1550) Turkey Interferes in Lawsuit Against German Banks on Genocide Assets

Defying all acceptable legal norms, Turkey's ambassador to the U.S., Nabi Sensoy, recently sent a highly inappropriate letter to U.S. District Judge Margaret M. Morrow (Federal Court), asking her to dismiss a lawsuit by Armenian plaintiffs against the German Deutsche Bank and Dresdner Bank. A copy of this previously undisclosed letter was obtained by this writer. .

In a class action lawsuit, filed by Yeghiayan & Associates; Kabateck, Brown, Kellner, and Geragos & Geragos, Armenian plaintiffs had accused the two German banks of concealing and preventing the recovery of assets which were deposited by Armenians in these banks "prior to World War I and the Armenian Genocide." The plaintiffs had further alleged that the banks "accepted looted assets, forcibly taken by the government of the Ottoman Turkey during World War I and the Armenian Genocide."

Ever since the filing of this lawsuit in 2004 (amended in 2006), these German banks have done everything possible to have it dismissed. They have challenged the constitutionality of the law passed by the California Legislature which extended the Statute of Limitations and created standing for plaintiffs to sue the German banks and other institutions until 2016. In their attempt to counter the charge that they are the beneficiaries of ill-gotten gains, the German banks, through their legal counsel, Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy, have claimed that the California law "is an unconstitutional encroachment on the federal government's exclusive power over foreign affairs."

It now appears that in order to back up their claim, the German banks have succeeded in getting Turkey to instruct its ambassador to the U.S. to send a letter to the Judge Morrow telling her that the District Court is interfering in a matter involving U.S.-Turkish relations. This modern-day German-Turkish collaboration reminds one of the alliance forged some 90 years ago between the German and Turkish governments during the Armenian Genocide. By reviving this unholy union, the German banks hope to keep their "loot," while the Turkish government can continue to cover up the genocide and attempt to preempt any future claims against Turkey itself.
However, the German banks and the Turkish government apparently were oblivious to the fact that by writing a letter directly to the Federal Judge, the Turkish ambassador was interfering in a judicial process to which the Turkish side is not a legal party.

It is noteworthy that the Turkish Ambassador’s letter, dated February 23, 2007, came on the heels of Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul’s latest visit to Washington, leading one to speculate that the Ambassador may have been pressured into this improper act by his political superiors, possibly against the advice of his American attorneys. It is noteworthy that, during the court hearing on February 27, 2007, the German banks' attorney disclosed that David Saltzman, the attorney for the Turkish Embassy, had been in close communication with him for several years since the lawsuit was first filed.

In his letter to Judge Morrow, Amb. Sensoy wrote: "I am deeply concerned that the plaintiffs have asked you to sit in judgment on Turkey’s sovereign acts carried out within its territory, from which I would request that you refrain. Specifically, the plaintiffs have made allegations that require this court to delve into whether there was a governmental plan to commit crimes against Armenians living in the late Ottoman Empire, including the looting of property. The plaintiffs have made clear that they wish their allegations to span the demise of the Ottoman Empire and carry over into modern Turkey. For example, the plaintiffs allege that the Armenian tragedy extended from 1915 to 1923, insinuating that any wrongful acts that contributed to it are not only the responsibility of the Ottoman Empire, the predecessor state, but also its successor, Republic of Turkey, which was founded in 1923."

The Turkish ambassador then unabashedly offered the Judge his embassy’s services as an unimpeachable source for documentation on the Armenian Genocide! "My embassy places itself at your disposal to provide references to scholarly works that disagree with the current orthodoxy that the Armenian tragedy ought to be termed genocide," the letter said.

Amb. Sensoy then chastised Judge Morrow by instructing her that her "use of the term ‘Armenian Genocide,’ is inappropriate." He said he was unhappy that in her September 11 opinion, the Judge had made a reference to the "Historical Background of the Armenian Genocide." He also accused the Judge of "being an advocate of one side in a genuine historic controversy…."

