1721) Media Scanner May 2007 (160 Items)

  1. Armenian Internet Community: Armenian Politicians Endanger Existence Of Armenian Nation Regnum News Agency, Russia
  2. Ankara Requests Information On Swiss Move
  3. ‘Noah’s Ark’ Built On Mt. Agri To Be Inaugurated Today
  4. Sarkozy's Presidency Alerts Both Arabs And Turks Nicola NASSER
  5. The World’s Softest Military Coup: A la Turca By Kemal Silay
  6. Sweden Readies To Soften Its ‘genocide’ Law, Ankara Cautious
  7. The Genocidal Obsession Of The Armenians
  8. Sarkozy Responds To Erdogan’s Dialogue Call, Sends Envoy
  9. Us Congressional Delegation Completes Contacts In Ankara And Moves To Istanbul
  10. Sometimes, Forgetting Is Better Than Facing The PastZiya Meral
  11. Talking Turkey II By Garen Yegparian
  12. Open Door: The Readers' Editor On ... The Open And Organic Business Of Journalism
  13. Fareed Zakaria: The Embodiment Of Misinformation On Turkey
  14. Armenian Atrocities Against Jews In The Ottoman Empire (Belma Buzcan)
  15. Turkey Do Protest Too Much...
  16. Armenian-Turkish Relations Won't Change Irrespective Of Fact What Political Force Will Win Turkish Parliamentary Elections Noyan Tapan
  17. Poll Says Passage Of Armenian Resolution Will Worsen Turks' Opinion About The U.S. Turkish Press
  18. Sarkozy Darkens Turkey's EU Horizon EuroNews
  19. Contrasting Reactions From Sarkozy And Barroso Over Turkey’s EU Bid Source:Turkey/EU
  20. Graveyard Claimed To Be Armenian Belongs To Romans
  21. Greeks Press Charges Over Turkish Flag Burnt In Armenian Demo Armenia Liberty /Eraren
  22. Amnesty International: ‘Governments Provoke Fear’ ISTANBUL – Turkish Daily News
  23. "A Glance From Turkey: Racism, Kemalism Or Islamism?" By Anahit Hovsepian, Germany AZG Armenian Daily
  24. 'Genocide' Bill In France Restriction On Freedom Of Expression Today's Zaman, Turkey
  25. CIA Received Secret Presidential Approval To Mount Covert "Black" Operation To Destabilize Iranian Government PanARMENIAN.Net
  26. Sarkozy agrees to a temporary truce on Turkey The New Anatolian / Ankara
  27. Erdogan Asks Sarkozy Not To Communicate Through Media The New Anatolian / Ankara
  28. Turkey 101 NICOLE POPE n.pope@todayszaman.com
  29. Mt Nemrut: Eighth Wonder Of The Ancient World
  30. A Declaration Of Universal Human Vulnerability Ziya Meral
  31. The New Sneaky Armenians Games in Town: Part I No Profit From Genocide By Beth Tellman
  32. ‘Birds Without Wings’
  33. Open Letter To Bernard Kouchner Yavuz Baydar
  34. For Armenia It Is More Preferable To Deal With The Secular Turkey Rather Than With The Islamic One PanARMENIAN.Net
  35. Sorry, Turkey, But The Eu Is For Europeans Irish Independent
  36. Bill Penalizing Armenian Genocide Denial May Be Introduced In Dutch Parliament Panarmenian
  37. Orhan Tarhan, Turkey, and the Holy Cow Democracy Dr. Muhammad Shamsaddin Megalommatis
  38. A Response to the May 15 Message from the European Friends of TurkeyYuksel Oktay
  39. Desire For Europe, Fear Of Europe by Bejan Matur
  40. FM Kouchner Not Close With Sarkozy On Turkey
  41. Hayrunnisa And Cecilia Andrew Finkel
  42. From Paris and Ankara to Foggy Bottom Barry Rubin
  43. Us House Members Urge Erdogan On Patriarchate
  44. Turks Take Over Madison Ave. For Turkish Day Parade
  45. Quotations By Non-Turkish Writers And Scholars Regarding The Armenian Question Demir Delen
  46. Armenian Forgeries And Falsifications Demir Delen
  47. A Rumble Heard In Ataturk's Grave By Sabrina Tavernise
  48. "An Astonishing Irony" In Turkey! By Yasemin Congar
  49. Armenians Join Greeks In ‘genocide’ Protest
  50. American-Turks Parade In New York ELIF ÖZMENEK
  51. Getting Acquainted With An Armenian… Nihal B. Karaca
  52. Armenian Genocide Denial: The Case Against Turkey By Alan S. Rosenbaum, Cleveland Jewish News
  53. FBI Teaches Armenian Specialists How To Fight Cyber Crime ArmInfo
  54. Turkish Armenians Threatened If They Do Not Accept "Official Version" Of What Happened At The Beginning Of 20th Century PanARMENIAN.Net
  55. Turkey's Policy Towards Armenian Not To Change PanARMENIAN.Net
  56. Currently Armenian Issue On 2nd Place Of Turkey's Foreign Agenda PanARMENIAN.Net
  57. Turkey Assigns Persons With Knowledge Of Armenian In Diplomatic Posts For Struggle Against Recognizing Genocide PanARMENIAN.Net
  58. Nicolas Sarkozy Charged Patrick Devedjian To Lead Ruling Party Of France PanARMENIAN.Net
  59. Armenian Genocide Recognition The Only Way To Enhance Turkey's Prestige PanARMENIAN.Net
  60. Two French Of Armenian Origin In Entourage Of Nicolas Sarkozy ArmRadio.am
  61. It Comes Out That Yerevan Is An Originally Turkish Land ArmRadio.am
  62. Sarkozy Will Soon See That Turks Are Not 'From Cappadocia' Gila Benmayor
  63. Pro-Turkey Socialist Chosen By Sarkozy For FM
  64. EU Invites Turkey To Adopt Broader Caucasus Policy
  65. Sarkozy Is Wrong: Turkey Deserves EU Membership Mark Dragoumis
  66. Turkey's Foreign Policy Suffers Blow Amid Political Crisis At Home
  67. Negroponte Hopes Sarkozy To Reconsider His Objections To Turkey
  68. Nicolas Sarkozy Takes Over As France’s President
  69. Paris Appoints New Ambassador To Turkey
  70. Gül Rejects Sarkozy's 'Club Med' Proposal
  71. French Experts Say Sarkozy Cannot Block Turkey’s EU Talks
  72. The ‘Sarkozysm’ Era In France
  73. Turkish "Equilibrium" - 12 Points For Hayko, And Karabakh For Azerbaijan AZG Armenian Daily
  74. Armenian Woman Climbing The Political Ladder
  75. Turkey And Armenia Clash Of Civilisations
  76. Turk Goes On Trial In Switzerland For Denying Armenian Genocide Reuters
  77. Deutsche Bank And Dresdner Bank Representatives Refused To Meet Armenian Genocide Heirs' Attorneys Panarmenian
  78. Turkish Historical Union: "Armenian Statemets Will Cause Split In European Union" Azg
  79. Foreign Ministry Diplomat Learns Armenian
  80. Turkey’s Armenians In Crossfire Between ‘fanatics’ On Both Sides
  81. Sarkozy To Blackmail The Eu Over Turkey Semih Idiz, Milliyet
  82. Is Mr Sarkozy The New Iron Lady Of France? by Anatole Kaletsky
  83. Defeated Royal Blames Socialist Divisions For Presidential Election Loss
  84. No Major Shift Expected In Armenia’s Policy After Polls
  85. Old Days Of Eurovision Are Over As Dogulu Makes It Into Top Five
  86. Turkish Nobel Laureate ‘returns Home’ To Accept Doctoral Award
  87. New Initiative To Build Bridges Between Armenians And Turks
  88. Turkey Rapporteur Hails Civil Dominance Over Military
  89. US Congressman To Visit Turkey
  90. Minority Newspapers In Turkey
  91. An Open Letter To The TDN
  92. Eurovision Votes Reflect Political Beliefs
  93. A Mediterranean-Black Sea Union
  94. The Bushes of Europe: Cameron, Merkel, Sarkozy
  95. High School Student Educates Hundreds Of Classmates On The Armenian Genocide ANCA
  96. Yacht Owner Defends Sarkozy’s Stay Reuters
  97. Genocide Recognition More For Benefit Of Turkey Than Armenia
  98. Outside View: Turkey's Political Schism UPI
  99. Turkey’s EU Hopes Suffer Big Setback Financial Times
  100. ‘Blocking Turkey’s EU Bid Will Push It To Radicalism’ Zaman
  101. Will France Be Obliged To Carry Turkey To The EU? Beril Dedeoglu
  102. Millionaire Accused Of Buying Armenian Votes Michael Mainville AFP
  103. Brief History Of Journalism In Turkey
  104. French "Axa" Insurance Gives Final Consent For Uploading Entire Information About Company's Former Clients Who Became Victims In The Armenian Genocide At www.Armenianinsurancesettlement.Com Site
  105. Impoverished Armenia Hungry For Change Michael Mainville AFP
  106. ‘"Turks Never Called Me For Support Regarding Genocide Issue" Hillary Clinton TDN
  107. Basque Parliament Recognizes Armenian Genocide
  108. With Friends Like These... As Turkey, Azerbaijan Keep Up Blockade, Russia Bottles Up Georgia, Armenia's Only Open Doorway To World Is Iran Tatul Hakobyan
  109. Armenia Immigrants Send 10% Of Income Back To Armenia Armen Hakobyan
  110. Symposium Asks What Comes After Recognition Lory Tatoulian
  111. Visit To Bulgaria Talin Suciyan
  112. Armenian-American Attorneys Meet With German Officials Re AXA For Immediate Release Deutsche & Dresdner Bank, Defendants Refuse To Meet
  113. U.S. Hasn't Recognized Turkish Republic Juridically So Far PanARMENIAN.Net
  114. No One Cancelled Sevre Treaty On Armenia PanARMENIAN.Net
  115. Why Erdogan Will Lose by Scott Sullivan
  116. Republican Virginia Foxx to Young Turks
  117. Genocide Reparations Cilicia.com
  118. US-Armenian Legal Team To Meet With German Officials Over Armenian Genocide Compensation Claims Berlin, IRNA
  119. Turkish Atomic Energy Agency: No Leakage From Armenia’s Metsamor Reactor
  120. Complementary Art Unbinds Turkish And Armenian Artists
    Vercihan Ziflioglu
  121. Yerevan Vetoes Turkish ObserversTDN
  122. Armenia Vetoes Turkish OSCE Observers Zaman
  123. Armenian Americans Battle With Los Angeles Times & Letter To The Editor
  124. To Turn The Turk, Bag And Baggage, Out Of Europe Telegraph UK
  125. U.S. Jews Enter Debate On Armenian/Turkish History By Ron Kampeas
  126. Armenia Not A Free State By A. Harutiunian AZG
  127. Us Senate Appoints Federal Judge Of Turkish Descent For The First Time http://www.apa.az
  128. Why Turkey May Need a Coup d'État By Youssef Ibrahim www.nysun.com
  129. The EU Is Also ‘Firing Bullets’ At Turkish Democracy Chris Bickerton © spiked 2000-2007
  130. A Secular, Religious or Universal Turkey: An Analysis Rizwan Ghani American Chronicle is a trademark of Ultio LLC.
  131. Turkish Offer Of Joint Commission With Armenians Still On The Table Embassy, LETTERS
  132. Turkish - Armenian Business Development Council Encourage EU To Build Bridges Between Turkey And Armenia Yerevan, Ankara
  133. TABDC Visits San Marino
  134. Erdogan Proposed "Joint History Commission" PM Erdogan's Proposals to Pres. Kocharian TABDC Turkey
  135. Kocharian proposed "Intergovernmental Commission" TABDC Armenia
  136. Diasporan Armenian Students Confess that In Fatherland They Feel Themselves As Minority
  137. Agos Newspaper's Web-Site To Be Launched ArmRadio.am / The Independent/UK
  138. Genocide Recognition, Turkey-Armenia Relations, Role of the Diaspora ARPA Institute presents the Lecture/Seminar
  139. The Enemies Of Turkey Are Very Glad Mehmet Ali Birand
  140. Armenia, Yes, Make Your Right Choice! CEM OGUZ
  141. Ban Ki-Moon: "Un Will Never Discuss Issues On Armenian Genocide Claims" Today.Az
  142. Belgian Kemalist Thought Association Responds To Belgian Ambassador's Accusations
  143. Rwanda Exhibit Opens After Words On Armenians Revised
  144. No Armenian Genocide Resolution From The House Of Representatives: Lessons For The Future Barin Kayaoglu
  145. 'Never Again' For Armenians Toowww.latimes.com
  146. What Would Ataturk Say? Washington Times
  147. Time To Start Talking Turkey By Bridget Johnson, LA Daily News
  148. 'Neither Sharia, Nor Coup D'etat,' Turks Want To Preserve Lifestyle
  149. Turkey's Secular Forces Oppose Islamist Advance By Kgajendra Singh
  150. UN's Rwanda Genocide Exhibit Shifts "Turkey" to "Ottoman Empire" and "Murders" to "Mass Killings"
  151. No Media Outlet In France Can Publish Opposition To Genocide Claims Sabah
  152. Los Angeles Times Under Armenian Pressure TDN
  153. Turkey Demonstrates for a Secular State- Ataturk Would Be Proud By Tracy Dove, Ph.D Russia Today
  154. Tension Turns Into Crisis The Guardian
  155. Secular Turkey Friendly Atheist
  156. ‘US-Turkish Relations Should Not Remain Hostage To Armenian Issue’
  157. Palestinian Filmmaker Bakri Calls On Turkey For Joint Project On Ottomans
  158. EU Funded Boat To Carry Tourists To Akdamar Church
  159. Mesrop Mutafian: If Armenian Bill Is Placed On Parliament's Agenda, Turkish-French Trade Contacts Will Be Damaged Noyan Tapan
  160. Between Turkey And The EU, Two Plus Two Does Not Necessarily Equal Four C. Cem OGUZ
  161. “Do Not Buy From These Savage Mongolians.” www.boycottturkey.com

Armenian Internet Community: Armenian Politicians Endanger Existence Of Armenian Nation
Regnum News Agency, Russia
May 29 2007

"Any politician or civil servant, no matter what his previous merit to the country is, is traitor of his home country and enemy of his nation if he proposes to surrender Armenian territory," says a statement by Armenian online resources received by REGNUM.

The authors of the text say: "Today, we claim that Armenian leadership and political parties stop any discussions of the readiness to surrender liberated Armenian territories of Artsakh. We also claim that contents of the talks are made public, as we find it inadmissible to conceal information that directly concerns future of the Armenian nation." "Territorial bargaining and an attempt to surrender the liberated territory are in now way capable of resolving the Nagorno Karabakh conflict and are fatal not only for Artsakh future, but for the Armenian statehood in general. Armenian politicians mired in the 'constructive dialog' endanger existence of the Armenian nation. Practically, what is happening today is a new 'Munich agreement,' which pushes us into a strategic deadlock and encouraging a new aggression against the Nagorno Karabakh Republic and the Republic of Armenia," the statement says.

OpenArmenia, ArmenianHouse.org Administration, NKR Community, Karabakh Community, Artsakh.info Community, Genocide.ru staff, Portal.Am, VIP Multilingual Forums, Mitk Analytical Center, www.haias.net, Hayastan.com, the city of Dilijan www.dilijan.ru, sirumem.com, KarabakhOpen, Andranik Youth Club "Aliance", Sumgait.info Civil Initiative, Haylife.ru, Merhayrenik.narod.ru, Miatsum.ru, Armiane.spb.ru, Haytun.com, www.armenia-online.de, Nver.ru, Jugend-und Studentenfoderation "Nor Serunt", Armenian Knowledge Base photo blogs signed the statement. Colelction of signatures continues.

Ankara Requests Information On Swiss Move
May 31, 2007
ANKARA – Turkish Daily News
Turkey has requested information from Swiss authorities upon news reports that Switzerland is readying to abolish a law penalizing any denial of the alleged genocide of Armenians at the hands of the Ottoman Empire, a Foreign Ministry official said yesterday.

?We would only welcome such a step if Switzerland is working on removing obstacles standing in the way of freedom of expression as is said,? Foreign Ministry spokesman Levent Bilman told reporters at a press briefing.

Swiss Justice Minister Christoph Blocher launched a campaign for the abolition of the law in question under which Turkey's Workers' Party (IP) leader Dogu Perinçek is being tried and crafted a package of proposals to totally scrap or soften the law adopted in 1994, news reports said yesterday.

The package will be put to debate among 14 experts including Laurent Moreillon, a lawyer for Perinçek, and turn into a motion that will then be sent to the Swiss National Parliament, the reports added.

‘Noah’s Ark’ Built On Mt. Agri To Be Inaugurated Today
The “Noah’s Ark,” built on Mount Agri (Mount Ararat) to attract world leaders’ attention to global warming, will be inaugurated for public visits following the International Agri Declaration, which will be read by famous TV host Okan Bayülgen.

Greenpeace constructed a ship similar to the Noah’s Ark on Mount Agri to attract world leaders’ attention to global warming.

As a part of the project prepared by Greenpeace, a ship similar to Noah’s Ark has been constructed by Turkish and German designers on the mountain -- thought to be the location where Noah’s Ark finally touched dry land.

Bayülgen, who arrived in Van by plane to go to Agri for the inauguration of the ship, said that he would read the International Agri Declaration, adding: “They wanted me to read this declaration. I came to fulfill this duty. What I’m doing is nothing but supporting them.”

Aslihan Tümer, a Greenpeace nuclear disarmament campaigner, said that the inauguration ceremony would take place on Thursday at 7:00 a.m. “Our replica of Noah’s Ark is opening to draw attention to the problem of global warming. Through this ship, the message we are sending to politicians is that it’s still not too late. If we can take action on time we can prevent some results of climate changes that would end in disasters. The things to be done to combat this are very clear. The current investments in renewable energy resources should be increased and there should be more projects in relation to the smarter use of energy. Also the use of fossil fuels such as coal and nuclear fuels should no longer be encouraged,” Tümer explained.

Meanwhile Greenpeace Turkey’s Web site read: “The story of Noah’s Ark is a symbol of hope in chaos. A single person took responsibility for rescuing not just himself but his family and the world’s animals. When the floods abated, Noah found himself on Mt Agri, located in the area now known as Agri in eastern Turkey.

“Greenpeace is building a replica of Noah’s Ark on Mt Agri and we invite you to take your own loved ones inside. Let this be a symbol to the world’s governments that they must take action to protect us from dangerous climate change.”

Today’s Zaman Agri

Sarkozy's Presidency Alerts Both Arabs And Turks
May 31, 2007
Sarkozy’s pro-American views have added to Arab concerns that he would break with France’s traditionally independent policy in their region

The defensive Arab reaction to the self-pronounced pro-America statements of Nicolas Paul Stephane Sarkozy de Nagy-Bocsa, who was sworn in as the new President of France on May 16, as well as his “Jewish connection” and that of his foreign policy team, have alerted Middle Eastern capitals to the repercussions of reinforced Franco – US coordination in the region.Acting on a campaign pledge to a clean break with France's political past, Sarkozy's declared aim to change France could yet prove easier said than done, but nonetheless Sarkozy has grouped together a foreign policy team that could vindicate regional fears.

1967, a turning point:

June 5 marks the fortieth anniversary of the Arab – Israeli war in 1967, which changed the face of the Middle East. France's Middle East policy made a sharp reversal soon thereafter. Franco-Israeli relations have seen their “Golden Age” in the 1950s, when France was Israel's main ally, weapons supplier and nuclear capability provider. The low point came after the 1967 war, during the presidency of Charles de Gaulle, when France imposed an almost complete arms embargo, left Israel to its strategic alliance with the United States and embarked since then on her balanced approach to the Arab – Israeli conflict. French – Arab relations were reinforced further after the Arab – Israeli war and the oil crisis of 1973. Sarkozy is promising a 180 degree turnabout on de Gaulle's legacy.The regional defensive reaction to his presidency was alerted by several factors, but his US, Jewish and Armenian connections were interpreted as the reason behind his pro-Israel and anti-Turkey statements. Sarkozy's emerging team on foreign policy is being watched with concern by Middle East capitals.Ankara in particular would watch out for his successor as the ruling party leader. Former Industry Minister of France Patrick Devedjian, an Armenian French politician and a close adviser to Sarkozy, will assume the post of Secretary General of the ruling UMP party. This post was vacant after the former leader was elected France's new President. At a meeting with Devedjian on May 17 Sarkozy noted that he would be charged with the job of the party leader as soon as possible.

Sarkozy's pro-American views have added to Arab concerns that he would break with France's traditionally independent policy in their region, dashing as wishful thinking Arab hopes of an independent European approach that might develop a counterbalance in resolving Arab conflicts to the US Israeli-biased approach. Sarkozy's warm relationship with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and the expected accession of British Chancellor Gordon Brown to the premiership signal the rise of a relatively pro-American trio of European leaders.

Opposition to Turkey:

A more influential US role in the EU could counterbalance Sarkozy's opposition to the membership of Turkey, the southern pillar of the US-led NATO, in the EU. His pronounced opposition to both Turkey's membership in the EU and Iran's nuclear program is viewed regionally as a warning of an imminent escalating tension with the Arabs' two major non-Arab neighbours, a development that might make an already bad regional situation worse. Turkey in particular would not be satisfied with his foreign policy pillar of a Mediterranean Union in which Ankara plays a leading role as an alternative to her EU membership. Sarko, as his supporters call him, has repeatedly called himself a friend of Israel in good times and in bad, the Israeli French edition of the Jerusalem Post reported on May 3, quoting him as saying that “makes me an ‘Atlantist,' pro-Israeli and pro-American;” he also openly reiterated on record his opposition to Turkey's EU membership.

Most Israel-friendly president:

Now, Sarkozy is undoubtedly the most Israel-friendly president since the founding of the Fifth Republic in 1958, The Jewish News Weekly of Northern California, reported on May 11. He is an admirer of the Jewish state and has warm ties with the French Jewish community. His maternal grandfather, Aron Mallah, nicknamed Benkio, was a Greek Jew from Salonika who migrated to France before the Second World War and converted to Catholicism but nevertheless had to hide during World War II because of his Jewish roots. In total, 57 of Sarkozy's family members were murdered by the Nazis. His wife Cecilia is also of Jewish ancestry. He is a 2003 laureate of the Simon Wiesenthal Centre Humanitarian Award.In an interview Sarkozy gave in 2004, The Jewish Journal online on May 11 quoted him as saying: “Should I remind you the visceral attachment of every Jew to Israel, as a second mother homeland? There is nothing outrageous about it. Every Jew carries within him a fear passed down through generations, and he knows that if one day he will not feel safe in his country, there will always be a place that would welcome him. And this is Israel.”How could Arabs interpret this other than being a direct encouragement of a dual loyalty and an indirect call for immigration to Israel in contradiction with his insistence on loyalty by the mostly Arab and Muslim French immigrant citizens to “French identity,” for which he created the new ministry of immigration and national identity?Sarkozy visited Israel several times, but never the Israeli-occupied Palestinian territories. He has repeatedly said that he would not legitimize Hamas or Hizbullah by entering into dialogue with them, a statement that would politically translate into exacerbation of the Palestinian and Lebanese national divides.He stunned a group of Arab ambassadors by telling them “his foreign policy priority as president would be to forge a closer relationship with Israel,” The Washington Times on May 12. His pledged “friendship” with the US is viewed by Arabs as heralding a new unbalanced approach that will give impetus to Washington's strategic plans for the Middle East and would perpetuate the regional Arab – Israeli, Iraqi, Darfur and Lebanon - Syria conflicts in particular. His foreign minister agrees: “On … the Middle East, on the need for an alliance with America, on the role of France in Europe — we're very close,” Kouchner said on record.

Warning Iran, Syria, and Libya:

In his first speech after his election, Sarkozy warned Iran, Syria, and Libya that they could no longer play Europe off against America. Like his predecessor Chirac, Sarkozy is determined to disengage Syria from Lebanon in coordination with the US, but it will not be as “personal” as it was with Chirac, but unlike him he openly called Hizbullah a terrorist organization, which would clear the way for the main Lebanese anti-Israel resistance group to be included in the EU list of terrorist organizations, thus bringing France closer to the US classification of Hizbullah. His foreign minister's visit of support to Beirut last week at the height of fighting between the Lebanese army and a suspiciously al-Qaeda-linked Fatah al-Islam group in a northern one square kilometre Palestinian refugee camp was seen by some as playing into the hands of a US strategy to exacerbate Lebanon's internal political crisis into a violent one.US – French coordination in Lebanon and vis-à-vis Syria was unveiled following the Israeli war on Lebanon last summer, but was recently confirmed further at the UN Security Council by the joint US-British-French draft resolution to create an international tribunal for Lebanon under chapter 7 of the United Nation Charter. Sarkozy is also gearing towards more coordination with Washington in the Sudanese region of Darfur; he has called for “urgent” action there, warning that Khartoum would be made to face international justice for its actions. Kouchner, his maverick top diplomat, considers the Sudan's war-torn region his top priority. On May 9, the US State Department said it wants the new elected French president to play an important role in Darfur peacekeeping mission, particularly in the no-fly zone.

On Iraq, Sarkozy's choice of Kouchner, the co-founder of the Nobel Prize winner “Doctors Without Borders,” as his foreign minister could send a message to Arabs that priority will go to “humanitarianism” in foreign policy, contrary to the long-held Gaullist French policy. Kouchner is famous for developing the theory of “humanitarian intervention” to justify international military adventures according to which he believes that the US-led invasion was justified to overthrow Iraqi President Saddam Hussein.Sarkozy's declared hopes to forge closer ties with the NATO could mean a greater role for France in training the new Iraqi police and army based on quotas already set by NATO. It could also mean greater involvement in the Arab section of the alliance's southern flank in Lebanon, where French peacekeepers already play a leading role.On the humanitarian crises in the occupied Palestinian territories and Iraq, Sarkozy's top diplomat is silently passive, more in line with the US deafening silence, revealing a politically selective approach in his humanitarian concerns that took him to Africa, Kosovo, Chechnya, Afghanistan, Darfur and even led him to endorse a boycott of the Olympic Games in Peking in order to force China to break its trade relations with Sudan on Darfur.

Not a carte blanche:

Sarkozy's planned policies for alien immigrants have also a lot in common with those of US President George W. Bush, and will undoubtedly be watched as a test case to judge his cultural and political approach to Arabs and Muslims in general. His view of “radical Islamists” could place him in line with US-led world war on “Islamic terrorism.” Leading British writer on the Middle East, Patrick Seale, on April 27 quoted him as saying: “Algeria was very brave to interrupt the democratic process. If the army had not acted, one could have had a Taliban regime in Algeria.” Ankara, who has a large Turkish immigrant community in Europe, especially in Germany, would be on alert to monitor Sarkozy's effect on European immigration policies.US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is looking forward to visiting France. “There's a lot on the table for the U.S. and France in terms of being able to address issues of mutual concern around the globe, whether that's Iran or the Middle East,” State Department spokesman Sean McComack told a news briefing.However several factors could yet reign in a complete break with Paris' traditional balanced approach to Middle East. Arabs are already aware that Sarkozy's grandfather was Jewish, but he himself grew up Catholic; his heritage “doesn't mean he's going to take Jewish positions,” said Shimon Samuels of the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Paris. Moreover Arab leaders are already doing normal business with both Israeli and non-Israeli Jewish leaders. He is on record as saying recently that “he wants excellent links with the Arab states” and there is no reason not to believe him. Moreover Sarkozy's pro-Americanism is not a carte blanche as he “is impressed far more by what the United States does at home than by its global aims and presence,” according to Jim Hoagland of the Washington Post. His opposition to Turkey's membership in the EU is evidence that both countries' international agendas are not identical. Sarkozy could be following the leadership of the US, but this is the same leadership with the strongest Jewish connection that most Arab leaders are already in business with and Turkey is in a NATO alliance with, which could promise more of the same, but no drastic change


Nicola Nasser is a veteran Arab journalist based in Birzeit, West Bank of the Israeli-occupied Palestinian territories.

It is critically important to understand the significance of actions taken by the Turkish military against dangerous Islamist encroachments into this once solid stronghold of secularism in a vitally strategic geographical region. FSM Contributing Editor Kemal Silay outlines danger points.

The World’s Softest Military Coup: A la Turca
By Kemal Silay

On April 27, what made the Turkish Military interfere with the “democratic process” once again and give the strongest and clearest message to Islamism through an ultimatum released on their official website? Turkish and the world media are still wondering if this ultimatum is the harbinger of an upcoming militarily coup. I’ve got news for them: the coup has already taken place but what makes it so different this time is the nature of it. Thus is it the softest military coup of all times, a soft coup specifically designed to stop the further development of soft (some call it “moderate”) Islamism in Turkey. The Turkish Armed Forces, traditionally the most trusted institution of the Turkish nation, and predominantly a defensive force, gave a very clear memorandum to the “wolves in sheep’s clothing” that Turkey is a secular country and will remain as such.

Just as radical Islamists have discovered democracy as a means to gain power legitimately, and temporarily soften their otherwise unbending ideology, the Turkish Military this time has opted not to use their tanks and prisons but rather their powerful words which have indeed successfully influenced and masterfully manipulated the most powerful mechanisms of secularism, the Constitutional Court being the most significant. Following the short and clear messages of the Military, the Constitutional Court, with an almost unanimous vote, “legitimately” and “democratically” blocked the soft Islamist Abdullah Gul’s path into the highest office in Turkey. Like his “reformed” Islamist comrade Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who had said “democracy is a street car, we will ride on it until we reach our destination, and then get off.” Mr. Gul had made many Islamist confessions in the past, including his declaration: “the end of the secular Republic of Turkey has come!”

The argument claiming that the ruling party has transformed from its radical Islamist National Vision ideology to the more moderate Islamic AKP might look believable and hopeful to many, including to our government in Washington. What we know about these Islamists through open source is enough to make secular Turks very nervous. Take a look at the millions demonstrating against them in Turkey—the latest one took place in Samsun on May 20. What is also significant about these demonstrations is that all of them were organized and led by secular women’s organizations - a symbolic message to the Islamists who have been using “turban” (a specific form of headscarf, according to many, a counter-revolutionary Islamist icon) in challenging the very foundations of the semiotic revolution of the Republic of Turkey. One can be sure that the Turkish Military intelligence knows much more about Turkish Islamists and their operations, and nothing would stop the military from interfering with the “democratic process” when their intelligence comes to an alarming level regarding Islamist activities and infiltration. This “right to interfere” has been provided to them by their own constitution (article 35) whenever they “determine” that the secular Republic must be protected against internal or external enemies of the country.

The military’s ultimatum vehemently accuses Islamists of “exploiting the people’s sacred religious feelings and declaring war against the Turkish state,” asserting that Islamists, “under the guise of religious freedom have been hiding their actual goal [the foundation of an Islamic Republic of Turkey].” The ultimatum especially highlights the Turkish Military’s grave concern over the “exploitation of women and children” in Islamist and separatist activities.

Eighty-four years ago, an Ottoman military, cultural, and political genius named Mustafa Kemal confined religion to personal conscience. An increasing number of critics in our time interpret this vision and policy as a violation of human and religious rights. Others find in it a protection of religious beliefs and values against exploitation by ideologies. This is where the Turkish Military stands. Though I try to understand the resentments of the former group mentioned above, I tend to agree more with the latter interpretation. The fact that there are now some 120,000 mosques in Turkey (a number that couldn’t have been imagined under the “Islamic” Ottoman Empire which lasted more than 600 years) attests to the protections and religious freedoms that Ataturk’s policies implemented (at least as far as the Sunni majority is concerned).

In its original sense, Ataturk’s vision was not based on dogmas but rather on self-questioning and progress, and it is this progressive nature of Kemalism that distinguished Turkey from other countries with a majority Muslim population. Just about every article of the Turkish Constitution could be questioned, reinterpreted or be completely rewritten according to the political needs of a given time. But there is one article that can in no way, shape or form be questioned, modified, or abolished­—that is, Turkey is a secular and democratic Republic. Many critics of Kemalism find a contradiction and self-destruction in this philosophy, but Kemalism interprets this as the insurance and protection of religious and democratic values and freedoms since it views Islamism, not Islam, as an enemy of democracy and pluralism.

Washington’s project of promoting “moderate Islam” may very well be the best available solution to stop terror from gaining ground in Islamic countries and would be an enormous step forward in “normalizing” those societies. But the same project cannot be viewed as “progress” for the Republic of Turkey. This is where the line must be drawn. The majority of analysts suggests that Turkey is and should be the leader in achieving the goal of establishing “moderate Islam” in the Middle East and beyond. I completely disagree. Turkey should be left alone in this venture. First of all, no Islamic country would believe that Turks are “Muslim enough.” Accusations of manipulations by the CIA would fuel the usual conspiracy theories. Despite its current and alarming problems with Islamism, Turkey is already light-years ahead of all other Islamic countries. Secularists, including of course the President Ahmet Necdet Sezer, and the Turkish Military, most likely view this project as “backwardness” and an attempt to destroy the separation of mosque and state, which is the foundational principal upon which the Republic of Turkey rests.

The military’s ultimatum on April 27th makes it very clear that the Turkish “Islamist, ‘irticai’ (meaning literally ‘backwards’) mentality also obtains its courage from some current developments and discourses and thus has been expanding its operational territory.” What do they mean by these “current developments and discourses”? The presumed US plans to establish an independent Kurdistan in northern Iraq would certainly fall into this category, but more important than that, the Turkish Military seems to be worried about the green light that the global Fethullah Gulen network has been given by the recent RAND Corporation’s publication entitled “Building Moderate Islamic Networks.” The RAND report presents Fethullah Gulen as a “Turkish sufi” (p. 74). There may be many wonderful people among the millions of Gulen followers (some of whom I personally know and like very much), but as far as I know, the Turkish Military has always been extremely cautious and suspicious regarding the leader of this global empire, as it views Gulen as a clever Islamist who has been operating freely, and now from within the borders of the United States. Although there is no official recognition of an organic link between Erdoğan’s AKP and the Gulen network, it seems highly possible to me that the Turkish Military presumes a direct link between the da’wa (‘struggle’) of Erdoğan and Gulen, one operating locally, the other globally, towards the successful transformation of Turkey from a secularist state to an Islamic theocracy.

The generals of the world’s softest military coup argue with quite harsh words that “using religion as an instrument of a political discourse [clearly a reference to all forms of Islamism] destroys the very faith itself and turns it into something else.” Following this argument, the Turkish Military’s ultimatum gives the specific example of the recent massacres in Malatya where three Christian missionaries were barbarically sliced into pieces by the followers of Islamist ultra nationalism. This example should make it very clear to those who might be confused about the concept of “ultra nationalism” in Turkey.

Nationalism no doubt was and still is an indispensable part of Kemalism, but the expansionist and racist ideology of ultra nationalism and especially its Islamist mutation (as represented by Muhsin Yazıcıoğlu’s BBP) are considered as dangerous as any form of Islamism by the Turkish Armed Forces and the Kemalist ideology itself. The dictum of this movement, “Kanımız aksa da zafer İslamın!”, (“Even if our blood is shed, the victory will be Islam’s!”), cannot possibly find any kind of endorsement from the guardians of Ataturkist thought and secularism.

On November 22, 2006, 39 members of a related militant group called the Alperen Ocakları (or Nizam-ı Alem Ocakları) invaded the Hagia Sophia museum and performed a protest-prayer against Pope Benedict XVI’s visit to Turkey. Their official website openly declared that “Pope Benedict XVI is an enemy of Islam,” and that “Hagia Sophia is a mosque that was given as a gift to the Islamic world by Sultan Mehemmed the Conqueror.” The site also made it clear that “Hagia Sophia cannot be a place of worship for Christians in Turkey.” Similar conclusions have been drawn regarding the Pope and his visit to Turkey during a massive demonstration of more than twenty thousand supporters of the radical Islamist Milli Goruş (National Vision) movement in Istanbul on November 26, 2006. So, anyone who attempts to use Islam as a vehicle for the development of their political and militant programs will find some severe warnings in this historic statement by the Turkish Military.

The ultimatum ends with a brief and extremely firm statement that “whoever goes against the philosophy of Ataturk’s dictum of ‘Ne mutlu Turkum diyene’ (‘Happiness to one who says I am a Turk’) is an enemy of the Republic of Turkey and will remain as such.” It goes on to add that “the Turkish Armed Forces maintains its unshakable determination in fulfilling its duties which are clearly defined by the laws.”

Even though some militant groups later imposed a racist connotation upon it, the Kemalist idea of “Ne mutlu Turkum diyene” is not based on an assumption of racial superiority of the “Turk” but rather on the assumption of a unifying national identity for the multi-ethnic and multi-cultural entities carried over from the Ottoman social structure. The military’s statement should be read and interpreted in this context, and should be a steadfast warning to those who resist being integrated into Turkish society with separatist goals in mind, like those of the terrorist PKK organization. The same warning was leveled against those who have been conducting an Islamo-centric “silent revolution” in Turkey, thus attempting to replace the idea of “national identity” with an identity of umma (global Islamic community). The Turkish Armed Forces are likely to interpret this idea of umma as a counter-revolutionary program, which attempts to melt down the uniqueness of the modern Turkish experience and eventually make the Turkish identity disappear in the global chaos and confusion of a utopian concept of Islamic umma. Perhaps the Military’s hesitation before the idea of a possible (but highly unlikely, especially now) membership in the EU comes from these concerns. Another possible concern is the elimination of the Military’s traditional and historical role as a political power.

I have always wondered why Islamists have been working so hard, harder than all other groups combined, towards making Turkey a member of the EU. The almost monolithic nature of Islamism has been at odds with European social values and lifestyles, and Turkish Islamism is no exception. To me the Turkish Islamists have finally seen a clear opportunity to eliminate the greatest obstacle in front of them, which is the power and political influence of the Turkish military. Whether Turkey actually becomes a member of the EU or not is not an important issue for Islamists, it seems. What is significant here is the process of this membership. In other words, the longer this process takes, the better it is for Turkish Islamism as it provides more time to them to decentralize and eventually undermine the Military’s political nature.

According to a recent study published by TESEV (the Turkish Economic and Social Science Foundation), today 48.5% of the people in Turkey identify themselves as “İslamcı” (Islamist), and only 20.3% of the people as “laik” (laicist, secularist). Another alarming result of this study shows that 41% of the Turkish population wants a “dinci” party, and I must underline here that there is a crystal clear distinction in the Turkish language between the words “dinci” and “dindar.” “Dindar” simply means a pious person, while “dinci” means one who uses religion as a political tool. This unfortunate picture should be interpreted as one of the outcomes of the “hard work” of the AKP government and other soft Islamist groups, which have been using religion as a political instrument.

Some in the media today are depicting the fears and concerns of the Turkish secularists, including, of course, those of the Armed Forces, as “fact-free paranoia.” I do not believe that Turkey will ever become a Taliban Afghanistan, whether the military interferes further with political affairs or not, but one must bear in mind that global Islamism has discovered the means of democracy and what Daniel Pipes rightly calls “lawful Islamism.” This lawful Islamism should not be confused with the term “moderate Islam,” as I believe that ordinary Muslims are normal, “moderate” people but the Islamists are not. In other words, if the term and concept “moderate Islam” includes lawful Islamists, such as those of National Vision, or AKP, we may in the short term enjoy some comfort, but in the long term, this seemingly soft version of Islamism will come back to haunt us after receiving all the material support that we might be providing to it now. I am sure that the highly educated and experienced senior members of the Turkish Armed Forces are aware of the physical negative effects of any kind of military intervention in Turkey, such as its immediate harmful effect on markets, but in the long run they might indeed be helping Turkey to avoid becoming another Islamic Republic of Iran.
# #
FamilySecurityMatters.org Contributing Editor Kemal Silay isProfessor of Central Eurasian Studies;Ottoman and Modern Turkish Studies Chair Professor;Director, Turkish Studies Program atIndiana University, Bloomington

Sweden Readies To Soften Its ‘genocide’ Law, Ankara Cautious
The Turkish Foreign Ministry has requested information from the Turkish Embassy to Switzerland over media reports suggesting that Swiss Justice Minister Cristoph Blocher intended to make a major change to Switzerland’s anti-racism law, which criminalizes denial of the alleged genocide of Anatolian Armenians in 1915, Foreign Ministry spokesperson Levent Bilman told reporters on Wednesday.

Media reports said that Blocher has drawn up a package for abolishment or softening of Swiss Penal Code Article 261 -- which makes punishable the public incitement to racial hatred or discrimination under which the leader of the neo-nationalist Turkish Workers’ Party (IP), Dogu Perinçek, was found guilty in March by a criminal court in Lausanne for calling the alleged genocide of Armenians in 1915 an “international lie” during Turkish rallies in Lausanne two years ago.

“If this is true and if there are efforts for removing the barriers in front of freedom of expression in a way which befits a democratic country, we can only feel pleasure over this,” Bilman said, noting, however, that the consequences of those reports should be waited for.

The March ruling by the Lausanne court has made Perinçek the first person sentenced under Switzerland’s anti-racism law for denying the alleged genocide. The case has caused diplomatic tension between Switzerland and Turkey.

Today's Zaman Ankara

The Genocidal Obsession Of The Armenians
Years ago, when the news came out that an American U2 ‘spy plane’ was shot down over the Soviet Union, I overheard a faculty member say to her friends at the school coffee bar, “You know that those Russians are lying, we don’t have spy planes. Americans don’t do things of that sort .” Upon hearing her words, I approached the group, where I knew everyone including her, I said : “Oh, I hope we do. This is not a cowboy movie where the guy in the white hat is always the good guy. There are no such rules to this game.”

So many years have passed from that encounter in the coffee bar. You’d think that we got smarter. Alas, no! There are still starry-eyed, gullible people, even among those who are aspiring to the highest office in the land. They would believe anything they are told by those wearing the “white hat.” Over the centuries our beliefs and prejudices have been fed by our side the“white hats” and ‘their side’ the‘‘black hats”. In the case of Armenians vs. Turks, the Christian world, long ago and far away, has made up its mind. It sees the Christian Armenians in white hats, and the Muslim Turks in black, and for this reason, the American public finds the Armenian stories more believable than the truth, which is seldom brought to light because the minds of the believers are already conveniently closed. Among those close-minded people are candidates running for the U.S. Presidency, seemingly good, caring people but not well-versed in the ways of the Game being played. They have already fallen for the Armenian bait, hook; line, and sinker.

This fact alone should ring alarm bells for the American electorate. Being the President of the United States takes more than being a good and caring person. It takes more than being concerned about domestic issues, taxes, schools, law and order. Being President of this nation means being a world leader. It takes someone who knows what is happening in the world outside of the U.S. borders, someone who knows history about the true account of what had transpired in the course of authentic events, and not blindly believe fabricated ones. This person has to be someone who can see through flattery and promises. More important than being a good domestic administrator, the President of the United States must be, in the eyes of the world, the most important, most powerful, most knowledgeable leader. Otherwise , this nation will be destroyed by those wearing many different hats.

The Armenian wish list is long, but the promises demanded from Turkey by the European Union are even longer. To those wishing to become President of our country I would humbly advise to keep Turkey as an ally on the side of the USA, since Turkey is still a key player to America's foreign policy a key player to America’s foreign policy in the Caucasus and beyond.” This approach,” would be a better option for America than trading that possibility with the chance of becoming the ‘darling’ of a small group of obsessed fanatic Armenians whose vociferous and senseless blabber is their only claim to fame.”

The Armenians have convinced many gullible nations. First it was the Australians, then came the Belgians, and then the French. In each case of the parliaments in question, the decisions hinged on a handful of gullible deputies siding with the bigoted and rancorous Armenian legislators and selling themselves for a few votes. In each case, coincidentally, they committed the same unthinkable blunder. They unabashedly tried to revise the recorded history of the world, altering facts to their favor. Their revisionist hypocrisy conveniently ignored the contents of not only the European, but also the official Ottoman archives, where there exists no evidence of a governmental policy initiated and/or followed by the now-defunct Ottoman Empire.


Like all proverbial roads leading to Rome, the sum total of most Armenians’ thoughts seem to be leading to one single, solitary direction: G E N O C I D E. Having witnessed this type of behavior for decades, one comes to the conclusion that these unfortunate thinkers have no other choice but to spew some incoherent, unpleasant, turbulent ideas to share with their own kind and with others.

Another time-honored saying tells us, “Man cannot live on bread alone.” However, it is rather a remarkable feat that these ‘genocidal Armenians’ serve HATE as their main dish at every gathering. They consume it alongside their traditional flat bread called LAVASH. Their obsession with the so-called genocide is as flat as their bread.

On a fairly recent occasion a prominent New York newspaper wrote the following upon the arrival to America of his Holiness Karekin Kazanjian of the Armenian Orthodox Christians:

“Armenia, with a population of 3.5 million, lies near the confluence of Europe and the Middle East, sharing borders with Turkey and Iran. To say that this century has been a troubled one for the Armenians would be an understatement. At least 600,000 of them died of starvation or at the hands of soldiers in l9l5, when the Ottoman Turkish government tried to deport about l.8 million Armenians to what is now Syria, which it then ruled.”

After almost a century of outrageous accusations of the above-mentioned casualties, a little more than a half million attributed to the functionaries of the then dying Ottoman Empire, the world began to be informed that the number of the Armenians “killed” by Turks was close to a million. As the bloody adventures of the infamous ASALA began to be initiated by the assassination of the Los Angeles Consul General Mehmet Baydur and his aide, Bahadir Demir, the number of casualties also began to rise simultaneously. At that time then, these ‘ethnic chetnicks’ upped their ante to a million Armenians murdered by the ‘savage Turks.’ However, every passing decade has a way of swelling these fictitious claims to a previously unheard of scale.

Finally,In l983, after murdering scores of other Turkish diplomats on every continent of the world, the ASALA had a new plan. A group of extreme militant members of the organization formed a new terrorist front and named it THE JUSTICE COMMANDOS OF THE ARMENIAN GENOCIDE. The main goal of this off-shoot of ASALA was to establish a big chunk of Eastern Turkey as part of Soviet Armenia, but also convert it eventually into an independent Armenia modeled after the unjust and ridiculous plans drawn at the infamous SEVRES TREATY of post World War I, a treaty which Winston Churchill described as being “Like fresh fuel thrown on the smoldering fire of hatred which the Western world had provoked by its conduct in Turkey.”

(Lord Kinross, ATATURK, l965).

All Turks, regardless of their ethnic background, are wondering when the genocidal obsession of these Armenians in Diaspora will come to an end, and the long-awaited peace will show up in that land.

Some have a more philosophical approach to things happening around them. They say that life has been a test for the Turks, only a test. “Because if this were real life,” they add ‘we would get clear instructions on what to do with the Armenians.”

And then, there are others who feel that we must deal with this issue. For instance, ATACAL, the Association of Turkish-Americans who contend with Aermenian lies finds itself in serious competition with the Armenians in Diaspora , who are spending millions of dollars in their attempt to destroy Turkey's good name instead of spending that money in aiding the people of their homeland who are dying from neglect or find ways to survive by crossing the border to find work in Turkey. Thirty five thousands have done so already. Does this make sense to anyone?

Mahmut Esat Ozan
Chairman –Editorial Board
The Turkish Forum,

Sarkozy Responds To Erdogan’s Dialogue Call, Sends Envoy
The visit by Jean-David Levitte, a former French ambassador to Washington, took place almost 72 hours after a telephone conver-sation between Erdogan and Sarkozy.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy (R) gestures as he answers reporters during a joint press conference with Italian Prime Minister Romano Prodi at the Elysee Palace in Paris on Monday.

France’s new President Nicolas Sarkozy dispatched an envoy to Ankara over the weekend, opening a dialogue channel with Turkey, which is concerned over his firm objection to Turkey’s accession to the EU.

The visit became public after a Le Figaro report in its Tuesday edition, which said that Sarkozy’s top diplomatic adviser, Jean-David Levitte, a former French ambassador to Washington, visited Turkey at the weekend to explain France’s position. “It is a question of finding a way forward that does not break Europe or Franco-Turkish relations in two,” an unnamed presidential official was quoted as saying by Le Figaro.

“The situation is not as negative as it seems,” Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said yesterday of Levitte’s talks. “There are problems in communication, and I believe the process will continue on a more positive path from now on.” Erdogan said his advisors met with Levitte in Istanbul, without elaborating. Sources said Erdogan’s chief policy advisor, Ahmet Davutoglu was the advisor meeting with Levitte.

Diplomatic sources at the French Embassy in Ankara emphasized that Paris felt the need to arrange such visit following a telephone conversation between Sarkozy and Erdogan on Thursday. “Paris appreciated the need for dialogue following this telephone conversation,” the same diplomatic sources, speaking on condition of anonymity, told Today’s Zaman on Tuesday, referring to the fact that Erdogan phoned Sarkozy on Thursday, a day after the newly elected French leader reiterated his objection to Turkey’s entry into the EU, requesting direct talks to discuss and resolve problems.

“The visit by Levitte took place almost after 72 hours after this telephone call, showing the importance attributed by Paris to establishing a concrete dialogue with Turkey,” the French diplomatic sources stressed.

During the telephone conversation, Erdogan said that he and Sarkozy should not be communicating with each other via the media, while he also emphasized that Turkey and France were cooperating in a number of areas ranging from economy to politics and military issues. Sarkozy said in response that he was willing to work jointly to overcome common problems.

Today's Zaman Ankara

Us Congressional Delegation Completes Contacts In Ankara And Moves To Istanbul
The New Anatolian / Ankara
30 May 2007

An American congressional delegation completed its contacts in the Turkish capital and moved to Istanbul Tuesday to meet the business and financial community.

In Ankara the delegation met with Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Parliament Speaker Bulent Arinc.

After their talks held at Erdogan's office at the parliament, co-chairman of the working group Edward Whitfield and U.S. Senator from Nebraska Benjamin Nelson held a press conference.

Whitfield stated that they discussed the Turkish public disappointment regarding PKK terrorism exported from Iraq, the general situation in Iraq, the bill introduced to the U.S. Congress regarding the allegations on so-called Armenian genocide and the prospective effects of such a bill in case of its adoption.

Moreover, Turkey's EU membership process, France and Germany's opposition to full Turkish membership and unification of Cyprus were also on the agenda of the meeting, Whitfield said.

Asked to comment on a possible Turkish military incursion into Iraq, Whitfield said that they thought the U.S. should take some concrete steps on the issue, however, they did not encourage Turkey to carry out a military operation as well.

Earlier Speaker Bulent Arinc on Monday received U.S delegation.Whitfield, referring to the general elections that are due July 22, saying the visit takes place at a very historical time.

Turkey-U.S. Interparliamentary Friendship Group Chairman Egemen Bagis also hosted a dinner in honor of members of the visiting delegation.

Speaking at the dinner, Bagis recalled that Ed Whitfield led the first U.S. delegation that visited the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) by using Ercan Airport. He said, "following this initiative, other foreign delegations paid such visits."

"Also the fact that the U.S. delegation attended the first formal luncheon in Turkey together with the Turkish Cypriot ambassador shows their support for the lifting of the isolations (on TRNC)," noted Bagis. He also expressed pleasure over the efforts of U.S. delegation against the draft on so-called Armenian genocide.

Noting that Iraq and PKK terrorist organization were discussed in all meetings of U.S. delegation, Bagis said that terrorism in Iraq is preventing many things.

Sometimes, Forgetting Is Better Than Facing The Past
May 29, 2007
Ziya Meral

As the debates between Armenians and Turks still continue to present themselves exclusively in terms of ‘truth’ and ‘justice’ over the past, what often is muted in the cacophony of who-is-the-real-victim dogfights, is the present tense

Allow me to defend myself ‘pre-emptively' in line with the contemporary modus operandi, before you are even offended by this article. (And who knows, may be my initial fears too will be proven to be unfounded when you finish reading this article) In actual life, I am a lot less ‘cynical' than I appear here and have rather strong opinions about how societies should deal with past atrocities. However, as the debates between Armenians and Turks still continue to present themselves exclusively in terms of ‘truth' and ‘justice' over the past, what often is muted in the cacophony of who-is-the-real-victim dogfights, is the present tense.

The problem as well as the solution lies in the present!:

As social sciences and philosophy have pointed out again and again, the present does not discover a mere ‘truth' as it is in the past. Since the past is only present to us in narratives selectively constructed by contemporary actors, one cannot separate the present from the past. By whom, why and how a narrative is constructed is equally, if not more, important than what that narrative tells. It is therefore the present that has to be scrutinized first, not the past, if one wishes to proceed beyond the haunting ghosts of the past. In Armenian-Turkish talks (or rather mutual verbal attacks) the present context is often brought onto the table in ad hominem arguments to discredit the other side; “Of course a diaspora Armenian would say this” “So and so is a Turk thus any criticism of his is ungrounded or denialist.” What I call for here is none of this: I believe that the sword that can cut the Gordian knot of a century long pain, prejudice and conflict does not lie in the past but in the present. Thus, we have to critically analyze, deconstruct and challenge the ideas, discourses and goals that dominate the present if we ever want to reach a half-baked closure over the sad episodes of history and a possible future together. So let me lead the way with casting the first stone; there is so much naivety in the public excitement and blind folded support of demands for facing the past.

Problematic promises of “facing the past”:

The arguments we hear can be summarized in two groups; utilitarian and moral. Utilitarian arguments try to convince us that a nation can be healed only when it confronts her past; that peace and reconciliation can only be achieved by official acknowledgement of past injustices; that such an acknowledgement deters repetition of similar crimes. The moral arguments centre on the themes of justice and moral debt owed the dead. They exhort us to give heed to contemporary demands, because it is moral to do so. Both of these arguments share taken for granted assumptions, which are far from unshaken solid grounds to base an argument. In contrary to the popular beliefs based upon self-help sound bites, facing the past can open the way for re-traumatization of the victim rather than healing. Human beings develop certain mechanisms to continue their lives after tragic events. Leaving it aside, not speaking about it or not acknowledging it and living as though it never happened are not uncommon strategies used by the victims. By putting them to cross-examination, pressuring them to retell the event in the courts or on TV can totally take away from them their only means of coping with life. Even Freud has warned that the patient may leave the therapy in a worse condition than before. The same danger is increased in manifold when we move from the individual victim to wider political concerns. In postconflict settings (e.g. after civil wars and ethnic clashes) or in transitional contexts (e.g. when an old dictatorial regime opens the way for democracy), the negative peace (cessation of armed conflict) can often only be achieved by negotiations of amnesty and not speaking of past evils. Demands for facing the past in these contexts can turn out to be the greatest hindrance to stop destruction and proceed to a better future.

Remembering can be dangerous!:

Similarly, remembering past atrocities can be far from deterring new ones. Serbs ‘remembered' the loss of the Battle of Kosovo of 1389 to Ottomans and made it a corner stone in the narrative of a new Serbian identity as well as legitimization for the brutal treatment of Bosnian Muslims. Hutus too had memories of Tutsi animosities towards them. Identities that are developed on being victims always run the risk of committing the worst crimes. Finally, facing the past means a life long tension as different segments of societies will run counter-memories even though a country may officially choose to face the past and move on. In a poll published in 1998, 74 percent of white urban South Africans, and 62 percent of blacks, reckoned that the operations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission had done more to stir up old resentments than lay them rest. Even in the South African experience, the most famous case of ‘facing the past', the reopening of wounds have been extremely painful and incomplete. There are still survivors who are angry about the amnesties granted to perpetrators and perpetrators and beneficiaries of the system who still deny responsibility. Same thing applies to Argentine and Chile, where there are still different memories of military days and occasional tensions.

Countries that chose to forget:

Philosophers all the way back from Plato to Nietzsche have promoted forgetting the past and starting with a blank page. Aristotle tells us that after the civil war of 404 BC in Athens, peace and democracy was established by leaving the past behind. An amnesty law was passed and the remembering of past injustices became a punishable offence. The reconstruction of democracy by ways of forgetting brought a long period of stability to Athens. The wise men of the Antiquity are not alone on their decision. Modern Spain was born out of the attempts for collective amnesia, which is known as Pacto del Olvido, Pact of Forgetfulness. Only through not speaking of the evils of Franco era and granting amnesty, Spain was able to be what it is today. Mozambique was able to end a 16 years long bloody civil war in 1992 which took one million civilians and left behind memories of gruesome tortures and mutilation by deciding to allow the past to be the past. So sometimes, the only way to save people is to let the past go!

The “innocence” of moral discourses:

Much has been written on how the genuine desires of the victims or their descendants have been utilized for vote gathering in Europe and the US, so I'll spare you that. But there is more politics than meet the eye when states decide to ‘face their past'. France has undergone a significant change in her perception of the past. The myth of French resistance against invading Germans and non-cooperation in Vichy era had to be upgraded when it could no longer hold to be true in the face of the facts of the deportation of tens of thousands of Jews to the arms of death. When the past can't be escaped and upright denial can no more convince anyone, the romanticism of facing the past by offering apologies become a quick way of gaining the moral higher ground once again. Switzerland too had to come to terms with the myth of complete neutrality and account/expiate for the blood gold with setting up foundations and working for ‘deterrence'. Not so surprisingly, Truth Commissions- the epitome of facing the past, have always had their share of similar political motives. They have always provided, knowingly and unknowingly, a great political legitimization to new governments and leaders over the previous ones. At times, they even highlighted the wickedness of the past when the present was not much different. Idi Amin of Uganda, known nowadays as the Last King of Scotland, had commissioned one in 1974 to inquire ‘disappearances' since 1971, which didn't stop people from disappearing during and after the commission.

Eternal sunshine of the spotless mind:

So there is more to it than just rhyme in Alexander Pope's poem. We expect too much from the idea of facing the past, which it can never deliver. Facing the past is a tiresome, non-conclusive, possibly dangerous process, flawed with immoral quests for legitimization and political public relations, with no ipso facto guarantees of healing, peace and reconciliation. The outcome, whether it would be destructive or constructive, depends on the actors of the present tense. Thus, we come back to what I stated in the beginning of this article; the only solution to the Turkish-Armenian question lies in the present not the past.


Ziya Meral, a Turkish convert to Protestant Christianity, is a theologian and writer.

Talking Turkey II
By Garen Yegparian

The last time we talked Turkey like this was just over two years ago with yours truly pointing out a marked increase in coverage of that wondrous country by the LA Times. Back then, I'd attributed it to `progress' by Turkey on the European Union front and attendant U.S. State Department activism. This time, I suspect the relatively massive coverage (see the table) stems from two other factors.

Imagine! Turkey's presidential election, a relatively closed affair, conducted within parliament, got arguably more coverage than France's countrywide popular vote for its president. Both were conducted around the same time. Based on this, are we to assume the LA Times thinks these two countries hold roughly equal relevance in the world?

Let's not even probe how pathetically little coverage Armenia's parliamentary election was given by a newspaper serving the world's largest Armenian expatriate community of about half a million. Then there's the anemic coverage of Genocide issues around April 24th: two op-ed pieces, an article (the `replacement' for Mark Arax' piece) and a picture of the demonstration at the Turkish consulate. And what of Hrant Dink's murder? Other than a brief burst of coverage, it has become a non-issue.

I rather think the roots of this inanity are to be found in staff. Now that we know about the Turcophilic tendencies of Doug Frantz (the villain in the Mark Arax saga), the pieces start falling into place. Twenty pieces over the course of 45 days' average, almost one every other day. And, you probably noticed I'm including an advertisement in the count. You might deem this unfair, not I. Why? Typically, ads with political content make newspapers quake in their boots, so they prominently mark such items as `paid advertisement'. I saw nothing of the sort on this one.

It's another case of familiarity breeding comfort. Frantz' approach may have been, initially, to simply drown out any discussion of Genocide recognition and reparations. That may well have been his contribution to the `Genocide without consequences' policy that Turkey and its U.S. sponsors are pursuing. Remember those words in quotes. That phrase is becoming a term of art in our struggle. Substantively, what it means is, Turkey will say `Sorry. Oops. Naughty us. We'll never do it again' without suffering any consequences. Clearly, that's unacceptable.

Then Frantz got lucky. The bogus democracy of Turkey handed him a golden opportunity for more Turkey promoting: the bungled presidential election wherein Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul couldn't muster the quorum needed to conduct an election, even though he had a majority of the votes. And'by way of a frightening parallel with the U.S. in 2000'Turkey's supreme court ruled invalid the election precisely because of the quorum issue. Coverage of this farce accounts for a number of the pieces running in the times.

For good measure, the list includes an op-ed piece by Ayaan Ali Hirsi, the woman who has earned much scorn and hatred in the Islamic world because of her writings about that religion.

In case you doubt all this could have happened in an American newspaper's offices, consider one more factor. How much time would Arax have needed to research a piece about the anti-Genocide resolution efforts in Congress? Two? Three? Four weeks? Well, I first heard of Frantz' dirty doings on April 20. Count back from there. Remember that Arax had gotten approval to work on this project. Now notice the date of the first article in the attached table.

With all this noise, Turkey got something of a free pass in the LA basin this April. Now that we know the pattern, let's preempt it next year. But even earlier, let's get that Turkey-worshipping, poor-excuse-for-a-journalist Doug Frantz fired. That means everyone must keep punching away at the Times. Let them know how you feel.

(c) 2007 Armenian Weekly On-Line

Open Door: The Readers' Editor On ... The Open And Organic Business Of Journalism
Siobhain Butterworth
The Guardian
May 28, 2007

Journalism can mean different things depending on where and how you access it. News may be spun, biased, censored, truthful, incomplete and life-threatening. These issues were discussed at Harvard last week at a gathering of ombudsmen (assume throughout that I mean women too). There are not many of us - the Organisation of News Ombudsmen has under 100 members - and the annual conference was an opportunity to compare notes.

Accounts from Turkey and Russia were gloomy. Yavuz Baydar, readers' representative for the Sabah newspaper in Istanbul, talked about the murder of Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink who, before his death in January, was charged three times under article 301 of the Turkish Code with the offence of insulting Turkishness. Today in Turkey 15 journalists need bodyguards.

Russian journalism was already in trouble before the murder of Anna Politkovskaya, said Andrei Richter, the director of the Moscow Media Law and Policy Institute, but her death accelerated some trends in Russian journalism. "A uniform approach to content" has developed -which means stories about Putin's hard work, anti-western rhetoric and the ridiculing of Belarus, Estonia and other countries that have fallen out with the Kremlin. The government says it doesn't control the media but the authorities can make life difficult. Editors may be subjected to repeated tax checks and one newspaper couldn't operate when its computers were confiscated - the police claimed they'd been tipped off that its software was illegal. Richter told the group that self-censorship sends publications downmarket - they turn into "yellow newspapers" filled with sensational stories and gossip.

As a result, journalism becomes discredited and this plays into the government's hands. Newspapers are an important source of news in Russia, where TV channels are state-owned and the internet has a low penetration. Only 10-12 million people, out of a population of 150 million, are online.

Elsewhere, the web is front of mind and ONO invited the Guardian's editor, Alan Rusbridger and BuzzMachine blogger, Jeff Jarvis, to share their thoughts about online journalism. On the subject of news organisations' reluctance to appoint ombudsmen, Rusbridger said he realised it is "a very radical move to place even a few inches of your paper out of your control" but there is a conflict in an editor commissioning journalism and sitting in judgment on it.

The web challenges ideas about editorial responsibility. "It's impossible now for editors to monitor even a quarter of the content. The editor can't read everything in advance or even after publication," he said. "Access to information is no longer the exclusive preserve of journalists, readers can check journalism against publicly available information. That means millions of fact-checkers."

Many sites include user-generated content; it is difficult to say what journalism is and easier to say what it isn't. "It is not about the tablet of stone", Rusbridger said. "Journalism becomes a never-ending organic business of placing material in the public domain, of adding to it, clarifying it, correcting it . . . everything we do will be more contestable, more open to challenge and alternative interpretation."

Journalists pursuing truth incrementally rather than delivering it pre-packaged was something of a leitmotif. Jeff Jarvis told us "the architecture of news is changing and it would be better to see stories as a process and not a product. It's not finished, we can add to it."

Listening to this it occurred to me that ombudsmen should expect what they write to be corrected, analysed and added to, like any other information that finds its way into the online world. Ombudsmen may not be in the business of handing down tablets of stone either, but what we can do is hold journalism up to sunlight (the best disinfectant, as US Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis said) and under a microscope.

Jarvis urged us to "jump into the blogging pool, the water is fine". With this encouragement I plan to experiment with a Thursday blog about issues for the Guardian and its readers.

We had a number of complaints about the lead story published on May 22 with the headline, "Iran's secret plan for summer offensive to force US out of Iraq". I will be writing about that next week.


Fareed Zakaria: The Embodiment Of Misinformation On Turkey
Dr. Muhammad Shamsaddin Megalommatis

Orientalist, Assyriologist, Egyptologist, Iranologist, and Islamologist, Historian, Political Scientist, Dr. Megalommatis, 49, is the author of 12 books, dozens of scholarly articles, hundreds of encyclopedia entries, and thousands of articles. He speaks, reads and writes more than 15, modern and ancient, languages. He refuted Greek nationalism, supported Martin Bernal’s Black Athena, and rejected the Greco-Romano-centric version of History. He pleaded for the European History by J. B. Duroselle, and defended the rights of the Turkish, Pomak, Macedonian, Vlachian, Arvanitic, Latin Catholic, and Jewish minorities of Greece, asking for the international recognition of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus. Born Christian Orthodox, he adhered to Islam when 36, devoted to ideas of Muhyieldin Ibn al Arabi.

Greek citizen of Turkish origin, Prof. Megalommatis studied and/or worked in Turkey, Greece, France, England, Belgium, Germany, Syria, Israel, Iraq, Iran, Egypt and Russia, and carried out research trips throughout the Middle East, Northeastern Africa and Central Asia. His career extended from Research & Education, Journalism, Publications, Photography, and Translation to Website Development, Human Rights Advocacy, Marketing, Sales & Brokerage. He traveled in more than 80 countries in 5 continents. He defends the Right of Aramaeans, Oromos, Berbers, and Beja to National Independence, demands international recognition for Somaliland, and denounces Islamic Terrorism.

Dr. Muhammad Shamsaddin Megalommatis
May 28, 2007

In two earlier articles, we analyzed the circles where Fareed Zakaria belongs, their plans of mass extermination in the Middle East, the plan implementation as initiated through the diffusion of the ‘pending’ ‘Clash of Civilizations’, and the plan blockage caused by the existence of a secular and democratic Turkey able to crash any rising Arab thug of bogus-Messianic calling.

As Turkey represents the main problem, circles related to an apostate Freemasonic lodge joined forces in an unprecedented support to Islamist extremist premier Erdogan, as they attempt to instrumentalize him against the military, judicial, academic, economic, intellectual and political establishment of Secular Turkey, and help him pull Turkey to the Islamist camp, who would thus – without knowing it – help them trigger the planned disastrous developments.

When Mr. Gul becomes ‘urbane’!

In a provocatively forged and irrelevant article, entitled ‘A Quiet Prayer for Democracy’, published in the Newsweek’s May 14, 2007 issue www.msnbc.msn.com/id/18507649/site/newsweek , Fareed Zakaria undertook the effort of depicting the secular democratic establishment of Turkey, which gathers overwhelming support among the country’s population (higher than 70%) as threat for Democracy, and the lunatic Islamists Erdogan and Gul as the promise for a democratic future in Turkey! In so doing, Fareed Zakaria features a telephone conversation with Abdullah Gul, the extremist foreign minister, whom Zakaria calls ‘urbane’! He could even have called him debonair!

What does this mean? Basics in Marketing are all one needs to grasp what is hidden behind the flattery of the Mumbai Indian to the Kayseri Turk; all foreign ministers have to be, as head of diplomacy in their country, sophisticated, cultured, refined, elegant, stylish, debonair, courteous, polished and urbane; they must not be uncouth, coarse, ill-mannered and crude. It goes without saying! Why say something that goes without saying? Most probably because Mr. Abdullah Gul is not that urbane! Perhaps, he would not reach the point of putting his arm around the Queen of England, but this is not the only criterion in this regard. In the supposed telephone discussion, Fareed Zakaria gives Abdullah Gul the opportunity to ‘convince’ that they are not going to Islamize Turkey! This paranoid attempt is as if you asked Hitler in 1935 whether he would consider invading France, England and Soviet Union! The Turkish foreign minister purportedly said:

"But why listen to what I'm saying now? Look at what we have done in government for four and a half years. We have worked harder than any party in Turkey's history to make this country a member of the European Union. We have passed hundreds of laws that have freed up the economy and strengthened human rights. Why would we do this if we were trying to Islamize Turkey?"

The treacherous way of Islamizing Turkey

This is an incredible lie! If Gul and Erdogan did not do legislative work of Islamizing Turkey, this is due to the rapport de force between the Islamist government and the President; he would veto any sort of similar legislation. They were not able to Islamize Turkey and they did not attempt to do so at the political level, as they behaved mendaciously, trying to gain time and stay longer in power.

However, they did try to Islamize Turkey at the level of the society, and the mendacious and treacherous Mr. Gul does his ingenious best to forget and camouflage it. You do not Islamize a society by legislating and imposing politically rules and laws. You better achieve your goals by Islamizing the society of a country through social pressure that is politically tolerated by a hypocritical government. More specifically, while avoiding to discuss the subject of ‘beaches for females only’ at the Parliament, you mobilize your followers to form groups to pressurize over people who swim in mixed beaches, you manage to have many imams speaking against the mixed beaches in their Friday prayer sermons, and you organize the lowest of your male supporters in a way that they regularly go to public beaches and start intimidating uncovered women and girls who swim and walk in the streets lightly dressed. You pay your thugs for this, it goes without saying! In brief, you make the daily life difficult to all those who believe in a free and westernized country whereby aesthetics prevail in the dress code, not sexual instincts.

When, as mendacious extremist, you do not legislate to impose Islamic rules, but through your social pressure, gangster-like groups, you intimidate unmarried young couples from kissing each other in public, you certainly do not produce a single proof of your ‘pro-secular commitment’; you just demonstrate that you are an untrustworthy extremist, a hypocritical and dictatorial, barbaric politician for whom Human Rights are an empty word. In addition, you are not Muslim by definition, as a hypocritical person can never be a real Muslim.

That is why whatever Abdullah Gul says is trash. They have so far advanced using a plan they devised out of a meticulous study of barbaric societies of the so-called ‘Arab world’. That is why it makes sense to have these gangsters accused of High Treason. They betrayed the Virtuous to serve the filthy and the corrupt targets of their miserable and barbaric backgrounds.

Islamists’ method: impose socially first and then confirm through legislation!

Trying to play the journalist, Fareed Zakaria should have first studied the Turkish society, check what happens in the streets of a coastal city at a moment you have a weak Islamist government (issued out of a minority (33%) that turned out to become a parliamentary majority only because of the electoral law and the multi-division of the political spectrum) opposed to a staunch secular democratic President, and to an entire academic – intellectual – judicial establishment. If the Presidency of the Republic is controlled by the hypocritical extremists, they will proceed through uncontrolled changes, and will implement politically what they have already tried to impose socially. An Islamist Terror would then reign throughout Turkey.

Pathetically and ludicrously enough, Fareed Zakaria keeps the same style; the next excerpt is far more revealing of the burlesque character of the ‘journalist’:

“I asked him whether he thought Turkey should adopt Sharia, Islamic law, which is a goal of almost all Islamist parties around the world. "No," he replied. "There is no possibility of introducing Sharia in Turkey. We are harmonizing Turkey's laws with the EU's standards in every area. Is this Sharia?" Gul is right”.

What is Sharia, and what is not, if someone truly wants to find out the truth, it is easy to grasp. Never shaking hands with men, wearing headscarf and gloves, segregating men and women, swimming without getting undressed (for females only), avoiding to stay or to work in the same room with a man, all these attitudes are relevant to Islamic extremism, and – not to historical Sharia but – to what modern terrorists accept as Sharia. Again, Gul may say anything he likes, but his followers seek to impose socially first and through legislation afterwards all these attitudes, which means Erdogan and Gul want truly to impose Sharia throughout Turkey.

Gul tried to bemuse European and American readership – or Fareed Zakaria tried to depict him like that. However, a frank and honest journalist, who would care about getting genuine information for the readers, would not ask Mr. Gul all these useless questions. One question would suffice to place Mr. Gul in front of the dilemma ‘tell the truth or lose your voters’, which would reveal hi real nature:

- Do you revere and intend to preserve the policies introduced by Kemal Ataturk as regards Latin alphabet for writing Turkish language, Sunday as officially accepted non working day, and prohibition of the headscarf in public places?

Such a question would place Gul under pressure; he would try to show that he totally supports Kemal Ataturk, but this would have negative impact on his voters who learn to hate the founder of the Turkish Republic. He would end up using a greater dose of hypocrisy, suggesting he accepts all the policies initiated by Kemal Ataturk. Now, you get the truth through the stance of Erdogan’s and Gul’s followers; none of them would accept anything of Kemal Ataturk. This shows not a gap between a leader and his followers, but between the leader’s publicly said falsehood and his secret thoughts and plans.

Do you know Mustafa Akyul? Fareed Zakaria’s authoritative source!

Then, Fareed Zakaria tries to purportedly attribute importance and seriousness to his ‘analysis’; his method of doing so draws from old fashioned journalism. He mentions a person otherwise unknown to 99.9% of his readership. Even with modern Internet facilities, few would bother to google the ‘authority’ Fareed Zakaria refers to! His text reads as following:

“The secular establishment's suspicions about the AK are best described by Turkish columnist Mustafa Akyul as "fact-free paranoia." The Army memorandum accusing the AK of Islamic tendencies points as evidence of an Islamic agenda to two isolated cases where headmasters allowed students to sing Qur'anic verses and celebrate Muhammad's birthday on Turkey's Republic Day. That's not exactly a sign of an impending theocracy”.

This is extraordinary! The person he calls in support of his assertions as regards the secular establishment’s suspicions about the Islamists is one that would be most disdained and reviled by the Western readers of Fareed Zakaria, if they only knew a few things about him.

Who is Mustafa Akyol, the supreme ‘proof’ of Fareed Zakaria’s pertinent approach? Well, no more no less, this is a smart religious extremist, 35, who confined himself within the limits of Moral Philosophy and Cultural Anthropology, finding them good enough for him to base thereupon an extremist Islamist theology that confusingly enough he markets as ‘moderate’! Risen to prominence thanks to financial support granted by the notorious Discovery Institute, he helps them infiltrate to the new Turkish bogus-Islamic market and find therein many victims for the various ramifications of the intelligent design concept. In so doing, he also helps as a link between the Erdogan and Gul gang and parts of the American establishment that, although they offer support to Turkey’s Islamists, fail to avert the deeds of the Armenian and the Greek lobbies!

How odd! But Erdogan and Gul cannot understand!

The indescribable Mustafa Akyol is also supported by the doyen of the Turkish extremist theologians, Fethullah Gulen, who considerably contributed to the re-Wahhabi-zation of Turkey’s practicing Muslims. Fethullah Gulen is a world threat of the same dimensions as Mullah Umar of Afghanistan. Mustafa Akyol is Fethullah Gulen’s and Erdogan’s right hand in the masqueraded affair of ‘inter-cultural dialogue’ that is a pure Islamic Terrorism simulation invention. This wicked person that errs between Turkey, America and other parts of the world, moving incognito for most of the world’s misinformed people, became Fareed Zakaria’s most favorite ‘argument’ and ‘proof’!

In other words, even if the rest of Zakaria’s text was not as wrong and distorted as we analyzed, simple reference to Mustafa Akyol would suffice largely to automatically discredit it.

Now, it becomes clear why Fareed Zakaria adopts the facts-free paranoia of Mustafa Akyol; he is in parallel trajectory with the Islamic Terrorist who hates the West, Democracy, Freedom, Secular Society, Turkey and Historical Islam. Furthermore, the Army memorandum accusing the AK of Islamic tendencies does not point “as evidence of an Islamic agenda to two isolated cases”; it just mentions two simple examples. To the eyes of the average Turkish public opinion that starts being terrorized on daily basis by the thuggish gangsters of Erdogan, this makes sense. To the Discovery Institute stipend recipient Mustafa Akyol, it does not make sense, as it means that he should change career at 35.

As for the unfortunate, erratic and repeatedly disparaged Fareed Zakaria, he must understand that, due to lack of both, historical knowledge and personal experience, he is the last to say what a “sign of an impending theocracy” is or is not.

Then, the unstoppable Indian tackles another ‘topic’ he intends to examine, namely the position of the headscarf in Turkey! He goes through it, discussing it – again with the mendacious and primitive Mr. Gul. The text reads as follows:

“The other issue that keeps coming up is the headscarf, which under Turkey's coercive secularism is actually banned in public buildings. Gul's wife wears one, and Turkey's elites are in a tizzy that a man who will occupy Kemal Ataturk's position has a wife in a headscarf”.

Here the pretentious Fareed Zakaria fails to remind his readers that the headscarf is a deeply loathed by the westernized, democratic and progressive Turkish public opinion symbol of anachronism and obscurantism; he also fails to state that headscarf equals Excision. That’s why he goes on, and on, and on! He says:

“Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's daughters felt similarly and went to Indiana University, where they had the freedom to wear whatever they wanted—unlike in Turkey”.

