- Warring Pens: The Journalistic Cult Of Personality In Turkey
- What Anti-Defamation League Statements Put At Stake
- Time To Say New Things On The ‘Genocide’ Issue
- Halaçoglu Is Practicing Racism
- Virtual Armenia: A Look at the Armenian Cyber Space
- Are Turkey’s Relations With Israel Crumbling?
- ADL Corrects ‘genocide’ Mistake In Letter, Erdogan Says
- Reports Said Peres Then Called ADL National Director Foxman
- Güleryüz: ADL Does Not Speak For Entire Jewish Lobby In US
- Call By Peres Softens ADL's Stance On Armenian Genocide
- Turkey Is Central On World War IV Frederick KEMPE
- Facing History
- Change Or Acceptance Mehmet Ali BIRAND
- ADL'S Foxman Sends Letter To Erdogan New Anatolian
- The Education of Tayyip Erdogan
- US State Department: Washington does not recognizes ‘Armenian Genocide’
- Foxman: Armenian Genocide ‘Not Our Issue’
- Turkey, Israel In Bid To Contain Damage After ADL Move
- Time For A Plan B Over ‘Genocide’ ALI H. ASLAN
- Armenians Pressure Us Jewish Groups On Genocide Claim Ümit ENGINSOY
- Turkey Looks To Israel To Influence Jewish Lobby
- Increasing Demand For Turkish Goods In Armenia ERIVAN
- USA Opposes Attempts To Make Political Determinations On Terminology Of 1915 Incidents
- Turkish Ambassador Rushes Back To Israel, Erdogan To Call Olmert
- Ataturk's Words Adorn Wall in RSL Headquarters
- Turkey Will Try To Win Back The Hearts Of The American Jewish Community
- Turkey's Jews Disavow ‘Genocide' Move
- Turkey's Jews Unhappy With ADL Move To Acknowledge "Armenian Genocide"
- Turks Unfairly Remain a Hated People Shelomo Alfassa
- Truth and Consequences: Armenians, Turks and Jews
- Halaçoglu: Remarks Distorted, Study Will Contribute To Peace
- Uncomfortable Neighborhood -- The Fight For Nagorno-Karabakh
- Turk or Muslim?Tulin Daloglu
- Genocide: Never Again? By Miriam Rabkin
- US Jewish Group Fires Official Over ‘genocide’ Stance
- Armenian Army Abuses Go Unchecked By Gegham Vardanian Institute for War and Peace Reporting
- Turkish Organizations In America - Behind Schedule Arthur Hovhannisyan Hayoc Ashkharh, Armenia
- Training For Armenian Anti-Revolutionaries Hakob Badalyan Lragir, Armenia
- Kirakosian: The Greatest Threat To Armenia's National Security Comes Not From Abroad By Tugba Altinkum Journal of Turkish Weekly
- "Armenia Shouldn't Follow, But Lead The Diaspora" Panorama.am
- Who Is In Favor, And Who Is Against Opening The Armenia-Turkey Border Panorama.am
- Opening The Armenian-Turkish Border Threatens The Positions Of Armenian Monopolists By A. Haroutiunian AZG
- 92-Year-Old Genocide Update Los Angeles Times
- Hurriyet Fires Columnist Emin Colasan: What Will Be The Reaction?
- Mountain Ararat Cannot Avoid This Global Rise In Temperature Noyan Tapan
- " Democrator" Burak Bekdil/TDN
- In Memory of Haig Varadian By Anne Atanasian
- Armenians Honor The Terrorism (How Brainsick Some Can Get)
- The Intrigue of Constantinople Politics By Kay Mouradian (November, 1913)
- Why Are We So Afraid To Change? Mehmet Ali BIRAND
- Turkey Beyond The Headlines Joshua W. WALKER
- Significance And Weight Of The Ecumenical Patriarchate Cengiz AKTAR
- Genocide Stance Clouds Future Of 'No Place For Hate' Program WATERTOWN
- Security Forces Seized 27 Tons Drugs Last 2 Decades in anti-drug trafficking operations conducted against terrorist organizations PKK, ASALA, TKP/ML, DHKP/C
- Enjoy 'Raki Muhabbeti' With 'Lions Milk!'
- Dialogue Channels Between Ankara, Paris Reopening
- Voice of Mutafyan
- Heirs Of Armenian Genocide Survivors To Hold Third Conference /PanARMENIAN.Net/
- Welcome Home? Joshua W. Walker
- How [Not] To: Armenian Genocide Protest
- Turkish Chilli Solutions To Turkish Problems
- Turkish Organizations Protest Against Armenian Nuclear Power Plant Anatolia News Agency, Turkey
- Why Demand Recognition?Simon Beugekian
- Muhsin Yazicioglu: Turkey Can Not Open Borders With Armenia, Unless Armenians Leave Occupied Azerbaijani Territories
- Secrets And LiesElizabeth Lowry on Elif Shafak's The Bastard of Istanbul and Maureen Freely's Enlightenment, two novels that bravely address the identity crisis of modern Turkey
- New Fronts In Old Battles Review by Robert Hanks
- "As A Citizen I Plead Guilty, As A Fidayi I Don't" Hakob Badalyan Lragir
- Is Dashnaktsutyun Running For Money? Lragir
- The Bastard Of Istanbul Dmetri Kakmi, The Age, Australia
- Bowing To Armenian Pressure, President Bush Withdraws Nominee For Ambassador To Armenia by Emil Sanamyan
- From Washington, in brief by Emil Sanamyan * Genocide Resolution Seen Approaching "Crunch Point"
- Reputed Plans For U.S.-Turkish "Secret Operation" Against Kurds Leaked
- Living In Armenia: The Lexicon Of The Ancients? by Maria Titizian Armenian Reporter US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi will have the final say on whether a controversial Armenian resolution should be voted on.
- US Faces Obstacles As It Seeks To Ease Tensions With Turkey
- The Turkish Denial
- Armenia-Turkey: Opportunities For Economic Cooperation By Hovhannes Nikoghosyan*
- Armenians in Turkey Continue on Same Path By Khajag Mgrditchian
- An Unreasonable U.S. Concern: Armenian-Iranian Cooperation By Michael G. Mensoian
- How To Preach Armenia, Add Guns 'Le Voyage En Armenie' Takes Aim At Informing Audiences On Armenia By Andy Turpin
- The Armenian Weekly On-Line
- Now That Bush Has Withdrawn Hoagland, What Have Armenians Accomplished? By Harut Sassounian
- The Library of Congress H.RES.106
- The Los Angeles Times: White House Has Not Shifted Its Position On Armenian Genocide PanARMENIAN.Net
- Sooner Congress Adopts Genocide Resolution, Easier Would Be Confirmation Of Next Us Envoy To Armenia PanARMENIAN.Net
- Problem Of Normalizing Armenian-Turkish Relations Is Not Only In Recognizing Genocide PanARMENIAN.Net
- Richard Hoagland Himself Asked To Withdraw His Nomination As US Ambassador To Armenia PanARMENIAN.Net
- Armenia Open For Cooperation With All States PanARMENIAN.Net
- Armenia Open For Cooperation With All States
Warring Pens: The Journalistic Cult Of Personality In Turkey
Only having been back in Istanbul from the US for a couple of weeks, there are many visceral aspects of life I find I have to re-accustom myself to in Istanbul…
sounds such the regular ezan, and vegetable sellers’ megaphones on the street beneath our windows, the traffic and driving and, yes, the gently voiced curiosity of my neighbors as to my comings and goings. Much of this is welcome; there is something I miss about it all when I am in America. But there is another aspect of Turkish culture that struck me at breakfast this past Sunday as I shuffled through the enormous pile of newspapers on the table: I am referring to what I would call the cult of personality that surrounds many of the columnists in the Turkish press. Maybe I only notice this because I work closely with the media here as a translator and sometimes writer. But it seems that this cult of personality is peculiar one and bears some examination.
Only about 48 hours after my arrival back in Istanbul, the newspapers and Turkish Internet sites were abuzz with the latest quake from the media world: the dismissal of well-known Turkish columnist Emin Çölasan from Hürriyet, a paper he had worked at for some 20 or so years. To wit, despite the fact that the country is in the midst of its second round of presidential elections, trying to find its way following the early general elections of mid-July and dealing with financial turbulence at home and abroad, one of the main editorials by the general editor of Hürriyet last week dealt with the firing of Çölasan, the reasoning was behind it and how it all transpired. Çölasan is a nationalistic writer who had devoted most of his columns to slamming anyone perceived as anti-secular and/or anti-establishment. The buzz around his sacking read more like the tales surrounding Tom Cruise’s dismissal in 2006 from the agency which had represented him for years, than about the departure of a grizzled old-timer columnist from his regular abode.
In any case, Çölasan’s firing in itself elicited widespread responses from other newspaper columnists, which in itself elicited numerous opinions from readers and politicians alike. But no sooner had the Çölasan buzz subsided when the newest sensation involving a vocal daily columnist hit, in the form of an opinion piece by well-known Hürriyet columnist Bekir Coskun, in which he (Coskun) declared that Justice and Development Party (AK Party) presidential candidate Abdullah Gül would “not be his president” if elected. Not surprisingly, this too elicited a whirlwind of responses -- this time the reverberations made their way to Ankara. When Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan commented on television that “someone who didn’t see Gül as their president could take leave of their citizenship,” it was widely interpreted as a direct riposte to Coskun, in the form of “this is your country: love it or leave it.”
Rightly or wrongly interpreted, this was definitely an interpretation trumpeted by Hurriyet, which suddenly found themselves with a full-scale new battle of “polemic” on their hands. Though the prime ministry issued a statement noting Erdogan’s comments had not in fact been aimed at Coskun, and that besides, they were “violently opposed” to the “love it or leave it” stance, Hürriyet took the ball and ran with it. Coskun himself penned a response to Erdogan’s “challenge,” even bringing his wife into it and the Hürriyet ran both of their photographs, calling on readers to wait and read this important message from Coskun to the AK Party administration. From the perspective of the newspaper, it was as if the top administrative offices in Turkey were actually engaged in a verbal duel of sorts with this columnist.
It is the sheer prominence and importance of the roles played by these columnists in Turkish daily life which interests me. Contributing to the cult of personality which surrounds them is the fact that most of these prominent writers write at least six times a week for their newspapers, a level of volume which means that, rather than researching carefully and basing their writing on this research, they are left to fill their columns with personal commentary and anecdote, even sometimes stooping to devoting entire columns to sparring with fellow columnists at different (and sometimes even the same) newspapers, in what amounts to an odd sort of public journalistic jousting. And when the public journalistic jousting becomes political, the columnist him/herself becomes the frontline fighter for the parties or groups which fit his/her profile. This is a role that you just don’t see columnists take in the US or, I suspect, many other countries. Yes, the fourth estate is alive and well in Turkey. And its main stars are not the newspapers themselves, but their warring pens, the stars of this peculiar cult of personality.
JULIA COSENTINO KONMAZ ISTANBUL / Zaman
What Anti-Defamation League Statements Put At Stake
Searching through news articles published and aired by international media concerning Turkey and Israel would probably yield many results concerning government or military cooperation between the two countries, all emphasizing the fact that Turkey is one of the few Muslim countries with which Israel has diplomatic ties.
Yet this fact changed as of last week when the New York-based Anti-Defamation League (ADL) decided to label the World War I killings of Anatolian Armenians as genocide, reversing its long-time policy of approaching the issue in a more balanced way.
Elaborating on certain news articles found in Today's Zaman's archives can be helpful in focusing on what this article will humbly try to draw attention to: It was only last week that Turkey was the host country of a live, joint search-and-rescue exercise conducted by Israeli, Turkish and US naval and air forces in the international waters of the eastern Mediterranean Sea, south of the Turkish coast.
"The objective of this exercise is to practice coordinated emergency search-and-rescue procedures and life safety measures at sea. By enhancing their interoperability, cooperation and coordination level during the exercise, elements of the three naval and air forces will be able to respond more efficiently and rapidly to potential maritime emergencies as well as to humanitarian assistance in the future," the Turkish General Staff said at the time.
And it was only earlier this month when a veteran Middle East commentator's article posted from the Turkish capital and published in the influential Israeli daily Haaretz quoted hopeful remarks by Turkish diplomats who have been trying to jumpstart peace talks between Syria and Israel.
Recent news articles reflect deep disappointment with the Turkish capital's beliefs that calling the 1915 incidents genocide has neither historical nor legal grounds. Statements made by Turkish diplomats, independent of the ADL's announcement in which it reversed its policy on the Armenian issue, provide strong clues on what kinds of concerns led the Turkish political leadership to voice such strong disappointment.
"We consider this statement, which also constitutes fairness to the unique position of the Holocaust in history as well as to memories of its [the Holocaust's] victims, as a misfortune and expect it be corrected," Levent Bilman said in a written statement, while Turkey's Ambassador to Israel Namik Tan said the ADL's change of policy is incompatible with Turkey's existing strategic relations with both Israel and the US.
Armenians claim up to 1.5 million of their kinsmen died in a systematic genocide campaign by Ottoman Turks around the time of 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 that were invading the crumbling Ottoman Empire.
In a statement published on its Internet site on Thursday, following its first statement announcing change of policy, the ADL said it was ready to support reconciliation efforts between Turks and Armenians after it sent shockwaves through Ankara by recognizing Armenian allegations of genocide, referring to Turkey's proposal dating back to 2005.
Ankara is well aware of the fact that the ADL is solely a nongovernmental organization based in the United States and has no official link to the Israeli state. Yet Turkish officials are also aware of the fact that Turkey's sensitive public opinion would not make this distinction between governmental and nongovernmental institutions, possibly leading to escalation of both anti-Israeli and anti-US sentiments in society. The ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) and its leader, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, known for their firm stance against anti-Semitism, would not be strong enough to prevent such a reaction from the public given the fact that the g-word ("genocide") is a nonstarter if Turkey's friends are sincerely hoping for Turkey and its people to face bitter memories of their joint history with the Armenian people. Genocide is also a legal term and speaking about the tragic events that transpired in Anatolia during World War I is more than just a legal matter.
Israel is also well aware of all of these facts given that its President Shimon Peres felt the need to assure Erdogan that Israel has not changed its position on the Armenian issue. During a telephone conversation with Erdogan last week, Peres reiterated the Israeli position that Turkey and Armenia should resolve the dispute on the nature of the killings of Anatolian Armenians through dialogue. According to the Israeli media, Peres, during the same conversation, also noted that Israel does not control US Jewish organizations, which pursue their own agendas.
Nonetheless, the matter doesn't seem to be Ankara's lack of awareness of what Peres underlined concerning the US based-Jewish organizations as Ankara considers ADL-like statements to be "seeds of discord" being planted in strategic Turkish-Israeli relations which will ultimately have a poisoning effect.
Emine Kart / Zaman
Time To Say New Things On The ‘Genocide’ Issue
OMER TASPINAR email@example.com
The Anti Defamation League’s recent decision to acknowledge that the Armenian “massacres” of 1915 were tantamount to “genocide” has created a political storm in Turkey. Seen from Washington, such Turkish resentment is counterproductive. It only confirms the fact that Turkey needs to come to terms with its own history. When you have prominent leaders of the Turkish Jewish community writing letters to the ADL reminding them that the Turkish Jewish community’s well-being is jeopardized, this does not exactly come across as a ringing endorsement of Turkey’s democratic maturity.
What the Turkish body politic and public opinion fail to understand is that the genocide issue is already a lost battle in the West. This battle is lost partly because of Turkey’s own behavior and stern, uncompromising image. The official Turkish narrative on the question of “genocide” displays all the symptoms of an authoritarian state that has created a taboo. The education system, nationalist press and bureaucratic reflex are all symptomatic of a totalitarian way of thinking where even a slight departure from the official line creates mayhem. How else can one explain efforts to undermine academic conferences on this issue, or the disgraceful treatment of Orhan Pamuk by most of the nationalist press after he was awarded the Nobel Prize?
The official rhetoric of the government is simplistic: Leave history to the historians. What is, then, the logic behind accusing historians discussing the issue in an academic conference as traitors ready to stab the nation in the back? Such conspiracy-prone approaches increasingly produce an anti-European, anti-American, anti-Kurd, anti-Armenian and anti-liberal nationalism. At the end of the day, Turkey is seen by the West as a country that is fighting its own religion, ethnicity and history. A normal country able to discuss its history freely would probably be less alarmed when others accuse it of having committed “genocide.”
The Turkish overreaction to the slightest criticism on this issue -- even when it comes from traditional friends -- reveals a disturbing sense of insecurity, bordering on guilt. But it is perhaps the lack of a commonsense strategy that is most disturbing. For years, Turks have refused to engage the world community. There was a clear reluctance to answer questions when Turkish embassies all over the world were asked to participate in panel discussions and respond to questions -- in short, to make their own case.
What is often overlooked by Ankara is the fact that the official rhetoric did not change the international perception of “genocide.” To the contrary, Turkey’s reluctance to engage left the field wide open for anti-Turkish propaganda. Then, about 20 years ago, Ankara finally decided to engage more seriously -- but strictly on historical and legal terms. What emerged was not a pretty scene. The Turkish view, in a nutshell, is that you have to put things in historical context. There was a war. Russians invaded and Armenians cooperated with the enemy in order to secure an independent homeland. Armenians, in other words, were not innocent civilians but nationalist rebels.
Fine. But this doesn’t change the fact that they were a minority and that the Ottoman state was in charge of their protection. The Ottoman state decided to deport them. What happened during the deportations? Hundreds of thousands were massacred. Wasn’t the government and military in charge of protecting the deported? How can you have hundreds of thousands of men, women, children massacred without a sustained campaign? The legalistic answer is that there was no “intent” to exterminate the Armenian race. OK, so what happened is not comparable to the Holocaust. But isn’t it still “genocide” when close to a million people are killed while the state is unable and unwilling to protect them?
Today what Turkey needs to do is to engage Armenia and start a reconciliation process. This is no longer a historical issue. It is a political and psychological predicament. Turkey should also issue an official apology, but also indicate that territorial or financial compensations are out of question. A monument that would commemorate the death of Armenians would go a long way in creating goodwill from the international community. But most importantly it would start a process of self-healing at home. Opening the border with Armenia would also secure the moral high ground as it did on the question of Cyprus three years ago.
Two years ago, when I visited Yerevan, former Armenian President Levon Ter Petrossian asked me if Prime Minister Erdogan is politically strong enough to engage the Armenian question without succumbing to populist nationalism. I told him we will have to wait for better days. Now that the Justice and Development Party (AKP) won the elections in a landslide, it has an opening to do the right thing. Let’s hope it will…
Halaçoglu Is Practicing Racism
SAHIN ALPAY firstname.lastname@example.org
Turkish Historical Society President Yusuf Halaçoglu was reported by the media to have stated in a conference that Kurds living in Turkey are of Turkmen origin and that Alevi Kurds are “unfortunately of Armenian origin.” Halaçoglu claimed his statements were distorted by the media and provided corrections in a press conference. Let’s take a look at his true statements.
It was, of course, impossible to say there were no Kurds in Turkey. Only 30 percent of those who called themselves Kurds were of Turkmen origin. Not all but only a part of Alevi Kurds were Armenians who had pretended to be Kurdish and Alevi in order to escape deportation in 1915-16. This was indicated by the fact that some Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) terrorists were discovered to be “uncircumcised.” This was the reason why he had said that some Alevi Kurds are “unfortunately of Armenian origin.” Many of these “converts” were not even sincere, since they were known to try to establish churches. The state had in the years 1936-37 used a “house by house” method to identify these converts. He too had “a list of Armenian converts” he was never to disclose. He was involved in nothing other than “scientific research,” and his aim was simply to show to what an extent the Turks and Kurds had merged in a country where there were efforts to provoke clashes between the two groups. He believed that “everyone has the right to find out about his or her origins” and that “everyone’s identity is whatever he or she feels it to be.”
The pro-Kurdish Democratic Society Party and Alevi associations are absolutely right to declare that Halaçoglu’s statements are “racist and divisive,” and to demand that he is removed from office and prosecuted. If Halaçoglu sincerely believed in the scientific and democratic principle that “everyone’s identity is whatever he or she feels it to be,” he would never have engaged in the kind of research he has, and never made the kind of statements he has made. In a democratic society, citizens’ ethnic and/or religious identities are determined only by “whatever they feel to it be.” They are, of course, individually entitled to investigate their origins, but the state has no right whatsoever to investigate citizens’ ethnic and religious identities; it is absolutely obliged to respect all ethnic and religious identities and to treat them equally. It is only Nazi or fascist regimes with their racist ideologies that investigate the ethnic and religious origins of their citizens.
Halaçoglu’s claim that some Alevi Kurds are of Armenian origin as indicated by the fact that some PKK members are found to be “uncircumcised” is related to the notorious claim that the separatist, terrorist PKK is in fact an Armenian and not a Kurdish organization. Halaçoglu’s logic is clearly that “the PKK is evil because it is Armenian and all Armenians are evil.” There is no doubt that his claims are of a racist character and denigrate all Armenians, among them all Turkish citizens of Armenian origin.
Ismet Berkan, in a column titled “What did the Minorities Auxiliary Commission do?” commented on the most serious and dangerous aspect of Halaçoglu’s claims. I quote: “Minorities Auxiliary Commission was the name until recently of a commission composed of representatives from the National Intelligence Organization, the Ministry of Interior, the General Directorate of Foundations and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Its main function was to make life difficult for minorities and encourage them to leave the country. This commission did a good job, and the numbers of non-Muslim minorities have shrunk significantly. … It is perhaps the case that our state has continued to pursue Armenian families who adopted Islam in order to escape deportation and death. … Halaçoglu claims that the state conducted a survey of these ‘converts’ in 1936 and that he has himself updated that study. … Can it be the case that the list he claims to possess is used as a ‘guide’ in the recruitment and promotion of state and armed forces personnel? ... The discourse of ‘reliable’ and ‘unreliable’ ethnic origins in state offices is one of well known secrets of Ankara. … We will only be able to discover the truth behind all this when this country becomes a true democracy, and when the state becomes accountable.” (Radikal, Aug. 23, 2007)
It is high time that someone who is committed to democratic principles and is a qualified and respected historian is appointed to the presidency of the Turkish Historical Society. This will be a test case for the new government soon to assume office.
Virtual Armenia: A Look at the Armenian Cyber Space
By Simon Beugekian
Over the last few years, web videos have become increasingly popular. Only a few years ago, watching a video online using a web browser was difficult, time-consuming and frustrating. Nowadays, almost every single site and blog features a video, and web video sites such as youtube.com are some of the most popular destinations on cyber space. A single clip can be watched by millions of people in a matter of a few hours, and this opens up whole new possibilities for media.
Armenian media organizations have now begun to switch from the traditional media formulae to a more inclusive strategy-one that, without eliminating the actual newspaper, also promotes the use of the internet. This not only exposes Armenian culture and issues to a wider audience, it also reaches a huge cross-section of Armenian society-the youth-that is not necessarily reading the newspapers every day or every week.
The Hairenik Association has been on the forefront of this modernization of the Armenian media. The Hairenik and Armenian Weekly newspapers are online and are updated every week, and the Hairenik now has a fully-functional system for internet radio and Web TV.
However, the Internet is a free medium, meaning it's not just the Hairenik Association or other reputable media organizations that are posting videos online. Sites such as YouTube give every viewer the opportunity to post clips. This was recently labeled "citizen journalism," a phenomenon that is reflected in the millions of blogs and user-submitted clips on the site. The advent of citizen journalism may engender the biggest changes in journalism since Hunter S. Thompson and Gonzo journalism.
So out of these millions of users on YouTube, what clips are Armenian users posting? What videos are foreign visitors to Armenia posting? My question, in other words, is if an alien were to browse the internet, what kind of impression of Armenia would he have?
As soon as I began my informal study I noticed something quite striking: I was expecting to see thousands upon thousands of clips about the Armenian genocide-after all, an informal web search of the word "Armenian" usually yields results that are either related to the genocide or to "fact boxes" about Armenia. Youtube, however, was different. When I searched "Armenian," the most relevant and the highest rated clips were Armenian music videos. This makes sense. Most of the people looking for Armenian-related videos on YouTube are diasporans and don't reside in Armenia, meaning, perhaps, that they need their fix of traditional Armenian art forms. All over YouTube, music videos featuring Tata Simonian, the Armenian Navy Band and other Armenian performers abound. There are also a large number of videos dedicated to System of a Down, probably the most well-known Armenian band. It was also interesting to find some Armenian cartoons posted online, often accompanied by Armenian music.
Of course, music videos are not the only kind of clips posted. Those of political significance rarely make the first 20 or so search results, but are prominent in the first 100 or "most relevant" videos on YouTube when searching "Armenian." There are many informational clips about the Armenian genocide, which can be very useful in educating the non-Armenian public. There are also videos of protests and events organized to commemorate the genocide. Among those, the most prominent are the clips that feature well-known Armenians, such as Serj Tankian of System of a Down.
Interestingly, there are also a good number of videos posted by non-Armenians that deny the genocide and decry "Armenian terrorism." One particular user, who I'm assuming to be Turkish based on the user name s/he uses, seems to have made it a habit to post clips that, far from offering any insight into the events of 1915, paint history with the thick brush of fervent, ignorant nationalistic propaganda. This includes a video that claims Armenians massacred more than 500,000 Turks during the World War I. Another one of this user's videos is titled "Turkish Hero Talat Pasha, We Love Talat Pasha." The number of denialist clips that are offered on YouTube is striking, especially because they come up when the search keyword is only "Armenian." Some people have posted full-length documentaries with Turkish "historians" attempting to deny the genocide.
There are also many videos featuring important political figures in the U.S, including clips of Sen. Barrack Obama discussing the genocide and the now famous Schiff-Rice exchange in Congress. These clips are basically an archive of political statements on the genocide, and must be used to remind politicians of their promises and mistakes.
Another category of Armenian-related clips that seems to be blooming on YouTube are clips straight from Yerevan: clips of concerts, celebrations and other social events. This can offer diasporan youth a direct view into Armenia, linking the two communities together. There are also clips featuring Armenian stand-up comedians, a genre that seems to be growing exponentially.
Other Armenian-related clips include interviews with writers and journalists (such as Orhan Pamuk and Taner Akcam), and some clips featuring the Armenian Armed Forces. There were also a few Armenian TV programs that somehow found their way to the internet-an encouraging sign, though posting those clips on the net is illegal due to copyright infringement laws.
Now, in order to actually evaluate the quality of Armenian-related content on YouTube, I made a relative comparison by searching videos having to do with "Turkey." The results show that as Armenians, we still have a long way to go before we become an important presence on the internet. I simply compared the numbers of clips that are offered to the viewer when "Armenia" and "Turkey" are searched. This is by no means a scientific method. It's actually an extremely flawed method. Still, the difference was huge. "Armenia" yielded about 17,400 video results while "Turkey" yielded 155,000. Now, granted, the word "Turkey" might apply to more than just the country: the bird, for instance. Still, it's safe to say that there are a lot more Turkey-related clips on YouTube compared to Armenia-related clips.
Armenian music videos and educational videos that discuss the genocide seem to be counterbalanced by the overwhelming number of Turkish music videos and denialist clips. Yet, while the Turkish government and Turks in general are using YouTube and the internet to promote their country-with videos of attractive women in bathing suits on the beaches of Istanbul and in the nightclubs of Bodroum, and clips of beautiful Adana as a way to attract tourists (the irony...)-there are only a handful of clips that actually "advertise" for Armenia.
The internet is a whole new challenge, a whole new meeting ground. Within a single generation, the way we receive information has changed completely and irreversibly. As Armenians, we should be aware of this and take the necessary steps to keep up. After all, the printed word and other classical forms of media may become obsolete in a matter of a few decades.
Armenian Weekly Reporter
Are Turkey’s Relations With Israel Crumbling?
FATMA DISLI email@example.com
Just as Turkey is tackling domestic issues surrounding the election of its next president, the decision of an influential Jewish group -- the New York-based Anti-Defamation League (ADL) -- to recognize the World War I killing of Anatolian Armenians as genocide, kicked the genocide debates back onto Turkey’s agenda again. Israel and Jewish lobbyists have so far pursued a policy of siding with Turkey on this controversial issue, refusing to recognize those incidents as genocide, but this long-time policy has been reversed with the ADL’s move, arousing suspicion that something might be askew in Turkey-Israel relations, which cannot be considered independent from Jewish groups operating in the US. There is a widely held view that Turkey’s improving relations with neighboring countries, particularly Iran, has disturbed both Israel and the US, resulting in such consequence.
Milliyet columnist Taha Akyol speculates about the possible reasons for such an attitude change among Jewish groups in the US and connects this to recent political developments. Akyol thinks it was the politics of yesterday that prompted Jews to take sides with Turkey on this controversial issue and it is politics again that has made their stance change. Akyol, for instance, shows that Turkey’s rejection of a motion in 2003 that would have allowed US troops to be deployed in Turkey during the Iraq War and Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal visiting Turkey after winning elections in Palestine as some of the reasons for deteriorating relations with the Bush administration neocons, who are in political and economic alliance with Zionism. He also talks about Turkey’s improving relations with Iran and Syria as possible reasons for the change in stance among Jewish groups. “The Jewish groups do no act independently from Israel. So, their taking a stance against Turkey will undoubtedly deal a severe blow to Turkish-Israeli relations. Turkey, Israel and the US will all suffer from the deteriorating relations,” argues Akyol.
Sabah columnist Ergun Babahan agrees that Turkey’s close relations with Iran in the fields of economics and the military disturbed both the US and Israel, since both countries view Iran as a foe. “So it is not surprising for Jewish groups in the US to change their attitudes and label Armenian deportation as ‘genocide’ all of a sudden,” argues Babahan. Looking at Turkey’s relations with Jews in the course of history, he recalls that Turks always had good relations with Jewish groups and that Turkey is the single friend of Israel in the region. Hence, Babahan thinks that the Jewish groups’ attitude will cast a shadow over Turkish-Israeli relations and asserts that Israel will be the most harmed. “Of course, it is up to Israel whether to spoil its relations with its only friend in this problematic region, among so many enemy countries,” says Babahan.
Radikal’s Ismet Berkan thinks that Israel lending support to Turkey in countering genocide allegations was one of the important bases of relations between the countries, but now it is gone. Berkan associates the ADL’s decision to recognize an “Armenian genocide” with the fate of a pending genocide bill in the US Congress and argues that the front of lobbies to prevent the passage of this bill in the US Congress was weakened after losing the Jewish group’s support. “From now on, Turkey can only prevent this bill with its strategic weight and its blackmailing power over the US administration,” comments Berkan.
ADL Corrects ‘genocide’ Mistake In Letter, Erdogan Says
The US-based Anti-Defamation League (ADL) expressed regret over debates centered on its recent decision to recognize Armenian claims of genocide at the hands of the Ottoman Empire in a letter addressing PM Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Foxman said in his letter that the ADL had huge respect for the Turkish people and has never desired to put the Turkish people and their leaders into a difficult situation, expressing deep regret over what the Turkish people had to go through in the past few days since it agreed to recognize the alleged genocide, reversing a long-held policy, the Anatolia news agency said.Foxman also said the ADL would continue to look for ways to improve relations with Turkey, lamenting the fact that the latest debates strained ties between Turkey and the ADL.
"The wrong step that has been taken is corrected," said Erdogan in subsequent comments to reporters. "They said they shared our sensitivity and expressed the mistake they made. … They said they will continue to give us all the support they have given so far," he added.
In a statement published on its Internet site on Thursday, the ADL said it was ready to support reconciliation efforts between Turks and Armenians after it sent shockwaves through Ankara by recognizing Armenian allegations of genocide earlier this week.
Reports in the Turkish media said the move followed a telephone conversation between Erdogan and Israeli President Shimon Peres on Thursday. Erdogan stressed the "futility" of the ADL decision to call the events genocide in the conversation and Peres responded by saying that Israel's well-known position on the issue of genocide claims has not changed. The Israeli prime minister also said Israel attached great importance to relations with Turkey and promised to "advocate Turkey's position on the issue in the US."
Reports Said Peres Then Called ADL National Director Foxman
"We must encourage steps to create an atmosphere in which Armenia will respond favorably to the several recent overtures of Turkey to convene a joint commission to assist the parties in achieving a resolution of their profound differences. We believe there are many renowned historians, human rights activists and distinguished world leaders who are willing to lend their knowledge, experience and judgment to this cause. We know that earlier this year, Professor Elie Wiesel and more than 50 of his fellow Nobel Laureates called for concrete steps to be taken by Turkey and Armenia to find a way forward to reach the goal of reconciliation, and that, last week, Professor Wiesel reaffirmed his support for efforts to create a body in which both Turkish and Armenian experts can come together to work cooperatively in re-examining the shared past of both peoples. The force and passion of the debate today leaves us more convinced than ever that this issue does not belong in a forum such as the United States Congress," the ADL's Thursday statement said, going on to say: "Although independent scholars may have reached a consensus about the genocide, in an effort to help accomplish the reconciliation there is room for further dispassionate scholarly examination of the details of those dark and terrible days."
"ADL and the American Jewish community should focus their attention on supporting efforts to urge Turkey and Armenia to make this happen," the statement added, though it used the g-word, "genocide."
Armenians claim up to 1.5 million of their kinsmen died in a systematic genocide campaign by Ottoman Turks around the time of 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.
Ahead of Erdogan's conversation with Peres, the Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesperson Levent Bilman said there was no "consensus" among scientists and historians that the World War I events constituted genocide, contrary to the ADL's conviction that there is. "Moreover, it is Turkey who has asked Armenia to establish a joint commission and reveal the historical realities. No positive response has yet been made to this offer," he added. It sparked attention that the ADL referred to the same proposal in its Thursday statement.
Envoy to hold more talks in Israel
Meanwhile, Turkey's Ambassador to Israel Namik Tan, who this week cut short his holiday in Turkey to return to Israel, told the Anatolia news agency yesterday that he would once more voice Turkey's stance on the ADL statement during talks with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert as well as with Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, both currently on vacation.
Ankara believes that as much as Turkey attributes high importance to its relations with Israel, Israel attributes the same level of importance to its relations with Turkey, Tan said. "These statements do not have any legal and historical grounds. They should be corrected without fail," he added, noting that the statements have not been compatible with Turkey's existing strategic relations with either Israel or the US.
Güleryüz: ADL Does Not Speak For Entire Jewish Lobby In US
Assuming that the New York-based Anti-Defamation League (ADL) -- which has provoked deep disappointment in Turkey due to a change in their approach to the Armenian issue -- represents the entire Jewish community based in the United States would be misleading, a prominent figure of the Turkish Jewish society warned on Friday.
"The Jewish lobby doesn't solely consist of the ADL. It [the Jewish lobby] is a general definition consisting of a lot of organizations and their views. Even if we imagine that one of these organizations assumed a certain manner for a certain moment, it would not affect the general atmosphere and the general stance," Naim Güleryüz, a researcher and writer who is also vice-president of the Quincentennial Foundation and project coordinator and curator of the Jewish Museum of Turkey, said while speaking with the Anatolia news agency.
Güleryüz noted that he was also saddened by the New York-based Anti-Defamation League's recent statement in which it reversed its longtime policy by calling the World War I killing of Anatolian Armenians genocide. He, however, stressed that he was not surprised at the statement, given that it might be a result of internal balances and disagreements within the organization itself.
Bringing to mind the fact that the ADL statement came only two weeks after the ADL fired a regional director for taking the same position, Güleryüz said he considered the statement a counter-step to compensate for the step taken two weeks ago. "I've said that it might have happened because of this, but I wish it hadn't happened," he stressed.
The 500th anniversary of the Turkish invitation to the Sephardim to Turkish lands was marked in 1992. Turkish Jews felt it was both fitting and proper to launch an extensive celebration in Turkey, the United States and Europe. To this end, the Quincentennial Foundation was established in 1989 by a group of 113 Turkish citizens, comprised of both Jews and Muslims. Founded and headquartered in Istanbul, the Quincentennial Foundation arranged a three-year (1990-1992) cultural and academic program both in Turkey and abroad -- mainly in the US, Canada and Mexico on the American continent; France, United Kingdom and various other countries in Europe.
"Jewish history is full of sad events which are marked by commemorations and memorial services. But now there was a major event to celebrate. To celebrate both the 500th anniversary of the welcoming of the Sephardic Jews to the Ottoman Empire and the five centuries of continuous and peaceful life in Turkey," the foundation says on its Web site. The Israeli state, which is very influential in the US, attributes high importance to its relations with Turkey, Güleryüz said, while noting that he didn't believe that two separate resolutions pending in the US House of Representatives that call on the US administration to recognize the alleged genocide would eventually be adopted.
Today's Zaman with wires Ankara
Call By Peres Softens ADL's Stance On Armenian Genocide
August 25, 2007
ANKARA – Turkish Daily News
The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) Friday called on Armenia to accept a Turkish proposal to establish a joint commission to study the 1915-1916 incidents, in a move to balance their recent decision on the recognition of Armenian genocide after pressure from Israel. “We must encourage steps to create an atmosphere in which Armenia will respond favorably to the several recent overtures of Turkey to convene a joint commission to assist the parties in achieving a resolution of their profound differences,” said the ADL, in a written statement issued by Glen S. Lewy, the ADL's national chair and Abraham H. Foxman, the ADL's national director.
The ADL sent a letter to Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan late Thursday to express its sorrow over the developments. “We have never wanted to put the Turkish people and its leadership in a difficult position. I write to you with the feelings of deep sorrow that I caused in recent days,” Foxman said.
“They have sent a letter to us underlining that they share our sensitivities... And they confirmed that they will continue supporting us like they did in the past,” Prime Minister Erdogan said Friday. He also said the ADL had rectified the mistake it committed by sending the letter.The ADL stated Wednesday that they have decided to recognize the incidents that occurred during World War I as genocide. The ADL's statement angered and worried Ankara that was already engaged in a diplomatic struggle to prevent the passage of a resolution in the U.S. Congress recognizing the Armenian genocide. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan talked to Israeli President Shimon Peres Thursday asked them to use their influence on the Jewish organizations. Peres reportedly called Abraham H. Foxman, the ADL's national director, after his conversation with Prime Minister Erdogan. Then this new statement by the ADL followed early Friday. “The force and passion of the debate today leaves us more convinced than ever that this issue does not belong in a forum such as the United States Congress,” the ADL said. The ADL emphasized that the proper role of those who deeply believe the controversy must be resolved is to promote and support Turkey and Armenia in efforts to bring them together to begin the process of reconciliation. “Although independent scholars may have reached a consensus about the genocide, in an effort to help accomplish the reconciliation there is room for further dispassionate scholarly examination of the details of those dark and terrible days. The ADL and the American Jewish community should focus their attention on supporting efforts to urge Turkey and Armenia to make this happen,” said the ADL.
Kamhi's letter to Foxman Meanwhile a prominent Turkish Jewish businessman Jak Kamhi sent a letter to Abraham Foxman Thursday and criticized the ADL's decision to recognize the Armenian genocide. “If the ADL would listen to wiser and more neutral words it would not make such a grave mistake,” Kamhi said. He pointed to the Turkish hospitality extended to the Jews escaping from Europe during the Ottoman Empire era and said, “I believe you will be doing your best to correct this unfortunate situation.”
Turkey Is Central On World War IV
August 25, 2007
For those who argue that Sept. 11 plunged the U.S. and the West into World War IV, a long struggle against militant Islam, this has been a dark summer.Yet a Muslim-oriented party's sweeping parliamentary victory in democratic Turkey provides hope in a strategic place, provided Europe, the U.S. and the Turks themselves don't squander the opportunity.
“Turkey is to our national security now what Germany was in the Cold War,'' says Richard Holbrooke, a veteran U.S. diplomat who served as ambassador to Germany and is now adviser to Hillary Clinton. “It is our new frontline state.''Former Afghanistan Finance Minister Ashraf Ghani sees Turkey's centrality emerging from its position on the three critical fault lines of our times: between order and disorder, between moderate and extremist Islam, and between the Western and Islamic world.
Those fault lines have never looked more perilous. Iraq is sliding toward a vicious civil war abetted by American domestic politics that don't grasp the stakes. Iran is advancing its malignant regional and atomic ambitions. A nuclear-tipped Pakistan grows more unstable, while al-Qaeda and the Taliban regroup within its borders. Afghanistan is slipping, Hamas has taken Gaza, and Hezbollah threatens Lebanon. European-based Muslim extremists struck the UK again and promise to do the same elsewhere.
That only heightens the importance of the July 22 parliamentary victory of Turkey's Islamic-rooted Justice and Development Party, or AKP, giving it unprecedented political dominance. It gained some 47 percent of the vote, adding 12 points to its 2002 victory and landing 341 of 550 seats.
In that victory lies a rare example of a Muslim-oriented party leading a lively, democratic system that continues to separate mosque and state and protects secular and minority rights.
That is also why the current debate in Turkey falls too short. It focuses on whether the AKP should install as president, the bastion of its national secularism, a pious Muslim whose wife wears a headscarf. Buoyed by its victory, the party renominated Foreign Minister Abdullah Gül, whose presidential candidacy the military blocked in April. He will probably be elected by the parliament's third round of voting Aug. 28, assuming the military doesn't risk the social and economic cost of intervening again.
