- The Idiots Who Rule Us
- The Armenian Collection Of The World's Largest Library * A Conversation With Levon Avdoyan Of The Library Of Congress
- Lawyers For Hrant Dink's Family Say Evidence Is Being Withheld As The Trial Of His Accused Murderers Continues
- 'Retain Confidence in Speaker Pelosi' Says Congresswoman Anna Eshoo
- 'The Resolution Speaks to the Survival of the Armenian People Today' Says Congressman Edward Royce
- Three Monkeys In Turkish-American Relations
- Hurriyet: President Bush Helpless
- House To Pass Bill On Armenian Genocide
- Opening Statement by Chairman Lantos at markup of H. Res. 106
With all the problems that we have in the Middle East, the last thing we need is Congress to stir up something that happened in 1915. It happened between Armenia and Turkey. It happened almost one hundred years ago and is no better or worse than thousands of other things that have happened on the sorry side of human history. It is the usual story of tribal hatred and the consequences. It was never American business. What is American business is the hornets nest that was just showing signs of settling down in Iraq and the area. Twenty seven of the cranial rectally challenged members of the US Congress decided the timing was perfect to interject their wisdom into the long dispute between Armenia and Turkey. I doubt more than six of them could find Armenia and Turkey on the map but never mind they followed Tom Lantos, the pious, into this stupid charade.
Congress rejects Bush's plea on Armenian killings
Suzanne Goldenberg in Washington
October 11, 2007 The Guardian
Congress rejected a plea by the Bush administration yesterday over a resolution officially recognising as genocide the deportation and massacre of Armenians in the last days of the Ottoman empire.
George Bush warned of the negative repercussions should Congress use the word genocide to describe the killing of an estimated 1.5 million Armenians and their exile.
"This resolution is not the right response to these historic mass killings, and its passage would do great harm to our relations with a key ally in Nato and in the global war on terror," Mr Bush said.
But hours later the House foreign affairs committee voted by 27 to 21 in favour of the resolution. The measure now goes to the full House for a vote.
Condoleezza Rice, the secretary of state, had warned the resolution could set back Middle East peace prospects. Its passage could also put US soldiers at risk in Iraq, Robert Gates, the secretary of defence, said, warning that America risked losing important supply routes. About 70% of air cargo for Iraq goes through Turkey.
But the measure has strong support in the Democratic-controlled House, where more than half of members have signed on as co-sponsors, including the speaker, Nancy Pelosi. About half of the Senate has co-sponsored the measure.
The resolution calls on Mr Bush to use the word genocide during the commemoration of the killings each April. Turkey has spent millions on dissuading western governments from labelling the events of 1915-7 a genocide. The Turkish military cancelled defence contracts with France last year when its national assembly voted to make denial of the genocide a crime. Turkey does not deny that many Armenians were killed, but claims the deaths were the result of widespread fighting.
President Bush strongly opposed a House measure that would call the deaths of one million Armenians at the hands of Turkey during the first World War "genocide". The President said it will damage relations with Turkey and set back U.S. efforts in Iraq and elsewhere in the region. The Turkish government characterized the resolution a "biased interpretation of tragedies involving Armenians in the early 20th Century." I pray that a similar "tragedy" does not befall the Kurds in the early 21st Century.
Wed Oct 10, 11:14:00 PM EDT
Wed Oct 10, 11:22:00 PM EDT
And, some crazy people are fighting to get Bush's job. Go figure.
Wed Oct 10, 11:26:00 PM EDT
2164th cited: Robert Gates, the secretary of defence, said, warning that America risked losing important supply routes. About 70% of air cargo for Iraq goes through Turkey.
Israel takes rocket fire from Gaza, yet Gaza expects to have their customary electric power and gasoline imports continue apace. Turkey blocks the 4th Infantry Division from opening a northern front, yet they expect us to continue being holocaust-deniers on their behalf.
When Bush was running for president in 2000, he wrote a letter to the Armenian National Committee affirming that the Armenians were “subjected to a genocidal campaign.” He promised that if “elected president,” he would make sure that the United States “properly recognizes” the tragedy. From his letter:
"The twentieth century was marred by wars of unimaginable brutality, mass murder and genocide. History records that the Armenians were the first people of the last century to have endured these cruelties. The Armenians were subjected to a genocidal campaign that defies comprehension and commands all decent people to remember and acknowledge the facts and lessons of an awful crime in a century of bloody crimes against humanity. If elected President, I would ensure that our nation properly recognizes the tragic suffering of the Armenian people."
But what does he say now?
"I urge members to oppose the Armenian genocide resolution now being considered by the House Foreign Affairs Committee."
Wed Oct 10, 11:34:00 PM EDT
desert rat said...
Genocide denial, whether the genocide is is in Germany, Sudan or Turkey is a mistake.
Unless, of course, that is the new way forward. But if it is, well then President Abracadbra of Iran cannot be further chastized for his Holocaust denials.
All past genocides must first be denied, then reidentified as something other than what they were.
Uncle Jimma wants the US to redefine Darfur as something "other than genocide".
We can do the same with Turkey and then should do the same with Germany, as well. It'll make the Germans feel better, I'm sure.
Eliminate that cultural guilty feeling that we worked so hard to instill, in Germans, for the sins of their fathers.
Suits me either way.
If calling a spade a spade, upsets the spades, call genocide something else.
Words have no meaning in a post modern world.
It's all about feelings.
We should let the Turks bask in their own denials or identify that past episode for what it was
GENOCIDE, writ large
Or is it just that the Armenians do not have the equivalent of Jewish media moguls, like Mr Spielberg, to keep their story of mass murder alive, in our face and not forgotten.
If the Kurds cannot control the PKK, they will be invaded, but perhaps not occupied. It'll serve US right, for not making them, the PKK, a vital interest of concern for US, in Iraq.
Wed Oct 10, 11:36:00 PM EDT
desert rat said...
GWBush is a Boner pussy, his words are meaningless, his promises empty.
Whether he writes them down, speaks them while addressing Congress or standing on a pile of rubble in NYCity.
Wed Oct 10, 11:45:00 PM EDT
DR, after being strung along by Turkey right up to D-Day in the Iraq War, then having to shift to a single-front campaign at the last minute, I would have thrown the Turkish ambassador out of the country on his ass. I sure as hell wouldn't lobby Congress to let them maintain their Big Lie.
Wed Oct 10, 11:53:00 PM EDT
desert rat said...
Bill Roggio, doug, yes siree bob.
30,000 troops home fom Iraq by July and all the Marines, in Iraq, off to Afghanistan.
Who's to say, if that happens, that the "War" in Iraq is not over?
Has not been won?
Wed Oct 10, 11:55:00 PM EDT
desert rat said...
But to retrain all the Marines, to the US National Guard standards, that'd be tough.
