25 October 2007

2115) Media Scanner Oct 2007 (156 Items)

  1. Key Talks Behind Sudden Departure
  2. Letters To The Editor / TDN A letter to Pelosi
  3. The Enemy Within
  4. A ‘Dirty’ Game Over Terror By Dr. Mehmet Seyfettin Erol*
  5. Floor Vote On Armenian Resolution May Be Held Next Year
  6. Will A Cross-Border Operation End Terrorism?
  7. The Kurdish Imbroglio
  8. Turkey Dos And Don’ts In Fighting The PKK
  9. Iran Leader Ducks Events In Armenia, Returns Home
  10. MGK Convening With Special Agenda On Iraq Incursion
  11. The Last Straw
  12. Letters To The Editor / TDN Resolution: An Act Of Foolishness
  13. The PKK To Declare Ceasefire, Says Talabani
  14. Why Turkey’s Army Will Stay Home by Ian Bremmer*
  15. A Pyrrhic Victory
  16. "Time Of Test For Turkey"
  17. Turkey Set To Display Harsh Reaction Against Us
  18. Recalled Ambassador Returns To Us, Sees Positive Prospects
  19. Armenian Bill
  20. Letters To The Editor - TDN Stop political exploitation of the Armenian issue
  21. Iranian President To Visit Armenia
  22. Turkey's Jews Back Ankara's Stance On Bill
  23. Pelosi's Judgment Questioned Over Armenia Issue
  24. Dent, Rest Of Congress Must Revisit 'Genocide' Vote
  25. Leave Turkey Alone
  26. Foreign Affairs West's Relations With Turkey Strained FurtherAnthony Manduca
  27. Is Graham Fuller Really Out Of His Mind?
  28. Stability In The Middle East: American Hypocrisy, Turkish Patience
  29. Iranian President Visits Armenia As Economic And Political Ties Grow
  30. Azerbaijan Boosts Budget, Warns Armenia
  31. Abdullayev: Petkim, A New Energy Venture Between Turkey, Azerbaijan
  32. Journalist Lale Sariibrahimoglu Faces Trial Under Article 301
  33. PM Erdogan Warns Us That He Needs Nobody’s Permission To Defend Turkey
  34. Armenian Bill
  35. The Times Newspaper Interview With Recep Tayyip Erdogan In Full
  36. Congress And Armenia By Recep Tayyip Erdogan
  37. Turkey: The Ally That Isn't
  38. Turkish PM Called On U.S. Congress To Be "Sane"
  39. New Israeli Ambassador To Turkey On The Genocide Issue: ‘lobbying Has Limits’
  40. Nancy Pelosi And The Armenians
  41. Congress May Overcook An Important Turkey
  42. Dick Cheney Confirmed U.S. Readiness To Promote Turkish-Armenian Reconciliation
  43. Pitfalls Abound If U.S. Labels Slaughter Of Armenians A Genocide
  44. Turkish Pm Calls For Reconciliation With Armenia
  45. New Evidence On Armenian Genocide Revealed
  46. Van: How To Play Caveman On Akdamar Island
  47. Armenian Patriarch Lobbies Against House Resolution
  48. Genocide Bill Vote On Hold As Pro-Armenians Probe Support
  49. Ani Travel Box
  50. Behind The Armenian Genocide Vote
  51. How The Turks Saved The Jews From Genocide
  52. Is Common Sense Gaining Ground?
  53. Turkey Fears Claims
  54. Time To Talk About Scenarios And Possibilities
  55. Analyst Outlines Conflicts Of Interest Between Turkey And US
  56. Erdogan Calls For Rapprochement With Armenia
  57. AntiAmerican American Armenians
  58. Morality Vs. Realpolitik
  59. Simsek: Us Most Powerful, But Turkey Also A Key Power
  60. Turkey Has The Think Tanks, What About The Thought?
  61. Is America Losing Its Turkey?
  62. Genocide Vote Strikes Raw Nerve With Turks, Armenians
  63. Losers in The Congressional Saga
  64. CSIS: Resolution Will Create New Source Of Regional Anger Against US
  65. Well Done Chaps.. Keep It Up..
  66. Turkish Coalition Of America Community Update And Action Alert
  67. Can We Discuss The Armenian Question? (Orhan Kemal Cengiz)
  68. U. S. Department Of State Daily Briefing 10/17/2007
  69. Genocide Resolution Going Down Down Down
  70. All Politics is Local
  71. Stop Byzantine Politics; Deal Straight With Turkey
  72. Many Reasons To Vote Against Armenian Genocide Resolution
  73. Stirring Up The Past, Jeopardising The Future
  74. Congress And The Armenian Genocide Resolution: Once Burned, Twice Shy?
  75. Gates Speaks Against Genocide Resolution
  76. Turkish Jews Decry Armenian Genocide Bill
  77. I Apologize, Turkey! [Letters To The Editor]
  78. Democrats, Republicans Spar Over Turkey Genocide Resolution
  79. Turks Look to Punish Armenian
  80. Turkish Official Urges Sanctions On Armenia
  81. Democrats Split On Genocide Resolution
  82. Turkey Threatens Tougher Sanctions Against Armenia
  83. U.S. Genocide Resolution To Spoil Ties With Turkey - Pm Erdogan
  84. Editorial: Why Pick A Fight With The Turks?
  85. 7 More Congressmen Refuse To Support Resolution On So-Called Armenian Genocide
  86. U.S. Genocide Move Reopens Old Wounds In Turkey
  87. Brzezinski: US Congress Is Not The Place For The Armenian Allegations
  88. The Congressman’s Burden: Resolutions Have Consequences
  89. Turkey’s War On The Truth [The Washington Post]
  90. Turkish-US Relations At A Turning Point
  91. Çankaya Hosts Summit On Retaliatory Measures Against Armenian Bill
  92. Ruijten: Accepting Armenian Claims No Precondition For Eu Bid
  93. Conveniently Bad Timing
  94. Congress Should Reject The Armenian Genocide Resolution
  95. Pelosi's Most Dangerous Ploy
  96. Dear Mr Hiatt Ref: The Democracy Backlash By Fred Hiatt,
  97. Mrs. Pelosi Should Also Look At The Map (Ilnur Cevik)
  98. Genocide And Diplomatic Policy (Michael Abramowitz And Peter Baker)
  99. Resolution 106 (Joshua W. Walker)
  100. Ain’t Misbehaving (Fehmi Koru)
  101. Armenian Bill Sparks High Level Military Phone Traffic
  102. Pelosi Rejects Bush Plea To Shelve Genocide Bill Vote
  103. Armenian Genocide Measure To Advance
  104. The Road To Recognition Passes Through Jerusalem (Anshel Pfeffer)
  105. Some 3,000 Armenians Apply To Axa For Compensations
  106. Nancy Pelosi and the Armenians
  107. Grandstanding Has Consequences
  108. Workers At Incirlik Base To Defy US
  109. MHP's Aktan: Shut Down Incirlik Base
  110. Come, Let's Turn A New Page
  111. Ambitious Men
  112. The Washington Post Has To Apologize To The Jewish Community
  113. Challenging The World
  114. Armenians Who Need Help Today
  115. A Comprehensive Solution Model For Allegations On Armenian Genocide
  116. Questions Regarding National Sensitivities
  117. The Timing Is Not Helpful
  118. Armenian Patriarch Calls Congress Resolution ‘Domestic Policy’ Tool
  119. European Parliament Hosts Two-Day Congress Of Armenian Diaspora
  120. Armenians Continue To Antagonize Turkey, Pm Heading For Washington
  121. Secretary Of State Pelosi The Armenian Genocide Doesn't Belong In U.S. Foreign Policy Right Now.
  122. Turkish - U.S. Ties Near The Breaking Point
  123. The Lose-Lose Resolution
  124. Turkey In The Crosshairs
  125. Turkey Has To Prove That It Is Not Bluffing
  126. Bush Doesn't Plan To Block Armenian Genocide Resolution
  127. Turkey Must Turn Resolution Into Opportunity
  128. The Armenian Genocide: an Ongoing Debate
  129. An Israeli View of Turkish-American Relations
  130. Pelosi Out-Bushes Bush
  131. April 24th, 1915
  132. Truthocide
  133. Ankara Started To Execute Threats? Armenian Citizens Being Arrested In Turkey
  134. How Many American Soldiers Will Die Because The Democrats' Want To Play A Political Game With Turkey?
  135. Antagonizing Turkey Makes No SenseJANE HARMAN
  136. H.R. 106 Effects and Motive Analysis (What sponsors of H.R. 106 are hiding!) October 15th, 2007
  137. Niall Ferguson: Labeling Genocide Won't Halt It
  138. Turkish Armenians Concerned About Consequences Of H.Res.106 Passage
  139. Jointly With Armenian Communities, Wac Will Oppose Turkish Propaganda
  140. H.Res.106 To Be Brought To House Floor Before November 16
  141. Second Convention Of European Armenians Due In Brussels Oct. 15-16
  142. Turkey Loses Jewish Vote
  143. Top General: US Shot Itself In The Foot
  144. The Rope Which Got Thinner
  145. Turkey-US Relations Crumbling
  146. What Has The House Committee Achieved?
  147. Turkey To Shoot Itself In The Foot
  148. Damage Control
  149. [Letters To The Editor]Racism Didn’t Have A Place In Turkish Or Ottoman History
  150. Policy of 1915
  151. European Armenian Federation for Justice and Democracy Bruxelles
  152. US Congressional Resolution Angers Turkey
  153. Armenian Patriarch Mesrob Mutafyan: We Oppose This Resolution
  154. Who's Behind The Armenian Genocide Resolution?
  155. Armenian Resolution:Democrats Commit Their Own Genocide
  156. Identifying "PKK" Terrorist Organization As "Kurdish Rebels" Supports Terrorism!

Key Talks Behind Sudden Departure
October 24, 2007 YEREVAN, Armenia - Agence France-Presse

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad yesterday cut short a two-day visit to Armenia due to domestic political situation and key talks on the Iranian nuclear issue in Rome, a diplomatic source told Agence France-Presse.

"He shortened his visit and is returning to Iran because of the political situation in the country," the source said. "Also this is linked with the discussion of the question of Iran which is happening in Rome. We are expecting strong criticism addressed to Iran."

Iran's new nuclear negotiator, Saeed Jalili, left Tehran for Rome yesterday to hold his first talks over the atomic crisis with EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana.

Jalili, a hardliner close to Ahmadinejad, was accompanied by his predecessor Ali Larijani, the ISNA news agency reported.

The presence of Larijani, who quit on Saturday after falling out with Ahmadinejad over the handling of Iran's nuclear policy, has raised eyebrows among observers.

Larijani is officially attending as the representative of Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on the Supreme National Security Council, a position he retained after his resignation.

Visit to memorial canceled:

The Armenian presidential administration had previously announced that Ahmadinejad would yesterday visit a memorial to victims of the Ottoman massacres of Armenians between 1915 and 1917, a regular stop for visiting dignitaries.

He had also been scheduled to visit Yerevan's Blue Mosque and to meet with members of the Iranian community here.

Armenian presidential spokesman Viktor Sogomonian said Ahmadinejad had returned to Tehran "for urgent reasons" but did not elaborate.

"During meetings yesterday both presidents agreed that the president of Iran would go back to Iran earlier than expected for urgent reasons. The early end of the visit won't affect Armenian-Iranian relations," Sogomonian said.

Ahmadinejad's senior advisor Mojtaba Samareh Hashemi denied the visit had been cut short, saying "the Iranian delegation is returning to Tehran at the planned time."

"All of the Iranian president's program was realized as planned during the visit to Armenia," he said.

On Monday, Ahmadinejad praised growing economic and political cooperation between Iran and Armenia, shoring up closer ties with the ex-Soviet republic on Iran's northern border.


Letters To The Editor / TDN October 24, 2007 A letter to Pelosi
I was a JUSMAT advisor to the Turkish Air Force in 1976 and 1977 as a major. I retired as a lieutenant colonel in 1982.

I sent this to Nancy Pelosi the other day. Congress would make a serious error if they go ahead with this stunt.

My experiences with the Turkish people were memorable.

Comments: Your plan to float a bill to hammer Turkey for past misdeeds involving Armenians is not only ludicrous but extremely detrimental to our national security. Turkey has been a staunch friend and supporter of American foreign policy for decades. Don't you have better things to do with your time? Why not float a bill that criticizes the U.S. government for their treatment of American Indians or a bill that seeks reparations for survivors of slavery or the holocaust?

I lived in Ankara, Turkey for several years as a U.S. government employee and found the Turkish people to be wonderful and by and large friends of America. You seek to undo years of effective relations with one of the few Muslim countries that gives us strong support. As the first woman speaker you continue to make major gaffs like this one. It boggles my mind that a bill like this could be proposed. Your bill could result in severe damage to our Middle East strategy. Wake up and start listening to people who know the consequences of your unbelievable ignorance and reckless behavior. On second thought it's highly doubtful that you have any advisors with the correct credentials to argue the point. Gondola Press, Venice, FL, US

A commendable article

Dear Mr. Cengiz, your column regarding discussing Armenians in Turkey is indeed commendable. Labels will not be important once both nations agree on what happened in 1915. This goal can only be reached by honest and sincere discussion among equals. I do not know when that will happen but I felt I should write to you. Thank you. Masis Ararat, USA

Open discussion is a must

Dear Mr. Cengiz, I have not enough knowledge on the genocide events as such, but I do strongly agree with you that the issue has to be discussed in an open manner.

We see how this issue over and over again gives Turkey a remarkable bad will on the international arena. Regardless of what happened almost 100 years ago, it has been very poorly dealt with by later Turkish governments. It repeatedly comes up on CNN, BBC and other news channels and newspapers (in e.g. Sweden) and it certainly makes Turkey look like a country trying to cover up genocide as a part of a propaganda program to foster a national identity.

Other events in the last years, such as Dink, killings of missionaries, priests, etc, have certainly supported this view abroad. And the sad thing is that I cannot see any way out of this, unless we open up for more freedom of expression also on an informal arena, i.e. not only in the law, so people learn to discuss sensitive issues without fear of violence. Ulf Nilsson, Istanbul


Genocide Film Shown In European Parliament
October 24, 2007, Turkish Daily News
'Screamers' explores why genocides have occurred in the modern era and was screened in tribute to Hrant Dink, the Armenian newspaper editor-in-chief murdered in Istanbul this year

A special screening of the ?Screamers,? a BBC documentary on genocide denial has been held in the European Parliament. It was shown as a tribute to Agos newspaper editor-in-chief Hrant Dink who was gunned down on an Istanbul street in January 2007.

The documentary concentrates on why genocides have occurred in the modern era. The rock band, System of A Down, is involved in the film. The band members are grandchildren of people who survived the tragic events that occurred in eastern Turkey during World War I. Survivors of events in Rwanda and Darfur are also examples of the problem.

Carla Garapedian who attended the screening directed the full-length film. She told the audience about her experiences in shooting the film and urged those present to not turn a blind eye to genocides while they were happening. She also described those people in Europe and America who were trying to deny that genocide had occurred in various places as hypocrites for placing obstacles to the process of genocide recognition.

Garapedian also called on the European Union Parliament to support people in Turkey who wanted to speak about the events that occurred during the last days of the Ottoman Empire and Turkey's current stance on the issue.


The Enemy Within Andrew Finkel a.finkel@todayszaman.com

I realize that one taxi driver does not a public opinion survey make, and when I recollect our conversation it is not just for what he said but for what I didn't.

The most disturbing thing about the fellow who drove me home from the airport was not that he was a Robert De Niro psychopath but that he was courteous and nice. At the same time he was clearly bitter. He was a Turk from Komotini in Greece but who had not, despite a degree in economics from Istanbul University, found himself a job he believed worthy of his talents. He blamed this on the Kurds, a group responsible for the nation's woes in general and his in particular. The irony of this none too subtle racism is that many of the legitimate complaints which Kurdish citizens of Turkey make about the suppression of their identity and the denial of their cultural rights are also made by the Turks (at one point they could only refer to themselves as Muslims) of Grecian Thrace. Otherwise, my taxi driver (I assume) would never have migrated. I should have argued back. Instead, I thanked him and paid my fare.

Another conversation, this time in a Kurdish household at dinner. The family who had invited me -- senior civil servant types, neither rich nor poor -- were as kind and welcoming as they could be. One of the other guests had a research position in social science at a university. Quite out of the blue he bought up the little known fact that some Zionist group had financially encouraged the Nazis to commit the Holocaust in order to facilitate the state of Israel. Another fact was that Armenian financiers somehow had bought great tracts of land in the Southeast of Turkey prior to World War I for which they later received compensation. All I could reply was that these were not versions of events with which I was familiar.

Things always happen in threes. I received an email from a friend, a man who ran a decent-sized bank in Turkey. I guess you'd call him a White Turk. The note contained an attachment which had been forwarded to him (and a whole list of serious businesspeople) which he was forwarding on for my attention. It was an account of a "forgotten piece of history." According to its unnamed author, some 15,000 prisoners of war in the Egyptian internment camp of Sidi Beshr (near Alexandria) were systematically mutilated in 1920 by their British wardens. Taunted by their Armenian translators as Othello was taunted by Iago, the British made the Turkish soldiers bathe in water laced with creosote until they were blinded. The author said the incident had been raised briefly in the Turkish Assembly in 1921 but had been overlooked in the tide of tumultuous events of that year and ignored ever since.

The implications of the piece were obvious. Why is Turkey being accused of genocide when the British, egged on by their Armenian lackeys, were the ones guilty of proto-gas-chamber techniques? But did such an incident really happen? After all, Cemal Gürsel, the leader of the 1960 military coup, was himself interned near Alexandria in 1920. He was president of the Turkish Republic until 1966. Why was the incident hushed up?

It took me several minutes online to find a New York Times headline from 1918 which read "Red Cross Committee Praises Camps Maintained by the British in Egypt." After a few minutes more, I discovered a Red Cross report from 1917 which described fair conditions in the camps and put the number of prisoners at Sidi Beshr at less than one thousand. Still, things could have changed in the years that followed. I phoned four different historians familiar with the period, including Norman Stone, who argues with the description of events in 1915 as genocide. The story rang true to none of them. I am still awaiting a reply from my banker friend as to how he could allow himself to be part of a chain spreading dubious, ultranationalist and, at the end of the day, racist stories.

I still do not think of Turkey, the country where I live, as a racist society. But there is racism present. At the moment Turkish troops sit on the border facing an enemy without. Our sister paper, Zaman, has just reported, uncritically, the view of Sedat Laçiner, head of a think tank called USAK, that the PKK is being manipulated from Syria largely by Armenians and other non-Muslims. And don't the readers' comments on the Internet page agree: The PKK is a foreign plot, they write, the work of Armenians, America and Israel.

Isn't it time to stop giving credence to racism? It behooves us to fight the enemy within.
25.10.2007


A ‘Dirty’ Game Over Terror By Dr. Mehmet Seyfettin Erol*
The most recent PKK attacks on Oct. 21, 2007, in Hakkari made the headlines in both domestic and international papers. However, these were not the first; neither were the losses.

The timing of the attack, the psychological atmosphere in Turkey and the sensitive process between Turkey and the United States made this attack different than the others. The terrorist attack, following a remark by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan that Turkey was ready to pay the price for the repercussions of a probable military operation and a statement by Chief of General Staff Gen. Yasar Büyükanit that the US had inflicted harm on itself, and of course the subsequent parliamentary decision to authorize the government to launch a military operation in northern Iraq were perceived as a challenge by the PKK against the Turkish government. Turkey is currently pondering this open challenge and the proper response. The current difficulties involved in the process and the ambiguity in the psychological environment makes a counter move both sensitive and difficult; the process is slowly moving toward an end for one of the sides.

Despite the fact that Turkey has based its major strategy on calmness and rationality, the latest developments seek to place Turkey in an uncontrollable situation. We can see this pretty clearly in the latest attacks. The consequences of the attacks include: 1- The visible target of the attacks is the recently adopted motion. Ankara, which sought to create a psychological impact on the sidelines through the motion, realized that this impact would not be permanent. The psychological impact and strength of the motion ended on Oct. 21. 2- The attempts to create a Kurdish state in the region are in the final stages. The north of Iraq has been turned into a source of threat. The Western media promote the concept that the PKK terrorist organization represents the Kurdish people.

The Western media seek to take the issue into a different dimension by presenting the PKK terrorists as Kurdish rebels and freedom fighters. Similarly, the call by Massoud Barzani for the unification of all Kurds against Turkey is presented as a national liberation war. At this point, the calls by the US administration, the UN Secretary-General and the EU member countries to Turkey for non-intervention are nothing but mere attempts to justify and legitimize the de facto Kurdish state. 3- The attempts by the Turkish side to find diplomatic solutions to the problem are not taken seriously by the major actors, including the US. Turkey felt disappointment with the failure of its attempts. Therefore, a cross-border operation is no longer up for discussion in Turkey; it is only a matter of timing. In that sense, the latest attacks imply that the soft diplomatic attempts by Turkey are over. 4- At this point, the motion adopted in Parliament should be handed over to the Turkish General Staff for the final actions and words. 5- There is an ongoing psychological operation all over Turkey. The major focus of this operation is to weaken Turkey in the surrounding region. Turkey is being dragged into a new process. 6- It is now obvious that this process will radically affect Turkey. In domestic politics, the attempts seek to create a row between the military and the government. The attempts also try to create an internal war with the participation of different ethnic groups. That way, Turkey’s new Kurdish policy will fail. In the foreign policy dimension, the attempts seek to strip Turkey of a national and independent foreign policy.

The reaction of Turkey to these attempts are more important than ever simply because there are deliberate statements and remarks asserting that both the government and the military are not capable of proceeding further with serious and concrete actions. For this reason, resolve should be turned into action immediately. If taking action means a cross-border operation, Turkey has to cross the border. The issue is not the PKK alone. The issue is about Turkey’s survival as an independent state. As long as Turkey acts hesitantly over a cross-border operation and opts to remain passive, its image and prestige will be considerably undermined in the international arena. Turkey has to speak in the language that became prevalent after Sept. 11 -- resorting to force and coercion. Therefore, the current cross-border operation will be pretty different from the others in the past. It will be permanent; it has to be permanent. The preliminary work for the operation and the terrorist attacks during this period will force Turkey to follow a more radical strategy with regard to the region.

The analyses and comments referring to this strategy as an attempt to drag Turkey into the region have lost their prominence and credibility. The latest attacks once more revealed that the evil outside our borders is spreading toward our territories. Therefore, Turkey is involved in the turmoil, anyway. This turmoil will proliferate not only through Turkey but also through the entire region. For this reason, Syria pledged to support Turkey in its actions. This support may be taken as indirect support by Iran for Turkey given the alliance between Syria and Iran.

Even though Iran has not openly expressed consent for a probable cross-border operation by Turkey so far, the recent actions and the regional policy of Iran imply the existence of a hidden alliance between Turkey, Syria and Iran. The attempts to inflict harm on Turkey through the PKK and on Iran through PJAK (Party for a Free Life in Kurdistan) and to legitimize the de facto Kurdish state in northern Iraq are visible. Therefore, Iran is a supporter of Turkish actions, not an obstacle. It has to support Turkey simply because the regional countries including Iran and Turkey have realized that the Greater Middle East Project promoted by the US is a devilish plan that seeks to reshape the entire region. At this point, it is the right time for a bilateral rapprochement between Turkey and Iran.

It should be acknowledged that Turkey’s relations with the West were seriously wounded following the March 1 motion and the subsequent degrading treatment of Turkish troops by the Americans in Iraq. The motion, which forewarned the end of a six-decade alliance, the latest developments in the north of Iraq and the adoption of the resolution calling for the US government to consider the Armenian claims in the making of foreign policy by the House of Representatives have eroded these relations. The US and the rest of the West, which have already lost the support of the Turkish public, are about to also lose faith and credibility with the Turkish administration and military. It should be noted that unilateral actions will dramatically affect relations with the West. Likewise, every attack carried out as part of a psychological operation against Turkey is harmful to the West as well. The West should see that every action undermining Turkey’s image and prestige and inflicting harm on its security will also be against their own interests. Therefore, all sides should reconsider the latest developments and think about the repercussions of their actions. Otherwise, Turkey will move toward a very different kind of process, and this will not create an outcome desirable by the West in an environment where a new cold war is being seriously discussed.
* Mehmet Seyfettin Erol is a faculty member at Gazi University’s Department of International Relations
25.10.2007


Floor Vote On Armenian Resolution May Be Held Next Year
Supporters of a US House committee resolution labeling the World War I-era killings of Anatolian Armenians as genocide have admitted that they are not confident the resolution will pass if it is allowed to go the House floor, while a congressman said the resolution is likely to be brought to the House floor in January.

Rep. Adam Schiff, a Democrat from Pasadena, and Rep. Brad Sherman, a Democrat from Sherman Oaks, met with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and said she remains steadfast in her support of the resolution, an Internet site, Daily Breeze, which covers community news and events in Los Angeles where a considerable Armenian diaspora population lives, reported.

"The speaker is personally committed to this," Schiff was quoted as saying. But, he added, "We don't want to ask her to bring this to the floor until we're confident it will be successful."

Sherman said, "We cannot afford the risk of losing." He added that if the resolution came to the floor today, "I couldn't bet my house on what would happen."

The House proposal, which would label as genocide the killing of Armenians nearly a century ago by Ottoman Turks, has inflamed US tensions with Turkey, which says the death toll has been inflated and that the Armenians died during civil unrest, not organized genocide. Support for the nonbinding resolution gradually deteriorated last week after Turkey summoned its Washington ambassador back to Ankara and several lawmakers spoke out against it. Turkey's ambassador to the United States, Nabi Sensoy, on Sunday returned to his office in Washington to follow up on developments.

Sherman said that the Armenian genocide resolution was unlikely to come to the House floor soon. "January is more likely than this year," he told reporters after the meeting with Pelosi, another California Democrat. "We want to bring it to the floor when we have the votes."

Amid the outcry from Turkey, Pelosi already said last week it was uncertain whether or not it would come to the floor for a vote.

Meanwhile, the House Committee on Foreign Affairs agreed on Tuesday to give Turkey several decommissioned US military ships, but the legislator who sponsored the plan denied it was intended to temper Ankara's anger over US legislation on the alleged genocide. On a voice vote, the committee approved the package worth $485 million for Turkey, which was infuriated by the same panel's vote on Oct. 10 to approve the Armenian resolution.

Also on Tuesday, Armenia's Prime Minister Serge Sarkisian said in Washington that he hopes that the US Congress will pass the resolution but that his country is not lobbying on the issue. Sarkisian said that he has had other issues including economic and security cooperation to discuss with US officials in meetings that began last week. He said Armenia has tried to stay out of the US political debate.

The resolution did not come up in talks last week with US officials including Vice President Dick Cheney and Defense Secretary Robert Gates or in a meeting with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Sarkisian said. He met with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice on Tuesday. 25.10.2007


Will A Cross-Border Operation End Terrorism? (2)by DR. DAVUT SAHINER*
In the event the operation lasts longer than planned, trade with northern Iraq will be negatively affected.

In this case Turkey would be alienated in the region, which might fall into the control of non-regional forces, leaving Turkey with a chronic problem.

Possible mistakes during the operation may cause permanent scars in bilateral relations between the Turks and the Kurds. Thus the targets within the operation should be specific and well defined. The targets should be determined and identified through prior intelligence. Further political and military goals should be built around this intelligence. It should include extensive information on the social fabric, economic situation and other aspects.

The long presence of Turkey in northern Iraq may be perceived as occupation and divert it from the path to the EU. The latest developments within EU countries may also contribute to this process. Considering that there are influential lobbies inside the EU working hard to prevent Turkey’s full membership, the developments in northern Iraq may be exploited by these opponents.

The role of the military in the administration of the country in Turkey could be exaggerated and Turkey could be labeled a military dictatorship. It should be noted that the Armenian, Greek and Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) lobbies are waiting for the proper moment to use this sort of propaganda to erode Turkey’s prestige and image in the world. Such propaganda would seriously undermine Turkey’s political and economic interests. For example, export and tourism revenues would substantially decline.

Turkey may lose ground in the battles on the Armenian and Cyprus questions, currently the most important national causes. In an environment where Turkey’s image has been tarnished, the Armenian and Greek lobbies may take serious steps that would inflict the greatest harm on Turkey in regards to these issues.

It should be noted that the current essay reviews the risks involved in the invasion of northern Iraq without proper preparations rather than a limited cross-border operation. A real cross-border operation could be fruitful under the following conditions:

Turkey should prescribe precise targets beforehand. The goal should be the elimination of the most influential terrorists and the higher members of the organizations rather than killing hundreds of terrorists. To do this the targets should be determined very carefully and the terrorist shelters should be effectively rooted out. Expert teams rather than thousands of ordinary soldiers are required for this sort of operation. The raids should be held under cover of night.

A number of small operations rather than a few comprehensive ones should be considered. A couple of small, limited operations in a week is a good target. That way the world and the region can become accustomed to Turkey’s interventions.

The commercial and technical activities of the terrorists rather than the terrorists themselves should be targeted. It may be difficult to bomb their shelters on Kandil Mountains. However, equipment supply to the terrorist organization could be halted. Moreover, the supporters of the terrorist organization in Iraq could be punished.

The heavy weaponry, electric generators and equipment of the terrorist organization could be targeted. Regular attacks on these sorts of targets would diminish the power of the organization and lower morale among its members.

Privates and reserve officers should not be employed in the cross-border operations. Instead, professional and expert military staff should be utilized. Special teams should be created for the operations in the region; classic warfare based on regular units should be avoided.

Increasing the number of warring troops against a low number of terrorists is not a plausible solution. Quality rather than quantity matters in the fight against this sort of organization. Increase in the number of troops who are not trained for guerilla warfare will lead to further losses in the battle.

The PKK terrorists should be made ineffective, dead or alive, in the Iraqi cities. It is pretty surprising that the PKK militants have sustained not a single wound in Iraq, where almost every day a number of people are dying. For this reason, the relevant security units should be legally authorized to render the terrorists ineffective.

In addition to the military measures, diplomatic and political attempts should be made for an effective outcome. Particularly, policies should be developed to ensure that Massoud Barzani and Jalal Talabani withdraw their support from the PKK. Both carrot and stick policies should be employed simultaneously. Turkey cannot obtain satisfactory results by threatening the countries from which it expects support.

Other countries and groups should not be threatened if the threats and the promises associated with the threats cannot be carried out. Acting otherwise places Turkey’s credibility in question and makes its resolve appear weak on the matter.

It is particularly essential to rely on the information and intelligence supplied by the National Intelligence Organization (MIT) and the police. A separate unit that will deal with terrorism may also be considered. However, it should be recalled that regular armies often fail to address terrorist threats. Therefore, small, flexible and professional units should be seriously considered.

Subtle border violations should be tolerated. Turkish troops have already crossed the border at some points. The troops should advance a little further through these already violated points. All these activities should be carried out discretely. There is no requirement to make a statement or explanation to the world in relation to such discreet operations, or even overt ones. The Israeli case should be examined thoroughly.

Communication and contact with other countries through the media should be specifically avoided and third parties should not be forced to make statements. The claims indicating that terror could be eliminated and resolved in Iraq should be avoided. Unnecessary promises should not be made to the public. Allies should be sought inside Iraq and direct contacts should be established with the people. To this end, TV broadcasts in Arabic and Kurdish should be considered as an effective avenue. At no stage should dialogue and discussion stop. Turkey is not at a point where there are no other options outside of an operation. If politics is unable to generate new alternatives, the security units cannot proceed further.
*Davut Sahiner is an international security expert working with the International Strategic Research Organization (ISRO/USAK) 24.10.2007

The Kurdish Imbroglio Dogu Ergil d.ergil@todayszaman.com

Turkey has been dealing with Kurdish terrorists since the middle of the 1980s. Until the capture, trial and imprisonment of the leader of the organization, Abdullah Öcalan, in 1999, the aim of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) was to carve an independent Kurdish state out of Turkey.

During his trial Öcalan apologized to the Turkish people for the wrongdoings committed under his responsibility and offered his help to the state to solve this problem once and for all. As a sign of goodwill he declared a cease-fire for five years and ordered his armed militia to leave Turkey. Indeed several thousand PKK members took refuge in Iran and Iraq. As expected, Turkey's rulers did not heed this offer and failed to realize that what was declared was not capitulation but "cease-fire" -- a term of war.

The PKK remained inactive until the summer of 2004. Many reforms were put into effect in the interim and life returned to relative normal in the southeastern provinces mainly populated by Kurds. Economic life revitalized and the Kurdish citizens of Turkey rewarded the incumbent Justice and Development Party (AK Party) government for all these positive developments in the July 2007 elections. But since the summer of 2004, especially 2005, the PKK resumed hostilities. The level of violence has increased since then. The PKK militants have been operating out of protected bases on the Kandil Mountains that are straddling the Turkish-Iraqi border, some 150 kilometers from the northern Iraqi Kurdish city of Sulaimaniya.

Each mine explosion or PKK ambush that brought coffins to different villages and towns of Turkey raised the level of public fervor further, to an unbearable pitch. The Turkish government appealed to the US government as the invading authority as well as the Baghdad government to deny safe haven within Iraq to the PKK. Neither seriously satisfied Turkish demands. The Americans were reluctant to alienate its only ally -- the Kurds -- in the middle of a war that they were losing. Furthermore the PKK was the mother organization of its offshoots in Iran -- the Party for a Free Life in Kurdistan (PJAK) -- and Syria that had set out to destabilize the countries labeled as the Axis of Evil by President George W. Bush.

The autonomous Iraqi Kurdish administration was never seen as a party to negotiate in its counterterrorism campaign by the Turkish establishment on the grounds that it would be officially acknowledged. Not only this reluctance but frequent statements by the Turkish military and political elite left no doubt that they were inclined to crush the Kurdish administration at the first available opportunity. In the face of this bellicose attitude from Turkey, the Iraqi Kurdish leadership found it quite opportune to use the PKK as a military deterrent against possible Turkish aggression. Furthermore, in need of annexing the oil rich Kirkuk region to Kurdistan to guarantee self-sufficiency now and economic viability of a possible independent state in the near future, the Kurdish administration leadership is not refraining using the PKK as a bargaining chip against Turkey until after the Kirkuk referendum.

In the meantime the PKK continues to draw blood in Turkey through terrorist tactics of a very unchivalrous kind that has led to the death of nearly three dozen soldiers and village guards in the past two weeks. These events have brought enormous pressure to bear on the government of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. A part of this pressure is on the military that has been suffering casualties and could not find a concrete enemy to deliver a decisive blow. Given this fact, the military on the one side, the opposition parties on the other, supported by the media that conveniently strums on the nationalist cord, an atmosphere of quick military solution has been cooked up.

No government could survive in this pressure cooker. Finally the incumbent government budged to seek parliamentary approval for a military operation into Iraq. This was also the most convenient way to settle differences between the more hawkish army and more cautious government that wanted to exhaust all other options.

Observing the Turkish establishment's resolve, the US government sent two of its high-level officials to advice moderation to Turkey with no avail. Now Condoleezza Rice, the US secretary of state, is heading to the region to try mediation. Nothing short of silencing the PKK guns and denial of safe haven to this separatist organization in northern Iraq can deter Turkey. Furthermore, the US government's hand is quite weakened due to a resolution approved by the US House of Representatives' Committee on Foreign Affairs describing what happened to a great number Ottoman Armenians in 1915 as "genocide." Ankara recalled its ambassador from Washington and Prime Minister Erdogan made it clear that the dispute could permanently damage Turkish-US relations.

What does all this tell us at a time when Turkey has conducted one of its most democratic elections, is ready to make a civilian constitution -- when its economy is faring quite well, etc.? It shows that Turkey has been haunted by the spirits of two skeletons hidden in the closet of its past, namely the Armenian and Kurdish problems. These zombies must be put to rest by dealing with them in a realistic way. What has not been done properly or correctly in the past must be done today consonant with the realities of the day. Otherwise we will keep seeing nightmares.
24.10.2007


Turkey Dos And Don’ts In Fighting The PKK
Fatma Disli f.disli@todayszaman.com
The steps that Turkey will take in the face of stepped-up separatist Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) violence will closely be monitored by the international community. On the one hand, the US is urging Turkey to wait for a few days before conducting a military incursion into northern Iraq, pledging to take concrete steps to stop PKK terrorism although it is not known what those steps will be, while on the other, Kurdish leaders in the region are challenging Turkey and refuse to recognize the PKK as a terrorist organization. There are different scenarios circulating around, from a cross-border operation to a mutual operation with the US in the region. Likewise, what Turkey should and should not do at this stage is being widely discussed.

Sabah’s Ergun Babahan talked about the steps that he thinks Turkey should take as soon as possible to prevent the killing of Turkish soldiers by PKK militants. As for the first step, he mentions the maintenance of security around the border to prevent the PKK terrorists from infiltrating Turkey. The second important step that Babahan highlights is the importance of developing strategies that will dry up the human resources of the PKK, measures that will dissuade youth from taking up arms and siding with the PKK. Lastly, he suggests that Turkey should clearly define what kind of a relationship it will have with the Kurdish leaders in Iraq and how it will approach the region as part of attempts to develop a new strategy to tackle the PKK.

Star’s Mahir Kaynak, also a strategist, underscores that Turkey should avoid any steps in the region that will trigger an international intervention in order to abort a scenario planned for the establishment of a Kurdish state in northern Iraq, which Turkey strongly opposes. According to this scenario, he says, a possible Turkish incursion into the region, due to PKK attacks, will be turned into a Kurdish-Turkish conflict with provocations and that all the Turkish acts in such a conflict will be presented as a genocide of Kurds to the international community, which is ready to accept such claims thanks to Armenian genocide allegations. Kaynak thinks that since the groundwork of an international intervention has been prepared, it will be an easy thing to establish a Kurdish state under the guardianship of international powers. “It is in Turkey’s hands to prevent the occurrence of such a project. The only thing we need to do is to prepare the ground for an international intervention in the region,” he warns.

Hürriyet’s Enis Berberoglu speculates on the concrete steps that the US has vowed to take to end PKK violence and thinks that these steps may include a handover of a few PKK leaders to Turkey, the shutting down of the Mahmur camp, a PKK camp in northern Iraq whose closure Turkey has been insisting on for a long time, or the northern Iraqi administration’s declaring the PKK a terrorist organization and taking up arms against it. He underlines that if the US fails to take any concrete steps, Turkey will have to deal with its own business itself and carry out a military operation into the region to crack down on the PKK militants; however, Berberoglu says the operation into northern Iraq should be different from Turkey’s previous operations in the 1990s in that Turkey should not stay there for months. “It is not possible to have a military existence in a buffer zone, and there is no need for thousands of troops since only precision shots will be conducted,” he notes, noting that the aim of such an operation would be to arouse fear among the PKK militants about an unexpected Turkish operation and undermine the power of Iraqi President Jalal Talabani and Kurdish leader Massoud Barzani, both of whom lean on the US for support.
24.10.2007


Iran Leader Ducks Events In Armenia, Returns Home
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad failed to show up for two scheduled events in a visit to Armenia and returned home on Tuesday, but Tehran denied Armenian reports that he had cut short his trip.

"The presidents agreed last night that Mahmoud Ahmadinejad needed to cut short his visit," the chief spokesman for Armenian President Robert Kocharyan told reporters.

"Ahmadenijad had urgent reasons to end his visit ahead of time," he added. Iran's official IRNA news agency quoted Ahmadinejad's top adviser, Mojtaba Samareh-Hashemi, denying any change in plan. "The visit by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and the Iranian delegation to Armenia is going ahead as scheduled," he said. Following those remarks, state television reported Ahmadinejad's arrival in Tehran without further comment.

Ahmadinejad had been due to visit the memorial of "victims" of of the alleged genocide of Armenians by the Ottoman Empire in 1915 and address the national parliament.

He was also due to meet members of the Iranian community in Yerevan and visit a mosque. But Kocharyan's office insisted the visit had been cut short. "Ahmadinejad failed to appear today at either venue he was expected to visit," a presidential spokeswoman said by telephone. "As far as we know he has left." Russia's Itar-Tass news agency quoted Armenian government officials as saying the reason for Ahmadinejad's early departure were unexpected developments in Iran and urgent meetings he has to "hold at home," Tass did not elaborate. Ahmadinejad and Kocharyan held talks on Monday and struck several agreements to bolster economic ties between the two neighboring nations. They discussed plans to build a railway link and two hydroelectric power plants on the border river, Araks.

The projects are important for landlocked Armenia, which has struggled with power shortages and transport blockades since the collapse of the Soviet Union. Neighboring Azerbaijan and Turkey have shut their borders with Armenia in the wake of a conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh, a breakaway region of Azerbaijan controlled by ethnic Armenians.

Kocharyan's spokesman said the president was not disturbed by Ahmadinejad's early departure because they had managed to cover all the necessary issues during their talks Monday.The two leaders did not touch on international issues at their joint news conference, but Ahmadinejad later launched a thinly veiled attack on US policy in his speech at the Armenian State University. "The world must be governed by good, striving for justice and morality," Ahmadinejad said. 24.10.2007 Today's Zaman


Erdogan’s Proposal For Article 301 Fails To Satisfy Journalists
A proposal floated by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan for the infamous Article 301 of the Turkish Penal Code (TCK), an obstacle to freedom of expression, has failed to satisfy journalists and human rights activists.

Erdogan proposed that the first paragraph of the article, which suggests “those insulting Turkishness are to be penalized for six months to three years” should be kept as is. “But the fact that ‘Turkishness’ does not refer to ‘ethnic origin’ but to constitutional citizenship should be clarified,” he said.

Journalist Erdal Safak from Sabah daily thinks that this “clarification” will not solve the problem completely. Safak thinks that such a clarification will not prevent prosecutors from indicting people who demand that Armenian claims of genocide be examined by historians, or those who, at a scientific conference, use expressions Armenians use. Safak is of the opinion that accusing a person of “insulting Turkishness” should be bound to prior authorization by the Ministry of Justice, a solution already voiced by Cemil Çiçek while he served as the minister of justice in the previous government. Safak thinks that going a step further and seeking permission from the president will be applauded as a much more contemporary solution that is free from politics.

Human Rights Association (IHD) Chairman Hüsnü Öndül says that no solution is better than abolishing Article 301 completely. Opposing Çiçek’s view during his term as minister of justice that the problem could be avoided by the judges during the cases tried under this law, Öndül thinks that the approach of the judiciary is itself problematic. “Judges think that this insult is directed toward them personally. When they preside over Article 301 cases, they think that they themselves are the state or represent Turkishness,” Öndül complained to Today’s Zaman.

Journalist and sociologist Dogan Tiliç thinks that the government’s resistance to abolishing Article 301 completely is telling in itself. “Turkey is moving into a period of extreme sensitivity about national identity, and the negative perception of the ‘ethnic other’ is at its all-time peak. In such an atmosphere, a cosmetic change made to the wording of Article 301 won’t work. It should be abolished completely,” Tiliç commented to Today’s Zaman.

While Turkey is coping with a seemingly existential terrorist threat, it seems that the government is not ready to put the country on its European Union membership track. In an atmosphere where nationalist sentiments are high and the prestige of the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) is boosted due to the martyrs lost in the war against terrorism, the government does not seem to be willing to question the relationship between criticizing the wrongdoings of some army personnel and insulting Turkishness. This unwillingness is exactly the reason why journalists Lale Sariibrahimoglu and Ahmet Sik are going to appear at the first hearing of a court case against them. Would a clarification of the meaning of “Turkishness” as referring to constitutional citizenship, prevent Sariibrahimoglu’s headache? Probably not. 24.10.2007 AYSE KARABAT ANKARA


MGK Convening With Special Agenda On Iraq Incursion
Following a terrorism summit held at the Çankaya presidential palace after 12 Turkish soldiers were killed by the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) on Sunday, the top members of the Turkish state are convening once again to discuss terrorism and Iraq.

A National Security Council (MGK) meeting will be held today at 2 p.m. at Çankaya, the first time President Abdullah Gül chairs an MGK meeting.

Although the terrorism issue was already discussed by members at the top of the state two days ago, this meeting will also concentrate on issues pertaining to terrorism and Iraq. The MGK will also discuss the attitude of the US administration, which requested a three-day period before any move into northern Iraq from Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan while they conceded that Turkey's patience had already been stretched to its limit following the tragic killing of 12 Turkish soldiers in Daglica.

The government may hand the mandate obtained from Parliament for military incursion into northern Iraq to the General Staff.

Another important item on the agenda of the MGK meeting will be recent remarks by Massoud Barzani, leader of the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP), concerning Turkey. Reports prepared separately by the General Staff and the National Intelligence Organization (MIT) will also be examined. These reports have subheadings such as “local groups in northern Iraq,” “military power of local groups,” “the US presence in Iraq,” “the countries which have a military force in Iraq,” “Turkmens,” “external supports to terrorism,” “regional countries’ opinions about Turkey’s policy on Iraq,” “demographic structure of Iraq” and “Kirkuk referendum.” The representatives from these institutions are expected to brief the members of the MGK on these reports. Minister of Foreign Affairs Ali Babacan will inform the MGK of his talks with foreign ministers of countries neighboring Iraq and with officials from Arab countries.

Iraq issue to be discussed in detail

The MGK will discuss in detail a wide variety of issues pertaining to the current state of affairs in Iraq. They will address such issues as the structure and future of the central government, the formation and results of a federation, the effects of a federation on Turkey and the region, the possibility of Iraq’s division into three parts and the risks for regional war and its effects. A statement to be made after the meeting, in which Turkey’s determination in counterterrorism efforts will be reasserted, is anticipated by the Turkish people and the world public. The end of the MGK meeting will coincide with the end of the waiting period given to the US administration. If the US administration fails to come up with a solution that satisfies Turkey, the language of this statement may be very harsh, political analysts say.

The MGK will also discuss developments pertaining to an Armenian genocide resolution that is expected to be debated in the US House of Representatives. Gül, Erdogan and the Chief of General Staff Gen. Yasar Büyükanit, have previously stressed that passage of the resolution by the House would seriously damage Turkish-US relations. Erdogan is expected to meet with US President George W. Bush on Nov. 5, and he may inform the MGK members of the message he will convey to Bush. In this respect, the briefing to be provided by Büyükanit to the MGK members is also important.
24.10.2007 Ercan Yavuz Ankara


The Last StrawOctober 23, 2007 Robert ELLIS

A fortnight ago pundits taking part in a panel discussion at the Brookings Institution in Washington pronounced the strategic partnership between the U.S. and Turkey “dead and gone.” Well, perhaps. But as the English proverb goes, misfortune makes strange bedfellows. Classic Turkish foreign policy, “peace at home, peace abroad,” is undergoing a strategic realignment in keeping with the realities facing Turkey after the end of the Cold War. Especially since the advent of the Justice and Development (AKP) government in 2002, Turkey's Muslim identity and its relationship with its neighbours have taken priority over its relations with the USA. And the USA's invasion of Iraq in 2003 has only served to deepen this division and underline the conflict of interests. Turkey has developed cordial relations with Russia, its second largest trading partner and supplier of two thirds of its natural gas, and the projected energy deal with Iran has incurred Washington's displeasure. And then there is the prospect of membership of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO), where Russia, China and the Central Asian states are already members, and Iran, India and Pakistan have observer status.Turkey has cemented its membership of the Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC) with the election of Professor Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu as Secretary General at an OIC summit held in Istanbul in 2004. Although Turkey's request to join the Arab League in 2003 was rejected for various reasons, Prime Minister Erdogan later participated in the Arab League summit in Sudan in 2006 with the title of “permanent guest.”Much of the massive influx of foreign capital to Turkey, which this year is set to exceed $20 billion, stems from Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States. For example, two years ago Saudi Oger Telekom acquired 55 percent of Turk Telekom for $6.55 billion and Dubai Holding has planned a $5 billion investment in real estate. When King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia visited Turkey last year, he brought with him $25 billion for investment in privatisations, and his foreign minister, Prince Saud Al-Faisal, declared Turkey to be a new strategic partner.

Payback for Turkey's defection in 2003?

The nadir in the strategic partnership between Turkey and the U.S. came on Mar. 1, 2003, when the Turkish Parliament refused to allow American forces passage through Turkey to northern Iraq. What rubbed salt into the wound is the fact that Turkey beforehand had demanded compensation for its support, a figure which is believed to have run as high as $90 billion.Therefore the initial support for the Armenian genocide resolution passed by the House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee could be regarded as some form of payback for Turkey's defection in 2003, although domestic politics play the major role. Not only the House speaker, Nancy Pelosi, but also Adam Schiff, who spearheaded the bill, are elected by a large Armenian American community in California, whose concerns they found impossible to ignore. In fact, 10 committee members from California, including the chairman, Tom Lantos, were among the 27 members who voted for the measure.Turkey has expended a large amount of money and effort to lobby against the bill, and to date it seems its efforts will be successful. According to records filed with the Justice Department around $319,000 a month is being paid by the Turkish Embassy to various lobbying firms, against which is pitted the Armenian Assembly of America with 10,000 members and a yearly budget of $3.6 million. However, the resurgence of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) terror in Turkey has further impacted on the relationship between the U.S. and Turkey, and Prime Minister Erdogan has declared he is prepared for a rupture in relations with the United States if his government launches an incursion into northern Iraq. However, Turkey has the long end of the stick, as 70 percent of the materials the U.S. freights by air to Iraq pass through Turkish air space and 30 percent of fuel shipments go overland. And the strategic importance of the air base at Incirlik in southern Turkey both for operations in Iraq and Afghanistan is indisputable. Both the USA and Turkey are caught in a double bind. U.S. forces are stuck in the quagmire in Iraq with no prospect of an early withdrawal, and the only form of stability to be found is in the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) administration in northern Iraq. Therefore, the USA is both unable and unwilling to rock the boat by taking effective steps to counteract the PKK's threat to Turkey's security by prejudicing its alliance with the KRG.