Yet the point isn't what his wife wears but what the Turkish political transformation from military-enforced secularism to Muslim-oriented leadership means to our fragile times.
Many dislike the notion of Turkey as a player in World War IV, following World Wars I, II and the Cold War. That's partly due to the term's roots among neoconservatives and the false inference that President George W. Bush's ``War on Terror'' has a military solution.
Johns Hopkins University Professor Eliot A. Cohen, writing in the Wall Street Journal two months after Sept. 11, argued that World War IV -- like the Cold War -- would be global, have ideology at its core and above all require the mobilization of soft power: skills, expertise and resources.
The Bush administration has failed most profoundly in underestimating the ideological challenge and overestimating the effectiveness of force. Anti-Americanism has grown rapidly in Turkey, with only 9 percent of Turks having a favorable view of the U.S., according to a Pew Research Center poll, down from 52percent in a 2000 survey by the U.S. State Department.
Favoring bin Laden:
Turks are three times as likely to have a favorable view of Osama bin Laden as they are of Bush. The European Union has also suffered due to its own reluctance to embrace Turkey. Turks' favorable view of the EU has fallen to 28 percent this year from 57 percent in 2004.
So with that in mind, here's what Europe, the U.S. and above all Turkey must do to ensure this summer's shift has a happy ending.
EU leaders and citizens must agree that Turkey is the most critical geopolitical challenge and that the only thing riskier than absorbing it as an EU member would be to shut it out on religious grounds. French President Nicolas Sarkozy must reflect on the broader consequences of his dangerous opposition to Turkey's membership.
The U.S. must avoid more damage during the Bush administration. That will require providing Turkey with help combating PKK Kurdish terrorist cells operating along its border with northern Iraq, if only to ensure the Turkish military itself doesn't do so. Congress must also resist the temptation to pass pending bills branding the Ottoman Empire's actions against Armenians as genocide. Irrespective of the facts of the argument, such resolutions have been blocked before by U.S. presidents and the timing now is particularly inopportune because it could inflame a country that is critical to U.S. supply lines for Iraq.
Yet the greatest responsibility rests upon the Turks, particularly Prime Minister Recep Erdogan and his party. The irony is that the AKP, whose predecessor parties were hounded and outlawed for being too openly Islamic, remade itself as a pro- Europe, pro-secular force and has now replaced the Turkish military as the guarantor of Turkey's democratic future. At the same time, secular parties must regroup to provide a more viable opposition that keeps the AKP honest.
Turkey's historic shift, however, invests the AKP with greatly increased responsibility. It must tame the extremists in its ranks who prefer Islamic to constitutional law, and combat al-Qaeda cells and assorted threats in the country. And even as it establishes closer relations with the Islamic world, which can benefit the West, it needs to preserve its ties to NATO and its EU membership aspirations.None of this means the West can afford to shift attention to Turkey from Iran, Iraq, Pakistan and Afghanistan, any more than it could ignore the Warsaw Pact and focus on Germany during the Cold War. But just as Germany's fate was crucial then, so toocould Turkey's be decisive now.
August 25, 2007
We have to understand that history is not just a record of victories; there are as well defeats, retreats, treason, bravery, intrigues, sorrows and joy
It is rather difficult for us Turks to accept that history is not just a book recording the victories of our glorious nation: It is not. There are, of course, defeats, retreats as well as treason, bravery, intrigues, sorrows, joy and all other aspects of the human dimension which together with the victories form the history of our nation.
It is still some sort of a taboo for many people in our society to talk about the Sept. 6-7, 1955, incidents when the Greek minority of Istanbul were compelled to leave their homes, their country, and settle in Greece. Was it a voluntary emigration movement? It was not. Years later it became evident that some elements in the Turkish state instigated all the trouble by spreading false rumors to the effect that the house where the founder of modern Turkey, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, was born had been torched in Thessalonica. Do we think the Turkish state owes an apology to the Turkish citizens who were forced to leave their country and settle in Greece? Indeed, it is long overdue. It has since been verified that the Turkish state was actually responsible for what happened on Sept. 6 and 7 to our Greek Orthodox minority because of the state-sponsored -or some state element sponsored- attack on them by an ultra-nationalist mob.
Are not the Sept. 6-7 incidents part of Turkish history? It is sad, but they are. If we want to draw lessons from history we have to concede this reality, teach it at our schools and make sure that no such thing could ever be allowed to happen in our country again.
Turkey is not of course the sole country with such a shallow historical understanding. Even today, it is rather dangerous for Greek scholars to write about how Izmir (the Smyrna of the time) was torched and burnetdown by the retreating Greek occupation force and some local Greeks collaborating with them.
Or, just recently, two Greek Cypriots disclosed that they were eyewitnesses to a mass murder of Turkish Cypriots executed by some senior officials of the Greek Cypriot state. After their remarks published in the Greek daily Politis they became the most hated people in their community.
Yusuf Halaçoglu, the chairman of a state-sponsored organization, the Turkish History Society, has been in the headlines these days with some “awkward” statements regarding the “real identity” of some Kurdish Alevis and Turkish Alevis.
According to comments made by Halaçoglu during a seminar that while Kurdish Alevis racially belonged to a Turkmen tribe, the Turkish Alevis were Armenians who converted to Islam to escape a forced resettlement program in the first quarter of the last century. Some people are attacking Halaçoglu and accusing him of being an “ultra nationalist,” some are even implying that he is a racist. Some members of the Alevite community are preparing to take him to court. In the ultra-nationalist segments, Halaçoglu most probably has become a hero once again.
Well, we are neither historians nor ethnologist to judge the accuracy of the claims made by Halaçoglu. He says he has a list of names of the Armenian families who converted to Islam, became Alevite and took Turkish Muslim names. If he has such a list, does that mean there is such information in the state archives? If there is such information in the state archives, has it ever been used in a discriminative manner, let's say in recruitments, promotions or the such?
These questions must be answered by the relevant state bodies. Discrimination is a crime.
But, I would like to recall a famous saying before continuing further on the Halaçoglu case. It is said that the bravest of the gypsies start to list his crimes when he attempts to explain how courageous a man he is.
The ethnic “Turkiskness” of the Kurdish population of this country has long been the subject of an intense campaign. Once upon a time they were just “mountain Turks” and the noise they created while walking on snow “kart kurt” in time became Kurd, thus the official rhetoric once was that they were no different than other Turks. Perhaps Halaçoglu is just providing some further depth to that myth with his Turkmen Kurds thesis. Is not that a pure act of racism?
Did not Halaçoglu, as the chairman of the state-sponsored Turkish History Society, implicitly accept that there was such an immense human trauma in the first quarter of the last century that thousands or hundreds of thousands of “Christian Armenians” “voluntarily” converted to Islam?
Of course neither I nor any one else of Turkey's 70 million people can be held accountable for what might have happened in the first quarter of the last century to Turkey's Armenians. But, is it not the responsibility of the state to engage in serious research into so-called genocide claims without committing itself to a policy of absolute denial? Why should we wait for Armenians to join such an effort in Turkey? Or, why should we spend efforts to convince – today the Anti-Defamation League tomorrow who knows which country or what organization – others that there was no such shame in our history while we can indeed invite historians from all over the world, provide them all the liberties and access to archives and come up with a credible record of what might have indeed happened?
Change Or Acceptance
August 25, 2007
Mehmet Ali BIRAND
The US Congress is almost certainly going to approve the Armenian Resolutions. The deathblow was dealt when a most important Jewish Group changed attitude. We, however, manage to do nothing beyond simplistic lobbying. We seem to be bowing to our ‘fate.’
You are probably aware of the latest developments.
The American Jewish Committee (AJC), a leading Jewish Group, and the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) have announced their decision to recognize the 1915 Armenian events as genocide.
This is an extremely significant development.
Until now, these two groups supported the Turkish arguments on the “genocide” issue, recognizing the Jewish holocaust as the only genocide in history. They had no wish to admit the Armenians into international genocide-related campaigns.
It is thanks to this attitude of the American Jews--also supported by Israel--that Turkey has been able to successfully block Armenian resolutions in the US Congress until now. The strong Jewish lobby is no longer going to support the Turkish argument.
This change in attitude happened at such a critical moment that it almost guaranteed the approval of the final Armenian resolution waiting to pass through Congress. Currently 225 US representatives have signed on to this resolution, which will probably pass during the coming months or in the first two quarters of 2008 (right before the US Presidential elections).
What is Ankara doing against all this?
Nothing, outside of some lobbying. Perhaps Ankara doesn't yet know this, but the prevention of this resolution through lobbying is no longer a possibility. Blackmailing Washington or Israel, France or other EU countries cannot block genocide resolutions. Turkey has two options now.
The first is to effect a radical policy change and to summon all its diplomatic means to first establish diplomatic relations with Armenia and then to open the borders between the two countries and go on from there.
The second is to accept what it cannot change and suffer the consequences:
To be internationally isolated and to live with the genocide label.
ADL'S Foxman Sends Letter To Erdogan
The New Anatolian / Ankara
24 August 2007
I feel deeply sorry over discussions that erupted after the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) changed its stance on the incidents of 1915, said Abraham Foxman, President of the ADL, in a letter sent to Turkish Premier Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Friday.
"We have utmost respect for you and the Turkish people. We had no intention to put the Turkish people or its leaders in a difficult position. I am writing this letter to you to express our sorrow over what we have caused for the leadership and people of Turkey in the past few days," told Foxman in his letter.
Foxman added in his letter that "the ADL will work to strengthen relations with Turkey. It makes our pain worse to see that the recent discussions have caused tension in our friendly ties".
ADL President Abraham Foxman indicated in a statement posted on the group's web-site on Wednesday that his organization had come to share the view that the incidents of 1915 "were indeed tantamount to genocide," but added that the organization maintained its opposition against bringing the issue to Congressional floor.
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said earlier that the American-Jewish lobby had corrected its "mistake" by sending the new letter, saying that the ADL shared Turkey's sensitivities over the issue.
"They expressed willingness to extent support in their full capacity just as they had done before," he told reporters after casting his ballot for the second round of presidential election on Friday.
ADL’s National Director Foxman (L) and Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan embrace as Erdogan leaves a breakfast meeting of the organization in June 2005.
The Education of Tayyip Erdogan
August 23, 2007
By Serhan Cevik | London
© 2007 Morgan Stanley
What matters for a successful political career is the ability to read what the voters think. Academic credentials are not enough to make a good politician. What matters most for a successful political career is the ability to read what the voters think and say in elections. Turkish history offers many examples of the rise and fall of politicians who either captured the imagination of voters or failed to decipher the public’s mind. Take, for example, the 2002 elections that removed an entire generation of politicians. For more than a decade, Turkish voters kept supporting the same set of parties but ended up with political and economic instability in return. However, the devastating crisis in 2001 — a result of bad governance in the past — turned out to be a wake-up call and led to an unprecedented consolidation of the political landscape. That was how Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan’s Justice and Development (AK) Party gained the ‘surprising’ lead in elections and formed the country’s first single-party government in a very long while. Realising the extent of social transformation, Mr. Erdogan has moved from the fringes to the political centre and, despite occasional slippages, stayed on top of the agenda for change. A favourable external environment, prudent economic policies and wide-ranging structural and institutional reforms set the stage for the normalisation of the Turkish economy and the AKP’s landslide victory in this year’s elections.
Economic normalisation is the most important factor behind the latest election results. To the surprise of many observers, the AK Party secured 46.7% of the votes in the recent parliamentary elections, increasing its share by 36.5% from 34.2% of the votes in 2002 and winning more than enough seats in parliament to form a new single-party government. This is indeed an unusual performance, comparable to only one similar episode back in the 1950s, but it is not fundamentally surprising. After all, economic conditions and prospects are the most important factor for 78% of the voters, and Turkey has enjoyed an uninterrupted surge in economic growth from an average of 3.6% a year between 1990 and 2002 to 7.4% in the past five years and dramatic disinflation from 71.7% into the single-digit territory. With the moderation of macroeconomic volatility, per capita income increased from US$2,620 in 2002 to US$5,477 last year, raising hundreds of thousands of people out of poverty. Accordingly, income distribution showed steady improvement, with the combined share of middle-income households rising from 44.6% of all income in 2002 to the all-time high of 49.5% in 2005 (see The Rise of the Middle Class, May 14, 2007). No wonder the AK Party achieved most of its gains among low- and middle-income groups who represent the majority of Turkish society. In other words, the voters dismissed the so-called ‘clash between secularists and religion’ and voted for economic stability and political normalisation in Turkey.
The election result is the renewal of the mandate for economic and institutional modernisation. Prime Minister Erdogan’s election victories — in 2002 and even more so this year — represent not the rise of the ‘periphery’ but the triumph of the centre, in our view. Indeed, the great majority of Turks stand in the political centre and express no interest in an adventurous reorientation of the country’s political regime. Surveys show that what matters for the voters is the state of economic conditions and the quality of life in general. This is why we see the election result as the renewal of the mandate for modernising Turkey’s economy and institutions. In short, the voters have asked Mr. Erdogan to stay right in the middle of the political spectrum and push ahead with a broader set of reforms that will modernise anachronistic institutions and enhance economic performance. Although the IMF-supported stabilisation programme and the start of membership negotiations with the EU have already led to significant progress, the new government still needs to deepen the agenda for economic and institutional reforms (see A Big Bang Theory of Convergence, June 8, 2007).
Turkish voters have given a lesson in the politics of structural reforms. Our research indicates that Turkey can grow at 7-7.5% on a sustained basis and become a trillion dollar economy over the next 10 years — or even earlier if we take into account the expected data revision (see Trillion Dollar Economy, July 18, 2007). However, normalising macroeconomic conditions is just the beginning of a challenging development path. Therefore, what Turkey now needs is the consolidation of macroeconomic stability and the new generation of reforms aimed at removing microeconomic bottlenecks and bringing greater integration with the global economy. The list is long and covers a wide range of issues from public administration to energy, social security, taxation, labour market regulations and education. It looks complex, but the objective is quite simple. The voters demand better economic conditions, and that depends on the economy’s capacity to innovate and create jobs. For that reason, the task assigned to Mr. Erdogan’s government is to improve human capital, increase participation in the labour force and develop a business environment that would help create more, better-paying jobs. In our view, Turkey certainly has the strength and potential to achieve such a transformation, even against the challenges of global imbalances, and the prime minister is unlikely to waste this historic opportunity.
US State Department: Washington does not recognizes ‘Armenian Genocide’
23 Aug 2007
Acting State Department Spokesman Gonzalo Gallegos in a State Department regular news briefing said that Washington has not changed its position regarding so-called Armenian genocide, APA’s US bureau reports.
Mr.Gallegos commenting on recent dismissal of several senior officials of the US Jewish organization-Anti-Defamation League for recognizing so-called genocide said, “Commemorating the victims of the tragic events of 1915 we wish Turkey and Armenia come to a sincere dialogue regarding their pasts. We are against drawing political conclusions on the basis of the terminology of these events,” he underlined. /APA/
Foxman: Armenian Genocide ‘Not Our Issue’
August 23, 2007
Abe Foxman put his foot in it during his interview with the Jewish Forward discussing the Armenian genocide. His tortured defense of his actions continue to ring false. First he claims he didn't make a mistake when everybody and their bubbe knows he did. In this explanation, he makes it appear that the Armenian community, rather than historical truth or moral justice, forced him to concede to using the word "genocide:"
We’ve never denied that there was a massacre, we [just] didn’t engage in the g-word,” Foxman said. “Now, they’ve insisted on the g-word. Fine.
The problem for Abe Foxman is that everything is a political consideration and nothing is a moral consideration. For him, there are interests, but not values. How can the ADL continue to allow itself to be led by such a morally vacuous personality?
And furthermore, Foxman makes the astounding contention that the Armenian genocide is not an issue with which the ADL should deal:
I still don’t think it’s our issue, but so many people believe it is our issue… I said okay,” Foxman said.
Not "our issue?" If genocide is not an issue for the ADL then what is? What were they created for? If Leo Frank's lynching was worth protesting in 1913 why isn't Armenian genocide?
I can't begin to explain how misplaced Abe Foxman's priorities are. At least one senior ADL leader understands this:
“Are we an organization of principle? Are we an organization that will stand up for what’s right and wrong? Or are our principles put through some kind of filter that involves Israel’s self-interest?”, said a member of ADL’s national executive committee who requested anonymity. There is “that subtext here.”
Turkey, Israel In Bid To Contain Damage After ADL Move
Turkish officials voiced "deep disappointment" on Thursday over an influential US Jewish group's labeling of the World War I killing of Anatolian Armenians as genocide, stressing that calling the 1915 incidents genocide has neither historical nor legal grounds.
Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan expressed concern over the Anti-Defamation League's move during a phone conversation with his Israeli counterpart, Shimon Peres, Israeli officials said. Erdogan stressed the "futility" of the organization's decision to call the events as genocide in the conversation and Peres responded saying that Israel's well known position on the issue of genocide claims has not changed. The Israeli prime minister also said Israel attached great importance to relations with Turkey and promised to "advocate Turkey's position on the issue in the US."
Separately, Foreign Minister Abdullah Gül voiced Ankara's uneasiness and disappointment with the ADL move during a meeting with Israel's outgoing ambassador to Turkey, Pinhas Aviv, who paid a visit to the minister at his office at ministry headquarters on Thursday. Turkish diplomats warned that the ADL statement might have negative impacts on Turkish-Israeli as well as on Turkey-US relations.
The New York-based Anti-Defamation League earlier this week reversed its longtime policy by calling the World War I killing of Anatolian Armenians genocide -- a change that comes days after the ADL fired a regional director for taking the same position. ADL Director Abraham Foxman's statement that the killings of Armenians by Muslim Turks "were indeed tantamount to genocide" came after weeks of controversy in which critics questioned whether an organization dedicated to remembering Holocaust victims could remain credible without acknowledging the Armenian killings as genocide.
Israeli news reports said yesterday that Turkish Ambassador Namik Tan was cutting short his holiday in Turkey to return to Israel and express Turkey's concerns over the ADL decision to Israeli officials. But Foreign Ministry officials denied the reports, saying Tan was due to return to work since his vacation ended.
Armenians claim up to 1.5 million of their kinsmen died in a systematic genocide campaign by Ottoman Turks around the time of 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.
Late on Wednesday, Foreign Ministry spokesperson Levent Bilman said in a statement that there was no "consensus" among scientists and historians that events of World War I constituted genocide, contrary to the ADL's conviction that there is. "Moreover, it is Turkey who has asked Armenia to establish a joint commission and reveal the historical realities. No positive response has yet been made to this offer. The ADL's attempt to rewrite history via a decision it made is constituting a contradiction and its justification cannot be understood," Bilman said, referring to the fact that Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan sent a letter to Armenian President Robert Kocharian in 2005, inviting him to establish a joint commission of historians and experts from both Turkey and Armenia to study the events of 1915 in the archives of Turkey, Armenia and other relevant countries around the world.
Bilman recalled that the decision announced by ADL Director Foxman also emphasized that they "continue to firmly believe that a Congressional resolution on such matters is a counterproductive diversion and will not foster reconciliation between Turks and Armenians and may put at risk the Turkish Jewish community and the important multilateral relationship between Turkey, Israel and the United States."
"On the other hand, the Jewish community in our country is a part of our society and there isn't any particularity that they should fear of concerning developments related to the Armenian allegations," Bilman said. "We consider this statement, which also constitutes fairness to the unique position of the Holocaust in the history as well as to memories of its [Holocaust's] victims, as a misfortune and expect it be corrected," he concluded.
Meanwhile in Washington, the US administration made clear that its policy on the Armenian issue remained unchanged. "Our policy remains. It's clear. We mourn the victims of the tragic events of 1915 and call on Turks and Armenians to come to terms with the past through candid and heartfelt dialogue. We oppose attempts to make political determinations on the terminology of this tragedy," Gonzalo R. Gallegos, director of the Office of Press Relations at the State Department, told reporters on Wednesday.
Ankara doesn't exclude the probability of pressure on the ADL from certain US Congress members. Two separate resolutions are pending in the US Senate and House of Representatives urging the administration to recognize the killings as genocide. Turkey has warned that passage of the resolutions in the US Congress would seriously harm relations with Washington and impair cooperation in Iraq and Afghanistan. The US administration has said it is opposed to the resolution, but the congressional process is an independent one. In his message on April 24, which Armenians claim marks the anniversary of the beginning of a systematic genocide campaign at the hands of the late Ottoman Empire, US President George W. Bush adhered to the administration policy of not referring to the incident as genocide.
Today’s Zaman Ankara
Time For A Plan B Over ‘Genocide’
ALI H. ASLAN firstname.lastname@example.org
Here we go. The Anti Defamation League (ADL) has issued a statement acknowledging the Armenian "genocide." This is the first public endorsement of the Armenian cause by a prominent American Jewish organization. Am I surprised? Not necessarily -- I sort of knew it was coming. From my conversations with representatives of American Jewish lobby groups, I had the impression that there was no consensus on this controversial matter. Make no mistake, there has always been some agreement in American Jewish community that those events were "tantamount to genocide." That's the same case with most other "friends" of Turkey. But believing something is one thing, and revealing it publicly is one another. Recently, there has obviously been a tendency to speak more openly on this matter.
The ADL's position is this: Yes, this was genocide, but the US Congress should not say so. Frankly, in some ways, I find the ADL intellectually more honest than many other Jewish organizations. The Jewish organizations investing in better Turkish-Israeli-American relations have been trying to be politically correct toward Turkey. The ADL is more honest because this is what most Jewish organizations have always believed but had yet to say it publicly. The ADL stops short of supporting the Armenian genocide resolution in Congress because they think it would be "counterproductive." If one believes the Jewish genocide (that is, the Holocaust) should have consequences but an "Armenian genocide" should not, that is not completely honest. That's the main problem with the ADL's position. On the other hand, to be fair, when it comes to talking about politically charged issues like the Armenian genocide allegations, to expect full honesty from any party involved would be luxury. There are serious gaps between public and private positions.
Take the US government for instance. Publicly, they fall slightly short of naming it "genocide." But I'm sure privately most of the officials believe it is. "Ethnic cleansing" and "forced exile" are not things any nation can be proud of. When the US government uses such terms instead of genocide, we Turks are relieved! In sum, although the executive branch deep inside agrees there was a genocide against Armenians, they refuse to call it such because that is "counterproductive." What's at stake here for them is further intimidating Turks and hurting US interests within Turkey and its neighborhood. The three foremost important foreign policy matters for the US in our region nowadays -- Iraq, Iran and Afghanistan -- require Ankara's uninterrupted cooperation.
The US Congress is another story. Again, even among the so-called "friends" of Turkey, including the Turkish caucus, there is less doubt the events of 1915 were tantamount to a "genocide." Two hundred and twenty-five of the 435 representatives have publicly endorsed the Armenian resolution. Again, most of those who have yet to publicly support the bill believe it is "counterproductive" to say what they think. It is easy to test my analysis. Tell me how many US representatives have publicly said so far there is no such thing as an Armenian genocide. You'll hardly remember any. The senators have generally a more statesmanlike attitude than the representatives; therefore the Senate position would fall somewhat between the executive branch and the House.
Now that the ADL has opened Pandora's box on the part of powerful Jewish lobby groups, Turkey faces a bigger challenge. Whoever I talk to in Washington has said sooner or later an Armenian genocide resolution would pass. It's just a matter of timing and convenience. Fortunately, the serious problems the US faces in our region have made it less convenient for American politicians to finalize the bill. Although current congressional leaders with the Democratic Party seem to be more inclined to go ahead, it is not completely unlikely that "national interest" and "national security" arguments would once again prevail.
The Armenian lobby groups and their collaborators in the US are trying hard to punish Turkey with this resolution. Frankly, I believe the process so far has been an even harsher punishment than the final outcome. The issue consumes a considerable deal of Turkish diplomatic energy and resources, which could have been otherwise spent in pursuing more tangible national interests. We can spend our and our supporters' political capital on other issues. I don't want to sound like a defeatist but as a realist in foreign policy matters I think Ankara needs to give a second thought to whether the issue deserves that level of commitment. The more Turkey seems to be intimidated, the more mistakes we might make, the more advertisement the Armenian genocide thesis gets and the happier our international adversaries become. We have obviously lost debates among US intellectuals, are increasingly losing them among NGOs like the ADL -- and it looks like sooner or later we will lose the battle in the US Congress. Perhaps now it's time for preparing the Turkish public for more negative outcomes and to reflect on better strategies rather than sticking with the same old tactics.
Armenians Pressure Us Jewish Groups On Genocide Claim
August 24, 2007
Bush administration reiterates its opposition to the passage of a genocide resolution in the House
WASHINGTON - Turkish Daily News
Bolstered by a move taken by the Jewish group Anti-Defamation League (ADL) to qualify World War I-era killings of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire as genocide, U.S. Armenians are now putting pressure on several other Jewish organizations to change their stance on the genocide debate.
The targeted Jewish groups, which had backed Turkey's position to oppose Armenian genocide resolutions pending in Congress, mainly include the ADL, the American Jewish Committee (AJC), B'nai B'rith International and the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs.
These groups have in recent months forwarded to the U.S. Congress a letter from Turkey's Jewish community opposing the congressional resolutions on Armenian genocide claims.
The Armenians are working in cooperation with several Jewish grassroots groups, which are also urging their umbrella organizations to reverse their positions on the genocide controversy.
The ADL's national director Abraham Foxman announced Tuesday that after revisiting the issue, his group came to the understanding that the Armenian killings "were indeed tantamount to genocide."
No backing for congressional recognition
Bu he said the ADL was still against the passage of an Armenian genocide resolution pending in the House of Representatives, Congress' lower chamber.
"We continue to firmly believe that a congressional resolution on such matters is a counterproductive diversion and will not foster reconciliation between Turks and Armenians and may put at risk the Turkish Jewish community and the important multilateral relationship between Turkey, Israel and the United States," Foxman said.
The Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA), a radical U.S. Armenian group, said the ADL should do more.
"The ANCA welcomes the Anti-Defamation's League's decision to finally end its longstanding complicity in Turkey's international denial campaign by properly recognizing the Armenian genocide," said ANCA's executive director Aram Hamparian. "We remain deeply troubled, however, that elements of its national leadership seek to prevent the United States from taking this very same principled step by adopting the Armenian genocide resolution currently before Congress."
Disappointed by the ADL's shift in position, Turkey is signaling that it will seek the Israeli government's help to prevent a spillover among U.S. Jewish groups. Israel does not officially recognize the Armenian claims on genocide.
Like the ADL, the AJC hinted that its position not to support the genocide bill's passage in the House remained in place. "We've said this before – the issue is best resolved by the interested parties not by a third party," Kenneth Bandler, AJC communications director, told the Jerusalem Post. "It's not going to be helpful for an arm of the U.S. government to lay in with a resolution declaring genocide."
State Dept. rejects Armenian calls
In a related development, President George W. Bush's administration said Wednesday that it remained opposed to congressional moves to qualify the Armenian killings as genocide.
State Department spokesman, Gonzalo Gallegos, said Washington's policy on the matter remained in place.
"We mourn the victims of the tragic events of 1915, call on Turks and Armenians to come to terms with the past through candid and heartfelt dialogue, and we oppose attempts to make political determinations on the terminology of this tragedy," he said.
But despite the administration's opposition, the genocide resolution pending in the House may be brought to a floor vote and pass any time after Congress returns from recess in early September. The measure now has the backing of 225 lawmakers in the 435-seat House.
Top Turkish officials have warned that any Armenian genocide bill's passage in Congress will greatly damage U.S.-Turkish relations in a lasting way.
Analysts said that the Armenians, while inching toward their key objective of winning congressional genocide recognition, are also seeking maximum publicity and a moral high ground through support from the Jews, victims of the Holocaust.
Turkey Looks To Israel To Influence Jewish Lobby
August 24, 2007
Turkey asks Israel to convince the Jewish lobby not to follow in the footsteps of the ADL. PM Erdogan is expected to call Israel's President Shimon Peres to deal with the issue at the highest level
ANKARA - Turkish Daily News
In the wake of a prominent American Jewish's group breaking ranks from a long-standing alliance with Turkey over the word "genocide" as a description of massacres of Armenians in the dying days of the Ottoman Empire, Ankara yesterday mobilized to pull Israel more tightly into the symbolic but highly emotional debate.
The new turn in the long-debated issue of whether the killing and deportations of Armenians in 1915 amounts to "genocide," came Wednesday when the Anti-Defamation League (ADF) announced a reversal of it's long-held position, which mirrored that of other Jewish groups and the state of Israel, that while a tragedy the circumstances were far different than that of the Nazi-led Holocaust of World War II which is universally regarded as the greatest genocide in history. With the U.S. Congress set to consider a resolution embracing the Armenian claims of genocide –claims that are disputed by many historians and the Turkish government – the ADF move represents a huge potential setback in Ankara's ongoing effort to forestall the diplomatic fallout of a such a resolution. While technically symbolic, the U.S. resolution would follow those passed by similar legislatures around the world that have tipped world interpretation of sensitive historical events toward a version of history deeply offensive to many Turks and their government.
Foreign Minister Abdullah Gül met with the Israeli Ambassador to Ankara Pinhas Avivi yesterday and expressed Turkey's concerns and expectations from the Israeli government. “It is a great disappointment for us, who gave support to the Jews for centuries. This decision contradicts with the main argument of Jews, which argues that there is nothing worse than the Holocaust. Our bilateral relations will suffer from such a decision,” Gül told Avivi, according to diplomatic sources. Gül said that historians are split on the issue and that Turkey has proposed the establishment of a joint commission by historians, which was rejected by Armenia. He also asked Israel's assistance in blocking similar moves by other Jewish organizations.
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan placed an emergency to call Israeli President Shimon Peres late yesterday but the contents of their discussion were not revealed as the Turkish Daily News went to print. Turkey wants to see Israel deal with the issue at the highest level while some diplomats say that Israel's stance on the issue will also be an indicator for the future of our ties.
In Istanbul, Israel's Consul General Mordehai Amihai reacted to the ADL news with concern and told the TDN the organization's shift in policy reflects neither the position of Israel nor that of the Jewish community in Turkey: "I hope the Turkish population can make the distinction between the State of Israel, the organization (ADL) and the Jewish population in Turkey."
In the meantime, Turkey's ambassador to Tel Aviv, Namik Tan broke short a vacation to Turkey yesterday and rushed back to Israel following the ADL's decision.
Israel, Turkey steps in
Right after the ADL's decision was made public Wednesday both Turkish and Israeli ministries made statements. Foreign Ministry Spokesman Levent Bilman, in a written statement, said that there is no consensus among historians about how to define the events of 1915.
“The ADL's decision to rewrite history is contradictory and the reason behind it is not understood,” said Bilman.
Turkish Jews also criticized the ADL's decision pointing to the historical ties between Turks and Jews. On Wednesday, the community's formal organization issued a statement expressing its dismay. Yesterday, a prominent businessman and member of the community second those comments to the TDN.
"Personally, I think what we are witnessing is just an internal skirmish within the ADL itself," said businessman, Marcel Saül. "The decision is wrong, but I don't think it should reflect on the historic solidarity between Turks and Jews on this issue and many others." The Israeli Embassy in Ankara also confirmed that there was no change in their official stance regarding the 1915-1916 incidents, in a written statement made late Wednesday.
“The State of Israel has never denied these horrible events; on the contrary, we understand the intensity of the emotion connected with this matter on both sides, considering the high number of victims and terrible suffering which the Armenian people endured,” the statement read. Underlining that this issue became a loaded political issue between the Turks and Armenians the Embassy stated, “The State of Israel, therefore, asks that neither one side nor the other be taken and that no definitions be made of what happened. We hope that both sides will enter into an open dialogue which will enable them to heal the open wounds that have remained for many decades.”
After the statements made by the ministry, Israel and Turkish Jews on Wednesday, positive feedback was received from Jews in the U.S., said ministry sources.
Turkey annuls the lobby contract
Shocked at the ADL's decision, Turkey decided to annul a contract with the lobbying firm DLA Piper and stay with Livingstone firm. The lobby firms are supposed to use their influence on the members of Congress and some other high-level administration officials. DLA Piper is known to be close to the Democrats in the United States.
Increasing Demand For Turkish Goods In Armenia
August 24, 2007
ERIVAN - Anatolia news agency
The demand for Turkish goods going to Armenia via the Georgian border has increased because the border between Armenia and Turkey is closed, reported Agence France-Presse yesterday.
Maryam Harutunyan's article in AFP states that Turkish trucks arrive in Erivan, located 25 kilometers from Turkey, by passing a long way via Georgia and then negotiating a long queue that exceeds one kilometer.
Gacik Koçaryan, an Armenian Trade and Economic Development Ministry representative, conceded the existence of a significant amount of Turkish goods in Armenian markets and said that most of them were composed of white goods and clothes. Based on the accounts of the Armenian Ministry, the amount of Turkish goods in the Armenian market has increased by 40 percent compared to last year.
It is pointed out that Turkish and Armenian businessmen have demanded the lifting of the embargo and opening of the borders several times. Suren, an Armenian teenager said, “The quality and the price of the goods are of fundamental importance to me, not the country they come from,” reported AFP.
USA Opposes Attempts To Make Political Determinations On Terminology Of 1915 Incidents
The New Anatolian / Ankara
23 August 2007
The U.S. Department of State reiterated on Wednesday that it opposes attempts to make political determinations on the terminology of 1915 incidents.
"Our policy remains," said Gonzalo Gallegos, the spokesman of the U.S. Department of State during his daily press briefing when commenting on Anti-Defamation League's decision to acknowledge 1915 incidents as "genocide".
"We mourn the victims of the tragic events of 1915, call on Turks and Armenians to come to terms with the past through candid and heartfelt dialogue. We oppose attempts to make political determinations on the terminology of this tragedy," he added.
Turkish Ambassador Rushes Back To Israel, Erdogan To Call Olmert
The New Anatolian / Ankara
23 August 2007
Ambassador Namik Tan cut short his vacation in Turkey and rushed back to Tel Aviv as the Turkish government pondered ways to do crisis management after the Anti-Defamation League's statement that Turkish actions toward the Armenians from 1915-1918 were "tantamount to genocide."
The Turkish government was on alert after the ADL decision to reverse its long standing position and acknowledge the Armenian genocide claims.
A high level meeting in Ankara decided to mobilize Turkey’s resources in Israel and Washington to counter the ADL decision.,
Government sources said Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan is expected to call Prime Minister Ehud Olmert in the coming days to discuss the matter.
The Turkish Foreign Ministry issued a statement calling the ADL statement "unfortunate," and said Turkey expected that the statement would "be corrected."
ADL National Director Abe Foxman issued a statement Tuesday saying that Turkey's actions against Armenians "were tantamount to genocide," in a dramatic reversal of a long-standing policy. Foxman said he had consulted historians and Holocaust experts before making the statement.
The Turkish Foreign Ministry statement said that to describe the events during WWI as "genocide" was "without historical and legal basis," and that contrary to the ADL's claim, there was no consensus on this matter among historians.
"We see this statement as an unfortunate one that is unjust to the Holocaust, which has no precedent, and to its victims. And we expect it to be corrected," the statement read.
Israelis were concerned that the ADL move would also hurt their bilateral relations with Turkey.
Observers said the fact there was no reference in the Turkish Foreign Ministry statement to Israeli-Turkish relations was a message to the Jewish state not to change its policy on the genocide issue.
Israel's position on this matter was last formally made public in March, when the Israeli Parliament shelved a proposal for a parliamentary discussion on the Armenian genocide.
Health Minister Ya'acov Ben-Yizri, speaking on behalf of Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, said at the time: "As Jews and Israelis we have special sympathy and a moral obligation to commemorate the massacres that were perpetrated against the Armenians in the last years of Ottoman rule. The State of Israel never denied these terrible acts. On the contrary, we understand fully the intense emotional feelings aroused by this, taking into consideration the number of victims, and the suffering of the Armenian people."
Ben-Yizri also said Israel understood that this was a "loaded" issue between the Armenians and Turks, and that Israel hoped "both sides will reach an open dialogue that will enable them to heal the wounds that have been left open."
The Turkish Foreign Ministry also took the ADL to task for suggesting that the organization's change of policy could place Turkey's Jewish community in danger.
"The Turkish Jewish community is part and parcel of our society, and there is no reason for them to have concerns," the ministry said in its statement.
The ADL had said a US Congressional resolution on the genocide issue would be a "counterproductive diversion and will not foster reconciliation between Turks and Armenians, and may put at risk the Turkish Jewish community and the important multilateral relationship between Turkey, Israel and the United States."
Former Enemy's Words Adorn Wall in RSL Headquarters
August 23, 2007
THERE's an old Turkish proverb, Aytuner Akbas recalled yesterday, that says "fights usually are the beginnings of friendship".
So, at least, it has proved in the aftermath to the Gallipoli campaign, as enmity turned to sympathy to an amity so profound that Anzacs and Turks now remember their fallen together.
Such is the strength of that friendship that more 90 years on there is now a Turkish sub-branch of the NSW Returned and Services League. Yes, the RSL. Mr Akbas is the sub-branch president.
And as from yesterday there is a tablet in the entrance to ANZAC House, Sydney, bearing the moving tribute to soldiers of both sides - "Johnnies and Mehmets" - by Kemal Ataturk, the inspired military leader and founder of modern Turkey.
The RSL state president, Don Rowe, who unveiled the tablet with the Turkish Consul-General, Nihat Ersen, said: "For every member going in and out of the building it will be a constant reminder of the sacrifice and friendship."
Pointing to a poster showing two veterans, each over 90, embracing, Mr Akbas said the reconciliation of Turks and Australians was "an enviable example to the community at large and to the world".
In recent years the annual number of Australians visiting Turkey, most to go to the Gallipoli Peninsula, has grown to more than 100,000. Mr Ersen expects the relationship to strengthen. There are already plans among the Turkish-Australian community, which numbers about 150,000, to mark the 40th anniversary of the start of official immigration with a tri-nations sports tournament, including New Zealand.
Typically, after yesterday's unveiling, Turks and Australians retired for tea and Turkish delight, it being the early afternoon.
Eagle-eyed observers may question the punctuation of "Anzac's" on the tablet. But what is an apostrophe between friends? Ataturk's words, written in 1934, read: "Those heroes that shed their blood and lost their lives … You are now lying in the soil of a friendly country. Therefore rest in peace. There is no difference between the Johnnies and the Mehmets to us where they lie side by side now here in this country of ours … You, the mothers, who sent their sons from faraway countries, wipe away your tears; your sons are now lying in our bosom and are in peace. After having lost their lives on this land, they have become our sons as well."
Copyright © 2007. The Sydney Morning Herald
Turkey Will Try To Win Back The Hearts Of The American Jewish Community
The recognition of the World War I-era killings of Armenians as genocide by the national Anti-Defamation League (ADL) has shocked Turkey, which is now trying to overcome this by taking compensatory measures. The ADL is an advocacy group aiming to stop the defamation of the Jewish people.
Experts and advisors to the government cabinet held a meeting with diplomats at the Foreign Ministry yesterday to determine a strategy that will win back the hearts of Jewish Americans, the Turkish Daily News learned.
A similarly strategic meeting is expected to be held in the coming days by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdog(an. He might try to engage in phone diplomacy to convince the Jewish lobby, according to the diplomatic sources.
“The strategy is to convince the ADL first, and if we cannot do that then Turkey will try to counter the Jewish lobby in the U.S. This cannot be a blank acceptance for Turkey,” said a Turkish diplomat.
“We were not expecting such a decision. Last week, they fired the director who used [the term ‘genocide']. What I understood is that after the director was fired, a discussion started in the ADL. We were in contact with the ADL two days ago,“ said an expert on American-Turkish relations.
The decision might negatively influence Jewish votes in the U.S. Congress since there are more than 100 Jewish Americans in the House of Representatives, the expert said.
“We will try to establish a connection with the ADL again and will try to convince them first,” said a person who attended the meeting.
“If they insist on defining the period as genocide, then Turkey will take necessary steps against that. Of course we will not identify the Turkish Jewish community with the American Jewish one. We will also get in contact with Israel to understand the reasons behind the decision,” added the source.
Since the Jewish lobby is seen as an important political tool for Turkey's policies in Washington, Ankara avoids making non-diplomatic statements in reference to the Jews.
Ankara fears that the U.S. will recognize the events of 1915-1919 as genocide, and is also concerned about its impact on bilateral relations.
August 23, 2007
ANKARA - Turkish Daily News
Turkey's Jews Disavow ‘Genocide' Move
Expressing sadness over an influential US Jewish group’s labeling of the World War I killing of Anatolian Armenians as genocide, Turkey’s Jewish community stressed Wednesday that they supported Ankara’s view that the issue should be discussed at the academic level by opening all historical archives in the relevant countries.