Jr tells me there is a world of difference, in operational mentalities, 'tween the two.
Exemplified by the Marine's reaction to an IED ambush in Afghanistan. Had to send that whole Company of Marines back t their boat. They did not react like National Guardsmen, they fired up the natives, instead.
A no-no in the post modeern Army National Guard
Wed Oct 10, 11:59:00 PM EDT
"The Turkish military cancelled defence contracts with France last year when its national assembly voted to make denial of the genocide a crime."
This is odd. If I were a betting man I would have bet those defense contracts would have meant more to the French than some action they might think appropriate but that would piss off the Turks. As per usual, I don't see the nuances of the situation, or of that in the House and Senate. Thank goodness we haven't come to the point yet where Congress is trying to criminalize disputes among historians. And there are disputes, as I am listening to the eternal KGO where they are discussing the situation right now. It may not be quite so clear as Mr. Lantos might think, and as deuce says, is it the business of our Congress? On the other hand, idle hands are the devils workshop, and being preoccupied with this might keep them from something worse.
I wonder what my Senator Craig's stance is on this.
Thu Oct 11, 12:12:00 AM EDT
Doug said... Hey!
Last time you told me to believe what GWB said!
Never took the advice too seriously, tho, since he's been lyin about the Border since day 1.
Thu Oct 11, 12:18:00 AM EDT
The Dems, The Turks, and The Kurds: I gotta admit; I'm having a hard time "picking a side" on this one.
Thu Oct 11, 12:20:00 AM EDT
They're doing rather better than last time with their one setup in Afghanistan.
Nuke Dreams more motivational than Opium Poppies, I guess.
Al Qaeda, the Taliban, and allied terror groups operate 29 training camps in North and South Waziristan. Senior al Qaeda operatives are believed to be operating in North Waziristan, including Hamza bin Laden -- Osama bin Laden's son and possible successor in al Qaeda -- and Abu Kasha.
Thu Oct 11, 12:20:00 AM EDT
Too bad there ain't no Pali's involved. Then, I'd have no trouble whatsoever.
Thu Oct 11, 12:21:00 AM EDT
Kurds are the only ones that have always been on our side.
And those "extremists" are just like an NGO, so...
Thu Oct 11, 12:22:00 AM EDT
"They did not react like National Guardsmen, they fired up the natives, instead."
How'd they do that?
Thu Oct 11, 12:26:00 AM EDT
What is "Occupation" said...
the islamic mass murderers of turkey should be called what they are...
time to call them to their stinking pimply faces what they are...
read the accounts of depravity, pillage, rape and starvation...
all at the hands of the turks.
were they the only mass murdering retards?
nope, but they set the STAGE for all genocide for the 20th century....
and let's face facts...
it was the moslem ottomans that caused so much grief in the world for so long to so many...
time to give the kurds their well deserved nation..
screw turkey, iran, syria, iraq for stealing their lands...
Thu Oct 11, 12:31:00 AM EDT
They "shot the shit" out of'em, Doug.
Thu Oct 11, 12:31:00 AM EDT
We might be wanting to fly across their airspace on of these dark, and cloudy nights.
Kinda like Israel did last month.
Thu Oct 11, 12:33:00 AM EDT
To do anything less if the Nuke Nookie was at stake, would be to shirk our survival duties.
Thu Oct 11, 12:38:00 AM EDT
"Look," she said, the chicken breast on her plate untouched. "I had, for five months, people sitting outside my home, going into my garden in San Francisco, angering neighbors, hanging their clothes from trees, building all kinds of things -- Buddhas? I don't know what they were -- couches, sofas, chairs, permanent living facilities on my front sidewalk."
Unsmilingly, she continued: "If they were poor and they were sleeping on my sidewalk, they would be arrested for loitering, but because they have 'Impeach Bush' across their chest, it's the First Amendment."
so saith grandmum Pelosi
If you want to make your feelings know to grandmum, send her a nice e-mail.
Thu Oct 11, 12:48:00 AM EDT
desert rat said...
The Turks, rufus, like the French with Reagan and Lybia and Bush43 and Iraq, will just say no, while they cash our checks.
The idea that they'd allow the US to overfly Turkey, on the way to Iran, that's wishful thinking, not backed by history.
The Turks becoming even more Islamified since 2003.
Thu Oct 11, 12:59:00 AM EDT
As Rush noted, a previously unreported story at the national level.
Also, a classic quote from a study on SF attitudes toward the homeless:
'Maybe there has been an epiphany,' says David Latterman, president of Fall Line Analytics, a local market research firm.
'People have realized they can hate George Bush, but still not want people crapping in their doorway.'"
Thu Oct 11, 01:02:00 AM EDT
"But what does he say now?"
The lesson: It's nice not to have responsibility.
Our out-sized foreign policy doesn't help, either.
Thu Oct 11, 01:03:00 AM EDT
I thot he was talking about overflying Waziristan.
A real target in sight.
Thu Oct 11, 01:03:00 AM EDT
Wasn't thinkin about the Joos flight that nite.
Thu Oct 11, 01:05:00 AM EDT
"time to give the kurds their well deserved nation.."
Who deserves what aside:
Who's going to defend this new nation (and looking at a map, how)?
Thu Oct 11, 01:06:00 AM EDT
Well, I ain't takin sides. I'm mad at all of'em.
I'm going to go take "My Side" of the Bed. G'nite.
Thu Oct 11, 01:12:00 AM EDT
Well Doug, it looks like if we want to hangout in a really upscale neighborhood, all we need is some political bumper stickers and one of those old woody station wagons.
Damn the 9th Ciruit. They might as well sit in Mexico City. It's insane. They have made some rulings that have an effect up here too, field burning for instance. Most don't do it anymore anyway, except the blue grass growers. But no, no. 9th Circuit rules. I think I told you about it before anyway. How can they ever be gotten rid of, the 9th. We up here have wanted to break the district up. We have nothing in common with them.
Thu Oct 11, 01:44:00 AM EDT
Many years ago, my wife's Uncle was part of that August Body.
The court came over here a few years ago, and she got to talk to them:
Said there was an old black judge that knew her Uncle, but that he was just a shell of his former self that they would push around so that "he" could write decisions that were in fact written by his aides, no doubt much more radical than him.
Sort of unaccountable stealth "judges."
Most overturned court in the country.
Thu Oct 11, 05:38:00 AM EDT
U.S. House panel raises furor on Armenian genocide
Turkish officials warned that if the resolution to condemn the WWI killings was approved by the full House, they would reconsider supporting the American war effort in Iraq.
