to come under pressure from the Bush administration to keep the House from voting.

Turkey: Probe Into Journalist's Murder Is Beefed Up
Istanbul, 31 Jan. (AKI) - Turkish authorities have dispatched two chief inspectors to Trabzon, the hometown of the alleged killer of Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink, to boost the murder investigation - a move which comes amid a growing storm over the police's possible failure to prevent the murder through negligence. Turkish media on Tuesday cited sources from the National Police Department who confirmed the authorities had received information about a planned attack against Dink one year ago, but that no attempt was made to investigate the threats.

Dink was shot dead on 19 January in front of the Istanbul office of the newspaper he edited. A 17-year-old boy from Trabzon, Ogun Samast, was arrested in connection with the murder after he was recognised from closed circuit television footage taken at the scene of the shooting.

According to the police sources, Erhan Tuncel, a university student in Trabzon with links to a Turkish ultra-nationalist group blamed for the killing, warned local police in February 2006 of a plan to assassinate the prominent journalist who campaigned for Turkey to recognise as genocide the mass killings of Armenians under the Ottomans during the early 20th century.

Tuncel, an alleged police informer and one of the six suspects charged in connection with Dink's killing - is being interrogated in Istanbul by the counter-terrororism police.

Tuncel has reportedly told police that Yasin Hayal, also under arrest in connection with the murder, had planned to travel from Trabzon to Istanbul to kill Dink, and that this intelligence was passed on to Istanbul police. Police allegedly found nothing suspicious and took no further action, the Milliyet daily reported on Tuesday.

Tuncel turned informer in 2004 in exchange for immunity after he was detained in connection with a bomb attack on a McDonald's restaurant in Trabzon, for which Hayal served 11 months in jail. In the summer of 2006, police stopped working with Tuncel on suspicion that he was acting as a double agent on behalf of the ultra-nationalists, the Milliyet report said.

Human rights activists are urging prosecutors to investigate Istanbul's police chief, Celaleddin Cerrah, who they alleged has been negligent over the murder. Cerrah has also drawn criticism for his statements that Samast "has no links with terror groups," and that "his nationalist sentiments motivated him to shoot Dink," in the immediate aftermath of the murder suspect's arrest.

Dink branded a "traitor" by ultra-nationalists for urging open debate on the massacres of Armenians under the Ottoman Empire, often appeared in court on charges of violating an item in Turkey's penal code that prohibits any questioning of the officially accepted version that the genocide did not take place. The European Union - which Turkey hopes to join - has repeatedly called for the scrapping of the controversial 'offending Turkishness' article in the penal code.

Since Dink's murder, which prompted mass demonstrations in his honour and in favour of freedom of expression, the government has come under increasing criticism for failing to deal with extremist groups.

Prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan was quoted as saying on Tuesday that Turkey had paid a heavy price for not cracking down on what he called the "deep state" - a term which refers to secretive nationalist elements in the powerful Turkish military and bureaucracy.

EU: We never said we were OK with 301
The European Union has made it clear that it never told Turkey it was content with Article 301.
In the raging discussion surrounding Turkish Penal Code Article 301 in the wake of Hrant Dink’s assassination, Justice Minister Cemil Çiçek, together with several government officials, argued that during the course of preparations for the draft, the EU had conveyed the message that Brussels was “ok” with the article.
Brussels has somewhat of a different picture. Speaking to Today’s Zaman, sources say this has never been the case. “At the time, there were many reservations on 301, we did not like it and made our concerns very clear to Ankara,” said one source.

However, the EU gave Turkey “the benefit of the doubt” at the time and adopted a “wait-and-see” approach. Brussels decided to follow the implementation based on two assumptions: Article 90 of the Turkish constitution which gives supremacy to international treaties; and the impressive reform program of the AK Party which gave hope that implementation would be in line with EU standards.

According to many diplomats in Brussels, the EU never told Ankara that “301 was fine.” Indeed, the Oct. 6, 2004 progress report which paved the way for the decision to start accession talks with Turkey strongly reflects the EU’s misgivings and concerns on the possible implementation of 301.

In the political criteria section, the report notes: “Overall, the new Penal Code provides limited progress on freedom of expression. Articles that have been frequently used to restrict freedom of expression and have been assessed as potentially conflicting with Article 10 of the ECHR, have been maintained or changed only slightly. The implementation of the new Code will have to be closely followed in order to assess its effect in practice.”
The report also says: “However, in a number of cases journalists and other citizens expressing non-violent opinion continue to be prosecuted. The new Penal Code provides only limited progress as regards freedom of expression.”
Erdoğan’s initiative for a compromise among NGOs is welcome in Brussels, however the EU is asking for concrete results. “What counts for us is to see that people, intellectuals, writers and journalists are not harassed by this law. Of course, we are aware that Turkey has a different culture, a different political landscape, but we cannot afford to wait 6-7 years for the mentalities to change. Article 301 should be amended in a way that will leave no margin of maneuver for misuses,” said a EU official.

Diplomats in Brussels underline that Hrant Dink’s conviction under Article 301 was a turning point as the AK Party government argument “to wait and see the implementation” totally collapsed with Dink’s verdict.


US-Turkey ties face test as ‘genocide’ resolution introduced
Democratic and Republican lawmakers introduced a resolution in the US House of Representatives urging the US administration to recognize an alleged genocide of Armenians at the hands of the late Ottoman Empire in Anatolia.

The resolution puts Turkish-US relations to a new test after tension over Iraq throughout the past several years. Turkish officials have repeatedly warned that relations would suffer irreparable damage if the resolution is passed, and yesterday Turkish lawmakers expressed hope that the resolution would not go ahead. "We hope the resolution will never be brought before the president. Even in this case, we hope the United States will not show weakness in the face of Armenian diaspora efforts," said Faruk Çelik, a deputy from the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party). "Otherwise, Turkish-US ties will be seriously affected."
Turkey denies Armenian allegations that 1.5 million Armenians were victims of a genocide campaign at the hands of the Ottoman Empire, saying that the death toll is inflated and that the killings came as the Ottoman Empire was trying to quell civil unrest caused by revolts of Anatolian Armenians collaborating with the invading Russian army.

A similar resolution was presented to the US Congress in the past but it was shelved at the last minute when the administration intervened.

Inal Batu, a lawmaker from the opposition Republican People's Party (CHP), admitted that prospects were much stronger for passage of the resolution as compared to the past. "Armenians are closer than ever to success," he told Today's Zaman. "But I still believe that the United States will not alienate its strategic partner." The resolution is opposed by the US administration, but analysts say the House of Representatives is most likely to pass it.

In a statement, US Ambassador to Turkey Ross Wilson reiterated that the Bush administration’s position on the issue has not changed and added: “The administration will be actively involved with the Congress to oppose this resolution.”

Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff, a co-sponsor, acknowledged that the resolution might harm U.S.-Turkish relations in the short term. Nevertheless, he said: “I’m optimistic that the relationship will go on. We will move beyond this,” according to The Associated Press.

Schiff and other lead sponsors who introduced the resolution in the House of Representatives on Tuesday say they have commitments from more than 150 other members who wanted to add their names as co-sponsors after the legislation’s introduction. That would be a strong show of support in the 435-member body.

The sponsors, who held a news conference Tuesday attended by two Armenian survivors of the episode, say that the move to Democratic control in Congress increases the chances that the bill will reach the House floor for a vote. “We feel very strongly that this year is the year we’re going to get this passed,” another co-sponsor, Democratic Rep. Frank Pallone Jr., whose state, New Jersey, has a large Armenian-American community, was quoted as saying by The Associated Press.

After French lawmakers voted in October to make it a crime to deny that the killings were a genocide, Turkey said it would suspend military relations with France. Turkey provides key support to US military operations. İncirlik Air Force Base, a major base in southern Turkey, has been used by the US to launch operations into Iraq and Afghanistan.

İstanbul Today’s Zaman

Turkish-Armenians’ pivotal role in Turkey’s history revealed
Newly revealed documents prove that there were patriotic Armenian-Turkish citizens during the War of Independence who risked a backlash from their community.

Prominent examples of this are Muslim Armenians Hasan and Necati, two members of the Mim-Mim Group, which shipped arms to Anatolia from Istanbul; naval soldier Pandikyan, an operative in the British intelligence service who leaked classified information to Turks about security controls; and singer Madam Blanş, who collected money for the Red Crescent after performances. New findings revealed by the four-year study of Dr. Cafer Ulu opens a different and solemn window to the Armenian problem. Ulu reveals that Armenians played a significant role in giving the surname "Ataturk" to Mustafa Kemal, penning a signature for him.

At a time when Anatolia was engulfed in its battle for independence, a delegation from the Black Sea region met with Armenian David Sahakkulu, who was working as a translator for a group monitoring the straits set up by the occupying Allied Forces, and asked for help with an arms shipment. He was asked to inform Turks of the Allied forces' guard hours and numbers in order to safely ship Turkish arms from Istanbul to Trabzon. He was even offered money. He agreed to help but rejected the money, saying he owed what he possessed to Turkey and its schools. However, many other Armenians, particularly Armenian Patriarch Zaven Efendi, were acting against the Anatolian liberation movement at that time.

Sahakkulu is one of the Armenians who helped the self-proclaimed Turkish government during the War of Independence between 1919-1922. The efforts of Sahakkulu and other Armenians are important at a time when debates over Turkish-Armenian relations are reduced to the forced migration of Armenians in 1915, Armenian massacres and the so-called genocide, although they have a 400-year history. Even so, documents about such people and their activities have not been disclosed until recently.

Armenian singer took stage with the Turkish flag
Newly revealed documents prove that there were patriotic Armenian-Turkish citizens during the War of Independence who risked a backlash from their community. Prominent examples of this are Muslim Armenians Hasan and Necati, two members of the Mim-Mim Group, which shipped arms to Anatolia from Istanbul; naval soldier Pandikyan, an operative in the British intelligence service who leaked classified information to Turks about security controls; and singer Madam Blanş, who collected money for the Red Crescent after performances.

New findings revealed by the four-year study of Dr. Cafer Ulu, a historian from Fatih University in İstanbul, opens a different and solemn window to the Armenian problem. Ulu's findings suggest debating the issue separately from the 1915 forced migration act. He also reveals that Armenians played a significant role in giving the surname “Ataturk” to Mustafa Kemal, penning a signature for him, and had significant involvement in linguistic studies during initial years of the Turkish Republic.

Madam Blanş, an Armenian-Turkish singer in the early 1920s, was known for collecting money for soldiers at the front following every concert she performed. She would take to the stage with Turkish flags. The Red Crescent volunteers, which included Greek, Armenian and Jewish girls, would collect donations, and people who had no money would donate their jewels.

There were many non-Muslims in the Karakol Cemiyeti and Mim-Mim Groups, two organization that shipped arms into Anatolia during the War of Independence. Hüsamettin Ertürk, a leading figure in the War of Independence, described the activities of Hasan and Necati: “There were non-Muslim supporters of our cause who worked for us in the offices of the Allied countries in Istanbul. They were working for the lands they lived on despite the difference of religion. Necati, who was working for the British intelligence service, was one of these people. He spied on the British for us.”

Another patriotic Armenian was Pandikyan, who was rewarded for his work by then-Defense Minister Marshal Fevzi Çakmak. Panidkyan was the head of the Galata Intelligence Service, which was affiliated with the British intelligence service, and he leaked a great deal of information to the Turks. He contributed to releasing people detained for supporting the Anatolian liberation movement, informing those who were certain to be captured, returning or destroying classified documents seized by British authorities that could be used against the movement and smuggling ammunition and other military equipment.
Ulu noted that this was the first time such information was made public. “The Armenian problem has so far been restricted to events in 1915. There are certainly events and players beyond those events. In this regard, it is not appropriate to ignore or reject contributions of Armenian-Turkish citizens during the War of Independence and after the establishment of the republic,” he said.

Armenian-Turks suggested ‘Ataturk’ surname for Mustafa Kemal
Agop Martayan Dilaçar was enlisted in the Ottoman army at the age of 19 when the World War I broke out. He first served on the Caucasus front and later on the Damascus front when the forced migration act was approved. He met Mustafa Kemal in Damascus. They established good relations in the following years, and Dilaçar was appointed chief expert at the Turkish Language Association (TDK) during the Second Turkish Language Assembly held in August 1934. Ataturk appreciated his contribution and gave him the surname Dilaçar in 1935.
The Armenian Church in Istanbul published an almanac titled “Turkish Armenians in the 75th Year of the Republic.” It is stated in the almanac that Dilaçar suggested the surname Ataturk during a meeting of the TDK and that it was accepted. This point is agreed on by the majority of Armenians even though it was not revealed until recently but only voiced by Armenians. Turkey's second president, İsmet İnönü, and 22 lawmakers presented a bill to the Turkish Parliament on Nov. 24, 1934 granting the surname Ataturk to Mustafa Kemal. According to Ulu, it was Armenians who penned Ataturk's signature. He said: “There is no strong objection at this point. This topic was brought up by Armenians in the past but was not explored by our researchers and historians. Moreover, there is no point in wailing over an Armenian citizen's having suggested it.”

Kasım Gülek and Ecevit's teacher was Armenian
When Mustafa Kemal expressed his wish to use Latin characters in his signature, Hagop Vahram Çerçiyan, then-calligraphy teacher at Roberts College, was asked to draw a signature. He prepared five different signatures and sent them to Mustafa Kemal. Three days later, Mustafa Kemal conveyed his thanks to Çerçiyan with a letter saying he had chosen one of them.

Çerçiyan was famed not only for designing Mustafa Kemal's signature but also for teaching leading Turkish politicians. Bülent Ecevit, Kasım Gülek, Selim Sarper, Ömer Celal and Behçet Ağaoğlu were all instructed by Çerçiyan during his 50-year teaching career.

A decade after the establishment of the republic, there were still opponents of Mustafa Kemal's reforms. On Oct. 21, 1935, Mustafa Kemal's radical opponents were mobilized to assassinate him. The plot, which was claimed to have been led by Çerkez Ethem, was foiled. After the foiled plot was made public, protests were held nationwide. There were Armenian-Turkish citizens among the protestors because the target of the assassination attempt was the president of their country.

Following the foiled attempt, the Armenian community in Turkey organized a meeting at the Armenian church in the Galata district of Istanbul. Top Armenian clerics attended the meeting and expressed their anger at the attempt. Along with this meeting, the Armenian community held services at all Armenian churches located in Istanbul to express their support for Mustafa Kemal.

Ulu noted that research on this issue would deepen due to the newly disclosed documents: “The documents we used during our studies prove that Turkish-Armenian relations have a deep-rooted background and show that the two societies could not be easily separated from each other. What should be done for the future is that both sides should express only the facts, leaving aside prejudices and fears.”


Friend of Turkey Feigl to be buried on Monday
Austrian historian Prof. Erich Feigl, who demonstrated that the Armenian allegations of genocide were untrue, will be buried on Feb. 5 at Simmering cemetery in Vienna, after a funeral at Feuerhalle Hall.

Prof. Feigl died last week at the age of 76 from kidney failure, following hospitalization for a stomach hemorrhage. He began his writing career during his university years and furthered it by making a large number of documentary movies and films in the Middle East, the Far East, the Central Asia and the United States to foster intra-religious and intra-cultural dialogue.

When his close friend, Erdoğan Özen, a labor attaché at the Turkish Embassy in Vienna, was assassinated by Armenian terrorists in 1984, he decided conduct a comprehensive study on Armenian terrorism. Having proven that the alleged genocide claims of the Armenian diaspora and the Armenian terrorist group ASALA were based on fictitious documents and photographs put forward by Armenian author Aram Andonian, he gathered all the evidence he was able to find in a book titled, “A Myth of Terror,” which exposed the roots and strategic aim of Armenian terrorism. Feigl devoted this book, which was published in English, German, French and Turkish, to his friend Özen.

İstanbul Today’s Zaman

Which form of nationalism?
EKREM DUMANLI e.dumanli@todayszaman.com
I must admit that some Turkish phrases are hard to translate into English. For example, the Turkish world “milliyetcilik” is not equivalent to the English word nationalism.
A majority of people in Turkey describe themselves as “milliyetci-muhafazakar -- nationalist-conservative.” These two words imply patriotism and possession of spiritual values. When someone says I am muhafazakar in Turkey, no one thinks of conservatism.

If we look at the general meaning inferred when the Turkish public uses the word milliyetcilik-nationalist, we can see that it has no connection to racism. In fact, this word has religious and Islamic connotations. Because the word nation is not only used to define a group of people tied together by blood relations. In Turkey, children are taught to say “I am from the nation of Abraham” when asked “What is your nation?” It means they are from the nation of the Prophet Abraham.

The reason the word nationalism does not imply chauvinism is certainly credited to Islam. Islam clearly and strictly prohibits racism. The Qu’ran says: “Oh mankind, we created you from Adam and Eve and made you into nations and tribes, that you may know each other. Verily the most honored of you in the sight of Allah is (one who is) the most righteous of you.” Therefore, honor is associated with being close to God and people are all equal as the children of Adam and Eve.

During the Ottoman period, the very religious and very multinational social structure had collapsed racist ideologies. The wave of nationalism began with the fall of the Ottoman Empire. The fact that different Ottoman societies based their war of independence on nationalism prompted the Turks to develop a feeling of Turkishness. In other words, Turkish nationalism began in response to the growing nationalism and racism in the Balkans. But after the civil wars, Islamic principles brought patriot connotations back to nationalism.
The 1940s experienced a rebirth of nationalism based on racism owing to the fast-spreading fascism in Europe. But once again Islam tackled the “higher race” ideology back to patriotism. It’s quite interesting to note that extreme Turkishness movements in the 1940s eliminated feelings of self-centered nationalism in the average citizen. Racist movements were replaced by nationalist parties.

Today the situation is different. There have been interesting developments in the past few years. Far-right and far-left groups have joined to form a group called Kizilelma. They define themselves as ulusalci, neo-nationalist, and have launched a campaign against the European Union. This group not only uses terms like anti-Western and anti-American but also terms like extreme nationalism and Kemalism. They initially proclaimed that the country was being divided and that the land was being sold. Such claims went beyond propaganda and gave warning signals that the group would seek an armed organization. But Turkey underestimated this at the time.

