- Turkey Warns Canada Not To Issue Genocide Declaration
- Turkish Objections To "Armenian Genocide" Yields Results
- Sarkozy Displays Hard Stance Against Turkish EU Membership In Letter To Armenians
- Lower House Does Not Want Ban On Armenian Genocide Denial
- Demonstrators Clash With Police
- Radical Armenians In Georgia Insult Turkish Flag
- American Study Urges Turkey-US To Recalibrate Ties
- Armenian Diaspora Intends To Create A Special Body To Resolve The Armenian Issue REGNUM News Agency
- Turkey: Turkish Academics Dispute 'Genocide' Label (AFP)
- Turks Stage Demo In US Ahead Of April 24
- Washington Trips
- 'Voices' From 1915 Will Be Heard On April 24
- A Renaissance Man With An Ottoman Soul: Georges Moustaki
- Armenians, Turks Step Up Rallies On Eve Of April 24
- [Impressions From Occupied Lands] Nagorno-Karabakh Supported By The Diaspora
- Blaming Missionaries: Beating The Wife Recep Guvelioglu
- Don't Worry, Nothing Happened On Apr. 24 Cengiz Aktar
- Swedish Commander: Emigration Is Correct, However Genocide Did Not Happen
- Is the U.S.-Turkey Alliance at an End? By Rajan Menon and S. Enders Wimbush washingtonpost.com's Think Tank Town
- The House's Ottoman Agenda By Jackson Diehl
- Sarkozy Announces Backing For ‘Genocide’ Bill
- Armenians Stage Demonstrations On April 24 Anniversary
- Turkey Challenges Claims In US Newspaper Ads
- Opening Of Mass Grave Fails To Satisfy Historian
- Wexler Blasted For Opposing Armenian Genocide Resolution By LARRY LIPMAN Palm Beach Post
- Ankara Not In Full Agreement With Bush Statement
- 92 Years Later, Armenian Genocide Pains Survivor By Niraj Warikoo Free Press, Comments by Erdal Firinci
- Belgium Presents An April 24 Gift To Armenian Lobby
- Jewish Groups Lobby Against ‘Armenian Genocide’ Resolution In Us Congress
- Will Ankara’s Armenian Initiative Work? Lale SARIIBRAHIMOGLU
- Civil Leader Calls For European Turks To Get Involved
- Armenians Stage Protest In Washington
- Photographs Exhibited To Counter Armenian Allegations:
- Fire-Bombs Thrown At Turkish Embassy:
- Four Jewish Groups Back Turkey On Armenian Genocide Ümit ENGINSOY
- Captain Corelli’s Author Lauds Ottoman Turks
- Films Of Armenian Master Directors Meet The Audience All Through The Month
- Sydney: Armenian Genocide Commemoration Events Schedule
- Senator Hillary Clinton And Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid Cosponsor Armenian Genocide Resolution
- Turkey At The Crossroads
- Turkish Jews To Appeal US Congress On Resolution
- Turkish Belligerence And Kurdish Naiveté Fereydun Rafiq Hilmi
- Turks Face A Future Filled With Fear by Catherine Field New Zealand Herald
- Un Complicit In Genocide Denial The Toronto Star
- Complete Destabilization Threatens The Region In Case Turkey Invades Northern Iraq PanARMENIAN.Net
- Armenia's Priority Is Not Recognition Of Genocide But Opening Of Border With Turkey By H. Chaqrian AZG Armenian Daily
- Turkish, Us Scholars Discuss Turkish-Armenian Relationship
- Hopes For The Future As Turkey Prepares To Take Helm Of BSEC
- Obama Backs Armenian Genocide Allegations
- Akhtamar Attracts 1,000 Visitors In 15 Days
- Turkey's Alarmists, Pollyannas Have Wrong Take: Frederick Kempe
Turkey Warns Canada Not To Issue Genocide Declaration
25 April 2007,
Turkish Daily News
Turkey warned Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper last week not to issue an April 24 declaration where the incidents of 1915 are defined as genocide, a day of commemoration for Armenians but a nightmare for Turkish diplomats. The Canadian Parliament recognized the Armenian genocide and Harper became one of the few heads of state to use the word “genocide” in his written statement during 2006. Wary of these genocide claims spreading to other countries including the United States, Turkey is trying hard to block efforts by the Armenian diaspora in almost every country in the world.
The Turkish Daily News has learned that Canadian Prime Minister Harper was warned through diplomatic channels last week that “repeating these claims annually will not help in normalizing Turkey-Armenia relations and will harm Turkish-Canadian bilateral relations as well.” “We hope that the Canadian PM will not repeat this year what he did last year,” a high-level Foreign Ministry official told the TDN.
Ankara made the same diplomatic attempt with the United States before April 24 where President George W. Bush also issues a declaration. Turkish officials said Ankara is not expecting Bush to use the word genocide. U.S. presidents prefer to define the incidents in 1915 as a massacre.
Meanwhile the Turkish Foreign Ministry published advertisements in four major U.S. newspapers, The New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, The Washington Times and Politico. The advertisement says that Turkey has given assurances for the opening of all archives and expects the same by other parties. Foreign Minister Abdullah Gül, speaking to reporters during the April 23 reception in Parliament said, The New York Times decision in particular to publish the advertisement was a good step for Turkey to promote its own views about what occurred in 1915.
Turkish Objections To "Armenian Genocide" Yields Results
25 April 2007
Turkey is not losing its battle against the radical Armenian diaspora in all front as its latest diplomatic victory shows. Last week the European Union approved a framework decision aimed at criminalizing denial of the Holocaust and other genocides following six years of intense debate. Attempts by the Armenain to qualify the incidents of 1915 as an act of genocide by the Ottoman Turks was turned down and were not included in the scope of the law..
The end product was described as a carefully-balanced compromise by EU diplomats, which allows EU countries to opt out of enforcing the law if national laws do not prohibit similar conduct. The bill authorizes a maximum sentence of three years for:
Publicly condoning, denying or grossly trivialising: (1) crimes of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes...directed against a group of persons or a member of such a group defined by reference to race, colour, religion, descent or national or ethnic origin, and (2) crimes defined by the Tribunal of Nüremberg...directed against a group of persons or a member of such a group defined by reference to race, colour, religion, descent or national or ethnic origin.
Thus, the bill only covers incidents that are covered within the scope of the International Criminal Court's jurisdiction, such as the Holocaust and the 1994 Rwanda genocide, but does not cover events such as the alleged Armenian genocide or Stalin's purges and deportations in Soviet Russia.
The decision allows member states to retain constitutional language granting freedoms of speech and press. The decision also criminalizes publicly inciting to violence or hatred , even by dissemination or distribution of tracts, pictures or other material, directed against a group of persons or a member of such a group defined by reference to race, colour, religion, descent or national or ethnic origin.
The International Herald Tribune quoted EU officials as saying the law was notable for what it omitted.
Fearing that the legislation could be hijacked by groups trying to right historical wrongs, a majority of EU countries rejected a demand by the formerly communist Baltic countries that the law criminalize the denial of atrocities committed by Stalin during Soviet times. As a political gesture, however, Franco Frattini, the EU's justice commissioner, said the EU would organize public hearings on the "horrible crimes" of the Stalin era in the coming months.
The scope of the law also does not cover other historical events, like the alleged massacre of Armenians during the First World War by Ottoman Turks, which Armenians claim a genocide.
France has recognized the Armenian claims and is trying to pass legislation that makes it a crime to deny the events as a genocide.
Sarkozy Displays Hard Stance Against Turkish EU Membership In Letter To Armenians
25 April 2007
Nikolas Sarkozy, the leading candidate for president following the first round of French presidential elections, has written a letter to the Armenian community in France, making promises about France's committment to recognition of the so-called Armenian genocide, as well as taking a stong stance against potential Turkish membership in the EU.
Part of Sarkozy's letter, which was sent to the Armenian Foundations Coordination Council, said "France has officially recognized the Armenian genocide, and this law holds for everyone. France violently condemns every kind of provocation and discrimination against ethnicities of any kind......We are a republic which respects the honor and memory of the Armenians, and as a state, we will never bow to pressure on this front."
Later in the letter, Sarkozy talks about his views on possible Turkish membership in the EU: "Let me tell you the truth: I am against Turkish EU membership. The real problem lies with Turkey; I cannot tell young French school students that Europe's borders lie along Syria and Iraq. If we accept Turkey then, putting aside the Ukraine for a moment, we have to accept Lebanon, Israel, and the Magrib. If Europe really wants to give off a sense of security, then its borders must be defined. We should deepen our relations with Turkey, but not to the point of EU membership. What we need is an urgent declaration of 'privileged partnership' with Turkey......"
Lower House Does Not Want Ban On Armenian Genocide Denial
25 April 2007
There is hardly any support in the Lower House for a proposal by small coalition party ChristenUnie to ban denial of internationally recognised genocides, such as the Holocaust and the Armenian genocide. ChristenUnie MP Joel Voordewind yesterday announced to submit a bill seeking the ban. The party already proposed including a specific ban on genocide denial last year. The Council of State studied this proposal and has meanwhile advised that the Dutch law already implicitly bans such conduct.
The Council, the highest advisory body on planned legislation, referred to article 137c in the penal code, which says insulting peoples is a criminal offence. However, although the Council does not mention this, this might also hamper free speech on the Armenian genocide as Turks might feel insulted by claims that this indeed took place.
Armenians yesterday commemorated the 24 April 1915 genocide and presented the Lower House with a petition asking for the ChristenUnie bill to be adopted. But apart from Party for Freedom (PVV) and orthodox Christian SGP all parties reacted extremely cautiously.
Voordewind pointed out that the EU recently called on all member states to ban genocide denial. Nevertheless, Labour (PvdA), the leftwing Greens (GroenLinks) and centre-left D66 said yesterday they would not support ChristenUnie. The Christian democrats (CDA) suggested the Council of State says an amendment would be superfluous. The conservatives (VVD) and Socialist Party (SP) were undecided as yet.
In Turkey, acknowledging the Armenian genocide is illegal. PvdA Justice State Secretary Nebahat Albayrak, who is a Turkish as well as a Dutch citizen, almost had to resign from the PvdA list of candidates for the last Lower House elections in November because she would not recognise the genocide. Media pressure waned just in time for Albayrak, but not for two other PvdA candidates and one CDA candidate who did have to go for the same reason. Albayrak stated that it was up to historians to decide whether genocide technically took place.
Demonstrators Clash With Police
25 April 2007
Turkish Daily News
Riot police clashed with demonstrators outside the Turkish consulate in Thessaloniki yesterday, during a protest against the alleged mass killings of Armenians by Turks in 1915. Police said some 200 Greek Armenian protesters tried to break past a police cordon outside the consulate building. No injuries or arrests were reported.
Radical Armenians In Georgia Insult Turkish Flag
25 April 2007
Journal of Turkish Weekly
Ultra-nationalist Armenians living in Javakhk (Georgia) insulted Turkey and Turkish flag. Members to 'Javakhk Scout Movements' holding the Armenian flags sang the scout anthem. After passing over the Turkish Republic's flag, they burnt the Turkish flag. The radical Armenians accused Turkey of being responsible for the 1915 clashes. Later the Armenians stayed and served as 'guards of honor' in front of the Armenian memorial. Though in a doubt, the delegation of local officials followed the scouts and passed over the Turkish flag again. Armenian separatism is a strong movement among the Georgia Armenians.
American Study Urges Turkey-US To Recalibrate Ties
The New Anatolian / Ankara
25 April 2007
A study by an American group warns that Turkey and the United States are approaching a critical strategic crossroad that will determine both the shape and the content of their relationship for the foreseeable future and urges steps to be taken by Washington and Ankara to recalibrate their ties.
The study by Rajan Menon, an Adjunct Fellow at Hudson Institute and the Monroe J. Rathbone Professor of International Relations at Lehigh University, and S. Enders Wimbush, the Director of Hudson Institute's Center for Future Security Strategies was published by the Think Tank Town of the Washington Post.
The study asks "Is the U.S.-Turkey Alliance at an End?" and says the pressures forcing change on this long-standing alliance -- which has endured since the Truman Doctrine in 1947 -- are powerful. "Neither Turkish nor American policymakers seem to grasp the emerging reality that this important friendship is fast eroding; alternatively, they have concluded that the alliance has run its course and are prepared to let it go."
The authors say neither side is taking serious remedial measures to recalibrate a vibrant friendship that has served both countries well for more than half a century. "The consequences for both sides of a failure to make necessary course corrections will be significant."
The study says the war in Iraq is the most immediate bone of contention driving Turkey and the U.S. apart, but it is not the only driver. "Since Turkey denied use of its bases to initiate a second American front in Iraq in the run-up to the 2003 invasion, the prevailing perception across the Turkish political spectrum -- including in the all-important military and political elite -- is that Washington is seeking to punish Turkey. For its part, Washington has made its feeling of betrayal clear to the Turks and to the world. Political miscalculations, articulated via hyperbolic political theater on both sides, might have dissipated under different circumstances, but this has not happened.
Instead, the Iraq war has put new energy into the third rail of Turkish politics: the Kurdish question."
The study says Ankara fears not only that the American-led intervention cannot hold Iraq together, but that it is a powerful stimulant for its breakup, which will result in an independent Kurdish entity in northern Iraq, bordering Turkey's Kurdish population. "Turkey's experience fighting Kurdish separatists and terrorists is long, bitter and bloody. Consequently, there is no resonance at any point on Turkey's political spectrum, or even in private discussions, for allowing something resembling a Kurdish state to emerge on the ruins of broken Iraq."
"Instead of this" the study said "in the last few days, Turkey's military leaders acknowledged that they are seriously contemplating finally intervening with their own powerful military in northern Iraq to eliminate this possibility, regardless of the presence of American troops there or elsewhere in the country."
The study said anti-Americanism in Turkey, fueled by the continuing chaos in Iraq and the decisions that led to that imbroglio, is running at unprecedented levels, as opinion polls have graphically documented in recent months. "Nearly 80 percent of Turks view the United States as a problem, including being a direct threat to Turkey's national security."
The study points out that Iraq is the immediate irritant, but Turkey's search for a more comprehensive identity has been underway since at least the end of the Cold War. It says Turkey has been slowly redefining its strategic identity since the early 1980s, an evolution to which official Washington has been stunningly silent. "Decades of Turkish secularism and an obsessive pro-Western orientation -- always somewhat artificial -- are being adjusted to reflect the realities of Turkey's new strategic position and objectives. Today many Turks understand that it is essential to create a more organic equilibrium in Turkey's relationships with the Muslim world, with Eurasia -- particularly with Russia and the emerging Eurasian power China -- and formalize Turkey's relationship with the West, emblemized by Turkey's current efforts to join the European Union. A new generation of Turkish strategists sees Turkey as a major player across the Islamic world and as a major Eurasian actor -- with or without the United States -- while still keeping a strong foothold in the West."
The study says "American policy makers continue to mouth platitudes to the effect that Turkey is a model democratic secular Islamic state, a misplaced accolade most Turks find highly insulting. They view themselves rather differently, and more broadly: as a crucial ally in the struggle against terrorism; as a critical security nexus atop an arc extending from Israel to Central Asia, a zone of actual or potential upheaval and war; as a guarantor of essential water-borne commerce, particularly hydrocarbons; as a frontline state against a potentially nuclear-armed Iran; and as a corridor for the strategically important Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline."
The study also says Turks have always assumed that their cooperation is key to a durable settlement in Iraq. Most are astonished and aggrieved that the American debate on how to fix the Iraq mess, and the policies of the George W. Bush administration in particular, fail to reflect either Turkey's frontline position or the consequences of American failure in Iraq on Turkey's immediate and longer-term security interests. "America, they feel, has taken Turkey for granted. In this, the American media has been complicit, or ignorant. In most pundits' discussions of how the Iraq issue might eventually be settled, Turkey is almost never cited as a critical actor or as the likely recipient of the consequences of the action of others, almost as if Iraq might somehow be fixed without Turks ever noticing or caring."
The study says Turks are moving towards realignment. "The Iraq problem has accelerated a debate in Turkey that likely would have taken place anyway. Today, influential Turks, government officials and foreign policy experts alike have embarked on a strategic reassessment. Turkey's possible reorientation could include building deeper ties with new partners, among them Russia -- with whom Turkey is developing deep economic and energy ties; China, which is building a strong position throughout Eurasia, including in Turkey; Iran -- which is more popular in Turkey today than the United States; and Syria. Strategic realignment could wittingly or unwittingly cause Turks to abandon their longstanding premise that the United States remains the indispensable ally. Turkey's rejection by the EU, an outcome a growing number of Turks are coming to acknowledge as likely, will accelerate dynamics within Turkey for strategic realignment."
The authors stress that "this need not happen." They say Turkey's strategic salience to American objectives across the Middle East and Eurasia has never been greater, especially as Turkey re-defines itself to account for a post-Cold War world that presents both countries with new challenges, opportunities, and a new range of convergent interests. "But both sides urgently need to develop a new vision of the strategic future, beginning with the looming breakup of Iraq and the strong possibility that Turkey will fail to join Europe officially. The latter, ironically, might strengthen opportunities for a revivified, redefined U.S.-Turkey partnership."
The study warns that Turkey and the U.S. have to pay urgent attention to the possibility that the U.S.-Turkey alliance could be in jeopardy. "To this end, they should move to establish high-level joint working groups that are tasked with proposing concrete measures to safeguard the alliance and to ensure its relevance for the post-Cold War world. Turkey must also be made a central partner in fashioning a political settlement in Iraq and engage in regular consultations and joint planning to this end."
The authors say the U.S. must work with both the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) in northern Iraq and the Turkish leadership to prevent the dispute over the oil-rich city of Kirkuk in northern Iraq (contested by the Kurds and by the Turkmen, who are supported by Turkey) from precipitating open warfare and possible Turkish intervention, which could further undermine America's alliance with Turkey.
They say "finally, bi-lateral, and eventually multilateral steps must be taken to fashion a "grand bargain" between the KRG and Turkey that includes specific and enforceable provisions to assure the KRG that Turkey will not invade Iraqi Kurdistan to forestall the possibility of an independent Kurdish state and to guarantee Turkey that the KRG will not permit the Kurdish radicals and separatists to use northern Iraq as a base of operations against Turkey."
The authors stress that it is neither in America's interest to "lose" Turkey, nor in Turkey's interest to "lose" the United States. But they warn that the dynamics that currently dominate this historic relationship are leading in this direction.
Rajan Menon is an Adjunct Fellow at Hudson Institute and the Monroe J. Rathbone Professor of International Relations at Lehigh University. S. Enders Wimbush is Director of Hudson Institute's Center for Future Security Strategies.
Armenian Diaspora Intends To Create A Special Body To Resolve The Armenian Issue
It is necessary to spare no effort to achieve recognition of the Armenian Genocide in the Ottoman Empire of 1915 by the international community and Turkey as well, Executive Director of Armenia’s Community of Land Unions Andranik Arshakian said at a news conference today.
According to him, a specially established organizational committee is now busy with preparation of a forum in France within next two years of Western Armenians’ descendants, who managed to escape the Armenian Genocide in the Ottoman Empire in the beginning of the 20th century. “The main task of the forum is to establish an authoritative body of Western Armenians that will be engaged in settling the Armenian issue,” Arshakian said. According to him, in case the Armenian Genocide is recognized, the question arises: what is next? The body will decide on it, he said.
In his turn, deputy editor-in-chief of the Armenian Encyclopedia Genrikh Khachantrian who is also one of the forum initiators, said that forums dedicated to discussion of the Armenian issue, were twice held in Yerevan, in 1917 and in 1919. According to him, an encyclopedia will be written soon that covers the whole period of the Armenian issue.
Meanwhile, Member of the Armenian National Academy of Sciences Alexander Manasyan said that such a forum would encourage not only proposing a new method of resolving the Armenian issue, but will even more unite descendants of the Western Armenians in the whole world.
© 1999-2007 REGNUM News Agency
Turkey: Turkish Academics Dispute 'Genocide' Label
The Mass Killings Of Armenians Has Long Cast A Pall On Ottoman Turkey
April 23, 2007 (RFE/RL) -- Academics in Turkey, where it is illegal to "offend Turkishness," widely object to the characterization of the mass killings of Armenians in Ottoman Turkey from 1915-18 as "genocide." While it is accepted that killings took place during the relocation of Armenians within the Ottoman Empire during World War I, many Turkish scholars do not believe they were the result of a deliberate campaign. RFE/RL spoke with some prominent Turkish historians and lawmakers to hear their take.
Murat Belge, Bilgi University, Istanbul:
"I believe what happened in 1915 cannot be put in the same frame with and does not have the same essence of what Hitler did for three main reasons: Firstly, Hitler wanted to exterminate the Jews altogether. Hitler was not trying to extradite the Jews from Germany.