Turkish president protests U.S. approval of genocide bill
Thu Oct 11, 05:38:00 AM EDT
" Adele, has her roots in the rough and ragged sound of American pre-war folk and blues. Accompanied by a different - disposable? - male guitarist at most gigs (although at the moment Devonte "Dev" Hynes, formerly of Test Icicles and now Lightspeed Champion mainman,"
Thu Oct 11, 06:21:00 AM EDT
The Elephant Bar
The Armenian Collection Of The World's Largest Library * A Conversation With Levon Avdoyan Of The Library Of Congress
On August 28, the Reporter's Washington editor Emil Sanamyan visited with the Dr. Levon Avdoyan, Armenian specialist at the Library of Congress. They spoke about the Library's Armenian programs and collections. This is the second part of the interview; Part One, published in the September 8 edition of the Armenian Reporter, focused on the September 28 round table on U.S.-Armenian relations that was organized by Dr. Avdoyan and for the first time brought together five former U.S. ambassadors to Armenia.
Reporter: What significance does this Library's Armenian collection have when it comes to concentration of Armenian knowledge worldwide?
Avdoyan: It is and has always been unique for one important reason. We are the largest library in the world. According to the last count there are between 132 and 133 million items. The second largest is the Russian National Library in Saint Petersburg, which I think has 40 or 41 million items.
So, when you have Armenian language materials and combine them with materials that are in twenty other reading rooms, you have a resource, which you do not have anywhere else.
In manuscripts, you have [Ambassador] Henry Morgenthau's papers. And now you have [filmmaker] Rouben Mamoulian's papers.
In geography and maps, we have one of the largest, if not the largest geographical collection in the world. You have some, at the time confidential, Caucasus border maps that were used at the Council of Versailles to end World War I. And you actually have maps with lines drawn [by hand to indicate borders] of the mandates.
In prints and photographs, you have the Sultan Abdul Hamid II photographic albums. They were prepared to be given to the United States with beautiful photographs of Ottoman Turkey [in the late 19th century]. The photographs were taken by a company run by three Armenian brothers.
We have those photographs along with posters of the Near East Relief [calling for funds to help victims of anti-Armenian massacres in Turkey].
Reporter: Do previously classified or confidential U.S. government documents that are made public typically come here?
Avdoyan: No, we are in essence the repository of published government documents. The [U.S.] National Archives is the repository for unpublished documents. Having said that, we do have presidential papers though [the early 20th century], including those of President Woodrow Wilson. We have Morgenthau's [papers] because he deposited them with us. We have other papers that have been given to the library. But this is not the place where unpublished government documents would automatically go.
We do have missionary papers, for example those of William Goodell who [in mid-19th century] was for decades a missionary in the Kharpert region [of western Armenia]. His granddaughter Mary Barnum wrote several letters to him in the Hamidian period [of the late 19th century].
Reporter: What would you highlight from the main Armenian collection at the library?
Avdoyan: What pleases me about this job is that I don't even know everything we have. What we have done thanks to Dr. James Billington [the Librarian of Congress] is to make this a truly global library -and more than 60 percent of our holdings are not in English.
In the last three to four years alone I was able to purchase through a dealer some unique and rare [Armenian-language] publications from the 18th and 19th centuries, including a lot of Armeno-Turkish books, which we are restoring, and one very interesting book published in Paris in 1856 on cotton production in New Orleans.
Some would ask me, Why are you getting these? But no one has investigated for instance the role of Armenians in the cotton trade between France and New Orleans and, by extension, [how that affected] the role of France in the American Civil War.
Or an 1836 Armenian pamphlet from Venice with a wonderful photogravure of what a firefighter should wear to escape injury while fighting fires. I don't know of anything else we have like that and that is in Armenian.
And then there are the more traditional works like the Chronicle of the Eusebius of Caesarea, published in 1797, which is still more complete than any Greek remnant of the original that had survived.
So we have been very rich in expanding the collections.
Reporter: Does the Armenian collection include publications in languages other than Armenian?
Avdoyan: Those publications, be they in English, French, or Russian would be part of the Main Reading Room and general collections - as opposed to the Armenian-language ones, which are part of the Middle Eastern Reading Room.
Our Russian-language collections on Armenia are very extensive and are extremely important, starting with the [Russian] takeover [of eastern Armenia] in the 1820s, of course.
Reporter: And what if a book is written in the Armenian alphabet but in Turkish? Where would it go?
Avdoyan: It would be part of the Turkish collection. But we do have a special designation for Armeno-Turkish items. As a matter of fact that I must have bought close to 200 of these the past three years. I think there are about 3,000 [Armeno-Turkish books] in total and we are doing a great job in [acquiring and preserving them].
People don't know this but Armeno-Turkish was published into the 1930s and 40s in some areas. And the rationale for this was of course that Armenians living in the Ottoman Empire knew Turkish, but did not know the Ottoman script and so they wrote in Turkish with Armenian letters. (Just as Greco-Turkish was Ottoman Turkish written in Greek letters.) And in addition to Istanbul, Smyrna [Izmir], and Jerusalem, books in Armeno-Turkish were published in Europe as well.
When I first came here the Armeno-Turkish publications were pretty much restricted to religious subjects - bibles and commentaries. Since then we found quite a few secular books, some of them on topics I did not think were covered at the time.
There are histories of Napoleon in Armeno-Turkish. There is an 1856 Armeno-Turkish translation of an Edgar Allan Poe book published in Venice - which was the first foreign-language translation of that book from English.
Reporter: Who is directly benefiting from these collections?
Avdoyan: We are open to everyone above college age. We have college and graduate students who do research in our collections. We have congressional staff members. We have interns from the Armenian lobby groups calling or coming in. We get the general interest public. We get international scholars who get in touch via Internet.
Frankly, I wish we had more use, but the Library of Congress is in a location [right next to the U.S. Capitol] that is not easy to get to. I would love to be able to offer fellowships to students and scholars to come to the Library to study our collections. We have brought two Armenian scholars, including one from Israel, on the John W. Kluge fellowship.
And we get scholars from European countries that have renowned collections, but that have smaller budgets and as a result are not able to acquire as much as we do.
My pride in this job comes from the knowledge that I have connected a researcher with something that is extremely important for his or her research. That makes everything worthwhile. Because, after all, this is what we are here for, to serve as a reference, and not just collect materials which will gather dust. We want people to use them.
Secondly, I have modeled my life after a saying by the Roman playwright Terence: "Nothing human is foreign to me." Except I have rephrased that into "Nothing Armenian is foreign to me." What I have tried to do with the help of my colleagues is to gather all aspects of Armenian culture in this place.
Reporter: Can anyone just come in to look at original documents like the manuscripts or maps?
Avdoyan: He or she would have to speak to the individual area specialist and chances of [access] being denied are minimal. This is everyone's library and all you need for access is a reader's card and that takes just ten to twenty minutes to get.