In 2006, six important crime organizations were discovered. Each was found to have connections with soldiers, the police and PKK informants. Unfortunately, the necessary precautions had not been taken. The murder of the priest in Trabzon and the attacker of the Council of State building were all said to have neo-nationalist or nationalist links. The murder of Hrant Dink also seems to have a connection to the nationalist movement. Now, Turkey is one again debating the meaning of the word nationalism. A foreigner no longer knows what the word nationalist means in Turkey. For example, the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) still has the slogan that they will not push teens out into the streets. But now the other nationalists and neo-nationalists are contesting the MHP and are manipulating teenagers to create distress in the country. The worst is this: Officials from the European Union, which had belittled and employed a double standard for Turkey during its negotiation process, is supporting this marginal nationalist group and pushing those who understand nationalism to be patriotism into the hands of these new nationalists. This is a big danger because this stance is the climax of the nightmare of growing nationalism. In Turkey, the inability to decipher code names for nationalism has perplexed minds over the location of the real danger.

Attaching the deep state to the normal state

HUSEYIN GULERCE h.gulerce@todayszaman.com
The police investigation into the murder of Hrant Dink has re-launched the debate on the deep state. Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan told İskele Sancak on Kanal 7: “ It’s not true that I don’t agree with the definition of the deep state. Why would it not exist? It goes back to Ottoman times. It is something that comes with the tradition. It is important to minimize, or if possible, annihilate it.”

Three days later, the prime minister elaborated on the issue at hand when he was responding to questions from journalists on his flight to Ethiopia: “We could as well refer to the deep state as the formation of gangs within institutions. Failure to look into these connections to date has cost both the government and the nation. Law enforcement can only help us to a degree. A combination of law enforcement, legislation and justice is necessary to look into those connections.”

What is the deep state? There are two people whose response to this question is very direct. One of them is Kenan Evren, Turkey’s seventh president. The other one is Süleyman Demirel, Turkey’s ninth president.
This is what Mr. Evren said in a March 30, 2005 interview with Sabah: “When the state fails to perform its duties properly, the deep state interferes, and did indeed interfere. Nobody said, ‘My Lord, don’t interfere.’ On the contrary, they said, ‘Do interfere, seize control’.”

This is what Mr. Demirel said on CNN Türk, broadcast on April 17, 2005: “The deep state is the military. Though the military is not a separate state, it becomes the deep state when it seizes government control. The need arises for the deep state when the government fails to perform its tasks.” Around this time, Mr. Demirel was also interviewed by Yavuz Donat:

“The deep state is a condition in which the normal state goes off the rails. The founders of the republic were engrossed with the fear that the state might fall apart, just as it happened with the Ottoman Empire. At the root of the deep state lies this fear: The state is falling apart, so we should save it from demise. … This is what it is.”

Actually the issue is related both to the culture of democracy and the assimilation of democracy. Loving the nation cannot be a quality that belongs exclusively to the military. The basic thing should be to save and to improve the state with adherence to the rule of law. Can it be a solution to discontinue democracy every once in a while on the pretext that the government is not doing its job well in Turkey when in fact democracy could have been improved?

It becomes all the more difficult to work reasonably as long as politicians expect to gain future political prosperity from a possible military intervention and regard themselves as members of the staff of the deep state. The reasonable thing is this: Whether or not Turkey enters the EU, democratization based on the rule of law will strengthen Turkey. We show respect to our country by working hard to keep alive universal humanitarian values, the freedom of thought, expression and religion. Jurisdiction should apply to everybody, and everybody should be accountable for what they have done. For this to happen, state and constitutional organizations need to work in harmony.

The most important criticism that we are facing on our way to the EU relates to the military’s custodial role of Turkey’s democracy. It is not possible to solve any problems in the nation when the advocates of the above argument are called “traitors.” If it were, former military interventions would have worked out well.
As long as civil power is seen as illegal, as long as the elected are not taken seriously and as long as there is constant concession to democracy, Turkey will remain poorly governed. The military is the flower of the nation, so efforts must be made to find a solution without destroying trust in it. Nobody will benefit from sheer obstinacy or trust in one’s own fists. Today, real nationalism means attaching the deep state to the normal state and preserving democracy.

Tackling the ‘deep state’
FATMA DISLI f.disli@todayszaman.com
Could journalist Hrant Dink's murder have been prevented? The media's focus these days has shifted to speculation on who knew what and when, because, according to reports, both the Trabzon governor and police intelligence units in Ankara were informed about plans to assassinate Dink but no action was taken.
Such revelations led many to point the finger at Turkey's so-called "deep state," the anti-democratic, authoritarian ideology of secular nationalists hidden in the shadows of Turkey's state institutions and blamed for many distressing incidents. Even Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan recently complained about the existence of the "deep state" in Turkey and said: "The deep state notion became a tradition in Turkey, its history dates back to the Ottoman Empire. There is such a structure within state organs. Since no one has dealt with such links so far, we paid the price as a nation and country. As the executive power, we can follow it to a certain level. The judiciary, executive and legislative powers should work together to deal with the deep state issue." His statements were interpreted differently among columnists.

Vatan's Can Ataklı criticizes Erdoğan for remaining silent about the deep state issue during his years in office only to bring it onto the agenda on the eve of presidential elections in Turkey. He accuses Erdoğan of making such remarks out of political concerns. Ataklı thinks it is very meaningless for Erdoğan to complain about the existence of the deep state in Turkey. "No deep state can exist in a country without components of the ruling party. The deep state is a mechanism that works in coordination with the ruling party, not against it," asserts Ataklı. He explains if Erdoğan had complained about the deep state issue in the first years of his rule his complaints would be understandable today. But such a reaction from Erdoğan prior to the presidential elections makes one feel that he has the presidential elections in mind. Ataklı thinks Erdoğan has increasing concerns as the presidential elections approach, so he wants to get rid of them. "I think Erdoğan plans to attribute all the accusations that will come up against them to the deep state as the presidential elections approach," claims Ataklı, stressing that the "trap of the deep state" will not work either.

Another columnist from Vatan, Güngör Mengi, asserts that the deep state is an excuse that unsuccessful governments resort to. He clarifies that no government should attempt to defame the state's name because of the lack of its own skills and prudence. One who has a belief in democracy should not allow such an attempt, he stresses. He criticizes Erdoğan for making statements that will influence the course of the investigation of Dink's murder. "The government, who has the majority of the votes in the parliament and has entered into its fifth year, should have learned to work with decent people. Now, they should not attempt to intimidate the people with the ghost of the 'deep state' in order to avoid responsibility," asserts Mengi.

Milliyet's Hasan Cemal also criticizes Erdoğan for putting the blame on the deep state. He mentions many of the measures that could have prevented Dink's murder. He accuses the government, police and judiciary of negligence as they were informed about plans to murder Dink. "Who will give an account of this negligence? Can we still call it a democratic state where such negligence is overlooked?" questions Cemal. He thinks that the answers to these questions primarily address Erdoğan who complains about the deep state. "Because this issue is within his scope of authority," remarks Cemal.

Yeni Şafak's Fehmi Koru appreciates Erdoğan's comments, contrary to other columnists, for his determination in dealing with the deep state in coordination with the executive, legislative and judiciary. He agrees with Erdoğan in that the constitutional organs of the state should act together and address the deep state issue. "But how will harmony be maintained among these organs?" asks Koru.

Bekir Coskun; In what sense are we all Armenians?
These days, when we get together, we all talk at the same time about this phrase "We are all Armenians." (From the banners carried by the hundreds of thousands protesting journalist Hrant Dink's death in Istanbul last week.) We all tell eachother how our "grandfathers died fighting in Yemen," and then go on to ask: "In what way are we Armenian?" In fact, some of our nationalist siblings even stretch out their necks to show the shape of their heads, asking "What kind of head is this?" Receiving the reply they want-"a Turkish head of course,"-they go on to say "eh, so how does that make me Armenian?"

Our fellow citizen, the one who hijacked the ferryboat a few days ago as a protest to the "We are all Armenian" banners carried at the Dink funeral, wound up displaying to us not the outside look of his head, but instead what occupies the inside of his mind. By hijacking and scaring the wits out of a boatload of people, he tried to underline the answer to the question "In what way are we all Armenian?"

(By the way, the man who hijacked the boat was a "nationalist," but I should add he was also kicked out of the military at an earlier time.)

And the large banners unfurled at football matches this week reading "We are not Armenians, we are Turks" really prove that when we get together, our minds truly work wonders.

The rally leaders at the football matches yelled: "Those who are sitting are Armenians!" Everyone then stands and is saved from "being Armenian."


In the end, the nationalist was angry. I guess the message of peace, love, and tolerance which people had wanted to give to the world didn't work for him. Maybe he really thinks that the one hundred thousand people all chanting "We are all Armenian" at Dink's funeral march actually, in one moment, became Armenian.

This same nationalist must think that when people say "I flew like a bird," they actually became birds, or when they say "I worked like a donkey," they became donkeys. To put it the other way, just as people don't actually become "true and hardworking" when they say that they are (this is from part of a saying which many schoolchildren across Turkey repeat every day), they also don't become Armenian when they say they are.

But how can we explain this to the nationalist?

This was really just an expression; a representation of the pain felt by everyone in the wake of Hrant Dink's murder, of the sincere desire to share these human feelings.

It was a response to racism and nationalism of the ugly sort.

It was the uplifting of the idea of "Above all else, we are all humans."

Or, should we just leave it at "In what sense are we all Armenians?"

We are disappointed to learn of today's introduction of a resolution in the House of Representatives pertaining to the events which took place almost a century ago during World War I. Historians differ on how to characterize the tragic losses during that period, when a world war, ethnic civil strife and deprivation afflicted the entire region.

Turkey and the U.S. have been close allies for over half a century, with relations expanding and evolving over the decades from a military alliance to a strategic partnership based on common interests and mutual values. Today, our two countries are collaborating to combat terrorism, bridge the gap between the West and the Islamic world, support critical transitions in Iraq and Afghanistan, stabilize the Caucasus and the Balkans, pursue peace in the Middle East, integrate the former Soviet Republics of Central Asia into the community of democratic states, and transport Caspian energy resources to world markets. The introduction of today's resolution disregards the importance that both sides have placed on this time-honored and mutually rewarding strategic partnership and alliance and our common endeavors.

Nearly two years ago, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan extended an invitation to his Armenian counterpart to establish a joint commission of historians and other experts to study records of the late Ottoman period in the archives of Turkey, Armenia and other relevant countries, and to share their findings with the international community. It was hoped that such an initiative would shed light on a disputed period of history and pave the way for a normalization of relations between the two countries.

Turkey's proposal has been praised by a number of European governments, and numerous members of the European Parliament have called on Armenia to accept it. The U.S. Administration has also applauded this initiative, with President Bush encouraging its adoption it in his 2005 message to the Armenian American community. The Armenian government has not yet accepted this proposal.

It is only through common dialogue, not legislation, that a process of reconciliation can begin.


Holocaust denial is profoundly wrong. But should it be illegal?
Peter Schrank
Jan 25th 2007
GOOD intentions are rarely enough. There is no doubt that in proposing to make Holocaust denial a crime throughout the European Union and to ban the display of the swastika (to some a 5,000-year-old symbol of peace), the German government is activated by the best of intentions. But caution applies even in this matter. One of the most moving books about the Holocaust, one describing the moral compromises forced upon leaders of the Judenräte, Jewish councils appointed by Nazis in the ghettos of Warsaw, Vilnius and Lodz, takes for its title the common adage about good intentions: “The Pavement of Hell”. As Jacques Chirac says, Holocaust denial is a perversion of the soul and a crime against truth. But that does not mean it should be a crime in law.

Criminalising it would obviously limit freedom of speech, one of the basic freedoms on which other liberties depend. But that alone is not a proper objection. Brigitte Zypries, the German justice minister, is surely justified when she says, “We believe there are limits to freedom of expression.” The question is where you draw those limits. In the liberal tradition, they have been put at the point where speech becomes a threat to others (hence child pornography is rightly banned; so is the proverbial shouting of “Fire” in a crowded theatre—at least if it is false).

But Ms Zypries goes further. History, she argues, puts Germany under a special obligation to combat racism, anti-Semitism and xenophobia. “We should not wait until it comes to deeds. We must act against the intellectual pathbreakers of the crime.” This is a much more controversial claim.

In its favour, one might cite the Holocaust itself. In describing Hitler's personal responsibility for “the final solution to the Jewish problem”, historians have mostly stressed its indirect character. He got his way not through written orders but through his minions' understanding of his hunger for extermination, expressed in “Mein Kampf”. So imagine if the book had been banned: might that have struck at the “intellectual pathbreaker” of the greatest of crimes? At a time when Iranians have elected a Holocaust denier as president and when the leader of a new far-right group in the European Parliament is facing charges of Holocaust denial in France, it cannot be said that there are no politically influential Holocaust deniers around.

But one is still entitled to ask whether the proposed remedies would actually work. Eleven European countries already have national laws against Holocaust denial—Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Slovakia and Spain. These countries contain most of Europe's largest racist and xenophobic parties. Perhaps one might turn the argument around and say that Nazism is such a threat in those countries that anti-Nazi laws are justified. But even if that were true—and the claim is surely an exaggeration—it would only justify having laws there, not throughout the EU. Anyway, the German government's argument is different. It says laws against Holocaust denial can help stop anti-Semitism before it really starts—which seems highly doubtful.

Laws against Holocaust denial also come up against the rule of unintended consequences. In theory, outlawing Holocaust denial would put an end to the belief, except for a few misguided hold-outs who would be dealt with by the impartial majesty of the law. In practice, the courts would be just as likely to end up giving publicity to the hateful views of people like David Irving, a British “historian” who was sentenced to prison amid fanfare in Austria. Or they could become circuses for cases like that of Britain's Prince Harry, who wore a swastika-emblazoned uniform to a fancy dress party but was merely pilloried for it in the press since Britain does not ban Nazi regalia. Or the courts would make idiots of themselves, as happened in the case of a Stuttgart clothing company which sold T-shirts with swastikas crossed out to show opposition to fascism: the manager was prosecuted.
Where might it end?

Holocaust-denial laws, then, may not be the best way of dealing with the problem of Holocaust denial. In addition, they impose their own, often hidden, costs. Such laws can take you down a slippery slope. One may think the Holocaust was a uniquely dreadful event. Even so, it is hard, once you have passed a Holocaust-denial law, not to extend it. Asked why the EU proposed to pass a law about the genocide victims of one of 20th-century Europe's totalitarian ideologies (fascism) but not the other (communism), Ms Zypries replied it was just a matter of timing. By implication, the EU will one day propose banning gulag-denial too. This may seem fine, but sooner or later genocide-denial laws end up restricting expressions that might cause ethnic or religious offence. They can quickly result in a lot of speech-restricting laws.

All this may seem an exaggeration, but remember that many European countries do have anti-incitement rules already. French law, for example, imposes sanctions on those who deny crimes against humanity or who express racist points of view. When Ms Zypries defended restricting free speech, she went on to say that “the limits are there when it is offensive to other religious and ethnic groups.” This is close to saying something is a crime if the victim says so—an unhappy legal principle, and an encouragement for people to take offence at every opportunity.

Holocaust denial laws are wrong whoever imposes them. But they are at least understandable in countries where Nazism had indigenous roots. No such excuse can be made for the European Union as a whole. In addition to all the other problems, an EU-wide Holocaust law offends against the principle that laws should be enacted at the lowest possible level of government, not the highest. If European politicians want to do something about Holocaust denial, perhaps they should worry more about the government of Iran, which contains a Holocaust-denier one really needs to worry about.
The Economist

Turkey and the Armenians
How to honour Hrant

Jan 25th 2007
The best tribute for a brave journalist would be a change in the law
FOR those who care about Turkey, and its prospects of a European future, these are roller-coaster days. The country's well-wishers were shocked to the core by the assassination of a brave editor, Hrant Dink. Unbowed by a flawed judicial system and a crescendo of death threats, Mr Dink paid with his life for his efforts to make his fellow Turkish citizens, and his fellow ethnic Armenians, think anew about the horrors that unfolded in the final years of the Ottoman era.

But the public reaction to the murder, and the sight of 100,000 people walking through Istanbul to his funeral, affirmed one of the truths that Mr Dink upheld. Whatever fiery nationalists of any sort might claim, Turkey has never been a country of angels who can do no serious wrong, nor a nation of demons from which nothing good can come. Any honest look at history's hardest questions must start from there.

The same thought must surely have occurred to some Armenians from other places who went to Turkey, many for the first time, for this week's funeral. The fate of their forebears who endured death marches through Anatolia does not tell the whole story of relations between the Turks and the Armenians: the story has noble pages as well as black ones, and Mr Dink believed that both should be read. He was right.

If that history really is to be discovered, the least helpful thing a state can do is penalise those who question the official version. It is wrong to prosecute those who accept the view expressed by many contemporary observers: that in 1915, the authorities did not just relocate hundreds of thousands of Armenians, they tried to make sure most of them died. And it is just as bad to prosecute those who deny the Armenians suffered genocide, as a new French law would do. Even against deniers of the Nazi holocaust, argument is a better weapon than heavy-handed law (see article).

There are clearly plenty of Turkish citizens who agree with all this: that was the message of hope from Mr Dink's funeral. It is not the first time that a display of Turkey's worst side has prompted a huge show of “people power” by ordinary citizens. A decade ago, when a car crash exposed links between the security forces and the criminal underworld, millions of Turks protested. What such demonstrations highlight is the irrelevance of much of Turkey's formal political debate to its real dilemma: will its future be shaped by the freely expressed will of its citizens—as behoves a candidate member of the European Union—or by more shadowy forces such as extreme nationalism or an uncontrolled state? Whatever the setbacks, hope for the better way is very much still alive.

