31 July 2007

1836) Media Scanner July 2007 (180 Items)

  1. Recognition Of Genocide Not Only A Duty But A Geopolitical Factor, Expert In Turkish Studies Says Panorama.am
  2. Turkey Likely To Block Armenian Genocide Resolution In U.S. Congress /PanARMENIAN.Net/
  3. "Genocide Has Become A Brand For Armenia" A1+
  4. The New Old Armenian Town The Fresno Bee
  5. NewsBlaze, CA Crossfire War - Turkey Continues Undeclared War With Armenia - Russia By Willard Payne
  6. Turks & Tolerance Putting Islamist victory in Turkey in context.
  7. Interview: Elif Shafak Has Survived A Court Case And Renewed Her Love For Turkey's Multi-Ethnic Heritage A Writer Who Weds The Modern And The Mystic By Boyd Tonkin
  8. Ankara Wishes To Completely Withdraw Term ‘genocide’ As Regards 1915 Events /PanARMENIAN.Net/
  9. Letter To The Hon. Senator Barack Obama, U.S. Democratic Presidential Candidate Yuksel Oktay
  10. Letter from David Burrowes MP Member of Parliament for Enfield Southgate
  11. They Aim To Isolate Armenia ArmeniaNow A news analysis by Jirair Haratunian
  12. Millions Spent Against Genocide Recognition Backfire On Turkey By Harut Sassounian
  13. Response Back To Congressmen Frank Palone Regarding "Armenian Genocide Denial Is An Absurdity"
  14. Scandal Between Adl And Armenian Diaspora Azeri Press Agency
  15. RA PM: It Would Be Better If Armenians And Turks Come To Understanding /PanARMENIAN.Net/
  16. One More Armenian Church In Turkey To Be Turned Into Museum /PanARMENIAN.Net/
  17. Turkey Managed To Thrust His Viewpoint Concerning Events Of 1915 On World Community /PanARMENIAN.Net/
  18. Politicians Who Promise To Recognize Armenian Genocide, Are Acting Purely For Their Own Interests /PanARMENIAN.Net/
  19. Historian Christopher Jon Bjerkness To Deliver Lecture On Armenian Genocide /PanARMENIAN.Net/
  20. Turkey's Minorities Happy With Election Results
  21. History Of Ottoman Ferries Comes To Light Vercihan Ziflioglu
  22. The Intimidation Campaign Against Taner Akçam Azg
  23. Los Angeles Times’ Article Exposes California’s Armenian Community APA
  24. Erdogan Banned Calling Armenian Genocide “So-Called” Panarmenian
  25. Armenians Of France Established A “committee Of Protecting Taner Akcam” /PanARMENIAN.Net/
  26. French Publication To Correct The Book, Which Indirectly Denies Armenian Genocide /PanARMENIAN.Net/
  27. Turkish Prime Minister Bans Calling The Armenian Genocide "Alleged" By Harut Sassounian
  28. ‘Kuvvaci’s Plan To Assassinate Bartholomew
  29. New To Turkish Politics? Here's A Rough Primer
  30. Turkey Denies Transit To Albanian Arms Shipment Bound For Armenia Artur Korriku
  31. Election Results: Challenges Ahead
  32. Elections Held, Focus Turns On New Government
  33. Islanders Say 'No Comment'
  34. Chilean ‘Armenian Genocide' Document Not Binding
  35. France Insistent On Its Turkey Veto
  36. Boron: Petroleum Of The 21st Century
  37. Sen.Barack Obama,(D.Il) As The Armenians' Newest "Yesman" Says Turks Are Guilty Of Genocide. Where Lies The Truth?
  38. Lobbying On Armenian Genocide Goes Viral
  39. Turkey Thinks Of Its Own Interests First, Erdogan
  40. Armenians Seeking US House Vote On Genocide Bill Soon Ümit ENGINSOY
  41. Turkish Lobbying Groups In Usa Again Failed In Their Anti-Genocide Campaign
  42. ANCA Holds Call-In Campaign In Support For Armenian Genocide Resolution /PanARMENIAN.Net/
  43. Anc Australia 'Enrol To Vote' Campaign Resumes
  44. Book "Armenian Myth. Armenian Extremism: Its Causes And Historical Content" Published In Romania Azeri Press Agency
  45. Turkey's Profit Of Usd 700 Million From "Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan" By Aghavni Haroutiunian AZG Armenian
  46. `Look out! Ethnic espionage': Igor Muradyan about the Armenian Assembly of America Regnum
  47. The 'Hooded Briton' Speaks Out Taylan Bilgic
  48. Armenian Panic In The U.S. Metehan Demir Sabah
  49. CHP Parliamentarian: If Chp Comes To Power, We’ll Do Our Best So That Armenia Will Compensate To Azeri Refugees And Idps APA
  50. 14 European States Assisted Usa To Establish Secret Jails For CIA PanARMENIAN.Net
  51. Baskin Oran - A New Name In Politics
  52. Genocide Scholars Honor Ambassador John Evans by Emil Sanamyan- ARMENIAN REPORTER
  53. Armenia - Country Of Pirates A1+
  54. Nato Hopes Armenian-Turkish Border Will Be Opened PanARMENIAN.Net
  55. Ankara Isolates Armenia
  56. Turkish Armenians To Vote For Akp And Independent Candidate Oran ISTANBUL-Tempo
  57. Orthodox Youth Flock To Istanbul Damaris Kremida
  58. Armenian Public Tv Advertises Turkish Products
  59. Legal Successors Of Armenian Depositors, Who Are Victims Of Genocide, Can File Their Cases Against French Axa Insurance Company Until October 1, 2007 Noyan Tapan
  60. Kocharian: Relations With Turkey 'Complicated'
  61. How Will Foreigners In Turkey Vote? No Contest!
  62. It's An Order: Everyone Is To Love America!
  63. Delegates Of Armenia Received Five More Bronze Medals In Trabzon Noyan Tapan
  64. Turkish Opposition Party Says Erdogan Is Going To Pass Erzerum To Armenia PanARMENIAN.Net
  65. 212 Emblematic Works From Louvre To Armenian History Museum Panorama.am
  66. Someday Turkish People Will Understand And Admit Film, Italian Producer Says arminfo
  67. Armenian Foreign Minister: We Will Not Allow Turkey And Azerbaijan Dictate Their Conditions To US arminfo
  68. Matt Bryza Refused To Comment On U.S. Recognition Of Azerbaijan's Territorial Integrity PanARMENIAN.Net
  69. International Forum On Fighting Terrorism Due In Yerevan armradio.am
  70. Turkish Think-Tank Looks At Strategic Importance Of Caucasus Anatolia news agency
  71. Armenian Genocide Victims' Descendants Can Receive $17.5mln From French Axa Bank As Compensations Yerevan
  72. Matthew Bryza: "There Is No Universal Formula For The Supremacy Of Territorial Integrity Over The Right Of Self-Determination" AZG Armenian Daily
  73. Sarkozy’s Message To Algerians: Need To Focus On The Future Journal of Turkish Weekly
  74. What Does 'Minority' Mean In Turkey?
  75. U.S. Embassy In Armenia: Nezavisimaya Gazeta Furnished False Information
  76. Deal With Algeria, Instead Of The Armenians The Same Principle Does Not Suit Mr. Sarkozy
  77. A Look From Turkey’s East To The World BERIL DEDEOGLU
  78. Sarkozy Tells Algeria: No Apology For The Past
  79. Armenian Businessman Becomes Shareholder Of Great Turkish Company: Turks Appeal Against This Bargain Noyan Tapan Armenians Today
  80. In The Wonderland Of Ruins By Gary Kamiya www.salon.com
  81. City Suggests Several Sites For Armenian Memorial Thomas C. Palmer Jr. The Boston Globe
  82. Is This Is Your Turkish Gov.Working For You? Bodrum airport Michelle Kelso
  83. Enmity Of Race MAHIR KAYNAK
  84. What Do Parties Promise On Turkey-US Relations?
  85. America The Melting Pot By Lauren Semerjian Philadelphia Inquirer
  86. Beggars "Attack" Tourists At Every Step A1+
  87. Erdogan Aide, US House Speaker's Secret Meeting On Armenian Bill Ümit ENGINSOY
  88. Election Doldrums Ariana FERENTINOU
  89. Dashnaks Were Sentenced For Drug Business Lragir.am
  90. Turkey’s Greeks And Their Patriarch Wait To Be Heard
  91. Caspian Themes
  92. Searching For The Footprints Of ‘Snow's Ka’ In Kars
  93. World Armenian Congress continues its work on recognition of Armenian Genocide
  94. History Book Review: Trench Fever Norman Stone Has Taken The Art Of Compression Too Far
  95. Image Of Enemy Cultivated In Turkey Against Russia Has Disappeared
  96. If Armenian Genocide Resolution Jeopardizes US National Security, No One Will Back It
  97. Troika Dialog And Ruben Vardanian
  98. Ethnic Armenian Sir Ara Darzi appointed Minister of Healthcare of Great Britain
  99. A People’s Kaleidoscope From Hatay
  100. What Is 'Not' Going To Happen After July 22?
  101. Sports Event Brings Together Azerbaijan And Armenia In Turkey
  102. Bush, Pelosi And Clinton Support PKK
  103. OYAK’s Partner AXA Releases List Of "Genocide" Victims
  104. It’s Time For The Bush Administration To Put Turks In Their Place Rauf Naqishbendi
  105. Wars Of Hegemony In The Black Sea June 29, 2007
  106. General Risks Trial For Calling Slain Armenian 'Traitor'
  107. If Turkey Is Guided By Values Proper To European Family, Armenia And Greece Will Not Have To Allocate Big Resources To Defence Sphere, Greek President Says Noyan Tapan
  108. Perinçek Refused Entry Into Switzerland
  109. Ministry Issues Decree To Protect Minorities
  110. Crisis in Turkey
  111. Los Angeles Times Managing Editor Retires For `Killing' A Story On Armenian Genocide
  112. US Envoy Stresses Common Goals, Need To Work Together
  113. We Should Work With The Armenians, But Not Threaten Them: Head Of Azerbaijan State Conservatory TREND
  114. Armenia's Vanishing Udis By Tatul Hakopian
  115. USAPAC's Ross Vartian Says A Confident Community Is Ready For A Broad Advocacy Agenda In Washington
  116. Editorial: Toward Regional Cooperationreporter.am
  117. No Solid Proof Advanced For Armenia Genocide Ibrahim Kurtulus-Dongan Hills /Letters/ Staten Island Advance (New York)
  118. Papoulias Warns Turkey
  119. Manoyan says Armenia wants a stable Turkey
  120. Turkish, Armenian Foreign Ministers Hold Brief Talks In Attempt To Thaw Relations
  121. Gul responded that Armenia should work to resolve the Nagorny-Karabakh dispute with Azerbaijan
  122. Armenian Foreign Minister’s Calls On Turkey To Open Borders In VainTrend
  123. Armenia Has No Preconditions To Normalize Ties With Turkey, FM Says IHT
  124. Atatürk University Symposium On Turkish-Armenian Relations ERAREN
  125. Oskanyan In Istanbul Omer Engin LUTEM ERAREN
  126. Armenian FM Wishes Better Ties With Turkey At Patriarchate Reception Anatolia News Agency,
  127. Dashnaks Against Land Concessions To Azerbaijan By Ruzanna Stepanian Radio Liberty
  128. Reception Held In Honor Of Armenian FM In Istanbul Turkish Press, MI
  129. Armenian F.M. Arrives In Istanbul To Attend 15th Anniversary Of Bsec Turkish Press, MI
  130. Top Armenian, Turkish Diplomats Hold Rare Talks At Summit Voice of America
  131. Helping AKP Transform Itself
  132. An Area Of Frozen Conflicts
  133. Izmirlian Foundation Helps With Creation Of 4-5 Thousand Jobs In Armenia Noyan Tapan
  134. Kars-Akhalkalaki Rail Project Will Be Accomplished Even Without Us Support, Azeri Political Scientist Says ArmRadio.am
  135. The Insurance Settlement Of The Heirs Of 1915 Armenian Victims Continues By Melanya Badalian AZG Armenian Daily
  136.  This content mirrored from TurkishArmenians  Site © Click For Larger Image
  137. Gül Tells Armenia To Solve Its Problems With Azerbaijan
  138. Armenia Wants Stable Turkey Irrespective Of Parliamentary
  139. Hopes High, Disputes Still Deep At BSEC
  141. Top Armenian, Turkish Diplomats Hold Rare Talks at Summit By VOA News
  142. Reception Held In Honor Of Armenian FM In Istanbul
  143. Hudson Reflections And Journalism
  144. Georgia Parliament Gives Tentative Backing To Repatriation Of Meskhetian Turks Misha DZHINDZHIKHASHVILI
  145. Turkey Hosts Black Sea Summit For "New Horizon"
  146. Sarkozy's 'Testimony' in English By K.M. WATERTOWN, A.W.
  147. Back To Basics, With Photographs That "Get You In The Gut" by Talin Suciyan
  148. Rakel Dink Accepts An Award In Armenia YEREVAN
  149. Armenian Citizen Has Turned Into A Voter-Citizen, Psychologist Says ArmRadio.am
  150. Hudson Meeting Participant Confirms Report By Journalist
  151. ‘US Policy, Not Turkish, Needs To Change,’ Says US Expert Stephen Larrabee
  152. The Emerging Alliance Between Turkey, Azerbaijan And Georgia by MARIA BEAT*
  153. Turkey’s Enemies by MÜMTAZ’ER TÜRKÖNE
  154. What Does Çongar Say?
  155. Colleagues Support Journalist Who Broke Hudson Story, Criticize TSK
  156. BSEC Leaders To Open Talks In Istanbul
  157. Minority Test For Parties
  158. Institutional Racism Allegations In The Church Of England
  159. The BSEC Celebrates 15 Years In Its Birthplace
  160. BSEC
  161.  This content mirrored from TurkishArmenians  Site © Click For Larger Image
  162. Community Support Cannot Be Taken For Granted, Says Sisli's Armenian Deputy Mayor
  163. Turkey's Christians Like AKP Despite Islamist Past Gareth Jones
  164. Minorities To Choose Pro-EU Candidates JASPER MORTIMER ANKARA
  165. Turkish Nationalism And Its Many Forms
  166. Think Tank Verdict: Nationalism Is ‘Driving The Nation Apart’ ANDREW FINKEL
  167. Kunta Kinte, 'Armenian Seed', the Denial of Racism! Orhan Kemal Cengiz
  168. Scenarios In Washington, Facts In Ankara Cengiz ÇANDAR
  169. Turkish Politician Loses First Appeal Against Swiss Racism Conviction, Says Lawyer
  170. Call For Proposals For Armenia-Turkey Cross-Border Dialogue And Cooperation Program
  171. Debates On Hudson Institute Meeting Seem Never-Ending
  172. 133 British MPs Support Armenian Genocide Resolution
  173. Los Angeles Times’ Armenian Journalist Leaves Newspaper For Biased Article About Alleged Armenian Genocide
  174. Risk Rising For Genocide Bill's Passage In US Congress
  175. Swiss Court Rejects Perinçek’s First Appeal Against ‘Genocide’ Conviction
  176. Taner Akcam To File Case Against Turkey To ECHR
  177. Turkish Government Should Find Strength To Condemn Youngturks' Crime, Paolo Taviani SaysNoyan Tapan
  178. Armenian Genocide: Stephen Harper Condemned Interference Of Foreign Countries Into Internal Affairs Of Canada YEREVAN (YERKIR)
  179. It Is Early To Return Turk-Meskhetians PanARMENIAN.Net
  180. Photographs Sharing The Same Joy And Pain
  181. RA FM Departing For Istanbul To Participate In BSEC Jubilee Summit
  182. ‘Turkey Would Be Paradise If Conspiracies Never Existed’

Recognition Of Genocide Not Only A Duty But A Geopolitical Factor, Expert In Turkish Studies Says

"Not only is the recognition of the genocide our debt in front of our ancestors but also a means to become a member state in geopolitics," Director of Easter Studies of the Armenian National Academy of Sciences Ruben Safrastyan told a news conference today. In his words, with that Armenia joins the list of countries that are guiding the geopolitical processes. "Genocide is a crime against humanity. By consistently demanding its recognition, we become the country that condemns a crime and is the defender of human values," the Turkish expert said.

Speaking about Erdoghan's April statement that there is a need to set up a group of historians, Safrastyan said it was a discrepancy from the denial policy but no serious progress may be expected. "We do not need to set up a group of historians since the historical fact does not need to be checked again," Safrastyan said.

Turkey Likely To Block Armenian Genocide Resolution In U.S. Congress
/PanARMENIAN.Net/ The policy of the AKP party, which won the July 22 parliamentary elections in Turkey, diverts a little from the official Turkish line towards Armenia, Director of the Institute of Oriental Studies at the RA Academy of Sciences, Dr Ruben Safrastyan told a news conference July 27.

The statement made in 2002 on building relations with Armenia taking into account not only political but also economic interests was unprecedented.

With a good deal of optimism we can hope that the ruling AKP will make a positive step towards improvement of relations with Armenia, according to him.

However, Dr Safrastyan said, Turkey will press for blocking passage of the Armenian Genocide Resolution in the U.S. Congress and is likely to succeed.

He said Armenia should not perceive the Armenian Genocide recognition issue as a burden. "It's not only 'our duty' but also a possibility to strengthen positions on the international arena," he noted, IA Regnum reports.

"Genocide Has Become A Brand For Armenia"
27 July, 2007
Armenia's stance towards Armenian-Turkish relations is already well known. We are waiting for Turkey's announcement. Since 1992 Armenia has proposed to set up relations without preconditions," stated Ruben Safrastyan, an expert on Turkish studies

Turkey strives to establish good terms with all its neighbors. Over the last few years Turkey has been conducting a policy of splitting South Caucasus. The country is taking efforts to create a group of minor allies including Georgia and Azerbaijan. However, this policy is not favorable for Russia and Ruben Safrastyan thinks Turkey will bring this program into being with difficulty.

In my opinion Russia will try to hinder, and Turkey will face obstacles while making its dream come true, said Safrastyan.

According to Safrastyan, Russia pursues certain goals in South Caucasus therefore the country won't endorse Turkey's new policy.

To the question how the July 22 parliamentary elections in Turkey will affect Armenian-Turkish relations, Safratsyan said, "The situation in Turkey is hopeless, only an optimist may expect that after the Turkish election positive moves will be made to improve relations with Armenia, stated Ruben Safrastyan.

The ruling Justice and Development Party has made two unprecedented statements. The party inspires hopes for improvement of bilateral relations, Ruben Safrastyan said.

Safrastyan agreed that the Armenian Genocide has become a kind of brand for Armenia's recognition overseas.

Ruben Safrastyan thinks the Turks refuse to recognize the genocide because they do not want to be labeled as a nation which committed genocide. Yet uncertainty is another reason for the delay of the recognition of the Genocide

The New Old Armenian Town
The Fresno Bee (California)
July 27, 2007
Hoisted by hydraulic lifts high above Ventura Avenue, workers this week were busy putting the finishing touches on the new 5th District Court of Appeal building.

Sometime next month, the new building will be complete -- a day that will mark a big step forward in one of downtown Fresno's major redevelopment projects.

The 62,000-square-foot, $24 million appellate court will be the first building in what planners have dubbed Old Armenian Town.

But critics have long felt that the ambitious project will wipe out some of the last vestiges of a once-thriving Armenian neighborhood.

Highway 41 long ago cut through the heart of the old ethnic enclave, which was roughly bounded by Inyo, O and Los Angeles streets and Broadway.

The redevelopment project encompasses only a small part -- an area bounded by O and M streets, Ventura Avenue and Highway 41 -- of the historic Armenian town.

Among other concerns is the fate of five houses that preservationists say give a glimpse of how early Armenian immigrants lived. The homes sit deteriorating behind a chain-link fence at N Street and Santa Clara Street.

They are nearly all that remains of a neighborhood where Armenian immigrants settled beginning in the 1880s. Selland Arena and the city's convention center, among other buildings, have taken the place of homes and businesses described by author William Saroyan.

The chipping-away of the old ethnic community is one reason preservationists are fighting so hard to save the houses, and why, they say, they battled to keep the former Armenian Evangelical Church standing.

The church met the wrecking ball in 2003, with only its facade saved and stored away.

A recent lawsuit by preservationists thwarted an effort to move the houses south of Highway 41 to an industrial zone, said local preservationist Jeanette Jurkovich. A ruling in their favor is on appeal.

Originally, Jurkovich said, plans called for putting the houses at Santa Clara and M streets, where the soon-to-be-razed Fresno Fire Department headquarters now stands. But redevelopment plans now propose a parking lot first, then a parking garage, on that site.

Preservationists drew up an alternative proposal to put the houses, along with the Armenian church's facade, at Ventura and M. They've heard nothing from city officials or the developers, Jurkovich said.

She's not sure where the houses will eventually be relocated, but "putting them down in the industrial area is not going to save them."

Businesses in the Old Armenian Town redevelopment area also are girding for changes. Construction on an office building adjacent to the courthouse is scheduled to start in December.

Eventually, developers Richard Gunner and George Andros have plans for three office buildings and two five-story parking garages on the site -- bounded by O and M streets, Ventura Avenue and Highway 41.

There is 700,000 square feet planned for the three buildings, though the exact size of each building is not yet known, said Dennis Frye, who represents the two developers on the project.

Leon Santos, director of the St. Joseph Community Center and a similarly named thrift store a few doors down, said he's not looking forward to the changes the redevelopment project will bring.

"I hope it's not very soon because we're just getting our feet off the ground here," he said.

Santos' organization has Sunday church services and helps the homeless, ex-convicts and others looking for a new start in life.

Thrift store proceeds go to the community center.

Under the redevelopment plan, the building that houses both of Santos' operations would be knocked down and replaced by a new Armenian Community Center.

A block down M Street sits the Valley Lahvosh Baking Co. The business has operated at M and Santa Clara for 85 years, and the historic building will be saved and remain open as a bakery.

But the company's much newer production facilities will be moved.

Agnes Saghatelian Wilson, whose grandfather Gazair Saghatelian started the business, said a new location for the production facilities has yet to be found.

"It's very bittersweet," Wilson said.

"We are growing, but it's kind of overwhelming, too, to think we have to pick up and move from a place we've been such a long time."

The appellate courthouse is not only Old Armenian Town's centerpiece, but its finish is seen as proof that -- almost 10 years in the making -- the redevelopment project is reality.

"It represents that it is a real project and also the quality of the project that [developers] Richard Gunner and George Andros are building," Frye said

Supporters of the redevelopment project, meanwhile, hope it starts a renaissance in that part of downtown. One of them is James Ardaiz, the 5th District Court of Appeal's presiding justice.

Ardaiz said the new courthouse -- which will officially be dedicated Sept. 13 -- should help draw restaurants and coffeehouses to the area.

Just fewer than 100 people will work in the building, which features two interior courtyards flanking the single courtroom where appeals will be heard.

As for the rest of the project, Gunner and Andros are marketing the office space and are in discussions with a large tenant for the first building, as well as some businesses interested in moving back downtown.

Ultimately, Frye said, the market will determine the pace of the project's development.

NewsBlaze, CA
July 28 2007
Crossfire War - Turkey Continues Undeclared War With Armenia - Russia
By Willard Payne

Night Watch: DARDANELLES - An undeclared war, conducted for more than a century, between Turkey and Armenia is still continuing. ANK-Turkish Daily News have reported Ankara has refused permission for an Albanian cargo ship to pass through the Turkish Straits of the Dardanelles and Bosporous into the Black Sea with its final destination being Armenia. The ship was loaded with weapons for the Armenian military and was forced to turn back. Most likely the weapons will have to shipped to Armenia through Russia, which earlier this year established a strategic - military alliance with Armenia as Moscow's and the West's effort to retain access to the energy resources of the Black Sea-Caucasus-Caspian region. [TURKISHDAILYNEWS]

Ankara has combined its regional policy with Tehran and the Georgian government in Tbilisi in their attempt to control the region and that is why this theatre is the decisive one in World War III. This is the only area Iran can be confronted so directly. Even though every NATO nation needs constant access to raw materials in this area, NATO refused to assist Moscow in any way during the first wars in the North Caucasus from 1994-96 in Chechnya, and in the second series of wars that began again in 1999 when Daghestan was invaded. NATO's failure, due to its suspicious strategic scheming, has prolonged World War III and has enabled Tehran to produce more nuclear warheads and ballistic missiles. Brussels, headquarters of both NATO and the European Union, instead kept insisting and still insists on wars with Serbia.

Night Watch Information Service

July 27, 2007
Turks & Tolerance
Putting Islamist victory in Turkey in context.

By Joshua Treviño

The ballots are in, and the Turkish electorate this week decisively reelected Recep Tayyip Erdogan to a second term as prime minister in Ankara. Erdogan’s Islamist Justice and Development party rose to power — first as the Welfare Party, till it was forcibly disbanded, and then in its current guise — amid fears that it would depart from the Kemalist vision that undergirds the modern Turkish state. (The party is more commonly known by its Turkish acronym, “AK.”) Certainly it did not help that he was prone to public statements such as, “The mosques are our barracks, the domes our helmets, the minarets our bayonets and the faithful our soldiers,” nor that he has declared that he seeks God’s forgiveness each time he shakes hands with a woman. When Westerners envision Muslim leaders with whom they may do business, Prime Minister Erdogan is not the sort who comes to mind. Still less, despite his stated ambition for his country, are he and his the men who will lead Turkey into Brussels’ version of “Europe.”

But if Turkey’s elected leadership seems an unwelcome religious throwback after decades of familiar generals and gray-suited bureaucrats, and if Turkey itself has not been a model of pluralist democracy under AK rule, neither has it slid backward into the much-feared Islamist grand vision. The popular metaphor for Turkey has it poised between two worlds: Europe on the one side, and Asia on the other. The media narrative in the U.S. and Europe would have us believe that Erdogan and the AK party represent the latter, drawing Turkey away from us in its ambition and program. Their opponents, therefore, are our friends, or at least are benign toward the West. This narrative is simple and comprehensible. It is also false.

The reality is that Turkish state and society are precariously balanced between three distinct visions: the aggressive chauvinism of its Kemalist founding; the Islamist ambitions of its resurgent religious consciousness; and the secularist ambitions of its burgeoning entrepreneurial and urban classes. Each of these strands has its pull, and barring unlikely catastrophe, none will wholly dominate the others. For all the ink spilled over the pros and cons of Islamist rule in Turkey, it is the Kemalist element that represents the most meaningful threat to a Turkey that may join Europe. Understanding that threat is key to understanding AK’s victory this past weekend.

The maverick Turkish historian Taner Akçam, in his book From Empire to Republic, explains the basic premises of the Kemalist worldview. Turkish nationalism as expounded by Mustafa Kemal, better known as Atatürk, arose in the context of the disintegrating Ottoman Empire. The empire’s loss of territory in Africa and the Arab Middle East was discouraging, but not nearly so traumatic as its dramatic rollback in Europe, where millions of Turks and Islamized Europeans lived. (Atatürk himself was a native of the now-Greek city of Thessaloniki.) As the empire tottered and fell, the Entente powers of the First World War decided to extend the process of dismemberment to Turkey’s Anatolian heartland. The Allies occupied Istanbul; Woodrow Wilson advocated an Armenian state on the eastern third of modern Turkey; France and Italy attempted to carve up southwestern Asia Minor; and most famously, Greece landed an invasion force at Smyrna (modern Izmir) and advanced nearly to Ankara in pursuit of a reborn Byzantine Empire. It was only the organizational and political genius of Mustafa Kemal that saved Turks from having nothing more than a rump state deep in the interior: He cowed the Allies into abandoning the country, and crushed the Greeks in a campaign that ended in the massacre of thousands on the quays of Smyrna.

The lesson that Kemal’s Turkish nationalists drew from the trauma of their republic’s birth was twofold: first, that religion in public life is a retrograde force; second, that non-Turks are a tremendous existential danger to Turkey. This outlook contained in itself its own contradiction: the definition of a “Turk” in this context is a Muslim who speaks Turkish. Given the polyglot nature of the Ottoman Empire, this means that those considered Turks are not all ethnically Turkish: Slavic, Caucasian, Arab, and Greek blood are all part of the national heritage. Thus, the Kemalist project attempted to simultaneously suppress faith, and posit faith as the defining characteristic of national identity. Though the state formally recognized non-Muslim citizens, it also suppressed and expelled them as much as possible, in a process beginning with the expulsion of Greeks from Asia Minor in 1923, continuing with the pogrom eliminating the Greek community of Istanbul in 1955, and proceeding into the modern day with the slow push to eliminate the Orthodox Christian Patriarchate in Istanbul. Muslim citizens of the Turkish state would receive similar treatment if they dared seek autonomy — see the Kurds for a prime example — but if they refrained, they were generally left to pursue a quiet existence, as the thriving Arab population of Antakya, near the Syrian border, testifies.

The baleful effects of this sort of nationalism are on display today. Religious freedom is severely restricted, and the country has a history of outright prohibition of missionary activity. As previously noted, the Turkish state actively seeks to eliminate the patriarch, senior bishop of the world’s Orthodox Christians, whose place of office has been in Istanbul since a millennium before the Turks conquered that city. A combination of legal restrictions and tightening controls mean that the pool of state-approved candidates for the patriarchate is rapidly shrinking, and unless these policies change, there will probably be no one left to become Patriarch before this century ends. The slow ending of an ancient Christian institution may seem, in the modern media narrative, an ambition of Islamists, and perhaps it is: but the responsibility here is squarely on Turkey’s Kemalist heritage, and its legacy of nationalist paranoia.

It is not merely the patriarchate that is under threat: Anyone deviating from the accepted mode of Kemalist Turkishness is liable to harassment or worse. Turkish converts to Christianity Hakan Tastan and Turan Topal are presently on trial under Article 301, a newly drafted (as of 2005) Kemalist legal legacy that prohibits “insulting Turkishness.” Turkish media fixture Kemal Kerincsiz, who is participating in the case, has told the press, “Christian missionaries working almost like terrorist groups are able to enter into high schools and among primary school students … They deceive our children with beautiful young girls.” Though this may sound like Islamist rhetoric, the impetus for the prosecution comes from nationalist adherents of Kemalism who are vastly more concerned with the protection of Turkey than the defense of Islam. Kerincsiz himself represents an element of Kemalism so zealous that he regularly seeks the prosecution of Muslim Turks who do not hew to the strict Kemalist line: the authors Elif Safak and Orhan Pamuk are among many hauled before courts in recent years to defend their fidelity to Turkishness.

For all their misfortunes, at least Tastan, Topal, Shafak, and Pamuk are alive. Father Andrea Santoro, a Roman Catholic priest, is not: He was shot dead in the Black Sea city of Trabzon by a Turkish youth motivated by a mixture of nationalist and Islamist sympathies. An April 9, 2006, Washington Post story on the killing laid forth in stark terms the perceived linkage between Turkish patriotism and Islam:
[Isa Karatas, spokesman for Turkey’s perhaps 80 evangelical Protestant churches], said fellow Turks often ask him: “‘If there is a war, whose side are you going to fight on?’ I just couldn’t get them to understand that even though I’m a Christian, my feeling for my country is the same. They just don’t understand this.”

Behnan Konutgan, an official with the Bible Society in Turkey who has said every Christian is obliged to spread the Good Word, has been arrested repeatedly. “When I am preaching,” he said, “people think I’m an enemy of the country.”

That the consequences of this perceived enmity are dire is illustrated in more than just Fr. Santoro’s case. This past April, in the city of Malatya, deep in the eastern Turkish interior, a German minister and two Turkish Christians were tortured and murdered. A July 12, 2007, editorial in Christianity Today described the horrifying event: “The two Christians were bound hand and foot to chairs, and the Muslims began stabbing them, slowly and deliberately … Finally, three hours after the torture began, police were called. The captors then slit the Christians’ throats, killing all three.” The killers’ note explaining the deed was not one of jihad, but of plain Kemalist nationalism: “We did it for our country. They are trying to take our country away, take our religion away.” Within days of the killings, anonymous Turks sympathizing with the murders were reportedly threatening media outlets in Ankara who dared report on the case.

Finally, the murder of Istanbul newspaper editor Hrant Dink has attracted some notice in Western media. Dink was Turkish by citizenship, and Armenian by ethnicity — and as such, he was something of an alien figure to both milieus. He made his name by challenging the nationalist tropes of both Turkey and Armenia, demanding that Turkey acknowledge its history of repression, and asking Armenians to let go of their bitterness. For his lifetime of effort, he was repeatedly put on trial, and on January 19th of this year, he was shot dead by a Turkish nationalist youth named Ogün Samast. The killer was swiftly apprehended by authorities clearly sympathetic to his blow for Kemalism: on February 2nd, the Turkish publication Radikal published photographs of Samast in custody, flanked by smiling policemen as he hoisted a Turkish flag. A mere ten days before, a hundred thousand Turks had turned out for Dink’s funeral in Istanbul. In the throng were placards reading, “We are all Hrant Dink.”

The hundred thousand of Dink’s funeral are the hope of Turkey’s future: They are the third element of the three-way struggle for the national destiny, mostly young and mostly educated men and women who reject the paranoid strictures and heavy-handed demands of Kemalist nationalism. This past weekend, they mostly voted for Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his AK party, not because they are Islamists, but because in the Turkish context, it’s not the Islamists who have brought repression to modern Turkey. Though it is true that many of the incidents of Kemalist-inspired repression cited here occurred under Islamist governments in Ankara, past and present, it must be understood that the Turkish parallel state, in which the military and nationalist elder figures assume the role of guardian of the republic, remains tremendously strong — and the Kemalist ethic is profoundly powerful and enduring. Even in leadership, the AK party is not able to impose a non-Kemalist society upon Turkey any more than American Democrats may work their unfettered will as a Congressional majority.

Our true friends in Turkey are neither the Kemalist nationalists nor the Islamists, but the post-nationalist secularists who enliven Istanbul’s trendy districts, populate the Aegean resorts, and produce the literary genius of the likes of Pamuk. For now, that group has endorsed the AK party’s Islamists. It is a choice we should respect — even as we hope for more.

This is not to be naïve or starry-eyed about Erdogan or the Islamists. They may proclaim their desire to join the European Union, and they may model themselves after the Christian Democrats in Europe. But Islam and Christianity make rather different claims on the state and society; and we should have enough experience with political Islam by now to regard it with wary skepticism until given reason to trust. And — let us note — we do not know whether, in a generation’s time, Turkish minorities may still be repressed, only in Islam’s name rather than Mustafa Kemal’s. This is regrettably possible, but it is not inevitable. If Recep Tayyip Erdogan wants to show that it will not happen, than he would do well to begin by listening to the message of the hundred thousand of Hrant Dink. He could give the patriarchate in Istanbul its liberty; he could give Hakan Tastan and Turan Topal their freedom; and he could seek the old Ottoman tradition of social pluralism over the Kemalist legacy of homogenization. It would not be an easy thing for him to do — but it would be right.

— Joshua Treviño is the vice president for public policy at the Pacific Research Institute in San Francisco, California. He has professional experience in the Muslim world in Asia and Africa. In fall 2006, he led a delegation to attend the papal-patriarchal events in Istanbul, Turkey.

Interview: Elif Shafak Has Survived A Court Case And Renewed Her Love For Turkey's Multi-Ethnic Heritage
A Writer Who Weds The Modern And The Mystic

By Boyd Tonkin
27 July 2007

Elif Shafak was born in France to a Turkish diplomatic family in 1971, and as a child lived in Spain, Jordan and Germany before studying in Ankara. She has taught Ottoman history and culture at Istanbul Bilgi University and, from 2002, at American universities in Boston, Michigan and Tucson, Arizona. A prolific columnist and fiction writer, she has published six novels: The Flea Palace (shortlisted for the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize) and The Gaze are available in the UK from Marion Boyars. Her novel The Bastard of Istanbul (published by Viking) provoked a court case in 2006 that led to her acquittal on a charge of "insulting Turkishness". Shafak, whose daughter Shehrazad Zelda was born at the time of her trial, now lives in Istanbul.

After years of interviewing ego-driven writers, one truth looms larger all the time for me. Authors who have precious little to say or to fear always make the biggest fuss about their precious work and their sacred little selves.

Then there is the modest minority in whom talent, courage and self-knowledge converge; who fight high-stakes battles against dangerous enemies, but never succumb to vanity, bitterness or dogmatism. Quietly eloquent at breakfast-time in her Bloomsbury hotel, the Turkish novelist, journalist and academic Elif Shafak explains how the Sufi strand of Islam that she loves helps to ground her in internal as well as external realities. "It's an endless chain," she explains.

"I'm both observing the outside world, and observing myself. And this is something that perhaps I derive from Sufism. Because I think the human being is a microcosm: all the conflicts present outside are also present inside him."

Compared to the trivial spats that occupy so many writers in the West, Shafak has had to endure enough external conflict over the past year to extinguish many lesser lights. In September 2006, she joined the scores of Turkish authors and intellectuals (notably, Nobel laureate Orhan Pamuk) who have faced trial for the crime of "insulting Turkishness" under Article 301 of the republic's penal code. Inevitably, the charges - pushed through by a cabal of hard-line nationalist lawyers - stemmed from a fictional discussion of the mass deportations and deaths of Armenians in 1915, as the Ottoman empire crumbled, at one point in her new novel The Bastard of Istanbul (Viking, £16.99).

The hearing took place just as her first child, a daughter named Shehrazad Zelda, was born. Shafak was rapidly acquitted; a verdict welcomed at the time by Turkish prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan (re-elected last Sunday). In court in Istanbul, she faced a Satanic Verses-style charade, with the wordsof one (Armenian) character in a novel of cultural and emotional polyphony plucked from their context and treated as a manifesto. With one, crucial difference from Salman Rushdie's plight: the judicial harassment of authors in Turkey comes not from Islamist forces but secular chauvinists.

Although she has had to walk through fire, Shafak carries herself with an uncanny air of calm ("cool" would be misleading; she has warmth as well as poise). Much of her mischievous fiction plays with the treachery of appearances, the mutability of identities. What you see is, consistently, not what you get.

Take the headscarf, now worn by around 60 per cent of Turkish women. Shafak explores its multiple meanings, with only some of them linked in any way to political Islam. The Bastard of Istanbul, with the matriarchal clan of the Kazancis at his heart, dramatises the kind of Turkish family where "Sometimes the mother's covered and the daughter isn't; one elder sister is a leftist; another is very superstitious. We are very much mixed, and I think there's nothing bad about it." As she puts it, "Islam is not a monolith. It's not a static thing at all. And neither is the issue of the headscarf."

Shafak herself could baffle stereotypes as gleefully as her characters often do. Born in Strasbourg, to a family of diplomats, she had a father who left home early on and a feminist mother (a foreign-ministry official in her own right) who brought her up in Spain, Jordan and Germany. She has taught in three American states and travelled all over the world. The author of six exuberantly digressive novels packed to bursting with jokes, tales and ideas ("carnivalesque", she calls them), she first wrote The Bastard of Istanbul and its predecessor not in Turkish but in English. "If it's sadness I'm dealing with," she says, "I prefer Turkish; for humour, I prefer English."

Now here she sits in a Bloomsbury hotel lounge, peppering her conversation with references to Johnny Cash or Walter Benjamin. An archetype of the secular, Westernised Turkish woman? Not at all: her involvement with the path of Sufism began as an intellectual quest, but deepened. "Only years later did I realise that perhaps this was more than intellectual curiosity, that it was also an emotional bond. Sufism has always been more open to women, and it's always been more feminine."

Along with Sufism comes the passion for Turkish popular traditions =80` in demotic language, folk-tales, customs and, above all, cuisine - that enlivens her books, especially when women wield them. Her grandmother read fortunes, warded off the evil eye and believed in the occult power of djinns. "I realised that women who have been denied any power in other spheres of life can find a means of existence in this little world of superstitions, of folk-tales, of storytelling... They are the queen in that sphere, especially as they get older".

Then, of course, there's the boundary-busting lore of food. In The Bastard of Istanbul, a Turkish and an Armenian family tragi-comically discover their kinship in part via the recipes each thought peculiar to their tribe. "WhenI was writing this book I wasn't interested in the masculinist political debates," Shafak explains, but "in the small things that mean so much in the lives of women. And when you do that, you start to notice the similarities." It always amazes her "how food can transcend national boundaries". As in the Middle East's "baklava wars": "The Lebanese say, 'it's our baklava', the Turks say, 'it's ours', the Arabs say, 'it's ours'... It doesn't belong to any group. It's multi-cultural."

If the new novel celebrates the potential togertherness of Turks and Armenians, it also shows how divergent approaches to the past can keep obstacles in place. Her rupture-happy Turks love to forget; her history-haunted Armenians to remember. For Armanoush, the Armenian-American from San Francisco who unearths her connection with the feuding, eccentric Kacanzis, her own people think of time as "a cycle in which the past incarnated the present and the present birthed the future". Whereas for the Turks she grows to know (and even love), "time was a multi-hyphenated line, where the past ended at some definite point...and there was nothing but rupture in between".

"If the past is sad, if it's gloomy," Shafak asks, "is it better to know more about it, to think more about it, or would you rather let bygones be bygones and prefer to start from scratch? I don't think that's an easy question, and I don't think it has a single answer." In general, Shafak suggests that the Turks would benefit from a lot more past, the Armenians from a little more present. "I think human beings need a combination of memory and forgetfulness."

She stresses that the unending dialogues that fill her fiction leave its readers free to enter it by "multiple doors and multiple windows". It's a liberty that seems entirely wasted on some single-minded jurists. "When I look at the whole year in hindsight, that's one of the things that hurt me most," she says. "Here we are talking about multiplicity, and a plurality of voices, and for completely political reasons one of these voices is being singled out and seen as representative of the book. That's something that hurt me as a fiction writer." The Bastard of Istanbul had circulated without impediment and sold around 150,000 copies prior to the case. Shafak underlines that "My experience with readers in Turkey has always been very, very positive...I get amazing feedback from them."

So she's happy to be back amid the inspirational hubbub of Istanbul after a couple of years of teaching in the "sterile, quiet and tidy" liberal enclave of Tucson, Arizona. "This can be good if you want to write a book," she reflects. "But if you want to establish a lifestyle, I don't think it's good for art, for literature. Art needs conflict, and other forces... Cities like Istanbul, or New York, or London: they might have more problems, they might make life more difficult, but I think these are the right places for writers and artists."

For Shafak, art must struggle to safeguard its space of free enquiry from the dead hand of doctrine: "Because the world we live in is so polarised and politicised, many people are not willing to understand that art and literature has an autonomous zone of existence... I'm not saying there is no dialectic between art and politics - there is, indeed - but art cannot be under the shadow of politics. Art has the capacity constantly to deconstruct its own truths... That's again why I think there's a link between Sufism and literature. For me, both of them are about transcending the self, the boundaries given by birth." "I think it's perfectly OK to be multi-lingual, multi-cultural, even multi-faith," she adds when we talk of her current fascination with the "labyrinth" of the English language. "In a world that's always asking us to make a choice once and for all, we should say, 'No: I'm not going to make that choice. I'm going to stay plural'."

Staying plural in Istanbul can still exact a steeper cost than doing so in Islington. Yet she has no shortage of allies. The people who applaud Shafakand her freedom to break out of religious and ethnic cocoons poured onto the stree ts in their hundreds of thousands in January after her friend, the Turkish-Armenian editor Hrant Dink, was murdered by extreme nationalists. In the wake of Dink's funeral-cum-demonstration, she wrote that his killing "united peopleof all ideological backgrounds" in "a common faith in democracy".

But the September trial, despite its successful outcome, did plunge her into "a period of mourning". "I was very demoralised for some time." Fiction has taken a back seat lately to Shafak's typically fearless journalism, and shehas been developing a TV screenplay about "honour killings". "At the moment, fiction waits in the background," she concludes, "but it's the main thing for me, it's the way I feel connected to life. So I cannot keep her in the background for too long."

Ankara Wishes To Completely Withdraw Term ‘genocide’ As Regards 1915 Events
/PanARMENIAN.Net/ “The purpose of the so-called “secret decree” by Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan is complete exclusion of term ‘genocide’ as regards of the events of 1915,” member of the ARF Dashnaktsutyun supreme body, chairman of the permanent parliamentary commission for foreign affairs Armen Rustamian told a PanARMENIAN.Net reporter.

This decree carries no other information, according to him.

“The replacement of notions in this case doesn’t concern the essence of the issue and Turkey’s stance on the Armenian Genocide recognition,” he underscored.

For his part, director of the Institute of the Armenian Genocide Hayk Demoyan told our reporter that Mr Ergodan did not sound a new idea. “It doesn’t matter how you call it. The essence doesn’t change. Generally, academicians rate non-recognition of the Armenian Genocide as bad form. This is a historical fact, however Ankara may represent it. Erdogan’s statement was meant for internal use,” Mr Demoyan said.

July 3 PM Erdogan signed a secret decree forbidding to use the term “sozde” (so-called, alleged) as regards the Armenian Genocide. According to the decree, the Armenian Genocide should be henceforth represented in official documents as “events of 1915” or “Armenian claims regarding the events of 1915.”

Letter To
The Hon. Senator Barack Obama,
U.S. Democratic Presidential Candidate

June 1, 2007
P.O. Box 8102
Chicago, IL 60680

Dear Senator Obama,

Your arrival in the US political scene has been refreshing which has caught the attention of millions, including my wife, who was very impressed with your speeches and promises for the future of America. Your health care plan is very impressive that could bring health care to all Americans. I have also been listening to your speeches and reading your book and articles about your vision. David Brooks interview with you back in April, 2007 was also very informative where you mentioned that Reinhold Niebuhr is one of your favorite philosphers who believes that there is serious evil in the world, and hardship and pain, as elaborated in his book ‘’The Irony of American History.’’ You also stated that your aim was to bring people together, both in the US and around the world. More power to you.

Then, I read the remarks that you made at a weekly Washington DC breakfast briefing where you said, ‘’For those who are not aware, there was a genocide that did take place against the Armenian people. It is one of these situations where we have seen a constant denial on the part of the Turkish Government and others that this occurred. It has become a sore spot diplomatically.’’ This was reported in an Armenian web site, one of many thousands, which does not miss an opportunity to publicize anti-Turkish propaganda, which unknowingly be a party to.

Your above statement which only reflects the evil anti-Turkish propaganda of the Armenians who have been deceving the American people with a myhtical genocide that never took place does not tell the true story behind the Armenian issue. Those who have been following this issue know that the Armenians fired the first shot and began masssacring Moslems with the purpose of creating a state of their own on lands where they were not the majority in late 19th and early 20th century. Their rebellions across the eastern Anatolia forced the Ottoman government to relocate them to other parts of the Empire in 1915 which resulted in the death of Armenians and Moslems as well. Many Armenians returned after 1916 and in fact joined the French armies and continued fighting against their own government.

Dear senator, as a candidate for the highest public office in the US, which also sets the course for the world to follow, I believe it is your duty to look at both sides of the Armenian issue and do not condemn the Turkish people and the Republic of Turkey for a crime that they did not commit. As they say in the South, no matter how thin you make a pancake, it still has two sides. Therefore, it is resectfully requested that you refrain from one sided statements which is not true, and tell both sides of the issue, as William Saroyan, the American writer did years ago.

Best wishes for a successful campaign.
Yuksel Oktay
New Jersey

Letter from
David Burrowes MP
Member of Parliament for Enfield Southgate

Dear Sir
I would like to respond to the concerns expressed in the Turkish community about my position on the events of 1915 involving Armenia. I regret the upset caused to my long standing friends in the community from signing a motion to recognise the Armenian 'genocide'. I appreciate the concern that the years 1912-1922 constituted a horrible period for humanity which included the killings of huge numbers of Muslims as well as Armenians. The motion I signed in April was not a formal resolution of Parliament and is not subject to debate but is a statement of the opinion of the signatories. I now recognise that it is more appropriate for me as a parliamentarian to be supporting steps that will lead to improved relations between Turkey and Armenia rather than making a disputed judgement on history. I have therefore withdrawn my signature from the motion.

I understand that the Turkish Government has called for an impartial investigation by historians under the supervision of the UN. I support such a move. All good friends will at times be critical of each other because they think it in their best interests. I trust that despite the criticism my friendship with the Turkish community will continue.

Yours sincerely
David Burrowes MP
Member of Parliament for Enfield Southgate
david@davidburrowes .com

They Aim To Isolate Armenia
A news analysis by Jirair Haratunian

Every other day, it seems, the president of Azerbaijan warns that if peace negotiations fail he will use military force to retake Nagorno Karabakh. He declares that Azerbaijan's oil revenues will enable his military to become so powerful that victory will be inevitable. He also boasts that he will exploit Azerbaijan's economic success to isolate and render Armenia useless. This hysterical rhetoric has been repeated again and again at home and abroad.

Unfortunately Aliyev's dangerous visions gained some currency when the Caspian oil pipeline to Turkey, via Georgia, was constructed with strong American support.

The pipeline deliberately circumvented Armenia and avoided passage through Russia. When the Armenian Assembly of America challenged Washington's endorsement of this project, the White House replied that its policy was to encourage multiple pipelines to distribute Caspian oil, not just the one. But in reality that was untrue. It was obvious that Washington's policy was to loosen Russia's influence in the South Caucasus and to lure Georgia and Azerbaijan away from Moscow.

>>From Baku's perspective the door was now wide open to try to exclude Armenia from other regional development projects. Its next best opportunity was the proposal to construct a new regional rail line from Kars to Baku, through Georgia, again circumventing Armenia.

The Turkish blockade had shut down the existing rail line that transited Armenia. To forestall this project, Yerevan offered to reopen that line and even pledged it would permit it to function without Armenia's participation. The offer was promptly rejected by Turkey.

This time the Armenian Assembly moved quickly and appealed to Congress to prevent any possibility of American support or financial assistance to the new rail line project. Important Members of Congress criticized Baku, Ankara, and Tbilisi for initiating a project whose clear intention was to exclude and isolate Armenia. With the full support of the Armenian-American community, legislation prohibiting U.S. support for the project was enacted into law. The Turkish, Georgian, Azeri axis was stung by this action, but they still persist to build their new rail line. Baku has offered to loan Georgia the funds to cover that nation's share of construction costs. Will the rail line be built? Perhaps, but without financing from the U.S. or Western Europe.

The lesson for Armenia, the Armenia Assembly, and all other political diaspora forces in the United States and Europe is clear. Any effort that seeks to exclude Armenia from full participation in regional development programs must be opposed.

For its part, the Republic of Armenia has largely checkmated Baku's ambition to isolate Armenia by linking Yerevan to all relevant international and regional organizations. Armenia remains in full membership of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation. It maintains a strategic bilateral relationship with Russia and other post Soviet republics through the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS). Yerevan has developed a strong set of connections with NATO through the Partnership for Peace program, and is an active participant in all the bodies of the United Nations Organization. It has membership in the World Trade Organization, the Organization for the Security and Co-operation in Europe, OSCE, and is a participant in the sessions of the European Parliament. These are strong antidotes to Baku's and Ankara's isolationist machinations.

In addition, despite the twin blockades of Turkey and Azerbaijan, the Armenian economy is growing annually at a double digit rate. The London newspaper The Economist predicts Armenia's growth rate at 10 percent next year. Also, Washington has named Armenia as one of the early recipients of the Millennium Challenge Corporation grants program, which envisions the investment of $235 million to upgrade roads, water sources and irrigation resources throughout rural Armenia.

There is ample reason to be optimistic about Armenia's future. Certainly serious internal problems persist.

As in other developing nations, corruption, political malfeasance, and social and economic inequality remain. But we must remember that Armenia is still in a transitional stage. It is emerging from long years of a command economy managed from Moscow, and has inherited a political environment where one party rule brooked no competition or dissent. Transition to a fully democratic state and a healthy market economy takes years and requires a large measure of creative ingenuity, coupled with patience.

At the same time, external dangers remain on the horizon. Turkey and Azerbaijan are implacably hostile towards Armenia. Nagorno Karabakh remains a frozen conflict with hopes, but little evidence of early resolution. Armenia's immediate neighborhood is plagued with severe problems. Turkey is confronted with internal political and social disputes where secularists are facing a resurgence of Islamism. It faces a persistent Kurdish movement struggling for political and human rights, and in neighboring Iraq an emerging Kurdish political entity is gaining strength.

Despite all its bravado and banging the drums of war, Azerbaijan remains a corrupt, unstable, and undemocratic nation that is vulnerable to internal disorder. Georgia is burdened with separatist regions that resist return to Georgian rule. Despite its Rose Revolution and active support from the United States, Georgia is at odds with its northern neighbor Russia, a problem that undermines its internal security.

Finally, Armenia's southern neighbor Iran, faces a severe controversy with the United States and western Europe because of its nuclear ambitions and its clandestine support of insurgencies in the Middle East. In the end, Armenia is destined to live in this dangerous and hostile neighborhood, but in comparison with its neighbors, Armenia emerges as the most stable state in the region.

With its growing economy and social stability, Armenia has earned a large measure of self confidence in its fifteen years of independence. However, this progress needs to be nurtured and supported at home and abroad.

Armenia is fortunate to have the support of a far flung Armenian diaspora. In particular, Armenia can rely on the large and influential Armenian communities in the three centers of power most essential to its well being: Russia, Western Europe, particularly in France, and the United States. As for the Armenian Assembly, it will employ its nationwide membership, its 35 years of political experience, and its professional staff to ensure the continued United States support and assistance for a democratic Armenia that is secure from external hostility and holds the promise of a bright future for its citizens.

Millions Spent Against Genocide Recognition Backfire On Turkey
By Harut Sassounian

Publisher, The California Courier

In recent years, the Turkish government has spent hundreds of millions of dollars on lobbying against the recognition of the Armenian Genocide.

It can be safely concluded that these millions of dollars have not only been largely wasted, but have negatively reflected on Turkey's image as a denialist state, at a time when it is desperately trying to present itself as an acceptable candidate for European Union membership.

Besides lining up the pockets of unscrupulous former U.S. politicians, now turned lobbyists, the Turks have very little to show for their massive expenditures in trying to cover up the genocide committed by Ottoman Turkish leaders over 90 years ago.

Interestingly, no one in Turkey seems to question why the country's leaders are wasting such huge sums of money on perpetuating a lie instead of spending it on improving the health, education and welfare of millions of Turkish citizens who live in abject poverty.

If Turkey were a true democracy and the people had a say in how their tax dollars were spent, its leaders would be hard pressed to explain the rationale for spending millions of dollars to block a resolution that has already passed twice through the House of Representatives.

Turkish lobbying efforts, besides wasting valuable funds, have had the unintended consequence of publicizing the Armenian Genocide worldwide. The meager attempts of Armenian organizations for genocide recognition would not have attracted much attention were it not for the publicity generated by Turkish leaders and their hired guns. It is indeed difficult to find countries whose leaders would work so hard for so long and spent so much money in order to undermine their own interests and give themselves a black eye in the process. The slick Washington lobbyists, on the other hand, happily pocket the money lavishly doled out to them in return for the promise of curing the Turks of their genocide complex.

The most recent such lobbyists are former congressmen Bob Livingston and Richard Gephardt who are now being ridiculed by highly respectable U.S. publications for cashing in on the denial of the Armenian Genocide. An article published in the July 23 issue of the influential New Republic magazine, bysenior editor Michael Crowley, exposes both of these scoundrels who apparently are willing to do anything for the right price. Excerpts from this significant article were reprinted in last Sunday's New York Times and posted on dozens of websites. This is yet another example of how the Turkish government pays a fortune to hired guns to lobby for its denialist agenda and ends up shooting itself in the foot. Here is what Turkey got for the millions of dollars it paid to Gephardt and Livingston.

Cong. Gephardt, the former Democratic minority leader in the House of Representatives, now works at the lobbying firm of DLA Piper which receives$100,000 a month to represent Turkey with the aim of trying to defeat the pending congressional resolution on the Armenian Genocide.

Crowley reported that "thus far, Gephardt's achievements have included arranging high-level meetings for Turkish dignitaries, among them one between members of the Turkish parliament and House Democratic leaders James Clyburn and Rahm Emanuel; helping Turkey's U.S. ambassador win an audience with a skeptical Nancy Pelosi; and, finally, circulating a slim paperback volume, titled 'An Appeal to Reason,' that denies the existence of the Armenian genocide of 1915."

Crowley wrote that "while the Turks and Armenians have a long historical memory, Gephardt has an exceedingly short one. A few years ago, he was a working-class populist who cast himself as a tribune of the underdog --including the Armenians. Back in 1998, Gephardt attended a memorial event hosted by the Armenian National Committee of America at which, according to a spokeswomanfor the group, 'he spoke about the importance of recognizing the genocide.' Two years later, Gephardt was one of three House Democrats who co-signed a letter to then House Speaker Dennis Hastert urging Hastert to schedule an immediate vote on a genocide resolution=80¦. Today, few people are doing more than Gephardt to ensure that the genocide bill goes nowhere."

The second scoundrel covered by Crowley is Cong. Livingston, a Republican, who resigned from the House due to an extra-marital affair on the eve of becoming House Speaker. He was paid $700,000 back in 2000 to block the approval of the then pending congressional resolution on the Armenian Genocide. Livingston came through with the help of Speaker Dennis Hastert and Pres. Clinton.

Crowley explained how overzealous Turkish lobbying efforts sometimes backfire. "Not long ago, one lobbyist invited a senior congressional aide to dinner at his suburban mansion. When he arrived, the aide was surprised to find himself surrounded by Turks keenly interested in his views on the genocide bill. (This time, the hard sell backfired; the staffer indignantly retorted that he believed a genocide had taken place, causing the lobbyist's face to go 'ashen')."

Crowley reported that "Turkey currently maintains expensive contracts with at least four different Washington lobbying and p.r. firms. =80¦Turkeycontracts the services of David Mercer, a connected Democratic fund-raiser and protégé of the late Democratic Party chairman Ron Brown. The Turks also pay $50,000 monthly to the Glover Park Group, a powerhouse Democratic firm stocked with connected former Clinton White House aides Joe Lockhart and Joel Johnson, for p.r. services. That work included advice on shaping an April full-page New York Times advertisement, which called for a new historical commission (which the Armenians call a sham) and urged Washington to 'support efforts to examine history, not legislate it.'"

Cong. Livingston's lobbying firm, the Livingston Group, made almost $13 million from the Turks in the past six years. "Back in 2000, Livingston's team personally contacted 141 different members of Congress in the five-week run-up to the aborted vote. And on October 19, the day the vote was canceled, Livingston met personally with Hastert to ensure its demise. Mission accomplished," Crowley reported.

Besides Livingston and Gephardt, another contender for the biggest hypocrite prize is former Democratic representative Steve Solarz of New York. Crowley described Solarz as "one of the first backers of a genocide resolution way back in 1975. By 2000, he was working with Livingston to defeat it, raking in $400,000 for his efforts."

Crowley also criticized "Washington's Jewish-American lobby" which he says earns "a special commendation for dubious behavior=80¦. In February, Turkey's foreign minister convened a meeting at a Washington hotel with more than a dozen leaders of major Jewish groups=80¦. The issue 'belongs to historians and not a resolution in Congress,' explains Anti-Defamation League director Abe Foxman, who outright opposes the resolution. 'It will resolve nothing.' But it's also clear that Turkey's status as Israel's lone Muslim ally counts for a lot, too. 'I think a lot of Israelis agree,' Foxman told me," Crowley wrote.

Besides enlisting the help of several Jewish American groups, "the Turks have also conspicuously hired some lobbyists with strong Jewish ties. Their payroll includes a Washington firm called Southfive Strategies, which billsitself as 'a Washington D.C. consulting boutique with access to the White House, congressional leadership, and influential media organizations.' Southfive is run by Jason Epstein, a former Capitol Hill lobbyist for B'nai B'rith, and Lenny Ben-David, an Israeli-born former deputy chief of mission at Israel's Washington embassy and a longtime AIPAC staffer whose previous firm, IsraelConsult, also worked for Turkey," Crowley revealed.

When Congress returns from its summer recess, we shall see whether lobbying fueled by political prostitution for money will prevail over the solemn quest of the Armenian-American community to reaffirm the historical facts of the genocide.

My Response Back To Congressmen Frank Palone, JR, In Response to your statement on the floor yesterday, regarding that the "Armenian Genocide denial is an absurdity"
/PanARMENIAN.Net/ U.S. Rep. Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ,) co-chairman of the Congressional statement.

The only absurdity is you bowing down to the Armenian Special Interest Groups. If you cared for your country and US citizens you would be working on trying to fix the broken systems, like health care, soon to be defunct Medicare and find answers to terrorism.

However, the soft money is good from the Armenians and you act as if you are an Historian, with little or NO knowledge about what happened 92 years ago, trying to re-write history, I would say that you are way out of your league on this subject matter. But the money is good is not?

Whether H.RES 106 passes or not, does not mean anything, except a few lost souls got their 15 minutes of fame, spending millions perhaps billions over the years, while their Countrymen suffer from starvation, Armenian and Armenians. The true answer to resolving this matter is to debate it or in a court of law. Why not enable the Armenians and the Turks to debate the subject? Or is that too easy? Or is it because the Armenians have no EVIDENCE to support such a claim?

You are not only misinformed about any of the so called facts, you have no answers to real solutions, nor do you offer any. You and your co-sponsors are merely planting seeds for future wars so young Americans can get themselves into situations; they have no clue about like in Iraq. So the Arms industry can also cleanup. Keep up the good work, most American's are "proud" of what you are planning with this absurd H.Res 106. Every American I know, has another agenda, but please continue on your disastrous course, it will get us far, losing a very powerful ally in the region to boot. You are a way out of line and out of touch and ignorant of all of the facts, with no consideration to the 1 million Ottoman families that were ruthlessly murdered. So the Crusades still continues with your ignorance and bigotry.

I am also truly disappointed in your lack of investigation and knowledge that only the world Court in the Netherlands can investigate and label any country with the Term Genocide after years of investigation. On top of it, you are allowing the Armenians of Diaspora to hold our congress hostage because both you and I know this as well as everyone else, they donate to your re election campaigns over the years. And by the way, the term GENOCIDE was coined in 1947 and is not retroactive like any law. Had that been the case, then we should also go back to the Crusades, the American Indians, just to mention a few questionable incidences about man's inhumanity to itself. According to your logic perhaps we should consider going back to Adam and Eve.


Erol Palantekin
Columbus * OH

Scandal Between Adl And Armenian Diaspora
Azeri Press Agency, Azerbaijan
Aug 2 2007
A nationwide program sponsored by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) is prompting an angry response from Armenians upset by the organization's stance on the Armenian genocide.

Armenian residents of the Boston suburb of Watertown want the local "No Place for Hate|" program to sever its ties with the ADL. "No Place for Hate" certifies individual communities that undertake anti-bias programming.

At issue is the ADL's refusal to endorse a proposed congressional bill that would recognize the Turkish murder of an estimated 1.5 million Armenians during World War I. Turkey refuses to acknowledge the genocide, and has enlisted the help of several prominent political figures to help defeat the bill.

The ADL contends that it doesn't take positions on historical issues.

Other Jewish groups, including B'nai B'rith, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee and the American Jewish Committee have taken no position on the resolution.

RA PM: It Would Be Better If Armenians And Turks Come To Understanding
/PanARMENIAN.Net/ "We didn’t choose the location of where we live and whatever happens we will have to be neighbors for a very long time. I think it would be better if Armenians and Turks come to an understanding," RA Prime Minister Serge Sargsyan said in an interview with Al Jazeera, having this message for Turkey’s newly elected government.

“Armenia has only two out of four borders open. It has stopped the economy from moving forward hundreds of millions of dollars of trade are lost every year. It is no surprise that Sargsyan wants change. Sargsyan may be willing to talk but the country still has a long way to go if wants to return to the days of the great Silk Road, when Armenia connected east with west,” Al Jazeera commented, Groong reports.

One More Armenian Church In Turkey To Be Turned Into Museum
/PanARMENIAN.Net/ Reconstruction works of an Armenian church in Edremit district of Van (Turkey) came to end. Turkish media reports the restored church will function as a museum. The European Union assigned €185 thousand to Turkey for reconstruction works, which launched June 6, 2007. The church, which was built in the13th century, will function as a city museum, where historical-cultural values of Van will be displayed, ‘Yerkir’ newspaper reports.