That person would come to me and I would make a determination of whether that person needs that actual original or if a microfilm of it would do. If the actual document has to be brought, we have a special table and instructions on how these would have to be handled.
And most people who need the actual documents know how to handle them.
We have a very skilled conservator, Tamara Ohanyan, in our conservation department, who has restored several old Armenian manuscripts and books. During her first volunteer year here she was able to restore a 17th-century gospel which was like a ball from fire and water damage and was unusable. She spent six months restoring it and it is totally usable now. She also restored two 1725 printed Hamalirs (prayer scrolls) - again exquisitely.
Nowadays the chances of us procuring those sorts of documents are less than they used to be. I have been very close to buying an extremely important work only to learn that the provenance was not clear and we would simply not bid on or buy something that is illegal to get.
For instance, I cannot buy manuscripts from Turkey, because there is a law, just like in other countries, Armenia included, against taking manuscripts out of Turkey. On the other hand, they do not yet have a patrimony law on published materials, so I could buy any published materials in Turkey. That could change - in Armenia now there is a patrimony law on [older] published materials as well.
Reporter: And how is the acquisition process conducted for Armenian publications?
Avdoyan: The way we collect materials is that we have a contract with a book dealer for materials published in Armenia for the past five years.
We have a series of exchanges with Armenia, where we have a number of partners that would send us books of interest to us, and we would send them books that interest them.
We then have a series of overseas offices, for instance in Rio de Janeiro, Nairobi, etc. One that is really important for us is Cairo -we have a staff member there who works with me to collect Armenian materials from around the Middle East (not including Armenia).
Finally, we have a budget for retrospective purchases - these are books older than five years. And indeed this how we acquired the Voskan bible published in 1666 in Amsterdam, the first complete bible published in Armenian.
And we have gifts. The Library of Congress is always going to be here. And I am strong in my belief that the Armenian presence here is important for the future. So, we certainly welcome more gifts.
Reporter: Is there also an effort to expand into multimedia, audio, and video Armenian-language resources?
Avdoyan: Yes. Dr. Billington is very interested in procuring restored versions of films published in the Soviet era - especially those of Sergei Parajanov. We do have some of the older versions, obviously. And I work very closely with the motion pictures and geography and maps [departments at the Library].
I would like to note that digitalization of our materials is done by outside funds. To digitize our collections, I would need a private grant to have it done. And I would like to see several such projects done, such as the Armenian maps, for example.
I have noticed that a growing number of people expect to find materials on line. So, what I would like to underscore is that Armenian studies is not the same as Western studies. Important materials are not digitized. There are still the issue of standards and reliable OCR [optical character recognition] that allows you to scan texts.
At this point the best materials are still physical copies. And people could view them either by coming here or by going to their public libraries and requesting duplicates of the original via inter-library loan.
Some materials are already on line, however. If you were to go into prints and photographs online catalogue you would see well over 200 Armenian [items] already available in digital form. If you went into what is called the "California Gold" [series] you would find about 100 Armenian songs recorded in the 1930s among the immigrant population of California. They went around just to record the songs of ethnic groups just as they would sing them in a village - not polished or highly instrumented.
Reporter: And how about the video record since Armenia's independence?
Avdoyan: I don't have much of that at all. We have these series on minorities, such as on Assyrians and Jews of Armenia. [There may be] some of the tapes from some of the news [media] groups produced here. But I have not [specifically] collected them. There would certainly be a home for them here if let's say someone had a video archive and wanted to donate it.
* Levon Avdoyan
Since 1992, Dr. Avdoyan has worked as Armenian and Georgian Area Specialist in the Library of Congress in Washington. From 1982 to 1992 he was reference specialist for the Library's Humanities and Social Sciences Division. Over his 25-year career at the Library, Dr. Avdoyan has received numerous achievement and meritorious service awards.
The Library's Armenian collection began with 200 items - books, periodicals, documents, manuscripts, and maps - in 1949. When Dr. Avdoyan took over as Armenian specialist in 1992, the collection numbered over 7,000 items and through his 15-year tenure it has grown to nearly 30,000.
Prior to joining the Library, Dr. Avdoyan worked at the U.S. Copyright Office as Library Examiner between 1978 and 1982, and as research assistant to Columbia University history professor Morton Smith.
Born in Providence, Dr. Avdoyan grew up in Florida and did his undergraduate studies at the University of the South in Tennessee; he subsequently earned his M.A. and Ph.D. at Columbia University.
In the early 1970s, Dr. Avdoyan conducted research in archives of the Soviet Union (including in Leningrad, Moscow, Tbilisi, and Yerevan), Greece, France and Italy (the Mkhitarist Monastery in Venice). His doctoral thesis was on the "History of Taron," a historical romance set in 7th-century Armenia.
Mr. Avdoyan's working languages include Armenian (Classical, Modern Western and Eastern), French, Classical Georgian, German, Classical and Modern Greek, Italian, Latin and Russian.
(c) 2007 Armenian Reporter LLC
Lawyers For Hrant Dink's Family Say Evidence Is Being Withheld As The Trial Of His Accused Murderers Continues
by Talin Suciyan
ISTANBUL - Two days before the second hearing, on October 1, in the trial of 13 suspects in the January 2007 murder of the prominent Turkish-Armenian editor Hrant Dink, records of a phone call between a police officer and an accused conspirator in the murder were published in the Turkish media.
The police officer, identified as M.Z. [Muhittin Zenit -Ed.], clearly states that he knew how the murder was to have been committed and what the shooter was to have done after killing Mr. Dink, who was the editor of the weekly Agos. The murderer "was not going to run. This one did," the officer said. M.Z. is known to have received a promotion since the murder.
What follows is the transcript of the phone call, as published in English translation in the Turkish Daily News.
Erhan Tuncel: There was this boy, Zeynel [Zeynel Abidin Yavuz - the accused under arrest].... Then came another.... I don't think so ... because if it is what he said.... This is what I know, I mean what I can share.... What I mean is, this is how he was going to be shot, the way to shoot him. If so, then they are connected, but I don't think so....
M.Z.: What my son, they squeezed it right against his head....
E. T.: He died?
M.Z.: Of course, the only difference is he wasn't going to run but this one did.
E. T.: But was he caught?
M.Z.: No way.
E.T.: Hmmm.... I don't think it's them, abi [elder brother].
M.Z.: I am not sure.
E. T.: It's not that it.... I mean, we would die for the state, you know.... We'll share it.... I mean I don't think so....
M.Z.: Brother, that and what we're talking about now. They are different I mean.
E. T.: What we talked was different all right, but it was everybody's target.
M.Z.: I know that. Now you are being vague with me. F - it, if he croaked, he croaked. I don't question who killed him. If you doubt my sincerity in this, that's different.