But if Mr Dink is to be honoured in death, popular indignation will not suffice. Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkey's moderate Islamist prime minister, should rescind Article 301 of the penal code which outlaws “insults to Turkishness”. This sinister provision in a new code, which was supposed to modernise Turkey's legal system, has been a huge step backwards. It gives fanatics the chance to haul before the courts some of Turkey's best journalists, including Mr Dink, as well as writers and scholars. Worse, noisy prosecutions have exposed many people to the rage of hotheads whose reaction to straight talk about history is to reach for their guns.

It will take courage to reverse Article 301. But the murder of a man of principle has created a new climate in which things previously inconceivable become imperative. Mr Erdogan's European friends will cheer if he seizes the moment.

European Armenian Federation
for Justice and Democracy Avenue de la Renaissance 10
B-1000 Bruxelles Tel: +322 732 70 26 Tel/Fax: +322 732 70 27 Email: contact@eafjd.org

For immediate release January 25, 2007

Contact: Vartenie ECHO Tel: +322 732 70 26

Declaration Of The European Armenian Federation On The Occassion Of Hrant Dink's Funeral
BRUSSELS, BELGIUM - On the occasion of Hrant Dink's funerals, the Armenian journalist assassinated in Istanbul on January 19th, the European Armenian Federation pays tribute to the courage of this man who dared to talk about the Armenian Genocide in a State which persists in hiding this criminal truth from its citizens and continues its aggressive policy of denial at home and abroad.

Hrant Dink was born in Malatya, a city where the vast majority of the Armenian inhabitants was exterminated and deported during the Genocide, an event which deeply affected Dink's family. His family was then forced to turkify its name under Mustafa Kemal's government, much as many other Armenian survivors who remained among those who had taken part in their destruction. Dink's family moved, many years later in the 1950s, to Istanbul, where -deprived of the normal avenues of educational advancement, Hrant and his two brothers were accepted into the academic care of the Armenian Evangelical Church of Besiktas. Since he began publishing "Agos," the Armenian Turkish bilingual weekly, 8 years ago, the main struggle of Hrant Dink was the recognition by Turkey of the Armenian Genocide.

He took upon himself the mission of educating the Turkish people about the truth of the Armenian Genocide, a truth denied and falsified by successive Turkish governments. He was inspired by the government's superficial - and ultimately illusory - liberalization of discussion of this subject under pressure from the international community, and particularly Europe, on Turkey to join the family of civilized nations. These external trappings of tolerance were shown, by his assassination, to have been little more than window dressing intended to impress the outside world, while covering up an escalation of repression within Turkey's borders.

Hrant Dink's struggle for Genocide recognition took place within the context of Turkey's desire for EU accession. He supported the Turkish government's effort to secure EU membership and fought against efforts in Europe and the United States to recognize the Armenian Genocide, holding that any such external pressure on Turkey would incite his country's "extremists" to greater heights of anti-Armenian "radicalisation." The tragic death of Hrant proves that Turkish extremists - acting on the cue of Turkish officials - need no such incitement to kill those who tell the truth.

Dink's efforts led to great frustration, particularly as he came to understand that his path was blocked by entrenched forces within the Turkish state. Facing this hidden opposition and harsh public backlash it sparked, he considered leaving Turkey to live in Europe. In fact, prior to the European Summit of December 2004, fearing persecutions and outright execution if Turkey were rejected by the EU, he planned to never return in his country. Recently, condemned by the Turkish justice system for "insulting Turkishness," he reported widely on the racism he was subjected to as an Armenian in Turkey.

Hrant Dink sought, until the end, to provide Europe with a positive - but ultimately false - image of Turkey as a place where the force of ideas can change the basic foundations of an authoritarian and ultra-nationalistic State. He paid with his life for this belief. It is regrettable to see that his death is not an isolated event in a society that was established - and continues to function - based on fostering hatred toward minorities.

This is the same principle that led to the extermination of the Armenians. It is the same idea that currently fuels the denial of the Armenian Genocide - a continuation of this crime that must be forcefully condemned and legally prohibited within Europe.

Turk police warned of editor murder plot -press
30 Jan 2007
ISTANBUL, Jan 30 (Reuters) - Turkish police were warned a year ago about a plot to kill Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink, media reported on Tuesday, the latest suggestion authorities may have failed to act to stop the killing.

The report, carried by several newspapers, comes after the government dismissed the governor and police chief in the Black Sea province of Trabzon, where the main suspects come from.

The government has sent two inspectors to Trabzon on the northern coast to investigate whether police and civilian authorities were at fault.

"There has been a tip-off that a man called Yasin Hayal, who lives in Trabzon, has said he will come to Istanbul and kill Hrant Dink," Turkish daily Sabah quoted a letter sent from Trabzon to Ankara's police intelligence headquarters.

A national police spokesman could not confirm the report.

"I can't say whether it is true or false. We are waiting for the report from two investigators sent to Trabzon. They are in full charge of this investigation," spokesman Ismail Caliskan told Reuters.

Sabah and and another newspaper, Milliyet, said one of the suspects charged in connection with the murder was an informer who had told police another suspect was planning to murder the high-profile journalist.

Hayal has admitted to inciting the murderer, 17 year-old Ogun Samast.

Trabzon police passed on the warning to Ankara's police intelligence headquarters and Istanbul police in February 2006.

That was the same month an Italian Catholic priest was killed in Trabzon, which Turkish media said was carried out by a youth influenced by Islamist and ultra-nationalist ideas.

Since Dink's murder the government has been criticised for failing to deal with extremist groups.

Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan was quoted as saying on Tuesday that Turkey had paid a heavy price for not cracking down on what he called the deep state -- a term which refers to secretive nationalist elements in the powerful Turkish army and bureaucracy.

Local media linked Erdogan's comments to the Dink investigation. (Additional reporting by Selcuk Gokoluk)

Jan. 30, 2007
Will a murder help Turkey?
The assassination of Turkish journalist Hrant Dink has forced Turks to face their past. Mr. Dink was killed because he had called the mass killings of Armenians in the early 20th century a genocide. While his rhetoric angered many Turks, his death appears to have prompted many more of them to think twice about the dangers of unbridled nationalism. Mr. Dink's murder has given Turkey the opportunity to examine its past and heal the wounds that continue to poison relations with its Armenian minority.

The exact number of Armenians that died between 1915 and 1917 is unknown: Estimates range from 300,000 to 1.5 million, out of a population reckoned to be over 2 million before 1914. Whatever the exact figure, the scale is immense. Even more hotly disputed is the cause of those deaths. The official Turkish government narrative is that they were the result of ethnic strife, disease and famine, the tragic but inevitable product of the chaos and confusion of World War I.

Armenians counter that the deaths were the result of a deliberate policy of the Ottoman Empire, an attempt to cleanse the territory of a group of citizens that were not Turks. They demand that the killings be recognized as the first case of genocide in the 20th century. Historians are deeply divided, but a growing number accept the argument that genocide is an apt description for what happened.

The historical dispute is tangled up in Turkish nationalism. Not only are the two communities still deeply divided about what actually happened and why, but Turks see the charge as an attack on the legitimacy of their state. Allegations of mass murder are interpreted as a slur against the country and its founding father Mustafa Kemal Ataturk. Turkish nationalists are intolerant of such criticism. Nor is the dispute purely historical: Some worry that the genocide charge could legitimize the demands of ethnic Kurds in southern Turkey for their own state.

Aggrieved Turks have legal recourse against such attacks. Article 301 of the Turkish Penal Code prohibits "insulting Turkishness," a catch-all provision that has been used to punish or intimidate anyone who supports the charges of genocide, along with a slew of lesser inflammatory allegations. (To their credit, Turkish courts have acquitted all those so charged.) Nobel Literature Prize Winner Orhan Pamuk was charged with violating the statute in 2005, but that allegation was dropped when it sparked an international uproar.

Mr. Dink was also prosecuted under 301 for his reiteration of the genocide claim. His defense -- that he only wanted to improve relations between Armenians and Turks -- was enough for the tribunal but not for some of his critics. On Jan. 19, Mr. Ogun Samast, a 17-year-old Turkish nationalist, shot and killed Mr. Dink on the street in front of his office. Mr. Samast was captured days later and confessed to the crime, but questions have been raised about the ability of someone of that age to pull off the act and then flee as he did to another city. Many suspect he was part of a wider network.

The murder has shocked Turkey. Turkish President Ahmet Necdet Sezer called the murder a "repugnant and shameful attack" that "deeply wounded" Turkey. While many Turks may have disagreed with Mr. Dink's comments, only the most extreme nationalists are prepared to condone the murder of such critics. The proof is in the estimated 100,000 mourners who marched the streets in solidarity at Mr. Dink's funeral, demanding freedom of expression and reconciliation between the Turkish and Armenian communities. This mass outpouring of sympathy suggests that such hopes are not misplaced. The Turkish government even invited Armenian officials, religious leaders and members of the Armenian diaspora to the funeral.

Foreign Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Abdullah Gul admitted that Article 301 was "problematic," and hinted that changes may be on the way. This is part of a more general liberalization process, nudged along by the prospect of Turkey's membership in the European Union: The EU has demanded various reforms as the price of Ankara's entry into the group.

Those changes must reflect more than political expediency if they are to lead to real reconciliation. The perception that the Turkish government is somehow diluting its authority as a result of foreign pressure will only increase nationalism. Ankara must be seen as leading the reform process and taking the initiative because it is truly in the national interest, rather than merely responding to European demands and adopting a path of least resistance. The reaction to Mr. Dink's murder suggests that a foundation for national reconciliation exists in Turkey. A government that sought legitimacy and support from all its citizens would seize the moment to condemn the extremists and propose a truly nationalist agenda that embraced all Turkey's citizens.
The Japan Times
(C) All rights reserved

Let's not fool ourselves: Ethnic nationalism is alive
January 30, 2007
In the past there were two concepts in these lands called 'sin' and 'shame.' It was even a tradition to not to speak of massacres and pains, not out of forgetting them, but out of shame and respect. But today cursing a man who lost his life makes only a few of us embarrassed

CENGİZ AKTAR Since the murder of Hrant Dink, anger has been expressed in various ways. The silent march of Jan. 23, which people from all walks of life joined, was a genuine demonstration. Citizens expressed their sincere feelings. However this was no turning point. This was not a reaction which was shared by the whole country, from east to west. I wish it had been.

This was rather a consolidation of those who shared the humanistic, democratic, open-minded and self-confident worldview that was represented by Hrant Dink, but who are also on the way to extinction. It was the instinctive gathering of a herd which lost a member to hunting hyenas. Just as is the case in game parks...

Let's not confuse these lands, whose inhabitants go between servitude and fatalism, with the France of '68. The nascent civil society of Turkey can only advance if it finds the strong and dedicated support of the state and politics behind it. Just the way it happened during the European Union reforms from 2002 to 2004. Other than this basic fact what has been done in order to transform the healthy reaction into politics?

Nationalism came back rapidly:
First the state and politicians fled the funeral in haste. Let's consider the insincere approach of the politicians as a calculation for the coming elections. What shall we say about the president, who only sent a dreary wreath to the funeral despite the fact that he will probably leave the Turkish political scene for good in a few months? After that, the turning “Armenian” of a very limited part of society for a single day was abhorred in the name of national sensitivity. At the time the murder outraged the whole world, the prime minister, at the Kızılcahamam camp of the Justice and Development Party (AKP), flatly rejected the warning of Ayşe Böhürler, a member of the AKP's executive committee, on the nationalist wave. He instead noted how the rhetoric of transforming the PKK into a political party has destroyed the True Path Party (DYP) and reaffirmed the route of his party accordingly.

The government continued to postpone the abolition of Article 301, as it has been doing for months. It did not even talk about our history books that are based on exclusion and the general attitude vis-à-vis non-Muslim minorities. With the customary reasoning, “You can't make me say that nationalists are killing people,” the government welcomed nationalist votes on the eve of elections. Because it knew that, to be elected, it had to embrace the phenomenon called “nationalist sensitivity,” which is so widespread and dominant in society due to its molding with nationalist ideology following the military coup of 1980. Therefore although this murder is of a political nature and is relevant not only to the past but also to the future of this country, it won't be approached by the government as something more than a law enforcement case.

Moreover, the country soon will face the “anti-Turkey” dimension of the matter with the “genocide” bills in France and the United States. The dominant rhetoric will use these developments – I can see statements like, “if Hrant were alive, he would get angry,” from now – to turn the reaction, anger and sadness of today in the opposite direction. This would sweep aside the anger felt towards the Dink murder and consolidate the process of Turkey's closing itself to the world.

The deep state at work:
Actually the atmosphere is already changing. I have been following the flow of events since Hrant's killing. I listen on the bus, the dolmuş. I note the nationalist zeal that went to ground for just a few days but came back without delay. The supporting chants of last Wednesday while the killers were taken into the Beşiktaş Criminal Court; the chic photo of the killer taken in front of the slogan, “the homeland is sacred, it can't be left to its fate”; the threats that came to AGOS and the churches in Kadıköy and Samsun; the victory cries in Internet sites; and the mumblings of the timid supporters of the crime with words like, “They also wronged us during the Ottoman times, they killed our diplomats more recently...”

In the past there were two concepts in these lands called “sin” and “shame.” It was even a tradition to not to speak of massacres and pains, not out of forgetting them, but out of shame and respect. But today cursing a man who lost his life makes only a few of us embarrassed.

Let us not forget that we are living in an environment similar to the Germany of the 1930's...

Police confirm one of Dink's murder suspects as informant:

Sabah yesterday claimed in a headline that Yasin Hayal, who confessed to having incited Ogün Samast to shoot Turkish Armenian journalist Hrant Dink, was actually a police informant.

The daily also focused also on recent claims suggesting that Erhan Tuncel, a key suspect in the Dink assassination, who was held by the police after the murder, was actually an informant working for the police.

Tuncel was earlier captured by the police for involvement in a bombing at a McDonald's store. However, he was released and left out of the investigation into the bombing when he accepted working as an informant.

The paper noted the inspectors sent to Trabzon by the Interior Ministry will look into the claims.

Tuncel, who together with the bomber Hayal was referred to as one of the ?older brothers? of the murderer Samast, had initially kept silent since the time of his capture during police interrogations.

However, he later confessed to officers from the anti-terror department that he was working for the Trabzon police saying they were informed about Dink's assassination.

Turkish Press Yesterday
© 2005 Dogan Daily News Inc.

Why Turks Are Losing Their Turkish Identity

Bokhara - Born And Educated Turkic Genius Ibn Sina Whom The West Choses To Label An Arab And Calls Avicenna, Is Not The Only Person Ignored By The West For Being A Turk. Others Have Been Farabi, Nabi Efendi, Fuzuli And Mevlana .

Long before someone called Orhan Pamuk , showed up on the literary scene, there were others who tried to take away "the Turkishness from the Turks . They almost succeeded in their efforts, because of the lack of self defence in the Turks...

One of the biggest enigmas in my life has always been the inability to be able to answer a simple question, "Why have we Turks not been appreciated properly in history. Where from comes the unbelievable Turco-phobia manifesting itself in Europe and in North America, with the nefarious help of the Dashnak Armenians, now reaching all over the globe.

I've been pondering the same query over and over again.The history of this imperfect world is replete with innumerable unsavory folks such as the Vikings, the Vandals, the Visi-Goths, all other Barbarians who sacked Rome. There were Atilla the Hun, Ghengis Khan, Koublay Khan, Tamerlane who caused havoc everywhere they stood. The bloody Conquistadors, and the countries which produced despicable dictators like Hitler, Stalin, Tojo, Mussolini, Franco, Mao Tse Thung, Kim Il Sung, Idi Amin, Pol Pot, religious despots, such as Ayatollah Khomeyni, and so on.Although each and every one of them had substantially harmed the world, it is no secret that the reputation of all of the above pales in unjust comparison to the sins attributed to the Turks.

The ex-President of France, Giscard d'Estaing, earlier, and the posible future President od France Nicolas Sarkozsy recently have uttered the following racist words for the whole world to hear,"Turkey has no place in Europe"

I've been asking all these years, "Why ?And what lies beneath this poisonous surge of Turco-phobia? It is not easy to figure out. The Turkish writer Sahin says: "One thing that comes to my mind is the rate of reproduction. You see, the fecundity of the Turks is almost always higher than the ethnic groups with which they live. This was true in the case of the ex-Soviet Union, it is true today in Bulgaria, in Western Thrace, France and in Germany. The non-Turkish elements must fear they will be outnumbered by the Turks in due time." The author adds, "It seems even though it is easy to make a new Turk, it is not so easy to be a Turk."

The Turks' enviable virility is, however, not the only reason for prejudice. Much has been written by this author in publications such as the TURKISH TIMES, the TURKISH FORUM as well as in other books and journals on such subjects as religious differences, customs, cultural adjustment or non-adjustment of Turkish workers in Western Europe. Though all of these elements have cause for some prejudice from people directly in contact with large groups of Turks, it does not explain the prejudice we find in this country and in other parts of the world from people who never met a Turk in their lives, nor even know exactly where Turkey is, what kind of government it has, not even really what Turks might look like, etc.Very often one gets a generalized description of Turks that comes from SHEHEREZADE or ALADDIN-type movies at best, or MIDNIGHT EXPRESS at worst.

LatelyHollywood's not so bright infamous character Rambo, Sylvester Stallone was in New York past week to promote his latest slice of testosterone-fuelled hokum, Rocky Balboa, which sees the ageing boxing champ return to the ring for one more fight. His next rumoured project will require more cerebral direction - if no less fake blood.

Stallone is touting the idea that he might direct an adaptation of the controversial novel The Forty Days of Musa Dagh, which describes the Turkish massacre of its Armenian community in 1915 A movie based on the late Austrian author Franz Werfel's 1934 fictionalised account would, Sly says, be "an epic about the complete destruction of a civilisation".

The topic is, to understate it somewhat, a thorny issue over in Turkey, where the claimed "genocide" has never been wholly accepted as historical fact.

A group calling themselves the Association on Struggle Against Armenian Genocide Acknowledgement, is targeting Stallone with an angry letters campaign urging him not to make the film.

"The book is full of lies, since the author got his information from nationalist and radical Armenians," says the association's chairman, Savas Egilmez.