The New York-based Anti-Defamation League (ADL) on Tuesday reversed its longtime policy by calling the World War I killing of Anatolian Armenians a genocide -- a change that comes days after the ADL fired a regional director for taking the same position. ADL Director Abraham Foxman’s statement that the killings of Armenians by Muslim Turks “were indeed tantamount to genocide” came after weeks of controversy in which critics questioned whether an organization dedicated to remembering Holocaust victims could remain credible without acknowledging the Armenian killings as genocide.
Armenians claim up to 1.5 million of their kinsmen died in a systematic genocide campaign by Ottoman Turks around the time of 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.
“We have difficulty in understanding this immediate change of view,” read a statement released Wednesday from the office of Silvio Ovadio, head of the Jewish Community of Turkey. In a letter to Foxman, prominent Turkish Jewish businessman Jak Kamhi said the ADL “committed a very great injustice to the memory and status of the Holocaust, to the people and government of my country, and to all those who continue to share our common vision and struggle for reconciliation and for the avoidance of absolutely unnecessary complications in the relations between our countries.
“By accepting this false comparison between the uniquely indisputable genocide for which the term was coined -- the Holocaust, and the events of 1915, the ADL has committed an act of the most inexplicable injustice against the memory of the victims of the Holocaust, as well as against the sensitivities and pride of the Turkish people, who deserve your praise for their centuries-long tradition of compassion and their culture of humanity and cohabitation that remains an example to the world,” Kamhi said. He also emphasized throughout the text that there was no “consensus” among scientists and historians that events of World War I constituted “genocide,” contrary to the ADL’s conviction that there is.
Two separate resolutions are pending in the US Senate and House of Representatives, urging the administration to recognize the killings as genocide. Turkey has warned that passage of the resolutions in the US Congress would seriously harm relations with Washington and impair cooperation in Iraq and Afghanistan. The US administration has said it is opposed to the resolution, but the congressional process is an independent one. In his message on April 24, which Armenians claim marks the anniversary of the beginning of a systematic genocide campaign at the hands of the late Ottoman Empire, US President George W. Bush adhered to the administration policy of not referring to the incident as genocide.
Meanwhile, in his statement posted on the organization’s Web site, Foxman noted that the ADL “continues to firmly believe that a Congressional resolution on such matters is a counterproductive diversion and will not foster reconciliation between Turks and Armenians and may put at risk the Turkish Jewish community and the important multilateral relationship between Turkey, Israel and the United States.”
“We want to emphasize that reports which have yet been aired on Internet sites and which start as ‘the Jewish’ can be misleading for public opinion and that this view has been reflecting solely ‘related institutions’ of the American Jews,” said the statement from Ovadio’s office.
“We declare that, like we have done in the past, we are supporting Turkey’s belief that the issue should be discussed at the academic level by opening archives of all related parties and that parliaments are not the places for ‘finding out historical facts via voting’,” the statement also noted, referring to the fact that Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan sent a letter to Armenian President Robert Kocharian in 2005, inviting him to establish a joint commission of historians and experts from both Turkey and Armenia to study the events of 1915 in the archives of Turkey, Armenia and other relevant countries around the world.
The Jewish Community of Turkey has meanwhile pledged that it will continue exerting efforts for the protection of the Turkish Republic’s interests and positions.
The ADL’s policy reversal sparked reactions from the Turkish community living in the US as well from Nurten Ural, president of the Assembly of Turkish American Associations (ATAA), who expressed disappointment over the decision. She said Turks and Armenians both suffered during the war and calling it genocide by the Turks is like being accused of a crime you did not commit, The Associated Press reported on Tuesday.
Ural said many historians do not believe genocide occurred and if the congressional resolution passes it would damage relations with Turkey, which is valued in the West as a friend of Israel in the hostile Middle East and a bulwark against radical Islam.
“This is not a political issue, this is a historical issue and it should be left to the historians,” Ural said. “The US needs Turkey and Turkey needs the US in many, many ways. It would be really bad for both countries.”
The controversy began in July after Newton resident David Boyajian wrote a local Watertown paper about the ADL’s stance and urged the community’s “No Place for Hate” program to sever ties with the ADL.
Last week Watertown, home to a large Armenian population, withdrew from the ADL’s “No Place for Hate” program to combat hate crimes because of the organization’s refusal to call the massacres genocide. Also last week during a meeting on the subject in the town, ADL New England Regional Director Andrew Tarsy was booed by the packed crowd. Later in the week, he changed his position and said he strongly disagreed with the national organization.
The ADL subsequently fired Tarsy after he agreed the killings were genocide.
No change in Israel’s stance on World War I incidents
The ADL decision prompted the Israeli Embassy in Ankara to issue a written statement on the same issue underlining that there has been no change in Israel’s official stance in regards to the incidents during World War I.
“As Jews and as Israelis we are especially sensitive and morally obligated to remember human tragedies, which include the killings that took place among the Armenian population during the latter part of the First World War, in the years 1915-1916, during the last years of the Ottoman Empire. The State of Israel has never denied these horrible events; on the contrary, we understand the intensity of the emotion connected with this matter on both sides, considering the high number of victims and terrible suffering which the Armenian people endured,” the embassy noted.
“Yet, notwithstanding this, over the years, the subject, undesirably, has become a loaded political issue between the Armenians and the Turks, and each side has been trying to prove the justice of its claims,” the embassy continued.
“The State of Israel, therefore, asks that neither one side nor the other be taken and that no definitions be made of what happened. We hope that both sides will enter into an open dialogue which will enable them to heal the open wounds that have remained for many decades,” the statement concluded.
Kamhi: Injustice to memory of Holocaust, Turkish people
In a letter to Anti-Defamation League (ADL) National Director Abraham Foxman, Jak Kamhi, a prominent businessman and a respected member of the Turkish Jewish Community, expressed deep disappointment over the group’s decision to uphold Armenian claims of genocide at the hands of the Ottoman Empire. Kamhi also said the ADL has committed an act of the “most inexplicable injustice” against the memory of the victims of the Holocaust, as well as against the “sensitivities and pride of the Turkish people.” The full text of Kamhi’s letter is as follows: Dear Abe, I write to you concerning the “ADL Statement on the Armenian Genocide” dated Aug. 21, 2007, in which you add the prestige of the ADL to those who, for all sorts of reasons, have long lobbied for acceptance of the much-disputed claim that the historical events in question constituted a “genocide.” The purpose of this letter is to explain to you the depth of my disappointment and my foreboding. The Statement’s assertion that there is any “consensus” of historians on this matter is absolutely untrue. If there were, this matter would have been closed a long time ago. In fact, reputable and serious historians, having studied the available literature and archival data as professional experts, do not accept that the events of 1915 can properly be described as genocide.
Has no one at the ADL read these works? If they had, they would also know that the objectivity of Henry Morgenthau Sr. on this particular question is highly questionable. While I have boundless respect for the inspiring work and courage of Elie Wiesel, I have never been able to reconcile his brilliant defense of the unique nature of the Holocaust -- the very synonym of Genocide -- with the view that the Holocaust might somehow also be comparable to the utterly dissimilar events during the collapse of the Ottoman Empire. In any case, it is clear that both sides can bring forth the names of eminent scholars: this matter cannot be resolved in that manner, because there is no consensus of distinguished experts and historians. I simply cannot understand the rationale for the ADL’s action in making a pronouncement on one side of a highly sensitive and delicate matter on which you appear to be either uninformed or uncaring, and why this has been done at this particular time. The massacres and atrocities that undoubtedly occurred in that corner of the collapsing Ottoman Empire at the end of the bloodiest war in human history, are a tragic and unforgettable part of the histories of the all the victims -- Christian Armenians, Muslim and non-Muslim Turks, Kurds and others in an Empire that was after all characterized by centuries of peaceful coexistence of numerous ethnic and religious groups.
This tragedy is also part of the history of those powers who provoked, encouraged and armed insurgent groups in order to hasten the chaotic collapse of the Ottoman state that had (as the ADL has a duty to remember) provided sanctuary for Jews expelled or otherwise persecuted in Europe over centuries. Russia, France and Great Britain invaded, gave arms, promises and material support to Armenian nationalist groups and gangs. Contemporary accounts of that time are replete with examples of massacres committed by Kurds against Armenians, and by Armenians against Moslem Turks. Is the ADL not aware of these historical facts? Such chaos and horror marked the ends of other Empires: it was the British who invented the term “concentration camp” in the Boer War; hundreds of thousands were killed in massacres in India and during the Partition. Similar tragedies befell literally millions of people in French and Italian North Africa, in the Belgian Congo, and on every continent in European wars of expansion and colonialism. Rivers of blood have repeatedly flowed in the Balkans. Does the ADL intend to issue Statements and pronouncements declaring all these events as genocides? By accepting this false comparison between the uniquely indisputable genocide for which the term was coined -- the Holocaust -- and the events of 1915, the ADL has committed an act of the most inexplicable injustice against the memory of the victims of the Holocaust, as well as against the sensitivities and pride of the Turkish people, who deserve your praise for their centuries-long tradition of compassion and their culture of humanity and cohabitation that remains an example to the world.
If the ADL had listened to wiser and objective counsel, such a terrible mistake could not have been made. I have in the past made strenuous and repeated efforts in writing and in discussions with you and your colleagues, to explain this situation in great detail. One of the documents that we have previously sent is attached once again. It may begin to show the realities of the situation, and the very deep waters that the ADL has now chosen to stir. Your Statement concludes very correctly that congressional resolutions are counterproductive, will hinder the reconciliation between Turks and Armenians that we all desire, will put at risk the Turkish Jewish community and the important multilateral relationship between Turkey, Israel and the United States. It is perfectly clear that this resolution by the ADL will have exactly the same effect, only the degree of damage differs: how could it possibly be otherwise? This Statement will put back the painstaking efforts by many of us in Turkey, including our brothers in the Armenian Community, to resolve this highly emotive issue without prejudgment.
It will now be seized upon by all those who seek to destroy all our work and create discord and bitterness between our countries. In time, the ADL may understand and accept that you have committed a very great injustice to the memory and status of the Holocaust, to the people and government of my country, and to all those who continue to share our common vision and struggle for reconciliation and for the avoidance of absolutely unnecessary complications in the relations between our countries. I hope and trust that you will do your utmost to correct the unfortunate situation and perceptions arising from this matter, in continuance of our common efforts to enhance relations between our countries Turkey and the United States of America, and with Israel, based upon our shared vision of hope and humanity for all peoples. Yours Sincerely, Jak V. Kamhi
EMINE KART ANKARA /Zaman
Turkey's Jews Unhappy With ADL Move To Acknowledge "Armenian Genocide"
The New Anatolian / Ankara
22 August 2007
"We have difficulty in understanding why the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), one of the most important Jewish organizations in the USA, has changed stance and decided to acknowledge Armenian allegations regarding 1915 incidents," Turkish Jewish Community announced on Wednesday.
Releasing a statement, the Community regretted the change in ADL's stance and recalled ADL's National Director Abraham Foxman's statement that the ADL believed that the 1915 incidents "were not a genocide".
"We have difficulty in understanding recent developments in U.S. public and the sudden change of views that caused difference of opinion among some Jewish organizations," the statement noted.
The statement said that Jewish organizations in the USA will maintain their attitude not to support the Armenian thesis regarding 1915 incidents and the related resolution no 106 as they will not serve a compromise between Turks and Armenians.
"We would like to stress that the news reports that begin with the expression 'Jews' in local web-sites may be misleading, and this view only represents the opinion of American Jewish organizations," the statement pointed out.
In the statement, Turkish Jewish Community stressed that the community thinks that this matter should be discussed in academic level within the framework of archives of all concerned parties, and continues to support the theses that parliaments are not the ground to make decision on historical realities.
"Our state institutions are well aware of our efforts to defend Turkey's interests and theses, and our efforts will continue," the statement added.
Turks Unfairly Remain a Hated People
Something which MUST be said, MUST be understood, especially right now.
One of the most important quotes from this article:
"Even when esteemed historians
with no Ottoman or Turkish allegiance,
such as the late Prof. Stanford
Shaw (UCLA), Prof. Bernard Lewis
(Princeton University), and Justin
McCarthy (Univ. of Louisville), all agree
that the so-called Armenian
genocide was no genocide."
by Shelomo Alfassa
The Ottomans experienced their highest point of strength during the 16th century, as Turkey was trampling across Europe gaining victory after victory. As the Ottoman soldiers pushed into new areas of the continent, the Europeans increasingly became fearful of the Turks. Yet, even after the Ottoman Empire lost its great status and became the "Sick Man of Europe," a hatred and dread for the Turkish people remained. This was a lingering of ethnic and religious loathing against a people of unknown background; It was a vile revulsion by Christians against the Muslim Turks-a people that did not profess a belief in their man-god. "The Turk is a great barbarian," stated 16th century German humanist John Adolph Muelich. In the German language, turken ("to Turk"), still means "to hoax, to deceive."
The 18th and 19th centuries witnessed Christian missionary adventurers roving the Orient probing for new victims to entice into their fold. In addition, Western intellectuals and pseudo-intellectuals traveled to Asia in search of undiscovered ancient worlds, and throughout their voyages into Ottoman lands, wrote profusely about the Turks-the less than human savages.
In an early account about Palestine, an American wrote that the Turkish army provides a "severe beating" to its new soldiers, including those which were "sick." He documented that "some of the new recruits die" and that "the whip of soft, flexible, stinging leather, which seldom leaves the Turkish officer's hand, was never idle."
In a popular 19th century British travelogue, the Protestant author calls the Turkish people both "savages" and "cunning misbelievers." In this same volume, the office of the Sultan is referred to as "faithless." The author writes, "The Turks abated nothing of the cruelty in which their race has always taken in delight." This Christian author also uses the term "stubborn." The term stubborn is one that was frequently used by Christians against non-Christians. It is essentially a slur, which dictates that there
is something wrong with the non-Christian for not accepting the Christian faith. We repeatedly see the use of the word stubborn used against the Turks, as well as the Jews for not believing in Jesus. This word has been employed by Christian missionaries both in centuries past, as well as present.
Hugh Latimer, the chaplain to King Henry VIII wrote in one of his sermons, that the Turkish people were not only stubborn, but he wrote, "It is a great ignominy and shame for a Christian man to be bond and subject unto a Turk." Reformist Martin Luther himself wrote extensively about the "Turkish problem" and considered the Turkish people "servants and saints of the devil." Turkish people were so vilified and associated with negativity, that the term Turk was (and is) itself used as a slur, even when not talking about Turkish people.
The Republic of Turkey is a nation that over the past sixty years has become a truly modern nation. And as their society seeks entrance into the European Union, it continues to struggle because of persistent age-old negatives. For Turkey to be viable as a member state of the EU, the civilized world must expunge old stereotypes. The world must also recognize that the Republic of Turkey, although principally a nation made up of people born into the Muslim faith, is not an Arab nation with discordant goals and attitudes like those that fester inside the Arab world. In April of 2007, when over one million Turks marched in the streets against a potential pro-Islamic Turkish government-we were once again assured that Turkey remains a free and modern nation.
As Turkey aims to enter the EU, the other major obstacle it faces, are claims by the Armenian genocide lobby. Because the Turks deny there was an organized attempted genocide against the Armenians, Turkey remains a villain among international political circles. This begs the question, why should the modern government of the Republic of Turkey accept blame for the result of warfare between the Ottomans and the Armenians anyway? And, since it has been established that this was a brutal and tragic war, and that both sides suffered greatly, why are the Armenians fostering a political claim? Even without answering these questions, the never ending ranting by the Armenians against the savage Turks has fallen upon the ears of the Western world and has been responded to in knee-jerk fashion. The Armenians have not only gained the support of the Christian world, but also the main stream Jewish establishment. Even when esteemed historians with no Ottoman or Turkish allegiance, such as the late Prof. Stanford Shaw (UCLA), Prof. Bernard Lewis (Princeton University), and Justin McCarthy (Univ. of Louisville), all agree that the so-called Armenian genocide was no genocide.
The saddest truth in this whole matter is that without deep investigation or analysis, many people have emotionally and completely sided with the Armenian Christians against Turkish Muslims. Recently, a (Jewish) US Congressman spoke at a pro-Armenian rally in New York City, where he claimed the Jewish people "all supported" the recognition of the alleged genocide; this was not the first time a Congressman spoke out on the issue, nor the first time a Congressman was mistaken. The establishment should not allow their emotions dictate their responses. They must realize that because Armenian Christians accuse Turkish Muslims of committing genocide, it does not mean that it actually happened.
In 1989, as Armenian lobbyists were making headway in the Congress for the US to recognize their genocide claim, Los Angeles based Rabbi Albert Amateau (1889-1996), an orthodox rabbi, attorney and social activist, told that as a young man in Turkey, he was mistakenly considered a Christian because of his French name. Because of this, Armenian students felt that they could freely discuss their membership in Armenian secret societies around him, and openly discusses their active participation in secret military exercises to prepare themselves for military duty in their planned subversive war against the Ottoman Empire and nation, in alliance and collaboration with Czarist Russia. In a sworn statement, Amateau told that he was:
"Amazed that intelligent and politically astute gentlemen, such as Senator Robert Dole, the leader of the Republicans in the Senate, and others have been importuned to sponsor [a] resolution without any proof of the veracity of the Armenian claims...They have been duped to believe the Armenian allegations as true."
Combining a lack of knowledge of Ottoman and Balkan history with the deeply entrenched pro-victim attitude existing on modern university campuses, allows the leftist university professors to continue to teach that the Armenians experienced a genocide. As stated earlier, even though there was a war between the (now long gone) Ottoman Empire and the Armenian people-and we know it was a universal tragedy-there is no reason to blame the government of the modern Republic of Turkey. War, is war-one side wins, and another loses. Because there is no Sultan to defend himself against Armenian allegations, does not mean that those allegations are now established as factual.
Western cultural arrogance combined with a limited world-view contributed toward the initial hatred of the Turkish people, and their subsequent slanderization over the centuries. British Professor Richard G. Cole summarized the problem in one sentence; he wrote in 1972 that a stereotype of the Turk was, "frozen into print culture in the late 15th and early 16th century and remained there." Today, in 2007, Christian elitists with pro-European attitudes and a hatred for all Muslims, remain focused against the Turkish people.
Turks do not deserve to wear the title of savage or ethnic cleanser. Historic descriptions of the Turkish people are remarkably biased and inaccurate and remain a blight among all decent and civilized people. Modern society must scrub away the vestiges of a lingering harmful and unfair typecast.
Shelomo Alfassa is a writer and researcher who works in the Sephardic community.
Truth and Consequences: Armenians, Turks and Jews
August 21, 2007 – New York – “I believe that engagement, not avoidance, is the best strategy. In a perfect world, Armenian and Turkish historians would sit together and review the archival material, debate differences, and seek a common understanding of the past,” writes AJC Executive Director David A. Harris on the Jerusalem Post Blog The full blog is reprinted below.
Truth and Consequences: Armenians, Turks and Jews
David A. Harris
American Jewish Committee
New York, August 21, 2007
From 2000 to 2002, I led a graduate seminar entitled "Post-Holocaust Ethical and Political Issues” at Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies. Among the topics covered was the politics of memory.
One of the case studies we explored was the controversy surrounding language and its power. We looked in depth at the massacre of Armenians and how its depiction had become a subject of fierce debate, primarily between Armenians, who insisted on calling the events of 1915 a genocide, and Turks, who adamantly refused to countenance the g-word. Essentially, this was a zero-sum game. Either one supported the Armenian or the Turkish position, whether for historical or political reasons, but neither side allowed room for compromise.
The basic Armenian argument was that up to 1.5 million Armenians were deliberately targeted and massacred by the Ottoman Empire, eight years before the modern Turkish Republic came into being. At the time, the word genocide didn’t exist. It was Raphael Lemkin, a Polish-born Jew, who coined the term. The Holocaust was the most immediate frame of reference for him, but he was also haunted by the slaughter of the Armenians – and by the need to prevent a repeat of any such occurrences – throughout his career. But had it been in use, it no doubt would have been invoked by Ambassador Henry Morgenthau, the U.S. envoy to Turkey at the time and one of the primary sources on the tragedy cited by the Armenians.
No, replied the Turks. This was a time of war. The Armenians sided with Russia, the enemy. Many people, both Turks and Armenians, were killed, but that was the regrettable, if inevitable, consequence of conflict, and not a deliberate campaign to wipe the Armenians off the face of the earth, as the Nazis later sought to do to the Jews.
In recent years, of course, the survivors and eyewitnesses have disappeared. But each side has marshaled as much documentary evidence as it could to buttress its assertion. Yet neither side has been talking to the other. Instead, both have been appealing to the rest of the world, seeking supporters.
Not surprisingly, each has sought to draw the Jews to its ranks. The Jews’ moral voice, they reckoned, far exceeds actual numbers. The people of the Shoah are best positioned to tip the scales in one direction or the other.
The Armenian position has been straightforward. As victims of the Holocaust, who can better understand the Armenian ordeal and anguish than the Jews? Fearful of the danger of Holocaust denial, aren’t the Jews most aware of the slippery slope of distorting historical truth? And wasn’t it Adolf Hitler who reportedly asked, “Who still talks nowadays of the extermination of the Armenians?”— in effect, paving the way for the Final Solution?
Meanwhile, the Turkish stance has been that Jews shouldn’t simply accept the Armenian version of history lock, stock and barrel, as it’s fraught with distortion and deceit, but rather bear in mind the traditional Turkish welcome of minority communities, especially the embrace of dispersed Jews from Spain by the Ottoman Empire at the end of the 15th century.
Moreover, Turkish leaders have also at times taken a tougher line, suggesting, in barely veiled language, that a Jewish acceptance of the Armenian version of history could have negative consequences for other Jewish interests, whether in Turkey or beyond.
And it is in this vise that many Jews have lived for years, essentially pitting principle against pragmatism. For armchair observers, that may look like an easy choice, but, in the world of policy, where actions can have real-life consequences, it’s anything but.
Look at successive governments of the United States, whether under Democratic or Republican leaders. All have reached the same conclusion: Turkey is of vital importance to U.S. geo-strategic interests, straddling as it does two continents, Europe and Asia, bordering key countries—from the former Soviet Union to Iran, Iraq and Syria—and serving as the southeastern flank of NATO. Each administration has essentially punted when asked about the Armenian question, seeking to discourage the United States Congress from recognizing the events of 1915 as genocide, while arguing that a third-party parliamentary body isn’t the right venue to settle a heated historical dispute.
And now I come back full circle to my Johns Hopkins classroom. I had four or five Turkish students in the course. All but one proudly defended Turkey’s historical record, stubbornly refusing to consider any competing narrative. But there was one young woman who, on reading the assigned material and much more, came to me and said that for the first time she doubted the official Turkish version of events. There were simply too many compelling accounts of the suffering of Armenians to swallow whole the Turkish line. She then went a step further and shared her thinking with our class. Regrettably, the other Turkish students distanced themselves from her, but the other students admired her for her courage. They instinctively understood that it wasn’t easy for her to express her sorrow and confusion, but that, under the circumstances, it seemed the right thing to do. I, too, admired her.
I have a strong connection to Turkey, a country I have visited on numerous occasions and to which I feel very close. Few countries have a more critically important role to play in the sphere of international relations. I remain grateful to this day for the refuge that the Ottoman Empire gave to Jews fleeing the Inquisition. I am intimately connected to the Turkish Jewish community and admire their patriotism and enormous contribution to their homeland. I deeply appreciate the link between Turkey and Israel, which serves the best interests of both democratic nations in a tough region. And I value Turkey’s role as an anchor of NATO and friend of the United States.
At the same time, I cannot escape the events of 1915 and the conclusions reached by credible voices, from Ambassador Morgenthau to Harvard professor Samantha Power, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of A Problem from Hell: American and the Age of Genocide, to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, about the nature of what took place: it was a genocide, they determined, albeit one that occurred more than thirty years before the term was coined.
From my experience in tackling difficult relationships, I believe that engagement, not avoidance, is the best strategy. In a perfect world, Armenian and Turkish historians would sit together and review the archival material, debate differences, and seek a common understanding of the past. To date, that hasn’t happened in any meaningful way. I continue to hope that it will. It should. We at AJC have offered our services, if needed, to help facilitate such an encounter. Ninety years of distance ought to allow for the creation of a “safe” space to consider contested issues.
Meanwhile, as the issue once again heats up in the United States, it’s important to be clear. In a book entitled Holocaust Denial, published by the American Jewish Committee in 1993, the author, Kenneth Stern, an AJC staff expert on the subject, noted: “That the Armenian genocide is now considered a topic for debate, or as something to be discounted as old history, does not bode well for those who would oppose Holocaust denial.”
He was right. Picture a day when a muscle-flexing Iran or Saudi Arabia seeks to make denial of the Holocaust a condition of doing business with other countries. Sound far-fetched? It shouldn’t.
We have many interests as a Jewish people. Protecting historical truth ought to be right up there near the top of the list.
Copyright 2007 The American Jewish Committee
You say that "THE BASIC ARMENIAN ARGUMENT WAS THAT UP TO 1.5 MILLION ARMENIANS WERE DELIBERATELY TARGETED AND MASSACRED BY THE OTTOMAN EMPIRE, EIGHT YEARS BEFORE THE MODERN TURKISH REPUBLIC CAME INTO BEING."
Not quite !
The strategy of the Armenian side, from its very inception has been to implicate the Republic of Turkey in the events which preceded its foundation, by extending the period of the alleged genocide from 1915 to 1923, instead of 1918. Moreover, they do not hesitate to forge documents and photos for sustaining that argument. The venue of such a recent attempt of forgery was UCLA – University of California Los Angeles, (April 14, 2005 UCLA talk entitled "The Face of Denial Does Not Lie,") where a photo of Atatürk’ with a dog at his feet was manipulated and the dog substituted with a corpse of a civil war victim.
An undeniable fact is that Atatürk and the leaders of the Turkish national uprising were the rivals of the Ottoman Government led by the politicized triumvirate of the Committee of Union and Progress party which were those politically responsible for whatever happened between 1915-1918. It is a historical fact too, that the Turkish independence war (1919-1922) fought against the Greeks did not end in a bloodbath for the autochthonous Greek civilians on Anatolian soil.
A second undeniable fact is the implication of European powers in the Eastern Question (The dismemberment of the Ottoman Empire into ethno-national states to the detriment of the dominant Turkish element) and the incitement of Armenians by these to a rebellion in time of war.
Such a rebellion would be considered as treason even with today’s weights and measures. The USA for its part, was indirectly involved in the dismemberment of the Ottoman Empire through its missionary schools network where young Christians (Greeks and Armenians) were made aware of their respective identities and where their patriotic sentiments were fueled and fanned.
So, the Turkish Government’s stance requesting the unconditional opening of the archives of all concerned parties, including the Ottoman Empire, Czarist Russia, Imperial Germany, The Austro-Hungarian Empire, the United Kingdom, France, Italy, the USA and the Armenian archives scattered here and there, regarding whatever happened during the 1915-1918 period is definitely justified. Moreover, the role assumed by the local Kurdish and Arab tribes in the plundering and murdering of the Armenian deportees should be clarified as well.
Only then, a correct picture of whatever happened could be retrieved and the respective shares of responsibility of each involved party could be established.
To conclude, the Armenians should make it plain whether they incriminate the Republic of Turkey as well, or not, along with the Ottoman Empire for the tragedy that befell on them.
This is essential for the sake of justice to prevail for all who died during that period.
Denis Ojalvo ISTANBUL/TURKEY
Halaçoglu: Remarks Distorted, Study Will Contribute To Peace
Turkish Historical Society (TTK) President Yusuf Halaçoglu has said recent remarks made by him that "Kurds are actually Turkmen and that the Alevi Kurds are actually Armenians" were misinterpreted. Halaçoglu, speaking at a press conference on Tuesday in Ankara, claimed that his words were distorted.
"My remarks were wrongly conveyed to the public," said Halaçoglu, who added: "I do not speak without evidence. Some may prefer making noisy arguments, but I do not make statements without conducting studies. Professors bury their heads in the sand." Touching on the fact that such studies are also made by foreign scholars, Halaçoglu explained that it is perfectly normal for him as head of the TTK to conduct studies on these subjects and disseminate them to the public.
Professor Ali Yasar Saribay, speaking to Today's Zaman, maintained that such remarks were not appropriate for a scholar or a historian. "Even assuming it was a scientific study, what significance does it have? What we need in this land is peace and tranquility. I don't find these remarks meaningful."
Mehmet Menzir Kababas, a deputy from the Democratic Society Party (DTP), argued that the statement was unscientific. "The prime minister should immediately remove him from office," he said. When asked about whether he is planning to resign from office, Halaçoglu responded: "I have not received any reaction in this respect. I will not resign. The government has not requested me to do so." Halaçoglu added that even if he was not the president of the TTK, he would continue to conduct studies on the subject.
He further stressed that his study on Turkish clans -- in which he claims that many Turks became Kurds due to the feudal structure of Ottoman society in the 16th century -- would ultimately contribute to social peace.
Observing that there is currently competition between Kurds and Turks in Turkey, he said: “I am not racist. I regard people as individuals. He who feels himself a member of a particular race is a member of that race.” Halaçoglu also argued that his study provided important details on the ethnic composition in Turkey and on so-called “converts” (dönme).
Saribay said that the claims that Kurds were actually Turks were not new and that such arguments had made no contribution to social peace.
Alevis, too, harshly reacted to Halaçoglu’s remarks that “Alevi Kurds are actually Armenians.”
Alevi Foundations Federation Chairman Dogan Bermek stressed that some groups in Turkey have been trying to implement social engineering projects. “People are trying to label each other with certain identities,” he said. Noting that it is wrong to confuse religious beliefs with ethnicity, Bermek added: “People may become Armenians or Muslims as they wish, and this cannot be criticized. Halaçoglu argues that Kurdish-speaking Alevis are Armenians, but they claim to have come from Khorasan. Are they lying?”
Yusuf Halaçoglu’s study claims that many Armenians identified themselves as “Kurdish Alevis” in an attempt to save themselves from the forced migration of Armenians in 1915.
Today’s Zaman Ankara
Uncomfortable Neighborhood -- The Fight For Nagorno-Karabakh
AMANDA AKCAKOCA email@example.com
In Turkey's difficult neighborhood Azerbaijan has always been a friend and Ankara continues to support Baku in its ongoing conflict with Armenia over the disputed territory of Nagorno-Karabakh (NK) -- a region recognized by nobody but NK's government. The word "Karabakh" has Turkic and Persian roots and means "black garden" -- a good description for this mountainous area of 4,400 square kilometers of striking beauty, scarred by a violent history. It's a long journey from the outside world to this putative nation -- a winding road from Armenia, six hours from that country's capital of Yerevan, built with money from the Armenian diaspora after the 1988 to 1994 war between ethnic Armenians and Azerbaijan.
The Southern Caucasus is home to three frozen conflicts, one of the most intractable being NK. With the start of perestroika in the Soviet Union in 1988, the local assembly in the capital of NK, Stepanakert, passed a resolution calling for unification with Armenia. Violence against local Azeris was reported, triggering massacres of Armenians in the Azerbaijani city of Sumgait. Legally speaking, NK is part of Azerbaijan but the majority of inhabitants are ethnic Armenians (75 percent). The region's attempt at secession was rejected by Azerbaijan and sparked a period of violence which resulted in hundreds of thousands of refugees. Once the Soviet Union collapsed, NK's governance declared outright independence and now enjoys a de facto independence, though neither Armenia nor Azerbaijan recognize the republic's territorial sovereignty. In 1992 a full-scale conflict broke out between Azerbaijan and Armenia and by the middle of the year Armenia had taken control over the majority of NK, pushed further into Azerbaijani territory and established the so-called Lachin Corridor -- an umbilical cord linking the breakaway republic with Armenia. By 1993 Armenian forces occupied almost 20 percent of the Azeri territory surrounding NK and expelled hundreds of thousands of ethnic Azeris. In 1994 Russia brokered a cease-fire and that is how the situation has remained for more than a decade. Nowadays NK and the surrounding region remain under Armenian control and nearly 20 percent of Azerbaijan is under Armenian occupation. Around 700,000 Azeri refugees -- just under 10 percent of Azerbaijan's entire population -- remain displaced in the region, living in tents. NK boasts a standing army of 25,000 -- nearly a quarter of its population.
When war broke out Turkey closed its 268-kilometer border with Armenia and Azerbaijan did the same. Neither border has opened since. All three countries have suffered, but it has been Armenia that has suffered the most. Armenia remains something of a black hole, is hopelessly poor and its only realistic avenue for trade with the West is through a small border with Georgia, hundreds of kilometers north of the capital. It has missed out on the massive oil and gas projects that have taken place in the region recently, frustrated its efforts to integrate closer with the West and continue to be a country with one of the highest immigration levels in the Western world.
A solution looks as distant as ever. International talks carried out under the auspices of the MINSK Group -- an arm of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) chaired by Russia, the United States and France -- have gone nowhere and bilateral talks between the two foreign ministers and presidents always seem to end in stalemates. All three sides -- Armenia, Azerbaijan and Nagorno-Karabakh -- refuse to budge until the others make a concession. Azerbaijan wants Armenia to end its occupation first and withdraw its forces before discussing the republic's final status, which it clearly sees as NK remaining part of Azerbaijan but with the highest level of autonomy. Armenia is seeking a resolution first on the status question before pulling out its forces and Nagorno-Karabakh wants its independence officially recognized prior to all other negotiations. Azerbaijan continues to refuse to talk with NK officials.
In my opinion, Russia is a big obstacle. Russia has an unhealthy and dominating role in Armenia. Armenia is dependent on Russia for most of its energy and trade, and Russia keeps a significant military force in Armenia -- even the Turkey-Armenia border is manned by Russian soldiers. Russia sees Armenia as its backyard and the last thing Russia wants is stability in the Southern Caucasus. Russia is determined to keep its claws into as many as its former republics as possible and the key to this is maintaining instability. If Russia wanted, it could easily persuade Armenia to do the right thing and remove itself from Azeri territory. Azerbaijan also sees France as being pro-Armenian due to the massive diaspora community that France is home to. The United States, even though it too has a large Armenian diaspora community, has become more impartial due to Azerbaijan's massive energy potential which it wants to tap. Indeed the composition of the MINSK group is questionable and as a result it has a very weak role.
With frustration growing and defense spending in the region skyrocketing, fear has been expressed over a possible new military conflict taking place. The massive flow of petrol dollars Azerbaijan has received has meant that it has been able to significantly increase its military capabilities. But even if they were to take military action, Baku would have to consider that the Russians may help out Armenia since that the two states have a military alliance and more than $1.5 billion worth of Russian military capabilities sit on Armenian soil.
There is also some hope that the European Union could have a greater role to play in the region now that the Southern Caucasus is part of the EU's European Neighborhood Policy (ENP) and the EU has appointed a special representative. So far the EU has tried to take a neutral stance on the conflict, which is not necessarily useful. It would be far better for the EU -- in line with declarations made by the United Nations -- to call on Armenia to withdraw from Azeri territories.
The whole region would benefit from a resolution. With a little bit of compromise and vision, years of hatred and fear could be turned into something positive. Once the upcoming presidential elections set to take place in Armenia and Azerbaijan in 2008 are over, a new window of opportunity will come about and Armenia should take the first steps by pulling out of Azeri territories.
Turk or Muslim?
August 21, 2007
By Tulin Daloglu - MARMARIS, Turkey.
People generally construct social bonds with like-minded people. A child's school determines not only educational quality, but also social contacts in adulthood. It also significantly impacts how one perceives every aspect of life, from religion to mentality and language to socio-political and economic behavior, customs of food and dress, etc. Some successful societies have managed not to emphasize differences. In under-developed or developing countries, the differences are so pronounced that they force the lower and middle classes to consider the issue of equality — naturally encouraging reactionary behavior.
In real life, it is vitally important for everyone to receive the same treatment under the law. But that is the only equality that one can get — if lucky. What"s more important is that behavioral attitudes represent an appreciation of life. From rich to poor, a give-and-take with dignity, honesty and goodwill should guide a healthy society, nurturing trust between rich and poor. In his 1995 book "Trust: The Social Virtues and the Creation of Prosperity," Francis Fukuyama defines "trust" as a society's capacity for cooperation which underpins its prosperity.
I was on vacation at a luxury hotel in Marmaris the day the ruling Islamist rooted Justice and Development Party (AKP) announced Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul as its presidential candidate. It reminded me that the challenge to Turkey's prosperity is, indeed, built in the social dynamics. Luxury hotels reserve part of the beach for their customers, but the rest is open to the public. Within an hour of the AKP announcement, a group of locals bombarded the beach — women with headscarves and shalwars, with their underwear visible after swimming, men and children with their underwear. It was unusual for them to appear this way on such a beach. They were definitely not Islamists, but they simply did not know any better. Yet, the tourists were visibly curious. Soon the scenery turned them off. They left the beach for the pool within the hotel compound.
Two recent polls offered extremely interesting insights on perceptions of cultural and religious propriety. A survey conducted by Bahcesehir University, one of Turkey's leading universities, showed that 88 percent of AKP supporters believe that wearing a bathing suit on the beach is a sin. Sixty-three percent of National Action Party (MHP) supporters and 14 percent of Republican People's Party (CHP) supporters agree. Turkey is surrounded by sea on three sides.
Another poll earlier this year by the Pew Research Center found that 51 percent of Turks define themselves as Muslim first. Evidently, it brings new challenges as well as responsibilities. This week, a Turkish plane bound for Istanbul from Northern Cyprus was hijacked. According to passenger accounts, the hijackers asked the passengers to raise their hands if they are Muslims. Everyone did. The hijackers said that as Muslims they had no intention of hurting the passengers. Unfortunately, no one seemed bothered by the hijackers' attempt to build empathy with fellow Muslims. No one was willing to consider or discuss what the hijackers would have done if there had been non-Muslims on the plane — or to make the point that it is nonsense to mix religion and criminal acts. Turks refuse to address these issues unless the West forces them to. Then they behave as reactionaries.
Turkey's so-called liberal political parties under-theorized the role of culture and religion in building a modern nation-state. The possibility that Mr. Gul's wife, who wears a turban, will represent Turkey as its first lady symbolizes a different culture taking over Turkey's social and governmental life. It will certainly take Turkey a step closer to being seen as an Islamic state, too. Many Turks, however, adamantly insist that a first lady in a turban is not a concession by the secular democracy, but they are quick to point out that how Mr. Gul uses his authority is the important part.
The United States does not see the headscarf/turban as a blow to secular democracy, but everyone must consider why the United States has failed in its efforts to bring democracy to the Muslim Middle East. Among the many reasons it's important to remember that democracy and its culture take a long time to settle and fully mature. It is also impossible to underestimate the impact of the First Amendment on American democracy. The First Amendment assures the freedom of speech, religion, press, assembly and petition for redress of grievances. In Turkey, however, not everyone can speak their minds — even journalists are not completely free — because they can't simply afford to pay the price. The system does not allow them that freedom. Now the AKP is building its base of power in government and the private sector with patronage and favoritism.
Although democracy means the rule of many, many democracies have failed. Turkey now faces the consequences of failing to respond to the needs of more than half the population on time. Now we must wait and see whether the change will be for good or bad. In the meantime, we should keep in mind that "trust" is seriously a missing chain in Turkish unity.
Tulin Daloglu is a free-lance writer.
Genocide: Never Again?
By Miriam Rabkin
More than a million people have been victims of genocide in the past ten years, despite countless promises by world leaders and international organizations that never again would such tragedies be allowed to occur. Moreover, talk of genocide remains ever-present in the news. Tolerance.ca ® decided to probe deeper into the question and met with experts on the topic.
When World War II ended in Europe on May 8, 1945, the murder of approximately two-thirds of European Jewry was revealed to the world. The attempted annihilation of an entire people required a definition to explain what had occurred in legal terms. The term genocide was coined by Raphael Lempkin, a Polish-Jewish refugee in the United States, who further lobbied for a binding legal document which would make genocide punishable by international law. The Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, adopted by the United Nations in 1948, states that genocide is “any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group (…)” and goes on to list such acts. The Holocaust also led to the first international tribunal with the Nuremberg Trials, setting a precedent for the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia and for Rwanda, and later the International Criminal Court, established in 1998 as an independent, permanent court that tries people accused of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes.
According to Frank Chalk, professor of history at Concordia University and co-founder of the Montreal Institute for Human Rights and Genocide Studies (MIGS), to many people genocide represents everything evil that happens in the world, whether it's abuse of women and children, human rights violations, or other crimes all the way up to the Rwandan genocide and the Holocaust. “The basic concept is that genocide is something evil and that most of the things we oppose represent genocide.” That’s one reason Professor Chalk has increasingly begun to emphasize the parallel importance of crimes against humanity. “That relieves a lot of the frustration and tension in the discovery that not everything is genocide but that crimes against humanity also allow for prevention and intervention.”
François Crépeau, Director of the Centre d’études et de recherches internationales de l’Université de Montréal (CÉRIUM), explains, “Genocide is a crime of intent; it is the will to annihilate an entire people. There could technically be genocide without one death. And there could be a massacre of hundreds of thousands without it being genocide.”