E. T.: No abi, of course not. If it has to do with us, I'll look and see. I mean I will bring it to you, too, suitably.
M.Z.: Look man, why bring it? What is the use of bringing it?
E. T.: If it has to do with us.... I was talking on the Internet. They called me. I stayed on the Internet for three hours, you see? It is the exams, the finals I mean....
M.Z.: Oh.... Well, all right brother. I wanted to share. To see what's what....
E. T.: OK abi, God bless you.... It is healthier to go with what you think....
M.Z.: No, no, it's because you sounded.... That's what demoralized me, partner....
E. T.:.... I haven't talked to your people for a while now. There was some bitterness. They've called me just now....
M.Z.: All right, OK, we just wanted to evaluate it. Well done, whoever did it.
E. T.: I don't think it has anything to do with us. But well done to whoever did it.... OK abi, see you.
M.Z.: See you.
After this transcript was published in the newspapers, and sound bites were heard on radio and television, an investigation was launched against the outlets that published the transcript, but no investigation was initiated against police officer M.Z.
Under the shadow of this phone call, the second hearing was held on Monday in Istanbul. The hearing lasted for 12 hours. Because the suspected murderer, O.S. [Ogun Samast -Ed.], is only 17, the hearing was closed.
* Love it or ...
The phone call was not the only news casting a shadow on the trial. One of the prison buses transporting suspects had a sticker on the front that read, "Love it or leave it." This is a slogan associated with ultranationalists. Police put a white band on the sticker to hide it, leaving only the Turkish flag visible. An investigation has been initiated against those who put the "Love it or leave it" sticker on the bus.
To add to the embarrassment, one of the gendarmes guarding O.S. made an obscene gesture to photojournalists who were taking pictures of the sticker.
Some 500 demonstrators held vigil outside the court. They held placards that read, "We all are witnesses. We all want justice" and "We are all Hrants. We are all Armenians."
In addition to the prosecutors and defense attorneys, another 90 lawyers were at the court house ready to intervene as friends of the court.
The court has not accepted the request of International Journalists Without Borders (RSF), International Federation of Human Rights (FIDH), and Human Rights Association (Turkey) to be heard.
According to news items that appeared in the daily Radikal, O.S. stated that he committed the murder under the pressure of Yasin Hayal. Mr. Hayal is among the suspects on trial. He has served time in jail for the bombing of a McDonalds restaurant in Trabzon in 2004.
Radikal reports that Mr. Tuncel's housemate, Tuncay Uzundal, who is also among those on trial, reportedly said "There are dark powers behind the murder, but I do not know whether it is the national secret service (MIT) or the gendarmerie or the police." When Mr. Uzundal reportedly uttered these words, his lawyer reportedly signaled to him to discontinue his statement. (Because the hearing was closed, the Turkish media use terms like "reportedly" to give an account of the proceedings.)
* Political will
Mr. Tuncel, the suspect whose phone conversation with a police officer made headlines, was known as a police informer. The Istanbul prosecutor had requested his file from the General Directorate of Security as early as January 29. The file was prepared and given to the prosecutor on February 6 on the precondition that the file could only be read and then destroyed. It was understood that the original would be available if needed.
During the first hearing in the trial, in July, Mr. Tuncel's file and his phone call details were requested by lawyers for the Dink family. Their request was denied. Dink family attorney Erdal Dogan said that this was a "judicial scandal."
Fethiye Çetin, another of the lawyers for the Dink family, told Radikal that evidence is not being given to the attorneys. "Lots of evidence has been lost," she said. "One of the very important pieces of evidence are the camera records of Akbank," which is near the murder site. "The tapes have been given to Istanbul Police Station. The attorney asked for the tapes, but they could not be found," she said.
She added, "According to the statements of some of the witnesses, O.S. talked on the phone on the way to Samsun," where he was arrested soon after Mr. Dink's murder. "But there was no cell phone and no SIM card found on him."
Ms. Çetin also said that the government had made a remarkable effort to arrest the confessed murderer and people closely linked to him. But the government has not gone beyond that immediate circle. "This case can be illuminated only if political power wants it to be," she added.
There will be a commission formed in the Turkish parliament to investigate the Dink murder. The members of the commission will work in Istanbul and Trabzon and prepare a report of their findings. (c) 2007 Armenian Reporter LLC
'Retain Confidence in Speaker Pelosi' Says Congresswoman Anna Eshoo
By Khatchig Mouradian
WASHINGTON (A.W.)-The following interview with Congresswoman Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.) was conducted on Sept. 28 in her office in Washington.
The video of the interview can be viewed on www.haireniktv.com.
Khatchig Mouradian-Congresswoman, now that we have 226 co-sponsors of the Armenian Genocide Resolution, what's next?
Anna Eshoo-A few very important things need to be done. First, we want to keep getting co-sponsors, so this is not something that has ended. Every week I talk to members on the floor of the House to invite them to come on to the resolution, answer questions, etc. Very importantly, Congressman Tom Lantos from Northern California, who is the chairman of the House International Relations Committee, needs to schedule the bill for mark-up-that means that you write up the bill, it's accepted by the committee, there's a vote in the committee, and then it qualifies to come to the floor of the house for action. Now why is 226-and counting-important? Because the majority of the House is 218. We have to keep members on the legislation, not allow people to stray, not allow the Turkish lobby to affect members and peel them off of the legislation.
K.M.-The expectations are high, and it's up to Speaker Nancy Pelosi to put the resolution to vote. Yet, she's under a lot of pressure from lobby groups, the Tukish government and the State Department. How do you see this issue developing in the next few weeks?
A.E.-Well, the Armenian-American community should retain their confidence in Speaker Pelosi. She has always been on the resolution since she came to Congress, she's been committed to the community and what needs to be done. She has spoken every year on it on the floor of the House, and now we are so proud that she is our Speaker. So she hasn't changed her mind about the issue. It's up to us to be able to pass it. The Speaker doesn't tell people how to vote. . And then she likes to win. So we're going to have to demonstrate that we have the votes on the floor in order to win. And we have all known from the very beginning-no one knows it better than the Armenian-American community-that this has always been tough. The opposition understands our position of strength now and they keep ratcheting up every day.
K.M.-Do you see any difference between the way the opposition operated previously and the way it's operating now?
A.E.-There's more money, and there's more pressure.
K.M.-And what are your thoughts on the letter, signed by eight former Secretaries of State, which urges Speaker Pelosi to keep the resolution off the House floor?
A.E.-I have to tell you I'm not surprised. And the reason I'm not surprised is that each of those Secretaries of State are defending the policy that they implemented. We haven't had one administration that was with us. This is how high the climb is. So while I would like to have had it be different, it's not a surprise to me because every single administration has sided the other way. They have not been with us. That's why we know that it's up to us to launch this and to move it, and I think their sending this letter shows the power of the [Turkish] lobby. I mean there's a lot of money in this. There's a ton of money in this in plain English. So, yes, we've always known we have a tough fight. They've been successful for 25 years in the Congress, but I believe that we can change it and I believe that we will change it, and the reason for that is because it's the right thing to do.