This shows how easily Fareed Zakaria compares tomatoes with helicopters! The US is not a Muslim country. It is an overwhelmingly Protestant Christian country, with very strong Christian Catholic, Christian Orthodox, and Jewish minorities. The headscarf would not create a problem in America as in Turkey. With 1% of the US population Muslim, even if half of the female US Muslims decide to wear headscarf, adhering to Islamic Extremism, the problem will still be minor, if compared with the situation in Turkey. However, sooner or later the issue will become a major one in America, as the country has not devised a counter-balance policy to the Islamic Terror’s plans of Islamizing America. When issues like this will be dealt with properly and seriously, America will (have to) outlaw headscarf as humiliating, dehumanizing and bestializing the female personality and life.

Fareed Zakaria goes on, insisting on his supposed – and in any case untrustworthy – conversation with Mr. Gul, who says:

"I have no intention of forcing or even asking anyone to wear a headscarf," Gul explained. "It's a matter of personal choice. Not all the women in my family wear them. If I don't ask my family to do it, why would I ask others? In fact, were I to try to force Turks to wear headscarves, there would be a negative reaction from my own family."

What an indictment! Do you really believe the guy who shamelessly has next to him a wife wearing headscarf and intending to propagate the ‘islamically correct practice of excision? After one year, Gul would say his family changed opinion. Even in this telephone interview with Fareed Zakaria, he reportedly states the following:

"But as Muslim societies democratize, you will see greater religious expression everywhere in society”

When Mr. Gul says ‘democratize’, he means that his gangs of thugs walk in the streets of every city and terrorize the rest, saying that ‘as Muslims’ they must vote for Erdogan! This is the Gul democracy! This paranoid Islamist ends up revealing his goals, without even Fareed Zakaria realizing; he says:

“It is a consequence of democracy. People in Muslim countries are devout, socially conservative..”.

This is Gul’s filthy lie; Turks are not devout, and the majority of today’s Muslims do not give a damn about Islam and the Hereafter. Turks are not socially conservative; they love free sex, practice free premarital sex, adore nudism, and enjoy al sorts of extravagancy and exotic experience life can offer; the cannibalistic Mr. Gul and his illiterate thugs do not, but they are a minority.

Speaking further on about Muslims not in advanced Turkey but in backward and obscurantist dictatorships, one has to state that again they are not socially conservative. They are simply terrorized to go to the mosques; they are terrorized to condemn homosexuality in public whereas they practice it at a rate higher than 90% in all the so-called ‘Arabic speaking countries’. They are terrorized by a social and political frame that Western diplomats either failed to notice or were criminal enough not to denounce in public. They practice premarital sex in a way not to expose the female partner’s virginity; one can write volumes about this and all the untold stories bogus-journalists of the Western mass media are paid not to publish.

We end up our analysis with the indirect warning of the so much venerated by Fareed Zakaria disreputable terrorist Abdullah Gul; as Turkish foreign minister he addresses the entire West speaking about Muslim conservatism (this is his euphemism for Islamic Terrorism) like this:

“You cannot fight against this”.

If this is so now, you understand what he will tell you, if he gets elected President of an Islamic Republic of Turkey.

Armenian Atrocities Against Jews In The Ottoman Empire (Belma Buzcan)
29 May 2007
Turkish Weekly
The Ottoman experience vividly proves that anti-Semitism is an 'old Armenian habit'. The first reason for anti-semitism among the Ottoman Armenians was mainly religious biases. Then the economic competition was added to the reasons. The Armenians together with the Greek Ottomans attacked the Jewish bankers, doctors and businessmen in the Ottoman Palace and main cities. It is unfortunate that the Armenian attacks continued during the First World War and the armed Armenian groups targeted not only the Turks and Kurds but also the Jewish people in the Eastern Ottoman State. The Dashnaks blamed the Jewish people of being supporter of the Turks. Even today some Armenians in Armenia and diaspora believe that the 1915 Relocation Campaign (tehcir) was a Jewish-made plan to destroy the Armenian nation. The San Fransisco Chronicle's report clearly show how the Jewish people was target of the Armenian attacks during the First World War:

"We have first hand information and evidence of Armenian atrocities against our people (Jews). Members of our family witnessed the murder of 148 members of our family near Erzurum, Turkey, by Armenian neighbors, bent on destroying anything and anybody remotely Jewish and/or Muslim... Armenians were in league with Hitler in the last war, on his premise to grant themselves government if, in return, the Armenians would help exterminate Jews. Armenians were also hearty proponents of the anti-Semitic acts in league with the Russian Communists." (San Francisco Chronicle_ (December 11, 1983).

The Armenians continually attacked the Jews for the religious reasons and for personal and ethnic interests before the 1915 events. In the words of Shaw, ‘the attacks were brutal and without mercy. Women, children, and aged Jewish men were frequently attacked, beaten and often killed’. (Stanford J. Shaw, ‘Christian Anti-Semitism in the Ottoman Empire’, Belleten, Vol. LIV, No. 68, 1991, p. 1129).

These attacks inevitably caused a severe tension and nourished mutual hate between the Armenians and the Jews. As a result the Jews sometimes co-operated with other ethnic groups against the Armenians as Shaw puts it:

"Jewish resentment against the continued persecution and ritual murder attacks by Greeks and Armenians led to such hatred that, for example, many Jews actively assisted the attacks of Kurds and Lazzes on the Armenian quarters of Istanbul in 1896 and 1908, showing the Kurds where Armenians lived and where many of them were hiding and joining them in carrying away the booty. The result was even greater Armenian hatred for Jews than had been the case before, leading to further persecution and attacks in subsequent years’" (Shaw, The Jews..., p. 210).

Today the relations between Israel and Armenia has never been smooth while Turkey-Israel and Israel-Azerbaijan relations have developed on the base of historical friendship and bilateral interests.

Hate is not the best way to establish close relations and solve the historical problems between the nations. Turkey openly invited the Armenians to establish close and friendly relations. It is obvious that the Israelis also want to make co-operation with Armenia. However the historical hatred among the Armenian prevent any initiative for dialogue.

* Turkey Do Protest Too Much...

These days, whenever I turn my dial to the Turkish Radio-TV station on my widescreen in Brussels, I seem to come across some kind of academic forum or expert panel discussion by Turks on "The Armenian Question."

Almost every Wednesday and Friday night, there are 30 or 60-minute programs dedicated to disputing Armenian "claims" about the Genocide. Using footage from old documentaries, news reports and films, these TV programs seem to be trying to absolve the Turkish soul of the very heavy burden of the Ottoman Empire's inhumanity towards Armenians in the 1895 to 1915 time period.

Other times, there are Turkish university professors, members of the Turkish diplomatic corps, and even Turkish law professors who carry on for hours in minutely detailed discussions of Ottoman documents showing numbers of Armenian inhabitants in Turkish towns before and after 191, or disputing the authenticity of the famous cable order by Talaat Pasha to the Turkish provincial governors and officials to deport hundreds of thousands of Armenians from the eastern provinces to the Syrian desert.

On top of everything else, Turkish university professors like Dr. Hikmet Ördemir, Dr. Kamer Kasim or Dr. Aygün Attar, and Dr. Seret Ünal almost always speak with great authority that they have invited Armenian historians and their counterparts from European and American universities to jointly research documents located in the archives of the Ottoman Empire History Museum in Istanbul, in order "to get to the truth" -- and none of the Armenians has shown up.

In April 2007 Turkish Internet hackers attacked and defaced many Armenian Genocide-related websites -- notably www.theforgotten.org --claiming the that Armenians committed genocide on the Turks! (Note: since the incident the website has a new name: www.theforgottengenocide.org).

All of this frenzy in the Turkish media and on the web is meant to legitimize Turkey's claim that there never was an Armenian Genocide in 1915, but instead "large scale deaths of Armenians" who had sided with the Russian army against the Ottoman army.

But ifthere is no truthto assertions about the Armenian Genocide of 1915 -- as recorded by U.S. and European ambassadors, and documented by damning photographs of Armenian women, children, and elderly gutted by Turkish swords and left to rot in the Syrian deserts -- why then are today's Turks spending so much time and effort denying the event?

Relatedly, ifthe deep guilt over inhuman behavior by their ancestors was not reaching their souls today, why are the Turks so fanatically trying to revise historical events -- even going to the extent of accusing Armeniansof having perpetrated a genocide against the Turks?

Perhaps "the best defense is a good offense" (as Napoleon Bonaparte used to advise his generals), and today's Turkish government officials, university intellectuals and the governing armed forces have launched an all-out offensive in the world media to make the outrageous claim that the only Armenian genocide is the one weperpetrated againstthe Turks. But thankfully, this revisionist history is so transparent that it only elicits ironic smiles from the international community -- which knows what really happened in 1915.

Very truly yours,
Miran P. Sarkissian
Brussels, Belgium

Letter to the Editor
Armenian Reporter - 5/26/2007

Armenian-Turkish Relations Won't Change Irrespective Of Fact What Political Force Will Win Turkish Parliamentary Elections
Noyan Tapan
May 25 2007
YEREVAN. Expressing any position connected with Turkey-European Union relations is very premature for Armenia: involving Turkey into EU, after all, is an issue to be decided by Europe. Armen Ayvazian, Director of Ararat strategic center, expressed such opinion at the May 25 discussion.

As he affirmed, the forecast of Armenian politicians that becoming EU member, Turkey will change its attitude to Armenia, is wrong. A. Ayvazian said that if even that country becomes a member of European family, which, in political scientist's words, is improbable, it will use all possibilities given to it within the framework of that union to exert greater pressure upon Armenia.

Touching upon the elections to be held in summer in Turkey, A. Ayvazian said that irrespective of the fact whether the Islamists or secular political forces will win the elections, Armenian-Turkish relations will not change.

Ruben Safrastian, Director of Institute of Oriental Studies of National Academy of Sciences, reminded that as early as before the previous elections the representatives of Justice and Development Party made sensational statements that in case of coming to power they will cooperate with Armenia purely from considerations of economic contacts. Their promises of the kind, naturally, were not fulfilled.

Poll Says Passage Of Armenian Resolution Will Worsen Turks' Opinion About The U.S.
25 May 2007,
Turkish Press

According to a new nationwide public opinion survey recently conducted by Terror Free Tomorrow, a nonprofit organization, the adoption of a resolution on the so-called Armenian genocide allegations by the American congress would worsen Turks' opinion on the United States, hurting U.S. interests, and deal a major blow on efforts towards reaching a compromise between Turkey and Armenia.
"The passage of the resolution would set back cause it purports to achieve and harden the Turkish public view of Armenians," Ken Ballen, leader of Terror Free Tomorrow said in the poll report.

According to the survey, 78 percent of Turks opposed any U.S. Congressional resolution and almost four-fifths of Turkish citizens favored strong action by the Turkish government if a resolution was adopted, including of suspension of diplomatic relations with the U.S.

Of the Turks surveyed, 83 percent would oppose Turkey assisting the U.S. in neighboring Iraq should a resolution pass.

A plurality of Turks indicated that they would boycott American products with 84 percent of those --who now have a very favorable opinion of the United States-- responded that their opinion would deteriorate if the resolution passes.

73 percent of Turks said a resolution would have the opposite effect and actually worsen relations between Turkey and Armenia rather than promoting reconciliation between the two countries.

"The task of the Congress should be to help promote a neutral, independent and credible mechanism. That neutral forum should not only include expert historians, legal scholars and political leaders from both Turkey and Armenia, but similar representatives from other countries, as well," Ballen said.

"After all, if the parliament of Turkey, or for that matter, Russia or France, were to pass a resolution condemning the United States for the genocide of American Indians in the 19th century, would that lead to acceptance and reconciliation in the US, or merely condemnation of the foreign government which judged American history?" he asked

Sarkozy Darkens Turkey's EU Horizon
May 23, 2007

After a new treaty for the EU is sorted out, there is Turkey...

Ankara can hope not to hear the same opposition from the new French President to its bid to join the European Union as Nicolas Sarkozy has been sticking to. But hope is about all it can do. Sarkozy has repeatedly voiced his opposition to Turkish accession. The day after his election, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said: "We hope we'll hear no more declarations of the sort Mister Sarkozy made during his campaign."

Ankara also refused the notion of a "Mediterranean Union" which Sarkozy suggested as an alternative to joining the European bloc.

Turkey began EU entry talks in 2005, with the consent of all the member states. This was after passing sweeping reforms in the officially secular but overwhelmingly Muslim country. A senior advisor in Ankara, Egemen Ba_1_ (pronounced 'Bah-ersh'), defends his country's eligibility:

"Last time I checked, the European Union was not a Christian club. If it is so, they should tell us. But according to what they tell us it's an association, a union of values. And the values are democracy, human rights, freedom of speech, freedom of conscience. Those are the values that we died for during the cold war years as an integral member of NATO."

France aroused real anger in Turkey last autumn when it passed a law making denial that mass killings of Armenians in the WWI years was a genocide a punishable offence. German Chancellor Angela Merkel also remains publicly opposed to ever admitting Turkey into the EU. But Merkel, whose country currently holds the EU's rotating presidency, has said she will honour past commitments.

Turkey's EU talks can only be formally halted by consensus among the 27 member states. But Sarkozy could block them by refusing to allow the opening and closing of technical talks on individual policy areas or "chapters". Turkey's membership, not seen before 2015 at the earliest, would also have to be ratified by all the member states.

Contrasting Reactions From Sarkozy And Barroso Over Turkey’s EU Bid

Contrasting reactions from Sarkozy and Barroso over Turkey’s candidacy

French President Nicolas Sarkozy made clear on Wednesday that breaking the European Union's institutional deadlock is a more urgent priority than challenging Turkey's membership ambitions.

However European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso said that they strongly supported the continuation of talks with Ankara.
Term president Germany said negotiations should continue under the "iÜüPacta Sund Servanda," stressing that they will continue to fulfill their commitments.

A week after taking office, Sarkozy met European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso to lay out his plans for a treaty to replace the EU constitution, rejected by French voters in a 2005 referendum.

French officials indicated the simplified treaty was likely to dominate the talks rather than Turkey's EU accession negotiations, which Sarkozy firmly opposes.

The urgent thing for Nicolas Sarkozy is to find a solution to the institutional crisis, the president's spokesman David Martinon told reporters shortly before he left Paris.

Sarkozy's inaugural visit to EU headquarters was part of an accelerating drive led by German Chancellor Angela Merkel to seek a deal at a summit next month on the outlines of a new treaty reforming the 27-nation bloc's institutions.

Dutch Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende, whose country also voted against the constitution in 2005, told the European Parliament he was sure a compromise on a slimmed-down treaty was possible, provided national parliaments were given more say.

In another sign of improving prospects for an agreement, Poland's Eurosceptical foreign minister said she was moderately optimistic that a deal could be reached next month.

Sarkozy has said a treaty should contain core reforms in the defunct constitution, such as a long-term president of the EU, a foreign minister and a streamlined voting system. France would ratify it by parliament rather than risking another referendum.

"This is the only credible way of finding a swift solution to this institutional crisis," said Martinon.


French officials have said that if supporters of the moribund constitution, such as Italy, tried to shunt too much of the old text into the new treaty then both France and Britain would have to call referendums, with no guarantee of success.

Italian Prime Minister Romano Prodi said on Tuesday the 18 countries that had ratified the charter could compromise on its form but would not agree to remove its substance.

Diplomats said Sarkozy's election had created momentum for a deal on the treaty at his maiden EU summit on June 21-22, and they believed British Prime Minister Tony Blair, attending his final summit in office, was also eager for an accord.

"To move quickly is the only solution," said Martinon.

There appeared to be less urgency to resolve big differences between France and the European Commission over Turkey, although Martinon stressed the new French leader remained convinced Turkey had no place in the EU.

The position of President Sarkozy is the same as that of Sarkozy the (presidential) candidate. Turkey is in Asia Minor and not in Europe, he said.

Turkey's entry talks have been dogged by disputes and the EU has suspended talks on eight of 35 policy areas, or chapters , due to Ankara's refusal to open its ports to EU member Cyprus.

France cannot single-handedly force an end to Turkey's EU candidacy. That would require unanimity among the 27 member states, and some, such as Britain, strongly back Ankara's bid.

But Sarkozy, probably backed by other Turkey-sceptics such as Austria, could refuse to allow chapters to be opened and closed, effectively freezing the bid.

Today's Zaman with wires Brussels

Graveyard Claimed To Be Armenian Belongs To Romans
Yusuf Halaçoglu, president of the Turkish Historical Society (TTK), has announced that a graveyard in Mardin’s Nusaybin district that had been claimed by the Armenians in fact dates to the Roman period.

During a press conference Halaçoglu said they had appealed to foreign scientists to come and assist with the opening of the graveyard. David Gaunt, a scientist from Switzerland, was the only one to express interest.

Gaunt accepted the offer on condition that the research be conducted without intervention from the Turkish administration. Gaunt began studies with the TTK president and delegation on April 24. However Gaunt soon realized that the photographs of the graveyard he had seen were different from the graveyard in Nusaybin and thus decided to return home without taking any soil or bone samples from the grave.

Reading the results of the soil and bone samples tested at Ankara University’s engineering department, Halaçoglu said Turkish scientists had determined that the bones to belong to the Roman period.

Today’s Zaman Ankara

Greeks Press Charges Over Turkish Flag Burnt In Armenian Demo
24 May 2007
Armenia Liberty /Eraren

A prosecutor in the northern Greek city of Salonika has pressed charges against unidentified persons who burned a Turkish flag during a Greek-Armenian demonstration at the city's Turkish consulate last month, a local justice source said on Wednesday.

The charge of insulting the symbol of a foreign state will enable the perpetrators to be brought to justice should they be identified via photographs and video shot during the demonstration.

The incident occurred during an April 24 demonstration to mark the 92nd anniversary of massacres committed against Armenians by the Ottoman Empire during World War I. The Turkish consular authorities complained to Greece over the burning.

Greeks of Armenian descent annually hold demonstrations to press Turkey to admit guilt over the massacres.

Ankara says 300,000 Armenians, and at least as many Turks, died in civil strife when Armenians took up arms for independence and sided with invading Russian troops during World War I.

But Armenians claim up to 1.5 million of their ancestors were slaughtered in orchestrated killings that can only be seen as genocide. Greece's parliament adopted a resolution condemning the Armenian massacres as genocide in 1996.

Greek Prosecutor Presses Charges Over Burnt Turkish Flag
Thursday, May 24, 2007
A prosecutor in the northern Greek city of Salonika pressed charges against unidentified persons who burned a Turkish flag during a Greek-Armenian demonstration at the city's Turkish consulate last month, a local justice source said yesterday. The incident occurred last month during an April 24 demonstration to mark the 92nd anniversary of the alleged Armenian genocide.

SALONIKA-Agence France-Presse

Amnesty International: ‘Governments Provoke Fear’
May 24, 2007
ISTANBUL – Turkish Daily News

Strong governments and armed organizations in the world provoke fear, to create an increasingly divided world; Amnesty International emphasized in its 2007 report on human rights yesterday, released simultaneously in around 100 countries globally.

Focusing on 153 countries, Amnesty International's annual report on 2006 drew attention to the abolition of human rights all over the world and underlined the critical role of governments in provoking people's fear rather than alleviating it, leading to xenophobia and racism in the whole world. Amnesty International called on governments to refuse policies of fear and invest more in the rule of law both domestically and internationally. Amnesty International Turkey publicized the report in a press release in Istanbul and focused on Turkey's part in the report as well. The press release started with condolences by the president of Amnesty International Turkey Levent Korkut for those who died in the bombing in Ankara on Tuesday evening. The timing of the bombing in Ankara was eerily close to Amnesty International's report emphasizing the provoking of fear.

‘Reforms are not implemented well'

The 2007 report criticizes Turkey for not implementing in its full sense the legal reforms, which were put in force in previous years, Korkut said. Although Turkey improved in protecting human rights until 2004, a pessimistic atmosphere has been created since then, Korkut noted, adding that the 2007 report did not even mention the issues that it had touched upon in the past, but emphasized the deficiencies.

The section of the report focusing on Turkey highlighted that the situation of human rights deteriorated in the east and southeast of Turkey due to the increasing conflict between military forces and the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' party (PKK), while attacks by armed organizations on civilians had increased as well in other regions. As the report only examines the cases in 2006, events in 2007 did not get a mention in the report, but the assassination of Turkish – Armenian journalist Hrant Dink and the slain Christian missionaries in Malatya will be in next year's report, Korkut said.

“The excessive use of force by security forces during demonstrations were also among the issues highlighted in the report, referring to the events in Diyarbakir last year," Korkut said. Although there was a decrease in bad treatment and torture claims, those who were taken under custody in protests were treated badly, the report mentioned. Insufficient efforts in providing shelter to women who were victims of domestic violence was another issue mentioned in the report. The laws restricting freedom of expression were still in force, the report said, as it referred to the trials of intellectuals, authors, publishers, journalists, students and human rights activists. The case of Nobel Prize winning author Orhan Pamuk based on article 301, which deals with “insulting Turkishness” was included in the report as well. The killing of Council of State Judge Mustafa Özbilgin and the attacks on the premises of Cumhuriyet newspaper were included in the report as well.

"A Glance From Turkey: Racism, Kemalism Or Islamism?"
By Anahit Hovsepian, Germany
AZG Armenian Daily
On May, at 19.30 in Humboldt University of Berlin is to held a forum in the series of "Berlin lectures" titled "A glance from Turkey: racism, Kemalism or Islamism?" The guest lecturer is Ulrike Dufner.

In 1989 he graduated from the Berlin Free University, department of political sciences. And then he selected East as a subject of scientific research. He worked with the Alliance 90/ the Greens in Bundestag, then with the Foreign Ministry of German Democratic Republic. Then he made lectures about Turkey, South Caucasus and Central Asia.

He is the leader of Turkish office of "Heinrich Boell" foundation in Istanbul from 2004.

The forum will summarize the answer to the question "What possibilities are there in Turkey for creating open, multi-cultural society after the murder of Armenian intellectual Hrant Dink".

Raffi Kandian will chair the forum. Elvira Rite, the President of Germanic-Armenian Company will deliver the welcoming speech.

'Genocide' Bill In France Restriction On Freedom Of Expression
Today's Zaman, Turkey
May 24 2007
The French Parliament's approval of a bill in October of last year that made it a crime to deny that Ottoman Turks committed "genocide" against Armenians during World War I was listed by Amnesty International as a restriction on freedom of expression in the Amnesty International Report 2007, the organization's annual assessment of human rights worldwide, released in London on Wednesday.

The bill was the sole item highlighted under the title "Restriction on freedom of expression" in the country report for France. "On 12 October parliament adopted a bill that would make it a crime to contest that the massacres of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire in 1915 constituted genocide. The new crime would be punishable by up to five years' imprisonment and a fine. The bill was awaiting approval by the Senate and the President," the report noted.

The bill has angered Turkey, which categorically refutes genocide charges.

CIA Received Secret Presidential Approval To Mount Covert "Black" Operation To Destabilize Iranian Government
The CIA has received secret presidential approval to mount a covert "black" operation to destabilize the Iranian government, ABCNews.com reports with a reference to current and former officials in the intelligence community.

The sources, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitive nature of the subject, say President George W. Bush has signed a "nonlethal presidential finding" that puts into motion a CIA plan that reportedly includes a coordinated campaign of propaganda, misinformation and manipulation of Iran's currency and international financial transactions.

"I can't confirm or deny whether such a program exists or whether the president signed it, but it would be consistent with an overall American approach trying to find ways to put pressure on the regime," said Bruce Riedel, a recently retired CIA senior official who dealt with Iran and other countries in the region.

A National Security Council spokesperson, Gordon Johndroe, said, "The White House does not comment on intelligence matters." A CIA spokesperson said, "As a matter of course, we do not comment on allegations of covert activity."

The sources say the CIA developed the covert plan over the last year and received approval from White House officials and other officials in the intelligence community.

Officials say the covert plan is designed to pressure Iran to stop its nuclear enrichment program and end aid to insurgents in Iraq.

"There are some channels where the United States government may want to do things without its hand showing, and legally, therefore, the administration would, if it's doing that, need an intelligence finding and would need to tell the Congress," said ABC News consultant Richard Clarke, a former White House counterterrorism official.

Current and former intelligence officials say the approval of the covert action means the Bush administration, for the time being, has decided not to pursue a military option against Iran.

"Vice President Cheney helped to lead the side favoring a military strike," said former CIA official Riedel, "but I think they have come to the conclusion that a military strike has more downsides than upsides."

The covert action plan comes as U.S. officials have confirmed Iran had dramatically increased its ability to produce nuclear weapons material, at a pace that experts said would give them the ability to build a nuclear bomb in two years.

Riedel says economic pressure on Iran may be the most effective tool available to the CIA, particularly in going after secret accounts used to fund the nuclear program.

"The kind of dealings that the Iranian Revolution Guards are going to do, in terms of purchasing nuclear and missile components, are likely to be extremely secret, and you're going to have to work very, very hard to find them, and that's exactly the kind of thing the CIA's nonproliferation center and others would be expert at trying to look into," Riedel said.

Under the law, the CIA needs an official presidential finding to carry out such covert actions. The CIA is permitted to mount covert "collection" operations without a presidential finding.

"Presidential findings" are kept secret but reported to the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and other key congressional leaders.

The "nonlethal" aspect of the presidential finding means CIA officers may not use deadly force in carrying out the secret operations against Iran.

Sarkozy agrees to a temporary truce on Turkey
The New Anatolian / Ankara
25 May 2007
Nicholas Sarkozy has agreed to a temporary cease fire in his bid to halt Turkey's accession process, European Union sources in Brussels told The New Anatolian.

The European Commission officials have reportedly told Sarkozy not to create more trouble for Turkey at this stage and lay off the issue.

As a face saving move the French president said he will force a debate on Turkey and whether it belongs in the EU "in the coming months." But he promised he will not raise the issue until the EU decides to settle its constitutional problems.

Addressing a packed Brussels press room on Wednesday a week after being sworn into office, Sarkozy stated "I believe that Turkey does not have a place in the European Union."

"We are going to have this debate on Turkey, we cannot avoid it," he added.

The president went on to promise that he would only raise the issue after there is agreement on a new treaty on the EU, with governments preparing to meet next month to flesh out a preliminary outline and timetable for the document.

But with other member states such as the Netherlands saying enlargement criteria should be part of a new treaty, the issue risks coming up at what is already set to be a fraught meeting on 21-22 June.

For his part European Commission president Jose Manuel Barroso indicated that the EU should keep its promises towards Turkey which officially opened membership negotiations last autumn.

"I respect Mr Sarkozy's position," said Barroso but added that the commission "is in favor of the continuation of negotiations with Turkey." "After that it is up to member states to take their "responsibility," said the president. Other EU officials, such as Olli Rehn in charge of enlargement and Javier Solana, EU foreign policy chief, have also warned against alienating Turkey, fearing it will "search out other partners."

The commission is already struggling to keep the Brussels-Ankara talks afloat because of poor relations between EU member Greek Cyprus and Turkey. The EU has shifted Turkey's entry bid into a lower gear, partially suspending the talks last year to protest Turkey's ban on Greek Cypriot shipping and flights into Turkey.

Meanwhile, the Anatolian News Agency reporting from Brussels quoted EU and Belgian government sources as saying Sarkozy will not "bug his European allies and add fuel to the fire" on Turkey's EU membership. During the presidential elections campaign last month Sarkozy was outspoken about his opposition to Turkey's EU membership and said Turkey should lead a Mediterranean Union that will act like a partner to the EU.

He said during the election debates on TV with his rival Segolene Royal his position to Turkey's membership is definite and will not change.

Since Sarkozy's election EU leaders have said they are committed to the process for Turkey's membership and term president Germany has pointed out that all decisions in the EU are taken unanimously and there is no consensus in the Union to end talks with Turkey.

Simplified treaty

Speaking about the new treaty - to replace the rejected EU constitution - Sarkozy told the press conference in Brussels he believed that leaders are "making headway around the idea of a simplified treaty."

He said the final document should include a permanent EU presidency to replace the current rotating one, the possibility for "enhanced cooperation" between EU states and a move away from the veto to majority voting.

While avoiding a call for a two-speed Europe, something Italian Prime Minister Romano Prodi bluntly threatened earlier this week, Sarkozy nevertheless said he could not understand member states that wanted to hold up others moving forward.

"I would prefer a Europe that moves forward," he said.

Erdogan Asks Sarkozy Not To Communicate Through Media
The New Anatolian / Ankara
25 May 2007
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan told French President Nicolas Sarkozy that better communications are needed between Turkey and France and said "let us not talk to each other through the media."

Speaking to the newly elected French President on the phone on Thursday Erdogan congratulated Sarkozy on his election and pointed to the close ties between the two countries in several areas - including economic, political and military ties - and said the two leaders needed to solve problems by "working together and meeting directly."

During the conversation, Sarkozy expressed willingness to work together, and also conveyed his nation's condolences over Tuesday's bomb attack in the Turkish capital, which killed six people and wounded dozens of others.

Turkey 101
NICOLE POPE n.pope@todayszaman.com
The political atmosphere in Turkey has been so intense in recent weeks that I welcomed an opportunity to spend a few days abroad. But it is difficult to escape. I was in the middle of Times Square in New York when my cell phone rang and I was informed of the tragic blast in Ankara, which adds a new element of uncertainty to the current political equation.

In the course of my trip I’ve faced questions from friends and interested observers who wanted to find out about recent events in Turkey. Understanding and conveying Turkey’s multi-layered reality has always been a challenge for foreign correspondents. We struggle to squeeze background information into our news stories, but we inevitably end up having to leave out crucial nuances because of insufficient space.

Judging from the comments I’ve heard in recent days, the terminology traditionally used to frame Turkey’s political issues further contributes to a distorted understanding. My friends wanted a “Turkey 101,” a basic overview of the debated issues and what they meant.

For example the word “Islamist,” routinely used to label the justice and Development Party (AK Party) government in foreign news reports, can evoke violence in Algeria in the minds of French readers, while an American audience might think of the Taliban in Afghanistan. In the context of Turkey’s government, it clearly has a different meaning. “Secular,” too, is often interpreted as the separation of state and religion, whereas in Turkey the state controls the religious institutions on the one hand, but rejects any public manifestation of religious faith on the other. And while it can be argued that secularism is a prerequisite for democracy, it does not automatically follow that secularism is synonymous with democracy. Another source of puzzlement to many foreigners is the notion of the “state” as distinct from -- and at times in competition with -- the elected government. While Turks are familiar with the concept, outside observers may not have encountered this dichotomy in their own countries.

How do you then go on to explain that, although the recent mass demonstrations were largely directed at the government, they also reflected a deeper malaise about rapid social change, about globalization, income disparity or the EU process? Or that the traditional labels of “left” and “right” are increasingly inadequate to describe Turkey’s political parties?

Nor is it easy to justify Turkey’s propensity for scoring self-goals and endangering its own political stability. Is it the Anatolian fault line that makes Turkey so prone to seismic political tremors?

In recent years Turkey appeared to be on an even political keel, boosted by strong economic growth. Starting with Hrant Dink’s murder in January, and followed by the cancellation of the presidential election, the ground has been shifting under our feet. So far the economic downturn that often accompanied earlier periods of uncertainty has not materialized, but it would be unwise to count on the undying loyalty of foreign investors, who are concerned about the bottom line, if political uncertainty persists beyond the election target date of July 22.

Most commentators are cautious about their predictions. Each episode of Turkey’s turbulent recent past has had its own dynamic. The lessons of Turkey 101 may provide some pointers from the past, but they give few clues about the future.


Mt Nemrut: Eighth Wonder Of The Ancient World
 This content mirrored from TurkishArmenians  Site © Click For Larger Image
‘Throughout my whole life I was seen by all to be of my kingdom the most trustworthy guardian, and one who considered holiness to be an inimitable joy.

Because of this, great dangers did I unexpectedly escape, and unhoped-for deeds did I skillfully accomplish, and a life of many years did I fill out in blessed fashion.’

These immodest words belong to one Antiochus I Epiphanes, ruler of the remote kingdom of Commagene between 69 and 31 B.C. They form part of a cult inscription, written in Greek, on the base of the stone thrones of a series of magnificent statues atop the 2,150-meter Mt. Nemrut in the southeast of Turkey. Antiochus’ vainglory knew no bounds. Not content with claiming descent from Alexander the Great on his mother’s side and Darius the Great on his father’s side, he declared himself the equal of the gods.

Determined to keep his subjects in awe Antiochus ordered the construction of a monumental cult worship and funerary complex on the highest peak in his kingdom. Even today, despite losing a third of its original height over the centuries, the massive tumulus built to house Antiochus’ body can be seen from over 100 kilometers away. It has even made the Guinness Book of Records as the world’s largest man-made mound -- a shade under 60m high and covering an area of 7.5 acres. Comprised of stone shards (left over from the carving of the statues) the tumulus has, so far, resisted the attempts of archaeologists to find the grave chamber of Antiochus assumed to lie at its heart.

Around the base of the tumulus are three terraces. The most important of these was the on the east. Here Antiochus I had his minions build a temple, which contained an altar. On Antiochus’ birthday and again on the anniversary of his accession to the throne, libations were poured and sacrifices were made in honor of the gods (which included of course Antiochus I himself!). Thousands of the inhabitants of his kingdom would have paid homage to both their gods and their ruler on these two days, toiling along the processional way leading up to the mountain-top sanctuary. The temple itself has gone, as has the altar, but the sandstone ceremonial plinth on which they stood remains -- large enough to be used as a helicopter landing-pad for visiting dignitaries.

For those of us who are neither priests of old, nor dignitaries, the best use of the plinth today (or rather the steps leading up to it) is as a seat from which to contemplate the massive statuary at the foot of the tumulus. Despite the fact that all the heads of the statues have toppled from their monumental bodies, they are still one of the world’s most awe-inspiring ancient remains. Befitting a tiny kingdom straddling the ancient borders between the Greek-Roman world of the west and the oriental Persian world to the east, the gods portrayed are a fusion of the two civilizations.

On the right is the Greek demigod Heracles with his trusty club, but he is wearing a Persian-style hat and diadem, and also represents his Persian equivalent, Artagnes. To his left is the Greek god Apollo. Like Heracles, he sports a diadem, and is also meant to represent the Persian god of light, Mithras. Even the largest statue, that of the overlord of the Greek pantheon of gods, Zeus (seated in the centre of the row) has been fused with the most important Zoroastrian (Persian) god, Ahura-Mazda. The sole female figure, the goddess Commagene/Tyche, symbolizes the fertility of the kingdom with her hands full of fruit. Last but not least, on the extreme left of the line-up, comes Antiochus I. In an attempt at modesty, he at least had the grace to allow Zeus to take centre-stage. The row of statues on the sunrise facing west terrace exactly mirrors that of the east, and on both terraces the gods are flanked by an imperious eagle and a disconcertingly cuddly lion. The fusion of Eastern and Western dress and beliefs exhibited in these statues is known as syncretism, and was propounded by Alexander the Great and his successors to help bind the peoples of the former Persian Empire with their Greek conquerors.

In the end though syncretism was not enough to save the independence of Antiochus I and his successors, who were eventually absorbed into the empire of that most pragmatic of races, the Romans. Over the centuries the Commagene kingdom was forgotten, and it was not until the 19th century that anyone showed any interest in the funerary-complex of the Commagene king, Antiochus. The first written record was by a German military official called Moltke, reconnoitering the area in 1835. He used the summit of Nemrut as a reference point while mapping the region, but never actually reached it. That honor was left to fellow countryman Karl Sester. An engineer employed by the Ottomans to find new communication routes across Anatolia in 1881, he sent a letter home informing them (wrongly as it turned out) that he had come across some Assyrian remains. A joint Turkish/German team worked at the site for a couple of years, but it was not until 1938 that more research on the site took place.

As late as the early 1960s the normally comprehensive Blue Guide failed to even mention Mt. Nemrut in its guide to Turkey. It is hard today to envisage just how remote this site was until quite recently. Early visitors had to walk or ride miles to the summit from remote villages on the mountain, and the nearest big towns (Gaziantep and Malatya) were themselves relatively isolated and lacking in a tourist infrastructure. Even today the site remains very difficult to access in the winter, as snow and ice soon block or make impassable the steep road leading to the summit area.

Of course it is this very remoteness that gives Nemrut its unique appeal. Where else in the world can statues of Greek/Persian gods up to eight meters in height and weighing up to 105 tons be found at the very summit of a 2,150-meter peak? Add to this the mystery of the whereabouts of Antiochus’ final resting place, the stunning sunrises and sunsets which bathe the statues in a soft, warm light, and you can begin to see why Nemrut is now the most visited site in southeast Anatolia -- despite the hassle of getting there.

A final word. Most people visit Nemrut at either sunset or sunrise. Of course it is at its most atmospheric then, and a photographer’s dream. But it can be freezing cold (particularly at sunrise), crowded, and your visit hurried. If possible pay a visit during the daytime, when you’ll have the site more or less to yourself and can enjoy this wonderful folly at leisure.
Fingertip facts

Best times to visit: May through October, though sunrise and sunset will be chilly in the spring and autumn months. Snow may close the summit road between November and April, and in the depths of winter the statues are snow covered.

What to bring: Stout shoes for the half-hour walk to the summit, a fleece and windproof for dawn/sunset visits, water and sun cream if you are there during the heat of the day.

Reaching Nemrut (from Kahta): The small town of Kahta is the base most people use for the trip to the site on Nemrut. The nearest town to Kahta with an airport is Adiyaman, a half-hour bus journey away. Turkish Airlines flies from Istanbul to Adiyaman (once daily) and Ankara (twice weekly). From Kahta expect to pay YTL 50 for a tour including the Nemrut summit, the Karakus tumulus, Cendere Bridge and Arsameia. Sunset trips depart at 1 p.m. and return at 9 p.m.; sunrise trips leave at 3 a.m. and return at 10 a.m..

Reaching Nemrut (from Malatya): Turkish Airlines from Istanbul (three times daily) and Ankara (once daily); Onur Air and Atlas Jet from Istanbul (once daily).

The tourist office is the booking/departure point for minibus tours to Nemrut, which usually depart midday and return to Malatya the following morning at 7 a.m.. Included in the YTL 50 price is an overnight stay (and meals) at a moderate hotel a half-hour’s walk below the summit sanctuary. The entrance fee is extra. The main advantage in reaching the summit from Malatya is that you can see the site at both sunrise and sunset, the major disadvantage is that it misses the subsidiary sites.

Guides, maps and Web sites: “Nemrud” by Mustafa Çoban, available at the site. “Rough Guide to Turkey” and “Lonely Planet: Turkey.”

Kartographischen Verlag Reinhard Rybor-sch map series no. 7, www.adiyamanli.org

A Declaration Of Universal Human Vulnerability
May 26, 2007
Ziya Meral

There are two Hrant Dinks for the larger sections of Turkish society; Hrant Dink before his murder and Hrant Dink after his murder. Before his murder, except for those who read his writings and knew him personally, representations of Hrant Dink was a courageous man of convictions, which have caused quite a stir among Turks and Armenians alike. He was in fact a danger for anyone who held a black and white view of the past and present. “Hrant Dink” was a name separated from the man, a face without a body.

As his dead body lied on the ground something extremely important happened. Due to demands of political trauma management, there were a lot of high-level public declarations of condemnation, which owned him as a ‘child of our nation'. However, what caused the emergence of the new Hrant Dink was the hole on the sole of his shoes, not the declarations which were a bullet too late and often without a rhyme. A dead body and blood could have still been understood as the ‘rightful end' of a troublemaker. Yet, his warn out shoes pointed to the man behind the name; a man, fragile and human, not a monster or a powerful enemy. It was only this demystification of Hrant Dink as a vulnerable human being that granted him his humanity back and enabled people to hear his voice. Finally, we saw that Dink was not a powerful enemy, but a sensitive soul rushing among us like a pigeon.


Dehumanization of human beings is really what makes an ethnic, racial or political murder possible. First, the body is effaced, his/hers uniqueness or truth is distorted, thus making the flesh embodiment of whatever the enemy or evil or dirt or danger is. Then, hatred or commitment to higher aspirations can easily find their ‘rightful' out channelling on a human being. We have seen this paradoxically in the public comments following the murders of three Christians in Malatya- Necati, Ug(ur and Tillman. In the wise words of Devlet Bahçeli, the head of Turkish Nationalist Party, “we condemn these murders, but missionaries are not innocent!” Exegetically speaking, the dependent clause that follows the ‘humane' reaction is the main point of the declaration, which is the backbone of the dehumanization that lead to their murder. It seems that the only thing we condemn is the brutal method used and its political implications for us.When the Police entered the room where they were tied to chairs and their throats were cut, what they found was not a hidden Crusader ‘cevs,en' (Islamic amulets which their murderers wore for protection) under their clothes, but only flesh and blood. It was in fact this fragile body that was kept away from us in the escalation of events that lead to their murders. They were dehumanized first as modern day Crusaders whose goals were something darker than just propagating their beliefs. Local media in Malatya took away their humanity first by placing them in a narrative of historical and national conflict, helping the murderers to legitimize their acts without facing any moral dilemma.

Nunca Mas and the failure of law:

So in a sense, we have not learned anything from the bloody 20th century in which at least 60 million people alone were killed by genocides and ethnic cleansings. What made mass atrocities possible at the first place was the racial constructions and dehumanisations, which made ‘vermin' out of Jews, ‘cockroaches' out of Tutsis, ‘rapists' and ‘baby factories' out of Bosnian Muslims, ‘lesser' human beings out of Gypsies and ‘waste' out of the handicapped. Amidst these representations, the language of ‘inherent dignity' of a human being does not help us at all, as the media and rhetoric capture for us what constitutes a human being and whose life is worth to protect at the expense of the other. Against all of the intentions of post World War II cosmopolitan desires to ensure that such things happen Never Again (Nunca Mas) and attempts to establish “Universal” declarations and covenants, the wheels of dehumanization continue to turn and produce new ways the human being can be done away with easily. As one of the most respected thinkers of our age, Giorgio Agamben points out; we are now living in an era in which the state of exception is the norm. In this legal status that legally decides to suspend the law, the language of ‘universal rights' too looses a corresponding truth out side of its own word plays. Terror laws, Emergency Laws or Patriot Acts are all legal frameworks that take away any legal protection a human being may ever have. Any given moment the sovereign can decide to not grant any rights to his subjects.

Shifting sand:

Unlike the fixed boundaries of previous centuries- caste systems, classes and racial formations based on ‘scientific truths', today the line that separates who is constituted a Human Being or a mere body and can be easily done away with, is quite liquid. As a sweeping sociological answer to the chicken and egg's chronology, racism, which is the exclusion of the other on perceived grounds of difference or danger, comes before the construction of ‘race'. Nowadays, racism shows itself in the properties of belonging, not so much the sizes of the skulls or god-given levels of biological superiorities: You are either with ‘us' or with ‘them'. Since ‘us' can no more be constructed biologically, you are one ‘us' to the extent you are aligned with ‘us' not just with your place of birth, language and ID, but primarily with what we think and how we see the world. The negative reference point that equally makes us into ‘us' is the threat we are all facing from ‘them'. In the age of global panic attacks and worries of security, the definition of who constitutes a danger and is one of ‘them' changes daily. And as the men wearing orange jumpers and catching tan on a tropical island know too well, all you need is to be caught in the wrong place and time, with a wrong physical outlook and a different view of the world. Yet, for those of us who feel safe with which part of the narrative we belong, the bad news is that there is a high chance that tomorrow's newspapers will inform the world that now it is you and me who is out of the game. Then, in vain, we will scream for our ‘rights' and ‘inherent dignity'. When one is dehumanized, he or she is just a body who has no rights or dignity!

Lowest common denominator:

Sadly, the dark side of the 20th century still lingers in its 21st century forms. Since, we the post-everythingists find it very difficult to hold on to universal moral reference points, and our semi-sacred beliefs in universal human rights have been bastardized, there is not much left for us to appeal as a reason on why we should not kill our neighbour, except the final line of defence: human vulnerability. In this extremely interdependent world, we are all truly vulnerable to being hurt by others who may live in far away lands from us. As the failures of neo-con masculine attempts to make the world safer have proven, we become more vulnerable when we try to protect our vulnerability by the use of force, exclusion and homogenization. Only by seeking to protect the vulnerability and fragility of the other, can we protect our own. Unlike the politics of dominance and muscular power, what we need now is a feminine one that sees the relationship not as means but the ultimate end, chooses to listen and above all is moved by the vulnerability of the other to help and care not just one of ‘us' but ‘them' as well.

Imperative of a new way of imagining identity and politics:

For all we know, we can no longer continue this way. The blood of our political imaginations is now causing us to see nightmares like that of Raskolnikov. We don't need new laws or new political systems or awakening of some long dead utopias, but a firm belief in the Universal Human Vulnerability that we share with every single human being on this planet and not allowing the fear of the possibility of being hurt by the other lead us into the temptation of turning into monsters ourselves. Cherishing this vulnerability and using it positively means that we should train our children not convinced of their superiority from the others and of the danger the other present to ‘us', but convinced of the greatness in the other and what we share with them. The main pressure point we need to put our fingers on, if we want to stop this bleeding, is not high level politics but a whole hearted rejection of dehumanization that we read, hear and see in day to day life. Only when the individuals, not states, ratify this Personal Covenant for the Protection of Human Vulnerability, (which by the way does not exist), can we have some sort of hope for future. Only when there is no ‘but' following the sentence ‘we condemn these', can we stop seeing dead bodies lying on the side walk with holes on their shoes.

The New Sneaky Armenians Games in Town:

Part I

No Profit From Genocide
By Beth Tellman
The Santa Clara, CA
May 24 2007

Genocide. Genocide. This word should shock us all, the way it seems to shock a portion of humanity every time it occurs: the Holocaust, Armenia, Rwanda, Cambodia. Never again, never again, never again.

The long record of genocide is one of overwhelming acquiescence, but this time, ordinary citizens are trying to write a different ending.

By now, it is my hope and reasonable expectation that every student at this school has heard of the genocide in Darfur.

Though a genocide of 500,000 people and displacement of over 2 million more can seem overwhelming, Santa Clara students decided to make a difference.

For one week in October, students slept in a refugee tent in front of Benson, wrote letters to government officials and raised thousands for humanitarian aid groups in Darfur. Not only were our efforts recognized by nearly every local news media outlet, but by national newspapers as well. The New York Times mentioned us on Jan. 16, in Nicholas Kristoff's article, "Car Washes and Genocide."

Other students at Santa Clara replicated a mini refugee-camp and slept in it. They limited themselves to 1,000 calories a day because that's what Darfuris are limited to. Afterward, the students donated the savings to aid groups.

Then we took it a step further. We decided to explore divestment movement.

The divestment movement literally entails selling stocks and investments in companies that abet genocide in Darfur. The movement attempts to mold both company and country behavior. When companies lose investments, they are forced to change their unethical ways in order to continuing making economic profit. Otherwise, divestment will run them into the ground.

Twelve states, including California, have sold all stocks in companies such as PetroChina, Rolls Royce and Sudatel, all of which promote and perpetuate the genocide in Darfur.

Sudatel, for example, is a company that controls cell phone service in Darfur. Before militia attack a particular village, they notify Sudatel which village they plan to bomb. Sudatel then shuts off phone service so families and neighbors cannot communicate with each other.

As the militia goes from house to house, one family cannot notify the next of the coming onslaught.

Harvard, Yale, Stanford, the entire UC system and a slew of other universities active in stopping genocide in Darfur have already divested.

Santa Clarans for Social Justice followed a targeted divestment model when seeking to remove all Santa Clara-owned stocks and investments in companies promoting the genocide in Darfur. SC4SJ focused on the 24 worst companies in their investigation. The list of offenders included those who were resistant to change via shareholder activism, as well as companies which did not benefit the majority of the Darfuri population. The last thing we wanted to do was cripple the Sudanese economy and cause massive layoffs of Darfuris.

These divested states and schools make headlines in American newspapers analyzed by Sudanese politicians.

Additionally, divestment creates a modeling effect as university and socially responsible mutual funds compete to stay ahead of the ethical curve.

My fellow Broncos, I am happy to announce that Santa Clara is far ahead of the ethical curve. We are not invested in Darfur, and we never were.

After a three-month-long process of obtaining company information from the Sudan Divestment Task Force and a series of e-mails and meetings with the university's Chief Financial Officer John Kerrigan, SC4SJ recently received the news that Santa Clara's investing policy is socially responsible and in no way abets genocide in Darfur.

Though we did not have to run a formal divestment-campaign, the inquiry process forced our group to educate ourselves on the issue and find a place where business meets social justice face to face.

I am blessed to attend a small university where CFOs meet with students challenging and questioning investment policies. I am honored to work with intelligent, passionate students who choose to spend their free time putting an end to genocide.

However, the fight is far from over. Genocide is still happening. The international community has allowed this genocide to continue for four years; you are a member of this international community. What have you done to stop genocide today? How will you make sure that "Never again" is not another shallow cry?

Beth Tellman is an individual studies major with an emphasis in sustainable globalization.

‘Birds Without Wings’
 This content mirrored from TurkishArmenians  Site © Click For Larger Image
"War, what is it good for? Absolutely nothing!" This was the conclusion of the soul singer Edwin Starr in his 1970s anti-war anthem, popular at the time of the Vietnam protests.

In this book Louis de Bernières creates a masterpiece of cameos of life in an Anatolian village in the late 19th and early 20th century; years that spanned war. In the long years of those wars there were too many who learned how to make their hearts boil with hatred, how to betray their neighbors, how to call on God while they did the Devil's work, and how to enrage and embitter themselves.

The inhabitants of the village have their lives turned upside down time and time again by the impact of the power plays of others. First it is the immemorial turbulence of the Balkans and then the machinations of the European powers which drags the Ottoman state from one impoverishing, bruising and demoralizing war to another. Ceasing to be Ottomans and beginning to be Turks, the nation needs to fight once more to expel the occupying powers.

This tale of village life is populated by many colorful and lovable characters. Iskender the Potter, who fashions pots and bird whistles; Ibrahim the Goat-herd, who loves the beautiful Christian girl Philothei; Abdul (nicknamed Karatavuk) and his best-friend Nico (nicknamed Mehmetçik); Rüstem Bey, the landowner with an unfaithful wife; Yusuf the Tall; Abdulhamid Hodja, the imam beloved of the village's Christian and Muslim residents alike; the languid and beautiful Leyla, posing as a Circassian; and Lt. Granitola, the leader of the Italian occupying forces. But maybe the chief character of the book is the village of Eskibahçe itself, near Telmessos (modern-day Fethiye).

The story is told in a series of monologues, the reminiscences of each individual. The story is woven together skillfully in 95 chapters. Just as the different facets of a diamond are revealed as spotlights hit them from different angles, so the history of this part of Anatolia is brought to life by the varied memories of the villagers. And the story of modern Turkey's founder, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, runs through the warp and weft of the tale.

"Sometimes there is someone who is selected to be a lion or eagle, when the rest of us are selected to be sheep and sparrows, and this someone is not caught up by destiny, but makes destiny for themselves, as if they have a greater knowledge of what must be done and an understanding of the direction in which the world must go."

As one character relates in the prologue; you will be told of great men like Mustafa Kemal and little men like me, you will be told the story of upheaval and war. The striking thing about the Atatürk chapters is that they are told in the present tense, as if this hero is ever-present.

In the Eskibahçe of the start of the narrative we find a community where Muslim and Greek live side by side. They share customs as the two peoples live together in harmony. A Christian woman unable to get pregnant, who has prayed to all the saints, will go to the hodja for a slip of paper with Koranic verses on it to swallow. She may also try the Armenian apothecary's foul potions. At the cemetery for a Christian burial, outside the walls stand solemn rows of Muslim women who would not enter the sacred ground of the infidels, but who come anyway to serve their sisters of the other faith and stand with them in their time of grief.

But with the rise of Balkan independence, the hotheads and ideologues in mainland Europe propound doctrines of separateness and superiority. "Greece for the Greeks, Turks and Jews out!" This spills over into the Balkan wars, World War I and eventually the Turkish War of Independence to remove the occupying powers from Anatolia.

We follow the destruction of the village as its Muslim inhabitants are enlisted in the Ottoman army for the World War I, whilst the Christians who want to fight as Ottomans are separated for labor camp duties. Karatavuk is enlisted in his father's place. Mehmetçik is not accepted because he is a Christian, and therefore not trusted not to turn traitor. "I think we will be divided," he says to Karatavuk. "Suddenly it matters that I am a Christian, where it mattered only a little before." Karatavuk finds himself on active duty in Gallipoli under the command of Mustafa Kemal.

The second upheaval of the population of Eskibahçe, the forced marches of the Armenian population, has a sensitive treatment, set against the backdrop of a history of atrocities carried out on the Turks of the Balkans. A column of dispossessed folk is led away by Kurdish Hamidiye bandits.

Similarly the forced population exchanges between Greece and Turkey tear at the hearts of the villagers. The Turks weep to lose their neighbors, and give them all the help they need, and truly feel bereaved that the Christian icon is leaving the village unprotected.

So why the title? The Muslim potter produces small clay bird whistles for his young son and his Christian friend. When filled with water and blown they make the sounds of a blackbird and robin respectively. The two boys are so delighted with their new toys that they perfect the calls, and take on new nicknames. Adbul becomes Karatavuk (blackbird) and Nico Mehmetçik (robin). The adults muse that man is a bird without wings and a bird is a man without sorrows.

The children flap their arms as wings and jump from rocks. Karatavuk tries from a higher spot, convinced that he can fly. When he crashes lands on the hard ground his mother remonstrates with him, "If we had wings do you think we would suffer so much in one place? Don't you think we would fly away to Paradise?"

The conclusion of this epic novel of Anatolia is, "For birds with wings nothing changes; they fly where they will and they know nothing about borders and their quarrels are small. But we are always confined to earth, no matter how much we climb to the high places and flap our arms. Because we cannot fly, we are condemned to do things that do not agree with us. Because we have no wings we are pushed into struggles and abominations that we did not seek.

"A long way for us is a short way for a bird if he has wings.", "Birds Without Wings" by Louis de Bernieres, Published by Vintage, Paperback. 7.99 pounds. ISBN 978-009947898-0


. .

Open Letter To Bernard Kouchner
Yavuz Baydar y.baydar@todayszaman.com
It took most of us in Turkey by surprise that Mr. Nicolas Sarkozy elected you as the foreign minister of France. A positive surprise, that is. In a period of deep turmoil, the choice of a politician who understands the importance of Turkey is a good sign for the future relations that France will define future relations between Turkey and the EU in the next 10 years.

It is perhaps needless to say that Turkey is plunging in what seems to be a “calculated” political turbulence with the AK Party’s obvious mistakes being used as a pretext.

Turks are deeply disappointed by the way the EU has mismanaged the course of negotiations, leaving the once-so-EU-friendly AK Party government adrift, opening the gates of authoritarianism to forces that systematically resist change.

We all know, and as a connoisseur of Turkey, you also know perfectly well, that Turkey has always been far too valuable to be left alone by the developed democracies in the world. Once you do leave it alone, ghosts of the past and monsters of the present take over. In the name of “security, nothing but the security” progress is put on hold.

This is the threat we are unfortunately facing.

Mr. Kouchner, I am sure you know that the people in this country deserve better. Mainly inspired by French ideas, we built the republic and over the years developed a sense of respect for common values and a high regard for democracy. The high level of support and hope for full membership in the EU in the future were the expected result of that commitment. The people in this land have grown out of the silly notions of isolation and blind obedience. They know they have to move forward and feel frustrated by all internal and external factors that prevent it.

As a result of what seems a “shrewdly calculated” campaign, Turkey now has to suffer for some of its major mistakes that paralyzed its slow, but determined, progress toward EU membership. Yes, we can put a lot of blame on the government for its myopia that prevented it from going to early elections last year -- which they did in order to deal with issues such as Cyprus, free speech, relations with Armenia, etc. Instead, it got stuck by increasing political immobility that reached its peak by the defeat on Dec. 11 by the EU.

I take it that you would also give credit to the view that the EU is to blame for its own myopia on Turkey. It should never be allowed to lose its anchor, for the costs will be not only damaging for Turkey but also to the entire EU.

Sadly, this was missed by some of your colleagues in France who abused the EU membership perspectives of Turkey, playing on unfounded fears of common citizens in France. The awareness here was obvious: Of course, France and its people have the power to veto a prospective Turkish EU membership, but it is far in the future. Therefore, this unfair attitude, held mainly by French politicians, helped the de facto collapse of negotiations.

Mr. Kouchner, although a lot of the excitement over EU membership has gone away here, there are still many good possibilities to reverse the tide. We know that you support Turkey’s moves toward a Turkish membership and, as you implied in a recent interview, you feel somewhat responsible to persuade the new president of a new French position on that matter. Let us hope it will change into a pro-Turkish one.

Why? Let us be brief and blunt on that matter: A strong ally with strong ties to democracy, a strong army and strong cultural and economic links with expanding minority rights and firm beliefs in freedom will be much more reliable, productive and dynamic in spreading the values that the French helped create over the centuries -- values that Turkey has also taken for granted. It is in the interest of France, if it seriously intends to “win back” the eastern Mediterranean, to work for a perspective that surely will be a reality in later than we imagine.

Future generations both in France and Turkey will be thankful for such wisdom.

We wish you good luck.

For Armenia It Is More Preferable To Deal With The Secular Turkey Rather Than With The Islamic One
The Trabzon's example, which has become the center of attention of almost all radical Islamic groupings, may attract other provinces as well.

On July 22 special parliamentary elections are planned to be held in Turkey. The elections may be crucial in the modern history of the country; the 70 year-old secular life of the country may come to an end and the country may revert to its Islamic origins. This may noticeably limit the power the General Staff possesses, which according to the Constitution may bring the government down, in case "it puts the country's national security under risk".

/PanARMENIAN.Net/ In his time Mustafa Kemal Ataturk introduced this article in the Constitution for he, being a military man and "Union and Progress" party member before that, knew well how uncontrollable the civil government may be. The Armenian, Greek, and Assyrian Genocides may serve as vivid examples of the above mentioned. It is not that the founder of the Turkish Republic treated badly those not being of Turkish origin; just he thought that Turkey was the Turks' country, all the others had only a right to survive.

However, for Armenia it is more preferable to deal with the secular Turkey rather than with the Islamic one. The Islamists, who at present act only time after time, may indeed begin some serious actions against the Christian population of the country. The Trabzon's example, which has become the center of attention of almost all radical Islamic groupings, may attract other provinces as well. The whole world already knows what outcome it may have for the Armenians, Greeks and for the few Catholic missioners.

The election campaign in Turkey has already launched and there have already been some surprises. Verkin Arioba who has Armenian origins is going to struggle for Turkish parliamentarian mandate in the. She has turned to the ruling "Justice and Development" party with the corresponding announcement and at the moment is expecting a final decision about including her name in the electoral list. As the Turkish Daily News announces in case Verkin Arioba is included in the electoral list she will become the first candidate for a deputy sit in the Turkish Parliament having Armenian origins since 1980. As Arioba announced, in case she is elected she will continue working on the resolution of the conflict between Armenia and Turkey, as well as county's integration into EU. Answering the questions about the Armenian Genocide, Verkin Arioba announced, "It is a historical issue. Discussing this issue every day will have a rather harmful effect on its development. Let's look ahead, and not back. Verkin Arioba's father is descendent from the Kasabian family, and was one of the first businessmen in Turkey. Verkin Arioba announced that her family hasn't lost anyone during "the resettlement of 1915-1919". "I lost relatives during the war for independence, but not during the resettlement," she said. "Being an Armenian I will be able to protect Turkey's right in EU more efficiently. The fact that I have Armenian origins is a great advantage for me in elections," stated Arioba. She has rather realistic chances if we take into account that after Hrant Dink's murder Turkey has announced more then once that Armenians are well treated in Turkey. Perhaps the 12 points that Turkey gave to Armenia at the "Eurovision Song Contest" is just one more "evidence" that speaks for the above mentioned. Meanwhile it is also considered a political step. "We are neighbors and must be friends too. This must show what important role music, friendship and art play," announced Turkish music critic Sezen Cumhur Onal. He assures that the Turkish votes given to the Armenian singer at the "Eurovision Song Contest" pursued political interests.

Keeping close to our main point, it should be mentioned that Verkin Arioba is famous for her criticism about Nobel Prize laureate Orhan Pamuk and the editor-in-chief of "Agos" Hrant Dink, killed on January 19, 2007 in Istanbul. If the way to the Parliament demands rejection of one's own origins, then everything is all right. If there is any pressure displayed, then Hrant Dink was right saying, "In Istanbul we live like Armenians for 364 days, and only one day a year, that is on April 24, we must forget that we are Armenian." According to the editor-in-chief of "Zhamanak" Ara Kochunyan, being Armenian in Istanbul is not easy. "This is connected with self-consciousness. Each of us is a citizen of the Turkish Republic with the Armenian origins and many of us belong to the Armenian Apostolic Church.

And we like jugglers must not let any of these three balls down; one of which will always be in the air, and the other two, in our hands. An Armenian in Istanbul is trying to stay as calm as possible, not to get any extra attention and be discriminated, yet there are many different ways of oppressing national minorities in Turkey. The Turkish Republic is founded on the bases of multinational empire and often speaks of itself as of an assignee of the Empire. What I want to mention is, that today the country is secular, but there is the conception of "non-Islamic citizens of the country", Kochunyan says.

It is very difficult to work one's way up to the Parliament in such conditions, but it is not impossible. Simply Turkey will have one more trump card to display in front of EU, and as usual that trump card will be provided by Armenia...

"PanARMENIAN.Net" analytical department

Sorry, Turkey, But The Eu Is For Europeans
Irish Independent
May 21, 2007
As the Turkish army continues to struggle to maintain that country's increasingly fragile secular nature, it's interesting to note just how hostile liberal Europeans were to new French Prime Minister Nikolas Sarkozy's blunt refusal to consider Turkey's membership of the EU.

It was a sign of Sarkozy's inherent racism, squawked one French commentator. It was an example of the growing rise of an intolerant right wing in France, said one German politician, presumably exploding the notion that Germans don't do irony in one fell swoop.

Of course, as the issue of Muslim integration in mainland Europe becomes thornier by the day, opponents of Turkey's accession into the EU are quick to point out the inevitable problems Europe would face from the arrival of 70,413,958 Muslims (2006 figures) into our midst.

Anyone raising this point is invariably accused of racism, or at the very least xenophobia, but one only has to look at the problems caused in France, Germany, Britain and, outside the EU, Australia to realise that regardless of where you place the blame, large-scale Muslim immigration brings with it a wealth of problems.

And yet the irony is that no other country is doing more to combat the growing extremism of its Muslim population. Last week, an estimated one million Turks gathered in Izmir to protest at the conservative Muslim Government's move to further Islamicise the country.

"We're here for our children because we want them to be able to live in a democracy, not in a land with sharia rules," said one protester who flew from his native Ankara to take part in the protest, and he is just one of millions of people who give the lie to the notion that all Muslims want a theocracy.

But while there's no doubt that these protesters, and other supporters of the secular tradition established by Ataturk in the 1920s, deserve credit and support in the face of rising Islamism, there are still more compelling reasons to prevent them from enjoying full Union membership.

For a start, only 3% of the actual country lies inside Europe.

Certainly, if we were to apply the Eurovision standard of geography, which allows a Middle Eastern country like Israel to participate, such a piffling detail could be ignored.

But while European politics are frequently as farcical and downright bloody baffling as Eurovision's voting system, we must be prepared to say where Europe ends and Asia begins.

Also, there is the country's appalling human rights record.

After seeing the insane fuss made over the Danish cartoons a while back, are we prepared to allow a country where it is a crime to "insult Turkey, the flag or its people" into our midst?

This level of outraged sensitivity can be seen this week inThe Journal OfTurkish Weekly, where one of their columnists explodes in fury that some Armenian protestors: "Last week, Armenians once more burnt the Turkish flag in Athens, Greece. They insulted Turkey and Turks.

"In Georgia we saw the same picture; ultra nationalist Armenians living in Javakhk insulted the Turkish flag.

"The Armenians first spread the flag on the ground, and then all of them jumped over the Turkish flag, and finally they burnt it. Then they went to church and held a divine service."

Ah yes, the Armenian issue. It is still a crime in Turkey to talk openly about the Armenian Holocaust, and writers face imprisonment and torture if they do.

It is also, lest we forget, a country where only last year the Turkish parliament, theMeclis, debated on whether adultery should be a criminal offence. The proposal wasn't passed, but can you imagine any European legislature having the same debate?

Sarkozy's compromise of a Mediterranean Union, featuring co-operation between countries along the Med's rim, makes perfect sense, but has been dismissed outright by a petulant Turkish regime.

There are many reasons why Turkey should not be allowed into the EU, and we do both them and us a disservice to concentrate purely on their Muslim nature, particularly when they are treating the problem seriously.

But sorry, guys, we have to be prepared to simply state that Europe is for Europeans.

Bill Penalizing Armenian Genocide Denial May Be Introduced In Dutch Parliament
21 May 2007
A bill penalizing the Armenian Genocide denial may be introduced in the Dutch parliament again by initiative of a Christian Union member. The legislation also calls for criminal punishment for denial of the Holocaust and Rwandan Genocide. Some members of the ruling coalition as well as D66 party remarkable for its pro-Turkish stance oppose the bill. The D66 party was even renamed by the population into T66 party, where T stands for Turkey.

Christian Democrats and Socialists are likely to support the initiative, the Armenian Public Television reports

Orhan Tarhan, Turkey, and the Holy Cow Democracy
Dr. Muhammad Shamsaddin Megalommatis
May 20, 2007

It is my distinct honor to present you Mr. M. Orhan Tarhan and publish here his – otherwise unpublished – article ‘The Holy Cow Democracy”. Few have Mr. Tarhan’s knowledge, life experience, perspicacity, and clarity; I believe all will see the current developments in Turkey better through the lines of this excellent paper.

Mr. M. Orhan Tarhan was born in Istanbul, Turkey, where he made his high school education in Turkey’s elite boarding school “Galatasaray”. He won a competitive examination that sent him to his chemical engineering education in Germany between 1937 and 1943. All his professional life he worked for steel industries, as operating engineer in a coke plant in Turkey and after 1953 as research engineer in charge of coke plants in the United States. He published several technical articles, 16 U.S. and foreign patents, and a book titled “Catalytic Reactor Design”. At Bethlehem Steel Corporation, where he worked for a quarter of a century, research engineers were trained continuously in technical report writing. After retiring in 1982, he did several years of consulting and he taught one semester of Catalytic Reactor Design at Lehigh University, Bethlehem, PA.

He learned French at 9, German at 16, and English at 24.

During his retirement he wrote articles in Turkish-American magazines on Turkey, on Turkish-Americans , and on the United States. At 2002, “The Turkish Times” stopped publication. At the urging of several of his readers, he started a newsletter that he is distributing by e-mail. He likes to hear comments on his articles.

Mr. Tarhan’s father was a class-mate of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk at the previous turn of the century at the General Staff School. They worried about the crumbling of the Ottoman Empire and tried to find out why Europe was flourishing

They studied European history of the last three centuries and the French writers of the Enlightenment. They concluded, that to become survivable in the modern world, Turkey has to do everything Europe did during the last three centuries. They found also that Islam was part of the problem. After the Republic of Turkey was founded, Ataturk abolished the Caliphate, outlawed the Sharia part of the Koran, emancipated the women and changed the identity of Turkey to a Western nation. Mr. Tarhan lived during the wonderful years of Ataturk’s presidency and saw with his eyes how a backward, ignorant, Islamic nation was converted to a progressive, educated, laic, democratic nation.

Mr. Tarhan is the author of a newsletter titled “The Orhan Tarhan Letter” that is issued twice a month and is distributed by e-mail, The article called “The Holy Cow Democracy” is taken from the letter No.106.

The Holy Cow Democracy

By: M. Orhan Tarhan

It took two and a half centuries for democracy to reach its present shape in this country. First , it was only for white men. White women won the right of electing and being elected after many years of struggle in 1920. Blacks were still not included until the 1960’s. This country was lucky that its development did not require any drastic change.

In the Ottoman Empire, the first parliament started just before the Turkish-Russian War of 1870 and was immediately shut down by Sultan Abdulhamid II. It reopened in 1908 and lasted until the British closed it down after WWI. That was also for men only. During the Independence War, a new parliament was opened in Ankara in 1920 and in its first few years, it gave the women the right of electing and being elected, well before France and Switzerland did so. Turkey had only 7 % of literates in 1923. Thus, a two step election was adopted. People elected so-called second electors, who did elect the parliamentarians. Years later, after the literacy had increased, in 1940’s, the second electors were eliminated and citizens elected the parliamentarians directly.

In 1923 Turkey was very much behind the European powers technically and otherwise. Ataturk thought that the survivability of the new republic depended on developing it to Europe’s level. He instituted a number of reforms that were carried out as a drastic change during his presidency of 15 years. He knew that drastic change cannot be carried out under full democracy, because human nature does not like change. Thus, they were carried out under a one party government, by a revolutionary parliament. In 1950 more parties were permitted. Thus, real democracy took roots in Turkey.

I would like to mention the development of Russia and China as more recent examples. When the USSR lost the Cold War and disintegrated, it was proven that the communist system does not work. Both Russia and China wanted to change to the Capitalist system. Russia under Gorbatchev wanted to introduce both democracy and capitalism at the same time. The change from communism to capitalism constituted very drastic change and under democracy people did not change, it turned into a mess. They have now neither full democracy nor full capitalism.

The Chinese were much smarter. They kept their authoritarian regime and introduced capitalism. They are being very successful. Their economy has tremendous growth, many Chinese became very wealthy. Democracy might come some day to an educated and industrialized China and will be no problem. By then the drastic change would have been completed.

The above three cases prove that democracy, that Westerners almost worship, is not useful during drastic change. In spite of this brief history of democracy, many people in Europe and in this country consider democracy like a holy thing and consider it as a super-criterion, much more important than independence and laicism.

Ataturk wanted Turkey to be as survivable as Europe or the United States. He found that one important problem of the Ottoman Empire was Islam. A modern person could not live by the Sharia, the canonic religious laws, so he abolished the Caliphate, outlawed the Sharia part of the Koran and separated religion from state, the way French do. While in U.S. society, state and religion are co-equal and separated, they both co-exist in the public realm. That is called “secularism.” In the French system no religion is allowed in the public realm. That is called “laicism”. In Turkey religion is a personal thing and the laws ensure full religious freedom under Turkish law. Laicism is written in the Turkish Constitution and is as holy as the republic. It cannot be changed, it cannot be even discussed, because laicism is believed to insure survivability in the modern world. Also it is believed that there can be no democracy without laicism in a Moslem society. The Turkish military is specifically charged by the constitution with preserving the Laic Republic. Militaries in Western countries do not have such duties, because the civilians do not mess their country, do not trample on their constitution, and they don’t live in Moslem societies, so their militaries do not need to interfere.

In Turkey, in 2002 an Islamist party, the AK Party, came to power by promising to abide by the laic constitution. They did some good in the economy, improved the economy, abated the inflation, but they slowly started to nibble on laicism. Although their portion of the vote was about 34 %, they obtained most of the seats in the parliament, because the many laic parties could not pass the 10 % threshold. Now a new president of the Republic must be elected and a staunch Islamist may be elected by the parliament. The present President is a staunch laicist. He vetoed any law that was anti-laic. The new Islamist president would not do that. Thus, the people are opposed to the election of an Islamist President. Lately, the attacks on laicism have increased. When mild warnings did not do the job, the military announced a written warning, that was a typical ultimatum to the ruling AK Party. Of course nothing else will happen, if the government makes the required corrections according to the constitution. The question is: Will they be wise enough to make those corrections?

Immediately the European Union (EU) protested and accused the Turkish military of destroying Turkish democracy. That is typical ignorance of the Turkish system. Any way Turkey has lost its hope to ever becoming a member of the EU and the European protest will probably be ignored. It is absolutely unwise to prevent Turkish military to take action to preserve laicism in Turkey. That is tantamount to making Turkey weaker, less survivable. Would Europe prefer to see Turkey becoming an Islamic republic? Democracy is of course important, but not as important as the Laic Republic. Also, without laicism there can be no democracy. In Turkey Laicism is holier than democracy. Yet, the millions of Turks gathering to protest in Ankara and in Istanbul, did so as perfect democrats. The majority of them were women who did not want to live under Islamic rule. These meetings were followed by other huge meetings in Canakkale, Manisa, Marmaris and Izmir.

On May 1, 2007 The Turkish Constitutional Court annulled the election of a president on the basis of the parliamentary quorum. No presidential election should proceed unless there are 376 parliamentarians in the room. There were not that many during the election, because the main opposition party had boycotted the session. On May 6 Dr. Gul withdrew his candidacy from the presidential election. Now, a general election will be held as soon as possible. On May 10, the Parliament passed a law that will change the way a republic president is elected. This time he will be elected directly by the people, that is, if President Sezer approves it.

I am surprised to see the American press criticizing the Turkish military to warn the Islamist government. The unspoken agenda of that government is to convert Turkey to an Islamic republic. Is that what our press would like to see? The articles published in Washington Post do not only praise the Islamist government, but smear the millions of democratic demonstrators in Ankara, Istanbul, Canakkale, Manisa, Marmaris, and Izmir. One article by Claire Berlinski states that these people are not liberal, not democratic, and not friendly to the West. Let us start with the Islamist government. It is not as angelic as Ms. Berlinski portrays it. In many small towns, it has converted the bus or street car service to seat men and women separately, it is building parks and beaches for women only, it is forbidding the sale of alcoholic drinks in many places and testing how the people react. It has enriched itself by forcefully overtaking successful businesses. It has accepted all the unacceptable conditions demanded by the EU, that wanted to have Turkey reject the conditions. It would have done a lot more damage to the country if it was not for the fear of the military. It accepted President Bush’s idea of becoming a “Mildly Islamic” country in his Greater Middle East Project. It should have known that it swore on its honor to uphold the constitution that defines Turkey as a laic state. As there is no such thing as a mildly pregnant woman, there is no such thing as a mildly Islamic state. Also, a state cannot be Islamic and laic at the same time. President Bush who is himself very religious, loved it. Yes, “It has gone too far”. That the millions of demonstrators are not liberal or democratic is plain hogwash.

Turkey has a liberal economy and one cannot be more democratic than those people who demonstrated absolutely peacefully all over the country. About not being friendly to the West, that is partly true because the West has not been friendly to them. Here I would like to make a distinction. They may be unfriendly to some Western states but they are full of Western ideals. They are Western people. A country that has been treated like a Pariah and humiliated by the EU cannot be expected to love European states. As long as President Bush’s armed forces protect the PKK terrorists in Northern Iraq, and allows them to kill Turkish soldiers, without allowing the Turkish Army to make a hot pursuit into Northern Iraq, as long as flag-draped soldiers’ coffins keep on coming to Turkish villages, no one can expect them to be friendly to US. Ms. Berlinski was smearing salt on an open wound.

Note: A part of the manifesting masses in the Corniche of Izmir; the outright majority rejects Euro-promoted secretive plans for Turkey’s ‘mild islamization’ that will spread obscurantism, turning the country back to the Middle Ages.

Kindly Forwarded By Sukru Server Aya

From: Yuksel Oktay
A Response to the May 15 Message from the European Friends of Turkey

As an American Turk (or a Turkish-American,) it was an honour for me to receive the May 15, 2007 message from 34 European intellectuals, politicians and members of the press, so-called ‘’Friends of Turkey’’, which appeared in the ‘’International Heralds Tribune’’, a publication of the New York Times. I read the letter several times in order to understand its spirit and also to discover the hidden threats against the Republic of Turkey, an ongoing project by the European Union. This must be the first of its kind towards the people of a sovereign state and deserves to be studied in depth, by not only the Turks but also the friends of Turkey everywhere. My good friend, Sukru Aya from Istanbul, has already responded, labeling the letter ‘’A shamefull hypocrisy.’’

First, why did it take the distinguished friends of Turkey over 20 days to respond to the memorandum issued by the Military on April 27, 2007. Perhaps it was not easy to convince Cem Ozdemir, a member of the European Parliament, to sign the letter as a European Turk, as a token representative of the 4 million Turks living in Europe. Second, the distinguished signatories to the letter should have known that the Military’s warning was late but very appropriate. The dangers were obvious, as for the first time in Turkey’s modern history, an Islam-influenced politically would be controlling both the parliament and the presidency. The earlier warnings by the military were not considered and the Minister of Foreign Affairs was picked to become the next President, not by the people, but the Prime Minister for onvious reasons without consulting the main opposition party.

Turkey today is a very different country and the recent rallies showed to the world that the people are awakening. Five public meetings already changed the political scenery, forcing the government to declare early elections and parties on the left and the right to join forces that will change the make up of the Parliament after the July 22 general elections. A final rally is scheduled to take place on May 20 tomorrow that will put its mark as well, one day after the 88th Anniversary of the day that Mustafa Kemal landed at Samsun to start the Turkish Independence movement, which is being celebrated all over Turkey today. A commentary on the previous public meetings is given below for those interested in the awakening of a nation which is longing for a true democratic state and happier day without the ongoing infusion of religion into all aspects of life in Turkey, to which the ‘’Friends of Turkey’’ should not be blind to.