In response to this unwarranted intrusion into the affairs of the court, the attorneys for the Armenian side -- the plaintiffs -- filed an affidavit with the court on March 7, 2007, that stated: "The letter from the Turkish Ambassador is replete with inaccuracies and erroneous suppositions…. The Republic of Turkey is not a party to this lawsuit, nor has it appeared in any capacity in such a way to allow it any voice in this process…. There is no legal justification for this Court to consider any position presented by the Republic of Turkey in this case. Accordingly, Plaintiffs recommend that the Court disregard the Turkish Ambassador’s letter."
On the other hand, the attorneys for the German banks -- the defendants – claimed in their affidavit that the Turkish ambassador’s letter was "relevant evidence." Not surprisingly, the defendants used that letter to buttress their allegation that the lawsuit could have to "negative implications" on U.S. relations with Turkey. They claimed that the Turkish ambassador’s letter demonstrates that the court’s consideration of “the degree of Turkey’s culpability for its treatment of Armenians during the WWI period implicate[s] sensitive foreign policy concerns between the United States and Turkey even to this date."

While the Turkish government's intent in sending such a letter to the Judge may have been to defend its interests, it may actually result in the following unintended and detrimental consequences for Turkey:

1) The Ambassador’s unwarranted interference in the affairs of a U.S. Federal Court could result in the Judge not only rejecting his unsolicited intervention but also negatively disposing her towards the German banks for their possible role in orchestrating that letter;

2) Should the judge reject the letter, her ruling would imply that a straightforward case of seeking the return of Armenian assets held by German banks, would become, as the Turkish ambassador himself stated, a legal case with far reaching consequences for the Turkish side, including the reaffirmation of the Armenian Genocide by a U.S. Federal Court and holding today’s Republic of Turkey responsible for the losses suffered by genocide victims.

Once again, by its emotional over-reaction to all issues dealing with the Armenian Genocide, the Turkish government may have shot itself in the foot!

29 March 2007
By Harut Sassounian
Publisher, The California Courier

Dear All,

Re: Lawsuits against German Banks on Genocide Assets

This message is intended to bring some historical documentation and clarification in response to above article, slandering Turkish Ambassador Mr. Nabi Sensoy.

a- The writer claims that some Armenians had deposited “assets” in the subject Banks. If the plaintiffs can produce documentary evidence of such deposits and beneficiaries, it will not be appropriate for any party to interfere from outside, for such a bilateral agreement between the bank and its client.

b- However, if such claims are made on generalization without legal documentation, entailing an act of international swindling, hidden behind vague accusations, then, it is our duty as decent citizens of this world to avoid an act of robbery, right under our eyes where the name of Turkey is used as a bait or evidence.

c- Attached book excerpts, # 1 through # 13, show that the Ottoman Empire was broke for long time, and her finance was under the control of Western (Colonialist) States, which did not permit under the capitulatory rights given to them, even an increase in the custom duties, so that the Government could pay salaries (or be able to carry on programmed reforms for the areas where Armenians lived as a minority well under 20% of the people). Excerpt # 11-12, prove that the Ottomans had “no assets with German Banks”. It is only after they borrowed 5 million gold Liras, that they were able to enter the war, and pay for arms and ammunition supplied by Germany, or unpaid salaries.

d- Regarding the alliance between Germany and CUP Government, please read attached newspaper article of General Bronsart von Schellendorf, who was the Second General Staff Commander (right hand of Enver Pasha) who was “not” called as eyewitness in the murder of Talat Pasha by Tellerian.

e- Regarding “looting”, excerpt # 14, plus #16-17-18-19 from the Armenian Historian A.A.Lalaian’s, book ISBN 978-975-343-483-6 THE COUNTER-REVOLUTIONARY ROLE OF THE DASHNAG -ZOUTIUN PARTY 1914-1923 are self-explains, who was plundering, killing, torturing, stealing !

f- Excerpt, # 15, prove the amicable relations and good will of the Ottoman Sultan Mehmet VI, when he was visited by the Armenian delegation in 1918. If a genocide “had ever happened before”, why an Armenian delegation would visit and pay respect to the Sultan ?

Behind all this genocide fanfare, the main object of the Diaspora to hit jackpot prizes (like with Insurance Companies) by court cases for compensations and indemnities surfaces! The whole “world deceit play” is nothing but an act of “international swindling and judicial trickery” where politicians, parliaments and many institutions are (some unknowingly) made tools or stage crowd.