"He wanted to exterminate them everywhere in the world they lived. So, what happened in the Ottoman state and what Hitler did and led to the creation of the term 'genocide' are quite different. Secondly, it is important to look at how a society or state organized a crime to see if it was 'genocide.' In [Nazi] Germany, we saw the horrible organization of genocide.
"The Ottoman state, however, under those circumstances, couldn't have done this even if it had wanted to. Chaotic things have happened and it is not fully clear who attacked whom and where.
"A small group inside the Special Organization [A three-member executive committee established by the Committee of Union and Progress] undertook a number of actions in the course of deportation, but we can't see any efforts to massacre those left behind. And thirdly, the Jews were completely innocent and Hitler tried to exterminate them based on fabricated claims. But the Armenian citizens of the Ottoman Empire were involved in armed struggle against the government although it would be an exaggeration to claim that all Armenians engaged in this struggle."
Cengiz Aktar, Bahceshehir University, Istanbul:
"Turkey has never said that 'Nothing happened in 1915.' Sure, things happened. As a result, fewer Armenians were left in the Ottoman Empire, while Turks and Kurds remained.
"But I think it was no genocide. Research and debate is continuing over whether it was indeed a genocide. But, certainly, whatever is agreed upon, it cannot relieve the Ottoman Empire of its responsibility."
Yusuf Halacoglu, head of Turkish Society of History:
"The Armenians wanted to create an Armenian state in Anatolia, but they weren't allowed to. There was a fight and they lost it.
"If the Armenians, with the help of the Russians, French, and British, had succeeded in 1915 in creating their independent state, nobody today would be talking about 'genocide.' And all of those who were killed would be called heroes who were martyred for the cause of an independent Armenia."
Sukru Elekdag, parliamentarian, former UN ambassador:
"In World War I, the Ottoman state was fighting against Russia in the east and against France and Britain in the west. They [Ottoman Armenians] were planning to create an Armenian state in eastern Anatolia.
"Armed Armenian groups were joining the Russian army to fight the Ottomans. They [the Armenians] were also massacring Turks in the areas in which they were active. That means that in 1915, along with the [world] war, there was also a civil war within the Ottoman Empire. That is why the Ottoman state exercised its legitimate right of self-defense."
RFE/RL: Elekdag on the possibility of the United States passing a congressional resolution defining the massacre of Armenians as a genocide:
"The Armenian leadership openly sided with the Ottoman Empire's enemies. Ottomans used their legitimate right of self-defense. The ex post facto inculpation of the Ottoman Empire by such a resolution violates Article 1, Section 9 of the United States Constitution, because the word and the concept of 'genocide' did not exist back in 1915.
"Second, the passage of the resolution would constitute a condemnation for a crime without trial and prosecution. It will contravene the principle of due process enshrined in the fifth amendment of the United States Constitution."
Betul Aslan, University of Erzurum, Turkey:
"All archives are open in Turkey. Based on these archive materials they will see that there has been no genocide. This was a decision that the Ottoman state had to make under conditions of war.
"I don't see it even as deportation, but moving out and resettling. They [the Armenians] even claim a number of dead that exceeds the total number of [the Armenian] population in the Ottoman Empire."
Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty © 2007 RFE/RL
Turks Stage Demo In US Ahead Of April 24
The Federation of Turkish-American Associations (TADF) and the Young Turks Association held a joint rally titled "An End to Armenian Lies," in a show of protest against Armenian allegations of genocide days before April 24, when Armenians mark the anniversary of what they claim was the beginning of a systematic genocide campaign at the hands of the late Ottoman Empire.
Addressing more than 500 participants ahead of the four-hour long rally on Saturday, TADF President Atilla Pak called on the US administration to be fair, while also saying that their primary goal was to give accurate information about the alleged genocide.
"Bringing up allegations of genocide spells hiding the truth. Today unfortunately truths are being denied and facts are being distorted. Turks have never committed genocide along their thousands year long history," Turkey's Permanent Representative to the UN Ambassador Baki Ilkin, who also attended the rally, told reporters for his part. Meanwhile, US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi once more declined to meet with a group of Turkish parliamentarians who were lobbying in Washington a resolution based on Armenian allegations of genocide, as she did with two other Turkish parliamentarian group in the recent past.
The resolution was presented to the US House of Representatives earlier this year, though the timing of the vote has yet to be decided. Turkey has warned that passage of the resolution would harm strategic relations with the United States and undermine cooperation in key regions across the world, in Afghanistan, Iraq and elsewhere. During a February visit, Pelosi refused to meet Foreign Minister Abdullah Gül as well.
Today's Zaman with wires Ankara
While reading the statement of the third and last persuasion delegation from the Turkish Parliament that went to Washington to dissuade the US Congress from adopting a resolution on the Armenian genocide, we were enraged, not only because our sovereignty but also the Turkish parliamentary delegation, which represents our national dignity, was humiliated.
Journalists asked the members of the delegation, “Did you demand a meeting with Nancy Pelosi, the speaker of the House of Representatives?” Turkey’s Ambassador to Washington Nabi Sensoy replied, “While we arranged appointments with various members of the Congress, we also requested an appointment from Pelosi’s office, but they didn’t even respond.” Other such delegation that went to the United States with the same purpose were treated the same way. OK, let’s omit Gül’s case, who tried to make an appointment at a time when Pelosi’s character wasn’t known by us. And let’s also omit the first delegation’s repeated mistake since it coincided with Gül’s visit. But how come the second and the third delegations ventured forth and were humiliated over and over again?
ERDAL SAFAK, SABAH
'Voices' From 1915 Will Be Heard On April 24
April 23, 2007
ANKARA - Turkish Daily News
On April 24, a commemoration day for Armenians killed during a forced migration by Ottomans in 1915, the Armenian diaspora, which has been undertaking intense lobbying efforts in the United States' House of Representatives over an introduced resolution recognizing the incidents in 1915 as genocide, attack Turkey with a new documentary movie. "Voices," will feature interviews with four very old Armenians who survived these events.
Turkish parliamentarians going to Washington D.C. in counter lobbying efforts are expected to visit movie theaters there to better assess exactly what they will be conducting their propaganda against.
After Atom Egoyan's Ararat in 2002, another Armenian director, Apo Torosyan, shot a documentary movie about Armenians' genocide claims. The 40-minute documentary is built on four interviews, detailing what happened between 1915 and 1923.
Four voices in the film
Torosyan interviewed three Armenian and one Greek survivor from the 1915 expulsion, where, it is claimed, 1.5 million Armenians lost their lives. The interviewees are 106-year-old Yeghsapet Giragosian, 94-year-old Luther Eskijian, 105-year-old Hovhannes Madzharyan, and 88-year-old Sossos Delis.
Torosyan: I won't be back
Torosyan's biography is as interesting as his movie. He was born in Istanbul in 1968, the son of an Armenian father and of a Greek mother. He graduated from the University of Istanbul, Academy of Fine Arts. His previous works include Water, The Gates, Witnesses, and Discovering My Father's Village: Edincik
Torosyan, in a statement made to TDN via e-mail, said he had had to leave Turkey in 2003, after being interrogated by the police while shooting his “Discovering My Father's Village: Edincik” movie in Edincik.
“I can't be back to Turkey. The punishment for speaking in public about the Armenian Genocide is 10 years imprisonment in Turkey. Even though I am no longer a Turkish citizen, the danger exists” he argued.
First in U.S then in Istanbul
The movie will first be shown in the Armenian Cultural and Educational Center in the U.S. on April 24, during the commemorations, then in a special performance in The National Association for Armenian Studies and Research (NAASR) on April 25. It is also expected to be shown in Istanbul soon, with the support of Human Rights Association (IHD). The director of Istanbul Branch of IHD, Hürriyet Sener, speaking to TDN, confirmed that Voices would be shown but the place and the date, she said, had not yet been decided on.
A Renaissance Man With An Ottoman Soul: Georges Moustaki
It would be unfair to describe Georges Moustaki as just a musician -- he is a complete artist. More specifically, he is one of the world's most important contemporary musicians and chanson masters, known as an instrumentalist and author-composer-interpreter-poet.
Renowned musician Georges Moustaki, who loves Turkish coffee, drant it throughout the interview. When he was served, he smiled and said, "See this is the real Turkish coffee."
Moustaki was in Ankara for the 24th International Ankara Music Festival. Born into a family of Greek origin in Alexandria, Moustaki is a real Ottoman admirer. The 73-year-old can't stay in the same place for longer than a month and follows traces of the Ottoman past wherever he goes.
Being born in Egypt to a Greek family and living in France for years affected not only his music but also his entire life. "My first 17 years passed in Egypt. There was already an interaction between the Italian, French, Arabic, Jewish, Greek, Armenian and Turkish communities. Those communities also had an effect on me."
Rather than defining himself as an author, poet or artist, Moustaki prefers to identify himself with music. "I didn't know which one to choose, but music chose me. … I set out into a mysterious world while I am singing."
"I never wanted to choose one single discipline; I always had the desire to do everything. But music has always been the most important of them all. In fact, I didn't know which one to choose but music chose me over time. Music leaves so little time for other activities. That's why I am not an author or painter. Instead I am an artist who sings, writes his songs and also deals with other things when he has time. … It's not that I express myself best with music, but I mostly do it with music."
A Turkish girl called Betül, whom he met in Paris, introduced Turkey to Moustaki, whose "legendary" grandfather was a Greek who lived in Istanbul.
"I first went to Çesme 20 years ago. I stayed there and got a vision of Turkey. I loved Istanbul. I went for a holiday. I came to Istanbul to see Betül. She introduced Istanbul to me; we went to Adalar (the islands of Istanbul), Side and Konya. I invited her to the concert and she is coming."
His job lets him travel a lot to satisfy his curiosity, and through music he tells people his feelings and thoughts. Singing is mysterious to him: "It is a different world, and the emotion of sympathy is formed between the singer and the listener."
"I could not really know my grandfather; he was a legend in the family. But I am very interested in the Ottoman past. I am part of that civilization. I always feel the same things when I am in Syria, Turkey, Lebanon, Greece and Yugoslavia. All these places have references to Ottoman culture. And Greek music has an oriental aspect that it acquired from Turks. I also make references to the Ottoman in my music but it is not deliberate."
Moustaki's biggest ambition is for Greece and Turkey to live in peace. "Çiftetelli (a type of Turkish folk dance) is Turkish, not Greek. A stringed instrument called the buzuki is a Turkish instrument, not Greek," he said, explaining how the two cultures overlap.
"I'd love to see the two countries living in peace and harmony. I wish it for Palestine, too, and for the whole world. I know that Turks love Greeks, indeed. I don't mean in the political sense, but the human factors. People love it when I sing in Greek."
In 2000 Moustaki, together with Paris Mufti Halil Ebubekir, Archbishop Gilson and NGO representatives, planned to fly to embargoed Iraq for humanitarian aid. "We could not. Artists had also joined us to urge that the embargo be lifted. But we had problems, and the plane did not take off."
About the ongoing wars in the Palestine and Iraq, Moustaki said, "One American Democrat said in the morning, 'We lost this war.' It is a very destructive and unnecessary war. All wars are catastrophes."
BAHTIYAR KÜÇÜK ANKARA
Armenians, Turks Step Up Rallies On Eve Of April 24
The streets of two major cities in the US, New York and Washington, have been hosting rallies held by Armenians and Turks ahead of April 24, when Armenians mark the anniversary of what they claim was the beginning of a systematic genocide campaign at the hands of the Ottoman Empire.
Times Square in New York on Sunday saw Armenians' protest against Turkey only a day after the Federation of Turkish-American Associations (TADF) and the Young Turks Association held a joint rally titled "An End to Armenian Lies," in a show of protest against Armenian allegations of genocide. Robert Menendez, a Democratic member of the US Congress and a supporter of the Armenian lobby, as well as Carolyn Maloney, another Democrat member of Congress and a supporter of the Greek Cypriot lobby, attended the rally, which attracted around 2,500 demonstrators supporting the Armenian allegations.
Delivering a speech at the rally, Maloney said she had written a letter to European Union officials urging them not to let EU candidate Turkey into the bloc.
"By killing Hrant Dink, Turks add one more person to the number of Armenians they killed," Curtis Sliwa, a radio talk show host, said at the rally, referring to the murder earlier this year of prominent Turkish-Armenian editor Hrant Dink. Dink was murdered by a Turkish nationalist gunman outside the Istanbul office of his bilingual newspaper, Agos, in January; his funeral drew 100,000 mourners including government officials who in chorus condemned the killing.
Meanwhile in Washington, around 500 Turks held a protest march against the Armenian allegations. Demonstrators waving Turkish flags ended their march in front of the Turkish Embassy, and then the group whose protest was also a message to the US House of Representatives before which a resolution based on Armenian allegations is currently pending dispersed without incident.
The resolution was presented to the House of Representatives earlier this year, though the timing of the vote has yet to be decided. Turkey has warned that passage of the resolution would harm strategic relations with the United States and undermine cooperation in key regions across the world, in Afghanistan, Iraq and elsewhere.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who will decide whether to put the bill to a full vote, is a strong supporter of the resolution. During a February visit, Pelosi refused to meet with Foreign Minister Abdullah Gül. She also declined to meet with a group of Turkish parliamentarians who were lobbying in Washington against the resolution, as she did with two other Turkish parliamentary groups in the recent past.
Meanwhile, yesterday's Hürriyet daily reported that Pelosi eventually agreed to a meeting with Turkey's ambassador to the US, Nabi Sensoy. Saying that the meeting took place "a short while ago," the daily didn't specify the exact date, while officials at the Turkish Foreign Ministry in Ankara were not able to confirm such meeting.
Today's Zaman with wires Ankara
Armenians, Turks Step Up Rallies On Eve Of April 24
[Impressions From Occupied Lands]
Nagorno-Karabakh Supported By The Diaspora
Davit Melkumuyan is a representative of a Nagorno-Karabakh-based civil society organization. He was expecting an invitation from the European Commission.
There are a lot of Turkish goods sold in the stores. Local people show great interest in these products shipped to Karabakh via third countries.
With the invitation, a visa is required and his hometown of Hankendi (Stepanakerd) in Nagorno-Karabakh needs to be listed. However, Brussels sent the invitation to Baku as the European Commission -- just like Azerbaijan and many other countries -- recognizes Nagorno-Karabakh as Azeri territory.
The Armenians of Karabakh, however, declared independence after a referendum in 1991, which was boycotted by Karabakh Azerbaijanis. In the subsequent war, Armenia occupied Karabakh and five other adjacent districts disconnecting Nagorno-Karabakh from Azerbaijan. Twenty percent of Azeri territory has been under Armenian occupation since then.
Despite negotiations supervised by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) after the cease-fire in 1994, no significant progress has been made in getting past the deadlock. Davit’s current problem is perhaps the most concrete indicator of the long-standing Nagorno-Karabakh impasse.
Access to Nagorno-Karabakh is possible only through Armenia. Traveling time for the 330-kilometer-long Yerevan-Hankendi highway takes six hours. After traveling the Armenian part of the trip, we approach Lacin, the Azerbaijani city under occupation which serves as a buffer zone between Nagorno-Karabakh and Armenia. Vehicles are stopped by traffic police. It turns out the road is temporarily closed to traffic because of a military drill for Armenian troops. Even this alone signals the tension in the region. The commander directing the drill from his comfortable jeep pushes the troops to their limits with his orders.
After passing through the Laçin valley, the first thing we see is a military control point which marks the beginning of the occupied zone. There is no serious border check. Nobody asks for either passport or permit. Nagorno-Karabakh and other occupied zones seem to be extensions of Armenian territory. There is a seemingly abandoned village a few miles away near a brook. This is Zabuk (Agavnok) village which Azerbaijanis left after the war. The village is dilapidated. However, the presence of bee hives tells us there are people living down there.
The first person we met there is Grisa who told us she came from Georgia in 1995 and hesitated to give her last name. Asked why she came here, Grisa responded: “An Armenian is not asked why he or she is here. An Armenian is born in somewhere, grows up somewhere else, migrates to another place and dies in a totally different place.” Grisa had to leave her original home. She now lives in a house abandoned by the Azerbaijanis. She was followed by other 40 families who did almost the same thing. They asked for no permission. Nearly 120 people live in the village at the moment.
Sonya is the second person we talked to. A teacher in the village school which has 30 students, Sonya migrated from Taskesen in Azerbaijan nine years ago. She has had no news about her home there. But she misses Baku a lot. Asked if she wants to live in Baku someday, Sonya responds asking, “Do you believe everything will be fine?”
After Laçin was destroyed
Laçin is five kilometers ahead of Zabuk. The same situation prevails there. Public buildings include a post office, a museum and a theatre; all are in abject condition. The partially usable ones were transformed into police station and hospital. No Azeri trace is left in the city. Even civilian buildings were seized.
We hit the road to arrive in Hankendi before it gets dark. We traveled 40 kilometers in one and a half hours. Soon we realized why this region is called Nagorno-Karabakh; impassable mountains, deep valleys and steep roads that make you dizzy. But green plateaus and a nice spring evening await us in Hankendi after this tiring trip.
Hankendi, Karabakh’s largest city with a population of 140,000, features classical Soviet architecture which can be observed in a large square, wide streets, multiple floor social residences and public buildings. The impact of the Armenian diaspora is felt on the streets of Hankendi. Armenians abroad gave large sums for restoration and reconstruction works in the city, including the renovation of the schools and the construction of social buildings and roads. The newly erected public buildings openly display names of American-Armenian millionaires who sponsored the construction work.
The statue of Alek Manukyan, the benefactor known for his generosity to Karabakh who died in 1996, adorns the city’s main square. According to Karabakh’s unrecognized foreign minister, Georgi Petrosyan, monetary aid provided by the diaspora reaches $9-10 million every year. diaspora aid makes up the third largest portion in Karabakh’s annual budget.
We were amazed when we saw Turkish goods sold in the stores. Local people show great interest in these products shipped to Karabakh via third countries. Turkish products marketed in Hankendi include virtually all the basics, from tomatoes to tea, from socks to fridges.
Mosques In Susa Are Destroyed, Houses Are Looted
From the burnt, destroyed and looted streets of the ancient Azerbaijani city of Susa, emerges a sad Azerbaijani melody from a masterfully blown clarinet.
The sound brings us to the gate of a historical palace with a spacious yard. The gate opens to a pool which signals that nothing has been left behind from the glorious past. Asked who was playing the clarinet, the young boy standing nearby the window says: “My older brother! Come inside if you want to.” We accept the invitation. Razmik flushes when we say we come to the beautiful sound coming out of the clarinet. Razmik Harautunyan is a 23-year-old music teacher; he was born in Baku but his grandparents are from Susa. He says he was five when he left Baku but he can still locate his house. Razmik, who has been living in his grandparents’ house in Susa since 1992, has one brother and one sister. His parents are medical doctors. His father is also a musician.
While rehearsing for the upcoming wedding he would play for, he tells us that the melody we heard was called “tarekema.” Asked whether he is playing Azeribaijani or Armenian songs, he replies that their songs are not easy to distinguish from each other, they all belong to this geography. We notice the happiness in his face owing to the recognition of his culture by foreigners. We are invited to the dinner table, where Azerbaijani-style tea is served along with eggs painted for the recently observed Easter. This is an amazing experience, to witness the different tastes at one table.
I do not understand why some people destroy what other people built
We are unable to forget Razmik’s sad melodies while walking the streets of Susa. There are three mosques in the city center. One is barely standing, with its sole remaining minaret and closed gate and windows. The two others are no different. Their interior adornments have been removed. Raindrops easily reach the ground through gaps in the stone. Gravestones in the yard are symbols of loneliness and negligence. While passing by the looted mosque, we run into an old man. Turns out he is an architect. He has worked in Azerbaijan for many years. He tells us with pride that he contributed to the construction of a number of buildings. “In Azerbaijan, they consider what I am doing and not my nationality; they had great respect for my business,” he says with excellent Azerbaijani Turkish. Noting that he is unable to understand why some people destroy what others build, the old architect adds: “This place gives me nothing but sadness. There are no unclean nations, just unclean people. There are no good nations, but just good people. They have made brothers spill the blood of brothers.”
Another observation about the city is that its inhabitants still wear military camouflage garments. This gives the impression that the war is ongoing in Susa and Nagorno-Karabakh. After we took a picture of a mother and son going inside a convenient store, a civilian mustached man approaches us and asks for our permits. The police officer says nothing, but takes notes of the information on our papers. Asked whether there is any problem, he says he is doing his job.
While he was taking his notes, we noticed uniformed persons on the roof of the largest mosque in the city center. We are headed to the roof right away. Soldiers and laborers clean up surface of the domes. The authorized person tells us that the building will be restored with funds from Iran. But the condition of the mosque shows that it would not be that easy.
Manusak Balayan, who is known for his contributions to social projects, recalls that the destruction in Susa started in the Soviet Era, when many historical buildings, including mosques, were used as warehouses. With his current project, he seeks to create an inventory of the historical artifacts in Susa, and prepare a photo album that will feature them.