Yuksel Oktay, PE
Washington, NJ

The Awakening of a Giant and the Emerging Superpower Turkey - From Tandogan to Caglayan – April 14 to April 29, 2007 and Beyond

Turkey is a large country that has a land area of close to eight hundred thousand square kilometers on lands that unite Europe and Asia with bridges over the Bosphorous Straight. Istanbul, with a population of over 10 million, is the world’s thirteenth largest city in the world located on two continents, Europe and Asia. Ankara, the capital city, is a modern metropolis of over 3 million located in central Turkey. The population of Turkey is close to 75 million and Turkey’d economy is the 17th largest in the world. Some people refer to Anatolia as the most historical and a beautiful country with natural wonders from coast to coast, and home to the two sites of the ‘’Seven Wonders of the World’’, The Temple of Artemis and the Masoleum of Halicarnassus (exhibited at the British Museum.).

The Republic of Turkey was created in 1923 from the ashes of the six hundred year old Ottoman Empire following World War One and its own War of Liberation won with the help and sacrificies of all the people, women among them. The war against the invading Greeks with the support of the western powers, began in 1919 under the leadership pf General Mustafa Kemal who became its firts president and was given the name Ataturk by its people. By the time the reformer and the nation builder died in 1938, Turkey was on the way to its ‘’Take Off’’ stage with the esatablisment of the heavy industries and building of railroads from coast to coast and accross the country, all the way to Van and on to the Iranian border. In 1943 Turkey was invited to become a member of the League of Nations, the forerunner of today’s United Nations, followed by Turkey’s membership in the European Council in 1946 and NATO in 1952.

For years, Turks relied on their Parliament and the government officials to run the country, which did its best with ups and downs and the obstacles created by its enemies. Yes Turkey had and has its enemies, sad to say.. The strong military, the second largest in the NATO after the US, has always been ready to guard the Republic against both the external and the internal trouble makers. Therefore Turks did not care too much about getting involved in politics and in fact almost 9 million voters out of a total of 43 million stayed away from the November 3, 2002 elections which resulted in the election of a party which has a light bulb with 7 pointers as its amblem, a carry over from the Imam Hatip Lisesi amblem, and with 34% of the vote, won almost 70% of the seats in the Parliament, or 370 out of 550. Since the election, the number of ruling party’s seats has dwindled dwon to 351, thus lossing the crucial two third majority of 367, which cost the party to loose the presidency.

In 2007, 84 years after its creation, the people began to feel that something was wrong and that the Republic was under siege and danger. With the guidance of several civic organizations, The Turks decided to take to the public squares to let the government know of their concerns, objecting to the nomination of someone to become the 11th President who most believed was not qualified for the post and who had vowed to change the rejime, according to a red flag notice on the front page of Cumhuriyet, a newspaper established in 1924 at Ataturk’s orders..

Tandogan Rally

The first rally took place at Tandogan Square in Ankara on April 14, filled with people of all ages, waving the beautiful Turkish flag, moon and star on a crimson backround, and carrying many different photographs of their beloved first president, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk. The organizers of the meeting, among them the ‘’Ataturkcu Dusunce Dernegi – ADD - Kemalist Thought Association’’, declared that the purpose of the meeting was to show support for preserving the secular state that Turkey has enjoyed since the Republic was founded in 1923. People sang marches, folk songs and repeated the ‘’Ankara Song’’, by the famous Turkish folk singer Ruhi Su, over and over again.


Ankara'nın taşına bak Look ate the stones of Ankara
Gözlerimin yaşına bak Look at the tears in my eyes
Uyan uyan Gazi Kemal Wake up, wake up Gazi Kemal
Şu feleğin işine bak! Look at the works of destiny

Kılıcını vurdum taşa I stroke my sword to the stone
Tas yarıldı baştan başa The stone broke in half
Uyan da bak Gazi Kemal Wake up Gazi Kemal
Basımıza gelen ise. Look at what has come upon us

Ankara'nın dardır yolu The streets of Ankara are narrow
Dusman aldı sagı, solu. The enemies occupied the right and the left
Sen gösterdin Pasam bize You showed us dear General
Boyle gunde doğru yolu. The right path in these days.

The people at the rally were chanting the above song, looking for the right path that Ataturk had laid before them, being twisted by some unkonwn forces. The people also sang the famous ‘’10the Year march’’ over and over again (1). I was stuck that day in Van, a city in eastern Turkey, and therefore could not attend the rally, but watched every moment of it on KanalTurk. Thank you KanalTurk for a wonderful civic service and beatiful memories. Evidently the other TV stations were not expecting a large crowd at Tandogan Square and only KanalTurk showed the rally live, with one or two joining in later, HaberTurk among them. However, some totally ignored the awakening of a giant with over a million people attending the rally and millions glued to their television sets, witnessing an event in Turkey like no other before.

Caglayan Rally

The Tandogan rally was so succeful that the organizers decided to hold another rally in Isanbul and picked April 29, which followed the famous April 27 Military declaration issued on their web page just before midnight. I decided to go to Caglayan and drove from the Asian side to the European side of Istanbul, Sisli, where Caglayan is located. I parked my car near Cevahir Hotel (2) and when I walked into the street, a group holding a sign ‘’ADD Bornova’’ were walking towrads the centre. They were coming from Izmir, a group of perhaps more than 400, followed by many other groups from other parts of Turkey, as far as Artvin. I walked to the square with the aid of a cane due to back pains, which came in handy. Everyone, young and old tried to help me to get near to the platform so I could watch the big screen where images were being shown and also listen to the speakers.

I found myself among young university and high school students who offered me water and cookies and told me that this was the first time that they were attending a rally. Duygu Paksoz, 13, and Ayaten Alpman, a bak teller, stated that they were aware of the dangers that Cumhuriyet newspaper has been telling its readers for months. I told them that the only rally that I had attended was back in 1953 or 1954 in Tarsus while attending the Tarsus American High School when the colorful prime Minister Adnan Menderes and President Celal Bayar visited the historical city. In fact many graduates of Talas and Tarsus American High Schools were at the Caglayan rally.

Everywhere was filled with Turkish flags and posters of Ataturk. ‘’Turkey is secular and will remain secular’’ shouted the group in unison followed by, ‘’The Road to Cankaya is Closed to Imams.’’ The demonstrators demanded the resignation of the government and opposed the nomination of the current Minister of Foreign Affairs to Presidency. Little girls were wearing headbands that read: ‘’We are following in your foot steps’’ in reference to Ataturk, the founder and the first President of the Republic.

Among the participants, there were members of more then 500 NGOs. Necla Arat made the opening speech followed by Turkan Saylan, the legendary president of the ‘’Association to Support Modern Life – CYDD’’ and Prof. Nur Serter, the vice president of ADD. Nesrin Hanim, a retired office manager and her friend Yeliz Hanim, applauded the speakers and sang songs. Bedri Baykam, the famous painter, was among the crowds, waving a Turkish flag.

Anti-Western sentiments

There were also slogans that showed the peole’s discontent with the US design of ‘’BOP – The Greater Middle East Project’’and support of ‘’moderate islam’’ concept for Turkey. Many slogans were also on posters against the European Eunion which has for years been playing with Turkey’s application to the European Union.

The Manisa and Canakkale Rallys and Kusadasi March

On May 5, over 100,000 gathered at the Manisa square for another rally that began at 11:00 am.. carried live by several TV stations. This was followed by another rally in Canakkale and a march of 7,000 in Kusadasi, a summer resort town, cheered by onlooking tourists.

Final Words

A recent New York Times article and several others rightfully stated that there seems to be a separate secular and an islamist agenda in Turkey, which is heading the wrong direction. Some analysts claim that the West has mixed feelings about Turkey, which this writer does not share. The rallies must have given an opportunity to the West and its reporters to really get to know the Turks by listening to the messages given by the millions and will continue to give until a true reprsentation of the people takes place in the Parliament and someone who will adhere to the pribciples of Ataturk will become the President. The future of Turkey is certain, the youth and the women will make sure of it.

The West and its spokesmen should by now know that Turkey is a secular country and they should support its leaders to help it remain. They saw the real face of Turkey, young and beautiful women, not covered with turbans or black carsaf, and that is what they should be showing to their readers and viewers.

May 13 Izmir and 19 May Samsun Rally

The next rally is scheduled to take place in Izmir, followed by another one in Samsun on May 19. Turks have become aware of the danger facing their country and doing something about it. Opposition parties have already received the message and have began joining together in order to win back the Parliament.

Yuksel Oktay, PE
Civil Engineer
Istanbul, May 9, 2007

Çıktık açık alınla on yılda her savastan;
On yılda on bes milyon genç yarattık her yastan.
Basta bütün dünyanın saydıgı Baskumandan;
Demir aglarla ördük Ana yurdu dört bastan.
Türk'üz Cumhuriyet'in gögsümüz tunç siperi,
Türk'e durmak yarasmaz, Türk önde Türk ileri.

Bir hızla kötülügü geriligi bogarız,
Karanlıgın üstüne günes gibi dogarız.
Türk'üz bütün baslardan üstün olan baslarız;
Tarihten önce vardık, tarihten sonra varız.

Türk'üz Cumhuriyet'in gögsümüz tunç siperi,
Türk'e durmak yarasmaz, Türk önde Türk ileri.

Çizerek kanımızla öz yurdun haritasını,
Dindirdik memleketin yıllar süren yasını.
Bütünledik her yönden istiklâl kavgasını.
Bütün dünya ögrendi, Türklügü saymasını.

Türk'üz Cumhuriyet'in gögsümüz tunç siperi,
Türk'e durmak yarasmaz, Türk önde Türk ileri.

Örnektir milletlere açtıgımız yeni iz;
İmtiyazsız, sınıfsız kaynasmıs bir kütleyiz;
Uyduk görüste bilgiye, gidiste ülkeye biz;
Tersine dönse dünya yolumuzdan dönmeyiz.

Türk'üz Cumhuriyet'in gögsümüz tunç siperi,
Türk'e durmak yarasmaz, Türk önde Türk ileri.
Söz: Behçet Kemal Çağlar, Faruk Nafiz Çamlıbel
Beste: Cemal Reşit REY
Kindly Forwarded by Sukru Server Aya

Desire For Europe, Fear Of Europe
by Bejan Matur
In recent days, it has become clear that Europeans had a difficult time understanding the “No to the EU!” shouted by Turkish women who have filled city squares across Turkey, wearing mini-skirts and carrying flags and posters, moved by their worries over their “lifestyle” in the future.

This is perhaps best coupled with another situation Europeans may have a difficult time in understanding: the skill and enthusiasm with which a party that calls itself conservative and Islamic carries on the EU talks.

It is clear that these two sources of confusion don’t resemble each other at all: Hundreds of thousands of modern, secular women who want to live by Western standards spill into city squares with their posters and flags and wearing mini-skirts, yelling “No!” not only to the Justice and Development Party (AK Party), but also to Europe. It seems to me that, at least at this stage, political science needs some support from psychology, since we are discussing concepts like fear and worry.

At a meeting a few years back in Luxembourg, I was asked to give a talk on the occasion of Turkey’s formal quest for EU membership. The talk was called “The Desire for Europe.” Finding the theme of “desire” was problematic from the very start, and I said a number of things during that talk that no doubt were not of great comfort to the pride of the European audience present. Touching on the problematic aspects of a culture which identified itself, in terms of the unity of its values, as an object of desire, I pointed out the various weaknesses of the EU as opposed to the culture placed across from it (Turkey). I underlined that Europe, while counting on itself as being “desired” by other cultures it viewed as beneath itself, would actually face a great crisis in the future when it discovered it was not in fact really “desired” at all.

The situation we find ourselves in now in Turkey has full ties to the confusion created by the feelings revolving in the whirlpool of desire/lack of desire. On the one hand, we have the “secular” factions, who see one of the goals of life as being Westernization, and on the other hand, we have conservative Islamicists who see secularists and the Western lifestyle as a threat, and who display an uncomplicated anti-Western stance against these fronts.

What appears even more complicated in this difference between these two factions is the fear of Europe embraced by the factions who would embrace a European lifestyle. While these factions want to be like Europeans, they are also afraid of losing their characteristics. The conflict in these dual desires has actually become visible at the recent protest rallies throughout Turkey. The increasingly clear tableau we see before us in recent days is this: The conservative factions of society are scared of losing their character and the secular factions live differently.

And thus, the following question must be asked: What meaning did Europe used to have in the eyes of the faction which is now in the opposition and which defends the ideology of the republic, and what meaning does Europe now carry for this faction? It appears that there is a relation at hand here which has gone back and forth between admiration and hatred. Let’s try to think back a bit: The leaders at the turn of the century, with their republican ideology, completely rejected tradition and constructed a new Turkish identity. In this rejection, there was a dimension much different from other countries’ modernization stories, a traumatic dimension that included a decision to forget the past. These factions, in their decision to break with the past, made a more than ample underlining of Western characteristics in their construction of the new Turkish character. The fact that Turkish modernization’s other name is “the desire to Westernize” more than tells the story.

But we all know that in order to keep a desire alive for a long time, it is the unique requirement that that desire not be achieved. The fact is that at this point, those first generations of the republic and those generations which have inherited that ideological legacy are afraid of being swallowed by the very Europe at whose door we now wait. Because, while on the verge of being accepted into Europe, these factions perhaps feel for the first time the need to “be themselves.” But there is no themselves. And because these factions know that they will not be able to present enough of a strong and individual front to the Europeans, the desire felt at first has turned to fear and the need to defend. Like all desires, this one has begun to display its destructive characteristics.

Meanwhile, the conservative elements in Turkey approach this period completely differently. These factions, which do not reject tradition and who want to construct a new relation with tradition, want to form a different relation with Europe, affected by one of the most important influences on their perspectives, that of Ottoman history. In the eyes of these factions, Europe is a different civilization with whom relations must be formed because of values like democracy, freedom and prosperity. For this reason, relations with Europe are seen as a meeting of civilizations. For this political category of people in Turkey, it is not a case of Europe being a subject of desire. There are no projects at hand which would have Turkey resemble Europe. It is to the contrary, in order to keep the very aspects of Turkey which are different from those in Europe alive, that these factions feel a need for European democracy. These factions believe that these cultures, in their states of not resembling each other, can successfully live side-by-side. The Ottoman period that these conservative Turkish factions take as an example also never had a relationship of “desire” with Europe. In the eyes of these factions, the Ottomans had a power that was in fact threatening to Europe. And because these factions act according to this imperialist vision, they often take on roles in the Middle East which fall askance of the republican ideology of Turkey. By embracing relations with the Arab and Islamic worlds rejected and disregarded by the republic, these factions, with the relations they are trying to form, are attempting to strengthen the elements of their Muslim and Turkish identities. The strange thing is that this interest in the Middle East and the Islamic world would come at a period when relations with the West were also going so well.

When the European doors of our dreams finally open and we are told that we can go in, our reaction, with desire having reached its peak, will be “I have entered through the European doors, but who am I in contrast to them? Who am I?” We have already seen the initial reverberations to these questions in the rallies against European membership.

Yes, really, who are we? The fact that we have not gone much beyond being an imitation, or that we have insisted to the Europe who has not exactly acted so kindly to us “but I am from you, I resemble you” has not changed the results. Maybe for the first time in the history of the republic, we are facing, with the prospect of EU membership on the horizon, all of our various dimensions, and are finally asking ourselves who we are. In terms of answering this question, the conservative factions, close to tradition, have not been as lucky as the secular factions. Because these secular factions, in order not to be swallowed by the very ones they were imitating, have been forced to create a “self.” And since there is no “self” that is evident, they have been forced to turn inwards, the former desire turning to anger and the need to defend. This is also called “Sevres fear.” Or the “Europe wants to divide us” fear.

It is completely normal that Europe, who is no longer desired by either of these flanks of Turkish society (neither the Islamicists nor the secularists), would be surprised and confused while watching this situation unfold in Turkey. On the one side, the anti-Western seculars who see the conservatives as a threat to their Western lifestyles, and on the other hand, the West-supporting Islamicists who want conservative lives. This should definitely be the latest gift to the world from a region which throughout history has always lived according to a unique profile. You may criticize this latter faction as much as you want for being “cooperative with global capital” or for being a “product of the ‘green’ (Islamicist) generations” but the fact is, in a completely paradoxical way, they are now the ones representing the desire for the West that has lasted for so long now. What’s more, they are doing so for perhaps the first time without hang-ups, and without feeling pressed.

*Bejan Matur is a Kurdish poet and intellectual

FM Kouchner Not Close With Sarkozy On Turkey
France's new Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner has acknowledged that he does not share the same point of view with France's new President Nicolas Sarkozy concerning Turkey's future membership to the European Union -- opposition to which was a key aspect of Sarkozy's electioneering.

Kouchner, a left-wing human rights champion, has said that Turkey is part of Europe and deserves to join the EU, while Sarkozy has said that Turkey is part of Asia, not Europe, and should never become a member.

In remarks published in Saturday's edition of The New York Times, he said: "On Turkey, the withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan, the third world and Africa, we're not close. I'm against his idea of selective immigration. On other issues -- the Middle East, on the need for an alliance with America, on the role of France in Europe -- we're very close."

In separate remarks in an interview with the French daily Le Monde, Kouchner expressed hope that he would be able to change Sarkozy's ideas on Turkey's EU bid, noting that Turkey's EU accession process would take a long time.

"When Sarkozy offered the ministry to me, I told him that I'm a Socialist, that I voted for the Socialist Party and that I'll continue voting [for them]. I also told him that I thought different than him on Turkey's EU membership," Kouchner was quoted as telling Le Monde.


Hayrunnisa And Cecilia
Andrew Finkel a.finkel@todayszaman.com
The subtext spoke louder than the picture caption the other day when Turkish editors reproduced on their front pages a photograph of the new French President Nicolas Sarkozy on his very first day at work. It was all very cozy. The outgoing Jacques Chirac had just handed him the secret launch codes of France’s nuclear arsenal, and Sarko repaid the compliment by seeing his predecessor down the red carpet to his car -- no doubt to make sure he wasn’t walking off with the keys to the wine cellar as well. The actual photo by Eric Feferberg for AFP shows an uncharacteristically bashful looking Sarkozy giving a cheery little wave as his predecessor’s limo noses out the drive. Mr. Chirac is waving out the window in grander style, but after all, he is the one going into retirement.

The new president arrives, the old president leaves. However suspicious Turkish foreign affairs commentators may be about the Sarkozy presidency and his views on Turkey, the picture editors seemed to have grasped this basic point. At the very least the French have managed a smooth transition. If Ankara is ever going to impress the Turkoskeptics, they are saying, it has to get its own political house in order. In France, the only noise the military made was to fire a 21-gun salute.

There was another picture of Sarkozy that caught the editor’s imagination. This was of the new president giving his wife, Cecilia, what the British satirical magazine Private Eye would describe as a “fruity kiss,” full on the lips. Their five children were applauding either side. What was the subtext here? That this was how a European president and his consort should behave -- glamorous and companionable and not (Abdullah Gül, take note) a single headscarf in sight? Well, that might have been the reason some Turkish papers published it, but the French reader would seen the same photo and understood something entirely different.

In her own way, Mrs. Sarkozy is every bit as prickly a threat to French conventionalism as Hayrunnisa Gül’s Islamic modesty is to her own Turkish establishment. But if it’s a truly modern woman Turks aspire to see at the far end of the presidential dinner table, Cecilia Sarkozy would be the very first to warn about being careful for what you wish.

Cecilia first met Nicolas Sarkozy at her own wedding. She (age 27) was marrying a children’s television host many years her senior and he as mayor of Paris was the one performing the ceremony. The two met again a few years later and fell in love. The two young women in the presidential photo are the product of her first marriage. The two young men in the picture are the product of his first marriage to a devout Catholic. The young boy, 10-year-old Louis, is the son of the Sarkozy’s own stormy marriage. (Cecilia left her husband for an international relations consultant in 2005, fed up, she said, with being treated like “part of the furniture.” He was reported to have had an affair with a political journalist. The couple were reunited a year later.) Cecilia Sarkozy once declared herself bored at the very thought of becoming the official presidential spouse and has caused French tongues to wag for having been absent during the final stages of the campaign.

Of course in European demographics the Sarkozy household is nothing unusual. It is what is called a blended family -- the cocktail mix of children from couples much separated and divorced. In French political terms it also usual for the president to indulge in extra-marital affairs. What is unusual is for his wife to play by the same rules. But if Cecilia upset some of her compatriots by being conventionally unconventional, then the headscarf-wearing Mrs. Gül has suffered a worse fate by being unconventionally conventional and sticking to old-fashioned norms. As Turkey ponders how, in the months ahead, it will ever get a president, she might advise her husband to give her a very public, and ever so slightly fruity, kiss.

From Paris and Ankara to Foggy Bottom
Barry Rubin, THE JERUSALEM POST May. 20, 2007
'Bliss was it in that dawn to be alive/But to be young was very heaven!" thus wrote the English poet William Wordsworth of the French Revolution. In France itself and Turkey today there may be more modest revolutions in the offing, brought about at the ballot box.

Back in 1789, Wordsworth continued, "Oh! times, In which the meager, stale, forbidding ways/Of custom, law, and statute, took at once/ The attraction of a country in romance!"

Romanticism, however, is not on the side of these potential changes. On the contrary, they are revolts of pragmatism against revolutionary romanticism. Though Wordsworth had that point covered, too, describing a moment, "When Reason seemed the most to assert her rights." In broad structural terms, though of course I don't mean socially or culturally, France's system somewhat resembles Arab dictatorial regimes. An essentially conservative government uses nationalist and demagogic rhetoric along with focused privileges to maintain power. "Progressive" foreign policy rhetoric and state-supported antagonism toward foreign scapegoats (coincidentally, also largely the United States and Israel) covers the regime's reactionary nature and the nation's stagnation. The elite and media damp down criticism and extol the status quo.

To put it a different way, France retains many aspects of a monarchy. On foreign policy, especially, decisions lie in the hands of the president and permanent bureaucracy, with little input from parliament and scant criticism in the media.

THE MAIN factor about Nicolas Sarkozy's election is that it shows French voters recognize the situation's seriousness and the need for real change. The two key questions now are how hard Sarkozy will try to change things and how much he might succeed.

He faces big problems. For example, he must work through the entrenched and highly privileged bureaucracy which is going to resist his efforts and probably sabotage them. In addition, Sarkozy has to challenge a welfare state which does provide benefits for much of the population and thus people don't want to give them up. What he most needs to do is shake people out of the complacency that things are basically just fine in France and what is needed is more of the same.

In many ways, foreign policy is easiest to alter. By largely words alone, Sarkozy could take a stance in the Middle East fairer to Israel and a global strategy less hostile to the United States. Even if he greatly disappoints the higher expectations, it is hard to see how his administration will not be a relatively big improvement.

THE SITUATION in Turkey is very different, of course, but also hopeful. After several years of self-destructive bickering, the opposition finally seems to have figured out that it must unite or face long-term exclusion from power as Turkey becomes increasingly Islamic-oriented rather than secular. Finally, the nomination of a ruling party politician as president sparked a political revolt.

Now everything comes down to the July 22 parliamentary elections. It is important to remember that Turkey's 10 percent minimum threshold for getting any seats has skewed results. The ruling AKP party has won big time while getting only about one-third of the votes. By splitting the rest, more than a half-dozen other parties ensured that almost all of them would get nothing.

There has been a major debate, inside and outside Turkey over whether the AKP wants to set up an Islamist state. A reasonable analysis is that there were different views within the party and the weaker the opposition the further it would go down that road. (Incidentally, both the United States and the Europeans have been very tolerant - many Turks in opposition think too tolerant - of the AKP.)

Nevertheless, the European Union has frozen the consideration of Turkey's membership for other reasons, largely related to Cyprus. Sarkozy opposes Turkey's entry into the organization and it is starting to look as if this will never happen. At any rate, Turkey itself may be about to reverse course.

PERHAPS, IN Wordsworth's words, Reason is going "to assert her rights." Still, in the region itself, chances don't seem high of that happening. Every day, the growing ambition of Iran; the boldness of radical Islamists, terrorists, and Syria; and the obvious inability and disinterest of the Palestinian leadership in any type of peace with Israel become increasingly more apparent.

Many in the West seem to understand this more but there is still an enormous gap between situation and perception. Here's an example from the May 16 US State Department briefing, regarding the Gaza Strip:

QUESTION: Do you think that President [Mahmoud] Abbas does enough to calm the situation down?

MR. CASEY: We believe that President Abbas is committed to the path of peace and committed to reforms in the Palestinian Authority that are necessary to move that process forward...

QUESTION: Do you think he's doing enough to stop the missile attacks from Gaza into Israel?

MR. CASEY: It's awfully hard for Palestinian security forces to do anything about that if they're engaged in ongoing hostilities or battles within the Palestinian community.

IN OTHER words, let's pretend Abbas wants and might bring about peace and reforms. So if only Hamas and Fatah would enforce their partnership agreement, no doubt, Fatah would crack down on terrorism.

Actually, Palestinian politics always resemble the French revolution's worst days of terror and guillotining. Wordsworth had the decency to feel terrible about having once been cheerleader of such a bloody movement. He later wrote: "Long after the last beat/Of those atrocities.../Such ghastly Visions had I of despair,/And tyranny, and implements of death."

The writer's latest book is The Truth About Syria. He is director of the Global Research in International Affairs Center at IDC Herzliya.
Copyright 1995-2007 The Jerusalem Post

Us House Members Urge Erdogan On Patriarchate
Dozens of members of the US House of Representatives' Committee on Foreign Affairs have sent a letter to Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan calling on Ankara to recognize the "ecumenical" status of the Istanbul-based Fener Greek Patriarch Bartolomeos, the Greek media reported over the weekend.

The letter, composed by the committee's chairman, Tom Lantos, a Democrat representing California, and ranking Republican Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, representing Florida, was signed by 42 of the committee's 50 members. It criticized Ankara for interfering in procedures relating to the patriarch's appointment and for seizing Patriarchate property, the Athens News Agency (ANA) reported on Sunday.

"We urge you to do everything possible to preserve the Ecumenical Patriarchate and to end all restrictions on its religious freedoms," the letter said while expressing "deep concern" over Ankara's insistence that the patriarch be a Turkish citizen. "Under present policies there will soon be virtually no Greek-Orthodox Turkish citizens left to qualify as patriarch," it said. The Patriarchate "will disappear in the foreseeable future unless Turkey changes its policies," the committee warned, noting that it provided "spiritual and moral guidance for millions of believers."

Ankara sees Patriarch Bartolomeos as the leader of the Greek Orthodox community although the world Orthodox community considers him to be their spiritual leader. Turkey's position puts it at odds with the European Union, with which it is holding accession negotiations, and Washington, both of whom consider the status of the patriarch as a matter of religious freedom.

Turkey has also been resisting EU pressure to reopen the Halki Theological School on Heybeliada Island near Istanbul, which was closed to new students in 1971 under a law that put religious and military training under state control. The seminary once trained generations of Greek Orthodox leaders, including the current patriarch, Bartolomeos. The seminary remained open until 1985, when the last five students graduated.

Today's Zaman Ankara

Turks Take Over Madison Ave. For Turkish Day Parade
The 26th annual Turkish Day Parade, the biggest celebration for Turks in America, was held on Saturday. Unlike previous years, no officials from Turkey participated in this year's parade, organized by the Federation of Turkish American Associations (FTAA).

Students from the Brooklyn Amity School, founded by Turks living in the United States, were among participants of the Turkish Day Parade in New York.

This year's Turkish Day Parade coincided with the national Turkish Youth and Sports holiday. Although the parade usually has a significant participation, rain showers dampened the festivities this time around. The New York Police Department reported that 10,000 people participated.

Eighty-four groups marched and 20 floats traveled down Madison Avenue. The parade was led by Turkey's US Ambassador Nabi Sensoy, Turkish Consul General in New York Mehmet Samsar, parliamentary deputy Muzaffer Toprak, Azerbaijani State Minister Nazim Ibrahimov, Tekirdag Governor Nezih Dogan and Tekirdag Mayor Ahmet Aygün.

The most interesting floats were those portraying Turkey's major soccer teams. Fans cheered and celebrated as the 2006-07 champion Fenerbahçe themed float passed by.

The Galatasaray float was decorated with the team's colors of red and yellow. Despite its relatively poor performance this season, Galatasaray fans in New York celebrated the third-place team. The most simple and silent of the three major Turkish soccer team floats was Besiktas.

The bands and students of the Brooklyn Amity School, Pioneer Science Academy and Long Island Amity School also participated in the parade. Brooklyn Amity School Band's performance received wide applause and praise. The Atatürk Weekend School and Turkish student association also participated in the parade. There were also wonderful performances by Istanbul Eyüp Education Directorate folkloric teams.

The two-hour parade ended at Dag Hammarskjold Park, located near the Turkish Consulate General in New York, where participants and guests were able to buy Turkish dishes and desserts. Among the Turkish companies to set up promotional tents was Zaman newspaper, which gave away thousands of copies of a special edition to participants.

Today's Zaman New York

Quotations By Non-Turkish Writers And Scholars Regarding The Armenian Question
Demir Delen

In their tireless propaganda efforts, Armenian activists resort to proven forgeries and distortions so that they can show the world, they were the innocent victims of a so-called genocide. The quotations below, all by non-Turkish authors, historians and politicians demonstrate clearly that, far from being innocent victims, Armenians actively participated in the First World War on the side of the Ottoman Empire's enemies and caused unspeakable atrocities against the Turkish population.

Truth never seems to be a hindrance for Armenian activists in pursuit of their political goals. When they needed the help of the western world, they claimed more Armenians were killed than their entire population. However, they brought all the claimed dead back to life in order to show how populous Armenians were in eastern Anatolia, to the victors of the First World War, during the negotiations at the Paris Peace Conference and the Treaty of Sevrés, so that they could substantiate their demand that an independent Armenian State must be established!

The following quotations from non-Turkish sources are categorized under three headings:
1. Armenian Revolutionary Bands and Atrocities
2. Armenian Propaganda
3. Armenian Cooperation with Russia and the Allies, against the Ottoman Empire.

1.1 Louise Nalbandian, The Armenian Revolutionary Movement, Berkeley 1963:
The programme of the Dashnaksutiun Party (Armenian Revolutionary Federation) was drafted during the General Congress in 1892. The methods to be used by the revolutionary bands organized by the Party were as follows:
a. To propagandize for the principles of the Dashnaksutiun and its objectives based on an understanding of, and in sympathy with, the revolutionary work.
b. To organize fighting bands, to work with them with regard to the above-mentioned issues and to prepare them for activity.
c. To use every means, by word and deed, to arouse the revolutionary activity and spirit of the people.
d. To use every means to arm the people.
e. To organize revolutionary committees and establish strong links between them.
f. To stimulate fighting and to terrorize government officials, informers, traitors, usurers and every kind of exploiter.
g. To organize financial districts.
h. To protect the peaceful people and the inhabitants against attacks by brigands.
i. To establish communications for the transportation of men and arms.
j. To expose government establishments to looting and destruction (p. 168).

1.2 Sir Mark Sykes, The Caliph's Last Heritage, London 1915:
As for the tactics of the revolutionaries, anything more fiendish one could not imagine - The assassination of Moslems in order to bring about the punishment of innocent men, the midnight extortion of money from villages which have just paid their taxes by day, the murder of persons who refuse to contribute to their collection boxes, are only some of the crimes of which Moslems, Catholics and Gregorians accuse them with no uncertain voice. The Armenian revolutionaries prefer to plunder their co-religionists to giving battle to their enemies; the anarchists of Constantinople throw bombs with the intention of provoking a massacre of their fellow-countrymen.

If the object of English philanthropists and the roving brigands (who are the active agents of revolution) is to subject the bulk of eastern provinces to the tender mercies of an Armenian oligarchy, then I cannot entirely condemn the fanatic outbreaks of the Moslems or the repressive measures of the Turkish Government. On the other hand, if the object of the Armenians is to secure equality before law and the maintenance of security and peace in the countries partly inhabited by Armenians, then I can only say that their methods are not those calculated to achieve success (p. 409).

1.3 William A. Langer, The Diplomacy of Imperialism, New York, 1960:
Revolutionary placards were being posted in the cities and there were not a few cases of the blackmailing of wealthy Armenians, who were forced to contribute to the cause. Europeans in Turkey were agreed that the immediate aim of the agitators was to incite disorder, bring about inhuman reprisals and so provoke the intervention of the powers. For that reason, it was said, they operated by preference in areas where the Armenians were in a hopeless minority, so that reprisals would be certain. One of the revolutionaries told Dr. Hamlin, the founder of Robert College, that the Hunchak bands would "watch their opportunity to kill Turks and Kurds, set fire to their villages, and then make their escape into the mountains. The enraged Moslems will then rise, and fall upon the defenseless Armenians and slaughter them with such barbarity that Russia will enter in the name of humanity and Christian civilization and take possession". When the horrified missionary denounced the scheme as atrocious and infernal beyond anything ever known, he received this reply: "It appears so to you, no doubt; but we Armenians have determined to be free. Europe listened to the Bulgarian horrors and made Bulgaria free. She will listen to our cry when it goes up in the shrieks and blood of millions of women and children. We shall do it" (p. 157).

1.4 Sydney Whitman, Turkish Memories, London 1914:
Shortly after the news had spread to Europe of the attack on the Ottoman Bank and the subsequent massacre of Armenians, a number of artists of illustrated newspapers arrived in Constantinople, commissioned to supply the demand for atrocities of the Million-headed-Tyrant. Among these was the late Mr. Melton Prior, the renowned war correspondent. He was a man of strenuous and determined temperament, one not accustomed to be the sport of circumstances but to rise superior to them. Whether he was called upon to take part in a forced march or to face a mad Mullah, he invariable held his own and came off victorious. But in this particular case, as he confided to me, he was in an awkward predicament. The public at home had heard of nameless atrocities and was anxious to receive pictorial representations of these. The difficulty was how to supply them with what they wanted, as the dead Armenians had been buried and no women or children had suffered hurt and no Armenian church had be!
en desecrated. As an old admirer of the Turks and as an honest man, he declined to invent what he had not witnessed. But others were not equally scrupulous. I subsequently saw an Italian illustrated newspaper containing harrowing pictures of women and children being massacred in a church. (p. 29)

"Do you believe that any massacres would have taken place if no Armenian revolutionaries had come into the country and incited the Armenian population to rebellion?" I asked Mr. Graves (The British Consul).

"Certainly not" he replied. "I do not believe that a single Armenian would have been killed". (p. 70)

1.5 Sir Edwin Pears, Forty Years in Constantinople, London 1915:
Under such circumstances the revolt of a handful of Armenians had not a chance of success and was therefore unjustifiable. As a friend to the Armenians, revolt seemed to me purely mischievous. Some of the extremists declared that while they recognized that hundreds of innocent persons suffered from each of these attempts, they could provoke a big massacre which would bring in foreign intervention. Such intervention was useless so long as Russia was hostile. Lord Salisbury had publicly declared that as he could not get a fleet over the Taurus mountains he did not see how England could help the Armenians, much as he sympathized with them (p. 155).

1.6 C.F. Dixon-Johnson, The Armenians, Blackburn 1916:
The advent of these revolutionary agents into Kurdistan had the inevitable result of embittering the former good relations of the Turkish Government and the resident Moslem population with the Christians and especially the Orthodox Armenian section of the inhabitants. This was natural for the reason that in Turkey the people have a horror of secret societies and plots, founded on the experience of their own suffering at the hands of the Greek Hetairia and the Bulgarian Komitadjis. The fears of the Turks and the Kurds were genuine. They believed that the members of the once loyal 'millet-i sadika' (the loyal nation) no longer merited the title and that they were arming and preparing to massacre the Moslems. The whole country became like a powder magazine (p. 24).

1.7 Clair Price, The Rebirth of Turkey, New York 1923:
Under the 1908 Constitution, the Enver Government had a right to mobilize Armenians of military age as well as Turks, but armed opposition broke out at once, notably at Zeitun..Along the eastern frontier, Armenians began deserting to the Russian Armies and the Enver Government, distrusting the loyalties of those who remained, removed them from the combatant force and formed them into labour gangs.

In April, Lord Bryce and the "Friends of Armenia" in London appealed for funds to equip these volunteers and Russia also was presumable not uninterested in them.These volunteer bands finally captured Van, one of the eastern provincial capitals late in April and having massacred the Turkish population, they surrendered what remained of the city to the Russian Armies in June. The news from Van affected the Turks precisely as the news from Smyrna affected them when the Greeks landed there in May 1919. The rumour immediately ran through Asia Minor that the Armenians had risen.

By this time, the military situation had turned sharply against the Enver Government. The Russian victory at Sarikamis was developing and streams of Turkish refugees were pouring westward into central Asia minor. The British had launched their Dardanelles campaign at the very gates of Constantinople and Bulgaria had not yet come in. It does not seem reasonable to assume that this moment, of all moments, would have been chosen by the Enver Government to take widespread measures against its Armenians unless it was believed that such measures were immediately necessary. Measures were taken (pages 86-87).

1.8 Felix Valyi, Revolutions in Islam, London 1925:
In April the Armenian revolutionaries seized the town of Van, established an Armenian "General Staff" there under the command of Aram and Vardan, which delivered up the town to the Russian troops on the 6th of May, after having freed the district of Van from Mohammedans.

Amongst the most notorious of the Armenian chiefs was Karekin Pastermadjian, a former member of the Turkish Parliament , known by the name of 'Garo' who put himself at the head of the Armenian volunteers at the time of the opening of hostilities between Turkey and Russia and the Turks accuse him of having set fire to all the Mussulman villages he found on his way and of massacring their inhabitants. It is known that the attempts made by Turkey to win the support of the "Dashnakzoutioun" party against Russia at the beginning of the war were repulsed in the month of September 1914, by the Armenian Congress at Erzurum, which declared itself 'neutral'. Nevertheless, the thousands of Russian bombs and muskets which were found in the hands of its members prove what this neutrality meant. And indeed the Turks attribute the Russian invasion of the north of Asia Minor to the behaviour of the Armenian bands whose attitude made the defence of the country exceedingly difficult (pages 233-234).

1.9 Niles, Emory and Sutherland, Arthur, U.S. 867.00/1005, Princeton, 11 October 1919:
(Captain Emory Niles and Mr. Arthur Sutherland were Americans ordered by the United States Government in 1919 to investigate the situation in eastern Anatolia.)

In the entire region from Bitlis through Van to Bayezit we were informed that the damage and destruction had been done by the Armenians, who, after the Russians retired, remained in occupation of the country and who, when the Turkish army advanced, destroyed everything belonging to the Musulmans. Moreover, the Armenians are accused of having committed murder, rape arson and horrible atrocities of every description upon the Musulman population. At first we were most incredulous of these stories, but we finally came to believe them, since the testimony was absolutely unanimous and was corroborated by material evidence. For instance, the only quarters left at all intact in the cities of Bitlis and Van are the Armenian quarters, as was evidenced by churches and inscriptions on the houses, while the Musulman quarters were completely destroyed. Villages said to have been Armenian were still standing whereas Musulman villages were completely destroyed.

1.10 McCarthy, Justin, Death and Exile, The Ethnic Cleansing of Ottoman Muslims 1821-1922, The Darwin Press Inc., 1995:
In the provinces in which the war was primarily fought-Van, Bitlis and Erzurum-at least 40 percent of the Muslims were dead at war's end. Of course Muslims were not the only ones to die. The Armenian death rate was at least as great and Armenian losses cannot be ignored. But the world has long known of the suffering of Armenians. It is time for the world to also consider the suffering of the Muslims of the east and the horror that it was. Like the Armenians, Muslims were massacred or died from starvation and disease in stupefying numbers. Like the Armenians their deaths deserve remembrance.

1.11 General Bronsart, Deutsche Allgemeine Zeitung, 24 July 1921:
As demonstrated by the innumerable declarations, provocative pamphlets, weapons, ammunition, explosives etc., found in areas inhabited by Armenians, the rebellion was prepared for a long time, organized, strengthened and financed by Russia. Information was received on time in Istanbul about an Armenian assassination attempt directed at high ranking state officials and officers.

Since all Muslims capable of bearing arms were in the Turkish army, it was easy to organize a terrible massacre by the Armenians against defenceless people, because the Armenians were not only attacking the sides and rear of the Eastern Army paralyzed at the front by the Russians, but were attacking the Muslim folk in the region as well. The Armenian atrocities which I have witnessed were far worse than the so-called Turkish brutality.

2.1 C.F. Dixon-Johnson, The Armenians, Blackburn 1916:
We have no hesitation in repeating that these stories of wholesale massacre have been circulated with the distinct objective of influencing, detrimentally to Turkey, the future policy of the British Government when the time of settlement shall arrive. No apology, therefore, is needed for honestly endeavouring to show how a nation with whom we were closely allied for many years and which possesses the same faith as millions of our fellow-subjects, has been condemned for perpetrating horrible excesses against humanity on 'evidence' which, when absolutely false, is grossly and shamefully exaggerated (p. 61).

2.2 David G. Hogarth, A Wandering Scholar in the Levant, New York, 1896:
The Armenian, for all his ineffaceable nationalism, his passion for plotting and his fanatical intolerance, would be a negligible thorn in the Ottoman side did he stand alone. The Porte knows very well that while Armenian Christians are Gregorian, Catholic and Protestant, each sect bitterly intolerant of the others and moreover while commerce and usury are all in Armenian hands, it can divide and rule secure; but behind the Armenian secret societies (and there are few Armenians who have not committed technical treason by becoming members of such societies at some point of their lives) it sees the Kurd, and behind the Kurd the Russian; or looking west, it espies through the ceaseless sporadic propaganda of the agitators Exeter Hall and Armenian Committees. The Turk begins to repress because we sympathize and we sympathize because he represses and so the vicious circle revolves. Does he habitually, however, do more than repress? Does he, as administrator oppress? So far we have heard one version only, one part to this suit, with its stories of outrage and echoing through them a long cry for national independence. The mouth of the accused has been shut hitherto by fatalism, by custom, by the gulf of misunderstanding which is fixed between the Christian and the Moslem.

In my own experience of western Armenia, extending more or less over four years up to 1894, I have seen no signs of a Reign of Terror. Life in Christian villages has not shown itself outwardly to me as being very different from life in the villages of Islam, nor the trade and property of Armenians in towns to be less secure than those of Moslems. There was tension, there was friction, there was a condition of mutual suspicion as to which Armenians have said to me again and again "If only the patriots would leave us to trade and to till!". The Turk rules by right of five hundred years' possession, and before his day the Byzantine, the Persian, the Parthian, the Roman preceded each other as over-lords of Greater Armenia back to the misty days of the first Tigranes. The Turk claims certain rights in this matter - the right to safeguard his own existence, the right to smoke out such hornets' nests as Zeitun, which has annihilated for centuries past the trade of Eastern Taurus, t!he right to remain dominant by all means not outrageous (p. 147).

2.3 E. Alexander Powell, The Struggle for Power in Moslem Asia, New York, 1925:
Atrocity stories have been vastly overdone; some of the more recent massacres have been wholly nonexistent. One of the local (Constantinople) members of the press and of a relief organization told some friends openly that he could only send anti-Turkish dispatches to America because that is what gets the money.

2.4 Arthur Ponsonby, Falsehood in War-Time, New York 1928
A circular was issued by the War Office inviting reports on war incidents from officers with regard to the enemy and stating that strict accuracy was not essential so long as there was inherent probability (p 20).

Atrocity lies were the most popular of all, especially in this country and America; no war can be without them. Slander of the enemy is esteemed a patriotic duty (p 22).

It is impossible to describe all the types of atrocity stories. They were repeated for days in brochures, posters, letters and speeches. Renowned persons, who otherwise would be hesitant to condemn even their mortal enemies for lack of evidence, did not hesitate to accuse an entire nation of having committed every imaginable savagery and inhuman action (p. 129).

2.5 Lamsa, George M., The Secret of the Near East, Philadelphia, 1923:
In some towns containing ten Armenian houses and thirty Turkish houses, it was reported that 40,000 people were killed, about 10,000 women were taken to the harem, and thousands of children left destitute; and the city university destroyed, and the bishop killed. It is a well-known fact that even in the last war the native Christians, despite the Turkish cautions, armed themselves and fought on the side of the Allies. In these conflicts, they were not idle, but they were well supplied with artillery, machine guns and inflicted heavy losses on their enemies (page 133).

2.6 Prime Minister Millerand, Archives des Affaires Etrangeres de France, Vol 9, Folio 3:
I am surprised that London should possess information which no one here is aware of and is unable to document. As a result, it has been impossible until now to determine exactly that Armenians have been massacred in any area. There is much talk about it but no one was able to give me certain and exact information. In particular the Armenian losses in Marash appear to be absolutely false. Apparently, the Armenians took part in the struggle of our troops in this city and had casualties like all the fighters. A serious study of the figures shows that these Armenian casualties do not exceed 1000.

2.7 Clair Price, The Rebirth of Turkey, New York 1923:
By the end of October, the late Miss Annie T. Allen and Miss Florence Billings, the Near East Relief's representatives in Ankara (Angora), compiled a report on the state of the Turkish villages which the Greeks had burned during their retreat and forwarded it to the Near East Relief's headquarters in Constantinople. But the Near East Relief has never published that report, just as Mr. Lloyd George never published the Bristol report on Greek misdeeds at Izmir (Smyrna) (p. 189).

2.8 L. Evans, United States Policy and the Partition of Turkey, 1914-1924, Baltimore 1965:
Quoting from the American High Commissioner Admiral Bristol's report: "The United States should raise its voice against the plans of the Allies and the American people should be told the facts. They (the Turks) were still human and still had rights and the other side of the coin was obscured by the flood of Greek and Armenian propaganda painting the Turks as completely inhuman and undeserving of any consideration, while suppressing all the facts in favor of the Turks." (page 272)

2.9 Migirdic Agop, The Turkish Armenians, Istanbul 1922:
The Turkish Armenian does not know what a revolution is. He fears a revolution like death. But if there is something he is more afraid of, it is the revolutionary Armenian, the unreasoning revolutionary Armenians without a conscience who dragged him from misery to misery for several years with the thought of doing a good deed for him.

The Turkish Armenian have to confess that this enemy of their own kind has been everywhere and has done its work everywhere. It also had many followers in Russia, England and Turkey. Because it is known as a social truth that divisive movements and propaganda among groups in a society influence the masses very deeply. When these witless wretches came up with the idea of establishing a large state with the Armenians in Caucasia and Turkey, the God-fearing Armenians with good conscience who were aware of where the best interests of the nation lay, were overcome with sadness: 'An independent state, which will also include within its borders some of the Turkish provinces, is that it? This would be the destruction of Armenians' they said.
This was the truth.! It was impossible for any Armenian with a little bit of discernment not to see it. Because these people were thinking that they could change the bed of a large river with eight or ten pieces of stone.

This large river had opened its real bed by flowing for centuries on a strong surface. To change this direction was to tear Armenian interests from the tranquil flow of the river, to push them to draught-ridden lands and to strangle them there for ever. Those feeble minded persons failed to see that the foreigners who supported their revolution and evil deeds and championed their causes in their newspapers did not undertake such action for the love of Armenians. The aim, and the sole aim of these so-called protective powers was to cause the shedding of blood in regions which they earmarked for their hegemony and to take over these regions with the pretext of cleaning the blood.

History is still recording what imperialism is capable of doing in places it sets its eyes on. But it was impossible to make the public-spirited revolutionaries comprehend this. The anarchists and propagandists among them who could be useful neither to themselves nor to their communities in any other way were receiving salaries. They were also receiving what they conceived to be pledges. Overwhelmed under these condition, they believed there was Turkish oppression, and they also made their compatriots believe in their lies.

The last quarter of a century of Turkey's history is filled with some Armenian events. Although these events were supposedly aimed at some goals harmful to Turkey, in fact they were only the oppression of Armenians by Armenians. If the causes and reasons for each event are analyzed one by one and if the events are analyzed meticulously, the only conclusion that will be arrived at is the one we have stated in the previous sentence; the oppression of Armenians by Armenians.

3.1 K.S. Papazian, Patriotism Perverted, Boston 1934:
When the world war broke out in Europe, the Turks began feverish preparations for joining hands with the Germans. In August 1914 the young Turks asked the Dashnag Convention, then in session in Erzurum, to carry out their old agreement of 1907 and start an uprising among the Armenians of the Caucasus against the Russian government. The Dashnagtzoutune refused to do this and gave assurance that in the event of war between Russia and Turkey, they would support Turkey as loyal citizens. On the other hand, they could not be held responsible for the Russian Armenians..The fact remains, however, that the leaders of the Turkish-Armenian section of the Dashnagtzoutune did not carry out their promise of loyalty to the Turkish cause when the Turks entered the war. The Dashnagtzoutune in the Caucasus had the upper hand. They were swayed in their actions by the interests of the Russian government and disregarded entirely, the political dangers that the war had created for the Armenian!s in Turkey. Prudence was thrown to the winds; even the decision of their own convention of Erzurum was forgotten and a call was sent for Armenian volunteers to fight the Turks on the Caucasus front (p. 37).

3.2 Rafael de Nogales, Four Years Beneath the Crescent, New York 1926, (English translation by Muna Lee):
After hostilities had actually commenced, the Deputy to the Assembly for Erzurum, Garo Pasdermichian passed over with almost all the Armenian troops and officers of the Third Army to the Russians; to return with them soon after burning hamlets and mercilessly putting to the knife all of the peaceful Mussulman villagers that fell into their hands. These bloody excesses had as their necessary corollary the immediate disarmament by the Ottoman authorities of the gendarmes and other Armenian soldiers who still remained in the army (probably because they had been unable to escape) and the utilization of their labour in the construction of highways and in carrying provisions back and forth across the mountains. The altogether unjustifiable desertion of the Armenian troops, united to the outrages they committed afterwards, on their return, in the sectors of Bashkaleh, Serail and Bayacet, did not fail to alarm the Turks and rouse their fear lest the rest of the Armenian population in the frontier provinces of Van and Erzurum revolt likewise and attack them with the sword. This indeed is precisely what happened a few weeks after my coming, when the Armenians of the vilayet of Van rose en masse against our expeditionary army in Persia; thus giving rise to bloody and terrible occurrences which, under the circumstances, might have been foreseen (p. 45).

3.3 Hovhannes Katchaznouni, The Armenian Revolutionary Federation (Dashnagtzoutiun) Has Nothing to Do Anymore, Bucharest 1923, (translated from the original by Matthew A. Callender):
(Mr. Katchaznouni was the first prime minister of the Independent Armenia).

In the beginning of fall 1914, when Turkey had not yet entered the war but was preparing to, Armenian volunteer groups began to be organized with great zeal and pomp in Trans-Caucasia. In spite of the decision taken a few weeks before at the General Committee in Erzurum, the Dashnagtzoutune actively helped the organization of the aforementioned groups and especially arming them against Turkey..There is no point in asking today whether our volunteers should have been in the foreground. Historical events have a logic of their own. In the fall of 1914 Armenian volunteer groups were formed and fought against the Turks. The opposite could not have happened, because for approximately twenty years the Armenian community was fed a certain and inevitable psychology. This state of mind had to manifest itself and it happened.

3.4 Philippe de Zara, Mustapha Kemal, Dictateur, Paris 1936:
After having accomplished the minimum of their duty as Ottoman citizens, the Armenians began to encourage the activities of the enemy. Their ambiguous attitude had certainly little to do with loyalty. But which Westerner would have the right to accuse them when traditions taught by Europe made the insubordination of the Sultan's Christian subjects the most sacred of obligations. An insubordination which was often sanctioned by giving autonomy, if not sovereignty. Nevertheless, how can anybody deny that in the opinion of the Turks, according to the law of all the states, the conduct of the Armenians facilitating during the war the task of the adversary, van be recognized as anything but a crime of high treason?..The Armenian committees, divided among themselves for internal issues, were often in agreement to facilitate the advance of the Russian armies; they were attempting to obstruct the retreat of Turkish troops, to stop the convoys of provisions, to form bands of francs!-tireurs. Mass desertions took place in the Eastern provinces; Armenians thus formed many troops officered by Russian officers. Here and there local revolts occurred. The leaders were setting the examples; two Armenian deputies fled to Russia. A literature of hatred was recalled. "Let the Turkish mothers cry..Lets make the Turk taste a little grief". The culpability of Armenians leaves no doubt (page 159).

3.5 Stanford J. Shaw, History of the Ottoman Empire and Modern Turkey,Cambridge University Press, 1977, Volume II:
Armenians again flooded the czarist armies, and the czar returned to St. Petersburg confident that the day finally had come for him to reach Istanbul. Hostilities were opened by Russians, who pushed across the border on November 1, 1914, though the Ottomans stopped them and pushed them back a few days later. A subsequent Russian counter offensive in January caused the Ottoman army to scatter and the way was prepared for a new Russian push into eastern Anatolia, to be accompanied by an open Armenian revolt against the sultan. Armenian leaders in Russia now declared their open support of the enemy and there seemed no other alternative. It would be impossible to determine which of the Armenians would remain loyal and which would follow the appeals of their leaders. As soon as the spring came, then, in mid-May 1915 orders were issued to evacuate the entire Armenian population from the provinces of Van, Bitlis, and Erzurum, to get them away from all areas where they might under!mine the Ottoman campaigns against Russia or against the British in Egypt, with arrangements made to settle them in towns and camps in the Mosul area of Northern Iraq. In addition, Armenians residing in the countryside (but not in the cities) of the Cilician districts as well as those of north Syria were to be sent to central Syria for the same reason. Specific instructions were issued for the army to protect the Armenians against nomadic attacks and to provide them with sufficient food and other supplies to meet their needs during the march and after they were settled. Warnings were sent to the Ottoman military commanders to make certain that neither the Kurds nor any other Muslims used the situation to gain vengeance for the long years of Armenian terrorism. The Armenians were to be protected and cared for until they returned to their homes after the war (page 315).

3.6 Boghos Nubar, Letter to Times of London, dated January 30, 1919:
(Mr. Nubar was the head of the Armenian National Delegation to the Paris Peace Conference held by the victors of the WWI)

The Armenians have been, since the beginning of the war, de facto belligerents - since they fought alongside the Allies on all fronts - in Palestine and Syria, where the Armenian volunteers, recruited by the Armenian National Delegation at the request of the French government, made up more than half of the French contingent. In the Caucasus, where, without mentioning the 150,000 Armenians in the Imperial Russian Army, more than 40,000 of their volunteers offered resistance to the Turkish Armies.

3.7 Lieutenant Colonel T. Williams (Labour Party M.P.), Parliamentary Debates (Commons), London 25.ii.1924, vol. 170:
The Armenians were very well treated for hundreds of years by the Turks, until Russia, in the first place, started using them as pawns for purely political purposes; they exploited them as Christians, solely as pawns.

3.8 A. H Arslanian, British Wartime Pledges, 1917-1918: The Armenian Case, Journal of Contemporary History, Vol. 13, 1978:
British promises to Armenians were exactly like their promises to Arabs in Syria, Palestine and Mesopotamia; they were made with the purpose of encouraging the war efforts of the Armenians, to influence neutral states in favor of England and to excite the separatist tendencies in ethnic minorities under the rule of these neutral states so as to make their enemy, the Ottoman Empire, collapse from the inside (page 522).

3.9 Lord Curzon, PRO, FO. 800/151, 6.xii.1921:
I think Armenians know that among the Great Powers, Her Majesty's Government have always been their best friend and most loyal supporters..But you cannot expect this country - or any other one - to choose any area in Turkey, to chase away from there all other races, to increase the Armenian population there under the shadow of British bayonets, and to thus organize a national Armenian existence there with exorbitant taxes to be extracted from the British people. Even the thought of it cannot go beyond being a raw fancy.

Armenian Forgeries And Falsifications
Demir Delen

The truth behind some well-known and often-repeated forgeries by Armenian activists who are attempting to sway the world opinion regarding the existence of a "genoeide" in 1915, are exposed in the following paragraphs.

1. Hitler's quotation regarding the Armenians - A myth

Every year Armenian activists lobby politicians in Canada and the U.S. to prodaim a "genocide remembrance week" in April recognizing the so-called Armenian genocide. Every politician who speaks in favour of such a motion inevitably refers to the following statement, given to the m by the Armenian activists who daim it was moda by Hitler; "Who, af ter all, speaks today of the extermination of the Armenians".

This so-called Hitler statement is accepted as a "historical fact" and has been quoted by numerous politicians who support the Armenian couse, in parliamentary debates in North America. It also appears routinely in Armenian propaganda publications.

The Armenians want to play on the sentiments of the Jewish Holocaust and purport that Adolf Hitler moda this quotation in a speech regarding his planned annihilation of the European Jews. One of the most frequently utilized falsifications by Armenian spokesmen is that Hitler felt justified in going forward with his plan to exterminate European Jewry during the Second World War, because he was encouraged that the world had not reacted to allaged Ottoman mistreatment of its Armenian population during the First World War.

The problem with this linkage is that there is no proof that Hitler ever moda such a statement. It is claimed that he referred to the Armenians in the mannar cited above, while delivering a secret talk to members of his General Staff, a week prior to his attack on Poland. However, there is no reference to the Armenians in the original texts of the two Hitler speeches delivered on August 22, 1939, published as the offieial texts in the reliable Nuremberg documents.

It is natural to assuma that Hitler spoke to his generals on that day in his and their natiye tongue, German. The Nuremberg documents are the only authoritative and authentic sources. However, a few English translations that appeared in New York Times and London Times in 1945 carried an additional sentence in Hitler's speech that does not occur in the authorized German texts.

At the Nuremberg tribunal there were three authentic versions of the records of the Hitler's meeting with his generals, although no officici minutes exist. All three versions are similar in content. William lo Shirer in "The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich" states as follows:

"At Nuremberg there was some doubt about a fourth account of Hitler's speech listed as N.D. C-3. and though it was referred to in the proceedings, the prosecution did not submit it in evidence. White it undoubtedly rings true, it may have been embeffished a little by persons who were not present at the meeting at the Berghof".

In several publications Armenian activists refer to the fabricated Hitler statement about Armenians and quote it as "exhibit US-28 of the Nuremberg Tribunal" to mislead the unsuspecting public as if it were authentic and credible. They obviously fail to indicate that exhibit US-28 was not introduced as evidence by the prosecution because of lock of proof of its authenticity and was not preserved in the records of the trials. This is the record Shirer refers to as being "embellished by persons who were not presant at the meeting at the Berghof". Neither of the two versions of the records introduced as evidence in Nuremberg nor the notes kept by General Franz Halder who was present at the meeting, contain any reference to Armenians.

This quotation, and indeed an entire text of a Hitler speech purportedly made at Obersalzberg on August 22, 1939, was first published in 1942 in a book entitled "What About Germany?" authored by Louis Lochner.

Lochner cited an unnamed informant as his source for a document called "Contents of Speech to the Supreme Commanders, and Commanding Generals, Obersalzberg, August 22, 1939". He further stated that he obtained a copy of this speech one week prior to Hitler's 1939 invasion of Poland. This "document", the origin of which has never been diselosed, investigated, and much less established, is the sole source of Hitler's purported remark regarding the Armenians.

It is interesting to note that, in Lochner's unnamed informant's documents, there is not a single direct or implied reference to the Jewish reorle. The statement referred to Hitler's impending invasion of Poland and to the fate he envisioned for its citizenry; it had absolutely nothing to do with his plans for the Jews of Europe.

The Nuremberg transcripts, however, elearly demonstrate that the tribunal rejected Lochner's version of Hitler's Obersalzberg speech in favor of two more official versions found in confiscated German militery records. These two records are, respectively, the detailed notes of the August 22, 1939 meeting taken down by Admiral Hermann Boehm, Chief of the High Seas Fleet, who was in attendance (Document No. 798-PS) and a memorandum in two parts which provides a detailed account of Hitler's August 22, 1939, remarks at Obersalzberg (Document No. 1014-PS).

This second document originated in the Chief of the High Command of the Armed Forces files and was captured by American troops at Saalfelden in Austria. This was the chief document introduced by the prosecution at Nuremberg as evidence in the course of the session concerned with the invasion of Poland.

These two versions are in fact preserved in the transcripts of the Nuremberg Tribunal and are internally consistent with each other regarding the wording of Hitler's Obersalzberg speech. It is important to note that none of these eyewitness versions contain ant reference whatsoever to Armenians.

In addition, a third eyewitness account of the Obersalzberg meetings is found in the detailed diary kept by General Franz Halder. His notes, which were not submitted as evidence at the Nuremberg Tribunal, also do not contain any reference to Armenians.

A story in the Times of London on November 24, 1945 based on a "Ieaked document" on the assumption that it would be introduced as evidence by the time the story broke, made reference to the Armenians in Hitler's statement. The document which was provided to the prosecution by "an American newspaperman", is the source of the alleged Hitler statement on Armenians. However, this document was not introduced as evidence, after the original minutes of the Obersalzberg meeting were found.

The results of the erroneous Times of London story were far reaching. The world has been misled by Armenians since then, info thinking that the Nuremberg transcripts contained the quote attributed to Hitleri "Who stili speaks nowadays of the extermination of the Armenians"? Armenian spokesmen have been free to argue that Adolf Hitler justified his planned annihilation of the Jews on the world's failure to react to the alleged Attornan genocide of the Armenians during the First World War.

In truth, no document containing the purported Hitler statement on the Armenians was introduced or accepted as evidence in the course of the Nuremberg trials. The Nuremberg transcripts through their preservation of Document Numbers 798-PS and 1O14-PS and the notes of Admiral Boehm, demonstrate that the a/leged statement is conspicuously absent from Hitler's remarks. The assertion that Hitler made a reference to the Armenians in ant context whatsoever is completely without foundation.

Yet Prof. Richard Hovannisian and a host of other Armenian spokesmen have been planting this statement into the minds of Canadian and U.S politicians during the last two decades. A significant portion of Armenian propaganda efforts has been devoted to establishing a linkage between their own historical experiences and those of European Jewry during the Second World War. The cornerstona in their case has long been the spurious Hitler quote, "Who, after all, speaks today of the extermination of the Armenians?"

For a detailed analysis of the Nuremberg Trials records regarding this false statement that is attributed to Hitler, please refer to "The U.S. Congress and Adolf Hitler on the Armenians" by Prof. Heath W. Lowry, Political Communication and Persuasion, Volume 3, Number 2, 1985.

2. Talat Pasha Telegrams - A forgery

The Attornan Empire fought, in the First World War on the side of the Central Powers against the Entente Powers- England, France, Russia and their allies. During the War, as part of standard war propaganda, Ottomans were being accused of massacres against the Armenians who were assisting the Russians, the same way as'ftheir wartime ally the Germans were being accused of atrocities against the Belgians.

After the Treaty of Lauseanne in 1923, the Armenians realized that an independent Armenia promised to them by their allies for their efforts against the Ottomans during the First World War, was now a failed dream. They started a large propaganda campaign against the newly formed Republic of Turkeyand after the Second World War they cashed-in on the word "genocide". The intention was to draw a parallel between the fate of the Armenians in the First World War and Hitler's extermination policies towards the Jewish people.

The Armenian propaganda daiming genocide, required proof that a decision to exterminate the Armenians was made by the Attornan Government as a policy. The reason for this was that, the definition of the word "genocide" approved by the General Assembly of the United Nations in December 1948, required that there had to be an intant of destroying anational, ethnic, racial or religious group. For this purpose Armenians produced a number of telegrams attributed to Talat Pasha, the Minister of Interior of the Attornan Government, supposedly found by the British forcas under the command of General Alienby, when they captured Aleppo in 1918.

The basis of the accusations against the Ottomans was a book written by an Armenian, Aram Andonian in 1920, "The Memoirs of Naim Bey: Turkish Official Documents Relating to the Deportations and Massacres of Armenians". Mr. Andonian published his book simultaneously in London, Paris and Boston - in English, French and Armenian. Ever since then, these "documents" have formed the backbone and the basis of all Armenian accusations against the Ottomans and later against the Turks.

It has been provan by scholars for quite some time now that these "documents" were fabricated. The originals of the papers copied by Andonian were never sean. When the British Foreign Office enquired about them at the War Office and with General Allenby himsaıf, it was discovered that they had not been found by the British Army, but rather had been produced by an Armenian Group in Paris. Not a single one of these "important" documents reproduced by Andonian in his book, can be found today.

Andonian made so many mistakas in preparing the papers, however, that it is possible to prove with absolute certainty that they were forgeries, eyan without the originals. Scholars and historians demonstrated that they did not resemble the Attornan administratiye documents neither in form, reference numbers, script nor phraseology.

The simplest, absolutely irrefutable proof of the forgery involves Andonian's incorrect use of calandar information. Naturally, for his forgeries Andonian used the Rumi calandar which was in use in the Attornan Empire at the time. Because this calendar's starting point is the year 622 AD. and uses the lunar years,

there are some complicated technicalities in converting between the Gregorian and the Rumi calendars. The analysis of the "documents" reveal that the forger simply knew too little about the Attornan calendar and overlooked the tricky details in converting. As a result, the forger reaches some impossible and humorous conclusions.

In one of his forged documents, Mr. Andonian dates a note and signature attributed to Mustafa Abdulhalik Bey, purported to be the Governor of Aleppo. A comparison with authentic carrespondenge between the Governor of Aleppo and the Ministry of the Interior in Istanbul, on the date in question, reveals that the Governor of Aleppo on that date was Bekir Sami Bey. In his attempt to prove massacres, Mr. Andonian, due to his lack of knowledge of the tricky technicalities in the conversion between the two calendars, was having Mustafa Abdulhalik Bey signing documents as the Governor of Aleppo while he was stili in Istanbul, before he was even appointed to the position.

Erich Feigl, in his book entitled "A Myth of Terror - Armenian Extremism: Its Couses and Its Historical Context", published in 1986, outlines in great technical detail all the crude forgeries concocted by Mr. Andonianıand his associates, on the so-called "Talat Pasha Telegrams".

For decades, Armenian activists referred to these fabricated "documents" as evidence, in their attempt to persuade the politicians and the public erinian in the west regarding their claim of an Armenian genceide.

Af ter the First World War the Attornan Capital was under Allied occupation and all State Archives were easily accessible to the British Authorities in Istanbul. If there were any witnesses or any kind of evidenge regarding the Attornan Government's involvement in any alleged Armenian massacres, they could have been easily found. The British High Commissian was unable to forward to london any legal evidence.

The meticulous search conducted by the British for 30 months with an utmost zeal to vindicate the Armenian allegations produced nothing. From a political standpojnt, it was highly desirable for the British Government that at least some of the Turkish deportees to Malta should have been brought to trial. The British Foreign Office left no stone unturned in order to prove that the so-called Armenian massacres actually taek place. Yet all efforts and zeal in this regard ended with a complete failure. There was no evidence, no reliable witness, no proof and no case!

3. Photographs of Human Skulls - A Distortion

For severol decades various Armenian publications have featured a photograph of a pyramid of human skulls which they alleged belonged to Armenian victims of Turkish massacres during the First World War. In most cases the date of 1915 - 1917 was explicitly stated in the legend underneath.

It has been published on the cover of a book with the Attornan Minister of the Interior Talat Pasha's photograph inserted on the upper left corner, announcing in the inner pages that the cover photogroph shows "Turkish barbarism". The same photograph was enlarged and shown to the Canadian public in the 1970's, in the Yerevan Payillian at the annual Metro International Carovan festivities in Toronto, as proof of "Armenian genocide".

In reality, this was a photograph of a painting entitled "The Apotheosis of War", created in 1872 by a Russian master called Vassili Vereshchagin (1842-1904), which hangs in the Tretyakov Gallery in Moscow. The canvas, the subject of which has got nothing to do with the Armenians, was painted 43 years before the alleged massacres. It was used fraudulently and freely by the Armenians, as a tool to deceive and convince the public into believing their unfounded allegations about a "so-called genocide".

The purpose of this deceitful manipulation was to create a false impression in the minds of those who observe the photo arrangements. It was designed to insult the Turkish people while serving the political objectives of Armenian activists.

4. H. Morgenthau and Admiral Mark L. Bristol

Admiral Mark lambert Bristol served as the Commander of the U.S. Naval Detachment in Turkish waters and as the U.S. High Commissioner to Turkey during the years 1919-1927. In this capacity he witnessed firs! hand; the Turkish War of Independence, the formation of the First Turkish Republic and the early years of its existence.

His papers, which are housed in the Manuscript Division of the Library of Congress in Washington, reveel in great detail the character of political, military, social, and economk conditions in Anatolia during the turbulent period of post World War i.

The following is an excerpt from Bristol's letter dated March 28, 1921 to Dr. James L. Barton, the Secretary of the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions:

"I see that reports are being freely circulated in the United States that the Turks massacred thousands of Armenians in the Coucasus. Such reports are repeated so many times it makes my blood bo il.

The Near East Relief have the reports from Yarrow and our own American people which show that such Armenian reports are absolutely false. The circulation of such false reports in the United States, without refutation, is an outrage and is certainly do ing the Armenians more harm than good. I feel that we should discourage the Armenians in this kind of work, not only because it is wrong, but because theyare iniuring themselves.

In addition to the reports from our own American Relief workers that were in Kars and Alexandrople, and reports from such men as Yarrow, I have reports from my own Intelligence Officer and know that the Armenian reports are not true. Is there not something that you and the Near East Relief Committee can do to stop the circulation of such false reports?

I was surprised to see Dr. McCallum sen d through areport along this line from Constantinople. When I called attention to the report, it was stated that it came from the Armenians, but the telegram did not state this, nor did it state that the Armenian reports were not confirmed by our own reports. I may be all wrong; but I can't heir feeling that I am not, because so many people out here who know the conditions agree with me that the Armenians and ourselves who lend ourselves to such exaggerated reports are doing the worst thing we possibly can for the Armenians. "

The letter continues:
"While the Dashnaks were in power they did everything in the world to keep the pot boiling by affacking Kurds, Turks and Tartars; by committing outrages against the Moslems; by giving no representation whatever to the Molokans which are a large factor in the population of the Caucasus Armenia; by massacring the Moslems; and robbing and destroying their homes; and finally by starting an attack against the Turks which resulted in a counter attack by the Turks... The acts of the Armenian army at Kars absolutely disgusted our Americans, including Yarrow".

Because of his objective observations and remarks, Admiral Mark Bristol was frequently attacked and discredited by Armenian and Greek spokesman as "anti-Armenian", "anti-Greek," and "pro-Turkish". For this reason, it is very rare to find any mention of Admiral Bristol in any Armenian publication. Instead they are full of quotations by Mr. Henry Morgenthau who was his predecessor in Istanbul.

Prof. Heath W. lowry, in his artiele entitled "American Observers in Anatolia CA. 1920: The Bristol Papers" states as follows:

"Morgenthau was a confirmed 'Turcophobe' whose hatred for the Turks was matched only by his unabashed support for the Christian minorities under Ottoman rule. To anyone sharing Morgenthau's preiudices(induding the minorities themselves), Bristol's evenhanded objectivity could only be interpreted as 'proTurkish'...Bristol's insistence on the equality of Christian and Moslem alike, marked o drastic change from Morgenthau's championing of the Christian element. it is this fact which accounts for his being incorrectly labeled as 'pro-Turkish' and 'anti-minority'."

Armenian spokesman consistently refer to H. Morgenthau's statements as proof, in their pursuit to convince the politicians that a so-called genoeide occurred. In his tenure, Mr. Morgenthau has never left Istanbul and his only source of information was the Armenian Patriarchate.

George A. Schreiner was a distinguished foreign correspondent who had served in Turkey from February until the end of December 1915. The following excerpts are from his letter dated December ll, 1918 written to H. Morgenthau, expressing strong disagreement with the views set forth in his book "Ambassador Morgenthau's Storey" which is frequently referred to by Armenian activists:

"In the interesj of truth / will 0150 affirm that you saw little of the cruelty you fasten upon the Turks. Besides that, you have killed more Armenians than ever lived in the districts of the uprising. The fate of those people was sad enough without having to be exaggerated as you have done. / have probably seen more of the Armenian affair than all the Armenian affaches of the American embassy together... To be perfectly frank with you, / cannot applaud your efforts to make the Turk the worst being on earth and the German worse, if that be possible". (FOR: HMS-Box No. 12: Schreiner to Morgenthau leffer of Oecember ll, 1918).

Peter Michael Buzanski is the author of a full-Iength study on Bristol's tenure in Turkey, entitled: "Admiral Mark lo Bristol and Turkish-American Relations, 1919-1922". He presents an analysis of Bristol devoid of rhetoric and argues convincingly that Bristol should not be judged from the "standpoint of the American Committee for Armenian Independence". Buzanski concludes that Bristol must be evaluated in terms of the manner in which he represented the interests of the nation which he served. On this account he gives Bristol high marks.


Laxton: British Expats Are Doing No Better Than Muslim Immigrants In Europe
Robert Laxton is a Labour Party politician in the United Kingdom. He served as a member of Parliament for Derby North and a British representative on the Council of Europe. He has been heading the British-Turkish All Party Group since last November.

Robert Laxton is a Labour Party politician in the United Kingdom.

Though he is known as ann avuncular, “come to me with your problems” politician in Derby, Laxton is also actively involved in a pro-Palestinian organization and fights against global health threats like hepatitis and HIV. He was in Turkey as part of an inter-parliamentarian project to promote Turkey’s EU membership. We had the chance to chat about Turkey, Iraq and Palestine, besides his more familiar interests like Derby, education and healthcare.

What does it mean being from Derby?

Derby is an urban constituency, a city of about 240,000 people. About 20 percent of the community is from ethnic minorities. We have longstanding Afro-Caribbean and Asian communities; a large Sikh community of about 12,000 people, and a 9,000 to 10,000 Muslim community who are mainly from Kashmir, Pakistan. We have communities from Hungary, Poland and Ukraine. We have a whole host of people. We have given refuge to Vietnamese people. And Derby receives quite a number of refugees while their cases are being decided. At the last population count in the South of the city, there was something like 60 different languages and dialects spoken. It really is a cosmopolitan city.

Is this why Derby University is known to be active in interfaith issues?

Oh yes. They have an Interfaith Centre. Derby has multifaceted communities and they bring with them different cultures, religions, customs and practices. It is a fascinating place. I have lots of friends in these different communities; I am very lucky in that sense. You know, being invited to all sources of different weddings; Muslim weddings, Hindu weddings, Sikh, Afro-Caribbean weddings...

What about yourself? Is your blood pure British?

As far as I know I am just ordinary mongrel British. What is a British person? Britain is populated by people who came from all parts of the World. The Angles, the Saxons, the French, the French-German … if you go back far enough we are just a completely mixed population.

Is this mixture the reason why you are dealing with global issues like hepatitis apart from the local problems of Derby?

I am the vice chair of an all-party group named the Hepatology Group. This deals with blood related illnesses, Hepatitis B and C. The major problem in Britain is that we don’t do any automatic screening. We think probably a quarter-of-a-million people out there have Hepatitis C and they don’t even know it. And 15-20 years after having contracted the disease, they will end up with a chronic liver disorder that will kill them. One of the things that I am doing is to put more pressure on our department of health to move down the road and start automatic screening. Every time you went to a doctor, you went into a hospital, your blood sample would be checked to see whether you had contracted Hepatitis C. Hepatitis B is a potentially big expensive time-bomb out there. A tragedy is waiting for the people who are involved and it will be very expensive to the taxpayer. So I am interested in those things.

But I also have an interest in the Palestinian issue. I am a member of an organization, the Labour Middle East Council that has done some work lifting the profile of the Palestinian cause. In the UK and in other parts of the world as well, the Israelis have a very powerful and very well-financed lobbying process. And if you do not realize that you will be blinded; you won’t see the other side of the coin, the desperate economic condition of the Palestinians, the Palestinian diaspora and other issues. We have done a lot of work in trying to raise the profile, by asking parliamentary questions, getting debates on the issues. I have spent some time out in Israel. They may not let me in back again. I didn’t try recently. But I went out to meet the late President [Yasser] Arafat and spent some time there. I went to Albania doing a peace of work with the Organization of Security Corporation in Europe (OSCE) for electoral monitoring back in 1997. So I have other global interests also, not just health-related issues.

Do those things bring you some extra votes from the Muslim constituency in Derby?

No, no. I don’t do it for those reasons. I am a politician but I don’t do it for those reasons. I do it because I have a real concern for what is going on in Albania, and the impact of the war in Balkans. I have concern for what is happening in Turkey also. Because of that I took over in November of last year, and now hold the chairmanship of the British-Turkish All Party Group. What I am seeking to do is, again, to raise the profile of Turkey in the British Parliament. I am not convinced that everyone has a balanced view or a clear understanding about the issues involved. Again Greece, and particularly Greek Cypriots, is very effective lobbyists. I think if you are not careful the issue gets skewed.

Look, I came out to Turkey for the first time about eight years ago. I was a member of the Trade and Industry Select Committee. We were here to meet the government in Ankara and to go to southeast Anatolia to look at the issue of the dam in the framework of the Southeast Anatolian Project (GAP). The international consortium put together to build the dam was looking for some extra funds from the British government. We produced a report, which said essentially that we weren’t happy with the situation in Turkey, then. Because we didn’t think that the local people had been consulted, there were associated environmental problems; there were issues about downstream floods below the dam into Iraq and Syria. We didn’t think these issues were properly addressed. That was eight years ago.

Turkey has moved on. In those eight years Turkey moved like 58 years. That might sound like an exaggeration, but look, look at Turkey then and now. It is almost a different country. The difference is absolutely remarkable.

You mean the economic change?

No, it is wider than that. Obviously the economy has developed, the infrastructure has changed immensely. All those things you can see around, the tangible things that you can look and see have physically changed. But I sense something extra. I sense buoyancy, a confidence that I didn’t detect when I first came out here.