Any decent human “cannot turn his eyes away from an act of robbery or murder”. Mr. Sasounian blames Ambassador Sensoy for not staying put, blind and deaf “while they swindle the Banks”. Diaspora is trying to get at least a “federal court verdict”(since they cannot go to an international tribunal” against Turkey, where Turkey’s defense will not be required, and ridicules the Turkish Ambassador for “shooting his own foot”!

Sukru Server Aya

Excerpts From Various Books:

On the Ottoman side, French and British investments and sales under the strong umbrella of the “capitulations” had already destroyed the little industry that existed, and drained whatever little income was left, after payment of Credit installments by Debt Directorate run by creditor countries. The Empire was bankrupt since 1877, the backbone nonexistent and the creditors “would not permit increase of import tariffs” to help the budget. The State was bled heavily, yet no blood transfusion was permitted because they had to sell the medicine only to keep the “sick man stay in bed”.

# 1
“It was calculated in 1904 that the average ad val orem equivalent of the import duties levied by Germany, on the principal manufactures exported from the Unite Kingdom, was 25 percent. The corresponding figure for Italy was 27; for France 34; for Austria 35; for the United States 73; and for Russia 131. The figures are rough; but they illustrate tolerably well the relative intensity of protective tariffs….Whether because of the tariffs or not, German industry grew rapidly and continuously from 1879 to 1914. To begin with the most important: iron and steel. This industry depended chiefly upon the ore of Lorraine and the coal of Westphalia.”

Bertrand Russell, FREDOM VERSUS ORGANIZATION 1776 – 1914, London, Unwin Books, 1965 p. 172-173

# 2
“ Under a five percent tariff, the merchant often paid fifty per cent on the cost of his goods. Turkish industries flourished, for they were really and powerfully protected. When at length this policy of the government was completely overthrown, by England chiefly, the industries of Turkey perished and her rapid impoverishment began.”
Cyrus Hamlin, MY LIFE AND TIMES, Boston 1893, p. 305

# 3
“… English goods poured in vast abundance, the quality generally wretched, but the prices low, and then this store in Koorchoon Khan completely changed its character. It began to have cheap goods, cheap and shabby.”

Cyrus Hamlin, MY LIFE AND TIMES, Boston 1893, p.212

# 4
“ The Porte ran up huge budget deficits during wartime years, and helplessly ran paper money off the printing presses to pay for them. During the war, prices rose 1575 percent. Before long, the war had brought the Ottoman economy almost to its knees, and the Young Turk government had no idea what to do about it”

David Fromkin, A PEACE TO END ALL PEACE, Henry Holt and Co. NY, (ISBN 0-8050-6884-8) p. 123

# 5
“ Even France the foremost champion of nationalism, showed little sympathy for the insurgents. Istanbul was up to its neck in debt - £ 200 million bearing an annual interest of £ 12 million as against £ 22 million in annual revenues. On Oct. 6, 1875 the Porte declared that it was no longer able to meet its financial obligations. As Turkey’s primary creditor, France was far more interested in salvaging its financial investments in the ailing empire.”

Efraim & Inari Karsh, EMPIRES OF THE SAND, (ISBN 0-674-00541-4), Harvard Univ.Press p. 85

# 6
“On his accession Ismail (Egypt) had inherited a public debt of £ 3 million by the mid 1870s this had risen to £ 90-100 million at the terrifying rate of £ 7 million per year .”

Efraim & Inari Karsh, EMPIRES OF THE SAND, (ISBN 0-674-00541-4), Harvard Univ.Press p. 48

# 7
“Until April 1907 the Turkish customs duties had been 8%. The powers had assented to an increase of 3%, namely to 11%, but not a further increase of 4%, as asked by the Turkish government… In 1879 the Ottoman government was forced, through bankruptcy and financial chaos, to assign six sources of revenue to the service of national debt; and hand over their collection to the Public Dept Administration, managed by foreign, European representatives. Sir Ernest Cassel founded and controlled the National Bank of Turkey. 75% of the shares in the Turkish Petroleum Company, which had exclusive rights over the oil deposits in the vilayets of Baghdad and Mousul, were held by British interests.”

