28 September 2007

2001) Media Scanner Sep 2007 (189 Items)

  1. "The Armenian Genocide" Book By Armenian Scientist Published In Hungary
  2. Armenians To Demonstrate Against Turkish Membership in EU Summit
  3. Foxman: US Congress Can’t Debate ‘Genocide’
  4. Babacan Urges Rice To Stop PKK Terrorism At Once
  5. Armenian And Turkish FMs Will Meet By Joint Initiative
  6. Oskanian Is Leaving For New York
  7. Armenia Backs Anti-Turkey Faction In EU
  8. Turkey Facing Necessity Of Making A Step To Improvement Of Relations With Armenia
  9. Azeri And Turkish Mass Media Sources Ref: Ter-Petrosian's Speech
  10. Turkey's Lobbyists Enlist Former U.S. Secretaries Of State To Kill "Genocide"
  11. Turkey's Attitude Towards Armenia Remains Unalterable
  12. Armenian-Turkish Relations Are Defined at Ankara-Brussels
  13. Armenia Refuses 200 Million Euro EU Loan For Shutting Atomic Plant
  14. Armenian Producers Mired In Imports
  15. Armenian Government Punishing The Exporter
  16. Foreign Minister Urges Turkish Community In USA To Oppose the "Bill"
  17. Wine, Brandy And Growing Mountains
  18. Armenian Lobby At UK Labour Party Conference
  19. The Art of Anti-War Foreign Policy In Focus
  20. YouTube Video Praises Murder of Journalist Hrant DinkMichael van der Galiën
  21. Former U.S. Secretaries of State oppose Armenian Genocide Resolution PanARMENIAN.Net,
  22. Armenian PM Tells EU: Too Soon To Make Turkey A Member By Dmitry Solovyov
  23. Being Heard On Campus By Tulin Daloglu
  24. A Turkish Media Outlet Owned By A Greek Entrepreneur: Wow! By BARCIN YINANC
  25. Turkish-American Relations – Time For Reckoning O. Faruk LOGOGLU Ambassador
  26. Sarkozy Revised His Stand On Turkey’s EU Bid? PanARMENIAN.Net
  27. Russia Can Pass Law Crimanizling Denial Of Historical Facts PanARMENIAN.Net/
  28. Robert Simmons: NATO can’t force Turkey to normalize relations with Armenia PanARMENIAN.Net/
  29. Different Priorities On Different Sides Of Atlantic Sylvia TIRYAKI
  30. Armenians Prepare A Rally Against Turkey's EU Bid
  31. Another Brick In The Wall Yavuz Baydar
  32. The Illusion Of Turkish-American Partnership Suat Kiniklioglu
  33. US Armenian Group Announces Plan To Present Award To Dink’s Widow
  34. Is The Armenian Lobby Helping Armenia? Kürsad Zorlu / Yeni Çag
  35. Cancelling Mutafyan's Speech Not Befit To US
  36. The Draft Bills Brought Before The US Congress Omer Engin LUTEM
  37. Turkish Business Leader Urges Us Speaker To Oppose Bill On Armenian Genocide
  38. Official Says Adoption Of Armenian Bill To "Seriously" Harm Turkey-US Relations
  39. AP: Purify And Destroy—The Political Uses of Massacre and Genocide September 25, 2007 from 7:00 pm to 8:00 pm Location: Columbia University
  40. ANCA Alerts Congress To Growing Anti-Armenian Sentiment In Turkey Armenian Weekly,
  41. Torch Relay Campaign Against Genocides Reached Armenia PanARMENIAN.Net/
  42. Azerbaijan Eyes Armenia, NKR, Russia And Iran As Enemies PanARMENIAN.Net/
  43. Levon Melik-Shahnazaryan: Azerbaijan Estranges Itself From Russia To Please U.S.
  44. Patriarch Mutafyan’s Speech Cancelled By Decision Of Georgetown University Administration PanARMENIAN.Net/
  45. Other People’s Pain Andrew Finkel
  46. ‘Armenian Resolution:’ Bad For Armenia, Turkey And The US Murat Yulek
  47. On Empires And Their Destiny
  48. Turkish Archives May Shed Light On History Of 30 Countries
  49. 'The Path Of Least Resistance' Jason EPSTEIN
  50. US Should Understand Turkey Is Changing, Says Deputy
  51. Turkey Puts An End To Water Wars Thesis
  52. Turkey Fine Tunes Missile Shield Tender For Russian
  53. ‘The Flea Palace’ By Elif Safak
  54. What Should The Patriarchate Do? (I)
  55. The Opening Of The Turkish-Armenian Border Ömer Engin Lütem / ERAREN
  56. Babacan: PKK And Genocide Claims Strain Ties With Washington
  57. The 'Democratura' Of Caucasus Cengiz AKTAR
  58. Turkey's Old Crimes Refuse To Stay Buried
  59. How George Bush Became The New Saddam
  60. Growing Russo-Turkish Economic Ties Overshadow Political Differences By Gareth Jenkins
  61. Relations With Yerevan BY SAMI KOHEN
  62. Interview With Murat Akgun of NTV R. Nicholas Burns
  63. Peugeot-Citroen Teams Up With Turkey's Karsan To Manufacture Car Parts
  64. US Armenians Prevent Armenian Patriarch's Speech Ümit ENGINSOY
  65. Time For Change In Turkish-US Ties Semih Idiz
  66. 'Iron Silk Road' Becoming A Reality
  67. The Armenian Genocide Debate: What's at StakeWendy Kaminer
  68. Patriarch’s Speech Postponed Under US Armenian Pressure
  69. An Evaluation On The Statement Of ADL Sami Kohen
  70. What’s ADL’S Problem?
  71. Turkey Does Not Belong In Europe: Sarkozy
  72. What to Watch With an Islamic Turkish President theTrumpet.com
  73. Armenian Lobby in U.S. Prevents Patriarch’s Speech
  74. Number Of Armenian Genocide Resolution Cosponsors Steadily Growing PanARMENIAN.Net/
  75. Campaign To Stop The Armenian Resolution At The U.S. House Of Representatives Urgent Call For Action!
  76. U.S. Department Of State Warns Congress Against Armenian Genocide Resolution Azg
  77. Armenia --Cut Off But Surviving AMANDA AKCAKOCA
  78. Turkish Court Orders Youtube Blocked ANKARA (AFP)
  79. Opening Of Border Key To Developing Ties VERCIHAN ZIFLIOGLU
  80. Great Turkish Myths
  81. Turkish Media: Government Tools Blogger News Network
  82. Genocide Allegations Letter To The Editor - TDN
  83. Arnold Schwarzenegger Congratulated Armenian People On Independence Day
  84. Turkish Lobbies In US Stepping Up Efforts
  85. Australian Prime Minister Attended The Opening Ceremony Of The Armenian Cultural Festival armradio.am
  86. Turkey, Armenia: A Thriving Trade Despite Tensions, Closed Border mmorning.com
  87. What is Harut Sassounian Up To Again
  88. Provocative Video Makes Headlines
  89. Controversial Video Gives Turkey Goose Bumps
  90. Song Praising Dink Murderers Sparks Outrage
  91. Folk Song Replays Dink Murder
  92. Religious Leaders Send Out Vital Messages At Iftar Gathering
  93. Book On Murder Of Anvar Pasha Covers Armenians’ Threat Letter To Heydar Aliyev
  94. U.S. Department Of State Warns Congress Against Armenian Genocide Resolution PanARMENIAN.Net/
  95. US Diplomat Sends Seven Messages To Turkey
  96. Armenia Expects Nothing From Turkey’s New President Abdullah Gul PanARMENIAN.Net/
  97. Top Appeals Court Overturns Ruling On Authors Of ‘Minority Report’ September 15, 2007 Turkish Daily News
  98. The Future of the U.S.-Turkey Relationship R. Nicholas Burns
  99. The US and Turkey Michael Van Der Galiën
  100. The Cross of the Akhtamar Church was stolen by an Armenian
  101. Turkey Should Mature For Armenian Genocide Recognition PanARMENIAN.Net/
  102. Armenian-Turkish Border Will Remain Closed Until Turkey’s De Jure Recognition Of Republic Of Armenia PanARMENIAN.Net/
  103. Armenian-Turkish Border Determined By Wodroow Wilson Arbitration Award
  104. Ara Papian: Armenian Genocide Is The Issue Of Present And Future «PanARMENIAN.Net»
  105. Turkey: Today And Tomorrow DR. FARUK LOGOGLU Ambassador (ret.)
  106. Review: Other Colours: Essays And A Story By Orhan Pamuk
  107. Restoring And Protecting The Black Sea: Cooperation Is VitalColleen Graffy
  108. Turkey: The ‘Pinocchio’ Of Anatolia Michael G. Mensoian - Armenian Weekly
  109. Implications of Ignoring Turkey's Vital RoleDeniz CELIK - TurkishJournal
  110. Is absence of Armenian Genocide issue in EP resolution on Turkey explained by author’s unwillingness to “open the old debate”?
  111. EAFJD: MEP Covers Up Armenian Genocide Issue In Turkey Report
  112. Racism or Transformation DOGU ERGIL
  113. Turkish Goods Are Flooding Into Armenia TurkishDigest
  114. Genocide and Holocaust Scholars Criticize ADL By Khatchig Mouradian
  115. Ambassador Morgenthau's Formal Dinner By Kay Mouradian
  116. European Armenian Federation Mobilizes Community To Oppose Retreat On Eu Standards For Turkey’s Membership
  117. MP Ufuk Aras: I Can Not Regard Events Of 1915 As Armenian Genocide
  118. 20 Armenian Scholars To Attend Congress In Ankara PanARMENIAN.Net
  119. Turkey Again Threatens To Exile Armenians If H. Res.106 Is Passed PanARMENIAN.Net/
  120. Candidates For Australian Parliament Pledge Support To Armenian Genocide Recognition
  121. PKK’s Cooperation With The Greeks
  122. Armenia Plans Nuclear Plant Near Turkish Border
  123. Turkish Businessmen, Israeli President Discuss Armenian Question Anatolia News Agency, Armenia
  124. New Armenian Nuclear Power Plant To Cost $2 Billion RIA Novosti
  125. Turkey Still Haunted By Memories From 1955
  126. For The First Time In History Turkish MP Speaks Of Armenian Genocide Recognition /PanARMENIAN.Net/
  127. Turkey Going To Build Wall At Border With Iraqi Kurdistan PanARMENIAN.Net
  128. Armenia Has About 40 Embassies, Consulates And Diplomatic Missions Abroad Noyan Tapan
  129. Turkish Jew-Hate By Andrew G. Bostom The American Thinker
  130. Who Will Let Turkey Free James Hakobyan Largir
  131. “Malatia Is Armenian Town” Slogans Caused Collision In Turkey PanARMENIAN.Net/
  132. 12 More Jewish Organizations Recognized Armenian Genocide PanARMENIAN.Net/
  133. Judgment Time : Should America Recognize An Armenian Genocide? By Barbara Lerner
  134. Turkey Can Become Even Colder About U.S. If Genocide Recognized, Expert Says
  135. Turkey Season To Kick Off In Brussels, New Resolution In European Parliament
  136. Armenians And Jewish Leaders Unite To Protest Genocide Denial
  137. Armenian Group In Us Launches Fresh Salvo For ‘Genocide’ Resolution
  138. Orhan Pamuk: I’m A Democrat, Secularist And A Westernization Supporter
  139. Turks Become Increasingly Isolated
  140. Armenia Will Be Entitled To Join EU Foreign Policy Statements In A Month PanARMENIAN.Net
  141. Jewish Community Of France Always Recognized Armenian Genocide PanARMENIAN.Net
  142. Armenian Genocide Bill To Be Put On French Senate Agenda In October PanARMENIAN.Net
  143. TOBB Boss Warns, Peres Agrees "History Is For Historians" New Anatolian
  144. Turkey's Response to ADL controversy : Give All Sides A Hearing
  145. RA Justice Ministry Prolonged Application Submission Terms For Heirs Of Armenian Genocide Victims PanARMENIAN.Net/
  146. AAA Intends To Utilize Diaspora Potential In Full, To The Benefit Of Armenia PanARMENIAN.Net/
  147. 1,266 Historical Bridges Span Anatolia’s Lands
  148. France Is Arrogant, Needs More Modesty
  149. US Congress Should Weigh Importance Of Incirlik LALE SARIIBRAHIMOGLU
  150. Akdamar Church In Lake Van Energizes Tourism In Bitlis
  151. Foreign Policy Under The New Ak Party Government
  152. High-Tech Venture Moves To Probe Noah's Ark Anomaly On Mt. Ararat New Anatolian
  153. For Turkey, ‘embracing’ A Small Neighbor Should Not Be So Difficult
  154. A Dilemma: Politics Versus Economy DOGU ERGIL
  155. Soli Ozel: If Turkey Opened Border With Armenia, It Would Have Much More Influence On Armenia Than It Has TodayPanARMENIAN.Net
  156. Turkey And Armenia: What Jews Should Do
  157. Armenians Converted Not Only To Kurds Or Alevis, But Also To Arabs Hakob Chakrian AZG Armenian Daily
  158. The Path The Germans And The Czechs Took SEMIH IDIZ
  159. Time To Say New Things On The ‘Genocide’ Issue
  160. Foreign Agents The American Israel Public Affairs Committee From The 1963 Fulbright Hearings To The 2005 Espionage Scandal
  161. What Europeans Think About Turkey And Why Katinka Barysch
  162. Turkish And American Teams Clash At Pan-Armenian Games
  163. Tawdry Genocide Tale Bruce Fein
  164. Most compensations were received by Armenia Armenians Yerkir
  165. Ne Mutlu Türküm DNA Andrew Finkel
  166. Armenia's Trade With Turkey Rises 23 Percent Armenpress
  167. Armenian Parliament Chief Criticizes Bill To Recognize Nagorno-Karabakh New Anatolian
  168. Armenian Genocide: Turkey's Blackmail On Its Jewish Community European Armenian Federation
  169. Armenia Congratulates GulNew Anatolian
  170. Sensoy Warns Israel Could Be Hurt By Genocide Debate
  171. US Jewish Group Sticks To 'Armenian Genocide' Recognition Ümit ENGINSOY
  172. Abraham Foxman's "Turkey-Hunting Season" C. Cem OGUZ
  173. The Power Of NGOs Beril Dedeoglu
  174. Interview with Israeli President Shimon Peres on Turkey's Role in Middle East, ADL . . .
  175.  This content mirrored from TurkishArmenians  Site ©
  176. ATAA responds to Anti Defamation League-ADL’s Statement
  177. Is Armenian Genocide Denial Good For The Jews?
  178. Original Mission But New Position : ADL's Foxman Speaks Out On Jews, Genocide And Turkey
  179. ADL's Domino Effect: Genocide Deniers Are Falling One By One By Harut Sassounian
  180. Atom Egoyan to Direct Adoration
  181. The Orange Grove: Does Your Ethnicity Really Matter? By TIBOR R. MACHAN
  182. War-Torn Region Gets A Lift From Armenian Exiles
  183. What Is Going On In Nagorno-Karabakh?
  184. Turkish-Armenian Formal Dialogue May Ease Pressure On Turkey
  185. If We Could Only Tell It Ourselves YASEMIN ÇONGAR
  186. Shelving History NICOLE POPE
  187. Turkey: 'Israel Must Get US Jews To Back Down' Herb Keinon
  188. To Recognize In Three Minutes Hayots Ashkharh
  189. Russian-Armenian Organized Crime ’like The 1930s New York Mob’ By Jason Kandel
  190. Foul Language : Party Leader Incites Rights Advocates With Racist Comments By Zhanna Alexanyan

"The Armenian Genocide" Book By Armenian Scientist Published In Hungary
27.09.2007 PanARMENIAN.Net/ The Hungarian translation of "The Armenian Genocide", a work by a renowned Armenian scientist, member of the National Science Academy of Armenia, prof. Nikolay Hovhannisian, was recently published in Budapest. The publication was undertaken by the "Armenian Roots of Transylvania" culture center. The translation was made from the publication of 2005, dedicated to the 90th anniversary of the Genocide.

President of the "Armenian Roots of Transylvania" company and the editor of the Hungarian version of the book Charlotte Iszekutz said that the translation of the book was aimed at representing a rich material on the first Genocide of the 20th century to the wide public and the political circles of Hungary. She also said that their company is striving for the official recognition of the Armenian Genocide by the Parliament of Hungary.

The book is richly illustrated by photographs, provided by the Museum-Institute of the Genocide, Yerevan.

Professor Nikolay Hovhannisian has been engaged in the studies of the Genocide for a very long time. He is the author of 45 works dedicated to the matter, 5 of which are well known and accepted among the international science circles. One of his works in English, entitled "The Armenian Genocide. Armenicide" was fully translated into Turkish and published in Istanbul, 2005. Parts of that work were also published in the "Marco Polo" journal in Venice, Azg newspaper reports.


Armenians To Demonstrate Against Turkish Membership During EU Summit
Armenians are preparing to stage demonstrations against Turkey’s possible membership in the European Union during a European summit to be held in December.

According to Armenian news agencies, the Armenian Revolutionary Federation’s (sometimes refered to as Dashnaktsutyun) western bureau has already started preparations to organize a rally to call for a halt to the membership process. The head of the Dashnaktsutyun western bureau, Mourad Papazian, has reportedly called on all Armenians to mobilize against Turkey’s entry to the EU and to join the rally to be held on Dec. 14, which coincides with the second day of the European summit.

Papazian claimed that the EU should not admit Turkey as long as the Turkish state keeps denying the Armenian “genocide.” “There will be many of us, and we will be vigilant. We will not let Turkey carry out the play,” he said.

The demonstration will come at an interesting time as French President Nicolas Sarkozy has been lobbying to reopen debate on Turkey’s status as a candidate country at the upcoming summit. France and Sarkozy personally have been the champions of the Armenian cause in Europe.

28.09.2007
Today’s Zaman Brussels


Foxman: US Congress Can’t Debate ‘Genocide’
The leader of a major US Jewish group that last month endorsed Armenian claims of genocide at the hands of the late Otto-man Empire said on Wednesday that the US Cong-ress was not the right venue to discuss the issue.

"I believe this issue should not be debated at the US Congress or the French National Assembly," Abraham Foxman, chairman of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), told reporters after a meeting with Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan in New York. He also said he hoped Armenians would somehow respond to calls from Turkey to set up a joint commission of academics to investigate what happened in the past.

The ADL last month reversed its long-held policy and decided to call events of the World War I era genocide, although it still says two resolutions pending in the US Congress endorsing the genocide claims would not help resolution of the disputes between the Turks and Armenians. The policy shift angered Turkey, which categorically rejects the genocide charges. Turkish authorities also appealed to Israel and warned that passage of the resolutions in the US Congress, which now seems even more probable because of the change of stance on the part of the ADL, would harm not only Turkish-US but also Turkish-Israeli ties.

Foxman said disputes between Turks and Armenians can best be settled between the two countries, not via resolutions passed in parliaments. "US congressmen are not historians. Therefore, they cannot judge what happened in history," he said. Commenting on his meeting with Erdogan, he said it was very useful and asserted that "friendships are not ruined because of words."

Erdogan said at the meeting that the Armenian genocide allegations had no basis and that they were not supported by any scientific or historical document, according to a statement released by the Prime Ministry after the meeting. "The prime minister said Turkey expected the Jewish community in the US to continue their support, as it has done to date," the statement said.

The meeting was attended by representatives from some 20 US Jewish groups, including the Conference of Presidents, the Appeal of Conscience Foundation, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), the ADL, the American Jewish Committee, the American Jewish Congress, Bnai Brith International and the UJA Federation.

28.09.2007
SEZAI KALAYCI NEW YORK


Babacan Urges Rice To Stop PKK Terrorism At Once
Foreign Minister Ali Babacan once again urged the United States to take measures to stop the terrorist threat posed by the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) in Iraq, when he met with his US counterpart, Condoleezza Rice, in New York on Wednesday.

US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice met Foreign Minister Ali Babacan (R) on Wednesday at the Waldorf Astoria in New York. The PKK problem was one of the key issues during the meeting.

Babacan also said Turkey's expectations for the arrest and extradition of senior leaders of the terrorist group in Iraq remained in place, diplomatic sources close to the talks, held on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly, said yesterday.

Turkey has been pressing the US and Iraq to take swift measures to stem PKK terrorism and has said that it would take matters into its own hands if its demands are not met. Earlier this week, Land Forces Commander Gen. Ilker Basbug said the US should understand that it is time for action, not words, and warned that Turkey has the ability to "increase costs" for the US in Iraq, without elaborating.

At Wednesday's meeting, however, Rice reiterated verbal assurances and said that the United States was working to end the PKK threat, not only in Iraq but also wherever it is active in the world. She also said that the United States was dealing with the matter at the highest level.

The meeting also touched on two resolutions pending in the US Congress on an alleged genocide of Armenians at the hands of the Ottoman Turks, the stalemate in the Cyprus problem and the Middle East conflict.

The congressional resolutions call on the US administration to recognize Armenian claims of genocide, charges that Turkey categorically rejects. Babacan repeated that relations with the United States would receive a serious blow if the resolutions are passed and urged the administration to intensify efforts to prevent its passage.

The administration is against passage of the resolutions, but US officials have said repeatedly that the administration cannot intervene in the congressional process. Rice said the administration would express its opposition to passage of the resolutions more strongly in the future.

The two ministers also discussed another contentious issue, namely Turkish plans to cooperate closely with neighboring Iran in the field of energy. The United States opposes a preliminary deal between Iran and Turkey to transfer Iranian gas to Europe via Turkey due to concerns over Iran's nuclear program and advises Ankara to look to alternative suppliers.

Rice said the United States viewed Iran as a problem-causing country and emphasized that its nuclear ambitions were a serious matter for Washington. She said the United States expected all countries to comply with UN Security Council resolutions issued on Iran's nuclear program.


Armenian And Turkish FMs Will Meet By Joint Initiative
27.09.2007 PanARMENIAN.Net/ “The meeting with the Turkish Foreign Minister is aimed to find out whether Turkey has changed its policy toward Armenia,” RA FM Vartan Oskanian told reporters in Yerevan.

“We will meet by a joint initiative,” he said.

“Anyway, Armenia’s stance on normalization of relations with Turkey is unchangeable. We are for establishment of relations without preconditions,” he added.

Vartan Oskanian is scheduled to meet with Turkish FM Ali Babacan in New York October 2.


Oskanian Is Leaving For New York
A1+ 26 September, 2007

October 1 - RA Foreign Minister Vartan Oskanian will leave for New York to participate at the 62nd session of the UN General Assembly.

During his visit the Armenian FM will meet with his Turkish counterpart Aly Babajyan.

October 3- The RA FM will make a speech at the UN GA session.

October 4 - Oskanian will make a speech at the UN GA High Level Dialogue on Interreligious & Intercultural Understanding & Cooperation for Peace.

October 4 - Oskanian will meet with the OSCE Minsk group Co-Chairs.

October 5 - Oskanian will make a speech at the Law and Diplomatic School in Boston. He will be awarded Dean's Medal.

October 6 - Oskanian will be back to Armenia.

October 6 - Oskanian will participate at the official ceremony dedicated to the 15th anniversary of the "Armenia" All-Armenian Fund in Armenia.

October 9- Oskanian will leave for Belgium on a working visit.

October 15- Oskanian will attend the second conference of Euro-Armenians and the 20th anniversary of the Genocide recognition.

October 16- Oskanian delegation will attend the annual sitting of Armenia-EU Partnership Council in Luxemburg.

October 19-21 - The RA FM will leave for the United Arab Emirates on a working visit.


Armenia Backs Anti-Turkey Faction In EU
Gulf Times, Qatar, Reuters Sept 26 2007
MOSCOW: Armenia said yesterday that the European Union would be making a "strange" decision if it admitted Turkey before Ankara had made progress in settling disputes with Yerevan.

Turkey shut its borders with its tiny neighbour Armenia in 1993 in protest at Armenian forces' capture of territory inside Azerbaijan, Ankara's historic Muslim ally, during fighting over the Nagorno-Karabakh region.

The two countries are also at odds over Anakara's refusal to acknowledge as genocide the massacre of large numbers of Armenians in Ottoman Turkey at the start of the last century. Turkey has no diplomatic ties with the former Soviet republic.

"I believe it would be very strange for the Europeans to accept to their family a country which sometimes employs principles running counter to the principles of the European Union," Armenian Prime Minister Serzh Sarksyan said.

But Sarksyan, speaking at a news briefing during a visit to Russia, a close ally, said he believed the EU application would pressure Ankara into changing its stance on the border with Armenia and on diplomatic relations.

"I believe ... the more time passes the harder it gets for them to stick to this position, because Turkey aspires to join the European Union and faces a long negotiation process."

"So the ball is in Turkey's yard, nothing depends on us," said Sarksyan, a close ally of Armenian President Robert Kocharyan. Many observers expect that when Kocharyan steps down next year, Sarksyan will replace him as president.

Armenians and some European nations describe the 1915-17 killings of Armenians, as the Ottoman Empire collapsed, as genocide. Turkey maintains they were part of a partisan conflict in which many Turks, Armenians and other nationalities died.

It is a crime in Turkey to call the killings genocide.

Earlier this year a French parliamentary bill making it a crime to deny the killings were genocide soured relations between Paris and Ankara.

Turkey suspended talks on a major gas pipeline with Gaz de France in protest at the bill.


Turkey Facing Necessity Of Making A Step To Improvement Of Relations With Armenia
By H. Chaqrian AZG Armenian Daily 26/09/2007

In another publication, entitled "Turkey's attitude towards Armenia remains unalterable", "Azg" expressed opinion that in any cases Turkey has faced the necessity of making a step towards the improvement of its relationship with Armenia. First of all, this refers to the opening of the Armenian-Turkish border.

It is remarkable that this takes place in a period when Turkey stands on the threshold of radical structure changes, when the project of the new Constitution, dictated by the Islamic party of Erdogan, is yielding its positions and when the nationalistic opposition is escalating the political station in the country.

In other words, the inner confrontation of political powers in Turkey, which is represented as struggle between secularism and Islamism by the nationalistic powers, by no means hampers the wide discussion of the issue of opening the Armenian-Turkish border. The last discussion of that topic was organized by AIRPG on September 18, Istanbul and was entitled "The Economic and Social Consequences of Opening the Armenian-Turkish Border".

The initiative of AIRPG, basing in Washington, was supported by USAID and the "Eurasia" foundation. A similar event was organized also on September 20 in Ankara, in which an important role belonged to the Democracy Fund of Turkey.

Member of the European Department of the Middle-Eastern Technical University Burcu Gyultekin supported the opinions of AIRPG representative Mher Bagramian and worker of the Orientology Institute of Armenia Vahram Ter-Matevosian about necessity of opening the border and the necessity of involvement of NGOs in the resolution of that question. Gyultekin said that keeping the border, besides having negative effect on the political life and the economy of both the states, also harms the societies, impeding their contact and interference. He pointed out that the blockade of the Armenian-Turkish border also impedes the development of the relations between Armenia and Azerbaijan; therefore Turkey must work out a policy of cooperation with Armenia, similar to the policy of partnership with Greece.

Gyultekin's opinion was argued by the head of the International Center of Strategic Research, Sedat Laciner. To his opinion, Turkey will have no profit from opening the border with Armenia. He noticed that Turkey will have difficulties with Azerbaijan, in case the border is opened before the final resolution of the Karabakh conflict. He reminded that Azerbaijan is much more important for Turkey than Armenia.

The information about the aforementioned discussions in Ankara and Istanbul was taken from the bulletin of the Armenian Research Institute of the Eurasian Strategic Research center. In the September 21 bulletin head of the Institute Omer Engin Lutem referred to the topic with an analyzing article.

Lutem's article supports the positions of Laciner, explaining that the export of Turkish goods to Armenia is only 0,15% of the whole foreign trade of Turkey.

Even when the border opens, writes Lutem, Turkey will hardly have any profit; even Kars shall have nothing, as goods produced there are not demanded in Armenia.

He added that Armenia shall not profit from the opening either, as it has noting to export.

Lutem noted that Armenia is interested in opening the border with Turkey rather politically than economically, for it shall bring forth difficulties between Azerbaijan and Turkey. ""If Turkey realizes that opening the border shall improve the relations with USA, EU or other states, then the question of full or partial opening must be considered," he wrote.


Azeri And Turkish Mass Media Sources Are First To Respond Ter-Petrosian's Speech
By Hakob Chakrian AZG Armenian Daily 26/09/2007

On September 21, former RA President Levon Ter-Petrosian held a long speech at "Armenia-Marriot" hotel. He placed Armenia among the third world countries. In particular, he also said that the biggest resource of Armenia is its openness to the world, i.e it should open borders with Turkey, Azerbaijan and Iran. He added that Meghri road is no opportunity for economic growth, which can be achieved solely by means of the Julfa railroad. Besides, he said that the settlement of the Nagorno Karabakh issue has entered almost a hopeless phase. If we follow the response of the Azeri mass media sources to the speech of this notorious political figure, we will see that their position gets harsher and harsher. Henceforth, they aren't going to make any concession. At the same time, Ter-Petrosian doesn't suggest any solution to the situation.

"168 Hours" commented this speech in the article "Levon Ter-Petrosian Hasn't Decided Yet." Even if he says he doesn't know what to do, he considers opening borders with Turkey, Azerbaijan and Iran the only way to secure Armenia's return to the union of normal states. He also emphasizes that Armenia should make unilateral concessions both in the Nagorno Karabakh issue and in the issue of opening the borders with Turkey.

As Armenia's unilateral concession lead to acceptance of the internationally unprecedented conditions suggested by Turks and Azeris, Ter-Petrosian supports the anti-Armenian Turkish-Azeri position. At the same time, he gives positive evaluation to the international forces who will support the claims of the Azeris and the Turks.

Neither this readiness of Ter-Petrosian is new, nor his support for the Azeri and Turkish positions in the issue of the mutual concessions is.That's why, the Azeri mass emdia sources were the first to respond Ter-Petrosian's speech. Thus, "Irevan" web site, Turkish Public TV cited the following part of his speech:"Having made the Nagorno Karabakh issue a unsolvable one, the current Armenian authorities commit a great crime, Azerbaijan's position gets much harsher, Baku will make no concession, because of its authorities Armenia became a third world country."


September 26, 2007
Turkey's Lobbyists Enlist Former U.S. Secretaries Of State To Kill Armenian Genocide Resolution

-- ANCA Warns Against "Outsourcing" of America's Moral Conscience to Turkey

WASHINGTON, DC - Fearing an imminent vote on the Armenian Genocide Resolution (H.Res.106), Turkey's multi-million dollar lobbyists have solicited the assistance of eight former U.S. Secretaries of State in seeking to derail this human rights legislation, reported the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA.)

"Facing a growing bipartisan Congressional majority demanding passage of the Armenian Genocide Resolution, Turkey's lobbyists -out of desperation and a never ending desire to squeeze more billing dollars out of Ankara - have turned to the very architects of our government's failed policy of appeasing Turkey," said Aram Hamparian, Executive Director of the ANCA. "Sadly, successive U.S. administrations have found themselves lacking the moral courage to end the cycle of genocide - from Cambodia, to Rwanda and, today in Darfur - precisely because of their legacy of caving in to, rather than confronting genocidal regimes."

"We are, as Americans, especially troubled that, in warning Congress not to make a simple anti-genocide statement for fear of upsetting Turkey, these officials would outsource our nation's moral conscience to a foreign government," added Hamparian.

In their September 25th jointly-signed letter, former Secretaries of State Madeleine Albright, James Baker III, Warren Christopher, Laurence Eagleburger, Alexander Haig, Jr., Henry Kissinger, Colin Powell, and George Schultz, urged Speaker Pelosi to, "prevent the resolution from reaching the House Floor," thereby denying House Members an opportunity to vote their conscience on the Armenian Genocide. The former State Department officials expressed concern that passage of the resolution "could endanger our national security interests in the region, including our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, and damage efforts to promote reconciliation between Armenia and Turkey." The complete text of the letter is provided below.

Introduced on January 30th by Rep. Adam Schiff along with Representative George Radanovich (R-CA), Congressional Armenian Caucus Co-Chairs Frank Pallone (D-NJ) and Joe Knollenberg (R-MI), Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-CA), Rep. Brad Sherman (D-CA) and Rep. Thaddeus McCotter (R-MI), the Armenian Genocide resolution calls upon the President to ensure that the foreign policy of the United States reflects appropriate understanding and sensitivity concerning issues related to human rights, ethnic cleansing, and genocide documented in the United States record relating to the Armenian Genocide. The resolution is cosponsored by 226 Members of Congress >From 39 states. A similar resolution in the Senate (S.Res.106), introduced by Assistant Majority Leader Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Sen. John Ensign (R-NV) currently has 31 cosponsors, including Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and presidential candidate Hillary Clinton (D-NY).

Over the past nine months, Armenian Americans and human rights advocates have joined with Members of Congress in educating their colleagues about the Armenian Genocide and the importance of proper recognition of this crime against humanity. The ANCA has mounted several national grassroots initiatives including the highly successful "Click for Justice" and "Call for Justice" campaigns as well as the "End the Cycle of Genocide" Advocacy Days, cosponsored with the Genocide Intervention Network.

Activists are encouraged to voice their support for the Armenian Genocide resolution by participating in the ongoing ANCA Congressional Call-In Campaign by visiting: http://capwiz.com/anca/callalert/index.tt?alertid=10340906&type=TA

The Armenian Genocide resolution is supported by a broad-based coalition of over 50 human rights, religious, civic, and ethnic organizations, including the (in alphabetical order): American Federation of Jews from Central Europe (New York, NY), Americans for Peace Now (Washington, DC), American Hellenic Council of CA (Los Angeles, CA), American Hellenic Institute (Washington, DC), American Hungarian Federation (Washington, DC), American Jewish World Service (New York, NY), American Latvian Association in the U.S. (Rockville, MD), American Values (Washington, DC), Arab American Institute (Washington, DC), Belarusan-American Association (Jamaica, NY), Bulgarian Institute for Research and Analysis (Bethesda, MD), Center for Russian Jewry with Student Struggle for Soviet Jewry (New York, NY), Center for World Indigenous Studies (Olympia, WA), Christian Solidarity International (Washington, DC), Congress of Romanian Americans (McLean, VA), Council for the Development of French in Louisiana (Lafayette, LA), Estonian American National Council (Rockville, MD), Genocide Intervention Network (Washington, DC), Global Rights (Washington, DC), Hmong National Development, Inc., Hungarian American Coalition (Washington, DC), Institute on Religion and Public Policy (Washington, DC), International Association of Genocide Scholars (New York, NY), Jewish Social Policy Action Network (Philadelphia, PA), Jewish War Veterans of the USA (Washington, DC), Jewish World Watch (Encino, CA), Joint Baltic American National Committee (Rockville, MD), Leadership Council for Human Rights (Washington, DC), Lithuanian American Community (Philadelphia, PA), Lithuanian American Council (Rockville, MD), National Ethnic Coalition of Organizations (New York, NY), National Council of Churches USA (New York, NY), National Federation of American Hungarians (Washington, DC), National Federation of Filipino American Associations (Washington, DC), National Lawyer's Guild (New York, NY), Polish American Congress (Chicago, IL), Progressive Jewish Alliance (Los Angeles, CA), Reconstructionist Rabbinical College (Wyncote, PA), Slovak League of America (Passaic, New Jersey), The Georgian Association in the USA (Washington, DC), The Workmen's Circle/Arbeter Ring (New York, NY), U.S. Baltic Foundation (Washington, DC), Ukrainian Congress Committee of America (New York, NY), Ukrainian National Association (Parsippany, NJ), Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations (Washington, DC), United Hellenic American Congress (Chicago, IL), Washington Chapter Czechoslovak National Council of America (Washington, DC), and the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom (Philadelphia, PA), and the Zionist Organization of America (New York, NY).

-----
September 25, 2007

The Honorable Nancy Pelosi
Speaker of the House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20515-0508

Dear Madam Speaker:

We are writing to express concern that H. Res. 106 could soon be put to a vote. Passage of the resolution would harm our foreign policy objectives to promote reconciliation between Turkey and Armenia. It would also strain our relations with Turkey, and would endanger our national security interests in the region, including the safety of our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.

We do not minimize or deny the enormous significance of the horrible tragedy suffered by ethnic Armenian from 1915 to 1923. During our tenures as Secretaries of the State, we each supported Presidential statements recognizing the mass killings and forced exile of Armenians. It has been longstanding U.S. policy to encourage reconciliation between Turkey and Armenia and to urge the government of Turkey to acknowledge the tragedy. We understand the Administration continues to urge the Turkish government to reexamine its history and to encourage both Turkey and Armenia to work towards reconciliation, including normalizing relations and opening the border. There are some hopeful signs already that both parties are engaging each other. We believe that a public statement by the U.S. Congress at this juncture is likely to undermine what has been painstakingly achieved to date.

We must also recognize the important contributions Turkey is making to U.S. national security, including security and stability in the Middle East and Europe. The United States continues to rely on Turkey for its geo-strategic importance. Turkey is an indispensable partner to our efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan, helping U.S military with access to Turkish airspace, military bases, and the border crossing with Iraq, Turkey is a linchpin in the transshipment of vital cargo and fuel resources to U.S. troops, coalition partners and Iraqi civilians. Turkish troops serve shoulder-to-shoulder with distinction with U.S. and other NATO allies in the Balkans. Turkey is also a transit hub for non-OPEC oil and gas and remains key to our effort s to help the Euro-Atlantic community bolster its energy security by providing alternative supply sources and routes around Russia and Iran.

It is our view that passage of this resolution could quickly extend beyond symbolic significance. The popularly elected Turkish Grand National Assembly might react strongly to a House resolution, as it did to a French National Assembly resolution a year ago. The result could endanger our national security interests in the region, including our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, and damage efforts to promote reconciliation between Armenia and Turkey. We strongly urge you to prevent the resolution from reaching the house floor.

Sincerely,

Madeleine K. Albright
James A. Baker III
Warren Christopher
Lawrence S. Eagleburger
Alexander M. Haig, Jr
Henry A. Kissinger
Colin L. Powell
George P. Shultz


Turkey's Attitude Towards Armenia Remains Unalterable
By Hakob Chaqrian AZG Armenian Daily 26/09/2007

As it was supposed, after the parliamentary elections of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdogan's "Justice and development" party became the ruling party. It was also predictable that the president of Turkey would be elected the candidate of the same party Abdullah Gul.

But it's worth to mention, that the parliamentary and the presidential elections of Turkey are not as important for Armenia, as the possible influence of their results on the further process of Armenian-Turkish not-regulated relations.

Though the government of Erdogan does not put in claims to "not speaking of 1915" and "the provision of the supremacy of Azerbaijan in Nagorno Karabakh", it puts forward the issues of creation of a commission to examine the incidents of 1915 and of making progress in the process of Nagorno Karabakh conflict.

Moreover, like other Turkish governments Erdogan's government also conditioned the opening of Armenian-Turkish border to the issue of Karabakh conflict. It means that the pre-conditions for the regulation of Armenian-Turkish relations have remained the same.

The only fact is that the process of recognition of the Armenian Genocide has widened, the demands of the recognition of the Armenian Genocide on Turkey have increased and they have weakened the attitude of denial.

Under those circumstances, the Armenian Issue became Turkish government's preliminary issue of the coming10 years. Gul admitted it when being Foreign Minister of Turkey.

During this period the issue of the Armenian Genocide was widely discussed by the press of Turkey. The discharged diplomats led by the previous Foreign Minister Ilter Tyurkman announced that Armenia would not renounce the undertakings to make them internationally recognize the Armenian Genocide.

The journalists added, "If the USA doesn't recognize the Armenian Genocide it doesn't mean that the incidents of 1915 are not considered as "genocide" in Washington. Nevertheless, the responsible figures of the US State Department announce that they have never deny the fact of the genocide."

Of course, all the above-mentioned don't lead to the regulation of the Armenian-Turkish relations, but it's evident that Turkey is forced to do a progressive step in it. The US and EU pressures also contribute to it.

Though Turkey is on the threshold of structural changes after the parliamentary and presidential elections and the relations are sharpened between the ruling Justice and Development Party and the opposite People's Republican Party, and there is a disagreement in the public-political circles on the draft law of the constitution, the interest of the Turkish press in the Armenian-Turkish relations doesn't grow less.

In this sense, it's worth to mention about the well-known journalist Sami Kohen's "How will the relations with Yerevan be regulated?" article published in "Milliet" on September 19.

Reminding about the fact that Turkey broke of the relations with Yerevan because of the Karabakh war and blockaded Armenia from 1993 closing the Armenian border of Turkey, the journalist puts forward a question and then comes to a conclusion: "Both sides will profit from the opening of the border. Trade and tourism will become active and investments will be made what will contribute to the economic growth. In spite of the fact that Armenia incurs a loss from the blockade, the Armenian economy has recorded a fast growth recently, the trade volumes between Yerevan and EU countries have increased, and Armenia provides electricity for Georgia and Iran. It means, that despite of the Turkey's blockade the Armenian economy continues to develop. Moreover, the pressure with the closed Armenian border doesn't serve the purpose. For example, it doesn't force Armenia to review the policy of Karabakh or to change its attitude towards Baku.

The best means to overcome the above-mentioned contradictions is to sit around the structural negotiation table and to start a dialogue containing all the issues. Creation of this kind of balance will be of economic and political benefit to the two countries."


Armenian-Turkish Relations Are Not Defined At Yerevan-Ankara Edge But Ankara-Brussels, Local
ArmInfo, Armenia, Sept 25 2007

The prospects of the Armenian-Turkish relations development are not defined at Yerevan-Ankara edge but Ankara-Brussels, director of Mass Media Caucasus Institute, political expert Aleksandr Iskandaryan told ArmInfo correspondent.

He also added that today Turkey wishes to join the European Union, for this reason not titanic but tectonics reforms have been made in this country over the last years, which reformed it much from the times of Ataturk. The last presidential election in Turkey are also evidence of this. 'I cannot say for 100, 50 or even 30% but at least for 20% that these reforms will lead Ankara to warming of relations with Armenia', - the political expert said. He did not rule out that the reforms may be stopped immediately and the country may sharply turn to another way. 'Such things often happened in the history of Turkey', - Iskandaryan concluded.


Armenia Refuses 200 Million Euro Eu Loan For Shutting Atomic Plant
By Associated Press Jerusalem Post Sept 25 2007

Armenia will refuse a ~@200 million (US$282 million) loan from the European Union to close its only atomic power plant, a government official said Tuesday, reiterating that the country currently has no other major source for electricity.

The impoverished former Soviet republic has been under persistent pressure from the EU and others to shut down the aging Soviet-built Medzamor reactor due to safety concerns.

Located about 30 kilometers (20 miles) west of the capital Yerevan, the plant was taken out of operation after a devastating 1988 earthquake, but returned to service in 1995 amid a severe energy shortage. It currently supplies nearly 40 percent of the country's power.


Armenian Producers Mired In Imports
By Lena Nazaryan

Most of the participants in the 7th Annual Armenia-Expo (September 14-17, 2007) trade and industrial exposition were importing companies. Without counting information and publishing companies, of the 89 producers, only 33 actually manufactured local products - the rest presented imported items including construction material, machinery and food. Most of the Armenian products presented were food items - mineral water, alcoholic drinks, meat products and semi-processed food, dairy products and ice cream. Construction material and technical material made up a smaller part of the local products.


In his welcome speech to the audience, Arsen Ghazaryan, President of the Armenian Union of Manufacturers and Businessmen, said that `the productivity of industry and healthy competition' was rising in Armenia. The Armenian businessmen who participated in the exposition were of a different opinion.

Armen Paniryan, Vice-President of the Yerevan leather goods factory said that the domestic producer was `mired in imported products'. The leather goods factory reopened in 1996. It usually operates only when there are special orders, because the domestic market is already flooded with Chinese and Turkish bags, belts and different kinds of coats. `No matter how much we try to lower the cost price of our products, we can never make it cheaper than Chinese bags. We are the only ones in Armenia who make schoolbags, but thousands of them are imported from abroad at only half the price,' said Paniryan.

Mr. Paniryan would not even think about exporting products. `Our products are not bad, but it is not likely that Armenian bags would be competitive abroad, especially because the cost price would go up if we exported. The last time we got an order from Moscow was in 2006. There are spheres of production in Armenia, which cannot develop by themselves. The problem would not be as serious if there were a higher duty on imported items, maybe then we would have some breathing room. But the roads are always open to importers,' said Paniryan.

Entrepreneur Vram Saroyan has been operating a small potato chip unit in his village of Ushi (Aragatsotn) since 2002. The company imports potato powder from Ukraine and spices from Poland, but cannot export the ready product abroad. `We tried to export to Georgia once, but Ukrainian companies flooded the Georgian market with chips and we were literally left out. Meanwhile, Iranian, Turkish and Russian chips occupy 80 percent of our domestic market,' said Avegis ltd. company director Vram Saroyan. There are another two or three potato chip plants operating in Armenia.

The heads of both of these manufacturing units said that their capacity for production and work was more than what the domestic market was consuming. The possibility for export is also very limited for products with short shelf lives, due to problems with transport costs and time. Luma, a local company producing meat products and semi-processed food, failed at exporting in its very first attempt. `We tried to export a small batch to Georgia, but the export costs were a lot higher than the products' value. The domestic market is saturated with meat products. We are currently working on increasing variety and improving quality, so that we stay afloat,' said Sevak Davtyan, director of Luma. The company has been operating in Abovyan since 1997.

Armenian companies producing construction material also had a modest presence at the exposition. Lavrenty Avagyan, deputy director of tile-manufacturing company Bekas, considered the dollar-dram fluctuations to be the main obstacle to his business' development. `We don't export, it doesn't make us a profit. We have 12 years' experience, we have the capacity to produce and a good knowledge base, we offer a 30-year guarantee, but we are forced to limit ourselves to Armenia. The cost price goes up a number of times when you export. We tried to take our products to Georgia earlier this year and then gave up the idea,' said Avagyan. Bekas has been operating in Charbakh since 1995.

Bison was established as a company in 1994. It produces vegetable oils (using rosehip, apricot, sea buckthorn, peach, almond, pomegranate, grape and pumpkin seeds) for nutritional, medical and cosmetic use. The products are exported in small quantities to the USA and Japan, but only in case of special orders. Such random orders are usually the case when the products of small Armenian companies end up in the foreign market.

The average salary of workers in these Armenian companies is around 30,000-40,000 drams.

The following quotes about local producers, exporting and competition were made by a number of officials during the exposition.

`The basic direction of the economic policy of the government is the expansion of current capacities using the latest technology and assisting in exports,' said Prime Minister Serzh Sargsyan.

`During recent years, Armenian companies have been carrying out large projects - new technologies are being used, investments are being made, local raw material is being used in large amounts and a lot of attention is being paid to staff improvement which directly results in production on par with international requirements. So the productivity of the industry and healthy competition are being developed,' said Arsen Ghazaryan.

The number of companies participating in Armenia-Expo 2007 and the volume of Armenian made products contradict the Armenian officials' statements. It seemed that the exposition could provide incentive for new imported products into the country, but never for the export of products made in Armenia.

Hetq Online - 09/24/2007


Instead Of Stimulating Exports, The Government Is Punishing The Exporter

An interview with Gagik Arzumanyan, Executive Director of the Armenian Copper Programme (CJSC) (second part of the interview)

- Other than environmental issues, what problems does the Armenian Copper Programme face?

- Apart from the environmental issues, there's another serious problem in our operations related with the refund of Value Added Tax (VAT) to exporters. Presently, the government owes us the equivalent sum of more than U.S. $5 million. This year alone the amount of the debt owed us by the government increased by some U.S. $3.5 million.

In other words, during the past eight months of this year we've given the government a non-interest bearing loan for that amount and we haven't a clue when we'll get the money back. Let's remember that we're referring to the copper smelting facility which, and I repeat, operates with a small profit margin, as opposed to mining companies. Despite the paltry profits it realizes, it's obligated to pay indirectly to the government several times larger amount in the form of VAT paid to suppliers. Given the fact that it is unpredictable when and at what amount the actual refund will take place, it's apparent that this issue is a serious obstacle to our development.

Even if we increase production ten fold, in the best-case scenario annual profits of the smelter will amount to U.S. $7-8 million. How can you expect a company to survive in those conditions when the government is in debt to the company to the tune of U.S. $5 million? I can supply you with an interesting fact. When we received the first portion of our loan from the European Bank in December 2002 the amount of the government's debt to us was about U.S. $100,000. In December 2006 when the loan was repaid in the amount of U.S. $4.5 million, the government owed us more than U.S. $4.5 million. In essence, we were borrowing money from an international financial institution in order to give the government a non-interest bearing loan. I consider this to be the biggest administrative problem of our country. The government has failed to ensure the implementation of the laws to refund to exporters the VAT. Given all this, it's pointless to even ponder the implementation of serious projects which imply downstreat integration, when profit margins norrow thus necessitating tighter control over cash flow and VAT refunds in particular.

Another problem in our operations deals with the tariffs on natural gas. About third of our processing costs are natural gas expenses. Just imagine the consequences if natural gas prices were to increase by three-fold. It's clear that the copper smelter, at least at its current shape, couldn't be operational given those conditions. There are other factors at play as well which taken individually could have a major negative impact on the running of the smelter.

I can honestly say that in the absence of other factors, the issue of VAT refunds alone is enough to halt copper smelting operations in Armenia and suspend projects aimed at further processing of products domestically. If all of what we produce were sold in Armenia the copper smelter wouldn't face this problem. It appears that instead of stimulating exports, the government is punishing the exporter.

Since 2002 we've had disagreements with the tax authorities regarding the amount of tax overpayments, even resulting in judicial inquiries of the matter. The tax authorities have groundlessly denied the return of a certain portion of these amounts under the interesting pretext that these sums require `further clarification'. While the tax authorities don't dispute these amounts, the matter is in their hands and they've been `reviewing' the issue for several years now.

For the time being let's put aside the fact that as opposed to all other taxpayers, exporters are subject to monthly visits by the tax authorities who conduct audits of all pertinent financial data. Even in these circumstances, where the most subjective of factors come into play, the return of VAT over-payments can be denied or postponed. Here, the objections of exporters are overlooked as a matter of routine.

I'm convinced that until the moment the government starts incurring penalties for delaying the refund of VAT, the issue will remain unresolved. This policy is applied in many other countries. If a company is late in paying its taxes, it must pay some fines. Here, the government hasn't paid its obligations for years without incurring any legal or financial penalties.

The most frightening aspect of the entire issue is unpredictability. Today, for instance, I couldn't tell you the amount of money we'll be refunded this month. However amazing it may seem, it's all dependent on one thing - whether the Tax Department can fulfill its revenue collecting obligations. If it can guarantee the necessary revenue streams to meet the budgetary targets then the excess funds will be returned to the exporters. If, on the other hand, it fails to meet monthly revenue target, it's first of all the exporters who wind up paying the balance by postponing the return of their tax overpayments. In essence, the return of these VAT overpayments is made on a residual basis. Exporters receive returns according to the degree to which the collection of revenues has been realized, and not many other things matter in this respect.

- In other words, is operating a business in Armenia both risky and unprofitable?

- Any business that sets its sights on the on the foreign market, that operates with a large turnover and small margins, is in an extremely precarious position. Putting all other obstacles aside, here I'm talking about the fact that the resolution to the matter rests within the jurisdiction of the government and that the law demands such a resolution. If the law stipulates that such overpayments be returned, then so they must be.

- Has the appreciation of the Armenian Dram had any impact on your company's performance?

- Its impact has been quite serious indeed. According to our figures, because of the appreciation of the Armenian Dram vis a vis US Dollar we've experienced a $2 million drop in annual profits as compared to 2003. I'm referring to the Armenian Copper Programme only. The other company of Vallex Group, Base Metals CSJC, has experienced relatively greater losses since only a tiny portion of its costs is dollar-denominated. It's been the unprecedented sharp rise of metal prices at international markets that has somewhat compensated this damaging impact of currency appreciation for mining companies Base Metals. Without this strong price increase for metals, especially in the case of copper, molybdenum and gold, the situation for mining companies would have been disastrous.

- How would you evaluate the state of the mining industry sector in Armenia today?

- It's a matter of fact that presently the mining industry is the largest contributor to the overall economic growth and has the best prospects for long-term development when compared to all other sectors.

Is the Alaverdi Copper Foundry On the Verge of Closing?

- When was the last time the Ministry of Environmental Protection conducted an inspection of the Alaverdi copper smelting facility?

- An inspection of the copper smelter was last made in 2004, when the mine wasn't in operation. There were no major violations of the environmental codes found.

Even though mining operations were suspended at the time there was some disagreement with members of the Ministry team regarding the copper content of the ore. We accepted the findings of the Ministry and paid natural resource extraction fees based on their figures. Thus, the dispute was settled. Regarding the operations of the copper smelter, if environmental violations are found to exist, we pay all amounts as prescribed by law. The law does not strictly forbid emissions in excess of the maximum permissible limits, but rather defines penalties in case of such emissions. Until July 1, 2005, the fines imposed for emissions exceeding such levels were charged on threefold amounts, after that fivefold and even tenfold amounts, depending on the extend of exceeding the limits.

- What do these payments amount to yearly?

- Every quarter we pay between 32-33 million Armenian drams in emission fees. As a result of the changes to the law effective July 1, 2005 our payments have tripled. In essence, fees for emissions exceeding maximum permissible limits were increased ten fold. But taking into account the fact that the same law envisaged the establishment of temporary emission limits according to a certain timetable, we signed an action plan with the Ministry, which obligates us to cut emission levels by a minimum of 70% as of January 1, 2009. If we fail to meet this obligation, our emission fees will increase accordingly; by about 2.5 times. Until the increase our emission fees totaled 10-12 million drams per quarter.

- According to this action plan, in order for emissions to be cut you
must install certain necessary equipment. Will you do so and, in general,
what environmental protection plans will you implement?

- As far back as 2002, when we signed a loan agreement with the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), we also agreed to an environmental action plan. There were both short-term and midium-term measures planned, about twenty in all. These have been defined based on the company's environmental audit conducted by Hatch Associates Limited, a well-known Canadian firm selected by the EBRD. This study has pinpointed all problem issues needed to be addressed and the remedial measures to be taken. Based on that, an environmental action plan has been agreed upon in conjunction with the EBRD. One of the measures under the action planwas to investigate possible long-term solutions to the major environmental problem we've been facing.

We've implemented a series of short and midium-term measures.For example, measures like cleaning the area from scrap materials or storage of unused equipment in confined spaces, issues which never before received proper attention. There are measures ranging from the monitoring of the atmosphere, the dust content in the soil, to water monitoring. We've created a closed water circulation system as well. In the past, this water would have been dumped back in the Debed River. One of the short-term measures relates to work safety. According to the measures agreed with the ERBD, every quarter we purchase protective gear for the workers (safety glasses, gloves, hardhats, etc).

As for longer-term objective of substantially cutting emissions, we've studied a variety of options. Conventionally, copper smelters around the world have solved this problem by producing sulfuric acid. There are two main drawbacks to adapting this process in Armenia. The first deals with the capacity. Alaverdi is one of the world's smallest copper smelting facilities, which does not produce enough and stable flow of sulfuric gases to produce sulfuric acid. The small-scale production capacity also results in the content of sulfur in the gases not being sufficient to produce sulfuric acid with the processes known.

The second major obstacle we face is that of transportation. Most of the sulfuric acid produced in the world is used in producing fertilizers. Copper smelter have to produce sulfuric acid in order to ensure a clean production process and large scale efficiencies. However, since it's not possible to store large quantities of sulfuric acid, as opposed to other industrial products, one needs a guaranteed market for the sulfuric acid. At current capacity of the smelter, we're talking about producing some 35-40,000 tons of sulfuric acid. In the best of circumstances Armenia's domestic market could only consume some 10,000 tons of product. Sadly, there's no long-term market for sulfuric acid in the region either.

- Couldn't Georgia serve as a market?

- The Rustavi Fertilizer Factory in Georgia has indicated an interest in the use of sulfuric acid. Right now it imports sulfuric acid from Azerbaijan. So far, nothing more than a tentative interest has been identified.

- How much can Armenian possibly consume?

- We were hopeful that the Vanadzor chemical plant, once up and running, would need to consume large amounts of sulfuric acid. These hopes haven't been realized. We're constantly on the lookout for potential answers. One option we're investigating is leaching, a process that accounts for about 20% of the world's copper production. This process essentially uses sulfuric acid but a certain type of oxide ore is required. We know that in Armenia this type of oxide ore is available at least at Teghout and at Kajaran. There's only a limited amount of oxide ore at Teghout, some 30 million tons at best, with a very low copper content of 0,2%.

We have requested that the Mining and Metallurgy Institute conduct metallurgical testwork to ascertain within what parameters would it be possible to extract copper from ore containing 0,2% copper, using leaching. We'll know the final findings some time in September.

Another possible option is that sulfuric acid is used to restore saltedlands. While such areas exist in Armenia, the scale involved wouldn't justify this as a long-term solution.

One other avenue that we've studied for quite some time is a non-conventional in its approach. We've even developed a project that has passed the due-diligence of the European Bank. It involves utilizing sulfuric gases to produce gypsum. However, independent marketing research has identified that in three years from now the market for gypsum in Armenia will not exceed 12,000 tons per annum. This compares to up to 100,000 tons of gypsum that could be generated annualy at current copper production levels. Markets in other countries are closed to us. Georgia imports large amounts of high quality gypsum >From Turkey. In other words, we can only include the Armenian market when it comes to making decisions.

What all these means is that if we will not be able to come up with long-term sustainable solutions to the environmental problem of the smelter, it may be possible that we would have to shut down copper smelting operations as of January 1, 2009. In that case we'd have to retrain some of the smelter workers. Some workers would be transferred to the Alaverdi mine and processing plant as these operations are developing at favorable rates. I'm convinced that large-scale operations will concurrently commence in Teghout, resulting in a large labor demand.

When copper production levels in Armenia would reach tens of thousands of tons annually, then construction of a new, modern and higher-capacity copper smelter might be justified. It has to be taken into account also that in the last couple of years the copper processing market has changed fundamentally. Previously, the market was treating copper smelters as continuation of the copper production chain; those engaged in copper mining were prepared to share their profits with the smelter through price participation. In other words, the smelter received certain percentage of copper price, in addition to fixed treatment charges. This meant that at low prices smelters earned fixed minimum revenue,while at high prices they were earning additional revenue as a share of copper price. Due to increasing shortage of copper concentrate in the market resulting mainly from demand in the Chinese market, the price participation has gradually eliminated.

Given that new smelters being constructed throughout the world have a minimum production capacity of 200,000-250,000 tons, Armenia cannot be competitive with its 10,000-ton smelter in the long run. We might be competitive with production capacities of some 100,000 tons. We're aware of the intention of our southern Armenian partners to build a copper smelter. We'd be pleased to see it become a reality. It would give our top metallurgists the opportunity to continue working in their professional capacity, in case, God forbids, we'd be forced to close the doors of our copper smelting facility.

- If you halted operations, would you sell off the concentrate on hand?

- Today we only account for a smaller share total concentrate being produced in Armenia. Other companies produce most of the copper concentrate. Armenia exports most of the concentrate it produces, while we buy significant part of it. If the Alaverdi operation shuts down, then the Zangezour Copper Molybdenum Combine and other producers will have to export all the concentrate they produce.

We must also take into account the fact that it a ton of copper costs more to transport in the form of concentrate from Kajaran to Alaverdi than to transport in the form of blister copper from Alaverdi to Europe, as bizarre as this may appear. Domestic transportation costs are quite high, both in terms ofrail freight costs and quality, as well as the time it take to get to destination.

- Under the action plan agreed with the Government, first stage of the emission reduction program was planned for the end of 2007.

At that time we were considering wet scrubbing process resulting in gypsum production, which was to achieve 10% reduction in emissions in the first phase and by 70% in the second. It is now clear that this will not be road we'll be taking.

- How would you evaluate your plant's environmental situation?

- Let's separate the situation at the copper smelter, where we do have major environmental problems, and we make no secret of that.
If we will not be able to solve these problems, we'll be forced to shut down the copper smelter; hopefully only on a temporary basis.

- Are environmental concerns taken into account in Armenia's mining sector?

- It's my belief that firms engaged in mining in Armenia have yet a lot do to fully integrate environmental concerns into theie operations. Today our company is cooperating with one of the leading global mining companies, and despite the fact that our production facility in Drmbon is considered to be one of the most environmentally friendly plants in Armenia, we can feel the need to learn more from the best international experience.. In part the fact that environmental concerns are not properly accomodated could be explained by the tendency to overlook environmental issues and focus solely on economic development when a country is in a crisis situation. But I'm happy to see that environmental issues are gradually being given the attention they deserve.

Translated by Hrant Gadarigian © 2007 Hetq Online


Foreign Minister Urges Turkish Community In USA To Oppose Armenian Bill
Anatolia News Agency, Turkey
Sept 21 2007

Chicago, 21 September: Turkish Foreign Minister & Chief Negotiator for EU talks Ali Babacan met representatives of Turkish associations in Chicago on Friday [21 September].

Addressing the Turkish associations, Babacan said, "you are a friendship bridge between Turkey and the United States. I fully believe that you will protect interests of our country on every platform including US Congress."

Babacan stressed that Turkish community in the United States is both organized in itself and in harmony with US society, adding that this is very important.

"We want Turkish citizens who are living abroad to take citizenship of that country too. This makes you more influential. We want to further develop and diversify our relations with the United States which is Turkey's ally and strategic partner. You are a friendship bridge between Turkey and the United States, thus the contribution which Turkish community will make in development of relations is very important," he said.

Babacan noted that Turkish community (in the US) should act together against Armenian draft in US Congress, adding that efforts of Turkish community is very important in that issue.

Babacan is expected to proceed to New York on Saturday morning.


Blog: Armenia - Wine, Brandy And Growing Mountains
New Zealand Herald September 18, 2007

Travelling often means riding the waves of the unexpected and when you are responsible for 14 other people as well, keeping the good ship Itinerary afloat can sometimes feel like one is lashed to the mast in a heavy sea.

But thankfully, travel can also mean serendipitous happenings. So for example when we arrived in the Armenian capital of Yerevan to find our hotel rooms were not ready, it was time to roll out Plan B. So, we drove to the spiritual heart of Armenia, Echmiadzin.

We were several hours ahead of schedule so it was by happy coincidence that the head of the Armenian church, the Catholicus, was just leaving his palace to process to his third century cathedral.

I'm sure he didn't realise he was making a tour leader very happy but I was grateful nonetheless.

While bells pealed, the black hooded Catholicus, followed by a procession of clerics, some dressed in purple robes, swept past us, under a porch adorned with watching angels and into the church.

By the time we stepped inside he was now clad in red and cream robes richly embroidered in gold thread and two acolytes were wafting incense around the altar. The choir was singing - magnificent unaccompanied hymns spiralled upwards into the high dome, intertwined in the ethereal blue smoke of the burning incense.

The cathedral was packed with worshippers and onlookers. While the service continued people lit tapers, planted candles in long troughs of sand, crossed themselves, prayed and took photographs.

The next day the guardian angel of tour guides was at work again, this time at the 800 year-old Geghard monastery that is perched on the side of a mountain in a narrow gorge about an hour's drive from Yerevan.

There was no grand service here but a single priest in a white gown, who was also swinging an incense burner - but his was complete with small bells which jangled sleigh-like as he moved from church to rock-hewn chapel.

We ate lunch in the garden of an enterprising local who had turned his property into a restaurant for tourists. Our long table was set under a weeping elm and was crammed with plates of paper-thin bread, tomato and cucumber salads, eggplant coated with walnut paste, fresh goat's cheese and mounds of fresh herbs. Two sweating men toiled over an oven into which they were feeding beef kebabs at high speed.

Somehow or another 150 people had turned up for lunch at the same time and the staff were working overtime.

"Why has everyone come at once?" the owner cried in despair, looking around his orchard and its feasting Kiwis, Italians and Germans. But he wasn't too busy to bring our table a large earthenware jug of his homemade wine.

That was something of a mixed blessing as our next stop was to be back in Yerevan at the Ararat Brandy Factory. Last year the factory produced six million bottles of brandy, most of which were exported to Russia. The factory once produced the cognac preferred by Winston Churchill who, it is said, had it sent by the case-load, courtesy of Josef Stalin.

We stood in the giant warehouse in which the barrels are stored before bottling. Among them are barrels presented to leaders and ex-leaders of former USSR republics and one given to one of Armenia's favourite sons, singer-actor Charles Aznavour. The late Boris Yeltsin's barrel is still there but there is a joke that he may have drunk the contents during a visit and it is, in fact, empty.

The factory offers tastings of three vintages, which their guide told us, are always best drunk with good dark chocolate. We obliged.

On leaving the factory, Mt Ararat, symbol of Armenia, although now firmly on the Turkish side of the border, stood bathed in sunlight, dominating the city skyline.

One tour member was contemplating it thoughtfully. "I think it is taller than it was earlier," she said.

It could have been worse - at least she wasn't seeing two Mt Ararats.

Thousands turn out to the biggest Armenian event in Australia

An unexpected visit by Prime Minister John Howard surprised thousands at the fourth Armenian Cultural Festival at Tumbalong Park, Darling Harbour on Sunday 16 September 2007.

Whilst the Prime Minister was being photographed with babies and grilled by journalists on his pre-election battle and retirement plans, thousands of visitors were enjoying the entertainment, stalls, activities and food at the biggest Armenian cultural event in Australia, if not the southern hemisphere.

More than 25,000 people visited the last Festival in 2005, and this year there were more than 35,000 with approximately 5,000 to 6,000 people on the park at its peak, and thousands more visiting throughout the entire day.

Minister Assisting on Citizenship Barbara Perry said the Festival had become one of the major cultural events on the State's calendar.

"The Armenian Cultural Festival has grown from strength to strength," Ms Perry said.

"It's an opportunity to showcase the best of Armenian culture - the arts, cuisine, history, and the central place of family and community. I congratulate Hye Hoki on organising this remarkable celebration."

Visitors were well prepared, bringing picnic blankets and chairs and enjoying the glorious weather and the diverse entertainment, which included Mike Lane from Rivertribe, a fashion parade featuring Alicia Hollen, Nara Virabyan, Australia's only female dhol player and two local folkloric dance groups, Sevan Dance Ensemble and the Armenian Sydney Dance Company.

"We're thrilled with the turn out this year," said Festival Project Coordinator, Sonia Panikian.

"It's great to see Australians of different backgrounds learning about Armenian culture and enjoying the food, entertainment and activities."

The Festival is organised by Hye Hoki, an Australian-Armenian volunteer youth network. The Festival is held once every two years with the fifth Festival scheduled for September 2009.

For more information about the Armenian Cultural Festival visit www.hyehoki.com


Armennian Lobby At The Annual Labour Party Conference In Bournemouth ,UK
Armenia Solidarity Nor Serount Cultural Association, British Armenian All-Party Parliamentary Group Armenian Genocide Trust Wales-Armenia Solidarity

Government Ministers, Members of Parliament and Labour delegates will be lobbied on the Genocide denial issue inside and outside the Bournemouth International Centre for three days this week. It is hoped that the 161 names on the Early Day Motion recognising the Armenian Genocide will be increased before the current session of parliament ends in late october. MPs will be presented with the speeches by Genocide Scholars at the Armenian Genocide Conference held at the House of Commons on the 24th april. This has been published by Nor Serount Cultural Association.

The lobby is organised by the ever-growing alliance of most UK Armenian Organisations. The remaining UK Armenian Groups are urged to come on board.

The delegates will also be given this leaflet, also published by Nor Serount Cultural Association:
----------------------------------------------------------------
EDM 357 on the Recognition of the Armenian Genocide

Dear Friends,
1 We remind you that time is running out for this EDM in the House of Commons. We ask you to urgently request your MP to join the 166 other MPs who have signed, and to sign this motion without delay.

We are available for informal meetings with you at 4.00 p.m. every day inside the conference hall. Simply ring 07718982732 or 07876561398 and we shall happily meet you.

This is not simply a matter of historical correctness. The entirety of Western Armenia continues to be occupied by Turkey, and our government meekly complies with the Turkish government's assertions that historic Armenia has never existed. Aneurin Williams MP said in 1923 that "It is intolerable to recognise a majority made by massacre". This recognition of the validity of Turkey's borders has been the policy of successive UK governments since the Lausanne Treaty. We challenge this and the government's denial of the 1915 Genocide of the Armenian nation. Remember that Modern Turkey is based on this denial. This denial feeds the growing ultra-nationalism in Turkey and endangers the life of anyone, like Hrant Dink, who had the courage to stand up for the truth.

Let the Brown government at least admit that its present collusion with Armenian Genocide Denial is based, not on any lack of evidence, but solely on present day political considerations and perceived "British interests.".

Remember that Britain has a long history of betraying Armenia. We patiently await more politicians to stand up for the truth of the genocide. We wish to express our thanks to the 80 Labour MPs who have supported this motion, including the majority of MPs in Wales and the majority of London Labour MPs

2 We extend a warm invitation to you to attend the unveiling of the Monument to the Armenian Genocide outside the Temple of Peace, Cardiff on saturday, 3rd november at 1.00 p.m. There will be Welsh and Armenian music in the Temple to follow. The full address is:
Welsh Centre for International Affairs,(United Nations Association)
The Temple of Peace, King Edward 7th Avenue, Cathays Park CardiffCF10 3AP

The Temple is situated in the Civic Centre, Cardiff


The Art of Anti-War Foreign Policy In Focus
John Feffer | September 21, 2007 Editor: Debayani Kar

The future has arrived, but the Futurists didn't make it.

In the early part of the 20th century, the Futurist movement of artists in Italy, led by Filippo Marinetti, glorified war as a dynamic organizing principle for their art work. If art was about energy - and the raw power of the modern machine age -- where could you find more energy and concentrated machinery than on the battlefield? Art, they proclaimed in their manifesto, `can be nothing but violence, cruelty, and injustice.' Marinetti and his war-worshipping Futurists easily fell in with Mussolini and the fascists. But, after Nuremburg, few artists have followed their lead.

This month, at the Istanbul Biennale, the future has arrived in the form of a very different kind of art. The curator of the Istanbul show, Hou Hanru of China, begins his exhibition catalogue with an unadorned statement: `We are living at a time of global wars.' The rest of the introduction reads like the agenda of the World Social Forum. `Most of these wars, conflicts and clashes take place in the developing world,' Hou continues. `The centre of the Empire has ruthlessly exported violence to other parts of the world.'

This narrative does not refer to any specific wars such as Iraq or Afghanistan. Nor does it suggest anything that might offend the Turkish hosts of the event, such as Ankara's preparations for a possible cross-border incursion against separatist Kurds operating in the Kurdish area of northern Iraq. Still, the art at the Biennale does not pull any punches. In the same way that war represented an ideal organizing principle for the Futurists, anti-war serves a similar purpose for the Biennale curator and many of the artists that he selected for the exhibition.

The Istanbul show does not focus exclusively on the issue of war. One venue, the Textile Traders' Market, is a complex of classic modernist buildings designed to promote Turkey's role as a global economic crossroads and to update the ancient chaos of the Grand Bazaar nearby. Another exhibition installed at the Ataturk Cultural Center, a ravishingly ugly modernist edifice once symbolizing Turkey's model ascendancy to world-class nation status, focuses on the failed promise of utopian architecture.

Nevertheless, some of the most interesting art at the Biennale engages questions of violence, militarism, and the creativity that arises from conflict. But a question lingers over the show: does all this anti-war art add up to a movement that can rival or even replace the Futurists?

Creative Conflict
Much of the anti-war art of the Istanbul Biennale directly comments on the Turkish experience. Perhaps the most controversial contribution comes from Canadian-Armenian filmmaker Atom Egoyan, whose powerful 2002 film on the Armenian genocide, Ararat, was also shown as part of the Biennale.

In his original contribution to the exhibition, Egoyan offers an eerie reimagining of the life of Aurora Mardiganian, an Armenian teenager who survived the mass slaughter of her people in Turkey in the early part of the 20th century. She eventually made it to the United States where she tried to find her brother, the only other surviving member of her family. Her story was compelling enough for the early motion picture industry to dramatize in the 1919 film Auction of Souls, which turned out to be an early blockbuster. Unable to reconcile the tragedy of her life with her newfound fame, Mardiganian went AWOL from the promotional tour before it even began, and the film company hired seven look-alikes to fill her shoes. In Egoyan's short film, Aurora, seven women read portions of Mardiganian's life, describing the events leading up to the killing of her mother. In the same space is another short film, by Turkish video artist Kutlug Ataman, about his Armenian nanny who can't recall a key event from her own life. Both films are painful, slow, horrific, and convey the unalluring reality of the violence that the Futurists so fetishized.

Construction Site by Huang Yong Ping. Photo by John Feffer Chinese artist Huang Yong Ping also takes up the challenge of engaging Turkish life and culture by turning the top of a minaret at an angle and enclosing it in a cloth fence. Tilted upward, the minaret looks like an anti-aircraft gun, thus echoing a famous Turkish poem by Ziya Gokalp (`The mosques are our barracks, the domes our helmets, the minarets our bayonets, and the faithful our soldiers.' ). Surrounded by a cloth fence, the minaret is enclosed as if by a headscarf that both conceals and reveals.

In Scary Asian Men, Turkish artist Banu Cennetoglu takes what resembles surveillance photographs of Turkish men. They are small figures in unremarkable landscapes, relaxing or talking beside the road that connects the Asian part of Istanbul with the European part. Turkey is a candidate for membership in the European Union, but several Western European government leaders have expressed doubts about including a predominantly Muslim country in the grand European project. As Cennetoglu suggests, the European governments have projected their long-held fears of violent Asian men - Ottomans, Huns, Mongols - onto the unarmed, benign figures of Turkish workers and peasants.

A Friendly Fire Poster by Jonathan Barnbrook. Photo by John Feffer Sometimes the Biennale art is quite graphic in its depiction of violence. Britain's Jonathan Barnbrook has designed posters that would not look out of place at an anti-war rally, though their content is somewhat more ambiguous. The mandala-like cycle of violence depicted in one poster, of a symbolic Moslem shooting a symbolic Jew shooting a symbolic Moslem and so forth around in a circle, refuses to assign primary responsibility to either side in the conflict. Pakistani Hamra Abbas sculpts life-sized figures in imaginative sexual positions from the Kama Sutra, and yet the men wield weapons. The AES Group, the initials formed from the last names of three Russian artists, contribute a long, mural-like composition, Last Riot, that depicts hyper-realistic young people of various ethnicities in a kind of apocalyptic Benetton billboard. The girls and boys in battle fatigues are on the verge of choking each other, stabbing themselves hara-kiri style, and clubbing their younger charges and small animals, all against a montage of recognizable urban landscapes. Their faces reveal not anger or bloodlust, but merely bored resignation, as if playing a video game.

Finally, perhaps most subversively, there are the two large plastic Coke bottles, taped together and fitted with what looks like a timer, flashing ominously. This homemade Coke bomb sits hidden beneath a staircase inside the gallery space. There is no nearby label to take the sting out of the intervention by giving it a name, assigning it to an artist, or otherwise enclosing it in a safe package called `art.' It is anonymous, has clear links to the United States and the global economy, and might go off at any time - to destroy itself and the Biennale. In security-conscious Istanbul, where political violence is a recent memory if not a present reality, and in a world where we are constantly reminded that terrorism is no joking matter, this Coke bomb is pure effrontery.

Where are the Anti-Futurists?
The Futurists are gone, and no anti-Futurists have taken their place. Dada briefly coalesced around a group of artists disgusted with World War I, and some of their art reflected their anti-war sentiments. But although quite a few artists have taken clear anti-war positions in their art, no art movement has taken so passionately to the principle of anti-war as the Futurists once did to war. There are several reasons for this vacuum. Manifestos are rare in this day and age. Artists are reluctant to launch world movements. And didacticism is only intermittently popular in an art world so thoroughly soaked in irony.

RGB's War by Porntaweesak Rimsakul. Photo by John Feffer But there is another explanation as well. In the Biennale installation RGB's War, Thai artist Porntaweesak Rimsakul sets up remote-controlled vehicles topped by army helmets that collide with each other and with tiny houses filled with the primary colors. From this battlefield emerges a work of abstract expressionism. The very act of painting depends on the collision of colors and the use of machines like brushes reinforces the essential point of the Futurists. Perhaps art does in fact arise out of conflict, and artists are as fascinated by technology today as they were in Marinetti's time.

Indeed, many of the anti-war artists rely on the power of violence to drive home their points. The Biennale is full of guns, missiles, and bombs. All of this deadly hardware is alluring, even if the weaponry is deployed for anti-war purposes. The Futurists may well be dead. But as long as war and violence continue to hold such sway over our imaginations, the Futurist ideology will live on in some small way within us.

John Feffer is co-director of Foreign Policy In Focus (www.fpif.org) at the Institute for Policy Studies (www.ips-dc.org)



YouTube Video Praises Murder of Journalist Hrant Dink
Sep 27th, 2007 by Michael van der Galiën
Turkish Daily News reports that one of the most popular videos on YouTube these days is on celebrating Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink’s death and praising his teenage murderer. After the makers published the video on YouTube, it immediately received many thousands of hits, at this moment it has several hundreds of thousands. Furthermore, the song used in the video is sung by a Turkish Muslim nationalist. He says he doesn’t approve Dink’s murder and that he doesn’t approve of the video, but in the song one can hear him sing: “If someone betrays his own country, he will be taken care of immediately.”

Words like that make it a bit harder to believe that Ismail Türüt - the folksinger who sings the song featured in the video - truly opposes both the murder and the video.

The video “shows Hrant Dink’s dead body, followed by a heroic pose of his suspected teenage killer, who will stand trial next week.”

A human rights group has asked prosecutors to “take actions against” Türüt and against the person who wrote the song “for allegedly inciting ethnic hatred and violence.” Followers picked the case up and “have launched an investigation into the video.”

Although Türüt and his fellow extreme nationalists oppose the freedom of speech for those who may disagree with them, it’s - as the author of the TDN piece points out - ironic to see them defend themselves by referring to the freedom of speech: “I feel like a victim in my homeland for defending some of our values. Don’t I have the right to freedom of expression?” the folksinger asked.

One may wonder what “values” he believes he’s protecting. The “value” to kill those who “insult” the Turkish identity? The “value” to silence and even to kill those who refuse to accept the offial teachings on a given subject? I’ve visited Turkey a couple of times and I can’t say that this “value” seemed to exist.

http://mvdg.wordpress.com/2007/09/27/youtube-video-praises-murder-of-journalist-hrant-dink


Former U.S. Secretaries of State oppose Armenian Genocide Resolution
27.09.2007 PanARMENIAN.Net/ Fearing an imminent vote on the Armenian Genocide Resolution (H.Res.106), Turkey’s multi-million dollar lobbyists have solicited the assistance of eight former U.S. Secretaries of State in seeking to derail this human rights legislation, reported the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA.)

"Facing a growing bipartisan Congressional majority demanding passage of the Armenian Genocide Resolution, Turkey’s lobbyists - out of desperation and a never ending desire to squeeze more billing dollars out of Ankara – have turned to the very architects of our government’s failed policy of appeasing Turkey," said Aram Hamparian, Executive Director of the ANCA. "Sadly, successive U.S. administrations have found themselves lacking the moral courage to end the cycle of genocide – from Cambodia, to Rwanda and, today in Darfur – precisely because of their legacy of caving in to, rather than confronting genocidal regimes."

"We are, as Americans, especially troubled that, in warning Congress not to make a simple anti-genocide statement for fear of upsetting Turkey, these officials would outsource our nation’s moral conscience to a foreign government," added Hamparian.

In their September 25th jointly-signed letter, former Secretaries of State Madeleine Albright, James Baker III, Warren Christopher, Laurence Eagleburger, Alexander Haig, Jr., Henry Kissinger, Colin Powell, and George Schultz, urged Speaker Pelosi to, "prevent the resolution from reaching the House Floor," thereby denying House
Members an opportunity to vote their conscience on the Armenian Genocide. The former State Department officials expressed concern that passage of the resolution "could endanger our national security interests in the region, including our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, and damage efforts to promote reconciliation between Armenia and Turkey."

Introduced on January 30th by Rep. Adam Schiff along with Representative George Radanovich (R-CA), Congressional Armenian Caucus Co-Chairs Frank Pallone (D-NJ) and Joe Knollenberg (R-MI), Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-CA), Rep. Brad Sherman (D-CA) and Rep. Thaddeus McCotter (R-MI), the Armenian Genocide resolution calls upon the President to ensure that the foreign policy of the United States reflects appropriate understanding and sensitivity concerning issues related to human rights, ethnic cleansing, and genocide documented in the United States record relating to the Armenian Genocide. The resolution is cosponsored by 226 Members of Congress from 39 states. A similar resolution in the Senate (S.Res.106), introduced by Assistant Majority Leader Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Sen. John Ensign (R-NV) currently has 31 cosponsors, including Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and presidential candidate Hillary Clinton (D-NY).


Armenian PM Tells EU: Too Soon To Make Turkey A Member
Sep 25, 2007
By Dmitry Solovyov

MOSCOW, Sept 25 (Reuters) - Armenia said on Tuesday the European Union would be making a "strange" decision if it admitted Turkey before Ankara had made progress in settling disputes with Yerevan.

Turkey shut its borders with its tiny neighbour Armenia in 1993 in protest at Armenian forces' capture of territory inside Azerbaijan, Ankara's historic Muslim ally, during fighting over the Nagorno-Karabakh region.

The two countries are also at odds over Anakara's refusal to acknowledge as genocide the massacre of large numbers of Armenians in Ottoman Turkey at the start of the last century. Turkey has no diplomatic ties with the former Soviet republic.

"I believe it would be very strange for the Europeans to accept to their family a country which sometimes employs principles running counter to the principles of the European Union," Armenian Prime Minister Serzh Sarksyan said.

But Sarksyan, speaking at a news briefing during a visit to Russia, a close ally, said he believed the EU application would pressure Ankara into changing its stance on the border with Armenia and on diplomatic relations.

"I believe ... the more time passes the harder it gets for them to stick to this position, because Turkey aspires to join the European Union and faces a long negotiation process."

"So the ball is in Turkey's yard, nothing depends on us," said Sarksyan, a close ally of Armenian President Robert Kocharyan. Many observers expect that when Kocharyan steps down next year, Sarksyan will replace him as president.

Armenians and some European nations describe the 1915-17 killings of Armenians, as the Ottoman Empire collapsed, as genocide. Turkey maintains they were part of a partisan conflict in which many Turks, Armenians and other nationalities died.

It is a crime in Turkey to call the killings genocide.

Earlier this year a French parliamentary bill making it a crime to deny the killings were genocide soured relations between Paris and Ankara. Turkey suspended talks on a major gas pipeline with Gaz de France in protest at the bill.

© Reuters 2006.


Being Heard On Campus
September 25, 2007
By Tulin Daloglu
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's speech at Columbia University made me think about freedom of speech on America's college campuses.

Mr. Ahmadinejad — who represents a country the State Department calls a state sponsor of terror, who represents a country that helps Iraqi militias to kill American troops and who denies the Holocaust and calls for Israel's destruction — was allowed to speak at one of America's most prestigious campuses. But Archbishop Mesrob II Mutafyan, the Armenian patriarch of Istanbul, was denied the same privilege last week at Georgetown University's Woodstock Theological Center.

When the archbishop first visited the United States in April, he spoke at Southern Methodist University, and said something Armenian-Americans never question. Last Thursday, Harut Sassounian, the publisher of the California Courier, a weekly English-language Armenian newspaper based in Los Angeles, explained that Mr. Mutafyan had challenged the notion that Armenians were innocent victims of the Ottomans during its last days. "Did some Armenian political parties promote armed rebellion in the Armenian community?" the archbishop asked in his April speech. "They did. In some areas, did armed Armenian gangs work together with the Russian army? They did. But the government of the Committee for Union and Progress, being in charge of the country, is chiefly responsible for the painful events that occurred and the great suffering that was endured." He charged both Armenians and Turks with making peace with their past and acknowledged that Armenians must also clarify their history.

Mr. Mutafyan is voicing an unheard split within the Armenian community as support grows in the House for congressional legislation recognizing the Armenian genocide. If he could have spoken at Georgetown, he would have been able to say that "[w]e have to change the mentality shown by some Armenian historians who still see the Turks as uncultured barbarian emigrants from Central Asia." But the Armenian American lobby is determined to keep that perception of Turkey in the United States.

The Armenian National Committee of America quoted Rep. Adam Schiff, California Democrat, the lead sponsor of the House Armenian Genocide Resolution, as saying, "In order to perpetuate its campaign of denial, Turkey seeks to intimidate all Armenians worldwide, but especially the Armenians in Turkey who must live with daily threats." Mr. Schiff said that "[t]he editor of the... Armenian language newspaper in Turkey, Hrant Dink, was assassinated for writing about the genocide this year, and a popular video now being circulated in Turkey celebrates his killers and threatens Armenians." Mr. Schiff did not acknowledge that the assassination of Mr. Dink, a beloved Armenian-Turkish journalist, was a crime — and has been treated as such. And while that disturbing video exists, there is another, even more popular video, which calls for unity and shows the protests by thousands of Turks against Mr. Dink's murder.

Mr. Schiff can cherry-pick examples to criticize Turks and Turkey, but he neither shows the whole picture nor acknowledges the society's true nature and values. Mr. Mutafyan, however, admits that there is much unity in the gray areas. Nearly 40,000 Armenians work in Turkey illegally; surely they would not if they felt they were in constant peril. "trategists sin by...turning the youth of the two countries against each other," he has said.