When I first came to Turkey, there was a high military presence on the streets. In Istanbul there were road blocks. You couldn’t go too far without seeing the military police or the army. Where are they now? I have not seen one. I guess that must have lifted a burden off the Turks. You know, you can travel around far freely, not being stopped. I just sense that Turkey is far more, I guess, European now.

Do you think Europeans are aware of this change?

No, I don’t. Lots of British people come to Turkey. They say to their friends “Oh I’ve been to Turkey. I went to Bodrum, the weather was great, the sea was wonderful and all the people were friendly, the hotels were great. I had a wonderful time and I can’t wait to go back next year.” But you could say all these if you had gone to the Silver Coast in Spain. The only difference would probably be the language, and there would also be difference in terms of food and some of the social activities. But let’s be honest. The English people speak only one language and many of them don’t speak it well either. So when they go to Turkey or to any other place, they get by because the people in the restaurants and hotels speak English. Unless you go out to business, or come in to meet people in Ankara, in Istanbul you wouldn’t know what Turkey is passing through. And it is a shame. Istanbul is a huge city. I think it is a fascinating city; the Bosporus, the Golden Horn, the Sea of Marmara, the Black Sea, the bridges, the architecture, the mosques; everything about it. And in Bodrum you won’t see this city.

So you see Turkey in good shape to become an EU member?

I see that. Even in the short-term. Of course there are issues about Cyprus and other issues, where other countries are throwing in spanners in order to stop the machinery changing, but I just think, in terms of the European chapters, many of them you meet already. Most of them are only waiting for someone to come and tick the box, tick the box. I think you have done, the nation has done extremely well in a very short period of time. And you are continuing. It is like a momentum. If some crazy politicians won’t come and say; “Stop this, we have gone too far!” it will continue. And that is the message that I am getting.

Listen, we as the British politicians have a duty. France actually blocked British membership twice under [former French President Charles] De Gaulle, you know, they said “Non, Non, Non!” to the UK. Then we had [former British Prime Minister] Margaret Thatcher saying “Never, Never, Never!” We had problems getting into Europe and we are in. And we are a major player. Turkey needs to be a major player in Europe also, and we British have a duty to secure that.

You are a member of the European Council. Do you thing Europe is heading towards a ‘United States of Europe’?

This is the big political argument. The political opponents of the UK government, the Conservative Party, say that this is going to be one big Europe. “Parliaments will go, decision making in England will go, and there will be one big European government,” they say. It is not going to be like that. Countries need to, not just maintain, but nurture their own culture, their own identity, their own language. But they need also to work much more closely within Europe. We need a better system of decision making in Europe. You know, just quicker and more effective than now. Consensus is not always possible. You have to have some sort of a limited majority vote, if Europe is to go forward. I don’t see that as a constitutional issue. I see that as a practical, sensible issue. If you were to take decisions only when everyone has to agree, down the road you will never decide anything.

Some people claim that Turkey will be one of the largest countries in the Council of Europe, and it will be against the soul of Europe to leave the decisions to a Muslim country...

What is the soul of Europe? That critique may come from countries that see Europe as being a sort of Christian Protestant, or Christian Catholic Club. The world has changed. Turkey is a key figure, which is a bridge between East and West, between the Muslim world and the Christian world, between north and south. Turkey has played a huge supportive role in NATO. If Turkey has done such an excellent job with NATO, what is the problem in having Turkey in a wider economic union?

On the one hand you seem to be receptive to the pains of the Muslims, but on the other you supported the Iraq War and voted against an investigation of the decision to go to war. Did your position change with time?

No. And I said this in the past to people who have asked this to me: Given the same situation, I would vote again; if we were to take a decision tomorrow about a war and Saddam Hussein was in power, I would vote in favor of engagement in Iraq. Why? Look, we had large numbers of Iraqi Kurds coming through London. I met some of the women from Halabja, I saw their chemical burns. That had an emotional impact on me.

Even before the war on Iraq came to the horizon I had taken the view in my mind that Saddam Hussein, his sons and the Baath Party had to be removed by any means. And I think anyone may argue with me. They are quite entitled to disagree with me. But I am quite convinced that, looking at what that man and his family did to his own people, this was not state terrorism. This was like personal one-to-one terrorism conducted by Saddam Hussein and his sons. We have heard of people being put into shredding machines. And the lucky ones were ones whose heads went in first. They were putting these shredded human parts in a plastic bag and give them to the wife, or the husband saying; “Here is your father, your husband. Take it home, show it to your family and say to your family, this is what happens if you get to wrong side of Saddam Hussein.” This is beyond barbarism. Let me say once again, under the same circumstances I would vote the same way, again and again.

Do you think the Americans are fighting a clean war in Iraq?

Difficult to tell, no war is clean. British troops are coming out. They have done a good job in the South, in Basra. But there are indications that insurgents are moving out of Baghdad toward Basra. We may have to put troops back in again. The Americans are putting in 21,500 more troops. It is not a good state of affairs. I am critical of the Americans, of the way some of the decisions are taken at back in the US, such as, “No discussions, no contact with Iran; no discussions, no contact with Syria”. I think it is nonsense to say, “We can come in and solve this problem by ourselves.”

There is a national union government in Palestine and they are asking that the EU countries end its isolation; Israel, on the other hand, asks for its continuation. Where do you stand?

Look at the Council of Europe; it is about human rights, promotion of democracy, promotion of laws and governance by laws. So if you talk about democracy issues; Palestinians held an election and Hamas won. That is what the Palestinians voted for. That is democracy. “We are very much in favor of democracy, but, oh dear, they ended up with the wrong decision!” You can’t say that. You just have to deal with this. In this world you can’t pick and chose, and say, “I don’t want to talk to you, but I will talk to this guy here.”

Too much is made of the issue that the Palestinians first have to renounce terrorism. Well fine. But than they have to renounce their position and they have to recognize the State of Israel also. Well if they recognize the State of Israel who can guarantee that Israel will not come out and say “Ah, but there is another point, and another point, and another one… more things that you have got to do.” This is proving to be a stumbling block.

The tragedy of what is happening there is that the isolation is not punishing Hamas. It might even be strengthening them. It is not assisting in any way [Palestinian President] Mahmoud Abbas or what he is trying to achieve. The people who are really affected are the people on the street; the people who are looking for a better life, who want to have some prospects for the betterment in the future.


‘turkish And European Radicals Are Encouraging Each Other’
Right before Dutch Queen Beatrix visited Turkey this year, she attracted a great deal of attention for her comment "In the long term, it is not only Turkey that needs Europe, but Europe which will need Turkey.

If we exclude Turkey, that is when all hell will break loose." Keep in mind this was no regular person making this comment. Shortly after, the Netherlands held their traditional Book Week between March 14 and 24, during which a book on Istanbul's Galata Bridge brought Turkey onto the popular agenda in the Netherlands.

The book, called "De Brug" in Dutch, meaning "The Bridge," had one million copies published, with 20,000 of these in Turkish. Passed out free to readers on the occasion of Book Week, copies of "De Brug" were soon hard to find. Tracing a picture of Istanbul with his pen, describing the city from the Galata Bridge, Dutch writer Geert Mak has brought Istanbul into the homes of people all over the Netherlands. We spoke with Mak, one of Holland's most prominent writers and someone who believes in the strategic importance of building a bridge between the Middle East and the EU by way of Turkey. Our conversation touched on "De Brug," on Turkey and on the Netherlands.

Mak is one of the Netherland's most prominent journalists and writers. He has a following that hangs on to every line he has written, especially those about city life. When the Dutch Book Foundation came to him with a request that he write something that they could pass out as a gift during their traditional Book Week, he decided to write about Istanbul's Galata Bridge.

This was, after all, a bridge which Mak says "struck me with its very identity and being the first moment I saw it." In "De Brug," Mak, who traveled constantly back and forth between Istanbul and Amsterdam to write the book, makes a series of interesting analyses about relations between the West and the East, and how about Turks, despite their difficult conditions, move with the dynamism that lives inside them, not giving any concessions on their pride. And so here we go, let us cross Geert Mak's bridge together:

Let's begin with your book's title, "De Brug," or "The Bridge." What does this symbolize?

Hasn't Istanbul always been a bridge? Just as Turkey lies between Europe and Asia the Galata Bridge also joins two shores of Istanbul. But more than being a bridge, the Galata Bridge is a living organism. It is not just a symbol, but a reality. As are the dreams, fears, and expectations of those spend their lives on it, working, fishing, walking over it.

How did 'De Brug' actually come about?

Between 2005 and 2006, in different spurts of time, I spent about six weeks in Istanbul. The majority of this time was spent on the Galata Bridge and in the area around it. I struck up conversations with people, talked to the people fishing, the various sellers, the passing youth. I hung out in the small coffee and tea houses. I became friends with almost everybody around. Meanwhile, I also had a great guide at that time. He was a young Turkish student. We spent a lot of time together, engaged in lots of debates. We were literally like a micro-version of the EU and Turkey together. The debates we had, especially during the time of the caricature crisis, even if they appeared to resemble the clash of civilizations thesis, actually wound up teaching us both a lot.

In a sense, the book also became a bridge between you two.

Yes, it did. We learned so much. Like one Western philosopher said, the real clash in the world is not between cultures, but between feelings. To this point, right now, China and Asia are full of hope. The Islamic world, especially the Arab world, is full of hopelessness and widespread anger and the feeling of being wounded, hurt. As for the West, it is full of fear. The Americans are full of an aggressive fear, while Western Europe is full of a nostalgic, passive fear. They are afraid of the future, afraid of "others," and afraid of losing their identities in a chaotic world. I saw similar things atop the Galata Bridge: belittlement, fear of not being able to face problems, fear of upholding pride and the kind of poverty which wounds people.

In that case, what do you believe needs to be done to conquer these multi-faceted fears?

The most important step we can take is just getting to know one another. After that, we need to fight against [cultural] myths and assumptions. In both the West and the East, we need to struggle against certain "frozen ideas." There are a few of these circulating in the world right now and they are really very dangerous. And the number one thing responsible for fear these days is these "frozen ideas." When people get to know the world outside their own, their fears are diminished. In my own circle, I see many people who are afraid of the world outside their own. What's more, there is such a bombardment of information these days, it makes everything more difficult. And when politicians emerge onto the stage, hoping to use these fears to their advantage, peoples' concepts of what has actually happened get even more difficult to understand. We need to understand, but of course understanding does not mean loving everything that others do. For example, when people from Turkey come to my city, Amsterdam, they are shocked by the sexual freedom. As Dutch, we are used to it. On the other hand, people from Scandinavian countries see the human body as something which should be open; they are used to this way of seeing things. This has become a part of their culture. There is no embarrassment about nakedness. This is how it is in the Netherlands, too. The openness of the body is sometimes exploited to the ultimate degree, has been degenerated. Sometimes this is reduced to people being belittled and many people are not comfortable with this. On the other hand, there were many non-Muslims that I spoke to when in Turkey who were uncomfortable with the controversial caricatures. This was not a discomfort rooted in religious sensitivities; many people's pride was hurt by this [Danish] stance. An indispensable condition of healthy relations is paying attention to cultural differences and sensitivities.

In mutual relations between Turkey and the EU, Turks often complain that Europeans look down from above on Turks and ignore the cultural and historical values of the Turks in doing so.

Yes, we Westerners need to accept that other peoples' familial, cultural and historical values are important for them. Four hundred years ago, we had similar attitudes. Pride and honor are important, and the West needs to understand this. On the other hand, within the framework of Turkish-EU relations, I want to draw attention to another matter. There is a dangerous coalition that binds nationalists on both sides [Turkey and the EU]. For example, in the cases opened against Orhan Pamuk, Elif Safak, and the assassinated journalist Hrant Dink, what was at issue was not really the content of their writings. These cases, opened by nationalistic lawyers, were really reactions to Europe, using these writers as tools. The goal is to distance Turkey from the EU. And they receive enough of a reaction from Europe to prove them right. At the same time, we have here in the EU right-wing politicians and nationalistic politicians. Like Geert Wilders, who makes comments like "There is no place in the EU for Turkey, they have no freedom of expression, Turkey is not Europe." And I personally, within the framework of mutual relations, when words like "genocide" come up in arguments over the Armenian genocide, refer to this word as the "G word." While Turkish nationalists shout out, "You cannot use this word!" Dutch nationalists scream, "You cannot use anything but this word!" This, in the end, is the same kind of politics, serving the same purpose. I'm sure politicians like this would all have a great time if they went on holiday together.

Like with the Armenian allegations of genocide, what you mean to say is don't push too many sensitive buttons.

Yes. Ok, these are subjects which need to be attended to, but should not be rushed. Leave the historical process to follow its own road. I hate the fact that on both sides, politicians are mixing history and politics together. I am calling out to both Turkish and Western politicians: Get out of this arena, please! History is not something that should be connected with national legends. History is a discipline which requires serious research about things which have happened. Meanwhile though, we should be able to comfortably discuss and debate it. Just as every family may have its own black sheep, every country may have its own dark spots. To this end, the Netherlands did very bad things in Indonesia, and it was not easy for regular Dutch people to swallow this truth. What I mean to say is this: For a society that feels "good" about certain periods of its history, it is easier to look at its own past. For example, it used to be a complete taboo in Spain to talk about the civil war period. But now, grandchildren have begun to ask their grandparents about what happened. This is what is meant by growing up, maturing as a society. Approaching history as it should be approached, not trying to suppress it. Just as there is something called "pride," there is also something called "OK, let's face reality!" I want to call out to Turks that they need to look at history more coolly. And when they are examining their own history, no one should force anyone, politicians should not stray into the arena of history. Historians on both sides should open all their archives and should allow everything to be discussed and debated. Meanwhile, I am aware of the spreading feeling among Turks that "something happened, but what?" A series of painful events occurred, people were in pain. These things need to be known and I think the fact that pain was experienced needs to be accepted. There can be debates on topics like how many people died or how they died, but the important aspect is for societies to look history in the eyes and to face events from the past and not to be ashamed to do so. Myths have to be shoved aside and history must be approached honestly.

Can we return for a moment to EU-Turkey relations?

I want to reiterate that I place a lot of importance on the changes going on in Turkey. Just as EU membership turned out to be very crucial for Spain and Ireland, so too will it be important for Turkey. And at the same time, this is an EU membership which is important for Europe itself. Europe is forgetting some things. I guarantee you that in 25 years we will be begging Turks to immigrate! To wit, when I was doing my research on the Galata Bridge, I saw lots of girls and boys. They were simultaneously working, under difficult conditions, and studying at school. I saw an incredible dynamism. We could apply what I saw on the bridge to Turkey in general. There is an incredible dynamism in Turkey. Europe needs this dynamism because Europe is tired and growing older. Another factor to consider is the Turkish military. It is a very strong military. Europe needs this military. There are also all sorts of geopolitical reasons. Europe needs a stable bridge reaching out to Asia and the Middle East. The worst thing that could happen would be to leave Turkey out.

What would happen?

After being excluded from the EU, Turkey's modernization period would be shelved for awhile. Yes, Turkey would be an honorable country still, but a closed society. The atmosphere where things could be debated freely would disappear and tension would spring up in all areas. Terrible things happened in the past in Europe but Western intellectuals never gave up on freely debating and discussing these events. This is a strength which gives great flexibility to societies and which nourishes creativity. The ability to debate freely allows you to be able to make the right choices for the future. Societies need this in order to find their correct balances. In short, if Turkish relations with the EU break off, Turkey, rather than being a regional strength which balances its immediate surroundings, will likely turn into a radical and nationalistic country. If you look at the region it's in, you can guess which factors might lead to this. Still, I have hope in the changes and transformations going on in Turkey.


A Rumble Heard In Ataturk's Grave
May 20, 2007
The World
By Sabrina Tavernise

SURVEYING the wreckage of the Ottoman Empire in the 1920’s, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk saw an impoverished peasant society that was 90 percent illiterate, whose primary exports were tobacco and dried fruit.

An autocrat, a drinker and a brilliant nation builder, Ataturk set about assembling a state meant to wrench his countrymen out of their backwardness.

Today, Turkey is poised to join Europe — if the continent will have it — in what would be the fulfillment of Ataturk’s vision. But in an irony of history, it is a group of politicians who value Islam who are hoisting Turkey up toward the club, which Ataturk’s secular contemporaries never were able to do. So a look to Turkey’s past is useful to understand its complicated present.

The model for a new Turkish state, Ataturk believed, was to be found in the nations of Europe and the West, where modern thought and reason had made the societies rich. Religion, he concluded, was a major hindrance to becoming modern.

“My people are going to learn the principles of democracy, the dictates of truth and the teachings of science,” a well-known quotation of his goes. “Superstition must go. Let them worship as they will; every man can follow his own conscience provided it does not interfere with sane reason or bid him act against the liberty of his fellow men.”

Andrew Mango, author of “Ataturk: The Biography of the Founder of Modern Turkey,” said that Ataturk “accepted religion as a social fact, but he had no time for it.”

So Ataturk instituted radical secular reforms. Changing the alphabet, replacing Shariah with the Swiss civil code, criminalizing the wearing of the fez and traditional dress, and discouraging the veil were intended to protect the state from religion, not just separate the two. And the approach was not unusual in Ataturk’s day.

Revolutionaries in Mexico and Russia also linked the concepts of modernization and anticlericalism. A few years later, in Iran, Reza Shah would copy Ataturk’s approach wholesale.

Over the next eight decades, the system Ataturk built settled deeply into Turkish society. It brought Turkey up to levels of economic and social development on par with Europe. The secular establishment produced wealthy families who established generously endowed private universities and museums. Turkey became largely literate and acquired a growing middle class.

But politically it remained frozen in time.

While Europe redefined its ideas of modernity in ways that emphasized democracy, tolerance and human rights, Turkey’s leaders continued down a path of rigid, corrupt and sometimes harshly repressive rule. The military remained the central guardian of Ataturk’s legacy, ousting four elected governments in the last four decades of the 20th century. A period of economic openness in the 1980s was the one sustained break in the pattern of state control.

So the political group who claim to defend Ataturk’s legacy became the ones offering the least in the way of new ideas. “They defend secularism in a religious, dogmatic way,” said Akif Emre, a columnist for Yeni Safak, a conservative newspaper here.

A turning point came in 2002, when voters rebelled against a spectacular display of corruption and incompetence by the secular parties and elected instead the party of Recep Tayyip Erdogan — a former mayor of Istanbul whose party, despite its Islamic roots, had proved adaptable to the rules of democracy while holding municipal power.

In the last four years, as the dominant power in the national Parliament, it has drawn more Turks into the political process and adopted as its major goal membership in the European Union. It has passed more than 800 laws to make Turkish laws and standards match those in Europe. It has scrapped the death penalty. It has removed military representatives from several layers of Turkey’s civilian government.

Its domestic audience remains fearful of where any party with Islamist roots might one day lead Turkey; thousands of Turks have rallied in at least three major cities in the past month to express those concerns. “If Ataturk came back today, he would say ‘I’m afraid I need to erase this and start all over again,’ ” said Guldal Okutucu, the head of the women’s branch of the main secular opposition party. “He would have told his nation to wake up.”

But a number of foreign experts and officials have concluded that Turkey’s new leaders seem committed to the kind of dynamic, pluralist society that Europeans might welcome into their club.

“They opened up a system that had to be opened up to get into the E.U.,” said Joost Lagendijk, a member of the European Parliament who heads a committee on Turkish issues. If the parties of the secular elites “had remained in the government it would have been impossible to start E.U. negotiations,” he said.

Israel, which developed a military partnership with Turkey in the 1990s and might have been expected to be suspicious of the new government, has instead expressed enthusiasm. “We are at the highest moment in relations with Turkey ever,” said Pinhas Avivi, Israel’s ambassador to Turkey. “No prophet could have seen it in advance.” Trade with Israel is now $2.5 billion, double what it was before Mr. Erdogan came to power, he said.

But some important Europeans remain skeptical. Nicolas Sarkozy, France’s new president, put opposition to Turkey’s membership in the European Union into his campaign platform, arguing that the country is neither culturally nor geographically part of Europe — a stance that Mr. Erdogan took issue with last week. “Mr. Sarkozy has to overcome these prejudices,” he said. “If we are going to integrate civilizations inside the European Union, and say that the European Union is not a Christian club, Sarkozy has to look at his thoughts once more.”

What would Ataturk think?
Mr. Mango said that the nation builder had no feeling of inferiority when dealing with Europeans. If he were to encounter Mr. Sarkozy today, he said, “he wouldn’t have felt that this just shows how civilized people hate us; it would just mean that Sarkozy is not a very civilized man.”

Copyright 2007 The New York Times Company

"An Astonishing Irony" In Turkey!
By Yasemin Congar

As much as I appreciate Steven Cook's four points that summarize the basic messages of RBNG, I find the book's analysis especially valuable in the passages that deal with the EU reforms in Turkey. The desire to become a full member of the EU not only has resulted in a major --albeit incomplete-- uprooting of authoritarian laws and structures in the country, but also serves as a catalyst for the world to see who/what is modern in Turkey now. As Cook told me in a recent interview, "This is not your grandfather's Turkey." In an irony of history, the forces that are in the forefront of Westernization in today's Turkey come from among the religious masses of Anatolia, while many among the Western-looking secularist elite of the big cities are nostalgic for the modernism of 1920s and not ready to accept what it means to be modern and Western today.

I am just back from a trip to Istanbul where I had the chance to chat with politicians, candidates for parliament and journalists, with different takes on the Ak Party government. Some of them blamed AK for the crisis over the election of the new president: "The Prime Minister," they said, "overplayed his hand. He should have sought consensus, nominated a benign figure and avoided confrontation with the military." Others pointed out that the thousands of people demonstrating against AK had genuine fears that a headscarved First Lady would be a major step in what they perceived as the gradual Islamization of Turkey: "Whether these fears are unfounded or not is beside the point. It is up to AK to erase these fears." Others, still, believed the developments to be the inevitable stages of the power struggle in the country: "Turkey is a sick man that is slowly getting better," said an astute democrat, "Every now and then there is a relapse, but the overall prognosis remains good."

Yet, it was striking how very few people were overtly supportive of what the military had done on April 27, namely the issuing of an e-memorandum that included a thinly-veiled coup threat. Within Turkey's political classes, more and more people seemed to realize what Cook calls "the astonishing irony" -- that the Turkish military no more seemed to be the vanguard of modernization and Westernization in Turkey.

Ak Party has been the locomotive of the EU reforms for over four years. Under EU's guidance, the leaders of AK did more to limit the military's role in the political system than any other elected government in the country's history. The military, on the other hand, has been alternatingly acquiescent and resistant to the reforms. Lately, Turkey's top generals have become more vocal in their criticism of the EU's positions vis a vis the civil-military relations and the Kurdish question in Turkey. Also, they never accepted to remain fully outside the political discourse and decision-making process. The generals continued to speak on a wide range of issues including Northern Iraq, Cyprus, Armenia, genocide resolutions, secularism, Orhan Pamuk, etc.

When the military issued its e-memorandum on April 27, the leaders of AK became the first-ever Turkish politicians to reject such a move and publicly remind the military that the Chief of Staff worked for and was accountable to the Prime Minister. The EU, for its part, was quick to criticize the military.

Even among the secularists who protested against AK in several mass rallies recently, voices were heard against a military intervention. The overwhelming message, however, was not a democratic one, as the official speakers of those rallies, for the most part, supported the military's role in politics. They also criticized the ties with the EU, the US, and globalization in general. Although many in the eclectic crowd might have disagreed, the message from the microphone was one of an inward-looking, nationalistic, and even militaristic mindset.

As the cameras captured a sea of red--of Turkish flags and red t-shirts--thousands of secular Turkish women expressed their fear that some day the Islamists might tell them to cover their heads. The fact that, at that very moment, there were millions of Turkish women whose right to higher education was denied because they donned headscarves did not seem to matter. The demonstrators believed themselves to be, in the words of one speaker who took the microphone at several rallies, "the modern, civilized face of Turkey." The implicit dehumanization of the other--the pious, the headscarved--did not bother the crowd. Neither the democratic and pluralistic nature of modern politics nor the freedoms that are the base of today's Western society and the rule of law that protects those freedoms seemed to register with the speakers at the rallies. For them being modern and Western seemed to be merely a lifestyle and a dresscode. An authoritarian regime could be modern and Western as long as it remained untainted by Islam.

But the subscribers of this ideology are diminishing in number in Turkey. In the Anatolian cities and among the newly-urbanized segments of society, more and more people welcome and participate in the economic boost resulting from globalization and the EU process. Pious Turkish women are no longer low-profile, stay-at home types, but have become politically and socially active under the AK government. While their visibility is perceived as a threat by narrow-minded secularists, that visibility is the result of a modern --and Western-- demand to participate. The headscarf, while it remains a symbol of "backwardness" for those secularists who do not think beyond the official definitions of 1920s, is in fact an item of modernity for it enables the woman to go out of her house and socialize.

In RBNG, in the chapter entitled "Turkish Paradox," Cook provides an astute analysis of the political superstructure that has been slowly but surely transforming against a background of social change in Turkey.

"For the Islamists," Cook writes, "to supplant the officers as the perceived agents of Westernization would not only represent an astonishing irony but also risk a breach with the majority of Turks who overwhelmingly support the political reforms Europe demands. The result would be a significant diminution of the prestige of the officer corps, which would simultaneously enhance that of the civilian leadership, rendering it more difficult for the officers to act autonomously, influence the political arena, or defend the political order."

I could not agree more.

Copyright © 2006 TPM Media LLC

Yasemin Congar has been a weekly columnist and the Washington Bureau Chief of the Turkish newspaper Milliyet since January 1995. In her political columns she focuses on U.S. foreign policy, transatlantic affairs, the Middle East and U.S.-Turkish bilateral relations. In the columns she writes for Milliyet’s Sunday supplement she profiles American culture and society.

Ms. Congar is also the Washington Bureau Chief of the television news network CNN Turk and the host of its monthly political talk show, Burasi Washington (“Washington Calling.”) Currently a regular news contributor to the BBC World Service and West Deutscher Rundfunk, she has been a guest on CNN, NPR, PBS, Fox News and C-Span to discuss Turkish and Middle Eastern affairs.

Before going to Washington, Ms. Congar worked as Vice President and Director of Political Research at the Strateji-Mori Research Group in Istanbul, radio producer for the BBC World Service in London, diplomatic correspondent for the Turkish newspaper Cumhuriyet in Ankara, and diplomatic correspondent and economic analyst for ANKA News Agency in Ankara.

Ms. Congar has a B.A. in Economics from Ankara University and an M.A. in Liberal Studies from Georgetown University.

Armenians Join Greeks In ‘genocide’ Protest
Armenians in the United States have announced their backing for Greek allegations of a genocide in Anatolia during the World War I years.

One of the most influential Armenian groups in the United States, the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA), said it had joined with Greeks in commemorating the alleged genocide on May 19, the very same date when Kemal Atatürk, founder of the Turkish Republic, began a national war of independence against the invading Western powers.

"We join with the Hellenic American community in solemn remembrance of the Pontian Genocide, and in reaffirming our determination to work together with all the victims of Turkey's atrocities to secure full recognition and justice for these crimes," Aram Hamparian, executive director of the ANCA, was quoted as saying by the PanArmenian Internet site.

Governor, local mayors and politicians joined a ceremony marked to commemorate the alleged "Pontian Genocide" in Anatolia and Thessaloniki, Greece, on May 19. A similar ceremony was also held later in the Greek capital of Athens. Demonstrators demanded Turkish recognition of the charges that some 350,000 Greeks were massacred in Anatolia.

The Greek Parliament approved a decision in 1994 to declare May 19 as the day to commemorate the "Pontian Genocide," and Ankara suspects the Greek government is pursuing systematic efforts to win international recognition for the allegations.

Today's Zaman Istanbul

American-Turks Parade In New York
May 21, 2007
NEW YORK – Turkish Daily News

This weekend the 26th Annual Turkish Day Parade organized by the Federation of Turkish American Associations (FTAA) took place in New York. Thousands of Turkish flags decorated the city's famous Madison Avenue and more than fifteen thousand Turkish-Americans either marched along the main avenues of Manhattan or cheered for the parade despite the rainy day.

Over the years the meaning of the parade for Turkish American community has changed dramatically. The first official Turkish Day Parade in the city was held on April 23 1980. Those who attended that parade remember vividly that there were only two flags in the 150 people cortege. The FTAA could not get a permit for the parade for security reasons. As a result the small group had to walk on the sidewalk of New York's famous 5th Avenue. New York Police Department was very concerned also because the first informal Turkish Day Parade was organized to protest the murders The Armenian Secret Army for the Liberation of Armenia (ASALA) had committed. ASALA was a terrorist organization that aimed to compel the Turkish government to acknowledge publicly its alleged responsibility for the deaths of 1.5 million Armenians in 1915, pay reparations, and cede territory to Armenia. During its ten years of activity ASALA killed 39 Turkish diplomats and politicians in Western Europe, in the United States and the Middle East.

The FTAA could not get a permit for the parade in 1981 either. In 1982 however, with support from Ankara FTAA was able to get the permit to organize first official Turkish Day Parade. It was decided that the parade would take place on the weekend that is closest to May 19th, the Youth Day of Turkey.

In the 1980s the parade was a platform where Turkish Americans tried to draw the attention of American public to some of Turkey's international conflicts such as those with Armenia and Greek Cyprus. As years passed, the parade grew and around the mid-1990s became notably large. Over time, this one day event has been turned into a month long cultural festival.

Nowadays the Turkish Day Parade, which thousand of Turks from different parts of the U.S. attend, is a platform to pay tribute to the old homeland, strengthen the Turkish American community in the U.S. and promote Turkey to Americans. Every year around 100 floats in the cortege from soccer clubs to Turkish American Associations and folklore dance groups, to try to present different cultural aspects of their community. Gathering and marching are both political statements and cultural displays. They signify group identity and solidarity against others by taking part in a collective act and statement.

Sociologist Ilhan Kaya says that the Turkish Day Parade represents an opportunity to present the elements that constitute an ethnic identity.

“The very act of organizing a formal cultural parade that depicts the language, religion, food, sports, dances, clothing, history, music, and politics of a group ensures that their ethnic identity will remain a salient issue for the foreseeable future. These events allow Turkish Americans to influence the ways they will be understood by outsiders. These events serve as opportunities for communities to inform non-members about their distinctive traditions, culture, and history,” Kaya says.

This years' crowd of 15,000 is not a satisfactory participation rate for many. In the past four-five years the numbers reached 50,000. The rainy weather is blamed for lower participation however according to general public opinion the scandals within the FTAA and the recent political developments in Turkey estranged many from attending to this year's parade.

Furthermore because of early election rush in Turkey there was relatively low protocol participation from ministers and parliamentarians as well.

On the contrary the 26th Turkish Day Parade managed to draw many Azerbaijanis, Turkmens, Crimean Turks, Circassians, Cypriot Turks, Karacay Turks, and even Albanians and Bosnians to the parade.

Getting Acquainted With An Armenian…
Nihal B. Karaca n.bengisu@zaman.com.tr
Debates on the Armenian issue have now been attached to the show of a Swiss attorney, who sued Yusuf Halacoglu, because he said there was no genocide. This incident has such a nauseating effect similar to spooning a soup of flies, even for those who really want to question history. We can't see the soup because of the flies.

However, it depends on how well the Armenians and Turks share this soup in order to solve their problems. Whether it tastes good or bad; this should be "our" problem, "our" meaning the Armenians and Turks.

The issue now rests on whether we did it or didn't do it; however, reading history is largely a political activity. Even opening the archives is important from a "political" stance; otherwise, while one of two historians looking at the same document would say that the document does not prove the existence of genocide, the other might see evidence of genocide in it. I do not also think that there is an ontological difference between historians defending the official perspective and the "independent" historians. As a matter of fact, how can an "independent" category exist? No one, whose perception of an event is matured enough, one way or the other, is independent enough. Such a sinister history can only be objectively read by a "robot" and this is not possible. While history is such a notion intermingled with reading thorough an idea, how come asserting an idea becomes a crime? Really, I would like to ask what kind of a Europe we are trying to accede to: Expressing a negative opinion about homosexuality causes a scandal, bringing some "excessivenesses" of colored people to the agenda is a taboo, uttering a word about the number of people killed in Auschwitz is a reason for excommunication, saying "we did not commit genocide" is a crime. If the scope of the freedom of thought and freedom of opinion is not limited to a space as narrow as diet lists or the dentist rates, then what a contradiction to label a nation's "opinion" about itself, whether right or wrong, as a crime!

Those, who act "as if nothing happened" from the Turkish side and defend the state's official theses as a priori truths, need to be addressed as well. Even reminding those, who believe that the state can kill people only if it is facing hardship, of the executions by the Independence Courts, events that occurred in our recent history, would be enough, I suppose. The cost of creating a "Turkish nation," deadlocked on the same goal, affected a lot of "Turkish" "medresa hodjas" (religious scholars), who were hanged because they did not wear modern "hats". All the defense indicating that all that was done was "necessary," might perhaps be used for what was done to the Armenians. The system always exceeds its bounds to protect itself. The history of today's noble nations is full of such "massacres." Everyone knows what Catholics did to Protestants in France and the French Catholics have not apologized to Protestants yet. Similarly, Europeans have not apologized to local Mexicans and Indians in the name of what their grandfathers did. This list can go on and on.

The issue is deadlocked over the margin the world attributes to a mentality, on which it stands, that "power belongs to its holder." If you are a powerful country, it is in fact easy for you to produce fascism and present yourself as something other than what you are. If you are a weak society with an "identity problem"- we are sorry -, you should have been a "collector" soul, become as obsessive as noting how many times you have been beaten since the Treaty of Karlofca (26th January 1699), make them memorized by pre-school children, organize campaigns for each separately and include your name into "Rules of Hatred." Thank God; however, Turkey has a consciousness of existence condemned to losing a race by deducing prestige from unjust treatment. The same Turkey; however, is unfortunately a country, whose relations with history is atrophied and has become a victim of a pre-republican "amnesia." Many people are hearing about the Teskilat-i Mahsusa (the Ottoman secret service) because of the Armenain issue today.

It appears as if Turkey and Armenia can only surmount this problem only making "politics." The way to stop the Armenian issue from becoming an ammunition for the European Union (EU) countries, is by establishing "relations" between the peoples of both countries. Not getting stuck on legal advantages or disadvantages, but opening the border gates slowly and slowly… Because getting acquainted with a Turk will change an Armenian's perspective. Similarly, getting acquainted with an Armenian might also affect a Turk. It is only then the climate will change.

May 05, 2005

Armenian Genocide Denial: The Case Against Turkey
By Alan S. Rosenbaum, Special to the CJN
Cleveland Jewish News, OH
May 18 2007
The official policy of the government of Turkey continues to deny the Armenian genocide ever happened.

The genocide occurred in the twilight years of the Muslim Ottoman Empire at the outset of World War I.

Jews ought to be in the forefront of those who condemn this policy of denial because many scholars refer to the Armenian genocide as "a dress rehearsal for the Holocaust." (In fact, a number of officials in the Nazi Reich got their early training by helping the Ottoman Turks deal with their so-called "Armenian problem." In addition, the Jewish community grasps well the malicious, cynical effects of government-sponsored Holocaust denials.

The deliberate falsification of historical realities denies to an aggrieved people (the Armenians) the right to have their history publicly validated and to have claims for restorative justice fulfilled. Yet, the national director of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), Abraham Foxman, recently advised against our involvement in this matter since it is between Turkey and Armenia. Unlike Foxman, I believe no political considerations are sufficiently worthy to falsify or ignore genocide.

The Turkish Penal Code (Art. 301) makes it officially punishable to "insult Turkishness." This code has been used to prosecute prominent Turks like Nobel Laureate Orhan Pamuk (2006), who write or speak about the Armenian genocide; some, like journalist H. Dink, have even been killed. The Turkish government insists that Turks, Armenians and Kurds were all victims of killings and of the chaos that enveloped the region as the Ottoman Empire collapsed.

Countries like Canada, Germany and Austria criminalize the teaching or preaching of Holocaust denial. In France, it is now illegal to deny an instance of genocide when history proves otherwise. The European Union has just ratified a law "banning incitement to or denial of genocide" (arguably including both the Holocaust and the Armenian genocide).

In a full-page statement in The New York Times (June 9, 2000), I and 125 other scholars, including Nobel Prize-winner Elie Wiesel, historian Yehuda Bauer, and sociologist Irving Horowitz, signed a document "affirming that the WW I Armenian genocide is an incontestable historical fact and accordingly urge the governments of Western democracies to likewise recognize it as such." We called the genocide "a dark chapter of Ottoman-Turkish history."

Subsequently, the U.S. Congress has repeatedly tried and failed to pass a non-binding resolution to ask the government of Turkey to acknowledge this reality.

In any case, a true friendship between Turkey and America, Israel (with whom it often shares military exercises and intelligence), and some other nations should not be based on sidestepping or supporting a deliberate falsification of history as important as genocide.

Like promoting hate speech, it degrades the humanity of the truly "victimized" by denying them the right to possess their own history.

Alan S. Rosenbaum, Ph.D., is professor of philosophy, Cleveland State University and editor of Is the Holocaust Unique? (2nd edition).

FBI Teaches Armenian Specialists How To Fight Cyber Crime
The cyber crime training courses, organized jointly with the US Embassy in Armenia, completed today in the Police Academy Yerevan.

The attendees included eight officials from the National Security Service, five from the RA Police and four from the National Bureau of Expertises. The courses were conducted by three specialists of the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation. U.S. Charge d'Affaires Anthony Godfrey presented graduation certificates to the participants upon completion of the course. According to him, the more the Internet is accessible to the population, the more are the risks of committing cyber crimes. A. Godfrey also emphasized the importance of joining the efforts of different countries in fighting this kind of crime.

The courses were funded by the International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs Office of the U.S. Embassy in Yerevan and are part of the U.S. assistance.

Turkish Armenians Threatened If They Do Not Accept "Official Version" Of What Happened At The Beginning Of 20th Century
A letter written in the Turkish language, sent at schools and to several Istanbul's Armenian institutions, of death threat the Armenians which would not conform "to the Turkish official version" of the facts concerning the Armenian Genocide. "Otherwise they will be regarded as accomplices and traitors, and will be eliminated," says the letter, which contains many spelling mistakes, independent French journalist Jean Eckiyan informed the PanARMENIAN.Net. "Exclamations "We are all Armenians, we are all Hrant Dinks" are examples of extreme chauvinism and summons for revolution. Do not forget that except Armenian citizens of Turkey, there are also Armenians from Armenia on our land, and they count over 100 000. Both their addresses and their workplaces are well known. Henceforth we hope to see our Armenian citizens as advocates of the truth. The one which does not take a favorable position for this paradisiacal fatherland must be eliminated," says the letter. And finally it takes again a Mustafa Kemal Ataturk's formula, which says, "When it acts of the fatherland, the remainder is only one detail". This mail is signed by a certain Temel Malatyali.

Turkey's Policy Towards Armenian Not To Change
"Turkey keeps to a clear policy towards Armenia and neither political force will initiate changes. At the same time we should not forget that all things, which happen in that country most of all concern Armenia, than any other country in the region," Ruben Safrastyan, Director of the Institute of Oriental Studies of the RA NAS (National Academy of Sciences) stated at the round table organized by the Turkish Department of that institute.

He said in any cases it is all the same for Armenia which party will rule in Turkey. "Indeed, it is easier to speak with one party than with several parties. I want to remind that when in 2002 AKP became the ruling party in the country, some rumours occurred about establishing economic cooperation with Armenia in order to normalize relations. However, they remained on the level of rumours," Safrastyan underscored.

Currently Armenian Issue On 2nd Place Of Turkey's Foreign Agenda
Turkish FM Abdullah Gul secures the inflow of Islamic capital into Turkey, with the help of which he contributes both to the development of the ruling Justice and Development (AKP) party and the Turkish business, Anoush Hovhannisyan, research assistant of the Institute of Oriental Studies of the RA NAS (National Academy of Sciences) stated at the round table organized by the Turkish Department of that institute. She said it is being done in order Turkey would become an example for other Islamic countries. "Currently Armenian issue is on the 2nd place of Turkey's foreign agenda. However taking into account the recent agreement between Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan and Russia on constructing Caspian gas pipeline the Armenian issue may appear in the first place. If Iran joins the project, it means that Moscow-Tehran-Yerevan axis can become a reality," she underscored.

Turkey Assigns Persons With Knowledge Of Armenian In Diplomatic Posts For Struggle Against Recognizing Genocide
Turkish Foreign Ministry is going to send diplomats with knowledge of the Armenian language to countries with strong Armenian communities. This step is aimed at displaying the high professionalism in the struggle against recognizing the Armenian Genocide. According to a source in the Turkish MFA, together with Suleyman Gokca three more Turkish diplomats who know the Armenian language will be sent to the country's consulate in the United Stated, where exists a strong Armenian community. The Turkish MFA will continue preparation of diplomats who know Armenian, APA reports.

Nicolas Sarkozy Charged Patrick Devedjian To Lead Ruling Party Of France
Former Industry Minister of France Patrick Devedjian will occupy the post of Secretary General of the ruling UMP party. This post was vacant after former UMP leader Nicolas Sarkozy was elected France's new President. At the meeting with Devedjian held on May 17 Sarkozy noted that charges him with the job of party leader and by doing that he lays on Devedjian a great responsibility. Sarkozy also wished the ex-Minister of Industry to take his new responsibilities as soon as possible, IA Regnum reports citing Armenian Public Television.

The newly elected French President today on May 18 formed the new government, which includes 15 ministers. Seven ministers are women. Particularly ex-Defense Minister Michele Alliot-Marie is appointed as Minister of Interior and Overseas Territories.

Rachida Dati is appointed as Justice Minister. The portfolio of Foreign Minister received socialist Bernard Kouchner and Herve Morin became the Defense Minister.

Armenian Genocide Recognition The Only Way To Enhance Turkey's Prestige
`The most efficient way to enhance Turkey's prestige is to acknowledge the atrocities and apologize for them. This would put an end to the mistakes of the past and Turks could meet the future with an open heart,' Director of the Institute of CIS Studies Konstantin Zatulin writes in a letter addressed to Lala Ulker, an advisor at the Turkish Embassy in Moscow.

In his latter Zatulin brings in the words of well-known Turkish writer Ahmed Altan who used to say that the Armenian Genocide is a historical fact and it must not be forgotten.

`I cannot agree with you that the investigation of the Armenian Genocide issue is a task for historians only. As you know, atrocities are assessed by lawyers and not by historians. That is why this outrageous episode of the world history should be given a juridical assessment first of all. Documents are more than enough. Turkey's policy towards Armenians at those times can be defined as genocide, as it's interpreted by article 2 of UN 1948 Convention On the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide.

According to Zatulin, Turkey's denial of the Armenian Genocide is the most annoying factor in the Armenian-Turkish relations and hampers their normalization. Ankara's stubborn desire to force Armenia to abandon its position on the Armenian Genocide issue in exchange for normalization of relations cements tension between the two states. I am hopeful that common sense will prevail in Ankara and it will take this painful but courageous and essential step that put an end to hostility between the two peoples,' the Russian politician writes.

Earlier, Ms. Lale Ulker accused Konstantin Zatulin of `jaundice and distortion of history' in response to his article titled `The bill on genocide will keep memory of Genocide awaken.'

Two French Of Armenian Origin In Entourage Of Nicolas Sarkozy
While some thought of seeing Patrick Devedjian, former political councilor of Nicloas Sarkozy, to become member of François Fillon's government, named on May 16, another Frenchman of Armenian origin, Roger Karoutchi enters to the post of Secretary of State in charge of the relations with Parliament, independent correspondent Jean Eckian informs from Paris.

Roger Karoutchi, of Armenian-Jewish, born in Casablanca (Morocco) in 1951, is aggregate of History and has a Master's Right. After a long political career started in 1977 parallel to the creation of RPR, political party inherited of the "Gaullism", he was a Senator since 1999. Roger Karoutchi is resolutely against the entry of Turkey in European Union and request to the Turkey to recognize the Armenian Genocide.

As for Patrick Devedjian, former Minister of Industry, he becomes the Secretary of UMP on proposal of the French President. He should also become President of the general Council of the Hauts-de-Seine area.

It Comes Out That Yerevan Is An Originally Turkish Land
Employee of the Department of Culture and Tourism of Igdir Zia Zakir Ajar published the recurrent reproachful book against Armenians. According to the ` AzerTage' state agency, the book is called `The evils of Armenians in Igdir through the eyes of witnesses.'

In his book the Turkish historian `brings facts of evils committed by Armenians in Igdir and the suburbs of the city.'

The book also presents the `testimonies of witnesses of crimes' committees by Armenians against Turks. The barefaced impudence is the statement about ` the crimes of Armenians on the ancient Turkic land ` Irevan. It's worth mentioning that Irevan means nothing nothing else but Yerevan.

The propagating book has been published in Turkish and Russian. This is Zia Zakir Ajar's twelfth composition about Igdir.

Sarkozy Will Soon See That Turks Are Not 'From Cappadocia'
May 19, 2007
Gila Benmayor

On the day that the new French President Nicolas Sarkozy moved into the Élysée Palace, I was watching a dance performance “Il Ballo Di Corte” by the French choreographer Christine Grimaldi at the Saint Irene (Aya I.rini). In the company of Middle Age music from the 16th and 17th centuries, the performance reflected a section of palace entertainments. It was in harmony with the Saint Irene's grandiose and solemn atmosphere.

Costumes of the dancers were inspired by the paintings of Paolo Veronese, one of the painters from Venice. A feast table candlesticks on it, is placed at a corner of the stage.

In the minutes that Sarkozy waved to his departing predecessor, Jacques Chirac, after assuming power at the Élysée Palace and in the minutes that Chirac got into his car and left the Palace, we were watching French dancers at the Saint Irene.

Again, at the same hours, Orhan Pamuk, the winner of Nobel Prize in Literature, was attending the Cannes Film Festival, as a jury member.

When journalists asked Pamuk about Sarkozy's presidency and Turkey's the European Union (EU) bid, “Ten years from now, we will be an EU member. I wouldn't know then if Sarkozy will be in the power or not,” Pamuk replied.

It is possible to read Pamuk's statement in the following way: “Sarkozy's presidency is just a detail. Turkey's EU bid on the other hand is a long way to go.”

The rumors say Sarkozy aimed at ascending to the Élysée Palace since the days that he was elected as the Mayor of Neuilly at 27. He is free to object Turkey's membership to the EU and name Turks as “people from Cappadocia” as his desire, but eventually he will mellow out.

Pro-Turkey names

As President of the Turkish-French Business Council in the body of the Foreign Economic Relations Board of Turkey (DEI.K), Ug(ur Yüce says it is profitable to leave some things to “time”.

The new French Prime Minister François Fillon, appointed by Sarkozy, announced his government yesterday. There are some pro-Turkey names on the list and that is hopeful.

First of all, charismatic name of the left is Bernard Kouchner, co-founder of Doctors Without Borders (MSF) and the person who supports Turkey's EU bid, is the new foreign minister of France.Koucher took office in the Mitterrand and Jospin governments formerly. I do not expect that he will change his views about Turkey in one day.

Christine Lagarde whom we all remember her from scuba diving with the Turkish State Minister Kürs,at Tüzmen last summer in southern Turkey is the new Agriculture Minister. Ms. Lagarde was the foreign trade minister in the previous government.

Therefore, in Sarkozy's team she is one of the people who know very well about the dimension of Turkish-French commercial affairs.

Lagarde will most certainly whisper to Sarkozy's ear that the trade volume between the two countries is approaching to €10 billion and the number of French companies established in Turkey is over 500.

The influence of Jacques Attali:Beside the new government Fillon announced yesterday, I know another person who influences Sarkozy. The person I am talking about was the close adviser to the former President François Mitterrand. He is Jacques Attali, an author, a futurist and an economist. I had a chance to have an interview with him in 1998 first time in Paris. I saw him two years ago at the Blue Lagoon (Ölü Deniz) during the World Economic Forum.

As usual, our conversation this time was mostly about Turkey's membership to the EU. The most important thing Attali says whenever we come together is this: “Europe cannot be a global power unless it includes Turkey.”

According to Attali, not only Turkey but also Ukraine and Russia will some day be part of Europe.

I still remember vividly about our interview two years ago, Attali had said Ukraine might become a member before Turkey, so Turkey should get along well with Ukraine.

Attali who cannot think of a future Europe without Turkey knows Sarkozy from his years as the Mayor of Neuilly. While Attali was in his office at the Élysée Palace years ago, his secretary one day told, “There is a young man here. His name is Sarkozy and he wants to meet you,” then she sent him in. That young man is the President of France today.

Since then, Attali has kept in touch with Sarkozy.

File of the “Man of Passion”

In a magazine article titled “Man of Passion” he penned down after Sarkozy was elected president, Attali tells about their friendship of long years and he advises the French president as follows:

“The new president should learn that the state is not just about the Ministry of Internal Affairs. He will learn to be the master of incidents by examining and studying his files, rather than having conversations with people.”

Reportedly, Attali has an “intellectual” kind of influence over Sarkozy. Without a doubt, Turkey is one of these files which Sarkozy has to study over. When Sarkozy opens the file, he will see that we are not “from Cappadocia”.

When he lends a sincere ear to Attali, Sarkozy will realize that he cannot shape the future of Europe without Turkey.

Pro-Turkey Socialist Chosen By Sarkozy For FM

Bernard Kouchner, a Socialist who has been a keen supporter of Turkey's accession into the European Union, has been made foreign minister in the first Cabinet of France's new conservative President Nicolas Sarkozy, who is adamantly opposed to Turkey's EU accession -- unlike Kouchner.

Kouchner, born in 1939, known for his former positions as an outspoken health minister and UN governor of Kosovo, is one of France's most popular figures, largely due to humanitarian work which includes co-founding the Nobel Peace Prize-winning aid group Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders). He has similar convictions to Sarkozy on key issues, such as the plight of Africa, the world's poorest continent, a large swathe of which was once colonized by France. Nevertheless he has been a staunch supporter of Turkey's EU bid, a major difference of view with Sarkozy. Sarkozy's move to appoint a Socialist former minister to the key foreign affairs role in his cabinet has been widely interpreted as a major coup for the new president, who is seeking to broaden the political base of his government.Those who oppose Turkey's EU entry actually consider the EU "a Christian club," Kouchner has argued. In an interview held by Belgian daily Le Soir in 2002 he likened the ruling Justice and development Party (AK Party) to the conservative Christian Democrat political parties of Europe.

"Hands should be extended to Turkey, which is the sole Muslim country who has separated state and religious affairs," Kouchner then said. Blaming those anti-Turkey camps within the EU for putting forth showpiece excuses against Ankara's EU aspirations, he suggested that what they actually aimed at was "an EU design reserved for Christian countries."

Kouchner has already sparked Socialists' reaction by accepting to work with Sarkozy. The appointment of Kouchner is an indicator of "an opening out and transformation" in Sarkozy's well-known policy against Turkey's EU bid, François Géré, head of the French Institute for Strategic Analysis (IFAS), told Today's Zaman.

In the French system, foreign and defense affairs are known to be reserved for policy making by the president. Thus Sarkozy is expected to directly inform foreign policy. Earlier this week Géré, describing Sarkozy as "a pragmatist and realist politician," said, "Sarkozy will assume a manner in compliance with files and France's interests."

Kouchner has been a leading advocate of "humanitarian intervention" -- the right to get involved in another country's affairs if human rights are being abused. He has extended his support for Turkey's EU bid as well, provided it strictly observes its human rights obligations.

He was also one of the rare French politicians who spoke out in favor of a military intervention in Iraq in 2003, saying he was against war but also against Saddam Hussein's regime.

Ali Ihsan Aydin Paris

EU Invites Turkey To Adopt Broader Caucasus Policy
May 19, 2007
Fulya Özerkan
Ankara – Turkish Daily News

Peter Semneby, EU special representative for the South Caucasus, suggests Ankara not narrow the scope of cooperation with the 27-nation bloc in the region due to problems with neighboring Armenia

A senior European Union official has called on Turkey not to limit its Caucasus policy to the problems with neighboring Armenia, saying that the strained ties with Yerevan were narrowing the scope of cooperation between Ankara and the bloc in the region.

“Turkey and the EU have common interests in terms of reform and energy security in the region but this cooperation is limited because of problems between Turkey and Armenia,” Peter Semneby, EU special representative for the South Caucasus, told a conference on Friday at the Middle East Technical University.

He said the problems with Yerevan constrained Ankara's role in the region and narrowed the context of regional cooperation. “I hope this limitation will be removed in time,” he added.

Turkish-Armenian relations dominated the conference on the South Caucasus, with Ambassador Ünal Çeviköz, deputy undersecretary of the Turkish Foreign Ministry, urging third countries including the EU to encourage Armenia to revise its policies with neighbors Turkey and Azerbaijan.

He emphasized that Turkey was keen to normalize ties with Yerevan through a set of confidence-building measures but said they were all unilaterally implemented by Ankara. As an example, he pointed to the rejection by Armenia of the Turkish government's proposal to set up a joint committee of historians to study the allegations of Armenian genocide under the Ottoman Empire.

Asked about last weekend's parliamentary elections in Armenia, Ambassador Çeviköz declined to comment, in apparent reference to Yerevan's refusal to issue visas for Turkish observers, who were tasked with monitoring the elections as part of an Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) group.

In comments on the Nagorno-Karabakh dispute, Azerbaijani territory occupied by Armenians, Çeviköz said the conflict influenced the entire region and that a settlement would certainly contribute to Turkish-Armenian ties.

But when asked if normalization of bilateral ties between Ankara and Yerevan would not contribute to the settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, the ambassador said the problems with Armenia were not limited to the Nagorno-Karabakh dispute.

“We look at the issues from both bilateral and multilateral perspectives. They are all inter-dependent. You cannot separate one issue from another. The problem of Nagorno-Karabakh is not the only problem with Armenia,” he added.

The border gate between Turkey and Armenia has been closed for more than a decade. Turkey closed the gate and severed diplomatic relations with Armenia after Armenian troops occupied Nagorno-Karabakh. Ankara now says normalization of ties depends on Armenian withdrawal from Nagorno-Karabakh, as well as on progress in resolution of a series of bilateral disagreements, including Armenia's discontinuation of support to efforts by the Armenian Diaspora to get international recognition for the alleged genocide.

Sarkozy Is Wrong: Turkey Deserves EU Membership
May 18, 2007
Mark Dragoumis
Nicolas Sarkozy was dead-wrong about Turkey's admission to the EU in the run-up to the French election. EU-inspired reforms in Turkey should foster neighborliness towards the secularist majority Muslim country.

In four years the Erdogan government has - under Brussels' supervision -streamlined the economy achieving steady annual growth of 5 percent or more and made more progress towards consolidating human rights than had ever been made in Turkey during her 80 years of 'secular' governance

Nicolas Sarkozy deserved to win. Dominating the TV debate with his rival he proved to be a leader who is courteous and decisive, knowledgeable and modest, keen on reforming France by consensus if possible without it if necessary.

Madame Royal, on the other hand, displayed outbursts of misplaced anger when she had her facts wrong; an irritating vagueness of purpose peppered with words of compassion for the dispossessed; a willingness to engage in "dialogue" about the issues on which she had no clear policy; but also a personal charm, sadly lacking in her ideological counterparts in Greece.

There was one issue, however, on which Nicolas Sarkozy was wrong. Seriously wrong.

"Turkey", he said, "can never enter Europe because she is part of Asia. Who can ever maintain that the EU should have borders with Syria, Iraq and Iran?" So said a man named after a 3rd-century saint born in Asia Minor, a believer in a religion founded by a man born way off Europe in Nazareth, and now a leader of a country belonging to a continent named after a Middle-Eastern beauty known as Europa - daughter of King Phoenix whose subjects discovered money and the alphabetical script.

Closer to our era, Turkey has been a member of the Council of Europe and, with France's approval, an associate member of the EC/EU for nearly half a century. As of October 2005 she has been negotiating to become a full member of the EU again with the approval of the French government of which Sarkozy himself was a prominent member. In fact, there is no European network of importance, from the Champions' League to the Eurovision song contest, of which Turkey is not a part.

She is also, since 1952, a full member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization although nowhere near the Atlantic. Her European credentials, geographically speaking, are somewhat stronger since over 10 million Turks reside in Eastern Thrace with more than half of them living in Istanbul, the country's cultural and financial capital.

What Sarkozy really meant - to attract Le Pen's voters - is that Turkey is too populous, too poor and too Muslim to ever become a member of the EU. Now, as a president, one hopes he will soon eat these pre-electoral words. Those in Greece who rejoiced that "his election will put an end to... any aspirations Turkey had for joining the EU" had better prepare themselves for a rude awakening. In the meantime, the more they continue fighting for NYNE (Not Yet, Not Ever) the more help they are offering to those Turks who are dead against the West and its values.

As it happens, both the NYNE fanatics and the Turkish chauvinists share the view that "Turkey must turn East not West". For the Turkish military, this means - as they have said openly - that they should invade Iraq and destroy the semi-autonomous Kurdish province that gives support to the PKK rebels.

This columnist's view that Turkey's "learning curve" is worth pursuing (for which he has been diagnosed as being "off his rocker" by an irate reader) is based on facts, contemptuously ignored by those convinced of their inherent superiority over the Turks as self-defined "European Christian humanists".

In four years, the Erdogan government has - under Brussels' supervision - streamlined the economy achieving steady annual growth of 5 percent or more and made more progress towards consolidating human rights than had ever been made in Turkey during her 80 years of "secular" governance. Does it then make sense to say that no matter how "European" the Turks become they will have never any chance of joining the EU?

The slogan of those protesting in Istanbul against the election of a non-Kemalist president of the republic was "no headscarves, no coups". Four military coups from 1960 to 1997 have convinced even the secularists that this is no way to run a country. As for the scarves - worn by 62 percent of Turkish women - one needs to summon all one's power of understanding "the Other" not to dismiss the slogan as outright ludicrous. After all, as somebody commented, it is what is inside the head that counts not what covers it. There has even been a suggestion that pious Turkish women should start wearing wigs instead of scarves. Go figure...

The secularist fanatics have so far failed to realize that what the Islamo-democrats (modeling themselves on the Christian Democrats in western Europe) are achieving is not a prelude to the introduction of a Taliban kind of "sharia" but a sort of "protestant revolution in Islam" introducing a new Calvinist work ethic, respect of human rights and freedom to invest. Faced with secularist brutality (official by the army and unofficial by various assassins of Christians and Armenians), the Islamo-democrats have turned for protection to the EU, the only organization whose "soft power" has proved effective in Europe and the world. Brussels has indeed proved invaluable, so far, in protecting every Turk from any other Turk who thinks differently. The EU has even "convinced" Erdogan to forget about the law punishing marital infidelity that he attempted to introduce.

So what is on the cards now? This columnist will risk a prediction. Mr. Gul will not seek the presidency after the national elections, a move in exchange of which Erdogan - who will certainly win them - will ask the military to acquiesce to the election of a more "neutral" president, probably a non-scarf-wearing Turkish lady.

As for Erdogan's proposal that the president be elected directly by the people, one hopes that this scheme will be scrapped forthwith. Introducing bi-polarity in Turkey's form of government is asking for trouble since even the French have had difficulties with the "cohabitation" of an elected president with a government of different color.

To conclude, Sarkozy and the Greek admirers of his views on Turkey had better start their own learning curve, perhaps keeping in mind what Christ said about how one should behave towards one's neighbor...

Mark Dragoumis appears here through the courtesy of Athens News of Greece. His new book is “The Greek Economy 1940-2004”. Other books by Dragoumis include “Greece on the Couch, Session 1” and “Greece on the Couch, Session 2”.

Copyright © 2007 Spero

Turkey's Foreign Policy Suffers Blow Amid Political Crisis At Home
The dominant feeling among diplomacy correspondents in the Turkish capital nowadays seems to be boredom, as they no longer have Foreign Minister Abdullah Gül's hectic program to pursue.

However, their individual ennui is perhaps an indicator of a more serious problem that is neither personal nor individual: Turkey, once again inward-looking due to a heated political crisis, is falling into a downward spiral of self-absorption vis-à-vis its foreign policy activity.

A list of the international summits in which Gül was unable to participate since he has been at the center of the ongoing political turmoil paints a grim image of the situation: On Tuesday alone, a three-day annual meeting of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) opened in Islamabad. Last Friday a summit was hosted by Croatia where southeastern European and European Union leaders discussed ways to boost cooperation between nations in the region hopeful of EU membership. The Zagreb summit was also attended by EU's Enlargement Commissioner Olli Rehn, Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany, the current holder of the EU presidency, and US Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs Nicholas Burns.

In early May a key international meeting to discuss the conflict in Turkey's war-torn neighbor, Iraq, was held in the Egyptian resort town of Sharm el-Sheikh with the participation of world leaders from Iraq's neighboring countries as well as the permanent members of the UN Security Council and the G8 countries.

No need to mention the high importance attributed by Ankara to all of the issues discussed at these summits -- as an EU candidate country that is aspiring to contribute to the improvement of dialogue between civilizations, as a secular country with a majority Muslim population, and as one that has constantly favored giving priority to the establishment of peace and stability in neighboring Iraq: a regional player that is aware of the fact that resolving the Iraq quagmire has much to do with introducing overall stability in the region and vice versa.

Turkey was represented, however, at all of these summits at the ministerial level: in Zagreb by State Minister Ali Babacan, Turkey's chief EU negotiator; in Islamabad and Sharm el-Sheikh by State Minister Mehmet Aydin.

Nevertheless, taking into consideration opportunities offered by bilateral talks held between foreign ministers for the improvement of both Turkey's bilateral relations and its relations with international bodies, one can't help but consider the possible benefits of bilateral talks between Gül and, for instance, EU leaders, given the fact that the EU is on the edge of a thorny new process that closely concerns Turkey's membership process.

Just Wednesday, Nicolas Sarkozy, whose firm stance against Turkey's EU bid is well known, took office as the new president of France. Although Ankara has so far tried to downplay the possible negative impact of Sarkozy's presidency vis-a-vis its EU membership bid, saying that Sarkozy will eventually "come to his senses" concerning the strategic importance of Turkey's relations with both France and the EU -- noting that assuming the full responsibility of the presidential office is different from voicing popular election propaganda on the streets. The new French president's opposition to Turkey's EU bid, however, made up a definite part of his pitch to attract the same voters who rejected the EU constitution in 2005.

Nevertheless, senior analysts have warned that Sarkozy's opposition to Turkey is something that needs to be thoroughly analyzed by policy and decision-makers in Ankara in regards to the fact that "at the center of Sarkozy's appeal is race [which] could eventually lead to [a] form of low-level civil war in Europe," in remarks by Martin Jacques of the London School of Economics.

Keeping in mind that Turkey has been co-sponsor of a UN-led initiative, the Alliance of Civilizations with Spain, it is possible to assume that Ankara could come forward with stronger arguments in defiance of Sarkozy's electioneering, absent its domestic crisis.

Energy is another field to which Turkish foreign policy-makers spared much time and made a fundamental aspect of Turkey's foreign policy, especially in relations with the EU.

A pipeline deal signed at the weekend by Russia, Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan giving Russia access to gas from the Caspian Sea is bad news for Europe, a senior US official has already said. But it is also not good news for Turkey as it deals a major blow to Turkey's hopes of acting as a transit country in the East-West energy corridor, with the help of the Nabucco natural gas pipeline project, developed to transport natural gas through the Turkish grid to Europe. The weekend's deal represented a major triumph for Moscow, which has long pushed the route over the rival Nabucco project, a US proposal that would cross the Caspian.

What might be useful for better understanding "diplomacy correspondents' ennui," could be looking at what Gül as foreign minister had to deal with throughout this period of time during which a number of significant developments closely concerning Turkey took place.

On April 24, Gül was nominated by the ruling party as the sole candidate in the presidential election. On April 27, only minutes before midnight, the controversial General Staff statement was released on its Web site. The military made clear its opposition to Gül, without naming him, but referring to an "Islamic reactionary mentality" that was engaged in "endless efforts to disturb the fundamental values of the republic of Turkey" and mounting "an open challenge against the state."

In an attempt to overcome the political deadlock over the election of Turkey's next president, the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) declared early elections on July 22. When asked if he would run as president in a popular vote after Parliament approved a key constitutional amendment allowing the Turkish people -- rather than legislators -- to elect the president, Gül told reporters: "My candidacy continues."

In the meantime, in addition to dealing with a hectic domestic agenda, Gül was also sparing considerable time for interviews with foreign media, but this time he was not able to share Turkey's foreign policy vision with the international community in these interviews, as instead he apparently felt the need to convince the international community that Turkey would overcome this ongoing political crisis only by resorting to tools of the democratic system, unlike what all these developments with the General Staff's interference in politics led the international community to believe.

In an interview with Turkish journalists, Turkey's foreign minister found himself in the position of saying "No. I'm the foreign minister for the Republic of Turkey. I'm someone who represents Turkey all over the world. Therefore, when you ask me whether I think I have been subject to a double standard or unfairness, I can tell you I've never had such a complex. Turkey's top secret documents are in my hands, not in those of anyone else. I've been defending the interests of Turkey abroad. Hence, if I am not trusted in Turkey, how many people could there possibly be who could be trusted?" when asked if he had received a message signaling that his candidacy could lead to a military coup.

A senior diplomat's remarks voiced on the same days actually describe the situation well and are useful for concluding this article. Not being able to hide his apparent disappointment that a minister who has had a comprehensive interest and knowledge of certain files concerning foreign policy issues was unable to fulfill his duties, the same diplomat said at the time, "It was Abdullah Gül that this happened to," referring to the General Staff's statement which has already become a landmark in Turkish political terminology.

Emine Kart Ankara

Negroponte Hopes Sarkozy To Reconsider His Objections To Turkey
US Deputy Secretary of State John Negroponte has expressed hope that new French President Nicolas Sarkozy will reconsider his opposition to letting Turkey join the EU.

Delivering a speech at the French-American Foundation during a visit to Paris, Negroponte said he hoped Sarkozy would reconsider his objections to allowing Turkey, a predominantly Muslim nation of 70 million people, join the EU, the Anatolia news agency reported on Wednesday. "Our view is based on the thought that it would be important to integrate this strategically significant country into the European continent. We would simply hope ... that the government of France will keep an open mind on this subject and ... think about what the consequences inside Turkey and for the region might be if the door were closed completely to Turkish membership of the EU," Negroponte was quoted as saying.

Today's Zaman with wires Ankara

Nicolas Sarkozy Takes Over As France’s President
Nicolas Sarkozy succeeded Jacques Chirac as French president on Wednesday, promising to usher in an era of change while holding up wartime sacrifices as an inspiration for the new France he wants to build.

France's new President Nicolas Sarkozy (L) watches former President Jacques Chirac's departure following the handover ceremony at the Elysee Palace in Paris on Wednesday.

In a day of high pageantry and symbolic gesture, Sarkozy made his inaugural speech under the chandeliers of the Elysee Palace, which will be his home for the next five years. "I will defend the independence of France. I will defend the identity of France," said the conservative leader, who is the first French head of state to be born after World War II.

"There is a need to unite the French people ... and to meet commitments because never before has (public) confidence been so shaken and so fragile," he said in an apparent dig at Chirac, a former political mentor with whom he now has strained relations. Sarkozy, who scored a comprehensive election victory on May 6, also pledged to put the fight against global warming and the defense of human rights at the heart of his foreign policy.

His first act after his speech was to greet family members, including his wife, Cecilia, who has hardly been seen in public this year, fuelling speculation about their marriage.

Following a private lunch, Sarkozy rode in an opentop car up the Avenue des Champs Elysees, escorted by the mounted Republican Guard, and rekindled the flame at the tomb of the unknown soldier beneath the Arc de Triomphe.

He shook hands with well-wishers and laid wreaths at statues of France's World War I and II leaders, Georges Clemenceau and General Charles de Gaulle, before honoring 35 resistance fighters killed by the Nazis on the outskirts of Paris.

"Children of France, remember that through their sacrifice, these fine men conquered the freedom that you enjoy today," he said.

He then flew to Berlin to meet Chancellor Angela Merkel in a trip aimed at underscoring the importance of Franco-German ties that have driven Europe's postwar integration.

Back in Paris, Sarkozy is widely expected to name moderate conservative Francois Fillon as his prime minister today, and draft centrists and high-profile leftists into a streamlined cabinet which will probably be unveiled on Friday. Looking to reach across political divides, Sarkozy is expected to name Bernard Kouchner, a Socialist former health minister and human rights campaigner, as his foreign minister. Chirac, who ruled for 12 years, met Sarkozy in private on Wednesday to give him the launch codes for France's nuclear strike force. He then drove off into retirement, with Sarkozy applauding and waving goodbye from the Elysee Palace courtyard.

Reuters Paris

Paris Appoints New Ambassador To Turkey
France has appointed its current ambassador to Lebanon, Bernard Emi, as its new ambassador to Turkey, to replace the outgoing Ambassador Paul Poudade.

Poudade is expected to retire next month. France's former President Jacques Chirac, who on Wednesday handed over the presidency to new President Nicolas Sarkozy, signed Emié's appointment, sources said. Emié, born in 1958, was named secretary of foreign affairs in 1983. In 1992 and 1993, he delegated in the functions of sub-manager of North Africa to the Management of North Africa and Middle-East Department of the Foreign Ministry.

Between 1995 and 1998 Emié worked as technical advisor to the diplomatic assistant of then-President Chirac. After serving as director of the North Africa and the Middle East Department at the Foreign Ministry between 2002 and 2004, he has been representing France in Beirut for three years. Some French Foreign Ministry circles have characterized Emié as a "Ferrari diplomat."

Ali Ihsan Aydin Paris

Gül Rejects Sarkozy's 'Club Med' Proposal
Ankara refused on Thursday a proposal to set up a Mediterranean club, floated by new French President Nicolas Sarkozy as an alternative to full membership in the EU, and urged the conservative politician to respect membership agreements signed between Turkey and the bloc.

Sarkozy, who took over office from Jacques Chirac on Wednesday, is a strong opponent of Turkey's membership in the EU on the basis that much of Turkey's territory lies in Asia, he has instead proposed a lose grouping of Mediterranean countries in which Turkey could be a key player.

"Cooperation in the Mediterranean and cooperation in the EU are two different things. Turkey is a country that has begun EU talks and is in a negotiation process," Foreign Minister Abdullah Gül told reporters."Erecting obstacles to this negotiation process would mean not respecting signatures, commitments previously made. I do not expect this to happen."

Some European politicians, notably Sarkozy and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, remain publicly opposed to ever admitting Turkey. But Merkel, whose country currently holds the EU's rotating presidency, has said she would honor past commitments made to Turkey and would not block its negotiations.

Ankara has held out hope that Sarkozy will display a similar pragmatism and abide by the commitments that the bloc has made to Turkey for full membership upon fulfillment of the bloc's entry criteria. But experts say the optimism might be mistaken. Alain Lamassoure, a close aide to Sarkozy who is expected to be his Europe minister, has recently said Sarkozy would make good on his pre-election declaration of breaking ongoing accession negotiations with Turkey.

"Turkey is a country that has started [accession] negotiations with the European Union. The negotiations started on the basis of a [EU] decision, which was made unanimously, including France," Gül said in Ankara Thursday. "There may be some political developments in member states, but these should have no bearing on Turkey's negotiation process," Gül said, alluding to anti-Turkey sentiment in some EU countries that Sarkozy and Merkel have tapped into. "Once the negotiation process is completed, each member state will make its own decision on Turkey's full membership. Turkey will also make its own decision."

Earlier this week, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan warned Sarkozy that hostility toward Turkey's bid to join the EU would fan anti-Europe sentiments among Turks and damage bilateral ties. "Mr. Sarkozy has to overcome his prejudices. ... If we are to unite civilizations within the EU, if we say the EU is not a Christian club, then Mr. Sarkozy should review his opinions," Erdogan said.

Turkey carried out a series of far-reaching democracy reforms to win the green light for accession talks in October 2005, despite strong opposition among the European public, notably in France, to the accession of the sizeable and relatively poor Muslim country.

Today's Zaman with wires Ankara

French Experts Say Sarkozy Cannot Block Turkey’s EU Talks
Whether France's new President Nicolas Sarkozy will try to stop Turkey's full membership talks with the European Union in line with his clear opposition in pre-election speeches to Turkey's entry into the EU is a matter of curiosity, not only for Ankara but for Brussels and other EU capitals as well.

Sarkozy and Merkel pose for the photographers in front of the Berlin Reichstag building, the seat of Germany’s lower house of parliament Bundestag, before their talks in Berlin on May 16.

Although it is hard to make an immediate assumption since this is the very first experience as a president for Sarkozy, who served as interior and finance minister in the past, French experts in Paris believe that Sarkozy will review his stance on Turkey after officially taking office on Wednesday.

Political scientist Didier Billion of the Paris-based Institut des Relations Internationales et Strategiques (Institute for International and Strategic Relations [IRIS]) suggests that there will be "a negatively hardening" or "change" in Paris' policy regarding Turkey's EU process as Sarkozy would not like to get "involved in a dispute within the EU in the short term."

Drawing attention to the fact that the EU is already seeking a way out of a two-year-old stalemate over its stalled constitution, Billion said Sarkozy's priorities would be focused on this issue. Any hard move against Turkey by the new president of France will lead to new fault lines within the EU as particularly countries such as Britain and Spain would definitely feel uneasy with such a move, he said.

Daniel Vernet, director of the international relations bureau at Le Monde, meanwhile, brings to mind the fact that it is a tradition in France for new presidents to honor commitments made by their predecessors.

Sarkozy's Turkey policy will be in the form of "raising new obstacles by using all possible opportunities without suspending membership talks and eventually slowing down pace of negotiation process," according to Vernet.

"Sarkozy has other things to do," says Frédéric Allemand of the Paris based-Institute of Political Studies. Sarkozy will not take the risk of "being excluded" by highlighting the issue of Turkey's EU bid, Allemand notes.

Describing Sarkozy as "a pragmatist and realist politician," François Géré, head of the French Institute for Strategic Analysis (IFAS), says, "Sarkozy will assume a manner in compliance with files and France's interests."

"This manner of Sarkozy will not be an ideological one," as he will draw up his EU policy with the Germans and the Brits, Géré elaborates, suggesting that Sarkozy will be a president "of the same mind as outgoing British Prime Minister Tony Blair."

‘Don’t expect gifts!’
The majority of French experts assume that Sarkozy will tone down his statements against Turkey just like Germany's Angela Merkel did after taking office as chancellor in November 2005. Sarkozy and Merkel, during a highly symbolic but also significant meeting on Wednesday evening, chose to briefly address the issue of Turkey's full EU membership process -- an issue of intense interest by both conservative leaders. Hours after taking office earlier in the day, Sarkozy flew to the German capital, where he was warmly embraced by Merkel upon his arrival.

Stressing that EU is "a compromise machine," Billion asserts that Sarkozy could change similar to Merkel, however warns that his change might be at the same level at Merkel's.

"Merkel formed a coalition government with the Social Democrats, who support Ankara's bid, whereas Sarkozy gained a clear victory, and he will strengthen his position in the upcoming parliamentary elections," Billion noted. "Turks should not expect a gift from Sarkozy," he asserted, underlining that Sarkozy will not hesitate to take the initiative of blocking Turkey's EU negotiation process in the long term.

Recent political turmoil is available to be used as "a tool" by those who are against Turkey, Billion said. Completely stopping negotiations with Turkey after this point is extremely different, he added, while noting: "A very grave reason will be needed for being able to do so. A coup by the military perhaps..."

Ali Ihsan Aydin Paris

The ‘Sarkozysm’ Era In France
France is without doubt a modern country in many aspects, but Sarkozy is hoping to turn France, which he has taken over from Chirac, into a more modern place by ridding it of the sluggishness it has been suffering from.

Some French analysts have already started calling this “Sarkozysm.” We will see whether the thoughts and deeds of the new president will transform into a doctrine that ends with “ism.” In a time when Europe lacks real leaders, it is possible for Sarkozy to emerge from France as a real leader. It is obvious that certain things -- or many things -- will change in France with Sarkozy, and its foreign policy is no exception. Will his stance on Turkey be among those things to change with regard to the EU? Our hope is that the things that change in France in relation to EU policies will not be France’s longstanding policy, but Sarkozy’s negative stance.

Sami Kohen, Milliyet

Turkish "Equilibrium" - 12 Points For Hayko, And Karabakh For Azerbaijan
AZG Armenian Daily

We were expecting that Azerbaijan would painfully echo Armenia's participation in "Eurovision 2007" and its obtained results. But not so much: Azerbaijan provoked its forgotten absurd viewpoint that Armenians presented themselves in "Eurovision 2007" with "Azerbaijani national instrument" duduk. Armenians are accustomed to this kind of groundless announcements.

Unfortunately Azerbaijan does not adapt to the idea, that it's not everything that may be decided by unscrupulous policy. Most of the Azerbaijani delegates express their dissatisfaction to the fact that Turkey gave 12 points to the Armenian singer.

By a peculiar coincidence these days the previous Ambassador of Turkey in Azerbaijan Ulan Cherikoz, who is now the deputy advisor of the Foreign Ministry of Turkey, announced that Baku is very close to the settlement of Karabakh conflict corresponding to its own interests.

Here is an example of Turkish "equilibrium".