This is not the first case in Turkey when an Armenian church is being turned into museum. On March 29, 2007 Turkish authorities opened the restored Holy Cross Church on Akhtamar Island as a museum. This caused a wide resonance among Armenians of the whole world.

Turkey Managed To Thrust His Viewpoint Concerning Events Of 1915 On World Community
/PanARMENIAN.Net/ Western journalists are not ready to tell the truth about the Armenian Genocide of 1915 perpetrated by the Ottoman Empire, The Independent’s journalist Robert Fisk stated in his lecture at the American University in Yerevan. He said Turkey managed to thrust his viewpoint on the world community saying that during Ward War I Armenians were deported, since they could launch a civil war in the Ottoman Empire. “After the assassination of Hrant Dink I was reading world press. Reuters had prepared a material from Trabzon, which included everything besides the true motivations of that murder. It read about social causes, that the youth has guns at hand and so forth. Moreover, The New York Times constantly tells about “good relations between Armenian and Turks in the Ottoman Empire”. Everybody is well aware that this is not the truth. But nevertheless, what is written it becomes a viewpoint,” Fisk said.

Politicians Who Promise To Recognize Armenian Genocide, Are Acting Purely For Their Own Interests
 This content mirrored from TurkishArmenians  Site ©  /PanARMENIAN.Net/ “Armenians themselves must tell the world about the Genocide, nobody else will do it instead of them. In this issue there is no one that Armenia may rely on. Those politicians who promise to recognize the Armenian Genocide, are acting proceeding purely from their own interests, and we do not have to look for examples very long –the latest three US presidents,” The Independent’s journalist Robert Fisk stated in his lecture at the American University in Yerevan. He reminded the auditorium that first Winston Churchill called massacres of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire ‘genocide’ in 1930ies of the 20th century. “True, he was not prime minister then and even a politician, he was a journalist in the Middle East,” Fisk underlined.

Speaking on Great Britain’s stance in the recognition process of the Armenian Genocide, Fisk stated that the best example of it is the fact that former Premier Tony Blair proclaimed January 27 as the Remembrance Day for Holocaust, completely “forgetting” the Armenian Genocide. “The British government thinks it does not have enough information on the events of 1915, instead it has enough information that Iraq possesses weapons of mass destruction,” The Independence’s correspondent said.

At the same time he underlined recognition of the Armenian Genocide must become a compulsory precondition for Turkey in his EU bid.

Robert Fisk is a well-known journalist and writer, author of a book on the Middle East and correspondent at The Independent. He has received severel prestigious awards in journalism, lives and works in Beirut.

Historian Christopher Jon Bjerkness To Deliver Lecture On Armenian Genocide
/PanARMENIAN.Net/ Historian from Chicago Christopher Jon Bjerkness will speak on the topic of “Who were the Young Turks” in Glendale, California. The lecture is scheduled for August 8, the PanARMENIAN.Net was told in the Armenian community of Glendale. Christopher Jon Bjerkness has written several books and articles on the history of the theory of relativity. Discovering the true significance of the fall of the Ottoman Empire, he began to investigate the unwritten history of the Armenian Genocide. He has published his findings in a new book which identifies the ethnic origins and overall agenda of the “Young Turks”, including their motives for committing Genocide against Armenians.

A Jew by descent, Bjerkness alleges Jews for the 1915 Armenian Genocide in his latest book entitled “The Jewish Genocide of Armenian Christians”.

Turkey's Minorities Happy With Election Results
Representatives of the Greek Orthodox, Jewish and Armenian communities of Istanbul all expressed happiness with the landslide victory of the Justice and Development Party (AK Party), underlining they had no fears that the AK Party has a hidden agenda to establish Islamic rule.

Turkey's Jewish community is not concerned because the AK Party has been strengthened after last Sunday's landslide win, according to Silvio Ovadio, head of the Turkish Jewish community. According to Ovadio, most Turkish Jews believe that Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan will have to seek consensus more often, since his AK Party now represents half of the electorate.

He talked to the press to respond to claims that a majority of Turkey's Jews voted for the Republican People's Party (CHP) because of the AK Party's Islamist roots. The Jerusalem Post had claimed that Turkey's Jews believe that the AK Party has an agenda to establish a Muslim theocracy, and they were throwing their support behind the secularist CHP.

However, "we do not fear Islamization of Turkey," Oviado said. "The Ottoman Sultans had always been very friendly to Jews....We have no concerns about the Jewish lifestyle here." Ovadio also stated he did not have extreme concern about Turkey's near-term future.

"Turkey is not Iran. There are no mullahs here. True, there are religious communities, but that is not the same thing.

These are much more modern than those in Iran and they oppose the situation there. The secular section in Turkey is also very strong.”

He said religion in Turkey was mainly in the sphere of relations between individuals, rather than the state and the individual. Underlining that Prime Minister Erdogan had taken the support of all sections of society, he said: “There is no doubt that they have served the people really well during their term in power. There is no inflation, the currency is strong and the stock exchange is doing well. There is an increase in our imports and exports. The government has privatized many institutions and brought in billions of dollars.”

He confessed that he was surprised about the percentage of votes won by the AK Party, but said this left no option for Prime Minister Erdogan but to act responsibly and moderately. He also emphasized that in Turkey, where 23,000 Jews reside -- 20,000 of them being Istanbulites -- the community had perfect relations with the government and the bureaucracy.

Mihail Vasiliadis, editor in chief of the Greek-language daily Apoyevmatini, a reputed source of news for Istanbul’s Greek Orthodox community, said they were pleased with the results. “Minorities are always others. But for other parties, there is an ‘ethnic’ element. For the AK Party minorities are others, not as elements of another nation but as members of another religion,” Vasiliadis said.

He expressed that for political parties that were nation-state-oriented, people in the country of different ethnic backgrounds had no place. “That is much more dangerous for us. The experience of five years has shown us that whenever there was a positive bill in Parliament regarding minorities, the CHP always tried to block it. The only complaint we have about the AK Party is they didn’t stand up strongly against objections from nationalists.”

“Overall, we are happy about the results. One thing we are sorry about is that [independent candidate] Baskin Oran was not elected to Parliament. Having someone like him would have been great in Parliament. We voted for him, but we would have voted for the AK Party if he wasn’t here.” Vasiliadis also expressed hope that the government would now work on improving relations with the European Union and enhance its commitment to Turkey’s bid to join the club.

Luiz Bakar, a spokesperson for the Armenian Patriarchate, said a majority of her community were very glad about the results. “The community is happy about the elections,” she said.


History Of Ottoman Ferries Comes To Light
Vercihan Ziflioglu
ISTANBUL - Turkish Daily News
July 24, 2007
An exhibit on the Ottoman Empire’s first corporation establishment, the ‘Sirket-I Hayriye’ ferry company, is on display in Karaköy. The exhibition will be carried to Kadiköy Pier after July 30

Research in the presidential archives has unveiled documents on the Ottoman Empire's first corporation establishment, “Sirket-I Hayriye,” a sea transportation company. Murat Koraltürk at the Marmara University School of Economics has published the findings in “Sirket-i Hayriye 1851-1945.”

The General Manager of Istanbul Seabus, Ahmet Paksoy, supported the project. There was no previous research conducted on the vehicle ferries, the only transportation during the Ottoman times. The Ottoman archives were not even translated into Turkish.

An exhibition in Karaköy is now displaying the historical documents, as well as paddle steamers, steam vessels and modern ferry models. Titled “A centennial journey in the Bosporus – Sirket-i Hayriye with documents,” the exhibition will be open in Karaköy until the end of July. For the rest of the year it will travel to all of Istanbul's ports, incorporating different documents in each location. Books of the documents have been published in Turkish and are available at bookstores already; there are plans to publish in English as well in the future.A rich historyThe establishment Sirket-i Hayriye was founded with 2,000 shares in 1850, each worth 3,000 kurus. Sultan Adbülmecid Han directed the company to open to the public and bought 100 shares himself. The process was remarkably similar, explained Paksoy: “The way they opened the shares to the public was the same even 160 years ago.”

As soon as Sirket-i Hayriye was formed the company was commissioned for six years to two Armenian merchants, Antuan Kalayciyan and Hagop Bilezikçiyan. By the end of the six years the company held a monopoly over sea transportation.

The ferries, which came from England, sailed their first trip in 1854 and were worth 8,000 units of gold. While today there are no class privileges in ferries, Paksoy explained that the original vehicles had luxurious compartments for wealthier customers. The first public ferry, named “Suret,” was purchased from England in 1868.

Paksoy said that the first ferries of Istanbul were named Rumeli, Trakya, Göksu, Beylerbeyi, Tophane and Besiktas – mostly after names of Istanbul neighborhoods.

After 94 years Sirket-I Hayriye was purchased by State Maritime Lines Administration in 1944. Today ferries are still an indispensable transportation vehicle for many Istanbullians going to the Princes' Islands. Some things are just the same. “The employees who work in the ferries are Marine School graduates, like the Ottoman Empire times,” said Paksoy.

But Paksoy explained that they have changes in mind for the future as they aim to transform the piers into arts centers. “During the day people who take the ferry can learn about the history of Istanbul's ferries,” he said. Paksoy described ferry journeys as a way of life and hopes that the exhibit will help all ferry riders appreciate the 166 years of history behind their daily commute.

The Intimidation Campaign Against Taner Akçam
24 July 2007
University of Minnesota sociologist-historian Taner Akçam, an international authority on the 1915 Armenian Genocide, is the target of an ongoing intimidation campaign to portray him as a convicted terrorist and a traitor to his native Turkey.

A noted writer and lecturer on Turkish nationalism, the Armenian Genocide, and Armenian-Turkish dialogue, Prof. Akçam relocated to the United States in 2001, the year that his writings began to appear in English and the campaign against him was launched in response.

In a sensational commentary published by the Washington, DC–based Assembly of Turkish American Associations, Akçam was denounced as a mastermind of terrorist violence, including the assassinations of American and NATO military personnel. Disseminated online by the 19,000-member Turkish Forum and posted since 2004 at the influential Genocide-denialist site Tall Armenian Tale, these allegations were soon copied to well over 10,000 Web pages, including Akçam’s book reviews at Amazon and his persistently vandalized biography at Wikipedia. He began receiving death threats after Turkish Forum posted his contact information so that readers could "send greetings to this traitor."

Following the November 2006 publication of Akçam’s critically acclaimed study, A Shameful Act: The Armenian Genocide and the Question of Turkish Responsibility, the campaign intensified. Akçam’s lectures and book tour were violently disrupted, and poison-pen letters were emailed to the hosting universities. Tellingly, a planned disruption at Yeshiva University was called off after conference organizers appealed to the Turkish Consulate in New York. In February 2007, en route to lecture at McGill University Law School, Akçam was detained in the Montreal airport for nearly four hours on suspicion of terrorism. He was shown, as evidence, his vandalized Wikipedia biography.

Just one month before the Montreal incident, the assassination of Akçam’s friend and colleague, Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink, had put Turkey’s intellectuals on high alert. They knew that in the months before his murder, Dink had been targeted as a traitor by an increasingly vicious media campaign. Leading the pack was Hürriyet, one of the most widely read newspapers in Turkey.

In May 2007, citing the heightened danger to his own life, Akçam unmasked the secretive Webmaster of Tall Armenian Tale as Turkish-American illustrator Murad "Holdwater" Gümen of New York City. Death threats and denunciations followed. Hürriyet portrayed Akçam as a cowardly traitor who "vomits hate towards our country." No attempt was made to interview him, and his letter to the editor was ignored.

"Once again, intellectuals and activists who dare to question the government’s ‘official history’ are being put on notice," said Akçam on July 16. "This shameful campaign not only endangers my life and the lives of my colleagues, my family and friends; ironically enough, the very notion of free expression is being undermined by the very institution that depends on it most: the public press.

"And what is the point, after all?" he continued. "I published a scholarly study that deviated from the official position of the Turkish State. One should ask the Turkish authorities whether they truly believe that shooting the messenger will prove that their position on 1915 is the correct one."

Los Angeles Times’ Article Exposes California’s Armenian Community
24 July 2007
The Los Angeles Times newspaper on published an article yesterday exposing California’s large Armenian community, APA’s Us bureau reports. The article entitled “The Armenian connection” says:

“In the summer of 2003, budget-cutting California lawmakers closed state trade promotion offices in London, Hong Kong, Mexico City and other world business centers, a dozen in all.
But they voted to keep one open — in Yerevan.
That’s in Armenia.
Responding to an enthusiastic pitch from California’s large and influential Armenian American community, the Legislature passed a law creating the California-Armenia Trade Office. They charged the new state agency with boosting California’s exports to a poor, landlocked nation of 3 million people in a tumultuous region where Europe and Asia uneasily meet.

Legislators, however, insisted on one novel caveat: This effort to represent California in a nation with an economy the size of San Bernardino County’s should run on private donations and get no taxpayer funds.
Supporters say it’s an innovative way to help exporters reach potentially lucrative emerging markets, not only Armenia but other former Soviet states, including Georgia, Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan.

"This trade office created a new model for California," said Sen. Jack Scott (D-Altadena), author of the Armenia trade bill. Scott’s district includes Glendale, home to a thriving Armenian American community.

That group "loves the idea that their state of California is working with Armenia as a gateway to that big region," said Johnny Nalbandian, who runs the trade agency’s office in Glendale.

But critics consider it ludicrous to put the state’s sole overseas trade office in such a small and isolated country. If California were a nation, it would have the world’s eighth-largest economy, they note. Armenia ranks 128th.

"If you’re going to have a trade office for the state and if you only had to have one, it would seem that, logically, that office would be in a more central location and a larger market," said John Leibman, a Los Angeles lawyer and former member of the California State World Trade Commission.

Armenia is California’s 89th-largest export market, ranking behind Bulgaria and ahead of the Bahamas. California’s exports to Armenia, mainly transportation equipment, machinery, computers and electronics, totaled $25 million last year, about 2% of the state’s global exports. Armenian exports to California, mostly processed foods, rugs and diamonds, were valued at about $15 million, the California-Armenia Trade Office said.

Jerry Levine, a San Francisco trade consultant who has worked for dozens of U.S. state and foreign governments, scoffed at the assertion that Armenia could serve as a gateway for California exports to Eastern Europe and western Asia.

"Trade directors of other states burst into laughter at the news that California not only closed its real offices but has its only one in Armenia," he said. "Even worse, the bill would extend the mandate of this office to all the former USSR states. And what is their relationship to Armenia? Cordial?"

Armenia’s eastern and western neighbors, Azerbaijan and Turkey, have closed their borders to trade with Armenia because of political and ethnic conflicts in the region.

Local official Business, Transportation and Housing Agency concluded that mentioned trade office let the hopes down.

Erdogan Banned Calling Armenian Genocide “So-Called”
24 July 2007
The Prime Minister of Turkey Receb Tayyip Erdogan has reportedly issued a confidential decree (No. 2007-18) on July 3 banning the use of the term “sozde” (alleged or so-called in Turkish) when referring to the Armenian Genocide. The news of this “secret” directive was made public on July 19 by Turkish “Ulusal Kanal” TV and its website and reposted on several other news sites since then. Turkish denialists reacted angrily to this decree, accusing the Prime Minister of undermining their efforts against the congressional resolution on the Armenian Genocide. Turkish officials and reporters never fail to refer to the Armenian Genocide as the “so-called” or “alleged” genocide, thus casting doubt on the mass killings of Armenians by the Turkish government from 1915 to 1923. According to Erdogan’s decree, henceforth the Armenian Genocide should be described in official statements and public discourse as the “events of 1915” or “Armenian allegations regarding the events of 1915”.

The Prime Minister’s office has reportedly sent this decree to all state institutions, including all ministries, governors, mayors, universities, courts, and the General Chief of Staff. Erdogan is said to have stated in his decree that he was taking this action on the basis of a resolution adopted by the Council of Europe in February 2005. This probably is a reference to a recommendation by several Turkish non-governmental organizations in February 2005 to “cleanse Turkish textbooks of xenophobia and ultra-nationalism”. The proposal was the result of a three-year study funded by the European Commission. Ulusal Kanal explained that the Council of Europe had called on Turkey to refrain from using certain disparaging words and phrases in referring to Armenians and Greeks in Turkish textbooks.

Armenians Of France Established A “committee Of Protecting Taner Akcam”
/PanARMENIAN.Net/ The Armenian community of France has established a “Committee of Advocating Taner Akcam”, which will protect the writer from possible attacks by Turkey. The Committee has turned to the French government and a number of European structures with a letter, which informs about increasing danger for Akcam because of his publications on the Armenian Genocide. The letter condemns Article 301 of the Turkish Penal Code, which violates the freedom of speech and expression. “For about a month ago Professor Taner Akcam at the Minnesota University found out that a man hiding in the USA under “Holdwater” pseudonym and who is struggling against the Armenian Genocide recognition for more than 30 years and protecting the Turkish viewpoint in this respect is nobody else, than film director Murad Gumen. After this the number of threats addressed to the Turkish historian has significantly increased. An article titled “Is it possible that Taner Akcam will be killed” was posted on one of the Turkish web-sites. The author of the article remembers Akcam’s activities and brings a letter written by the historian himself. In this letter Akcam says, “After Hrant I am next in turn”, “Yerkir” newspaper reports.

In 1977 Taner Akcam had to leave Turkey. From 1988 he lived in Hamburg, Germany. From 2002 he is junior scientific assistant professor at the Minnesota University, USA. Akcam is the author of “Shameful Act” Armenian Genocide and the Question of Turkish Responsibility”, which was widely and positively accepted in the USA and has attracted great attention towards the author and the Armenian Genocide issue.

French Publication To Correct The Book, Which Indirectly Denies Armenian Genocide
/PanARMENIAN.Net/ Thanks to the efforts of the Armenian community of France famous French publication “Hachette” will correct the book, which includes an article that denies the Armenian Genocide. The book about Turkey ignores the tragic events of 1915. Instead it presents lying statements of the Turkish side.

On behalf of Alex Govchian, the Coordinator of the Armenian Unions of France, the Armenian Community of France and local Armenian unions a letter was addressed to the publication. It says that an article titled “Defeat of Armenia”, which was published by “Hachette” in a book titled “Blue Guidebook” is an indirect denial of the Armenian Genocide. Authors of the letter demand to change the above-mentioned article. “We’d like to inform that we do not share views that deny the Armenian Genocide”, was the answer from “Hachette”. Representatives of the publication assured that in the new book due to be published in 2009 the above-mentioned article will undergo correction.

In particular, this disputable article says that after joining together in the World War I Armenians have killed a lot of Turks and Kurds and just because of this the Ottoman Government organized mass killings of Armenians in Van in 1915, “Yerkir” newspaper reports.

Turkish Prime Minister Bans Calling The Armenian Genocide "Alleged"
By Harut Sassounian
Publisher, The California Courier
The Prime Minister of Turkey Receb Tayyip Erdogan has reportedly issued a confidential decree (No. 2007-18) on July 3 banning the use of the term "sozde" (alleged or so-called) when referring to the Armenian Genocide.

The news of this "secret" directive was made public on July 19 by Turkish "Ulusal Kanal" TV and its website and reposted on several other news sites since then. Turkish denialists reacted angrily to this decree, accusing the Prime Minister of undermining their efforts against the Congressional resolution on the Armenian Genocide.
Turkish officials and reporters never fail to refer to the Armenian Genocide as the "so-called" or "alleged" genocide, thus casting doubt on the mass killings of Armenians by the Turkish government, 1915 to 1923.

According to Erdogan's decree, henceforth the Armenian Genocide should be described in official statements and public discourse as the "events of 1915" or "Armenian allegations regarding the events of 1915."

The Prime Minister's office has reportedly sent this decree to all state institutions, including all ministries, governors, mayors, universities, courts, and the General Chief of Staff.

Erdogan is said to have stated in his decree that he was taking this action on the basis of a resolution adopted by the Council of Europe in February 2005. This probably is a reference to a recommendation by several Turkish non-governmental organizations in February 2005 to cleanse Turkish textbooks of "xenophobia, machismo and ultra-nationalism." The proposal was the result of a three-year study funded by the European Commission. Ulusal Kanal explained that the Council of Europe had called on Turkey to refrain from using certain disparaging words and phrases in referring to Armenians and Greeks in Turkish textbooks.

The European Parliament has adopted a number of resolutions since 1987 urging the government of Turkey to recognize the Armenian Genocide, if it wished to join the European Union. However, the EU has not made such recognition a requirement for Turkish membership.

Erdogan has reportedly ordered that his decree remain confidential, while mandating its implementation by all officials and society at large. In the coming days, it remains to be seen whether Turkish government officials and the media will indeed stop referring to the Armenian Genocide as "alleged" or "so-called," especially Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul, who makes frequent denialist statements on the Armenian Genocide.

If the news of this decree proves to be accurate, it would be widely criticized by Turkish denialists, while being hailed by Europeans as a sign of progress by Turkey on the taboo subject of the Armenian Genocide.

It is noteworthy that when Prime Minister Erdogan first came to power, he made cautious statements when asked about the Armenian Genocide. Notably, he did not deny the fact of the Armenian Genocide, but simply stated that "these events" must be researched or looked into to find out what really happened.

Immediately, the Turkish military establishment and ultra-nationalists began accusing him of being too pliant in accepting "imposed terms" for joining the European Union, and not reacting strongly against Kurdish and Armenian demands. In response, Erdogan started taking tougher positions against EU membership requirements, the Armenian Genocide, claims for Kurdish autonomy, the Cyprus conflict, and Israel's mistreatment of Palestinians. The Prime Minister wanted to show his hawkish opponents at home that he was just as good a Turk as his critics and that they were wrong in accusing him of compromising Turkey's national interests.

On the Armenian Genocide issue, he went from saying that he did not know what really had happened in 1915, to denying outright that genocide had taken place, claiming that the Turkish nation could not have committed such a heinous crime. Ironically, while repeatedly denying the facts of the Armenian Genocide, he was, at the same time, suggesting that a commission of historians be formed to study whether such a crime had been committed.

It remains to be seen whether Prime Minister Erdogan, following his party's major victory in Sunday's parliamentary elections, would be much less sensitive to the accusations of his opponents. His newly-revealed decree on banning the term "alleged" Armenian Genocide could be an early sign that the Prime Minister now feels politically strong enough to take more liberal and daring positions on a number of thorny domestic and foreign policy issues, including the Armenian Genocide.

‘Kuvvaci’s Plan To Assassinate Bartholomew
Plans to assassinate Armenian Patriarch Mesrob Mutafyan, Fener Greek Patriarch Bartholomew and Turkish Jewish businessman Ishak Alaton were found on a computer belonging to Bekir Öztürk, head of the National Forces Association (Kuvva-i Milliye).

According to the Gazeteport Internet news portal, the ultra-nationalist organization could have carried out these plans during the presidential election if either Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan or another Justice and Development Party (AK Party) member were to have been elected president.

The report said the assassination plans found on Öztürk’s computer were part of the ongoing Ümraniye investigation. It was noted that the public prosecutor’s office has demanded an increase in security measures from the Security General Directorate to protect Mutafyan, Bartholomew and Alaton.

After finding 27 hand grenades and other explosives in a slum house in the Ümraniye district of Istanbul, the security forces went on to raid Kuvva-i Milliye offices in Ankara, Konya, Bursa and Balikesir over the past week. A total of five people, including Öztürk, have now been arrested in connection with the investigation.

Today’s Zaman

New To Turkish Politics? Here's A Rough Primer
July 23, 2007
The Republic of Turkey has functioned under a multi-party system since 1945 which has been interrupted by three military coups, the last in 1980. While often rough and tumble, Turkey's muscular democracy is alive and well.

The single-chamber Parliament, known in English as the Grand National Assembly as Türkiye Büyük Millet Meclisi – the TBMM in Turkish, has 550 members. Its members are elected for a five-year term by proportional representation and conditional party they represent crossing a 10 percent threshold. The last legislative elections took place in November 2002 and were won by the Justice and Development Party (AKP) with 34.27 percent of the total votes. The Republican People's Party (CHP) came in second with 19.39 and is today the main opposition party.

The main players at the moment:

The Justice and Development Party (AKP): Founded in 2001, it is a liberal party, often described as a party with “Islamist roots.” The AKP itself rejects this "Islamist" label common in the western media, and claims that it is a pro-Western mainstream party with a "conservative" social agenda but also a firm commitment to liberal market economy and European Union membership. Today they have 367 members in the TBMM.

The Republican People's Party (CHP): Created in 1923 by the founder of the Turkish Republic Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, it is the main opposition in the TBMM. In recent decades, it has billed itself a “Social Democrat” party in the mould of European counterparts. In recent years, however, it has also moved to the right to embrace more market-oriented policies. The CHP supports both Turkey's Customs Union with Europe, which has been in place since 1995, and Turkey's efforts to join the European Union.

Young Party (GP): Founded by a young and controversial businessman Cem Uzan in 2002, the party surprised many in the last elections when it got 7.24 percent of the vote after just three months of political life. Failing to pass the 10 percent threshold in 2002 it did not enter parliament but is now back with its strongly nationalist, populist and anti-EU platform.

The Democratic Left party (DSP): Founded in 1985 by Rahsan Ecevit, wife of Bülent Ecevit (a former premier banned from politics after the military coup of 1980), it seized the center-left mantle from the CHP. It was led from 1987 to 2006 by Bülent Ecevit after his return to politics until his death last year. In was the leading party in 1999 elections and ruled in coalition until 2002. It garnered a scarce 1.21 percent of the votes in 2002 and failed to enter Parliament. This year it is running on a joint ticket with its rival on the left, the CHP.

National Movement Party (MHP): Founded in 1969, this party is often described as “ultra-nationalist” party for its history of militancy, its emphasis on “Turkish” identity and its para-military youth wing known as the “Grey Wolves” which figured in much of the left-right violence in Turkey in the 1970's. In 2002, it failed pass the threshold with a total of 8.5 percent of the votes. Since the death of the firebrand founder Alparslan in 1997, the party has moderated its image and rhetoric under successor Devlet Bahçeli. Much of party's new leadership has been drawn from respected names in diplomacy and academia and the party, while remaining skeptical, has toned down its anti-EU rhetoric of the past.

The Motherland Party (ANAP): Founded in 1983 by former president Turgut Özal. ANAP stands in the center right of the political spectrum. It governed from 1983 to 1991; formed a brief governmental coalition with the the DYP in 1995 and then back to power from July 1997 to November 1998 with Mesut Yilmaz at its head. Its strength is in the cities and it transformed the Turkish economy in the 1980's, introducing free-market reforms and down-sizing the public sector and also crafted much of today's pro-EU policy in Turkey. With only 5.12 percent of the votes in 2002, it was left out of Parliament but remained active on the sidelines. Its was to be formally dissolved a few weeks ago in an to merge with the DYP (below) under the banner of a newly reconstituted Democrat Party (DP) but the effort failed. Its leader Erkan Mumcu said the party would not be running in the elections.

The True Path Party (DYP): founded in 1983 by Süleyman Demirel (although he was banned from politics until 1987), is conservative and similar to ANAP but draws its strength from the countryside. A frequent charge is that rivalry between these two center-right parties has aided Islamist politicians. In 2002, it received 9.55 percent of the vote, just shy of that needed to enter parliament. Ultimately, however, it secured a spot in the legislature with the defection of four members from parties who did join Parliament. Now led by Mehmet Agar, a former police chief and anti-terror czar, it has transformed itself into the new Democrat Party (DP).

The Democrat Party (DP): While officially a new party that sought to mend the destructive rift on the center-right between the long-dueling DYP and ANAP, its name evokes a legend in Turkish politics. It was the first real opposition party in Turkey, the original DP, that took power in 1950 from the establishment CHP. It ruled for a decade until its leader Adnan Menderes was ousted in a 1960 coup and subsequently executed. Menderes' hanging has given him martyr's status in conservative circles. The symbolism of the name is lost on no one, and the party is currently headed by Mehmet Agar, the former ANAP chief who emerged the winner of the DYP-ANAP merger, which effectively scuttled ANAP and consolidated his leadership over the center-right political spectrum.

Independent Candidates: In this election, some 50 candidates are expected to participate as independents. This is a means to get around a number of obstacles, including the 10 percent threshold, which is the largest parliamentary threshold in Europe and has been criticized as anti-Democratic. Independents only have to pass a threshold in the local constituency, an appealing “Plan B” for many. The pro-Kurdish Democratic Society Party, for example, is running solely as a collection of indepents with a strategy of formally regrouping under the party banner once in Parliament. Several leftist candidates are also pursuing this strategy.

Turkey Denies Transit To Albanian Arms Shipment Bound For Armenia
Artur Korriku
Gazeta Shqiptare, Tirana
18 Jul 07
Turkish authorities have refused transit to a sizeable consignment of Albanian weapons and ammunition bound for Armenia. They forced an Albanian ship to sail back with its cargo. One of our naval vessels loaded with containers full of weapons, mainly heavy artillery and ammunition, was berthed at Durres port. The ship had sailed from Durres to Istanbul, loaded with 60 containers of heavy artillery and shells, destined for Armenia.

Several days earlier, a representative of the Armenian Defence Ministry had contacted his counterpart at the Albanian Defence Ministry and ordered a large consignment of field and anti-aircraft artillery of various calibers, ranging from 75-mm to 122-mm together with shells. The Albanian Defence Ministry had appointed the MEIKO company to fill the order, since it had some experience in this business. MEIKO has been known in the arms trade ever since Safet Zhulali headed the Albanian Defence Ministry.

MEIKO contacted the relevant officials in Armenia and clinched the deal.

After everything seemed to be proceeding fine, a sudden obstacle arose in Turkey, which did not allow the ship to sail through the Straits and turned it back. Subsequently, the arms were unloaded in the stores of the Albanian Army. The official reason that Turkey has given for refusing transit to our ship is still unknown, as is the price that Armenia was to pay for the shipment.

Armenia, formerly part of the Soviet Union, is interested in the arms being offered by this country, as they are the same as those at the disposal of the other east European countries in terms of calibers. The Armenian Army is in need for more artillery ammunition, as its supplies have been interrupted because of political developments. However, the transaction fell through because Turkey did not allow our ship loaded with arms to sail through the Straits.

Election Results: Challenges Ahead
July 23, 2007
The nation has delivered its verdict. Now, irrespective of how they scored in the poll, all parties must leave campaign rhetoric behind and concentrate on how to handle the challenges ahead

Thousands of candidates running on tickets of 14 political parties and some 700 independent hopefuls tried to make their way into the new Turkish Parliament in yesterday's parliamentary poll which was viewed in Turkey and in the international community as a pivotal contest in determining the balance between Islam and secular democracy in this overwhelmingly Muslim nation of 70 million.

It is obvious that the nation has disagreed with the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) that the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) posed a threat to the pillar of secularism in Turkish democracy. The decision by Democrat Party (DP) leader Mehmet Agar to step down must set an example for other failed political leaders, particularly for CHP leader Deniz Baykal.

Sunday's vote has definitely opened a new era in Turkey. The opening of this new era was evident, indeed, from the high election turnout by the people.

High turnout

Hundreds of thousands of Turks have cut short their vacations and flocked to main cities where they were registered in electoral lists. From the coastal tourist resort towns to Istanbul, Ankara, Izmir and other major cities there was an unprecedented increase in land and air traffic throughout the past three days before voting day. To ensure people return to cities before Sunday's voting day, many official work places, particularly the military, demanded their vacationing personnel to report in on Friday.

Partly because of such measures but mostly due to the secularist-Islamist polarization in the country – unlike the 2002 election when almost a quarter of the registered 42 million electorate, or about 10 million eligible voters did not go to the booths –- huge queues were formed in the early hours of the morning in front of the polling stations, demonstrating the high participation of the nation in the poll. This morning, I spent over 90 minutes in one of those queues under the roasting sun. Excluding pregnant women, disabled persons and senior citizens –- who were graciously allowed by the crowd to enter the polling station immediately –- everyone waited in queue and there was no complaint from anyone. According to unofficial results, voter participation in Sunday's poll was as high as 81 percent.

Challenges ahead

As was evident from the high turnout of the electorate, as well as the distribution of votes, polarization in the society has reached very dangerous dimensions which we believe compels all politicians in the country irrespective of how good or bad they perform in the poll to engage in an exercise of reconciliation and tension soothing. Though it appears that neither the Justice and Development Party (AKP) nor a coalition of other parties will have sufficient strength –- a two-third majority or 367 seats in the 550-member unicameral Parliament –- to elect the new president of the country, the presidential quagmire that forced the country to go to polls ahead of schedule should not be allowed to escalate further. Presidential election should be overcome through a consensus candidate by putting behind the nasty April experience and all the rhetoric of the campaign period.

Blocking the election of the president by insisting on appointing a president rather than electing one through inter-parliamentary consensus may force Turkey to fresh polls as early as late October and some of the key political players may hope to play such a tension-game; win some time; get people to endorse popular election of the president in an October 21 referendum and get himself or his candidate elected by the polarized nation into the presidency. Every party of course can have strategies, but we are afraid that such a strategy will be a rather dangerous one that could explode the already very polarized Turkish society.

Rather than wasting time with such explosive scenarios, we believe the new Turkish Parliament ought to deal with the anti-democratic elections law, the law on political parties, re-establish national priorities and provide adequate funding for education, introduce an innovative education program that trains independent thinkers, reform the tax policies or replace the existing ones with an effective, efficient tax policy that would help decrease the unregistered economy; introduce a program with adequate funding to encourage diversified economic development in the east; introduce measures to deal with the huge influxes of population into the cities of western Turkey; measures that will help the transition in agriculture from small rural farms into something more efficient, powerful, and productive; and of course continue reforms to enhance democracy and free speech in the country and for example start with amending article 301 of the Penal Code that has become a chain on free thought.

We have to understand that free thought is no luxury, but on the contrary free and open discussion of any issue is essential if important problems are to be dealt with well.

Elections Held, Focus Turns On New Government
ANKARA – Turkish Daily News
July 23, 2007
As more than 40 million Turkish voters go to the polls to chose among 14 parties and hundreds of independent candidates, there are also poignant scenes of commitment to democracy around the country, including a 76-year-old Parkinsons disease patient carried to the polls and an 82-year polling volunteer in another city

After an often-heated, two-month campaign where candidates faced off over issues as lofty as the interpretation of secularism and as basic as the floor price of hazelnuts, more than 40 million voters went to the polls yesterday in an election that was largely peaceful and organized.

Competing in the vote yesterday amid mid-summer heat to elect members to the 550-seat Parliament were 14 parties and 700 independent candidates, all seeking to secure a five-year term in Parliament. The vote count was still ongoing when the Turkish Daily News' early edition went to print yesterday. A detailed edition with full results was planned for the morning for distribution in key centers and to subscribers.

The general expectation was that the new Parliament will include the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) as a third party along with the Justice and Development Party (AKP) which has ruled since 2002 and the opposition Republican People's Party (CHP). The parties have to pass a 10 percent threshold to enter Parliament.

While voting was generally peaceful there were scattered reports of violence, including a scuffle between rival partisans in the Mediterranean city of Demre, favored by tourists as the birthplace of St. Nicholas, which left 17 people injured.

There were also the oddities of normally crowded coastal cities nearly bereft of tourists as vacationers returned home to cast ballots. In one city meanwhile, the village of Sinan in the province of Diyarbakir, the entire village boycotted balloting to protest the feudal "aga" or "landlord" system that they charge denies them land tenure.

There were also voices of the disenfranchised such as in the agricultural regions near the central Anatolian city of Konya where farm workers reportedly numbering more than 10,000 complained they could not vote because of the cost of returning home. Turkey has no system of absentee voting. And there were poignant scenes of commitment to democracy around the country, such as that of 76-year-old Parkinsons disease patient Metin Ekim, helped to the voting booth in Izmir by his daughters. And there was the inspiration of Ismail Sengüler, 82, a volunteer polling clerk in the western city of Bolu who continued a duty he has carried out in every election for the past 57 years.

Voting took place in eastern provinces from 7:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. while the western provinces started voting at 8:00 a.m. and finished at 5:00 p.m. According to rules set by the country's election watchdog, the media were allowed to start broadcasting the first results at 9:00 p.m. yesterday.

According to the Supreme Election Board (YSK), 42,533,041 voters were registered for the elections. The average turnout during elections in Turkey is around 80 percent. Some four million young voters are taking part in a general election for the first time. Turkey's most populous city, Istanbul has 7,400,712 voters and sends 70 deputies to Parliament, while Ankara has 2,919,143 voters and sends 29 deputies. The YSK is expected to announce the final results not earlier than Friday, July 27.

First task is electing president
The new Parliament will convene five days after the final results are published. The Parliament will first elect its new speaker and will immediately start a process to elect the president. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan was forced to call snap elections originally expected in November, following a grave crisis triggered by the AKP's attempt to send Foreign Minister Abdullah Gül, a former Islamist, to the presidency. The move prompted a stiff warning from the army - which has toppled four governments since 1960 - that it will step in to protect the secular order if need be. Millions of secular Turks took to the streets in mass demonstrations and the secular opposition blocked the presidential elections in Parliament on fears that a president from the AKP would boost the role of religion in all fields of life.

Sezer to give mandate
As soon as the results are finalized President Sezer is expected to invite the leader of the winning party to the Presidency and give the mandate for forming a government. There is no written rule on who the President will give the mandate to form a government but traditionally the winner is asked to form the government. In the 550-seat Parliament, the government should get the support of at least 276 deputies to pass a vote of confidence. The current government will continue its work until the new one is formed. There is no constitutional obstacle to starting procedures to elect a president in Parliament before establishing the new government. If Parliament fails to elect the president again, it risks being dissolved and facing yet another snap election on Oct. 21, the same day that a referendum will be held on a reform package that includes electing the president by popular vote for a five-year term with the opportunity to be re-elected.

Sezer, Büyükanit vote early in the morning
President Ahmet Necdet Sezer and Chief of General Staff Gen. Yasar Büyükanit cast votes here early in the morning in Ankara's Çankaya district. Voters applauded when Sezer and Büyükanit cast their votes, the Anatolia news agency reported. It is good that we have you, some cheered. Prime Minister Erdogan voted in Istanbul, CHP's Baykal in Antalya and MHP's Devlet Bahçeli in Ankara.

Seventeen people hurt
Seventeen people were hurt yesterday in poll related violence in Turkey as the country held a key parliamentary vote. In Demre, a favored tourist spot known to be the home of Saint Nicholas, scuffles between rival party workers left two people slightly injured, the Anatolia agency said. A row erupted between supporters of the right-wing MHP and the ruling AKP over claims that AKP workers dumped leaflets on the streets, breaching an election day campaign ban. Two AKP workers were slightly injured, the Anatolia news agency reported, and both sides pressed charges. Three men were injured when two groups attacked each other with knives and sticks during voting at a polling station in Bismil, in the mainly Kurdish southeastern province of Diyarbakir, Anatolia reported. One of the men was seriously wounded, the report said. And in Sason in the eastern province of Batman, three men were hurt when a political discussion at a coffee house erupted into a free-for-all, the agency stated. Osman Günes, Minister of Interior, said there were no serious incidents in the country and elections were held peacefully, in a statement yesterday.

Islanders Say 'No Comment'
July 23, 2007
ISTANBUL - Turkish Daily News
The general elections in Istanbul's Kinaliada and Büyükada islands concluded in a relaxed and peaceful atmosphere yesterday. Normally, the islands would be full with day trippers on a weekend like this, but yesterday both the beaches and ferries were considerably empty.

While some residents voted in the islands, some of them went to city centers that they were registered at.

Approximately 80 percent of Kinaliada residents are Turkish Armenians. The island hosts the summer house of the Turkish Armenian Patriachate, a church and a camp for children of poor parents.

Probably due to the anxiety experienced after the murder of Hrant Dink, a prominent Turkish-Armenian journalist, the residents of Kinaliada hesitated sharing their opinions with the TDN on elections. Reminded about press reports that Armenians “would vote for the Justice and Development Party (AKP),” some reacted and said this is an unfounded allegation.

The Armenian vote:
Including Agos, the weekly which Dink was the chief columnist and editor, the Armenian publications in Istanbul generally think that the votes of the tiny population would go for independent candidate Baskin Oran.

Nurhan Büyükkürkçüyan, an Armenian from Kinaliada, agrees. “A great number of votes will go to Oran,” she said. “But in general, I think the AKP will win the election.” The main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) would get around 25 percent, while the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) will be able to score a solid 15 percent, she estimated.

Fahri Muratoglu, meanwhile, said he voted for the Democrat Party (DP). “The Mehmet Agar [leader of DP] factor was the key to my decision,” he said. “An honest person should govern Turkey, and that is Agar.”

Büyükada, meanwhile, is cosmopolitan compared to Kinaliada. The island hosts Turks, Jews, Armenians and Greeks. Residents there also did not wish to comment on the elections, most referring to the election rules as justification.

Chilean ‘Armenian Genocide' Document Not Binding
July 20, 2007
The Turkish Foreign Ministry said in a statement Wednesday that Chilean President Michelle Bachelet sent a letter to Turkish President Ahmet Necdet Sezer, confirming that a document, which was adopted in the Chilean parliament on June 5 and referred to the incidents of 1915 as "Armenian genocide" was not legally or politically binding.
ANK-Turkish Daily News

France Insistent On Its Turkey Veto:
European Gendarmerie Force (EuroGendFor) failed to decide whether to grant Turkey observer status at yesterday's meeting in the Netherlands and opted instead to deal with the issue at its next gathering in September. A French veto on Turkish participation in the force hindered the five-member initiative from making a decision, diplomatic sources said.

ANK-Anatolia news agency

Boron: Petroleum Of The 21st Century
Turkey owns 66% of the world’s measured boron reserves and 60% of total reserves is sufficient for meeting 250-500 years of world’s boron consumption.

Little would be known about the ongoing discussions over Turkey’s boron reserves if Eti Holding were not mentioned in the Letter of Intent (LOI) written to the IMF Head, Horst Köhler. In the 37th paragraph of the December 18th, 2000 dated LOI, Eti Holding was yet another name transferred to the Privatization Administration. Following the publication of the LOI, a heated debate ensued on the value of Turkey’s boron reserves, the material often referred to as "the petroleum of the 21st century". To emphasize its worth, and the error in privatizing Eti Holding to an interested investor group, thought to be of foreign involvement, implies leaving Turkey’s precious boron reserves in the hands of international monopolies.

The on-going debate, found ground at numerous levels and the opposing voice against Eti Holding’s privatization got more potent, when the issue was publicized and a campaign, called "Turkey should control its mines" was initiated over the internet.

The argument certainly raised the question: "What boron is and what are its uses?" The answers yielded were striking…

Boron is a material used in a wide area of production, varying from lipsticks to fertilizers, fiber optics to non-inflammable textile. Beyond these, it is a high quality fuel. Ten companies in the world are producing the fuel called "penta borane" used by the US Army for jets flying at and over 2 MAC speed, operating on ZIP fuels. Based on information gathered over the internet, there are more than 600 fuels with boron content, officially patented by the U.S.A. Patent Office. The European patented fuels of a similar kind (borane) are used in space rockets at the European Space Agency.

In a study, "Boron Technologies and Applications in the 21st Century", Assoc. Prof. Ersan Kalafatog(lu and Nuran Örs from TUBITAK (The Scientific and Technical Research Council of Turkey) Marmara Research Center, highlighted boron’s use as an energy source:

"The most crucial problem in the progress of fuel batteries, one of the most significant energy sources of the 21st century, is storing the hydrogen used in fuel production. In this respect, sodium borane is a promising chemical and a huge amount of research has been carried-out on it.

One of the specialties of boron discovered only recently is that it forms a super conductor when fused with magnesium.

Another point, which also demonstrates the importance of boron, is that 72% of world boron reserves are being processed in Western Europe and the United States, while 10% is processed in the Asia Pacific region.

Turkey owns 66% of the world’s measured boron reserves and 60% of total reserves is sufficient for meeting 250-500 years of world’s boron consumption. Quality is another important characteristic of the Turkish boron. In the above mentioned study, it has been emphasized that:

"The abundance and importance of ores in Turkey, comes from not only the superiority of their tenors but also their easy processing as they are found in the simple form of borax or borate. The accessibility of ores as well as the concentration and salt production processing plants are other positives for Turkey. In time other producing countries would be forced to utilize much lower quality tenors in harder-to-access ores, thereby making our country’s reserves even more economical."

Based on 1999 figures, the top two producers in raw borate are US Borax with 37% share and Eti Bor with 31% share. In recent years, Citibank Venture Capital (i.e. Citibank) has also become a major player in the market after acquiring some small boron ores in Latin America. According to some critics, of boron ores’ privatization in Turkey, the IMF is acting in favor of these companies and what they are trying to do is that:

"The IMF wants boron ores to be privatized in order to have US Borax as the single controller in the world. This scenario will work only if US Borax regains control of boron ores in Turkey, as it had once done from 1898 to the 1970s, hence maintaining the monopoly power it is about to lose in the world market…"

From the privatization supporters’ point of the view on the other hand, the main question, "Is Turkey utilizing this wealth?" and the answer is crystal clear for them "No, and all Eti Bor has been doing is market the raw mineral found close to the surface".

One of the other main criticisms against Eti Bor besides marketing boron without processing, is that it charges 250 dollars in the domestic market for the same product sold for 140 dollars to the Belgium company, Solvay. This has been seen as the single most significant obstacle in the development of the domestic boron industry.

Whether standing for or against privatization of boron ores, it is certain that nobody is pleased with the current situation, for varying reasons. Boron needs to be processed and marketed as a manufactured product.

According to the study mentioned above, only widely used borates are produced in Turkey and US$ 237 million was raised from their export in 1999. Processing, on the other hand, would increase the export income in a way that:

As refined borate is produced, the price of the product would double and increase to almost five-fold in the case of perborate. The added value of the product would increase even more when some borates and metaborates are manufactured with relatively simple methods and the price would certainly sky rocket for compounds such as boranes, boron tri-chloride and ferro-boron.

The bottom-line is: Turkey is far from fully benefiting from the prosperity it acutely needs from its boron reserves, which is envied by the rest of the world.

What should be done?

Prof. Naci Görür, the chairman of TUBI.TAK Marmara Research Center, lists the issues that need to be addressed in the boron sector:

1.Turkey only produces borates. In 1999, income of $ 237 million was received from borate exports. Turkey’s market share in borates is estimated at 25% and this has to be improved.

2. Most of the sodium perborate is consumed within the country. Turkey should take its play in the 242,000 ton European B2O3 market. Obtaining 10% share in this market would yield Turkey an additional income of almost half of her existing exports.

3. Borane is a product, consumption of which is expected to increase 4% every year. The most important consumer of this product is the paper industry in Europe. Obtaining 10% share in this market would yield Turkey an additional income of almost half of her existing exports. This product is light in bulk but high in value. In order to produce borane, Turkey needs to complete its research into marketing, feasibility and cost minimizing technology/processes at once.

4. To utilize the ore efficiently, it is vital for Turkey to adopt contemporary high technology, not only in mining but also in marketing and production, and strengthen its leading role in the world market. New products should be incorporated in line with market research results and with the help of a marketing network. Special emphasis should be taken in cost minimizing and quality maximizing measures, both of which will increase the bargaining power of the country.

5. Since Turkey would need to develop its own know-how in this area, adequate importance should be given to Research & Development activities.

6. Measures that would lower costs, improve quality and diminish the waste problem should be found for both, existing and future production plants. Instant R&D activities should be carried on the priority issues in accordance with these cost-benefit analyses.

7. Technology should be developed in order to utilize the low tenor ores and the boron that is wasted in the current process.

8. The results of R&D activities should be transformed to new profitable production lines immediately.

Fuel Battery Input

Some automotive companies are carrying on projects, where hydrogen is used as a fuel alternative to petroleum, aiming eventually to solve the pollution problem. In this context, hydrogen fuel used in space rockets is being tried in some prototype cars. However, it is as dangerous as moving a bomb because of storing problems. Firms are trying to find ways of eliminating these costs. According to Assoc. Prof. Ersan Kalafatog(lu, borane plays a central role in avoiding the explosiveness problem. Borane, which is found in hard form, provides a way of storing and using hydrogen. The Millenium Cell is one of the batteries produced in this perspective and there are companies who have registered patents in the same area. US Borax, which is still the largest company with respect its global market share, is also participating in these studies. In today’s world there isn’t much use of these, but in time their turn will most probably come.

Sen.Barack Obama,(D.Il) As The Armenians' Newest "Yesman" Says Turks Are Guilty Of Genocide.
Where Lies The Truth?

ANCA the Armenian National Committee Legislative Affairs Director Raffi N. Karakashian, and ANCA Eastern Region Executive Director Karine Birazian have joined Assistant Majority Leader Richard Durbin (D-IL) and the Armenians' newest 'yesman' Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) in something totally unacceptable to Turks anywhere..

At the ANCA meeting, Birazian thanked Senator Durbin for spearheading the Armenian Genocide Resolution, S.Res.106, as well as leading the effort to pass targeted divestment legislation relating to the war casualties in Africa, Birazian also encouraged Senator Obama to cosponsor S.Res.106.

In his response, Senator Obama stated:

" For those who aren’t aware, that there was a genocide that did take place in Turkey against the Armenian people, I have to say that it was one of these situations where we have seen a constant denial on the part of the present Turkish Government and others that this occurred. It has become a sore spot diplomatically."

After the meeting, Birazian commented with the following: “Armenian Americans in Illinois and across the nation look forward to Senator Obama becoming a cosponsor of S. Res.106. His stand on genocide recognition is strong and as a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, his support of the legislation may help ensure that it moves quickly to the floor for a vote of the full Senate.”

Who Is Sen. Barack Obama?

I think it would be quite useful to learn a bit about Senator Barack Obama's official biography prepared by his followers.

Barack Obama's parents met at the University of Hawaii. His mother was a student there, and his father had won a scholarship that allowed him to leave Kenya and pursue his dreams in America.

Remembering the values of empathy and service that his mother taught him, Barack put law school and corporate life on hold after college and moved to Chicago in 1985, where he became a community organizer with a church-based group seeking to improve living conditions in poor neighborhoods plagued with crime and high unemployment.

He went on to earn his law degree from Harvard in 1991, where he became the first African-American president of the Harvard Law Review. Soon after, he returned to Chicago, turning down lucrative job offers to practice as a civil rights lawyer and teach constitutional law. In 1992, he led Project Vote, the most successful voting drive for Bill Clinton. Finally, his advocacy work led him to run for the Illinois State Senate, where he served for eight years. In 2004, he became the third African American since Reconstruction to be elected to the U.S. Senate.

The rich and varied experiences of Barack Obama's life - growing up in different places with people who had differing ideas - have animated his political journey. Amid the partisanship and bickering of today's public debate, he still believes in the ability to unite people around a politics of purpose - a politics that puts solving the challenges of everyday Americans ahead of partisan calculation and political gain.

Whether it's the poverty exposed by Katrina, the genocide in Darfur, or the role of faith in our politics, Barack Obama continues to speak out on the issues that will define America in the 21st century. But above all his accomplishments and experiences, he is most proud and grateful for his family. His wife, Michelle, and his two daughters, Malia, 8, and Sasha, 5, live on Chicago's South Side where they attend Trinity United Church of Christ.

The Other Side Of The Coin

Having given a rather glowing biographical background about the Senator,let us ,now hear the argument from the opposite side. Senator Barack Obama is not easily accepted because of his ideas on social beliefs..

From his radical stance on abortion to his prominence in the corruption scandals that have been virtually ignored by the mainstream media, Barack Obama is viewed as a politician not fit to be Senator -- not to mention the next President of the United States.

Nevertheless, Obama has declared his presidential intentions, but it is up to well-informed and energetic conservatives to spare our nation from the scourge of a far-left President Barack H. Obama.

Ezra Klein's recent piece in the Los Angeles Times about Sen. Barack Obama:

"Obama is a cipher, an easy repository for the hopes and dreams of liberals everywhere...But if Obama avoided being battle-tested in 2004 by the grace of God, it's his own timidity that has kept his name clean since. Given his national profile and formidable political talents, he could have been a potent spokesman for Democratic causes in the Senate. Instead, he has refused to expend his political or personal capital on a single controversial issue, preferring to offer anodyne pieces of legislation and sign on to the popular efforts of others...Indeed, Obama is that oddest of all creatures: a leader who's never led. There are no courageous, lonely crusades to his name, or supremely unlikely electoral battles beneath his belt. He won election running basically unopposed, and then refused to open himself to attack by making a controversial but correct issue his own..

His .ready acceptance of the Armenian Genocide issue shows that he is no different than his colleagues when it comes to blacken the reputation of one of USA's major allies in the fight of terrorism in the Middle East and the world. He lacks the wisdom that a more seasoned politician is expected to possess.

(An Editorial)
Mahmut Esat Ozan
Chairman -Editorial Board
The Turkish Forum

Lobbying On Armenian Genocide Goes Viral

Advocacy groups have asked Americans to tell their congressmen plenty of things. "I’m opposed to recognizing the Armenian Genocide" may be one of the strangest.

In a video posted on the Capitol Broadcasting Service Earlier this week, Former Rep. Bob Livingston (R, Louisiana) makes an 8-minute plea for Americans to urge their legislators not to make a colossal mistake: endorsing the bill that would officially acknowledge that Armenians were slaughtered by the Ottoman Empire during World War I.

The issue has been controversial in Washington for years. While the "supposed-genocide" is routinely denied by Turkish government officials – whom Livingston has represented for more than seven years – most credible historians have gone out on a limb and described the genocide as fact. According to the Encyclopedia Britannica:

"In what would later be known as the first genocide of the 20th century, hundreds of thousands of Armenians were driven from their homes, massacred, or marched until they died."

Not all of Livingston's address is devoted to casting doubt on the genocide’s occurrence -- he also argues that the symbolic resolution could have tangible consequences. Given that Turkey is an ally in a very unsteady part of the world -- and that the nation currently has troops massed on the border of Iraqi Kurdistan -- Livingston's case against unnecessarily angering them highlights valid strategic concerns.

But some of the statements the former congressman makes veer into ideological territory.

"Nobody really knows, in this day and age, unless you're a historian, what really happened 90 to a hundred years ago," Livingston, whose family roots in America date back to the 17th century, declares.

And while he attributes the argument to “The Turks and many historians,” Livingston comes awfully close to suggesting that any possible killing of Armenians would have been committed in self defense: "It was simply a lot of Turkish people getting fed up with their people getting killed and massacred," he states.

There’s also a linguistic case to be made against the genocide, Livingston observes: It couldn’t have happened, he said, because the word “genocide” didn’t exist yet. The term, he correctly notes, "was coined in 1947, long after the instance of 1915 and so forth."

A rose by any other name, indeed.

The video has already prompted a response by The Armenian National Committee of America, which can be seen here.
Jeff Horwitz


Turkey Thinks Of Its Own Interests First, Erdogan
Anatolia News Agency, Turkey
July 7 2007
ANKARA (A.A) -17.07.2007 -"Turkey thinks of its own interests in the first place," Turkish PM Recep Tayyip Erdogan said late on Monday when commenting on Turkey-Iran natural gas deal.

"There is an interesting proposal submitted by Iran, offering us three gas wells without tender," Erdogan announced in a live programme broadcast on private NTV channel. "The USA will review its stance, and I guess it will look at it with sympathy," he added.

Regarding the US-made weapons seized by security forces during fight against terrorism, Erdogan said, "unfortunately, most of the weapons we have seized so far are US-made. Authorities say that they were the weapons that were left there when the Americans withdrew. But of course, it is not possible to deem them (these remarks) as convincing."

"The USA should withdraw from Iraq and make public its schedule. It won't be right if we say it has to withdraw right now. Iraq will be relieved if a schedule is set and if the USA withdraws gradually," Erdogan stated.

-SUNDAY'S ELECTIONS-On the other hand, Erdogan said that "his party (Justice & Development -AK Party) will define itself successful if it wins only one vote over those it won in 2002, and unsuccessful if it stays below the level of votes it collected in the previous elections".

However, Erdogan noted, the polls indicate AK Party's probable vote percentage over 40 p.c. on July 22nd elections.

Erdogan stated that presence of independent MPs who can set up a group, as well as the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) in the parliament as a result of the elections may cause tension in Turkey.

"Therefore, votes to be cast in the elections is very very important," he added.

-PETKIM'S PRIVATIZATION-"PETKIM (Petrochemical Holding) was purchased by a Kazakh Turk. And, this guy also bought a certain percentage of the stocks of Sekerbank. But, this Kazakh Turk was accompanied by a Russian company due to PETKIM's area of operation.

There are people from different nationalities, like Armenians, in the administration of this Russian firm. In case the sale of PETKIM to this Kazakh firm is ratified, it will collect all the shares and predominantly run the business," Erdogan said.

Armenians Seeking US House Vote On Genocide Bill Soon Ümit ENGINSOY
July 19, 2007
WASHINGTON - Turkish Daily News

Having won the backing of a majority of lawmakers in the U.S. House of Representatives for an Armenian genocide resolution, U.S. Armenian groups are nowlaunching a fresh campaign to force House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to bring the measure to a floor vote as soon as possible.

The Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) has called on U.S. Armenians throughout the country to contact their representatives next Monday to urge them "to press for a congressional vote" on the resolution, which calls for the recognition of World War I-era killings of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire as genocide.

The number of lawmakers backing the Armenian resolution in the 435-member House, Congress' lower chamber, rose to a majority figure of 218 at the end of June, and ANCA said in its Tuesday statement that the figure has now exceeded 220.

"Building on the success of our first national call in helping us top the 218 mark, this second round of nation-wide grassroots activism (next Monday) aims to have this anti-genocide measure brought to the House floor for a vote at the first opportunity," said Aram Hamparian, ANCA's executive director.

Obtaining the support of 218 or more lawmakers does not automatically enable the Armenians to force a House floor vote for the resolution, but means theovercoming of a psychological threshold.

Another group of at least 218 representatives signing a separate and special petition calling for a floor vote is required to push Pelosi to do that, and it will be tough for the Armenians to collect that number of signatures, because most Democratic lawmakers will not want to confront their congressional leader in this way.

Turkey bracing for troubled days:

But psychological pressure is building up on Pelosi to bring the bill to a vote.

July 23, the designated day for the new Armenian campaign to contact lawmakers, comes one day after Turkey's national elections Sunday.

It is not clear if Pelosi will opt for a floor vote before Congress' one-month recess in August.

A similar resolution is also pending in the Senate, Congress' upper chamber, with 31 senators out of a total of 100 backing the measure. But the Armenians' efforts focus on moving on the House side first.

The Armenian genocide resolution is not binding, and President George W. Bush's administration opposes its passage.

But Turkey says the measure's approval will greatly harm U.S.-Turkish relations. Foreign Minister Abdullah Gül, a top aide to Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and three parliamentary teams have visited the U.S. capital in recent months to lobby against the resolution.

Turkish Lobbying Groups In Usa Again Failed In Their Anti-Genocide Campaign
/PanARMENIAN.Net/ On July 18 Turkey’s multi-million dollar lobbyist Bob Livingston posted an eight-minute diatribe on the Capitol Hill Broadcasting Network website, which denies the Armenian Genocide. This video is an effort to block congressional adoption of the H.Res.106 / S.Res.106, the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) reports. Less than twelve hours after Bob Livingston’s genocide denial video was posted, the ANCA issued a point by point video rebuttal, which was distributed widely to congressional offices and policy makers throughout Washington, DC. Also in response to the Livingston attack, Armenian Genocide Resolution lead advocates, Representatives Adam Schiff, George Radanovich, Frank Pallone and Joe Knollenberg cosigned a July 18th letter to congressional colleagues discrediting Livingston’s denialist claims.

The letter reads as follows, “For the past seven years Mr. Livingston has been a paid lobbyist for Turkey, which has spent millions of dollars denying what the world knows to be true – that in the first decades of the last century a horrible genocide was committed against the Armenian people. The factual evidence supporting the Armenian Genocide is vast, and no effort to deny these facts – no matter the source of the denial – will ever change history.” The letter went on to urge House members to join over 220 of their colleagues in cosponsoring H.Res.106.
ANCA Video Sets Record Straight on Bob Livingston's Genocide Denial

Offers Point-by-Point Challenge to Turkish Lobbyist's Diatribe against the Armenian Genocide Resolution
"The New Republic" Article Spotlights Washington's Multi-Million Dollar Genocide Denial Industry

WASHINGTON, DC - The Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) distributed an on-line video, today, countering an eight minute anti-genocide diatribe, released by Turkey's multi-million dollar lobbyist Bob Livingston, in a patently desperate effort to block Congressional adoption of the Armenian Genocide Resolution (H.Res.106 / S.Res.106)
Livingston's denial piece was posted on the Capitol Hill Broadcasting Network website, with links forwarded to Members of Congress and their staffs urging them to watch the video and work against Armenian Genocide legislation. Less than twelve hours after Bob Livingston's genocide denial video was posted, the ANCA issued a point by point video rebuttal, which was distributed widely to Congressional offices and policy makers throughout Washington, DC.

Also in response to the Livingston attack, Armenian Genocide Resolution lead advocates, Representatives Adam Schiff (D-CA), George Radanovich (R-CA), Frank Pallone (D-NJ) and Joe Knollenberg (R-MI) cosigned a July 18th letter to Congressional colleagues discrediting Livingston's denialist claims. The Congressional letter noted that:

"For the past seven years Mr. Livingston has been a paid lobbyist for Turkey, which has spent millions of dollars denying what the world knows to be true – that in the first decades of the last century a horrible genocide was committed against the Armenian people. The factual evidence supporting the Armenian Genocide is vast, and no effort to deny these facts – no matter the source of the denial – will ever change history."

Earlier this week, The New Republic, a major national magazine, ran a feature-length, stinging exposé on the efforts of Turkish government lobbyists to defeat the Armenian Genocide Resolution. The article, written by Michael Crowley, provides a behind the scenes glimpse into the multi-million dollar genocide denial industry, spotlighting former House Minority leader Dick Gephardt and Bob Livingston as the lead beneficiaries of Turkey's anti- genocide campaign.

"It's one thing to flip-flop on, say, tax cuts or asbestos reform. But, when it comes to genocide, you would hope for high principle to carry the day," explains Crowley. "In Washington, however, the Armenian genocide industry is in full bloom. And Dick Gephardt's shilling isn't even the half of it."

The complete text of Crowley's article may be read in the July 23rd issue of The New Republic or online at www.tnr.com/doc.mhtml?i=20070723&s=crowley072307 Paid Subscription

ANCA Holds Call-In Campaign In Support For Armenian Genocide Resolution
/PanARMENIAN.Net/ On July 23 the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) holds a second National campaign entitled ”Call for Justice”, which aims at supporting the Armenian Genocide Resolution, H. Res. 106. “Building on the success of our first national call in day in helping us top the 218 mark, this second round of nation-wide grassroots activism aims to have this anti-genocide measure brought to the House floor for a vote at the first opportunity,” said Aram Hamparian, Executive Director of the ANCA. Currently, the Armenian Genocide Resolution, H.Res.106, has over 220 cosponsors.

During the first campaign more than 12 000 people visited the ANCA website and more than 2 000 people undersigned the call addressed to congressmen. This activism is the continuation of another campaign –“ Click for Justice”, initiated in April.

US Armenians Gearing Up For Post-Election Campaign
An Armenian group in the US has announced a new campaign will get under way soon after Turkey's parliamentary elections on July 22 in order to convince more congressmen to vote for a resolution urging the US administration to recognize claims of an Armenian genocide at the hands of the Ottoman Empire.

The Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) said in a statement that the number of lawmakers cosponsoring the measure has risen to 220 -- exceeding the critical 218 threshold for passage of a measure -- in the 435-member House of Representatives. The statement urged all Armenian Americans to call their representatives on or after July 23 to ask them to support the resolution. The measure, which Turkey warns would deal a great blow to US ties if passed in Congress, still needs to be put to a vote in the House of Representatives. Although the number of cosponsors is above the threshold, an increase in support will likely to put more pressure on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to schedule such a vote.

Today's Zaman with wires Istanbul

Anc Australia 'Enrol To Vote' Campaign Resumes
18 July 2007
SYDNEY: The Armenian National Committee of Australia has invited all unenrolled Armenian-Australians over 17-years-old to enrol for voting

These efforts are a continuation of ANC Australia's 'Enrol To Vote Campaign', which began in earnest at the 39th Annual Navasartian Games last month and has since seen the enrolment of over 200 previously unregistered voters; the majority of whom are members of the community's youth.