Invoking Article 5 of the NATO Treaty On the other hand, if Turkey takes effective action against the PKK in the form of an incursion into Iraq, it risks being stuck in a quagmire of its own, as both Massoud Barzani, KRG's president, and Jalal Talabani, the president of Iraq, have threatened with retaliation if Turkish troops cross the border. The Turkish government is caught on the twin horns of public opinion and military necessity. Or as the Turkish proverb says: If I spit up, I hit my moustache; if I spit down, I hit my beard.

In the meantime, oil prices have climbed to $90 a barrel and there is the imminent threat to the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline as well as the pipeline from Kirkuk to Ceyhan. Therefore, in light of the present situation, it would be justifiable if Turkey invoked Article 5 of the NATO Treaty, which provides for not only individual but also collective self-defense.


Letters To The Editor / TDN October 23, 2007 Resolution: An Act Of Foolishness
As a U.S. resident, I am utterly embarrassed that the U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee approved a move to pass a resolution calling for formal American recognition of World War I-era Armenian killings in the Ottoman Empire as genocide. Pease accept our apologies for this act of foolishness by some of our current members of this committee.

I assure you the majority of U.S. citizens feel as I do and will remember this come election time here. This resolution would never pass the full house and I suspect it was a political ploy to embarrass the administration. What other purpose could such a measure about something that may have occurred 100 years ago accomplish?

That committee would serve us better by concentrating on current events to improve relations with all foreign entities, friends and adversaries, instead of wasting time on such a foolish bleeding heart liberal democrat measure. Don Turnbull, Windsor, CT, USA

Putting aside prejudices

Dear Mr. Orhan Kemal Cengiz, I read your article in the TDN, and I was very moved, impressed and touched by your comments and your positive approach. If you really mean what you say in your article, I will assure that I will be your friend immediately and combat against anyone, Turks, Armenians or others that will try to oppose to both our proud nations constructive approach for peace. If your approach to this sensitive issue is very genuine, (as stated in your article) I will make sure that no one continues insulting the Turks. I totally agree with Mr. Jerjian's comment that, article 301 must be removed on both sides, borders must be opened immediately and we should face the truth, face the consequences and start the healing process. Garo Garabet Anadolian. La Crescenta, CA, US

Epitome of exemplary journalism

Dear Orhan Kemal Cengiz, I am an American, and a graduate of American University where I studied International Peace and Conflict Resolution. I am also an Armenian. I read your column online, here in the United States, very regularly. I'm usually cheering (and startling those around me!) while reading your column and I am always happy to read your innovative thoughts. This time I want you to know that your column brought tears to my eyes. The title is "Can we discuss the Armenian Question."As a child I was always overwhelmed by the anger and sadness I felt at the Turkish denial of the genocide. As an adult, and as a scholar, I (unwillingly at first) learned that there are rarely black and white areas in history: Most of history lives in a great gray area between "right" and "wrong." Therefore, reconciliation is based first and foremost in an unwavering commitment to truth, and just as importantly, in understanding and compassion. Armenia and Turkey have now both built their national identities so closely around their respective experiences on the issue of history I'm afraid reconciliation is not possible for fear of crumbling our respective identities. Without dialogue, any resolution or reaction to this matter would surely result in an even more volatile situation and a loss of international credibility for both countries.

Sir, your column today was the epitome of exemplary journalism and a very fundamental human dignity. I am just a young American scholar, but I want you to know how much your column touched me. I am sure your many many readers are equally touched.Sona G. Krikorian, Los Angeles, California, US
© 2005 Turkish Daily News


The PKK To Declare Ceasefire, Says Talabani
October 23, 2007 Ümit Enginsoy Washington - Turkish Daily News

But it is not clear if the US will use muscle to persuade Kurds to take action against terrorists

Iraqi President Jalal Talabani said Monday the PKK (Kurdistan Workers' Party) would announce a unilateral ceasefire amid Turkish threats to launch an incursion against them in northern Iraq. "The PKK has decided to declare a ceasefire from their side tonight," Talabani told reporters at Sulaimaniyah airport in Iraq's northern Kurdish region before flying to Baghdad. Abdul Rahman al-Chadirchi would not confirm the ceasefire but told AFP the group would make a statement later on Monday. Talk of a ceasefire comes with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan threatening an imminent incursion into Iraq unless Baghdad clamps down on the PKK and hands over its leaders. Meanwhile, The White House on Monday urged the Iraqi government to act swiftly to stop Kurdish rebels in northern Iraq from mounting further cross-border attacks into Turkey. aid, "We do not want to see wider military action on the northern border," Reuters quoted White House spokesman Tony Fratto.

In a separate statement Gordon Johndroe, spokesman for the White House National Security Council said the United States will work with Turkey and Iraq to deal with Kurdish rebels."The U.S. is committed to working with the Turks and Iraqis to deal with the PKK terrorist problem," said Jondroe on Monday. The statement followed the call by U.S. President George W. Bush on Sunday explicitly urging Iraqi Kurds to act swiftly to stop attacks by the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) on Turkish targets from bases in Kurdish-controlled northern Iraq.Iraqi ministers told parliament in a special session yesterday that no troops could be spared to pursue the PKK separatists, but vowed to cut supplies to the militants in an attempt to ward off the threat of a Turkish incursion. Iraqi Defence Minister Abdel Qader al-Obeidi appeared to put the onus on the American military to take action by saying that security in Iraq was the responsibility of the US-led coalition forces. Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki's top aide Sami al-Askari told AFP that Obeidi had insisted Iraqi troops could not be spared as they were needed for maintaining security in the rest of the country. He also said Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari had announced that he was expecting his Turkish counterpart Ali Babacan in Baghdad for crisis talks on Tuesday. "Zebari also said in parliament that an Iraqi delegation is expected to visit Turkey soon to continue the dialogue with Ankara," said al-Askari. The special session of the Iraqi parliament was called after 12 Turkish soldiers were killed in heavy clashes over the border in Turkey on Sunday, further raising tensions between Baghdad and Ankara. In the main Kurdish cities of Arbil and Sulaiymaniah, residents said they feared the economic cost of any Turkish military action and some had even started stockpiling food. "The continuing Turkish threats may result in closing the borders which brings about large (economic) damage," said Bahaa al-Din Muhi al-Din, the 43-year-old owner of a company importing products from Turkey to Sulaimaniyah. "It is true the borders have not been closed yet, but if it happened it would result in large damages." The PKK, meanwhile, threatened to disrupt Iraq's oil supplies through Turkey if they were attacked by the Turkish military. "The oil pipleine between Turkey and Iraq inside the Turkish territories will be on of our targets," rebel leader Murad Qiralian said, according to AFP.

Will US seriously pressure Kurds?

Meanwhile the U.S. rhetoric began to change wrote TDN Washington reporter Ümit Enginsoy, as last week when Pentagon spokesman, Geoff Morrell, acknowledged an Iraqi Kurdish influence on the PKK. "Let's try to exert influence over the Kurdish regional government, who we believe has influence over the PKK and can, hopefully, get them to stop their murderous acts within Turkey," he said.

Following Sunday's attack in Hakkari, the State Department also called on Iraqi Kurds to take action against the PKK.

"We call upon Iraqi and Kurdish regional government authorities to take immediate steps to halt PKK operations from Iraqi territory," it said in a written statement.

But Bush and the State Department did not say what the United States would do if the Kurds declined to listen to the call. Also it was not clear if Washington, behind closed doors, would threaten the Kurds with sanctions.

Presently Iraq's Deputy Prime Minister Barham Salih, a top Kurdish official close to President Jalal Talabani, is visiting Washington. Also U.S. ambassador to Baghdad Ryan Crocker and Gen. David Petraeus, commander of the coalition forces in Iraq, can easily reach Massoud Barzani, leader of the semi-autonomous Kurdish regional administration in the north.

Bush's and the State Department's statements also did not indicate any U.S. intention to consider potential use of force against the PKK.

Washington officially recognizes the PKK as a terrorist group, but Lt. Gen. Carter Ham, director of operations at the Joint Chiefs of Staff, implied last week that the PKK did not have a high priority in the U.S. fighting list.

‘Intelligence is crucial'

In Kiev, U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates said after a meeting with National Defense Minister Vecdi Gönül on the sidelines of a NATO-related meeting that he did not get the impression that a large-scale Turkish incursion into northern Iraq was imminent, according to The Associated Press. But he also said that he had received no guarantees from Gönül.

Gates reiterated the U.S. position that a major Turkish incursion now would be counterproductive, and said: "I told [Gönül] that restraint should not be confused with weakness."

The key, Gates said, is getting better information about the location and movement of PKK militants. "The first and foremost challenge we face – as is so often the case with terrorism – is actionable intelligence," he said. That is information upon which quick and effective military action can be taken.

"I told [Gönül] that lacking actionable intelligence, for them to send a large force across the border without any specific targets was likely to lead to a lot of collateral damage," Gates said, referring to civilian casualties.

Gates also told his Turkish counterpart that a major incursion into northern Iraq will hurt the Bush administration's efforts to stave off a positive vote in Congress on a resolution that would declare the World War I-era killings of Armenians as genocide.


‘Israel Likely To Lose Turkey If Armenian Resolution Passes’
Expert on Turkish foreign policy Bülent Aras said Israel might be further isolated in the Middle East if abandoned by Turkey following a possible passage of the Armenian genocide resolution in the US Congress.

“Turkey has been a trump card for Israel against Syria and Iran, but Turkey hasn’t been on Israel’s side on that. Still, Israel doesn’t have a problem with being isolated. The Israeli state builds walls around itself,” said Aras, who currently teaches at Isik University in Istanbul.

With Turkish Parliament granting permission last week to the government to send the military into northern Iraq to crush the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), the Turkish foreign policy debate has grown heated, and foreign policy questions like Turkey’s response to PKK terrorism and its relation to the Armenian genocide resolution have come to the table again.

“The situation in northern Iraq has already been an area of friction, and a new crisis such as the genocide resolution hasn’t been helpful. Turkish people don’t believe that the United States supports Turkey in Iraq, plus the United States confronts Turkey regarding the Armenian resolution,” Aras said.

For Monday Talk, he explained how these different areas of concern, although not linked at first glance, are actually interconnected.

Should we expect an incursion into northern Iraq any time soon?

The authorization of Parliament means that the government is politically ready for an incursion and the legal ground has been established. However, there is still need for the operation decision by the political leadership and preparations on the military side. When considering an operation, there are other factors such as weather conditions, the readiness and the number of troops, etc., [to take into consideration]. There are also different types of cross-border operations. It may involve only air strikes or ground forces or both. Depending on how it’s going to be conducted, it will lead to different results. In addition, there is a picture of Turkey as a threatening country and the opposite view at the same time.

What kind of contradictions do you mean?

When you look at Turkey from Iraq, you see two different images. One is Turkey getting ready for an incursion, ready to confront with Iraqi forces or even American forces in the region. The other is the Turkey that is providing 70 percent of the logistical support for American troops in Iraq, supporting the building up of Iraq in regards to the many construction projects going on, and a Turkey in relationships with many different ethnic groups in Iraq, trying to help their inclusion in the political system. For example, a Sunni leader, Tareq al-Hashemi, has become Iraqi vice president with the help of Turkey. He has been integrated into the system even though he had a potential to become a powerful resistance figure. Turkey also helped a lot in the writing of the new Iraqi constitution in 2005. Turkey also brought together the neighboring countries to prevent any destabilizing factors.

Which image of Turkey do you think is going to prevail?

Maybe we’ll see that in the next period, especially after the authorization of Parliament for an incursion.

How would the passage of the Armenian genocide resolution in the US Congress play into all that?

We see that Turkish foreign and domestic policies have been interacting greatly in recent years. Foreign policy issues have been discussed as domestic policy matters. And foreign policy has been hostage to domestic policy matters. There has been almost no distinction between foreign and domestic policy. And Turkey shows a weakness of relating some domestic policy issues to foreign policy matters, like we relate the Kirkuk problem to the PKK problem, and northern Iraq with the Armenian resolution problem in the US. This attitude weakens Turkey’s arguments in the foreign policy arena.

So do you think Turkey is overemphasizing the problems related to the Armenian genocide resolution in the US?

It’s the first time that such a resolution has approached being passed. That’s an important factor for Turkey that gives the issue more emphasis. Another factor is the present tension in US-Turkish relations. I think the basis of Turkish-American relations, which had been a strategic partnership since the years of the Cold War, has to be changed according to the new challenges in the region and the world. In this process of establishing a new base, we’ll have some ups and downs in relations. The situation in northern Iraq has already been an area of friction, and a new crisis, such as the genocide resolution, hasn’t been helpful. Turkish people don’t believe that the United States supports Turkey in Iraq, plus the United States is confronting Turkey with regards the Armenian resolution.

Is Turkey’s reaction to be expected then?

It’s to be expected but the reaction has been doubled since other problems in relations wait to be resolved.

Do you expect the resolution to pass?

Although there are some setbacks in the House, there is still a high probability that it may pass.

Did the US-based Anti-Defamation League (ADL) support for the resolution help it?

Two diaspora have collaborated.

Is the ADL’s support related to the policies of Israel?

There is a perception of such in Turkey, but I don’t agree with it. Israel’s official policy is not to support the passage of the resolution. Plus the Jewish diaspora can act independently of Israel.

In that specific case, do you think the Jewish diaspora has been acting independently of Israel?

The perception is that Turkey has been punished by the resolution because of its policies regarding Israel. I don’t have facts to support relations between the ADL’s actions and Israel’s policies in that case, but we have to evaluate them separately. There are different types of Jewish diaspora in the US including the ones supporting Turkey.

But the ADL is an important one.

The ADL did not support Turkey in that case.

Right or wrong, since there is a perception by the Turks that Israel might be behind the ADL’s support for the resolution, how do you think Turkish-Israeli relations would be influenced if the resolution passes in the US Congress?

In the 1990s, when Turkish-Israel relations were being fostered, the idea behind their relations was that the Jewish lobby would support Turkey in the US. Plus the Jewish lobby’s help was seen as important in arming the Turkish military. Apparently, the lobby doesn’t side with Turkey on the resolution issue, which is a most emotional one for Turkey. So the reason behind their relations has been disappearing. The relations have been questioned already.

Do you expect a breaking up?

The level of the relations has still been balanced. Turkey has been in a position to constructively criticize Israel’s policies. And a lot of Turkey’s criticisms of Israel have been heard there. At the end the two countries neither break up nor come closer.

Could Israel be further isolated in the region?

Israel has already been isolated in the region. Israel forms tactical, diplomatic relations in the region not based on peace. It’s been trying to develop relations with non-Arab Muslim states to break its isolation. Turkey has been a trump card for Israel against Syria and Iran, but Turkey hasn’t been on Israel’s side on that. Still, Israel doesn’t have a problem with being isolated. The Israeli state builds walls around itself.

And Turkey has been following a ‘zero problems with neighbors’ policy. Would it be able to follow that policy with an incursion into northern Iraq?

The idea behind the no problems with neighbors policy is to have a European-like approach toward countries around Turkey so you can continue with the democratic reform process and concentrate on increasing standards of living. If your agenda is dominated by security concerns and ethnic nationalism, you cannot deal with concerns related to democracy. If you’ve watched the discussions in Parliament during the meeting for the authorization of an incursion into northern Iraq, you’d have seen that parliamentarians have become either doves or hawks, and the debate had nothing to do with the country’s problems. Plus, the Turkish military presence in the Middle East has always been problematic.

You mean the Middle Eastern states don’t like to see Turkish troops in their territory?

Even Turkey’s peace corps in Lebanon hasn’t been well received by some Lebanese groups. Since the Middle Eastern region was dominated by the Ottoman Empire, there is a historical reason they don’t want to see the Turkish military in the region. Now Turkey has a respected civilian and economic presence in the region. You can see Turkish products all around. You can shop using Turkish lira in Syria, Egypt and even in northern Iraq. Turkey’s image has been further strengthened in the Middle East when Turkey did not authorize the transit of the US troops into Iraq on March 1, 2003.

Do you think the PKK might be trying to drag the Turkish military into the region?

The image of Turkey that the PKK wants to portray is a Turkey that is aggressive and willing to use military power at the first opportunity. The PKK doesn’t like Turkey’s economic and civilian presence in the region.

Does Turkey rightly perceive a threat if an independent Kurdish state is formed in northern Iraq?

Iraq’s territorial integrity is important for Turkey and other countries that have an interest in the region. Iraq’s disintegration is neither good for Turkey, nor the other Middle Eastern countries, the US or the European Union. The EU does not want a threatening state close to its borders. Iraq’s disintegration would automatically threaten the American soldiers in the country. Syria, Iran and Turkey wouldn’t like rising pan-Kurdish nationalism. Iraq’s reconciliation process should be supported by all. Still, Turkey cannot ignore that there is an ongoing process in northern Iraq, which is the building up of a Kurdish nation.

How in that case can Massoud Barzani (the head of the regional Kurdish authority) support Turkey against the PKK?

Nobody, especially Barzani, would want to be in a position to mistreat the people in that region. In the short run, Barzani wouldn’t take Turkey’s side against the PKK, at least not by his own will. Additionally, Kurds want to have an independent state even though the present situation doesn’t allow it. So Barzani would like to act as the leader of emerging Kurdish nation. He considers the PKK to be part of the Kurdish nation and would not want to be in the position of punishing his relatives in this sensitive process. However, Barzani is important to any effort that targets the PKK. There is an urgent need for a two-track policy and there should be a win-win situation for the both sides. First Ankara needs to increase its leverage in Iraqi politics in a way that central administration can limit the Kurdish groups not vice versa. Second, Ankara should engage with Barzani in a constructive manner, which would help him to understand the meaning of a responsible politician in this sensitive region. Both carrot and stick may work here.

Would talking to Iraqi President Jalal Talabani help?

In that regard Abdullah Gül’s presidency is a positive development because he would probably have a meeting with Talabani. Communication channels should be open to other secular groups in Iraq including Sunni groups other than already engaged and Shia groups, in particular secular ones like Iyad Allawi, etc.

[PROFILE] Bülent Aras
A professor at the International Relations Department of Isik University in Istanbul, Bülent Aras was a visiting scholar in 1998 at the University of Indiana’s Department of Central Eurasian Studies. He was a guest researcher in 2003 at Oxford University’s St. Antony’s College and a senior researcher in 2004 at the European Union Institute of Security Studies in Paris. Among his 13 books are “Palestinian-Israeli Peace Process and Turkey” (1998), “New Geopolitics of Eurasia and Turkey’s Position” (2002) and “Turkey and the Greater Middle East” (2004). His academic articles, which have been translated into Persian, Arabic and Russian, have been published in periodicals such as Middle East Policy, the Journal of Third World Studies, the Journal of South Asian and Middle Eastern Studies, Futures, the Journal of Southern Europe and Balkans, Mediterranean Quarterly and East European Quarterly.
Correction

An interview published last Monday with Deniz Ülke Aribogan, the president of Bahçesehir University, read: “When you speak about terrorism as in Turkey that has mass support, you will see that extensive methods to fight it should be developed.” The quote should have read: “In Turkey when you speak about [PKK] terrorism, which has [a degree of] mass support [in parts of society], you will see that comprehensive methods to fight it should be developed.” We regret any confusion this may have caused.
22.10.2007 Yonca Poyraz Dogan


Why Turkey’s Army Will Stay Home by Ian Bremmer*
Just when the smoke from Turkey's domestic political conflicts of the past year had begun to clear, another deadly attack by Kurdish separatists on Turkish soldiers has the government threatening military attacks inside northern Iraq.

That prospect raises risks for Turkey, Iraq and the United States. But there are reasons to doubt that the situation is as dangerous as recent headlines suggest.

Turkey accuses Iraqi Kurds of harboring between 3,000 and 3,500 of Turkey's most active Kurdish militants -- the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) separatist militants who are blamed for the deaths of 80 Turkish soldiers so far this year. The trouble reached the boiling point on Oct. 7, when the PKK killed 13 Turkish soldiers near Turkey's border with Iraq.

The Turkish public has demanded action and Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's government has responded. On Oct. 17, despite pleas for patience and restraint from Iraq and the US, Turkish lawmakers voted 507-19 to authorize Erdogan to order cross-border military strikes into Iraq at any time over the next year.

Erdogan has sent Iraqi Kurds a forceful message. But for several reasons, the Turkish military is likely to limit its operations to small-scale incursions and air strikes on specific targets rather than launch an all-out war.
First, the Turkish military has no interest in embracing the risks that come with involvement in Iraq's sectarian strife. A full-scale invasion might well provoke Iraq's own Kurdish guerrillas into a prolonged and bloody battle with Turkish forces that can only undermine support for Erdogan's government at home and abroad.

Second, Turkey's government hopes to keep the country's bid to join the European Union moving forward. An invasion of Iraq would bring that process to a grinding halt. EU Foreign Policy Chief Javier Solana has made plain that Europe strongly opposes any large-scale Turkish military operation in Iraq.

Third, Turkey is well aware that an all-out attack inside Iraq is exactly what Turkey's Kurdish separatists want. What better way to damage Turkey than to pull its military into conflict with Iraq, the US and the EU? Erdogan has no intention of being drawn into that trap.

With all that in mind, this latest move by Turkey's Parliament should be seen more as an ultimatum to Iraq's Kurdish Regional Government to expel the Turkish Kurds and an attempt to persuade the US to use its considerable influence there. That's hardball politics, not a declaration of war.

The parliamentary authorization itself is carefully worded to underline Turkey's limited aims. It stresses that Turkey's military has no intention of occupying Iraqi territory or threatening Iraqi Kurds or their oil infrastructure. An attack would certainly make Iraq's Kurdish provinces less appealing for foreign investors. But Turkey has no reason to attack the assets of foreign oil companies.

Iraq's central government is aware of the risks as well and is likely to exercise maximum restraint. A limited Turkish strike into northern Iraq would probably elicit little reaction beyond public condemnation and rhetorical assertions of Iraqi sovereignty.

Threats to Iraq's oil infrastructure around the northern Iraqi city of Kirkuk and other territory under the Kurdish Regional Government's control are minimal. Turkey's government knows that any move to shut down the 600-mile pipeline from Kirkuk to Turkey's Mediterranean port at Ceyhan would have little near-term impact, since most of Iraq's oil exports flow from the South, hundreds of miles from the country's border with Turkey.

Furthermore, the Turkish military can increase the pressure on Iraqi Kurds with far less drastic measures. It can close the two countries' principal border crossing, an important route for food, fuel and other goods headed for Iraqi Kurds. It could also cut exports of electricity to northern Iraq.

Still, even small-scale military operations would generate risk. If the PKK is able to launch a major attack on troops or civilians inside Turkey, the public outcry might leave Erdogan with little choice but to up the ante.
The issue is complicated further by Turkey's refusal to negotiate directly with the Kurdish Regional Government in northern Iraq. Such talks, Turkey fears, would offer tacit acknowledgement that Iraqi Kurds have won a degree of autonomy from Baghdad. That's a bridge too far for Turkey's nationalists and its military.

There are risks for Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki as well, because Turkish military strikes on Iraq's northern provinces could undermine the Kurdish support on which his government increasingly depends. Both Sunni Arabs and Kurds already resent Maliki's mild reaction to Iran's recent shelling of Iraqi territory -- an attempt to strike at Iranian Kurdish militants fleeing across its border with Iraq.

There are also risks for the US. Most supplies headed for US troops in Iraq and Afghanistan move through the Incirlik airbase in Turkey. With the threat that the US House of Representatives will approve a resolution that accuses Turks of genocide against ethic Armenians nine decades ago, this is a particularly inopportune moment for the two countries to be at odds over Iraq. But, worst-case scenarios aside, a Turkish invasion of northern Iraq can only serve the interests of Turkey's Kurdish separatists. That's why cooler heads are likely to prevail. Limited cross-border operations are increasingly likely. A war between Turkey and Iraqi Kurds is not.

*Ian Bremmer is president of Eurasia Group, the global political risk consultancy, and author of "The J Curve: A New Way to Understand Why Nations Rise and Fall."
© Project Syndicate, 2007. 22.10.2007


A Pyrrhic Victory Omer Taspinar o.taspinar@todayszaman.com
The frustration of Gunduz Aktan, former ambassador and current Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) member of Parliament said it all. Speaking at a Washington think tank, the day after the “yes” vote on the Armenian resolution at the US House Committee on Foreign Affairs, Aktan was upset for more than one reason. No doubt his disappointment was largely due to the vote itself; but he was perhaps even more irritated by Turkey’s so-called friends -- the 21 members of Congress who opposed the Armenian resolution. Almost none of them believed Turkey’s version of history about “the events of 1915.” They just believed Turkey was geo-strategically too important an ally to offend in the middle of a war where it was helping save the lives of American soldiers. Some friendship…

Aktan got the overall picture exactly right. Though the tide is turning in Turkey’s favor on the Armenian resolution, it is too early to celebrate. Yes, even some of the hard-core sponsors of the Armenian resolution are backing off, however this has nothing to do with their sudden discovery of new historical facts proving Turkey is right. The real reason things are going Turkey’s way is much simpler; last week the American media picked up the “genocide” story and humiliated the House of Representatives. Yet it was not a sight Aktan would have enjoyed.

The story picked up by the national media was not what happened to Armenians 90 years ago. The discussion was once again about the geo-strategic importance of Turkey and bad timing. But there was also something quite disturbing as the story gained national traction on TV screens -- millions of Americans were exposed to horrific pictures that they would have never seen under normal circumstances. For the average Joe, these black-and-white pictures of lifeless Armenians probably carried a vague sense of familiarity with pictures mentally associated with the Jewish Holocaust. This was a tragedy for Turkey. This Armenian genocide/Jewish holocaust parallel is exactly what the Armenian lobby wants Americans to believe and of course what Ankara rightly tries to discredit. In a matter of seconds the damage was done in the subconscious of millions of average Americans.

Of course most of the news stories did not even dwell on such “insignificant” historical details. This job was left to the horrific pictures on the background of the story. Instead, the news tirelessly bashed Congress for alienating a strategically important “Islamic” country (let the conspiracy roll!) in a difficult part of the world. And yes, the Turks were now very angry -- they were getting ready to invade northern Iraq in retaliation for the Armenian resolution. A nice image of the Turk, isn’t it?

Charles Krauthammer’s Friday column in The Washington Post says it all. Here is how Krauthammer opens his column: “There are three relevant questions concerning the Armenian genocide. (a) Did it happen? (b) Should the House of Representatives be expressing itself on this now? (c) Was House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s determination to bring this to a vote, knowing that it risked provoking Turkey into withdrawing crucial assistance to American soldiers in Iraq, a conscious or unconscious attempt to sabotage the US War effort?”

And here is how Krauthammer answers these questions: “(a) Yes, unequivocally. (b) No, unequivocally. (c) God only knows.” And here comes his dagger: “That between 1 million and 1.5 million Armenians were brutally and systematically massacred starting in 1915 in a deliberate genocidal campaign is a matter of simple historical record. If you really want to deepen and broaden awareness of that historical record, you should support the establishment of the Armenian Genocide Museum and Memorial in Washington. But to pass a declarative resolution in the House of Representatives in the middle of a war in which we are inordinately dependent on Turkey would be the height of irresponsibility.”

Did Nancy Pelosi really want to cause more problems for Bush in Iraq? “I leave the answer to psychiatry,” answers Krauthammer. This is the state of affairs in Washington regarding Turkey and the Armenian question. Yes, the tide has turned against the “genocide” resolution. We won an important battle, but make no mistake -- we are losing the war. For now let’s celebrate our pyrrhic victory.
22.10.2007


"Time Of Test For Turkey"
It is sad to see the disgraceful act of some in the U.S.congress who has nothing better to do than to provoke a staunch U.S. ally.It is interesting how a bunch of vested interest dreamt of some unfortunate happening during the first world war.I am sure they were dreaming for one hundred years and now they are awake with stupid and weird roposition.There are many wounds during the period of human civilization which is healing and we should try to heal rather than freshen it.Forgiveness,friendship and understanding will take where hatred and despise will fail. It is a time of test for Turkey it is being unjustfully provoked and provoked.Wisemen will resist provokation, the U.S. people and congress should never forget what Turkey has done for the United States during the cold war.God bless U.S. and Turkish relationship. Dr.Yehuda Ahmad Dallas,TEXAS Yehud@aol.com
10/22/07 Dr.Yehuda Ahmad


Turkey Set To Display Harsh Reaction Against Us
A motion passed in a US House of Representatives committee recognizing Armenian allegations of genocide directed against Turkey as truth has continued to cause tension between the two countries.

Tension in Turkish-US relations, sparked after a US House committee adopted a motion recognizing the killings of Armenians at the hands of Ottoman starting in 1915 as genocide, has been increasing.

In response to the motion, Turkey recalled its ambassador in Washington, Nabi Sensoy. Most recently, members of Parliament's Foreign Affairs Committee and Turkish diplomats declined a dinner invitation from US Ambassador to Turkey Ross Wilson. Meanwhile, the Foreign Ministry and the General Staff are trying to work out what sanctions could be imposed on the US if the motion makes it to the floor of Congress.

Murat Mercan, who heads the committee, informed Wilson that the committee members would not be participating in the dinner, which Wilson organized in order to discuss and exchange views on the recent problems between the two countries.

Wilson, whose invitations have never before been rejected, was reportedly unsure how to handle the rejection. The members of the committee from the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) who said they would not be attending Wilson's dinner are Mehmet Ceylan, Suat Kiniklioglu, Abdülkadir Emin Önen, Ömer Çelik, Ali Riza Alaboyun, Zeynep Dagi, Metin Yilmaz, Fevzi Sanverdi, Canan Kalsin, Hüseyin Tugcu, Mehmet Sahin, Mehmet Çerçi, Gönül Bekin Sahkulubey, Mustafa Kus and Necip Taylan. Members of the Republican People's Party (CHP) who are on the committee, Onur Öyment, Sükrü Elekdag, Ilhan Kesici, Canan Aritman and Abdurrezzak Erten, will not be attending the dinner, either, as they were the ones to call on the committee to protest Wilson's invitation. The Nationalist Movement Party's (MHP) Metin Ergün also said he would be supporting the protest of his fellow committee members.

Turkey expects the United States to take urgent action against terrorists of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) hiding in northern Iraq, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan reiterated on Friday, in comments suggesting Ankara hopes to avoid a Turkish military operation in the region.

Parliament last week authorized troops to cross the mountainous border into northern Iraq to track down terrorists of the PKK, who use the region as a base from which to attack Turkish targets. "We expect the coalition forces in Iraq, above all the Americans, to take steps in the current situation," Prime Minister Erdogan said in televised remarks on Friday. "These steps must be taken to ensure we get good results in the fight against the terrorist organization in northern Iraq. We expect things from the United States rather than from Iraq," he said.

Erdogan said he would discuss anti-PKK measures with US President George W. Bush when they meet in Washington on Nov. 5.

Erdogan's statements seem to have already had an effect on the US administration. In a recent statement US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates expressed his opinion that Turkey was not bluffing and it was serious in its consideration of a military incursion.

Meanwhile, if the Armenian resolution passes in the full House of Representatives, shutting down Incirlik Airbase and restricting US use of the Habur border gate with Iraq, two main supply routes the US uses for troops in Iraq, could be measures Turkey might resort to.

Vahit Erdem, who heads the Turkey group in the NATO Parliamentary Assembly, in an interview with Today's Zaman said: "The relationship cannot handle more strain. If this happens, it could be damaging both for Turkey and for the US. The two countries should avoid acting emotionally and retreat from this mistake."

On the other hand, Erdem also expressed that Turkey has to continue displaying a stern reaction. "If the resolution is passed in the House of Representatives, the relationship between the two countries would be greatly damaged. The opportunities Turkey provides the US in logistics could end."

Deputy Chairman of the CHP Onur Öymen shared his views on Erdogan's recent stern reaction. Öymen criticized the prime minister for putting the issue off until the planned Bush-Erdogan meeting in November. "Turkey should say openly what it would do if the resolution is passed," he commented.

Öymen recalled that when the US imposed a weapons embargo against Turkey after the 1974 military operation on Cyprus, Turkey cut US access to military bases within its borders. "[US Secretary of Defense] Gates knows this can be done. According to the 1980 agreement, the Incirlik base can only be used by the US during NATO operations. However, today we know that the US meets almost all the requirements of its military units from this base. The Habur border gate is currently used extensively by the US. Turkey can notify the US that it will allow that country to use Incirlik only in terms of the 1980 agreement. I think this warning has already been made."
22.10.2007 Ercan Yavuz Ankara


Recalled Ambassador Returns To Us, Sees Positive Prospects
The Turkish ambassador to the US is to return to Washington, D.C., after being recalled to Ankara as part of Turkish reactions to a vote on a controversial resolution at a US congressional committee; before his departure he expressed cautious optimism that the "Armenian resolution" issue would be resolved.

Turkish Ambassador to the United States Nabi Sensoy, who had been recalled to Ankara "for political consultations" over the so-called Armenian resolution after its passage at the US House Committee on Foreign Affairs, answered reporters' questions in the VIP hall of Atatürk Airport in Istanbul before flying to New York.

Noting that he had been recalled to Turkey by the government and had talks in Ankara for nine days, Sensoy stated that met with President Abdullah Gül, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Parliament Speaker Köksal Toptan, Foreign Minister Ali Babacan and high-ranking officials from the parliamentary Foreign Affairs Commission, providing them with information on the current state of affairs and participating in several activities at the Foreign Ministry.

"After nine days I am now returning to my post. I think the time I was in Ankara is a good message that shows the disappointment Turkey felt with respect to the passage of resolution No. 106 in the US House committee. Now I am going back to Washington to follow up on developments not only on this issue but also on other issues. The talks I had in Turkey were very useful. I will continue to promote Turkish-US relations," he said.

When Sensoy was asked what his attempts will be with regards to terrorism and the related issue of northern Iraq, the ambassador said: "The Foreign Ministry and the government will take necessary measures. I will act in accordance with my instructions."

Regarding the message he will convey to US officials, Sensoy said: "My most important message will be to explain the great disappointment and frustration that the developments over the Armenian resolution caused among the Turkish people. I will convey the sensitivities of Mr. President and the government officials to them once again. I will tell them of Turkey's expectations and the serious troubles that any further move in this process will cause in Turkish-US and other relations. I hope that such warnings will not be needed. Indeed, as far as I see, there has been a reversal of the wind. I expect this issue will not be taken any further." Following these remarks, Sensoy flew to New York on a scheduled Turkish Airlines (THY) fight.
22.10.2007 Istanbul Today’s Zaman


Armenian Bill
The resolution pertaining to Armenian genocide claims has been losing support in the US House of Representatives. Even this is enough to prove that the resolution is not a principle but a medium utilized for political purposes.

One cannot be expected to reinterpret a situation in the opposite direction and behave accordingly without offering any new proof. The claims have not aimed at investigating what was experienced in the past and condemning those seen as responsible since the beginning. Our country was going to be presented within the world public opinion as having actualized genocide and this label was going to be used in a scenario. If a Turkish-Kurdish battle were to take place, Kurds would accuse Turks of committing genocide and would find support for such allegations without much hardship. European countries were the initial source of the debates surrounding Kurdish issue and genocide, which were carried out simultaneously. This was a prerequisite of the model they anticipated for our country.
22.10.2007 Mahir Kaynak, Star


Letters To The Editor - TDNOctober 22, 2007 Stop political exploitation of the Armenian issue
Mr. Cengiz, instead of reading a biased book by a businessman of Armenian descent, I would recommend you read credible historians' books such as the one by Norman Stone, a historian and the author of many history books including “World War I: A Short History” and the article below.

When you ask the question “Why don't we witness any trace of sorrow or pain for Armenians who lost their lives in Anatolia? We are talking from our heads only and nothing comes out of our hearts! Is this possible?” You will find the answer yourself if you're a wise man. But your article does not show any proof of it so I'll help you with the answer.

Anatolians do not show sorrow, cannot because their ancestors told them the truth as my grandfather did to his children. My grandfather fought against Russians and Armenians and became a war veteran. He was forced to leave his land and migrate to another location with his family. During this difficult forced relocation journey, my grandmother lost her first child. Armenian rebels stole and slaughtered their only cow, which was crucial to their survival. When my grandfather became a war veteran fighting against Russians, he was taken to a hospital in Erzurum and examined by Armenian doctors. They told him that both his shoulders were clean of shrapnel pieces and he was fine. But my grandfather's shoulders smelled like rotten meat and he knew he needed an operation. His pleas to be transferred to a hospital in Erzincan where Turkish doctors worked were finally accepted after 10 months. In spite of all this after going back to his duties as a sergeant he helped Armenian citizens of the Ottoman Empire in the Northeast pack their belongings and guarded them against looters.

You see, Mr. Cengiz, it came from the heart and my grandfather helped Armenian citizens pack and go away peacefully so that he could go back to his village after four years of forced immigration.

Your question should be “Is it really hard for Armenians to clean their blood of hatred against Turks and find their true identity?” Isn't this what Hrant Dink was suggesting as well?

Turks want this issue to stop being a voting tool for political games of the imperialist West and help the Armenian nation realize how much more they would benefit from bilateral relations with Turkey than the West.

As for George Jerjian, (not George Jerijan as you wrote) I recommend he continue to write books about business and finance and leave history to academics.

Hulya G. Gaybana, Ottawa, Canada

The Armenian Bill, the Iranian nuke and the Chinese in between

The U.S. congress decision to accept that the killings of Armenians, during World War I, in areas subjected to Ottoman Empire rule, comes in no doubt as a blow to Turkish-American relations. Turkey's leaders have all cried out against it. Is the U.S. looking for a way out from the long and positive Turkish-American relationship? Is such a bill really an offense to Turkish national pride?

I think the answer to both questions is NO. There is no reason for the Bush administration (or any U.S. administration) to cut ties with Turkey. Such ties are so valuable to risk for history from a century ago. Judging by the latest news, I come to an understanding that if President Bush favored this bill, he and his administration wouldn't have put effort in calming the Turkish leadership. This is not the case with the current visit of the Dalai Lama to the U.S. The Dalai Lama was accepted for a private meeting with the president and then awarded a prize by the attendance of the president. All with China's reaction to these acts and with all the diplomatic buzz and fuss around it, the Bush administration just doesn't give a damn for what the Chinese say, do, or think.

Again, this is not the case with the Armenian Bill at the U.S. Congress. I presume that this bill isn't purely Armenian too. I presume this bill comes as a political action to weaken the Bush administration. Else, why would this administration put so much effort in calming the Turks? As it is, China is a larger market, China is a larger armed force and China is much more of a global power than Turkey. So why shouldn't the Americans be friends with China?

But… China is the bad neighbor across the Pacific Ocean. China is still a harsh communist dictatorship. China is a global power assisting all the other minor bad guys around the world – Sudan, N. Korea, Iran, Myanmar and the rest of the bunch. Even though next years Olympic Games are due to be held in China, it is still a place with no real freedom of worship and practice of beliefs. China is still a place where civil rights remain unknown, not to mention private basic human rights.

Is Turkey the same? NO! Turkey is exactly on the opposite positive side. Turkey is progressing toward membership in the EU. Turkey's economy is going up in the right direction and Turkey is more tolerant to personal freedom, even though the "Islamist" party won the elections. Turkey was and remains an important allay of the democratic world against the tyrannies from the East.

The U.S. and Europe are running a fresh new cold war with Russia, about the defense against missiles program – a program that is meant to defend Europe from Iranian missiles (produced with Russian aid I guess). Just now President Bush said that if the Iranian danger is solved, there will be no need for NATO missiles in Europe so close to Russia. Anyway, the Russians are viewed badly – the crisis with the U.K., Russian war planes intruding into NATO air space and now President Putin's visit to Iran.

By cutting ties with the U.S., Turkey will be posting itself in a clear negative place, both with the EU and with the U.S.

So all in all Turkey must ask itself if chilling relations with the U.S. will hurt the U.S., or rather turn around and punish Turkey itself.

As I see it, Turkey has a clear agenda of moving forward – moving forward into the EU, moving forward with its economy, technology and whatever else. But, Turkey cannot and will not move forward without freeing itself from the Ottoman demons that still hunt it. Turkey should impose a condition on the EU – once Turkey is an EU member, there will be an official Turkish announcement saying something like: "Turkey regrets the Armenian lives lost under Ottoman Empire rule and that modern Turkey has nothing to do with these crimes of genocide. That modern Turkey arose from the ashes of the corrupt Ottoman Empire, leading a 180 degrees different rule. That modern Turkey looks to its neighbors and sends a hand to shake for peace and mutual cooperation."

Turkey has already begun doing that but in a very shy way. About a year ago an Armenian monastery at Lake Van was reopened after a long renovation that was fully sponsored by the Turkish government.

Turkey should let go of its Ottoman past and concentrate on what's really important – a stable and economically strong Kurdish establishment in northern Iraq. Such an establishment that will make terror acts, such as the PKK's, unworthy. Exactly like it's Israel's interest to keep an economically strong Palestinian establishment. With stomachs full there is less bitterness. With stomachs full there is less anger. With stomachs full there is no need to fight.

Having finished the Armenian issue and along side with the Kurdish issue, Turkey should finish the Cyprus one. I think Turkey should use all its weight and act in order to achieve recognition of the independent Republic of northern Cyprus and make it a member of the EU too.

It's all so simple isn't it? But as it seems today, Turkey is walking forward but still looking backward.

Elad Sasson, Tel Aviv, Israel

Why the US should not adopt the Armenian resolution

Why the U.S. Congress should not ratify the statement that the Armenians were victims of a genocide by the Ottoman Empire.

This is wrong for a variety of reasons.

1. Historically inaccurate.

2. Strategically a negative move by the U.S. government in light of Turkey's critical strategic, logistical location and the main land route and cargo transition point for the current wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

3. Middle Eastern cooperation and a bridge to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

I am not naïve and approach this from a critical and sensitive background. Being born myself in a displaced person's camp after World War II in Germany with both parents being Holocaust survivors as well as my wife's parents with the rest of their family being wiped out I am appreciative and sensitive to the issues on the table. “It cannot be repeated enough that to discredit the Armenian genocide allegation is not to deny that Armenian deaths and suffering during the war should evoke tears in all but the stone-hearted. The same is true for the even greater number of contemporaneous Turkish deaths and privations.” Bruce Fein article, Saturday 2006.

The I.ncirlik Airbase and the fact that a substantial amount of the reconstruction effort in Iraq and Afghanistan are actually being performed by Turkish contractors some as prime contractors and others as subcontractors to major American defense contractors should not be ignored.

The actual historical evidence is thin and the Turkish scholarly academics themselves realize the need for further examination and review of this allegation. Today when America is attempting to extract itself to a defensible position without leaving Iraq in ruins, planning various scenarios for dealing with the Iranian nuclear dilemma, the Democratic Party is self-destructing and catering to blatant political considerations. As a Kennedy delegate to the 1980 Convention I certainly can't be accused of being overly conservative but recognize that political, tactical and strategic reasons should be the priority and given heed to by those in the democratic leadership.

Turkey, long a NATO partner and a critical force in the current Afghanistan campaign, at one time the team leader in the revolving leadership roles that various countries have taken in Afghanistan, despite their political decision not to allow access directly through Turkey in the Iraq war still remains a fundamental secular bulwark in the Mid-East.

While, representing Turkish contractors, obviously I have a stake in this issue the facts can only lead to one conclusion and that is Congress should not approve this vote. During my constant visits to Ankara the new secular capital founded by Atatürk I'm often asked how my stay was by my American friends and relatives. I say that the area and locale remind me of New York's Upper East Side or Soho area or like the Arrondisement in Paris where the cafes flourish and the people are hospitable. Having dinner at a rooftop hotel in Istanbul with a clear view of the Bosporus and the sea of Marmara are one of the most remarkable scenic sites I have ever encountered.

A tour of Turkish synagogues indicates the religious freedom given is remarkable.

For America now to shoot itself in the foot and for the Democratic Party to deconstruct is totally inappropriate. Having been an elected democratic official as well, and a former Assistant Counsel at DOD, I can appreciate the political sensitivities to various constituencies but hope that upon consideration the democratic majority in the House will understand that such a vote would be counterproductive.

Sam Zalman Gdanski, Suffern, New York, USA


Iranian President To Visit Armenia
October 22, 2007 YEREVAN -Agence France-Presse

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad will make an official visit to neighbouring Armenia on Oct. 22 and 23 for talks with his counterpart Robert Kocharian, the official news agency said Saturday.

The two men are expected to sign a series of bilateral agreements today, and Ahmadinejad will also meet the head of the national assembly, Tigran Torossian, and students and professors at Yerevan University.

The Iranian leader is expected to visit a memorial to victims of the alleged Ottoman massacres of Armenians between 1915 and 1917, as well as the Blue Mosque in Yerevan, and meet members of the Iranian community here.

Landlocked Armenia has sought closer links with Iran because of an economic blockade imposed by neighbours Azerbaijan and Turkey over the disputed Nagorny Karabakh region, as well as Armenia's efforts to gain international recognition of the massacres as genocide.

In March, Kocharian and Ahmedinejad inaugurated a 150-kilometre pipeline that will deliver 36 billion cubic metres of gas from Iran to Armenia over 20 years.


Turkey's Jews Back Ankara's Stance On Bill
October 22, 2007 Yasemin Sim Esmen ISTANBUL – Turkish Daily News

The Turkish-Jewish community stands up for Turkey, supporting its stance against the adoption of the much debated House Resolution 106, labeling the World War I-era killing of Armenians as 'genocide.' Members of the community are behind the ad placed in the Washington Times, supporting it fully, but adding that the Jewish community in Turkey is no new ally to it, has been one for a long time and the community is an integral part of the country

A lesser-known dimension of the passage of a bill by the U.S House of Representatives labeling the World War I-era killings of Armenians as ''genocide'' is the support Turkey has received from its own Jewish community through the publication of an advertisement in U.S. newspaper The Washington Times a day before voting took place.

The Turkish Jewish community's advertisement supporting Turkey's stance was run in the U.S. newspaper The Washington Times a day before the voting. The advertisement has stirred reactions in the American media too: “Turkey has gained a valuable ally: Its own Jews,” wrote Marc Perelman of the Forward. Although members of the Jewish community in Turkey agree with the advertisement, they believe that the Jewish community is no new ally, and that it has been one for a long time, as well as an integral part of Turkey.

“I fully support this ad,” said Shalom newspaper's head columnist, İvo Molinas, in a phone interview. Molinas also handled this issue in his latest column in Shalom. Molinas said that the advertisement pointed to the fact that the issue should be left to historians, that it should be the courts deciding which killings can be labelled as “genocide” —as was the case with the Nurnberg courts naming Holocaust as such,— that the passing of the bill would seriously harm U.S.-Turkey and Israel-Turkey relations, and that the bill was based on a mistake. Molinas added that claiming Turkish Jews are a new ally to Turkey has exceeded its meaning. “We are Turkish citizens. Our being Jewish might show us differently but we are Turkish people living in Turkey,” he said.

Molinas said the Jewish community in Turkey had agreed to place the advertisement in two newspapers, the Washington Post and the Washington Times. Although it got published in the Washington Times, it did not get published in the Washington Post. “Even though the Washington Post ad cost much more, and even though they told us everything was O.K. until the last minute, the Washington Post then did not run the ad and told us it could not be printed due to a technical problem,” said Molinas while referring to the problems encountered with the U.S. media.

“The opinion of the [Jewish] community in Turkey is clear: We live in Turkey, we are a part of it. Turkey's interests have priority for us,” said Marcel Saul, a member of the Jewish community in Turkey. Saul said that there are many political dynamics involved and that the chaos faced today is a result of the internal conflicts within the U.S. “If there is a collaboration that the Jewish community here does, it is to become a contact for the lobby in the United States. This is how it should be. Today, Turkey does not need to search for another club,” he added. Saul said he saw this as a temporary problem and that the cooperation between the U.S. and Turkey, which has been going strong since the 1950s, would continue. He added that he agrees with the advertisement's statement that the Jewish community in Turkey is deeply disturbed by claims that their safety is jeopardized by the passing of the resolution. “Anyone using common sense would understand that the Jewish community in Turkey is not in danger,” he said.

Another member of the Jewish community in Turkey, Albert Benardete, agreed with Saul on the stance of the community. Benardete said the placement of the advertisement in the U.S. newspaper has been the right decision. “It was necessary to respond to this great injustice. But there were other problems also, such as the Anti Defamation League's (ADL) erroneous statement. So it was also partially done to be a balance for that and to remedy that mistake,” he said.

Yet Bernardete believes Turkey's Jewish community cannot be called a new ally of Turkey. “I do not agree with the article that Turkey has found a new ally, though. The Jewish community was always been an ally of Turkey,” he said. Throughout history, added Bernardate, Turkey has viewed its Jewish community differently. “And Turkey's interests have always been important for the community. The biggest case in point is the state's Extraordinary Service Award given to Jak Kamhi. He and a number of others have lobbied for Turkey in the international arena.”


Pelosi's Judgment Questioned Over Armenia Issue Oct 21, 2007 8:50am EDT By Susan Cornwell
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Democrat Nancy Pelosi's pledge of a new direction took a detour when she fumbled an Armenian genocide resolution and raised questions about her leadership as the highest ranking member of the U.S. Congress.

Pelosi, 67, speaker of the House of Representatives and next in line to the presidency after the vice president, swore she would push the controversial resolution to a vote, then blinked when some fellow Democrats withdrew their support in the face of furious reaction from Turkey.

President George W. Bush warned the symbolic resolution to affirm the 1915 massacre of Armenians by Ottoman Turks as genocide would harm Washington's relations with Ankara. But as long as it looked like it would pass, Pelosi stuck to her guns.