Armenian Woman Climbing The Political Ladder
May 18, 2007
ANKARA Turkish Daily News

A Turkish Armenian, Verkin Arioba, applied to be a parliamentary deputy for the Justice and Development Party (AKP) and now awaits the vital decision of being placed on the party's electoral list.

If accepted, she will be the first parliamentary candidate of Armenian origins since the 1980s.

Verkin Arioba, 61, told the Turkish Daily News that she aims to continue working on conflict resolution between Turks and Armenians, and European Union- Turkey relations if elected.

Arioba does not say 'yes' or 'no'
In response to the critical question on Armenian claims of genocide, she said: “This is an issue of history. Insisting on discussing the issue everyday causes disadvantages. Let us look forward, looking back is not our duty.”

Arioba's father was among Turkey's first businessmen, the Kasapyan family in Ankara. Arioba noted that she did not lose any relatives during the expulsion of Armenians between 1915-1919.

“I lost some of my relatives during the independence war, but none during the expulsion,” Arioba added.

Why AKP?
After working in the Beyoglu branch of AKP for 2 years, she stressed that she knew all the procedures in AKP and had a chance to compare it with other parties given her background. However she is not sure whether or not she can manage a seat in Parliament.

She added that the previous parliament speaker Sabit Osman Avci encouraged her to enter politics.

Arioba is known to be critical of Orhan Pamuk, Turkey's first writer to win the Nobel Prize and Hrant Dink, a Turkish Armenian journalist assassinated in January.

The Armenian deputy candidate added that she received her family's approval and that of the Armenian Patriarch Bartolomeos before taking her decision.

“As an Armenian, I might be more influential for defending the rights of Turkey in the EU, if I am elected as a deputy,” said Arioba who is educated abroad. “My advantage in the elections is being an Armenian” Arioba added.

She is founder and executive director of the Historical Heritage Protection Foundation and played an active role in the opening of Akdamar Church located in the eastern province of Van.

Akdamar, an Armenian church reopened as a museum on March 29 after extensive renovation that took place from May 2005 to October 2006.

Erdogan's disabled translator applies for candidacy

Another interesting candidate is Nurben Cin, from AKP. A disabled Alevi (a distinct Islamic sect) and a women with hearing impairment, Cin is a familiar name to the Turkish public. She has been working with Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan translating his words using sign language for the deaf and mute.

Turkey And Armenia
Clash Of Civilisations

 This content mirrored from TurkishArmenians  Site ©
May 17th 2007 | KARS
Beleaguered Armenians in Turkey—and a closed border with Armenia
FOR a seasoned diplomat, Hasan Sultanoglu Zeynalov, Azerbaijan's consul-general in Kars, eastern Turkey, is unusually indiscreet. He openly complains about Naif Alibeyoglu, the mayor, who is promoting dialogue between Turkey, Azerbaijan and their common enemy, Armenia, just over the border. “I don't believe in dialogue,” Mr Zeynalov snorts. He recently ordered his compatriots to boycott an arts festival organised by the mayor after finding that “there were Armenians too.” Like his masters in Baku, Mr Zeynalov is unnerved at the thought of his country's biggest regional ally suddenly making peace with Armenia.

He will have been cheered by the victory of Serzh Sarkisian, Armenia's nationalist prime minister, in a general election on May 12th. Mr Sarkisian is said to have engineered a last-minute ban on Turkish observers of the election. “I think it would be unnatural to receive observing representatives from a country that does not even wish to have a civilised official dialogue,” he commented.

Mr Sarkisian's hawkish views are echoed by Robert Kocharian, the Armenian president, whom he is tipped to succeed in a presidential election next year. Both men hail from Nagorno-Karabakh, a mountainous enclave wrested by the Armenians from Azerbaijan in a vicious war in the early 1990s. This prompted Turkey to seal its border (but not air links) with Armenia in 1993. The effect on Kars's economy has been disastrous, which is why Mr Alibeyoglu is so keen to reopen the border.

Ethnic Azeris, who make up a third of his city's 80,000 residents, are less enthusiastic. They are likely to vote in droves for the far-right MHP party in Turkey's parliamentary election on July 22nd. The party's fortunes have risen on a tide of xenophobic nationalism that has engulfed Turkey. Dismissing opinion polls that give Mr Alibeyoglu's AK party a big lead over its rivals, Oktay Aktas, the local MHP boss, confidently predicts victory. He would like Turkey to invade northern Iraq and to hang the Kurdish PKK rebel leader, Abdullah Ocalan. He also says there is no question of easing the blockade on Armenia—certainly not until it stops referring to his region as western Armenia and calling the mass killings of Ottoman Armenians in 1915 a genocide.

The sensitiveness of the genocide issue was reflected in January in the killing of Hrant Dink, an ethnic-Armenian newspaper editor in Istanbul, who had talked openly about it. The killer was a school dropout from the port of Trabzon. Mr Dink's lawyer, Ergin Cinmen, says there is compelling evidence that the Istanbul police were given warning of a planned attack at least a year ago, but they did nothing to protect Mr Dink. This week Istanbul's Armenians were shocked once again by a letter sent from Trabzon warning them to defend Turkey against the genocide claims or “face the consequences”. It was delivered to an Armenian primary school.

Such threats have dispelled the surge of goodwill that followed a huge turnout at Mr Dink's funeral and the reopening in March of an old Armenian church restored by Turkey's AK government. Etyen Mahcupyan, who replaced Mr Dink at his newspaper, says some of his kin are now talking of leaving Turkey for good. The border may stay closed for many more years.

Turk Goes On Trial In Switzerland For Denying Armenian Genocide
March 6, 2007

GENEVA: A Turkish politician went on trial Tuesday in Switzerland for denying that the mass killings of Armenians by Ottoman Turks during World War I amounted to genocide.

Dogu Perincek, head of the Turkish Workers' Party, called the Armenian genocide "an international lie" during a speech in the Swiss city of Lausanne in July 2005.

The state prosecutor has called for a six month prison term for violating a 1995 Swiss law that bans denying, belittling or justifying any genocide. The maximum penalty is three years.

Perincek told the Lausanne criminal court that there had been no genocide against Armenians, but there had been "reciprocal massacres," according to Swiss Radio.

"I defend my right to freedom of expression," Swiss Radio quoted Perincek, 65, as saying in German. "There was no genocide, therefore this law cannot apply to my remarks."

The case has further soured relations between Switzerland and Turkey. Ankara criticized the decision to prosecute the case and later canceled an official visit in 2005 by Joseph Deiss, who was the economy minister at the time.

If found guilty, Perincek would become the first person to be convicted under the law. Twelve Turks were acquitted of similar charges in 2001.

Turkey denies charges by Armenia and other countries that 1.5 million Armenians died in a systematic genocide at the hands of Ottoman Turks beginning in 1915.

Turkey says that hundreds of thousands of both Muslim Turks and Christian Armenians died in a conflict during the collapse of the Ottoman Empire.

A verdict is expected Friday.

Copyright © 2007 The International Herald Tribune

Deutsche Bank And Dresdner Bank Representatives Refused To Meet Armenian Genocide Heirs' Attorneys
17 May 2007
Three Armenian-American attorneys, Brian S. Kabateck, Mark J. Geragos and Vartkes Yeghiayan, are in Berlin, Germany seeking to meet with officials from Deutsche Bank and Dresdner Bank over lawsuits stemming from the 1915 Armenian Genocide in what is now Turkey. The banks have refused to meet so far. The attorneys filed a lawsuit last year against Deutsche and Dresdner Banks charging the two banks held Armenian families’ money and assets that had been deposited in their banks before 1915 and retained assets looted by the Turkish government. (Varoujan Deirmenjian, et. al. v. Deutsche Bank, A.G., Dresdner Bank, A.G., et. al., January 13, 2006, Los Angeles Superior Court).

The attorneys met with German officials while in Berlin last week. The attorneys believe the meeting was productive. The content of the meeting is confidential. At a news conference after the meeting, Kabateck, Geragos and Yeghiayan discussed the present status of the suit against Deutsche Bank and Dresdner Bank and asked that the banks be good corporate citizens and sit down to discuss resolution of the claims against them.

"The German government has been very admirable in acknowledging the Armenian Genocide," says Kabateck, partner with the Los Angeles, California-based Kabateck Brown Kellner. "Turkey says it didn’t happen. It is shameful that Deutsche Bank and Dresdner Bank are acting more in line with Turkey and do not feel obligated to return assets rightfully belonging to Armenians. It just adds to the disregard and degradation of a group of people that have suffered horribly."

Deutsche Bank’s attorneys in the United States state that the banks will not meet with the plaintiff's attorneys until pending motions seeking its attorneys’ disqualification for tampering with plaintiff's expert consultant are withdrawn. "Deutsche Bank’s precondition to meet with us appears to be a tacit recognition of the strength of our expert tampering charges," says Mark Geragos, partner with Geragos & Geragos. "At this point, just about all the Armenians who lived through the genocide have passed away. The German banks probably think if they wait long enough, no one will be left to seek the assets that were theirs. Armenians are a very determined people. We do not give up. Now, it’s up to Armenian descendants to make sure their ancestors are not forgotten," PR WEB reports.

Turkish Historical Union: "Armenian Statemets Will Cause Split In European Union"
17 May 2007
In the course of the May 12 "Armenian Cause" conference held in Anatolia, professor Yusuf Halacoglu, chairman of the Turkish Historical Union, emphasized the claims on the recognition of the Armenian genocide are directed against the Turkish state, adding that the decisions on the recognition will never be compulsory for Turkey.

The Turkish newspapers responded to this statement by Halacoglu on the next day. In particular, "Zaman" stated that the claims to recognize the Armenian Genocide may not only threat Turkey, but also may split the European Union. According to Halachoglu, this is conditioned by the fact that Nikola Sarkozy was elected French president and this may be quite crucial for Europe. He said that Sarkozy faced serious confrontation, adding that his claims to refuse Turkey's membership may also cause big complications for the European Union.

Moreover, Halacoglu demanded that Sarkozy should give up its determination in the issue of refusing turkey's membership and supporting the French bill on criminal execution for the denial of the genocide. He also warned the French president that the rest of the European states will accuse France of committing genocides in Algeria and Rwanda, and this will cause a big split in the European Union.

Foreign Ministry Diplomat Learns Armenian
17 May 2007
The Turkish Foreign Ministry launched a new education based strategy to counter Armenian genocide allegations, reported CNN Türk yesterday. According to the news channel, the Foreign Ministry decided for the first time in its history to send one of its diplomats abroad for Armenian language training.

This came after being plagued by a shortage of personnel that are able to speak Armenian.

 This content mirrored from TurkishArmenians  Site © pix

Turkey’s Armenians In Crossfire Between ‘fanatics’ On Both Sides
Archbishop Mesrob Mutafyan, patriarch to Turkey’s Armenian community, feels Turkish Armenians are caught in the crossfire as fanatics on either side attack one another.

Speaking to Zaman daily journalist Nuriye Akman, Patriarch Mesrob II expressed his frustration with religiously motivated attacks in Turkey, including last year’s killing of an Italian pastor and the more recent slaying of three Bible publishers in Malatya.

“I can say that we sometimes experience the feeling of ‘being stuck in between’ Turkish and Armenian fanatics. This sometimes appears to me as being stuck in a crossfire and sometimes two kinds of love. Two fires, for the nationalists on both sides are firing at each other unabated, which is harder on us as the Armenians of Turkey. Two kinds of love, because we have adopted and we love the language, traditions and culture of both sides. For this reason, as I always say, establishing peace between these two peoples would make Turkey’s Armenians the most happy.”

The patriarch also told Akman that having lived in a Muslim country for centuries offered the benefits of an environment of tolerance between different religions. “Church bells ringing and the Muslim prayer call mix with each other, particularly in Istanbul, and create a mystical atmosphere. At the end of the day both the church bell and the ezan praise God’s name and call believers to prayer. We should stand against any formation that might threaten this environment of tolerance.”

Mesrob II also said he found it hard to believe what was currently going on in Turkey. “In the neighborhood where I grew up we all lived together as Turks, Armenians, Greeks and Jews and played together as kids. Everybody used to know the dates of holidays for all religions and exchanged greetings during these times. Now that I look at these recent painful incidents we have been through I hardly know my country that I had known as well as my own life.”

The patriarch also expressed his opinion that it was time for Turkey to improve dialogue with Armenia and the diaspora. “Journalists, youth organizations, academics and civil society organizations should make frequent visits to both countries and improve humane relations between the two countries. Difficult issues could be dealt with later. First mutual confidence and understanding should be established.”

Patriarch Mesrob II also offered his belief that if Turkey’s Armenian community was represented in the Turkish Parliament it would contribute greatly to improving tolerance and understanding. “If our political parties were more supportive of Armenian students who might be interested in politics, they would have made a concrete step to improve the more abstract concepts of citizenship and tolerance.”

Common grounds between Islam and Christianity
The patriarch said there were many common points between Islamic and Christian mysticism. “Mysticism is actually tantamount to transcending the dogma. Is it possible not to agree with [Turkish Sufi thinker] Mevlana Jelaluddin Rumi on most issues?” He said Mevlana’s message was most important, referring to Mevlana’s widely known poem, “Come, come again, whoever you are, come!” The patriarch interpreted Mevlana’s call as an invitation to the door of God. He also said he respected Islam’s Prophet Mohammed as the founder of a great civilization. “I feel great respect,” he explained.

Sarkozy in France
The patriarch expressed hopes that Nicolas Sarkozy, who recently won the presidential elections in France, would change his staunchly anti-Turkish discourse once he took office. In response to a question asking what would happen if a bill, taken up by the French Parliament earlier, criminalizing the denial of Armenian claims of a genocide committed by the Ottoman Turks in 1915, the patriarch said if the bill reappeared on the agenda it would harm French-Turkish relations.

Instead, he opined that a board of Turkish and Armenian historians as well as French historians should be set up to investigate the allegations and the relations of the two nations throughout centuries. “True, painful events happened under the Union and Progress government [which came to power in 1908], however it would be wrong to leave an entire history behind the shadow of those incidents, given the friendly relations the Turkish and Armenian people have had since the fifth century.”

Today’s Zaman Istanbul

Sarkozy To Blackmail The Eu Over Turkey
Those thinking that Sarkozy will tone down his statements -- unlike German Chancellor Angela Merkel -- against Turkey after he starts exercising all his presidential authorities are seriously mistaken.

In fact, he has based his Turkey opposition right in the middle of his ideological world view. A right-wing EP member from circles close to him, Alan Lamassoure, has been making statements that clarify all doubt on his stance. According to Lamassoure, who is expected to be appointed as France’s Minister of EU affairs, “Europe should now stop lying to Ankara” about membership. According to some commentators, Paris will not shy away from imposing the condition of, “Either Turkey or the constitution.” And everyone knows that the European Union cannot pass either a constitutional amendment or even the simplest new legal framework without the approval of France. Briefly, Europe is preparing to launch into a serious fight over Turkey.


Is Mr Sarkozy The New Iron Lady Of France?
by Anatole Kaletsky
AS Tony Blair bows out of British public life, while a new political era begins in France with the election of Nicolas Sarkozy, a sceptical voter may ask whether such changes in personnel still mean very much in a world where national autonomy is swept away by the tides of globalisation.

This scepticism is often answered by pointing to the one living politician who did unquestionably transform her country: Margaret Thatcher.

Mr Blair was sometimes been described as the true heir to Mrs Thatcher, because he entrenched her reforms irreversibly into British life. But Mr Blair’s generally comfortable, prosperous and consensual Britain was light years away from the anguished and divided country of the Thatcher decade - which has been good news for most British voters, though not perhaps for the historical standing of T. Blair.

But what about the decade ahead? Could the heroic figure of this generation, who dominates the politics of the early 21st century, turn out to be Mr Sarkozy?

Mr Sarkozy has obvious parallels with Mrs Thatcher: the abrasive and radical image and the promises to break with the past, liberate private enterprise, cut taxes and curb trade unions. Even more reminiscent of Mrs Thatcher is the venomous hatred that Mr Sarkozy inspires in the French Left.

But Mr Sarkozy has sent many messages in the opposite direction, denouncing globalisation, boasting about industrial intervention, offering to preserve the privileges of government workers and promising French voters protection against the challenges of free trade. His first speech after the election was about unity and consensus and his spokesmen have reassured French voters that “Nicolas Sarkozy has no intention of ramming things through. He has clearly said that he would consult the social partners (unions and employers’ groups) to work out the modalities of a dialogue about change.”

So is Mr Sarkozy an idealistic radical like Mrs Thatcher or a triangulating consensus-builder like Mr Blair? I cannot begin to predict this, but it would be interesting to put the dichotomy between radicalism and compromise into historical context by recalling the ambiguities that attended even Mrs Thatcher when she first came to power.

Mrs Thatcher is now remembered as an uncompromising and divisive figure. But this was not the only image she presented in her first election campaign - and she might never have become a true radical had it not been for the Falklands conflict.

Everyone recalls Mrs Thatcher’s attempt to reassure the voters from the steps of Downing Street on her very first day in power: “Remember some words of St Francis of Assisi which are particularly apt at the moment: ‘Where there is discord, may we bring harmony.’ To all the British people - howsoever they voted - may I say this. Now that the election is over, may we get together and strive to serve and strengthen the country of which we are so proud.”

Coming from the most divisive and belligerent politician in British history, this statement is often cited as a classic of political irony, yet Mrs Thatcher probably meant it at the time. She probably hoped to unite the country behind her, rather than cleave it apart. Consider what she said on other issues of substance during her 1979 campaign.

On the role of trade unions: “The trade union movement sprang from a deep and genuine fellow-feeling for the brotherhood of man. A strong and responsible trade union movement could play a big part in our economic recovery. The trade unions are part of Britain and if Britain is to recover the trade unions must be part of that recovery. British industry can’t prosper unless management and unions work together in partnership.”

On government subsidies for declining and nationalised industries: “Of course, government can help to ease industrial change in regions dependent on older, declining industries. We do not propose sudden, sharp changes in the measures now in force. We want to see those industries that remain nationalised running more successfully and we will therefore interfere less with their management.”

On trade protectionism: “We will vigorously oppose all kinds of dumping and other unfair foreign trade practices that undermine jobs at home. We also believe in a revised ‘safeguard’ clause, to give us better defence against sudden and massive surges of imports that destroy jobs.”

On the European Union: “If we wish to play our full part in shaping world events, we must also work honestly and genuinely with our partners in the European Community. There is much that we can achieve together, much more than we can achieve alone. It is wrong to argue, as Labour do, that Europe has failed us. The next Conservative Government will restore Britain’s influence by convincing our partners of our commitment to the Community’s success. We attach particular importance to the co-ordination of member states’ foreign policies. In a world dominated by the superpowers, Britain and her partners are best able to protect their international interests and to contribute to world peace and stability when they speak with a single voice.”

Finally, on her entire political philosophy, which she presented as one of co-operation and reassurance rather than conflict: “Change is often difficult and sometimes frightening. The changes that are necessary now, however, should not be too difficult; and they should certainly not be frightening. The changes which we all know in our hearts we have to make are not great leaps into the unknown. They are merely changes to bring back what we all regret having lost. [Our policy] calls not for upheaval or conflict or division; it calls for balance; for a land where all may grow, but none may grow oppressive.

“Its message is quiet but insistent. It says this: let us make this a country safe to work in; let us make this a country safe to walk in; let us make it a country safe to grow up in; let us make it a country safe to grow old in. And it says, above all, may this land of ours, which we love so much, find dignity and greatness and peace again.”

The last two paragraphs could have been spoken by Segolene Royal - or Tony Blair. Which only goes to show that politicians must be judged not by their words but their actions - and that their true legacy is shaped less by their ideologies and intentions than by unexpected events.

© The Times, London

Defeated Royal Blames Socialist Divisions For Presidential Election Loss
Segolene Royal blamed divisions in France's Socialist Party for her presidential election defeat and urged colleagues to pick a candidate for the 2012 poll soon to avoid a repeat.
Her appeal got a cold reception from some leftist veterans who believe Royal wants to seize control of her party on the back of the high profile she built during her doomed bid to become France's first woman president. Royal lost to conservative leader Nicolas Sarkozy last weekend, the Socialist party's third consecutive presidential election defeat. Party elders wanted to postpone any post-mortem until after June's parliamentary election, hoping to rally their dispirited forces to prevent Sarkozy from winning a landslide. But Royal raked over the ashes during a meeting of the Socialist national council on Saturday. She told delegates that while Sarkozy had enjoyed unfailing loyalty from his rightist allies, she felt constantly threatened by splits within her own camp and she talked of betrayal. "Every morning I would open the newspapers and ask myself which Socialist was going to attack me over what I was saying."

Paris Reuters

No Major Shift Expected In Armenia’s Policy After Polls
Analysts and observers have held little hope for a dramatic shift in foreign policy of Turkey's estranged neighbor Armenia following the weekend's parliamentary elections in which pro-presidential parties won a large majority -- and with Yerevan being expected to continue to put worldwide recognition of an alleged Armenian genocide at heart of its foreign policy decision-making mechanism.

Armenia's Prime Minister Serzh Sarksyan casts his ballot in Yerevan during his country’s parliamentary election held last weekend. Sarksyan heads the Republican Party.

The winner of the election -- viewed as a dress rehearsal for the presidential vote due to be held at the beginning of 2008 -- was Prime Minister Serzh Sarksyan, who heads the Republican Party, which will control around 40 percent of the 131 seats in parliament.

Sarksyan, a 52-year-old former welder, is from Nagorno-Karabakh, as is current President Robert Kocharian, a notorious hard-liner. Nagorno-Karabakh is a territory inside Azerbaijan that has been controlled by Armenian and local ethnic Armenian forces since a six-year war that ended in 1994. Tensions remain high between Armenia and Azerbaijan, ex-Soviet republics in the Caucasus. Sarksyan was at Kocharian's side in the separatist administration during the war. For nearly 15 years he has held senior posts in Armenia's government including defense minister and national security minister.

Back in December 2006, in an article that appeared in The Wall Street Journal, then-Defense Minister Sarksyan called on the European Union to become "increasingly involved in finding a way to a breakthrough for relations between Turkey and Armenia."

Armenia, for its part, considers remembering the Armenian "genocide" important, Sarksyan wrote then. But Armenia does not tie "the establishment of diplomatic relations to recognition of the genocide," he suggested at the time.

This very last sentence hinting that Armenia might not be insistent on recognition of an alleged genocide of Anatolian Armenians at the hands of the Ottoman Empire during the World War I for reestablishing diplomatic relations with Ankara could be considered as the sole light of hope regarding the new Armenian government's policy toward Turkey, Utku Kundakçi of the Turkish Economic and Social Studies Foundation's (TESEV) Foreign Policy Program, told Today's Zaman.

Noting that this hope could only be related to the tone and wording of Sarksyan's remarks, Kundakçi, however, cautioned that one should not hold high expectations.

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.

For his part, Kaan Soyak, the co-chairman of the Turkish-Armenian Business Council, noted that participation in the elections stood at 55-57 percent, thus low participation in elections have been widely interpreted as a confirmation of the ongoing status quo. Nevertheless, he still argued that Turkey should take the initiative of unilaterally opening the border with Armenia in order to invalidate hard-liner policies in the neighboring country.

Yet, Sedat Laçiner, head of the Ankara-based International Strategic Research Organization (ISRO/USAK), drew attention to the fact that now those who favor hard-liner policies have been in power and any concession given by Turkey would be used as a tool by those again against Turkey.

"If Turkey makes any concessions such as unilaterally opening borders, then it will be giving a wrong message to both the ruling anti-Turkey camp and those in opposition who favor a more rationalist and softer relationship with Turkey. Then you would be encouraging those hard-liners to keep up with their unacceptable policies, while you'll be harming the moderate camp. Its costs would be heavy."


Old Days Of Eurovision Are Over As Dogulu Makes It Into Top Five
Normally as predictable as the rhymes of its contestants' lyrics, the voting in Saturday night's Eurovision Song Contest final in Helsinki contained more than its share of surprises.

The biggest shock of the evening was not that hotly-tipped Sweden and their transvestite lead singer failed to break into the top 10, or even that the UK notched up 19 more than their customary "nul points." It was that Europe's televoters -- as sure a political barometer as the Dow Jones is for the markets -- seemed to have got their loyalties confused. It wasn't just the sexual orientations of the singers which remained ambiguous, it was that by Eurovision standards, the voting public didn't quite know where to stand.

Greek Cyprus voted as suspected by giving Greece top marks, but Estonia bucked recent diplomacy by doing the same for Russia, a neighbor with whom tensions are rife. The question is were they back on form, paying obeisance to their powerful neighbor, or were they trying to make up ground in the conflict over the mothballing of a Soviet war memorial statue? Add to that Turkey's votes for Armenia, and results this year surprised the political pundits.

Is weird really in?
The success of last year's winners, the masked and scale-encrusted rockers Lordi must have convinced this year's hopefuls that weird is in. This was confirmed by the rapturous reception for Ukraine's Verka Serduchka -- a comedian who came across like a transvestite auditioning for the role of Tin Man in "The Wizard of Oz." He finished second. Add to that a French man who ran in circles clutching a stuffed cat to his neck, "Scooch," a saccharine UK foursome who dressed as air stewards and hostesses -- and Switzerland's song "Vampires are Alive," which made a shock exit in the semi final. With a lead singer who wields a chain-saw, Lordi and their "Hard Rock Hallelujah" were said to herald a new dawn for Eurovision, which normally dishes up bland servings of middle-of-the-road pop. But when the votes were in it was a straightforward, if somewhat depressing, ballad from Serbia's Marija Serifovic which brushed aside the freaks to claim this year's top spot.

Serbia's success was all the sweeter since this was its first outing as an independent country on the Eurovision stage. The Balkans, as a rule, vote en bloc, so cynics may complain that Serbia had more than a head start. It borders eight countries and received the top 12 points from five of them. But then again it got top marks from audiences from Finland and neutral Switzerland. Turkey on the other hand was one of very few countries not to give Marija a single point. While there's no accounting for musical correctness, at least Eastern Europe's political integrity remained intact.

Pop culture reiteration
But neighbor doesn't always vote for neighbor. Turkey received high points from the Netherlands, the UK and as usual, Germany, which means that it is one of few countries not benefiting from regional back-scratching. Last year when Turkey gave its second highest number of votes to first-time entrants Armenia, the votes were returned with not a point. This year, the Turkish public turned the other cheek and gave them the full 12, with no points again coming back across the (heavily guarded) border. It will be interesting to see how the foreign ministries will interpret this. Were these votes an olive branch; a pop culture reiteration of January's rallying cry, "We are all Armenians"? It might be far-fetched to consider it an attempt to thaw relations between Ankara and Yerevan, but the motives must be reconciliatory since no one could claim it was based on the quality of the song.

No help from neighbors
In the end, Kenan Dogulu managed all right without the help of his neighbors to the east. "Shake it up Sekerim," which had him prancing across the stage dressed like a mad cranberry leprechaun received maximum points from a number of countries, but it wasn't enough to shake up the top spots and Turkey ended the night a respectable fourth.

So what does this herald for Turkey's less spandex-driven European project, their entry to the European Union? It was not only Angela Merkel's Germany that gave Turkey full marks -- it also got the same vigorous nod from the new Sarkozy-led France. His election had begun a depressing week for Turkey's fading European hopes, worsened when Blair, their strongest ally, announced his resignation. But Britain too gave Turkey full marks, which will encourage those in Ankara who stayed in on Saturday night to believe that Gordon Brown's stewardship will mean continuity in foreign policy.

It is not so absurd to chart a nation's political fate against the fate of its songstresses. In the song contest, a system which heavily favors the big four of Germany, France, Spain and the UK (who are all guaranteed automatic qualification because of the fees they pay the European Broadcasting Corporation), the Old Europe finished very low down on the table. Despite all this advantage, the old days of Sandy Shaw and Buck's Fizz are over, just as in the real EU the balance of power is shifting to New Europe. In years to come, when our European grandchildren look back at this contest, will Sertab Erener and Kenan Dogulu be hailed as true Eurovisionaries?


Turkish Nobel Laureate ‘returns Home’ To Accept Doctoral Award
Orhan Pamuk, Turkey’s lone Nobel laureate and a man more feted abroad than in his own country, returned to his native Istanbul to be awarded an honorary doctorate yesterday in that city’s Bosphorus University.

Nobel laureate author Orhan Pamuk (L) receives a diploma of honorary doctorate from Bogaziçi University President Prof. Ayse Soysal yesterday. Pamuk was awarded the 2006 Nobel prize in literature.

“To be honored in your own home is a source of enormous pride. I am so very happy,” Pamuk told an audience, who rose to give him a standing ovation.

In accepting the award Pamuk emphasized the importance of intellectual freedom, or what he called the “space to be curious,” and the freedom to sometimes be irresponsible. He praised the Bosphorus University’s defense of academic liberties in the intellectual life of the nation. “No honorary doctorate from any other institution, anywhere else in the world, could mean this much,” he said.

Pamuk smiled bashfully as he was helped into his doctoral gown and made his address at an excited clip. “I didn’t sleep at all last night in anticipation,” he confessed. Just over 40 years previously he had sat in the same hall as a high school student taking an English placement exam for Robert Academy (today’s Robert College), which then shared the university campus. He described the delights of roaming the open stacks of the school library and being allowed the freedom to slip into “a secret life.”

In her presentation of the award Rector Ayse Soysal was at pains to describe the democratic process through which the doctorate was proposed by the Turkish Literature Department, passed by the Faculty of Humanities and then approved by the university senate. “In other universities such awards are very much the prerogative of the rector’s office alone,” one faculty member later explained.

“There has always been a special relationship between Orhan Pamuk and this university,” explained Jale Parla, professor of literature and former Bosphorus faculty member. Pamuk’s first Dostoyevsky-style dynastic saga, “Cevdet Bey and his Sons,” won immediate critical acclaim, but his subsequent post-modern experiments “The White Castle” and “The Black Book” were greeted not so much with hostility, but uncomprehending silence. It was Nüket Esen, now head of the university’s Turkish literature department, along with figures like Professor Parla who signposted to the world that Pamuk was leading the Turkish novel and language in new directions.

More recently Pamuk found himself less in uncharted than murky waters after unguarded remarks to a Swiss journalist calling attention to what he described as the Ottoman Empire and the Turkish Republic’s cruel treatment of its Armenian and Kurdish populations. A court case in December 2005 for “insulting Turkishness” was attended by crowds of ultra-nationalists, who branded him a traitor. Major newspapers (some of whose columnists were present at yesterday’s ceremony) suggested he had criticized Turkey’s past simply to ingratiate himself with the Nobel Committee.

Security at the award ceremony was tight, but unobtrusive. “The adverse reaction from the sort of groups who dislike Orhan Pamuk was far less than we were expecting,” one senior administrator said.

University authorities, yesterday, were eager to emphasize the non-political nature of their award, although several faculty members privately expressed their pleasure in rewarding a creative talent who spoke his mind. Pamuk did not disappoint them in his brief acceptance speech. “A society which is not free has no future,” he said.


New Initiative To Build Bridges Between Armenians And Turks
May 14, 2007
ANKARA - Turkish Daily News
The assassination of Hrant Dink has led to a new dialogue between Armenians and Turks called Doves. The civilian initiative, which so far does not have international sponsors, was founded last month. The aim of the group is to support the Hrant Dink Foundation, which will be established in Istanbul soon.

Hrant Dink was the editor-in-chief of bilingual Turkish-Armenian weekly, Agos. He was murdered by an ultra-nationalist youth in Istanbul's Sisli district in January this year.

The first foundation in the name of Hrant Dink was founded in California soon after his assassination. “The group, composed of Turks and Armenians gathered in a yahoo group to establish a dialogue against nationalism,” Armenian director, Apo Torosyan writes in his email. The group aims to promote peace through joint meetings, group readings, trips, conferences and cultural activities.

Doves unite around Dink
“We are all Hrant Dink...We are all Armenian...” thousands shouted at Dink's funeral. The doves have adopted this slogan, which led to negative reactions from nationalists.

“Armenians live with a big trauma against Turks and Turks live in paranoia against Armenians. We are two clinically diseased cases. Who will cure us? The decision of the French senate? The decision of the U.S. senate? Who will be our doctor? Who will sign our prescription? Armenians are the doctors for the Turks. Turks are the doctors for Armenians. Other than this, there is no doctor, no prescription. Dialogue is the only prescription.”

CHP's Elekdag Calls For Reciprocal Move
May 14, 2007
Sükrü Elekdag, member of the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP), has condemned Armenia for refusing to issue visas for Turkish representatives, who were set to monitor the parliamentary elections over the weekend on behalf of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), the Azerbaijani Press Agency (APA) reported on Saturday. Elekdag told APA that Turkey must stop issuing visa for Armenian citizens in reciprocity.

Turkey Rapporteur Hails Civil Dominance Over Military
ANKARA - Turkish Daily News
May 14, 2007
Oomen-Ruijten says membership negotiations with Turkey are an open-ended process and that it is too soon and also wrong to prelude on the outcome of the processat this stage, in apparent reference to French president elect Sarkozy’s outspoken opposition from the very beginning

The European Parliament's new Turkey rapporteur has praised the Turkish government's stance amid a political crisis in the country that started with a firm warning by the military after the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) declared Foreign Minister Abdullah Gül candidate for the presidency.

“I think the events show that in Turkey elected politicians prevail over the military. This should be welcomed,” Ria Oomen-Ruijten said to the Turkish Daily News, in her first remarks after taking up her new post. She replaces Camiel Eurlings, who is currently Dutch transportation minister in the new Cabinet.

Just hours after Parliament failed to elect a president last month, the military posted a statement on its Web site threatening to restore the secular order if need be. However, despite the warning sole presidential candidate Gül did not withdraw his candidacy and the presidential election process created civil-military tension, which peaked with the ruling by the Constitutional Court annulling the first round of voting and Parliament's failure to elect a president in a second try, a development that brought the process to a halt and paved the way for early polls.

Commenting on Turkey's aspirations to join the European Union (EU), Oomen-Ruijten said accession negotiations were an open-ended process, whose outcome cannot be predicted beforehand, in apparent reference to French president elect Nicolas Sarkozy's outspoken opposition to Ankara's membership prospects from the very beginning.

“It is too soon and also wrong to prelude at this stage on the outcome of the process. The negotiations will be a long process. (Nicolas) Sarkozy is currently opposed Turkey's membership but the process of negotiations has started and is still continuing,” she said.

Turkish-EU negotiations that started in October 2005 have been complicated due to a standoff over the divided island of Cyprus. Last December, the bloc's member states froze entry talks on eight out of 35 policy areas, or negotiating chapters, because of Ankara's refusal to open its sea and air ports to traffic from EU-member Greek Cyprus.

“A comprehensive settlement of the Cyprus question should be found within the U.N. framework, acceptable to both Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots. An equitable solution based upon the principles on which the EU is founded, as well as on the acquis, and, pursuant to the relevant U.N. resolutions, should be found,” said Oomen-Ruijten.

Support for gov't proposal on alleged genocide:
Former Turkey rapporteur Eurling's reports caused controversy inside Turkey, especially when one of the reports laid down the recognition of the alleged Armenian genocide as a precondition for Turkey to become a member of the EU. Although the said clause has been deleted from the current version, the report was hotly debated in Turkey.

On the alleged genocide at the hands of the Ottoman Empire, the new rapporteur lent support to the Turkish government's proposal to establish a joint committee of historians to study genocide allegations.

“I welcome the proposal by Turkey to establish a bilateral committee of experts in order to overcome the tragic experiences of the past. It is important for a country to come to terms with its past,” she said.

Oomen-Ruijten of the Netherlands is from the Group of the European People's Party (Christian Democrats) and member of the European Democrats. She is responsible, on behalf of the European Parliament, to draft annual reports assessing the progress of Turkish-EU accession negotiations.

The rapportuer is expected to visit Turkey in late June, before the European Commission publishes its annual progress report. Following the Commission's report, the European Parliament will publish a more extensive report.

US Congressman To Visit Turkey
May 14, 2007 TDN
Republican U.S. congressman Ed Whitfield, who is also co-chairman of the Turkey Caucus, will pay an official visit to Turkey this week, reported daily Milliyet. Whitfield stands against the alleged Armenian genocide bill. He also supports reducing the isolation imposed on northern Cyprus and effective fight against the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK).

Minority Newspapers In Turkey
ISTANBUL – Turkish Daily News
May 14, 2007
Minorities, as defined by the Lausanne Treaty of 1923, are protected under its terms. This provided for minority newspapers as well but this has made it difficult to open a newspaper in Kurdish, a minority in Turkey not recognized in the Treaty Among the problems that the minority newspapers have faced is the declining number of people who can read in Greek, Armenian and Judeo-Spanish. The young people of the minority communities prefer Turkish and don’t want to learn the language of their ancestors

Newspapers, as we more or less know them today, were first published in Germany if one is to decide by what little evidence remains today. Then we see them in France, Italy and England. As more and more commercial contact occurred between the European countries and the Ottoman Empire, this trade came to Turkey and was primarily in the hands of Turkey's minorities.

But the term minority has a rather different meaning when applied to the peoples of the Empire. When Fatih Sultan Mehmet conquered Constantinople in 1453, the question arose of what to do with the Jewish, Armenian and Orthodox communities whose lives were defined by their faith just as Muslims were. Since Muslim law differed from the practices of these three religious groups, Fatih decided that they should be administered by their own leaders, according to their own rules.

When foreigners began coming to the Ottoman Empire, several countries successfully negotiated treaties called capitulations that allowed their foreign nationals special privileges, even their own courts. When the Treaty of Lausanne was signed in 1923, the Jewish, Armenian and Orthodox communities were recognized as minorities, the only minorities in Turkey. No account was taken of other minorities in the modern sense, for example the Kurds. While Fatih's organizational method worked well when countries were defined by religion, it no longer held up when nations based on citizenship or ethnic identity began appearing in the 19th century. In 1923, the foreign powers with which Turkey was negotiating this treaty were uninterested in or unaware of any other group in the country that might qualify as a minority.

The earliest newspapers in Turkey were those of the French and other minorities. It is known that there were five French, four Greek and one Armenian language newspapers in Istanbul and Izmir had two in French, one in Greek and one in Hebrew. Today there are two Armenian, two Greek and one Jewish newspaper, which still prints one page in Judeo-Spanish.

Turkey's oldest minority newspaper
The oldest minority paper is the 83-year-old Greek language Apoyevmatini. As it was distributed in the afternoon, the newspaper was given the name it bears because it means “mid-afternoon” in Greek. The idea behind it was to provide information about the Greek community in Turkey and to encourage the younger people of that community to learn the language. Of course when it was started in 1925, there were many more Greeks of Turkish origin (known as Rums) in Turkey. Today there are 2,000 or so Greeks and consequently the paper is only published once a week.

Mihail Vasiliadis, the editor in chief of Apoyevmatini, took over the newspaper in 2002 after an extensive journalistic career elsewhere. Since the beginning, the paper's philosophy has been against offering opposition. Much of the content that Vasiliadis publishes is information about Turkish-Greek history and relations. He's concerned that TV and the Internet may have already won over the youngsters in the community but he does not expect newspapers to just disappear.

Today the atmosphere has changed just as it has in the relations between Turkey and Greece. The Turkish press has become warmer, friendlier towards the Greek press in Turkey, according to Vasiliadis. He is even optimistic enough to talk about the possibility of starting a Turkish-language newspaper here and is generally optimistic about the future. However, he believes that Turks have to change their attitude towards the minorities in the country if they are going to succeed in entering the European Union. He is hopeful that people in Turkey will eventually see that it is better to be in the EU than to not be.

Nor Marmara, one of Turkey's Armenian papers
The second oldest minority paper is Nor Marmara, one of the two Armenian language newspapers that began publishing in 1940 and is now in its 67th year. At first it was published as a weekly but then became a daily paper as more and more people wanted to read it. Rober Haddeler took over the newspaper as its editor-in-chief in 1967 and now has passed most of the work on to his two sons.

At present Nor Marmara comes out six days a week because of the difficulty of distributing it on Sundays and on Fridays a supplement is given in Turkish so that Armenians who do not know Armenian and people interested in Armenian culture can learn what is happening in the community.

Haddeler was a graduate of Istanbul University's Philosophy Department, knows four languages and basically was a writer before he became a journalist. As a result he brings a thoughtful background to his position as editor-in-chief.

Among the problems that he has faced is that of a declining readership. The younger members of the Armenian community prefer to read in Turkish because of the difficulty of the Armenian alphabet. And they are interested in Turkish television, radio and newspapers and don't find the cultural publications produced anywhere near as fascinating as the Turkish.

Although the EU adaptation process has been initiated, that does not mean that the Armenian community's problems have been solved. The most important of these, according to Haddeler, is the non-implementation of laws for the minority groups in Turkey that concern the acquisition of property, the disposal of money and the election of members of the various foundations' boards that oversee the community's affairs. He added that the government was aware of the problems faced but nothing has been done until recently; however, the government has now promised to pass a revised law regulating foundations prior to general elections in July. The Armenian community has expressed its pleasure over the changes to the law.

Haddeler also pointed out that the Armenian press abroad followed the Turkish Daily News quite closely because it was considered the best at reporting events. At the same time people are astonished that Nor Marmara is published in Turkey and that it is at such a high level. He emphasized that this was good for Turkey because it is read and admired by the Armenian community abroad for its coverage of events whether or not the reader liked Turkey.

Shalom, the Jewish community's newspaper
Established in 1947, Shalom was published in Judeo-Spanish at first since that is the language that the Jewish community in Istanbul knew. But in 1983, it turned to Turkish because the young people no longer used Judeo-Spanish in their every day lives and older members who did had either died or had moved to other countries such as Israel and the U.S. in large numbers. Still the weekly publication continues to publish one page in Judeo. It maintains this tradition and a very extensive archive.

The original publisher, Avrom Leyon, placed the slogan, “Speak a simple truth, call a spade a spade” on the masthead of the paper and it is still there to this day. Its current editor-in-chief, Tilda Levi, says that they follow this slogan but shy away from political comment. Unlike the Greeks and the Armenians, Jews have never been in conflict with Turks and even enjoyed the official protection of the Ottomans after they fled prosecution in Spain in the 15th century. Levi points out that there has not been any anti-Semitism in Turkey although she admits it does exist here and there and is generally based on misinformation or lack of information. On occasion when unpleasant events have occurred in Palestine, the paper has received angry mail. But she has no doubt that newspapers will continue in spite of the Internet and TV.

An Open Letter To The TDN
May 14, 2007
Yes, my colleagues, the TDN does breathe integrity. For the oxygen of its reporters and editors is that ever elusive and always incomplete goal of our profession, the pursuit of truth

Dear colleagues:
At one time or another, you have all been subjected to my resort to the device of the “open letter,” one of the items in the tool chest of a newspaperman struggling with writer's block. Today I want to pen an open letter of a different sort, one directly to all of you who work at the Turkish Daily News, you who have endured so much in the short six months we have been working to reorganize this icon of the craft.

For you all came to mind about 10 days ago when I was having lunch with a well-known advertising executive here in Turkey, a faithful reader of the TDN for some two decades. We talked about our problems, about circulation woes, of the misplaced caption and some of the odder turns of phrase we have inadvertently forced upon our readers.

We talked about our invention of new words. One he mentioned specifically was “functuality,” used in a headline. All was not lost, he suggested, because while the word does not exist in the English language, his teenage son allowed, as it would be a great name for a rock band. I am glad we could help an aspiring young musician.

And then he made this observation: “I know you have problems, but the transformation has been remarkable. Above all, the newspaper breathes integrity.”

Breathing integrity:
This is no casual compliment. It is the highest praise that can be attained in our difficult trade. And I had to explain to him from just where his sense of this derives. For the credit can hardly be claimed by this old farm reporter from California. I still do not fully understand how this team so quickly assembled itself, newcomers quickly working shoulder to shoulder with TDN veterans after I became the editor-in-chief last November. But I am surely the fortunate witness.

I think what my advertising friend sensed was the spirit exhibited by reporter Vercihan Ziflioglu, of Armenian origins, on the now-infamous day our colleague Hrant Dink was gunned down and in the days since. Vercihan put her emotions and tears aside that day to help get out the front page that carried the devastating news. In the days that have ensued, she has relentlessly followed the repercussions, the proceedings and the complex and ongoing dynamics both in Turkey's Armenian community and society at large.

What he sensed could well have come from reporter Safak Timur, who just days ago I sent to cover the May Day demonstrations at Istanbul's Taksim Square. Reporting with other journalists on a group of protestors moving down central Istiklal Avenue, she was suddenly caught in the crossfire of tear gas grenades fired by police. Gasping for breath, she fell to the pavement. Lying there, despite her protestations and her visible press credentials, she was viciously beaten by police with truncheons. When she was able to get up, Safak went straight to an Internet cafe and filed her story. Only afterwards did she seek medical attention. Of course, her work led the front page.

Integrity defined the reporting of news editor Taylan Bilgiç after he rushed to Malatya a few weeks ago to cover the aftermath of the slaying of three Christian missionaries, coverage which took him to coffeehouses and back alleys to peel away the layers of nationalism, xenophobia and hatred that still surround the killings. So too did integrity define his attitude when he shrugged off his arrest and his evening in a Malatya jail as a result of a bureaucratic snafu at the end of his journey.

The ad executive's word comes to mind when I think of the insightful story which we ran on International Women's Day on the feminist movement in Turkey's Kurdish community, by many measures the broadest and deepest in the country. Onur Burçak Belli wrote the story in between her coverage of the rituals of the Jafari minority in Turkey and her report of the conditions she found when she somehow talked her way into the country's largest women's prison.

The pursuit of truth:
And integrity surely defines the work in the past two weeks by our Ankara news editor Serkan Demirtas and his team of Göksel Bozkurt, Duygu Güvenç and Fulya Özerkan. The four have slept little since the crisis that began with the nomination of Foreign Minister Abdullah Gül for president, a crisis and that has deepened with the political salvo fired by the army's General Staff, which sent the country to early elections. Their reporting may not have been in their native language, but the depth, details and insight of their analysis has been among the best in any language in this continuing crisis that has riveted world attention on Turkey. Their colleagues, who write in Turkish, along with many others, have taken notice.

I could continue at such length about the many members of this team, and the integrity that binds them together. I could ramble about just what they have done and how tirelessly they have performed since those early days when we moved the paper to Istanbul, when our computers were so few we were taking turns. Among those who every day go so far beyond the call of duty are Mustafa Akyol, whose provocative views on religion are quoted around the world; Barçin Yinanç, who keeps us all moving forward; Nejat Basar, the operations backbone; Alpaslan Akkus, the who brings you the Weekend Edition; Gül Demir, the newspaper's conscience, and many others. But let me not get maudlin. I just wanted to write you all an “open letter” and this is it.

Yes, my colleagues, the TDN does breathe integrity. For the oxygen of its reporters and editors is that ever elusive and always incomplete goal of our profession, the pursuit of truth. This very fortunate newspaperman is humbled by your pursuit of this goal every day.

Thank you,
David Judson

Eurovision Votes Reflect Political Beliefs
Yasemin Sim Esmen
Turkish Daily News
May 14, 2007
Although the Eurovision Song Contest ended with victory for Serbia, reflecting on the event still continues. While discussions on favorite songs and Eurovision itself as an artistic event still continue, some feel votes reflected political views

Turks are excited that Kenan Dogulu managed fourth place in the Eurovision song contest held in Helsinki on Saturday, May 12. Beyond the excitement though, many people believe the votes demonstrated political preferences rather than artistic tastes.

Representing Turkey, Kenan Dogulu's “Shake It Up Shekerim” received 12 points out of 12 from countries where Turkish workers live in large numbers. Among them are Belgium, France, Germany, and the Netherlands. This year, the votes were cast via SMS. Each SMS received from a country was calculated as a vote from that country.

It attracted the interest of many that Turkey only gave the maximum 12 points to Armenian singer Hayko's “Anytime You Need.” Musical tastes aside, most people believe this is a political message.

“We are neighbors. We need to be friends. It goes to show how prominent a role music, friendship, and art play,” said Sezen Cumhur Önal, a celebrated music critic in Turkey. He believes the votes cast from Turkey for the Armenian contestant to be political and said there could not have been a better Mothers' Day present.

Vahe Isaoglu, an Armenian-Turk working as a sales and marketing executive in Istanbul actively participated in the voting process. He said he sent five messages via SMS, all for Armenia and he estimates the high number of votes came from Armenian-Turks living in Turkey. “It is partly a habit that was picked up last year,” he said, referring to the fact that Armenia got 10 points from Turkey in Eurovision song contest 2006. “It is not because the song is good or bad,” he said.

On the other hand, Alin Tasçiyan an Armenian-Turkish journalist and acclaimed film critic believes that political messages given through the Eurovision song contest fall short, as the contest itself has no political significance. She does not believe it is possible for Armenia to receive so many votes from only the Armenian community in Turkey. “I do not believe it is a high probability. Because the number of Armenian living in Turkey is not that high,” she said.

A Mediterranean-Black Sea Union
Rene Wadlow
Issue 38 - May, 2007
Nicolas Sarkozy, the newly elected President of France, in his election night speech in which he stressed his aims repeated his opposition to the entry of Turkey into the European Union. He suggested that Turkey play a key role in creating a Mediterranean Union. The proposal can be considered as a somewhat elegant way of closing the door on the current, very slow, negotiations between the executive body of the European Union - the European Commission - and Turkish representatives.

There is among some European Union members a reluctance to add more states after the entry of the Central European countries. The states of former Yugoslavia are waiting to join - their joining is considered necessary for political stability rather than for economic reasons The idea of Turkey joining the European Union creates fears among some European Union political leaders as well as in the broader population. Turkey is large, populated, relatively poor, rural, with a majority of Muslims. Each characteristic is considered a handicap by some, although the religious element is mentioned in code words rather than directly Sarkozy's proposal for a Mediterranean Union can be considered as a consolation prize to the Turks and a nod of recognition to the chauvinists, xenophobic and racists who voted for him. However, in his speech he stressed that France would play a role in the creation of a Mediterranean Union. Thus the idea merits looking at in greater depth.

Today, we see the growing cooperation among States and peoples of the Mediterranean and Black Sea regions. There has been increasing discussion of a Conference on Security and Co-operation in the Mediterranean drawing inspiration from the spirit, procedures and principles of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe. Such a Conference on Security and Co-operation in the Mediterranean would be global in its composition to include all countries with influence and interests in the Mediterranean and Black Sea regions.

Such a conference would be comprehensive in its mandate in order to integrate all the relevant problems into an interdependent whole.

While it is true that at the level of governments, progress on such a Mediterranean union has been slow and uneven, there is a wide recognition of the need to deal in a cooperative way with the problems of human security on a Mediterranean and Black Sea regional basis. Common problems of poverty, social tensions and environmental degradation call for common strategies.

Enlightened leadership, understanding these common interests of all the peoples of the Mediterranean and Black Sea area is required as well as a multitude of cooperative initiatives among th peoples of the area. Work on common tasks will deepen the cultural foundations upon which Mediterranean and Black Sea integration will be built.

The proposals concerning a Mediterranean-Black Sea Union require serious study. These are areas which now have little formal cooperation but which represent important natural, multicultural areas. Cooperation can be developed using important cultural and historic foundations. We will see how Sarkozy's proposals are met and if he will help provide the leadership needed.

Rene Wadlow is the Editor of www.transnational-perspectives.org and the Representative to the United Nations, Geneva, of the Association of World Citizens.

Copyright peacejournalism.com PeaceJournalism.com, Nepal

The Bushes of Europe: Cameron, Merkel, Sarkozy
May 12, 2007
With the announced departure of British Prime Minister Tony Blair on June 27, an era in Western Europe will come to an end. Three master politicians whom the continent has witnessed in the last few decades - the finest of European bourgeoisie, if you will - will have left the scene: Blair of the UK, Gerhard Schroeder of Germany and Jacques Chirac of France.

The latter two caused a lot of trouble for Washington in recent years, so it is perfectly understandable that the American press in general takes pleasure in the staggering rise of Nicolas Sarkozy to the French presidency. After an expected British Conservative victory in the next general elections, the three key countries will be led by three conservatives: David Cameron (UK), Angela Merkel (Germany) and Sarkozy himself.

‘Atlanticist and pro-American':
One might be tempted to believe that with the triumvirate, the good old times of transatlantic bliss, the unbreakable alliance of the Cold War will be revisited - just in time for the Iraq-embattled Washington. The joy of the U.S. columnists is evident. Sarkozy is "openly Atlanticist and pro-American... [He] should be a more cooperative partner for Washington than outgoing President Jacques Chirac" says Sophie Fernandez (Weekly Standard, 05.07.2007). "Are we in for a new day in U.S.-European relations?" asks Helle Dale (Washington Times, 05.09.2007). "To start, more active Franco-American military cooperation in Afghanistan and diplomatic coordination on Sudan could make a big difference," suggests The New York Times editorial (05.08.2007). And of course, the ever-amusing New York Posts shouts: “In France, Dubya Won Again!” (05.08.2007).

There are three problems with this approach. First, the Cold War is over, and by that we mean that the "Soviet pressure" which had forced Western Europe to stand side by side with the U.S. has been lifted. Second, the European Union, despite its problems, aims to be a major player in world affairs and that means a route of increasing confrontation with the superpower in the Middle East, the Caucacus, the Balkans and elsewhere. Simply put, it was not Chirac's "adverse personality" or Schroeder's "love for Russia" that prompted the two leaders to take a stand against the U.S. in Iraq, Afghanistan or elsewhere. The reason was, in a nutshell, diverging interests and no change of "style" can veil it. Pragmatism may be as American as apple pie, but then, realpolitik is as German as Bismarck.

The Merkel chancellory:
Finally, we have the German example before us. When Angela Merkel's Christian Democrats won the general elections back in October 2005, similar euphoria dominated the U.S. media. One and a half years later, promises of "business as usual" vis-a-vis German-U.S. relations is yet to be seen. Yes, Merkel did visit Washington - as Sarkozy did - and establish a "good personal relationship" with George W. Bush - as Sarkozy is expected to do. But in essence, she did not mess with that "troublesome" policy of Schroeder in Iraq and Afghanistan and she insisted on diplomacy with Iran. Merkel even continued the "Ostpolitik," - Eastern policy - toward Russia, forging closer ties with Moscow despite recent energy crises that had pitted the two against each other.

It is an undeniable fact that the neoconservative currents emanating from Washington help create "mirror images" elsewhere. In this sense; Sarkozy, Merkel, Cameron and even Shinzo Abe of Japan might be mirror images of George W. Bush in their divisive and confrontational politics, their "newfound patriotism," the importance they attribute to religion, their promise of an aggressive foreign policy and of course, Reaganomics. But all of these do not add up to allies. On the contrary, under current circumstances, they might well make formidable rivals.

To give credit, only Jim Hoagland of The Washington Post has sensed this: "Do not expect Sarkozy to be as immediately active in dismantling Chirac's foreign policy," says Hoagland. "Sarkozy is impressed far more by what the U.S. does at home than by its global aims and presence. He would like France to emulate America's domestic dynamism, not the Bush administration's ambitious reach abroad." (05.07.2007).

In essence, the U.S. has been practically nurturing leaders who might cause much more trouble for Washington than moderate, conciliatory ones – generally social-democrats - that are bowing out of power: a phenomenon best seen in the case of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe: The U.S. is supporting Abe in the hope of countering a rising China, but meanwhile, witnessing the rapid alienation of its other Asian allies like South Korea, thanks to the aggressiveness of Abe.

Thus, when the smoke has cleared after the Sarkozy victory, all might be left for consolation could be something akin to the "warm contact" between Bush and his friend Putin in June 2001 – in Bush's words, he “looked the man in the eye” and “was able to get a sense of his soul.” That man last week accused the U.S. of being the new Third Reich.

High School Student Educates Hundreds Of Classmates On The Armenian Genocide

Amherst, New Hampshire- On Wednesday, May 9, student's grade 9-12 of Souhegan High School, gathered in the school's theater to watch Armenian student Rachel Manoogian-Brayman video, break the silence of her descendents and share the stories that have haunted her cultures past for a long time.

The video was originally made for the schools graduation requirement, "Senior Project". The goal of the project is to make students pick a topic that they are passionate about, create an essential question and produce and applied piece that will answer it. Souhegan High School is apart of the Coalition of Essential Schools and has been doing senior project for many years. Manoogian-Brayman picked the topic of the Armenian Genocide and her essential question was; "What are the intergenerational effects of genocide on a culture?" As for her applied piece, she answered her question through a video that made its way through the generations to show how it affects every Armenian. "My Dad is Jewish and his family was apart of the Holocaust, and my Mom is Armenian, and her family endured and survived the genocide. I really wanted to stress that because I think the world has cast a real dark shadow on the massacre of the Armenians" explains Manoogian-Brayman.

Manoogian-Brayman and mentor Pam McGrath started forming and researching her essential question and ideas for the video in November. In December, she began filming Armenians all over her area (New Hampshire and Massachusetts). "It was really interesting to see how the silence became less as you went through the generations, you can tell that every person is eager to spread knowledge about this" says Manoogian-Brayman. The video is 20 minutes long and includes authentic footage of the emotions, effects and issues that connect with the Armenian Genocide. The schools world studies classes, film seminar and ethics seminar viewed the video first, and Manoogian-Brayman received very positive feed back. "It was very informative. The pictures were real moving and the personal stories were very engaging" comments 11th grade world studies teacher Gavin Sturges. Ethics teacher Chris Brooks said that "It was outstanding work and there is a lot that can be done with this." Film student Ali Bower said "It was unbelievable how she really captured the best parts of the interviews and got the best emotional standpoints." Students said that this was interesting to watch, especially because they had no idea this ever happened. "I didn't even know about the Armenian Genocide," says World Studies student Andew Beliveau, "it was really moving."

The faculty and student body was invited to watch the final showing; two were shown during the school's lunch periods. She received a standing ovation and had over one hundred viewers for both sessions. "My Grandfather was in the first audience, he needed to see the school honoring his past and our culture" said Manoogian-Brayman, "I hope that he and my family left the theater knowing that more than 100 people were now more knowledgeable about the genocide then they were before they came into the room."

Rachel has been in contact with Armenian author Peter Balakian (Black Dog of Fate, The Burning Tigris) and has also been in touch with Armenian National Committee of America, Eastern Region Executive Director Karine Birazian. "She got me involved with petitions and things involving my state. She's done incredible work and I'm so glad we're in contact," says Manoogian-Brayman. Students and teachers accumulated more than 100 signatures urging Congresswoman Shea-Porter and Senator Gregg to sign on to H. Res and S. Res 106, and thanking Congressman Hodes and Senator Sununu for their support.

Although many people were not familiar with the Armenian Genocide, they had a great response to the movie. "This was so amazing" says 11th/12th grade biology teacher Melissa Chapman, "Rachel really set the bar for senior project applied research. I wanted to go congratulate her afterwards, but I was reduced to a puddle of tears after seeing her work." 9th grade teacher Tom Sawyer mentioned "It was the most amazing senior project I've ever seen in the 12 years I have been here." Manoogian-Brayman also found that silence was an equivalent to a compliment too. "So many people were just silent after she finished. They needed time to digest it, and then after awhile, vocalize their thoughts" said Ethics teacher Amy Pham. Student Carly Walker said "It was so amazing! I cried!" Other students such as Evan Ommundsen said "I had no idea who 'the Armenians' were before seeing this." School nurse said "I still get chills when I think about it." Teachers and students both said that this has not only raised awareness by interests in this topic as well.

Manoogian-Brayman will be presenting her complete research and project on May 16th in front of the official panel. However, she strongly feels that this project will be continued and built upon far beyond the project date. "I owe this to my family, my grandparents and to all the Armenians. The survivors are old, but I am young, and I want to work hard to make sure they get to experience a sense of recognition and honor before its too late."


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Yacht Owner Defends Sarkozy’s Stay
The billionaire French businessman who lent his yacht to Nicolas Sarkozy on Friday rejected accusations that his close relationship with the future president could lead to special favors for his companies.

After Sunday's election, Sarkozy went for a short break on a 70-meter luxury cruiser belonging to Vincent Bollore, the largest shareholder in advertising group Havas who also has stakes in a web of financial and industrial firms.

Opposition leaders said it showed the president-elect was out of touch with normal people and too close to big business.

Bollore said he did not expect his group to win favorable treatment in exchange for the free trip. "Just because you are friends with somebody, it doesn't mean there are no ethics in the relationship," he said in an interview with Le Parisien newspaper published on Friday.

Bollore has said his group had no commercial ties with the French state, but Le Monde newspaper cited official documents showing that his firms had several state contracts, including one for the delivery of diplomatic documents. It also listed a 342,329 euro ($461,200) contract won by the Bollore group for work at police headquarters in the city of Grenoble, awarded in December 2006 by the interior ministry when Nicolas Sarkozy was the minister. Bollore told Le Parisien on Friday: "We are a French group par excellence which is totally independent from the state. We have no contract with public power."

Paris Reuters

Genocide Recognition More For Benefit Of Turkey Than Armenia
The Turkish Embassy once again champions the Turkish proposal of establishing a "joint commission of historians" to investigate the issue of Armenian Genocide of 1915 (Re: "Turkish Offer of Joint Commission with Armenians Still on the Table." Letters, May 2). It is not clear from the letter how such a commission can be put together and produce results when Turkey refuses to establish diplomatic relations with Armenia, imposes illegal unilateral coercive economic measures against land-locked Armenia in a form of a blockade, deliberately destroys and distorts Armenian cultural heritage in Eastern Anatolia, and spends millions of dollars annually in a futile attempt to convince the world that it was Armenians who committed genocide against Turks.

How can we take the Turkish proposal seriously when impartial Turkish historians who dare voice opinions different from the state-imposed genocide denial are labeled traitors and have no other choice but to leave their own country? Will Turkey be ready to recall all those exiled historians and include them in the proposed commission, or will we have to deal with staunch genocide deniers only?

The Turkish notion of "equal suffering" of Armenians and Turks during the First World War is absolutely immoral. In a matter of weeks a whole nation disappeared without any trace from its historical homeland.

Nobody denies that thousands of Turks died during that war. But during the Second World War more than 10 million Germans died, too. Does that justify the Holocaust?

Turkey needs the recognition of the Armenian genocide more than Armenia. It needs it in order to come to terms with the most shameful page of its history, and to prove itself worthy of entering the European family of nations.

Armenia and Turkey are neighbours, and they eventually will have to normalize their relations. For the 16th year in a row, Armenia proposes to establish formal relations and to open the Armenian-Turkish border, the last surviving segment of the Iron Curtain. The time to stop this unfortunate counting of years is long overdue.

Chargé d'Affaires
Embassy of Armenia

Embassy, May 9th, 2007
© 2007 Embassy a division of Hill Times Publishing Inc

Outside View: Turkey's Political Schism
International Intelligence - Analysis
May. 11, 2007
WASHINGTON(UPI) -- The confrontation between Turkey's ruling Islamist party, the AKP, and those who view themselves as defenders of the nation's secularist tradition reveals a schism in Turkish society that runs deep and threatens to challenge the basic assumptions that have governed this state since its founding in 1927.

Modern Turkey is the successor to the Ottoman Empire, whose collapse after World War I created an enormous power vacuum in the region that is still felt today. Unlike Turkey's tightly controlled ethnocentric, nationalist state, the Ottoman Empire was a multiethnic, multinational, multi-religious state. At its height in the 16th and 17th centuries, it held sway over vast territories that stretched from the Balkans to Central Europe to the Middle East and North Africa. At a time when Europe was mired in religious wars, intolerance and persecution, Turkey was an example of religious harmony and cooperation, albeit in the firm control of its temporal and spiritual ruler, the sultan.

But the rise of Europe's mercantilist trading nations, together with rapid developments in industry and technology, and a concurrent Ottoman suspicion of European influence, ensured that the Ottomans began a slow inexorable decline in power and influence. By the 19th century, Turkey had been dubbed the "Sick Man of Europe," and Europe's powers began chipping away at the empire, successfully backing Greek and Balkan independence movements. Ultimately, after World War I, the allies succeeded in carving up the empire into small states, with much of Turkey's Aegean territory going to Greece, including Istanbul (Constantinople).

This death by a "thousand cuts" left a deep scar in the Turkish mentality, which to this day believes that there is an international conspiracy to weaken and divide Turkey -- the latest case in point being the rise of a proto-Kurdish state in Iraq and the fears (not entirely unjustified) that Kurds in Turkey will want to secede and join this state.

Into this devastating, humiliating defeat, Mustafa Kemal (later known as Ataturk or "father of the Turks") a Turkish general who gained fame in the disastrous defeat of ANZAC troops at the battle of Gallipoli, led a military campaign that pushed the Greeks to the sea, regained Istanbul and western Turkey, and created indisputable "facts on the ground" that the European powers had little choice but to recognize.

The Turkish nation without a doubt owes its existence to the powerful personality and iron will of Ataturk. Faced with the calamitous dissolution of the Ottoman Empire, Ataturk devised an entirely new Turko-centric state. Minority rights and privileges granted by the Ottomans were eliminated, and many were expelled in large population exchanges with Greece and other states.

Turkish pride became the nation's hallmark, and today schoolchildren repeat the national slogan, "How happy is he who can say, I am a Turk."

Ataturk was an admirer of Europe, its science and technology. To him the Ottoman Empire was fatally weakened by an oriental despotism mired in religious superstition and distrust in the advances of science. Ataturk strove to fashion a state that embraced science, technology and modern education while rejecting "backward" religious practices. He closed madrassas (religious schools) and outlawed numerous Sufi spiritualist sects. He put the state in firm control of the mosque, where it continues to this day. He eliminated Arabic script and adopted the Latin alphabet. He also granted women the right to vote and banned all but Western clothing.

Ataturk did not use the dictatorial repression of his Soviet atheist contemporaries, but he clearly viewed religion as antithetical to "progress," and this served to marginalize religion in the civic culture.

This marginalization has been the hallmark of Turkish nationalism, and Turkish secularists, including and especially the military, who view themselves as the guardians of "Ataturkism."

The late Turgut Ozal, who is considered by many Turks today as the nation's second-greatest leader after Ataturk, changed this dynamic. Pro-Western (he was a good friend of George H.W. Bush), vigorous and enormously charismatic, Ozal dispensed with Turkey's state-controlled economy, eliminating regulations and barriers to trade and investment, both domestic and foreign. Ozal unleashed Turkey's dynamic entrepreneurial spirit, which has been the engine of the nation's dramatic growth.

Ozal, who had Kurdish roots, was also a devout Muslim and saw no contradiction in being both religious and modern. He loosened many of the restraints on religion and sought to integrate religion into the civic culture in much the same way as it exists today in the United States.

In this new climate, religion found a way to make its mark in a new, openly democratic political system. Religious parties were formed. However, little political headway was made, and the Turkish military and the secularist judiciary managed to have most of these parties successively banned. In 1997 all that changed when Turkey's first female prime minister, Tansu Ciller, cut a power-sharing deal with an Islamist party (predecessor to the current AKP).

This brought to power Necmettin Erbakan, shaking Turkey's secular roots to the core. But Erbakan seriously miscalculated when he made his first foreign visit to international pariah Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi and suggested that ties with Israel (long an ally of Turkey) might be cut. In going to the Libyans, Erbakan was clearly signaling that he wanted to take Turkey away from its Western proclivities and toward an alliance with Eastern and Islamic nations. That was enough for the generals. The tanks took to the streets, and Erbakan got the message. No shots were fired in this "soft coup," but it seemed that the one chance Islamists had to prove themselves had been blown, and few predicted a quick return to power.

Erbakan's downfall was followed by a succession of weak governments plagued by scandals, spiraling inflation and political squabbles. Meanwhile, the latest incarnation of the Islamists, the AKP, was going through a period of retrenchment and soul-searching. A younger generation of leaders came to power, and a new, more moderate message was crafted. They embraced Western democratic ideals and even supported Turkey's EU entry. They set out to rebuild their traditional power base in the more religious interior and the fast-growing lower-middle-class suburbs of Istanbul. They offered social services not covered by the country's creaky welfare system, job retraining, and even small-business loans. But they also sought out Turkey's intelligentsia, who were looking for an alternative to corrupt party politics.

Today the AKP dominates Turkish politics and has held comfortable control of the Parliament. Moreover, Prime Minster Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who as mayor of Istanbul made a name for himself as a populist and effective administrator, remains enormously popular in the country, and in the recently called elections his party stands to gain even more power.

But when he assumed power in 2002, Erdogan had a lot to prove to a highly skeptical nation and a very nervous military. His arrest in 1998 for reading an Islamist poem at a political rally, an action considered tantamount to sedition in secular Turkey and for which he served several months in jail, did not help. Expecting the worse, perhaps a repeat of the Erbakan debacle, Erdogan detractors were surprised when he made accession to the EU his top priority. He also instituted economic and social reforms that have triggered considerable direct foreign investment. Today many of his once most passionate critics, especially within the business community, now sing his praises.

But distrust dies hard, and it is clear that the secular powers in Turkey are panicking. The military continues to mistrust the motives of Erdogan and the Islamists, and is convinced of a hidden agenda to create an Islamic state. The candidature to the presidency of his internationally respected foreign minister, Abdullah Gul, was perhaps a final straw. Although the president's position is largely ceremonial, it has become a bully pulpit for secularism and has been viewed by the secularists as a check against feared Islamist excesses.

The secularist political parties, fractured by personality-driven cliques and burdened with a reputation for dishonesty, are unable to field a unity candidate who can effectively challenge the Islamist's hold on power. The 1 million Turks who took to the streets in Istanbul a few days ago are therefore denied an effective political voice for their views. The danger is that they will turn to the military to do what their politicians cannot fairly do, an option Turkey has sadly turned to far too often.

Turkey stands a chance to prove that moderate Islam can coexist and even flourish within a vibrant democracy. Erdogan and his party want to prove that Muslim democrats are just as valid within a democratic context as Christian democrats. Any attempt to derail this process, especially one that is encouraged from abroad, will only serve to prove that the West rejects even moderate Islam and will feed the anti-Western paranoia still lurking in the national psyche. Moreover, in this era when talk of a "clash of civilizations" between Islam and the West has become commonplace, Turkey's EU accession is viewed by the Muslim world as a bellwether for future relations with the West. The consequences of a failure to integrate modern Muslims into Turkish democracy and to welcome Turkey fully into the fold of the democratic West could set back the cause for democracy in the Islamic world for generations to come.
(Raymond J. Mas is an editor for World Peace Herald. He lived in Turkey for four years and continues to make regular visits to the country.)
(United Press International's "Outside View" commentaries are written by outside contributors who specialize in a variety of important issues. The views expressed do not necessarily reflect those of United Press International. In the interests of creating an open forum, original submissions are invited.)

Turkey’s EU Hopes Suffer Big Setback
Turkey’s government re-acted with coolness to the election of Nicolas Sarkozy as president of France, aware that Ankara’s nearly five-decade-old ambition to join the European Union could founder during his term in office.

The impact of Sarkozy on Turkey’s EU hopes will be felt within weeks as the 27-member bloc decides whether to move ahead with the negotiating process. The German presidency of the EU had planned to begin negotiations in June on as many as three of the 35 topics or “negotiating chapters” that have to be agreed before Turkey can become an EU member. Since all such steps have to be agreed with all EU governments, this will be a first test of the depth of Sarkozy’s opposition to Turkey’s membership. EU and French officials believe Sarkozy will seek to avoid an early crisis over Turkey in the run-up to a showpiece summit next month. José Manuel Barroso, the European Commission president, said: “The Commission’s position is that we should continue the negotiations” with Turkey.

Financial Times

‘Blocking Turkey’s EU Bid Will Push It To Radicalism’
Italian Foreign Minister Massimo D’Alema has warned against the possible negative consequences of blocking Turkey’s European Union membership bid.

“Closing the EU doors in a period during which debates concerning characteristics of the society have been held in Turkey will mean shoving this country toward fundamentalism,” D’Alema was quoted as saying in an interview with Italian newsweekly L’Espresso, published on Friday.

Expressing his disagreement with French President-elect Nicolas Sarkozy’s stance against Turkey’s EU bid, D’Alema described Sarkozy’s argument in which he has suggested that Turkey is “not on the European continent and is a country in Asia Minor, and thus doesn’t belong to European civilization,” as a “mistake.”

“The EU should annex a major Islamic country to its body and should support Turkey’s improvement of its secular tradition,” D’Alema added.

“We have already been negotiating with Turkey. There are decisions made by the European Council. The issue is not a cultural debate. There is already an ongoing complex negotiation process. It is something else to say that ‘It hasn’t yet fulfilled certain criteria,’ and it is something else to assume a negative approach based on bias,” he said, also noting that on Oct. 3, 2004 a landmark summit of EU leaders gave the go-ahead for the opening of accession talks with Turkey, and on Dec. 17, 2004, an EU summit made its long-awaited decision on beginning negotiations with Turkey regarding its full membership in the now-27 member bloc.
Ankara Today’s Zaman


Will France Be Obliged To Carry Turkey To The EU?
Beril Dedeoglu b.dedeoglu@todayszaman.com
During electoral processes, sometimes a dichotomy can appear. When it becomes difficult to denominate the existing alignments, an external issue is discovered and electors are forced to take sides over this. On this, Turkey and France are very similar.

Every political party in France defends democracy, secularism, the people’s interests and a prosperous future; in other words, they are in favor of a European-style liberal democracy. In Turkey, every political party defends the principles of Atatürk, and all of them are republican and secular. While everybody defends the same general framework of secular democracy, the differences become visible in the republican projects in France and in the use of national symbols in Turkey. These differences may also appear in the rhetoric about the future position to be adopted in the global balance of power. At this point, Turkey and France are asking themselves the same question: “What are we to do with the US, with the EU and with the EU-Turkey relationship?”

The opposition in Turkey has sharpened its opposition towards these three elements and has adopted an anti-imperialist Third-World rhetoric. The general attitudes of “national pride” and speeches which proclaim that “we are self-sufficient” reflect the rejection of global powers and relations. Those who don’t think the same way are presented as collaborators of Turkey’s enemies and are labeled as those who support the taking over of the country. In France, those who support Turkey’s membership in the EU are accused of not taking seriously Islam’s different nature and therefore endangering France’s cultural and economical stability. In both countries, political parties gather popular support through alienation. We should remember that in both countries, people adopting these attitudes call themselves “republicans.” But no one seems to remember that alienation only makes nations weaker.

We have heard of many projects lately which are efforts to reorganize global relations. Sarkozy’s “Mediterranean Union” is one of these projects. After the European Parliament rejected the “privileged partnership” proposal, this is the new project presented to those French people who are frightened of seeing Turks coming to Europe. But there are many problems there. First of all, every political party in Turkey sees these proposals as unfair offers. The feeling of being pushed away from full membership creates many reactions. As this proposition is seen simply as the refusal of the membership, Turkey’s eventual consent on this is highly hypothetical. After all, Turkey’s membership will not happen before at least 2015. When actual conditions change, and they will definitely change, “national interests” and “popular perceptions” will have to be reconciled by actual politicians. If France wants to be present again in the Mediterranean region and if it plans to do it through Turkey, it has to win Turkey. Above all, if France reinforces its ties with the US, it would be difficult to act in that region in contravention of the American and British Mediterranean policies. How will they push Turkey away in that case? Meanwhile, Turkey cannot reach stability and development in an atmosphere of global unrest, so it cannot pursue a conflict-based policy with the West for long. As the EU will not be able to create a halfway solution for Turkey, the parties will either completely cut their ties or they will completely develop them.

Turkey asserts that its membership in the EU will be beneficial for the union, and it emphasizes terms such as power, security, new jobs, strategy and Mediterranean. The same terms are used by Sarkozy to oppose Turkey’s membership. But these are also very popular terms for the US policymakers. If this tendency continues, it can even forge a Turkish-French bloc. Turkey wouldn’t reject that, but how France can explain this to its other partners?

Millionaire Accused Of Buying Armenian Votes
May 12, 2007
Michael Mainville
Yerevan - AFP

Armenia's ruling elite have unleashed a powerful weapon on voters ahead of parliamentary elections here Saturday: Gagik Tsarukian, the former arm wrestling champion of the world.

After winning his title Tsarukian founded a multi-million-dollar petrol station and vodka empire and it is this wealth, not his muscles, that the small ex-Soviet republic's political elite appears to be counting on.

Critics accuse Tsarukian of openly buying votes for his Prosperous Armenia party, which was formed last year with the support of President Robert Kocharian - allegedly to siphon votes from true opposition parties.

Tsarukian acknowledges that he supports the president, but insists he has a genuine interest in governing.

Whatever the methods, Tsarukian, 50, is becoming popular. Polls show Prosperous Armenia winning 20-25 percent of the vote on Saturday, only five to 10 percent behind the ruling Republican Party of Armenia (HKK).

At a recent rally in the capital Yerevan, even Tsarukian's thick-necked bodyguards could not keep supporters from mobbing the candidate. They broke through security to swarm around Tsarukian, shaking his beefy hand or handing him letters and notes pleading for his help.

More than promises:

But media have reported that Prosperous Armenia is offering supporters more than promises in this election campaign.

Reports say that voters are being given 20,000 Armenian drams (56 dollars/41 euros) in exchange for agreeing to vote for the party and that Tsarukian has personally financed local reconstruction projects to win support.