Fight over the loot of Azerbaijani houses
Saro Sarian, the president of the Nagorno-Karabakh Fugitives and Immigrants Organization, notes that the population balance has significantly changed in Susa over the last fifteen years. Recalling that before the war, there were between 12 to 13 thousand Azerbaijanis and between 4 to 5 thousand Armenians in the city, Sarian notes that now there is no single Azeribaijani left. He himself occupies a house abandoned by an Azerbaijani family who had to leave the city due to the war. He sent photos of the house to the heirs of that family, now living in Baku. Just like other Armenians in Karabakh, Saro Sarian made his plans assuming that Azerbaijanis would never come back again. He says the two nations are in conflict. He does not consider going back to Baku. But his wife dislikes their overall situation. Saro says: “My wife loves the cosmopolitan atmosphere; after Baku, Susa is not such a fabulous place to become accustomed to.” Recalling that after the fall of Susa to the Armenians, newcomers occupied the houses, Sarian says there were even severe fights over the share of the abandoned houses.
What is the current legal status of Nagorno-Karabakh? The foreign minister of the Nagorno-Karabakh administration, Georgi Petrosyan, alleges that some 99.9 percent of Karabakh inhabitants cast their votes in the referendum held in 1990 and stated their preference for independence. When we recall that the Azeribaijanis boycotted the referendum, he says they were invited back. He further adds that Karabakh’s population is 147,000, and that all Azeribaijans left the territory. Asked whether the absence of even a single Azeribaijani in Karabakh is a result of deportation or ethnic cleansing, he claims it is only an immigration issue. Petrosyan sees no problem in Karabakh’s dependence on Armenia and Diaspora.
However, the problem in Nagorno-Karabakh is more of a political than an economic nature. Uncertainty over the future stirs fear of complete instability in the entire region. Azerbaijan’s rejection of Armenia’s fait accompli in seizing power in Nagorno-Karabakh, along with the recent huge level of arms procurements, combines to intimidate the Armenians. The asymmetric power balance between Azerbaijan and Armenia increases the concerns and fears on the Armenian side.
Nagorno-Karabakh, which is not diplomatically recognized even by Armenia, has representatives in Yerevan, Russia, France, Argentina and Lebanon. In the US, its presence is ensured through a civil society organization. However, Karabakh’s representative in Yerevan, Garlen Avedisyon, sees no problem in that: “America does not officially recognize us, but the US Congress still sends five million dollars every year to Karabakh as humanitarian aid.”
After returning from the US where he chaired a civil society organization to promote Karabakh between 1997 and 1999, Tevan Poghosyan founded a non-governmental organization to seek Western-style solutions to the problems in the region. International Center for Human Development stands out as the most active think tank in Armenia.
Stressing that low-level relations should be established to resolve the problems between the countries in the region, Poghosyan also notes that policies dependent on other countries exacerbate the existing problems. Poghosyan also recalls that Karabakh issue is brought up in the election times of relevant countries and adds that the major obstacle before the resolution of the issue is the completely different approaches adopted by Azerbaijan and Armenia to resolve the bilateral issues.
When we remind that Armenian occupation deteriorated the situation, Poghosyan asserts that Armenia’s goal is not to expand its territories in the region and the occupation is only meant to create a buffer zone around Karabakh. Poghosyan further adds that 200,000 people migrated from Armenia, 30,000 from Nagorno-Karabakh and 500,000 Azerbaijanis from other occupied zones, besides Karabakh. But Azerbaijani sources say the real number is 950,000.
‘Wow! Azerbaijanis are human just like us’
We have doubts as to whether Karabakh is used by clandestine enterprises for money-laundering or drug trafficking owing to its uncertain status. The Chair of the Tradition Association, Valery Balayan, gives us information regarding these doubts. Balayan says once some rich men ran casinos but they were all closed down and there is currently none. Recalling that the Karabakh people are conservative, Balayan asserts that Nagorno-Karabakh has no role in crime traffic. Balayan tells us that through the association he chairs, he gather youth groups from Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan and Nagorno-Karabakh in the Kabardino-Balkarian Republic in 2002. He recalls that the participants in the meeting were satisfied and some Armenians have said, “Wow! Azerbaijanis are human, just like us.” He asks for the continuation of efforts at promoting dialogue.
NEWS & PHOTOS BY SELAHATTIN SEVI
Blaming Missionaries: Beating The Wife
23 April 2007
The brutal slaughtering of three people who worked for a publishing house which publishes the Bible and some Christian propaganda booklets in Malatya was not a shock for the people who know what has been going on in this country.
Almost all columnists- with the exception of a few radicals- expressed their grief and horror about that barbaric event. They also mentioned some events like the murder of Hrant Dink- an Armenian journalist- in Istanbul , killing of an Italian pastor in Trabzon.
But they did not say anything about some minor events, like an Israeli soccer player in Sivasspor was weeping after he heard anti-Semitic curses during the game. During the TV programs about “the threat of missionary activities”, even during the famous “meeting of the republic“ in April 14th Tandogan- Ankara, one of the speakers blamed the government by saying “the missionary activities have been increased during their rule”
The anti-Semitic, anti-Christian mentality is on the rise in Turkey ?
What is the reason?
Turks were not that much anti-Semitic, anti-Christian , then what happened? Why is that sick mentality getting stronger. Do those “missionary activities” pose any danger for Turkey ?
First of all, let’s take a brief look at the history
Converting anyone’s faith is not an easy job to do.. Many evangelists were killed in Africa or China in 19th and 20th centuries.
In the Ottoman Empire people of many religions lived together for 600 years. Approximately 500 missionary schools established in the Ottoman Empire after the 1850’s . Those schools more or less contributed the cultural development of the people in Anatolia . But Turkish people did not like them, not because of their missionary activities, but their interference into the politics. They did, to a certain extent, many activities, but got little success in the field of converting people’s faith. Catholics converted a few orthodox Armenians..
That was it.
They could not even accomplish one of their many duties to convert Alawis, as a heterodox Moslem group. So as a result, even in the poorest conditions attempts to convert Moslem Turks were not successful.
During the Balkan War and First World War , rebellions, bloodshed, massacres were wide spread but people did not hate each other. Let me give you an example, Turkish Independence war ended in 1922 with the victory over Greek invasion army and their collaborators. Exchange of Greek and Turkish people, I am talking about a total of two million people, between Greece and Turkey ended 1931. For nine years there was no serious bloodshed in the two communities. There were ultra-nationalist, religious fanatics in two communities. But , nothing serious happened.
With the exceptions of excessive tax operations over the non Muslim especially Jewish citizens after the second world war and notorious 6-7 September looting of the Greek citizens of this country in 1955, almost nothing happened.
After the collapse of Soviet Union , the world turned to be a one bloc community. Some philosophers, historians and politics experts were trying to evaluate the effects of that event, pointed out the probabilities of escalation of ethnical and religious conflicts especially in the developing countries.
That happened in this country. That is the first reason for the Malatya brutality.
Second is the illiteracy and poverty.
New types of fanatics who are ultra nationalist and at the same time fanatic in the faith created on this soil. These types of people are mentally ready to act. That is the third reason.
These are reasons anybody can tell.
But the main reasons for these kinds of brutalities are only two.
The possibility of fragmentation of the country forced almost every political movement to take an ultra nationalist motto. And people who are mentally ready to act, illiterate and poor are ready to jump into the operation.
The second reason is the attempts to change the map of the region. Fanatics are very angry to what is going on in Iraq or Iran . Those guys can not do anything other than create a “common enemy” which in our case are Christians and Jews. We have a saying in Turkish which I can roughly translate “if anyone is not able to beat his neighbor, beats his wife.” Now , the antagonism towards foreign forces like the US or Europeans, rebounds on so-called “missionaries” or “pastors”.
The horror on the Christians and Jews will continue to increase.
As I mentioned before, since a speaker blamed “ missionaries” in the revolutionary meeting of Tandogan, what can we expect.?
I have also a word for the so called great powers . You are trying to replace Lausanne Treaty with Sevres. Then you must be willing to accept the results.
Don't Worry, Nothing Happened On Apr. 24
April 24, 2007
Apparently, the gap between the perception of this problem in other countries and the perception in this country is getting deeper and deeper. Although we continue to say that we never did it, we continue with present-day examples about how we can do it
April 24, 1915 is the day on which Armenian intellectuals in the Ottoman capital Istanbul were arrested. The April 24 at the same time is the symbol day of Armenism which came to an end in Anatolia. Each year, initiatives to legally regognize the massacres are made in various countries around the world. These attempts continue as modern genocide wars and are always assessed within a victory/defeat mindset.This year, an excessive sensitivity, probably triggered by the murder of journalist Hrant Dink was dominating official and unofficial reactions against these initiatives. The feeling as much as rush to counteract was there as if the death of Hrant would accelarate the approval of the genocide bills. Reactions shown by a Turkey which swings on the top of the nationalist wave are directly affected by this atmosphere of high nervousness. The logic works as follows:
A war already lost:
“The genocide bill was not taken up at the Knesset, therefore nothing happened to Ottoman Armenians”. Or, “The genocide bill will not pass in the U.S. House of Representatives; thus it would be proved that the genocide did not take place.” However, no one considers by this Aristotelian logic which it could say: “Twenty countries and 40 federal states in the U.S. have recognized the genocide; therefore, it did take place!” No one notices that while being pleased with the parliamentary decrees that are in favor of Turkey we legitimize those that are against. So who said politicians cannot write history? The former American diplomat Morton Abramowitz who has considerable knowledge about Turkey said to the visiting members of the Turkish Parliament who were lobbying there against the resolution: “You lost the war of history in the U.S.” Back home a controversy took place whether we lost it or not. But no body dwelled upon the statement made by the late Turgut Özal period's former ambassador to Turkey. Apparently, the gap between the perception of this problem in other countries and the perception in this country is getting deeper and deeper. Except two or three bewildered, no one in the world says, “In fact, Armenians have never faced anything worse than Kurds and Turks,” and no one thinks in the way of “Their boat sank in a boat trip in Trabzon; they were trippled by a stone during a desert safari in Syria; in 1916, they went in big groups on a touristic trip to France and America”. The discussion rather is conducted on “ We wonder if we could please Turkey if we say catalycsm instead of genocide?”
‘We never do such things':For instance, Israeli Health Minister Ben-Yizri speaking on behalf of Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni at the Knesset in March said this issue should be resolved by the parties among themselves while adding, “Armenians were subjected to mass murders in the final days of the Ottoman administration.” While we keep saying “nothing had happened” and “we never do such ugly things,” we place ourselves on the world agenda with the murders of priest Santoro, Hrant Dink and the carnage of Protestant missionaries in Malatya. Although we continue to say that we never did it, we continue with present-day examples about how we can do it. Congratulation messages to the murderers shower the Internet sites since victims presumably cursed our religion and nation, so they paid for it. And despite we love to talk about being the successors of the Ottoman art of intercommunity living that was precisely lost due, inter alia, massacres of Armenians. At the end of the day the international community has no reservations over what took place in these lands starting late 19th century; however, just does not know how to term it.In other words, the bills on the agenda today are simply hampered by the pressures as part of the realpolitik of the governments. The U.S. and Israel are alluding in the direction of their interests not to annoy and antagonize Turkey as their allies.
More tense and inward:
However the gravity of the issue lies in here. As the bills are introduced here and there on the massacres, as cultural and historical events are organized about the Armenism and as this issue remains without solution, Turkey is getting more tense and turning inward. An all abnegator position fed by the education system and by a certain media, is reflected upon any kind of attitudes official or unofficial. The distance between Turkey and the countries recognizing the massacres as genocide is getting bigger and Turkey isolates itself gradually in every aspect. A movie about past genocides, “Screamers” that was broadcast on BBC, the UN exhibition for the commemoration of the Rwandan genocide, talks about Armenia at the Anatolian Civilizations exhibition held in Italy and every single activity causing the pronounciation of the words “Turk” and “Armenian” together gives birth to fierce official reactions in Turkey. For instance, the framework regulation that was finally approved by EU last week after long discussions.
Turkey harshly reacted to the regulation with the thought in mind that it would criminalize the negation of genocide in the EU countries and that would pave the way for recognition of it. In return, Justice Minister Cemil Çiçek uttered something frivolous, “We will not abolish the Article 301 then.” The reaction placed Turkey in a spot that as if it is against the spirit of the regulation. However, Turkey should have claimed this law punishing the discrimination of its own citizens and fellow Muslims in the EU countries. In fact, according to the regulation, provocation of hatred and violence against any kind of minorities are defined as crime.Today, Turkey is way behind even the statements of a certain Kamuran Gürün about the Armenian massacres, and, of course, the approach of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk. Memory loss is turning to a chronic illness. This is no good. Because the nationalist ore is provoked more and more every passing day and the dialogue is getting paralysed in the long-run.Finally, would it be possible to curb the rise of nationalism in Turkey, as the Bush administration asserted when the bills in the U.S. were not passed? No. To the contrary, a national victory will be won against the U.S. Will not passing the bills, as the Bush administration insisted upon, ease the growing anti-Americanism in Turkey? Of course not. Also, when the act proposed by the leftist Meretz Party member in Israel in the Knesset was rejected, did anti-Semitism in Turkey decrease? Extremely doubtful.
90-year-old letter from a first-hand witness: "genocide did not happen"
A letter, written by a Swedish commander, who witnessed the events in 1915 and published a newspaper on April 23 1917 has been revealed to read: I never saw Turks conducting a genocide. It is my responsibility to object to these claims. Emigration was a military compulsion for Turks."
Swedish Commander: Emigration Is Correct, However Genocide Did Not Happen
It has been revealed that a Swedish commander staying in Anatolia as observer refuted Armenian genocide claims in a letter he wrote in 1917. Commander says: "as an eye witness, I object to genocide claims."
It has been detected that a Swedish commander objected to genocide claims that Armenians commemorated each year 90 years ago. Commander Hjalmar Pravitz, who stayed in the Ottoman Empire as an observer, wrote an article for the Swedish Nya Dagligt Allehanda newspaper, dated April 23 1917, stating: "as an eye witness, I certainly object to genocide claims."
Commander Pravitz stated he read the books "Noble Man" by Karl Gustav Ossiannilsson and "The Terrible Situation of the Armenians" by Marika Stjernstedt and pointed out these are all full of lies. The Commander wrote: "all I want to do is relay the events and reveal the distortions in these books."
Is the U.S.-Turkey Alliance at an End?
By Rajan Menon and S. Enders Wimbush
Special to washingtonpost.com's Think Tank Town
April 24, 2007
Turkey and the United States are approaching a critical strategic crossroad that will determine both the shape and the content of their relationship for the foreseeable future. The pressures forcing change on this long-standing alliance -- which has endured since the Truman Doctrine in 1947 -- are powerful. Neither Turkish nor American policymakers seem to grasp the emerging reality that this important friendship is fast eroding; alternatively, they have concluded that the alliance has run its course and are prepared to let it go. Neither side is taking serious remedial measures to recalibrate a vibrant friendship that has served both countries well for more than half a century. The consequences for both sides of a failure to make necessary course corrections will be significant.
The war in Iraq is the most immediate bone of contention driving Turkey and the U.S. apart, but it is not the only driver. Since Turkey denied use of its bases to initiate a second American front in Iraq in the run-up to the 2003 invasion, the prevailing perception across the Turkish political spectrum -- including in the all-important military and political elite -- is that Washington is seeking to punish Turkey. For its part, Washington has made its feeling of betrayal clear to the Turks and to the world. Political miscalculations, articulated via hyperbolic political theater on both sides, might have dissipated under different circumstances, but this has not happened.
Instead, the Iraq war has put new energy into the third rail of Turkish politics: the Kurdish question. Ankara fears not only that the American-led intervention cannot hold Iraq together, but that it is a powerful stimulant for its breakup, which will result in an independent Kurdish entity in northern Iraq, bordering Turkey's Kurdish population. Turkey's experience fighting Kurdish separatists and terrorists is long, bitter and bloody. Consequently, there is no resonance at any point on Turkey's political spectrum, or even in private discussions, for allowing something resembling a Kurdish state to emerge on the ruins of broken Iraq.
To the contrary, in the last few days, Turkey's military leaders acknowledged that they are seriously contemplating finally intervening with their own powerful military in northern Iraq to eliminate this possibility, regardless of the presence of American troops there or elsewhere in the country. Recent reports suggest that this decision is already before Turkey's parliament, and that it has strong popular support.
Anti-Americanism in Turkey, fueled by the continuing chaos in Iraq and the decisions that led to that imbroglio, is running at unprecedented levels, as opinion polls have graphically documented in recent months. Nearly 80 percent of Turks view the United States as a problem, including being a direct threat to Turkey's national security.
Iraq is the immediate irritant, but Turkey's search for a more comprehensive identity has been underway since at least the end of the Cold War. Turkey has been slowly redefining its strategic identity since the early 1980s, an evolution to which official Washington has been stunningly silent. Decades of Turkish secularism and an obsessive pro-Western orientation -- always somewhat artificial -- are being adjusted to reflect the realities of Turkey's new strategic position and objectives. Today many Turks understand that it is essential to create a more organic equilibrium in Turkey's relationships with the Muslim world, with Eurasia -- particularly with Russia and the emerging Eurasian power China -- and formalize Turkey's relationship with the West, emblemized by Turkey's current efforts to join the European Union. A new generation of Turkish strategists sees Turkey as a major player across the Islamic world and as a major Eurasian actor -- with or without the United States -- while still keeping a strong foothold in the West.
American policy makers continue to mouth platitudes to the effect that Turkey is a model democratic secular Islamic state, a misplaced accolade most Turks find highly insulting. They view themselves rather differently, and more broadly: as a crucial ally in the struggle against terrorism; as a critical security nexus atop an arc extending from Israel to Central Asia, a zone of actual or potential upheaval and war; as a guarantor of essential water-borne commerce, particularly hydrocarbons; as a frontline state against a potentially nuclear-armed Iran; and as a corridor for the strategically important Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline.
Turks have always assumed that their cooperation is key to a durable settlement in Iraq. Most are astonished and aggrieved that the American debate on how to fix the Iraq mess, and the policies of the George W. Bush administration in particular, fail to reflect either Turkey's frontline position or the consequences of American failure in Iraq on Turkey's immediate and longer-term security interests. America, they feel, has taken Turkey for granted. In this, the American media has been complicit, or ignorant. In most pundits' discussions of how the Iraq issue might eventually be settled, Turkey is almost never cited as a critical actor or as the likely recipient of the consequences of the action of others, almost as if Iraq might somehow be fixed without Turks ever noticing or caring.
The Iraq problem has accelerated a debate in Turkey that likely would have taken place anyway. Today, influential Turks, government officials and foreign policy experts alike have embarked on a strategic reassessment. Turkey's possible reorientation could include building deeper ties with new partners, among them Russia -- with whom Turkey is developing deep economic and energy ties; China, which is building a strong position throughout Eurasia, including in Turkey; Iran -- which is more popular in Turkey today than the United States; and Syria. Strategic realignment could wittingly or unwittingly cause Turks to abandon their longstanding premise that the United States remains the indispensable ally. Turkey's rejection by the EU, an outcome a growing number of Turks are coming to acknowledge as likely, will accelerate dynamics within Turkey for strategic realignment.
This need not happen. Turkey's strategic salience to American objectives across the Middle East and Eurasia has never been greater, especially as Turkey re-defines itself to account for a post-Cold War world that presents both countries with new challenges, opportunities, and a new range of convergent interests. But both sides urgently need to develop a new vision of the strategic future, beginning with the looming breakup of Iraq and the strong possibility that Turkey will fail to join Europe officially. The latter, ironically, might strengthen opportunities for a revivified, redefined U.S.-Turkey partnership.
Both sides need to pay urgent attention to the possibility that the U.S.-Turkey alliance could be in jeopardy. To this end, they should move to establish high-level joint working groups that are tasked with proposing concrete measures to safeguard the alliance and to ensure its relevance for the post-Cold War world. Turkey must also be made a central partner in fashioning a political settlement in Iraq and engage in regular consultations and joint planning to this end.
The U.S. must work with both the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) in northern Iraq and the Turkish leadership to prevent the dispute over the oil-rich city of Kirkuk in northern Iraq (contested by the Kurds and by the Turkmen, who are supported by Turkey) from precipitating open warfare and possible Turkish intervention, which could further undermine America's alliance with Turkey.
Finally, bi-lateral, and eventually multilateral steps must be taken to fashion a "grand bargain" between the KRG and Turkey that includes specific and enforceable provisions to assure the KRG that Turkey will not invade Iraqi Kurdistan to forestall the possibility of an independent Kurdish state and to guarantee Turkey that the KRG will not permit the Kurdish radicals and separatists to use northern Iraq as a base of operations against Turkey.