When Democratic support started waning last week amid protests from NATO ally Turkey -- which denounced the measure as "insulting" and hinted at halting logistical support for the U.S. war effort in Iraq -- Pelosi wavered.

Critics say she miscalculated.

"It's certainly not her finest moment," said Michael O'Hanlon, senior fellow in foreign policy studies at the Brookings Institution in Washington.

"There's been no great harm done, but we do have to find some ways to mend the U.S.-Turkish relationship."

Turkey accepts that many Armenians were killed in World War One, but denies they were victims of a systematic genocide.

Pelosi took office amid much fanfare 10 months ago. She proposed "a new direction" for America and vowed to challenge Bush on a host of fronts, including the Iraq war.

Her stumble on the Armenia resolution gave Republican critics more ammunition.

They called the bill another "irresponsible" or "dangerous" foreign policy gambit by Pelosi, who flew to Syria last spring when the White House was not on speaking terms with Damascus.

Pelosi also has tried for months without success to defy Bush's policy on Iraq with legislation forcing a withdrawal of U.S. troops.

NO 'DAMN ALLIES'

Even some of Pelosi's closest allies, like Pennsylvania Rep. John Murtha, say she misjudged the Armenian resolution.

Murtha, who opposes the measure on the grounds the United States doesn't have any "damn allies" and therefore needs to keep Turkey on its side, counted up to 60 Democratic votes against it and said it would fail if brought up.

Pelosi is one of several Californians in Congress with many Armenian-Americans in their districts. They have pushed similar proposals for years.

"She feels morally committed to this issue," said Murtha. "It's just, is it practical at this point to go forward with it?"

Ohio Rep. Dennis Kucinich offered another excuse for Pelosi's misstep: she had too much on her plate.

This week House Democrats also tried and failed to override Bush's veto on a children's health program. A bill to revise rules for government eavesdropping on terrorism suspects had to be pulled from the floor at the last minute.

"The pace of this institution is not always conducive to a well-thought-out approach, to considering the consequences of a certain type of action," Kucinich said.

Pelosi still has not ruled out calling a full House vote on the Armenian resolution, which the House Foreign Affairs Committee passed on October 10.

Some conservative commentators suggested the genocide measure was part of a hidden Democratic agenda to undermine the Iraq war effort, but other analysts said that was unlikely.

"I think it's more domestic politics, playing to interest groups, than backdoor foreign policy," said George Washington University professor of international affairs Henry Nau.

"If members of Congress are plotting with interest groups to weaken Turkish support of U.S. policy in Iraq and thus undermine American forces in Iraq, the drama thickens beyond my capacity to comprehend," he said.

© Reuters2007All rights reserved


Dent, Rest Of Congress Must Revisit 'Genocide' Vote
October 21, 2007, Abdullah Bozkurt
''Turkish people, including Turks in the Lehigh Valley, are very sensitive on this issue. Their thousands of years of history show how tolerant they are of other cultures and faith groups.''

The headline on Professor Brian Mello's op-ed column on Oct 16 was misleading, as it said only Turkey holds the key to the Armenian issue. As the saying goes, it takes two to tango, and this complex dispute definitely needs more than two to find a solution.

It is disheartening to follow the developments regarding Congress's resolution calling for recognition of Armenian claims that goes back nine decades. It does great disservice not only to the U.S. vital interests in the region, but also is counterproductive to dialogue undertaken by both the Turkish and Armenian governments in recent years. This highly contested issue does not belong in a political body whose members are open to influences by special interest groups and lobbyists.

In the House of Representatives, It is obvious that Speaker Nancy Pelosi is trying to pay lip-service to her constituency back in California, with no regard to U.S. security interests in the volatile region at the expense of only democratic Muslim ally, Turkey. Should the resolution pass a floor vote, the only party that can claim victory would be the Armenian diaspora, and it would be a symbolic gesture to voters of Armenian descent. The diaspora has never allowed the case to come before a properly constituted and competent international court. Instead, they prompt parliamentary and other bodies to ''recognize the genocide.''

Turkish people, including Turks in the Lehigh Valley, are very sensitive on this issue. Their thousands of years of history show how tolerant they are of other cultures and faith groups. When the Spanish inquisition happened, Turks welcomed Jews. In World War II, they opened the door to Jewish professors fleeing from Germany. At the time, Ottoman Turks were issuing decrees granting protected status to Orthodox churches and other Christian denominations in their domain.

Prominent British historian Professor Norman Stone wrote a great op-ed piece published in the Chicago Tribune on Oct. 16. He said, ''In 1914, when World War I began in earnest, Armenians living in what is now Turkey attempted to set up a national state. Armenians revolted against the Ottoman government, began what we would now call 'ethnic cleansing' of the local Turks. Their effort failed and caused the government to deport most Armenians from the area of the revolt for security reasons.'' He also notes that large Armenian populations of Istanbul, Izmir and Aleppo were not affected by the deportation. Internal Ottoman documents talk of ''deportation'' in the context of widespread Armenian nationalist risings in the early spring of 1915. The Russians and the French used Armenian regiments and legionnaires. The Ottomans themselves in 1916 put on trial about 1,300 men for crimes during the deportation of the Armenians in 1915, convicted many and executed some, including a governor.

Why don't we leave the issue to accredited and respected historians to sort it out rather than politicizing the records? What is it that we are afraid of finding out? In recent years, the Turkish government offered to establish a joint historical committee composed of neutral and independent historians with impeccable records of integrity to investigate claims and examine records.

Turks even suggested opening all internal state documents preserved in national achieves for 100 years. But, the Armenian side refused to take part in that review. The resolution in Congress does not mention these facts, but rather lays blame on one side only -- Turks. I encourage our congressman Charlie Dent to revisit his vote, as many of his colleagues did last week. I understand he wants to please the Armenian community in preparation for his upcoming congressional race in the 15th District, but his vote would hurt Turkish Americans in his constituency, and is deemed offensive by many.

Abdullah Bozkurt of Bethlehem is president of the Lehigh Dialogue Center. Its Web site is www.lehighdialogue.org
Copyright © 2007, The Morning Call


Leave Turkey Alone
Public Forum Letter Salt Lake Tribune 10/20/2007

The House Foreign Relations Committee has passed a non-binding resolution condemning the Ottoman/Turkey empire for the genocide of Armenians before and during World War I.

This resolution was passed in spite of pleas from former secretaries of state and defense, Bush and his cabinet, world leaders and the Turkish government to not do this. There can be little doubt that those who voted for the resolution were putting politics and petty issues before the good of our country. Turkey is about the only ally we have in that area of the world. They allow us to have bases in Turkey and assist in the Iraq operations. They have also listened to us regarding our concerns about them attacking the Kurd rebels in Northern Iraq.
Now all that is in jeopardy. This vote not only harms our nation but puts our servicemen and their families in Turkey at risk. My son is a captain stationed in Turkey and has his wife and children there. Their base is in a lock-down situation now. The committee has put them at risk. Hopefully the House will put common sense and national interests ahead of politics when its members vote and will think of the impact on our servicemen serving there and in Iraq.

This resolution is insulting, and I say that even though I have an Armenian uncle who was there at the time. We understand what happened, but let it be. Imagine if Germany passed a resolution condemning the United Advertisement

States for genocide

of American Indians. We, and the Turkish leaders and people, would be greatly offended
and tell Germany to mind its own business. When will Democrats and Republicans remember they represent us, the nation, and not their parties.

David L. McCammon Salt Lake City

Foreign Affairs West's Relations With Turkey Strained FurtherAnthony Manduca
Relations between Turkey and its natural allies - the US and the EU - continue to be strained, and this is cause for concern. First the Foreign Affairs Committee of the US House of Representatives voted in favour of a non-binding resolution which labelled the mass killings of Armenians in the dying days of the Ottoman Empire as genocide, infuriating Ankara and threatening to damage US-Turkish relations.

A few days later the Turkish Parliament gave the go-ahead - by a massive majority - to the government to use military force in Iraq against Kurdish guerrillas, further straining ties with Europe and the United States.

Turkey's geo-political and strategic importance cannot be underestimated, and coupled with Ankara's stalled EU membership talks, these two events are indeed very worrying developments which can only lead to a worsening of relations between Turkey and the West.

After the US congressional vote, Turkey recalled its ambassador to Washington "for consultations" and the country's most senior general warned that military ties between the US and Turkey will be severely damaged if the House of Representatives adopts the genocide resolution. General Yashar Buyukanit said the US had "shot itself in the foot" as a result of the congressional committee vote.

The non-binding resolution calls on the Bush administration to "accurately characterise the systematic and deliberate annihilation of 1.5 million Armenians as genocide." President George Bush opposed the resolution, rightly so in my opinion, explaining that if approved, US-Turkish relations would be harmed. The two countries, which have the largest armies in NATO, have been close allies since the 1950s. Furthermore, eight former US Secretaries of State (from both parties) lobbied House Speaker Nancy Pelosi not to go ahead with the resolution, warning of the consequences of a 'yes' vote.

I am certainly not arguing that the Armenian genocide question should be ignored because of wider strategic interests. However, it is not for politicians to decide whether genocide took place, but for scholars and academics. Will the congressional resolution solve anything or bring justice to the Armenians? No, it will not.

The modern Turkish Republic is certainly not responsible for the mass killings of the Armenians; the Ottoman Empire is. Yes, Turkey must come to terms with its past and change the outrageous Article 301 of its penal code which makes it a crime to "insult Turkishness". This law has been used to convict people for simply daring to say that genocide took place against the Armenians.

The official Turkish version of events is that hundreds of thousands of Armenians - who were being deported to Syria and Iraq for siding with the Russians in World War I - were killed between 1915 and 1917 as the Ottoman Empire collapsed, but Ankara refuses to accept the charge of genocide, and points out that many Turks were also killed in inter-ethnic violence.

It is true that most academics believe that genocide took place and 20 countries - including France, Argentina, Belgium, Canada, Italy, Russia and Uruguay - have formally recognised that genocide was committed against the Armenians. However, what is needed is an open and free debate in Turkey, with the participation of international scholars, to determine exactly what took place. Modern day Turkey needs to come to terms with its past, but it is unlikely to do so with foreign parliaments unilaterally deciding what took place.

The approval on Wednesday by the Turkish Parliament of a military incursion into Iraq, in response to numerous attacks by Kurdish separatists based there, certainly raised some eyebrows in Brussels and Washington. As a result of the vote oil prices jumped more than a dollar to a fresh all-time high of $90 a barrel. Both Bush and the EU's foreign policy chief Javier Solana made it clear to Ankara that they didn't think it was in their interest to send troops into Iraq to pursue Kurdish guerrillas. The West's main fear, of course, is that a massive Turkish incursion could destabilise the only relatively stable region in Iraq and widen the Iraqi conflict. The last thing the US wants to see is a war between two of its key allies - Turkey and the Kurds in Iraq.

The massive Turkish parliamentary vote was expected - especially after the US congressional vote on the genocide question - as Ankara was in no mood to listen to calls for restraint from Washington. As a result of Turkey's obvious displeasure at the US vote and its subsequent parliamentary vote on Iraq, it now seems that the number of sponsors and co-sponsors in the US House of Representatives for the Armenian genocide resolution has fallen considerably, meaning that it is probably unlikely to be put forward for approval by the full House of Representatives, which might calm matters.

It is time for strategists in Brussels and Washington to assess the West's strategic relations with Turkey. Brussels is dragging its feet over Ankara's EU accession talks, relations between the US and Turkey have been strained over the invasion of Iraq and Washington's policy in the Middle East, the Armenian vote angered Turkey and the Turkish parliamentary vote has the potential to increase tensions in Iraq.

Public opinion in Turkey has slowly been turning hostile towards both the US and the EU, and this is very worrying indeed. This situation cannot go on forever; Turkey is too important a country. Surely a major effort needs to be made by all sides aimed at reversing the trend in Ankara's ties with its traditional allies.
© Allied Newspapers Ltd


Is Graham Fuller Really Out Of His Mind?
Ali Bulac a.bulac@todayszaman.com

It doesn’t take much brainpower to understand that US-Turkey relations are not “perfectly well.” The two countries, which have been sharing the same “camp” as friends and allies for a little over 50 years, have almost fallen out with each other. Experts who know the depth and history of the relations between the two countries also confirm this. For instance, Graham E. Fuller, former vice chairman of the US National Intelligence Council (NIC), says that the “worn out” Turkey-US relations entered the process of deterioration a long time ago. Apparently the current picture doesn’t belong to today. According to him, “Washington’s policies are broadly and fundamentally incompatible with Turkish foreign policy interests in multiple arenas.” Defending that the interests of the two countries are at odds with each other in seven fields -- Kurds, terrorism, Iran, Syria, Armenia, Russia and Palestine -- Fuller remarks that the Iraq policies of the United States have turned out to be a disaster for Turkey. Indeed I too often said, starting from the days the US first attempted to occupy also Iraq, after Afghanistan, that this would inflict a disaster upon not only Iraq, but also on the region and Turkey.

In his article in the Los Angeles Times, Fuller wrote: “Overall, a ‘new Turkey’ actively seeks good-neighbor relations with all regional states and players. It seeks to be a major player and mediator in the Middle East.” Fuller describes the generic statements that the two countries have “vital shared interests” as “empty phrases.” “We had better get used to the fact that Turkey, strengthened by its popular democracy, is going to pursue its own national interests, regardless of Washington’s pressure,” he stressed.

Here are the seven points of friction as pointed out by Fuller: 1) Terrorism: The US policies on Middle East have fanned the flames of violence in the region and brought al-Qaeda to the Turkish borders; 2) Iran: The Washington administration imposed pressure on Turkey for it to end its relations with Iran indiscreetly and tactlessly; 3) Syria: Turkish-Syrian relations have been blossoming. Ankara resisted Washington pressure to sideline Damascus; 4) Armenia: Ankara and Yerevan have “efficient” unofficial ties; however the Armenian diaspora is one of the key factors catering to the highly tense relations; 5) Russia: Ankara values its ties to Russia and rejects US plans such as NATO expansion or the missile shield; 6) Palestine: Washington opposes Ankara’s recognition of Hamas as legitimate. Ankara also has good relations with Israel, however it also criticizes the latter; 7) Kurds: The latest US policies on Iraq have turned out to be a disaster for Turkey. The formation in the north of Iraq encourages separatism in Turkey.

Fuller underlines an even more interesting point: “Washington supports Kurdish terrorists against Iran.” What Fuller did by saying this shows utter and extreme tactlessness. These subjects are problematic areas known or guessed by all; however, nobody else can express them so openly and clearly as Fuller does. Naturally State Department deputy spokesman Tom Casey’s reaction to Fuller’s statement is just as interesting. Casey said: “Well, if he’s a former employee of the CIA, the best I can say is I think that’s a spy who’s been out in the cold too long. The United States does not have contact with and does not support the PKK [Kurdistan Workers’ Party]. It’s a terrorist organization. It’s treated as such. And the only thing we want to see from it is to have it go out of business.”

Although the spokesperson said this, it seems that doubts in this direction are strong. In other words, it is not possible to so easily suggest, as Casey did, that a very experienced observer of the region as Fuller is out of his mind. 23.10.2007


Stability In The Middle East: American Hypocrisy, Turkish Patience
By Christopher Vasillopulos, PH.D.*
Displaying a breathtaking combination of arrogance and ignorance, the US has warned Turkey not to take unilateral action against Kurdish terrorists in northern Iraq.

The US claims to be concerned that Turkish military incursions would destabilize the region. I grant that the Bush administration has turned destabilization into an art form and that it has destabilized the lives of millions of people in the Middle East. The policies of the US have resulted in the division and subdivision of one state after another in the region. This has reached the logical conclusion of retribalizing sections of Iraq in an effort to defeat al-Qaeda in Iraq.

Let us define our terms. For American policy makers, regional stability means that all Middle Eastern states must support US policies, especially its alliance with Israel. Stability means that Middle Eastern states must follow the US when it ignores two of the most destabilizing factors in the region: Israel’s oppression of Palestine and Israel’s monopoly of nuclear weapons. Instability has many meanings in the vocabulary of US foreign policy: any act which either the US or Israel disapproves of; any effort of the Arab world to unify in the pursuit of long-term regional economic, social and political development; any act which links Palestine to the broader problems of the region; any effort by Iran to influence its neighbors, including the healing of its wounds with Iraq; any effort by Turkey to have good relations with its neighbors, especially its former Ottoman peoples; any action which does not subordinate Turkish interests and sensibilities to American objectives in the region; the Turkish rejection of the label of “genocide,” notwithstanding Turkish admissions of needless deaths of Armenians perpetrated by the Ottoman Empire during World War I; any Turkish military action which secures its borders and protects its people against the predations of Kurdish terrorists supported by the de facto Kurdish state in northern Iraq.

As the world’s only superpower, the US apparently believes it can define terms, like stability and instability, as it pleases. In the process the US is demonstrating that the abuse of language and the abuse of power are blood brothers -- or, as in George Orwell’s classic, “1984,” big brothers. And it is necessary, after all, to love big brother.

Let us consider what stability in the Middle East really means, what the region requires if it is to have the opportunity to deal with its many problems. First of all, let me mention a factor which virtually all Western commentators ignore or misperceive: Stability means encouraging and reinforcing the tradition of Islamic liberalism. Islam from its beginnings has been an anti-tribal and progressive force. As the region’s leading secular, democratic Muslim state and as the non-Arab nation with the deepest experience in the Arab world, Turkey must play a positive and independent role in the region. This cannot be done if Turkey is seen as a subordinate of the US.

Stability in the region will require several developments. First of all, it will necessitate an end to the Israeli oppression of Palestine as well as an end to Israel’s monopoly on nuclear weapons in the region, either by unilateral disarmament or by nuclear guarantees to other powers. The US issued such guarantees in Europe and in Asia, to protect Germany and Japan. Does anyone believe that the US would threaten to retaliate against any Israeli nuclear attack? Next, stability will require the use of oil revenue to repair and unify Iraq and to develop the region. It will also call for the generous use of American aid -- far less than the 12 billion a month now expended on combat -- to secure the compliance of those factions essential to the reunification of Iraq. Stability means the respect of all Middle Eastern electorates, not only those who meet the approval of the US. Finally, stability entails a respect for the high civilizations and vibrant contemporary cultures which have found their home in the Middle East. Even if one excludes the Greeks, whose Middle Eastern connections were profound, what other region can boast of Persia, Egypt, Mesopotamia or Assyria?

In the current climate this list may seem daunting, unrealistic or utopian. Given the damage which has been done and which is continuing, perhaps it is. It should be remembered, however, that before World War II, the US generally supported the policies for stability outlined here. What is more, the region concurred with the efforts of the US. Of course, the US did not have pure motives. Nevertheless, it believed a stable and modernizing Middle East was in line with US interests. I am not urging purity of motive, only the end of hypocrisy. Unfortunately, while there seems to be no end to American hypocrisy, the end of Turkish patience may be at hand.

*Christopher Vasillopulos is a professor of International Relations at Eastern Connecticut State University.
23.10.2007


Iranian President Visits Armenia As Economic And Political Ties Grow
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad visited Armenia on Monday and struck several agreements to bolster economic ties between the two nations.

Ahmadinejad and his Armenian counterpart, Robert Kocharian, announced plans to build a railway link and two hydro-electric power plants on the border river, Araks. The agreements are important for landlocked Armenia, which has struggled with power shortages and transport blockades since the collapse of the Soviet Union. Neighboring Azerbaijan and Turkey have shut their borders with Armenia in the wake of a conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh, a breakaway region of Azerbaijan controlled by Armenians. “We had very good talks that will help the development of infrastructure between our nations,” Ahmadinejad said after the agreements were signed. “There are good prospects for a constructive cooperation to the benefit of the regional security.” The two presidents said that construction of the railroad, which would give Armenia long-sought access to the Persian Gulf, could begin next year after a technical survey. 23.10.2007 AP Yerevan


Azerbaijan Boosts Budget, Warns Armenia
Azerbaijan will increase its defense spending by nearly one third next year to build up its strength in a long-running territorial dispute with its Caucasus neighbor Armenia, President Ilham Aliyev said on Monday.

He told a government meeting that the military budget will grow by $300 million to $1.3 billion in 2008. “The country will allocate funds to buy new hardware, weapons and ammunition, to create a powerful military-industrial complex and improve the professionalism of the military,” Aliyev said. “We are creating a powerful army.” The message of the 45-year-old president was primarily targeted at Armenia, the main backer of Azerbaijan’s breakaway region of Nagorno-Karabakh. “The insincere behavior of Armenian occupation forces, dragging out the negotiation process, forces us to devote greater attention to military issues,” Aliyev said. “Azerbaijan must be ready to liberate its lands by any means.”
23.10.2007Reuters Baku


Abdullayev: Petkim, A New Energy Venture Between Turkey, Azerbaijan
The president of SOCAR discusses the repercussions of state-controlled petrochemical producer Petkim’s 51 percent stake sale to the SOCAR-Turcas-Injaz consortium, the second highest bidder, instead of the TransCentralAsia consortium.

Socar President Revnak Abdullayev

The State Oil Company of the Azerbaijan Republic (SOCAR)-Turcas-Injaz consortium submitted the second best bid in a July 5 tender for the block sale of a 51 percent state-owned stake in Turkish petrochemicals producer Petkim. The Kazakh-led TransCentralAsia Petrochemical Holding consortium had outbid all of its five rivals by offering to pay $2.05 billion, causing the Azeri consortium to withdraw from the open bidding after announcing its final offer of $2.04 billion. After the tender, a wave of resentment toward the winning group spread in light of rumors that the Kazakh company was supported by the Armenian diaspora, causing Turkey’s board overseeing the proceedings to nullify the winning bid and instead award the tender to the second highest bidder, the Azeri consortium.

Speaking to Today’s Zaman, Revnak Abdullayev, the president of SOCAR, evaluated the recent developments. He stressed that Turkey and Azerbaijan were not only sister countries because of their historical connection but also strategic partners in many fields, especially in energy. Abdullayev emphasized that Petkim was a kind of continuation of the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan (BTC), Baku-Tbilisi-Erzurum (BTE) and Baku-Tbilisi-Kars (BTK) pipeline projects.

What are your thoughts on the Petkim tender?

Abdullayev: First of all, this nice gesture is a sign that Turkey regards Azerbaijan as important. This is SOCAR’s first attempt at such a large project abroad. Our company has the largest financial potential in Azerbaijan. Our first investment abroad was the Kulevi Terminal project in Georgia. It was not as big as Petkim but it had great importance in transporting Central Asian and Caspian Sea oil to the Black Sea. To date the total investment in the Kulevi project has reached $360 million. Our aim is to contribute to the Samsun-Ceyhan oil pipeline with this project. Firstly, we have a $2 billion investment plan for Petkim to upgrade and to modernize the facilities. After this modernization process we want to meet an important share of Turkey’s need for petrochemical products. Currently Turkey imports 75 percent of its petrochemicals. With SOCAR’s investment this will drop to 30 percent.

Was the proximity of the Petkim decision and the Armenian resolution in the US a coincidence or a message to the world?

Abdullayev: Turkey and Azerbaijan’s foreign policies are similar. That’s why the Armenian genocide claims are a problem for Azerbaijan as they are for Turkey. On this issue both countries take the same stance. Their stand against the diaspora is same; however, it would be a mistake to relate this decision only to the Armenian issue. Turkey and Azerbaijan are sister countries and strategic partners, so they care about one another’s political, strategic and economic interests.

Are there also refinery construction plans?

Abdullayev: Yes, our refinery construction work is ongoing. We plan to build an oil refinery that has an annual production capacity of 6 million tons. I believe commercial relations between Turkey and Azerbaijan will go much further because of these projects.

What are SOCAR’s projects other than Petkim?

Abdullayev: The most important and unforgettable event for SOCAR is the launching of the Ceyhan terminal, which carries the name of our deceased president Haydar Aliyev, who was involved in the completion of the BTC project despite many difficulties. With the launching of the BTC the most important part of the energy corridor between Caspian Sea and Europe was opened up. Here we must mention that the BTC has to this point carried the equivalent of 400 tankers of oil directly to the Mediterranean Sea instead of through the Bosporus and the Dardanelles straits. This means the BTC is also contributing to the environmental and ecological balance.

With the BTC, Caspian Sea oil has reached the Mediterranean. How are the regional and global energy markets affected by the BTC? Are Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan expected to join the project?

Abdullayev: As I just said, with the launching of the BTC the issue gained global importance. The global need for energy will increase by 60 percent by 2030. This means the current reserves must increase their capacity by 60 percent. So it is not very hard to predict the importance of Caspian Sea reserves in the future. Azerbaijan’s current economic and political stability contributes to the BTC’s importance. Azerbaijan is ready to meet Kazakh oil exports. Today, the world is governed mostly on economic principles. If Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan think it is more profitable to export their oil and gas through Azerbaijan’s pipelines, I believe they will do so. Last year Azerbaijan’s president, Ilham Aliyev, signed a protocol during his visit to Astana [Kazakhstan’s capital city]. The protocol details the infrastructure of Kazakh oil transportation via the BTC. Kazakhstan also has important oil reserves. With the increase in production, the amount of oil transported via the BTC will significantly rise.

Can we say that the relations in the energy field between Turkey and Azerbaijan have reached desired level since the independence of Azerbaijan?

Abdullayev: The BTC project, which we called the “project of the century,” helped us attract foreign capital to Azerbaijan. We removed the old oil exploration and extraction infrastructure and began to use modern technologies. Now, when establishing a collaboration, SOCAR assesses the potential counterparts’ financial and technological infrastructure. We have important cooperation with the Turkish Petroleum Corporation (TPAO)

What’s the recent situation of the BTE project, which is also known as BTC II?

Abdullayev: Azerbaijan is one of the most important centers of energy reserves for the security of Europe’s energy supply. Energy needs will increase sharply in the near future. The important part for Azerbaijan is that Europe plans to meet its needs from Azerbaijan. Furthermore, Turkish experts are also predicting that gas reserves in the Shahdeniz field will be a good source for Turkey’s domestic needs. A protocol was signed in 2001 between Azerbaijan and Turkey according to which Turkey plans to purchase 79.9 billion cubic meters of gas through the BTE between 2006 and 2018. Also, the plans for exporting Azerbaijani gas to Europe via Turkey still active. All these plans and developments reflect the importance of the BTE project.
23.10.2007 Enes Cansever Baku


Journalist Lale Sariibrahimoglu Faces Trial Under Article 301
Today’s Zaman columnist and Jane’s Defence Weekly (JDW) correspondent Lale Sariibrahimoglu is to appear tomorrow at the first hearing of a court case filed against her after she allegedly “insulted the military.”

The court case is based on the infamous Article 301 of the Turkish Penal Code (TCK), which penalizes the denigration of “Turkishness” or the Turkish army. Article 301 has given Turkey a headache in its European Union accession process, but for the time being it seems to be the cause of a bigger headache for one of Turkey’s distinguished journalists.

Sariibrahimoglu will appear in court together with Ahmet Sik, a reporter from the now closed Nokta newsweekly, who had published an interview with Sariibrahimoglu titled “The military should withdraw its hand from internal security” in the Feb. 8, 2007 edition of Nokta.

Reporters Sik and Sariibrahimoglu, who have been accused of violating Article 301 due to Sariibrahimoglu’s statements made in the interview, will be tried at the Bakirköy 2nd Court of the First Instance with a penalty recommendation of up to three years’ imprisonment. The basis for the court case is Sariibrahimoglu’s remarks regarding media images of the alleged gunman who shot Armenian-Turkish journalist Hrant Dink in January of this year): “While police officers were suspended, military personnel were only transferred to other posts. When you examine this picture, you see a concern for protecting not only the personnel, but an institution -- moreover, a mentality. ... We saw it once again with the Dink investigation; there are sordid and rotten ones in each of the three institutions that should be removed. ...”

Sariibrahimoglu, an expert on defense and diplomacy, has been writing columns as well as news articles for Today’s Zaman and has also been working for the UK-based JDW since 1991 as its Turkey correspondent. Apart from her award-winning book on the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline published in 1997, Sariibrahimoglu contributed three articles to “Almanac Turkey 2005: Security Sector and Democratic Oversight,” co-published by the Istanbul-based Turkish Economic and Social Studies Foundation (TESEV) and the Geneva-based Democratic Control of the Armed Forces (DCAF) in June 2006.

“Turkish Defence Procurement, Joint Ventures & Offset Agreements: The International Guide to the Turkish Defence Industry,” also written by Sariibrahimoglu, was published in 1999 by the UK-based SMI.

Article 301 of the TCK was used to file indictments against Nobel laureate Orhan Pamuk, slain journalist Dink and novelist Elif Safak. More recently, Dink’s son Arat Dink and colleague Serkis Seropyan faced trial under Article 301. The ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) is preparing to amend or at least significantly change the wording of the article. 23.10.2007 Today's Zaman Ankara


PM Erdogan Warns Us That He Needs Nobody’s Permission To Defend Turkey
Turkey will launch military action against Kurdish terrorists in northern Iraq despite frantic appeals for restraint from the United States and NATO, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has told British daily The Times.

Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan said that last week’s parliamentary vote authorizing military action showed that Turkey’s patience was exhausted.

Speaking hours before the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) killed at least 12 more Turkish soldiers on Sunday, Erdogan said that Turkey had urged the US and Iraqi governments repeatedly to expel the separatists but they had done nothing. Turkey’s patience was running out and the country had every right to defend itself, he said. “Whatever is necessary will be done,” he declared. “We don’t have to get permission from anybody.”

Erdogan, who has begun a two-day visit to Britain yesterday, also offered a bleak assessment of relations between the US and Turkey, a country of huge strategic importance to Washington. He said that a “serious wave of anti-Americanism” was sweeping Turkey, called America’s war in Iraq a failure and served warning that if the US Congress approved a Bill accusing the Ottoman Turks of genocide against Armenians during the First World War the US “might lose a very important friend.”

The somber and unsmiling prime minister was only a little less critical of the European Union, accusing some members of reneging on their promises to admit Turkey and claiming that the EU had inflicted a “big injustice” on his country over Cyprus.

Erdogan’s belligerence will cause alarm in Washington and London and was probably designed to do so. One aide said that he was engaging in “open diplomacy.” The Kurdish regional government in northern Iraq, which has a force of about 100,000 men, has promised to resist any incursions. The PKK is threatening to destroy pipelines carrying Iraqi oil to Turkey and the only peaceful region of Iraq could easily be plunged into chaos.

A Turkish attack on PKK bases in northern Iraq would also cause a serious breach with Washington. Turkey, a predominantly Muslim country of 75million people, has NATO’s second-largest army, is a key ally in America’s “war on terror” and provides a vital supply route for US troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.

But Erdogan, handsomely re-elected in July, was in no mood to heed Western appeals for restraint. The PKK was hiding behind the US and Iraqi governments, he complained. It was using American weapons. “We have told President Bush numerous times how sensitive we are about this issue but up until now we have not had a single positive result.”

The targets were not innocent civilians or Iraq’s territorial integrity but a terrorist organization that regularly attacked Turkish targets, he said. “If a neighboring country is providing a safe haven for terrorism... we have rights under international law and we will use those rights and we don’t have to get permission from anybody.”

Military action could be avoided only if the Americans and Iraqis expelled the PKK, closed its camps and handed over its leaders.

Erdogan insisted that he was not bluffing. He said that last week’s parliamentary vote authorizing military action showed that Turkey’s patience was exhausted. He would not be drawn on the scale or timing of any operation, but Turkey is thought to have more than 60,000 soldiers amassed along the Iraq border. Other Turkish officials said that the PKK had six training camps and 3,500 fighters in the mountains of northern Iraq and predicted “surgical operations.”

Erdogan also rebuked The Times for publishing an interview last week with Murat Karayilan, a PKK leader in northern Iraq. He said that the newspaper had allowed itself to be “used as a propaganda tool.” At one point he cancelled his appointment with The Times, but he relented later.

Erdogan was expected to speak in Oxford on Monday evening and meet Gordon Brown today. He is likely to rebuke the US on several counts. He said that the war in Iraq had fuelled Turkish hostility towards the US. “There’s no success that I can see,” he said. “There’s only the deaths of tens of thousands of people. There’s just an Iraq whose entire infrastructure and superstructure has collapsed.”

He accused the Democrat-controlled foreign affairs committee of “firing a bullet” at US-Turkish relations by approving the “so-called Armenian genocide Bill.” He refused to say how Turkey would retaliate if Congress approved the Bill, but said, “America might lose a very important friend.”

Erdogan also had harsh words for some European countries. France, Germany and Austria are openly opposed to Turkish membership of the EU. He said that Britain had supported Turkey from the start, but other states who agreed to open accession talks in 2005 were “not standing by their word.” He said that Turkey was “far more advanced” than the most recent entrants from Central Europe.

He identified Greek Cyprus as the main obstacle and said that the EU perpetrated a “big injustice towards Turkey and the [Turkish] northern Cypriots.” In a referendum in 2004, Turkish Cypriots approved a UN plan to reunite the island whereas the Greek Cypriots rejected it. He protested that the Greek Cypriots were rewarded for their obstinacy with EU membership while the Turks were punished.

The interview took place in an office with a spectacular view across the Bosporus towards Asia. Despite his criticism Erdogan insisted that Turkey had decided irrevocably to throw in its lot with the West and not with the regimes of Russia and the East.
This article was re-edited by Today’s Zaman staff. © The Times, London 23.10.2007
Martin Fletcher, Suna Erdem Istanbul


Armenian Bill
The resolution pertaining to Armenian genocide claims has been losing support in the US House of Representatives. Even this is enough to prove that the resolution is not a principle but a medium utilized for political purposes.

One cannot be expected to reinterpret a situation in the opposite direction and behave accordingly without offering any new proof. The claims have not aimed at investigating what was experienced in the past and condemning those seen as responsible since the beginning. Our country was going to be presented within the world public opinion as having actualized genocide and this label was going to be used in a scenario. If a Turkish-Kurdish battle were to take place, Kurds would accuse Turks of committing genocide and would find support for such allegations without much hardship. European countries were the initial source of the debates surrounding Kurdish issue and genocide, which were carried out simultaneously. This was a prerequisite of the model they anticipated for our country. 22.10.2007 Mahir Kaynak, Star



 © This content Mirrored From TurkishArmenians  Site

Interview With Recep Tayyip Erdogan In Full - Times Newspaper
© Copyright 2007 Times Newspapers Ltd / Times Online October 21, 2007
The Prime MInister of Turkey discusses the Kurdish separatist crisis with Martin Fletcher and Suna Erdem of The Times

Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Prime Minister of Turkey, talks to The Times at Dolmabahce Palace in Istanbul

The Times: Are you really serious about launching a military operation against the PKK in northern Iraq, or just trying to put pressure on the American and Iraqi governments?

Erdogan: I am the Prime Minister of the Turkish Republic and if you notice the motion we presented to parliament has the support of 507 MPs. There were 19 no votes. An administration that takes upon itself this kind of responsibility does not do this as a bluff. We are at the limits of patience and tolerance. We have lost thousands, tens of thousands of people. Britain lived through this with a small number of losses (he later clarifies this as referring to ‘these latest terror attacks’ rather than the IRA) and I cannot forget the response the British administration gave at the time. This business is very sensitive. We are using and will continue to use to the full all our authority on a national and international basis against this separatist terrorist organisation that is flouting international laws to base itself in a neighbouring country. Civilians are definitely not the target of this operation. The target of this operation is definitely not Iraq’s territorial integrity or its political unity. The target of this operation is the terror organisation based in the north of Iraq.

The Times: In the case of northern Iraq are you talking about bombing or about ground troops going in?

Erdogan: Of course we cannot talk about these things now. The technical side is the responsibility of the relevant institutions. Undoubtedly they are better able to appraise the priorities of the case.

The Times: Would your rule out ground troops?

Erdogan: It would not be right to make any kind of distinction here. As I said, whatever is necessary will be done. So far we have acted by taking into account three dimensions: the political, diplomatic and military aspects. It is now time for some results.

The Times: You have previously mentioned that technology had developed and people have taken from that the idea that you will have a more technological, precision-based operation…

Erdogan: Of course in this case advanced technology is being and will be used in the most ideal way. But if you are talking about weapons of mass destruction of course there is no question of anything like that.

The Times: You are talking not about if the operation will happen but when the operation happens…

Erdogan: I am speaking with reference to the motion we presented (to parliament). This is a framework – if you notice the contents have not yet been spelled out. The Turkish parliament has given this authority to the government. Within this framework, when it will happen, how it will happen and in what geographic area it will happen – all this will be fleshed out after discussions and negotiations with the relevant institutions. We hope that this business can be resolved without any need for such an operation. But for this to finish the terrorist organisation must be driven out of northern Iraq, its training camps must be dismantled and its leaders must be handed over.

The Times: If you proceed with this operation it will cause a major breech in your relationship with the United States. President Bush has appealed to you not to use military action. Does that concern you?

Erdogan: We have told President Bush numerous times how sensitive we are about this issue but up till now we have not had a single positive result. America is our strategic partner. But in northern Iraq we feel that both the terrorist organisation and the administration there are sheltering behind America. They (the US and Iraqi governments) wanted to set up a trilateral mechanism, we said okay. We set up a trilateral mechanism. But this trilateral mechanism yielded absolutely no results.

How much more patient can we be? We have always given international support in the fight against terror. We were asked to help in Afghanistan and we took our place next to the United States in Afghanistan. We have commanded ISAF twice. At the moment the central administration in Afghanistan is also under our command. In the same way we took on similar duties in various regions. When Turkey has been behaving with such sensitivity it makes us sad to see American weapons being found in the possession of the terror organisation acting against Turkey. In our country a serious wave of anti-Americanism is fast gaining a momentum all of its own. This did not happen overnight for no reason. The developments in Iraq are very important here. In this case the American administration should think about why there are such developments in Turkey.

The Times: A military operation would also harm your efforts for EU membership because the EU has also urged restraint…

Erdogan: Until now we have not received such a request. Yet here we are using and will continue to use the rights given to us by international law. If there is a question of terror being used against you from a neighbouring country you have legitimate rights under international law and you will use them. When we use this right we do not need to ask permission from anyone.

The Times: You have by your own admission mounted 24 previous incursions into northern Iraq. Why would this one be any more successful than any of the previous ones?

Erdogan: It would be wrong to speak before we have done anything. Of course every operation aims to be successful. You may or may not achieve this – that is a different issue. The United States came to Iraq from tens of thousands of kilometres away. Why and for what purpose it came I cannot say. Whether it has so far been successful I cannot say. But if you ask me my personal opinion – there's no success that I can see. There is just the death of ten of thousands of people. There is just an Iraq whose entire infrastructure and superstructure has collapsed. These need to be correctly evaluated.

The Times: Are we talking in this case of an operation of a totally different scale to any previous attacks?

Erdogan: It would not be right to discuss this at the moment.

The Times: To what extent did the house foreign affairs committee’s approval of the Armenian resolution make it more likely that you would take action against the PKK? Has it inflamed nationalist sentiment here, has it made you less willing to heed the appeals of president Bush?

Erdogan: For a start let me say with all sincerity that the American administration has taken all the steps it can with regards the measures taken by the Foreign Affairs Committee. I would like to thank President Bush and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and all other representatives of the senior administration who have made efforts in this direction.

But I look at this as a whole. The so-called Armenian genocide has its own dimension, the presence of the separatist terror organisation in northern Iraq has its own dimension. The developments with regards the so-called Armenian genocide have an ugly aspect of domestic politics about them. Because those who sign up to a campaign against Turkey in relation to the so-called Armenian genocide are really the ones firing a bullet at the friendship between America and Turkey.

I speak with great self-confidence when I say we have opened up our archives – let the Armenians open theirs if they have them. If any third countries have them let them open them up as well. Let Historians work, let art historians, legal experts, political scientists, archaeologists work. Let us make a joint decision based on the results of their findings. We have not run away from this. I wrote a letter to (Armenian President Robert) Kocharyan in 2005 and I have still not had an answer. The diaspora is working under a different premise. It is not possible for us to accept the taking of such steps with no basis on documents or research. Our history is not the history of genocides. Our religion would never allow this. Therefore we do not accept this.

The Times: If the house does approve this resolution how would you retaliate?

Erdogan: Would it be right for me to tell you now?

The Times: Yes…

Erdogan: There is a saying in Turkey – you do not measure a nappy for an unborn child.

The Times: Would American use of Incirlik (air base) be jeopardised?

Erdogan: (Laughing, shrugs) I don’t know…

The Times: Quite apart from genocide the US and Turkey seem to be at odds on a whole range of issues from Iran to Hamas to Syria…and you yourself said in your article in the Wall Street journal: the relationship was like a spider’s web. It could disintegrate. You said it was becoming increasingly hard to defend the relationship..How do ordinary Turks view the relationship with America now? Are ordinary Turks now questioning the value of that relationship?

Erdogan: I am not speaking about the American administration but let me speak about a way of thinking in America. I went to the opening of a 75,000 capacity stadium in Aleppo in Syria on the invitation of President Bashar Assad. A lot of things were written to the effect that my previous visit was not right. But when I went to the opening of this stadium I observed something interesting – I was told that Mr Lantos and Ms Pelosi were also in Damascus. So how do those who dislike my going to Syria square this with the fact that the leaders of the House of Representatives and the Foreign Affairs committee are visiting Syria?

The Times: Would you like to characterise the state of US-Turkish relations? Do you think they are in a state of crisis?

Erdogan: I do not think so. I do not want to think so. Because both we as the Turkish administration and the American administration are making efforts to continue our relations in a positive manner. But let me say this clearly: If a law relating to the so-called Armenian resolution passes through the US Congress then America might lose a very important friend.

The Times: You said earlier that you were very open to discussions of the whole issue of genocide? Why not let the Turkish people discuss it? Why not repeal article 301?

Erdogan: 301 is not an article that has anything to do with this. The contents of 301 are very different. 301 is actually an article that mainly relates to insults to the state administration of the Turkish republic. This is why it is about insulting Turkishness. But this is not about ethnicity. It includes insulting the head of state, insulting the Parliament speaker, I believe the Prime Minister is also included. Nevertheless we are working on 301. In the law of most European Union countries there are articles similar to this. Although we have yet to reach a conclusion we are looking at explaining the expression “Turkishness” with a separate paragraph. This would be to the effect that by Turkishness we do not mean any ethnic quality but an expression defining constitutional citizenship. Another area of change is related to whether the crime is committed at home or abroad. There was a 50 percent increase in the sentence if it was committed abroad, but we are planning to decrease this to the same sentence whether committed at home or abroad.

The Times: Isn’t the problem with 301 has been the way it has been interpreted…Therefore don’t you think these nuances will be ignored by gunmen who decide to shoot people based on conviction under this law. Isn’t the problem that it symbolises too much now for any subtle changes to make much difference?

Erdogan: But the current article does not create the basis for anything like this. For one thing it has absolutely nothing to do with Armenians – it is not an article targeted at our Armenian citizens. It would be very wrong to come to this conclusion based on the Hrant Dink incident. At the moment there are 40,000 Armenians who have fled Armenia and come to live in Turkey. They are illegal in Turkey and we know about this.

The Times: Under the amended law would Mr Pamuk (a Turkish author) be allowed to use the word genocide?

Erdogan: Was he sentenced before any changes were introduced?

The Times: He was prosecuted….

Erdogan: There can be prosecutions. Any citizen can apply to the prosecutors’ office and the prosecutor must open a case. But the court can then dismiss the case.

The Times: But in the real world you know and I know that EU countries that do not want Turkey to be a member will use article 301 against Turkey?

Erdogan: So far we have not come across anything like this, but as I said, there are similar articles to 301 in all European Union countries.

The Times: The Prime Minister’s government has introduced a whole range of judicial and economic reforms, it has relaxed restrictions on the Kurds, diminished the power of the military. Do you ever feel frustrated that EU membership seems to come no closer whatever you do? Does you feel the EU is reneging on its promises?

Erdogan: Apart from feeling like this, of course EU countries are not completely standing by the promises they made to Turkey. We know this process is difficult. At the moment Turkey is far more advanced the latest 10 or 12 countries to join the EU, both in terms of the political Copenhagen criteria and the economic Maastricht criteria.

The Times: Does there come a point at which Turkey says enough is enough and walks away from the process?

Erdogan: Don’t you think it is too early for such a question (laughs).

The Times: What will you say to Gordon Brown on the subject of Turkey and the EU given that the leaders of the EU's two other big countries, Nicolas Sarkozy and Angela Merkel, are both openly opposed to Turkish membership…?

Erdogan: Above all Britain has been at our side right from the beginning. Until December 17th (2005, when accession talks started), indeed on December 17th Germany and France also acted with us. They gave us their support. I cannot say that the period after December 17th has been free of trouble. But as you know we have just had Germany’s Presidency and under Germany’s Presidency we were able to open three chapters. Our current relations with Mrs Merkel and Mr Sarkozy have reached a good point. I believe that as we grow to understand each other this process will speed up. There will always be difficulties. There can be problems between friends but we can overcome these in a friendly manner.

The Times: But you are also saying that European countries are not standing by their word?

Erdogan: Yes I say this to them as well.

The Times: Which countries are not standing by their word?

Erdogan: This depends on the subject. The main political imposition at the moment is Cyprus. This is the main issue that is brought before us. But in the end our friends will realise that we are in the right. Because a big injustice was done to us and to northern Cyprus. The EU wanted our support for the 24th June referendum. They wanted the Annan plan to pass. Northern Cyprus said yes and southern Cyprus said no. Northern Cyprus was punished and southern Cyprus was rewarded. That was published afterwards and this is very important as well. But despite everything our European friends unfortunately included southern Cyprus in the EU. If I am not mistaken I have read in the newspapers that Mrs Merkel considers the awarding of EU membership for southern Cyprus a mistake.

The Times: Turkey badly wants to be part of the West but sometimes Europe treats Turkey with contempt …? How do you square those two attitudes…?

Erdogan: You cannot have grudges and hatred between nations. In general we answer them in a similar tone – sometimes this is loud and sometimes this is softer. Sometimes it has to be a case of “God give me patience”. For instance my relations with Britain have always been good. Our relations with Tony (Blair) were very good. We have started well with Mr Brown and things are going well. I believe that it will be even better from now.

The Times: There was a headline in Newsweek a year ago asking ‘Who lost Turkey?’. Is there any danger of Turkey turning towards Russia or Iran or the East?

Erdogan: We have no such aim. This has been decided and now we have a Turkey that has set up its institutions and rules according to this (Turkey’s Western vocation). But I would like to particularly stress one point: We are saddened that The Times has allowed itself to be used for the PKK separatist terror group’s propaganda. Because in Britain you have also paid heavily the price of terror. It is imperative that we develop a concept for the media based on a common stand against terror and a common sense of responsibility. We need a strategy that involves of course not just the British media but also Turkey’s media.


Congress And Armenia By Recep Tayyip Erdogan Efforts to rewrite the history of the events of 1915 through legislative fiat and vilify Turks are not new to the U.S. Congress. But past attempts were always contained through support in Congress and from successive presidential administrations. This time, it seems that the House of Representatives may be forced to take sides and pass unilateral judgment on a historic controversy that is as contentious as it is complex.

The truth is that the Armenian allegations of genocide pertaining to the events of 1915 have not been historically or legally substantiated. If the claim of genocide -- the highest of crimes -- can stand scrutiny and the facts are as incontestable as Armenian lobbies say, then the question must be asked as to why this issue has never been taken to international adjudication as prescribed by the U.N. Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of Genocide.

Maybe more importantly, we must also ask ourselves why the Republic of Armenia is obstinately evading Turkey's offer to establish a Joint History Commission to examine together the events of 1915 through bilateral dialogue-- all the while openly supporting efforts to defame Turkey.

The fact is that, at least in the minds of some, there are gains to be made by politicizing this sad chapter in history rather than laying it to rest in a meaningful manner. This is why the matter has become intractable and this is why it can never be solved by Turkey alone.

Turkey has never been ambivalent about the tragedy that befell Armenians during World War I. Many Turks lost their lives during the mutual killings. And despite an onslaught of Armenian terror that lasted decades and took many innocent Turkish lives (including in the U.S.) Turkey has always been the one extending the olive branch. But while we search for ways to address this painful issue and develop our relations with Armenia, we cannot live in the past. Our sincere offer for dialogue and reconciliation is on the table. It is incumbent on Armenia to take the next step. We also cannot allow this issue, however painful, to dim our future.

Turkey and the U.S. have been friends, partners and allies for decades. This is a relationship that works for both our great nations and one that has weathered many a storm. It is an alliance based on common values that has continuously adapted to meet the evolving international threats and challenges. We value this partnership greatly but under current circumstances, the task of defending its importance is becoming increasingly hard.

While Turkey is working together with the U.S. to bring stability and promote lasting positive change to many troubled geographies, ranging from Afghanistan to the Balkans and from Lebanon to Iraq -- and while we are under constant attack from PKK terrorism emanating from the north of Iraq and our public opinion expects concrete results in our cooperation with the U.S. in ending the bloodshed -- it is impossible to explain how the U.S. Congress should move to take a decision that is acutely offensive and unjust to Turks.

Relations between nations, just like relations between people, are like spider webs. They can carry immense loads and withstand great pressures. But if the pressure is severely applied at just the critical point, the whole web can disintegrate. The web of mutual interests that bind our nations together dictates that we do everything we possibly can to keep it intact at a time when both sides need each other more than ever.

We are at a critical juncture in our relations. I do hope that common sense will prevail, as the alternative will not be in the interests of either the U.S. or Turkey. I therefore call upon the representatives of the U.S. people to demonstrate the statesmanship and vision needed to save the United States' time-tested partnership with Turkey from a self-inflicted shift that is likely to result from the further advancing of House Resolution 106.

In Turkey, we genuinely care about our relations with the U.S. I know many of our friends in the U.S. care for this relationship too. Let us not make a mistake that will surely strike a severe blow to a partnership we have worked so hard together to cultivate.