The problem arises when the debate over whether genocide is occurring becomes an excuse for doing nothing. “The main reason there has been no international intervention in Darfur is political,” explains Peter Leuprecht, Director of the Institut des études internationales de Montréal (IEIM) at l'Université du Québec à Montréal (UQÀM). “The argument of legal qualification of international crimes is futile. It’s not what matters. What’s important is to realize that these are crimes under international law.”
According to Frank Chalk, the focus needs to be redirected to mass atrocity crimes, which include genocide, crimes against humanity, serious war crimes and gross violations of human rights. “They all signify that a society is really in trouble.” He adds, “At the end of the day intervention doesn't just have to be intervention for genocide. Nor does it have to be armed intervention.”
The question remains: why can’t we prevent genocides? François Crépeau suggests that there is a refusal to intervene in the internal affairs of a state in a preventive manner because it is seen as a potential violation of territorial sovereignty. Peter Leuprecht adds that there is no political will on the part of world leaders to act, such by applying Chapter VII of the UN Charter, unless there is some interest for them.
Yet this lack of political action is what frustrates today’s youth. Perhaps the biggest disappointment for young people concerns Darfur. It’s hard to get information on the current conflict and debate continues as to whether it is really genocide. Nonetheless, it is clear that people are being killed and the international community seems to be sitting idle. Julie, an Education student at the Université de Montréal, sighs, “I feel completely powerless. Traditional means by which people express themselves—rallies, petitions—I’ve never seen proof that this works.” She feels that politicians could do something if they wanted to, but it remains a matter of priorities. She thinks that Canada’s philosophy and policy of foreign aid have changed and are no longer in the right place. Most exasperating for her remains the oft-repeated promise by politicians that crimes against humanity and genocide will not happen again.
Do the words “Never Again” still have meaning?
For Yvette, a survivor of the Rwandan genocide in her early twenties, the words “Never Again” no longer have any meaning. “Genocides continue to occur. Does the international community have more of a conscience today? Yes, people are becoming aware, but are we actually doing something to stop other genocides from happening? In my humble opinion, the answer is no. Had the words ‘Never Again’ been heeded, I wouldn’t have lost my father twelve years ago”, she adds.
“‘Never Again’ is a utopian statement,” says David, a Master’s student at the Université de Montréal. “Sure, it’s filled with good intentions not to repeat the horrors of the Holocaust. But human nature is, in my opinion, barbaric, and so this assertion is wishful thinking rather than a realistic goal.”
Pauline, of Rwandan origin and a Master’s graduate of UQÀM, sometimes wonders if the words “Never Again” are nothing but rhetoric. “Yet it is also an ideal that we want to attain and so we can’t just stop saying it. Still, as much as I want to believe in these words, I sometimes just can’t allow myself to believe in them anymore.”
Julie adds that there is not enough talk about current massacres or crimes against humanity. “Weirdly, we talk a lot about the past, about the Armenian genocide and so forth. But we have to be conscious that it’s happening in the present. We keep saying ‘Never Again’ but we never look at it through today’s lens, always to the past.”
How does she feel about France’s decision of October 12, 2006, to make denial of the Armenian genocide illegal? Julie feels that it is ridiculous to legislate on such a topic. Freedom of expression is important to her. Besides, she feels, those who harbour revisionist thoughts will continue to do so. “That means we have to think of other ways to limit, but not like this.”
François Crépeau shares this opinion. “Freedom of expression comes first. As long as denial remains an opinion, and not part of hate speech, it doesn’t bother me. There are people out there who believe in lots of things, and genocide denial is often just another misguided opinion. Incitement of hatred, on the other hand, is different. It creates social problems, but that’s hate speech and that belongs in another tribunal, where measures have to be taken accordingly.”
Chris, a 24-year old student at Concordia who volunteers as a docent at the Montreal Holocaust Memorial Museum, thinks that France’s decision only does a disservice to the cause. “I think when you make anything illegal, it just gives it more of a platform. The trial of David Irving, a British Holocaust denier, gave him more popularity and more opportunities to spread his thoughts. I’m a huge proponent of free speech. The lack of logic behind denial means it will not come through, no matter what. I think whenever you make things illegal that’s a recipe for disaster.”
David believes that as long as denial remains a historic interpretation and not the leitmotiv for a menacing political doctrine, it should not be illegal. “I don’t see any harm for it to remain in the realm of intellectual debate. We just have to make sure that it doesn’t become a mainstream way of teaching official history.”
“It’s not just an issue of Germans against Jews,
it’s an issue of people against people”
Chris explains that he became a volunteer docent at the Montreal Holocaust Memorial Museum to teach about the Holocaust. “It isn’t just about passing on history,” he explains, “it’s that history has shown us that it’s not just an issue of Germans against Jews, it’s an issue of people against people.”
For Chris, the universality of the Holocaust is crucial. “We are all capable of what happened and we need to work to overcome that. If it was just a history lesson and everyone had learned it, we wouldn’t have Cambodia, we wouldn’t have Rwanda, we wouldn’t have Yugoslavia or Sudan right now.”
For Joshua Greene, producer and director of the documentaries Witness: Voices of the Holocaust and Hitler’s Courts, there are many parallels to make and much to learn from history. “It doesn’t mean that what’s happening now is the same, but history can make us reflect on today.” For example, he views the present political talk about national security with a sceptical eye, aware that those very words have often been used, and not always with positive results.
Chris tries to teach about the Holocaust in terms of the present. One example he sometimes brings forward in his tours is the U.S. poll (“America On Guard,” TIME Magazine, October 8, 2001) that came out after September 11, indicating that 31% of the US population did not object to putting U.S. citizens of Arab descent in camps until it was determined whether or not they had links to terrorist organizations. “That’s nearly a third of the population thinking this way!” exclaims Chris, who is American. “That’s something I want them to see and think about, that people are still willing to send people to camps because they’re part of a group. This is something that is part of our reality.”
Julie, a future teacher, realizes the importance of education but believes the focus should be less on genocide itself and more on how it all began. “What was in people’s minds, why did everything evolve the way that it did? How can you educate people before it is too late?”
Frank Chalk thinks often about that question. He finds that the best way would be to introduce more information in high school curricula so that students could at least learn the basic concepts of human rights, crimes against humanity and genocide. “I think there is a lot of interest and a lot of scope, but I am very concerned that teachers who teach about these matters should have good training before they do it.”
Pauline adds that the educational system should integrate other civilisations, other ways of living and other religions. “Because people here aren’t aware of the world beyond their scope, when they hear that there’s say, a genocide unfolding in Darfur, it doesn’t really affect them.”
What place does genocide have in university curricula? Francois Crépeau explains that while it has relatively weak importance on an academic level, it is a subject that is taught at an undergraduate level at Faculties of Law among others. Yet it is at a graduate level that the concept of genocide is really expanded upon. Peter Leuprecht adds that while studying on human rights or genocide is not mandatory in universities, interest has certainly risen in recent years. “It is essential to teach about these topics,” he notes. “War and peace, intolerance and tolerance: the root of genocides lies in the hearts and spirits of men, so that is where we must build the basis of a pacifist and tolerant society.”
Leuprecht continues: “It is essential to have a memory and maintain the memory because a society without memory may not have a future. I think many young people know very little about history and I think here it’s worse than in Europe.”
For her part, Pauline feels that education in Canada isn’t about critical thinking. “Nowadays people aren’t taught to learn to think. If you study, if you’re in school, it’s because you’re going somewhere. And we’re constantly taught to push further in our careers. So we’re technically educated, but we’re not taught to be critical thinkers. There’s more to life than a career.”
She continues, “Sometimes we need to take a step back in our lives. To ask ourselves why we are who we are, why we are going where we are going. We study to do better, not to be better. And I find that really sad.”
Peter Leuprecht has similar views. “The most important thing today is to be informed and to be alert. We must have a critical view of power, of the State, of the law. What we need, what we really need, are critical citizens.”
To Learn More (books in English)
Marrus, Michael. The Holocaust in History. Toronto: Lester & Opran Dennys, 1987.
Power, Samantha. A Problem From Hell: America and the Age of Genocide. New York: Perennial, 2003.
Schabas, William A. Genocide in International Law. Crime of Crimes. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000.
Books in French
Delacampagne, Christian. Une histoire du racisme. Des origines à nos jours. Paris : Librairie générale française, 2000.
Marrus, Michael, L’Holocauste dans l’histoire. Paris : Flammarion, 1994.
Ternon, Yves. L’innocence des victimes au siècle des génocides. Paris : Desclée de Brouwer, 2001.
© 2007 Tolerance.ca® Inc. All reproduction rights reserved.
US Jewish Group Fires Official Over ‘genocide’ Stance
A respected US Jewish group has fired its New England regional director after he publicly supported Armenian claims of genocide at the hands of the Ottoman Empire and demanded that the organization endorse the charges, according to a report in the US media.
The Anti-Defamation League (ADL), primarily known for fighting anti-Semitism, fired Andrew Tarsy on Friday, the Boston Globe reported. Tarsy told the newspaper that the organization's stance is "morally indefensible." The paper further reported that Tarsy's firing prompted a backlash among local Jewish leaders against the ADL's leadership.
"I'm devastated to hear the news," Ronne Friedman, senior rabbi at Temple Israel, the largest synagogue in Boston, was quoted as saying by the paper. "I think it's an inexcusable behavior on the part of the national office."
Tarsy said he had been in conflict with ADL leadership for several weeks, although he added: "I regret at this point any characterization of the genocide that I made publicly other than to call it a genocide." Steve Grossman, a businessman and a former ADL regional board member, said he predicted the firing of Tarsy "will precipitate wholesale resignations from the regional board, a meaningful reduction in the ADL's regional fund-raising and will further exacerbate the ADL's relationship with the non-Jewish community coming out of this crisis around the Armenian genocide."
In a response letter published in various community newspapers across the New England region, the ADL said it has never denied "the massacres of hundreds of thousands of Armenians -- and by some accounts more than 1 million -- at the hands of the Ottoman Empire in 1915-1918" and that the "the Turkish government must do more than it has to confront its history and to seek reconciliation with the Armenian people."
But it added that legislative efforts outside of Turkey are "counterproductive to the goal of having Turkey itself come to grips with its past," explaining that it takes no position on a resolution in the US House of Representatives that calls on the US administration to recognize the alleged genocide.
It also said it cannot ignore concerns of the Jewish community in Turkey, which "has clearly expressed to us its concerns about the impact of congressional action on them, and we cannot ignore those concerns." It also noted its desire to protect the interests of Israel, which considers Turkey a strategic ally in a hostile region.
Turkey categorically rejects characterization of the World War I events as genocide, saying both that the death toll is inflated and that as many Turks were killed when Armenians took up arms against the Ottoman Empire and the civilian population of eastern Anatolia in collaboration with the invading Russian army, hoping to create an Armenian state in part of eastern Anatolia.
Today's Zaman Istanbul
Armenian Army Abuses Go Unchecked
By Gegham Vardanian, a correspondent with Internews in Yerevan.
Institute for War and Peace Reporting
Aug 17 2007
Defence minister pledges to clean up poor practice, but conscripts say corruption and violence are still rife.
Arsen Karapetian served in the Armenian army for just over a year before he fell gravely ill and his parents bought him out in exchange for a bribe.
Karapetian recalled the incident which led to his illness. "It was early spring. Early in the morning, we were woken by an alarm call and they marched us out of the base. There was a heavy downpour and we were soaked to the skin within five minutes."
The soldiers returned to base and hung out their wet uniforms to dry, but their company commander ordered them to get dressed and go for a theory lesson. "We had to put on our wet clothes again and spend an hour and a half in a cold hall," he said.
Karapetian and more than a dozen other soldiers subsequently contracted pneumonia, which in his case developed into pleurisy. Some of them were kept at the base for two weeks before being taken to hospital.
"I grew terribly thin," he said. "Fluid was pumped from my lungs every day. I was supposed to be demobilised but they kept on postponing it. In the end, my parents gave a bribe of 500 [US] dollars to the 'right' officers to speed up my demobilisation."
On returning to civilian life, Arsen was registered as a disabled person.
The military has not taken any action against the officer involved in the incident.
The often appalling treatment meted out to conscript soldiers during their two years of military service is widely known about, but is still off-limits as subject for public debate. According to the Armenian Helsinki Committee, which monitors human rights in the armed forces, "The number of crimes is not getting any less, because the culture of permissiveness and impunity still prevails."
The head of the committee, Avetik Ishkhanian, believes there is an unwritten law that you cannot speak out publicly about abuses in the army.
"Soldiers are afraid of speaking the truth while they are serving," he said. "They avoid doing so after demobilisation too, and just try to forget the years they spent in the army."
According to Zhanna Aleksanian, a journalist and human rights activist who has extensively researched abuses in the military, "Bribery is commonplace in the army. Beatings and violence meted out by officers are not even discussed. Parents prefer to remain silent on this issue, as they do not want to harm their sons even more."
Armenian defence minister Mikael Harutiunian insisted that the military was tough on disciplining its commissioned officers.
"If officers are guilty and if they have committed a crime, they are punished," he told IWPR. "Many officers have been dismissed and prosecuted. Guilty officers are always punished."
However, according to the Armenian prosecutor general's office, of the 46 convictions of military officers last year, only one involved mistreatment of a soldier, and three were for taking bribes.
Many experts say that instances of abuse are often covered up.
Lawyer and member of parliament Zaruhi Postanjian said that in cases where soldiers are injured when the officer who ought to be on duty is absent from his post, no legal action is taken.
Before she was elected to parliament, Postanjian worked for many years to protect the rights of young soldiers from the rough rules of the army's unwritten code. She points to the informal system of "unit overseers" -men who impose order among their comrades and wield enormous power over junior conscripts.
Aleksanian explained how the system worked. "This 'unit overseer', a soldier or a sergeant, is usually chosen by the officer in command, and he enjoys certain privileges. Commanders manage their units through these overseers - it's easier for them that way. They can easily call the overseer to order. The soldiers fear and respect him and he decides everything and punishes those who don't obey."
She noted that the existence of these unofficial enforcers is now taken as a matter of fact. "The unit overseers... are often cited in court cases. That makes it sort of official," she said.
A conscript can pay off the network of platoon and battalion commanding officers, 'unit overseers" and their associates known as the "good lads" to win privileges, such as extended leave.
A recently demobilised soldier, Vahe Nikoghosian, said he took leave several times and paid a bribe of around 15 US dollars a day to the officer. After returning from leave, soldiers then have to bring gifts - money, food, cigarettes, and, these days, mobile phone credit cards -to the overseer and his "lads" who made it possible.
Nikoghosian argues that the overseers play a useful role. "Without them, the soldiers would be constantly fighting each other," he said.
"In our unit, the overseer usually resolved arguments fairly, and someone who had been insulted could always appeal to him."
He said his parents constantly paid out bribes to make his army life easier. "They were always sending me food and clothes. When they came to see me, they'd always invite the officers to a restaurant. On three occasions, they gave me money to pay officers so I could take leave."
The defence minister says the officer class cannot be wholly blamed if illegal practices occur in the units under their command.
"It depends not just on the officers but also on the quality of soldiers coming into the army, what kind of upbringing they've had, where they grew up and which town of village they lived in before joining up," Harutiunian told IWPR. "The army can't call up only the well-disciplined and the properly brought-up."
He promised that "we will do all we can to reduce the number of negative incidents in the army. Of course, they won't disappear 100 per cent, but we have to work even harder."
Paying the right money or having the right contacts can ensure you are assigned to an easier posting.
"Parents pay at least 500 dollars to prevent their sons being sent to a regiment far away on the border," said Postanjian.
The ex-soldier Nikoghosian confirmed this from his own experience, saying, "Before I was drafted, they [parents] found an acquaintance who handed over a bribe of 700 dollars so that I would not be sent me to a regiment posted in a remote location."
The Helsinki Committee reports that there are "VIP units" based close to the capital Yerevan, which take the sons of government officials, or anyone willing to hand over between 3,000 and 5,000 dollars.
After IWPR contacted Harutiunian, he ordered the head of the defence ministry's personnel department, General Vardan Avetisian, to provide an interview. But in a telephone conversation, Avetisian categorically refused to be interviewed about corruption or other abuses.
"The army is a closed-in, armoured, invulnerable structure surrounded by an iron curtain," said Aleksanian. "Of course, hazing may disappear one day but I cannot see any progress towards making that happen."
(Arsen Karapetian and Vahe Nikoghosian are not the real names of the soldiers interviewed for this report.)
Turkish Organizations In America - Behind Schedule
Hayoc Ashkharh, Armenia
Aug 16 2007
Interview with the Person in Charge of the Office of ARF Bureau of Armenian Cause and Political Issues Kiro Manoyan
"Turkish unions in the USA have started their "attack" to hinder the adoption of resolution 106. Can they really manage to do so?"
"In my view in this issue Turkish organizations in America are behind schedule, because more than half of the members of the House of Representatives (226) appear as co-authors of resolution 106.
Hardly can the efforts of the Turkish community have any influence on the congressmen. I also believe the resolution will definitely be put to vote by the end of this year. Most probably the resolution will be put to vote, in case no military changes occur, that can force the Congress leadership change their minds. But, at the moment there are no bases for such a change, consequently I believe by the end of the year the resolution will be put to vote and adopted by the House of Representatives."
"The Assembly of Turkish Unions in the USA came out with an announcement entitled "An Alarm of Swift Actions: a Message Should be Sent to the Congress", where they appeal to all the Turks for fighting the adoption of the Resolution on the Recognition of the Genocide. Do you think the Commission on Armenian Cause in the USA needs to counteract this challenge? If yes - in what way?"
"First of all I should mention that it is the Turkish organizations that counteract the steps taken by the Commission on Armenian Cause. Because even during summer holidays the commission continues to maneuver Armenian community. The latter has expressed his viewpoint to the congressmen by different means, including telephone calls.
That is why the Commission on Armenian Cause doesn't need to counteract the actions of the Turkish organizations. Instead we continue to work persistently in this direction. In my view it will be very difficult for the Turkish organizations to change the positive attitude of the congressmen."
"According to the information published, the organization called "Turkish Coalition in America" has supported a campaign - they send letters to the congressmen aimed at hindering the voting and adoption of resolution 106. Are they trying to influence the congressmen by means of sending letters only?"
"I should mention that this campaign includes lobbyist organizations supported by Turkish government as well as other interested circles that are active in Turkish -American relations and they are trying to support Turkish government in this issue. Sending letters is a small part of this big campaign. We shouldn't overlook the fact that during the previous months several Turkish parliamentary delegations visited America, especially for resolution 106. We shouldn't also forget about the visits of Turkish Prime-Minister, Foreign Minister and Head of General Headquarter to America - mainly for the same purpose.
Anyhow they didn't achieve their goal. I strongly believe this will be the last effort for the Turkish organizations to try to save something. In my view Congress leadership realizes that if the majority of the House of Representatives has already come out as a co-author of the resolution it will be very difficult to stop them."
"Does the Commission on Armenian Cause have any idea about the contents of those letters?"
"No, but besides letters they have publications, where they throw the real, historical facts into question and try to represent resolution 106 as a blow to Turkish-American relations.
The Commission on Armenian Cause has already apposed to all this, trying to explain the political circles that Turkey has always come out with similar threats addressed to any country that has passed a resolution on the recognition of Armenian Genocide. But the fact is, after the adoption of the resolution Turkey's economic relations with those countries have only become closer. That is to say the economic sphere of Turkish American relations won't suffer from the adoption of the resolution, despite their threats. As regards other especially military relations - it is evident that Turkey has military relations with the USA based on their interests and consequently it will be a blow to Turkey itself. In short these threats are simply threats and blackmail nothing more.
I don't think the adoption of resolution 106 can have a serious and long-lasting negative influence on Turkish - American relations.
Training For Armenian Anti-Revolutionaries
Aug 16 2007
The defenders of the Armenian government who have assumed the role of attorneys of the system of public administration built by Robert Kocharyan and Serge Sargsyan often offer the example of Georgia and Ukraine as a counterargument, saying that after the rose and orange revolutions the normal development of these countries slowed down.
This counterargument, in fact, lacks a grain of rationality, regarding both Georgia and Ukraine. After the rose revolution Georgia is developing at a high rate. Within a year the budget of the country reached and exceeded twice the budget of Armenia. And if the Armenian government and its defenders say it was thanks to the Armenian money that the budget of Georgia totals 2 billion dollars, we may ask them thanks to what the Armenian budget reached the half of it. Although there is no need to ask because everyone knows it was thanks to money transfers and the depreciation of the dollar.
If in Armenia the economic development is measured by the "astronomical" volume of building, in other words, if it is a measurement of economic growth, the same volume of building is found in Tbilisi, in addition, not at the expense of green areas and the old city. The branch of economy which was declared as a priority in Armenia, tourism, is gathering momentum in Georgia after the rose revolution. The construction of hotels in the sea and mountain resorts of Georgia is not less than in Armenia.
In other words, the people who evoke regress in Georgia or impediments to normal development had better think of other, better grounded counterarguments to a change of government or a revolution than the example of Georgia because the society may act on the opposite. Meanwhile, it is pointless to discuss transit profit from oil and gas agreements, considering that it is the result of the favorable geographical position and the favorable geopolitical situation in the region rather than flexible management of the economy.
The situation in Ukraine arouses delight among the defenders of the Armenian government because the political crisis in Ukraine is an excellent opportunity to illustrate the negativity of the revolutionary change of government. However, this is also a superficial perception of the situation. In fact, Ukraine underwent a political crisis which is overcome, however, and is overcome through democratic methods. Yes, there is a confrontation between the president and the prime minister but it does not endanger the normal development of the country's economy. Meanwhile, the fact that there is development and the tendencies are obvious could be confirmed by an essential circumstance the importance of which is not acknowledged. Europe 2012 will be held in Poland and Ukraine. I will tell for those who have a vague idea of sports that the cup of Europe is a little more popular than the pan-Armenian games. The cup of Europe is next to the Olympic Games and the world cup. In other words, they trusted Ukraine to hold the authoritative championship in which the 16 strongest teams participate, and hundreds of thousands of football fans arrive. Certainly, this decision has an important political component, especially that it was made in the period of aggravation of the Yushchenko-Yanukovich confrontation, acting as a major lever of support for Yushchenko, besides bringing together the Ukrainians around some idea, for people there love football in both the eastern and western parts of the country. However, despite the political motive of the decision, this important tournament would not be confided to a country which does not have a sufficient potential for holding it. In other words, Europe can see this potential, like they can see that Russia which is growing rich in oil money can spend about 20 billion dollars which is a fantastic sum to turn Sochi from a provincial beach into an Olympic city.
Hence, for a more effective operation of the Armenian anti-revolutionaries it is necessary to hold trainings, even on grants from the state budget, for them to leave Georgia and Ukraine alone and think of new and more rational arguments for the danger and undesirability of a revolution. Otherwise, the government relies on their brilliant minds and chooses those countries to scare the society with the post-revolutionary situation in those countries.
Meanwhile, this will work short because people visit both Georgia and Ukraine, besides they get information about these countries not only through the Armenian pro-government media. It means one day they will understand that this propaganda is clear bluffing. And see that the "regress" has led these countries to a better quality of life than the tiger that Armenia is riding. And instead of comforting us with the state of others we had better worry about our state, and if revolutionary moods occur, calm them with work and not fruitless words and threats or truncheons. The truncheons may turn back the time but they can never stop the time.
Kirakosian: The Greatest Threat To Armenia's National Security Comes Not From Abroad
By Tugba Altinkum
Journal of Turkish Weekly
Aug 15 2007
Richard Kirakosian said that the threat to Armenia's national security comes from inside. Mr. Kirakosian argued that corrpuption is more mortal threat to armenia than the abroad actors.
"The greatest threat to Armenia's national security comes not from abroad, but from inside. Armenian statehood is most threatened by global regress, caused by corruption and so-called "good management" he added.
Kirakosian further considers that the membership of Turkey the European Union will be beneficial to Armenia, as the borders of the EU will draw nearer to Armenia and Turkey become constrained by the European "strait-jacket". Mr. Kirkosian claimed that Turkey's EU membership will make contribution to Turkey-Armenia security relations.
"Armenia Shouldn't Follow, But Lead The Diaspora"
"If the Diaspora wasn't busy with Genocide recognition, it could work on issues related to unity, in other words, issues like democracy in Armenia and helping the country advance in all spheres." Thus stated Richard Giragosian of the Washington bureau of Caucasus and Central Asia issues.
To the question of the importance of Armenia becoming a democratic country being stipulated on the Diaspora not pursuing Genocide recognition, he replied thoughtfully that "As long as the Genocide issue isn't solved, the Diaspora will remain in its current condition." He pointed out that the way to solve this problem would be better, more active relations between Armenia and the Diaspora.
"Armenia shouldn't follow the Diaspora, but on the other hand take the lead, actively taking the spotlight," adding that it would be helpful if funds coming from the Diaspora were to be spent in a more transparent, open way.
According to Giragosian, even though the Armenian lobby is strong in the US, it would be beneficial if Armenia and the Diaspora used their resources in a mutual manner. He then suggested the creation of a "Diaspora ambassador" position, which would in his opinion make the Armenia-Diaspora relation more subjective.
Who Is In Favor, And Who Is Against Opening The Armenia-Turkey Border
"For the first time, Turkey brought up the issue of its national security in relation to the opening of their border with Armenia," Richard Giragosian, of the center of Caucasus and Central Asian issues, stated to journalists at the Military Study Center in Yerevan.
He is convinced that the opening of the border would be more beneficial to a blockaded Armenia, yet Turkey now has its own benefits from opening the border.
According to him, Turkey considers the surrounding Kurdish regions as a danger, and a way out of this would be to improve their economy, which can only happen if they agree to the border opening.
A benefit to Armenia, he reminded, was the opening of Armenia's economy to the outside world, which would cut transit costs for its good, and would once and for all end the blockade, putting some "fear" in the monopolists who currently run Armenia's economy.
Although not naming names, Giragosian seemed to point at those in the sugar and cigarette businesses.
"There are strong interests in Armenia which do not want the border opened, but this would be good for the country, which would be able to integrate into the global economy," he noted in closing.
Opening The Armenian-Turkish Border Threatens The Positions Of Armenian Monopolists
By A. Haroutiunian
AZG Armenian Daily
Armenia's National Interests
The Greatest Threat to Armenian National Security Remains Corruption, And Not Only...
On August 13, at the Strategic and National Studies Institute of Armenia was held a discussion dedicated to the adoption of the Armenian Resolution by the US Congress and its possible influences on the relations between Armenia and Turkey and the US foreign policy, as well as the main threats to strategic and economic relations.
Speaking on the topic international relations scientist Richard Kirakosian first of all outlined the Kurdish problem, an issue of Tukey's national security, and marked it as a means of preserving stability in the region.
As Mr. Kirakosian represented the situation, the military authorities of Turkey for the first time have admitted the necessity of opening the border with Armenia. To the opinion of the Armenia side, opening the Armenia-Turkey border will promote development of trade, reduce the dependency of Armenian economy from Georgia, and finally remove the economical blockade from Armenia. It is more remarkable, that to Mr. Kirakosian's opinion opening the border will also encourage growth of competition inside Armenia, which naturally does not meet the interests of a group of people holding economic monopoly in Armenia.
In sense of military strategy, Kirakosian emphasized the difficulties in America-Turkey relations and Tukrkey's doubts about choosing between European and Asian ways of development. The relations between the USA and Turkey are becoming tougher because of the Kurdish issue, as, irrespective of Tukey's interest, the Kurds remain Washington's only allies in the war in Iraq.
In any case, Kirakosian considers that the membership of Turkey the European Union will be beneficial to Armenia, as the borders of the EU will draw nearer to Armenia and Turkey become constrained by the European "strait-jacket". Moreover, in case of being granted membership, Turkey will have to reduce its military forces.
Mr. Kirakosian also made another remarkable statement: the greatest threat to Armenia's national security comes not from abroad, but from inside. Armenian statehood is most threatened by global regress, caused by corruption and so-called "good management".
"Azg" reporter asked Mr. Kirakosian's opinion about Turkey's possible involvement and real role in the peace process and Nagorno-Karabakh. Richard Kirakosian replied, "Turkey has realized that the blockade did not work and that there a only a few possible moves left to do. Thus Turkey became the 'prisoner' of Azerbaijan."
Kirakosian noticed that Turkey is of course not pleased of depending on Baku, especially now when Turkey is no more the number one military partner of Azerbaijan. Turkey has been replaced by the USA and Russia. Kirakosian said that at the same time he remains more concerned with Russia's "treachery" rather than Turkey's interference to the Karabakh process.
Richard Kirakosian also expressed original point of view on Armenia-Georgia relationships. Particularly, Kirakosian, specializing in studies of political situation in Central Asian and Post-Soviet states, said that Armenia's enmity with Azerbaijan is at least certain. "Armenia knows well that Azerbaijan is an enemy, but Georgia is unpredictable: one day it is an enemy, the other a good friend," he added.
By the way Kirakosian advised the Foreign Ministry of Armenia resign the issue of recognition of Armenian Genocide as a priority of national foreign policy and pay more attention rather to the economic blockade of Armenia, a violation of international law perpetrated by Turkey.
92-Year-Old Genocide Update
Los Angeles Times, CA
Aug 14 2007
Plenty of recent news on the politics-of-Armenian-genocide front.
First, the White House earlier this month finally withdrew its nomination of Richard Hoagland as ambassador to Armenia, after more than a year of New Jersey Democratic Senator Robert Menendez putting a "hold" on it, over outrage at Hoagland's refusal to acknowledge the Armenian genocide. (The L.A. Times editorial board supported the hold 13 months ago, and accused President Bush of letting its foreign policy be "dictated by Ankara nationalists.") California Courier editor and man-about-Glendale Harut Sassounian reacts here; Rep. Adam Schiff chips in here, and for a more Turkish view, try here.
Meanwhile, House Resolution 106, otherwise known as the Armenian genocide recognition bill, just got its 227th co-sponsor. The Times has supported this in the past, but not so our sister paper in Baltimore: This is starting to delve into history, which is another way of saying it's not a question that belongs before Congress in 2007. The verbose, pompous (and, yes, pandering) resolution cheapens Armenian history, not the reverse.
But it's also not a matter over which the White House should be issuing a gag order. History is messy and ugly and is best served by free and robust discussion. Americans as well as Turks and Armenians should have the confidence to recognize that.
For an intriguing Armenian-diaspora take against the recognition bill, I can't recommend highly enough this Washington Times op-ed by Garin Hovannisian. Excerpt: As the great grandson of genocide survivors, the grandson of genocide historians, and the son of Armenian repatriates --though writing, I'm afraid, without the sanction of the generations --I am insulted by that sticker. That Congress "finds" the genocide to be a fact makes the tragedy no more real than its refusal, so far, has made it unreal. Truth does not need a permission slip from the state.
As an heir, moreover, of an American tradition of limited government, I am annoyed that the legislature is poking into a sphere in which it has neither business nor experience: the province of truth. [...]
Congressional symbols of good faith will not do the job. When Turkish foreign minister Abdullah Gul flies into Washington to smear the resolution as a "real threat to our relationship" and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice slobbers back that Turkey is a "global partner (that) shares our values," it isn't House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's problem.
Finally, no story about genocide-politics is complete without craven tales of Capitol Hill muckety-mucks-turned lobbyists, so enjoy the rambling apologia of disgraced ex-GOPer Bob Livingston, watch it again with the Armenian National Committee of America's rebuttal, and then grab some popcorn for this New Republic thumbsucker about the lobbying on Capitol Hill, particularly by Turkey's new best friend, the ex-perennial presidential contender Dick Gephardt. Excerpt: 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 spokeswoman for 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 thenHouse Speaker Dennis Hastert urging Hastert to schedule an immediate vote on a genocide resolution. "We implore you," the letter read, arguing that Armenian-Americans "have waited long enough for Congress to recognize the horrible genocide." Today, few people are doing more than Gephardt to ensure that the genocide bill goes nowhere.
Mass circulation daily Hurriyet fired its controversial columnist Emin Colasan Tuesday night. Colasan was known for his strong articles highly critical of the government. In the past Colasan opposed the Ozal administration and had to pay heavy fines. His opposition to Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Foreign Minister Abdllah Gul and Ankara Mayor Melih Gokcek has been particularly strong. Colasan is known to be one of the leading columnists of the secularist front. News that Colasan was fired sparked angry reaction among some Hurriyet readers who called the paper to protest the move. There were also rumors that Bekir Coskun, another opposition columnist would also quit but Coskun denied these. Colasan's departure from Hurriyet seemed imminent when the paper recruited a new columnist Yilmaz Ozdil who is also a more moderate critic of the government.
The New Anatolian / Ankara
15 August 2007
Emin Colasan Is Fired? What Will Be The Reaction?
In Turkey, our valuable writer Emin Çölasan, while he had taken a firm position against the government reflecting his republican and his behaviour adherent of Ataturk’s policy, was fired on 14\08\07 as Hurriyet the newspaper was sold to the political authorities. We, as Çölasan lovers, have stopped buying Hurriyet to show that we are together in this road with him. To support us and not to be pawns of the government, please share your answers!!
Politics controls the media and it is the reason that they can buy out a journalist that are against them which should not be the case because the media is supposed to be the voice of the people.
I was very skeptical about Hurriyet and especially Ertugrul Ozkok recently. He always found a way to support the government and agree with Mr. Erdogan and at times his articles sounded too good to be true. I do not want to sound like I am plotting a conspiracy theory but this looks like a very well-planned action to me. I hope these people who are using democracy to come into power will not destroy it later on so that they can impose their fundamentalist Islamic beliefs on Turkish people. We should not forget that this was actually how it started taking a turn for the worst in Iran. I will not buy Hurriyet anymore and nobody should until we are given a logical and an honest explanation about why Colasan was fired.
IF NOT FIRED, COLASAN WAS BEING HARASSED TO LIFT PRESSURE ON THE CURRENT ADMINISTRATION IN TURKEY. "HURRIYET" ITSELF IS BENT UNDER THE GOVERNMENT PRESSURE AND LOOKS LIKE WILL FALL SILENT AS THE ATATURK'S REPUBLIC GETS SLOWLY BROUGHT TO IT'S KNEES.
I've been reading WallSJ and Hurriyet for years. However, without E. Colasan, Hurriyet has no value. So, it's gone for me.
No more Hurriyet.
Source: Yahoo Answers
Mountain Ararat Cannot Avoid This Global Rise In Temperature
Aug 13 2007
The Turkish Daily "Sabah" reports that the global rise in temperature throughout the earth, as well, as the drought hanging over Turkey had their influence on the mountain Ararat. This year it is thawing on the top of Ararat, which is covered with snow all the year round.
According to the Daily "Marmara", Jamaleddin, the head of the Dogubayazit provice, has informed Demirtchogli that mountainers have not noticed any phenomena of thaw. However, the information received from the meteorological station shows that in comparison with previous years, thaw though little has been recorded.
“Democrator?” Call it a neo-logismo: A blend of democrat and dictator, someone who “dictates” in the guise of democracy. Someone, for example, who has the ultimate one-man power to select MP candidates, their listings and therefore the MPs, party leaders, provincial party chiefs, cabinet ministers, the parliament speaker and, of course, the president of the republic – not to mention thousands of lower- and higher-ranking bureaucrats.
The trendy political term after July 22, and quite justly from the viewpoint of the victors, is “the nation's will.” Before July 22, the same term referred largely to the “mindset of an unknown percentage of Turks over religious and religion-related matters, the mindset that diverged from that of the secular elite.”
After July 22, the same term practically refers to one in every two Turks who would support or at least not object to Abdullah Gül's presidency. Hence Mr. Gül's frequent use of the term in a not-so-veiled message that his presidency will be the “will of the nation.” Is Mr. Gül right about that? Absolutely.
It is futile to investigate how much of the Justice and Development Party (AKP) vote had been cast in protest to the “grave injustice done to Mr. Gül during his presidential bid.” Futile, because, in the first place, there can be no scientific evidence to find that out. We can only guess, and guessing is not a seriously reliable means in analyzing voting motives. But we can safely reach other conclusions based both on statistics (election results) and empirical evidence.
First, we can guess that only a too negligible fraction of AKP voters would object to Mr. Gül's presidency. Second, that fraction would be far more than offset by the percentage of non-AKP voters who would be sympathetic to Mr. Gül's presidency. It would not be wrong to assume that various percentages among Kurdish, Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), the Saadet (Happiness or Contentment) Party (SP) and even the Democrat Party (DP) voters would overtly or covertly support Mr. Gül as he runs for the top state job.
So, it would not be wrong to assume Mr. Gül having the support of at least half of the Turks as he re-runs for the presidency. If more than half is not the “nation's will,” then what else could be? This is quite a different statistical/sociological setup than the one before July 22 when the only available data showed that (a) only slightly more than half of the votes were represented in Parliament and (b) the ruling party controlled two-thirds of Parliament with only one-third of the national vote. The change in the statistical/sociological setup is so dramatic that we cannot tend to ignore it. No doubt, the popular support for Mr. Gül's presidency is a proven phenomenon today. It's, like Mr. Gül loves to describe it, the “nation's will.”
Having admitted that Mr. Gül's election naturally is the “nation's will,” we face a broader issue as regards to the increasingly fashionable term – the nation's will. The issue, unfortunately, is a quandary, which even the world's best democracies fail to resolve. In democracies, should we listen to the nation's will on a part-time basis? How democratic would that be? Who and how should decide when we should be listening to the nation's will and when we should not? If we listen to the nation's will on one issue and disregard it on a dozen others would that, then, not be called a part-time democracy? Allow me to remind of Mr. Gül's we-must-respect-the-nation's-will camp (whose legitimacy and reasoning I fully respect) that at some other time in the future the same argumentation may deeply embarrass President Gül or his comrades in the government.
Not clear? Fine, then. Try to imagine a picture of Turkey on the morning of a package referendum asking Turks the following questions, a Turkey which must immediately pass laws and decrees and regulations to honor the “nation's will” as it appeared at the ballot box on that referendum day…
Q1: Should Turkey cooperate with the United States in Iraq?
Q2: Should the Turkish military carry out an incursion into northern Iraq to fight the PKK?
Q3: Should the headscarf ban at universities be removed?
Q4: Should parliamentary immunity be removed immediately and unconditionally?
Q5: Should Turkey withdraw its troops from Cyprus?
Q6: Should Turkey compromise on the claims of Armenian genocide?
Q7: Should the constitution be freed from Kemalist principles?
Q8: Should the Turkish military's powers and authority be reduced?
It is not difficult to guess what kind of a “nation's will” would emerge from that “visual” package of referendum. “Nation's will” for Mr. Gül's presidency is all fine. But where should the line be drawn where we should stop listening to the nation's other wills?
Ah, democracy and “democrators” disguised as democrats…
August 15, 2007
Equilibrium By Burak Bekdil /TDN
In Memory of Haig Varadian
By Anne Atanasian
It was an overcast day, and on days such as this, I usually turn to my books for possibilities of change. I picked up my copy of Gevork Emin's For You on New Years Day. I've often found in his poetry words of solace, or imagery that made sense of what often seems senseless. I had lately learned of the death of yet another dear friend, Haig Varadian. Awash with memories of my early AYF years, I could not ignore how much our lives crossed one another in the past 50 years. In 1947, I attended an AYF meeting at St. Vartanantz. It was the meeting held before the Olympics, which was to be held in NYC. I met my future husband, Harry, that night, as well as Haig and his brothers. John Arzoomanian and Sarkis Atamian were the super stars of the Varadians. The excitement was ready for this stranger from Washington, D.C. A year later when I moved to Providence, the Varadian family's house was across the street from the Atanasian's house, which again cemented our friendship. My father-in-law and the Varadian's father were French Legionnaires in 1915 and fought the Turks, which, as Mal Varadian once said, "made the boys all brothers."
It grinds down my spirit when I realize how many of those eager young men are now gone from us. They were the glue that held a wonderful community rooted in our collective pride in being Armenian. The ties were so intricate-Haig's mother and my mother-in-law were Bursatzees and shared the horrors of the genocide. The two shared a cup of coffee every afternoon on our front porch. It seemed those years of the 40's and 50's in Providence were a truly unique place, the dimensions of which were defined by the young families whose lives were interwoven throughout the AYF. The social security of that community created for me a beauty of days. I wish I could reach out and touch once again the hands of those dear, dear friends. Now unreachable, I pray that God's grace will light Haig's soul.
The Armenian Weekly; Volume 73, No. 32; August 11, 2007
Armenians Honor The Terrorism (How Brainsick Some Can Get)
New York AYF Chapter Honors Memory of Lisbon 5
By Nazareth Markarian
Ara, Sarkis, Setrag, Simon and Vatche, who have come to be known and remembered as the Lisbon 5, were ardent believers in fairness, justice and human rights.