The Armenian National Committee of America, in a letter circulated last week to members of Congress, said that "Patriarch Mutafyan... lives in constant fear of acts of discrimination and retribution by a Turkish government that actively persecutes those who speak freely" in recognizing genocide claims. So it blocked his speech. Mr. Mutafyan's "political statements are made under Turkish pressure and do not reflect his true views on the Armenian genocide," says Sassounian. However, when I interviewed the archbishop, he said, "It is all lie. I am here with my own free will." But he was sad. "I learned that the speech is cancelled due to threats to my security... America should have been the country of freedom, but things do happen here, too," he said.

There is an admirable elegance in the way the Armenian-Americans promote freedom of speech in Turkey, but one has to wonder whether they really believe in total freedom of speech. Is it so outrageous to think that the Armenian patriarch of Istanbul would sincerely call upon all parties — Turks, Armenians and others — to consider looking for "new primary sources?" What if he really believes that both sides will heal by strengthening today's relationships and assuring tomorrow's friendships? What if he believes that the House resolution will only please the Armenian diaspora?

Finally, Turkey is no Iran. It is a NATO ally and has started full membership accession talks with the European Union. If the archbishop could have spoken, he would have suggested constructive solutions to bring people together. What's more, American colleges and universities derive their strength from their students' ability to think critically and ask questions. If Mr. Mutafyan were not to speak his own mind, they would have easily discredited him.

Last but not the least, if Mr. Ahmadinejad can speak at Columbia, certainly Mesrub II Mutafyan, the Armenian Patriarch of Istanbul, deserves a chance to be heard.

Tulin Daloglu is a freelance writer.


A Turkish Media Outlet Owned By A Greek Entrepreneur: Wow!
By BARCIN YINANC

Thanks to the website Facebook, I encountered a longtime Israeli colleague of mine. Having lost track of each other for some time, we updated each other on our jobs and immediately began exchanging laments about the situation of the press in our respective countries.

My Israeli colleague talked about a new entrant - a free paper owned by a Jewish American gazillionaire and considered the affect it will have on the Israeli press. I told him that five foreign companies are interested in buying one of the biggest Turkish media firms ATV-Sabah at auction in November. This is the discussion that followed:

Yinanç: RTL, Europe's biggest commercial broadcaster, German ProSieben, Prague-listed CME and Murdoch's News Corp are interested in buying a major Turkish media outlet. Turkey's State Deposits and Insurance Fund (TMSF), whose job is also to take over troubled companies and banks, seized the assets that form ATV-Sabah in April. ATV-Sabah is a new structure. It includes top-rated entertainment channel ATV, major daily Sabah, smaller newspaper Takvim and other publications. But what's interesting is that Greek broadcaster Antenna TV also bought the $50,000 documents necessary to take part in the tender due in November 7. I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw the news. I just can't imagine Greek Antenna TV as owner of a major TV channel, a major newspaper and a tabloid in Turkey.

Israeli collegue: Is it like Al Jazeera buying our Channel 2?

Yinanç: Well, let me tell you this. About 10 years ago, the two countries came to the brink of war over the ownership of some uninhabited rocks in the Aegean Sea. Actually, the Imia-Kardak, the Greek-Turkish name for these rocks, could be a case study for journalism students. The two countries perhaps could have avoided the crisis were the issue not leaked to the press. Once in the press, the issue immediately ignited. I even recall a race among Turkish journalists to raise a flag on the rocks, as if it were the duty of journalists to establish sovereignty over disputed territories. The first Turkish newspaper, the one with the idea to raise the flag over Imia-Kardak, published a big headline story about the “mission” accomplished by its reporters. The other newspapers, instead of condemning such an unethical behavior, were mad with jealousy. Actually, a colleague of mine who was working at one of these papers was receiving updates about the crisis from one of her sources in the Turkish Foreign Ministry, when she realized that her competitor had missed the target and raised the flag in the wrong islet. She quickly found the correct coordinates and in the end it was her newspaper that raised the Turkish flag in the right place. She is still proud.

What I am trying to say is that the press on either side of the Aegean has a less than stellar record when it comes to objective reporting. On the contrary, they are usually more than eager to pour oil on fire. Obviously, Turkish-Greek relations have improved tremendously in the last ten years, but bilateral problems are frozen and still have the potential to flare up. The Aegean Sea is calm but dogfights between warplanes in Aegean airspace continue.

Israeli colleague: I didn't know these issues still run so deep in both countries' minds. I would guess that the Greek owner could simply appoint a trust or a board, leaving the Turkish editors and managers intact.

Yinanç: Actually, the Turkish press is less obsessed with Greek issues than vice versa. We have the Iran issue, Iraq issue, the PKK issue. We have problematic relations with the United States. The EU is another headache, not to mention the troubles caused by the Armenian Diaspora. Meanwhile, the number one foreign policy issue for Greece is Turkey. At one stage, we were thankful to the Macedonians since they have gotten into the name dispute. But I think Turks are still the most popular – or should I say unpopular – foreign policy issue. If a Turkish media outlet partly owned by a Greek media outlet carries out a pro-Turkish policy line in time of crisis, all hell will break loose in Greece. The other press would attack that media outlet for being unpatriotic. Interestingly, not even a single sentence appeared in the Greek press about Antenna's interest in the ATV/ Sabah group. Israeli colleague: Well, maybe things have really changed and you're not aware of it.Me: I wish you were right, but I doubt it. Despite the rapprochement between the two countries, the state apparatus in both countries are still very cautious of each other. Recently, the purchase of a Turkish bank by a Greek bank was blocked on the grounds that a Greek former spy was on the board of the latter. To be honest. I have a feeling that, Antenna's $50,000 will go into the wastebasket.


Turkish-American Relations – Time For Reckoning
Thursday, September 27, 2007
O. Faruk LOGOGLU Ambassador R. Nicholas Burns, Under Secretary for Political Affairs, delineated the U.S. administration's perspective on Turkish-American relations in a recent policy speech at the Atlantic Council. Shortly afterwards, he paid an official visit to Ankara and spoke along the same lines he had earlier drawn in Washington.Ambassador Burns expresses praise for Turkish democracy and respect for the leadership of President Abdullah Gül and Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan, along with the anticipation of working closely with them in the period ahead. He refers to the need of “restoring a sense of strategic partnership to the broad range of U.S.-Turkish relations” and of “rejuvenating” the relationship. He then lists American expectations of Turkey. The areas where the Turkish side is expected to act include Afghanistan, Kosovo, the Black Sea, the Middle East, Iraq, Iran, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, NATO, NATO-EU relations, Cyprus and Turkish-Armenian relations. There is a call for the reopening of the Heybeliada (Greek Orthodox) religious school and the repeal of Article 301 of the Turkish Penal Code. There is special emphasis on cooperative efforts in the field of energy, highlighting the special importance energy issues holds for the American side.Although it does not contain any new elements, the U.S. approach as stated by Ambassador Burns is positive in tone and constructive in spirit. There is an effort to address Turkey's concerns over the critical issues of PKK terrorist activity in Iraq and the pro-Armenian resolutions in the U.S. Congress. Burns promises action on the PKK problem and reiterates the Bush administration's opposition to the Armenian resolutions. However, this may now not be enough to revitalize the Turkish-American relationship. The time for reckoning has arrived. Deeds must match words. To affect Turkish public opinion favorably and to restore a functional level of mutual confidence to the relationship, the American side must act against the PKK in Iraq now. Such action would not only serve to meet Turkey's expectations, but it would also be consistent with Iraq's national interests and the interests of the Kurdish population in Northern Iraq. Further procrastination will mean more bad news for Turkish-American relationship. The passage of Armenian resolutions in the Congress would add insult to injury and have a tumultuous impact on the Turkish public. An American request to transit through Turkey its troops scheduled to be withdrawn from Iraq might meet with a Turkish refusal, leading to deepening estrangement. The American side has been straightforward with its demands. The Turkish side must respond in similar fashion and state its own its expectations of the U.S. side in equally clear terms. Aside from the PKK and the Armenian issues, the Turkish list must also include Cyprus, Turkish-Greek relations, Turkish-EU relations, the Nagorno Karabagh problem, Iraq, Iran, the Middle East Peace Process, the Caucasus, bilateral trade, parliamentary exchanges and increased civil society contacts.The task should then be to match the two lists, develop a mutually agreed list of objectives and set timelines for the realization of each common goal whenever possible and as appropriate. There must also be an explicit and business-like understanding over those items that do not make it into the joint list. The Turkish-American relationship is a vital component in the current equation of international relations. Making this relationship work ought to produce immense benefits in the Middle East, the Black Sea, the Caucasus, Central Asia, the Balkans, within the Euro-Atlantic community, in secure energy supplies, in the promotion of democracy, human rights and the rule of law as well as in fostering harmonious relations between different cultures and religions. The prospects for peace, stability and prosperity in Turkey's vicinity should improve perceptibly if Turkey and the U.S. could join their resources toward the realization of shared objectives.

* Dr. Osman Faruk Logoglu, is the president of Ankara-based Eurasia Strategic Research Center (ASAM). He is a retired ambassador. During his active diplomatic life he represented Turkey at many countries. He last served as Turkey's ambassador to the United States. He is as well a former undersecretary of the Foreign Ministry. He can be reached at faruklogoglu@gmail.com.


Sarkozy Revised His Stand On Turkey’s EU Bid?
26.09.2007 PanARMENIAN.Net/ Turkey-skeptic French President Nicholas Sarkozy and Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan agreed Monday to continue talks on Turkey’s accession to the European Union during a meeting in New York where the two leaders were present for the United Nations General Assembly meeting.

The two leaders discussed Turkey’s negotiations with the European Union and the meeting was productive and comprehensive. No comments were made to the press after the meeting.

Erdogan is expected to visit France in the coming months in order to soften Paris’s stance towards Turkey’s EU bid. Known with his objection to Turkey’s full membership, Sarkozy earlier proposed a sort of privileged membership for Turkey.

Prime Minister Erdogan held a separate meeting with Portuguese Prime Minister Jose Socrates who is currently holding the term presidency of the EU. The two leaders discussed ways to speed up Turkey’s negotiations with the EU, the Anatolia news agency reported.


Russia Can Pass Law Crimanizling Denial Of Historical Facts
26.09.2007 PanARMENIAN.Net/ Russia can join the states where public denial of some historical facts is rated to a crime. The motion initiator, Speaker of the Russian Duma Boris Gryzlov said the measure will be applied to those justifying the crimes of the Nazi during the years of the Great Patriotic War.

In the opinion of Andrey Svetenko, a commentator of Mayak Radio, the Armenian Genocide in the Ottoman Empire should be included in the list of crimes. “Passage of the Armenian Genocide bill by the French parliament can serve as an example. The point is that Turks do not acknowledge the fact of genocide. They insist it was a liquidation of parricides but not an ethnic massacre. No matter that the number of these “parricides” exceeded a million, including children and helpless old people. This is a denial of denial. It shouldn’t be. Gryzlov’s proposal is a right step. Facts are stubborn. We should not tolerate when black is not named black,” Svetenko said.


Robert Simmons: NATO can’t force Turkey to normalize relations with Armenia
26.09.2007 PanARMENIAN.Net/
Armenia is successfully cooperating with NATO. The fact is confirmed by high-ranking officials of the Alliance. Considerable progress in army reorganization has been achieved since the IPAP was launched. Armenia is participating in the Partnership for Peace program and NATO peacekeeping operations in Kosovo and Iraq. Mr Robert F. Simmons, NATO’s first ever Special Representative for the Caucasus and Central Asia told PanARMENIAN.Net about prospects of the Armenia-NATO relations.

How would you assess the Armenia-NATO relations in the framework of the Individual Partnership Action Plan?

NATO intends to develop cooperation with Armenia for implementation of defense reforms provided by the Individual Partnership Action Plan. The Armenian National Security Strategy is a good basis for it. Army reorganization is one of the four key provisions of the IPAP. We intend to assist Armenia in elaboration and execution of the strategic defense doctrine including the manpower policy, increase of the number of civil personnel in the Defense Ministry as well as budget fixing. NATO will also proceed with political cooperation. Relations between Armenia and NATO are friendly and fruitful. The annual report records positive tendencies in the IPAP implementation.

Would you comment on the possibility of South Caucasian states’ joining the Alliance?

As you know, Armenia doesn’t have an intention to join NATO. The Alliance has numerously stated that participation in the IPAP doesn’t imply accession to the organization. The countries, which are planning to join NATO, such as Ukraine and Georgia, will have a different scheme. As to Georgia, it should normalize relations with the neighbor states, including Russia. We do not intend to involve in confrontation. Our tasks are different. The Alliance tends to enlargement. However, accession is a long process. We are holding intensified dialogue with Georgia. The Alliance intends to extend invitations to countries that meet NATO standards to join NATO at the next Summit, in 2008.

As regards Azerbaijan, the state has not announced intention to join NATO so far.

How would you assess the statement of Azeri political scientist Vafa Guluzade who offered Turkey to deploy troops in Nakhichevan and aim them at Yerevan?

I have not heard of the statement, but Turkey will hardly take such a step. Turkey is a member of the Alliance and its policy doesn’t conflict with its aims and objectives.

Can NATO promote normalization of the Turkish-Armenian relations, specifically opening of the border?

As I have already said, all NATO member states should have good relations with neighbors. Turkey and Armenia should themselves normalize relations. The Alliance can’t exercise push and pressure policy. Turkey is a NATO member country; Armenia participates in NATO programs. Our organization can’t influence on relations between the two states. I am hopeful that Armenia and Turkey will normalize relations what will result in opening of the border.

Would you comment on NATO’s attitude about Russia’s suspension of the Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe?

We are disappointed and concerned about Russia’s decision to one-sidedly suspend the Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe. The members of the Alliance are hopeful that Russia will join the constructive dialogue to promote cooperation. We should proceed with talks and hope that Russia will reconsider its decision.






Different Priorities On Different Sides Of Atlantic
September 26, 2007
Sylvia TIRYAKI

Not writing in line with the rhetoric of the Armenian Diaspora (basically American - and French) regarding Turkish-Armenian relations usually leads to a flood of unwanted reactions.

Empirically speaking, some of the "feedback" is unpleasant, some of it very unpleasant, some very insulting and full of hatred. However, all the e-mails [which for instance have labeled me as a person maximally stupid, uneducated, primitive with the "Ottoman medieval mentality," and also cursed me in such vulgar ways that this paper would have to blush if even the "most innocent" of those invectives was written here] had one thing in common: Their "authors" were from states like California or Florida.

Well, I must admit, that at the time when I started receiving all this "attention" I wasn't much interested in the demographic composition of the federal states. I just believed that both Turkish and Armenian people could highly benefit from a potential reconciliation. Although I have learnt "enough" about the demographic compositions since than it remains perplexing why considering the establishment of the amity in the Caucasian region (or elsewhere) more important than any pushing of the "Armenian genocide denial bills" through creates such volatile reactions.

Yet, this "who doesn't play with us plays against us" mindset of the powerful Armenian lobby in the United States seemed to play a role also a few days ago when Patriarch Mesrob II (Mutafyan), the spiritual and religious leader of the Turkish Armenian Orthodox community, was visiting the States. Patriarch Mesrob II, who is of course deeply concerned with the relations between Armenians and Turks, wholeheartedly supports the reconciliation through intercultural and inter-religious dialogue between the two. It is needless to say that the unilateral campaigns for the adoptions of the "Armenian genocide resolutions," like those currently pending both in the Senate and the House of Representatives of the United States, don't set a healthy ground for mutual rapprochement.

A blow to dialogue

Be it as it may, Mesrob II's speech titled "The Impasse between Turks and Armenians Must Be Broken" which was scheduled to be delivered at the Woodstock Theological Center of Georgetown University has been indefinitely postponed, reportedly as a result of the Armenian U.S. Diaspora's pressure.

Apparently, people who didn't want him to speak in the U.S. about the necessity and possible ways of understanding between the two peoples don't desire any healthy dialogue. Or at least its continuous absence doesn't disturb them. And indeed, why should it? Why should those living in the U.S. mind the nature of the relations between Turkey and Armenia?

However, things look different from the other side of Atlantic. So are the priorities. Thus it might not be too far stretched to presume, that had the presentation by Mesrob II been scheduled in Armenia, it wouldn't have been canceled. Basically because breaking the impasse between Turks and Armenians is desired by many living in the region where the reconciliation is more than needed.

According to polls, the good relations with their neighbors ? that would naturally result to the inclusion of Armenia into the regional structures and its development ? are the priority for the majority of Armenian Armenians. And this doesn't necessarily correspond with the primary agenda of those living on the other side of the Atlantic.

* Sylvia Tiryaki can be reached at s.tiryaki@iku.edu.tr



Armenians Prepare A Rally Against Turkey's EU Bid
September 26, 2007
ANKARA – Turkish Daily News

Mourad Papazian, chairman of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation committee called on all Armenians to protest against Turkey's European Union accession bid in a statement Monday, stating that Turkey does not belong in the 27-member bloc.

Papazian called on all Armenians to mobilize “against the entry of Turkey into Europe,” and added, “A state with a policy of genocide denial has no place in Europe. We will mobilize on Dec. 14 in Brussels when 27 heads of state and government will meet to evaluate Turkey's candidacy once more.”

EU leaders will come together for a summit in Brussels on Dec. 14. “There will be many of us and we will be vigilant,” he said. “We will not let Turkey carry out the play.”


Another Brick In The Wall
Yavuz Baydar y.baydar@todayszaman.com

With the “Genocide Recognition” resolution pending in the US Congress, it is a “the present is tense, the future uncertain” type of era between Ankara and Washington, D.C. Influential Jewish voices have also joined the chorus in support of many Armenians who wish to see as many countries as possible recognize the events of 1915 as the “Armenian Genocide.” We seem to have entered a very interesting path, which will inevitably have some consequences.

In such times, the need for civilians to talk and discuss the past and present is more crucial than ever. The more information one has, the sounder his judgment is. You can shape a better future.

Not always so; when it comes to establish and maintain dialogue between Turks and Armenians -- and even within the Armenians -- there are all sorts of forces, some giving way to evil ones, creating ridiculous circumstances. It may even destroy the belief that the US is the center of free speech in the world.

Ask the Armenian Patriarch in Istanbul, Mesrob II, and you will easily find out why. Elected, respected and loved by his community, Mesrob II has had to go through, during his tenure so far, both good times and bad times. As the burning issue that the majority of Armenians around the world see as “genocide” increasingly became the focus of attention, the patriarchate of Istanbul found itself as the magnet of hate propaganda. Threats increased, and even after our colleague, Hrant Dink, was murdered in a heinous act, the pressure is still there. The atmosphere is tense; threats did not diminish.

A week ago, Mesrob II flew to the US capital at the invitation of the Rumi Center to take part in an iftar, a fast breaking dinner, and was due to deliver a speech titled, “The Impasse between Turks and Armenians Must Be Broken” at Georgetown University’s Woodstock Theological Center, but an announcement on the center’s Web site Wednesday said the speech was “postponed due to logistical conflicts.”

In fact, he was banned from speaking there because some Armenian fanatics threatened the university: they would have protested -- even disrupted -- the meeting. I spoke to the patriarch yesterday, after his return to Turkey, and he confirmed that the organizers of the event cited “security” as the reason. He was sad, he said.

He should have a good laugh, as well. The entire episode leading to the ban looked like a collective diagnosis of the mental state of the patriarch. As the Turkish press wrongly presented that the diaspora was to blame -- it was in fact some fanatic segments of the American Armenians apparently opposed to all “civilian” attempts at establishing a dialogue between Armenians and Turks. These segments must also have a hidden fear that whatever Mesrob II might say in his speech could influence members of Congress to withdraw their support for the resolution. To prevent this, they launched a campaign, arguing that the load of death threats make it impossible for Mesrob II to “tell the truth.” Some even accused him of working for the state and of being “corrupt.” These claims were not based on facts, they stood out as accusations.

In such cases, you expect a “free” American University to not give in to groundless allegations and to let an elected community leader such as Mesrob II decide whether he wants to take the responsibility for his words. You also expect the university to let him be challenged by questions from the audience, which is always “mature” enough to listen and analyze his words critically. Columbia did not move an inch for pressure to ban the appearance of Iran’s President Ahmedinejad, Georgetown University brought shame upon itself by “canceling” the event. So much for the respect of the free word!

This tells us how venomous the atmosphere has become, despite efforts to the contrary. Turks and Armenians are, in general, held hostage by the rhetoric and actions of their own fanatics, which feed the environment with the hate they are fed with. The unacceptable attitude of silencing an elected community leader by illegal threats is not different from the threats he receives in Turkey: It is easy to understand his sadness. The event has, for now, stained the reputation of Georgetown University. Come what may from the US Congress, what is worse is that the unchallenged attitudes of fanatics threaten further research on 1915, damage dialogue and blur the attempts by Yerevan and Ankara to deal with historical and contemporary issues. Let people speak, even in the US.
26.09.2007


The Illusion Of Turkish-American Partnership
Suat Kiniklioglu s.kiniklioglu@todayszaman.com
After three days in Washington, one leaves with a distinct sense of alienation from the capital of the United States.

Every contact we meet cautiously whispers that this time the infamous Armenian resolution might pass. Interestingly, they also acknowledge that they know that it is not in the interest of the US to do so. Regardless of the gloom and doom, some analysts believe that there is still some common sense among the democrats that recognizes the potential risks of passing such a resolution at this time. "Why kill the cash cow now when we are entering an election campaign?" noted another. Of course it is clear that once the resolution passes there would be no more need to financially support exorbitant election campaigns. The present situation is actually ideal as it allows representatives to garner the benefits of the current environment, which on the one hand suggests inevitability and on the other leans on the sober reality of impossibility. Let the Armenians pay for one more year.

Needless to say, the security threat posed by the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) and the unwillingness of the US to assert proper influence over President Massoud Barzani was at the center of our meetings. We humble Turks have difficulty grasping how the United States Central Command (CENTCOM) can manage to get away with stalling action on the PKK when President Bush and Secretary of State Rice repeatedly ordered the military command to deal with the PKK issue. Turkey's friends in Washington were equally aghast when Undersecretary Burns listed the areas in which the US was expecting Turkey's help at an Atlantic Council event. Unfortunately, no one among the audience could hear what Washington was offering in exchange. Turkish ears were particularly curious to hear what was going to be said about the PKK menace in northern Iraq. Far from expecting any new items on the agenda, Ankara would have been happy to hear what its NATO ally was going to do about the PKK, which really is a responsibility rather than a favor. In fact, the overall message of Burns' speech was that all was fine on the Turkish-American front. Luckily Burns avoided reading his wish list to Prime Minister Erdogan in Ankara.

We Turks need to come to terms with the fact that this administration is not going to lift a finger on the PKK. The only hope is that the violence remains at a sustainable level until a new administration takes its place in the White House. Fixing the Turkish-American relationship will take years, if it happens at all. The US appears to have made a very calculated choice when it comes to Turks and Kurds in Iraq. That choice is clearly in favor of Mr. Barzani and the Kurds. That a strategic ally is alienated and is being lost in the process appears to be a secondary concern. It is too early to tell what this will mean in the mid to long term, but this relationship is neither strategic nor visionary any more. We need to get used to it and reorganize ourselves, instead of reminiscing about the old days or deceiving ourselves about a nonexistent partnership.

A last word is appropriate on the Iraqi Kurds. Iraqi Kurds, especially those who burn with Barzani's nationalism, seem to believe in the illusion that the US will provide them with an eternal security umbrella. Similar to the Romanians, they are inexperienced in dealing with our friends in Washington. Regardless of what they base their calculations on, there is no doubt that Turks, Kurds, Iranians and Syrians, not to mention the Shiites and Sunnis of Iraq, will be facing each other when everyone else is gone. Wise leadership would take this into account.

Ultimately an honest discussion on how to mend the Turkish-American relationship would require the US to make significant policy changes. This is not going to happen before 2009, if at all. We should acknowledge that instead of pretending that all is fine.
26.09.2007



US Armenian Group Announces Plan To Present Award To Dink’s Widow

A US Armenian group has announced that it will present an award to Rakel Dink, widow of Turkish Armenian journalist Hrant Dink, who was slain in January.

The Armenian Assembly of America (AAA) said in a statement dated Sept. 24 that Rakel Dink will accept its Distinguished Humanitarian Award on behalf of her late husband during the assembly's 35th anniversary gala, to be held Nov. 3 in Beverly Hills. Dink was shot outside the office of his newspaper, Agos, in Istanbul on Jan. 19. The teenager who shot him said he killed him because he had insulted Turks. Before his death, Dink had faced charges of "insulting Turkishness" under Article 301 of the Turkish Penal Code (TCK) for comments on an alleged genocide of Armenians at the hands of the Ottoman Empire. "We are honored that Rakel will join us as we pay tribute to her husband Hrant -- an exceptional human being and civil rights advocate who will always be remembered for his strong leadership and commitment to peaceful change," AAA Board of Trustees Chairman Hirair Hovnanian said. The AAA's Distinguished Humanitarian Award was previously presented to human rights activist Kathryn Came-ron Porter.

26.09.2007
Today's Zaman Istanbul


Is The Armenian Lobby Helping Armenia?
Kürsad Zorlu / Yeni Çag
A meeting about the economic consequences of closing the Turkish-Armenia border was recently held in Turkey. Organized by the Ari Movement and the Armenian International Policy Research Group, the meeting was sponsored by the Turkish-Armenian Business Development Council.

Turkey's potential gains were focused on. For instance, experts say Turkey is luckier than Armenia in export. But some others believe Armenia will have not much to lose if the border is not opened. On the other hand, a few top-level officials in Armenia, with different opinions to the Armenian lobby, insist on opening the border. In fact, expatriates are either not aware of the difficulties or don't experience the heavy conditions in Armenia. Armenians who are experiencing the hardships in the country believe opening the border would help the economy recover and that they could market their goods and services through Turkey.

These two starkly different approaches neither iron out bilateral relations nor bring good to Armenia. Unless Armenia leaves the occupied land in Azerbaijan and abandons the so-called genocide projects, Turkey will not open its border. Armenia should think about its future first and establish its own lobby at home.

I think right-minded Armenians should convince, not Turkey, but the Armenian Lobby which is dragging the issue to a deadlock.


Cancelling Mutafyan's Speech Not Befit To US
September 25, 2007
ISTANBUL – TDN
A decision to cancel the scheduled speech of Turkish Armenian religious leader, Patriarch Mesrob II Mutafyan, in Washington's Georgetown University, is not fitting to the United States, “the country of freedoms,” Mutafyan said, the daily Hürriyet reported yesterday.

The Armenian Diaspora in the U.S. thought that he put a stick in the wheel of the diaspora's claims, said Mutafyan, who is known for opposing the passage of bills endorsing Armenian genocide claims in foreign parliaments. “I would talk about the critical importance of making Turks and Armenians become closer without touching on the genocide issue,” he said.

Two prominent Armenians [in the U.S.] Harut Sasunyan and Rakel Goshgar wrote an open letter to Mutafyan informing him of a possible protest in Georgetown University, Mutafyan said, adding that he did not receive any threats while he was in U.S.

Sasunyan claimed in an article published in The California Courier that Mutafyan harmed Armenian claims by opposing genocide bills. Sasunyan called Diaspora Armenians to stand against Mutafyan and demanded that they block his Georgetown University speech.


The Draft Bills Brought Before The US Congress
24 September 2007
Omer Engin LUTEM
ERAREN
The Congress is back in session after summer recess. It remains unknown whether or not the draft bills foreseeing the recognition of the so-called Armenian genocide introduced into both houses of Congress will take their place on the current affairs agenda. Certain Armenian sources state that the draft bills will be dealt with towards the end of this year.

Those supporting the draft bill at the House of Representatives have reached 226. Since 218 amounts for an absolute majority at the lower house, if the bill is brought to the floor many believe its adoption will be inevitable. By way of two separate endeavors, efforts have been exerted to preclude such a development from materializing.

In the first instance, Turkey has been persuading members of Congress and the American government (particularly White House circles) that the adoption of the bills in question would have an adverse effect upon Turkish-American relations. Apart from diplomatic channels, Prime Minister Erdogan and previous Foreign Minister Gul, alongside various establishments which have certain competences in the economic sector have also supported and directed efforts towards this end. To the best of our knowledge, there are no establishments nor distinguished personalities in Turkey who do not oppose these bills. Generally speaking this also follows suit for those liberal intellectuals who generally support Armenian views.

In the second instance, Jewish organizations in the U.S. have taken a stance against the bill in question. As a matter of fact, some of the most prominent of these organizations sent a letter to Congress stating that they do not support this bill. However, in an unforeseen turn of events, this letter could not preclude the bill from attaining an absolute majority and subsequently the support of 226 members. In other words, the endeavors undertaken by the Jewish community were not of much use. In the meantime as a result of a campaign launched by certain members of the Anti-Defamation League who joined hands with the Armenians, the chairman of the League Foxman stated that the events of 1915 were “tantamount to genocide”. That Foxman did not substantiate his words uttered to the end that the Jews in Turkey would be negatively affected if the bills were to be passed set off wrong impressions about Turkey and gave those supporting the bill a new trump card.

To counter these bills Turkey was unable to resort to scholarly studies proving that the events of 1915 do not amount to genocide. The main reason accounting for this situation is that the American general public believes in these genocide allegations as a result of the continual endeavors on the part of Armenians. Studies have been conducted and continue to be conducted in Turkey discrediting these allegations. Nonetheless they have not been published nor debated in foreign countries.

In conclusion, it appears that precluding the adoption of these bills is dependent upon the members of the U.S. Congress in particular acknowledging that such a development would deal a decisive blow to Turkish-American relations.



Turkish Business Leader Urges Us Speaker To Oppose Bill On Armenian Genocide
Anatolia News Agency, Turkey
Sept 14 2007
Washington D.C., 14 September: Arzuhan Dogan Yalcindag, Chairperson of Turkish Industrialists' and Businessmen's Association (TUSIAD), sent a letter to Speaker of the US House of Representatives and wanted her to oppose to a draft resolution in the US Congress about Armenian allegations.

In the letter Yalcindag said, "I am writing you to share with you my serious concern to see renewed efforts in the US House of Representatives to debate H. Res. 106, 'Affirmation of the United States Record on the Armenian Genocide Resolution.' Turkey is a key ally of the United States both bilaterally and also within the framework of NATO. Their alliance is based on a long-standing partnership that took years to develop and nurture. Attempts by the US Congress to introduce resolutions like H. Res. 106 will hinder development of good relations between Turkey and the United States at a time when it is of utmost importance. Positive public opinion plays a very significant role in defining these relations in all aspects."

"Moreover, such efforts by the House of Representatives come as the debate in Turkey on Armenian issue is considerably more vocal and open-minded. The public is beginning to call for better relations with the Republic of Armenia as well as for a fresh look at the tragedy that took place at the time of the Ottoman Empire during World War I. In April 2005, Turkey asked Armenia to set up a joint commission to study the genocide allegations and appealed for international support for the proposal. To this end, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan sent a letter to Armenian President Kocharian, formally proposing the joint commission and requesting that not only Turkey but Armenia and other countries could open holdings in their achieves on the Armenian issue. The Turkish Parliament, in a statement, backed jointly by the government and the opposition, repeated this call for setting up a commission of Turkish, Armenian and other independent historians. Although President Kocharian rejected this offer, I sincerely hope that he and his government will take the opportunity to reciprocate this move by PM Erdogan," she said.

"On behalf of the Turkish business community, I urge your opposition to this resolution. I believe that floor deliberation of such resolutions would not be conducive to the improvement of relations between Turkey and the United States nor for the formation of relations between Turkey and Armenia," she remarked.


Official Says Adoption Of Armenian Bill To "Seriously" Harm Turkey-US Relations
Anatolia News Agency, Turkey
Sept 21 2007

"History Should Be Tackled By Historians, Hisarciklioglu" - AA

ISTANBUL (A.A) -"History should be tackled by historians. Politicians cannot re-write the history," Union of Chambers & Commodity Exchanges of Turkey (TOBB) Chairman Rifat Hisarciklioglu said on Friday as regards to a draft resolution submitted to the US Congress in relation with Armenian allegations on 1915 incidents.

Speaking to A.A correspondent, Hisarciklioglu said he met four members of the congress while he was in the States.

"I told them that approval of the draft resolution in question would harm Turkish-US relations seriously and this would have a negative impact on Turkey's relations with its neighbours. I also suggested that the matter be investigated by Turkish and Armenian historians," Hisarciklioglu said.

Hisarciklioglu said that TOBB established 'Ankara Forum' in 2005 to enable business community to contribute to Middle East peace process.

He said Israeli Manufacturers' Union and Palestinian Chamber of Trade, Industry & Agriculture convened in Ankara, thanks to the initiative of TOBB.

"Thus a tri-partite forum was established which was called Ankara Forum. The Forum asked TOBB to carry out a study to revive Erez Industry Zone in Gaza, and works started on a project envisaging to provide job opportunities to 10,000 people. However, the political developments in Gaza delayed the project. Israeli President Shimon Perez and Palestinian National Administration Chairman Mahmud Abbas asked Ankara Forum to initiate a similar study in the West Bank.

Convening on September 4th, 2007, Ankara Forum has decided to establish an industrial zone in the West Bank."


AP: Purify And Destroy—The Political Uses of Massacre and Genocide
Date: September 25, 2007 from 7:00 pm to 8:00 pm EDT
Location: Columbia University
Morningside Campus
International Affairs Building, Lindsay Rogers Room (7th Floor)
Contact: Elodie Luquet by sending email to el2374@columbia.edu .

The Alliance Program (AP) presents a seminar with Jacques Semelin a professor of political science and research director at CERI-CNRS in Paris entitled, "Purify And Destroy—The Political Uses of Massacre and Genocide."

After having studied civil resistance within Nazi Europe, he developed comparative genocide research and is now exploring processes of reconciliation and prevention. His previously published book in English is Unarmed Against Hitler: Civil Resistance in Europe, 1939–1943, and he is founder of the Online Encyclopedia of Mass Violence.

How can we comprehend the sociopolitical processes that give rise to extreme violence, ethnic cleansing, or genocide? A major breakthrough in comparative analysis, Purify and Destroy demonstrates that it is indeed possible to compare the Holocaust, the Rwandan genocide, and ethnic cleansing in Bosnia-Herzegovina while respecting the specificities of each appalling phenomenon. Jacques Semelin achieves this, in part, by leading his readers through the three examples simultaneously, the unraveling of which sometimes converges but most often diverges. Semelin’s method is multidisciplinary, relying not only on contemporary history but also on social psychology and political science. Based on the seminal distinction between massacre and genocide, Purify and Destroy identifies the main steps of a general process of destruction, both rational and irrational, born of what Semelin terms “delusional rationality.” He describes a dynamic structural model with, at its core, the matrix of a social imaginaire that, responding to fears, resentments, and utopias, carves and recarves the social body by eliminating “the enemy.” Semelin identifies the main stages that can lead to a genocidal process and explains how ordinary people can become perpetrators. He develops an intellectual framework to analyze the entire spectrum of mass violence, including terrorism, in the twentieth century and before. Strongly critical of today’s political instrumentalization of the “genocide” notion, Semelin urges genocide research to stand back from legal and normative definitions and come of age as a discipline in its own right in the social sciences. Jacques Semelin is professor of Political Science at Sciences Po in paris and research director at CERI-CNRS in Paris. His previously published book in English is Unarmed Against Hitler: Civil Resistance in Europe, 1939– 1943, and he is founder of the Online Encyclopedia of Mass Violence.

© 2006 Columbia University


ANCA Alerts Congress To Growing Anti-Armenian Sentiment In Turkey
Armenian Weekly, MA
Volume 73, No. 38, September 22, 2007
Armenian Genocide Resolution Author, Rep. Adam Schiff Decries Mounting Turkish Repression of Armenian Minority

WASHINGTON—The ANCA this week alerted Members of Congress to the growing wave of anti-Armenian sentiment orchestrated by the Turkish government as part of its drive to block legislation before the U.S. House and Senate recognizing the Armenian genocide. The dramatic increase in pressure against the Armenian community coincides with Turkey’s growing frustration over its inability—either directly or through its highly paid lobbyists—to arrest the growing bipartisan momentum toward the adoption of the Armenian Genocide Resolution (H.Res.106/S.Res.106).

Patriarch of Constantinople to Visit Washington

With the number of House co-sponsors clearing the 50 percent mark and the recent reversal of the Anti-Defamation League’s (ADL) longstanding refusal to recognize the Armenian genocide, the Turkish government has resorted to a series of increasingly strident—even desperate—measures. Amid these efforts by Ankara comes a visit to Washington, D.C. this week by His Beatitude Patriarch Mesrob II, Patriarch of the Armenian Patriarchate of Constantinople, who has been constrained from speaking openly about the Armenian genocide. The Patriarch has been subjected to a number of high profile death threats, including a July plot to assassinate both him and Greek Orthodox Patriarch Bartholomew I by a criminal organization of retired officers, known as the Union of National Forces.

The Patriarch, who in a sharp departure from traditional Armenian religious practice will apparently not be visiting with local Armenian churches or the city’s faithful, is scheduled to speak at a series of public policy engagements on Capitol Hill, Georgetown University, and elsewhere in the nation’s capital. Among these are an Iftar dinner on Capitol Hill hosted by the Rumi Forum, a Turkish-American organization with a stated mission to “foster interfaith and intercultural dialogue.”

A second, titled, “The Impasse Between Armenians and Turks Must Be Broken,” will be at Georgetown University, again sponsored by the Rumi Forum, along with Georgetown’s Woodstock Theological Center.

Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), the lead author of the Armenian Genocide Resolution, commented on the growing pressure on Turkey’s remaining Armenians, noting that “In order to perpetuate its campaign of denial, Turkey seeks to intimidate all Armenians worldwide, but especially the Armenians in Turkey who must live with daily threats. It is a criminal offense to merely speak about the Armenian genocide, let alone advocate for the passage of the Armenian Genocide Resolution before the Congress. The editor of the last Armenian-language newspaper in Turkey, Hrant Dink, was assassinated for writing about the genocide this year, and a popular video now being circulated in Turkey celebrates his killers and threatens Armenians.”

“It should come as no surprise then that the Bishop of the Armenian community in Turkey, who states that he is under daily threat, cannot speak about the genocide or support any efforts to recognize the genocide including those efforts in our country. To do so would be to place a target on his head and threaten his community even further. What is a disturbing surprise, however, is the exploitation of the vulnerable Armenian community in Turkey by opponents of the resolution.”

The ANCA, in a letter circulated yesterday to Congressional offices, explained that, “Patriarch Mutafyan—like the leaders of all religious minorities in Turkey—lives in constant fear of acts of discrimination and retribution by a Turkish government that actively persecutes those who speak freely on human rights and other ‘sensitive’ issues. As a virtual hostage, the Patriarch—whose life has been threatened on many occasions—will, as he has in the past, be forced to follow the Turkish government’s line. It is truly shameful that Turkey has resorted to using naked coercion—cynically taking advantage of the concern of Patriarch Mesrob for the safety of his flock—in a last ditch bid to block the adoption of the Armenian Genocide Resolution.”

YouTube Video Glorifying Dink Assassination

A highly popular online Turkish video, posted on the video sharing service YouTube last week, praises the assassination of Hrant Dink and illustrates the type of dangerous and hate-filled environment that Patriarch Mutafyan will return to after his orchestrated visit to the United States.

The video, which was originally taken down from YouTube but has resurfaced in a number of different forms and has been viewed by hundreds of thousands in Turkey, depicts images of the Dink’s killing with a lyric refrain: “If a person betrays the country, he is finished off.” It goes on to show “patriotic” photos of confessed assassin Ogan Samast glorified in front of the Turkish flag. Video lyrics also include the chilling warning: “The only good Armenian or Kurd is a dead Armenian or Kurd.”

A similar video showing Turkish police proudly posing with Samast shortly following his January incarceration for the murder was leaked to the Turkish press and made headlines worldwide.

Dink was gunned down in broad daylight on Jan. 19 in front of his Agos newspaper office in Istanbul. He had been prosecuted multiple times under Turkey’s repressive Article 301 laws, which criminalize reference to the Armenian genocide for “insulting Turkishness.” Since his murder, Turkey’s writers and historians, including Nobel laureate Orhan Pamuk, historian Taner Akcam and author Elif Shafak who have spoken honestly about this crime against humanity, have been the target of death threats.


Torch Relay Campaign Against Genocides Reached Armenia
24.09.2007 /PanARMENIAN.Net/ The Armenian Assembly of America (AAA) is organizing a special commemorative event to take place at the Tsitsernakapert Genocide Memorial on Tuesday, September 25 at 10.30 AM in Yerevan.

In collaboration with "Olympic Dream for Darfur" the AAA will organize an Olympic-style torch relay, as Armenia is the third stop on an international symbolic Olympic Torch Relay campaign that calls for an end to the genocide currently unfolding in Darfur. Special guests in attendance will consist of survivors of the Armenian Genocide, Rwandan Genocide and Darfur Genocide as well as His Holiness Garegin II, Catholicos of All Armenians, and The Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams.

The torchlight procession that started in Eastern Chad today will march through the states which suffered from genocide in different times. In a couple of months the action participants will cross Rwanda and Cambodia and reach Armenia. Afterwards they will head for Sarajevo.

The purpose of the procession is to attract attention of the international community to the problem of genocide, specifically to the situation in Darfur. The action was initiated by UNICEF goodwill ambassador, actress Mia Farrow, who is dealing with the Darfur problem.

“We constantly speak of prevention of genocides. However, they are repeated again and again. The activities of the Sudanese government in Darfur can be described as the first genocide of the 21st century. It should be stopped,” Ms. Farrow said.

The procession started August 8. On this very day the Summer Olympic Games will kick off in Beijing next year. China, as Sudan’s major economic partner, was chosen as one of the targets of the action.

“The Sudanese government empowered Chinese oil companies to use nature resources of the country while 80% of the income is spent on military operations in Darfur. Cooperating with China, we support the perpetrators of the genocide in Darfur,” Ms. Farrow noted.


Azerbaijan Eyes Armenia, NKR, Russia And Iran As Enemies
24.09.2007 PanARMENIAN.Net/ “Vafa Guluzade, once a renowned “hawk” in Baku, was plucked and a bit broiled by Heydar Aliyev. Now he is playing up to Aliyev junior. However, it’s not his personal ambitions. Guluzade sounds “fresh ideas” if they are meant to please Ilham Aliyev and fit Azerbaijan’s foreign policy, which aims at integration with U.S. and NATO and confrontation with Russia,” political scientist Levon Melik Shahnazaryan said in an interview with PanARMENIAN.Net.

“In this respect, Guluzade’s statement clearly reflects the aspirations of Azerbaijan, which eyes Armenia, NKR, Russia and Iran as enemies. I should mention that Azerbaijan is immoderately trying to satisfy its new patrons,” he said.

“This statement is a propagandistic canard. I repeat, Guluzade sounds Azerbaijan’s foreign ambitions. This republic estranges itself from Russia to please the U.S. Do you remember the headlines of Saturday edition of pro-governmental Zerkalo (Mirror) Baku-based newspaper? The headlines read, “Russia levies war on Azerbaijan and Georgia”, “Putin’s provocation fails”, “New imperial spurt ahead”…

All this is meant to demonstrate adherence to Washington. However, Baku dislikes confessing that the majority of population lives at expense of transfers made by Azeri gastarbeiters in Russia,” he continued.

“Azerbaijan’s original understanding of geopolitical dualism leads to such collisions,” Melik-Shahnazaryan said.

The other day Azeri political scientist Vafa Guluzade said “Azerbaijan had better deploy a couple of divisions in Nakhichevan and aim them at Yerevan and Russian bases in Armenia.”


Levon Melik-Shahnazaryan: Azerbaijan Estranges Itself From Russia To Please U.S.
Calls to resolve the Nagorno Karabakh conflict by use of force become more frequent in Azerbaijan. President Aliyev’s statements on “determination to liberate their lands” meet approval among media and politicians, who sometimes call for war against Armenia as well. PanARMENIAN.Net requested political scientist Levon Melik-Shahnazaryan to comment on Azeri statements.
24.09.2007

Well known Azeri political scientist Vafa Guluzade has announced necessity “to deploy a couple of Turkish divisions in Nakhichevan and aim them at Yerevan and Russian bases in Gyumri.” Will you comment on this statement?

Guluzade, once a renowned “hawk” in Baku, was plucked and a bit broiled by Heydar Aliyev. Now he is playing up to Aliyev junior. However, it’s not his personal ambitions. Guluzade sounds “fresh ideas” if they are meant to please Ilham Aliyev’s and fit Azerbaijan’s foreign policy, which aims at integration with U.S. and NATO and confrontation with Russia. In this respect, Guluzade’s statement clearly reflects the aspirations of Azerbaijan, which eyes Armenia, NKR, Russia and Iran as enemies. I should mention that Azerbaijan is immoderately trying to satisfy its new patrons.

Nevertheless, is the scenario with Turkish divisions possible?

I don’t think it’s possible in the near future, since it will transform a local conflict into global war. Modern Turkey is not an independent military state. It’s bound by commitments with NATO. I do not think that NATO is interested in an armed confrontation for the sake of Azerbaijan’s unsatisfied territorial ambitions.

Azerbaijan is dreaming to be carried back to the times when all domestic and foreign tasks were settled under Turkey’s supervision. CSTO Secretary General Nikolay Bordyuzha furnished a worthy comment on the issue. When asked about current threats, Mr Bordyuzha said, “These are militant statements by representatives of various countries to resolve the so-called frozen conflict by use of force. It refers to escalation of military activities, boost of defense budget and personnel number in Georgia and Azerbaijan.”
However, our history records that in 1918 the Turkish army led by Nuri intervened in the Caucasus. As result, the Azerbaijani Republic was formed. At that time Turkish ascetics and recruits from Caucasian Tatars (future Azeris) slaughtered not only Armenian peasants but also Russian soldiers who were returning to Russia from the Caucasian front. Over 3 thousand Russian soldiers were killed in Shamkhor. Massacre of Russian soldiers took place in Ghazakh, Gyandja and even in Baku suburbs – Baladjary and Surakhany. Simply, Azerbaijan had high hopes for Turkey then. Presently, it worships the United States and NATO.

It turns out that Guluzade’s statement is a mere populist trick…

Not exactly. It’s a propagandistic canard. I repeat, Guluzade sounds Azerbaiajan’s foreign ambitions. This republic estranges itself from Russia to please the U.S. Do you remember the headlines of Saturday edition of pro-governmental Zerkalo (Mirror) Baku-based newspaper? “Russia levies war on Azerbaijan and Georgia”, “Putin’s provocation fails”, “New imperial spurt ahead”…

All this is meant to demonstrate adherence to Washington. However, Baku dislikes confessing that the majority of population lives at expense of transfers made by Azeri gastarbeiters in Russia.

Azerbaijan’s original understanding of geopolitical dualism leads to such collisions.
«PanARMENIAN.Net», 24.09.2007


Patriarch Mutafyan’s Speech Cancelled By Decision Of Georgetown University Administration
24.09.2007 PanARMENIAN.Net/ “The decision to postpone the speech by Patriarch Mesrob II Mutafyan, religious leader of Turkish Armenians was taken by the Georgetown University administration after a meeting with the Armenian community,” Armenian National Committee of America Executive Director Aram Hamparian told a PanARMENIAN.Net reporter.

“We shared with Georgetown our concern that - as a leading American center of learning - it should not allow itself to be used as a platform for the Turkish government’s hateful campaign of the Armenian Genocide denial,” Mr Hamparian underscored.

Patriarch Mesrob II, who arrived in the U.S. capital last week, was scheduled to deliver a speech called "The Impasse between Turks and Armenians Must Be Broken" at Georgetown University’s Woodstock Theological Center.

The Turkish Daily News reported that “the event had been cancelled following pressure on the university by U.S. Armenian groups over Partiarch’s opposition to the Armenian Genocide Resolution.”

A Turkish diplomat said the event did not take place because “the Armenian lecturer doesn’t share the opinion of the Armenian community of the U.S.”

Asked by reporters if his speech was canceled because of U.S. Armenian pressure, the patriarch said, "it may have been."


Other People’s Pain
Andrew Finkel a.finkel@todayszaman.com
It will make reconciliation between Turk and Armenian more difficult, not less; it will fuel a reckless form of nationalism and isolationism with consequences no one can predict. This is an argument I have used myself to argue against US House of Representatives Resolution 106 -- the non-binding motion of the 110th Congress that the treatment of Armenians by the Ottoman Empire in 1915 constituted genocide. Turkish society is now engaged in a debate both about its past and its present. Such a resolution would be the equivalent of watering a growing flower with a fire hose. The idea is to get away from official history -- why try to overwrite one version of the past made in Ankara with another version made in Washington? Truths legislated by parliaments are by definition tests of power and political expediency -- they have little to do with the consensual truths which would allow Turk and Armenian to speak face to face.

Of course this is not an argument that attracts a great deal of sympathy, particularly in Washington, where Armenian pressure groups believe they have a historical opportunity to convince the Democratic majority in the House of Representatives to overlook the other argument -- that HR 106 would jeopardize American strategic interests with Turkey. Convinced of the justice of their own cause, it is almost impossible to empathize with the quite complex proposition that they might be muddying the waters of Turkish democracy half way around the globe. “And what evidence is there of growing liberalization in Turkey, when state prosecutors persecute the country’s finest minds under Article 301?” I was asked at a seminar the other day.

The appearance of the Armenian Patriarch of Istanbul Mesrob II in Washington last week complicates the issue. The patriarch attends to the spiritual need of the remaining Armenian community in Turkey, probably 70,000 souls, and it is clear that the majority of that community does not favor the passage of HR 106 precisely because it does not take account of their own position. Far more important than genocide recognition is getting their Turkish neighbors to recognize that they are themselves Turkish patriots and not a third column and whatever you choose to call it -- their history has held much pain. A remark I had heard, not of course from the patriarch but from a prominent member of the Turkish Armenian community, is that the diaspora resents the existence of the community still in Turkey and is happy to see a backlash.

This is, of course, an extreme view, but there is a common view in America that Armenians in Turkey have views that are not to be taken in consideration either because they are too frightened to speak, what they say is coerced, or they have become Uncle Toms and traitors to their own cause. It is not surprising therefore, that the patriarch, during the few occasions I saw him in Washington, appeared subdued. It is not often that one sees ordained clergy actually carrying a cross, but he seemed slumped under a heavy weight.

As judicious as he was with his words, there still appeared to be those who did not want the patriarch to speak at all. A presentation he was meant to give at Georgetown University was cancelled. He was informed that the talk on how to end the impasse between Turk and Armenian was cancelled for “security reasons,” and according to him no other explanation was given. From what I gather, the Woodstock Theological Center of Georgetown University had agreed to host the talk on short notice at the request of the Rumi Forum, an Islamic-centered interfaith dialogue group associated with the Fetullah Gulen movement. As incredible as it seems, the center did not anticipate controversy. After being swamped with requests for press facilities, Georgetown panicked. The university had hosted a talk only recently from a senior Wal-Mart executive, a far more controversial figure on an American campus than the Istanbul Armenian patriarch. People I spoke to from Georgetown itself were openly skeptical that the event presented so intense a security threat that it could not go ahead. The explanation they found more probable was that their university was guilty of academic cowardice, that it had listened to the objections of Armenian groups who did not want the patriarch to speak, and had decided it just wasn’t worth the fuss.

There are no easy answers in this issue. No one has the right to say “I told you so.” Questions of justice and empathy for others’ suffering are traduced to Realpolitik, and the suffering will go on.
25.09.2007



‘Armenian Resolution:’ Bad For Armenia, Turkey And The US
Murat Yulek m.yulek@todayszaman.com
Countries are free to let their parliaments decide on historical issues. For example, you may have the Japanese parliament vote unanimously that it was the American air force who first struck Japan to start the eastern episode of World War II.

That will not change history, but may have repercussions on the politics and economics of the day.

Letting parliaments decide on historical facts may also seem one of the silly features of the political system of our times when future political historians, say a hundred years from now, describe the beginning of 21st century.

One of the prime weaknesses of democracies is probably the possibility of making parliaments hostage to strong lobbies. Lobbies are not bad per se; so long as they are a means to convey sincere preferences of voters to parliament, they are a useful ingredient of the democratic system. They are bad when they become just a stick to prod a parliament to vote as a specific clique wants; the parliament then becomes a stamping authority of the strong lobbies of smaller cliques.

What Armenia needs today is economic growth and political stability. When a poor country invading its neighbor’s land is no news to the world, one can conclude there is a problem somewhere, including for the invading party. Armenia, instead of using its resources properly to drive growth and development for its people, is allocating today a significant portion of those resources to feed its official and unofficial invasion army in Azerbaijan.

The result is closed borders with Turkey and Azerbaijan, and animosity instead of cooperation for Armenia. Armenia has about 70,000 illegal workers in Turkey, maybe more. It could trade freely with Turkey and Azerbaijan to create mutual prosperity. It could see higher growth rates and a more prosperous society. Its invasion of Azerbaijan does not help all this.

A vote of so-called genocide by the US Congress will also not help. The prime result will be increased animosity with Turkey. Nor will Turkish-US relations benefit from a Congress-stamped slander of Turkey which will also be taken as encouragement of a country’s invading its neighbor.

The Armenian diaspora in the US sabotaged a speech by Armenian Patriarch Mesrob II (Mutafyan) to be delivered at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., last week. The patriarch was probably going to voice his appeal for more cooperation instead of hostility, more dialogue instead of bickering. Perhaps Congress should listen to him.

I am not sure if the Armenian diaspora will also be ultimately happy with a “Congress victory.” Their insistence on unduly affecting US policy will result in damaged US foreign relations, a further damaged Armenian economy and a damaged Turkish openness to dialogue with Armenia.

The Turco-American economic relationship spans more than 100 years. This is a close relationship, but still weak compared to its potential. A vote by congress will damage that potential as well. This is probably what the diaspora wants. Is this what all Americans want?
25.09.2007



On Empires And Their Destiny
FEHMI KORU f.koru@todayszaman.com
Wherever I go in Washington and whoever I talk with, I hear that Congress will certainly pass the Armenian resolution, regardless of possible reactions from all the pertinent bodies and personalities, including President George W. Bush. The Armenian lobby is going to be successful this time around; so my sources tell me. But I also hear the opposite: that the Congress will not give way to the Armenian lobby’s demand in a time the US is in dire need of Turkey’s assistance in a region beset with problems that the US has a huge stake in. As it was the case many times previously, the president will write a letter to the Congress as well as place a call to Nancy Pelosi, speaker of the house, giving a detailed account of Turkey’s importance and asking to postpone the proposed resolution. “Don’t worry,” people in the know say, “The resolution will not pass.”

Now you hear it, now you don’t.

I have never seen the Turks living in the US capital so gloomy. The Armenian resolution is an issue taking up all the energies and efforts of Turkey’s representatives in a country where there are higher objectives to achieve for the benefit of both sides. Turkey can easily adapt itself for a mandate which would be a tremendous help to the US in its endeavor to reach a workable status in the Middle East. Turkey, with its highly respected democratic government, can also show the US how to handle the problem of its constant image deterioration in the eyes of the Muslim world.

I have great doubts about the resolution of historical events with modern political tools. The Armenian resolution will do no good to any of the parties involved, apart from the satisfaction it would bestow to fanatics and bigots. What did happen in 1915 can not be undone with a resolution passed by a third party’s parliament. How can the misery and tribulations of the Armenians who suffered badly during a war which also caused the extinction of the lives of millions of other people be rectified by a simple declaration of parliamentarians who close their ears to the suffering of masses all over the world?

More than 800,000 people have lost their lives in a bloody war declared by the US Congress almost unilaterally and the same Congress will pass a declaration condemning the Armenian losses in a war too distant to remember. What a grave contradiction!

During my extended sojourn in the US capital this time around, I found myself in an unwanted position of attracting interest. Those who follow events relating to Turkey closely in Washington wonder what would happen if the Armenian resolution is accepted by the Congress. What would be the public reaction in Turkey? In which direction will the reactions be channeled? Would the Turkish government stimulate the aggravation or try to allay the public’s outburst?

I answered all these questions positively: Yes, there will be a public uproar if and when the resolution is passed. There will be calls for total boycotts of anything American and officials in Turkey will find it very difficult to convince the people to side with American positions when the necessity arises.

Turkey will lose face, but the Americans will suffer most from the Armenian resolution if it passes through Congress.

Let us assume that the resolution passes -- what will it be achieved by this development? The only change likely to occur is its possible shadow cast over Turkish-US relations. The bilateral relations between the two have never been easy; there have been turbulences along the way, but both countries have managed to remain friends nevertheless. Up until now. With the resolution’s passing, from now on nothing will be the same.

During my stay in Washington, I have consistently been asked the same question: According to opinion polls, the Turkish public is the most anti-American in the world, with only 9 percent showing some sympathy toward the US -- what would it change with one more negative development?

The change will be enormous: the lack of sympathy in Turkey toward the US stems from American involvement in regional problems and will evaporate when the situation changes; with passing of the Armenian resolution by Congress, the Turkish public’s regard for the US will diminish completely. Our feelings, negative or positive, toward the US are powerful; this alone must be a cause of concern for Washington.

Of course the issue between the Turks and the Armenians has to be solved, and solved justly. We, the people of Turkey, will find a way to make amends with the Armenian people in the future. Turkey will extend its hand toward Armenia, using the presence of Turkish citizens of Armenian extraction in Turkey to both countries’ benefit. We feel sorry for all the losses during an unfortunate war which cost us more dearly. We lost not only a large chunk of our compatriots, we also lost our empire.

I expect to see some understanding from the US, in a time when its own empire faces grave difficulties.
24.09.2007


Turkish Archives May Shed Light On History Of 30 Countries
The General Directorate of State Archives and the Turkish Historical Society (TTK) have conducted joint work to classify the Ottoman archives.

This classification showed that Ottoman archives contained records and documents that contain important information about the history of 30 countries, established after the disintegration of the Ottoman State. Upon request, these documents and records will be provided to the respective countries. Translation of the archives into English, German and French has already started. The classification work has been under progress for many years and it is about to be finalized to a great extent. During this work, important documents and records have been unearthed which will shed light on the history of not only Turkey, but also of 30 countries in the Balkans, Europe, Africa and the Middle East.

In particular, it was discovered that the Ottoman archives contained very important documents and records pertaining to Armenia, about which Turkey offered to open all archives to international researchers in connection with the so-called Armenian genocide.

The records in the Ottoman archives cover 400-500 years of the history of these countries, which include Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria, Libya, Egypt, Sudan, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait, Jordan, Oman, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Iraq, Syria, Palestine, Israel, Lebanon, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia, Bulgaria, Kosovo, Romania, Moldova, Macedonia, Greece, Albania, Georgia, Armenia and Cyprus. Officials from the General Directorate of State Archives note that the number of countries that make use of the Ottoman archives had been low, adding that individual researchers will now be given access to the archives.

National archives bill

The bill on national archives, prepared after the conclusion of research and classification work in the Ottoman archives, is expected to be enacted after the opening of the Turkish Parliament on Oct. 1. During the previous parliamentary term, the bill had been negotiated at the parliamentary Plan and Budget Commission, which referred it to a sub-commission. The government is preparing to enact this bill as soon as Parliament reconvenes. This bill will ensure that the archives are handled in accordance with scientific methods.

Since access to the state archives became forbidden or restricted, many archived documents were either damaged or lost. The bill contains tight measures against such acts. Any person who steals, destroys or removes documents from the state archives may be sentenced to one to six years in prison and fined up to YTL 5,000.

The bill empowers the General Directorate of State Archives for the determination of archive documents and documents capable of being archived, their protection, their usage in line with national and public interests and their elimination and destruction when necessary.

Documents produced by public organizations and institutions except those of the Presidency, the Parliament, the General Staff, the Defense Ministry and the National Intelligence Organization (MIT) will be archived by the General Directorate of State Archives. The records of the Turkish Red Crescent (Kizilay) and the Turkish Aviation Association (THK) will also be archived.

Archived documents will not be taken out of the archive buildings or the places where they are kept. Permission of the general director will be required for their display at exhibitions or other scientific or cultural activities.

The documents archived at the General Directorate or other archive buildings will be opened for access 30 years after their first processing and classification. Real or corporate persons will not be allowed to keep archive documents other than those relating to their correspondence with public authorities, nor sell, purchase, reproduce, destroy or make them accessible to third parties.

24.09.2007
ERCAN YAVUZ ANKARA


'The Path Of Least Resistance'
September 24, 2007
Jason EPSTEIN
In a battle described in a recent blog posting as “pitting principle against pragmatism,” some in the American Jewish community have instead chosen a third way to handle the longstanding and bitter dispute between Turks and Armenians: “the path of least resistance.”I first understood the meaning of the term when working on Capitol Hill in the early 1990s. An irate and borderline irrational letter arrived from one of the congressman's constituents and, instead of informing the writer precisely how many steps he should take in order to jump off the Santa Monica pier, the preferable method was to assure him that his representative would give his concerns “all due consideration.”That term resurfaced in my consciousness following last month's events involving a group of Armenian-American activists and the Anti-Defamation League's regional director in New England. In response to their pressure to oppose his national organization's position against a controversial congressional resolution that, if passed, would recognize the tragic events during the final days of the Ottoman Empire as “genocide” against Armenians, the director publicly repudiated the ADL policy. The resulting firestorm led to an embarrassing crisis in Turkish-Jewish relations, and could ultimately threaten US-Turkish ties at a time when the American military relies heavily on Turkey for its ongoing military operations in Afghanistan and Iraq.For many years a radical and occasionally violent segment within the otherwise honorable Armenian-American community has bullied Jewish organizations, synagogues, and politicians to endorse their view of what caused the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Armenians living in the Ottoman Empire during the First World War.

Blind hatred toward Turkey

Their hearts are filled less with pride about the independent country of Armenia than with blind hatred toward Turkey. Instead of pursuing a resolution that, if passed, may threaten the security of American servicemembers – a point that the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs has stressed repeatedly – more of their time should be invested in beseeching the Armenian military to pull its soldiers out of territory in Azerbaijan, an American ally, so that Yerevan would not have to rely on Tehran and Moscow for regional support. In lieu of pressuring Jews and the Israeli government to equate the massacres of 1915 with the Holocaust, they ought to be urging the Armenian government to unequivocally condemn Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmedinejad's repeated denials that the Holocaust ever took place.Their motives are at least two-fold: to put the massacres on par with the Holocaust and to label anyone who dares question whether the events really did constitute genocide as a despicable “Holocaust denier.” (Never mind that a highly respected group of scholars, including but not limited to, Bernard Lewis, Andrew Mango, Norman Stone, Stanford Shaw, Guenter Lewy, and Justin McCarthy recognize that hundreds of thousands of Armenians were killed during the First World War but decline to categorize the tragic events as genocide.) What is so disturbing is that an increasing number of Jewish organizations, in the face of such pressure and in the absence of an effective Turkish-American counter-lobby, have chosen the path of least resistance and endorse the disputed Armenian-American narrative. In the process, however, they have trivialized the importance of centuries of Ottoman and Turkish protection of Jews. To be sure, other forces are also at work. Many left-wing Jewish groups are already taking action against what many believe to be ongoing genocidal violence in Darfur, rendering them easy allies for those who have long sought recognition of their own claims of genocide. One such organization, the Los Angeles-based Progressive Jewish Alliance, on the one hand, has managed to forge close ties with a Muslim organization whose leadership once suggested that Israel was to blame for 9/11 but, on the other, will not even acknowledge the acute concerns of Turkey, a democratic nation of 70 million Muslim inhabitants that Israel considers a close ally.

‘All-Muslims-look-alike' marginality Alternatively, there is a loud minority of marginal voices on the right who take an “all-Muslims-look-alike” approach in how they view Islam. In their world, there is no variance between a Turk, an Arab, and a Persian, and certainly little difference between an observant Muslim and one who elects not to practice. “Jewish leaders should refuse to be blackmailed by Muslim extremism,” thundered Steven M. Goldberg in a recent Jewish Journal op-ed, completely unaware and/or uncaring that secular Turks are perhaps even more outraged than their religious brethren at being labeled “genocide deniers,” as they perceive the charge as an attack against the modern Turkish state's founder, Kemal Mustafa Ataturk. Admittedly, national Jewish organizations are not without blame. They have tended to shy away from educating regional leaders or local synagogues on the complexities of this topic; that the Jewish community in Turkey is understandably offended by the facile comparisons to the Holocaust; that Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan proposed in 2005 the creation of an independent commission of scholars to review both sides' claims (according to the Turkish government the offer remains on the table); that Armenian-American organizations need to call upon Armenia to rethink its close ties with Iran and Russia. Not surprisingly, the Armenian-American activists filled this vacuum by skirting the New York and Washington headquarters of ADL, B'nai B'rith International, and American Jewish Committee, and instead targeted the community leaders. Jak Kahmi, a successful business executive in Istanbul and longtime leader of the vibrant Turkish Jewish community, pointed out last month that it is “[t]he particular Jewish duty to protect historical truth … [that] guides us not to silence scholarly argument by pretending a consensus exists, nor to dilute the Holocaust with comparison to events of a completely different nature, but to facilitate the establishment of the historical truth in the first place.” Too bad that, for more and more Jewish officials, and particularly those at the local level, the path of least resistance is far more appealing.

Jason Epstein is a US-based consultant. He was an adviser to the Turkish Embassy in Washington from 2002-07.


US Should Understand Turkey Is Changing, Says Deputy
Justice and Development Party (AK Party) Çankiri deputy Suat Kiniklioglu stated on Thursday that the US has a tendency, a remnant from the Cold War, to see Turkey as a satellite state.
 © This content Mirrored From TurkishArmenians  Site

AK Party deputy Suat Kiniklioglu (L), a regular contributor to Today's Zaman, and Today’s Zaman columnist Andrew Finkel delivered speeches at a Thursday evening iftar at the US Congress building, organized by the Rumi Forum.

"The change [in Turkey] that began in the Turgut Özal period is continuing and this is turning our country into a powerful state in its region. Turkey is not a satellite country anymore, but it is in the position of a partner state," he added.

Kiniklioglu, a regular contributor to Today's Zaman, and columnist Andrew Finkel both delivered speeches at a Thursday evening iftar at the US Congress building, organized by the Rumi Forum, an organization working to foster interfaith dialogue. "Turkey has become a significant power in its region," Kiniklioglu stressed.

Expressing that Turkey embraces democratic values more and more each day, Kiniklioglu remarked that Turkish-American relations should get over the blow they suffered in 2003 when Parliament rejected a resolution allowing deployment of US troops from inside its territory. Kiniklioglu asked US authorities to grasp the new position of Turkey both within its region and the global order, and expressed his opinion that such a viewpoint would have a positive impact on bilateral relations.

Sharing his observation that some in Washington, D.C., were finding it difficult to grasp the drastic change Turkey has been going through, he said that public opinion in Turkey now could become a defining source in decisions made between the leaders of the two countries as it happened in 2003. "We expect the US to know that Turkey is a powerful state in its region and respect that," Kiniklioglu told the attendees.

Kiniklioglu also asked American diplomats to be more careful in considering regional balances, warning that unintended consequences could unfold in the Middle East. Referring to last year's crisis in Lebanon, he added: "Washington called London, Paris and Berlin in regard to the problem. We would have expected our American friends to call Ankara. Such an approach would prevent repetition of the difficulties the US has faced in Iraq."

He pointed to Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) terrorism as the most important problem in the relations between the two countries along with the difficulty some US officials have in understanding the changes in Turkey.

US should realize Cold War over

Andrew Finkel stressed that the Cold War is over -- something he believes should be understood by US officials.

Reiterating Kiniklioglu's earlier point that Turkey is no longer a satellite nation shielding the West against the threat of communism, Finkel also expressed that US officials' concerns that the AK Party has a secret Islamist agenda were unfounded, saying that the party's commitment to the European Union process was proof of this.

Asserting that the US is hesitating to impose sanctions against the PKK because of its good relations with the administration of northern Iraq, Finkel said this is vexing for the Turkish side. Finkel also shared his opinion that the US is using the PKK against Iran.

Armenia against border opening

In response to a question from an Armenian journalist attending the iftar dinner, Kiniklioglu said the border between Armenia and Turkey being closed is not blocking Armenia, adding that he believed Armenia would not be willing to open the border as this would normalize relations between the two countries and put an end to the Kocharian regime.

23.09.2007
SEZAI KALAYCI WASHINGTON


Turkey Puts An End To Water Wars Thesis
Until several years ago, international strategists would argue that a war over water resources would inevitably emerge in the Middle East. But the recent change in Turkey's international water policy seems to discredit this thesis.
 © This content Mirrored From TurkishArmenians  SiteA general view of Keban Dam, built on the Euphrates. In the past Syria and Iraq complained a lot about Turkey’s construction of dams on the Tigris and Euphrates.


Turkey has adopted a fair sharing model for its surface water that leaves the country, thereby solving the problems it had with Syria, Iraq, Iran, Bulgaria, Georgia and Greece over water management. Environment and Forestry Minister Veysel Eroglu, speaking to Today's Zaman, said, "No war over water resources will emerge in the region."

Eroglu stated that as one of the countries affected by global warming to the greatest extent, Turkey has changed its water strategy, despite the fact that it faces significant water scarcity problems in several regions. Turkey's new strategy can be defined as fair sharing and cooperative usage of water resources. Moreover, Turkey will stop its projects for the sale of several water resources such as Manavgat River. Turkey will implement a system of water transfers between water basins and use its every water resource to this end.

The minister summarized the change in Turkey’s water policy that relates to its neighbors as follows: “Instead of having problems over water with our neighbors, we prefer developing joint projects. We have gradually solved all problems. Contrary to what some people claim, no longer will a war emerge over water resources in this region, but people may still find lame reasons for waging wars. We believe that the water resources in the region can be effectively used to satisfy the water needs of the region.”

Turkey’s problems with its neighbors concerning the surface waters leaving its borders are long-standing problems. In the past Syria and Iraq frequently filed official complaints to the United Nations about Turkey’s construction of dams on the Tigris and Euphrates, arguing that Turkey failed to release sufficient water from these dams. Another problem with Syria had to do with the Asi River in Hatay. This river originates in Syria, but flows into the sea from Turkish territory. Syria would occasionally release high amounts of water which would cause floods in the Amik plain in Hatay and this would offend Turkey. Turkey had a similar problem with Bulgaria concerning the Meriç River. Moreover, Georgia would frequently warn Turkey because of the Çoruh River, which originates in Turkey, but flows into the sear in Batum city of Georgia.

How were problems solved?

Turkey had the greatest problems with Syria and Iraq concerning the cross-border surface waters. Turkey decided to change its water policy during the World Water Congress, held in Antalya in March 2007, and first solved its problems with Syria. Turkey saw that whenever it had talks with Syria, France was also involved the talks, and whenever it had talks with Iraq, the UK and the US were also involved the talks, and this made it more complex in finding a solution. Therefore, Turkey requested bilateral talks with its neighbors. When they accepted Turkey’s offer, the problems started to gradually be solved.

Turkey made the first agreement on cross-border surface waters with Syria. The warm relations with Syria started after Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s visit to this country, and the two countries decided to develop a joint project for constructing a dam on the border where the Asi River passes. Under this project, 70 percent of the dam’s water capacity will be used by Syria while the remaining capacity will belong to Turkey.

In response to Syria’s complaints of not receiving sufficient water from the Tigris and Euphrates, particularly during hot summers, Turkey offered to conduct a joint study by a committee of scientists. The committee found out that in summer water levels of both rivers decrease to the point of drying up. However, Turkey continues to release a constant volume of water from its dams, thereby providing water at all times to Syria.

Turkey also gave Syria scientific support in the determination of irrigable lands near these two rivers. Syria launched a project for the irrigation of these lands with a sprinkler system and found out that the current levels of these rivers would be sufficient. Furthermore, the scientific committee found out that evaporation in Syria is at high levels, and Syria does not have suitable terrain for storing water, therefore it would be more reasonable to store water in Turkish territories. Accordingly Syria was convinced that Turkey’s construction of more dams would in the long term be beneficial also to Syria. Eventually, Syria stopped objecting to the Ilisu Dam, the foundations of which were laid last year by Prime Minister Erdogan.

As reported by Eroglu, Turkey had similar talks with Iraq and managed to also convince the Baghdad administration. But after the US occupation in Iraq, relations with this country changed. Although Turkey freely provided know-how on water treatment to Iraq, the Kurdish groups in northern Iraq did not want to cooperate with Turkey concerning cross-border surface water.

With mutual understanding and cooperation, Turkey managed to solve its problems on water with Georgia. The high output from the Çoruh River would cause considerable damage to the lands near Batum, Georgia, and this would consequently create problems between the two countries. Both countries, being partners in the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil and natural gas pipeline project, agreed that these floods could only be prevented with a dam constructed in Turkish territory. The Muratli Dam, constructed on the Çoruh River, solved this problem.

Turkey employed the strategy it used with Syria in order to solve the Meriç River problem with Bulgaria. Thus, Turkey offered to construct a dam jointly with Bulgaria. Both countries agreed to construct a dam called Suakacagi on the Meriç River. The dam’s designs have been completed and its construction will start in 2008.

Despite having fewer problems with Greece, Turkey is also developing joint projects with it in order to prevent floods in the Ergene basin. These projects will also serve to build mutual trust between the two countries.

23.09.2007


Turkey Fine Tunes Missile Shield Tender For Russian
Turkey has started the countdown to the tender of the Long-Range Regional Air and Missile Defense Systems, also known as the missile shield, with a likely price tag of around $2 billion. Turkey is planning to finalize this tender by 2008.
 © This content Mirrored From TurkishArmenians  Site With this project Turkey is seeking to avert long-range missile attacks. Currently eight Turkish and five foreign -- including US, Israeli and Chinese -- companies are interested in the tender. Russia has also expressed an interest, but decided not to participate because the requirement for "submission of technical data in an open tender environment" in the specifications of the tender would necessitate the disclosure of confidential information. Russian companies were specifically worried about the possibility of confidential information about missile defense systems being obtained by the US and Israel. Before the tender, to be managed by the Under-secretariat for the Defense Industry (SSM), Turkey decided to make modifications to the specifications in order to ensure the participation of Russia in the tender.

When several Russian companies did not respond after having obtained the Request for Information (RFI) with the intention of entering the tender, SSM officials met with the companies and told them they might modify the tender specifications in order to eliminate their concerns. The SSM officials’ readiness to amend the tender specifications may be attributable to the fact that they see Russian companies as important contenders for the missile shield project. The SSM officials maintain that the modifications will cause delays only for a few months, but such changes will create more suitable tender conditions. The SSM will remove the requirement for applicants to submit technical data, which will instead be provided to Turkey through bilateral talks.

To date, 13 companies have responded to the RFIs on the Long-Range Regional Air and Missile Defense Systems Project. Foreign companies that intend to participate in the tender include the US companies Boeing, Lockheed Martin and Raytheon as well as public corporation Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) and the China Precision Machinery Import-Export Corporation (CPMIEC). The US companies will offer the Patriot and MEADS systems while Israeli and Chinese companies will propose their Arrow 2 and HQ-9 systems, respectively. Turkish authorities are planning to conclude the tender by mid-2008 and commission the system in 2010.

The US-made Patriots, the Chinese-made FD-2000 and the US-Israeli made Arrow 2 missile systems are capable of destroying enemy missiles at an altitude of up to 45 kilometers. These systems are equipped with radars that can detect ramp mobility from 300 kilometers. The Patriots have a range of 70 kilometers and can destroy enemy missiles within 15-20 seconds after their detection.

For the Chinese FD-2000 system, this duration decreases to 15 seconds. The Arrow 2 missile system is capable of destroying enemy missiles in 13 seconds after detection and 100 kilometers before they react their target. However, the Russian-made S-300 missile systems owned by Greece have a range of 150 kilometers and are capable of destroying enemy targets in 10 seconds.

Installed in strategic positions

Turkey is planning to purchase four systems, which may cost $2 billion, as a precaution against possible attacks with long range missiles. Experts argue that two missile defense systems should be installed in Istanbul and Ankara, where one-fifth of Turkey’s population resides. The remaining two systems will be installed in high-risk zones, which include the Southeastern Anatolia Project (GAP) region and Turkey’s emerging energy center, the Mediterranean region. One of the systems might be installed at a location near Adana or Mersin in order to give protection to Ceyhan and Yumurtalik as the terminal point of the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline and the Kirkuk-Yumurtalik pipeline. The fourth system is expected to be installed at a location in the Aegean region.


23.09.2007
Ercan Yavuz Ankara


‘The Flea Palace’ By Elif Safak
A country's greatest ambassadors are often its artists and its sportsmen. Now you may not agree with this quote, but just consider the way Olga Korbut's charming smile melted the Iron Curtain and made her country seem a less fierce and austere place.
 © This content Mirrored From TurkishArmenians  Site Or how about the interest sparked in Paris by the impressionist painters? Celine Dion helped Canada shake off its calm and placid image and don't forget the Bollywood films, exporting an image of a dynamic, youthful India to the rest of the world.

If the pen really is mightier than the sword, then the quickest way to conquer the world must be through impressive literature. Turkey has its share of literary greats both ancient and modern, but ask a browser in a bookshop in London or New York to name a Turkish novelist and the number-one reply will be Orhan Pamuk, the Nobel Prize-winning novelist. Most would struggle to name a second Turkish author. A bookworm or Turcophile may mention Yasar Kemal, but sadly many of his titles have been out of print in the UK or US for several decades.

With international interest in Turkish literature awakened following the recent round of Nobel Prizes and the prospect of increased European focus on Turkish arts and culture as Istanbul becomes the European Capital of Culture for 2010, we can expect something of a renaissance for Turkish literature translated into English (and of course German, French and other major world languages).

A major question to be answered by publishers and literary organizations selecting works to translate must be, "How much should the book explain Turkish history and Turkish life?" Kemal's marvelous epics bring the people of the Çukurova plain in the middle of the 20th century to life. Pamuk's recent work, "Istanbul: Memories and the City," is as much about the fascinating city of Istanbul as it is about Pamuk's life. Is this the only type of book that will be popular abroad? Surely a skilled Turkish author writing about international themes can be as popular. Marion Boyars publishers has begun to carve out for itself a niche of interesting modern Turkish authors and their lead name in this new crusade to bring Turkish literature to a wider international audience is Safak.

Safak was born in France and lived in Spain and Jordan before returning to Turkey. She currently spends half the year abroad, and is an assistant professor in the Near Eastern Studies Department at the University of Arizona at Tucson in the US.

Another issue for international publishers is how much the book, its language, the characters' names and even the author's name should be changed in order to make it understandable to a non-Turkish audience. Safak is no stranger to controversy -- her most recent work "The Bastard of Istanbul," quite apart from having an in-your-face title, had references to Armenian incidents that led to her being prosecuted under the laws banning insulting Turkishness -- and often Turks feel she has wrongly chosen to be influenced by globalization when they see her surname is spelled Shafak when published abroad. Even so, one of the reviews quoted on the inside cover of "The Flea Palace" states, "Not being able to pronounce the author's name is no reason to doubt that you'll enjoy this book."

"The Flea Palace" is, at first glance, a marvelous description of life in an Istanbul apartment block that is suffering from faded glory. Once smart, built by a Russian émigré, the apartment is now somewhat dilapidated and beset by problems related to garbage dumping. The story contains no chapter numbers; each chapter is titled with the number of the flat the chapter focuses on, with its residents. The story progresses as we visit the different flats, making new friends as we cross each threshold, sometimes returning to the site of a previous visit, just like a gossipy neighbor drinking tea each afternoon in a different flat in the apartment block.

However the book is, for me, a study in the style of writing that Pamuk first made his own and that has become popular among modern Turkish authors.

"The Flea Palace" is unashamedly a "story within a story." Firstly we are introduced to a small incident that occurs outside Bonbon Apartmani at 12:20 p.m. on Wednesday, May 1, 2002 -- an incident so ordinary that it is played out countless times on the streets of Istanbul every day and so mundane that it normally would not warrant a second glance. Then we are taken back in time to the 1960s, just before the apartment block was built, when cemeteries were being cleared to provide more land for housing. Then we are taken further back in time to learn the history that led a Russian couple to Istanbul in the 1920s -- this story converges with the previous one as he builds the apartment block his wife names Bonbon. The main body of the book then details the life of the residents in 2002, converging with the first story when we reach Wednesday, May 1.

The impression of peeling back the layers of an onion is cemented, or perhaps rather totally shaken, when we read the final pages. The narrator informs us that he is currently serving time for his arrest on Wednesday, May 1, 2002, and everything we have read up to that point was a work of fiction he invented to while away the first 60 days in prison.

This mixing of fiction, which seemed for a time reality, with even more fiction, which reveals the first bit of fiction to have been truly fiction, is similar to turning the egg-timer on its head in the final pages, so that what was down becomes up and what was up becomes down; this literary use of a Moebius strip where the inside and the outside are the same thing at one and the same time is beloved by modern Turkish authors.

Safak disingenuously hints to the reader right from page one that "The Flea Palace" is a classic of this genre. She raises three possibilities for the nature of the book held in one's hands: truth, deception or nonsense. In the style of an essayist, we are told that if truth is represented by a horizontal line, deception must be a vertical one and nonsense is a perfect circle. "Nonsense is just as far removed from deception as truth. Deception turns truth inside out. As for nonsense, it solders deception and truth one to the other so much as to make them indistinguishable."

Two other literary devices are used by Safak to great effect. So successful is she, that these keep the reader's interest right to the very end, despite the blatant lack of a major storyline. The first is her habit of playing on the names of characters. Injustice Puretürk suffers huge injustices. The inhabitants of flat 1 are named Meryem (Virgin Mary), Musa (Moses) and Muhammet (Mohammed), representing the three monotheistic religions.

The second is a felicitous choice of words that juxtaposes reflections, forming many memorable symmetrical quotations: "An old man with a youthful voice talking with a young man with an aged voice." "You either render yourself invisible within life, or render life invisible within you." "When I was young I didn't know Istanbul was so old." "The type of man who loves weak women or ends up weakening the women he loves."

Safak teases the reader throughout. Which parts of the story of Bonbon Apartmani are truth, which are deception and which are nonsense? Pick up a copy of "The Flea Palace" and decide for yourself.

"The Flea Palace," by Elif Safak, Published by Marion Boyars, Paperback. 7.99 pounds. ISBN 978-071453120-5

23.09.2007
MARION JAMES ISTANBUL


What Should The Patriarchate Do? (I)
September 22, 2007
Orhan Kemal Cengiz
What would you prefer? Having a weakened but determined enemy or a prosperous friend and strong ally? If you are a win-win oriented person, you would naturally opt for the later. However, Turkey is sometimes unreasonable and, against all odds, continues to have some peculiar policies. I believe some Turkish policies are operated on automatic pilot, that no one knows the reason why we go one direction instead of the other one and no one dares suggest a change of direction. I have never heard, for example, any reasonable explanation justifying current Turkish policy regarding the Ecumenical Patriarchate. Let us forget about human rights concerns or the freedom of religion and so on and just look at the matter from a purely strategic point of view. Is there any reasonable explanation why Turkey should continue its policy of pushing the patriarchate out of Turkey by constantly harassing it?

Turkey's current policy will eventually lead to the total extinction of the patriarchate as an institution in Turkey because the Greek community will not be able to elect the next patriarch given the current restrictions and rules. What is Turkey's interest in this? How can Turkey, which is supposedly struggling to get into the European Union, expect any benefit from such policies? I believe some policies in Turkey are basically governed by deep-rooted fears and we do not dare touch them. This psychology requires an in-depth analysis but the purpose of this article is different. In this article, I would like to put forward some ideas on how Turkey's “Ecumenical Patriarchate problem” could be solved or at least how the first step could be taken in that direction.

From this introduction, as you have already observed, I do not expect to see any willingness or desire on the part of the Turkish government(s) to solve this problem. So the only option that remains is for the patriarchate itself to find a way to solve its problems. When we look at the problem from the patriarchate's perspective, the picture is not bright either. Like all other minorities, the Orthodox community's relations with the state and the outside world in Turkey are also governed by fear and “learned helplessness.” You can see in Turkey that minorities only react if their very existence is threatened, that is, if the interference in question is extremely painful. As a result, for a long time we have been hearing only of the property problems of minorities as though these groups do not have any other problems.

We started to hear the Ecumenical Patriarchate issue because the very existence of the patriarchate is at stake. The unwritten agreement between the Orthodox community and the state is about to be broken. According to this unwritten agreement, the minority group will not complain about anything and in return the state will not threaten its very foundations, though it will also never give it any substantial rights and will also take away some rights and privileges as time goes by.

The paradox

Minority groups in Turkey assume this position of “learned helplessness” and they always think that one day “the state” will give them some rights if only they wait patiently. For example, if you look at the way these groups use legal remedies, you will clearly observe that they only take recourse of the available domestic remedies when they are pushed into a corner. Their usage of remedies or lobbying activities is governed only by their “reactionary” attitude. When I say reactionary, I mean only in a passive way with no protest whatsoever. Not only for the Orthodox community, but also for all other minority groups, the solution starts with a shift from this attitude and mentality. Namely they should assume a proactive position and actively seek their rights instead of waiting for “Godot,” who will never come.

Last week I tried to explain why the Court of Appeal's decision, declaring that the Patriarchate is not ecumenical, cannot be taken before the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR). But I also added that the ECHR remains the only option for solving the Patriarchate's problems. So there is a kind of paradox here: There is one solution but it cannot be reached.