Mr. Erdogan is prime minister of Turkey. - The Wall Street Journal Copyright © 2007 Dow Jones & Company
October 19, 2007; Page A19


Turkey: The Ally That Isn't By Graham E. Fuller
Special to the Los Angeles Times 10/19/2007
Turkish-American relations are in crisis. But the U.S. House of Representatives' resolution declaring the World War I-era killings of Armenians a genocide is only one cause - and that's just a sideshow. Turkish-American relations have been deteriorating for years, and the root explanation is simple and harsh: Washington, D.C.'s policies are broadly and fundamentally incompatible with Turkish foreign policy interests in multiple arenas. No amount of diplomat-speak can conceal or change that reality.

Count the ways:
* Kurds. U.S. policies toward Iraq over the last 16 years have been a disaster for Turkey. Since the 1991 Persian Gulf War, the Iraqi Kurds have gained ever-greater autonomy and are on the brink of de facto independence. Such a Kurdish entity in Iraq stimulates Kurdish separatism inside Turkey. Furthermore, Washington supports Kurdish terrorists against Iran.

* Terrorism: Turkey has fought domestic political violence and terrorism for more than 30 years - Marxist, socialist, right-wing nationalist, Kurdish, Islamist. U.S. policies in the Middle East have greatly stimulated violence and radicalism across the region and brought al-Qaida to Turkey's doorstep.

* Iran: Iran is Turkey's most powerful neighbor and a vital source of oil and gas - second only to Russia - in
meeting Turkey's energy needs. Washington heavy-handedly pressures Turkey to end its extensive and
deepening relations with Iran in order to press a U.S. sanctions regime there. Although there is little affection between Turkey and Iran, there has been virtually no serious armed conflict between the two nations for centuries. Ankara, the Turkish capital, sees U.S. policies as radicalizing and isolating Tehran further, which is undesirable for Turkey.

* Syria: Ankara's relations with Syria have done a 180-degree turn in the last decade, and relations are flourishing. Syrians - as well as many other Arabs - are impressed with Turkey's ability to simultaneously be a member of NATO, seek entry into the European Union, say no to Washington on using Turkish soil to invade Iraq, restore respect for its own Islamic heritage, develop new relations with the Arab world and adopt a genuinely balanced position on the Palestinian conflict. Ankara resists Washington's pressures to marginalize and stifle Damascus, the Syrian capital.

* Armenia: Ankara and Yerevan, Armenia's capital, are actually in productive unofficial contact with one another, such as via so-called "gray-market" trade and air links, and both would like to effect a reconciliation. It is the Armenian diaspora, with its intense nationalist rhetoric, that is one of the key factors in inflaming the atmosphere against potential rapprochement.

* Russia: There has been a revolution in Ankara's relations with Moscow after 500 years of hostility. Today, Moscow is the second-largest importer of Turkish goods after Germany, and Turkey has invested as much as $12 billion in Russia in the construction field. Russia is Turkey's primary source of energy, and Ankara increasingly looks to Eurasia as a key part of its economic future.

Turkish generals, angry with Washington, even mutter about a Russian strategic "alternative" if it is stiff-armed by the West. Although there is some rivalry over the routing of Central Asian energy pipelines to the West - whether via Russia or Iran and Turkey - Ankara values its ties with Moscow and opposes U.S. efforts to bait the Russian bear in the Caucasus and Eastern Europe on NATO expansion and missile issues.

* Palestine: Turks care a lot about Palestine - which they had jurisdiction over in Ottoman times. They sympathize with Palestinian suffering under 40 years of Israeli occupation. Ankara views Hamas as a legitimate and important element on the Palestinian political spectrum and seeks to mediate with it. Washington says no. Ankara has good working ties with Israel but does not shrink from sharp public criticism of what it perceives as Israeli excesses.

Overall, a "new Turkey" actively seeks good-neighbor relations with all regional states and players. It seeks to be a major player and mediator in the Middle East - to bring radicals into the mainstream via patient diplomacy against what it perceives as Washington's complicating belligerence.

Turkey has deep interests in Central Asia. If the Chinese-Russian-sponsored Shanghai Cooperation Organization bids to be the dominant geopolitical grouping in Eurasia, then Turkey, like Afghanistan, Iran and India, would like an association with it. Washington opposes that.

One may quarrel with the specifics of Turkish policies, but there is broad belief across the Turkish political spectrum that these policies serve the country's core needs. While the U.S. State Department may soothingly speak of "vital shared interests" in democracy, stability and counterterrorism, all of that is mere motherhood and apple pie - empty phrases - when compared with conflicting concrete policies in so many key spheres. We had better get used to the fact that Turkey, strengthened by its popular democracy, is going to pursue its own national interests, regardless of Washington's pressure. Few Turks want it any other way.

Fuller is a former vice chairman of the National Intelligence Council at the CIA. His latest book, "The New Turkish Republic," is forthcoming in December.


Turkish PM Called On U.S. Congress To Be "Sane" 19.10.2007 /PanARMENIAN.Net
“Relations between our countries, as well as relations between people, resemble a net. However, if the pressure reaches a crisis point the net may tear,” Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan wrote in the Wall Street Journal in an article titled “Congress and Armenia”

U.S.-Turkey mutual interests are urging to leave them as such, according to him.

Erdogan expressed hope that common sense will win, since there is no other alternative for the United States and Turkey. “I do call on Congressmen to demonstrate state thinking and sagacity, which will come to rescue the U.S.-Turkey relationship jeopardized by the pending vote on H.Res.106,” he wrote.

Presenting his standpoint on the Armenian Genocide, Erdogan reminded that his country is ready for examination of the events of the early 20th century by a commission of historians.

“Turkey has always reached out the olive. But while resolving this painful issue and seeking for ways of normalizing relations with Armenia, we can’t live in the past. Our sincere intention is to establish a fair dialogue. The next step should be done by Armenia. But we can’t allow this issue to darken our future,” Erdogan said.


New Israeli Ambassador To Turkey On The Genocide Issue: ‘lobbying Has Limits’
EJP 15/Oct/2007
ANKARA (EJP)---Emphasizing that Israel gives utmost importance to its relations with Turkey, Gabby Levy, the newly appointed Israeli ambassador to Turkey said that Israel has done everything it could to stop the Armenian genocide resolution at the US Congress.

Born in Turkey and son of a Turkish Jewish family, Levy told Turkey’s English-language Today’s Zaman newspaper that the US government is also against the resolution and that it is wrong to blame the Jewish lobby in the United States.

A New York-based Jewish organization, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), recently reversed its long-time policy and said the killings of Armenians by Ottoman Turks in 1915 "were indeed tantamount to genocide."

Levy said "lobbying has limits" and that the resolution is a result of US domestic politics.

He added that he did not believe the resolution’s passage would harm relations between Israel and Turkey in the long run and cited the invitation to Ankara of Hamas officials and the short-term crisis
Gabby Levy was born in 1948 in an old neighborhood of Bergama, a tiny town in the Aegean region.

His Turkish-Jewish family migrated to Israel when Levy was four.

He still has a number of close relatives living in Izmir and Istanbul.

created by it as an example.
Gabby Levy was born in 1948 in an old neighborhood of Bergama, a tiny town in the Aegean region.

His Turkish-Jewish family migrated to Israel when Levy was four.

He still has a number of close relatives living in Izmir and Istanbul.

The US House of Representatives Committee on Foreign Affairs last week approved a resolution calling the 1915 killings of Armenians genocide, despite White House warnings that it would do great harm to ties with NATO ally Turkey, a key supporter in the Iraq war.

The vote outraged the Turkish government which issued a statement stating that the "irresponsible" resolution was likely to endanger bilateral relations. Turkey rejects the Armenian claims and says the genocide issue should be tackled by historians.

Levy said Israel was pleased about Turkey’s role between his country and the Palestinians. "The Western countries send money to the Palestinians, but Turkey brings lasting solutions by establishing industrial areas," he said.


Nancy Pelosi And The Armenians By Philip Giraldi

There is something peculiar about the way the political class in the United States thinks. At a recent meeting on U.S. foreign policy that I attended, a speaker noted that Americans are "results-oriented." I believe that he is correct but he should have noted that the generalization does not apply to politicians. Politicians are image-oriented and are not interested in results, particularly when the results are bad.

The Armenian Genocide resolution, which is sailing through Congress, is a great image builder for some politicians who want to register their disapproval of mass slaughter, but it is a terrible result. It comes at the worst possible time as the U.S. is trying to convince Turkey to show restraint and not invade northern Iraq and one has to wonder why the United States should be involved in this at all. If Speaker Nancy Pelosi carries out her pledge to bring the resolution before the entire House of Representatives next month, it is almost certain to pass as 226 out of the 435 Congressman have already signed on to it. The resolution accomplishes precisely nothing apart from alienating the Turkish government and people from the United States. It is non-binding on the White House and State Department and it essentially documents a tragedy that took place nearly one hundred years ago, carried out by the Ottoman Empire, which no longer exists, and implemented by politicians and military officers who are long since in their own graves. One wonders if a congressional resolution condemning Uzbekistan for Tamerlane's slaughter of two million residents of Baghdad in the fourteenth century is coming up next or possibly an indictment of Italy for Scipio Aemilianus' destruction of the city of Carthage in 146 BC. It is particularly ironic that the U.S. Congress believes it can seize the moral high ground regarding mass killing in light of its collaboration in the destruction of Iraq.

Turkey has been a parliamentary republic since 1923, though one has to note that its military has intervened in the democratic process more than once and the Turkish definition of republicanism is heavily flavored by a sense of nationhood that does not always permit in practice much in the way of minority rights. Turkey was the only Muslim nation that was a founding member of NATO, it fought bravely by the side of the US in Korea, and has been a staunch ally up until the US invasion of Iraq in 2003. Within NATO, Turkey's army is second in size only to that of the United States. Turkey is the strategic key to a stable Middle East. It is the only Muslim country that has a genuinely close relationship with Israel and it cooperates with Tel Aviv in many areas. It is also a bridge to Europe for the Islamic world and a role model of how relatively open pluralistic politics and a free media can actually work within the framework of Islam. Turkey is also home of the large US airbase at Incirlik near Adana, which is responsible for 70 percent of all air shipments into Iraq. Thirty per cent of all fuel supplied by road to Iraq enters through the port of Adana. All of the new bomb proof Mine Resistant Ambush Protected personnel carriers that are being supplied to U.S. forces are flown into Iraq over Turkish airspace. Incirlik Airbase hosted more than 3,000 flights of C5 and C17 transports going to Iraq and Afghanistan in 2006 as well as 3,800 missions by K-135 tankers. If the use of Incirlik were halted by the Turkish government, it would have a major impact on US military operations in the region.

Currently, less than 10 percent of Turks view the United States favorably and that percentage is likely to decline further given the events of the past week. In the late 1980s the favorable percentage was closer to 90. What has happened in the intervening time to change that? Congressional grandstanding by Pelosi and company is partly to blame, but most of the decline in Turkish support for the U.S. is a result of the Iraq war and also the inability or unwillingness of the Bush Administration to do anything about the terrorists who are using Iraq's Kurdish region as a base of operations.

From the Turkish point of view, the United States is completely hypocritical. The United States became a great power through its genocide of the red Indians and is hardly in a good position to point the finger at others. It currently is fighting a self-declared and self-defined global war on terrorism in which it claims the right to attack terrorists anytime and anywhere. It publicly states that its goal is to end all terrorism everywhere in the world. An apparent exception appears to be NATO ally Turkey, which has been plagued by Kurdish terrorism for more than 20 years. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and President Bush have both promised to stop the terrorist group the Kurdish Workers' Party (PKK) from using its havens in northern Iraq to stage attacks inside Turkey but they have done nothing, largely because they do not want to put pressure on the government of the Kurdish region, which is admittedly the only stable part of Iraq. Turkey has repeatedly warned that the failure to act against the terrorists might lead to intervention by its own armed forces. More than 30 Turkish soldiers and civilians have been killed by the PKK over the past two weeks and the Turkish public and the army General Staff are both demanding a military response.

Given Ankara's concerns about Washington's lackadaisical attitude towards terrorism, the genocide vote will likely transform the United States into "public enemy number one" for many Turks. There has been a great deal of speculation as to why the genocide resolution came up now and why some congressmen who normally would have voted against it changed their minds. Pelosi is definitely influenced by the large numbers of wealthy Armenians in her own district and more generally speaking in key blue states like California and New Jersey. This is ethnic politics at its finest, where the national interest takes a back seat to long simmering animosities and events that took place long ago and far away. The argument that the resolution is being promoted to force Turkey to establish diplomatic relations with neighboring Armenia is a complete red herring as the problem between the two countries goes back to Armenia's seizure of Nagorno-Karabakh from neighboring Azerbaijan in 1988-1994. The Turks regard the Azeris as fellow Turks and have refused to regularize relations while the enclave continues to be largely in Armenian hands. The political animosity between Turkey and Armenia therefore has nothing to do with the events of 1915 and will not be resolved by accusing the Turks of genocide.

More curious still is the actual voting in the House Foreign Affairs Committee on the resolution. Normally, the Israel first crowd lines up to protect Turkey as Ankara has been a reliable Muslim ally to Tel Aviv. Outspoken Abe Foxman, who heads the Anti-Defamation League, has vacillated on whether or not to support any official recognition of the Armenian genocide. Groups like B'nai Brith International and the Jewish Institute of National Security Affairs have refused to endorse recognition. Foxman in particular has been criticized by other Jews who object to his constant citing of the Holocaust while wavering over the Armenian claim to having had a similar experience. In Congress, the House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Tom Lantos of California is so close to Israel that he often acts for that country as a spokesman. Lantos has ambitions to become Secretary of State in a Hillary Clinton administration, so it is possible that he is attempting to establish his credentials as a statesman and an independent voice, but he always looks to Israel's interests first and it may be that the Israel lobby is concerned by the increased Islamic manifestations in Turkey and is delivering a warning shot to Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Seven out of eight Jews on the Foreign Affairs Committee followed Lantos's lead by voting in support of the resolution. One other theory is that diminishing Turkey's regional role will enhance the need to rely more on Israel, making it perforce the "indispensable" U.S. ally in the Middle East and a third possibility is that pressuring the Kurds will speed the break-up of Iraq, which could be construed as being in the Israeli interest. If any of those arguments is driving the genocide resolution process the end result will be bad for the United States and not necessarily good for Israel. Embroiled in Iraq without any easy way out and heavily dependent on the supply line passing through southern Turkey, Washington has much more to lose than to gain by turning Ankara into an enemy.
Huffington Post, October 15, 2007


Congress May Overcook An Important Turkey
by [X]press Editorial Staff, October 18, 2007
When America voted in a Democratic Congress in the mid-term elections, a sigh of relief could be heard all over the world. Finally, Americans are taking the right step to understand our global position.

Sadly, our so-called Democrat Congress has been a major disappointment. We elected these legislators under the assumption that they would do all they could to overcome the mistakes of the failing Bush Administration.

So far, they still haven’t approved a timeline for withdrawal in Iraq, they haven’t passed legislation to lower America’s carbon emissions, they haven’t fixed our healthcare, they aren’t even able to uphold our supposed separation of church and state.

So what have they been doing? They have been working diligently to bring to light the human rights violations of a current ally for past transgressions.

Lately Congress has been pushing to approve a resolution recognizing the genocide of 1.5 million Armenians in 1915 by the Turks of the dying Ottoman Empire.

Genocide is one of the most demented manifestations of human society. Recognizing this genocide would be an overdue validation for Armenians, but it’s hypocritical for our government to spend its time recognizing a 90-year-old genocide across the world when we haven’t even recognized our own country’s genocide of the Native American people or black enslavement.

Even President Bush is making sense on this issue. Wednesday morning, Bush scolded Congress harshly, saying, “One thing the Congress should not be doing is sorting out the history of the Ottoman Empire… Congress has more important work to do than antagonizing an important democratic ally in the Muslim World.”

Bush is right: our Congress does have more important work to do, like getting us out of one of the most financially draining military entanglements in American history. Our activity in the Middle East is a mounting blow for our economy.

Turkey, which has been petitioning to become a member of the European Union (EU), could be hindered in its application process by a resolution recognizing this genocide, the perpetrators of which are long dead. The European Union has strict standards as far as its member states and human rights violations.

We have no reason to further complicate our relations in the Middle East, and creating tension with Turkey is just plain stupid.

It is clear that our Democratic congress was elected on the mere principal that they weren’t Republican, but they are proving to be inefficient. The Democrats we elected into Congress need to step up their game and show us they are more than just “not Republican,” they need to do what we elected them to do: be a voice of the people in a democracy. zealots@sfsu.edu http://xpress.sfsu.edu


Dick Cheney Confirmed U.S. Readiness To Promote Turkish-Armenian Reconciliation
19.10.2007 PanARMENIAN.Net/ Currently in the United States on a formal visit, Armenian Prime Minister Serge Sargsyan met yesterday with U.S. Vice-President Dick Cheney, the RA government’s press office said.

Noting the high level of the Armenia-U.S. relations, PM Sargsyan reiterated Armenia’s aspiration to deepen them.

“The Armenian authorities are determined to build a modern and democratic state,” he said.

The parties also referred to political processes in Middle East, Karabakh settlement and Armenia-Turkey relations. Briefing on Armenia’s position on the issues, PM Sargsyan said, “With the Armenian Genocide recognition issue on the agenda, Yerevan is ready to normalize relations with Turkey without preconditions. As to the Nagorno Karabakh conflict, Armenia upholds a peaceful resolution via compromise.” He voiced hope that the talks in the framework of the OSCE Minsk Group will produce effect.

For his part, Mr Cheney confirmed U.S. readiness to promote Turkish-Armenian reconciliation and the Nagorno Karabakh conflict settlement.

He also praised the Armenian community of the U.S.


Pitfalls Abound If U.S. Labels Slaughter Of Armenians A Genocide
By William J. Kole (Associated Press Writer)

It's a dispute that goes back nearly a century - yet suddenly it's overshadowing everything from America's engagement in Afghanistan and Iraq to Turkey's friendship with Israel and its drive to join the EU.

The World War I-era slaughter of up to 1.5 million Armenians by Ottoman Turks has come back to haunt policy makers in Washington, where the U.S. House of Representatives is wrestling with a resolution that would condemn the killings as a genocide.

Its backers, who include Nobel Peace Prize laureate Elie Wiesel, insist there's no statute of limitations on human cruelty. Idealism must triumph over realpolitik, they contend, maintaining a failure to do so would be tantamount to trivializing the Nazi Holocaust.

But skeptics tick off a long list of geopolitical reasons that they contend make the resolution the wrong decision at the wrong time.

Analysts warn that alienating Turkey - a key NATO ally - could lead the U.S. into "a moral blind alley" with serious repercussions for years to come.

"It's not a good idea right now. And beyond that, it's never a good idea to turn back the clock that far and try to rub something in that you know is very sensitive," said Robert McGeehan, a specialist in American policy at Chatham House, a London think tank.

Although congressional support for the resolution has eroded since Turkey recalled its ambassador in protest after it cleared the House Foreign Affairs Committee, U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other Democratic leaders fiercely defend it as a moral imperative.

"Such denial at the highest level of government would be unbelievable and grotesque," the Hartford Courant said in an editorial this week.

But others say a backlash from Turkey would cut off American access to the critical Incirlik Air Base, through which more than half of U.S. fuel and other supplies for the campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan flows.

They say the resolution's passage also would embolden Turkey to carry out cross-border attacks on Kurdish rebel camps in northern Iraq.

President Bush has asked Pelosi to not call for a House vote, warning that it could cripple U.S. relations with Turkey. On Thursday, Defense Secretary Robert Gates agreed, saying it threatened to damage ties "perhaps beyond repair."

Turkey denies the 1915-17 deaths constituted genocide. It says the toll has been inflated and that those killed were victims of civil war and unrest in the waning years of the Ottoman Empire.

"Nobody has the right to judge Turkey like this," Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said this week, warning that any nation that does "will pay the price."

His foreign policy adviser, Egemen Bagis, said Turkey should impose sanctions on Armenia because it supports the resolution. That would set back years of efforts at rapprochement between the two countries.

"Congressional action would make Turks more, not less, reluctant to face the historical issue and move towards some form of meaningful reconciliation," said Anthony H. Cordesman, former director of intelligence assessment at the Pentagon and now an analyst with the private Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington.

The resolution also threatens to upset some delicate diplomacy in the Middle East, where Turkey has been mediating between Syria and Israel.

Israel considers mostly Muslim Turkey its best friend in the Islamic world. Israel has lucrative weapons deals with Turkey, and Turkey is the No. 1 tourist destination for Israelis.

But the Jewish state can't afford to alienate Washington, by far its most important ally, so it's walking a tightrope - acknowledging the Armenian suffering while stopping short of calling it genocide.

In the U.S., critics question Pelosi's motives, noting she has a large Armenian-American constituency. They say the resolution is shortsighted and warn it could confront the next U.S. president with a major foreign policy crisis.

"I believe the House of Representatives may have gotten itself into a moral blind alley," Jason Lee Steorts wrote in a commentary for the National Review.

The House isn't the first to wrestle with the thorny question of the Armenian slaughter.

Last year, the European Parliament drafted a resolution that originally demanded that Turkey acknowledge the killings as a genocide before it can join the EU.

But at the last moment, it amended the resolution to say it was "indispensable" for Turkey to come to terms with its past.

Some countries or leaders have declared the mass killings a genocide - most notably France, which last year made it a crime to deny the slaughter was genocide. Turkey retaliated by cutting off military ties.

When Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper publicly proclaimed the slaughter a genocide in 2006, Turkey promptly pulled out of a military exercise in Canada and briefly recalled its ambassador.
Copyright © 2001 - 2007 United Jewish Communities.


Turkish Pm Calls For Reconciliation With Armenia
Reuters October 19, 2007
ANKARA (Reuters) - Turkey's prime minister called for dialogue and reconciliation with Armenia on Friday as the U.S. Congress weighs whether to approve a resolution calling the 1915 massacres of Armenians by Ottoman Turks genocide.

"While we search for ways to address this painful issue and develop our relations with Armenia, we cannot live in the past. Our sincere offer for dialogue and reconciliation is on the table," Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan wrote in an opinion piece published in Friday's Wall Street Journal, European edition.

"It is incumbent on Armenia to take the next step," he added.

The U.S. House of Representatives' Foreign Affairs Committee backed the resolution last week proposed by a California Democrat with many Armenian-Americans in his district. It must now decide whether to hold a House vote on the resolution.

Turkey has recalled its ambassador to the United States for consultations in response to the vote and has warned that if the non-binding but symbolic resolution is approved by Congress it will inflict great damage on relations between the NATO allies.

The Bush administration has lobbied against the resolution.

Turkey rejects the Armenian view, backed by many Western historians and some foreign parliaments, that up to 1.5 million Armenians suffered genocide at the hands of Ottoman Turks.

Many Muslim Turks died as well as Christian Armenians in inter-ethnic conflict as the Ottoman Empire crumbled, it says.

"The truth is that the Armenian allegations of genocide pertaining to the events of 1915 have not been historically or legally substantiated," Erdogan wrote.

Erdogan asked in his opinion piece why Armenia was evading Turkey's offer to establish a joint history commission to examine together the events of 1915 through bilateral dialogue.

Armenia says it would consider taking part in such a history commission if its border with Turkey were opened and normal diplomatic ties established between the two countries.

Turkey shut its border with the tiny ex-Soviet republic in 1993 to protest against Armenia's occupation of territory inside Azerbaijan, Ankara's close Turkic ally.
Copyright © 2007 Reuters,


New Evidence On Armenian Genocide Revealed
18.10.2007 PanARMENIAN.Net/ In the result of the consistent work during last years new photos and documents on the Armenian Genocide were revealed from different countries’ state archives and private collections by various researchers dealing with the issues of the Armenian Genocide, reported the press office of the Museum-Institute of Armenian Genocide.

Photos made by Austrian military man Victor Pitchman are of great interest. Victor Pitchman was born in Vienna in 1881. He was in Turkey from 1914 till the end of the World War First. First he served in Turkish then in Austrian and German armies. He built Turkish mountain firing in Erzerum and drew war map of the South Western Asia for the German main headquarter. Being in Erzerum he witnessed Armenian slaughters carried out by the Ottoman government. There are deportation views of the Armenians in photos made by Pitchman near Erzerum. Artem Ohandjanyan, doctor of historical sciences, a resident of Austria provided these photos with the photo collection of the AGMI.

New photos were revealed also in the state achieves of the Deutsche Bank and they were contributed to the AGMI. Meanwhile the museum collection was enriched with dozens of unprinted memoirs recorded by the survivors of the genocide.

Reminiscence “War and Peace memories” by Eric af Wirsen, military attaché of the Swedish Embassy to the Ottoman Empire, contains exclusive facts on the Armenian Genocide. One of its chapters is titled as “Slaughter of one nation” where the author describes one of the greatest crimes of the 20th century. The author witnessed the mass graves of the Armenians in the vicinity of Euphrates as well as he had direct contacts with foreign diplomats, who witnessed the massacre. Mr. Wirsen writes, “Slaughters were carried out in such ways that humanity has never seen since the middle ages”.

Wirsen was informed by different consuls that the Turkish gendarmes entered houses of foreign diplomats, and without any words they shot their servants of Armenian origin. Eric af Wirsen notices that it is difficult to release the Germans from the responsibility as they did nothing to prevent the bloodshed. Mr. Wirsen also states that some German officers gave back the medals and rewards granted by the Ottoman government with the following reason they cannot accept any honors from a government carrying out such cruelties. “I join to the words of general fon Lossov who tête-à-tête told me that slaughters of the Armenians were the most terrible brutalities in the world history”, wrote Wirsen.

As a primary source this work is important and valuable as first it was written by a representative of Sweden, a neutral state during the war, where Ambassador Morgenthau’s evidences are affirmed for many times. Concluding the above-mentioned chapter, Wirsen wrote, “I constantly recollect cynic expression of Talaat’s face when he said there is no “Armenian problem” anymore”.


Van: How To Play Caveman On Akdamar Island October 19, 2007
“Abi. Abi. Time to get up.”

The rough shake of the bus station chief pulled me out of the worst kind of fitful snoozing where I'd been dreaming that I couldn't fall asleep.

As I pulled myself together and crawled up out of the makeshift bed I'd slapped together in the sleep-deprived haze of 4:00 a.m. that very morning (two high-backed chairs pushed together with an old table in between), my mouth was filled with the taste of disinfectant and sweat. My bus arrived in the busy lakeside city nearly three hours late, and despite a lengthy search, had left me stranded without a hotel, as few reception desks stay open past 2:00 a.m.. I looked down to see my fingers had swollen into Bavarian sausages after being nearly bled dry in the night by the pair of mosquitoes still buzzing around the room.

Chomping on a fresh simit and downing a scalding cup of brackish coffee, I spent a good half an hour attempting to find out exactly how to get to the famous newly-restored Armenian church on Akdamar island that lay just a few kilometers off Van's coast. I slogged up and down the city's wide boulevards, meeting with more than a few puzzled faces. Of course, though each person I'd asked was happy to help, nearly every single one pointed me in a completely different direction and assured me that the company he had told me about was the only one going there.

After another hour or so of searching, by sheer dumb luck I wandered into a back alley ‘özel garaji' (private garage) and saw “Akdamar” plastered on the sides of its fleet of battered vans. A few minutes later, we had pulled out and were zooming down the coastline on our way to Gevas, getting quickly waved through the jandarma checkpoints, the bored guards hardly even looking up from their sandbag cages.

Another five-minute transfer later, a second dolmus dropped me off in front of the tiny Gevas pier offering ‘hourly service' to Akdamar. Here, ‘hourly service' essentially meant ‘whenever we damn well feel like it, and until then quit bugging us.' Eventually the diesel hulk rumbled to life and the captain gruffly hurried everyone on board.

While we shuttled across to the island, a pair of young Turkish kids kept elbowing each other in the ribs to see which one would strike up a conversation with me, the larger one wincing and leaning over to ask me in English if I'd ever been here before, their faces instantly relieved as I told them in Turkish that it was my first time. “Great! We'll show you everything! When we were kids, we would come here all the time during the summers, but we have university now, so this is our last trip for awhile.” A thick, black cloud of choking diesel smoke poured out as the captain sidled up against the island's pier. Taking me by the arm, the two kids pulled me up the steep stairway leading up to the church.

Prior to the completion of a comprehensive restoration project in 2006, the 10th-century Cathedral Church of the Holy Cross had fallen into serious disrepair. But the intricate relief carvings and beautiful Armenian inscriptions had been touched up with financing from the Turkish Ministry of Culture.

The young students excitedly chattered my way, giving me every last detail about the biblical scenes and ancient figures that adorned nearly every surface of the cathedral's exterior. After ducking through the narrow doorway, I stood for a few minutes in the expansive central room enjoying the beautiful echoes of steps bouncing off the cathedral's high walls.

I heard the sound of creaking branches and rustling leaves before the plop… plop… ploplopplopplop hit my ears. One of the kids had climbed an almond tree and had shaken the entire thing like a British nanny, sending a shower of green husks to the ground. We scooped up as many as we could hold and cracked them open with stones, careful not to crush the fragile nuts inside.

After stuffing ourselves on the deliciously sweet almonds, I caught the familiar shape of a small black rabbit skittering off in the distance, hopping its way up the rocky cliffs on the western corner of the island. The two Turkish boys leaped up and chased after the rabbit full tilt. “We need a new pet!” they yelled back as they bounded over volcanic rocks and dodged spindly tree branches.

Rather then run along with them, I wandered away from the cathedral and climbed to the top of the island's jagged spires. The sapphire-blue water sparkled in the early morning sun, perfectly reflecting the mountains ringing the lake. I heard a high-pitched drone and spun around trying to figure out where it was coming from, eventually looking up and seeing a cloud of gnats swarming a few inches above my head, despite the gusting breeze. As I hadn't had a shower in about a week, I decided it was high time I at least dunked myself in some water, and clambered back down the cliff, sneaking my way around the rusty, barbed-wire fence that cut off a shady cove.

I sat out on the rocks for a few minutes before stripping down to my boxers and diving right into the saline lake. No lifeguards; no chlorine; no kids yelling for mom to watch as they cannonball off the diving board. Just floating out there on my back, enjoying the sounds of tiny waves lapping at the cliffs while tiny soda bubbles fizzed around my body.

Just a few hours and a hitchhiked ride with AWOL soldiers later, I found myself packed into a tiny dolmus, speeding off to Dogubeyazit with baggage piled up to my ears, and already longing for the quiet majesty of Akdamar.


Armenian Patriarch Lobbies Against House Resolution
October 19, 2007 ANKARA – Turkish Daily News

Mesrob Mutafyan II, the Armenian Patriarch of Turkish-Armenians, yesterday said he is lobbying United States officials to block voting on a resolution in the United States Congress that labels the World War I-era killings of Armenians as “genocide,” the Anatolia news agency reported.

The Foreign Affairs' Committee of the U.S. House of Representatives adopted the bill that has sparked criticism from Turkey amid intensified diplomatic efforts from both Ankara and Washington to stop the resolution from going to a House floor vote.

“We are against this resolution because it could damage our relations in Turkey,” Mutafyan told reporters after a meeting with Parliament Speaker Köksal Toptan.

Mutafyan said Turkey's proposal to Armenia to analyze the century-old incidents through a joint commission of historians was rejected.

“We will continue to meet with members of the U.S. State department on the matter,” Mutafyan said.

Turkish Foreign Ministry officials yesterday updated members of the Turkish Parliament's Foreign Affairs Committee on the resolution. As some Democrat Congressmen withdrew their support for the bill, Turkish diplomats said they still maintain hope that the resolution will not be voted on in the House, CNN Türk reported yesterday.


Genocide Bill Vote On Hold As Pro-Armenians Probe Support
October 19, 2007 ÜMIT ENGINSOY WASHINGTON - Turkish Daily News

In light of diminishing support for the bill pending in the US House of Representatives Democratic Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Wednesday that she was 'reconsidering' her pledge to force a vote on the resolution

Amid declining backing from lawmakers for an Armenian “genocide" resolution pending in the U.S. House of Representatives, supporters of the measure have put a planned floor vote on hold as they now seek to control damage and find what level of support they have.

Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a fervent supporter of an Armenian “genocide” bill pending in the House of Representatives, said Wednesday that she was reconsidering her pledge to force a vote on the resolution, which calls on the United States to recognize World War I-era killings of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire as genocide. Only last week, she said the bill would go to a floor vote at the House of Representatives before late November.

"Whether it will come up or not and what the action will be remains to be seen," she told reporters in light of waning support for the measure.

Her remarks came after President George W. Bush, whose administration staunchly opposes the resolution, called her to lobby against a floor vote and 11 cosponsors of the bill withdrew their support this week.

"We will have to determine where everyone is," said House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, a close aide to Pelosi and another strong supporter of the resolution.

John Murtha, a top Democratic congressman who opposes the measure, dealt a strong blow to the pro-Armenian group Wednesday, arguing that the resolution's passage will force Turkey to retaliate in a way that will put U.S. troops in Iraq and Afghanistan in harm's way.

Murtha's trick

As chairman of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense and a former Marine officer, Murtha is a respected expert on military affairs who staunchly opposes Bush's Iraq policy. But on the “genocide” measure, he fully agreed with Bush.

"If it came to the floor today, it would not pass," Murtha said, adding 55 to 60 Democratic lawmakers at this point would vote against the resolution.

Although he is very close to Pelosi, Murtha accused the speaker of being "impractical."

Separately, a bipartisan group of 49 House members, including such committee chairmen as Ike Skelton of the Armed Services Committee and Silverstre Reyes of the Intelligence Committee, both Democrats, sent Pelosi a letter urging her not to schedule a vote, according to the Los Angeles Times.

The Republican Bush administration has already been lobbying mostly Republican lawmakers, and persuaded many of them to object to the bill, which last Wednesday passed the House Foreign Relations Committee in a 27 to 21 vote.

"One thing Congress should not be doing is sorting out the historical record of the Ottoman Empire," Bush told a news conference Wednesday. "The resolution on the mass killings of Armenians beginning in 1915 is counterproductive."

Long struggle

Analysts say the Armenian argument that "it is an obligation for America to recognize the genocide" is weaker than the counterargument that "American troops' lives are in danger" to many lawmakers.

And the Armenians, although nervous over the rising number of dissenters, vowed to continue the fight.

Bryan Ardouny, executive director of the Armenian Assembly of America, said, "at the end of the day, we're confident that there will be a bipartisan majority" supporting the measure.

"They've taken their best shot. And we're still standing strong," said Aram Hamparian, executive director of the Armenian National Committee of America.

Pelosi's authority to call for a floor vote on the resolution at the most suitable time is the pro-Armenian group's biggest advantage.

Analysts said if the pro-Armenian group felt strong enough to win in a final vote soon, then Pelosi would bring the measure to the floor before the end of this congressional session that ends before late November.

Otherwise, she would have the freedom to postpone the controversy until next year. The resolution remains in place until November 2008, and Pelosi could hold a floor vote whenever she wants.


Ani Travel Box October 19, 2007
What is it?:
Ani has sat completely abandoned on the Turkish-Armenian border for the last three centuries.

Inside the massive fortress walls, the ghost city is home to the beautiful ruins of several Armenian churches (including the enormous Cathedral of Ani, and the Church of the Redeemer, which now stands oddly sliced in half after a 1957 storm collapsed most of the church's southern wall), temples, and one of the oldest mosques on Turkish soil. Several of the sites lay out of plain view and some of the most enjoyable ruins can go unnoticed by even an astute visitor.

How To Get There:
Most travel books lump Ani together with a visit to Kars. However, despite Ani only being 35 km away from the city center, if you're not planning to visit via heavily-planned and expensive arrangements, you'll need to catch the only ride available. Despite tour groups frequenting the site a few times a week, there is really only one daily service going out to Ani each day. The dolmus stop is nondescript, on the corner behind a Halkbank branch office. Asking for “Ani” will get you nowhere, as the Turkish name for the site is Ani (pronounced ‘Ah-nuh'). Service runs out to Ani köyü once every weekday at 1 pm and will return at 3 pm (4 if the driver is feeling generous).The ride out is about an hour, and a minimum of 2 hours is suggested to walk the site.

Entry fee: 15 YTL; 5 YTL for students


Behind The Armenian Genocide Vote. October 15, 2007
We're pleased to present our readers with this guest post by Kenneth Anderson from The Bonehead Compendium.

If you're like me, you are probably wondering: what on earth are the Democrats doing -- or think they are doing -- by pressing the House vote on the Armenian genocide? Surely there is something more, perhaps a whole lot more, to this than the simpleton words that Nancy Pelosi recently offered.
This resolution is one that is consistent with what our government has always said about ... what happened at that time. When asked about criticism that it could harm relations with Turkey -- a key ally in the war in Iraq and a fellow member of NATO -- Pelosi said, "There's never been a good time," adding that it is important to pass the resolution now "because many of the survivors are very old."
If Pelosi's concern for old people of Armenia strikes you as a significant reason to escalate hostilities between the US and Turkey, then you might be inclined to buy that. But I'm not. And you probably shouldn't be either.

So what is the possible purpose of this move, coming as it does at a critical juncture and regarding a resolution that, while putatively noble, can hardly be considered pressing, despite Pelosi's stated concern?

What is clear and what was certainly expected is Turkey's official reaction to the move. In fact, Turkey is now tabling a vote to authorize their military to cross into Iraq in pursuit of Kurdish rebels, something the US military and the Bush administration does not want nor need to happen at this point in time. Despite the fact that Turkey and the PKK have been scrapping for quite awhile, Northern Iraq has been relatively stable for sometime now and is viewed by the administration as a region of success within the larger conflict in Iraq. And therein lies the rub.

With the Bush administration vaulting the propaganda about Iran to new and lofty levels, which have now evolved into enmeshing Syria and North Korea, the Democrats may see the Armenia genocide vote as a way to signal the White House that the House can indeed have some effect upon the military efforts in Iraq. And not in a good way. They may even believe that by agitating Turkey, which certainly threatens a breakout of a small scale war in Kurdistan, Congress can demonstrate to the Bush administration that their imagined bombing program for Iran is to be reconsidered.

Not only are the Turks reevaluating the use of Turkish airbases by the US military, the ostensible alliance the US sees with Kurdistan would be severely weakened should the Kurds view the deliberate provocation of Congress less than favorably. Such a border skirmish would certainly evolve quickly into a larger theater and, in all likelihood, begin to affect US troops.

Above all, such increased conflict would certainly have its effects, not only upon the efficacy of the various Texas oil companies (among others) now operating in Kurdistan, but upon the ability to deliver that oil coming -- when it does come -- through the Kirkuk-Ceyhan pipeline.

If this is what the Democrats are doing, it speaks of some considerable cunning, the kind of cunning that I cannot help but fail to impute to the hapless Democrats, a group of cringing, witless enablers who have done nothing but allow the situation in Iraq to worsen and have sought to further aid the depredations of the Bush administration here at home.

And no matter what you think of the White House, if what is going on with the Armenian vote is this purposeful, it is not only terribly dangerous, it is terribly cynical. For, rather than actually stand up to the White House and vote to end funding for the Iraq occupation or to pass legislation explicitly denying the White House a military option on Iran, the Democrats have chosen a path to greater conflict. Because surely they must know that Cheney and his band of Hessians could care less about increased conflict in the region. In fact, Cheney's design appears to allow him to do nothing but increase conflict no matter what the venue.

Cheney does nothing but agitate for more war and he obviously doesn't much care about the effect this would have on US troops or the stability of Iraq. If the Democrats think that rattling the cage of the Turks will get this administration to back down, one wonders where they have been for the last six years.

This is all speculation, of course. And it is driven by my own inability to understand just why the House leadership is suddenly pressing this vote. It makes no sense. The Bush administration has managed to keep the Turks at bay so far but this vote and the position of the Democratic Congress has decidedly changed that and this fallout was both obvious and easily predicted. Pelosi's pursuit of this formalism at this time surely bespeaks of something else.

Either that, or we take Pelosi's word at face value and note her seeming lack of awareness about the larger implications that the genocide vote is having and will have. In which case, the Democrats really are as useless and craven as we've grown to expect.

The Newshoggers Politics, Foreign Affairs, Opinion and the "News Less Travelled" - By The Newshog Partnership. Www.Newshoggers.Com


How The Turks Saved The Jews From Genocide
By Shelomo Alfassa October 16, 2007
In the fall of 1921 a Turkish steam ship, named the SS Gul Djemal - 'beautiful rose' - sailed into New York harbor. On that ship was my great-grandmother Rosa and her brother Eli; their father Isaac had arrived sometime earlier, all were Spanish speakers, all set sail from Turkey.

My family spoke Spanish because their ancestors had fled Spain in the late 15th century when the Spanish government committed one of the most heinous acts in history, the ethnic cleansing of the Jewish population of Spain through near-total displacement of its Jews.

Although the Jews had existed in Spain prior to the invention of the Spanish language or even the arrival of Christianity, in 1492 they were subjected to mass violations of human rights and were forced to flee or "incur the penalty of death."

In the end, hundreds of thousands of Jews fled Spain, leaving behind what would amount in today's monetary system as billions of dollars in assets. These assets included private property such as homes, furnishings, jewelry, books, family objects, clothing, etc; and communal property such as businesses, real estate, synagogues, etc.

The only reason why I am able to sit here in 2007 and write this essay is because at the time when the Spanish government demanded that the Jews flee their homeland or face death, the Sultan of the Ottoman Empire allowed my family and our people to seek refugee in his lands.

Not only were the Jews allowed to go to Turkey freely, but the Ottoman Empire sent ships to the West to assist the Spanish refugees in their terrible plight. Sultan Mehemet stated: "Who among you of all my people that is with me, may his God he with him, let him ascend to Constantinople, the site of my royal throne. Let him dwell in the best of the land, each beneath his vine and fig tree, with silver and with gold, with wealth and cattle. Let him dwell in the land, trade in it, and take possession of it."

When the most powerful nation in the world, 15th century Spain, openly and publicly threatened genocide against the Jewish people for the stated crime of practicing their own religion, it was a Muslim government, the Ottoman Empire, which stepped in and saved the Jewish people from destruction. It was the Ottoman Empire that saved the Jews of Spain and Portugal from certain death.

Unlike the Christian kingdoms of Spain and Portugal, the Ottoman Empire never had a system of government-sponsored hatred against the Jewish people. Even though Jews were dhimmis, the government of the Ottoman Empire never set in place specific targeted anti-Jewish policies such as those that existed in Christian Europe. It is a sad reality that today many people only remember the Ottoman Turks for alleged bad treatment of minorities, when clearly, they have done many positive things that we today hundreds of years later should continue to praise.
www.israelinsider.com


Is Common Sense Gaining Ground? October 20, 2007 Ilter Türkmen
There have been two hopeful developments during the last few days.

The first one is the Armenian project that the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Foreign Affairs recently passed. The possibility of this project being submitted to the full House grows weaker everyday. Even if it is, the chances of its being passed are very slim.

The second one was the approval of the incursion motion by the Turkish Parliament by a large majority and without causing any rift among main political parties. Although the essence of the motion was about the permission to intervene in Iraq, it also reflected a well-balanced and measured approach. These two developments prove how right it is for Turkey to balance determination with reasonable political and diplomatic attitudes in solving its problems. On the other hand, the support and understanding we've received from international circles show that the professional disaster criers are wrong in their claim that we are all alone in the world.

There are several reasons why the Armenian genocide project has lost so much support that even the House of Representatives Speaker Pelosi now hesitates to put it on the agenda. Turkish diplomacy is first in line for congratulations for its contribution to these developments after months of hard work. Our lobbying agency in Washington was also very effective and clearly deserves the money it is paid. Furthermore, the efforts made by President Bush and the U.S. administration, by military authorities and our friends in the Congress and by former foreign ministers have certainly been effective, too. Nor has the American media ever failed to bring forward Turkey's strategic significance.

As for the motion, the arguments put forward during parliamentary debates were frankly startling. Taking every pretext to criticise the government may be an integral feature of democracy, but there is also a lot of virtue in moderation. The opposition, and especially the People's Republican Party (CHP), maintains that the scope of the military operation should be enlarged to cover not only the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), but also Barzani and the north Iraqi administration among its targets. In other words, our objective must be to crush the possibility of an independent state in northern Iraq as well as the PKK. Naturally, the only way to do this would be to immediately occupy Iraq for an indefinite period. Put differently, if it were up to the CHP, we would be as crazy as the Americans and get stuck in Iraq. To sink our economy would be the least of our accomplishments. We would also forgo all possibility of solving the Kurdish issue in Turkey!

CHP's phobia

CHP continues to chant that America wants to divide Turkey. Fine, but why did America deliver Öcalan to us if it wanted to divide Turkey? Why does the American government want to turn Turkey into an energy transit centre? Why did it support the Baku-Ceyhan pipeline? Why is it trying to block the Armenian project? The answer's bound to be, "for their own good." True, but this also means that their interests and ours overlap to a great extent. Isn't this the basis of all international cooperation?

There is one point that both CHP and the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) speakers were missing. The text of the motion was not drafted by the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) government alone. The general staff was also consulted. There was no other possibility. Nothing could be more normal than providing a large framework for a motion subject to parliamentary approval. The timing, the scope and the targets of the operations in question can only be determined by the government in accordance with political and military developments. The Iraqi foreign minister has already called on the PKK to leave the country. It might have been a voting tactic. Still, there is nothing wrong with trying to accompany military pressure with diplomacy for some time to see if it works.

Turkey has chosen to use common sense in the matter of the incursion motion. Hopefully, the U.S. House of Representatives will do the same and wipe the Armenian project from our agenda, in order to establish gradual and mutual trust in our relations.
* The translation of Ilter Türkmen's column is provided by Nuran Inanç. nuraninanc@gmail.com


Turkey Fears Claims October 20, 2007 ANKARA - Turkish Daily News
Turkey's Ambassador to Washington Nabi Sensoy warned Thursday that the adoption of a “genocide” resolution by the House of Representatives could lead to easier propagation of similar resolutions in parliaments of European countries, and compensation and territorial demands will follow.

Sensoy was briefing members of the Turkish Parliament's Foreign Affairs Committee. He was summoned back to Turkey for consultations immediately after a U.S. panel last week adopted a resolution depicting killings of Armenians in 1915 in the Ottoman Empire as “genocide.”

“We must take steps on this. Or else the Armenian diaspora will gain important triumphs. They may bring the issue before the United Nations and demand compensation and territory,” he said.

Sanctions needed but must be in tune

Turkey must regain the support of the Jewish lobby, Sensoy said, and added that Jews were very helpful to Turkey in the past. U.S. public opinion holds the view that “Turks speak for a few days and then forget,” said Sensoy stressing that this image must be erased. Some sanctions are absolutely needed before the resolution comes to the House, Sensoy said.

Gates warns about Turkey

Meanwhile U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates said Thursday that Turkey was not bluffing about its warnings to the U. S on major retaliation in the event of the passage of an Armenian “genocide" resolution pending in Congress, because it fears the consequences would eventually lead to Armenian demands for reparations and even territorial claims. The resolution "has the potential to do real harm to our troops in Iraq and would strain, perhaps beyond repair, our relationship with a key ally in a vital region," he told a news conference at the Pentagon. "There's a very real risk of perhaps them not shutting us down at Incirlik (airbase), but of placing restrictions on us that would have the same effect, or narrowing the flow of traffic across the border into Iraq," Gates said.


Listen To The Cry Of The Turkish Diaspora...
October 20, 2007 Mehmet Ali Birand
It is time to lend an ear to the cries of the Turkish citizens that live in other countries and especially in Europe (we should call them the Turkish diaspora in short) or of others that love Turkey and wish to protest the injustices against it. Especially the rulers and the bureaucrats of our country need to hear them more than we do. I was in Switzerland the other day. My school chum Refik Atakurt called and arrived with a thick folder in his hand. He told me about the problems of the Turkish diaspora. Their need is not about money or government support. What they need is information flow and a data bank.“The Turkish diaspora wishes to step in and correct immediately any news or commentary that appears in the written or visual press of the country of their residence. There are also countless Turkish associations in almost every country. They do lobbying and organise interference. However, none of us are very effective, because we lack information.

That's what we need…” he said. Then he showed me the lobbying activities of the Armenian diaspora during Perinçek's last trial in Switzerland. They were so well organised and so effective that the half-truths they disguised among press releases were perceived as “true” and printed/broadcast by the press all over Switzerland. Our side had to remain as mere spectators. Why? “Our sources of information weren't sufficient to enable us to act immediately. It takes us days to get to the truth , to translate it and to distribute it to the interested parties,” said Refik Akkurt and pointed out a common problem: “We don't know what to say against lies and claims of the other side. If we had a data bank, we could go on the Internet and get the answers in any language we want, and that would solve the problem. Armed with such information, we can bombard the country we live in.” How very true. It is not as if the Armenians, Greeks and other opposers of Turkey produce the information that they release themselves. Of course not. It is the Greek lobby that provides the ''raw material.'' The Armenian lobby has been using the same material for years. Our side is new at this and lacks experience as well as information. Can this problem be solved? Yes, very easily.

Why doesn't the state do it? It wouldn't cost enormous amounts of money to meet the needs of the Turkish diaspora, nor would it create a vast amount extra bureaucratic work. It would only require good organisation, a sound technical structure and the formation of a group of capable young people. The important point is to feed meticulous information into a data bank, which would then provide the best possible answers to refute lies. Furthermore, we already know the questions that are asked and the allegations that are made most in other countries. For example, the total number of Armenian allegations would not exceed one hundred, and we have answered each one of them countless times. Therefore, the information is already there. It only needs to be organised into the best possible format and to be translated into other languages before it is fed to the data bank.