It is neither in America's interest to "lose" Turkey, nor in Turkey's interest to "lose" the United States. But the dynamics that currently dominate this historic relationship are leading in this direction.
Rajan Menon is an Adjunct Fellow at Hudson Institute and the Monroe J. Rathbone Professor of International Relations at Lehigh University. S. Enders Wimbush is Director of Hudson Institute's Center for Future Security Strategies. They recently published a Hudson Institute monograph entitled, "Is the U.S. Losing Turkey?"
This presupposes that we have talented and experienced diplomats who could effect a course correction here. Theyve all been replaced by cronies of Bush and Cheney. This may have been coming anyway, but Turkeys been begging us to take action against the Kurdish terrorist groups for two years now. Weve done virtually nothing to give their government cover. Imagine if the Canadians were staging incursions into the US and killing our citizens. Wed demand action as the Turkish people are. The damage this administration has done is unprecedented and it will continue for two more years.
By annemarieko | Apr 23, 2007
The Kurds are dependent on America. Turkey less so. So it is obvious to try to maintain relations with Turkey. The US does not want to repeat its mistakes inregards to East Asia.
By yaz85k | Apr 23, 2007
America`s laissez-faire attitude to the PKK, and their outright encouragement of PEJAK, exposes their `War on Terror` rhetoric as a hollow sham. Turkey can find better, more honest and considerate allies than this narcissistic declining superpower.
By bourassa | Apr 24, 2007
A further complication of this potential parting of the ways would be the effect on Turkeys current friendly relationship with Israel. Would this withstand a Turkish realignment? Hard to envisage the current US administration generating the diplomatic finesse required to stabilise anything in the region.
By bobtaylor | Apr 24, 2007 6
This admin has yet to find a long-standing partnership in the ME it cant screw up.
By kedavis22 | Apr 24, 2007
WaPo keeps cutting my comments even though I play very carefully by the rules. We will not be able to clean up the mess this administration leaves behind in four much less forty years.
By ozthegreatat42330 | Apr 24, 2007
Of course, if worse comes to worse, the US can always throw its support to Greece.
By wallerf | Apr 24, 2007
-Since Turkey denied use of its bases to initiate a second American front in Iraq- This is a problem started by Turkey, now they cry because they are paying for the concequences of their actions. True enough that Turkey could be a valuable stratigic partner but they need to realize that they must make concessions to the U.S., not vice versa.
By cssch2 | Apr 24, 2007
cssch2, although I recognise the American view of the US as the centre of the universe this is, after all, an American paper, I don?t see that this is a problem started by Turkey they didn?t invade Iraq or that they?re asking for concessions from the US and why should they make any? or that they?re the ones crying the US has much more to lose in the scenario described. Or are you simply suggesting that anyone who doesnt immediately fall in with the US world view is automatically wrong?
By bobtaylor | Apr 24, 2007
Walter??? Throw its support to Greece??? You have to be kidding. Greece does not want us either!! The way the Neocons are going they would delibrately provoke a war against ech other..... AND both sides KNOW THAT...Mind you both countries love Americans.. BUT hate the Neocons...
By danfahey | Apr 24, 2007
Having another go at trying to cope with the site punctuation: cssch2, although I recognise the American view of the US as the centre of the universe - this is, after all, an American paper - I don?t see that this is a problem started by Turkey - they didn?t invade Iraq - or that they?re asking for concessions from the US - and why should they make any? - or that they?re the ones crying - the US has much more to lose in the scenario described. Or are you simply suggesting that anyone who doesnt immediately fall in with the US world view is automatically wrong?
By bobtaylor | Apr 24, 2007
The US-Turkish relationship is breaking down? In that case, perhaps the US can finally join the rest of the civilized world in acknowledging the historical reality of the Armenian Genocide, instead of enabling the Turkish government to continue denying the atrocities of their precursors.
By pmaranci | Apr 24, 2007
Turkey is an important player in building new relationships with Syria and Iran, both of whom we must begin to engage seriously if we want to stabilize Irag. The UE should recognize Turkey aa a member and prevent the balkanization of Eurasia, eliminating further alienation. If we allow Russia and China to be the major players in this key area of the world, we fail to realize the possibilities for longlasting peace. Our focus needs to open up to the realities in that part of the world, and not shut out the possibilities a consequence of the current Bush Policies.
By LarryLJDean | Apr 24, 2007
How telling that this article appears on the Armenian Holocaust Remembrance Day. Turkey needs to live up to its history and make amends to the Armenians. As for the Kurds, Turkey has been suppressing them since the Attaturk founded the modern Turkish state. Turkey will have to live with a de facto independent Kurdistan in northern Iraq. The US is under no obligation to help Turkey suppress its ethnic minorities. Turkey, for whatever reasons, lives in a fantasy world where only ethnic Turks live in Turkey. Turkey got rid of its Armenian and Greek minorities during and after WW I, and still tries to finish the job with its Kurds. These are not the actions of a modern state, but rather of an insecure and paranoid state. If we lose Turkey, we can implement a Turkish solution: use force to carve up Turkey and make deals with the Kurds and Armenians and Greeks after they get back their lands.
By Garak | Apr 24, 2007
The Kurds in Iraq do not bear any illwill toward Turkey. They both have big mutual commercial interests and run in billions of dollars. Turkey, being a democratic country, ought not to ignore and deprive a very significant and large segment of its own population of their basic: natural God-given rights.
By chawsheen | Apr 24, 2007
Danfahey, supporting Greece as Turkey turns away from the West doesnt mean imposing our presence on Greece. It means supporting Greek interests when those interests are coincident with our own. Athens would welcome a better relationship with the United States in a variety of areas. Improved US relations with Greece might cause the Turks to frown less when officials talk about the United States. Your friend, Walter
By wallerf | Apr 24, 2007
We are losing all our allies not only in ME, but also in entire world because of our unconditional support of Israel.
By doubter007 | Apr 25, 2007
Garak, insecure and paranoid? Who does that remind me of? Do you think your solution of using force to carve up Turkey will work as well as using force in Iraq has? Maybe the Turks should use force to carve up the US and make deals with the Iroquois, French, Spanish, British, etc, after they get back their lands ...
By bobtaylor | Apr 25, 2007
The House's Ottoman Agenda
By Jackson Diehl
March 5, 2007;
Can a nonbinding congressional resolution really matter? Most are ignored by everyone except the special interests they are usually directed at. Even the House's recent resolution on Iraq was dismissed by both President Bush and Democratic antiwar leader John Murtha. Yet a vote expected next month on a nonbinding House resolution describing a "genocide" in the Ottoman Empire beginning in 1915 has the potential to explode U.S. relations with Turkey, sway the outcome of upcoming Turkish elections and spill over into several other strategic American interests, including Iraq and Iran.
So, yes: The Armenian Genocide Resolution sponsored by Rep. Adam Schiff does matter, logically or not. Turkish Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul spent several days in Washington last month lobbying against it, though the Turkish-American agenda is chockablock with seemingly more important issues. Friends of Turkey in Washington, from American Jewish organizations to foreign policy satraps, are working the Hill; so is the Bush team. On the other side is the well-organized and affluent Armenian American community, 1.4 million strong, and some powerful friends -- including the new House speaker, Nancy Pelosi.
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Here is a debate that could occur only in Washington -- a bizarre mix of frivolity and moral seriousness, of constituent pandering, far-flung history and front-line foreign policy. And that's just on the American side; in Turkey there is the painful struggle of a deeply nationalist society to come to terms with its past, and in the process become more of the Western democracy it wants to be.
Start with the pandering: Schiff, a Democrat from Los Angeles, cheerfully concedes that there are 70,000 to 80,000 ethnic Armenians in his district, for whom the slaughter of Armenians by the Young Turk regime during World War I is "anything but ancient history." Local politics also explains why a resolution that has failed numerous times in the past 20 years is suddenly looking like a juggernaut: Pelosi, of San Francisco, also has many Armenian supporters.
"There's a sense of momentum now about the resolution that we haven't had before," Schiff told me. "The votes are there in the committee. The votes are there on the floor." If Pelosi allows the resolution to be brought up, as she has reportedly pledged to do, it will probably pass. Its language is almost comically heavy-handed: It begins by declaring that the House "finds" a series of 30 paragraphs of facts about the genocide, ranging from the number killed (1.5 million) to the assertion that "the failure . . . to punish those responsible" helps explain subsequent atrocities, including the Holocaust.
Imagine the 435 members of the House, many of whom still don't know the difference between Iraqi Shiites and Sunnis, solemnly weighing whether Schiff's version of events 92 years ago in northeastern Turkey deserves congressional endorsement. But the consequences of passage could be deadly serious: To begin with, Turkey's powerful military has been hinting that U.S. access to the Incirlik air base, which plays a key role in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, could be restricted. Gul warned that a nationalist tidal wave could sweep Turkey and force the government to downgrade its cooperation with the United States, which needs Turkey's help this year to stabilize Iraq and contain Iran. Candidates in upcoming presidential and parliamentary elections could compete in their anti-American reactions.
No wonder the Bush administration as well as even Democratic-leaning foreign policy experts, such as Clinton-era ambassador Mark Parris, are trying to stop the resolution. Yet theirs, too, is a contorted campaign. After all, historians outside of Turkey are pretty much unanimous in agreeing that atrocities against Armenians worthy of the term genocide did occur. Though Congress may look silly with its "findings," the continuing inability of the Turkish political class to come to terms with history, and temper its nationalism, may be the country's single most serious political problem. Prominent Turkish intellectuals, including a Nobel Prize winner, have been prosecuted in recent years under laws criminalizing "insults" to Turkey -- such as accurate accounts of the genocide. In January a prominent ethnic Armenian journalist was murdered by an ultranationalist teenager.
Maybe Congress has no business debating Turkish history, maybe it is doing so for the wrong reasons. Yet if Turkey is to become the stable, Western-oriented democracy that it aspires to be, its politicians will have to learn, at least, to react the way everyone else does to nonbinding House resolutions: that is, with a shrug.
Sarkozy Announces Backing For ‘Genocide’ Bill
French presidential frontrunner Nicolas Sarkozy followed in the footsteps of his main contender, Socialist candidate Segolene Royal, and announced that he backed a controversial bill that criminalizes denial of an alleged genocide of Armenians at the hands of the late Ottoman Empire.
Greek riot police clash with Armenian demonstrators outside the Turkish Consulate during a protest in Thessaloniki on Tuesday.
Sarkozy said, in a message sent to the Coordination Council of Armenian Organizations of France (CCAF), that he supported penalties against denial of the alleged genocide, the Anatolia news agency reported. Sarkozy sent the message on the occasion of the anniversary of what Armenians claim is the beginning of a systematic genocide campaign in eastern Anatolia some 92 years ago.
The lower house of the French Parliament already approved the bill last year, which seeks up to three years in jail for those who dispute claims that Armenians were subject to genocide during the World War I. The bill has angered Turkey, which categorically refutes genocide charges and says the killings came when the Armenians revolted against the Ottoman Empire in collaboration with the invading Russian army.
Royal has recently pledged that the bill would be passed in the Senate in autumn if her party emerges as victor of the presidential election. Contrary to Royal, Sarkozy declined to say when the bill would be passed in the event of his victory in the polls.
Sarkozy said in his message to the CCAF that he was loyal to free academic research and freedom of expression and added that he believed the bill should not be used to prosecute those who express personal opinions on the issue.
But he added: "France cannot accept propaganda by a 'negationist state,' apparently referring to Turkey. Sarkozy said he favored the use of bill to ban demonstrations and conferences to deny the alleged Armenian genocide.
Sarkozy is an opponent of Turkey's EU membership. Armenian groups say Turkey should be forced to recognize the alleged genocide before being able to join the 27-nation bloc.
Today's Zaman with wires Istanbul
Armenians Stage Demonstrations On April 24 Anniversary
Tens of thousands of Armenians on Tuesday marked the 92nd anniversary of killings of Anatolian Armenians in the Ottoman Empire, an event they label as genocide, reiterating their call on Ankara as well as the world to recognize the killings as genocide.
"We came here to pay tribute to the victims so that our neighbors wouldn't for a minute think that we could forget about this, so that this won't happen in the future," said acting Defense Minister Michael Arutyunian. Top officials, including President Robert Kocharian, were among those paying tribute.
While Armenian television stations in the past used images from Mt. Ararat in Turkey during anniversary broadcasts, this year they used images of an Armenian church on Akdamar Island in Lake Van that was reopened earlier this year as a museum. Banners reading "1,500,000+1," were also shown in images in an apparent reference to the murder of prominent Turkish-Armenian editor Hrant Dink. Dink was killed by a Turkish nationalist gunman outside the Istanbul office of his bilingual newspaper, Agos, in late January. His funeral drew 100,000 mourners including government officials who condemned the killing.
In neighboring Iran, authorities blocked a traditional march by ethnic Armenians on the anniversary of the alleged genocide. A group of Iranian Armenians gathered in the garden of an Armenian church in Tehran, first attending a service there, and then laid flowers at a genocide monument in the garden of the church. The group dispersed without a march to a historic church located near the Turkish Embassy in Tehran. It was not clear why Iran refused to allow the march, which has previously been a traditional part of the April 24 demonstrations in Tehran.
In Moscow, a group of 200 ethnic Armenians threw Molotov cocktails in the garden of the Turkish Embassy building. The group also tore up Turkish flags and posters of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the founder of the modern Turkish Republic. Russian police officers avoided interfering in the protest while some demonstrators waved flags of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) and held aloft posters of now-jailed PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan. Some protestors also waved Greek Cypriot flags, an administration that is not officially recognized by Ankara.
Today's Zaman with wires Ankara
Turkey Challenges Claims In US Newspaper Ads
Turkey's Foreign Ministry is using the tools of public diplomacy to find a way out of the Armenian "genocide" issue, which has become a stumbling block in parts of its foreign affairs, putting full-page advertisements in leading US dailies.
The ads reiterated an earlier call by Ankara to Yerevan for the establishing of a joint commission of Turkish and Armenian historians and experts to study on Armenian allegations of genocide.
The advertisements were published in The New York Times, The Washington Times, the Los Angeles Times, the International Herald Tribune and Roll Call newspaper -- which is widely regarded as the leading publication for US Congressional news and information -- on Monday, only a day before April 24, when Armenians mark the anniversary of what they claim was the beginning of a systematic genocide campaign at the hands of the Ottoman Empire.
Under an assertive title saying, "Let's unearth the truth about what happened in 1915 together," the advertisements released by the Turkish Embassy in Washington recalled Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan in 2005 sending a letter to Armenian President Robert Kocharian in which he invited him to establish a joint commission of historians and experts from both Turkey and Armenia to study the events of 1915 in the archives of Turkey, Armenia and other relevant countries around the world.
"Turkey will ensure full access to all its archives," the advertisement said.
Today's Zaman Ankara
Opening Of Mass Grave Fails To Satisfy Historian
Yusuf Halaçoglu of the Turkish Historical Society (TTK) and historian David Gaunt of Södertörns University College in Sweden in a collaborative effort opened a mass grave on Monday in the southeastern town of Nusaybin, which Armenian historians say may contain the remains of victims of the alleged 1915 genocide of Armenians at the hands of the Ottoman Empire.
Nevertheless the endeavor didn't seem to be satisfactory for Gaunt, who refused to collect earth or bone samples from the grave.
Speaking to reporters following an examination of the site, Halaçoglu said Gaunt told him that the grave they had exposed was not the one he had planned to analyze, causing Gaunt to refuse to collect any samples. Halaçoglu, who argues that the remains are from Roman times, however, said he had collected samples, which would be scientifically analyzed.
The mass grave in Nusaybin was discovered by villagers in August 2006. The area where the mass grave lies is on an ancient line of defense works and underground storage rooms dating back to Roman times.
Gaunt expressed disappointment at a joint press conference following the grave opening. "My impression is that this grave is one in which no scientific research can be carried out. The grave has undergone numerous changes so it is not recognizable. Consequently, I have to say that this grave is not suitable for scientific research. As a result, we can say nothing but that this grave is not the one we intended to research." However, Gaunt added that this could be a start for joint research with Halaçoglu in the future.
Today's Zaman with wires Ankara
Wexler Blasted For Opposing Armenian Genocide Resolution
By LARRY LIPMAN
Palm Beach Post Washington Bureau
April 24, 2007
WASHINGTON — It's an issue that is splitting the Jewish community and has entered a South Florida congressional primary: How can a Jewish congressman not recognize the 1915 massacre of possibly 1.5 million Armenian civilians as genocide? The issue was raised Tuesday - recognized by many countries as Armenian Genocide Memorial Day - by Ben Graber, a former state representative and former Broward County mayor who plans to challenge U.S. Rep. Robert Wexler of Delray Beach in next year's Democratic primary.
Graber, who is Jewish and the son of Holocaust survivors, called Wexler an "embarrassment" to the Jewish community for opposing a resolution in the House of Representatives that recognizes the killing and deportation of Armenians under the Ottoman Empire as genocide.Politics watch
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The resolution was sponsored by Rep. Adam Schiff, a Democrat from California who is Jewish. It has been bottled up in the House Foreign Affairs Committee whose chairman is Rep. Tom Lantos - also a Democrat from California who is Jewish and a Holocaust survivor.
Wexler, who is also Jewish and serves as co-chairman of the Congressional Turkey Caucus, said there is debate among historians about whether the killings should be classified as genocide.
"There is no question that hundreds of thousands of Armenians were massacred, that is not debatable," Wexler said, noting that the killings took place during World War I when the Armenian population in the Ottoman Empire sided with the czarist Russians.
"The only question before the Congress is does the Congress have the expertise to make that historical conclusion" that the killings were genocide.
Wexler said his position is in line with that adopted by most major Jewish organizations - including the Anti-Defamation League and the American Jewish Committee, U.S. presidents of both parties, and the Israeli government.
He said it would be unfair to describe his position or those taken by the Jewish organizations or Israel as being "deniers" of genocide.
But Graber said the record is clear. He cited reports and comments from leading figures of the time, including then-U.S. Ambassador Henry Morgenthau Sr., who later wrote: "when the Turkish authorities gave the orders for these deportations, they were merely giving the death warrant to a whole race; they understood this well, and, in their conversations with me, they made no particular attempt to conceal the fact." David Shneer, director of the University of Denver Center for Judaic Studies and an associate professor of history, said, "serious historians of the history of 20th Century genocide would agree that the Armenian genocide happened. Those who dispute that it happened tend to have some type of political agenda." Wexler said he is a strong supporter of efforts by the Bush administration and some international leaders to convene a commission of experts - including representatives from Armenia and Turkey - to examine the historical record and seek a resolution to the issue.
The issue has international significance because of Turkey's role as a Western-leaning Muslim country that in recent decades has adamantly denied the killings were genocide. Turkey has made it illegal for its citizens to publicly take that position.
Turkey also is a rare Muslim ally of both the United States and Israel.
"To totally undermine that relationship could be extremely costly for America and Israel," Wexler said.
"I want to make sure we deploy our American troops out of Iraq as soon as possible," Wexler said. "In order to best accomplish that, we need to have cooperation from Turkey." Graber said Wexler and other opponents of the resolution were being "hypocritical." "If it was the Jewish Holocaust that was in question, you can be certain that there would be no question about the facts. There are some things that you just can't deny. You have to say ëyes it happened,' accept it, and go forward." Just as the current generation of Germans blames the World War II Holocaust on the Nazis, Graber said the current generation of Turks should blame the Armenia genocide on the Ottomans.
"This is something that is too important and too big to not recognize for political reasons," he said. "It's an issue of what is right."
Ankara Not In Full Agreement With Bush Statement
April 26, 2007
ANKARA – Turkish Daily News
The Turkish Foreign Ministry yesterday said it did not share in some of the expressions used by U.S. President George W. Bush in his statement of remembrance for the Armenians killed at the end of the Ottoman Empire, reiterating that history should be left to historians.
But the ministry welcomed in a statement Bush's reference to a 2005 proposal by the Turkish government to set up a joint committee to study genocide allegations. “We agree with President Bush's view and expect the U.S. president and the administration to continue to encourage Armenia to respond positively to our historic proposal,” it said.
92 Years Later, Armenian Genocide Pains Survivor
April 24, 2007
By Niraj Warikoo
Free Press Staff Writer
Souren Aprahamian hasn't seen his home village in 90-plus years, but the memories are still raw.
When the Southfield man was 8 years old, his family was driven out of Lezk, a small town that was then part of the Turkish Ottoman empire. He lost 35 family members in the Armenian genocide; 15 survived, including him.
In Dearborn and across the world today, those victims will be remembered as Armenians mark the anniversary of April 24, 1915, when Turkish rulers started the genocide.
"They took our home, took our land," Aprahamian, 99, said Monday, pointing to a painting of his village hung over a sofa in his home. "And they killed us."
The Turkish government denies a genocide took place, a point that rankles Armenian community members.