Let me explain first why I see the ECHR as the only solution for this problem. Even if the government would like to solve this problem, without having outside “help” they cannot do anything because the Patriarchate issue is one of the “untouchable” problems of Turkey. But a ruling from the ECHR would be a perfect excuse for any government to solve this problem. No power could have stopped the execution of Abdullah Öcalan, no power could have forced Turkey to pay compensation to a Greek Cypriot, yet the European Court did.

So the question of how the Patriarchate can bring its case to the ECHR is the core issue here. I will try to answer this question in my next article.

* Orhan Kemal Cengiz can be contacted at orhan.kemal@tdn.com.tr


The Opening Of The Turkish-Armenian Border
Ömer Engin Lütem / ERAREN
21 September 2007

As we imparted to our readers yesterday, the Armenian International Policy Research Group, with the financial support of certain U.S. establishments and with the participation of certain Turks, arrived at the conclusion that if the border between Armenian and Turkey was opened this would engender positive economic and social consequences for both countries. At present, an attempt is being made to disseminate this to the Turkish general public by way of organizing meetings in Istanbul and Ankara. As a reflection of the positive stance of the U.S. and the E.U. with regard to the opening of the border in question, this topic has received much attention both in Armenia and other countries. In fact this issue has also received wide media coverage in Turkey and has been presented as an initiative which may lead to the normalization of Turkish-Armenian relations.

Regarding this highly complex issue we can highlight the following main points.

The border between two neighbor countries being open is normal whereas it being closed is an anomaly.

The relations between Turkey and Armenia are not normal. This stems from Armenia not wanting to recognize Turkey’s borders, from it advancing genocide allegations against Turkey and due to its occupation of Azeri territory.

Turkey closed its borders in 1993 upon Armenian forces occupying Azeri territory in spite of Turkey’s warnings issued in this regard.

Regarding economic relations between the two countries, Turkish imports to Armenia total around 150 million dollars at best. This amount to approximately 0.15% of all Turkish imports. Opening the borders between Turkey and Armenia would increase Turkey’s imports; but Armenia’s purchasing power is rather low. Even if Turkish imports were to increase by 300%, this would only amount to approximately 0.45 % of total imports.

That the province of Kars would benefit greatly from this is highly questionable. Light industrial products like white goods, which Armenia is in need of, are not manufactured in this province. Kars can only provide for a limited income through the increase of transport activities.

In economic terms, the opening of the Turkish-Armenian border would not contribute much to Armenia. This is so as there is not a great deal that Armenia can sell to Turkey. Nevermore, due to the price differences it is likely that the smuggling of fuel products from Armenia to Turkey would come to pass.

The above assessments constitute short and medium term predictions. In the long run great changes may take place as a result of which the opening of the Turkish –Armenian border may in fact be of benefit to both countries.

The insistence advanced with respect to the opening the Turkish-Armenian border is a result not of economic but of political reasons. Without resolving the Karabakh question, opening the border would leave Azerbaijan in a fairly difficult position and would engender a dispute between Turkey and Azerbaijan. Furthermore, the opening of the border would be interpreted among the Armenian general public as their country’s isolation having coming to an end which would deliver a boost to the present government’s prestige.

Turkey’s approach to the opening of the border stems also, not from economic but, from political reasons. Ankara may address the issue of fully or partially opening its border with Armenia if such action may carry with it the potential of contributing positively to its relations with the U.S., the E.U. and certain other countries. That such a potential still has not manifested itself accounts for why the border remains closed as of this day. Instead of doing nothing more than turning to the U.S. and the E.U to resolve its problems with Turkey, if Armenia would edge towards resolving these problems on a bilateral platform, it may actually make some headway on the issue of the opening of the border.

Endorsing the perspective endorsed by the Armenian International Policy Research Group, which supports the opening of the Turkish-Armenian border on the basis that this would be socially and economically beneficial, would be an ill placed move. This is the case as the opening of the Turkish-Armenian border is dependent upon the materialization of certain political conditions.


Babacan: PKK And Genocide Claims Strain Ties With Washington
September 22, 2007
ANKARA – Turkish Daily News

Foreign Minister Ali Babacan said late Thursday that the presence of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) in northern Iraq as well as Armenian genocide allegations are creating unease in Turkish-U.S. relations.

“The presence of the terrorist PKK in northern Iraq and its attacks against Turkey from there are causing discomfort in bilateral ties to a great extent,” Babacan was quoted as saying by the Anatolia news agency at the Chicago Council on Global Affairs.

The PKK terror and genocide claims are the two significant issues that need to be resolved in the relationship between Ankara and Washington, he said. On the PKK's terrorism, Babacan said that it was not possible to explain the attacks launched by members of the outlawed group who roam freely in northern Iraq to the Turkish public.

“We expect both the United States and the Iraqi government to take urgent and concrete measures for the delivery of the PKK terrorists to justice,” he said.

Genocide allegations

Babacan underlined that the Armenian genocide claims were political.

“We want the U.S. Congress not to be a party to historical events and to let common sense reign,” he said.

Babacan further added it was not possible for third parties to judge the history between Turks and Armenians. “Armenian claims have not been proven so far either legally or historically. Therefore, the accusations targeting Turkey have always appeared only in the political arena,” he said. He suggested that the issue be resolved through sincere and clear dialogue.


Babacan: PKK, Armenian Resolution Pose Danger To US Ties
Turkey's strategic relations with the United States are facing risks from the terrorist threat posed by the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) in Iraq and resolutions pending in the US Congress on Armenian genocide claims, Foreign Minister Ali Babacan has said.

Babacan, on a visit to the United States, said it was not possible to explain to the Turkish people why the PKK still launches attacks on Turkey from its Iraqi bases. "We expect the United States and the Iraqi government to take urgent and concrete steps in handing over the PKK terrorists to justice," he said in a speech to the Chicago Council on Global Affairs on Thursday, according to excerpts published by the Anatolia news agency.

Ankara has long been pressing the United States to take action to eliminate the PKK presence in Iraq and the lack of steps so far despite Turkish appeals is straining the two countries' decades-old alliance. The situation is further complicated by two resolutions pending in the US Congress that urge the US administration to recognize Armenian claims of genocide at the hands of the Ottoman Turks in the beginning of the last century, claims strictly rejected by Turkey.

Babacan said a third party should not play the judge in a dispute like this and reminded that Armenian allegations have never been confirmed legally or historically. "Slanders targeting Turkey have always showed up in the political arena," he said in his speech. "We want the US Congress to not take any side in historical matters like this and we want common sense to win in the end. This is a matter between Turks and Armenians and can be resolved by frank and sincere dialogue between the two sides."

Turkey's hopes that the resolutions will be blocked in the Congress received a major blow last month when an influential US Jewish group, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), revised its long-standing stance and said the World War I events amounted to genocide. Other Jewish groups still stick to their position of not supporting the genocide charges.

In Chicago, Babacan met with representatives of US Jewish groups including the ADL and the American Jewish Federation. In the meeting, Babacan reiterated that passage of the resolutions would harm both Turkish-US relations and Turkish-Israeli relations. Representatives of the Jewish groups, including those of the ADL, insisted at the meeting that they were against the resolutions in the Congress. They also raised concerns over Iran's nuclear program, while Turkey said its recent energy deal with Iran should be considered as part of its policy of diversification of energy sources. In his speech at the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, Babacan said Turkey has been urging Iran to be transparent about its nuclear program and said Ankara could play a role in passing the international community's messages to Iran as well as Syria, emphasizing that isolating these two countries would be wrong.

The foreign minister also gave assurances that Turkey would continue its efforts to become a member of the European Union, saying Turkish membership will prove the clash of civilizations thesis to be wrong. He also said Turkey was in a process of fast transition, emphasizing that it is seeking to become the tenth biggest economy of the world by 2023 and that people are already speaking of Turkey as "Europe's China."

22.09.2007
Today's Zaman Istanbul


The 'Democratura' Of Caucasus
September 22, 2007
Cengiz AKTAR
I attended an international conference at the Tsakhkadzor mountain resort in Armenia last week. The Armenian ngo Concord, chaired by the former minister of National Security David Shahnazaryan, organized the conference titled “European Security and Southern Caucasus” with the cooperation of the Finnish Foreign Ministry. Security may be the last concept to be discussed in this ill-fated region as the scene of numerous wars, occupations and secessions in the post-Soviet era. Another notable concept in presentations was democracy, the magic wand of post-Soviet period. Majority of participants pointed out to the lack of democracy behind the struggles they deal with. However, democracy is such a worn out concept in the eyes of their societies that it is mentioned together with the word “dermo”, stool in Russian to give ‘dermocracy'. The other version of it is “democratura”, a sarcastic term derived from the dictatura of the Soviet period. The reason for this widespread disappointment is that every single work done and every single decision taken are said to be for the sake of democracy. There, another proof of how the establishment of culture of democracy is a long-term and difficult process.

Armenia's jingoism

Observations of Hrant Bagratian, who served between 1993-1996 as one of the few prime ministers with the longest tenure of the post-Soviet Armenia, were noteworthy. An economist, Bagratian in his presentation comparing the economies of three countries of South Caucasus, Iran and Turkey, left an impression that Armenia still is in the first flush of victory. Bagratian talked about the seven-fold difference between rich and poor in the 1996-2006 period and increasing unemployment despite the claims of new employment opportunities created. His statements revealed that among three Caucasian countries Armenia is the one doing worst economically. At this point, it is impossible not to see the effects and consequences of the deadlock in the Karabakh issue on political and economical development of the country.With Bagratian, I talked about the return of Levon Ter Petrosyan, first Armenian president and a pro-solution liberal, to politics. Approaches of Ter Petrosyan, a potential candidate for the presidential election in 2008, to the Karabakh issue and the Armenia-Turkey relations are well known. I had the impression from Bagratian that these approaches are getting unambiguous. For instance, I took notice that regarding the Armenian question there will be no claim for land and indemnities, the diaspora's intervener attitude will be balanced and dialogue will be developed with the Turkish public opinion. All these without renouncing the demand for the recognition of the Armenian genocide. Ter Petrosyan's stance is a key for the sake of discussions in Turkey and Armenia, even if he is not elected president.

Oil of Azerbaijan, Soros of Georgia

Like almost all oil-rich countries, Azerbaijan as well is experiencing the “curse of crude” syndrome. Crude oil as the only export and income item of Azerbaijan gives the country a clear upper hand against Armenia maintaining who is making a huge war effort without having any regular income. In this manner, even the democracy apostle of the region George Soros left his mission aside and developed good relations with the Azeri government for the betterment of “fair oil income distribution” at least. However, it is difficult to say that the unsolved Karabakh issue and the state of “no war no peace” serve to Azerbaijan. Azeri participants explained the crude alone doesn't help as seen in a hectic brain drain and social discontent that is opening doors to a variety of foreign Islamic movements. Georgia is the most successful among these three countries. The secession of South Ossetia and of Abkhazia and a never-ending Soviet withdrawal, inevitably transformed into a profound enmity against Russians.

This vacuum is filled by George Soros backing up the Saakashvili regime to the point of paying the salaries of civil servants and the U.S. This de facto situation is behind Georgia's relative success. However, the Georgian participants in the conference voiced that the ravings of the Soros ideology imposing democracy on the country and attempts to open the Georgian society having rooted traditions are backfiring. Georgians have the feeling that while trying to escape Russians now they are stalked by the Americans.Russian on the other hand was one of the official languages of the conference, the very lingua franca of the post-Soviet lands. As I listened to Bagratian's call for a regional economic cooperation, I had a hard time to understand why Russia was not in the conference. I was also surprised to see that there were exactly three time zones between Turkey, Georgia and Armenia-Azerbaijan. And perhaps most importantly, I one more time was amazed by the failure of some European politicians to understand the added value Turkey will bring to this region in terms of political and economic stability through its prospective membership to the European Union.


Turkey's Old Crimes Refuse To Stay Buried
20/09/2007
Chandrahas Choudhury reviews The Bastard Of Istanbul by Elif Shafak

If Orhan Pamuk and Elif Shafak, the two best-known Turkish novelists in the English-speaking world, have one virtue in common, it is that both have dedicatedly interrogated their country's self-image, contrasting the narrowness of ?Turkism with the cosmopolitanism of the old Ottoman empire. Both have gone on trial, too, under an infamous article of the Turkish Penal Code, for the crime of 'insulting Turkishness'.

In terms of their viewpoints there is not much to choose between them. Shafak's latest novel, The Bastard of Istanbul, shows her though to be a more attack-minded and less sophisticated novelist than her Nobel Prize-winning contemporary.

The novel drives the distant past into the path of the heedless present through a multi-generational narrative, and it addresses explicitly a controversial episode in Turkish history, the massacre of perhaps a million Armenians by Ottoman forces in 1915-16.

The bastard of Istanbul is Asya Kazanci, the illegitimate child of one of four headstrong sisters who live together as one family - the Kazanci men having an unfortunate habit of dying young. Asya does not know who her father is and has been taught not to bother to try and find out; she is similarly indifferent to her country's history.

The single living Kazanci man, Asya's uncle Mustapha, has settled in America and married a divorcée of Armenian descent. When Mustapha's step-daughter, Armanoush, arrives suddenly in Istanbul in search of her family's roots, the Kazanci women are forced to accept the truth that the novel dramatises, which is that 'the past is anything but bygone'.

Shafak's double-sided narrative demonstrates how the Armenian diaspora and the Turkish people live in different time frames, one still nursing the wounds of old crimes, the other living in a present that accepts no responsibility for the past.

Yet it could be said that Shafak's novel is, on balance, not all that novelistic. Its characters lack true freedom and interiority and can seem mere symbols or meanings fitted into an overarching structure.

Indeed part of the problem, it might be said, rests less with Shafak's theory of character here than with her choice of language.

Shafak is that rarity, a bilingual novelist, and this is her second novelin English. But sentences such as: 'If her passion for books had been one fundamental reason behind her recurring inability to sustain a standard relationship with the opposite sex?...' raise doubts about whether even a novelist as gifted as she is possesses the understanding and intuition to novelise successfully her undeniably powerful ideas in two languages.

telegraph.co.uk
© Copyright of Telegraph Media Group Limited 2007


How George Bush Became The New Saddam
 © This content Mirrored From TurkishArmenians  Site
COVER STORY: Its strategies shattered, a desperate Washington is reaching out to the late dictator's henchmen.
Patrick Graham | Sep 20, 2007

It was embarrassing putting my flak jacket on backwards and sideways, but in the darkness of the Baghdad airport car park I couldn’t see anything. “Peterik, put the flak jacket on,” the South African security contractor was saying politely, impatiently. “You know the procedure if we are attacked.”

I didn’t. He explained. One of the chase vehicles would pull up beside us and someone would drag me out of the armoured car, away from the firing. If both drivers were unconscious—nice euphemism—he said I should try to run to the nearest army checkpoint. If the checkpoint was American, things might work out if they didn’t shoot first. If it was Iraqi . . . he didn’t elaborate.

Arriving in Baghdad has always been a little weird. Under Saddam Hussein it was like going into an orderly morgue; when he ran off after the U.S.-led invasion of March 2003 put an end to his Baathist party regime, the city became a chaotic mess. I lived in Iraq for almost two years, but after three years away I wasn’t quite ready for just how deserted and worn down the place seemed in the early evening. It was as if some kind of mildew was slowly rotting away at the edges of things, breaking down the city into urban compost.

Since 2003, more than 3,775 U.S. troops have been killed in Iraq, while nearly 7,500 Iraqi policemen and soldiers have died. For Iraq’s civilian population, the carnage has been almost incalculable. Last year alone, the UN estimated that 34,500 civilians were killed and more than 36,000 wounded; other estimates are much higher. As the country’s ethnic divisions widen, especially between Iraq’s Arab Shia and Arab Sunni Muslims (the Kurds are the third major group), some two million people have been internally displaced, with another two million fleeing their homeland altogether. Entering Baghdad I could tell the Sunni neighbourhoods, ghettos really, by the blasts in the walls and the emptiness, courtesy of sectarian cleansing by the majority Shias. The side streets of the Shia districts seemed to have a little more life to them.

As soon as I arrived, I tried calling old acquaintances. Many of these were from Falluja and Ramadi, and had once been connected to the insurgency that had raged across the Sunni Arab province of Anbar since 2003. In the past few years, though, many in the insurgency had become disillusioned with the direction of the anti-occupation fight—and concerned over the future of Arab Sunnis in Iraq. In Anbar, the terrorist group al-Qaeda in Iraq, initially a partner in the Sunni insurgency, had alienated many by trying to overthrow traditional tribal and power structures to impose an alien interpretation of Islam, a Salafist fundamentalism that had few adherents before the arrival of the Americans. In Baghdad, the militias supporting the Shia-dominated central government—in effect a sectarian regime—were cleansing Arab Sunni neighbourhoods. Now, Anbari Sunnis view the government as deeply infiltrated by their traditional enemy, Shia Iran. So with few allies left in Iraq, they began allying themselves with their former enemies, the U.S. Army—which also seems to be running out of friends.

This “Anbar Awakening” has been a slow process, beginning long before the recent U.S. “surge” that increased the number of American troops in Iraq by 30,000, to 180,000. But it is still a shaky union, a desperate marriage of convenience based on shared enemies: Iran, and the Sunnis’ former-friend-turned-foe al-Qaeda. Many of America’s new allies are former insurgents and Saddam Hussein loyalists (Saddam was a Sunni) who only a short while ago were routinely called terrorists, “anti-Iraqi fighters,” and “Baathist dead-enders.” They are suspicious of one another and strongly anti-American, although willing to work, for the moment, with the U.S. The leader and founder of the Anbar Awakening Council, Sheik Abdul-Sattar Abu Risha, was recently killed by a roadside bomb outside his house in Ramadi, clearly an inside job of some kind for which al-Qaeda claimed credit. Only 10 days earlier, Abu Risha had met with George W. Bush during the President’s visit to Iraq, the photo op of death, apparently.

I kept phoning Iraqis but few answered. When I told a friend in Baghdad that no one was taking my calls, he suggested that people didn’t answer unknown numbers because they were afraid of threats. Apparently, according to Arab custom, if you warn your victim before an attack, it’s not a crime. Perhaps—but you can read too much ancient custom into Iraq. My suspicion was that they were dead. My hope was that they were avoiding embarrassing calls from girlfriends when they were with their wives. Iraqis’ love lives can be as complicated as their politics.

When I finally got through to one friend, he was in Damascus, along with several million of his countrymen. “Come to Falluja,” Ahmed said. “You can kill al-Qaeda with my troop.” It wasn’t clear how I was supposed to get to Falluja from Baghdad, although it is only 50 km west of the capital. Ahmed wasn’t sure it was a good idea to try. Passing through Abu Ghraib, a large suburban area outside the capital where Saddam and then the Americans ran a notorious prison, could be a real problem, he said. There, both insurgents and Shia militias often set up checkpoints and kidnap travellers. The Americans, mind you, have a more optimistic view of the Abu Ghraib situation. A few weeks later, I would watch Ambassador Ryan Crocker tell Congress of a real milestone in co-operation between former Sunni insurgents and their enemies in the Shia-dominated administration: over 1,700 Sunni tribesmen in Abu Ghraib were officially hired by the government as security forces. Ambassador Crocker may have been accurate—it’s just that the positive steps happening in Iraq shouldn’t be called milestones. They are more like yard-pebbles. Or even inch-dust.

“Come to Damascus—we can drive from here and the road is safe,” Ahmed said. He listed the various tribal militias controlling the 450-km road through Anbar province from the Syrian border to Falluja that could protect us. It seemed to be typical of the recent over-hyped success of the Anbar Awakening that you would have to fly from Baghdad to Damascus, and then drive six hours back across the desert, to get only 40 minutes outside Baghdad in order to see it for yourself (you could go with the U.S. Army as well, but you learn mostly about Americans if you are with Americans and end up sounding like a visiting columnist for the New York Times). Ahmed said that when he and his “troop” (his quaint word for what sounded death-squadish to me) captured al-Qaeda fighters around Falluja, they shipped the leaders to the border for interrogation by Syrian intelligence. So far, he’d sent 12. You can’t blame him—even the Americans send suspects to Syria when they want them tortured. Just ask Maher Arar.

Maclean's is Canada's only national weekly current affairs magazine


Growing Russo-Turkish Economic Ties Overshadow Political Differences
By Gareth Jenkins
September 21, 2007

Despite continuing political differences, Russia is rapidly becoming one of Turkey’s most important trading partners.

According to figures released by the Turkish Statistical Institute (TURKSTAT), during the first six months of 2007 Turkey’s exports to Russia rose by 60.3% over the same period of 2006 to reach $2.1 billion. In 2006 annual Turkish exports to Russia stood at $3.3 billion, an increase of 36.2% over 2005.

However, the mainstays of the rapid growth in bilateral trade are Russia’s exports to Turkey, particularly energy. In 2002 Russian exports to Turkey stood at $3.9 billion, rising to $5.5 billion in 2003, $9.0 billion in 2004, $12.9 billion in 2005 and $17.8 billion in 2006. During the first six months of 2007 Russian exports to Turkey stood at $10.5 billion, up 30.6% from $8.1 billion in the first half of 2006.

Turkish companies have also been very active in Russia, particularly in construction. A delegation of 80 Turkish businessmen recently traveled to attend the Sixth International Investment Forum in Sochi, in southern Russia (Referans, September 19). Turkish businesses are also eying the $12 billion that the Russian state is expected to invest in southern Russia in the run-up to the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi.

Nor has the movement all been one way. The Russian Alfa Group recently took a 13.2% stake in Turkcell, Turkey’s leading cell phone services provider. The group has announced that it is looking to make investments in four more sectors in Turkey (Radikal, September 21). Turkey is also a favorite Russian tourist destination, particularly the country’s Mediterranean coast. Over the last few years, the huge increase in visitors has meant that stores and restaurants in resorts such as Antalya are now sprinkled with signs in Russian. The area has also become a favorite money-laundering destination for the Russian underworld, many of whom have invested in local hotels.

In theory, Russia and Turkey would also appear to be natural political allies. Both are situated on the periphery of Europe and have a strong sense of their imperial past. Both also have an ambivalent attitude toward the EU and, particularly given the recent strains in Turkey’s relations with Washington, both feel increasingly alienated by the policies of the United States.

However, few in Turkey have forgotten that, in addition to an imperial past, the two countries shared a centuries-old historical rivalry, which in recent years has been rekindled by unrest in the Balkans and the Caucasus. The conflict is now seen in Turkey primarily in religious rather than nationalist terms. Even if the decline in ethnic conflict in the former Yugoslavia has removed one source of friction, there continues to be considerable unease in Ankara at Russia’s frequent support at international forums for the Greek Cypriot government of the Republic of Cyprus.

However, the main obstacle to closer political ties between Moscow and Ankara remains the ongoing conflict in Chechnya. Although their numbers are still too few to have a decisive impact on the course of the conflict, many hard-line Islamist Turks continue to travel to Chechnya to fight alongside the insurgents against the Russian security forces. There are also numerous Chechen support groups inside Turkey, many of them with close links to high-ranking members of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP). Whatever the strategic benefits, if the AKP attempted a closer political alignment between Turkey and Russia, it would inevitably face a storm of protest from its grassroots support.

Such reservations have also made many in the AKP uneasy about Turkey’s increasing dependence on Russia for energy and are among the main reasons for Ankara’s attempts to diversify supplies; particularly by increasing imports from its Muslim neighbor Iran. On August 13, Turkey signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to invest around $3.5 billion in a project to import natural gas from Iran’s South Pars gas field (see EDM, August 13). The agreement has been opposed by the United States. However, Turkish officials insist that, if they cannot diversity their energy supplies, Turkey will become too vulnerable to a downturn in its political relations with Russia. On September 19, the Iranians stepped up the pressure by publicly noting that the MOU was merely a preliminary agreement and giving Turkey four months to sign a permanent agreement (EkoTurk Agency, September 20).

© The Jamestown Foundation MMIV


Relations With Yerevan
9/21/2007
BY SAMI KOHEN

MILLIYET- The border between Turkey and Armenia has been closed since 1993. Ankara cut all its relations with Armenia after the newly independent state occupied Karabagh in a conflict with Azerbaijan. Since then, the border has been closed and there has been no contact or trade between Turkey and Armenia. But you can find lots of Turkish products at stores in Armenia, reaching there indirectly, through Georgia. The issue of opening the border and normalizing relations has been brought up from time to time by non-governmental organizations. The issue was discussed at a conference last year on the economic and social impact opening the border would have. A later study was discussed during a meeting jointly organized by the ARI movement in Istanbul and the Armenian International Political Research Group (AIPRG). The focus was on the economic benefit of opening the border, but political factors stalling normalization were also discussed.

Of course, if the border is opened, both sides will benefit. Trade, transportation, tourism, etc. will be galvanized, and the economy will grow. Actually, opening it would benefit Armenia more, as the closure also hurts it more, and its economy is weaker. But according to Armenian sources and research, the Armenian economy has recently shown rapid improvement. Yerevan is boosting its trade with its neighbors and Europe, selling electricity to Georgia and Iran, etc. According to analyst Mher Beghramyan of AIPRG, Armenia has adapted itself to this situation. Likewise, in spite of Turkey’s sanctions, the country’s economy is improving. So we can’t say that the closed border has made Yerevan change its policy on Karabagh or Azerbaijan. Seeing the issue as primarily economic is also a mistake. The reason for Turkey’s insistence is wholly political, and this can’t be separated from economic considerations. In other words, there have been two factors behind Turkey not changing its policy on Armenia: firstly, Yerevan’s lack of compromise on Karabagh, and secondly its stance on its disagreements with Ankara, mostly on the so-called Armenian (“genocide”) issue.

Under Ankara’s policy, there won’t be any move towards normalizing unless Yerevan changes its stance. On the other hand, Yerevan is opposed to linking the border issue with these problems. Yerevan wants the border to first be opened and then to have other issues discussed. Speaking at the Black Sea Economic Cooperation (BSEC) in Istanbul this June, Armenian Foreign Minister Vartan Oskanian signaled that if the border is opened, a proposal for a conference on the genocide issue might be discussed. Actually, the way to solve this complicated conundrum is to sit at the table and start a dialogue using creative diplomacy covering all the issues. Striking such a balance would be beneficial for both countries, not only economically, but also politically.

© 2007 Office of the Prime Minister, Directorate of Press and Information. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
© 1997-2007 Anatolia.com Inc


Interview With Murat Akgun of NTV
R. Nicholas Burns, Under Secretary for Political Affairs
Ankara, Turkey
September 20, 2007

QUESTION: Mr. Burns, good morning and welcome to the NTV studio.

UNDER SECRETARY BURNS: Thank you very much.

QUESTION: It's not a secret that the Turkish public is expecting a step or steps from the United States of America against the PKK as soon as possible, especially in northern Iraq. Do you think that we can see such steps in northern Iraq in the short term?

UNDER SECRETARY BURNS: We are Turkey's greatest supporter on the PKK. We are against the PKK; we classify it as a terrorist organization; we do not give it any support; and we entirely sympathize with the Turkish people, the Turkish government. There was just an attack two days ago. A soldier was killed here in Turkey and I believe over 150 people have been killed this year by the PKK alone. And so we've got to work with Turkey and we want to work with Turkey to try to end this threat. Part of the answer will be working with the Iraqi leadership, specifically the Kurdish leadership in northern Iraq, to try to get them to give political support to the effort to stop the PKK. But we support Turkey entirely on this issue.

QUESTION: Last week there was a question to you from a journalist in Washington, if I'm not wrong. The question was can we see a step or steps from the US against the PKK in the next six months and then you said I believe so. If this is the correct answer as I remember it, what are you waiting for for some steps, especially in the military field in northern Iraq?

UNDER SECRETARY BURNS: Well, I think that the imperative here is two steps. First is to isolate the PKK diplomatically, convince the European countries not to allow the PKK to establish political front organizations in European capitals and is to brand the PKK and castigate it internationally as a terrorist organization. We the United States have contributed to that goal with Turkey, working with the Turkish government, and will continue that. The second is -- are there concrete measures that can be taken to protect the Turkish people and to protect the Turkish military from cross-border attacks? We are working with the Turkish government and the Iraqi government to try to create that environment where the PKK will no longer be able to attack. So we want to be helpful and we’re working with the Turkish government towards that end.

QUESTION: Are we still in the first step, Mr. Burns?

UNDER SECRETARY BURNS: No, I think we've…we’ve been in the first step for ten years. We are in both the first and second phases. And both of them are important.

QUESTION: You were talking about cooperation between Iraqi authorities and Turkey and especially Kurdish leadership and Turkey, but now there are two important questions. First, Iraqi authorities have no power everywhere in the country and second, the Kurdish leadership do not even qualify PKK as a terrorist organization. In this case, what kind of cooperation do you expect between Turks and Kurds?

UNDER SECRETARY BURNS: Well, I think there has to be political dialogue, frankly, with the Iraqi leadership and the Turkish government and the two have to talk. Hopefully the Turkish government and the United States government can convince the Iraqi leadership that this particular organization is a violent organization, it doesn't deserve to have any political support whatsoever, and it has to be kept away from the border areas with Turkey so that it cannot launch its strikes across the border. That is primarily a political question. So discussions are important. The United States can help to facilitate these discussions. We have our own discussions with the Iraqi government. I know that Prime Minister Maliki was here in Ankara just a couple of months ago. I know that he said some very critical things about the PKK when he was here and it was good to see that.

QUESTION: But on the other hand, during the visit of Mr. Maliki we couldn't even succeed to sign an agreement concerning the fight against terrorism.

UNDER SECRETARY BURNS: Well, there's no question that Turkey deserves help from the United States. We are your ally. We are your friend. As a victim of terrorism, and we are a victim of terrorism, we sympathize entirely with the Turkish people and Turkish government so you should consider us your closest collaborator in this fight against the PKK.

QUESTION: When you say that the United States of America is also the victim of terrorism, I just remembered the statement of the Prime Minister of Turkey the day before yesterday. He said that even the Pentagon could not handle the terrorism. How do you evaluate this remark?

UNDER SECRETARY BURNS: Well, I think that first of all I had a very good meeting with Prime Minister Erdogan yesterday and I think that we, all of us, realize that the fight against terrorism is not going to be easy, that there are times when we'll have successes and there will be times when we'll have setbacks, but we've got to have a consistent effort. And it had to be universal. It has to be all democratic countries working together so in that respect I think there's a great connection between Turkey and the United States because we both need to struggle against terrorism, which is affecting both of our peoples.

QUESTION: Well, there's a discussion among the public in Turkey whether Turkish armed forces should make an operation into northern Iraq or not, if there is not enough cooperation between the Iraqi Kurdish leadership and Iraqi central authorities and Turkey. Do you think that it's going to be a legitimate right of Turkey to make an operation against PKK targets?

UNDER SECRETARY BURNS: We hope there will be adequate consultations and cooperation with the Iraqi government that will make it unnecessary for Turkey to take such an action. Obviously Iraq is a country that has experienced incredible trauma over the last four and a half years. We don't want to see anything develop that would further destabilize Iraq and so our vast preference would be to see the kind of trilateral cooperation among Iraq, Turkey and the United States that will make such an operation not necessary. And that's the goal of our policy.

QUESTION: I will have one more question concerning Iraq. There are press reports that the United States of America will withdraw forces from Iraq next year more and more and according to the same reports the Washington administration would like to use some harbors and bases in Turkey. During your visit to Ankara did you have any specific request concerning this issue to the Turkish authorities?

UNDER SECRETARY BURNS: I didn’t have…I did not have any specific request to the Turkish authorities and I can just tell you that President Bush spoke last week, a week ago, about our policy in Iraq. He was very clear that the United States will maintain our military forces in Iraq and that we intend to be successful there.

QUESTION: Iraq is not the only issue in the Middle East or among our neighbors. I would like to ask a question about Iran. How would you evaluate the cooperation between Iran and Turkey due to the fact that they are two neighboring countries?

UNDER SECRETARY BURNS: Well, first of all, we believe that Iran is a serious threat to peace. Iran is funding most of the Middle East terrorist groups and arming many of them. Iran is also trying to achieve a nuclear weapons capability. So Iran is a dangerous country. We want to work diplomatically, hopefully peacefully, with surrounding countries to try to isolate the Iranians. And, frankly, the United Nations has decided on sanctioning Iran so we are very pleased that Turkey is implementing the sanctions passed by the United Nations. We don’t believe there should be a business-as-usual attitude between any country and Iran because we need to pressure Iran economically so it will be more inclined to negotiate on this nuclear question.

QUESTION: There was very strong, hard statements from the French President and the French Foreign Minister concerning the nuclear capacity of Iran. Mr. Kouchner even mentioned the possibility of a war against Iran. Is it an option – a war between Iran and western countries or an operation of the United States of America if they do have nuclear weapons?

UNDER SECRETARY BURNS: Well, there's no question in our minds that the achievement by the Iranian government in the future of a nuclear weapons capability would change the balance of power in the Middle East in a very negative way – for Turkey, for the United States, for all of the European countries – so all of us want to stop the Iranians from doing so. We have said, we Americans, that we wish to pursue diplomacy, that we wish to work with other countries to try to convince the Iranians that they need to stop. Now, one way to do that is through negotiations. We've offered negotiations with Iran. Iran had turned us down twice in the last year. We've said that we'll sit with Russia and China and the European countries, we the United States, together, talk to the Iranians and try to figure out a diplomatic way forward, but the Iranians have said no to the negotiations and they continue their nuclear research programs. That's why we've turned to sanctions, economic sanctions, at the Security Council. And we would like all countries to support those sanctions.

QUESTION: Do you still believe that there is risk of war in the area because of the nuclear capacity of Iran in the short term or mid-term?

UNDER SECRETARY BURNS: Well, we hope very much to prevent a war. We hope very much that through a tough-minded policy of leverage of sanctions against Iran the Iranians will understand they are isolated in the world. Name the countries that support Iran in this quest for nuclear weapons – maybe Syria, maybe North Korea, maybe Belarus, maybe Cuba. There are very few countries supporting Iran in its quest for nuclear weapons in terms of its political aspirations. But most of the countries of the world are arrayed against Iran and advocating that Iran stop its nuclear weapons development and so it's important that Iran listen to the voice of the international community and understand how isolated it is.

QUESTION: A question about Syria – there was serious tension between Israel and Syria in recent days. There was a protest from the Turkish government to Israel. What kind of role may Turkey have concerning the tension between Israel and Syria and in general concerning the Middle East process, including the peace conference at the end of next month in Istanbul?

UNDER SECRETARY BURNS: Well I think in general Turkey is a unique country in the Middle East and has influence in the Middle East because Turkey can talk to nearly everyone and we appreciate the fact that Turkey has a good relationship with Israel. We appreciate the fact that Turkey is so close to some of the moderate Arab states. In the case of Syria and Iran, both of those countries are supporting terrorism and both of them are supporting Hezbollah which is a negative influence in the region and so we appreciate the fact that Turkey is a country that can send strong messages and communicate with countries to try to convince them to turn away in the case of Iran from a nuclear weapons program, in the case of Syria, from its support for terrorism.

QUESTION: About Cyrus, there were elections in Turkey and Greece and now we're going to have elections in the Greek part of Cyprus by the beginning of next year. What's going to happen? Do you see the chance of the development of a permanent solution at the end of 2008 in Cyprus?

UNDER SECRETARY BURNS: We hope there can be progress in Cyprus. It's been far too long. It’s been so many decades where there has been no peace in Cyprus…

QUESTION: I'm asking about a solution…

UNDER SECRETARY BURNS: Well, we believe that the United Nations should restart its effort to find a peaceful solution and a just solution to the problem of Cyprus. The United States of course will be involved in this, as will Turkey, as will Greece and many other countries. We think it's very, very important that there be progress this year if that's possible. Now we know that Mr. Papadopoulos and Mr. Talat met recently. I don’t know if that meeting produced many positive results. I had very good discussions here in Ankara with the Turkish authorities. We are working with Turkey; we are working with Greece; and I look forward to meeting the Cypriot leader, President Papadopoulos, as well as Mr. Talat to see if we can push this process forward.

QUESTION: Last question concerning Turkish-Armenia relations. We know that the Washington administration wants Turkey to take some steps to normalization relations between the two countries but how about the Armenian responsibility? Don't you think that Armenia should also do something? For example withdraw its forces from Azerbaijan's occupied territory?

UNDER SECRETARY BURNS: We have been concerned to see that since 1991 there has been no normalization of relations between Turkey and Armenia. Turkey is an ally; Armenia is a friend. So we wish to see progress there. Obviously this is up to the two countries to work out and it’s going to be a two-way street as any relationship is in international diplomacy but our hope would be that there could be a normalization of relations between Turkey and Armenia, that the border could be opened, there could be normal commerce and trade and a peaceful relationship. That may take some time, it may be difficult, but it's a necessary step in our view. And we hope to see the same kind of changes here within Turkey that will make this a place where minorities such as the Armenian population can live here in a peaceful way and contribute to Turkish society.

QUESTION: Mr. Burns, thank you very much for answering my questions.

UNDER SECRETARY BURNS: It's a pleasure. Thank you very much.

Released on September 20, 2007

http://www.state.gov


Peugeot-Citroen Teams Up With Turkey's Karsan To Manufacture Car Parts
© AP 21.09.2007 (live-PR.com) -
PARIS (AP) - French car maker PSA Peugeot-Citroen said Friday it has signed a letter
of intent to team with Turkish automotive company Karsan to make mechanical parts for commercial vehicles.
The companies are also considering assembling the vehicles themselves at Karsan's plant in Bursa, Turkey, for sale in the region, Peugeot-Citroen said in a statement.
The French company, Europe's second-largest car maker by volume, said the planned cooperation with Karsan Otomotiv Sanayi ve Ticaret A.S. is part of its Cap 2010 recovery plan, aimed at seeking profitable new markets outside Western Europe.

Peugeot-Citroen is already present in Turkey with Italy's Fiat Automobile and Turk Otomobil Fabrikasi (Tofas), another Turkish car maker _ to develop and produce small entry-level commercial vehicles for the European market.
These vehicles are expected to go on sale in the coming weeks, under the Citroen, Peugeot and Fiat badges. The original plan outlined in 2005 called for production of up to 135,000 vehicles a year at Tofas' assembly plant at Bursa, but they will probably make more.



US Armenians Prevent Armenian Patriarch's Speech
September 21, 2007
'Logistical conflict' is cited as the pretext for cancellation, but sources confirm U.S. Armenian pressure

Ümit ENGINSOY
WASHINGTON - Turkish Daily News
A planned speech at a Washington university yesterday by Patriarch Mesrob II Mutafyan, religious leader of Turkish Armenians, who is known for opposing the passage of bills endorsing Armenian genocide claims in foreign parliaments, has been canceled following pressure on the university by U.S. Armenian groups, sources said.

Mesrob II, patriarch of the Armenian Patriarchate in Istanbul, who arrived in the U.S. capital earlier in the week was due to deliver a speech called "The Impasse between Turks and Armenians Must Be Broken" at Georgetown's University's Woodstock Theological Center.

But an announcement on the center's Web site Wednesday said the speech was "postponed due to logistical conflict."

An official from the center told the Turkish Daily News that it was not clear if the speech could be rescheduled for another time although the term "postponed" had beenused on the Web site.

One university source confirmed that the center, part of Georgetown University, a private Roman Catholic university, had received several calls from people opposing the speech.

Turkish sources here said that the speech was canceled due to pressure on the university by U.S. Armenian groups, who criticize the patriarch's position on the genocide claims.

"U.S. Armenians apparently cannot even stand an Armenian speaking, if he does not support their position," said one Turkish diplomat.

Patriarch opposes genocide resolution

Mesrob II has been visiting Washington mainly at the invitation of Rumi Forum, a U.S.-based group affiliated with the Islamic religious leader Fethullah Gülen. The patriarch Wednesday night attended a congressional iftar dinner here hosted by Rumi Forum, which was one of the sponsors of his canceled speech at Georgetown University.

Asked by reporters at the iftar if his speech had been canceled because of U.S. Armenian pressure, the patriarch said, "it may have been."

He reiterated that he opposed the passage of a resolution pending at the U.S. House of Representatives, which recognizes the World War I era killings of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire as genocide.

The bill is backed by a majority in the 435-seat House, and if it is brought to a floor vote, it will very likely be approved.

Staunchly opposing the bill, Turkey says that its passage will adversely affect U.S.-Turkish relations in a lasting way.

In a related development, the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA), the strongest and the most radical Armenian group in the United States, implied in a statement released Wednesday that the patriarch's visit was linked to Turkish efforts to stop the genocide bill pending in the House.

"The Turkish government has resorted to a series of increasingly strident, even desperate, measures. Amid these efforts by Ankara comes a visit to Washington" by the patriarch, it said.

Death threats

ANCA said Mesrob II had been under strong pressure by the Turkish government.

The patriarch "has been constrained from speaking openly about the Armenian genocide. The Patriarch has recently been subjected to a number of high profile death threats," it said.

Mesrob II confirmed to reporters at the iftar that he had constantly been receiving death threats in Turkey.

"It is truly shameful that Turkey has resorted to using naked coercion – cynically taking advantage of the concern of Patriarch Mesrob for the safety of his flock – in a last ditch bid to block the adoption of the Armenian genocide resolution," ANCA said.

Turkey denies the charge.

If or when the genocide measure could be brought to a House floor vote is not clear, but some analysts suggest that any time after early October is likely.

Several leading religious figures, including Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, secretary general of the Organization of the Islamic Conference, and Archbishop Demetrios of the Greek Orthodox churches in America, attended Rumi Forum's iftar at the Congress building and called for peace in the world.

The iftar was held as part of Rumi Forum's efforts for inter-faith reconciliation and dialogue.

Address Canceled For Security Reasons
September 21, 2007
The conference on Turkish Armenian relations that was to be attended by Patriarch Mesrop II at Georgetown University in the Unites States was canceled at the last minute due to reaction from the Armenian Diaspora. Official spokesman of the patriarchate, Luiz Bakar, said that the university administration decided to cancel the conference on security concerns and to avert possible demonstrations. Bakar refrained from commenting on the attitude of the Armenian Diaspora regarding the issue. The chief coordinator of Armenian newspaper Agos, Mayda Saris, said, ''the basic political attitude of the patriarch and his statements declaring that he fasts during Ramadan have caused reactions in the Diaspora.'' Patriarch Mesrop II had also been the cause of protests during his visit to France when he declared his support for Turkey's bid to join the European Union.


Time For Change In Turkish-US Ties
September 21, 2007
Semih Idiz

Talking at Atlantic Council in Washington recently, Nicholas Burns, the US Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs, signaled the need for a new page in relations with Turkey.

Those relations soured seriously due to differences over the US invasion of Iraq, and subsequent developments in Northern Iraq, not the least of which is the fact that the region has become a haven for separatist Kurdish terrorism that targets this country.

Adding to the negative environment between the two countries was, of course, an unprecedented peak in anti-American sentiment among Turks, due generally to the overall situation in Iraq, and in particular to increasingly deadly PKK attacks in Turkey.

'Sense of strategic partnership':

Burns, who was in Ankara earlier this week for high level talks, reminded his audience at the Atlantic Council during his September 13 address that his country and Turkey had “enjoyed a relationship of allied friendship for over half a century.”

Characterizing this relationship as being one of “enormous complexity, success, and promise” he admitted that the two countries had “weathered a difficult period over the past four years.”

He went on to say, with reference to the new situation in Turkey after the general elections and the election of President Gül, that “the two countries now had a chance to restore a sense of strategic partnership in US - Turkish relations.”

Burns' remarks are very much in line with the mood in officials circles in Ankara also where there is a growing awareness of the need to do precisely that, namely “to restore a sense of strategic partnership” with the US.

Put briefly, both countries appear now to share a common understanding that there is a serious need to open a new page that serves the mutual interest, and is based on a shared vision – something that has been lacking these past four years.

It is also clear that there is a much better and more realistic understanding in Washington about the complexities of the region and the aggravation caused by what is being termed in the US – let alone other parts of the world – as “the American debacle in Iraq.”

Nothing highlights this “debacle” more, of course, than the growing line of American officials, including former CIA heads and Governors of the Federal Reserve, who are vying with each other to debunk the Bush administration over this subject.

But with the UN now poised to get more involved in efforts to stabilize Iraq, and the recent admittance by Zalmay Khalilzad, the US envoy to the UN, to the effect that it will be difficult to mark significant development without the cooperation of Iraq's neighbors, it is clear that Washington has started changing tack over this whole issue.

This inevitably highlights the importance of Turkey for US officials, since the other neighbors of Iraq are considered to be unapproachable in Washington.

But much more importantly it is a fact that both the US and Turkey have been the closest of allies for over half a century, which indeed makes it a shame that these ties should be allowed to deteriorate further at this stage. This does not mean, however, that there is no potential trouble ahead.

Armenian genocide resolution:

In fact the “Damocles' Sword” the US Congress is hanging over Ankara's head with its Armenian genocide resolution stands to harm ties with results that will make the sentiment in Turkey after the US invasion of Iraq pale into insignificance.

Should this resolution pass, and we believe it is a vindictive one rather than one which will genuinely contributes to more understanding between Turks and Armenians, it is clear that no Turkish administration can afford the stigma of dealing with Washington on key strategic issues.

This was of course explained to Mr. Burns in diplomatic terms while he was in Ankara, and there is no doubt that he has returned to Washington with an even better understanding of the gravity of the threat posed by this resolution.

Both countries need to look to the future now, and not the past, in order to raise their ties to a new level and “restore a sense of strategic partnership.”

That being the case it is highly unlikely that trying to get Turks to eat humble pie over sad events that transpired in the past and over a century ago - during which both sides suffered - will contribute to this end.

There are of course Democrats who have served America as senior diplomats, such as Richard Holbrook and Strobe Talbot, who are well aware of the danger here, and it is hoped that they will be able to reason over this issue with the hotheads in the Democratic Party.

One seriously hopes, therefore, that the new page in Turkish-US ties that we appear to be on the verge of will be a positive one, and not one that is even worse than what we experienced over these past four years.


'Iron Silk Road' Becoming A Reality
September 21, 2007
Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway project reviving the historic Silk Road continues nonstop as 14 companies submit bids for the construction of the Turkish part of the strategic railway

FULYA ÖZERKAN
ANKARA - Turkish Daily News

Turkey yesterday took the first step for the construction of a strategic railway line linking it to Central Asia, increasing hope for a much better economic and political integration with that part of the world, except for Armenia.

Fourteen companies have submitted bids to participate in the construction of the 76-kilometer long Turkish part of the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway. Turkey put aside YTL 380 million from its budget for the 258-kilometer project that will hook up its rail network with that of Georgia and energy-rich Azerbaijan.

Experts, contacted by the Turkish Daily News, praised the railway project reviving the historic “Iron Silk Road” and said it clearly indicated the willingness of Turkey, Azerbaijan and Georgia to realize the long-awaited project despite obstacles.

“Turkey was in need of an alternative road to be tied with former Soviet Republics,” said Hasan Kanbolat of the Ankara-based Center for Eurasian Strategic Studies (ASAM). “This railway will pave the way for a direct connection with the Caucasus, Russia and China.”

The rail project between the eastern Turkish town of Kars and the Azerbaijani capital of Baku is only a part of larger regional cooperation that also encompasses major oil and natural gas pipelines.

“This (Baku-Tbilisi-Kars) is a vital line integrating the economies of Turkey, Azerbaijan and Georgia,” said Sedat Laçiner, director of the International Strategic Research Organization (USAK).

He emphasized that the project would make contributions to the Turkish economy, raising prospects for direct trade with Central Asian countries including energy-rich Kazakhstan, as well as having a strong political impact in the region.

Armenia isolated;

region is integrated Armenia opposes the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway project bypassing its territory. Both Yerevan and the Armenian Diaspora in the United States were up in arms, arguing that there is already a railway passing through Armenia that could be used to build a trans-Caucasus railroad.

“Armenia is isolating itself, whereas the other countries in the region are getting integrated. This isolation caused by the policies Yerevan has so far pursued and will get even deeper in the future,” said Laçiner.

Turkey closed its borders and severed diplomatic ties with Armenia in the last decade after Armenian troops invaded Nagorno-Karabakh, an Armenian enclave in Azerbaijan.

“The settlement of the border dispute with Yerevan and the activation of the existing railway line passing through Armenia will not become a setback for Turkey,” said Laçiner, when asked whether Ankara would have wasted its money on the “Iron Silk Road” in the event that the railroad with Armenia reopens.

“To the contrary, this would be an asset for Ankara,” he added.

European Union candidate Turkey sees infrastructure projects as boosting its role as a bridge for trade and energy between the East and the West.


The Armenian Genocide Debate: What's at Stake
ADL president Abe Foxman has long exhibited intolerance for speech and debate that he considers hateful (or bad for the Jews,) so there’s some justice in his vilification by members of the Armenian community for failing to label as genocide the slaughter of 1.5 million Armenians by the Turks in the early 1900s. Foxman came close, calling the slaughter “tantamount to genocide” after protests from Armenians persuaded officials in Watertown and Belmont to drop out of an ADL anti-bias program, No Place for Hate. (Harvey has chronicled this controversy in earlier posts, “The ADL Caves” and “Genocide and its Partisans.”) But that concession has not satisfied protesters who demand that the ADL unequivocally condemn the slaughter as “genocide” and support a pending Congressional resolution to do the same. Now the city of Newton has joined in boycotting the ADL anti-bias program. (Needham may follow suit.) Newton Mayor David Cohen called his decision to withdraw from the program “a matter of conscience.”

I’d call it political blackmail, designed to force the ADL into supporting the genocide resolution before Congress. How else to make sense of the decision to drop a popular anti-bias program because the ADL president merely denounced the slaughter of Armenians as “tantamount to genocide?” The ADL does not deny that the slaughter occurred or seek to justify its occurrence. Yet it has suddenly become an untouchable organization, with which no moral community can, in good conscience, cooperate. Why?

What’s in a name? There is much more at stake here than the halo of victimhood within reach of Armenians who can self-identify as the descendents of an official genocide (and the inherited guilt that is likely to be attributed to Turks born decades after it occurred.) There’s the prospect of reparations: The Armenian National Committee of America stresses that if the U.N 1948 Genocide Convention is applied to the slaughter, Armenians can look forward to “the return to the Armenian people and the Armenian Church of monasteries, churches, and other assets of historic and cultural significance, as well as the granting of a measure of compensation to the descendents of the victims of genocide. In this connection, the restitution and compensation schemes elaborated for the victims of the Holocaust provide a useful precedent.”

It would be facile to suggest that to understand this debate we should simply follow the money – as if grants of money and property in compensation for a grievous wrong have no emotional or moral resonance. But we should also not ignore the effect of reparations policies on our battles over historical truth and the tendency of people to feel victimized by terror campaigns conducted a century ago. The actual victims of genocides or illegal internments, among other evils, have compelling rights to reparations; their children may have rights as well. But successive generations have increasingly tenuous claims to be compensated directly for wrongs they did not experience. Obviously, as time passes, the consequences of the original crime, however horrific, become terribly attenuated.

Why should we encourage people to feel so horribly victimized by evils visited upon ancestors who died before they were born? Why should we treat the descendents of the original victimizers as accessories after the facts, as if genocide were original sin? I’m not disputing the importance of calling a genocide a genocide, regardless of when it occurred. But I delegate to historians the determination of what constitutes genocide, and I leave to history both its perpetrators and victims.

9/20/2007 by Wendy Kaminer
Copyright © 2006 The Phoenix Media/Communications Group


Patriarch’s Speech Postponed Under US Armenian Pressure
A theological center at Georgetown University has indefinitely postponed a presentation by Patriarch Mesrob II (Mutafyan), the spiritual leader of Turkey's Armenian Orthodox community, citing "logistical conflicts" as the reason.

Yet statements by an influential lobby group of the Armenian diaspora in the United States clearly indicate that the reason for the postponement was strong pressure from the Armenian diaspora, which is at odds with the conciliatory attitude of Mesrob II concerning the Armenian allegations of genocide.

The presentation by Mesrob II entitled "The Impasse between Turks and Armenians Must Be Broken" was scheduled to take place at the Woodstock Theological Center of Georgetown University on Thursday afternoon. The presentation was to be a joint activity held in collaboration with the Rumi Forum, established by Turks living in Washington, D.C., to enhance inter-religious and intercultural dialogue.

The influential Armenian National Committee of America recently sent a letter to all members of the US Congress regarding the ongoing visit of the Armenian patriarch, Armenian media reported. Meanwhile, Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) Executive Director Aram Hamparian told the Armenian media that the letter stressed the following: "The patriarch -- like the leaders of all religious minorities in Turkey -- lives in constant fear of acts of discrimination and retribution by a Turkish government that actively persecutes those who speak freely on human rights and other 'sensitive' issues. As a virtual hostage, the patriarch -- whose life has been threatened on many occasions -- will, as he has in the past, be forced to follow the Turkish government's line. It is truly shameful that Turkey has resorted to using coercion -- cynically taking advantage of the concern of Patriarch Mesrob for the safety of his flock -- in a last ditch attempt to block the adoption of the Armenian genocide resolution."

Two separate resolutions are pending in the US Senate and House of Representatives urging the administration to recognize the World War I-era killings of Anatolian Armenians as genocide. Turkey has warned that passage of the resolutions in the US Congress would seriously harm relations with Washington and hence 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.

"The Armenian genocide resolution pending in the US Congress disrupts both the relations between Turkish people and Armenians in Turkey and between Turkey and Armenia," Mesrob II said in an exclusive interview published in Today's Zaman on Monday.

21.09.2007
Today's Zaman Ankara


An Evaluation On The Statement Of ADL
Sami Kohen - Milliyet
20 September 2007

No one expected a statement from ADL, which is one of the most effective Jewish organizations in USA, which would declare acknowledging Armenian genocide allegations. After all, the organization, had always assumed a pro-Turkey attitude on the Armenian issue, as the others, and even had lobbied in the USA Congress.

The sudden declaration of Abraham Foxman, the president of ADL, which stated that there had been Armenian genocide in the Ottoman period, has caused a shock in Turkey at this regard. This “surprising” stance has also shocked everyone in USA and Israel…

This unexpected change at the stance of ADL brings about a couple of questions. The first question that comes to mind is the following:

Why did ADL change its stance?
The primary reason for that is related with the disagreements within the organization and developments on the domestic politics. ADL is an organization, which deals with the human rights and freedoms and struggles with anti-Semitism and racism. Among the foremost members, there is group who considers the 1915 tragedy as “genocide” due to the sensitiveness caused by the “holocaust” realized during the World War II. Although the official stance of ADL, which was followed for years, is not to use this expression, recently, (especially with the pressure of Armenian population, which is heavily concentrated in Boston and surroundings) some ADL executives demanded the stance to be changed. The central administration even dismissed a regional director, who advocated genocide claim, at the first stage of the dispute. However, later, the incident in question has lead to an internal settling. Eventually, Foxman made his statement, which aimed at preventing a split in the organization…

Internal and External Factors

Of Course, the factors related with the factors of “domestic policy” of USA, Democrat-Republican struggle and intensive Armenian activity was extremely effective at the disagreements within the organization. In one way, the Armenian organizations managed to get many significant ADL members to their ranks with skillful maneuvers. Apart from this main reason, factors relating “foreign policy”, for instance, the relations between Turkey and Hamas, Syria and Iran, is said to have a role on the change of ADL’s stance. In fact, ADL and other Jewish organizations did not approve Ankara’s move; however, it would be an exaggerating to say that this has played a major role on the recent conclusion on Armenians. If that was to be true, they would change their stance then …

Would ADL’ stance effect the Congress?
First, we should indicate the following: the resolution on “Armenian Genocide”, which is on the agenda of the House of Representatives, is said to be adopted in the near future. In spite of all the efforts of the administration, the Democrat majority is determined to pass the bill. Currently, the Congress is closed for parliamentary vacation. It will start to work the coming month. Though it is not a priority, the bill will absolutely be dealt with in the coming months. ADL does not have a power to prevent this tendency. Moreover, Foxman indicated that in spite of their decision, they are opposed to the passing of the Armenian bill at the Congress. As a result, the bill in question will be adopted at the Congress unless another incident occurs that would then change the Democrats’ opinions.

Could ADL change its negative stance?
Turkey attempts to secure this from several directions. Nevertheless, following the clear statement of ADL, it would be wrong to expect a new declaration, which would mean: “No, there is no Armenian genocide.”
ADL can moderate its statement, at the most and can weaken its effect in a sense. As a matter of fact, this was what it was done the day before. A new statement, offers the dispute on the Armenian issue to be transferred to a commission composed of historians and academicians, as Turkey demands. And so, it adopts a more impartial stance.

Strategic factors What can Israel do?
Ankara attempted to put Israel in the circuit, right after the incident. In fact President Simon Peres had successful attempts while he was the Foreign Minister on the Jewish lobby. This time, Israel can be successful. However, as indicated above, no one should expect ADL to tear its first statement into pieces. Nevertheless, Turkish diplomacy can manage to maintain the support of the other Jewish organizations, which make lobbying activities. As a result, the following can be told: It is very difficult to prevent the activities which support the claims on “Armenian genocide” and to stop the trend that is experienced all over the World, including the USA. Turkey can be influential on using the cards she has, especially like the significant strategic position in the region and its role, to an extent.
However, many parliaments on the World have already approved the resolutions and bills on the Armenian genocide allegations. And that proves the need for developing new strategies on the issue, as we always keep on saying.


What’s ADL’S Problem?
Alev Alatli - Zaman
20 September 2007

Stating that they decided to acknowledge the massacre, as ”genocide”, which was committed by the Ottoman Turks by cutting 1.5 million Armenians, Anti-Defamation League (ADL), was founded in USA by the Independent Order of B`nai B`rith (1) on 1913.

Its official mission was declared as “giving an end to slandering campaigns, which is directed at the Jewish population by resorting, first and foremost, to the mind and conscience but if necessary also to law”. A fierce anti-Semitism campaign were ruling in America at the beginning 1900’s. That horrible Ku Klax Klan for instance, had maintained its position against Jews, as it had done towards Negros. In fact, the foundation of ADL is affiliated with the tragic case known as “Leo Frank Case”. Frank, who was a Jew, was a director at a factory in Georgia, which is reputed for being one of the most fanatical states of America. He was accused for raping a woman called Mary Phagan and sent to jail. However, the man was in fact innocent. The governor of Georgia canceled his sentence. Nevertheless, prior to his release, he was kidnapped and lynched by the people, who organized a incursion to the jail.

The main activity of the organization those years was to improve the negative, as well as stereotyped images of the Jewish people at the press, and to change the “typecasting of Jews” presented at the theater and cinema. ADL starts with founding offices, which aims at reaching to the smallest settlements. It creates a center of attention to the typecasting of Jews in the publications like brochures and etc. ADL convinces the reputed academicians, politicians, businessmen to condemn the anti-Semitism. One of them was Henry Ford, who made a revolution at the American automotive sector. The 1930’s passed with struggle against sympathizers of Hitler, which got stronger day by day in Europe. The method I used here was to follow the anarchist groups and people in USA closely and bring them into daylight. Currently, ADL follows the same method at the present time.

The circumstances had changed following the World War II, as Abraham H. Foxman, the Director of ADL stated “the number of caricatures, which aims at insulting, has decreased and the sovereignty of stereotyped racist images on the American culture has come to an end.” Foxman connects these developments, in addition to liberating the American citizens of Jewish origin from the effort of hiding their origin, mainly to the attempts of ADL. Nevertheless, “…fanaticism persists even though it has changed its form…/this time/…now it is directed against the black people, Hispanics, Asian origin Americans, homosexuals and lesbians. Although they are numerically weak in economical sense and political power, ‘the merchants of hate’ can give emotional pain and physical harm, can have a design against ones life and possessions and even damage the social structure of America, which target the principles of equal treatment to human being and mutual respect. ADL, which seems to observe it as a mission, continues to struggle against anti-Zionists by defending Israel’s right for living in coordination with the related organizations since 1948. While founding the Braun Holocaust Institute, it organizes “The Department for Human Rights” on the other hand.

The Braun Holocaust Institute organizes programs to “the educators, students, civil leaders and families for discovering the blow of genocide that never exhausts and using the lessons they have taken from the “genocide” for developing moral attitude towards prejudice and fanaticism in the present day” in addition for its efforts for reminding the oppression that was applied by genocide and humanity for ever. “The Department for Human Rights” becomes the most active division of ADL, in the course of time. ADL’s principal mission is to inform and to announce the Jew opponents in addition to fanaticism, not only in the USA but in the whole World via its research department. And that mission is an activity, which reaches to “collecting and analyzing the anti- Semitism, terrorist and extremist literature.” It is mentioned that the report on “supervision on the anti-Jewish incidents” (3), which is published once in every year, is considered as “a reliable measurement of the anti-Semitic tendencies.” The researcher journalists, who work here, had reportedly informed, for instance, the neo-Nazi incidents which occurred last year in 33 countries. (I said”reportedly” because whether a Jew or not, I doubt that Americans have a mortal tendency of exaggerating the efforts they give to an extent of fooling themselves. For instance; when a genius security officer in a TV serial that is on the “research of the crime place” like, CSI, intimidates the ones, who harms “the interests of America” with the science and technology, as in “Mission Impossible” while he is giving an image of almost a divine power.) The research Department of ADL has started to follow up the Internet for finding out the formations for “anti-Semitism and extremist right wing, in 1990’s. They had enlightened the issues regarding “the legal matter which, is created by the use of the ‘hate groups’ in the report entitled “Struggle against Extremists in Cyber-space” at 2000. When a year later, the incident of September 11, 2001, pointed out how functional efforts are given at the ADL, it was regarded as an `none-none governmental organizations` that is appropriate to benefit from the funds of the American federal government.

Another department of ADL’s “Department for Human Rights” is the “Law Department”, which is consisted of lawyers. The ones, who managed to develop the expression of “Hate Crimes”(4), and acquired the “constitutional” term by the American Supreme Court of Constitution(5) in 1993, are the personnel of the Law Department.

The expression of “hate crimes”, which had become a law in 1985, suggests accepting and also punishing the subjective sentiments / thoughts of the accused as the elements, which intensifies the crime he/ she commit. For instance, in the incident, which laid a ground for the establishment of ADL, it advocates that the ones, who had lynched Frank should be punished, not only for the lynching activity but also for “the hate they have towards Jews”. The motive of the ADL lawyers behind legalizing such an controversial expression is as following: “The Hate Crimes, are, in fact, crimes of giving a ‘message’”. What the assailant, in fact, does by committing the crime is sending the message of “They do not want them” to a group. They differ from this point of view. While the suggestion of ADL is accepted by President Clinton and President Bush, vice President Gore said: “We should send a clear and powerful message to the ones, who will commit hate crimes.” “Hate is wrong, and illegal; if you commit a hate crime we will seize you and punish you at the maximum amount that our laws permit us to.” Let’s read Al Gore’s sentences in another point of view: “Hating from the Israel state is wrong, and illegal; if you hate Israel, etc….” It suggests that the move of the USA Congress like approving hate origin crimes and passing bills on “Hate bills” and the part regarding “resorting to mind and conscience of the mission of “The Union Against Slander” which is to give an end to the slanders campaigns against Jewish population is accomplished with success, and now the time has come for legal sanctions. But, the laws of the USA, which are in force, are not enough for ADL and it also demands punishment for “hate”. The hate crimes, which caused to rise again the primitive and arbitrary practices that violate a fundamental human right like “freedom of thought” and which also was not observed since the inquisitions of “thought crime”, is a sign, which points out that ADL, which is proud of entering its second century, does not have an objection for applying a plan for a new world, which is so arbitrary that could astonish Nazis, who are the eternal enemy of its, in its new era.

While expanding the hate crimes, which suggest the punishment of prejudices that arises from race, religion, ethnical origin from the 1980’s on, towards the end of 1990’s it reached to an extent that would also include sexual selections. And while this situation strengthened the alliance between ADL and “American National Gay and Lesbian Mission Power” on one hand; on the other, presented a support to ADL from non-governmental organizations like “National Asia Pacific American Law Consortium”, “Supervising Assaults Against Asia Pacific Americans”, which is a protecting umbrella for Asian immigrants.

What was more important, it supplied an occasion for the Armenian Diaspora, who races with Jews in USA on being victims, for joining the group. As it would be expected, Muslim origin Americans, who are the most mistreated section of the country on prejudice and fanaticism, get their share by being completely excluded.

CAIR(6), which is known to be the greatest Muslim Human Rights group of America, accuses ADL with preventing American Muslims for getting their rights by exploiting “the rising phobia against Islam” via ‘slandering and excluding tactics’.(7) Another incident that exposes the “ethic” of Abraham Foxman(8), who changed his stance with an extraordinary briskness, is the statement related with the Holy Land Foundation, which is a Muslim organization: “These groups have stained themselves with a number of solidarity expressions that they have used in their dark relations with radical organizations and people, and in addition to the terrorist groups, which are directed towards Israel.” Stating that Foxman’s statement has no basis, CAIR, resembles the stance of ADL’s director to “the ‘communists’ accusations of 50 years ago: “The press release of Abe Foxman is like a invented story of a boulevard newspaper, more than an announcement of a human rights organization. What a shame! This kind of noisy propaganda is mix up with the ones that are told by ADL for the real hate groups.”
As a result, ADL has no direct issue with Turkey. Considering that one of the two fundamental reasons for ADL’s existence is maintaining the continuation of Israel (and the other is to improve the image of the Jewish nation), as long as the relations of Turkey with Israel would be at an acceptable level, it can be expected that the Jewish American organizations will avoid targeting our country directly or they should be persuaded to avoid targeting our country directly. This is the part that can be dealt with between the governments, which can be carried out with open or secret bargains in the framework of the foreign policy of the country. However, Foreign Ministry would not be enough, as this superficial piece of writing should have warned. It won’t be enough, because there is no central government, whose powers of sanctions are absolute both in our current World and in the USA. Under these circumstances, no matter how perfect they are, our Foreign Minister and even our Prime Minister can be influential by using the official channels only until a point on the condition that the relations between Turkey and Israel will be at an adequate level. The decisive stance of USA will eventually have to reflect the compromise of many large or small lobbies, interests, defense and pressure groups. Given the diversity of units, which constitute the continental shelf of non-governmental organization like ADL, building the defense policy of Turkey on scrutinizing closely, will be inevitable.

What I mean by “scrutinizing closely” is the following: the political, economical, law, academic units, which constitute the network of ADL, should be scrutinized closely one by one by, by their equivalent units in Turkey. In order to accomplish this, first and foremost the public should be motivated. Whereas, the privation we have suffered on the Armenian slander is obvious. For instance, it would be reasonable if “Bogaziçi” scrutinizes “Harvard” and “Sabanci” scrutinizes “Cornell” closely. I assert that the body of lawyers should be in touch with, for instance, ADL Department of Human Rights; the Society of Journalist with Union of American Publishers; American Cinema Actors of MESAM with American Film Institute. And finally, I believe that the General Management of Press and Publication, which we got no news from, should be at least active as American USIS(9), at one time. At this point, I feel like an attempt towards evading can be made by asking a question like: “Is the decision of the American Congress that important?” Well, yes, it is important because the image of a Muslim Turk at present is worse than the one which mobilized ADL at 1913. And if this image would not be improved, the current Armenian Diaspora may turn into, for instance, Pontus Diaspora. If we still don’t make a move, then let’s take a shelter in ADL, like some Armenians do. The lawyers of “the Union Against Slander” can also take us under the protection of the hate crimes laws!

(1) The Independent Order of B`nai B`rith, See. Article of Yesterday.
(2) "Audit of Anti-Semitic Incidents".
(3) "Combating Extremism in Cyber-space".
(4) "Hate Crimes".
(5) U.S. Supreme Court.
(6) Council on American-Islamic Relations.
(7) See. The official web of CAIR. 23 August 2007.
(8) See. Article of Yesterday.
(9) United States Information Service.


Turkey Does Not Belong In Europe: Sarkozy
PARIS (AFP) — French President Nicolas Sarkozy reaffirmed on Thursday he did not believe Turkey should be admitted to the European Union, while calling for a "true partnership" with the mainly-Muslim nation.

"I do not believe that Turkey belongs in Europe, and for a simple reason, which is that it is in Asia minor," Sarkozy said in a prime-time interview on TF1 and France 2 television.

"What I wish to offer Turkey is a true partnership with Europe, it is not integration with Europe," said the president, who recently appeared to have softened his opposition to Turkish membership of the European bloc.

Public hostility to Ankara's entry to the EU was seen as one of the reasons for the French rejection of a draft EU constitution in a 2005 referendum.

France has said it would not block discussions on Turkish entry if a group of "wise men" was set up to debate the EU's future over the next two decades -- a proposal which received a lukewarm welcome in Brussels.

Turkey began EU accession negotiations in October 2005 but it has only managed to open four of the 35 chapters, or policy areas, that all candidates must complete to join.

Turkey's talks are expected to last at least a decade, with no guarantee of membership at the end of it all. The process has been hampered by Ankara's refusal to open its ports and airports to Greek Cypriot ships and planes.


Media Advocacy Group Criticizes Turkey For Youtube Ban
A journalist watchdog group criticized Turkey on Thursday for ordering a ban on accessing the video-sharing Web site YouTube because of clips that allegedly insult the country’s leaders.

A court in the eastern city of Sivas on Wednesday ordered the country’s telecom-munications company Türk Telekom to block access to the popular Web site because of a video insulting Turkey’s founder, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, as well as President Abdullah Gül, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and the army.

It was the second time Turkey has blocked access to YouTube. In March, the site was blocked for two days after a complaint that some clips insulted Atatürk. The ban was lifted after the offending clips were removed.

“Blocking an entire Web site because of a few videos is a disproportionate measure,” the Paris-based Reporters Without Borders said. “We urge the authorities to reverse this decision.”

The site could be accessed on Thursday, and it was not clear when the ban would come into effect.

Several prominent Turkish journalists and writers -- including Nobel laureate Orhan Pamuk -- have been tried for allegedly insulting “Turkishness.”


21.09.2007
AP Ankara


What to Watch With an Islamic Turkish President
September 20, 2007 | From theTrumpet.com
A former Islamist holds the presidency of Turkey. Here are some of the implications. By Joel Hilliker

A former Islamist now rules the secular state of Turkey. What does this mean? How significant is it? Nations around the globe are contemplating the ramifications of this shift away from secularism and toward Islam within this pivotal and increasingly significant nation.

President Abdullah Gul, who was elected August 28, is a member of the Justice and Development Party (AK). The party has an Islamist pedigree, and maintains pan-Islamic ties throughout the region. Turkey’s secularist military suspects that it retains a masked Islamist agenda.

The AK now runs not only the parliament and the presidency, but also, effectively, the judiciary, since the president appoints key judges. As Stratfor noted, “[F]or the first time since the founding of the Turkish republic more than 80 years ago, a political force rooted in Islamism essentially controls all of the key civilian institutions of the state” (August 29).

Stratfor expects the AK to seek to use its new power as a beachhead to move the nation away from secularism and toward the freer expression of religion in public life; it anticipates drama ahead as the AK is forced “to balance pan-Islamic issues with Turkish nationalist objectives” (ibid.). Though this analysis probably overstates how much Turkey will change under President Gul, we would not be surprised to see the nation proceed with a more sympathetic economic and foreign policy toward the leading Arab and Muslim energy producers in the region.

Even a slight change in this situation could help alter the balance of power in the Middle East. It is especially important to watch how the Islamization of Turkish government will affect Iran.

Turkey inked a mutual defense deal with Israel in 1996, which analysts credited with helping to stabilize the region over the past decade. The Islamic Affairs Analyst went so far as to say that Israel’s enemies respected Turkey enough that Israel’s national survival was all but assured as long as the deal stood.

Events in the past couple of years, however, have shown that whatever deterrent effect Turkey had has already weakened to some degree: Iran and Syria have unleashed forces in Lebanon and within Israel against the Jewish state with few qualms. But given Turkey’s new Islamic leadership, this trend could get worse.

Any further weakening of Turkey’s restraining influence on Iranian power is a nightmare for Israel, which Iran has committed itself to eliminating.

Tensions between Washington and Ankara over Iraq (see “Why the World Is Taking Note of Turkey“) have already opened a door for the Islamic Republic. Suspicion between Turkey and Iran has thawed in recent years, and ties have improved. The fact that Turkey is now ruled by a former Muslim—albeit Sunni—rather than a secularist certainly doesn’t hurt.

The more cooperative these two nations are, the more latitude the Turks are likely to give Iran without feeling directly threatened as Tehran pursues its regional ambitions.

Watch for that cooperation to increase—and for Iran to become even more brazen.

What does Turkey get out of the deal? If nothing else, it gets Iranian energy—energy it can pass on to Europe.

The two countries have just completed an oil pipeline that will pump 500,000 barrels of Iranian oil a day into Turkey. And the Turkish Petroleum Corp. has announced plans to invest $3.5 billion in Iran’s South Pars natural gas field, a project that will include building the means to transport Iranian gas through Turkey to Europe. The United States, though flatly opposed to the deal, can do little to stop it.

Ultimately, even under a former Islamic president, it appears Europe is who Turkey most wants to please. Ankara simply sees Iran as a workable partner in increasingly procuring the energy that Europe desperately wants. Radio Free Europe reports that for decades to come, Iranian gas may be Europe’s most viable source of non-Russian gas. Nothing Turkey could do would strengthen its value to the EU more than its growth as an energy hub.

Even the slippage in Turkey’s relationship with the United States is driving it more toward Europe, according to Turkish foreign-policy expert Semih Idiz. Speaking of the Iraq crisis, Idiz said, “Having its relations with the U.S. ‘electrified,’ Ankara will be more and more eager to grab hold of the EU anchor” (Turkish Weekly, September 1).

President Gul has strongly emphasized his intent to forge ahead with plans to join the European Union, plans that will require further economic reforms and constitutional amendments. His ally, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, also from the Justice and Development Party, has outlined a five-year program to increase individual freedoms, further boost the economy, and, above all, strengthen the nation’s case for EU membership.

Biblical prophecy indicates, however, that although Turkey will remain committed to its romance with Europe, all these efforts are doomed to fail—just as they always have.

From the time Atatürk himself famously admonished his countrymen to “turn toward Europe,” Turkey has labored, to varying degrees, to cast itself in the image of the West. For the past decade, it has worked overtime.

Still, for every obstacle Turkey hurdles, the EU throws up another. Since 1987, when Turkey applied for full membership, 15 other states have cut to the front of the line and been accepted: Austria, Finland, Sweden, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia, Bulgaria and Romania. The Turks have watched the Union swell from 12 states to 27, while they remain peering through the window from the outside.

Now, the prospect of becoming an energy bridge to the Continent has enflamed Turkey’s hopes of finally convincing the EU to return the love.

Those hopes are wasted. Try as it may to overcome it, Turkey clearly has an image problem among Europe’s decision makers—and even its voters. Just in May, France elected a president—Nicolas Sarkozy—who campaigned on opposition to Turkish EU membership.

Why is Europe so opposed to considering Turks citizens of the Continent? Only one major issue separates Turkey from all the other nations being granted their pass into the EU: religion.

The fundamentally Roman Catholic continent simply has no intention of incorporating 70 million Muslims in one swoop. And Turkey—with its Ottoman history, which at one time threatened Catholicism’s very existence—has particularly negative associations in European minds. As Bernard Lewis expresses it, “[T]here is still a reserve of mistrust, and even at times of hostility [toward Turks], with roots deep in the European Christian past” (From Babel to Dragomans).

The parliamentary majority election of an openly former Islamic president only solidifies Europe’s unspoken yet inflexible resistance to embracing Turkey. Still, given this nation’s growing strategic value to Europe, watch for the EU to continue to dangle carrots and incentives that keep the Turks onside. And as Europe grows in power in the time ahead, Ankara’s devotion to the European cause will only grow along with it.

Thus, Turkey is destined to remain suspended between worlds—always searching, ever more desperate to please.

In the end, the Trumpet expects the shift in Turkey’s government only to cement the unique position this nation already occupies in modern geopolitics. It may tax Turkey’s agreements with the U.S. and Israel, but will not destroy them. It may increase Turkey’s cooperation with Muslim states, shifting the balance of power in favor of Iran, but that cooperation will fall short of a full-scale alliance. And most importantly, it will strengthen Europe’s resolve to keep Turkey at arm’s length, but do nothing to diminish Turkey’s undying resolve to get into Europe’s bed. •


Armenian Lobby in U.S. Prevents Patriarch’s Speech
Armenian Patriarch Mesrob II Mutafyan’s planned speech was cancelled. The patriarch, who is in the U.S. for a visit, would give a speech tomorrow titled as “Turkish-Armenian Imbroglio Must Be Surmounted” at Georgetown University. It is learned that the Armenian lobby in the U.S. was beyond the cancellation. The Armenian lobby was known to be annoyed by Mutafyan’s stance, who opposes the bills at foreign parliaments regarding the so-called Armenian genocide. As a result, the university administration yielded to Armenian lobby’s pressure and cancelled the speech.

An official from the Religious Center of the Georgetown University said that Mutafyan’s speech was cancelled “due to location and other reasons.” Armenian National Committee of America claimed in a written statement that Turkey is trying to prevent the Armenian bill at the U.S. Congress and that Mutafyan’s visit was an effort paid in the same framework. ANCA statement also said that Mutafyan’s freely speaking on the so-called Armenian genocide allegations is obstructed and that he received death threats. ANCA, in a letter sent to the congressmen, claimed that Mutafyan lived in fear as a result of “the oppression on him to follow the Turkey’s official line.”

Armenian lobby in the U.S. seems to be determined to do everything in order to ensure that only their voices and nothing else can be heard by the Americans. They know very well that their “cause” will be seriously damaged when the sand castle they have made so far with their lies is collapsed due to sincere people like Mutafyan or true historians. That is why they will continue to do their best in order to mislead the world public with their lies.

Source: Cumhuriyet, September 20, 2007
www.ArmenianReality.com


Number Of Armenian Genocide Resolution Cosponsors Steadily Growing
20.09.2007 PanARMENIAN.Net/ In a sign of the growing momentum toward the adoption of Congressional legislation recognizing the Armenian Genocide, Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) and newly elected Representative Laura Richardson (D-CA), this week, added their names as cosponsors of this human rights legislation, reported the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA).

"Armenians in Washington, California and around the nation are encouraged to see Senator Murray and Representative Richardson – both first-time supporters of federal legislation commemorating the Armenian Genocide – join the growing Congressional majority in support of the recognition of this crime against humanity," said Aram Hamparian, Executive Director of the ANCA. "We look forward for Members of Congress – at long last – to have the opportunity to steer America back to the right side of this fundamental issue of justice and basic human rights."

The House version of the Armenian Genocide Resolution, H.Res.106, was introduced on January 30th by lead author Rep. Adam Schiff, along with Rep. George Radanovich (R-CA), Congressional Armenian Caucus Co-Chairs Frank Pallone (D-NJ) and Joe Knollenberg (R-MI), Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-CA), Rep. Brad Sherman (D-CA) and Rep. Thaddeus McCotter (R-MI).

With Rep. Richardson’s support, the legislation now has 226 cosponsors.

A similar resolution in the Senate (S.Res.106), introduced by Assistant Majority Leader Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Sen. John Ensign (R-NV) currently now has 32 cosponsors, including Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and presidential candidate Hillary Clinton (D-NY). Both resolutions call 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.

The Armenian Genocide has been officially recognized, through legislation or proclamation, by 40 U.S. states. It is also supported by the Genocide Intervention Network, National Council of Churches, American Values, Jewish groups including the Zionist Organization of America and Americans for Peace Now, as well as by a diverse coalition that includes organizations representing the Ukrainian, Greek, Filipino, Polish, Hungarian, Arab, Bulgarian, Latvian, Romanian, Lithuanian, Slovakian, and other communities.

Campaign To Stop The Armenian Resolution At The U.S. House Of Representatives Urgent Call For Action!
Join The Campaign To Oppose The Armenian Resolution At The U.S. House Of Representatives

Dear Readers,

As Turks we have enough of the Armenian lies. Raise your voice and tell the U.S representatives that they are about to make a serious mistake. Please join the campaing to stop the Armenian resolution at the U.S. House of Representatives. The Resolution is at the International Relations Committee of the House at the moment. Later it will be presented to the House for the full vote. We urge you to act before it is too late. Below you will find the e-mail addresses of the members of International Relations Committee and the most of the representatives as well as some sample letters. To act, simply follow these steps:

1. Copy one group of e-mail addresses and paste it in the address line of your personal e-mail account.

2. Copy one of the letters and paste it in the message box. Add your name under the letter.

3. Send it.

4. Repeat the same procedure for another group of e-mail addresses until you send the letter to all addresses.

Thank you.