"This campaign is all about adding voice to Armenian issues in Australia," explained campaign coordinator and ANC Australia Political Relations Officer, Mr. Raymond Nazloomian. "The community has responded magnificently to our committee's call to show our true numbers in the lead-up to the Federal Election later this year."

In the upcoming elections, the Armenian-Australian community is expected to hold the balance of power in Prime Minister John Howard's marginal seat of Bennelong.

"By the end of this campaign, Armenian-Australians will represent approximately 5% of Bennelong's voting populace," added Mr. Nazloomian.

The Armenian-Australian community also represents significant numbers in Western Sydney, the Northern Beaches and the North Shore in New South Wales, as well as the South-East of Melbourne in Victoria.

Mr. Nazloomian stated: "ANC Australia will present our community's issues to all candidates from Armenian-populated areas in the lead-up to the elections and will publicise their responses in an effort to guide the Armenian-Australian vote."

Haig Kayserian

The Armenian National Committee of Australia is the peak public affairs body of the Armenian-Australian community. ANC Australia advances the concerns of the Armenian-Australian community.

Book "Armenian Myth. Armenian Extremism: Its Causes And Historical Content" Published In Romania
Azeri Press Agency, Azerbaijan
July 17 2007
The book "Armenian myth. Armenian extremism: its causes and historical content" written by outstanding Austrian historian, professor Erik Figle was translated into Romanian and published on the initiative of Azerbaijani embassy in Romania, chief of Romania-Azerbaijan Friendship Society Mahir Garayev told APA.

The book exposing Armenians' aggressive policy is a valuable source for informing the entire world of Karabakh realities.

European scientist evidences Armenians' atrocity by facts.

The book has been distributed to Romania's libraries, educational establishments.

Turkish-Armenians Site Editor's Note:
We encourage you to buy the printed copy of the book from the official distributors although we have a special permission (from the copyright owner) to distribute this book's digital version, free of charge, only, under the ( http://armenians-1915.blogspot.com ) site.

If/when you have access to our digital copy, you understand and accept the condition that you are not allowed to redistribute this e-book or share the download location.

Please Join Our Turkish-Armenians Yahoo Group to download this E-Book Under "Files"

Turkey's Profit Of Usd 700 Million From "Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan"
By Aghavni Haroutiunian
AZG Armenian Daily
"About 1 million barrels of oil is pumped through Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipiline per day", announced the representatives of "British Petroleum - Azerbaijan" Company according to "Regnum" agency.

The same resource informs that after 2008 about 80% of the pumped oil will flow from Azerbaijan.

The capacity of the pipeline is 50 M ton -with the aim of reaching it to 80-90 M ton in the future.

At present 22 M ton oil has been pumped through the pipeline, and Turkey has had a profit of 700 M dollars from Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan.

`Look out! Ethnic espionage': Igor Muradyan about the Armenian Assembly of America

A number of controversial reports about the Armenian Assembly of America have appeared in the media of late. REGNUM has asked Armenian political scientist Igor Muradyan for comments. `No doubt that the reports have serious grounds. You can turn down some arguments - for the authors seem to be somewhat under-informed about the developments - but certainly it is high time to call a spade a spade. First of all, you should take into account the continuing political struggle in Armenia and view the stance of the Armenian Assembly of America also in this light.'

I don't think that ethnic NGOs enjoy full independence in the US, but the point is that the Armenian Assembly of America is more than dependent. Even more, the Assembly is functionally dependent. The Assembly directors and employees don't just look down on Armenia's political class and leaders, they look down on them with disdain. Given a whole range of serious political problems of Armenia, the Assembly is focused on the problem of its relations with Robert Kocharyan. Kocharyan has proved not very much convenient a partner for them, just because the Assembly directors are unable to consult, instruct and contact him in private on the phone. One cannot but agree with the opinion that the Assembly is facing a crisis of genre.

First, as an instrument of another state it is very much unwanted in the politics in Armenia. Second, the scope of the Assembly's lobbying has come to its limits - for within the limits of its tasks the US policy in the region is quite conforming to Armenia's interests. And so, the Assembly is forced to search for new domains. Quite enough has been said about this in the internet and so I'd better just remind some facts. In 2001 the Assembly's board decreed `to fight Armenian nationalism.' This implies suppression of any instance of patriotism, especially over the Karabakh problem and Armenian-Turkish relations. The Assembly is discriminating towards Armenian political parties, NGOs, politicians and experts.

The employees and friends of the Assembly were set to carry out reconnaissance in Armenia and Nagorno Karabakh Republic. We know at least six citizens of Armenia and one resident of NKR whom they tried to recruit for information gathering. The above activities envisaged the following directions: Gathering information on the state of the armed forces of Armenia, including armaments, information on senior officers, on the import of military hardware (invoice numbers, payment terms, transportation routes), receiving analytical notes on the fighting capacity of the Armenian army, information and assessment of typical conflicts inside the military command, the concerns and plans of different groups in the military circles; gathering information on the leaders and activists of political parties, the mass media and political leaders of Armenia, including economic interests, ties with foreign countries.

For example, the Assembly wanted detailed information on the economic interests of Defense Minister Serzh Sargsyan in Russia, the possibilities for discrediting him and the military command for economic or other motives. Armenian citizens were shown video pictures of Armenia's military equipment and some military commanders, photos of senior officers. Some of the videos and photos had apparently been made from a very long distance. Special interest was given to possible news about the import of air defense units, first of all, C-300, on plans to develop military aviation, on possible purchases. They were even interested in such non secret information as the parameters of dynamic steel on tanks. They paid visits to Nagorno Karabakh - formal and informal - they visited military units, talked with military commanders. The talk was friendly and candid, but they got no sensations - just stupid and thoughtless things. One NKR officer told an Assembly agent in a friendly manner - `You guys are all but profies or you cook like that in your country - you better learn a bit.'

One of the authors has already mentioned the interest of the Assembly in the military intelligence of Armenia. As a matter of fact, one of the `recruited' young experts in Yerevan says that the Assembly is very much interested in the personality of B.Azoyan. The Assembly believes the exposure of the director of the military intelligence to be one of its exploits. Exposed were quite banal facts - there reportedly are proofs that the military intelligence of Armenia works in `the American direction.'

Visitors from the Assembly have never much cared for political figures in Armenia. They did care for analytical community, individual experts. The experts were mostly very young and initially very much eager to provide Assembly people with some information. But soon they were told to supply information relating to the national security of Armenia. These activities covered also the Armenian Embassy in the US. It is a certainty that there were at least two information leaks from the office of the military attaché. Also using documents from the attaché's table was repeatedly (and as if accidentally) the military attaché of Belarus. So, it takes one no big effort to carry out such activity. Let's just hope that the military attaché of Armenia may have no interesting information.

Mass media directors are also of interest. Of interest was, for example, the dossier of the editor of Aravot daily Aram Abrahamyan, especially his personal incomes and their sources. Very much of interest was the personality of the well-known Alexander Haroutyunyuan (if I am not mistaken, he is now the director of the public television) and so on and so forth. It seems that the whole political class of Armenia is being computerized.

Of certain interest is the impression I got personally from such contacts. Strange but true: Assembly representatives get openly malicious and bilious over the fact that the Armenian armed forces are highly capable of discharging many combat operations on their own. Would they be more comfortable if the army of their `historical homeland' had other characteristics and was like the armies of some other states? Altogether incompetent the Assembly representatives were as much annoyed to know that Armenia is not a perishing country and is successfully developing economically.

The National Security Service and the Defense Ministry of Armenia are perfectly informed of the activities of the Assembly and have relevant directives on hand. For example, the top military command are strictly forbidden to have meetings with their Assembly counterparts.

But no less worthy of mentioning is the fact that the Assembly representatives are not the only ones to take a special interest in their `historical homeland.' Obviously having their definite interests in Armenia and specialization is also the Armenian community of Washington DC. For example, some Richard Kirakosyan, generally known as analyst or political scientist or someone else, has offered an Armenian citizen closely cooperating with the `Caucasian (Yerevan) Center of Iranian Studies' $10,000 for information on Iran -absolutely definitely saying that this service was ordered by CIA.

I guess not everything is so dangerous for our country - as I do believe that the US is our friend who knows that only Armenia can be a strategic partner in the region (`small Israel' or `Big Armenia'). The Armenian society continues being modestly silent that the US strategy is one of the major factors of our security, if not something more. But somebody wants to be `more Catholic than the Pope is.' These are people for whom ethnicity is their profession. So it is time to hang a sign `Look Out! Ethnic Espionage.' In the meantime, we better remember that our compatriots abroad are overwhelmingly citizens of other states and are obliged to express their interests. We are still far from being a `world nation.' We have yet a long way to go. And young vain analysts and political analysts better keep in mind that our country is an active actor in the regional and global politics, with quite a big interest given to it."


The 'Hooded Briton' Speaks Out
Monday, July 9, 2007
4, 2003 is known as the day that 11 Turkish soldiers were detained by US forces in Iraq. But a British civilian also shared the hood experience with them. Michael Todd says he has forgiven the US soldiersjuly

Taylan Bilgic
ISTANBUL - Turkish Daily News

What happened on July 4, 2003 in northern Iraq symbolizes for many the "turning point" in U.S.-Turkish relations. For some, it also represents the start of the "anti-Americanism" wave in Turkey, which is still undisputed worldwide, according to polls. To cut a long story short, U.S. troops raided the Turkish military's liaison office in Suleimaniya that day, placing a "hood" on 11 Turkish special forces soldiers, detaining them in harsh conditions for days and opening a wound in the Turkish collective mind that has yet to heal.

That incident -- which was also the starting point of the now-famous "Valley of The Wolves-Iraq" movie, a tale of Turkish bravery against "American barbarism" -- is considered by many as the "return match" of March 1, 2003: The day when the Turkish Parliament denied U.S. troops permission to invade Iraq from the north, effectively nullifying Washington's plan to open a second front against Saddam Hussein's Baghdad.

But there is another side to the July 4 story: That day, a British civilian was also detained alongside the Turks. It was actually Michael Todd, 47, who told of what had happened under more than three weeks of detention and also encouraged some of the Turkish soldiers to do the same. Now, he has taken one step further and turned his story with all the details into a book: "Cuval", or "The Hood Incident": In Turkish first, hopefully to be published in English soon.

Search for a daughter:

The placing of a "hood" on Todd seems the result of an amazing chain of coincidences. Originally a mime artist, he entered Iraq from Turkey in June, 2003, searching for his daughter, Sacide. His Iraqi girlfriend, Sacide's mother, was killed during the U.S. bombardment. On that fateful day, he was in Suleimaniya, having started his search for Sacide, giving toys to Iraqi children in the meantime. He was detained a few blocks away from the Turkish liaison office, hooded and handcuffed, and thrown into the same truck with the detained Turkish soldiers. Following the diplomatic upheaval, the Turks were released after two days, but Todd was kept in a Baghdad prison for weeks.

The book starts with an introduction by one of the Turkish soldiers, "Major AydIn E.," a bogus name for a still-active commander. Todd was in Istanbul last week, promoting the book -- published by Dogan Kitap -- and giving interviews. Speaking to the Turkish Daily News at Dogan Kitap's headquarters, it was evident that this peace-loving, antimilitarist and anti-war British mime artist had forged a special bond with AydIn E., a proud Turkish special forces commander. At the end of the book, Todd writes: "The commander knew [from the start] that I was the man who could explain all this, as I was neither a soldier nor a politician... He wanted all the world, not just Turkey, to know the truth."

"We experienced hell together. We shared the hood," says Todd. "The book is first published in Turkish, as a sign of respect to those soldiers."

Todd has been pushing the other Turkish detainees to speak out, but has not had much success. One of them demands "one million dollars to open his mouth," and this clearly has disturbed Todd. "Money distorts the truth," he says. Still, he has contacted many of the U.S. soldiers who were among those who detained them, and claims one of them is "ready to speak out."

Indifference in the UK:

But why did the British public stay silent on the detention and mistreatment of one of their citizens, at the hand of their allies? "They found it hard to believe," says Todd. "They don't believe that their allies could do this to an innocent Briton. Amazingly, the U.S. soldiers and their commanders thought of Todd as "a spy", "an Islamist terrorist," "a mercenary" and even "an undercover Turkish commander." The documents he showed us -- documents that he secretly took with him when he was released -- prove this.

When Todd spoke to this journalist in early September 2003, he mentioned his plan to sue Washington and London. After four years, he seems to have changed his mind. He has not found his little daughter -- 22 months old in 2003 -- but still clings to hope. "If I open the wound again, it may damage my chances of finding her," he says. "The case will be over when I embrace my daughter, and I still need answers."

Todd has had to undergo psychological treatment after those horrible days, and still has problems; he does not want to leave his home in York and has problems communicating with people. He says he has forgiven the U.S. soldiers, but not Brig. General William Mayville, their commander.

He finds "Valley of the Wolves - Iraq," a fiercely nationalist box office hit, as a "passionate emotive but fiction."

"The movie tells the story that [ordinary Turks] wanted to see," he points out. "All American soldiers are bad, it says. But that is not true. After they took me to Baghdad, I saw that all of them were just scared teenagers."

"Turkey is like my home now," he continues. "Everybody here tried to help me. In the U.K., no one seems to care. Maybe when they have the full story, it will change," he says. Todd hopes "The Hood Incident" will be published in his native language later this year.

Armenian Panic In The U.S.
Metehan Demir
17 July 2007
Things are going into a rut in the so-called Armenian genocide bill issue as unwillingness by the United States to take action against the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) gives a chill to bilateral relations. When the U.S. administration and the press took sides with Turkey in the issue of the so-called genocide bill, which is expected to be at the House of Representatives in Sept., the Armenian lobby in the U.S. panicked.

In an urgent letter to powerful American advocates of the case, American National Armenian Committee Chair Ken Hackikian called loyals not to fall into the trap of Dick Gephardt and Bob Livingston, who conduct lobby activities for Turkey.

The Washington administration wants to have more cooperation with Turkey and hesitates to escalate the crisis in bilateral relations, so it still keeps its distance from Armenians, causing an anxiety rush among Armenians.

In fact, the Armenian lobby collected 220 signatures in the 435-seat U.S. House of Representatives. However, this does not mean the Congressmen who signed the Armenian petition will approve the so-called genocide bill.

It should pass in the Foreign Relations Committee first and then should find a way to get on the House agenda.

Democrats might avoid facing Turkey in the long run, so they may act reluctantly contrary to the Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi.

CHP Parliamentarian: If Chp Comes To Power, We’ll Do Our Best So That Armenia Will Compensate To Azeri Refugees And Idps
17 July 2007
“Parliamentary elections scheduled for July 22 differ greatly from previous ones, due to the sensitive situation regarding the protection of secular state in Turkey,” CHP deputy, a former state minister for human rights, the second candidate of the party Algan Hacaloglu told APA’s Turkey bureau.

The parliamentarian said that this is the sixth time he nominates candidacy.
“I have never observed so much sensitiveness regarding secular state. I am the candidate from the first area of Istanbul. Prime Minister Rajab Tajjib Erdogan has also nominated from here. I can say that AKP will not be the first party in the area where 24 candidates will be elected. The forthcoming processes will determine the results of the elections in Turkey,” he said.

Hacaloglu said it will be difficult for a single party to come to power as a result of these parliamentary elections.

“AKP will leave the power. We believe this,” he said.
Algan Hacaloglu underlined if CHP comes to power, Turkey will not have normal relations with Armenia unless the latter pulls out its troops from Azerbaijani lands.
“Azerbaijan is the closest country for CHP. We will do our best so that Armenian will compensate to one million Azeri IDPs and refugees. CHP government will pursue a policy that will not surrender the US or other states, and Armenia will be obliged to stop its aggressive policy. We will always be with Azerbaijan in its fair struggle,” he said.

14 European States Assisted Usa To Establish Secret Jails For CIA
/PanARMENIAN.Net/ American secret jails existed in Italy and Poland, member of the European Parliament Claudio Fava stated. “The information that we obtained, gives us serious grounds to suppose that there existed secret jails on territories of Italy and Poland, where alleged terrorists were kept,” Fava said to a press conference in Brussels dedicated to the results of an investigation on CIA (Central Intelligence Agency) secret jails in Europe. He said, 14 European states have assisted the United States in establishing secret jails in Europe.

“We have found out 14 European governments, which helped the USA to carry out investigations and establish secret jails, existence of which contradicts to the Geneva Convention,” the parliamentarian said. He stressed, according to information, which owns the commission, European countries in rare cases refused to cooperate with the US CIA on this issue.

He also said, Romania has not responded to questions sent by the commission, which was carrying out the investigation, RIA “Novosti” reports.

Baskin Oran - A New Name In Politics
Gül Demir And Niki Gamm
Turkish Daily News
July 16, 2007
Professor Baskin Oran may be a first time candidate but determined to defend the rights of those who have been ignored or alienated - the Kurds, the Alevis, the gypsies, the gays among others [HH] The first-time candidate is adamant about being a powerful voice in Parliament but expresses himself surprised at how many people are now supporting his campaign

An academic who postponed retirement to stand for a seat in Parliament, Baskin Oran has begun to capture the interest of the public in Istanbul as the national elections approach. Oran was catapulted to nationwide attention this year when he was accused of insulting Turkishness under controversial Article 301 that covers freedom of speech and expression. Until then Oran was not particularly well-known outside academic circles although he has published extensively on minorities, nationalism, foreign policy and globalization. He taught political science at Ankara University where he earned his credentials by being dismissed three times following the 1980 military coup. In short he had a normal academic career that one would expect of a leftist. Intellectuals who were left-leaning have embraced him completely and even more so after he formally declared his candidacy.

Oran is running as an independent. The Constitution stipulates that parties must get 10 percent of all votes to get representation in Parliament. The goal of this regulation is to encourage the development of a stable government and a two-party system but it does not take into account the small political parties that might get less than 10 percent of the vote. These parties are barred from Parliament. However, this time some parties, and in particular the pro-Kurdish Democratic Social Party (DTP), decided they would encourage and support independents for whom there is no barrage limit. Their sympathies are known and which political party supports them. All in all an interesting concept and we will see how it works at election time.

The DTP, a pro-Kurdish leftist party, has put its weight behind independent candidates and initially supported Oran. However, it then decided it would be better to support its own chairman in Istanbul. In Oran's case the years of lecturing on political science in the university and the many books and articles he has written tell in his favor. His interest in minority groups led him to chair the Prime Ministry's Minority and Cultural Rights Sub-Committee and its Human Rights Advisory Council. He prepared its report on minorities that turned out to be quite controversial, relating out briefly the history of the term “minority” in the Ottoman Empire and how this definition affected Turkey's relations with the outside world and especially the European Union. He proposed that the Turkish Constitution be rewritten on the basis of freedom, plurality and democracy for those who wanted to speak their own language and preserve their own culture.

A powerful voice, a citizen's duty:

The suggestion that he run for Parliament came as a shock to him and his wife since they were planning on retiring to Bodrum where he would write books. It turned their lives upside down when he finally decided to run because he still sees himself as an academic rather than a politician. He has found however that his wife is one of his greatest supporters and offers him good advice on everything from clothing to voice tone. An attractive blonde, she is usually at his side during rallies and marches.

The first-time candidate is adamant about being a powerful voice in Parliament but expresses himself surprised at how many people are now supporting his campaign. He also says he is going this not out of intellectual bravery but because he believes it is a citizen's duty. Referring to the independent candidates in the upcoming election, Oran attributes the fact that people have become more willing to run and to speak out to the effect of the changes made to harmonize Turkish legislation with that of the EU.

Suddenly Baskin Oran has become one of the new names catching people's attention in a field where the same people run over and over again and get elected over and over again, where people keep their holds on the party they represent even after they have been defeated several times. The reference is to the Republic People's Party (CHP) In the west if a political party keeps losing, its leader resigns, but not in Turkey.

People actually are tired of listening to people who have no real answers to offer and they are doubtful about voting for the Justice and Development Party (AKP) that has been in power with a comfortable majority since the last election in 2002. When asked why he had not joined any political parties, he openly said that he couldn't work with any of the parties in Parliament or with any of the current party chairman. He pointed out that the people don't choose the candidates, the party chairman does.

Oran knows the prison and court system from his own experience but it has not damped down his sense of humor. A video on his life is filled with quiet humor. Academic career must be good for public speaking. Knows how to catch and hold people's attention. If you can keep a class of young 20s something interested, you can keep a crowd of interested people at attention.

This man with short gray hair, gray beard and moustache and glasses has given a different air to the election in Istanbul Second District: Beyoglu, Besiktas, Alibeyköy and Sariyer. His people fan out from a small office in Beyoglu and have a small stand on Istiklal Street outside the Benetton store where they hand out pamphlets. But he has also embraced the Internet with zest and his website includes everything from a video biography and the more traditional curriculum vitae, his schedule, what the media has said about him, selections from his writings including the “Minority Report” and matters of interest.

What others think:

Oran has the support of writer, Yasar Kemal, who has already said that he will vote for him, noting that in previous elections he did not really have a good answer but now he felt he did. Author Adalet Agaoglu is not only going to vote for Oran but she is busy recruiting others to vote for him as well.

Writer Mehmed Uzun of Kurdish origin tells of how very happy he is to know that the Kurds can participate in the election through independent candidates. He went on to describe Oran and Mehmet Ufuk Uras as the voice of Turkey.

Emine Usakligil is a member of the Baskin Oran electoral campaign. He sees Oran's getting into Parliament as an opportunity for Turkey. “He is intent on protecting human rights, rule of law and democracy and developing these. Oran is preparing to be the voice of all of us in Parliament.” She stresses, however, that he needs money for his campaign and, of course, votes.

David Tonge is the managing director of IBS Research & Consultancy and a former Financial Times journalist. He says of Oran: “His scientific output is impressive for its range and for his willingness to lift the veil on those awkward corners of modern Turkish history, the use and abuse of nationalism in state building in Turkey, the treatment of minorities in Turkey and their property, the Kurds, and what he calls the two taboos, Cyprus and the ‘Last Taboo,' the problems of Turkish public opinion on the ‘Armenian Issue.'”

Regarding Oran's candidacy, Radikal writer Nese Düzel says that it is a protest against today's political structures because in his own words he sees himself as “a spokesman for those who have been alienated, rejected, restricted, silenced, pained, had their self-confidence destroyed, or been threatened by the paranoia that Turkey will be broken up as by the Treaty of Sevres. Alevis, Kurds, minorities, gypsies, women, the young, girls who cannot enter universities with head scarves, workers, those not represented by unions, unemployed, homosexuals, transvestites, the starving, the handicapped, environmentalists. All these seek to raise their voice through e-mail groups and meetings. It is important that their voices are heard in the Assembly.”

So if Baskin Oran wins a seat in Parliament this month, the public can certainly be sure that he will bring fresh life to that August governing body.

Genocide Scholars Honor Ambassador John Evans
by Emil Sanamyan
YEREVAN -- The diplomat whose career was cut short by the U.S. State Department after he spoke openly about the Armenian Genocide was honored by the International Association of Genocide Scholars (IAGS) this week.

Former U.S. Ambassador to Armenia John Evans received the association's Raoul Wallenberg award on July 12 during the association's week-long conference in Sarajevo in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The IAGS conference agenda said that the award went to Mr. Evans "for speaking out when diplomats are expected to remain silent, and for calling upon the United States government to recognize the Armenian Genocide."

In his prepared remarks, made available to the Armenian Reporter, Mr. Evans stressed that his effort was certainly in a different league from that of Mr. Wallenberg, the Swedish humanitarian who under diplomatic cover in World War II Hungary helped protect Jews from the Nazi Holocaust.

"I simply violated a strict taboo, and differed publicly with my government, when, at UCLA and Berkeley in 2005, I used the term 'genocide' to describe -- accurately, in my view -- what happened to the Armenians of Anatolia in 1915," Mr. Evans said.

While "nothing can fully compensate the Armenian people for the death and destruction they suffered," Mr. Evans added, "at a minimum the truth should be affirmed," as has been done in various national parliaments and can be done in the U.S. Congress should the House of Representatives' leadership schedule a vote on House Resolution 106, supported by 221 members of Congress as of July 12.

IAGS, which is chaired by the Israeli scholar Dr. Israel Charny, has previously spoken out in support of defining as genocide the Armenian experience in the Ottoman Empire

Mr. Evans also pointed to the recent insurance settlements over unclaimed policies held by Armenians who were murdered in the Genocide, saying "more needs to be done."

"Bottling up the truth and treating it as taboo gets us precisely nowhere," he stressed. "This long-standing problem dating from the early years of the 20th century needs to be fairly and honestly dealt with, for the good of both Armenians and Turks, and for the future stability of the region."

At the same conference, another IAGS award went to Turkish publisher Ragip Zarakolu for "outstanding contributions to the battle against deniers of the Armenian Genocide and all denials of Genocides."


Armenia - Country Of Pirates
13 July, 2007
"Microsoft Company" issued the list of countries breaching the copyright more frequently. It is noteworthy that Armenia takes the fist place. Then come Moldova, Azerbaijan and Zimbabwe.

A number of political figures and NGO representatives gathered on July 13 to debate on one of the most expensive values - mental property. Grigor Barseghyan, the representative of "Microsoft" Company to Armenia, says that the issue should be discussed on the state level. The country should work out methods to protect mental property.

"The state has already adopted a law on the copyright.

We come across cases when singers present songs to this or that TV Company. Later on they are unable to restore their copyright," said Susanna Nersisyan, the Chairwoman of the "RA Authors' Rights Protection," NGO.

Bagrat Engibaryan, the Director of the "Enterprises Incubator Foundation" states that authors are often unaware of their rights.

It is high time we solved the matter. Otherwise it will degrade and affect the country's economy, art and informative technologies, said the presentees.

Nato Hopes Armenian-Turkish Border Will Be Opened
"Turkey is a NATO member-state, while Armenia just participates in programs of the Alliance, and in this respect the organization cannot influence on relations between both countries," head of NATO's Defense Planning and Operations Division George Katsirdakis stated to the PanARMENIAN.Net journalist. He said, however, this does not mean that small Armenia cannot stand against large Turkey.

"Armenia participates in NATO programs, including "Partnership for Peace" program, as well as Armenia-NATO Individual Partnership Action Plan (IPAP). All member-states of the Alliance support Armenia and I hope very much that the problem of normalizing the relations between both countries will be resolved. It's difficult for me to say what exactly hampers the normalization of Armenian-Turkish relations -the Nagorno Karabakh problem or the Armenian Genocide. But in any case it is necessary to build bridges, organize meetings. There exists one more aspect here -the economic and strategic cooperation between Turkey and Azerbaijan and I think this too may serve as a barrier. Nevertheless, NATO hopes Armenian-Turkish border will be opened," Katsirdakis underscored.

Ankara Isolates Armenia
July 13, 2007
Creating a new Turkey-Georgia-Azerbaijan axis, Ankara implements a policy of separatism in the Caucasus, argued Ruben Safrastyan, director of the Oriental Studies Institute of the Armenian Academy of Sciences. Talking to Public Radio of Armenia, Safrastyan claimed the main objective of the new axis, which has its basis in the Baku-Ceyhan oil pipeline is to deepen the isolation of Armenia.


Turkey-Kazakhstan cooperation grows:

Kazakhstan intends to establish a refinery in Turkey and other projects are under way, said Yerke Bulan Sapiyev, Undersecretary of Kazakh Embassy in Ankara. Speaking at a dinner on Wednesday in Ankara organized by Eurasia Economic Relations Association and Kazakh Embassy Sapiyev said the new project will contribute to the development of cooperation between two countries.

Turkish Armenians To Vote For Akp And Independent Candidate Oran
July 13, 2007
In terms of political parties, 60 percent of Turkish Armenians will vote for the outgoing Justice and Development Party (AKP).

In Istanbul's second electoral region where a lot of people with Armenian origins reside, they will vote for the independent leftist candidate professor Baskin Oran, said Bilingual Turkish Armenian weekly Agos editor in chief Etyen Mahcupyan. Mahcupyan spoke on the elections in Turkey to weekly Tempo magazine this week. He emphasized that Turkish Armenians have always voted for center-right parties. ?Turkish Armenians will vote for the AKP. According to our reviews in Istanbul's second electoral region they will mostly vote for independent candidate Baskin Oran. But excluding the independent candidate factor, 60 percent will vote for the AKP,? Mahcupyan stated, adding that the rest of the votes will be split between pro-secular opposition Republican People's Party (CHP), nationalist Young Party (GP) founded by the controversial entrepreneur Cem Uzan and the center-right Democrat Party (DP).

Orthodox Youth Flock To Istanbul
July 13, 2007
Damaris Kremida
ISTANBUL - Turkish Daily News
This week hundreds of Greek Christian Orthodox youth have arrived in Istanbul from all over the world for the second Orthodox Youth Conference. The Orthodox Patriarch Bartolomeos welcomed them to their spiritual 'home'

On Wednesday 780 Orthodox Christian youths from all over the world flocked to Istanbul to participate in a five-day conference dedicated to them, hosted by Patriarch Bartolomeos and the young people of the dwindling Greek Orthodox community of the city. The conference titled Members of the Church – Citizens of the World is the second of its kind and will end with a first-ever concert of Greek singer George Dalaras at Rumeli Hisari on July 15.

The first international conference for youth in Istanbul took place in 2000. At the opening of the conference Bartolomeos emphasized the ecumenical nature of the church and of the Patriarchy in Istanbul. “Our Patriarchy is not a national church. Due to its universal holy message and its great importance in the history of the church, the fathers and councils called it ecumenical,” he said. Bartolomeos welcomed the participants from 37 countries and told them they should feel at home in Istanbul. Youth came from as far as Hong Kong, Australia and the United States, while the Rum (Greeks of Turkey) scurried around welcoming participants and making preparations. The show of confidence and participation of the youth was an important event for the Patriarchate in Istanbul, considered by Greek Orthodox to be the home and hearth of not only Byzantium but also the church. Dimitris, 26, from Hopewell, Virginia, traveled all the way from New Jersey with 30 other young adults from the New York and New Jersey area.

He had been in Istanbul for only a few hours but said it had already made a strong impression on him. “It's sacred and partially untouched by changes,” he said. For Dimitris, attending this conference in Istanbul was important for the continuation of Christian Orthodoxy. “To be able to go back and take home a more global representation of Orthodoxy from the heart of Byzantium… I think that is something pretty amazing and doesn't happen often in a lifetime,” he said. Other participants said they had also come to meet people their age who share their faith as some, like the Americans, felt isolated from the rest of the Orthodox community. Dimitris said that in his estimation, young people were more involved in their churches in the United States, where identity is intertwined with faith, than in Greece.

George Konstantakis, one of the 120 participants that came from Crete, said that he had heard the Patriarch speak many times and was quite involved in his church back home. He, like many of the youth present, feels that this conference will contribute to strengthening the community and equipping them to deal with modern day secular challenges. “I believe that Orthodoxy can answer many of the problems and questions we have,” he said. International representations from Catholic, Armenian and Protestant churches were also present, as well as the World Council of Churches. Around 10 members of the Catholic representation came from as far as Israel, England, Poland, Italy, Germany, Romania and Turkey. Twenty-year-old Theresa Behrens from the United Kingdom, at the conference with the Catholic representation, said that as a youth worker she came hoping to find out what issues the Orthodox youth faced. She said she guessed they were similar to those of the Catholic youth. “A lot of the Catholic youth lack education. A lot of Catholics don't really understand their faith and need teaching,” she said. With Bartolomeos' campaign to reopen the Orthodox theological seminary on the island of Heybeliada, it could be argued that such education is a pressing need for the Greek Orthodox community. “I think the opening of the Chalki (Heybeliada) school is important for many reasons, political and religious,” said Dimitris from Virginia.

Dalaras sets foot in Turkey: George Dalaras, whose nationalistic tendencies have been reported by the media, has been invited in the context of the Second Orthodox Youth Conference to perform at Rumeli Hisari on July 15. This marks the first concert held at Rumeli Hisari in a year and the first time Dalaras has accepted an invitation to come to Turkey. George Dalaras, a world-renowned Greek singer, has been captivating audiences since the 1960s. Although his mother was a Greek refugee from Turkey and he has traveled around the world giving performances, until months ago he has refused to come to Turkey. In an interview with the Greek TV channel ET 1 six months ago, Dalaras said: “If Cyprus cannot be Greek, then I'm not setting foot in Turkey.”

Armenian Public Tv Advertises Turkish Products
13 Jul 2007
 This content mirrored from TurkishArmenians  Site ©
Products of Turkish companies are being advertised in Armenian Public Television (APT), APA reports.

Our compatriots living in Georgia stated that the products of “Beko”, “Ardo”, “Kent”, “Algida” are being advertised by the TV channel. This factor shows that those firms have allocated funds for the activity of APT which propagates against Azerbaijan and Turkey.
Armenian press writes that nearly 20 Armenian-Turkish firms are operating in the country under the name of a third country. /APA/

Legal Successors Of Armenian Depositors, Who Are Victims Of Genocide, Can File Their Cases Against French Axa Insurance Company Until October 1, 2007
Noyan Tapan
Jul 11 2007
The legal successors of the Armenians, who invested insurance deposits or other credits in the French AXA company, which operated in the territory of the Ottoman Empire, can file their cases against AXA by www.ArmenianInsuranceSettlementAXA.com internet site until October 1, 2007. The case will be upholded on the basis of the agreement signed within the framework of the group trial of the U.S. Regional Court of the Central region of California. This statement was made by Parsegh Kartalian, the Head of the AXA Settlement Claim Fund at the July 10 press conference. The fund unites three law offices , which are engaged in the defence of the interests of the legal successors of the victims of the Armenian Genocide: "VARTKES YEGHIAYAN AND YEGHIAYAN & ASSOCIATES," "BRIAN S. KABATECH & KABATECK BROWN KELLINER", and "MARK GERAGOS & GERAGOS & GERAGOS."

According to Parsegh Kartalian, 17.6 million U.S. dollars are liable to payment by the AXA Insurance Company with the above-mentioned agreement, according to approximately 7 thousand insurance policies. However, the legal successors of those insured will be given 11 million dollars, and the rest of the sum will be given to Armenian charitable organizations and lawyers.

In his opinion, at least 10 thousand people will apply in order to get the repayment sums.

The head of the fund mentioned that after the trial won by the "Vartkes Yeghiayan and Yeghiayan & Associates" lawyers' company against the "New York Life" insurance company the latter paid 7.2 million dollars to the legal successors of the depositors, who are victims of the Armenian Genocide, and 3 million dollars to lawyers and charitable companies.

Kocharian: Relations With Turkey 'Complicated'
July 14, 2007
ANKARA – Turkish Daily News
The president of Armenia, Robert Kocharian, pronounced relations with Turkey “complicated,” news reports said on Friday.

Kocharian, speaking through the German publication Spiegel's Web site, stated that “neither the United States nor Russia can aid us in overcoming the barriers between us and Turkey.”

Insisting that Armenia's relationship with Turkey was anything but simple, Kocharian said that direct talks were the only solution but that “the light at the end of that tunnel” was not sight.

Touching on the issue of Nagorno-Karabakh, an Azerbaijani territory occupied by Armenian troops, Kocharian warned that there was great danger of armed warfare flaring up in the region once again but that they would not be the first to resort to a military solution.

The border gate between Turkey and Armenia has been closed for more than a decade. Turkey closed the gate and severed its diplomatic relations with Armenia after Armenian troops entered 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. Among the demands is the discontinuation of Armenia's support for Armenian diaspora efforts to get international recognition for an alleged genocide of Armenians at the hands of the late Ottoman Empire.

How Will Foreigners In Turkey Vote? No Contest!
They may not have the right to vote, but many foreigners who have made their lives in Turkey will be watching the results of the July 22 general elections every bit as closely as their Turkish neighbors.

For many, the difficult decision is not who they want to see elected but whether they believe the current Justice and Development Party (AK Party) government has earned a mandate for a second term.

If foreign residents hold opinions on the whole arc of political spectrum, there is one unusual sentiment that crosses party lines. This is a determination to keep their political views private. "Politics here is a blood sport," said one financial guru who has lived in Istanbul for decades. "No one wants to see their name associated with one party or another."

Braver than most is William Hale, professor of politics at Sabanci University. Professor Hale has sat up into the small hours of the morning every Turkish election night since 1983. What he finds most surprising about the current contest is the way the economy has been sidelined as an electoral issue. "Normally you'd expect the opposition to be hammering the government on its economic performance, but the economy appears to be on track." This explains why the opposition has tried to divert attention to issues like northern Iraq or who is the most patriotic. It explains, too, why he would opt for the AK Party if he had the vote. "It represents the best hope for reasonably effective economic management," he said.

"The market has already factored in an AK Party win," according to one foreign banker and long-time Turkish resident. He agrees with what is now the conventional wisdom that the election will result in what he regards as the best case scenario -- an AK Party majority but one well short of the two-thirds number of seats they would need to elect a president on their own. This means they will have to settle on a compromise candidate. He believes Parliament, not the people, will select that president but that the prime minister, Tayyip Erdogan, is likely to stand for a French-style president, chosen by popular vote in 2012.

So is Banker X happy with the AK Party? Not exactly. He does not reckon himself a “neo-Turcophile” -- that breed of happy foreigner in Turkey who sees the AK Party through rose-tinted glasses. He believes that unchecked, the party would push a conservative agenda that would include a ban on alcohol, breaks for religious schools and a close vetting of government contracts to reward the political faithful at least.

European Banker X shares the views with American financer Y that the government is going to the polls just in the nick of time. Come July 23, the government is going to have to wrestle with the thorny question of excessively high interest rates. These hover at per annum rates of around 18.5 percent nominal or 7-8 percent real interest and are acting as a real brake on consumer spending, employment, and GDP growth. “In 2002, economic policy was straightforward -- it was all hands bailing water with both hands. The next government has to balance the conflicting demands of lower interest rates, the value of the currency and inflation -- a much more difficult task.”

On the other hand, he doesn’t give much importance to the heated secular vs. religious lifestyle debate that has occupied the headlines. A frequent traveller through the Middle East, he finds Turkey more obsessed with the role of religion in public life than even Saudi Arabia. He doesn’t believe that the AK Party has a secret agenda: “What you see is what you get -- baggy trousers, moustaches and lots of Adana kebab.”

Not surprisingly perhaps, the overtly nationalist message of other parties holds little attraction for the foreign community. They are representatives of the outside world that appears to provoke so much suspicion. Some, like the woman married to a Turkish economist, expresses shock at being a dinner party where a guest stood up, crossed his heart and pledged himself to Atatürk. She finds “nationalist cant” far more disturbing than the hypothetical threat that the AK Party might wield in religious-motivated restrictions on public life.Others share the worries of the demonstrably secular Turks that the AK Party represents a step on the slippery road to political Islam. “Anyone but the present lot!” declares one English woman married to a Turkish academic. Another long-term resident and non-working wife believes that the AK Party is anti-foreign with a mission to soak the rich.

Claire Ruoff, a tour guide and nationalized Turkish citizen, disagrees. “Turks are small ‘c’ conservative. They would rebel at any major change to their way of life.” She counts herself as an undecided voter -- inclined to opt for one of the smaller parties or an independent.

“There are good independent candidates in most of the major cities,” says Anthony Greenwood, an academic who has lived most of his life in Turkey. Others cite Baskin Oral on the European side of Istanbul or Mehmet Ufuk Uras on the Asian side as candidates who attract their interest. “This will be the year to test whether independents can challenge the monopoly of the big parties,” concurs William Hale. Angela Berzeg, a Turkish resident for 15 years, says that she would vote AK Party without many qualms. They are doing a particularly good job at the city level, she says. Yet so many of her Turkish friends believe the AK Party is tiptoeing with Nazi Party-like stealth, using democracy to attempt to rule like ayatollahs. She admits if these alarmist prophesies come true, she can always pack her bag. The real problem, she believes, is the lack of credible opposition.

While some foreigners do fear that the AK Party harbors an Islamist agenda, far more typical are the foreign wives who are genuinely conflicted because they do not share the concern of their Turkish friends that their way of life is under threat. “They go winging on about head scarves. Don’t they realize there are more important things in life?” asked another English woman who has lived in Turkey, married to a businessman, for over 30 years. She believes that her way of life is far too well entrenched to be a threat. She is on the verge of getting Turkish citizenship and would be tempted to put her marker on the AK Party logo on the ballot.

Yet her husband supports the CHP. “To vote AK Party would feel like betrayal,” she admits.


It's An Order: Everyone Is To Love America!
July 11, 2007

But why is the Turkish government ‘too soft’ on Kurdish terrorism? Since it is too improbable that Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his men are secretly sympathetic to the PKK, anyone with an elementary knowledge of political affairs in this part of the world would turn to the United States for the answer. And that explains the findings of the Pew survey.

Jim Hoagland's article in the Washington Post (Next Battle in Iraq? on July 8, 2007) appeared almost simultaneously with the latest findings of the Pew Global Attitudes Project. There are in fact parallels between Mr. Hoagland's suggestions and Pew's findings.

“A Turkish invasion that turns Kurdistan's relative calm into chaos and bloodshed would be the nail in the coffin for Bush's legacy in Iraq and for U.S. public support for the American presence there,” Mr. Hoagland wrote. “Making sure this does not happen should be Priority One for Bush and for everyone working for him in the weeks ahead.”

Mr. Hoagland should not worry: A Turkish invasion is most unlikely. And fortunately so, although the government and the military each have ‘different' reasons to avoid a full-scale incursion. But Mr. Hoagland accurately sees how the Turkish public perceives the government's reason: Being too soft on Kurdish terrorism. But why is the government too soft on Kurdish terrorism? Since it is too improbable that Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his men are secretly sympathetic to the PKK, anyone with an elementary knowledge of political affairs in this part of the world would turn to the United States for the answer. And that explains the findings of the Pew survey.

The ‘order' dates back to the days of Douglas Feith

In Feb. 2005, Douglas Feith, the Pentagon's undersecretary for policy at that time and one of the architects of the Iraq war, put it plainly: “We hope that the officials in our partner countries are going to be devoting the kind of effort to building popular support for the relationship…” Mr. Feith's suggestion was the inspiration for “It's an order: Everyone is to love America!” (this column published Feb. 23, 2005).

Readers' comments, naturally from the country for which Mr. Feith said partner countries should build a popular support, mostly in the form of cheap Hollywood language and insults, inspired “Yes, it's an order!,” (this column, March 2, 2005). Judging from Pew's latest findings, we can see that ‘the order' has not worked, or to put it in other words, ‘it has worked, but counter-productively.'

According to the Pew poll:

Favorable views of the United States have fallen down to single digits in Turkey, which emerged as the world's “most anti-US country” in this year's annual global poll: Only 9 percent of Turks have favorable views of the United States, while a vast majority of 83 percent holds the opposite understanding. Similarly, U.S. President George Bush's foreign policy is favored by only 2 percent of the Turkish public. Turkish backing for the United States, which was 52 percent in 2000, has since then declined steadily.

If the poll's findings are accurate, there must be about 60 million anti-American Turks in Turkey. It is difficult to guess what policy repercussions that may cause when in the future some of these anti-American Turks take up senior political/governmental/bureaucratic (and even corporate) positions.

Americans should ask themselves tough questions

It is difficult to say if the Americans should ‘give a damn' about that. If they don't, they should not care about the etiology of Turkey's new demographics vis-à-vis the ‘Land of the Free and the Brave.' If they do, they should ask themselves tough questions. Like, for example, can three plus five equal 12…?

Here is one example:

The natural unpopularity of the Iraq war especially in a country where 51 percent of the people identify themselves with religion (Islam) before nationality (Turkishness) + Istanbul bombings + PKK's terror and an endless number of ‘coffins' arriving from the southeast + American alliance with Iraqi Kurds + American opposition to what many Turks (probably wrongly) view as a cure to PKK's terror (an incursion into northern Iraq) + semi-proven evidence of Iraqi Kurdish support for the PKK (which practically means America's best regional allies supporting Turkey's sworn enemies) + more coffins + more American foot-dragging to act against the PKK + more evidence of Iraqi Kurdish support for the PKK + explicit Iraqi Kurdish and American support for the Turkish government which many Turks see as “collaborators” + more coffins + an embarrassing collapse of the Turkish-American coordination mechanism ‘to fight the PKK' + more coffins + increasing publicity for stronger American-Kurdish alliance + more visible plans for an independent Kurdish state to be carved out of what is today Iraq + more coffins + poor public diplomacy + increasing Turkish nationalism + more coffins = 75 percent of Turks have a favorable view of the United States + 85 percent of Turks have a favorable view of the United States after Mr. Feith says the Turkish government should build popular support for the United States + the Turks also feel terribly sympathetic to the Iraqi Kurds + they see Iraqi Kurds as their brothers and regional allies + no one weeps over the coffins + Turks and Kurds embrace each other as trading partners and comrades in arms + they begin to devise plans to best help their American comrades in their American comrades' plans over Iran and Syria + everything comes up roses on the Turkish-Kurdish-American axis.

This is three plus five equals 12. Can this equation ever hold true as long as the sun rises every new morning? On my part I would like to meet with every single Washington bigwig who ‘devised' that plan and to chat with them long hours over whisky. Truly, it would be a once-in-a-lifetime kind of experience. So much fun!

Delegates Of Armenia Received Five More Bronze Medals In Trabzon
Noyan Tapan
Jul 10, 2007
TRABZON. The first sports games of the member countries of the Black See Economic Cooperation Organization finished in Trabzon on July 8. Valter Margarian (46kg, Yerevan), David Gaginian (50kg, Vanadzor), Sasun Belgarian (54kg, Vanadzor), and Karen Mkrtchian (69kg, Garni) were awarded bronze medals in the competitions of free-style wrestling. Kristine Haroutiunian of Gyumri, a triple jumper, took third place in the competitions of athletes. She came up with a result of 11m and 47sm. In the 400m race Anna Teleshcheva (Yerevan) took fifth place.

"The Lark Farm" Will Be Translated Into Turkish
"The Lark Farm" will be soon translated into Turkish. The author of the book Antonia Arslan said at a press conference in the framework of the Golden Apricot Film Festival that although Turks tried to prevent the shooting of the movie on the basis of the book, they finally managed to create a film, where a number of Turkish characters are fairly presented.

Quoting the words of Taviani brothers, Antonia Arslan expressed hope that some time the film will be shown in Turkish schools. Speaking about the first screening of the film, she said the simultaneous presentation of the film and the book was a great event for her. Antonia Arslan noted that not being a historian, she tried to objectively present a story connected with the fate f her own family and thus tell about many other Armenian families.

It's worth mentioning that The Lark Farm" will be continued. The author informed that half of the book is ready.

Turkish Opposition Party Says Erdogan Is Going To Pass Erzerum To Armenia
/PanARMENIAN.Net/ Turkish People's Republican Party in opposition has accused Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan of having intentions to pass Erzerum to Armenia. Candidate from that party Erbaºar Ozsoy accused Erdogan of being one of the co-chairs of the so-called "Great Middle East" project, according to which Erzerum is part of Armenia. At the same time he added that if the People's Republican Party were elected, the country would not be split, Haber.com reports.

212 Emblematic Works From Louvre To Armenian History Museum
"Saint Armenia" Exhibition kicked off in Louvre from Frebruary 19 till May 29 will be presented in the History Museum of Armenia from August to October within the frameworks of the Year of Armenia in France. Vice Minister of Culture Gagik Gyurjyan informed about that Panorama.am correspondent. As he informed all the 212 works are already here in Armenia(31 cross-stones among them).G.Gyurjyan mentioned that due to the agreement signed with the Louvre management the exhibition will be presented here as it was done there. Regarding the vice-president's words the exhibition had great achievements and millions of visitors in France.

The exhibition presented exceptional loans from the Museum and Treasury of the Etsmiadzin Holy See, Matenadaran and from the National History Museum. The exhibition first revealed the Adoption of Christianity and the creation of the Armenian Alphabet in the 4th and the 5th centuries ,then the first "Golden Age" and the "Church Independence" in the 6th and 7th centuries, Islamic and Byzantine revivals in the 8th and 13th centuries and the 13th and 15th centuries "Mets Hayk" and the Persian and Ottoman revivals in the 13th and 15th centuries.

Vice-president G.Gyurjan also said that after the exhibition held in the History Museum of Armenia all the works will be returned to the museums , the cross-stones will be brought to the different regions of the Republic taken with signboards to have been presented in the Year of Armenia in France exhibition.

Someday Turkish People Will Understand And Admit Film, Italian Producer Says
Producer Gracia Volpi said at a press conference in Yerevan, Tuesday.
She joins the film's directors Taviani Brothers who do not rule out that the Skylarks Farm will be demonstrated at schools in Turkey. Ms Volpi said the Turkish party exerted pressure on the creative staff in the course of shooting. "It is easier to tell and write about the Genocide of Armenians than to shoot a film about it. However, we tried to be as objective as possible when shooting the Skylarks Farm. Positive Turk characters once more prove that we were far from creating 'a black image' of Turks," Ms Volpi said. To recall, the film was demonstrated in Yerevan for the first time on July 9 at the opening ceremony of Golden Apricot the 4th International Film Festival.

Armenian Foreign Minister: We Will Not Allow Turkey And Azerbaijan Dictate Their Conditions To US
Armenian foreign minister Vardan Oskanyan said when making a speech at the first ArmTech CONGRESS '07 San Francisco, USA July 7, 2007.
As ArmInfo was informed from press-service of Foreign Ministry, Vardan Oskanyan said that Armenia will not allow an unrepentant Turkey to determine our agenda. "We will also not limit our choices and options by the lack of a willingness on the part of Azerbaijan to enter into a lasting agreement.

They do not want to acknowledge either the past, or the present. As a result, they are not interested in discussing a common future", the minister added.

Oskanyan also said: "The mental state of war persists in Azerbaijan. In Armenia and Karabakh, I am proud to say that OUR outlook is towards the future, towards an eventual peace, towards progress, stability and prosperity".

Matt Bryza Refused To Comment On U.S. Recognition Of Azerbaijan's Territorial Integrity
The United States and Azerbaijan exchanged views on the Nagorno Karabakh conflict settlement during the security consultations in Washington.

"Washington has always recognized independence and territorial integrity of Azerbaijan," Azeri Deputy Foreign Minister Araz Azimov told a news conference.

However, the OSCE Minsk Group U.S. Co-chair, Mr Matthew Bryza refused to comment on the issue of U.S. recognition of Azerbaijan's territorial integrity.

"Discussions are held. However, there is no universal formula of priority between the principles of territorial integrity and the peoples' right to self-determination," he said, APA reports.

International Forum On Fighting Terrorism Due In Yerevan
An international forum titled "Ensuring preparedness to fight terrorism" will be organized on July 12 in the framework of the Armenia-NATO cooperation. The forum will feature more than 80 representatives of 25 countries, international organizations located in Yerevan and corresponding NATO structures. Participants of the forum will discuss the contemporary methods for fighting terrorism and international cooperation in this direction, RA MFA Press and Information Department informs.

Turkish Think-Tank Looks At Strategic Importance Of Caucasus
Anatolia news agency
Ankara, 9 July: "Caucasus is a strategic region, the importance and priority of which are gradually increasing," Faruk Logoglu, retired ambassador, who is actually the chairman of the Eurasia Strategic Studies Centre (ASAM), said on Monday [9 July].

An international workshop on "Expectations in the Caucasus and possibilities -Turkey's role as a regional force and an element of guarantee" was held in Ankara by Konrad-Adanauer-Stiftung (KAS) Association and ASAM.

"Some regional problems that require solution, relations of regional countries with Russia, the USA and Europe, its function as an intersection point for communication and transportation between Asia and Europe, its location as a shipment corridor for oil and natural gas resources make the Caucasus a focal point," Logoglu stressed in the opening session of the workshop at Ankara's Bilkent Hotel.

According to Logoglu, Turkey's Caucasus policy aims to create a stable, secure and prosperous region. "In this context, our Caucasus policy is based on the understanding that regional countries can reach better conditions by not only fulfilling democracy, rule of law and human rights but also establishing close relations with the Western world," he stated.

Turkey favours peaceful settlement of disputes Logoglu said that Turkey favours peaceful settlement of regional disputes, and pursues an active policy.

Turkey's policy is to support and strengthen territorial integrity and independence of south Caucasus republics, Logoglu noted.

"Turkey, which aims to ensure Russia's constructive contribution, also wants to take role in production and transportation of energy resources of the Caspian basin. Within this framework, Turkey was the first state acknowledging the independence of south Caucasus republics in 1991 without any discrimination and has supported reconstruction of these republics since then. Turkey not only conveyed its own experiences for reconstruction of civilian bureaucracy but also played an important role in establishment of armed and security forces of particularly Georgia and Azerbaijan, and their organization in line with NATO standards," he said.

Logoglu added, "Turkey wants settlement of frozen clashes in Caucasus within the framework of international laws and territorial integrity of these countries. It has backed Georgia's territorial integrity in every occasion and platform. Similarly, Ankara has argued that Armenia has to end its occupation and annexation of Azerbaijani territories under UN Security Council and OSCE resolutions in order to solve Azerbaijani-Armenian dispute."

Economic relations with Caucasus

On the other hand, Logoglu pointed out that economic relations between Turkey and Caucasus are gradually improving.

Logoglu said that Turkey is making serious contribution to Armenian economy by providing employment for more than 50,000 Armenian citizens and by indirect trade although the two countries do not have diplomatic relations.

Also, Caucasus has key role for Turkey as a transportation corridor for oil and natural gas pipelines, ASAM chairman underlined.

Turkish-Armenian relations

Logoglu said that Turkey was one of the first countries that recognized Armenia's independence and extended humanitarian aid to this country which was facing economic problems. However, Armenia's Turkey policy has hampered any diplomatic relationship between the two countries, he stressed.

"Among the factors which hamper normalization of Turkish-Armenian relations are the expressions in Armenia's independence declaration and Constitution which question Turkey's territorial integrity, Armenia's stance of not officially recognizing the 1921 Kars agreement which draws the border of this country with Turkey and former Soviet Union, its prior foreign policy target of making international arena adopt its genocide allegations and its decision not to withdraw from Azerbaijani territories despite UN Security Council resolutions," Logoglu said.

Logoglu noted that Turkey favours solution of all problems with Armenia through dialogue.

EU can show more interest in Caucasus Stating that the EU can show more interest in the Caucasus, Logoglu said that Europe, which needs foreign energy resources, has to deal with peace and stability of Caucasus for energy safety reasons.

On the other hand, KAS Secretary-General Wilhelm Staudacher underlined increasing strategic importance of Caucasus and said that Europe should deal with this region more.

Staudacher added that Turkey can have a role in stability of Caucasus as it is a NATO member and an important partner of Europe.

The workshop will end after a reception on Monday evening.

Armenian Genocide Victims' Descendants Can Receive $17.5mln From French Axa Bank As Compensations
Jul 10 2007
Armenian Genocide victims' descendants can receive $17.5mln from French AXA bank as compensations, Barsegh Gardalyan, the head of Vardges Yeghiyan, Brian Kabatek and Mark Kirakos advocate groups' offices in Yerevan said Tuesday at a news conference. These groups engage in compensations to AXA bank depositors' heirs.

He said that after deducting fees to lawyers, the bank will pay about $11mln to the victims' heirs and $3mln will be transferred to benevolent organizations.

Gardalyan also said that the list consists of 7 000 depositors. It means over 10 000 heirs may get compensations.

The list is available on sites www.ArmenianInsuranceSettlement.com and www.ArmenianInsuranceSettlementAXA.com.

The application form is placed on the sites as well.

Brsegh Gardalyan said that the office's maim aim is to provide comprehensive information to potential beneficiaries.

New York Life Insurance has already paid compensations to the Armenian Genocide victims' heirs.

In 2007, this insurance company paid $20 million to the victims' descendants living in 26 countries. $3.6 million was paid to Armenia's citizens. Another 3.6 million was paid to Armenian living in the United States, France and the Middle East. The remaining amount was paid to beneficiaries living in other countries.

Matthew Bryza: "There Is No Universal Formula For The Supremacy Of Territorial Integrity Over The Right Of Self-Determination"
AZG Armenian Daily
On June 10 after US-Azerbaijani security consultations in Washington with Azerbaijani Deputy Foreign Minister Araz Azimov, Deputy Assistant Secretary of US Department of State, US Co-Chairman of OSCE Minsk group Matthew Bryza in a joint press conference announced: "In the circles of international law there is no universal formula for the supremacy of territorial integrity over the right of self-determination of people."

The consultations also included the issues of the settlement of Karabakh conflict. Deputy Foreign Minister of Azerbaijan touching upon the issue announced that the official Washington always recognized the independence of Azerbaijan and its territorial integrity. The US Co-chairman avoided doing any comments saying: "Discussions are held to clarify which is more important the Azerbaijani territorial integrity or the right of self-determination of the people of Karabakh. There is no universal formula or an international approach to it.

"In the negotiations of the settlement of Karabakh conflict we have come to a point, where serious and hard decisions should be made by the presidents of Armenia and Azerbaijan", Metthew Bryza said according to ITAR-TASS agency.

Highly evaluating the one-day visit of Armenian and Azerbaijani intellectuals to Stepanakert, Yerevan and Baku Metthew Bryza stated that the visit became an important development in the events. "It's not a breakthrough, but it is a big and serious measure to gain mutual confidence", he added.

Onur Oymen: If Armenia Wants To Live In Peace And Stability, It Should Pull Out Troops From Azerbaijani Lands
12 July 2007, Resource : APA

“Turkey supports peace and stability in the Caucasus, like in all regions. Unfortunately, Armenia impedes peace and stability in the region. Armenia has occupied 20 per cent of Azerbaijani territories, as a result of it about one million Azerbaijanis have become refugees and IDPs,” deputy chairman of Democratic People’s Party Onur Oymen told the APA’s Turkey bureau. He underlined that Turkey can not be apart from the solution to the Nagorno Karabakh conflict.

“Turkey was one of the first countries to recognize Armenia’s independence. Unfortunately, Armenia does not respect Turkey’s territorial integrity. Armenian Diaspora is propagandizing against Turkey and put forward the alleged genocide claims. If Armenia wants to live in peace and stability, it should first of all pull out troops from Azerbaijani lands and one million IDPs should be brought back to their native lands,” he said.

Sarkozy’s Message To Algerians: Need To Focus On The Future
12 July 2007
Journal of Turkish Weekly

Nicholas Sarkozy, visiting former French colonies in North Africa on 10 July, has made an explanation on the subject of the expected apology for the French colonial misdeed history. Mr. Sarkozy expressed “his nation should recognize its colonial past but not apologize for it”. French President Nicolas Sarkozy fulfilled its first visit beyond Europe after the Presidential elections of May. In this sense he visited Algeria on Tuesday and lobbied to boost energy ties with France’s largest trading partner Algeria. However, he said that concrete steps would have to await another trip in November. After having talked with President Abdelaziz Bouteflika he wanted leaders of his proposed Mediterranean Union to meet in 2008 to form the framework of this proposal. In such perspective, he wants to reinforce the cooperation on security and immigration among countries in the Mediterranean area.

Just due to start his one-day visit, in an interview with the Algerian Newspapers El Vatan and El Khabar, Mr. Sarkozy talked about the Algerian demand on French apology for killings during the French colonial rule. Emphasizing leaders should focus on the future, Mr. Sarkozy has also stated that “younger generations on both sides of the Mediterranean are not expecting their leaders to torture themselves in battling their guilt for the errors or mistakes of the past because on this account there would be a lot to do on both sides”.

Just to remind, about 1.5 million Algerians died in the war of independence which took place between 1954 and 1962.

What about his insistence on Armenian Genocide?

Whereas President Sarkozy is emphasizing the need to focus on future rather than the aggressive past for the events which happened during Algerian independence war under the French colony, it is not possible to see the similar perspective for the subject of so-called Armenian genocide.

In his previous statements, Nicholas Sarkozy stated that the recognition of the Armenian Genocide is the moral responsibility of Turkey. In one of the last statement to the Lebanese Armenian Orthodox church, he declared "I believe the recognition of the genocide by Turkey is a moral responsibility. You can be certain that I will continue to speak out and work on this issue with full commitment."

Mr. Sarkozy is objected to Turkey’s EU membership prospect. This is why he proposed to found a Mediterranean Union as an alternative. Sarkozy suggested that Turkey should end up its relations with the EU on the basis of membership prospect and become a member of the Mediterranean Union mostly for which Sarkozy visited to Algeria.

Last year, French National Assembly also went through a debate on a bill that would penalize those who deny the so-called Armenian genocide.

It seems that Nicholas Sarkozy has a different point of view for the meaning of the past because he could easily categorize the past those which had to be forgotten and need to look for the future and those which are acceptable. Then, what is the obvious is the double standard about the attitude toward the French and Turkish past.

What Does 'Minority' Mean In Turkey?
July 12, 2007
In diverse Turkey, the word "minority" is a subject of ongoing sensitivity and debate. While the word in common usage can refer to distinct social groups whose numbers are relatively small, there are three legally established, statutory minorities in Turkey: Greeks, Armenians and Jews.

This definition was made in the Lausanne Treaty in 1923 at the behest of Western powers and obligated the new Turkish Republic to acknowledge the special status of these groups. Some small groups, notably the Ancient Syriac Orthodox community, rejected the status at the time as divisive and remained outside the legal definition. The Jewish community also rejected portions of the Lausanne designation as a violation of social cohesion. Reflecting the sensibilities of the time, Lausanne regarded all Muslims of Turkey as a single “majority.” The Constitution, however, does not recognize religious or ethnic affiliation in defining citizenship. The word “Turk,” while regarded in some quarters as an ethnic label, does not under the law mean anything more than a person of Turkish citizenship.

In the cultural realm, however, the many groups that demographically or culturally may be described as minority in Turkey include the Alevi religious sect, the ethnic Kurdish population and many others, ranging from the "Laz" population which hails from the Black Sea region in Turkey's north, to a large Arab-speaking community in southeastern Turkey to the Roma (or Gypsy) population which has lived in Istanbul since Byzantine times. Some demographers will argue that Turkey has no “majority” population in the sense in which it is used in Europe or the United States and count more than 30 languages spoken in Turkey as evidence.

Periodically, calls are made within Turkey and without to expand the "Lausanne definition." To date, this suggestion has been rejected. Those rejecting the argument, including many within the groups that might be affected, who suggest expansion of special categories is an outdated notion but who do defend acknowledgement of the growing awareness of Turkey's many unique cultures and sources of identity. Use of the word "minority" in the TDN does not imply endorsement of any side in this ongoing debate.

U.S. Embassy In Armenia: Nezavisimaya Gazeta Furnished False Information
The information published in Nezavisimaya Gazeta has nothing to do with the reality, U.S. Embassy PR Officer Thomas Mittnacht told a PanARMENIAN.Net reporter.

"Mr Godfrey was sent with a diplomatic mission to Yerevan for three years. The term expired in July 2007. He has completed his mission and now he is leaving. It's a diplomatic practice accepted throughout the globe," Mr Mittnacht said.

Nezavisimaya Gazeta's article titled "Irreversible maturity" published July 9, 2007, said in part, "Early this week Washington spread an information on recall of Acting Charge d'Affairs in Armenia, Mr Anthony Godfrey. He fell a victim to the Armenian Genocide issue. It was enough for the diplomat to publicly question the Armenian formulation of the 1915 events.

His career acquired vague shapes. Under the pressure of the Armenian lobby Godfrey's appointment was protracted for a year and ended in recall."


Deal With Algeria, Instead Of The Armenians
The Same Principle Does Not Suit Mr. Sarkozy /Sabah
French leader Sarkozy, who is know for pressing Turkey regarding Armenian issues, did not care for the same principles when it came to his own country. When reminded of the 1.5 million people killed during the colonial period of France in Algeria, Sarkozy said: "we should look forward to the future; rather than feel sorry for past events."

When reminded of the 1.5 million people killed during the colonial period of France in Algeria, Sarkozy said: "we should look forward to the future; rather than feel sorry for events in the past."