For years, they've been trying to persuade the U.S. government to formally call the killings of more than 1 million Armenians a genocide. But because of close diplomatic ties to Turkey, the U.S. government has been reluctant to do so, Armenian Americans say.
In January, Hrant Dink, a prominent Armenian editor who lived in Turkey and spoke about the genocide, was assassinated. A Turkish nationalist confessed to the slaying, according to Turkish newspapers.
Dink's death has renewed calls among metro Detroit Armenians to expose the crimes of the past.
"We have to commemorate because we need to continue to remind ourselves that this occurred," said Harry Derderian, 65, of Farmington Hills, whose grandmother was killed during the genocide. "Every year, more people learn about what happened."
According to Derderian, about 40,000 Armenians live in Michigan, making it the third-biggest U.S. Armenian community after those in California and Massachusetts.
Michigan has about 26 living survivors of the Armenian genocide. Aprahamian plans to speak in schools today to tell his story.
Contact NIRAJ WARIKOO at 248-351-2998 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
It is rather unfair to publish stories of alleged Armenian Genocide on Detroit Free Press. It is unfair because these people who claim to be victims of alleged genocide conveniently forget to mention that they (Armenians, their kinsmen or ancestors) have murdered in cold blood 524,000 innocent and defenceless women, children and elderly in the same period (Eastern Anatolia, circa 1915) where alleged genocide had taken place.
I respectfully direct your readers to following sources of information:
Find out what Armenian Premier Senin Ovanes Kacaznuni said
in 1923 Dashnak Party Conference in Bucharest-Romania
Available from email@example.com ISBN 975-343-438-3
You may peruse www.tallarmeniantale.com, by author Holdwater
Read on internet www.tallarmeniantale.com/c-f-dixon-BOOK.htm,
written by a British officer in 1916
examine Guenter Lewy's "The Armenian Massacres in Turkey, A Disputed Genocide"
ISBN-13:978-0-87480-849-0 available on Amazon.com (Jewish writer)
Salahi Sonyel's "The Turco-Armenian Imbroglio" ISBN-0-9504886-6-6, available at Cyprus Turkish Association 0207 437 4940 firstname.lastname@example.org (Cypriot Turk author)
films to watch are:
"The Armenian Revolt 1894-1920" documentary DVD by Third Coast Films, P.O. Box 664, Clarion, PA 16214, USA (by an American Director)
"Sari Gelin' documentary DVD through www.sarigelinbelgeseli.com email@example.com (maybe available on eBay) (by a Turkish Director)
have a look at www.armenians-1915.blogspot.com by Turkish Armenians (including free downloadable books and automatic translation of site text into several languages),
Read Prof. Turkkaya Ataov's WHAT HAPPENED TO OTTOMAN ARMENIANS?
ISBN 1=4243=1004-0 (obtainable from ssaya at superonline dot com), (Turkish author)
"MYTH OF TERROR' by late Erich Feigl (1986)Zeitgeschichte/Bucherdienst Austria (Austrian Author) which contains the signatures of 63 foreign Academics refuting the Armenian claims
for Armenian terrorism against Turks.. why Armenians are not talking about their terrorists?
an interesting read (in 3 languages) of memoirs of a Russian Officer on Armenians at http://www.tsk.mil.tr/ermeni_sorunu/kitap.htm (click on the book for downloading) or access it and others at http://www.tsk.mil.tr/eng/ermeni_sorunu_salonu/armenianissues_index.htm (from Turkish Military archives reputed to be richest for this issue)
There are also several powerful books on this subject by the American author Justin McCarthy http://homepages.cae.wisc.edu/~dwilson/Armenia/mccarthy.html
The TURKS ARE READY, WILLING AND ABLE TO FACE THE ARMENIANS AT A PUBLIC INQUIRY FOR THE SAKE OF TRUTH. The Turkish Government wants an independent International historical commission to thoroughly research the background but the Armenians are refusing to participate!. do ask them why ..!
Seek truth for humanity’s sake! ask Armenians to face Turks in a public debate
Belgium Presents An April 24 Gift To Armenian Lobby
The Belgian government has sacked the coordinator of the Belgian Association of Atatürk Thought (BADD) for organizing a conference on the Armenian "genocide."
Belgium officially notified BADD that Pierre Bastin, the coordinator of the conference, had been fired on April 24, a day Armenians use to commemorate the alleged genocide. BADD Chairman Ismail Sönmez said Belgium had presented a gift to the Armenian lobby on that day.
BADD, together with other Turkish associations in Belgium, organized a conference on the Armenian question and invited Professor Yusuf Halaçoglu as the keynote speaker. Following an initial report by a journalist of Turkish origin, a fierce campaign was launched against BADD in the Belgian press, with several TV stations claiming that state funds were used for "genocide denial propaganda." Following the campaign, the Ministry of Labor initiated an investigation, after which not only was the coordinator sacked but also the office of the coordinator was abolished.
During a press conference yesterday in Belgium, Sönmez lambasted the Belgian government decision as a brazen attack on freedom of expression. Sönmez accused parliaments that had adopted "Armenian genocide" resolutions of attempting to replace the judiciary and of challenging the principle of separation of powers. In a written statement, BADD said that as terrorists were sheltered and given the freedom to express their opinions in Belgium, the attempt to silence BADD clearly indicated a double standard.
In a stunning move, Belgium last week released terror suspects, members of the Revolutionary People's Liberation Party/Front (DHKP/C). BADD has also stated that it will file a complaint and pursue a judicial remedy.
SELÇUK GÜLTASLI BRUSSELS
Jewish Groups Lobby Against ‘Armenian Genocide’ Resolution In Us Congress
In a letter addressing influential members of US Congress, including head of the House of Representatives' Foreign Relations Committee Tom Lantos, US-based Jewish groups demanded that voting on congressional resolutions urging the US administration to recognize an alleged genocide of Armenians be delayed.
The letter was jointly signed by B'nai B'rith International, the Anti-Defamation League, the American Jewish Committee and the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (JINSA). The letter included an annex -- a letter signed by the Turkish Jewish Community -- which said maintenance of good relations between Turkey and Israel and among Turkey, the US and Israel were crucial at a time when the US faces troubles in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Two separate resolutions are pending at the US Senate and the House of Representatives, urging the administration to recognize the World war I era killings of Anatolian Armenians as genocide. Turkey has warned that passage of the resolutions in the US Congress would seriously harm relations with Washington and impair cooperation in Iraq and Afghanistan. The US administration has said it was opposed to the resolution, yet the congressional process is an independent one. In his message for April 24, which Armenians claim marks the anniversary of the beginning of a systematic genocide campaign at the hands of the late Ottoman Empire, US President George W. Bush remained adhered to the administration policy of not referring to the incidents as genocide.
"Each year on this day, we pause to remember the victims of one of the greatest tragedies of the 20th century, when as many as 1.5 million Armenians lost their lives in the final years of the Ottoman Empire, many of them victims of mass killings and forced exile," Bush said. Turkey categorically rejects the claims of genocide and says as many Turks were killed when the Armenians took up arms against the Ottoman Empire in collaboration with the invading Russian army.
Bush, in his message, also called for the normalization of ties between Turkey and Armenia: "Today, we remember the past and also look forward to a brighter future. We commend the individuals in Armenia and Turkey who are working to normalize the relationship between their two countries. A sincere and open examination of the historic events of the late-Ottoman period is an essential part of this process. The United States supports and encourages those in both countries who are working to build a shared understanding of history as a basis for a more hopeful future," he said.
The Bush administration dismissed its former ambassador in Yerevan last year after he violated the US policy and called the events "genocide." Ambassador John Evans was insistent on his stance when he spoke at the National Press Club in Washington and said Turkey should accept "historical facts." He also claimed that Turkey's efforts had played a role in the abrupt termination of his duty as the US ambassador in Yerevan.
Today's Zaman Istanbul
Will Ankara’s Armenian Initiative Work?
LALE SARIIBRAHIMOGLU firstname.lastname@example.org
Yet another April 24 was commemorated by many countries as the day to mourn for the Armenians believed to have been subjected to a so-called genocide during World War I at the hands of Ottoman Turks.
Ankara, denying the event was genocide, does accept that there were killings of Armenians that took place under Ottoman Turkish rule between 1915 and 1918. Ankara however refutes the characterization of the events as genocide and says that the deaths were not the result of a deliberate campaign, but rather took place during the relocation of Armenians within the Ottoman Empire during World War I.
However since around 18 countries worldwide, as well as the majority of US states, recognize the World War I incidents as genocide, Ankara has long faced a difficult task in proving the opposite. This is mainly because it had not launched any tangible initiative, until 2005 when the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) offered the establishment of a joint committee of Turkish and Armenian historians, who would investigate whether the World War I events were indeed genocide.
Under strong pressure, mainly from the hard-line Armenian diaspora, Yerevan has so far refrained from accepting the Turkish offer, which also contained a pledge to open all the Turkish archives without any limitations.
Ankara has long been complaining about the failure of the powerful nations of the world, such as the US, Britain and Russia, to convince and encourage Yerevan to agree to the Turkish offer for the establishment of the joint historians committee. Many Turkish diplomats believe that Yerevan cannot single-handedly take a step to agree on meeting with Turkish historians and that powerful nations should therefore play a role in bringing Yerevan to the table to discuss the matter.
In an attempt to renew its joint committee idea, Ankara launched a campaign on the same day of the commemoration of the so-called Armenian genocide, April 24. Selecting five influential US dailies, including the New York Times and Los Angeles Times, Ankara called on Armenia, in a full page advert, to join the committee in an attempt to shed light on what happened in 1915.
The advert states that third parties can participate in the committee's work, while guaranteeing that Turkey will open all its archives without any restrictions. Turkey is ready to face its past, said the same ad, calling on Armenia to do same.
Such an initiative, as far as I know, comes 88 years after the British High Commissioner based in Istanbul, acting on an Ottoman Turkish request, invited some countries to participate in a commission to investigate the alleged Armenian genocide. This request, turned down by Britain the same year, was proof of reluctance on the part of some European countries to investigate the matter, writes Turkey's veteran diplomat Gürsel Demirok in his latest book "Turks in Europe from the Viewpoint of a Consul General."
But between 1919 and 2005 we have to admit that Turkey did not do much at all to have its case heard through the examination of its archives.
Still Ankara's latest initiatives should not be underestimated, though coming quite late, and should be heard and responded to positively by Armenia as well as by other nations with influence on Yerevan.
One of those countries is of course the US, where there has been an influential Armenian lobby in the US Congress in particular, which could influence Armenia in agreeing to the Turkish offer.
This offer also proves Turkey's sincerity in shedding light on the events of 1915. Perhaps for the first time in its history, Turkey has been displaying its readiness to face the claims and unearth the realities, if possible.
Thus publishing the advert directly taking on Armenia as an interlocutor, Ankara has been doing the right thing. But this initiative can only bear fruit if the powerful nations of the world, in particular the US, take genuine steps to convince Armenia to agree to the Turkish offer of the joint historians committee.
The convening of the committee can also be expected to mark the beginning of establishing confidence between the two neighbors, helping interaction between the peoples of both countries, while contributing to the reduction of historic enmity.
Civil Leader Calls For European Turks To Get Involved
Ali Gedikoglu, chairman of the Strasbourg-based NGO COJEP International, said Turks living in Europe should break out of their shells and become a part of not only local but also international civil organizations.
He said negative judgments against Turkey cannot be prevented otherwise and pointed out that demonstrations organized by Turkey’s Labor Party (IP) leader Dogu Perinçek -- who was tried in Switzerland for denying the so-called Armenian genocide -- in several European cities have not borne any positive results. Gedikoglu also added that such actions create antipathy in Europe.
He spoke to Today’s Zaman about Turks and lobbying activities in Europe. Gedikoglu said Turks in Europe should embrace the country they live in order to form a powerful lobby. “The Armenians have much influence over France since they embrace it. We are equal in terms of population but they are more effective than the Turkish community in France.”
Gedikoglu noted that the Turks in Europe should exist as an independent community, not as the extension of the political parties in Turkey.
Stating that European public opinion can be influenced by means of civil organizations, Gedikoglu said they had encouraged several people within COJEP to become members of global human rights organizations and added that the relevant institutions will be properly informed on Turkey. Gedikoglu pointed out COJEP is a member of the UN. “It is impossible that we voice our rightful demands without having a strong place among international institutions as an NGO,” he said.
Çagri Çobanoglu Istanbul
Armenians Stage Protest In Washington
April 26, 2007
ANKARA – Turkish Daily News
A group of Armenians gathered in front of the Turkish Embassy in Washington on Tuesday to stage protests on the 92nd anniversary of the alleged genocide at the hands of the Ottoman Empire in the last century.
The demonstrators including many children waved Armenian flags, chanted slogans and unfurled banners, “Van is Armenian,” “Mount Agri is Armenian,” “Honor Hrant Dink (a Turkish-Armenian journalist who was shot to death in Istanbul in January),” and “Recognize genocide.” Among the demonstrators were those holding Greek flags as well, reported the Anatolia news agency from Washington.
The U.S. police boosted security in Massachusetts street where a number of embassies in Washington are located and the traffic was held up occasionally due to the protestors walking on to the street.
In reciprocity, the Turks living in Washington protested against the Armenian group from the opposite side of the street. Among the protestors were those who were flying Azerbaijani flags. The group unfurled banners, “Do not raise your children with hatred,” and “Leave history to historians.” After their demonstrations that were kept in check by the police, the groups dispersed.
Photographs Exhibited To Counter Armenian Allegations:
April 26, 2007
A group of NGOs set up a booth for books and a photograph exhibition on one of the busiest streets of Hamburg to counter Armenian genocide allegations. The books and photographs displayed by the Germany Atatürk Culture Center and Azerbaijan Culture Association show instances of Armenian terror in Khodjali and massacres in Upper Karabakh, Kars and Van. HAMBURG-Anatolia news agency
Fire-Bombs Thrown At Turkish Embassy:
April 26, 2007
Demonstrators threw fire-bombs at the Turkish Embassy in Moscow during a rally held to mark the anniversary of the alleged Armenian genocide. A group of nearly 200 people held a demonstration in front of the embassy. One of the fire-bombs thrown at the embassy did not go off while security forces dealt with the second one. MOSCOW-Anatolia news agency
Four Jewish Groups Back Turkey On Armenian Genocide
April 26, 2007
WASHINGTON - Turkish Daily News
Four large U.S. Jewish groups have lent support to Turkey's position in opposing the passage of two resolutions pending in Congress that call for officialrecognition of World War I-era killings of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire as genocide.
B'nai B'rith International, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), the American Jewish Committee and the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (JINSA) have recently conveyed a letter from Turkish Jews who oppose the resolution to U.S. congressional leaders, officials from the groups told the Turkish Daily News.
In their letter, leading Turkish Jews have urged congressional leaders to postpone considering the genocide measures. In conveying the letter to Congressofficials, the four U.S. Jewish groups tacitly agreed to its contents.
Going further, the ADL and JINSA have also added their own statements opposing the bill.
"I don't think congressional action will help reconcile the issue. The resolution takes a position; it comes to a judgment," said ADL National Director Abraham Foxman.
"The Turks and Armenians need to revisit their past. The Jewish community shouldn't be the arbiter of that history, nor should the U.S. Congress," he told JTA, a Jewish press organization.
But the four groups' move does not mean that U.S. Jews are united in opposing the genocide measures.
A number of other large U.S. Jewish organizations have distanced themselves from the controversy, while some of the resolutions' top sponsors and backers are Jewish.
One genocide legislation was introduced in the House of Representatives in late January, and an identical resolution later followed in the Senate.
Turkey is fighting against the measures' passage in both chambers, and it is not clear if or when the bills could be brought to a vote.
No g-word from Bush:
In a related development, U.S. President George W. Bush on Tuesday issued a statement of remembrance for the Armenians killed at the end of the Ottoman Empire, but stopped short of using the word genocide.
The Bush administration also opposes the genocide resolutions' passage. In identical letters sent to congressional leaders, Secretary of State CondoleezzaRice and Defense Secretary Robert Gates have warned that the measures' endorsement would hurt U.S. national interests in Iraq and Afghanistan.
"Each year on this day, we pause to remember the victims of one of the greatest tragedies of the 20th century, when as many as 1.5 million Armenians losttheir lives in the final years of the Ottoman Empire, many of them victims of mass killings and forced exile," Bush said in the statement.
"I join my fellow Americans and Armenian people around the world in commemorating this tragedy and honoring the memory of the innocent lives that were taken," he said. "The world must never forget this painful chapter of its history."
Also on Tuesday, former U.S. Ambassador to Armenia John Evans, who reportedly had his tour of duty cut short because he had referred to the killings asgenocide in violation of the official U.S. position, said that Turks needed to confront the facts and to show contrition before there can be reconciliation.
He also said that he believed Turkey's efforts had a role in his firing.
Nearly 100 Armenians gathered in front of the Turkish embassy here on Tuesday to protest against Ankara, while a smaller group of Turks held a rivaldemonstration across the street.
Captain Corelli’s Author Lauds Ottoman Turks
April 20, 2007
ANKARA - Reuters
Best-selling novelist Louis de Bernieres, author of "Birds Without Wings," which chronicles the demise of the Ottoman Empire, and perhaps better known for "Captain Corelli's Mandolin,? said in an interview that he felt the Ottoman Empire might have something to teach our modern world.
"I got just one critical letter for "Birds Without Wings", from an Armenian ... The reaction in Turkey and in Greece has been very positive," said De Bernieres. The 550-page novel, which took ten years to write, recreates the life of Turkish Muslims and Greek Christians in the village of Eskibahçe in southwest Turkey from 1900 into the 1920s, and broaches sensitive historic topics such as the Battle of Gallipoli and the alleged mass killings of Armenians in 1915.
The momentous events of the period increasingly intrude on the village and on its colorful inhabitants, destroying both the close-knit community and the empire itself.
De Bernieres, born in London in 1954, weaves the story of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, who founded the modern Turkish republic in 1923, into his novel, which has been translated into dozens of languages.
Ottoman Tolerance:"I don't feel the Ottoman Empire was an embarrassing failure, the 'sick man of Europe'. As a multi-cultural, multi-ethnic experiment it was a success for a very long time. It finally fell because of romantic nationalism," said De Bernieres. "It shows there was a time when it was possible for different races and religions to live side by side in peace."
His novel, to be turned into a film, portrays a world in which Muslim women pray to Allah but ask their Christian neighbors to intercede for them with the Virgin Mary.
The great exchange of populations in the 1920s, in which millions of Greeks and Turks quit their ancestral homes in Turkey and Greece respectively, tore these communities apart.
"Many Greeks still see Anatolia as a lost paradise. Many Turks feel the same way about homes they had to abandon in Greece ... Everybody lost their paradise."
Films Of Armenian Master Directors Meet The Audience All Through The Month
April 20, 2007
ISTANBUL - Turkish Daily News
The Foundation of Science, Education, Aesthetics, Culture and Art Research (BEKSAV) has dedicated its 12th year activities to freedom and fraternity. Acting from the principles of “Art for the society, science for humanity, politics for freedom,” BEKSAV is presenting the outstanding works of the Armenian Cinema, which have attracted much attention all around the world, to movie lovers in Turkey.
BEKSAV's Cinema Workshop manager Aynur Özbakir pointed out that as the workshop group they have a principle to show works that have not been screened in Turkey before, and Armenian films fall into that group.
“We wanted to approach the constant tension between the two peoples with the compromising attitude of art. It has a distinct importance for us that the films shown at BEKSAV are meeting the audience for the first time,” Özbakir said. “The event has just started, there is not much attention, but since it will continue until the end of the month, it's early to say anything now.”
All through the month, along with works of Atom Egoyan, the Canadian master director of Armenian origins, Artur Pelesyan's, Suren Babayan's, Tigran Khzmalyan's and Suzanne Khardalian's works will be screened. BEKSAV's organization is also significant as it brings to Turkey for the first time films that have created much debate such as Khardalian's film about the events of 1915.
Khardalian's documentary set to bring debate:
Suzanne Khardalian's film “I Hate Dogs,” made in Sweden in 2005, is without doubt a suitor for being the most polemical film of the screening.
The film, prevented from being shown before in Turkey, is presented in documentary style with Garbis Hagopyan's narration. In the year 1915, Hagopyan is nine years old. Hagopyan, who has lost his family and all relatives, tells about what he lived 91 years ago.
Tigran Khzmalyan's film named “Sev Isbidag” (Black and White), which won an award in the Best Short Film category in Antalya Golden Orange Film Festival in 1996, is one of the must-see in the festival. The film evolves around seven women who are waiting for their husbands in a mountain village during time of war.
Four cult films of Ardavazt Artur Pelesyan are also part of the schedule. The master director of Armenia has won many awards in both documentary and fiction films.