On July 27, 1983 these five young men, none over the age of 25, attempted to storm the Turkish Embassy in Lisbon, Portugal, with the intention of capturing the Turkish ambassador and holding him hostage. Their efforts to seize the embassy were thwarted, and instead they occupied the residence of the Turkish Deputy Chief Mission. During the fighting one of the boys, Simon Yahneian, was killed. The other four, finding themselves surrounded, decided to detonate a bomb, taking only their own lives (they had released the wife and child of the Turkish Ambassador) in order to awaken the world to the plight of the Armenians at the hands of Turkish genocide deniers.
To commemorate and honor our five fallen brothers who sacrificed their lives for genocide recognition in Lisbon 24 years ago, a short program was held at the Armenian Center in Woodside, Queens, N.Y. Taking place on Saturday, July 28, the event was organized by the New York Armen Garo Chapter of the ARF, and featured Unger Jirayr Beugekian of Boston who spoke about the Lisbon 5. He began by presenting a short video that included both a narrative of what transpired 24 years ago in Lisbon, and footage of the five boys as they spoke about themselves, and relayed their message to their families and the Armenian community as a whole. As a follow-up to the video, U. Jirayr spoke briefly about the time period that surrounded their struggle. He explained that the atmosphere in the world was different than it is today; it was common in those days for people to resort to violence in order to get themselves heard. However, for the Armenians (the Lisbon 5 were no exception), violence was only used as a last resort. Sadly, and as it continues to do so today, the Turkish government ardently denyies the validity of the Armenian genocide as a historical fact. What was different is that the entire world seemed apathetic to the Armenian Cause, and the genocide question was consistently brushed aside in diplomatic forums. It was a time of great frustration for the Armenian people especially because Turkey had no desire to engage in dialogue concerning the Armenian genocide. The selfless act of the Lisbon 5 helped to open the eyes of the world to the demands of the Armenian people and because of their sacrifice, diplomacy and discourse are viable options today.
The following day, on Sunday July 29, the names of the Lisbon 5 were remembered during the requiem service conducted in St. Illuminator's Cathedral in Manhattan. Immediately after the conclusion of church services a short program was held in the church hall. The Prelate, His Eminence Archbishop Oshagan Choloyan, spoke briefly about the Lisbon 5 and what their struggle meant to the Armenian people. He also recalled how he had met one of the boys in Abu Dhabi on the eve of the Lisbon operation. The young man had come to bid his family farewell but never once mentioned his plan to his family or any of the guests gathered there that day. After the Archbishop shared his words, a poem dedicated to the Lisbon 5 was read by a member of the New York Hyortik AYF Chapter. Another chapter member then delivered the youth message, and finally a song dedicated to the Lisbon 5 was played to conclude the program.
Every February we remember St. Vartan Mamigonian and his struggle against the Persians in the name of Armenian Christianity. It is equally important that we remember the sacrifices of our modern Armenian martyrs such as the Lisbon 5.
Nazareth Markarian is a member of AYF New York Hyortik Chapter.
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The Armenian Weekly; Volume 73, No. 32; August 11, 2007
The Intrigue of Constantinople Politics
By Kay Mouradian
Henry Morgenthau was anxious to meet the Turkish politicians and the ambassadors posted in Constantinople.
"It is better to wait," his dragoman Arshag Schmavonian advised. "They want to meet you, Sir. Let them be the first to extend an invitation."
"Are you suggesting I remain aloof?"
"No, Sir, but this is Constantinople and intrigue is part of the culture. You want to arouse their curiosity."
Hmmm, like a negotiating ploy, Morgenthau thought and said, "I like the idea of being visible, yet distant. Let's ride through the city in an open carriage. You can show me the embassies and the Turkish government offices and the excursion will give me a feel for the city."
"I'll plan an itinerary for tomorrow. You may not know that Constantinople is, in reality, a triple city. There is the Turkish quarter on the Asiatic side of the Bosporus and Pera and Galata are the foreign quarters. Most of the American community lives in Pera, the Christian quarter. But our embassy is in Galata."
"I understand Constantinople's population is upward of a million. Correct?" Henry asked.
"Yes. One-half are Turks and the rest are Greeks, Armenians, Jews and many of mixed European stock. The charm of this city enticed these Europeans to stay, marry Ottomans and raise their families here."
Morgenthau was struck by Schmavonian's love and pride for the city. "You're Armenian?"
Schmavonian hesitated. "Yes."
"You are the first Armenian I've ever met."
"I'm a Protestant."
Morgenthau's lips slowly widened into a grin and he chuckled. "Are you going to try to convert me?"
Both men laughed so long and hard that Schmavonian had to wipe tears from his eyes. Still laughing, Henry reached for a cigar. "I like a cigar occasionally." He rolled the cigar around in his mouth and savored the taste of the fine Turkish tobacco. He blew the smoke up toward the ceiling and extended the humidor to Schmavonian.
Schmavonian took a cigar and both men settled back into their chairs. It was the beginning of a heartfelt bond the two would have for the duration of Morgenthau's tenure in Constantinople.
"At one time my father was the largest manufacturer of cigars in Germany," Morgenthau said. "He exported them to America and when he learned the tariff was going to be raised significantly, he loaded a ship with cigars intending to beat the tariff. But, unfortunately, the ship had a difficult crossing and arrived in New York one day after the tariff took effect. My father lost his fortune, we immigrated to America, and my sweet mother, who was used to having servants wait on her, had to run a boarding house in New York City. So, you see, I am never complacent." Reaching for a pen, he opened his notebook. "Now, tell me. Who are the major players in the city?"
"Turkish or foreign?"
"Let's start with the Turks."
Schmavonian placed his hands on the edge of the desk. "The most powerful Turk is the Minister of the Interior, Talaat Pasha. He is about 45 years old, speaks some French, and is a man of the people. He has a keen intelligence and at the time of the revolution seven years ago he was merely a telegraph operator at Salonika."
"Interesting," Morgenthau said as he made notations on the paper.
"The second most powerful is Enver Pasha, the Minister of War. He studied military methods in Berlin, speaks German fluently, and has a close relationship with Kaiser Wilhem. He is only 32 and was promoted to General from Lt. Colonel in less than six months." Schmavonian grinned. "That promotion normally takes six years."
"How does someone so young reach such an exalted position?"
"He was one of three military heroes in the 1908 revolution. He, Nazim Pasha, and Shefket Pasha led the army into Constantinople. Nazim Pasha, the Minister of War and the strongest Young Turk leader, was a liberal who wanted the subject races to be part of the government. He was murdered last year and Shefket Pasha was assassinated six months later."
"So Enver is now the Minister of War?"
"Yes. He is very ambitious."
"Was he responsible for the assassinations?
"Many thought so, but no one was able to prove he was behind the coup d'etat."
Morgenthau was beginning to understand the tenuousness of the Turkish Empire commonly referred to as the Sick Man of Europe. "Who is the third?"
"That would be General Jemal Pasha, the Minister of Marine."
"A General in charge of the Navy?"
Schmavonian smiled. "Yes, but soon he will be taking command of the Fourth Army in Syria and Palestine. He speaks French like a Parisian and has been instrumental in bringing French experts to Constantinople to train our Turkish police."
"Sounds like Jemal runs everything. How old is he?"
"And the position equivalent to England's Prime Minister?"
"That is the Grand Vizier, who is Said Halim Pasha. He went to Oxford, comes from one of the oldest families in Egypt and is an ardent Turk. He replaced Kiamil Pasha, who was told that if he did not resign he would be murdered."
"I think there is more I should know."
"Definitely, but you need time to absorb the political situation. First, meet these men."
"What about the Sultan? How much power does he have?"
Schmavonian laughed. "He is merely a figurehead, quite different from his predecessor, Abdul Hamid II. How much do you know about the 1908 revolution?" "Are you going to give me a history lesson?"
"Yes! But over coffee at the Pera Palace Hotel just a couple of blocks away. It will be good for you to be seen in public."
The two men crushed out their cigars, left the embassy and were at the hotel within minutes. They entered the lobby where several well-dressed patrons were sitting and chatting on settees placed by expensive wood paneled walls. They settled themselves into two comfortable red sofa chairs placed on either side of a round brass coffee table.
A waiter, standing by an elegant copper cart designed especially for making Turkish coffee, was approaching.
"Do you like your coffee sweet?" Schmavonian asked.
"Yes." Morgenthau learned at a young age to resist sweets for which he had a penchant, but he had heard horror stories about the strong Turkish coffee.
Schmavonian nodded to the waiter and said in Turkish, "Both sweet."
Morgenthau watched the man, the hotel's expert coffee maker, put water and two spoons of powdered coffee and sugar into a small brass pot. The man brought it to a boil, pulled the pot away and passed it over the flame another two times, skimming the froth and spooning it into the demitasses and carefully poured the coffee into the cups. Steaming fumes spiraled upward as the waiter brought the coffees and set them on the table.
The ambassador picked up the dainty cup and took a sip. "It will take time for me to develop a taste for this potent stuff." He set down the coffee and said, "What do I need to know about the Sultan?"
"Mehmed Rechad became Sultan of Turkey when the Young Turks deposed his brother, Abdul Hamid II. Abdul Hamid had ruled the empire, or as some have said, misruled the empire for 33 years. He was a hardened despot who had a deep fear of being assassinated."
Schmavonian lifted his coffee to his lips, sniffed it as he would a fine wine, sipped it and returned it to the table. "That fear of assassination was such an obsession he devised a network of spies throughout the empire to nip any plot that might be hatching. He had 50,000 spies in Constantinople alone, and his first day of business always began with reports from those spies. Ruling the empire was secondary."
"Shouldn't his son have become Sultan?" Morgenthau laughed and added, "I'm assuming he had a large harem and at least one son."
"Yes, he had sons," Schmavonian said with a smile, "but in Turkey the eldest in the family rises to the throne. You can imagine the maneuvering of the harem wives who wanted their sons to become Sultan. Often it led to plots and assassinations, and sometimes brothers were killed to prevent the threat of a coup."
The new American ambassador was beginning to understand why Constantinople held such a flavor of intrigue. It started at the top. "Then he had good reason to fear assassination?"
"Yes he did! He had been instrumental in the plot to depose his elder brother, Murad, whom he claimed was mentally unfit to rule. He imprisoned his brother in the basement of one of the palaces and Murad was found strangled twenty-eight years later."
An astonished look crossed Morgenthau's face.
"Yes," Schmavonian said with a nod. "There were some who began to promote the idea that Murad should retake the throne and they claim that is why Murad was murdered. The Palace guards kept Murad, his wife and three daughters in the basement with no furniture except for an old piano. They were given plenty of food, their only heat was from a small charcoal pot, their clothes consisted of rough gray cloth, the kind used to make soldiers uniforms, and they slept on the cold floor. Murad's wife and one daughter died during the first year of their imprisonment."
"This is hard for me to comprehend."
"That's not all," Schmavonian scoffed. "This supposedly feeble minded brother taught his remaining two daughters Turkish and Persian poetry, using boards from a broken wooden tray and bits of charcoal. He had no paper, pencils or books, and he still managed to give his girls an education, all from memory. He even taught them to play the piano."
"What an incredible story. What happened to Abdul Hamid?"
"The Young Turks exiled him to a thirty room villa in Salonika after he, so the Young Turks say, instigated an unsuccessful counter revolution in 1909. When the Greeks took Salonika last year, the Germans helped the exiled Sultan escape and now he is imprisoned in Beylerbey Palace on the Asiatic side of the Bosporus." Schmavonian grinned. "That imprisonment, however, allows him to keep 8 of his harem favorites, two eunuchs and a few servants."
Morgenthau laughed. "If one has to be imprisoned, it's not a bad way to go. And what about the present Sultan, Rechad?"
"He is another story. Abdul Hamid kept him in another kind of prison, one surrounded with the sensual pleasures of life, in the harem and with opiates. Abdul Hamid did not want his younger brother to develop the strength and character needed to roust him out of power. Sultan Rechad is now a gentle old man whose lot in life left him resigned rather than bitter. He is no threat to the Young Turks."
"Mr. Schmavonian," a voice with a cultured British accent called. A well-dressed middle aged man was fast approaching.
Schmavonian quickly turned to Morgenthau and said, "Sir Louis Mallet, the English Ambassador." He extended his hand toward the man and said, "Please join us."
The waiter quickly appeared carrying a carved wooden chair for the English Ambassador.
"Medium," he said in his British Turkish accent to the coffee maker, turned toward Morgenthau and said, "Do I have the pleasure of meeting the new American Ambassador?"
Morgenthau rose, shook the man's hand and said, "Henry Morgenthau."
"That's the western introduction." The Englishman cracked his heels, leaned forward in a stiff bow, his hands by his side and said in his precise British accent, "Louis Mallet." He gave Morgenthau a smile and said, "That's the eastern introduction."
"It has a Prussian feel," Morgenthau said as the two men settled into their chairs.
"I heard you had arrived, and I'd like you and your family to join me for dinner one evening next week." The Englishman turned to Schmavonian. "You must come, also."
"Thank you. You know that Ambassador Morgenthau is here with his daughter and her family?"
"Yes. Diplomatic news in this town travels quickly."
"I plan to send for my wife as soon as I'm settled." Morgenthau did not like being separated from his wife, Josie, and now he was feeling apprehensive about her arrival after hearing about the coup d'etat. "Mr. Schmavonian was briefing me about Abdul Hamid."
"Ah yes," Mallet said as the waiter set his medium coffee in front him. "An odd chap and a mighty tyrant. His officials were so frightened of him they never dined together, except at a foreign embassy. And then they had to ask the Palace for permission and always left the embassy separately. If there was even a hint of a plot, the officials simply disappeared. Ah yes, those were the old days, and not so good I might add. But then, these days aren't much better, either."
Schmavonian turned toward Morgenthau. "The English and the Germans want to extend the railroad onto Baghdad and are negotiating for oil concessions."
"The Turks can be a difficult lot to deal with," Mallet said. "The Turkish bureaucracy is very slow and the political situation is tenuous. If this group is replaced, for example, will the new leaders honor the negotiated contracts?"
"Has there been talk of another coup?" Morgenthau asked.
"There have been rumors, but then again rumors of war are also blowing all across Europe."
Mallet finished his coffee. "Well, I must be off. Will Wednesday be a good evening for dinner?"
"Mr. Schmavonian, I'll be in touch about the specifics." Mallet left as quickly as he had arrived.
Schmavonian scanned the room. "It was no accident he was here," he said as they rose to leave. "Someone saw us and went to the Embassy to tell Mallet."
As they walked out the hotel door, Henry lowered his glasses halfway down his nose, impishly looked in both directions and chuckled. "Do you think it was one of his spies?"
Both laughed heartily and walked back to the embassy each deep in his own thoughts.
Henry Morgenthau felt he was on the edge of something great. He felt as if he were in a canoe on a river whose whitewater rapids would challenge his skill to avoid crashing upon the rocks.
The Armenian Weekly; Volume 73, No. 32; August 11, 2007
Why Are We So Afraid To Change?
August 14, 2007
Mehmet Ali BIRAND
There are three basic issues that block this country's way, and they will continue to do so until they are settled. Two of these relate exclusively to our internal development while the third blocks our foreign relations.
We cannot progress unless we solve these three problems. Let's put our heads together to decide.
1) THE KURDISH ISSUE: Why do we primarily depend on sheer force to settle this issue? Is there no other way out of this dilemma?
For some of us, the utterance of “Kurd” automatically spells disunion. We see a separatist in each Kurd. Without ever looking into why the southeastern population views the PKK in a different light, we conclude that everything is organized by foreign powers, thus shifting responsibility to others. Force is supposedly the only solution, and there is no attempt to understand the feelings of our citizens of Kurdish origin.
On the other hand, if we could only be a little more careful, a little more understanding… if we could only embrace our citizens of Kurdish origin socially and economically…
The Kurdish issue is the most effective weapon held by those that seek to block Turkey's way forward. If we do not wish to stop our country's march to progress, we have to change our attitude.
Important tasks await the political leaders of the Democratic Society Party (DTP) and of the Turkish citizens of Kurdish origin. They must better calculate where their real interests lie. They must see that the PKK terror can achieve nothing but further tension and alienation, and adjust their attitude and behavior accordingly.
2) SECULARISM AND ISLAM: In this respect, we need a new approach that will permit us to coexist. Presently, both sides are being bigots. We are so suspicious of each other that we avoid the slightest compromise. Nobody can ever change our country's laic-democratic system. Despite a small internal group that might have similar aspirations, the civil active forces are so strong that we have no need to fear a system change.
Still, we scare each other. Our relationship is based on fear and consequently we take preventive measures against each other. We develop a mutually fanatic attitude. We can't even stand to hear those who think differently. Both sides are being bullheaded, and we all avoid making the slightest sacrifice or compromise.
The Islamic versus secular conflict is another useful weapon for those that wish to prevent Turkey's progress. This is another problem that we must solve in order to move ahead.
3) CYPRUS and ARMENIA- This is another issue that we have to deal with one way or another before we even begin to get our foreign relations back on track.
We approach both issues from a nationalist point of view.
We especially treat our Armenian citizens in a way that they don't deserve by failing to distinguish between the Armenian Diaspora and our citizens of Armenian origin. I ask you, would you be comfortable living in Turkey if you were of Armenian origin?
The answer is likely to be “no.”
Wouldn't you be scared by the daily news of yet another “militia” hit team formed somewhere?
FINALLY, if we want to clear our country's way to progress, we must get rid of this nationalism that borders on fascism and risks to blackout the truth. The greatest danger –as Hasan Cemal wrote the other day- to our country is the spreading authoritarian nationalist approach.
Consider for a moment…
Imagine a Turkey where the Kurdish issue has been reduced to manageable dimensions, if not completely or radically resolved; a Turkey that has established a certain balance and agreement between Islam and the secular system through compromise.
Nobody could stand in its way.
The European Union could easily open its doors to such a Turkey. It would become the most stable country of the region.
Why shouldn't we be able to do it? All it takes is a little effort.
All it takes will be getting rid of our fanaticism and being sensitive to others' feelings. Let's not solve our problems by force or imposition, but through compromise. All it takes is to employ reason more than our feelings, and to consider our long-term interests in our actions.
I ask you, is all this really too difficult to achieve?
Translation of Mehmet Ali Birand's daily column is provided by Nuran Inanç. firstname.lastname@example.org
Turkey Beyond The Headlines
August 14, 2007
Joshua W. WALKER
It has been a long political summer for Turkey that began prematurely with the military e-warning in April. The American obsession with Turkey's geo-strategic importance usually crowds out the complexities and beauties of the people and land of Anatolia. While it is exciting to see a New York Times front page article on the Turkish elections, stories about Turkey are few and far between in the American media. As a result, to the general American audience Turkey still remains an exotic location that is still off the beaten path of “Wonderful Greece,” “Italy Now,” or “Espana.” Despite the similarities that bind Turkey to the Greek, Roman, and Byzantine heritage of the Mediterranean, most Westerners still believe that camels and Arabian nights roam the deserts of Turkey. I am no marketing guru, but Turkey's distinctive history, culture, nature, and cuisine seem to revival any tourist destination in the world.
Turkey can be enjoyed at an affordable price that trumps Europe, while western amenities and friendly people rival any destination in Asia. Turkey truly is the best of both continents for tourists. Recently, Turkish tourism has been targeting cosmopolitan New York with beautiful posters and advertisement announcing that, “Turkey Welcomes You!” In Manhattan every other bus sports a picture of the whirling dervishes of Konya or a sunset over the Aya (Hagia) Sofia. My favorite advertisement that plays frequently on American television involves a seductive half-clothed woman diving through the screen of blue water as she swims her way past Cappadocia, Ephesus, Pamukkale, Nemrut, and finally emerges smiling from the Bosporus. The 30-second clip, which shows many of Anatolia's most popular tourist destinations is strung together with Turkish music and ends with the words, “Welcome Home.” For any person who has visited Turkey this approach seems particularly appropriate given the warm hospitality that Turks lavish on their guests. Additionally, given the press that Turkey has been receiving in the U.S. over Turkey's domestic tensions and Ankara's concerns over northern Iraq, these advertisements are a helpful reminder that there is more to Turkey than the current headlines.
Tourism is big business for Turkey and every year more Americans visit Turkey. Bodrum and Kusadasi transform themselves in the summer months into English-speaking havens for tourists. However focusing on Turkey's hospitality and culture will impress tourists far more than simply offering pristine beaches and affordable new Turkish liras. Indeed perhaps the single biggest asset that Ankara holds is the country it governs. It is hard not to fall in love with Turkey. Even skeptics of Turkey like Armenian-Americans or Greek-Americans can appreciate the beauty and hospitality of Istanbul, Antalya, or Izmir. It is hard to hate people you know and the more that we get to know each other the more similarities we will find.
Turkey perhaps needs to change its PR strategy Therefore rather than spending more money on lobbyists in Washington or New York to combat the Armenian genocide bill or lobby for a seat on the U.N. Security Council, why doesn't Turkey focus its efforts on leveraging its historic hospitality and beautiful natural assets? Turkish lobbying efforts to deny the Armenian genocide in the U.S. Congress have been particularly ineffective, so I would recommend that Ankara invite more congressmen and Armenian-Americans to Turkey for a visit. Rather than relying on the power of coercion to threaten action in the wake of a non-binding Congressional resolution, Turkey should be focused on building relationships with important American decision makers. I have never met an American who has visited Turkey that did not come back raving about the country. I propose that the most effective lobbying technique would be to invite skeptical American policymakers to Turkey to visit the Aya Sofia and Blue Mosque while sipping Rize çay (tea) and enjoying a real Bursa or Adana kebab (with yogurt of course). If this can't win them over, then nothing will. The bottom-line is that marketing Turkey in the U.S. should be more than a money making venture: These advertisements and tourist trips may be the only glimpse of Turkey that many Americans have. Therefore it is important that Turkey makes them count. It is now the summer and after the elections, it is time to move beyond the headlines with Turkey.
* Joshua W. Walker is a Guest Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations and formerly worked on the Turkey Desk at the State Department.
Significance And Weight Of The Ecumenical Patriarchate
August 14, 2007
Amateur Turkish political commentators and the famous nationalist crowd systematically challenge the ecumenical status of the Phanar Roum Orthodox Patriarchate. The warm welcome the Ecumenical Patriarch receives during his abroad trips and his place in the world protocol for officials are always juicy material for some local papers. Even while we were explaining the virtues of everlasting Turkish tolerance late last year to the visiting Pope, the issue of ecumenical status of the Orthodox Patriarch, only which Turkey repudiates, relapsed again. The issue now has a legal dimension by the absurd decision reached by the Court of Appeals.
It is very hard to understand our sensitivities. If the attribution is objected within the frame of secularism in Turkey, then no matter what we say, the Patriarch is not a civil servant of the Republic of Turkey as the Director of Religious Affairs. If the problem is to stand against EU's requirement on the subject of freedom of belief, it is cardinal to know about the insistence of the U.S. on the issue. If the issue is to scuffle with Greece, in this feud it is Russia and indeed the Patriarch of Moscow who challenges Istanbul's primacy not Athens. As if we are Orthodox and the party of dispute!
The Patriarchate is a Turkish institution that is the spiritual leader of the Orthodox world having 300 million faithful. Thanks to its primus inter pares position i.e. first among the equals within the Orthodox world the Patriarchate is among the top of hierarchy within Christian sects, religions and governments. As soon as the present Patriarch Bartholomeos took office, he enlivened the historical status of the Patriarchate before the Orthodox churches that inclined to fall behind the Iron Curtain. He brought all bishops together, including Alexei II from Moscow, in March of 1992 in Istanbul. In fact, in the eye of noteworthy Orthodox population in the new EU members from the Balkans, Phanar is an influential center having a firm spiritual and administrative weight.
As a matter of fact, Moscow rejects Istanbul's priority over the Orthodox world and to the contrary, it deems worthy of itself for this role since 1453, the fall of Constantinople. This is why Moscow is called the “Third Rome”, following Constantinople who was the “New Rome”. The Ottomans who were cognizant of the significance of this contend between Istanbul and Moscow had always cherished the Patriarchate. The Ottoman Empire designed its policies in the Balkans and Europe as the guardian of the Orthodoxy against Catholicism. For instance, Orthodox Church of Cyprus closed by the Latin was re-opened to religious practices by the Ottomans after the annexation of Cyprus to the empire in 1571 and its bishop was appointed as the representative of Cypriot Greeks at Sublime Porte. On the other hand, today the person who prevents the dominance that the Patriarch Alexei II and Moscow try to establish over the Orthodox world is, in a way, Bartholomeos. Ironically, Greece in this dispute, loyal to the religious status of Phanar, and Turkey, as the center of the Patriarchate, are in the same league. Let us also remind that the Ecumenical Patriarchate represents the Orthodoxy vis-à-vis the EU institutions.
The Patriarch is also influential within the Christian world. He is in dialogue with Protestants who difficultly reconcile with Catholics; he is the addressee of the Chaldeans, Nestorians and Assyrians as ancient eastern churches. So has he excellent relations with the Armenian Patriarchate. Despite Vatican's tendency to be supercilious, he has a constructive approach in relations with the Catholic world as seen during the Pope's visit. His inter-religious dialogue with monotheist religions is not limited with Turkish Islam. The Patriarch is a respected man of religion who is welcomed in a geographical region extending from Libya to Oman and Indonesia. Besides, he is an advocate of environment. The initiatives launched by Bartolomeos for the Danube delta, the Adriatic Sea and now the melting Arctic are remarkable. Recently paid a visit to Istanbul, the passionate environmentalist former Vice President of the U.S. Al Gore greeted the Patriarch in the hall as the “Green Patriarch”. Last not least, everyone heard of the sincere efforts Bartholomeos exerted for Turkey's EU bid.
Regarding the ecumenical title, we have much to learn from the Ottomans. Today Istanbul is still the center of the Orthodox world and the Patriarch Bartholomeos is the head. That is priceless within the perspective of secular relations as much as the interreligious dialogues, both in the country and outside.
Ecumenical Patriarch's domain of religious authority
The offices of archbishops or metropolitans and other institutions over which Patriarch Bartholomeos and the Holy Synod (assembly) have direct authority, i.e. authority of removal and appointment, are:a) Active in Turkey:Archbishop of Istanbul (Bartholemeos himself), Metropolitans of Kadiköy, Tarabya, the Prince's islands, Gökçeada (Imbros) and Bozcaada (Tenedos);b) In Greece: Office of the Archbishop of Crete and its metropolitans (semi-autonomous status), Offices of the Dodecanese Metropolitans (Four metropolitans: Rhodes, Kos, Leros & Kalimnos Karpathos & Kasos), Monasteries of Hagia Anastasia and Çavus in Thessalonica, 20 monasteries in Hagia Oros of Mount Athos, The Monastery and Exarhia of Patmos. Besides, by 1928 northern Greece and other Aegean islands were under the direct authority of the Patriarch. The administration was handed over by proxy to the Church of Greece; however, the spiritual patronage of a total of 36 offices of metropolitans in the area belongs to the Ecumenical Patriarchate. In fact, Istanbul re-gained the right to final control over appointments as was in 1928 against Archbishop Hristodoulos of Greece who, contrary to his predecessors challenges Bartholomeos' authority;c) Churches in the U.S., Europe and Far East: Archbishop of America, Metropolitans of Buenos Aires, Canada and Panama, In Europe, Archbishop of Britain and Metropolitans of Austria, Benelux, France, Germany, Italy, Scandinavia, Sweden and Switzerland,In the Far East, Archbishop of Australia and Metropolitans of Hong Kong and New Zealand, d) Miscellaneous institutions:The Essex Monastery, The Chambésy Orthodox Center (Switzerland), Office of Permanent Representative for the Orthodox world at the World Council of Churches (Geneva), Office of Permanent Representative for the Orthodox world at the EU (Brussels) and the Office of Permanent Representative in Athens, Thessalonica Institute of Theological Studies. The number of the faithful under the authority of the Patriarch Bartholomeos and the Holy Synod is about 15 millions.In addition, while autocephalous Orthodox churches elect their own leaders the Patriarchate in Istanbul as the primus inter pares and in a way the coordinator of the Orthodox world legitimizes these elections. In other words the Ecumenical Patriarch should recognize the election. These churches in hierarchical order are:Ecumenical Patriarchate of Istanbul, Patriarchate of Alexandria, Patriarchate of Antioch, Patriarchate of Jerusalem, Patriarchate of Moscow, Patriarchate of Belgrade, Patriarchate of Bucharest, Patriarchate of Sophia, Patriarchate of Tbilissi, Church of Cyprus, Church of Greece, Church of Poland, Church of Albania, Church of Czech Lands and Slovakia. Patriarchates are headed by Patriarchs and Churches by Archbishops. Plus, there are two autonomous churches in Estonia and Finland. These suggest candidates to Istanbul and the final decision belongs to Istanbul.
Genocide Stance Clouds Future Of 'No Place For Hate' Program
Town Council may sever or suspend Watertown's ties to the "No Place for Hate" program amid questions about the stance toward the Armenian Genocide of the program's co-sponsor, the Anti-Defamation League.
According to Will Twombly, co-chairperson of Watertown's "No Place for Hate" committee, all options are on the table, including removing its services from the town altogether.
Twombly said his committee would be meeting with members of the ADL soon to ask some "very serious questions."
"We are certainly very disturbed with what we perceive to be the ADL's stance on the [Armenian] genocide," he said. "We do feel the need to take some decisive action. The question is what."
Controversy began last month when the TAB & Press published a letter that highlighted statements from ADL's national director, Abraham Foxman, that Congress should play no role in recognizing the Armenian Genocide. Some have classified his words as "genocide denial" regarding what most historians agree was a campaign waged against ethnic Armenians by the Ottoman government during and after World War I. As many as 1.5 million Armenians died from 1915 to 1923.
ADL representatives said the group has never denied the Armenian Genocide.
"ADL has never denied what happened at the close of the First World War," read a statement from ADL Regional Director Andrew Tarsy and Regional Board Chairman James Rudolph. "There were massacres of Armenians and great suffering at the hands of the Ottoman Empire. We believe today's Turkish government should do more than it has done to come to grips with the past and reconcile with Armenians. We have said that to Turkish officials and we have said it publicly. ADL continues to believe this is the best way to proceed."
Poll: What should Watertown do with its "No Place for Hate" program?
But there are many who are taking a stance against the ADL. A Web site — www.noplacefordenial.com — was created by an ad-hoc group of "Armenian-American activists" around town. The site has a petition for both "No Place for Hate" and Foxman to recognize the genocide publicly.
The subject 'strikes the heart of every Armenian' Sharistan Melkonian, chairperson of the Armenian National Committee of Eastern Massachusetts, said Foxman's statements on the Armenian Genocide are "disappointing and unconscionable."
"For the national director of the ADL, an organization with a 94-year history of dedication to eradicating anti-Semitism, bigotry and extremism, to plead ignorance about the Armenian Genocide is unfathomable," she wrote in an e-mail. ".…if ADL is unwilling to publicly and unequivocally renounce its agenda, the Watertown Town Council should insist that NPFH sever its ties with ADL in order that NPFH continue the good work that is mandated without the unworthy baggage of Foxman's unfortunate position."
State Rep. Rachel Kaprielian, D-Watertown, said she had a different opinion on the matter before hearing Foxman's public statements.
"I was deeply disturbed," she said in response to the recent controversy. "I am now taking a position that we should divorce ourselves from [ADL]. [The Armenian Genocide] is a major subject that strikes the heart of every Armenian in the world. It's my lifeline and my heartstrings. This has affected my family."
A spokesman for the ADL, who did not wish to be named, said it is "regrettable" that "No Place for Hate" has been caught up in the public uproar. He said that the ADL has been urging the Turkish government to do more to address its Ottoman past.
"'No Place for Hate' was a good program a month ago; it's still a good program today," he said. "That has not changed. People have only wanted to listen to part of what our position is."
Town Council poised to sever ties to ADL. In 1999, the "No Place for Hate" program was created by the ADL New England Region, in partnership with the Massachusetts Municipal Association, to "provide communities with a solid framework for promoting an inclusive environment while fighting all forms of hate and bigotry," according to its Web site.
The town welcomed the program more than two years ago, and in 2005, council members unanimously adopted a proclamation supporting the committee and its programs for "zero tolerance" toward bigotry.
In May, Town Council renewed its vote display a sign marking recertification as a "No Place for Hate" community. Fifty communities in Massachusetts participate in the program.
But the ADL controversy has pushed councilors to second-guess their support.
At-Large Councilor Marilyn Devaney said she is personally affected by the ADL's position, or lack thereof, on the Armenian Genocide.
"I knew survivors, and it's unbelievable to say that it never happened," she said. "This is a public embarrassment. I think that we could adopt 'No Place for Hate' on our own. There's got to be a better way."
Devaney plans to present a proclamation on Aug. 14 to rescind the council's vote to support a "No Place for Hate Committee" under the ADL, but maintain the program's policies in the community.
Fellow At-Large Councilor John Donohue said it would be best to pull the committee aside for the time being.
"There needs to be a review of No Place for Hate in Watertown," he said. "I think we should suspend the recognition of it until it can be properly defined. The idea [of the committee] makes a lot of sense. The connections and affiliations don't."
Council President Clyde Younger said he has been "baffled" by the entire situation.
"We [Town Council] have gone on record as opposing any genocide denial, and wanting the Turkish government to recognize it," he said. "We have to just reinforce our previous position on that, as well as supporting Watertown as being 'No Place for Hate'."
District A Councilor Jonathan Hecht agreed.
"I think we should be very clear and strong in the community about demanding that the Armenian Genocide should be recognized," he said. "The inconsistency [with what the No Place for Hate committee is all about] is so blatant. This is an opportunity for the community and the committee to look at this more closely."
At-Large Councilor Steve Corbett said he would hate to have to drop the program.
"It would be an awful shame to have to back out of this," he said. "Our program has nothing to do with any position [on the Armenian Genocide]."
As a councilor who represents the East End of town, Angie Kounelis said a majority of her constituents are of ethnic background, and said the concept of a "No Place for Hate" committee is "wonderful" for the town.
The controversy has been worrisome, she said. "I do not have time to get into national organizations and their behind-the-scenes agendas," she said. "I'd like to see what the [No Place for Hate] committee is going to do."
Twombly said the committee has one goal in mind. "We want to be able to return to serving the people of Watertown free and clear of any negative associations, any positions with Armenian genocide," he said. "We want to be able to proceed knowing that the people in Watertown has confidence in what we are doing."
Jillian Fennimore, Staff Writer, WATERTOWN, MA
Brussels, 12 August 2007
Kindly Forwarded by Sukru Server Aya
Security Forces Seized 27 Tons Drugs Last 2 Decades in anti-drug trafficking operations conducted against terrorist organizations PKK, ASALA, TKP/ML, DHKP/C
Security forces have seized 27 tons and 260 kilograms of heroin, hashish and cannabis in 343 anti-drug trafficking operations conducted against terrorist organizations the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), the Armenian Secret Army for the Liberation of Armenia (ASALA), the Communist Party of Turkey/Marxist Leninist Movement (TKP/ML) and the Revolutionary People’s Liberation Party/Front (DHKP/C) since 1984.
Anti-Smuggling and Organized Crime chief Ahmet Pek said the terrorist organizations used the tactics and methods of drug traffickers for their money-laundering activities.
The magazine Century’s Police covered the topic of narco-terrorism in August’s issue in an article penned by Mr. Pek. The connection between Turkish terrorist organizations and drug trafficking was revealed in depth. The security forces have seized 3,741 kilograms of heroin, 21,392 kilograms of hashish, 2,484,003 kilograms of cannabis, 4,305 kilograms of morphine, 26,190 kilograms of acetic anhydrite, 710 kilograms of cocaine, eight kilograms of hashish resin, 19 kilograms of heroin waste, 297,412 narcotic tablets and 1,080 kilograms of sodium carbonate from factories and individuals in 343 anti-drug trafficking operations since 1984.
Pek underlined that terrorism is not a problem that has been seen in some regions of the world but had become a wider problem as terrorist organizations carried their activities into political, ideological and religious actions using monies derived from violence, threat and conflict with other criminal groups. Pek also said terrorist organizations used the methods of drug traffickers in money-laundering and financed themselves with illegal activities, the foremost of which was drug trafficking. According to UN sources, drug trafficking is an attractive financial resource for the terrorist organizations and has an annual turnover of $500 billion. Pek also said that since the usual financial resources of the terrorist organizations were closely monitored and countries which fund terrorist organizations have been condemned since September 11, terrorist organizations have had to turn to drug trafficking and other illegal activities in order to finance themselves.
Stating that there was a continued relationship between members of terrorist organizations and drug traffickers, Pek wrote: “Those relationships started with the provision of the required environment and opportunities to traffickers and moved on to becoming directly involved in drug trafficking with both sides benefiting from this. The drug smugglers benefit from the organizational structures of the terrorist organizations, the supply of weapons and intelligence services; the terrorists use drugs as a financial resource and benefit from the methods of drug dealers in money laundering. The terrorist organizations disguise their trafficking activities as it is accepted as a crime against humanity in all societies; it denegrates the image of the terrorist organization and results in propaganda setbacks.”
Emrullah Bayrak Diyarbakir / Zaman
Enjoy 'Raki Muhabbeti' With 'Lions Milk!'
August 13, 2007
ANKARA - Turkish Daily News
The table where raki is consumed is a place where many a sleepless night has been spent; numerous political, social and personal issues are discussed and a number of solutions to the country's problems are put forward
Alcoholic beverages have been consumed in Turkey for thousands of years, which perhaps explains why Turkish raki is so popular here.
By the 17th century there were 100 distilleries in Istanbul alone. In the Ottoman Empire, due to Islamic restrictions, meyhanes (traditional drinking places) were generally run by Greeks until the19th century, but sometimes also by Armenians or Jews and would mainly serve wine along with meze. With the relatively liberal atmosphere of Tanzimat Turkey, meyhane attendance among Muslims rose considerably. Raki became a favorite among meyhane goers. By the end of the century, raki took its current standard form and its consumption surpassed that of wine.
During the first years of the Republic, alcohol from grapes (suma) began to be directly distilled from grapes by the state-owned spirits monopoly, Tekel (literally meaning 'monopoly'). With an increase in sugar beet production, Tekel also began to distill alcohol from molasses. A new brand of raki made from sugar-beet alcohol was called Yeni Raki (New Raki). Molasses gave Raki a distinctive bitter taste and helped make it popular.
Raki is an anise flavored drink closely related to ?arak,? a similar Arab beverage, and ouzo, Greek anise-flavored drink that is widely consumed in Greece. It is made from raisins, which are distilled in the normal way and then the product is redistilled with anise. Raki is considered the unofficial ?national drink? of Turkey and is traditionally drunk mixed with water.
Sleepless nights with "raki muhabeti":
Raki turns a milky-white color when water is added (hence this mixture is popularly called "lions milk!") It is usually served in tall slim glasses and the ideal mixture is: one part raki to two parts water. Raki has a social meaning and is a culture because the idea in this culture is not to get drunk but to relax and enjoy the company. It is drunk in company leading to ?"raki muhabbeti" (raki with affectionate and friendly conversation). The table where raki is consumed is a place where so many sleepless nights can be spent; numerous political, social and personal issues are discussed and a number of solutions to the country's problems are put forward!
In this ?muhabbet,? however, each participant should feel free to speak his mind, but in general this discussion is expected to be conducted with respect and feeling. Although "raki muhabbeti" is regarded as a male bonding activity, more and more women are now drinking raki in Turkey.
The best way to enjoy raki is to drink it cold in thin cylindrical glasses. For the casual raki drinker, a glass of cold water at the side helps. For the serious connoisseur of raki with kebab, a glass of salgam stands as the best accompaniment to "Lion's Milk" Raki is usually consumed with meze such as Russian salad, garlic sauce, sliced tomatoes and cucumbers, cold-cuts, fried vegetables and pastries, cold yogurt soup, brains, shrimp and mussels. It is also most recommended with the accompaniment of feta cheese and melon.
Here is a recipe for a meze to make your "raki muhabbeti" more delicious!
Patlican Salatasi (Eggplant Salad) (Serves 4)
(This classic dish is popular ? charring adds a smoky flavor to it. In Arabic versions, tahini, sesame paste, is used.)
3 large eggplants, unpeeled2 tbsp. lemon juice1/3 cup olive oilsalt to taste2 cloves garlic, crushed 2 cups plain yogurt
Pierce the eggplants with a fork. Place them on a dry iron skillet on high heat or under the broiler. If you can cook over charcoal, even better. Turn them and continue cooking for half an hour until the skin is charred on all sides and the eggplant is soft. Place on a plate to cool. Cut the eggplant lengthwise, and scoop out the pulp, avoiding the skin. Squeeze out the excess moisture, and mash with a fork. In a large bowl or processor, place the eggplant, and other spices with yogurt. Blend until it is a puree. Place on a bowl and garnish with olive or tomato slices. Chill for 1/2 hour before serving. This will keep for several days.
Dialogue Channels Between Ankara, Paris Reopening
Bilateral relations between France and Turkey, which have deteriorated since France passed a bill making denial of the so-called Armenian "genocide" a crime, will be revived with a high-level visit to Ankara next month.