Tsarukian's fans insist their support is genuine. "He's a real man, a great sportsman and a smart businessman. He's exactly what Armenia needs," construction worker Artur Gukasian said after shaking Tsarukian's hand at a rally. "And if he wants to help people out sometimes, why not?"

Yerevan political analyst Alexander Iskandarian said Prosperous Armenia's popularity showed that Armenia's democracy was still far from perfect. "Unfortunately, the main issue for many voters is how to best sell their votes," he said.

But given Armenia's history of ballot stuffing and voter fraud, vote-selling may actually reflect some progress in Armenia's democratic development, he added.

"If some parties are trying to buy people's votes, at least that means their votes matter to the outcome of the election," he said.

Saturday's election is being watched closely by the international community as a test of this small ex-Soviet country's commitment to democratic reform.

Armenia has not held an election judged free and fair by Western observers since gaining its independence with the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Brief History Of Journalism In Turkey
ISTANBUL – Turkish Daily News
May 12, 2007

The major papers today are Hurriyet, Milliyet and Sabah, all of which are headquartered in Istanbul but have satellite centers, which can print with local news included

Newspapers only appeared in Western Europe after Gutenberg's invention of the printing press in the first half of the 15th century and the first newspapers were published in Germany during the early 16th century. Still it wasn't until 1720 that printing was introduced to the Ottoman Empire, 300 years after the printing press had been developed.

The Ottoman Turks did not take kindly to the printing press when it was first introduced because religious conservatives were opposed to it. Much pressure was put on those involved in the printing press that was operated by Ibrahim Müteferrika and supported directly by Yirmisekiz Çelebizade Mehmet Efendi who had visited France and indirectly by Sultan Ahmet III.

Even if it had been possible to deal with a script that had three different forms for printed letters depending on whether or not they were at the beginning of a word, in the middle or at the end, this would have put paid to a society that treasured handwriting for the sake of its beauty. One has only to look at the manuscripts, beautifully decorated by hand, to understand the reverence in which good handwriting was held. This was long before the development of the typewriter and then the computer, and one has to remember that the beauty of various scripts was a matter of debate in other countries too. And not to mention the thousands of skilled calligraphic copyists who would be put out of business.

The value of the printing press and newspapers in the Ottoman Empire was understood more quickly by its minorities ? Jews, Armenians and Rums (Greeks born in Turkey). Word of mouth can travel as well or even better than print and the Turks were and still are very good at spreading word of something happening. The Ottoman court had a chronicler who wrote about the most significant events from one year to the next, of course biased in favor of the ruling monarch. And historians existed but most weren't capable of analyzing what they were recording.

The publication of the first Turkish newspaper occurred in Ottoman Turkey in 1831, some 400 years after Gutenberg's invention and 300 years after the first newspapers. Admittedly the minorities and foreigners were producing their own newspapers so we see in Istanbul's five newspapers in French, four in Greek and one in Armenian while Izmir had two in French, one in Greek and one in Hebrew.

The first Turkish language newspaper, Takvim-i Vekayi (Agenda of Events), was published in 1831 and was the exact translation of what the title implies; it contained only daily news and although it was supposed to come out once a week, in fact fewer editions were published over the course of a year than that. It resembled the chroniclers by only giving daily news and was perceived as representing the ?official? point of view.

The second Turkish language newspaper was Ceride-i Havadis (News Letter) that appeared in 1840 under the editorship of William Churchill. This was the first time that private enterprise financed a newspaper even if it was little more than a news bulletin at first and distributed free of charge. Later it offered domestic and foreign news and became the first newspaper in Turkey to have a foreign correspondent, a correspondent in Alexandria, Egypt.

What was happening in Turkey was a reflection of technological developments elsewhere such as the invention of the telegraph that allowed almost instantaneous transmission of news. Its use signaled a critical change in sources of information and the speed with which the newspaper could be printed and distributed. The steam-operated printing machine had been invented at the start of the 19th century but in Turkey, the Tercuman-i Ahval (Interpreter of Events) that began life in 1860 and was the first newspaper not supported by the government was still printed entirely by a manually operated machine. Its owner, Agah Efendi, is considered the founder of professional journalism in Turkey.

In 1862 Sinasi produced the first paper that included the thoughts and ideas of intellectuals and used such words as parliamentary democracy and nationality. The result was that many intellectuals chose voluntarily or otherwise to seek lives abroad. They then took advantage of their freedom to publish their own papers abroad in London and Paris. During the same period more newspapers appeared in Turkey but did not last long and magazines began to be published.

During the ensuing 50 years, Turkish newspapers were censored with measures becoming stricter as time passed. Sultan Abdülhamid II who ruled from 1879 to 1909 has often been characterized as paranoid; the list of words that could not appear in newspapers got longer and longer.

Enter the modern era

1908 saw the declaration of the Second Constitutional Monarchy in Turkey and the lifting of censorship. The total number of newspapers and magazines published at the time grew to 353 and circulation began to rise. Of course following World War 1, censorship was again imposed in Istanbul in particular, when the War of Liberation was going on in Turkey. In Ankara a newspaper was founded by Atatürk and contained his ideas and thoughts while a paper called Yenigün (New Day) appeared in Istanbul under the editorship of Yunus Nadi who later went on to produce Cumhuriyet (Republic) that is still published today. Nadi escaped to Anatolia during the time that Istanbul was occupied by foreign forces and became the voice of the liberation effort.

Following the establishment of the Republic in 1923 and until the alphabet reform in 1928, newspapers continued to be printed in the Arabic script that had been adopted by the Ottoman Turks. The change to the Latin alphabet took place over night and left many people unable to read the newspapers but it was fairly easy to learn. It also meant that illiteracy in Turkey could more easily be dealt with.

Today there are two-dozen or so national newspapers in Turkey and many more local ones. Although the population has a literacy rate of 87 percent, people are not inclined to read and circulation figures for daily newspapers are quite low, as low as 0.1 percent. That does not take into account the passing of newspapers through more than one hand. Upwards of three people may read a paper of one sort or another.

The major papers today are Hürriyet, Milliyet and Sabah, all of which are headquartered in Istanbul but have satellite centers, which can print with local news included. The first two are part of Dogan Holding to which the Turkish Daily News also belongs; Sabah belongs to another, rival group. All three newspapers contain news items and commentary. To offset the much greater popularity of television, they rely on banner headlines and colored photographs to draw and hold the attention of their readers. The national newspapers have correspondents in a number of the smaller cities and towns that feed information into their headquarters. Hürriyet for example is now printing outside the country and has its own news offices and staff there or at the very least a correspondent.

Censorship in theory was lifted over 90 years ago but still happens in practice. Newspapers do not have to submit articles in advance, except following a military coup, but within the industry itself the boundaries are well known and a certain amount of self-censorship still continues. And if the case of Yeni Gündem (New Agenda) is anything to go by, some newspapers are specifically targeted and their publication suspended or their editors charged with violations of the law and fined or given prison sentences. Individuals may also initiate a lawsuit if they feel a newspaper or magazine has defamed them; the president and prime minister of the country can also initiate a legal suit if they feel they have been insulted.

Television news is subject to restrictions just like newspapers and magazines; however, the rapid introduction of new technology from abroad makes it a formidable rival. It was not all that long ago when journalists at a press conference watched in amazement as one person typed his notes into a laptop computer and then sent his report to his editor by using a telephone in the room where the press conference was being held. Now the mobile phone with the capability to take photos capability can bring a scene to television screens even as the event is still occurring. Some newspapers are already broadcasting over the Internet and that trend looks set to continue. But it will never replace the feel of a newspaper page or the rustling sound made by turning a page.

French "Axa" Insurance Gives Final Consent For Uploading Entire Information About Company's Former Clients Who Became Victims In The Armenian Genocide At www.Armenianinsurancesettlement.Com Site

AZG Armenian Daily

"Liberty" radio station informs that Vardges Yeghian, Brian Kabatek, and Mark Kirakos, American-Armenian lawyers, informed that the site helps check the data and apply to it till October 1.

The latter also informed that they allocated $3 million to the French-Armenian insurance companies for current needs. The French insurance company is to pay about $17 million as compensation. The Armenian lawyers will also leave for Berlin to submit a suit to the government of Germany against "Deutsche Bank."

According to the Armenian lawyers, the bank may be given certain instructions for opening its archives.

Impoverished Armenia Hungry For Change
May 11, 2007
Michael Mainville
Yerevan - AFP

Armenians vote in parliamentary elections tomorrow, hungry for an end to the poverty that has plagued their country since independence from the Soviet Union more than 15 years ago.

But while polls show Armenians support drastic change, analysts say a deeply divided opposition and voter apathy are likely to hand victory to pro-government parties.

Disillusioned with politics, many Armenians say they aren't planning to vote at all.

"What's the point? Nothing will change for ordinary people no matter who's in charge. It's all nonsense," said Akhavni Sogoian, a 42-year-old resident of Kond, an impoverished neighborhood on a hilltop overlooking the Armenian capital Yerevan.

At first glance, Armenia appears ripe for reform. Outside of central Yerevan with its sidewalk cafes and chic boutiques, the country languishes in deep poverty.

Picturesque mountain villages lie empty, abandoned by the hundreds of thousands of Armenians who have left the country in search of work. Soviet-era factories sit idle, rusting and crumbling.

Dire poverty:

Of Armenia's three million people, more than 30 percent live on less than two dollars (1.50 euros) a day. Many more struggle to pay for bare necessities.

A Gallup poll in March found that more than 50 percent of Armenians believe the country is on the wrong track. In a January survey 93 percent of respondents said Armenia needs "radical" social-economic changes.

And yet two pro-government parties - the ruling Republican Party of Armenia (HKK) and the Prosperous Armenia party of millionaire and former World Arm Wrestling Champion Gagik Tsarukian - appear set to sweep the election.

The opposition claims the vote, widely seen as a dress rehearsal for next year's presidential election, will be rigged to ensure victory for the HKK. Its leader, Prime Minister Serzh Sarkisian, is considered the top candidate to replace President Robert Kocharian at the end of his second and final term next year.

Opposition leaders say they are preparing to organize mass protests if they consider the vote unfair.

"If the elections are falsified, we will fight against the falsification with all possible means.... We will use the power of the people who want to live in a free and democratic country," said Artur Baghdasarian, leader of the Country of Law Party, which polls show is likely to place third in the election after the HKK and Prosperous Armenia.

Fractured opposition:

But analysts say the opposition has failed to galvanize support by refusing to unite under a single anti-government banner. Nearly 20 opposition parties are taking part in the election and few are expected to cross the five percent threshold needed to enter parliament.

Ninety of the Armenian National Assembly's seats are being contested using a proportional system under which seats are assigned based on overall party votes. The assembly's remaining 41 seats will be assigned to the winners of individual constituency elections.

Pro-government parties deny there will be falsification and say voters will back the government's record of strong economic growth in the face of difficult odds.

As well as being landlocked and short on natural resources, Armenia is isolated by the closure of two of its four borders. Turkey and Azerbaijan have cut off relations with Yerevan over Armenia's seizure of Nagorny Karabakh and other Azerbaijani territory in the early 1990s.

Endemic corruption:

Despite this, the Armenian economy has grown by an average of 10 percent a year over the last decade. The ruling HKK is promising to double GDP growth, exports and average salaries if re-elected.

But opposition leaders say endemic corruption has allowed only a wealthy few with government connections to benefit from economic growth. They predict Armenians will reject pro-government parties at the ballot box and, if necessary, on the streets.

But previous attempts to organize post-election demonstrations in Armenia have fizzled and political analyst Alexander Iskandarian said it's unlikely this time will be any different."It will be 10,000-15,000 people on the streets in the beginning but after one or two weeks it will die down," he said. "Armenians want change, but they don't yet believe that participation in politics will accomplish anything."

‘"Turks Never Called Me For Support Regarding Genocide Issue" Hillary Clinton
10 May 2007
Turkish Daily News
U.S. Democratic presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton complained that the Turks never called her for support regarding the bill presented to Congress on the alleged genocide of Armenians at the hands of the Ottoman Empire, while the Armenian lobby in the United states was often meeting with her, reported daily Hürriyet yesterday. Clinton's remarks came in a response to a question posed by Turkish businessman Saadettin Saran during a dinner in New York.

In April Mrs. Clinton spoke out in support to the H.Res.106. A week before another presidential contender Sen. Barack Obama stressed the significance of the Armenian Genocide recognition.

Basque Parliament Recognizes Armenian Genocide
During a plenary meeting the Basque Parliament on April 20, 2007 approved an institutional declaration on the 92nd anniversary of the Armenian Genocide, independent French journalist Jean Eckian told PanARMENIAN.Net.

The text says: "The first genocide scientifically planned, organized and carried out in the history of humanity, was perpetrated by the Young Turks and ideology of the Pan-Turkism against the Armenian people, which generated the murder of almost two million people. Crimes of this nature must be denounced to prevent their repetition. Human and national rights should be restored culprits should be condemned. This genocide must deserve the sanction of the Basque people and all the people of the world.

Basque people and institutions rejected ethnic, religious or political discrimination, and this Parliament always denounced all the acts of genocide, by considering that the walk of time does not imply the lack of memory. The denunciations of the genocides by our Parliament like those of Bosnia, Kosovo, Iraki Kurdistan and the Ukrainian artificial famine of 1932-33, etc, are clear examples.

By this institutional declaration, the Parliament unifies its voice with those of the other institutions and Parliaments like European Parliament, Council of Europe and multitude of official and regional Parliaments, as well as the international institutions and humanitarians who denounced these facts.”

The Basque Parliament included 6 articles in which it affirms the authentic character of the Armenian Genocide; denounces Turkey’s systematic negationism and rejects the frontier and economic blockade imposed on Armenia. Moreover, the Parliament, under the signature of the president, Izaskun Bilbao Barandica, declares sympathy to the Armenian people, and supports their efforts to consolidate its democratic process and to affirm in the Caucasus area a stable space of cooperation and freedom.
. . With Friends Like These...
As Turkey And Azerbaijan Keep Up The Blockade, And Russia Bottles Up Georgia, Armenia's Only Open Doorway To The World Is Iran

by Tatul Hakobyan
YEREVAN -- Much of the world sat up and solemnly took notice in early April when Russian media reported that the United States was about to start Operation Bite, a plan to bomb Iranian nuclear targets. The specter of military action became even more ominous soon after, when 15 British sailors were taken captive by Iran, as the U.S. Navy readied itself for maneuvers in the Persian Gulf.

But the captured British personnel were returned, and the talk of Operation Bite was relegated to the arena of psychological -- as opposed to actual -- warfare. Western media declared that Iran's president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, had succeeded in humiliating Great Britain and its allies.

Weighty developments, to say the least, which should consume the interest and concern of Iran's neighbors.

But in Armenia, the latest news from and about Iran is only superficially covered, with almost nothing in the way of serious analysis. Iran is one of Armenia's four contiguous neighbors: the Armenian-Iranian border stretching along the Arax River is 40 kilometers long -- and if you factor in the regions of Zangelan, Jebrahil, and part of Fizuli, which have been under the control of Karabakh forces since 1993, the effective shared border grows to 140 kilometers. In addition, Islamic Iran is still home to one of the world's largest Armenian communities -- a legacy of centuries of interaction between the two neighboring nations.

* The political map
"Neighbor" may be an insufficient word, however, to describe Armenia's present relationship with Iran. A look at the political map tells the larger tale.

Over 80 percent of Armenia's borders are blocked up. In the west there is the "Turkish wall": the two frontier points of the Turkish-Armenian border, Akyaka-Akhurian and Alijan-Margara, which were open even during the Cold War, providing a major transport node between the Soviet Union and Turkey via the Kars-Gyumri railroad, have been closed by Ankara since April 3, 1993.

In the east, Armenia's frontier with Azerbaijan is strewn with mines, extending along the border with Nakhichevan on the west.

The northern neighbor, Georgia, is periodically blocked up or threatened by Russia, a military ally of Armenia and its number-one business partner. Several years ago the Kazbegi-Upper Lars land road connecting Armenia with Russia -- which passes through Georgia -- began periodic shutdowns, and since June 2006 it has been closed entirely. The Russians claim that restoration work is being done in this sector, but considering the current level of Russian-Georgian relations, the work might just last forever.

No one can choose their neighbors, let alone their geography. Armenia is no exception. The fact is that the only neighbor with whom it has been able to maintain stable political, economic, and cultural relations during the 15 years of independence has been Iran. But not everything is running smoothly. The Iranian government has serious problems with the international community. America and Iran have been in a long-lasting confrontation, with an absence of diplomatic relations. And then there's the latest serious crisis over the Islamic republic's nuclear program.

* Industrial-level uranium
On March 24, the UN Security Council adopted Resolution 1747, reaffirming the existing sanctions set in its previous resolution of December 23, 2006. The five permanent and 10 non-permanent members of the Security Council agreed that by May 24 Teheran must halt its uranium enrichment program or face a stricter UN resolution.

But Tehran is signaling that it is not ready to compromise or suspend its nuclear ambitions. On April 9, speaking at the uranium enrichment facility in Natanz, Mr. Ahmadinejad publicly announced that Iran had brought the enrichment of uranium to the "industrial level." And Iran has declared that it may follow the lead of North Korea and drop out of the nonproliferation treaty altogether. On the nuclear issue, Iranians "will not back down even an iota from their international rights," Mr. Ahmadinejad said on April 16, as he called on world powers to stop "bullying" Iran. Pressure won't give results, but will harm those who employ it, he said.

But according to Iran expert Emma Begijanyan, there is no ground for serious concern yet, because the likelihood of American attacks on Iranian nuclear targets remains low. "The United States and Israel are instead adhering to economic and political pressure. It is possible that after May 24 the pressure will be strengthened," Begijanyan says.

She adds that Armenia would not have any serious impact on the situation: as a country it is not large or consequential enough to be part of the West's pressure policy of isolating Iran. "Moreover, the West will certainly take into consideration the fact that Armenia is in a blockade," says Begijanyan. "On the other hand, Russia is not interested in complicating the situation in Iran, nor in encouraging political changes in the country or establishing a Western-oriented regime there. That would not be advantageous to Russia, and both it and China will try to keep sanctions reasonable."

"Europe also isn't eager to restrict them," she adds.

It is worth noting that the U.S. never misses an opportunity to affirm that it is not against the development of Armenian-Iranian economic ties, including ties in the energy field -- as long as these do not conflict with the sanctions imposed on Iran. Last spring, then--U.S. Ambassador to Armenia John Evans, and subsequently State Department officials Matthew Bryza and Daniel Fried, announced that they would encourage Armenia to pursue an energy diversification policy as an alternative to the Iran-Armenia gas pipeline recently put into operation.

* Just talk? Or an imminent danger?
Rouben Safrastyan, head of the Institute of Oriental Studies in Armenia's National Academy of Sciences, emphasizes that Armenia's policy towards Iran must be grounded in the mutual agreements between the two countries, as well as in international law. In other words, Armenia's stance should be consonant with its international rights.

"It can hardly be said that the isolation of Iran has reached an alarming point," Safrastyan says. "No; I think there is enough time before the end of May, during which all kinds of developments are possible. The UN Security Council is going to address this issue in late May-early June, by which time the two-month period will have come to an end. I don't think that it will result in the organization of an attack on Iran, or in an attempt to obtain a permit for that purpose from the Security Council."

"Potential peaceful ways of resolving the crisis have not been exhausted," he notes, "and diplomatic efforts among the European Union, Russia, and Iran are working actively in this direction. Whatever other ideas are put into circulation are just elements of an 'information war,' which the Americans organize to put Iran under the pressure."

But others find cause for a more pessimistic appraisal. Stepan Safaryan, coordinator of the Armenian Center for Strategic and National Studies, believes that the prospect of an isolated Iran is pregnant with danger for Armenia, which risks the deepening of its own isolation in the region. Until now, Armenian diplomacy has been able to exploit the "Iranian factor" as a counterweight to the "Turkish factor"; the weakening of the former would obviously destabilize that balancing act.

Safaryan does feel that Armenia should seek good neighborly relations with Iran. But the unpredictable course of Russian-Iranian relations places yet another wrinkle in an already complex situation. "Iran could become weaker, and loses its defensive capacity once again," he says. "Consequently, a really dangerous situation for Armenia would be created in the region, in which one of its doorways to the outer world -- which had resisted closure even during the Karabakh war -- is placed in jeopardy."

* An untapped resource
In such a situation, what is Armenian diplomacy to do?

Safaryan laments that Armenia has no serious role to play in the regional equation. But through diplomatic channels and its various declarations and announcements, Yerevan needs to articulate that international decisions concerning Iran will have inevitable consequences -- and very likely bad ones -- for Armenia's security. And Armenia must make clear that when any action is considered for implementation against Iran, the interests of the other countries in the region need to be taken into account.

To make itself heard, Safaryan advises, Armenia should take a broad view of the venues available to it. "When I mention 'diplomatic channels,' I include our Armenian diaspora and lobbying organizations as well, which are so supportive of our diplomacy today. In light of them, Armenia could take up a very interesting political stance regarding U.S.-Iran relations --especially in consideration of the large diaspora communities resident in both Iran and the United States."

"Unfortunately, this resource has not been used yet," concludes Safaryan. "But I think that today these concerns regarding our national security could be raised by the Armenian diaspora, as well."

U.S. immigrants from Armenia send 10 percent of their income back to Armenia
by Armen Hakobyan
YEREVAN -- For many people in Armenia, their most reliable -- and sometimes their only -- source of income is personal money transfers from relatives who have migrated to foreign countries. These money transfers do help many in Armenia to endure the country's still-difficult economic conditions. But such external transfers also have an impact on Armenia's internal economic life, and affect foreign currency rates. According to official estimates, in 2003--2005 money transfers received through the banking system alone constituted 15 percent of Armenia's gross domestic product.

Over the past 10 to 15 years, an estimated 90 percent of immigrants from Armenia living in and around Los Angeles have regularly transferred money to their relatives in Armenia. In 2005, on average, each Armenian immigrant living in the Los Angeles area transferred $2,700 to Armenia.

That notable figure was one the findings of a survey conducted by the P.A. Consulting firm for the Central Bank of Armenia with assistance from USAID. The survey was conducted between October 6 and November 27 of last year in Los Angeles, Glendale, North Hollywood, Burbank, and other cities in the metropolitan area.

The final survey findings have recently been released, and in an interview with the Armenian Reporter, the chief of the Central Bank's statistical service, Martin Galstian, discussed the outcomes of the study.

* Russia vs the U.S.
The Central Bank said this large-scale study was aimed at making a general evaluation of foreign money transfers, their role in augmenting native-Armenian household income, and the resultant pressures caused on the currency exchange market.

According to Central Bank figures, remittances -- transfers to family, rather than business transactions -- carried out through the banking system increased by a mean of 37 percent in 2003--2005. But according to the Central Bank's official press communiqué on the survey results, "information received through the banks does not provide a complete picture of the scale of transfers, and is not enough for implementing a corresponding economic policy."

The release went on: "According to some evaluations, total remittances are only 20 to 30 percent more than those received through the banking system alone."

With assistance from the World Bank, the Central Bank of Armenia initiated its first survey on the matter in February-March of 2006. The survey, carried out by the Alpha Plus Consulting Agency, looked at three major dimensions of the issue: it studied 2,000 households in Armenia that receive money transfers; 2,000 individuals transferring money from Moscow; and several organizations functioning in Armenia that specialize in receiving and distributing money transfers.

According to the results of the survey, in 2005 Armenian households received around $940 million in foreign money transfers. Thirty-seven percent of the Armenian households receiving foreign money transfers belonged to the middle class. The proportion of poor households was small, and the proportion of the extremely poor was negligible.

Thirty-four percent of the monetary transfers were received by residents of Yerevan. Moreover, 72 percent of the transfers were from Russia, 14 percent from the U.S., and another 5 percent was the combined share of other countries including Germany, Greece, and Ukraine.

* Avoiding banks
The total number of those surveyed was 1,443 -- which is sufficient to establish a complete picture. "The survey was carried out on two levels," Mr. Galstian said. "First the interviewers asked whether those being surveyed did indeed send money to Armenia. If the answer was yes, then the respondent was passed to the next level of the survey."

One finding of the survey was anticipated: that the mean yearly sum of money being transferred from the U.S. considerably exceeds the money transfers through the banking system. The mean indicator of personal money transfers carried out through the banking system was $1,400: that means that individuals from the U.S. annually send a mean of that much money to Armenia through the banking system. On the other hand, Mr. Galstian said, "Our research showed individuals in the study sending an annual mean of $2,700 from the U.S." to Armenia.

He added: "The main conclusion that we can reach -- and it is verified through our inquiries -- is that a large part of the sums being sent from the United States evades the banking system."

The problem for investigators is that in the United States there are institutions that carry out money transfers without a license. They operate in parallel with established licensed transfer systems such as Western Union or Moneygram. In a typical scenario, according to Mr. Galstian, a person simply gives the sum of money to the unlicensed party in Los Angeles, and his or her relative in Yerevan receives an identical amount, less fees. "We cannot name any institutions, because they function in the shadow economy and are not identified. The surveyed people have not mentioned names, either -- maybe out of fear," said Mr. Galstian.

According to him, the survey's other conclusion verified the earlier hypothesis: that only 20 percent of those surveyed -- just one in five --has carried out money transfers through the banking system.

Based on the first survey, Mr. Galstian noted: "Nearly 80 percent of the money transfers from Russia are carried out through banking system. It is possible in Russia, but not so much in the United States. The main idea is that people go to Russia to work with short-term contracts or long-term agreements, and there is no such thing as legal or illegal alien status, as there is in the U.S. But in the U.S., in order to get a visa, the individual must settle certain issues, and many in Los Angeles do not have legal residency status. Therefore, to avoid having to present documents which they lack to make money transfers through the banking system, they prefer to transfer the money in informal or other ways."

* When did you get here?
According to the survey, 76 percent of the individuals transferring money to Armenia have left the country in the last 10 to 15 years. As Mr. Galstian mentioned, the results of the survey show that those who have recently left Armenia transfer money more frequently than the "traditional diaspora." About 90 percent of all immigrants from Armenia send money home, and those surveyed said that the amount of money they transferred in 2005 had either increased or remained unchanged compared to that of 2004. Only 2 percent said that the amount of money transferred had decreased.

"The other interesting conclusion is that one of the reasons for the increase in the amount of money being transferred cited by the respondents [ i.e. the approximately 82 percent of those surveyed who had increased the amount of the money being transferred] is the increase in the value of the Armenian dram," Mr. Galstian noted. He cited further survey results indicating that the occupations of those transferring money from Los Angeles are diverse in nature, with 21 percent of respondents identifying themselves as businesspeople or self-employed, 17 percent as skilled workers, 8 percent as administrators, and 8 percent as drivers, with the balance employed in the construction, transport, finance, and art sectors.

The main part -- nearly 74 percent of those surveyed -- said they send money to their relatives so that the latter can take care of their daily expenses. "Another interesting fact compared to the Armenian residents of Russia is that 4 percent mentioned that they send money so that other members of the family can migrate to the United States. There was no such description of expenses in the case of the Russian population," said Mr. Galstian.

Of those surveyed in the U.S., 70 percent answered the question asking what percentage of their income was being transferred. Those who answered it said that they transfer around 10 percent of their income to Armenia. Thus, it may be estimated that the mean income of those answering this question is around $27,000 -- which is quite low compared to the mean annual income in Los Angeles.

Also, 99 percent of those surveyed said they would continue transferring money. Hence, money transfers from foreign countries, in this case from Los Angeles, can be expected to continue. Mr. Galstian stressed that the Central Bank can take certain estimates based on that information into account as it formulates its own policy.

* Do you see your future in Armenia?
The participants in this survey were asked whether they saw their future in Armenia in parallel with another question: namely, what they would do if they received a lump sum of $100,000. Interestingly, according to Mr. Galstian, 4.7 percent of those surveyed said that they would return to Armenia; 7.8 percent said they would buy a house in Armenia; and 8.4 percent said they would send the money to Armenia for current expenses.

"Only 30 percent of those surveyed gave answers related to Armenia," Mr. Galstian said. "The remainder mainly connected their answer to the United States -- they would buy a house in Los Angeles, pay off a house loan in Los Angeles, establish a business in Los Angeles, and so on."

Perhaps more interesting is the fact that 75 percent of those surveyed who were born in Armenia said that they would never consider moving back to Armenia, no matter what happened in the country. Another 14 percent said they would consider returning -- but only if their mean monthly salary in Armenia reached 2,500 U.S. dollars.

The demands of the Armenians who migrated to Moscow were by far more modest, which was reflected in the results of the earlier survey. Those transferring money from Moscow send 27 percent of their income to Yerevan; 28 percent of them said there is no way they would work again in Armenia; 44 percent said they would work in Armenia provided their salary was between $300 and $1,000.

And on the subject of the earlier survey, households receiving money transfers use the main part -- 76 percent -- for daily consumption needs; 6 percent use it for education and other related expenses. The proportion of money transfers used for buying real estate, for business, and for savings is 4.3 percent.

* An ongoing issue
Life goes on in Armenia -- and so do the money transfers from those who have left the country to make a living elsewhere. The figures presented by the Central Bank suggest that the amount of transferred money will have a tendency to increase.

Thus, if in 2005 personal transfers received through the banking system were $752.8 million, then in 2006 they reached $960.9 million -- nearly 40 percent more than the sum of money transferred during the same period in the previous year.

A dollar influx on this scale has a serious effect on the exchange value of the Armenian dram, and accordingly on the entire economy of the country, as the experts of the Central Bank confirm. A greater supply of dollars can mean that a dollar fetches fewer drams, and that puts pressure on immigrants to send more dollars. But remittances are far from being the only factor determining the exchange rate.

That said, the Central Bank's monetary policy is directed toward keeping the value of the dram steady and predictable.

Armenian Reporter
Paramus, New Jersey 07652
May 12, 2007

A Symposium Asks What Comes After Recognition
by Lory Tatoulian

GLENDALE, Calif. -- On Monday May 7, 250 people gathered at the Glendale Public Library to attend a special symposium titled, "If The Armenian Genocide is Recognized, What Does the Armenian Community Expect Next?" The event was organized by the Armenian Professional Society, one of whose many goals is to bring vibrant programs, thinkers, and speakers to the public arena. The evening's program brought together a panel of five guests: Ben Charchian, Mark Chenian, Levon Marashlian, Harut Sassounian, and Hovann Simonian. The colloquium was moderated by Hrair Dekemejian, professor of political science at USC and author of many books.

During the forum each panelist was allotted eight minutes to present his articles and opinions on the matter. The range of thought and abstracts varied from legal resources to a more opinion-oriented discourse.

Ben Charchian, an attorney representing the law firm Vartkes Yeghiayan and Associates, spoke first. Charchian's presentation focused on how the courts can be used to go beyond Genocide recognition. "The court system is an excellent means to get reparations from companies. These are companies that unduly profited because of the Armenian Genocide."

The law firm of Vartkes Yeghiayan settled two major lawsuits regarding reparations; one was with AXA, the other with New York Life. Yeghiayan's law firm believes in being active now, not waiting for Genocide recognition. Charchian explained: "These companies issued life insurance policies to Armenians before the Genocide. After the Genocide they breached their contracts, didn't pay the beneficiaries of those who were murdered during the Armenian Genocide. We have to attend to these lawsuits." This is contract law, he said, "and the Genocide is a background issue."

Yeghiayan's law firm is systematically preparing to file many more lawsuits against companies to gain reparations. Charchian believes that the power of the court will be the conduit through which success can be achieved. "The courts listen to these issues on common law, breaching of contract; those are the way they decide,. We need to go after these companies now. The good news is we don't have to wait until Genocide recognition, we are actually getting reparations as these two companies show." Charchian also expressed his views on the courts' limitations. He gave the example of Deutsche Bank's presence in Western Armenia during and after the Genocide. Deutsche Bank looted the accounts of Armenian patrons' assets after the Genocide, he said. In addition, the bank used Armenians who survived the death marches as slave laborers to construct significant portions of the Berlin-Baghdad railways.

Next in line on the panel was entrepreneur and community activist Mark Chenian, vice president of an investment firm in Beverly Hills. Chenian is also serves on the Steering Committee at USC's Institute of Armenian Studies. Chenian began by reworking the question and posing one of his own. He asked "What direction will the Armenian community take if and when the Genocide is recognized?" Chenian presented a series of suggestions. "Armenians fundamentally have to change their thinking from relying on others into self-reliance. We need a core of legal scholarship. We should recruit top-notch students to study the constitutional private law and combine the students with revered scholars and then be allowed to claim our case within the sphere of human rights, international law, genocide, and other related war crimes." Chenian continued a litany of his admonitions, one being that all Armenians should not only have a sophomoric understanding of the Genocide, but be able to expand the scope of their knowledge and understand it with scholarly insight.

Levon Marashilian began by expressing many of his viewpoints "Turkey's recognition of the Armenian Genocide is not anywhere around the corner. If there were no financial or territorial consequences for Turkey to worry about, recognition would be easier." Marashlian teaches at the local community college here. He has written many newspaper articles on the Armenian Genocide. Marashlian said that many Armenians wish to have recognition but feel it is no longer realistic to gain back territory or financial compensation. "Recognition without justice is nowhere near enough. Justice is essential for Armenia's survival and prosperity as a country. Without justice Armenia has a very dark future. The purpose of the Genocide was to eliminate Armenia as a factor from the region forever. Armenia now is a landlocked country with little resources. If it weren't for the Genocide, there would be about 25 million Armenians living there today. Justice for the Genocide is the only way Armenia can become a country you can be proud of. The Armenians who say that compensation is out of the picture are willingly condemning Armenia to remain in its current state." Marashlian's closing statements were echoed with favorable applause form the audience.

Harut Sassounian, a community activist and prolific writer, has written many articles on the Armenian Genocide. He is the publisher of the California Courier and his other roles include serving as the vice president of the Lincy Foundation and president of the United Armenia Fund. In his opening remarks, Sassouinian declared "The Armenian Genocide is already recognized. The whole world already knows that there was a genocide." He continued, "countries and presidents around the world for years have recognized the Genocide. President Reagan recognized it in 1981. We have to get out of the victim mentality, and instead be self-assured and demand our rights. We have to get on the offensive and take the initiative. The Turkish government has not officially recognized the Armenian Genocide; that's their problem. They know its true; we know its true. It would be in their interest to recognize it." He went on to explain that if Turkey continues to deny the Genocide, they it will continually have to pay the price with aversive public opinion on a global scale. "Our dream is not for Turkey to recognize the Genocide. An entire civilization was annihilated, our ancient lands were taken from us. We need the return of the looted assets of the Armenian nation."

The last guest on the panel to speak was doctorial candidate Hovann Simonian. He is co-author of the book, Troubled Waters: The Geopolitics of the Caspian. He also recently published a book about the Hemshin people living in Northern Turkey who were forcefully converted to Islam about 300 years ago. Simonian's presentation was more linear. "The type of compensation Armenian should ask for is private restitution. People should be able to ask for either the return of their private property or monetary compensation. The Armenian Church can likewise ask for all its churches ands monasteries back. That can be negotiated."

The program continued with a dialogue session of questions and answers with the audience. Academic cadences and sheer concern mixed throughout the evening, with audience members exploring insightful solutions to this most pressing issue.

A Visit To Bulgaria
by Talin Suciyan

SOFIA, Bulgaria -- I lived in Edirne, Turkey, on the Bulgarian border, for two years. On the way to my favorite place, Karaagac village, where there still is a train station of the Orient Express, I used to see a yellow sign, "Border gate to Bulgaria." But Bulgaria always seemed to be a neighbor rather too far, like all other neighbors of Turkey.

I finally made my first visit to Bulgaria last weekend. I had been invited to Sofia by the Centre for Liberal Strategies (CLS) as an independent observer to what they called a "deliberative poll" on the integration of the Roma in Bulgarian society. This was a good opportunity for me to see my friend Olga, chitchat, rest a bit after the vote, and get a sense of the country. This was my intention, but in the event, Olga and I had very little time together, and she complained, saying that I should fit her name somewhere in my schedule.

I met Armenian community members in Sofia. The first meeting was with the editors of the Yerevan Weekly newspaper, which is published in Bulgarian and Armenian. Three women are doing all the work to publish the newspaper, and one of them is the photographer. I was astounded when I saw the paper they were publishing, just the three of them. The editors are Anahid Ajderian, Vartanush Topakhashian, and photographer Mari Knalyan.

Vartanush's grandparents are from Tekirdag (Rodosto) and Adapazari (Bardizag), Mari's from Edirne and Egin (Agn), and Anahit's from Malkara.

Their grandparents all came to Bulgaria in 1922. They were deported in 1915 and but made their way back in the hope of continuing their lives in peace. But that did not happen. In 1922 the families were apart again. For instance, part of Vartanush's family went to Bulgaria and part to Greece. These two parts never met again. Anahit's parents came from Malkara and rebuilt their lives in Bulgaria.

Although Bulgaria accepted Armenians between 1922 and 1923, both journalists say, Armenians were forbidden by law to settle in the capital. That is why there were plenty of Armenians in Plovdiv, the biggest city near Sofia.

Armenians have been living since the fifth century in the territories that are today Bulgaria. According to Anahid and Vartanush, in the beginning of the 20th century some 30,000 Armenians came to Bulgaria; they were welcomed by the local Armenians. Many of them continued their way to other countries later. The ones who remained lived with the dream of going back.

In the 1940s, seeing that the dream was unlikely to be realized, many emigrated to Soviet Armenia, whence many were sent further afield, to Siberia

According to the 2001 census, there were around 11 thousand Armenians in Bulgaria. However, Anahid and Vartanush say, some Armenian women who were married to Bulgarians and took Bulgarian family names were counted as Bulgarians. And also in the last census there was a special section for marking ethnic origin, and this part was not filled by many Armenians. The journalists' estimate is that around 15 to 16 thousand Armenians live in Bulgaria. This number does not include recent arrivals from Armenia.

Since Bulgaria and Armenia were part of the Soviet bloc, teachers and teaching materials came from Armenia and children learned Eastern Armenian. Eastern Armenian in schools, Western Armenian at home had been a regular duality/dilemma in the community. In 1989, a right to be educated in one's native language was gained. Armenians started to teach and learn Western Armenian again. However, there is only one Armenian school in Plovdiv. Bulgarian schools offer four hours of Armenian language classes as elective courses. There are no classes on history and religion. Nonetheless, Armenians often say that they felt they were more privileged compared to Turks and Jews living in Bulgaria, mainly because Armenia was a Soviet republic.

There are two newspapers. One is Yerevan, which has been published since 1944 in Sofia. The other is Vahan, published in Plovdiv. Both are disseminated nationally. There is also a new monthly magazine Parekordzagani Tsayn. A newspaper that had been published in Burgas for 10 years stopped last year.

There is one Armenian member of the parliament, Dr. Rupen Krikoryan, from the National Party of Simeon II.

In the city centre of Sofia, there is a historically Greek church functioning as an Armenian Church. The community wanted to have an Armenian church built by Armenian architects, and Sourp Asdvadzadzin Church is now being built in the centre of Sofia.

* Plovdiv
In Plovdiv, there is an Armenian-Bulgarian library called "Krasiradz" and a museum too. Armenian The quarter in the old city of Plovdiv is famous with its 19th-century wooden houses. Among the most beautiful is Hintlian House. It was built between 1835 and the 1840s. Stepan Hintlian was a merchant, trading silk from Stockholm to India. The house was nationalized during the socialist period and became a national heritage site. It is used as a museum today. Unfortunately there is no information written in the house as to who the owners were. I did find one of the owners, who had a long story tell. Perhaps for the next time.
* * *
Talin Suciyan is a journalist based in Istanbul. She writes regularly for the Armenian Reporter.

Armenian-American Attorneys Meet With German Officials Re AXA
12 May 2007
Brian Kabateck Mark Geragos
Kabateck Brown Kellner LLP Geragos & Geragos
213-217-5000 213 625-3900
bsk@kbklawyers.com mark@geragos.com
Cell: 310-780-2309
Diane Zakian Rumbaugh Vartkes Yeghiayan
Rumbaugh Public Relations Yeghiayan Law Firm
805-493-2877 818-242-7400
rumbaugh@earthlink.net vartkes@anet.net

For Immediate Release May 11, 2007

Armenian-American Attorneys Meet With German Officials/
Deutsche & Dresdner Bank, Defendants in Armenian Genocide-Related Case, Refuse to Meet

BERLIN, GERMANY--Three Armenian-American attorneys, Brian S. Kabateck, Mark J. Geragos and Vartkes Yeghiayan, are in Berlin, Germany seeking to meet with officials from Deutsche Bank and Dresdner Bank over lawsuits stemming from the 1915 Armenian Genocide in what is now Turkey. So far, the banks refuse to meet. The attorneys filed a lawsuit last year against Deutsche and Dresdner Banks charging the two banks held Armenian families' money and assets that had been deposited in their banks before 1915 and retained assets looted by the Turkish government. (Varoujan Deirmenjian, et. al. v. Deutsche Bank, A.G., Dresdner Bank, A.G., et. al., January 13, 2006, Los Angeles Superior Court).

The attorneys met with German officials while in Berlin yesterday. The attorneys believe the meeting was productive. The content of the meeting is confidential. At a news conference after the meeting, Kabateck, Geragos and Yeghiayan discussed the present status of the suit against Deutsche Bank and Dresdner Bank and asked that the banks be good corporate citizens and sit down to discuss resolution of the claims against them.

"The German government has been very admirable in acknowledging the Armenian Genocide," says Kabateck, partner with the Los Angeles, California-based Kabateck Brown Kellner. "Turkey says it didn't happen. It is shameful that Deutsche Bank and Dresdner Bank are acting more in line with Turkey and do not feel obligated to return assets rightfully belonging to Armenians. It just adds to the disregard and degradation of a group of people that have suffered horribly."

Deutsche Bank's attorneys in the United States state that the banks will not meet with the plaintiff's attorneys until pending motions seeking its attorneys' disqualification for tampering with plaintiff's expert consultant are withdrawn. "Deutsche Bank's precondition to meet with us appears to be a tacit recognition of the strength of our expert tampering charges," says Mark Geragos, partner with Geragos & Geragos. "At this point, just about all the Armenians who lived through the genocide have passed away. The German banks probably think if they wait long enough, no one will be left to seek the assets that were theirs. Armenians are a very determined people. We do not give up. Now, it's up to Armenian descendants to make sure their ancestors are not forgotten."

Kabateck, Geragos and Yeghiayan were in Paris earlier this week to announce the claim filing process for a $17.5 million settlement in a class action lawsuit brought against French insurance giant AXA for life insurance that went unpaid to heirs of those killed during the 1915 Armenian Genocide. (Kyurkjian, et. al. v. AXA, Case No: CV 02-01750 and Ouzounian, et. al., v. AXA, Case No: CV 05-02596, U.S. District Court, Central District of California). The suit is the second of its kind. Attorneys Kabateck, Geragos and Yeghiayan are internationally representing Armenian descendants in similar cases. In Martin Marootian, et al. v. New York Life Insurance Company), they reached a settlement with New York Life in which the insurance company agreed to pay $20 million to descendants of Armenian policyholders killed during the genocide.

"These settlements have brought us one step closer to universal Genocide recognition by forcing everyone who ignorantly denies the Armenian Genocide, especially those Turkish citizens who have been blinded by years of state sponsored propaganda, to come to grips with reality and see that had there not been a genocide, these multinational corporations would not have paid millions in settlement," states Yeghiayan principle of Glendale, California-based Yeghiayan & Associates.

Armenians can obtain a list of individuals who had purchased insurance from AXA in the Ottoman Empire between 1880 and 1930 by going to www.armenianinsurancesettlement.com. The instructions are in English and Armenian. A policy claim form must be filled out and submitted to a Settlement Fund Board in order to have a claim considered for payment. The deadline for submission is October 1, 2007.

U.S. Hasn't Recognized Turkish Republic Juridically So Far
"The U.S. hasn't recognized the Turkish Republic jurudically so far. In 1918 the U.S. Senate decreed that a state which failed to fulfill the arbitration award of the U.S. President cannot be recognized," Ara Papyan, orientalist, specialist in international law and Armenia's former Ambassador to Canada told a news conference in Yerevan.

"It's not true that the Lausanne peaceful agreement annulled the Sevr treaty. The Armenian-Turkish border issue wasn't even discussed in Lausanne. There were two reasons for it. First, there already existed the arbitration award. Second, Armenia wasn't an element of the international law any more. Furthermore, provision 16 of the agreement reads, "Turkey renounces its claims to territories which are not marked by the Lausanne peaceful agreement as Turkish." Actually, the Lausanne agreement had restored the Sevr treaty," the Armenian diplomat said.

At that Ara Papyan noted that presently the matter concerns rehabilitation of international law but not return of lands. "For Armenia it's first of all a security issue which includes demilitarization of the border zone, Turkey's abstinence from interfering into the Nagorno Karabakh conflict and Armenia's engagement into economic projects," Mr Papyan said.

No One Cancelled Sevre Treaty On Armenia
"After conclusion of the Sevre Treaty on August 10, 1920 borders with independent Armenia had to be set by a neutral mediator - the United States. In this view, representatives of UK, France and Italy appealed to U.S. President Woodrow Wilson for an arbitration award on the Armenian-Turkish border. Mr Wilson outlined Armenia's territory of 110 square km," Ara Papyan, orientalist, specialist in international law and Armenia's former Ambassador to Canada told a news conference in Yerevan.

"The arbitration award on the Armenian-Turkish border is an international agreement which is not subject to appeal and restriction of time. The big Parisian Four addressed a joint note to the U.S. President in order to determine Armenian and Turkish borders on the territory of Van, Bitlis, Erzrum and Trapezund," Papyan said.

The fate of the arbitration award is not bound with the ratification of the Sevre treaty, according to him. "Westerman's committee responsible for determination of borders was formed in the U.S.

Congress. The map and award affixed by the state seal marking the significance of the documents are kept in the U.S. Congress Library. Another committee dealing with the demarcation of borders at the site was headed by Henry Morgenthau, the U.S. Ambassador to Turkey in the times of the Armenian Genocide in the Ottoman Empire," the Armenian diplomat said.

However, Papyan noted, November 29 the 11th Red Army entered Armenia and the First Republic stopped existence as an international element. "That is why the conditions of the Sevre and Lausanne treaties were not fulfilled. The USSR was not the assignee of the Republic of Armenia," he said.

Why Erdogan Will Lose
by Scott Sullivan
May 08, 2007
Prime Minister Erdogan has less than a fifty percent chance of promoting another Abdullah Gul to the Turkish presidency. Far more likely is a scenario of Erdogan power sharing with the Turkish military, or even an outright victory by the Turkish military. Here are the reasons why.

First, Prime Minister Erdogan overplayed his hand by nominating FM Gul for the presidency in the first round. Erdogan erred because Gul was seen as a potential Islamic radical, whose wife was known for advocacy of the Islamic headscarf. Gul was also seen as spending too much of his time courting Germany and not enough time on the Iraqi Kurdish/PKK crisis. Moreover, Gul seemed unable to say NO to the US, even when the US was disregarding vital Turkish interests, as in Iraq. Finally, Gul blundered by ignoring the importance of building support for Turkey in terms of US public relations. In effect, Gul wrote off the US and focused all his attention on Germany, oblivious to the fact that Turkey’s most serious problems emanate from US policy. Erdogan’s miscalculation by nominating Gul in the first round will cost Erdogan valuable support in the 22 July election.

Second, Massoud Barzani, like Gul, will be a political albatross around Erdogan’s neck. Just this week Barzani met with Iran’s foreign minister and announced that “Kurdish and Iranian security is indivisible.” Turkey’s military leadership is smiling today. With one sentence Barzani has discredited Erdogan, who is proud of his extensive Iranian connections. Barzani has also discredited the US, who now realizes that US forces in Iraq are helping advance an Iranian power grab for Kirkuk and northern Iraq, as well as Basra and southern Iraq.

Third, Iran will damage Erdogan’s chances by confronting the Sunnis in Iraq. Iran now virtually controls the Kurdish and Shia provinces. Iran’s domination of two-thirds of Iraq is enraging Iraq’s Sunnis, as well as Muqtada al-Sadr, who will retaliate against Iran and turn to Turkey for support.

Fourth, contrary to the conventional wisdom, the election of Nicolas Sarkozy will bring a major boost to the Turkish military.. Erdogan has built his connections to Germany. The Turkish military and secularists will build their connections to France. Sarkozy takes a tough line on law and order, terrorism, Islamic headscarves, and ethnic/political separatism within France. The Turkish military agrees with Sarkozy on these issues.

For his part, president-elect Sarkozy, eager to break new ground in foreign policy, and wary of French-German cohabitation, will seek out new allies. Sarkozy will look first to Turkey, the emerging superpower in Europe and the Middle East, and the adversary of Iran.

Fifth, Erdogan is clueless about how to turn Turkey into a superpower. All Erdogan knows is to make concessions to the Germans in hopes they will be nice to Turkey some day. This is a big mistake.

If Turkey plays its cards right by joining the Paris-Moscow Axis, while upgrading relations with the US, Turkey will be a major new force in Europe and the Middle East. Turkey will play an essential role in a comprehensive solution for Iraq. Turkey’s Kurdish problems will ease through political compromise, with an assist from Russia and the US, while the threat from Iran will subside. As noted earlier, due to his blunders, Barzani is already on the way down and is taking Iran with him, to Turkey’s great advantage.

In short, Turkey’s presidential elections will favor the Turkish military and Turkish secularists. The Turkish military and secularists can bring a “New Wave” of politics to Turkey, just as Sarkozy is doing in France. Turkey is heading for a major role in regional and global politics, via defeat for Iran, despite Germany, Erdogan, and Gul.

© 2005-2007 The Conservative Voice.

Republican Virginia Foxx to Young Turks

Republican Representative of N.C., Congresswoman Virginia Foxx: "Get involved on the local level. Possibly work for somebody’s campaign. You get on the inside and you see what it’s like to run a campaign."

Republican Representative Virginia Foxx of North Carolina is among the Congress members friendly to Turkey. Even more, she has blood ties with Turks because her son-in-law is a Turkish businessman, Mustafa Özdemir. She is the third woman in North Carolina history to serve in the U.S. House. She is known for her conservative values and she was also one of just 38 Republicans to score a 100 percent approval rating from the American Conservative Union.

Congresswoman Foxx is also a member of the Caucus on U.S.-Turkish Relations, which has 62 members. Foxx began her career as a secretary and research assistant at University of NC-Chapel Hill. Prior to serving on Capitol Hill, Foxx spent ten years in the North Carolina Senate. Since serving in the House, she has received attention for her energy and hard work. Her campaign finances shows how hard she works to fundraise. She received 66 percent of her campaign finance from individuals while the other members collected 53 percent.

She said her secret is making a lot of phone calls. Even if she used her Blackberry to write e-mail very fast while we talked, she complained about not writing as fast as she does at computer -- 90 words in a minute! She is not only an energetic, hyper active politician, but also thrilled about her grand children. She loves to talk about them and she says even though some people make fun of her, she insists on carrying very big pictures of Rana and Kenan.

While she was visiting New York, Foxx answered TURKOFAMERICA's Editor-in-Chief's questions, from the issues of PKK to Armenian resolutions, from the economy to Turkish-American relations.

The so-called Armenian Genocide has been an annual ritual in the House every term. This year also it will be important issue again. What will you do and what can Turkish people do about this matter?

If the Armenian resolution comes up for vote, I will vote no. I am talking to my colleagues who have not yet signed the resolution, encouraging them to oppose it. I have even talked to congressmen who have already signed the resolution to ask them to withdraw their names. Because I don’t think this is the right thing to do. Turkish people can write them, the members of Congress. First of all, they should write, if the members of Congress signed on, to explain why should take their name off. If they have not signed on they should say to them why they shouldn’t sign and why they should talk to colleagues about getting off the resolution.

Do you think sending e-mail or writing a letter is enough?
A phone call is enough too. A legible handwritten letter is the most effective thing to do. There is a problem about mail coming in Washington, D.C. in a hurry because mail has to go through security checks. So often there is a delay of 2-3 weeks. Also faxing is a good idea. Not a lot of members read their e-mails, their staff read e-mails.

Is sending the same letter to all Congress members effective?
That’s not effective. A personal handwritten letter is the key. If you write it in your own words. Just cutting and pasting and emailing, that seems silly. What people need is to get something that is personal and sincere. I get e-mails sometime, the same message 2000 times. That’s basically a form letter. It’s not a personal letter. It didn’t take any effort for the person to do. They just cut and paste it, then forward it. That’s why a personal letter is so important. A handwritten letter means you did that. You took the time to write that letter. You have an investment in that issue. If you just do cut and paste and forward, it’s easy. You have no personal investment in that issue. You might have a personal investment. You did not make any effort to do that. So you may or may not make an effort to vote.

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi is known as a pro-Armenian. Is this a disadvantage on this issue for Turkish people?

The Speaker of House is very powerful when it comes to appeals coming up to vote. The Chairman of the committee is very powerful. You won’t get a bill heard unless the Chairman wants to hear it. If the Speaker wants to hear it doesn’t matter what the Chairman wants. The Speaker is going to prevail. The Speaker is all powerful when it comes for voting. The Speaker sets the schedule for the bills heard in committee. The Speaker sets the schedule for the bill coming to the Floor and very few people of a party will go against what the Speaker wants.

Turkey has been battling the PKK since the 1980’s and the U.S. accepted that the PKK is a terrorist organization in 1987. After March 1st 2003, Turkey was a little distressed by the U.S. policy on Iraq. Will the U.S. make any effort to defeat the PKK? What should be done?

I met about a week ago with representatives from the State Department and they are quietly aware of the sensitivity in this area. They also want very much for Turkey to remain a strong U.S. ally. They understand how important the Armenian resolution is, and the issue of the PKK, to Turks. Also, they understand that the PKK is a terrorist organization. They want to help do something about that. I think it is appropriate for Turkey to continue to press on the issue of the PKK, but not to be discouraged by the current response, because there is a highest level great sensitivity on this issue even if there has not a lot been set about.

Do you think something changed after March 2003 because Turkey didn’t allow the U.S. troops to use its land to invade Iraq?

I have not heard that from anyone. It’s not come up as an issue. Turkey is a sovereign nation obviously. It has to handle internal political issues itself and we understand that. And I think that you can see by the way the President has been handling the Iraq situation that he has been doing everything possible to let the Iraqis make their own decisions without the U.S. making decisions for them. I think he has the same attitude for Turkey. We can’t go in and tell the Turkish government what to do. I have not sensed any feeling of retaliation on the part of the U.S.

You voted no on the resolution about Iraq. What is the solution for Iraq? Why did you vote no?

The constitution is very clear. We have one Commander-in-Chief. That is the President of the U.S. The Congress gave the President the authority to fight the war against radical jihad. If Congress wants to stop the war, the Congress should vote to stop the war. Not a non-binding resolution. It’s a chicken’s way out or a chicken’s way of dealing with a tough situation. If George Washington had listened to his critics, if Abraham Lincoln had listened to his critics, if FDR or Truman had listened to the critics, we wouldn’t be a sovereign nation start with. We would be a split nation maybe speaking German. The President is never going to be at war if everybody does not support it. There are differences of opinion in our country. We have a way of dealing with that.

The way our constitution provides us to do that. That resolution sent a bad message to terrorists and our troops. I voted no because of that. I wish we would not be at war. I don’t know any American who wants to be at war but we are at war. We should prosecute that war as strongly as we possibly can. The President should have gone in and taken out the bad guys as quickly as possible. Something you start, better you finish it and do it as quickly as possible.

If the Iraq war continues in this way, will it have a negative impact on the 2008 election for Republicans?

It might or it might not. The 2008 election is 16 months away. A lot can happen in that period. The policy could work very positively and it’s looking that way and it will be very good for Republicans. I don’t expect the media to ever portray things going well in the war or accurately. Because the media are against the war, even if nothing bad is happening, they are going to find something bad. Since the surge began, it’s been going a lot better. But what did they do? They go find negative news in Afghanistan. Put that on front page. We will never get a fair assessment of the war from the mainstream media in the U.S. We don’t expect that. They will try to reelect Democrats.

Are you saying that, even if the Republican administration is doing good things for the economy, events in Iraq overshadow them?

We have the best economy we have had in 50 years. Everything good is at the top; every thing bad is the bottom. Have you ever read anything about how good the economy is? No, never. Also a study has been done about how the media portrayed the economy under Bush compared to Clinton. Same data under Clinton, the portrait is wonderful. Under Bush it is portrayed so negatively. Let’s say under the Clinton administration the unemployment rate is 5 percent. The headline would be “unemployment rate hits new low. Clinton policy is responsible.” Same thing happened under Bush administration. “Unemployment rate is 4.5 despite Bush policy.” New job creation -- we now have had 39 months of positive growth in job creations. But they said that they are not real jobs. They are service jobs.

Is it hard to get elected as a woman candidate?

It is hard, especially as a Republican woman. There are a lot more Democratic women in Congress. In the last election we lost some seats as well. An interesting thing about women in the House is in all history 290 women served in the House. All together, 90 of them are serving now.

If you are reelected in 2008, what will be on your agenda?

I’ll take my lead from my district. It depends on what things are important in my district. The fact we are called representatives is very important. We represent our area. My focus has to be on my district which I represent. I obviously have a national interest too. So I believe that we will still be dealing with, again, terrorists who want to destroy us. I don’t think that is going to go away in 2 years. I will always be concerned about the economy and how badly it affects my district and how it affects North Carolina. I will always be concerned about the general health of the U.S. in terms of where we stand. The number one role of the federal government is national defense. So that should always be the number one priority in the Congress. But what is good for the U.S., is going to be good for my district.

When I take a look at your campaign finances, in the period of 2005-2006, the total received was 2.4 million dollars. 63 percent of the money came from individuals. In the 2000 elections, winning U.S. House candidates collected 52 percent from individuals. Your average is higher than the other representatives. In addition your personal fund is 0. What is your secret?

I don’t pay attention to the ratio. I just try to raise money. The secret is making a lot of telephone calls. I do a lot of personal telephone calls. I am known as the hardest working person in the Congress. I work very hard for the Congress. That is, the policy issues; I also work very hard fund raising. We have a lot of very small fund raisers in people’s houses. We have 20 small fund raisers planned in my district or close to the district. I haven’t had many fund raisers out of N.C. but I will have if the opportunity appears. For example I will be in Miami to meet two different groups of people. They are not large fund raisers.

Do you have any advice for young Turks who want to get involved in political system?

The first thing to do is getting involved with a local party. Where you begin at local levels. Get involved on the local level. Possibly work for somebody’s campaign. You get on the inside and you see what it’s like to run a campaign. Stop paying attention to what’s going on nationally. Be involved with not only political activity but with business organizations. Networking is very important. Getting to know people when you start raising money. You go first -- what fund raisers tell you is go to the Christmas card list of your family. Asking them to raise money. The first time when I raised money in N.C. I had about 100 people, I raised 10,000 dollars. There were friends of mine everywhere, I wrote them letters asking them to contribute. Networking, which is something Turks do very well.

09 May 2007

Copyright © 2005 Journal of Turkish Weekly

Genocide Reparations
May 05, 2007
I meant to write about this during April, but never got around to it. Since Turkey hasn't recognized the genocide these past two weeks, though, and reparations haven't been settled on, it's still not too late! (ok, that was sarcasm)

I'm sure every Armenian in the world has thought about this matter at least once. The day of recognition is coming, and now the enormous fault lines and cracks in the Turkish government's denial campaign, as well as the slow opening up of the topic in Turkey, the issue of reparations becomes ever more relevant.

The first question is whether, when they apologize for the genocide, AND the century of denial which followed, whether they themselves will have the decency to offer up reparations. The easy ones of course are cash, Mt. Ararat and Ani. But I'm sorry, for me, that's not quite enough. Massive lands, property and culture were stolen from us, and of course the lives which can never be returned. Some non-Armenians have said that it was "a long time ago" and we should forget about reparations. I'm sorry, but if someone keeps spitting on a victim for a century, I consider that a continuation of the crime, keeps it present, and should NEVER be rewarded by absolving them of responsibility. Governments today should not learn that they only need to deny the truth long enough, and they'll get away with an insincere "I'm sorry", just like we're in kindergarten. If you are sorry, you show it with reparations, not empty words.

So what do I want exactly? Well, to go back to the argument that "it was a long time ago", that much is true - and everybody knows it. At this point the reparations need to be both realistic and fair (fair to us, and meaningful to Turkey). Having had this conversation with a lot of people, it seems to me, land has to change hands. We got royally screwed out of a massive homeland, which I've traveled across, and the loss is unimaginable. But, since there are now no Armenians left there, what lands are returned can be totally up for negotiations, and how much land is obviously up for negotiations. So yes, back to what most people seem to agree on. Armenians need to be given a land corridor to the sea. A port. Let it no longer be landlocked. So basically, we need the land leading to Hopa, and some coastline on either side of it.

Whatever land does change hands however, as part of the reparations, the current residents need to be given new homes in Turkey proper - a minority issue should not be created. Some people have acted like this is the worst thing that has ever happened. I want to point out that China has relocated over a MILLION people because they built a big dam. Turkey has relocated hundreds of thousands, if not a million Kurds simply to make areas easier to patrol. This is not such a big deal.

Aside from the lands I mentioned, they should also return the island of Akhtamar, and perhaps an enclave in Cilicia like Musa Dagh. And finally, in addition to all this, I think EVERY single Armenian monastery should be rebuilt by the Turkish government, exactly to what it was before the genocide, and a standardized monument placed where churches used to stand, as monuments to the people whose presence has otherwise been erased off the face of the earth.

So there you have it, I've listed all the minimum reparations I think are only fair.
Mt. Ararat
Musa Dagh
relocate current residents of the lands
rebuilt monasteries/standardized church monuments
and of course, cash. lots of cash to preserve much of the culture, pay the costs of Western Armenians to want to move back to the returned lands, and other similar needs.

Now it's funny, most Turks won't admit the real reason many of them won't admit to the genocide. Fear of having to give back lands. I can't tell you how many Turks I've encountered who after arguing with me that there was no genocide, and clearly losing, end up saying to me flat out... "And if there was one? So what? You're not going to get any lands back". Unbelievable. If you believe there was a genocide, wouldn't you want to make things right as much as is reasonable? In any case, if you pull out a good map of Turkey, and look at what I'm talking about land-wise, you'd also notice that while this land would finally end Armenia's dependency on the Turkic nation for contact with the world (a position they have demonstrated they are not capable of being in without abusing it), it would not even make a scratch in the massive size of Turkey. On an ordinary globe, the amount of land we're talking about is virtually only as wide as the lines indicating countries borders.

Another huge issue is going to be who will negotiate with the Turks on behalf of Armenians. The Armenian government? Diaspora leaders? The church? All of the above? I'm sure that with the current state of the Armenian government, many if not most Diasporans - the descendants of the genocide, will be hesitant to trust the Armenian state with this matter. Can you imagine an Armenian taking a bribe in order to agree to lesser reparations? Until the corruption issue here is tackled with some success, I don't know if I would want the Armenian government to represent the genocide victims, or even to govern any new lands...

by Raffi K. at 10:29 AM
Random ArmenIAN said...

And how many of us Diasporans are willing to settle in a new Western Armenia?

I agree with one thing. There needs to be improvements in the government of Armenia regarding corruption and the environment. Yes I don't live in RA, but these are fundemantal issues all countries must strive for and many from former communist nations have achieved. Given the small size of the country, deforestation and pollution in Sevan have a very large impact.
3:30 AM
v said...

I agree with the program minnimum that you draw, moreover, I would also demand a brand new cargo fleet at the black sea ports, and a separate article in the "reparations budget" for professional troops that will protect the western borders of the returned territories (the border with Turkey). But all of this is unrealistic without a complete dissolution of the nowadays Republic of Turkey. Once the reparations and the land return is agreed upon, nothing will keep Pontic Greeks, Assyrians and Ezidi Kurds from demanding their share of the pie for their portion of sufferings. And these may very well leave Turks with the only option of relocating themselves back to Altay, to their Eastern fraternal tribes.
A more meaningful way for Turkey to settle (and I am not saying that we, Armenians, should tone down our demands) is:
1. a clear and transparent program of immigration (repatriation) with a progressively increasing cap.
2. Provision with land, and tax breaks (may be for life) to those deciding to return to their ancestral lands. If a connection to a particular piece of land is established, the state should transfer the land from the current owner by an eminent domain type law.
3. Free (as in no custom fees+guarantee of a percentage of ports' total capacities) pass for goods between Black sea ports and current Armenia.
4. Rehabilitation of Kars-Gyumri railroad.
5. Constitutional guarantee for the Armenians to self rule over some priorly agreed territories (most of the western territories of Wilsonian Armenia) after the end of the immigration program (say 30 years).
6. A legally enforced guarantee of a percentage of the provincial budgets for rehabilitation of Armenian cultural monuments in those provinces.
7. Freedom of religion, language, travel... and business within entire Turkey (tax breaks for doing business only for those businesses, that have most of their operations in the preagreed eastern provinces of Turkey).

This will create a mechanism of progressive money and land reparations, without completely bankrupting the country (not only financially, but ideologically as well). The relocation of the current population will also get covered, since the tax breaks for Armenians will drive the other businesses out, and the eminent domain will force some of the others away. Plus the strains on provincial budgets will kill some of the social things that Turkish and Kurdish population may get in other provinces, so they'll start relocating themselves. So without tearing the country down, and bringing to massive protests to the forced relocations (the examples of China and Kurds don't quite cut it in this context), the lands and money can be returned during the same time as they get populated by Armenians and develop into economically striving territories. Such a scheme will also eliminate the question of whether present Armenian leaders should govern these lands or some artificially created body should. Those who chose to resettle will eventually get a carte blanche to self governance.

Copyright (c) 2006, Cilicia.com

US-Armenian Legal Team To Meet With German Officials Over Armenian Genocide Compensation Claims
Berlin, May 7, IRNA

A group of US-Armenian lawyers are scheduled to meet with German officials on Thursday in Berlin where they are to hold talks with German officials on a lawsuit which charges two major German banks - Deutsche Bank and Dresdner Bank - of preventing the recovery of millions in money and assets deposited by Armenians prior to World War I and the Armenian Genocide, DPA reported Monday.

The US-Armenian legal team is due to discuss the high profile case with the director of the international law department of the German foreign ministry, Goetz Schmidt-Bremme.

The lawsuit also claims that the banks accepted "looted assets" taken by the Ottoman Turkey government during World War I and the Armenian genocide.

The lawyers are also hoping to meet with representatives of Deutsche Bank and Dresdner Bank.

Both Germans banks have yet to agree to attend Thursday talks between the legal team and the German foreign ministry.

According to a class action suit filed at a US court, it is estimated that the banks took more than $22.5 million in looted assets based on the value of US dollars in 1915.

Germany's parliament passed a resolution in 2005 urging Turkey to face up to its role in the Armenian massacre but fell short of labeling it a genocide.

The motion also stressed that Germany was saddened by the role it played in the massacres of 1915 as then-imperial Germany was allied to the Ottoman Empire during the First World War.

German legislators called on the German government to contribute to efforts to have Turkey and its parliament face up to its history promoting the setting up of a joint committee of Turkish and Armenian historians, the opening of Turkish archives and normalizing relations between Ankara and Yerevan.

Armenia says up to 1.5 million of its people were brutally slaughtered between 1915 and 1917 as the Ottoman Empire, the predecessor of modern Turkey, was falling apart.

Turkey counters that 300,000 Armenians and thousands of Turks were killed in "civil strife" during World War I when the Armenians rose against their Ottoman rulers and sided with invading Russian troops.

Turkish Atomic Energy Agency: No Leakage From Armenia’s Metsamor Reactor
The Turkish Atomic Energy Agency (TAEK) has said that there has been no radioactive leakage from the Armenian Metsamor Nuclear Reactor, located on the border between Turkey and Armenia.

“None of the radioactivity analyses or RESAI station measurements done up until now have uncovered radioactivity or radiation levels above normal,” said TAEK officials. The body was responding to an earlier article by Today’s Zaman that indicated the plant was experiencing radioactive leakage. “Your newspaper’s April 11, 2007 edition had an article entitled ‘Data shows increased radioactive leakage from Metsamor’. This article contained news which indicated that data taken from 13 TAEK warning stations around Igdir and Kars showed an increase in radioactive leakage from the Metsamor reactor,” TAEK stated, before going on to refute the claims.

The Armenian Metsamor Nuclear Reactor, which is composed of two WWER-440-230 units, each with power levels of 408 mega watts, is located not far from the capital Yerevan, 16 kilometers from the Turkish border. The Armenian government decided to open the second unit in the reactor in 1993, due to high energy needs, and thus the second unit was started up in 1995. The Metsamor reactor provides up to 40 percent of Armenia’s electricity needs, and is predicted to continue doing so until 2016. Since Yerevan decided upgrade the reactor TAEK has been involved in following related developments and taking the necessary precautions from the Turkish side.

An important part of taking necessary actions in the wake of a possible nuclear power plant accident is the timely access to correct information after the accident. Along these lines, Turkey is a supporter of all international accords on early warning in the case of nuclear reactor accidents. One of TAEK’s actions has been to set up a national early warning system, RESA, with regards to nuclear reactors in neighboring countries. This system works 24-hours-a-day, and with the help of 78 stations set up throughout Turkey, takes constant measurements of radiation levels. When airborne gamma radiation rises above threshold levels, this system automatically warns the TAEK Crisis Center in Ankara. Of these 78 stations, 14 are grouped in the region that lies near the Metsamor reactor.

In order to keep close watch over the Turkish regions that could theoretically be affected by radiation or radioactivity from the Metsamor reactor, TAEK along with various ministries, institutes and foundations, has formed a tight infrastructure of control in the area. Kafkas University, located in the Kars province, has a laboratory established in 1995 that takes environmental measurements and carries out analyses of the situation in the region. This laboratory also carries out sample analyses of local soil, plant, and food. Both the Environment and Forestry Ministry and TAEK take soil and underground water samples from four Turkish cities near the Metsamor reactor and test them every six months for warning signs of increased radiation and radioactivity. In 2006, these tests were enlarged to cover 81 different towns and cities, as well as to include plant and food samples.

Today’s Zaman

Complementary Art Unbinds Turkish And Armenian Artists
Vercihan Ziflioglu
Istanbul - Turkish Daily News
May 8, 2007

Turkish and Armenian photographers have displayed the daily life of Yerevan and Istanbul and exhibited them first in Yerevan, then in Istanbul, Diyarbak?r and Tbilisi. 18,000 frames of a total of ten artists, have been collected in the photography album under the title "Merhaparev Yerevan-Istanbul"

While the conflicts about opening the border between Turkey and Armenia cannot be solved, the `candid steps of art` have long gone beyond the two countries' boundaries. Clicking on the shutters, Turkish and Armenian photographers have displayed the daily life of Yerevan and Istanbul, spoke about being "Armenian" and "Turkish" with people in the street.

Artists of both countries say that they are impressed by the interest they received in Armenia and Turkey, where they went for the first time. The photographs have so far been exhibited first in Yerevan, then in Istanbul, Diyarbak?r and Tbilisi.

Özcan Yurdalan, one of the Nar Photos Agency photographers, who undertook the leadership of the project, says that the exhibition especially received major attention in Diyarbak?r. During the process, the exhibition will travel all around Anatolia and the world, with the support of the Heinrich Böll Stiftung Association. The photographs will explain the geographies they travel, about the two people who adopted Anatolia as homeland for themselves beyond their identities, without politics and strategies for thousands of years.

The works, chosen from among 18,000 frames of a total of ten artists from Turkey and Armenia, have been collected in the photography album under the title "Merhaparev Yerevan-Istanbul." One side of the album is in Armenian, and the other side is in Turkish. And the title means ?hello? in both languages. There are also explanations in English in the catalogue about the works of the artists.

It is necessary for both communities to perceive and become close to each other again without external interference, to be able to step into a common peaceful future and for the trauma between the two peoples to be overcome.

No doubt, the Chief Editor of the Agos Newspaper Hrant Dink's desire was this, too, who passed away as a result of an assassination. Özcan Yurdalan says that Hrant Dink also attended the opening of the exhibition in Istanbul and said ?I support you from the heart?. And he denotes that Dink was quite affected in the formation process of the exhibition.

Art, without any doubt, can prepare a ground with its candid side, for the two people to get closer. This is why Nar Photos from Turkey and Badger Photokorzsagalutyun from Armenia have gotten ready to do this project. Garen Mirzoyan, Nelli S,ismanyan, Rupen Mankasaryan, German Avagyan and Anahid Hayrabedyan from Armenia came to Istanbul for the first time in May last year. And Mehmet Kaçmaz, Serra Akcan, Tolga Sezgin, Özcan Yurdalan, and Kerem Uzel went to Yerevan. Both groups dived into the daily life on the city streets for one week, took photos, were guests at tables, directed their questions that had been hanging in their heads for years to ordinary people.

Özcan Yurdalan from Nar Photos and Rupen Mankasaryan from Badger Photokorzsagalutyun come together with a common thought and express their opinion with the following words, "As we see in recent events, although we have been living together for centuries, we almost don't know each other at all. Apart from the historical origins, the conflicts in between emanate from oblivion. There is a serious discontinuity between Turkey and Armenia, in fact there are attitudes that sometimes become animosity. We want peace in our countries and region. Contact and touching would contribute to the direct solution of the problems between the two communities."

The healing role of art in accords:

Mehmet Kaçmaz and Özcan Yurdalan summarize the mission of Nar Photos as, "We see photographs as a tool of expression, and we also want to have a share in the overcoming of problems." Artists of both groups mention that photographs are a universal language.

During the evolution of the project, meetings were held in Kars, Tbilisi and Armenia by the Heinrich Böll Stiftung Association. Özcan Yurdalan says, "The basic subject of these meetings was the healing role of art and culture in regions of accord." Yurdalan mentions that the Caucasus is a quite problematic region, and says that Nar Photos came up with a suggestion during these meetings for the project to be formed.

Mehmet Kaçmaz says that differences enrich, and they give meaning to our living together, and adds that he came back from Yerevan enriched in terms of differences and similarities, by saying ?however similar the Armenian and Turkish societies may be, they also have as many differences.? He mentions that the photographers from Nar Photos and Badger Photokorzsagalutyun did not interfere with each other during the shootings, but the resulting works are a product of the same perception and understanding.

In the catalog named ?Merhaparev,? that include black and white photographs, various segments from the daily lives of the two countries are depicted, from everyday life to art, religion and sports.

Yerevan Vetoes Turkish Observers
Turkish Daily News
May 8, 2007

A group of Turkish observers set to go to Armenia to monitor the parliamentary elections scheduled for next week on behalf of OSCE but were unable to do so due to Yerevan’s veto

Turkish observers set to travel to neighboring Armenia to monitor parliamentary elections on site were barred from doing so by Yerevan at the last minute, reported the mass-circulation daily Hürriyet yesterday.

The group was scheduled to go to Armenia over the weekend on behalf of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) to observe whether parliamentary elections slated for next week are conducted in a fair, independent and impartial manner.

The Turkish observers went to Istanbul from Ankara, to fly to Yerevan from Atatürk Airport but they stayed in Turkey after receiving news that they were not allowed to go to Armenia to observe the elections, said Hürriyet.

One of the OSCE observers from Turkey, Dr. Mithat Çelikpala, told the daily that he was informed of Yerevan's veto at the last moment and expressed his surprise by the decision, which contradicts Armenian calls for free and fair elections.

Armenia's parliamentary elections have already stoked the smoldering political tension in the country. Opposition leaders are crying foul after the pro-government party swept to victory in the election, which was marked by low turnout. Preliminary election results appear to have dashed hopes for a quick return of domestic political tranquility.

On Sunday, some 6,000 people turned out for a rally organized by an opposition party that hopes to improve its foothold during parliamentary elections. Leaders of the party Orinats Yerkir (Country Ruled by Law,) accused President Robert Kocharian's government of corruption and cronyism in speeches to the crowd in central Yerevan. Opposition leaders say Kocharian and his government have violently cracked down on dissent, allowed corruption to flourish and done little to improve the lot of impoverished Armenia's 3.3 million people.

Armenia Vetoes Turkish Osce Observers
Independent Turkish observers, who were scheduled on Monday to depart from Istanbul for Yerevan in order to fulfill their duty in the upcoming elections in neighboring Armenia under an assignment by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), had to return to Ankara after “a last minute veto” by Armenia.

Dr. Mithat Çelikpala, an expert on the Caucasian region and an OSCE election observer, told Hürriyet daily upon his arrival in Ankara on Monday that he was notified of “Armenia's veto” at the airport and that other Turkish observers assigned by OSCE have been waiting in Ankara for further information from Yerevan in order to decide whether they will be allowed to travel to Armenia. The Turkish observers were scheduled to depart for Yerevan on Monday and Tuesday, Hürriyet also said.

Diplomatic sources, speaking with Today's Zaman under condition of anonymity confirmed the Atatürk Airport incident. The same sources, however, were not able to elaborate for the moment, only saying that the Foreign Ministry has been closely following the issue.

In late February Armenian Parliament Speaker Tigran Torosyan sent an invitation to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), the European Parliament and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) parliamentary assemblies in addition to the OSCE, calling on them to participate in observing the parliamentary elections scheduled for May 12, Russian news agency Regnum reported at the time.

Both Turkey and Armenia are members of the OSCE, with Ankara participating in the organization in 1973, and the latter in 1992.