Similarly, the answers and historical data to deny the allegations related to Cyprus, the EU or the Kurdish issue is already there and can be obtained from NGOs and various ministries in Ankara. In other words, it will not be necessary to sit down and write a new reply to every contrary point of view that appears in the foreign media. It will be enough to use the data that's already been prepared.I'll give you another example: Let's say that Refik Akkurt sees a lie in a Swiss newspaper to the effect that “the Armenian genocide has been accepted by the UN Human Rights Commission,” and wishes to refute it at once on behalf of the association in Lausanne. All he has to do is to enter the data bank's web site on the Internet, find the required answer and get the translation by a simple click. He can either use the related information to compose different sentences or leave it as it is before he attaches it to his message. He can also use it during conferences or at discussions.

It is that simple. There are millions of dollars in the budget of the general directorate of promotion. Huge amounts of money will be spent again for EU-related communication. The mechanism that I've described above should lie at the heart of this whole picture. All it takes will be for the related ministries and institutions to get together and make a decision… All they need to do is to take giant, concrete steps to establish the desired communication, instead of just talking about it like they've done for years. If they cannot do it, they should stop talking. We have heard nothing but empty words till now. Most of those words were uttered in order to accuse foreigners. They've never looked in the mirror to ask themselves “Where have we gone wrong?”Here's my suggestion:Please get off your seats and do something…
* The translation of M.A.Birand's column is provided by Nuran Inanç (nuraninanc@gmail.com)


Time To Talk About Scenarios And Possibilities October 20, 2007 Cengiz ÇANDAR
With the endorsement of the cross-border bill by Parliament Wednesday, Turkey has stepped into a new period of uncertainties.

I am one of those who know that the motion approved does not mean an imminent “military operation” in depth because I am aware that the government presenting the proposal to Parliament, or more precisely, to Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, does not have any “sincere” “intention” to intervene in northern Iraq. In fact, Erdogan and Deputy Prime Minister and Government Spokesman Cemil Çiçek issued statements implying that they do not wish a military operation in northern Iraq. The government gives a picture that they were forced to prepare and submit such a proposal because of the internal dynamics occurred in the aftermath of the latest attacks of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK). That is to say logic of politics left the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) no choice but to prepare and present the bill.

This is the source of the problem because the government made a “strategical decision” which is not of its own strategy. If you do not have a strategy you will be hurled by developments. Naturally, this brings the following question to mind: From now on, will Erdogan be able to control developments or will he be controlled by the developments?

The point reached indicated that the latter is most likely to take place.

To tell the truth, opposition parties must have sensed the round words written in the text and sensed that the bill was prepared willy-nilly, so raised objections in the direction that a “military operation” should also cover Massoud Barzani and his peshmergas.

The Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahçeli clearly stated this “developed target” on Tuesday, and it was voiced by the Republican People's Party (CHP) spokesman Sükrü Elekdag in Parliament plenary on Wednesday; possibly the General Staff thinks alike. We should go back and check what the Chief of General Staff Gen. Yasar Büyükanit said in his famous statement on Apr. 12.

What is the target?

In Ankara, I attended a closed meeting on Tuesday where a retired general closely known by the ruling party, MHP representatives and the public delivered a speech. He said the language used in the cross-border bill does not define a specific “enemy” for the military operation and the “target” is not self-evident. And, he asked, “What will be done to Barzani backing the PKK?”

The target is inferred discretely as the PKK, he added. In this case, if the military operation does not eliminate the PKK, they will turn around and say, “See, we gave a chance to the military, but they couldn't do it.” This is the reason why the document was written as is, he said criticizing the government.

Turkey now has a cross-border motion in hand for a military operation in northern Iraq, but obviously not a full “national consensus” on its enforcement has yet reached in Ankara.

What's cooking?

There are different scenarios. Language of the bill gives the government a kind of multiple-entry Schengen visa to Iraq for a period of one year. In a way, its content, or military requirements, will be determined by the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK).

All the “signals” reinforce the possibility of pin-point strikes, raids and “hit and run” attacks by Special Forces whenever needed.

That is to say, an operation giving the impression that northern Iraq is “occupied” by tanks, cannons, brigades or army corps is slightly possible. The language used in the text emphasizing “territorial integrity of Iraq is not the target” weakens such possibility anyway. However, the public opinion's expectations are in the direction of a full force operation.

Meanwhile, a U.S. strike on the PKK targets or a move to capture some PKK leaders and their return to Turkey (to prevent a major damage in Turkish-American relations, by running over the Iraqi Kurdish leaders and even by annoying them) may eliminate the reason for a “cross-border operation” the way the Turkish government actually desires.

Does the U.S. do this, which has not been done until today, or could it do it?

Perhaps the U.S. could do this because of the pressure naturally felt due to the bill, of the trump card Turkey handed in and of the tension in Turkish-American relations caused by the Armenian bill. Americans, running over Kurds, raided the Süleymaniye Palace Hotel in the city of Süleymaniye last week and detained an Iranian. In a similar act last year in Arbil, Americans again arrested a group of Iranian, as announced to be diplomats by the U.S., despite the protests of Barzani.
***
As it is seen, we have reached a phase of “military operation scenarios” by the parliamentary approval of the bill. But there is another possibility which is not uttered much often: The PKK soon may stage a few attacks similar to those killed 13 soldiers in Gabar recently and may escalate the violence, but to kill many this time.

Such a development blows up all scenarios which we speculated above. On such an occasion, a ''tsunami'' of rage in Turkish public opinion might very doubtfully prevent “pin-point operations” planned for an unknown time frame and style.

That necessitates a large-scale operation. It might be brought to the agenda that Turkey could cross mountains in northern Iraq and shift the border in an area of 20-40 kilometers in depth so as to form a new “security border,” as the late former prime minister, Bülent Ecevit, said some time ago.

In fact, formation of a 20 kilometer “buffer zone” by the TSK was discussed in an agreement reached, but not enforced, before the March 1 deployment motion which was turned down by Parliament.

Then, what is it next?

We don't know.

All we know is that we have started to study these possibilities and scenarios after the approval of the cross-border bill by Parliament on Wednesday.

Therefore, the question that needs an answer hereafter is: Will Erdogan be able to control developments or will the developments control Erdogan…?


Analyst Outlines Conflicts Of Interest Between Turkey And US

Turkish-American relations have been deteriorating for years and in multiple ways due to incompatible foreign policy interests, and the latter will have to get used to the fact that Turkey will be conducting foreign policy more independently and in line with its national interests, Graham E. Fuller, a former vice chairman of the National Intelligence Council at the CIA, said in an article printed in the LA Times on Friday.

According to Fuller, the two countries’ foreign policies are irreconcilable on Iraq and Kurds. “Since the 1991 Gulf War, the Iraqi Kurds have gained ever-greater autonomy and are now on the brink of de facto independence. Such a Kurdish entity in Iraq stimulates Kurdish separatism inside Turkey. Furthermore, Washington supports Kurdish terrorists against Iran,” he asserted.

The US approach to terrorism is another such policy area that Fuller cited. “Turkey has fought domestic political violence and terrorism for more than 30 years -- Marxist, socialist, right-wing nationalist, Kurdish, Islamist. US policies in the Middle East have greatly stimulated violence and radicalism across the region and brought al-Qaeda to Turkey’s doorstep,” he wrote.

The two countries also differ significantly in how they treat Iran, a powerful neighbor for Turkey and a vital source of energy at the same time; the US has been pressuring Turkey to end its deepening relations with Iran. Likewise, Ankara, whose relations with Syria have been flourishing in the last decade, “resists Washington’s pressures to marginalize and stifle Damascus.”

Fuller’s article cited conflicting interests in many other foreign policy issues, including relations with Armenia, Russia and Palestine.

Fuller called on the US to understand and “get used to the fact that Turkey, strengthened by its popular democracy, is going to pursue its own national interests, regardless of Washington’s pressure.” Fuller’s latest book, “The New Turkish Republic,” is forthcoming in December, the LA Times noted.
20.10.2007 Today’s Zaman Istanbul


Erdogan Calls For Rapprochement With Armenia
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan called for dialogue and reconciliation with Armenia on Friday, as the US Congress weighs whether to approve a resolution declaring the 1915 killings of Anatolian Armenians genocide.

“While we search for ways to address this painful issue and develop our relations with Armenia, we cannot live in the past. Our sincere offer for dialogue and reconciliation is on the table,” Erdogan wrote in an opinion piece published in Friday’s Wall Street Journal, European edition. “It is incumbent on Armenia to take the next step,” he added.

US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi already said this week that it was uncertain whether members will vote on the Armenian genocide resolution after several members pulled their support of from proposed resolution because of fears it would cripple US relations with Turkey.

“The truth is that the Armenian allegations of genocide pertaining to the events of 1915 have not been historically or legally substantiated,” Erdogan wrote, questioning in his opinion piece why Armenia was evading Turkey’s offer to establish a joint history commission to together examine the events of 1915 through bilateral dialogue.

Armenia says it would consider taking part in such a history commission if its border with Turkey were opened and normal diplomatic ties established between the two countries.

Also on Friday, Patriarch Mesrob II (Mutafyan), the spiritual leader of Turkey’s Armenian Orthodox community, said that he had spoken over the telephone with US State Department officials earlier in the day and voiced his community’s objection to the resolution, which Mesrob II believes is being used in Washington as a “domestic policy material.”

Gates: Turks not bluffing

Meanwhile in Washington, a top US official said that congressional passage of the resolution would hurt US relations with Turkey, “perhaps beyond repair.”

Defense Secretary Robert Gates told reporters on Thursday that he has encouraged congressional leaders not to pass the resolution. Earlier, he met at the Pentagon with Armenian Prime Minister Serzh Sargsyan. Gates said neither he nor his guest raised the subject.

“Having worked this issue in the last Bush administration ... I don’t think the Turks are bluffing. I think it is that meaningful to them,” Gates said. “I think there is a very real risk of perhaps not shutting us down,” but of at least restricting US access to Turkish airspace for resupplying US troops in Iraq, the Associated Press reported.

“I will say again it has potential to do real harm to our troops in Iraq and would strain -- perhaps beyond repair -- our relationship with a key ally in a vital region and in the wider war on terror.” The Bush administration is trying to soothe Turkish anger over the Armenian matter. The US House Committee on Foreign Affairs defied warnings by President George W. Bush with its 27-21 vote last Wednesday to send the nonbinding measure to the full House for a vote. The administration will now try to pressure Democratic leaders not to schedule a vote.
20.10.2007 Today’s Zaman


AntiAmerican American Armenians October 17th, 2007 by Thomas Bleswer

It really disturbs me that ancient ethnic feuds have to put our troops at even greater risk in Iraq simply because some Armenians who don't seem to have completely gotten off the boat yet insist on condeming the Turks for something that happened to their ancestors more than 90 years ago. Who are we to make Congess condemn a people for something that happened then if children in Vietnam and Cambodia now are still being born with birth defects (thanks to Dow Chemical) and are still having their limbs blown off from freshly-laid land mines (thanks to Motorola)? Are there no limits to our smug, arrogant, self righteous and terminally stupid hypocrisy?

While we're at it maybe someone should also lobby Congress to hector Israel for Joshua's sack of Jericho.
www.bostonnow.com/blogs/thomasbleswer


Morality Vs. Realpolitik Andrew Finkel a.finkel@todayszaman.com
This week, the US Congress passed a measure which gave serious offense to a major international partner. And it did so at a particularly sensitive moment. What it accomplished, when all is said and done, was simply a bit of moral posturing. Yet the price it might pay is unpredictable. No can say with absolute certainty that the gesture will not prompt a series of unpredictable responses. Indeed, immediately after the deed was done, the United States was accused of "blatant interference," of "undermining ties" and "promoting separatism."

What Congress did was not to recognize as genocide the fate of Armenians living under the Ottoman Empire in 1915 but to award the spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, its highest civilian honor, a Congressional Gold Medal. President Bush made the award in person, associating himself with a much respected man, a great religious leader, a voice of tolerance and force for peace. There is not a lot of disagreement that Beijing has systematically, over many years, trampled over Tibetan rights and freedoms -- the subtext to the gong.

While there is no good time to offend China, the medal was given -- not when Beijing was considering an invasion of northern Iraq -- but as it was holding its five-yearly Communist Party Congress. This is when it announces its future plans and chooses its new generation of leaders. Washington's calculation is that Chinese and US economic interests are now so closely intertwined that Beijing can not meaningfully retaliate. On the other hand, provoking China during what is in itself a sacred ritual is bound to carry at least some risk.

I bring the issue up to confront my own prejudices against another US legislative decision, that of the House Foreign Affairs Committee to recommend the passage of Resolution 106. This, too, is a gesture that had no legal binding consequences but expressed an opinion of the 110th US House of Representatives about what happened during World War I. I have stated my views in this column before that the resolution is a bad idea because while it may be a source of comfort to ethnic Armenians in America, it is very much feared by Armenians living in Turkey. It makes reconciliation more difficult between Ankara and Yerevan (although neither capital seems to feel much concern about that at the moment), fuels the fires of isolation and nationalism in Turkey and, worst of all, turns the search for truth, justice and reconciliation into an arm wrestle -- a show of force -- between competing Washington lobbies.

If, as now is beginning to seem likely, the resolution fails to be adopted, it will not be because congressional representatives have changed their opinions on genocide -- it is because Turkey is seen to be too important a strategic ally to offend and they have decided the wise course is to keep those opinions to themselves. Stephen Kinzer, a one-time correspondent in Turkey for The New York Times, writes that it is wrong to see this as "a case of morality against realpolitik." He writes that "If Pelosi and her comrades in Washington cared to go beyond rhetoric, expediency and the lust for campaign contributions, they would be seeking to promote the urgently important process of Turkish-Armenian reconciliation."

In the same article, however, Kinzer says: "For years the Turkish authorities have sought to deny the truth of what happened in 1915. Their campaign of denial is a shameful blot on Turkey's national conscience... Armenia's official narrative of what happened in 1915 is largely true. Turkey's official narrative is largely false."

So why am I not on the side of Beijing in condemning the awarding of a Gold Medal to the Dalai Lama? I suppose because it is because the Tibetans themselves see the prize as strengthening their hand in an uneven struggle to secure their rights. Armenians in Turkey feel the resolution will make their lives more difficult.

In Friday's edition of this paper there was a commentary by Etyen Mahçupyan about another unconvincing narrative -- that being produced by the investigation into the murder of Hrant Dink. It is a piece so saturated in bitterness over official cover-ups and complicity in that death that it is painful to read. So let me make my position clear. Once the Congress is through apologizing to native Americans and for slavery and to the Iraqis; and condemning what the British did in Kenya, the Belgians in the Congo and the Spaniards in Latin America; and bringing peace to Darfur -- if they want to meddle in Turkey's internal affairs by awarding Dink a posthumous medal, they will not hear any objections from me. 21.10.2007


Simsek: Us Most Powerful, But Turkey Also A Key Power
The Turkish Confederation of Businessmen and Industrialists (TUSKON) held an important meeting in Washington at a time when the US Congress was discussing whether to take the Armenian genocide resolution to a vote in the full House.

TUSKON Chairman Rizanur Meral (left) presented Economy Minister Mehmet Simsek a picture with traditional Turkish motifs embossed on it.

In his speech at the opening ceremony of TUSKON’s Washington office on Friday, Economy Minister Mehmet Simsek focused on the importance of relations between the two countries.

Simsek said that the United States has the greatest economy in the world. “But Turkey is also a key power,” he said. Both countries want a united and democratic Iraq, he said, adding, “However, we can never accept a terrorist group based in Iraq and using Turkey as a transit route.” Simsek also said that Turkey and the United States have a strong will to end terrorism but stressed that they couldn’t explain the terrorist attacks to their people and that friendship was for such difficult times.

The economy minister also thanked those who had made efforts in the United States to prevent the passage of the Armenian genocide resolution. “The 1915 events are tragic; however, looking at them as material for domestic policies would be wrong. We currently have about 1 million documents in our archives, and make them available for everyone. We think that this is a very delicate issue that has to be delved into with a very careful scrutiny and are prepared to provide any sort of help. These issues should be discussed by historians, not by congresses or parliaments. We hope that the Armenian genocide resolution won’t be made into a law,” he said. Turkey will assume important roles in terms of developing economic and political relations in its region, he noted.

Constitutional package for economic progress

Minister Simsek focused on economic progress in his speech. “We have doubled the income per capita, and will double it again and raise it to $10,000. We have covered a great distance in macroeconomic policy. Some $20 billion worth of foreign investment has come to Turkey. We want to improve the investment climate,” he said. Simsek also touched upon the constitutional amendment and said it was designed to create a more competitive economy. “We have projects currently under way. That’s why the constitutional amendment is so vital. We would have budgetary surpluses but for the social security gaps. In 2008, we will lean more on infrastructure problems and the energy sector. Our current aim is to eradicate the obstacles that prevent us from increasing our productivity. We have focused on every type of element that will increase our foreign competition. We also attach a great importance to the impediments in the market and the shortcomings in universities. We will eliminate all the negative factors that cripple our productivity,” the economy minister said.

Simsek also said that they were aiming at improving liberties in Turkey. “We want to attain an A-class democracy. Although we are the only developed Muslim country in the region, we are secular and at close proximity to everyone. The AK Party doesn’t have the goal to change Turkey’s characteristic qualities. This government is focused on fortifying the foundations of the secular republic,” Simsek said.

Constitutional amendment for economic development

At the end of his speech, Simsek answered questions. In response to a question on the IMF, he said: “The IMF has made a very successful program for Turkey. Turkey has made great efforts in the last five years as a country which doesn’t have oil.” Simsek was also asked questions on the ongoing constitutional debate in Turkey. He said their sole purpose was to develop Turkey’s economy by making the constitutional changes. “Sometimes it takes a country four years to implement constitutional changes. The university reforms are only designed to help improve the economy, they are not related to a religious agenda; we want them to be more connected with industry,” he said. In response to a question on the headscarf issue Simsek said that the constitutional amendment was aimed at improving all liberties, and not only at revoking the headscarf ban.

“Reducing all the efforts to make a more liberal constitution to the headscarf issue would be a great injustice. We are trying to improve people’s religious liberties and their freedom of speech; this is our purpose. This constitutional package has a side that doesn’t attract anyone’s attention, and that side is related to economy. We think that wearing the headscarf is a personal preference, and what women wear it is of no concern to us.”

TUSKON board chairman Rizanur Meral also spoke at the meeting. He talked about the steps they took and were taking to improve Turkey’s foreign trade. “Turkey and the United States have been two very important allies for years. But unfortunately we are going through difficult times these days. No matter what happens at the diplomatic level, we should maintain our economic ties at the same level. Turkey is a very important country in its region. Turkey and America need each other. In our global village, they need each other to the same degree,” he said. He added that they were going to prepare joint projects about the food and drink sector and then about the machine industry. Meral stressed that TUSKON’s Washington office had been opened to improve the economic ties between the two countries and to lobby on behalf of Turkey.
[OPENING]
Economy tycoons get together

The inauguration ceremony of TUSKON's Washington office brought together the big bosses of the Turkish economy. In addition to Economy Minister Mehmet Simsek, Turkish Central Bank Governor Durmus Yilmaz, Deputy Governor Erdem Basçi, Undersecretary of the Treasury Ibrahim Çanakçi and bureaucrats from the Treasury attended the ceremony. Among those present were Vice Chair of the Democratic National Committee Lottie Shackleford, Secretary to the Democratic National Committee Alice Germond, State Department Principal Deputy Coordinator for Counterterrorism Frank Urbancic, State Department fourth Special Representative for Business Affairs J. Frank Mermoud, head of the Turkey Desk in the US Treasury Jonathan Rose, Senior Turkey Desk Officer for the State Department Paul Malik and Assistant Board Chairman of Merril Lynch Richard McCormack.
21.10.2007 ABDULHAMIT YILDIZ WASHINGTON


Turkey Has The Think Tanks, What About The Thought?
"A person should think about what he will do during the day when he is leaving his house. But if he says, 'Let's just go out and see what the day will show me,' he will be under the pressure of the outside world. This approach is true for states, too. Our state is providing answers to the questions the world is bringing it.

These answers are sometimes irrational, sometimes unnecessarily strong, and sometimes too weak. In order to give the right answer, it must have studied beforehand. This is where think tanks come in," says Seyfi Tashan the founder of the first think tank organization of Turkey, the Foreign Policy Institute, which was established in 1974.

On the brink of a possible incursion into northern Iraq, experts and observers are pointing out that public diplomacy in Turkey is very weak. The past has shown that Turkey is often left alone and alienated on issues like its military intervention in Cyprus, resolutions related to Armenian genocide claims and now the cross-border operation in northern Iraq.

There are many reasons for this weakness -- for example, the lack of organizational structures and limitations on freedom of expression -- but the primary cause of this difficult situation is the lack of an established think tank tradition.

Özdem Sanberk, the former undersecretary of the foreign ministry, emphasizes that one of the tools of public diplomacy is the think tank. "The ideas first emerge in think tanks and later they become government policy. A country in which there are limitations on the freedom of expression and no think tanks and will suffer from a lack of public diplomacy," he says.

He points out that the thinks tanks of Turkey are starting to emerge but that the state tradition is still an obstacle to their flourishing. Soli Özel, a professor at Bilgi University and partner in a public relations company, shares the same view. "Our state is pretending that it knows everything. It is very reluctant to get support from organizations outside of its structure," he says.

Ibrahim Kalin, general coordinator of the Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research (SETA), explains that there is a tradition of the state refusing to ask for ideas from others but this tradition has to be reviewed.

Kalin says: "With outside pressure the state has recently begun to ask the opinions of NGOs and think tanks. Actually the state knows that it does not know everything, it does not have enough resources and the numbers of its experts are limited. But to admit this requires the breaking of a psychological barrier. I believe this has begun."

Same problems, different approaches

The newly emerging think tanks of Turkey are working on different issues, but most of them concentrate on foreign policy. Their methods are diverse although the problems they address may be the same.

Necdet Pamir, former general coordinator of the Eurasia Strategic Research Center (ASAM), says that one of the biggest problems for think tanks is the lack of sufficient experts. He says: "Their numbers are insufficient, their knowledge is insufficient and their finance is insufficient. Some of them are working awkwardly like state organizations. They don't have enough experts, either."

Kalin also complains about the lack of experts. He says the number of universities in Turkey has just reached 100. According to him, universities should be the best sources of experts for think tanks but this is not yet the case.

He continues: "Think tanks must be dynamic. But because of the rigidity of Turkey's universities, the academy is an uncomfortable place for such work. A think tank should be able to develop positions and ideas. They should offer quality analysis and proposals. But this is not possible within the university structure because there is too much control there. The academics of Turkey are working under very difficult conditions. The ones who are doing something are doing it despite the universities." Kalin believes that if academia were to become a powerful and flexible source of expertise, it would benefit both the think tanks and the state.

According to Pamir, another reason for the scarcity of experts is the low salaries that result from the financial weakness of the think tanks. But Tashan says that they don't have a manpower problem. He counters that the think tank business is a matter of dedication. He notes that in his institute all the experts have their own sources of income, they are volunteers. But for the administrative work they get support from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Sometimes they work on finance projects, too.

Pamir, Kalin, Sanberk and Sedat Laçiner, from the International Strategic Research Organization (ISRO-USAK), all draw attention to the relations between the state and the think tanks. Laçiner points out that when it comes to financing from the state, either in the form of paid projects or assistance from the promotion fund of the state, there is disorder.

He explains: "The projects are not held in the form of tenders. The state prefers the persons that they know," Laçiner says. Kalin argues that the projects require lots of red tape, and usually to complete the project is easier than to prepare of the tender file in order to enter into it."

When it comes to support from the private sector, Tashan, Kalin and Pamir agree that the business circles in Turkey are reluctant to invest even in technological research and development so to spend some money on think thanks is out of the question for most of them. "Perhaps we are also not doing enough to explain to the business circles that think tanks will improve the situation of the country and society so it will indirectly but positively affect business," Kalin says.

Kalin, Pamir, Laçiner and Tashan indicate that for an independent think tank it is important to have more than one financial source. Sanberk also points out that in Europe and the US the political parties have think tanks but that this is not the case in Turkey. Tashan emphasizes that especially in the US the think tanks are sort of waiting and preparing as power stations for the political parties. When they are in the minority, the think tanks develop policies and then implement them when they come to power.

According to Sanberk, the state should develop a policy for supporting the think tanks. He suggests that in order to preserve their independence, the Parliament should be the responsible body to support them financially. He says in this way the representation in Parliament could be reflected in the think tanks, too. Pamir also believes that the state should support think tanks in addition to the private sector. But Kalin has some doubts about state financing of think tanks because of concerns about independence.

The future?

Kalin concludes that, despite all the problems faced by the think tanks, they have begun to contribute to the well being of society and public diplomacy. Their increasing numbers are aiding in the development and diversification of knowledge. As the think tanks prove themselves and as they develop new ideas and proposals about the current problems facing Turkey, they will help provide orientation for the state. He stresses that the state really needs it.

But Tashan has a different view. He believes that some people are working at the think tanks in order to use them merely as a stepping stone. Some of the think tanks are not qualified. "There will be selection because of the competition. The good ones will remain," Tashan concludes.
21.10.2007 Ayse Karabat Ankara


Is America Losing Its Turkey? Commentary by Hajro Limaj Fakti, Skopje Oct 19 2007
It is a time, at which a question is being posed to the US official circles and its research institutions: 'Are we losing Turkey as a friend and historical ally?' In fact this is a discussion that started after the Turkish Grand Assembly's decision on 3 March 2003. It was a decision that did not allow US military troops to cross Turkey's territory to attack Iraq. Afterward, their disagreements continued on the problem with America's stance on the northern Iraq issue and on Turkey's increasingly close relations with Iran, and Syria, which eventually turned into criticism from the Turkish media over the US policy on Iraq and the Middle East.

After the House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee's approval by 27 votes in favour and 21 against the resolution on the genocide of the Armenians, this question, which the Americans personally ask themselves, became an item on the agenda. Turkey, which has already lost hope of US active support, especially on northern Iraq, is seriously preparing for a cross-border military operation . . .[as received]

In this period, the USA and Turkey are genuinely standing against each other each other on two fronts: one of them is the front of Armenia due to the 'motion' that was passed in the Congress . . . and the other is the front of northern Iraq, due to the 'immobilization' of the Bush administration. In fact, these are two separate problems, differing from one another, but their confrontation at the same time, as a conclusion has created a complete connection between them. The first front. [as published]

The decision that was made by the committee in relation to the Armenian genocide, will undoubtedly reach the Assembly's General Council. Assembly Speaker Nancy Pelosi is resolved to approve the decision in the General Council. The Bush administration, through the help of the National Assembly Speaker of that time could have prevented the approval of a similar decision in the Assembly Security Council, which was approved by the committee in 2005. The Bush administration will strive by using all its forces to not let this happen again. Turkey, however, will play using its 'strategic card' and it will try to influence the assembly by giving some real signals about what is it going to do in the future. Nevertheless, if the House of the Representatives is to pass this bill, it will leave Turkey no other choice but to show 'its strategic force'.

Every step to be taken in terms of the equity of reciprocal answers, it will not remain only with hard knocks to political and military cooperation, but, at the same time Turkey might spoil all its wishes for cooperation and security with America. If we add 'the second front' to this, that is, if the USA is to maintain its stance on northern Iraq as it did in the past, and opposes a Turkish cross-border military operation on northern Iraq's territory, Turkey, then will consider America as a 'lost friend and ally . . . ' So far, the Bush administration has been unsuccessful either on the overall policy in Iraq and the fight against the Kurdish Communist Party's terrorism in northern Iraq. Actually, Turkey is dissatisfied since Washington, apart from its rhetoric, has not acted to destroy the aforementioned terrorism that acts against Turkey.

Therefore, Turkey is now resolved to take over this assignment and finish it on its own. The bill on a military incursion into northern Iraq, where 3,000 thousand terrorists have found refuge, has been submitted to the Turkey's Grand Assembly lately. But, still, one should underline that, Turkey has already engaged in 24 cross-border operations of this kind to eradicate the terrorism, which is being fed and located in northern Iraq. Since 1984, these terrorists have killed 35,000 Turkish citizens, many of which have been soldiers; therefore, Turkey is forced to do this. In these circumstances, is it possible that the Bush administration will turn against the Communist Party's organization in northern Iraq and cooperate with Turkey in this matter?

The real steps that America takes in this direction, at this time, when the mutual relations have become critical, will indicate whether or not, the US is standing on Turkey's side.

Owing to these developments, Ankara has withdrawn its Ambassador from America "for consultations."


Genocide Vote Strikes Raw Nerve With Turks, Armenians
The Pueblo Chieftain, Colorado CO Oct 19 2007 By PETER ROPER

When a House committee approved a nonbinding resolution this month denouncing Turkey for alleged genocide in the death of possibly 1.5 million Armenians during World War I, lawmakers touched a raw nerve with both Turks and Armenians, who remain bitterly divided over what happened 90 years ago during the last years of the Ottoman Empire.

"Turks understand that many Armenians died in this tragedy, but so did many Turks," said Huseyin Sarper, a Turkish engineering professor in Pueblo. "But to call this a genocide? There was no plan to exterminate the Armenians. I don't believe that. No one wants to be compared to the Nazis (in Germany). That's why we care about this resolution in Congress."

Turkey is a key U.S. ally in the Middle East, allowing war supplies to be sent to U.S. troops in Iraq through air bases in Turkey. So that nation's anger over the congressional resolution drew the attention of House lawmakers this week.

While House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has said she will bring the genocide measure to the floor for a vote, some key Democrats, such as Rep. John Murtha, D-Pa., have said it lacks the votes to pass and support is dwindling as Turkey's supporters urge the House to back away from the divisive measure.

"Why Congress thinks that now is the time to address this, I don't know," said political science professor Robert Lee of Colorado College. "Certainly, Turkey still has to come to terms with what happened to the Armenians. Right now, anyone who talks about Armenian genocide in Turkey can be arrested."

At issue is what took place in eastern Turkey between 1915-18, during World War I, when the Ottoman Empire was allied with Germany and Austro-Hungary in fighting Russia, France, Great Britain and later, the U.S.

Historians agree that Sultan Hamid authorized the deportation of Armenians from their traditional home in eastern Turkey, afraid the Christian minority would join ranks with the Russians on that border.

Armenian refugees and European observers said the deportations turned into massacres as refugees were driven from their homes toward the desert country of what would become Iraq.

Henry Morganthau, the U.S. ambassador in Istanbul at the time, sent dispatches to the State Department in 1916, saying he was getting witness reports of thousands of Armenians being massacred in the east. Similar dispatches were received by the British government. An Internet search on the topic Armenian genocide will produce Web sites devoted to photographs and personal accounts of the victims, which Armenians have labeled the First Genocide of the 20th Century.

Morganthau, in his autobiography, called it the "murder of a nation."

Sarper said the West overlooks the fact that Turkey was engaged in fighting Russia in the east, and Britain on the Gallipoli coast and in Palestine. "The Armenians were not just helpless victims. They were armed and were in revolt. That's how Turks feel about what happened. It was a tragedy for both sides."

President Woodrow Wilson wanted to establish a large Armenian nation in eastern Turkey following World War I, but the post-war national government of Mustafa Kemal did not allow it. The current Armenia, on Turkey's northeast border, has cold relations with Turkey and the border usually is closed. Small Armenian terrorist groups killed Turkish diplomats in the 1970s.

Mark Gose, an associate professor of international relations at Colorado State University-Pueblo, was an Air Force political adviser in Europe in the months leading up to the invasion of Iraq in 2003. He said Turkey is extremely sensitive on the subject of Armenia.

"Just look at what happened last year when France approved a resolution recognizing the genocide and making it a crime to deny it," Gose said. "Turkey cut off some major business relationships with France and a sizable number of Turks are now soured on the idea of joining the European Union."

Gose said the U.S. depends on air bases in Incirlik and Izmir, Turkey, to provide support to forces in Iraq. To jeopardize that supply route with a congressional resolution on the Armenian genocide right now seems "asinine" to Gose.

"You noticed the Turkish Parliament this week voted to authorize military attacks into northern Iraq against Kurdish rebel groups," he said. "We certainly don't want that to happen but I think the Turks are using this confrontation to get our attention."

Earlier this year, an association of Turkish historians announced their intentions to meet with their Armenian counterparts in order to review the historical facts around what happened. Gose said the country is trying to come to terms with what was done to its Armenian minority during the first world war.

Lee noted that Turkish author Orhan Pamuk, winner of the 2006 Nobel Prize for literature, was charged with insulting the nation when he told a Swiss interviewer that Turkey had killed 1 million Armenians.

"Turkey is a society where this can't be discussed yet, but it is moving that way," he said.

Sarper, who grew up in Instanbul, said Turks are not taught about the Armenian deportation in school.

"Turks should be but we aren't," he said. "The U.S. did things that were terrible, too, such as slavery and how Indians were treated. But the difference is, Americans talk about that. We can do that in this country."

Photo: A boy pauses in front of a wall-sized poster depicting the faces of 90 survivors of the mass killings of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire, in Yerevan, Armenia, in this April 20, 2005, photo.
www.chieftain.com/




Losers in The Congressional Saga
ALI H. ASLAN a.aslan@todayszaman.com
This is what happens when you try to poke your finger in the eyes of an ally in the middle of a war -- or, more precisely, wars.
I’m talking about the dramatic twist brought about the position taken by the Democratic leadership of the US House on the infamous “Armenian genocide” resolution last week. Madam Pelosi, who seemed jubilant after last week’s Committee on Foreign Affairs vote, shifted gears on Wednesday. Although as late as Sunday on ABC’s “This Week” she expressed a strong desire to bring the controversial resolution to the floor in November, she now offers a more ambiguous approach. Does she have any choice other than canceling or postponing the move? Given the public pressure, no. Can she be completely trusted? No. Turkey’s and Bush administration’s trouble with Madam Pelosi will most likely continue. However, it was interesting to watch how recent developments took the initiative from her hands.

Supporters of the Armenian resolution were confident they would get away with it this time. They were ready to confront the Bush administration’s objections and the pro-Turkish lobby’s efforts. But their calculations failed when Ankara seemed determined to take extraordinary actions, the prospect of which alarmed US media. It’s not often that Turkey climbs into the headlines of American television and newspapers. Ankara’s ability to make life difficult for US troops, especially in Iraq, by an incursion into northern Iraq in pursuit of the Kurdistan Worker’s Party (PKK) or by obstructing crucial deployments of US provisions from İncirlik air base has been brought to the surface. Thanks to the shortsightedness of Madam Pelosi and some of her friends, the US Congress, which is not necessarily a popular institution with the American media, put itself in the position of risking American interests for a non-priority issue. The basic line by prominent commentators was, “Why in the hell are we putting our troops in danger for the sake of a genocide which took place 90 years ago? See, not only in US Congress but also in the US media there is almost a consensus that the events of 1915 amounted to genocide. But many people find it nonsense to alienate a unique ally to declare that at any official level.

The Republican Bush administration blew it by losing or at least disenchanting many allies with the decision to go to war with Iraq. Now, when many Americans were expecting the Democrats to change the course of America’s standing in the world, some of their top congressional leaders, including Steny Hoyer and Tom Lantos, have seen fit to step over an indispensable ally, Turkey. What poor logic! Aren’t there Democratic leaders who have better reasoning than this? I’m sure there are. First and foremost is the leading presidential candidate Senator Hillary Clinton. Although as a populist politician she also co-signed a similar resolution in the Senate, Clinton should be among the last people who would like such a resolution to pass. I assume she is smart enough to see that, if and when she becomes president, she must secure Turkey’s support to enable withdrawal of US troops from Iraq, a Democratic priority. Given US and Turkish public and official reaction to the provocative move by Congress, she would put her political weight -- most likely privately so as not to alienate potential Armenian voters and sponsors -- against the measure. Once the resolution is put on the backburner it will be increasingly difficult to bring it up again in 2008, simply because of presidential politics.

I have always seen genocide declarations in the US Congress as an issue of image with little to no legal implications for Turkey. Powerful Armenian groups at this time might once again fall short of fulfilling their ultimate dream. But they succeeded in hurting Turkey’s image because the issue of the genocide allegations was elevated to such a high profile before the American public. On the other hand, Armenian-Americans also struck a blow to their own image. They are now seen as less loyal Americans because they put Armenian ethnic interests before the US. Above all, the image of Congress has suffered the most. Poor-reasoning, flip-flopping and hypocrisy are evident.

Should Turkey be happy with where we are now? Well, the battle might have been won but the outcome of the larger war is still uncertain. Sooner or later a similar resolution will pass, because the prevailing American position is as follows: It’s not the right time to insult Turkey, let’s do it when we make sure vital US national security interests would not be harmed. People usually highlight the bad image of the US in Turkey. But Turkey’s image in the US, although still in a comparatively better shape, is not pleasant either. Therefore it will be increasingly difficult to build on strategic partnerships given these negative public perceptions.
19.10.2007


CSIS: Resolution Will Create New Source Of Regional Anger Against US
The New Anatolian / Ankara 18 October 2007

Anthony Cordesman, expert at Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) in Washington D.C., said that the net impact of Armenian genocide bill may well be to create yet another pointless regional source of anger against the United States.

A report titled "Armenian Bill and the Turkish Reaction in Iraq" by Cordesman said that it is far from clear what Turkey will or will not do in Iraq. The report noted that the US should be careful not to overreact if Turkey does send forces into the north of Iraq.

It stated, "Iraqi sovereignty and the security of the Kurdish zone in Iraq ultimately require an Iraqi solution to terrorist organization PKK problem." Indicating that the US did not want Turkey to go into Iraq, Cordesman said, "it is not clear how deep the Turks go, the numbers they invade with, what they do, and how long they stay. The US, Iraqi Kurds, and Iraqi government has every reason to protest."

"However, it is far from clear just how destabilizing such Turkish action will be. It might even be positive -- forcing Iraq's Kurds to realize they are far better off as Iraqis than in seeking independence or extreme versions of autonomy," he remarked.

Reporting Turkey's supports to the United States in Iraq, Cordesman said:

- One key area of support is the movement of fuel goes through Habur Gate that is the main entryway into Iraq from Turkey. The cargo hub at Incirlik Air Base serves both Iraq and Afghanistan. 74% of air cargo into Iraq transits Incirlik. Six US military C-17 aircraft based at Incirlik move the amount of cargo it took 9-10 military aircraft to move from Germany, saving $160 million per year.

- KC-135 tankers operating out of Incirlik have flown 3,400 sorties and delivered 35 million gallons of fuel to U.S. fighter and transport aircraft on missions in Iraq and Afghanistan.

- Approximately 25% of the fuel used by Coalition forces enters Iraq from Turkey via the Habur Gate crossing, which is the main entryway into Iraq from Turkey.

- In addition, 29% of the fuel used by Iraqi consumers -- 250,000 tankers and 1.6 billion gallons of fuel - enters through Habur Gate.

- Turkey provides 19% of the food and water that Iraqis consume through Habur Gate.

- Turkey continues to provide blanket clearance for military over flights supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom (Off) and Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) in Afghanistan.

- Turkey exports 270 MW of electricity to the north of Iraq and has plans to increase that total to 1000 MW, or 25% of Iraq's current peak capacity.

- Over 20,000 Turks have worked in Iraq since 2004, and approximately 150 (mostly truck drivers) have lost their lives in attacks. About 1,000 Turkish companies are active in Iraq.

- Turkey has authorized the temporary deployment of 32 USAF F-16's to Incirlik Air Base during January-February 2007, providing vital training and experience to the U.S. crews. A second rotational deployment is scheduled for May 2007.

- Turkey welcomed 16 US Navy ships to Turkish ports in 2006, including 9 port calls for US crewmen and 7 fuel deliveries for Coalition forces in Iraq. Six US Navy ships also made passages through the Turkish Straits on their way to/from the Black Sea. Eight to ten port calls are expected in 2007."


Well Done Chaps.. Keep It Up..
Few fat cat American Armenians sitting in their lounge have no idea what damage they are causing that will come back and hit them like a boomerang.. soon
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Truth-Anatolia1915

Jewish Congressmen Fight Genocide Bill
10/18/2007

Two Jewish congressmen are working to keep the Armenian genocide bill from reaching the U.S. House of Representatives floor.
U.S. Reps. Robert Wexler (D-Fla.) and Stephen Cohen (D-Tenn.), as well as three other opponents of the controversial bill memorializing the killings of Armenians by the Ottoman Empire during World War I, spoke harshly of its implications for U.S. relations with Turkey at a news conference Wednesday in Washington.

The bill, which would label the killings as genocide, was approved by the House Foreign Affairs Committee by a 27-21 vote on Oct. 10. At that time it had 226 co-sponsors, but support has waned due to threats from Turkey to withdraw support for American troops in Iraq if it is passed.

More than half of the cargo traveling from the U.S. to Iraq is flown through Turkey's Incerlik air base, and Turkish troops are allied with Americans on the ground in Iraq and Afghanistan.

President Bush is fiercely opposed to the resolution.

"The Middle East is a tinderbox," Wexler said. "Our responsibility is to bring as much stability as is humanly possible."

Cohen added that passage of the bill would cause "real-time harm to real people."


Turkish Coalition Of America Community Update And Action Alert
October 17, 2007
Dear Friends,

As you know, the House Foreign Affairs Committee has passed H.Res 106 by 21 to 27 votes. The measure has caused a major political crisis in relations between the United States and Turkey. Constant pressure by the US Administration and even previous presidents and secretaries of state and defense, effective diplomacy by Turkey, and, most importantly to us, targeted reaction and principled pressure by Turkish Americans toward members of Congress, which all resulted in media scrutiny on the timing and merits of this Resolution, have put a major roadblock infront of the Democratic leadership that is pushing for it. As a result, 21 co-signers of the Resolution (see below) have taken off their signatures (which requires them to speak on the House floor and state their reasons for withdrawal) and many more are expected to do so in the coming days. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, have come under increased public and political pressure to let go of their zeal to push this Resolution through Congress.

Members of Congress who withdrew their names:
Rep Berry, Marion [AR-1] - 1/31/2007(withdrawn - 10/15/2007)
Rep Kilpatrick, Carolyn C. [MI-13] - 1/31/2007(withdrawn - 10/15/2007)
Rep English, Phil [PA-3] - 1/31/2007(withdrawn - 3/15/2007)
Rep Jindal, Bobby [LA-1] - 1/31/2007(withdrawn - 1/31/2007)
Rep Holden, Tim [PA-17] - 1/31/2007(withdrawn - 10/16/2007)
Rep Bishop, Sanford D., Jr. [GA-2] - 1/31/2007(withdrawn - 10/15/2007)
Rep Carnahan, Russ [MO-3] - 1/31/2007(withdrawn - 10/2/2007)
Rep Shimkus, John [IL-19] - 1/31/2007(withdrawn - 10/4/2007)
Rep Boren, Dan [OK-2] - 1/31/2007(withdrawn - 5/2/2007)
Rep Davis, Lincoln [TN-4] - 1/31/2007(withdrawn - 10/15/2007)
Rep Moore, Dennis [KS-3] - 1/31/2007(withdrawn - 3/13/2007)
Rep Ross, Mike [AR-4] - 1/31/2007(withdrawn - 10/15/2007)
Rep Scott, David [GA-13] - 1/31/2007(withdrawn - 4/18/2007)
Rep Johnson, Henry C. "Hank," Jr. [GA-4] - 2/8/2007(withdrawn - 10/16/2007)
Rep Lamborn, Doug [CO-5] - 2/8/2007(withdrawn - 10/16/2007)
Rep Tancredo, Thomas G. [CO-6] - 4/19/2007(withdrawn - 6/27/2007)
Rep Mitchell, Harry E. [AZ-5] - 6/21/2007(withdrawn - 10/16/2007)
Rep Cuellar, Henry [TX-28] - 6/26/2007(withdrawn - 10/9/2007)
Rep Wicker, Roger F. [MS-1] - 6/26/2007(withdrawn - 6/28/2007)
Rep Boyd, Allen [FL-2] - 6/28/2007(withdrawn - 10/15/2007)
Rep Herger, Wally [CA-2] - 7/18/2007(withdrawn - 10/15/2007)

As Turkish Americans we must continue to put pressure on our own members of Congress for mainly two reasons:

1. We need to be counted in this debate as Turkish Americans and our voice needs to be heard. This is the time. Furthermore, Washington politics can change from one hour to the other, a vote on this issue may still come up as early as next week. Please contact your Representative and Senators NOW by using our Action Alert site.

2. The Turkish argument that this is BAD LEGISLATION BASED ON BAD HISTORY has not been amplified strongly enough by our supporters. The reasons are many, but we must continue to press this point. This may as well be the only time that our arguments will actually be heard in Congress and by the wider public. Several members have already referred to local Turkish American opposition about this Resolution in their district, let's inrcrease their numbers.

Almost as important as stopping this Resolution in Congress is changing public opinion, so that it correctly reflects Turkey's outrage about this Resolution. Turkey opened its archives to the examination of this history and has proposed a Joint History Commission, stating on numerous occasions that it will accept its findings. Turkey and Turks all across the world have every right to be outraged, if these overtures have been swept under the carpet and refused by the Armenian lobby and Armenia.

We have a historical window of opportunity to show the world the truth, namely that this issue has NOT been definitively decided upon, that there are credible and notable historians who disagree with the Armenian version of events, and that the Armenian side's refusal to accept this fact is blocking reconciliation. We may never have this opportunity again. Therefore, please make it a priority to monitor your local press, respond to published articles through letters to the editor (feel free to contact us and other Turkish American organizations for information) , provide background information through personal phone calls to reporters covering this issue and by distributing books and other material to your local newspaper editorial boards. Encourage your non-Turkish friends to write their thoughts too.

Several balanced articles have already been published in the media, you can access our selection on the TCA website. You may use them for inspiration in your outreaches.

Again, now is the time for Turkish Americans to raise their voice. Thank you.

For Information On Tca Programs, Issues Related To Us-Turkey Relations And Turkish Americans, Please Visit Our Website At www.turkishcoalitionofamerica.org

Turkish Coalition of America - TCA
1025 Connecticut Avenue, NW - Suite 1000
Washington, DC 20036
Tel: 202-370-1399 Fax: 202-370-1398
www.turkishcoalitionofamerica.org



Can We Discuss The Armenian Question? (Orhan Kemal Cengiz)
17 October 2007, Turkish Daily News

There is a book on my bookcase which has been waiting for some time to be read. There is a picture on the cover of the book: Turkish and Armenian flags tied to each other. The name of the book is “The Truth Will Set Us Free” and it is written by George Jerijan, a British citizen of Armenian descent. While I was again considering reading the book I came across a newspaper article and I learned that the book had already been translated into Turkish and Mr. Ragip Zarakoglu, the owner of the Belge publishing house that translated and published the Turkish version of the book, is now being tried under article 301 of the Turkish Penal Code. This Thursday the directors of the weekly Armenian journal Agos were punished with one year of imprisonment under this article.

What happened in 1915 in the Ottoman Empire cannot be discussed in Turkey freely. Either prosecution or “street violence” can interfere with any discussion on this matter at any time. We do not discuss it and we are very angry if foreigners discuss it too. Unfortunately an American resolution will not contribute to this “no discussion situation” in Turkey in any positive way. On the contrary, we will witness a sharp increase in xenophobia and ultra-nationalism, and we may witness some violent acts against non-Muslim minorities who have always been regarded as the “internal extension of external enemies.” I really hope the government is now taking the necessary security precautions to protect these vulnerable groups and make sure that they will not be harmed by any vandalism potentially perpetrated by ultranationalist groups in the wake of the passage of the Armenian genocide resolution in the Foreign Affairs Committee of the U.S. Congress.

Turkey is going to do everything in its power to stop the passage of this bill by the U.S. Congress. Every year we have the same “crisis.” This resolution appears on the agenda of the U.S. Congress and Turkey does whatever it can do stop the passage of this resolution and then we “achieve” to stop it. But no one discusses how we stop it. Do we convince the Americans that nothing like the genocide has happened in our history or is it stopped as a result of threats to American interests? How long can Turkey continue to “convince” Americans on this subject? What are we going to do with other countries that have already accepted similar resolutions in their parliaments and with those in the process of accepting them? How long can we continue this “I am not discussing it and I will not allow the discussion of this matter by anyone else!” attitude? Us versus the rest of the world! I am one of those people who believes that the discussion of and confrontation with our past is first and foremost necessary for our own “psychological health”! How long can Turkey continue with this total amnesia about some parts of its history? I think that the label, the name or qualification, of what had happened in history is not very important at the moment. Something terrible happened in these territories. When the topic arises we keep saying, “Armenian gangs attacked Ottoman forces, Armenians were about to break up some parts of the country, they killed Turkish people, they were in alliance with foreign forces,” but what else? Many things happened, there is no doubt about that. But what happened to the Armenians? Why do not we see any emotional reaction to what happened to the Armenians? We are a nation that pays respect even to its enemies who tried to invade this country. We have monuments to the memory of Australian and New Zealander soldiers who lost their lives trying to occupy our country. Why don't we see anything built to the memory of the Armenians? Why don't we witness any trace of sorrow or pain for Armenians who lost their lives in Anatolia? We are talking from our heads only and nothing comes out of our hearts! Is this possible? We, Turks and Armenians, lived together for hundreds of years side by side, we shared good and bad. How can we not feel anything for those people, for our old neighbors?