Akaby Nassibian, BR?TA?N & THE ARMENIAN QUESTION 1915-1923, Croom Helm, London (ISBN0-7099-1820-8) p. 26

# 8
“French capital investments in Turkey surpassed those of any other country, including British and German. Within the territorial limits of present-day Turkey, they amounted in 1914 to about 900 million gold francs or approximately 4.5 million paper francs. Of the Ottoman Public Dept 62.9 % was due to France and 22.3% to Britain…”

Akaby Nassibian, BR?TA?N & THE ARMENIAN QUESTION 1915-1923, Croom Helm, London (ISBN0-7099-1820-8) p.27

# 9
“The Entente Powers were caught off guard by the Ottomans’ Sep. 9, announcement of abolition of capitulations.”

Efraim & Inari Karsh, EMPIRES OF THE SAND, (ISBN 0-674-00541-4), Harvard Univ.Press p. 131

“As late as Oct. 9, Grey was still willing to offer a compromise to the Ottoman Empire on custom tariffs.”

Efraim & Inari Karsh, EMPIRES OF THE SAND, (ISBN 0-674-00541-4), Harvard Univ.Press p. 132

“… Grey, the British foreign secretary, thought military action might provoke a coup d’etat in the Ottoman capital: given the instability of Turkish politics in the years preceding the war, as well as the divisions on the issue of entry to the war itself, this was hardly an unreasonable expectation. British intelligence offered a bribe of £4 million. Offering cash was not in itself misplaced: the Ottoman public debt was evidence of that. The real difficulty was that the Germans had just handed over £5 million…Moreover, success at Gallipoli might have repercussions in two directions. Both the Central Powers and the Entente were actively competing for allies in the Balkans. Indeed, the possibility that Greece might side with the British in August 1914, and that therefore its army would be available for use against Turkey, was what had first triggered the Gallipoli idea in Churchill’s mind …”

Hew Starchan, THE FIRST WORLD WAR, Penguin, 2004, (ISBN 0 14 30.3518 5) p. 118

“The mobilization had placed an unbearable strain on the crumbling Ottoman economy, and on Sept.30 the Porte appealed to Germany for a loan of 5 million TL in gold, only to be thoroughly disappointed. Berlin was willing to lend Turkey the requested sum, undersecretary Zimmerman told the Ottoman ambassador in Berlin, Muhktar Pasha, but only after the Ottomans entered the war; until then, Turkey would have to content itself with an advance payment of 250.000 gold TL. - Two days later Enver paid yet another visit to the German ambassador, this time with Talaat, Djemal and Halil. The four reaffirmed their commitment to war and promised to allow Souchon to attack Russian targets the moment the German government deposited 2 million gold TL in Istanbul . These meetings did the trick/ On Oct. 12, a shipment of TL 1.000.000 in gold left Germany on its way to Istanbul to be followed five days later by a second shipment of TL.900.000. This was manna from heaven to Enver. With German credit he could immediately see to the upkeep of the army and have forces ready to go into action,”

Efraim & Inari Karsh, EMPIRES OF THE SAND, (ISBN 0-674-00541-4), Harvard Univ.Press p. 116

# 13
“On 26 September 1924, the leaders of the two main opposition parties in Britain, H.H. Asquith, the former Prime Minister, and Stanley Baldwin a future Prime Minister, presented an extremely remarkable memorial to Ramsay MacDonald, the Prime Minister. The signatories argued that the British government should respond to the letter from Secretary-General of the League of Nations dated 24March 1924, and support the work of assistance to the Armenian people by ‘a substantial contribution’ to the Scheme for the following reasons:

1- Because the Armenians were encouraged by promises of freedom to support the Allied cause during the War and suffered for this cause so tragically…
2- Because during then War and since the Armistice, statesmen of the Allied and Associated Powers have given repeated pledges to secure the liberation and independence of the Armenian nation….
3- Because in part Great Britain is responsible for the final dispersion of the Ottoman Armenians after the sack of Smyrna in 1922…
4- Because the sum of 5 million sterling (Turkish gold) deposited (?) by the Turkish Government in Berlin, 1916, and taken by the Allies after the Armistice, was in large part (perhaps wholly) Armenian money…”
Akaby Nassibian, BR?TA?N AND THE ARMENIAN QUESTION 1915-1923 Croom Helm, London (ISBN0-7099-1820-8) p.250