French president Nicolas Sarkozy does not want Turkey to become an EU member. He has taken the first step towards founding the Mediterranean Union he suggested as an alternative. Sarkozy suggested that Turkey should quit European Union and should lead the Mediterranean Union. Sarkozy went to Algeria, a possible member of the Mediterranean Union he wishes to establish.

The debate of apology was brought to the agenda during his visit to the country that has been a French colony for 132 years. It was discussed whether France should apologize for the deaths and casualties that occurred during the eight year independence war.

Sarkozy wanted Turkey to make peace with its past and accept the Armenian genocide claims; however, when it came to France, he did not seem to apply the same rule. Sarkozy said: "the public does not expect their leader to set aside everything and be sorry about the mistakes in the past. We need to focus on the future."

Sarkozy: "I am in favor of accepting the truth; but not confessing sins. This is a religious concept which does not exist among states."

A Look From Turkey’s East To The World
BERIL DEDEOGLU b.dedeoglu@todayszaman.com
As is the case for most countries, during the electoral process the interest of the greater public in external developments declines.
Nevertheless, this lack of interest is larger in politicians compared to ordinary people, because an important part of the population pursues their lives in connection with other countries and they define themselves according to external developments. Several regions in Turkey can set an example for this fact, but Van and Dogubeyazit, which are the extreme eastern points of the nation, prove what they say about Turkey: in order to understand Turkey, you should go to the provinces.

The eastern Anatolian town of Van is a city of poplars. It’s an important center with its historical background and its natural beauty forged by mountains and lakes. The region is marked by many civilizations from the Urartians to the Ottomans and it has astonishing social diversity. Kurds, Azeris, Farsis, Arabs, Turkmens, they all live side by side; Hanefis, Alevis and Shafiis share the same city. The city’s main economic resource is the trade from the neighboring countries, even if everyone claims that agriculture and stock-breeding are the main activities. That’s why foreign countries have vital importance for Van. The truck and bus circulation increases near the Iranian border, showing that the region is the crossing point and the transfer center for Middle Eastern peoples. Dogubeyazit’s markets, named after Iran, Pakistan and Syria, indicate commerce’s importance. For the local people Iran’s nuclear activities, the European and US position towards Tehran or the name of the Iranian president have no importance at all. What is imperative is not to have a development that would obstruct commercial transactions, such as a war in Iran, Syria, Iraq, Pakistan or even in Russia.

This is exactly what Jean Monnet has said about Europe and what Karl Deutsch emphasized in his “security community” and “social communication” theories. According to these, societies with historical, ethnic and religious ties establish trade relations and communication more easily than others and these links strengthen interactions between societies. Some sort of interdependence is thus created. The interdependence increases the level of security and thus reduces the risk of armed conflict. This approach was formulated according to the European experience and its practical result is the European Union. Nevertheless, this theory is viable in Turkey’s border towns too. In eastern Turkey merchants care about the end of the Iraqi civil war more than the presence of the American troops; they don’t want to see a destabilized Syria; they are worried about a US embargo against Iran and they don’t think that a Turkish military operation in northern Iraq would be wise. In brief, the vast majority of the inhabitants are not influenced by the electoral rhetoric and global power’s attitudes.

Another example of the incompatibility between political calculations and social demands is set by the polemic about Van’s Akhtamar church. On the official road signs there is an insistence on the use of “Akdamar” orthography. But the excursion boats to the church’s isle prefer to use its original name. The local people are very religious, however they criticize the absence of the cross and the bell on the restored church. They even stress that religious tourism could be stimulated if the building was used as a church and not only as a museum. Apparently local people don’t think that there is a connection between this building and the Armenian issue, piety nor the foreign powers.


Sarkozy Tells Algeria: No Apology For The Past
 This content mirrored from TurkishArmenians  Site © Click For Larger Image
French President Nicolas Sarkozy, visiting former colonies in North Africa on Tuesday, said France should recognize its colonial history but not repent for it.

France's President Nicolas Sarkozy (L) shakes hand with his Algerian counterpart Abdelaziz Bouteflika upon his arrival in Algiers on Tuesday.

Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, who has long demanded France apologize for colonial-era crimes, greeted Sarkozy at the airport in Algiers. Later Tuesday, Sarkozy headedo Tunisia. This was his first presidential trip outside Europe.

Sarkozy is pushing for closer French ties to Algeria’s oil-and-gas giant Sonatrach, and pushing his project of a “Mediterranean Union” to boost cooperation on security and immigration among countries around the Mediterranean basin. He also was expected to discuss joint efforts at fighting terrorism, as Algeria faces an upsurge in attacks by an al-Qaeda affiliate that also has threatened to target France.

France’s relations with Algeria -- the jewel in the colonial crown before it won independence in 1962 -- have remained tense since 2005, when Sarkozy’s conservative party championed a law citing the positive effects of colonialism. The contentious language was later removed, but many former colonies remain bitter, and on a 2006 visit to Algeria as interior minister, Sarkozy received a cold welcome.

“I am for a recognition of facts, not for repentance, which is a religious notion and has no place in state-to-state relations,” Sarkozy said in an interview with the Algerian newspapers El Watan and El Khabar published Tuesday.

“The younger generations, on both sides of the Mediterranean, ... are not expecting their leaders to torture themselves in battling their guilt for the errors or mistakes of the past, because on this account, there would be a lot to do on both sides,” he was quoted as saying.

“That is not to say that we should cover up the past, since any grand nation ... should come to terms with its history, with its light and its dark sides. Certainly there were many dark sides, sufferings and injustices during the 132 years that France spent in Algeria, but there wasn’t only this,” he continued.

“The work of memory should continue,” Sarkozy said in the interview. He said he would push for cooperation between the two nations’ archives.

Sarkozy also told the newspapers he wanted a “connection” between France’s energy giants Gaz de France, Suez and Total and Algeria’s Sonatrach.

Sarkozy’s government was expected to decide soon on whether to go ahead with a merger of state-owned GDF and Suez. Prime Minister Francois Fillon has said other options -- including a merger with other gas producers, notably Algerian ones -- are being considered.

AP Algiers

Armenian Businessman Becomes Shareholder Of Great Turkish Company: Turks Appeal Against This Bargain
Noyan Tapan
Armenians Today
Jul 09 2007
The joint Russian-Kazakh "TransCentralAsia Petrochemical" company bought the 51% of the securities of the Turkish "Petkim" petrochemical company, that is to say, the control package. According to the Turkish sources, the company paid a record price for the securities of the "Petkim" company, that is, 2 billion and 50 million dollars.

According to the Turkish Press, an action was filed to the Turkish State Council (Supreme Instance of Appeal) claiming to invalidate that bargain and stop the process of the transfer of securities. The motivations that the "Troika Dialog" company belonging to Ruben Vardanian, an Armenian businessman, is included in the joint Russian-Kazakh company are put forward in this application: "It has become known that the "Troika Dialog" company, which belongs to the Armenian businessman, who plays a great role within the frameworks of the Armenian Diaspora, has made a financial investment in the process of buying the securities of the "Petkim" petrochemical company. This circumstance has become a reason for a number of issues connected with this bargain and serious doubts," is mentioned in the application of lawyer Gyokhan Jandogan.

It should also be mentioned that the Russian "Investment Bank Troika Dialog" and the Kazakh "Kazak Caspi Neft", as well as the "Investment Industrial Group Eurasia" companies are also included in the "TransCentralAsia Petrochemical" holding.

According to the Turkish sources, the fortune of Ruben Vardanian makes about 960 million dollars. He is one of the most prominent representatives of the Armenian community in Russia, who is also the coordinator of the "Hayastan - 2020" program.

In The Wonderland Of Ruins
Turkey's history is even more rich and complicated than its convoluted present.
Jul. 10, 2007
My family and I just returned from three weeks in Turkey. I've wanted to go there for years, and decided that we'd better get over there before Ankara makes good on its threat to invade northern Iraq to clear out Kurdish militants, an action that would piss off its U.S. "ally" and lead the Turks to take an even more jaundiced view of America and Americans than they do now. According to a Pew poll, only 9 percent of Turks currently say they view America favorably, compared to 52 percent before George W. Bush took office, making Turkey the most anti-American of all 47 countries in the poll. Bush himself rejoices in a 2 percent Turkish favorability rating, three points under Osama bin Laden.

Of course, as anyone who has traveled in the Middle East knows, these kinds of polls do not translate into any observable hostility in face-to-face encounters with people. The Turks are legendarily friendly and hospitable, as well as being legendarily sharp traders, and native warmth -- and the desire to sell Turkish delight and rugs -- trumps any anger at U.S. foreign policy. Again and again in casual conversations with Turks, they would ask, "What do you think of President Bush?" When we would say, "We can't stand him," they would immediately brighten -- one guy burst out "High five!" and exuberantly exchanged hand slaps with us. Then, alas, would come the inevitable next question. "Every American we meet here says they don't like Bush. But if no Americans like Bush, why did he get reelected?"

Hmmm. We would try to explain that the people who like Bush are usually not the kind of people who travel to Turkey. They're scared of Arabs and Islam and are probably so ignorant of the region that they don't even know where Turkey is, let alone that it isn't Arab and has been officially secular since its creation. We'd go on to say that a lot of Americans got scared after 9/11 and voted for him out of fear.

But it was hard to explain these things. It was especially hard explaining them to two brothers, Kurdish Turks, who ran a 24-hour kebab restaurant in Antalya's labyrinthine old city, the Kaleici. "Just outside that gate," the younger one told me, gesturing to a Roman-era wall a few yards away, "a bomb went off last year and killed three people. I walked past there five minutes before." The Turks have been locked in a sporadic guerrilla war with the Kurdish separatist group the PKK for years, and practically every region of the country has been hit by deadly attacks. So the idea that what happened to America was so unique and awful that it justified launching a full-scale invasion of Turkey's neighbor, which had nothing to do with the attacks anyway, did not play well.

Not that the average Turk is necessarily any more well-informed or rational about world affairs than the average American. After we talked a little more about why the U.S. invaded Iraq, the younger brother said, "We have this problem with the PKK. They are Kurds. But you know, we Kurds are peaceful people. Kurds would not do these bombings." Leaning forward with a knowing little smile, he said, "I think it is the USA. The Turkish army is very strong. I think it can even defeat the U.S. Army. So I think the U.S. is behind these bombings. Because you want to control Turkey." Leaving aside his admirably patriotic but somewhat excessive belief in Turkey's military might, it seemed too complicated to explain that, yes, the USA does want to "control" Turkey -- or at least keep it on the right side of the "global war on terror" -- and yes, we're tacitly willing to allow the PKK to maintain their bases in Kurdish-controlled Iraq because we don't want Turkey to destabilize the only part of Iraq that hasn't become hell on earth, but no, we're not so evil and omnipotent that we're putting bombs in minivans in Aegean resorts. So I just smiled and drank my tea.

Politics are much on the minds of the Turks these days, with presidential elections scheduled for the end of July. Turkish politics violate just about every cliché Americans have come to accept about Islam and terrorism. Everything takes place under the shadow of Kemal Ataturk, the reforming soldier-statesman who created the state of Turkey by defeating Greece, England and France, who had wanted to carve up the remains of the Ottoman Empire after World War I. In a kind of revolutionary year-zero move, Ataturk decided that Turkey must face West, not East, changed the national alphabet to use Latin characters, and established secularism, Turkish nationalism and the army at the center of Turkish life, where they remain to this day. In the upcoming election, the army and the secular elites are squared off against the government, which is moderately Islamic.

You might think this means the army is the good guys, keeping Turkey from sliding into dangerous Islamism. But as with everything involving Turkish politics, that would be an oversimplification. Kemalism, as Turkey's founding ideology is called, has become ossified and corrupt, and the moderate Islamic political parties have gained middle-class support not just because of their religious orientation but because they are more transparent and progressive than the Kemalists. In fact, the U.S. has good relations with the administration of Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and has made no secret of the fact that it sees a democratic, moderately Islamic Turkey as a role model for the region. This has led the Turkish left, which loathes the U.S.'s foreign policies, to attack the Islamic government not just for being too religious -- the issue of whether the wives of AK politicians should wear head scarves is a flash point -- but as being too pro-American.

In short, Turkey represents a collision between Islam and the West, and between tradition and modernity, so complex and multifaceted that it makes no sense at all if judged by our usual criteria. Actually, it may not make much sense judged by any criteria -- at least if we are to believe the comic-hallucinatory picture painted by Turkey's Nobel Prize-winning writer Orhan Pamuk in his weird and wonderful 2004 novel "Snow," in which Islamists, secularists and revolutionaries interrogate, insult and kill each other as if in a deadly, half-ridiculous dream.

Fortunately, this trip was a vacation, and it was not my responsibility to make sense of Turkey, only to drink in as much of her as possible. It was time to give everlasting politics a rest. Besides, unexplained and unexplored dissonances are one of the best things about traveling. The tourist's perspective may be shallower than the journalist's in some ways, but it has its virtues. As a traveler you amass thousands of vivid single-image frames, which later roll out as a movie that has its own coherence. The portraits of Ataturk you see everywhere in this infant nation, on hillsides, in statues in town squares, in grimy cafes and rug stores and private homes and barber shops -- the great Kemal drinking the national yogurt drink, smiling, holding a child, standing at attention, frowning, always looking hawk-eyed and steadfast -- is part of that movie. So are the working-class Istanbul residents who eyed an American family with wary friendliness on a Sunday boat trip up the Bosphorus. And the soldiers standing inexplicably on a highway high above Kekova beach with machine guns. And the throngs of elegantly dressed people pouring through the streets around Taksim Square in downtown Istanbul. And the dozens of Turks whose faces lit up like suns when, at the end of some prosaic commercial transaction, we smiled at them and shook hands.

As a crucible, a test laboratory, for the fusion of Islam and the West, multicultural strangeness is an everyday occurrence in Turkey. One example: At an evening concert at Aspendos, the best-preserved ancient theater in the world, the Turkish pianist Fazil Say, a flamboyant damn-the-score virtuoso in the Franz Liszt mold, was about to begin playing one of his avant-garde piano compositions, in which Bartok tonalities mingle with Turkish folk motifs. Just as he was ready to attack the keyboard, the eerie amplified atonal warble of a muezzin calling the faithful to prayer floated from some distant mosque into the silent theater. What was the dominant theme of this moment? The Greco-Roman theater? The crowd of sophisticates drinking wine with nary a head scarf to be seen? The hypnotic, inescapable sound of Islam? Say's brilliant modernist music? It was all of them at once.

But the most striking thing about Turkey, for me, is that it is a vast, cavalier garbage-dump of human history. It is the land of ruins par excellence. The traces of human history are so potent and omnipresent here that they act like a drug.

On a scorching hot afternoon in late June -- the temperature had hit 51 degrees centigrade two days before -- we drove our Russian- built, French-powered Renault Dacia rent-a-car down to Miletus, once one of the great cities in the world. Miletus had been on the Aegean coast until the river Meander, which gave us the word, silted up and turned it from a port to an inland city.

I had wanted to see Miletus because when I was a child I used to leaf in wonder through the pages of my father's copy of Bertrand Russell's "The Wisdom of the West," an illustrated history of Western philosophy. Thales of Miletus, regarded as the first Western philosopher, was discussed in the book's very first pages. Russell's account of his philosophy, centering on the proposition that "all substance is one," was far over my 9-year-old head, but I remember looking at the drawings that accompanied it and feeling the excitement of glimpsing a vast intellectual adventure, like an ancient pillar silhouetted against the sky. To go to Miletus was somehow to find a thread that would connect to that childish wonder, now so distant. It was one of those minor pilgrimages we all make from time to time, ones driven by the most vaporous memories. And half the charm of these trips is knowing that when you get there you won't find the font of Western wisdom, but something random, strange and deflating. The Mausoleum at Halicarnassus is the world-champion example: Once one of the Seven Wonders of the World, it is now a barely marked heap of rubble off a nondescript street in Bodrum, a bustling resort full of lager louts from Sheffield whose claim to immortality is now its discotheque, allegedly the loudest in the world. Sic transit Gloria Gaynor.

As we drove toward the ruins we consulted the Blue Guide. In 585 B.C., Miletus was the greatest of the Ionian cities, and Thales was celebrated as one of the world's great sages and scientists. His writings are lost, but according to Aristotle, he taught that "the basic nature of all things is water" and that "all things are full of gods."

Miletus turned out to be a little like the Mausoleum -- a letdown, but somehow an unforgettable one precisely because of that. The ruins covered a vast area, but many of them were covered by roads and fields, and only a fraction of them were excavated. It was too hot to get out and explore the theater, which we could see shimmering in the heat-haze. Instead, we turned down a little-used dirt road a few hundred yards away to see where it went. The road, which looked like it hadn't been driven on for years, dead-ended amid some obscure stone-fenced fields, and we all began squabbling about whose dumb idea it was to turn here. Then, as we turned around, we almost ran over two pieces of an Ionic column, which were either still lying where they fell two millennia ago or had been rolled just off the road next to two scrawny olive trees.

I got out of the car. Somehow the randomness of these columns, their utter forlornness, cut through the guidebook torpor and the long scroll of time unrolled, reaching from a silent afternoon 2,000 years ago to the silent afternoon around me. These had once been. And the moment threw a slant of light, and shadow, on Thales' teachings: All substance is one. All things are full of gods.

There are ruins preserved behind museum glass, which we venerate like the pieces of the True Cross that the Crusaders ripped off when they sacked Constantinople. And there are ruins that just lie where they fell, uncelebrated, as meaningless as bits of broken glass in a vacant lot. To me, these are the most evocative, because nothing except time itself seems to stand between you and that day so many centuries ago when men and women lived among them. There is an innocence to the debris of human history, a cleanness to chaos. It allows you to imagine that you are the first person in two millennia to touch this piece of marble that once held up a temple to an unknown god.

The ancient city of Termessos, just inland from Turkey's Mediterranean coast near Antalya, stands amid towering mountains. As with Thermopylae, the only access is through an extremely narrow pass, which could be defended by a few dozen men against a vast army. As a result of this location, and perhaps the extreme nastiness of the Termessians (who reportedly were frequently forced to subsist entirely on olives, not a diet that would leave one in a good mood), Termessos had the honor of being one of only three cities to turn back Alexander the Great.

We walked up the mountain trail to the ancient city and discovered there were only two other families on the entire site. The gymnasium, the city council, the temple to Artemis -- all these magnificent stone structures were being slowly covered by plants and earth. A large piece of marble with a lengthy Greek inscription lay half-buried in the earth; no attempt had apparently ever been made to dig it out. Fragments of columns and building blocks made up an architectural mosaic floor. The whole place looked like it had been shaken apart by a perverse god and left to rot on its own forever. From the top of the mighty theater, still almost viable but where no actors have trod the stage for centuries, you could look down through a gap in the mountains and see the Mediterranean in the distance. It was silent except for the birds and insects, dancing and singing under the violent sun. It was such a beautiful cemetery that it made the utter extinction of a civilization seem a thing of no concern. This is a thought that comes up a lot in Turkey, and it is oddly calming.

Phaselis, a little farther west on the coast, was and still is a toy city with three toy harbors, all of them tiny, each more beautiful than the last. It appears to have been built by children. It is the happiest site for an ancient city, in fact for any city, I have ever seen. We were only there for two hours -- we didn't want to leave and had to be ejected by angry police. But the sheer playfulness of its location has changed forever the way that I imagine ancient life. In my mind, everyone in ancient Phaselis will always be smiling.

Not that we non-ancients were always smiling. It's a peculiar thing, being bombarded with mind-blowing history while spending more time with your family than you have in years. The sublime and the ridiculous played tag for endless hours as we hurtled through ancient landscapes in the air-conditioned prison of the Dacia, sick of each others' inane witticisms, yet unable to stop repeating them. The familiar terror of family life ground us down as we got lost for the umpteenth time. Turkey has without a doubt the worst road signs in the world. But somehow in the end the experience proved liberating. We were forced to become a little four-person platoon, foraging through unknown territory and unable to escape each other into TV, or work, or the world of parents, or the world of children, or even another room. By the end we had slipped stupidly into that great banal tradition of Family Living we all remember from endless car trips in our childhoods.

Before going to Turkey, my notions of Byzantine art were derived from museums in Italy and America. It seemed to me a coldly absolutist art, artificial and eternal like the nightingale in Yeats' poem, its gold backgrounds revealing a religion of utter, boring transcendence. But the mosaics in the Hagia Sophia and the Kariye church in Istanbul, and the primitive paintings of the hermits in the caves of Cappadocia, tell a completely different story. The Byzantine art you see in Turkey carries an extraordinarily direct emotional charge. Christianity was new and electric, and the Christian art of Asia Minor seems fueled by a belief so new and plastic and passionately felt that it does not even seem to come from the same religion. Moreover, the fact that these naive and profound masterpieces are in a country that is no longer Christian changes your sense of them, making them -- at least for a non-Christian -- at once more distant and somehow more sympathetic. They're on the losing side. They, too, are ruins. And maybe this lets them be seen simply for what they are: professions of the greatest and simplest faith.

All of Turkey's vast layers come together in magical decrepit Istanbul, a cracked kaleidoscope of world history so unlike any other world city as to be almost frightening. At its Ottoman height, Constantinople was the largest city in the world, and it is challenging to reclaim that status: By some reports Istanbul now includes as many as 25 million people in its greater urban area. It combines the labyrinthine charm of Lisbon, the watery bustle of Sydney, the physical drama of San Francisco and Rio and the historical mystique of Paris and Rome. And to these it adds its own special kind of decay, one eloquently described by Orhan Pamuk in his "Istanbul: Memories and the City." As Pamuk notes, the collapse of the Ottoman Empire has left Istanbul more forlorn, impoverished and irrelevant than it has been during its entire inconceivably long history. That sense of having been bypassed adds a peculiar, clarifying dash of bitters to the intoxicating Istanbul cocktail. Crowned by two of the mightiest churches in the world -- the Hagia Sophia, the erection of whose enormous dome in the 6th century may be the most incredible architectural achievement in human history, and the exquisite Blue Mosque -- and ceaselessly refreshed by the rushing Bosphorus, Istanbul's glory days may be in the past. But that past is so big you don't care. Time has stitched a tapestry there so vast and intricate that loss itself becomes radiant, like a setting sun forever frozen just as it dips below the horizon.

-- By Gary Kamiya www.salon.com

City Suggests Several Sites For Armenian Memorial
Thomas C. Palmer Jr.
The Boston Globe - Massachusetts - KRTBN
Jul 05, 2007

City officials have identified several sites -- including some in prominent downtown locations -- they say would be suitable for the Armenian Heritage Memorial Park that supporters have been campaigning to place on the Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway.

Possible sites include property near the old Filene's building at Downtown Crossing, a large site near North Station, space in the new parks along the Charles River built as part of the Big Dig, a location in Charlestown, and others on the South Boston Waterfront.

Despite opposition from Mayor Thomas M. Menino, the Mayor's Central Artery Completion Task Force, an advisory group, and the Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway Conservancy -- which is assuming responsibility for the emerging corridor of parks -- supporters of the Armenian Heritage Foundation's proposal have persisted in trying to have the memorial built on the Greenway, near Christopher Columbus Park.

One location being looked at by city officials is a triangular property on Franklin Street, sometimes called "shoppers park," near the Filene's building, which is being redeveloped.

Another is on Merrimac Street, three-quarters of an acre partly owned by the state, property that is now being used as a parking lot. The plot, at the intersection of Staniford Street, would more than accommodate the park, Boston Redevelopment Authority officials said. The city also owns a wide sidewalk on two sides of the three-sided site.

City officials who spoke about potential sites asked not to be identified because some of the sites are controlled by other parties, including the state and the Massachusetts Port Authority. The city has not confirmed the sites are available. They said they are trying to help end the standoff.

Other locations being eyed by the city include spaces on the 40 acres of new parkland on the Boston and Cambridge sides of the Charles River, Pier 3 in Charlestown, and land near the entrance to the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center, on Summer Street.

Officials of the Armenian group declined to offer opinions on possible alternative sites. "We continue to focus our efforts for Armenian Heritage Park on Parcel 13," said James Kalustian, president of the Armenian Heritage Foundation, referring to a Greenway block.

About a year ago, the Massachusetts Turnpike Authority designated the Armenian foundation as developer of the block near Christopher Columbus Park. Its proposal is for a memorial to the 1915 Armenian Genocide, in which an estimated 1.5 million people died.

The design, with a large labyrinth in the pavement, benches, a water jet, and a large sculpture that would change shapes annually, is by Tellalian Associates Architects & Planners LLC of Boston, and has been widely praised for its aesthetics.

The authority effectively controls development on the Greenway, which was created after the elevated Central Artery through downtown Boston was demolished and the highway put in tunnels.

But during 15 years of public meetings to develop plans for the Greenway, while the Big Dig project was underway, there was a consensus it should not be a place for memorials.

In 2000, the Legislature asked the Turnpike Authority to search for a location for an Armenian memorial in Boston. Since then, the authority has backed a Greenway site, because the Armenian foundation would fund the estimated $4 million construction cost, as well as pay for maintenance and an annual lecture series.

Features of the proposed park, which has been fully designed, include the names of the 12 former Armenian provinces and the names of prominent Armenian-Americans, its supporters have said.

Menino and other public officials worry a memorial park would set a precedent for other groups that might also seek space on the Greenway. The Greenway conservancy has called for a moratorium of at least five years on all proposals for memorials.

Is This Is Your Turkish Gov.Working For You?
Bodrum airport
I just wanted to put some information out there. Last night we flew back from Turkey after spending a week on holiday outside of Bodrum. At the airport in the waiting area for passengers there are several posters hung up around the seating area about the "ficticious" Armenian genocide. I was shocked to see these posters at the airport. The posters were put up by the T.C. Bodrum Kaymakamligi (I'm not sure what this is exactly.)

One of the posters has a replication of a painting of skulls and it says that the painting is used by the Armenian genocide committee, which alludes that the painting is of the massacre of Armenians when in fact it is a painting about a war fought some 45 years earlier. Here I quote that the Armenian genocide committee uses it to represent "Armenians killed during the ficticious genocide....they are creating false propaganda as there are no real evidence. The reason is it simple [sic] did not happen."

The other poster is of Ataturk with some of his dogs. Then another picture of Ataturk with the corpse of a emaciated, dead child at his feet. The text says that the Armenian genocide committee is manipulating digitally images as there never was a picture of Ataturk with this dead child and this proves that the Armenians are lying and they want to blacken the name of Ataturk, who was one of the world's greatest humanitarians.

I didn't take a photo as I wasn't sure if this was possible in the waiting area.

I'm not sure if this is useful to the group, but I for one was really surprised at the finding of these posters at the beginning of high season for tourism in the area.

Best, Michelle Kelso

Enmity Of Race
The presence of Vardanian, one of the most powerful names among the Armenian diaspora, within the group that bought Petkim sparked some reaction.

This name pushed back other partners and their identities within this group and left the mark of an individual on the privatization. According to us, all Armenians are enemies of Turkey and this company is being bought by a group with this name in it. This thought not only marks Armenians as an enemy race but it also means that, regardless from which country they come, Armenians can't be affected by policies toward our country; they are making calculations related to the past and are after revenge. No racism has a rational side. Anyway, the mistake from the past is that Armenians generalized their hatred toward the Ottoman state and looked at the other race in distrust. While I am saying this, you should not think that I accept the alleged Armenian genocide. I am just saying this behavior wasn't prudent, and I hope similar behavior doesn't take place again.


What Do Parties Promise On Turkey-US Relations?
 This content mirrored from TurkishArmenians  Site © Click For Larger Image Prominent figures from major political parties continue to discuss their policies on certain issues through articles written exclusively for Today's Zaman readers. Today's subject is Turkish-American relations.

 This content mirrored from TurkishArmenians  Site © Click For Larger Image CHP’s Onur Öymen: We find the US failure to take concrete steps against the PKK terrorist organization and turning northern Iraq into a field where a terrorist organization can act without interference to be wrong. We cannot understand why a country that we see as our friend and ally is so oblivious to our sensitivities. These two countries should not sacrifice their 50-year-old relationship over a simple situation like this.

 This content mirrored from TurkishArmenians  Site © Click For Larger Image MHP’s Deniz Bölükbasi: Bilateral relations between the US and Turkey have recently entered a state of mutual mistrust. Our approach to relations with the US is based on the recognition of mutual interests and respect for the considerations of both parties. The political, military and economic relations of Turkey with the US should be based on concrete grounds that encourage mutual trust and respect for the national interests and considerations of both parties.

 This content mirrored from TurkishArmenians  Site © Click For Larger Image AK Party’s Egemen Bagis: Turkey has a long-established, deep-rooted bureaucratic elite. These self-appointed guardians of Kemalism think the only tenet of Atatürk's legacy is secularism. Meanwhile, they have shown themselves to be the most radical anti-US, anti-EU and anti-free-market groups. This is apparent in the organizers of recent rallies as well. They are against everything.

 This content mirrored from TurkishArmenians  Site © Click For Larger Image DP’s Suna Vidinli: The AK Party has failed to realize that the US does not speak with one voice. Today, the US State Department has a significantly different stance on Turkey than the Pentagon or the House of Representatives. Turkish officials should have articulated a better strategy in dealing with the different lobbies on Capitol Hill. The US has also failed in this process. Time after time, the Turkish public has witnessed promises that have not been kept.

MHP: We will be a government of resolution and determination vis-à-vis the US

Given its might and widespread influence in world politics as well as our deep-rooted relations with it, it is obvious that the US is a very important country for Turkey. It should be remembered that Turkey is also important to the US. The bilateral relations between the US and Turkey have recently entered a state of mutual mistrust. Who is right or wrong would not resolve the problem. Our approach to relations with the US is based on the recognition of mutual interests and respect for the considerations of both parties. In the post-Sept. 11 period, the US dramatically changed its policy vis-à-vis the entire world. It developed superficial and ungrounded policies including the Greater Middle East Project, which basically entails reshaping the region. However, the project has no precise goals; besides, it also seems to be unrealistic.

It should be noted that by bilateral relations based on recognition of mutual interests and considerations, I do not mean Turkey’s involvement in foreign policy endeavors like the one I just mentioned as the backer and even implementer of the project. The political, military and economic relations of Turkey with the US should be based on a concrete ground that encourages mutual trust and respect for the national interests and considerations of both parties. The Strategic Vision Document exchanged during the rule of the AK Party is nothing but a null and void framework. We should not give promises that we cannot fulfill to the US. If we do and if they are compatible with our national interests and strategic goals, we should proceed with doing whatever they require. The US should not view Turkey as a country that will assume roles cast by the US on delicate issues.

This was the framework on which our bilateral relations should have been based. Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) rule will do this. This was what should have been done so far. If you use foreign policy as a tool to garner support in domestic politics, and rely on non-serious methods in the implementation of the foreign policy of Turkey, which has a long-standing experience of statehood traditions, this will be the outcome you get. The anti-American sentiments of the Turkish public are the culmination of current developments. The US should support Turkey’s fight against terrorism originating from northern Iraq. Turkey provided extensive support to the US before and after the Iraqi occupation. Incirlik Air Base was and is used by US troops, the needs of most are being met through the Habur border gate. Turkey is supplying oil to the Americans as there is no refinery facility in Iraq. Why is Turkey doing this? It did it in compliance with the virtue of being an ally and friend of the US. I believe that we have every right to expect US support in such a delicate time of the fight against terrorism. March 1 has been left behind. Some 52 months have passed since its rejection. The US should consider that Turkey is a democratic country whose Parliament made a decision that should be respected. The US should also recall that its presence in Iraq is temporary. Perhaps they do not consider staying there permanently. They cannot sacrifice their longstanding and deeply rooted relations with Turkey to their rapprochement with some ethnic groups in Iraq. To make the Americans appreciate this fact, Turkey needs an administration that will tell of it with resolution and determination. You will get nothing if you resort to useless methods like establishing a coordination mechanism on vital issues such as combating terrorism.

*Former ambassador and MHP candidate from Ankara

DP foreign policy on the US, the EU and Iraq

As the Democrat Party (DP) we believe that Turkey needs to present a better-articulated foreign policy. As the strategic developments taking place in its surroundings clearly show, Turkey lacks a proactive position on most issues. Concerning northern Iraq, Turkish foreign policy has been limited to calling for the territorial unity of its neighbor. This is not a sufficient political position. Turkish officials should have better followed the preparation process that led to the Iraqi oil law being drafted. When this law goes into effect, the Kurdish authority in the North will have gained critical momentum in forming an autonomous state. Since September 2006, Massoud Barzani has prohibited the Iraqi flag in northern Iraq, where he currently heads the administration of the Kurdish autonomous region. In October 2006, high level Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) officials were treated at an Arbil hospital. With the recent increase in acts of PKK terrorism in Turkey, the Turkish public has been increasingly reactive to the developments regarding its southern neighbor.

Up until today Turkey’s foreign policy regarding Iraq has been limited to dealing with the Kurds. The Foreign Ministry was unable to develop effective ties with other Sunni or Shiite leaders, such as Ayatollah Sistani who has considerable leverage on most issues concerning Iraq. With the US the same situation is in effect. The Justice and Development Party (AK Party) has failed to realize that the US does not speak with one voice. Today the US State Department has a significantly different stance on Turkey than the Pentagon or the House of Representatives. Turkish officials should have articulated a better strategy in dealing with the different lobbies on Capitol Hill.

Our bilateral relationship has suffered enormously in recent years due to this mutual lack of coordination and cooperation. As seen with the issue of the so-called Armenian genocide, Turkey usually takes a limited, last-moment step and fails to develop a more coherent, enduring and effective strategy. The US has also failed in this process, namely in its fight against PKK terror. Time after time, the Turkish public has witnessed unkept promises. This has led to an all-time high in anti-American sentiments. With regards to the EU and Russia, Turkey was unable to form a broad proactive strategy. With every new signature Russian President Putin gave, the Samsun-Ceyhan oil pipeline project suffered. The Burgas-Alexandroupolis oil pipeline deal Putin signed with Greek Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis bypasses Turkey as a strategic route. The recent initiatives taken by Gazprom have damaged the Nabucco pipeline deal to a critical extent. Turkey needs to lead a better-calculated and aggressive strategy concerning its strategic positioning as an energy transit route. With the EU negotiation process, the AK Party has lost considerable momentum. The Turkish side has lost the upper hand in its dealings with the European capitals. While recently elected President Nicolas Sarkozy strengthened his internal position in France, and in the EU, through the inclusion of names such as socialist human rights campaigner Bernard Kouchner in his recent government, the Turkish internal debate has failed miserably in reaching consensus on most issues of national interest. Turkey’s new government has to lead a more proactive foreign policy. This policy needs to be formed through a broad consensus and strategic planning. The internal debate we witnessed in the election process was characterized by two radical poles, namely the stances of the AK Party and the Republican People’s Party (CHP). The DP’s mission is to bring all sides to the center and allow for an atmosphere where Turkey’s real issues of interest can be debated.

* DP parliamentary candidate from Samsun

Turkey before and after the AK Party

With Turkey now fully into the election campaign period, we are coming to the end of the first phase of the “Anatolian Revolution” of the Justice and Development Party (AK Party), the most intense era of reformation in the history of modern Turkey since the early republican period. The main motive behind this revolution was to reach a more democratic, prosperous and egalitarian Turkey governed by the rule of law with fewer problems.

Today it can be seen that the AK Party government achieved many of those aims, yet there are still many more things that need to be done in order to stabilize Turkey in terms of those democratic and economic visions. As a result the AK Party government has opened the windows of the world for Turkey. However there are some groups that have been trying to sabotage those efforts purely on behalf of their opposition to the AK Party. Of course they may not support or like the AK Party. Nevertheless they should not act arbitrarily, and should not seek to damage Turkey while expressing their opposition. For instance, Turkey could have lost its democratic motivation if our government had not fought against those undemocratic attitudes and provocations, which were perpetrated not only against the AK Party but also against Turkey.

So who are those seeking to damage Turkish democracy and prosperity? Turkey has a long-established, deep-rooted bureaucratic elite. These self-appointed guardians of Kemalism think the only tenet of Atatürk’s legacy is secularism. Meanwhile they have shown themselves to be the most radical anti-US, anti-EU and anti-free-market groups. This is apparent in the organizers of recent rallies as well. They are against everything. Some of them even claim that their votes should equal three or five times the votes of uneducated people. They always belittle and humiliate Turkish citizens.

Thus they don’t believe much in democracy as it makes this bureaucratic elite equal with the people. Within this process they directed and manipulated the essence of debate. They see our devout faithful as “the other” and try to exclude them from society. However we are also secular, and strictly adopt the principles of Atatürk -- though they think that they are the only ones who do. For us Atatürk was modern, Western, secular, democratic, devout and liberal. I think the biggest problem is this: Those self-appointed guardians use Kemalism in order to legitimize their undemocratic attitudes, and this polarizes the country. Nonetheless, and I say this again, this polarization is not between those people who are secular and who are not, but among the people who want more democracy and those who want less. By the way, for those who assert that the AK Party has a “hidden agenda” and want to implement Shariah law in Turkey, I recommend that they read Professor Ihsan Dagi’s article “The AK Party: An Islamist party?” published in Today’s Zaman, May 10 of this year. In agreement with what he states, I cannot understand how this so-called Islamist party advocated Westernization along with the EU accession process, and how this Islamist party can introduce radical political reforms in the field of human rights, democratization and the rule of law. Again, nor can I imagine how an Islamist-agenda AK Party could have strengthened the market economy and engaged in an aggressive privatization program, as Professor Dagi so eloquently wrote. *AK Party deputy and foreign policy advisor to Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan

Turkish-American relations

We want to establish good and friendly relations with every country: this is our duty. Since the time of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk Turkey’s policy has always been to establish good relations with all countries. Even after the War of Independence we tried to establish good relations with Greece, which had previously invaded Anatolia. Atatürk’s statement “peace at home, peace in the world” best describes Turkey’s aim. Although Turkey cannot just adopt hostile policies toward any country, it is correct that we don’t so readily accept some of the policies of the United States: in particular US policy on Iraq. From the very outset we have been stating that their policy toward Iraq is wrong.

The majority of the American public has also shown its disapproval. We find the US failure in taking concrete steps against the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and turning northern Iraq into a field where a terrorist organization can act without interference to be wrong. We can not understand why a country, which we see as our friend and ally, is so oblivious to our sensitivities. The US is our ally, but when we see our ally following the wrong policy we will tell them up front and no one should get mad at us for that reason. We expect the same from the US. This is what friends need to do. We have difficulty understanding the US stance on cooperating with terror.

After the US was attacked on Sept. 11, Turkey was the first to take a stance against the tragedy. After Sept. 11, the US vowed to launch a global fight against terrorism. It gave an ultimatum to everyone, every country, saying, “You’re either with us or against us in the fight against terror.” Turkey had already picked its side before the US declaration because it had suffered long enough from terrorism. But the current US stance in northern Iraq conflicts with their previous statements. Not only have they failed to take the smallest measure against the PKK, but they refuse to allow Turkey to launch an operation against the PKK to protect itself. It’s impossible to understand this policy because it contradicts everything they have said before. The worst part is that they don’t see this contradiction, or perhaps they don’t want to see it. Unfortunately Turkey-US relations are now in a bottleneck over the PKK and northern Iraq issue. These two countries should not sacrifice their 50-year-old relationship over a simple situation like this. Fortunately, however, US President George W. Bush’s term ends in 2008. In the past changing leaders did not necessarily imply a change in foreign policy.

But this expectation has changed in recent years. Even if there are not drastic changes in foreign policy, there will be changes in the way it is implemented. Hence it’s important who is implementing the policy. State policies are now subject to serious change and dependant on the leaders. A new US president could lead to a rooted change in their Middle East and Iraq policy. Turkey-US relations were different during the Clinton period. At least there were periods when Turkey was better understood and promoted. But at this moment, the US does not understand, nor tries to understand, Turkey. As for the diplomats who do understand Turkey, their voices are not heard. There is more than a year before a new president is to be elected in the US. We have to wait and see what changes this will bring. I strongly believe Turkish-American relations will be better than today. Whenever problems appear in Turkey’s relationship with the US, Turkey embarks on a journey to find alternative channels for cooperation. The first alternative that always comes to mind is Russia. Certainly we want to establish good relations with Russia, but not as an alternative to failed US relations. Millions of Turkish descendants live in Russia. In other words it is certain that there are common interests between Turkey and Russia. But Russia has its own set of goals and policies.

These goals make it difficult for Turkish-Russo relations to develop. Russia is taking new steps to again become a superpower on the global stage. Russia’s refusal to have its conventional weapons inspected and limited suggests that it has big plans. These are steps that will disturb Turkey. Plus Russia tells the US to base some of its weapons in Turkey, forcing Turkey to become a natural actor for the US. One of the main reasons for the continuing conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia in the Caucasus is Russia’s insufficient contribution to resolve it. Russia does not want these problems to be resolved. Natural gas and oil pipeline projects in the Balkans and Europe are just a few of the many Russian plans to sidestep Turkey. It would be naïve of us to think that these issues do not concern Turkey. We must closely follow the policies Russia will implement during this period. We must ensure that these policies do not harm Turkey and must try to foster healthy relations between Russia and Turkey. Yes, we would like to establish good relations with Russia, but we expect Russia to have the same intentions. Russian President Putin’s recent proposal to Turkish officials in Istanbul for the US to store its conventional weapons in Turkey could initiate a so-called Cold Peace as a successor to the Cold War. If there is such a Cold Peace in effect, Turkey should be especially careful in its relationship with Russia. Russian policy is seriously thought provoking. We wanted NATO to cooperate with Russia and Russia to obtain observer status in NATO. But we have reached a point of Russia, and in particular the Turkic republics, adopting policies regarding conventional weapons and energy transfer pipelines that will not benefit Turkey. As a result Turkey must be both constructive and careful about its relations with Russia. *Deputy chairman of CHP and former ambassador
Gülcan Yücel (20), university student
 This content mirrored from TurkishArmenians  Site © Click For Larger Image We are pawns of the US. Whatever the US says, it happens. A deal was made between Turkey and the US about our non-incursion into northern Iraq. This deal is kept secret. Perhaps there are many other such deals. Turkey has an important strategic position, and the US is making use of it. We must make progress so that the US would not want to sever relations with us.

Hakan Uslu (43), merchant
 This content mirrored from TurkishArmenians  Site © Click For Larger Image There are artificially created agenda items that are built on false tensions. The US has the final say in our affairs. In Turkey, you may assume the office, but you may not be able to have the power. This applies both to domestic politics and foreign affairs. If the US allows us to enter northern Iraq, then we can enter.

Nazim Eden (48), working in Austria
 This content mirrored from TurkishArmenians  Site © Click For Larger Image Our domestic conflicts serve the US interests in foreign policy. A country should act with determination in foreign policy, making your case well. I expect a future government to show determination in their acts with respect to foreign policy issues. We have an established society. The Ottoman Empire ruled over three different continents. In this respect, Turkey should apply multi-dimensional policies and show the world that it is a regional power.

Elçin Güney (27), nurse
 This content mirrored from TurkishArmenians  Site © Click For Larger Image I don’t like the current situation of Turkey-US relations. In my opinion, we must review our relations with the US and the EU. Just like Japan, we can be powerful by resorting to our own values. The Turkish people’s recent negative perceptions about the US can be attributable to the US negative approach toward Turkey. Whichever party assumes office, it will remain under the shadow of the US.

Muzaffer Yildiz (43), store owner
 This content mirrored from TurkishArmenians  Site © Click For Larger Image In my opinion, the US takes sides with the powerful. Actually, the US does not want Recep Tayyip Erdogan. But at the moment Erdogan is powerful and, therefore, it acts as if is supports him. The US does not rely on friendship in foreign policy. It sees only its own interests. Also it is a superpower, and it is impossible to resist it. In my opinion, foreign policy and Turkey-US relations as pursued by the current government are positive and balanced.


America The Melting Pot
By Lauren Semerjian
Philadelphia Inquirer, PA
July 8 2007
Your Essay

America is the most interesting country in the world.

Many different people from many different lands come to the United States of America for what they call "the American Dream."

To many, "the American Dream" is the idea of having the freedom to be what they want to be and to live the way they choose to live, without boundaries or punishments.

To others, "the American Dream" is the hope of coming to the United States of America to make their fortune and leave their world of poverty and despair.

In reality, "the American Dream" captures both of these ideals and so much more.

Close to a century ago, my ancestors entered the United States through Ellis Island, fleeing the horrors of the Armenian Genocide.

They came with virtually nothing except the clothes on their backs, but with pride, freedom, hard work and their faith in God, they were able to establish a happy and comfortable life for themselves and their families.

Many immigrants today share similar stories of being forced to leave their countries. Most find a way to make happy and prosperous homes for themselves here in the United States, where everyone is given an opportunity to work hard and make something of themselves.

Many immigrants come to the United States of America for freedom of speech and religion. In their own countries, many immigrants are forbidden to speak out against their countries' policies and laws and established religion. For many, the inability to practice the religion of their choice and vote for their countries' leaders is intolerable.

Here in the United States, all people are free to practice the religion of their choice. All United States citizens are given a chance to vote for their leaders and lawmakers, and express their dissatisfaction with decisions these leaders may make.

The best part about immigrants in the United States of America is all of the culture and ethnic contributions that they bring along with them.

Without immigrants, everyone would probably look the same, eat the same foods, listen to the same music and speak the same language.

There would not be any Chinese restaurants or Italian markets. There would be no synagogues or mosques. There would not be Armenian music or Greek dancing.

Immigrants contribute a huge part of what has become the American culture. We are one big melting pot of different faces, religions, languages, food and cultures.

These differences are what make life in America so interesting and appealing.

Lauren Semerjian of Berwyn will be a sixth grader next fall at the Armenian Sisters Academy in Radnor. Her essay won honorable mention in the annual creative writing contest, "Celebrate America," sponsored by the American Immigration Law Foundation and arranged locally by a chapter of the American Immigration Lawyers Association.

Beggars "Attack" Tourists At Every Step
09 July, 2007

As soon as tourists visit Armenian sights they "are attacked." Arayik Vardanyan, the Chairman of the Tour Operators' Union, states that beggars' behavior greatly affects tourism in Armenia. In mere disappointment tourists give up the idea of visiting Armenian in the future.

"Cadging is well-organised in Armenia. Beggars work in groups and don't leave tourists alone unless they are given some money," Arayik Vardanyan told A1+.

Mekhak Apresyan, the head of the RA Ministry of Economy and Trade Tourism Department, is also concerned with beggars' number.

"This is a delicate matter and needs thorough consideration. We cannot simply drive beggars away," Mekhak Apresyan told A1+.

Tour-operators state that tourists are discontent with poor-quality services and anti-sanitarian conditions of toilets.

"Obviously, employees aren't explained their duties, therefore we have low-quality services in Armenia, Mr Vardanyan said.

The service quality is determined by an employee's relevant education. Each institute of higher education has a tourism department but the methods of teaching are far from being perfect, Arayik Vardanyan said.

It is noteworthy that despite all the above-mentioned problems related to tourism, the number of tourists to Armenia keeps increasing. Last year over 382 thousand tourists visited the country. According to statistics, most of them are Diaspora representatives or people of Armenian descent.

Erdogan Aide, US House Speaker's Secret Meeting On Armenian Bill
July 9, 2007
WASHINGTON - Turkish Daily News

Cüneyd Zapsu, a top adviser to Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdog(an, lobbied against an Armenian genocide bill pending in Congress during talks in February with Nancy Pelosi, Democratic speaker of the House of Representatives, a meeting that had been keep secret until now, sources here said.

Richard Holbrooke, a Democrat and a former top diplomat, arranged and attended the meeting, one source said. Holbrooke is known for his role in putting an end to the war in Bosnia as assistant state of secretary in former president Bill Clinton's administration.

Zapsu voiced the Ankara government's concerns over the resolution, saying its passage by the House would seriously hurt bilateral ties with Turkey, said the source.

The Pelosi-Zapsu meeting took place shortly after Foreign Minister Abdullah Gül also visited the U.S. capital in early February. But neither Gül nor three Turkish parliamentary teams visiting Washington one after another to lobby against the bill had talks with the House speaker.

Nabi S,ensoy, Turkey's ambassador to Washington separately met with Pelosi in May.

Pelosi at the time told S,ensoy that she would not stick to an Armenian timetable in deciding how to handle the resolution, another source said.

Pro-Armenian groups had been pushing House leaders for the passage of the resolution around April 24, declared by U.S. presidents each year as a day of remembrance for the World War I-era Armenian killings in the Ottoman Empire.

House Resolution 106, originally introduced by Democratic Representative Adam Schiff and Republican lawmaker George Radanovich in late January, calls for formal recognition of the Armenian killings as genocide.

Turkey braces for more trouble:

Turkish and U.S. administration efforts to prevent the measure's passage have so far been successful, but the future is not bright for Ankara, with a number of worrying developments taking place in recent weeks.

A majority of lawmakers in the House, lower chamber of Congress, are now supporting the Armenian genocide resolution. The number of representatives cosponsoring the measure in late June rose to 218 in the 435-member House.

Obtaining the support of 218 lawmakers does not automatically enable the Armenians to force a House floor vote for the resolution, but means the overcoming of a psychological threshold.

Another group of at least 218 representatives signing a separate and special petition calling for a floor vote is required to push Pelosi to do that, and it would be hard for the Armenians to collect that number of signatures, because most Democratic lawmakers would not want to confront their congressional leader in this way.

But psychological pressure is building up on Pelosi, and analysts said the resolution likely would reach the House floor agenda any time after early September, when Congress returns to work after a summer recess in August.

But still this would come after critical parliamentary elections in Turkey on July 22.

A similar resolution is also pending in the Senate, Congress' upper chamber, with 31 senators out of a total of 100 backing the measure. But Armenian efforts focus on moving on the House side first.

Before last year's congressional elections in which the Democrats won a landslide victory, Pelosi had pledged to work for the passage of the genocide measure. But after taking office, she has adopted a more responsible position, Turkish diplomats said.

Election Doldrums
In the second smallest member of the nostalgic cluster of Prince's Islands, where I am currently living, nothing would disturb our lazy lives this July. Not even the general elections in two weeks time.

A minute pixel of old Ottoman Turkey, this small island is seeing its Turkish, Rum (Greek), Jewish, Levantine, Armenian, Kurdish, German inhabitants go about their summer lives as they always have: enjoying every minute of it in their uniquely privileged position, gazing across the stuffy overpopulated polluted metropolis 5 miles across the sea.

Gas to islands = Votes for AKP

The reality of these apparently crucial general elections was reminded to me only by one of the coffee shop owners, a Kurd from Mus,. His extended family has been trickling to the island for the last fifteen years, and his children know the Marmara Sea much better than the steep mountains of their father's homeland. ?AKP brought natural gas to the islands. It is going to sweep the elections. It will get at least 70 percent?, he tells me. A few weeks ago, his wife was offering roses to the women of the island, ?on behalf of AKP?.

Elections was also the topic of an after dinner talk with an educated Armenian businessman whose usual reserved style hides a deep skepticism, even cynicism, of any promise by any Turkish government over the protection of his ethnic group. These elections for him also carry the bitter flavor of Hrant Dink's murder and subsequent hurried trial of the accused. His suggestion is simple: ?If you live in the European side of Istanbul, you vote for (the independent) Prof. Bask?n Oran, if you live on the Anatolian part of Istanbul, you vote for independent Ufuk (Uras, former leader of the small left wing Freedom and solidarity party (ÖDP)). This is not what the Armenian Patriarch Mesrob II suggested when he openly declared that he would vote for AKP, but it seems that the views of this Armenian friend are also shared by members of another important ethnic minority in terms of the image of Turkey abroad, the Rums. The Greek Orthodox Patriarch Bartholomeos did not come out in favor of anybody, but his flock, disillusioned by a real lack of progress on issues like the Heybeli (Chalki) Seminary, plus the tribulations over the ?ecumenicity' and the legal status of the patriarchate, are probably going to follow my Armenian friend's path.

The political apathy of this lazy summer does not seem to be confined to this island. In vain, the opposition is struggling to keep up its basic political argument that the ?secular system is danger' against a ?secret Islamic agenda'. Two months ago the gigantic secularist rallies in major Turkish cities made some foreign analysts see ?signals of a new period in the Turkish political process, as it confirmed the maturation of modern political culture in a society that traditionally was not-participative and an emerging feeling of increased freedom of expression and democratic participation.'

CHP's failure to counter attack

Two months later and two weeks before a general election, which was supposed to be the culmination of this feeling of political maturation, one gets the impression that other factors are to determine the choice of the Turkish electorate. The inclusion of new candidates in the governing party projecting a more centrist ?neutral' image and the lack of the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) ability to counter attack with any comprehensive political program, has worked in favor of the government and … the political periphery…

Which brings me back to the Turkey as seen through the miniature lens of this small island. This lazy island carrying on its usual summer life might be no different than the rest of the country which may secretly have chosen not necessarily the ?Islamic option' but a settled, a less troublesome, less aggressive, relatively more economically stable future with a new AKP government which is, after all, liked and highly promoted by the West. The dogmatic nationalist rhetoric of the main opposition party may serve not themselves but the ultra right which in turn, though, may upset the distribution of the seats in the Parliament and consequently become a restricting factor for AKP. As to the minorities, although important for Turkey's image abroad, are too small in number to change the general trend.

Still this is a country where the famous ?one day is too long in politics' applies most. So, two weeks feels like an eternity.


Dashnaks Were Sentenced For Drug Business
Aram Manukyan, member of the All-Armenian Movement, thinks in the political sphere of Armenia the ARF Dashnaktsutyun and Tigran Karapetyan are doing the same thing and explained his words with an example on the ARF Dashnaktsutyun. "Always at the feeding trough of the government, they say they are opposition to win over opposition's votes. They get ministerial posts, head certain sectors, but they say they are not responsible for the activities of the government."

Aram Manukyan reminds about the days when they were government. Prime Minister Khosrov Harutiunyan was dismissed because he did not endorse the government program. "How does the ARF disagree with Serge Sargsyan when Serge Sargsyan fulfills the strategy and the tactics of the government?"

Aram Manukyan thinks thereby the ARF Dashnaktsutyun deals with 30 percent of the state budget of Armenia. Aram Manukyan reminded that when the All-Armenian Movement was government, the members of the ARF Dashnaktsutyun were sentenced for illegal drug business, some of them are still in prison, the charges against the released were not changed. And if there is another problem, "now they have both the hammer and the nail. Let them take these people out of prison."

Turkey’s Greeks And Their Patriarch Wait To Be Heard
 This content mirrored from TurkishArmenians  Site © Click For Larger Image An icon of the prophet Elijah hiding in a cave hangs at the door of the church in the courtyard of the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate.

There are so many millions of Orthodox church-goers who do recognize Bartholomew as their ultimate leader that when he visits the European Parliament in Strasbourg, he is received by the president of the EU commission. When he visited the United States in 1997, his plane landed at Andrews Air Force Base and he was hosted by President Bill Clinton.

Two ravens perch at the rim of the cave, their beaks holding pieces of meat for Elijah, who looks wistfully at the sky, waiting for God to deliver him from his feeling of hopelessness.

The scene from the Old Testament is melodramatic, but it reflects the state of limbo, the long waiting to be heard, of Turkey's Greeks and their patriarch.

They complain of discrimination, expropriated properties, that their patriarch's authority is not recognized and their school for training priests is locked and barred. The government replies that its position on the Greek minority and its church is grounded in the 1923 Treaty of Lausanne that founded the republic. The problems seem intractable but, like the "still small voice'' that led Elijah out of the cave, there are voices in Turkey today that speak softly and say solutions are possible, though they will require more waiting.A few meters above the icon, the church’s pediment bears the symbol of the Eastern Orthodox faith, a two-headed eagle. Carved into the emblem’s white stone are the Greek letters for “Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople.”

Last week Turkey’s Supreme Court of Appeals ruled that Patriarch Bartholomew I had no right to the title “ecumenical” -- a term meaning universal to the Orthodox faith -- and that his “spiritual authority” was confined to Turkey’s 3,000 Greeks.

The decision was virtually an insult to the titular head of the world’s 300 million Orthodox Christians. But Bartholomew decided to issue no reply. The court upheld Bartholomew’s acquittal on a charge of violating the religious freedom of a Bulgarian priest whom he had dismissed. But it was the judges’ comments on the patriarch’s title that created a stir.

“We’ve had this title since the sixth century,’’ Bartholomew told the newspaper Sabah last November. “The word ecumenical has no political content. ... I will never renounce this title.”

A Turkish expert on minorities, political scientist Baskin Oran of Ankara University, scoffed at the ruling. “Oh, my God,’’ he wrote in Radikal newspaper, “How have we come to telling the Orthodox theology what to do? Is this court the Office of Religious Affairs (Diyanet Isleri Baskanligi)?”

In practical terms, the ecumenical authority of Bartholomew means he is “first among equals” of the patriarchs and archbishops who lead the more than 12 autonomous branches of the Orthodox church. He has no right to intervene in these branches, but they can call on him to arbitrate a dispute. He can also establish a church in territory outside the autonomous branches. In these territories, such as the United States and Australia, the churches report directly to him.

The Russian church, which has the biggest population of the Orthodox branches, has often challenged the Istanbul patriarch and it is a moot point as to how far it recognizes his primacy.

But there are so many millions of Orthodox church-goers who do recognize Bartholomew as their ultimate leader that when he visits the European Parliament in Strasbourg, for instance, he is received by the president of the EU commission and addresses the full assembly.

When he visited the United States in 1997, his plane landed at Andrews Air Force Base outside Washington, he was hosted by President Bill Clinton and feted by thousands of Orthodox worshippers across the country.

For Ankara to claim that Bartholomew has no authority outside Turkey is like King Canute standing on the beach and ordering the waves to recede.

“You cannot put limits on other people’s hearts and beliefs,’’ said Cemal Ussak, the secretary-general of the Intercultural Dialogue Platform, an Istanbul-based NGO that organizes inter-faith meetings.

Interestingly, although the Turkish government denies the patriarch has global responsibilities, it actually facilitates his exercising them.

For instance, in 2005 Bartholomew convened a synod in Istanbul to decide the fate of the Orthodox patriarch in Jerusalem, whose clerics had rebelled against his selling land in the Old City to Israelis. If Turkey had wanted to, it could have refused to grant visas to the delegates and the synod would not have taken place.

In 1991-92, Bartholomew and his predecessor, Patriarch Demetrios, took steps to re-establish the Orthodox Church in Albania after the fall of communism. Again, if it had wanted to, Turkey could have hindered this process by impeding the traffic between Istanbul and Tirana. But it did not.

Asked about the difference between what it says and what it does, a Turkish Foreign Ministry official said: “I don’t see a contradiction.”

“What is important to us is his legal status in Turkey,’’ the diplomat said, speaking on condition of anonymity as she was not the spokeswoman. “The patriarch may say he is ecumenical, but that doesn’t change his legal status in Turkey.”

At the Lausanne peace conference in 1923, the Turkish delegation wanted to expel the patriarchate from Istanbul, associating it with the Greek enemy. But the allied powers prevailed on the Turks to allow the patriarchate to remain, promising it would have no political role. The Lausanne Treaty does not mention the patriarchate, but it guarantees freedom of religion to the non-Muslim minorities.

Professor Oran says the minutes of the conference record Turkey’s accepting a British proposal that the Istanbul patriarch would have no political power, only spiritual authority.

Turkey has interpreted this to place strict limits on the patriarch. Last week’s ruling pleased the government as it matched its long-standing position, which is given in a Foreign Ministry statement: “The Patriarchate is allowed to stay in Istanbul on condition that it serves only the religious and spiritual needs of the Greek Orthodox minority in Istanbul.”

But the foreign signatories to the treaty certainly did not intend to confine the patriarch’s authority to the municipal boundaries of Istanbul. It would have been political suicide for the Greek statesman Eleftherios Veniselos, who signed the treaty on behalf of his king, to cut his people’s links with their beloved patriarch in Istanbul.

The Greek Foreign Ministry criticized last week’s ruling as being “based on misinterpretations of the Lausanne Treaty.”

“Recognition of the Ecumenical Patriarch as a spiritual leader is, and has been for centuries, deeply rooted in the conscience of hundreds of millions of Christians,’’ the Greek Foreign Ministry said.

Mihail Vasiliadis, the editor of the Turkish Greek newspaper Apoyevmatini, said the dispute could be solved if the government were to pass a law saying that the relations between the Istanbul patriarch and the other branches of the church are for the church itself to decide; that this is not a state matter but an ecclesiastical one.

Political scientist Niyazi Öktem of Galatasaray University agreed, saying that in effect the law would say: “If they use the ecumenical title, I don’t mind. I don’t recognize it, but I don’t mind.”

However, Öktem said the Turkish establishment is so nationalistic that such a move would be politically possible only when the EU had shown a clear desire to admit Turkey.

“If the European Union were to say, ‘OK, we are willing to accept you,’ we could solve the problem of the status of the patriarchate. There would be no problem,” Öktem said.

Öktem said that what lies behind Turkey’s objection to ecumenical is ignorance and fear. The establishment -- the politicians and the military -- fears the emergence of a pope-like figure in Turkey. It does not understand that unlike the centralized Roman Catholic church, the Orthodox church has a federal structure. “The patriarch is not the same as the pope.”

The establishment also thinks that if it elevates the patriarch, it will face similar demands from other religious sects. This is particularly the case with the Halki seminary, the school for training Greek Orthodox priests on an island in the Marmara sea that has been closed since 1971.

“They are afraid that if they accept the Halki seminary, they would also have to accept a Sunni [Muslim] university,” Oktem said.

The Turkish Foreign Ministry official dismissed his arguments as speculation. “We don’t have such fears,” she said.

The closure of Halki is an extremely sore point. In the Sabah interview, Patriarch Bartholomew, who trained at Halki, said: “If Muslims want to study theology, there are 24 theology faculties. Where are we going to study?”

The government closed Halki as part of a campaign to bring private educational institutions under state control, but the move has cost Turkey a lot. Members of the US Congress and European Parliament often refer to Halki, asking how can Turkey claim to practice freedom of religion when it prevents the church from training its own priests?

What makes the situation worse is that the law stipulates that the patriarch and his senior clerics must be Turkish citizens. “On the one hand we demand that the patriarch be a Turk,” Ussak observed, “on the other hand we obstruct Turks from being trained as priests.”

Occasionally Turkey has relaxed the citizenship rule. In 1948 it granted citizenship to the Greek American who was elected patriarch. In 2004 it allowed six foreigners to take their seats at the Istanbul synod.

But these gestures do not make up for Halki’s closure. What distresses the church is that those Turkish Greeks who want to become priests have to go abroad to be trained, and most of them never return.

Editor Vasiliadis is old enough to remember when Istanbul had more than 100,000 Greeks. Then came the anti-Greek riots of 1955, the property expropriations of the 1960s and 70s, and his community dwindled to 3 percent of its former self.

Now he produces the weekly Apoyevmatini, or Evening Post, from an old-fashioned office behind a curtained window in an arcade off Beyoglu, the center of Istanbul and once the heart of its Greek commercial quarter.

“What do they want?” he asks of the government, slapping his identity card down on the table of a street cafe run by a Turkish-Greek friend.

“The constitution says that if I have this ID, then I have the same rights as any Muslim Turk. But I can see I don’t have the same rights,” he said. Vasiliadis did his national service in the Turkish army, but he could never have got a job in the diplomatic service, the Interior Ministry or the state banks. In practice those positions are closed to non-Muslims.

Turkish Greeks regard the Halki and ecumenical disputes as almost personal attacks, he said. The community is so small that everyone rallies round the patriarch.

“The Greeks of Istanbul think they must support and defend their spiritual leader,” Vasiliadis said. “Without the patriarchate, the Greek minority of Turkey would disappear.

Yet he sees that Turkey is changing. When his fellow minority editor, Hrant Dink of the Armenian paper Agos, was assassinated in January, a massive crowd of 100,000 mourners followed the hearse as it drove slowly through the city.

“If Dink had been killed 15 years ago, no one would have really cared,” Vasiliadis said.

As with Professor Öktem, Vasiliadis believes Turkey will change faster if the EU overcomes its reservations about the country.

Öktem has filed a report to the government suggesting that Halki be re-opened as a private university or vocational school. Ingeniously, he proposed it could become an inter-denominational college -- training priests of the Armenian and Syriac churches as well as Greek Orthodox. The students would have some classes in common, and others specific to their denominations.