The 1967 film “Isgizbi” (The Beginning) is about the Bolshevik Revolution; “Menk” (Us), made in 1969 handles Armenian identity; “Darvuyn Yeganagneri” (Seasons), 1975, is one of the masterpieces of the director; and his 1983 film “Mer Tari” (Our Age) will bring the filmmaker's vision to the audience.
Atom Egoyan, who has undersigned successful films with his works that made a difference on the white screen, is the guest of BEKSAV with his 1993 film “Calendar, ” which portrays the journey a photographer and his wife took to photograph Armenian churches. Egoyan works the theme of “alien” into the film.
Suren Babayan is looking for the “Messiah” in “Khent Hresdag”:
2001 made “Khent Hresdag” (Crazy Angel), adapted to screen by Suren Babayan, was inspired from Par Lagerkvist's novel named Barabas. The subject matter alone is set to attract some attention. The film begins with the director looking for the person who will play Jesus. Gabriel, who is described as the “Messiah” at the mental hospital, is thought to be fit for the role.
Sydney: Armenian Genocide Commemoration Events Schedule
SYDNEY: The Armenian National Committee of Australia comes to announce the itinerary of events which will commemorate the 92nd Anniversary of the Armenian Genocide.
Friday April 20: Western Region Commemoration Evening Annual Western Region commemoration evening at the Armenian Panoyan Centre in Bonnyrigg.
Sunday April 22: Rookwood Cemetery Memorial
Tuesday April 24: HASG School Wreath Laying (NSW State Parliament House, Macquarie Street, Sydney)
Senior students of the Hamazkaine Arshak and Sophie Galstaun School will gather at the NSW State Parliament's Genocide Monument to lay wreaths and conduct a commemoration ceremony.
Tuesday April 24: Commemoration Evening (Willoughby Town Hall, Victoria Avenue, Chatswood)
Organised by the Armenian Genocide Commemorative Committee under the auspices of Archbishop Aghan Baliozian; this is the Armenian-Australian community's premier commemoration event. Dr. Panayiotis Diamadis is the evening's keynote speaker, and the evening will be attended by scholars, diplomats, organisation representatives and guests.
Tuesday April 24: Candlelight Memorial Walk (Willoughby Town Hall to Unknown Soldier Monument, Albert Avenue, Chatswood)
Following the Commemoration Evening, the Armenian Youth Federation will lead the community in a memorial walk to the Unknown Soldier Monument for a wreath laying and prayer in respect of those who fell in 1915.
Thursday April 26: Armenian Genocide Commemorative Lecture (NSW State Parliament House, Macquarie Street, Sydney)
The lecture, to be delivered by Dr. Panayiotis Diamadis in the Parliamentary Theatre, will be preceded by a community wreath laying at the NSW State Parliament's Genocide Monument.
Sunday April 29: Ryde Council Memorial (Meadow Crescent, Meadowbank)
Armenian National Committee of Australia
259 Penshurst Street, Willoughby NSW 2068
The Armenian National Committee of Australia is the peak public affairs body of the Armenian-Australian community. ANC Australia advances the concerns of the Armenian-Australian community.
Senator Hillary Clinton And Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid Cosponsor Armenian Genocide Resolution
-- Thirty Senators have Announced Support for Anti-Genocide Legislation
-- Watch Senator Obama Discuss the Resolution on YouTube
WASHINGTON, DC - In a move welcomed today by the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA), two of the nation's most prominent Senators - Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and leading 2008 Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton (D-NY) - agreed to cosponsor S.Res.106, the Armenian Genocide Resolution.
"We're very gratified that two prominent national leaders - Hillary Clinton and Harry Reid - agreed today to join with a growing number of their Senate colleagues in supporting the passage of the Armenian Genocide Resolution," said ANCA Executive Director Aram Hamparian. "As the growth in cosponsors demonstrates, this anti-genocide measure clearly enjoys the support of a broad, bipartisan majority in both houses of Congress."
The Senate resolution recognizing the Armenian Genocide was introduced last month by Assistant Majority Leader Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Senator John Ensign (R-NV). The measure is a companion to U.S. House resolution, H.Res.106, introduced by Representatives Adam Schiff (D-CA), George Radanovich (R-CA), Congressional Armenian Caucus Co-Chairs Frank Pallone (D-NJ) and Joe Knollenberg (R-MI), and Foreign Affairs Committee members Brad Sherman (D-CA) and Thaddeus McCotter (R-MI). With the addition this week of Tim Bishop (D-NY), Bruce Braley (D-IA), Yvette Clarke (D-NY), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Duncan Hunter (R-CA), David Reichart (R-WA), John Salazar (D-CO), and Tom Tancredo (R-CO), the House measure currently has over 190 cosponsors.
Joining Senators Durbin and Ensign as cosponsors of the Armenian Genocide resolution are Wayne Allard (R-CO), Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Sam Brownback (R-KS), Hillary Clinton (D-NY), Norm Coleman (R-MN), Susan Collins (R-ME), Christopher Dodd (D-CT), Elizabeth Dole (R-NC), Russell Feingold (D-WI), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Tim Johnson (D-SD), Edward Kennedy (D-MA), John Kerry (D-MA), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ), Carl Levin (D-MI), Joseph Lieberman (I-CT), Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), Robert Menendez (D-NJ), Jack Reed (D-RI), Harry Reid (D-NV), Ken Salazar (D-CO), Charles Schumer (D-NY), Olympia Snowe (R-ME), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), John Sununu (R-NH), and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI).
In a powerful speech today on the Senate floor, Senator Bararba Boxer, a long-standing and energetic champion of Armenian Genocide recognition, stressed that she is "proud to be an original co-sponsor of Senator Richard Durbin's Senate Resolution 106. The California legislator, speaking to her Senate colleagues, argued forcefully that, "We must recognize the genocide because it's the right thing to do. We must recognize the Armenian Genocide to help shed light on the darkness and move toward a more humane world."
Last week, during remarks at a Washington, DC breakfast for Illinois constituents, Senator Barak Obama, fielded a question from ANCA Eastern U.S. Executive Director Karine Birazian about his support for the Armenian Genocide Resolution. In his response, he explained to the audience the basic facts about the Genocide and promised to give careful consideration to cosponsoring the measure. Senator Obama serves on the Foreign Relations Committee and is among the top contenders for the 2008 Democratic Presidential nomination. His remarks can be viewed on YouTube: http://youtube.com/watch?v=apR_0df-p54
The increase in Senate and House support for the Armenian Genocide resolutions follows an intensive two-day Capitol Hill advocacy program in March, organized by the ANCA and the Genocide Intervention Network, dedicated to ending the cycle of genocide. Over 100 anti-genocide advocates from across the United States participated in the grassroots campaign, reaching out to all 535 Senate and House offices. The Washington, DC component of the program was followed by local activist meetings in Congressional districts across the U.S. during the recently-concluded two-week April district work period.
Armenian American grassroots efforts are being opposed by successive waves of Turkish parliamentary delegations who are seeking to convince Representatives and Senators to reject Armenian Genocide recognition by threatening a break in U.S.-Turkey relations. This week's six-member Turkish lobby team included former Turkish Ambassador to the U.S. Sukru Elekdag, and former Ambassador to Germany Onur Oymen.
Turkey At The Crossroads
by Dr. Muhammad Shamsaddin Megalommatis
American Chronicle, CA April 18 2007
What does it matter now if men believe or no?
What is to come will come. And soon you too will stand aside,
To murmur in pity that my words were true.
Turkey's Premier could conjecturally be elected as President due to his party parliamentary majority; however, this would be the End of Turkey.
It may sound odd that following an ordinary democratic procedure a country may be led to destruction; yet, in reality, allover the world the dynamics of the socioeconomic, political and intellectual developments do not emanate from parliamentary elections.
A few days ago, 300000 Turks manifested deliberately their rejection of their Premier's secret desire of becoming Turkey's Head of State.
The number is not necessarily great for a ca. 75 m people country.
Many observers even suggested that ministries' and governmental organizations' functionaries formed the majority of the protesters.
Whatever the case may be, it is true that the majority of the Turks in great numbers, probably around two thirds (2/3) of the population, disapprove of the idea of the current Premier occupying the position inaugurated by Kemal Ataturk, the founder of Turkey.
Turkey targeted from all parts
That Turkey has many enemies in Europe is well known; the German Chancellor had rejected the idea of Turkey becoming a fully accredited EU member anytime in the future, even before she was elected in office. French presidential candidates and former prime ministers expressed quasi-racist, anti-Turkish discourses. The Socialist Party in France performed a comical parliamentary act by attempting to become Judges of falsely narrated history; if the Socialist Party's candidate is elected in office, a law will probably penalize any authoritative Historian would reject the factoid of the so-called 'Armenian Genocide'. Turkey has certainly friends in Europe, from Poland to Spain, and from Berlusconi to French academia, but it is very obvious that the current Turkish government either failed to mobilize them or did not calculate the extent of the provocation / conspiracy of circles wishing to promote the concept of Christian Club - EU.
American Armenians, and Greeks, in alliance with a part of the Zionist US lobby prevailed over the Democratic party's instances and push for an aberrational vote in the Congress that would replace university syllabuses in Humanities, stipulating that there has been an Armenian Genocide, a highly controversial and historically false assumption. Motivated by racist, inhuman Hatred against Turkey, the US Armenians fail to understand that instead of using their assumed allies are rather used by a faction of the Zionist lobby that plans further harm to Israel, Turkey and the US. Although Turkey's image in the US was never a matter of serious concern in Ankara, the Republicans could be more sympathetic with Turkey because of that frontal country's considerable contribution to the Atlantic liberal opposition to the late USSR. But due to extremely unfortunate decisions of Turkey's Islamist government as regards the Iraq War, there are few among the present administration and the GOP to openly support Turkey. There are only few smart US diplomats, statesmen and strategists who understand that the West's fate in the already engaged East vs. West conflict hinges almost totally on Turkey.
Russia's plans against Turkey do not need vast analysis; part of geo-strategic and geopolitical needs, Russia under any sort of rule will always opt for weak, divided neighbors on its south-western border. As Moscow neo-totalitarian despotism faces serious opposition from the oppressed Russian opposition and the mercilessly tyrannized, numerous non Russian peoples of the vast country, Russia needs to rise in global opposition to the US for reasons of inner political consumption and diversion. This brings Russia back to the Middle East whereby through all possible schemes Russian diplomacy is expected to pursue policies in Iran, Iraq, Persian Gulf, Red Sea, Syria, Palestine and the Mediterranean that contradict point by point Turkish interests. The Burgaz - Dedeagac ('Alexandropolis') pipeline is an indication that Moscow envies Istanbul at all times.
Iran faces only Turkey as rival model state and as politics model within the entire Dar al Islam (Muslim World). Although dissatisfaction runs high among Muslims allover the world, and there are many who would be inclined to reject any state among today's predominantly Muslim states as possible model, Iran does not face opposition from Pakistan, Nigeria, Bangladesh, Egypt or Mauritania; the only different model is Turkey. Discussions go on very passionately, but the choice will be made between a theocratic model like Qom (Iran's religious capital) and a secular, Westernized model like Ankara; no one would take seriously as model a lewd presidential son turned 'heir apparent'. Iranian threat for Turkey at the nuclear / military level does not exist; however, Iran could use religion to generate frictions within the Turkish society, notably shaping an alliance with the Alevi religious minority (originally concentrated in Sivas /Sebasteia). Contrarily to what many may assume, the Kurdish minority of Turkey cannot be used by eventual Iranian manipulators as the Turkish Kurds are overwhelmingly Westernized, pro-secular, and socialist; the few religious Kurds in Turkey are Sunni, and therefore out of reach for the Shia Iranians.
Turkey faces an even greater threat from ongoing developments in the chaotic periphery of the so-called Arabic speaking tyrannies; by this we do not refer to states, as neither Syria, nor Jordan, Saudi Arabia and Egypt are possibly comparable with Ankara. However, in the aforementioned area, political developments are underway, involving various Islamist plans, schemes, and myths about the Islamic Caliphate's re-establishment, the imminent expulsion of America from Iraq, the subsequent destruction of Israel (planned in order to let Jerusalem become capital of the bogus-Caliphate), and the re-Islamization of Turkey. All these attempts are linked with anti-Western hysteria, eschatological literature of the lowest level, hatred, and exploitation of dehumanized, barbaric masses that have been left with no other prospect; this has been the long lasting work of naïve Western politicians and diplomats, their mendacious and tyrannical Middle Eastern interlocutors, and the Western secretive End of Time planners. This threat is for Turkey the only lethal.
Of lesser importance are threats emanating from the Balkan region where Turkey has many interests to protect from the discriminations against the Turkish minorities in Bulgaria, Greece, Serbia and Romania, to European, Greek and Serbian discriminatory policies against the Albanian outright majority of Kosovo that has been stripped so far from its right to statehood. Turkey's interest impose in this regard an Albanian - Macedonian alliance that would ensure enduring peace in the region. The racist purposes of the comical southern Cypriot president are also to be dealt with, and Turkey should promote the Noble Cause of international recognition of Kosovo, Transnistria and Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus.
Turkey as the Strategic Epicenter between East and West
Here we do not refer to the central role Turkey play to avert the worsening of the terribly degraded Western - Eastern relationship; this goes without saying. Beyond its role in inter-cultural, inter-religious and inter-civilizational encounter and mutual understanding, Turkey is key to developments in all the aforementioned countries and alliances. Quite paradoxically, positive developments for all these countries depend on their good relationship with Turkey. This has not been carefully studied and widely understood so far.
If Turkey decides the reject the European tactics of double standards, reprimanding the European decision to offer priority to less qualifying Bulgaria and Romania instead of Turkey, and chastising the demands for referenda to be held as regards Turkey's adhesion to the EU (whereas this was not an issue for Greece, Spain and Portugal), Europe will receive an unprecedented blow on its face, and the EU credibility will be considered as non extent. Furthermore, if Turkey manages an explosion in the Southern Balkans or Cyprus, the European dream of unification and pacification of the continent will turn to a nightmare. Turkey have nothing to bother if following a Balkan War, Muslims in Germany, France, Belgium, England and Italy revolt against the anti-Islamic hysteria of the bogus-democratic European authorities. Europeans will eventually become less arrogant, if the notorious Paris suburbs riots became uninterrupted part of their life for a few years. They may then understand that you cannot speak against an Islamic Democratic Party in Turkey, when you tolerate a Christian Democratic Party in Germany. The most urgent European need has a name: Turkey.
If the US Congress decides to make of a factoid as the so-called Armenian Genocide a bogus historical 'event' - part of an official state promoted dogma, the US will turn out to be 21st century's Soviet Union. Majority vote consecrating a falsehood as Official History translates to state terrorism, as we have known it at the times of the late USSR, when you could not say openly that History has nothing to do with the Struggle of Classes. The only difference will be that the US Dialectical and Historical Materialism will be turning around the Totalitarian Dogma of the Armenian Genocide. Such a decision consist direct offense on the face of 1.5 billion Muslims, who will interpret the American parliamentary paranoia as the greatest Monument of Partiality, the most devilish bias in the History of the Mankind. Instead of urgently demolishing the tyrannical states of Sudan and Abyssinia that currently carry out practices of genocide against the Fur in Darfur and against the Oromos in Oromia, instead of preventing the presently undertaken Genocide against the Aramaeans of Iraq and Syria, instead of obliging Bulgaria and Greece to recognize their Macedonian minorities, the US Congress debates about events occurred before 92 years (!), and deliberates unilaterally without consulting with specialists, who in the worst (for Turkey) case would agree upon the nature of an event that took place when Turkey simply did not exist! It is as if accusing the US for crimes perpetrated by Spaniards against the Aztecs! Yet, American decision makers should consider that US interests in the Middle East would be severely damaged, if the US does not set up a bilateral alliance with Turkey to deal with issues related to Iraq, Syria, Iran, and Israel. Turkey is the only ally needed for the US if there is a will to win over Islamic Terrorism as conceived, mounted and executed by the so-called 'Arab' tyrannies and their barbaric pseudo-kings.
Moscow should be wise enough, instead of venturing tricky anti-American schemes with the servants of the local hodjatoleslams and Ayatollahs, to consider how to help, working with Turkey, America and EU, the oppressed peoples of Iran, the Azeris, the Turks, the Kurds, the Turkmens, the Loris, the Bakhtiaris, the Aramaeans, the Baluchis, and the Parsis get their independence and self determination. The totalitarian Muscovite thugs should constantly remember the number of oppressed Muslims in their territory; it would be rather lethal to forget their claims. Only in close cooperation with Turkey, Russia would avoid in the years ahead an Islamist explosion in Daghestan, Tatarstan, Yakutia. Riots in Moscow suburbs have not yet started; if they come to happen, they will be far more devastating than those of Paris suburbs.
It would not be worthy considering options about either Iran or the tyrannical, barbaric realms of Pan-Arabist anti-Semitism; these anachronistic, dysfunctional and inhuman entities are formations that should be dissolved before too long; every day they survive is a day won by the Islamic terrorists in their fight against Russia, Europe, India, America, Israel and of course Turkey.
Turkey's politically correct choices
In front of a complex situation like this, what would be the politically correct choices?
The Turkish MPs, statesmen, academia, intellectuals, politicians, military, and administrators should realize that for many issues the good option for Turkey is only one. A much promising political -socioeconomic - ideological project for the years ahead should be based on the following points:
- Secular values must be reinstated and consolidated. The traditional Islamic veil must be prohibited throughout the country. It is noteworthy that the Islamic veil was not compulsory in Abbasid Baghdad and in Ottoman Istanbul; consequently with all the progress made thanks to Kemal Ataturk, the traditional veil cannot be tolerated outside homes, as it has become a tool of anti-historical considerations that are relevant to a false Islamic theology.
- The role of the military in protecting the secular values of the Turkish Republic must be gradually and institutionally replaced by the commitment and the patriotism of all the Turkish citizens.
- Constitutional amendments are needed in order to modernize the Turkish society, not in a way to 'literarily repeat' Atatturk's theoretical system's pillars but to adapt them within today's context - our global world. Severe legislation must be introduced for honour crimes.
- Turkey must be identified as a multiethnic, multilingual, multicultural, secular state whereby all local languages are instituted in the Primary and Secondary education, and all religions are tolerated as personal contact with God, not socially imposed prescriptions.
- Turkey must embrace and institutionalize the prevailing Kurdish language (Kurmandja), allowing wide use of it at the level of local administration, education, and mass media. At the same time, the Turkish administration must not let Kurmandja prevail over the other Kurdish languages up to the point of their obliteration /assimilation. With a great number of mixed marriages between Turks and Kurds (the late President Turgut Ozal being only one example), the Turkish administration must tackle the Kurdish question as confidently as the English political class deals with the Scottish question.
- Demonstrating true commitment to the Cause of the (treacherously exploited by the Colonial West) Kurds, Turkey must found the first Kurdish University in the word to promote Kurdology and all sectors of research pertaining to the Kurds. At the same time, this university would become the hub of further development of the Kurdish languages, through scientific vocabulary localization, publication of an encyclopedia in Kurmandja, and preparation of academic publications. The Kurdish University at Diyarbakir should set up a Linguistic Center to help introduce Latin writing for Kurdish languages spoken in Iraq, Syria and Iran.
- Expanding Latin writing among the Kurds of these countries, Ankara will become the main advocate of the Kurdish Cause, and gradually annex territories inhabited by the Kurdish minority in these three countries.
- Turkey must embrace the tiny Aramaean (Suryani) minority, institutionalize Aramaic, allowing wide use of it at the level of local administration, education, and mass media. Turkey must solemnly invite back all the Aramaean emigration, pay recompense for atrocities or injustices done to them even in periods preceding the foundation of Turkey.
- Demonstrating true commitment to the Cause of the (bitterly fought by the Colonial West) Aramaeans, Turkey must found the first Aramaean University in the word to promote Aramaeaology and all sectors of research pertaining to the Aramaeans. At the same time, this university would become the hub of further development of the Aramaic language, through scientific vocabulary localization, publication of an encyclopedia in Aramaic, and preparation of academic publications.
- Embracing the Cause of the Aramaeans will offer Turkey a unique tool of prevailing in Islamic Terrorism's territories such as Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, Iraq and Palestine. Turkey should carry out a vast anti-colonial work of de-Arabization and re-assertion of the Aramaic national and cultural identity of these countries. This is the only way to forestall Islamic Terror's plans for a new caliphate in the Middle East, which Turks know only too well would be a bogus-caliphate and turn sooner or later against Turkey's existence.
- Turkey must view its existence on a multidimensional basis evolving around following axes:
1. Multiculturalism in Anatolia (Kurdish and Aramaic must become official languages)
2. Turkophonic Nationalism throughout Asia (to form the a political confederation encompassing Azeris, Turkmens of Iraq and Iran, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Kirghizia, Turkic speaking populations in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and China's Eastern Turkestan).