"We have already sent necessary documents about the mentioned days to the producer of the film. Our allies will urge the producer not to produce this film." Stallone concedes: "Talk about a political hot potato. The Turks have been killing that subject for 85 years." Nevertheless he may not be aware of the fact that Franz Verfel had signed a noterized copy of confession from his bed, before he died saying that he was completely fooled by the monologue of the Armenian genocide and had regretted having writing the book".

Why does not the world at large accept and acknowledge Ibn Sina , even as Avicenna who was born in Bukhara as a Turk? It seems that our greatest problem is that we allow everything and anything to be said, shown, written about us without raising our voices. It is time to speak up.

How would it be if we could tell the racist Europeans that those people they look down at are the descendants of the rulers of one the largest and longest lasting empire the West has seen?

How can we explain to all those, who are in bloody wars of religious intolerance, that the Turks were completely tolerant, taking in Jews from the Inquisition-crazed Spain, and in recent history, saving them from Hitler's butchers? How loudly can we say that even the Greek Orthodox Church Pontiff was allowed to remain in Istanbul, in Turkey, and the Conquerer of Istanbul had granted permission for the establishment of the official Armenian Church in 1461 A.D.

Who, but a few scholars and tourists know that Turkey is a treasure house of antiquities, that it is a fertile, beautiful country, producing delicious fruits and vegetables, that it is blessed with heavenly coastlines, and is situated on a waterway that Russia has tried to wrestle from her through l3 wars, which were all unsuccessful for the Big Bear.

Shouldn't Americans admire Turks for not only changing over from Arabic script to the Latin characters, but adopting the metric system, which one still hasn't done in this country? Has anyone told Americans that in l932, a woman was sitting on Turkey's Supreme Court? while the first American counterpart of hers had to wait until 1979.( Sandra Day O'Connor )

There are so many events in Turkish history to be proud of, but we have not seized the opportunity to speak about them. The world has only heard its own interpretation and the lies of our enemies.Some time ago, I read a passage from Ralph Waldo Emerson, who had once said, "To be great is to be misunderstood."Is it that because we are great that the father of modern medicine, a Bokhara-born Turkic person is already labeled as either a Persian or an Arab, or is it simply because in those days, nothing was written in Turkish The written as well as spoken language of the day was not Turkish. Either Arabic or Farsi was in vogue.Ibn Sina and the rest of Turkish greats followed suite and wrote evrything that way, and not in Turkish. By the same treasons we lost Mevlana, Al Farabi, Fuzuli, Nafi Efendi. They have all done the same thing. They all used either Arabic or Farsi while they wrote or composed their work, therefore they were no longer considered being Turkish.They had lost their Turkish identity.

There it was, the answer to all of my queries on why we Turks were not acknowledged. Is it enough to say to ourselves that we were great instead of propagating the truth? We have to be realistic as well as pragmatic people. We have to teach the world around us all about ourselves, about our history this fact , with books, theatrical plays, musical concerts, dance sessions, cultural and political symposia, museum exhibits, and also with serious films and video productions.

Today, after years of wishing that someone would come along, who would really appreciate us, I realize that our problem is just that. We wait and hope that someone will recognize us and solve our problems. Things don't work that way. It is incumbent upon us, individually to speak up, loud and clear. We have to do things for ourselves.

First, let us not forget that we have what it takes to publicize ourselves, to teach the world who we really are. We do have talent galore. Some is established, others still dormant under the surface, like valuable metal, or precious stones, lying there to be discovered. Let us be, each of us, an ambassador-at-large to enlighten the uninformed about our potential in the future, and teach them about our proud past.We should build schools, open new libraries instead of Mosques after Mosques erected at every corner of every neighborhood.

The Canadian writer, Kildare Dobbs, writes in his ANATOLIAN SUITE,(l989-Little, Brown, and Co.) "All vigorous cultures borrow and adapt from other cultures.Western Europe and its former colonies in the Americas have borrowed many things from Ottoman culture. And Turks, for their part, have borrowed continuously from Europe, America and every other culture they have encountered in the centuries since they strayed out with their flocks and herds from central Asia."

"It's time to examine the Turks as the Complete Borrowers, the borrowers beyond all known borrowers, including the puissant and civilized Japanese borrowers, who borrow formidably indeed, but always to borrow and adapt."

This author reminds the world that Turks have borrowed the Italian criminal code, the Swiss civil code, the republican suppression of monasteries and religious orders, the Christian hat, the Latin alphabet, the secular state, the British gentleman's wardrobe, the Western theater, Western ballroom dancing.and so on. Unfortunately the present Islamic-oriented AK Party has alreadydiscoureged many from achieving these goals. It alsoseems to me that the only thing the Turks have not borrowed from somewhere else is the notion of self-assertion, self-importance, and especially PRIDE, which is the driving force behind self-advertising and eventually winning at the end.

For all it's worth, let us accept that this is the deficiency in us which we need to correct. We must rectify this imperfection soon. As I have said in an earlier column, unless there is a gigantic effort made to institute worthy projects to erase the negative religious reputation of Turkey with wise and patriotic people behind those projects, the country will be stymied in status quo, and will never be successful in reaching its goals.

We should publicize to the world that we have been proud not only of

Mustafa Kemal Ataturk and his unbelievably great reforms, but we are also very proud of Ibn Sina, Fuzuli, Mevlana, Farabi, Nafi efendi, and others.

Let's conclude our essay on an optimistic vein, and think of Ataturk's own encouraging words, and also remember Ralph Waldo Emerson's adage: "To be great is to be misunderstood ."

(An Editorial)
Mahmut Esat Ozan
Chairman-Editorial Board
The Turkish Forum- USA

Turkey reels after killing
Simon Tisdall
28 January 2007
Thousands march in Istanbul with placards that say ‘We are all Hrant Dink’ and ‘We are all Armenians’. (Photograph: AP)
Not for the first time, the violence of extremists has achieved the exact opposite of what they intended. Ogun Samast, alleged to have gunned down the bridge-building ethnic Armenian Turkish journalist Hrant Dink last week, reportedly told investigators he was defending Turkey’s national honour. Instead, Turkey’s honour stands besmirched before an appalled international audience.

The widely felt sense of shame, anger and self questioning that accompanied Tuesday’s impressive funeral in Istanbul was also not an outcome Turkey’s nationalist fringe would presumably welcome. Placards in the procession read: “We are all Hrant Dink. We are all Armenians”.

Mehmet Ali Birand, a leading columnist, wrote: “We are all responsible.” Turkey’s Prime Minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, was quick to condemn the murder. “The bullets aimed at Hrant Dink were shot into all of us,” he declared after the killing. And criticism that senior ministers did not attend the funeral was offset by official invitations extended to the Armenian government, with which Turkey has no diplomatic relations, and the influential Armenian Church of America.

That reconciliatory gesture, of great although possibly passing symbolic significance, represented another own goal for the ultra-nationalists who are presumed, directly or indirectly, to have inspired and supported the assassination. Now Turkish media are worrying that the United States Congress will follow France’s National Assembly in censuring Turkey by legally labelling the mass killing of Armenians by Turks in the early 20th century as genocide.

Spokespeople say the widespread revulsion in Turkey has a positive aspect. “You can see from this that Turkey has changed a lot,” a senior Turkish official said. “There has been a strong public reaction against this terrorist act ... But the government has been responsible in trying to calm people.”

Keep calm could be a good motto for Erdogan and his ruling Islamic-based Justice and Development Party, given all the other pressures Turkey faces in 2007. The government has taken the European Union’s decision to partially suspend accession talks on the chin. It is pressing ahead with “do-it-yourself” legislative reforms in 32 areas in anticipation of a rapprochement.

“We were not happy at all about what the EU did,” the official said, but added that there was no use making people turn against the EU.

A small reward for patience came on Monday when EU foreign ministers agreed to revive efforts to end an economic embargo on Turkish-controlled northern Cyprus.

Turkey is also increasingly concerned about Kurdish designs on Kirkuk, home to an Iraqi Turkoman minority, and resumed PKK separatist incursions into south-east Turkey from Kurdish-controlled Iraq. Speaking in Ankara last week, a senior American diplomat, Nicholas Burns, was obliged to give repeated assurances that the US and its surrogates were doing all they could to curb the PKK. Turks do not entirely believe this. A commando hunt is occurring in Tunceli province for 350 PKK infiltrators from Iraq.

Turkey is also being tested by growing pains from a dynamic economy that officials say acts as a regional employment and investment magnet. On present trends, it will become a net importer of labour by 2015, which puts EU immigration fears in perspective.

To cap it all, Turkey faces presidential and parliamentary elections this year that may elevate Erdogan to the presidency but weaken his ruling party. At a time of such flux, a retreat into nationalism, ethnic strife and xenophobia is the very last thing Turkey needs. Perhaps Dink’s death will help avert it. -- © Guardian News & Media Ltd 2007

The Martyrdom of Hrant DinkBy Gwynne Dyer *
Jan 30, 2007,
When they buried Hrant Dink in Istanbul last Tuesday (23 January), more than 100,000 Turks came to his funeral, filling the streets and chanting, “We are all Armenians.” There is a war going on for the soul of Turkey, but at least a lot of Turks are on the right side. Dink, who called himself “an Armenian from Turkey and a good Turkish citizen,” was murdered because he insisted on talking about the great crime that happened in the country 92 years ago: the mass murder of most of Turkey’s Armenian population in eastern Anatolia.

The newspaper he founded and edited, a bilingual Turkish-Armenian weekly called Agos, had only a small circulation, but his outspoken editorials had made him one of Turkey’s most famous journalists -- and a target for assassination. His killer, 17-year-old Ogun Samast, was a semi-educated young thug from Trabzon in the far northeast of Anatolia. He was given the gun by a group of older ultra-nationalists including Yusuf Hayal, who was convicted of bombing a McDonald’s restaurant in Trabzon in 2004. But these marginal characters are just pawns in the larger war between those who want a more democratic, more tolerant Turkey and those who are desperately defending the power and privileges of the old “republican” elite.

Samast shot Dink from behind in the street in front of his newspaper office. “I feel no remorse,” the killer allegedly told investigators. “He said that Turkish blood was dirty blood.” Of course, Dink never said any such thing. What he actually said, in a newspaper article addressed to his fellow Armenians, was that their obsession with the massacres of 1915-17 was having “a poisonous effect on your blood.”

But it’s east to see how a useful idiot like Samast could have believed that Hrant Dink was an enemy of the Turks, because just over a year ago a Turkish court took that phrase out of context, found Dink guilty of “insulting Turkishness,” and gave him a six-month suspended sentence under Article 301 of the Criminal Code. A number of other Turkish citizens including Nobel Prize-winning author Orhan Pamuk have been prosecuted under the same law for daring to discuss what happened to the Armenians, and most of them have received death threats too.

It really is a kind of war, and the villains of the piece are precisely the army officers, judges and senior civil servants who were once seen as the guardians of the “republican” tradition, the people who were going to modernize and democratize Turkey. Unfortunately, “republican” doesn’t really mean the same as “democratic.” When Mustafa Kemal Ataturk put the Ottoman Empire out of its misery and declared a Turkish republic in 1923, his model was the democracies of Western Europe, but his own countrymen were still largely sunk in feudal obscurantism.

Literacy was about 20 percent, and most rural people still saw themselves as Muslim subjects of the Caliphate (which he abolished in the following year), not as Turkish citizens. The forms of the Turkish Republic were democratic from the start, but for a very long time the reality was a mass of illiterate peasants under the harsh tutelage of a narrow educated elite who were determined to Westernize the country.

The “republican” elite rewrote history (including the denial of the Armenian massacres) in order to mould a new Turkish national consciousness, and saw religion as a retrograde force that must be banned from politics. The decades passed, and much of the elite’s dreamS came to pass. Turkey today has a per capita income higher than Romania or Bulgaria, the most recent countries to join the European Union. Democracy is a reality, and the current prime minister, Recep Tayyib Erdogan, leads a party whose members openly refer to themselves as “Muslim Democrats.”

Under Erdogan, there has been a wave of legal and administrative reforms designed to qualify Turkey for EU membership. But all this threatens both the rigidly secular ideology and the autocratic privileges of the old republican elite. From their powerful positions in the army, the judiciary and the bureaucracy, they work to undermine the reforms and threaten to wreck Turkey’s chances of joining the EU. In de facto alliance with ultra-nationalist right-wing parties that also oppose EU membership, they incite hatred of minorities, bring false prosecutions against the advocates of a more open and democratic Turkish society, and pursue the long-term goal of destabilizing the democratic order.

It was they who smuggled the notorious Article 301 into the Criminal Code when it was being reformed to align Turkish law with EU standards; they who brought false prosecutions for “insulting Turkishness” against Hrant Dink, Orhan Pamuk, and other well-known writers, journalists and scholars; they who spread the lies about what Dink had actually said. It is they, not some ignorant, angry teenager, who are really responsible for his death.

But the war is not over yet, and the good guys have not lost. Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul vowed last November to change or abolish Article 301, and last week 100,000 Turks thronged streets of Istanbul to mourn the country’s best-known Armenian and condemn his murderers.

* Gwynne Dyer is a London-based independent journalist whose articles have been published in 45 countries.
Copyright 2002 - 2006 Yemen Observer

Corpse-Lotto: How Many Armenians Killed?
Sedat Laciner
30 January 2007
During World War I, like all other groups, so many people among Armenians lost their lives, and many of them were forced to leave their homes. However, the dispute on how many Armenians died during the war is the maybe one of the most complicated debates in the world.

Comparing the various historians’ answers to the question of “how many Armenians died” is really difficult. Each historian, Turkish, Armenian or from any other origin, reaches quite surprising results. One says 1 million, the other says 2 millions. It is worse than guessing the true numbers in lotto; at least you have just 49 numbers in lotto. Turkish historians and their formal institutions try to show these numbers as low as they can. Among these people, there are some historians who say this number is below 200.000 while some others can increase the number to 400.000 etc. And there are also people who draw down the number to even 10.000. But, even the Turkish historians cannot reach a mutual understanding. Almost every number between 10.000 and 800.000 people have mentioned in Turkey. If you regard Orhan Pamuk as a ‘Turkish historian’ (!), it is possible to increase this estimation up to 1.5 million people.

If you look at the numbers of the Armenian side, you surprise more. The numbers start from 500.000 and increase up to 1 million, 1.5 million even 2 millions. In recent years, in one of the meetings in Wales, the Armenians have increased the number up to 2.5 millions. Henceforward, it cannot be known that, if this number is going to be increased up to 3 millions, 4 millions, or even over the total population of Ottoman Empire at that period.

Unfortunately, the debates on the number of the killed Armenians resemble the auction rooms. But with one difference, while Armenians increase the number, Turkish people tries to decrease it…

“1 million…”

“There is someone who gives 1.1 million …”

“Yes, they say 1.5 millions. Who increases it?”

“Mr. Pamuk, they say 1.5 millions. Do you increase this number? Or you Mr.? Isn’t there any historian who increases the number? Isn’t there any scientist who increases the number?”


The scene is cursorily awful. The policy is made on the corpses. So-called historians, play corpse-lotto. There is not a single person who is abashed of this. The people who say 2.5 million people died and who say 500.000 people died can argue with a same tone of voice… However, this is very clear: some people lie without blushing. They also lie without scruple. They are not abashed of this… They make business on the corpses, in order to defend their benefits they use, they abuse the corpses.


“500.000. Isn’t there anybody who decrease it?”

“There is someone who says 400.000. Yes, is there someone who decrease to 300.000? Isn’t there any professor who decrease the number, isn’t there any historian who decrease it to 10.000 even less than that?

If there are this much different numbers, some people anyhow lie. Or, some people do not fulfill the requirements of their jobs. If there are tens of dead-toll, we cannot say ‘historian’ to the so-called historians who speak. It also cannot be said “the historians should come together and solve this problem ”. It’s necessary for the historians who are at this picture not to appear on the scene, not to show themselves…

Another 24 April is close again … And, again the number of the people who play corpse-lotto increases … People who want to satisfy their interests and desires are going to give an estimate one more time and they are going to call it ‘science’ … Let’s see this year; up to what number will the Armenian researchers increase the number…

By the way, how many Turks and Armenians live right now to live together, any guess?

Assoc. Prof. Dr. Sedat LACINER: Director of the USAK (International Strategic Research Organization, Ankara & Davos Economic Forum Young Global leader 2006.

translated by Zerin Acar and Kemal Tuzcu (JTW)

Police warned about Dink assassination

According to preliminary findings by investigators, Erhan Tuncel warned of the assassination beforehand but wasn't taken seriously. It is claimed that this is the reason why Trabzon Police Chief Resat Altay was removed from his position. It is said that Tuncel, arrested over Dink's assassination and described as having a "big brother" role, was an informer working for the police. Tuncel is said to have warned police, "Hrant Dink will be murdered" before the assassination. But the police department didn't take it seriously. Whether Tuncel is an informer and whether he notified the police about plans to kill Dink beforehand will become clear after the inspectors complete their investigation.

Ultranationalism is the real threat
Ilnur Cevik
30 January 2007
We all love our country and we want the best for Turkey. Those of us who live for long periods abroad especially in places of depravity like northern Iraq appreciate the value of Turkey and its huge potential more than some others.

So we are all patriots who want this country to prevail and emerge as the giant of its region. We are proud to see our country is well on its way of achieving this goal as an island of stability and prosperity in a volatile region.

But it seems there are those who do not want this and are trying to stall Turkey. They have used all kinds of tactics in the past and are now using ultranationalist fervor to block us. It is really unfortunate that they are effectively manipulating young people and so-called nationalism to achieve this.

It was more than a year ago when we warned everyone that the so-called ultranationalists were being armed in Turkey against Kurds. At the time our warnings we were criticized by many colleagues as being sensationalist. But developments in recent months have shown how accurate we were…

It is very sad that young people are being armed in the name of a "nationalist" cause and then let into the streets to kill people who they perceive as "traitors."

This is how journalist Hirant Dink was murdered.

There are circles in Turkey who are "innocently" pointing the finger at all of us, making us the targets of these extremists.

The situation is getting so out of hand that the extremists now are regarding the conservative Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) of Devlet Bahceli as too soft and are seeking to create a political force that is more to the extreme right.