International Relations Committee Members

ben.chandler@mail.house.gov, write2joecrowley@mail.house.gov, joann.davis@mail.house.gov, ChrisSmimth@mail.house.gov, tom.tancredo@mail.house.gov, diane.watson@mail.house.gov, jerry.weller@mail.house.gov, Robert.Wexler@mail.house.gov, Joe.Wilson@mail.house.gov, jeff.fortenberry@mail.house.gov, Elton.Gallegly@mail.house.gov, mark.green@mail.house.gov, Katherine.Harris@mail.house.gov, Henry.Hyde@mail.house.gov, Darrell.Issa@mail.house.gov, barbara.lee@mail.house.gov, connie.mack@mail.house.gov, michael.mccaul@mail.house.gov, betty.mccollum@mail.house.gov, thaddeus.mccotter@mail.house.gov, menendez@mail.house.gov, grace@mail.house.gov, rep.paul@mail.house.gov, donald.payne@mail.house.gov, mike.pence@mail.house.gov, ted.poe@mail.house.gov, Ileana.Ros-Lehtinen@mail.house.gov, ed.royce@mail.house.gov, congressman.schiff@mail.house.gov, brad.sherman@mail.house.gov, garry.ackerman@mail.house.gov, webreply@barretforcongress.com, shelly@sberkley.com, howard.berman@mail.house.gov, info@boozman.com, LEACH.IA01@MAIL.HOUSE.GOV, ENGELINE@MAIL.HOUSE.GOV, TALK2TOM@MAIL.HOUSE.GOV, dan.burton@mail.house.gov, SHERROD@MAIL.HOUSE.GOV, earl@mail.house.gov, cardoza@mail.house.gov, steve@chabot.house.gov

Committees at the House of Representatives

AgricultureCommitteeagriculture@mail.house.gov, bnkgdems@mail.house.gov, BudgetCommitteebudget@mail.house.gov, CommitteeonCommercecommerce@mail.house.gov, CommitteeonInternationalRelationsHIRC@mail.house.gov, CommitteeonResourcesresources.committee@mail.house.gov, Resources-Democractsresources.democrats@mail.house.gov, CommitteeonSciencescience.committee@mail.house.gov, science.minority@mail.house.gov, CommitteeonSmallBusinesssmbiz@mail.house.gov, JointEconomicCommitteejec_chairman@jec.senate.gov, DemocraticLeadershipd.leadership@mail.house.gov

President, Vice President, House Speaker, Democratic and Republican Parties, Newspapers

president@whitehouse.gov, vice. president@whitehouse.gov, sf.nancy@mail.house.gov, info@gop.com, info@democrats.org, letters@nytimes.com, letters@latimes.com, letters@washpost.com, letter@globe.com, letters@iht.com, letters@independent.co.uk, weblog@guardianunlimited.co.uk, fte.subs@ft.com, VOANews@VOANews.com, Eurasia@VOANews.com, NearEast@VOANews.com, info@dw-world.de, turkish@dw-world.de, info@ap.org

Representatives at the House:

Don.Young@mail.house.gov, sonny.callahan@mail.house.gov, bob.riley@mail.house.gov, robert.aderholt@mail.house.gov, budmail@mail.house.gov, sbachus@mail.house.gov, call earl@mail.house.gov, snyder.congress@mail.house.gov, asa.hutchinson@mail.house.gov, talk2jay@mail.house.gov, as00@mail.house.gov, matt.salmon@mail.house.gov, ed.pastor@mail.house.gov, j.shadegg@mail.house.gov, jim.kolbe@mail.house.gov, repriggs@mail.house.gov, democratic.caucus@mail.house.gov, doolittle@mail.house.gov, lynn.woolsey@mail.house.gov, George.Miller-Pub@mail.house.gov, sf.nancy@mail.house.gov, ellen.tauscher@mail.house.gov, rpombo@mail.house.gov, talk2tom@mail.house.gov, petemail@stark.house.gov, annagram@mail.house.gov, campbell@mail.house.gov, zoegram@lofgren.house.gov, samfarr@mail.house.gov, gary.condit@mail.house.gov, george.radanovich@mail.house.gov, lois.capps@mail.house.gov, brad.sherman@mail.house.gov, tellbuck@mail.house.gov, arcoiris@mail.house.gov, Rep.Harman@mail.house.gov, millender.mcdonald@mail.house.gov, stephen.horn@mail.house.gov, ed.royce@mail.house.gov, talk2geb@mail.house.gov

loretta@mail.house.gov, ccox@mail.house.gov, rep.packard@mail.house.gov, brian.bilbray@mail.house.gov, degette@mail.house.gov, david.skaggs@mail.house.gov, rep.schaffer@mail.house.gov, rep.dan.schaefer@mail.house.gov, kennelly@mail.house.gov, bozrah@mail.house.gov, delauro.ct03@mail.house.gov, rep.shays@mail.house.gov, nancy.johnson@mail.house.gov, delaware@mail.house.gov, FL01@mail.house.gov, rep.boyd@mail.house.gov, thurman@mail.house.gov, cstearns@mail.house.gov, john.mica@mail.house.gov, bill.mccollum@mail.house.gov, fl09@mail.house.gov, Rep.Charles.Canady@mail.house.gov, miller13@mail.house.gov, porter.goss@mail.house.gov, fla15@mail.house.gov, mark.foley@mail.house.gov, robert.wexler@mail.house.gov, pdeutsch.pub@mail.house.gov, clay.shaw@mail.house.gov, alcee.pubhastings@mail.house.gov, jack.kingston@mail.house.gov, mac.collins@mail.house.gov, cymck@mail.house.gov, john.lewis@mail.house.gov, georgia6@mail.house.gov, barr.ga@mail.house.gov, rep.saxby.chambliss@mail.house.gov, john.linder@mail.house.gov, guamtodc@mail.house.gov, neil.abercrombie@mail.house.gov

leach.ia01@mail.house.gov, nussleia@mail.house.gov, rep.boswell.ia03@mail.house.gov, rep.ganske@mail.house.gov, tom.latham@mail.house.gov, ask.helen@mail.house.gov, askmike@mail.house.gov, bobby.rush@mail.house.gov, jesse@jackson.house.gov, luis.gutierrez@mail.house.gov, danny.davis@mail.house.gov, phil@crane.house.gov, sidney.yates@mail.house.gov, jerry.weller@mail.house.gov, JFC.IL12@mail.house.gov, rep.fawell@mail.house.gov, dhastert@mail.house.gov, lane.evans@mail.house.gov, shimkus@mail.house.gov, mcintosh@mail.house.gov, tim.roemer@mail.house.gov, souder@mail.house.gov, pease@mail.house.gov, John.Hostettler@mail.house.gov, hamilton@hamilton.house.gov, rep.carson@mail.house.gov, jerry.moran@mail.house.gov, rep.snowbarger@mail.house.gov, tiahrt@mail.house.gov, ed.whitfield@mail.house.gov, ron@lewis.house.gov, rep.northup@mail.house.gov, rep.jim.bunning@mail.house.gov, scotty.baesler@mail.house.gov, la01.mail@mail.house.gov, jim.mccrery@mail.house.gov, congressman.cooksey@mail.house.gov, christopher.john@mail.house.gov, john.olver@mail.house.gov, jim.mcgovern@mail.house.gov

mtmeehan@mail.house.gov, jmoakley@mail.house.gov, william.delahunt@mail.house.gov, ehrlich@mail.house.gov, rep.cardin@mail.house.gov, albert.wynn@mail.house.gov, roscoe@fred.net, Rep.Morella@mail.house.gov, rep.tomallen@mail.house.gov, stupak@mail.house.gov, tellhoek@mail.house.gov, rep.ehlers@mail.house.gov, davecamp@mail.house.gov, jim.barcia-pub@mail.house.gov, talk2.fsu@mail.house.gov, rep.smith@mail.house.gov, debbie.stabenow@mail.house.gov, dkildee@mail.house.gov, david.bonior@mail.house.gov, slevin@mail.house.gov, john.conyers@mail.house.gov, gil.gutknecht@mail.house.gov, mn03@mail.house.gov, vento@mail.house.gov, martin.sabo@mail.house.gov, tell.bill@mail.house.gov, tocollin.peterson@mail.house.gov, oberstar@mail.house.gov, rep.talent@mail.house.gov, gephardt@mail.house.gov, blunt@mail.house.gov, joann.emerson@mail.house.gov, rep.hulshof@mail.house.gov, thompsonms2nd@mail.house.gov, gene.taylor@mail.house.gov, rick.hill@mail.house.gov, eclayton1@mail.house.gov, bob.etheridge@mail.house.gov, david.price@mail.house.gov, richard.burrnc05@mail.house.gov

howard.coble@mail.house.gov, congmcintyre@mail.house.gov, myrick@mail.house.gov, repcharles.taylor@mail.house.gov, nc12.public@mail.house.gov, rep.earl.pomeroy@mail.house.gov, talk2jon@mail.house.gov, rep.sununu@mail.house.gov, cbass@mail.house.gov, rob.andrews@mail.house.gov, lobiondo@mail.house.gov, franksnj@mail.house.gov, bill.pascrell@mail.house.gov, steven.rothman@mail.house.gov, rodney.frelinghuysen@mail.house.gov, pappas@mail.house.gov, joe.skeen@mail.house.gov, ensign@mail.house.gov, mail.gibbons@mail.house.gov, ny01.forbes@mail.house.gov, lazio@mail.house.gov, peter.king@mail.house.gov, thomas.manton@mail.house.gov, jerrold.nadler@mail.house.gov, vito.fossella@mail.house.gov, rep.carolyn.maloney@mail.house.gov, rangel@mail.house.gov, jserrano@mail.house.gov, nita.lowey@mail.house.gov, dearsue@mail.house.gov, ben@mail.house.gov, mike.mcnulty@mail.house.gov, rep.boehlert@mail.house.gov, rep.james.walsh@mail.house.gov, mhinchey@mail.house.gov, bill.paxon@mail.house.gov, louiseny@mail.house.gov, portmail@mail.house.gov, mike.oxley@mail.house.gov, ted.strickland@mail.house.gov

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Sample Letters

Honorable Congressman,

As a Turk who sincerely believes in the friendship between Turkish and American peoples, I am writing to ask you to oppose H.RES.316, " Affirmation of the United States Record on the Armenian Genocide," and its concurrent resolution, H.CON.RES.195 , which will be reviewed in the House International Relations Committee next week. Issues such as this that come before you deserve thoughtful consideration on your part, due to the profound impact that your decisions make.

These resolutions would seriously damage the partnership between Turkey and the United States because they provide a one-sided and misinformed view of WWI Ottoman history. The tragic incidents that occurred in the collapse of the Ottoman Empire are presented with a distorted and incorrect view. For instance there is no mentioning of the fact that the main reason for the tragedy was a major Armenian revolt against the Ottoman Empire, their homeland for centuries. The aim of the revolt was to carve out an Armenia from several Eastern provinces of the Ottoman Empire, where the Armenian population was much less than the local Turks.

That Armenians sided with the invading and advancing Russian armies is never mentioned, either. The conflict created by Armenians themselves and the harsh wartime conditions of cold, famine, and diseases cost a huge number of casualties on both sides. American historian Justin McCarthy states that over one million Muslims and 600.000 Armenians perished in the east alone. In the same period in the Balkans, Caucasus and the Middle East more than four million Ottoman citizens, mostly Turks, perished in similar conflicts.

I sincerely believe that the place to resolve disputes over history is not the parliaments but seminars or symposium where scholars discuss issues openly and rigorously. In this sense, despite the efforts of Turkish government, Armenia insists rejecting to take part in a joint Turkish-Armenian committee of experts. Besides, Turkish archives are open to all but Armenian archives are still closed.

The US congressmen should encourage Armenia to be open to dialogue, and to be more receptive to academic research rather than passing Resolutions in the House. Passing such resolutions will only block a dialog and reconciliation between Turkey and Armenia because it will discourage the Armenian side from discussing the complicated historic events in a scholarly way.

On the other hand, feeling that the US Congress disregards historical realities to favor the American Armenian voters, Turkish people will be deeply affected even with discussion of the issue in the Congress. Unfortunately, one does not have to be smart to see that the Resolution will deal a huge blow to the American interests in and around Turkey, the worst of which will be losing the support of Turkish public opinion forever.

I hope you will keep these points in mind and oppose efforts to legislate this controversial issue.

Sincerely,

NAME
***

Dear Representative,

I have just learned that Democratic and Republican lawmakers introduced a resolution in the US House of Representatives urging the US administration to recognize an alleged genocide of Armenians during the late Ottoman Empire in Anatolia.

This resolution will get Turkish-US relations in trouble if it is passed. I hope the resolution will never be brought before the president and the United States will not show weakness in the face of Armenian allegations. Otherwise Turkish-US ties will be seriously affected.

Armenian claims, that 1.5 million Armenians were victims of a genocide campaign at the hands of the Ottoman Empire is not true. These allegations don’t reflect the reality, they are one-sided and baseless.

It’s true that most of the Armenians died at that time mostly due to harsh conditions of an ongoing war such as starvation, cold and diseases. The Ottoman documents and modern Turkish experts accept that many Armenians and Turks were killed in communal clashes. However, there is no intention or organization to exterminate Armenians. To the contrary, the Ottoman government of the time published many decrees demanding the protection of Armenian lives and estates. It is also known that not only Armenians but also Turks were also deeply affected by the bad weather, epidemics and famine. Impartial scholars such as American historian Justin McCarthy state that more Turks than Armenians perished during that period of conflict.

Turkish archives are open to all researchers because Turks are not afraid to confront their own history because we are confident that we have not done anything wrong throughout the history. That is why Prime Minister Erdogan, two years ago, proposed to establish a joint commission of historians and other experts to study records of the late Ottoman period in the archives of Turkey, Armenia and other relevant countries, to share their findings with the international community, and to shed light on a disputed period of history and pave the way for a normalization of relations between the two countries. The invitation has been rejected by the Armenian government. They seem to be frightened to confront their history and to reveal the truth.

I still believe that the United States will not alienate its strategic partner Turkey. So I call you to oppose this disputed draft resolution.

Sincerely

NAME
***

Dear Representative,

As a Turkish citizen, the introduction of a resolution about the tragic events during the World War I in the House of Representatives utterly disappointed me. I believe it is illogical to try to resolve such a contradictory issue with resolutions from parliaments even when there is no consensus among historians and other related academicians on how to qualify the tragic losses during that period, when the entire region was afflicted with a world war, ethnic civil strife, and deprivation.

That the US and Turkey has been very close allies for half a century should be considered very attentively before bringing the Resolution to the House for the vote. I hope you will not disturb these relations expanding and evolving over the decades from a military alliance to a strategic partnership based on common interests and mutual values. Please keep in mind that today, the US and Turkey are cooperating in many areas such as combat terrorism, bridging the gap between the West and the Islamic world, supporting critical transitions in Iraq and Afghanistan, stabilizing the Caucasus and the Balkans, pursuing peace in the Middle East, integrating the former Soviet Republics of Central Asia into the community of democratic states, and transporting Caspian energy resources to world markets. The introduction of the resolution totally disregards the importance that both sides have placed on the strategic partnership and our common endeavors.

I sincerely believe that a process of reconciliation can begin only through common dialogue, and not legislation. Please note that even the discussion of the resolution at the House will negatively affect Turkish public opinion towards the US. Furthermore, the resolution will encourage Armenians to keep away from open dialog and free discussion of the truth.

As a matter of fact, Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan extended an invitation two years ago to his Armenian counterpart to establish a joint commission of historians and other experts to study records of the late Ottoman period in the archives of Turkey, Armenia and other relevant countries, and to share their findings with the international community. It was hoped that such an initiative would shed light on a disputed period of history and pave the way for a normalization of relations between the two countries. Turkey's proposal, praised by a number of European governments, and numerous members of the European Parliament and the U.S. Administration, has not been accepted by the Armenian government yet. Besides, despite the fact that Turkish archives are open to all, Armenia still keeps its archives closed.

Please keep these points in mind and oppose the resolution at the House.

NAME
***

Dear Representative,

I have learned that a resolution which asserts that Turks committed “genocide” against Armenians during the World War I is presented to the House of Representatives. Despite the failure of similar resolutions in the past it seems that the same issue will keep the House busy again. For the following arguments I urge you to oppose the resolution:

- There is no consensus among historians and academicians on how to characterize the tragic events at the collapse of the Ottoman Empire.

- Turkey wants to resolve the issue thorough open dialog and free discussion.

- Armenian rejects Turkey’s offer of establishing a joint commission of historians to examine the records.

- Armenian archives are closed whereas Turkish archives are open.

- The findings in the resolution are one-sided and represent only the distorted Armenian version.

- In the resolution, there is no mentioning of the Armenian revolt, betrayal to their home country, and siding with the invading Russian armies, nor is there any information on the Turkish losses.

- The resolution will inevitably affect the Turkish-American relations in a negative way as well as damaging the efforts of Turkish-Armenian dialog.

- The resolution will turn Turkish public opinion against the US, which may cost both sides very dearly.

Therefore, I urge you to consider these points once again and to oppose the resolution.

NAME
***

Honorable Representative,

I am writing you to urge you to oppose a resolution pertaining to the tragic events of the World War I in the Ottoman Empire. In no way can those events constitute the crime of “genocide”. The issue is highly disputed and historians differ on how to name the great human losses of both Armenians and Turks. To label the events that took place during the collapse of the Ottoman Empire as “genocide” is totally unjust and biased. More Turks than Armenians also lost their lives in those tragic events.

I sincerely believe that the resolution will deal a blow to Turkish-American relations and seriously damage the future relations between the Turkish and American peoples. I do not suppose that the resolution, which aims at American domestic politics, will contribute to the solution of the problem between Armenia and Turkey. Besides, it is not difficult for anyone to see that it will cause a heavy burden for the American interests in the region.

Despite Turkey’s well-intentioned efforts to solve the issue such as forming a common historians committee and opening its archives, Armenia agrees neither to open its archives nor to negotiate the matter in any way. As a matter of fact, the issue stems from the fact that Armenians living in the US wish to subtly exploit the House to their own profit, and to the detriment of Turkey.

Hoping that you will consider my arguments, I urge you to reject the resolution and to prevent damaging the time-honored friendship between the Turkish and American peoples.

NAME



Source:www.armenianreality.com/


U.S. Department Of State Warns Congress Against Armenian Genocide Resolution
18 September 2007
Azg

"The United States condemnation of this tragedy is not at issue; the question is how best to facilitate reconciliation of all concerned parties with each other and with their painful and shared past," U.S. Undersecretary of State Nicholas Burns said when addressing the Department of State with a report titled "The future of the U.S.-Turkey relations.

"We believe passage of the U.S. House of Representative’s Resolution 106, which would make a political determination that the tragedy of 1915 constituted genocide, would undercut voices emerging in Turkey for dialogue and reconciliations concerning these horrific events. We therefore have recommended to Congress that it not pass such a resolution," he said."We strongly encourage Turkey to normalize its relations and reopen its border with Armenia, steps that will help bring peace, prosperity and cooperation to the Caucasus. Now, in the wake of the AKP’s resounding electoral victories, is the time for Ankara to make a bold opening toward Armenia. And we hope that Armenia will respond in kind.

In conclusion, the United States and Turkey have enjoyed a relationship of Allied friendship for over half a century of enormous complexity, success, and promise. We have weathered a difficult period over the past four years. We now stand at the edge of a potentially new era in Turkish politics that offers a chance to restore a sense of strategic partnership in U.S.-Turkish relations," Mr Burns said.


It Is Truly Shameful That Turkey Coerces Patriarch Mutafyan To Oppose Armenian Genocide Resolution
19.09.2007 PanARMENIAN.Net/ The Armenian National Committee of America recently sent a letter to all 535 Congressional offices regarding the upcoming visit of Patriarch Mutafyan of Constantinople.

As ANCA Executive Director Aram Hamparian told a PanARMENIAN.Net reporter, the letter stresses that: "the Patriarch - like the leaders of all religious minorities in Turkey - lives in constant fear of acts of discrimination and retribution by a Turkish government that actively persecutes those who speak freely on human rights and other “sensitive” issues. As a virtual hostage, the Patriarch - whose life has been threatened on many occasions - will, as has in the past, be forced to follow the Turkish government’s line. It is truly shameful that Turkey has resorted to using coercion - cynically taking advantage of the concern of Patriach Mesrob for the safety of his flock - in a last ditch bid to block the adoption of the Armenian Genocide Resolution."

Rep. Adam Schiff, the lead author of the Armenian Genocide Resolution, commented on the growing pressure on Turkey’s remaining Armenians, noting that, "In order to perpetuate its campaign of denial, Turkey seeks to intimidate all Armenians worldwide, but especially the Armenians in Turkey who must live with daily threats. It is a criminal offense to merely speak about the Armenian Genocide, let alone advocate for the passage of the Armenian Genocide Resolution before the Congress. The editor of the last Armenian-language newspaper in Turkey, Hrant Dink, was assassinated for writing about the genocide this year, and a popular video now being circulated in Turkey celebrates his killers and threatens Armenians."



Armenia --Cut Off But Surviving
AMANDA AKCAKOCA a.akcakoca@todayszaman.com
There are not many countries that have closed borders. The fact that Armenia has two and yet maintains double-digit growth makes it unique. With its eastern and western frontiers closed, Armenia has been excluded from the development of energy pipelines and transport networks in the South Caucasus, but has kept its economy afloat with massive remittances from the Armenian diaspora community, foreign aid, diamond processing and foreign direct investment (FDI) -- particularly from good friend Russia. Armenia is the fastest growing economy in the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), but at the same time suffers from massive unemployment, corruption and poverty, with large numbers of people emigrating abroad.

Armenia’s geographical position is challenging and Yerevan has pursued a “complementary” foreign policy maintaining good relations with the West, Russia and Iran. However, with growing tensions between these nations, it seems doubtful that Armenia will be able to continue playing this game and difficult choices will have to be made. Armenia claims to have made a clear European choice and the country is part of the EU’s European Neighborhood Policy (ENP), aligning with 95 percent of EU foreign policy decisions. But difficulties arise. For example, Armenia did not align itself on the Alexander Litvinenko case or regarding sanctions on Iran. Given that the borders with Azerbaijan and Turkey remain closed, Georgia is Armenia’s “lifeline” and 85 percent of Armenia’s trade passes through the country. But this route leaves Armenia vulnerable to foreign policy disputes between Georgia and its neighbors as was the case when Georgia’s relationship with Russia reached crisis point last year, resulting in the border closing. Armenia has close political and economic ties with both Russia and Iran, viewing the latter as a major counterweight to its traditional foes Turkey and Azerbaijan.

A priority of Armenia is to see its border with Turkey reopened. The border has been closed since 1991 when Turkey cut off diplomatic relations and placed an economic embargo on Armenia following its war with Azerbaijan over Nagorno-Karabakh. But where there is money to be made you will find Turkish businessmen and the political deadlock has not stopped Turkish goods from flowing into Armenia. Only 25 kilometers from the Turkish border, Yerevan should be a short drive for Turkish truckers. But with the closed border and embargo they have to follow a long route through Georgia. At the main border crossing, the queue of Turkish trucks headed for Yerevan can often stretch for more than a kilometer. Business gets around the trade embargo as the goods officially change hands in Georgia through middlemen or companies established by Turkish exporters. Given this, many business leaders on both sides are pushing the two governments to end the embargo and reopen the border. It would give Armenian exporters easier access to Western markets and increase the export routes of Turkish companies targeting the Southern Caucasus and Central Asia. It would also facilitate people-to-people contacts and ease the dire economic situation of border towns such as Kars.

Turkey has always attached three conditions to the opening of the border: resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, recognition of Turkey’s eastern border and removal of the international recognition of genocide from Armenia’s constitution. Nagorno-Karabakh should be a bilateral issue between Armenia and Azerbaijan and it is difficult to understand why Turkey continues to involve itself in a conflict in which it has no role other than being Azerbaijan’s “friend,” particularly now that the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline is up and running. On the recognition of the border, this would become irrelevant once diplomatic relations were established given that both parties would have to sign a protocol that would automatically commit Yerevan to recognizing Turkey’s eastern border. The Armenian genocide question is highly sensitive, but again Turkey’s current policy on Armenia is not helping them. Although the Turkish government has called for a dialogue on the genocide, the gesture is questionable given that, while Article 301 of the infamous Turkish Penal Code (TCK) exists, it makes it an offense to discuss it. Although the genocide issue is deeply rooted in the psyche of the Armenian people, it should not become an obstacle to having better relations. Nobody is winning anything from the current standoff and such a gesture from Ankara should empower Turkey internationally.

Armenia has great expectations of the EU. They say the EU is their last hope given that the US tried and failed for 10 years to make Turkey change its policy. There is increasing optimism that now Turkey is embedded in membership talks and, with the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) having a “power monopoly,” there may be some change in policy toward Armenia. However, at the same time, Armenia is not happy with the EU pushing Turkey’s role in the Black Sea, which it sees as “exclusionist” with a narrow ethnic approach. Foreign Minister Ali Babacan will meet with his Armenian counterpart in New York in early October. There is much anticipation and hope that this meeting will result in the first steps to a new window opening in Armenia-Turkey relations. Let’s wait and see.
19.09.2007


Burns Holds Talks With Religious Leaders In Istanbul
US Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs Nicholas Burns, who arrived in Istanbul Tuesday, had a hectic schedule for the day, as he held talks with representatives of different segments of Turkish society during his one-day stay in Istanbul before moving on to the capital Ankara today for talks with senior Turkish officials.

US Undersecretary of State Nicholas Burns visited Greek Orthodox Patriarch Bartholomew.

Ahead of his visit, the US State Department described Burns' visit as aimed to "discuss a range of strategic issues with the new Turkish government and to reaffirm the great importance the US attaches to its alliance with Turkey." This will be the first in a series of high-level meetings between the United States and the new Turkish government that will take place this autumn, the State Department also said in its brief statement.

In Istanbul, Burns visited the Istanbul Amerikan Robert Lisesi, more commonly known as Robert College, which was founded in 1863 by two Americans, and then held talks with directors of leading think tank the Turkish Economic and Social Studies Foundation (TESEV). Burns met with Greek Orthodox Patriarch Bartholomew and also visited the Süleymaniye Mosque, constructed in the 16th century by Ottoman architect Mimar Sinan.

Last week, delivering a speech at the Atlantic Council in Washington, D.C., to an audience including several former US ambassadors to Turkey and current Turkish Ambassador to the United States Nabi Sensoy, Burns said that Turkey can help make its own case with the European Union by reopening the Halki Theological School on Heybeliada Island near Istanbul. The seminary was closed to new students in 1971 under a law that put religious and military training under state control. The seminary once trained generations of Greek Orthodox leaders, including Bartholomew. The seminary remained open until 1985, when the final five students graduated. On Tuesday evening, after Today's Zaman went to print, Burns was scheduled to attend iftar (evening fast-breaking meal) with members of the Turkish Parliament, representatives of the Turkish business sector, religious leaders, students and civil society activists.

Today in Ankara, Burns will meet with President Abdullah Gül and Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan as well as holding talks with senior diplomats at the Foreign Ministry, including Undersecretary for the Foreign Ministry Ambassador Ertugrul Apakan. In his Washington speech last week, Burns also said that the United States government looks forward to a "very close relationship" with both Gül and Erdogan.

19.09.2007
Today's Zaman Istanbul


Turkish Court Orders Youtube Blocked
ANKARA (AFP) — A Turkish court ordered telecom authorities Tuesday to block access to the popular video-sharing website YouTube over videos that allegedly insulted the country's leaders, a report said.

The decision followed a complaint by a resident in the eastern city of Sivas that the site hosted videos containing insults against Turkey's founding father Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, President Abdullah Gul, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and the army, the Anatolia news agency reported.

The court ruling has been forwarded to the state regulatory body, the Telecommunications Board, to be put into effect, the agency said.

YouTube said in a written statement, carried by Anatolia, that it was ready to cooperate with Turkish authorities to resolve the dispute.

In March, the country's largest telecommunications provider, Turk Telekom, blocked access to YouTube on a court order following a clip that allegedly insulted Ataturk.

Ataturk, who proclaimed modern day Turkey in 1923, is seen as a national hero by secular Turks and his legacy is protected under a special law.

Users regained access two days later after YouTube removed the video and Turk Telekom petitioned the court to revoke the ban.

Turkey Bans YouTube Yet Again
The world’s most popular video sharing site, YouTube, released a statement on Wednesday announcing that it was “ready to cooperate with Turkish authorities to resolve the dispute” after a Sivas court banned access to the site based on a complaint that it hosted clips insulting the country’s founding father.

In response to a Turkish resident who stumbled onto YouTube videos badmouthing not only Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, but also President Abdullah Gül, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and the military, Sivas 2nd Criminal Court of Peace has ordered the Turkish Telecommunications Board (TK) to block access to the entire site.

A similar ban on YouTube was introduced in March, when a court order forced the country’s largest telecommunications provider, Turk Telekom, to block access to the site of the Google-owned company. That ban lasted only two days; after the video that insulted Atatürk was removed by YouTube access to the site was soon restored.

The Sivas court order also said the ban would remain in force as long as the insulting videos remain online. At the end of last August, Thailand lifted a similar ban on the popular video-sharing site, after filters were installed to stop viewers there seeing clips deemed offensive to the country’s king.

The ban, imposed after an anonymous user posted a clip showing digitally-altered images of revered King Bhumibol Adulyadej next to a photograph of feet, lasted five months. Thais believe feet are the lowest and dirtiest part of the body and avoid ever showing their soles in public. Placing feet next to someone’s head is seen as a massive insult.

The number of clips lampooning the 79-year-old king mushroomed after news spread around the world that Thailand had banned the popular site, sparking an international debate over free speech on the Internet. Thailand’s king, almost universally adored in his country, is the world’s longest-reigning monarch and one of the few still protected by tough laws that prohibit any insult against the royal family.

20.09.2007
Today’s Zaman İstanbul


Opening Of Border Key To Developing Ties
September 19, 2007
VERCIHAN ZIFLIOGLU
ISTANBUL - Turkish Daily News

Cooperation between the Ari Movement and the Armenian International Policy Research Group (AIPRG) showed signs of improvement at a meeting called “The opening of the Turkey-Armenia border” held in Istanbul's Bilgi University Dolapdere campus yesterday.

In an exclusive interview with the Turkish Daily News, AIPRG Representative Tigran Mkrtchyan said Turkey will gain prestige in the international arena if the borders between the countries are opened.

The Ari Movement is a think tank that aims at promoting Turkey's relations with the EU and the Western world in general. The AIPRG is an Armenian think tank dealing with issues relevant to Armenia and its Diaspora.

Mkrtchyan said that even though Armenia offered to open the borders without any prerequisites, Turkey brought forth the Karabagh and the “genocide” issues as prerequisites. He added that the attitude of the Armenian Diaspora should not affect the relationship between the two countries as Armenia is an independent state and its policy does not depend on the Diaspora. Mkrtchyan said the fact that there have been open and frank questions about the “genocide” during the meeting is a positive development.

The fact that there was no Armenian flag in the meeting, even though the Turkish flag and the Ari Movement flags were present, drew reaction from the AIPRG members. Mkrtchyan said the next meeting – in Ankara, on Sept. 20 – might be canceled if the Armenian flag is not present.


'Diaspora Does Not Affect Armenian Policy':

The international press was also drawn to the meeting that took place in Bilgi University's Dolapdere campus. Even though it was specified before the meeting that the AIPRG committee was not a political entity, questions asked were generally focused on the events of 1915, the Karabagh issue, and the attitude of the Armenian Diaspora.

“Even though our subject was economic relations, 90 percent of the questions were about ‘genocide' and the Karabagh issue. When the subject is Turkey and Armenia, the focus moves to these subjects regardless of the agenda," said Mkrtchyan. "But we are not politicians. We are here to discuss economic relations.”

Describing the fact that there were direct questions about the 1915 events during the meeting as a positive development, Mkrtchyan said that even the Turkish committees visiting Armenia generally abstained from expressions on the subject.

Noting that the Armenian economy has advanced in recent years, Mkrtchyan said Turkish and Armenian businessmen could trade freely if the borders between the two countries were opened. Regarding the Mezamor Nuclear Plant near the border with Turkey that has become a constant subject of debate, he said the plant was significant in Armenia's economical development, but that new alternatives could be considered if necessary.

Saying that Turkey-Armenia relations should not be affected because of the Armenian Diaspora's attitude, Mkrtchyan emphasized that independent Armenia had its own policy. He ended his speech by saying that he was optimistic about the opening of the borders between the two countries.


Great Turkish Myths
September 19, 2007
The Turks on July 22 did not only re-elect the AKP, give it a carte blanche for a new term and indirectly elected Abdullah Gül as president, but they also indirectly endorsed the Armenian genocide resolution

Burak Bekdil

There are probably too many of them, but the Sept. 7 article, “Judgment time: Should America recognize an Armenian genocide?” written by Barabara Lerner forcefully reminds us of some of the most recent “great Turkish myths” – and probably the most repulsive.

After a too-hard-to-deny argument on why the Nazi Holocaust was different from the Ottoman killings of Armenians, Ms. Lerner cautions that what she brands as a “radical realignment” (i.e., an American stamp of approval on the alleged Armenian genocide) could irreparably damage U.S.-Turkish ties:

''There are times when we should give moral considerations precedence over prudential ones, but there is never a time when we should do so blindly, without estimating the cost and deciding if we are honestly willing to pay it. The risk here is that endorsing the genocide resolution will turn what is already a growing rift between America and Turkey, into a historic parting of the ways between our two nations.”

Are the Turks really frustrated?

Ms. Lerner also argues that Turks are: (a) angry that America's Kurdish allies in Iraq refuse to restrain the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) and sometimes even threaten to unleash further PKK violence if Turkey balks at Kurdish government demands, (b) angry and hurt that America refuses to seriously pressure the Kurds, even when the weapons the PKK uses to kill Turks are American weapons, (c) angry and frustrated that American diplomats repeatedly warn the Turkish military against taking any cross-border military action to put an end to the aggression themselves; and finally, (d) equally dismayed by the growing western attempt to brand Turkey as a genocidal nation.

Sensible words, no doubt. But are the Turks really angry, hurt, frustrated and dismayed over the reasons Ms. Lerner realistically lists? That is a contemporary Turkish myth.

Now, let's have a small Question and Answer session: Can Nancy Pelosi bring the Armenian genocide resolution to a floor vote any day now, although America is increasingly engaged in Iraq? Yes. How long have the Turks known of the danger of the U.S. resolution? Several months. When the danger appeared this vividly for the first time in Turkish (and Turkish-American) history, who was in charge of Turkish diplomacy? Then Foreign Minister Abdullah Gül. With whom is Mr. Gül said to have excellent relations? America. Who did the Turks want to become their new president? Mr. Gül. For whom there have been loud cheers and celebrations of all sorts and bonfires all around Turkey? Mr. Gül. Whom do the Turks love so passionately? The man who was in charge of Turkish diplomacy when the genocide resolution was taking shape in Washington, D.C.

The bitter truth is that, the Turks on July 22 did not only re-elect the Justice and Development Party (AKP), give it carte blanche for a new term and indirectly elect Mr. Gül as president, they also indirectly endorsed the Armenian genocide resolution.

Remember frustration over France:

The Turks, like their government, are pragmatists rather than anti-this or pro-that. Does anyone have any idea of what happened to the grand Turkish boycott, governmental and popular, in retaliation to the French bill that recognized the Armenian genocide in 2001, and another one that criminalized the denial of the genocide in 2006?

The governmental boycott? French companies have won the contracts they would otherwise have won and are bidding for others too, including military deals.

The popular boycott? In the first seven months of 2007, France was Turkey's fourth biggest export market and fifth biggest exporter to Turkey.

Another myth is the anti-Americanism in Turkey that various opinion polls have revealed is the highest in the world (81 percent, according to a most recent study). Yet 46.6 percent of Turks voted for what is known to be the most U.S.-friendly political grouping in the country. For example, Turks would likely oppose (if asked by pollsters) Turkey allying with America against Iran, but they would probably vote their government back in even if it allied with America against Iran. Eight in every 10 Turks say they disapprove of America and/or American policies, but almost one in every two Turks voted for a man whose chief foreign policy advisor once asked Washington bigwigs to “use this man instead of putting him to the drain.”

It is true that the Turks are angry with the PKK's violence. But there are other facts too. Like, for example, 46.6 percent of them voted for the party that on July 22 was as popular among Kurdish voters as were the Kurdish independents (the southeast vote was split half-half between the AKP and the Kurdish independents).

Why did the Turks vote for a party that was also the most popular non-Kurdish party for the Kurds? Why did Kurdish voters either vote for independents, which meticulously refrain from branding the PKK as a terrorist organization, or the AKP? Again, July 22 was an indirect and practical public endorsement of the AKP's “Kurdish policies,” including the PKK.

It's bizarre: Most Turks dislike Jalal Talabani, Iraq's Kurdish leader, but they voted for the party which Mr. Talabani explicitly safeguarded in a public speech in which he asked the Kurds “not to cause trouble for the government in the run-up to the polls.”

The 4 percent ‘boom?'

Another myth that has been widely portrayed as a fact especially since 2003 is “the rising Turkish nationalism.” Well, at least the election results indicate that it was a myth.

Let's assume that the Republican People's Party (CHP) actually falls into the “nationalist zone” on the political spectrum despite its self-declared social democrat tag. On July 22 this party won almost what it won in 2002 (and this despite support from other “leftist” parties this time). Two other parties, the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) and the Young Party (GP), which subscribed to a fierce nationalist rhetoric, won a combined 15 percent in 2002 and 17 percent in 2007. So, the combined “nationalist” vote rose to 38 percent in 2007 from 34 percent five years earlier. Can we safely brand a 4 percentage point rise in any vote as a “boom?”

All these great Turkish myths remind me of an unfortunate corporate story.

A few years earlier an international condom maker which decided to make an entrée into the lucrative Turkish market conducted a survey to see what size stocks it should pile up for its opening sales campaign in Turkey. Relying on the survey results based on interviews, the company loaded its dealers almost exclusively with XL products. The stocks never sold.

Rumor has it that the Turks are increasingly frustrated over being branded by the West as a genocidal nation, that they are the world's most anti-American nation, that Turkish nationalism has been dangerously booming to new heights, that the Turks are dismayed by Kurdish separatist violence and its supporters in and outside of Turkey. Rumor also has it that the most common condom size for the Turks is XL.


Turkish Media: Government Tools
Blogger News Network
September 19th, 2007 by The Stiletto

Given how Turkish newspapers "report" the news, "independent journalist" Alexis Debat would have no trouble landing a top spot at any one of them. For instance, during Pope Benedict's visit to Turkey last November, local papers quoted Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan as claiming that the pontiff told him, "You know we don't have a political role, but we wish for Turkey's entry into the EU" -which prompted a swift "clarification" by the Vatican that essentially boiled down to "as if."

In the latest example of great moments in Turkish journalism, here is a comparison of how the paper Hurriyet sumarized a September 13th speech by R. Nicholas Burns, Under Secretary for Political Affairs to the Atlantic Council of the United States (ACUS) and what the third-highest ranking official at the U.S. Department of State actually said.

Hurriyet: Nicholas Burns ... has said that Turkey-US relations have reached a "critical juncture."

Burns: "I am pleased to be back at the Atlantic Council to discuss what is one of the most critical relationships for America in the world today - the relationship between the United States and Turkey."

Note: Nowhere in his remarks, does Burns say that the relationship between the two countries has reached a "critical juncture"; he does say several times that the two countries have a critical relationship.

"Critical juncture" suggests a crossroad, which in turn suggests a parting of the ways. No diplomat would use such language to an ally.

***

Hurriyet: "Turkey is critical for us, an indispensable ally, with her commitment to secular democracy. Prime Minister Erdogan and President Gul are reliable. They have kept promises they have made to us in the past.

Turkey is an important portal for energy sources to reach Europe. We support Turkey's accession to the European Union."

Burns: "The Turkish people have just concluded important, even historic elections. These elections demonstrated the strong health of Turkey's democracy, the most impressive in the Moslem world. The result was a decisive and Turkey can now expect a period of renewal and growth at home and responsibility and challenge in its foreign policy. The United States government looks forward to a very close relationship with President Abdullah Gul and Prime Minister Erdogan. President Bush and Secretary Rice respect both of these men. We have worked very well and productively with them in years past and know that will continue in the years to come. We would like to agree with the newly-elected Turkish leadership on a period in the coming months of high-level visits, discussions and joint commitment to face together the challenges of stability and peace in the Middle East."
...
"Turkey is the gateway for exports of oil and natural gas from the Caspian region and Iraq to Europe.

Building on our successful cooperation in the 1990's to develop the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline and the South Caucasus gas pipeline, we now seek to expand this critical energy infrastructure into a Southern Corridor to help our European allies - Greece, Italy and into Western Europe - create a free market for energy supplies in Europe. These efforts can also help Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, and Turkmenistan bolster their own independence by providing them access to European energy markets." ...

"We are among the strongest supporters of Turkey's EU aspirations. We call on Europe's leaders to signal clearly and unambiguously that Turkey will have a voice in the European Union in the future."

Note: Nowhere in his remarks does Burns say that Erdogan and Gul, specifically, have been reliable allies and kept their promises to the U.S. Rather in weeping, historic terms, he states that Turkey has been a dependable and important ally in a turbulent region dating back to the Truman Doctrine.
***
Hurriyet: "The energy agreement between Iran and Turkey bothered us. It is beneficial for both the US and Turkey to keep Iran, which supports the Taleban and wants to possess nuclear power, under control."

Burns: "We have worked well together to support of the clear international consensus demanding that Iran cease its nuclear weapons development programs. Turkey has also proven to be strong partner in countering Iran's support for terrorists in the Middle East. But the United States and Turkey still need to work out some tactical differences in handling Iran. We understand that Iran is a neighbor of Turkey and key trading partner, which sends over a million tourists to Turkey each year. Turkey's recent conclusion of a memorandum on energy cooperation with Iran, however, is troubling. Now is not the time for business as usual with Iran. We urge all of our friends and allies, including Turkey, to not reward Iran by investing in its oil and gas sector, while Iran continues to defy the United Nations Security Council by continuing its nuclear research for a weapons capability."

Note: Hurriyet toned Burns' remarks down big time.

This was the one and only clear criticism of Turkish policy Burns dared to utter in his speech, and it was all-but censored. Burns pussyfooted around every other sensitive topic - in some cases ignoring some very inconvenient facts. For instance, Burns talked about Turkey's "160-year legacy of modernizing reform, as the most successful example in the world today of a secular democracy within a Muslim society that can inspire reformers in the greater Middle East and beyond." He did not mention how the Armenian Genocide and successive massacres of other Christian minorities during the Ottoman era left modern Turkey 99.8 percent Muslim, how converts from Islam are prosecuted and sometimes murdered, and the spate of murders of Catholic priests that have occurred over the past couple of years. If you are not Muslim, Turkey is neither secular nor a democracy.
***
Hurriyet: "The PKK is a terrorist organisation. Our good faith should not be underestimated. I hope that solid steps will be taken against the PKK within the next six months.""The PKK is a terrorist organisation.

Our good faith should not be underestimated. I hope that solid steps will be taken against the PKK within the next six months."

Burns: "[T]he United States condemns the PKK as a vicious terrorist group. We mourn the loss of innocent Turkish lives in these attacks. We remain fully committed to working with the Governments of Turkey and Iraq to counter PKK terrorists, who are headquartered in northern Iraq. We are making progress in putting in place the mechanisms required to produce such concrete results against the PKK. We will also follow up our success in working with Turkey and our other European partners to interdict PKK terror financiers in Europe and bring them to justice."

Note: Nowhere in his remarks does Burns mention a timetable.
***
Hurriyet: "The Fener Greek Patriarchate is of ecumenical status. The US recognises Patriarch Bartholomeos as a friend. A priests' school should be opened in Heybeliada."

Burns: "We ... hope Turkey will help make its own case with the EU by allowing the Ecumenical Patriarch's religious school at Halki in Istanbul to reopen decades after it closed."

Note: Burns is very specific as to which school should be re-opened, which has quite a different meaning than opening a school. Also, Burns ties this to Turkey's EU bid, not to U.S. "friendship" with the Patriarch.
***
Hurriyet: "Normalize relations with Armenia. The Turkish-Armenian border should be opened. We are opposed to the passing of the Armenian bill in Congress. In the case of this bill passing, those in Turkey who seek to keep a dialogue between the Armenians and the Turks will be silenced."

Burns: "[T]he U.S. and Turkey face a serious challenge with regard to Armenia. Each year on April 24, Armenian Remembrance Day, President Bush has issued a public statement lamenting the mass killings and forced deportations of up to 1.5 million Armenians by Ottoman authorities at the end of World War I. ...

We believe passage of the U.S. House of Representative's Resolution 106, which would make a political determination that the tragedy of 1915 constituted genocide, would undercut voices emerging in Turkey for dialogue and reconciliations concerning these horrific events. We therefore have recommended to Congress that it not pass such a resolution. We strongly encourage Turkey to normalize its relations and reopen its border with Armenia, steps that will help bring peace, prosperity and cooperation to the Caucasus. Now, in the wake of the AKP's resounding electoral victories, is the time for Ankara to make a bold opening toward Armenia. And we hope that Armenia will respond in kind."

Note: The phrase "will be silenced" has an ominous ring to it, as compared to what Burns actually said.

Considering that Nationalist sympathizers "silenced" Armenian journalist Hrant Dink by shooting him dead outside the offices of his newspaper, Agos, this wording is not accidental.
***
Hurriyet: "Article 301 of the Turkish penal code, used even against Nobel prize-winner Orhan Pamuk, should be lifted."

Burns: [W]e hope Turkey will repeal Article 301 of the Penal Code, which restricts freedom of expression and has led to outlandish legal cases against private citizens and global figures such as Nobel Laureate Orhan Pamuk.

Note: And why should it be lifted? For some reason, the editors at Hurriyet did not feel comfortable using the phrase "freedom of expression." Maybe they would have found themselves in violation of Article 301, somehow.
***
Hurriyet: "We are working for the UN to start a new venture in Cyprus."

Burns: "We appreciate the difficulties that such cooperation poses for Turkey given the still-evolving Turkey-EU relationship, the circumstances of Turkey's participation in activities within the European Security and Defense Policy, as well as the complications resulting from the lack of a Cyprus settlement. Yet it is vital for all of us, including Turkey, that NATO and the EU are indeed able to work together in crisis areas around the world. For this and many other reasons, we call on all relevant parties to reinvigorate UN-brokered efforts to reach a comprehensive Cyprus settlement that reunifies the island into a bi-zonal, bi-communal federation. We welcome last week's meeting of President Papadopoulos and Mehmet Ali Talat, and look forward to future such meetings to implement last year's July 8 agreement."

Note: This bowdlerization of Burns' remarks makes no sense - at least not to The Stiletto. Maybe "new venture" is a code phrase that only Turks can understand.

The U.S. State Department Web site posted Burns' speech, and hard copy was no doubt distributed to reporters covering the event. Hurriyet's "version" of the speech cannot be chalked up to a poor translation.

In a country where journalists can be prosecuted and jailed for insulting Islam or Turkishness, it is reasonable to assume a chilling effect that induces papers to report the news the government wants the people to know instead of the news the people need to know. Until Article 301 is repealed, Turkey will never be a Western-style democracy. In the long run, the U.S. does Turkey no favors by pretending otherwise.

Note: To reward Israeli president Shimon Peres for personally calling Abe Foxman to ensure that the Anti-Defamation League doesn't let up in lobbying against the symbolic Congressional resolution recognizing the Armenian Genocide, Turkey provided Israel with intelligence on suspected Syrian nuclear facilities before a sortie into Syrian airspace by Israeli F-15I planes. Kuwaiti newspaper Al-Jarida reports that Turkish intelligence did not inform Erdogan of its plans. In an article no doubt meant to create the cover of plausible deniability for Erdogan, Hurriyet reported that an unnamed government official demanded to know whether the Israeli planes flew over Turkish airspace during the mission. Anyone who does not believe that Peres' phone call and Turkey's behind-the-scenes role in the Israeli sortie is not a quid pro quo is either naïve or not paying attention.

Turkey will stop at nothing to guarantee that it will never be held accountable for the Armenian Genocide.

The Stiletto writes about politics and other stuff at The Stiletto Blog.


Genocide Allegations

I just wanted to make a few comments about the articles that I read recently here in the TDN in regard to the Armenian issue by some columnists. They were basically saying in a nutshell that Turkey should open her borders with Armenia and give up on her fight against claims of the so-called Armenian genocide.

I have to say that bothered me a little bit. It sounded like Turkey was wrong to pursue explaining to the world the fact that events that took place between 1915-1918 were not genocide, though they were tragic ? for both parties!

I am not sure how familiar these columnists are with this issue, but sanctions that Turkey imposes on Armenia are fully justified and should not be lifted until they meet our conditions, including the condemnation of the killing of innocent diplomats back in the ?80s by the terrorist Armenian Secret Army for the Liberation of Armenia (ASALA) organization.

Now some argue that sanctions don't work, and I can see that to a degree. But in this case, they are working, which is why they are so eager and desperate for us to open the borders with them.

Another fact is that Armenia still has not officially recognized the border we share with them. Because they hope and wish that, one day, they'll get their land back.

They give support to the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) by all means and in every way possible.

The most important of it all is the animosity and hatred that they spread around the world with their false allegations. They try their best to turn everyone into a Turk hater like themselves.

I feel sorry for those poor suffering people of Armenia. Armenia is the poorest country in the region. People are starving or freezing to death every year there. They just have to raise their voices and change their corrupt government that is a puppet with Russia pulling the strings. They depend on Russia for cheap natural gas, fuel and protection.

One has to show goodwill in order to reconcile. They want us to open our border yet they don't want to give up on their propaganda, which hurts our national interest and image.

Turkey's sanctions on Armenia are justified and they should first change their attitude and stop seeing Turkey as their archenemy and start seeing it as their neighbor; they should also remember the goodwill that Turkey showed their country. Turkey was one of the first countries to recognize Armenia's independence. If they want to resolve the so-called genocide issue then they should respond to Prime Minister Erdogan's invitation to form a committee to research the issue.

It would be too naive to believe that they will change their attitude if we open the border. That is simply too hard to swallow.

In the U.S., we believe all suspects are innocent until proven guilty. Their claims of the so-called genocide are like finding Turkey guilty without having a day in court. I think we deserve to have our day in court and let people be judge of the matter.

Eric N., a Turkish-American

Letters to the Editor /TDN
September 20, 2007




Turkish Lobby In U.S. Strengthens Efforts Against Armenian And Kurdish Issues
18.09.2007 PanARMENIAN.Net/ As Washington has increasingly been turning a blind eye to the red lines of Turkish foreign policy, pro-Turkish lobbies are looking for ways to strengthen their position in the United States.

The American Turkish Society (ATS), one of the leading Turkish lobbies in the U.S., asked key businessmen to become members on its board. Muhtar Kent, the president and chief operating officer of The Coca-Cola Company, Murat Megalli, JP Morgan Turkey director and Haluk Dincer, president of the Food and Retailing Group joined the ATS. With its new members the ATS is targeting to become more effective in better promoting Turkish-U.S. relations. After Ahmet Ertegun, the founder of Atlantic Records and also long time president of the ATS passed away last year many were concerned that the Turkish community in the U.S. had lost an important voice. Ertegun successfully brought American and Turkish businessmen and politicians together and almost served as an unofficial ambassador for well over 20 years. Kent was one of the names being mentioned behind the scenes to take Ertegun’s place to promote Turkish-American relations.

Muhtar Kent’s good relations with the Jewish community is accepted as an important asset for the Turkish lobbies. Especially after the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) acknowledged the Armenian Genocide in August. Although the ADL’s statement reaffirmed that the legislation pending in Congress to recognize the genocide is "a counterproductive diversion" it created some concern in Ankara.

Many Democrats think that those concerns are valid. Off the record some Democrats say that the Armenian Genocide Resolution will for sure pass sometime this fall.

Political observers believe that as well as the Armenian Genocide issue, the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) is another problem that Washington and Ankara should find common ground on. Sources close to Democrats say a process is underway to prepare a report on the PKK.

However, many think that a report of this nature will be a bitter pill to swallow for Ankara. It will need a strong lobby in Washington in the meantime. Kent is seen as an important player in this picture. However it is still a question mark if Kent’s busy schedule will allow him to play the role expected of him, Turkish Daily News reports.


Arnold Schwarzenegger Congratulated Armenian People On Independence Day
 © This content Mirrored From TurkishArmenians  Site
18.09.2007 PanARMENIAN.Net/ Governor of California, Arnold Schwarzenegger congratulated Armenian people on Independence Day.

The statement says, “I am pleased to extend my warmest greetings to all those commemorating the anniversary of the Independence of Armenia. It is always a special occasion when a people gather to rejoice in their heritage, and I am privileged to join with the Armenian-American community on this day of celebration. You enrich our nation – and especially our state – through your hard work, spirit of service and wonderful blend of cultural traditions. Thank you for your contributions to California’s unique and ever-growing diversity.

In honoring our own ancestries, we not only come to a better understanding of ourselves, but we also gain a greater appreciation for the breadth of cultures and customs that make up our Golden State. On behalf of all Californians, please accept my best wishes for a meaningful celebration and every future success.”

Armenia celebrates Independence Day on 21 September. By a decree of the Armenian Supreme Council, a referendum on secession from the Soviet Union was held on 21 September 1991. 94,99% eligible to vote said “yes”. Two days later, the Supreme Council proclaimed Armenia an independent state.


Turkish Lobbies In US Stepping Up Efforts
September 18, 2007
Elif Özmenek
NEW YORK – Turkish Daily News

As Washington has increasingly been turning a blind eye to the red lines of Turkish foreign policy, pro-Turkish lobbies are looking for ways to strengthen their position in the United States.

The American Turkish Society (ATS), one of the leading Turkish lobbies in the U.S., asked key businessmen to become members on its board. Muhtar Kent, the president and chief operating officer of The Coca-Cola Company, Murat Megalli, JP Morgan Turkey director and Haluk Dinçer, president of the Food and Retailing Group joined the ATS. With its new members the ATS is targeting to become more effective in better promoting Turkish-U.S. relations.

After Ahmet Ertegün, the founder of Atlantic Records and also long time president of the ATS passed away last year many were concerned that the Turkish community in the U.S. had lost an important voice. Ertegün successfully brought American and Turkish businessmen and politicians together and almost served as an unofficial ambassador for well over 20 years. Kent was one of the names being mentioned behind the scenes to take Ertegün's place to promote Turkish-American relations.

Like Ertegün, Kent is also the son of a diplomat. Ertegün's father Munir Ertegün was a prominent figure in Turkish-U.S. relations. In 1946 then President Truman ordered the battleship USS Missouri to return his body to Turkey as a demonstration of U.S. power opposing Russian demands on Turkey. Likewise Kent's father was also an interesting figure in Turkish diplomatic history. Ambassador Necdet Kent was posted as Consul General to Marseilles between 1941 and 1944, gave Turkish citizenship to dozens of Turkish Jews living in France who did not have proper identity papers to save them from deportation to the Nazi gas chambers. Thus the American Sephardic Federation and Raoul Wallenberg Committee awarded Necdet Kent.

Muhtar Kent's good relations with the Jewish community is accepted as an important asset for the Turkish lobbies. Especially after the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) acknowledged the ?Armenian Genocide? in August. Although the ADL's statement reaffirmed that the legislation pending in Congress to recognize the genocide is "a counterproductive diversion" it created some concern in Ankara. Many Democrats think that those concerns are valid. Off the record some Democrats say that the Armenian Genocide Resolution will for sure pass sometime this fall. Political observers believe that as well as the Armenian Genocide issue, the outlawed Kurdistan workers' Party (PKK) is another problem that Washington and Ankara should find common ground on. Sources close to Democrats say a process is underway to prepare a report on the PKK. However many think that a report of this nature will be a ?bitter pill? to swallow for Ankara.

Ankara will need a strong lobby in Washington in the meantime. Kent is seen as an important player in this picture. However it is still a question mark if Kent's busy schedule will allow him to play the role expected of him.


Australian Prime Minister Attended The Opening Ceremony Of The Armenian Cultural Festival
armradio.am
17.09.2007 17:20

The Prime Minister of Australia John_Howard attended the opening ceremony of the Armenian Cultural Festival in Sydney.

The "Sydney Monitoring Herald" wrote that Armenians are a significant force in Bennelong. The national president of the Armenian National Council, Varand Mkrtchyan, said 4000 Bennelong voters with an Armenian background wanted the candidates to recognize the Armenian genocide.

However, neither Mr. Howard nor the Labor leader, Kevin Rudd, has raised the question.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics is a little more modest in its listing of 2285 people of Armenian ancestry in Bennelong. Whichever is the figure, in a tight election, the Armenian vote will count big time.


Turkey, Armenia: A Thriving Trade Despite Tensions, Closed Border
mmorning.com
Sept. 17, 2007

Barreling along at breakneck speeds, Turkish trucks loaded with goods are a common sight on the winding highways of Armenia, showing that for many Armenians the desire for a bargain outweighs historic hatred.

"What's important for me are the quality and the price of the goods, not where they come from", said 32-year-old Yerevan resident Souren, who recently bought a Turkish-made washing machine.

Turkish goods are flooding into Armenia despite a long history of antagonism between Armenians and Turks, closed borders and major diplomatic tensions between Ankara and Yerevan.

Only 25 kilometers from the Turkish border, Yerevan should be a short drive for the truckers. But with Armenia under a Turkish trade embargo and the border sealed, they instead have to follow a long, circuitous route through neighboring Georgia to bring home appliances, building materials and other goods to Yerevan.

Turkey banned exports to Armenia and closed the border in 1993 in a show of solidarity with its close ally Azerbaijan, which was at war with Armenia-backed separatists over the territory of Nagorno-Karabakh.

Also angered by Armenia's campaign for international recognition of mass killings of Armenians under the Ottoman Empire as genocide, Ankara has also refused to establish diplomatic ties with Yerevan.

Yet at the main border crossing between Armenia and Georgia, the queue of Turkish trucks headed for Yerevan can often stretch for more than a kilometer.

To get around the embargo, the goods officially change hands in Georgia, through middlemen or shell companies established by Turkish exporters.

"There is a big quantity of Turkish goods today in Armenia", said Gagik Kocharian, the head of the trade department at Armenia's Ministry of Trade and Economic Development.

Home appliances, building materials, household goods, clothes and paper products are the most common Turkish items sold in Armenia, he said, and sales of those goods rose 40 percent in 2006.

Many consumers, Kocharian said, are indifferent to whether the goods they are buying are Turkish.

"People buy brands and very often are not interested or do not know where a product is made", he said.

Many business leaders on both sides are urging the Armenian and Turkish governments to work to end the embargo and re-open the border.

"There is great interest from companies on both sides in doing business with each other. It would be very beneficial for both countries to re-open the border", said Kaan Soyak, the Turkish co-chairman of the Turkish-Armenian Business Development Council.

Re-opening the frontier would not only give Armenian exporters easier access to Western markets, but also add to export routes for Turkish companies targeting Azerbaijan and Central Asia, he said.

"Unfortunately, the political establishments on both sides benefit from the status quo", he commented.

Analysts said it's doubtful either side will give ground soon.

Winning international recognition of the mass killings as genocide is one of Armenia's top foreign policy goals. Armenians say up to 1.5 million of their kinsmen died in deportations and systematic killings on the territory of present-day Turkey in 1915.

Turkey categorically rejects the genocide label and argues that 300,000 Armenians and at least as many Turks died in civil strife in what was then the Ottoman Empire during World War I.

Turkey is also unlikely to end its staunch support for Azerbaijan in the dispute over Nagorno-Karabakh, an ethnic Armenian enclave that broke away from Azerbaijan in the early 1990s and now has de facto independence.

Azerbaijan has imposed its own economic embargo on Armenia and Kocharian said there are virtually no Azerbaijani goods on sale in Armenia.

Despite repeated meetings, Armenian and Turkish diplomats have failed to break the deadlock.

At a meeting in Istanbul in June, Armenian Foreign Minister Vardan Oskanian urged Turkey to open the border, but Turkey responded that the dispute over Karabakh would have to first be resolved. Turkish Foreign Minister Abdallah Gul also called on Armenia to support a Turkish proposal to set up a joint committee of Turkish and Armenian academics to study the genocide allegations. And not all Armenians are willing to set political tensions aside in the name of commerce.

"I do not buy Turkish or Azerbaijani goods and I absolutely don't understand people who don't care where goods come from", said Robert Sanasarian, an elderly Armenian living in Yerevan. "Why can't people just buy locally-produced goods, helping Armenian businesses instead of our opponents?"


What is Harut Sassounian Up To Again
Well Sasounian,

He is proud to be Turkish Armenian, we are proud of him. So what is your problem buddy? He has no problem to discuss the issue why can't you??
He speaks his mind that you don't like so why should he be like you??

Furthermore, extremists caused the problem circa 1915 so why can't you face upto Turks in 2007 and argue your point in public; not behind so called newspaper columns?

British CPTR-News
E Firinci
Swansea


Armenian Patriarch of Turkey in U.S. On Turkish Propaganda Tour Once Again
By Harut Sassounian
The California Courier

This week Mesrob Mutafyan, the Armenian Patriarch of Turkey, is making his second visit to the United States in the past 6 months.

During his highly controversial first visit in April, the Patriarch participated in a conference organized by a Turkish group at the Southern Methodist University, in Dallas, Turkey. The conference was titled, "Turkish-Armenian Question: What to do Now?"

Despite intensive efforts by various Armenian-American groups to persuade the Patriarch not to speak at that conference, he went ahead with his speaking engagement. All other Armenian invitees, for one reason or another, refused to take part. The concern was that the Turks would use the conference as a ploy to convince the outside world that Armenians and Turks were "reconciling" with each other, and therefore, there was no need to pressure Turkey into genocide recognition.

Archbishop Khajag Barsamian, the Primate of the Armenian Church of America (Eastern Diocese), was so incensed by the Patriarch?s planned participation that he wrote to University officials objecting to its sponsorship of this politically tendentious and one sided "Armenian-Turkish dialogue." The University complied with the Primate?s request and withdrew its support from the conference. Archbishop Barsamian rightly pointed out that Patriarch Mutafyan "has a very limited ability to freely express his true thoughts and concerns because of oppressive Turkish free-speech laws." The Primate aptly described the Patriarch as "a virtual ?prisoner of conscience? of the Turkish government."

Interestingly, the Patriarch repeated word for word in Dallas what he had said a year earlier during a similar conference held at Erciyes University in Kayseri, Turkey. The April 2006 conference was entitled: "The Art of Living Together in Ottoman Society: The Example of Turkish-Armenian Relations."

Patriarch Mutafyan will most probably repeat the same remarks during his talk on September 20, at the Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. The sponsors of both the April and September conferences are affiliated with the Islamic Fethullah Gulen group.

To gain an advance insight into what the Patriarch might say this week, here are some excerpts of his previously delivered talks in Kayseri and Dallas which consist of some straight talk mixed with words meant to appease Turkish officials.

"It is certainly not possible to idealize every phase in the history of Ottoman-Armenian relations and to say that Armenians never had any problems. Being Christians, the Armenians of the Ottoman Empire were never first class citizens. And they certainly did suffer discrimination. However, we know that the first acquaintance between Turks and Armenians dates back to at least 1300 years ago?. In this long history of commercial and political interactions between neighbors, there are relatively few instances where we observe exchanges of physical violence," the Patriarch said.

He then went on to say that "especially towards the end of the 19th century there was an increase in tension in relations, whether responsibility for this was due to the Ottoman government, or the German, American, French, British and especially Russian governments, Armenian political parties, or even the Armenian Patriarchs of Istanbul of that period, who discharged their obligations under the surveillance of the Temporal Affairs Council that then consisted of Armenian secularists in Turkey. Even if the various parties were not all equally responsible, it is not a moral approach in view of the painful after-effects for any one of them to deny any accountability in the development of these events, or to place all the responsibility on the other parties."

After several Turkish propagandists delivered their talks at the Dallas conference, the Armenian Patriarch responded by making the following statement outside of his written text: "Did some Armenian political parties promote armed rebellion in the Armenian community? They did. In some areas, did armed Armenian gangs work together with the Russian army? They did. But the Government of the Committee for Union and Progress, being in charge of the country, is chiefly responsible for the painful events that occurred and the great suffering that was endured. If you do not hold the government in charge of the behavior of the country as responsible for that behavior, then whom will you hold responsible? Instead of eliminating in their local areas the armed Armenian factions who were in rebellion, the Government of the Committee for Union and Progress sent all Armenians in the Ottoman Empire on a sort of death march to the Syrian Desert; it sentenced them to death. Therefore this party is chiefly culpable for the 1915 events."

A day before his Georgetown speech this week, the Armenian Patriarch is invited to participate at the 2nd Congressional Interfaith and Intercultural Ramadan Iftar Dinner on Capitol Hill, where he will speak along with several other clergymen from various faiths.

There has been some speculation as to who arranged for the Armenian Patriarch to come to Washington, D.C., shortly before the anticipated vote in the House of Representatives on the Armenian Genocide resolution and less than a month before the Pontifical visit of His Holiness Karekin II to the nation?s capital? Many see the sinister hand of the Turkish government orchestrating the Patriarch?s speaking engagements, using the connections of high-powered lobbying firms hired by Ankara.

This writer has repeatedly urged the Armenian Patriarch to stay away from involvement in political matters and instead tend to the spiritual needs of his flock. He must at all cost resist the pressures exerted upon him by Turkish officials, in order not to allow them to use him as a propaganda tool serving Turkey?s denialist agenda.
In the meantime, Armenian religious and secular leaders have an obligation to point out that the Patriarch does not speak for the Armenian Church and that his political statements are made under Turkish pressure and do not reflect his true views on the Armenian Genocide.


Provocative Video Makes Headlines
September 17, 2007
Turkish Daily News

A video prepared for a song, the lyrics of which praised O.S., the teenager who murdered Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink, and Y.H., one of the inciters behind the assassination was posted on the hugely popular video-sharing Web site Youtube, creating controversy in Turkey, as many branded it as ultra-nationalist hate propaganda.

The video quickly received a high number of user hits. Thousands of people sent the link to each other, especially on Friday, as the issue marked the agenda in many e-mail groups. Finally, the amateur video made it to the headlines of mass circulation newspapers yesterday.

While the song mentioned the names in different contexts, in the video the photograph of murderer Ogun and inciter Yasin are seen. In the lyrics, meanwhile, there is a direct threat to those who “support Armenians,” saying “they will be taken care of.”

As these words are heard, the now infamous photograph of Dink, right after he was gunned down, lying on the ground and covered with newspaper pages, is seen.

Many targeted

The video not only praises those involved in Dink's assassination but also shows photographs of author Orhan Pamuk, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, musician, author and columnist Zülfü Livaneli, folk music singer Selda Bagcan, and former president Ahmet Necdet Sezer, labeling all as “betrayers.”

The lyrics of the song named “Do Not Make Plans” was written by an ultra nationalist poet, Ozan Arif and is sung by Ismail Türüt, a well-known singer. But ultra nationalists unrelated to the two supposedly prepared the video. There are nearly 10 different versions of the video being broadcast on Youtube, but the version that created reactions around Turkey was removed yesterday.

Claiming that the lyrics written by Arif were manipulated in the video, Türüt, talking to the daily Milliyet, said: “A journalist called me and asked about the video. I do not even know what Youtube is. Later we looked at the site with my wife. I was shocked when I watched it. I did not like what I saw.”

He stated that he does not know the producers of the video, so he is unable to file a complaint about them. “The government would know the technical details of the issue. Let it search for those who are responsible for this and punish them.”

Call to prosecutors

Meanwhile, Arif told daily Sabah that he wrote the lyrics because Türüt asked him to. He also claimed he did not know about the video. “I stick to each word and each line of this song,” he said.

On Friday, the video came to the attention of human rights advocates as well. The real problem was “how prosecutors, who launch many cases under the infamous article 301 of Turkish penal code, did not do anything about the song or the video,” said Levent Sensever, a member of the “Say No to Racism and Nationalism Platform.”

Dink's lawyers are preparing to file a complaint about the song and the video. One of Dink's lawyers asked the prosecutors “what they were waiting for” and said the video incites people to commit hate crimes by abusing race and religion and by praising a murderer.

This Thursday, the Human Rights Association and many other organizations will meet in front of the Sultanahmet Court at 1:00 p.m. and file a joint complaint against Türüt and Arif.


Controversial Video Gives Turkey Goose Bumps
FATMA DISLI f.disli@todayszaman.com
The broadcast of the video for a song whose lyrics praise the killer and masterminds of the murder of Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink -- who was shot dead earlier this year by ultra-nationalists for allegedly insulting Turkishness -- is sending shockwaves across Turkey. The most terrifying thing about the incident was that the singer, Ismail Türüt, who is from the Black Sea region that Dink’s killer also comes from, said he was very happy to sing such a song. Actually this is not the first incident showing Dink’s killers being hailed as heroes, as some police officers posed for souvenir photos with Dink’s alleged killer immediately after his arrest at the police office, which caused much controversy and mirrored the disturbed mentality reigning in some parts of Turkey.

“Is this Darfur?” asks Sabah columnist Ergun Babahan, who laments the racist mentality exhibited by some in Turkey that led to the composition of such a song. Discussing ways to rid society of such an attitude, he rules out the abolition of the notorious Article 301 of the Turkish Penal Code (TCK) -- which makes it a crime to insult Turkishness and has caused the prosecution of many intellectuals including Dink -- or even a constitutional change as a solution. “No matter if you write the most democratic constitution and modernize your penal code, it is not easy to establish a democratic social structure as long as the masses think and behave differently. Is it possible to maintain a healthy social order as people who do not refrain from praising an abhorrent murder, are still respected by some circles of the society and as long as they continue to appear on television screens and make programs? Change laws thousands of times, but that will mean nothing as long as an understanding that regards it as heroism to fight thought with weapons is not condemned,” he explains. Babahan defines the problem in Turkey as one of people’s refusing to live alongside other identities and thoughts. “Anybody who does not make an effort to achieve this harms the future of this country. Because as long as such a defective mentality reigns in Turkey, our differences will continue to be a source of enmity rather than richness,” he argues.

Another Sabah columnist, Erdal Safak, complains about the deep silence among people in Turkey in the face of incidents like the emergence of such a video. He refers to similar events in the past which went unnoticed, such as the threat made by the leader of a youth organization in front of Agos daily, Dink’s paper, to kill Dink before his murder; articles published after Dink’s murder saying “Turkey has lost one of its enemies”; and Dink’s killer’s white cap becoming popular in the wake of the release of the closed-circuit footage taken within moments of the killing. This quiet, this deep silence reminds one of the paintings of Hieronymus Bosch in the Middle Ages, particularly “Ecce Homo,” he notes. “The silence and indifference of the public is depicted in those paintings while Jesus is being taken to execution,” he explains, as he laments a similar attitude among the public about the Dink murder and the unfortunate events following it, like the recent song case.

Vatan’s Güngör Mengi thinks differently from Safak about the public’s reaction to the controversial video, saying that the public’s reaction was so huge that the video was ultimately removed from YouTube. What concerns him most about the incident is the number of young people who could be inspired by it. “Why does the order in Turkey not protect our children? Why? Because our culture and laws do not force adults to act responsibly,” he asserts.
17.09.2007


Song Praising Dink Murderers Sparks Outrage
A new song by folksinger Ismail Türüt, which covertly praises the men involved in the assassination of Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink, has caused anger, resentment and grief throughout much of Turkish society.

http://medya.todayszaman.com/todayszaman/2007/09/17/turut.jpg
Ismail Türüt

Three ministries have also taken action following news stories on the ultra-nationalist song that an anonymous fan used to make a video showing Hrant Dink and Father Andrea Santoro, an Italian priest who was killed in the Black Sea region. The Justice Ministry and the Interior Ministry have started an investigation; meanwhile Minister of Culture and Tourism Ertugrul Günay issued a stern statement, saying he had read the news reports “in horror.” Günay said the government would do everything within its power to make access to the online video clip impossible.

“The song includes intentional cues to fan feelings of hatred and enmity within society,” Günay observed. The Human Rights Association (IHD) called for a boycott of Türüt and announced that it would be filing a criminal complaint against the singer.

“Is it possible for society to function well as long as people who are bold about praising a cowardly and abject murder are respected in various sections of society and have their own television shows?” questioned journalist Ergun Babahan.

Many who were close friends of Dink were grieved by the song. “Even child pornography is innocent compared to this,” commented Gökhan Özgün, a columnist for Radikal daily. Lawyers representing the Dink family called on prosecutors to act. “The song incites murder,” said Kazim Bayraktar, who heads the Contemporary Legal Professionals Association.

Although the video was produced by a fan, the lyrics of Türüt’s song, written by Ozan Arif, a much-loved poet of the ultra-nationalists, are clearly praising the teenager who shot Hrant Dink on Jan. 17. Türüt denies his song has any racist implications, but references to the names of the teenager and Yasin Hayal, accused of soliciting the hit man, are present in the song -- concealed in rather basic wordplay.

The song also makes a clear reference to the Santoro murder. “Stop ringing bells/stop being pro-Armenian/the people won’t swallow that/not in the Black Sea region.” A picture of Father Santoro is shown in the video when Türüt sings the line “Stop ringing bells,” and footage from Dink’s funeral is displayed, in which hundreds of thousands of mourners holding banners reading “We are all Armenian” formed a long procession on the streets of Istanbul. A photo of Dink’s dead body in front of his newspaper Agos is shown as the words of the song “If somebody sells out the motherland/they will immediately die” are being sung.

Türüt denies allegations

Meanwhile, Star daily reported that the fan who made the video clip to the song was a Turkish worker living in Vienna. An earlier version of the video featured a picture of Evren Ilhan, the man allegedly behind the disturbing string of images.

Türüt meanwhile defended himself, saying, “I have nothing to do with the video. I only wanted to draw attention to the games being played in the Black Sea region. I enjoyed singing the lyrics.”

Arif, the songwriter said, “I haven’t heard about the video. It must have been one of the Internet ‘birds’. The lyrics to this piece were written by me. I stand behind every line -- every single word.” Saying he was sorry about the Dink assassination, the songwriter continued, “However, the slogan ‘We are all Armenian’ should also be questioned. It is illogical to draw a parallel between the murder and the song.”

17.09.2007
Today’s Zaman Istanbul


Folk Song Replays Dink Murder
The New Anatolian / Ankara
17 September 2007

Turkey is witnessing a new controversy after the video which was prepared for folk singer Ismail Turut's last song named "Don't make any plans" broadcasted in YouTube. Although Turut denied appraising the murderers of Dink who was a prominent member of Armenian community in Turkey and the editor of Agos newspaper, video clip shows the dead body of Dink while singer says the verse "if a person betrays the country, he is finished off."

Nearly 5,340 people watched the three-minute video clip in the YouTube internet site. Broadcast of the song's video clip in the YouTube internet site created harsh reaction in Turkey. It was claimed that the video clip was shot by an extreme nationalist group in Australia. Dink's family is getting ready to file a lawsuit. The YouTube stopped broadcasting the video clip.

"Lyrics and video clip of the song openly violates a number of laws. It appraises the murderers and encourages people for crime. Why prosecutors keep waiting?" asked the lawyer of Dink family, Erdal Dogan.

Meanwhile, Yucel Sayman, former Chairman of Istanbul Bar, said, "if it was about someone else, not Hrant Dink, prosecutors would have already taken action." Human Rights Association (IHD) stated that they will denounce Turut.

Suspects in the lyrics
Hrant Dink was assassinated in Istanbul in January 2007, by Ogün Samast, a 17-year old Turkish nationalist. While Samast has since been taken into custody, pictures of the alleged assassin flanked by smiling Turkish police and gendarmerie, posing with the killer in front of the Turkish flag, have since surfaced. The photos created a scandal in Turkey, prompting a spate of investigations and the removal from office of those involved. Yasin Hayal was also claimed to be identifiable as the one actually pulling the trigger.

As editor-in-chief of the bilingual Turkish-Armenian newspaper Agos. ink was a prominent member of the Armenian minority in Turkey. Dink was best known for advocating Turkish-Armenian reconciliation and human and minority rights in Turkey. Dink was prosecuted three times for denigrating Turkishness, while receiving numerous death threats from Turkish nationalists.

Turut's song mentioned the names of both Ogun Samast and Yasin Hayal and went on to say that there will be others who would follow in the footsteps of Ogun and Yasin.

The Dink murder trial opened in Istanbul on July 2. 18 people were charged in connection with the journalist's assassination.According to Human Rights Watch, Dink's murder trial is "a critical test of the Turkish judiciary's independence.


Religious Leaders Send Out Vital Messages At Iftar Gathering
Representatives of different religious groups in Turkey gathered for a fast-breaking evening meal at an Istanbul hotel on Saturday evening, where they highlighted Islam's understanding of tolerance and solidarity with the advent of the holy Muslim month of Ramadan.

Istanbul Mufti Mustafa Çagrici, Armenian Patriarch Mesrob Mutafyan, Greek Orthodox Patriarch Bartholomew, Director of Religious Affairs Ali Bardakoglu, Istanbul Governor Muammer Güler and Turkish Assyrian Catholic representative Yusuf Sag attended the iftar.

The iftar meal was organized by the Religious Affairs Directorate at the President Hotel and started with a recitation from the Koran. Istanbul Mufti Mustafa Çagrici, who made a speech following the fast-breaking, stressed that Islam supported people helping each other no matter which religion they follow. Armenian Patriarch Mesrob Mutafyan started his speech saying, "May God accept your fasts" and spoke about how the month of Ramadan is a month of forgiveness and compassion. Fener Greek Patriarch Bartholomew started his speech congratulating the new government and the new president, Abdullah Gül. In his speech, Bartholomew dwelled on the threat of global warming, which has started to hit the entire world more severely and praised a recent decision that carried the global warming issue into the course books.

Director of Religious Affairs Ali Bardakoglu started his speech saying he shared Bartholomew's concerns about the threat of global warming but pointed at the unseen aspect of the global warming. "That is true. There is global warming. But along with it there is a global moral decay," Bardakoglu said, particularly pointing to young people's gradual alienation from moral values. He called on religious leaders to take action against the moral degeneration, "As the leaders of religions, we should raise our voices."

Istanbul Governor Muammer Güler, also present at the iftar, described the gathering of different religious leaders around an iftar table as an example of the unity, solidarity and tolerance that has prevailed among different religions in these territories for centuries. Güler stressed the importance of people's joining forces, no matter which religion they follow, to tackle global problems.

17.09.2007
Today's Zaman Istanbul


Book On Murder Of Anvar Pasha Covers Armenians’ Threat Letter To Heydar Aliyev
17 Sep 2007

Head of Armenian Researches of History Organization, professor Hikmat Ozdemir wrote book “Uc jonturkun olumu” (Death of three jonturks) on the leaders of “Young Turks” during the Ottoman Empire – Talat pasha, Anvar pasha and Jamil pasha.
http://www.apa.az/photos/Enver%20Pasha.jpg
The book gives information about the murder of Talat pasha in Germany, Anvar pasha in Tajikistan, Jamal pasha in Tbilisi. One interesting momentum on the murder of Anvar pasha was shown in the book.

The author says that Armenian named Muradyan sent threat letter to Heydar Aliyev in 1987. The letter says that Anvar pasha was murdered by Armenian named Saruhanyan who was from Nagorno Karabakh on August 5, 1922. Saruhanyan was the member of the commander group of Akop Melkumyan. Melkumyan described this event in journal “Horizon”.

“The enemy could not see us in the fog. I was glad when I realized that Anvar Pasha was there together with his guards. The guns started to fire after my order. Anvar pasha was sleeping when our swords were sparkling in front of the windows. Then he mounted a horse and escaped. We killed Anvar pasha in Ganli sungu (bayonet fight),” he said.
Anvar pasha died in the battle with Soviet troops at the bottom of the mountain Pamir in his 42 year. He was buried in nearby village. His tomb was taken to Turkey in 1996. /APA/


U.S. Department Of State Warns Congress Against Armenian Genocide Resolution
15.09.2007 PanARMENIAN.Net/ “The United States condemnation of this tragedy is not at issue; the question is how best to facilitate reconciliation of all concerned parties with each other and with their painful and shared past,” U.S. Undersecretary of State Nicholas Burns said when addressing the Department of State with a report titled “The future of the U.S.-Turkey relations.

“We believe passage of the U.S. House of Representative’s Resolution 106, which would make a political determination that the tragedy of 1915 constituted genocide, would undercut voices emerging in Turkey for dialogue and reconciliations concerning these horrific events. We therefore have recommended to Congress that it not pass such a resolution,” he said.

“We strongly encourage Turkey to normalize its relations and reopen its border with Armenia, steps that will help bring peace, prosperity and cooperation to the Caucasus. Now, in the wake of the AKP’s resounding electoral victories, is the time for Ankara to make a bold opening toward Armenia. And we hope that Armenia will respond in kind.

In conclusion, the United States and Turkey have enjoyed a relationship of Allied friendship for over half a century of enormous complexity, success, and promise. We have weathered a difficult period over the past four years. We now stand at the edge of a potentially new era in Turkish politics that offers a chance to restore a sense of strategic partnership in U.S.-Turkish relations,” Mr Burns said.


US Diplomat Sends Seven Messages To Turkey
Nicholas Burns, the third ranking official at the US state department, has said that Turkey-US relations have reached a ‘critical juncture’. Burns, who said ‘we should work together’ on the issues of Iran and energy, made several challenging remarks to Ankara during a recent speech in Washington, DC.

Gül and Erdogan reliable
“Turkey is critical for us, an indispensable ally, with her commitment to secular democracy. Prime Minister Erdogan and President Gül are reliable. They have kept promises they have made to us in the past. Turkey is an important portal for energy sources to reach Europe. We support Turkey’s accession to the European Union. “

Work with us against Iran
“The energy agreement between Iran and Turkey bothered us. It is beneficial for both the US and Turkey to keep Iran, which supports the Taleban and wants to possess nuclear power, under control.”
Six months for PKK

“The PKK is a terrorist organisation. Our good faith should not be underestimated. I hope that solid steps will be taken against the PKK within the next six months.

Open priests’ school
“The Fener Greek Patriarchate is of ecumenical status. The US recognises Patriarch Bartholomeos as a friend. A priests’ school should be opened in Heybeliada.”

Open borders with Armenia
“Normalize relations with Armenia. The Turkish-Armenian border should be opened. We are opposed to the passing of the Armenian bill in Congress. In the case of this bill passing, those in Turkey who seek to keep a dialogue between the Armenians and the Turks will be silenced.”

Lift article 301
“Article 301 of the Turkish penal code, used even against Nobel prize-winner Orhan Pamuk, should be lifted.”
Cyprus
“We are working for the UN to start a new venture in Cyprus.”
Hurriyet


Armenia Expects Nothing From Turkey’s New President Abdullah Gul
14.09.2007 PanARMENIAN.Net/ “Armenia expects nothing from Turkey’s new President Abdullah Gul,” RA President’s Spokesman Victor Soghomonyan told a new conference in Yerevan.

“We knew Gul when he was the Minister of Foreign Affairs. His views have hardly changed,” he said.


Top Appeals Court Overturns Ruling On Authors Of ‘Minority Report’
September 15, 2007 ANKARA -Turkish Daily News

Two academics found not guilty of 'inciting hate and animosity’ need to face a retrial after the country's top court overturns decision about inciting hatred

A report on minority rights in Turkey prepared by a human rights advisory body that is linked to the Prime Ministry is threatening the state with its suggestion of broadening the definition of ''minority,'' said the Supreme Court of Appeals, overturning the acquittals of the two academics who head the body.

The report prepared by Professors Baskin Oran and Ibrahim Kaboglu “would allow the creation and recognition of a new minority... and would endanger the unitary state and the nation's indivisibility,” said the court.

Justice Ministry does not push the case

A lower court had dismissed the charges of “inciting people to hatred” and “insulting Turkishness” made against Oran and Kaboglu in May 2006 due to the Justice Ministry's approval of the case. The charges were based on article 301 of the Turkish penal code (TCK) and required ministerial approval before the trial could commence.

Oran penned the report, which was never published and which was disowned by the government among heated debates and charges that it was treasonous. The report urged the government to recognize Muslim groups, such as the Kurds, as minorities. Nationalists fear such a move could lead to Turkey's ethnic fragmentation.

Ankara recognizes only the Greek, Armenian and Jewish communities as religious minorities under the 1923 Lausanne Treaty, the founding accord of modern-day Turkey.

Report

According to excerpts leaked to the press at the time, the report maintained that Turkey's understanding of minority rights lags behind universal norms and proposed far-reaching amendments to the Constitution and related laws. It considers the widespread fears that consider cultural rights for minorities could lead to the country's break-up as "paranoid," despite a bloody Kurdish conflict in the southeastern part of the country in the 1980s and 1990s. It also maintained that non-Muslims in particular are subject to discrimination and are sometimes treated as foreigners rather than equal Turkish citizens.

Violating freedom of speech

The Supreme Court of Appeals also objected to the report's recommendation enabling people to identify themselves with different ethnic roots beside their Turkish citizenship.

"With this recommendation, the report has crossed the boundaries of criticism and freedom of thought, and its accusatory content borders on a threat to social peace," it added.

The court said the report claimed the definition of minority was based only on religion, but should be expanded to cover ethnic and linguistic differences. “There are no minorities apart from non-Muslims in Turkey. Creation of other minorities would pose a threat to the state,” it said.

The court said both professors should be convicted of inciting racial hatred.

One judge objects

One of the judges, Handi Yaver Aktan, objected to the court's decision, noting that the report had an intellectual depth that makes people think even if they did not agree with it.

“The report could not be linked to charges of inciting hatred and animosity,” he said, adding that while citizens were obligated to abide by the Constitution, they also had the right to voice their objections to individual articles. “Nowhere in the report can one see incitement to hatred and it is obvious that it does not pose a threat to state order,” said Aktan, noting that he opposed the majority decision.


The Future of the U.S.-Turkey Relationship
R. Nicholas Burns, Under Secretary for Political Affairs
Remarks at the Atlantic Council of the United States (ACUS)
Washington, DC
September 13, 2007

As Prepared

Under Secretary Burns delivered remarks at the Atlantic Council of the United States. Photo courtesy of the ACUS I am pleased to be back at the Atlantic Council to discuss what is one of the most critical relationships for America in the world today -- the relationship between the United States and Turkey. Fred, thank you for hosting me tonight. I appreciate the invitation by Fred Kempe and the Atlantic Council Board to be here. Thank you to Henry Catto, Chairman emeritus of the Atlantic Council. Thanks to Ambassador Marc Grossman for his warm introduction. It is a pleasure to see the Ambassador of Turkey, Nabi Sensoy, the Ambassador of Armenia, Tatoul Markarian, Ambassador Mark Parris and Jim Holmes here tonight.

This is an important moment for the relationship between the United States and Turkey. Turkey has just elected a new government. Our countries now need to enter into a new era of our relationship and to commit to a revival of our very close friendship and alliance.

I will visit Ankara and Istanbul soon to bring a strong and clear message from our leadership -- the United States is committed to revitalize this critical partnership. Restoring a sense of strategic partnership in the broad range of U.S.-Turkish relations -- extending beyond government-to-government cooperation to a flowering of private sector ties between our people -- will be a major priority for the United States in the coming months. It is indeed time to rejuvenate and restore America's relationship with Turkey.

The Turkish people have just concluded important, even historic elections. These elections demonstrated the strong health of Turkey's democracy, the most impressive in the Moslem world. The result was a decisive and Turkey can now expect a period of renewal and growth at home and responsibility and challenge in its foreign policy. The United States government looks forward to a very close relationship with President Abdullah Gul and Prime Minister Erdogan. President Bush and Secretary Rice respect both of these men. We have worked very well and productively with them in years past and know that will continue in the years to come. We would like to agree with the newly-elected Turkish leadership on a period in the coming months of high-level visits, discussions and joint commitment to face together the challenges of stability and peace in the Middle East.

Turkey, after all, has been one of our closest friends for over 50 years, dating back to the Truman Doctrine and the Korean War, and anchored by our Alliance in NATO. Throughout this long period, Turkey has always been among the United States' most dependable and important allies in an otherwise turbulent region. We look to Turkey, with its 160-year legacy of modernizing reform, as the most successful example in the world today of a secular democracy within a Muslim society that can inspire reformers in the greater Middle East and beyond.

Turkey's importance to the United States is even more pronounced at a time when the Middle East in the 21st century has replaced Europe in the 20th century as the most critical region for America's core national security interests. Turkey is the only country in the region that can work effectively with all of the others in the Middle East. Turkey's influence is substantial and unique. In this very important sense, Turkey is an indispensable partner to the United States in the Middle East.

Our history of close relations, shared interests, and common values makes Turkey one of the most important Allies of the United States anywhere in the world. That is not to say that our relationship has been perfect: we have certainly endured our share of difficulties, misunderstandings, and miscommunications in recent years. From our perspective, 2002-2005 were particularly difficult, but we believe we have turned the corner together with the Turkish leadership. We now have a moment of opportunity to build stronger ties at all levels between our governments. For the past two years, especially, our leaders have worked with considerable energy to revive the relationship and to address more effectively the common challenges and opportunities before us.

One glance at the map demonstrates why it is so important to strengthen the ties between our two countries. Turkey is influential in the Balkans, in the Black Sea, the Caucasus, and in the greater Middle East. In this vitally important arc of countries where so much of our foreign policy attention now lies, Turkey is the vital link for the United States and our European allies in addressing common economic, security, and political challenges and opportunities in these critical regions.

On perhaps the most dynamic international issue of 2007 -- energy -- we share a common interest with the Turks. Turkey is the gateway for exports of oil and natural gas from the Caspian region and Iraq to Europe. Building on our successful cooperation in the 1990's to develop the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline and the South Caucasus gas pipeline, we now seek to expand this critical energy infrastructure into a Southern Corridor to help our European allies -- Greece, Italy and into Western Europe -- create a free market for energy supplies in Europe. These efforts can also help Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, and Turkmenistan bolster their own independence by providing them access to European energy markets.

We hope it will be possible for Turkey to arrive at a swift agreement with Azerbaijan on transit terms. Turkey should also strive to find a pricing formula for future exports to Turkey from the Caspian Sea natural gas field of Shah Deniz, a necessary step to complete the inter-governmental agreement for the Turkey-Greece-Italy gas pipeline. Over the longer term, Turkey should continue to cooperate with the United States and our friends in Iraq, Turkmenistan, and Kazakhstan to expand gas production and exports to Turkey and onward into Europe.