K.M.-Why is it important for the United States Congress to recognize a crime against humanity that took place 92 years ago in a different part of the world?
A.E.-The greatest strength that America has is her moral standing in the world. That has been and continues to be the most eloquent statement about who and what we are as a nation. And we have moved away from some of those values-very sadly, I must say-and that has chipped away at the credibility of the United States of America. Make no mistake about it, we are the mightiest in terms of military, we certainly are the most powerful economic force in the world, but without moral standing, you have a house that is essentially built on sand. So this is about who we are and what we stand for. And our human rights record and our recognition to correct not only history around the world, but our very own history. We had to fight to acknowledge that slavery was wrong in our country. So we have a very, very long record on this. And that's why it is important. What did Hitler say? "Who will remember the Armenians?" We will!
K.M.-Congresswoman, this is a very important human rights issue, but it's also a very personal issue for you. Can you talk about that?
A.E.-Well, as you know, I'm half Hye (Armenian) and half Assori (Assyrian). That's a very powerful mixture for me because both sides of my family were persecuted and fled the region. When I saw that full-page ad in the New York Times taken out by the Turkish lobby saying, "Let's settle this once and for all as to whether there was or was not a genocide, and have a commission..." Excuse me? Did my grandmother lie? I mean, I sat at her knee and she described the slaughter of her own family.
We're not asking anyone for money. We're simply stating that this be a fact that is set down and recognized by the American people. And I think the American people are way ahead of us. There isn't any argument in my Congressional district or across the country as to whether this is something that took place. In fact, constituents are stunned that this is even a battle. And the battle is being waged against denial. I think that it would be a gift for the Turkish people and the Turkish government to get this behind them. This isn't the present-day Turkey that did it, this was the Ottoman Empire, so yes, this is very, very close to me. It's my family, it's who I am, and it's where I come from.
But this is also very important for our nation to recognize. And when you move from denial to truth, you're free.
'The Resolution Speaks to the Survival of the Armenian People Today' Says Congressman Edward Royce By Khatchig Mouradian
WASHINGTON (A.W.)-The following interview with Congressman Edward R. Royce (R-Calif.) was conducted on Sept. 28 in his office in Washington. The video of the interview can be viewed on www.haireniktv.com.
Khatchig Mouradian-Congressman, where does the Genocide Resolution stand at this point and where do we go from here?
Edward Royce-Well, what we do now is what we did a few years ago when we got the bill out of committee. I've served on the Foreign Affairs Committee for a number of years, and I carried in the State Senate of California the first genocide resolution recognizing the Armenian genocide. We got that out of the California State Senate with a little help from our friend George Deukmejian, who was governor at the time.
Also, a few years ago we were able to actually get this very resolution on to the House floor. Now, at that point in time, President [Bill] Clinton contacted Speaker [Dennis] Hastert and they convinced the leadership not to bring it up on the House floor. But where we're focused right now is explaining to the Members that the French have recognized the genocide, the Germans have recognized it, and for those of us who are Republicans, that Ronald Reagan, as president, recognized the genocide. It is time that we officially, as the Congress of the United States, do this. We're in the process right now of talking to the members-and I'm working on the Republican side-in order to have the votes there if we can schedule this before committee.
K.M.-And why is it important for the U.S. Congress to recognize the Armenian genocide, an event that took place in a different part of the world 92 years ago?
E.R.-My father was involved during the Second World War with U.S. forces when they went into Dachau, the concentration camp. He actually took photographs, he was an amateur photographer. And ever since, he has been quite outspoken on the way in which the international community can be silent at times about genocide. One of the things he reminds people of is Hitler's comment back to the chairman of the joint chief of staff in the Reich. And Hitler said, "Who speaks today of the annihilation of the Armenians?"
The reality is that history can repeat itself and will do so especially if we don't get history right, and if we don't have it acknowledged. And when you have something as horrific as the genocide in which over one and a half million Armenians perished in Western Anatolia and Turkey, when you have something on that scale and it is not acknowledged, there is the danger that it could be repeated.
This is also important to us because Armenia is struggling today, and here it is in the grips of an embargo imposed by Turkey and by Azerbaijan. They're in a tough neighborhood and in the last three years we've seen Azerbaijan increase its defense budget 638 percent. If we wonder about how Armenia struggles in this environment, I'll just share with you the index of economic freedom, which measures how much progress different countries make. It lists Turkey at 83rd in the world, while young Armenia is ranked 32nd. So you can see the amount of reform going on in that country, but at the same time you can see the discrimination, and you can see the high tariffs imposed by its neighbors in terms of goods and services getting in and out of the country. So this not only speaks to the past, it speaks to the survival of Armenia and the Armenian people today.
This is one of the reasons that we've been involved in efforts to try to champion the Millennium Challenge account, and as you know Armenia will receive over $235 million for its rural areas, for its agriculture, to help rebuild its roads. But at the same time, what we're also trying to do is knock down that embargo.
And as you know, my friend, Congressman Crowley from New York and myself championed the legislation to explicitly prevent any funding for any rail line that goes through that region and bypasses Armenia. We're going to continue to speak out for the truth and point out the obvious and use U.S. power and prestige and the fact that this country is based on an ideal-that ideal is freedom-in order not only to try to help Armenia today but to have the record books, the history books, properly record all over the world what happened. And frankly, when Congress speaks, it helps focus people's attention on what is actually happening in the world.
K.M.-You've also been very active in speaking out against the genocide in Darfur. So what parallels do you see there?
E.R.-I took the actor Don Cheadle along with Paul Rusesabagina (who he portrays in the movie "Hotel Rwanda") and a nightline television camera crew into Darfur, Sudan, and recorded the aftermath of an attack there. We went into the village of Tinei, which was once a vibrant community but now has a population of a handful of people. We talked to survivors of different attacks while we were there, and two documentaries were produced out of it on that genocide. Subsequently we were able to get a genocide resolution through the United Nations and passed it here through Congress. In so doing, we've now put enormous pressure on China to quit providing the arms. (Just as China provided the arms used by Rwanda in the genocide in Rwanda, they're now providing the arms here.) And this kind of pressure, I think, can help mobilize the international community.