Armenian reactions not healthy either

On the other hand, I do not find Armenian reactions healthy either. I witnessed Armenians saying “Turks are not human beings.” I heard Armenians saying that “I cannot stand to see a Turkey on its feet.” I saw the hate in their eyes still burning! These are not healthy feelings either. Maybe they are thinking that if they do not keep their hate alive, Turkey one day will manage to convince the world that nothing happened. There are also Armenians who fight against racism towards Turks, who condemn the Armenian gentleman that sees Turks as “animals.” There are healthy, wise people on both sides and I believe they will create the future. I would like to finish this article with the remarkable comments of George Jerjian, whom I mentioned at the beginning. He says: “Armenians will need to overcome their high expectations of what Turkish recognition of the genocide will mean and, in turn, the Turks will need to overcome the serious limitations of their high school history syllabus. Reconciliation can only take place when truth and truce are declared. What happened cannot be undone, but we need not be prisoners of the past. The truth will set us- Armenian and Turk- free.”But, everything starts with courage, openness and loyalty to the truth. To be able to do this we need to discuss everything and we should be free to be able to that. Turkey should get rid of 301 and similar articles as soon as possible and Armenians should also get rid of their 301s. Then maybe, first with reason and after with our hearts we will really comprehend what happened!


A Funeral Prayer For Turkish-American Relations (C. Cem Oguz)
17 October 2007, Turkish Daily News

After the approval of the notorious “Armenian Genocide Resolution Bill” by the United States House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee, a reader of mine from the U.S., Kevin R., sent me an apologetic message saying that this move had nearly left him speechless. “With all the issues, conflicts, wars, problems and such that are facing the U.S. right now, [he was] stunned to see all this energy being put into a bill which will accomplish nothing other than negative and counter-productive results.” He then kindly reminded me that they are “not ALL this dumb over [there].” All that is happening between the U.S. and Turkey right now, as well as our Western friends' approach to the Armenian allegations, leave me speechless as well. I really cannot believe my eyes to see how ethics is being sacrificed to narrow politics and/or cunning populism. What “Iron Lady” Nancy Pelosi and her comrades-in-arms have managed to accomplish last week precisely exemplifies this phenomenon.

The black comedy staged in the House

Our Western allies, the U.S. included, have always presented parliamentary resolutions supporting the Armenian allegations as merely “symbolic gestures of delayed justice.” This is an assumption very efficiently exploited by Armenians worldwide. For instance, before the committee's session, the Armenian diaspora in the U.S. issued a list regarding the seven main reasons why one should support the resolution, at the top of which was “moral support.” By standing up for the truth presumably, “the Congress [would reaffirm] both U.S. leadership on human rights and the American people's fundamental belief in justice.” Noble considerations, aren't they? In such a milieu, one would normally expect that justice should not be exploited in a way leading to further injustices. Just the first episode of the black comedy subsequently staged in the House, however, proves how naive one could be in thinking that way. On the day the committee convened, Speaker Nancy Pelosi introduced the Supreme Patriarch of all Armenians, Karekin II, to deliver the morning prayer in the House. Does something smell fishy to you as well? But that's not all! Actually, such speeches ought to be part of apolitical daily rituals. Yet, Karekin's was not such. “With the solemn burden of history, we remember the victims of the genocide of the Armenians,” said Karekin and then called on the House members to “give peace and justice on their descendants.” According to Pelosi's spokesperson, Nadeam Elshami, nevertheless, the timing of Karekin's visit was nothing more than a “coincidence.” Allegedly, the House's chaplain arranged the visit “based on Karekin's schedule” and was not “aware” of the committee's plans. What really disturbs us Turks most is being treated like fools.

The Jewish lobby

To help you understand the conditions under which the bill was adopted I will present another repulsive example: You must have heard that the committee's chairman, Rep. Tom Lantos, a Hungarian-born survivor of the Holocaust, voted in favor of the bill. In 2000, however, when the issue came before the same committee he had strongly objected to it. In those days, he was reported to have told his colleagues that as a person who had to live through the Holocaust, he was unconvinced that the massacres the Armenians endured technically constituted genocide. What might have changed since then? Could our Armenian friends have provided him with a clear-cut document proving the events were genocide implemented by the Ottoman Empire as state policy? If the answer is no, one wonders if the shift in Lantos' behavior could be related to the following statement made by him a couple of years ago in response to Turkey's “growing” closeness with Syria even in the wake of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri's assassination: “Turkey ignored our interests. Our allies must understand that if they expect the U.S. to support matters of great interest to them, we expect them to support the things that are important to the United States.” Could it also be the reason why other Jewish members of the committee, seven out of eight, voted in favor of the bill as well? I could have demonstrated to Pelosi, Lantos or their other comrades-in-arms that documents such as the Andonian telegrams allegedly proving the Armenian genocide are actually nothing more than forgeries and that even the British, who were trying to find evidence over a four-year period of occupation in Istanbul, refused to use them. I could have pointed out that the Armenian populations of Istanbul, Aleppo and Izmir were excluded from the deportation as if, in the words of Guenther Lewy, the Jews of Berlin, Frankfurt and Vienna had been exempted from the Nazi genocide. I could have asked whether they even know the figure Armenian leader Boghos Nubar gave the French for Armenian losses for use in the post-war treaties was 700,000 and that the Ottomans themselves put on trial some 1,300 men for crimes committed during the Armenian deportation of 1915, and executed a governor. But do you think that they are really interested in such information? I do not believe that they are after the truth. Rather, they seem to be simply engaged in dirty politics. And I really wonder how they would react when it backfires. I have no doubts, Kevin, that not all over there are this dumb! But I am afraid to say that not all over here are as capable of the same level of composure in the face of such provocations as I am either.


Çankaya Hosts Summit On Retaliatory Measures Against Armenian Bill
17 October 2007, Today's Zaman

The Çankaya presidential palace was the venue of a landmark meeting on Tuesday during which Ankara's possible moves to retaliate for a resolution approved by a US congressional committee branding the 1915 killings of Anatolian Armenians as genocide were thoroughly analyzed.

Turkey’s Ambassador to US Nabi Sensoy (L) met with Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan yesterday. Sensoy has been recalled to Ankara for political consultations over the Armenian resolution.

President Abdullah Gül hosted his successor, Foreign Minister Ali Babacan, Foreign Ministry Undersecretary Ertugrul Apakan and Turkey's ambassador to the United States, Nabi Sensoy, who was recalled last week from Washington as part of a diplomatic battle demonstrating that the Turkish capital is not "bluffing" over what it would dare risk in bilateral relations with its NATO ally due to its deep anger over the adoption of the resolution. Steps that go beyond cancellation of planned visits by Turkish officials to the United States until the date the resolution goes to the House floor, where Democratic Party leaders say there will be a vote by mid-November, should be taken by Ankara, according to evaluations made by diplomats at the Foreign Ministry.

Those steps should well indicate the strength of the reaction that will be displayed by Ankara in the event of a confirmation by US lawmakers of the committee vote, Turkish diplomats have asserted. A key question that still needs to be resolved is the date when Sensoy will be sent back to his mission in Washington.

Meanwhile, a top Turkish official said on Tuesday that Turkey should not punish the US administration over the resolution but should instead impose sanctions on Armenia for supporting the measure.

"Bush and his team should not be punished," Egemen Bagis, a foreign policy adviser to Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, said in a debate aired live on the privately owned CNN-Türk news station. "The reaction should be against Pelosi and her team," he added, in apparent reference to the fact that US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said she would schedule a vote soon on the resolution, which has been opposed by US President George W. Bush. He also noted that US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Defense Secretary Robert Gates had lobbied against the measure.

As of Monday, a White House spokesperson said that he is unaware of any plans by Bush to call Pelosi, a Democrat, to urge her to cancel a planned vote on the resolution. Later, the spokesman, Tony Fratto, did not rule out a phone call from Bush to Pelosi on the matter.

The Bush administration has been lobbying intensely to persuade lawmakers to reject the resolution, which Bush believes would harm relations with Turkey. Turkey has said as much, promising that the document's passage by the full House would cause severe damage to relations.

Bagis suggested that Turkey should impose sanctions on Armenia because it supported the resolution: "Turkey must impose sanctions on Armenia. Turkey has already made a list of what it will do and when it will do it, and the prime minister has already given the necessary orders."

On the same day, Erdogan addressed deputies of his ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) at a parliamentary group meeting when he compared the resolution to a "summary execution."

"Nobody has the right to judge Turkey like this," Erdogan said. "Those who dare confront an important country like Turkey will pay the price."

Erdogan draws attention ‘diaspora effect’

Erdogan underlined that his call, extended in 2005 to Armenian President Robert Kocharian, for a joint committee of Turkish and Armenian experts to study the allegations remained unanswered by Yerevan. Erdogan said that other countries have also insisted Kocharian ignore his proposal.

"Why? The diaspora. Why? Because they [the diaspora] have different motives, motives unacceptable to us. What is understood is that common sense is being entirely lost and replaced by minor political calculations. Then we will act accordingly. … Everybody should be sure that if Turkey is damaged once from this [resolution], then those against it will get damaged 10 times over," Erdogan added.

"Let me remind you that countries who expect Turkey to take certain initiatives will remain on their own with their problems. No offense, but they bear the cost of confronting an important country like Turkey," he said, in an apparent reference to neighboring Armenia with which Turkey refuses to set up diplomatic ties because of Armenian efforts to secure international condemnation of the controversial World War I era killings of Anatolian Armenians as genocide, despite its recognition of Armenia since the former Soviet republic gained independence in 1991.

Armenians claim up to 1.5 million of their kin were slaughtered in orchestrated killings during the last years of the Ottoman Empire. Turkey categorically rejects the claims, saying that 300,000 Armenians along with at least as many Turks died in civil strife which emerged when the Armenians took up arms for independence in eastern Anatolia and sided with the Russian troops which were invading Ottoman lands.


U. S. Department Of State Daily Briefing 10/17/2007
QUESTION: Can I have a reaction to the vote in Turkish parliament? MR. CASEY: Well, I think the President addressed that, in part. Understand that this vote has taken place. I would note that many Turkish officials, including senior leadership, have indicated that this vote does not mean that action will be taken. We certainly continue to urge Turkish authorities to exercise restraint in terms of their response to what is a common problem of PKK terrorism in Northern Iraq. We do not want to see any unilateral military steps taken, because we don't believe that that will solve the problem. In fact, we believe it will make it harder to ultimately deal with the threats and challenges posed.

We'll certainly continue to talk with the Turkish Government and with Turkish officials, as we move forward in the days ahead. I would note, as well as the President did, that Iraqi Vice President Al-Hashimi has been and I believe continues to be in Turkey to have discussions with Turkish officials on this issue. That's important because again the real way to resolve this is through dialogue between the Turks and the Iraqis and in development of a collective and common approach to this problem. And it is a problem not only for the Turks, but it is a problem, an acknowledged problem by the Iraqis and certainly it's a concern for us, too, because we do consider the PKK a terrorist organization.

QUESTION: Can you give an update on specific diplomatic activities, specific calls? Has the Secretary made any calls?

MR. CASEY: Well, there are a few things that are out there. The Secretary, as you know, is on travel and she's not made any additional calls to Turkish officials on this issue. I do know that our Ambassador Ross Wilson has been actively engaged with authorities there in Ankara. Nick Burns remains in contact with the Turkish Ambassador as well as other officials. And certainly I know Ambassador Fried -- Dan Fried, our Assistant Secretary for European Affairs -- is also continuing his engagement.

Although, same officials as well have been working on a related issue, which is to talk to staff members and members of Congress about our concerns and our continued opposition to the resolution that recently passed the committee in the House. We want to make clear to members of Congress that this resolution is one that is not going to serve the purposes of Turkish-Armenian reconciliation. It's not going to serve U.S. national interests and, in fact, stands a good risk of harming our bilateral relations with a country that is a friend and ally and is vital to our military's efforts in Iraq and elsewhere.

I'm pleased to note and we're pleased to note over the last 24 hours that there have been a number of members of Congress who have now come out and publicly stated that they've changed their view and will no longer be supporting this resolution. Certainly, we would hope that trend would continue. And again, we're committed to doing what we can to work with members of Congress to see that this resolution's ultimately defeated.


The Van Der Galiën Gazette Genocide Resolution Going Down Down Down
Oct 18th, 2007 by Michael van der Galiën

The Christian Science Monitor summarized what caused the downfall of the infamous Armenian genocide resolution (hr 106). The general reason according to the CSM: realpolitik triumphs morals or in the words of Thomas Henriksen, a foreign-policy scholar at the Hoover Institution in Stanford, California: “We regularly see the impulse of Wilsonian idealism, the emphasis on democracy and human rights, counterbalanced by the pragmatic demands of realpolitik. It’s one of the constant dynamics of American foreign policy. We want to be the city on the hill, but then some overriding interests come up and we say, ‘Oh, that’s different.’ ”

Of course this scholar seems to forget that the moral high ground and being a city on a hill doesn’t just mean that you condemn others but that you take responsibility for your own mistakes and condemn your own sins before you condemn (those of) others. America has a rich history, but it made some major mistakes and committed quite some crimes against humanity itself. If Pelosi wants to give America its moral authority back, perhaps she should focus a bit on the issue of slavery and on now Native Americans were treated. Having said that, one could also argue that there’s no use in talking about all the crimes different countries committed so long ago, and I would tend to agree. We have to look at the world now, not at how it was 100 or 150 or 200 years ago. Otherwise, we might just as well all start apologizing to each other for everything we ever did, for no people and no country is without sin.

What’s interesting in the article at the CSM is that they too don’t mention the opinions of distinguished scholars like Bernard Lewis, Andrew Mango and Norman Stone. The pro-genocide camp seems to have convinced most journalists that there is little to no question about whether or not what happened constitutes genocide and that the only ones asking questions about it are Turks or those supported in one way or another by the Turkish government. In fact, of course, there are quite some experts who argue that what happened was terrible, but that it doesn’t constitute genocide because the Ottoman government appears to have opposed the slaughter of hundreds of thousands of Armenian Christians. Bernard Lewis, I’ll repeat it again, said that the Ottoman government tried to prevent the Armenians from being killed and Stone rightfully pointed out that (with the emphasis Meltem used) “There were indeed well-documented and horrible massacres of the deportee columns, and the Turks themselves tried more than 1,300 men for these crimes in 1916, convicted many and executed several. None of this squares with genocide, as we classically understand it.”

In other words, there’s more to it - or there should be more to it - than realpolitik. Having said that, you won’t hear Turks complain when the US Congress decided not to vote on the resolution out of realpolitik considerations of course. And the all too real political situation in the world right now doesn’t give the US room to condemn Turkey for something as controversial as this. Now is not the time to insult Turkey and to turn Turkey into an enemy. As the Christian Science Monitor recaps, that’s also how most Congressmen seem to feel by now and that’s why Nancy Pelosi has indicated that she won’t even let the full House vote on the resolution.

For more (and for an opposing view generally) I’d say head on over to The Moderate Voice. Joe points out that there’s something very troubling going on in Turkey right now: some Islamists and ultranationalists seem to partially blame Jews for the resolution. This is not just an overreaction, it’s also a potentially dangerous development for Jews living in Turkey. The Turkish government should speak out against these sentiments immediately and condemn them for what they are: anti-Semites.

Michael A. Moodian, meanwhile, accuses Bush of insulting Armenian-Americans by opposing the resolution. Mr. Moodian points out in his column that the American Heritage Dictionary defines genocide as follows: “the systematic and planned extermination of an entire national, racial, political or ethnic group,” which ironically weakens his case severely since research has shown many distinguished scholars that the massacres weren’t planned by the Ottoman government and since many Armenians were allowed to continue to live in Turkey - only the Armenians living in a part of Anatolia were deported.

Thus all of this mean that there was per definition no genocide? No, it could be that additional research in the Ottoman archives shows that the Ottoman government did order the killings of the Armenian deportees. What it does indicate is that the judgment should be left to historians, who can take all the time they need to investigate this matter, and not to politicians whose main concern is reelection.

4 Responses to “Genocide Resolution Going Down Down Down”
on 18 Oct 2007 at 1:15 pm
1 E_martin

sorry for my poor englisch but:

Truth should set all denair of Armenian genocide FREE!

Armenina Genocide and “American values” and moral - if there can be am oral in politic-

Some politicans are making business with the dead bodies of Armenian people as exchange for turksi support
!
You mean US should act in the same way as did german empire during the Armenian Genocide? This is to side with ea criminal govermont to deny and kill the truth ! NOT supprised at all . is there any human and American values and moral left ?

ONE thing you have forgotteh. The Bases which US are using in Turkey is build on the home land of those Armenians , which were deported by Turks and killed in mass in 1915-1915 . The same is truth about the routs which are used by US in Turkey. I think White House should tell this truth to the Americans, before attacing US congress fro the resolutionon Armenian Genocide.
Which are the American values? TO support Turkey in its denial policy for another 85 years?

Truth will set Turkey and allo of you free !

read more:

http://www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,1672790,00.html

regards
eddy

on 18 Oct 2007 at 2:48 pm
2 Paul

Norman Stone isn’t the only professor speaking on the issue, but you wouldn’t know it from your impartial reporting:

http://www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,1672790,00.html

on 18 Oct 2007 at 3:45 pm
3 Nihat

Yeah, about that Time article by S. Power, a prominent genocide scholar if I am not mistaken… There is nothing in it that can be construed as refuting anything Norman Stone says in his Chicago Tribune commentary. Except this: “the House resolution tells the truth. –signed S.P.” Some answer, I should say, which is already analyzed by CS Monitor.

Does this show a major disconnect between the historian and the genocide scholar or what? Between the two disciplines? If so, I feel that the two wouldn’t even be allowed to sit across a table at a high-school debate competition. It’s so boring and so unintellectual.

on 18 Oct 2007 at 4:29 pm
4 Michael van der Galiën

Personally, I am starting to find the debate to be quite amusing. All arguments hold no water, the ultimate ‘argument’ then becomes: well, because we say so!

http://mvdg.wordpress.com/2007/10/18/genocide-resolution-going-down-down-down/


The Van Der Galiën Gazette All Politics is Local
Oct 18th, 2007 by Jason Steck

Former House Speaker Thomas “Tip” O’Neill famously observed that “all politics is local”. Those searching for an explanation for Democrats’ curiously-timed interest in condemning Turkey for “genocide” committed 90 years ago under an entirely different government enmeshed at the time in a brutal civil war may now have that answer:

With the resolution’s chances of passage apparently doomed, senior Democrats were urging Pelosi, who has a large population of ethnic Armenians in her district, to declare victory with the committee vote and move away from the issue.

The good news, however, is that enough sponsors have dropped away that the bill now appears doomed. It is not necessary to claim that no “genocide” occurred in order to recognize that this is a poor time to make it the centerpiece of U.S.-Turkey relations. Those Democrats who rightly criticized the Bush administration for treating allies with moral arrogance have now found themselves vulnerable to the same affliction. Fortunately, barely enough of them seem to have rediscovered a more sensible set of priorities.
http://mvdg.wordpress.com/2007/10/18/all-politics-is-local


Oct. 17, 2007, Stop Byzantine Politics; Deal Straight With Turkey
U.S. Congress' actions are well-meaning but misguided
By EDWARD SCHUMACHER-MATOS Copyright 2007 Houston Chronicle

ISTANBUL, Turkey — Self-righteousness feels good, but before Congress meddles any further in the question of Armenian genocide in Turkey a century ago, members should take a slow boat down the Bosporus.

More than just the stunning glories here of 1,500 years of Byzantine and Ottoman empires — massive domes of the Haga Sophia, the soaring magic of the Blue Mosque, the splendor of Topkapi Palace — they would see something more fundamental to the future than what happened to the Armenians in the past, however awful.

They would see a muscular, dynamic Muslim country in the midst of an extraordinary transition that will influence the direction of all the Muslim world, but whose uncertain success is threatened by the anti-genocide bill.

They would see a country with a conflicted 84-year history of authoritarian secular governments being led for the first time by a Muslim party that, instead of imposing sharia, is writing a new democratic constitution and negotiating to take the country into the European Union. They would find a technologically advanced country of skyscrapers, sparkling malls and fashionable people, the women with or without headscarves.

They would see a country that has long been the only Muslim one in NATO, a strategic crossroads of shipping and oil pipelines and a loyal U.S. ally. Huge bases here are the staging point for U.S. supplies into neighboring Iraq and — when the time comes — evacuation from it.

But Turkey also is a country complicated by its own Islamic fundamentalists, a politically touchy military, nationalist opposition to the EU demands and, biggest wild card of all, a separatist uprising.

Some 30,000 people have died over the past 23 years in the fighting with ethnic Kurdish separatists. Thought to be largely resolved, the conflict has flared again as terrorists raid from sanctuaries across the border in Iraq's Kurdish zone. Fifteen Turkish soldiers were killed last week alone.

The attacks are stoking a streak of anti-Americanism here shared right to left, and by secular and cleric. On top of anger for the Iraq war making their neighborhood more violent, there is a widely held belief that the United States is passive, if not complicit, in the Kurdish raids. Unnamed Turkish military commanders grumble darkly in the press that the United States, in supporting Iraq's Kurds, is arming the Turkish separatists.

Using the popular nickname for the ordinary Turkish soldier, a banner raised by students last week at Istanbul University read, "The muderer of Mehmetcik is America."

And now blithely threatening to knock out the legs from this whole sensitive table setting is the U.S. Congress.

Last week the House Foreign Affairs Committee passed a resolution branding as "genocide" the Turkish slaughter during World War I of what most historians say was between 650,000 and 1.5 million Armenians. Looking to please Armenian-Americans and mount a humanitarian high horse, a majority of the full House of Representatives has signed on as co-sponsors. Some house members are now backing down, but the infighting continues.

Most Turks are livid. "We're fed up with the U.S.," wrote one columnist in a typical reaction across the political spectrum.

Anti-American spite now puts Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, a moderate Islamist, under even more public pressure to send troops into Iraq to chase the Kurdish separatists. An angry parliament on Wednesday authorized him to do so.

American commanders say they are powerless to stop the Turks. Both the Iraqi army and Iraqi Kurds may retaliate, and even we could be pulled in, worsening the chaos in Iraq.

So, are the Turks right about the Armenians? No. Most just don't know it, and the proposed anti-genocide bill offends their identity.

The brunt of the slaughter took place between 1915 and 1917, when the British were invading at Gallipoli in the west and the Russians were attacking in the east with the aid of Armenian guerillas. The Ottoman Empire was in its last, desperate gasps. An order to move Armenians out of the eastern zone somehow — historians differ how — degenerated into an extermination campaign of executions and forced marches in the Syrian desert.

Modern Turkey was created from Ottoman remnants. The country's leaders have been single-minded in building a new national identity that sets religious and ethnic differences aside. Part of that has been a sugarcoating of the Armenian massacres in textbooks as smaller and part of a civil war in which both sides suffered. A law making it illegal "to insult the Turkish national identity" enforces the now commonly believed version.

Just last week, two editors of the Turkish Armenian weekly Agos were found guilty by an Istanbul court of violating the law for reprinting a genocide article.

Turkey will have to live up to its past and is slowly doing so. The sentence of the two editors was suspended, a political consensus agrees to abolish the law, the EU is forcing further opening and the government itself recently proposed an international commission to open secret state archives and review the record.

The passion of Armenian-Americans is understandable, but a wise Congress would put more fundamental U.S. interests first. Stopping genocide is a duty. But history, especially someone else's, is usually best left to historians. What if other governments passed bills on our treatment of American Indians? Go back far enough and we all live in glass houses.

Schumacher-Matos is a former New York Times reporter and Wall Street Journal editor. He can be e-mailed at esm@schumacher-matos.com .


EDITORIAL Making Things Harder
Our position: House panel's move to set history straight on Turkish genocide is terrible timing.
October 17, 2007

The shock waves are still reverberating after a U.S. House panel passed a resolution denouncing as genocide the 1915-1917 killings of 1.5 million Armenians by Ottoman Turks. Backers of the resolution may be doing their part to set history straight, but they're also risking U.S. security. The measure has truth, but not timing, in its favor.

Seventy percent of supplies for U.S. troops in Iraq have been coming through Turkey. After the House Foreign Relations Committee passed the resolution last week, Turkey's leaders threatened to halt that supply traffic through their country if the full House approved the measure. That could delay shipments of critical equipment to U.S. troops, including bomb-resistant vehicles.

Meanwhile, Turkey is poised to send its own troops into northern Iraq to pursue Kurdish guerrillas. Such an incursion would roil the one relatively stable part of Iraq, and could lead other countries to intervene. House approval of the resolution would make it harder for U.S. leaders to restrain Turkey.

Eight former U.S. secretaries of state have urged Congress not to pass the resolution. Besides pointing out the threat to U.S. security, they've warned it could undermine efforts at reconciliation between Turkey and Armenia.

A moderate Islamic democracy, Turkey is the kind of ally that the United States needs to cultivate, not alienate, in its bid to win hearts and minds in the Muslim world.

Ultimately, Turkey's leaders must come to grips with history. But a resolution that tries to prod them into that process at this inopportune time is bound to backfire.

Comments
#1
Yesterday

A well known strategy for defeating your enemy in a war is to sever his supply lines and thus denying him food, water, fuel, ammunition, dry clothes, replacement of vehicles, parts, weapons, etc. for him to continue his efforts.

Pelosi and Reid have tried and failed to halt the Iraq war effort by other means so they now have gambled on the Turkish government to react to their resolution by refusing our use of a vital airbase in Turkey plus staging and shipping areas to resupply our fighting troops in Iraq.

Aiding and abetting the enemy in time of war is called
TREASON and the penalty for TREASON is DEATH.

I have no compunction against calling the House members who voted for this resolution along with their leaderes TRAITORS and urging that they be charged with TREASON. If it takes having the FBI, Federal Marshals, or even the National Guard to march into the House of Representatives and serve them with their warrants and lead them out to jail, DO IT. I am tired of these embedded foreign agents working against the country, sabotaging our military, while pretending to be patriots and loyal to the Government. They are TRAITORS.pure and simple.

If Congress is so all fired up about genocide, they don't have to look for it in Darfur or Turkey. Look just at America and what our forefathers did to the American Indian since we began settling this country. We slaughtered them, we stole their land, we forced them to move completely out from East of the Mississippi River. We broke virutally every treaty we had them sign and ended up decimating and in cases totally eliminating whole tribes. Does this little fact escape the noble Congressmen ? Where is their resolution on that ? Hang the bloody lot and replace them all. I think it is getting to be time for a French Style revolution and clean the whole lot out and start over.
SentinelBlather
Daytona Beach, FL
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#2
Yesterday

Reading the drive-by media is always a negative experience. The Sentinel always says they are "moderate" and point to their recomendation of George Bush over Al Gore.

If President Bush were pushing this Bill for Armenians his name would be all over the article. There would be multiple negative quotes from democrats. Look at the article and you do not see Nancy Pelosi's name anywhere. Do you see quotes from any republican? President Clinton asked Speaker Hasert to withdraw the bill in 1996. Has President Clinton made any statement about this bill?

Conclusion: Democrats and the "drive-by media" hate Bush and blame him for everything. If Hillary wins next November and democrats control both houses, who will get the blame when somrthing goes wrong? Oh I forgot. The drive-by media will not write that anything can or did go wrong when democrats are in power. Where is the editorial that the democrats have sent zero appropriations bills to the President?
Ben H
Orlando, FL
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#3
Yesterday

Let he with no sin, cast the first stone.

Our genocide of the native Americans eliminates us as having no sin.
Gloom and Doom
Silver Spring, MD
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#4
Yesterday

Once again, the buffoons in Congress are wasting the taxpayers time and money on some stupid crap regarding Turkey in the earlyu 1900's. Who gives a crap. This is a job for the historians, not Congress. We should strap these fools to poles, tar and feather them and load them up on the next flat car leaving Washington. Damn.
Chris
Orlando, FL
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#5
Yesterday

If this is what it takes to end the war, so be it.
Alan
Orlando, FL
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#6
23 hrs ago

Clearly an act of treason while we are at war. How these people sustain the level of ignorance and utter contempt for thier own country amazes me.
Attilla the Honey
Cocoa, FL
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#7
18 hrs ago

Chris wrote:
If this is what it takes to end the war, so be it.
It is frightening that there are "Chris's" in America for whom any effort, any sacrifice, any shedding of blood, expenditure of money, materiel, and human labor is just never worth the effort to keep our Nation safe and free. Throughout the entire war for the past several years we still are talking about deaths of American servicemen and women less than that of many little tiny Pacific Islands we wrested from Jap hands on our approach to Japan. I wish you had watched "War" and comprehended the loss of life and limb those that WW2 cost the Allies in their fight against the Axis powers. I wish also, every American could realize today that had we opened our eyes and not been isolationists, appeasers, pacifists in the years that Japan and Germany were slowly building up their war machines and we and Britain had squashed them like toads early, millions of lives would have been saved - not a few thousand, but millions of lives. Roosevelt and the lot had to be dragged into the war and we were asleep so long our entry was delayed by ample time to allow Hitler and Tojo to damn near split the world between them. It must not be allowed to happen again. Little twerps like Chris who whine and whimper over this conflict in Iraq better hope it stays in iraq and doesn't end up right here in River City. They don't like his kind particularly and he won't last long.
Snapped
Santa Ana, CA
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#8
18 hrs ago

Buckle your seat belts and get ready to invade somewhere!!!
no to cookie cutters
Orlando, FL
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#9
18 hrs ago

modern day democrats will sacrifice the safety, security and prosperity of the U.S.-- intentionally -- any chance they get.

al qaeda and democratic party, same talking points.
no to cookie cutters
Orlando, FL
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#10
18 hrs ago

Ben H wrote:
Let he with no sin, cast the first stone.
Our genocide of the native Americans eliminates us as having no sin.
go to hell and come into the present day, you moron.
no to cookie cutters
Orlando, FL
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#11
18 hrs ago

Chris wrote:
If this is what it takes to end the war, so be it.
ditto, above.
Chris
Orlando, FL
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#12
15 hrs ago

Attilla the Honey wrote:

It is frightening that there are "Chris's" in America for whom any effort, any sacrifice, any shedding of blood, expenditure of money, materiel, and human labor is just never worth the effort to keep our Nation safe and free. Throughout the entire war for the past several years we still are talking about deaths of American servicemen and women less than that of many little tiny Pacific Islands we wrested from Jap hands on our approach to Japan. I wish you had watched "War" and comprehended the loss of life and limb those that WW2 cost the Allies in their fight against the Axis powers. I wish also, every American could realize today that had we opened our eyes and not been isolationists, appeasers, pacifists in the years that Japan and Germany were slowly building up their war machines and we and Britain had squashed them like toads early, millions of lives would have been saved - not a few thousand, but millions of lives. Roosevelt and the lot had to be dragged into the war and we were asleep so long our entry was delayed by ample time to allow Hitler and Tojo to damn near split the world between them. It must not be allowed to happen again. Little twerps like Chris who whine and whimper over this conflict in Iraq better hope it stays in iraq and doesn't end up right here in River City. They don't like his kind particularly and he won't last long.
I'll take my chances against the freedom fighters that manage to make it over here on their dhows.

http://www.topix.net/forum/source/orlando-sentinel/TF7VCBVE89BJT50UD


Many Reasons To Vote Against Armenian Genocide Resolution
October 18, 2007
U.S. Rep. Ron Klein, with his yes vote on the Armenian genocide resolution in the House Foreign Affairs Committee last week, placed our troops in Iraq in greater jeopardy, harmed Israel's good relations with Turkey, endangered Turkey's large Jewish community and insulted our most important Muslim ally.

Armenians deserve our deepest sympathy for the tragedy that befell them almost a century ago. But to cause so much harm to American and Jewish interests over a long-ago event, is the height of folly, particularly when we are at war.

Let's hope Rep. Klein will redeem himself by voting no when and if this misguided resolution, opposed by every former living secretary of state, reaches the House floor.

Leslie D. Simon

http://www.sun-sentinel.com/news/opinion/sfl-pbmail934nboct18,0,3248269.story

COMMENTS
Waltham, MA
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#1
5 hrs ago

Turkey should get over itself. It constantly hampers our efforts in Iraq. The Kurds are the only people in Iraq that have and sense and legitimacy. Turkey is afraid of an autonomous Iraq, as well they should be. The Kurds should be autonomous in Iraq--and Turkey.

The Turks are afraid of a non-binding resolution that simply states the truth about what happened generations ago. Bid deal! They should just say,'So What!' They should pass a similar resolution condemning slavery in the US in the early part of our history and we should all have a BooHoo party about it.

They are a NATO ally, they should act like it.
Kathy
Boynton Beach, FL
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#2
5 hrs ago

Voice of Reason wrote:
Turkey should get over itself. It constantly hampers our efforts in Iraq. The Kurds are the only people in Iraq that have and sense and legitimacy. Turkey is afraid of an autonomous Iraq, as well they should be. The Kurds should be autonomous in Iraq--and Turkey.
The Turks are afraid of a non-binding resolution that simply states the truth about what happened generations ago. Bid deal! They should just say,'So What!' They should pass a similar resolution condemning slavery in the US in the early part of our history and we should all have a BooHoo party about it.
They are a NATO ally, they should act like it.
So should we.
WPB
Boca Raton, FL
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#3
4 hrs ago

I imagine a few folks in the U.S. would be upset if Iran's parliament passed a resolution condemning us for genocidal acts against native Americans 150 years ago.
Bubba
Miami Beach, FL
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#4
4 hrs ago

WPB wrote:
I imagine a few folks in the U.S. would be upset if Iran's parliament passed a resolution condemning us for genocidal acts against native Americans 150 years ago.
Our government which represents us as a people is the biggest hypocrisy in the world and you people wonder why the rest of the world can not stand us any more.
All we have to do is do some soul searching once in a while and have a look in the mirror.


From The Times October 17, 2007 Stirring Up The Past, Jeopardising The Future
Bronwen Maddox: World Briefing

The most extraordinary spectacle of the past week has been the apparent desire of the US Congress to pronounce as genocide the 1915 massacre of Armenians by Turks, even though there is nothing more provocative to Turkey, and no worse time at which to do it.

Why take up an historic cause with such passion? And why now, when the most precarious planks of US foreign policy rest on already fraying relations with Turkey? It is not just the Bush Administration that has asked Nancy Pelosi, the Democratic Speaker of the House of Representatives, to desist. Eight former secretaries of state, of all political hues, have signed a petition calling for the same.

The House’s move reflects the power of the Armenian lobby, which has cherished this cause above anything more modern. It found a moment when Congress was receptive; Democratic leaders have been looking for ways to attack the values and tactics of the Administration’s foreign policy. But this is a bad way to do it.

Of course, Turkey might just mark down Congress’s gestures as an example of the contradictions thrown up by the separation of powers in US government. It could say that alleged actions by the Ottoman empire, a decade before the founding of the modern republic of Turkey, are none of its concern. But it won’t. The pity is that this frivolous move could have serious consequences: for stability in Iraq, for US forces there, for Nato, and as the markets have noticed, for the price of oil.

This was never a subject on which Congress should have set to work. It has no business pronouncing on an historical debate on which there is still enormous controversy. The massacre occurred a year into the First World War when millions of Armenians, who had fled the expansion of Russia and its satellites, tried to set up an independent state in Anatolia. The Armenian lobby says that Turks killed 1.5 million of them; Turkey denies that the number was that high, and says that many Turks died too. Documents supposed to record the atrocities have been disputed as forgeries.

Now the Committee on Foreign Affairs of the House of Representatives has passed a resolution “finding” the massacre to be a genocide. It was not unanimous – 27 in favour, 21 against – but 226 of the 435 members of the House helped to write the resolution. Next month it will be reviewed by Congress.

This reflects the power of the million people of Armenian extraction in the US. In 15 years, the US has given Armenia more than $1 billion of aid.

House Democrats have said that the resolution stands for a wider commitment to uphold American values and to use foreign policy for preventing genocide. But why pick on a century-old dispute, rather than the affront represented by, say, Guantanamo Bay or genocide in Darfur? It is perverse to think that by taking a stand about long-past events you will uphold values that more recent actions have jeopardised.

The advocates of this backward-looking condemnation are also open to the charge that they are recklessly endangering honourable goals of current policy.

The US has spent weeks pleading with Turkey not to send troops over the border with Iraq in pursuit of rebels. It may well fail. Any incursion would inflame the only part of Iraq that is at peace – and jeopardise US troops, who get more than a third of their supplies over the border.

There is plenty for Congress to do in challenging current US foreign policy. The 1915 massacre would be better left to historians.
Have your say

For those who think that the Armanians have all the write to show this as a genocide, and those who agree with this, I would like to remind you that, Turkey have offerd the Armanian politicians for the archives of both contries to be opend, but had no responce. They know perfectly that if the historians bring up the archives the so called genocide will be prooved wrong, as many Turks were killed also by the Armanians during the first world war. If the Armanians are so sure of the genoside then bring up the archives and let the world know the exact truth.

Murat, London, England

Brownen,
Before you write on such a sensitive issue, please do your research properly. I oppose the resolution but your piece is typical nonsense of the foreign policy establishment. You think this has NOT been left to historians? There is an overwhelming majority of historians who are not Armenian who accept what happened was genocide, including Lemkin who coined the term genocide. Churchill called it a holocaust. What you miss is that Turkey will never let this be honestly decided by historians because the outcome will be unfavourable to them - hell they jailed their own Nobel Laureate Orhan Pamuk for mentioning 1mln Armenians died.
This resolution is about forcing Turkey to confront its past because cajoling it has not worked for 92 years and counting.

Chris, Washington DC,

I think the world is failing in it's duty to hold to account a country that is currently implementing measures which are contrary to human rights. By this I mean that we should all be holding our US counterparts to account for their dealings in Guantanamo Bay. A country which insists on imposing it's own sacred values on others.

I think recognising the 1915 attrocities, those of the Nazi era, Pol Pot's nasty regime etc... is just as important as recognising what is happening today. This type of debate raises one essential point - within the past century of genocidal regimes and cruel dictatorships we are still far far away from preventing such inhumane activity in an efficient manner.

What a horrific thought.

Nilesh Lad, London, UK

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/columnists/bronwen_maddox/article2673395.ece?Submitted=true

To Tigran Manukyan, London, UK
These events happened before the Turkish Republic. If you want to accuse someone, then go to the offsprings of the Ottoman Emperor who ordered his Armenian subjects to move to the southern parts of his empire during 1915 winter undere severe war conditions. His grandchildren are living happily in France.

Would you, then, wish to talk about the genocide of the Armenian militia applied against the Azeris just a decade ago? That was your real genocide.

Besides, read history before accusing someone. The Ottoman Emperor did not order them to move for no reason. The ancestors of the same militia killed thousands of Ottoman villagers in the area. This was the reason of this mass migration. Do not forget, Armenians in Istanbul and Izmir were untouched during the same 1915 preiod. If it were genocide they would be killed too.

Cenan ILIKCA, Ankara, Turkey

You are not simply contradicting a political movement, or a mere campaign. This issue is something that gropes the heart, the very essence of a person's sense of morality and righteousness -and the righteousness of all humankind.

The fact that you're so indifferent to a crime against humanity is plain degrading.

The memories of those dark years are still vivid in many people's minds. And the reason the resolution is being accepted now, is because of failures in the past to do what is just.

The bottom line is, no country in the world, least of all the US would have ANY right to make out that they promote ANY sense of human impartiality, or that they're tackling crime, or fighting terror, if an issue such as the recognition of the Armenian Genocide lies forgotten and unresolved -as a stain on the soul of the nation and its people.

Tigran Manukyan, London, UK

"The House’s move reflects the power of the Armenian lobby, which has cherished this cause above anything more modern."

Were we to replace Armenian with Zionist or Jewish, I have no doubt that our writer would be facing the ire of Zionists and branded an anti-semite and revisionist.

Churchill called it not genocide but Holocaust (the first use of the word in the 1920s), TE Lawrence recalls the events (a prime witness) as do Morgenthau, the Times Correspondent at the time and many others. No need to mention the myriad photos that are now appearing from German sources and the documents in Ottoman Turkish (written in Arabic script before the 1928 reform and which doubtless Ms Maddox has not read), both of which foreshadow in almost sinister exactitude the cattle-wagons loaded with people and Nazi doublespeak.

I could add personal accounts I have heard from the now very old children of Turks living at the time.

What else do we require?


Francis Tuttle, Madrid,

The timing of the Armenina resolution hinges the date the next US president takes office. The Democrats in Congress would like to end the war in Iraq before then. Note all major _Democratic_ presidential candidates have said that, should US troops stil be in Iraq when they take office, they do not see withdrawing US troops even by the _end_ of their four year term. Better the war end before then.

Congress has the power to do end the war at any time by cutting off funds. The Democrats lack the votes from their own party (and would want some supporting Republican votes) to act so directly to end the war.

So they have chosen this as an indirect method, hoping to so antagonaize Turkey that Turkey to cease to allow US forces to base in Turkey or US supplies to pass through Turkey.

The US Congress has already acted on the Armenian question several times before, by the way. I believe last time was in 1984. This comes up again as an indirect way to end US presence in Iraq.

Drew Sullivan, San Jose, California

The Ottoman administration was accused and acquitted in the Malta tribunal, right after the war. That was law. This is politics. If you have an accepted definition of a genocide, you cannot call any killing you like a genocide. Bosnian genocide was tried and accepted. Which is the lawful trial that is the basis of so many insults and accusations? And does Ms.Pelosi think the Turkish public will forgive and forget this attempt when/if Democrats come to power? I think not.

Niran Elci, Istanbul, Turkey

This futile discussion of the type: 'we did not do it, and anyway what you did was far worse' is enough proof of the fact that Congress should have left this matter alone. It solves nothing. In my opinion concentrating on the past is a sign of impotence to deal with the present. If the events of 1915 should be remembered, why not by a Turko-Armenian joint celebration of remembrance, reconciliation and hope? You cannot help the dead any more, but you can help the living.

Hein Maassen, Leidschendam, The Netherlands

If you've read the article written in 1915 in The Times, you will realize that this was genocide.

It's important that the few countries who have not yet recognized the massacres and forced deportations as an attempt, largely successful, to get rid of the Armenians do so, otherwise this cannot be laid to rest. Armenians are tired of harking back to the past. They want to look to the future and foster good relations with their neighbours. They do not want to have to fight against denial; they do not want to have a large chunk of their history erased, a chunk that is also part of Turkey's history. It's as if they never existed. Every single country has something to be ashamed of, but most have admitted it - Germany is a case in point.

Please do not mention irrelevancies. Those memories are vivid, however many years pass; they cannot be suppressed with denial. Denial, it is said, is a second genocide.

Sybil


Sybil, Windsor, Britain

"proved by the historians" says one commentator. Such matters as genocide are crimes and come under the jurisdiction of courts. What is a legislature doing commenting on a matter that has never been brought to a formal trial or inquest?
Politicians and historians form opinions and state them. Decisions on whether or not something is a crime are a different social process and any attempt by an elected legislature to pronounce on the matter is a travesty of democracy. The US congress should review this committee's activities immediately and very openly - starting with a list of the lobbyists involved and the committe members' campaign sponsors.

KR, Stockport,

If you are going to comment about the Armenian Genocide then at least take the time and trouble to look into seriously rather than spout (and apparently accept) the boring misleading, ill informed and biased statements put out over the last ninety years by apologists who should know better. A good starting point would be to read the relative chapters (it wouldn't take you long) in Henry Morgenthau's memoirs (US Ambassador in Turkey at the time) and the so-called 'Blue Book' recounting the many many horrific incidents painstakingly recorded by eminent UK historians Toynbee and Bryce. Like some of the correspondents have said - when is the 'right' time?

TJP, Bedford, UK

Azer, Galveston, TX
Can you please tell how many Armenians live in Baku now? The answer is: zero. None! They were all forced to leave. So, what exactly you are complaining about? Azeris (Turk people) tried to do a second mini-genocide, but this time Armenians showed that they are the force to be reconed with. And Russia helped them to survive. So what exactly do you want from Armenians? Not to fight for their survival? And why you are blaming Russia? It's has always been friend and ally to Armenia and helped this country in the hour of need.

Oleg, Toronto, Canada

Mehmet would yoube kinnde enough to explain how the war in Algeria,as tragic and violent as it has been, could be qualified of genocide? Would you also apply the same qualification to the sluaghtering of the Algerian harkis, or that of the Messalists?

We live in a global world of global confusion. Losing so deeply the elementary sens of such words is a much greater danger to the global destiny of mankind than it is commonly understood.

Pierre, Paris, France

The Armenian lobby may be powerful but the reason this has come up now is little to do with them but much more to do with deliberately upsetting the Turks such that they restrict USAF access & use of airbase(s) in Turkey for onward supply to Iraq.

In other words, it's the Democrats once again playing politics with the military in time of war.

Stan(expat), Texas, USA

USA Please, please Vote Republikan!

1984, London. UK,

What I definitely take as a genocide is the near complete extermination of Native Americans by the United States, mass murder of Algerians by the French, killing of millions of Jews by the Germans (not Nazis). African slave trade that entailed uprooting of 30 million Africans in 200 years is nothing less than a cultural genocide. Hundreds of thousands people were killed by the Armenians and Turks at the terrible events of the First World War, when Ottoman Empire was backstabbed by many of its own Armenian citizenry. Who do groups of politicians think they are to judge such events one-sidedly?

Mehmet Ak, Ankara, Turkey

The Turks should accept the murderous past of their Ottoman ancestors and move one, like the Germans.

Subramaniam, Paris ,

To Jennifer.
There are number of reasons why this issue should be handled differently. Armenian are not angels. They are a fort-post of Russia these days. They have ethinically cleansed all of Armenia from its Azerbaijany inhabitants. They have occupied a large portion of Azerbaijan. Armenia achieives this with the help of Russian army (stationed in Armenia) and imperialistic circles in Moscow. See, despite all these they have received $1 bln in aid from the US. Several hundred US congressman support their cause! They have been told explanations and they accept them.
Now they decide to call 1915 events as a genocide. It is fine. But be objective - commemorate the killings of azerbaijanies by the armenians and russians in Baki (30 people just in 4 days). The nikcname for the armenian prime minister of the time was "butcher". %45 of Everan residents were azerbaijanies. Armenians do not hear anything of this. They go directly to politicians whom they can manupilate easily

Azer, Galveston, TX

It is unbelievable unfair to consider Armenian resolution as unnecessary as most unbiased historians acknowledge it took place. Do you understand what 1,5 million figure is? Passion - yes it should be taken up by passion and approved for those the sake of innocent souls who died in 1915 and for future generations to know and avoid these horrifying events. Turkey was throwing tantrums for decades but powerful nations, like France and Russia, went all the way through and labeled these massacres a genocide. The first one in 20th century and hopefully last one.

Brad Olney, Baltimore, USA

I solely agree with the ideas menioned in the article. Before to recognise any genocide in any parlament or by any goverment it has to be investigated and proved by the historians. But now what the americans are doing is assuming the armenian claims as the historical fact without any prove.
It basicly looks like by rising this "genocide fact'" armenians are being used as a political tool specificly when US aproaches to elections or when it is needed in its foreign policy to punish some countries.

Elnur
Baku - Azebaijan

Elnur, Baku, Azerbaijan

It is amazing how revenge politics at home is slowly isolating the US. Polititions on both sides, ignoring the interests of the nation, have embarked on actions that make the other side look bad. They are so intoxicated with power that they are making the US laughing stock of the world. The world is at loss to understand the declared American values are constantly in conflict with the actions. While the Congress and the Whitehouse are at each others throats,the old enemies are laying foundations for a new power block that may include Asia, Middle East, China and Russia.

Maqbool Qurashi, Leesburg, Florida

I wonder why it is important to recognize genocide by International Law and yet this is just one genocide "between friends" that is not polite to mention in public.

Do you understand what your point of view is expressing here -- that mass murder on a scale of 1.5 million people is something you will help to sweep under the carpet, because it's inconvenient for Turkey's image of itself? It has always been inconvenient - at this time and at every other time over the past few decades it's been brought up.

It is foolish to accept that while Germany must acknowledge the crimes of the past, Turkey (also an ally of Germany during the years of World War I, when this genocide took place) somehow gets a free pass. Why is genocide not a matter for public notice or for international concern?

Jennifer Higgins, San Francisco, California USA

This resolution is a profoundly irresponsible piece of posturing. It is sadly typical of the Democrats, who care more about making statements than taking action. Genocide it might have been - or maybe there's a better word. Irrespective, this is foolish, dangerous, and is a fine illustration of how the Democrats are simply not fit for power.

Nick, Rotherham, UK

This article sends a great message to those in Darfur who are committing Genocide. Do it quickly as possible, because once it is over, the issue will be left to historians!!!. The Armenian Genocide still continues until today as Armenians and Christians in Turkey suffer persecution and discrimination. Armenian Christian monuments continue to be destroyed to remove traces of their existence. The Armenian Genocide is well documented in the U.S archives and the perpetrators have never been brought to justice. The outcome of these events is the main reason why Hitler committed the Holocaust and that Genocides continue to today. Bronwan Maddox is ignorant of the history, and ingnorant on how such human rights issues harm the interests of the United States if they are not dealt with politically. Islam was a major factor in the Armenian genocide, just like September 11 was to the United States. Armenians were considered the "Yankees of the Orient" before the Genocide.

David Whitman, Sydney, Australia

Is there such a thing as convenient and inconvenient time to bring about truth and recognize inhumane deeds? I think not. I agree with you on the fact that US should engage in current problems such as Darfur and Guantanomo Bay. But the Armenian should not be excluded.

xanekka, Yangon, Myanmar


Thursday, 18 October 2007
Congress And The Armenian Genocide Resolution: Once Burned, Twice Shy?

By PHK

You might think that this country’s troubling experience in Iraq would make America’s legislators think more than once before landing feet first in the middle of yet another ethnically based seemingly intractable Middle Eastern conflict no matter how innocuous, and righteously right one side’s version of the truth appears.

Obviously not - or at least not until, "increasing criticism and high-profile defections from among the bill's supporters," suggest that it would no longer muster enough votes to pass.