In South Asia, Turkey is helping NATO to bolster regional security in Afghanistan, having twice commanded the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) and now leading a Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT) in Wardak Province. Turkey has been an important arbiter between Afghanistan and Pakistan, providing a welcoming, neutral venue for Presidents Karzai and Musharraf to discuss issues of mutual significance.

It is in this area that we feel Turkey could make even more of an impact. Turkey could offer assistance to repatriated Afghan refugees from Pakistan, help both sides improve border management and customs collection, or support the emergence of Afghan-Pakistani Reconstruction Opportunity Zones, as the U.S. plans to do.

Turkey has also played a key role in Kosovo, where it has 660 personnel in KFOR and took over command of Multinational Task Force-South in May. The Turkish government is playing a similarly constructive role in the extended Black Sea region, where Turkey's Operation Black Sea Harmony cooperates with NATO's Operation Active Endeavor in the Mediterranean Sea to deter terrorism and bolster maritime security along NATO's southern and eastern flanks. Turkey should encourage its neighbors to undertake democratic reform, fight corruption and organized crime, as well as look for ways to improve market economies in the region. The U.S. would like to work with Turkey, Romania, and Bulgaria to take greater advantage of opportunities to expand NATO's activities in the Black Sea region.

And, Turkey is playing a regional leadership role in the Middle East. Turkey's common borders with Iraq, Iran, and Syria provide an opportunity to advance peace and stability, fight proliferation of nuclear weapons, and defeat terrorists in a region that is now the epicenter of U.S. foreign policy. Turkey can help deepen our understanding of strategic trends in the Middle East, while reinforcing our efforts to advance political and economic freedom and fight terror to advance peace and prosperity.

It is not only geography and common interests that make Turkey a key U.S. partner; it is our shared values of democracy, diversity, and tolerant faith that make us friends and allies. The United States and Turkey share a deep appreciation for the importance of separating civic and religious life. In Turkey, reform movements during the late Ottoman period aimed to balance the claims that religion makes on personal lives with the exigencies of a modern state. One of the most famous waves of reforms, the so-called "Tanzimat" movement of the mid-19th Century was an attempt to give all residents of the empire the same rights, whether they were Muslim, Christian or Jewish. Mustafa Kemal Ataturk rejuvenated Turkey's modernizing reforms, as he granted political rights to women, laid the foundation for Turkey's industrial rise, and established the Turkish Republic as a secular democracy. Turkey's commitment to secular democracy makes it a natural ally for the United States.

Turkey may now be at a new historical turning point, with a real opportunity to invigorate political and economic reforms that will anchor it in the European Union and bolster its ability to inspire reformers in the greater Middle East region. Parliamentary elections on July 22 and the election of Abdullah Gul as president on August 28 demonstrated once again that Turkey is a robust and ever-maturing democracy, one that is defined by respect for constitutional processes, with the country's political future determined by elections. We welcome Mr. Gul's election as President. President Bush and Secretary Rice have good relationships with President Gul, and Prime Minister Erdogan, and look forward to developing these relationships.

The Justice and Development Party, or AKP, now controls the government, parliament, and presidency. At the same time, Turkish voters sent a message of moderation during the recent elections. While the AKP won a resounding victory, opposition parties received over 50 percent of the vote, and with more parties crossing the 10 percent electoral threshold the new parliament is more representative of Turkey's diverse voter sentiment. Turkey's voters thus appear to have signaled their desire for Prime Minister Erdogan and President Gul to deepen Turkey's secular democracy by rejuvenating political and economic reforms, but in the context of Turkey's Muslim society.

As Turkey's democratic institutions strengthen and as its reforms proceed, Turkey grows in importance to the U.S. as a strategic partner. Realizing the full potential of this partnership poses several immediate challenges to both of our countries. In the Middle East, Turkey can play a regional leadership role that could help the U.S. achieve some of its most pressing foreign policy goals, but which will require careful coordination to prevent our two countries from operating at cross-purposes.

At the top of the list is Iraq. Our decision to liberate Iraq from Saddam Hussein's brutality triggered an unprecedented wave of anti-Americanism in Turkey. Our official relations have recovered from the low-point of the Turkish Parliament's vote on March 1, 2003 to reject our request to move U.S. forces into Iraq via Turkey. Since then, Ankara has been a strong supporter of our efforts to stabilize Iraq, and has asked us not to abandon our goals, particularly safeguarding Iraq's territorial integrity. Turkey represents a critical logistical lifeline for our troops in Iraq and has made important contributions to Coalition operations there.

Turkey is similarly helpful in diplomatic efforts to bolster support for Iraq among its neighbors. The United States appreciates Turkey's willingness to host the next Extended neighbors ministerial in October, an important follow-up to the work begun at Sharm el-Sheikh last May. Secretary Rice announced this week that she plans to attend this meeting in Istanbul.

Turkey's willingness to help the international community address Iraq is all the more appreciated given the difficulties it is suffering as a result of attacks from PKK terrorists in Iraq. Let me assure you, the United States condemns the PKK as a vicious terrorist group. We mourn the loss of innocent Turkish lives in these attacks.

We remain fully committed to working with the Governments of Turkey and Iraq to counter PKK terrorists, who are headquartered in northern Iraq. We are making progress in putting in place the mechanisms required to produce such concrete results against the PKK. We will also follow up our success in working with Turkey and our other European partners to interdict PKK terror financiers in Europe and bring them to justice.

Turkey and the United States also face a challenge in Iran. We have worked well together to support of the clear international consensus demanding that Iran cease its nuclear weapons development programs. Turkey has also proven to be strong partner in countering Iran's support for terrorists in the Middle East.

But the United States and Turkey still need to work out some tactical differences in handling Iran. We understand that Iran is a neighbor of Turkey and key trading partner, which sends over a million tourists to Turkey each year. Turkey's recent conclusion of a memorandum on energy cooperation with Iran, however, is troubling. Now is not the time for business as usual with Iran. We urge all of our friends and allies, including Turkey, to not reward Iran by investing in its oil and gas sector, while Iran continues to defy the United Nations Security Council by continuing its nuclear research for a weapons capability

The United States and Turkey share a common interest in working toward a comprehensive peace in the Middle East. President Bush's vision is of two democratic states, Israel and Palestine, living side-by-side in peace and security. The Palestinian Authority under President Mahmoud Abbas and Prime Minister Salam Fayyad is the most capable Palestinian government since Oslo and is committed to being a partner for peace. As we work to develop the economy and institutions of governance that will form the foundation of a Palestinian state, Turkey understandably can see opportunities to draw on its historical experience from the Ottoman era and its modern economic might to help restore prosperity to the Palestinian people, while drawing on its more recent experience in forging a close security partnership with Israel.

Turkey is unique in its dual identity as both a Middle Eastern and European country. We thus face important challenges in U.S.-Turkish relations with regard to deepening Turkey's integration in Euroatlantic institutions.

We are among the strongest supporters of Turkey's EU aspirations. We call on Europe's leaders to signal clearly and unambiguously that Turkey will have a voice in the European Union in the future. We believe both Turkey and the Euroatlantic community will benefit as Turkey advances toward EU membership. We wish to see an even more democratic and prosperous Turkey, which will make Turkey a stronger partner for the United States in Europe. The prospect of full membership in the EU is the right goal for Turkey and the future of the European Union.

Moreover, Europe's full embrace of a reformed Turkey will send a powerful signal to Europe's other Muslim populations that Islam and democracy are compatible, and that integration into mainstream European society is possible without surrendering one's Islamic identity. This could be a crucial factor in defeating Europe's extremist recruiters, who prey on alienated Europe's Muslim populations. Those Europeans who oppose Turkish membership in the EU should keep in mind that it is not the Turkey of today, but an even more democratic Turkey of tomorrow that would that would join the EU after several more years of reform.

To reach this transcendent strategic objective, we hope Turkey will repeal Article 301 of the Penal Code, which restricts freedom of expression and has led to outlandish legal cases against private citizens and global figures such as Nobel Laureate Orhan Pamuk. We also hope Turkey will help make its own case with the EU by allowing the Ecumenical Patriarch's religious school at Halki in Istanbul to reopen decades after it closed.

We must also work with Turkey to strengthen NATO. Turkey has been a cornerstone of the Alliance since the 1952, serving as a barrier to Soviet expansion throughout the Cold War. Several generations of Turkish military officers enjoyed formative professional experiences while serving in NATO commands. Today, Turkey is a key NATO partner in Afghanistan and Kosovo, and is emerging as a critical potential partner in the vast majority of NATO's future contingencies, which lie to the southeast of Europe.

An important focus of Euroatlantic security cooperation is developing ways for the EU and NATO to work together in bringing their respective capacities to bear in strengthening stability and security in Kosovo, Bosnia, Afghanistan and elsewhere. We appreciate the difficulties that such cooperation poses for Turkey given the still-evolving Turkey-EU relationship, the circumstances of Turkey's participation in activities within the European Security and Defense Policy, as well as the complications resulting from the lack of a Cyprus settlement.
Yet it is vital for all of us, including Turkey, that NATO and the EU are indeed able to work together in crisis areas around the world. For this and many other reasons, we call on all relevant parties to reinvigorate UN-brokered efforts to reach a comprehensive Cyprus settlement that reunifies the island into a bi-zonal, bi-communal federation. We welcome last week's meeting of President Papadopoulos and Mehmet Ali Talat, and look forward to future such meetings to implement last year's July 8 agreement.

I intend to travel to Cyprus this autumn and will communicate to the Cypriot government leadership and the Turkish leadership, as well, the strong wish of the United States that we might all contribute to a breakthrough for peace after decades of crisis. The time has come for the United Nations and all of us to achieve a just solution to the long-festering problem of Cyprus.

Finally, the U.S. and Turkey face a serious challenge with regard to Armenia. Each year on April 24, Armenian Remembrance Day, President Bush has issued a public statement lamenting the mass killings and forced deportations of up to 1.5 million Armenians by Ottoman authorities at the end of World War I. The United States condemnation of this tragedy is not at issue; the question is how best to facilitate reconciliation of all concerned parties with each other and with their painful and shared past. We believe passage of the U.S. House of Representative's Resolution 106, which would make a political determination that the tragedy of 1915 constituted genocide, would undercut voices emerging in Turkey for dialogue and reconciliations concerning these horrific events. We therefore have recommended to Congress that it not pass such a resolution.

We strongly encourage Turkey to normalize its relations and reopen its border with Armenia, steps that will help bring peace, prosperity and cooperation to the Caucasus. Now, in the wake of the AKP's resounding electoral victories, is the time for Ankara to make a bold opening toward Armenia. And we hope that Armenia will respond in kind.

In conclusion, the United States and Turkey have enjoyed a relationship of Allied friendship for over half a century of enormous complexity, success, and promise. We have weathered a difficult period over the past four years. We now stand at the edge of a potentially new era in Turkish politics that offers a chance to restore a sense of strategic partnership in U.S.-Turkish relations.

I will be traveling to Ankara soon to bring this message to the new government personally. The United States is determined to seize this opportunity to renew and strengthen our strategic partnership with Turkey. We look forward to working together with Turkish leaders who share this vision and determination to build this strong, vital and irreplaceable Turkish-American alliance for the 21st century.

Thank you.


The US and Turkey
Sep 15th, 2007 by Michael van der Galiën
The Atlantic Council of the United States “promotes constructive US leadership in international affairs based on the central role of the Atlantic community in meeting the challenges of the 21st century.” A great initiative, and Nicholas Burns’ address should be watched (or read) by all those interested in the Transatlantic relationship(s), and more specifically in the US-Turkey relationship.

The Turkish-American relationship is of more importance than most Americans seem to realize. Even political bloggers often seem to have no idea just how important this relationship is, and what this means. Turkey is the only Muslim country focused on the West; truly allied with the West; while being a strong and vibrant democracy; and its position is of immense strategic importance. Behind Turkey lies the Muslim world, before Turkey lies the Christian West. Turkey is a bridge; if Turkey’s lost the West has a major problem.

Burns summarized it thusly: “Turkey, as I said, for — if you look back for 50 years of American foreign policy, Turkey has been one of the stalwart friends and allies of the United States. And it’s been particularly an ally of ours as we seek to stabilize NATO and as we’ve developed NATO, the growth of NATO, over the last 10 to 15 years. And as we look out at the Middle East, we understand that the Turks have a longer history than we do. The Turks have a 160-year history of reform and of thinking through reform in their own country. And in our view, Turkey is the most successful example in the modern world today of a secular democracy within a Moslem society. And that has implications, positive implications, Ambassador, for reformers throughout the greater Middle East.”

He added: “Turkey is the only country in the region that can work effectively with all of the other countries in the region. Turkey’s influence is substantial and unique, and in this very important sense, we look at Turkey as our indispensable partner in the greater Middle East. Indeed, our history of close relations and shared interests and common values makes Turkey one of the most important American allies anywhere in the world.”

Quite right. The problem here is that the US seems to have ignored the relationship with Turkey mostly. He said that Rice has tried to revive the relationship during the last 1.5 - 2 years, which is true, but the major problem in the relationship is the US’ attitude towards the PKK. As long as the Iraqi government and the US ignore the problem and the threat the PKK poses to Turkish soldiers and citizens, the relationship will suffer.

1 Comment to “The US and Turkey” on 15 Sep 2007 1 wj

Assume that the current US position in Iraq will not be maintained in the long run. (I think that is simply a fact, but for the moment, call it an assumption.) Then one of the few acceptable options for the US is to relocate the bulk of our troops to Kurdistan, as the one part of Iraq where they might be actually welcomed.

Once there, the last thing we want is to get caught in the midst of a battle between the locals and either the Turks or the Iranians. (Arguments that some people in the current US administration are actually looking to start a war with Iran are beside the point here. But if you like, make it another assumption that they are wrong.) The only way to assure that is to put the efforts of the relocated troops into helping the Kurdish government put down the PKK. (And any other groups engaged in raids into Turkey or Iran.)

The only question in my mind is: will the Turks (especially) stay their hands for a year and a half or more until that US relocation and action against the PKK happens? I think a little more European support for the Turkish government (vs. the generals) would be really helpful there. You probably have a better feel than I do as to whether that is likely to happen.

The Van Der Galiën Gazette
http://mvdg.wordpress.com/2007/09/15/the-us-and-turkey/






The Cross of the Akhtamar Church was stolen by an Armenian
 © This content Mirrored From TurkishArmenians  Site
Yusuf Halacoglu, Head of the Turkish Historical Association, said that the Gomitas Institute, an Armenian Foundation, is pressing for installing the cross of the Akhtamar Church, but that according to the archive documents, the cross was stolen by a gang leader (humpabet) named Michellian who came to Van with his gang for pillage..

Halacoglu said that the church was looted in 1907 by Michellian and that he removed the cross to give to his wife as present.

The restoration of the Akhtamar Church on lake Van,(for which 2.6 M YTL was spent), was completed last year and opened as a museum. But the cross, which should stand on top of the roof, was not placed. Accordingly, Armenian Societies within or outside of Turkey, have pressed for the installation of the cross. Ministry of Culture and Tourism said that the original cross over the church has been missing for quite a long time, and therefore a new cross cannot be mounted.

Translated from Turkish – Courtesy E.A.
Reported by M.A. Munir / Zaman


Turkey Should Mature For Armenian Genocide Recognition
13.09.2007 PanARMENIAN.Net/ “The problem is not in the Armenian Genocide recognition but in Turkey’s policy. Turks suffer from the guilt complex while Armenians cannot overcome the victim complex. The Turkish nation should mature for the Genocide recognition. We are neighbors and this fact is unchangeable. However, Turks deprived us of motherland and do not even allow us to visit it directly,” diplomat and historian Ara Papian said in an interview with PanARMENIAN.Net.

“Nevertheless, Armenians should speak of all genocides and understand that it’s not a historical issue but the issue of present and future. International pressure on Turkey will increase,” he noted.

“Presently, Turkey faces a choice: either to become a European state or remain as such, i.e dangerous for its neighbors. Nationalism proclaimed by Ataturk rests on the General Staff. On the other hand, Islamists do not share European values. Just go 200 km away from Istanbul and you will see Turkey living as if in the 19th century, not to mention the vilayets bordering with Armenia,” he said.


Armenian-Turkish Border Will Remain Closed Until Turkey’s De Jure Recognition Of Republic Of Armenia
13.09.2007 PanARMENIAN.Net/ “There is a habit to think that everything will go well after the opening of the Armenian-Turkish border. It won’t. Open border is just a result of normalization of the Armenia-Turkey relations. I am confident that our Foreign Ministry has chosen the right way. Turkey says it recognized independent Armenia in 1992. However, it was de facto recognition only,” diplomat and historian Ara Papian said in an interview with PanARMENIAN.Net.

“We should not forget about security issues either. If the border problem is settled in compliance with the arbitration award, Armenia can raise the issue of demilitarization of Turkey’s near-border provinces, what supposes presence of international observers and exclusion of any aggression against Armenia,” he continued.

“The Kars-Akhalkalaki-Baku railroad is a menace, since Turkey obtains the possibility to supply Azerbaijan with weapons. The greater is amount of armament in the region, the more possible is war. All are interested in stability in the region, except for Turkey, which hasn’t identified itself so far and is terrified by the outlook to lose territories. The idea of territorial integrity, so artificially cherished by the government, will sooner or later lead to decline of the state,” he said.


Armenian-Turkish Border Determined By Wodroow Wilson Arbitration Award
13.09.2007
“The interest is explained by the fact that the emphasis was laid on history while the legal aspect was quite forgotten. From 1918 to 1923 five treaties determined the Armenian-Turkish border. The Sevr Treaty was signed on 10 August, 1920. It was followed by the Alexandropol Treaty (3 December, 1920), the Moscow Treaty (16 March, 1921), the Kars Treaty (13 October, 1921), and finally, the Lousanne Treaty (24 July, 1923),” diplomat and historian Ara Papian said in an interview with PanARMENIAN.Net.

“On the whole, international agreements may be signed by the subjects of international law, i.e. by the legitimate government through its plenipotentiary. From this stand, only the Sevr and Lousanne treaties are valid. The Alexandropol Treaty was concluded at the time when Kemalists had not come to power in Turkey while Dashnaktsutyun had already lost the power. The Moscow and Kars treaties have no legal effect at all, since they were signed by Kemalists, although Sultan was formally the head of the state till 1923. By the way, on 11 May, 1920 the Turkish tribunal demoted and sentenced to death General Mustafa Kemal (later known as Kemal Ataturk). The court verdict was approved by the Sultan on 24 May, 1920,” he said.

“As to Soviet Russia, it has not been recognized by legitimate states until 1 February, 1924. Thus, its signature is not valid either,” he noted.

“As a matter of fact, the Sevr Treaty was not ratified. However, it remains valid. The most important point is that the Armenian-Turkish border was determined by the arbitration award of U.S. President Wodroow Wilson. Not all remember that Armenia was among the winners of the World War I and it put signature to the Sevr Treaty. France, UK and Italy turned to President Wilson for arbitration award. This award cannot be appealed. Signed on 22 November 1920, it was conveyed to the Parisian Conference on 6 December, but unfortunately, the Republic of Armenia was occupied by the 11th Red Army on 3 December.

With proclaiming independence in 1991, Armenia has become a subject of international law again. According to the arbitration award, Armenia was entitled to receive 4 vilayets: Van, Bitlis, Erzrum and Trabzon, which ensured outlet to the sea.

33 countries of the world have no outlet to the sea. These are the states of Central Africa, a couple of states in South America, several states in Eurasia and Armenia…” Ara Papian said.


Ara Papian: Armenian Genocide Is The Issue Of Present And Future
The problem of demarcation of the Armenian-Turkish border is still open, as 80 years ago. Despite 5 treaties signed by the states which won World War I and Wodroow Wilson’s arbitration award on the Armenian-Turkish border, the border has not been determined yet. From the viewpoint of the international law, the Republic of Armenia, being the assignee of the First Republic, is entitled to raise the issue again. Diplomat and historian Ara Papian comments on the situation to PanARMENIAN.Net.
The legitimacy of the treaties concluded after WWI has been much spoken about recently. How would you explain it?

The interest is explained by the fact that the emphasis was laid on history while the legal aspect was quite forgotten. From 1918 to 1923 five treaties determined the Armenian-Turkish border. The Sevr Treaty was signed on 10 August, 1920. It was followed by the Alexandropol Treaty (3 December, 1920), the Moscow Treaty (16 March, 1921), the Kars Treaty (13 October, 1921), and finally, the Lousanne Treaty (24 July, 1923).

On the whole, international agreements may be signed by the subjects of international law, i.e. by the legitimate government through its plenipotentiary. From this stand, only the Sevr and Lousanne treaties are valid. The Alexandropol Treaty was concluded at the time when Kemalists had not come to power in Turkey while Dashnaktsutyun had already lost the power. The Moscow and Kars treaties have no legal effect at all, since they were signed by Kemalists, although Sultan was formally the head of the state till 1923. By the way, on 11 May, 1920 the Turkish tribunal demoted and sentenced to death General Mustafa Kemal (later known as Kemal Ataturk). The court verdict was approved by the Sultan on 24 May, 1920.

As to Soviet Russia, it has not been recognized by legitimate states until 1 February, 1924. Thus, its signature is not valid either.

As a matter of fact, the Sevr Treaty was not ratified. However, it remains valid. The most important point is that the Armenian-Turkish border was determined by the arbitration award of U.S. President Wodroow Wilson. Not all remember that Armenia was among the winners of the World War I and it put signature to the Sevr Treaty. France, UK and Italy turned to President Wilson for arbitration award. This award cannot be appealed. Signed on 22 November 1920, it was conveyed to the Parisian Conference on 6 December, but unfortunately, the Republic of Armenia was occupied by the 11th Red Army on 3 December.

With proclaiming independence in 1991, Armenia has become a subject of international law again. According to the arbitration award, Armenia was entitled to receive 4 vilayets: Van, Bitlis, Erzrum and Trabzon, which ensured outlet to the sea.

33 countries of the world have no outlet to the sea. These are the states of Central Africa, a couple of states in South America, several states in Eurasia and Armenia…

What will happen if Turkey opens the border with Armenia?

There is a habit to think that everything will go well after the opening of the Armenian-Turkish border. It won’t. Open border is just a result of normalization of the Armenia-Turkey relations. I am confident that our Foreign Ministry has chosen the right way. Turkey says it recognized independent Armenia in 1992. However, it was de facto recognition only.

We should not forget about security issues either. If the border problem is settled in compliance with the arbitration award, Armenia can raise the issue of demilitarization of Turkey’s near-border provinces, what supposes presence of international observers and exclusion of any aggression against Armenia.

The Kars-Akhalkalaki-Baku railroad is a menace, since Turkey obtains the possibility to supply Azerbaijan with weapons. The greater is amount of armament in the region, the more possible is war. All are interested in stability in the region, except for Turkey, which hasn’t identified itself so far and is terrified by the outlook to lose territories. The idea of territorial integrity, so artificially cherished by the government, will sooner or later lead to decline of the state.

Do you think Turkey will acknowledge the Armenian Genocide at the hands of the Ottoman Empire?

The problem is not in the Genocide recognition but in Turkey’s policy. Turks suffer from the guilt complex while Armenians cannot overcome the victim complex. The Turkish nation should mature for the Genocide recognition. We are neighbors and this fact is unchangeable. However, Turks deprived us of motherland and do not even allow us to visit it directly. Armenians should speak of all genocides and understand that it’s not a historical issue but the issue of present and future. International pressure on Turkey will increase.

Presently, Turkey faces a choice: either to become a European state or remain as such, i.e dangerous for its neighbors. Nationalism proclaimed by Ataturk rests on the General Staff. On the other hand, Islamists do not share European values. Just go 200 km away from Istanbul and you will see Turkey living as if in the 19th century, not to mention the vilayets bordering with Armenia.

How would you comment on Armenia’s role in the region?

Strengthening and enlargement of Armenia is in the interests of Russia, the European Union and the U.S. Armenia can also play an important role in the Middle East. Being a Christian state it enjoys respect of Muslim states, of Saidu Arabia for example. We can be civilizing mediators between East and West.
«PanARMENIAN.Net», 13.09.2007


Turkey: Today And Tomorrow
September 12, 2007
DR. FARUK LOGOGLU
Ambassador (ret.)
The July 22 elections, Mr. Abdullah Gül’s presidency and the rapid installation of the new government have created in Turkey and abroad an aura of optimism about the country’s future course. The laudatory emphases are on the continuation of political stability and reforms, economic growth, pursuit of European Union membership and through a new “civil” constitution, on the better protection of human rights and basic freedoms. The strong mandate won by the Justice and Development Party (AKP) is interpreted as the ascendancy of the long-excluded moderate Islamic groupings to power and conversely, as the “defeat” of the secularist establishment.

It is hailed as proof of the compatibility of democracy and Islam. It is acclaimed as a source of inspiration to other Muslim countries. At the same time, the EU is called upon to take notice and reward Turkey.

While as citizens of Turkey we must take satisfaction in this state of affairs to the extent that it is true, we must not get carried away. It is quite true that there are many reasons to be optimistic about Turkey’s future: a working democracy, the rule of law, basic freedoms, a functioning economy, and a dynamic and hard-working population, strong army, proven capacity to keep pace with globalization… among others. However, it is not a picture-perfect situation. We must make a sober analysis of the gray spots to gauge where Turkey really is and where it might be heading.

There is already considerable tension in the political environment, with the main opposition party boycotting the president, the military taking its guard and the Parliament making a mixed start. Big business is uncomfortable. The secularists and the military are being castigated for supposedly undermining democracy.

AKP rule of the last five years has, for better or worse, actually brought Turkey to a junction where the secularists are now viewed as the real threat to democracy. Many in the West regard the AKP as the best guarantee of democracy and continuing reforms in Turkey and see the secularists as captives of outmoded mindsets. The Turks under the circumstances must, as the Economist has recently suggested, choose democracy at the expense of secularism. There are also those who are questioning the very foundations of the republican regime and calls for erasing the legacy of the Republic’s founder, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk. These are disturbing signs.

Potential risks and threats
We must therefore take a deeper look at Turkey and try to uncover potential risks and threats. Awareness of such pitfalls and avoiding them would surely be one of the major yardsticks of success for President Abdullah Gül and for Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

In the coming period, even under the best of conditions, Turkey will be faced with important foreign policy problems in Cyprus, Iraq, Iran, and Armenia and on Aegean questions with Greece. EU accession talks will continue to be frustrating. Relations with the U.S. are likely to be plagued by the issues of separatist Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) in Iraq and the Armenian resolutions in the Congress. A host of energy-related questions and environmental problems, particularly global warming, draught and water scarcity are to pose difficult challenges. Huge foreign debt, trade and balance-of-payments deficits, hot money, chronic failure to generate new employment despite economic growth, regional imbalances, skewed income distribution, deteriorating agricultural sector will be among the main economic concerns. Lack of equal opportunities in education, gender equality issues, inadequate social services and medical care will also demand the government’s attention and resources. Terrorism is likely to continue to take its toll and the Kurdish issue could become more urgent and demanding.

But these are all main stream issues, the kind faced by Turkish governments before them. And these issues will be difficult enough to handle. Yet there are certain other traps and issues awaiting the new president and the AKP government that are different in nature and specific to the current Turkish context. I want to highlight five areas of potential difficulties: over-confidence, over-convergence, secularism, education and foreign relations.

First, there is the danger of AKP leadership acting self-importantly with undue confidence. Its crushing electoral might make the AKP think that they have a free hand to do whatever they think is right. But that would be wrong and unfortunate. The solid mandate they won is not a blank check to the AKP to do as it wishes. More than half of the voters did not vote for them. It would probably be a grave mistake for the AKP leadership to view their parliamentary majority as a license to pursue a unilateralist agenda. They must exercise more patience and greater openness to criticism. Not overconfidence, but humility, scrupulousness and prudence should be the preferred modes of behavior. Especially when many in Turkey have serious concerns about their motives and intentions, the AKP owes it to the people to act with a heightened sense of responsibility, paying more attention to the opposition and views of all segments of the population.

Over-convergence refers to the danger of the different branches of government (legislative, executive, judiciary) working in close consort together without the essential democratic function of checks and balances being adequately performed. Harmony, cooperation and coordination among the various branches are consistent with, in fact, a requirement, of democracy. If, however, Prime Minister Erdogan, with a strong majority in the Parliament, is tempted to exercise his powers without constraint, then there will be problems. There will be no way to stop any act of the AKP government.

Therefore, President Gül will have a special responsibility in insuring that the system of checks and balances really works. In this respect, insuring the independence of the judiciary is of critical importance. Appointments to the various high courts will be a major test for President Gül. The president and the prime minister, if they act together as if members of the same side, the risk for them making mistakes in their choices and decisions is likely to be quite high. President Gül in the present setting of Turkey appears to be the pivotal player in overseeing that the relationship between the different branches of government is conducted in a democratic and non-partisan manner. The opposition in the Parliament will have the duty of helping the majority to acts responsibly.

Of the temptations that the AKP will find most difficult to resist, however, will be the desire to expand further the public and institutional space of Islam in Turkey. The prevailing paradigm is such that such extension can take place only at the expense of the secular underpinnings of the regime. It is this prospect that worries a lot of people in Turkey. It is this setting which compelled President Gül to give repeated assurances before and after he got elected to the post that he will protect and preserve the principle of secularism.

The key problem
The fact is Turkey’s secularism is under attack. The onslaught is not just from its opponents and detractors at home. They are enjoined by those abroad who applaud the rise of what they call moderate Islam to power as a victory of democracy and who warn the secularist establishment, in particular the military, not to endanger democracy. A parallel line of attack is against Kemalism, a pragmatically connected set of ideas and goals that inspired Atatürk, the founder of modern Turkey. There are calls for the removal of existing Kemalist references in the proposed new constitution. The military is being portrayed as an anti-democratic force. All this is claimed to be done in the name of democracy and greater liberalism and freedom. But many in Turkey are suspicious about the motives and intentions behind these developments, fearing the presence of a drive to use democracy to bring about an Islamic state and society. President Gül’s references to secularism in his acceptance speech, particularly his characterization of secularism as a “model” is not clear, have not eased such fears and will need amplification. All this creates an ambivalent atmosphere giving cause for concern. Moreover, the current AKP jubilation impedes an objective awareness of this key problem.

Weakening of the secular foundations of the regime, coupled with an attempt to phase out Kemalism and to marginalize the military would make Turkish democracy more open and vulnerable to more and bolder incursions by those who are determined to expand further the space of religion in Turkey. The secularity of the constitution, the legal system and of the educational system which together constitutes the core of modern Turkey is the ultimate enablers of Turkish democracy. The two are intertwined and constitute an integral whole in the Turkish experience. Without secularism, democracy loses its ability to defend itself against those forces that wish to bring about a different system. Secularism is a Kemalist principle. The Turkish military is a staunch defender of secularism. Both then are among the mainstays of Turkish democracy.

Making religion an affair of the private domain, separating religion from the domain of the state and public affairs, but at the same time guaranteeing freedom of religion and of conscience in the Constitution have enabled the Turkish people to preserve their democracy and at the same time, maintain a moderate and free relationship with their faith. Without secularism, democracy in Turkey cannot survive. Without democracy, Turkey’s entire complex of foreign relations and domestic order is likely to undergo profound transformation. It goes without saying that there can be no EU membership for Turkey if it loses its democratic bearings. It will be estranged from the West generally.

There is ample evidence that the past five years have seen quite a number of steps by the AKP government to give broader expression and application to Islamic precepts. The AKP has not specifically opposed the secular character of Turkish polity. To the contrary, AKP leaders frequently profess respect for this principle – one which is enshrined and protected by the Constitution as an unalterable feature of the Turkish Republic. Under AKP rule, however, there has been a steady series of generally subtle, occasionally overt challenges designed to expand the public space of Islamic precepts at the expense of the secular public space. Calls for a revamping of the regime’s secular foundation, efforts to undermine the secular integrity of the educational system through granting of additional rights to graduates of religious schools, attempts to widen the acceptability in the public domain of religious symbols such as various headgears, cloaking religion-related demands as part of main stream democratic rights and freedoms are, in the view of the secular establishment, all acts ultimately aiming to expand the expression and implementation of religious strictures. The secularists claim that past as well as more recent pronouncements, public and private, by AKP leaders on the relationship between democracy, Islam and secularism, reveals an understanding politics and society which is firmly grounded in faith and religion, with no use for secularism. The AKP leaders who identify themselves as “conservative Muslim democrats” have been unable to convince their opponents that they do not have a hidden “Islamist agenda”.

The critical question now is, with the possible confluence of the risk factors of over-confidence and of over-convergence I referred to earlier, will those in power still do as they and remain faithful to the founding principles of the Turkish Republic or pursue an Islamist agenda? There are believers and proponents of both prospects. At this stage, it may be hasty to make an exact forecast of the future of secularism in Turkey. But the increasing signs and indications of creeping Shariatization of various aspects of Turkish life are disturbing and serious enough. At this time, it is not clear whether these changes are superfluous and temporary or the products of systemic transformation of Turkish society. As the president, the prime minister and the Parliament begin to pass legislation, take decisions and make appointments, we will have a better understanding of where the AKP leadership wants to take Turkey to and how.

Need to refine Turkish practice of secularism
It is also a fact that the Turkish practice of secularism is rough edged and needs to be refined. It needs to be strengthened, enriched and calibrated to the needs and necessities of today’s Turkey. Secularism must be transformed into a more benevolent, benign phenomenon. It should be made into a level field open to all citizens of Turkey where all religions and belief systems would enjoy equal freedom of play and practice so long as they remain in private or non-public space. Secularism must be so implemented in a faith-friendly way on a strictly non-discriminatory basis. This is not a call for “moderate Islam.” Rather it is a call to draw the lines between the public space and the private domain ever more clearly and more visibly so that the individual citizen would be at ease and feel secure in both as he/she moves from one to the other. But this first and foremost requires that the Turkish people preserve and protect with vigilance the secular underpinnings of their democracy, particularly as it is currently enshrined in the Turkish Constitution.

The fourth area which needs attention is education. The pre-eminent catalyst of the fabric and creative capacity of a society is education and the science, technology and scholarship it entails. Level of advancement and development of a society ultimately depends on the kind and the quality of education provided both inside the classroom and outside. There has to be consistency and coherence between what is thought in the public sphere (classroom) and what is offered in the private space (living and eating quarters). It is in great part due to the secular nature of its educational system and the four generations educated and trained in such a system that Turkey is where it is today. If these propositions are true, then one critical area to watch closely will be how the AKP-led government handles issues of education and what choices President Gül makes in appointing university rectors and what his general outlook on educational matters is going to be. If the choice is made in favor of making more room for religion, religious influences and manifestations of Islam, then another major secular pillar of the regime will have been felled.

EU process: A litmus test
One other trap that is awaiting the AKP in its second term in power is going to be in the area of Turkey’s foreign relations. The past five years have seen a widening and growth in Turkey’s presence in and relations with the Muslim world at a time of weakening links with the EU and U.S.. It is certainly in Turkey’s national interests to foster its relations with countries like Iran, Syria and Saudi Arabia and others, but such a process should not undermine Turkey’s firm anchoring in the West. So far the emphases and priorities of the AKP leadership in power have not amounted to a permanent realignment of Turkey’s foreign policy. But if Turkey’s relations with the EU, the U.S. and Israel are not simultaneously nurtured and if especially the drive for EU accession is not pursued with vigor and renewed commitment, then the shift in the center of gravity of Turkey’s foreign policy orientation might be difficult to reverse. The litmus test will be how the ruling AKP handles the EU accession process. If it falters, it will be bad news for Turkey and the transatlantic community.

These then are the points of concern. There will be many instances in the days and weeks ahead where this or that action by President Gül or Prime Minister Erdogan generate controversy and debate. Perhaps the most telling exercise about the vision and goals of the AKP leadership for Turkey will undoubtedly come into play in the framing of a new constitution for Turkey. But the subject of the new constitution needs to be taken up separately.

For the sake of democracy, the new president and the AKP government must for the moment be given the benefit of the doubt. Even though the gap between the word and the deed is always wide, especially in the case of politicians, President Gül and Prime Minister Erdogan too must be judged in terms of their actions and performance, not in terms of their promises or the presumed intentions attributed to them. We all have to wait and see.

* Dr. Osman Faruk Logoglu is a retired ambassador. During his active diplomatic life he represented Turkey at many countries. He last served as Turkey’s ambassador to the United States. He is as well a former undersecretary of the Foreign Ministry. He can be reached at faruklogoglu@gmail.com

TDN


Tibor Fischer Reviews Other Colours: Essays And A Story By Orhan Pamuk
13/09/2007

'That my library should conspire in the earthquake's wrath, that it should confirm and dignify its message - this frightened me. I decided to punish my library.' Orhan Pamuk's account of the destruction of his books following one of Istanbul's tectonic grumbles is the most comic piece in Other Colours, a collection of occasional writings, plus an interview, a speech and a short story.

The heterogeneity of Other Colours does give it the feel of a cash-in book, but if you can't cash in when you've won the Nobel Prize, when can you? And many of these pieces are weighty, colourful and elegant. Orhan Pamuk has become the man who tells the world about Turkey and this he does extremely well. Living in Istanbul, he has an important position as a gatekeeper, ushering in democratic oxygen and exporting Turkish experience. He has become, against his sensibilities, a political figure.
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Pamuk explains how when he started writing at the age of 22, he wasn't interested in joining the Turkish literary establishment, which was predominantly social realist and engagé. Ironically, it was an interview with a Swiss newspaper in 2005, in which Pamuk referred to the 'taboo' subjects of the killing of the Ottoman Armenians during the First World War and the Kurdish insurgency in Turkey, that threw him into the front line and lifted his (already considerable) profile both domestically and internationally.

He was prosecuted under Turkey's article 301 for denigrating 'Turkish identity', an article that has been used to harry many Turkish writers and academics over the years, although recently it has been, in effect, the tool of nationalist nutters rather than for the execution of government policy.

After considerable international protest the case against Pamuk was dropped and he won the Nobel Prize the following year.

In his article 'On Trial' he reflects on the charge and ends: 'but these days the lies about the war in Iraq and the reports of secret CIA prisons have so damaged the West's credibility in Turkey and in other nations that it is more and more difficult for people like me to make the case for true Western democracy in my part of the world.'

Unsurprisingly, writers are often at their best when writing about other writers. Other Colours has a selection of essays on Pamuk's literary heroes. Pamuk's father (a failed poet) would bring back the latest Camus from Paris, and his early literary orientation was French. There is a Turkish analysis of the Sartre/Camus rivalry, and Sartre's infamous assertion that literature was an ill-advised 'luxury' for poor countries.

Dostoyevsky is a writer who fascinates Pamuk, not just because of his narrative talents, but because Pamuk sees a parallel between Dostoyevsky's Russia, hanging off the edge of Europe, with its anarchists and conspirators and the Turkey of his youth with its political poseurs.

Expounding on Dostoyevsky's Notes from Underground Pamuk observes how (returning to the text as a middle-aged reader): 'today I can speak more comfortably about the book's true subject and wellspring: it is the jealousy, anger and pride of a man who cannot make himself into a European'.

An enthusiastic study of an author can often inspire you to read or revisit the work. Pamuk failed to convince me about Nabokov or Tristram Shandy, but he did make me want to have another look at Gide, Dostoyevsky and even Thomas Bernhard (whom I've always found excruciatingly dull).

For anyone wanting to delve into the background of Pamuk's own novels, Other Colours offers extensive insights into his thinking and methods, even for the one novel, his first, Cevdet Bey and His Sons, which has yet to appear in English.

A lifelong resident of Istanbul, Pamuk writes with great affection about the city, its past and its uncertain future. 'Earthquake', which recounts the powerful tremor that shook Istanbul in 1999, killing 30,000, is a vivid and memorable account, and 'Earthquake angst in Istanbul' examines how the inhabitants try to deal with the certainty of another, more catastrophic earthquake which is due in the next few years.

Pamuk concludes: 'I've asked myself the same question as that man pacing the streets, about why a person might not be able to leave. It's because I can't even imagine not living in Istanbul.'

Other Colours closes with 'My Father's Suitcase', the acceptance speech Pamuk gave in Stockholm when he collected his Nobel Prize, the most emotional piece in the collection. Pamuk praises his deceased father for his support and encouragement, and for his tales of seeing Sartre in the streets of Paris.

Pamuk is also grateful for his father's huge library: 'The starting point of true literature is the man who shuts himself up in his room with his books.' Pamuk further reveals: 'the writer's secret is not inspiration - for it is never clear where that comes from - it is his stubbornness, his patience. That lovely Turkish saying "to dig a well with a needle" seems to me to have been framed with writers in mind.'

telegraph.co.uk


Restoring And Protecting The Black Sea: Cooperation Is Vital
Colleen Graffy
Something amazing happened on Wednesday and Thursday of this week that might not have caught everyone’s attention.

Twelve countries- Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Georgia, Greece, Moldova, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Turkey, and Ukraine -came together to explore how they can restore and protect the Black Sea and to discuss how environmental protection could boost economic development and broader cooperation in this critical region that 350 million people call home. The meeting, held in Istanbul and organized by the Organization for Black Sea Economic Cooperation (BSEC) and the United States, brought together government, business, and civil society leaders for the first symposium of its kind for BSEC.

The importance of this gathering should not be underestimated. Environmental damage knows no borders and cooperation with neighboring countries is vital to environmental protection. The United States has observer status to BSEC, but as U.S. Ambassador to Turkey Ross Wilson pointed out, “The U.S. is only an observer, but not a disinterested one.” In my opening remarks I tried to explain why. People feel passionately about the environment in the United States. We want to share that passion, because we know the difference that it can make in people’s lives. In my own hometown of Santa Barbara, California, there is nothing that will bring people together quicker than a perceived threat to the environment. I gave examples where man-made environmental degradation in the U.S. had turned lakes, rivers and oceans from areas of enjoyment, tourism and commerce into polluted problem areas.

In each of the examples, the problems were resolved by community-spirited individuals, talented professionals and dedicated members of the government who cared enough about the environment to help overcome differences, lack of knowledge, and fiscal challenges in order to work together to make a difference.

This conference has allowed government officials as well as private sector and NGO representatives from the BSEC member states along with U.S. representatives from the Department of State and the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration to join with representatives from the European Union, the UN Development Programme and the Black Sea Commission to share best practices. It is clear to all that governments play a vital role in enacting and implementing sound environmental legislation. But it is also clear that environmental protection is not just a government function. Businesses and corporations share the responsibility and their involvement is essential, as is that of community based and non-governmental organizations. Education and teaching young people and our communities about the environment was also identified as a key to changing behavior and making a difference in the Black Sea region.

What we have learned in the United States over the past 30-plus years is that protecting the environment isn’t just good for families and good for tourism, it is also good for the economy, it is good for jobs, and it makes good sense. The same is true for the BSEC region. For Turkey the income from tourism and other Black Sea-related industries such as fishing, shipping and the energy sector accounts for a significant percent of the economy. But it cannot be done without bringing communities, regions, countries and different sectors of society together. The countries of the greater Black Sea region share riverine and littoral ecosystems that can only be protected through cooperative, complementary efforts.

I hope that this will be the first of many symposiums in which we can all work collaboratively, not only in the field of environmental protection but also on other topics of mutual interest as well.
* Colleen P. Graffy is the US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs. The complete text of Ms. Graffy’s remarks and more information can be found at www.aircistanbul.org/eproducts/bsec/bsec.html

14.09.2007 /Zaman


Turkey: The ‘pinocchio’ Of Anatolia (With Apologies To The Memory Of Carlo Collodi)
By Michael G. Mensoian

Turkey and the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) seem to be relying on the same tactic from their respective playbooks. The play is called “parsing” the truth. Unfortunately, parsing the truth to accommodate spurious ends can never be a winning play. Turkey has been doing just that ever since the Ottoman Turkish government began what was to be the “Final Solution of the Armenian Question” on April 24, 1915.

During the past several weeks, the ADL has been caught in the crossfire between acknowledging the truth and parsing the truth. They have gone from not recognizing the Armenian genocide to almost, but not quite recognizing the Armenian genocide, to the here and now when they may have to come out “four-square” and fully recognize the Armenian genocide. Their vacillation has been a public relations fiasco. Their action is remindful of the Yiddish proverb that “a half truth is a whole lie.” Only under pressure from responsible leaders in the Jewish community did the national ADL change its position. But even with their qualified recognition of the Armenian genocide, the ADL immediately sought to placate Turkey by assuring Ankara that it viewed the proposed House and Senate Resolutions recognizing the Armenian genocide as “counterproductive.”

The ADL’s almost, but not quite recognition of the Armenian genocide was more than sufficient to have the Turkish Foreign Ministry immediately condemn the ADL for attempting to rewrite history. The Ministry stated that “…there is no consensus among the historians on how to qualify the events…” Based on that contrived assumption, which has been refuted by eminent independent scholars throughout the world, the Turkish government maintains that the planned systematic killing of over 1,500,000 Armenian men, women and children by the Ottoman-Turkish government cannot be called genocide because it is “…historically and legally baseless.”

In light of Turkey’s position, which their Foreign Ministry maintains is a “…very clear” expression of Turkey’s position, how can the ADL actually believe that its “…efforts to bring together Turkey and Armenia to resolve differences over their shared history” is a realistic proposal? It is ridiculous on its face. How naive must the leadership of the ADL be to expect Turkey to reconcile the overwhelming evidence that the genocide occurred with the lies and obfuscatory statements that its government has propagated since that fateful day on April 24, 1915? How can Turkish leaders admit to their citizens and to the world that Turkey has lived a lie for all of these years? Turkey is in a catch 22 situation. Name a country that would want to acknowledge perpetrating such a horrendous crime against humanity.

To further illustrate the dilemma the ADL faces in trying to serve two masters, they acknowledge that while “…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…” If independent scholars have reached consensus on the genocide, who are the historians that the Turkish Foreign Ministry maintains have not reached consensus?

Answer: those historians on the Turkish government’s payroll. The ineptitude of its leadership has seriously eroded the ADL’s relevance and credibility.

In a further indication of its desperation, the Turkish Foreign Ministry has taken up a new tack in hopes of influencing Israel and the Jewish diaspora. In an appeal to the human emotion, the Foreign Ministry suggests that recognition of the Armenian genocide by the ADL would do “…an injustice to the unique character of the Holocaust as well as to the memories of its victims [and] we expect it to be rectified.” Is Turkey implying that recognition of the Armenian genocide would overshadow the Holocaust? In any event, the ADL has only almost, but not quite recognized the Armenian genocide. One would hope that this Turkish appeal does not tap a valid concern for the ADL.

Then to allay any fears that the ADL or the Jewish nation worldwide might have for their compatriots in Turkey, the Foreign Ministry sought to preempt any such worries. According to the Turkish Foreign Ministry, “[t]he Jewish community in Turkey is part of our society and there is no reason for them to worry.” This seems to beg the question: Why should the Jewish minority have any reason to be concerned about their well-being? Could this concern be related to the dismal record Turkey has in the area of human rights? In remarks to the Jerusalem Post, the Turkish Ambassador to Israel, Namik Tan, said that Turkey’s relationship is not with Israel alone, but with the whole Jewish world. The Turkish people “…cannot make that differentiation.” How does that square with the Foreign Ministry’s assertion that there is no reason for the Jewish minority to worry?

For the ADL or Israel or any other organization or government to advance the simplistic notion that Armenia and Turkey should reconcile their differences surely misunderstands what these differences are. As long as Turkey maintains its intransigent stance, its government must expect that its credibility will be challenged and exposed in every venue available for as long as it may take. The passage of time has not diminished the Armenian demand for justice. Unfortunately for Turkey, the Armenian Cause lives and only strengthens in its intensity as it passes from generation to generation.

Reconciliation can only occur when Turkey realizes that the ever-increasing weight of global opinion will no longer tolerate its refusal to accept the evidence stored in government archives in London, Paris, Germany, Washington and Ankara itself that provides incontrovertible proof that the Armenian genocide was planned and carried out by the Ottoman-Turkish government from 1915 to 1918.

Numerous eye-witness accounts add further evidence to support the Armenian position as well as an ever increasing number of independent scholars who continue to shed more light on this dark and tragic period in modern history.

Every page, every hideous photograph, every first-hand account and every document supporting the Ottoman-Turkish government’s plan to effectively and efficiently carry out the “Final Solution to the Armenian Question” is well known to the Turkish government and its paid “revisionists.” It is unfortunate that this same information is as well known to those governments that are pliant accomplices to a Turkish government that has long been morally bankrupt.

Let us pray that the members of Congress who support House Resolution 106 and Senate Resolution 106 will continue to let truth to be their only guide as they work to pass these nonbinding resolutions recognizing the Armenian genocide. Their passage will represent a symbolic affirmation by the United States Congress in recognizing the Armenian genocide that will create seismic reverberations within the Turkish government. It is time for the United States to realize that Turkey is not the keystone to a world order as perceived in Washington. Passage of these resolutions would be one more step toward achieving the justice that will allow the martyrs of the Armenian genocide to finally rest in peace.

Volume 73, No. 35, September 1, 2007
The Armenian Weekly
Published by the Hairenik Association for the ARF Central Committee of the Eastern United States


Implications of Ignoring Turkey's Vital Role
Deniz CELIK
With a lack of concrete and sincere steps being taken by either Turkey or the EU towards the goal of eventual Turkish EU membership, it may well be time to critically analyze the situation in the most frank of terms.

Considering Turkey?s latest struggles with internal issues from politicking to the issue of terrorism, the idea of Turkey as a full EU member seems to be fizzling out. Like a piece of fruit that has lost its freshness, the usual energy and belief in the EU that once represented hope and a final destination for a significantly large portion of Turkey is no longer there. It is a fact today in Turkey that anti-EU sentiment is on the rise.

There is rising contempt for the EU style of diplomacy. The EU is often perceived by large portion of Turkish society to have a disproportionately powerful hand. Exerting influence on large segments of the press, social issues, dominating the NGO groups in Turkey, delving into cultural affairs, military and matters of defense, laws, and the Republican system itself, the EU influence and pressure may prove too much.

Of course it must be mentioned that these incursions, as they are often viewed, are only a natural part of the EU membership process. It seems that this membership process, the consequences and implications that it has on a nation are not fully understood or have not yet been completely digested by the majority of Turks today.

These factors are being translated simply as frustration with EU double standards, and by downplaying the massive pressure, influence and impact that these negotiations have on the entire region we may fail to grasp the bigger picture.

The challenge for Turkey, is that it must also not resort to placing full blame on the EU, for we will overlook our own weaknesses. Sure, the EU has its shortcomings, however Turkey is also doing a bad job of explaining its positions to the EU, this makes the job all the more harder. We need to look inward in order to create a process that may create a cohesive and lasting achievement of stability and prosperity between the EU and Turkey. The effect of realizing this potential may create a domino effect of change that is greatly needed at this time and point in history.

Instead of explaining our disappointments and clearly highlighting some double standards we choose to cross our arms, drop our eyebrows in an angry manner and frown in discontent as we walk away to talk amongst ourselves. This type of sulky politicking will not bring us anywhere, we need to learn to express our feelings and passions in a productive and political way so that we may advance our knowledge of each other and the process itself. This of course is not only for those who still believe in the EU as a home and final destination for the Turkish Republic, but for anyone who wishes to see a prosperous Turkey in the future, wherever she may lie.

For those who are searching a ?Plan B? we may want to think about the recent opinion polls which indicate not only that the EU doesn?t have the same desire for Turkey as Turkey once had the desire for the EU, but there are now indications that Turks themselves do not have that same drive, optimism, and appetite for Europe Union that drove the process thus far.

Let us now look at the factors for this deterioration. A few broken promises such as the promise to end the isolation of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, despite the fact that the Turkish Cypriot North voted for the UN backed Annan Plan for peace in Cyprus. Rewarding the Greek Cypriot government that supported a rejection of the UN Peace Plan. The Turkish Cypriots where punished and remain in isolation despite the vote for a peaceful settlement. It must be mentioned as well that this settlement went against their own interests, yet the Turks of Northern Cyprus made the tough decision in the interest of making progress towards a long-term solution for peace under the auspices of the United Nations.

The EU lack of support continues on other issues such as the efforts against the PKK Terrorist organization which has been began increasing its killing of Turkish citizens in staggering numbers during the past year. This is another thorn in the side of the relations between Turkey and the EU. One of the most recent terrorist attacks in Turkey occurred in the Capitol City of Ankara in a shopping mall during rush hour. This clearly highlights the seriousness and urgency of tackling the issue of terrorism and avoiding a horrific double standard. A terrorist who targets Turks and Turkey should not be called a ?rebel? anymore than an Al Qaeda should be called a ?freedom fighter?. Yet constantly, despite the EU officially recognizing the PKK as a terrorist organization, the PKK is referred to as a ?Rebel Group? by the likes of the BBC and a great deal of other Western Networks and Newspapers. That is without mentioning the fact that the PKK makes all its money through business?s in Europe, often involving Racketeering, Extortion, and drug dealing. Even the PKK TV channel MED TV operates from Denmark unhindered, this is despite its support of a Terrorist Organization as listed by the EU, as well as the US State Department.

Quite simply if a common understanding on such issues is not reached the threat of a further deterioration of EU-Turkey relations may become a reality. The trouble seems to be coming from both sides, Turkey as a nation is not expressing its valid concerns loudly and articulately enough, while at the same time the EU and the United States are not analyzing our sensitivities and political reality with the full knowledge and understanding of the consequences that such a rift may create.

With the honeymoon period between the AKP and Turkey?s general public, as well as the EU and the EU process is now over. Tougher decisions lie ahead, key actors within Turkey are looking for a way into the political foray, while some are looking to play an important role in the Turkish domestic issues, there are many more actors who seek to play a significant role in the developments of not only Turkey at home as a independent and completely sovereign nation, but also abroad as international player with something to say, and a great deal to contribute.

A new flirtatious relationship is developing between Turkey and Russia, this is becoming clearer by the day. A message of determination and consistency can be heard emanating from President Putin. His opposition to a newly planned military build up by the United States and NATO is no mystery, as he refers to a potential new arms race.

Turkey finds itself on the fence once again, however this time she may be pondering the not so glamorous treatment that she received at the hands of the EU and the US in recent years.

With the ability to cooperate where the EU and Turkey have not, this also has the potential to become a symbol of peace between Russians of Orthodox Christian heritage, and Turks of a moderate and pragmatic Islam. Where once Russians ruled in Central Asia, the ties remain strong. Many Central Asian nations leaders come directly from Soviet Government positions and now rule quite closely with Russia. Much discomfort from these factors may be relieved with a strong Turkish showing within Central Asia, in partnership with Russia and the other sovereign states that make would make up the Central Asian Union.

This option may even have the ability to heal old wounds such as the Azerbaijani and Armenian territorial issues. Such a partnership would even have the highest chance of solving the near century old Armenian-Turkish discrepancies. With a big brother Russia and Turkey cooperating in fields of energy, transport and defense, Armenia and Turkey would even become business partners in this new era, resolving agreements under the premise of mutual benefit if nothing else.

How quickly the equation would change, and with the ability in the future to tap hindsight, the EU may well be kicking itself when they realize that the Russian, Turkish foray into Central Asia was in fact the only viable alternative for a Russia facing a newly militant NATO, and a Turkey facing little other choice than to join its ethnic cousins in Central Asia and build the energy road of today, from the silk road of yesterday.

Do analysts actually think that Turkey?s only option is the Arab Middle East? Do they think that Turkey is so easily manipulated into a project such as the now obviously defunct ?Greater Middle East? project? Iraq has been a catalyst for change and it can come in many forms. The above-mentioned scenarios are only an indicator what may come if the EU and USA continue to overlook Turkey?s key concerns for the region. After all it was Turkey as a loyal NATO ally of the US, so rightly pointed out the danger of the Iraq War, and the Pandora?s box it would open. Either cooler heads start to prevail, or we could see a major shift in the worlds power sharing and the order of the future may be affected in quite a tremendous way.

Imagine all this and we haven?t even factored in the China element to the equation yet, and I have a hunch that China and Russia are going to see a little more eye to eye than the US and the EU will with China, just a feeling though, what do you think?

25/08/07
© 2006 Turkish Journal



Is absence of Armenian Genocide issue in EP resolution on Turkey explained by author’s unwillingness to “open the old debate”?
12.09.2007 PanARMENIAN.Net/
“I did not want to open the old debate. The most important thing is that Turkey has good relations with its neighbors, also with Armenia. Studies show us that the closed borders have huge negative impacts on the economy. In a global world you should have good relations with your neighbors, and while doing that you should also reconcile with the past,” European Parliament member Ria Oomen-Ruijten (Conservative, Netherlands), said explaining the absence of the Armenian Genocide issue in her draft resolution on Turkey, reports Turkish Daily News.

Meanwhile, the European Armenian Federation for Justice and Democracy (EAFJD) is mobilizing Armenians from throughout Europe to seek to reverse a series of serious shortcomings in a draft resolution on Turkey, prepared by Mrs. Oomen-Ruijten (Conservative, Netherlands), for the consideration of the European Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee.

The Committee is set to examine the Oomen-Ruijten resolution on Thursday 13 September. Her measure congratulates Turkey for its past progress and outlines a number of areas in which it has not met European standards. The European Armenian Federation, having reviewed the resolution, has found that it represents a retreat from the 2006 Eurlings report and, in light of it unbalanced presentation of the facts, a clear step back from the more principled positions adopted in reports adopted by the Parliament since 2000.


EAFJD: MEP Covers Up Armenian Genocide Issue In Turkey Report
12.09.2007 /PanARMENIAN.Net/ The European Armenian Federation for Justice and Democracy (EAFJD) is mobilizing Armenians from throughout Europe to seek to reverse a series of serious shortcomings in a draft resolution on Turkey, prepared by Mrs. Oomen-Ruijten (Conservative, Netherlands), for the consideration of the European Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee.

The Committee is set to examine the Oomen-Ruijten resolution on Thursday 13 September. Her measure congratulates Turkey for its past progress and outlines a number of areas in which it has not met European standards. The European Armenian Federation, having reviewed the resolution, has found that it represents a retreat from the 2006 Eurlings report and, in light of it unbalanced presentation of the facts, a clear step back from the more principled positions adopted in reports adopted by the Parliament since 2000.

"We are working with all the democratic forces in the European Parliament to ensure that this resolution will accurately identify Turkey’s failure to meet its own commitments to the European family of nations,” said Hilda Tchoboian, the Chairperson of the European Armenian Federation.

"It is, quite simply, unacceptable for the European Parliament to allow the authors of this flawed measure to seek to minimize, cover-up, or even entirely exclude from their report such vital and pressing issues as the Armenian Genocide, Kurdish rights, and the occupation of Cyprus,” added Tchoboian. “As this matter is taken up in Committee, we call upon our constituent members, friends, and allies across Europe to continue educating their Members of the European Parliament, and other European leaders, about the dangers of passing such an unbalanced resolution.”

The European Armenian Federation is calling upon the leaders of Armenian groups across the continent to coordinate with it the mobilization of the Armenian community.


Racism or Transformation
DOGU ERGIL d.ergil@todayszaman.com
I did not know what racism was until I went to the United States for graduate studies. One of the first classes I had to attend was “Relations and Politics of Race.”
This was a novelty to me, and I came to realize that there were racial problems in another world. My second experience came to me as a distasteful soul searching. For a while I was spending time with a female African American student. When we strolled through the streets of downtown Philadelphia in the early 1970s or sat down in coffeehouses, people shot us disapproving glances and the like. All of this irritated me to the point of refraining from going out with her though it caused me pain to succumb to such pressure. I had met with no such collective sentiment in my own country and thus decided that we Turks were free of racism.

The first incident that shook my firm belief was a statement by a fellow graduate student in the Ph.D. program at New York State University-Binghamton a few years later. The director of the sociology department had invited new doctoral candidates to his home for a welcome party so we could meet each other and our instructors. I introduced myself as a Turk. To me this meant being a citizen of Turkey and was also an ethnic identity. I had no idea that these two could be two separate entities until another student introduced himself as an Armenian from İstanbul, Turkey. I was dumbstruck. Not that I did not know we had citizens of Armenian, Greek and other origins, but the way an individual identity was expressed by distinguishing between ethnic (or cultural) and official/legal components had amazed me. The reality that someone could be an Armenian or anything other but an ethnic Turk and a citizen of Turkey came to me as a surprise. From then on I began to question every official definition, trying to differentiate between individual and collective identities and definitions. The world was simple and comfortable no longer. However, this way I could better understand why non-ethnic Turks felt as though they were under pressure and subjected to unfair treatment being forced legally to be a “Turk” despite being quite ready to be loyal citizens of the Republic of Turkey.

The authoritarian, exclusive and unequal official definition of citizenship has once again surfaced with the racist statements of the director of the Turkish Historical Society (TTK) Professor Yusuf Halaçoğlu. The “Armenian question” is one of official Turkey’s main concerns. First of all there is a definitional problem. For Armenians and many foreigners it means genocidal treatment of Armenian citizens by the Ottoman government in 1915. For Turks who have adopted the official line, it is matter of Armenian betrayal to the government and country struggling with Russian occupation and ensuing deportation.

The Turkish side has all along defended the line that the incidents had neither the intention nor the quality of genocide, which implies a deliberate and official policy of wiping out a racial, ethnic or religious group completely. This rationale has also been adopted by the republican governments though Armenians and others argue that a deliberate crime was planned and executed to get rid of the Armenians on Ottoman soil.

Now there is a fresh entry to the official record that surprised many of us. Professor Halaçoğlu claimed that “unfortunately, those Armenians who feared for their lives converted to Islam and took on Alevi Kurdish or Sunni Muslim Turkish identities.” He also asserted that there are no Alevi Kurds and those who say so are originally of Turkish ethnic origin. The most frightening of his statements was that since 1936, the state has conducted an in-depth survey of Armenians who converted to Islam and the list is in his (the state’s) possession.

This is an utterly racist outburst, but not one paid attention to the timing of it. Halaçoğlu revealed these official racist practices of tracking down former Armenians right before the Jewish Anti-Defamation League declared its acknowledgement of the Armenian genocide during the Ottoman era. This means the certain adoption of a similar resolution in the US Congress that has been delayed for some time. What the Turkish state reflex means is that Armenians did not disappear in whole, they just changed shape. Overnight they transformed into Turks and Muslims. Which is more respectful for a state -- to get rid of a people for the wrongdoings of some, or to make them invisible by forcing them into conversion and proselytizing?
12.09.2007


Turkish Goods Are Flooding Into Armenia

Yesterday I came across a news article titled Armenians gobble up Turkish goods“.It read:

Turkish trucks loaded with goods are a common sight on the winding highways of Armenia, showing that for many Armenians the desire for a bargain outweighs historic hatred.
“What’s important for me are the quality and the price of the goods, not where they come from,” said Yerevan resident Suren, 32, who recently bought a Turkish-made washing machine.
Turkish goods are flooding into Armenia despite a long history of antagonism between Armenians and Turks, closed borders and diplomatic tensions between Ankara and Yerevan.
Only 25 kilometers from the Turkish border, Yerevan should be a short drive for the truckers. But with Armenia under a Turkish trade embargo and the border sealed, they instead have to take a circuitous route through neighboring Georgia to haul home appliances, building materials and other goods to Yerevan.

Article continued:

"There is a huge quantity of Turkish goods today in Armenia," said Gagik Kocharian, the head of the trade department at Armenia’s Trade and Economic Development Ministry.
Home appliances, building materials, household goods, clothes and paper products are the most common Turkish items, he said, and sales of those goods rose 40 percent in 2006.
Many consumers, Kocharian said, are indifferent to whether the goods they are buying are Turkish. “People buy brands and very often are not interested or do not know where a product is made,” he said.

And of course there are some who can never get over their meaningless hatred:
And not all Armenians are willing to set political tensions aside in the name of commerce.
“I do not buy Turkish or Azerbaijani goods, and I absolutely don’t understand people who don’t care,” said Robert Sanasarian, an elderly Armenian. “Why can’t people just buy locally produced goods, helping Armenian businesses instead of our opponents?”

The fact that Turkish goods find their way into Armenia is nothing new. This trade has been going on for many years, despite the smear campaign carried out by some Armenians alleging Turkish made goods were of low quality, some going as far as alleging the food products contained poison to kill the Armenian consumers!!
This reminded me of a boycott which was called for by the Armenian Consumers Association some years back.
”We should start boycotting Turkish goods in the Armenian market. This is, first of all, a problem of our national dignity, and then an economic issue,” President of the Armenian Consumers Association Armen Pogosyan has announced at a news conference on April 25.
However, according to him, surveys have shown that many Turkish goods meet consumer standards and it is impossible to isolate fully the Armenian market from Turkish goods. “Our citizens should understand that they should not buy some products, despite it is cheap, as it touches upon dignity of any Armenian, who remembers history of his people,” Armen Pogosyan noted.

This boycott never realized, and the trade went on, and is still continuing. Not to mention some 30+ thousand Armenians from mainland Armenia are now living and working in Turkey as they are not able to make a living in their impoverished country.
The Diaspora Armenians should concentrate on helping their own country instead of spending millions of dollars to get recognition for a wartime tragedy to be accepted as genocide which allegedly took place nearly 100 years ago.

by TurkishDigest

Comments
10 Sep 2007 at 11:47 pm
eb20
I think it would be wiseful for some Armenians to stop their hatred on Turks and do their own works…

11 Sep 2007 at 9:33 am
Michael van der Galien
Quite right.


The Van Der Galiën Gazette
http://mvdg.wordpress.com/2007/09/10/turkish-goods-are-flooding-into-armenia
Not accessable from Turkey

Armenians Gobble Up Turkish Goods
By Agence France Presse (AFP)
September 10, 2007

YEREVAN: Turkish trucks loaded with goods are a common sight on the winding highways of Armenia, showing that for many Armenians the desire for a bargain outweighs historic hatred.

"What's important for me are the quality and the price of the goods, not where they come from," said Yerevan resident Suren, 32, who recently bought a Turkish-made washing machine.

Turkish goods are flooding into Armenia despite a long history of antagonism between Armenians and Turks, closed borders and diplomatic tensions between Ankara and Yerevan.

Only 25 kilometers from the Turkish border, Yerevan should be a short drive for the truckers. But with Armenia under a Turkish trade embargo and the border sealed, they instead have to take a circuitous route through neighboring Georgia to haul home appliances, building materials and other goods to Yerevan.

Turkey banned exports to Armenia and closed the border in 1993 in a show of solidarity with ally Azerbaijan, which was at war with Armenian-backed separatists over the territory of Nagorno Karabakh. And angered by Armenia's campaign for international recognition of mass killings of Armenians under the Ottomans as genocide, Ankara has also refused to establish diplomatic ties with Yerevan.

Yet at the main border crossing between Armenia and Georgia, the queue of Turkish trucks headed for Yerevan can often stretch for more than a kilometer. To get around the embargo, the goods officially change hands in Georgia, through middlemen or shell companies established by Turkish exporters.

"There is a huge quantity of Turkish goods today in Armenia," said Gagik Kocharian, the head of the trade department at Armenia's Trade and Economic Development Ministry.

Home appliances, building materials, household goods, clothes and paper products are the most common Turkish items, he said, and sales of those goods rose 40 percent in 2006.

Many consumers, Kocharian said, are indifferent to whether the goods they are buying are Turkish. "People buy brands and very often are not interested or do not know where a product is made," he said.

Many business leaders on both sides are urging the Armenian and Turkish governments to work to end the embargo and re-open the border.

"There is great interest from companies on both sides in doing business with each other. It would be very beneficial for both countries to reopen the border," said Kaan Soyak, the Turkish co-chairman of the Turkish-Armenian Business Development Council.

Re-opening the border would not only give Armenian exporters easier access to Western markets, but also add to export routes for Turkish companies targeting Azerbaijan and Central Asia, he said. "Unfortunately, the political establishments on both sides benefit from the status quo," he said.

Analysts doubt either side will give ground soon.

Winning international recognition of a genocide is one of Armenia's top foreign-policy goals. Armenians say up to 1.5 million of their kinsmen died in deportations and systematic killings on the territory of present-day Turkey in 1915. Turkey categorically rejects the genocide label and argues that 300,000 Armenians and at least as many Turks died in civil strife in what was then the Ottoman Empire during World War I.

Turkey is also unlikely to end its staunch support for Azerbaijan in the dispute over Nagorno Karabakh, an ethnic-Armenian enclave that broke away from Azerbaijan in the early 1990s and now has de facto independence. Azerbaijan has imposed its own economic embargo on Armenia. Despite repeated meetings, Armenian and Turkish diplomats have failed to break the deadlock.

At a meeting in Istanbul in June, Armenian Foreign Minister Vardan Oskanian urged Turkey to open the border, but Turkey insisted on solving the Karabakh dispute first. Turkish Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul also called on Armenia to support a Turkish proposal to set up a joint committee of Turkish and Armenian academics to study the genocide allegations.

And not all Armenians are willing to set political tensions aside in the name of commerce.

"I do not buy Turkish or Azerbaijani goods, and I absolutely don't understand people who don't care," said Robert Sanasarian, an elderly Armenian. "Why can't people just buy locally produced goods, helping Armenian businesses instead of our opponents?" - AFP
http://www.dailystar.com.lb




Genocide and Holocaust Scholars Criticize ADL
By Khatchig Mouradian

WATERTOWN, Mass. (A.W.)'On Aug. 23, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) released a statement that reiterated its objection to the Armenian Genocide Resolution pending in Congress and continued to ambiguously recognize the Armenian genocide by calling `for further dispassionate scholarly examination of the details of those dark and terrible days.'

`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 statement read.

`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,' it continued.

Several genocide and Holocaust experts expressed outrage over the idea of convening with Turkish state historians who have made a career out of denying and trivializing the Armenian genocide. When Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan suggested the idea of a `joint commission' a few years ago, the International Association of Genocide Scholars (IAGS) sent an open letter to Erdogan saying, `We are concerned that in calling for an impartial study of the Armenian Genocide you may not be fully aware of the extent of the scholarly and intellectual record on the Armenian Genocide. ¦ We want to underscore that it is not just Armenians who are affirming the Armenian Genocide but it is the overwhelming opinion of scholars who study genocide: hundreds of independent scholars.'

Genocide and Holocaust scholars in the U.S. and Europe, contacted by the Armenian Weekly today, harshly criticized the ADL's statement as well as its hypocritical approach to the Armenian genocide in general.

`ADL is getting into the issue a bit late to be of any substance,' said Dr. Stephen Feinstein, director of the Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies at the University of Minnesota. `Furthermore, by Foxman saying there was a need to protect the Turkish-Jewish community, the question is, protect from what if they have lived as a loyal minority for 500 years? This suggests that the ADL is missing the point and cannot be part of the discourse,' he added.

`A commission now would be a disaster. The Turkish state must make clear that they have a very strong intention to resolve this issue. The rhetoric of the Turkish authorities is not conducive of a solution. As long as people like Yusuf Halacoglu'a very radical, nationalist, even racist historian'Gunduz Aktan and Sukru Elekdag give the tone for the policy of Turkish government, I don't think that you can reach any result from a commission,' said Turkish-born historian and sociologist Taner Akcam, author of A Shameful Act: The Armenian genocide and the Question of Turkish responsibility. `For them the commission would be the continuation of the war they are waging against the Armenians, whom they consider as the enemy,' he added.

`We don't need a historical commission. We need historians to have completely free and open access to the archives in Turkey so scholars and anyone else can research, write and talk about this history without fear of intimidation,' said Professor Eric Weitz, author of A Century of Genocide: Utopias of Race and Nation. `That is the key issue: free and open debate without intimidation from the state and from anti-democratic organizations that are allowed to operate with the tacit support of the state.'

`Furthermore, not the regional ADL leader [Andy Tarsy] but Abraham Foxman should be fired,' Weitz added. `He should have been fired a long time ago for many other statements and comments in addition to his long-standing refusal to recognize the Armenian genocide.'

`I'm entirely in agreement with Eric Weitz on the access [to archives] and free debate,' said Dr. Donald Bloxham of the University of Edinburgh who was recently awarded the 2007 Raphael Lemkin prize for his book The Great game of Genocide: Imperialism, Nationalism and the Destruction of the Ottoman Armenians.

`And I reject the silly commission idea,' Bloxham added.


Turkey: the `Pinocchio' of Anatolia (with apologies to the memory of Carlo Collodi) By Michael G. Mensoian


Turkey and the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) seem to be relying on the same tactic from their respective playbooks. The play is called `parsing' the truth. Unfortunately, parsing the truth to accommodate spurious ends can never be a winning play. Turkey has been doing just that ever since the Ottoman Turkish government began what was to be the `Final Solution of the Armenian Question' on April 24, 1915.

During the past several weeks, the ADL has been caught in the crossfire between acknowledging the truth and parsing the truth. They have gone from not recognizing the Armenian genocide to almost, but not quite recognizing the Armenian genocide, to the here and now when they may have to come out `four-square' and fully recognize the Armenian genocide. Their vacillation has been a public relations fiasco. Their action is remindful of the Yiddish proverb that `a half truth is a whole lie.' Only under pressure from responsible leaders in the Jewish community did the national ADL change its position. But even with their qualified recognition of the Armenian genocide, the ADL immediately sought to placate Turkey by assuring Ankara that it viewed the proposed House and Senate Resolutions recognizing the Armenian genocide as `counterproductive.'

The ADL's almost, but not quite recognition of the Armenian genocide was more than sufficient to have the Turkish Foreign Ministry immediately condemn the ADL for attempting to rewrite history. The Ministry stated that `¦there is no consensus among the historians on how to qualify the events¦' Based on that contrived assumption, which has been refuted by eminent independent scholars throughout the world, the Turkish government maintains that the planned systematic killing of over 1,500,000 Armenian men, women and children by the Ottoman-Turkish government cannot be called genocide because it is `¦historically and legally baseless.'

In light of Turkey's position, which their Foreign Ministry maintains is a `¦very clear' expression of Turkey's position, how can the ADL actually believe that its `¦efforts to bring together Turkey and Armenia to resolve differences over their shared history' is a realistic proposal? It is ridiculous on its face. How naive must the leadership of the ADL be to expect Turkey to reconcile the overwhelming evidence that the genocide occurred with the lies and obfuscatory statements that its government has propagated since that fateful day on April 24, 1915? How can Turkish leaders admit to their citizens and to the world that Turkey has lived a lie for all of these years? Turkey is in a catch 22 situation. Name a country that would want to acknowledge perpetrating such a horrendous crime against humanity.

To further illustrate the dilemma the ADL faces in trying to serve two masters, they acknowledge that while `¦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¦' If independent scholars have reached consensus on the genocide, who are the historians that the Turkish Foreign Ministry maintains have not reached consensus?

Answer: those historians on the Turkish government's payroll. The ineptitude of its leadership has seriously eroded the ADL's relevance and credibility.

In a further indication of its desperation, the Turkish Foreign Ministry has taken up a new tack in hopes of influencing Israel and the Jewish diaspora. In an appeal to the human emotion, the Foreign Ministry suggests that recognition of the Armenian genocide by the ADL would do `¦an injustice to the unique character of the Holocaust as well as to the memories of its victims [and] we expect it to be rectified.' Is Turkey implying that recognition of the Armenian genocide would overshadow the Holocaust? In any event, the ADL has only almost, but not quite recognized the Armenian genocide. One would hope that this Turkish appeal does not tap a valid concern for the ADL.

Then to allay any fears that the ADL or the Jewish nation worldwide might have for their compatriots in Turkey, the Foreign Ministry sought to preempt any such worries. According to the Turkish Foreign Ministry, `[t]he Jewish community in Turkey is part of our society and there is no reason for them to worry.' This seems to beg the question: Why should the Jewish minority have any reason to be concerned about their well-being? Could this concern be related to the dismal record Turkey has in the area of human rights? In remarks to the Jerusalem Post, the Turkish Ambassador to Israel, Namik Tan, said that Turkey's relationship is not with Israel alone, but with the whole Jewish world. The Turkish people `¦cannot make that differentiation.' How does that square with the Foreign Ministry's assertion that there is no reason for the Jewish minority to worry?

For the ADL or Israel or any other organization or government to advance the simplistic notion that Armenia and Turkey should reconcile their differences surely misunderstands what these differences are. As long as Turkey maintains its intransigent stance, its government must expect that its credibility will be challenged and exposed in every venue available for as long as it may take. The passage of time has not diminished the Armenian demand for justice. Unfortunately for Turkey, the Armenian Cause lives and only strengthens in its intensity as it passes from generation to generation.

Reconciliation can only occur when Turkey realizes that the ever-increasing weight of global opinion will no longer tolerate its refusal to accept the evidence stored in government archives in London, Paris, Germany, Washington and Ankara itself that provides incontrovertible proof that the Armenian genocide was planned and carried out by the Ottoman-Turkish government from 1915 to 1918.

Numerous eye-witness accounts add further evidence to support the Armenian position as well as an ever increasing number of independent scholars who continue to shed more light on this dark and tragic period in modern history.

Every page, every hideous photograph, every first-hand account and every document supporting the Ottoman-Turkish government's plan to effectively and efficiently carry out the `Final Solution to the Armenian Question' is well known to the Turkish government and its paid `revisionists.' It is unfortunate that this same information is as well known to those governments that are pliant accomplices to a Turkish government that has long been morally bankrupt.

Let us pray that the members of Congress who support House Resolution 106 and Senate Resolution 106 will continue to let truth to be their only guide as they work to pass these nonbinding resolutions recognizing the Armenian genocide. Their passage will represent a symbolic affirmation by the United States Congress in recognizing the Armenian genocide that will create seismic reverberations within the Turkish government. It is time for the United States to realize that Turkey is not the keystone to a world order as perceived in Washington. Passage of these resolutions would be one more step toward achieving the justice that will allow the martyrs of the Armenian genocide to finally rest in peace.

Armenian Weekly Volume 73, No. 35; Sept. 1, 2007
Watertown USA
www.armenianweekly.com


Ambassador Morgenthau's Formal Dinner
By Kay Mouradian

To watch an interview with Mouradian, visit



(February, 1914)

Row upon row of carriages and automobiles lined the street by the American embassy. Foreign ambassadors and ministers in full regalia and accompanied by their wives walked up the marble stairs to the embassy's entrance. Turkish leaders, whose wives never appeared in public, arrived with their bodyguards.

Feeling dapper in a new tuxedo, Henry Morgenthau stood with his wife, Josie, and personally introduced the new Ambassadress to each guest. After the last visitor was greeted, Morgenthau and his wife walked into the dining room. A long elaborate table was set for thirty-eight people. Fresh flowers and flickering light from candles set in multi-tiered silver candelabra gave the room a warm and inviting feeling.

Morgenthau stood at the center of the table and watched his staff seat the Turkish officials according to strict protocol, starting with the Grand Vizier, Halim Pasha, the Oxford educated Egyptian prince. Halim was a handsome, slightly built man of sixty, notably the most refined Ottoman leader, and many expected him to the most powerful. Generalissimo Enver Pasha, the Minister of War, young, dashing, delicately handsome and suave, his gait suggesting arrogance and pride. Jemal Pasha, Minister of Marine, his ungroomed beard not quite covering pocks, was in a friendly and cheerful mood. His eyes were small and dark, and something about them made Morgenthau uneasy. And Talaat, the real power in Turkey, was the last of the four to be seated.

Morgenthau noted an unhappy Limon von Sanders hesitating to be seated. The German General assigned to train the Turkish army was in an animated disagreement with Schmavonian and Mr. Phillip. Finally, Phillip coaxed the General to take the last seat, the least important one at the table.

Morgenthau raised his glass of champagne and said, `As the personal representative of President Wilson, I welcome you to the American Embassy.' He took a sip and everyone followed. When he sat down, an army of waiters paraded into the room and served each guest a bowl of steaming asparagus soup. He watched his wife, sitting opposite him and sandwiched between Jemal and Sir Louis Mallet, the British Ambassador, try to converse with Jemal in her limited French. He became amused watching Ambassador Mallet continually putting down spoonfuls of soup as he interpreted for her. Poor Mallet, he thought. His musing was broken when Halim Pasha, sitting to his right, asked, `When are you leaving for Egypt?'

`Perhaps the first week in April,' Morgenthau answered. `Maybe earlier. It depends upon when the repairs for our ship are completed. The work is being done in Athens.'

`I will send a letter of introduction to my cousin, the Khedive.' The Grand Vizier's aristocratic background rang through his cultured speech.

`Thank you. Introductions always ease the required formality.' Morgenthau hesitated and said, `Ambassador Mallet said he will also alert the British Resident, Lord Kitchener, of my arrival.' When Halim did not immediately respond, Morgenthau realized he should have followed his intuition and not mentioned Kitchener.

Then, a disturbed Halim said, `Mr. Ambassador, I have strong feelings about the British. They came to Egypt, put down a rebellion and never left. They have assumed the role as protectorate.' His tone became unusually cool. `But remember, Egypt is still part of the Ottoman Empire.'

`Yes, of course,' Morgenthau quickly responded as he remembered an earlier conversation when Mallet revealed his suspicion that Halim's greatest ambition was to become Khedive. `I, too, look forward to the day when your country is no longer dependent upon the Europeans,' Morgenthau said. `I understand the immensity of your task and want to be helpful whenever I can.'

`We appreciate your efforts,' a recollected and poised Halim said.

Morgenthau was anxious to change the subject. He did not fully understand the composition of the Ottoman Empire. It was fragmented. Yemen acted as if it were autonomous. Likewise, the Jews in Palestine longed for that same autonomy. Lebanon was autonomous, had a Christian governor and was ruled by the six European powers. Armenia was making demands, and Syria and other Arab countries, with their numerous and dissident tribes, had no aspirations for independence. They were non assimilated nations within the empire.

Morgenthau looked over to his daughter, Helen, who was chatting in German with Enver, the Minister of War. He suppressed a smile. If he didn't know better he would have thought his daughter was flirting with the handsome Turk. Good thing her husband was sailing the Atlantic on his way to New York and couldn't see her behavior!

Several courses later dessert arrived. Hot apple pie with vanilla ice cream. And American coffee. Morgenthau was not terribly fond of the strong Turkish coffee.

Meanwhile another ninety guests, mostly high ranking embassy officials and prominent businessmen, had gathered in the ballroom for a post-dinner dance with the expectation of a midnight buffet. Most were standing, chatting and drinking fine French champagne. A few danced to the orchestra's music.

After dinner Ambassador Morgenthau escorted his wife into the crowded ballroom. He raised his arms high and the music stopped. `Ladies and gentlemen, I'd like to introduce my wife, Josie, the American Ambassadress.'

There was applause, the music picked up a fox trot beat, and Morgenthau and Josie moved smoothly across the dance floor, showing everyone their classy style. Still holding Josie in a dance position as the music ended, he noticed Talaat walking toward them, his huge bushy mustache and congenial lips widening into a smile.

`I enjoyed watching you move across the floor so gracefully,' Talaat said. He tilted his chin up. `Me, I'm clumsy on the dance floor.' He looked into Mrs. Morgenthau's soft blue eyes and said, `I hope you will enjoy your stay in our charming city.'

`I am already!'

`We are indebted to your husband.' He turned to Morgenthau and said, `I have good news. France agreed to the loan.'

Morgenthau smiled. `I'm glad I could help.' He had advised Talaat on some negotiating strategies.

`I want your husband to become part of our Cabinet,' Talaat said to Josie.

`He told me of your offer.' She laughed. `Our friends at home are calling him, Henry, the Pasha!'

Talaat gave Morgenthau a friendly slap on his back. `I can relax around Morgenthau Pasha. I trust him.' Then he noticed the German ambassador motioning to him. Talaat bowed his head to Josie, `I am always at your service, Mrs. Ambassador.' With a self-assured stride, he walked over to the German ambassador.

`He's huge,' Josie said. `I see why people think he's intimidating.'

`Mrs. Morgenthau,' a feminine voice called out. Two women, wives of Russian diplomats, approached.

`You're in demand,' Morgenthau whispered to his wife. Introducing the women to Josie, he said, `Mrs. Giers and Mrs. Ponafidine are prominent members of the committee to abolish the white slave traffic in Constantinople.' He left them to their conversation and guessed that before the evening was over Josie would be asked to join the distinguished committee. Constantinople was the center for the trafficking.

`Ambassador!' It was Mr. Phillip rapidly approaching. `We have a problem, Sir. General von Sanders was not pleased with his seat assignment.'

`I wondered,' Morgenthau said. `I thought he looked upset.'

`Yes, he was, to put it mildly. He felt his rank is higher than those of the Ministers.'

`Thanks, Phillip. I will talk to him.' Morgenthau quickly glanced around the room. The German General was nowhere in sight. The reception had broken up into small intimate groups, standing and socializing or sitting on the gilt chairs in cozy corners. His eyes fell on his daughter chatting with Ambassador Mallet and he walked over to join them. `Have you seen General von Sanders?'

`I saw him earlier,' his daughter replied.

`Is there a problem?' Mallet asked, his subtle smile suggesting he knew there was. `I suspected as much,' the middle aged and balding Mallet said and laughed. `If this had happened at my embassy the headlines in tomorrow's papers would claim strained relations between Britain and Germany!'

`I'm not used to such inflexible protocol,' Morgenthau said.

`The General is in the card room,' Mallet said and with another subtle smile said, `Good luck.'

Just as he was to leave, Morgenthau heard Enver Pasha call to him.

`Ambassador,' the Turkish General said as he approached the trio. `I so enjoyed talking with your daughter at dinner.'