The government has not told Öktem what it thinks of his idea, but last week Foreign Minister Abdullah Gül told the Greek newspaper Kathimerini that Turkey was seeking was to re-open Halki “within the terms of our constitution and the secular educational system.”

Vasiliadis has heard such statements before. What is required, he said, is “a political decision and the political will to follow it through.”

Until then he, the patriarch and the rest of the Greek community are like Elijah in the cave, looking wistfully at the sky.

Jasper Mortimer

Caspian Themes
“Despite positive moments, the current legal status of the Caspian Sea leaves many questions unanswered. Today we are all witnessing the Caspian Sea’s role growing with each day, which has created new geopolitical conditions in the region.’’ These are the words of Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Elmar Mamedyarov, spoken at the most recent Caspian Five ministerial conference.

As Mamedyarov aptly pointed out, the Caspian Sea has been assuming an important role and adding new factors to the geopolitical map, not only in regional but also in global terms -- the sea and its surrounding region has become a new and promising energy source, a major reason all eyes were on the ministerial conference of Caspian countries held June 20-22 in Tehran.

The first summit of the Caspian Sea countries took place in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan in April 2002. At the summit the presidents of the five Caspian countries agreed that they would meet every year and that the next summit would be held in Tehran. Five years have passed since then, and the Tehran summit has still not become a reality -- the recent meeting was only on a ministerial level. The core issue is an agreement between the five countries that calls for their presidents to adopt a convention on the legal status of the Caspian Sea, but the various governments have so far been unable to reach consensus on the terms and framework of the convention.

The meeting also failed to formulate a convention, as openly admitted by Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. ‘’It is clear that the convention will not be ready for the highest-level meeting between the presidents,” he said, proposing a draft of an ‘’interim document that would enact rules governing the use of the Caspian that are as general and acceptable to all as possible.’’

This proposal clearly shows that Russia aims to save the most difficult problems for the presidential level. In this context Lavrov mentioned two key problems that the presidents of the five countries must resolve: creating international boundaries for the area and the carrying out of military exercises.

From Russia’s point of view these two problems are interrelated and they differ from at least three of the other four countries already unilaterally establishing their sovereignty over their share of the Caspian.

In this respect Russia is particularly concerned that the division of the Caspian Sea into national sections will pave the way for laying pipelines along the bottom of the sea to transport oil and natural gas from Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan to Europe and beyond, thus bypassing Russia.

Another important concern for Russia is that after any division of the sea the surrounding countries would assume the right to consent to foreign military presence from such bodies as the US or NATO in their national sections. Azerbaijan is particularly worrying Russia in this respect, since this country has significant military ties with US within the framework of the Azeri-American joint ‘’Caspian Defense’’ project.

To counter this project, Russia has been promoting the ‘’Kasfor’’ (Caspian Force) project, which would bring together all the five littoral states in a naval force based in the Caspian. Despite several Russian overtures, Azerbaijan still refuses to participate in Kasfor, which would also prohibit the presence of ‘’third-party’’ naval forces in the region. Kazakhstan, while much more receptive to Kasfor, has been pressuring Russia on equalizing weapons arsenals all around the Caspian Sea, a proposal Russia seems very reluctant to accept.

From these considerations one can easily see that Russia’s only remaining ally in the Caspian region is Iran, which, like Russia, is vehemently opposed to the presence of any foreign naval force in the Caspian. It also seems to support the Russian Kasfor project. On plans and projects for laying underwater trans-Caspian pipelines, Iran is also backing Russia strongly.

These are the themes and thoughts that the last Caspian conference evoked in my mind.
FIKRET ERTAN f.ertan@todayszaman.com

Searching For The Footprints Of ‘Snow's Ka’ In Kars
 This content mirrored from TurkishArmenians  Site © Click For Larger Image In our visit to Kars, we searched for the traces of Orhan Pamuk's 'Snow,' but we found none of its characters. As if to refute 'Snow,' which narrates the problems of Turkey's recent past in the setting of Kars, there is neither an Islamic nor a Kemalist junta threat

As the Kars airport is closed for maintenance, we have to go to Kars via the highway from Erzurum just like Kerim Alakusoglu (Ka) did in Orhan Pamuk's novel "Snow." In contrast with other parts of Turkey that are suffering from one of the hottest summers due to global warming, temperatures in Erzurum and Kars have not even reached 20 degrees Celsius. You don't have to have a gray coat like Ka's, but you had better carry a sweater with you. Being July, there is not the slightest trace of snow, depicted by Pamuk as having poetic qualities. However Kars seems spring-like; everything is green, glacial meltwater has turned Kars valley into a huge display of flowers, and the mountains trigger the desire to write poems just like Ka.

In Kars, unlike Ka, you don't have to change your name. The locals understand at first glance that you do not belong to the city. We do not know what the election posters said in "Snow," but we know that election posters for the July 22 elections are the first things that meet your eye as you enter the city. The Justice and Development Party's (AK Party) placards read, "No rest for us" while the Nationalist Movement Party's (MHP) slogan "Single party government" does not seem funny, but perhaps only in Kars where the party has substantial support. Indeed in Kars ethnic identities are so pronounced that election results here seem a near foregone conclusion: one of three deputies will most likely be the MHP's candidate, while the AK Party will secure one deputy and the Democratic Society Party's (DTP) independent deputy candidate Mahmut Alinak will be the third deputy.

The Prophet's sayings and aphorisms rejecting suicide, carried by Pamuk's "Snow" from Batman to Kars, are replaced with the election promises of political parties. Most of them voice unity and integrity in the face of the different ethnic composition of Kars. The placards are more like the name than the activities of the Equality of Peoples Party in "Snow." This is because the colors in Kars are made salient by ethnic identities.

The July 22 elections have brought dissidence to Shiite Azeris, Sunni Azeris (Terekemes), Kurds and original inhabitants of Kars. Sunni Azeris are descendants of Karapapak Turks, but they, just like Ka, feel like being called Terekemes. Kurds like to be designated as a "clan," as stated by Pamuk. Unlike the bipolar grouping in Snow, there is a multi-colored grouping in Kars. The Kurdish people in Kars are known as the best Turkish speaking Kurdish community in Turkey. An outsider is unlikely to discern any difference of dialect or accent among ethnic groups, nor can one distinguish any difference in their religious beliefs. But in a small city like this, everybody knows who is from which ethic group. Despite this lack of religious and linguistic differences, who can separate them along ethnic cleavages? Nobody knows the answer.

The social influence of the original inhabitants coming from the Ottoman era is visible. There are small numbers of Turkmen, the Lazs of Posof, and the Germans banished by the Czar from Russia. There is only one Armenian girl, who is known as Polyo. Yet she does not like the designation of "Armenian." The communist Tbilisi radio station is now mute. The snow has no chance of blocking the roads. Nobody listens to any cross-border broadcasts.

Being a traditional supporter of leftist policies in the pre-1980 era, Kars does not like the Republican People's Party's (CHP) new neo-nationalist line. For this reason, it is no longer likely secular juntas will take control of the city. As opposed to Bülent Ecevit's CHP, which embraced the Kurds and Alevi Azeris before the military coup of 1980, Deniz Baykal's CHP, which excludes Kurds and Alevis, has lost two thirds of its power. If not for the power of the candidates with strong ethnic identities, its presence will be altogether lost.

Unemployment, as noticed by Ka immediately upon his arrival in Kars, is still here. No government has found solution to this problem; the teahouses are still crowded with unemployed people. The single solution to unemployment in Kars is migration to metropolitan cities.

There have never been girls who stage headscarf protests in the history of Kars -- such protests seem unlikely. Political Islam discourse has never represented a plane of fissure, but is instead unifying cement for inhabitants of Kars. Nobody sees political Islam as a threat to democracy and nobody advocates a tradeoff of democracy in return for political Islam. In an environment where even the unemployed do not protest as is most naturally expected from them, it would be fanciful to expect any other groups to.

All critics agree on the fact that Pamuk has discussed the past of Turkey in general between 1990 and 2000 through the specific setting of Kars in his novel "Snow." This can be evidenced by reactions to it in the city. Indeed nobody has witnessed the headscarf protests or girls committing suicide or secular junta in the past of Kars. It seems that the suicides in Batman, Yesil (green) as embodying the bloody hands of the deep state -- Lacivert (dark blue) and Kadife (velvet) in the novel; the Jerusalem night organized in Sincan, Ankara, the Feb. 28 process, are all conveyed by Pamuk to Kars. The locals in Kars believe that Pamuk has failed to keep his promise to write down the truth. Indeed, Pamuk confesses that he chose Kars in order to depict political Islam. The locals do not like the idea of being used as a tool for touching on the problems of greater Turkey.

In Turkey we commonly employ the phrase "From Edirne to Kars" in order to describe distances. However here Edirne serves as a beginning and Kars represents an end. Edirne is a step away from you, while Kars is far away. Although it is connected to other parts of Turkey with highways, railways and by air, Kars is still distant. Despite this aloofness, Kars has never severed its connections with the outer world, in contrast to Erzurum and Agri. About twice the population in the city now lives in Istanbul, Izmir and various cities in Europe.

Even this connection does not allow the control of Kars by ethnic or secular Kemalist groups. The atmosphere of the republic rallies held in Ankara, Istanbul and Izmir do not have any impact in Kars. The groups who voted for leftist parties before 1980 have already sided with the MHP. Kemalist discourse generates no interest in Kars, and it is impossible to find the Kemalist of "Snow," but Kars has its unique conception of secularism. The Terekemes have separated their mosques and cemeteries from the Sunnis Azeris, who are from the same genealogy. Kurdish mosques are different, but the groups still tolerate each other without any religious coercion. In this respect the Kurds, depicted as elitist Kemalists in Snow, do not support leftist parties here. Kemalism is not esteemed as a political discourse. Their only intention is to take their own candidates to Parliament. The most pro-Islamist party of Turkey has no power in Kars. Even the AK Party, regarded as the most conservative party, can secure only one deputy expected to receive the support of both Kurds and Azeris.

The locals in Kars do not make much mention of religion or conservatism, unlike Necip, a pro-Islamist youth, and Ka, who secretly talked about God while hiding in the toilet. It seems that religion has a secondary place in life here. As there is no difference in religious beliefs, cleavages lie along ethnic and sectarian lines. However the city's inhabitants are not as passive or bashful as Ka when they talk about their sects. They can converse comfortably with each other without concealing their sects or ethnic origins. In this respect Kars serves as a model of tolerance for regions in the world suffering from ethnic or religious conflict.

There are huge differences between the Alevis of Kars and the Alevis in other regions. Iran plays an important role in this. While the Alevis in other parts of Turkey still support the leftist parties, the Alevis of Kars back the MHP in the current elections. Dialogues like those between Lacivert and Kadife are still held in every part of the city. Luckily people do not hide their intentions when speaking to each other.

Kafkas University is still in the process of being established in Kars. Many departments are still missing and it has only a small number of students. Among them one cannot find even one student with a headscarf. No headscarf incident has been reported in the Vocational School. Other than these, Pamuk's descriptions of the city are all there. The five big streets designed by the urban engineers of the czar and the black stone Russian buildings are there. One cannot get lost in Kars, if you continue to walk turning just left or right, you arrive at the same spot. Only the Karpalas Hotel is missing.


World Armenian Congress continues its work on recognition of Armenian Genocide
PanARMENIAN.Net The world Armenian Congress (WAC) continues its work on formation of historical and legal conception and evaluation of the events connected with the Armenian Genocide in 1915, WAC President Ara Abramian stated. He said, the expert commission of WAC continues its works on the case. `The WAC Institute of International Law and Political Sciences has already prepared recommendations regarding the possibility of bringing the Armenian Genocide problem into the International Court.

We think that Armenian authorities must be ready for such development of events. And from our part we introduced the possible variants of actions to Armenian authorities,' A. Abramian said, `Azg' daily reports.

History Book Review: Trench Fever
Norman Stone Has Taken The Art Of Compression Too Far

World War One: A Short History by Norman Stone 187pp, Allen Lane,
PIERS BRENDON, The Guardian - UK

Why a short history of the first world war? Norman Stone, who produced a classic account of the eastern front in 1975 and could now give an equally substantial picture of the entire conflict, does not answer this question. He might have claimed that he has come up with an antidote to the Armageddon industry, a hand-crafted cameo rather than a canvas manufactured on the scale of Big Bertha. Instead he lets this bonsai volume, which contains a few sketchy footnotes and an impressionistic bibliography, speak for itself. It gives an uncertain sound.

First, the style is distinctly odd. Sentences like this abound: "If the war were not speedily ended, Germany would plunge." Words are wrongly used: "recoup" when the sense demands either "recuperate" or "regroup". Sometimes it seems as if Stone originally wrote the book in Turkish, which, given his linguistic virtuosity, is not impossible. Certainly it shows signs of haste, being marred by repetition and misquotation. For example, Stone cites the exclamation of "a senior staff officer" on seeing Passchendaele - "Did we send men into that?" - whereas what General Kiggell actually said was: "Good God, did we really send men to fight in that?"

Second, the book's content is abbreviated to the point of distortion. Stone explains the causes of the war in extraordinarily simplistic terms. In 1895 Max Weber gave a lecture saying that Britain was rich because it had an empire guarded by a great navy and that Germany must have the same. The audience reacted with rapture to this "gibberish". So the Reich built warships in "an obvious piece of blackmail" to which the British were forced to respond. Meanwhile, Russia was modernising so fast that it posed a nightmarish threat to Germany in a two-front war. Chancellor Bethmann Hollweg thus prepared for hostilities, and "the plot" went ahead when "the inevitable accident" of the Archduke Franz Ferdinand's murder took place. An Austro-Hungarian diplomat called this "a gift from Mars" and the assassin himself, Gavrilo Princip, said that if he had not done it, the Germans would have found another excuse.

Stone hardly touches on more complex aspects of this question: the interlocking alliances, the economic rivalries, the escalating crises, the growth of a European "war mentality". And on other matters he is equally open to criticism. It is not true to say that "if troops are well-led, they do not fall ill". It is mealy-mouthed to talk of Armenian "massacres" when they amounted to genocide. It is misleading to say that the French "abandoned" Fort Douaumont; Petain described it as the cornerstone of Verdun's defence and it was lost as the result of a muddle.

Yet, despite all this, Stone's miniature has much to recommend it. He is cogent and pungent, describing the Zimmermann telegram as "Germany's suicide note, written in farce". He is unfashionably (but correctly) disparaging about Haig, said to be the best Scottish general because he killed the most Englishmen. And he has a marvellous eye for detail. The Austro-Hungarians were so confident before Brusilov's offensive that some of their dug-outs had glass windows; the Roumanians were so unused to war that initially junior officers had to be ordered not to use eye-shadow.

Such anecdotes bear testimony to a formidable erudition, here confined by its format. Inside this little book there is a big book struggling to get out.

Image Of Enemy Cultivated In Turkey Against Russia Has Disappeared
/PanARMENIAN.Net/ “Turkey and Russia enjoy wonderful relations at present. The image of enemy cultivated in Turkey against Russia has disappeared,” RA Deputy Foreign Minister Arman Kirakossian said in the Russian-Armenian (Slavonic) University.

“The commodity turnover between the two states makes $15 billion annually. Some 700 Turkish companies are functioning in Russia. Moreover, Russia is interested in Turkey as a transit country for delivery of energy resources to Europe,” Mr Kirakossian emphasized.

If Armenian Genocide Resolution Jeopardizes Usa National Security, No One Will Back It
/PanARMENIAN.Net/ U.S. possible recognition of the Armenian Genocide will not necessarily mean recognition by Turkey, RA Deputy Foreign Minister Arman Kirakossian said in the Russian-Armenian (Slavonic) University.

“I think, just before the voting the Resolution will be turned down following a call from the White House. If the administration decides that the H. Res. 106 jeopardizes national security, no one will back it, as it happened in 2000. We should not forget either that Turkey is U.S. ally in the region,” the RA Deputy FM said.

Absence of U.S. Ambassador negatively influences on the Armenian-American relations, according to him. “We enjoy good relations with the United States. Armenia is included in the Millennium Challenge Account; meetings of the Armenia-U.S. bilateral commission are held twice a year. However, contacts cannot be exercised at a proper level without Ambassador,” he said.

Ambassador John Evans was recalled in 2006 over public recognition of the Armenian Genocide. Later, the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee twice blocked Richard Hoagland’s nomination. New Jersey Senator Robert Menendez has twice vetoed the designation. A man denying the Armenian Genocide can’t defend the U.S. interests in Armenia, he stated.

When addressing the Senate Richard Hoagland said he recognized the events of 1915 but doesn’t think they were genocide.

The Armenian government has given consent on Hoagland’s nomination.

Troika Dialog And Ruben Vardanian
July 6, 2007
ISTANBUL - Turkish Daily News
One of the three main partners of the TransCentral Asia Petrochemical Holding, which bought 51 percent of Petkim yesterday, is the Troika Dialog Group Ltd. from Russia.

The group, led by Ruben Vardanian, 38, joined the group in 1991 when he was 22, and rose to be the CEO and president of the group in 10 years.The group has a counterparty credit rating of BB-/Stable/B from Standard&Poors, which describes it as “a leading Russian financial house.” Vardanian, of Armenian origin, owns a 65 stake in the group, according to S&P.

Ethnic Armenian Sir Ara Darzi appointed Minister of Healthcare of Great Britain
The Prime Minister of Great Britain has appointed practicing surgeon Ara Darzi (Terzian) as Minister of Healthcare. Ara Darzi was born in Iraq in a family with Armenian descent, which escaped the Genocide of 1915. But the greater part of his life he has spent in Ireland, independent French journalist Jean Eckian told the PanARMENIAN.Net. His father, the son of a Genocide survivor Vartkes Darzi settled in Dublin, in a city which did not even have an Armenian community. He has raised his son as an Armenian.

Ara Darzi himself remains greatly interested in Armenian issues. In a recent interview, Dr. Darzi said he must add his knowledge about Armenia. `I would love to visit and do something constructive in Armenia. I have not had the chance until now, but I hope to get more involved in the coming years. I want to go to my roots. I have served in many countries around the world. Why not also Armenia? I would like to volunteer and even take some essential equipment to Armenia to train other doctors there. All I need is the right opportunity,' he said.

A People’s Kaleidoscope From Hatay
July 4, 2007

 This content mirrored from TurkishArmenians  Site © Click For Larger Image
People from Turkey's southernmost province Hatay feel neglected due to their minority status. Yet they think they have no alternative but to maintain the social democrat tradition

HATAY-Turkish Daily News

While summer heat always defines Turkey's southernmost province of Hatay, in recent weeks the region has become a furnace. The 50-degree temperatures emptied the mid-day streets of the Arab neighborhood of Armutlu.

Mithat Azazi, a teacher of the region's traditional stringed instrument, the “baglama,” took refuge under an awning with his two daughters, 13-year-old Özge and 19-year-old Derya. The family gathered with a few friends in the path of the odd breeze and conversation turned to a rally earlier in the week by the Republican People's Party (CHP). They all agreed it is not like the politicking of the past and few showed up for the rally, as much due to lack of interest as the heat.

“There's nobody worth voting for,” said Özge, volunteering that even if she were 18 and legally entitled to cast a ballot, she would probably skip this year's election on July 22. Her elder sister Derya quickly interrupted, suggesting that a range of independent candidates offer interesting proposals for change in this corner of Turkey – if only they could organize.

Much of the mood here is similarly dour. When it is not, opinions cover the full spectrum. The mood of voters is a rainbow of opinions that mirrors the fact that this mountainous corner of the country is Turkey's most culturally diverse.

Surprising methods as a way out

In Turkey's sole Armenian village of Vakifli, voters say they plan to divide votes among parties likely to enter Parliament as a hedge against grumbling by the winners. In the coffeehouses of Arabic and Turkish-speaking Alevis – a religious sect that is a minority in Turkey but constitutes the majority in Hatay – a tradition of support for secularist social democratic politicians is suffering new strains but still seems likely to be repeated.

Amid an election full of surprises and shifting loyalties, especially among the youth, many here also say they are inclined to support the upstart nativist campaign of the Young Party (GP), founded by controversial entrepreneur Cem Uzan. That is a sentiment that surprises many of the elderly, who have supported the opposition CHP for more than six decades.

“We have always been for democracy,” said 47-year-old jeweler Can Yalaza, a Christian, in the seaside district of Samandag, which often fills up on the weekend with visiting tourists from nearby Syria. Yalaza was born in Samandag. So was his father. He has always lived there. With his curly yellowish hair and blue eyes shining, he explained how his ancestors have always lived there.

For generations, he said, the family and neighbors have always supported the CHP and after each election they have always been disappointed.

“We live altogether here, in peace. All the Christians, Arabs (Alevi and Sunni), Armenians and Jews. We cry together at our funerals and celebrate weddings together as well. The only problem we have is neglect. Everybody ignores us,” Yalaza said.

In cosmopolitan Antakya, synagogues, churches and mosques stand within easy sight of one another. There are Kurds and Turks and Arab Alevis, Sunnis, Christians and Armenians as well as Jews.

Birds in the cage

Amid that diversity, a point of unity in Hatay has always been its status as the “fortress” of the CHP. People of the province mostly have social democratic or leftist tendencies. Nine out of 10 ten people on the streets will define themselves as secularist.

According to music teacher Azazi, this should not come as a surprise. The nationalist and secular message of the CHP has long held appeal in an area with so many assorted ethnic groups and religions. Most of the Arab Alevis suffered discrimination during Ottoman times and under a French mandate that governed the province from the end of World War I until 1938 when Hatay formally joined Turkey.

“This is again about the psychology of being a minority, this is related to fear as well,” he said.

But straining that tradition of support, he said, are the broken roads, garbage remaining on the streets for days, the lack of modern schools. Perhaps Hatay deserves its neglect, he said, for allowing itself to be taken for granted for so many years by the CHP. The province sends 10 deputies to Parliament; other than the occasional deputy being elected from the ranks of the ultra-nationalist National Movement Party (MHP), virtually all representatives have been from the CHP.

“The CHP treats Hatay's people as birds in a cage, they don't really care about us,” he said.

But two years ago, the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) won the local elections of the Hatay Greater Municipality. This was unexpected and followed the election in 2002, which witnessed five AKP deputies being sent to Parliament from the area.

Everybody is here but the deputies

In various districts of Hatay that are diffused around the province like Belen, Reyhanli, and Altinözü, and as well in some neighborhoods of the port city of Iskenderun, ultra-nationalists always have support. However, in the last elections much of this support went to the AKP, a phenomenon many say won't be repeated.

“I tell you,” Azazi said, “In this election CHP will get five, AKP three and MHP two deputies. There has always been support for the MHP in Hatay.”

Yilmaz Kiraathanesi is a traditional coffeehouse, where men gather during the day and chat. On a very hot Tuesday afternoon people of Samandag from various ethnicities and religions were sitting in front of the coffeehouse. They all started complaining about politicians and the parties, as soon as they were asked about the elections.

Everybody started his conversation by highlighting how happy they are living together and hailing from different cultures. They were all in agreement that nobody cared about them, they could not get any service just because they are minorities and they have leftist or social democratic tendencies. The CHP was not able to represent them.

“As a member of the Armenian society, as a part of a minority, I cannot tell you that the CHP represents us. But neither does the AKP,” said Vakifli village Muhtar (the elected local leader in villages) Berc Kartun with a look on his face as if he tried to justify their plan to divide the votes. “This is why we divide our votes, yet that does not help to have proper streets, either.”

“This is not the way, it is enough,” interfered Ali Terzi (40). According to Terzi, the people of Hatay tried every party and every politician but all ignored them. Now it was time to try somebody new like GP leader Uzan.

“The AKP was also new in the last elections, but changed nothing for us,” argued Rifat Demir a 64-year-old bottled gas seller. “It did not harm us. We did not benefit either,” he said.

However, at the end almost everybody in the province thinks they have no other alternative but to vote for the CHP even if they think Fuat Çay, CHP's deputy candidate from Hatay, failed to help them attain a better standard of life.

“We never see Fuat Çay here. We see his pictures during the elections. This is insane! What is the option, nothing,” said Turkish Sunni farmer Necati Tiryaki. Despite all complaints I will vote for the CHP, he added.

Independent temptation for Hatay

Hatay has an independent candidate, too. Berkat Kar is from Hatay's Yesilyazi Village and a 52-year-old. He worked for various trade unions. He had to escape abroad because of the military coup in 1980. He now works as a translator. Kar has gray hair and brown eyes like most of his people.

However what differs with him is his courage. He stood up to help change the same old routine that his people kept complaining and suffering about but could find no alternative to change, he argued. He asked people for their votes, most of who have voted for the CHP for decades. But he was hopeful and it was clear on his face.

“We really wanted to create a proper alternative for people all around Turkey as independent candidates. Certainly, we do not claim that we will be able to solve all the problems, if we enter Parliament. But this will be a good start,” he said.

However, not many people consider it a proper alternative except for the people in the province with Kurdish origins. Some argued that this independent candidate initiative divides the votes and creates a better chance for the AKP. Some said this is the alternative they have been waiting for.

Despite all this, Hatay, a province with a kaleidoscope of people appears not to have many choices. People feel abandoned just because they asked for democracy and basic needs of human beings. But the trash stays on the poorly tended streets for days. Elections do not seem to help them. They tried everyone, they argue, but in the end they are minorities.

What Is 'Not' Going To Happen After July 22?
July 4, 2007
Equilibrium By Burak Bekdil
Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s pre-election rhetoric dangerously smells of revengism and challenge. That may be just pre-election talk. But if he is serious about what he tells AKP supporters at election rallies, then we all should worry.

Turkish politics is notoriously unpredictable; it is always safer to try and predict what is going to happen by first trying to predict what is ‘not' going to happen.

We are being bombarded by input from parties' elections campaigns being reduced to mutual mudslinging day by day, from various opinion polls few of which must be unbiased yet semi-scientific studies, and from empirical reports of unknown reliability.

The “rope talk” between the AKP and the MHP these days is particularly nauseating: Why do you not hang (Abdullah) Ocalan when you are in power? / Why did you not hang him when you were in power? Neither Recep Tayyip Erdogan nor Devlet Bahçeli could stand up and say something like: We do not (did not) hang him because we think capital punishment is just inhumane! Why would Turkey's prime minister or a would-be opposition leader not dare say, “We oppose punishing criminals by murdering them?” Why can they not say, “We amended our laws so as to abolish capital punishment, and we have full faith in that amendment?”

Despite too much fog and dust in the air let's try to predict what is going to happen by predicting what is not going to happen. We can safely predict that on July 22 AKP will not garner an embarrassing percentage of the national vote and have to be reduced skid-row status. Likewise, we can predict that AKP will not win 400 seats in the 550-member house – too bad, it could have done so if the Turkish constituencies included Washington, London, Yerevan, northern Iraq and the rest of the world where there is a sizeable Armenian Diaspora – plus, judging from Greek Prime Minister Kostas Karamanlis's encouraging remarks for his ‘good friend' Tayyip, Athens and Nicosia.

We can safely predict that the CHP will not win more votes than AKP, and nor will the MHP or the DP. It is also too improbable that CHP would not make its way to Parliament by failing to pass the national threshold. Another too remote possibility is independent Kurdish MPs failing to win seats in Parliament. On the contrary, there may be more independent MPs in Parliament this term, Kurdish or otherwise, than in previous terms.

Let's continue with the “what-is-probably-not-going-to-happen” analysis. Outside the “election sphere,” we can be certain that the Constitutional Court will not formally apologize for and cancel the verdict that set the parliamentary quorum for presidential elections at 367.

The options plus ‘the war factor'

We also know that the General Staff will not stop issuing demarches against political Islam when it deems necessary to do so. From a broader perspective, we can predict that the state institutions Mr. Erdogan would rather prefer never existed at all will not surrender in what they see as an “all-out war.”

Dropping all those (im)probabilities from the analysis, the remaining options may look like:

1. AKP leads polls, governs alone, with two parties (CHP and MHP) and a number of AKP-leaning independent MPs in opposition.

2. Much less likely than (1) but still a probability are CHP-MHP and CHP-MHP-DP coalition alliances. Even much less likely is a European-style grand coalition between AKP and the CHP – too thin, yet still a possibility.

3. AKP wins enough seats to form another single-party government, but cannot elect the president despite support from independent MPs. That means the Turks going to ballot boxes once again.

4. AKP wins enough seats to form another single party government, cannot elect the president alone, but has enough seats to elect the president with the support of (mainly Kurdish) independent MPs. Abdullah Gül is elected president and ballot boxes can be removed – for the time being.

That is the parliamentary arithmetic side of the picture ahead of us. That is, of course, not the picture in full. There is an “all-out war” that needs to be inserted somewhere into the analysis to make it more realistic – and probably less democratic. Try to imagine what might happen if Turkey's suspected Islamists and suspected Kurdish separatists allied not only to elect the next president but also to rule Turkey for another parliamentary term in a discreet political hand-shake…

What may happen if ‘threats' allied?

Using the same analytical methodology (trying to predict what is going to happen by predicting what is not going to happen) we can very safely conclude that an alliance between what Turkey's national security white paper views as top threats cannot comfortably survive. Such would be the threshold beyond which anything bizarre can happen, anything beyond our imagination, with the possible exception of a conventional coup…

That may include some of AKP's non-Islamist MPs deserting, seriously disturbing civil unrest, more military demarches with stronger wording than that of Apr. 27, more legal complications ending up at various supreme courts… We cannot know… There may be tornadoes in Ankara, trees may fall down, the sun may not rise one morning, the clouds may turn red... The trouble is, what might then happen is by definition unpredictable.

Mr. Erdogan's pre-election rhetoric dangerously smells revengism and challenge. That may be just pre-election talk. But if he is serious about what he tells AKP supporters at election rallies, then we all should worry.

If Mr. Erdogan is seriously hoping to achieve by arithmetical democracy in the next term what he failed to achieve by arithmetical democracy in 2002-2007, he is perilously mistaken.

All that picture may not look perfectly democratic, but as Mr. Erdogan's cross Atlantic allies say: Facts of life…

Sports Event Brings Together Azerbaijan And Armenia In Turkey
July 4, 2007
 This content mirrored from TurkishArmenians  Site © Click For Larger Image
Long time foes Azerbaijan and Armenia, whose 2008 European Championship qualification game was canceled by UEFA, will hold another match on Turkish soil in the Black Sea Games this week

The territorial dispute between the two south Caucasian states, Azerbaijan and Armenia, is overshadowing their interaction in non-political issues. They are in a state of cease-fire and political problems disrupt even their sport activities, the most recent being a UEFA ruling to cancel a match. Merely two weeks later, the Armenian and Azerbaijani U-18 national football teams are set to play in Turkey, a match that will be played in the ongoing First Black Sea Games, an event held in Trabzon and nearby provinces to help cooperation between Black Sea Economic Cooperation (BSEC) member states.

UEFA on June 23 canceled the two EURO 2008 qualifying Group A matches between Azerbaijan and Armenia with the two associations awarded no points for the games. The fixtures had been due to be played in Azerbaijan on Sept.8 and in Armenia four days later. However, Azerbaijan refused to admit the Armenian national team to its capital, Baku, and Armenia did not accept UEFA's offer to play the match at a neutral venue.

The UEFA Executive Committee took the decision after no compromise agreement could be reached between the two national associations amid the present political and security situation. Azerbaijan sits bottom of the group with five points from eight matches, while Armenia has seven points from seven outings.

‘Politics out of sports':

Vladimir Karapetian, acting spokesperson of the Armenian Foreign Ministry told the Turkish Daily News that Armenia accepted to play the game in Baku. “When Azerbaijan refused, we offered to play the match in Armenia, but we were turned down by Azerbaijan one more time. We cannot make any comments on UEFA's decision to cancel the game and we have no problems playing Azerbaijan in Turkey,” declared Karapetian. “Interaction between nations is necessary to ease tensions. Sports should be kept out of politics.”

The national teams could not play their match, but the youth teams managed to stick to the schedule. Head of the Media Committee of Black Sea Games Murat Taskin said that the two teams did not object to play in Turkey. “The match will take place according to schedule. We did not encounter any problems so far,” assured Taskin. The teams will take to the pitch Thursday at 6:00 p.m. in the northeastern city of Giresun.

Twelve BSEC member countries including Armenia and Azerbaijan will participate in the First Black Sea Games that will take place on July 2-8. More than 1,500 athletes aged 18 and below will compete in 10 different events.

The Black Sea Games coincided with a time of harsh rhetoric between the two states. Azerbaijan's President Ilham Aliyev warned Armenia yesterday that they could resort to force if Yerevan did not pull out from Nagorno-Karabakh. Nagorno Karabakh, a former Soviet oblast (administrative region) populated mainly by Armenians, remained within Azerbaijan's borders after the collapse of the Soviet Union. After a referendum held on Dec. 10, 1991 in Nagorno-Karbakh, it declared independence, but no state recognized it, including Armenia. Armenian forces occupied the region in 1994, along with other Azerbaijani territories that remained between Armenia and the disputed region. A cease-fire was brokered after a series of violent ethnic clashes in May 1994.

Bush, Pelosi And Clinton Support PKK
by Scott Sullivan
June 30, 2007
The British Sun newspaper last Tuesday carried a story quoting British intelligence sources that Iran is moving elite units of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) into southern Iran facing Iraq and even into Iraq itself (see Investors Business Daily report on 6/26/07, “Iran Picks a Fight”). These Iranian deployments pose a direct threat to British troops who are responsible for stability in southern Iraq.

According to British intelligence, Iran would not undertake such provocative deployments unless Iran was preparing to confront UK forces in southern Iraq.

Again, by way of backdrop, Iran in southern Iraq is taking Basra and one-third of Iraq’s territory and oil reserves, while in northern Iraq Massoud Barzani is taking Kirkuk and another one-third of Iraq’s territory and oil reserves.

In other words, Iran and the Kurds are demolishing Iraq. And what is the response from President Bush and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to such naked aggression? Blissful silence.

Even worse, Bush is preparing US forces to confront Turkey, not Iran and the Kurds. Just this week the State Department reissued its warning to Turkey to refrain from attacking PKK camps in northern Iraq. This State Department warning means that Bush is in accord with Bill Clinton’s recommendation that the PKK be taken under US protection in northern Iraq.

Again, to be sure that the situation is crystal clear, Iran and the Kurds are demolishing Iraq, while the US is preparing to confront Turkey, a fellow member of NATO.

Pelosi’s attraction to the PKK comes as no surprise. Pelosi has deep ties with the Greek Lobby here in the US. The Greek Lobby has long been pro-Kurdish and anti-Turkey. Pelosi has taken the lead in pushing through Congress the Armenia Genocide resolution, which will destroy all prospects of US-Turkish cooperation against Iran.

In short, Iran and the PKK now find in their corner the powerful team of Bush, Pelosi, and Clinton. Moreover, it is now rumored that Paul Wolfowitz will join this pro-PKK team when he takes a high position at the American Enterprise Institute. He has never condemned the PKK.

Finally, Iran and the PKK got an additional boost from Red China this week. The Chinese Foreign Ministry issued a written statement, similar to that from the US, warning Turkey against intervening against PKK camps in northern Iraq.

In sum, a powerful united front which is anti-Turkey and pro-PKK is shaping up, involving President Bush, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and Bill Clinton. On the international side, the anti-Turkey front involves, as of today, Iran and Red China. Not to worry. Turkey will prevail.


OYAK’s Partner AXA Releases List Of "Genocide" Victims
OYAK’s partner AXA releases list of insured victims of forced Armenian emigration
Insurance company AXA, the French partner of the Armed Forces Pension Fund (OYAK Group), has released a list of insured Anatolian Armenians who lost their lives during the forced emigration by the Ottoman Empire during World War I. The list includes 7,000 names.

In 2005, AXA had agreed to pay $ 17 million to the heirs of those who died during emigration.

The list released on the Internet includes the policy numbers and names of those who were insured by AXA at the time when they lost their lives.

AXA at the time unleashed a wave of anger in Turkey after they agreed in October 2005 to settle a class action lawsuit by descendants of the victims of alleged genocide of Armenians under Ottoman rule.

The case was settled in a California court accusing the company of failing to pay death benefits for the insurance policies purchased by Armenians living in the Ottoman Empire prior to an alleged genocide. Eventually, the case was settled for $17 million in the United States.

The influential Armenian diaspora at the time hailed the settlement as a boost for their international campaign to have the World War I killings of Anatolian Armenians recognized as genocide, an accusation Turkey categorically rejects.

AXA made an announcement on their Web site, www.armenianinsurancesettlement.com, on which a notice of claim form was also released and called on those who find their ancestor's name on the list to submit a written notice of claim no later than Oct. 1, 2007, to the Settlement Fund Board of AXA. An Armenian version of the notice of the form was also put on their Web site.

It is expected that the number of heirs of those 7,000 persons may reach tens of thousands.

The deal, which was harshly criticized by the Turkish public, also dealt a blow to OYAK, an industrial venture representing the army pension fund and AXA's partner in Turkey since 1999. OYAK announced after the deal that it was reviewing the situation in the light of the "sensitivities of the Turkish people."

Recently, the sale of OYAK Bank, pending official approval, to Dutch ING Group for $2.7 billion in cash has triggered a rumble of discontent from various segments of Turkish society. Almost everyone considered the sale to contradict what was previously said by the OYAK Group, the parent conglomerate, which conducted a nationalistic -- and somewhat anti-foreign capital -- campaign during its participation in the privatization of Ereğli Iron and Steelworks (Erdemir) in 2005.

With the assistance of this atmosphere created through this campaign, OYAK won the tender and became the biggest iron and steel producer in the country.


It’s Time For The Bush Administration To Put Turks In Their Place
A friendship between America and Turkey has been a liability for America since the beginning, due to Turkey’s notoriously dirty human rights record. During the Cold War Turkey’s strategic location propelled America to seek a close relationship with Turkey. Thankfully, all that changed when the Iron Curtain fell pronouncing Turkey a triviality. Moreover, the Iraq War has proved Turkey’s uselessness to America. While the Turks continue their human rights abuses and threaten to cause trouble in Iraq, the Bush administration has not put the Turks in their place, as justice demands.

Since the Iraqi Liberation mission, Turkey has been opposing the notion of an independent Kurdistan, fearing that once the Kurds in Iraq are free and democratic, their counterparts on the other side of the border will demand the same. Clearly they are of the opinion that, in order for the Turks to justify their violation of Kurdish human rights in their country, Kurds ought to be abused everywhere in the world.

It is bewildering why America would want to support and befriend a regime such as Turkey’s with all their atrocities against humanity, not only against Kurds but also Serbs, Greeks, Assyrians and Armenians. The United States’ apathy is overwhelming; for decades they have generously provided assistance to Turkey without considering the country’s human rights record. Common sense and common justice has been rare with American leaders regarding their relationship with Turkey. Think of the Armenian genocide committed by Turks, yet America ignored the plight of Armenians demanding Turks to acknowledge their atrocities.

And reaching the height of absurdity, American leaders and politicians have been calling Turkey a great democracy in the Middle East, in order to justify the United States’ immense support of Turkey, citing the Turkish elections and constitution as proofs. While it’s true that election is a vital pillar of democratic establishment which reflects fair representation, and fair representation requires a sound and moral constitution; these pillars of democracy need to be genuine, otherwise their casual application will weaken the foundation of the institution. A constitution is vital to democracy, but it needs to be moral and apply consistently to every citizen. But Turkey’s constitution excludes all non-Turks who live in Turkey by a simple declaration that all citizens of Turkey are Turks. This is a moral predicament since one third of Turkey’s population is Kurds, and there are also Arabs, Assyrians and Armenians. Where is justice and morality in a constitution that is privileging one portion of the population and demonizing the rest?

Turkey has been a violent country for decades as the Kurdish rebel P.K.K has been fighting for an equitable system of justice and equality for all. During this period Turkey’s rulers usually have been civilians on the surface, but military at heart. Thus the rule of army and violence has made democracy in Turkey scarce, for under the rule of army and bloody violence there is no democracy. Additionally, Turkey is not a pristine democracy; rather, it is a corrupted country with bribery, favoritism and cronyism ubiquitous. These attributes encumber the glory of democracy, and go against its true essence. As one can see, these arguments contradict any proclamation that Turkey is a democracy. If anyone claims that it is, that person either does not have a true knowledge of Turkey or does not understand the true meaning of democracy.

President Bush would display a new degree of enlightenment if he were to address the prime minister of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan in his next visit to Washington as follows:

“Mr. Erdogan, we have heard enough of your exploitation of the Kurds, and your opposition to the inspiration of the world’s biggest nation without statehood to obtain their independence. I feel compassion for the Kurds because of what they have suffered in your country; we let your leaders be as intolerant as they desired for a long time. We lavished you with monetary, political and military assistance, and you utilized it as fodder for your prejudice and pride. These are unfounded in today’s world and are just relics of your past. We have gone as far as arguing the case for your membership in the EU, even though we knew your nation doesn’t resemble Europeans.

You know it has been an established tradition of our presidency for the US president not to apologize, and I shall not violate this tradition, but were I permitted to break that tradition, I would proffer the Kurds in your country an earnest apology for our support to your government and that of your predecessors that they have turned to abuse against the Kurds.

The Kurds have been our faithful ally in our war against Saddam and terrorism, and America is looked upon as respectable and popular among the Kurdish; on the other hand, the degree of anti-American sentiment amongst your people is shamefully high. Therefore, we are not going to forsake our faithful friends, the Kurds, to please an old friend who has proven perfidious.

A free and independent Kurdistan is imminent for it is the will and determination of the Kurdish nation. The will of a nation is impassable and neither you nor anyone else can hinder it. That leaves you with no choice but to accept and put aside your bigotry towards the Kurds. A free and independent Kurdistan will be beneficial to you and your people, therefore I ask you not to merely tolerate it but rather to welcome it wholeheartedly. I will join you and your people in celebrating the birth of a free and independent country, Kurdistan, with its waving flag visible from your border. We should let this new nation prosper and bloom; we should all help these great people who are good friends of ours. I assure you, they too will be your

American Chronicle

Rauf Naqishbendi

Rauf Naqishbendi is a contributing columnist for Kurdishmedia.com and American Chronicle and has written Op/Ed pages for LA times. He has just completed his first novel The Garden Of The Poets and through his literary agent seeking publication. Rauf Naqishbendi is a software engineer in San Francisco Bay Area.
Rauf Naqishbendi
June 30, 2007

Wars Of Hegemony In The Black Sea
June 29, 2007
It is ironic that Turkey joined forces with Russia to block American ambitions to increase its influence in the Black Sea region. But siding with Russia that wants to sustain its traditional influence in its backyard, will strengthen its policy of challenging Turkey’s goal to become an energy hub…


The United States is waging a global war on terror. It needs unimpeded access to anywhere in the world in order to counter the threat and eliminate it at its source. But there are certain areas in the world it cannot penetrate to the degree it wants. The Black Sea is one of them.

Americans are concerned that the Black Sea could be a conduit for weapons of mass destruction, terrorists or drugs. Hence, it is looking for ways to have free rein in the region. It's military presence in Romania and Bulgaria is limited and it lacks the maritime component. According to the Montreux Convention, a 1936 accord by which Turkey controls the Bosporus Straits, warships that do not belong to littoral states can remain in the Black Sea for no more than 21 days. Americans therefore need to water down the Montreux regime in order to increase its presence in the region.

But their initial attempts in that direction hit the Turkish wall. Their proposal to expand a NATO – led Mediterranean counter terrorism effort into the Black sea was turned down. Furthermore, the extension of the Alliance's naval operation Active Endeavor (OAE) from the Mediterranean into the Black Sea created a new rift between the long-time NATO allies, the U.S. and Turkey.

Turkey opposed a greater NATO involvement in the Black Sea, firstly because it does not see an imminent threat stemming from the region. Secondly, OAE is redundant as the two already existing Black Sea naval force structures are sufficient to do the job. Turkey launched Black Sea Harmony in 2004 to patrol the southern segment of the Black Sea. The Black Sea Naval Task Force or Blackseafor was set up in 2001; comprising all six riparian states.

However there is a deeper reasoning behind the Turkish fierce opposition.

The U.S. proposal is perceived by the Turkish side as a first step towards diluting the Montreux regime; which might lead to the review of the Montreux Convention, something Ankara would avoid at any cost. “A review of the Montreux Convention means an opening of the Pandora's box. The military was extremely nervous and uneasy too. We made an extremely strong demarche. Only then Americans backed down,” a Turkish diplomatic source familiar with the issue told me.

Irony of a changing world

Paradoxically, Turkey joined forces with Russia to push back the Americans. In the present day, it might not appear unusual to see Turkey siding with Russia against the Americans. But looking at it from a historical perspective, it is quiet ironic. One of the reasons behind Turkey's entry to NATO was the Soviet challenge of the Montreux Convention. Territorial claims by the Soviet Union voiced right after World War II also played an important role.

Now it turns out Turks and Russians are united to preserve the Montreux Regime.

Turkish – Russian collaboration appears to have proved successful since the US seems to have dropped the idea. Apparently, now it wants to throw its weight behind Turkey's leadership in the Black Sea. “The US Department of Defense has completed its first-ever comprehensive strategy for the area around the Black Sea, and part of the strategy is to get littoral states to engage with Turkey's 'Black Sea Harmony' maritime security operations,” revealed Jane's defense Weekly, in one of its recent reports.

But what happened during the Black Sea Economic Cooperation summit that took place in Istanbul on Monday is proof that Americans are still trying alternative ways to penetrate the region, using Trojan tactics. This time the role of the Trojan horse is assumed by Romania, which together with Bulgaria provides an anchor for the U.S. in the Black Sea.

Romania has been eager to push the American agenda in the region. Complaining about the fact that the political component is lacking from the BSEC, it has been pushing for an alternative mechanism: Black Sea Forum. “We have acted in concert with the Russians to downplay its importance,” said a Turkish official. However, Romania is still active in pushing the idea of the Black Sea Forum. The Romanian delegation blocked the consensus on the text of the Istanbul summit declaration until the last minute. They wanted to insert a reference on the Black Sea Forum.

After a sleepless night of negotiations, they backed down at 9 o'clock in the morning; just hours before the summit, when they saw all the remaining 11 member countries were united in opposing them. Russia and Turkey were the primary players in pushing back the Romanians.

The fierce opposition stems from the fact that Americans are believed to be behind the Romanians. Thus Russia objects to the scheme because it is primarily seeking to ward off Western penetration of its traditional sphere of influence, whereas Turkey opposes a rival mechanism to BSEC.

No need for new problems

Again. What an irony. After the demise of the Soviet Union Turkey tried to get US involvement in the region precisely to reduce Russian influence in its former satellite countries. Now it is siding with Russia to block a mechanism fearing it could offer the U.S. an entrée into the Black Sea's regional affairs. “As a principle we are not against U.S. involvement in the region to solve frozen conflicts, to promote democratization etc,” said a Turkish official. But he also conceded that there is skepticism towards the policies of Bush's administration, since its action has not always been benign. Chaos in Iraq is already causing a lot of headache to Turkey, and it does not need new problems in its region.

But Armenian Minister Vartan Oskanyan had a point when he said during the BSEC Summit that political problems impede economic progress in the region. Isn't it high time to add a political component to the BSEC? “Turkey is not against adding a political component to BSEC. But Russia would object,” is the answer I get from the Turkish side when I raise the issue. But to what degree is it to the interest of Turkey to let Russia set the game of the rules in the Black Sea. Turkey is already loosing the ground in the energy game. Every step undertaken by Russia has been threatening Turkey's goal to become a major transit point for energy supplies. To let Russian political supremacy unchallenged would only strengthen the hands of Moscow to sustain its dominant position as energy giant.

The Turkish side seems unwilling to revise its policy due to two reasons. First, it is still upset by American attempts to water down Montreux, second it is furious that Americans are encouraging Romanians for an alternative to BSEC.

But we should stop being emotional and get rational. The American administration seems to have understood the sensitivity over the Montreux regime. The Turkish side should now tell the Americans to work with Ankara within BSEC, even if this would upset the Russians. This could also provide an opportunity to revive strategic cooperation with Washington and fasten the process of putting bilateral ties back on track. It is not easy to work with the present Bush Administration. But let's not forget that Bush and his entourage will be replaced, and long-term strategies have to stretch beyond short-term difficulties.

General Risks Trial For Calling Slain Armenian 'Traitor'
June 29, 2007

The family of an ethnic Armenian journalist gunned down earlier this year is suing a senior Turkish general for having allegedly called him a traitor, their lawyer told AFP Wednesday.

Lawyer Fethiye Çetin alleged that General Dursun Ali Karaduman, the commander of the paramilitary force in the northern province of Giresun, had called Hrant Dink a traitor in a speech in April, even though he did not mention his name.

The 52-year-old Dink, a prominent member of Turkey's tiny Armenian minority, was shot dead in January in central Istanbul.

He had earned the hatred of nationalists for branding the mass killings of Armenians under the Ottoman Empire during World War I as genocide, a label that Ankara fiercely rejects.

Dink received a suspended six-month jail sentence last year for "insulting Turkishness."

In a speech General Karaduman made at the funeral of a soldier killed by outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), he deplored what he saw as Western indifference to the victims of the Kurdish insurgency in southeast Turkey.

"The US Senate, the French Parliament, the European Parliament and Armenia have not condemned those who killed you..." he was quoted as having said in the family's application to the court.

"They issue condemnations only when traitors are killed," he reportedly said.

Lawyer Çetin said it was "obvious" the general was referring to Dink.

The general had also recited a poem at the funeral of another soldier in June that denounced the outpouring of international condemnations following Dink's murder, she said.

Dink's family would not seek a jail term for the general or a financial compensation, said Cetin. They would ask the court to rule that his remarks were "unlawful, racist and provocative" and publish the ruling in major newspapers, she explained.

The trial of Dink's self-confessed teenage murderer and 17 other suspects, most of them young people from the northern city of Trabzon, begins on July 2. Dink's family has called for an expansion of the investigation into his death. They say that the police prepared the ground for the murder by failing to act on several intelligence notes about a plot to kill Dink being organized in Trabzon.

If Turkey Is Guided By Values Proper To European Family, Armenia And Greece Will Not Have To Allocate Big Resources To Defence Sphere, Greek President Says
Noyan Tapan
Jun28, 2007
RA Prime Minister Serge Sargsian, at his June 27 meeting with Greek President Karolos Papoulias and the delegation led by him, that arrived in Armenia on a state visit, stated that the RA government is ready within the limits of its powers to exert all efforts for fulfilling the agreements reached between the Armenian and Greek Presidents, for the sake of the two countries and Armenian and Greek friendly peoples.

S. Sargsian expressed gratitude for the assistance provided to Armenia by Greece in various spheres so far, especially emphasizing cooperation and assistance in the military sphere. The Prime Minister said that working in the security sphere for many years and officially communicating with the leadership of the Greek Defence Ministry, he has always felt their warm friendly attitude and readiness to cooperate. The Prime Minister attached importance to expansion and further development of that cooperation, especially in this period, when Armenia implements the Individual Partnership Actions Plan with NATO, and the experience and assistance of Greece can be of great use.

S. Sargsian agreed to the Greek President's viewpoint, according to which friendly neighboring countries pursuing common interests are not so many in this complicated region, so, for the sake of ensuring friendly peoples' security and well-being, the efforts should be combined as far as possible in the issue of solution of the current problems and implementation of development programs.

K. Papoulias regretted to say that such a complicated neighbor as Turkey, which constantly causes problems, if changed and guided by values proper to the European family, then neither Greece nor Armenia would have to allocate bigger resources from country's GDP, at the expense of social programs, for issues of ensuring defence and security.

The Greek President expressed satisfaction with not only the high level of bilateral political relations, but also Armenia-Greece interested cooperation in the international sphere and their readiness to support each other. He said that Greece already has some experience in the respect of European integration and activity within the Euroatlantic framework and is ready to be useful with that experience on the way of fulfilment of goals considered as important in Armenia's foreign policy.

During the meeting, both sides attached importance to active work of Armenian-Greek Intergovernmental Commission in the issue of development of economic cooperation. Agricultural, trade and tourism, military, educational spheres were numbered among those, in which cooperation has prospects for the two countries. In RA Prime Minister's words, the RA government's program for the coming five years also attaches importance to these spheres.

At the end of the meeting the Greek President expressed confidence that the Greek and Armenian peoples very alike in their human potential, wisdom and capabilities and having a centuries-old history, which have been able to overcome all difficulties during their history, from now on will also be able to have progress and achievements by supporting each other and deepening the relations for even more.

Perinçek Refused Entry Into Switzerland
June 30, 2007
ANKARA – Turkish Daily News
Turkish politician, Dogu Perinçek, convicted of racism for denying the alleged genocide of Armenians was refused a visa as he failed to produce legal documentation from his lawyer or the Lausanne court confirming his invitation to Switzerland, his Workers’ Party (IP) said in a statement released Thursday.

“This is an international outrage. The Swiss state is refusing to issue a visa for Perinçek,” read the IP statement. Officials from the Swiss Embassy said a letter of invitation from the Lausanne court or from his lawyer was needed to issue a visa for Perinçek and under those circumstances they could issue a visa for the day of invitation, it added.

Officials at the Swiss Embassy declined to comment on the refusal.

Last week, Perinçek lost his first appeal at a Swiss court in the canton (state) of Vaud, where a lower tribunal in March convicted and ordered him to pay a fine of 3,000 Swiss francs ($2,450).

Perinçek, who was also given a suspended penalty of 9,000 francs ($7,360) and ordered to pay 1,000 francs ($820) to an Armenian association, had repeatedly denied during a visit to Switzerland in 2005, that the 1915 killings of Armenians at the hands of the Ottoman Empire amounted to genocide.

The IP leader is now planning to appeal to the Federal Tribunal, Switzerland’s Supreme Court, but he is unable to meet with his lawyer with respect to his rights to appeal, due to the lack of a visa.

“Switzerland is not allowing me to go to Lausanne to utilize my right to appeal,” Perinçek said at a press conference. “It is a strange situation. The Swiss state, the prosecuting party that convicted me, is refusing to let me go to Switzerland and defend myself in person.”

Ministry Issues Decree To Protect Minorities
June 30, 2007
ANKARA -Turkish Daily News
The Interior Ministry sent a decree to all governors' offices Thursday, noting that there was a rise in violence against religious minorities lately and asking them to protect non-Muslim groups.

In the decree, the ministry noted that Turkey's international standing suffered as a result of attacks against minority groups, asking governor's to increase security measures around places of worship for religious minorities.

Interior Minister Osman Günes said no citizen can be discriminated against for his or her religion, ethnicity, political beliefs and opinions according to the Constitution, adding that attacks against minority groups create fear and hopelessness among citizens.

All intelligence and complaints on activities against minority groups had to be investigated in detail, said the minister, adding that governors' offices were obligated to provide security in necessary cases.

Since the beginning of the year, there has been an increase in the number of violent acts committed against minority groups. Journalist Hrant Dink, of Armenian decent, was shot dead on Jan 19 and three protestant missionaries were killed in the central Anatolian city of Malatya on April 18.

Almost all of the perpetrators of such attacks have been teenage boys with nationalist tendencies.

AZG Armenian Daily #123, 30/06/2007

Crisis in Turkey
"Republic Of Turkey Go To Hell!!!!" this slogan was sounded during the funeral of PKK members in Hakkyari region of Turkey that borders with Iran and Iraq on June 27. On June 28 the slogan appeared on some of the sites, while the governor's office of Hakkyari denied the information by a special official press release. "Milliet" informed about this on its site, yesterday. According to "Milliet," the Hakkyari governor stated in the press release "on June 28, some of the sites spread information about "Republic of Turkey Go to Hell!!!" slogan was sounded in our region during the funeral of a member of a terrorist separatist union. The aforementioned funeral took place on June 27 at 11 o'clock. The relevant law enforcement bodies followed the funeral with great attention. After viewing the video record of the funeral, we found out that none sounded such a slogan during the funeral."

It's worth mentioning that the majority of Hakkyari residents are Kurds and there are also many Alavians living there. On March 4, Hasan Kyoni, Professor of Political Sciences at the Ankara University, stated in the article entitled "The Armenian Cause and the International Position of Turkey" that the Alavians are Muslim Armenians.

By Hakob Chakrian

Los Angeles Times Managing Editor Retires For `Killing' A Story On Armenian Genocide

/PanARMENIAN.Net/ After escalating criticism from the Armenian American community for his role in obstructing an article on the Armenian Genocide this April and his discriminatory behavior against Armenian American reporters, Los Angeles Times Managing Editor Douglas Frantz has resigned effective July 6th and will be returning to Istanbul, reported the Armenian National Committee of America-Western Region (ANCA-WR).

This past April Frantz `killed' a story on the Armenian Genocide that was written by Armenian American Los Angeles Times reporter Mark Arax. Frantz had erroneously accused Arax (who recently left the paper) of having a `conflict of interest' regarding reporting on the Armenian Genocide and had also circumvented the standard editorial process for reviewing articles. A subsequent internal investigation by the Times deemed Frantz's accusations to be completely baseless.

This past April, the ANCA led a grassroots campaign to raise awareness regarding Frantz's actions. Over 5,000 activists responded to an ANCA action alert and sent emails and letters calling for Frantz's resignation. In addition, the ANCA-WR, California Courier Publisher Harut Sassounian and other community representatives met with the publisher and senior Los Angeles Times management on multiple occasions during the last several months to convey the community's outrage regarding Frantz's discriminatory actions.

`Doug Frantz's resignation from the Los Angeles Times is an appropriate answer to his unprofessional behavior and anti-Armenian posture in the newsroom,' remarked ANCA-WR Board member Zanku Armenian. `The Los Angeles Times is a fine newspaper. The fact that Frantz is returning to Istanbul tells the full story of where he stands.' he added.

US Envoy Stresses Common Goals, Need To Work Together
Anatolia News Agency, Turkey
Izmir, 28 June: "Turkey and the USA have common goals, and they will work together as much as possible", the US ambassador to Turkey, Ross Wilson, said on Thursday [28 June].

"There have been ups and downs in Turkish-US relations, however what is important is that the two countries share common ideals, like freedom, prosperity, stability and peace", Wilson stated during his visit to the Chamber of Commerce in Aegean city of Izmir.

Noting that Iraq has been a big problem for the USA and the world, Wilson said that US President George Bush has admitted that some mistakes were made regarding this country.

Wilson said that the Iraqi government cannot ensure stability but stated that unity and stability are the common goals of Iraqis.

Pointing out that northern Iraq has been transformed to a haven for PKK [Kurdistan Workers' Party] terrorists, Wilson said that financial support to this terrorist organization must cease, before emphasizing that the USA and Turkey will cooperate in this area.

Wilson said that Turkey and the entire world will face serious problems if they do not succeed in Iraq.

Qualifying the terrorist organization PKK as a specific problem, Wilson said that they will definitely get some results in this matter.

Wilson said that they want to change the general view of Iraq and overcome problems, including the one posed by terrorist organization PKK.

Appreciating Turkey's initiatives (regarding Iraq), Wilson said that Turkey is the second country, after the USA, which gave highest victims (because of the war in Iraq).

Wilson reiterated that they will be successful and said that Iraq will become a constructive not destructive factor in the region .

On the other hand, Wilson reaffirmed that there is a nuclear threat in Iran and added that Europe, Turkey and the USA share the same opinion that Iran is a very dangerous country for the world.


"The US administration has accepted that many things happened during the World War I, many Armenians were exiled and died, and a tragedy was experienced", Wilson stated on Turkish-Armenian relations.

"However, the (Bush) administration urges Turkey and Armenia to discuss and reach a compromise on historical events, and normalize their relations", he said.

On Turkey's EU membership bid, Wilson said that the USA supports Turkey's membership but Cyprus problem makes this process difficult, before recalling that his country has conveyed its position to European countries asking Cyprus should not constitute a problem for Turkey's membership.

Meanwhile, Wilson said that he will not intervene in Turkey's internal affairs and added that all candidates running for 22 July general elections should be respected and given the right to speak freely.

We Should Work With The Armenians, But Not Threaten Them: Head Of Azerbaijan State Conservatory
TREND News Agency, Azerbaijan
June 29 2007
Azerbaijan, Baku /corr. Trend A.Ismaylova / We should work with the Armenians residing in Nagorno-Karabakh, but not threaten them, said the Head of State Conservatory, Farhad Bedelbeyli, on 29 June at the conference dedicated to the results of the visit made by Azerbaijani and Armenian intellectuals to the occupied Azerbaijani lands.

According to Bedelbeyli, there needs to be a change in tactics with regards to the Armenians, as the old tactics have not yielded any results over the past fifteen years. "Each Azerbaijani should be a diplomat," Bedelbeyli said.

According to him, the emotions of the Armenians residing the Azerbaijani territories have been stirred by the visit. Bedelbeyli added that he cannot say what results the visit will yield.

Armenia's Vanishing Udis
By Tatul Hakopian in Dedebavan
Institute for War and Peace Reporting IWPR, UK
June 28 2007
Small community is slowly losing its ancient language.

Seda Kumsieva, a teacher for 36 years, lives in Armenia although she used to teach Russian language and literature in the village of Vardashen in Azerbaijan.

The crisis of the late Eighties that led to the Armenian-Azerbaijani war over Nagorny Karabakh forced her to flee her home and resettle in Armenia.

Seda is an ethnic Udi - a Christian group with its own unique language - but her husband is Armenian, a fact which sealed her fate.

Her family is now scattered across the Caucasus.

"Some of my relatives stayed in Vardashen, others settled in Tbilisi.

I am completely Udi by blood, but my husband is Armenian and we and other families who had mixed marriages left Azerbaijan," she said.

Eleven Udis from Azerbaijan resettled in Dedebavan and many more have found homes in other villages. In conversations with IWPR, the Udis made it clear they feel quite secure in Armenia, but are worried that their unique culture is dying out.

The head of the village community in Dedebavan Georgy Babayan told IWPR, "We don't make any distinction between Armenians and Udis.

During the emigration from Vardashen in 1988, several Udi families came with the Armenians. Later on, many of them emigrated to Russia.

We are the same as the Udis - we share our joy and grief with them."

Hranush Kharatian, an ethnographer who has written extensively about the Udis, says that there are only around 200 of them in Armenia.

"The community does not have the status of a national minority," he said. "Today there isn't a single regulatory document on this issue.

Only those groups which systematically try to preserve their ethnic identity are recognised as minorities."

Kharatian said that the Udis had fled Azerbaijan not just because of mixed marriages with Armenians, but because they were a persecuted minority.

"Udis who were persecuted in Nij have resettled in the Georgian village of Oktomberi. Until the recent deportations from Azerbaijan there were not just two but five whole Udi villages. We don't know much about three of the villages, because although the Udis living there were Christians, they spoke Azeri. These villages were called Jourlu, Mirzabeilu and Sultan Nukhi. Several people from there emigrated to Armenia."

Seda Kumsieva uses her cousins in Tbilisi - who now go by the surname Kumsiashvili - to get information about relatives who stayed behind in her home village. She still badly misses Vardashen - now renamed Oduz.

"Although our way of life and traditions are Armenian, Udis have their own specific festivals," she said. "As a child, I remember how in May they used to tie multi-coloured threads round the hands of little children and then hang these little bundles on the branches of trees. Everyone used to make a wish to have their dream come true.

The festival was called Dimbaz."

Forty-five-year-old Zanna Lalayan is married to an Armenian and her family is also scattered. "My brother Oleg and other relatives live in Nij. My other brother and other relatives live in Ukraine - his children don't know the Udi language. Our generation of Udis based in Russia and other countries doesn't know our language.

"Our nation is gradually dwindling."

Seventy-year-old Arshaluis Movsisian, an Udi whose late husband was Armenian, lives in the village of Bagratashen and left behind a large part of her family, a whole troop of nieces and nephews. "My heart is breaking, I want to see their faces," she said, holding back the tears.

"Like the Armenians, we recognise the cross and the church," she said. "We didn't marry our girls off to Azerbaijanis and we didn't marry theirs, because we are people of the cross. Like the Armenians, our brides come out in white clothes, with uncovered faces , we dance Armenian dances and bury our dead according to Armenian customs.

Apart from the language, we are no different to them."

Armenian historians, like their Azerbaijani counterparts, say that the Udis are the descendants of the Caucasian Albanians. But Armenians say the process of assimilation happened much earlier - that the Albanians converted to the Armenian church in the 5th century and at the same time began to adopt the Armenian language, customs and names.