Many of our colleagues forcefully opposed the murder of Dink, who was of Armenian origin, and just to underline their support for him said, "We are all Armenians." The so-called nationalists used this as a pretext to launch a new offensive, saying such statements amounted to treason. A man calling himself a patriot hijacked a ferry to protest our people calling themselves "We, too, are Armenians" and later on it became apparent that this "patriot" was in fact a military draft dodger...

A group of former politicians quit the MHP and joined the Grand Unity Party (BBP), which they felt was farther to the extreme right. They said the MHP had not shown enough sensitivity to back the killers of Dink…

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has recently tried to win votes for his party by courting nationalist ideals. We hope the recent events are a wake-up call for the prime minister that he is playing with fire…

Those who have displayed so much sensitivity in the past about religious movements and so-called Muslim fundamentalist activities should now show the same sensitivity about the rise in ultranationalism, which is the real internal threat in Turkey.

Who are we?
EKREM DUMANLI e.dumanli@todayszaman.com
The Turkish nation reacted strongly to the murder of Armenian journalist Hrant Dink. Tens of thousands attended the funeral to pay tribute to him. The protesters had placards reading “We all are Hrant Dink!” and “We all are Armenian.”

The majority of those who carried these placards were Turkish and Muslim. By stressing that “we all are Armenian,” they demonstrated their opposition to and disagreement with discrimination and violence.

Some got upset with the expression “We all are Armenian.” They wanted alternate placards reading “We all are Turks!” However, the message was pretty clear: If a Turkish citizen of Armenian descent is killed because of his opinions, we do not approve of this and take the side of freedoms and liberties. I can assure you, as an individual who attended the funeral: That day, the crowd did not deny their Turkish identity, but they reacted to the commission of violence in the name of the Turkish identity. In fact, this was a manifestation of the Turkish nation’s desire and willingness for a multinational lifestyle. Maybe for this reason, Turks and Armenians walked hand-to-hand in Paris for the first time. The message was received.

As this debate on the placards was still on, historian and writer Mustafa Armağan penned an interesting article, “We are all Ottomans,” published in Zaman daily. Armağan starts with President Ahmet Necdet Sezer. First, he describes him as a Kemalist who “distances himself from the Ottoman Empire” and then brings up the present Sezer gave Pope Benedict XVI. Sezer gifted him the decree of tolerance the Ottoman Sultan Fatih had given to the Catholic Genovese. The decree is a manifesto of religious freedom. And it was declared five centuries ago.

Citing a few more examples, Armağan concludes that Ottoman tolerance towards non-Muslims was not merely national wisdom but also a lifestyle stipulated under Islamic precepts. He is quite right. Islam prohibits racism. Qur’an verses as well as the Prophet’s practices demonstrate that in the predominantly Muslim countries, Christians and Jews were called dhimmi and were entitled to special rights guaranteed by the state. For instance, when the Prophet Muhammad arrived in Medina, the city’s population was 10,000, and only one-fifth was Muslim. The Prophet Muhammad prepared a legal document that facilitated coexistence with non-Muslim elements. This was a clear and detailed reflection of the tolerance embedded in the spirit of the Qur’an.

With its different nations and religions, the Ottoman Empire was of a very diverse character. The turmoil through the end of the empire was not peculiar to the Ottomans. The entire world was sliding through the nation-state model in replacement of kingdoms and other forms of monarchy. The nationalist movements that surfaced after the French Revolution were pushing multinational empires to the edge. Before this popular current, Ottoman soil, including Istanbul, enjoyed a tradition based on the recognition of diverse nationalities, ethnicities and religious identities. In almost every Ottoman city, mosques were accompanied by churches and synagogues. Adherents to different religions were neighbors who lived together in peace and mutual respect.

From a cultural perspective, the most suitable identity for the Turkish nation seems to be the Ottoman identity. The ancestors of the majority of those who live in Turkey today once migrated from Ottoman territories to Anatolia. There are many Turks whose ancestors had to stay abroad because of war. The cultural subconscious is consistent with the pluralistic social model, and this predominantly Muslim nation views this lifestyle as a religious requirement as well.

In today’s Turkey, there is no single answer to the question of who we are. The pluralistic structure inherited by the empire provides multiple identities to the peoples in Anatolia. For this reason, those who underline that we all are Armenian, that we all are Turk and that we all are Ottoman voice only the partial truth. It is possible that the inhabitants of this country multiply these examples. In the end, all proposals will point to one undeniable truth: that we all are human beings who want to live a humane life and share life freely. When respect for human beings ends, parts of the pluralistic culture transform into small islets; then fanatics emerge in every islet and conflicts break out. However, all should respect different identities and make this world more livable.

Five civilian guns for every military firearm in Turkey, records show
The words of Rakel Dink, widow of slain Turkish editor of Armenian origin Hrant Dink, are still fresh in our minds: “Whoever the assassin may be, either 17 or 27 years old, I know myself that he too was once a baby.

One cannot accomplish anything without first questioning how an assassin was created from such a baby.”
The assassin, Ogün Samast, being 17 years of age caused as much horror as the sudden death of Hrant Dink; lying on the ground, shot to death through the back of the neck. People used to die as a result of random shots directed into the air at weddings, soccer games and similar occasions in Turkey; however, this latest incident showed that young murderers are created through the ease with which they can obtain weapons.
Turkey is fourth in terms of weapon usage and the number of threats against life following the US, Argentina and Brazil.

There are 7 million guns and only 2 million of them are licensed. Sixty percent of all murders are committed with guns, most of which are unlicensed. Fifty percent of the perpetrators are young people. The ratio of five civilian guns for every military firearm is another serious issue.

While the memory of 16-year-old O.A. who killed Roman Catholic priest Andrea Santaro in Trabzon was still fresh, 17-year-old Ogün Samast traveled from his home city to kill Hrant Dink, a man he never knew.

The murder of Father Santaro, the attack on the Council of State in Ankara and the murder of Hrant Dink have started a new debate on political murders, the crime scenes and the murderers. With the exception of Alparslan Arslan, the perpetrator of the attack on the Council of State, the murderers all being under the age of 18 points to a great danger. These are planned murders that are being committed by young people. The danger is that teenagers have access to guns in an environment where weapons possession is escalating.

Surveys estimate that there are around 7 million guns in Turkey. And the number of civilian guns is fivefold that of the military, whereas the ratio should ideally be one to one. Meanwhile, of all the weapons in circulation in Turkey, only 2 million of them are licensed.

Seven million guns in the general population works out to one gun for every 10 people. For various reasons, 3,000 people are killed with firearms in Turkey every year.

A survey by Dr. Ayhan Akcan, coordinator of the Bakırköy Psychiatry Treatment and Research Center (BAPAM), showed that 70 percent of the population has guns for purposes of both self-protection and security. The survey also finds that 35 percent of those who want to have possession of guns have difficulty in anger control management and that they are likely to use guns at any time.

“The data on individual weapons are alarming for Turkey,” Akcan said, adding that the guns owned by adults are accessible to young people. Akcan asserted that there is a relation between the increasing number of political murders and the increasing number of weapons.

The Umut Foundation, which works on reducing personal ownership of weapons, looks at this issue from outside of the aspect of “political murders.”

Nazire Dedeman, chairwoman of the Umut Foundation, said, “One of our biggest fears is that people might start massacres in order to raise their voices, as in the cases of Argentina and Brazil.” In order to fight this, she demands that weapons not be presented as an indispensable part of (Turkish) culture.

Former Prosecutor of Supreme Court of Appeals Ahmet Gündel said the proliferation of weapons will increase murders of all kinds, including political. “We should consider the ramifications of gun ownership for daily occurrences as well. Little debates end up in foul language and fistfights, and if either of the sides involved have guns, then it ends in death. … Applications for guns should be decreased to a minimum, and those applicants should have jobs requiring the use of guns. We need serious regulations for that,” added Gündel.

Psychiatrist Cemal Dindar says the main problem is that young bodies are turned into weapons. He says that clear opposition to any kind of activity that values weapons needs to be implemented.
As in the murder of Hrant Dink, the reasons and motives of political murders, the murderers' state of mind is not so simple as to be linked only to “individual weapons possession.” However, it should be remembered the social and physical “culture of weapons” is supported by conditions in Turkey.

[NO GUNS] --Suggestions by the Umut Foundation

* A clear audit policy should be established for the flow of and trade in weapons.
* Weapons and bullets should be and marked and monitored.
* Measures should be taken to reduce demand.
* Existing laws should be implemented without discrimination.
* Methods should be developed to encourage the giving up of guns.
* A culture of peace should be emphasized.
* Non-violent problem-solving methods should be taught continuously, affectively and systematically; training should be provided on anger management and tolerance
* Manners encouraging and valuing weapons must be made public and condemned.
* Sayings about weapons should not be used.
* Victims of violence should contribute to this conscious move.
* A pro-peace, creative and tolerant celebratory culture should be established.
* The reasons for the requirement of weapons should be analyzed.
* Ways to protect one's self without weapons should be taught.
* A consciousness that underlines owning weapons is not a “right” should be raised.
* A consciousness that underlines owning weapons causes more risk than safety should be promoted.

EKREM DUMANLI e.dumanli@todayszaman.com

What is going on in Trabzon?
FATMA DISLI f.disli@todayszaman.com
Turkish Press Review
The Black Sea city of Trabzon has become the focus of attention since the prime suspect in Armenian-Turkish journalist Hrant Dink's murder comes from there. Last year, Andrea Santaro, a Roman Catholic priest from Italy serving at Santa Maria Church, was shot dead by a local teenager. Santaro was the parish priest for a small Christian community in the city. These two incidents and other similar violent acts are raising questions in people's minds about what is going on in this city, already known for its conservatism and nationalism. On Friday, Trabzon Governor Hüseyin Yavuzdemir and Police Chief Reşat Altay were removed from office. Debates and speculation about the city seem to dominate the agenda in Turkey.

Vakit's Abdurrahman Dilipak thinks the US and Israel may be the cause of events originating from Trabzon. He stresses the strategic location of the city and says Trabzon is a key point for Greek, Armenian, Georgian, Iranian and Azerbaijani operations. He explains that Trabzon has become a key location in terms of the energy interests in its neighborhood. Focusing on the history of the city, Dilipak clarifies that Trabzon is home to many different identities such as Greek, Armenian, Georgian, Circassian. Dilipak does not think US or Israeli influence in the region a distant possibility. "The defense of the US starts at Trabzon. Trabzon is as important for the US as the İncirlik base is," he says. Referring to Professor Ümit Özdağ, who said, "The US wants Trabzon as a base for the eastern Black Sea region in relation to their overall strategic plans for the Middle East," Dilipak asserts that the Black Sea region is no calmer than the Middle East.

He says Russia stands before the US in the Black Sea region as a power but in the Middle East the US stands alone. He explains that the removal of the Trabzon governor and police chief is not sufficient. The government should be careful while assigning new officers to these positions and choose a person who will be able to take risks. Dilipak suggests that Trabzon's residents should be careful. If they aren't, the northeast of Turkey will be as problematic as its southeast. "The region's media and nongovernmental organizations should act with care. There is a need for a strong administrative structure in the region. If measures are not taken starting today, things may become worse in the days ahead," Dilipak urges.

Radikal's Murat Belge does not think anything is specifically wrong with Trabzon. He says such events could take place in any other city under similar circumstances. He explains that this country has a habit of blaming outsiders for negative things and that the same thing is happening in this case. Belge thinks it is simply choosing the easy way out by assuming that such incidents are only taking place in Trabzon. "I think we feel a kind of relief by choosing a spot for a calamity that is widespread in the country," he remarks. As a reason for the increasing nationalism in the Black Sea region, and in Trabzon in particular, he puts forth that many soldiers killed in fighting against separatist terrorist organization the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) were from this region. Belge says he personally observed this during his visits to the region.

Another columnist from Radikal, Murat Yetkin, dwells on the removal of the governor and the police chief in Trabzon. He speculates that either the government's actions mean it is determined to shed light on the incidents going on in the city, or it took steps to soothe the public. Yetkin thinks it is important to ask these questions in the beginning. He explains that it is not common practice in Turkey to remove officials the way the government did. The government's purpose will become clear in time, he says.

The construction of politics that plays on a funeral
It's wrong to compare the funerals of Hrant Dink and İsmail Cem to one another.
It's obvious that thousands of Turkish-Muslims showing up for the funeral of a Armenian-Christian citizen holds a completely different meaning. However, some parties don't hesitate to exploit Hrant Dink's funeral for their own political gain. They assume that the thousands of people who showed up to bid farewell to Hrant Dink are the supporters or the driving force behind their own political cause. While being so sure of this fact, they call others into account, asking: "How come so-and-so didn't attend the funeral?" "How come so-and-so wasn't there?" "How come so-and-so didn't carry a banner that said 'We are all Armenians'?" They are trying to gain strength through the solidarity at that funeral while putting pressure on political and media circles that have the ability to influence the masses. They are constructing politics through a funeral. They are engaged in an error of calculation. They are in error.


What if there is another assassination?
The future of the Middle East, to a large extent, relies on the outcome of the current Turkey-Iran relations.
Dangerous times lie ahead of us if those who suggest that Iran's threat will steer the entire region into a chaotic state are able to convince Turkey of this. Then the entire region will truly be on the brink of a state of chaos. If the two countries, however, chose to ignore these threats and realize that the real threat comes from elsewhere, there will be nothing that the interveners in the region can do. At this time, Turkey must be extremely careful towards events that affect its own public opinion. This country can't withstand another blow like the Hrant Dink tragedy. Another attack that is forcing Turkey into reclusion could have lethal consequences for this country.


When is the funeral for Article 301?
The code name for the fascist mindset that created the grounds for Hrant Dink's murder is called "Article 301."
301, in a sense, was the order for Dink's death, while the Court of Appeals decision was the seal on that order. In other words, Dink's "insult to Turkishness" had been politically and legally certified. His "Armenian-ness" was already common knowledge; it was common knowledge in a country where, according to some, everyone is born a soldier, friends can only be of your own race, there is no choice between loving or leaving the nation, the Sèvres paranoia frequently resurfaces, and dissenting views are equivalent to treason. Article 301 is the box in which the archaic and pathological Turkishness fetish is concealed. It serves to strengthen this fetish while it grows with it as well; it survives because of it.


A strong conscience
Those who act illegally and have made a habit out of using uncontrolled force need one thing in order to maintain their mystery:
For existing problems to continue on in full strength -- the persisting problems in Turkey's Southeast, the invitation to face the world with accusations of the Armenian genocide, the ever-growing crisis in Iran and the ever-present "Kurdish government issue"... All of these issues are sensitive enough to create grounds for provocation. The children of this nation will continue to be hit men under the forces that feed off of these problems unless our policies are courageous, consistent and determined in bringing forth suggestions for solutions. Turkey requires a strong conscience, not strong hit men.


In the name of love
CEM OZDEMIR c.ozdemir@todayszaman.com
Everybody -- journalists, party leaders, the president of the republic, the chief of general staff -- found harsh words to condemn the murder of Hrant Dink. But don't they see that there is a link between what they are writing, saying and preaching in their daily professional lives and what happened to Hrant? How can one condemn his murder and still argue for the absurd Article 301, which brought him to court multiple times for nothing but his opinion?
How can one continue to argue that the border to Armenia should remain closed? Some are against opening the border because of the Armenian occupation of Azeri territory. But that's all the more reason to take the initiative and establish good relations with your neighbors, thereby becoming the good broker in the process to negotiate a fair and just solution.

Those who continue to oppose the recent legislation on foundations don't understand that treating Armenians and other Christians as second-class citizens was exactly what Hrant was fighting against.
How can one still be against Christians becoming officers, generals and members of parliament?
How can one still continue to declare as an enemy everybody who has another opinion than the official one on the events of 1915?

Just before Hrant was murdered, Sylvester Stallone became the new enemy. What did he do wrong? He supported the views of the majority of historians and experts in the world and described the events of 1915 as genocide. Even if one doesn't agree with him, has anyone bothered to read the script of the movie he is planning? How many people have actually read Franz Werfel's book about the 40 days of Musa Dag? Or does the fact that Werfel and Stallone don't share the official views of the state automatically make them enemies? And if so, is it treason if I watch Stallone's new film, "Rocky Balboa"? Recent commentaries on TV and in the papers that say this film too is now bad, even though it has nothing to do with his announced movie about Werfel's book, are incredibly shortsighted.

In case it matters: I am still a fan of Stallone and his movies (OK, except for the Rambo series) and I look forward to seeing "Rocky Balboa," just as I was looking forward to it only a couple of weeks ago. The difference now, of course, is that since last Friday, I don't feel much like going to the movies?.

There is enough sadness in Hrant's death. But it increases my pain even more to watch people talk about him and his heritage who never understood Hrant while he was alive. For all the talk about Hrant's legacy let's not overlook Agos, his Turkish-Armenian newspaper, which should persevere. Hrant's death should not be used to make arguments in favor of or against Turkey's accession to the European Union. Obviously, Turkey's EU prospects were for Hrant -- and remain for other people of different origins in Turkey -- a chance to improve their rights. Nor should the death be employed in the debate surrounding the events of 1915. Hrant did not insist on recognizing the genocide as a precondition for a dialogue as some people in the diaspora do. But remember his words when he said that the Armenians know what happened to them.

One man come in the name of love
One man come and go
One man come he to justify
One man to overthrow
One man caught on a barbed wire fence
One man he resist
One man washed on an empty beach
One man betrayed with a kiss

U2 sang this song for Martin Luther King, Jr. I would like to dedicate it to my brother Hrant Dink.
Do they who betrayed him with a kiss know what they did?

Turkey produced both Hrant Dink and the 17-year-old boy who killed him. And let's not forget the thousands of people who marched in solidarity and chanted, "We are all Hrant Dink! We are all Armenians!"

This is Turkey, and its future depends on whether it produces more Hrant Dinks -- who live in the name of love -- or more 17-year-old boys who kill in the name of hate.