`General, my daughter is the one who usually does the talking!' he said and heard Helen giggle. `I finally have an opportunity to tell you how much my family enjoyed your wedding.' Enver had married one of the Sultan's nieces three weeks earlier.

`Ah, yes,' Mallet added. `Congratulations again on your marriage. Your wife is lovely and charming.'

`Thank you.' Enver turned to Morgenthau and said, `May I have a dance with your daughter?'

Helen jumped up from her chair. `I would love to dance, General. Is that a waltz I hear? I love the waltz.'

Enver said with a warm smile, `I learned to waltz in Berlin.'

Morgenthau grinned as he watched Enver take his daughter to the dance floor. `I need to find von Sanders,' he said to Mallet and hastily left. He went to the smoke filled room where several guests were playing bridge. The General was sitting at the chess table, alone, smoking a cigar. He walked up behind him and asked, `Care for a game of chess?'

The General turned toward the American ambassador and said, `Why not?'

Sitting opposite the blue eyed fifty-ish German General, Morgenthau moved the white ivory king's pawn forward two squares. `I observed some confusion when my staff seated you. What happened?'

Von Sanders, reluctant to speak, made the same chess move with his black pawn.

Morgenthau moved a knight, slowly raised his eyes from the chess board, looked directly at the General and waited.

Von Sanders pushed his chair back, crossed his legs, took a long puff on his cigar and said, `Do you have any idea how important my task is?'

Morgenthau continued his look, still waiting.

`Kaiser Wilhelm spent hours convincing me to take this assignment. Me, a successful career general, and tonight I am made to feel subordinate to this youngster who is wet behind his ears. Enver has never even won a battle!' Von Sanders' face was turning red and he slapped his hands on the table. `And he thinks of himself as another Napoleon! Have you been in his office? He doesn't have a picture of the Sultan on his wall. Only Napoleon and Frederick the Great! The only thing he has in common with those conquerors is that he is built like them. He's a runt!' The General squashed his cigar, rose from his chair and stalked off.

Morgenthau rushed after him and caught up with him in the foyer. `General,' he said and put his hand on the General's shoulder. `I think you should know we were advised about the formality of rank by the Austrian Ambassador. I personally apologize if you were slighted. Your position here has confused the diplomatic corps. I will suggest that your rank be considered higher than those of the Ministers and more in line with the Turkish Cabinet.'

The General put on his hat and clicked his heels. `Good night,' he said and hurriedly walked down the stairs and entered a waiting automobile. He did not look back.

`The problems of a diplomat,' Morgenthau said to himself shaking his head as he reentered the ballroom. The gala event ended at 3 a.m. Morgenthau was exhausted, his wife did volunteer to work toward abolishing the white slave trade, and it was his daughter's last party. She and her children were leaving for New York at the end of the week to join her husband.

Armenian Weekly Volume 73, No. 35; Sept. 1, 2007


European Armenian Federation Mobilizes Community To Oppose Retreat On Eu Standards For Turkey’s Membership
BRUSSEL, BELGIUM – The European Armenian Federation for Justice and Democracy (EAFJD) is mobilizing Armenians from throughout Europe to seek to reverse a series of serious shortcomings in a draft resolution on Turkey, prepared by Mrs. Oomen-Ruijten (Conservative, Netherlands), for the consideration of the European Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee.

The Committee is set to examine the Oomen-Ruijten resolution on Thursday 13 September (see draft here above). Her measure congratulates Turkey for its past progress and outlines a number of areas in which it has not met European standards. The European Armenian Federation, having reviewed the resolution, has found that it represents a retreat from the 2006 Eurlings report and, in light of it unbalanced presentation of the facts, a clear step back from the more principled positions adopted in reports adopted by the Parliament since 2000.

"We are working with all the democratic forces in the European Parliament to ensure that this resolution will accurately identify Turkey’s failure to meet its own commitments to the European family of nations,” said Hilda Tchoboian, the Chairperson of the European Armenian Federation.

"It is, quite simply, unacceptable for the European Parliament to allow the authors of this flawed measure to seek to minimize, cover-up, or even entirely exclude from their report such vital and pressing issues as the Armenian Genocide, Kurdish rights, and the occupation of Cyprus,” added Tchoboian. “As this matter is taken up in Committee, we call upon our constituent members, friends, and allies across Europe to continue educating their Members of the European Parliament, and other European leaders, about the dangers of passing such an unbalanced resolution.”

The European Armenian Federation is calling upon the leaders of Armenian groups across the continent to coordinate with it the mobilization of the Armenian community.


Draft European Parliament resolution on EU-Turkey relations

The European Parliament,
– having regard to its resolution of 15 December 2004 on the 2004 regular report and the
recommendation of the Commission on Turkey's progress towards accession1,
– having regard to its resolution of 28 September 2005 on the opening of negotiations with
Turkey2,
– having regard to its resolution of 27 September 2006 on Turkey's progress towards
accession3,
– having regard to its resolutions on the Commission's enlargement strategy papers4,
– having regard to the Negotiating Framework for Turkey of 3 October 2005,
– having regard to Council Decision 2006/35/EC of 23 January 2006 on the principles,
priorities and conditions contained in the Accession Partnership with Turkey5,
– having regard to the Turkey 2006 Progress Report of the Commission (SEC(2006)1390),
– having regard to the Commission Communication on the Enlargement strategy and Main
Challenges 2006-2007 (COM(2006) 649),
– having regard to Rule 103 (2) of its Rules of Procedure,

A. whereas negotiations with Turkey were opened on 3 October 2005 after approval by the Council of the Negotiating Framework, and whereas the opening of these negotiations is the starting point for a long-lasting and open-ended process,

B. whereas Turkey has committed itself to reforms, good neighbourly relations and progressive alignment with the EU,

C. whereas full compliance with all the Copenhagen criteria remains the basis for accession to the EU,

D. whereas Turkey has not yet fully implemented the provisions stemming from the Association Agreement and its Additional Protocol,

E. whereas after an impressive wave of reforms introduced between 2002 and 2004, the pace of reforms in Turkey has slowed down,

F. whereas a programme for further reforms will have to be presented by the new Government after early parliamentary elections were held on 22 July,

1. Calls on the Commission to identify in its regular report those subjects which have to be addressed by Turkey as a matter of priority, focusing on the achievement of the short-term and medium-term priorities set out in the Accession Partnership, and to pay particular attention to the subjects pointed out in this resolution; expects the Commission to fully utilise all appropriate means to efficiently support the reform process, reminding Turkey that the respect of its commitments within the timetable set by the Accession Partnership is of paramount importance for its credibility;

2. Congratulates Turkey for having held free and fair elections, as indicated by the Election Assessment Mission deployed by the OSCE/ODIHR and a delegation of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE); welcomes that the elections led to a better representativity of the Turkish Grand National Assembly, and encourages the newly elected deputies to engage themselves for the transformation of Turkey into a stable democracy;

3. Expects the new Turkish Government, which benefits from a strong mandate and popular trust, to accelerate the process of reforms in order to fulfil the commitments defined in the Accession Partnership; encourages the government to search for a broad consensus within the Turkish parliament on important institutional matters; recalls that the development of Turkey into a democratic and prosperous state governed by the rule of law is of strategic importance for Turkey, its society and the EU;

4. Welcomes the positive economic development of Turkey in recent years, considers it however vital to increase employment and to develop a reform strategy which will reinforce the social cohesion of the Turkish society;

5. Welcomes the efforts made by the Turkish government to align itself with the EU energy acquis; advocates further strengthening of energy cooperation between the EU and Turkey, aimed at reinforcing the energy supply security, supporting the use of renewable energy resources and the investments in energy efficiency;

6. Notes that Turkey's role in transportation and logistics will become more important in the coming years; calls on the Commission to issue a specific report on the latest developments and future challenges;

7. Is concerned about the repeated interference of the Turkish Armed Forces in the political process; stresses that further efforts are needed to ensure full civilian control over the military; underlines that the formulation of the national security strategy and its implementation should be supervised by the civilian authorities; calls for the establishment of full parliamentary oversight of military and defence policy and all related expenditure;

8. Welcomes the EU-Turkey Civil Society Dialogue, and asks the Commission to report on of increased contacts between the civil societies in Turkey and the EU; calls on the Commission to be more present in different regions of Turkey and to provide targeted support to the civil society; calls on the new Turkish government to involve its civil society, an important promoter of democracy in Turkey, more intensively into the reform process;

9. Refers to its resolution of 2006 on Turkey, in particular those paragraphs on the reforms needed to improve the functioning of judiciary, respect for fundamental human rights and freedoms, protection of women rights, implementation of the zero-tolerance-to-torture policy as well as protection of minority and cultural rights; awaits, before assessing the progress in implementing such reforms, the results of the intensified monitoring of the political criteria announced by the Commission in its last enlargement strategy; calls on the Commission to publish these results without delay;

10. Urges the new Turkish government to fully implement the provisions stemming from the Association agreement and its Additional Protocol; recalls that the non-fulfilment of Turkey's commitments referred to in the Accession Partnership will continue to affect seriously the process of negotiations;

11. Deplores that a number of persons is still being prosecuted under Article 301 of the Penal Code, and urges the government to use its parliamentary majority to make sure that provisions allowing for arbitrary restrictions on the expression of non-violent opinions are removed and that freedom of expression and freedom of press are guaranteed;

12. Stresses the need to adopt a Law on Foundations without delay that addresses the current legal uncertainty of religious minorities and sets a clear legal framework enabling them to exercise their religion freely by allowing them, inter alia, to own property and train clergy; shares the concern expressed by the Council on 24 July over the recent ruling of the Turkish Court of Cassation on the Ecumenical Patriarchate; urges the new Turkish government to bring its approach towards religious minorities in line with principles of freedom of religion; calls on the Commission to raise these issues with the new government;

13. Strongly condemns the murder of Hrant Dink, the murder of three Christians in Malatya, the terrorist attack in Ankara, and all other acts of politically motivated violence; expects the Turkish authorities to bring full light into these cases and to bring all responsible to justice; underlines the urgent need to efficiently combat all types of extremism and violence and to ban them from all levels of public life in Turkey; calls on the Turkish government to increase the protection of those groups, minorities or individuals who feel exposed to threat;

14. Calls on the new government to take concrete measures to ensure that full trade union rights are respected in line with European and ILO standards; encourages it to support intensification of the social dialogue between employers associations and trade unions; asks the Commission to address this subject with the new government;

15. Notes that a considerable number of women in Turkey hold strong positions in the economy and in the academic world, and that more women have been elected in parliament; underlines that accessibility of education for and economic empowerment of women are keys to further economic growth and prosperity of Turkey;

16. Points out to the need of a comprehensive strategy for the social-economic development of the South East of Turkey; calls on the Commission to indicate in which way the Pre-Accession Instrument can be used to support efforts that will have to be made by the new Turkish government to develop the South East, and to coordinate this assistance with other international financial institutions;

17. Strongly condemns the violence perpetrated by the PKK and other terrorist groups on Turkish soil; expresses its solidarity with Turkey in its fight against terrorism; urges Turkey however to refrain from any unilateral steps violating Iraq's territory;

18. Attaches great importance to Turkey's commitment to good neighbourly relations in line with the requirements set out in the Negotiating Framework; reiterates its expectation that Turkey refrains from any economic blockade, border closure, threats or tension-prone military activities against neighbouring countries; reiterates its call upon the Turkish and the Armenian Government to start a process of reconciliation;

19. Regrets that no substantial progress in finding a comprehensive settlement of the Cyprus question has been made; reiterates its call on both parties to adopt a constructive attitude for a comprehensive settlement within the UN framework, based on the principles upon which the EU is founded;

20. Welcomes the establishment of an instrument of financial support to encourage the economic development of the Turkish Cypriot community; calls on the Commission to report specifically on the effectiveness of this instrument;

21. Stresses the importance of Turkey's role in the Black Sea region and of its close relat ions with the Central Asian region; calls upon the Commission to strengthen its cooperation with the Turkish government concerning the EU's policy towards these regions;

22. Reminds the Commission of its request to deliver a follow-up to the impact study presented in 2004 and asks to be provided with it in 2007;

23. Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the Government and the Parliament of Turkey.

European Armenian Federation For Justice And Democracy Bruxelles
www.eafjd.org

PRESS RELEASE
11 September 2007
Contact: Vartenie ECHO



MP Ufuk Aras: I Can Not Regard Events Of 1915 As Armenian Genocide
10 Sep 2007

“I regard the events happened in 1915 as tragedy of mankind. Therefore, there is no use to weaken the essence of the events with juridical terms,” parliamentarian from Freedom and Democracy Party Ufuk Aras told APA’s Turkey bureau refuting the news of Panarmenian agency “Parliamentarian Ufuk Aras recognizes Armenian genocide”. The parliamentarian said that he can not regard the events of 1915 as Armenian genocide.

“I am especially against that these events are used for the interests of foreign states. There is no use to lay the responsibility of the steps taken by Committee for Union Progress on Turkish Republic. I have been for a long time supporting the position that these events can not be assessed as genocide, but it is important to face history, since this is a drama of mankind,” he said.

To the question “Armenia serving interests of foreign states continues occupying Azerbaijani territories, do not stop claims against Turkey. How do you appreciate it?” Ufuk Aras,

“Mutual relations should develop in line with Mustafa Kamal Ataturk’s principle Peace in motherland, peace in the world. No occupation, no genocide can be accepted. The problems should be solved diplomatically. Everybody should know that “Pirr’s victory” will favor somebody,” he said. /APA/


20 Armenian Scholars To Attend Congress In Ankara
10.09.2007 PanARMENIAN.Net/ Turkey next week will host the International Congress for Asia and North Africa Studies (ICANAS 38). Speaking to reporters, Sadik Tural, head of the Ataturk High Board of Culture, Language and History, said that 800 scholars from 67 countries would attend the gathering in Ankara.

Stressing that the gathering marks the first time ever that some 20 Armenian scholars from Armenia will participate in a congress in Turkey, Turol said that the meeting will have two panels on the Armenian issue, but the Armenian scholars are not slated to speak, Milliyet newspaper reports.


Turkey Again Threatens To Exile Armenians If H. Res.106 Is Passed
10.09.2007 PanARMENIAN.Net/ Armenian Genocide resolution passage by the U.S. Congress will harm Armenia, since the Turkish government can exile some 60 thousand Armenian citizens during 72 hours, said AKP member Erol Aslan Cebeci.

The issues referring to the bill are again raised in the House of Representatives and Senate, he said.

“September 24, the Turkish Prime Minister will be in New York to discuss the matter. We are concerned about the change of position by the Anti-Defamation League. However, our proofs are so convincing that change of any organization’s position is of little importance,” Cebeci said, CihanNews reports.


Candidates For Australian Parliament Pledge Support To Armenian Genocide Recognition
10.09.2007 PanARMENIAN.Net/ In a meeting with the Armenian National Committee of Australia earlier this week, Federal Labor Candidate for Bennelong, Ms. Maxine McKew declared she would "unequivocally and publicly" support the recognition of the Armenian Genocide if elected to government in the upcoming federal elections. "It was my position while working in the media and remains my position today," said the former ABC journalist who will challenge Prime Minister John Howard for the Armenian populated seat of Bennelong in the 2007 Federal election. Ms. McKew added: "The Armenian-Australian community has a kindred spirit in me and if elected, I will advocate for recognition of the Armenian Genocide by the Government of Australia."

ANC Australia President, Mr Varant Meguerditchian welcomed Ms McKew’s affirmation, stating: "The 4000-strong Armenian-Australian voters of Bennelong will wait to hear the position of other candidates, including Prime Minister John Howard, regarding the issue of Armenian Genocide recognition before casting their united votes at the upcoming election."

"Recognizing the Armenian Genocide is the first step toward ensuring against the repeat of such hateful crimes," added Mr Meguerditchian. "Ms McKew has set the moral high bar by genuinely expressing her views concerning this very important humanitarian issue."


PKK’s Cooperation With The Greeks
Ali KÜLEBI September 10, 2007
A possible withdrawal of Turkish troops from northern Cyprus will not only facilitate the goals of imperialist Western nations, but it will also jeopardize the future of our kinsmen and strengthen PKK terrorists on the island

European Union is a union that always gives importance to human rights. But ironically, one of two EU member states, Greek Cyprus, is basically founded by so-called leaders with acknowledged backgrounds in terrorism. The other one is Greece, whose spoiled acts and support of terrorism ironically do not disturb the so-called Western civilization either. This is the Greece that surpassed European states in practicing double-standards, injustice and atrocities by prohibiting our kinsmen living in Western Trace to be called ‘Turk' and establishing their own associations under the name ‘Turk' in spite of the decisions of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR), and appointing Muftis (religious leaders) from Athens forcibly and not letting the Turks to choose their own Muftis.

Our relations with Greeks and Greek Cypriots, who are protected by hypocritical West, are managed despite their hostile efforts to collaborate with the Armenians to spread libelous and false news and engage in defamation campaigns.

Hypocritical Western world cannot answer this issue, which best exemplifies its injustices: “Why could Czech and Slovak communities, which are very similar in terms of ethnicity, religion, language, history and culture, secede from Czechoslovakia in one night and this was welcomed. Or why Yugoslavia was allowed to split into seven peoples and seven republics, while two hostile societies [in Cyprus], which do not have any relations and do not have any common aspects in terms of ethnicity, religion, culture and history, are tried to be hold together forcibly?”

What are the goals of Western nations in this compulsion? Hypocritical Western states have to explain why they disregard the support of Greece and Greek Cyprus for terrorism, while they always express their disapproval of terrorism.

As a matter of fact, it would be naïve to expect those, mostly NATO member EU nations, which support the terrorism of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) militarily, politically and economically in various degrees, to condemn Greece and Greek Cyprus about such support.

Greece's support for the PKK:
It is obvious that the PKK is supported by Greece, considering the PKK's historical development with major support from Greece. Greece has always intended to damage Turkey in every way and seize a portion of our land as a part of its ‘great idea', “Megali Idea”.

To this end, Greece initially helped the establishment and assistance of ASALA, the Armenian Terror Organization, with the agony she experienced after our 1974 Peace Operation in Cyprus. Following our state's strike against ASALA, Greece changed her tactics and started to play its cards on Kurds.

In this context, first it initiated the “Lavrion Camp” near Athens. Ayfer Kaya with the code name Rozarin, who was responsible for military training at the Lavrion Refugee Camp that was once used to treat foreign refugees, told in an interview with the Time Magazine that Kurdish young men coming to the camp receive military training under the auspices of Greek officers. They are then they sent to Turkey for terrorist activities.

It was known that until the 1990s, Lavrion was one of PKK's most important training bases along with Bekaa Valley. Those activities in Lavrion, which is still known to function, are continuing right in front of the secret services of our so-called NATO allies. This point, and the fact that our allies are trying to take advantage of the PKK card for their intentions about Turkey, is more obvious when the origins of the guns captured from the PKK are considered.

It is an acknowledged fact, that Lavrion and the support given to the PKK is a national policy of Greece and it is backed by every Greek government and the deputies of PASOK, DIKKI and the YDP.

Following developments and information about the PKK's active presence in Greece as a result of Greeks' and Greeks Cypriot's vengeance pursuit for their defeat in 1974 are presented in various media agencies:

· Stelyos Papathemelis, who was a member of the Greek Parliament, was a PASOK member who nourished and directed ASALA's and PKK's activities against Turkey. In 1978-1979, he joined and represented his party in the conventions organized by ASALA in various European countries, and made speeches such as: “Turks are enemies of all of us. They only understand violence, so their blood has to be shed in order to bring them to their knees.” During his two terms of Public Order Ministry in the PASOK government, Papathemelis supported terrorism against Turkey in Greek Cyprus. In October 29, 1994, while Turks in northern Cyprus were celebrating their “Republic Day Festival”, Public Order Minister of Greece came to the island and participated in a convention in Lefkosa (Nicosia). In the convention, he got together with representatives of the PKK, ASALA and a Greek terrorist organization functioning in Cyprus under the name of “Committee of Solidarity with Kurdistan”. In the convention, the future terrorist activities in Turkey for the year 1995 were discussed and decisions were made.

· Another person who was helping the terrorist activities of the PKK was a PASOK politician Panayotis Sguridis, who was the vice president for the president of the Greek Parliament, Apostolos Kaklamanis. He was a fan of terrorist chief Abdullah Öcalan, who killed 35,000 innocent people. Sguridis paid countless visits to PKK camps in Syria and Lebanon and met Öcalan there.

· Among the other Greek politicians who supported the PKK terrorist organization, were PASOK deputy Dimitrios Vunatsos, Greek Parliament President Apostos Kaklamanis, ex-Minister of Education Dimitrios Arsenis, ex-Minister of National Defense Tsohazopoulos, ex-Minister of Foreign Affairs Pangalos. During the first term of the Prime Minister Andreas Papandreou, PKK's activities in Greece, which used to be an important educational and logistical base for the PKK, were moved to Greek Cyprus as a result of pressure from Turkey and reactions from the world. As Greek Cyprus started to reach some of it goals in accessing the EU in the mid-1990s, it got encouraged and intensified the support for the PKK that it once gave to ASALA as a so-called state policy, in accord with hostility toward Turkey and the goal of capturing the whole island to itself.

In this context:
· In 1990, offices of Kurdistan National Liberation Front (ERNK) and Kurdish Democratic People's Unions (YDK) opened in Lefkosa.

· Following this, Kurdistan Culture Association Office was opened in Limassol.

· Trodos, Mashera and Stavrovoru terrorist camps were built in order to train PKK members and send them to Turkey to commit terrorist activities. The camp in Trodos was built on the land that belongs to the Greek National Church.

· Moreover, two offices in Limasol and Lefkosa that belonged directly to PKK were opened with special help from Cypriot Greeks.

· It was confirmed that in the March of 1996 Greek Orthodox Church invited the head terrorist Öcalan to city of Baf (Paphos) and gave him a significant amount of money.

· It was known that in 1990s, the PKK was smuggling arms over Lazkiye Harbor while trafficking drugs to Europe through Greek Cyprus.

· It is was also known that Greek Cyprus was a first stop for the guns that the PKK acquired from several countries. The allegations about transportation of the arms that the PKK purchased from Russia, which included $7 million-worth of guns and 8 SAM-7 ground-to-air anti-aircraft missiles, by a Greek Cypriot flagged ship called Nissos to Greek Cyprus and then to the PKK over Syria exemplify this point.

· There are more allegations that Greek Cyprus carried out those activities more secretly after its accession to the EU.

· It is known that in the early 2000s, about 500 PKK militants took shelter in Greek Cyprus and took payment from the Greek Cypriots under the name of social assistance.

· It is known that institutes and terrorists of PKK extensions received support from European and Greek Non-governmental Organizations (NGO) and in addition to this, the Greek Administration supported those extensions in terms of material and political assistance.

· In line with Greek Cypriot National Policy, the Democratic Center Union Party's (EDEK) and Greek Communist Party's (AKEL) common policy was that “Turkey is the common enemy of the Kurds and Greeks” and therefore the PKK should be supported in every way. This particular point shapes the Greek-PKK relations.

· It is known that wounded PKK terrorists in our southern borders were most of the times treated in Greek Cypriot hospitals.

· The most solid example of Greek's hostile policies against Turkey is the fact that when terrorist Abdullah Öcalan was apprehended in Kenya on February 16, 1999, he had a Greek Cypriot passport arranged in the name of Lazaros Mavros, who was a columnist in the Fileleftheros Newspaper, published in Greek Cyprus, and the head terrorist is taken from the Embassy of Greece in Kenya.

· It is rather meaningful that right after this incident, Representatives House of the Greek Cyprus has taken decisions that condemned the arrest of the head terrorist and declared the continuation for the support given to the PKK.

It is obvious that enemies of Turks, who clearly have common goals about Turkey, are going to take advantage of Greek Cyprus, which is in a strategically important location because of its proximity to Turkey, Syria and the Middle East. This is important because as the PKK cannot continue its activities in Syria and Lebanon freely it will use the island as a base thanks to special efforts and support from the Greeks.

Escalation of PKK Activities in KKTC
It is especially attention attracting that since the gates opened in Cyprus on April 23, 2003, Greek agents and PKK elements, who can freely enter northern Cyprus, increased their terrorism serving activities in northern Cyprus. It is also striking that PKK-related associations and institutes in Greek Cyprus have increased their propaganda aimed for Kurdish-descendant students and citizens in northern Cyprus and have started to provide those students with financial assistance. The PKK militants among the Kurdish construction workers on both sides of the island have intensified PKK propaganda and recruitment efforts under the Greek Administration's watch and support, facilitated by the free passage through the borders and the present indifferent policies of the northern Cyprus administration. Another important point is that all anti-Turkish activities in the world are controlled and directed from Greece, and PKK militants take their orders from their so-called commanders in Greece.

Efforts for the withdrawal of the Turkish troops from the island
The common and most important aim of PKK militants and some similar groups in northern Cyprus and Greek Cypriots as well is the ‘withdrawal of the Turkish troops from the island'.

Our kinsmen in Cyprus are intensely propagated, and they are tried to be deceived about this issue by false and very unfair news. However, there is a historical fact that has to be remembered: the massacres Greek Cypriots committed against our kinsmen in 1963 and in 1967, which were performed according to the Akritas Plan. However, the Turkish Armed Forces saved our kinsmen from almost being totally massacred in 1974 after a Greek coup, which was a part of a second plan called Ifestos. Therefore, it is necessary to mention that a possible withdrawal of the Turkish troops from the island will not only facilitate the goals of imperialist Western nations, but it will also jeopardize the future of our kinsmen and will help to strengthen the presence of PKK terrorists on the island.

* Ali Külebi is acting president of the Ankara-based TUSAM (National Security Strategies Research Center). He can be reached at akulebi@tusam.net


Armenia Plans Nuclear Plant Near Turkish Border
A new nuclear power plant being built in Armenia on the site of an existing facility will end up costing about $2 billion, Armenian Energy Minister Armen Movsisyan has said.

"The project's feasibility study is being carried out by Armenia, Russia, the US and the International Atomic Energy Agency [IAEA]. The old nuclear power plant is to be rebuilt within four-and-a-half years," Movsisyan was quoted as telling the Parliament on Friday. He said the construction of the new plant, located in the town of Metsamor, near the Turkish border, would require a complex refit, including the installation of seismic safeguards.

The Metsamor nuclear reactor, which is composed of two WWER-440-230 units, each with power levels of 408 megawatts, is located not far from the capital of Yerevan, 16 kilometers from the Turkish border. The Armenian government decided to open the second unit in the reactor in 1993, due to high energy needs, and thus the second unit was started up in 1995. The Metsamor reactor provides up to 40 percent of Armenia's electricity needs and is predicted to continue doing so until 2016. Since Yerevan decided upgrade the reactor the Turkish Atomic Energy Agency (TAEK) has been involved in following related developments and taking the necessary precautions from the Turkish side.

Movsisyan also stressed that Armenia must have a permanent source of nuclear power and that the new Armenian nuclear power plant must be operational until alternative sources are found. He said that "many foreign countries now understand that Armenia must have a nuclear power plant." "Only a new Armenian [nuclear power plant] can become an alternative to the one now in use," he said.

10.09.2007


Turkish Businessmen, Israeli President Discuss Armenian Question
Anatolia News Agency, Armenia, Sept 5 2007

JERUSALEM (A.A) -A group of Turkish businessmen, who are currently in Jerusalem to attend the sixth meeting of "Ankara Forum", were received on Wednesday by Israeli President Shimon Peres.

Turkish businessmen, led by the Union of Chambers & Commodity Exchanges of Turkey (TOBB) and Ankara Forum Chairman Rifat Hisarciklioglu, voiced their complaints about the American Jewish organization Anti-Defamation League (ADL) regarding its approach towards Armenian question and incidents of 1915.

Abraham Foxman, the National Director of ADL, said earlier in a statement 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.

Hisarciklioglu told Peres that domestic politics in USA grows in a way that would harm relations between Turkey and the United States. He said if the Armenian bill is adopted by the US Congress, relations among some other countries would also come to harm.

"None of the laws can change history. History is for the record. History can only be examined by historians," Peres replied.

Peres said that Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's proposal is appropriate and that he supports this offer. Erdogan earlier proposed to conduct a research by independent historians in Ottoman archives on the incidents of 1915.

Hisarciklioglu also gave brief information to Peres about issues discussed at Ankara Forum and their future projects in West Bank, asking Peres to support their projects.

The sixth meeting of the "Ankara Forum", which brought together representatives of Turkish, Israeli and Palestinian business world, discussed Gaza industrial zone project and investments to be made in West Bank. Last meeting of the forum took place in Washington D.C. five months ago.


New Armenian Nuclear Power Plant To Cost $2 Billion
07/ 09/ 2007
YEREVAN, (RIA Novosti) - A new nuclear power plant (NPP) being built in Armenia on the site of an existing facility will end up costing about $2 billion, Armen Movsisyan, the Armenian energy minister, told parliament Friday.

"The project's feasibility study is being carried out by Armenia, Russia, the U.S. and the International Atomic Energy Agency [IAEA]. The old NPP is to be rebuilt within four and a half years," the minister said.

Movsisyan said the construction of the new plant, located in the town of Metsamor, near the Turkish border, would require a complex refit, including the installation of seismic safeguards.

He added that Armenia must have a permanent source of nuclear power, and that the Armenian NPP must be operational until alternative sources are found.

Movsisyan said that thanks to the Armenian government efforts "many foreign countries now understand that Armenia must have a NPP."

"Only a new Armenian NPP can become an alternative to the one now in use," he said.

Specialists believe the existing Armenian NPP will remain operational until 2016. It was commissioned in 1976, and includes one VVER-440 Soviet-designed reactor that generates 40-50% of Armenia's electricity.


Turkey Still Haunted By Memories From 1955

Yesterday was the anniversary of the Sept. 6-7 Istanbul Pogrom of 1955, one of the most tragic and shameful moments of Turkish history, directed at Istanbul’s non-Muslim minorities.

Homes and stores belonging to the Greeks, Jews and Armenians in the city were targeted in the pogrom, which was the result of events triggered by the news, which later proved to be false, that the house in Thessaloniki, Greece, where Mustafa Kemal Atatürk was born in 1881, had been bombed. A Turkish mob, most of which was trucked into the city in advance, assaulted Istanbul’s non-Muslim community for nine hours. Between 13 and 17 members of the non-Muslim groups are thought to have died during the pogrom as a result of beatings and arson, while dozens others were wounded. The pogrom is a heart-breaking milestone that significantly accelerated the emigration of ethnic Greeks from Turkey, reducing the 200,000-strong Greek minority in 1955 to just over 5,000 in 2005.

Sabah’s Ergun Babahan, looking at the incidents of Sept. 6-7, writes: “A news story reported by a journalist who worked for the National Intelligence Organization (MIT) as we now know and made into a headline story by a newspaper editor, who was also known to serve the MIT, resulted in opening one of the darkest pages in our history. Homes and stores that belonged to non-Muslims in Beyoglu were marked a day before. The following day, a mob of thugs specially brought together was let lose on the streets and destroyed the targets shown by the orchestrators. Even churches got their own share of the attack. A total of 70 of Istanbul’s 72 churches were damaged. The damage amounted to millions of dollars.” He briefly recounts the events of the “Turkish Kristallnacht.”

Babahan also writes that thousands of Turkish Greeks had to migrate to Greece en masse after the terrible incidents. “Istanbul lost its color and voice,” he laments. He asserts that in retrospect, the Sept. 6-7 incidents were organized in order to complete a process that could not be successfully finished during the signing of the Lausanne Treaty, which did not accept the Greeks of Istanbul as part of a population exchange deal between Turkey and Greece. “The incidents of 1955 can be described as a forced population exchange. Therefore,” Babahan says, “The incidents were part of the process of ‘expurgating’ the foreign elements of the nation-state.” Babahan also blames the incidents for serving as the basis of other pogroms against Turkey’s Alevis in two other Turkish cities in the late ‘70s. “From the viewpoint of today’s international law perspective, administrators of the time should have been tried before the International Criminal Court (ICC), but because they weren’t, a similar plot was put into action years later in Kahramanmaras and Çorum. Houses were marked again. The victims this time were our Alevi citizens.” Babahan says the lesson Turkey should learn from the bad moments in history is to understand that as long as “you show differences as a source of enmity and not as the wealth of the nation, you are issuing an open invitation for such danger.”

Berat Özipek’s column in Star also looked at Turkey’s minority problem “on the anniversary of that baneful day.” Özipek says the incidents of Sept. 6-7 were “planned” and “successfully realized” in a profound operation. He says it is a responsibility of the nation to not let Sept. 6-7 be forgotten “because the discriminatory mentality directed at our non-Muslim citizens is still dominant.” Özipek contends that the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) government understands what it means to be subject to discrimination on the basis of religion better than anyone else. “The rights granted to non-Muslims in Lausanne should be returned. The Syriac Orthodox and the Yazidi, who are supposedly outside the scope of the treaty, should have the same rights as other religious communities. Legislation blocking this should be changed immediately.” He adds, “However, the real target should be creating a legal environment where our non-Muslim citizens will not need their status as a ‘minority’ as a protective umbrella.”

08.09.200


For The First Time In History Turkish MP Speaks Of Armenian Genocide Recognition
08.09.2007
/PanARMENIAN.Net/
 This content mirrored from TurkishArmenians  Site ©

For the first time in history a member of the Turkish parliament recognized the Armenian Genocide and spoke of restitution of the despoiled property, independent French journalist Jean Eckian told PanARMENIAN.Net.

In an interview with journalist Raffí Arax recently, Turkish MP Mehmet Ufuk Uras said, "We committed a terrible massacre against Armenians and Turkey must recognize it. It’s not important how we name this calamity: genocide, ethnic purification, etc. The most important thing is that a terrible massacre was committed and it is undeniable.”

“We must face up to the history, bandage the wounds, develop the relations with Armenia, defend our Armenian compatriots and restore what was the property of their ancestors. I come from the area of Durig close to Sebastia where I heard the truth from my parents,” he said.

“We are confident that with the negationism will drive to nothing,” he resumed.

The Armenian community of Istanbul endorsed Uras at the recent parliamentary elections.


Turkey Going To Build Wall At Border With Iraqi Kurdistan
08.09.2007 PanARMENIAN.Net/ Following the example of Saudi Arabia, Iran, Israel and the U.S., Turkey is going to build a 470 km “security wall” at the border with Iraqi Kurdistan. The project will cost $2.3 billion, Kurdistan.ru reports quoting Yeni Safak newspaper.

Iraqi Kurdistan is situated in the north of Iraq bordering with Syria, Turkey and Iran. It covers a territory of 80 thousand km2.


Armenia Has About 40 Embassies, Consulates And Diplomatic Missions Abroad
Noyan Tapan
Sep 6, 2007
At present Armenia has about 40 embassies, consulates and diplomatic missions abroad. Buildings of 12 of them are property of the Republic of Armenia, with 7 being acquired with state budgetary resources of Armenia. 13 buildings have been provided gratis to Armenia by the Armenian community of the given country. Another 13 buildings have been leased with RA state budgetary resources. The Armenian foreign minister Vartan Oskanian stated this at the September 6 joint sitting of the RA National Assembly standing committees.

He said that Armenia should purchase in the shortest possible time the buildings it uses abroad for diplomatic purposes - with the right of property. V. Oskanian expressed a hope that it will be done within the next 4-5 months. It was mentioned that apartments for diplomats will be purchased abroad in the future.

According to the foreign minister, in 2006, buildings with the right of property were purchased for the Armenian embassies in Vienna, Athens and Sofia, while in 2007 - in Warsaw. The sum envisaged by the 2007 state budget for purchasing the Armenian consulate's building in Batumi has not been paid yet, and in case of not being used by late 2007, it will be transferred to the 2008 state budget.


Turkish Jew-Hate
By Andrew G. Bostom
The American Thinker | 9/5/2007
On August 28, 2007, the same day that Abdullah Gul became Turkey's President -- replacing his secular predecessor, and further consolidating the ruling Islamic AK (Adalet ve Kalkinma) Party's (AKP) hold on power -- MEMRI published excerpts from a chilling interview given by former Prime Minister Necmettin Erbakan. The interview originally aired July 1, 2007, as part of Erbakan's campaign efforts in support of Islamic fundamentalist political causes before the general elections of July 22, 2007, and the AKP's resounding popular electoral victory over its closest "secularist" rival parties.

Erbakan, founder of the fundamentalist Islamic Milli Gorus (National Vision; originated 1969) movement, mentored current AKP leaders President Gul, and Prime Minister Erdogan, both of whom were previously active members of Erbakan's assorted fundamentalist political parties, serving in mayoral, ministerial, and parliamentary posts. During Erbakan's pre-election campaign stops before throngs of tens of thousands of supporters throughout Anatolia (including cities such as Trabzon, Elazig, and Konya), as well as cosmopolitan Ankara and Istanbul, he reiterated the same virulently Antisemitic statements captured in the July 1 interview, and other interviews.

These interviews and more expansive speeches were rife with allusions to Zionists/Jews (deliberately conflated), as "bacteria," and "disease," conspiring to dominate the contemporary Islamic world ("from Morocco to Indonesia,"), as they had attempted unsuccessfully during the 11th and 12th centuries when Jews purportedly "organized" the Crusades, only to be stopped by the Turk's/Erbakan's Seljuk "forefathers." Ultimately, Erbakan claimed, modern Jews/Zionists wished to establish "a world order where money and manpower are dependent on [them]."

For over thirty years, Necmettin Erbakan a former chairman of the fundamentalist National Salvation Party, and its numerous offshoots, have represented the most significant examples of Turkish Muslim political organizations exploiting systematized anti-Jewish, anti-Zionist bigotry. Erbakan's ascension to Deputy Prime Minister in January, 1974, was marked by Pan-Islamic overtures, along with increasingly strident verbal violence against Jews, Zionism, and the State of Israel emanating from the National Salvation Party's organs, especially its daily Milli Gazete (The National Newspaper), published in Istanbul since January 12, 1973.

The modern fundamentalist Islamic movement Erbakan founded has continued to produce the most extreme strain of antisemitism extant in Turkey, and traditional Islamic motifs, i.e., frequent quotations from the Koran and Hadith, remain central to this hatred, nurtured by early Islam's basic animus towards Judaism. Milli Gazete published articles in February and April of 2005, for example, which were toxic amalgams of ahistorical drivel, and virulently antisemitic and anti-dhimmi Koranic motifs, including these protoypical comments based upon Koran 2:61/ 3:112:
In fact no amount of pages or lines would be sufficient to explain the Qur'anic chapters and our Lord Prophet's [Muhammad's] words that tell us of the betrayals of the Jews... The prophets sent to them, such as Zachariah and Isaiah, were murdered by the Jews...

The April 2005 edition of the monthly Aylik, produced by a Turkish jihadist organization which claimed responsibility for the November 15, 2003 dual synagogue bombings in Istanbul, contained 18 pages of antisemitic material. An article written by Cumali Dalkilic entitled, "Why Antisemitism?", combined traditional Koranic antisemitic motifs with Nazi antisemitism, and Holocaust denial. Another article's title repeats the commonplace, if very pejorative Turkish Muslim characterization of Jews, "Tschifit," which translates as "filthy Jews" (a pejorative term for Jews whose usage was recorded by the European travelers Carsten Niebuhr in 1794, and Abdolonyme Ubicini in 1856, based upon their visits to Ottoman Turkey), i.e., "The Tschifits [The Filthy Jews] Castle."

Bat Ye'or published a remarkably foresighted 1973 analysis (first translated into English here) of the Islamic Antisemitism resurgent in her native Egypt, and being packaged for dissemination throughout the Muslim world. The primary, core Antisemitic motifs were Islamic, derived from Islam's foundational texts, on to which European, especially Nazi elements were grafted.

The pejorative characteristics of Jews as they are described in Muslim religious texts are applied to modern Jews. Anti-Judaism and anti-Zionism are equivalent-due to the inferior status of Jews in Islam, and because divine will dooms Jews to wandering and misery, the Jewish state appears to Muslims as an unbearable affront and a sin against Allah. Therefore it must be destroyed by Jihad. Here the Pan-Arab and anti-Western theses that consider Israel as an advanced instrument of the West in the Islamic world, come to reinforce religious anti-Judaism. The religious and political fuse in a purely Islamic context onto which are grafted foreign elements. If, on the doctrinal level, Nazi influence is secondary to the Islamic base, the technique with which the Antisemitic material has been reworked, and the political purposes being pursued, present striking similarities with Hitler's Germany. [emphasis added]

That anti-Jewish opinions have been widely spread in Arab nationalist circles since the 1930s is not in doubt. But their confirmation at [Al] Azhar [University] by the most important authorities of Islam enabled them to be definitively imposed, with the cachet of infallible authenticity, upon illiterate masses that were strongly attached to religious traditions. [emphasis added]

Erbakan's recent statements are vivid evidence of the fulminant Antisemitism his popular movement has imbued, including amongst Turkey's current ruling elites, who never criticize such pronouncements by their mentor. This bigoted discourse resonates among the masses, illustrating graphically the same phenomenon described so presciently 34 years ago by Bat Ye'or in Egypt: sequentially grafting on to a learned foundation of Antisemitic motifs from Islam's core texts, modern secular Western European elements, especially those associated with Nazism. Current Prime Minister Erdogan, in 1974, while serving as president of the Istanbul Youth Group of his mentor Erbakan's National Salvation Party, wrote, directed, and played the leading role in a theatrical play entitled Maskomya, staged throughout Turkey during the 1970s. Mas-Kom-Ya was a compound acronym for "Masons-Communists-Yahudi [Jews]", and the play focused on the evil, conspiratorial nature of these three entities whose common denominator was Judaism.

And recently, when the wildly popular, most expensive film ever made in Turkey Valley of the Wolves (released February, 2006) included a "cinematic motif" which featured an American Jewish doctor dismembering Iraqis supposedly murdered by American soldiers in order to harvest their organs for Jewish markets, Prime Minister Erdogan not only failed to condemn the film, he justified its production and popularity.

Rifat Bali, a Turkish historian, and Jew, made a passionate indictment of Turkey's tacit acceptance of Antisemitism, published soon after the November 15, 2003 Istanbul synagogue bombings. The singularly courageous Bali, decried first and foremost, Prime Minister Recep Tayip Erdogan's and his AKP government's abject failure to publicly denounce both the Antisemitic discourse of the fundamentalist Islamic movement from which Erdogan emerged, and which he claimed later to have abandoned, and those (like Erdogan's mentor Necmettin Erbakan, for example) insistent on perpetuating such public discourse. With bitter disbelief, Bali further noted the near unanimously shared, albeit counterfactual view, of a respected Turkish columnist, published (in Milliyet November 17, 2003) within two days of the bombings, who maintained that, "...there has never been Antisemitism in Turkey in its racist or religious sense."

The opportunity for honest discussion was squandered by every domain of Turkish society, not only politicians, but also media and intellectual elites. Moreover, a profoundly depressing example of collective Jewish dhimmitude was on ignominious display: the Chief Rabbi, as well as the secular leaders in his entourage representing the voice of Turkey's Jewish community, even the Israeli government, as Bali observes,
...all seemed determined to ignore...[rather than] to confront face to face the Antisemitism which is incorporated in the political Islamic movement...[i.e., which currently governs Turkey].
Bali further admonished the Erdogan regime to live up to its professed support of equality for Jews within Turkish society:

Turkey's Jews are not dhimmis in need of the tolerance and the protection of the Muslim majority. They are citizens of the Republic of Turkey.[emphasis added]

Amidst this atmosphere of chronic, openly espoused Antisemitism in Turkey-punctuated by the violent synagogue attacks of November, 2003, and met with craven silence by both political leaders in Israel, and major Jewish advocacy groups in the United States-a related subplot which concerns recognition of the Armenian genocide has been unfolding since March, 2007.

According to the Jewish Telegraphic Agency (4/23/07, "Turks want genocide commission"), the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (JINSA), the American Jewish Committee, and B'nai B'rith were all lobbying against the Armenian genocide recognition legislation in the Congress (HR 106) and the Senate (SR 106), at least "passively", by presenting of letters of opposition from the beset dhimmi Jewish community of Turkey; ADL and JINSA reportedly complemented these letters with their own statements opposing the resolutions. When the ADL later sponsored a campaign to combat bigotry and celebrate diversity ("No Place for Hate") it sparked bitter resentment in Watertown, MA-a small town whose 8,000 Armenian-Americans comprise nearly 25% of the population -- ultimately forcing the organization and ADL leader Abraham Foxman to recognize this established historical event. But even the most recent statements by ADL and AJC-both of whom publicly recognized the Armenian Genocide only under duress-actively oppose (ADL), or fail to support (AJC), the resolutions.

These groups maintain that passage of HR/SR 106 jeopardizes both the safety of Turkey's small Jewish minority (which is glaringly inconsistent with their simultaneous hagiography of Turkey's treatment of Jews, past and present), and what they profess to be the ongoing congenial and strategic relationship between Turkey and Israel. The predictable Turkish response to ADL's about face has been apoplectic denial -- of the Armenian genocide; of threats to the vestigial Turkish Jewish community as a consequence of potential American Jewish support for HR/SR 106 (let alone any acknowledgement of Turkey's chronic, virulent Antisemitism) -- replete with verbal chastisement of Israeli leaders and American Jewish organizations, ADL especially.

This unhinged "diplomatic" response by Turkey occurred, ironically, despite the fact that the US Congressional resolutions are based wholly on copious, often repellently detailed World War I era documentation, most notably, the diaries of Henry Morgenthau, the U.S. ambassador to Turkey from 1913 to 1916, and his immediate successor Abraham Elkus, an extended report by American consul Leslie Davis in Harput, Turkey, from 1915 to 1917, and the entire recently published United States Official Records on the Armenian Genocide, 1915-1917.

Such official Turkish governmental outrage and bullying is itself outrageous. Equally reprehensible is the behavior of Israeli political leaders, major American Jewish advocacy organizations, and the overtly dhimmi leadership of the vestigial Turkish Jewish community. This unholy alliance of "Jewish leadership" never condemns in public the poisonously Antisemitic discourse, or even violent acts committed in Turkey against Turkish Jews, yet, perversely is quick to apply pressure-notwithstanding the ahistorical and amoral connotations of these actions-to block recognition of the Armenian genocide, even within the United States.

Perhaps ceasing this disgraceful and delusional behavior starts by putting an end to the hagiography of Jewish life under Ottoman rule -- including Jews living within Istanbul's ghettoes, and Ottoman Palestine -- and using precise terms that describe this half-millennium of history, appropriately and accurately: jihad, surgun (forced population transfer), and chronic dhimmitude. There was nothing "humanitarian" whatsoever in the Ottomans accepting a relatively modest number of Jewish refugees from the Inquisition -- far greater numbers were accepted in other parts of Europe itself. Indeed the vacuum created for these skilled Jewish refugees whom the Ottomans re-settled in their burgeoning Empire was created by the Ottoman jihad conquest of Byzantine and Venetian territories and their Jewish populations, i.e., Jews who were subjected to the Ottoman jihad, including massacre, pillage, enslavement, forced conversion, and surgun deportation.

Also one cannot get lost in comforting happy talk and ignore the chronic, grinding Antisemitism, and vestiges of dhimmitude to which the Jews in Turkey have been subjected throughout the history of modern Republican Turkey-including the large, government organized Thracian pogroms of 1934, and the blatantly discriminatory, deliberately pauperizing varlik vergisi taxation scheme and subsequent deportations of Jewish business leaders to "Turkish Siberia," during World War II (WWII). This ongoing discrimination contributed to the rapid exodus of 40% of Turkey's Jews after WWII to Israel within 2 years of its creation, followed by the steady, continuous attrition of the Turkish Jewish population -- their departure accelerating again after the notorious Istanbul pogrom against Greeks, Armenians, and Jews in 1955-so that only 17,000 of Turkey's 77, 000 post-WWII Jews remain.

Joseph Hacker's seminal research highlights the 1523 book of the Talmudist Eliyah Kapsali (Seder Eliyah Zuta, composed in Crete), and its embellishment by the 17th century Egyptian chronicler Rabbi Yosef Sambari (in Sambari's Divrei Yosef)-rather crudely redacted narratives which became the version accepted by modern historiography of the history of the Jews in the Ottoman Empire:

...the sürgün [forced population transfer] phenomenon and all its attendant [discriminatory] features features was not considered at all. If the sürgün was mentioned at all in the writings of the [Jewish] scholars of the Empire, it was held to be an insignificant, indecisive episode in the history of the Jews. The relations between Jews and Ottomans were thus felt to be both idyllic and monotonous from their very inception, no distinction being made either between kinds of Jewish populations or between one period and another throughout the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries.

Kapsali conceals all criticism and tries to cover up and obliterate inconvenient facts...This is also apparently the reason for his utterly ignoring the Romaniot [Byzantine] Jews and their fate at the time of the conquest of Constantinople, and of the suffering of the others exiled there after the conquest.

The 16th century dhimmi Jewish leadership's deliberate misrepresentation of the actual plight of Ottoman Jewry was described by Hacker with obvious contempt. Tragically, and in our modern era, inexcusably, this pathological behavior persists five centuries later among contemporary Jewish leadership elites, who appear incapable of identifying, let alone adequately defending against, the resurgence of jihadist Islam in Turkey. Gifted writer Diana West's evocative language depicts the ultimate outcome if this self-destructive dhimmitude is not reversed: "in denial there is defeat."

But a liberating victory can still be achieved if the leadership of the Turkish Jewish community, Israel, and American Jewish advocacy groups simply muster the intellectual courage to overcome their own craven denial. Collectively galvanized, they could confront Erdogan's AKP government over the ugly living legacy of anti-dhimmi and Antisemitic discrimination against Turkey's Jews, and demand immediate efforts at amelioration of their plight: marginalization and legal punishment of Turkish politicians and public intellectuals whose discourse incites Jew-hatred, and potentially, anti-Jewish violence; the implementation of concrete reforms, ensuring in practice equal rights, opportunities, and public safety for Jews. And if all these measures were not implemented rapidly, with tangible evidence of success, Turkey's Jews would be allowed unfettered, mass emigration without any economic penalties.

Such bold, forthright action -- joint "anti-dhimmitude" -- would put an end to the ongoing phenomenon of a vestigial de facto dhimmi Jewish community of Turkey (via its dhimmi leadership) holding Israel, and American Jews hostage to the whims of an oppressive Turkish government, in the throes of a transformative fundamentalist Islamic revival.

Andrew G. Bostom, MD, MS is an Associate Professor of Medicine at Brown University Medical School, and regular contributor to Frontpage Magazine. He is the author of "The Legacy of Jihad."

http://frontpagemagazine.com


Who Will Let Turkey Free
James Hakobyan
Largir
Sept 5 2007
Armenia

Another U.S. based Jewish organization, the American Jewish Committee recognized the Armenian Genocide. Only it is not clear whether we should now be happy or careful. In terms of historical justice, the fact itself is encouraging. Perhaps only this, because pragmatically it is not clear how Armenia and the Armenians benefit from it.

Besides moral satisfaction, of course. It is childish indeed to expect that Turkey will give up and open the border and apologize to us to rid of the jaws of international recognition and condemnation.

Turkey has not done so far and will not do after the recognition by the Jewish Committee. This country will rather try to turn to Israel to find out what it has done that made Israel suddenly review its traditional rejection of the Armenian genocide. In other words, Turkey and Israel might be settling scores in the nearest future, and as one of the experts on Turkey said in a news conference a few days ago, tensions are expected to grow. Of course, it is not clear what it will change for us. But if the experts on Turkey say so, let us wait. After all, this is what we are doing. We are waiting until Turkey's relations with the United States, France, Russia, Georgia, Israel, Zambia, Equatorial Guinea, and even the expeditions to Antarctic become worse.

The relations deteriorate, then are settled, then become better, then another cycle. In other words, they are normal interstate relations.

Meanwhile, we continue to wait until Turkey and the world break up.

Apparently, however, neither of them is likely to break up. They are simply settling scores, debts and claims and, in addition, they are using our problem with Turkey. Meanwhile, we are told to wait, to wait until it gets better. Now we think the recognition by the American Jewish Committee is good. In fact, it is. The more they recognize, the less we will have to wait, and we will finally realize that our problem is a mere tool for others. And if tomorrow Turkey decides to recognize the genocide, these organizations and countries which recognized will first prevent Turkey from that move because it will give this country freedom which is not taken into account in the American or the Jewish program.

The latter, the Jewish program, is a purely Armenian and also a Russian expression. With some anti-Semitic shade. It is not a secret that in different periods of history the nations with a negative balance of success and failure have used the "Jewish program" as a justification and consolation. Therefore, without yielding to the legends about Jews and a world conspiracy, I nevertheless chose to view this issue in this aspect. And in this case, the change in the approaches of Israel and the American Jewish organizations should cause the Armenians worry rather than make them happy. Especially that the opinion on Jewish games is spread among Armenians. So why is everyone happy? What if it turns out in the end that the recognition was just another game? Will it matter then if it was a trick on Turkey or on Armenia? Or maybe both.


“Malatia Is Armenian Town” Slogans Caused Collision In Turkey
07.09.2007 PanARMENIAN.Net/ A collision took place before a football match between Elyazig-Spor and Diarbekir teams in the Turkish town of Malatia September 5. Young people from Elyazig cried out slogans “Malatia is Armenian town”. As result of mass disorders the police arrested 3 brawlers. 2 were taken to hospital.

Later the guests repeated their slogans during the match. Malatia’s security department chief Osman Kakhyan is Armenian, they said. The policemen pushed the disturbers to the stadium’s toilet and beat them, the Armenian Public Television reports.


12 More Jewish Organizations Recognized Armenian Genocide
07.09.2007 PanARMENIAN.Net/ The Armenian National Committee of America had garnered the support of at least 12 groups by Thursday including the Union of Reform Judaism, Americans for Peace Now, the Zionist Organization of America and the Progressive Jewish Alliance, reports JTA news agency.

The effort comes in the wake of the Anti-Defamation League backing down last month and recognizing the 1915-16 massacres as “tantamount to genocide.”

The resolution, introduced by Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), a Jewish congressman with a substantial Armenian American community, has majority support in the U.S. House of Representatives but has yet to come to a vote. The resolution urges the U.S. President to use term ‘genocide’ in his annual April 24 statement.

A number of Jewish groups including the ADL had quietly opposed its passage, saying it could harm Turkey-Israel relations and jeopardize the Jewish community in Turkey.


Judgment Time : Should America Recognize An Armenian Genocide?
September 07, 2007
By Barbara Lerner

Calls for America to recognize the Armenian tragedy of 1915 as genocide, and to condemn the Turks for it, grow louder, more insistent, and more varied by the week.

The Armenian lobby, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.), and a handful of other longtime congressional supporters are no longer the only people calling for this recognition. They are joined not just by the usual old secular human-rights crusaders of the Left like Noam Chomsky and Robert Fisk, but also by new voices from the Right — including some I respect. Should we do it? Is it really beyond dispute that the Ottoman Turks were guilty of genocide in World War I?

Most Europeans have already decided that Turkey is guilty as charged. In France, arguing that the Turks might be guilty of anything less inhuman than a deliberate, calculated, genocide is considered a hate crime; Princeton historian Bernard Lewis was convicted of it and fined a nominal sum. Here in America and in Britain, other historians and scholars who argue that the facts don’t justify the genocide label — men like Guenter Lewy, Edward J. Erickson, Andrew Mango, Justin McCarthy, Stanford Shaw, Norman Stone, and Michael Gunter — are regularly compared to Holocaust deniers like David Irving and Ernst Zundel, and dismissed as “genocide deniers.”

On many blogs and websites, Armenians often accuse these scholars of being part of a Jewish and/or Zionist conspiracy, because Israel has always steadfastly rejected the genocide charge, as Turkey’s own Jewish citizens do. In America, all of the existing long-established Jewish organizations also reject it (that is, until last month when one major American Jewish organization capitulated under mounting pressure).

Not all Turks reject the genocide charge. A few transnationally acclaimed Turks, like Nobel prize-winning novelist Orhan Pamuk, pride themselves on accepting the judgment that Turkey was guilty of genocide in World War I, butthe vast majority of Turks reject that label. They don’t deny the fact that hellish things were done to Armenians in their country in the hellish World War I years, when much of Anatolia became a bloody battleground and mass graveyard for everyone caught up in it, civilians no less than soldiers. No honest Turk or legitimate scholar denies that. The fight is about whether genocide is an accurate or fair characterization of the Turkish response to the situation that confronted them in 1915.

Turks say it’s neither fair nor accurate, and feel they are the victims of a well-orchestrated, one-sided, Western smear campaign. They see the accusation of genocide as an attempt to resurrect old stereotypes about “the terrible Turk,” to demonize their early 20th-century Ottoman forbears, and to pin a badge of inferiority on Turks today. Turkey’s newly reelected AKP government has long been committed to meeting Europe’s standards for Turkey’s admission to the European Union. It has already accepted many other allegedly superior European standards and judgments, some gladly, others reluctantly. So far, it has refused to bow on this one.

In the United States, the Bush adminstration has also refused to bow to the European judgment, but support for Senate and House Resolutions recognizing the Armenian genocide is building. The growing numbers of Americans who campaign for genocide recognition claim that if we are to retain any moral credibility in the world, it is past time for us to join the international moral consensus against Turkey; shameful of us to hold back for prudential reasons. They argue with great passion, that a fundamental moral principle is at stake here because the Turks in World War I were, in all essential respects, comparable to Germans in World War II; and that Armenians then were comparable to the Jews of the Holocaust, a quarter of a century later. The inescapable conclusion, they insist, is that common decency requires us to condemn the Turks as we condemned the Nazis.

Americans who take a public stand against the increasingly popular genocide recognition movement, arguing that it would be a serious mistake for us to endorse it, generally prefer to sidestep the moral question altogether. Their focus is on the geo-strategic significance of such a move, and its implications for our national security. In fact, there is a strong moral case to be made against the genocide resolution, because there are major differences — between Nazis and Turks, and between Armenians and Jews — that any fair-minded judge would feel honor-bound to take into account before passing moral judgment on the Turks.
First, though, I want to present at least a brief, partial summary of the geostrategic argument, because genocide zealots who indignantly refuse to even consider the geostrategic argument are not displaying a higher morality. Rather, they are being irresponsible. There are times when we should give moral considerations precedence over prudential ones, but there is never a time when we should do so blindly, without estimating the cost and deciding if we are honestly willing to pay it. The risk here is that endorsing the genocide resolution will turn what is already a growing rift between America and Turkey, into a historic parting of the ways between our two nations.

To make even a rough estimate of the cost — to our position in the world and our national security — of such a radical realignment, Americans need to know more than many zealots seem to know about Turkey today: about her geostrategic position, and about what the longtime alliance between our two countries has meant, to us, to the Turks, and to the world.

Turkey today is an 84-year-old republic with a population of some 75 million, and a rapidly expanding modern economy; an economy based on the growing education, skills, and know-how of its people, not the luck of oil.

Turkey has one of the biggest, best-trained militaries in the world. It is a long-time NATO ally — the only NATO ally with a population that is 99-percent Muslim. Geographically, it sits atop a strategic-ally, vital world crossroads. For half of a century, it has held the line with us against both Communist and Islamist aggression, sending its soldiers to fight and die alongside ours, on battlefields from Korea to Afghanistan. Unlike our other NATO allies, Turkey did all this with the Soviet Union, as well as a number of Islamist states, sitting right on her borders.

For many decades, Turkey’s alliance with America was an especially close one, not just in NATO but in areas far beyond it, to our mutual benefit, in the Middle East and elsewhere. Today, that alliance is seriously strained and in danger of breaking apart altogether. Many Americans know that part of the tension between us stems from the fact that Turkey opposed our invasion of Iraq in 2003. Many Americans feel that we have as much reason to be angry about that split as they do.

Many fewer Americans understand that ordinary Turks aren’t simply nursing a grievance over past disagreements about Iraq. Their anger and pain is a response to what is going on in their own country today — to the reality that members from the PKK, a Kurdish terrorist group that finds sanctuary in Northern Iraq, keep sneaking across the border, blowing up innocent civilians in Turkish cities and killing Turkish soldiers on Turkish soil.

Turks are angry that our Kurdish allies in Iraq refuse to restrain the PKK and sometimes even threaten to unleash further PKK violence if Turkey balks at Kurdish government demands. They are angry and hurt that we refuse to seriously pressure the Kurds, even when the weapons the PKK uses to kill Turks are American weapons. They are angry and frustrated that our diplomats repeatedly warn the Turkish military against taking any cross-border military action to put an end to the aggression themselves.

Popular grief and anger builds as the Turkish death toll rises, week after week, feeding into a growing Islamist trend in Turkey, as witnessed by the fact that Turkey is no longer governed by any of its old secular parties. It is now instead governed by what the EU and trans-nationals everywhere are pleased to call “a moderate Islamic party.” This party not only embraces the EU, but also has much closer relations with the Arab world than any previous government of the Turkish Republic Ataturk foundedin 1923.

All this leaves our traditional, longtime Turkish friends — pro-American, Ataturk-style, secular Republican nationalists — between a rock and a hard place. They strongly oppose the growing power of Islam in Turkey, as well as Turkey’s increasing turn to the East, but they are as dismayed as other Turks at our unwillingness to do what needs to be done to stop PKK attacks, or to allow the Turkish military to stop them.

They are equally dismayed by the growing western attempt to brand Turkey as a genocidal nation. Still reeling from the AKP’s latest electoral victory, the enthusiastic embrace of the AKP government by the EU and much of the American press, and by widespread western attempts to portray the AKP’s Turkish opponents as anti-democratic elitists, they feel betrayed abroad and on the defensive at home. All things considered, this doesn’t look like a propitious moment for America to take a stand on the Armenian genocide question.

This is a serious argument that deserves to be taken seriously, but the moral argument is equally serious and deserves to be addressed in an equally serious way. To do that, we cannot focus only on the main similarity between Jews in Germany and Armenians in Turkey: the terrible tragedies both groups endured at the hands of their countrymen. We must take an honest look at the main differences as well.

— Barbara Lerner is a frequent NRO contributor.
National Review Online


. .

Turkey Can Become Even Colder About U.S. If Genocide Recognized, Expert Says
September 7, 2007
SERKAN DEMIRTAS
ANKARA – Turkish Daily News

Relations between Turkey and the United States may be damaged further if the U.S. Congress recognizes the killings of Armenians at the hands of the Ottoman Empire as genocide, warned a senior fellow of the German Marshall Fund of the United States.

“But this is not the only case,” Dr. Ian O. Lesser, a member of the team drafting the Transatlantic Trends 2007 survey, told the Turkish Daily News. “The Turkish public opinion is very sensitive about the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) attacks. The United States should do something on that issue not only to win the hearts here but also as a strategic decision.”

The survey, unveiled yesterday, analyzes relations between the United States and European countries through a series of studies in 13 countries, including Turkey.

There is growing frustration among Turks over perceived U.S. ignorance on the PKK's presence in northern Iraq, placing the country near the top of a list of anti-American nations.

“I hear what everyone else is hearing,” Lesser said. “The (genocide) resolution is expected to pass this year. Even though it is symbolic, Turkish public opinion will harshly react to that. But both parties should try to keep their reaction as moderate as possible.”

Lesser was not optimistic that the new leadership in Turkey, including the new president and foreign minister, could change the current chill in ties between the two NATO allies. He said that a powerful majority government would be important to mend existing fences but warned the problematic areas in bilateral relations such as the PKK and the genocide resolution remain on the table.

“This is just like the general public opinion of Turkish people toward the United States,” Lesser said. “We were asking the Turks if they were optimistic that bilateral relations would get better after the presidential elections in the United States. And the Turks said, “No.” They are rather pessimistic. Why? It is all about Iraq. It is all about (U.S. President George) Bush. But it seems the attitude (of the Turks) will not change even if Bush leaves office because Iraq remains even if Bush leaves.”

On Turkey's recent agreements on energy cooperation with Iran despite repeated objections from Washington, Lesser dismissed claims that Turkey was blackmailing the United States to block the passage of the genocide resolution. “I think Turkey is making such agreements to meet its energy needs,” he said.

Good news, bad news
The survey reveals one good and one bad finding for Turkey.

Although a majority of Europeans do not want Turkey to enter the European Union, the survey also shows that a good number of them think that Turkey's membership is inevitable. The survey also shows that the public in only four EU countries believes that Turkey will not become a full member of the 27-nation bloc.

“This is a good thing that the Europeans see the inevitability of Turkey's membership,” Lesser said.

But the report also found that 26 percent of Turks desire membership.

One chart in the survey measures Turks' sentiments toward other nations in degrees Celsius, indicating the level of chill or warmth Turks feel for other peoples. Turks' positive feelings toward the United States are at about 11 degrees Celsius. Israel stands at the bottom of the list with five degrees Celsius, close to freezing. “These numbers were twice higher in last year's survey,” Lesser pointed out.

But Turks' warmth toward Palestinians, Iranians and Europeans also decreased, the survey found. “There is a growing tendency toward political isolation which is quite worrying,” Lesser said. "A one-year-long political debate at home as well as rising nationalism as a result of the terrorist attacks could be major reasons for this. (But) it is still hard to explain this situation when thinking of the growing integration of the Turkish economy with the world and profiting from globalization," he said.


Turkey Season To Kick Off In Brussels, New Resolution In European Parliament
September 7, 2007
Cansu ÇAMLIBEL
BRUSSELS-Turkish Daily News

The first draft resolution on European Union-Turkey relations underlining the chief areas that need to be addressed by Turkey in the short run has been finalized by the new European Parliament rapporteur for Turkey, Ria Oomen-Ruijten, who took over from Camiel Eurlings earlier this year.

The draft resolution will be presented to the European Parliament's Committee on Foreign Affairs next week by Dutch rapporteur Oomen-Ruijten who said it should be taken into consideration by the European Commission, which will publish its regular report on Turkey in November.

In the draft, the European Parliament welcomed that the July 22 elections led to a better representation in the Turkish Parliament, and encouraged the newly elected deputies to engage themselves in the transformation of Turkey into a stable democracy. The new Turkish government is being urged to accelerate the process of reforms and to search for a broad consensus within the Turkish Parliament on important institutional matters.

Criticism of Turkish military and warning against unilateral action in Iraq

The resolution refers neither to the April 27 declaration of the Turkish military nor to the political crisis that followed. The repeated interference of the Turkish Armed Forces in the political process, however, is criticized. While stressing the need to ensure full civilian control over the military, it is underlined that civilian authorities should supervise the formulation of a national security strategy and its implementation. It also called for the establishment of a full parliamentary oversight of military and defense policy, and all related expenditures.

The European Parliament condemned the violence perpetrated by the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) and other terrorist groups on Turkish soil. Turkey, however, is urged to refrain from any unilateral steps violating Iraq's territory. The draft resolution also pointed out the need for a comprehensive strategy for the social-economic development of southeastern Turkey.

No reference to Armenian Genocide claims
Contrary to Eurlings's draft report in 2006, Oomen-Ruijten avoided any reference to Armenian genocide allegations in her draft. Eurlings' proposal of introducing recognition of Armenian genocide allegations as a condition for membership was rejected by the European Parliament last year. In Oomen-Ruijten's draft resolution this year, Turkey is asked to refrain from imposing economic blockades, border closure or military activities against neighboring countries. Turkish and Armenian governments are called to start a process of reconciliation.

Freedom of religion
In the draft resolution, serious concern is expressed over the ruling by the Turkish Supreme Court of Appeals on the Ecumenical Patriarchate. The new Justice and development Party (AKP) government is urged to bring its approach toward religious minorities in line with principles of freedom of religion. Adoption of the Law of Foundations which sets a clear legal framework enabling them to exercise religion freely by allowing them to own property and train clergy, is identified as a matter of urgency for the new government.

Amendment of Article 301of the Penal Code is defined as another matter of priority to be addressed by the new government. In the draft, the European Parliament urged the government to use its parliamentary majority to make sure that provisions allowing for arbitrary restrictions on the expression of non-violent opinions are removed, and that freedom of expression and press are guaranteed.

In the draft resolution other problematic areas include the functioning of the judiciary, respect for fundamental rights and freedoms, protection of women rights, implementation of a zero-tolerance-to-torture policy, and protection of minority rights.

Ankara concerned about debate outcome
Although Oomen-Ruijten's draft resolution is not especially controversial, Turkey is concerned of the possible outcomes of the debate on the resolution, which will take place at the Committee on Foreign Affairs. Diplomatic sources said, Greek Cypriot and Greek members of Parliament will probably try hard to insert tougher language by introducing many amendments to the current text. The Turkish side is worried that such a public debate just before the publication of the regular report – considered as the most important document of the year – may cause negative pressure on the Commission.


Armenians And Jewish Leaders Unite To Protest Genocide Denial
-- Campaign begun in Watertown, Massachusetts spreads throughout the Bay State

WATERTOWN, MA - Massachusetts State Representative Rachel Kaprielian (Watertown) and Boston City Councilor Michael P. Ross (District 8) hosted a demonstration at the State House on August 30th of the growing solidarity between the Jewish and Armenian American communities in working against the denial of the Armenian Genocide, reported the Armenian National Committee of Eastern Massachusetts (ANCEM.)

The event featured remarks by Kaprielian and Ross, as well as State Representative Peter Koutoujian (Waltham); Rabbi Ronne Friedman of Temple Israel Boston; Rev. Gregory V. Haroutunian of the First Armenian Church of Belmont; Holocaust survivor Israel Arbeiter, who serves as President of the American Association of Jewish Holocaust Survivors of Greater Boston; Armenian Genocide survivor Asdghig Alemian, 97, of Weymouth, and; Nancy Kaufman, Executive Director of the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Boston.

Among the broad range of Jewish and Armenian community leaders present for the program were David Cohen, Mayor of the city of Newton, and Mark Sideris, Vice Chair of the Watertown Town Council, both of whom led efforts last month in their respective towns to condemn Armenian Genocide denial by the ADL and called on the ADL to support Congressional affirmation of this crime against humanity by publicly backing HR106.

Kaprielian prefaced her opening remarks by emphasizing that, "We are all here to say that we need to stop what is going on in Darfur." Councilor Ross began by staging, "I'm a City Councilor in Boston and I'm a son of a Holocaust survivor." "It makes sense that we came together as community," stated Ross. "Not just because we're both small and active communities of Jews and Armenians, but also because we're people. We respect our cultures and support each other, when we need to and when we don't need to. We need to support each other and back each other up."

Rabbi Friedman offered moving remarks placing the Armenian Genocide and Jewish Holocaust in the context of historical memory and present-day politics, quoting noted writer Maya Angelou, "History, despite its wrenching pain, cannot be unlived, but if faced with courage, need not be lived again."

Rev. Haroutunian thanked the Jewish community for its strength and leadership in the No Place for Hate controversy, which precipitated the Anti-Defamation's League's (ADL) controversial firing, and subsequent re-hiring of Andrew Tarsy, the ADL's New England regional director. Tarsy was dismissed after speaking against the ADL's denial of the Armenian Genocide and its opposition to the Armenian Genocide Resolution, and later rehired after the ADL issued a "Statement on the Armenian Genocide" which backed way from this denial by saying that the "consequences" of Ottoman Turkey's efforts against the Armenians were "tantamount to genocide." "It has brought great light to the heart of God," Haroutunian said. "We commend Andrew Tarsy for his actions. So many people in the Jewish community demanded truth, not spin. After all, to deny the truth, even in innuendo, is dangerous. I commend the Jewish American community in Boston. You stood for something, simply because it is right. We thank God for your community and we really do pray that others will follow your example."

Holocaust survivor Israel Arbeiter spoke of his experience of genocide, recalling, "I was a slave. I spent five years in a concentration camp." He praised those present for their attendance, "Let's hope from this small gathering that more will blossom. Let's join hands and work together so that it will never ever happen again."

Armenian Genocide survivor Asdghig Alemian remembered her own experience, noting that, "I was five years old at the time the Turks took me. My mother starved to death on the [death] march. They called it Der Zor. They were told to take three days of food and that they would be taken back home. It never happened."

"We must see acknowledgement by our government while there are still Armenian Genocide survivors still alive," Kaprielian said. Nancy Kaufman added that it is the moral responsibility of Massachusetts citizens to ensure that the state divests from Sudan and ensures that taxes do not finance the ongoing genocide in Darfur. She said of the Armenian Genocide and its legacy, "The Genocide represents the failure of the international community to prevent the worst crime in the world - the destruction of an entire people." Ross concluded the program, saying to the Armenians present, "In the Jewish community, we say you are all mishpucha [family]."

The State House demonstration was held in response to growing public activism in response to the Watertown, Massachusetts - Anti Defamation League controversy which erupted in recent months after Boston area civil rights advocates, and local Armenian and Jewish American community members expressed disappointment and outrage at statements by ADL National Director Abe Foxman denying the Armenian Genocide. The Watertown Town Council set this process in motion last month by highlighting the improper stance of the ADL and urging national leaders to take up this issue.

In recent weeks, the ADL, under pressure from a campaign of protests led by the ANC-EM, backed nationally by the Armenian National Committee of America, and supported by leading voices in the Jewish American community, backed away from its longstanding policy of complicity in Turkey's denial of the Armenian Genocide. The ADL continues to raise concerns among both Jewish and Armenian leaders as the result of its continued use of euphemistic phrasing and, most notably, its outright opposition to Congressional recognition of the Armenian Genocide. Foxman, in a move that has caused widespread outrage, apologized to the Turkish government for any difficulty his organization's statement on the Armenian Genocide has created for the Turkish government, but has yet to offer even a token expression of regret to the Armenian people for his group's longstanding and public record of denying the horrific crime committed against them.

"We appreciate the leadership of Representative Kaprielian and Councilor Ross," stated ANCEM spokesperson Joshua Tevekelian. "It is through their commitment and the commitment of so many individuals and organizations throughout our great state and country, including the entire Massachusetts Congressional delegation and an amazing number of Armenian and Jewish individuals and organizations in calling for passage of the Congressional Armenian Genocide Resolution, H.Res.106, that we will collectively take an important step toward ending genocide denial and genocide once and for all."

"Throughout this entire process, we have been heartened and encouraged by the outpouring of support ` from Jewish American individuals and organizations throughout New England - against all forms of denial of the Armenian Genocide ` including, unfortunately, the opposition to the Armenian Genocide Resolution by the Anti-Defamation League," added Tevekelian.
####
September 4, 2007
Armenian National Committee of Eastern Massachusetts
Watertown MA Contact: Sevag Arzoumanian


Armenian Group In Us Launches Fresh Salvo For ‘Genocide’ Resolution
A number of US congressmen supporting a resolution upholding Armenian allegations of genocide at the hands of the Ottoman Empire increased to 225, well above the half of total members in the 435-seat House of Representatives required for its passage, according to an Armenian group in the United States.

The Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) urged the Armenian community on its Web site to take action and increase pressure on their representatives in Congress to support the resolution, which says Armenians were subject to genocide in eastern Anatolia during World War I. ANCA also says 31 senators in the 100-member Senate support a separate resolution to the same effect. In remarks published in the newspaper The Jewish Advocate, Turkish Ambassador to the United States Nabi Sensoy called on American Jewish groups to oppose what he called an "act of grave injustice" against Turkey. Sensoy said a recent decision by an influential US Jewish group, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), to endorse the Armenian claims surprised and disappointed the Turks.

07.09.2007


Orhan Pamuk: I’m A Democrat, Secularist And A Westernization Supporter
Referring to the different political debates in Turkey, different views on Turkey’s EU membership and nationalists and EU advocates, Nobel laureate Orhan Pamuk said, “I am a democrat, a secularist, a liberal and a westernization supporter.”

Writer Pamuk met with British literature lovers for the first time after winning the Nobel Prize at the Queen Elizabeth Hall in London’s South Bank Centre. After the host, The Independent’s Literature Editor Boyd Tonkin, introduced the Turkish author, Pamuk took the stage and shared with guests colorful details about his relationship with his daughter while he was writing his novels and how he was inspired by daily events in Istanbul. In addition to the 10 novels he has written, Pamuk said he constantly scribbles down notes and later incorporates them into his books. Noting that he is a hard-working author who spends most of his time writing, Pamuk said, “Of course I don’t make wonders every time I write, but I don’t stop.”

He read short excerpts from his newest book “Other Colors” and then answered questions. Noting that he is often asked why he decided to become a writer, Pamuk said, “Every time this question is asked, I feel like a rabbit under the spotlight. There is no clear answer to this question. Actually, the answer is in my novel, ‘Istanbul’. I wrote this book to explain that.”

His experience with painting and pictures as a child and teen influenced his relationship with literature as his knowledge of pictures helped him to depict objects around his characters. One guest asked Pamuk to comment on the paradox of being welcomed and awarded in Berlin but imprisoned in Turkey. “There is no paradox. Not everyone in Turkey is trying to imprison me. There are political debates in Turkey. There are different views about EU membership, there are nationalists and EU supporters. As for me, I am a democrat, a secularist, a liberal and a westernization supporter.” Asked if political pressures affected the child within, Pamuk said every author has the need to shelter an inner child and “I felt that pressure during my indictment.” But the most important thing for him was going back to writing and Pamuk did just that. He overcame the pressures and continued to write novels, he explained.

07.09.2007
Today’s Zaman with wires London


Turks Become Increasingly Isolated
 This content mirrored from TurkishArmenians  Site ©
Turkish people's feelings toward the United States and the European Union as well as Iran have cooled significantly, revealing a growing isolation from the East and the West, a major survey showed yesterday.

The annual Transatlantic Trends study by the German Marshall Fund of the United States and four European foundations, published Thursday, showed a continuing decline in Turkish support for EU membership and growing criticism of both US and EU global leadership. Support for EU membership among Turks had fallen to less than half of the population, a mere 40 percent, in 2007 -- as compared to 54 percent in 2006. In addition, Turks were more pessimistic than Europeans on prospects that Turkey will eventually become a member of the EU: 56 percent of Europeans believed Turkey will join, compared with just 26 percent of Turkish respondents saying Turkey is likely to join the bloc eventually.

The findings may pose an additional snag for the government of Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan in pursuing the EU membership goal, already complicated by opposition from French President Jacques Chirac, disputes over Cyprus and European public skepticism toward an eventual Turkish accession. The EU froze talks with Turkey on eight of the 35 chapters in December due to Ankara's refusal to open its ports and airports to traffic from Greek Cyprus.

Soon after the election victory of his Justice and Development Party (AK Party), Erdogan reiterated commitment to the EU goal. British Foreign Secretary David Miliband, who was the first foreign minister to visit Turkey after the Turkish elections, said in Ankara on Wednesday that Turkish membership would be a gain for the EU, Turkey and Britain.

But his upbeat tone is not necessarily echoed among Europeans. The survey showed only 22 percent saw Turkish membership as a good thing, with 31 percent perceiving it negatively. France and Germany were the most negative over the prospect of Turkish membership, with 49 percent and 43 percent of respondents considering Turkish membership a bad thing, respectively.

The German Marshall Fund found that Turkish respondents continued to have the most critical views of US and EU leadership in world affairs. Its survey, which involved random samples of about 1,000 Turkish men and women aged 18 and over between June 4 and June 23, found 74 percent of Turks considered US leadership in world affairs undesirable -- up five percentage points from 2006 -- and only 3 percent approved of US President George W. Bush’s handling of international policies. For the first time, a majority of Turks -- 54 percent -- viewed EU leadership as undesirable, an increase of seven percentage points from 2006. On a 100-point thermometer scale, positive sentiments towards the US dropped to 11 from 20 degrees in 2006 and feelings towards the European Union cooled to 26 degrees from 45 degrees.

Relations with the US have been strained over the war on Iraq and presence of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in northern Iraq. The US has refused to take concrete steps to eliminate the PKK presence despite Turkish appeals, and more recently reports have indicated that US weapons in Iraq ended up in the PKK’s hands.

The survey found that Turkish support for NATO had also continued on a declining trend that began in 2004, with only 35 percent of respondents seeing the alliance as being essential to Turkey’s security, as compared to 44 percent last year and 53 percent in 2004.

Feelings toward other actors are also cooling, the survey showed. Positive sentiment toward Iran dropped to 30 degrees on the thermometer from 43. Compared with both Americans and Europeans, Turkish respondents also show the coolest feelings towards Russia (21 degrees) and China (28 degrees). Palestinians emerged as the most favorably perceived nation, with positive feelings measuring 42 degrees on the thermometer. Israel, on the other hand, inspired the coolest feelings at just 5 degrees.

07.09.2007
Today’s Zaman Istanbul


Armenia Will Be Entitled To Join EU Foreign Policy Statements In A Month
06.09.2007 PanARMENIAN.Net/ The European Neighborhood Policy program has been compiled on the whole. We just have to coordinate the financial chapter, RA Foreign Minister Vartan Oskanian told a news conference in Yerevan.

Implementation of this program is very important for Armenia, since it includes cooperation with the European structures in all fields, he added.

“It’s important that the document highlights the possibilities of economic cooperation with the EU, reforms in the social and economic sectors, transition to European standards. Thanks to this program the European market will be open for Armenian goods,” Minister Oskanian said.

“The basic provisions of the program were adopted during the Brussels conference. These include economic cooperation, simplification of visa regime for ENP member states and financing of reforms. We have achieved one more important agreement: in a month Armenia will be entitled to join the EU foreign policy statements, which do not conflict with the foreign policy of our republic,” he underscored.


Possibility Of Armenian Genocide Resolution Passage By U.S. Congress High
06.09.2007 PanARMENIAN.Net/ “Passage of the Armenian Genocide resolution will considerably change the world’s attitude about the Genocide,” First Secretary of the French Socialist Party Francois Hollande told a news conference in Yerevan.

“The possibility of adoption is high, however, it will inevitably change the course of the American-Turkish relations. I wouldn’t say they will deteriorate but they will be different,” Mr Hollande said.

The H. Res. 106 urges the U.S. President to use term ‘genocide’ in his annual April 24 statement. It was introduced by Representative Adam Schiff (D - CA) January 30, 2007.


Jewish Community Of France Always Recognized Armenian Genocide
06.09.2007 PanARMENIAN.Net/ “The Jewish community of France always recognized the Armenian Genocide,” First Secretary of the French Socialist Party Francois Hollande told a news conference in Yerevan.

“From the very beginning French Jews rendered every possible assistance to the Genocide survivors. They facilitated establishment of camps, offered work and were engaged philanthropic activities along with the French people. We think that France has commitments to the Armenian nation and our country has been fulfilling them since 1915,” Mr Hollande underscored.


Armenian Genocide Bill To Be Put On French Senate Agenda In October
06.09.2007 PanARMENIAN.Net/ “Relations between Armenia and France are very firm not only at the state level. We have enjoyed friendly ties with the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (ARF) Dashnaktsutyun for a long time,” First Secretary of the French Socialist Party Francois Hollande told a news conference in Yerevan.

“French socialists have done much for the recognition of the Armenian Genocide by France. In 2001, we were the authors of the Armenian Genocide bill, which was passed by both houses of the parliament. We have also initiated the bill criminalizing the Armenian Genocide denial. It was passed by the lower house and is waiting for voting in the Senate,” Mr Hollande said.

He underscored that the main purpose of the visit is the establishment of closer cooperation between Armenia and France. “We discussed the topic with the Armenian President, Prime Minister and Foreign Minister,” he said.

The delegation of the French Socialist Party is in Armenia by invitation of ARF Dashnaktsutyun. Both parties are members of the Socialist International.


TOBB Boss Warns, Peres Agrees "History Is For Historians"
New Anatolian
06 September 2007

Israeli President Shimon Peres on Wednesday commenting on allegations that Turks committed genocide against Armenians at the turn of the last century said it is wrong to legislate laws on the issue and that history should be left to historians.

Peres made the comments as he received a group of Turkish businessmen, who are currently in Jerusalem to attend the sixth meeting of "Ankara Forum."

The Turkish delegation led by the Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges of Turkey (TOBB) and Ankara Forum Chairman Rifat Hisarciklioglu, voiced their complaints about the American Jewish organization Anti-Defamation League (ADL) regarding its approach towards the Armenian genocide claims.

Abraham Foxman, the National Director of ADL, said earlier in a statement 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 U.S. Congressional floor for a resolution.

Hisarciklioglu told Peres that domestic politics in the U.S. grows in a way that would harm relations between Turkey and the United States. He said if the Armenian bill is adopted by the U.S. Congress, relations with other countries, namely Israel, would also come to harm.

"None of the laws can change history. History is for the record. History can only be examined by historians," Peres replied.

Peres said that Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's proposal is appropriate and that he supports this offer. Erdogan earlier proposed to conduct a research by independent historians in Ottoman archives on the incidents of 1915.


Turkey's response to ADL controversy : Give All Sides A Hearing
By Ambassador Nabi Sensoy - September 5 2007

In response to an inquiry by the Advocate, the Turkish ambassador to the U.S. issued the following statement:

It was surprising and disappointing when, on August 21, ADL abruptly changed its longtime position regarding the historical interpretation of the events of 1915 – even though the organization appeared later to recalibrate its course.

There is a moral argument in supporting efforts to shed light on this period by a genuinely sincere and thorough scholarly inquiry making use of all evidence, foremost the Ottoman, Armenian and other archives. Our ultimate responsibility is to seek out the truth and engender reconciliation. We owe this to our past and future generations.
ADL and many prominent historians have agreed with us that the world has yet to see a full review of the historical record. That’s why Prime Minister Erdogan proposed on April 10, 2005, to Armenia’s President Robert Kocharian the creation of a Joint Commission of Historians to establish the facts of the Armenian and Turkish tragedy, in order to “shed light on a disputed period of history and also constitute a step towards contributing to the normalization of relations between our countries, and… leave to our future generations a peaceful and friendly environment in which tolerance and mutual respect shall prevail.” Then-Foreign Minister Abdullah Gül subsequently invited other countries, including the United States, to participate in this commission. The response from the Armenian government has been negative. We need the support of all interested in this effort. That is why, on a positive note, I am glad that ADL has expressed support to Turkey’s proposal.