The Udis alone, the historians say, survived as a tiny remnant of a once much bigger culture. They point out that the Udis' language has nothing in common with either Indo-European Armenian or Turkic Azeri.

Some unique Udi customs also seem to date back to pre-Christian times.

Arzu Dargiyan recalls how in Azerbaijan they used to pay homage to sacred trees. "We would choose a fruit tree in the garden and performed an act of worship in front of it," she said. "We lit candles and sacrificed animals. It was forbidden to climb the sacred tree or pick its fruit. You could only eat them if they fell from the tree."

Oleg Dulgarian is an Udi also from Vardashen, although he left as a small child. He runs a non-governmental organisation for refugees, and is passionate about trying to preserve the culture of this ancient but tiny community.

Dulgarian says that he wants to create an organization called "Aghvank" (the ancient name for Caucasian Albania) that will aim to preserve traditions and engage in academic study of the Udis.

"It's not a problem to be an Udi in Armenia; no one forces us to renounce our ethnicity. The main problems that Udis who have emigrated from Azerbaijan face are the same as those facing the Armenian refugees."

Dulgarian wants to get government help for his project but the main element of Udi culture - their language - is now in apparently terminal decline.

"My sons don't speak Udi at all," lamented Alexei Kazarov, who also fled from Vardashen. "Our nation is gradually disappearing. There are only eight or ten thousand Udis left in the whole world."

Tatul Hakopian is a political observer for Public Radio in Armenia.

USAPAC's Ross Vartian Says A Confident Community Is Ready For A Broad Advocacy Agenda In Washington

Ross Vartian is the executive director of USAPAC, the U.S.-Armenia Public Affairs Committee, formed in December in Washington. We spoke to Mr. Vartian on June 28 to find out where the advocacy organization stands six months after it was launched. (USAPAC received its initial funding through a grant from Gerard L. Cafesjian and the Cafesjian Family Foundation, which owns this newspaper.)

Q: USAPAC has been around for six months now. What did you hope to have achieved in the first few months and what have you achieved?

Vartian: Our initial objectives were to create a credible Washington presence; establish working relations with our community's congressional friends, the other members of the Armenian lobby, the Armenian Embassy, the NKR Office, and select Bush Administration officials; encourage greater intra-Armenian cooperation and collaboration in pursuit of our community's advocacy agenda; and add our unique voice to the overall advocacy effort in support of Armenia and Artsakh.

I believe that USAPAC has made good progress on all of these objectives since our launch.

With the generous founding support of philanthropist and political activist Gerard L. Cafesjian, we occupied a suite of offices on K Street near the White House and hired a core staff in Washington. I have the privilege of serving as executive director and Rob Mosher, an experienced Capitol Hill staffer and professional Armenian-American advocate, joined the organization as director of government affairs. John Waters, vice president of the Cafesjian Family Foundation, serves as a founding, volunteer member of the Board.

Once our headquarters presence was set up, Rob and I conducted scores of meetings in Washington to outline the rationale for and overall objectives of USAPAC, and most importantly, to listen to the ideas and concerns of public-policy makers representing the U.S., Armenia, and Karabakh. This initial round of consultations was vital to our organization formulating an advocacy agenda beyond the traditional priorities of aid to Armenia and Artsakh, and of course resolutions on the Armenian Genocide.

* The Armenian lobby team

We also sought from the outset to promote greater intra-Armenian cooperation and collaboration.

USAPAC was pleased to be welcomed as part of the Armenian lobby team in our nation's capital. We were among the institutional planners and supporters of the 92nd-anniversary commemoration of the Armenian Genocide on Capitol Hill under the auspices of the Armenia Caucus co-chairs and the Armenian Embassy. Pan-Armenian solidarity is essential for remembrances of the Armenian Genocide and Independence Days for Armenia and NKR.

Similarly, USAPAC is pleased to be part of a House working group on the Genocide resolution composed of the Armenian Assembly, the Armenian National Committee, ARMENPAC, the offices of Caucus co-chairs Pallone and Knollenberg, and resolution lead sponsors Schiff and Radanovich. Our organization will continue to offer our unique blend of supporters, ideas, tactics, and resources to the collective effort of the community to espouse and defend Armenian interests.

Q: You say you wanted to have an "advocacy agenda beyond the traditional priorities of aid to Armenia and Artsakh, and of course resolutions on the Armenian Genocide." Those have been the priorities of the Armenian lobby. Of course, security concerns are also on the agenda: there was Section 907, which prohibited U.S. military aid to Azerbaijan; now there's the matter of aid parity between Armenia and Azerbaijan. So what else is on your advocacy agenda?

Vartian: It bears repeating that the community's traditional agenda of U.S. reaffirmation of the Armenian Genocide and the annual appropriations process consumes a great deal of the Armenian lobby's human and political capital. Making these advocacy objectives ongoing priorities has resulted in continuing assistance to Armenia's humanitarian, technical, reform, and economic development, as well as to Karabakh's humanitarian needs. Without the focused attention of the Armenian Lobby working together, there would not be 212 House co-sponsors and 31 Senate co-sponsors to pending Armenian Genocide resolutions.

* An expanded agenda

Of course, there have been and will be other issues of concern to our community that require advocacy in Washington. You mentioned Section 907 and maintaining parity in U.S. assistance to Armenia and Azerbaijan. USAPAC has joined the Assembly and the ANCA in urging --thus far successfully -- no further changes to Section 907 and security aid parity. Maintaining these provisions helps keep the delicate peace that Azerbaijan routinely threatens to violate.

In addition, we have joined with the same organizations in seeking to expand U.S/Karabakh relations and in ending genocide in Darfur. Over time and with the ongoing encouragement of Armenia's and Karabakh's representation in Washington, USAPAC hopes to expand the range of issues that the Assembly, ANCA, and our organization work on together. To the extent that we do effectively collaborate, the peoples of Armenia and Karabakh benefit.

USAPAC is working on a range of important issues that include: improving Armenia's energy diversification and independence, increasing U.S.-Armenia trade relations, supporting greater U.S.-Armenia security cooperation, encouraging more U.S. delegations to visit Armenia and Artsakh, confronting Azerbaijan's war mongering and preparation, ending Armenia's regional isolation, and, protection for Armenians at risk throughout the diaspora.

Finally we have been working throughout the first six months to recruit more donors and volunteers. During the next six months, USAPAC will launch our membership and grass roots website and expand recruiting nationally for donors and members. A competent Washington office must be complemented by a national network of supporters.

* A confident community

Q: You've been working to shape policy in Washington on behalf of Armenian-Americans for almost three decades. The community has changed over this time, as have the concerns we take to Washington. And, of course, Washington has changed, as has the Armenian reality with the momentous fact of Armenia's independence. Do you find that Armenian-Americans have become any better at getting our voices heard and getting things done?

Vartian: What a polite way to broach the subject of my near retirement age! It has been almost 30 years since I began representing Armenian-American interests, first with the Assembly, then the Armenian Genocide Museum & Memorial, and now with USAPAC. Happily, our community has grown and matured dramatically during this period. There are exponentially more civic activists working effectively through Armenian and non-Armenian advocacy/political organizations on a far broader array of issues of national and international significance.

Armenian-Americans have overcome the initial intimidation of the political process. We have gained confidence and become actively involved at the local, state, and federal levels. Armenian-Americans are seeking elective public office and civil service careers in unprecedented numbers. On the advocacy front, we have gone from relying on protest to relying on the legitimate place at the public policy table we earned through years of focused political effort. Today, there is no doubt that the Armenian lobby -- thanks to the broad community support earned and enjoyed by the Assembly and the ANCA over the years -- is respected and factored in by decision makers in Washington.

Our relationship with Congress has changed dramatically as well. In the beginning, our contacts were with members of Congress in districts where we were numerous. Today, the Armenian lobby has effective and mutually beneficial working relationships with congressmen and congresswomen from both parties throughout our country -- including congressional districts where Armenians are very few. We are now a national force to be reckoned with.

Obviously, the issues we champion today could not have been anticipated in the early 70s when our community coalesced around the notion that we needed formal and continuous representation in our nation's capital. At that time, none could have foreseen Armenia's earthquake in 1988, the Soviet Union's collapse and Armenia's liberation in 1991, and the historic, ongoing, and successful campaign for Karabakh's self-determination. These three moments continue to drive our advocacy agenda today.

While we are considerably better at advocacy after some three decades of learning on the job, we have more to do in a much more competitive, and in some cases, hostile Washington environment.

It is important to note that during this same period, the strength, number, diversity and sophistication of our adversaries have grown as well, at times dwarfing our advocacy effort. Turkey relies on multimillion dollar hired lobbyists, on an increasingly active Turkish-American community, on longstanding relationships with key, senior American policy makers, and on its advantage of geography. Azerbaijan is following the Turkish model step by step and its temporary advantage of hydrocarbon assets. We can and must do better in the decades ahead to further US/Armenia and US/Karabakh interdependence and support.

Q: What does USAPAC add to the Armenian advocacy table? And you said "USAPAC was pleased to be welcomed as part of the Armenian lobby team in our nation's capital." Can you elaborate?

Vartian: As I have already asserted, there is no question that the Armenian lobby has been effective and that our advocacy challenges and adversaries are such that much more needs to be done. Our motivation in forming USAPAC in the way that we did was to offer something different from, yet compatible with current Armenian-American advocacy organizations with a Washington presence.

USAPAC is a matrix of four linked organizations that together enable us to support or oppose legislation and policies, support or oppose federal candidates, advocate without limitation on issues or interest, and organize grassroots support nationally without limitation.

This combination of organizations -- consisting of the Council on U.S.-Armenia Relations; the U.S.-Armenia Public Affairs Committee; the U.S.-Armenia Political Action Committee; and the Committee on U.S.-Armenia Issues -- is unique in our community. They constitute the optimal institutional combination with the least restrictions on size of contributions and the maximum freedom to participate in every category of lobbying activity, including issues advocacy, political fundraising, and voter education.

* The pro-Israel model

As we explored new ways to respond to the forces arrayed against Armenian-American concerns and objectives, we looked to one of the most effective groups in the U.S. that also faces comparable forces in opposition to its agenda -- the pro-Israel Lobby. This community's advocacy preeminence can be attributed in significant measure to its diversity and sheer numbers of national, regional, and local advocacy organizations that can be relied upon time after time to act with remarkable coordination and effect. Our community has every reason to emulate this successful model of strength in numbers and unity of purpose.

As to how USAPAC has been received in Washington, we are very pleased with, and grateful for, the positive response. Both the Armenian Embassy and the NKR Office welcomed our organization from day one. Congressional Caucus on Armenian Issues co-chairs Pallone and Knollenberg set the tone and standard for USAPAC's seamless integration into the Armenian lobby family. Dozens of congressional offices have similarly accepted USAPAC as a member of our community's advocacy effort. Finally, our organization appreciates the effective pan-Armenian collaboration on select, priority issues made possible by the Assembly and the ANCA. We look forward to eventual Assembly/ANCA/USAPAC cooperation on the community's full advocacy agenda.

Q: An area in which there's an emphatic difference between the Armenian Assembly and the Armenian National Committee is the nomination of a U.S. ambassador to Armenia. USAPAC has spoken against the confirmation of President Bush's nominee, Richard Hoagland. Is the U.S.-Armenia relationship suffering because of the absence of an ambassador for the last 10 months?

Vartian: Inevitably, there are and will be differences of opinion within the Armenian lobby. As you pointed out, the Hoagland nomination is a striking example. USAPAC continues to vigorously oppose his nomination, as does the ANCA. Nevertheless, all three organizations continue to work either together or toward the same objectives on a range of issues including the Armenian Genocide resolutions and appropriations for Armenia and NKR.

It is preferable to have this important post filled at all times. But this was a unique circumstance with the firing of Ambassador Evans for telling the truth about the Armenian Genocide, followed by the Bush Administration not allowing its nominee Ambassador Hoagland to refer to the attempted annihilation of our people as genocide. The pro-Israel lobby would never support a prospective ambassadorial nominee to Israel that did not acknowledge the Holocaust. Neither should we.

Of course the U.S.-Armenia relationship has been impacted, but not as much as had Ambassador Hoagland been confirmed by the Senate and posted to Yerevan. Moreover. However, Armenia's ambassador to the United States Markarian, America's chargé Godfrey, and USAID's director Fickenscher have each stepped up to fill the gap. While the position is vacant, all U.S./Armenia programs have continued without interruption. Nevertheless, we look forward to having an American ambassador serving in Armenia without controversy so that he or she can do the job effectively.

Q: Over the last couple of weeks, the number of members of the House who have signed onto the Armenian Genocide Resolution, H.Res.106 is up to 212. That's just six members short of a majority of members. What can readers do to get six -- or 60 -- more members to sign on? And once that happens, then what?

Vartian: Crossing the 200 House co-sponsor threshold is already an unprecedented achievement for those in Congress leading this campaign -- Adam Schiff (D.-Calif.), George Radanovich (R.-Calif.), Frank Pallone (D.-N.J.), and Joe Knollenberg (R.-Mich.) -- and of course for our community. By the time this article is published, the magic number of 218 -- one over half of the House -- may have been reached. In three decades of trying, this has never been done.

* A call for action
USAPAC urges that our community remain active. Do not stop at 218. Drive the number of co-sponsors as high as possible right up until the day the Armenian Genocide resolution is scheduled for its long-deferred vote and passage by the House of Representatives. Also, make sure to once again thank each member of Congress that has already co-sponsored. Know that political pressure is being brought to bear on them to withdraw their sponsorship.

The next step on the House side is for Speaker Pelosi and Majority Leader Hoyer to agree on a course of action. Both have strongly supported all Armenian Genocide resolutions throughout their distinguished congressional careers. Our many friends in Congress, augmented by Armenian-American activists nationwide, have strengthened their hand to proceed in the face of intense Bush Administration and Turkish opposition.

Q: Thank you, Ross.

connect: http://www.usa-pac.org/

* * *

To find out whether your representative is a co-sponsor, visit http://thomas.loc.gov type "H. Res. 106" in the box for "Bill number" and then click on "Bill Summary and Status."

Editorial: Toward Regional Cooperation

In Europe nations that had been at war with each other intermittently throughout their histories now share a common currency, open borders, and broad cooperation that benefits each of them, even while they retain their sovereignty. The process of community building and integration has been a lengthy and difficult one, with many false starts and much skepticism. Europe is an ongoing project, as European institutions continue to define themselves and to expand.

Such a process is difficult to imagine for the South Caucasus and contiguous regions in which Armenia finds itself. But we believe it is important to imagine such scenarios, to ask whether any of them could benefit the Armenian people, and to contemplate how they might come about.

Armenia once was, of course, part of a union of republics with a common currency, open borders, and broad and mutually beneficial cooperation. But unlike the states of the European Union, the constituent republics of the Soviet Union were not sovereign states. The repressive and non-voluntary nature of the Soviet regime made it unacceptable for our freedom-loving and enterprising people.

A reintegration of former Soviet states in a Russia-dominated union is of little interest to many of those states. Some, to the west of Russia, are well on their way toward integration into Europe. In Armenia's immediate neighborhood, Georgia is most emphatically looking away from Russia, though they do remain neighbors.

Armenia maintains a strong alliance with Russia, but it too is engaged with Europe. A member of the Council of Europe, Armenia is expanding its cooperation with the European Union. It is active in the Organization of Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). It is also working closely with NATO, with which it is implementing an Individual Partnership Action Plan.

Close cooperation with Russia, Europe, the United States, other countries, and multilateral institutions in a complementary rather than mutually exclusive basis is a keystone of Armenia's healthy foreign policy. This policy has helped Armenia maintain its security, protect the legitimate interests of Karabakh, experience rapid economic development, and reform its institutions. It should also help break the blockade imposed by Turkey and Azerbaijan.

The fifteenth anniversary summit this week of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation (BSEC) organization is an occasion to explore an interesting additional option for Armenia: a gradual deepening and reinforcement of cooperation among the states around the Black Sea.

The organization started as a way for Russia and Turkey -- powers on either side of the sea -- to work out their differences. It now encompasses all the littoral states (Bulgaria, Georgia, Romania, Russia, Turkey, and Ukraine) as well as Armenia and Azerbaijan on the east, and Albania, Greece, Moldova, and Serbia to the west.

Russian-Turkish collaboration does raise some red flags for Armenians. In December 1920, when the Armenian republic ceded its independence to Communist Russia, which promised to protect it from the invading Turkish army, Lenin and Atatürk had simultaneously reached a secret agreement under which Russia would cede Kars and Ardahan to Turkey.

In spite of such cautionary tales, however, the BSEC formula, handled skillfully, can present definite advantages to Armenia. Turkey, Georgia, and Azerbaijan continue to undertake a number of joint initiatives that exclude and seek to isolate Armenia. BSEC's broader region of collaboration -- which includes other countries, such as Greece and Russia -- can help bring about outcomes that are advantageous to a greater array of parties, including Armenia. Most importantly, it can hasten the end of Armenia's relative isolation in the region.

BSEC is taking on a higher profile under its current leadership. (The secretary general of the permanent secretariat in Istanbul is Leonidas Chrysanthopoulos, who served as the first ambassador of Greece to Armenia in 1993-94, and is one of his country's top experts on European integration processes.)

The European Union has just joined it as an active observer.

Having served as a forum for smoothing problems among member states (not only Russia and Turkey but also Russia and Georgia) through diplomacy, BSEC has moved to a more practical, project-oriented approach. Its big project of the moment is the Black Sea Ring Highway, which is meant to enhance transportation lines among all 12 member states.

Building a road is a far cry from building a common market. But it is an important step toward establishing the kind of trust and goodwill that neighbors should aspire to. Practical, incremental steps are a good way to gain the skills and confidence to make eventual great strides.

The statement of Foreign Minister Vartan Oskanian of Armenia at BSEC's 15th anniversary summit was appropriately positive. Welcoming the EU's participation in BSEC, he said: "Broadening interaction between BSEC and the EU is a measure of our maturity and one of our significant outputs. As the EU considers the benefits of a Black Sea Dimension for economic, social, environmental, and energy cooperation, and as BSEC works to enhance its interaction with the EU, we around the Black Sea, have much to learn from those around the Mediterranean, Adriatic, Baltic and North seas. Our need for deeper relations is not limited to the structural, technical and institutional expertise in the EU space."

And embracing a vision of a developing Black Sea community, Mr. Oskanian added: "We stand to benefit from the European ability to create a bond between human beings that transcends older boundaries and makes out of these new institutional forms something that really is a community."

It will now be a test of the diplomatic skills, vision, and powers of persuasion of all involved in BSEC to see the ring road developed in way that promotes trade and cooperation among all member states. That will mean, above all, the opening of the Turkish-Armenian border by Turkey.

Success here will raise expectations, confidence, and hopes for greater cooperation, enhanced peace and security, and gradual integration in the region.

reporter.am (c) 2007 CS Media Enterprises LLC

No Solid Proof Advanced For Armenia Genocide
Renato Gaudenzi has written the alleged Armenian genocide [by Turks] has been "proven" (Your Opinion, June 15) but then offers no proof. That is because there is none.

In order to prove genocide, factual evidence for "intent" must be presented, per the 1948 United Nations Convention. The British tried desperately from 1919-21 to come up with such evidence during the Malta Tribunal, and failed. All accused 144 were freed.

Political groups are also disallowed under the Convention. The Armenians traitorously allied themselves with their Ottoman nation's enemies during World War I, acting as "belligerents de facto," Armenian leader Boghos Nubar (Times of London, Jan. 30, 1919).

Gaudenzi irrelevantly presents a figure without a source for 5,000 priests lost until 1938's Stalin regime; Stalin had nothing to do with the Ottomans. The relocation, which Gaudenzi terms as a "pretext," had "all but run its course" by 1916 (Vahakn Dadrian; his synonym for relocation is "genocide"). If the intent was extermination, it is illogical the process would have ended years before World War I's end (1918).

We are also spoon-fed that Armenians were driven out of Turkey and into Syria, yet in 1915-16, it was all one nation: The Ottoman Empire. In addition, the city of Zor is in a region historically known as the "Fertile Crescent," which is not a "desert."

Gaudenzi then presents the death (from "lack of food") of a grandmother's brother as "proof." This is the way most Armenians died, from non-murderous reasons - the same reasons (famine and disease) that claimed most of the 2.7 million other Ottomans who died.

Fact: Life insurance heirs are suing New York Life, not Turkey.

If Gaudenzi wishes to direct his outrage against "injustice," why ignore hundreds of thousands of Turks and Jews that the Armenians systematically murdered (1915-1921) while in control of eastern Turkey (with their Russian allies), in hopes of attaining their "Greater Armenia"? Don't these other victims count as equal human beings in his book?

Truth-seekers are advised to read 2005's non-propagandistic and scholarly "The Armenian Massacres in Ottoman Turkey: A Disputed Genocide," by American Dr. Guenter Lewy.

Ibrahim Kurtulus Dongan Hills

Staten Island Advance (New York) June 24, 2007 Letters

Papoulias Warns Turkey
June 28, 2007
Greek President Karolos Papoulias, who began a three-day official visit to Armenia to hold talks with his Armenian counterpart Robert Kocharian said Turkey should consider that it cannot pursue accession to the European Union with an occupation force amounting to 35,000 in Cyprus during his meeting with President Kocharian, reported the Athens news agency
ANK-Turkish Daily News

Manoyan says Armenia wants a stable Turkey
June 26, 2007
ANK – Turkish Daily News
Kiro Manoyan, director of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (ARF) Bureau's Hay Dat and Political Affairs Office, told a news conference in Yerevan, that Armenia is for a stable Turkey no matter what the outcome will be after the July 22 elections in Turkey, Yerevan-based news reports said yesterday. Manoyan also said that the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) was advantageous in the upcoming elections and demonstrated a better attitude toward minorities.

Turkish, Armenian Foreign Ministers Hold Brief Talks In Attempt To Thaw Relations
26 June 2007
Daily Star
Turkish Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul and his Armenian counterpart Vardan Oskanian held a rare meeting on the troubled ties between the two neighbors here Monday.

The two ministers, whose countries do not have diplomatic relations, met for 20 minutes on the sidelines of a summit of the organization of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation.

Turkey refuses to establish diplomatic relations with Armenia because of Yerevan's campaign to recognize internationally the mass killings of Armenians under the Ottoman Empire during World War I as genocide.

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 territory of Nagorny-Karabakh, dealing a heavy economic blow on the impoverished nation.

Oskanian told Gul that Armenia wanted to improve ties with Turkey and stressed that the reopening of the border would help mend fences, a Turkish diplomat said.

Gul responded that Armenia should work to resolve the Nagorny-Karabakh dispute with Azerbaijan.
"We also expect some gestures from you," the diplomat quoted Gul as saying in reference to a Turkish proposal to set up a joint committee of Turkish and Armenian academics to study the genocide allegations.

Armenians say up to 1.5 million of their kinsmen died in deportations and systematic killings under the Ottoman Empire, the predecessor of modern-day Turkey.

Ankara categorically rejects the label and argues that 300,000 Armenians and at least as many Turks died in civil strife during World War I when the Armenians took up arms for independence in eastern Anatolia and sided with Russian troops invading the crumbling Ottoman Empire.

Turkish and Armenian officials have met several other times on the sidelines of international gatherings.

Armenian Foreign Minister’s Calls On Turkey To Open Borders In Vain
26 June 2007
Armenian Foreign Minister, Vardan Oskanyan, urged after the meeting with his Turkish counterpart, Abdullah Gul, that Turkey should open the borers with Armenia, according to the reports of Turkish media.

In his interview with journalists Oskanyan noted the necessity to begin economic cooperation between the two countries. He voiced his hope that after parliamentary elections in Turkey to be held on 22 July the new Government will review its position regarding the borders.

Turkey closed the borders with Armenia in 1993 as a protest to Armenia’s occupation of some 20% of Azerbaijani territory. There are disagreements between Ankara and Yerevan on the fictitious genocide of Armenian people which according to official Yerevan was committed by Turks in 1915.

Ankara informed of impossibility to open the borders until Armenia vacates the occupied Azerbaijani territories. Turkey proposed to establish joint commission on study of the events of 1915.

According to Oskanyan, Armenia will view establishment of a commission provided that normal diplomatic relations are established between the countries, according to Reuters. Oskanyan criticized Turkey’s proposal on establishment of a commission and said that the proposal was an attempt to prevent parliaments from recognition of the events of 1915 as genocide of Armenians.

Armenia Has No Preconditions To Normalize Ties With Turkey, FM Says
26 June 2007
Armenia's foreign minister said Monday that his country was willing to normalize relations with Turkey without any preconditions.

The foreign minister, Vartan Oskanian, told reporters at a regional economic conference in Istanbul that Armenia wants to have "good neighborly relations and open its borders" with Turkey.

The two countries do not have diplomatic relations because of a historical dispute. Armenia says Turks killed up to 1.5 million Armenians around the time of World War I, toward the end of the Ottoman Empire, in what should be labeled genocide. Turkey says the killings occurred at a time of civil conflict and that the casualty figures are inflated.

"My key message today was that Armenia wants to see that border open," said Oskanian, who held a meeting with his Turkish counterpart, Abdullah Gul.

The Armenian minister said the genocide issue was "deeply rooted in the psyche" of his people, but was not an obstacle to having better relations.

"Genocide recognition, although it's in our political agenda to pursue it, has never been a precondition to normalize the relations," Oskanian said.

Turkey closed its border with Armenia in 1993 during a war between Armenia and Azerbaijan, a Muslim ally of Ankara. The move hurt the economy of tiny, landlocked Armenia.

This year, Turkey lobbied against a proposed U.S. congressional resolution that would recognize the killings of Armenians in the last century as genocide. Some of Turkey's 65,000 Armenian Orthodox Christians say they endure harassment in Turkey, which has an overwhelmingly Muslim population.

Hrant Dink, an ethnic Armenian journalist murdered in Istanbul in January, was apparently targeted by nationalists. He had been an advocate of minority rights and free expression.

Atatürk University Symposium On Turkish-Armenian Relations
26 June 2007
Atatürk University Institute of Principles of Ataturk and History of Turkish Revolution organized a symposium entitled “Second International Symposium on Turkish-Armenian Relations” between 21 and 22 June within the framework of the activities for the 50th anniversary of the establishment of the university. On the first day of the symposium Director of Institute of Armenian Research, Rtd. Amb. Ömer Engin Lütem, delivered his speech on the Armenian question and emphasized that it is not possible to think of a permanent solution of this problem in the short or medium term. He further stipulated that out of nineteen states which recognized the genocide allegations, seventeen states adopted such resolutions within the last fifteen years and this resulted in a foreign perception of Turkey that Turkey has had many unresolved problems. Regarding the future of the Armenian question, Lütem argues that the Turkish scholarly work on Armenian question must be heard by European counterparts and emphasized that Turkey should remain prepared for a difficult period in the future about the resolution of the Armenian question.

Rtd. Amb. Bilal Simsir underlined the Lausanne negotiations and said that the Turkish delegation to Lausanne had been instructed that if the establishment of greater Armenia had been insisted the delegation had the right to quit the negotiations. He also talked about the Armenian terror on Turkish diplomats which had emerged as a result of Armenian negative propaganda. He argued that although not having any majority in the places where they had been living, Armenians had dreamed of a greater Armenian state, and the Turks had only defended themselves to protect territorial integrity of their state.

Rtd. General Edip Baser argued that Armenians are planning to divide Turkey. He said that whether to call it the paranoia of Sevres or national sensitivity, this is a reality. He also underlined that Armenian question is fostered by other states as a tool of pressure.

Prof. Dr. Salim Çöhçe from Inönü University attracted the attention of the audiences to the role of missionaries in the Armenian question and emphasized that these activities are renewed within the framework of Greater Middle Eastern Project.

Other speeches included the ones of Assoc. Prof. Dr. Cihat Göktepe on Turkish population in Armenia and Turkish names of some Armenian settlements throughout history, Prof. Dr. Haci Ali Necefoglu on Armenian diaspora and propaganda activities, Timsal Karabekir on the memoirs of his father, Kazim Karabekir, on the Armenian atrocities.

Oskanyan In Istanbul
Omer Engin LUTEM
26 June 2007
Although Armenia is a member of Black Sea Economic Cooperation Organization (BSEC), Armenian President Robert Koçaryan did not attend the latest summit meeting organized in Istanbul. It was argued in the newspapers that Armenian Foreign Minister Vartan Oskanian, who attended the meeting on behalf of Armenia, said President Kocharian did not attend because of the lack of diplomatic relations between Turkey and Armenia. If there is no official visit in case of lack of diplomatic relations, why did Oskanian come to Istanbul? Wouldn’t lack of diplomatic relations impede the visit of a foreign minister if it impedes the visit of the president? There is no such weird practice in international law or customs. By the way, we should emphasize that president Kocharian had attended in 1999 the summit meeting of Organization of Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) in Istanbul.

The reason of Kocharian’s non-attendance is that such a visit would not be welcomed by both Armenian public opinion and Armenian diaspora. Genocide allegations and closure of the land border have been so much discussed that these issues have created an anti-Turkish atmosphere and Armenian president preferred not to attend to the summit. However, his state has significant problems with Turkey and these issues can only be resolved through meetings. Relying on a wrong assumption that these issues would be resolved as a result of the pressure exerted by US and EU on Turkey, Armenian President avoid high-level correspondence with his Turkish counterparts.

Armenia did not only have problems with Turkey but also with Azerbaijan. As a result of the war between these two countries in the first years of 1990s, 20 percent of Azeri territories including Nagorno Karabagh is still under Armenian occupation. Almost one million Azeris living in these territories had to fled to Azerbaijan. In the Istanbul summit meeting Oskanian tried to justify their occupation of Azeri territories by arguing that Karabagh Armenians had defended themselves. Azeri President Aliyev, on the other hand, replied this argument by articulating that history must not be rewritten. He further underlined Karabagh was occupied by the Armenians and except Armenia all other BSEC members had already recognized territorial integrity of Azerbaijan. He also said that the war is not over yet; therefore there is no concrete winner.

After meeting with Turkish Foreign Minister Abdullah Gül, Oskanyan made a press conference in which he repeated the classical Armenian perceptions. To cut it short, he first focused on the opening of Turkish-Armenian land border and that Armenia is ready for starting diplomatic relations with Turkey without any pre-conditions. However, he also pointed out that Turkey should open the border and to repel Article 301 of Turkish Penal Code in order to accept the formation of a joint commission of independent historians. While he mentioned that Turkish recognition of the ‘Armenian genocide’ was not a precondition, he also stated that there is no change of attitude of Armenia regarding the ‘Armenian genocide’ being an agenda item in Armenia. While he was complaining that there is no change of attitude towards Armenia in Turkey, he did not mention that there is no change of attitude towards Turkey in Armenia. As it can be seen, Armenian policy towards Turkey is full of contradictions.

The basic difference between the attitudes of two sides is that while Armenia demanded Turkey to open borders and to establish diplomatic relations with Armenia without giving up genocide allegations, recognizing territorial integrity of Turkey and ending its occupation in Azerbaijan, Turkey is defending to normalize relations after resolving these issues. Because these two attitudes are irreconcilable right now, it is not realistic to hope for complete normalization of Turkish-Armenian relations not only in the short term, but also in the medium term.

Armenian FM Wishes Better Ties With Turkey At Patriarchate Reception
Anatolia News Agency, Turkey
June 24 2007
ISTANBUL (A.A) -24.06.2007 -Armenian Minister of Foreign Affairs Vartan Oskanian said he wished that the relations between Turkey and Armenia would have reached the desired point and the president would have represented Armenia in the summit of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation (BSEC).

A reception was held at Patriarchate of Armenians in Turkey in honour of Oskanian, who is currently in Istanbul for the summit of BSEC on its 15th anniversary.

Delivering a speech in the reception, Oskanian noted that he was glad to be in Istanbul.

Touching on Hrant Dink, the editor-in-chief of Agos weekly who died in an armed attack in January, Oskanian noted that Dink was an important intellectual for both Turkey and Armenia.

Dashnaks Against Land Concessions To Azerbaijan
By Ruzanna Stepanian
Radio Liberty, Czech Rep.
June 25 2007
The Armenian Revolutionary Federation (Dashnaktsutyun) is against the return of any of the occupied Azerbaijani territories around Nagorno-Karabakh and believes that they should repopulated by Armenians instead, a representative of the governing party said on Monday.

"We are against ceding the liberated territories. We are against giving away any territory," Giro Manoyan, the chief spokesman for Dashnaktsutyun's worldwide ruling Bureau, said of the seven Armenian-occupied districts in Azerbaijan proper.

"The notion that Karabakh must be connected with Armenia through a single corridor is unacceptable to us," he added in a clear reference to international mediators' existing peace plan on Karabakh.

The plan calls for the liberation of at least six of the occupied districts before the holding of a referendum of self-determination in Karabakh. Armenia's leadership has largely accepted this peace formula. Dashnaktsutyun leaders have never publicly rejected this stance or threatened to quit the governing coalition, in which their party is a junior partner.

Manoyan would not specify what the nationalist party will do if the authorities in Yerevan press ahead with the proposed settlement.

Blaming Azerbaijan for the collapse of the latest round of peace talks, he said instead that Yerevan should stop even talking about territorial concessions to Baku.

"Given Azerbaijan's position during the entire negotiating process, we no longer have reason to make such statements, even if they cast us in a positive light," Manoyan told a news conference. "Because if you say the same thing for many times you will eventually start believing it. So it would be good to put an end to those statements and put the emphasis on resettlement [of the Armenian-controlled lands]."

"It is important to instill in the people the notion that repopulated territories can not be given back. That is why the resettlement must start quickly," he said.

Manoyan also made the point that the Karabakh dispute will likely remain unresolved in the foreseeable future and that Armenia should therefore eventually formally recognize Karabakh's secession from Azerbaijan. "If negotiations yield no results in two, three, five or ten years ... it is clear that Armenia should either recognize Karabakh's independence or annex it," he said. "There is no other option."

Reception Held In Honor Of Armenian FM In Istanbul
Turkish Press, MI
June 25 2007
ISTANBUL - Armenian Minister of Foreign Affairs Vartan Oskanian said he wished that the relations between Turkey and Armenia would have reached the desired point and the president would have represented Armenia in the summit of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation (BSEC).

A reception was held at Patriarchate of Armenians in Turkey in honor of Oskanian, who is currently in Istanbul for the summit of BSEC on its 15th anniversary.

Delivering a speech in the reception, Oskanian noted that he was glad to be in Istanbul.

Touching on Hrant Dink, the editor-in-chief of Agos weekly who died in an armed attack in January, Oskanian noted that Dink was an important intellectual for both Turkey and Armenia.

Armenian F.M. Arrives In Istanbul To Attend 15th Anniversary Of Bsec
Turkish Press, MI
June 25 2007
ISTANBUL - Armenian Minister of Foreign Affairs Vartan Oskanian arrived in Istanbul on Sunday to attend the summit of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation (BSEC) on its 15th anniversary.

Heads of state and government of BSEC member countries as well as representatives from observer countries are expected to attend the summit scheduled to start on Monday.

The summit, which will be held under the banner, "Setting Sails for New Horizons," is believed to give BSEC a new direction and momentum under Turkey's rotating chairmanship.

The summit will gather 12 member countries and 13 observer countries in addition to representatives from international organizations such as the United Nations, European Union, Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, OECD, World Bank, World Trade Organization.

The summit will begin at Istanbul's Ciragan Palace and will be chaired by President Ahmet Necdet Sezer.

A final declaration will be released at the end of the summit which is expected to outline political directives that will shape the future of BSEC and constitute a milestone in its history.

Top Armenian, Turkish Diplomats Hold Rare Talks At Summit
Voice of America
June 25 2007
Armenian Foreign Minister Vardan Oskanyan has appealed to Turkey to reopen the border between their countries as an essential first step in healing historical disputes dividing them.

The Armenian minister issued his plea at talks with his Turkish counterpart Abdullah Gul on the sidelines of the Black Sea economic summit in Istanbul.

But Oskanyan said he could not detect any change in Turkey's position.

Bilateral ties have been severely strained by Armenia's claim that its people suffered systematic genocide at the hands of Ottoman Turks during World War I - a contention repeatedly denied by Ankara.

Separately in 1993, Turkey shut its border with Armenia in a show of support for ally Azerbaijan, because of its conflict with Armenia over the territory of Nagorno-Karabakh.

Armenians say up to 1.5 million of their people died in deportations and systematic killings under the Ottoman Empire - the predecessor to modern-day Turkey. Ankara has vehemently denied the accusations and says 300,000 Armenians and at least as many Turks died in civil strife during World War I.

Helping AKP Transform Itself
June 27, 2007
If any other party boasted what AKP has achieved in the last five years, with its goods and bads, it would probably win nearly half of the national vote. Are the Turks masochists? Do they have a special fetish for economic crises and poverty? What might be the reason if AKP should be the most successful Turkish government with the least voter support in history? What could possibly explain the disproportion?


Well, the polite jargon belongs to an American Armenian. “We are not fighting Turkey or the Turks,” the Armenian told a colleague, referring to the efforts by the Diaspora for U.S. (and worldwide) recognition of genocide claims. “We are only trying to help Turkey reconcile with its past.”

One may of course have the liberty of laughing at the skillfully crafted wording, or to agree with it. But the term looks conveniently applicable to the Islamist-secularist conflict in Ankara. Could it be that the state establishment is not fighting the Justice and Development Party (AKP), but is trying to help it transform itself center-wards – and to everyone's benefit?

Whether one likes AKP's governance or not one should admit that Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his men have not done well but very well in economic management although part of the success story should be attributed to the preceding government's recovery program and to positive externalities.

The AKP also deserves a fair praise for economic stability, city management and some of the reforms that have made Turkey a better place to live in. To be fair, we cannot claim that Mr. Erdogan's government is the most corrupt of all the Turkish governments although partisanism, nepotism and small-scale corruption (mostly at municipal levels) are too visible – but only as visible as they were under most of the previous governments.

Why do millions protest when everything is – almost – rosy?

Theoretically, Turks have good reasons to have faith in Mr. Erdogan's government. Hence the combined facts that (i) AKP has been the name of Turkey's most stable government since Turgut Özal's ANAP, and (ii) it will probably be the party with largest ever popular support after a term of nearly five years. We can safely predict AKP votes on July 22 at around one-third of the (valid) electorate, plus and minus a few percentage points. Thirty percent and 40 percent should be surprising, but 32 percent and 38 percent should not.

All that is fine. However there is something wrong with the situation: Why would the other two-thirds oppose AKP when everything is –almost – rosy. If any other party boasted what AKP has done in the last five years, with its goods and bads, it would probably win nearly half of the national vote.

Are the Turks masochists? Do they have a special fetish for economic crises and poverty? What might be the reason if AKP should be the most successful Turkish government with the least voter support in history? What could possibly explain the disproportion?

We can multiply these questions. Why should millions of better off Turks take to the streets and protest AKP when everything is –almost—rosy? Are they too blind ideologically? Are they brain-washed? Can all of the tens of millions of anti-AKP Turks be ideological fanatics just like football fanatics are fanatics? Why do tens of millions of Turks suspect, after five years, that AKP might have a secret (Islamist) agenda, that it is a collaborator of foreign powers? Why would the taxi driver, otherwise a devout AKP supporter, tell me in anger: “I confess, sir, the party I voted for (in 2002) is now the biggest obstacle impeding our fight against the PKK?”

Why, really, would AKP get a mere 30 percent plus on July 22 instead of a well-deserved 50 percent plus ceteris paribus? Can the discrepancy be fully/rationally/convincingly explained by the work of the propaganda arm of the ‘state establishment?' Possibly not.

Presidential election will be the litmus test

Mr. Erdogan's real mentors are in fact his adversaries in Ankara. They have been trying to “show him the way;” the way in which he could get a fairer share of the vote, the way he could more easily achieve his political ambitions, but not the ideological ones. Can he ‘absorb' the lesson, putting his ideological obsessions into the political wasteland forever? Probably he cannot.

True, Mr. Erdogan has changed his party's “election window display” in favor of the ‘center.' True, Mr Erdogan's new election manifesto does not pledge to resolve the ‘turban dispute.' True, also, Bülent Arinç, parliament speaker, and his fraction within the AKP will probably be less visible after July 22. But the real litmus test will be whether Mr. Erdogan will insist on having a “religious president” like Abdullah Gül. Will he, in his next term, stick to the power struggle around the political symbol that is the Islamic turban? Will he try to run Turkey from an Islamic perspective?

Will Mr. Erdogan talk about the Ulema (Islamic scholars) when commenting on a court verdict? Will his municipalities try to impose oblique alcohol bans? Will his parliamentary majority attempt to criminalize adultery? Will Turkey's biggest city refuse bikini ads at its squares, citing respect for “national and moral values?”

Will Mr. Erdogan discriminate in favor of imams when selecting bureaucrats? Will he, for example, choose criminals, crooks who are devout Muslims as top figures in state bureaucracy? Will he further clash with the institutions he perceives as threats to the advancement of his political agenda i.e. military, higher education and the judiciary?

In short, will Mr. Erdogan, supposing his party wins another term (either single-party or a coalition), choose to dig out his tomahawk and fight his ideological opponents, or will he reconcile? Difficult to answer.

Should he choose to fight, there will be no winners but one loser: the country he says he loves. Unfortunately, his adversaries cannot be expected to reconcile ‘any further.' Too bad, an all-out war is their ‘raison d'etre.' So it's up to Mr.Erdogan to choose between being helped in transforming or being faced with a long battle full of mutual ambushes. This one is certainly not going to be a duel.

An Area Of Frozen Conflicts
June 27, 2007
ISTANBUL - Turkish Daily News

The 15th anniversary summit of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation (BSEC) held in Istanbul on Monday reflected the balance of power among the states.

The Black Sea countries voiced their political agendas through speeches by their leaders. Although the member countries called to deepen cooperation in the conclusion statement, the joint declaration issued at the end of the summit also acknowledged that political problems between member states were hindering economic cooperation in the region.

"Political conflicts constitute an important hurdle in the way of economic cooperation and development," Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said at a lunch he hosted at the summit.

Romania was named as the naughty child of the BSEC summit since it insisted on referring to the Black Sea forum. “Romania wants to be a regional power,” said a Turkish diplomat talking to the Turkish Daily News. A Russian diplomat confirmed this definition, adding that the United States backs Romania.

Romania carried a banner last year and called for an alternative forum to the BSEC, named Black Sea Forum, by excluding the non-coastal states.

Another area sparking a battle of words was the Caucasus. While Armenian Foreign Minister Vartan Oskanian asked Turkey to open its border and start normalization of relations, Azeribaijan's President Haydar Aliyev called on Yerevan to end the occupation.

Armenia and Azerbaijan are at odds over the territory of Nagorno-Karabakh since the 1990s. Turkey, reacting to the Armenian invasion closed its border with Armenia in 1993 and has no diplomatic ties with Yerevan.

The leaders of Serbia and Albania, both members of the BSEC though they do not border the Black Sea, sparred over Kosovo during Monday's meeting. Serbian President Boris Tadic drew attention to the Kosovo problem in his speech and during his bilateral contacts. When Tadic met with President Ahmet Necdet Sezer, he argued that the independence of Kosovo will be a terrible example for the Black sea region since there are other similar conflicts and they may call for independence. Sezer said, “This is irreversible,” adding that Serbia should be ready to face an independent Kosovo.

Albanian Prime Minister Sali Berisha in reply said that the events in 1999 were much worse than those in World War II.

Kosovo has been run under United Nations mandate since mid-1999. Kosovo is seeking independence from Belgrade. The regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia are two other regions around the Black Sea that have broken away from Georgia.

Izmirlian Foundation Helps With Creation Of 4-5 Thousand Jobs In Armenia
Noyan Tapan
Jun 26 2007
YEREVAN, Since 1999, 4-5 thousand jobs have been created under the programs implemented by the Izmirlian Foundation in Armenia, which was announced at the June 26 press conference with the participation of the Deputy Chairman of the Izmirlian Foundation Jacques Sarkisian, the Chairman of Araratbank's board Ashot Osipian and member of the Central Bank of Armenia (CBA) board Artur Javadian.

In the words of A. Javadian, about a billion drams (about 2.9 million dollars by the market exchange rate as of June 26) has been invested by the program on crediting of small and medium enterprises implemented by the Izmirlian Foundation and the Eurasia Founadtion (financed by the USAID). The Izmirlian Foundation has also implemented several crediting programs jointly with the Balck Sea Trade and Development Bank.

J. Sarkisian reminded that the Izmirlian Foundation was created in 1994 with the aim of assisting Armenia. It has financed the construction of three buildings of Yerevan Military Institute after Vazgen Sargsian, the repairs of the library of Yerevan State University and the school of the Chldran village in the NKR, the reconstruction of a number of architectural monuments in Meghri. The Izmirlian Foundation jointly with the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin and the Eglob organization is implementing a program on financing farms with low incomes in Etchmiadzin region.

Kars-Akhalkalaki Rail Project Will Be Accomplished Even Without Us Support, Azeri Political Scientist Says
The project of construction of the Kars-Tbilisi-Baku-Akhalkalaki railway will be accomplished even without US support. Georgia, Turkey and Azerbaijan possess enough means to accomplish the project, political scientist Haledin Ibrahimli told "Novosti Azerbaijan," commenting on the US Congress Subcommittee decision to block the financing of the rail project "I expected that the events would develop this way, since initially, when the project was announced, US spoke against it, but it will change nothing," Ibrahimli said. In his opinion, this decision of the Congress is the continuation of the balanced US policy.

"The US is aspiring to hold its positions both in Azerbaijan and Armenia, thus trying to bring the latter out of the field of Russian influence, which has not yielded any fruit yet," the Azeri political scientist added.

The Insurance Settlement Of The Heirs Of 1915 Armenian Victims Continues
By Melanya Badalian
AZG Armenian Daily
Armenian-American attorneys Vardgez Eghiayan, Mark Geragos and Brian Kabatech, filed a suit against New York Life Insurance Co. in 1999. The long-running suit was settled for $20 million - a compensation for the descendants of Armenian victims in 1915.

Now they carry negotiations with French "Axa" company, which agreed to compensate $17, 5 million to the heirs of the Armenian victims of the 1915 massacres. $3 million of it will be given to the Armenian organizations in France.

"Axa" beneficiaries can check their names in www.armenianinsurancesettlement.com website list until October, 2007.

On May the Armenian-American attorneys will visit Berlin to meet the representatives of "Deutsche bank", who don't agree with them on this issue.

According to French newspaper "Yaraj", the reason is in one-century silence of Germany on the 1915 Genocide, its fault for it and also the pressure that Turkey applies.

According to the newspaper this time the pressure is bigger than in the case of New York Life Insurance Co.

An appeal was filed against another German bank "Drezdner", which is considered as an appropriator of the sums of Armenian depositors. The Armenians deposited different valuable things in the cashboxes of the bank. Thousands of Armenians, who worked on the construction of Berlin-Baghdad railway, made payments before they were driven away to Der Zor Desert or just murdered there.

"Deutsche bank" was the general investor and tax-farmer of the construction of Berlin-Baghdad railway.

The evasion of "Deutsche bank" makes the attorneys to schedule meetings with the officials of the Ministry of Finance of Germany.

"Yaraj" informs that there is no limitation of time on the persecution of bank accounts, but the last date for the kept property in the cashboxes is 2016.

The American attorneys said that "Deutsche bank" is not the last organization in their mission; they are going to pursue this issue against 20 other organizations.

Gül Tells Armenia To Solve Its Problems With Azerbaijan
Foreign Minister Abdullah Gül said Armenia should work to resolve its territorial disputes with neighboring Azerbaijan, suggesting that this would help the landlocked country to resolve its problems with Turkey, too.

Gül (R) and Oskanian had rare talks yesterday in Istanbul.

Gül made the suggestion at a rare meeting with Vartan Oskanian, the Armenian foreign minister, on the sidelines of a meeting of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation (BSEC) in Istanbul. Neighbors Turkey and Armenia have no formal ties due to disputes over Yerevan’s support for Armenian diaspora efforts worldwide to win international recognition for an alleged genocide of Armenians at the hands of the Ottoman Empire as well as due to the continuing occupation of Nagorno-Karabakh, an Armenian enclave within Azerbaijan, by Armenian forces. Turkey also refuses to open its border gate with Armenia, closed following Armenian occupation of Nagorno-Karabakh in the past decade, unless there is an improvement in Armenia’s stance.

Oskanian said at the closed-door meeting with Gül that Armenia wanted to improve ties with Turkey and stressed that the reopening of the border would help mend fences, a Turkish diplomat close to the talks said. Gül, however, responded that Armenia should work to resolve the Nagorno-Karabakh dispute.

“We also expect some gestures from you,” the diplomat quoted Gül as saying, in reference to a Turkish proposal to set up a joint committee of Turkish and Armenian academics to study the genocide allegations. At a press conference following his talks with Gül, Oskanian expressed disappointment at the lack of progress.

He said unlike leaders of the rest of other member countries of BSEC, Armenian President Robert Kocharian declined to come to Istanbul to attend the 12-nation organization’s 15th anniversary summit because there were no diplomatic relations between Turkey and Armenia.

He noted that Kocharian had come to Turkey when he first came to power in 1998, to attend a meeting of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) because he then had high hopes for peace and progress. “Unfortunately there has been no change since then,” he told the conference.

Oskanian reiterated that Armenia had no precondition for improvement of relations with Turkey but complained that Turkey had clear conditions to take any step in this direction. The Armenian foreign minister criticized Turkish conditions to open the border gate and claimed that they were not “justifiable.”

Armenians claim up to 1.5 million of their kinsmen died in a systematic genocide campaign during World War I, but Ankara categorically rejects the label, saying that both Armenians and Turks died in civil strife during World War I when the Armenians took up arms for independence in eastern Anatolia and sided with Russian troops invading the crumbling Ottoman Empire.


Armenia Wants Stable Turkey Irrespective Of Parliamentary
25 June 2007
“If the Turkish General Staff allows holding a fair parliamentary election, Erdogan’s Justice and Development Party (AKP) will win,” Kiro Manoyan, director of the ARF Bureau’s Hay Dat and Political Affairs Office, told a news conference in Yerevan.

“Armenia wants a stable Turkey, irrespective of the outcomes, let the winners be Islamists or Kemalists. Proceeding from national interests, the AKP demonstrates a better attitude towards national minorities. The incumbent government has chosen the way of European integration. Although, I have to repeat, everything depends on the military,” Mr Manoyan underscored.

Turks Are Turks
June 25, 2007
'Biz bize benzeriz,' Atatürk used to say. 'We are like ourselves.'

It is a mistake, I believe, to say Turkey is European, or Asian, or Middle Eastern.

Its geography includes all of these. But its culture can only be called Turkish.

The political system is like that of Western Europe, the military and police seem more Eastern European, and the main religion is from the Middle East.

The language is from Central Asia but is now written with the Roman alphabet. The food is a combination of Central Asia and the Mediterranean.

The people and their culture are a mix of all the above places. Anatolia seems close to Asia. Istanbul and the Aegean coast seem closer to the Balkan countries and Greece.

I have read that the Ottomans always wanted more people in their empire. Race was not important, and as early as the time of Fatih Mehmet the Turks were a minority in their own empire.

The result is a culture that can only be called Turkish.

Perhaps the most unusual part of this is the language. It is the main connection with the origins of the Turks who first came here.

It is a close relative of other languages in Central Asia, and a more distant relative of East Asian languages such as Mongolian, Korean and Japanese.

Some experts say there is a connection between the Turks and Native Americans. DNA testing has supported this idea.

The popular theory is that Native Americans came from East Asia toward the end of the last Ice Age, when much lower sea levels created a land bridge between Siberia and Alaska.

Hugh Pope, a journalist in Istanbul, writes in his book 'Sons of the Conquerors' that a Turkish friend of his in the U.S. has found 500 Turkic words in the Navaho Indian and 500 more in the Mexican Maya language.

The Turks of Central Asia could even be more closely related to some Native American peoples than they are to the majority of people in Turkey.

It is very interesting that the Turkish language survived the journey across Asia when many other things changed.

It also survived the rise and fall of an empire that in the time of Kanuni Suleyman was the biggest in the world, ruling much of the Middle East, North Africa and South East Europe.

Turkey is a bridge in many ways. But it is also home to a unique, fascinating and important culture that has given a lot to the world around it, and which can only be described as Turkish.

*** Quentin Poulsen is a former journalist from New Zealand who has been teaching English and traveling for eight years.

Top Armenian, Turkish Diplomats Hold Rare Talks at Summit
By VOA News
25 June 2007
Vardan Oskanyan speaks during press conference in Istanbul, 25 Jun 2007

Armenian Foreign Minister Vardan Oskanyan has appealed to Turkey to reopen the border between their countries as an essential first step in healing historical disputes dividing them.

The Armenian minister issued his plea at talks with his Turkish counterpart Abdullah Gul on the sidelines of the Black Sea economic summit in Istanbul.

But Oskanyan said he could not detect any change in Turkey's position.

Bilateral ties have been severely strained by Armenia's claim that its people suffered systematic genocide at the hands of Ottoman Turks during World War I - a contention repeatedly denied by Ankara.

Separately in 1993, Turkey shut its border with Armenia in a show of support for ally Azerbaijan, because of its conflict with Armenia over the territory of Nagorno-Karabakh.

Armenians say up to 1.5 million of their people died in deportations and systematic killings under the Ottoman Empire - the predecessor to modern-day Turkey. Ankara has vehemently denied the accusations and says 300,000 Armenians and at least as many Turks died in civil strife during World War I.

Reception Held In Honor Of Armenian FM In Istanbul
ISTANBUL - Armenian Minister of Foreign Affairs Vartan Oskanian said he wished that the relations between Turkey and Armenia would have reached the desired point and the president would have represented Armenia in the summit of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation (BSEC).

A reception was held at Patriarchate of Armenians in Turkey in honor of Oskanian, who is currently in Istanbul for the summit of BSEC on its 15th anniversary.

Delivering a speech in the reception, Oskanian noted that he was glad to be in Istanbul.

Touching on Hrant Dink, the editor-in-chief of Agos weekly who died in an armed attack in January, Oskanian noted that Dink was an important intellectual for both Turkey and Armenia.

Hudson Reflections And Journalism

LALE SARIIBRAHIMOGLU loglu@todayszaman.com
The Turkish military’s rather harsh response to the leakage of information from the recently held Hudson Institute “scenario-based” meeting in Washington should teach us -- i.e., journalists -- that none of us are immune from measures, sometimes even punitive actions, from some sectors of the Turkish state.
As readers may remember, a closed-door Hudson meeting, also attended by senior Turkish generals, involved discussions of scenarios such as events that might trigger a Turkish military invasion of northern Iraq, as well as a possible assassination attempt on former head of the Constitutional Court Tülay Tugcu. Several days after excerpts of this meeting were released in the Turkish dailies the Turkish General Staff released a terse statement.

One alleged statement from a participant (or participants) at the meeting hinted that a possible US move to extradite senior Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) leaders to Turkey had been discouraged, since it would play into the hands of Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) before the July 22 general elections. This quotation is critical in that it represents the distaste of the powerful military for the AK Party, re-emphasizing sentiments portrayed with the memorandum released on April 27 in order to deter the election of Foreign Minister Abdullah Gül as president, seen as a threat to the country’s secular character.

At the center of the Hudson controversy has been Milliyet’s Washington correspondent Yasemin Çongar. This is because she has been the only Turkish journalist based in Washington to cover in-depth some excerpts of the Hudson meeting scenarios -- unearthing once again the obvious divisions between the military-led secular elite and the AK Party.

The General Staff’s statement reacted sharply to Yasemin Çongar’s news coverage of the Hudson meeting, but without naming her. Included were accusations toward Çongar in an attempt to discredit her, rather than attempting to deny the allegations, supported by evidence, of what was discussed during the meeting.

At this point I am not going to discuss think tank meetings and what the norms are for Turkish authorities, including military officials, when present at such meetings, particularly when such scenarios are being played. Rather my focus will be the shortcomings in Turkish journalism during the coverage of events, which unfortunately plays a negative role in portraying the true face of Turkey.

Hürriyet Editor in Chief Ertugrul Özkök, for example, covered the Hudson-related controversy in his column on June 22 with a headline saying, “Difficulties of being a journalist.”

In his column Özkök recalls a scoop run by now-closed political weekly Nokta magazine which unearthed a draft Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) memorandum classifying the local media as “pro-military” and “anti-military.” For those so-called “anti-military” journalists, said Nokta, measures by the TSK included discrediting them in the eyes of the public and not allowing them to enter military headquarters. It is also worth noting that the TSK acknowledged the existence of this memo.

With such an embarrassing memo a case could be made at the relevant courts in most democracies -- but the majority of journalists, including those portrayed as “anti-military,” remained indifferent.

Ironically Çongar was listed among the pro-military media members in the TSK memo that Özkök discussed in his column. Özkök went on to say that not only the leading institutions of the country, but also some segments of the readers, expect an “oath of allegiance” from journalists. In other words, he says, a policy of “either you are on my side or you aren’t” it is expected from journalists.

I will call this phenomenon the “total surrender” attitude. This expectation of total surrender by journalists is not a new phenomenon in Turkey, though it is becoming increasingly paradoxical in a country seeking to enter into the European Union, an organization that sets forth democratic values as a primary objective despite some shortcomings within itself.

This total surrender psychology among many journalists in Turkey has prevented them from covering events in a realistic and true manner. This has been one of the main factors in why the Turkish public in general has long heard the most realistic accounts of Turkey from foreign correspondents, not the local media.

The only solution for overcoming this total surrender atmosphere is for journalists to be united against all sorts of pressures, both from the establishment and political parties, though the former can be very harsh. In this way an attempt can be made to regain the respect of the Turkish public, the majority of which is ready to read reality rather than state-inspired, self-censored stories.

Hopes High, Disputes Still Deep At BSEC
Leaders of 12 Black Sea nations gathered in Istanbul at a high-profile summit yesterday to discuss “new horizons” for better trade ties and deeper economic cooperation, but there was no major breakthrough among member states on issues of deep-running territorial and energy disputes.

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, second left, talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin, second right, Greek Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis, right, and President Ilham Aliev of Azerbaijan, left, before the Black Sea summit at the Ottoman-era Çiragan Palace in Istanbul on Monday.

“We are resolved to further consolidate the BSEC’s role as an active and reliable partner in regional and international affairs. We are ready to meet the challenges ahead,” a statement released after the Organization of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation (BSEC) summit at Istanbul’s Ottoman-era Çiragan Palace read. The statement also said the BSEC leaders “reaffirm our willingness to deepen our cooperation in the area of energy with due regard to interests of energy producing, consuming and transit countries.”

In his address to the BSEC leaders at a luncheon, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan also called on the regional countries to work to produce solutions to the Black Sea regional disputes via regional mechanisms. Erdogan said regional conflicts constitute a major obstacle for development and cooperation in the region and called for collective will to overcome them.

But Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, attending the BSEC’s 15th anniversary summit along with President Vladimir Putin, made clear Russia opposed the idea of using the BSEC to broker solutions to the region’s bitter political disputes. “Any attempts to politicize its work are counterproductive. The conflicts should be solved in formats that have been approved by the United Nations,” Lavrov said.

The BSEC was created 15 years ago as part of a Turkish initiative to foster cooperation among the Black Sea nations following the dissolution of the Soviet Union. The organization is now up to the challenge to promote stability and economic ties between nations that belonged to opposite camps during the Cold War years and that now have conflicting interests on a number of issues. Erdogan and Foreign Minister Abdullah Gül addressed BSEC foreign ministers earlier in the day, expressed hope that regional disputes could be resolved through regional means and said this would help the region to discover its true potential. Gül proposed informal talks on the sidelines of formal foreign ministerial meetings of the BSEC as a way to tackle regional problems.

A simmering energy competition between Turkey and Russia was a key item in talks Erdogan and President Ahmet Necdet Sezer had separately with Putin. The two influential actors within the BSEC, Turkey and Russia, are at odds after Putin recently signed major energy deals with Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan, convincing them to opt for Russia in sending their gas and oil reserves to outside world at the expense of other projects that give Turkey a transit role.

In addition, Russia’s Gazprom and Italian oil firm Eni unveiled a plan for a major new pipeline to take Russian gas under the Black Sea to Europe, again undermining an earlier plan to extend a Turkish route. The 900-kilometer “South Stream” pipeline would come ashore in Bulgaria and then branch off to Austria and Slovenia in one spur and to southern Italy in another.

Prime Ministry sources, speaking after a 45-minute meeting between Erdogan and Putin, said the two countries agreed to improve relations on all issues, including energy, and to maintain close cooperation on regional issues, without elaborating. Energy Minister Hilmi Güler also attended the talks, while Putin and Erdogan had 15-minute tête-à-tête talks.

Russia’s recent steps to expand energy pipelines are part of Russia’s efforts to prevent creation of rival routes that would bypass Russia. “All projects, small and big, should be economically viable; otherwise, they will be just idle talk bringing disappointment,” Putin said, in apparent reference to the rival projects.

Other members of the BSEC made their deep disputes public during the 15th anniversary talks. Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev complained that 20 percent of Azeri territory was under Armenian occupation, referring to Nagorno-Karabakh enclave occupied by Armenian troops in the past decade. Armenian Foreign Minister Vartan Oskanian, for his part, defended the occupation.

The leaders of Serbia and Albania -- both members of the BSEC though they are not on the Black Sea -- also sparred at Monday’s meeting over Kosovo, the mainly ethnic Albanian province that is seeking independence from Belgrade.

Cooperation with international partners

Yesterday’s BSEC summit also ended with a call to improve cooperation with international partners, particularly with the EU. “As we move to a new period of expanding relations between the BSEC and the EU, we confirm the importance of establishing a strategic relationship between the two organizations,” said the summit’s final statement. “That interaction could be an integral part of efforts toward creating a more prosperous and secure Europe without dividing lines.”

BSEC comprises the Black Sea littoral states -- Bulgaria, Georgia, Romania, Russia, Turkey and Ukraine -- as well as Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Greece, Moldova and Serbia. Armenia, which has no diplomatic ties with Turkey, was the only country to be represented by a foreign minister. All other nations sent presidents or prime ministers.

Turkey, which currently chairs the BSEC, wants to give a new impetus to the organization. It wants to see greater efforts in transport, energy, trade, environmental protection and combating organized crime. One major objective on the BSEC agenda is upgrading transport infrastructure, including a projected 7,500-kilometer ring road along the Black Sea coast and regular maritime links between member states. Removing legal barriers to trade is another priority, with a special meeting on the issue scheduled for September.

Both President Ahmet Necdet Sezer, the host of the summit, and Prime Minister Erdogan had a number of bilateral meetings with attending leaders, but there was no direct contact between the two. Sezer hosted a dinner for the guests, while Prime Minister Erdogan separately hosted a lunch. Sezer declined to attend the lunch and Erdogan did not show up at Sezer’s dinner.


Georgia Parliament Gives Tentative Backing To Repatriation Of Meskhetian Turks
June 25, 2007
TBILISI-GEORGIA-Associated Press
Georgian lawmakers gave preliminary backing Friday to legislation authorizing the repatriation of a long-persecuted largely Muslim minority who were deported en masse to Central Asia in the 1940s.

Parliament voted 134-14 to pass the bill, introduced by President Mikhail Saakashvili's ruling party, which would mainly benefit the Meskhetian Turks, although it also gives legal authorization for the repatriation of others "forcibly deported by authorities of the USSR from Georgia."

Stalin deported the Meskhetian Turks from regions along Georgia's border with Turkey to Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan during World War II. In 1989, racial violence broke out in Uzbekistan, with the Meskhetian Turks and other deported ethnic groups targeted as outsiders. Many members of the minority fled.

Georgian authorities delayed allowing the Meskhetian Turks to return, fearing, among other things, violence with ethnic Armenians who moved into the lands vacated when the largely Muslim group was deported.

Some 20,000 Meskhetian Turks have lived for years in legal limbo in southern Russia, unable to get official residence permits or to rent land ? the result of strict anti-immigrant regulations. Thousands were given refugee status in the United States in 2004 and resettled there.