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 Black Sea Economic Cooperation (BSEC). The Armenian representative office was opened in 2001.

Today's Zaman Ankara

Dear LA Times Editor,

As a reader of LA Times, I am writing this letter in support of Douglas Frantz, who was recently subjected to attacks, harassment, and calls for resignation by the Armenian pressure groups for not allowing to print an article on the so called Armenian "Genocide" authored by Mark Arax. Apart from the fact that as an Armenian American, Mr Arax cannot be a bipartisan writer on this highly debated historical subject, the attempts to politicize it are completely unacceptable. Using the Los Angeles Times as a medium for spreading the ethnic hatred, provided the substantial presence of both Turkish and Armenian communities in Los Angeles, is unethical. Targeting of Turkish Americans in our schools, campuses and public places, especially in the wake of recent sad events at VirginiaTech, is also dangerous for the integrity and peace of our society. And here, I would also like to remind that in the past two consul generals of Turkey were murdered by Armenian American individuals negatively influenced by this kind of ethnic propaganda.

The subject of Armenian "Genocide" needs an unbiased investigation by historians and the definition of it is yet to be substantiated by legal rather than legislative means through bringing those responsible to justice. Pending such and given the resistance from the Armenian American pressure groups and the Republic of Armenia to any form of investigation of archival records, only reveals the attempt to victimize one side in a conflict. The victims of the massacres in Eastern Anatolia in the course of World War II were not only Armenians but also civilian Azerbaijanis, Turks, and Kurds killed at the hands of Armenian Dashnak militia supported by the Russian offensive.

Apart from the above mentioned internal impacts, the publishing of such article would also badly reflect on the U.S. foreign policy. From the times of Korean War, to the Cold War and the War against Terrorism, Turkey has remained a staunch ally of the United States and a strong NATO partner. Today Turkey is one of the very few secular democracies in the Islamic world, and the only one of those aspiring integration with the European Union. Given the Muslim religious background of the majority of its population, Turkey, nevertheless, not only recognizes Israel and has diplomatic relations with it but also remains Israel's top regional partner. Turkish peacekeepers stand side-by-side with Americans in Kosovo and Afghanistan missions.

I would like to support Mr. Frantz's courageous attempt to prevent the spreading of ethnic hatred in our media and to protect the core interests and values of America at home and abroad.

Thank you for your attention to this matter and I wish all the best to LA Times as a leading media source nationwide.


Bedir M. Memmedli

Armenian Americans Battle With Los Angeles Times
FRENSO, Calif. - A well-known Fresno author and journalist is waging a heated battle with his boss at the Los Angeles Times - a very public struggle that has outraged many in Southern California’s large Armenian community.
It’s also reverberating in Fresno, not only because of the sizable local Armenian population, but because Times staffer Mark Arax lives here and is of Armenian descent.

“People I talked to locally are really upset,” said Varoujan Der Simonian, executive director of the Armenian Technology Group, a Fresno-based nonprofit that provides support for Armenian farmers.
The dispute revolves around an article Arax wrote - but the paper refused to publish - to mark April 24, the 92nd anniversary of the Armenian genocide. An estimated 1.5 million Armenians died between 1915 and 1923 at the hands of the Turkish Ottoman Empire.

The modern Turkish republic contends that no genocide occurred, but for Armenians - and many Armenian Americans - the issue remains critically important.

Hygo Ohannessian, who chairs the local chapter of the Armenian National Committee of America, said the Arax family has deep ties to Fresno and has long shown loyalty to its Armenian community.
“We all want to come to (Arax’s) aid, not just because he is Armenian, but because he has good values,” she said. “I stand behind him 100 percent.”

The latest twist in the controversy came late Tuesday, when the Armenian National Committee of America urged members to call for the resignation of Times Managing Editor Douglas Frantz, whom Arax blames for killing his story.
Harut Sassounian, a Southern California Armenian leader, and others say thousands of e-mails have flooded the Times - and they plan to continue pressing the matter.

The dispute erupted in early April after Arax completed a story on the Armenian genocide resolution in Congress.
According to Sassounian and accounts in the online political journal LAObserved.com, Arax’s article looked at how the resolution battle was dividing not only Turks and Armenians, but also the Jewish community. Some Jews feel a kinship with Armenians because both were victims of genocide, while others don’t want to damage Israel’s alliance with Turkey.

Frantz declined to comment on why he halted publication of the story. But LAObserved.com has published several internal Times memos on the issue, as well as a comment by Frantz.

“I put a hold on a story because of concerns that the reporter had expressed personal views about the topic in a public manner and therefore was not a disinterested party, which is required by our ethics guidelines, and because the reporter and an editor had gone outside the normal procedures for compiling and editing articles,” he wrote in an e-mail to LAObserved.com.

Frantz said he was concerned about bias because the writer, along with several other staff members, had signed a memo in the fall of 2005 to top Times editors. The memo pointed out that the paper wasn’t adhering to its written policy of unequivocally referring to the Armenian genocide as a historic fact.

Arax, a longtime Times staffer who currently is assigned to the paper’s Sunday magazine West, declined to comment on the dispute. However, he wrote a lengthy memo to his Times colleagues on Monday that was posted on LAObserved.com in which he defended himself and said he deserved a public apology from Frantz.
In the memo, Arax said an internal investigation found the reasons cited by Frantz to be baseless. He offered no evidence of this finding, however.

After Frantz stopped the story, a Times reporter in the Washington bureau used some of Arax’s reporting to fashion a different story that appeared on the paper’s front page April 21.

An April 26 memo by Editor James O’Shea to the staff that also was posted on LAObserved.com said the published story “was the best one.” O’Shea noted that Arax’s story was not killed but had been sent back for additional reporting. Arax could have had a double byline but rejected it, O’Shea wrote.

Bill Erysian, coordinator of grants and international projects for the Armenian Agribusiness Education Fund, a nonprofit based at California State University, Fresno, said he has known Arax since college. Arax has always been unbiased - even on Armenian issues - Erysian said.

“The whole irony to this situation is Mark Arax is not an activist, not a `professional Armenian,’” Erysian said.
Arax, however, has taken public stances on other issues. Last year, he tangled publicly with Fresno County Supervisor Bob Waterston at a meeting of the Local Agency Formation Commission, and also criticized the LAFCO board for its failure to discuss urban sprawl.

Arax also wrote a letter to the editor criticizing The (Fresno) Bee after it offered its Fresno Unified school board endorsements. The Bee had not endorsed his sister, Michelle Asadoorian, who later went on to win one of the trustee seats.

Local Armenians maintain that Frantz’s logic in the matter is flawed. If his claim that Arax’s signature on a memo showed he has a pro-Armenian bias, then the same claim could apply to other ethnic minorities.

“Are you saying no Jewish people can write about the Holocaust?” asked Barlow Der Mugrdechian, a lecturer in Armenian studies at Fresno State. “That seems a little ludicrous.”

Some Armenian activists feel Frantz has his own bias on the issue. Before becoming managing editor of the Times, he was a longtime correspondent in Istanbul, Turkey, and is scheduled to moderate a panel discussion this month in Istanbul titled “Turkey: Sharing the Democratic Experience.”

In the end, many in the Armenian community say, something has to give in the dispute.
Said Sassounian, the Armenian leader who first rallied a defense for Arax: “There’s no way Douglas Frantz and Mark Arax can exist in the same newsroom after what has happened. One of them has to go, and hopefully not the one who is innocent, but the one who is guilty.”


To Turn The Turk, Bag And Baggage, Out Of Europe Telegraph UKDamned If They Do, Damned If They Don't
The poor Turks are damned either way. If they ban the symbols of Muslim devotion, they’re fascists; if they allow them, they’re fundamentalists.

Once again, we see Europe’s politicians determined, in Gladstone’s unhappy phrase, “to turn the Turk, bag and baggage, out of Europe.”

They will seize on any development - even an abstruse row about the presidential nominee’s wife’s headscarf - as an excuse to defer Turkey’s application for EU membership.

One day we are told that Ankara needs to do more for its Kurds, the next that it is being obstreperous over Cyprus, the next that it should grovel about the 1915 Armenian massacres.

Not all these objections are baseless, but it is striking to see how differently Turkey is being treated from other members. No one asks the Belgians to face up to what they did in the Congo, or the French to apologise for Algeria.

Ankara is especially aggrieved about Cyprus, and with reason: Turkish Cypriots voted to accept the EU’s reunification deal, but have since been isolated; Greek Cypriots voted to reject it, but have been embraced.

Some Turkosceptic arguments are plain silly. Last month, MEPs hectored Ankara about getting more women into politics - this despite the fact that Turkey elected its first female head of government 14 years ago, while 18 out of the 27 EU members have never been led by a woman.

The trouble is that Brussels won’t come clean about its real objection which is, quite simply, that there are too many Turks.

Under the reheated EU constitution, voting weights are to be determined by population. Turkey is already larger than every state except Germany; and, while Europe is shrinking, Turkey is teeming.

EU leaders are determined not to hand the leadership of their Continent to an assertive, patriotic Muslim nation: they know it would mean an end to Euro-federalism.

France and Austria have promised referendums on Turkish accession and, since opinion polls suggest “No” votes of 70 and 80 per cent respectively, that would seem to be that. But no one wants to say so.

And so the charade continues, with EU leaders crossing their fingers behind their backs and canting about eventual membership, while reformist Turks pretend to believe them so as to be able to carry out a measure of domestic liberalisation under the guise of preparing for membership. It would have been one thing to say “No” at the outset.

How much worse to string Turks along for perhaps another ten years, imposing humiliating foreign policy climbdowns on them, making them restructure their legal system, forcing 10,000 pages of EU rules on them and then - then - flicking two fingers at them.

The EU risks creating the thing it purports to fear: a snarling, alienated Muslim population on its doorstep.

Turks have traditionally been our strongest allies in the region.

They guarded Europe’s flank for 90 years, first against Bolshevism and now against Islamism. They deserve better than this.

Daniel Hannan is a Conservative MEP for South East England

By Dan Hannan
© Copyright of Telegraph Media Group Limited 2007

U.S. Jews Enter Debate On Armenian/Turkish History
By Ron Kampeas,
Jewish Telegraphic Agency

Armenians in Jerusalem mark the 92nd anniversary of the Armenian genocide in this amateur video from April 24. Click the BIG ARROW to view

United States Jewish groups are caught in the middle of a growing political struggle between two of their traditional friends, Turks and Armenians.

Top Turkish officials and Turkish Jewish leaders in recent weeks have sought help from U.S. Jewish leaders to stave off an effort in the U.S. Congress to define World War I-era massacres of Armenians by Ottoman Turks as genocide.

Rep. Adam Schiff, a Jewish congressman whose district includes Burbank and Glendale and stretches to Temple City, represents a substantial Armenian constituency. He has tried multiple times to pass such a resolution and this time has garnered nearly 200 co-sponsors for his non-binding resolution (HR106), and believes he has the backing of Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-San Francisco), speaker of the House of Representatives. Pelosi has met with U.S. Armenian leaders.

"The fevered intensity of the lobbying shows they realize it has the strongest support in recent years," Schiff said.

Los Angeles-based Jewish World Watch (JWW) this year has also become involved in the issue; on Friday, April 27, the Jewish and Armenian communities will observe the 92nd anniversary of the Armenian genocide in a Shabbat dinner at Valley Beth Shalom in Encino, with His Eminence Archbishop Hovnan Derderian, Primate, Western Diocese, American Church of North America as the guest of honor. JWW is also actively urging Congress to support HR 106.

The Turkish lobbying has had some effect. B'nai B'rith International, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), the American Jewish Committee and the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (JINSA) are set to convey a letter from Turkish Jews who oppose the resolution to U.S. congressional leaders.

The ADL and JINSA have added their own statements opposing the bill.

"I don't think congressional action will help reconcile the issue," said ADL National Director Abraham Foxman. "The resolution takes a position; it comes to a judgment. "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."

Schiff says the resolution reflects the historical reality. He notes that Raphael Lemkin, a Jew who coined the term "genocide" in 1943 to describe Nazi actions against Jews, cited the Armenian massacres as a precedent.

The historical parallels between the two events help explain the Jewish community's reluctance to back the Turkish effort to stop Schiff's resolution.

Off the record, Jewish officials say a community struggling to stem the tide of Holocaust revisionism is hardly in a position to endorse efforts to deny what Lemkin and other Holocaust chroniclers have described as the Holocaust's antecedent.

Estimates of the number of Armenians killed in the massacres vary from 300,000 -- the official Turkish number -- to more than 1 million.

Additionally, Jewish and Armenian community leaders have a history of friendly relations. Armenians, who are Christians, have in the past let Israeli leaders know that if the Old City of Jerusalem is partitioned in a peace agreement with the Palestinians, they would prefer that the Armenian Quarter remain under Israeli control.

"I'm pleased Jewish organizations have resisted efforts by Turkey," Schiff said. "I would encourage them to go beyond resisting pressure to affirmative support to recognize this genocide."

That's not likely. Turkey is the closest Muslim ally to the United States and Israel, and participates in joint military exercises with both nations. Jews also appreciate the relatively safe existence Turkey's Jewish community has enjoyed for centuries.

Significantly, a Jewish community delegation, led by community president Silvyo Ovadya, was one of three delegations Turkey sent to Washington in recent months. The other two were Turkish Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul's entourage in February, and a multiparty delegation of six senior lawmakers that arrived this week. All three met with U.S. Jewish leaders, as well as administration and congressional officials.

The Jewish delegation, whose visit coincided with the American Israel Public Affairs Committee's annual policy forum in March, warned U.S. Jewish leaders that passage of the resolution would harm Turkey's Western tilt and could make things uncomfortable for the country's Jews.

The parliamentary delegation predicted no such backlash against the Jews, appreciating the Jewish decision to hold back and Israel's own reluctance to characterize the 1915 massacres as genocide.

"Turkey and Israel have a vested interest in each other's welfare and safety," said Sukru Mustafa Elekdag of the opposition Republican People's Party.

Instead, they warned of broader consequences for the U.S.-Turkish alliance.

"It will hurt the feelings of Turks," said Yasar Yakis, a founding member of the ruling Justice and Development Party and the delegation's leader. The delegates cited the experience of France, where the National Assembly last year recognized the massacres as genocide. Turkey has since rolled back some commercial ties with France.

"If it passes, I cannot exclude very important negative consequences on all aspects of relations, including defense relations," Yakis said.

If so, it would typify Turkey's behavior toward Israel. Turkey frequently issues harsh denunciations of Israeli policy toward the Palestinians, yet bristles and threatens consequences over the merest hint of Israeli criticism of Turkey.

Elekdag said the genocide resolution could become an issue in elections later this year. "Our public is extremely sensitive on these matters. Unwanted events could happen," he said.

Turks perceive the push as a show of Armenia's muscle, the lawmakers said. They believe the Armenian government wants to distract international attention from its treatment of its native Azerbaijanis. Turks feel close to Azerbaijanis, Muslims who speak a Turkic language.

The parliamentarians wondered why U.S. Jews were holding back from fully opposing the resolution, and speculated that it might have to do with the Turkish government's decision last year to meet with leaders of Hamas, the ruling party in the Palestinian Authority that rejects Israel's existence and embraces terrorism.

Onur Oymen, vice president of the opposition Republican People's Party, said Israel had moved on from the Hamas controversy, and so should U.S. Jews.

"The Jewish community should not change its position because of one moment," he said, noting that his party had vehemently opposed the meeting.

The Turkish Embassy in Washington ran a full-page ad in Monday's New York Times calling for a commission of historians from Armenia, Turkey and other nations to investigate the World War I-era events.

"Support efforts to examine history, not legislate it," the ad said.

Turkey would abide by whatever the commission concludes, the visiting delegations have said. Schiff ridiculed the idea. He likened it to Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's recent conference to provide an "objective" opinion on the Holocaust, essentially an exercise in Holocaust denial.

"It's somewhat akin to Ahmadinejad hosting a conference on the Holocaust to invite people to deny it," he said. "The idea of a conference I find an offensive stratagem."

Armenia Not A Free State
By A. Harutiunian
AZG Armenian Daily
"Freedom House" Rights Protection organization's 2006 report on "The Freedom of Mass Media" Armenia was again included in the list of states where mass media is not independent.

Economical, political and social spheres of mass media activity of Armenia were rated with 64 of 100 points. Thus, Armenia is number 142 in the rating list.

Us Senate Appoints Federal Judge Of Turkish Descent For The First Time
04 May 2007

US Senate on the nomination by President George Bush appointed Turkish originated person federal judge. The Assembly of Turkish American Association told APA Khalil Suleyman Ozurdan was appointed judge for southern territories of Mississippi.

Senator Trent Lott welcomed the appointment of Khalil Ozurdan stating that he is the first judge with Turkish roots.
”Though we elected him not for his nationality it is fact that he is Turkish. I am sure his exceptional professional abilities will help him contribute to the development of justice system”.
Khalil Suleyman Ozurdan graduated from law faculty of Stanford University. He took part in US military campaigns in Iraq and Somali as a pilot of fighter and was awarded medals. The US has 94 federal judges. Khalil Ozurdan is the only Turkish judge. /APA/

Why Turkey May Need a Coup d'État
By Youssef Ibrahim
May 4, 2007

A fateful battle between secularism and Islamism is unfurling at Europe's gates.

On Tuesday, the highest court in Turkey blocked a Muslim fundamentalist candidate from running for president. At least 700,000 people had marched to protest the nomination in Istanbul on Sunday, and the Turkish army's chiefs of staff have warned the elected Islamist government of Prime Minister Erdogan to desist from diluting the secular nature of the country, or else.

It is not an idle threat — the army has removed four governments since 1960.

At issue is the candidacy of Abdullah Gül, a close ally of Mr. Erdogan's and a man of strong Muslim fundamentalist tendencies. The ruling Islamists have vowed to reintroduce Mr. Gül as candidate; even if they do not, their backing will go to someone from the emerging class of religious Turks Mr. Gül represents.

Presidential power in Turkey is far from symbolic. According to the Turkish constitution, a president must approve every law and formal decision emerging from the parliament, as well as the appointments of governors, police chiefs, ministry department heads and their deputies, and members of Higher Education Board, university rectors, and the head of the central bank.

Under Turkey's parliamentary system, an Islamist president teaming up with an Islamist prime minister and parliament would create a cabal of irreversible power that could continue changing the face of secular Turkey.

As it stands, the Erdogan administration's current program is "Arabizing" Turkey as well as Islamizing it.

Some of the largest inflows of foreign investment in the past three years have come from the current prime minister the United Arab Emirates and emir of Dubai, Sheik Mohammed Al Maktoum, whose country is an open front for Iran.

Billions of dollars have also come from King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia and a Saudi mega-businessman, Prince Al-Waleed Bin Talal, as well as from the ruling families of Kuwait and Qatar. The resulting change is palpable on the streets of Istanbul, Ankara, and other cities.

"The face of Turkey is changing; I look at people in Ankara and see more and more people in Saudi garb," a former chief of the general staff, retired General Dogan Gures, said to journalists on Haberturk TV. "Verbal expressions are changing to Arabic expressions. There is nervousness that Turkish secularism is in danger."

At stake is the modern secular republic established in Turkey by the nationalist leader Kemal Ataturk in 1923. Ataturk, an army man, made huge reforms to what had been the center of the Ottoman Empire, among them giving women the right to vote, restricting Islamic dress, and replacing Arabic script with the Roman alphabet. His rule created new paradigms for modern Islam and were a sea change in the heart of the Muslim Middle East.

Obviously, the Ataturk revolution has not been secured. And the threats to it come at a time when political Islam is invading Europe next door, establishing outposts among Pakistani minorities of Britain and the Arab immigrant ghettos of France, Belgium, Spain, and the Netherlands. In all these places, Islamists have staged successful cultural intimidations: forcing the veil on their women and obtaining Shariah law exceptions for themselves, as well as fomenting terrorist bombings and killings in Madrid, London, Paris, and elsewhere.

For Europe, the loss of a secular Turkey is impossible to contemplate. Turkey is an industrious nation of 71 million Sunni Muslims, a significant military power, a NATO member, and a key American ally. Aside from Israel, it has been the only functioning Middle East democracy, and it has borders with Iran, Iraq, and Syria, so its turmoil cannot be ignored.

Because of its significance in the region, tending to Turkey is far more important than even winning the war in Iraq. If the Islamist barbarians can triumph in Turkey, their next stop would be America.

So as hard as it is to conceive and to admit, a coup may be the only way to go.

Even if a new election were to be held in Turkey, under the present structures, the Islamists are still likely to dominate. When Muslim fundamentalists hijack a democracy, radical solutions may be the only choice.

May 4, 2007 Edition

The EU Is Also ‘Firing Bullets’ At Turkish Democracy
The Turkish army is not alone in seeking to override the democratic process in Turkey in order to get the right result.

Chris Bickerton

Recent events in Turkey have provoked many stern responses throughout Europe. As the Turkish army voices its concerns about the presidential vote potentially going against Turkey’s secular system, many European commentators and officials have called on Turkey to ‘remember democracy’. When foreign minister Abdullah Gul was nominated by the conservative Islamic ruling Party – Justice and Development – as its candidate for the Turkish presidency, the army issued a statement rejecting Gul. This was seen by many as a warning by the army that a coup may be imminent, and it has led to widespread criticism of the Turkish army across Europe.

The UK Guardian writes of the ‘democratic solution’, which means reasserting the power of the political process over the country’s army elite (1). The European Union has reminded Turkey that democracy is one of the key ‘Copenhagen criteria’ – the list of standards which countries must meet if they hope to join the EU (2). The UK Independent reminded Turks that the EU is the only path towards democracy for Turkey: ‘There is no palatable alternative.’ (3)

Whether or not one agrees with the secular values defended by the army in its intervention into Turkish politics, there is little doubt that the army’s fear of Islamisation in Turkey betrays its deep hostility towards the principle of popular will as the foundation of political authority. Undermining the authority of the parliament means degrading the will of the people. Defending a set of values by passing over the heads of the Turkish population should be condemned for its elitism. It represents an attempt to remove basic issues of society from open political debate. It was, as Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan said, ‘a bullet fired at democracy’.

Yet it is difficult to listen to the commentary from Western European observers, and particularly from EU officials in Brussels, without being struck by the hypocrisy. Intervention in Turkish national politics is hardly the preserve of Turkey’s own secular military elite. It is a routine practice of the EU itself.

Indeed, the whole idea of ‘democratising Turkey’ through the process of allowing it to accede to the EU rests upon an assumption similar to that held by the Turkish military: that left to their own devices Turkish politicians are unable to keep on the democratic straight and narrow. The logic of EU enlargement as a democratising force proposes that countries need an external prop, something which can direct national elites and keep them in check. As others have argued, today Bosnia Herzegovina is the most ‘European’ country of all: it is nominally independent but in practice the authority of government decisions rests upon whether or not they conform to EU standards (4). The carrot of EU membership is a far greater intervention in Turkish politics than anything the military has mustered.

The lessons of Eastern Europe should not be forgotten. Beyond the rhetoric, the EU enlargement process weakened national parliaments, reducing them to bodies whose main task was to rubber-stamp EU law, often without any parliamentary debate. National executives forged closer links with bureaucrats in Brussels than with their own people. Members of the Czech negotiating team in 2004 regretted the end of the enlargement process, as it would mean governing the country without the authority of Brussels to back them up. Since 2004, we have seen the consequences. Parliamentary elections in the Czech Republic in June 2006 left the country deadlocked for months. Hungarian politics exploded in October last year as the EU-friendly prime minister’s willingness to trick his own people was exposed by his opponents.

A democracy can only be built by people themselves; it cannot be imported from without. Current events in Turkey reveal a country that is struggling over competing visions for Turkish society. Only Turks can decide how their nation should be governed. All interventions that undermine the will of the people should be opposed, including the EU’s model of ‘democratisation’. Indignation at the actions of the Turkish military elite isn’t worth much when it is accompanied by support for the ‘benign’ intervention of the EU elite into Turkish affairs.

Chris Bickerton is a PhD student at St Johns College, Oxford. Email him at christopher.bickerton@politics.ox.ac.uk.

© spiked 2000-2007

A Secular, Religious or Universal Turkey: An Analysis
Rizwan Ghani
May 3, 2007
If viewed realistically religion and secularism are being used for political purposes in Turkey. Interestingly the country has embarked on the road to stronger economy on modern lines. And ironically, a party with religious ties has beat secular opponents in economic governance.

In wake of annulment of first round of presidential election by country’s constitutional court Turkey’s ruling AK party by seeking general election’s has averted a standoff with country’s secular elite including military.

However, in all probability a possible standoff is in the offing after 22 July general elections between country’s lawmakers and the military.

Country’s pro-secular elite including military may never allow a president and a PM from AK party. The ruling party is hopeful of winning the general election due to country’s buoyant economy that they believe is a result of good AKP policies.

PM Erdogan has reportedly said that AK party will propose that in future the president be elected by popular vote, not by the parliament. That to some it is a precautionary step to minimize military’s interference in country’s politics.

Experts believe that it could reduce if not cut prospects of future military “interventions”.

But it is also a hard reality that AKP’s political strength may carry the seeds of their downfall. AK party is all set to win general elections. In addition to having a PM from AKP the party would like to bring their own president.

Keeping in step with country’s past that has faced four military interventions since 1923’s another military intervention cannot be ruled out.

Although, strong condemnation of military’s statements in latest political development by the international community including EU have shown that it won’t be easy for country’s military elite to get away with any such misadventure especially in wake of Turkey’s aspirations for EU membership.

The prospects of military coup could be remote but cannot be completely ruled out,

Interestingly country’s secular elite and military have objected to AKP presidential candidate who they believe is pro-hardliner. The elite believes that they are protecting vision of Ataturk who stood for a secular Turkey.

The country’s history and the speeches of the leader compiled in form of a book show he saw Islam as Turkey’s state religion. Reportedly, country has 99.9 Muslim population.

Country’s constitution showed Islam as state religion that was. The clause was subsequently amended. Many still believe that change was direct result of pressure to amend country’s constitution to bring it in line with EU policy. Turkish public still has strong reservations against the decision who take it as a direct interference in country’s internal affairs.

AKP won popular support on economic ground not religious ground as most west believes. People of Turkey supported AKP in 2002 because pro-West political parties supporting free market economy failed to deliver. Public did not get any promised benefits of free market mostly due to deep rooted culture of corruption and individual nepotism in the country.

Something that country’s secular elite and opposition political parties have been unwilling to accept publicly and tend to gloss over their administrative, economic and individual failures by “replaying” religious card against the AKP.

This kind of political whining could win country’s opposition moral and media support from advanced world but to win votes they will have to do much on the ground that is still not there. In comparison, AKP has so far upheld its promises well.

AKP itself is not a party of angels. It has its drawbacks. Its failure to come down hard on corruption despite promises is eroding its appeal. Reportedly, AKP run municipalities in Ankara and Istanbul show that party is strong on ethics but short on controlling corruption.

This brings under spotlight West’s blind support for market economy and pro-secular rulers who fail to deliver due to individual failures. Putting it simply when such rulers fail to address basic issues like eradication of poverty, initiate economic growth and generate jobs, eradicate corruption and nepotism and improve basic services public simply vote for political alternates.

And when people exercises their democratic right to elect a leadership-irrespective of leaderships religious affiliations- that promises economic prosperity, jobs, security and respect for individual and universal rights advance world rejects the mandate.

It leads to power politics that in turn generates allied complications.

It is opined that leadership from the advanced world is scared of religious governments in third world countries because of allied complications including growth of radicalism.

But it is also opined that public in developing countries is equally skeptical of developed world that imposes “non-representative” leadership on them who not only impose “foreign” economic policies but also push them into non-ending poverty cycle.

Simply put try to understand fate of a common family in a developing country in which suddenly local economy is “restiched” by imposed leadership in accordance to the competitive rules based on models from the “market economies” of advanced countries.

Unlike developed economies backed by supporting infrastructures, poverty explodes that torpedoes social and moral fiber of society. That in turn generates a reaction against the forces that public believes is behind locally and globally.

Poor governance, corrupt practices, lack of accountability, repressive police, suppressed freedom and judiciary coupled with non-existent health care system, lack of clean water and poor education service add fuel to the burning rage in the public.

Today, the biggest challenge that advanced and developing world in my view are facing is the gap in understanding over basic issues. In the developing countries public holds west responsible for their leadership and economic problems.

Political leadership in developing states is unwilling to accept its failures, unable to control corruption and improve basic services. They however use their media to defend their economic policies and as a “byproduct” pass on the blame to the architects of the policies who are mostly advanced countries.

This initiates a cycle of blame game. West as financer wants return for its investment mostly in form of opening of local markets from the leadership of developing countries who has accepted funds against certain conditions.

When they fail to deliver, they leave the local population exposed to “market forces”. This situation brings in all kinds of economic, social and religious interests and in turn allows different interpretations of same situation.

Turkey’s current political situation is a tussle between forces vying for political space. They like any advanced country can be categorized as secular and religious. But confusing them as radicals, extremists or religious amounts to ignoring the basic reality- good governance.

In today’s world people, need food and security. They need electricity, water and health care. They need jobs. They need education. They want to enjoy basic constitutional liberties and international rights. Any leader or party that can deliver in these areas will be the popular party.

Today, AKP is strongly positioned based on its performance not religion. Turkish Secular political forces should recognize the fact and do what it takes to win their share in country’s upcoming election.

Turkey’s military in step with calls from international community should stay away from the political process to help country’s democracy flourish.

Advanced world should be more proactive to help develop accountable- governance system than pushing “non-representative” leadership to prematurely implement market economies in developing countries that lack basic supporting infrastructure to adopt such economies. Because so far such steps have only pushed local populations into non-ending cycles of poverty, disease and exploitation.

In all probability, the EU Enlargement Commissioner had the final word on Turkish political situation when he said that it is not about secular or religious Turkey, the world wants to see a country that respects international human values.

Human beings across the world respect and are willing to adopt such values provided they are allowed to embrace them at their own will rather than forced to accept them in fast forward way. May be it is time for advanced world to learn that like any other education process, political enlightenment and market economy also require learn time space to get used.

AKP has taken a positive start by going for general elections it is hoped that others will also play their role to strengthen country’s political process in greater domestic and international interests.

Finally, if viewed realistically religion and secularism are being used for political purposes in Turkey. Interestingly the country has embarked on the road to stronger economy on modern lines. And ironically, a party with religious ties has beat secular opponents in economic governance.

American Chronicle is a trademark of Ultio LLC.

Turkish Offer Of Joint Commission With Armenians Still On The Table
Embassy, May 2nd, 2007

The comments in a recent letter to the editor suggest that the "immoral" and "irresponsible" UN leadership has bowed to Turkish pressure and Turkey's objection to the reference in a UN exhibit to what is said to be the Armenian genocide. (Re: "Genocide Still a Touchy Term for the United Nations" Letters, April 18) It suggests this decision in turn means the UN is turning a blind eye to rape and murder in Sudan today. This calls for a reality check, to say the least.

Genocide is a very serious matter. It should not be treated with sensationalist claims. It requires the language of knowledge and sound historical research. Fortunately, more Canadians now know that Turkey has proposed to Armenia to form a joint commission of historians, archivists and other experts to investigate the issue free from propaganda, and to share the findings with the international community. But the Armenian side seems to prefer to rely on generally held views rather than engage in a serious study of all archives.

The fact remains that Turks do not deny the tragic human suffering of the Armenians along with others; they reject being portrayed as perpetrators of a crime they have not committed. The Armenian narrative draws false conclusions from a reflection of events whose reality can still be attested through positive historical inquiry. The memory of so many dead, Armenian and Turkish alike, is painful and needs to be respected. But one-sided incrimination is not the proper way for that, especially when the offer for a proper joint study is still on the table.

First Counsellor
Embassy of Turkey
Ottawa, Ont.

© 2007 Embassy a division of Hill Times Publishing Inc Canada

Turkish - Armenian Business Development Council Encourage EU To Build Bridges Between Turkey And Armenia
A delegation meets with senior EU officials
Yerevan, Ankara, 27 April 2007.
On April 18 and 19, a delegation of the Turkish Armenian Business Development Council met with European Commissioner for enlargement Olli Rehn and with EU Special Representative for the South Caucasus Peter Semneby. Mr Rehn plays a leading role in preparing for Turkey's accession to the European Union. Mr Semneby has the responsibility of coordinating EU relations with the South Caucasus countries and contributing to conflict resolution in the region.

The TABDC delegation also met with experts and staff in think-tanks, NGOs and EU institutions whose work touch upon relations between Armenia and Turkey. The TABDC delegation was composed of Noyan Soyak, Burcu Gültekin and Nicolas Tavitian.

The purpose of the visit was to brief EU leaders and opinion formers on the status of relations between the two republics of Turkey and Armenia and to encourage the EU to contribute to the normalisation of relations between them. EU candidate country Turkey has kept the joint border closed since 1993 and has no diplomatic relations with neighbouring Armenia.

The delegation briefed the Commissioner for enlargement on the issue of Turkish-Armenian relations and forwards their recommendations. They stressed the importance of the issue, emphasizing in particular the positive impact which the normalization of relations between Turkey and Armenia would have on the Nagorno-Karabakh process, on stability and development in the Southern Caucasus in general. They further highlighted how both Turkey's and Armenia's relations with the European Union would benefit, should relations be normalized, and encouraged the EU to play an active role in mediating in good faith between the two countries.

The TABDC representatives emphasized furthermore how little has been done so far by the EU Institutions. There is no dialogue between Armenian and Turkish authorities to speak of, and initiatives by business or civil society to build bridges between the two countries are virtually non-existent due to the many obstacles. Europe therefore also has a role to play in ensuring that cross-border cooperation and "people-to-people" exchanges are initiated between Turkey and Armenia without further delay in preparation for the full restoration of relations between the two countries.

Both EU Commissioner Olli Rehn and Peter Semneby agreed on the importance of Turkey's relations with Armenia. They expressed their commitment to the issue and their support for bridge-building initiatives. They also referred to the important role which the Armenian Diaspora in Europe could play in the process.

The Turkish-Armenian Business Development Council is a non-governmental network of Armenian and Turkish business leaders working since 1997 for the restoration of normal relations between Turkey and Armenia and for the reopening of their common border.

TABDC Visits San Marino
San Marino April 11, 2007
The Turkish Armenian Business Development Council delegation, headed by the Co-Chairman Kaan Soyak was introduced by Angelo Boccardelli, Chairman of the Foundation "Giacomo Maria Ugolini Ambassador", to the President of the Council of Europe H.E. Fiorenzo Stolfi who's also the Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of the Republic of San Marino.

During the meeting, TABDC and the Foundation GMU shared the current situation between Armenia and Turkey and several possible solutions were discussed. In particular, the TABDC and the Foundation GMU expressed their support for the establishment of Intergovernmental Commissions between the two Governments to work on all the issues including history. The Foundation "Giacomo Maria Ugolini Ambassador" of the Republic of San Marino is willing to Team with the Turkish Armenian Business Development Council and be active in the Reconciliation process in order to bring Peace and Development in the Caucasus. In order to favor the Reconciliation process, H.E. Fiorenzo Stolfi expressed his interest in inviting the representatives of the Intergovernmental Commissions of the two Countries to work in San Marino, the "Oldest Republic of the World" and the symbol of "Liberty and Peace".

In this context, the Foundation GMU has in its calendar several conferences and seminars promoting and supporting Turkey's accession into Europe

TABDC (TURKEY): Tel: 90 (212) 236 00 17 Fax: 90 (212) 259 72 51
TABDC (ARMENIA) :Tel: 374 (10) 35 11 80 Fax: 374 (10) 35 12 40
TABDC EU(Belgium) :Tel : 32 (495) 77 08 67. Email : tabdc-eu@skynet.be
TABDC (USA) :Tel: 1 (516) 869-7525 Fax: 1 (516) 365-0560

Erdogan Proposed "Joint History Commission"

PM Erdogan's Proposals to Pres. Kocharian

Dear Mr. President,

The Turkish and Armenian peoples not only share a common history and geography in a sensitive region of the world, but also lived together over a long period of time. However, it is not a secret that we have diverging interpretations of events that took place during a particular period of our common history. These differences that have in the past left behind traces of painful memories for our nations continue to hamper the development of friendly relations between our two countries today.

I believe that, as leaders of our countries, our primary duty is to leave to our future generations a peaceful and friendly environment in which tolerance and mutual respect shall prevail.

These views are also shared by the leader of our main opposition party, Mr. Deniz Baykal, the Chairman of the Republican People’s Party (CHP). In this connection, we are extending an invitation to your country to establish a joint group consisting of historians and other experts from our two countries to study the developments and events of 1915 not only in the archives of Turkey and Armenia but also in the archives of all relevant third countries and to share their findings with the international public. I believe that such an initiative would shed light on a disputed period of history and also constitute a step towards contributing to the normalization of relations between our countries.

I hope that our proposal which aims to create a friendly and more peaceful climate to be passed on to future generations will meet with your consent. If we receive a favorable response from your side to our proposal of forming such a group, we will be ready to discuss the details of this proposal with your country.

Please accept, Your Excellency, the assurances of my highest consideration.

R. Tayyip Erdoğan
Source: TABDC Turkey

Kocharian proposed "Intergovernmental Commission"

April 25, 2005

H.E. Recep Tayyip Erdogan
Prime Minister
Republic of Turkey

Dear Prime Minister,

I’m in receipt of your letter. Indeed, as two neighbors, we both must work to find ways to live together in harmony. That is why, from the first day, we have extended our hand to you to establish relations, open the border, and thus start a dialogue between the two countries and two peoples.

There are neighboring countries, particularly on the European continent, who have had a difficult past, about which they differ. However, that has not stopped them from having open borders, normal relations, diplomatic ties, representatives in each other’s capitals, even as they continue to discuss that which divides them.

Your suggestion to address the past cannot be effective if it deflects from addressing the present and the future. In order to engage in a useful dialog, we need to create the appropriate and conducive political environment. It is the responsibility of governments to develop bilateral relations and we do not have the right to delegate that responsibility to historians. That is why we have proposed and propose again that, without pre-conditions, we establish normal relations between our two countries.

In that context, an intergovernmental commission can meet to discuss any and all outstanding issues between our two nations, with the aim of resolving them and coming to an understanding.


Robert Kocharian
Source: TABDC Armenia

Diasporan Armenian Students Confess that In Fatherland They Feel Themselves As Minority
The 5th all university cultural festival of Diasporan Armenians was held in Yerevan. As festival organizer Norayr Andresian, the Chairman of the Diaspora All-Armenian Students' Union organization mentioned, the goal of the festival is creation of necessary measures for social integration and communication of Diasporan Armenian students studying in Armenia.

It was stated that about 3200 Diasporan Armenians arrived from 33 countries study at present at Armenian higher educational institutions. In words of many of them, though they are in the Fatherland, but as a result of special attitude of Armenians, they feel themselves as a minority, and similar events become a stimulus for a contact and give possibility for new acquaintances.

During this festival held at the Russian-Armenian Slavonic State University students presented nice music, dancing performances, funny etudes prepared by them. Diplomas and souvenirs were also given to participants of the Diasporan Armenian students' all university festival.

The Diaspora All Armenian Students' Union organization is a collective member of the Association of Youth Organizations of the World Armenian Congress under the patronage of which the festival was held.

Noyan Tapan
Armenians Today
May 02 2007

How Many People Attended the Sunday Rally at Caglayan!
Police Records: 300.000
Sisli Municipality Records: 1.100.000
Sattelite Image: 3.775.000 Plus

Please Click On The Image To See the Enlarged Version

This content mirrored from TurkishArmenians http://armenians-1915.blogspot.com © pix

Agos Newspaper's Web-Site To Be Launched
After long-running preparations, the Agos newspaper's web-site, Agos Internet, will begin publication in English and Turkish pages with a brand-new look.

In this way, readers from all over the world will be able to access news, commentary and files dealing with political and cultural developments in Turkey and concerning the life of Turkey's Armenian community by means of Agos-Internet.

The principal goal of Agos-Internet, broadcast from the www.agos.com.tr (www.agos.com.tr/eng/ for English version) address will be to make the content of the Turkish-Armenian language Agos newspaper available to its members in an on-line context. The newspaper's daily news, society, art and culture, middle and back pages, commentary from staff and guest writers, history, cinema sections and dossier subjects will all be available on the website. The Armenian pages of Agos will also be accessible for the subscribers.

Agos-Internet also aims to direct its efforts towards the construction of a new concept of publishing, appropriate to the internet medium, and, in time, building up its own unique spirit and identity. Appropriate to this goal, through week-long news and commentary in the areas of politics, current affairs, art and culture, Agos Internet will try to present content that will keep its members' fingers on the pulse not only of the Armenian community in Turkey, but also the whole of Turkey and even the whole world.

Agos - The Paper In The News
The Independent/UK
30 April 2007

'Agos', an Armenian-Turkish newspaper based in Istanbul, was rocked in January when its editor, Hrant Dink, was shot on its offices' doorstep. Ian Herbert looks at the impact his death has had in the Muslim country

The security guard at the door of Agos newspaper in central Istanbul has become well accustomed to pointing out the spot where the editor-in-chief was murdered in broad daylight, by two shots to his head and two to his body, four months ago. "There," he says, identifying a place on the pavement, two steps from the door, where Hrant Dink was shot from behind.

But there is another more subtle clue to the threats facing those, like Dink, who want to talk about Armenian identity in Turkey and the way that hundreds of thousands of Christian Armenians were killed by the Turks in 1915. It is the utter absence on the nondescript premises of this Turkish-Armenian weekly newspaper of a sign marking its presence. "Doing without a sign was a kind of a protection for Hrant," says Etyen Mahcupyan, the 57-year-old Armenian columnist who has succeeded his friend as editor.

"I never asked Hrant why he didn't have one, come to think of it. It was a form of hiding, which you do without thinking. It may have been related to him being a person from a minority; a non-Muslim, not wanting to show off in a Muslim country."

There are currently more reasons than ever for those, like Dink, who criticise Turkey's continuing denial that the events of 1915 amounted to genocide, to keep their whereabouts unknown. The EU's frostiness about Turkey's accession to the EU, despite the efforts of the Prime Minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, to present a modernising face to Europe, is fuelling a new wave of nationalism in a country where images of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the founder of modern Turkey, stare out from most available public places and where any "insult to Turkishness" is a criminal offence. Dink's murder at the age of 52, three months after Anna Politkovskaya's in Russia, demonstrates the enduring danger facing those who, in pursuit of their profession, persistently challenge the state.

Dink, who described e-mail death threats against him in his last column for Agos ("I am just like a pigeon... I look to my left and right, in front and behind me as much as I can") retains his presence in the office which Mahcupyan never wanted to occupy. Testaments to Dink's journalism line the walls: the Bjornson Prize, awarded by the Norwegian academy established to protect freedom of expression; the Henri Nannen Prize; the Oxfam Novib PEN Award for journalistic excellence.

Yet this office was no Armenian enclave. The 24-page newspaper, which Dink established 11 years ago in the belief that only dialogue could resolve the bitter memories left by the mass murder of Ottoman Armenians during the First World War, has three pages in Armenian with the rest, including the front, in Turkish. Around 25% of the 10,000 readership is Armenian-Turkish.

The rest is Turkish.

"Hrant's death has given rise to a different level of intensity about the issues he raised," says Mahcupyan, whose first issue as editor, devoted to Dink's life and work, increased the paper's sale to 25,000. "His death has created a sympathy for the issues he raised. But there's also a backlash which [is] nationalistic." He details many threatening e-mails and letters received after the assassination, the thrust of which was: "You could be next."

Dink had become as much an ambassador for the Armenian cause as a journalist. His ability to remember, years later, the names of individuals he had met was legendary. But his belief in a secular Armenian identity did not win him too many friends within the Armenian church.

"You should remember he was brought up in an orphanage," says Patriarch Mesrob Mutafyan, the most senior Armenian cleric in Turkey, in reference to Dink's 10 years growing up in an evangelical orphange after his parents had separated. "It turned him against the state, against the patriarch, against anyone."

The patriarch was speaking from the Church of St Mary in Istanbul, where it is easy to see why Dink felt his people were besieged. Such is the threat from Muslim extremists that visitors must enter through X-ray machines.

Across the road is Dink's old Armenian primary school, where the current head teacher, Margrit Yesiltepe, unknowingly reveals much about the way that Armenian culture has been erased in Turkey. "We are a Turkish school and must teach what are in the history books," she insists from her seat behind a small Turkish flag in a room where Ataturk adorns the carpet and the walls. But the "history books", it transpires, deliver a curriculum set by the government which makes no mention of Armenian issues, or of the events of 1915. "This is how it was for me as a pupil and it was no problem," says the head.

Before Dink's death, there were signs that Mr Erdogan wanted to put some things right. He has tried to establish a "joint history commission" of academics for a definitive examination of the genocide issue (though the Armenians have refused to join it) and the language of his influential special adviser, Egemen Bagis, reflects the government's willingness to engage. "I don't know if it was genocide or not," he says. "We asked the Armenians to join our commission two years ago and I say to them: I am ready to face my own history if you are yours." But in an election year, with the far-right MHP party doing well in opinion polls, Mr Erdogan dare not alienate the powerful, reactionary military and judiciary figures who don't tend to go in for ethnic tolerance.

For now, the political ferment makes life as unsettling as ever for those who are carrying Dink's torch, including Orhan Pamuk, Turkey's Nobel Prize-winning novelist, who went into exile in New York after criminal charges against him over genocide references were dropped. "What power do the ultra-nationalists really have?" asks Mahcupyan. "Not much, except the ability to scare people and to kill - and you only need a gun and a youngster to do that." As he spoke, Mahcupyan had no idea of the next story which was about to preoccupy him: the murder, last week, of two Turkish Christian converts and a German in a publishing house that prints bibles, in the eastern Turkish city of Malatya.

Genocide Recognition, Turkey-Armenia Relations, Role of the Diaspora
ARPA Institute presents the Lecture/Seminar:
`Massacres, Resistance, Protectors of the Armenians and Assyrians in the 1915 Genocide" " by Dr. David Gaunt, on Friday, May 11, 2007 at 7: 30 PM at the Merdinian School auditorium.

The Address is 13330 Riverside Dr., Sherman Oaks, CA 91403. Directions: on the 101 FWY exit on Woodman, go north and turn right on Riverside Dr.

Abstract: The lecture will discuss what happened to the Armenian and Assyrian populations living in the provinces of Diyarbakir, Bitlis, Van and Iranian Azerbaijan during World War I. This will be based on extensive use of primary sources in Turkish, Russian, Iranian as well as Western archives. Also previously unused witness testimonies and oral history will be used. This is a region where Armenians and Assyrians lived side by side in the cities and had rural villages close to each other. Often the Armenians would be seized first and the Assyrian sources explain what happened, then came the turn for the Assyrians. In some places both groups put up a common defense, for instance Antranik's volunteer brigades had Assyrians fighting side by side with the Armenians.

Some Assyrian tribes joined the Russian army that was on its way to relieve Van and fought with the Turks. The greater part of the massacres, ethnic cleansings and other atrocities occurred between May and September of 1915, and the extent of population loss was close to 90% in the Diyarbakir province. The latter was also used as killing fields for deportation caravans coming from the north. The lecture will be based on the recent book Massacres, Resistance, Protectors: Muslim-Christian relations in Eastern Anatolia during World War I (Piscataway, N. J.: Gorgias Pres 2006).

David Gaunt is professor of history at Södertörn University College in Stockholm, Sweden. This university is in the midst of one of the largest Assyrian Diaspora communities in the world. He is a social historian and has previously written primarily on the Scandinavian workers movement, and family history. A few years ago he began with genocide studies and edited Resistance and Collaboration in the Holocaust: Belarus, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania (Bern 2004).

ARPA Institute
18106 Miranda St. Tarzana, CA 91356
Tel: (818) 586-9660

The Enemies Of Turkey Are Very Glad
May 2, 2007
Mehmet Ali Birand
My respondent on the phone was very dispirited. “I have been saying it. We have known that Turkey could not assimilate the Copenhagen Criteria. Now it is clear,” he said. Ever since the start, he has struggled to ensure Turkey was not given a date for the start of deliberations. Then he tried to ensure that the deliberations were halted. Now he is organizing the like-thinking NGOs and parliamentarians within the European Union. His aim is showing the demeanor of the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) to launch a campaign to freeze the deliberations in the case the crisis in Turkey gets deeper. You can be sure that this campaign will succeed if we cannot get out of the crisis.

A large portion of Europe will be happy that Turkey is put on hold in such a manner, at least for a long while. Moreover, they will not be the ones responsible. They can show Ankara as the responsible party.

The fact is, currently, not only in Europe but also all across the world, enemies of Turkey are celebrating.

Greek Cypriots are excited that they can use Turkey's being stuck to their own benefits.

The Armenian Diaspora is also getting ready to become active. They are sure that they can much more easily pass both the draft bill at the United States Congress and the ones waiting at the European countries' parliaments.

It suits many that Turkey suffers internal turmoil and that the tensions are high between civilians and the military.

It is also good news for those who plan to bring up the Kurdish issue and plan to ignite a Turkish-Kurdish clash. They, too, are getting ready. The turmoil in Iraq, the situation in Northern Iraq whets the appetites of those that would like to pressure Turkey.

Turkey is surrounded by traps while we quarrel with each other. It is a brand new day for the real enemies of Turkey. At the end of the day, they see that they can bind the hands of a giant.

But we cannot see it.

We are fast drafted towards a battle without carefully calculating the results.

We do harm to ourselves.

Unite! This is the last chance
I am a voter and I am calculating who to vote for in the upcoming elections. Like me, millions of others are doing the same calculations.

There are no problems for those who have their hearts set on the Justice and Development Party (AKP). The ones that really face a problem are those that will vote for the left or the right, for a party other than the AKP.

Voters would not like the vote they will cast to be wasted. They would prefer a party that will become the government or one that will form a strong opposition.

Today we see that, except for the AKP, there still is a division both in the right and in the left. The upcoming elections, on the other hand, are more critical than ever. It seems that the AKP will attain a two-third majority. Such a probability is also very dangerous. An AKP government without an opposition will activate forces outside the parliament, such as the TSK and the media, and the country will fall into confusion.

This is why all forces need to unite.

At the right, the most logical solution is for the merging of the True Path Party (DYP) and the Motherland Party (ANAVATAN).

The era of basing one's calculations on the “it can be small but it is mine” rhetoric should end.

We should see the facts clearly.

The DYP has the chance of passing the 10 percent threshold but it cannot be taken for granted. Even a small fluctuation will cause this party to remain outside the parliament.

ANAVATAN, on the other hand, does not seem to have the chance of passing the threshold.

If we are to speak the whole truth, we need to point out that these two parties, with the same basic principles and policies, do not have any other chances but to merge. If they do not, the DYP will remain small and ANAVATAN will dissolve.

The most reasonable option would be for ANAVATAN to close and pass on to the DYP or for ANAVATAN and DYP to unite under a new name. I am not sure whether this can be accomplished until the elections.

The rest is just babbling. It is spending time in vain.

And about the Republican People's Party (CHP) and the Democratic Left Party (DSP)…

If it is desired that the CHP gets stronger and that the DSP does not become extinct, Zeki Sezer needs to close the DSP and join the CHP. It is almost a sin to hold on to this party only to satisfy Rahsan Ecevit's whim. They will suffer great loss in the upcoming elections. Likewise, all other parties, as much as they may not like Baykal, should conjoin under the same umbrella. The day is payback day.

Please do not…

Please act realistically, please take logical and rational steps, and let us please have the smaller ones join the bigger ones…

We paid for stubbornness

What would have happened if they shouted slogans?

What would we have lost if they demonstrated, if they voiced their anger?

The Istanbul Police Force acted very “Turkish.” It paralyzed all life. It closed down roads, it suspended schools, and life was stalled in a substantial portion of Istanbul.

Was it worth it?

Our expectation from our security forces is not that they halt everything to yield results, but that they keep the demonstration under control.

They could have as well declared curfew...

What really astonished me was that the bridges were closed to traffic; they were reduced to one lane, and practices were put into effect under the name “precautions.” The police was lined up on roadsides, cars formed lines that ran for kilometers, and the two stood there facing each other.

I could not understand. If someone has indeed understood the situation, he or she should step forward…

Armenia, Yes, Make Your Right Choice!
Cem Oguz
May 2, 2007
The parliamentary elections to be held on May 12 in Armenia will provide us with an opportunity to observe what has really changed in President Robert Kocharian’s country

On a couple of occasions in the past I served as an electoral observer in ex-Soviet countries. I saw how the notion of free and fair elections, the basic prerequisite of any democratic regime, was used as a kind of window dressing for the existing regimes. In that regard, neither the political systems nor the ruling elite differed much from those they replaced. The new regimes resembled the absolute monarchies of the 19th century, replacing the oppressive dictatorship of the Communist Party with that of presidents. The only exception was the emergence of big business tycoons, known as oligarchs, who, through their immense financial power, managed to manipulate the political realm. The prevailing system was not able to afford an alternative by peaceful means.The parliamentary elections to be held on May 12 will provide us with an opportunity to observe the extent to which this process has changed in President Robert Kocharian's Armenia. They will demonstrate the level of Armenian people's commitment to democracy and reform. As important as this trait is the regional significance of the election results. The parliamentary composition to emerge after May 12 will not only serve as a real pivot for the Nagorno-Karabakh peace process but also for Turkish-Armenian reconciliation. In a way, the beloved Armenian people will vote on whether to end their regional isolation or to further strengthen it.

Tending to transform into dictatorship?:

There are certain developments that make us think the political climate has indeed improved since the last elections. Just recently, the Election Observation Mission of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe and the pre-election delegation of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) have announced that the improved election code provides “a solid foundation for the conduct of democratic elections.” Besides, Armenia's rising cooperation with the European Union within the framework of European Neighborhood Policy and its status as a beneficiary of the Millennium Challenge Account, a U.S. foreign aid program that imposes new prerequisites of democracy and electoral performance, are widely believed to be contingent on the conduct of fair and free elections.

The enigma of grave importance is, however, to what extent the theory is at odds with reality. Or, as put by the PACE delegation, whether such changes as the election code will indeed be “fully implemented in good faith.” The Kocharian regime's tainted electoral record and the initial news coming out of Yerevan don't look promising. Artur Baghdasaryan, the chairman of the opposition Rule of Law Party, for instance, warned in a Wall Street Journal op-ed in February about “forces in the Armenian government that might try to steal the upcoming elections” and wisely added, “Who will win matters, but how they win matters more.” More importantly, the Armenian people seem to have lost faith in the notion of “clean” elections. According to a recent survey, 42 percent of those polled expressed the belief that the elections would be marred with as much election fraud as the previous one in 2003, whereas only 8 percent said they believe that the elections will meet international standards.An “opposition” doesn't seem to play an influential role in the elections. Independent analysts maintain that the main competition will rather be between two pro-Kocharian groupings, the ruling Republican Party of Armenia being on the one side and Prosperous Armenia, a party established last year by Gagik Tsarukian, a wealthy businessman with close ties to Kocharian, on the other. According to a survey conducted by the British Populus Opinion Polling Center, these two parties are expected to get the majority of votes: While 31 percent of the 2,000 Armenians polled said they would cast their ballots for the Republican Party of Armenia, 27 percent stated that they would vote for Prosperous Armenia.

The aforementioned PACE delegation, too, reported that they were “not able, with a few notable exceptions, to discern marked differences between the political platforms of the contenders,” being left with the impression that “the upcoming elections [were] regarded by many as a struggle between political elites and not between concepts and ideas.” Later, they expressed their concern about the apparent lack of “a fully democratic choice.” In fact, herein lurks the real and rapidly growing danger. In February, the Kocharian regime was accused by Armenian intellectuals, in a declaration posted on the Internet, of acting like a tyranny that “keeps hardening, tending to transform into dictatorship.” Besides, they reiterated their concerns about the attitude of certain political organizations “towards those who practice free speech and generate new ideas in the Armenian reality.” It is in this regard that such a lack of checks and balances to emerge subsequent to the elections becomes more sensitive than ever.

A democratic Armenia is what Turkey expects:

The current state of affairs between Armenia and Turkey increasingly reminds me of two goats approaching each other from the opposite ends of a narrow bridge over a stream. Both choosing not to wait for the other to cross, they will eventually fall together. Actually, there is reciprocally an urgent need for new rhetoric but the current mentality as well as cunning considerations with regard to internal politics serve as a kind of brake pedal.

This problem is pretty obviously more acute in Armenian politics. The Turkey factor seems to be an effective means for domestic political manipulations just before the elections, as part of a wider strategy based on popular fears among the Armenian public. One of Kocharian's recent statements precisely exemplifies this phenomenon. Speaking at a meeting with Armenian community groups in Paris in February, he was reported to have said that Turkey's failure to recognize the “Armenian genocide” was not just an ethical matter, but also a threat to Armenia's national security. “There is a risk that what happened could happen again,” he then ironically added. I don't think that Kocharian himself believes in what he asserted. The presence of at least other Armenian politicians like Baghdasaryan, in turn, is promising and worth considering. He obviously is someone to engage in sincere dialogue. “Much of Armenia's establishment remains trapped in the past, but dwelling on said memories hampers our relationship with our neighbors,” rightly argued Mr. Baghdasaryan in his op-ed mentioned above. Accordingly, the long-lasting conflict over the disputed region of Nagorno-Karabakh must be resolved as a matter of urgency, since it indeed “dilutes Armenia's and the region's strategic value.” The extent to which relations with Turkey are healthily and freely discussed in Armenia is of crucial importance for the Turkish people as well. A democratic Armenia is surely in the interests of its neighbors. We in Turkey heartfeltly hope that our Armenian friends will do what an election slogan entering their homes through TV screens is urging: “Make your right choice!” Otherwise, we all will miss the train…

Ban Ki-Moon: "Un Will Never Discuss Issues On Armenian Genocide Claims"
02 May 2007
UN secretary Ban Ki-moon stated at the opening of the exhibition on the genocide in Rwanda in 1994. "This exhibition is devoted to the results that we have to draw from Rwanda events. We do not intend to assess other historical events. Generally, the UN will not discuss the events happened before the World War Second, before it was established," the Secretary General said. The exhibition on Rwanda genocide was to be opened April 9, APA reports. As Armenian Diaspora attempted to display placards on Armenian genocide, Turkey's Permanent Representation to UN meddled, and the exhibition was postponed.

Belgian Kemalist Thought Association Responds To Belgian Ambassador's Accusations
The Belgian Kemalist Thought Association (BADD) has responded strongly to comments made by Belgian Ambassador to Turkey Marc Van Rysselberghe.

BADD Chairman Ismail Sönmez, in an exclusive interview with Today's Zaman, said that the association stands by its statement made at a press conference last week, in which it accused the Belgian government of partiality, favoring Armenian groups at their organization's expense. More explicitly, BADD claimed that on April 24 the Belgian government had “sacked” a BADD coordinator for organizing a conference on the Armenian “genocide.”

Ambassador Rysselberghe, in a letter to TZ following coverage of the BADD press conference, argued that the notification sent to BADD of the withdrawal of funding for the coordinator of the group's Armenian conference, Pierre Bastin, had been posted on April 20 and had nothing to do with April 24, the date on which Armenians commemorate the “genocide.”

Sönmez however responded that while it was true that the letter had been posted on April 20, its delivery date was more than coincidence: “We received it on April 24, and I think that what counts is not the date on which it was posted, but the date we received it.” He added that the decision to sack the coordinator of the conference was taken on April 15 by the Belgian authorities and that they did not understand why the regional government had waited for five days to post the notification of their decision.

“For the first time in years, in 2007 the Armenian lobby did not present a resolution to Belgian representative bodies on the so-called genocide. The Ministry of Labor, with this decision, has compensated for the lack of resolution this year and has given this gift not only to the Armenian lobby, but also the enemies of Turkey,” Sönmez claimed.

Ambassador Rysselberghe further argued that no public authority in Belgium could interfere in the management of private associations, and consequently could not hire or sack employees, stressing that regions in Belgium were responsible for employment policy and as such had developed some categories of subsidized jobs.

Sönmez said the association was surprised by the ambassador's reaction and the way he explained the circumstances surrounding the firing of Bastin. “I wonder how the ministry of labor of Brussels Capital Region does not represent Belgium. Isn't he one of Belgium's high-level officials? In the letter we received firing Bastin, it is clearly stated that the minister of labor had approved the proceedings. We are surprised by the statement of the Belgian ambassador in Turkey, who implies that Belgian official authorities have no connection with the firing of the coordinator of the conference.”

In response to another comment by the ambassador, saying that BADD had overstepped its mandate by organizing political activities, Sönmez said that their very name clearly implied that they could carry out political activities that would help Turks in Belgium to understand the political system. Sönmez added that in the statute of their association it is stated that, “The intercultural sphere will be facilitated by language courses (in French, English, Turkish), as well as courses and conferences aimed at explaining the political systems of Belgium and Turkey in a comparative manner,” underlining that the word “political” exists in the statute.

Sönmez said he believes Belgian authorities are manipulating the Armenian lobby to exert pressure on the Turkish community in Belgium. Stressing that in the notification BADD received they were accused of spreading propaganda denying the Armenian genocide, Sönmez said: “Almost all enemies of Turkey, including terrorists, have a say in the Belgian TV [stations] and papers. BADD has not been invited to any TV program to clarify its point of view, nor have its letters been published by any Belgian newspaper or TV stations.” Sönmez added that contrary to the ambassador's claims, the letter had clearly stated that Bastin has been sacked because of his organizing of the conference.

Selçuk Gültasli Brussels

Rwanda Exhibit Opens After Words On Armenians Revised
An exhibition on the lessons of the genocide in Rwanda opened on Monday, after three weeks' delay due to Turkey's objections to a reference to the killings of Anatolian Armenians during World War I as genocide.

The language on the Armenians was changed to say “Ottoman Empire” instead of “Turkey” and does not include the number of people killed on panels in the exhibit that include photos, statements and video testimonies.

The exhibition, originally set to open at the UN headquarters in New York on April 9, was postponed after Ambassador Baki Ilkin, Turkey's permanent representative to the UN, complained about the mention of “an Armenian genocide.” The section now uses the term “mass killings” instead of “murders.”

Armenia's UN Ambassador Armen Martirosyan said the reference still reflects the truth, “to some extent. This is a Turkish version of history which is not acceptable for us, but to avoid further postponement of the exhibition, we compromised.”

The UN confirmed the Turkish complaint when the exhibit was postponed, and said the delay was mainly because the regular review process for exhibits, which takes all positions into account, was not followed. UN associate spokesman Farhan Haq said on Monday that the Turkish objection to the exhibit was not the only one, and that other concerns had to be addressed before opening the exhibit. He declined to elaborate. “The past three weeks have been spent making sure that all the text in the exhibit was historically accurate,” Haq said.

Originally the lettering on a panel said: “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 new wording says: “In 1933, the lawyer Raphael Lemkin, a Polish Jew, urged the League of Nations to recognize mass atrocities against a particular group as an international crime. He cited the mass killings of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire in World War I, and other mass killings in history. He was ignored.”

Ankara vehemently denies claims by Armenia and its supporters that the Ottoman Empire committed a systematic genocide against Armenians during World War I.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon opened the exhibit in commemoration of the 13th anniversary of the Rwanda genocide, in which 800,000 people, mainly Tutsis and Hutus, were massacred by militant Hutus in April 1994. He recalled how he visited Rwanda last year and spoke to “those who had endured one of humankind's darkest chapters.”

But Ban, in a gesture to Turkey, said the exhibition did not “attempt to make historical judgments on other issues.” He also announced his intention to upgrade the level of the UN special adviser on the prevention of genocide, created in 2004, to a permanent position.

Today's Zaman with wires Ankara

No Armenian Genocide Resolution From The House Of Representatives: Lessons For The Future
Barin Kayaoglu
01 May 2007
Turkish Weekly / Eraren

Until last week, Turkish policy-makers were quite concerned that the U.S. House of Representatives might pass a resolution recognizing the events of 1915 as a genocide against the Armenian people. Foreign Minister Abdullah Gül and Chief of General Staff Gen. Yasar Büyükanit had spent time in Washington in February talking to American officials, explaining the dangers of such a resolution.

April 24 (the symbolic anniversary that the Armenians claim was when their “genocide” began in 1915) has come and gone and it seems that the resolution has been conveniently swept under the rug.

That is very auspicious. Turkish politics is quite volatile right now because of the presidential elections. On the one hand, there is much cause to be hopeful that it is civil society and not the military that is framing the debate. (Friday night’s press statement by the Turkish General Staff has thrown things off course but Turkey has the capacity to sustain the turmoil.) People are voicing contrasting opinions in different forums, most conspicuously in mass demonstrations. Perhaps for the first time, the demos (people) are pushing for their kratos (rule) in Turkey.

The genocide bill could have changed that. The feeling of being “surrounded” worsens Turkish people’s approach to regional and international events. Discussions of the Armenian question are still hostage to that feeling. As the Washington-based PEW Center’s surveys indicate, an overwhelming majority of Turkish people – justifiably or not – perceive the United States as the greatest danger for world peace at the moment. It is astonishing to note that Turkey, a formal U.S. ally, records highest anti-U.S. sentiment in the Middle East. One reason is that Turks believe that the United States is deliberately provoking PKK-instigated terrorism from Northern Iraq.

Thus, had the resolution passed, American legislators could have caused catastrophic damage to Turkish-American relations.

Substantively, a resolution would not have meant much. Turkey would have still been an important regional power while the United States would have continued its course as a global superpower. It would have been cataclysmic, however, for ordinary Turks to become completely incensed at the United States and to force their leaders to take a tougher stance against Washington. Turkish decision-makers would have followed suit.

In an ideal world, Turkey and Armenia should have solved their problems long ago. However, the events of 1915 relate to the very genesis of the two nations’ self-perception. Both sides are unwilling to accept that their ancestors did more than they admitted. Guilt was mutual, although the degree of responsibility can be disputed.
But a self-righteous bill from Capitol Hill would have added fuel to fire and derailed the respectable (albeit small) Turkish and Armenian efforts to come to an understanding. For the first time since World War I, Turkish and Armenian scholars are listening to the arguments of the “other” side and they are doing it in a civilized manner. Some are even accepting the viewpoints of the “other” side. For the first time, there is a possibility that Friedrich Hegel’s “thesis + antithesis = synthesis” assertion can apply to Turks and Armenians.

It is worth noting that the House resolution was probably shelved in order not to aggravate the situation in Turkey. However, Turkish people should bear in mind that such resolutions and declarations do not mean much. It takes historians a lot of research, writing, editing, and re-editing to reach conclusion on historical events. For poorly-informed politicians to skip that process and pretend that they know more about history than historians do is unfair.

Just as it is unfair for politicians to disrespect historians, it is equally imprudent for statesmen and the public to react in an immature way to decisions that are a result of a poor understanding of history.

Next year, both the United States and Turkey may face the same predicament over the issue of whether the tragedies of 1915 were a genocide or not. Opinion and decision-makers should focus on cajoling public and political opinion that there is no need for botched responses. Overall, the best course to take would be to leave the affair to Turks and Armenians.


Barin Kayaoglu is a Ph.D. student in history at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, Virginia and a regular contributor to the Journal of Turkish Weekly.

'Never Again' For Armenians Too
Several American Jewish groups abandon their anti-genocide zeal when it comes to Turkey's massacre of Armenians.
By Daniel Sokatch and David N. Myers, DANIEL SOKATCH is executive director of the Progressive Jewish Alliance. DAVID N. MYERS teaches Jewish history at UCLA.
May 1, 2007
THIS YEAR, Congress established April 15 as Holocaust Memorial Day, commemorating the Nazi genocide of European Jewry. Just nine days later, on April 24, Armenians throughout the world observed the commemoration of their great tragedy: the massacre of as many as 1.5 million Armenians at the hands of the Turks that began in 1915.

In many ways, it was the 20th century's first genocide that helped set the stage for its largest, including Rwanda and now Darfur. Adolf Hitler reportedly said, on the eve of his invasion of Poland in 1939, "Who, after all, speaks today of the annihilation of the Armenians?"

For the last 60 years, the Jewish community has labored to avoid granting Hitler, in the words of philosopher Emil Fackenheim, "a posthumous victory." Jews have taken as their motto "never again," and most tend to understand that this charge refers to all of humanity, not only to fellow Jews. One of the last surviving leaders of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising, Simha "Kazik" Rotem, once said that the central lesson of the Holocaust to him was that the Jewish people should stand vigilant against genocidal acts directed at any people.

This is why it is troubling that some major Jewish organizations have lined up in support of Turkey's efforts to keep the U.S. Congress from recognizing the Armenian massacres as an act of genocide. The Anti-Defamation League (ADL), the American Jewish Committee (AJC), the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (JINSA) and B'nai B'rith International recently conveyed a letter from the Turkish Jewish community opposing a resolution recognizing the genocide.

The ADL and the JINSA also added their own statements of opposition, suggesting that the massacre of Armenians was a matter for historians, not legislators, to decide.

The American Jewish community has insisted, and rightly so, that the U.S. Congress, the United Nations and other governmental bodies formally commemorate the Holocaust. Why should Jews not insist on the same in this case, especially given the widespread scholarly consensus that what happened to the Armenians from 1915 to 1923 was genocide? After all, the man who coined the term "genocide" to refer to the Holocaust — the Polish-Jewish lawyer Raphael Lemkin — cited the Armenian massacres as a precedent.

The unfortunate and well-known answer to the question is that Turkey has fiercely opposed efforts to call the Armenian massacres "genocide." Moreover, it has asked its friends to help beat back the attempts at historical recognition.

Jewish opposition to recognizing the Armenian genocide comes mainly from a desire to safeguard the important strategic relationship between Turkey and Israel. Alone among the world's Muslim nations, Turkey has forged close military, political and economic ties with Israel. In addition, Jews remember with a deep sense of gratitude that Turkey served as an important haven for their forebears fleeing persecution, from the time of the Spanish Expulsion in 1492 to the dark days of Nazism and beyond. And it is not just that Turkey has been kind to Israel and the Jews. It is a critically important U.S. ally in a dangerous region racked by religious extremism.

Nobody is suggesting that Jews forget Turkey's historic friendship. But it is a mistake for Jews — or, for that matter, anyone — to surrender the moral imperative of condemning genocide in the hopes of avoiding a perceived, but by no means necessary, strategic loss. Similarly, it would be a mistake for Turkey to hinge its own strategic interests on the denial of past criminal acts. Coming to terms with the past, as democratic Germany has done in the aftermath of the Holocaust and South Africa in the wake of apartheid, is the best path to political legitimacy.

Turkey, a trusted ally and friend of the Jews and the United States, must come to terms with its past for its own sake. It is that battle that leading Turkish intellectuals, including Nobel laureate Orhan Pamuk and martyred Armenian activist Hrant Dink, have been waging so nobly. We should do all in our power to strengthen the hands of these figures and avoid the abyss of historical revisionism.

Sixty years (and millions of historical documents) later, the world still has to contend with those who deny the Holocaust. We need only recall the shocking words and deeds of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on this score.

In response to such denials, all decent-minded people, and Jews in particular, must continue to declare loudly "never again" — not only to future genocides but also to the attempted denial of past genocides, regardless of who the perpetrators or victims are.
Letter To The Editor
From: Erol Palantekin
Sent: May 01, 2007
To: oped@latimes.com
Subject: OP-ED - My Response to 'Never Again" For Armenians too

LA Times Article Link:

My Response is to the OP-ED article submitted by Daniel Sokatch and David N Myers.
Dear Daniel and David:

I believe that part of the problem lies when all the facts of any historical event those are not carefully examined and debated can result in creating a platform for more Genocides, and that is why we are still having them. The other part of the problem as you know, the term GENOCIDE needs to be addressed in the Netherlands at the World Court, after studying the facts on both sides of the story, as you know this is a Legal process. In other words, before passing judgments on the Ottoman Turks with such a heinous crime on humanity like the Holocaust and labeling any country with Genocide, without a due process is really outside of the established rules the world has set on charging any country with Genocide. To me it is just common sense, that this matter be settled in phases, first an international Debate, than in a court of law if both parties have not settled it in the first phase. It is not a matter for us to decide in newspaper articles without showing both sides of the story, because it just complicates matters and blinds us from getting to the truth of the matter.

I do not think that the Turkish government or any Turk can argue the fact that Armenians died, however a great deal of Ottoman Turks, Ottoman Greeks, Ottoman Jews, even Ottoman Armenians also died. The numbers I have seen go up as far as much 3 million on the Ottoman side so who but the historians, can say really say what the exact numbers are, until both sides have studied and debated the issue, what the real numbers are on both sides and whether this is even possible. It is mere speculation on both sides, until the matter is debated with verifiable facts. As you know this was a Civil war within WWI, 92 years ago and the Ottoman archives are open to view.

Today, we live in such a dynamic and technically advanced society that whatever happens in the world, can be heard everywhere within seconds. My question is, had the internet been around during the Holocaust, do you believe that the Holocaust could have even happened? I am only assuming that the people of the world, back then, would have taken action and stopped it. However, I can not know for certain because I am not sure of the politics of the matter during that time. The reason is, we can not go back in time with what we know even today and stop a Genocide that started when Hitler took power in 1933, nor are the conditions I mention retroactive. We have not invented the Time Machine yet. Just like Raphael Lemkin coining the phrase the phrase Genocide. However, I did not know that he coined it after the so called Genocide that is news to me and needs further investigation on my part.

I do know that the legal definition of Genocide is not retroactive and the 4 conditions to meet this event have yet to be proven in any court of law against the Turks. So where does that leave us?

One thing is for certain especially in the communications and media world, news travels so fast sometimes that the so called "facts" can be presented and used for any purpose. For example on this matter, there is no mention of the Ottoman dead, as if they do not exist and or even existed. Therefore it is merely an assumption on anyone parts to truly get to the essence and the truth of what may or may not happened 92 years ago. Is this how we want our children to learn about history, through opinionated articles without knowing all the facts? That is not how I raised my child because I wanted my child to grow up with a open mind and decide for herself, on what may or may not be the facts, after all she is far smarter than I am, but I needed to plant the seeds to examine everything from several points of view and coming up with her own “opinion” of any matter, than re-evaluating the findings and then asking others to examine it before moving forward. And even than, it still may not be a correct analysis, due to dynamic nature of the world in which we live in. The only real fact which I do not assume is that the universe in which we live in: is constantly evolving by the second.

When I say this, I am also relying on my common sense because I know that the Turks are trying to debate the Armenians and so far, so this part of process has already started in California, this is a good beginning because in the end, it may start a international debate with historians and subject experts on this yet to be finalized assumption.

Let us march to towards the real truth of the matter and honor all the dead of known Genocides and make sure that no Genocide should ever occur again! Even if there is a Genocide that is not known for reasons uncertain, there is a process in determining even that, but if the current processes do not work, it is our duty to change it. Thank you for your time and hope I was able to shed some light on your opinions and perhaps questions you may have had on this matter, because you certainly have enlightened me. Thanks again!


5369 Mckitrick Blvd
Columbus OH 43225

What Would Ataturk Say?
May 1, 2007

The news that Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan will not seek the presidency should have caused some relief in Turkey, but the streets of Istanbul were swarmed by as many as 1 million protesters Sunday after the announcement that Mr. Erdogan's ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) would support Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul for the job. Although widely viewed as more moderate and less divisive than Mr. Erdogan, Mr. Gul is still seen as a challenge to that highly guarded legacy of Kemal Ataturk -- Turkey's secularism.

That Mr. Gul was not elected in the first round of voting is not surprising; a presidential candidate must receive two-thirds of the vote in parliament -- a margin the AKP is just shy of meeting. If Mr. Gul is not elected in the second round, a third round of voting, which requires only a simple majority, should easily move the moderate Islamist into the presidency. This prospect brought out the huge crowd of protesters this weekend, which underscores the sharp division in Turkish society.

Tension between the Islamists and the secularists stems not so much from specific policies than from the broader question of national identity. Mr. Gul has promised to adhere to secular principles, but with the president wielding a veto (as the current president has over some of AKP's more Islamist-leaning legislation) and appointing judges, that promise has not allayed fears, as the recent protests show. The changes in Turkish politics and society, as well as foreign policy, do not receive the attention they warrant in Washington. Nor does the centrality of Turkey to U.S. strategic interests in the region. (The Washington Times began running a column by Turkish journalist Tulin Daloglu in August 2005 because of that deficit. See accompanying article)

The threat of intervention by the Turkish army, which is not without precedent in Turkey, has also emerged and caused justified alarm. A statement released by the army is as blunt as it is ominous: "it should not be forgotten that the Turkish armed forces is one of the sides in this debate and the absolute defender of secularism," and that "when necessary, it will display its stance and attitudes very clearly."

Turkey's division is not simply a matter of domestic policy. The question of identity extends to Turkey's geopolitical role. Turkey has a history of strong alliances with the United States and of a generally pro-Western outlook. That attitude, however, is changing. Pro-Western, and specifically pro-American popular sentiment has decreased dramatically, in part a response to the U.S. led invasion of Iraq and what is perceived in Turkey as U.S. refusal to address the violent Kurdish separatist group, the PKK. Under the AKP and Mr. Erdogan's leadership, Turkey has turned increasingly to the East, standing more with Muslim causes and strengthening ties to majority Muslim countries at the expense of its traditional allies. Should AKP control the presidency and subsequently renew its majority in parliament, Turkish secularism may not be the only tradition facing a serious threat.