3. Anti-colonial Orientalism globally (to challenge Western, colonial Orientalism as diffused through Education, Culture and Mass Media, forming the erroneous basis of the Western political decision-making)
- Turkey must demand an extraordinary session of the European Parliament to be held with the participation of the Commission, and representatives of the 27 EU governments in order to discuss the perspectives and the possibilities of an eventual adhesion. A special agreement shall be made in which every political bias will have no place. Turkey must make clear that it was EU's wrong decision to accept Cyprus to adhere without the dispute being solved in advance.
Turkey must accept to implement EU legislation, but all the EU member states must understand that they have to put an end to all sorts of anti-Turkish propaganda, If an agreement is not made, Turkey should put an end to its attempt tom adhere to the EU, and must redirect its foreign policy around the Turco-phonic Asiatic confederation, continuing for itself the modernization and liberalization process that started already.
- Turkey needs to reinstate Kemal Ataturk's predilection for a foreign policy based on principles, and not opportunism. What Turkey will offer to its Kurdish and Aramaic minorities, France must offer to Corsicans, Occitans, Bretons, Alsatians and Basks. Turkey must be the advocate of all oppressed and unrecognized peoples and minorities in Europe, Asia and Africa.
- Turkey must enter into an alliance with the US, Israel and India in view of a thorough and complete containment of the Islamic Terrorism; according to the terms of the Treaty, Turkey must replace US soldiers in America, contribute to a liberalization process in Syria, Lebanon and Iran, and make its presence felt as a model of state for Muslims in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Central Asia
- Turkey must become a shield of peace for the Balkans, contributing to minority recognition, emancipation and autonomy.
- Turkey must set up an International Islamic University whereby the model of the Turkish state will be presented and analyzed as the only political model for Islamic states today. Through international pressure and cooperation with its allies, Turkey must arrange a UN / UNESCO directive according to the terms of which any country's Muslim citizens, if desiring to pursue Islamic studies abroad, will be allowed to study only in this university. This will put a dead end to the devilish and subversive work of uncontrolled bogus-universities located in Middle Eastern tyrannies that have become undetected and uncontrolled laboratories of Islamic Terror and Barbarism.
Turkey's forthcoming presidential elections
Critical issues like the above must prevail during the de4cision making process in Turkey over the next few days. Turkey can avert threats and anti-Turkish plans and schemes of any origin, and through a correct political cooperation and military alliance can rise to the level of UN Veto power, representing 1.5 million Muslims at the Security Council. To do this, Turkey needs the modernization of the ruling party, and this can happen through merge with other smaller parties.
The Turkish Parliament's majority deputies should never forget that among their voters (around 30%) there are many who are atheists and agnostics, but reject the anti-Turkish empathy of some ultra-conservative European Christians or the racist and neo-colonial schemes of an apostate Freemasonic lodge. Less than 15% of the Turks are devoted religious people who would desire to somewhat Islamize the Turkish state. They have no authority to impose one of them at the top of Turkey; it is not democratic and it is compatible with Turkey's best interests. Personal ambitions must always be put aside, whenever it comes to a Great Cause for the entire Mankind. And Turkey's potentialities to save the World from the impending Clash West vs. East are not an issue of Turkish national affair; they are a focal point and a matter of the utmost importance for the entire world.
Knowing the great horizons that exist for Turkey, and dedicating themselves to the aforementioned pillars of national / regional /global strategy, the majority deputies of the Turkish Parliament must find the correct person for the position of the President of the Republic among the country's academia. This would bring consensus and concord in a country that will be stricken my all sorts of calamities if secretive, egocentric, mendacious tricks find their way to the position of the Head of State. Cassandra's tragic and cynical words may be the best readings in the few next days for all the Turkish MPs, not only those originating from Canakkale (Troy).
Turkish Jews To Appeal US Congress On Resolution
Several Jewish groups are relaying to Congress a letter from the Turkish Jewish community advocating against a resolution based on Armenian allegations of genocide, according to reports. . .
The resolution was presented to the US House of Representatives earlier this year, though the timing of the vote has yet to be decided. Turkey has warned that passage of the resolution would harm strategic relations with the US and undermine cooperation in key regions across the world, in Afghanistan, Iraq and elsewhere. "Turks want Jewish groups to advocate against the resolution, but only one group, the Jewish Institute of National Security Affairs, has done so," an online news portal called The Global News Service of the Jewish People (JTA) reported earlier this week.
"Other Jewish groups, mindful of the history of Holocaust revisionism, do not want to deny Armenians the opportunity to commemorate their own genocide, which Israeli researchers have said was a precursor to the Holocaust. So in a compromise, the American Jewish Committee, Anti-Defamation League and B'nai B'rith International will relay the Turkish Jewish letter to Congress later this week, but will not necessarily endorse it," the report said. Meanwhile in Ankara Foreign Ministry spokesman Levent Bilman dismissed certain criticism alleging that the Foreign Ministry was not sufficiently active against recognition of Armenian allegations. "Those criticisms are unfair," he said.
"Decisions made at local level, however, are achieved through policies pursued by local interest groups," Bilman said in an apparent reference to influential Armenian lobby's efforts.
Today's Zaman Ankara
Turkish Belligerence And Kurdish Naiveté
Fereydun Rafiq Hilmi
April 19, 2007
Kurdish leaders are full of puff, but no resolution.. Yet acting violently and in haste would be the worst thing Turks can do, and I hope they will not do anything which would alienate every Kurd against them
Unfortunately, the nationalist fervour and the strong extreme reaction against their past made the Turks enter a self-imposed shell which only recently they have managed to get out of. A series of governments followed all claiming to be staunch Kamalist ideologues who drove Turkey further and further into a militaristic form, pushing the people further and further away from their ethnic composition as well as the world with one exception its inclination for all that is military and to do with power and force. That is the reason they joined NATO and became allies with their erstwhile enemies. Their fear of the Greeks, Armenians, Russians and Kurds overwhelming them and diluting their great Turkish entity has been so strong that until the sixties and seventies not only did they nit allow conversing in anything but Turkish bit themselves were averse to learning any other language. It was only after they decided that there was a fortune to be made out of tourism that they started learning English and one or two other languages as a result of the huge migrations by their people to Europe in particular Germany and Britain.
Had things been different:
And so upto the later years of the 20th century Turkey survived on assistance from the west who now used her as a buffer against the Soviet union and what they perceived to be the Communist Threat and having once been the number one power and culture house of the world they were now a poor third world country envying some of the smallest of its previous colonies. It is arguable that if Turkey had taken a different stance after achieving the protection of the main Anatolian peninsula and rather than closing itself in a shell and breaking with its former colonies and allies, they had in fact given Kurdistan an autonomy within Turkey, encouraged strong ties with the southern Kurds and kept the border posts open to them that today we would have had the whole of Kurdistan wishing to be part of it and no one would have been able to stop in its way.If they had recognised the Armenian Genocide under any name they liked and allied themselves with them as well as with the Arabs of Iraq, Syria and the rest in North Africa they would be enjoying great economic prosperity and the west would not be a match for them because of the great distances, different culture, religion, history and way of life and possibly Turkey and not The United States and Britain would be The Number One power in the world.
Brainwashed to be ashamed of the past:
Instead, people of a different alien culture to the region; often directly conflicting, different religion and way of life have not only stolen Turkey's back garden and natural environment, but have even penetrated deep into Turkey's society and brainwashed them into being ashamed of their past and longing to become fraudulent Europeans.Today we tend to link all the scientific and technological advancements with European culture and giving none of the credit to the millennia of time during which the orient and the Middle East made enormous contributions to the two subjects. However when we separate the technical achievements from the western culture we do not see the great differences that we are told exist between the western and Eastern cultures. Societies on both sides of the divide boast about and suffer from the same things. For example, just as there are crime of murder, rape, kidnapping robbery and other crimes in the east there are these crimes in the west. As for violence on a large scale we need only cite two great devastating wars in the west and huge human annihilation in Vietnam and Japan to balance a whole millennium of victims which occurred in the orient and the Middle East most of which still involved the west as well as the east.On the social scene hardly any good thing that exists in the west fails to be reflected in eastern society. Marriages, divorces, religious practices and so on do not differ greatly. However I must admit that those who push the theory of culture conflict and religious fervour being the root of all evil are themselves creating their own religion and spreading it throughout the world like wildfire. They are those who have slowly but surely converted their own populations to break everyone of Christian values and commandments from allowing divorce, to odd and religiously banned practices to spreading the culture of greed and dog-eat-dog society and finally mass murder and huge scale human annihilation for the sake of financial gain through the invention of super mass-destruction weapons.
Barzani and Talabani:
With the concoction of the Iraq cabinet Barzani lost his Kurdish diplomats just as Talabani did. However rather than finding someone to replace them both he and Talabani (who are do-it-yourself guys) have assume the role themselves rather awkwardly. They have both been inebriated with what fortune and lottery has fallen into their laps. But rather than thanking God for it and saying to themselves they will repent and stop abusing their own nation and misuse their resources, they have behaved in the worst manner of an opportunist who does not see further than his nose. Barzani for example has failed to realise that as a Statesman and political head of a would-be state he is required to behave as one and not let his basic guerrilla instincts overwhelm his thinking. His threats to Turkey (which he later made worse by an awkward and ill-worded apology) were unwise and ill-advised. But of course he considers himself the greatest Kurd who ever live and such people do not need advice but only give orders and people follow.From my personal assessment of the Kurdish leaders I believe they are full of puff but no resolution. If ever they appeared to be taking a real and strong stance then you may suspect that someone else is behind what they are doing. In dealing with them I have found them confused and lack all kinds of planning. If I did not know the way they go forward I would be surprised at the degree of success they seem to have achieved so far. But history does not have mercy on anyone and stronger and better administrations could disappear in a puff of some if they continue pursuing the agenda of the Americans, alienating everyone around them.
The Kurd's and the war zone:
The behaviour of the Kurdish leaders has created a war zone in Iraq with a possible spill-over in Kirkuk and the rest of Kurdistan later. They have therefore created:
Internal conflict with Turkmen and ArabsInternal conflict in Iraq with enormous resentment by the Arabs. Even if there were any sympathiser among them he has not firmly crossed into the enemy campResentment and hatred by the Turks and the IraniansResentment and hatred by the Arabs in the rest of the Arab worldResentment and hatred among the Muslim worldIt is doubtful if they have the full respect and support of their own populations who have suffered 17 years of mal-administration, corruption, lack of all basic services while the leaders have enjoyed super Hollywood-style millionaire status; each owning his own airport and private jet and palaces which make Saddam look like a Vassal king to their majesties. Mr Massoud Barzani and his “advisers” may have calculated that Turkey would be restrained by the US fearful of losing what it claims ti be a great success in Iraq should a small scale war erupt in Kurdistan and the “great” progress made there lost. He has also been trying to play a game which is beyond his capabilities for he declares lack of respect for the Iraqi flag, threatens to declare independence of central government does not support his claim for Kirkuk and encourages divisive sectarian weak government in Baghdad but quickly hides behind his Iraqiness and claims Kirkuk to be an internal Iraqi matter with the Turks having no right to interfere in. To a certain extent he did rattle the Americans and get them to advise Turkey of calmness and patience.However this is a weapon of double if not multiple edges, for the Turks could equally threaten the US of sire Iraqi consequences should they not restrain the Kurds and kill all hopes of an independent and now possibly even a federal state. My money will be in the Turks winning this tight-rope politics which Massoud is playing. The Iraqi government and in particular Al-Maliki would not be too upset if the Kurds were given a bloody nose either for he sees them doing nothing to help him crush all opposition to his rule and deep inside does not like them either.The Iranians too are fed up with the Kurds and despite all the contradictory and confused statements by Talabani they see different behaviour on the ground and blame the Kurds for the capture of their “diplomats” in Arbil as well as the trouble brewing in Iranian Kurdistan. Syria sees some encouragement of Syrian Kurds by the Barzani authorities and so we are approaching great upheaval in the region which I have warned against in the past.
Barzani's European card:
Barzani has one more card up his sleeve which is the European card. However there are many in Turkey who realise that the Kurds are not the real reason for European reluctance to accept Turkey but their religious and ethnic background and are therefore advising their leadership not to pursue that line. If a referendum were to be held perhaps 7-% of Turks would rather remain kings in their natural environments than become another Rumania or Bulgaria going west with their begging bowl. Turks would do well if they turned to their own Kurds, shook hands and made them feel full citizens with exactly equal rights. That would be the best way to tackle any possible threat from them and would prevent outside interference. Anyone visiting Kurdish towns and cities cannot help notice the enormous progress made there making anything the Barzani-Talabani administration has done in the south pale into insignificance. All is now needed is political prowess and a full reconciliation with the Kurds Armenians and Greeks who live in Turkey and have historical claims to it.Acting violently and in haste would be the worst thing they can do and I hope they will not do anything which would alienate every Kurd against them. By contrast the Kurds have gained respect and friendship from the USA and Britain and are therefore sticking all their money on them. We shall see if they are justified to do so.
Dr Fereydun Rafiq Hilmi, an Iraqi Kurd who lives in the UK, has served in the First Cabinet of Kurdistan as a Deputy Minister for Transport and Communication.
Turks Face A Future Filled With Fear
by Catherine Field
New Zealand Herald, New Zealand
April 17 2007
A gentle breeze wrinkles the Bosphorus, the muezzin at the Blue Mosque calls the faithful to pray and old men sip tiny cups of grainy coffee in the spring sunshine.
This image of Istanbul is tempting for its timelessness. Yet beneath its reassuring surface is a country in the grip of powerful change.
Ask Turks where they think their country is or should be heading, and you will get many answers and all are likely to be tinged with anxiety.
Some fear Turkey is edging towards a religious state; others dread a backlash by the pro-secular, ultra-nationalist military, who staged three coups between 1960 and 1980; others fret about a civil war with the Kurdish minority.
"A few years from now, we don't know what's going to happen," says Mustafa Kemal, a British-educated businessman in his late forties.
"It's anyone's guess."
A decade or so ago, what happened in Turkey could be regarded by much of the world as a sideshow. Not any more.
For one thing, this nation of 71 million people is increasingly prosperous, rivalling the newer members of the European Union in per-capita income. It also straddles the main export route for the oil-rich countries of the Caucasus. But most of all, Turkey plays the linchpin role in Washington and Brussels' vision of a Middle East that is tolerant, stable and democratic.
AdvertisementMany secular Turks worry about creeping Islamism under Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, head of the Islamic-rooted Justice and Development Party (AKP), who has been in power for the last five years. Erdogan is expected toannounce this week if he will stand in next month's presidential elections.
Last Saturday, around 300,000 people took to the streets of Ankara, the capital, to set down a marker of support for secularism ahead of the vote. They rallied in front of the mausoleum of Kemal Ataturk, the revered founder of the Turkish republic, who set up a secular state, dividing religion from politics, after the collapse of the Ottoman empire in 1917.
On the eve of the rally, the current President, Ahmet Necdet Sezer, issued a sharp warning about the threat to secularism. A former Constitutional Court judge, Sezer has vetoed a record number of laws he deemed in violation of the secular constitution. He has also blocked Government efforts to appoint hundreds of reportedly Islamic-oriented candidates to key civil service jobs.
"Since the foundation of the republic, Turkey's political regime has never been under such threat," Sezer said. "For the first time in history, the fundamental values of the republic have been questioned and both domestic and foreign forces want Turkey to become a conservative Islamic model."
Prodded by the EU as a precondition for membership negotiations, Erdogan has pushed forward some important pro-democracy reforms, including curbs on powers of the military. As a result, the death penalty has been scrapped, tougher safeguards introduced against torture and headway made in women's rights and Kurdish culture.
But Erdogan has also tried to criminalise adultery - he backed down under EU pressure - appoint an Islamic central banker, taken steps to strengthen religious schools and spoken out against restrictions on wearing Islamic-style headscarves in government offices and the schoolroom. These, say critics, are signs that he will push an Islamic agenda if he becomes head of state, a charge that Erdogan denies.
Sezer steps down as President on May 16. His successor will be chosen by Parliament, which is dominated by AKP politicians.
Nationalism and ethnic frictions are other toxic additions to Turkey's problems.
In January, ethnic Armenian journalist Hrant Dink, who challenged the state position that the mass killings of Armenians by Turks in World War I was not genocide, was shot dead outside his office. An ultra-nationalist teenager has confessed to the killing - and the debate rages over whether the youth had links with networks within the state and security forces.
Even more troubling, though, is the prospect of fresh bloodshed over the Kurdish question. The Kurds live in an area straddling east and southeast Turkey, as well as smaller areas of Iraq, Iran and Syria.
More than 30,000 people were killed in Turkey in the 1980s and 1990s in fighting between the Turkish Army and secessionist Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK).
Strengthened by the establishment of a quasi-independent Kurdish entity in northern Iraq as a result of the war, the PKK has stepped up its operations across the border in Turkey, and Turkish troop deaths are now running at several a day.
Washington relied on stability in the Kurdish south, said Andrew McGregor of the Aberfoyle International Security Analysis in Canada.
"Southern Turkey's Incirlik Air Base is a crucial staging ground for US operations in Iraq and Afghanistan," he said.
"The US is unwilling to open a new front in northern Iraq, nor can it afford to lose its support from Iraq's Kurdish population. Kurds provide the most reliable units in the reformed Iraqi national Army."
In 2003, many in Turkey predicted the Iraq War would be disastrous for their country, sensing it would strengthen the PKK and bolster Kurdish demands on Turkish soil. Now the predictions appear to be coming true, with all the potential for driving a massive wedge between Ankara and Washington.
"It is the great under-reported story of the Iraq War," said Steven Cook, of the Council on Foreign Relations.
The war within
* Turkey's staunchly pro-secular President Ahmet Necdet Sezer warned at the weekend that the threat Islamic fundamentalism poses to the country's secular establishment has reached its highest level.
* His comments were directed at the Islamic-rooted Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who is expected this week to say if he is prepared to serve as president.
* Erdogan has tried to push through pro-Islamic laws and appointments, but has also given in to European Union demands and has denied having an anti-secular agenda.
* Parliament will elect a new president after Sezer stands down on May 16.
* Turkey's secularists fear that if Erdogan - or someone close to him - wins the presidency, the government will be able to implement an Islamic agenda without opposition.
* Kemal Ataturk, the founder of the Turkish republic, set up a secular state, dividing religion from politics, after the collapse of the Ottoman empire in 1917.
Un Complicit In Genocide Denial
The Toronto Star, Canada
April 16, 2007
More than 90 years ago, when Turkey was still part of the Ottoman Empire, Turkish nationalists launched an extermination campaign there that killed 1.5 million Armenians.
It was the 20th century's first genocide. The world noticed, but did nothing, setting an example that surely emboldened such later practitioners as Hitler, the Hutu leaders of Rwanda in 1994 and today's Sudanese president, Omar Hassan al-Bashir.
Turkey has long tried to deny the Armenian genocide. Even in the modern-day Turkish republic, which was not a party to the killings, using the word "genocide" in reference to these events is prosecuted as a serious crime. Which makes it all the more disgraceful that United Nations officials are bowing to Turkey's demands and blocking the scheduled opening of an exhibit at UN headquarters commemorating the 13th anniversary of the Rwandan genocide because it mentions the mass murder of the Armenians.
Ankara was offended by a sentence that explained how genocide came to be recognized as a crime under international law: "Following World War I, during which 1 million Armenians were murdered in Turkey, Polish lawyer Raphael Lemkin urged the League of Nations to recognize crimes of barbarity as international crimes."
The exhibit's organizer, a British-based anti-genocide group, was willing to omit the words "in Turkey." But that was not enough for the UN's craven new leadership, and the exhibit has been indefinitely postponed.
It's odd that Turkey's leaders have not figured out by now that every time they try to censor discussion of the Armenian genocide, they only bring wider attention to the subject and link today's democratic Turkey with the now distant crime.
As for Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and his inexperienced new leadership team, they have once again shown how much they have to learn if they are to honourably and effectively serve the United Nations, which is supposed to be the embodiment of international law and a leading voice against genocide.
This is an edited version of an editorial that appeared Friday in the New York Times.
Complete Destabilization Threatens The Region In Case Turkey Invades Northern Iraq
Iraqi Kurdistan is almost the only province of the country the Americans do not have to worry for.
Turkey's probable invasion of Northern Iraq threatens the country with serious economic crisis and with chaos in the already troublesome region. In case of Turkish Army's invasion of Iraq the US will simply lose control over the situation, something which America will not let happen. The latest announcement made by the Chief of the Turkish General Staff Yashar Buyukanit was an obvious hint at the possibility of launching a military operation at the border of the Iraqi Kurdistan.
"It is necessary for the Turkish Army to implement military intervention at the bordering regions in the Northern part of Iraq, to break down the oppositions sheltering Kurdish militants there. If I am asked, whether or not such operation is needed to carry out, I will say it is," said the General. The newspaper Cumhurriyet is certain that for its own security Turkey needs to invade Northern Iraq.