As a condition of joining the Council of Europe in 1999, Georgia agreed to guarantee the return by 2011 of the Meskhetian Turks, an estimated 300,000 of which are scattered in several former Soviet republics. About 40,000 are believed to be actively seeking to return to their ancestral homelands.

The Georgian bill, which must go through two more readings, provides no financial assistance for resettlement and no guarantee other than those applying for repatriation will be allowed to return. Those returning must also give up any other citizenship they have, take tests on Georgian language, history and laws.

Saakashvili supports the measure. However, among Georgians, who are mainly Christian, there is still deep suspicion of the Meskhetian Turks.

Opposition lawmakers voting against the measure complained that more should be done to help ethnic Georgian refugees driven out of their homes in the breakaway regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia during wars in the 1990s.

Turkey Hosts Black Sea Summit For "New Horizon"
The New Anatolian / Ankara
25 June 2007
Turkey is set to host a summit of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation (BSEC) today with the participation of heads of state and foreign ministers from member countries.

The summit, which will be held under the banner, "Setting Sails for New Horizons," is expected to give BSEC a new direction and momentum under Turkey's rotating chairmanship and celebrate the organization's 15th anniversary.
The summit will gather 12 member countries and 13 observer countries in addition to representatives from international organizations such as the United Nations, European Union (EU), Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, World Bank, the World Trade Organization.

The members of the group are the six Black Sea littoral states -- Bulgaria, Georgia, Romania, Russia, Turkey and Ukraine -- as well as Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Greece, Moldova and Serbia.

Host country Turkey, which currently chairs the group, says it wants to give a new momentum to the organization and is calling for increased efforts in the areas of transport, energy, trade, environmental protection and combating organized crime.

One of the major objectives on the BSEC agenda is upgrading transport infrastructure as a means of boosting trade and tourism, including projects for a 7,500-kilometer (4,660-mile) ring road along the Black Sea coast and regular maritime links between the ports of member states.

Removing legal barriers to trade is another priority, with a special meeting on the issue scheduled for September.
The group is also seeking to develop closer cooperation with the European Union, and the vice president of the European Commission, Guenter Verheugen, is expected to attend the summit in Istanbul.

The BSEC covers an area of nearly 20 million square kilometers (7.7 million square miles) with a population of some 350 million people. Its member states have a total foreign trade capacity of about 300 billion dollars (223.5 billion Euros) annually.

The region is the second-largest source of oil and natural gas, after the Persian Gulf region.
All member countries except Armenia are expected to be represented by their presidents or prime ministers in Istanbul, Turkish officials said.

Armenia, which has no diplomatic ties with Turkey, will be represented by Foreign Minister Vardan Oskanian.
The foreign ministers of member states will hold separate round of talks this morning ahead of the summit meeting
Turkish sources told The New Anatolian that Turkish Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul would hold bilateral meetings with counterparts on the sidelines of the summit, without ruling out the possibility of him meeting also with Oskanian.

Turkish and Armenian officials have held talks in the sidelines of international gatherings in the past.
Turkey refuses to establish diplomatic relations with Armenia, its eastern neighbor, because of Yerevan's campaign for the international recognition of the alleged mass killings of Armenians under the Ottoman Empire in the early 20th century as genocide.

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 Nogorno-Karabakh, dealing a heavy economic blow on the impoverished nation.
The summit will begin at Istanbul's Ciragan Palace and will be chaired by Turkish President Ahmet Necdet Sezer.
The final declaration will be released at the end of the summit which is expected to outline political directives that will shape the future of BSEC and constitute a milestone in its history.

Sarkozy's 'Testimony' in English
By K.M.
WATERTOWN, Mass. (A.W.)-Available now to readers in the U.S. is French President Nicolas Sarkozy's book Testimony: France in the Twenty-first Century (Pantheon Books, 2007). In the preface of the English edition, translated by Philip H. Gordon, Sarkozy says, "This book presents my analysis of the difficulties France faces. It outlines my proposals for putting France back on the path toward economic growth, social justice and modernity. And it addresses many of the common domestic, international, economic and social challenges that advanced democracies like France and the United States must confront."

Also in the preface, Sarkozy deals with the commonalities and differences between the U.S. and France. After talking about the "unbreakable historical links" and about how today "the United States and France again stand together in the same camp against a serious threat to global freedom [terrorism]," and discussing how in some areas the U.S. has succeeded "while France remains shackled by enduring prejudices," Sarkozy says, "I know my country well enough to know that certain aspects of American society would never suit France."In this context, he mentions the importance France attributes to providing a social safety net for the poor and to gun control, and also expresses his admiration at the way the French people are interested in global affairs, while in the U.S. only specialists express such interest.

Turkey and Armenia
In Chapter 4, titled "Doing Things Differently," Sarkozy alludes to the issues of Turkey's accession to the EU and the Armenian genocide. "The prospect of Turkey entering the European Union is.nonsensical in my view. I understand the strategic hopes that underpin this idea. They could be achieved with the conclusion of a strategic partnership with Turkey," he says.

According to Sarkozy, "Europe seems incapable of escaping from the promise it made in 1963 in an entirely different geopolitical context. But the more time that passes, the harder it will be to tell the Turks that they cannot enter the EU. And yet this is a likely scenario, since the French Constitution now requires that Turkish accession be put to a referendum in France."

"I also feel strongly that we should have the courage to insist that Turkey fulfills its historical duty toward Armenia," he adds.

(c) 2007 Armenian Weekly On-Line

Back To Basics, With Photographs That "Get You In The Gut"
by Talin Suciyan
ISTANBUL-"All the pictures in 'Coast' are taken near the thin and long line that separates sea and land. . . . But 'Coast' is not about the seashore. It is about love, affection, death, moments, things that change every moment, and thing that don't; it is about the coast between heaviness and the lightness of being."

These words belong to Silva Bingaz. She was born in Malatya in 1967 to an Armenian family. Bingaz started photography as an amateur in 1998. Her first work was a slide show titled, "Where if not at home?" in 2001. This work led her to another story, the story of an Iraqi refugee woman, Beyan, on which Bingaz worked for three years. Since 2002 she has been working on a long-term project called "Coast." She first started taking pictures in Yesilköy (a district of Istanbul, where she lives), Burgaz (one of the Princes' Islands), Gökçeada (one of the two islands belonging to Turkey in the Aegean Sea, which was populated by Greeks), Asos (a historical town on the shore of Aegean Sea), Gökova (a town in the south Aegean), and Marseille. "Coast" has been exhibited in Austria, Macedonia, Bulgaria, and Greece, and will be exhibited in Poland, France, and Spain.

"Coast" is now on exhibit in Istanbul, in the framework of ULISfotoFest, the first international festival of photography organized in Turkey. The Swedish photographer Anders Petersen, whom some consider a living legend of photography, was at the inauguration of the exhibition. According to him, Bingaz's photography gets you in the gut. She captured the idea "back to basics" very well and her photographs question her identity as a human in each frame.

Q: Tell us, how did the "Coast" project start and how did it evolve?

A: I was taking photographs of reflections from the water and sea in 2001 in Yesilköy (on the shore of the Sea of Marmara, densely populated with Armenians. Yesilköy used to be a Greek village called Aya Stefanos). In the rapid change of environment, as a result of urban restructuring and because of artificially created beaches, old nice gardens and houses were destroyed. As a result, Yesilköy has become a part of the big city and people started to pour in, to these artificially created beaches. With the sadness I had because of the loss of old houses and gardens, I started to walk looking at the ground and taking photographs of the reflections on the water and the sea. My idea was to turn the artificially created coast upside down.
Starting from 2002 I decided to photograph the people who were coming to Yesilköy from the rest of the city. Then I photographed in other coasts as well. And thus, "Coast" was not anymore the coast of Yesilköy. Abstracting the coast it turned out to be the coast of existence.

Q: The coast of existence?

A: I formed the coast according to the most basic ways of existence. The ways of existences of women, men, and animals. Taking photographs on the seashore helped me a lot in this sense, because the seashore has a more natural atmosphere, people feel more comfortable, more naked than in daily life in the city; there are fewer status quos there. Therefore you can get to a deeper point. Photographing men was very interesting to me because their reaction was only related to the fact that a woman was taking pictures of them. Nature has softened them and they were not looking at a woman from their regular status quos.

Q: You were taking pictures of women before "Coast."

A: Yes, I was taking pictures of women until the "Coast" project. But I should say that I photographed men the way I wanted to see them. That is to say, there is again a feminist perspective. Not with their power and "grid on," but with their most basic attraction and animal instincts. More full of love, passionate, and waiting men.

Q: First there were women in your photographs and then men came in. Did this process impact on photographing women later on?

A: In this project, it was more difficult to work with women. Because there are more men on the seashores of Turkey than women. And I discovered that woman were not able to be natural. Even under the burning sun, they wanted to be like models. They were the women of modern times. As opposed to women, men were more like symbolizing something from the past.

Q: Do you feel yourself at the coast of anything recently? Considering the social changes we go through or personal changes.

A: The feeling of belonging has very deep roots in me. Despite this fact, the feeling that I might have been forced to live like a constant migrant is the feeling that I feel more at the coast of. When I first started "Coast," I had a very strong feeling of being established. I thought I will live all my life in Yesilköy, passing through the same streets. Yet, later I found out, if I want to continue to be a photographer, I should be a bit migrant.

Of course political developments have a very important impact on this feeling. The political situation in Turkey causes you to feel like loosing your ground. Before, I was not uncomfortable with my name where I hang out my shingle [Bingaz is also a dentist], but now I am. I am looking at my surrounding; thinking whether or not we will still be here in 50 years time. Will we have the same shining spring next year? Will our house be here in its place? Will my workplace exit? Will we have problems because of what we have said? These are the questions in my mind.

(c) 2007 CS Media Enterprises LLC

Rakel Dink Accepts An Award In Armenia
YEREVAN -- Hrant Dink, the outspoken Turkish-Armenian editor who was assassinated on January 19, was awarded the "President of the Republic of Armenia Prize" posthumously on June 18. His wife Rakel Dink, who was accompanied by Mr. Dink's brother Yervant, accepted the prize.

The award was given for Mr. Dink's contribution to restoring the historical truth, his struggle for human rights and the freedom of speech, and his effort to bridge the gap between Turkish and Armenian societies.

President Kocharian characterized the murder of Mr. Dink as a big loss for Armenian society. He told the Dink family, "I would like to assure you that we will always remember Mr. Dink. Armenia is your home and you are always welcome here."

Mrs. Dink responded by saying, "These awards are cutting through darkness with light. Our family finds the power to stand this pain with the people who share it."

After the ceremony, Dink responded to questions about whether she plans to leave Turkey by saying, "Might be, but it is not urgent at the moment."

The presidential awards have been given since 2001 and are financed by Robert Boghossian and Sons. This year 18 people received awards in various fields such as arts, technology, medicine, literature, and social sciences.

--Talin Suciyan
(c) 2007 CS Media Enterprises LLC

Armenian Citizen Has Turned Into A Voter-Citizen, Psychologist Says
The 2008 presidential elections in Armenia will be held in a calm psychological atmosphere like the parliamentary ones, psychologist Karine Nalchajyan told a press conference today. She noted that over the past years "the Armenian citizen has turned into a voter-citizen." According to her, currently the Armenian society is also a participant of the electoral processes, since NKR is on the threshold of presidential elections.

"As voters, Armenian citizens can be divided into separate groups. The first group is comprised of those who make a reasonable choice and which cannot be influenced in any way. The second group includes poor people, who are impatiently waiting for elections, pursuing certain interests. The third group is formed of those who are connected with the electoral processes this or that way," noted Karine Nalchajyan.

Hudson Meeting Participant Confirms Report By Journalist
A pre-eminent Middle East US scholar who also participated in a June 13 meeting of the conservative Hudson Institute has confirmed reports of the numerous scenarios discussed at the brainstorming session, which allegedly included terrorist attacks killing dozens of people and a high-profile assassination.

Henri Barkey said “there was nothing outside the truth” in news reports in the Turkish media on the meeting. The content of the discussions at the gathering, allegedly also attended by high-ranking officials from the Turkish military, sparked outrage in Turkey. A statement on the General Staff Web site denied media reports of their representatives being witness to the controversial scenarios. Further, the General Staff statement accused Yasemin Çongar, the journalist who disclosed the news story on the Hudson meeting, of distorting facts to damage the military’s reputation.

Çongar wrote that one of the military officials present had objected to a scenario in which US officials handed over terrorists captured in northern Iraq to Turkish authorities on the grounds that such a move would play into the hands of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) ahead of the general elections next month. Barkey stated in a live television program broadcast on CNN Türk on Sunday, “this is Washington,” and “there was nothing outside the truth,” in Çongar’s news story.

Another guest of the program, Turkish Industrialists and Businessmen’s Association (TÜSIAD) representative to Washington Abdullah Akyüz, also said that he had heard two sources other than Barkey confirm that events at the Hudson meeting happened as Çongar reflected in her article.

Today’s Zaman Istanbul

‘US Policy, Not Turkish, Needs To Change,’ Says US Expert
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Stephen Larrabee
Security expert at RAND Corporation Stephen Larrabee thinks that Turkish and US foreign policy are currently at odds with one another.

"While the US is trying to isolate Syria and Iran, Turkey has been aimed at engaging them," Larrabee says, in effort to explain that Turkey has a national interest in better relations with Syria and Iran. "The real reasons for Turkey's greater involvement in the Middle East have to do with Turkey's changing security environment -- that in the post Cold War era most of the important security problems are in and around Turkey's periphery, particularly in the Middle East," he says.

Turkey’s more active role in the Middle East is not a result of the “Islamization” of Turkish foreign policy as some claim but it’s a result of Turkey’s changing security environment said the distinguished chair in European security at RAND Corporation, a nonprofit US organization focused on issues of national security, Stephen Larrabee.

“The real reasons for Turkey’s greater involvement in the Middle East have to do with Turkey’s changing security environment -- that in the post Cold War era most of the important security problems are in and around Turkey’s periphery, particularly in the Middle East,” he said. “Thus, any government, whether it had Islamic roots, as the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) does, or a secular party would have had to pursue, in my view, more or less the same policy and conduct a more active policy toward the Middle East.”

Larrabee, in Turkey for meetings and observations, told us how Turkey’s more assertive role in the Middle East has been affecting Turkey-US relations.

For Monday Talk, we also asked him about the much-discussed Hudson Institute and its “scenario” on Turkey in light of recent Turkish domestic political crisis. According to the Turkish media, the Washington-based think tank discussed scenarios that involved a Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) attack in Beyoglu causing mass fatalities; and the assassination of the chief judge of the Constitutional Court. There were also rumors of a “body” within Turkey that doesn’t want the US to capture and extradite to Turkey terrorist Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) leaders based in northern Iraq, fearing such a development would boost support for AK Party.

Could you tell us about the Hudson Institute?

It’s a conservative institute. It’s not the most influential institute in Washington but it’s a reputable institute.

When you say conservative, does that involve the neoconservatives?

Not necessarily. If you had a spectrum of right to left, from conservative to liberal, they are definitely on the conservative side, but that does not necessarily mean neocon.

Why do you think the institute is related to the neocons by the Turkish media?

Because, due to the Iraq invasion, neocons have fallen into disrepute; everything that people do not like is associated with neocons.

How much importance should be given to the doomsday scenarios allegedly discussed at the institute’s meeting?

The first thing to be said is that it is very normal for institutes like that to play what are called games -- or scenarios. The games are designed to show in part how the other side might react and to highlight unintended consequences of actions. These types of games are done all the time in Washington by think tanks. They have a methodology. It’s just not a group of people sitting around and talking about something; participants actually play the roles of the president, prime minister, chief of military staff -- and they act out in a realistic setting how a decision maker might act in a particular situation; what type of factors would he have to take into consideration; how would he be influenced and so forth. It’s done to realistically approximate a crisis scenario. I don’t think there is anything unusual about what they did, and it wasn’t necessarily a doomsday scenario. After all, military officials in Turkey are openly advocating an incursion into northern Iraq and warning that there are likely to be increased terrorist attacks.

But as apparent in the media, some Turkish people have taken it as interference in Turkish affairs. Why do you think it created such uproar?

The role of a think tank in the US is quite different than the role of a think tank in Turkey. You don’t really have independent think tanks in Turkey. Your think tanks mostly represent or are associated with either the military or the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The second point is that obviously the issue itself is highly sensitive. Turkey is on the eve of elections, and the issue of PKK is extremely sensitive.

Talking about the PKK, many Turkish people believe that the US supports the PKK, although the PKK is on the terrorist organizations list of the US. Some Turks also believe that the US is supporting an independent Kurdish state in northern Iraq. Could the US do more to help Turkey’s fight against the PKK?

There are two questions: the first is whether the US is supporting the PKK. The other one is whether the US is supporting an independent Kurdish state. The answer to both questions is no, it is not supporting the PKK; it considers it to be a terrorist organization. And it has many times said that it does not support an independent Kurdish state. The other question is: Why isn’t it doing more? That’s in my view a legitimate complaint. The US should do more to press the Iraqi Kurds to crack down on the PKK. The US should put pressure on the Iraqi Kurdish leadership to turn the PKK terrorists -- who walk freely, eat in restaurants and appear on government-owned TV in northern Iraq -- over to Turkish authorities. That would do a lot to reduce the anti-American feelings in Turkey.

Why do you think the Iraqi Kurdish leadership is not tougher toward the PKK?

I can only speculate that one of the reasons may be that they are trying to use the PKK issue as a bargaining chip over Kirkuk. The second possibility is that [Massoud] Barzani [leader of Iraq’s Kurdish north] may be afraid of alienating younger, more radical elements. But whatever his reasons the US should put more pressure on him to crack down on the PKK.

What have you been observing in Turkey since you’ve come here?

The situation is very sensitive, somewhat confused and very fluid. It’s hard to know what will happen until after the elections. Obviously the elections will be very, very important. Whether the AK Party rules alone, whether it gets enough votes to be the majority party, whether the president ends up being elected by popular vote or will be elected by Parliament, who the presidential candidates are… All these are important questions but they cannot be answered until after the elections.

What is the most puzzling element?

The most difficult thing is to predict what will happen over the long and medium term because so much will depend on what will happen in the elections.

I noticed in your article that you defined the AK Party as ‘Islamist’…

I think I said Islamic-rooted or Islamic-oriented, I can’t remember exactly.

You know the party rejects the ‘Islamist’ tag and presents itself as a ‘Muslim democrat’ party. Why is it still referred to as an ‘Islamist’ party?

It’s very easy to answer. There are two reasons. One is that the AK Party has its roots in Erbakan’s Islamic Welfare Party (RP). The second reason is that for a Western audience, which doesn’t know very much about Turkey or Turkish politics, you have to give the audience some sense of what this party is and since it has its roots in Islamic thinking, it is usually said to be Islamic oriented. Members of the AK Party are sensitive to this but it’s not a negative connotation. It’s just an attempt to differentiate between the AK Party and other more secularist parties. One has to define the difference for the Western audience and to say simply that AK Party members are conservative democrats, which is one interpretation, does not help a Western audience to understand what the AK Party is.

Do you think it shouldn’t be associated with Islamic fundamentalism?

Absolutely not. The AK Party is not an Islamist fundamentalist party. My article was about foreign policy not Turkish domestic policy. There was not time and space to explain the subtleties between Islamic-oriented and Islamic fundamentalism. The basic thrust of the article was to explain Turkish foreign policy and to discuss the Kurdish issue, not to discuss the origins and political orientation of the AK Party.

You mention that some see an Islamization of Turkish foreign policy…

There are people who try to explain the more active Turkish foreign policy in the Middle East as a result of the “Islamization” of Turkish foreign policy. I argue just the opposite -- that Turkey’s more active involvement in the Middle East has nothing to do with Islamization of Turkish foreign policy, that Turkey is not about to leave the West. The real reasons for Turkey’s greater involvement in the Middle East have to do with Turkey’s changing security environment -- that in the post-Cold War era most of the important security problems are in and around Turkey’s periphery, particularly in the Middle East. Thus, any government whether it had Islamic roots, as the AK Party does, or a secular party would have had to pursue, in my view, more or less the same policy and conduct a more active policy towards the Middle East.

How has this trend been affecting relations between Turkey and the US?

The trend put strains on US-Turkish relations because of Turkey’s attempt to develop closer relations with Iran and Syria. The Iraq invasion has also caused strains. I argued that Turkish national interests required Turkey to improve relations with Iran because of the Kurdish issue on one hand, and Turkey’s need for energy on the other. Turkey also has a strong national interest in improving relations with Syria. Turkish and US policy are at odds with one another. The US is trying to isolate Syria and Iran while Turkey’s policies have been aimed at engaging Iran and Syria. I was trying to explain that the US should understand that Turkey has a national interest in better relations with Syria and Iran and therefore it should not expect Turkey to try to isolate these countries.

What should the US do then?

It’s US policy that needs to change, not Turkish policy. And recently there are already signs of a greater US willingness to have a dialogue with Syria. The Baker-Hamilton report on Iraq argues strongly for negotiations and discussions with Iran and Syria. After all during the Cold War, we had major disagreements with the Soviet Union but still conducted discussions and negotiations with Moscow. The same should be true with Iran and Syria. You cannot resolve the existing problems by isolating the regimes.

Do you think the US would understand Turkey in a way that would be beneficial to Turkey-US relations?

I am hopeful that they will be more understanding in the future. I think a new American administration is likely to have a more forward looking, more understanding view. The problem is that the Bush administration has been so focused on Iraq that they have not been willing to pay as much attention to Turkish security concerns as they should. In other words, Turkey’s security concerns are seen through the prism of Iraq.

How is the recent Turkish domestic political crisis seen in the US, in Washington in particular?

Everyone is concerned because they want to see a stable, democratic Turkey. There is concern that developments might lead to increasing domestic polarization, which could threaten Turkey’s development as a stable democracy. That’s the main concern.

Do you see a trend toward anti-secularism in Turkey?

I don’t see a trend toward anti-secularism. I think there are differences of interpretation regarding what role religion should play in the Turkish state. It seems to me these are issues that can be resolved and should be resolved without resorting to a crisis. The basic issue is what role religion should have in private life and in state institutions.

How is the Turkish military’s interference in this process perceived in Washington?

Any steps that are taken on either side that intensify the polarization are seen as not helpful in Washington.

Do you see an anti-democratic trend in Turkey?

I don’t see an anti-democratic trend. I think the military has a right to express its views, but in a democratic society the military ultimately has to be subordinate to the political leadership.

Do you see that happening in the near future in Turkey?

Over the last few years the trend has been toward increasing civilian control over the military. The composition of the National Security Council (MGK) has changed; civilian participation has increased; the secretary-general is also now a civilian. I think the military in general understands that if Turkey is going to become a member of the European Union, it will have to conform to general practices of civilian control of the military. That has been the basic direction in which trends have been moving in the last decade, in particular in the last three, four years.

Stephen Larrabee

The distinguished chair in European security at RAND Corporation, a nonprofit US organization focused on issues of national security, Larrabee is an expert on NATO, Eastern Europe, Turkey, Russia and Ukraine. He was previously vice president and director of studies at the Institute for East-West Security Studies, New York. His publications include: “Turkish Foreign Policy in an Age of Uncertainty,” F. Stephen Larrabee and Ian O. Lesser, RAND Corporation, 2003; “Arming Europe,” F. Stephen Larrabee and Seth G. Jones, “NATO’s Eastern Agenda in a New Strategic Era,” RAND Corporation, 2003; and a contribution to The National Interest, No. 82, Winter 2005/2006.


The Emerging Alliance Between Turkey, Azerbaijan And Georgia
When 15 years ago, following the socioeconomic developments in the region, the six Black Sea states, Bulgaria, Georgia, Romania, Russia, Turkey and Ukraine -- joined by their neighbors Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Greece and Moldova -- established the Black Sea Economic Cooperation Organization (BSEC), an organization for regional economic cooperation in the wider Black Sea area, the world at large had a vague idea about the better part of the newly emerged post-Soviet economies.

Being for some 70 years a part and parcel of the Soviet communist empire, those countries had national specifics, cultural peculiarities and natural resources that remained all those years a puzzle to the world at large.

Back in 1992 the international community had still to discover that Russian oil or gas could have origins in Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan or Turkmenistan. Nevertheless when it did happen, the Caspian region immediately turned into a focus of international attention and the US administration announced it a zone of special interest. American energy experts have quickly come to believe that the landlocked Caspian Sea holds a projected 3 percent of world’s energy supplies, having 170 billion barrels of crude estimated as the world’s third-largest oil deposits after the Persian Gulf and Siberia.

Of the Black Sea states Turkey was the only country 15 years ago not to have passed through the transformation processes experienced by the former Soviet countries and the European people’s democracies. As such it became a natural center of an emerging regional integration to replace the old ties of economic cooperation prevailing in the Black Sea region in Soviet times. Enjoying an organic bond with the post-Soviet Turkic republics, Turkey quickly established mutually beneficial and fiduciary relations with the new states of Central Asia and the Caucasus.

Though not a country of the southern Caucasus, Turkey for many centuries has had close historic and cultural ties with the region, specifically with Azerbaijan and Georgia. Their mutual links of economic cooperation started actively developing after the Soviet Union disintegration, and in a short time Turkey became a leading trading partner both of Azerbaijan and Georgia. In addition Turkey became greatly interested in the exploration and development of the Azeri energy resources.

Regional integration gained its first success with the Baku-Supsa oil pipeline, establishing a route for Azeri crude to the Black Sea coast, passing through Georgia. The pipeline’s completion proved to Western companies -- who hadn’t been to the region since 1917 -- that Azerbaijan and Georgia could ensure a safe operation of their regional pipelines regardless of the unresolved conflicts existing in their territories. That was an important development, since the accomplishment took away any remaining doubt about the feasibility of the construction of the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan (BTC) crude oil pipeline and later on the Baku-Tbilisi-Erzurum (BTE) natural gas pipeline. Further on and in line with that development, Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey had come to an agreement to build a new railroad connecting Baku with Kars in Turkey via Tbilisi.

In the mid ‘90s Turkey offered an innovative solution to build a 1,700-kilometer-long pipeline from Baku through the territory of Georgia and Turkey, terminating on the shores of the Mediterranean Sea. The project received a boost with the US administration rendering its strong support for the BTC’s construction.

Turkey took a part in the BTC pipeline construction through the Turkish Petroleum Corporation (TPAO), holding a 9 percent participation stake. The BTC was successfully completed and later inaugurated in July 2006 to become the longest oil exporting pipeline in the world; an event of paramount importance for the world community.

For the world at large the BTC commissioning terminated Russia’s monopoly on crude exports to the West from the post-Soviet democracies, while ensuring hopes for energy supply diversification. For Azerbaijan it opened a direct way for selling Azeri crude to the Western consumers, establishing a southern export route for oil transportation through Turkey instead of Russia and forming a major success in the independent development of Azerbaijan. In spring 2007, following up on the BTC successfully gaining operational capacity, President Ilham Aliev announced Azerbaijan’s decision to stop using Russian oil export transportation networks, resorting instead to the Azeri national system.

No doubt the BTC brings the greatest benefit to Azerbaijan: In a couple of years it will be pumping up to 80 percent of the oil belonging to Azerbaijan and originating from the Azeri Chirag-Guneshli oil fields. Azerbaijan is expected to be collecting about $30 billion per year in oil revenues, while as transit countries Georgia will be collecting transit fees of $600 million, and Turkey $1.5 billion. According to the Anatolia news agency, by June 2007, Turkish revenue from the BTC reached $620 million for the period starting June 4, 2006.

Turkish-Azeri active cooperation has resulted in a number of broad-scope initiatives to become transnational projects of paramount importance. The BTC oil pipeline, to bear a major impact on regional developments, was followed by the BTE natural gas pipeline that started in March 2007, bringing gas from the Shah Deniz offshore Caspian block to northern Turkey.

As a participating partner in the project and when the pipeline reaches its full operational capacity, Turkey will be receiving 6.6 billion cubic meters of gas annually from Azerbaijan. By the end of 2007 Turkey will receive 3 billion cubic meters at a fixed price of $120 per thousand cubic meters -- half the price of Russian gas -- from Shah Deniz.

The BTC and BTE are the two pet US projects in the Caspian to have reached success in terms of establishing an alternative export route to the West from Azerbaijan. Actually, the only two projects -- increasing Russian activity in the Caspian region seems to leave no room there for any more foreign initiative. Those realized during the past decade will most probably remain the only Western accomplishments in the Caspian region for the foreseeable future. At least as long as Russia is determined to dominate the oil and gas sector of the Caspian region.

Successful construction and commissioning of the BTC and BTE pipeline projects have further contributed to the regional integration processes in the wider Black Sea area and given shape to the emerging politico-strategic integration between Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey. Nevertheless skeptics believe that Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey are not equal partners within their emerging regional alliance.

Azerbaijan’s position is substantially stronger than Georgia’s due to its possession of the energy resources trans-shipped through Georgia. Turkey also outweighs Georgia, by means of its terminal on the Mediterranean coast, while Georgia remains a transit country. Still it is Georgia that ensures the viability of the projects by allowing them transit through its territory, be it via pipeline or railroad. Georgia’s strategic location on the way from the Caucasus to the West through Turkey is its asset in terms of regional politics.

BSEC, an established institutionalized infrastructure for regional development, is a natural framework for a successful development of an emerging alliance of Turkey, Azerbaijan and Georgia. It has become even more logical in the light of the EU’s increased attention on the Black Sea area and the EU Black Sea neighborhood policy unveiled in April. Providing a platform for multilateral cooperation to its member countries and the only regional institutionalized organization, BSEC is successfully developing its own relations of cooperation with the EU. As such it finds itself in a good position to organically supplement the ongoing integration processes in the Black Sea region.
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*Maria Beat is an international journalist and writer who specializes in the CIS countries. Her email address is mbeat2000@yahoo.com


Turkey’s Enemies
Election dynamics structure the tensions among the public and the topics on the political agenda. Promises made by candidates during election campaigns point to a growing populism.

A meeting at the Hudson Institute regarding possible scenarios in Turkey had a great impact in Ankara. Director of the Hudson Institute’s Center for Eurasian Policy Zeyno Baran was one of the organizators of the meeting.

Take for example the speculation on dropping petroleum prices. The issue instantly became a priority issue on party agendas. After one party attracted wide public interest for promising to lower the price of diesel from YTL 2.5 to YTL 1 for farmers, other parties began to be interested in the subject as well. In response to these promises, the prime minister has asked, “does Turkey have diesel wells?” It seems populism will increase as we approach July 22.

Then there are tensions that affect both Turkey’s domestic policy and foreign policy. These tensions, caused by debates on terrorism, have become the basic source of political competition for parties. Parties use these tensions to attract voters. The use of these tensions, however, subsequently increases the number of enemies. Perhaps the question of the greatest concern is how much the tensions caused by the elections will increase the enemies within our own society.

New nationalism

The purpose of populism and tension is acquiring power in the government. This power struggle is not just between political parties but also between the state bureaucracy and civil politicians. The new nationalist ideology, which developed the power struggle in the state and then broadened it to include the public, determines the platform for political competition in Turkey. This ideology, which is mainly supported by the military, does not have a counterpart in civil politics. However the development of counter-ideologies prompts other ideologies to adopt parts of the new nationalist ideology.

The new nationalist ideology is Turkey’s toughest, yet simplest ideology. It revolves around a world that has two opposite poles, as during the Cold War. This ideology’s greatest need is an enemy. While this ideology claims that Turkey is under great threats, it must provide information about the enemies who pose this threat. The easiest way to understand the structure of this ideology is to look at Arab Baathism.

Baathism was the synthesis of a socialist and autocratic nationalist movement. The new nationalist ideology in Turkey is trying to use nationalism and socialism equally.

The logic behind this ideology is based on the claim that Turkey faces a grave imperialist threat. This threat will supposedly take Turkey back to the aftermath of World War I, when all of Turkey was under foreign occupation. The new nationalist ideology claims the events Turkey is facing today are identical to the events Atatürk, the founder of Turkey, faced in 1919. This means Turkey needs an anti-imperialist and anti-colonialist struggle. With a hierarchic and autocratic society in mind, the country is being called to fight against imperialism. Protecting the unity and independence of this country is the most important purpose of this ideology.

This ideology is not very different than the third world nationalism supported by the Soviet Union in less developed countries during the ‘60s and ‘70s. The public is being called to unite and fight against the enemy. Every element of this ideological plan is familiar. But there is still one critical question that must be answered. Who is the enemy?

Virtual enemies of domestic policy

It is the debates regarding this question that create the new nationalist ideology’s most important platform. The reason many questions on the agenda are posed inappropriately or are simply futile in nature relates to the answer this ideology gives in effort to sustain its self-consistency.

The answer this ideology, which represents the bureaucracy in the government and takes places in the power struggle inside Turkey, gives regarding the enemy suddenly turns the situation into a foreign policy problem.

The ideology points first to the US then to the EU as the enemy. The deceleration of the EU membership process and some EU leaders’ refusal to allow full membership to Turkey weakened the EU’s image as an enemy. But the US, given its occupation of Iraq, was strong enough for the ideology to keep pointing to it as the enemy.

The new nationalist ideology’s enemy description lost credibility after the scenario discussions at Hudson Institute in Washington. The image of the Hudson Institute did not match the enemy’s description nor did the patterns match the new nationalist ideology so strongly defended, prompting the General Staff to attach significant attention to the issue, include it in a memorandum and blame a successful journalist for inaccurate reporting.

At first it seemed the scenarios had sparked fear in the public, which has been creating conspiracy theories about the increasing terror events. But to the contrary, the public began discussing the participation of high-level Turkish officers and the leaders of the new nationalist ideology, instead of the scenarios.

It is certain Russian President Vladimir Putin’s visit to Istanbul on June 25 will attract wide public interest. The new nationalists are very interested in an anti-US “Eurasianism.” The motive behind their interest in Russia is finding an ally against the enemy. The interest in “Eurasianism,” which is geopolitically an opponent to Turkey, is a sign that the issue is more about the power struggle inside Turkey than a foreign policy problem.

The new nationalist is a marginal ideology. Friendship and enemy factors created inside a simple and small word does not have a counterpart in the real world. Besides its purpose is not to structure foreign policy. Debates that began with the sale of the military’s Oyak Bank to a Dutch company reflect the difference between the real and virtual elements among the members of this ideology. While it adds meaning to the fantasy world of the ideologies, the sale of the military’s bank explains the real politics of today’s world.

As for the fierce debates the scenarios prompted in Turkey, it was a blow struck by the virtual enemies of the new nationalist ideology.
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Enemies are the components of domestic policies. But no one is creating policies against their enemies or for their friends, instead they are engaging in a power struggle. The political alignment between the US and Russian figures in domestic policy, but on completely opposite sides on foreign policy, is the best example of this situation.


What Does Çongar Say?
Before and after the statement from the military’s General Staff headquarters, I asked Yasemin Çongar about the events at the Hudson Institute.

“As you know there are certain stories which, though you know they are true, you cannot say, ‘This is exactly how it is’. But this is not one of those cases. I spoke to not one, but three people at that meeting.” Yasemin notes that two of her three sources who were present at the meeting used almost exactly the same words and phrases to describe the scenarios that were discussed in Washington. Yasemin obtained not only the invitation to the scenario workshop, but also information notes called “backgrounders” provided to meeting participants. In an email correspondence with [the Hudson Institute’s Turkey expert] Zeyno Baran after the news first broke, Baran did not deny the news. In fact Yasemin was not the first one to hear about this news. Yasemin is a good journalist. Putting this all together then, I believe that she may have been treated unfairly in this case.


Colleagues Support Journalist Who Broke Hudson Story, Criticize TSK
FATMA DISLI f.disli@todayszaman.com

The General Staff finally broke its silence on Wednesday regarding the controversial scenarios discussed at a meeting of Washington-based think tank the Hudson Institute, attended by two Turkish military officials, amid increasing calls for it to shed light on the issue. In its statement, the General Staff said those military officials briefly attended the meeting and were not involved in the discussion of those scenarios, claiming that all the media stories about the Hudson Institute meeting aimed to tarnish the image of the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK). It also criticized Milliyet daily’s Washington correspondent Yasemin Çongar, without identifying her by name, for “distorting the truth” to defame the TSK. Veteran journalist Çongar came under fire from the General Staff, but fellow journalists, confident about her professionalism, joined forces to exonerate her of the General Staff’s accusations.

“What kind of thing this is? The one who is supposed to give an account is asking for an account,” exclaims Yeni Safak’s Ali Bayramoglu, harshly criticizing the General Staff for its statement about the Hudson Institute meeting. He finds the military’s denial statement somewhat strange since it confirms the military officials’ attendance in the meeting and the presence of Iraqi Kurdish leader Massoud Barzani’s representative, terming it a coincide; the scenario part of the meeting is what the military denies. “I don’t understand why,” he says. Bayramoglu reacts to the military’s accusations against Çongar, who revealed the details of the meeting, claiming they distorted the truth. “Why should I not rely on a journalist in whose journalism, honesty, objectivity and intelligence I have had 100 percent confidence in for years when she presents concrete evidence about the scenarios and instead believe the General Staff. On what grounds? With the assumption that the institutions tell the truth.” He thinks the General Staff did not put an end this scandal with its statement, but rather made it grow by terming all related discussions attempts to defame the TSK. “Yes, there is defamation at hand, but who is the one that defames?” he asks.

Another writer for Yeni Safak, Fehmi Koru, thinks the General Staff is committing an injustice against Çongar, since she supported her news story by referring to sources and the concrete text of the meeting’s invitation, which apparently mentioned the scenarios that would be discussed. In this context Koru says it is impossible for military officials not to know about these scenarios beforehand, otherwise, one would think Çongar fabricated the documents. “Would the General Staff appear before the public with statements that include errors that would defame its institutional identity? No. The same goes for Yasemin Çongar, whose past is full of journalism success, and it is an unimaginable thing for meticulous and careful journalist like her to have her name involved in fabrications. There is something wrong here,” says Koru.

Vatan’s Okay Gönensin shares the same views with these columnists about Çongar’s innocence and terms accusing a journalist in such a case a “diversionary tactic.” He says Çongar did her job, learned what was spoken of during the meeting and informed the Turkish public about it. Gönensin says in such cases it is easy to accuse those informing people about such scenarios, which works to shift people’s attention to other issues rather than what is truly at stake.

BSEC Leaders To Open Talks In Istanbul
Almost two months after taking over the rotating presidency of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation (BSEC), Turkey is hosting a landmark BSEC summit in Istanbul at which a number of issues concerning the 12 member countries, including energy, transportation, trade and investment, organized crime, combating terrorism and environmental degradation, will be discussed.

Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev, Greek Prime Minister Kostas Karamanlis, Russian President Vladimir Putin, Ukrainian President Victor Yushchenko and heads of states or Cabinet leaders from other member countries Georgia, Bulgaria and Romania are among attendees of the summit. Armenia, with which Turkey has no diplomatic relations and which previously announced that it would not attend at the presidential level, will be represented by Foreign Minister Vartan Oskanian. In April, at a meeting of BSEC foreign ministers held in Belgrade, the participants signed a memorandum of mutual understanding to launch projects for the more than 2,000-kilometer-long Black Sea orbital highway. The Istanbul summit is expected to offer an opportunity for determining the cost of those projects.

Founded in 1992, the countries of BSEC have a combined population of about 400 million, vast natural resources and developing ties with the EU. The European Commission has recently applied to become an observer member of the BSEC, which is, according to diplomatic sources in Ankara, a strong sign of the EU's willingness to improve cooperation with the organization, which now has three joint members with the bloc: Bulgaria, Greece and Romania. European Commission Vice President Guenter Verheugen, a former enlargement commissioner widely known by the Turkish public, is scheduled to attend the summit.

Today's Zaman Istanbul

Minority Test For Parties
BULENT KENES b.kenes@todayszaman.com
In democratic competitions, where every voter and every vote is very precious, political parties usually develop mottos that will be liked by the majority and pay great attention to the majority’s sensitivities. Democracies with this dimension generate the danger of laying down the groundwork for a majority dictatorship. Therefore real democracies are those that secure the rights for minorities against overwhelming majorities.

As in all democratic countries, political parties are opting for the shortest path that will carry them to a political victory at the ballot box: They employ rhetorical statements liked by the majority and make promises that will appeal to the majority’s sentiments.

As they are focused on a tangible interest, the statements and actions aimed at appealing to the majority don’t give much idea of where a political party stands on the continuum of democracy. What matters ultimately in terms of being a real democrat is how these parties are assessed by the minorities, even though the minorities don’t offer a large potential vote. Briefly, the best litmus paper to evaluate the level of democracy in political parties competing in an election process is how minorities view those parties.

With this reality in mind, Today’s Zaman presented two case studies on the issue on its front page (”Minorities to shun nationalist parties in elections,” prepared by our friend Evin Baris Altintas was published on June 14, “Minorities to choose pro-EU candidates,” prepared by our friend Jasper Mortimer, was published on June 23) and in the meantime made use of another news story published by Reuters, also on the front page.

What is interesting is, all of these news stories pointed out one and the same reality. This reality was that the AK Party, branded by some as Islamo-fascist and accused of being anti-secular and of following a secret Islamic agenda to establish a regime like that in Iran, was the first preference of all the minorities.

As Mortimer remarked, the minority communities are tiny in Turkey -- 60,000 Armenians, 25,000 Jews and 3,000 Greeks in a population of 72 million. But at a time when the world is watching Turkey closely, their influence outweighs their size. The way that the minorities vote is a weathervane of democracy and human rights in Turkey.

As we found out from these case studies, the first choice of our Armenian, Jewish, Greek and Syrian citizens are independent candidates like Baskin Oran and Ufuk Uras. When it comes to parties, they don’t view any party other than the AK Party positively.

For instance Etyen Mahçupyan, a political columnist for Today’s Zaman and the managing editor of Armenian weekly paper Agos, said, “July 22 may be the first time in Turkish electoral history that the Islamic party gets at least a third of the votes of the Armenians.” He estimated that in the 2002 elections only 5 percent of Armenians voted for the AK Party. Of course, the role of the reforms on human rights realized by the AK Party as a requirement of the EU membership process cannot be denied.

Meanwhile, as Mihail Vasiliadis, publishing director of Apoyevmatini, an 80-year-old newspaper for the Greek community in Turkey, said, the AK Party’s deposing of the Minority Commission, a secretive advisory body that was believed to exercise wide powers over minorities, was one of the chief reasons for his sympathetic reception. In addition, the law on foundations passed by the AK Party in 2005 seems to have been a source of relief for minorities and directed them toward this party.

As Mortimer stated in his article, everyone agrees that in constituencies where there is no credible independent, minority voters will most likely back the AK Party. Here are a few sentences from the prominent figures of these minority groups:

Vasiliadis: “The AK Party has to come to power so that I can feel myself as a citizen after 60 years.”

Armenian Patriarch Mesrob II: “The AK Party is more moderate and less nationalistic in its dealings with minorities. The Erdogan government listens to us -- we will vote for the AK Party in the next elections.”

Mahçupyan: “Some minority citizens would vote [for the] CHP but generally, they don’t like the CHP and they fear the MHP. The CHP represents the state and all the laws against the minorities. Minorities see the MHP as ‘an extremely nationalistic party whose policies could provoke street violence’.”

Turkey’s last surviving ethnic Armenian village Vakifli’s headman Berc Kartun: “The AK Party has tried to help the minorities, while other parties just talk.”

Zeki Basatemir, chairperson of the Syriac Catholic Church Foundation: “I can’t say we are unhappy with this current government. We think they are good at solving our problems.”

Being a real democrat and real secularism lie in the democratic attitude adopted toward religious minorities, regardless of their voting potential -- an attitude that views them as essential elements and first-class citizens of this country. It seems that the AK Party is streets ahead of its rivals.


Institutional Racism Allegations In The Church Of England
June 18, 2007
Black and Asian clergy members are unlikely to reach high office in the Church of England and minorities are sometimes marginalized in parish churches, an internal review will show, a newspaper reported Sunday. According to the Sunday Telegraph, the report says little has been done to confront "institutional racism." The report was commissioned by the Archbishops of Canterbury and York, and completed ahead of the church's General Synod next month. "Parish clergy are part of the problem," the newspaper quoted Rev. Rose Hudson-Wilkin, the chair of the committee which produced the report, as saying. "Whether consciously or unconsciously, they are not encouraging black people who are in their churches to come forward. "Our report shows there are some who are aware of the issue and acting to improve the situation, but the church is still a long way from reaching an acceptable level of equality. A spokesman for the Church of England said no official comment could be made on the report's contents until it is released.

The BSEC Celebrates 15 Years In Its Birthplace
June 25, 2007
ISTANBUL - Turkish Daily News

Exactly 15 years ago, heads of state of 11 countries surrounding the Black Sea met in Istanbul, to lay the foundation of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation (BSEC).

Leaders of the Organization of the BSEC, which now has 12 members and 13 observers, will gather today in its birthplace Istanbul to celebrate the region’s only cooperation mechanism.

Born as a Turkish initiative, right after the demise of the Soviet Union, initial years were devoted to lay the legal and structural framework of the organization. Aimed at forging economic ties between member countries, BSEC proved to be one of the few international platforms where countries in deep conflict with each other, like Turkey and Greece, Azerbaijan and Armenia could meet. As the European Union and NATO became greater magnets of attraction for the ex-communist states of the Balkans and the Caucasus, the enthusiasm of the early days for BSEC faded. In the last few years however, there has been a revival in the interest toward BSEC, since due to its geogpraphical position at the crossroads of energy lines, the region is more and more under the spotlight.

Leaders from 12 countries are expected today to reiterate their faith in the BSEC, emphasizing that what was originally an initiative “agreed fifteen years ago to launch a regional cooperation project in the wider Black Sea area has proved its worth and has withstood the test of time,” reads a declaration, the draft text of which was obtained by the Turkish Daily News. The fact that out of 12 countries 11 will be represented by heads of state, testifies to the political will of the member countries to show their full-fledged support to the region.

Russian President Vladimir Putin, Greek Prime Minister Kostas Karamanlis, Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko, and the presidents of Bulgaria, Romania, Azerbaijan and Georgia will attend the summit. The Vice President of the European Commission, Günter Verheugen, will represent the EU and Armenia's Foreign Minister Vartan Oskanyan will be present to represent Armenia.

The Declaration will highlight priority areas, environment, trade, transport, tourism and energy among them. The EU, is expected to be given an observer status, the TDN learned. The declaration will also emphasize the energy aspect of the cooperation between BSEC and the EU.

Armenian leader absent

Although BSEC tries to the extent possible to avoid political problems overshadowing the workings of the organization, it is not always sucessful in achieving that goal. Armenian President Kocarian could not to attend the summit in Istanbul as he is scheduled to host the President of Greece Karolos Papoulias today. Armenia will be represented by its foreign minister Oskanyan. Kocarian prefered to abstain from coming since he did not want to be seen in Turkey, ahead of elections due next year, estimate Turkish diplomatic sources. Turkey and Armenia do not have diplomatic relations. No Armenian leader attended the organization’s meeting commemorating its 10th anniversary.

Reciprocal vetoes

Another area where political issues overshadow the process is the observer status. Turkey blocks Greek Cypriot Administration’s request for observer status due to the fact that it does not recognize it. As a response, Greece vetoes granting observer status to the United Kingdom, Kazakhstan, Hungary, Iran and Lithuania. Now by granting an observer status to the EU, an awkward situation will emerge.

Problems of protocol

The tension between President Ahmet Necdet Sezer and Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, made the life of the officials responsible for protocol difficult, just like 15 years ago, although this time Prime Minister Erdogan prefered to keep a low profile during the summit.

The Foreign Ministers’ meeting in the morning, chaired by Turkey’s Foreign Minister Abdullah Gül and followed by a lunch hosted by Prime Minister Erdogan. President Sezer will preside the meeting in the afternoon and will host the leaders during the dinner. Both Sezer and Erdogan will hold separate bilateral meetings with the leaders.

Energy issues to dominate the agenda of bilateral meetings

Energy will be the predominant issue in Prime Minister Erdogan’s bilateral meetings. Prime Minister Erdogan will meet Azerbaijani Head of State Ilham Aliyev, Georgian Head of State Mihail Saakasvili, Greek Prime Minister Kostas Karamanlis and Russian Head of State Vladimir Putin.

Azerbaijani gas to be negotiated

Azerbaijani gas will be the main issue of the top-level meetings with the countries that are important for Turkey’s foreign policy concerning energy. The issue of increasing the price of Azerbaijani gas, the purchase of which has not started yet, will be negotiated with Aliyev. Azerbaijanis demand to increase the price, which according to the agreement is $120 per cubic meter. Since the first year of commerce is said to start in Oct. 2006 according to the agreement, it is claimed that the given price is to change at the end of 2007, and it should be negotiated. The Turkish side, on the other hand, defends that the price should start with the date of the first gas purchase since gas inflow has not started yet, and that this cannot be changed until the middle of 2008. This price debate will be negotiated at the top-level meeting. Besides, the date of the first inflow of Azerbaijani gas to Turkey will also be sealed. Sahdeniz Project, namely Azerbaijani gas commerce project, will be negotiated with Saakasvili.

Turkey to make a profit of $30 from sale to Greece

The volume of Azerbaijani gas is also being negotiated. Gas inflow was to start at the first quarter of 2006 according to the agreement, but there has been delay due to the lags in the project. It is required that the gas inflow – which according to the agreement was expected to reach 250 million cubic meters in the first three months, 2,8 billion cubic meters in 2007, and 4 billion cubic meters in 2008 – be fixed again in accordance with the new calendar, which arose as a result of the delay. As of Aug. 10, with the completion of Turkish-Greek Natural Gas Pipeline, an annual amount of 250 million cubic meters of Azerbaijani gas will be provided to Greece in the first phase. Turkey has been reported to get $150 for Azerbaijani gas, which it has purchased for $120, and thus to profit $30 for each 1,000 cubic meters.

Begün Gürsoy and Duygu Güvenç contributed from Ankara

June 25, 2007
Turkish Daily News
Look up the Black Sea in Britannica and you will come across “Russian and Bulgarian Chernoye More, Ukrainian Chorne More, Turkish Karadeniz, Romanian Marea Neagra, a large inland sea situated at the southeastern extremity of Europe. It is bordered by Ukraine to the north, Russia to the northeast, Georgia to the east, Turkey to the south, and Bulgaria and Romania to the west.”

First order for the BSEC:

Soon after the cold war ended in the beginning of the 1990s, the late Turgut Özal paved the way for the establishment of the BSEC.

Then President of Turkey Özal appointed Ambassador Tansug Bleda, deputy undersecretary of the Foreign Ministry to form an organization that provides a common basis for economic cooperation in the region.

“He directly phoned my office and wanted me to visit him in the Presidential residence, the Çankaya Palace, immediately. He showed me the article written by Sükrü Elekdag published in Cumhuriyet newspaper and asked whether I read it. Then he set the rules of action for the establishment of the organization. This was in the beginning of 1990,” Bleda now a retired ambassador told the Turkish Daily News.

Foreign Ministry opposes Özal's project:

Sükrü Elekdag, after serving as Turkish ambassador to Washington was back in Turkey by 1990, working in various think tanks. Elekdag told the TDN that the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs was against the idea of such an organization. Elekdag said, he has the report from the ministry objecting to the establishment of the BSEC and criticized the ministry for not evaluating the changes of time.

A diplomat from the economic department of the ministry who worked on the initial stages of the establishment of BSEC said that the political department was against the idea of BSEC, but not the economic department.

Who is the founding father?

Late President Özal was accredited for the idea of BSEC. But the source of inspiration was Sükrü Elekdag's article, published in the Cumhuriyet newspaper for Özal according to Bleda. However, Elekdag insists that his idea goes even further back.

“I first offered economic cooperation on Jan. 9, 1990 during a conference arranged by the Turkish Henkel Company. The Soviet Ambassador in Ankara at the time, Albert Çernisev, supported my proposal.”

Then Elekdag voiced his idea during the Soviet – Turkish Business Council and got the support of businessmen. The article, which was published in Cumhuriyet on Feb. 1990, is the evidence. Even Özal accepted Elekdag's contribution.

“During the graduation ceremony at the Military Academy, in May 1990, Özal told me that he liked my proposal very much and asked me to prepare a report,” said Elekdag.

Elekdag proposed the idea but Özal made it a reality.

The first meeting for the establishment of BSEC was held in Abant Lake, said Elekdag. Only Turkish officials attended the meeting. However, a football match between Galatasaray and Fenerbahçe was taking place, which caused the meeting to end in a short time.

First official meeting in DIE:

The Russian-Turkish Economic Council fused the foundation of the BSEC, said Elekdag.

“Nejat Eczacibasi, the chairman of Turkish-Russian Business Council favored the BSEC while Foreign Minister Mesut Yilmaz opposed the idea at that time,” added the retired ambassador and deputy of the Republican People's Party (CHP).

After the dismemberment of the Soviet Union, Turkey invited a delegation from states bordering the Black Sea to Istanbul on Dec. 19-21, 1990 and Russian, Turkish, Bulgarian and Romanian delegations sat at the table.

However, it was a unique experience for Ukraine, Azerbaijan, Georgia and Armenia as they attended the meeting with the Russian delegation. The BSEC was the first organization that Georgia joined after gaining independence.

“Since the foreign ministry did not have a meeting room at that time, we gathered in the State Statistical Institute (DIE). Romania was for the idea but Bulgaria was opposed. They were hesitant at the time. There were signs that the Communist Bloc was on the verge of collapse but nobody was sure,” said Bleda.

After convincing Bulgaria, the delegation started to work on a declaration and an agreement. The aims were to facilitate the procedures at the borders, create an atmosphere for investment and to develop the infrastructure of Black Sea states. In order to prepare the ground for peace and stability in the region, the goal was to create a Black Sea Economic Cooperation Zone.

“Although we were speaking the same language, we didn't mean the same thing as the ex-soviet republics. Their mentality was different and while I was negotiating for a free trade zone, my colleague was discussing a free trade area,” said Oktay Özüye, in a phone interview with the TDN. Özüye, who is now in Beijing as the Turkish Ambassador to China, was among the team of Turkish diplomats who played an active role during the initial stages of BSEC.

Who granted Greece membership?:

Yasar Yakis a former foreign affairs minister in the first AKP cabinet uncovered a hidden fact about Greece's membership in BSEC. Relations between Greece and Turkey were sour at the time. According to Yakis a prominent businessman proposed to Özal that he offer membership to Greece. “If there's any fault for Greece's membership in the BSEC, it's my responsibility. I proposed to Özal that he offer Greece membership in the BSEC, this businessman told me in our private conversation,” said Yakis, who was at the time deputy undersecretary in the foreign ministry.

Elekdag criticizes Özal to this day for granting Greece membership in the Black Sea organization. At a time when Greece was blocking Turkey's EU accession process, Özal's decision was seen as a goodwill gesture to Athens.

The ministry completed the arrangements for the establishment of the BSEC but soon after the collapse of Soviet Union, two hostile blocks maintained an uneasy balance. Özal preferred to wait. When world politics settled down, Özal gave the green light.

In the beginning of 1992, Ankara sent invitations to proclaim the establishment of the organization to 10 heads of state; Russia, Bulgaria, Romania, Ukraine, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Moldova, Greece and Albania.

Turkey proposed Gorbachev as general secretary:

“Before the ceremony in Çiragan, I sent Oktay Özüye to Moscow to determine the general secretary of the organization from Russia as a courtesy. The name in our mind was Gorbachev. Özüye did not mention Gorbachev's name but he defined his profile as we want the first general secretary to have access to world leaders. The initial answer was positive however they appointed a low profile name in the end,” said Yakis.

Moscow appointed Evgeny Kutovoy as the first secretary general of BSEC in 1992.

Since Turkey houses the headquarters, Turkey appoints the deputy general secretary to the BSEC since its establishment while other members appoint the general secretary of BSEC.

Round table model for Armenia and Azerbaijan:

While planning the first summit, diplomats faced the problem of coming up with a seating arrangement for the leaders. An alphabetic order by country names was adopted as a system but in order to prevent the Armenian and Azerbaijan delegations from sitting next to each other, each country in alphabetic order was placed to the left and right of the Turkish president and secretary general. Today, the same system is still applied as the conflict between Yerevan and Baku continues.

“Before the first summit of the BSEC, we were discussing the language of the organization at a high level officers meeting. During the coffee breaks, all the members were talking Russian except for the Greek and Turkish delegations. When we started voting, it was only Russia who voted for the Russian language,” recounts Yakis.

Russian was accepted as a working language later but the official language of the BSEC has been English since its inception.

Duel between Özal and Demirel for BSEC Summit in 1992:

The power struggle between President Özal who did not want to remain in the shadows during his tenure and Prime Minister Süleyman Demirel who was determined not to let his executive powers be eroded by the president manifested itself at the opening ceremony. The leaders of 10 states were invited to the Istanbul Summit on June 25, 1992. Demirel insisted on signing the founding agreement of the BSEC since he held the power of the executive. However, public opinion considered Özal as the founding father of the BSEC.

“We had to change the entire scenario a day before the summit and all protocol procedures were adapted to fit in Demirel, without sleeping on June 24. Özal was offended and went to his summer house in Kemer, Antalya,” said Özüye.

“Özal was so sensitive at that time. However, we proposed another model where Özal and Demirel would sit, in between the coordinator. But Özal didn't care about this formula,” said Yakis.

At the end, Demirel was in the family photo of the first BSEC meeting.

Bulgaria's opposition was a determining factor for the BSEC lacking close ties between its members. There were two statements rather than an agreement called the Bosporus and Istanbul declarations.

An organization without a building:

Özal wanted an organization without any bureaucracy and that is why in the beginning the BSEC did not have an office.

The aim was to design an organization in which economic cooperation and the interests of businessmen would determine the goals and show the way to statesmen.

“Since he wanted the organization to be flexible, we started to work on the organizational structure of EFTA,” said Bleda.

Later, the EU was chosen as a model since the presidency shifted every six months between members.

“It was Greece at that time who opposed the Troika system. The negotiations continued until 3 a.m. without any consensus. Years later, while I was ambassador to Cairo, I learnt that the BSEC accepted the Troika system with a proposal put forward by Greece,” added Yakis.

In the beginning, the BSEC staff settled in a wooden building in Dolmabahçe Palace where some of the personnel had to work under the stairs, according to Özüye.

In time the need for an office became indispensable. After Özal passed away, the organization had a building in 1994. Özer played a key role in finding the building, which still serves the organization in Istanbul's Istinye neighborhood.

Later, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation (PABSEC), a component of the BSEC settled in the wooden building, called Hareket Ofisi while BSEC settled in the new building with a wonderful sea view.

Turkey shouldered all the budgetary expenses in the first year and later lessened its contribution to 20 percent in the following years.

An organization without legal status:

The organization gained legal status seven years after its establishment. The BSEC charter was ratified by member states and came into force in May 1999.

It moved from being an "initiative" to an "organization," and with that, officials hoped it would gain increased weight and recognition abroad.

Due to practical reasons, the need for establishing a permanent representation in Turkey was inevitable when the BSEC became more institutionalized. However, it was only Armenia that established a permanent representative office in 2002, since there are no diplomatic relations between Turkey and Armenia. The other members continued relations with the BSEC through their embassies in Ankara.

Community Support Cannot Be Taken For Granted, Says Sisli's Armenian Deputy Mayor
June 21, 2007
The Armenian community is as divided as the rest of the country when it comes to voting in the upcoming elections
ISTANBUL - Turkish Daily News

Recently the Armenian Patriarch Mesrop Mutafyan made a statement that the Armenian community in Turkey tends to back the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP). However, Vasken Barin, deputy mayor of Istanbul's central district, Sisli, said that this is the patriarch's personal opinion.

Speaking to the Turkish Daily News, Vasken Barin, who is the first Armenian to hold the post of deputy mayor in the republican era, said the patriarch's opinions do not reflect those of the Armenian community, citing the divisive debate within the community after Verkin Arioba decided to run for Parliament from the ranks of the AKP. “There is a diversity of opinion within the community,” he said.

Barin said Turkish Armenians who want to run for state posts should seek the support of the Armenian community. He also said that after spending years in senior positions in Armenian foundations, he had received the backing of the community before being appointed as Sisli's deputy mayor.

Sarigül dismissed criticism:

Sisli's popular mayor Mustafa Sarigül from the Republican People's Party (CHP) dismissed all criticism and appointed Barin as his deputy when he came to power in 1999, making Barin the first ethnic Armenian to occupy an official post since the Ottoman era.

After Sarigül was re-elected mayor in 2004, he kept Barin as his deputy and made him also a member of the Sisli Municipality Assembly. Sarigül also made a bid for the leadership of the party but failed. He was dismissed from the CHP as a result, but returned after taking his dismissal to court.

Municipality repairs foundation properties:

Almost 80 percent of Turkey's Armenians reside in Sisli and there are many churches, schools, hospitals, associations and sports clubs in the district.

Before Sarigül became the mayor of the district, even the smallest restoration of the properties of Armenian foundations caused problems, with fines being imposed occasionally. This changed when Sarigül took office. Foundation properties needing repair were carefully restored, and the poor were given financial and food assistance without discrimination.

Prejudices need to be eradicated:

Barin said the municipality operates without discrimination, noting that they also serve the cemevi (Alevi houses of worship), churches, mosques and synagogues.

Barin, who is an architect by education, led a team to restore the century-old Cenderecizade Muhittin Çelebi Mosque.

“Armenians feel part of the municipality because one of them is [represented] there. They feel like it is their municipality,” Barin said. Some Armenians come and speak Armenian at municipality headquarters,” he added.

“Everyone needs to rid themselves of prejudice. In nine years as deputy mayor of the district, I never had any problem because I am Armenian. We have created a miracle with Mustafa Sarigül,” said Barin.

Patriarch's support for the AKP divides the community:

The Armenian community is divided on Armenian Patriarch Mesrob Mutafyan's opinion about Armenian backing of the AKP. When TDN inquired members of the community on the issue, it became evident that some intellectuals support the patriarch and some do not.

Some members of the Armenian community noted that the fact that some social democrat and leftist parties nominated right wing and racist candidates caused many members of the community to think that another term for the AKP may not be such a bad thing at the end.

The patriarch's press spokesman, Luiz Bakar, said Mesrop Mutafyan's statement is his personal opinion, and noted that the patriarch cannot provide political leadership to the community. He added that everyone is free to vote as they like.

Turkey's Christians Like AKP Despite Islamist Past
June 21, 2007
Gareth Jones
Its foes like to accuse Turkey's ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) of plotting to create an Iranian-style Islamic state, but many among the country's Christian minority seem to prefer the alleged Islamists to more secular parties.

In sleepy Vakıfı?, Turkey's last surviving ethnic Armenian village, perched high among orange groves overlooking the east Mediterranean, elderly farmers say they will probably vote for the Islamist-rooted AKP in July 22 elections.

"This government has done a lot for us. We want them to get back in. They show us and our religion respect. Every religion is holy," said Hanna Bebek, 76, enjoying a game of cards with his neighbors in the village tea house.

"The AKP has tried to help the minorities, while other parties just talk," said village headman Berç Kartun, 45.

Turkey is overwhelmingly Muslim but hosts several ancient Christian communities -- dwindling remnants of sizeable populations that prospered for centuries in the Muslim-led but multi-ethnic, multi-faith Ottoman Empire.

Modern Turkey was founded on the empire's ashes in 1923.

Those communities include some 70,000 Armenians and 20,000 Greek Orthodox -- mostly based in Istanbul -- and 20,000 Syriac Christians, who speak a form of Aramaic, the language of Jesus.

Turkey's Christians have often voted in the past for secular parties such as the center-left Republican People's Party (CHP), analysts say. But the CHP has joined a rising tide of Turkish nationalism, making Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's AKP a more attractive option.

Vakiflı is located in Hatay province, which once belonged to nearby Syria and boasts a long tradition of religious tolerance. Its provincial capital Antakya is the ancient Antioch, where Saints Peter and Paul preached shortly after Jesus's death.

Vakıflı itself, with a population of 100 mostly elderly people living off organic farming, is virtually all that remains of eastern Turkey's once large, prosperous Armenian community.


Patriarch Mesrob II, the Istanbul-based spiritual leader of Turkey's Armenians, recently endorsed Erdogan's party.