The secretary general of the French Foreign Ministry will pay an official visit to Ankara in early September to restart annual political consultations at a meeting with the Turkish Foreign Ministry's undersecretary, Ertugrul Apakan.
In October of last year, the French Parliament approved a bill that made it a crime to deny that the Ottoman Turks committed "genocide" against Anatolian Armenians during World War I, despite Ankara's protests and a warning that this would "poison" the deeply rooted relations between the two countries. Later in the year, the Turkish military announced that its ties with France had been suspended after the French legislature's approval of the so-called genocide bill. In late May, France's new president, Nicolas Sarkozy, dispatched an envoy to Ankara in hopes of opening dialogue. Turkey is in turn concerned by Sarkozy's firm objections to Turkey's accession to the European Union.
The visit, by Jean-David Levitte, a former French ambassador to Washington, took place just 72 hours after a telephone conversation between Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Sarkozy. Erdogan phoned Sarkozy a day after the newly elected French leader reiterated his objections to Turkey's entry into the EU, requesting direct talks to discuss and resolve problems. A second telephone conversation took place when Sarkozy called Erdogan after the July elections to welcome "his remarkable victory." Sources close to the prime ministry told Today's Zaman that an official visit by Erdogan to the French capital in the next few months was on agenda. The visit is likely to take place before the planned EU summit at the end of 2007.
Sarkozy has suggested that instead of joining the EU, Turkey should play a central role in a "Mediterranean Union." Turkey, a candidate to join the EU since 1999, rejects outright the idea of any privileged partnership in place of full membership in the 25-nation bloc, first mooted by German conservatives, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel, and has since found supporters amongst other opponents to Turkey's bid.
SÜLEYMAN KURT ANKARA /zaman
Voice of Mutafyan
The US Congress attracts attention in Turkey mainly for two reasons. Firstly, the Turkish public and administration are concerned about the restrictions imposed by the Congress on the foreign aid and armaments the Turkish Army needs.
The US administration puts a special emphasis on relations with Turkey for strategic reasons and makes commitments to improve bilateral relations accordingly. However the democratic sensitivities in Congress, the lobbies and the concerns about domestic politics, generally take over in discussions within the legislative branches, which annex reservations to the foreign aid clauses and impose restrictions on the arms sales. Due to the dramatic economic progress Turkey has made the foreign aid issue has fortunately lost importance in recent years.
The second issue that closely relates to Turkey is the alleged Armenian genocide, frequently discussed at Congress. Once again the legislative branch will soon discuss a draft bill on the recognition of the Armenian “genocide.” Following the election victory of the Democrats and the subsequent takeover of Nancy Pelosi as the speaker of the House of Representatives, the support for the draft bill dramatically increased. Both the US and Turkish administrations are exerting maximum effort to prevent its adoption at Congress. However the fate of the bill still remains unclear. Recently we were with eight officials who hold vital positions related to Congress. These advisors to the Congress members paid a visit to Turkey as the invitees of the Washington-based Maryland Institute for Dialogue. These were people who worked for the members during the decision making process by preparing vital files and bridging the gap between the politicians and the electorate.
The group included names from both parties. It was a good opportunity to make observations. Congress encouraged them to take part in such travels to closely examine an issue that concerns them a lot.
They tried to understand Turkey through high-quality questions, while I tried to get an idea of what they thought of Turkey so far. I was especially concerned about the impact of this visit on their perception of Turkey.
At a dinner offered by Samanyolu TV the guests admitted that they were exhausted. However they seemed pleased with the outcome of their visit. One of them noted that it was their best visit ever. This was their first visit to Turkey. They were so impressed that most considered coming back for a vacation.
Though the schedule included visits to historical sites and brief breaks for shopping, the journey was mostly about brainstorming activities on Turkey and bilateral relations between Turkey and the US. The five-day program included almost everything, including visits to the Foreign Ministry, Turkish History Association, the American Embassy, Turkish History Foundation, the Fener Armenian Patriarchate, the 500th Year Foundation of the Jewish Community and Fatih University.
It was really nice, when listening to their impressions from their visit, to see that they had developed new perspectives on the thorny issues in relations with the US. For instance, one of the guests said: “I used to view the PKK issue as a fight for freedom. I realized during my stay here that the PKK is a marginal group within the Kurds and unable to represent the entire Kurdish community.”
Another guest underlined that his views on the alleged Armenian genocide changed dramatically during the visit: “I did not know that Turks were so frustrated about this issue. I used to think that a nonbinding decision should not be that important. Now I hold that it will be a colossal mistake to take the issue to the Congress as it will cost us to lose the faith of Turkish people.” Shocked by the remarks of the Armenian Patriarch Mesrob Mutafyan, who noted that the Patriarchate did not support the draft bill before Congress as it would not contribute to the dialogue efforts between the two peoples, the advisors asked the patriarch why Armenian civil society organizations or the Patriarchate have not made their views known in Washington.
The American guests were also shocked by the remarks by Turkish History Society President Yusuf Halaçoglu who recalled that the Turkish archives were open to researchers, while the Armenian archives were still kept confidential in Boston. Admitting that they have been misinformed about this issue so far, the guests promised to exert efforts toward ensuring that the archives in Boston would be opened. They also pledged to convince Congress members to withdraw their signatures from the draft bill. The guests, who also noted that they frequently received briefings from the Pentagon and the State Department, said they found the outcome of this visit both effective and informative. Congratulations to the Maryland Institute for Dialogue for proving that Turkey’s just causes can be explained to the world.
Abdulhamit Bilici email@example.com
Heirs Of Armenian Genocide Survivors To Hold Third Conference
/PanARMENIAN.Net/ Armenian Foreign Minister Vartan Oskanian met Friday with Karen Mikaelian, a member of the committee for organization of congress of heirs of the Armenian Genocide survivors. Two previous forums were held in Yerevan in 1917 and 1918.
Stressing the necessity of elaborating common demands, Mr Mikaelian said the committee has already held several meetings and developed a statement on appointment of plenipotentiaries.
“The Armenian Diaspora should get prepared for the forum. Religious and public organizations should discuss the existing problems,” Minister Oskanian said for his part, the RA MFA press office reported.
August 3, 2007
Joshua W. Walker
A smiling woman dives through the screen of blue water and swims past Cappadocia, Ephesus, Kusadasi, Nemrut, Konya, and emerges in Istanbul. The 30- second clip, which shows many of Turkey's most popular tourist destinations is strung together by oriental music and ends with the words, “Welcome Home.”
Sitting in front of my television in Manhattan still trying to shake the sleep from my eyes, the beautiful scenes intrigued me along with the melodic rift of the stringed instruments. I was delighted that I had visited each of the sights featured, but I was perplexed by the tagline. Turkey is not my home. Who is this intended for?
I am no marketing guru, but Turkey is probably the easiest tourist destination to sell in the world. Distinctive history, culture, nature, and cuisine can be found at an affordable price that trumps Europe, while Western amenities and friendly people rival any destination in Asia. Turkey truly is the best of both continents for tourists. However it is not home for most of us (although perhaps the marketers were alluding to Abraham's original inhabitance or Noah's Ark to make a subtle point about Anatolia being the birthplace of civilization.)
To the general American audience, Turkey still remains an exotic location that is still off the beaten path compared to “Wonderful Greece,” “Italy Now,” or “Espana.” Despite the similarities that bind Turkey to the Greek, Roman, and Byzantine heritage of the Mediterranean, most Westerners still believe that camels and Arabian nights roam the deserts of Turkey.
As a result, Turkish tourism has been targeting cosmopolitan New York with beautiful posters and advertisements announcing that, “Turkey Welcomes You!” For any person who has visited Turkey this seems particularly appropriate given the warm hospitality that Turks lavish on their guests. Additionally, given the press that Turkey has been receiving in the U.S. over Turkey's domestic tensions and Ankara's concerns over northern Iraq, these advertisements are a helpful reminder that there is more to Turkey than geo-strategic concerns.
Indeed perhaps the single biggest asset that Ankara holds is the country it governs. I have never met a person who has visited Turkey that did not come back raving about the country. It is impossible not to fall in love with Turkey. Even skeptics of Turkey like Armenian-Americans or Greek-Americans can appreciate the beauty and hospitality of Istanbul, Antalya, or Bodrum. It is hard to hate people you know and the more that we get to know each other the more similarities we will find.
Therefore rather than spending more money on lobbyists in Washington or New York to combat the Armenian genocide bill or lobby for a seat on the U.N. Security Council, why doesn't Turkey focus its efforts on bringing decision makers to Turkey for a visit? I guarantee that if each of these important individuals visited the Aya Sofia and Blue Mosque while sipping Rize çay and enjoying iskender kebab, Turkey's place in the world would change overnight. The bottom line is that marketing Turkey in the U.S. should be more than a money making venture: These advertisements may be the only glimpse of Turkey that many Americans have.
Focusing on Turkey's hospitality and culture will go much further than welcoming Americans home. For the 135,000 Turkish Americans I'm sure the “Welcome Home” campaign has been a helpful reminder, but for the rest of us why not just welcome us to Turkey?
How [Not] To: Armenian Genocide Protest
April 16, 2007
One day out of the entire year motivates Armenians to get off their butts and do something for their people: April 24th. On the 24th of every April, Armenians the world over - but especially in the Los Angeles area - take to the streets to protest the Turkish embassy for recognition of the Genocide. The younger generation especially goes out to protest.
If you're planning on doing the same, I have some tips for you:
1. April 24th is not a happy day. In fact, it marks the tortures and deaths of over 1,500,000 of our ancestors. Understand this thoroughly.
2. Don't wear your latest hot pink top or fluffy mini skirt to the protest. This isn't your bachelorette party, it's a solemn occasion. Ask yourself, "Can I wear this to a funeral?" If the answer is no, then pick something else. You will have 364 other days in that year to wear what you want.
3. April 24th is not an invitation to flirt or act like an idiot: you are there to remember those who have passed and protest to get our Genocide recognized. Laughing, playfully hitting some Armenian guy/girl, yapping on your cell phone, and in general acting like a moron is not fine. Leave your normal tendencies behind on that day, because it's not about you.
4. Turn down your music. We notice your 20" rims and limousine tint, even if we can't make out what car you're driving because of the 293 flags that you have on it. We get it: you care about the cause. Blasting Tupac so loud that people in China can hear you? Uh, no. Also, don't endanger the lives of everyone on the road: we protest to honor those who have passed and to make sure they are not forgotten, not to create a path of carnage with our cars.
5. Related to number 4, leave your fancy crap at home. Why do people attend with their LV purses, $500 cell phones, fancy jewelry, expensive clothing, and other obviously extra items? I'm not saying go to it naked, but leave your crap at home: this isn't show and tell.
If I sound a little bitter, it's because I am. Every year I see this and every year it seems to get worse. I understand: you're too young and not very bright. Kudos to you for deciding to dedicate one day out of your life to a cause greater than your own, but don't use it as an excuse to make a mockery out of everything we're fighting for. When the day comes that the Armenian Genocide is universally recognized - and that day will come - you can crash random funerals in your Infiniti G35 blasting 50 Cent - acting like and wearing whatever you please. Until then, please reconsider.
Added Note: Some people misunderstand the last two sentences. I am not suggesting that it is okay to continue with this behavior after the Genocide is recognized, because after that point - and even now - the main point of going to memorials, whether in Yerevan or Montebello or elsewhere, is to remember and mourn those who have passed. The ending is meant to be sarcastic.
Turkish Chilli Solutions To Turkish Problems
I am an optimist. Yes, everything may go horribly wrong, but still there are plentiful reasons to cheer up. It is always helpful to start solving problems by thinking that the glass is half full rather than saying glass is half empty.
Realistically, the prospects for Turkey are not very bright. Cyprus, Armenians, Dink Murder, Northern Iraq, Ajdar (our megahyperwhatever popstar see it yourself), football terror and last but not least climate change are all messing up our hopeful foresights.
But as a Turk, it is hard to beat me. I survive when they think I am finished. Even sitting silent, I can dream a thousand Vienna sieges. Do not panic, it is just a joke.
So starting from the bottom of the list, climate change, these are my solution scenarios.
The first priority is global warming because I want to make sure that human survival is not at stake, so I and other Turks, Armenians and Greeks can enjoy another millennium of collective hostility.
Before developing my own solution, I made a quick research on the net for what to be done. From what I understood so far, we have to make personal sacrifices to stop global warming.
Some rich columnists promise to give up frequent flying and skiing. As a proletarian writer, I do not have those luxuries, but as a frontier I have the urge to be a correct and cost effective example to my readers.
Maybe it is not flying or skiing but I have managed to reduce my personal contribution to carbon dioxide emissions by nearly 99%. I gave up my girlfriend. Yes, to stop global warming, I found an excellent proletarian solution.
“You know I love you, but to save the earth, I am giving up the biggest carbon dioxide emitting thing in my life, and sadly that is you”, I said to her. Her initial response was “What?”. The next thing I remember before getting hospitalized was her bag, which is full of stuff enough for a plumber to fix Africa’s drought problems, approaching to my left eye.
Making a woman happy is enormously carbon dioxide emitting procedure. You have to buy gifts, have all sorts of conveniences, be clean, flowers, calls, dinner at the restaurants and all sorts of useless things have to be done.
After all these unnecessary capitalist consumer tasks, what you get is the unmatched, sacred love of a woman. My team Besiktas FC can do it for 15 euros in 90 minutes without any gifts.
So precautions to stop global warming are done. No girlfriend and more football.
But yet, this adds up to the problem of football terror. The more I am away from the girls and close to the patriarchal atmosphere of football stadiums, the more aggressive I become.
Things are not that bad. I still have “Valley of the Wolves” series starting tonight to satisfy my lonely ego and mimic a maniac’s acts to remedy my ailing personal character, try to persuade myself that “Crows fly in groups, hawks fly lonely”.
Hmm, you push a button, it pushes other buttons. Not a tree hugging hippie but an eco friendly girlfriend can be a wise choice.
Even if I fail to correctly solve my involvement in global warming, I can look to the events from a purple left eye with joy and happiness.
Maybe global warming is not a bad thing at all. The ice caps will melt, water will rise and hopefully Cyprus problem will be solved.
After Greek Cyprus’s EU accession, the road for dialog has been closed. Since then Turkish diplomats are working twice as hard to prove Turkey is right.
Flying from country to country, trying to explain the situation to every other diplomat is a big carbon dioxide emitting procedure. If the Cyprus problem was solved, Turkey will already be reaching the 1990s emission levels, by just freeing up diplomatic efforts.
But the solution in the near future is unlikely, so the only solution to the Cyprus problem can be global warming. Slowly they will sink into the bottom of Mediterranean. Cyprus problem solved, diplomats freed. But these Greek Cypriots are brilliant people, they can build an underwater community like Atlantis and continue irritating Turkey.
No luck with this problem either. About Northern Iraq, I have no idea… Ajdar has been beaten up by another star Alihan, case closed.
Still there is the Armenian problem. I broke up with my girl, football terror increased, waters rise, Greek Cypriots formed an underwater community, problem still continues deep under, but how about Armenians?
I am a proud Turkish and after Hrant Dink’s murder I have felt the doubling of this proud. Do not get me wrong! Not because he is dead, but because thousands of Turks showed the courage to chant “We are Dink’s, we are Armenians”.
This is the mercy and courage that Armenians have never expressed behind the Turkish diplomats killed by Armenian terror organization ASALA. Especially Diaspora Armenians didn’t express any sympathy for those killed cowardly. Yet Turks show the world that they are different. This is the premium I got by being Turkish!
But these lines will not solve any problem, on the contrary it will inflame. A solution to this Armenian-Turkish problem is from Mr Dink himself. The following lines are from an interview with Hrant Dink in Turkish. Translation mistakes are due to me.
“We are two diseased nations, Armenians and Turks” he says and continues:
“Armenians live with a big trauma against Turks and Turks live in paranoia against Armenians.
We are two clinically diseased cases
Who [What] will cure us?
The decision of the French senate? The decision of the US senate?
Who will give the prescription? Who will be our doctor?
Armenians are the doctors[cure] for the Turks? Turks are the doctors[cure] for Armenians.
Other than this, there is no doctor, no prescription..
Dialog is the only prescription
Doctors are each others.
There is no solution other than this…”
(Su Catlagini buldu)
Yes, Dink is certainly right. Dialog is the only solution, if we can build bridges first.
Dialog is a long process and does not happen overnight. With in the current discussions, the dialog is very unlikely because everyone knows each others stance. If any dialog is intended, the rule must be “Rejecting or Accepting genocide should not be discussed”.
We have one big conflict and millions of other similarities. Can Diaspora Armenians start a dialogue by placing their claims to bottom of the list for subjects to be discussed? Is the glass still half full?
Can the civil society start an initiative? Does it possible for people believing in dialog in both societies to start initiatives like a Hrant Dink award for Turkish Armenian Dialog?
There is a long way to go, which needs lots of courage and patience from both sides. As I demonstrated, I have given up my girlfriend to save the world. Do the Armenians have this courage?
Turkish Organizations Protest Against Armenian Nuclear Power Plant
Anatolia News Agency, Turkey
Igdir, 6 August: Members of several non-governmental organizations (NGOs) gathered in the eastern Turkish city of Igdir to draw attention to hazards of nuclear power plants.
They also demanded closure of the Metsamor nuclear power plant in Armenia, which is situated only 16 kilometres away from the Turkish border.
Speaking on behalf of the protestors, The Association of Health Workers For Peace and Environment Against Nuclear Jeopardy (Nused) secretary-general, Derman Boztokm said, "Global nuclear energy lobbies put pressure on the developing countries to use nuclear energy instead of renewable energy for their own financial benefits."
"Whole eastern and southeastern Anatolia would be affected in case of an accident at the Metsamor nuclear power plant. The plant was declared as the most dangerous power plant in the world by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and the EU. This power plant should be shut down as soon as possible," he said.
The Metsamor Nuclear power plant was built in 1970s, about 30 kilometres west of the Armenian capital of Yerevan. The plant was constructed with two VVER-440 Model V230 nuclear reactors and the technology used at the time was no longer compatible with modern safety standards.
The power plant produces about 40 per cent of Armenia's electricity.
It was closed due to the 1988 earthquake in Armenia. However, energy shortages in Armenia compelled the Armenian government to reopen the plant in 1993.
The EU continues to encourage the Armenian government to shut down the Metsamor power plant but the Armenian government first wants to acquire enough alternative sources of energy to compensate for a shutdown of the reactor.
Why Demand Recognition?
By Simon Beugekian
In a recent article published in the Washington Times ("Trivializing Genocide," July 30), Garin Hovannisian reflects on the ANCA´s efforts to ensure the passage of the Genocide Resolution through Congress. Hovannisian, who has a generally negative view of the resolution, writes: "But should the Armenian Genocide Resolution pass, we will at least enjoy the consolation of some high comedy. As imperious Turkey runs away from the West and then reluctantly returns, and as the Armenian lobby revels in its final success before the inevitable existential crisis, bad congressional resolutions might well begin to sound like good Philip Larkin."
Hovannisian´s article proposes many different ideas. He labels the Genocide Resolution as futile, indirect and almost an insult. He underlines that while the 2001 French Parliament resolution clearly stated that "France recognizes the Genocide of 1915," the resolution currently in Congress is written in ambiguous language and has complicated, pointless components. He also asserts that the U.S. government has no place in confirming the Armenian genocide, a historical event, since the truth is the truth whether or not the U.S. government confirms it or not.
Hovannisian raises some good points. The genocide took place whether the U.S., Turkey, or France recognize it or not. Parliaments don´t construct reality. But Hovannisian forgets that genocide recognition is not a goal in itself, but a means to achieve a goal. This is where the West´s recognition of the genocide and subsequent pressure on Turkey comes into the equation. This is also why the ANC´s raison-d´etre does not end with its recognition.
Coincidentally, 2007 is the 20th anniversary of the recognition of the Armenian genocide by the European Parliament. In its July issue, the "France-Armenie" magazine published a series of articles on what Armenians in Europe have been doing during the past 20 years and what they will do in the future.
The fundamental questions remain: Why are we trying so hard to get resolutions passed in legislative bodies throughout the world, as if we need confirmation from others that the genocide happened? And what will do once these resolutions pass? Is that where the struggle ends?
In answer to the first question, the international recognition of the genocide helps to achieve two goals: First, it puts pressure on Turkey to recognize the genocide, which would be a step towards healing and perhaps even the normalization of relations. Secondly, it sets the stage for other Armenian demands, such as reparations and territorial concessions.
With each passing year, there is more and more pressure on the Turkish governments to recognize the genocide. Ultimately the Turks themselves may realize that recognizing the genocide is in their best interests as they try to align themselves with the EU and the West, and as they try to portray their country as a bastion of democracy in a troubled region. If Armenians wake up one day and realize that genocide recognition is no longer an issue, what will be their next step?
Will we demand reparations? Money never heals wounds, especially when we´re talking about a cataclysmic event such as genocide. Some might say that accepting reparations is the ultimate trivialization of genocide, since it implies that the perpetrator can simply hush the victim by filling their pockets. Then the question becomes, How will those reparations be distributed? Will the money go to the Armenian government? To the offspring of survivors? Ultimately, the issue of reparations immerses us into an ugly debate that revolves around money. Of course, history shows that even when reparations are granted, genocides are not forgotten. If reparations are not demanded from the Turkish government, there might be a sentiment that Turkey got off scot-free.
Reparations aside, the greatest demand of Armenians is territory. We still call Eastern Turkey "Western Armenia," and almost every time we mention the genocide, we mention our occupied territories. Every Armenian child grows up with the knowledge that Turkey occupies a large amount of Armenian land. Yet, it is hard to fathom that Turkey will readily give up territory. Turkey is a powerful country with one of the most powerful militaries in the world. The Turkish Armed Forces are considered one of the most powerful in NATO. Turkey also enjoys the backing of virtually every other powerful military in the world, including the United States and Israel. Its military might translates into diplomatic might, and it would be almost impossible to diplomatically pressure Turkey into yielding.
Efforts to ensure international genocide recognition should continue, yet we should always think about our next step, and the ANC should lead these efforts.
Muhsin Yazicioglu: Turkey Can Not Open Borders With Armenia, Unless Armenians Leave Occupied Azerbaijani Territories
Azeri Press Agency, Azerbaijan
Aug 4 2007
Leader of Great Union Party of Turkish (BBP), parliamentarian Mohsun Yazichioglu interview by APA
- You are again in the parliament after eight-year break. Inauguration will be held today. Kurdish parliamentarians wanted to swear in Kurdish in 1991. May the same thing be repeated?
- July 22 was a next step in the development of Turkish democracy. The new parliament elected by the people's will, will discuss the country's problems and pass corresponding decisions after swearing. The parliament's rules show exactly how to swear. Everybody has to swear in accordance with it. Otherwise, that person can not be a parliamentarian. This is their own business. If they do not obey the constitution and laws they will again live the previous life.
- There are forthcoming presidential elections.
- The parliament has to elect new president immediately and start implementing legislative obligation. I will participate in the voting, as a parliamentarian has to attend all sittings of the parliament. I have one vote right and I will vote for the one who deserves it.
- Turkey suffers from PKK terror. Every day there are some coffins. What do you propose to eradicate terror?
- It is impossible to let terror threatening Turkish national security go on. No one will take us serious if Turkey does not demonstrate strong will against terror. Combat against supporters of terrorists is inevitable. Turkey will be obliged to carry out hostilities in Northern Iraq if the situation goes on like this.
- Does Azerbaijan have right to start hostilities to liberate occupied territories?
- Sure it does. Turkey can not open borders to Armenia unless Armenians leave occupied Azerbaijani territories. Turkey always backs Azerbaijani's stance without seeking benefit. I had been chosen a parliamentarian twice before. It is the third time that I have been in the Parliament. I am elected a parliamentarian to defend the rights of all Turks living all over the world./APA/
Secrets And Lies
Elizabeth Lowry on Elif Shafak's The Bastard of Istanbul and Maureen Freely's Enlightenment, two novels that bravely address the identity crisis of modern Turkey
The Guardian August 4, 2007
The Bastard of Istanbul by Elif Shafak 360pp, Viking, £16.99
Enlightenment by Maureen Freely 432pp, Marion Boyars, £9.99
In the last year more than 60 prominent writers and journalists have been put on trial in Turkey, accused of violating article 301 of the criminal code, which makes it a crime to denigrate Turkish national identity. The case brought against Elif Shafak for references made by a character in The Bastard of Istanbul to the large-scale massacre of Armenians by "Turkish butchers" during the Armenian genocide of 1915 -the government continues to insist that these killings occurred in the context of equivalent factional violence against Muslim Turks - was finally dismissed in September 2006, but others have not got off so lightly. The Armenian-Turkish newspaper editor Hrant Dink, who received a six-month suspended sentence, was murdered by an ultranationalist in January this year. Orhan Pamuk, Turkey's best-known novelist, has received death threats as a result of his comments about the Armenian massacres in the Swiss press.
Little wonder, then, that writers such as Shafak feel that they have become political chess pieces. The decision by the Nobel committee to award its prize for literature to Pamuk in 2006 must be seen at least partly in this heightened political context, while Shafak's novel has arguably been more widely debated than read. Pamuk's work, however, is nuanced enough to withstand this clumsy manoeuvring. What about Shafak's?
The Bastard of Istanbul is a cross-generational saga of elaborately staged parallels, written with a freewheeling energy that masks its essentially schematic nature. The bastard of the title is the illegitimate Asya, a grumpy teenager in a household of domineering and eccentric Turkish women. One of her aunts is clairvoyant, another is a stiffly puritanical history teacher, a third is a schizophrenic with a penchant for dyeing her hair in psychedelic colours, while Asya's rebellious mother Zeliha, who has always resolutely refused to disclose the identity of Asya's father, runs a tattoo parlour. The lack of men in the family is explained by a curse that has caused "generations after generations" of its males to die "young and unexpectedly" - which also accounts for the 20-year absence of Asya's uncle Mustafa, who has settled in Arizona in an attempt to dodge this fate. Mustafa is married to a caricature of an Arizonan bumpkin (an overweight, hamburger-cooking waitress who bulk-buys diet icecream), whose first marriage, to an Armenian-American, ended in resentful divorce. Enter Armanoush, their disaffected daughter, who shuttles between her Mama's white bread home in Tucson and San Francisco, where her Armenian father's overbearing extended clan, with its fetishising of blood ties and ethnic food, neatly mirrors Asya's own. The girls meet when Armanoush decides to make a secret trip to Istanbul in order to investigate her Armenian roots, and is welcomed by her stepfather's Turkish family.
At this point the book's whimsical magic realism takes on a more sombre inflection. Turkey's political and ethnic factions become the focal point as Armanoush and Asya debate their differing interpretations of the country's bloody history. Shafak is careful to stress that an apparent callousness about the past on the part of ordinary Turks is often rooted in simple ignorance of the facts - an ignorance that her novel is designed to address. "They always talk about the past," complains Asya, "but it is a cleansed version of the past . . . Every day we swallow yet another capsule of mendacity." Can or should the current generation apologise for the crimes of a previous one? To what extent does a failure to come to terms with past atrocity inevitably, if inadvertently, perpetuate a culture of suffering and secrecy? These questions become tragically concrete when Armanoush's research into her history unearths a long-buried link between her family and Asya's; a link that suggests that supposedly rigid differences of ethnicity and religion are much more susceptible to blurring than Turkey's traditionalists would have us believe. In a parallel climax that brings all the characters - Turkish, Armenian and American - together, the shameful mystery of Asya's paternity is also resolved. Identity and belonging, Shafak seems to imply, are such tangled and compromised concepts that ideas of political and personal innocence and of blood purity - of "Turkishness" itself - are nonsensical. Conservative Turks are right to see this book as a threat. In spite of its heavy-handed plotting, it deftly turns a particularly smug form of nationalist posturing on its head.
Maureen Freely is also concerned, in Enlightenment, with the corrosive effects of such secrets and lies. Freely, who grew up in Turkey, is Orhan Pamuk's English translator, and is as sensitive as Pamuk and Shafak to the complexities of Turkish identity. Though Enlightenment, too, is a caveat about the personal and political risks of blundering into a foreign culture, Freely frames her concerns as a complex thriller. In the 1960s an idealistic American student in Istanbul, Jeannie Wakefield, is drawn via her Turkish lover into a communist cell, and so into a complex game of double-bluff in which she becomes the pawn, not only of the group but of her father, a CIA spy. The group is accused of killing and dismembering an informant, but did the murder actually take place? Freely's chief interest lies in exposing a "deep state" of ultra-conservative militarists operating behind, and ultimately undermining, Turkey's modern republic. In contrast to Shafak's, her book is diffuse in its plotting and its promised revelations are obscure, but it raises equally pressing questions about Turkey's willingness to confront the inner divisions that are currently compromising not only its record on freedom of speech, but its claim to acceptance as a European democracy.
· Elizabeth Lowry's novel The Bellini Madonna will be published by Quercus in spring 2009
New Fronts In Old Battles
Review by Robert Hanks
Arts & Book Review, First Edition
August 3, 2007
Legendary teacher, Thatcher adviser, hero of fiction, exiled maverick: Norman Stone has managed to enter history, as well as writing it. ROBERT HANKS meets him
When Norman Stone was professor of modern history at Oxford, Sir Edward Heath is reported to have said of him, "Many parents of Oxford students must be both horrified and disgusted that the higher education of our children should rest in the hands of such a man."
The Oxford University Students Union passed a motion condemning him, after he wrote a newspaper column opposing the idea of homosexual marriage, as a "racist, sexist, homophobe". The horror ran both ways: asked, on his departure from Oxford, why he was taking a post at a Turkish university, Professor Stone told the press that the students there were "less smelly and more attentive".
From which you will gather that he is a great maker of enemies, and of memorable lines. Both gifts are evident in his latest book, World War One: a short history (Allen Lane, £16.99), and in some reactions it has already inspired. In 157 pages (plus maps, discursive bibliography and index) he sets out a brief, easily digested narrative of the First World War that is studded with epigrams, many apparently designed with the sole intention of starting arguments.
"With the Ukraine, Russia is a USA; without, she is a Canada - mostly snow." "It is a strange fact of modern European history that Italy, weakest of the Powers, brings the problems to a head: no Cavour, no Bismarck; no Mussolini, no Hitler." Discuss. There have been plenty of histories of the First World War before, but as Stone himself says, quoting the historian JH Plumb, "There's always room for a new book on a good subject." Over the years, he has kept his eye on the burgeoning literature. This new book incorporates recent insights into the way warfare changed over the four years of fighting. New knowledge about the origins of the war - as Stone puts it, "It's pretty clear now that it was a German plot" - rubs shoulders with an account of the importance of railway timetables that clearly owes a lot to AJP Taylor.
He mentions Taylor as one of three writers he used to be able to quote whole paragraphs of by heart: the others being Orwell and, less predictably, Malcolm Muggeridge. The new revisionism - in which Haig is rehabilitated as a tactically astute and caring war leader -is tempered by old-fashioned contempt for his donkey-like leadership in the early years. The book is disfigured by some very silly errors ("Alfred Einstein" is mentioned). But Stone offers what few British historians can: the view from elsewhere, a sense of what the war looked like outside the Western Front.
A few years ago, in an admiring review of a book by Noel Malcolm, Stone wrote: "Usually, when people can read 20 languages, they lose the ability to write their own." I wonder if this was a subtle piece of self-deprecating humour, because his own facility with languages is famous. He says not; he would never compare himself with Malcolm, who "can even do Norwegian!". Nevertheless, he admits to being able to read "about 11 or 12 [languages], and speaking a bit less." He started off learning French and German at Glasgow Academy, a "remorseless" machine. Then he went to Cambridge on a modern languages scholarship, switching to history shortly after he arrived because "I couldn't handle the literature at all."
After graduation, he spent a couple of years in Vienna grubbing in the archives of the Austro-Hungarian empire. While there he met his first wife, the daughter of a minister in "Papa Doc" Duvalier's government of Haiti. He proudly notes the fact that their son, Nick Stone, is now a successful thriller writer. Back in Cambridge on a research fellowship, having failed to complete a doctorate, he was a beneficiary of an initiative to get more people in higher education speaking Russian: "It was in response to what was alleged to be Soviet progress - in 1959, Macmillan wrote in his diary 'There's no doubt the Russian standard of living will be far higher than ours in 10 years time.'" Stone pauses to guffaw at length. He learnt Russian, and started teaching Russian history.
The international perspective that his facility with languages gave him was reflected in his first book in 1975, which made his name: The Eastern Front, 1914-17. It remains the standard English-language work, "To which," he remarks, "I can only say 'Alas'." A few years ago, Penguin reissued it and asked him to look through it. "I can remember on a hot afternoon in Ankara going through it, and when I read chapter one, about the Russian army, really almost suicide country - because I thought, 'I'll never write anything as good as this again.' And then I reached chapter three, about the October 1914 campaign, and I cheered up: it's more or less unreadable."
One thing that book didn't offer, and the new book does, is an emphasis on the Turkish dimension to the war. "It's something people tend to forget about... it looked as if it was a sort of side-show, and in some ways it was what the war was about." Turkey, Stone argues, was the big prize for the European powers: a large but unstable empire, which controlled access to the world's greatest oilfields, and between the Black Sea and the Mediterranean.
He has taught in Turkey for 12 years now, having originally gone to attend a conference on Bosnia. "I remember arriving in Istanbul thinking, I sort of smelt in the air, 'Hmm, good country'. I liked the place, I liked the people." At this point, he was on the verge of taking early retirement after an unhappy decade at Oxford - the unhappiness being, it must be said, mutual.
Academics tended to dismiss him as a lightweight: since The Eastern Front he had produced a well-regarded textbook and a shrewd, lively biography of Hitler, but nothing substantially original. He had also flaunted his Tory politics in a column, and even acted for a while as foreign-policy adviser to Mrs Thatcher. He recalls as one of his achievements that "I got her to be pro-German for a week". This did not go down well at the university that voted to withhold an honorary doctorate from her. Among students, his stock was higher: he has always been a vastly entertaining talker, and takes a great interest and pride in the achievements of his pupils.
When offered the chance to run the new Russian-Turkish centre at Bilkent University in Ankara, he jumped at it. The decision was, he says, "more than eccentric", but right: "There's a lot to be said for just picking up your traps and finding a new horizon." He speaks admiringly of his students, and thinks that living in Turkey has given him a new perspective on Europe, particularly Russia, as "when you realise that Tatar-Turkey dimension, you understand the thing an awful lot better."
But even in Turkey his talent for making enemies has not deserted him. These days, his main antagonist is what he jovially calls "the dear old Armenian diaspora". In 2004, Stone reviewed unfavourably a book on the subject of the Armenian massacres - "a terrible rubbishy book," he recalls, "the sort of book to be read out in a funny voice" - in The Spectator, and derided it further in The Times Literary Supplement. Since then, he has been a magnet for Armenian anger over what they see as, in effect, Holocaust denial. In fact, Stone has never denied that vast numbers of Armenians were slaughtered during forced deportations from Turkey in 1915; he does not even dispute the possibility that there was genocidal intent. What he does dispute is that there is unequivocal evidence of such intent, and in the absence of a smoking gun, prefers to stick to "massacres".
He has been smeared a number of times as a paid apologist for Turkey.
When I mention these attacks, he makes a disgusted moue: "It's just dotty, it's dotty and it's demeaning." An even more convincing defence came from a correspondent in The Spectator: "Norman may have his faults, but he has always been entirely prepared to bite the hand that feeds him. Often quite hard, if he thinks it necessary." In the new book, he has been quite careful how he describes the Armenian massacres. The tactic hasn't been entirely successful, to judge by a negative review already on Amazon.co.uk, accusing Stone of "indifference" to genocide. Indifference to genocide, I doubt; indifference to what people think he ought to say - there, I think, he would plead guilty. And enjoy doing it.
Norman Stone was born in Glasgow in 1941, and educated at Glasgow Academy and Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge. After research in Vienna and Budapest, he returned to Cambridge as lecturer in German and Russian history, and was professor of modern history at Oxford, 1984-1995. Since 1995 he has been director of the Russian-Turkish Centre at Bilkent University, Ankara. The Eastern Front, 1914-17 (1975) won the Wolfson Prize; other books include Hitler (1980), Europe Transformed (1984) and the new World War One (Allen Lane); he is completing a history of the making of new world orders since 1945.
In 1999, he made his fictional debut as model for "Fluke" Kelso, the academic hero of Robert Harris's Archangel. Married twice (divorced once), with three children, he divides his time between Oxford and Turkey.
"As A Citizen I Plead Guilty, As A Fidayi I Don't"
Aug 3 2007
"I plead guilty as a citizen. As a fidayi [freedom fighter] I don't."
Vahan Aroyan who was involved in the case of Jirair Sefilyan and Vardan Malkhasyan on charges of keeping illegal weapon offered this plea of guilt at the court of law. I would like to note immediately I have no doubt that Sefilyan, Malkhasyan and Aroyan are political prisoners. Aroyan's weapons would never be found if there was no need to concoct Sefilyan's and Malkhasyan's case. Or nobody would ever try to "reveal" Jirair Sefilyan's revolver which is allegedly illegal, according to Sefilyan and his friends, an absolutely legal gift from the commander of the NKR army Samvel Babayan. This is not the problem. The case is obviously political. Perhaps it is worthwhile to focus on the civil aspect of the problem. Therefore, Vahan Aroyan's pronouncement seems rather interesting, which is much deeper than just a plea of guilt or self-criticism.
"As a citizen I plead guilty, as a fidayi I don't." It appears from this pronouncement that a fidayi is not a citizen. And the question occurs right away how many people in Armenia and Karabakh who fought in the war in Karabakh consider themselves as fidayis and consequently they think they can do things a citizen cannot. Assuming that Vahan Aroyan is the victim of the political situation, we must nevertheless admit that the current political situation is the consequence of the thinking Vahan Aroyan shares. In other words, over the past 15 years of independence of Armenia the factor of the fighters has constantly been manipulated to stand above the society and the citizens. For instance, when Robert Kocharyan was running for presidency in 1998 and 2003, his campaign involved a lot of military clothing, guns, his participation in the war in Karabakh was mentioned often as an advantage over his opponents, first the father than the son Demirchyans.
Apart from the division of political influence, the factor of war underlay the economic distribution. All the field commanders, even the generals of "tarmac" who wore the military clothing for at least ten days running in the years of war became owners of some sector of the economy. "As a citizen I plead guilty, as a fidayi I don't." Any general can assert this who owns, for instance, all the fixed-route bus lines to the region of Armavir. He can say as a citizen he does not have the right to monopolize all the fixed-route bus lines but as a fidayi he earned that right. Or as a citizen, the government does not have the right to forgive General Manvel's son, but as the son of a fidayi he earned the right to teach lessons to the public. This is a highly dangerous way of thinking which might very often push people to commit illegal actions because they are convinced that they have rights others do not have because they participated in the liberation war.
The participants of the liberation war certainly deserve attention, social allowances. But regarding civic rights and duties, nobody can have advantages over the other citizens. In this case, the phenomenon is concerned rather than Vahan Aroyan. Vahan Aroyan is just another victim of this phenomenon, the victim of the reality that stems from this thinking, who is neither the first nor the last.
Is Dashnaktsutyun Running For Money?
Aug 2 2007
The ARF Dashnaktsutyun is the political force which has never been able to prevent or overcome any major threat to people, says the leader of the National Self-Determination Union Paruir Hairikyan in answering the question about the participation of the ARF Dashnaktsutyun in the upcoming presidential election in a news conference on August 2 at the Friday Club. "Death or freedom is written on their flag but I do not know any Dashnak who died saying death of freedom. I know Dashnaks led by Dro signed the treaty on the annexation of Armenia by the Bolshevist empire, afterwards all the Armenian officers were slaughtered, and Dro left abroad," Paruir Hairikyan says. He says he did not mention this accidentally. In other words, Hairikyan mentioned this with regard to the present stance of the ARF, which is summed up in the Dashnak formula of neither government nor opposition the leaders of this party announce.
"Everyone knows now that Dashnaktsutyun is part of the government. It is not quite clear to me, I put it very mildly, to be part of the government and say you are an alternative to this government, in fact you are opposition, I cannot understand this. I put it mildly because what I just said death or free Armenia and escape, it is already ...
Simon Vratsyan writes about Dashnaktsutyun in his book: "In 1918 we the Dashnaks had already realized that our party is a failure and we do not have the right to work with the Armenian nation, but since there was no other organization, and Armenia was gaining independence, we got hold of the situation." It was a political force which denied God, and with innumerable devotees, honorable devotees, it made a strategic mistake for it acted upon the demonic principle that the goal justifies the means. The goal justifies the aim: this shows if you are good or evil," Paruir Hairikyan says.
He says for the ARF Dashnaktsutyun running in the presidential election might be just an opportunity to raise money in the Diaspora.
The Bastard Of Istanbul
Dmetri Kakmi, Reviewer
The Age, Australia
Aug 3 2007
Elif Safak takes a smart and brave look at Turkey's changing face.