Dialogue at Home, Dialogue in the World
ALI H. ASLAN a.aslan@todayszaman.com
The attendance of tens of thousands in the funeral of Turkish citizen of Armenian descent and democracy martyr Hrant Dink demonstrated the social dialogue attempts mostly led by religious civil initiatives have started bearing fruits.

Turkey is in extreme need of dialogue at home and dialogue in the world. And as a matter of fact, Turkey's strategy of "zero problem with the neighbors" contributed a great deal to our national security by facilitating the dialogue and engagement with formerly hostile regimes. However, the circle of peace is still missing some indispensable parts.

Syria, an old times' enemy of ours that we accused of protecting the PKK and threatened with resorting to military means, is now a buddy. Even our difficult-to-move President Sezer paid a visit to Damascus. That is to say, establishing good ties with Syria is a 'state policy'. The rapprochement with Iran with which Turkey has long put a distance because of its suspected support to PKK and eagerness to export its Islamic regime is also striking. Old enemies Bulgaria and Greece are now viewed as future partners in EU. It is pretty wise to end tension policies that wasted Turkey's energy and resulted in allocation of our national wealth in defense expenditures. However, Turkey is still suffering from lack of dialogue in regards to the policies pursued vis-à-vis Iraq, Armenia and Cyprus.

Merely dialogue cannot guarantee to safeguard all mutual interests in international relations. However, trying to stay connected with other actors -friend or hostile- is the best strategy. In the long run, dialogue would eradicate much of the hostilities. A Turkish saying implies that sweet talk gets even the snake out of its nest. Dialogue and sweet talk in foreign policy helps keeping the enemy in the nest?

Viewing dialogue attempts in advance as concessions is simply wrong. Those who know the rules of foreign policy game for instance criticize Bush administration for viewing dialogue and engagement with Iran and Syria as a concession. Pragmatically, they even suggest engagement with the Iranian regime, a vigorous enemy of U.S. They do not think in the line of neo-cons who basically suggest, 'We are a super power, so we may talk whoever we like, and even without talking U.S. can achieve its foreign policy goals.' A Turkey fast advancing towards being a

regional super power should draw lessons from policy failures of U.S., a global super power.

Turkish foreign policy makers, under the bold initiative of the current administration, has made a striking move in regards to Cyprus policy by supporting the Annan plan which was essentially based on dialogue and engagement. Some argue that Turkey did not benefit from this move as the West did not sufficiently keep its promises to end the isolation of Turkish Cypriots. However, the move essentially made Turkey more prestigious in international arena and contributed to its bilateral relations with especially some Western countries. Much of the world does not see Turkey as responsible for the deadlock anymore, since Greek side is now viewed as the uncompromising party. The rigid stance of the Greek Cypriot government will sooner or later hurt them.

Turkey has no diplomatic relations with Armenia. However, constructive messages are exchanged between the parties through unofficial means. Yet, the public opinions in both countries make it hard to develop concrete dialogue and engagement projects. It was a smart decision to invite leading figures from the Armenian administration to Dink's funeral as they had the opportunity to witness the tolerant side of Turkish nation. Considering the positive climate, the Armenians declared they were ready for unconditional diplomatic negotiations. Those latest developments excited Washington administration as well. They now wish if Turkey develops an offer and publicly delivers it to Yerevan via a special representative. They say such an act would also help with US administration's efforts against the Armenian genocide bill resolution expected to be introduced in Congress.

Combating PKK and protecting national interests in Kirkuk also require dialogue and engagement with especially Kurdish elements in Northern Iraq. During the periods when Turkey was engaged with the Kurdish leaders, it secured notable achievements in combating PKK in Northern Iraq. However, today because we do not want to talk with the Kurdish leaders, we constantly we constantly turn to US to address the PKK issue. Of course, we have every reason to expect more from US to alleviate Turkey's security concerns. But eventually, PKK is not a direct threat to the US interests; so it is only natural for them to adopt a relatively lenient approach in this particular case. Americans contend that Turkey's direct engagement with Kurdish leaders, including Barzani and Talabani, will be more fruitful for both Turkey and the US. I agree.

In modern times permanent victories can only be achieved by surges of dialogue. Real conquest is winning hearts and minds. Military tactics are increasingly ineffective, since international law and global public opinion increasingly tend to protect the weak. In the light of these facts, Turkey should do better in implementing its strategy of 'zero problem with neighbors' in Armenia, Iraq and Cyprus.

Turkey's good guys have not lost yet
By Gwynne Dyer Independent
When they buried Hrant Dink in Istanbul last Tuesday, more than 100,000 Turks came to his funeral, filling the streets and chanting "We are all Armenians." There is a war going on for the soul of Turkey, but at least a lot of Turks are on the right side.

Dink, who called himself "an Armenian from Turkey and a good Turkish citizen," was murdered because he insisted on talking about the great crime that happened in the country 92 years ago: the mass murder of most of Turkey's Armenian population in eastern Anatolia. The newspaper he founded and edited, a bilingual Turkish-Armenian weekly called Agos, had only a small circulation, but his outspoken editorials had made him one of Turkey's most famous journalists --and a target for assassination.

His killer, 17-year-old Ogun Samast, was a semi-educated young thug from Trabzon in the far north-east of Anatolia. He was given the gun by a group of older ultra-nationalists including Yusuf Hayal, who was convicted of bombing a McDonald's restaurant in Trabzon in 2004. But these marginal characters are just pawns in the larger war between those who want a more democratic, more tolerant Turkey and those who are desperately defending the power and privileges of the old "republican" elite.

Samast shot Dink from behind in the street in front of his newspaper office. "I feel no remorse," the killer allegedly told investigators. "He said that Turkish blood was dirty blood." Of course, Dink never said any such thing. What he actually said, in a newspaper article addressed to his fellow Armenians, was that their obsession with the massacres of 1915-17 was having "a poisonous effect on your blood."

But it's east to see how a useful idiot like Samast could have believed that Hrant Dink was an enemy of the Turks, because just over a year ago a Turkish court took that phrase out of context, found Dink guilty of "insulting Turkishness", and gave him a six-month suspended sentence under Article 301 of the Criminal Code. A number of other Turkish citizens including Nobel Prize-winning author Orhan Pamuk have been prosecuted under the same law for daring to discuss what happened to the Armenians, and most of them have received death threats too.

It really is a kind of war, and the villains of the piece are precisely the army officers, judges and senior civil servants who were once seen as the guardians of the "republican" tradition, the people who were going to modernize and democratize Turkey. Unfortunately, "republican" doesn't really mean the same as "democratic."

The forms of the Turkish republic were democratic from the start, but for a very long time the reality was a mass of illiterate peasants under the harsh tutelage of a narrow educated elite who were determined to Westernize the country. The "republican" elite rewrote history (including the denial of the Armenian massacres) in order to mould a new Turkish national consciousness, and saw religion as a retrograde force that must be banned from politics.

The decades passed, and much of the elite's dream came to pass. Turkey today has a per-capita income higher than Romania or Bulgaria, the most recent countries to join the European Union. Democracy is a reality, and the current prime minister, Recep Tayyib Erdogan, leads a party whose members openly refer to themselves as "Muslim Democrats." Under Erdogan, there has been a wave of legal and administrative reforms designed to qualify Turkey for EU membership. But all this threatens both the rigidly secular ideology and the autocratic privileges of the old republican elite.

From their powerful positions in the army, the judiciary and the bureaucracy, they work to undermine the reforms and to wreck Turkey's chances of joining the EU. In de facto alliance with ultra-nationalist right-wing parties that also oppose EU membership, they incite hatred of minorities, bring false prosecutions against the advocates of a more open and democratic Turkish society, and pursue the long-term goal of destabilizing the democratic order.

It was they who smuggled the notorious Article 301 into the Criminal Code when it was being reformed to align Turkish law with EU standards, they who brought false prosecutions for "insulting Turkishness" against Hrant Dink, Orhan Pamuk, and other well-known writers, journalists and scholars, they who spread the lies about what Dink had actually said. It is they, not some ignorant, angry teenager, who are really responsible for his death.

But the war is not over yet, and the good guys have not lost. Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul vowed last November to change or abolish Article 301, and last week 100,000 Turks thronged streets of Istanbul to mourn the country's best-known Armenian and condemn his murderers.

Gwynne Dyer is a London-based independent journalist whose articles are published in 45 countries.

AGOS after Hrant
January 29, 2007
Turkish Daily News
Slain Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink's weekly AGOS printed its first issue after the assasination on Sunday

The AGOS newspaper, whose editor-in-chief was Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink, on Saturday published its first edition since Dink's assassination. The issue was a tribute to the paper's slain editor in chief, who was shot dead by an ultranationalist teenager.

The daily's front page featured a photograph of Dink with a headline reading, “He Flew to Hope.”

The newspaper featured a letter from the journalists at AGOS, which read,

"Dear Friends,

We don't have much to say today...

The absence of Hrant, who gave meaning to our lives with his own, now brought us to the verge of a different and new phase. [...] It is a strange feeling but neither Turkey nor AGOS has ever been as strong as they are now. So many of our friends have contributed to this issue you hold in your hands.

We are staying on our course to make the AGOS Hrant was dreaming for with [new editor-in-chief] Etyen Mahçupyan, whom we want to accompany us on this course..."

The issue covered a brief biography of Dink, news and comments on the assassination as well as remembrance letters written for him by his friends and prominent opinion leaders in Turkey. The grief people felt and their courage were praised throughout the issue.

The paper also recounted periods of Dink's childhood including his memories from the Tuzla summer camp for children, where he met his wife Rakel Dink.

This week's AGOS also printed Rakel Dink's address to the crowd at her husband's funeral. The emotional speech moved tens of thousands at the funeral to tears.

Meanwhile, the Initiative for Democratic Unity for Peace organized a street sale of the paper on Sunday.

Many of Turkey's opinion leaders, intellectuals, civil society and political party representatives got together on İstiklal Street, the busiest pedestrian street in Istanbul located near Taksim Square, and sold copies of AGOS to passersby.

“There were nearly 300 people including dancer Zeynep Tanbay, writer Oya Baydar, journalists from different media agencies such as Rıdvan Akar, Mete Çubukçu and Nadire Mater,” Yildız Önen, a member of the executive council of Global Peace and Justice Coalition, told the Turkish Daily News.

Funda Baysal, another participant, said the group marched to Galatasaray Square in the middle of İstiklal Street and sold more than 500 copies of the newspaper.

"People were really interested. We started out with 40-50 people then many others joined us. We were all there to show solidarity.”

A spectrum of reactions to Dink's funeral
January 29, 2007 /TDN
Some Muslim are praying for Dink, while others are hanging 'We are all Turks' signs in their shops

Across Turkey reactions against pro-Armenian sentiment in Turkey after the Jan. 19 killing of Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink, which prompted large demonstrations of Turkish empathy for the Armenian community here, are diverse. Some are praying in Muslim fashion for Dink, while others are hanging “We are all Turks” signs in their shops. One man who said he belonged to a Turkish nationalist group seized a ferry in the Dardanelles straits on Saturday night armed only with a handgun.

Nihat Acar, 36, who threatened to blow up the ferry, seized the vessel on its way from Gelibolu on the European side of the strait to Lapseki on the Asian side. Acar, carrying only an unloaded gun, shouted, “I did it for the homeland” after giving himself up to the police. Passengers reported that he had seized the ferry in protest at pro-Armenian sentiment in Turkey after Dink's killing.

Tradesman in Kırıkkale have hung cards in their shops saying “We are all Turks,” protesting against the “We are all Armenians” slogans that accompanied Dink's funeral. Tradesman İbrahim Çalışkan says they respect those who attended the funeral but don't want anyone to insult Turkey in any way. Çalışkan's fellow workers Murat Başer, Celal Demir and Gökhan Yılmaz asked why the funeral's attendees had not been there at the funerals of any Turkish “martyrs” (a term used in Turkish to describe any fallen in battle).

Muslims praying for Dink:
The Seyid Bilal Foundation in Batman has organized a Koran recitation for Dink with the aim of supporting dialogue and a tolerant environment between religions. “We are the representatives of peace and tolerance regardless of religious, language or ethnic differences,” Vice President Emin Bulut said.

In Mardin police brought in all manner of public security measures around the historic Kırklar Church. People reported that they approve these measures, put in place against possible actions after Dink's funeral, saying that Mardin is the best example of peaceful coexistence, where the mosaic of people with different ethnicities and religions live together.

Turkish author Turgut Özakman, best known for “Şu Çılgın Türkler” (These Crazy Turks), said he did not deem it right that thousands carried placards reading “We are all Hrant Dink, we are all Armenians,” at the funeral. “It is better to mention that Hrant was also a Turk and he is our brother, he is one of us,” Özakman said, the Doğan News Agency (DHA) reported in Ankara.

Although there is no clear link with anti-Armenian sentiments, unknown assailants on Sunday stoned a two-story building housing a Protestant church in the Black Sea port city of Samsun. “The assailants broke at least 10 windows in an overnight attack,” Mehmet Orhan Picaklar, the pastor of the Agape Church, told The Associated Press by telephone. Picaklar said the church had moved into the building just two weeks ago.

Government officials call for deeper investigation
January 29, 2007
Turkish Daily News

As the investigation into the murder of Turkish Armenian journalist Hrant Dink continues, government officials emphasized the need for a deeper investigation into domestic and foreign connections, while Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan publicly acknowledged the existence of a deep state in Turkey. Meanwhile media reports alleged that a second person played a role at the time of the murder.

Deputy Prime Minister Mehmet Ali Şahin said that it is necessary to investigate the background the murder, the Anatolia news agency reported. Talking on a TV program on the Samanyolu channel, Şahin said the inciters and the directors of the suspects should be brought to light.

“I don't find it right that this murder has been evaluated as a simple murder and will remain with the sentence mentioned in the Turkish Penal Code as a result,” said Şahin, referring to past incidents. He added that the continuation of such murders means that the necessary measures have not been taken. “It is necessary to cut the source of this dirty water. Those arrested boys are straw men to me” said Şahin.

Meanwhile Prime Minister Erdoğan said on a Kanal 7 TV program that he accepted the existence of deep state, media reports said. Alleging that the deep state had existed since the days of the Ottoman Empire, Erdoğan emphasized that it was necessary to minimize it.

'There was a second man with Samast':
One of the witnesses of Dink's murder argued that there was a second man with the arrested suspect Ogün Samast at the moment of the murder, the daily Radikal reported. The witness, whose name was kept secret by the newspaper, claimed that a second man without a weapon was waiting for Samast and they fled together after the murder. The witness claimed that no police officials had heeded him, even though he had appeared on a private TV channel two hours after the murder correctly describing Samast. Police officials had now contacted the witness, Radikal reported.

‘The suspect was an informer':
Meanwhile, Erhan Tuncel, accused of planning Dink's murder, was claimed to be an informer for Trabzon police officials, the daily Sabah reported. Arrested with Yasin Hayal – another leading suspect in Dink's murder who has confessed inciting Samast and giving him the gun – after the bombing of a McDonald's in Trabzon, Tuncel was convinced to be an informer in return for being kept out of the trial by Ramazan Akyürek, the police chief of Trabzon at that time.

Tuncel used his right to remain silent in the investigation into Dink's murder, the agencies reported. Police sources said that Tuncel is also suspected to be connected to the murder of Italian Priest Santoro in Trabzon in 2004. Police are investigating the similarities between the Dink case and the Santoro murder, they said.

Turkish Press Yesterday
January 29, 2007
ANKARA - Turkish Daily News

I saw a second hit man:

Radikal over the weekend continued to report on developments regarding the investigation into the murder of Turkish Armenian journalist Hrant Dink. Saturday's issue reported that the police did not listen to a witness who claimed, “There was a second person present at the time of the assassination.”

The daily quoted the witness saying the confessed murderer of Dink, Ogün Samast, was not alone at the crime scene, who says the police had not yet contacted him. The witness said he feared that his life too, might be in danger lest there are any organized groups behind the murder.

There are too many unanswered questions about Dink's assassination, the daily said, adding that the most crucial one being the question raised by the testimony of the witness who was the first to describe the physical features of the key suspect in the case, which made it possible to capture the killer after drawings based on the initial description were distributed to the visual and print media.

The daily said other witnesses had made statements confirming the claim that Samast had an accomplice at the crime scene. Actor Orhan Alkaya, who is the member of the Peace Initiative group closely monitoring developments related to the Dink assassination, told Radikal, “Another woman who witnessed the murder also said someone else was running after the teen with a white beret [Samast was identified with that white beret he was wearing when he shot Dink].

In Sunday's issue, Radikal said following its focus on the issue on Saturday, the police finally contacted the witness whom they'd previously ignored.

In another news story covering the aftermath of the assassination of Dink, Milliyet printed comments from Sabancı Holding's executive board president. According to Sabancı, the tens of thousands who showed at Dink's funeral were moved by Dink's body lying on the ground with old shoes and holes.

Elsewhere on its front page, Milliyet covered statements from Sabancı Holding Board President Güler Sabancı who commented on the public reaction shown after Dink's assassination. Sabancı said it was his old shoe with a hole in the sole which impressed the tens of thousands who joined two mass demonstrations protesting the assassination, one immediately after his assassination, and another one at the time of his funeral. Sabancı said she believed Dink's old shoes were taken as a sign of sincerity by the public.

In a separate news story, Zaman also covered the events of the aftermath of Dink's assassination, saying Dink's murder had acted as a force uniting Turks and Armenians in Paris.

A very important event was organized in France, home to the most intransigent members of the Armenian diaspora. Turks and Armenians on Saturday walked hand to hand for the first time in their history in a demonstration protesting against the murder of Agos editor in chief Dink, who was shot dead last week.

It's between Turks and Armenians
January 29, 2007
Not a single placard written in any other language but Turkish and Armenian could be found at the funeral of Hrant Dink. Sadness was so real that it didn’t want to be shared with those not involved.