Last week the U.S. House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee voted 27-21 to support the Armenian Genocide Resolution and over the weekend Speaker Nancy Pelosi was stubbornly insisting on bringing it to a vote on the House floor before the beginning of the November 16 legislative recess. On Monday, the resolution had nearly 230 sponsors and cosponsors and a companion resolution in the Senate had just over 30 if the statistics I found on the Armenian National Committee’s website which is devoted to lobbying Congress on the issue are up-to-date but the numbers have now declined.

Whatever term used to describe the sorry plight of countless Armenians who lived, fought and died in the central and eastern part of what is now Turkey during and shortly after World War I that was then. This is now.

True: painful history cannot and should not be erased. On the other hand, for even the most troubling history to be credible it needs to be viewed from all available vantages. And the viewpoints and the biases of the protagonists need to be made clear. Moreover, the events themselves need to be placed in the context of the times and locations in which they occurred.

This is just one problem with the text of the Armenian Genocide Resolution that now faces members of Congress.

Taking the Resolution at its word, the distinct impression is that the Ottoman Empire (which expired in 1923) carried out mass murders, resettlements and expulsions of nearly two million innocent, non-combatant Armenians for no apparent reason between 1915 and 1923 and these murderous actions are comparable to Hitler’s later treatment of the Jews.

From my understanding of Ottoman history, such heinous actions, however, rarely if ever occurred unprovoked in the multiethnic multi-religious Ottoman Empire. Think of the far more recent heavy-fisted Russian responses to the latest Chechen separatist insurrections or the US reaction to 9/11. Both resemble the proverbial killing of gnats with a baseball bat. This is also how the Ottomans often responded to rebellions by their various independence-driven subjects throughout the shrinking Empire in the 19th and early 20th centuries.

All about land?

During the 19th and early 20th centuries, most, if not all, Ottoman reprisals were reactions to actions of ethnically-based independence fighters who were seeking independence for the parts of the Empire where they and their ancestors had lived for generations. In eastern Turkey, as in parts of the Balkans, and in Iraq today, sometimes more than two separatist groups fought over the same city, town, orchard, lake or mountain thus making the situation even more difficult to untangle. Assassinations, retributions and reprisals among the various groups who represented different ethnicities, religions and even political stripes ran rampant throughout the Empire as the Sultan’s power weakened over the decades after the French Revolution and the Napoleonic wars and nationalist ideas exploded.

Yet nowhere, for instance, does the Armenian Genocide Resolution even hint that the largest ethnic groups that had been living for centuries in Eastern Turkey – Armenians, Greeks, Kurds and Turks – were, at the time, all battling for control of some of the same turf or that the Ottoman authorities were using force to respond to these armed insurrections that had erupted on territories ruled by the Sultan since at least 1453.

Nowhere does this Resolution indicate that at the time the Ottoman Empire was also being torn asunder by Russia, the United Kingdom, France, Italy because the Sultan had mistakenly sided with the Germans, the UK was hell bent on creating a clear overland path to India and Russia’s Czar Nicholas II – the Armenians’ principal protector until 1917 - was shopping for a permanent palace with a Bosporus view and the Russian Empire saw support of Armenian revolutionary groups as helpful in achieving that goal.

Nowhere does the Resolution indicate that the post World War I Treaty of Sevres (1920) upon which rest some of the Armenian Genocide Resolution’s claims to the genocide designation was never ratified by the U.S. Congress. Furthermore, nowhere does the Resolution indicate that the Sevres Treaty terms – which included incorporation of parts of eastern Turkey into the short-lived Armenian Republic (1918-1920) among other elements – were overtaken by events and that the subsequent Treaty of Lausanne formed the de facto and de jure basis for the post-World War I settlement of the region.

Implications for the present?

Finally, nowhere did the Armenian Genocide Resolution’s sponsors and cosponsors apparently consider the implications of passage of this seemingly innocuous piece of legislation and its potential impact upon today’s and tomorrow’s events on the eastern rim of the Aegean or broader US interests in the Middle East, Central and Southwest Asia.

Did anyone think before signing on about the Armenian Genocide Resolution’s possible impact on current bilateral negotiations over the yet to be agreed upon border between Turkey and the Republic of Armenia?

Or what about a potential for backlash on the domestic Turkish political scene? Ramifications could include, for instance, potential weakening the hands of the moderate Islamist government and the 70,000 strong Turkish-Armenian community to cope effectively with controversial Article 301 of the Turkish Constitution. This article has become a fetish for the Turkish ultra-right wing which uses it willy-nilly to bludgeon even the most internationally famous Turkish and Turkish-Armenian writers, journalists and intellectuals whenever they try to broach the subject publicly to begin to clear the Turkish air.

Or did the Congressional sponsors and cosponsors consider that passage of the Armenian Genocide Resolution might all too likely strengthen those in the Turkish government and military who would dearly love to see the end of US military forces based in the country anyway? Or did the members of Congress who signed on see any possible parallel with the Turkish parliament’s overwhelming vote on October 18 “to authorize the sending of Turkish troops into northern Iraq to confront Kurdish rebels in their hideouts there” – a policy likely to produce mayhem in the only relatively quiet part of Iraq?

Unfortunately, pushing the Armenian Genocide Resolution forward in the US Congress demonstrates just how poorly its sponsors and cosponsors understand the complexity of the issue, its troubled political history, and/or most importantly the potential ramifications for current and future US policy in the Middle East.

A little independent research might have gone, and still could go, a long way to educate Congress and its staff to the many facets and potential pitfalls of this controversial issue - particularly if undertaken by Congress’s own nonpartisan, unbiased and well qualified research arm, the Congressional Research Service (CRS). I hope such a report is well underway. The good news is that the official Turkish side of the equation is finally being heard from, the U.S. executive branch is weighing in with the practical concerns and some influential members of Congress are listening. It was reported on the PBS Newshour Wednesday night that if a vote were held on the Resolution today, it likely would not pass. The well-heeled Armenian-American lobby, however, has indicated that it will lobby hard to reverse a tide that has started to slip away.

An increase of Congressional visits to Turkey and meetings not only with Turkish officials but also the Armenian Patriarch and other Turkish-Armenians in Istanbul might be useful. There's nothing like firsthand experience and Turkey's a far pleasanter place to visit that war-torn Baghdad. California Congresswoman Jane Harman should be commended for having undertaken such a fact-finding trip.

Her conclusion: a decision to withdraw support for the resolution and a public explanation as to why. Given the large numbers of influential Armenian Americans in her state and the Los Angeles area in particular, this must not be politically easy. Harman’s thoughtful commentary defending her difficult decision was published in The Los Angeles Times last week. Her thoughts demand careful reading and consideration. At the very least, they should not be taken lightly.

Posted by Patricia Kushlis on Thursday, 18 October 2007 at 07:00 AM


Gates Speaks Against Genocide Resolution
By LOLITA C. BALDOR –

WASHINGTON (AP) — Congressional passage of a resolution labeling as genocide the World War I-era killings of Armenians by Turks would hurt U.S. relations with Turkey — "perhaps beyond repair," Defense Secretary Robert Gates said Thursday.

Gates told a Pentagon news conference that he has encouraged congressional leaders not to pass the resolution. Earlier, he met at the Pentagon with Armenian Prime Minister Serzh Sargsyan. Gates said neither of them raised the subject.

"Having worked this issue in the last Bush administration ... I don't think the Turks are bluffing. I think it is that meaningful to them," Gates said. "I think there is a very real risk of perhaps not shutting us down" in terms of access to Turkish airspace for resupplying U.S. troops in Iraq, but of at least restricting it.

"I will say again it has potential to do real harm to our troops in Iraq and would strain — perhaps beyond repair — our relationship with a key ally in a vital region and in the wider war on terror."

It was Gates' first joint news conference with Navy Adm. Michael Mullen, who became chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff on Oct. 1, succeeding Marine Gen. Peter Pace, who has retired.

Asked about recent statements by President Vladimir Putin about modernizing Russia's nuclear arsenal, Gates, who visited Moscow last week, said he interprets such comments as an indication that Russia wants to be taken more seriously.

"What you see is that these kinds of things that he's talking about are basically an assertion that Russia is back and intends to play a major role on the world stage," Gates said, noting that the Russian military has been holding more exercises lately and spending more on defense.

Gates also said he believes that Putin is serious about trying to play a constructive role in defusing the crisis over Iran's nuclear program.

"President Putin takes Iran seriously as a security concern for Russia, and I think they are prepared to take some actions as befits that," Gates said.

For his part, Mullen said Iran's actions are a cause for great worry.

"Their support for terrorists and all of that adds up to a huge and growing concern about Iran and where it's headed," Mullen said. "There is a significant amount of activity right now to try to influence them diplomatically."

Asked whether the U.S. military is too stretched by the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan to take action against Iran, Mullen said, "From a military standpoint there is more than enough reserve to respond if that is in fact what national leadership wanted to do. I don't think we're too stretched in that regard."

The administration is trying to soothe Turkish anger over the Armenia matter. The House Foreign Affairs Committee defied warnings by President Bush with its 27-21 vote last Wednesday to send the nonbinding measure to the full House for a vote. The administration will now try to pressure Democratic leaders not to schedule a vote.

On Wednesday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said the prospects of a vote on Armenian genocide were uncertain after several members pulled their support amid fears it would cripple U.S. relations with Turkey.

"Whether it will come up or not, or what the action will be, remains to be seen," Pelosi told reporters.

Historians estimate that up to 1.5 million Armenians were killed by Ottoman Turks around the time of World War I. Scholars view it as the first genocide of the 20th century, but Turkey says the toll has been inflated and that those killed were victims of civil war and unrest.

Turkey closed its border with Armenia in 1993 during a war between Armenia and Azerbaijan, a Muslim ally of Ankara, and maintains a virtual blockade that hurts Armenia's economy.


Turkish Jews Decry Armenian Genocide Bill
Marc Perelman | Wed. Oct 17, 2007

In its bare-knuckled lobbying to defeat a congressional resolution recognizing the Armenian genocide, Turkey has gained a valuable ally: its own Jews.

Last week an advertisement from the “Jewish community of Turkey” was published in the conservative Washington Times and was quickly passed around the capital by Turkey’s lobbyists. The ad warned that the overwhelming majority of Turks view Congress’s intervention as “inappropriate, unjust, and gratuitously anti-Turkish.”

The Turkish Jewish community’s ad appeared just before an October 10 vote in which the House’s Committee on Foreign Affairs adopted Resolution 106, which characterizes the Ottoman massacre of Armenians during World War I as “genocide.” The Democratic leadership is planning to submit the bill to a full House vote by mid-November, and a similar resolution has been introduced in the Senate with 32 co-sponsors.

“We cannot help but note that the world recognizes the Holocaust because of the overwhelming evidence, not because of the declarations of parliaments,” read the ad. “However, we have a more immediate concern, which is the viability of U.S.-Turkish bilateral relations.”

The ad, as well as previous statements from the Turkish Jewish community and a trip by its leaders to Washington this past spring, is part of a strategy by Ankara to stress that the Armenian issue is one that galvanizes Turkish society as a whole, and not just the government. The patriarch of the Armenian Church of Turkey recently came to the United States to convey a similar message, and several civil society organizations have supported the government’s view.

Turkish Jewish officials, however, have insisted that the initiative to weigh in on the issue has been theirs. Their leaders could not be reached for further comment.

During the annual American Israel Public Affairs Committee policy conference in March, a delegation led by community leader Silvyo Ovadya came to Washington to warn American Jewish groups that passage of a congressional resolution would alter Turkey’s pro-Western stance. The organized community also issued several statements in recent months as the Armenian issue gained traction on Capitol Hill.

Last week’s ad took a direct stab at the Anti-Defamation League, whose national director Abraham Foxman said in August that the massacre of Armenians was “tantamount to genocide” and then subsequently stated that a congressional resolution would be a “counterproductive diversion” that may “put at risk the Turkish Jewish community and the important multilateral relationship between Turkey, Israel and the United States.” In the ad, the Jewish community stressed that it is “deeply perturbed” by the claim that their safety and well-being in Turkey could be put at risk by the resolution.

The ad was not the community’s first pointed criticism of an American Jewish group on the Armenian issue. In a private letter this summer, reported here for the first time, to American Jewish Committee executive director David Harris, Turkish Jewish leaders criticized him for writing in a blog posting that not recognizing the Armenian genocide could open the door to more Holocaust denial.

Earlier this year, Rep. Adam Schiff, a California Democrat and the resolution’s main sponsor, criticized the AJCommittee, B’nai B’rith International, the ADL and the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs for transmitting to House leaders another letter from the Turkish Jewish community expressing concern over his congressional bill. In a written complaint to Jewish groups, Schiff described the action of the American Jewish organizations as “tantamount to an implicit and inappropriate endorsement of the position of the letter’s authors.”

Schiff could not be reached for further comment.

The Bush administration has expressed its firm opposition to the non-binding resolution. Turkey’s lobbyists were also able to get all living former secretaries of state, as well as a number of defense secretaries, to send out letters stressing the need to preserve diplomatic and military ties with Turkey. And critics have denounced Schiff and fellow California Democrat Rep. Nancy Pelosi, the speaker of the House, for what they describe as catering to parochial Armenian-American voters at the expense of a crucial ally.

In the wake of last week’s foreign affairs committee vote, Turkey recalled its ambassador to the United States to Ankara for consultations.

Turkey contends, not for the first time, that foreign parliaments have no business weighing in on such an issue. When France criminalized the denial of the Armenian genocide last year, Ankara retaliated by cutting back military contracts with Paris. While no clear threat has been issued to Washington, Turkey hosts a key American military air base that is a major conduit for supplying American troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Ankara could also make good on its recent vows to enter northern Iraq in order to stop Kurdish rebel attacks against its troops. On Wednesday, the Turkish parliament gave the government a one-year authorization to conduct military operations inside Iraq against the guerillas, who have killed some 30 soldiers in recent weeks.
Wed. Oct 17, 2007





I Apologize, Turkey! [Letters To The Editor]
As an American, I want to personally apologize to all Turks for what the US House of Representatives has done in promoting a bill accusing Turkey of genocide.

This is something that happened 90 years ago, before the Republic of Turkey even existed. What’s the point? Why now? Why ever? Why hasn’t the US House of Representatives promoted a resolution condemning the Roman Empire? Turkey is not Darfur, it is not Nazi Germany. I have lived in many countries and Turkey is the most hospitable place I have ever seen.

Even if what happened was something that fits the definition of genocide, no Turk alive today is guilty of it and the new nation which Ataturk brought forth was far beyond what any other mortal man could do to break the ties with the Ottoman Empire. His numerous reforms clearly showed a powerful desire to change things and Turkey is the result of that, not the Ottoman Empire, today. What more could be asked of him? To blame Turkey for anything that happened during the Ottoman era would be the same as blaming the United States for something the English did 300 or more years ago (don’t misunderstand me, I am of English blood myself, I only use this example for comparison.) The ignorance in the world today about Turkey continues to amaze me.

It’s my personal opinion that a lot of this lunacy is driven by the Democratic Party’s hatred of the Bush administration and a desire for Bush’s policies to fail, more than anything else. I cannot believe that the Democrats are such idiots as to do this -- I tend to think they know exactly what they are doing and that this was perfectly timed. If Bush and the Republicans are successful, if there is any success in Iraq or anywhere else, it’s bad news for the Democratic Party (and this “genocide” resolution is being promoted by the Democratic Party). If Bush and the Republican Party fail, if the efforts in Iraq fail, it benefits the Democratic Party and their bid for the White House. That’s my personal opinion; I can’t think of any other explanation for this. Nobody can be that stupid, can they?

Regardless of what anybody thinks of George Bush and his policies, this genocide resolution serves little purpose other than to sabotage any successes which are being made and more importantly our long friendship with Turkey. It shows me that the Democrats are willing to sacrifice anything, including our friendship with Turkey, in order to win the White House. And it’s disgusting.

This is a matter best left in the hands of historians, not politicians. I am infuriated that my taxes were used for this purpose.

I’m saddened by the fact that Nancy Pelosi and the Democrat-controlled House of Representatives feel like they have to condemn a group of people who are no longer living and a government which no longer exists. I sympathize with any Armenians harmed or killed during that time of tumult, and I do think that what happened should be accurately reported (and so many countries have incidents like these in their past, including mine). But I also apologize to any Turk reading this for the actions of our Congress. I am truly embarrassed by it all. Yours sincerely, Ken Grubb Izmir, Turkey, ken@turkeycentral.com
17.10.2007



Democrats, Republicans Spar Over Turkey Genocide Resolution
By Dan Robinson Capitol Hill 16 October 2007
Democrats and Republicans are trading criticisms over a resolution calling the mass killings in the early 20th century of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire a genocide. VOA's Dan Robinson reports, while Democratic leaders say they still intend to bring the measure to a vote in the House of Representatives in coming weeks, they acknowledge that reaction in Turkey to a recent House committee vote approving the measure has had an impact on lawmakers.

While Armenia genocide resolutions are pending in both the House and Senate, it is the House version attracting all of the attention after the foreign affairs committee vote.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi continues to be the target of criticism from the White House, Republicans and others for attempting to move the resolution forward.

Bush administration and military officials assert that Pelosi and other House Democrats have made the U.S. vulnerable to a potential Turkish backlash that could affect U.S. military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan that are dependent on Turkish support lines.

Republicans kept up the criticism Tuesday repeating assertions that Pelosi acted irresponsibly, and House minority leader John Boehner saying Democrats were wrong to bring up the issue at this time.

"This issue has been around the Congress long before I got here and I got here 17 year ago," he said. "There has been a lot of discussion about this issue, there has been a lot of lobbying about this issue, and there is no question that the Armenian people suffered tragically during that period, but this is something that historians ought to sort out and not members of Congress."

In an off-camera briefing for reporters Tuesday, House majority leader Steny Hoyer reiterated Democratic leader's intention to bring the resolution to a full House vote before the end of the current session in November.

However, he added he would be, in his words, less than candid if he did not note that a number of lawmakers have been revisiting their positions on the resolution.

Asked by one reporter about suggestions from some Republican critics that Democrats are trying to use the Armenia genocide issue to put more pressure on President Bush on Iraq, Hoyer said the allegation has absolutely, totally without any basis in fact.

In meetings with Turkish leaders in Ankara this week, two U.S. officials sought to head off any extreme response to the House committee vote on the genocide resolution that might impact U.S. military support operations.

The officials told Turkish leaders not to take actions that would damage overall bilateral interests or broader interests in the region, adding that the Bush administration would work to prevent the Armenian genocide resolution from being approved by Congress.
www.voanews.com


Turks Look to Punish Armenian
The Associated Press Gmfus.org
ANKARA, Turkey -- Turkey should not punish the U.S. administration over a resolution in the U.S. Congress that calls the World War I-era killings of Armenians genocide, but instead should impose sanctions against Armenia for supporting the measure, a top Turkish official said Tuesday.

A U.S. House of Representatives panel approved a resolution last week labeling the killings as genocide, an affront to Turks who deny any systematic campaign to eliminate Armenians at that time.

U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said she would schedule a vote soon on the resolution. U.S. President George W. Bush opposed it.

"Bush and his team should not be punished," Egemen Bagis, a foreign policy adviser to Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, said on CNN-Turk television. " The reaction should be against Pelosi and her team."

In a televised speech Tuesday, Erdogan compared the resolution to a "summary execution."

"Nobody has the right to judge Turkey like this," Erdogan said. "Those who dare confront an important country like Turkey will pay the price."

Bagis said Turkey should impose sanctions against Armenia because it supported the resolution.

"Turkey must impose sanctions against Armenia," Bagis said. "Turkey has already done a list of what and when it will do, and the prime minister has already given necessary orders."

The border between Turkey and Armenia is closed. But Turkey could cancel flights between Istanbul and Yerevan, as well as stopover flights to Armenia, and also prevent around 4,000 trucks from hauling goods to Armenia through neighboring Georgia.

U.S. officials have said they feared Turkey, a cargo hub for U.S. forces in Iraq, could retaliate by curbing the flow of fuel and other supplies to U.S. bases.
www.themoscowtimes.com


Turkish Official Urges Sanctions On Armenia
ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — Turkey should not punish the U.S. administration over a resolution in the U.S. Congress that calls the World War I-era killings of Armenians a genocide, but instead should impose sanctions against Armenia for supporting the measure, a top Turkish official said Tuesday.

A U.S. House of Representatives panel approved a resolution last week labeling the killings as genocide, an affront to Turks who deny any systematic campaign to eliminate Armenians at that time.

U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said she would schedule a vote soon on the resolution. U.S. President George W. Bush opposed it.

"Bush and his team should not be punished," Egemen Bagis, a foreign policy adviser to Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, said on CNN-Turk television. "The reaction should be against Pelosi and her team."

Bagis noted that U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Defense Secretary Robert Gates had lobbied against the measure.

Bagis said Turkey should impose sanctions against Armenia because it supported the resolution.

"Turkey must impose sanctions against Armenia," Bagis said. "Turkey has already done a list of what and when it will do, and the prime minister has already given necessary orders."

The border between Turkey and Armenia is closed. But Turkey could cancel flights between Istanbul and Yerevan, as well as stopover flights to Armenia, and also prevent around 4,000 trucks from hauling goods to Armenia through neighboring Georgia.

U.S. officials have said they feared Turkey, a cargo hub for U.S. forces in Iraq, could retaliate by curbing the flow of fuel and other supplies to American bases.

Bagis said Erdogan should go ahead with a planned meeting next month with Bush in the United States.

"The prime minister should meet Bush and try to record progress on issues where the administration can help," Bagis said.
Copyright 2007 www.usatoday.com


Democrats Split On Genocide Resolution
By Jim Snyder October 16, 2007
Democrats are split on the value of bringing a controversial Armenian genocide resolution to a floor vote.

Five House Democrats plan to hold a news conference Wednesday to urge their leadership not to bring the resolution to the floor, although the measure passed the House Foreign Affairs Committee last week with strong Democratic support.

Reps. Alcee Hastings of Florida, John Murtha of Pennsylvania, Robert Wexler of Florida and Steve Cohen and John Tanner, both of Tennessee, will participate in the news conference. They plan to urge House leadership to “reconsider its decision” to bring the Armenian genocide resolution to the floor.

The non-binding resolution would require the president to call the killing of an estimated 1.5 million Armenians between the years 1915 and 1923 “genocide.”

Turkish officials have said the resolution will harm relations between Turkey and the United States. Turkey acknowledges hundreds of thousands of Armenians died as modern Turkey grew out of the crumbling Ottoman Empire, but Turkish officials contend the killings were part of a civil war and that atrocities were committed on both sides.

Top administration officials have warned Congress that Turkey could respond to the resolution’s passage by blocking access to an airbase critical to the supply of troops in Iraq.

Despite the pushback, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has indicated she would bring the controversial resolution to the floor. California is home to a significant number of Armenian-Americans, including some who came to the United States after fleeing the World War I-era upheaval.

The House has passed similar resolutions in past decades.

President Ronald Reagan also once referred to what happened to Armenians as they were being pushed out of what became eastern Turkey as genocide. During his presidency, however, Bill Clinton also worked to block an Armenian genocide resolution from passing the House.
http://thehill.com/leading-the-news


Turkey Threatens Tougher Sanctions Against Armenia
AP, AFP
Turkey should not punish the U.S. administration over a resolution in the U.S. Congress that calls the World War I-era killings of Armenians a genocide, but instead should impose sanctions against Armenia for supporting the measure, a top Turkish official said Tuesday.

A U.S. House of Representatives panel approved a resolution last week labeling the killings as genocide, an affront to Turks who deny any systematic campaign to eliminate Armenians at that time. U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said she would schedule a vote soon on the resolution. U.S. President George W. Bush opposed it.

"Bush and his team should not be punished," Egemen Bagis, a foreign policy adviser to Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, said on CNN-Turk television. "The reaction should be against Pelosi and her team." Bagis noted that U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Defense Secretary Robert Gates had lobbied against the measure.

In a televised speech on Tuesday, Erdogan compared the resolution to a "summary execution." "Nobody has the right to judge Turkey like this," Erdogan said. "Those who dare confront an important country like Turkey will pay the price."

Erdogan warned that the prospect of improving ties with Armenia would also suffer if the resolution was backed by the full House of Representatives. "Those who expect openings from Turkey will be left alone with their problems," he said. "They will have to pay the cost of their hostility towards an important country like Turkey."

Bagis said Turkey should impose sanctions against Armenia because it supported the resolution. "Turkey must impose sanctions against Armenia," Bagis said. "Turkey has already done a list of what and when it will do, and the prime minister has already given necessary orders."

The border between Turkey and Armenia is closed. But Turkey could cancel flights between Istanbul and Yerevan, as well as stopover flights to Armenia, and also prevent around 4,000 trucks from hauling goods to Armenia through neighboring Georgia.
www.armenialiberty.org


U.S. Genocide Resolution To Spoil Ties With Turkey - Pm Erdogan
16/ 10/ 2007
ANKARA, October 16 (RIA Novosti) - A resolution passed by a U.S. House committee last week classing the 1915 massacre of Armenians as genocide will harm relations with Turkey, the country's premier said Tuesday.

Last Wednesday the U.S. House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee passed the document despite opposition from President George W. Bush. Turkey is a key NATO ally and a crucial U.S. partner in Iraq operations.

"The Turkish people are on the verge of losing their patience over this issue," Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said. "If Turkey incurs losses from this, then our opponents will lose ten times as much. Everyone should realize this."

Ankara insists that the deaths and deportations of Armenians at the end of the Ottoman period were caused by civil war rather than deliberate genocide. However, the majority of Western academics qualify the massacre as genocide.

"We have forgotten nothing and have nothing to be ashamed of in the face of history. We have opened up our archives. Let Armenia do the same," the premier said, adding that investigation of the tragic events must be left to historians, not politicians.

Turkish NTV television channel said on Monday that Turkey might restrict U.S. use of a joint air base in Incirlik, close off its air space to U.S. warplanes, and ban Armenian aircraft from flying over its territory. The majority of supplies for U.S. troops in Iraq, including fuel and military hardware, pass through Turkey.

Ankara previously froze military cooperation with France after its parliamentarians passed a similar resolution.

http://en.rian.ru


Editorial: Why Pick A Fight With The Turks? Oct 15, 2007
America has enough enemies without looking for more. SOME FIGHTS ARE worth picking. And some surely are not.

When the U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee endorsed a resolution labeling as “genocide” a Turkish campaign against Armenians a hundred years ago, the action definitely fell into the latter category. The Turks reacted angrily - as they had said they would - recalling their ambassador from Washington and threatening retaliatory moves if the measure is passed by the full Congress.

Such moves could include barring U.S. planes from flying through Turkey's airspace, and booting America out of a key military base which, incidentally, serves as a conduit for troops and war materials flowing into Iraq.

WHY WOULD the United States treat a key ally this way?

Why indeed.

There is no apparent answer. We'd be surprised to find one in a million Americans who even know there was a Turkish campaign against Armenians a hundred years ago. It's ancient history, not cause to create an international incident today.

Unless, of course, leftist House leaders want to bollix up U.S. efforts in Iraq by goading the Turks to close off access to the American military.

But, surely, the Nancy Pelosi-led House majority couldn't be that cynical. Right?
www.beloitdailynews.com


7 More Congressmen Refuse To Support Resolution On So-Called Armenian Genocide
16 Oct 2007

7 more members of US Congress refused to support resolution on the so-called Armenian genocide, Assembly of Turkish American Associations told the APA’s US bureau.

Enlightenment among the congressmen in this direction continues at present. U.S. House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee passed resolution on the so-called Armenian genocide. The House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee voted for the resolution by 27 votes to 21. Resolution will be brought to vote in the Lower House of the Congress within a month. APA http://en.apa.az


U.S. Genocide Move Reopens Old Wounds In Turkey
Oct 16, 2007 By Gareth Jones - Analysis

ANKARA (Reuters) - A symbolic declaration about events 92 years ago might seem of little but academic interest, but to Turks a text now before the U.S. Congress is so sensitive that they are ready to risk ties with their main strategic ally.

The non-binding resolution, approved by Congress's Foreign Relations Committee last week and expected to be endorsed in November by the House of Representatives, brands as genocide the 1915 mass killings of Armenians by Ottoman Turks.

NATO member Turkey has recalled its envoy to Washington for consultations and has hinted it might halt logistical support to U.S. troops serving in Iraq and Afghanistan if the bill passes. It may also deny U.S. firms lucrative defense contracts.

Most Turks view the bill as a hostile act that insults their national honor. The resolution also revives old Turkish fears of foreign meddling in its internal affairs.

"The Armenian issue is being used as a lever by those who want to hurt and undermine Turkey," Murat Mercan, a senior lawmaker of the ruling AK Party, told Reuters, voicing a sentiment widely felt in this key NATO ally of Washington.

"We are proud of our history. We have nothing to hide. The fact we have opened our archives and have proposed a joint committee of historians from Turkey, Armenia and elsewhere to study the documents shows we are confident about our history."

If Congress passes the resolution, it will be following in the steps of many other foreign legislatures, including those of France, Russia, Greece and Canada. Each time, Turkey has reacted angrily, temporarily cutting trade, defense and other ties.

But the Congress moves are especially hurtful to Ankara, already fuming over Washington's failure to tackle Kurdish rebels based in northern Iraq. Turkey is now considering sending troops into Iraq to crush the rebels, despite U.S. opposition.

NATIONAL CHARACTER

Mehmet Ali Birand, a veteran liberal commentator, said Turkey should put aside talk of retaliation and adopt calmer tactics in its global efforts to counter the genocide claims.

"But when we see a wall blocking our way we do tend to charge straight at it. It seems to be in our national character," he said, conceding a change of tactics was unlikely.

William Hale of Istanbul's Sabanci University, said part of the explanation for Turkey's behavior lies in its unhappy experiences at foreign hands in the late Ottoman period before Kemal Ataturk founded the modern republic in 1923.

"The fundamental problem is the 'Sevres' syndrome," he said, referring to a failed attempt by major Western powers to carve up Turkey after World War One. That treaty, among other things, envisaged creating a large Armenian state in eastern Turkey.

"The Christian minorities in the Ottoman Empire, including the Armenians, were long used by rapacious foreign powers as a tool to advance their territorial ambitions in Turkey," he said.

Similarly, he said, U.S. or French politicians trying to put pressure on Turkey to accept the genocide claims are motivated by domestic agendas rather than by a real interest in the past.

The politician behind the Congress resolution has many American Armenians in his district. France, also home to a large Armenian diaspora, has used the issue to try to block Turkey's efforts to join the European Union, Hale said.

Turkey accepts that many Armenians were killed during World War One, but denies they were victims of a systematic genocide. It says many Muslim Turks also died in inter-ethnic fighting that raged as the multi-ethnic Ottoman Empire collapsed.

Ankara also says many Armenians backed invading Russian forces, thus ensuring Turkish retaliation.

"It is grotesque to say there was a genocide. It was a political struggle over a piece of territory. If they could, the Armenians would have driven out all Muslims," said Hasan Unal, a nationalist-minded professor at Ankara's Bilkent University.

"We Turks strongly believe no genocide ever took place."

Turks fear a wave of compensation and property claims by Armenians if Ankara ever gives any ground on the issue.

TESTING TABOO

Some liberals attribute the power of the genocide taboo in Turkey to a rigidly nationalist education system.

"The idea of genocide does not tally with Turkey's official historic self-image, with the image we have been taught of a glorious revolution against imperial powers trying to dismember our country," said Semih Idiz of the Milliyet daily.

Asserting that there was an Armenian genocide is still a crime in Turkey, despite increased freedom of expression due to European Union-inspired reforms.

Nobel Literature Laureate Orhan Pamuk narrowly escaped a jail sentence for his comments on the Armenian issue.

Turkish Armenian editor Hrant Dink, who had urged Turkey to face up to its history, was shot dead in January outside his Istanbul office by an ultra-nationalist youth.

More than 100,000 Turks took to the streets at Dink's funeral to protest against ultra-nationalist violence. Many wore the slogan "We are all Armenians", suggesting a new desire among Turks to reach out despite the past in a spirit of solidarity.

"My fear is that the U.S. Congress vote will now just encourage the hardliners on both sides, just as the veil (on old taboos) was starting to lift," said Idiz.
© Reuters 2006.

Secretary of State Pelosi
The Armenian genocide doesn't belong in U.S. foreign policy right now.
October 16, 2007

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, famous for donning a head scarf earlier this year to commune for peace with the Syrians, has now concluded that this is the perfect moment to pass a Congressional resolution condemning Turkey for the Armenian genocide of 1915. Problem is, Turkey in 2007 has it within its power to damage the growing success of the U.S. effort in Iraq. We would like to assume this is not Speaker Pelosi's goal.

To be clear: We write that we would like to assume, rather than that we do assume, because we are no longer able to discern whether the Speaker's foreign-policy intrusions are merely misguided or are consciously intended to cause a U.S. policy failure in Iraq.

Where is the upside in October 2007 to this Armenian resolution?

The bill is opposed by eight former U.S. Secretaries of State, including Madeleine Albright. After Tom Lantos's House Foreign Affairs Committee voted out the resolution last week, Turkey recalled its ambassador from Washington. Turkey serves as a primary transit hub for U.S. equipment going into both Iraq and Afghanistan. After the Kurdish terrorist group PKK killed 13 Turkish conscripts last week near the border with Iraq, Turkey's prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, asked the parliament to approve a huge deployment of the army along the border, threatening an incursion into Kurdish-controlled Iraq. This of course is the one manifestly successful region of post-Saddam Iraq. In a situation teetering on a knife-edge, President Bush has been asking Mr. Erdogan to show restraint on the Iraq border.

Somehow, none of this is allowed to penetrate Speaker Pelosi's world. She is offering various explanations for bringing the genocide resolution to the House floor. "This isn't about the Erdogan government," she says. "This is about the Ottoman Empire," last seen more than 85 years ago. "Genocide still exists," insists Ms. Pelosi. "We saw it in Rwanda; we see it now in Darfur."

Yes, but why now, with Turkey crucial to an Iraq policy that now has the prospect of a positive outcome? The answer may be found in the compulsive parochialism of the House's current edition of politicians, mostly Democrats. California is home to the country's largest number of politically active Armenians. Speaker Pelosi has many in her own district. Mr. Lantos represents the San Francisco suburbs. The bill's leading sponsors include Representatives Adam Schiff, George Radanovich and Anna Eshoo, all from California.

Pointedly, Jane Harman, the Southern California Democrat who Speaker Pelosi passed over for chair of the intelligence committee, wrote an op-ed for the Los Angeles Times Friday, questioning the "timing" of the resolution and asking why it is necessary to embarrass a "moderate Islamic government in perhaps the most volatile region in the world."

Why indeed? Perhaps some intrepid reporter could put that question to the three leading Democratic Presidential candidates, who are seeking to inherit hands-on responsibility for U.S. policy in this cauldron. Hillary Clinton has been a co-sponsor of the anti-Turk genocide resolution, but would she choose to vote for it this week?

Back when Bill Clinton was President, Mr. Lantos took a different view. "This legislation at this moment in U.S.-Turkish relations is singularly counterproductive to our national interest," he said in September 2000, when there was much less at stake in the Middle East. According to Reuters, he added that the resolution would "humiliate and insult" Turkey and that the "unintended results would be devastating."

If Nancy Pelosi and Tom Lantos want to take down U.S. policy in Iraq to tag George Bush with the failure, they should have the courage to walk through the front door to do it. Bringing the genocide resolution to the House floor this week would put a terrible event of Armenia's past in the service of America's bitter partisanship today. It is mischievous at best, catastrophic at worst, and should be tabled.

www.opinionjournal.com


Brzezinski: US Congress Is Not The Place For The Armenian Allegations
Former US statesman Zbigniew Brzezinski has criticized the US House of Representative's involvement with the Armenian bill on genocide, noting that US Congress was not the right place for debate on the allegations against Turkey.

In a statement to CNN, Brzezinski noted this week: "Until today, I had no idea that the US House of Representatives was some sort of educational academy, and that it could pass judgements on historical events. The decision on whether to categorize this past historical event as a genocide or as a massacre is not the business of the House of Representatives." Hurriyet


The Congressman’s Burden: Resolutions Have Consequences By Jason Lee Steorts

Occasionally the world reminds us that it is evil.

I am not saying this in the obvious way, that the world is full of blood, death, arbitrary destruction, and gratuitous cruelty — though that is surely true. It is also true that such evils often allow reasonably precise moral reckoning, at least where human agency is concerned: If I murder you, I have committed an evil; if my nation wages an unjust war, it has committed an evil; and so on. Such cases are morally ambiguous when they turn on questions whose answers evade mere mortals: Did I kill you in self-defense? Did my nation wage war in response to an intolerable threat, and was war the only remedy? But the questions have right and wrong answers, and if we knew them we could assign blame with justice and precision.

What I have in mind, rather, is the possibility that one might (a) be forced to act, (b) possess perfect information about each possible course of action, and (c) discover that all of them are immoral. The contemporary philosopher Thomas Nagel has used the term “moral blind alley” to describe such circumstances.

I believe the House of Representatives may have gotten itself into a moral blind alley by taking up the question whether to recognize as genocide the massacre of Armenians in eastern Anatolia between 1915 and 1917.

No one denies that the government of the Young Turks ordered the deportation of their Armenian minority. The Armenians were dispossessed of their property and driven from their homes, and when the dust settled an appalling number had also been slaughtered. (Estimates vary widely: 300,000, according to the modern Turkish government; the Armenian government says 1.5 million.)

What is debated is whether these massacres are properly called genocide. The conventional wisdom is that yes, an order to exterminate the Armenians proceeded from the highest levels of Ottoman rule. The government of Turkey denies this claim, and argues that the massacres were an unintended consequence of the deportation policy. And some of the evidence in favor of the traditional view is open to question. (For details, consult this article from the Middle East Quarterly; this one too.)

I will attempt no resolution of the genocide question (though I wish to note in passing that, even if there was no order to exterminate, the Young Turks were still guilty of a horrific crime). Instead, I would like to assume for the sake of argument that the conventional view is correct. This will help us see how the House might have turned down a moral blind alley.
***
The congressman’s dilemma is this: If the resolution passes, it will enrage the Turkish government, which will retaliate in a manner harmful to the interests of the United States. It has threatened to deny the U.S. access to Incirlik Air Base, an important re-supply hub for military operations in the Middle East. It would also adopt a more cavalier attitude toward the potential dispatch of its military to Iraqi Kurdistan in pursuit of fighters from the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), which is responsible for a long campaign of separatist violence in Turkey. The United States has labeled the PKK a terrorist organization, but it opposes Turkish incursions into Iraq on the grounds that they would destabilize that country.

The problem for a U.S. congressman is not just strategic: for there are very good moral reasons to want the U.S. to achieve its military and foreign-policy objectives in the Middle East. These reasons are consequentialist: that is, the failure of American objectives would risk bringing about morally undesirable outcomes. A collapse of Iraq’s democratic experiment, or an attenuation of U.S. power that strengthened the hand of Islamists, would increase the suffering of multitudes in the Middle East (or so, I believe, it can be persuasively argued — though I do not make that argument here). It would also leave Americans more vulnerable to attack. While a setback in U.S.-Turkish relations would not force these outcomes, it would make them more likely. To the extent, then, that lawmakers have a duty to prevent misery generally and the misery of Americans in particular, they have grounds to vote against the House resolution.

Yet there are also moral considerations in favor of the resolution’s passage. These reasons do not concern the consequences of defeating the bill, but are, rather, deontological: They turn on the idea that to vote “no” is to treat persons in a way that is wrong, no matter the consequences. The persons in question are the remaining survivors of the Armenian genocide (if it was that) and the descendents of its victims. One might also include the victims themselves, though it is hard to articulate how the dead can be wronged.

To understand why voting “no” would wrong these persons, imagine that your mother has been stabbed to death by a mugger; that I witnessed the crime; and that, fearing recriminations, I refuse to answer investigators’ questions about what I have seen. Imagine further that there are other witnesses, and that their testimony will be sufficient to convict the murderer. Finally, imagine that my refusal is partly motivated by ethical reasons of the consequentialist sort: I am a researcher on the brink of discovering a cure for a type of cancer, and I fear that, should I denounce your mother’s murderer, I will have to abandon my work and flee.

If you knew all of this, would you feel that my silence wronged you (and your mother)? I believe you would. For my silence contains the implicit judgment that you (and your mother) do not matter enough for me to acknowledge, when called upon to do so, the awful injustice that you (and she) have suffered.

Or consider an example involving Holocaust denial. Imagine a slightly different world in which Germany denied its genocide of European Jews and all manner of dire consequences might follow from angering Germany. We should feel morally uneasy with those who refused to acknowledge what happened in the death camps, even if they had their reasons for refusing, and even though acknowledging the Holocaust would do nothing to resurrect its dead.

Let us return now to the Armenians. Congressmen might be tempted to escape the moral blind alley by arguing as follows: “Declining to recognize that something happened is different from denying that it happened. By voting ‘no,’ I affirm nothing more than that the institution of which I am part should keep silent.”

Such reasoning could perhaps be refined into a sound argument against introducing the genocide question before the House: just as I, the brilliant cancer researcher, might have sufficient reason not to volunteer my testimony against your mother’s killer. There is no obligation to utter impolitic or dangerous things simply because they are true. Once the genocide resolution was introduced, however, the moral stakes changed: Now congressmen were being called upon to declare their position, as was the House taken collectively. This is analogous to the point at which investigators knock on my door to ask about your mother.
***
The idea of a moral blind alley is more philosophically radical than it might at first seem. It is different from the much simpler problem of apparently conflicting duties within a single type of ethical thought — for example, a case in which you must kill to save your life or the life of a loved one. Such apparent conflicts dissolve when we adequately define the duties in question: The duty not to murder is defined as including an allowance for self-defense, but not a permission to harvest my neighbor’s kidneys and give them to my dying daughter.

Moral blind alleys seem rather to be cases in which two wholly different ethical perspectives collide. One perspective rests on the feeling that some things are simply wrong to do to people, no matter the consequences. Another perspective rests on the feeling that some consequences simply should not be allowed. Put thus schematically, the potential for conflict is obvious enough. The real question is whether human beings are indeed susceptible to both kinds of moral feeling, and if so what they should do about it.

One answer is to cue the philosophers: “Our intuitions are muddled; kindly devise a system of rules for us to follow instead.” This approach is very far from life as lived, and I do not believe it can satisfy actual human beings, though it may please such computers as Immanuel Kant and Jeremy Bentham. I say this in full knowledge that the skeptical Nagelian alternative largely reduces ethics to a descriptive project.

If there are moral blind alleys in this world, it is politicians who are most likely to get stuck in them. Holding public office requires one to contemplate the consequences of one’s choices on masses of people, even while remaining subject to all the usual feelings about how persons should treat one another and how institutions should treat persons. It is work for those who are wise and brave enough to grapple with the contradiction; foolish enough not to see it; or cynical enough not to care.
National Review Online


Turkey’s War On The Truth [The Washington Post]
Richard Cohen suggested that the House resolution condemning Turkey for the “genocide” of Armenians that allegedly took place in 1915-1923 will serve no earthly purpose and that it will, to say the least, complicate, if not severely strain, US-Turkey relations.

He said that he would still condemn this resolution if the argument wasn’t so much about how the US needs Turkey because he has suspicions about the use of the term “genocide” to define the events of 1915. He explains why. “Raphael Lemkin, the Polish-Jewish émigré who coined the term in 1943, clearly had in mind what the Nazis were doing to the Jews. If that is the standard -- and it need not be -- then what happened in the collapsing Ottoman Empire was something short of genocide. It was plenty bad -- maybe as many as 1.5 million Armenians perished, many of them outright murdered -- but not all Armenians everywhere in what was then Turkey were as calamitously affected. The substantial Armenian communities in Constantinople, Smyrna and Aleppo were largely spared. No German city could make that statement about its Jews.” 17.10.2007


Turkish-US Relations At A Turning Point
FATMA DISLI f.disli@todayszaman.com
Relations between long-time strategic allies Turkey and the US have entered a critical period following the passage of the Armenian resolution by a US congressional committee despite Turkey’s objections and the US’s insistence on not taking concrete steps to prevent the separatist Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), based in northern Iraq, from launching attacks.

Relations between the two countries have already deteriorated as a result of the US invasion of Iraq and Turkey’s refusal to allow the deployment of US troops in its territory, a decision still being discussed. These recent incidents have sparked another flurry of reactions in Turkey toward the US as some commentators have even mentioned that Turkey should cut off all relations with the US; however, the commonly held view suggests that relations should continue on condition the US takes concrete steps to ease Turkish concerns.

Milliyet columnist Sami Kohen, referring to a recent global survey which revealed that Turkey was the country with the highest level of anti-Americanism among 47 countries, acknowledges that the anger and hatred toward the US in Turkey has inevitably grown even more with recent incidents and that the US is about to lose Turkey as an ally, because not only the public but also the politicians, academics and members of the military are all disappointed with US policies with respect to Turkey. In this context, he suggests that the US should take action and find ways to win Turkey again. Nevertheless, he does not agree with those who say that Turkey should end its relations with the US completely. “A complete break-off of bilateral relations will be harmful for both sides. When the repercussions of the US’s recent acts with respect to Turkey are taken into consideration, what is expected from the US is that it will take concrete steps that will break the ‘cause and effect’ cycle,” he explains.

Sabah’s Hasan Bülent Kahraman also disagrees with those claiming that Turkey should turn its back on the US and go its own way as he warns how such a move will satisfy the PKK, which targeted Turkish-US relations with its recent attacks. “The problem is not allegations in the context of the Armenian resolution. The problem is the emergence of a depression in the relations between the two countries,” he notes. Affirming that the side at fault is the US in this instance, Kahraman thinks that Turkey also should consider what it should do next by assessing the situation from different angles and change its policies. “Having a firm stance on foreign policy is a plus. What we are afraid of now is the lack of a definite Turkish stance, policy and plan regarding US policy and Turkey acting in anger as its stance,” he maintains.

Yeni Safak columnist Akif Emre makes some striking evaluations about the characteristics of Turkish-US relations and claims that the interests of these countries clash, although they act as allies. “Although this strategic fault line emerges during times of crisis like now and is covered up with reciprocal wishes for friendship and cooperation, the US’s regional and global strategies and the vision of the future of Turkey and the Middle East clash,” asserts Emre. He thinks that a new page has been opened for Turkish-US relations with the passage of the Armenian resolution, but rejects that it would mean a complete break-off in relations. In light of this, he recalls that those devising Turkish foreign policy should notice that relations with the US will never be the same again and that they should take the necessary steps after reading correctly the new order in the world.
17.10.2007


Çankaya Hosts Summit On Retaliatory Measures Against Armenian Bill
The Çankaya presidential palace was the venue of a landmark meeting on Tuesday during which Ankara's possible moves to retaliate for a resolution approved by a US congressional committee branding the 1915 killings of Anatolian Armenians as genocide were thoroughly analyzed.

Turkey’s Ambassador to US Nabi Sensoy (L) met with Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan yesterday. Sensoy has been recalled to Ankara for political consultations over the Armenian resolution.

President Abdullah Gül hosted his successor, Foreign Minister Ali Babacan, Foreign Ministry Undersecretary Ertugrul Apakan and Turkey's ambassador to the United States, Nabi Sensoy, who was recalled last week from Washington as part of a diplomatic battle demonstrating that the Turkish capital is not "bluffing" over what it would dare risk in bilateral relations with its NATO ally due to its deep anger over the adoption of the resolution. Steps that go beyond cancellation of planned visits by Turkish officials to the United States until the date the resolution goes to the House floor, where Democratic Party leaders say there will be a vote by mid-November, should be taken by Ankara, according to evaluations made by diplomats at the Foreign Ministry.

Those steps should well indicate the strength of the reaction that will be displayed by Ankara in the event of a confirmation by US lawmakers of the committee vote, Turkish diplomats have asserted. A key question that still needs to be resolved is the date when Sensoy will be sent back to his mission in Washington.

Meanwhile, a top Turkish official said on Tuesday that Turkey should not punish the US administration over the resolution but should instead impose sanctions on Armenia for supporting the measure.

"Bush and his team should not be punished," Egemen Bagis, a foreign policy adviser to Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, said in a debate aired live on the privately owned CNN-Türk news station. "The reaction should be against Pelosi and her team," he added, in apparent reference to the fact that US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said she would schedule a vote soon on the resolution, which has been opposed by US President George W. Bush. He also noted that US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Defense Secretary Robert Gates had lobbied against the measure.

As of Monday, a White House spokesperson said that he is unaware of any plans by Bush to call Pelosi, a Democrat, to urge her to cancel a planned vote on the resolution. Later, the spokesman, Tony Fratto, did not rule out a phone call from Bush to Pelosi on the matter.

The Bush administration has been lobbying intensely to persuade lawmakers to reject the resolution, which Bush believes would harm relations with Turkey. Turkey has said as much, promising that the document's passage by the full House would cause severe damage to relations.

Bagis suggested that Turkey should impose sanctions on Armenia because it supported the resolution: "Turkey must impose sanctions on Armenia. Turkey has already made a list of what it will do and when it will do it, and the prime minister has already given the necessary orders."

On the same day, Erdogan addressed deputies of his ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) at a parliamentary group meeting when he compared the resolution to a "summary execution."

"Nobody has the right to judge Turkey like this," Erdogan said. "Those who dare confront an important country like Turkey will pay the price."

Erdogan draws attention ‘diaspora effect’

Erdogan underlined that his call, extended in 2005 to Armenian President Robert Kocharian, for a joint committee of Turkish and Armenian experts to study the allegations remained unanswered by Yerevan. Erdogan said that other countries have also insisted Kocharian ignore his proposal.

"Why? The diaspora. Why? Because they [the diaspora] have different motives, motives unacceptable to us. What is understood is that common sense is being entirely lost and replaced by minor political calculations. Then we will act accordingly. … Everybody should be sure that if Turkey is damaged once from this [resolution], then those against it will get damaged 10 times over," Erdogan added.