Elif Safak was initially accused of insulting Turkey with her latest novel. It soon became a bestseller.
When Elif Safak's latest novel was released in her home country, she was accused of insulting Turkish identity. The charges were later withdrawn and the Turkish edition of the book became a bestseller.
But what is the fuss about? First and foremost, The Bastard of Istanbul is a cross-continental family saga. It examines, in loving detail and with much humour, two families: one living in contemporary Istanbul and Turkish, the other in San Francisco and Armenian. They are the Kazancis and Tchakhmakhchians respectively.
It appears initially the two have nothing in common. But don't be fooled. Turkey is the classic metaphoric haunted house, sitting astride the continental divide; consequently, from inside its many rooms the past and present are still largely at war, while from unexplored corners voices are trying to be heard.
The two families do not know it, but long fingers are reaching from the blighted past to inextricably bind them. The conduits that will bridge the gap, that privilege, belongs to the young. And they are a spunky crew.
The first is the bastard of the title, 19-year-old Asya Kazanci. She is a modern Turk, rebellious, outspoken, and belligerently without a past, in more ways than one. She is also the youngest of a household of several generations of women, the men having died mysteriously at a young age.
The second is Armanoush Tchakhmakhchian. She is sensitive and searching for her Armenian roots in, of all places, the American desert. Her curiosity about the "genocide" of the Armenians compels her to finally meet the enemy on their own turf. Thus she deceives her family and flies to Istanbul to learn more about her beloved grandmother's past. She cannot know what a Pandora's box she is opening, and what a hidden blessing she will find.
It's an intriguing premise that allows the horrors of what took place in 1915 to slowly surface.
This is a smart and brave book, by a smart and brave author. First, because it attempts something that is quite difficult to pull off in literary terms. The Bastard of Istanbul is an absorbing and artfully composed meditation on Turkey's changing face. The trick is that it is posing as easily digestible popular entertainment, complete with lashing of scrumptious Turkish food (there's a recipe), transgressive (for Turkey) gestures, and illicit encounters.
Second, by using the Kazanci household as a metaphor for her country (the women are split right down the middle: half are conservative, while the others move with the times), Safak explores Turkey's amnesiac brain with a deftness and compassion that ought to be applauded. She is, when one reads carefully, fair to both sides.
Despite what I said above, Asya Kazanci is not the bastard of the story. Turkey is. This is because, as Safak suggests, the country exists almost purely in the present, with a steady eye on the future.
Sure, it embraced the glories of the Ottoman past, but it has almost entirely divorced itself from the more painful elements of that imperial glory.
What Safak suggests is that a country without a full knowledge of its past is not a country at all, just as a person without a past feels less than human. With one particular plot permutation, Safak goes on to suggest that the country might even have an unhealthy or even unnatural relationship with its sense of self. It must first embrace the good and bad in its history before it can begin to even dream about moving forward.
If the book is hard on Turks, it does not go easy on Armenians either. Those with victim complexes to nurture, beware. You will find little or no solace here. Safak deftly avoids mentioning the word "genocide". Instead she uses the noun "massacre".
There is, after all, no proof that the Ottomans sanctioned a systemic annihilation of the Armenian people along the lines of what the Nazis did to the Jews. There is, however, ample evidence to show that Armenian legionnaires inside and outside Turkey fought for the Russians and the French against the Ottomans during World War I. In an effort to safeguard the interests of the country, the Ottomans forcefully deported a very large number of Armenians (the figure is disputed) in the July heat from the north-east of the country to the far south-east. Many cruelly perished along the way.
The beauty of Safak's book is that it is not a political diatribe.
Rather, it is a humanist plea to recognise the past, to commemorate the dead, and to finally move on. Far from seeming glib, it is a sensible solution.
Dmetri Kakmi was born in Turkey. His book Motherland will be published next year by Giramondo. He works as senior editor at Penguin Books.
Bowing To Armenian Pressure, President Bush Withdraws Nominee For Ambassador To Armenia
by Emil Sanamyan
WASHINGTON -- President Bush on August 3 withdrew the nomination of Richard E. Hoagland to be U.S. ambassador to Armenia. The decision was a victory for the Armenian-American lobby, which had opposed the nomination, and its supporters in the Senate.
Senator Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) placed a hold on the nomination last year, blocking Senate confirmation. After the president resubmitted the nomination to the new Congress in January, Mr. Menendez placed a hold again.
Mr. Hoagland was nominated last summer to replace Ambassador John M. Evans, who was forced to leave his post and retire from the Foreign Service over public remarks he made affirming the Armenian Genocide; the remarks reportedly angered Turkey.
[This newspaper had called on Senators to use the confirmation hearing for Mr. Evans' successor to urge the State Department to explain the circumstances of Mr. Evans' early recall and to pressure the White House to end its policy of not calling the genocide by its name.]
During the confirmation hearings, Mr. Hoagland went beyond the administration's usual policy of acknowledging the events of 1915-17 in Asia Minor but withholding judgment on whether they constituted genocide. He tried to make a case that it was not genocide, thus galvanizing the bipartisan opposition of members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to his nomination.
Only after the State Department formally revised the nominee's remarks did the committee agree to send his nomination to the full Senate. There, however, action was blocked by Mr. Menendez. Several other senators, including the majority leader, have spoken against the nomination.
Mr. Menendez told The Associated Press that the Bush administration did a disservice to the Armenian people and Armenian-Americans when it removed Amb. Evans "simply because he recognized the Armenian genocide.
"It was clear that their nominee to fill his place was controversial," the senator said. "I hope that our next nominee will bring a different understanding to this issue and foster a productive relationship with our friends in Armenia."
"We are gratified to see that the administration has finally come to recognize that Dick Hoagland -- through his own words and action --disqualified himself as an effective representative of either American values or U.S. interests as U.S. ambassador to Armenia," stated Aram Hamparian of the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA).
"This is a correct, although a long overdue move," said Ross Vartian of the U.S.-Armenia Public Affairs Committee (USAPAC). "We trust that the administration will take into account the Hoagland nomination process, when a new candidacy is offered for the position of ambassador to Armenia."
Both ANCA and USAPAC opposed the nomination of Mr. Hoagland, while another advocacy group -- the Armenian Assembly of America (AAA) --did not oppose the nomination. In a statement released in January, AAA argued that "it is vitally important that the United States send an ambassador to Armenia."
No reaction from AAA to the withdrawal was available as of press time.
The withdrawal opens the way for a new ambassadorial candidate to be nominated to the Senate. Rudy Perina, a retired ambassador, is on a temporary assignment as chargé d'affaires, directing the U.S. Embassy in Armenia.
Armenian Reporter New Jersey 07652 www.reporter.am
From Washington, in brief by Emil Sanamyan
* Genocide Resolution Seen Approaching "Crunch Point"
With elections in Turkey wrapping up, the House Resolution on the Armenian Genocide (H. Res. 106) will approach a "crunch point quite soon," according to Alan Makovsky, a senior staff member on the House Foreign Relations Committee. But he anticipated no action until the August recess was over.
Mr. Makovsky said this in his personal capacity in response to a question from former Congressman and long-time Turkish lobbyist Stephen Solarz during a July 23 discussion at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy (WINEP), an audio of which is available on its web site.
Prior to his congressional appointment, Mr. Makovsky headed WINEP's Turkey program and in that capacity he publicly opposed the 2000 House Genocide resolution, according to reports in the Turkish media at the time.
Both Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Democratic Majority leader Steny Hoyer have had a "long-time personal commitment on this issue," Mr. Makovsky noted, and "if they had their way [H. Res. 106] would pass." At the same time, the Bush Administration has been intensively lobbying against the measure.
The senior congressional official recalled that two types of arguments have been made against the resolution. The first argument is "strategic," in terms of potential consequences for U.S.-Turkish relations, and, the second one is that of timing linked to elections in Turkey.
"We [the U.S.] don't want to become a factor in the elections," Mr. Makovsky said, and "that point resonated with a lot of people [in Congress]." Now that the Turkish electoral process is about to wrap up (the general election was held on July 22 and a parliamentary vote for president is expected in the next several weeks), that second argument is about to become irrelevant.
Also participating in the WINEP discussion, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Matt Bryza thanked Mr. Makovsky for referring to the Administration's work in opposing the resolution and promised that it "will continue that approach."
Mr. Bryza reiterated the State Department's position that it "do[es] not deny anything one way or another" but believes that "those horrible events" should be addressed through dialogue between Armenians and Turks. "How do you do that, I don't know," he said but added that that is the approach favored by the Administration.
Referring to "somewhat ominous" comments by Mr. Makovsky that "things are going move" on the resolution, Mr. Bryza argued that "we really need something from the Turkish government that... moves towards normalization of relations with Armenia, it is time for that to happen."
As of this week, 224 of 435 members of Congress have officially endorsed H. Res. 106. Mr. Makovsky said that the fact that more than half of the House members back the measure was "psychologically significant, but in itself does not mean anything operationally."
Still, former U.S. Ambassador to Turkey Morton Abramowitz said that the resolution was very likely to pass in the House after Congress' August recess, the Turkish Daily News reported on July 26.
A vote on the resolution depends on a decision by the Democratic leadership of the House of Representatives.
* Reputed Plans For U.S.-Turkish "Secret Operation" Against Kurds Leaked
Speaking at the Washington Institute for the Near East Policy on July 23, U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Matt Bryza hinted that in the immediate future the U.S. is likely to take action against anti-Turkey Kurdish groups in northern Iraq.
Mr. Bryza agreed with Turkey's claims that the U.S. has not done enough to clamp down on forces in Iraqi Kurdistan, usually identified as the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), who Ankara has accused of fueling a growing anti-government insurgency within Turkey. Both the military and the government in Turkey have threatened to invade Iraqi Kurdistan unless the U.S. takes measures of its own.
"The attitude has shifted here in Washington," Mr. Bryza revealed. "We have to produce concrete results and I'm confident we are going to soon... in the next few weeks or months."
In his July 30 Washington Post column Bob Novak offered details of one potential such action. According to Novak's sources, during the previous week Undersecretary of Defense Eric Edelman gave select members of Congress a confidential briefing on plans, in Novak's words, "for a covert operation of U.S. Special Forces to help the Turks neutralize the PKK. They would behead the guerilla organization by helping Turkey get rid of PKK leaders that they have targeted for years."
But, according to the Post columnist, the idea was not well received by at least some in Congress. Its opponents believe that any such U.S. action would undermine progress made in Iraqi Kurdistan, the only stable part of the country.
Predictably, U.S. and Turkish officials declined to comment on Novak's claim. Most commentators suggested that the leak intended to scuttle any such operation. The Administration-friendly Washington Times, in its editorial on July 31 blasted the unidentified congressional sources that leaked the contents of Mr. Edelman's briefing.
The Times concluded: "now that it has been made public, the operation has been severely compromised -- if it hasn't been forced off the table altogether."
But mindful of the Administration's penchant for secrecy and tendency not to share information with Congress, Blake Hounshell, web editor for the Foreign Policy magazine, wondered on his blog if Mr. Edelman's briefing to Congress was made with an intention for its details to be leaked.
"So perhaps the plan was simply being floated in order to buy more time with the Turks, and Congress was used in order to kill it," Mr. Hounshell speculated.
Whatever the case may be, senior Turkish officials continue to threaten to invade Iraqi Kurdistan, although Prime Minister Recep Tayyib Erdogan acknowledged earlier this summer (see this page in June 16 Reporter) that the Kurdish resistance is based mostly in Turkey rather than in Iraq.
Turkey's real concern appears to be with the existence of a de-facto Kurdish state on its border. A referendum on the status of the Kurdish-populated and oil-rich city of Kirkuk, expected to result in its unification with Iraqi Kurdistan and opposed by Turkey, may yet lead to a fresh escalation in tensions if it takes place as is currently planned before the end of this year.
* Think tank study argues for Iraq partition
Frustration over continuing sectarian violence in U.S.-occupied Iraq has sent Washington policy-makers scrambling for policy ideas that could provide for a long-term stability in Iraq. In recent years, a view that Iraq can no longer function as a centralized state has increasingly gained ground.
Last month, a prominent national security scholar and an experienced conflict-management practitioner issued "The Case for Soft Partition of Iraq," a policy paper in which its authors Michael O'Hanlon and Edward Joseph argue that such an approach "would involve the Iraqis, with the assistance of the international community, dividing their country into three main regions. Each would assume primary responsibility for its own security and governance, as Iraqi Kurdistan already does."
The paper was published by the Brookings Institution -- one of the more respected and less partisan think tanks in Washington -- and received considerable attention both in Congress and in the media.
Nonetheless, the plan has also been criticized because it would entail continued U.S. occupation of Iraq at the current levels for at least another two years, as well as major population relocation within Iraq, certain to cause additional humanitarian crises.
U.S. policy initiatives are frequently vetted through think tank studies, although only few of them become blueprints for government action. A policy paper prepared last year by the pro-Administration American Enterprise Institute, which argued for a "surge" in U.S. troop presence in Iraq as a way to contain the sectarian violence in the country, was one such example.
The "surge" policy has been in effect from early this year and has received mixed reviews so far. This September, the U.S. military commander in charge of the plan is expected to report on whether the approach is working and based on the outcome of that report whether it should be modified or abandoned in favor of troop withdrawal.
Mr. O'Hanlon, of the partition study has been supportive of the Iraq invasion as well as the most recent "surge" policy, and may expect to have the Administration's ear.
Living In Armenia: The Lexicon Of The Ancients?
by Maria Titizian
Isn't it time we had a serious national conversation about unifying the spelling of the Armenian language? This is a question which begs an answer. Life, however and its many perplexing and unexpected revelations has demonstrated that there is another national conversation we need to have before we begin public discourse on whether the Mesrobian spelling or the much later simplified spelling that was imposed by the Soviets in the beginning of the 1920s should be the official spelling of the official language of the Republic of Armenia.
The other conversation I am talking about involves comprehension --pure and simple comprehension. The fact that the Mesrobian spelling is baffling to those who were raised on the later Soviet spelling is further compounded by the differences between the Eastern and Western Armenian languages, and to add oil to the fire if you will, is a new phenomenon we'll dub Yerevan-Speak.
Yerevan-Speak, in its purest form can be an utterly incomprehensible jargon, which mixes in slang, decimates words, and proper grammatical expressions, adds new terms, primarily Russian, sometimes Turkish, and then discards anything that it feels no longer fits its mold. One brilliant soul several years ago just before the first Armenia-Diaspora Conference published a small dictionary for the befuddled diasporan Armenians flooding into our ancient capital and who would most likely have absolutely no clue what the Yerevantsis were saying. It was called "'Chotki' Hayeren." Chotki, a Russian word, roughly translates into 'exact' or 'precise.' The following passage is an example of Yerevan-Speak provided by the author:
"Svetaforuh cher ashkhatum. Pavaroti vra tormuz tvetsi, benzakalonki mot. Skorosti ruchken jartvets. Karochi avaria tvetsi. Mi kerp kyasar jampekov mta hayat."
Translation: The traffic light [Russian] was broken. On the curve [Russian], I slammed on my brakes [Farsi] near the gas station [Russian]. The stick shift [Russian] broke. To make a long story short [Russian], I had an accident [Turkish], took a short cut [who knows what language] and barely made it back to the hood [Farsi].
Aside from the slang, even when speaking literate Armenian, the different definition of words or variations in pronunciations have been the root of many misunderstandings and tension. I can't tell you how many times I have walked out of a store in such frustration only because the salesperson hadn't been able to understand what I had requested -- sometimes something as simple as milk which I pronounce as 'gat' and they pronounce as something like 'kaat'. As much as it irritated me, I now understand where the confusion comes from. If someone were to say in English, "That child's behaviour is pat," instead of "bad," I too would be confused.
Friends of ours visiting from Canada relayed an incident that will go down in my own personal history as one of the most unbelievable instances of misunderstanding. This is not their first trip to Armenia; they come every year. They have a home here, a business, a car, and with all its flaws, a deep commitment to this country. The reason for the history lesson into their lives is to underscore the fact that these people are not unfamiliar with the many differences of our spoken language and most times are relatively successful in being able to be understood. A few days ago they had gone up to a resort at Lake Sevan, called Harsnaqar, which has a pool, a mini-waterpark, access to the lake, basketball and tennis courts, jet skis for rent, and pretty good barbequed Ishkhan fish. You can spend the day at Harsnaqar by purchasing a day pass and it usually serves as a repreive from the dust and heat in Yerevan.
At the entrance to this resort, my friend whom we'll call Mher, asked the ticket seller, "Avazane dakatsvats e?" To a Western Armenian, this means, is the pool heated? First of all in Armenia, when referring to a swimming pool, they say "basayin," which I believe is Russian, and not "avazan." "Avazan" for the locals means basin. So when my friend asked if the "avazan" was heated, the ticket seller for some reason gave him a look of disgust and waved him off. My friend, at this point agitated, asked what the problem was. The ticket seller asked him how it would be possible to heat the "avazan" to which my friend replied, "There are certain advances in technology which allow for a pool to be heated."
The ticket seller, apparently became even more disturbed and began making gesticulations with his hands, implying that Mher was a little light in the head.
In the midst of this exchange, another employee tapped Mher on the shoulder and said, "Sir, the pool is heated." Mher looked at the ticket seller, the ticket seller looked at Mher, and then it dawned on my poor friend what had just transpired. The ticket seller had understood the question as follows: "Is the basin heated," i.e., "Is Lake Sevan heated?" He turned back to the ticket seller, trying hard not to strain his vocal chords and said, "Did you think I meant Lake Sevan?!"
When the ticket seller nodded, Mher lost most sense of decorum and asked, "Do I look like I have horns on my head? Why would I ask if Lake Sevan is heated? When I said, 'avazan,' it means pool!"
To which the ticket seller retorted, "Then why didn't you just say, basayin?"
This story has been making the rounds in several social circles around town. It illustrates quite vividly that a national dialogue addressing the issue of spelling or the inherent differences that divide Eastern Armenian from Western Armenian is pointless if we have difficulty simply understanding one another. We need to delve deeper and take a more thoughtful look at the things which separate us apart from the obvious. There is a psychological impasse we need to negotiate. Pronunciation, different meanings to words or expressions are simply the manifestations of that which alienates us from one another. The brutal division of our nation imposed by history and seemingly perpetuated by our own ignorance will continue to fester until such a time that we become so foreign to each other that we no longer have the willingness to understand what the other is trying to say.
I see this scenario being played out time and time again and it not only saddens me, but it infuriates me. If we do not have the willingness to come together, to try and understand each other and build bridges across the tide of history then our enemies will have won the game once and for all. We do not need anyone to destroy us for we will have done a fine job of doing that to ourselves, thank you very much.
Armenian Reporter New Jersey 07652 www.reporter.am
August 4, 2007
US Faces Obstacles As It Seeks To Ease Tensions With Turkey
Bush administration officials see Turkey's recent election as an opportunity to improve strained relations with an important ally, but they face obstacles that may be beyond their control.
The first is that Congress, led by opposition Democrats, has a proposed resolution up for debate that would recognize World War I-era killings of Armenians as genocide, a view Turkey adamantly rejects. The other issue is in the hands of the Iraqi government: A possible referendum on incorporating the oil-rich city of Kirkuk into the autonomous Kurdish region in northern Iraq. Turkey opposes the referendum and sees it as another example of US policy gone awry in neighboring Iraq.
"Turks would blame the US for its failure to prevent the referendum because they believe they hold sway as the occupying power," said Bülent Aliriza, the director of the Center for Strategic and Interna-tional Studies' Turkey research program.
The United States wants to strengthen ties with Turkey, a strategically important NATO ally located at the crossroads of Europe, the Middle East and Central Asia. US officials view Turkey, a secular democracy with a majority Muslim population, as a model for other nations. But relations have been strained, largely over the Iraq war. Turkey refused to allow US troops to use its territory to invade Iraq in 2003 and Turks continue to oppose the war. A recent poll by the Pew Research Center found the United States had only a 9 percent favorable rating in Turkey.
Turkey has criticized the United States for failing to stop the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) in northern Iraq from carrying out attacks in Turkey. Some analysts had feared that Turkey might invade northern Iraq ahead of the July 22 elections, to boost Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's nationalist credentials. But Turkey did not invade and Erdogan's Justice and Development Party (AK Party) won an overwhelming victory.
The US believes the win provides an opportunity to boost ties. Despite the party's Islamic roots, Erdogan and other leaders are seen as open to closer integration with the West and improving US relations. "This is an optimal outcome," said US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Matt Bryza in an interview. "The AK Party is a known quantity."
Some critics of the administration say the White House needs to move urgently to repair relations with Turkey. "There has been massive policy neglect," said Richard Holbrooke, former US ambassador to the United Nations under the Clinton administration. Holbrooke, who is now supporting Sen. Hillary Clinton's Democratic presidential bid, said that Turkey should be treated as the most important strategic ally in the region.
But that may be difficult, as congressional Democrats push for the Armenian resolution. Historians estimate that up to 1.5 million Armenians were killed by Ottoman Turks, an event widely viewed by scholars as genocide. Turkey denies that the deaths constituted genocide, saying the toll has been inflated and that those killed were victims of civil war and unrest.
Turkish officials warn that if the resolution is approved, they will shut down routes to Iraq from Turkey that the US uses to bring in most of its military supplies.
The resolution has strong support in the House of Representatives, but will hinge on whether Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee Tom Lantos, both Democrats, bring up the measure for votes. Both Lantos and Pelosi have previously supported it, but are under intense pressure from both sides. They agreed to delay action on the referendum until after Turkey's election, congressional aides said. But the expectation in Congress is that it will likely pass this year. The other source of tensions is the Kirkuk referendum, which the Iraqi constitution says must be held by the end of the year. Turkey fears it would be a step toward an independent Kurdistan and could endanger ethnic Turks who live in the region.
But last week, the leader of Iraq's Kurdish region, Massoud Barzani, warned of a "real civil war" if the central government does not hold the referendum. And the US says the decision is for the Iraqi government to make.
Analysts say that the US could achieve goodwill in Turkey by ordering military action against the PKK in remote mountainous territory. But US officials are reluctant to widen the Iraq conflict, taking on new combatants and increasing violence in what has been Iraq's most stable region.
Democratic Rep. Robert Wexler, who advocates close ties with Turkey, said that US military officials have told him the US is closer to moving against the PKK. "American and Turkish forces are cooperating to counter the PKK in a more concrete way than they were six months ago," he said. "Counterterrorism operations and strategies are being employed." He declined to elaborate.
DESMOND BUTLER, AP WASHINGTON / Zaman
The Turkish Denial
It is important to note that Turkish Denial is always a key argument in Armenian Genocide supporters and that we need to understand whether this denial is a truth or a lie. In order to do this, you must take yourself out of the picture and stop picking sides, and start picking facts. Many people will claim the other side is being biased, and even the people claiming they are unbiased, are usually biased. It's important to act as a detective which is what historians do when looking for facts.
As professor Dr. Justin McCarthy said "[It is important to understand that if you look into history with your mind made up already, you will always find facts that support your claims.]" That is a paraphrasing of course, but he is trying to explain that when Armenian Genocide supporters look into a large aggregate data of facts, or a historical document, they are looking for facts to support their claims, they already made up their minds, and are just looking for something to support it while ignoring the facts that are against it.
An example of this would be, if you believe the car is broken because you sneezed into the engine, and then you take the engine apart, and there are liquids inside, and thus you say "See, I have proven that my sneezing has caused the problem", when there might be other evidence around that may be something along the lines of a) you are long overdue for some car maintenance or b) you need to refill your gas tank.
Armenian Genocide issue is not something simple, it is a complex issue that only historians and researchers should attempt to explain. The Turkish Denial, is a buzz-word that Armenian's use to make the Turks seem evil.
As for Armenian Genocide supporters reading this, that think this article is biased, please refer to the facts and articles written by other people, a site like Wikipedia where Armenian Genocide supporters are everywhere, is a great place to start:
It should be noted that these articles in fact, mostly favor the Armenian Genocide. But notice the wording, the dates, and the overall facts. The fact is, these are all resistances among Armenian rebels, creating insurgencies all over the Ottoman Empire BEFORE 1915 "Armenian Genocide". This was crystal clear to everyone, that it is violence between Ottomans, Turks, Kurds, Muslims, Christians, Armenians, where many people died, but it must be understood that it wasn't the Ottoman government against Armenians alone. It wasn't simply massacres, there were massacres on all sides in all different methods. There was terrorism by Armenians, and there was brutality by Muslim AND Armenian civilians as well.
Of course, the Ottoman Empire must restore order in its own cities, and so yes, sometimes Armenians even died at the hands of the Ottoman Empire, but it should be noted that these Armenians were armed and dangerous, much like police today may shoot a man with a gun pointed at the police. The overall fact though, is that there was no direct order of mass killing of Armenians, there was no mass murder weapon or weapons of mass destruction, which was used in World War II by Hitler (Gas chambers, labor camps), there was no such camps or evidence of any type of mass killing methods during World War I except by simple swords and guns. This was all out war, hence the name World War I.
Now, the overall lesson that should be understood, is that there was a large Armenian resistance, where the Armenians had already tried to declare independence many times, getting courage from the Greek Independence, the British/Allied persuasions of Armenian Leaders to revolt, and the Arab revolts and independences. This was at a time when the Ottoman Empire was collapsing, while it was trying to hold on to its own territories. During this period there were many revolts, independences, attacks, and war fronts. It should be noted that the Ottoman Empire had no time to commit a real genocide, there was no systematic killings, and absolutely no hate speeches or prior hate among Armenian-Turkish populations.
The Turkish denial is used throughout the Armenian Argument when supporting the Armenian Genocide. They make buzz-words and T-Shirts like "The Turkish Denial Machine". They try to make Turks look like Nazis, even making up quotes of Hitler, or making it seem like the Turks planned the Holocaust. They even make fake human rights organizations, websites, and any other type of propaganda to make it seem like the Turks are just denying the facts. When the fact is, it is the Armenian Genocide supporters ignoring facts, creating their own false facts, and spamming people with hate, victimization, and propaganda. Their ultimate goal is the total hate of Turks and the Republic of Turkey, they want everyone in the world to look at Turks as genocide-lovers over what? Over a lost independence war during World War I, not a genocide.
They use the word Turkish Denial, similar to how kids use it in middle school or high school. Kids may make up a rumor like "You know Bobby likes to pick his nose and throws up in the bathrooms all the time." No one knows whether the rumor is true, but they believe that person for the time being anyway. If Bobby comes up to people and says "No that's not true, I never pick my nose, there is no proof or evidence of me picking my nose, and who said I was the one throwing up in the bathroom, what if that was someone else?" Well the rumor-spreaders may reply "Bobby is in denial, you don't have to lie man, stop denying it." Well although that's not evidence of rumors being true, it does convince one or two people that it is true, and the rumor spreads even more. A good quote may come in handy here: "A lie travels round the world while Truth is putting on her boots" (Used by C.H. Sturgeon, famed English preacher of the 19th century).
It is important to understand, that by using false witnesses, making up evidence, lying constantly, people come to a point where they have to just "pick one side" and they pick the side that constantly floods them with propaganda usually. Not everyone, but definitely many people around the world are convinced that the Armenian Genocide is real, without even reading a single book on the issue, or maybe they read one or two propaganda books.
If you tell your mother that she smells a lot (that is very mean, please don't do that), and then she doesn't believe you at first and goes and takes a shower, but then you get your brother in on the joke, and your father in on the joke, and they all say she smells, she may start panicking and even go to a doctor for a full check up. This is what the Armenian propagandists do, flood you with false witnesses, false facts, false evidence, circumstantial evidence, and best of all, constant stream of propaganda and the appearance of "many people already know its true", they use the bandwagon approach many times. In fact, many Armenian Genocide supporter's main argument is "Well so many countries recognize the Armenian Genocide", but they fail to name the 22 countries that do, and that every single one has a large majority of Armenian voters.
Eventually the truth will be known and will conquer the lies, as long as the researches and historians that tell the truth continue to show evidence that there was no genocide during 1915. That there was killings, but there was killings and massacres on all sides, and does not fall under the category of genocide.
Many Armenian Genocide supporters say that the genocide is real, and they admit that Turks and Muslims did die as well, they can't deny that undeniable fact. However, they claim it was "self-defense", even though some of which happened before 1915? Since the late 1800s in fact. This was pure terrorism and nationalism that continues to this day, in fact, many Armenians still believe that eventually when the whole world recognizes the Armenian Genocide, that Turkey will be forced to pay reparations and divide the country so that their 1915 dream of "Greater Armenia" referring to most of Eastern Turkey as being Armenian land (They even have Mount Ararat, a Turkish mountain on their coins).
It should also be noted that the reason the Armenian Genocide issue has been so pumped up, is because during World War I, Britain and Allies tried to demonize the Central Powers (Ottomans, Germans, Austrio-Hungarians) as being evil, they made Turks seem like they massacre Armenians for fun or because they just "don't like 'em", even though they lived together in peace for more than 600 years. The propaganda created was so vast that Britain even wrote books on the Armenian Genocide to further the cause. However, after World War I, even Churchill said that there was no Armenian Genocide, and they released all the Ottoman government officials captured and prisoned on in island when there was no evidence of crimes against humanity.
This article is not meant to be skim-read, and it should be read carefully, and the ideas should be understood without dismissing the whole article as a "false-propaganda" or a "biased-article". This article has quite a lot of research and merit, and looking at it through a logical standpoint rather than ONE point of view, will help you understand that there is no Armenian Genocide, and that it is simply ethnic violence and numerous civil wars that took place during 1915 where the Armenian Independence movement was finally crushed with the soon-after end of the Ottoman Empire, the issue was settled as World War I and all the losses on Ottoman, Armenian, Kurdish, Turkish, Islamic, and Christian sides were mourned. And peace can now come.
An Armenian Homeland?
The Armenian-Turks, what do they think and are they treated badly as propagandists want you to think?
Do Turks really hate Armenians?
Armenia-Turkey: Opportunities For Economic Cooperation By Hovhannes Nikoghosyan*
When thinking over the opportunities for economic cooperation and interaction between Armenia and Turkey in the event that the border is opened, we need to pay special attention to the export structures of both countries.
From economic theory it is known that when a small and a big market cooperate, preference is given to the former and it gains more. This is called “the advantage of being small.” Nevertheless it is obvious that, though the reopening of the border is more profitable for Armenia in the economic sense, Turkey will gain much more revenue in a political sense. Let’s first study the economic issues.
The agricultural sector holds a firm place in Turkey’s export structure. After the opening of the Turkish-Armenian border, the same sector of the Armenian economy will also redirect to export on a much higher scale. But these exports from Armenia will be in different denominations because they will not be able to compete with Turkey when it comes to price (labor costs are cheaper in Turkey). On the other hand, mainly because of the closed border, Turkey’s boundary regions are busy with small agricultural farms and local crafts. In this area, for example, agricultural products from Armenia will have a qualitative advantage.
In recent years Turkey’s exports have included various electric devices (including those from the IT sector) and a chemical industry, things that have only been imported by Armenia on a small scale. In the event the border is opened, the scale of this export will rise instantly because of the lower prices. Armenian alcohol and tobacco production will find a market in Turkey, and also through it to the European markets for a lower cost. This “intervention” will create a competitive, “market” atmosphere in Turkey and vice versa. Turkey’s building materials industry is also highly developed and will find Armenia ready to import. Despite popular opinion, there is no fear in Armenia that an opening of the border will harm the local sector; there will be a competitive environment between the two markets. For example, during the early 1990s when Iranian markets “attacked” Armenia, the latter competed with Iran shortly afterward.
The most important point is the opportunity for trade of power/energy resources between Armenia and Turkey. In the event the Turkish-Armenian border is opened, there will be an opportunity for Armenia to sell its abundant electrical energy to Turkey. Armenia is currently capable of producing over 1,000 MW more than its domestic need. Exporting this surplus will bring the country around $190 million, according to current electricity costs. It already sells to Georgia and Iran, but Turkey’s eastern provinces also have a need for electricity. It might also be possible in the future to design some cooperative enterprises in which, for example, electricity comes from Armenia and raw materials from Turkey.
For the Turkish economy, especially for the development of human resources and increased income for people in the eastern regions (mainly populated with those of Kurdish origin), there will be a flood of tourists from Armenia and the diaspora.
There are a few steps that would be necessary to for the normalization of economic relations and, more importantly, for creating the necessary trust for those relations at any level. First, it is crucial to create a “special economic zone” in the border areas for trade between the two countries for a certain amount of time (such rumors stirred in late March but never came to pass). It is assumed that such a measure would create the necessary basis for a favorable atmosphere within the publics of the two nations. It is necessary to mention that, since 1996 when communication between Yerevan and Ankara was opened, the base for such an atmosphere has been created.
Another difficult question has to deal with the border regions of Armenia and Turkey. In Turkey’s eastern regions (Ardahan, Kars, etc.) there lives a large Kurdish population, and undoubtedly the level of unemployment is higher than in Armenia’s border regions. However the living standards in both areas are much lower than those provided by the average income of their country’s centers. Both countries have seen the populations of these regions move to big cities in search of better lives and, more often than not, they never return. To prevent the fatal influence of a probable large-scale immigration of Turkish labor to Armenia’s labor market (and vice versa), it seems necessary to come up with some bilateral quota agreement on labor migrants.
Indeed, such methods would lead to real normalization of bilateral relations and would create a confidence that would serve as the basis for intercultural dialogue. As far as economic benefits go, much seems possible after the opening of the border. In the political sense, such a move would reflect positively particularly when it comes to Turkey’s international image, including negotiations with EU and “strange” relations with Turkey’s ally the United States. And it is obvious that such benefits will work to counterbalance short-term negative histories in relations with other states. Thus this was? fair point of view from Yerevan and I hope for dialogue with Turkey. After all we are neighbors and cannot afford to be strangers any longer.
* Managing editor of the Actual Policy journal /Zaman 08.08.2007
Armenians in Turkey Continue on Same Path
By Khajag Mgrditchian
ISTANBUL, Turkey (A.W.)-The Turkish general elections took place on Sunday, July 22, and were concluded with the victory of Prime Minister Rejep Tayyip Erdogan's ruling AK (Justice and Progress) Party. This basically means that Turkey has chosen to continue on the same path it has taken over the last four years.
In the previous elections AK party gained 34 percent of the vote, and out of the 550 seats in the parliament, it had 363, which was enough for the party to create a government by itself. This time around, despite the fact that the party received 47 percent of all votes, it actually lost some seats in the parliament, and now has 340. This decrease in the number of seats that is not congruent with the popular vote is the result of the Turkish electoral laws, which put a quota of 10 percent of votes for parties to enter the parliament.
The results, which don't change the political landscape, were however not alone in defining the latest Turkish elections. There were many other phenomenon which make these elections unique.
One of these events was the setback suffered by the Republican Democratic Party (CHP), lead by renown left-winger Deniz Baykal. Clearly, this party has left behind its leftist principles and has lately been becoming more and more Kemalist, acting as one of the extremely nationalist groups in Turkey.
The latest wave of nationalism in Turkey allowed another party to enter the parliament: the National Movement Party (MHP), which does not even attempt to disguise its extreme nationalist approach. The party has been able to garner 71 seats in the Parliament. With the entry of this party-which sponsors the nationalist "Grey Wolves" movement-into the parliament, a new Turkish opposition emerges. In the past, the only opposition party was the CHP. The popularity of the MHP is evidence of the latest wave of nationalism that has spread as a backlash to Erdogan's Islamist-leaning policies.
Thus, the progress recorded by nationalist movements is the second unique event that distinguishes the Turkish elections. The rise of nationalism compels friends of democracy to pick the less of two evils, in this case the AK Party.
The same view was upheld by the Turkish-Armenian community, which, for the first time, participated with relative zeal, expressed its views and attempted to have some say in the government. Most of the renown Turkish-Armenian figures openly preferred Erdogan and his party. "I think that the other parties have very little chance of receiving our votes, because, in my opinion, we have lost trust in them. They have all been put to the test, and they have all come and gone without helping us, while AKP has, and where it has failed to reach its goals, it is not to blame. We know what kind of opposition they are facing, and groups both within and outside of the government are doing whatever they can to impede its plans," said Rober Haddejian, editor of the "Marmara" newspaper to Hairenik/Armenian Weeklies adding that if the AK Party remains in leadership, then "our expectations might be met, and the situation might improve." In an interview with "Hairenik," Sarkis Seropian, an editor of the "Agos" newspaper, expressed a very similar view, mentioning that the AK Party is the less of evils and is acceptable by the Armenian community in Turkey, "because the other, so-called democratic parties, do not follow their own creeds. The Republican Democratic Party itself claims to be left wing, but in my opinion, it is on the extreme right, it is even possible to call it a jingoistic party. And the positions of the right-wing nationalist party are well known. I believe it is almost impossible to distinguish these two parties. There are other parties, but they unfortunately won't be able to pass the 10 percent mark."
In order to circumvent the above-mentioned minimum limit of votes to enter into the parliament, some parties orchestrated their campaigns in a way that would allow them to propose independent candidates; and the large number of independent candidates who got elected was another feature of these elections.
The Kurdish-leaning Democratic Party (DTP) made good use of this strategy. Twenty-four delegates of this party, who were campaigning as independent candidates, were elected to seats. In fact, this Kurdish party, by circumventing the 10 percent requirement, can form its own grouping in the parliament. This large presence of Kurdish delegates is yet another feature of the elections.
There are some names among the independent delegates that are worth mentioning, including the former leader of the "Our Homeland" party, former Prime Minister and Foreign Affairs Minister Mesut Yilmaz, as well as the head of the "Grand Union" Party (BBP) Muhsin Yazicioglu and the head of the "Freedom and Union Party" (ODP) Ufuk Uras.
Translated by Simon Beugekian
An Unreasonable U.S. Concern: Armenian-Iranian Cooperation
By Michael G. Mensoian
Recently, the United States Charge d'Affairs in Yerevan, Anthony Godfrey, indicated that Washington had concerns regarding the degree and direction of Armenian-Iranian cooperation, especially relating to energy resources. For the past 30 years Iran has been the principal adversary of the United States in the Middle East and its client state Israel. Its determination to develop nuclear technology for peaceful or alleged non-peaceful purposes or, again, its support of what is described in the Western media as radical Islamic groups is beyond the purpose of this discussion. However, what is important is that Armenia and Iran enjoy a symbiotic relationship that both nations have assiduously nurtured since Armenia's independence. It should be noted that there are several hundred thousand Armenians in Iran; most having lived there for generations.
Although the United States has a right to question Armenia's relationship with Iran, that concern must be evaluated within the context of the close economic and military ties Washington maintains with Turkey, Azerbaijan and Georgia. Both Turkey and Azerbaijan, which loom large in the strategic interests of the United States, have adopted policies whose sole purpose is to weaken Armenia. Georgia, a third recipient of United States military and economic largess, maintains a cooperative stance in its relations with Armenia, yet it does not hesitate to enter into agreements with Turkey and Azerbaijan that are inimical to Armenia's economic interests. Far out weighing any economic and humanitarian aid Armenia receives from the United States are the close ties that bind Ankara, Baku and Tbilisi to Washington's policy of challenging Russia and Iran for the energy resources of Central Asia and the Caucasus. As a result, Armenia has been left, literally, to its own devices. So much for that.
As one of 44 land-locked countries in the world, Armenia's relationship with its neighbors must be placed in a special category. Georgia's interest in Armenia is primarily pragmatic; the type and volume of trade, transit concerns, the degree and purpose of Armenia's military cooperation with Russia and the political interaction between Yerevan and the Javakhk Armenians. Its economic and political viability does not depend on Armenian cooperation. Armenia, however, has a strategic interest in Georgia. That country represents the only land route to the Black Sea ports of Batumi and Poti through which most of Armenia's imports and exports pass. Similarly the pipeline that delivers gas from Russia to Armenia transits Georgian territory. It is obvious that there is no parity in their relationship. This lack of symmetry emboldens Georgia to participate in economic ventures without regard for their adverse impact on Armenia. With Armenia excluded, Georgia's strategic importance to Turkey increases exponentially as the only practical land connection to Azerbaijan and ultimately to Central Asia across the Caspian Sea. One only need look at the route of the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline as well as the proposed Kars-Tbilisi-Baku railroad which will replace the existing line that passes through Gyumri in Armenia that Turkey boycotts. Both of these Turkish sponsored ventures were meant to harm Armenia and exclude her from the potential economic benefits that the region will experience.
Paradoxically, economic development in which all countries share is a goal that the United States claims is vital to creating political stability within the region. Yet the pipeline route was supported by the United States knowing that it would have an adverse impact on Armenia. As for the projected railroad, the United States again exerted no pressure on Turkey to reopen the existing line through Gyumri. The tepid response from Washington was that no financial aid would be provided if it by-passed Armenia. With the wealth that Turkey and Azerbaijan have at their disposal, financial support from the United States was never a determining issue.