In this context, the resolution in Congress to pass judgment on the events of 1915 in the Ottoman Empire is an effort to rewrite history by a political organ. What’s more, the Congress will be asked to do so with a selective and factually incorrect dossier.

It is heartening that ADL has affirmed that “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.”

Even in our surprise and disappointment, we maintain our strong desire to deepen our relationship with the Jewish community – in the U.S., in Israel and around the world. The Turkish Jewish community is an enriching and integral part of the Turkish society. The exemplary relationship between Turks and Jews everywhere for over 500 years is strong enough to endure beyond this episode. As such, we expect the Jewish organizations to give all sides of the debate the benefit of the doubt and stand against an act of great injustice to a friendly nation in the Congress, and in public opinion, without a thorough examination of all facts.

Nabi Sensoy is the Republic of Turkey’s Ambassador to the United States
www.thejewishadvocate.com


RA Justice Ministry Prolonged Application Submission Terms For Heirs Of Armenian Genocide Victims
04.09.2007
PanARMENIAN.Net/ The Armenian Justice Ministry has prolonged the terms of assistance in fulfilling application forms for the heirs of those insured by AXA till December 20, the Ministry’s Spokesman Lana Msheyan said. “The Ministry launched the assistance program July 20 and expected to accomplish it till September 20. To date, lawyers have filed 800 applications,” she said.

Only the people whose ancestors are included in the AXA lists are eligible to submit applications. The lists are posted www.armenianinsurancesettlementaxa.com web site. You can also call +37410 58 30 23 to get information.

The following documents should be submitted: the birth certificate, marriage certificate, death certificate, family tree, letters, photos and other documents proving the kinship, IA Regnum reports.

Armenians whose ancestors were killed in 1915 will receive some $17 million in all.


Israel Fears Turkey Can Use Genocide Issue For Smoothing Relations Between Countries
04.09.2007 PanARMENIAN.Net/ “Armenian, Turkish and Israeli sailors were drilled in the Mediterranean to avoid blows. However, a “rocket” came from the front not provided by the exercise plan. The Anti-Defamation League (an American Jewish organization) said it rates the extermination of 1.5 million of Armenians as “equal to genocide.” A danger of undermining diplomatic relations between Ankara and Ehud Olmert’s government has emerged,” Corriere della Sera Italian newspaper reports.

“Turkish Ambassador returned to Tel-Aviv after a vacation to urge explanation and pressure on the American Jewish organization,” the newspaper says.

“We support strategic relations not only with Israel but also with Jewish communities throughout the globe. Turkish people do not set difference between them,” Namik Tan told Jerusalem Post.

Shimon Peres, who assumed the presidential office two months ago, interfered to smooth the crisis. He telephoned Turkish PM Erdogan. However some liberal editions like Haaretz subjected his move to sharp criticism. “The last and the most brilliant pupil of Ben Gurion confirmed Israel’s position and chose realpolitik instead of moral purity,” the reaction was.

Turkey has been bound with the Jewish state by a military cooperation agreement since 1996. Turkey is the only Muslim state wish enjoys close relations with Israel. The governments of Ariel Sharon and Ehud Olmert were actively supporting Turkey’s bid to the EU while PM Erdogan supported election of Magen David Adom organization to the International Committee of the Red Cross.

In response to Anti-Defamation League’s demarche, Turkish Foreign Minister stated that “it’s historically and legally groundless to speak of the Armenian Genocide” and that “the position on Holocaust which has no precedents is inappropriate and unjust.” “We are hopeful the statement will be corrected,” he added.

Ankara by all means wants to prevent U.S. Congress from passing the bill recognizing the Armenian Genocide.

In March a group of Israeli MPs proposed to hold a discussion on mass murders, however their attempts produced no effect.

The Turkish Ambassador in Tel Aviv hinted that his country expects the Olmert government to exert pressure on Jewish organizations in the U.S.

Some Israeli analysts fear that the Turkish government can use the issue for smoothing relations between the countries.


AAA Intends To Utilize Diaspora Potential In Full, To The Benefit Of Armenia
05.09.2007 PanARMENIAN.Net/ A delegation of the Armenian Assembly of Americamet with the United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Communications and Public Information Kiyo Akasaka this month in New York, to exchange views on a broad scope of issues, including international peace and security, regional development, democracy and civil society-building, and human rights as it pertains to the South Caucasus, and Central and Eastern Europe.

The Under-Secretary-General noted how impressed he is of Armenia’s progress towards social and economic development since independence, and how important the Armenian Diaspora’s contribution has been to that effort.

The Assembly delegation, led by Board of Trustees Member Jirair Haratunian, Executive Director Bryan Ardouny, and Director of Research and Analysis Armen Kharazian, reiterated its interest in sharing knowledge and expertise, within the broader UN framework, regarding the methodology and practice of development advocacy, in benefit of historic homelands.

"Armenia may be a small country, but the Armenian Diaspora, with its geographic reach and organizational capacity, imparts a global dimension to the Armenian people - a tremendous value in today’s globalized world," said Kharazian, the Assembly’s Main Representative to the United Nations. "The Assembly intends to utilize that potential in full, to the benefit of Armenia and its region, as well as the international community as a whole."

The Assembly delegation also met with Shamina de Gonzaga, Special Advisor on NGO Relations of the Office of the President of the General Assembly. Both meetings were requested by the Assembly, to discuss issues of interest or concern to the Armenian-American community, including universal affirmation of the Armenian Genocide in the light of the growing global focus on genocide prevention and other crimes against humanity.


1,266 Historical Bridges Span Anatolia’s Lands
Anatolia plays host 1,266 historical bridges, aiding a good number of civilizations for thousands of centuries.
 This content mirrored from TurkishArmenians  Site ©

The surviving Malabadi Bridge has the largest arch gap in the world at 40.80 meters and was built during the Seljuk period.

The oldest bridge in the world, supposed to have been built in the 13th century B.C. in the Hittite capital of Bogazköy, is also in Turkey.

A book titled “The History of Highways,” published by the General Directorate of Highways, sheds fresh light on the history of Turkey’s roads and bridges. The Sumerians and the Akkadians made expeditions to Anatolia around 3000 B.C., and the small states in Anatolia engaged in commercial relationships with the Assyrians around 2000 B.C. Looking at these data, the history of the first roads in Anatolia is estimated to date back to 3000 B.C.

A total of 1,266 bridges were built in Turkey from the time of the Hittites until the Ottoman Empire. According to the book, 112 bridges are in the highways network, 53 are on state highways and 59 on provincial highways, while the remainder serve village or scenic roads.

T he oldest historical bridge in the world is in Turkey, says the book. It is estimated that the bridge in Bogazköy, currently in Çorum province, was built in the 13th century B.C., a claim recently strengthened by Professor N. Naumann, who dated it back to the time of the Hittites. Uzunköprü, the longest historical bridge in the world, is in Edirne’s Havsa district. It is an Ottoman bridge, 1,392 meters in length with 174 arches. The bridge with the largest arch span is also in Turkey. The arch span of the Malabadi Bridge, built in the Seljuk period, is on the Diyarbakir-Batman highway over Batmansuyu and has a span measuring 40.80 meters.

Among the civilizations established in Anatolia, the Ottomans built most of the bridges. The Ottoman Empire is followed by the Seljuks, with 90 bridges, and the Romans, with 80 spans. Bridges built during the Republican period number only 37.

The Ottomans, whose borders extended over three continents, built 271 of the bridges that are now located beyond the Turkish Republic’s border.

06.09.2007
Today’s Zaman Ankara


France Is Arrogant, Needs More Modesty
Much of the world thinks France is arrogant, and its leaders could do with a dose of modesty rather than lecturing other countries on human rights, a report commissioned by President Nicolas Sarkozy said on Wednesday.

France takes pride in its cultural difference, and public opinion has often rewarded leaders who assert its importance on the world stage, as President Jacques Chirac did in publicly opposing the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in 2003. As surprising as it may seem, while our country is emerging from a long period of self-doubt, and it has under-estimated itself as a 'medium' power, it continues to be perceived as 'arrogant' in much of the world, said the report by former Socialist foreign minister Hubert Vedrine. Some of that may have to do with its history and its urge to preach the values of the French Revolution, he said. Do we constantly have to say that France is the 'home of human rights'? Vedrine said in his report, which dealt with how France should adapt its foreign policy to face globalisation. Historically, Britain and the United States could claim that title just as much, he said, adding: More modesty would be more in line with reality and would not weaken our concrete efforts in favour of human rights.

06.09.2007
Reuters Paris


US Congress Should Weigh Importance Of Incirlik
LALE SARIIBRAHIMOGLU loglu@todayszaman.com
Since the US invasion of Iraq in March 2003, Incirlik Air Base in southern Turkey and the nearby Iskenderun port have become increasing vital for US forces as locations from where they have been meeting their vital needs, varying from stockpiling arms and other goods required for a warring nation to using them as a cargo hub.

The US is still trying to normalize its relations with Turkey after the rejection of a March 1, 2003 decree by Parliament that would have allowed US forces to use Turkish soil for their war in Iraq. Similarly Turkey has also been attempting to normalize ties with its close ally as the July 4, 2003 arrest of Turkish officers by US forces in northern Iraq has continued to humiliate many Turks, be it right or wrong.

According to a Western source, while the US is desperate to rebuild its relations with Turkey, the Bush administration has been worried about the possible adoption of an Armenian genocide bill by the Democrat-controlled Congress in the coming months.

Turkey has denied the definition of the World War I events as genocide but has been left little room for maneuvering, mainly because of its longtime negligence of pursuing policies to reverse the belief around the world that the events were in fact genocide.

The Bush administration, understood to have a limited effect in changing the opinions of Congress, is now seeking to limit the possible damage of the genocide bill for relations between the two nations.

US concern to limit possible harm derives mainly from the importance of Incirlik and Iskenderun for its forces in nearby Iraq. For the US, Incirlik is outside the theater, making it safe. Furthermore, it is large and discreet in the sense that it provides a quiet way of doing business.

The US also has a very large presence at Incirlik and Iskenderun, with around 5,000 men in total, including some engineers and workers. US C-17 cargo planes have been flying in and out of Incirlik carrying military equipment to Iraq while using the base as a depot for various goods to be carried to the region.

Remarks made by an aerial port operations officer with the 728th Air Mobility Squadron, Capt. James Burnham, at Incirlik on Nov. 14, 2006, in the US Air Force Print News (AFPN) explain how vital Turkish facilities are for the US in its war in Iraq: "By flying critical supplies via C-17 Globemaster III from this eastern Turkey airbase directly to service members at remote locations in Iraq, more than 3,300 convoy truck missions are taken off the Iraqi roads each month."

"During around-the-clock operations at the Cargo Hub here (Incirlik), supplies such as essential add-on humvee equipment or repair parts and medical supplies are examples of critically needed items that are loaded onto C-17s destined for Iraq," said 2nd Lt. Ryan Randall, the officer in charge at the Air Terminal Operations Center. (Michael Tolzmann, AFPN, Nov. 14, 2006, Incirlik Air Base, Turkey)

Close to 60 percent of all air cargo destined for Iraq passes through Incirlik Air Base, said Col. Tip Stinnette, commander of the 39th Air Base Wing. "Incirlik is a strategic center of gravity for the US and Turkey in this region," Colonel Stinnette remarked. (Ibid)

"The greatest accomplishment of this airlift hub is that every time we fly a sortie, we keep a convoy of trucks and drivers off of the dangerous roads of Iraq," said Col. Mike Cassidy, the 385th Air Expeditionary Group commander. Since the inception of the Cargo Hub mission in June of 2005, more than 103,000 tons of cargo has moved through Incirlik, reported the AFPN.

No matter who says what, the US officers' explanations of the vitality of Incirlik are themselves proof to justify the US administration's concern over the adoption of the genocide bill. Another reason the US has been trying to pursue a policy of damage control is that a possible adoption of the bill could impact relations with Turkey -- among the leading nations in terms of US defense sales.

It is also true that the US has been vigorously lobbying the European Union to allow Turkey to come closer to this democratic club of nations, but current realpolitik dictates that the US attitude controls the potential harm from the bill. Those immediate relations influence a current focus on not jeopardizing US usage of Incirlik and Iskenderun or threatening defense sales.

I think the US Congress, for the sake of its country's national interest, should also weigh up the importance for the US of its Turkish facilities and forget about adopting the bill.
06.09.2007


Akdamar Church In Lake Van Energizes Tourism In Bitlis
Akdamar Church, located on an island in Lake Van, has stimulated tourism since its restoration, with a three-fold increase in tourists coming to Bitlis province following the re-opening of the old Armenian church to the public.

Bitlis Governor Mevlüt Atbas underlined that tourism is the only alternative for the region that embraces nature, culture and historical heritage all at once. Saying that winter sports are given priority due to the climate and natural environment, Atbas noted they had built a skiing facility on Mt. Nemrut but added that because of the lack of publicity, the ski center had failed to reach its full potential. However, Atbas emphasized that with increasing advertising, the facility will become a key element in Bitlis’ tourism, leading to an acceleration of investment in the center.

Atbas stated that an average of 3,000 tourists visited Bitlis last year. “We expect the tourism potential of the region to increase this year. Following the church’s opening on March 29, both local and foreign tourists have begun to visit tourist sites in our region. An anticipated 10,000 tourists will visit in 2007, with the help of packaged travel tours,” he added. Tatvan -- one of the major towns in Bitlis -- Mayor Mehmet Emin Peker also said they have initiated the training of guesthouse operators to better serve tourists.

06.09.2007
Today’s Zaman with wires Bitlis


Foreign Policy Under The New Ak Party Government (1)
IHSAN DAGI i.dagi@todayszaman.com
The composition and the program of the new government reflect a great deal of continuity with slight changes. Among the changes is the appointment of Ali Babacan as the minister of foreign affairs.
Yet, as chief negotiator during the previous government, Babacan is also an element of continuity.

Government programs may discern philosophies and visions that will constitute the bases of policies in office. The underlining philosophy of the AK Party government program as regard to foreign policy is a conception of international relations as a realm of cooperation, not that of conflict. Instead of an adventurist and aggressive notion of foreign policy, an emphasis on cooperation as the key to peace and prosperity is more in line with the realities of global politics. Otherwise attracting foreign investment, expanding foreign trade and welcoming foreign tourists are hardly possible, all of which are invaluable ingredients of economic development. In a sense the new government seems to link up a pacific foreign policy with the broader objective of economic development. In the “take-off,” as promised by the government in its program, a foreign policy based on an economic cost-benefit analysis that requires cooperation is a necessity of which the government seems aware.

The wisdom of this approach has in fact been demonstrated by the government’s Cyprus policy that resulted in the growth of the gross national product (GNP) per capita in the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (KKTC) -- from $4,500 in 2002 to $11,000 by the end of 2006 -- and the increasing visibility of the KKTC government as a legitimate actor in international platforms. A non-zero approach to foreign policy is likely to further flexibility, imagination and the tendency for negotiation, thus overcoming a bureaucratic and pro-status quo mentality that still prevails in the foreign policy establishment.

The government program indicates the EU as the strategic foreign policy objective for Turkey. In fact the EU accession process is not only seen as a foreign policy choice but more “a process of restructuring that alleviates Turkey’s political, economic, social and legislative standards.” For that the government commits itself to continue with political as well as economic reforms. The most exciting of all is to make a new constitution that will herald a fresh period in which legitimate political actors will prove themselves capable of making their own democratic constitution. No doubt the new constitution, expected to be more in line with liberal democratic governance, will prove Turkey’s determination to reform itself with a revolutionary style and content.

It is also important to note that the government does not regard the improved relations with Russia, China, India and Japan as an alternative to its institutional relationship with the West. Yet a new conceptualization of the West, the EU and the US is also on the way.

Turkey’s presence in NATO and alliance with the US was always viewed as a facilitator for its membership quest in the EU. It seems that in recent years this relationship has been reversed. The government is now of the opinion that EU accession would have a positive impact on the development of Turkey’s relations with the US and on its continued cooperation with NATO. This can be an example of how EU integration is a new modality for Turkey’s continuing institutional engagement with the West. Turkey’s presence in and contribution to the Western defense structure (NATO) is no longer the justification and driving force for its accession into the EU. On the contrary, it seems that the way and pace in which Turkey is integrated into the EU will determine its presence in and contribution to the Western defense architecture.
03.09.2007

Foreign Policy Under The New Ak Party Government (2)
As understood from the government’s program and the appointment of Ali Babacan as foreign minister, it is safe to say that the basic orientation and objectives of Turkish foreign policy will not change in this new period.
While its Western vocation is being reinforced with deeper EU integration, Turkey will continue to pursue a high-profile regional and global policy in which Eurasia, with the renewed competition over the energy resources and transportation, will become ever more visible in Turkish foreign policy. The recent interest in Africa, which used to be a forgotten land for Turkish foreign policy, motivated by economic and political searches, will also be intensified. The Justice and Development Party (AK Party) government will respond to a highly positive stance arising among the people of the Middle East by continuing its search for regional solutions to regional problems and supporting the Palestinians.

The policy of “zero problems with neighbors,” which brought Turkey to the forefront of regional politics, as a constructive element, will certainly continue as its architect, Professor Ahmet Davutoglu, remains chief adviser to the foreign minister. It is important to note that a cooperation and peace-oriented regional policy increased Turkey’s political and economic weight in its region. Turkey thus emerged in its region as an asset not liability for regional peace and stability. I expect this will continue uninterrupted in the coming years, underlining Turkey’s continued policy of restraint towards Iran.

In all this the only exception has been Armenia. It would be wise for the government to improve its relations with Armenia in order to be consistent with its “zero-problems with neighbors” policy. While Turkey alone cannot be blamed for the current state of the relationship between the two countries and communities, it can afford to take the first step in engaging in a constructive dialogue with Armenia. Among other signs, this will demonstrate Turkey’s principled “dialogue policy” in its region. Let’s have the honor of taking the first step by opening the border with Armenia and wait for the Armenians to reciprocate. The key to doing so is not to be overcome by a short-sighted nationalism.

Another area in which the AK Party should show political wisdom, vision and maturity and go beyond nationalistic sentiments is with the Cyprus issue. If the government really considers EU membership as a long-term strategic objective, it should continue its policy of constructive engagement on this particular issue. The status quo was not the solution back in 2002, as courageously demonstrated by the AK Party government. Since then, by supporting the UN plan and encouraging domestic political actors who are pro-solution on the island, the AK Party has changed the status quo. Now a pro-solution president and political party rule over the island. Internationally the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (KKTC) has gained increasing visibility and legitimacy. Yet this “new status quo” is not a solution either. It is time to employ some new initiatives to do away with the deadlock on the issue.

The basic demand of the EU now is to allow Greek Cypriot vessels to have access to Turkish ports. The Turkish side in return asks from the EU to end the isolation of the Turkish half on the island. A decisive policy motivated by good will and cooperation to further the EU-Turkey relations may find a middle ground.

The government should emancipate itself from the opposition parties’ accusations of “selling out” Cyprus. I think the last election vindicated the AK Party’s pro-reform policy on Cyprus. It is now time to be not apologetic but decisive. Without overcoming the anxiety that a new initiative on Cyprus will stir a nationalist opposition, no progress can be made. Following a bargain with the EU that eases the situation in northern Cyprus, the government should send the bill expanding the custom union with the EU to include the Greek Cyprus to Parliament for approval. The AK Party is capable of dealing with nationalist opposition. So it should not hide behind the excuse of possible nationalist backlash over the issue.

Managing Turkey’s relations with the US remains to be the toughest task. There are two negative elements blocking a short-term improvement of the relationship; first, an anti-AK Party clique in the US who sacrifices Turkish-American relations for the sake of their ideological dispositions, and the second, a strong anti-American Turkish nationalist group composed of some academics, bureaucrats and politicians who accuse the US of plotting against Turkey’s integrity and regime.

Turkish-American relations cannot and should not be hijacked by these ideologically minded adventurists. I believe that Turkish American relations will not fall victim to these radical elements in both countries. While the last election in Turkey has weakened the Kemalist-nationalist anti-American groups in the US, it seems highly likely that the power of those neocons will disappear by the end of next year. Once these groups are sidelined, the issues concerning both sides will be more negotiable.

06.09.2007


High-Tech Venture Moves To Probe Noah's Ark Anomaly On Mt. Ararat
The New Anatolian / Ankara
04 September 2007
Three high-tech companies have joined technology in the search for evidence that a 980-foot-long anomaly on Turkey's Mt. Ararat might be what's left of Noah's Ark.

The high-tech effort involves GeoEye, INTA Space Turk, along with the talents of Satellite Imaging Corporation. Satellite Imaging Corporation of Houston, Texas has created a 3D terrain model of the so-called "Mt. Ararat anomaly" -- making use of stereo IKONOS satellite image data to create a flyover of the site in remote northeastern Turkey.

The anomaly itself, which lies surrounded by rugged strato-volcanic rock at the northwestern corner of Mt. Ararat's western plateau, is over 980 feet long, and sits mostly buried underneath a permanent glacier. It first drew attention due to its relatively smooth surface texture, as well as its unusual physical composition. The site occupied by the anomaly, which is located at 15,300 feet above sea level, remains unexplored.

The application of satellite images and aerial photographs for the identification and analysis of historical and archaeological sites, which made this research possible, was first recognized during the early days of aviation. According to David Buehner, production manager at Satellite Imaging Corporation, 'Satellite and aerial imagery is now available from an array of aircraft and high resolution satellite borne sensors to provide even greater potential for research and investigation of historical discoveries.'

Consequently, remote sensing and geographic information systems (GIS) have become critical tools for researchers and archaeologists, as these systems link information to precisely calibrated physical locations and integrate information drawn from multiple sources in a rapid, accurate, and quantified manner.

Porcher L. Taylor III, an associate professor at the University of Richmond's School of Continuing Studies, who has been at the vanguard of using satellites to expose the Ararat Anomaly for researchers provided the following quotes:

'Thanks to the world-class technology and expertise of GeoEye and Satellite Imaging Corporation (SIC), with this ground-breaking 3D (stereoscopic) Flythrough movie, we are witnessing a quantum leap in making the Ararat Anomaly even more transparent for Ararat researchers and the public. Taylor's research on the Mt. Ararat Anomaly has been featured in a National Geographic Channel documentary.

To the best of my knowledge, to date, only 2D satellite missions had been flown over the Anomaly, not stereo missions. I'm deeply indebted to Leo J. Romeijn, President and CEO of SIC, for making me aware four months ago that INTA Space Turk had August 2004 stereo imagery of the Anomaly site in its archives. Mr. Romeijn graciously accepted my request to create a 3D movie from this imagery, by engaging his stellar SIC team of GIS experts. Likewise, I'm deeply indebted to GeoEye (especially V.P. for Communications and Marketing, Mark E. Brender) for making this stereo project possible. Indeed, GeoEye's satellite continues to faithfully serve as a space-based Indiana Jones over the Anomaly, and will make the Anomaly almost twice as visible when GeoEye-1 is launched early next year, with 0.4-meter-resolution."






For Turkey, ‘embracing’ A Small Neighbor Should Not Be So Difficult
YAVUZ BAYDAR y.baydar@todayszaman.com
Time is running out for shaping a new strategy in Ankara over what increasingly more countries now regard and officially recognize as “the genocide” of Ottoman Armenians during World War I.

The resolution in the US Congress hangs in the balance, backed by a majority of members. As well, the sharp turn of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) is perhaps very timely for many of the genocide recognition supporters and could be a turning point for the issue.

It should also come as a wake-up call for Turkish diplomacy. It seems more than obvious that a new approach, new parameters and new strategy are needed. One might claim that all of this is long overdue. For the past decade, pressure has slowly been building up over the matter; however, rather than agreeing with what by any international standards constitutes the definition of “genocide,” one parliament after another has approved recognizing the fate of the Ottoman Armenians as such.

The flow of events in the direction of Armenian genocide recognition now appears unstoppable. When, rather than if, the US Congress passes the resolution, a wall will be torn down, opening the floodgates for other countries that synchronize their actions with the US to swiftly join in. A fair prediction is that by the year 2015, the 100th anniversary of the killings in Asia Minor, a large majority of the world’s nations will be in line with the recognition. In other words, the scene will be Turkey versus the rest of the world.

“So what?” is the response by a few in positions of power when confronted by this potential scenario. This answer is based on the assumption that Turkey can withstand any criticism from the rest of the world as long as it maintains a strong economy. However, there is another crucial consideration missing in that stance -- it will be morally unsustainable. As long as you keep silent on, or even worse, in total denial of, the tragedy, crucial supporters that are were in favor of Turkey will continue to turn against it. The more obstinate Ankara is in being “aggressively in denial” with “Armenians killed Turks” or “Armenians started it all” type discourse, the more insulted the world will feel.

What is needed is a new way of thinking. First of all, it is necessary to be fully aware that the year 2015 (potentially the year Turkey will be granted EU membership) will be the year of reckoning. From that point on, the new administration in Ankara, who will certainly be a fresh combination of a dynamic president and a prime minister with strong aspirations to “clear the way” for a strong and reliable Turkey for the West, should provide a detailed road map for dealing with the issue.

Given that viewpoint, there seems to be only one way forward -- leaving aside all diplomatic hangups, starting a full dialogue with Yerevan and opening the borders.

Will that be easy? Of course not. But keep in mind that President Abdullah Gül was trying all possible ways to avoid the issue and exercised great care in dealing with Yerevan directly. Although he has met fierce resistance from some senior Foreign Ministry bureaucrats and the National Security Council, both he and Erdogan know that the only way out is to begin talks with their eastern neighbor. When this is done, most of the pressure from abroad will dissipate.

Yerevan is also in great need of opening the channels of communication with Ankara; it is squeezed between Russia and Iran and with both a strained balancing act is apparent. It certainly understands the rationale behind having normalized relations with Turkey. For Ankara, the dialogue also will serve as an efficient means to normalize its strained relations with the US.

Both Gül and Vartan Oskanyan as foreign ministers tried hard to find ways to open the border. There was a draft plan which provided several options including: opening the border post only for limited hours, opening it only to non-Turks and non-Armenians, opening only for the transit of goods, etc. The interests of both sides have now been well defined and should be brought to the table when talks begin.

It is a crucial moment for Turkey, and for Gül and Erdogan it requires facing the issue head on. Luckily, for them, the main opposition in Turkey, the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), could be a positive force in helping to develop a feasible solution.

Let each side keep in mind that not reaching a climax of “genocide recognition” by 2015 in refusing to normalize relations with each other will be harmful to both countries. Winners or losers -- the decision is in their hands.
05.09.2007


A Dilemma: Politics Versus Economy
DOGU ERGIL d.ergil@todayszaman.com
Some analysts of the pessimist variety believe that the sudden change of heart of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), an American Jewish organization, to support the Armenian claim of genocidal annihilation of Ottoman Armenians in 1915 by the government of the day is due to the July signing of a memorandum of understanding between Turkey and Iran related to gas and oil transit. Beside transportation, both governments also agreed on realizing joint energy investments. At a time when the US government is at odds with Tehran and Israel is considering the destruction of Iranian nuclear plans by any means possible, such moves must aim to pressure Turkey to withdraw from further cooperation with Iran, although Turkey’s energy concerns are serious and the new deal offers many opportunities in her national interest.

So far the two sides have agreed to increase their cooperation in the production of electricity and in the construction of natural gas power stations. It is not only the US government that feels uneasy with the Turkish-Iranian cooperation, as it is currently pursuing a policy to isolate Tehran from the rest of the world. Russia is equally displeased because Turkish-Iranian cooperation threatens Russian access to Turkmen natural gas resources.

Turkish government officials do not look at the matter from a political angle; they say that Turkey is hungry for energy and they are after it wherever it is available and cheap. Iran is a neighboring country and it has plenty of resources to offer. To this end, Turkey, Iran and Pakistan founded the Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO) in 1985. The organization expanded seven years later to include Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. Now Turkey wants to revitalize this economic cooperation that can only offer a humble 5 or 6 percent of her total national trade.

Officials of the Turkish Energy Ministry have announced that, starting next year, Turkey is making plans to invest $3.5 billion in Iran’s South Pars offshore gas field. In order to avoid the wrath of powerful players in the area, Ankara prefers a joint venture with an EU member state that is already operating in the Iranian theater. One of the aims of this future joint venture is said to be exploration of gas fields in the Asalouyeh region. This region is rich with natural gas. In fact the South Pars-North Dome area is where the world’s largest gas-condensate field is located, in the Persian Gulf. It is shared by Iran and Qatar. The region is estimated to hold 53.8 billion cubic meters of natural gas and 56 billion barrels of condensate. If Turkey can gain economic and operational access to this region, it will no more be merely a transit corridor for Caspian oil and gas.

Ankara also wants to develop a Turkish-Iranian-Turkmen joint venture to sell natural gas to the EU. Indeed, there is growing European interest in purchasing Iranian natural gas via Turkey. If the outstanding problems of the Nabucco natural gas pipeline are solved in due time, this can become a lucrative reality sooner rather than later.

However the Bush administration is rather reluctant to see Ankara cooperating with either Iran or Russia. Washington prefers that Turkey concentrate its efforts on Azerbaijan’s Shah Deniz project to develop the Caspian Basin gas resources and a pipeline system to bring those resources to Turkey with the intent of conveying them to international markets via Turkey. America’s second preferred project is to encourage Ankara to buy natural gas from Iraq. But this is too idealistic, given the Kurdish insurgent elements operating out of Iraqi territory and the ensuing Turkish-US tension. But the Americans are insistent. US Ambassador to Turkey Ross Wilson diplomatically warns Ankara that, “A major increase of Iranian gas exports to Turkey and beyond may hinder the development of gas resources in Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, and western Turkmenistan that might come to Turkey.” (http://turkey.usembassy.gov)

These words put Turkey in a bind -- while Washington is increasing its political pressure on Iran by considering adding Iran’s Revolutionary Guard to its list of terrorist organizations, Turkey is trying to keep a balance between its alliance with the US and its neighbor Iran, for matters of economic expediency. If the US Congress adopts a resolution to impose sanctions on European and other foreign companies that invest in Iran’s petrochemical industries, Turkey’s economic plans will drastically suffer. The US would make it obvious that Ankara has fatally weakened Washington’s efforts to isolate Iran.

This dilemma can only be solved if Turkey sides with the US, but to the cost of losing its future energy projects. Can Washington compensate for these losses in other ways? Doubtful! This must be the dark side of politics.
05.09.2007


Soli Ozel: If Turkey Opened Border With Armenia, It Would Have Much More Influence On Armenia Than It Has Today
04.09.2007
/PanARMENIAN.Net/ The Armenian issue will be a priority for the new government because it’s blocking our international relations, says Soli Ozel, a senior lecturer in international relations and political science at Istanbul Bilgi University, specializing in Turkey’s relations with the United States.

"There has been talk that the Turkish government should do something about the border with Armenia. Some say Armenians should do something before Turkey does something,” he said.

The only reason why Turkey would not do such a thing is because of Azerbaijan and the Nagorno Karabakh conflict, according to him. “If Turkey were to open the [border] gate with Armenia, it would have much more influence on Armenia than it has today. Secondly, it will be better able to explain its position, because many foreigners do not know of our unofficial ties between Yerevan and Turkey. And finally, border towns want the borders to be opened because they suffer economically. I think we should also reason it out with the Azeris as well and get on with life. This would be enough to help Turkey with the Armenian resolution,” he said, Today’s Zaman reports.


Turkey And Armenia: What Jews Should Do
LENNY BEN-DAVID , THE JERUSALEM POST Sep. 4, 2007
As one of the first authors and editors of Myths and Facts, a Record of the Arab-Israeli Conflict I know what it means to instinctively jump to defend Israel's reputation. In the face of barrages of canards and accusations, we countered that Israel did not expel millions of Palestinians, did not commit wanton massacres, and did not use an omnipotent Washington lobby to subvert American interests in the Middle East.

I was one of the founders of HonestReporting.com, where we encouraged tens of thousands of activists to leap to Israel's defense when publications and networks failed to label terrorists correctly, blamed Israel unfairly or distorted Israel's defensive campaign to stop suicide bombing attacks.

Israel's defenders intuitively denounced and challenged the Ahmadinejads and David Irvings of the world, who denied the fact of a genocidal campaign against the Jews that we call the Holocaust. We recognize that these anti-Semitic deniers seek to delegitimize the Jewish state of Israel and lay the groundwork for another attempt to wipe out the Jewish people.

All nations have sacred memories and traditions surrounding their creation and their sacrifices. These are national legends that take on mythic proportions about the nations' founding fathers and the circumstances of the nations' formation. Sometimes, and often after difficult introspection, citizens recognize that their histories and heroes are not all black-and-white, and that a true national narrative involves a rich palette of greys as well. But that realization requires a national maturation, one that also demands the cognitive involvement of all parties to the narrative.

SUCH AN introspection took place among Americans in their historical narrative some 35 years ago. The publication of Dee Brown's Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee in 1970 upset a nation used to Hollywood's version of valiant and white Indian-fighters taming the Wild West. The slaughter of Native Americans - "Indians" - and the military campaigns against the Navajos, Apaches, Sioux and Cheyenne tribes between 1860 and 1880 were eventually woven into the American historical tapestry. Finally in 2004 the National Museum of the American Indian opened on the National Mall of Washington D.C.

A similar museum to the African-American experience is still missing on the Mall. While the American public obviously knew of the history of slavery in the United States and Abraham Lincoln "setting slaves free," it probably wasn't until the release of Alex Haley's Roots and its romanticized television version in the 1970s that many Americans came to grips with the nation's racist, supremacist past.

Indeed, American historians still debate the nature of the relationship between the iconic Founding Father Thomas Jefferson and his quadroon slave and purported mistress, Sally Hemings. It is difficult for some Jefferson idolaters to fathom such a pairing. Two hundred years after Jefferson and Hemings spent time together, Hemings's descendants underwent DNA testing to determine whether Jefferson sired Hemings's children.

National legends and myths are not easily shaken.

IN ISRAEL, some of our national beliefs were stirred by the so-called new historians, who challenged many of our basic historical narratives. Perhaps the Israeli public is mature enough to examine the country's origin, but the rejection of the new historians' broad-stroke claims also reflects the failure of our Palestinian interlocutors to accept the notion that our intertwined histories are not black-and-white. Most Palestinians see no grey.

"There comes a stage in any revolutionary process when the movement relaxes its hold on the official narrative," historian Benny Morris told The Washington Post earlier this year. "The difference is that when that moment came in Israel, our long struggle with the Arabs remained an existential threat, as it still does today."

For the Palestinians, their nakba is their Truth; their "right of return" is their messianic vision; and their concept of any Jewish history in the land is that it is a total fabrication. To confront such absolutist, irredentist claims, Israel's defenders cannot afford to equivocate.

AS AN adviser for five years to the Turkish embassy in Washington, until earlier this summer, I understood why the Turkish government and people jump to deny claims that their ancestors committed a "genocide" against Armenians some 90 years ago.

It occurred during a maelstrom of battles and massacres. It was allegedly carried out by founding fathers who were bringing their country into an enlightened 20th century. And it was waged against an enemy guilty of the still unspoken crime of massacring hundreds of thousands of Muslims and thousands of Jews.

Armenians and Turks see no shades of grey, and for now, at least, demands are made only of Turkey to change its monochromatic narrative.

Israel's government and Jews in the United States must be careful when treading through the minefield of Armenian claims against Turkey. Jewish leaders in Armenia reported that they have heard local claims that Jews organized the 1915 massacres of Armenians (www.eajc.org/program-art-e.php?id=39).

There are accounts of Armenian massacres, between 1914 and 1920, of 2.5 million of Armenia's Muslim population (www.cs.utah.edu/~kagano/ermeni.htm).

Recently, Mountain Jews in Azerbaijan requested assistance in building a monument to 3,000 Azeri Jews killed by Armenians in 1918 in a pogrom about which little is known (www.tomgrossmedia.com/mideastdispatches/archives/000730.html).

AND WITHIN our own lifetime - just some 15 years ago - Armenian troops massacred hundreds of Azeri Muslims. This from Newsweek, March 16, 1992:

"Azerbaijan was a charnel house again last week: a place of mourning refugees and dozens of mangled corpses dragged to a makeshift morgue behind the mosque. They were ordinary Azerbaijani men, women and children of Khojaly, a small village in war-torn Nagorno-Karabakh overrun by Armenian forces on Feb. 25-26. Many were killed at close range while trying to flee; some had their faces mutilated, others were scalped."

Both Turks and Armenians have their grisly tales of persecution and their vehement denials of genocidal designs. It is the task of the Jewish community to express sympathy for all the victims and outrage at all the perpetrators on both sides of the conflict. The US Congress and the Jewish community should encourage historians on both sides to objectively examine what took place.

Nations mature when they can look at themselves in the mirror and see the grey, the wrinkles and the blemishes.

The writer served as Deputy Chief of Mission in Israel's Embassy in Washington.
Copyright 1995- 2007 The Jerusalem Post


Armenians Converted Not Only To Kurds Or Alevis, But Also To Arabs
By Hakob Chakrian
AZG Armenian Daily #159
04/09/2007
The "Discoveries" of Halacoglu

Turkey's official chief historian Yusuf Halacoglu announced at the August 18 conference titled "The Avsharis in the history and culture of Turks" that Kurds are "Turkmen" by origin in reality, and the Kurdish-Alevis have "Armenian" origin.

That announcement had got a wide resonance in the Turkish media and he was forced to give a more precise definition to his announcement: "I don't reject the existence of the Kurds in Turkey, but in reality 30 per cent of the Kurds are Turkmen by origin.

In order to avoid the exile, some of the Armenians presented themselves as Kurdish-Alevis and adopted Islam in 1915. The apostate Armenians were about 100.000 in Turkey in 1920. From 1936 to 1937 the Government of Turkey had revealed the apostate Armenians house by house. I have the list of those Armenians and I will publish it, if the authorities let me do it".

The above-mentioned announcements of Halacoglu were the basis for the accusations against him that he was making political preconditions for the speculation of "apostasy".

It is evident that for the counter-attackers of Halacoglu the main issue is not the apostate Armenians (the existence of those they don't deny), but the application of the apostasy as a means of blackmail.

It's worth to mention that about the apostate Armenians mentioned also Pr. of History of the Inyoyu University in Malatia Salim Gyohgen at an interview to "Aksiyon"magazine: "There are about 80.000-100.000 hidden Armenians in Turkey. They mainly hid themselves among Kurds and Alevis".

"Aksion" has published the interview with Pr. Salim Gyohgen and the article about the apostate Armenians, which is of a great interest and we want to present it partially:

"Pr. Salim Gyohgen supports a thesis, which says: "There are also thousands of Armenians, who converted to Arabs. There is nothing new in the announcement of Yusuf Halacoglu. It was evident to everybody, but nobody wanted to speak of it. American representatives of that time mentioned of the hidden Armenians in their reports, i.e. Kurds hid 500.000 Armenians in Erzerum, Alavis helped 50.000 Armenians in Tungeli (Dersim). The same happened also in Vardo (region of Van), Khnus and other places.

There are many Armenians in Hata, Sgherd, Urfa, Mardin and other places, who are converted to Arabs: they speak Arabian and present themselves as Arabs at present"

Some of the Armenians converted to Assyrians, according to Pr. Gyohgen.

"Aksion" magazine published the number and the "official" originality of the Armenians. According to it, 1000 Armenian families (converted to Kurds, Assyrians and Alevis) live in Diarbekir, 3655 families (as Alevi-Kurds) - in Malatia, 5000 Turks (hidden Armenians) -in Cesaria, 1000 families (as Kurds and Alevis) - in Eliazig, 4000 families (as Kurds) - in Van, 3500 families (as Kurds and Arabs) -in Urfa, 1200 families (as Arabs, and a little part as Kurds) - in Sgherd, 1100 families (as Arabs) - in Hata, 200 families (as Kurds) -in Bitlis, 3000 families (as Kurds, Alevis and a little part as Turks) - in Erzerum, 1300 families (as Alevis and Kurds ) - in Erznka, 1500 families (as Arabs) - in Mardin, 3000 families (as Kurds and Alevis) - in Marash, 1600 families (as Kurds) - in Adiyaman, 2000 families (as Kurdish-Alevis) - in Tungeli and 2000 families (as Kurds, Alevis and Arabs) - in Adana.

At the end of the article "Aksion" added: "The data come from the researches of different institutions and works of different researchers that continue till today. The indexes can be changed according to new revelations".


The Path The Germans And The Czechs Took
Our Armenian question and the Armenians’ “Turkish question” will likely be resolved through rapprochement between Turkey and Armenia.

The negative contributions of the diaspora are not negligible here. However, the political maturity of the Ankara and Yerevan administrations regarding the historical tragedy will ensure that the two nations take a look at the tragedy from a broader perspective. A joint commission of historians will also contribute to this. Revealing the common cultural past of the Turks and the Armenians will also be of great help in removing negative perceptions in the two communities. If the Germans and the Czechs took steps in this direction, there is no reason Turks and Armenians are unable to do so, of course, if the goal is not to sustain the enmity forever. If this is the goal, there is nothing that can be done.

04.09.2007
SEMIH IDIZ, MILLIYET


Time To Say New Things On The ‘Genocide’ Issue
Omer TASPINAR

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…

4 September 2007
Copyright © 2005 Journal of Turkish Weekly

Comments left at: http://www.freerepublic.com in reference to this JTW Article:

What troubles me, is how we are supposed to know what actually took place 80 to 90 years ago. Turkey says one thing and the Armenians say another. Look at Israel and the Palestinians. The Palestinians make one claim and the Iraelis make another. It just wears you out trying to keep up.

I am reasonable sure that the Turks did some things that I wouldn’t approve of, but what am I supposed to do about it in 2007? It’s a region on the other side of the world. There seems to be conflicting renditions of what actually took place and what the actual causes were.

I address this purely from a US standpoint. What are we supposed to do? Which side do we take, which side do we insult. When I am reminded of this issue locally, I try to treat the subject with reverence and respect. Frankly, that isn’t what folks want. They want you to take sides.

I say this living in a town that now takes one day off each year to remember the Armenian Genocide. And with all due respect, I do NOT approve of us importing this issue into the fabric of our own nationhood. We should only commemorate or celebrate events that pertain to our own national identity.

If the Armenian regions of the world wish to commemorate these events, I respect their wish to do so.

09/03/2007 by DoughtyOne ((Victory will never be achieved while defining Conservatism downward, and forsaking its heritage.))
To: DoughtyOne
"The Palestinians make one claim and the [Israelis] make another. It just wears you out trying to keep up."

Really?

Never underestimate the human mind to rationalize my good friend.
09/03/2007 by LjubivojeRadosavljevic
To: LjubivojeRadosavljevic

Well, if you are absolutely positive about every charge or counter charge raised in the region by the two sides, you’re a better person than I. When it comes to terrorism and most of the Palestinian charges, I think we’re on the same page, but some of the more obscure issues aren’t quite as cut and dried. Take care.

09/03/2007by DoughtyOne ((Victory will never be achieved while defining Conservatism downward, and forsaking its heritage.))
To: DoughtyOne
RE: "I am reasonable sure that the Turks did some things that I wouldn’t approve of. . . ."

To the best of my knowledge the government of the Republic of Turkey does not deny that horrific things happened during those final days of the Ottoman Empire. But Ottoman government organized genocide? No.

Hundreds of thousands died, both Armenians and Turks. Armenians died of disease and from attacks in places like what is now northern Iraq.

Newspaper reports of the era described Armenian men being killed by Kurds and the girls and women being carried off. see here

You will find a series of newspaper articles of that era.

RE: "What are we supposed to do? Which side do we take, which side do we insult."

Armenia refuses to accept our Ambassador unless our Congress passes Resolution 160 (not sure about the number) which labels it genocide.

You make an excellent point about NOT importing this issue into the fabric of our own nationhood. Thank you.

Back to the post..

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?

Why does it have to be labeled genocide? Does the word matter to the victims. They died horrible deaths.

Does it have to be genocide for a legal (forcing insurance companies to act, lawsuits, etc.) reasons?

Anybody? What gives with Armenia occupying portions of Azerbaijani territory and driving residents out, BTW. That's happening now

09/03/2007 by WilliamofCarmichael (If modern America's Man on Horseback is out there, Get on the damn horse already!)
To: WilliamofCarmichael

I agree with your comments regarding this issue and I appreciate you providing a link and further information on the subject.

09/03/2007 by DoughtyOne ((Victory will never be achieved while defining Conservatism downward, and forsaking its heritage.))
To: WilliamofCarmichael
"But Ottoman government organized genocide? No...Hundreds of thousands died, both Armenians and Turks"


How time and numbers ostensibly seem to matter...Ahem.

Anyway, what you say to General Ratko Mladic my good friend?
09/03/2007 by LjubivojeRadosavljevic
To: LjubivojeRadosavljevic
RE: "Anyway, what you say to General Ratko Mladic my good friend?"

I dunno but maybe he can explain something for me. There are horrific things happening today in that very region.

The questions are: 1) What's it about and 2) Why can't it be fixed?

To wit,

There are about one million refugees and it's happening now. Instead of arguing over a word for tragic events that happened almost one-hundred years ago how about first solving a horrific condition that exists now?

". . . the South Caucasus - comprising Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia - has, during the last decade, been the region of Europe most affected by the problems of refugees and displaced persons . . . it may be indicated that in total more than one million people have been displaced in the region (out of this figure nearly 900 000 in Azerbaijan, over 150 000 in Armenia and over 250 000 in Georgia). . . ."

Many are refugees and IDPs from the conflicts in Abkhazia, South Ossetia and Nagorno-Karabakh.

Article title, Widespread discontent in Armenia after Elisabeth Jones' comments

Elisabeth Jones, US Assistant Secretary for European and Eurasian Affairs (at the time of the article, 2005) apparently upset Armenians when she made clear "Washington’s position on the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict has never changed. 'The policy of the United States on Nagorno Karabakh conflict has never changed. The United States will not recognize Nagorno Karabakh as an independent State. Besides, its leaders are not recognized by the International community. The United States support the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan, and want that the status of Nagorno Karabakh be determined by negotiations among Minsk group’s co-chairs. The United States do are strongly committed in Nagorno Karabakh peace process, in the framework of OSCE Minsk group. And we hail the ongoing negotiations between the Armenian and Azerbaijani Ministers of Foreign Affairs', precised the US State Department."

The article states further, "Armenia, by supplying a military, technical, economic, and diplomatic aid to Nagorno Karabakh’s Armenians, and in fact by actively taking part in the annexation of a part of Azerbaijan’s territory, fundamentally violates International Law."

What going on? All those displaced persons. Can't something be done to settle this?

09/03/2007 by WilliamofCarmichael (If modern America's Man on Horseback is out there, Get on the damn horse already!)
To: DoughtyOne
Well, you can start by reading some history.

Remember Hitler’s quote “Who remembers the Armenians”?

The Turks are just another bunch of fanatic Muslims and the Armenians are just another group of Christians they exterminated. The Kurds helped by stealing and raping their women, turing their children into Muslims themselves.

The phony face of official neutrality on religion doesn;t fool me and it shouldn;t fool anyone else.

We may have dalliances with various Islamic powers when it suits our best interest, but our ultimate best interest is to destroy them all before they reciprocate and destroy us.

09/03/2007 by ZULU (Non nobis, non nobis Domine, sed nomini tuo da gloriam. God, guts and guns made America great.)
To: All
What Turkey must do: 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.

Would the author ask Armenia to drop it's demands that the U.S. and other countries call it "genocide?" Currently Armenia will not accept an ambassador from the U.S. unless our government acknowledges the horrific deaths as genocide. Are we permitted to recognize that hundreds of thousands of Turks and others died also? ARMENIA MAY NOT HAVE US AMBASSADOR FOR SOME MORE TIME (their caps)

It's going to take movement from both sides.

Meanwhile we have one million displaced persons in the South Caucasus, don't they matter? What's Armenia and Azerbaijan doing to take care of them? Has that problem been fixed?

09/03/2007 by WilliamofCarmichael (If modern America's Man on Horseback is out there, Get on the damn horse already!)

Further Comments: www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1890706/posts




Foreign Agents
The American Israel Public Affairs Committee From The 1963 Fulbright Hearings To The 2005 Espionage Scandal
By Grant F. Smith

Book Review by Terry Walz CNI Staff

Many citizens concerned by the undue influence of the Israel lobby are dismayed by the action of the US Congress that adopts resolution after resolution favoring Israel with nary of word about its failure to make peace with the Palestinians, whose land it inhabits, or with its neighbors, whose borders it abutts. Last year Stephen Walt and John Mearsheimer, two professors from prestigious American universities, began a public debate on the power of the lobby - a cause long advocated by the Council for the National Interest - giving hope that a public airing of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), its work, financing, and political connections would help Americans understand the gross misdirection of Middle East foreign policy over the last forty years. Grant F. Smith's new book, Foreign Agents, decisively pushes this debate forward and shows just how brazen and criminal the lobby has acted since its beginnings.

Smith traces the development of AIPAC from its early days under founder Si Kenen, who in 1947 registered with the US Department of Justice under the Foreign Agents Registration Act as an employee of the American Zionist Committee for Public Affairs. He was representing himself then as an agent working for Israel . He continued to register as a foreign agent during the late forties and fifties, working for various organizations funded by the Israel government, but in 1959, the name of the American Zionist Committee was changed to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) to better reflect, as Kenen said, that it "raised its funds from both Zionists and non-Zionists." Its focus of work never changed, which was to promote the cause of Israel in both the executive and legislation branches of government, yet the organization no longer filed as a foreign agent. AIPAC eventually developed an extensive grassroots national network of organizations that engaged in all manner of illegal activities, from transgressing federal elections laws, to economic and industrial espionage, to flouting congressional laws regarding the use of arms exported to foreign countries, and passing classified and secret information to the Israeli government via the Israeli embassy in Washington . In 2005, after a nine-year investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, two of AIPAC's top officials were arrested for espionage, and the role that AIPAC played over the years as a covert agent for Israel was given unusual light.

The book uses as a primary source the historic and remarkable hearings that Senator William Fulbright held in 1963 to investigate the "activities of agents of foreign principals in the United States ." The Committee's aim was to look at the work of all organizations working on behalf of foreign countries, but in the process it discovered that the American Zionist Committee (AZC) was funded by the Jewish Agency, an arm of the Israeli government, and by the Israeli embassy, although its principals were not registered as foreign agents. The hearings disclosed the secret world of the AZC and the Jewish Agency, finding a pattern of money laundering that became a hallmark of AIPAC in the years to come. Both the Agency and the embassy typically hid the support that they provided by using private foundations and individuals as fronts so that it would appear the AZC was funded by American, not foreign, sources. Thus they bypassed the terms of the Foreign Agent Registration Act and sought to obscure their aim, which was to represent the interests of the Israeli government.

To measure the influence of the emerging lobby, Smith covers a wide spectrum of illegal and criminal activity. He begins by examining AIPAC's efforts to promote Israeli economic interests to the disadvantage of American workers. During the 1984 negotiations that preceded the creation of a "US-Israel Free Trade Agreement," AIPAC obtained a copy of the classified document spelling out the American negotiating strategy. Thus Israeli negotiators were aware of American positions well in advance of the meeting. AIPAC then managed to persuade the House Ways and Means Committee to provide special protections for Israeli imports of certain products should a free-trade zone be established. Even Congressional members, with long experience in Israeli lobby tactics, couldn't help but notice AIPAC's heavy hand in this instance.

The pressure exerted by AIPAC during congressional and presidential elections is well known, though consistently denied by the organization. Smith here focuses on the California Senate race of 1986 and the role played by Michael Goland, a real estate developer, who contributed $1 million via various conduits to derail a potential dangerous opponent of Sen. Alan Cranston, who was seeking reelection that year and was an AIPAC favorite. Goland was convicted and sentenced to imprisonment for election fraud. Goland had been a member of the board of AIPAC and had been highly visible in AIPAC's successful effort to unseat Sen. Charles Percy of Illinois in 1984.

AIPAC also had a hand in the defeat of Sen. Fulbright in 1968, and of Congressman Paul Findley in 1986. Findley's series of books about the lobby, especially his Dare to Speak Out, have been noted for the light they have thrown on the power of the lobby and its illegal activities.

AIPAC set up a series of political action committees (PACs), all with innocuous names, with the aim of influencing the election of congressional representatives all over the country. It made sure that internal firewalls, as Smith describes them, were set up so that no one could detect AIPAC's hand. But the line between them and the actions of the committees was hardly invisible. One "activist," a Chicago businessman, attempted to explain in a New York Times interview in 1987 how he and AIPAC operated independently, in the course of which it became apparent that the opposite was true, that there was tight coordination between AIPAC and dozens on pro-Israel committees. In 1988 the Washington Post published an internal AIPAC memo, reproduced in Foreign Agents, revealing now active AIPAC was in illegally coordinating PAC distributions to favored candidates.

The many instances of election fraud prompted a group of former US government officials to sue the Federal Election Commission for failure to require AIPAC to publish details of its income and expenditures, which political action committees are required to do. Among this group were George Ball, former secretary of state, Paul Findley, former congressman and founder of the Council for the National Interest, Andrew Kilgore, publisher of the Washington Report for Middle East Affairs and former ambassador to Qatar , and James Akin, former ambassador to Saudi Arabia . The FEC delivered a report on the complaint that cleared the PACs but professed a desire to further study the actions of AIPAC, but in fact the chief complaints were ignored. Appeals to the Supreme Court were turned aside on various points and the case remains in legal limbo to this day.

In the last twenty years, AIPAC has continued to develop its political networks. Steve Rosen, AIPAC Director of Policy, notoriously likened the lobby to "a night flower. It thrives in the dark and dies in the sun." It funds dozens of congressional "educational" trips to Israel every year through its affiliate the American Israel Education Foundation; it continues to publish Si Kenen's Near East Report, which serves as a propaganda arm of the Israel government; it established a "think tank," the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, which maintains a roster of "experts" providing cover for Israeli government positions (many of whose Board members have served as Board members of AIPAC); it maintains a large public relations office in Manhattan; and works in tandem with the new Saban Center for Middle East Policy, whose president, Martin Indyk, was deputy director of AIPAC and a former US ambassador to Israel. Thus Middle East policy at Brookings Institution, once a formidable independent think tank, has been usurped by pro-Israeli interests.

The growing arrogance of AIPAC, which in recent years acted with brazen impunity, was not unnoticed by the FBI counterintelligience which began probing the organization's activities as far back as 1999. In 2005, Col. Lawrence Franklin, who was working in the office of Douglas Feith, Undersecretary of Defense for Policy, was arrested and charged with giving classified documents to two top officials at AIPAC who passed them on to the Israeli embassy. The information concerned US positions toward Iran . The AIPAC officials were also arrested and charged with espionage. Lawrence was found guilty and sentenced to 12 years and seven months in prison and fined $10,000 for passing classified information to AIPAC and an Israeli diplomat. The trial against Steven Rosen and Keith Weissman has been delayed on several occasions and is now scheduled to begin in January 2008. The espionage charges have been dropped. A full analysis of the trial and its various permutations can be found in Smith's Chapter Five.

The case appropriately summarizes the extent of the illegalities that AIPAC has engaged in since its beginnings some fifty years ago. Senator Fulbright was on to something much bigger than even he could have imagined. Spawned by the Jewish Agency, it has abetted efforts that have encouraged "charitable" organizations in the US to contribute more than US $50 billion to illegal settlements in Gaza and the West Bank while appropriating and developing lands that belong to Palestinians. The money laundering activities of the Agency and the US donors have been brought to the attention of the US Department of Justice, thanks to work by the Institute for Research: Middle Eastern Policy and the Council for the National Interest but as yet no action has taken place to stop the illegal operations. As Smith states, "This follows an established pattern of law enforcement failures since the Fulbright foreign agent hearings."

Foreign Agents shines light on the murky world of AIPAC and its efforts to divert policy and push Israel 's rightwing interventionist agenda in Washington . It garnered support for a war and occupation of Iraq in Congress. Contrary to the assertions of many now claiming how AIPAC was not promoting war, Smith documents how it helped prompt the American invasion of Iraq and now threatens to coordinate an intervention by the US in Iran . The consequences for the American public have been huge, as the response to Hurricane Katrina made clear, and has rendered the US the least popular country in the world. The book also discusses in detail how tenuous are AIPAC's claims to even be a legally constituted nonprofit corporation. Most of all, it serves to remind us that the American Israel Public Affairs Committee does not serve US interests, but works as a foreign agent for the government of Israel and should be required to register as a foreign agent. Only then will be operations and financing be made transparent and public. In fact, this book makes a convincing case that America - and the world - would be better off without AIPAC.

Council for the National Interest Foundation
http://cnifoundation.org


What Europeans Think About Turkey And Why
Katinka Barysch, Centre for European Reform (CER)
EurActiv
http://www.euractiv.com
Aug 31 2007
Belgium

For many politicians, journalists and think-tanks, the benefits of Turkish accession to the EU are "plain to see", writes Katinka Barysch in an August 2007 paper for the Centre for European Reform (CER).

These range from the economic boost provided by a fast-growing and youthful Turkey to the soft power that the EU would gain from including a functioning Muslim democracy, she states.

However, for most people, fears related to Turkish accession are "immediate" and "personal", she adds, and include job loss, the threat of terrorism and the weakening of national culture. Meanwhile, the benefits are perceived by EU citizens as being "rather abstract", she believes - such as future economic growth, a stronger EU foreign policy and increased energy security.

Turkey's potential membership raises questions ranging from the future shape of the EU to the integration of existing immigrant communities and countries that face similar issues do not necessarily arrive at the same conclusions, observes the author - citing the view of some Poles, Czechs and Germans that Turkey has no place in a "Christian" EU, whereas this is not a problem for the "predominantly Christian" Spaniards.

Barysch believes that a country's attitude depends on whether it sees Turkish accession as a question of foreign policy (Spain, the UK) or a matter of internal EU or national politics (France, Germany).

Moreover, many people in Belgium, France, Germany and Italy are opposed as they fear it would bring an end to the federalist vision of political union, she claims. Paradoxically, countries less keen on political integration such as the UK and the Nordic countries support Turkey's candidacy for this very reason, she adds.

Other points of view are specific to individual countries. Barysch claims that French opposition centres on the fear that their country's central role in the EU has already been weakened by enlargement and that Turkey would be a "step too far". Moreover, she ponders whether France's struggle to integrate its sizeable Muslim minority -emphasised by recent rioting - has "overburdened" the debate.

Germans are concerned by the impact Turkey's accession would have on the EU balance of power and its ability to move forward, she believes. Meanwhile, Austria appears to be the most sceptical country, she reveals - citing cultural concerns rather than religious ones as the main reason for Austrian opposition.

It may take events, not words, to convince the EU public of the merits of Turkey's accession, believes Barysch - such as a unilateral withdrawal of Turkish troops from Cyprus, an opening of the border with Armenia, and an end to threats of army intervention and court orders against journalists.

The paper concludes that although public opinion is a "challenge" for Turkish accession, it is not an "insurmountable obstacle".

Centre for European Reform (CER): What Europeans think about Turkey and why (August 2007)


Turkish And American Teams Clash At Pan-Armenian Games
A Turkish daily yesterday carried reports of a clash between Turkish-Armenian and American-Armenian basketball teams at the Pan-Armenian Games in Yerevan, however the captain of the Istanbul-based team later said the report had exaggerated any racial element to the incident.

The Turkish daily Sabah reported on Monday that members of the American-Armenian team Glendale attacked Turkish-Armenian players during the game. Explaining that the event, which brings together Armenians living in different countries took place last week, adding: "This time, the games held every four years were marked by ugly attacks, not sports. The US Armenian male basketball team attacked the Istanbul team from Turkey. American basketball players provoked a Turkish player during a double game by saying ‘ugly Turkish dogs'." The report added that the police had had to intervene in the brawl.

"We beat the Yerevan team the day before our match with [US side] Glendale. Team members from Glendale had watched that game and I'm sure they had an idea about how powerful our team was. So they were pretty tense at the game the next day," said Alen Tekbiçak, the captain of the Istanbul basketball team, comprised of Turkish-Armenians. "The players pushed and shoved one another and police had to interfere, plus fouls were given to both sides, but nobody called our team players 'dirty Turkish dogs'," he explained. Tekbiçak said the players from both sides shook hands at the end of the game, which ended with Glendale's 74-65 victory on Aug. 20. The team members also came across each other that night at a dinner and had a friendly chat, he added.

The newspaper report cited an article by an "Armenian journalist," Onnik Krikorian, who gave an account of the events on his blog, www.oneworld.am The Armenia-based British journalist and photographer Onnik Krikorian replied to Today's Zaman by e-mail, saying: "I was there at the game and saw the fight on the court as shown in the photos I took. However, I didn't hear the actual insult that is alleged to have happened, which is why I've said that it's according to one side. However, I did speak to one of the Glendale players after the match who denied that the fight had anything to do with the fact that the Istanbul Armenians were from Turkey. He added 'They're half-Armenian after all' and 'They have some Armenian blood in them'."

Krikorian also noted that the game seemed tense throughout, but "it's important to note that the other matches I saw involving Istanbul teams passed peacefully and without any tensions on or off court." Regarding the fight, a few of the Glendale players have left comments on Krikorian's Web site. Some of them do not deny that derogatory remarks were made toward the Istanbul team, and one even accuses them of "acting like Turks," suggesting their origin did play a role in the fight.

The Pan-Armenian Games are hosted every four years in Armenia with the participation of Armenian athletes from all over the world. At the closing ceremony, Armenian Prime Minister Serzh Sargzyan presented a cup to the Turkish team for representing their city in the best way. The games were held between Aug. 18-26 and Turkish teams participated in football, volleyball, basketball, tennis, chess and track-and-field events.

04.09.2007
YONCA POYRAZ DOGAN ISTANBUL / Zaman


The US Diaspora attacked the Turkish Armenians participating in the World Armenians Olympics in Erivan.

70 sportsmen representing Turkey participated in the fourth World Armenian Olympics in Armenia. The US Glendale team played against Istanbul basketball team.

'Dirty Turkish Dogs'

The Diaspora games held in Armenia were marked by fights. When Istanbul team was insulted, a fight started, police entered the field and the game stopped for 15 minutes.

Last week the World Armenian Olympics were held in Erivan, the capital of Armenia and Armenians living in different countries participated in the games. This time, the games held every four years were marked by ugly attacks not sports. The male basketball team of US Armenians attacked Istanbul team from Turkey. American basketball players provoked a Turkish player during a double game by saying "ugly Turkish dogs".

The fight started upon these words; police entered the field and the game stopped for 15 minutes. The American team denied the claims and said: "we did not make such an insult. They started the fight by insulting us. They are not real Armenians they are semi-Armenians." / Sabah


Tawdry Genocide Tale
September 2, 2007
Bruce Fein - On Tuesday, Aug. 21, the national director of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), Abraham H. Foxman, somersaulted from a longstanding ADL policy. The ADL had declined to characterize as genocide the killings of Armenians during World War I by Ottoman Muslims. In Mr. Foxman's change of position hangs a tawdry tale of intellectual dishonor.

On the Friday before, the national director had fired ADL's New England regional director, Andrew H. Tarsy, for defying the national policy of nonendorsement of the genocide. Yet four days later, Mr. Foxman was parroting the regional director whom he had just fired.

Four days is not much time to study an issue as complex as the Armenian genocide narrative — especially when proper deductions are made for the ordinary inclination to devote the lion's share of weekends more to leisure than to lucubration.

Mr. Foxman, moreover, did not claim to have perused the works of impressive scholars who dispute the Armenian genocide claim. The list would include Bernard Lewis and Heath Lowry of Princeton, Guenther Lewy of the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, Justin McCarthy of the University of Louisville, and Professor Norman Stone, who taught at Cambridge and Oxford in Great Britain for 30 years before retiring early from the chair of modern history.

Mr. Foxman also did not assert even a passing acquaintance with the meaning of genocide as recently expounded by the International Court of Justice in Bosnia and Herzogovina v. Serbia and Montenegro (Feb. 26, 2007). There the court declared: "It is not enough to establish... that deliberate unlawful killings of members of a group have occurred.... It is not enough that the members of the group are targeted because they belong to that group, that is because the perpetrator has a discriminatory intent. The acts listed in [the Genocide Convention] must be done with intent to destroy the group in whole or in part."

Mr. Foxman voiced no rebuttal to the credible evidence undermining an Armenian genocide. During World War I, many Armenians were killed because they had defected to the enemy and were slaughtering Ottoman Muslims. Others were suspected of treason or disloyalty. The vast majority of Armenian casualties were occasioned by wretchedly executed deportations undertaken by the Ottoman government for war purposes. In 1916, the Ottomans themselves prosecuted about 1,300 soldiers and civilians for crimes against the Armenian deportees. One governor was executed. Tens of thousands of Armenians in Istanbul, Izmir and Aleppo were left undisturbed.

As Bernard Lewis has observed, an analogy would have been if Adolf Hitler had left Jews in Berlin, Frankfurt and Vienna exempt from the Final Solution. For more than three centuries, under the Ottoman millet system, Armenians enjoyed religious, cultural and social harmony. Conflict with the Ottoman Empire was largely provoked by Armenian terrorism and plotting secession comparable to the Confederate States of America, not by a late-blooming desire to destroy Armenians as a group.

It seems self-evident something other than the truth about the Armenian genocide claim was at work with Mr. Foxman. That suspicion was reinforced in an Aug. 22 interview with the Boston Globe. He unconvincingly asserted that for an unstated time he had held a private conviction that Armenians had suffered genocide, but thought characterizing their mass killings by the Ottoman Empire as atrocities or massacres was a sufficient description.

But he was provoked to go public with his true belief because the Jewish community was fracturing over endorsing the Armenian genocide. As reported in the Globe, he elaborated: "So if that word [genocide] brings the community together, that's fine.... In this time, for us to be split apart on an issue, which, as important as it is, is not foremost on the agenda of our safety and security, I found very troubling. I therefore did what I did to bring the community together."

Mr. Foxman's explanation is dubious. He is to ADL what Moses was to the Jews. It strains credulity to believe ADL would have balked at any time over his desire to officially acknowledge an Armenian genocide. Indeed, when Mr. Foxman did so on Aug. 21, there was no audible ADL protest.

The national director declared he had suppressed his opinion over the Armenian genocide because he believed an open ADL endorsement would anger Turkey and jeopardize both Jews living there and Israeli-Turkish relations. But when nonendorsement began to divide the Jewish community, Mr. Foxman believed its splintering was more dangerous to Jewish safety or security than any rift with Turkey. Accordingly, the ADL altered its longstanding position.

This gets to the crux of the matter. The Armenian genocide question should be settled by truth, not by the political calculations of Mr. Foxman or any other influential figure. The strength of the Armenian lobby or the geostrategic importance of Turkey to the United States should also be irrelevant.

The government of Turkey has opened its archives for more research and has supported further examination of the genocide question through debate and evaluation before an impartial body. Armenians have not reciprocated with either archival openness or willingness to debate as opposed to denigrate or intimidate scholars who question the genocide. Mr. Foxman should be exerting his energies to convince the Armenians to join the debate in lieu of jumping on their bandwagon and endorsing their conclusion for ulterior motives.

Bruce Fein is a resident scholar at the Turkish Coalition of America.
© 2007 The Washington Times


Most compensations were received by Armenia Armenians
Yerkir
31.08.2007
US-based Vardges Yehiayan law firm president Armen Baghdoyan says the lawsuit against the L'union vie, Caisee paternelle and La confiance companies has been settled with the AXA company.

Baghdoyan presented details of this process as well as the results of the case with the New York Live Insurance at a news conference in Yerevan today.

The representatives of the law firm said that the deadline for applications has been extended until January 7, 2008, according to a court ruling. More information is available on the site www.armenianinsurancesettlementaxa.com.

The total amount has been calculated to be about $11.5 million.

Baghdoayan said that L'union vie had the lion's share among the banks operating in the Ottoman Empire. He said that unlike before, the names of people will be mentioned in the lists to make it easy for people to find their ancestors.

As for the New York Live Insurance, he said that about $4 million has been left unclaimed and the money will be given to Armenian charities in the US.

In case of AXA, about $3 million has bee allocated for the same goal.

Baghdoyan also said that 2,515 Armenians from 26 countries have received the compensation money, which is 50 per cent of the total amount of applications.

Most compensations were received by Armenia Armenians - 1,254 people with a total amount of $3.675 million, followed by the USA with 869 people, then France with 141 and Canada with 68.

Eight people living in Turkey got a total of $14,000.


Ne Mutlu Türküm DNA
ANDREW FINKEL a.finkel@todayszaman.com
I emerged from my house one day to discover that my Istanbul neighborhood had been seized by an army of occupation. Or at least that’s the way it felt. This was some time ago. The Besiktas football club had won the league and there were huge streamers and flags in the club colors of black and white hanging above the street and a house-high banner with the club’s black eagle at the main intersection. I don’t actually live in Besiktas, so I confess I was a bit surprised to see such enthusiasm; but I had just completed a four-part series with their coach Gordon Milne, a man of whom I approved, so I was delighted to discover where my neighbors’ sympathies lay.

The next year, or was it two or three, we were occupied by an entirely different power. It was Fenerbahçe’s turn to come up on top and the flags had turned yellow and blue. “Are the people in my neighborhood so opportunistic,” I wondered, “that they support whoever wins -- or is there a civil war taking place behind closed doors with half the neighborhood supporting one team and half the neighborhood supporting another?” The next year, Galatasaray won the league.

I am suffering a similar sort of confusion in the aftermath of the pronouncement by the head of the Turkish Historical Society, Yusuf Halaçoglu. The learned professor, you will recall, caused not so much a ripple as a modest tsunami when he produced a kernel of truth in an unpalatable way. He revealed the existence of state records charting the ethnicity of the country’s population and said that many people who thought of themselves as Kurdish were in fact Turcoman and that many who thought of themselves as Alevi Kurds “unfortunately” were Armenians -- presumably ones who converted secretly to escape forced deportation in 1915.

Professor Halaçoglu denied he was being racist at a press conference to clarify his remarks. He said not all Kurds were Turks, not all Alevis were Armenians -- although he found it hard to escape the Big Brother implication that he knew from his secret documents who was and who wasn’t. A statement produced by many of his internationally distinguished colleagues, sponsored by the rival Turkish Historical Foundation, accused the head of the Historical Society not just of racism but bad scholarship -- “He appears to be totally unaware of anything published on nationalism or ethnicity during the last 30 years,” the statement said.

While it may be true that people may be “flexible” in their tribal and ethnic identities, this is no great revelation. It always has been and will be the case. Presumably many of those Turcomen who drifted into becoming Kurds had drifted into becoming Turcomen generations before. Identities aren’t like barcodes. People construct their own. Of course, very often they are assisted by those in power who, like Professor Halaçoglu, are determined to put them in a particular box. It didn’t matter if you thought you were a Jew in Nazi Germany as much as what other people thought you were. The notion that people possess a “real” identity which can be proven scientifically is an abuse of science and the basis of a racism in public life in Turkey of which, unfortunately, Professor Halaçoglu is not the lone nor even the worst offender.

There was a popular television documentary in Britain recently called “100% English” in which people who thought themselves more English than cricket were confronted with DNA evidence that there was Roma or North African or even French blood in their ancestry. One or two of those tested found such revelations extremely hard to take. People support Besiktas for any number of reasons, and anyone who denies that support is deeply held is looking for a punch in the nose. Only the most die-hard fan, on the other hand, would insist that their partisanship is genetically hard-wired after generations of selective breeding. Despite what the crowds shout, their blood doesn’t really run black and white.
02.09.2007


Armenia's Trade With Turkey Rises 23 Percent
ARMENPRESS
Aug 31, 2007
Armenia's foreign trade in January-July of 2008 rose to $2.263 billion.

Exports rose 21 percent from a year ago to $631 million, while imports rose 44.5 percent to $1.632 billion.

The National Statistical Service said the trade deficit rose beyond $1 billion.

It said also 32 percent of trade fell on former Soviet republics. The biggest share of 15 percent or $331 million, was with Russia. Ukraine was the second biggest trade partner among former Soviet republics with $144 million.

The trade with CIS countries rose 55 percent.

Trade with EU members rose 34 percent to almost 39 percent of all foreign trade. The biggest trade partner was Germany-$210 million or 10 percent, Belgium was second with $127 million or 6 percent.

Armenia's trade with Turkey with which it has no diplomatic relations, rose 23 percent to $58 million.

Share of trade with Turkey made 2.6 percent, it was 5 percent with the USA and 4 percent with China.

Armenian Parliament Chief Criticizes Bill To Recognize Nagorno-Karabakh
The New Anatolian / Ankara
30 August 2007

The speaker of Armenia's parliament has criticized a bill calling for the official recognition of the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic.

The draft legislation was authored by Raffi Hovannisian, a former foreign minister who heads the opposition Zharangutyun (Heritage) party.

It consists of two paragraphs -- that Armenia recognizes the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic, and that the law enters into force once it's officially published.

Hovannisian demanded that Armenia change a long-standing policy and formally recognize Nagorno-Karabakh as an independent state.

Stepan Safarian, a parliament deputy from Hovannisian's Zharangutyun party, said the latest deadlock in Armenian-Azerbaijani peace talks is a major reason for the bill's circulation. He expressed hope that the pro-government majority in the National Assembly will back it.

Parliament speaker Tigran Torosian, who has approved the bill for submission to parliamentary committees, told the Armenian media on Wednesday that the bill is misguided.

"The issue of recognizing the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic should not be connected to this bill," he said. "The recognition of the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic by the Republic of Armenia should have a serious foundation. It is not right when people who are not informed about the details and modality of the process of negotiations for obvious reasons introduce bills like this one to the parliament."

Armenian sources said the ruling party opposes the bill and its rejection is certain.

A spokesman for Azerbaijan's Foreign Ministry, Khazar Ibrahim, criticized the initiative, saying today that Armenia's political opposition should "recognize their mistakes" instead of "recognizing Azerbaijan's territory as their own."

Nagorno-Karabakh is enclave predominantly populated by ethnic Armenians that that declared its independence from Azerbaijan in 1991. The move led to a bloody war between Armenia and Azerbaijan that ended when Russian brokered a cease-fire in 1994.

To this day the conflict remains "frozen," and no country, including Armenia, recognizes the independence of Nagorno-Karabakh.

The new bill will be distributed to committees for consideration before a reading by the National Assembly, which begins its fall session on September 10.



Armenian Genocide: Turkey's Blackmail On Its Jewish Community
European Armenian Federation Press Release
August 31, 2007

The Anti-Defamation League recognizes the Armenian Genocide but is opposed to the US Congress resolution of recognition because of the Turkish State's weight of threats on the Jewish community of Turkey.

On August 24, the Anti-Defamation League of the United States (ADL) made volte-face by definitively recognizing the genocide of the Armenians, after the steering committee of the campaign "No Place for Hate" of Massachusetts (USA) severed ties with ADL because of the latter's hitherto denial of the genocide.

ADL's new position, which had followed heated controversy, was immediately adopted by the American Jewish Committee (AJC), the other large Jewish lobbying organization in the United States. The pressure exercised by the constituencies of ADL and AJC, which brought about the progress in their position, caused hysteria in the Turkish political circles who "until then sub-contracted" to the American Jewish organizations part of Turkey's communication policy and program in the USA. In the context of a possible voting this Autumn by the American Congress of the resolution on the genocide of the Armenians, these changes in position led Turkey to denounce its lobbying contracts in Washington, while the Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan had lengthy discussions with President Shimon Perez, summoned to bring the American Jews into step.

The ADL affirms that the League "had suddenly shared the appreciation that [...] the tragic events of 1915-1918 were actually the equivalent of genocide". It adds however: ". we firmly continue to think that a resolution of the Congress would be counterproductive and would not facilitate the reconciliation between Turks and Armenians.".

The principal reason of its opposition to a resolution of recognition by the American Congress is at the very least shocking: it is the safety of the Jews of Turkey which is brought forward. "As long as the ADL will remain an organization engaged firstly in the security and the safety of the Jewish people, we cannot in good conscience ignore the wellbeing of the 20.000 Jews of Turkey", declares the last official statement of the ADL signed by its president Abraham Foxman.

Echoing a similar view, the Consul general of Israel in Turkey Mordehai Amihai, highlighted his concern in the declaration: "I hope that the Turkish population can differentiate between the State of Israel, the ADL and the Jewish population of Turkey".

The Turkish government pressures on Israel aims to obtain the realignment behind Ankara the American Jewish organizations, like the ADL, and obtain support to their denial policy.

"The Jews of Turkey are hostages" declared Laurent Leylekian, the executive director of the European Armenian Federation; "contrary to the idea spread by a massive propaganda, this community, like all the other non-Turkish communities, does not enjoy any freedom, and is used to force the international Jewish organizations to betray the principles of defense, of justice and of human dignity for which they were however created" he explained.

"Blackmailing with the life and the safety of the minorities is usual practice and in line with Turkish traditional policy; the Armenians have had the horrific experience. It is urgent for the Jewish organizations of Europe to support their American counterparts in their refusal to yield to this odious blackmail" affirmed Laurent Leylekian.

The European Armenian Federation reminder: Anti-Semitic scathing attacks such as "Mein Kampf" or the "The Protocols of Wise Men of Zion" have been for several years the best-sellers in Turkey, like are many armenophobic booklets.


Armenia Congratulates Gul
The New Anatolian / Ankara
30 August 2007
President Robert Kocharian and Foreign Minister Vartan Oskanian joined world leaders in congratulating Abdullah Gul on his election as Turkey's president.

Kocharian's office did not release any details of what is a rare congratulatory message sent from Yerevan to Ankara.

Kocharian, who is currently in Greece on a private visit, received an official congratulation from Gul's predecessor, Ahmet Necdet Sezer, after his reelection in 2003.

"There is much work to be done in this region, and I am sure you will bring your contribution to global peace and prosperity," Oskanian said in a separate letter to Gul released by the Armenian Foreign Ministry.

Gul repeatedly met with Oskanian in his previous capacity as Turkey's foreign minister to discuss ways of normalizing strained relations between their countries. No major progress was made during the talks.

Armenia and Turkey have no diplomatic relations, with successive governments in Ankara making their establishment conditional on a resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and an end to the long-running Armenian campaign for international recognition of the alleged 1915 genocide in the Ottoman Empire. The current Turkish government, formed by Gul's Justice and Development (AK) Party, has essentially stuck to those preconditions despite showing signs of a softening of Turkish policy on Armenia.

According to the Armenian media few politicians and analysts in Yerevan expect a rapid improvement of Turkish-Armenian as a result of Gul's election. Giro Manoyan, a senior member of the governing Armenian Revolutionary Federation (Dashnaktsutyun), also argued that Turkish presidents have had little say in the formulation of government policies.

Parliamentary opposition Zharangutyun leader Raffi Hovannisian also congratulated the new Turkish president. "It is to be hoped that, during your tenure and that of the next Armenian president to be elected in several months' time, Turkish-Armenian relations will enter a wholly new phase of reflection, exploration, discovery, and ultimate normalization," Hovannisian wrote in a letter made public by his party's press service.

"The deep divides between our countries, be they of contemporary character or part of the legacy of the Great Armenian Dispossession, must be overcome and resolved in truth, with integrity, and through the partnership of the two new leaders and their fellow citizens of good faith and conscience," he said. "May God grant you the vision, commitment, and health."

Sensoy Warns Israel Could Be Hurt By Genocide Debate
Though the Turkish government is strongly opposed to any congressional action by the United States, the Turkish Jewish community has nothing to fear -- but Turkey’s relations with Israel and the US would probably not survive such a resolution unscathed, said Turkish Ambassador to the US Nabi Sensoy in remarks to the New York-based Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA).


Nabi Sensoy says the ADL’s Statement Could Harm Relations Between Certain Countries

“I cannot really dismiss that if this resolution does pass, there will be certain impacts on certain relationships. There is no doubt about it,” Sensoy was quoted as saying in an interview with the JTA this week.

Last week, the US-based Anti-Defamation League (ADL) reversed its long-time policy concerning the killings of Anatolian Armenians in the early 20th century and said the killings of Armenians by Ottoman Turks “were indeed tantamount to 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 that were invading the crumbling Ottoman Empire.

Sensoy also voiced uneasiness over certain emphasis by the ADL on concerns over safety of the Jewish community in Turkey. “I’m very disturbed to hear this kind of remark coming from anywhere. They seem to be forgetting the history of Turks and Jews, which goes back at least 500 years. We’ve always had the best of relations between Turks and Jews and the Turkish Jewish community is part-and-parcel -- and an integral part -- of the Turkish community,” he said.

Similar remarks reflecting Ankara’s uneasiness on the same point were delivered by Foreign Ministry spokesperson Levent Bilman last week when he reacted against the ADL statement. “The Jewish community in our country is a part of our society and there isn’t any particularity that they should fear concerning developments related to the Armenian allegations,” Bilman said.

“We are expecting the American Jewish organizations to be neutral about this. Although we’re aware of the fact that this is a very sensitive issue for the Israeli people and the Jewish community, what we have to seek is the truth,” Sensoy told JTA.

ADL complains about The Jewish Advocate

An article penned by ADL National Director Abraham Foxman and published in a Boston newspaper, The Jewish Advocate, on Monday was widely interpreted in Turkey as an apparent show of determination in the ADL’s stance, vowing that they will “not hesitate to apply the term genocide in the future.” The fact that Foxman’s article was published after he last week sent a letter addressing Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, saying that the ADL has huge respect for the Turkish people and has never desired to put the Turkish people and their leaders into a difficult situation, led to that particular interpretation.

Yet, ADL directors told Turkish officials that the article by Foxman was actually posted to The Jewish Advocate as of last week, not after Foxman’s letter to Erdogan, a senior Turkish diplomat, speaking on condition of anonymity, told Today’s Zaman on Thursday. The same ADL directors expressed uneasiness over the choice of the newspaper to publish the article as if it were a brand-new article and asked the newspaper to remove the article from their Web site, the same Turkish diplomat said.

The diplomat reiterated Ankara’s expectation of a “rectification” of their statement by the ADL. Earlier this week, when asked by Today’s Zaman to elaborate on how a “rectification” could be made by the ADL, Bilman said the right address for consulting such controversial matters was historians and that the ADL should refer to historians after making such an assertive allegation and then review its statement. “The issue is not closed for Ankara until such a review and rectification is made. We expect the ADL to rectify its statement because it is obvious that there is no consensus among historians on how to qualify the 1915 incidents, contrary to what the ADL has claimed,” he said.

31.08.2007


US Jewish Group Sticks To 'Armenian Genocide' Recognition
August 29, 2007

'We will not hesitate to apply the term genocide in the future,' says the ADL's Foxman

Ümit ENGINSOY
WASHINGTON - Turkish Daily News

The U.S. Jewish group Anti-Defamation League has confirmed its commitment to the recognition of World War I-era Armenian killings in the Ottoman Empire as genocide, shortly after its top official sent a letter to Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, expressing his organization's "deep sorrow" for causing pain to Turkey's leaders and people.

In a controversial shift in position last Tuesday, the ADL's National Director Abraham Foxman announced that his group had come to the understanding that the Armenian killings "indeed were tantamount to genocide." But he added the ADL remained opposed to efforts to pass genocide resolutions in the U.S. Congress, saying such moves would be counterproductive.

The ADL's move was a huge disappointment for the Turkish government and caused public anger, prompting Foxman to send a letter to Erdogan Friday, voicing his wish for the continuation of good relations with Turkey.

"I am writing to you at this very difficult time to express deep regret for any pain we have caused to you and the Turkish people in these past few days," Foxman said in the letter provided by the ADL to the Turkish Daily News. "It was certainly not our intent to hurt or embarrass the Turkish people and their leaders."

But in a Monday article published by The Jewish Advocate, a Jewish weekly newspaper serving the greater Boston area, he said that the ADL will stick to the term genocide in reference to the Armenian killings.

'Congressional resolutions counterproductive'

"While 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, we will not hesitate to apply the term genocide in the future," Foxman said.

He referred to the ADL's contacts with Turkish Jews and the group's larger moral foundations in explaining the new position.

"We have heard repeatedly from [the Turkish Jewish community's] leaders how concerned they are about the impact of American Jewish involvement in efforts to label as genocide Turkish actions against Armenians during World War I... For us, as a Jewish defense organization, such concern cannot go unheeded," he said.

"Still, we had a dilemma. As an organization committed to educating people on the dangers not only of anti-Semitism but of hatred of all kinds, we could not ignore the terrible tragedy that befell Armenians at the hands of the Ottoman Empire," Foxman said. "And we have not. In meetings with high-level Turkish officials, we have pressed them to come to grips with the past and speak about what happened. We have done that again and again and we will continue to do so," he said.

He added: "We think the Turkish government should address the moral implications of its history with the Armenians, particularly because Turkey occupies the critical spot in the great struggle of our time, the effort to see a moderate Islamic model triumph over Islamic extremism."

Turkey seeking Israel's help

The recognition of the Armenian killings as genocide was the right move, Foxman said.

"As long as the ADL is an organization committed first to the safety and security of the Jewish people, we cannot in good conscience ignore the well being of 20,000 Jews in Turkey," he said. "We will, however, continue to push the Turkish government in the right direction."

In an effort to prevent a spillover to other U.S. Jewish groups, Turkey has been urging Israel to use its influence on them.