And let's think again about the point President Reagan made when he recognized the Armenian genocide. He spoke of the Holocaust, the Armenian genocide, and then the genocide in Cambodia that took two million lives. And he was making the point that if we don't speak out, history can repeat itself. Here it is today, repeating itself, with a radical fundamentalism that is driving the Janjaweed, and the Khartoum government is right behind it. The Khartoum government is actually involved in helping fund this. So again, to me, pointing these things out, and trying to educate people around the world and trying to get an admission as to what is happening is very, very important in terms of human rights. If you don't get the past right, there's a danger you're not going to get the future right. And we should call the Armenian genocide for what it is: genocide.
K.M.-Congressman, what is your take on the recent letter signed by eight former Secretaries of State?
E.R.-If President Reagan could speak out, if the French National Assembly could speak out, if historians all around the world can speak out, it's time for the U.S. Congress to speak out, regardless of what kind of angst that might cause to some in foreign affairs. I just think you try to do the right thing, and that's what we need to do.
K.M.-Congressman, one of the issues being raised, especially in the Turkish media, is how the Genocide Resolution is being pushed forward by the Democrats. They often ignore the fact that the resolution enjoys bipartisan support. How can we make the case for that?
E.R.-I think people forget that it was under Republican majority that we actually got the resolution out of committee in the past. And it was under a Republican president, President Reagan, that the Armenian genocide was addressed. And so, as one who has labored long and hard on this, I'm well aware of the fact that this is a bipartisan effort. I would think anyone who is trying to claim otherwise is being a little political. And frankly, with these kinds of issues we should keep the partisan politics out of it. We're talking about human rights, we're talking about history here, and so I appreciate you asking that question because it's good to get that history right, too. We passed that resolution out of the committee successfully with the help of Republicans and Democrats, when the Republicans were the majority.
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Three Monkeys In Turkish-American Relations
You must have heard the story of the three wise monkeys, a Japanese image portraying what is probably an ancient Indian or Chinese code of conduct. The pictorial maxim is embodied in the monkeys who include Mizaru, covering his eyes, Kikazaru, covering his ears and Iwazaru, covering his mouth. The image simply calls on everybody to see, hear and speak no evil, so that we ourselves shall be spared all evil.This was the sensible Turks' response to the United States' approach toward such sensitive issues as the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) safe havens in northern Iraq, the numerous U.S. weapons detected on its militants by Turkish security forces, and last but not least, the Iraqi Kurdish leadership sponsorship of PKK terrorism.
Yet even their rationalism is rapidly melting away nowadays, not because they too are falling into the trap of populism. Rather, they cannot any longer tolerate the various inconsistencies offered by U.S. officials. The U.S. justifications are not at all convincing.
More importantly, the Bush administration's line of thinking in response to Turkey's apt accusations does not look promising to them either. Let's clarify what I mean by giving a concrete example.
It is not the terrorists that divide us
Speaking at a fast-breaking dinner hosted by the Turkish Confederation of Businessmen and Industrialists last week, U.S. Ambassador to Turkey Ross Wilson was reported to have said that the U.S. is not doing "enough" to fight the PKK. "We must not let terrorists and our other enemies divide us; that is their objective.
We must stand together, and we must prevail," he then added.The U.S.
sensitivity to our common enemies' frequent attempts to divide us is not new.
Do you remember our American friends' response to a Daily Telegraph news story regarding the presence of American military officials in PKK camps in Qandil last month? After it was quoted in Turkish dailies, the U.S. embassy in Ankara issued a written statement claiming that such reports were "designed to drive a wedge between two allies." At the time I read that statement I pondered for a considerable while why a prominent daily of Great Britain, actually a close ally of both the U.S. and Turkey, might have published such a report that is, as alleged in the U.S. embassy's statement, designed to drive a wedge. If it were an Iranian or Syrian daily I would have understood it. But accusing a British daily of having such motives sounded to me a bit strange. Given that I had read such news stories in almost 10 other Western dailies and/or magazines previously, including American ones, my confusion became strengthened. If the U.S. embassy is sincerely interested in the copies of these news stories, I would be glad to forward them all.
After the latest tragic losses of life
It is actually not the terrorists or our so-called "enemies" that are driving a wedge between us. Rather, it is this selfish, inconsistent, indifferent, dishonest, and last but not least, hypocritical stance of our American friends that in reality profoundly divides us. The U.S. administration is giving the impression that it has never had a solution but admires the problem.
Yet, as I warned in my first op-ed at the Turkish Daily News nearly seven months ago, at a time when each bomb that explodes in another corner of a Turkish city is starkly visible to the Turkish public, as is each new coffin for an innocent citizen or soldier, the wise and sensible policies our American allies have been recommending to Ankara are no longer realistic.
I expect them to show me one single positive and concrete act of theirs to help the sensible Turks soothe their public. But they have failed to do so because they have replied with rhetoric rather than actions. It is precisely for this reason why at present the tide, whatever its effect on the broader picture our American friends are so sensitive to, has finally decisively turned. In such a milieu, Ambassador Wilson wants us to have faith in both he and President Bush's "determination." He is unfortunately sarcastically calling on us, as he did during his interview Monday with Turkish broadcaster CNN Turk, to work with Iraq and the U.S. to have concrete results.
With such "friends," what need have we of enemies? In the carvings in Japan, there is in rare examples a fourth monkey, the Shizaru, who is portrayed covering his abdomen or crotch in a way symbolizing the principle of "do no evil." Given the current situation, is inaction still an option?
C. Cem OGUZ Turkish Daily News Oct 10 2007
Hurriyet: President Bush Helpless
The mainstream Turkish daily reports that the Bush administration, feeling helpless in blocking tomorrow’s vote on the Armenian resolution in the House of Representatives Committee on Foreign Relations, is making last minute requests from Ankara.
Hurriyet reports that the White House is urging the Turkish and Armenian foreign ministers to meet, and asking Ankara to open the closed border between Turkey and Armenia as a gesture that might be an incentive for Armenia to help block the resolution. Reliable sources are not convinced that such initiatives, at this stage, would bring any results.
Hurriyet writes that despite its intense efforts against the Armenian resolution, the Bush administration is unable to convince the Democratic majority in Congress, therefore it is urging Ankara to reach out to the Democratic leadership.
According to Hurriyet’s sources Ankara is putting pressure on the White House, whereas the key names are the House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Democratic leaders around her.
These sources say, “The Republican President Bush and the Democrat ruled Congress don’t agree on anything. When Democrats in Congress insult the President they score points for the upcoming elections. Ankara must find a way of reaching the Democratic leadership in the Congress”. “It is like history repeating itself”, said the same source, “During Turkish invasion of Cyprus, the Democrat ruled Congress had not listened to the Republican administration and had imposed the arms embargo against Turkey”.
Source: Hurriyet, Turkey, October 9, 2007
MEMRI Turkish Media Project Reports
House To Pass Bill On Armenian Genocide
By Michal Lando, Jerusalem Post Correspondent
Jerusalem Post Oct 10 2007 New York
The US House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee is expected to approve a bipartisan bill on Wednesday that calls on the US to recognize the World War I massacres of Armenians as genocide.