© 2007 The Washington Times

Time To Start Talking Turkey
By Bridget Johnson, Columnist
LA Daily News

ISTANBUL may be a far cry from the Vegas strip, but when it comes to politics, what happens in Turkey does not stay in Turkey.

In fact, this country could have a greater impact on the spread of Islamism and the direction of the war in Iraq than anywhere else.

Turkey isn't just the geographical doorway from the Middle East into Europe, but the ideological crossroads as well. Will the government gain acceptance into the European Union, or will it never prove that Turkey is European enough? Will it maintain its secular system or become more Islamist? Will it see Iraq's prosperous autonomous Kurdish region as such a threat to its wholeness that it invades?

Islamism vs. secularism. Muslim vs. European identity. Iraqi stability. It's all coming together at the former Ottoman Empire, and it's worth paying attention.

Last week, as foreign minister and member of the current ruling, pro-Islamist party, Abdullah Gul, aimed for the presidential office, the Turkish army vowed to step in if necessary to ensure the country remains firmly secularist. "Recently the main issue emerging in connection with the presidential election has focused on a debate over secularism. This is viewed with concern by the Turkish armed forces," read the statement from the General Staff, which has toppled governments four times since 1960.

"It should not be forgotten that the Turkish armed forces are partial in this debate and are a staunch defender of secularism. The Turkish armed forces are against those debates (questioning secularism)... and will display its position and attitudes when it becomes necessary. No one should doubt that."

The statement drew sharp rebukes from the European Union and others, but Turks' concerns about remaining secular are real. Strongly secular, current President Ahmet Necdet Sezer keeps Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's pro-Islamist government - which has tried to criminalize adultery - in check. The Turkish Republic, Sezer said recently of the Islamist-secularist tug-of-war, "has not faced any threat as significant as that of today."

And a million Turks turned out in Istanbul on Sunday to rally for secularism, topping the 300,000 who recently rallied in Ankara. "This government is the enemy of Ataturk," one demonstrator told The Associated Press. "It wants to drag Turkey to the dark ages."

Also raising fears about the tide of Islamism was the murder of a Catholic priest last year by a teenager who claimed the shooting was retaliation for the Dutch Muhammad cartoons. That same month, a Catholic friar was beaten by assailants who said they wanted to "clean Turkey of non-Muslims," according to a State Department report. This April, three employees of a Christian publishing house were found with their hands and feet tied and throats slit; some Muslims had previously accused the publisher of proselytizing.

And what about those ties to the direction of Iraq? Turkey fears a strong Iraqi Kurdistan out of concerns that its own ethnic Kurdish minority will be inspired to separatism. Turkey has also threatened Iraq on the claim that the autonomous region is aiding and sheltering Turkish Kurd separatists. Iraq swears any attack would be met with massive resistance.

Forget the Shiite-Sunni tit-for-tats: There's a real possibility that the Iraq war could move to a whole new front, especially if Iraqi Kurdistan gains the independence it wants (and, frankly, deserves). Iraq's Muslims would likely unite as never before to fight off secular Turkey, yet the last thing coalition forces would want to do is battle Turkey's military - the avowed defenders of the secularism that the region needs - or attract fundamentalists like Iran into the melee.

"We hope that one day Turkey can join the European Union, but for that, Turkey has to be a real European country, in economic and political terms," European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso said recently.

The EU wants a less-powerful Turkish military, but without it Islamists could gain more power to turn back Ataturk's vision. The nationalism isn't synonymous with Islamism, but endangers those who are seen as insulting Turkish identity - such as slain ethnic Armenian newspaper editor Hrant Dink. Turkey could very well invade from the north, dramatically changing the region's Risk board and forcing the U.S. to uncomfortably pick alliances; with the second-largest standing armed forces in NATO, Turkey could best Iraq's current hardscrabble military.

It's Time To Start Talking Turkey
Bridget Johnson writes for the Daily News. E-mail her at bridget.johnson@dailynews.com.

'Neither Sharia, Nor Coup D'etat,' Turks Want To Preserve Lifestyle
30 Apr 2007
Sunday's huge demonstration in Istanbul shows that what Turks really want is to protect their lifestyle from the islamism that threatens their secular tradition, but also from any possible military intervention likely to curb their newly found freedoms, analysts here agreed.

ANKARA (AFP) - Among the banners seen in the one million-plus crowd, one was particularly telling: "Neither sharia, nor coup d'etat - democratic Turkey."

Few of those gathered actually voiced any opposition against the popular army, traditionally seen as a safety mechanism against possible political excess, including attacks on secularism.

But this appeared to be more a matter of choosing the lesser of two evils than actually backing military intervention, analysts agreed and the organisers made clear in their speeches.

Initially, the planners of the rally -- some 600 non-government organizations -- aimed to protest against the Justice and Development Party (AKP), which has its roots in radical Islam and has governed Turkey since 2002, and its presidential candidate, Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul.

A stiffly worded communique by the army that took everyone by surprise on Friday night openly accused the government of failing to protect the secular system and plunged the country into crisis.

It also modified the theme of the Istanbul demonstration.

Although few in the huge, flag-waving crowd challenged the army's intervention in politics, journalist and political analyst Oral Calislar told AFP: "They seemed to say: 'We are here. The army need not get involved'."

Calislar, who spent seven years in jail under the repression that followed the military coups of 1971 and 1980, said Sunday's "historic" rally was a demonstration of Turkey's democratic coming of age.

"This is a good thing," he said. "Turkish society was so far known for its inertia, but they took to the streets and they said: 'We are worried about the threat to secularism, but this doesn't necessarily mean we want a coup'."

Organizers who addressed the rally were careful to distance themselves from the army's so-called "midnight memorandum", which threatened action if the government fails to change its attitude.

"It is obvious that a putsch is not a solution - we've seen it, we know it," said Turkan Saylan, a professor of medicine who heads an NGO known particularly for its protection of secular values.

But, she added: "The armed forces are a party to the preservation of the secular system, and so they shall remain."

The army, Turkey's most respected institution, has toppled four governments in less than 50 years, the last in 1997. It commands, on the whole, greater respect than the political class.

It is the caretaker of the secular ideology of the republic's founder, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, and, by law, protector of republican values.

Although reforms to bring Turkey in line with European Union norms has reduced the army's influence, it remains a political force to be reckoned with.

Newspapers Monday agreed that the demonstrators, although most vocal about the threat to secularism, also made clear they do not intend to lose their democratic rights, many of them newly found thanks to pro-EU reforms -- even if many chanted anti-European slogans.

"Our only choice to is to attach ourselves with determination to secularism and democracy, and to reject with the same determination both coups d'etat and the mentality that wants an islamist head of state," wrote columnist Can Dundar in the liberal daily Milliyet.

Galatasaray University's Beril Dedeoglu agreed and, although she found the EU reaction to the military statement lukewarm at best, was convinced the crowd "made it understood that the army is not welcome" in civilian politics.

One banner brandished Sunday by a young woman summed it up: "We are the unarmed forces of Turkey."


Turkey's Secular Forces Oppose Islamist Advance
By Kgajendra Singh

Shades of Byzantine heritage
More than a million Turks chanting "Turkey is secular and will remain secular", "Neither Shariah, nor coup d'etat, democratic Turkey" and "No imams in the presidential palace," demonstrated in Istanbul on 29 April after the first failed attempt on 26 April to get Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul elevated to the Presidential Palace by the ruling Islamic- rooted Justice and Development party(AKP) .In an statement later Turkey's powerful secular Armed forces declared that they would safe guard secular Turkey . Two weeks earlier half a million Turks had protested in Ankara after Gul's nomination.

In most countries for a party with 357 seats out of 550 in the Parliament, the Electoral College, it would have been a shove in for its candidate, but not in Turkey. However, this would not the only time for Byzantine intrigue. Nevertheless, this time around the secular forces led by the armed forces have a valid point. AKP won 2/3rd seats but only with 35% of votes cast .With another religious party polling a few % of votes meant ,over 60 voted for secular parties.

In spite of all AKP endeavors Abdullah Gul failed to get, required 2/3rd votes in the first round. In fact the opposition Republican Peoples party ( RPP) which controls one third of the seats , refused to enter the Parliament , thus 'even the quorum was not established' .Later it filed with the Constitutional Court that in the absence of quorum of 367 ,the proceedings were illegal and be declared invalid. The Court is likely to decide before the next vote.

Ever since AKP stunned everyone including itself in November 2002 elections by winning over 360 seats, the Turkish Armed forces, a bastion of secularism have made no secret of its dislike for the former's policies. AKP has used the criteria for joining the Europe Union (EU) to reduce military's decision-making role in the National Security Council, now an advisory body.

Apparently, it was in a coordinated maneuver by the secular establishment that the Chief of General Staff (CGS) issued the statement that "It should not be forgotten that the Turkish armed forces is one of the sides in this debate and the absolute defender of secularism." It added, "When necessary, they will display its stance and attitudes very clearly. No one should doubt that."

Next day, in a show of confidence rarely seen in past civilian administrations, the AKP government rebuked the military said that it was "unthinkable" for the institution (military) to challenge its political leaders in a democracy. "It is out of the question to withdraw my candidacy," Gul insisted on 29 April. "The Constitutional Court will make the right decision."

"We must avoid polarization ... Turkish democracy has been wounded," said Erkan Mumcu, leader of the center-right ANAP party, referring to the army statement. Protests began with thousands at Ankara University against the government on 27 April. Then came the Istanbul show of strength.

The secular establishment and citizens suspect AKP of harboring a secret Islamic agenda like National Salvation Front in 1992 in Algeria which had almost won but was banned .( US led West said nothing then) .AKP attempted to criminalize adultery, restrict alcohol sales and lift a ban on Islamic headscarves in public places. It even tried to intervene in the autonomy of the military, which expels suspected Islamist officers each year.

It is feared that the strict separation of state and religion will be eroded and Islam will creep into all fields of life if Gul were elected. Control of Presidency will give AKP a free hand to implement Islamist policies.

A hard and determined Prime Minister Recep Erdogan with statements like "Minarets are our bayonets, domes are our helmets, mosques are our barracks, believers are our soldiers," for which he was convicted and jailed for 4 months ,make people nervous . Perhaps pre-poning general elections due in November, which AKP is likely to win but not with 2/3 rd massive majority , would be the best option. To cool tempers for now.

The Turkish press was unanimous in calling on the Government and the army to resolve their differences democratically with early elections as the only way out too. If AKP insists and gets Gul elected , the simmering tensions between the military and AKP are bound to burst out eventually.

More confusion was added by EU, when Olli Rehn, Commissioner for Expansion said on 28 April that the election was a "test case" for the Turkish military's respect for democracy. After 9/11, EU is becoming more of a Christian fortress .Former French President Giscard d'Estaing, architect of the voted out constitution said before the 2002 summit that Turkish membership would signal "the end of the EU". Turkey was "not a European country". It had "a different culture, a different approach, and a different way of life".

Others are equally negative i.e. French Presidential front-runner Nicholas Sarcogy or German, Austrian, Dutch and other leaders . Rehn could have saved his breath .Turks now know and have given up on EU membership .The endless negotiations will continue , Brussels only wants Ankara to remain a bulwark against Islamic fundamentalism east of Turkey. What about inside!

Turkey's abiding Byzantine heritage;

Under the shadows of Istanbul 's slim minarets piercing its skyline lie monuments and ruins from Turkey's millennium and half-long Roman and Byzantine past. It was only in 1453 , that Constantinople, the Byzantine capital founded in 4 th centuries AD by Emperor Constantine was transformed into the new Ottoman Capital Istanbul, by adding minarets to the magnificent 6th century St. Sophia Church .But the Ottoman architects could not get away from its conceptual construct even for their mosques.

Crucible of over 40 civilizations ,Turkey , known as Anatolia and Asia Minor in history ,has more Greek sites than Greece and more Roman monuments than Italy. Cradle of early Christianity with the churches of revelation, Chalcedon, Nicomedea, Nicea , Turkish soil was the playground of Byzantine power and glory. With perhaps only 15% inhabitants of Turkic origin, buried deep lies in Turkish psyche a more persistent tradition of Byzantine intrigue which seeps up from time to time ,more so during Presidential elections so akin to choosing Popes, Patriarchs and Archbishops.

The simple Central Asian nomad conquerors of the Byzantine Empire named villages, forts, mountains, rivers and seas ; white, black , green or red . Leaders like Suleyman Demirel might have described a dangerous political crisis as passing through a narrow pass ( like Turcoman tribes and their herds ) .Or Mesut Yillmaz might use the phrase 'I have taken out my sword to fight 'a political battle .Their sibling like political rivalries are more akin to tribal vendettas .The Republican Constitution and the electoral system endows political party chairmen with excessive arbitrary powers, so many behave like powerful tribal chiefs , branching off with their flocks and clans or persisting with their rigid positions instead of democratic give and take .But under pressure , the deeply engrained but dormant Byzantine proclivities are not far from the surface .

Recent Presidential elections;

I remember well in April 1973 when after many rounds the parliament had not elected a President , a frustrated columnist in Milliyet wrote that he might as well study Byzantine history to comprehend what was going on .

Following the 1971 memorandum by the Turkish military , which had forced Prime Minister Demirel to resign ,a national Government under the military's shadow was in place to conduct the 1973 Presidential elections .The pugnacious and ambitious Gen Faruk Gurler , a major force behind the memorandum , first made Chief of General Staff (CGS) Gen Tamac hand over a day before the due date and took over as the new CGS . He then resigned and presented himself as the Military's candidate to replace President Cevdet Sunay, also a former CGS.

Demirel and Bulent Ecevit , leaders of the 2 major political formations with other politicians , in spite of the Military brass occupying the parliament galleries ,gave a stunning display of Byzantine intrigue at its best , with the Parliament going through the motions of voting round after another round .Inconclusively. The politicians tired out the now unsure and somewhat divided Military in a virtuoso performance, which would have made their Byzantine ancestors proud . Finally, a compromise was reached on a retired and innocuous Naval Commander Fahri Koruturk , who was installed the new President. A rejected and dejected Gurler died a few years later, forgotten and unsung.

At the end of bloody 1970s during which intra- religious , intra -ethnic and left right violence left tens of thousands dead in Turkey, leaving its polity scarred and divided , in April 1980 President Koruturk's term ended , but Demirel and Ecevit would not agree on a candidate . For five months hundreds of rounds of voting were conducted in the Parliament , without any result .This was a display of clannish obstinacy and total abdication of political responsibility .

Gen Kenan Evren then took over in September 1980 much to everyone's relief , banned political parties and debarred political leaders. As a measure of abundant caution ,the 1983 Constitution prepared under the military regime provided dissolution of the Parliament if it fails to elect a new President after four rounds . Gen. Evren stayed head of state until 1989. In 1992 , on my return to Ankara when I lauded some politicians for their defiance of the military in 1973,they complained that , yes , but the military had handled them roughly by jailing them in 1980.

It is as if the custodians of Ataturk's secular legacy , merit based Armed Forces since the days of Janissaries , modernized by the French and the Germans during late Ottoman era and since 1950s as part of NATO, are trying to guide Turkish society towards modernity and western contemporary values, a polity with tribal overlay over a Byzantine past and nature , from chaos and obduracy to conformity and order. Even by changing the Constitutions , thrice in the last 40 years ; a liberal 1961 Constitution was replaced in 1983 by one restricting freedoms .

The elections of last three civilian Presidents i.e. of Turgut Ozal in 1989, Demiral in 1993, both politicians and former head of the Supreme Court Ahmet Sezer in 2007 were peaceful and orderly affairs.
K Gajendra Singh, Indian ambassador (retired), served as ambassador to Turkey and Azerbaijan from August 1992 to April 1996. Prior to that, he served terms as ambassador to Jordan, Romania and Senegal. He is currently chairman of the Foundation for Indo-Turkic Studies.
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UN's Rwanda Genocide Exhibit Shifts "Turkey" to "Ottoman Empire" and "Murders" to "Mass Killings"
Byline: Matthew Russell Lee of Inner City Press at the UN

UNITED NATIONS, April 30 -- On Monday, the UN opened the exhibition commemorating the Rwandan genocide, which it postponed three weeks ago by the UN after complaints about its reference to "one million Armenians murdered in Turkey."

Now the one of the four panels of the exhibition, on view Monday afternoon, refers instead to "mass killings of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire during World War I and other events in history." Another of the panels shows a picture of Romeo Dallaire, who led the UN Assistance Mission for Rwanda during the 1994 genocide.

On April 20 Mr. Dallaire, in response to questions from Inner City Press, called the UN's postponement of a commemorating exhibition "absolutely scandalous."

"I cannot believe the UN backed down on that," he said. "If you want to demonstrate no spine, you've started in that fashion." As Dallaire recounted it, the exhibition was initially postponed due to an objection from Turkey to the inclusion of the phrase "one million Armenians murdered in Turkey" in the text of the exhibit.

Inner City Press asked Mr. Dallaire about the statement on April 19 by the new head of the UN's Department of Public Information Kiyotaka Akasaka that the contested issues came to include the "role of France, whether you can blame one hundred percent on the Hutu, the role of the Church and other issues we have to look into closely."

Mr. Dallaire noted that the Pope visited Rwanda in 1992, two years before the genocide, and that both the Church and France were unequivocal in their support of the Habyarimana government and even harder-line Hutu factions. He went on to say that the Tutsi-led Rwandan Patriotic Front also engaged in what are now called non-judicial executions. But on the UN's postponement of the exhibit, he said "I need my pills, really I need a scotch, please get me some water," before calling it "scandalous" and "spineless."

Slated to be present at Monday's evenings opening ceremony are Secretary-Gneral Ban Ki-moon, the Permanent Representative of Rwanda to the UN, Joseph Nsengimana, the Aegis Trust's Stephen Twigg, and USG Akasaka. According to the UN's "Highlights of the noon briefing," Inner City Press

"Asked whether Member States had been consulted during the review process for the exhibition, [Ms.] Montas said they had not. She said that DPI had noticed problems with the text of the exhibition earlier his month and had realized that it had not been sufficiently reviewed. Consequently, a number of experts were consulted, including from DPI, the Department of Political Affairs, the Office for Legal Affairs, the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and the Office of the Secretary-General?s Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide.

"Asked whether there is any reference to the Armenians in the exhibition, the Spokeswoman said that one panel refers to 'the mass killings of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire during World War One.'"

Three weeks to change "murders" to "mass killings" and "Turkey" to "Ottoman Empire"? Only at the UN...

At the UN, Ban on the Move, Khalilzad Defers, Sahara Words, Rwanda Exhibit Still Not Visible

UNTIED NATIONS, April 30, updated 11:54 a.m. -- Ban Ki-moon, walking fast with a half dozen guars and his chief of staff Vijay Nambiar, headed into the Trusteeship Chamber at 10:05 to make a speech about sanctions. On the way in, reporters from Inner City Press and Voice of America shook his hand and then fired off questions. The one response Ban gave concerned Iraq, or rather, he departure on May 1 for the conference at Sharm el-Sheik to launch the still ill-defined International Compact with Iraq.

Most Security Council stakeout action concerns only timing. New U.S. Ambassador Khalilzad, asked about the Council's trip to Kosovo, called it "productive," and said he'd come out and speak with reporters after the Council's meetings. Later the U.S. spokesman said whatever Khalilzad says, it will be fast, as the U.S. takes over the presidency of the Council tomorrow.

The representative of Western Sahara's Polisario Front, who asked to not be taped, took issue the draft resolution "welcoming serious and credible Moroccan efforts" while merely "taking note" of the Polisario's proposal. "It is not balanced," he said. China's position remains, in a word, inscrutable.

[Update of 11:54 a.m. -- Amb. Khalilzad emerged and said agreement has been reached on the Western Sahara resolution. He took one question, and then on the fly a second. The Polisario representative emerged somewhat chastened, saying that "many" countries had asked why only the Morocco efforts were praised in the resolution. Inner City Pres asked him, "But will the vote be 15-0 for it?" He answered, "Yes, that's what I expect"...]

While the postponed Rwanda genocide exhibit is supposed to finally open this evening at 6 p.m. in the UN General Assembly's south lobby, as of 9:20 a.m., nothing was being prepared in the space. Rather, there were two white boards for visitors to write what they think the UN should work on. Darfur was a theme, and the environmental, and stopping wars. Yes, that would be nice...

UNITED NATIONS, April 28 -- The UN Security Council on Friday heard a closed-door briefing from Ethiopian Foreign Minister Seyoum Mesfin about his country's continued military presence in Somalia. Afterwards, Inner City Press asked Mr. Mesfin about reports and letters showing that UN humanitarian aid has been hindered by the Transitional Federal Government, which Ethiopia installed atop the country in December.

Surrounded by guards, Mr. Mesfin denied that the TFG or "our troops" had created obstacles, and noted that TFG Prime Minister Gedi had "the day before yesterday said that humanitarian aid is welcome."

In an interview appearing in the Times of London on April 27, Gedi is quoted accusing UN agencies "of corruption; of using private airstrips to ship in contraband, weapons and insurgents; of striking cozy deals with warlords and the ousted Islamic Courts regime and pocketing the proceeds. He said the United Nations' World Food Program and other agencies were upset because they had lost power after effectively governing Somalia during its 15 years of civil war and anarchy. 'They want to operate in this country without any control,' he declared. 'They know they can't do that any more . . . Now there's a Prime Minister who knows them too well.'"

Inner City Press at Friday's noon briefing asked Ban Ki-moon's spokesperson for a response:

Inner City Press: In Somalia, the Prime Minister in an interview had said that the UN aid agencies are used to running the country like it?s their own fiefdom and that they?re basically disagreeing with Mr. [John] Holmes in terms of humanitarian access. So I'm wondering if anyone in the UN system has some response to those statements or what the status is of humanitarian access in Somalia.

Spokesperson: Well, according to what I got today, the discussions were good and they were given access. And the tone was positive on the part of WFP.

After some other Inner City Press questions, a statement was handed to Spokesperson:

Spokesperson: "We can find an answer for you. And about Somalia, as far as I know, and I see the information I got there, there was a meeting about the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) of Somalia. The meeting was positive. WFP was given the green light to begin deliveries, which was done. And basically everything is working now between WFP and TFG. According to OCHA, the UN has some 200 national and international staff in south central Somalia whose sole aim is to assist the people of that country, including in delivering urgently needed life-saving assistance. So, the UN humanitarian agencies, which are non-political, do not aspire to enjoy power in Somalia or elsewhere, as was said in an article today."

Later on Friday, Inner City Press interviewed Idd Beddel Mohamed, the Somali TFG's Deputy Permanent Representative to the UN, who said:

"The UN agencies used to serve Somalia when there was no government. Now instead of adapting, they still want to dictate terms. The UN hired warlords, paid them in dollars to protect and deliver. The warlords bought more technicals and militias. The UN agencies should not try to address the difference by talking to the media."

Inner City Press asked him to confirm that the TFG has appointed as Police Chief one of the individuals whom the U.S. was seeking during the incident memorialized in "Blackhawk Down." Yes, he said, it is Col. Aideed (a/k/a Abdi Qaybdiid).

The worm, as they say, has turned...

Idd Beddel Mohamed at the UN

While the UN had earlier on Friday announced the re-appointment of Francois Lonseny Fall for another year as the UN's envoy to Somalia, Idd Beddel Mohamed said he hadn't been aware, and said: "Why isn't he in Mogadishu? Let him enjoy Nairobi, and even the beaches of Mombassa." Inner City Press asked whether minorities like the Mushinguli were included in the TFG as required by the "4.5" plan previously alluded to by Lonseny Fall. "They have the ministry of sports!" Idd Beddel Mohamed exclaimed.

[Under "4.5," each of Somalia's four main clans are supposed to get slightly less than 25% of the posts, with 1/9th for other minorities, such as the ultimate underdogs, the Mushinguli, brought to Somalia from further South in Africa, and long denied their rights, a topic to which we will return.]

Idd Beddel Mohamed chided Inner City Press for asking Under Secretary General John Holmes about quotes from the TFG President and deputy defense minister, saying that the quotes are just "internet propaganda." When Inner City Press pointed out that the audio source was Voice of America, Idd Beddel Mohamed replied that Voice of America's "affiliate in Mogadishu is owned by a supporter of these insurgents."

Before he left the UN, Ethiopian Foreign Minister Seyoum Mesfin pronounced that "the backbone of the terrorists has been completely shattered" but that a different message gets out, because they have "a wide network globally."

Who are you going to believe? For now, the UN and Security Council appear to continue to cast their lot with the TFG, despite warnings. Or is the European Commission's warning about war crimes and complicity just "internet propaganda"? We will continue to cover this.

UN's Holmes "Condemns" Reported Somali TFG Statements, While Withholding Documents

UNITED NATIONS, April 24 -- The Somali Transitional Federal Government, which relies for its legitimacy on the UN, yesterday told the UN that aid workers will have "unimpeded access" to serve those people fleeing the TFG's shelling of Mogadishu.

In New York, Inner City Press asked UN humanitarian chief John Holmes what the UN's response has been to two sample statements, by TFG president Yusuf that civilian neighborhoods can be shelled, and by TFG defense official Salad Ali Jeele, that certain clans and sub-clans in Mogadishu need to be exterminated (click here for that).

Mr. Holmes responded that "the statements you've quoted, I would condemn them utterly." Video here, from minute 35:13.

Inner City Press asked about the letter which it obtained and reported on April 20 in which TFG Minister for Interior Mohamed Mohamoud Guled wrote to the UN World Food Program that

"It's TFG decision that there will be no food distribution can take place anywhere in Somalia without being inspected and approved by the government. Hence UN agencies and any other organization that is planning to bring any relief to Somalia should submit the documents for the goods before shipment for checkup."

This letter from the Transitional Federal Government to the WFP was cc-ed to the Somali National Refugee Commission, through which Inner City Press is told the TFG had been saying all aid must flow. Asked about this on Tuesday, Mr. Holmes said, "I have no information on that particular organization." That might be a problem.

Mr. Ban and Mr. Yusuf

Prior to Mr. Holmes' briefing, WFP told Inner City Press the following:

Subject: Somalia

From: [WFP Spokesperson]

To: Matthew Russell Lee

Sent: Mon, 23 Apr 2007 6:09 PM

Hi Matthew, there were talks between the UN and TFG today. Here's a short update, from Peter Goossens, WFP Country director Somalia:

"The talk between the UN and a TFG commission led by the Heath Minister were positive. The TFG will issue a statement on the outcome. We hope that we will from now on be allowed to use any airstrip in Somalia to bring in humanitarian assistance. We also need to see on the ground that we are now allowed to bring that assistance urgently to those most in need, particularly those displaced by the fighting in Mogadishu."

Tuesday Mr. Holmes said essentially the same thing. However, when asked if any documents could be provided -- the letter from UN Humanitarian Coordinator Eric Laroche, or the above-referenced TFG statement -- Mr. Holmes said only that "I'll look into that, if we can provide you chapter and verse." Ten hours later, no documents had been provided. It's not "chapter and verse" -- it's basic documents about what Mr. Holmes is calling the world's most dangerous for aid workers. Silence doesn't help; silence is consent. Developing...

Copyright 2006 Inner City Press, Inc.

No Media Outlet In France Can Publish Opposition To Genocide Claims

“If somebody opposes claims that the Ottoman government caused Armenian deaths in a planned genocide, no media outlet in France can publish these statements,” said author and journalist Princess Kenize Mourad, the granddaughter of Ottoman Sultan Murat V, during an interview with the daily Sabah that was published yesterday.

Mourad said that she has been working on Armenian genocide claims, adding “I recognized that there was no planned genocide against Armenians during World War I.” She stressed that the toll is wildly inflated and that Armenians were killed or displaced in civil unrest during the last years of the empire and conditions of World War I, adding lost of people from both sides experienced loss of life during this period.

She also said that France has opposed Turkey's European Union membership, arguing that the French public is biased toward Turkey. “The reason why France opposes Turkey's membership is that Armenian, Kurd and nationalist Greek lobbies act in harmony against Turkey,” she said.

Los Angeles Times Under Armenian Pressure
TDN / May 1, 2007
U.S. Armenian newspaper executives launched a campaign against Los Angeles Times news coordinator Douglas Frantz, whom they accused of backing Turkey over the alleged genocide of Armenians and of refusing to publish an article defending Armenian theses, reported mass-circulation daily Hürriyet yesterday.

The news executives of Armenian origin demand that Frantz, who also worked in Istanbul as a correspondent for The New York Times, be removed from office.

Turkey Demonstrates for a Secular State- Ataturk Would Be Proud
By Tracy Dove, Ph.D
Editor, Russia Today
April 30, 2007

As many as 1 million Turks crowded the streets of Istanbul this weekend in support of preserving the secular state that Turkey has enjoyed since the modern nation's founding after World War I. Demonstrators carried posters of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk- the founder of the republic- and called on the army to secure the country against the ruling AK Party's designs at capturing the country's symbolic but highest office- the Presidency.

Turkey is literally the bridge between Europe and Asia, and its laws and institutions also straddle political concepts that stem from the East-West horizon. Ironically, the establishment of democracy, secularism and republican government took root in Turkey thanks to the Ottoman Empire's resounding defeat during World War I. In 1918, the unstable government collapsed as British and French forces occupied Istanbul, and at the Paris Peace conference in 1919 the unfavorable Treaty of Sevres was drafted and signed in 1920 which dismembered the empire into numerous protectorates that would fall under British and French control.

By all accounts, Turkey had the odds of success against it, and the democratic countries of Great Britain and France had no interest in supporting independent and uppity popular democracies that would threaten their control of the Middle East. These were the heady days of post-World War I imperialism when the European powers were accustomed to redrawing national frontiers to suit their own financial aims, and Turkey was no exception. A series of secret treaties already envisioned carving up the Middle East into large chunks to be given out to the allies as rewards for staying in the war. But before the ink on the Treaty of Sevres had even dried in 1920, Turkish forces were battling Greeks, Armenians and the allied forces indirectly- and winning. A Turkish parliament was set up in April of 1920 that supported the nationalist-reformer movements, and finally in 1923 the allies were forced to recognize the new Republic of Turkey, headed by a man named Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, in the Treaty of Lausanne in 1923.

Historically speaking, nations that fight their own wars of independence usually have a greater success rate than those whose fighting is conducted for them. And if a national hero emerges in the conflict, even better. Early on in the wars for independence, an army officer named Mustafa emerged as both a military and national leader; he went by the nickname "Kemal"- or intelligent one- which was given to him by his grade school teachers. Upon victory in 1923, Kemal moved to revolutionary changes to bring Turkey into the 20th century; Sharia law, which had been the de facto rule in most of the Ottoman Empire, was abolished, and women were given the right to vote and seek employment in business. Men were not especially happy with many of Kemal's reforms, since they threatened to undermine the traditional paternal control over the family; girls were forced to attend school, the new laws forbade men from taking more than one wife, and the beloved and popular fez was suddenly removed entirely from the public eye.

Kemal liked hats with a brim, western style, because these prevented a man from bowing and touching his forehead to the ground during Islamic prayers, which the brimless tasseled fez had allowed for quite nicely. This was perhaps one of the most insignificant looking laws that brought about the greatest secular changes in modern Turkey. The country was also to belong to Europe and not Arabia, for Kemal scrapped the complicated Arabic alphabet- which was seen as a learning hindrance among the country's illiterate- and replaced it with a Latin alphabet. To ensure its acceptance, Kemal often traveled the countryside teaching on a chalk board how the new letters were to be pronounced.

The most important guarantee, though, that we can attribute to Kemal- and the one which Turks were demonstrating in favor of this weekend- is the separation of church and state. In the Turkish constitution, this divide is guarded closely by the military, which takes an active role in overseeing politics in the country and has more than once intervened to remove a prime minister or president from office. Although the AK Party of Turkey- which is de facto a Muslim party with a secular face- has a strong majority in the current government, the attempts to place another of its members into the office of the president may meet with the disapproval of the military. It was in favor of keeping the Islamists out that the people demonstrated in great numbers over the weekend, and certainly the military kept a close watch on the process.

One last reform of Mustafa Kemal was that everyone had to take a last name, European style. Mustafa Kemal was given the name "Ataturk", which means "Father of the Turks." This weekend's demonstrations should not be seen as a sign of political weakness but of the strength of historical and secular traditions, which were established by the long standing national hero and founding father of the country- Mustafa Kemal Ataturk.

Tracy Dove, editor of Russia Today, is a Professor of History and the Department Chair of International Relations at the University of New York in Prague.

See all previous articles by Tracy Dove here.

Tension Turns Into Crisis
April 30, 2007
The Guardian
Turkey's political future is hanging in the balance. The cause of the crisis is the nomination of the foreign minister Abdullah Gul as the country's next president. Mr Gul is a founder of the neo-Islamic AK party, which has a large parliamentary majority and could normally expect to get its nominee elected. On Friday, that prospect provoked the Turkish army to say it viewed Mr Gul's election "with concern". The threat that the Turkish military might remove the civilian government, as it has done before, drew warnings from both the AK party and the European Union. Yesterday, more than 300,000 rallied in Istanbul - echoing an equally large protest in Ankara two weeks ago. The Istanbul rally called for three things: no sharia law, no coup d'etat and a fully democratic Turkey. Yet Turkey's ability to keep all three is uncertain.

Ever since the AK under Recep Tayyip Erdogan was elected nearly five years ago, the future of the presidency has loomed as a climactic political issue for the wider changes in Turkey. The presidency embodies the secularist and westernising legacy of the state's founder Kemal Ataturk. The current incumbent, Ahmet Necdet Sezer, has repeatedly used his powers to block AK legislation and appointments. Yet Mr Erdogan represents powerful new social forces in Turkey. He was elected with overwhelming support and has run a successful government, presiding over strong growth and attempting membership of the European Union, in pursuit of which he has triggered significant, though uncompleted, reforms. There is no acceptable case for the army to move against Mr Erdogan's elected government.

Mr Gul's nomination nevertheless directly challenges the Kemalist settlement. He is religiously and socially conservative. His wife Hayrunisa wears the Islamic headscarf that is banned in state buildings. Still, Mr Gul has said all the right things about defending the constitution and respecting its founding principles. It may yet be possible, with restraint on all sides, for an Islamist to occupy the presidency without rupturing the Kemalist tradition. Turkey is not, in truth, as polarised a society as the current crisis suggests. Yet no one should doubt that the stakes are enormous. The secularist army has intervened in the past and clearly may do so again. Westernisers in Turkey have been rebuffed by the European Union, and the election of the anti-Turkish Nicolas Sarkozy in France could feed Turkish isolationism and Islamism still further. Turkish hostility towards the emerging autonomous Kurdistan in Iraq is stoking insecurity. Turkey has an enormous self-interest in finding a peaceful and democratic way through this crisis. But it is an interest that Europe shares too.
April 30, 2007

"The Istanbul rally called for three things: no sharia law, no coup d'etat and a fully democratic Turkey.?
The protestors called for a fully democratic SECULAR Turkish Republic.

"He was elected with overwhelming support"
No he was not!!! Due to the electoral system here only two political parties managed to get over the 10% hurdle and qualify to sit in parliament. A.K.P. received less than 30% of the vote and C.H.P. received less than 20%, however as they were the only two parties to get over 10% of the vote the seats in the TBMM(The Turkish Grand National Assemebly) the seats were divided proportionally between the two of them, one third to C.H.P. and two thirds to A.K.P. giving this false idea of overwhelming support that you comment on.

Turkey is not, in truth, as polarised a society as the current crisis suggests.
Perhaps not polarised but very divided, nepotism and jobs for the boys mean that even if this government are defeated Turkey will have to deal with it?s legacy for years to come.

Finally the number of demonstrators was far greater than the 300,000 quoted Le Monde has estimated more than a million, a pro-Army TV station has broadcast maps and figures claiming that about four million took to the streets. Who can really know the true figure but it was certainly more than the few hundred thousand troublemakers that Erdogan keeps referring to. I saw many people both arriving and leaving yesterday which means that any figure given was for one moment in time and that many people had already came, protested and left or had yet to arrive to protest.

April 30, 2007

Your leader on Turkey is biased and ill-informed.
Firstly the protests against the fundemantalist goverment in Ankara and Istanbul attracted far more than 300,000, in Ankara 1,200,000 and in Istanbul 2,500,000 perhaps more. Scale of your under-estimation suggests you get your news from AKP and Mr Erdogan's shady business partners in press and media.

To claim that Mr Erdogan and his party were elected with overwhelming support brings serious doubts on your judgement of what is "overwhelming". His party received 34% of the votes cast, equivalent to 24.5% of the total electorate. AKP was elected with minority of the votes to hold an anti-democratic "overwhelming" majority in the parliament. Since their election, he and his party have changed Turkey's laic, modern, democratic image, restricted freedom of press and expression, and imposed financial and legislative pressures on all kinds of opposition. Turkey, once a candidate for EU membership, is now a well sought member of IU (Islamic Union).

This government's economic record is also questionable with unprecedented level of corruption in favour of "islamic greeen" capitalists, participants of so called "strong growth", all funded by the massive foreign debt which has reached from 60 billion to in excess of 400 billion dollars in four years.

On the issue of the army's intervention, you should first accept that it was the anti-democratic electoral system brought by the fascist Evren junta in 1980s, that allowed fundamentalist Islam (AKP) to seize power with a huge majority in Turkey. For this reason, it would only be just if AKP were forced to hold new elections before electing the president, in a fairer, more democratic electoral system. This may well be the pressure they may face and give in ultimately. If this pressure for more democracy were to come from the army, how could that be regarded as anti-democratic, as no such pressure for more democracy ever comes from the EU or Turkey's western partners?

April 30, 2007

Your comments are almost identical to mine, our sentiments and fears are even closer.
Obviously Bush and Blair are very keen on this Islamic path being taken by Erdogan and his cronies, I guess that they have yet to see the parallels with Iran pre-1979. By this I mean the Islamic elite studying in U.S. universities waiting to return to destroy a real revolution in Iran and a secular system in Turkey.
The 'green' capital is also something which you have not dealt with in your article, inflation is again creeping up, currently more than 10%, not a lot by previous standards but much more than the 5% achieved three years ago. With that you have interest rates hitting 20%, growth, yes but at what cost. Also exchange rates are crazy, the sterling rate was 2.5 five years ago, today it's only 2.75, ,s the lira in both forms (old and new) really that strong? We know that the dollar has weakened but 5½ years ago it was 1.8YTL to the dollar but today it is 1.35YTL. Finally the stock exchange has reached record highs but lets see what happens when the sell off or profit taking occurs.
Erdogan's support levels are false, the economy is in a false position, consumer borrowing on credit cards is at record levels, personal debt levels are soaring due to the newly introduced mortgage system, do people not see the similarities with South Korea 10 years ago? and your leader contains much false information.

April 30, 2007

It is simply not acceptable in a democratic society to find a solution from an institution which holds arms. I believe I should have the same right as any individual in European democratic society. Hence, I cannot find it justification in any military intervention or solution. The present government is elected for five-year term. Weather people like it or not, democratically they have the right to select the president. The crowd gathered in Istanbul does not bother me at all, since the Turkish population is around 72 million. You need to take into account the sounds of slient peaceful masses in Turkey. In order to prove the opposite do we have to go out and shout as well? That will not help solving the current crisis but to break it apart further. Therefore, I expect all western democratic powers to support the democratic values and the long lasting process and should not give way to any military intervention in Turkish politics. Military has neither accountablity for economy nor democratization process in Turkey. Last words to the (militarist) Turkish people living in Europe: Shame on you! You live happily ever after in a democratic society and enjoy the freedom and yet support the military intervention in politics!

April 30, 2007

I left early, having got as far as I could and the stream of later arrivals seemed almost equal to the early departures, so that makes the usual headcounting methods even more unreliable. I doubt if we were more than a million, but it was big.

From the lapel badges I saw, it seemed most of the parties in Turkey were represented and there was a smattering of headscarves among the women too, however none of the tight-fitting AKP penguin ones. But that sums up the problem - a fractured opposition, the 10% threshold and an unwillingness to compromise to create meaningful power-blocks.

AKP is well supported, but anyone-but-AKP is more supported but unrepresented. People outside Turkey should not be taken in by Gul's pleasant smile or Erdogan's tailored remarks, this is a government with an Islamist agenda and a determination to achieve the power necessary to remove the Republic's secular foundation.

April 30, 2007

This is a sensible and well-informed comment from the Leader. The current government has been the most progressive in recent Turkish history. The governing party had and has overwhelming public support. It will most definitely increase its seats ?perhaps substantially- in the next election. In fact, it is possible that it may capture all the parliament seats, which is of course is not a good thing in a parliamentary democracy (but Turkey is not fully democratic). That possibility is strong, I would say. Gül is a great candidate for presidency and I believe will do the best for Turkey. Sezer, the outgoing president is the worst in the republic?s history, and in no way can be compared to Gül. Sezer always looks miserable and lives in a VERY narrow world, in every sense. All his life, I do not believe that he has read a single good book. He never acknowledged Pamuk?s Nobel Prize in Literature, Turkey?s first. And he has rarely left his palace during his seven years.

There is no serious threat to the ?secular? system in Turkey. The threat has been manufactured and exaggerated by political parties, nationalists and Turkish supremacists, backed by retired generals and their criminal originations. The most serious threat to democracy and civil liberties in Turkey is the military (and extereme nationalists). This is where Turkey has A LOT to do if it ever hopes to join the EU.

April 30, 2007

Interesting that the usual suspects have yet to discover this topic, going on and on about the barbaric Turks massacring Kurds, having killed Greeks and Armenians. It's only a matter of time, I guess.

As for the leader, I guess he needs to rely less on The Economist as his primary source of information. He might even start by reading Nicholas Birch's piece today (also in no other paper than the venerable Guardian), reporting from the field for an altogether more realistic picture:

While Turkish army is not known to the Europe (and peticularly the European left) as the standard bearer of democracy, the reality is altogether more complex. The army is said to be committed to democracy and secularity, though more on the latter than the former. Also enshrined in the constitution (drafted by the appointees of the army, yet ratified by about %92 of the population in 1982) is the army's duty to protect the core values of the state. Therefore, the perceived threat from the AKP government to erode these core values is vehemently opposed by the army as well as the majority of the population.

AKP government had been fairly successful in economy and making certain reforms (which are widely quoted), there are other changes that go below the radar of the European press, such as the unprecedented nepotism and "us-versus-them" attitude of the government in every single aspect, from appointing bureucrats at all levels, to awarding contracts to "Islamic companies" and decisions that are widely seen as attempts infiltrating the judicial system and universities. The majority of such appointments and legislations have been vetoed or taken to court by the current president Sezer, hence the presidential post is one of the last barriers before AKP government becomes fully capable of passing any and every legislation they please.

And before Erdogan and Gul are hailed as martyrs for democracy, you have to remember that there was a single candidate for presidency, openly appointed by Erdogan and only 1.5 days before the nominations closed. There was little in the way of public debate (apart from the guessing game of whether he'll nominate himself or someone else), nor consultations with other parties and NGOs. While regrettable, it is only understandable that people come under the impression that they are completely cut out of the democratic system and it's only the army that the government takes heed of.

April 30, 2007

The reason why all protest and rallys done by elitist is Fear and Discomfort About Religious Lifestyle..Ankara two weeks ago was something much more basic: a fear of the lifestyles of their more religious compatriots.When hundreds of thousands of protesters filled the streets of Istanbul on Sunday, it may have looked like a protest of government policy.

It was not.

Finally, i just want to say this is unfair protest and i want democracy again because we (Turkish ppl) elected AKP party so i support their studies.

April 30, 2007

We can assume that the huge crowd of protesters are actually those who want Turkey inside the EU and who oppose a religious state.

Turkey as a religious state would of course not fit into the EU at all. But the part of the population which is pro-EU can only image Turkey with a strong nationalistic undertone. Nationalism is the glue that keeps the country together (and secular).

Now, the EU is a trans-national concept which has been created to counter the negative aspects of nationalism. Turkey's rampants nationalism doesn't square with this concept.

Thus, I conclude that either way Turkey is not fit for the EU and probably will never be.

This may lead to some disappointment among the Istanbul schickeria, but after all it was not the municipality of Istanbul that applied for EU membership, but the whole country.

With all respect for the demonstrators, this manic flag-waving proves that they have no clue what Europe is about.

April 30, 2007

Posts that claim governing fundamentalist thugs have overwhelming support and that they have been "most progressive" are living in the cloud cuckoo land of AKP, in partnership with agressive US imperialism.

Best support they had, never exceeded 24.5%, and considering that the Parliament will be in recess over summer months, they have completed their 5 year term.

To force a presidential election before the General Election with their minority support is anti-democratic, but then democracy is not and has never been a part of their driving philosophy of sheria law. They have repeatedly declared that "democracy is not an aim but an aid" for them to bring sheria law to Turkey and indeed to the entire world. Forget the mickey mouse arguements about their wives' "sqeezed head" style scarves, in their belief, they would not be proper muslims if they did not fight for the cause of bringing sheria law to the entire world. They have repeatedly declared this in the past which always brought them defeat, for this reason lately decided to adopt the islamic teaching of "takiyye" meaning deception to achieve their ulterior motive of sheria and spread of Islam to the entire world. With this in mind, I regard them significantly more dangerous than AL-Qaide.

It is a pity that even a newspaper renowned as liberal and progressive as The Guardian, can be fooled by the propaganda that eminates from the islamic and monopolistic mercenary Turkish press and media.

April 30, 2007

Posts that claim governing fundamentalist thugs have overwhelming support and that they have been "most progressive" are living in the cloud cuckoo land of AKP, in partnership with agressive US imperialism.

Best support they had, never exceeded 24.5%, and considering that the Parliament will be in recess over summer months, they have completed their 5 year term.

To force a presidential election before the General Election with their minority support is anti-democratic, but then democracy is not and has never been a part of their driving philosophy of sheria law. They have repeatedly declared that "democracy is not an aim but an aid" for them to bring sheria law to Turkey and indeed to the entire world. Forget the mickey mouse arguements about their wives' "sqeezed head" style scarves, in their belief, they would not be proper muslims if they did not fight for the cause of bringing sheria law to the entire world. They have repeatedly declared this in the past which always brought them defeat, for this reason lately decided to adopt the islamic teaching of "takiyye" meaning deception to achieve their ulterior motive of sheria and spread of Islam to the entire world. With this in mind, I regard them significantly more dangerous than AL-Qaide.

It is a pity that even a newspaper renowned as liberal and progressive as The Guardian, can be fooled by the propaganda that eminates from the islamic and monopolistic mercenary Turkish press and media.

April 30, 2007

Posts that claim governing fundamentalist thugs have overwhelming support and that they have been "most progressive" are living in the cloud cuckoo land of AKP, in partnership with agressive US imperialism.

Best support they had, never exceeded 24.5%, and considering that the Parliament will be in recess over summer months, they have completed their 5 year term.

To force a presidential election before the General Election with their minority support is anti-democratic, but then democracy is not and has never been a part of their driving philosophy of sheria law. They have repeatedly declared that "democracy is not an aim but an aid" for them to bring sheria law to Turkey and indeed to the entire world. Forget the mickey mouse arguements about their wives' "sqeezed head" style scarves, in their belief, they would not be proper muslims if they did not fight for the cause of bringing sheria law to the entire world. They have repeatedly declared this in the past which always brought them defeat, for this reason lately decided to adopt the islamic teaching of "takiyye" meaning deception to achieve their ulterior motive of sheria and spread of Islam to the entire world. With this in mind, I regard them significantly more dangerous than AL-Qaide.

It is a pity that even a newspaper renowned as liberal and progressive as The Guardian, can be fooled by the propaganda that eminates from the islamic and monopolistic mercenary Turkish press and media.

April 30, 2007

It is crucial to ponder on the value of the Anatolian People which lasted one thousands year. AKP is not the enemy sect or 5th Arm committed to erode core values that vehemently defended by the army as well as the minority of the population but the democratic part respect his people deeply rooted values and and ambition that all. The post modern jacopenism is no sense before the perception of the 21th centure. Anyhow the secular and the conservative must learn to live in secure and peace. The other expectation for military intervantion is core barbarism. Anatolian community enevitable will find a comprimise solution. And the Turkish Army not the arm of the 80s. They also aware what the social conflict and its bad impact. All this social act is normal and tolarable under the auspices of the democracy. There no panic for alarm.Its good time to enjoy the pluralism cret.

April 30, 2007

I am astonished by reading some of the comments in this section. What is worrying is that people in Turkey do mix with the Western political terminology with the Turkish practice. I believe so-called Islamic oriented AK Party would be regarded as liberal or left in the West in terms of their practice; whilst the CHP the main left party in Turkey is the conservative or right wing. In order to understand what I mean, you need to start looking at their slogans. As far as I know - for the last 17 years - Guardian has never, ever - supported the military solution in a democratic turmoil. That is why nobody, simply nobody among the ordinary public in the UK knows who the General Chief of Staff in the UK is. Neither have they known the names of the heads of Arm Forces. Why? Because, only the political, civil establishments will decide the future of a country in a democratic society.

Guardian Unlimited ©

Secular Turkey
Friendly Atheist
According to the BBC, Turkey is adamant that church and state be kept separate:

[Turkey’s founder Mustafa Kemal] Ataturk was determined that this mainly Muslim nation would be a modern, secular country, and he introduced wide-ranging reforms, including the emancipation of women, the introduction of western dress, legal code and alphabet, and the abolition of Islamic institutions.

Turkey’s ruling elite and the powerful military have seen it as their job to protect what Ataturk set up.

Even politically Islamic parties maintain a secular government:

The [Justice and Development] party has its roots in political Islam, but insists it respects the secular principles of the constitution.

The staunchly secular elite of Turkey believes a president whose wife wears an Islamic headscarf would have Ataturk turning in his grave.

Ok. That’s all well and good.

Can someone please explain, then, why Turkey is the only nation worse than us in this survey of people’s attitudes toward evolution?

It’s hard to believe religion is so pervasive in the Turkish culture to the point that evolution is regarded as false by over half the population… and yet the people would vote to elect representatives who maintained secular values.

April 30, 2007

I think you’ll find it has more to do with how people can in fact (believe it or not) separate church and state, or in this case Mosque and state (you get the idea).

Also perhaps the survey isn’t in depth enough, if the question is ‘do you outright believe in evolution in that everything evolved from a tiny spec?’ might have gotten lots of ‘no’s’ from Turkey *but* if the question was more specific of sorts, like if it were asking ‘do you at least in part believe in evolution’ listing various aspects, like, I dunno, a cat evolving into a bigger cat and then a lion (I really dunno, thats just an example I pulled out) it might have received a ‘yes’.

Then again, they probably just know how to separate religion and government, perhaps you’ve been living in the US too long and find it amazing that people like that exist.

April 30, 2007 at 1:03 am


Education might be the answer. I remember that Turkish textbooks were less concerned about the theory and more with the practicalities of biology. Moreover, while in the US the Evolution v. Creationism debate is definitely coloured by religion, perhaps it is less so in Turkey? Especially as Islam and evolution are not contradictory, according to the Hanafi school.

Evolution has huge explanatory power - so much so that it is not a “theory” any more - but just as Neo-Darwinianism is an imporvement over the original, I suspect there’ll be further requirements down the road.

Darryl said,

April 30, 2007

It may be that science education is what’s lacking–even here in the U.S. Most Americans have an erroneous understanding of evolution because they are both ignorant of the theory and have been fed a charicature of it by religious fundies in the media.

Richard Wade said,

April 30, 2007

How about looking at what’s right about Iceland? Is there something about their education we could emulate, or are Icelanders simply the descendants of remarkable survivors. They’ve been nearly wiped out more than once. Maybe they’re open to evolution because they’re a good example of it.

Erudite Redneck said,

April 30, 2007

The best defense of religion freedom in the public sphere is strict separation of church and state, something the U.S. founders believed, and something that was generallyunderstood even in the rural American South until a couple of generations ago. See Baptist history. “Either” religion “or” full-blown atheism is as false a dichotomy as “you’re either for us or against us” in the current unpleasantness.

‘US-Turkish Relations Should Not Remain Hostage To Armenian Issue’
’Turkey should not relax thinking that April 24 is over. Actually Turkey should intensify its efforts. The resolution has the potential to come to the [US] General Assembly, and if it does it is likely to pass. If it comes up for a general vote then unfortunately, with the current power distribution in the House of Representatives, for the first time there is a serious danger that it may pass’
Suhnaz Yilmaz

If the pending “Armenian genocide resolution” passes at the US Congress, there will be repercussions, said Suhnaz Yilmaz, an expert on US-Turkish relations.

“For instance, when the US had an arms embargo on Turkey from 1975 to 1978, Turkey responded by closing some of the [US] bases [in Turkey]. It is not going to be the end of Turkish-US relations, but it is going to put the relations through a rather difficult phase,” said Yilmaz, who is an assistant professor of international relations at Koç University, Istanbul.

However according to Yilmaz one crucial strategy for the Turkish government is not only to deal with the Armenian diaspora, which is more radical, but also try to normalize and enhance relations with Armenia, because Armenians living in Armenia have more reasons to improve relations with Turkey.

Traditionally each year on April 24 US presidents issue a declaration commemorating the killings of Armenians in 1915, at the end of the Ottoman Empire. This year President George W. Bush’s speech carried added importance because of the resolution at Congress.

Meanwhile the Turkish Foreign Ministry published advertisements in four major US 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 from other parties, i.e. Armenia.

For Monday Talk Yilmaz answered our questions on the Armenian issue that is now affecting Turkish-US relations more than ever before.

On this April 24 President Bush again commemorated the Armenian killings in 1915, but he did not use the term ‘genocide.’ Was he choosing his words carefully?

It has become a tradition for US presidents to make a speech on April 24 commemorating the killings of the Armenians in 1915, but in order to strike a delicate balance they have always referred to “massacres” in this period but refrained using the term “genocide.” I think Bush’s speech was in line with that tradition. I think the Armenian community in the US was also predicting this, although they have constantly pressured for the use of the term genocide, but they were also expecting a precise reference to the issue of massacres, which Bush did to a certain extent. On the Turkish side, the expectation was of course avoiding the usage of the term genocide. One issue perhaps the Armenian community considered as a success this time was in President Bush’s speech, while he mentioned the necessity of a joint effort to review the history [of the events], he did not make a direct reference to the formation of a joint commission. The Turkish side had started a campaign in leading US newspapers like The New York Times, the Los Angeles Times and The Washington Times favoring the formation of a joint history commission to study this period from a historical perspective in an effort to depoliticize the issue. In the past there has been significant support from the US side for this issue, this time Bush did not make a direct reference to it.

Why do you think he avoided the issue?

In a way to balance the sensitivities of both sides. While he didn’t use a direct reference, indirectly he mentioned that there is a need for a joint understanding of history. On the US side it is a delicate balance. On the one hand relations with Turkey are at stake, because this is an extremely sensitive issue and all at the executive level have been aware of this. That’s why, despite enormous pressure from the Armenian lobby, Bush avoided using the term genocide. At the same time they try to use terms in reference to the massacres of the people, try to, in a way, appease the Armenian lobby. His speech reflected this delicate balance, trying not to offend either side too much and trying to address the sensitivities.

Do you think Turkey has been doing enough to present its point of view? You’ve mentioned the newspapers adverts…

I think it was a good strategy. It will not be enough. Turkey has not done enough to voice its position. So far mainly the Armenian side has been extremely active in the US, bringing the issue to the public platform, lobbying particularly strongly since the 1970s onwards, but it goes all the way back to the 1927, for instance, when the Armenian lobby was effective in blocking the ratification of the Turkish-US Treaty of Lausanne. The Armenian diaspora in the US has been very active whereas on the Turkish side there has been a significant neglect of the issue. In that respect this push for a joint commission is definitely a very good step. So far all the information regarding the issue has been one-sided and the whole discourse was determined by the Armenians. The Turkish government has to do its share in terms of opening the archives, facilitating this kind of dialogue and interaction. One crucial strategy for the Turkish government is not only to deal with the Armenian diaspora, which is more radical, but also try to normalize and enhance relations with Armenia.

So you think Turkey should look at the Armenian lobby in the US differently than the relations with Armenia?

Exactly, because they are two different forces regarding the Armenian issue. On the one hand there is the well-established diaspora in the US which has the recognition of the so-called genocide as the main item on their agenda, and there are the Armenians in Armenia, who have much more practical concerns, like their economic interests, strategic interests, and the recognition of the so-called genocide is just one of their concerns. They have a lot to benefit from improving relations with Turkey. There is also one more thing Turkey needs to understand, and it is not simply related only to the Armenian issue; effective lobbying does matter. The Turkish lobby has been much less effective than the Armenian lobby.

There is a pending ‘Armenian genocide resolution’ at the US Congress. It has a lot of supporters. How do you think the US lawmakers will decide?

After the Congressional elections the situation has become quite delicate since Nancy Pelosi became the leader of the House of Representatives. She comes from California with a strong Armenian-American constituency. The Armenian lobby wanted to bring the resolution to a vote in the General Assembly even before April 24. This did not work out. This was not only related to the demands from the Administration, but also was also related to the dynamics of the House of Representatives. This does not mean that this might not come to the General Assembly for discussion. So far Pelosi’s position has been that this will probably be one of the critical issues of 2008. The issue will be on the table according to the calendar of the Democratic side, they are in a way waiting for the election process to be over in Turkey, and it can also be a tool used effectively before or after the elections in the US. In the meantime, I think, we’ll see a war of lobbies and strategies on both sides. In this period Turkey should not relax, thinking that April 24 is over. Instead Turkey should intensify its efforts. The resolution has the potential to come to the General Assembly, and if it does it is likely to pass. It has fewer supporters in the Senate than in the house, but if it comes up for a general vote then unfortunately with the current power distribution in the House of Representatives, for the first time there is a serious danger that it may pass.

How have such resolutions’ been prevented before?

They were prevented by the Administration because it is never in the interest of the State Department or an existing government in power to pass such a resolution at the expense of relations with Turkey. While the presidency is in the hands of the Republicans, both House and Senate are controlled by Democrats. They would not necessarily be concerned about hindering the power of the Republicans in that respect.

If the resolution passes, could it lead to a crisis in relations between Turkey and the US?

It would certainly have a detrimental impact. It does not have any binding power, but symbolically it is very important. It is mainly recognition of the term genocide. Nevertheless it is symbolically important given the fact that relations are going through a relatively difficult period because of the situation in Iraq.

What do you think about both countries’ approach to the Iraqi situation in regards to the relations with each other, the US and Turkey that is?

In terms of the Iraqi issue there are issues of convergence and divergence. It is in the interest of both countries to have a stable and democratic Iraq. But the country is in civil war. Wining a war was relatively easy in Iraq, but winning the peace has not been and it has not been accomplished yet. Turkey, as a neighbor of Iraq, has been directly affected by developments there. That’s been a significant concern. Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) terrorist activities in northern Iraq have in particular been a major cause of concern for Turkey. Both the Kurdish administration and the Americans have not been doing enough to fight the PKK.

Do you think Turkey would not allow the passage of US supplies to Iraq if the ‘genocide’ resolution passes?

There are going to be some repercussions. For instance, when the US had an arms embargo on Turkey from 1975 to 1978, Turkey responded by closing some of the [US] bases [in Turkey]. It is not going to be the end of Turkish-US relations, but it is going to put the relations through a rather difficult pace. Turkish-US relations should not remain hostage to the Armenian issue. Probably that’s what the Armenian lobby wants. But we should not neglect that this is also an important issue for the Turkish side. Turkey should be persistent in its lobbying efforts, not only on the evening before April 24, but also with an ongoing effort to address the root causes of the issue behind the forming of this commission, debating the issue more and enhancing ties with Armenia. So we need a more comprehensive and proactive approach.

Do you think Turkey should try more to talk directly with Nancy Pelosi?

There has been an attempt, but she avoided speaking with the Turkish officials. For the time being the Turkish officials could use other effective channels. For instance Nancy Pelosi is very much in touch with the Italian-American community. They are an effective channel, given Turkey’s good relations with Italy. I mean you can get creative about this. She (Pelosi) is a key figure. There are different ways of approaching her. For example the Armenian lobby works in different ways. The Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) distributes congressional report cards for all congressmen and senators to constituents during each electoral cycle, showing what their positions are on the Armenian issue and other matters. They follow it closely. They have meetings with congressmen. They use their congressional caucus effectively. It is not focused on one person or one channel. So far Turkey has not been that effective. In the last couple of years the Armenian lobby has increased its effectiveness through its intense collaboration with the Greek and Kurdish lobbies. Whenever there is a [pro] Armenian resolution, you often see the signatures of the Greek and Kurdish lobbies under it. Of course Turkey has been getting significant support from the Jewish lobby. We also need an effective Turkish lobby.

Anything you would like to add?

Speaking in general about Turkish-US relations, the great strategist and statesman [Zbigniew] Brzezinski described the Eurasia land mass as a “grand chessboard.” In this chessboard there are a lot of areas open to cooperation between Turkey and the US. Even though relations went through problematic periods throughout history -- like the 1964 Johnson letter, 1975-1978 arms embargo and more recently the crisis over the March 1 resolution [of the Turkish Parliament, to not allow US use of bases in Turkey for the invasion of Iraq] in 2003 -- despite all these low points, the relations have maintained their importance.

Who is Suhnaz Yilmaz?
She is an assistant professor of international relations at Koç University, Istanbul. She received her M.A. and Ph.D. in near Eastern studies at Princeton University, specializing in international affairs and the Middle East. She conducted her post-doctoral studies at Harvard University working on a project on the role of third-party mediation in conflict resolution focusing particularly on the US role in Turkish-Greek relations. Her areas of interest and expertise include foreign policy analysis, Turkish foreign policy, Turkish-US relations, Eurasian politics, Mediterranean cooperation and security, European Union foreign and security policy and international development. She has been published in journals such as ‘Middle Eastern Studies,’ ‘Insight Turkey,’ ‘O Mundo em Portugues’ (the world in Portuguese), ‘World Today,’ ‘Middle East Journal’ and ‘Political Science Quarterly’


Palestinian Filmmaker Bakri Calls On Turkey For Joint Project On Ottomans
Theater and cinema were two things that helped Palestinian actor and filmmaker Mohammed Bakri survive the Israeli occupation in Palestinian territories.

Bakri, who has acted in more than 30 movies, performed in theaters in Israel's Ramallah, and who has directed two films, has so much sympathy for Turks that he once even volunteered to play the role of a Turkish soldier in a film. Bakri, who is deeply committed to history, appeals to Turkey from Palestinian territories where the Ottomans inhabited for four centuries: "Let's produce a film on the Ottomans."

In Ankara earlier this month to attend this year's Ankara International Film Festival, which ran April 12-22, Bakri is so keen to shoot a motion picture on the Ottoman Empire that he says his six sons, all of whom grew up on film sets, are willing to act in the film.

Bakri's documentary "Jenin Jenin" was screened at Ankara film festival's "From Hell: The World is Fighting" category. His upcoming documentary in which he focuses on Palestine's near history from 1948 to date will be released next year, Bakri told Today's Zaman during an interview following a screening of "Jenin Jenin" at the festival.

Bakri believes "Jenin Jenin" -- which centers on an Israeli operation on the Jenin refugee camp, leaving behind numerous fatalities among civilians -- conveys important messages to the world. "The main target of the film was to tell people who have no information about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict that the Israeli occupation cannot continue anymore. Because the occupation is horrible. I want Israelis to recognize that they have to show solidarity with me and my people. Many Israelis are unaware of what's going on in the West Bank or in Gaza; the Israeli government does not want them to know what's happening there. Because if they knew, they would not remain silent," he said.

"Palestinians loved the documentary," said Bakri rather unsurprisingly, whereas he received a negative response from Israelis, who regarded "Jenin Jenin" as a propaganda film. "I did not make a film about the operation. I made a film about Palestinian people. [Jenin Jenin] includes facts about what Palestinians were made to encounter," he insists.

He also had a suggestion on how to establish peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians: "Israeli and Palestinian leaders should unite. Neither the Israelis nor the Palestinians have had real leaders get together [for a solution]. There has to be a solution with two states. Palestine should survive. My biggest ambition is a single state for all people, but in reality this is impossible."

Bakri calls Israel's West Bank wall a "disaster." "The wall divides the territory, the families, the feelings. It is even worse than the Berlin Wall. It should be razed," he said. But still he added that he does not plan to make a film about an issue he is so sensitive to. "Many films were made about the wall. I would not want to make one. I'm more interested in humans."

Dreaming of freedom and equality

His answer to a question on whether he has ever stoned Israeli soldiers or tanks reflects the tragedy of Palestinians from the children's point of view. "I grew up in Israel. I always dreamt of freedom and equality, just like all other Palestinian children. I wanted children to grow up, instead of falling dead. I dreamt of peace, beautiful films, theaters, music. I was not raised in a refugee camp. Children throw stones at Israeli soldiers and tanks in the occupied West Bank; this is how they fight. But my fight is with the Israeli government," he said. Bakri once even considered becoming a lawyer to defend the Palestinian case.

Multi award-winner Bakri, who was named best actor at numerous international festivals for the roles he played in the films "Haifa," "Beyond the Walls" and "Private," said what matters is his own story. "All actors and directors want to be the best in what they do. But for me my story is more important. For me, what matters is to be able to convey my own story to the entire world."

Film on alleged genocide

Underlining that he would like to shoot a movie on Ottoman history, Bakri said he would also like to make an in-depth analysis of the issue of the alleged Armenian genocide in a movie. "Turkey is being held responsible for a massacre but I do not believe in this. Nobody really knows what happened then. It was a very sensitive period in the war between Turkey, Germany, Russia and the others…"

Hinting at a complaint of the Turkish cinema industry's lack of interest toward the Middle East, Bakri said he has not seen any Turkish movies in theaters in his hometown in 10 years. But still he calls on Turkish filmmakers to lend him an ear. "I invite all Turkish filmmakers and actors to Palestinian territories. We can collaborate on a film on Ottoman history. And my six children are all ready to act in that film."


EU Funded Boat To Carry Tourists To Akdamar Church
May 16, 2007
ANKARA - Turkish Daily News

An excursion boat project funded by the European Union is set to boost tourism in the restored Akdamar church, a 10th century Armenian church on the island of Akdamar in lake Van.

An excursion boat with 110-person capacity has been built in Iskenderun to facilitate access to the island. The building of the boat is part of the Eastern Anatolia Development Project, which received 60,000 euros support from the EU, reported the Dogan News Agency. The boat, which cost 120,000 euros, will be taken to Van shortly.

The project is run by a private tourism agency, which wants to attract more domestic and international tourists to Akdamar island. Today Akdamar church, which was recently renovated, serves as a museum.

Tourism boom in Akdamar island:
Hikmet Deniz, manager of the boat project and general director of Grand Deniz Tourism, expects that the reopening of Akdamar church as a museum will lead to a tourism boom in the area. “We developed the boat project as part of the Eastern Anatolia Development Project and submitted it to the EU. The EU approved our project and funded half of the total cost of 120,000 euros. The boat will carry all domestic and foreign tourists, particularly Armenians, to the island,” he said.

Zekeriya Bilen, owner of the shipyard in Iskenderun where the boat was built, said: “The boat is made of steel. We will transport it to Van via highways and launch the service after assembling the boat. Turkish and foreign tourists will be transported to the island by the boat. If they are satisfied with the service, we will build another boat with 150-people capacity and a restaurant in it.”

Akdamar church in Van reopened as a museum on March 29 after extensive renovation that took place between May 2005 and October 2006. During the renovation the roof of the church was repaired, the frescos and mosaics inside it cleaned, and new floorboards laid on the floor and windows. During the renovation process 34 rooms were discovered inside the church. The museum is expected to give significant economic and cultural boost to the area and increase the number of both local and international tourists.

Mesrop Mutafian: If Armenian Bill Is Placed On Parliament's Agenda, Turkish-French Trade Contacts Will Be Damaged
Noyan Tapan
Armenians Today
May 15 2007
ISTANBUL Armenian Patriarch of Constantinople Archbishop Mesrop Mutafian attached importance to Armenians' being represented at Majlis. In his interview to the Zaman Turkish daily the Patriarch said that the time to enlarge and develop contacts with Armenia and Armenian Diaspora has already come and Turkey and Armenia should organize mutual visits of journalists, intellectuals, youth and NGOs.

Speaking about French President Nicolas Sarkozy's statement about Turkey, Mesrop Mutafian said: "Our respectable Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, EU Commissioner for Enlargement Oli Ren, as well as I hope that Sarkozy will calm down after taking president's office. Trade contacts between France and our state are at rather a high level. And if the bill on the Genocide is again placed on the agenda, these relations will appear in complicated and difficult condition."

To recap, as early as during the preelection campaign Sarkozy had promised to hamper Turkey's membership to EU, as well as to struggle against any attempt to deny the Armenian Genocide.

Between Turkey And The EU, Two Plus Two Does Not Necessarily Equal Four
May 16, 2007

If I were an EU authority I would certainly be pondering why the Turkish middle class who would normally be expected to support the country’s bid, have all of a sudden become the most staunch EU opponents

The controversial relationship between Turkey and the European Union (EU) is full of paradoxes as well as misconceptions. The growing incongruity between what is and what actually ought to be is indeed astounding.

Given the British government's persistent assistance to Ankara over the last three years, for instance, one could conclude that Turkey's greatest support comes from Britons. According to an unpublished fact-finding survey by the EU itself, nevertheless, Britons are one of those peoples who categorically oppose Turkey's bid to join the Union. More surprising is the fact that the Britons surveyed justified their opposition under the pretext of religion. They said they believe that Muslim Turkey would contradict both the notion of a Christian Europe and European values. Presumably, this difference in religion poses a “threat” to Europe.

Equally interesting is which of the peoples among the member states are firmly behind Turkey's bid. If the question was asked which people reject Turkey's membership the most, it is likely almost all fingers would point at the Greek Cypriots. Southern Cypriot leader Tassos Papadopoulos' obsession with waving the notorious veto card in Turkey's face, many would maintain, is what justifies this assumption. However, such conclusions are utterly wrong as well. According to the findings of the same poll, the Greek Cypriots surveyed underscored their full support for Turkey's membership bid, with the expectation that it would facilitate the unification of the island of Cyprus.

Two steps forward, one step back:
Within the framework of these two cases, is it not interesting to observe this paradoxical gap between the people on the one hand, and their governments on the other? Is it possible for any government anywhere around the globe to act for the people despite the people?

In democracies in particular the answer is definitely no. How then should we interpret such contradictions? My own view is very simple. The destination we have arrived at, most member states seem to have been engaged in simple pretence. Given that the negotiations were to be an “open-ended process, the outcome of which cannot be guaranteed beforehand,” as stressed in the European Council's decision which gave Turkey the green light three years ago, such countries, including the most outspoken Turkey supporter Britain, have gradually become keen on the process itself rather than the eventual result. Either the referenda to be held or this already declared trait of the negotiations serve as a kind of guarantee not to contradict their people's will eventually. It is in this regard that all EU diplomatic moves like the latest recommendation of the European Commission have been formulated in a way as to keep Turkey from walking away from the doors of Europe. They were meant to ensure that Turkey is anchored in Europe, or the so-called West.

Under these circumstances, the strategy the EU is pursuing can be summed up as "two steps forward, one step back." In the controversial case of Cyprus, for instance, the EU exercises enormous pressure on Turkey first for the opening of its ports to Greek Cypriot vessels and then the recognition of the Greek “Republic of Cyprus,” which was actually a new criteria placed in front of Ankara at the summit in Brussels last year. One step backwards, in turn, comes with the controversial aid package for Cypriot Turks. Given its tired story, however, EU circles do not even seem bothered with this conciliatory appeasement either.

Sarkozy's moves to dampen the fun:
It is in this regard that Nicholas Sarkozy or the greedy Papadopoulos can be seen as spoilsports. Papadopoulos' motivation is very simple: He sees in Turkey's negotiation process the opportunity to elicit from Ankara as many key concessions as he can. Turkey skeptics like the French (or the Austrians), in turn, are zealously trying to daunt Turkey by proposing even more unacceptable provisions with each passing day. The French approach to the so-called Armenian genocide precisely exemplifies this phenomenon. French authorities, including Jacques Chirac, have implied several times in the past that Turkey should recognize the claims in order to join the EU. Do you really think it is an issue the EU public have expectations on from their respective governments? No, not at all. According to the aforementioned study by the EU only a few of those surveyed said that it should indeed be a prerequisite for Turkey. A remarkable number did not even know such a problem existed.

This being said, the French president's staunch opposition to Turkey's membership bid will stir up fiery discussions among EU circles as well as its public in the days to come. Not only because it will indeed seriously damage the EU's credibility and international prestige. More importantly, it will signify the last blow against the Turks' EU aspirations. The EU authorities actually grasp the danger very well. For instance, Enlargement Commissioner Olli Rehn warned the French leadership, saying, “If one or several member states want to change that negotiating mandate, then it is up to them to take the initiative and also take responsibility for possible consequences.” In his view, he then added, “The best way for the EU to work with Turkey in this sensitive and difficult time is by sticking to our commitment, by being firm and fair.” Soon, he was joined by European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso.

Sarkozy, nonetheless, does not seem to be concerned about such warnings. Just a couple of days ago, his top aide, Alain Lamassoure, reiterated that he will pursue his pre-election declaration of breaking accession negotiations with Ankara, presumably because the European leaders made a promise to Turkey in 1999 that they are unable to keep today.

Turkish disgust and its wider consequences:
And one last paradox, the content of which is of grave importance for the future of Turkey-EU relations: How will Turks respond to attempts to change the rules of the game while the game is still being played?

If I were an EU official I would certainly be pondering why the Turkish middle class, the skilled, politically conscious people who would normally be expected to support the country's membership bid the most, have all of a sudden become the most staunch EU opponents. I am afraid to say that EU authorities are not able to grasp what is going on in Turkey. They rather give the impression to be interested in the information, but like some Turkish intellectuals, only in that which they believe confirms their self-deceiving as well as illusory opinions. As American anthropologist Ruth Benedict once said, the fish indeed seems to be the last to see the water.

I will tell you one thing: As usual, political circles and/or experts, both in and outside Turkey, are reeling under a heavy salvo of absurd analyses and public surveys on the possible results of the coming elections. But electoral behavior in Turkey is very simple: In general, Turks vote to punish but not to reward. Terror and highly controversial issues related to Turkey's EU aspirations are the two parameters thus, which will shape their political choices.

Yes, the relationship between Turkey and the EU is indeed full of paradoxes and enigmas. There is a flood of water yet to flow under both bridges. It is precisely for this reason that I won't be surprised to see Papadopoulos turning out to be an ally of the Turkish government in the end, probably closer than Tony Blair was.

“Do Not Buy From These Savage Mongolians.” www.boycottturkey.com

Recently, I received an email from a Turkish-American friend informing me of a website campaign to boycott Turkish goods to “compel the Republic of Turkey to clean up its human rights record.” Initially, I was furious and enraged that a non-profit organization could be established with such a negative agenda. I wanted to find a way to shut it down immediately.

In searching through the website, I was impressed by its ominous black and red design detailed background information. You can even purchase a bumper sticker to demonstrate supporting this effort and buy refrigerator magnates to remind you to boycott Turkish products every time you open the refrigerator to grab some Turkish “meyva suyu” or “beyaz peynir.”

I searched through the “forum” space. At first, the comments were upsetting. The deep-seeded hatred and broad generalizations of Turks as “savages” serve as a common theme. And then I was pleasantly surprised. The forum consists of an amazing archive of everything I always wanted to know about where I could find Turkish goods in Southern California and elsewhere! From listing Turkish restaurants to clothing stores that sell Turkish products, the forum provides incredibly useful information.

Rather than combat this negative campaign with a negative response, it is important for the Turkish-American community to react in a positive manner and be vigilant and proactive in general. Let’s use this website as a resource and support Turkey by purchasing Turkish goods! I’m sure most of us already purchase Turkish products and dine at Turkish-owned restaurants. However, you may not have been aware of all of the listings shown in the forum. I would not recommend replying to the messages in the forum because it will only add fuel to the fire. Instead, let’s quietly use it as a resource and support Turkish-owned businesses and products. Furthermore, I challenge you all to find an alternative way to promote positive relations between your local community and Turkey.

Personally, my passion is to represent Turkey, Turks, and Turkish-Americans in a positive manner. Over the last five years, I have served as a leader in the Association of Turkish Americans of Southern California (www.atasc.org) and in the Orange County Turkish American Association (www.octaa.org). ATASC, and its daughter chapters like OCTAA are non-profit organizations dedicated to promoting better relations between the peoples of Turkey and the United States of America through educational, cultural, charitable, and social activities. By becoming active in organizations such as these, the positive community outreach activities that we do together counteract the negative propaganda against Turkey. I recommend joining a similar organization in your community and become active as a volunteer or leader.

Although I feel defensive when people ask me about the negative misinformation that is detailed in websites like www.boycottturkey.com, I redirect that passionate response by supporting community activities that demonstrate Turkey’s beautiful culture, heritage, hospitality, and warmth. People will remember the time they had their first bite of sweet “lokum,” smelled the fresh scent of “colonya” on their hands, or danced the “hora” with friends after sipping “rakı.” Let’s create advocates of Turkey by exposing our local community to the beauty of our culture. Don’t allow the community to consider us to be “savages.”

I welcome comments and questions at mdrouse5@yahoo.com. (Disclaimer - Please note that this column demonstrates my opinion only and not necessarily perspectives of any organizations identified in this article).


Michelle Deniz Drouse



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