"The AKP is more moderate and less nationalistic in its dealings with minorities. The Erdog(an government listens to us -- we will vote for the AKP in the next elections," Mesrob told the German magazine Der Spiegel in an interview.

Though a pious Muslim whose wife wears the Islamic headscarf, Erdog(an strongly rejects the Islamist label.

In power since 2002, his AKP has pursued liberal economic and political reforms, including more rights for religious minorities, as required by the European Union which Turkey hopes to join. Ankara began EU entry talks in 2005.

But Erdogan's record is far from perfect, analysts say.

"The AKP is 100 times more liberal than the other parties... They deserve a bit of credit, but not too much," said Baskın Oran, a political analyst and human rights campaigner.

Oran is the author of a 2004 report on Turkey's minorities, commissioned by Erdogan's office, which was quietly binned after a furious nationalist reaction that highlighted the continued sensitivity of the minorities issue in Turkey.

"The nationalist pressure scared the hell out of the government and they caved in," said Oran.

Oran himself could draw religious minority votes away from the AK Party in Istanbul, where he is standing as an independent candidate on a liberal platform.

Turkish nationalists, who are expected to perform well in July's elections, are especially sensitive to claims -- pressed by many in the EU and beyond -- that as many as 1.5 million Armenians in Turkey suffered genocide at Ottoman hands in 1915.

Ankara's official line is that large numbers of both Muslim Turks and Christian Armenians died in ethnic conflict as the Ottoman Empire staggered towards collapse during World War One.

Nationalists are also highly suspicious of Turkey's ethnic Greeks and their spiritual leader, Patriarch Bartholomew, whom they accuse of wanting to set up a Vatican-style mini-state in Istanbul. Bartholomew rejects their accusation as absurd.

As elections loom, the AK Party does not want to be branded by the nationalists as kow-towing to powerful Armenian or Greek diaspora lobbies in Europe and America. Many Turks believe these lobbies are bent on avenging past wrongs suffered by their kin.


Oran said Ankara's reform zeal had long since cooled. For example, it shelved a law intended to ease property restrictions on Christian minorities. It has also failed to re-open an Orthodox seminary near Istanbul deemed vital for the long-term survival of Greek Orthodoxy in Turkey.

More tragically, the authorities failed to stem a virulent form of nationalism that claimed the life in January of Turkish Armenian journalist Hrant Dink. Dink was shot dead by an ultra-nationalist outside his office in Istanbul, triggering a huge outpouring of grief and solidarity from ordinary Turks.

The Dink murder still hangs heavy on Turkey's Armenians.

"Many Armenians wanted to leave this country (after the murder) ... but it is not easy to leave the place where you and your parents were born," said Aris Nalcı, news editor of Agos, Dink's weekly Armenian newspaper.

The Vakıflı farmers said many Turks came from towns hundreds of kilometers away to pay their respects at their newly restored village church after Dink was murdered. "All forms of extreme nationalism are bad," said Kartun. "But here in Hatay province, at least, we still live together in peace -- Turks, Arabs and Armenians, Muslims and Christians." hr>

Minorities To Choose Pro-EU Candidates
 This content mirrored from TurkishArmenians  Site © Click For Larger Image
Turkey's Armenians, Jews and Greeks hope the elections will produce a government that will accelerate the country's march towards the European Union as they see this process as the answer to their feelings of second-class citizenship.

The leaderships of the officially recognized minorities appreciate the reforms introduced by the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) government during the past five years, but members of the three communities may not make the AK Party their first choice when they vote on July 22. Journalists working for minority newspapers predict that Armenians and Greeks are likely to vote for independent candidates, such as Baskin Oran, the political scientist who is an expert on minorities and is running in the Istanbul second electoral district.

But where there is no favorable independent candidate, minority voters are likely to choose the AK Party ahead of other parties. July 22 may be the first time in Turkish electoral history that "the Islamic party gets at least a third of the votes of the Armenians," said Etyen Mahçupyan, a political columnist for Today's Zaman newspaper and the managing editor of Armenian weekly paper Agos. He estimated that in the 2002 elections, only 5 percent of Armenians voted for the AK Party.

The minority communities are tiny -- 60,000 Armenians, 25,000 Jews and 3,000 Greeks in a population of 72 million. But at a time when the world is watching Turkey closely, their influence outweighs their size. The way that the minorities vote is a weathervane of democracy and human rights in Turkey.

Members of the minorities say their primary grievance is a feeling of being kept on the margin. "We want to be real Turkish citizens,'' said Aris Nalci, an Armenian journalist who works for Agos, whose editor Hrant Dink was shot dead by a teenage nationalist in January -- a killing that shocked the country.

Turkish Armenians, Jews and Greeks are never appointed to the country's diplomatic corps, the Interior Ministry, the police and the professional ranks of the armed forces.

“When you go and apply they reject it, but why? We don’t know,’’ Nalci said.

Baskin Oran, the Ankara University professor who has written widely on minority issues, said there is an “unwritten law’’ that bars minority citizens from key sectors of the civil service. “In this country,” Oran said, “Turk means Muslim Turk.”

Mahçupyan said what hurts is not the exclusion from civil service jobs -- “we are accustomed to not having them” -- but the attitude and rhetoric that support this discrimination. The state and certain newspapers virtually tell non-Muslims, “you are different, you have to know that you are different,’’ he said. “This means that you have to be timid, you have to conceal your feelings, you have to accept what is given to you because you are not a full citizen,’’ Mahçupyan added.

During the past five years, the AK Party government has passed a raft of laws and regulations that have made life easier for minorities. With the aim of promoting Turkey’s accession to the EU, PM Recep Tayyip Erdogan has enabled the minorities to register new publications, houses of worship, associations, etc., and he has also strengthened the legislation on freedom of expression and assembly, said Ziya Meral, a Turkish rights activist and consultant on Middle Eastern minorities.

Mihail Vasiliadis, the editor of the Turkish Greek newspaper Apoyevmatini, commended Erdogan for abolishing the Minority Commission (Azinliklar Tali Komisyonu), a secretive advisory body that was believed to exercise wide powers over minorities.

Nalci said Armenians were particularly pleased by a 2005 regulation on “the right to savings’’ that enabled the community’s 17 schools and 32 churches to earn revenue by renting and selling their properties.

In a written statement, the Jewish Rabbinate of Istanbul told Today’s Zaman that the reforms passed to bring Turkey in line with the EU’s Copenhagen criteria “are all welcome” because they enabled the community to “find solutions easily” to the problems of its foundations and other matters.

Patriarch Mesrob II, the spiritual head of the Armenians, went further this month when he reportedly told German daily Der Spiegel that “our choice for the coming elections is Erdogan.” The patriarch later issued a clarification that stepped back from this endorsement but left no doubt as to which way he thought Armenians would vote.

“Speaking truly, the AK Party has lent an ear to our problems,” Mesrob said in the clarification sent to Today’s Zaman. “The resolution on the Foundations Law, which was vetoed by our President Ahmet Necdet Sezer, is enough for minorities to favor the AK Party. Unfortunately the government did not follow the resolution to the end.’’

Passed by Parliament last November, the Law on Foundations would have enabled minorities to regain some of their expropriated properties. But it was fiercely opposed by the opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) as conceding too much, and ultimately vetoed by the president.

The Greek editor Vasiliadis criticized the government for failing to override the veto by getting Parliament to approve the law a second time -- as it did with many other pieces of legislation. Such failures have convinced many members of the minorities that the AK Party government does not have a deep commitment to their plight, but only the same strategic target of getting Turkey into the EU. “Any party in government would have made these moves during the past five years,” said Nalci. “It’s about the EU’s influence, and the greater international interest in human rights in Turkey.”

It is worth pointing out that the basis for the AK Party reforms was laid by the previous government, a three-party coalition, which changed the constitution and civil code in 2001.

Nalci predicted that Armenians will vote for independents such as Ufuk Uras, a left-wing politician who used to lead the small Freedom and Democracy Party (ÖDP), in Istanbul’s first electoral district and Oran in Istanbul’s second electoral district. Vasiliadis said Greeks might well prefer the independents, calling Oran a “very attractive candidate.”

The Rabbinate and a leader of the Jewish community, Bensiyon Pinto, declined to forecast how Jews would vote, saying each makes up his or her own mind. Turkish Jews are believed to spread their votes across the spectrum. But Pinto has previously spoken highly of the AK Party government.

Everyone agrees that in constituencies where there is no credible independent, minority voters will most likely back the AK Party.

“For the minorities, what matters is who will bring Turkey closer to the EU because they believe the answer to their problems lies in EU membership,” said Vasiliadis. “And it is not only the minorities’ future, but Turkey’s future that lies in the EU.”

As to the other two parties expected to win seats in Parliament, the CHP and the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), Vasiliadis said a minority vote for them is “unthinkable.” He said Greeks believe CHP supporters played a role in the riots of 1955 when nationalists attacked the shops and properties of non-Muslims in central Istanbul.

Mahçupyan said some minority citizens would vote CHP but generally, “they don’t like the CHP and they fear the MHP.” Recalling the CHP’s opposition to the Law on Foundations and the other recent reforms, he said that the party “represents the state and all the laws against the minorities.” He added that minorities see the MHP as “an extremely nationalistic party whose policies could provoke street violence.’’

The deputy MHP leader, Oktay Vural, rejected this as a “totally wrong misconception,” adding that his party had served in the coalition government of 1999-2002. “We have no problems with Armenians. They are citizens,” Vural told Today’s Zaman.

A CHP spokeswoman was asked to respond to the criticism, but failed to do so despite several reminders.

If elected Oran said he would push for the Law on Foundations to be implemented. He criticized Sezer for vetoing it, saying it would “alleviate some of the pressures on the [minority] communities and thus get closer to the Lausanne Treaty” -- the foundation of the republic.

Oran stressed he did not intend to represent the minorities alone. “I’m going to be the still unheard voice of the oppressed and the excluded,” he said, referring to gypsies, homosexuals, Kurds, Alevis, university students who wish to wear headscarves, as well as religious minorities. Asked what he hears when he speaks to minority voters, Oran replied: “I’ve never spoken to them, but I know what they want. They want to be equal Turkish citizens -- that’s all they want.”


Turkish Nationalism And Its Many Forms
June 21, 2007
ISTANBUL – Turkish Daily News
Globalization may provide individuals with a wider range of opportunities but it also gives rise to a growing sense of insecurity, according to a study on nationalism conducted by the Turkish Economic and Social Studies Foundation (TESEV).The findings of the study were presented yesterday by TESEV that gathered the contents of the study in a book titled "The Indivisible Unity of the Nation."As a result of this insecurity brought on by globalization, nationalism, as an ideology of the nation state, takes on new forms. In the process of transformation, nationalism can come to mean "reunification" on the level of ethnic or communal identity. Or, it can and does take on a religious meaning, as religious sources of identity compete with others. As well, class and the split between "urban' or "rural' sources of identity compound the picture more, stretching our definition of ?nationalism? to mean very different things to different people. In short, globalization has spawned an age of identity confusion which can lend itself to exploitation and manipulation. "In Turkey there are some pending identity problems that still cannot be solved," said Etyen Mahcupyan the editor in chief of bilingual Turkish Armenian weekly Agos noting that the roots of some of these problems date back to the 19th century. According to Mahcupyan there is a mechanism that reproduces these problems and an authority that hesitates to solve them in Turkey. "But the worst is that there is a nation that keeps silent." The study shows Turkish nationalism as one that is reproduced while being adopted in a different form. The strategy of modern secular nationalism is to gain ground in the face of globalization and to control its existing status, argues the study. The study and the book try to unfold the issues of nationalism not contextually but as to how it is perceived and implemented by ordinary people in their daily lives on the streets, Mahcupyan stated. The book is dedicated to slain Turkish Armenian journalist Hrant Dink, former editor in chief of Agos, who was gunned down by an ultra nationalist youth last January. The study was conducted by sociology academics Dr. Ferhat Kentel from Istanbul Bilgi University and associate professor Meltem Ahıska from Bosporus University together with Fırat Genç, who has been studying social movements and daily life sociology.

Think Tank Verdict: Nationalism Is ‘Driving The Nation Apart’
The flags are waving, patriotic anthems are flying off the record store shelves and political parties campaigning on Turkish values and anti-European credentials are creeping higher in the polls. So is nationalism in Turkey really on the rise?

Not exactly, according to a study published in Istanbul yesterday, June 20, by the Turkish Economic and Social Studies Foundation (TESEV). “Nationalism is less in the ascendancy than in crisis,” said Meltem Ahiska, one of the co-authors. The book consists of in-depth interviews with ordinary people in 17 cities throughout the country and paints nationalism as the strategy that individuals use to define insecurity and social challenges.

Those challenges have been growing in intensity since 1995, according to fellow author, sociologist Ferhat Kentel. The Kurdish issue and the rise of Islam in public life may command the most attention, but even people’s assumptions about their own history are no longer secure. The newspaper Agos appeared to question not just what happened to Armenians in 1915 but how Turkey treats its minorities now. Popular historians began looking at incidents like the war time Wealth Tax (which punished Jewish and Armenian citizens disproportionately). It is also around this time that Ankara began to negotiate a Turkish future inside the EU and the forces of economic globalization began to successfully undermine a closed economy.

“There is not nationalism but ‘nationalisms’,” explained Ahiska. The language of nationalism is a vocabulary of tropes or clichés to define what more often than not is a variety of perceived dangers. Individuals’ concerns are very different. A longtime resident of Istanbul who sees a way of life eroded by new entrants to the city adopting overtly Islamic costume invokes “the nation” in one way. A citizen in Trabzon who sees life as every bit as hard as “those Kurds” who feel they have the right to rebel, invokes the nation in another. Kurdish nationalism itself can be the mirror image of the Turkish nationalism against which it claims to take a stand.

Nationalism externalizes threats, according to Kentel. Typical examples are the view that the EU’s real aim is to weaken, not integrate Turkey; the belief that it was Armenians trying to massacre Turks in the past not the other way around; or the hypothesis that America is manipulating the religious leader Fethullah Gülen to turn Turkey into a compliant Islamic polity. Kentel also describes nationalism as a “guy thing,” the bristling posture you are meant to make if your manhood is under threat.

The study is called “The Indivisible Integrity of the Nation” -- an ironic reference to the nationalist key demand that the country defend “togetherness” at any cost. The insistence on unity is, the authors maintain, what drives people apart. The authors are agreed that nationalist rhetoric is incompatible with the process of democratization, but argue for greater sympathy in understanding people’s different social concerns. The blanket denunciation of nationalism is simply grist to the nationalists’ mill.

“We have to find new ways of talking to each other and discussing difference. The emphasis on unity is having the reverse effect,” according to Vokan Aytar of TESEV’s democratization program.

“The Indivisible Integrity of the Nation: nationalism(s) that splinter in the democratic process” by Ferhat Kentel, Meltem Ahiska and Firat Genç is published by TESEV (Istanbul, June 2007)


Kunta Kinte, 'Armenian Seed', the Denial of Racism!
June 22, 2007
Orhan Kemal Cengiz
ISTANBUL - Turkish Daily News

If you asked a man in the street in Turkey what racism means, you would probably receive a vague answer and some random examples rather than a conceptual definition. These examples most probably would refer to other countries, like the United States and European countries, but not Turkey at all!

For us, racism is what the white man did to the black man. Racism is just an image for us haunting our memories from the film “Roots”. It is the picture of the white man who was whipping a black guy: “Say your name nigger”, “My name is Kunta Kinte”, “Your name is Toby boy”, until at last, after hours of lashing, Kunta Kinte gives in and says “my name is Toby sir!” This is the only form of racism we know.

I have never come across any Turkish person who considers himself a racist. However, racist remarks are just flying in the air in the daily conversations in this country. Our language is full of racist remarks. For example, Abdullah Öcalan, the leader of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party, is called an “Armenian seed” (Ermeni Dölü). If you consider how much Öcalan is hated in this country then you can imagine how “flattering” being an “Armenian seed” may be. “Jews are cowards!” “Arabs are back stabbing people”! Not to mention very offensive vocabulary about the Roma people!

I observe that Turkish people who use racist remarks either as a part of their ultranationalist identity or inadvertently, as a part of their protest against the “games of Imperialist” powers in this country, also have a strong sense of being a victim. They are Kunta Kintes, not the white guy who has the whip in his hand! All this anger and hate arises from this feeling of being the victim – a victim of imperialism, a victim of conspiracies! Where does this distorted identity come from? We have never been colonized, never been captured, none of the Turkish states formed on this territory have been broken up by foreign forces ever! On the contrary, the Ottoman Empire once was the most powerful and feared political entity on the planet!

I do not want to explain at length or analyze the Turkish identity (not in this article at least) but would like to say that being the victim is so deeply rooted in our identities that we cannot consider ourselves as violators. For example, most Turks think we were stabbed in the back by the Greeks, Bulgarians, Romanians and others who declared their independence from the Ottoman Empire. It is very strange, is not it, that a nation that puts so much emphasis on its own independence is so angry with the Ottoman Empire's ex-subjects for their separation from the Empire and for their declarations of independence.

I believe this feeling of ‘being a victim' serves as a kind of block in our collective unconscious. It is a way of turning upside down some historical facts in this country. It is a way of not confronting what had happened to non-Muslim citizens of this country. “I am the victim, not the Armenian, or Greek, or Jew!” Today we still have this feeling and it is getting stronger. We are again the victims of the Western powers' conspiracies against us! We are the Kunta Kintes of the modern times, surrounded by enemies and about to be victimized again by the white man! Are we really!?

Q&A How is the “hate speech” regulated by the Turkish Law?

As I explained in my previous articles for this column, we have a serious problem of “hate speech” in Turkey, especially directed toward minorities. We have an article in the Turkish Penal Code, which punishes incitement to hatred, Article 216 which replaced Article 312 of the former Penal Code. Article 216 reads as follows: (1) A person who openly incites groups of the population to breed enmity or hatred towards one another based on social class, race, religion, sect or regional difference in a manner, which might constitute a clear and imminent danger to public order shall be sentenced to imprisonment for a term of one to three years.

(2) A person who openly denigrates part of the population on grounds of social class, race, religion, sect, gender or regional differences shall be sentenced to imprisonment for a term of six months to one year.

(3) A person who openly denigrates the religious values of a part of the population shall be sentenced to imprisonment for a term of six months to one year in the case that the act is likely to disturb public peace.

I have never witnessed the application of this article to punish ‘hate speech' directed against the minorities. Instead it has been systematically applied to punish those who claim that in Turkey there are minorities or different ‘peoples' other than Turks. By saying this they are supposed to be ‘inciting hatred' within the society! But I have never seen this article pressed by prosecutors against those who really incite hatred towards Protestants, Armenians, Greeks, Jews and others! We Turks are the only Kunta Kintes in the world!


Scenarios In Washington, Facts In Ankara
June 20, 2007
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For days Turkish politics has focused on the “scenario” discussed at a Washington-based think-tank, Hudson Institute. Let's first note that there is nothing abnormal with a Washington-based think tank discussing such a scenario.

I spent 1999 and 2000 at the Washington-based “intellectual research center” Wilson Center and the think tank United States Institute of Peace. I for one cannot find anything abnormal in discussing various scenarios. Such institutes exist for such studies.

They conduct investigations, publish reports, write articles, come up with opinions and discuss scenarios at workshops.

Scenarios discussed may be outrageous. This may even be on purpose. However, they believe discussing outrageous scenarios may facilitate the production of interesting and creative ideas.

In a country like Turkey, which is inundated with a centrist political culture and almost everything is “state-focused” and “official,” it is impossible to comprehend the raison d'etre of such think tanks and their work styles. From our official mindset, the way American think tanks work it is very suitable to come up with conspiracy theories.

Depending on the Washington-based think tank, a discussion over a scenario can be a serious “simulation exercise,” or it may devolve into something silly.

So, isn't there anything wrong with the meeting held at the Hudson Institute, which caused so much hoopla?

There is. It appears, the Hudson Institute focuses on “silliness” rather than serious discussions.

However, the real issue is directly linked to Turkey itself. The “scenario” discussed at the Hudson Institute is on what is taking place right now in Turkey to a great extent.

What are the main points of the scenario that was discussed at the institute?

1. A Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) attack in Beyog(lu that will kill a lot of people.

2. The assassination of the chief judge of the Constitutional Court.

3. A “body” within Turkey that doesn't want the United States to capture and extradite to Turkey PKK leaders based in northern Iraq, fearing such a development would boost support for the Justice and Development Party (AKP).

What is so strange with the United States discussing such developments to debate how it would react?

Wasn't there a huge explosion in Ankara? Didn't the chief of general staff appear on the television right after the blast and say that similar attacks could happen in other big cities?

Wasn't a chief judge of a court in the Council of State shot down? Isn't there a public debate on whether to launch a comprehensive cross-border operation into Northern Iraq? Aren't tens of thousands of troops deployed near to the border with Iraq?

Aren't there discussions on how much it would help the AKP if the United States captured and extradited PKK leaders to Turkey at almost every coffee shop around the nation? Aren't the same people discussing how certain “influential bodies” in Turkey would not want such a development?

Did Zeyno Baran have to go very far to get inspiration for the “scenario discussion” she held at the Hudson Institute?

Didn't Deputy Chief of General Staff Gen. Ergin Saygun last year pick the Hudson Institute to make a speech even though the institute was not that respected or taken too seriously? Wasn't Turkey's military attaché in Washington ,Major. Gen Bertan Nogaylarog(lu, present at the scenario discussion?

After the meeting, didn't Zeyno Baran write in Newsweek magazine that there was a 50-50 chance in a military coup in Turkey in 2007?

Wasn't there a “military intervention” in Turkey on the midnight of April 27 of this year?

Is Ahmet Necdet Sezer, whose term of office ended on May 16, still in office and vetoing everything that comes his way?

The proper question would be why are Turkey's top military officials constant visitors of the Hudson Institute that is perceived as pro-military coup?

In the 1990s, there was a fad in Turkey where civilian leaders wanted to go to the Washington Institute and make speeches. One characteristic of the Washington Institute is that it is one of the most openly pro-Israel think tanks in Washington.

The second half of the 1990's was when Turkey was forming special relations with Israel and Turkish prime ministers who went to Washington made sure they held a speech there.

At the same time, the Office of the Chief of Staff and the Washington Institute had signed an agreement whereby a Turkish military officer would be sent there.

The following are the most respected think tanks in the United States and do not hold definite ideological positions, unlike the Hudson Institute, the American Enterprise Institute and the Washington Institute:Carnegie, Brookings, CSIS, Wilson Center and CFR (Council on Foreign Relations).

In the above think tanks, silly things like that happened at the Hudson Institute do not take place. Former President Turgut Özal, who was the first to understand the importance of think tanks in the United States, talked at these think tanks.

Did you now Richard Perle, from the republican and right wing think tank Nixon Center, and Morton Abramowitz, former US ambassador to Ankara and former Carnegie president, held a discussion about Turkey the other day? Perle noted the special place of the military in Turkey and argued that the European Union was weakening the military and Turkey's strength against terrorism. Perle also said Turkey should intervene in northern Iraq. Did you know, Abramowitz couldn't stop himself from saying: “I have no intimacy with Islam. However, as I listen to these, even I am considering becoming an AKP supporter.”

Do you know that the “nationalists” in Turkey find a lot in common with the right wing in Washington and that this means the “nationalists” are not as “national” as first believed?

Belated denial by Turkish military on Hudson scenarios
The General Staff on Wednesday finally ended its silence on a recent meeting of the Washington based conservative think tank the Hudson Institute, where scenarios that could prove disastrous for Turkey were allegedly discussed at a brainstorming session, also attended by two officials from the Turkish military.

“Participants will include officials from the US government, members of the think tank community and visiting senior-level officers from the Turkish General Staff’s think tank SAREM,” read an invitation printed in the Turkish media yesterday and said to be sent by the Hudson Institute to the controversial meeting’s participants.

Information leaked to the Turkish press on the alleged content of the meeting, which was initially not denied by the Hudson Institute, had raised great resentment in Turkey, reflected in angry statements issued by top politicians and commentators, as well as by the retired head of the Constitutional Court -- whose assassination formed one of the scenarios allegedly discussed at the think tank. The General Staff released a statement clarifying its opinion on the meeting, which observers said was a response to Parliament Speaker Bülent Arinç, who had criticized the participation of military officials in the meeting.

The statement said recent media stories on the Hudson Institute meeting were circulated purposefully to besmirch “Turkey’s institution.” It accused Milliyet daily’s Washington correspondent Yasemin Çongar, the journalist who disclosed the meeting’s details, of “distorting the truth” and having made a “purposeful attempt to defame the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK),” without identifying her by name.

The statement admitted that two generals had participated in the meeting, but denied they had participated in any discussion of scenarios on Turkey. “They arrived briefly before lunchtime,” it said. “Later the participants recessed for lunch, and members of the two think tanks exchanged information on the working principles of their organizations,” it said, asserting the generals’ innocence.

According to the statement Turkey’s military attaché to Washington had not received a written invitation for the meeting, despite an invitation text acquired by the media spelling out the name of the chairman of the Turkish General Staff think tank Strategic Research and Study Center (SAREM) as one of the participants. The statement denied that one of the military officials had objected to a possible scenario on handing over terrorists caught in northern Iraq based on concerns that this would play into the hands of the ruling Justice and Development (AK Party) in the run-up to the elections.

Çongar stands by her news story

Meanwhile Milliyet’s Çongar, speaking to CNN Türk via a telephone on Tuesday night, reiterated that the sentence, “If some Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) leaders were captured [by US forces] and handed over to Turkey, this would play into the hands of the AK Party in the elections” was expressed by a Turkish expert that participated in the meeting. She said three sources had confirmed that this was true. Commenting on the Hudson Institute’s Eurasian Studies Director Zeyno Baran’s denial of the media reports on the contents of the meeting, Çongar said this was most “surprising.” She said Baran had not denied the news stories in e-mails the two had written to each other.

Hudson talk waste of country’s time, AK Party official says

Meanwhile, Justice and Development Party (AK Party) Deputy Chairman Saban Disli said recent scenarios on Turkey, including the assassination of the recently retired head of the Constitutional Court Tülay Tugcu and a powerful explosion in Istanbul killing 50, discussed as part of a brainstorming session in the US based Hudson institute, could have the purpose of forming psychological pressure on the Turkish electorate ahead of the general elections on July 22.

During a visit to a solid waste storage facility in the northwestern province of Sakarya, Disli replied to questions from press members on the Hudson Institute meeting from June 13, the content of which was leaked to the press last week. Officials from the institute have denied most of the news stories.

Disli stated that think tanks like the Hudson Institute always produced such scenarios, and emphasized his opinion that such issues should not be allowed to occupy space on the country’s agenda. He also accused such discussions of pushing real issues and services for society into the background.

Journalist reaction

Concerning the General Staff’s statement, Ahmet Abakay, chairman of the Contemporary Journalists Association, said: “The statement made by the General Staff in connection with the infamous meeting held at the Washington-based conservative think tank the Hudson Institute is controversial. We have every right to expect respect from the General Staff regarding freedom of the press and the people’s right to be informed. Yasemin Çongar, to whom the statement refers, is our colleague and a member of our association. She is a sufficiently experienced journalist, and she has fulfilled her journalistic responsibility in this specific incident. If she had concealed this incident or ignored it, she would not have performed her duty. The incident reported by her is not denied, but verified both by the participants of the meeting and in the General Staff’s statement, which only make assessments on a subjective basis. Interestingly, the statement shows that the General Staff has ‘knowingly’ refrained from showing its reactions and from informing the public. The statement in question fully confirms our colleague’s report. It is distressing to see the General Staff among the groups that do not pay respect to freedom of the press and the people’s right to be informed, but rather defame the reporters who report the incidents objectively.”

Full text of Turkish General Staff’s statement on Hudson Institute

A scenario allegedly put forward at a think tank in the US on the date June 13, 2007 has created wide discussion in our country which included attempts to associate the meeting’s scenario with the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK), highlighting the presence of two TSK officials at the meeting.

The Office of the Chief of General Staff, with the aim of obtaining a detailed view of all aspects of these discussions and revealing the real faces and intentions of the faces behind the current atmosphere, has waited without making a statement particularly in the beginning, but later concluded that the incident has caused enough discussion and decided to make a statement.

1) The chairman of the General Staff Strategic Research and Study Center (SAREM), founded on June 4, 2001, was in the US between the dates June 11 and June 16, 2007 within the framework of a long-arranged visit in order to exchange information on the structure and working methods of certain think tanks, just like his colleagues in many other countries do. The said think tank was also visited, along with four others that were a planned part of the visit. The news stories were written by a reporter who works as the US correspondent of an important newspaper and who was believed to have had sufficient experience in this field. The stories were a distortion of truths, and the wrong comments made by this person across TV stations are taken as a purposeful attempt [to defame the TSK]. The SAREM delegation visiting the US, because of visits planned to other think tanks, only had the time to participate in the meeting very briefly before lunch as spectators. During this course, no speeches of any scenarios mentioned in the news story were discussed in the meeting, and the SAREM members, who had visitors’ status, did not make any comments. Later, the participants recessed for lunch, and members of the two think tanks exchanged information on the working principles of their organizations after lunch.

Under the planned visit to the US by the SAREM delegation, agreement had been reached on the itinerary with the said organization, just like with all the other think tanks; however, no invitation including the scenario had been received for the meeting that is the subject of the discussions.

In addition, the presence of the son of the leader of a Kurdish group in the said meeting was a complete coincidence, with the SAREM delegation making no contact with this person whatsoever.

2) The TSK attaché to Washington was only verbally invited to the meeting. No information or documentation was delivered to the office of the attaché about the scenario ahead of the meeting. The attaché participated in this meeting with the knowledge and permission of the Office of the Chief of General Staff. This participation falls under the regular duties of attachés, and the results of the meeting have been reported to the Office of the Chief of General Staff.

3) During the workshop on “Potential Responses to a Military Incursion into Iraq,” which lasted two hours, our military attaché did not give any responses other than Turkey’s stated views concerning Iraq. The news story about “the terrorists that would be delivered to Turkey,” is the result of pure imagination and it bears the purpose of covering a lie with another lie and defaming institutions by pointing at the wrong target. For this reason, this topic is considered to be requiring a clarification from the said journalist.

4) The developments mentioned above have also been confirmed by various statements made by officials of the Hudson Institute. However, the wide discussions on not the real subject matter of the meeting but the said imaginary scenario create the impression that certain centers are deliberately elaborating on this issue. The purpose served by those statements and comments made based on a scenario that could not possibly be accepted by the Turkish Armed Forces is considered to be a topic that has to be profoundly contemplated.

Note: The text was translated into English by Today’s Zaman staff

Today’s Zaman Istanbul

Swiss Court Rejects Perinçek’s First Appeal Against ‘Genocide’ Conviction
Turkish Politician Loses First Appeal Against Swiss Racism Conviction, Says Lawyer
© AP 2007-06-20

LAUSANNE, Switzerland (AP) - An appeals court has confirmed the sentence against a Turkish politician convicted of racism for denying that the early 20th century killing of Armenians was genocide, his lawyer said Wednesday.
Laurent Moreillon said Dogu Perincek, the leader of the Turkish Workers' Party, lost his first appeal at a court in

the canton (state) of Vaud, where a lower tribunal in March convicted and ordered him to pay a fine of 3,000 Swiss francs (US$2,450; ¤1,870).
Perincek, who was also given a suspended penalty of 9,000 francs (US$7,360; ¤5,600) and ordered to pay 1,000 francs (US$820; ¤620) to an Armenian association, had repeatedly denied during a visit to Switzerland in 2005 that the World War I-era killings of up to 1.5 million Armenians amounted to genocide.
Moreillon said Perincek would now appeal to the Federal Tribunal, Switzerland's supreme court.
The case was seen as a test of whether it is a violation of Switzerland's anti-racism law to deny that the Turks committed genocide in the killings. The legislation has previously been applied to Holocaust denial.

The case has caused diplomatic tension between the Alpine republic and Turkey, which insists Armenians were killed in civil unrest during the tumultuous collapse of the Ottoman Empire and not in a planned campaign of genocide.
Turkey has called the case against Perincek «inappropriate, baseless and debatable in every circumstance.

Call For Proposals For Armenia-Turkey Cross-Border Dialogue And Cooperation Program
Eurasia Foundation Representative Office in Armenia announces an open competition to promote improved dialogue and cooperation between representatives of the non-government, government and private sectors in Armenia and their Turkish counterparts. The competition will support the implementation of cross-border projects by Armenian organizations in multiple areas, including education, culture, youth development, business development, and local governance. Any organization, which is registered in accordance with RA legislation as a legal entity, is eligible to apply. In some cases limited liability companies may be funded.

Eurasia Foundation will hold a pre-bid informational seminar for potential applicants at 3:00 p.m. on June 18, 2007. The deadline for proposal submission is July 11, 2007.

For further details, please visit http://www.eurasia.am


Debates On Hudson Institute Meeting Seem Never-Ending
FATMA DISLI f.disli@todayszaman.com
The media storm surrounding over the Hudson Institute meeting, at which some crisis scenarios regarding Turkey were discussed in the presence of Turkish generals, continues to rumble on in Turkey.
The scenarios have drawn a huge reaction here, with many leading political figures and retired Chief Justice Tülay Tugcu, who was the subject of an assassination scenario discussed at the meeting, saying that they were waiting for an explanation from military officials. However Zeyno Baran, director of the Hudson Institute’s Center for Eurasian Policy, denied discussion of such doomsday scenarios as they appeared in the Turkish press, although the invitation text of the meeting apparently mentions that those scenarios will be discussed at the meeting. Both Baran and the military have become the target of criticism in Turkey, with many quarters still awaiting some response from the military.

Zaman’s Abdülhamit Bilici voices surprise at Baran’s statement of denial, thinking that she need make no statement for the newspapers discussing the meeting, since they had already revealed the content of the meeting in detail, beyond all suspicion. In this context he thinks that it would possibly be the first response for those disturbed by the uncovered facts of such a closed-door meeting to resort to denial. Pointing to everybody’s curiosity about the presence of Turkish generals in such a meeting, Bilici says while questions like, “how could the Turkish commanders sit at the same table with the US officials who played a role in the hood incident in Sulaimaniya?” or “who was disturbed by the possible handover of outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) militants to Turkey on the ground that it would benefit the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party)?” linger in the air, Baran’s statement is of no value. Finally Bilici talks about a recent trend in Turkey that makes those uncovering ugly scenarios a target, rather than the actors of those scenarios. “It is really strange for a person like Baran, who tarnished Turkey’s image by saying a coup is 50 percent likely to occur in Turkey in 2007 in a prominent magazine like Newsweek, to accuse those uncovering this odd meeting of undermining Turkish institutions,” remarks Bilici.

Yeni Safak’s Fehmi Koru is one of those who criticize the General Staff for remaining silent and not making a statement about why generals attended such a meeting, paving the way to the emergence of more speculation about the meeting. Koru finds it very surprising how Turkish generals could come together with the son of Iraqi Kurdish President Jalal Talabani, Kubad Talabani, in this meeting although Chief of General Staff Gen. Yasar Büyükanit repeatedly mentioned that the army was against any relations with the Iraqi Kurdish administration. Thus Koru lists a set of questions that he thinks should be answered by the General Staff: “1 -- Whose idea was it to hold such a meeting? Was the participation in the meeting at an institutional level? Who decided on which level the army officials should attend? 2 -- It is said that the participants knew about the content of the meeting before, did the Turkish attendees not object to scenarios about the assassination of Tülay Tugcu? 3 -- Was Kubad Talabani a surprise attendee? How did the generals react when they saw his name on the list of attendees? What did he talk about at the meeting and what was he told? Does sharing the same platform with the son of Talabani mean there is a change in the General Staff’s northern Iraqi policy? 4 -- Who objected to the possible handover of PKK leaders to Turkey? On what grounds? How did the generals react to such an objection? What is the official view of the General Staff regarding the issue?”

133 British MPs Support Armenian Genocide Resolution
26 MPs supported the analogous document in 2006, while in 2003 it was supported by 63 MPs, an independent French journalist Jean Ekiyan told PanARMENIAN.Net.

The resolution is expected to receive more support in the course of presenting ‘’Darfur and Armenia’’ report at the House of Commons June 27. At the measure British PM Gordon Brown, a historian, will present his stand on the issue “Genocide Denial and the UK Government’s Ethical Foreign Policy”.


Los Angeles Times’ Armenian Journalist Leaves Newspaper For Biased Article About Alleged Armenian Genocide
20 June 2007
Azeri Press Agency
Armenian journalist of the Los Angeles Times Mark Araks had to leave the newspaper for his biased article about alleged Armenian genocide, publisher of the newspaper David Hiller said, APA’s US bureau reports.

Mark Araks prepared a broad and biased article about the so-called Armenian genocide on the eve of alleged Armenian genocide April 24. Managing Editor of the newspaper Douglas Frantz rejected publishing the article. After familiarizing with the article, the editor said that Armenian journalist expressed biased position, which meets Armenians’ interests. Mark Araks stated that Douglas Frantz is biased towards him and demanded internal investigations. After two-month investigation, publisher of Los Angeles David Hiller said that rejecting to publish the article on alleged Armenian genocide Douglas Frantz did not demonstrate any discrimination.
Representatives of Azerbaijani, Turkish and Armenian Diaspora have been closely involved in the event in Los Angeles Times. Azerbaijani and Turks living in the US sent hundreds of letters supporting Douglas Frantz’s position to Los Angeles Times.
Managing editor of Los Angeles Times Douglas Frantz told the APA US bureau that he is grateful to all Azerbaijanis for supporting him.

Risk Rising For Genocide Bill's Passage In US Congress
June 22, 2007
200 out of 435 lawmakers in the House of Representatives back resolution
WASHINGTON - Turkish Daily News

The chances of a resolution calling for the recognition of World War I-era killings of Armenians at the hands of the Ottoman Empire as genocide being approved in the U.S. House of Representatives are rising dangerously after pro-Armenian groups this week secured the backing of 200 lawmakers in the 435-member lower chamber of Congress.

This is a record figure ever obtained by the Armenians and is rapidly approaching 218, which means a simple majority in the House.

The resolution, originally introduced in January by Democratic Representative Adam Schiff and Republican lawmaker George Radanovich is presently pending at the House's Foreign Affairs Committee.

Turkish efforts to prevent the bill's passage first in the committee and then on the House floor have so far been successful but the number of the measure'sbackers is increasing in a threatening way and it may only be a matter of weeks before the Armenians manage to obtain the majority figure of 218, analysts said.

In fact reaching that number would not automatically force House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a Democrat from California, to bring the resolution to a floor vote.

Pushing for a floor vote?

Another group of at least 218 representatives signing a separate and special petition calling for a floor vote is required to push Pelosi to do that. But it is very difficult for the Armenians to collect that number of signatures since most Democratic lawmakers will not want to confront their Congressional leader in that manner.

However, the figure of 218 lawmakers supporting the genocide measure's passage will mean a psychological threshold. If or when the Armenians reach that number, Pelosi herself will likely be compelled to obey the will of the majority and bring the resolution to a floor vote, analysts said.

"Two-hundred cosponsors is an important milestone," said Schiff in a statement, according to the Armenian Assembly of America (AAA), a leading U.S. Armenian group. "This overwhelming support for the resolution is evidence that members of Congress and their constituents believe that recognizing the Armenian genocide... is a moral imperative."

"The Armenian genocide resolution has reached another important threshold," said AAA board of trustees chairman Hirair Hovnanian.

At this pace, the resolution may reach the House floor agenda any time after early September, when Congress returns to work after summer recess.

But still this would fall after critical parliamentary elections in Turkey on July 22.

Danger is growing:

Top Turkish officials, including Foreign Minister Abdullah Gül have lobbied against the measure's passage in visits to the U.S. capital since February, Gül has warned that the resolution's approval in Congress could hurt Turkish-U.S. ties beyond repair, including a disruption of security arrangements.

So far House leaders, including backers of the bill, have declined to actively push for the resolution's passage before the Turkish elections, but any time starting September will be ripe for this effort.

Turkish officials and their lobbyists here are now working to prevent other lawmakers from backing the genocide bill and urging some House members to withdraw their signatures from the list of supporters. But so far such efforts could not stop the Armenians reaching the 200 figure.

A similar resolution is also pending in the Senate, Congress' upper chamber, with 31 senators out of a total of 100 backing the measure. But still Armenian efforts focus on moving on the House front first.

Before last year's congressional elections in which the Democrats won a landslide victory, Pelosi had pledged to work for the passage of the genocide measure. But after the elections, she has adopted a responsible position, Turkish diplomats said.

French AXA partnership also bombed

Oyak Bank's sale to a foreign bank is not the only issue that the OYAK Group is criticized for vis-a-vis their relations with foreign entities. In October 2005 they had to cope with another wave of objections demanding the breakup of a 50-50 partnership with the French AXA Group, a leading conglomerate in the global insurance sector, in a protest attempt as AXA had accepted Armenian claims of victimization by a so-called genocide in 1915. AXA had offered to pay $17 million in compensation to Armenians without waiting for the result of the file opened by a group of Armenians in a California court.

Today's Zaman Istanbul

Swiss Court Rejects Perinçek’s First Appeal Against ‘Genocide’ Conviction
 This content mirrored from TurkishArmenians  Site © Click For Larger Image
An appeals court in Lausanne has confirmed the sentence against a Turkish politician convicted under anti-racism legislation for denying that the early 20th century killings of Anatolian Armenians was "genocide."

Laurent Moreillon, a lawyer representing leader of the neo-nationalist Turkish Workers' Party (IP) Dogu Perinçek, said Wednesday that Perinçek lost his first appeal at a court in the canton (state) of Vaud, where a lower tribunal in March convicted and ordered him to pay a fine of 3,000 Swiss francs. Perinçek, who was also given a suspended penalty of 9,000 francs and ordered to pay 1,000 francs to an Armenian association, had called the alleged genocide of Armenians in 1915 an "international lie" during Turkish rallies in Lausanne two years ago. Moreillon said Perinçek would now appeal to the Federal Tribunal, Switzerland's supreme court. The March ruling by the Lausanne court 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. Ankara has called the case against Perinçek "inappropriate, baseless and debatable in every circumstance." Last month media reports said that Swiss Justice Minister Cristoph Blocher had drawn up a package for abolishment or softening of Swiss Penal Code Article 261 -- which makes punishable the public incitement of racial hatred or discrimination -- under which Perinçek was found guilty in March.

Today's Zaman with wires Ankara

Taner Akcam To File Case Against Turkey To ECHR
The New Anatolian / Ankara
22 June 2007

Professor Taner Akcam, a Turkish scholar and visiting Associate Professor of History at the University of Minnesota, announced that he will file a case against Turkey to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR).

The complaint is based on the criminal investigation launched against him earlier this year under Turkish Penal Code's controversial Article 301, for "insulting Turkishness" by having publicly used the term "genocide" to describe the deaths of Armenians in 1915.

Article 301 remains prominent among the many enduring obstacles in Turkey's path to membership of the European Union. The same law has in recent years been the basis for the prosecution of other leading Turkish intellectuals, writers, journalists and academics on similar grounds. The most notable victims of Article 301 include Nobel Prize winning novelist Orhan Pamuk and recently assassinated Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink.

"Facing history and coming to terms with past human rights abuses is not a crime but a prerequisite for peace and reconciliation in the region," says Professor Akcam. "My goal is to help Turkey realize its full potential to evolve into a truly free and democratic society. This cannot happen if Turkey continues to criminalize academic discussion." His legal team is headed by Dr. Payam Akhavan, former UN war crimes prosecutor and professor of international law at McGill University in Montreal.

The Court will examine Professor Akcam's application and rule on its admissibility within one year. If the application is declared admissible, the Court will then encourage the parties to reach a friendly settlement. Only if no settlement can be reached the Court will consider whether or not there has been a violation of the Convention. If the Court finds that there has been such a violation, it will deliver a judgment which will legally bind Turkey to comply.

Turkish Government Should Find Strength To Condemn Youngturks' Crime, Paolo Taviani Says
Noyan Tapan
Jun 20 2007
"Though no great pressures were exerted on the Turkish side during the shooting of the film Lark Farm, nevertheless, negative responses were inevitable," Italian film director Paolo Taviani reported at the press conference organized in Yerevan. In his words, Turkish newspapers have repeatedly touched upon this subject, mentioning that within the framework of the Council of Europe the shooting of a film is financed, which is against Turkey's policy.

In P. Taviani's words, representatives of the Turkish Foreign Ministry had also applied to the Italian Minister of Culture asking why they permitted the shooting of a film, which is aimed against the Turkish people. In response to the Turkish side they said that "art is free in Italy." "Italy had Fascism, which was condemned, Germany had Nazism, which, though with difficulty, nevertheless, was condemned. Then why cannot the Turkish government find the strength to condemn the Young Turks' crime?" P. Taviani said. He expressed the hope that in future years the Lark Farm will be also shown in Turkey.

Film producer Gracia Volpi said that they had applied to the European Commission to get assistance for shooting the film. Only Turkey was against during the discussions, which, of course, did not impede them from providing financial assistance.

Armenian Genocide: Stephen Harper Condemned Interference Of Foreign Countries Into Internal Affairs Of Canada
YEREVAN (YERKIR) - During a roundtable discussion with the National Ethnic Press and Media Council of Canada (NEPMCC) Prime Minister of Canada Stephen Harper reaffirmed that the recognition of the Armenian Genocide by Canada is a government policy and not "the position of the elected guys" as some insubordinate civil servants tried to represent.

Stephen Harper also said that he finds it unacceptable the interference in Canadian internal affairs of representatives of foreign governments and pressuring or coercion of Canadians and Canadian organizations to follow certain policies.

The Prime Minister condemned such practices, the Armenian National Committee of Canada (ANCC) reported. "As the head of the Government of Canada I can not tell you what to write in your newspaper and foreign governments can not tell what to write," Prime Minister of Canada stated.

On April 24 in his annual address in connection with the 92nd anniversary of the Armenian Genocide Stephen Harper made a statement, for which he was "roughly criticized" by the Turkish MFA. A week prior to April 24 Turkey had "warned" S. Harper against delivering a speech on April 24, where events of 1915 are called genocide.

Canadian Prime Minister was warned through diplomatic channels that "repeating these claims annually will not help in normalizing Turkey-Armenia relations and will harm Turkish-Canadian bilateral relations as well. However, Stephen Harper did not cave in Turkey's blackmail. He stood firm to his principled stand vis-a-vis the Armenian Genocide issue.

It Is Early To Return Turk-Meskhetians
Georgian authorities must postpone for several years the return of about 300 000 Turk-Meskhetians, Zviad Dzidziguri, leader of opposition "Democratic Front" party in the Georgian Parliament stated.

"Georgia is not ready yet to return Meskhetians who practice Islam, on their historical homeland. We say that first of all it is necessary to ask the population of Georgia what they think about returning Turk-Meskhetians. We think it is necessary to organize a national survey of public opinion for this issue.

Political leadership of Georgia committed a big mistake by taking a responsibility in front of the Council of Europe in 1999 on returning displaced settlers to their historical homeland," the Georgian MP thinks, RIA "Novosti" reports.

According to the CoE commitments authorities of the country must resolve this issue till the end of 2001.

About 300 000 so-called Turk-Meskhetians, i. e. Muslim Georgians who used to reside in the south-eastern regions of the country near the border with Turkey, in Meskheti were resettled in Central Asia in the mid of 1940ies by the order of the Supreme authorities of USSR. Currently descendants of resettlers live in Russia, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan and Turkey.

Photographs Sharing The Same Joy And Pain
June 23, 2007
'We are trying to live in Ghettos without knowing each other, making each other ‘the other’
 This content mirrored from TurkishArmenians  Site © Click For Larger Image
ISTANBUL - Turkish Daily News

Two Turkish journalists, Tamer Altunay and Mehtap Yücel have launched a photograph exhibition titled “Istanbul Armenians” at the French Cultural Center as part of ULIFEST this past week.

Altunay and Yücel plan to move the exhibition to France later. The duo aims to extend an olive branch to the Armenian Diaspora. They said that they're already prepared for the possible reactions.

For the “Istanbul Armenians” project, which was published in the Geo Turkey Magazine last November as a photo-interview, Altunay and Yücel conducted research at the Agos Newspaper for two years. They asked for Hrant Dink's opinions on this. Tamer Altunay says, “We are trying to live in Ghettos without knowing each other, making each other ‘the other'” and he said that this project is a reaction against “alienating and excluding.”

The Others

The Armenian Diaspora maintains its harsh attitude toward Turkey and Turks due to the traumas experienced. Armenians and Turks – who made Anatolia their homeland for hundreds of years – have become strangers to each other even more than a westerner.

In the recent years there have been many foreigners settling in Turkey especially from Europe and the U.S.; on the other hand, there are the “foreign Armenians” who have been living on these lands for centuries... Tamer Altunay says that the Armenians find the most meaningless question: “Where are you from? Which country?” and he says, “They're from Bitlis, Sivas, Edirne, Trabzon, Van like us. Our pains are the same and our joys are common. Anatolian Armenians are people of Turkey, they're not foreigners, they have been living here for centuries. They didn't come from another geography.”

Despite the worrying events occurring recently, the right-minded people in Turkey are trying to re-perceive, rather get to know each other, Turkish and Armenian alike. Exhibitions are opening, documentaries are shot, books are published.

The target is the Diaspora

The guest book at the entrance of the photo-interview exhibition in the exhibition room of the French Cultural Center is worthy of attention. As we go through the pages we are faced with emotional and a slightly bitter words depicting a love for Turkey. Eighty-five percent of the notes are anonymous. Altunay and Yücel say that they look through the guest book when they have time. They think that the anonymous notes are related to Armenians hiding their identities due to the uneasiness they live with. Twenty-eight Americans of Armenian origins visited the exhibition, and there is a lot of attention from Turkish Armenians too.

Mehtap Yücel says: “First we make the ones inside us others, then we deny and judge them; if we just got out of our ghettos and looked around, we can see how similar we are.” The two journalists said that they received great friendliness from Istanbul's Armenians during their research. They even became friends with some of them.

Istanbul Armenians in 45 frames

Tamer Altunay said “The Armenians should not be seen as mosaics or cultural color.” Thoughts are also minorities. He approaches the concept of “minority” from different perspectives.

The journalists draw attention that cultures living in Turkey face difficulty maintaining their own living habits, and they conducted research on the processing of Armenian establishments, too. Mentioning that the community establishments keep the schools, churches up and standing with their own dynamics, they stated that they couldn't make sense why these people who pay their taxes, do their military services are made into “others” so much.

The exhibition begins with Grontes Usta, a key maker in Kurtulus who became the subject of novels, and ends with the photos of Hrant Dink. In the exhibition, there are 45 frames of the daily lives of Armenians and it's possible to read stories of their daily lives as well. The exhibition will run through July 7.

RA FM Departing For Istanbul To Participate In BSEC Jubilee Summit
22 June 2007
June 24 Armenian Foreign Minister Vartan Oskanian will depart for Istanbul to participate in the BSEC summit dedicated to the 15th birthday of the organization. Vartan Oskanian is scheduled to meet with the Armenian community of Istanbul in the Constantinople patriarchy.

The BSEC was founded in Yalta June 25, 1992, when leaders of Azerbaijan, Albania, Armenia, Bulgaria, Greece, Georgia, Moldova, Russia, Romania, Turkey and Ukraine signed the regulations of the Organization. The anniversary summit will take place June 25, 2007 in Istanbul.

Over 200 US Congressmen Cosponsor Armenian Genocide Resolution
22 June 2007
The Armenian Genocide Resolution, H.Res.106, continues to gain momentum toward passage with the total number of Members cosponsoring the human rights measure clearing the 200 mark, reported the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA). Representatives from Georgia, Hawaii, Mississippi and New York were the latest additions, bringing the overall cosponsor total to 202.

"We are encouraged by the growing bipartisan support for the Armenian Genocide Resolution as so dramatically illustrated today by the growth of the number of cosponsors for this genocide prevention measure to more than two hundred," said ANCA Executive Director Aram Hamparian. "We value the leadership of the resolution's authors, appreciate the support of each of its cosponsors and look forward to working with all of these friends to see the Armenian Genocide Resolution adopted by the U.S. House of Representatives at the first opportunity."

"Two hundred cosponsors is an important milestone," stated resolution lead sponsor Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA). "This overwhelming support for the resolution is evidence that Members of Congress and their constituents believe that recognizing the Armenian Genocide, which claimed more than a million and a half lives, is a moral imperative."

Introduced on January 30th by Rep. Adam Schiff and spearheaded by Rep. George Radanovich (R-CA), Congressional Armenian Caucus Co-Chairs Frank Pallone (D-NJ) and Joe Knollenberg (R-MI), Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-CA), Rep. Brad Sherman (D-CA) and Rep. Thaddeus McCotter (R-MI), the Armenian Genocide resolution calls upon the President to ensure that the foreign policy of the United States reflects appropriate understanding and sensitivity concerning issues related to human rights, ethnic cleansing and genocide documented in the United States record relating to the Armenian Genocide. A similar resolution in the Senate (S.Res.106), introduced by Assistant Majority Leader Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Sen. John Ensign (R-NV) currently has 31 cosponsors, including Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and presidential candidate Hillary Clinton (D-NY).

Lead advocates for H.Res.106 hailed the continuing growth of support for the resolution and urged swift House consideration of the legislation.

"To have 200 Members of the House of Representatives declaring their strong support for properly recognizing the Armenian Genocide is a tremendous accomplishment," said Rep. Anna Eshoo, who is of Armenian and Assyrian American descent. "I will continue to do everything I can to see that this long-overdue legislation comes to the floor of the House for a vote and that we will prevail."

Armenian Caucus Co-Chair Frank Pallone concurred, noting that "the addition of 200 co-sponsors to the Armenian Genocide Recognition Resolution shows the overwhelming support in the House of Representatives for properly acknowledging the systematic massacre of 1.5 million Armenians beginning in 1915 as genocide. Members of Congress understand that our nation cannot effectively work to end crimes against humanity without recognizing those that have previously occurred."

Similarly, Caucus Co-Chair Joe Knollenberg noted that, "the fact that 200 members have co-sponsored this resolution is a strong indication that it's time to schedule a vote on the House floor. There is significant bipartisan support for giving the Armenian Genocide its proper historical distinction. I commend my colleagues, who have co-sponsored this resolution for giving their support to this important issue."

‘Turkey Would Be Paradise If Conspiracies Never Existed’
Turkey is floating on a sea of petroleum, but our wells were opened and blocked by the Americans. Whenever the Turkish economy flourishes, issues like Cyprus and the Armenian "genocide" are "heated up" and served to the world agenda.

The Hudson Institute scenario, in which a sequence of events including a deadly bombing in Beyoglu killing 50 leads to a Turkish cross-border operation in Iraq, popped up after a real bomb attack in Ankara killed eight people and injured more than 100.

We are the number one source of boron -- the fuel of the space age -- and the Americans bought our boron for nothing for years. They are not in Iraq for the oil of Iraq; they are there for us, for our raw materials. They are gathering Turkish blood samples to prepare a DNA map of Turks so as to create illnesses that will strike us only. We were selling Europeans an unqualified coal and we wanted to change to a better quality, but they wanted to buy the same coal. In the end it was revealed that we were selling them uranium. They are afraid of the ghost of the Ottoman Empire. Behind the hot money operation there is the Knights Templar. There is no military intervention in Turkish history that didn't have the green light from Washington. You should see what we'd be if we weren't hampered by foreigners.Up until the “Hudson Incident” I used to call all of these conspiracy-loaded expressions the “Eastern Complex.” The eastern mind, so it appeared to me, didn’t like real enemies and hence created unreal ones. The classical “harici mihraklar” (foreign centers) and their “dahili usaklari” (internal puppets) formulation never had corresponding real names. Who were the Americans that dug oil wells in Anatolia and blocked them with concrete, claiming that there was nothing down there? Who were the “green light” givers? Nobody knows. But now we know who the conspirers are pushing Turkey into a regional war and military rule -- at least in their simulation scenarios: the Hudsons!

The Turkish term “senaryo” does not correspond to its English equivalent “scenario.” The meaning of the Turkish “senaryo” is largely conditioned by its “screenplay” meaning, and if you have a screenplay it is only logical that you should have a “screen” and a “play.” For the Turk in the street the scenario of the Hudson Institute is a screenplay to be performed -- it cannot be a brain exercise. It was not performed just because it was leaked to the press before it was, and who knows what other “senaryo” were made in other meetings.

Hürriyet columnist Cüneyt Ülsever confirms Turkish people’s difficulty in comprehending the true meaning of the word scenario. He says the scenario in the Western mind does not include the factor of intention. “Turkish people are already producing hundreds of scenarios about themselves every day. The Hudson Institute is a think tank, and it is free to produce any scenario it wishes,” he says.

Ülsever warns that the simulation culture is not known in Turkey and hence the session conducted by the Hudson Institute is over-exaggerated. “It is one of many such studies. There is a game system called simulation. It is traditionally used in mathematics and now employed in the social sciences. Scenarios are devised, and possible outcomes of these scenarios are discussed. In the session at the Hudson Institute, the scenario might be about the assassination of not the chairwoman of the Constitutional Court, but another high-ranking official or about the bombing of not Beyoglu, but another place. Here, the subject matter of the think tank session is what the US will do if Turkey loses its patience and enters northern Iraq,” he explains.

Professor Hakan Poyraz of Sakarya University’s Department of Philosophy does not agree that the scenarios produced in think tanks are innocent brain exercises. “Sovereigns, rulers of the world, are producing various scenarios in some organizations they set up. These scenarios have applications. A great many of these scenarios come true. In Nicaragua, in Africa, in Somalia or in Afghanistan,” he says.

Professor Arif Ersoy, deputy chairman of the Economic and Social Research Center, is even more critical of the role think tanks play in the hegemonic policies of the United States. “We have no problem with the American people. And the American people do not want their own country to meddle in the internal issues of other countries or cause chaos there through contrivances or plots. There are some groups in the US called think tanks. They produce scenarios on how to create disorder around the world. This is what is expected from them. They continually devise plots in order to fuel new disorders in the world. This is their sole duty,” he says.

Ersoy apparently belongs to the stock of people who believe in a secret hand that mingles with the domestic and regional politics of Turkey. But he does not want to discredit all the American, or British for that matter, think tanks and research centers as bastions of political imperialism. “Naturally, a country can establish research centers. There are two types of such centers: organizations established for the purpose of renovation and those for the purpose of corruption. Our center, too, has been conducting studies for many years. We are making plans about the future. But we have never developed a project against the people in the US or in Europe,” he explains.

“As researchers, we do not want to express any opinion without having concrete findings. Yet it is well-known fact that this role was played by the US after the end of World War I. It was later discovered that these centers of corruption had plotted many events in Asia, Africa and South America after World War II,” Ersoy says. He even continues and suggests that “foreign centers” in the US are behind all the terrorist activities in Turkey, past and present. “As a member of a research center, I can state that we have discovered that all terrorists acts in Turkey had been planned by these racist, monopolistic groups since 1908. For this reason, when a terrorist attack occurs, we first focus on who will benefit from that attack. Today, the reasons why the PKK has sown the seeds of hatred and animosity between our country and Iraq have been clearly understood,” he reiterates.

Ülsever says that the Turkish people like conspiracy theories and that this is their basic problem. Interestingly, Turks do not like to conspire for others. “We regard the West as a whole which continually makes plans to divide us,” Ülsever says. Professor Halil Ibrahim Bahar of the Police Academy thinks this conspiracy passion is a kind of sociological reflection mechanism. “The societies that fail to find solutions to their own problems have the basic paranoia that foreign countries continually develop conspiracy theories against them. This can be seen as a reflex action to hold other actors responsible, but not itself,” says Bahar.

Many believe that the conspiracy passion of Turks, which manifests itself in the popularity of TV series like “Valley of the Wolves” or books such as “Metal Storm,” has been passed down to the new generations from the later years of the Ottoman state. In the latter half of the 19th century Ottoman society was almost obsessed with the question, “What happened to us?” After the victorious centuries of the Middle Ages, the Ottomans in the streets were not able to understand why their state was left behind the European states, why the Ottoman army was losing the wars and why science and technology, which should normally be branded Ottoman, were developed in the West and not in their country. Understandably enough the Ottomans were not able to criticize their sultan or their religious establishment or the corrupted education system or the gigantic bureaucracy or the culture of confinement with whatever they have. All in all Ottomans were not able to criticize themselves for what happened to them. So they found a meaningful alternative: “ecnebiler” -- the foreigners. Well, the foreigners helped the Ottomans in that. It would be unjust to ask the Ottoman soldiers that have fought in seven different fronts with tens of different nations to look for the roots of the problem in their house.

Professor Halil Ibrahim Bahar detests this inherited demonization of the “other.” “This is related to the level of sophistication of that society,” he says. “A nation should decide about its own future. The point is how the future of a society is decided. If a society determines its own future, then we can say that it is a sophisticated society. Otherwise, you cannot measure level of sophistication with material wealth or military strength.” Apparently Professor Bahar regards a passion for conspiracies as a kind of dependence on the other. He believes that the same is true for individuals as well. “Who are the strong individuals?” he asks. “They are the ones who can decide about their own future even if they go bankrupt or suffer bad conditions. The same can be said about social relations. This is a matter of perception. If we have perceptions that foreign countries are deciding our fate, then we cannot do anything on our own. Of course, such perceptions are utterly false.”

Bahar turns back to the Hudson Incident by saying: “Other countries will naturally want to talk with the people who will serve their own interests. This is a commonly employed method. Otherwise, why should the US provide scholarships to Turks? In this way, they try to produce people who advocate their policies. This is particularly obvious when we think about the fact that the UK and the US have many poor citizens who need education,” he explains.

Columnist Ülsever thinks that the discussion about the two high-ranking Turkish generals that seems to have joined the meeting is altogether misled. He gives some insider’s information about Hudson Institute: “This think tank consists of a number of people who try to appear in the agenda. None of their scenarios proved viable. I know that many scholars in the US are not aware of the discussion at the Hudson Institute. There are various think tanks. They serve the interests of neocons and they are gradually growing aggressive.”

So why, if the Americans are not taking these scenarios seriously, are Turks outraged? Ülsever thinks that there are elements in the stories that need to be protested. “In ethical terms, what we must discuss is this: Yasemin Çongar [of Milliyet daily], as a journalist, reports that some scenarios were discussed at the Hudson Institute. On the other hand, the General Staff disputes her. Either she or the General Staff is telling a lie. This is what should be questioned ethically. She says she has obtained opinions of many different insiders. She has acted correctly in reporting this incident,” he says.

Philosopher Hakan Poyraz thinks that ethical discussions of such an incident would be more meaningful. The incident itself is an absurd event in his opinion. “Actually, it is absurd to express opinion about the absurd. As Camus put it, we cannot consume the absurd. But we can overcome it with the help of solidarity of those who share the metaphysical fate. This is the fate of everyone. This land belongs to all of us. Scenarios are rendered ineffective only in this manner,” he says.

On issues such as conspiracies of the Americans, Poyraz would prefer to be ignorant. “Actually, I would like to remain indifferent to the issue as I want to escape from the gravity of the impact of sensational scenarios. With respect to these issues, knowledge brings unhappiness. How I wish we could experience the happiness of ignorance. When these issues are made public, we lose our transient kingdom of happiness,” he says. Poyraz is not advocating learned ignorance at all. He is trying to pinpoint the fact that ethical discussion about issues like conspiracies have yet to be done. “The question ‘Can we cause commotion in the territories of another nation or terrorize that geography for our own interests?’ can be discussed with its corollaries and justifications. In fact, we must discuss the connections between knowledge and power, how knowledge leads to power and how power leads to exploitation, making our world an uninhabitable place,” he says. According to him the production of such scenarios by think tanks are only natural. The question to be asked is whether their customers who place orders for scenarios and select the most feasible one have ethical justifications?

Whether the discussion is considered at the ethical or philosophical level or is kept at a practical journalistic level, the Hudson Institute Incident has unleashed a series of scenarios in Turkey. If the American administration is aware of the Turkish creativeness about secretive American involvement -- which seems to have found a real basis now -- they should know how this incident will bring a dramatic increase in the already rising anti-Americanism in Turkey. After all, “Ates olmayan yerden duman çikmaz,” say the Turks. “There is no smoke without fire!”



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