# 14
“Unfortunately, the days of the ‘interregnum’ (between the withdrawal of the Russian troops and the arrival of the Ottoman army) were used by Armenian terrorists as a last chance to ‘get even’ with the Islamic population. Entire districts were wiped out. The terrorists apparently thought there was still something to ‘salvage’ for the cause of ‘Greater Armenia’. ...The terrorists in Erzurum and Erzindjan were the worst: ‘... it seems probable that the Armenians, seeking to avenge the genocide, were killing Turks without compunction. …’writes Christopher Walker on this subject. The Armenian national convention in Gumru-Alexandropol (today called Leninakan) was also held in April and was heavily influenced by these dramatic events.

The convention rejected the terms of the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk and resolved at the same time to ‘carry on the war single-handedly’. ..Only when their military position became untenable did the Armenians bow to the necessity of the hour. It was then that the ‘Seim’ (Assembly) of the Transcaucasian Republic decided to negotiate with the Ottomans in Trabzon and recognize the decisions of Brest-Litovsk. That was no longer enough for the Ottomans, however…The parties finally came together at the conference of Batum, on May 11, 1918, where Halil Pasha insisted that Akhaltsikhe, Akhalkalak, and Gumru be surrendered. The hostilities threatened to break out anew as Armenian units pillaged Moslem villages in the vicinity of Karakilisa. On May 26, amidst general turmoil and mutual dissatisfaction, the United Transcaucasian Republic disbanded. On the same day, Georgia declared its total independence. Azerbaijan followed suit. Late in the night, between the 28th and 29th of May, 1918, the Armenian National Council declared Armenia an independent republic.“

Erich Feigl, A MYTH OF TERROR, Edition Zeitgeschichte Freilassing, Salzburg, Austria p.96

# 15
“The spokesmen for the Armenians were Messrs. Aharonian and Hadissian. They were received by Sultan Mehmed VI Vahdeddin after the Friday prayer (Selamlik) on September 6, 1918.

On September 9, Mr. Aharonian sent the following telegram to Prime Minister Kachaznuni in Armenia:

’On September 6th, after we were in the Selamlik we had an audience. We presented our congratulations on his accession to the throne. We submitted our best wishes for the development of the Empire and its well-being. We stated that the Armenian nation would never forget that it was the Ottoman Government which first conceived the idea of founding an independent Armenia, and recognized it, that the Armenian Government would do everything possible to protect friendly relations between the two countries and to strengthen them. His Majesty thanked us. He stated that he was very happy at seeing the envoys of independent and free Armenia, that he wished not only her development, but that she be strong in order to retain her independence.

His Majesty is entirely convinced that friendly relations will always exist between the two neighboring countries, Turkey and Armenia, in order that both of them may develop. He concluded his remarks by stating that he was very happy to see that Armenia had the strength to found an independent state which was able to send envoys to Istanbul, and repeated his best wishes for our country’. ..Aharonian continued his report, saying: ‘Talaat Pasha has traveled to Berlin to discuss the problems that arise from the situation in the Caucasus.’ That situation was confusing enough because Germany also wanted to gain a foothold in that geopolitically sensitive area and was wrestling bitterly with the Ottomans for influence. In the meantime, however, World War I took a dramatic turn. ..The forces of the Central Powers, who were being pushed far beyond their limits, grew weary. On October 8, 1918, Talaat Pasha’s cabinet resigned so that the Ottoman Empire could better fulfill President Wilson’s general conditions for peace (even though Constantinople was not at war with the United States). On October 30, 1918, the Ottomans and the Allied representatives signed an armistice agreement aboard the H. M. S. AGAMEMNON in the harbor of Mudros, on the island of Lemnos, almost within sight of the Dardanelles. …”

Erich Feigl, A MYTH OF TERROR, Edition Zeitgeschichte Freilassing, Salzburg, Austria p.97

# 16
Musaelian, Garipjanian Saruhanian, Hukasian and others... Yes all these people who fought against the Dashnag counter-revolutionaries and were killed in the hands of the arch-enemies of the people will always live in the memory of the Armenian labouring people!