Although the funeral of Hrant Dink has been commented on by media from almost all parts of the globe, the peaceful procession of tens of thousands of people accompanying Hrant on his last journey was not meant to be a display for the outside world. A crowd, a couple of kilometers long, which turned into a velvet demonstration of desire for tolerance and harmony, was a precious comprehensive exception of not using a situation for sending “a message” to others. Yet, it was even more than that. The sadness was so real that it didn't want to be shared with those who weren't involved; with those who didn't understand. Not a single placard written in any other language but Turkish and Armenian could be found among those few thousands of carried signs. Perhaps the lack of ostensible slogans spelled out in English that we are usually encountered with on many occasions in a range of countries, was talking for itself. It said: This is our grief. Leave it up to us. Let us sort it out among ourselves – Turks and Armenians.

A dialogue just between two parties: Obviously, Dink's murder highlighted the contours of more than one ongoing problem. Considering the circumstances of his assassination, a major part of our society seems to finally understand that it is more than perverted to maintain the legal existence of infamous Article 301 of the Turkish Penal Code (TCK). Another dimension, even though also partially interconnected with freedom of speech, which stepped into the foreground after the shocking and brutal killing are Turkish–Armenian relations. These relations are “traditionally” considered as bad and irreconcilable due to various obstacles. However, this assumption turned out to be hardly applicable to the “ordinary” Turks and Armenians, as they have merged under the same denominator, of mutual respect and understanding. Hrant knew very well that understanding each other's position was the prerequisite for reconciliation. As a tool for reaching such healthy understanding, he had suggested dialogue: a dialogue just between two parties and without an unnecessary involvement of foreign elements.

Let there be no more bills: Unfortunately, not too many people have appreciated his suggestions, not too many people have even understood their value. Although not invited, even unwanted, there are still many of those, who are continuously interfering with Turkish–Armenian relations, adopting positions on them. Sometimes with good intentions, but sometimes not, all these unilateral actions of outsiders have very little to do with the reconciliation between Turks and Armenians. It is a great irony that it is just Hrant's death that might trigger a cascade of adoptions of “genocide denial” bills. However, such movements would be unfair at least to Hrant, who “lobbied” against this kind of irrational and irresponsible interference, lately against the parliamentary resolution in France. It would also be unfair to those thousands and thousands of people who are indeed concerned. Since, they have clearly shown the existence of a real possibility to live without feelings of animosity – the possibility of real reconciliation – and not only during the hours of the funeral. Many have been experiencing reconciliation as they realized that their grief was the same, as they united through their hearts, through their real sorrow. During the funeral, as well as before and after it on many platforms, the silent majority is keeping the broken voices of hatred down. If this precious process of mutual understanding between Armenian and Turkish people – so unique in modern history – is not destroyed by the spiritless bills of those who don't understand, who are not involved, it can lead to the genuine reconciliation: a reconciliation of the hearts.

The Turkish deep state
Monday, January 29, 2007
Is it possible to say Erdoğan was wrong in saying that Turkey has to try to obliterate this genetic illness of the Turkish state?


A statement by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan admitting the existence of a “deep state” in Turkey will likely create a new discussion on one of the oldest taboos in this country. Erdoğan is not the first prominent politician to publicly admit the existence of the “deep state.” Indeed, back in 1974 the prime minister of the time, Bülent Ecevit, had complained about the existence of a “deep state” that he described as a “counter guerrilla” force.

Former presidents Kenan Evren, the leader of the 1980 military coup, and Süleyman Demirel as well admitted the existence of a “deep state” and even Evren, the strongest of men in the three-year military administration period after the coup, admitted his inability to annihilate it though he worked hard to that end. But, what is that “deep state” which according to Erdoğan has been in existence in this country ever since the Ottoman times and “indeed is something derived from the tradition” and was so dangerous that “we have to succeed in minimizing, and if possible, obliterating it?”

Who is the “deep state”?: Is it the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK)? Or, is it the intelligence apparatus of the country? Is it the academia? Or, is it the judiciary? Perhaps, it is the strong bureaucracy of the country?

It could be argued that the “deep state” has no structural form, and is not any of the above mentioned, but is at the same time composed of all of them and becomes active when various segments of power and elements of the state apparatus start independently developing a sense of fear that the Turkish state is faced with an existential threat. Depending on the nature of the threat, the leading element of the “deep state” for that particular moment might be any of the composing elements, but in any eventuality has the full support of the military.

According to the late Ecevit, the “counter guerrilla” force, or the “special forces” was a military establishment outside the chain of command of the TSK. Evren first learned of the existence of a “special force” from Ecevit and as the top commander of the country wanted to get rid of that establishment, but could not succeed. From what Evren said on the issue, we can reach the conclusion that whatever that “deep state” organization is, it at least has some military connection, but is so strong and independent that even the top commander of the country cannot obliterate it.

It surfaces when there is deficiency in governance: Another former president, Demirel, has been perhaps the clearest politician in his comments on the “deep state.” At an April 17, 2005 speech on the issue – which since then has become the most quoted reference to the “deep state” – Demirel not only admitted the existence of a “deep state” in Turkey but provided a description for it. “The deep state is the state itself. It is the military. The military that established the state always fears the collapse of the state. The people sometimes misuse the rights provided. When it is given the right to stage a rally, it may go and break windows, confront the police. The need for the deep state is a result of the deficiency in the governance of the country. The deep state is not active now. The deep state, according to evaluations, is not active as long as the state is not brought to the verge of collapse. They are not a separate state, but when they intervene in the administration of the state, they become the deep state.”

Though what Demirel described is somewhat different from the “counter guerrilla deep state” description of Ecevit or the confession by Evren that there has been a military element which cannot be controlled even by the chief of general staff of the country, the recent history of Turkey testifies to the fact that the “deep state” is not definitely solely a military establishment, but it has such a loose structure that at times – as was partly revealed with the notorious Nov. 3, 1996 crash of a Mercedes car with a lorry, the notorious Susurluk incident – it may include elements from the underground world and again as we have learned from confessions of the ultra-nationalist mafia regarding their use by the state in fighting the ASALA Armenian terror gang – it may include terrorist elements.

Though for one-time Prime Minister Tansu Ciller the identity and criminal record of persons “who killed for the state” did not matter and “those who died for the state, and those who killed for the state” are both heroes of this land and for some current prominent politicians their implication in the “deep state” might not be something to be irritated by at all, is it possible to say Erdoğan was wrong in saying that Turkey has to try to obliterate this genetic illness of the Turkish state?

What others say
January 29, 2007
Turkish Daily News

More on the “slogan” issue:
Kürşat BUMİN, Yeni Şafak
The slogan “We are all Armenian” should be feared by no one. It is only a metaphor. In the political environment, it is the sloganized form of the feeling called “empathy.”This expression is a version has been adapted by Turks from of the famous “We are all German Jews” slogan used in the student movement which started in Paris in 1968. As the streets of Paris echoed with the words “We are all German Jews,” the religious identity was being referred to only within the context of the socio-political movement. In other words the slogan had nothing to do with the world of belief or religion. The reason that led the protestors to exclaim, “We are German Jews” was the extradition of Daniel Cohn-Bendit, a “German Jew” who was among the leaders of the '68 movement. Later, this slogan took on many forms, such as “We are all Jewish Muslims.” It is easy to see how this form of the slogan was also political. In other words, they wanted to say – I really don't know what else to say to explain this to the people who still denounce the slogan – the discrimination that Jews and North African Muslim immigrants are subject to in France has the same origin. If someone said, “How could you place Jews and Muslims in the same category?” they would be laughed at. There were also versions such as “We are all Lebanese,” “We are all young women of Tunisia” and “We are all black Jews.” There isn't the slightest possibility that the slogan “We are all Muslims” wasn't used in demonstrations in France, organized to protest the ban on headscarves. Note that nobody used the slogans “We are all German,” or “We are all French.” This couldn't happen, because the “We are all …” slogans are used to show support for identities faced with discriminatory policies. In this sense, the idea of holding a demonstration with banners reading, “We are all Turks,” means those with this "concept" have not understood anything from this series of slogans. Certainly this slogan could be appropriate, but only if Turks are discriminated against in another land based solely on their ethnic background.

Being the ‘other':
Oktay EKŞİ, Hürriyet
There are times when we are stunned by how “this Turkish we know can be understood that way?” As you know, Mr. Prime Minister is extremely short-tempered. Recently he expressed his opinion that simply saying “We are all Hrant Dink” during Dink's funeral “would have sufficed,” and added, “It would have been much more perfect if the ‘We are all Armenian' slogan hadn't been used.”This is similar to how he objects to the “green capital” phrase, used in Turkish to refer to Islamic businesses. He says: “Does money have a color? The dollar too is green.”I am saying, “similar to,” because, when it suits his purpose, he doesn't look at the literal word itself, but at the meaning of the word so as to make the expression in harmony with the meaning of the word. It is very nice to own up to your own heritage and respect your own identity. However put yourself in the other's place for just a second.What happened? Are you smaller now? Do you feel like you have been insulted? If that is the case, then please ask yourself, “Weren't we people who didn't discriminate along religious, ethnic, racial, gender or linguistic lines?”This shows that although we say we don't discriminate, perhaps in reality we do without even realizing it. Don't say so unless you haven't consciously realized and considered this.

What is the murderer of Father Santoro saying?:
Ayşe ÖNAL, Star
Following my friend Dink's murder, I am once again at odds with the wonderful columnists of this world; with those who say that the murder was organized by the “deep state.”I think not.A transparent network killed Hrant, greatly damaging the collective conscience. All the institutions were informed that Hrant was going to be killed. When the murder, which was actually committed in February 2004, took place in January 2007 in front of Agos newspaper, nobody was surprised. We knew that Hrant was going to be killed all along and we knew who would kill him. A bunch of men thought to be experts were invited to a TV show to discuss the Dink murder. These foolish nonentities, whose talk sounded like background noise, said – spinelessly and without the slightest shame for their slander – that European and Americans who wanted to disintegrate our country were behind the murder. Here's a test for them. Did they know why Mehmet Ali Ağca shot the pope and on whose orders? They didn't? None of them knew that Ağca, who murdered university students in Turkey to destroy communism in Turkey, was trying to kill the Polish pope, who destroyed communism in the world, although he badly messed up. Regardless of this they agreed to participate in a TV program without the slightest shame. None of them said, “We are not knowledgeable about this issue, we shouldn't be misleading society.”The father of Father Santoro's murderer says, “My son told me to shoot the priest who would replace Father Santoro during a visit.” He continues: “He doesn't like his sisters because they don't cover their heads. He told them, ‘Don't come near me with your heads uncovered.' He loved Hitler very much. He made me watch a documentary about Hitler. He said he appreciated Hitler for killing Jews. He always said Jews had caused great harm to humanity, particularly to Muslims.”I can't share the rest, I simply can't stand it. I only want to stress one thing: If you don't look at the Father Santoro murder, you can't see Hrant.

İsmet BERKAN, Radikal
I am talking about a poisonous atmosphere which has been thickening in the wake of Dink's murder, whose understanding of nationalism is racism, hating all that is foreign and making efforts to isolate Turkey from the rest of the world. A recent example of this atmosphere: Last week, both retired Gen. Veli Küçük and Great Unity Party (BBP) leader Muhsin Yazıcıoğlu both referred to the same articles from a columnist. These articles said that Trabzon and its environs had been chosen as targets by Greece and Israel in the recent years, implying that Greece, Israel or both are “training” the youth of Trabzon in their countries. They try to create disorder and confusion in Turkey with murders such as those of Dink and Father Santaro. In reality it is extremely simple to investigate the validity of this claim. It is really not difficult to find the records of Turkish citizens who flew to Israel in the past few years and how many of them are from Trabzon. In addition, we have two cases in our hand. Both murderers in these cases are underage. Have these children ever been to Greece or Israel? There is nothing easier than finding that out. What is interesting is that those who defend these ridiculous claims by that columnist have been pictured with the assailants. There is a photograph showing the retired general with the murderer who was involved in the Council of State shooting, while another one shows the BBP chairman with the second key suspect in the Hrant Dink case. Granted, those photographs might mean nothing. I'll give them the benefit of doubt: Küçük probably does not know the State Council shooter Alparslan Aslan and Yazıcıoğlu does not known Erhan Tuncer, the man who recruited the man to assign the task of killing Dink to the hit man. I sincerely doubt that either Küçük or Yazıcıoğlu are naïve enough to believe the contents of that article. (In fact, I have seriously doubt the columnist believes them himself.)However, they don't hesitate to refer to this article, which is openly propagating xenophobia and politics of fear, because they it serves a purpose.

Unfortunately, engaging in politics through such dangerous means is not an act only limited to marginal parties in Turkey. For example, the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) criticized a law which would return goods taken from minority foundations saying that would be a violation of the Lausanne Treaty provision stipulating “reciprocity” in the treatment of minorities. [The CHP was referring to Article 45 of this treaty signed between Turkey and the allies of World War I in 1923 which says, “The rights conferred by the provisions of the present Section on the non-Moslem minorities of Turkey will be similarly conferred by Greece on the Moslem minority in her territory.”]Before we criticize racism and xenophobia in other countries, we should turn and look at ourselves. Note that in the West, racist and xenophobic political parties are being accused of racism and are condemned by a majority of the society. That condemnation is only recently beginning to take root in Turkey.

Dink's slaying in US Congress
January 29, 2007
Turkish Daily News
A U.S. Congressman said a resolution condemning the assassination of Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink would be submitted to the House of Representatives, reported the Anatolia news agency yesterday.

Armenian organizations based in the United States said the resolution to be put forth by Democrat Congressman Joseph Crowley in the upcoming days would call on Turkey to take measures for the protection of the freedom of expression and to repeal controversial Article 301 of the Turkish Penal Code (TCK).

Dink was tried under Article 301, along with a string of intellectuals who landed in court for denigrating “Turkishness” – and some for comments on the alleged genocide of Armenians at the hands of the Ottoman Empire. The Armenian Assembly of America (AAA) and the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) announced that they would support the draft resolution. In the meantime, Armenian organizations said an Armenian “genocide” resolution was expected to be forwarded to the U.S. House of Representatives before Feb.1.

One cartoonist, one philosophy
January 29, 2007
Turkish Daily News
Gırgır Magazine left a mark on the history of Turkish cartoons. Sarkis Paçacı, one of the cartoonists of the magazine, made a name for himself and Gırgır Magazine by creating cartoons shaped by his dissenting opinions.

Paçacı's recent works have been published by Aras Publishing House under the title “Kalpler Birleşmez Hatıralarda” (Hearts Won't Be United In Memories). The cartoonist, who is also the owner of the Naregatsi Art Gallery in Beyoğlu, spoke to the Turkish Daily News and Referans about his cartoons, Armenian society and the current environment for cartoons.

The Naregatsi Art Gallery bears the name of Armenian poet, philosopher and monk Krikor Naregatsi, who lived in Anatolia between 951-1003. In this sense, the gallery is the one and only company in Turkey with an Armenian name.

The famous cartoonist, who expressed his views about the Hrant Dink assassination that occurred on the day we met, said: “This murder was an expected result. They are doing it to sadden the Armenian society. It has been like this for a long time.”

Armenian society feels sorry for itself:
Paçacı, known for his dissenting position, says the following about Armenian society, of which he is a member:

“The Armenian society feels sorry for itself. The existence of our society depends on working and producing but not on polemics, and we shouldn't allow the past to poison our future. The most important thing is that all Armenians should get rid of their endless depression.”

New ideas cause fear:
Paçacı says everything about art causes fear in Turkey. The Gırgır adventure of Paçacı, who started drawing at school, began in 1974. Stating that a banning mentality of eastern culture is dominant in Turkey, Paçacı added that they had problems, reasons for which were not known, in the past. “There was a schizoid situation in the 1980s and art was under the threat of being banned all the time.”

Cartoons should not be identified with swearwords:
Paçacı says that the Gırgır magazine was closed down right after a coup, and the effect of political crises were mostly felt in the 1990s. “We had democratic rights on one hand, and there was the banning mentality on the other,” he said, adding that drawing cartoons was in a way fighting against the banning mentality in a sense.”

He says he doesn't like the understanding of the new generation in Turkey relating to cartoons, and added: “A cartoon is identified with a swearword just like animation is identified with children. It should not be a swearword that nourishes the art of cartoons. A cartoon is the art of mocking and has a certain philosophy.” He also stresses that cartoons have recently been commercialized.

“Everything but cartoons was meaningless for me and I didn't know what to do when they gave me a check.”

Who is Sarkis Paçacı:
Sarkis Paçacı is a graduate of the Mimar Sinan University Faculty of Fine Arts department of Ceramics. He worked for Gırgır, Mikrop and Hıbır magazines between 1975-1993. He published the Rr Magazine in 1991 and founded the Naregatsi Cartoon Studio in 1992. The main characters in Paçacı's cartoons are largely individuals, who are weak in life or isolated under the pressure of popular educated people.

Soul searching after Hrant Dink
January 29, 2007
It is time for us Turks to do some thorough soul searching. We have to find out what made us miss the 20th century and what could cause us to tragically miss the 21st


The people of Turkey felt very ashamed when Hrant Dink was murdered. No one had a convincing answer when Rakel, his wife, asked in tears: “Wasn't it you who promised to protect us?” We felt so awkward and helpless. We chanted, “We are all Hrant Dink.” For how many days shall we keep this newly adopted identity due to our guilty consciences? It is time to ask ourselves: Why are we so violence-prone? Why do we exalt in brute force that in the end takes our lives ransom? Why do we risk our future? Unfortunately the culprit is greater than we think and the problem is deeper than the dear lives consumed.

First of all, the founding myth of the Turkish Republic runs counter to historical fact. The predecessor of the republic, the Ottoman state, entered World War I as an empire. It lost the war together with a huge part of its conquered territories. The heartland of the empire, namely Anatolia or Asia Minor, came under Allied occupation (1919-1922) as well. Official historiography downplayed the imperial past in order to avoid the pain and shame of losing an empire and developed a Third World ideology of liberation. According to this ideological construct, the Turkish nation was delivered from Western imperialism ending its persecution and colonization. All republican generations are socialized into this belief in the deliverance of a downtrodden nation from the oppression and exploitation of the West. Yet the danger has not ended.

Those sinister western imperialists have only postponed their desire to dismantle and partition what is left of Turkey. Hence we must always be agile and on the look out to prevent the malign designs of the West. This call to be alert is coupled with the need to be armed and clenched like a fist. Since the enemy is just around the corner we must wait with our guns to hand and in absolute solidarity. The concept of being an “army nation” was born in this fabricated state of urgency and siege mentality.