The official Ankara's motivation; that is the fight against terrorists from the Kurdish Worker's Party, which Turkey has been waging since 1984, looks rather convincing. Yet to this day the annihilation of the Kurdish people has been realized on Turkish territory mainly. Presently, struggle against the founders of "The Great Kurdistan" got beyond the bounds of the country.
The US tries its best to prevent Turkey's invasion on Northern Iraq controlled by the Kurds. The representatives of Bush Administration has lately been assuring Turkey, that American troops will put more pressure on the militants of the Kurdish Worker's Party, sheltering on Kandil mountains at the borders of Iraq, Iran and Turkey.
The US agrees upon the plan on holding a referendum in Kirkuk, province in Northern Iraq. Turkey suspects, that Iraqi Kurds aim at taking control over Kirkuk, as a prelude to the establishment of the Independent Kurdistan. General Joseph Ralston, U.S. special envoy for countering the Kurdish problem, considers that the possibility of the Turkish military operation is growing. "We have come to a critical point, where the pressure of the Kurdish Worker's Party's continuing attacks brought to a gigantic public pressure on the Turkish government with the request of launching the military operation. When snow melts on the mountains, we will see whether or not the Party will recommence attacks and what the Turkish government's reaction will be. I hope, that Turkey will remain on our side," the Guardian writes.
Iraqi Kurdistan is almost the only province in the country the Americans do not have to worry for - there is no opposition getting on the way of the multinational army, no bloody clashes between Sunnis and Shiites.
However it should not be forgotten, that the "rebirth" of the mythical "Great Kurdistan", including parts of Iraq, Turkey, Iran, Syria and even a small region in Armenia, may start right from this point. It is not surprising, that "a small region in Armenia" is always included in the plans of the establishment of any "Great" state. Kurds are not alone in their intentions; Azerbaijan, Turkey and Georgia make claims on the Armenian territories too. In its "condemnations" of the possible invasion of the Turkish army into Northern Iraq most likely Armenia is guided by one main principle; my enemy's enemy is my ally, however it should not be forgotten that the Turks committed the Armenian Genocide at the hands of the very Kurds.
Armenia's Priority Is Not Recognition Of Genocide But Opening Of Border With Turkey
By H. Chaqrian
AZG Armenian Daily
The issues of the recognition of the Armenian Genocide and of the adoption of the Resolution by the US Congress remain the most important topics of discussions in Ankara, capital of Turkey, in despite of threatening statements of Masoud Barzanee, President of the "Iraqi Kurdistan" and political insinuations of Prime Minister Tcep Tayyip Erdogan on the eve of presidential elections
On April 13 co-chair of the Armenian-Turkish Business Union Kaan Soyak in an interview to "Cihan" new agency commented the political situation and the relations between Armenia and Turkey.
Mr. Soyak said that the adoption of the US Congress Resolution on the Armenian Genocide will have negative consequences both for Armenia and Turkey. He assured that the Resolution is lobbied by political powers interested in preventing reconciliation between the two states. To Soyak's opinion recognition of the Genocide is not a priority for the Republic of Armenia, although it has became an industry - a theme for various films and books, and a means of persevering national identity for the Armenian Diaspora. He stated that Armenia's real priority is the opening of the border with Turkey.
Soyak expressed an opinion that Armenia is merely unable to prevent the discussion of the Resolution, as its economy essentially depends on foreign capital.
"By now Armenia has not done anything so as to aid passing the Resolution. Neither did any Armenian politician come to the USA in order to start lobby activity," he said. To Soyak's opinion the Armenian authorities are interested in establishing diplomatic and economical relations with Turkey irrespective of Diaspora's position. He stressed that the Diaspora does not need Armenia. Turkey, coming to agreement with Armenia will weaken the positions of the Diaspora. That is why the Armenian Diaspora is doing everything possible to prevent reconciliation between the two states and keep the border close.
Soyak also referred to the murder of Hrant Dink and the "We Are All Armenians" slogan, which was proclaimed on the funeral. He considers that the slogan revealed that there is no contradiction between the Armenian and Turkish people. He reminded that after the great earthquake of 1999 in Turkey Armenia rendered considerable humanitarian aid. He noticed that the Turkish American community donated $600.000 to the victims of the earthquake and famous Armenian philanthropist Kirk Kirkorian alone - $1.000.000.
Kaan Soyak said that when meeting with his Armenian colleagues he never speaks about history. Both the nations need peace, he thinks. "Gestures are made by great states. Opening the border is such a gesture.
And a s a great state Turkey will determine the conditions, " he said. Soyak refused to elaborate what are those "conditions", although the Turkey's demands of Armenia are well known from 1991. Instead he tried to create illusion that the Republic of Armenia is against the Resolution on Armenian Genocide, as if forgetting about obviously offensive position of the Turkish authorities against Armenia and its pre-conditions for establishment of diplomatic relations.
Speaking of the Armenian-Turkish relations, Soyak never used the word "genocide" whjen referring to the events of 1915 as if urging to forget about them. He said nothing of the activity of Turkes, called by the press "the founder of neo-fascism in Turkey" and the "Turkish Furher". Turkes in the 70's organized a number of numbers of progressive and prominent Turkish social and political workers. In the early 90's, during the war in Nagorno-Karabakh he sent 3 thousand militants to aid the Azerbaijani aggressors. After the World War II Turkes started close cooperation with terrorist organizations from the USA and "Mossad" from Isreal, organizing terrorist acts against the peaceful Armenian population of Beyrut in the late 80's.
Soyak's words would be of little importance, unless "Zaman" had reported that he, being equally respected both by the Armenian and Turkish authorities, is working for rapprochement between the countries.
However it is obvious that the efforts of Mr. Soyak remain fruitless.
Turkish, Us Scholars Discuss Turkish-Armenian Relationship
Turkish and US scholars discussed relations between Turkey and Armenia at a conference titled “Turkish-Armenian Question:
What to do now?” held in Dallas, Texas, on Saturday and organized by the Raindrop Foundation, a nonprofit group founded by Turkish students in Houston for cultural and educational purposes.
Participants mentioned the importance of coexistence and said, “It is time to speak instead of sowing seeds of hatred and to start a new era in history.” Turkish and US historians emphasized that the tension that has existed between the two societies since 1914 can be settled with discussion.
The conference started with an opening address by Istanbul’s Armenian Patriarch Mesrob II, who said, “The nations can live together in peace, but everyone should treat each other as he is without making a distinction of language, religion and race.”
Hüseyin Demirci from Erciyes University said Armenian-Turkish relations can be improved by efforts based on dialogue. Stating that in visits he paid to Yerevan and other Armenian cities he saw that relations between the two peoples are still at the highest level, Demirci said the diaspora and politically based actions damage relationships. “It is time we repaired the cracks with constructive efforts as much as we can,” he urged.
Dr. Gregg Webb from Baylor University congratulated the Raindrop Foundation, which organized the conference, and said he hoped the organization would pave the way for further friendships. Quoting Benjamin Franklin, “All I want is to make the enemy in front of me into a friend of mine,”
Turkish scholar Dr. Naci Bostanci said: “We wish Armenian views were also expressed here. What we want is to come together on broader platforms. Dialogue does not mean people fix their ideas and speak accordingly. Dialogue does not mean making speeches based on written texts. On the contrary, it is a journey among words where the speech has a wide frame.” Journalist Ali Bayramoglu also stressed the importance of the Armenians and Turks’ coming face-to-face and discussing their problems, noting, “We all should learn to face each other.”
Dr. Michael Fontenont of Southern University at Baton Rouge said, “Handling the Armenian issue one-sidedly means ignoring the historical and social events,”
Turkish and US scholars joined the conference organized by the Raindrop Foundation; however, Armenian scholars declined the invitations sent to them. Several Turkish and Armenian students followed the meeting. “Bridges can be established between Armenians and Turks,” said Raindrop Foundation Chairman Yasar Tiryakioglu.
Tiryakioglu said the enmity between Armenians and Turks should be left in the past and that ways of dialogue should be sought. He described the goal of the conference as follows: “Our goal was to build the first leg of the bridge today. We believe we have achieved this. We will already make our plans to organize new events to establish a closer relationship between the two societies.”
VELI BAYSAL DALLAS /Zaman
Hopes For The Future As Turkey Prepares To Take Helm Of BSEC
It has been more than a decade since the Black Sea Economic Cooperation (BSEC) was established, but the organization has not fully met the once-high expectations held for it.
Family photo of the leaders of Black Sea Economic Cooperation countries at the group's 10th anniversary meeting in Istanbul on June 25, 2002.
However the political climate in the region and the mood in relations between the 12 BSEC member countries, which were once the main factors holding the organization back, have changed a great deal, offering the organization a unique second chance to become an active player in the region.
Tomorrow the Serbian capital of Belgrade will host a meeting of the council of foreign ministers of BSEC member countries, the 16th such council meeting since the organization's establishment in 1992. Foreign Minister Abdullah Gül will represent Turkey in Belgrade, where a ceremony will be held by the current Serbian term presidency, turning the helm over to Turkey for the next six months, effective as of May 1. The meeting will bring together the foreign ministers of Azerbaijan, Albania, Armenia, Bulgaria, Greece, Georgia, Moldova, Russia, Romania and Ukraine in addition to Serbia and Turkey.
The fact that the BSEC will mark its 15th anniversary close to one month after Turkey takes the driver's seat is solely a coincidence, but a "fortunate" one, according to a Turkish diplomat, speaking to Today's Zaman on condition of anonymity ahead of the meeting in Belgrade.
"We consider the 15th anniversary in June 2007 a significant opportunity to refresh those hopes once held at the beginning of this 15-year journey," he said, signaling awareness that simply holding a summit of heads of state and governments on the anniversary would not in itself be sufficient for refreshing those hopes.
"A summit is solely a summit in the end. The leaders of 12 member states gather and release a declaration. What matters is to have concrete projects, agreements and ideas in order to carry out this 'quantum leap'."
Due to the seven-month-long preparation process ahead of taking up the term presidency, Ankara now seems confident that it has kept up the necessary momentum to carry out certain projects, or at least for laying the foundation for long-term projects, through its presidency, which will expire at the end of October this year.
One project by Turkey is the establishment of a BSEC trade center in Bursa, the Turkish diplomat explained, while expressing hope that such a trade center would serve as a model for other BSEC member countries in the future.
"Local authorities in Bursa are ready to bear the costs of the trade center. If local authorities, let's say in Odessa, Yalta or Constanta, follow the same way, similar trade centers can be established there, and eventually we can have a network of trade centers among these cities," he elaborated.
One ambitious project by Turkey is joint use of Turkey's new satellite, Türksat 3A, which is planned to be placed in orbit in 2008. Ankara aspires to use this for the systematic exchange of information between BSEC member country universities and hospitals, thus perhaps even offering an opportunity for setting up a blood and organ donor network.
Belgrade agenda ‘speaking in chorus with EU’
Before departing to Belgrade for the council of ministers meeting, BSEC Secretary-General Ambassador Leonidas Chrysan-thopoulos explained to Today's Zaman that three memoranda of understanding are expected to be signed among members in Belgrade: One for the coordinated development of the Black Sea Ring Highway (BSRH); a second on the development of the "motorways of the sea" in the BSEC region; and a third for cooperation of diplomatic academies of the foreign ministries of BSEC member countries.
"The first project, a 7,100-kilometer-long highway, will bring economic development to the region by facilitating the overland transport of goods within the BSEC from Europe to Asia and vice versa, and by promoting tourism. The second project will make the Black Sea smaller by creating the necessary infrastructure for better connecting the Black Sea ports and the Black Sea with the Mediterranean and Caspian seas," said Chrysanthopoulos.
Earlier this month the EU presented plans to bolster cooperation with neighbors around the Black Sea, aiming to strengthen much-needed energy ties and bring stability to an area plagued by conflict. EU External Relations Commissioner Benita Ferrero-Waldner said at the time her plan was to forge formal links with the BSEC.
Chrysanthopoulos earlier expressed his disappointment over the fact that the role of the BSEC has been downplayed in the European Commission's communication on "Black Sea Synergy - A New Regional Cooperation Initiative" -- to which Ferrero-Waldner referred -- when compared to a December communication titled "Strength-ening the Neighborhood Policy."
But Chrysanthopoulos still sounded hopeful when he said that "by the time of the BSEC summit in Istanbul, BSEC's relations with the EU will have progressed to the extent that we may have a joint BSEC-EU declaration inaugurating a new era of enhanced relations between the two sides."
The Turkish diplomat emphasized that what mattered most for BSEC's success has recently been accomplished: speaking in chorus as members. "Having accomplished this, the BSEC will now definitely be more vocal and determined in expressing its demands more precisely from the EU."
Kocharian, Oskanian invited to Istanbul summit of BSEC
Just as an invitation for a summit of heads of states and governments has been extended to the other 10 members of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation (BSEC), an invitation has also been extended to Turkey's estranged neighbor Armenia.
Armenian President Robert Kocharian and Foreign Minister Vartan Oskanian have been invited to the summit that will be hosted by Turkey on the 15th anniversary of the organization in late June in Istanbul, diplomatic sources told Today's Zaman. Yet no positive or negative response has yet been received from Yerevan.
Ankara has recognized Yerevan since the former Soviet republic gained independence in 1991, but nevertheless refuses to set up diplomatic ties because of Armenian efforts to secure international condemnation of the controversial World War I era killings of Anatolian Armenians as genocide. Armenians claim up to 1.5 million of their kin were slaughtered in orchestrated killings during the last years of the Ottoman Empire. Turkey categorically rejects the claims, saying that 300,000 Armenians along with at least as many Turks died in civil strife which emerged when the Armenians took up arms for independence in eastern Anatolia and sided with the Russian troops which were invading Ottoman lands.
In 1993 Turkey also shut its border with Armenia in a show of solidarity with its close ally Azerbaijan, which was at war with Armenia over the Nagorno-Karabakh enclave, dealing a heavy economic blow to the impoverished nation. Ankara wants Armenia to abandon its campaign for the recognition of the killings as genocide and make progress in its dispute with Baku before formal diplomatic relations can be established.
The sole Armenian diplomat based in Turkey is Karen Mirzoyan, Armenia's permanent representative to the BSEC. The Armenian representative office was opened in 2001.
EMINE KART ANKARA / Zaman
Obama Backs Armenian Genocide Allegations
US Senator Barack Obama, a presidential candidate for the 2008 elections, revealed he supported Armenian allegations of genocide at the hands of the Ottoman Empire, Armenian reports said.
The Democratic senator, speaking at a breakfast briefing in Washington, D.C., with participants from Illinois, said: "For those who aren't aware, there was a genocide that did take place against the Armenian people. It is one of these situations where we have seen a constant denial on the part of the Turkish government and others that this occurred. It has become a sore spot diplomatically."
He was responding to a question from an official from Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA), an influential Armenian lobbying group in the US, on whether he would support a resolution urging the US administration to recognize the alleged genocide.
ANCA Eastern Region Executive Director Karine Birazian commended Obama for his stance. "Armenian Americans in Illinois and across the nation look forward to Senator Obama becoming a co-sponsor of the resolution," she said, according to PanArmenian.net. Two separate resolutions have been presented to the US Senate and the House of Representatives urging the administration to designate the events as genocide. Ankara has warned that passage of the resolutions would damage ties with US considerably.
Today's Zaman Istanbul
Akhtamar Attracts 1,000 Visitors In 15 Days
The Armenian church on Akdamar Island on Lake Van has received 1,000 visitors in the 15 days since it reopened as a museum.
Culture and Tourism Ministry Van Provincial Director Izzet Kütükoglu said that the visitor numbers were part of a trend of growing interest in the region. Average tourist levels in Van had previously been 5,000 to 6,000 annually, but in recent years the figure has jumped to 20,000, Kütükoglu said, adding that they expect tourist rates to double this year.
Kütükoglu also described Van as a tourist center, noting that there are many historical, cultural and natural assets in the region, aside from the Akhtamar Museum. “Hopefully this year will be tourism’s year,” he said. The museum opened on March 29 with a ceremony attended by Culture and Tourism Minister Atilla Koç and the ambassadors of 44 countries. The church had been closed for two years for restoration and environmental restructuring.
Today’s Zaman with wires Van
Turkey's Alarmists, Pollyannas Have Wrong Take: Frederick Kempe
By Frederick Kempe
April 18 (Bloomberg) -- Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, a man the country's secularists suspect is an Islamist wolf in sheep's clothing, once compared democracy to a bus. ``You ride it until your destination and then you step off,'' he said at the time as Istanbul's mayor.
The secularists now suspect that Erdogan is about to reach his Islamic central station after more than four years of getting there. They argue that he plans to use a presidential election process that began this week to extend his Islamic-based party's near-monopoly of power, either by nominating himself or a close ally. He already controls the parliament that will elect the president, the government and most municipalities.
That concern brought a quarter-million secularist protesters onto the streets of Ankara last weekend.
President Ahmet Necdet Sezer, whose tenure ends May 16, has used his seven-year term in a mostly ceremonial job to veto a record number of bills he deemed unconstitutional because of their Islamist drift. He blocked the appointment of hundreds of officials on the same grounds.
Yet Turkey's alarmists, who warn the West about what they call the Talibanization of their country, are mistaken. So are the Pollyannas, who perceive no change in Turkey's nature.
``They are both wrong,'' says Mark Parris, a former U.S. ambassador to Turkey who is now a visiting fellow at the Brookings Institution. His point is that even while the U.S. and Europe must eschew Islamophobia, they need to accept that the shifts in Turkey will make it a more difficult partner on a host of issues, from Iran to Israel.
Turkey's leaders are culturally distant from the Western diplomats accustomed to the sorts of Turks whose European inclinations were evident in the wines they order and the opera and concert houses they attend. The Erdogan group is less connected to Europe, friendlier to the Arab world, cooler toward Israel, and more likely to negotiate over tea in the afternoon than merlot at midnight.
Yet the job of a superpower isn't to engage in misguided debate about ``Who Lost Turkey?'' but to understand its democratic forces and tap them in a way that keeps Turkey rooted in the West while making it a more appealing model for the Middle East.
To do that, the European Union must be careful not to further distance itself from Ankara and its membership aspirations. The U.S. must avoid reacting with disregard to plummeting Turkish public opinion toward America. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi also should resist pending legislation that would further inflame Islamic-oriented nationalism by declaring that Turkish killings of Armenians in 1915 were genocide and not just a massacre. The timing of this often-delayed non-binding resolution couldn't be worse.
The U.S. government also must be careful not to underestimate rising and legitimate Turkish concern over Kurdish terrorists operating from northern Iraq and in easy striking distance of its border.
It's useful to dissect the flaws in the alarmist and Pollyanna arguments to come up with the right approach to Turkey.
The alarmists overestimate the danger of Talibanization. As troubling as the Erdogan juggernaut may seem, it grows out of a Western tradition and is locked on a pro-business course with 7 percent growth levels since 2003. Turkish stock markets remain among the world's top performers, and Erdogan's fiscal balances have made him an International Monetary Fund darling. Any move away from democracy toward an Islamic state would undermine that and his party popularity.
He has remained close to fellow faith-based leader George W. Bush even while improving relations with Hamas, Syria and Iran. Condoleezza Rice has made close ties with Erdogan a priority, recognizing that Turkey has more influence in the Middle East now than ever under its secularist leadership.
Turkey, for all its flaws, still is the best model for Islamist and secularist co-existence within a democratic state that is friendly to the West. It remains the most-advanced democracy in the Islamic world -- a position all the more important for its borders with Syria, Iraq, Iran, Azerbaijan, Georgia and Armenia.
Yet the Pollyannas also are wrong in underestimating the dangers. Erdogan is shifting Turkey more quickly than is easy to measure, and in some municipalities new laws, such as those regulating the sale and taxing of alcohol, are raising concerns. Without the veto power of the president, this trend away from the secularist state is almost certain to accelerate.
Strains with the U.S. over northern Iraq, and the failure of Washington or its Kurdish allies to control terrorists, are intensifying. The secularist military's top officer called for intervention in northern Iraq to combat Kurdish terrorists, saying all he lacked was political approval. It was the military's way of reminding Erdogan that it is unhappy with his leadership and remains Turkey's ultimate arbiter even if he becomes president.
The best the secularists can hope for, however, is that Erdogan won't run himself, but will nominate more secular figures such as Defense Minister Vecdi Gonul or parliamentarian Koksal Toptan.
What is clear is that the West needs to look past the distractions of Iraq and pay more attention to a country that may be even more vital to any dreams of democratizing Islamic countries.
Erdogan's bus is speeding forward and wise Western policy could help influence the destination by keeping the road open and providing incentives that act as guardrails.
At this point, we should have learned the perils of wishful thinking and the value in the Islamic world of embracing the best model available.
(Frederick Kempe, president of the Atlantic Council, is a Bloomberg News columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.)
To contact the writer of this column: Frederick Kempe in Washington at email@example.com