"Israel should not let the [U.S.] Jewish community change its position. This is our expectation and this is highly important, highly important," Namik Tan, Turkey's ambassador to Israel, was quoted as saying by the Jerusalem Post Monday.

An Armenian genocide resolution pending in the U.S. House of Representatives, Congress' lower chamber, 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 226 lawmakers in the 435-seat House.

Controversial official reinstated

In a related development, the ADL has reinstated its New England regional director a week after he was fired for publicly saying the group should change its national policy by recognizing the Armenian genocide claims, the Associated Press reported.

Andrew Tarsy got his job back Monday after talks with Foxman.

Foxman said in an interview with The Boston Globe Monday that he and Tarsy "see eye to eye" after talks held over the last week. "And after our conversation, I decided to take him back, to reinstate him. And I'm delighted he's back."

Tarsy's firing came at a time when the ADL had not recognized the genocide claims.

The ADL's regional board had unanimously asked Foxman to bring Tarsy back.

Foxman, in his last Tuesday statement, admitted that the ADL's shift in position had also stemmed from an effort to prevent disruption of Jewish unity.

Israeli Foreign Minister calls Gül

Meanwhile Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni called Abdullah Gül on Monday to reiterate Israel's support, the Turkish Daily News learned. Lvini said Israel will continue to do its utmost so that the American Jewish organizations' stance remained unchanged despite the statement of the ADL, according to diplomatic sources. Israeli President Shimon Perez and PM Erdogan spoke on the phone last week, the former pledging that he will step in to ask the ADL to reverse its position. Perez talked to ADL's National Director Foxman, who then send a letter to Prime Minister Erdogan expressing sorrow.


Abraham Foxman's "Turkey-Hunting Season"
C. Cem OGUZ
August 29, 2007

It was this time Mr. Foxman himself who, subsequent to his statement that the World War I killings of Anatolian Armenians by Turks “were indeed tantamount to genocide,” opened the door to a new Turkey-hunting party in the U.S.

Nearly two years ago, an editorial published in the Turkish Daily News commenced with a notable observation on discussions of Turkey in the United States: “I always thought Turkey-hunting season was in the fall. However, after reading some scathing press accounts about the country of Turkey, I guess, I was wrong.” The writer of these lines was Abraham H. Foxman, national director of the New York-based Anti-Defamation League (ADL), actually one of the world's leading organizations fighting anti-semitism. Paradoxically however, it was this time Mr. Foxman himself who, subsequent to his statement that the World War I killings of Anatolian Armenians by Turks “were indeed tantamount to genocide,” opened the door to a new Turkey-hunting party in the U.S.The causes behind this radical policy reversal are pretty obviously related to internal balances and disagreements within the ADL itself. The divergence of opinions mainly revolve around whether an organization like the ADL, which is dedicated to remembering Holocaust victims, could actually remain credible without acknowledging the tragic events of 1915 as genocide. The uproar finally surfaced with the dismissal of its New England director, Andrew Tarsy, over his support for the approval of the latest Armenian resolution waiting to pass through Congress. In Tarsys' view, the national position of the ADL was “morally indefensible.” It was precisely for this reason that Foxman subsequently alleged the policy shift was a part of his attempts to avert disunity within the Jewish community.

Mainstream historiography:

If I were a member of an organization like the ADL and someone of Jewish origin, I would have definitely questioned such “hypocrisies” as well. To maintain self-respect, it is a moral obligation to avoid dishonorable assaults on the truth. More importantly, as U.S. Speaker Nancy Pelosi, one of the most influential supporters of the Armenian allegations, has rightly underscored, “Ignoring the lessons of a genocide indeed means being destined to continue our stumbling through the long, dark tunnel of endless ethnic cleansings, genocides and holocausts.” Yet, I humbly feel compelled to remind everyone that before arriving at absolute conclusions, we must first grasp what really happened in the past.

In genocide terminology there are three main concepts of crucial importance: revisionism (in response to mainstream historiography), denial, and reconciliation with the past. Denial refers to claims that the Holocaust did not occur as it is defined by mainstream historiography. What then does mainstream historiography mean and who basically represents it? In the case of the Holocaust, it is almost impossible to challenge the existent evidence and truth. Deniers such as David Irving or Ernst Zündel, in turn, have a common pattern of either falsifying historical documents or deliberately misrepresenting historical data. As can be seen in Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmedinejad's attitude, denial is motivated by an anti-Semitic conspiracy theory or hatred. This politically motivated bias necessitates moral and legal protection that will help humanity save new victims.In contrast to the Holocaust, mainstream historiography on the “Armenian genocide” is highly disputable. Some of the facts that Armenian researchers claim to be sufficient to conclude that the tragedy of 1915 is genocide are obviously distorted. More dramatically, in the atmosphere of intellectual terror that our Armenian friends have successfully built up, they stubbornly oppose any challenge to their version of mainstream historiography. Turkey's relatively puny efforts at self-defense are frequently portrayed as attempts at denial, and by accusations of revisionism, history is unfortunately sadly being politicized. Since the Turks have failed to become reconciled with their past, as this line of thinking assumes, they must be forced, either with the help of parliamentary resolutions or political sticks, to admit and accept a genocide.

Why then the need for a joint commission?:

The latest debate revolving around the ADL is actually not immune to such handicaps. Those criticizing Foxman maintain that the “Armenian genocide” is a fact. Jeff Jacoby, in the Boston Globe, wrote, “The Turkish government today denies it, but the historical record, chronicled in works like Peter Balakian's powerful 2003 study, ‘The Burning Tigris,' is overwhelming.” In Ha'aretz, Evan R. Goldstein ironically stated, “Academic authorities agree on this matter, and the evidence that the campaign against the Armenians constituted the first genocide of the 20th century is overwhelming and incontrovertible.” Even Foxman said he made the decision after discussing the matter with historians and with Nobel Peace Prize laureate and Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel.

From such approaches and judgments we assume that the mainstream historiography already recognized the 1915 events as genocide. To dig the truth, however, I humbly will pose some naïve questions and try to find out who these “academics” are. Are there actually any others except for those of Armenian origin? Are they Ottomanists? Have these figures I quoted ever read accounts other than those written by Armenian researchers, the overwhelming majority of whom are not even historians? What about, for instance, the works of Bernard Lewis, the late Stanford Shaw or Guenther Lewy all of whom are ironically of Jewish origin and are opposed to the idea of labelling the tragic events of 1915 “genocide”?Let's leave aside such minor historical details and proceed further with this mindset's political implications. Actually, herein lurks another hypocrisy, perpetrated not only by the ADL and Foxman but also almost all Western countries, and that I really cannot understand.

The ADL first announces that it recognizes the tragic events of 1915 as “genocide.” After the Turkish government's strong reaction, however, it reiterates its support for efforts to bring Turkey and Armenia together to resolve differences over their shared history. In a written statement accordingly, it ironically says it is ready to “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.” If the alleged genocide is a fact, as it is widely believed in most of the Western countries the parliaments of which have already passed resolutions in this regard, why actually would we waste our time on such a joint commission? Could anyone please tell me why Armenia would consent to this proposal when they believe the battle is already won? Who, among historians of Armenian descent, would risk being a member of this joint commission, especially if such an archival investigation would definitely display the methodological weaknesses of the accounts they use to claim the events were genocide? If I were an Armenian, I definitely wouldn't!


Turkey expects ‘rectification’ as ADL insists on ‘genocide’ label
In an apparent show of determination, the leader of the US-based Anti-Defamation League (ADL) has insisted that the organization made an appropriate decision by revising its policy concerning the killings of Anatolian Armenians in the early 20th century, vowing that they will "not hesitate to apply the term genocide in the future."

An article penned by ADL National Director Abraham Foxman -- who last week said the killings of Armenians by Muslim Turks "were indeed tantamount to genocide" -- was published in a Boston newspaper, The Jewish Advocate, on Monday.

"While 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, we will not hesitate to apply the term genocide in the future. We believe that we have been true to who we are in our approach. As long as ADL is an organization committed first to the safety and security of the Jewish people, we cannot in good conscience ignore the well-being of 20,000 Jews in Turkey. We will, however, continue to push the Turkish government in the right direction. We hope people of goodwill understand our perspective, but even if they do not, we deeply believe that we are being true to the core values of our organization which have served Jews and the broader society so well for many years," said Foxman in the article.

Following strong reaction from Turkish political leadership against the ADL's announcement, Foxman last week sent a letter addressing Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, saying 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. Foxman then expressed 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 letter was pleasing to us," Foreign Ministry spokesperson Levent Bilman told Today's Zaman on Tuesday. "However, the wrong step has not yet been corrected. We expect the ADL to rectify its statement because it is obvious that there is no consensus among historians on how to qualify the 1915 incidents, contrary to what the ADL has claimed," Bilman added.

When asked to elaborate on how a "rectification" could be made by the ADL, Bilman said the right address for consulting such controversial matters was historians and that the ADL should refer to historians after making such an assertive allegation and then review its statement. "The issue is not closed for Ankara until such a review and rectification is made."

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.

29.08.2007
Ankara Today's Zaman


The Power Of NGOs
BERIL DEDEOGLU b.dedeoglu@todayszaman.com
There were several reactions in Turkey after an influential Jewish NGO in the United States declared that the events of 1915 under the Ottoman Empire qualified as “genocide.” The Turkish government was the main actor responding, which is in fact absurd. Numerous NGOs, associations and think tanks all over the world, including in the US, conduct research, publish reports or make statements about foreign countries and societies. These declarations are not necessarily positive. After an ethnic or religious NGO’s declaration, interrogating a state with the same ethnic and/or religious affiliation as the NGO also is ridiculous. In other words, it is meaningless to ask Israel “What’s going on?” simply because the Jewish lobby in the United States makes a negative statement about Turkey.

NGO activities in Turkey are a relatively new phenomenon and that is why society and the government’s experience with such work is limited. The general feeling is that every NGO is supported by at least one government and that those in the US don’t favor Turkey, anyway. This feeling is related to Turkey’s own democratic traditions. Nevertheless, there are some people who certainly know that an NGO declaration will result in Turkey contacting the Israeli government. They also know that when the “Armenian genocide” issue arises, the Turkish government will absolutely respond. When one puts the genocide issue and the Jewish NGO together, it is obvious that somebody wants Turkey to analyze this issue as an interstate affair.

There are several facts prompting Turkey to consider the “genocide” issue an interstate problem. As this subject is debated in the parliaments of many countries and recognition laws are adopted, it becomes easier to take this as a “state” problem. That’s why Turkey has drawn away from the essence of the debate and has focused on designating which country develops hostile policies toward Turkey with genocide rhetoric. The people of Armenian origin living in different countries have diverging external or domestic motivations and sensibilities, but this “interstate” atmosphere completely avoids those.

One can even think that the actual state of affairs, which has existed for a very long time, is exactly what is needed by all parties. Maybe the “irresolution” process of the issue is more beneficial than its resolution process. Once before the US Congress, the genocide issue will affect relations between the Democrats and Turkey at a moment when everybody thinks the Democrats will accede to power after the next presidential election. That’s why Turkey, not a good ally of the Bush administration given the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) issue and Iraq policy, will also have doubts about the next Democratic administration. That’s why it would be reasonable for Turkey to trust the current administration. But as the trust between Turkey and the US influences directly Turkey’s relations with the Middle East and Russia, Turkey will also have to approach other allies of the United States. Thus we will have to stop avoiding Israel and establish new dialogue.

The rapprochement between states or societies, especially between Turkey and Israel, is appropriate. However, there is an irony in that the Armenian diaspora pushes Turkey against the wall, making Armenia more dependent on Russia, consolidating its isolation, and encourages Turkey’s rapprochement with Israel and the United States. It’s obvious that there are some people designing their policies through Turkey’s reactions. That’s why the genocide issue is not used as a matter encouraging societies to engage in a dialogue, but as a tool to orient states’ foreign policies.
29.08.2007

Interview with Israeli President Shimon Peres on Turkey's Role in Middle East, ADL . . .
Peres: Gül Epitome Of Contemporary Man

 This content mirrored from TurkishArmenians  Site ©
Israeli President Shimon Peres said concerns regarding whether or not the Justice and Development Party's (AK Party) government's second term, this time with more electoral clout in the wake of the July 22 polls, are baseless because they are not based on facts.

"Erdoğan declared that he is for a secular government, not for an Islamic government. You might be suspicious of his words. The more important thing is his actions. Is he behaving like an Islamist fundamentalist? The mere fact that Turkey is maintaining relations with Israel is the best declaration about the nature of the government," Peres said.

Regarding former Foreign Minister Abdullah Gül's new role as president of Turkey, Peres said: "I met Mr. Gül. I think he is a responsible man and he contributed positively to our relations. I feel that he is a man of contemporary times and a politician who really would like to see Turkey as a free and democratic country. I think he will act with a sense of secular responsibility."

When asked why US-based Jewish-American organization the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) had changed its traditional position concerning the killings of Anatolian Armenians in the early 20th century -- the ADL recently said the killings of Armenians by Ottoman Turks "were indeed tantamount to genocide" -- Peres stated: "I hope they will return to their traditional position. I talked to [ADL Director] Mr. [Abraham] Foxman. He told me that they are going to publish an open declaration that would say two things; they won't support the proposing of this issue before the American Congress, and secondly they would support the idea of [Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip] Erdoğan to have a commission including historians from both sides to study the matter. I think that historians, not governments, should deal with history."

In an exclusive interview with Today's Zaman, a few hours before Abdullah Gül became the 11th president of Turkey, Peres cast no doubt on the new government's intentions to keep the regime secular. When asked about First Lady Hayrünnisa Gül's headscarf, he laughed and said: "I'm not a fashion designer. So you should not ask me this question."

Recipient of the 1994 Nobel Peace Prize together with Israel's then-Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat for the peace talks that produced the Oslo Accords, Peres became president this year in June following the resignation of Moshe Katsav amid impending charges of sexual harassment crimes -- later dropped.

During the interview on Aug. 28 in Jerusalem, Peres answered our questions, spanning the concerns of Israel's 1 million-strong Muslim Arab population to the embargo on Iran, the possibility of Iraq's disintegration and Turkey's role in the region.

After the AK Party’s success in the July 22 elections there has been many concerns, particularly in Jewish-American circles in the US that see this as the end of the Turkish Republican era, heralding a new and more Islamic Turkey and marking the end of Atatürk’s regime. How do you see half of the Turkish population’s supporting Erdoğan, is it something to be feared?

The concerns are baseless for two reasons. Erdoğan declared that he is for a secular government and not an Islamic one. You might be suspicious of his words, but the more important thing to keep in mind is his actions. Is he behaving like an Islamist fundamentalist? The mere fact that Turkey is maintaining relations with Israel is the best indication of the nature of his government. Israel’s founder [David] Ben-Gurion used to say, “Judge the leaders on their record, what they do, not on what they say.” It is only fair that we take a look at Erdoğan and his government’s record -- a very impressive record at that: he created a middle class that has led to current stability, encouraged modern science and technology to Turkey, reduced the numbers of people below poverty line and improved the economy. Meanwhile, [Iranian President] Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, never asked to become a member of the European Union -- a democratic organization. Erdoğan, on the other hand, wants Turkey to be an EU member.

So the concerns have been exaggerated?

The concerns are not based on facts and I can only judge the factual situation.

Similarly, some people in Washington argue that relations between Israel and Turkey have lost momentum due to AK Party governance. Do you agree with that?

I don’t think so. Even if Turkey and Israel do not have the same past, they belong to the same future. Even in the past, you know, some of our leaders were educated in Turkey, including our first prime minister and the first president -- they even wanted to be members of the Turkish Parliament.

A new president will be elected in Turkey today. Abdullah Gül will probably be your colleague as the 11th president…

I met Mr. Gül. I think he is a responsible man and he has contributed positively to our relations. I feel that he is a man of the modern age and a politician who really would like to see Turkey be a free and democratic country. I think he will act with a sense of secular responsibility as well.

His wife’s headscarf has been a topic of debate for some people.

Today, I read in the newspapers debates that she may change her style. And I saw some of the styles suggested for her.

So it’s not a problem?

I’m not a fashion designer. This is an issue people of fashion should talk. [laughter]

Mr. President, Turkey has become a more active country in the Middle East. How do you see it?

We welcome it. We are very glad to learn that Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges (TOBB) decided to build industrial parks in Palestine, starting from Gaza all the way to Jenin. We are negotiating with a Turkish university to build a branch here. We are very happy about Turkey’s readiness to play more active role in the region.

You underline in your books that ‘for peace in the Middle East’ and ‘for peace between Israel and the Palestinians,’ the Palestinians should be empowered. What more can be done in that regard?

When we say “empower” we have to refer to it in modern terms. Today “to be empowered” is having a better economy, not necessarily having a better army. I think that we cling too much on strategy, too much on diplomacy, not enough on economy. What’s changed Turkey is her economy. And if you are talking about headscarves, there are Turkish women without scarves. So women have a choice; if you don’t enforce that then it’s okay. Now I think that Palestinians should be given a chance to promote their economic life. There was an attempt to help Palestinians financially; unfortunately it didn’t function. Palestinians got $1 billion a year from the world in the last 12-13 years, but it created a lot of corruption that brought [major Palestinian political party] Fatah down. It has created a lot of administrative costs and produced very little. Instead of financial aid we have to create economic opportunities so people will be able to get jobs and work. A peace process must be a meeting of people with a new fortune in which they personally believe that peace brought bread and butter to their homes and an open life to their children.

Do you have practical suggestions for Turkey in empowering Palestinians?

Turkey can build new industrial parks. Turkey made a name for itself as a good builder. It is also building in Russia, for example. So why not build here? We have to build bridges instead of building walls.

But you are building walls?

Because we are forced to, it’s not our choice. The walls stopped suicide bombings; we haven’t had it since then. It wasn’t our pleasure [to build the walls].

Do you think that one day it might be demolished?

One-hundred percent. We are experts in dismantling walls.

But it took 60 years for the Berlin wall…

The walls must be shorter to be dismantled. It’s not the age of walls, but it is the age of terror and I think terror will disappear finally. Because it doesn’t have a message, it is a violent protest and they don’t know where they are going.

So aren’t the ideas to empower Palestinians economically and international communities’ and your embargo on Palestinians contradictory?

No, no, no. We don’t have any embargo on the Palestinians. We have an embargo on Hamas.

But it punishes ordinary Palestinians.

Who punishes them? Hamas punishes them. What can Israel do if Hamas fires every day three or four rockets over our civilians? We left Gaza completely. There is no Israeli there -- neither civilians nor soldiers. We took out our settlements. What do they want more? I am afraid they aren’t looking for a Palestinian state. What they are looking for is an Iran-like religious hegemony in the Middle East, and for that reason they want to destroy, not to achieve.

Is there any way to engage Hamas into the political system, and how do you perceive Turkey’s efforts in that respect?

I think the chances are very low. For example, Turkey cannot engage with Iranians about the UN resolutions. Same goes with Hamas. Of course you can have a dialogue, but not with a wall.

But Turkey has good relations with Iran, don’t you think it may contribute to world peace or to peace in the Middle East?

What relations? Turkey can do business with Iran but cannot influence Iran to stop terror, cannot influence Iran to stop building bombs and threatening other people. I am sure Turkey would never agree to what the Iranian leadership says -- to wipe out Israel. Do you agree with it? Nobody does. Do you agree with Hamas that terror should be continued, that they don’t have to negotiate? Nobody can, and nobody will, pay for terror. Hamas wanted to continue terror and shoots rockets, and hopes the world will pay. ... The world will not pay for terror. So we are not talking about Palestinians, we are talking about terror. Because, when it comes to the people, as you have said, we continue to supply electricity, we continue to supply water, we continue to open passages in spite of their firing rockets, but that doesn’t mean you can negotiate with them, because there is no reason to. Nobody can explain why they are still shooting after Israel has completely left Gaza. What do they want?

Some people say that Turkey can be a mediator between Israel and the Palestinians, but some say that Turkey may side more with the Palestinians so it cannot be a mediator.

I think Turkey should support peace, not one side or the other, because the negotiations must be directly between the Israelis and the Palestinians, no other country can take part. Now -- when we are in negotiations -- when you negotiate, you negotiate with two parties, your enemy and your own people. Occasionally it’s very difficult to convince your own people to give up land or something else. People don’t like it. So the negotiator cannot be [anything] but Israeli, because he has to convince his people. No other country can convince Israelis but their own messengers, their own representatives. And for that reason I think the negotiations have to be face to face, between Mr. [Mahmoud] Abbas, the president of the Palestinian Authority, and Mr. [Ehud] Olmert, the prime minister of Israel. They talk, if they establish chemistry. Mr. Abbas has the same problem with Hamas as we do. It is not only a problem for Israel, but for the Palestinians as well. The latest polls shows the supporters of Hamas are beginning to be disappointed, saying, “What are you doing in Gaza?”

You do not buy the arguments that Turkey may be a negotiator?

I believe Turkey could and should support peace. Why should Turkey be one-dimensional when it can be two-dimensional like us? I mean we also want good relations, I told you. But I think if one must contribute, they should contribute more in the economic domain than the political one, because to negotiate politically you have to have a mandate of your own.

Again, regarding Turkey’s role in the Middle East, how do you think we can be inspired by the Ottoman legacy, a time of peace for centuries in the region?

The Ottoman legacy is over, like the British Empire is over, like the French Empire is over. And you are not coming from the Ottoman legacy, you are coming from modern Turkey. Modern Turkey’s example is the greatest contribution for peace in the Middle East. I went to Rafiah once when we were governing it. The mayor of Rafiah was a good friend of mine. He said: “Look, I don’t know what we can do. You cannot negotiate with the Egyptians -- they are stubborn, we cannot go with you or the Jews -- we are Muslims.” “So what do you want us to do, why can’t you call the Turks back,” I said. “Because Turks don’t want to come back, they don’t want to build a new empire, it’s over,” he said. We live in a world with borders. Distances disappear with the power of transportation and communication. The racial differences are over too. Today it’s really not important if you are yellow or black or white. If you adopt the right policies, color has nothing to say. Even the relations between men and women are changing; we are becoming more and more equal. So we cannot go back, we have to move forward. And you can pray like a Muslim. Why should I shoot you and you shoot me? You should pray and I should pray. We accept all prayers go straight to heaven, so let the Lord be the judge.

Yesterday I was at the Al-Aqsa Mosque. I told one of your Arab citizens there that I planned to interview you and asked him to tell me his concerns. The humble man said he is a citizen of Israel, but his brother just five kilometers away, cannot come here to pray, though American Muslims or European Muslims may do so.

Let them behave like the American Muslims and they can come. That’s all. We don’t want them to stop being Muslims. We want them to stop shooting. If they continue shooting they will not be able to move freely. Look, there were 50,000 Palestinians working in Israel. But they have begun to commit acts of terror. We have in Israel a million Muslim Arabs, as our citizens. Five thousand of them are academics. Twenty-thousand Arab students every year enter into our universities and most of them are women.

What those graduates are doing in Israel? Some of them are teachers, some of them doctors. Today you come to every Israeli hospital and find Arab doctors. You’ll find Arab nurses and Arab patients. Now look how ridiculous the situation is. A Jewish patient wouldn’t mind being treated by an Arab doctor; an Arab patient can be treated by a Jew, a Jewish doctor. What I am saying is the only healthy relations are in the hospital. The doctor has a knife but only to perform an operation, to make somebody healthy, not to cut somebody -- that’s the difference.

So easing the visitation restrictions are dependent on the level of violence?

One-hundred percent. Jordanians come and we don’t have a problem. Turks are Muslims and we don’t have problems.

Yesterday I was with former Israeli Ambassador to Turkey Zvi Elpeleg in Tel-Aviv. I realized a serious problem faces Muslim Arabs and Mr. Elpeleg was very concerned as well. Israel, according to a 1950s law, confiscated the properties of Muslim foundations. Mosques have been used for purposes other than that they were designed for and cemeteries have been sold. Once it might have been a security issue, but times have changed. As a man of peace, how would you help solve this issue?

I think we are responsible for all holy sites of all religions. We have to honor them, we have to respect them, we must not endanger them. It’s our responsibility, the safety of the churches, of the mosques, of the synagogues. All of them are holy in our eyes, and as a government we have to do whatever we can.

A lawyer brought the cemetery case to the Supreme Court but they said, under the law dating back to the 1950s, it’s not illegal.

I don’t know which law you’re referring to…

I’m referring to the ‘present absentees’ issue. It’s the law about the properties belonging to the Palestinians who were displaced during the 1948 war but currently live in Israel.

According to our Constitution, we have to respect all religions, enable free worship and respect their holy sites.

Some neocons, the ones close to the Jewish lobby, say partition of Iraq would be good for Israel because this will decrease Iran’s power, helping Israel. How do you see the issue?

It’s not our problem. Nobody knows what’s helpful and what’s not helpful. It’s for Iraq to decide what they want, to be together or to separate. We don’t have a say. We have enough problems of our own. We don’t run the lives of other people.

How do you feel when you look at your Nobel Prize and the current situation? What went wrong?

Many reasons… There was a split among the Palestinians; they couldn’t unite and make up their minds, and as a result Mr. Arafat started zigzagging. Without him we wouldn’t be able to even start the negotiations but with him we couldn’t conclude because of this zigzagging. On the other side, Israelis became disappointed; they said “land for peace.” They thought Israelis decided to give all the land but failed to get peace. In spite of it all, the result has not been so bad. Without Oslo, Palestinians wouldn’t be people that could negotiate -- maybe all of them would be in Hamas. In Oslo we also agreed on some principles, including the 1967 borders and not those of ‘48. But history takes time, you know. You have to overcome many prejudices, many hells, many fears and many worries. Personally, 14 to 20 years seems to be a long time period, but in fact it is not -- it’s a short period of time.

This year was the 40th anniversary of the 1967 events. Some in the Israeli media have been quite critical of what was done after 1967, especially the occupation.

Was that the only thing they were critical about? [Laughing]

No, there was a lot of criticism, but they say that the occupation was not right.

What else could we do? Take the West Bank? It was under Jordanian control. Our then prime minister sent a message to the king of Jordan and said, “Don’t attack us, we shall not attack you.” Then they turned their guns against us, so we were left without any choice but to silence them.

But you are still for the withdrawal from the West Bank, and you have been criticized by some rabbis for being against Jewish law.

I think there was a solution accepted by most Israelis: that there should be two states for two people. It’s clear. What I say is in that direction.

Some say that the absence of a Muslim state in the Quartet diminishes its power. Wouldn’t an Islamic country or the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) -- representing 57 Muslim states -- help to strengthen its legitimacy?

We have to negotiate outstanding questions. Some of the proposals are music without an orchestra. They made their opinions known, but you cannot negotiate with opinions. Therefore we are negotiating with Palestinians politically and with the Jordanians and the Palestinians economically. I think this is the right framework.

Why did the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) change its traditional position and make such a decision [equating the 1915 events against Anatolian Armenians to genocide]?

I think there was internal pressure and they departed from their traditional position. I hope they will return to their traditional position. I talked to [ADL Director] Mr. [Abraham] Foxman. He told me that they are going to publish an open declaration that would say two things; they won’t support the proposing of this issue before the American Congress, and secondly they would support the idea of [Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip] Erdoğan to have a commission including historians from both sides to study the matter. I think that historians, not governments, should deal with history.

Do you agree with the argument that this was a reaction to Turkey’s relations with Iran and Turkey’s invitation of Hamas?

No, I don’t think so. I think it’s an internal matter. I don’t think they play into world politics. They don’t get orders from Israel and I think they didn’t have a political underpinning.

Could the experiences of the Armenians, who formed gangs during World War I and demanded independence, be compared to the experiences of the Jews, who faced genocide just because of their identity?

No, I don’t think you can compare them. I think it’s reasonable what Prime Minister Erdoğan suggested -- bringing together a group of historians that will judge history based on history, not based on politics. I mean they would not adapt history depending on the present political arguments. History is over, it cannot be changed. It must be investigated professionally and we have to continue with our lives. We cannot change the past; we can only change the future. A rabbi asked Ben-Gurion once what even God couldn’t change. Ben-Gurion asked, “What?” and the rabbi replied, “History.”

Do you think Turkish society can be assured that Israel would not change its position on the events of 1915?

Israel is firm in its position. For us relations with Turkey are very important and if we had to fight, we would fight Ahmadinejad’s policies of destruction, threats, terror and bombs.

So do you support the idea of a nuclear-free Middle East?

I declare the Middle East free from the threat of destruction. Arms don’t destroy, people destroy. Pakistan has a bomb but has not hit anything. But here comes a declaration of the leader, a member of the United Nations that he wants to wipe out another member of the United Nations. Nobody can accept it. Israel is being threatened, but Iran is not being threatened by anybody.

So do you think Israel could also be part of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT)?

Well, that’s another story. Israel never said we should detonate a nuclear bomb in the Middle East, but people are suspicious. And if the suspicion is a deterrent, it’s good enough. We are satisfied with the suspicion. We don’t want anything more.

01.09.2007
ABDÜLHAMİT BİLİCİ JERUSALEM /Zaman


ATAA responds to Anti Defamation League-ADL’s Statement

With great consternation has the ATAA witnessed the machinations of the ADL as it comments on the events of 1915. The ATAA maintains two complementary positions. First, the loss of civilian life in eastern Anatolia during World War I was tragic for Muslims and Christians alike, but that for the Ottoman Armenians, who had considered these regions among their traditional homelands, the depopulation of these areas from both the government-ordered relocations and inter-communal violence, the harm was particularly acute and we acknowledge this independently as a tragedy. We mourn all of the innocents who died and respect those who wish to preserve their memory. And second, the historic record does not reflect that the Ottoman Armenians were subjected to genocide as the term is understood in proper context, that of the U.N. Genocide Convention. Suggestions that it is an insult to the Armenian memory to consider Armenian losses anything other than genocide not only demeans the Convention, under which the Armenian case has yet to be tested, but also inhibits any efforts toward reconciliation among Turks and Armenians, whose shared history is vastly more complex than the hammer-and-fist rhetoric swirling around the single word, genocide.

The ATAA perceives as a ray of hope from recent announcements by the ADL that it believes that the only way forward is to reconcile Turks and Armenians, rather than to punish Turks, which would be the net effect of passage of H. Res. 106. The ADL correctly realizes that the foundation of reconciliation will be laid by joint study of the shared history of Turks and Armenians, including its high points and low points. The ATAA, therefore, commends the ADL in this respect and looks forward to the empanelment of a joint historical commission composed of the world's leading scholars on Ottoman history regardless of their country of origin. The ATAA also hopes that the ADL will encourage the government of Armenia to participate in this effort. Finally, knowing that deciding history by legislative fiat would defeat the purpose of further study, the ATAA commends the ADL's opposition to H. Res. 106 and all legislation that would pre-judge a historical controversy.

Assembly Of Turkish American Associations
1526 18th St. NW, Washington, DC 20036
Phone:(202) 483-9090,Fax:(202) 483-9092
Email:assembly@ataa.org
ATAA PRESS RELEASE / August 28, 2007


Is Armenian Genocide Denial Good For The Jews?
August 27th, 2007 by The Stiletto

Earlier this month, the Town Council in Watertown, MA, home one of the largest Armenian populations in the U.S., voted 8-0 to withdraw from the No Place for Hate program because one of its sponsors, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), refused to acknowledge the Armenian Genocide of 1915-1917.

“We cannot join with the ADL when they refuse to acknowledge the [Armenian] genocide,” Councilor Marilyn Petitto Devaney, who introduced the proclamation to withdraw from the program, told The Boston Globe. The town’s Armenian Americans wanted the ADL either to condemn the Armenian Genocide or end its sponsorship of the campaign.

Watertown was one of 67 MA communities that had adopted the program, and as others indicated they would reconsider their own participation, Abraham H. Foxman, the ADL’s National Director since 1987, held his nose and released this statement on August 21, 2007 in an effort to quell the controversy:

In light of the heated controversy that has surrounded the Turkish-Armenian issue in recent weeks, and because of our concern for the unity of the Jewish community at a time of increased threats against the Jewish people, ADL has decided to revisit the tragedy that befell the Armenians.

We have never negated but have always described the painful events of 1915-1918 perpetrated by the Ottoman Empire against the Armenians as massacres and atrocities. On reflection, we have come to share the view of Henry Morgenthau, Sr. that the consequences of those actions were indeed tantamount to genocide. If the word genocide had existed then, they would have called it genocide.

I have consulted with my friend and mentor Nobel Laureate Elie Wiesel and other respected historians who acknowledge this consensus. I hope that Turkey will understand that it is Turkey’s friends who urge that nation to confront its past and work to reconcile with Armenians over this dark chapter in history.

Having said that, 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’s belated acknowledgement of the Armenian Genocide – though momentous - is decades late and falls very short.

Writing in Israeli newspaper Haaretz, Evan R. Goldstein, a contributing editor at Moment magazine deconstructs Foxman’s non-acknowledgement acknowledgement, which he denounces as being “stunning on account of its total lack of integrity”:

First, note the disingenuous way Foxman lays the groundwork for his disgracefully belated admission of the obvious, by attributing his reversal to the risk of disunity within the Jewish community. What does the unity or disunity of the Jewish people have to do with distinguishing between historical fact and malicious fabrication?

Second, note how Foxman completely fails to grasp the fundamental significance of Morgenthau’s legacy (which he was nonetheless clearly intent on co-opting). Serving as America’s ambassador in Istanbul at the time of the genocide, Morgenthau alerted his superiors in Washington that the ongoing persecution of Armenians was “assuming unprecedented proportions,” ultimately characterizing Turkish aggression as an “effort to exterminate a whole race.” (The word “genocide” was not coined until 1944.) And although the American response to Morgenthau’s cables was dreadfully feeble, his actions testify to the ethical imperative of bearing witness and acknowledging inconvenient truths. In contrast, Foxman’s statement of contrition diminishes the importance of the truth.

Third, note the weasel words “consequences” and “tantamount” - why not just say it was genocide?

The Stiletto would like to add that Foxman’s fears over the safety of the Jewish community in Turkey are baseless, considering that The Wall Street Journal, for one, repeatedly assures us that Turkey is a secular, pluralistic democracy (third item). Therefore acknowledging the Armenian Genocide and supporting H Res 106 would not imperil Turkish Jews in any way.

Asked And Answered

Unfortunately, Goldstein’s rhetorical question, “why not just say it was genocide?” was answered within days of Foxman’s press release.

The Turkish government condemned the Anti-Defamation League’s decision to call the massacre of Armenians by Ottoman Turks a genocide, reports The Boston Globe:

“We consider the statement of the ADL as an injustice to the unique character of the Holocaust, as well as to the memories of its victims,” the Turkish Foreign Ministry said in a statement. “We expect it to be rectified.”

Burak Akcapar, first counselor of the Turkish Embassy in Washington, D.C., said Turkey has registered its concerns with Israel, the United States, and “friends everywhere.”

Turkey pulled out all the stops in pressuring its “friends everywhere.”

Haaretz, quotes Foreign Ministry sources as describing a meeting between Turkish Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul and Israel’s ambassador to Ankara, Pinhas Avivi, as “shrill,” and that “Gul told the Israeli ambassador that ‘Turkey knows Israel was not responsible for the Anti-Defamation League’s announcement, but is disappointed because Israel could have done something to prevent it.’”

Prime minister of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdog(an also called Israel’s president Shimon Peres and asked him to lean on Foxman and other Jewish organizations to ensure they keep toeing the genocide-denial line, reports Turkish paper Today’s Zaman:

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.”

Israel wanted to put out the diplomatic fire as quickly as possible, reports Haaretz:

Israel is concerned that the matter may lead to a genuine diplomatic crisis between the two countries, and it has sent quiet signals to American Jewish organizations in an effort to lower the tone. The Foreign Ministry is concerned that the strategic relationship between the two countries could be harmed and that the Jewish community in Turkey could be affected.

Peres – himself an Armenian Genocide denier – wasted no time calling Foxman over the imbroglio. After speaking with Peres, Foxman dashed off a reassuring letter to Erdog(an that “expressed regret over debates centered on its recent decision to recognize Armenian claims of genocide at the hands of the Ottoman Empire,” according to Today’s Zaman. The letter also reportedly stated that the ADL “has never desired to put the Turkish people and their leaders into a difficult situation” and expressed “deep regret over what the Turkish people had to go through in the past few days” since the organization agreed to reverse a long-standing policy and recognize the genocide.

The Turkish Daily News adds that the letter suggested the ADL would not back away from its opposition to H Res 106: “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.”

Which guarantees that Armenians and Jews who have been at odds with Foxman over the Armenian Genocide are not likely to be placated by his tepid – and wavering – concession that the Ottoman Turks had committed genocide, and will continue to press him to abandon his untenable opposition to H Res 106.

Jewish Leaders Must Stop Enabling Armenian Genocide Denial

The controversy over the No Place For Hate program “is shining a spotlight on the American Jewish community’s refusal to get behind a congressional bill acknowledging the Armenian genocide,” according to the Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA):

“Here in Watertown, you can’t ignore the Armenian genocide,” said Ruth Thomasian, the sole Armenian member of Watertown’s “No Place for Hate” planning committee, which operates independently of ADL. “You can’t call it ?alleged’ or ?supposed’ or ?research says.’ Genocide happened.”

Writing in the Forward, Leonard Fein notes:

Unlike the many nations that have established commissions of truth and reconciliation, that have looked fearlessly into their own past crimes against humanity (most notably, Germany itself), Turkey hires K Street lobbyists to persuade the American public and the U.S. Congress that its hands are clean, its heart is pure. …

It is doubtful that many people are persuaded by the Turks and their lobbyists. The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum recognizes the Armenian genocide, as does the Reform Jewish movement, as, one assumes, do most Jewish leaders, at least privately - perhaps even the leaders of the Anti-Defamation League, the American Jewish Committee, the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs and B’nai B’rith International. Yet the leaders of these organizations have steadfastly refused to endorse a bill currently before Congress that would formally acknowledge the fact of the Armenian genocide.

Some believe the reticence on the part of the ADL and other Jewish organizations to call a genocide a genocide is misguided Zionism. In an interview with the Forward, a member of ADL’s national executive committee speaking on condition of anonymity framed the issue in these terms: “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? There is that subtext here.”

Foxman, says the Forward, is “faced with the fight of his professional life … forced into a rare and reluctant retreat by the unlikeliest of adversaries: an ethnic minority charging one of the world’s most famous Holocaust survivors with suppressing recognition of a genocide.” It took a “a potential mutiny from fellow Jews” to get him to reverse himself on the Armenian Genocide, and he remains under intense criticism for his intransigence over H Res 106 – proposed by Congressman Adam Schiff (D-CA) and co-sponsored by 29 out 43 Jewish members of Congress.

A Generational Divide

Young Jews, in particular, are leading the charge against Foxman. Jewcy Media, which describes itself as “a leading Internet content, commerce, and new media company for progressive free-thinkers,” may have been the first to urge the ADL to “Fire Foxman” in this July 8, 2007 article by Joey Kurtzman:

Abdullah Gul needed a favor. It was February 5 of this year, and the Turkish foreign minister was fighting a push in the U.S. House of Representatives to recognize the Turkish murder of over one million Armenians during World War I. In past years the House had placated Turkey by dropping similar resolutions. But now, with the American-Turkish alliance weakened by the Iraq war, the resolution had found renewed support. Gul summoned representatives from the Anti-Defamation League and several other Jewish-American organizations to his room at the Willard Hotel in Washington. There he asked them, in essence, to perpetuate Turkey’s denial of genocide.

Abraham Foxman’s ADL acquiesced, and in so doing, performed the pièce de résistance of Foxman’s highly effective, if unintentional, decades-long campaign to demoralize Jewish America and send young Jews scurrying for the communal exit doors. The ADL chief is a danger to the future of the community, and it is a scandal that he remains at the head of a major Jewish organization. Foxman must go. And the organization he has done so much to shape must either change or go with him. …

“I don’t think congressional action will help reconcile the issue. The resolution takes a position; it comes to a judgment,” said Foxman in a statement issued to the Jewish Telegraphic Agency. “The Turks and Armenians need to revisit their past. The Jewish community shouldn’t be the arbiter of that history, nor should the U.S. Congress.”

Foxman‘s statement is in every way that matters equivalent to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s claim that he takes no position on the historicity of the Jewish Holocaust, but only hopes to see the matter resolved by dispassionate study. Throughout the Congressional saga surrounding the resolutions, virtually no one other than Turkish lobbyists had explained their opposition by challenging the nearly undisputed consensus among historians that a genocide did indeed take place.

It is a scandal of unprecedented proportion when one of the most prominent figures in our community, a man who claims to speak on our behalf, publicly challenges the historicity of another community’s genocide. Foxman’s ADL no longer represents the interests of the Jewish community. In fact, it seems the only interests it represents are its own. …

In an interview with JTA following this piece, Kurtzman reiterated:

Jewish organizations should be “visible and vocal in standing with the Armenian community.”

“Unless Jewish Americans are comfortable for others to remain similarly agnostic about whether the Holocaust took place, we ought to be every bit as furious with Foxman as are Armenian Americans,” he said. “Foxman ought to issue a public retraction and an apology to the Armenian community, and also to the Jewish community. Barring that, he should be fired.”

Neither history nor time is on the side of Armenian Genocide deniers. This is no longer just “an Armenian issue.” The Boston Globe notes there is “a growing antigenocide constituency in the United States,” adding:

The feeling is evident in the US House of Representatives, where 227 members, a majority, are cosponsoring a resolution to recognize the Armenian genocide. It is the largest number of cosponsors the resolution has had in recent years. And perhaps more importantly, with Democrats in power Armenian-Americans are optimistic the resolution will get to the floor for a vote. Speaker Nancy Pelosi has supported the resolution in the past.

But a vote is hardly a guarantee. Representative Adam Schiff, the California Democrat who introduced the resolution, said the Turkish efforts to lobby against the measure are “beyond anything I’ve ever seen.”

And the antigenocide consituency is not just in the U.S. Take, for example, the blog Genats-Lehayim (”to life” in Armenian and Hebrew), which is “devoted to Armenian-Jewish cooperation in the diasporas, Armenia, and Israel.”

The future belongs to Armenians and Jews who work together to ensure that all crimes against humanity are condemned, and no crime against humanity is forgotten.

Notes: This is the third in a series, “Is Armenian Genocide Denial Good For The Jews?” To read previous installments in the series click here and here (third item).

If you want to send a message to the ADL to stop aiding and abetting Turkey’s Armenian Genocide denial, Jewcy Media has started an online petition calling on Foxman to:

1. Acknowledge the Armenian Genocide
2. Apologize to the Armenian-American community
3. Apologize to the Jewish community, for humiliating us before our fellow-citizens

In a statement posted on its Web site, the Jewcy staff collectively argues that:

The ADL has made a monster of itself by denying a genocide. It has made the entire Jewish community look morally incompetent for allowing ourselves to be represented by someone who engages in Holocaust denial. And it has earned the justified fury of the Armenian-American community, which bears witness to the mass-murder of its forebears, and refuses to see that memory trampled upon.

Several weeks ago, it might have been enough for Abe Foxman to give up encouraging others to share his agnosticism about the Armenian Genocide. But the controversy has gained momentum, and now it’s too late for him to just stop talking.


Original Mission But New Position : ADL's Foxman Speaks Out On Jews, Genocide And Turkey
By Abraham H. Foxman
August 27 2007

The Anti-Defamation League was created in 1913 for the purpose of combating anti-Semitism. At the same time, its founders enlarged the goal to also “secure justice for all citizens alike.” This language suggested a wider agenda for ADL in addition to pursuing its primary mission of fighting anti-Semitism. That wider agenda has at times been interpreted to be instrumental, i.e. one of the key ways to secure an America that is welcoming to Jews is to secure an America that is welcoming to all its diverse communities. At other times, somewhat later, it has been seen as important on its own as a moral imperative.

In general, the dual elements of our mission have been a source of strength for the organization and pursuing one has furthered the other. We have seen throughout the history of the 20th century that in societies where Jews were persecuted it was a telltale indicator that the broader society was in trouble. And, where values of equality and freedom were broadly in jeopardy, one could be sure that Jews would be targeted at some point. The interconnectedness of the elements of our mission was real and telling.

Still, there have been times when the two parts of the mission could be in conflict, where competing principles and moral imperatives come into play forcing the organization to make difficult decisions. Indeed, in the world of issues that ADL deals with on a daily basis, matters are rarely simple and often involve choosing between competing alternatives – each of which has merit.

Guiding us in this decision-making process is our understanding of what we are about. First and foremost, our responsibility is to protect the Jewish people. Particularly after the Holocaust and in light of the ongoing assault, physical and otherwise, on the state of Israel, the home of the Jewish people, ADL has become one of the most significant, if not the most significant, voices on behalf of endangered Jews anywhere in the world. People everywhere primarily look to ADL to be that leader. As the world and the situation of Jews has become even more perilous after 9/11, that role for ADL has grown still larger.

And so, when we are faced with issues beyond the Jewish community that have the potential for conflict between our wider agenda and our goal of protecting Jews, we know where our starting point and focus must be.

Having said that, we don’t stop there. We seek to minimize the conflict. We look for approaches that can serve our primary mission but still be as true as we can be to the second purpose.

That is what has been taking place with regard to the controversy over Turkey and the Armenians. We have been in close contact with the Turkish Jewish community for decades. We have heard repeatedly from its leaders how concerned they are about the impact of American Jewish involvement in efforts to label as genocide Turkish actions against Armenians during World War I. Through the years, we have discussed this matter with them and as recently as two months ago heard the same message of concern. For us, as a Jewish defense organization, such concern cannot go unheeded.

Still, we had a dilemma. As an organization committed to educating people on the dangers not only of anti-Semitism but of hatred of all kinds, we could not ignore the terrible tragedy that befell Armenians at the hands of the Ottoman Empire. And we have not. In meetings with high-level Turkish officials, we have pressed them to come to grips with the past and speak to what happened. We have done that again and again and we will continue to do so. We think the Turkish government should address the moral implications of its history with the Armenians, particularly because Turkey occupies the critical spot in the great struggle of our time, the effort to see a moderate Islamic model triumph over Islamic extremism.

Moreover, we have acknowledged that massacres and atrocities took place. We have in no way been neutral on this subject; we have placed the onus on Turkey to set things straight.

In light of the heated controversy that has surrounded the issue in recent weeks, and because of our concern for the unity of the Jewish community at a time of increased threats against the Jewish people, we decided to revisit the tragedy that befell the Armenians. On reflection, we have come to share the assessment of former Ambassador Henry Morgenthau, Sr., that the consequences of the painful events of 1915-1918 were indeed tantamount to genocide. While 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, we will not hesitate to apply the term genocide in the future.
We believe that we have been true to who we are in our approach. As long as ADL is an organization committed first to the safety and security of the Jewish people, we cannot in good conscience ignore the well-being of 20,000 Jews in Turkey. We will, however, continue to push the Turkish government in the right direction.

We hope people of goodwill understand our perspective, but even if they do not, we deeply believe that we are being true to the core values of our organization which have served Jews and the broader society so well for many years.

Abraham H. Foxman is National Director of the Anti-Defamation League and the author of “The Deadliest Lies: The Israel Lobby and The Myth of Jewish Control,” to be published in September by Palgrave Macmillan.

The Jewish Advocate


ADL's Domino Effect: Genocide Deniers Are Falling One By One
By Harut Sassounian
Publisher, The California Courier

For too many years, Abraham Foxman and ADL's leaders have gone far beyond their organization's noble mandate of stopping "the defamation of the Jewish people," by meddling in international politics. The ADL had apparently appointed itself the guardian of Israel's strategic interests and the well being of Jews everywhere, particularly those in Turkey. Ironically, while constantly singing the praises of Turkish tolerance towards minorities, the ADL kept expressing serious concerns over the safety of the few Jews remaining in that country. Foxman and his group would not have become involved in last week's controversy on the recognition of the Armenian Genocide, had they simply stuck to their mission of fighting anti-Semitism. As Herb Keinon pointed out in his August24 column in the Jerusalem Post, the ADL, besides being unhelpful to Israel, is getting "in the way" of Israeli diplomacy by creating unnecessary and unwelcome complications.

ADL officials were acting as if they were in charge of Israel's security rather than heading a U.S. civil rights organization, forgetting that the duly elected leaders of Israel were fully capable of protecting not only the interests of their country, but those of their kinsmen residing in Turkey. In the process of recklessly delving into foreign politics, the ADL had no qualms about collaborating with Turkish denialists and even lobbying on their behalf to block the passage of a congressional resolution affirming the facts of the Armenian Genocide.

Through a long series of unwise judgments and draconian decisions, Foxman managed last week to entangle his organization, the Jewish-American community as well the state of Israel in a major controversy which aggravated not only the Armenian-American community, but a large number of U.S. Jews and even the governments of Israel and Turkey.

After rejecting for years all pleas by Armenians and others not to cave in to Turkish blackmail on the Armenian Genocide, Foxman arrogantly fired last week ADL's regional director in Boston for disagreeing with the organization's denialist policy. Two members of the regional board resigned in protest anda major outcry ensued. Many highly influential Jewish American leaders denounced Foxman publicly. The Boston Globe, the Los Angeles Times and scores of other newspapers published front-page articles, opinion columns, editorials and letters to the editor objecting to Foxman's heavy-handed style of running the ADL and questioning how an organization dedicated to countering discrimination and protecting civil rights could be a party to genocide denial.

After persistent calls for Foxman's resignation from the American-Jewish community, the ADL issued a statement acknowledging for the first time thatthe mass killings of Armenians were "tantamount to genocide." While many welcomed the reversal of ADL's long-standing policy of referring to the genocide as a massacre, this statement itself generated a new controversy. Many Armeniansand Jews were not fully satisfied because Foxman's acknowledgment was not forceful enough. They were even more upset by Foxman's declaration that the congressional resolution on the Armenian Genocide was "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." Some viewed Foxman's morally ambiguous statement as a continuation of his unwise efforts to play politics with the genocide issue: an attempt to appease the Turks while accommodating his Armenian and Jewish critics.

Turkish leaders were shocked and alarmed by ADL's unexpected statement which might have the effect of further eroding Jewish support for Turkey's frantic efforts to block the congressional resolution on the Armenian Genocide. Furthermore, Turkish officials were very much concerned that other Jewish-American organizations would follow suit, eventually leading to the recognition of the Armenian Genocide by Israel itself.

Turkey's leaders immediately expressed their outrage to the highest officials of the State of Israel demanding that they pressure the ADL to retract its statement. Caught unawares by the ADL's reversal on the Armenian Genocide, Israeli officials reassured the Turks that their country's policy would remain unchanged and that they would contact Foxman and his group, even though they said they did not control the actions of American-Jewish organizations.

As pressure mounted on the ADL from Israel and Turkey, Foxman engaged in damage control by sending a polite letter to Erdogan expressing regret for the inconvenience caused by his group's statement. Erdogan, wanting to impress his countrymen on the eve of Turkish presidential elections, deliberately mischaracterized Foxman's letter as an apology and a retraction. Erdogan had good reason to be alarmed. One day after the ADL statement, matters got worse when the American Jewish Committee (AJC), which for yearshas openly sided with Turkey on the denial of the Armenian Genocide, issued a statement by its Executive Director David A. Harris. In so many carefully crafted words, Harris acknowledged the Armenian Genocide by stating that protecting historical truth should be one of the highest priorities of the Jewish people. A Simon Wiesenthal Center official told the Jerusalem Post last week that the Armenian Genocide should be recognized as a historical fact despite "the political ramifications." We have "an obligation to tell the truth about historical events - even if they sometimes create certain problems for us,"said Dr. Efraim Zuroff, the chief Nazi hunter of the Wiesenthal Center. Dr. Zuroff was joined by Morton Klein, the president of the Zionist Organization of America, who told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency last week that it is "imperative for Jews to acknowledge the truth of the Turkish genocide against Armenians, notwithstanding Turkey's relationship with Israel." He added: "It's high time for Turkey to acknowledge that truth of history and move on." The domino effect continued. One day after the ADL and the AJC statements, the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, the main umbrella group on Jewish affairs, held a conference call to discuss adopting a position on the Armenian Genocide.

Finally, Foxman announced that the ADL would consider going beyond merely acknowledging the Armenian Genocide and possibly support the pending congressional resolution. This issue would be put on the organization's national policy making agenda at its next meeting on November 1.

The only question now is whether the Armenian Genocide resolution would have already been adopted by the House of Representatives by the time the ADL holds its meeting on November 1. The hope is that neither the ADL nor other Jewish-American groups would lobby to block the resolution, sending a clearmessage to members of Congress that most American Jews support it, while the rest do not oppose it.

As this writer was quoted saying in last Sunday's Boston Globe: "the truth is finally prevailing over all sorts of political powers and pressures. And this has a domino effect. One by one all the pieces of denial are crumbling."


Atom Egoyan to Direct Adoration
Director Atom Egoyan's next project will be Adoration. According to Variety, Scott Speedman, Rachel Blanchard, Devon Bostick plus his wife and longtime muse, Arsinee Khanjian will all be appearing in the film.

The drama revolves around teens trying to conquer "this brave new world and how people can invent themselves, or re-invent themselves, through technology." The director said.

The film will begin shooting mid-September in Toronto.
MovieWeb.com


Egoyan Unleashes 'Adoration'
Film to star Speedman, Blanchard
By TAMSEN TILLSON TORONTO -- Atom Egoyan's next project will star Scott Speedman, Rachel Blanchard, Devon Bostick plus his wife and longtime muse, Arsinee Khanjian.

Egoyan described pic, titled "Adoration" and which begins lensing in Toronto in mid-September, as a drama that deals with teens navigating "this brave new world and how people can invent themselves, or re-invent themselves, through technology."

The script for the C$5 million ($4.7 million) feature is "fluid," just the way Egoyan said he likes it.

Executive produced by Robert Lantos, "Adoration" is produced by Egoyan and Simone Urdl and Jennifer Weiss, the duo who, along with Daniel Iron, produced Sarah Polley's "Away From Her."

Serendipity Point Films has worldwide distribution rights, excluding France, which ARP is handling.

Variety
22 Aug 2007


The Orange Grove: Does Your Ethnicity Really Matter?
What you achieve in your life means more than where your ancestors lived.
By TIBOR R. MACHAN
August 27, 2007

A young woman asked me the other day what I thought her ethnic background is. After I initially declined to guess – mainly because I don't care about such stuff and know even less – she kept pressing me, so I said, "I guess you may be Turkish." Whereupon she took major offense.

I didn't even ask, "Well, what is it?" I just turned around and left her standing there. I was in no mood to go into the reasons why I think taking offense at something like that is utter nonsense. But, yes, it is.

First of all, even if you think most Turks were scum throughout history, what does this have to do with Turks today? Not a thing. Someone is Turkish or Bulgarian or Armenian completely involuntarily and so cannot be held responsible for being that way. Maybe if you emigrated to Nazi Germany or the Soviet Union to become a citizen because you loved the official ideology there, that could be held against you. But having been born Turkish or Greek or Afghan simply hasn't thing to do with your identity except accidentally, for better or worse.

In the case of human beings, as distinct from breeds of dogs, one's ethnicity is irrelevant to who one is unless one makes it so. I was born in Budapest, Hungary, of German parents, actually, but I liked many aspects of Hungarian culture, so despite my being unusually tall for Hungarians, as well as blonde, I made it a point to absorb much of the Hungarian atmosphere around me – to a point. In time I discovered America, through novels and movies and, eventually, in person, and that is what I chose to become insofar as that's possible. My identity wasn't going to be determined by forces I couldn't control. At least as far as those aspects of it one can do something about are concerned.

Later, in my academic career, this identity thing became a big deal, politically hot and such. I could never get behind it. What is the significance of such accidental stuff when there is so much of yourself that you have under your control? What about what you have done – your scholastic record, your friends, your taste in the arts, your religion or philosophy or politics? Those always seemed to me far more significant than the place from which one hails or the ethnic membership of one's parents and so forth.

But maybe it is this notion of belonging that is at the heart of ethnic, national, racial, and similar identities. Or perhaps it is about artificial self-esteem. People seem to need to have a decent estimate of themselves, but so many of those who speak out about human affairs consider it selfish, hubris even, to think well of oneself. It is regarded as conceited to have pride in one's achievements – just watch how at the Academy Awards everyone is squirming when accepting an award. It is always others who have merited it, never the recipient. No one ever says, "Gee, finally, I got my reward, something I earned fair and square." Humility is one of these terrible pseudo-virtues that tends to make liars, not to mention psychological wrecks, of people.

If it were more encouraged for people to not just achieve things but to be proud of their accomplishments – which isn't to say everyone ought to become a braggart – all this escaping into one's group so as to steal some self-esteem could well diminish, even disappear. Of course, that assumes that people do, in fact, accomplish worthwhile feats.

Since not everyone can end up at the top of the heap, it is best to acknowledge that even small achievements matter. Over a lifetime of decent works and with a little bit of courage to take credit where credit is due, that should not be too difficult. And with recognition of one's worth, one's having been creative and productive in one's life, reliance on ethnic or racial or national pride may in time become pointless.

I would certainly recommend it, given the mayhem that all this focus on ethnicity and identity politics evidently wreaks across the globe.


War-Torn Region Gets A Lift From Armenian Exiles
The unrecognised Caucasian statelet of Nagorno-Karabakh, almost completely penned in by a military and economic blockade, is enjoying an unlikely boom thanks to the patriotism of Armenia’s foreign diaspora.

Investors such as these have helped Nagorno-Karabakh notch up annual economic growth averaging 15 percent in the past five years.

Nagorno-Karabakh, an enclave inside Azerbaijan with a majority ethnic Armenian population, declared independence in 1991 as the Soviet Union fell apart. It drove out Azerbaijan’s troops in a war that claimed 35,000 lives over six years.

Today, it runs its own affairs but has no international recognition. Under blockade from Azerbaijan, with which it is still technically at war, its only practical connection with the outside world is through the Lachin Corridor -- a strip of a land with a single major road linking it to Armenia.

But its situation has struck a chord with the millions of ethnic Armenians in France, the United States and Australia, who feel it is their vocation to help.

“I swore an oath to help my motherland and my conscience is clear because I am doing my duty,” said Jack Abolakian, a 74-year-old from Australia, who first came to Nagorno-Karabakh seven years ago on a four-day holiday with his wife.

He struggled to find anywhere to stay, and when he did, conditions were primitive. He decided to open a hotel in the capital, Stepanakert. A few months later, the Hotel Nairi opened on the site of a kindergarten destroyed in the war. With 46 rooms offering Internet access and satellite television, and a tennis court, it provided a level of luxury unheard of in Stepanakert.

Abolakian, who divides his time between Nagorno-Karabakh and his construction firm in Australia, is now planning to build a housing development in the city.

“We’re happy with our business. If you compare it with the amount of money we put in, it’s a success,” said Abolakian, who was born in Syria after his family fled what is now Turkey.

But most of the investors who come to Nagorno-Karabakh are seeking more than just financial gain. The region has a powerful pull for the Armenian diaspora because many see it as part of a broader struggle for survival by a tiny, ancient Christian nation surrounded by Muslim neighbours.

Among those tying their lives to the region is Vardeks Anivyan, from San Francisco, who has opened a dairy plant.

An entrepreneur from Russia has opened a wood processing factory while Armond Tahmazyan, a 41-year-old ethnic Armenian born in Iran, has set up a chain of gift shops.

Investors such as these have helped Nagorno-Karabakh notch up annual economic growth averaging 15 percent in the past five years. Because of its isolation and precarious legal status, the region of about 140,000 people is unlikely to become a major business magnet in the near future. It depends on an annual loan of about $60 million from Armenia to stay afloat.

Many of them saw the war over Nagorno-Karabakh, known in Armenian as Artsakh , as a continuation of that conflict: an Armenian community fighting for survival against Azeris, who have close linguistic and cultural ties to the Turks.

Azerbaijan denies the region was historically Armenian. It says the fighting drove out about a million Azeris from Nagorno-Karabakh and surrounding districts. Many still live in refugee camps.

“Any actions by any companies or organisations on the territory of Nagorno-Karabakh have no legal force,” said Hazar Ibrahim, press secretary in Azerbaijan’s Foreign Ministry. Their work in the occupied territories contradicts the norms and principles both of international law and Azerbaijan’s legislation.

That has not dissuaded diaspora Armenians. A handful of them fought with the separatists in the war. Since a 1994 ceasefire, the region has become a place of pilgrimage for Armenians from around the world.

A telethon last year in Los Angeles raised $13.7 million for development and infrastructure projects in Nagorno-Karabakh from communities across the United States and elsewhere. Tahmazyan, the Iranian-Armenian businessman, moved to Stepanakert eight years ago. Married to an Australian woman, he now runs the successful Nreni chain of souvenir shops, and has no plans to leave: “We are staying here ... God willing.” Reuters

28.08.2007
HASMIK MKRTCHYAN AZERBAIJAN


What Is Going On In Nagorno-Karabakh?
HASAN KANBOLAT
Following the constitutional referendum held on Dec. 10, 2006, in violation of international law in the Nagorno-Karabakh (Upper Karabakh) region of Azerbaijan, a presidential election took place on July 19, 2007.

Former Chairman of the National Security Service Bako Sahakyan won the election, in which five candidates ran for the presidency. Sahakyan, who makes an analogy between Kosovo and Nagorno-Karabakh, seeks recognition of the latter’s independence. The elections, just like the referendum, are referred to as a part of unilateral efforts to ensure the recognition of a status quo created in breach of established international law. The international community including Turkey and Azerbaijan declared the elections illegal and invalid.

The Nagorno-Karabakh region was occupied by Armenian forces in 1992 after a two-year-long war that cost 35,000 lives. At the end of the war, 1,000,000 Azerbaijanis had to migrate from their native land. The Armenians, who have maintained their occupation since the cease-fire in 1994, refused to withdraw from the occupied zone despite numerous binding resolutions by the UN Security Council and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe.

Negotiations held under the auspices of the Minsk Group established in pursuant to the decisions taken at the summit in 1992, which convened to find a permanent resolution to the disputes between the two countries, have produced no final outcome so far. However, another negotiation phase called the “Prague Process,” initiated by the co-chairs of the Minsk Group and attended by the foreign ministers of Azerbaijan and Armenia, is currently under way to address the question. During the Prague Process, the Azeri side offered an incremental and step-by-step solution while the Armenian delegation insisted on a package deal. Based on the proposals from both sides, the Minsk Group co-chairs developed an amalgam proposal which envisaged reaching an agreement over the resolution and incremental implementation of the agreed resolution over time. Substantial progress was achieved in the negotiations following the endorsement of the middle- ground solution by the two parties.

Under the co-chairs’ resolution, which seems to be offering a more plausible and grounded framework, the status of Nagorno-Karabakh and the procedure under which this status will be set will be determined in the future.

The co-chairs agreed on the evacuation of the occupied regions (provinces), the establishment of a connection between Nagorno-Karabakh and Armenia, determination of the status of the Nagorno-Karabakh by referendum, special emphasis on displaced persons, demilitarization and the provision of international relief. However, Azerbaijan is eager to complete the “re-integration” process during the time until the determination of the final status. The Baku administration holds that temporary resolution can only be achieved through recognition of the autonomous status of the region within the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan.

Moreover, the argument implying that the issue cannot be resolved through negotiations is being supported, arguing that it requires effective military intervention. Armenia seeks to preserve the current status quo and hopes for changes in the circumstances under which it will greatly benefit to expand its territory. It wants to guarantee the status of Nagorno-Karabakh in return for withdrawal from five provinces. For these reasons, there still remain important disagreements over the future status of Nagorno-Karabakh, the evacuation of the occupied provinces and the opening of a corridor between Nagorno-Karabakh and Armenia.

Presidential elections will take place in both Armenia and Azerbaijan in 2008. For this reason, no dramatic changes in policy on either side is expected before these elections in regards to the fate of Nagorno-Karabakh.

28.08.2007


Turkish-Armenian Formal Dialogue May Ease Pressure On Turkey
LALE SARIIBRAHIMOGLU loglu@todayszaman.com
Some 18 of the world’s countries, from Argentina to Canada and across the Atlantic to Europe recognize the World War I-era incidents in Ottoman Turkey, which culminated in the deaths of many Armenians as well as Turks, as genocide committed by the Ottoman Turks against the Anatolian Armenians. The threat of the US Congress recognizing the events as genocide also remains.

US-based Jewish organization the Anti-Defamation League’s (ADL) reversal last week of a long-term policy labeling the events genocide caused serious uproar in Turkey, which rejects the label of genocide for the World War I events.

Upon the Turkish reaction, ADL Director Abraham Foxman allegedly distanced himself from his organization’s decision. But the ADL’s policy reversal should be seen as a serious blow to Turkey, since the ADL has in the past acted as an important lobbyer for Turkey, countering efforts by Greek and Armenian lobbies to influence Congress.

In the meantime both the Turkish public and the Turkish state largely perceive a close bond between Israel and Jewish communities all over the world. As Turkish Ambassador to Israel Namik Tan put it, “In the eyes of the Turkish people, Turkey’s strategic relationship with Israel was not with Israel alone, but with the whole Jewish world. The Turkish people do not make that distinction.”

Tan went on saying that the American Jewish organizations were just that -- American Jewish organizations. But “we all know how they work in coordinating their efforts [with Israel].” (Jerusalem Post, Aug. 27, 2007)

Tan hinted that Jewish organizations are strongly influenced by Israel and that those strong bonds between the two also have a serious effect on relations between Turkey and Israel. In the recent past, two strains that have occurred in the Turkish-Israeli relations played a significant role in the US Jewish lobby’s behavior.

For example Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s description of Israeli aggression against the Palestinians in 2004 as “state terror” played a factor in poisoning Turkey’s relations with the US Jewish community, Israel -- a strong ally of Washington in the Middle East -- and with the US.

Then came Turkey’s hosting exiled Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal last year in Ankara. He was the target of an unsuccessful assassination plot by Israel during his attendance of an Islamic group’s meeting in Turkey in 1997.

In return Turkey has been uneasy over Israel’s alleged training of Iraqi Kurdish peshmerga in northern Iraq following the US invasion of Iraq in March 2003.

Back in 1997 remarks by Ehud Toledano, Israel’s candidate for ambassador to Turkey, over his recognition of Armenian genocide allegations, resulted in a diplomatic row and ended with Toledano’s rejection of the post in Ankara.

Nevertheless, feeling the heat, mainly from the Jewish lobby, over his remarks on Israel’s aggression against the Palestinians Prime Minister Erdogan appeased the Israelis by awarding a $185 million unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) contract to Israel prior to his visit there in 2005.

In fact the Turkish military has currently been using an Israeli-made UAV leased from Israel in its efforts to trace Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) terrorists concentrated in Turkey’s southeast.

At the end of the day, neither of the two countries, characterized by Turkish Ambassador Tan as democratic and secular states in the Middle East (Azeri Press Agency, Israeli Bureau, Aug. 28, 2007) can benefit from animosity toward each other.

But the crucial question is: For how long will Turkey spend the majority of its energy and money countering Armenian genocide allegations, which have been increasingly recognized by more and more countries?

Almost 92 years have passed since the tragic events of World War I. But during those years Turkey has preferred to keep quiet on the allegations rather than launching a serious effort to prove its own case backed by documents that show the events concerning the Anatolian Armenians were tragic, but did not constitute genocide.

It was only in 2004 that Turkey made a breakthrough on the Armenian genocide allegations, when Prime Minister Erdogan announced the creation of a “committee of historians” to be composed of both Turks and Armenians and to be opened to third parties if necessary to investigate the genocide allegations.

Since then we have not heard any positive response to this offer from neighboring Armenia. Nor has there been any serious effort made by the US to convince Yerevan to contribute to the committee.

On the other hand, as the unfortunate tendency to label the World War I events as genocide continues, the usefulness of the activation of such a committee alone is questionable.

But if Turkey opens its border with Armenia and starts diplomatic relations with its neighbor, whose independence it recognized in 1991, coupled with activating the committee of historians, it may create a chance for less pressure to be exerted on it regarding the genocide allegations.

Such a move may also encourage the Armenians to lessen the pressure exerted upon Yerevan by the strong Armenian diaspora.
28.08.2007


If We Could Only Tell It Ourselves
The New York-based Anti-Defamation League’s (ADL) statement has given us a big opportunity.

Maybe, if we convince ourselves of two essentials in this statement, we would avoid being stuck at the same point every time. Can we do it? Can we tell ourselves that this statement is first a sincere statement and second a statement reflecting widespread conscientious acceptance? Some consider this view naïve, stupid and maybe even traitorous, but I think that when Foxman said, “Ottoman Armenian massacres were tantamount to genocide.” he truly believed it. For years I have been talking about this issue with leading Jews living in the US and even though they haven’t said “The Ottomans committed genocide,” I can see that they, just as the congressmen that support or oppose the Armenian bill and the many representatives from the Bush administration that have tried to stop this bill, actually believe in it.

28.08.2007
YASEMIN ÇONGAR, MILLIYET


Shelving History
NICOLE POPE n.pope@todayszaman.com
Have you ever watched “Life Laundry”? This BBC reality show involves a team of experts in clutter management swooping in on houses rendered almost unusable by their owners’ pathological hoarding.
The show’s appeal lies in the fact that it strikes a chord in many of us. Although outwardly the purpose is to help the show’s participants manage and store their possessions more efficiently, it is really about freeing them psychologically from the weight of their past.

We may not all be accumulating rubbish to that extent, but we can sympathize with the tears of the willing victims forced to shed junk which, for reasons known only to themselves, they perceive as an invaluable part of their personal history. After all, we all go through life carrying a certain amount of emotional baggage.

As Turkey once again pulled out all the diplomatic stops in its latest attempt to block recognition of the Armenian massacres as genocide -- this time by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) -- it occurred to me that countries too could benefit from the “life laundry” treatment.

Few nations in the world are not burdened with a heavy past. Germany is still coming to terms with the Nazi period, Britain and France with their colonial past, while South Africa is struggling with the more recent legacy of apartheid and racism. Even neutral Switzerland had to admit that it owed some of its wealth to assets looted from Jews during World War II.

Countries may not be weighed down by possessions in the same way as individuals, but they too can be hindered in their progress if they get stuck in the past. The way they come to terms with events that happened in earlier periods helps them not only put ancient issues to rest, but it is also often the key to solving problems they face in the present.

In Turkey’s case, an official perception that non-Muslim minorities, as well as non-Turkish or non-Sunni groups, were the tools of the country’s enemies still colors the way they are seen today. When the head of the Turkish Historical Society (TKK) refers to Alevi Kurdish citizens as being “unfortunately of Armenian origin,” it is easy to see that the past is still clouding the present.

The Armenian issue has been a ball and chain to Turkey for decades. Much diplomatic energy that could have been spent forging strong ties has been spent warning friends and foes off the “genocide” word. The Armenian diaspora deserves blame for turning the issue into a political arm’s wrestling match, but it is also increasingly obvious that Turkey’s strategy to contain the problem has not been successful. Spillage from Ankara’s bulging historical cupboards is increasingly hard to contain.

As Turkey debates a new constitution, it needs to redefine the concept of citizenship more broadly to embrace citizens of all ethnic and religious origins. The Armenian question not only affects relations with many of Turkey’s diplomatic allies, but also ties between the state and its own non-Muslim citizens. A similar lack of trust has so far prevented a constructive approach to the notion of Kurdish rights.

An open discussion on citizenship could be the start of a broader effort to sweep away some historical cobwebs. Facing the past head-on would allow ancient events, good and bad, to be shelved in their proper place. It would free Turkey to move forward with greater confidence, in control of the past rather than hobbled by it.

28.08.2007


Turkey: 'Israel Must Get US Jews To Back Down'
Herb Keinon , THE JERUSALEM POST Aug. 27, 2007
Turkey expects Israel to "deliver" American Jewish organizations and ensure that the US Congress does not pass a resolution characterizing as genocide the massacre of Armenians during World War I, Turkish Ambassador to Israel Namik Tan told The Jerusalem Post Sunday.

Tan cut short a vacation and rushed back to Israel Thursday to deal with the Anti-Defamation League's reversal last week of its long-standing position on the issue.

Tan said he understood that Israel's position had not changed, but "Israel should not let the [US] Jewish community change its position. This is our expectation and this is highly important, highly important."

Turkey's concern is that last week's decision by ADL national director Abe Foxman would open the dikes and enable the passage in Congress of a nonbinding resolution calling Ottoman Turkey's actions against the Armenians "genocide."

"If you want to touch and hurt the hearts of the people in Turkey, this is the issue," Tan said. "This is the No. 1 issue. You cannot easily explain to them any change in this."

He said he had requested urgent meetings with Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni and Knesset Speaker Dalia Itzik, to impress upon them the importance of this issue to Turkey.

Tan's request for these meetings came after President Shimon Peres spoke last week with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and explained that Israel had no intention of changing its policy on this issue, which is that Turkey and Armenia should resolve their differences over the matter through dialogue.

In the eyes of the Turkish people, Tan said, his country's strategic relationship with Israel was not with Israel alone, but with the whole Jewish world. "They [the Turkish people] cannot make that differentiation," he said.

Tan said he understood that the American Jewish organizations were just that - American Jewish organizations. But "we all know how they work in coordinating their efforts [with Israel]," he added.

Tan opted for an anecdote to illustrate his point, saying former US secretary of state Henry Kissinger once said he was first an American, then the secretary of state, and then a Jew. Golda Meir "told Kissinger: 'You know, Mr. Secretary, we read things from right to left.' This tells a lot about my case," Tan said.

The Turkish people "are waiting for this effort on the part of Israel to straighten out, to put this issue in perspective," he said.

While senior Israeli government officials said Sunday that Israel was trying to explain to Turkey that it did not control the American Jewish organizations, Tan did not accept that argument.

"On some issues there is no such thing as 'Israel cannot deliver‚'" he said, adding that this was one of those issues.

Tan, who served two terms in Washington in the 1990s and worked closely with American Jewish organizations on this issue, said Israel had proven its ability to deliver the organizations on this matter in the past.

While voicing no threats as to what would happen if Congress passed a resolution on this matter, Tan said Turkey - since the development of a close strategic relationship with Israel in the 1990s - had never "played with the basics of this whole relationship, with the basic fundamentals of this relationship." A reversal by the American Jewish community of its position on this matter, leading to the passage of the resolution in Congress, would be tantamount to playing with one of the fundamentals of this strategic relationship, he said.

Meanwhile, visiting Rep. Gary Ackerman (D.-New York) told the Post that were the resolution to come to the Congress today, "it would pass, I guess. There is lots of heavy lobbying on both sides. Some things are better left in the fuzzy area. Some think that not addressing this for the moment is the better deal, considering the consequences."

Nevertheless, Ackerman, a staunch supporter of Israel, said he had "been signed up on the bill for a long time."

"Those of us who have condemned genocide and ethnic cleansing and insisted on people accepting responsibility and learning from the lessons of the Holocaust... well, the Armenian Genocide is something we've said must be owned up to," he said.

The "complication is in the justice and timing," Ackerman said. "Turkey is a very important player, juxtaposed in many complicated issues now. Their government's cooperation is essential in a number of areas."

He said he had been lobbied by Turkish Jews on the matter, who had asked that the issue be resolved "in a different arena," not in Congress.

On the wider issue of the weight of Congressional resolutions, Ackerman said: "We're constantly shocked by the weight [attached to] the resolution. We don't take them [such resolutions] one-tenth as seriously as other people do. They don't have the force of law. If the Turkish parliament passed a resolution saying, 'Shame on you for stealing Manhattan'... we'd laugh it off. But then, of course, it doesn't rock our political boat."

Tan said that while he understood Congressional resolutions on this would have no real "teeth," the psychological importance was enormous. Accepting the resolution, he said, "means you deny the past, it means you say that my ancestors have done something inconceivable. And the people who will be encouraged by this will use it to set up a campaign against Turkey and the Turkish people."


To Recognize In Three Minutes
Hayots Ashkharh, Armenia
Aug 25 2007

`Don't ask me why by now Great Britain hasn't joint the world's 20 countries that have recognized Armenian Genocide. Had the issue depended on me I would recognize it in three minutes.' MP of the United Kingdom Parliament Steffen Pound, who has visited Armenia by the initiation of ARF Commission on Armenian Cause in England, said during the press conference yesterday.

Steffen Pound is himself interested in why Great Britain doesn't want to recognize Armenian Genocide. The British MP has asked this question to the British Foreign Ministers, who answered that at that time the word `genocide' didn't exist. `This seems to be more like a juridical commentary and the moral side is overlooked,' he said. By the way Great Britain has recognized Holocaust and all the other genocides following it.

The British parliamentarian is surprised at the fact that his leadership can ask for forgiveness for the slavery of the Irish people in the 19th century and meanwhile hesitates to manifest determination towards Turkey and recognize the genocide conducted by them. `To refute Genocide, means to commit another crime,' S. Pound states.


Russian-Armenian Organized Crime ’like The 1930s New York Mob’
By Jason Kandel

GLENDALE — It wasn’t the price of cucumbers but murder that Eddy Gyulnazaryan and his pals were talking about that day back in March 2001 in the backroom of his Atlas Pick pickle factory.

Rival Russian-Armenian gangs were at war and Gyulnazaryan, a beefy 40-year-old family man with the gift of gab, wanted some people killed.

As he fired off several rounds into a stack of phone books, Gyulnazaryan made an offer that couldn’t be refused — a $5,000 contract to "eliminate" a man who had gotten under his skin.

What Gyulnazaryan didn’t know was that one of the pals was wired. He had turned and become a confidential informant working with an organized crime task force that was able to use this information to win convictions of the ringleader and five others on charges of solicitation of murder.

At least 14 murders, 100 attempted killings and seven kidnappings have been blamed on Russian-Armenian gangsters operating across the San Fernando Valley region since 2000. The groups are fueled by lucrative white collar frauds — including credit card, immigration, auto insurance, cigarette tax evasion, identity theft, welfare and health care.

"They’re very much organized criminals. They’re very violent. They’re dangerous," said Glendale police Sgt. Steve Davey, who heads the Eurasian Organized Crime Task Force, comprising federal, state and local authorities. "They’re not afraid of using violence to solve their disputes. They shoot up homes and cars. It’s like the 1930s New York mob."

According to court documents and interviews, Gyulnazaryan wanted to hire hit men to kill four unidentified men, two from Long Beach. There also was a plan to hire jailed Latino gang members to kill two of his rivals, Emil Airapetian 25, and Armen Sharopetrosian, 26, who were also in jail.

Authorities said "there have been many documented shootings" between the rival Russian-Armenian gangs in recent years.

Police said in court documents that they believed Gyulnazaryan’s group was "heavily involved in credit card fraud, MediCal and Medicare fraud, check fraud, drug trafficking, extortion and numerous shootings, assaults and other violent crimes ... and have access to large sums of money obtained through their various criminal enterprises."

A break in the case The FBI got their break when Gyulnazaryan asked one of his closest allies, with whom he had previously worked on auto insurance fraud scams, if he would carry out a hit.

That man, who was not identified, had been an informant for the FBI before. From then on, he agreed to wear a wire and secretly record conversations among the group.

Offers of up to $20,000 were made to "eliminate" members of rival criminal organizations. But the jailhouse killings proved too complicated to carry out.

In March 2003, police raided the homes of Gyulnazaryan and his associates Gayk Tadevosyan, 40 ; Gagik Galoyan, 55 ; Anthony Armenta, 25 ; Andranik Safaryan, 24 ; and Edgar Hatamian, 23. Gyulnazaryan pleaded no contest Thursday to solicitation of murder charges and was sentenced to 15 years in prison. The others pleaded no contest to solicitation of murder charges and were sentenced to prison terms ranging from three to nine years. Galoyan received a nine-year suspended prison sentence and five years’ probation.

Galoyan had grown up with Gyulnazaryan in Armenia and went into business with him at the pickle factory, which closed down two years ago.

"These guys have come from Armenia. They have known each other for years. They have grown up with each other," said Galoyan’s attorney, Fred Minassian. "My client is known in the Armenian community as an elder statesman. In no way is he a mobster."

Gyulnazaryan’s attorney, Michael Levin, said his client is not violent and did not head up an organized crime ring.

"My client has got a big mouth. He likes to talk. But what the (police) got on tape makes him sound like Tony Soprano," he said. "He’s a hard-working family man."

Russian mob history Authorities said Russian mobs became more and more prevalent in the United States in the 1990s as people from former Soviet bloc countries began emigrating here. They settled in New York, Brighton Beach, Fla., and Los Angeles. Up to 6,000 people are connected with 15 loosely organized crime groups in the United States that include Ukrainians, Lithuanians and, locally, Armenians.

In Glendale, where about a third of the 204,000 residents are Armenian, police estimate that there are about 500 Armenian criminals connected to organized crime.

Police have been challenged in trying to crack the rings because of a lack of resources, a lack of familiarity with the culture and victims too afraid to report the crimes.

Sukharenko Alexander, a senior fellow of the Organized Crime Study Center of the Far East State University, said Russian-Armenian syndicates are part of large international crime networks. They have seemingly infinite resources and escape routes to countries with no extradition treaties.

"This allows them to launder huge amounts of money, smuggle drugs and stolen vehicles, and import criminals to carry out contract murders and fraud," Alexander said.

Los Angeles County sheriff’s Detective Alex Gilinets, who works the Major Crimes Bureau, said the groups are not always bound by strict rules or regulations like the old-time mobs and can be more violent.

"It’s, who can I make my next big buck with ?" Gilinets said.

Sara Vinson, a criminal intelligence analyst with the state Justice Department’s Eurasian Organized Crime unit, said victims are too scared to come forward.

"Their fear of organized crime groups is bigger than their fear of our criminal justice system," Vinson said. "A lot of them have family back home that they can’t protect, and they have that hanging over their head."

LAPD Detective Martin Pinner is having a hard time getting witnesses to come forward from a murder in North Hollywood. Karapet Ksadzhikyan, 50, was ambushed by two men in a suspected mob hit as he walked to his bread delivery truck outside his home in the 13000 block of Archwood Street on Nov. 24.

"No one cooperates," he said. "No one’s saying anything. No one knows anything."

Glendale police and city officials, including Mayor Bob Yousefian, himself an Iranian-Armenian-American, has been pushing for more cops, especially Armenian-speaking officers, to fight the scourge.

But they face an uphill battle. Many deny there is an organized crime problem.

"We don’t have the manpower to dedicate officers to task forces," Yousefian said.

"We’re getting to the point that we have this huge elephant standing in the middle of the room, and we all have closed our eyes. Everybody is saying there is no elephant there. We have an issue. We need to deal with it."


Foul Language : Party Leader Incites Rights Advocates With Racist Comments
By Zhanna Alexanyan, ArmenianNow Reporter

Bigoted comments by the leader of the Armenian Aryan Order, aimed mostly at Jews and Yezidies, sparked hot debate at a recent Council of Europe seminar.

“National minorities, who can be a threat to Armenian statehood, must leave Armenia,” AAO president Armen Avetisyan said in Yerevan press. “Yazidies (a minority of Kurdish descent) can be a threat to the sovereignty of Armenia and become a tool in the hands of other countries. If the government does n?t assist us then in a very short period of time we will found party units in different regions and begin a struggle against them.” Avetisyan said his comments are supported by the Hay Dat and Tseghakron parties.

There are about 49,000 Yezidies in Armenia. Avetisyan has aimed similar comments at Armenia’s small Jewish community, which makes up only about 300.

The Armenian Aryan Order is a nationalistic order which seeks to preserve their interpretation of the pure Armenian lifestyle.

The comments became a focus of “Rights of the National Minorities in Armenia 2003-2004”, attended by about 100 human rights advocates and others. Among those attending was Head of the Spiritual Council of Yezidies in Armenia Hasan Hasanyan who called on authorities to stifle bigotry.

The Yezidie leader is also demanding a public apology from Avetisyan.

“I don’t understand,” Hasanyan said. “No statements like that directed against national minorities have been made in Armenia before. Armenia is our home. Until now we have never demanded land and never raised a question concerning gaining autonomy.”

Avetisyan took exception to the Yezidie’s claim of an Armenian homeland.

“Let them live if they want, if they have no other place to live. But Armenia is Armenians’ home,” Avetisyan said. “Mesopotamia is their home.”

Another representative of the Yezidi community Alikhan Shababyan was outraged that such a statement could come from an organization officially recognized by the Ministry of Justice.

“If the organization is an officially registered unit and it makes calls for racial discrimination then it must be closed down as it is provided by law,” says Shababyan.

Gersh Burshtein represents Armenia’s “Mordekhai Navi” Jewish community and told seminar delegates that anti-Semitism exists in Armenia.

Burshtein says AAO must be censured for its position, before words incite action.

“If years ago they were simply elements then today they turned into volatile statements,” he said. “They must be prevented before they turned into acts of violence.”

According to head of the Department of Religion and National Minorities Hranush Kharatyan, Avetisyan’s statements are ideologically flawed and have no place in a country almost destroyed by racism.

“The question of possible participation of Jews at the Genocide and the fact that Israel still keeps silence concerning the issue of Genocide deeply worries and disturb Armenian Aryans,” Kharatyan says. “It can worry Armenian people but before raising the question that problem should be analyzed first. For me this method (of public slander) is unacceptable and inexcusable.”

Stepan Safaryan of the Armenian Center for National and International Studies said the attitude of AAO reflects the need for a law on national minorities.

“The Order of Armenian Aryans is not interested in providing national minorities with rights. They are interested in political issues, and they clearly express their expectations saying why doesn’t the Jewish community of Armenia exert pressure on the government of Israel to revise its approach towards the issue of Genocide ?” says Safaryan.

Chairman of the Helsinki Committee of Armenia Avetik Ishkhanyan called on participants to adopt a resolution condemning Avetisyan’s statements.

30 july 2007

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