It is no wonder that two thirds of the life of the republic passed under some kind of Martial Law. The end result of all this was the militarization of politics, an emphasis on social cohesion that grew increasingly intolerant to social, cultural and ethnic differences and a worshiping of machismo. It is in this atmosphere that brute force became a means of problem solving and the restriction of free thought and expression grew to be a liability to national solidarity. The plurality of the Ottoman social heritage became a heavy burden for a republic keen to travel lighter in its history, as a nation-state with a singular ethnic identity to carry. With the abandonment of this “excess” baggage the richness of the country, its economic and intellectual capacity, was drastically reduced. But who cared, we felt safer.

The final product of this “cleansing” was authoritarianism (omnipotence of the state and state worshipping) and a masculine culture that upheld and nurtured it. Existing youth gangs (as a type of adjunct of some right-wing political parties) and films that extolled the spoils of mean-looking men who reflected a mixture of patriot-mafia-traditional tribal chieftain enjoying the powers of money, covert state support, semi-criminal organization and political liaisons were the most visible outcome of this political culture. The crimes of these characters were always patriotic. It is in this atmosphere that our only female prime minister did not refrain from saying, “Those who shoot or take a shot for sake of the state are honorable people.” Again our only female minister of interior is on record as accusing the leader of a Kurdish terrorist organization of being an “Armenian seed,” because this ethnic group had officially been treated as the “other” and a potential enemy; totally disregarding the fact that Armenians were citizens of Turkey.

The dictum, “trust is good but control is better,” although originally German, is tailor made for Turkey. The same method is used further down the ladder, involving the homestead where intra-familial relations are shaped by force to keep women and children in line. Exaltation of naked force in the country's interest bore fruit more than once in recent years. The killing of a Roman Catholic priest, Andrea Santoro on Feb. 5, 2006; the attack on the Council of State and shooting of judges on May 17, 2006 (when one died and four were wounded); and Hrant Dink's murder – all were committed by so-called nationalist patriots. How do we know? Well it is the fathers and mothers of these young assassins who said, “My son did this to serve his state and nation; he is a patriot.” This is a recurring motive that has been brewing in the same crucible.

Whatever the incident is, the murderers are identified as true nationalists and patriots committing their crime due to their passion for their state and nation. So they are to be excused! For they are sacrifices offered to a larger-than-life cause. Well, religious fanatics are doing the same thing. Their deeds can also be absolved because they serve God. Lately Turkish political culture has reflected a mixture of nationalism and religiosity, both of which are attached to absolute redemption.

The criminals feel comfortable as being endorsed by God himself and deus ex machina (the state) for their wrongdoings because they believe that they serve them both. The other side of this coin (national education and a legal system that produces nationalist subjects rather than free-thinking citizens) is public readiness to accept violence as a legitimate method of problem solving and social control. It is no wonder that the triggermen found an endorsing or protective community following their crimes, which further motivated them and their like. Ogün Samast, the assassin of Hrant Dink, said he need not repent, because he had killed an Armenian. Indeed Hrant was an Armenian, an “alien,” diluting our racial/national purity; as the High Court of Appeals had labeled Christian minorities in Turkey. Mehmet Ali Ağca, another nationalist gunman, said something similar when he shot the pope in Rome nearly 30 years ago. Alpaslan Arslan, the assassin of the judges at the Council of State, cried with pride for exterminating enemies of the public, for these judges had ruled against women in the state's employ wearing headscarves.

Yet we believe in the myth of our tolerant culture and our fairness to different ethnicities and religions. This belief conveniently blinds us to our realities and eases our conscience. Is this a shot taken at Turkey by “outsiders,” as many of the politicians and columnists tend to believe, or is this Turkey committing suicide by shooting itself? It was a Turk who killed another Turkish citizen for the sake of protecting his nation and country! This perverted notion is the result of the mask used to cover up our incapacity to integrate our minorities or solve our problems and be part of the wider world. Deep in our heart we know we are not modernized or developed enough to be able to respect ourselves, so we exalt in what we are rather than in our achievements.

That is why the importance of ethnicity and religion is blown out of proportion. This symbolic stoning of the “devil” (the extrovert behavior of our collective sense of inferiority) that we have learned as patriotism did not help us to be freer, stronger or more prosperous. Instead it has pitted us against each other and turned Turkey into a battleground of its own citizens.

Even the longest world war lasted five years: The last Kurdish rebellion has dragged on for 23 years and we have still not yet come up with a viable solution beyond counter-violence and forceful eviction. It is time for some thorough soul searching for us Turks. We have to find out what made us miss the 20th century and what may be tragically repeated meaning we miss the 21st? Who are we, so exclusive that we do not allow any others to live in and share our world? Why do we try to reassure ourselves of our identity by distrusting and eliminating “others” to deliver “us” from the harm we expect from “others”? How long can we survive with this isolationist and antagonistic mentality within and without? If this is not “us,” then there is a part we must be ridden of.

The problem is whether or not we will be able to cleanse ourselves of the “us” that disrespects freedom and human values that prevents “us” from connecting with contemporary civilization. The challenge is an existential one: Will we be able to exorcise the violent, paranoid, intolerant and traditional bigoted “us” that lives inside “us” for the sake of the latter Turks, who want to be respected and to respect themselves. If we can accomplish this then we can be thankful to dear Hrant Dink as the national exorcist that has helped us to confront our collective subconscious and started the process of a much-needed national catharsis.

‘The suspect was an informer':
Meanwhile, Erhan Tuncel, accused of planning Dink's murder, was claimed to be an informer for Trabzon police officials, the daily Sabah reported. Arrested with Yasin Hayal – another leading suspect in Dink's murder who has confessed inciting Samast and giving him the gun – after the bombing of a McDonald's in Trabzon, Tuncel was convinced to be an informer in return for being kept out of the trial by Ramazan Akyürek, the police chief of Trabzon at that time.

Tuncel used his right to remain silent in the investigation into Dink's murder, the agencies reported. Police sources said that Tuncel is also suspected to be connected to the murder of Italian Priest Santoro in Trabzon in 2004. Police are investigating the similarities between the Dink case and the Santoro murder, they said.

Turkish General: Dink Murder was Part of a Greater Operation
Journal of Turkish Weekly, Turkey
Jan 27 2007
Tuncer Kilinc, retired General and Former National Security Council General Secretary, argues that the Dink Murder is a part of a greater operation against Turkey. Mr. Kilinc told the Aksam paper that `the real target is stability in Turkey'. Kilinc said `they try to make enemy Turkish and Armenian citizens of Turkey. Dink was son of this motherland and there is no difference between Dink and any other journalist'. Mr. Kilincs also added that the operation against Turkey will be continued in near future.

Rambo Is Like An Asala Militant
19 January 2007
The American actor preparing to shoot a movie regarding the claims of an Armenian genocide, Sylvester Stallone, said: "Turks have been killing this issue for 85 years."

The star actor of movies such as, 'Rocky and 'Rambo,' Sylvester Stallone, is planning to shoot a movie inspired by the book about the 'Armenian Genocide' by the Austrian author Franz Werfel. He made statements in the British Independent newspaper defending the Armenian claims.

Rambo to shoot a movie on genocide
The American actor, Sylvester Stallone, stated: "The film is a political hot potato. Turks have been trying to kill the issue for 85 years."

The world famous actor Sylvester Stallone plans to shoot a movie inspired by the book about the 'Armenian genocide' called "40 days in the Moses Mountain," written by the Austrian author Franz Werfel. In the Independent newspaper Stallone said: "it is an epic about the entire termination of a society. The movie is a hot potato, Turks have been trying to kill the issue for 85 years." It has been stated that in order to prevent the shooting of the movie, the chairman of the fight against the groundless genocide claim association, Savaş Eğilmez, has started an angry letter campaign. The journal also contained Eğilmez's words: "the book is full of lies; because the author obtained the data from the nationalist and radical Armenians."

Visitors flock to closed church
January 19, 2007
VAN - Anatolia News Agency
More than 12,000 tourists poured into Van this past year with the hope of seeing the thousand-year-old Armenian church, situated on Akdamar Island on Lake Van, despite the fact that it was closed to visitors because of restoration work, reported the Anatolia news agency. The church is a museum and its richly decorated walls have Old Testament reliefs, representing one of the important works of Armenian architecture. Built in the shape of a crucifix, the church was built during 915-921 by Brother Manuel for Armenian King Gagik I.

Van Culture and Tourism Director İzzet Kütükoğlu said the city was a magnet for domestic and foreign tourists due to the many civilizations that had settled there and the rich cultural heritage. He said that last year 173,646 tourists, 20,911 of whom were foreigners, visited Van, its famed church and historical mosques.

Noting that most tourist places were undergoing restoration in Van, Kütükoğlu said: ?Akdamar Church and its surroundings are undergoing restoration while the Van Museum, Hüsrevpaşa Mosque and the Van and Hoşap castles were restored in 2006. Despite all the restoration work tourists still flocked to the city and that's why we didn't close Akdamar Church completely. But tourists coming to the city could only view the church by standing behind a wire fence.?

Kütükoğlu mentioned that last year 12,578 local and foreign tourists visited Akdamar Church, adding: ?Even though the church was being restored many visitors still wanted to see it. Sometimes they call us to ask when it will be open and that's why I think many people will visit Akdamar Island and the church in 2007.?

He said tourists came to Eastern and Southeastern Anatolia for faith tourism, adding: ?The region has a very rich culture and many people come here for faith tourism and research. In general they are older people because the younger tourists prefer the sea and sun and head to the west and south of the country for their holidays.?

Turkish historian says map published by Armenians refutes genocide claims

ADANA (A.A) -17.01.2007 -Turkish researcher-historian Cezmi Yurtsever said a map in Ottoman archives, published by Armenians, refutes so-called Armenian genocide.

Yurtsever gave brief information at a conference in Adana, based on his studies on Ottoman archives, regarding "Turkish-Armenian historical relations".

According to Yurtsever's researches, a map, drawn up and published by Armenian Mekhitarist Monastry in San Lazzaro Island of Italy, shows that Armenian population in Ottoman Empire between years 1832 and 1896 was a total of 1.2 million.

Yurtsever noted that advocates of so-called genocide claim Armenian population before World War I was 2.5 million and 1.5 million of them died after emigration.

"This map existing in Ottoman archives, which was published by Armenians, screams refuting genocide lies," he said.

Turkish historian also indicated that an "immigration and population map and report" in archives states the prevailing conditions of 1916. "These documents say that Turkish people in eastern cities Erzurum, Trabzon, Mus, Bitlis, Van, Elazig and Erzincan were forced to mass migration. It proves the fact that 700,000 Turkish people emigrated in this period," he added.

Akdamar Church To Be Opened on 11th and Not 24th of April

/PanARMENIAN.Net/ The Akdamar Church, situated on Akdamar Island on Van Lake in eastern city of Van, will be opened on April 11. Turkish Press reports that the church has been renovated with the cooperation of Van Governor`s Office and Culture & Tourism Ministry. The publication says that Akdamar Church was constructed by architect bishop Manuel between 915 and 921 AD under the supervision of King Gagik I. `Among the important pieces of Armenian architecture, the church draws attraction with its stone workmanship and the relieves on its walls.' The Turkish Press writes.

It is worth mentioning earlier it was declared that the church will be opened on April 24, the Remembrance Day of the victims of the Armenian Genocide. But after protests of the Armenian Diaspora in Turkey, particularly after Armenian Apostolic Church Constantinople Archbishop Mesrop Mutafian's protests the day of opening was moved to an earlier date.

In 2006 Armenian specialists were engaged in the process of reconstruction. The PanARMENIAN.Net journalist has find out from the Armenian Ministry of Culture and Youth Affairs that an Armenian cross has been constructed on the dome of the church.

It would be logical to hold such conferences not in Armenia but in Turkey
January 19, 2007

Interview with A. Nranian, ARF Bureau advisor on economic issues.

Q: The conference exploring the economic and social consequences of opening the Armenian-Turkish border was held in Yerevan. Can you comment on the importance of this event?

A: This is not the first event during which Armenian and foreign experts discuss the economic consequences of opening the border as well as the costs and benefits of opening for Armenia. I should first of all say that my overall impression is that through such events we are trying to convince the Armenian public that opening the border will benefit Armenia. Meanwhile, in our discussions we tend to forget that the border was closed by Turkey in an attempt to pressure the newly independent Armenia on the issues of Genocide recognition and the Karabagh conflict. Moreover, the issue of opening the Armenian-Turkish border is artificially exaggerated in Armenia and the importance of this issue is overestimated. The problem is clear - Turkey has closed the border, and Turkey should be the one to open it. It would be much more logical to hold such conferences in Turkey and not in Armenia.

Q: But aren't there people opposing opening of the border in Armenia?

A: I don't think that any expert or political leader in Armenia would oppose opening of the border.

Q: What is the ARF's position?

Q: ARF has never opposed opening of the Armenian-Turkish border. ARF has always opposed going for any political compromises in return for opening the border because this would mean yielding to the pressure exerted by Turkey.

We should clearly realize this difference. In the context of the liberalization of the world economy and international integration in the modern world blockades and closed borders are unacceptable.

Q: What can you tell about the economic consequences that might follow the opening of the border?

A: Here we should differentiate between theoretical economic studies and application of real leverages for practical benefits and losses.

Theoretically, Armenia can export a number of goods to Turkey (according to a study, the volume of exports from Armenia to Turkey can reach 100 million dollars). However, in practice, we can see that despite the open borders with Georgia and Iran the volume of exports is not very large. The annual export to Georgia and Iran reaches 40 and 30 million dollars respectively.

Therefore, what matters is not the theoretical opportunities but the capacity to use this opportunities to the best possible extent. Armenia has a lot to do in this respect.

If we look at the imports, a range of competitive Turkish goods is imported to Armenia either by air or through Georgia. We should not wait that there will be any drastic changes in this exports-imports pattern. I do not think that negative and positive consequences will immediately follow opening of the border. It will take some time before such consequences will become noticeable. Our country should do its best to get prepared for the changes as well as possible.

People who question the official history of recent conflicts in Africa and the Balkans could be jailed for up to three years for "genocide denial", under proposed EU legislation.

Germany, current holder of the EU's rotating presidency, will table new legislation to outlaw "racism and xenophobia" this spring.

Included in the draft EU directive are plans to outlaw Holocaust denial, creating an offence that does not exist in British law.

But the proposals, seen by The Daily Telegraph, go much further and would criminalise those who question the extent of war crimes that have taken place in the past 20 years.

The legislation will trigger a major row across Europe over free speech and academic freedom.

Deborah Lipstadt, the professor of Modern Jewish and Holocaust Studies at Emory University, Atlanta, believes the German proposals are misplaced. "I adhere to that pesky little thing called free speech and I am very concerned when governments restrict it," she said yesterday.

"How will we determine precisely what is denial? Will history be decided by historians or in a courtroom?"

Berlin's draft EU directive extends the idea of Holocaust denial to the "gross minimisation of genocide out of racist and xenophobic motives", to include crimes dealt with by the International Criminal Court.

The ICC was set up in 2002 following international outcry about war crimes and alleged genocides in the former Yugoslavia and in Africa. It was felt that the courts in those countries were either unable or unwilling to ensure justice was done.

The draft text states: "Each member state shall take the measures necessary to ensure that the following intentional conduct is punishable: 'publicly condoning, denying or grossly trivialising of crimes of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes as defined in'... the Statute of the ICC."

General Lewis MacKenzie, the former commander of UN peacekeepers in Bosnia, courted controversy two years ago by questioning the numbers killed at Srebrenica in 1995.

He took issue with the official definition of the massacre as genocide and highlighted "serious doubt" over the estimate of 8,000 Bosnian fatalities. "The math just doesn't support the scale of 8,000 killed," he wrote.

Balkans human rights activists have branded Gen MacKenzie an "outspoken Srebrenica genocide denier" and, if approved, the EU legislation could see similar comments investigated by the police or prosecuted in the courts after complaints from war crimes investigators or campaigners.

A German government spokesman said: "Whether a specific historic crime falls within these definitions would be decided by a court in each case."

If agreed by EU member states, the legislation is likely to declare open season for human rights activists and organisations seeking to establish a body of genocide denial law in Europe's courts.

European Commission officials insist that the legislation is necessary: "racism and xenophobia can manifest themselves in the form of genocide denial so that it is very important to take strong action".

But the legislation faces stiff opposition from academics who fear it would stifle debate over some of the biggest issues in contemporary international relations.

Prof Lipstadt has an international reputation for challenging Holocaust denial.

She was sued unsuccessfully for libel in 2000 by David Irving, the British historian, after exposing his misrepresentation of historical evidence and association with Right-wing extremists. But she does not believe denying the Holocaust or genocide should be a crime.

"The Holocaust has the dubious distinction of being the best documented genocide in history," she said.

"When you pass these kinds of laws it suggests to the uninformed bystander that you don't have the evidence to prove your case."

The professor is also worried by broad-brush definitions of genocide denial, particularly applied to recent conflicts that are still being researched and investigated.

Even without the threat of prosecution, there is concern that academics will try to avoid controversy by ignoring or even suppressing research that challenges genocide claims or numbers of those killed.

David Chandler, the professor of international relations at the University of Westminster's Centre for the Study of Democracy, fears that the draft law could inhibit his work.

"My work teaching and training researchers, and academic work more broadly, is focused upon encouraging critical thinking. Measures like this make academic debate and discussion more difficult," he said.

Prof Chandler also worries that the legislators will close down democratic debate on foreign policy. "Genocide claims and war crimes tribunals are highly political and are often linked to controversial Western military interventions. Should this be unquestioned? Is it right for judges to settle such arguments?" he asked.

Norman Stone, the professor of history at Turkey's Koç University, argues that any attempt to legislate against genocide denial is "quite absurd".

"I am dead against this kind of thing," he said. "We can not have EU or international legal bodies blundering in and telling us what we can and can not say."

By Bruno Waterfield
Copyright Telegraph Media Group Limited


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