The geostrategic interest of the United States in the Caucasus and Central Asia not only benefits Turkey and Azerbaijan, but paradoxically has elevated the importance and strategic role of Iran vis-à-vis Armenia's national objectives. In March of this year, ceremonies were held at Agarak, Armenia, to inaugurate the opening of the gas pipeline from Iran to Armenia. From Agarak the pipeline connects to the Armenian gas distribution net at Kajaran. This is a major development that should have greater significance in the future. Presently, any gas that is imported from Iran must be used to generate electricity which will then be "sold" to Iran. An ancillary benefit is that the villages in the southern Syunik district will have access to gas for domestic purposes for the first time. In an emergency situation, should deliveries from Russia via Georgia be cut-off, Armenia will be able to draw on this new supply of gas.
On the main highway north from Megri in southern Armenia, any casual observer will notice a steady stream of Iranian trucks which carry an estimated 500,000 to 600,000 tons of goods annually. At an economic summit in Yerevan this July, Armenian and Iranian officials met to discuss a wide range of economic issues. As reported by Armenpress, Iran's foreign minister Manouchehr Mottaki indicated that several joint ventures were being considered. These included building a hydropower facility on the Arax River, a refinery in Armenia to process Iranian oil to gasoline for export to Iran, and a new railroad link between the two countries. He reported that trade between Armenia and Iran had reached $200 million annually with the potential for reaching $1 billion annually.
Although it doesn't have a contiguous border with Armenia, its fifth neighbor is Russia. Both countries do depend upon each other, but Armenia is the "junior partner" so to speak in this relationship. Presently, Armenia is a "captive" of Russia's Gazprom: a quasi-state run enterprise that supplies a significant part of its energy needs at prices that are not set at "arms length" negotiations. One can seriously question the desirability of join ventures by the two countries or, especially, the ownership of any segment of Armenia's economic infrastructure by Russia. The Russian garrison in Armenia does provide a stabilizing influence along the Turkish-Armenian border. Armenia reciprocates by providing Russia with its last foothold south of the Caucasus.
In the long term, Russia and Iran are adversaries both in the Caucasus as well as in Central Asia. However, in the short term their objectives coalesce to prevent Turkey from dominating the Caucasus and extending its influence into Central Asia. Present United States policy seeks to exploit the energy resources of Central Asia and control its movement into international markets. For the present at least, Turkey and Azerbaijan are willing partners.
Armenia has a crucial if passive role to play in thwarting this expansion of Turkish influence. As mentioned earlier, Russian military units stationed in Armenia represent a major deterrent to any ill-advised Turkish military venture. The presence of Russian forces is a reminder that she has not abdicated her historic interests in the region or her support of autonomy for Abkhazia and South Ossetia in Georgia. Additionally, Armenia represents the only route for a potential pipeline for the delivery of Iranian gas to Georgia-an important bargaining chip in future Georgian-Armenian cooperation. An alternative source of gas would lessen Georgia's future dependence on Russia as well as on Azerbaijan, whose ability to meet her increasing demands is questionable. Present United States policy is a direct response to the disintegration of the Soviet Union and the transformation of the several Soviet republics into independent nations. To fill the resulting political vacuum, the U.S. Congress passed the Freedom Support Act in 1992. Its underlying purpose, shorn of its altruistic rhetoric, was to challenge Russia in the Caucasus and to extend U.S. influence into Central Asia with its vast deposits of oil and natural gas. Turkey was a key component of this strategy. However, the official objective of the Freedom Support Act was to provide economic and humanitarian aid and to promote democratic institutions in these recently independent countries. This objective ran counter to Russia's official policy, which was to regain hegemony over its Near Abroad, the former soviet republics.
In recognition of Armenia's position vis-à-vis Azerbaijan, Title 9, Section 907 of the Act stated that "United States assistance.may not be provided to the government of Azerbaijan until the President determines and so reports to Congress that the government of Azerbaijan is taking demonstrable steps to cease all blockades and other offensive uses of force against Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh."
In every year since its passage, President Bush has waived Section 907 which lifted restrictions on U.S. assistance to Azerbaijan. According to the Office of the Press Secretary, U.S. Department of State, the waiver was necessary ".to support United States efforts to counter international terrorism" [and] ".to support the operational readiness of the United States Armed Forces.to counter international terrorism; [it] is important to Azerbaijan border security; and will not undermine or hamper ongoing efforts to negotiate a peaceful settlement between Armenia and Azerbaijan or be used for offensive purposes against Armenia."
Coupled with these annual waivers, it is instructive to look at President Bush's latest recommendations for the fiscal year 2007 budget as reported in a press release by the ANCA. Contrary to an agreement struck with Congress in 2001 to maintain parity in U.S. military aid to Armenia and Azerbaijan, the President proposed ".cutting.economic aid to Armenia from.[the 2006] appropriation of $74.4 million to $50 million, a nearly 33 per cent reduction." For Azerbaijan, the figure was $28 million and $58 million for Georgia. The Foreign Military Financing proposals were $3.5 million for Armenia, $4.5 million for Azerbaijan and $10 million for Georgia.
With respect to the President's recommendations for International Military Education and Training the figures are $790,000 for Armenia, $885,000 for Azerbaijan and $1,235,000 for Georgia. The President's fiscal year 2008 budget seeks 20 percent more in military aid to Azerbaijan than to Armenia. So much for parity.
The Congressional Caucus on Armenian Issues formed in 1995 has been instrumental in protecting Armenia's interests. However, the role of the present administration should indicate the importance it places on the Turkish-Azerbaijan-Georgia triumvirate. United States influence within these countries is the key objective in its attempt to counter Russian influence and to achieve its goal to control the exploitation and movement of energy resources to global markets. The $1.5 billion in humanitarian and technical aid received by Armenia since 1992 from the United States masks the inequity between the aid given to the "triumvirate" and Armenia when Armenia is added to the equation.
During this same period, Armenia has endured the adverse economic effects caused by the blockade imposed by Turkey and its ally Azerbaijan, contrary to the requirement that the waiver will not be granted ".until the President determines.that the government of Azerbaijan is taking demonstrable steps to cease all blockades.against Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh." Failure to meet this requirement has not dampened the President's enthusiasm to waive this prohibition each year.
For the United States to ignore the effect of its pro-Turkish policy begs the question as to what should Armenia's response be with respect to Iran? A key component of Armenia's economic and political viability depends on maintaining a mutually beneficial relationship with its southern neighbor. Its cooperation with Iran in no way affects United States interests. It could well be that the ideological and strategic objectives of the United States and Iran are so great as to defy any immediate meaningful accommodation. However difficult that may be for the United States, Armenia must be left to develop its relationship with Iran in a manner that enhances its legitimate national objectives. Rather than question Armenian-Iranian cooperation, the United States should reconsider the aid given to Azerbaijan and Georgia and increase its support to Armenia if only because it is the one emerging democratic nation in the Caucasus region, a key objective of the Freedom Support Act.
How To Preach Armenia, Add Guns 'Le Voyage En Armenie' Takes Aim At Informing Audiences On Armenia
By Andy Turpin
WATERTOWN, Mass. (A.W.)-If Martin Scorcesse decided that he wanted to commercialize his film interests and lend his mob movie talents into doing pieces for tourists boards and educational councils, "Le Voyage En Armenie" would be the result. A funny, didactic adventure through a beautiful but corruption-plagued nation that gleans to the world the post-Soviet realities that some people know firsthand, and others are oblivious to beyond a few alarmist news headlines.
But in place of Sicily or Naples, French director Robert Guediguian took the helm and commanded such a likeminded endeavor tailored for the Republic of Armenia.
The film, shot on video in location throughout Armenia proper and subtitled in English from both French and Armenian, is a wonderful film for the general public and the Armenian diaspora community- when taken with a grain of salt.
The story revolves around a wealthy female doctor who is ethnically Armenian but a French national who had previously been a true believer in the militant student politics of the French New Wave era.
Her father, a loveably curmudgeonly Hayastantsi man, is diagnosed with a fatal heart condition by his alienated daughter Anna and without hesitation decides to fly the coop to Armenia to spend his last days in the old country without explanation or approval from the rest of the family.
Anna travels to Armenia in search of him and insodoing discovers the Armenia within her that she previously didn't know existed.
I have to admit that the trite movie cliché that previous sentence exhibits is painful even to write. But in spite of that, "Le Voyage En Armenie" redeems itself and is a good film.
How, you may ask?
The shortest gnaw to the quick is simply to say the acting and the writing. All the players are amazing; though more than likely the only actor that will be recognizable to American viewers will be Simon Abkarian, of previous "Casino Royale" and "Ararat" fame.
Never forget that even films like "Casablanca" were initially created as blatant Allied war propaganda pieces- but with decent acting and writing even the most exploitive or hackneyed premise can be at least salvaged.
But "Voyage" knows how to work today's culture of sex and violence- even when they work side-by-side a Wizard of Oz style formula of heroes on an Armenian ideologue's quest.
A grandfatherly chauffeur, a Karabakh General 'Rick Blane' and a buxom-yet-naïve hairdresser-stripper that personify modern day Armenia replace the Lion, Tin-Man and Scarecrow. All of which are led by a Dorothy that knows from anti-Algeria protests how to use a machine gun when the plot switches gears and they become potential targets for an Armenian 'oligarch'.
The combination of high-handed ethics and pseudo crime drama may seem at odds with each other, but like a good chef experimenting with a new recipe, Guediguian manages to pull it off just enough that it goes down smoothly.
Just don't Hold your breath for Jean Reno to tackle "Voyage En Armenie II: Operation Gyumri" anytime soon.
Now That Bush Has Withdrawn Hoagland, What Have Armenians Accomplished?
By Harut Sassounian Publisher, The California Courier
Now that the White House has been forced to withdraw Richard Hoagland's nomination as ambassador to Armenia, it is time to reflect upon the consequences of this political tug-of-war between the Armenian American community and the Bush Administration. Here are my reflections on this issue: -- The Armenian-American community was obligated to come to the defense of Amb. John Evans, an accomplished diplomat and a man of great integrity, who was wrongly dismissed by the Bush administration simply for uttering the words "Armenian Genocide," on a speaking tour of Armenian-American communities in California, in February 2005. He was forced into "early retirement" despite his issuance of an apology and a "clarification" for using the term "genocide," and stripped of the "Constructive Dissent" award granted to him by the American Foreign Service Association. This fine gentleman who lost his job because of speaking the truth deserves the respect and gratitude of Armenians and people of integrity worldwide.
-- By opposing the dismissal of Amb. Evans, Armenian-Americans were actually defending their own cause. They simply could not stand idly by when a public official was losing his job for siding with the truth on the Armenian Genocide. Had Armenians remained silent, no other official would ever dare to speak up on this issue, knowing that this would jeopardizing his or her career. However, supporting those who tell the truth on the Armenian Genocide would encourage others to come forward without jeopardizing their careers. -- Officials in Turkey and Azerbaijan were closely following the developments about ambassadors Evans and Hoagland. Had the dismissal of the former and the nomination of the latter taken place without any complaints from the Armenian-American community, Turkish and Azeri officials would have been emboldened to press the Bush administration to take a tougher stand on other issues, including the congressional resolution on the Armenian Genocide, the blockade of Armenia, and the Karabagh (Artsakh) conflict. However, having witnessed Pres. Bush's withdrawal of Hoagland's nomination, Turks and Azeris became more wary of the political clout of the Armenian-American community. After extensively covering the developments on this issue over the course of the past year, Turkish and Azeri newspapers published several articles during the last weekend with headlines such as: "Bush gave in to demands of Armenian lobby" (Zaman) or "[Armenian] lobby forced Bush into submission" (Milliyet).
-- During the past couple of years, U.S. officials have been monitoring the Armenian-American community's reaction to the dismissal of Amb. Evans and the nomination of Amb. Hoagland. The Neo-Cons in Washington, goaded by their Turkish cronies, completely mismanaged both decisions. They did a major disservice to their Commander-in-Chief, the President of the United States, who has been burdened with many other domestic and foreign policy setbacks. Pres. Bush's underlings acted vindictively towards Amb. Evans and botched the briefing of Amb. Hoagland for his Senate Foreign Relations Committee appearance. Bush administration officials were also surprised and dismayed that their scheme to quietly replace Evans with Hoagland was made public by this writer, several months before both decisions were officially announced by the White House. Complicating matters further for the administration, this writer suggested more than a year ago that the Senate place a hold on Hoagland's nomination. After Sen. Robert Menendez (Dem. N.J.) did place a hold on Hoagland's nomination last September, and after the Republicans lost their majority in the Senate last November, Pres. Bush unwisely re-nominated him in January, thus forcing Sen. Menendez to place a second hold on the nominee. It took the White House more than a year to realize that Hoagland had no chance of being confirmed by the U.S. Senate. Hopefully, Bush administration officials have learned a valuable lesson from this troubling episode. Maybe next time, before taking another arbitrary decision involving Armenian-Americans, particularly on the Armenian Genocide issue, the White House would consider the political as well as moral implications of its policies.
-- Finally, having successfully lobbied to block the administration's nominee as envoy to Armenia, the Armenian-American community has hopefully become more self-confident in fighting for its rights at the highest levels of the U.S. government. All those Armenian-Americans who were reluctant to join in this effort, thinking that "you can't fight City Hall," should now be convinced that the community can win such battles, just as it won against TIME magazine, PBS, and the Los Angeles Times.
Hopefully, the administration's next nominee as envoy to Armenia would be better briefed and told to give more thoughtful answers to the Senators' questions on the Armenian Genocide. Sen. Menendez was quoted by the AP last week as saying that he hoped "the next nominee will bring a different understanding to this issue." Unless the White House becomes more accommodating on this issue, Sen. Menendez may exercise his right of placing a hold once again. The ideal solution to the administration's dilemma would be to allow an early vote in the House and Senate on the pending resolutions on the Armenian Genocide. Once these resolutions are approved by Congress, the next nominee would have no problem acknowledging the Armenian Genocide during his or her Senate confirmation hearings and subsequent tour of duty in Armenia. The sooner these pending resolutions are adopted, the easier would be the confirmation process of the next nominee.
The Library of Congress
Title: Calling upon the President to ensure that the foreign policy of the United States reflects appropriate understanding and sensitivity concerning issues related to human rights, ethnic cleansing, and genocide documented in the United States record relating to the Armenian Genocide, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Rep Schiff, Adam B. [CA-29] (introduced 1/30/2007)
Related Bills: S.RES.106
Latest Major Action: 1/30/2007 Referred to House committee. Status:
Referred to the House Committee on Foreign Affairs.
COSPONSORS(226), BY DATE [order is left to right]: (Sort: alphabetical order) Rep Radanovich, George [CA-19] - 1/30/2007 Rep Pallone, Frank, Jr. [NJ-6] - 1/30/2007 Rep Knollenberg, Joe [MI-9] - 1/30/2007 Rep Sherman, Brad [CA-27] - 1/30/2007 Rep McCotter, Thaddeus G. [MI-11] -1/30/2007 Rep McNulty, Michael R. [NY-21] - 1/31/2007 Rep Kildee, Dale E. [MI-5] - 1/31/2007 Rep Maloney, Carolyn B. [NY-14] - 1/31/2007 Rep Markey, Edward J. [MA-7] - 1/31/2007 Rep Costello, Jerry F. [IL-12] -1/31/2007 Rep Weiner, Anthony D. [NY-9] - 1/31/2007 Rep Holt, Rush D. [NJ-12] - 1/31/2007 Rep Lipinski, Daniel [IL-3] - 1/31/2007 Rep Langevin, James R. [RI-2] - 1/31/2007 Rep Dreier, David [CA-26] -1/31/2007 Rep Abercrombie, Neil [HI-1] - 1/31/2007 Rep Schwartz, Allyson Y. [PA-13] - 1/31/2007 Rep Udall, Mark [CO-2] - 1/31/2007 Rep McMorris Rodgers, Cathy [WA-5] - 1/31/2007 Rep Woolsey, Lynn C. [CA-6] - 1/31/2007 Rep Blumenauer, Earl [OR-3] - 1/31/2007 Rep Royce, Edward R. [CA-40] - 1/31/2007 Rep Neal, Richard E. [MA-2] - 1/31/2007 Rep Kennedy, Patrick J. [RI-1] - 1/31/2007 Rep Honda, Michael M. [CA-15] -1/31/2007 Rep Kirk, Mark Steven [IL-10] - 1/31/2007 Rep Nunes, Devin [CA-21] - 1/31/2007 Rep Capuano, Michael E. [MA-8] - 1/31/2007 Rep Napolitano, Grace F. [CA-38] - 1/31/2007 Rep Berry, Marion [AR-1] -1/31/2007 Rep Grijalva, Raul M. [AZ-7] - 1/31/2007 Rep Lynch, Stephen F. [MA-9] - 1/31/2007 Rep Doolittle, John T. [CA-4] - 1/31/2007 Rep Fattah, Chaka [PA-2] - 1/31/2007 Rep Matsui, Doris O. [CA-5] -1/31/2007 Rep Norton, Eleanor Holmes [DC] - 1/31/2007 Rep Kucinich, Dennis J. [OH-10] - 1/31/2007 Rep McGovern, James P. [MA-3] -1/31/2007 Rep Van Hollen, Chris [MD-8] - 1/31/2007 Rep Crowley, Joseph [NY-7] - 1/31/2007 Rep Allen, Thomas H. [ME-1] - 1/31/2007 Rep Capps, Lois [CA-23] - 1/31/2007 Rep Diaz-Balart, Lincoln [FL-21] - 1/31/2007 Rep Ackerman, Gary L. [NY-5] - 1/31/2007 Rep Payne, Donald M. [NJ-10] - 1/31/2007 Rep Conyers, John, Jr. [MI-14] - 1/31/2007 Rep Rush, Bobby L. [IL-1] - 1/31/2007 Rep Frank, Barney [MA-4] - 1/31/2007 Rep Davis, Danny K. [IL-7] - 1/31/2007 Rep Doyle, Michael F. [PA-14] - 1/31/2007 Rep Wilson, Joe [SC-2] - 1/31/2007 Rep Lofgren, Zoe [CA-16] -1/31/2007 Rep Rogers, Mike J. [MI-8] - 1/31/2007 Rep Cantor, Eric [VA-7] - 1/31/2007 Rep Souder, Mark E. [IN-3] - 1/31/2007 Rep Meehan, Martin T. [MA-5] - 1/31/2007 Rep Gutierrez, Luis V. [IL-4] -1/31/2007 Rep Clay, Wm. Lacy [MO-1] - 1/31/2007 Rep Sanchez, Linda T. [CA-39] -1/31/2007 Rep Berman, Howard L. [CA-28] - 1/31/2007 Rep Eshoo, Anna G. [CA-14] - 1/31/2007 Rep Baldwin, Tammy [WI-2] - 1/31/2007 Rep Dingell, John D. [MI-15] - 1/31/2007 Rep Engel, Eliot L. [NY-17] -1/31/2007 Rep Rothman, Steven R. [NJ-9] - 1/31/2007 Rep Lee, Barbara [CA-9] - 1/31/2007 Rep Garrett, Scott [NJ-5] - 1/31/2007 Rep Waxman, Henry A. [CA-30] - 1/31/2007 Rep Delahunt, William D. [MA-10] -1/31/2007 Rep Roybal-Allard, Lucille [CA-34] - 1/31/2007 Rep Tierney, John F. [MA-6] - 1/31/2007 Rep Diaz-Balart, Mario [FL-25] - 1/31/2007 Rep Rohrabacher, Dana [CA-46] - 1/31/2007 Rep Campbell, John [CA-48] -1/31/2007 Rep Walz, Timothy J. [MN-1] - 1/31/2007 Rep Nadler, Jerrold [NY-8] - 1/31/2007 Rep Porter, Jon C. [NV-3] - 1/31/2007 Rep Baca, Joe [CA-43] - 1/31/2007 Rep Cleaver, Emanuel [MO-5] - 1/31/2007 Rep Kilpatrick, Carolyn C. [MI-13] - 1/31/2007 Rep Tauscher, Ellen O. [CA-10] - 1/31/2007 Rep Frelinghuysen, Rodney P. [NJ-11] -1/31/2007 Rep Visclosky, Peter J. [IN-1] - 1/31/2007 Rep DeLauro, Rosa L. [CT-3] - 1/31/2007 Rep English, Phil [PA-3] - 1/31/2007 (withdrawn -3/15/2007) Rep Cardoza, Dennis A. [CA-18] - 1/31/2007 Rep Wolf, Frank R. [VA-10] - 1/31/2007 Rep Gonzalez, Charles A. [TX-20] - 1/31/2007 Rep Watson, Diane E. [CA-33] - 1/31/2007 Rep Jindal, Bobby [LA-1] -1/31/2007(withdrawn - 1/31/2007) Rep Sarbanes, John P. [MD-3] -1/31/2007 Rep Gerlach, Jim [PA-6] - 1/31/2007 Rep Davis, Susan A. [CA-53] - 1/31/2007 Rep Lowey, Nita M. [NY-18] - 1/31/2007 Rep Holden, Tim [PA-17] - 1/31/2007 Rep Israel, Steve [NY-2] - 1/31/2007 Rep Levin, Sander M. [MI-12] - 1/31/2007 Rep Moran, James P. [VA-8] -1/31/2007 Rep Filner, Bob [CA-51] - 1/31/2007 Rep Calvert, Ken [CA-44] - 1/31/2007 Rep McCollum, Betty [MN-4] - 1/31/2007 Rep Hare, Phil [IL-17] - 1/31/2007 Rep Costa, Jim [CA-20] - 1/31/2007 Rep Jackson, Jesse L., Jr. [IL-2] - 1/31/2007 Rep Stark, Fortney Pete [CA-13] -1/31/2007 Rep Berkley, Shelley [NV-1] - 1/31/2007 Rep Shays, Christopher [CT-4] - 1/31/2007 Rep Ryan, Paul [WI-1] - 1/31/2007 Rep Miller, George [CA-7] - 1/31/2007 Rep Doggett, Lloyd [TX-25] -1/31/2007 Rep Becerra, Xavier [CA-31] - 1/31/2007 Rep Sanchez, Loretta [CA-47] - 1/31/2007 Rep Bishop, Sanford D., Jr. [GA-2] - 1/31/2007 Rep Schakowsky, Janice D. [IL-9] - 1/31/2007 Rep Solis, Hilda L. [CA-32] -1/31/2007 Rep Bilirakis, Gus M. [FL-9] - 1/31/2007 Rep LoBiondo, Frank A. [NJ-2] - 1/31/2007 Rep Hinchey, Maurice D. [NY-22] - 1/31/2007 Rep Lewis, John [GA-5] - 1/31/2007 Rep Ferguson, Mike [NJ-7] - 1/31/2007 Rep Bono, Mary [CA-45] - 1/31/2007 Rep Miller, Candice S. [MI-10] -1/31/2007 Rep Sires, Albio [NJ-13] - 1/31/2007 Rep Olver, John W. [MA-1] - 1/31/2007 Rep Sensenbrenner, F. James, Jr. [WI-5] -1/31/2007 Rep Musgrave, Marilyn N. [CO-4] - 1/31/2007 Rep McDermott, Jim [WA-7] - 1/31/2007 Rep McKeon, Howard P. "Buck" [CA-25] -1/31/2007 Rep Herseth, Stephanie [SD] - 1/31/2007 Rep Bean, Melissa L. [IL-8] - 1/31/2007 Rep Wamp, Zach [TN-3] - 1/31/2007 Rep Andrews, Robert E. [NJ-1] - 1/31/2007 Rep Renzi, Rick [AZ-1] - 1/31/2007 Rep Weller, Jerry [IL-11] - 1/31/2007 Rep Pastor, Ed [AZ-4] - 1/31/2007 Rep DeFazio, Peter A. [OR-4] - 1/31/2007 Rep Rangel, Charles B. [NY-15] - 1/31/2007 Rep McCarthy, Carolyn [NY-4] - 1/31/2007 Rep Peterson, Collin C. [MN-7] - 1/31/2007 Rep Issa, Darrell E. [CA-49] -1/31/2007 Rep Carnahan, Russ [MO-3] - 1/31/2007 Rep Hinojosa, Ruben [TX-15] - 1/31/2007 Rep Wynn, Albert Russell [MD-4] - 1/31/2007 Rep Jones, Stephanie Tubbs [OH-11] - 1/31/2007 Rep Smith, Christopher H. [NJ-4] - 1/31/2007 Rep Millender-McDonald, Juanita [CA-37] -1/31/2007 Rep Shimkus, John [IL-19] - 1/31/2007 Rep Dent, Charles W. [PA-15] - 1/31/2007 Rep McCaul, Michael T. [TX-10] - 1/31/2007 Rep Boren, Dan [OK-2] - 1/31/2007(withdrawn - 5/2/2007) Rep Davis, Lincoln [TN-4] - 1/31/2007 Rep Farr, Sam [CA-17] - 1/31/2007 Rep Jackson-Lee, Sheila [TX-18] - 1/31/2007 Rep Kind, Ron [WI-3] - 1/31/2007 Rep Matheson, Jim [UT-2] - 1/31/2007 Rep Melancon, Charlie [LA-3] -1/31/2007 Rep Moore, Dennis [KS-3] - 1/31/2007(withdrawn - 3/13/2007) Rep Ross, Mike [AR-4] - 1/31/2007 Rep Ryan, Tim [OH-17] - 1/31/2007 Rep Scott, David [GA-13] - 1/31/2007(withdrawn - 4/18/2007) Rep Thompson, Mike [CA-1] - 1/31/2007 Rep Waters, Maxine [CA-35] -1/31/2007 Rep Lungren, Daniel E. [CA-3] - 1/31/2007 Rep Towns, Edolphus [NY-10] - 1/31/2007 Rep Ellison, Keith [MN-5] - 2/5/2007 Rep McNerney, Jerry [CA-11] - 2/5/2007 Rep DeGette, Diana [CO-1] -2/5/2007 Rep Velazquez, Nydia M. [NY-12] - 2/5/2007 Rep Green, Gene [TX-29] - 2/5/2007 Rep McCarthy, Kevin [CA-22] - 2/5/2007 Rep Johnson, Henry C. "Hank," Jr. [GA-4] - 2/8/2007 Rep Lamborn, Doug [CO-5] -2/8/2007 Rep Walsh, James T. [NY-25] - 2/8/2007 Rep Wu, David [OR-1] -2/8/2007 Rep Marchant, Kenny [TX-24] - 2/8/2007 Rep Harman, Jane [CA-36] - 2/8/2007 Rep Michaud, Michael H. [ME-2] - 2/8/2007 Rep Green, Al [TX-9] - 3/1/2007 Rep Bachmann, Michele [MN-6] - 3/1/2007 Rep LaTourette, Steven C. [OH-14] - 3/1/2007 Rep Space, Zachary T. [OH-18] - 3/12/2007 Rep Brady, Robert A. [PA-1] - 3/12/2007 Rep Baird, Brian [WA-3] - 3/12/2007 Rep Bilbray, Brian P. [CA-50] -3/12/2007 Rep Perlmutter, Ed [CO-7] - 3/29/2007 Rep Sutton, Betty [OH-13] - 3/29/2007 Rep Miller, Gary G. [CA-42] - 3/29/2007 Rep Salazar, John T. [CO-3] - 4/16/2007 Rep Hunter, Duncan [CA-52] -4/16/2007 Rep Reichert, David G. [WA-8] - 4/16/2007 Rep Clarke, Yvette D. [NY-11] - 4/16/2007 Rep Bishop, Timothy H. [NY-1] - 4/19/2007 Rep Tancredo, Thomas G. [CO-6] - 4/19/2007(withdrawn - 6/27/2007) Rep Braley, Bruce L. [IA-1] - 4/19/2007 Rep Hodes, Paul W. [NH-2] -5/9/2007 Rep Courtney, Joe [CT-2] - 5/14/2007 Rep Udall, Tom [NM-3] -5/14/2007 Rep Roskam, Peter J. [IL-6] - 5/21/2007 Rep Murphy, Christopher S. [CT-5] - 5/21/2007 Rep Larson, John B. [CT-1] -5/24/2007 Rep Camp, Dave [MI-4] - 6/7/2007 Rep Walberg, Timothy [MI-7] - 6/7/2007 Rep Pitts, Joseph R. [PA-16] - 6/7/2007 Rep Hirono, Mazie K. [HI-2] - 6/20/2007 Rep Kuhl, John R. "Randy", Jr. [NY-29] -6/20/2007 Rep Thompson, Bennie G. [MS-2] - 6/20/2007 Rep Barrow, John [GA-12] - 6/20/2007 Rep Meek, Kendrick B. [FL-17] - 6/21/2007 Rep Mitchell, Harry E. [AZ-5] - 6/21/2007 Rep Bordallo, Madeleine Z. [GU] - 6/21/2007 Rep Kingston, Jack [GA-1] - 6/26/2007 Rep Marshall, Jim [GA-8] - 6/26/2007 Rep Davis, Artur [AL-7] - 6/26/2007 Rep Rodriguez, Ciro D. [TX-23] - 6/26/2007 Rep Serrano, Jose E. [NY-16] - 6/26/2007 Rep Cuellar, Henry [TX-28] - 6/26/2007 Rep Wicker, Roger F. [MS-1] -6/26/2007(withdrawn - 6/28/2007) Rep Butterfield, G. K. [NC-1] -6/28/2007 Rep Boyd, Allen [FL-2] - 6/28/2007 Rep Carson, Julia [IN-7] - 6/28/2007 Rep Watt, Melvin L. [NC-12] - 6/28/2007 Rep Cummings, Elijah E. [MD-7] - 6/28/2007 Rep Scott, Robert C. [VA-3] - 6/28/2007 Rep Kagen, Steve, M.D. [WI-8] - 6/28/2007 Rep Larsen, Rick [WA-2] -6/28/2007 Rep Christensen, Donna M. [VI] - 7/10/2007 Rep Yarmuth, John A. [KY-3] - 7/10/2007 Rep Gillibrand, Kirsten E. [NY-20] - 7/18/2007 Rep Herger, Wally [CA-2] - 7/18/2007 Rep Arcuri, Michael A. [NY-24] -7/18/2007 Rep McHugh, John M. [NY-23] - 8/2/2007 Rep LaHood, Ray [IL-18] - 8/2/2007 Rep Hall, John J. [NY-19] - 8/2/2007
The Los Angeles Times: White House Has Not Shifted Its Position On Armenian Genocide
/PanARMENIAN.Net/ The White House administration has not yet identified its choice for the next nominee as US Ambassador to Armenia. Richard Hoagland is expected to be nominated for another post soon, Spokeswoman for the White House Emily Lawrimore said. “President Bush believes Hoagland would have done a wonderful job, and thanks him for his willingness to serve his country,” she said, The Los Angeles Times reports. But the US administration has not shifted its position on the Armenian Genocide issue, the newspaper reports. The Los Angeles Times says US’s refusal to recognize the Armenian Genocide is connected with the importance of American-Turkish relations and Turkey’s support that Washington needs in the Middle East. The article reminds that 1.2 million Armenians were killed in the last years of the Ottoman Empire during the World War I, as fact that modern Turkey refuses to recognize.
The cause of Richard Hoagland’s withdrawal is in New Jersey Senator Robert Menendez’s persistent refusal to agree on his nomination, since Hoagland did not recognize the events of 1915 as Armenian Genocide during his confirmation Senate hearings. “We are obviously pleased that the administration came to understand that I had no intention of withdrawing my hold. I hope the new nominee would be somebody who understands the reality of the Armenian Genocide and can express himself or herself when the time comes for a nomination hearing,” the congressman underscored.
The Los Angeles Times also reminds that in a recent poll by the Pew Research Center, only 9% of Turks held a favorable view of the US.
On August 3 the White House withdrew Richard Hoagland’s candidacy as US Ambassador to Armenia after New Jersey Senator Robert Menendez twice placed a hold on his nomination, since R. Hoagland did not recognize events of 1915 as genocide during his confirmation hearings before the Senate. Former US Ambassador to Armenia John Evans was recalled in September of 2006 because he had publicly called the events of 1915 genocide.
Sooner Congress Adopts Genocide Resolution, Easier Would Be Confirmation Of Next Us Envoy To Armenia
/PanARMENIAN.Net/ “Having successfully lobbied to block the administration’s nominee as envoy to Armenia, the Armenian-American community has become more self-confident in fighting for its rights at the highest levels of the U.S. government. All those Armenian-Americans who were reluctant to join in this effort, thinking that ‘you can’t fight City Hall’, should now be convinced that the community can win such battles, just as it won against TIME magazine, PBS, and the Los Angeles Times,” editor-in-chief of The California Courier Harout Sassounian says.
He expresses hope that the administration’s next nominee as envoy to Armenia would be better briefed and told to give more thoughtful answers to the Senators’ questions on the Armenian Genocide. Last week Sen. Robert Menendez said if the White House does not become more accommodating on this issue he may exercise his right of placing a hold once again, the Associated Press reports. “The ideal solution to the administration’s dilemma would be to allow an early vote in the House and Senate on the pending resolutions on the Armenian Genocide. Once these resolutions are approved by Congress, the next nominee would have no problem acknowledging the Armenian Genocide during his or her Senate confirmation hearings. The sooner H. Res. 106 is adopted, the easier would be the confirmation process of the next nominee,” H. Sassounian says in his article.
On August 3 the White House withdrew Richard Hoagland’s candidacy as US Ambassador to Armenia after New Jersey Senator Robert Menendez twice placed a hold on his nomination, since R. Hoagland did not recognize events of 1915 as genocide during his confirmation hearings before the Senate.
Problem Of Normalizing Armenian-Turkish Relations Is Not Only In Recognizing Genocide
/PanARMENIAN.Net/ The major document that defines relations between Armenia and Turkey is the Treaty of Sèvres, which nobody has denounced yet, head of “Hay Dat” Office Giro Manoyan stated in Yerevan. He said the Armenian-Turkish border must be shaped according to this very document. It also determines the issues concerning establishing diplomatic relations between the two countries. “Neither the Moscow nor Kars Treaties are basic for us, since Armenian officials have not undersigned them. The problem of normalizing Armenian-Turkish relations is in Ankara, and the matter is not in recognizing the Armenian Genocide, the problem is much wider. We should not ignore the fact that there is a very tense political situation in Turkey now, and the Army may interfere at any moment,” Manoyan said.
The head of “Hay Dat” Office thinks that there are politicians in Turkey who want to normalize relations with Armenia, but they meet resistance from the General Staff and government. “Some time ago Foreign Ministers of both countries Vartan Oskanian and Abdullah Gul were going to sign an agreement on steps aimed at normalizing relations. However, then the Turkish side refused from it.
Gul’s official representative stated in Yerevan that it is impossible,” Giro Manoyan underscored adding recently the Turkish press expresses regret that during Levon Ter-Petrossian’s presidency the sides missed the opportunity to establish relations between Armenia and Turkey.
The Treaty of Sèvres was signed on 10 August 1920 between the Entente who won the World War I and Germany and Turkey. The delegation from the First Armenian Republic underlined the document. In the result, when Mustafa Kemal Atatürk came to power in Turkey Ankara refused to ratify the document. Turkey closed the Armenian-Turkish border in 1993 because of the Nagorno Karabakh conflict.
Richard Hoagland Himself Asked To Withdraw His Nomination As US Ambassador To Armenia
/PanARMENIAN.Net/ Activities of the Armenian community of the United States do not contradict RA’s foreign policy, this opinion does not have anything in common with the reality, head of “Hay Dat” Office Giro Manoyan stated to journalists in Yerevan. He said official Yerevan has never exerted pressure on Armenian communities abroad. “The White House’s decision to withdraw the nomination of Richard Hoagland as US Ambassador to Armenia is the internal affair of the Foreign Relations Committee of the US Congress. Hoagland himself has written a letter to US President’s administration asking him to withdraw his candidacy, since he is sure that the Senate will not approve it,” Manoyan said adding that the next US Ambassador to Armenia must have a clearer stance on the issue of the Armenian Genocide.
Giro Manoyan also underlined the issue of Hoagland’s disapproval totally lies in political field. “It is the second time in the US history that the Senate does not approve the White House’s nomination. First time it was John Bolton, US Ambassador to the United Nations. Then President Bush appointed Bolton passing over the Senate using his right to nominate ambassadors during Senate recess. But the administration decided not to repeat the same thing with Hoagland,” the head of “Hay Dat” Office noticed.
On August 3 the White House withdrew Richard Hoagland’s candidacy as US Ambassador to Armenia after New Jersey Senator Robert Menendez twice placed a hold on his nomination, since R. Hoagland did not recognize events of 1915 as genocide during his confirmation hearings before the Senate.
Armenia Open For Cooperation With All States
/PanARMENIAN.Net/ Trade and economic cooperation with Russia is one of the priorities of Armenia’s foreign policy, Armenian Foreign Minister Vartan Oskanian said.
“Let us not forget that the Russian market is the most available for us. Besides bilateral relations in energy, transport, metallurgy, chemistry and trade, we have developed relations in the banking system, precious stones working, information technologies and tourism as well as minor and middle business,” he said.
The Armenian Minister noted that some 700 organizations basing on Russian capital have been registered in Armenia. “The growth of the Russian stock proves that the Armenian market becomes more and more attractive for investors. Armenia is open for cooperation with states,” the RA FM said, Interfax reports.
Crisis On US Ambassador To Armenia May Metastasize
Under pressure by pro-Armenian Democratic senators, U.S. President George W. Bush Friday withdrew his pick for ambassador to Yerevan, but his move is seen to be paving the way for further complications.
Bush gave in to Democratic objections and withdrew the nomination of Richard Hoagland to be ambassador to the Armenian capital.
The White House's decision came after Robert Menendez, a staunchly pro-Armenian Democratic senator from New Jersey, placed a hold on Hoagland's nomination for the second time in January because of Hoagland's refusal to call the World War I-era killings of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire a genocide. Despite the administration's pleas, Menendez' hold has remained in place since then.
Under U.S. law, even one senator can indefinitely veto the nomination of a senior government official.
Such holds are rare, because the move usually puts the dissenting senator under huge pressure, But in Hoagland's case, Menendez' action was supported by many other senators, including some Republicans.
Now Bush needs to nominate another person to replace Hoagland, a career diplomat whose last job was U.S. ambassador to Dushanbe in Tajikistan.
However, regardless of whom Bush picks as his choice for ambassador to Yerevan, that person will face the same problems Hoagland did.
At his confirmation hearing at the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in June 2006, Hoagland was repeatedly urged by pro-Armenian senators to qualify the Armenian killings as genocide. But he declined to do so under the U.S. administration's official policy.
History repeating itself?:
Analysts say that the new nominee for ambassador will again face the same pressure from the pro-Armenian senators. If he or she again declines to utter the word genocide, at least one Democratic senator will most likely place a hold on him or her, repeating Hoagland's case.
Another option could be that diplomat uttering the "g-word." But if that happens, it will effectively kill the relationship with Turkey, which sees the administration's acknowledgement of an Armenian genocide as a worse situation than a similar move in Congress.
A third option could be something different. If the new nominee declines to use the word genocide, and faces a senator's hold again, Bush this time may appoint him or her as U.S. ambassador to Yerevan when Congress is in recess. But if this happens, that person will probably not find suitable working conditions in the Armenian capital because of probable reactions there.
"For the United States, all options are bad, some worse and others, and there is no way out for an easy solution," said one analyst.
"It's not our problem," said one Turkish Foreign Ministry official. "If the United States cannot send an ambassador to Armenia because of such moves by the Armenian lobby, it will be their mutual problem, not ours."
The official said Turkey did not expect the Washington administration to change its position on not officially recognizing an Armenian genocide.
John Evans, the previous U.S. ambassador to Yerevan, was fired in May 2006 after he qualified the Armenian killings as genocide in violation of U.S. policy, leading to strong reaction by pro-Armenian groups in the United States.
Armenians welcome withdrawal:
The Armenian National Committee of Armenia (ANCA), an organization of radical U.S. Armenians, welcomed Hoagland's withdrawal.
"We are gratified to see that the administration has finally come to recognize what the ANCA and the Armenian American community have understood for more than a year that Dick Hoagland – through his own words and action – disqualified himself as an effective representative of either American values or U.S. interests as U.S. ambassador to Armenia," said ANCA Executive Director Aram Hamparian.
Also Menendez said, "this is certainly welcome news." The Armenian Assembly of America (AAA), a more moderate group, had a more nuanced reaction.
"Should this withdrawal indicate that the next nominee to serve as U.S. Ambassador to Armenia shall properly acknowledge and characterize the Armenian Genocide, then this is a positive development," it said in a written statement.
Expressing concern that the United States was not being represented by an ambassador in Yerevan for a long time, the AAA had not joined the ANCA's efforts to stop Hoagland at all costs.
In a related development, the number of members of the U.S. House of Representatives backing an Armenian genocide resolution pending in that chamber rose to 224 last week, the AAA said in another statement. This represents a clear majority in the 435-member House. The non-binding bill calls for the official recognition of the Armenian killings as genocide.
Turkey and the Bush administration have so far managed to prevent a House floor vote on the resolution, but Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi may hold a vote after Congress returns from its summer recess in September, analysts and congressional sources say.
August 6, 2007
WASHINGTON - Turkish Daily News