The Dashnagzoutiun during the 2.5 years it stayed in power, Started an armed struggle against the Azerbaijanis living on Armenian soil, killing them whether they be civilians or soldiers and demolishing their towns and villages. In 1918 and 1919, the Dashnagzoutiun Government bombed the disarmed Azerbaijani and Kurdish villages, on the pretext that “they did not comply with government’s orders” (some Armenian villages also got their share of this bombardment) Having crushed the glorious May Uprising of the workers and peasants, The Dashnagzoutiun bombarded the Azerbaijani and Kurdish villages and murdered the civilians with the slogan “Muslims are our enemies!”

The Commander of the Bash-Garni unit, Lieutenant Colonel Melik Shahazarov, in the urgent report he sent to the Independent

Armenian Division Commander on November 1918, informed him that all the villages in the area had been bombarded, 30 Turkish villages had been occupied and an operation was being planned in order to occupy the remaining 29 villages and asked permission for the operation.

When the Dashnag murderers got approval from the headquarters, they demolished tens of Azeri villages in the Bash-Garni region, murdered the women, children; the people young and old and ransacked their belongings.

A Dashnag civil servant wrote, in his letter dated June 21, 1920, sent to A. Ohanjanian, the Dashnag Prime-Minister:

“Zanki-Basar was occupied by our troops. This region is so rich that it can pay our debts many times over. There has been an unconceivable plunder here. All the wheat, barley, rice, all the samovars, the carpets, all the money and gold have been collected. The Ministry of Finance could only send its officials here yesterday. A wealth of gigantic proportions is sliding away from our hands.”

A person named G. Muradian recounts the savage Dashnag activities of plunder of the Azerbaijani villages of the North bank of Lake Gorchy, with admiration:

“As a result of the work carried out by our government (the Dashnag Government) … the population of these villages Tohluja, Akhbulaq Ardanjsh etc.) have been expelled outside the borders of Armenia. I have seen the abandoned villages. Only a few cats and dogs were left. They were meowing or barking strangely with surprise at the deadly silence. The population of these villages have left behind a considerable amount of potatoes, wheat and barley and seeds. The government can collect from these villages, over two million puds of wheat and half a million pud of potatoes.”

The barbaric behaviour of the Dashnags towards the Azeri population in Armenia is very “eloquently” (!) reflected in the following words of a Dashnag “hero”:

“I exterminated the Tatar (Turkish- L.A) population in Bashar-Gechar (a town in Armenia — A.L.) without making any exceptions. One sometimes feels the bullets shouldn’t be wasted. So, the most effective way against these dogs is to collect the people who have survived the clashes and dump them in deep holes and crush them under heavy rocks pressed from above, not to let them inhabit this world any longer.” “So I did accordingly.

The bandit adds:
“I collected all the women, men and children and extinguished their lives in the deep holes I dumped them into, crushing them with rocks.”

The Dashnag government inflicted similar punishments to “rebel” Armenian villages too. (the village of Pashakent and others). The Dashnag Government, cruelly eradicating those who “resisted” and leaving the others to starve, was destroying the Armenian labourers in the cruellest way possible.

The archive documents of the Dashnag Government reveal that the Dashnag regional commissars could very well match the inquisition judges of the Middle Ages. For example the regional commissar, V. Agamian arrested the people in his region (old Karanuk, now Martuni) without any trial, seized their property and shot them.

Agamian, on the pretext of struggling against the army deserters gathered the wives, mothers and sisters of the people charged with hiding the deserters in their homes and stripped them naked and took them to a little pool of water prepared before and forced them to duck-walk there. This sadistic man then beat the naked women in the water and kept them there for hours. He later ordered the women to be arrested, and at night sent for them and raped the young girls and women, After insulting them, he turned them over to his guards. Agamian continued his cruelty in his region until the peasants could no longer stand it. The poor and better off peasants came together and decided to kill this wild animal. However, the Dashnag Government learned about the Situation from its agent M. Azarapetov and called him back.


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