The results of the vote will set the stage for a subsequent full House consideration. If approved in the Committee, it will be up to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a longtime supporter of such recognition, to allow for a vote in the House.
The bill is largely expected to pass both the Committee and the full House despite mounting pressure from Turkey. The bipartisan measure currently has 226 co-sponsors - more than a majority in the House and the most support an Armenian Genocide resolution has ever received.
"The United States has a compelling historical and moral reason to recognize the Armenian Genocide, which cost a million and a half people their lives," said Rep. Adam Schiff, who sponsored the bill, in a statement. "But we also have a powerful contemporary reason as well - how can we take effective action against the genocide in Darfur if we lack the will to condemn genocide whenever and wherever it occurs?" Similar bills have been debated in Congress for decades, but Armenian groups have repeatedly been undermined by concerns about damaging relations with Turkey.
Now, in the days preceding the vote, Turkish officials warned that approval of the bill may mean that ties between Turkey the US and Israel may suffer.
In a letter to Pelosi, Parliament Speaker Koksal Toptan said that "it might take decades to heal negative effects of the bill if it passes," AP reported. And last week eight former secretaries of state, Republican and Democrat, urged Pelosi to block it.
On Friday, efforts by Turkey to intercede came through Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who told US President George W. Bush that the measure would "harm the strategic partnership" between the two countries. Bush reiterated his opposition to the bill, saying he recognized the tragedy, but that the determination over whether the events constitute a genocide should be a matter for historical inquiry, not legislation.
"They've done everything in their power to scare members away from voting for it, but if those threats scared people five to 10 years ago, they don't seem to work today," said Aram Hamparian, Executive Director of the Armenian National Committee, an Armenian interest group. "I don't think anybody would like to see this adopted by Congress over their opposition and be remembered as an organization that opposed it." Similar threats to target diplomatic ties have been launched against Israel in the last few days.
The widespread perception in Turkey is that US Jewish organizations have linked up with Armenian groups to "defame" and "condemn" Turkey, visiting Turkish Foreign Minister Ali Babacan told The Jerusalem Post Monday.
He warned that if a measure characterizing the killing of Armenians as an act of genocide was approved by Congress in the coming days, it would not only harm Turkey's ties with the US, but also Ankara's ties with Jerusalem.
Morton Klein, president of the Zionist Organization of America, who has publicly acknowledged the Armenian genocide, harshly criticized the recent threats by the Turkish government. "This is an ugly and inappropriate threat by Turkey and it really tells you something about them when they blame Israel for something the US is doing," said Klein. "This doesn't have to do with Jews because they aren't lobbying for it, and I don't think Israel or America or anyone should respond to this type of inappropriate threat."
However, such threats have caused some Jewish organizations to stop short of supporting the congressional bills. The issue erupted in August, when the Anti-Defamation League reversed its longtime refusal to recognize the genocide after a disagreement emerged with its New England chapter. Boston Jews, who have close ties with the large Armenian community in Boston, widely supported the recognition, and stood behind New England Regional director Andrew Tarsy, who was fired after telling the media he disagreed with the national position on the Armenian genocide. Tarsy was reinstated, but the ADL stopped short of supporting the congressional resolution.
Foxman continues to oppose the bill. "We are opposed in the sense that we do not believe this is the place it should be resolved," said Foxman. "We may change our minds we may not." ADL's national policy-making body is expected to discuss the congressional resolutions at its annual meeting on November 1. Foxman has repeatedly urged the Turks and the Armenians to resolve the issue between themselves. But Armenians have refused offers by the Turkish government to establish a joint commission to study historical facts.
Hamparian compared such a request to calls by Ahmadinejad for more research on the Holocaust. "I think it's about as sincere as the Iranian government saying they need to revisit the Holocaust," said Hamparian. "I think it's a veiled denial put in the guise of academic inquiry."
Opening Statement by Chairman Lantos at markup of H. Res. 106
October 10, 2007
Today we are not considering whether the Armenian people were persecuted and died in huge numbers at the hands of Ottoman troops in the early 20th Century. There is unanimity in the Congress and across the country that these atrocities took place. If the resolution before us stated that fact alone, it would pass unanimously.
The controversy lies in whether to make it United States policy at this moment in history to apply a single word genocide to encompass this enormous blot on human history.
The United Nations Convention on Genocide defines the term as a number of actions, and I quote, committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnic, racial or religious group. These actions include killing or causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group, and deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction, in whole or in part.
Henry Morgenthau, the U.S. Ambassador to the Ottoman Empire at the time of the atrocities, wrote -- and I am quoting -- I am confident that the whole history of the human race contains no such horrible episode as this. The great massacres and persecutions of the past seem almost insignificant when compared with the sufferings of the Armenian race in 1915.
The leadership of the United States has been in universal agreement in condemning the atrocities but has been divided about using the term genocide.
On one occasion, President Ronald Reagan referred to, I quote, the genocide of the Armenians.
But subsequent Presidents -- George Herbert Walker Bush, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, have refrained from using the word out of deference to Turkish sentiments on the matter.
In recognizing this tragedy, some in Congress have seen common themes with the debate our committee held earlier this year on a resolution about another historic injustice the tens of thousands of so-called Comfort Women forced into sexual slavery by Imperial Japan. The current Japanese government went to great length to attempt to prevent debate on that matter, and dire predictions were made that passage of such a resolution would harm U.S.-Japan relations. Those dire consequences never materialized.
A key feature distinguishing todays debate from the one on the Comfort Women resolution is that U.S. troops are currently engaged in wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Our troops depend on a major Turkish airbase for access to the fighting fronts, and it serves as a critical part of the supply lines to those fronts. A growing majority in Congress, and I am among them, strongly oppose continued U.S. troop involvement in the civil war in Iraq, but none of us wants to see those supply lines threatened or abruptly cut.
All eight living former secretaries of state recently cautioned Congress on this matter. And I quote, It is our view, write former Secretaries Albright, Baker, Christopher, Eagleburger, Haig, Kissinger, Powell and Shultz, that passage of this resolution could endanger our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan and damage efforts to promote reconciliation between Armenia and Turkey.
Three former secretaries of defense Carlucci, Cohen and Perry this week advised Congress that passage of this resolution, and I quote again, would have a direct, detrimental effect on the operational capabilities, safety and well being of our armed forces in Iraq and in Afghanistan.
Members of this committee have a sobering choice to make. We have to weigh the desire to express our solidarity with the Armenian people and to condemn this historic nightmare through the use of the word genocide against the risk that it could cause young men and women in the uniform of the United States armed services to pay an even heavier price than they are currently paying. This is a vote of conscience, and the Committee will work its will.