"Let me remind you that countries who expect Turkey to take certain initiatives will remain on their own with their problems. No offense, but they bear the cost of confronting an important country like Turkey," he said, in an apparent reference to neighboring Armenia with which Turkey refuses to set up diplomatic ties because of Armenian efforts to secure international condemnation of the controversial World War I era killings of Anatolian Armenians as genocide, despite its recognition of Armenia since the former Soviet republic gained independence in 1991.

Armenians claim up to 1.5 million of their kin were slaughtered in orchestrated killings during the last years of the Ottoman Empire. Turkey categorically rejects the claims, saying that 300,000 Armenians along with at least as many Turks died in civil strife which emerged when the Armenians took up arms for independence in eastern Anatolia and sided with the Russian troops which were invading Ottoman lands.
17.10.2007 Today's Zaman Ankara


US Think Tank Says Congress May Create New Source Of Regional Tension Michael Rubin
The American Enterprise Institute for Policy Research (AEI) and the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) criticized the US Congress after a House committee approved a resolution backing Armenian allegations of genocide at the hands of the Ottoman Turks, despite warnings from Turkey that it would hurt US ties.

The House of Representatives Committee on Foreign Affairs on Wednesday approved a resolution declaring that the killings of Armenians in eastern Anatolia during World War I amounted to genocide, a claim refuted by Turkey. Senior researcher for CSIS Anthony Cordesman, in a report titled "The Armenian Genocide Bill & the Turkish Reaction in Iraq" released on Oct. 15 by the independent nonprofit organization, said pushing Turkey to be more hostile to Armenia is scarcely a useful goal; he warned that the impact of the Armenian genocide resolution may create another pointless regional source of anger against the US, this time coming from Congress instead of the administration.

Cordesman recalled Turkish support for the US presence in Iraq, saying: "Americans need to understand that the Turkish government and Turkish military have provided substantial support to the US in Iraq since the fall of Saddam Hussein. Turkey has since become a key element in the conduct of US operations in Iraq."

Cordesman also warned the US against "overreacting" if Turkey does send forces into northern Iraq, saying any analysis of events must focus carefully on the seriousness of what Turkish forces actually do. "It might even be positive -- forcing Iraq's Kurds to realize they are far better off as Iraqis than in seeking independence or extreme versions of autonomy," he noted.

"The US also has good reason to be careful about any expansion of the Kurdish zone or form of federalism that gives the Kurds control over the minorities in the significant parts of Iraqi governorates where Kurds would then dominate areas that are not Kurdish. The attention given to sectarian cleansing sometimes leads Americans to ignore Kurdish efforts to take control of Arab, Turcoman and other areas. This includes efforts to take control over Kirkuk and expand Kurdish control over the broader ethnic fault line east of the Mosul area," Cordesman said.

In an article titled "Grandstanding Has Consequences" released on Oct. 15, Michael Rubin, a resident scholar at AEI, criticized Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi for using the resolution for personal political interests. "The resolution, while important to the Armenian-American community -- perhaps less so to Armenians living in Armenia who worry much more about economic development -- also raises a host of questions about how Congress picks and chooses which atrocities to weigh in on." Rubin stated. He slammed remarks by Pelosi that the resolution was not about Turkey, but rather "about the Ottoman Empire" and expressed that it was unclear why congressional Democrats felt the urgent need to condemn an entity that hasn't existed for 85 years. He added, "The House Foreign Affairs Committee is not the place to pursue such historical investigations; universities are."
17.10.2007 Today's Zaman


Ruijten: Accepting Armenian Claims No Precondition For Eu Bid
Recognition of Armenian claims of genocide cannot be imposed on Turkey as a precondition for its membership in the European Union, the European Parliament rapporteur on Turkey, Ria Oomen-Ruijten, asserted on Tuesday.

Remarks by Ruijten, who penned a balanced report on Turkey's EU membership efforts last month, came in a speech she delivered on the second day of a European Parliament congress on the Armenian diaspora in Europe. She reiterated, however, that the European Parliament advises Turkey to have good relations with all its neighbors, including Armenia, and that reaching a compromise between Armenia and Turkey concerning the latter's accusations of genocide could become easier this way.

"Accepting [the Armenian allegations] is not a precondition for Turkey's EU membership. There is no such article in the accession protocol," Ruijten was quoted as saying by the Anatolia news agency. When responded by the audience with reactions of protest, she said that the audience would not be able to get any results by "yelling."

The congress was held to mark the 20th anniversary of the recognition of Armenian genocide claims by the European Parliament.

Like Ruijten, European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso has recently made it clear that "the EU is against politicization of delicate issues," such as the Armenian issue. However, the commission's vice president, Franco Frattini, who told reporters that he has no objection to Barroso's remarks, said there have been different opinions within the commission regarding the issue. "Recognition [of the Armenian allegations] will be the first step towards compromise [between Armenia and Turkey]," he told reporters when asked his personal opinion.

Meanwhile, Ruijten also condemned the fact that a court in Istanbul last week found the son of assassinated journalist Hrant Dink guilty of insulting Turkish identity. Arat Dink and a colleague, Serkis Seropyan, were charged under Article 301 of the Turkish Penal Code (TCK), which calls for the punishment of those who insult "Turkishness," and given a one-year suspended prison term for reproducing an interview with Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink, who was killed in January, in their newspaper.
17.10.2007 Today's Zaman


Conveniently Bad Timing
The cost of passing this nonbinding resolution is far greater than its benefits.
October 16, 2007, By Jeb Hensarling

This week, the antiwar faction of the Democrat Congress reached a new low in their effort to put forth controversial legislation that further complicates our military efforts in Iraq and could have potentially devastating effects on the men and women of our military.

Once again, Speaker Nancy Pelosi has come down with a case of conveniently bad timing. Last week, the House Foreign Affairs Committee dug 80 years into history and passed a non-binding resolution that condemned what is now the nation of Turkey (at the time, the Ottoman Empire) for genocide for the mass killings of Armenians. The Turkish ambassador to the U.S., Nabi Sensory, was immediately recalled to Ankar for “consultations” — not exactly a minor diplomatic maneuver, rather a giant warning flare.

The ins and outs of successful diplomacy are extremely complicated, and to be successful, a nation must never take its eye off of the big picture. We are a nation at war, and right now America’s big picture is the safety of our citizens and the men and women serving abroad. Turkey has been a key ally during the War on Terror, and has helped our cause by facilitating critical supply routes into Iraq and Afghanistan. We rely heavily on Incirlik, an air-force base located near the Iraqi-Turkish border, as a gateway into Iraq. Access to this base is the closest and most efficient means of shipping supplies to Iraq. Currently, nearly 70 percent of all air cargo supplies for American forces in Iraq go through Turkey, including 95 percent of the mine-resistant, ambush-protected vehicles that shield American troops from harm.

Make no mistake, by condemning a strategic ally for crimes that were committed early in the last century, the Democrat Congress jeopardizes our relations with a key ally during a time of War. We need not look back far into history to see the ramifications of such action. Last year, Turkey broke all military ties with France after its parliament passed legislation that made the denial of Armenian genocide a crime. Similar action today by the Turks would threaten the wellbeing of our soldiers in the region and greatly undercut American efforts in Iraq.

If public opinion serves as an indicator, we should expect the Turkish government to respond in similar fashion. According to the first nationwide survey conducted in Turkey (conducted by Terror Free Tomorrow), 78 percent of Turks oppose the congressional resolution, and nearly 75 percent say that House passage of the Armenian resolution will worsen their opinion of the United States. That’s not all. Perhaps most telling of all is that nearly 80 percent of Turks would support a “strong response” by their government if this resolution is passed by Congress — including suspension of diplomatic relations with the United States.

With all of these realities before us, it is perplexing to understand why Democrat leaders continue to push for the immediate consideration of this nonbinding resolution. There is no question that a great human tragedy occurred last century in what is now Turkey, and an accurate history should be written. But first, we should note that no one responsible is alive today. Second, we should question whether now is the time for Members of Congress to assume the role of historians. Responsible members of Congress have one question to consider: Is passing a nonbinding resolution (meaning, it simply expresses the opinion of Congress) worth risking American access to key supply routes into Iraq, and destabilizing the Kurdish portions of that nation?

It seems clear that the cost of passing this nonbinding resolution is far greater than its benefits. We are a nation at war, and our first concern must always be the brave men and women of our armed forces, who I believe are done a great disservice by this symbolic House vote. This is just the latest example of anti-War-on-Terror Democrats in the House being either oblivious or indifferent to the welfare of American forces serving in harm’s way.

Is it appropriate for Congress to act so irresponsibly that it would purposely consider legislation which could cause direct harm to the men and women of our armed forces? This is the question that Speaker Pelosi must consider; while the resolution that will be brought to the floor will be largely symbolic, its repercussions most certainly will not be.

— Congressman Jeb Hensarling is chairman of the Republican Study Committee, a group of over 100 conservative Republicans in the House of Representatives.

7 More Representatives Withdraw From Armenian Resolution: Armenian Lobby In Panic
Seven congressional members took their names off the resolution on October 15, 2005, further shrinking the number of those who support H.Res. 106. It is learned that Armenian lobby in the US is in panic, striving to prevent further withdrawals.

Click here to see the list of representatives who still support and who withdraw their names

Currently, a total of 17 representatives have withdrawn their names. The number of the supporters is 218, just the simple majority number at the 435 member chamber.

It is expected that further withdrawals will follow suit as a result of Turkish sensitivity and convincing the US representatives that in no way can the resolution be regarded as a simple unbinding bill and that it will seriously harm the US-Turkey relations.

Turkish organizations in the US urge the Turkish community to contact their congressperson as soon as possible by phone, fax and direct contact-visit their regional offices, in an effort to warn the American legislatures with a "blast of communication."

When some more representatives withdraw their names, the vote at the House, if the resolution is ever presented to the House, will be a clear "no" to characterizing 1915 events as "genocide", which will consequently frustrate the Armenian lobby and prevailing the historical truth.

Armenian Reality, October 16 2007 Copyright © 2005 - 2007


http://mvdg.wordpress.com/2007/10/16/70000-illegal-armenians-living-and-working-in-turkey/

Congress Should Reject The Armenian Genocide Resolution
by Chuck Morse www.postchronicle.com Oct 15 2007

In deciding whether to support the Armenian Genocide Resolution, the US Congress must consider the ramifications. Congress is being asked to symbolically recognize the genocide committed by Turkey against its indigenous Christian Armenian population almost 100 years ago. In this case, the moral high ground should give way to considerations of realpolitik. Congress should reject the resolution at this time. It is not in America's interest to offend our Turkish allies.

America is at war both in Iraq, bordering Turkey, and against international Islamic jihadism. Turkey is a Muslim ally in these efforts, crucial to the future of freedom in the western democracies.

The government of Turkey today, moderate and democratic by Muslim standards, is no more culpable for the historic genocide against the Armenians than is the present government of Germany culpable for Hitler's Holocaust against the Jews of Europe. This is not the time to alienate Turkey.

This would not be the first time America would be expected to place short term political and strategic considerations over broader questions of morality. The most notorious case of America choosing politics over morality in foreign affairs was the World War II alliance between America and Stalin's Soviet Union. To defeat Hitler, we allied ourselves with a left-wing Soviet regime that was as bad, if not a worse, than the Nazi enemy. By the time of the US-Soviet alliance, 1941, the left-wing Soviets, first under Lenin and than under Stalin, had already liquidated millions of innocent people with forced starvations and firing squads. It was the communist Soviets who first set up the concentration camps that would be imitated by the Nazis.


Pelosi's Most Dangerous Ploy
by Jed Babbin, Human Events, DC www.humanevents.com Oct 15 2007

Congressional Democrats anxious to force a withdrawal of American forces from Iraq are frustrated by their inability to muster a veto-proof majority for legislation that would establish a firm date for retreat. But what they cannot do directly they are now working hard to do indirectly.

According to Defense Secretary Robert Gates, Incirlik Air Base near Adana, Turkey is the transshipment point for about 70% of all air cargo (including 33% of the fuel) going to supply US forces in Iraq.

Included are about 95% of the new "MRAP" -- mine-resistant, ambush-protected -- vehicles designed to save the lives of American troops. Turkey wasn't always this helpful. In 2003, the Turks refused permission for the 4th Infantry Division to enter Iraq through Turkey.

Turkey's Erdogan government has indicated that if the House of Representatives takes action on a non-binding resolution being pushed by Speaker Pelosi, Turkey might revoke our ability to use Incirlik as a waypoint for Iraq supplies.

At issue is the non-binding resolution passed on October 10 by the House Foreign Affairs Committee that labels the 1915-1923 massacre of Armenians by the Ottoman Empire a genocide. Such resolutions can be passed by either or both houses of Congress and are not subject to presidential veto.

On October 11, Pelosi said, "While that may have been a long time ago, genocide is taking place now in Darfur, it did within recent memory in Rwanda, so as long as there is genocide there is need to speak out against it."

But the resolution is gratuitous and Democrats' timing suspicious.

It's gratuitous because, in 1981, President Reagan referred to the Armenian massacre as genocide in a proclamation commemorating the Nazi Holocaust.

Why, if Pelosi is so committed to ending genocide, aren't she and Senate Democrat leaders doing something about the ongoing genocide in Darfur or the massacres of protesters in Burma?

Speaker Pelosi said, "This isn't about the Erdogan government. This is about the Ottoman Empire." Baloney.

The Democrat leadership could write and pass legislation insisting the UN intervene to save the living instead of using the memory of the dead to score political points. In neither case should we intervene militarily. But the lack of concern for ongoing mass murder proves the Democrats' only purpose is to enrage the Turkish government and end their cooperation on Iraq.

The timing couldn't be worse. Not only are we dependent on Turkey for our principal supply line into Iraq, we are in on the verge of a crisis with Turkey, trying to convince the Erdogan government to continue to refrain from attacking the PKK -- Kurdish terrorist forces -- that have been raiding into southeastern Turkey for years.

While the president and Secretary of State Rice appeal for restraint, Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan has called upon the Turkish parliament to declare a mobilization against the PKK terrorists.

Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-Tex.) told me, "We are a nation at war, and our first concern must always be the brave men and women of our armed forces, who I believe are done a great disservice by this symbolic House vote. This is just one more example of Democrats in the House being either oblivious or indifferent to the welfare of American forces serving in harm's way."

After the House committee vote, Turkish Ambassador to the United States Nabi Sensoy was recalled to Ankara for consultations. In diplomatic terms, the recall of an ambassador is a very serious matter, indicating a near-break in relations between the nations involved.

Amb. Sensoy spoke to me and HUMAN EVENTS chief political correspondent John Gizzi as he prepared to leave for Ankara.

Sensoy said he spoke to Speaker Pelosi and that she had made it very clear that she would bring the resolution up for a vote on the House floor next month.

The ambassador referred to the widespread agenda of interests that Turkey and the US share, from the Balkans throughout the Middle East and the Caucasus. He said it was a wonderful working relationship, proving effective against terrorism.

Sensoy said the memories of the events surrounding the massacre of Armenians are very fresh in the minds of his countrymen, many of whom lost relatives in the carnage. He said, "...we are very sorry for what happened. And we mourn the loss of life. But nobody is talking about the hundreds of thousands of people who perished at the hands of the Armenians in that period."

He added, "The sentiments of the Turkish people are totally disregarded in this whole affair. And it is being presented that all of a sudden the Turkish nation, after one thousand years of togetherness with the Armenians went simply berserk and started killing the Armenians. The real truth is that the population living in the east of the Ottoman Empire at the time sided with the invading Russian army and they attacked the Turkish population."

Turkey is our most under-appreciated ally. Its eighth president, Turgut Ozal, was a great friend of America, once referring to his nation as, "little America." When Ozal died suddenly in 1993, neither President Clinton nor Vice President Gore went to the funeral, an insult the Turks remember. Europe has been even less appreciative. Turkey has practically begged to become a member of the European Union, but its applications to what some Turks call the "Christian club" have been stalled again and again because of European criticism of its human rights record.

There is a deep-seated cultural sensitivity among the Turkish people and their government on the issue of the Armenian massacre nine decades ago. Amb. Sensoy may have been thinking about the far-reaching effects - including on Turkey's application for EU membership --of the House genocide resolution when he told us, "No nation would like to be labeled with that greatest of human rights violations."

House Republican leaders are very concerned about the effects the Democrats' resolution could have. House Minority Leader John Boehner told me, "If the Turks cut off our ability to use Incirlik, there's no question that this could jeopardize our troops on the ground in Iraq. And frankly, if this is just the latest in the Democrats' string of back-door attempts to force a retreat from the war against al Qaeda, it's certainly the most dangerous."

Speaker Pelosi is apparently so intent on forcing an end to American involvement in Iraq that she is willing to interfere in our tenuous friendship with Turkey. When she does, it will be an historic event: the House of Representatives will be responsible for alienating a key ally in time of war and possibly interdicting supplies to US troops.

Mr. Babbin is the editor of Human Events. He served as a deputy undersecretary of defense in President George H.W. Bush's administration. He is the author of "In the Words of our Enemies"(Regnery,2007) and (with Edward Timperlake) of "Showdown: Why China Wants War with the United States" (Regnery, 2006) and "Inside the Asylum: Why the UN and Old Europe are Worse than You Think" (Regnery, 2004). E-mail him at jbabbin@eaglepub.com.


Dear Mr Hiatt
I am a Turkish former minister who had been in Parliamaent from 1983 to 2002 During all my political career I have tried to do some thing to improve relations between Turks and Armenian

I have been architect (and member of the Governement) of the recognation of independence of Armenia by Turkey in 1991 I have realised the ever first meeting between Petrossian and Elçibey in 1993 in Ankara Hilton hotel From 1995 to 1998 I have realised meetings between Armenian-Azeri and Turkish journalists; three times in Turkey one in Baku and one in Erivan

To understand their position I have tried to meet Armenian Diaspora leaders in USA and in Europe.

If you allow me I would like to do some contribution to your article :
Israel State has been founded in 1948 and Turkey has been with France and Italy the only countries who recognised her independence. Greece and Spain recognisation was due to their obligation resulting from their E.U. memberships in 1983

In 1948 Israel population was about half million and almost five sixteen years later, with strong and developping economy

When we recognised Armenia in 1991 her population was almost 4 million and now sixteen years later it is under 2 million.

Jews, to recreate their countries have left their comfort, money, wellfare, security, career etc and they came back to their lands, sleeped, worked and fighted in deserts.

What in exhange Armenian diaspora has done for Armenia ?

Just nothing!

They did not even erected some youth summer camps to send their childreen to see their homeland and learn their culture in Armenia

They just feeded their youth with hate against Turks and Turkey.

In fact by doing that they have for ever cutted their historical, cultural and religious liasons from Turkey.

It is a pity because they were also childreen of these lands.

I would have been an extremist nationalist , a chauvinist, I would have been happy with the policy of Armenian Diaspora of cutting all future contacts, relations, cohabitation opportunities with the culture of their ancestors lying in Turkey.

But I am not and what is happenning in USA Congress will irreversibly harm not only Turkish

American friendships but any possible dialogue between Turkey and Armenia.

Thank you for reading me

Bülent Akarcali
Former Minister of Health, Tourism
GSM 00 90 532 212 86 36

www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/07/09/AR2006070900536.html

The Democracy Backlash
By Fred Hiatt, July 10, 2006; Page A17

When communism collapsed in 1991, no one expected democracy to triumph everywhere and instantly. But no one expected the other side to fight back, either. After all, what was "the other side"?

Yet when President Vladimir Putin hosts the first summit of Group of Eight leaders in Russia this week, the most notable thing won't be that his country has failed to become the consolidated democracy that the G-7 countries expected when they invited Russia to join a decade ago. What will be remarkable -- but has been little remarked on -- is that Putin has become a leader and an emblem of an active movement to combat the spread of democracy.

"What seems to be the case," Sen. Richard Lugar (R-Ind.), chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, told me, "is that governments that are authoritarian have decided to fight back."

Lugar chaired a hearing last month on "The Backlash Against Democracy Assistance," which is the title of a report he commissioned from the National Endowment for Democracy, a private, federally funded organization created in 1983 to promote democratic institutions around the world. The organization found the backlash to be most pronounced in what Carl Gershman, NED's president, calls "hybrid regimes": autocracies that maintain some nominally democratic processes, usually including elections, and that generally claim to be democracies.

Many of these regimes tolerated civic groups promoting freedom and human rights during the 1990s and allowed them to receive help from democracy promoters in the United States and other nations. But after the Rose Revolution swept away the corrupt regime of Eduard Shevardnadze in Georgia, followed by the Orange Revolution in Ukraine, Putin and other leaders decided they could no longer take any chances.

They concluded, Gershman said in a recent talk, that, as Abraham Lincoln noted in a different context, "a government cannot endure permanently half slave and half free." And so they accelerated their harassment of civic groups, radio stations, political parties and any other independent voices -- with arbitrary detentions, visa bans, impossible funding rules, intrusive registration requirements and more.

For the most part, the regimes claim that these measures are aimed only at protecting state sovereignty, defeating terrorism or countering espionage. That's good news, in a funny way; most of them still feel compelled to describe themselves as democrats. Even now there is no "other side," ideologically speaking.

But it also makes the measures difficult to combat. Post reporter Peter Finn's account last week of how the Kremlin has eliminated Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty broadcasts from most Russian radio stations without formally banning the programming -- instead harassing, insinuating and threatening to revoke licenses -- provides a good example.

And the rebounding dictators are learning from each other. In January Putin signed legislation regulating nongovernmental organizations that will give 30,000 bureaucrats the option of revoking the registration of any troublesome group. Now Hugo Chavez in Venezuela and Robert Mugabe in Zimbabwe are pushing similar legislation. China reportedly sent researchers to Uzbekistan and other former Soviet states to compare notes on democracy countermeasures; meanwhile, Belarus's dictator, Alexander Lukashenko, "reportedly acquired China's latest internet monitoring and control technology while in Beijing in December 2005," NED reported.

The man who helped provoke all this -- Georgia's democratic president, Mikheil Saakashvili -- was in Washington last week warning that Putin and his ilk may be interested in more than defense; they may want to roll back democracy in Georgia, Ukraine and beyond. Bush, who spent two hours with the Georgian, appears to understand this.

Putin is, in fact, working hard to undermine democratic Georgia, a nation of fewer than 5 million people bordering Russia on the south. He has banned imports of Georgian produce, wine and mineral water; he is manipulating secessionists inside the country. Saakashvili's success in promoting economic growth and diminishing corruption may be too dangerous an example for Putin to abide.

A key question for this week will be whether the G-7 leaders make clear that undermining neighboring democracies is not an acceptable policy. France and Germany will be reluctant to allow principle to interfere with commercial interests, which lie with Russia, not some tiny nation to the south. So it will be up to Bush.

Saakashvili seemed to be delivering just such a message when he handed Bush a photocopy of a 1936 letter his government had discovered in the KGB archives. The letter, handwritten by leaders of fiercely independent people of the mountainous Khevsureti region, was addressed to the "Great American Government." It bewailed the encroaching Bolsheviks, who were forcing the locals onto collective farms and preventing them from practicing their religion.

"We won't surrender as long as a single Georgian in Khevsureti is alive," they wrote. "We'll defend ourselves with swords and daggers. . . . We hope you will help us. You are the only ones who can . . . ."

The letter never reached Franklin Roosevelt, of course, and all its signatories were promptly murdered by the KGB (then known as the NKVD).

Times have changed, thank goodness. But history hasn't ended, and the spread of democracy still can't be put on autopilot.

fredhiatt@washpost.com


Mrs. Pelosi Should Also Look At The Map (Ilnur Cevik)
16 October 2007, New Anatolian

U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi seems completely aloof of global realties as she seems to feel Armenians support in her California constituency is more important than the vital interests of her country.

This kind of irresponsible behavior is very dangerous for a country where a congress can dictate its will on foreign policy…

Pelosi is still thinking Turks are bluffing and that when the genocide resolution passes the full House Ankara will make some noises and then the Turkish anger will die down and things will be back to business as usual because Turkey needs the U.S. more than the U.S. needs Turkey.

She is dead wrong.

If that resolution passes things will never be the same and many people in Turkey will make sure that the Turkish government does not falter.

It is not a coincidence that nine out of ten Turks feel the United States is not a friend. It is the build up of several events which started with the American arms embargo in the 1970s and had mushroomed into the current stage as the U.S. has alienated the Turkish people due to various reasons.

Turkey's friendship and alliance has been appreciated by those in Washington who directly deal with foreign policy and global issues but it seems Pelosi is not in that league.

When former President Bill Clinton visited Ankara and was hosted by President Suleyman Demirel he told the Turkish nation that he frequently looks at the world map and this helps him to appreciate the strategic importance of Turkey. It seems this Democratic president should give the Democratic House leader a map that also helps her to understand the terrible mistake she is committing.

She has to see that the damage she is inflicting will be long lasting if not permanent. But she simply does not care…

All she has to do is to study the global security concerns of the U.S. from Iran to Syria and see who their neighbor is. Despite all the antagonism displayed by the Congress Turkey is hosting the Syrian president today to convince his country to attend the Middle East conference the U.S. is organizing in November… Instead of showing some gratitude all they do is to insult us through resolutions.


Genocide And Diplomatic Policy (Michael Abramowitz And Peter Baker)
16 October 2007 Washington Post
President Bush has found himself in a morally and politically ambiguous position on what may be one of the most vexing questions that can face an occupant of the White House: When does carnage rise to the level of "genocide"?

He came out forcefully last week against a congressional resolution labeling as genocide the killings of hundreds of thousands of Armenians between 1915 and 1923, even though most historians agree with that conclusion. Yet Bush continues to describe atrocities in Darfur as genocide, even though many experts, including some in his administration, doubt that the situation there of late qualifies.

Underlying those decisions are political dynamics as much as technical definitions. The administration worries that the Armenia resolution could imperil relations with Turkey, a key U.S. ally that has hinted at all manner of retribution, such as barring the U.S. military from transferring goods for the Iraq war through the Incirlik air base. By contrast, the administration has little concern about alienating what it considers a loathsome regime in Sudan and does not want to retreat from a principled stance.

The White House acknowledges little contradiction between the positions Bush has taken on Armenia and Darfur. "A genocide has taken place in Sudan," spokesman Gordon Johndroe said by e-mail last week. "If the United States always waited for the rest of the world to act in Africa, more people would already have died of HIV/AIDS, malaria and TB, more people would have less food, and more innocents would have died in Sudan."

Johndroe added: "What happened nearly 100 years ago in Turkey and Armenia is tragic, but is an historical issue that needs to be worked out by those two countries, not the United States Congress, which has a lot of other legislation it needs to take up at the moment."

Bush staked out this position despite the consensus among historians. "It's the clearest case of genocide apart from the Holocaust," said Ben Kiernan, who directs the Genocide Studies Program at Yale University. Conditions today in Darfur, while not close to ideal, are much less violent and more chaotic than the simpler situation three or four years ago, when government-backed Arab militias were responsible for much of the violence as they menaced defenseless African villagers, experts said.

Indeed, the rest of the world has never fully embraced the U.S. decision to call Darfur genocide, not necessarily because anyone thinks the violence is acceptable -- except perhaps the Sudanese government, which denies much of it -- but because the legal designation of genocide requires evidence of intent to wipe out an ethnic or racial group.

Diane Orentlicher, an expert on genocide at American University's Washington College of Law, said the debate misses the mark. "One of the mistakes we have made in recent memory is we have performed legal gymnastics to avoid using the word 'genocide' when describing real-time atrocities," she said. "That misses the point of the [international] Genocide Convention -- which is, if you wait until it's legally certain that a genocide has occurred, you have waited too long to prevent it."


Resolution 106 (Joshua W. Walker)
16 October 2007, Turkish Daily News
The way Americans and Turks get through challenges like Resolution 106 will demonstrate to the world the true strength or weakness of the U.S.-Turkish alliance.

Turkey and the U.S. may share 60 years of common history and alliance, but they still often talk right past each other. Indeed, the divergent reactions by Turks and Americans to U.S. House and Senate Resolution 106 represent just the most recent example of how the two countries view the world differently. And, at a time in which both Turkey and the U.S. need one another, responses to the “Armenian Genocide” resolution further crystallize the need for greater understanding on both sides of the Atlantic. For the record, the actual text of the resolution reads, “Calling upon the President to ensure that the foreign policy of the United States reflects appropriate understanding and sensitivity concerning issues related to human rights, ethnic cleansing, and genocide documented in the United States record relating to the Armenian Genocide, and for other purposes.” (http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/bdquery/z?d110:HE00106:@@@P) While Resolution 106 immediately feels to Turkish citizens like an affront on their national history and identity, few Americans even have a vague idea what it represents or why it is being taken so seriously. Literally hundreds of resolutions and motions are passed in Washington each week that have very little consequence on the day-to-day lives of Americans. A non-binding resolution means that it is the opinion of the U.S. Congress, and that no further legal or other action can be taken. If Americans don't even seem to care or know about this resolution, the question on many Americans minds is why would Turkey care?The history of the Ottoman Empire is rarely taught in the U.S., yet Americans have a general sense that something horrible happened in the years leading up to 1915. Therefore, to most in the U.S., the argument that nothing happened during this time seems implausible and lacks credibility. Americans are clearly baffled at how the passing of an opinion by the U.S. Congress about events nearly one hundred years ago that doesn't mention Turkey by name can generate responses as drastic as severing military ties or denying US logistical support to the continuing efforts in Iraq. Viewed from the U.S. perspective, Turkey's harsh response and subsequent threats about Resolution 106 seem like a complete overreaction. In Turkey, the classification of the events that occurred during the Ottoman Empire's struggles in World War One as genocide is offensive on both a national and individual level. At the heart of the Turkish Republic is a deep pride in a Turkish national identity and a view that the actions of the Ottoman Turks in response to rebel Armenian attacks in support of Russia were an unfortunate consequence of war. To this day in Turkey, discussion of the massacres of Armenians as “genocide” is illegal and considered to be an insult against the entire nation.

Comprehension problem

What Americans have largely failed to understand is that to the Turkish people, Resolution 106 is not about historical interpretation. Rather, it is about their national identity. As a result, Turkey's enormous national pride has been geared toward drastic countermeasures should the resolution pass in the U.S. While 23 other nations and 40 U.S. states have passed similar resolutions, none have been as close to Turkey as the U.S. or carry the same symbolic importance as Resolution 106. The enormous sense of betrayal in Turkey comes at a particularly troubling time given the threats to the Turkish state that continue from northern Iraq. Given developments in Turkey's neighborhood, the United States needs Turkey's support far more immediately than vice versa. Yet, Turkey's long-term interests both in the region and beyond align with those of the U.S. Severing ties or hurting relations at this point in time does not serve the national interest in either country.Turks and Americans need to communicate and better understand each other in a world that requires a strong alliance between Turkey and the U.S. Sometimes, that will mean the conversations will need to be hard, and sacrifices need to be made. On a national and individual level, some pride may have to be swallowed. Ultimately, however, the way we get through challenges like Resolution 106 will demonstrate to the world the true strength or weakness of the U.S.-Turkish alliance.


Ain’t Misbehaving (Fehmi Koru)
16 October 2007, Today’s Zaman
I don’t think the decision-makers in the high echelons of American politics know what they are doing. They seem to feel that Turkey cannot sacrifice bilateral relations with the most powerful country on earth, the US, for a blemish as unimportant as accepting Armenians’ claims of “genocide” conducted so long ago by an empire that no longer exists. The US Congress is ready to pass a resolution on the Armenian genocide issue that will infuriate the Turks, and the US administration seems to think that this would have little impact on bilateral relations, and even if it did, that it could not go beyond a reasonable level of response.
I beg to remind US politicians that they are on the verge of making a grave mistake.

Cultural differences between people have been a known fact since anthropology as a science came into being. Different people react differently to developments affecting humans. Some cultures put individual values in a special place, and actions jeopardizing those values are penalized harshly. Some have the highest regard for national honor and cannot endure it being put at risk.

All Turks, regardless of family history or educational background, receive the same type of a values training during school, and the writer who affects our national psyche the most is Ömer Seyfettin (1884-1920), a run-of-the mill storyteller who tells mainly historical anecdotes to which no other writer has given any importance, and he tells them very effectively.

I especially remember two of his most telling stories very vividly.

The first is the story of “the caftan with pink pearls.” Muhsin Çelebi was an honorable gentleman who had little regard for bureaucratic chores and stayed clear of government duties all his life. When he was summoned by the grand vizier to carry a letter from the sultan to Shah Ismail of Persia, who was known to be rude and bad-mouthed towards emissaries coming from Istanbul, Muhsin Çelebi did not want to accept the mission, giving the excuse of his reluctance to assume state duties. The grand vizier was insistent, and Muhsin Çelebi had to accept what he was asked to deliver.

He put all his estates as collateral to purchase the most precious caftan, an overcoat, completely embroidered with precious pink pearls. When he entered Shah Ismail’s palace, his outfit attracted the attention of the courtiers as well as the shah himself. When Shah Ismail, on his throne, did not show Muhsin Çelebi a place to sit during the audience, the sultan’s emissary laid down his caftan on the floor and sat on it. After a short discussion with the shah and delivering the sultan’s letter, Muhsin Çelebi exited the court leaving his caftan with precious pink pearls behind, and when he was reminded to get it, he said a Turk could not put on his caftan after having sat on it.

Ömer Seyfettin, at the end of his narrative, stresses the point that Muhsin Çelebi on his return to Istanbul gave his report to the grand vizier and had to endure a miserable life afterwards as a grocery seller in the bazaar since he could not get his possessions back -possessions mortgaged to buy a caftan with pink pearls.

The story of the caftan with pink pearls is embedded in the minds of all Turks, regardless of social strata.

There is another story by Ömer Seyfettin which is more effective than the first one in the Turkish psyche.

It is the story of Huge Ali, who was a first-rate blacksmith in a small town. A very proud man this Huge Ali was. He was wrongly accused of theft and was sentenced unjustly to lose his right arm. Those who loved him asked the town’s richest man to pay Huge Ali’s blood money in return for his total allegiance as a servant. The rich man succumbed but made Huge Ali’s life miserable afterwards. He always reminded Ali that if he had not been around to pay his blood money, Ali would have been with only one arm. One day, when the rich man was doing the same round of reminding Huge Ali what he had done for him by paying his blood money, Ali could not take this any longer and cut his right arm from its armpit using a sharp knife with the announcement: “Now you have my arm, and I demand to have my dignity back.”

I know for most Americans those are stories which have no relevance whatsoever to today’s events. Pride equals pickiness, and that equals nothing. Members of Congress can pass a resolution without thinking what kind of a reaction their action will get from the Turks. Those who have some consideration for the reaction from Turkey can expect very little based on the premise that what they do is only a small gesture to the Armenians who suffered in history and that the Turks of today could not get offended. If they do, the Turks would never dare to challenge what the US represents in the world today.

If they really think along these lines, the American politicians are making a grave mistake.

I don’t know what kind of a response the Turkish government has in store, but I am sure of one thing: the Turkish public will never accept small measures as a reaction to the Congress’ decision. They will take it as a blow to their dignity and an affront they will never forget.

Ömer Seyfettin has stories to prove this, too.


Armenian Bill Sparks High Level Military Phone Traffic
16 October 2007, Hürriyet
The new US Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Michael Mullen, has reportedly called his Turkish counterpart, General Yasar Buyukanit, to discuss the possible effects on Turkish-US relations from the proposed Armenian bill before the US Congress. Admiral Mullen told General Yasarbuyukanit that the Pentagon was working hard to let the US Congress know that the possible limitations on US use of Turkey's Incirlik Air Force base would have potentially serious effects for the US efforts in Iraq. General Buyukanit has already noted that in the event of the passage of the Armenian bill, "Our military relations with the US will not be the same as before." Currently, up to 70% of the air cargo entering Iraq from the US comes through Turkey, as does 30% of the fuel used by US troops.

The Armenian bill is expected to face a vote in the House of Representatives before November 22.


Pelosi Rejects Bush Plea To Shelve Genocide Bill Vote
16 October 2007, Turkish Daily News

Pelosi said she has not received a telephone call from Bush and rejected the pretext raised by the president, Secretary of State Rice and Defense Secretary Gates that approving the resolution will hurt the US wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Democratic speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, made clear Sunday that she will bring to a full floor vote the Armenian ''genocide" bill approved by a House panel last week, despite warnings by President George W. Bush and his top aides that passing the bill will seriously harm American national interests.

Pelosi's top aide, Steny Hoyer, announced that the House floor vote will take place before Nov. 16.

"If [the bill] passed the committee, we would bring it to the floor," Pelosi said during an interview with ABC television when asked whether she is determined to hold a floor vote on the resolution.

The House Foreign Affairs Committee last Wednesday voted 27 to 21 in favor of the non-binding resolution, which calls on the United States to recognize the World War I-era killings of Armenians by the Ottomans as genocide.

"This resolution is not the right response to these historic mass killings," Bush said last week.

Pelosi said that she personally has not yet received a telephone call from Bush and rejected the pretext raised by the president, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Defense Secretary Robert Gates that approving the resolution will hurt the U.S. wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and endanger American troops.

Ignoring warnings

Turkey is working on a package of measures in the event the bill is passed that include curbing military cooperation with the U.S, but details are not clear. Chief of General Staff General Yasar Büyükanit warned Washington with his message: "Our military relations with the U.S. will never be the same again."

But Pelosi said: "Our troops are well served when we declare who we are as a country, and increase the respect that people have for us as a nation."

Responding to the Bush administration's statement that this was not the right time to ''anger'' the Turks when they were cooperating with the U.S. in the war against terrorism, she said: "There's never been a good time... [the resolution] is a statement made by 23 other countries. We would be the 24th country to make this statement. Genocide still exists and we saw it in Rwanda, we see it now in Darfur."

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer made similar remarks speaking to Fox News television.

"I schedule the bills and I'm telling you, it will come forward, it'll come to the floor before November 16," he said.

Hoyer implied that Turkey would not dare to take radical measures, because it needs the U.S more than the U.S needs Turkey.

'Most irresponsible thing'

"I think Turkey's help to us is vital. More vital is the U.S. help to Turkey. Over the last half century, the relationship between the U.S and Turkey has far more advantaged Turkey than has the U.S," he said.

Hoyer said that the genocide resolution was a historical observation and not a move aimed at insulting the country. "Our government is absolutely convinced a genocide was committed. Not by the Erdogan government, nor the present Turkish people. But almost 100 years ago, in 1915, during the course of their civil war," he said.

Meanwhile, John Boehner, the Republican minority leader in the House and a close Bush ally, blasted the Democratic House leaders' plans to hold a floorvote for the bill.

"Bringing this bill to the floor may be the most irresponsible thing I've seen this new Congress do this year," he told Fox News. "Turkey is a very important ally in our war against the terrorists. They are in a very strategic location in the world. They have been a great ally of ours. They are very upset about this resolution. And the speaker should not bring this issue to the floor," he said.

In addition to top Bush administration officials, eight former secretaries of state and three former defense secretaries sent joint letters to Pelosi, urged her to stop the resolution.

Meanwhile former US President Jimmy Carter also joined the former top U.S. officials on Sunday, who oppose the resolution, reported CNN's national network in the U.S.

"I think if I was in Congress I would not vote for it," he said on CNN.


Armenian Genocide Measure To Advance
15 October 2007, Reuters

The top Democrat in the U.S. House of Representatives said on Sunday she intends to press ahead on a resolution calling the 1915 massacre of Armenians by Ottoman Turks genocide, despite White House concerns it will damage relations with Turkey, a supporter of the Iraq war.

"I said if it passed the committee that we would bring it to the floor," House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told ABC television's "This Week."

A congressional committee on Wednesday approved the Armenian resolution, sponsored by a California lawmaker whose district has a large Armenian-American constituency.

The full House is due to vote on the strictly symbolic measure by mid-November.

President George W. Bush has adamantly opposed the resolution, warning that it would interfere with Turkey's support for U.S. troops in Iraq and harm relations with an important ally.

"We regret that Speaker Pelosi is intent on bringing this resolution for a vote despite the strong concerns expressed by foreign policy and defense experts," White House spokesman Tony Fratto said in Crawford, Texas where Bush is spending the weekend at his ranch.

"We continue to strongly to oppose this resolution which may do grave harm to U.S.-Turkish relations and to U.S. interests in Europe and the Middle East," he said.

Pelosi, of California, said her determination to bring the measure to a vote has not wavered despite Bush's warnings that it would pose problems for the U.S. effort in Iraq.

"Some of the things that are harmful to our troops relate to values," Pelosi said. "I think that our troops are well-served when we declare who we are as a country and increase the respect that people have for us as a nation."

The issue is highly sensitive in Turkey, where it is a crime to describe those events as genocide. Turkey recalled its ambassador to the United States for consultations after the House committee vote.

Turkey's military chief has said ties between the United States and Turkey would "never be the same again" if Congress approves the resolution.

Congressional Republicans urged Pelosi to block the measure from coming to a vote by the full House.

"Bringing this bill to the floor may be the most irresponsible thing I've seen this new Congress do this year," House Minority Leader Jim Boehner, an Ohio Republican, said on "Fox News Sunday."

One of the Bush administration's fears is that the resolution could weaken U.S. influence as it urges Turkey to refrain from any major military operations in Northern Iraq.

The Turkish government is planning to seek parliamentary approval for military operations against a militant group, the Kurdistan Workers Party, based in the mountains of northern Iraq.


The Road To Recognition Passes Through Jerusalem (Anshel Pfeffer)
11 October 2007, Haaretz

"The Turks are not the only ones who believe the way to Washington passes through Jerusalem," says Archbishop Aris Shirvanian, director of Ecumenical and Foreign Relations for the Armenian Patriarchate of Jerusalem. "We also know that this alliance is very important, and the day Israel recognizes the Armenian genocide, the U.S. administration will, too."

The almost mystical belief that Israel and the Jewish lobby have the power to sway votes on Capitol Hill is sometimes reminiscent of the conspiracy theory in the style of the protocols of the Elders of Zion. This is probably the one thing the Turks and Armenians have in common in their historic war over the recognition of the Armenian holocaust.

The archbishop was not surprised that Turkish Foreign Minister Ali Babacan chose this week to act in Jerusalem against U.S. Congress' decision to recognize the genocide.

"Recent statements in the U.S. led the Turks to suspect that the Jews and Armenians were collaborating to pass the law in Congress. They know the Jews in the U.S. have close ties with Israel, so they are pressing the government here as they have in the past," he says.

There is no escaping the Armenian holocaust in the narrow streets of the Armenian Quarter in Jerusalem's Old City. Posters on every wall call on people to remember it and a new monument in the Theological Seminary's yard is to be inaugurated on memorial day on April 24.

The memorial features a large Armenian cross and six smaller ones, representing the West Armenian districts where the slaughter took place during World War I.

But Shirvanian and the 20,000 Armenians living in Israel know that the way to the recognition of their holocaust is still long and paved with disappointment. They also understand that remembering their massacre has become a cipher in the complex equation of global politics.

It includes strategic American and Israeli interests in conflicts with Syria and terrorism, Turkish national pride, concern for Istanbul's Jews and relations between minority groups in America. There is little place for history or justice in such an equation.

One example is the decision of the Anti-Defamation League of B'nai Brith six weeks ago to recognize the Armenian massacre as genocide. The statement followed ongoing pressure by Armenian communities that argued that an organization that fights racism cannot ignore another nation's genocide.

A few months ago, a controversy erupted in the organization and the ADL's New England branch director, who sided with the Armenians on this issue, was fired. This led to contributors' pressures on the ADL and finally director and chairman Abraham Foxman announced that the ADL was changing its position.

The Turkish rage following the move was not directed at the ADL's offices in Washington but toward Jerusalem. Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan called President Shimon Peres and asked him to intervene. Peres contacted Foxman who promised to issue a new statement saying that the matter was merely semantic and that the ADL objected anyway to a resolution proposal in Congress.

The Turks knew they could depend on Peres. Five years ago, when then education minister Yossi Sarid said at a remembrance ceremony for the Armenian massacre that it would be taught as a subject in Israeli schools, then foreign minister Peres leaped to disassociate Barak's government from the statement. He rushed to Ankara and stated that Israel regarded the Armenian affair as "a disaster" but not genocide.

"We sent him a letter of protest and he didn't reply," says Archbishop Aris. "Since then, we haven't had any contact with him."






Some 3,000 Armenians Apply To Axa For Compensations
Armenpress Oct 15, 2007,
YEREVAN: An official of the Armenian justice ministry said over 3000 Armenians from across the world, who are descendants of life insurances policyholders, issued by the French Insurance Company AXA to Armenians, who perished during the Armenian Genocide in the Ottoman empire, have applied for compensations.

The bulk of applications are from Armenians in the USA, Armenia and France.

The French AXA insurance company has extended the deadline for descendants of life insurances policyholders until December 20 to apply for compensations. The previous deadline was October 1 of this year.

Last year AXA agreed to pay $17.5 million to descendants of life insurance policyholders.

U.S.-based Mark Geragos along with attorneys Vartkes Yeghiayan and Brian Kabateck had filed a class action lawsuit in a California federal court against AXA for failing to pay death benefits for the insurance policies purchased by Armenians in Turkey prior to the 1915.

The proceeds of the agreement, which was mediated by Federal Judge Dickran Tevrizian, are to be disbursed as follows: Up to $11 million for the heirs of life insurance policyholders; $3 million to be contributed to a newly-created French-Armenian charity; and $3 million for attorneys' fees and legal/administrative.


Nancy Pelosi and the Armenians
Philip Giraldi October 15, 2007
There is something peculiar about the way the political class in the United States thinks. At a recent meeting on U.S. foreign policy that I attended, a speaker noted that Americans are "results-oriented." I believe that he is correct but he should have noted that the generalization does not apply to politicians. Politicians are image-oriented and are not interested in results, particularly when the results are bad.

The Armenian Genocide resolution, which is sailing through Congress, is a great image builder for some politicians who want to register their disapproval of mass slaughter, but it is a terrible result. It comes at the worst possible time as the U.S. is trying to convince Turkey to show restraint and not invade northern Iraq and one has to wonder why the United States should be involved in this at all. If Speaker Nancy Pelosi carries out her pledge to bring the resolution before the entire House of Representatives next month, it is almost certain to pass as 226 out of the 435 Congressman have already signed on to it. The resolution accomplishes precisely nothing apart from alienating the Turkish government and people from the United States. It is non-binding on the White House and State Department and it essentially documents a tragedy that took place nearly one hundred years ago, carried out by the Ottoman Empire, which no longer exists, and implemented by politicians and military officers who are long since in their own graves. One wonders if a congressional resolution condemning Uzbekistan for Tamerlane's slaughter of two million residents of Baghdad in the fourteenth century is coming up next or possibly an indictment of Italy for Scipio Aemilianus' destruction of the city of Carthage in 146 BC. It is particularly ironic that the U.S. Congress believes it can seize the moral high ground regarding mass killing in light of its collaboration in the destruction of Iraq.

Turkey has been a parliamentary republic since 1923, though one has to note that its military has intervened in the democratic process more than once and the Turkish definition of republicanism is heavily flavored by a sense of nationhood that does not always permit in practice much in the way of minority rights. Turkey was the only Muslim nation that was a founding member of NATO, it fought bravely by the side of the US in Korea, and has been a staunch ally up until the US invasion of Iraq in 2003. Within NATO, Turkey's army is second in size only to that of the United States. Turkey is the strategic key to a stable Middle East. It is the only Muslim country that has a genuinely close relationship with Israel and it cooperates with Tel Aviv in many areas. It is also a bridge to Europe for the Islamic world and a role model of how relatively open pluralistic politics and a free media can actually work within the framework of Islam. Turkey is also home of the large US airbase at Incirlik near Adana, which is responsible for 70 percent of all air shipments into Iraq. Thirty per cent of all fuel supplied by road to Iraq enters through the port of Adana. All of the new bomb proof Mine Resistant Ambush Protected personnel carriers that are being supplied to U.S. forces are flown into Iraq over Turkish airspace. Incirlik Airbase hosted more than 3,000 flights of C5 and C17 transports going to Iraq and Afghanistan in 2006 as well as 3,800 missions by K-135 tankers. If the use of Incirlik were halted by the Turkish government, it would have a major impact on US military operations in the region.

Currently, less than 10 percent of Turks view the United States favorably and that percentage is likely to decline further given the events of the past week. In the late 1980s the favorable percentage was closer to 90. What has happened in the intervening time to change that? Congressional grandstanding by Pelosi and company is partly to blame, but most of the decline in Turkish support for the U.S. is a result of the Iraq war and also the inability or unwillingness of the Bush Administration to do anything about the terrorists who are using Iraq's Kurdish region as a base of operations.

From the Turkish point of view, the United States is completely hypocritical. The United States became a great power through its genocide of the red Indians and is hardly in a good position to point the finger at others. It currently is fighting a self-declared and self-defined global war on terrorism in which it claims the right to attack terrorists anytime and anywhere. It publicly states that its goal is to end all terrorism everywhere in the world. An apparent exception appears to be NATO ally Turkey, which has been plagued by Kurdish terrorism for more than 20 years. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and President Bush have both promised to stop the terrorist group the Kurdish Workers' Party (PKK) from using its havens in northern Iraq to stage attacks inside Turkey but they have done nothing, largely because they do not want to put pressure on the government of the Kurdish region, which is admittedly the only stable part of Iraq. Turkey has repeatedly warned that the failure to act against the terrorists might lead to intervention by its own armed forces. More than 30 Turkish soldiers and civilians have been killed by the PKK over the past two weeks and the Turkish public and the army General Staff are both demanding a military response.

Given Ankara's concerns about Washington's lackadaisical attitude towards terrorism, the genocide vote will likely transform the United States into "public enemy number one" for many Turks. There has been a great deal of speculation as to why the genocide resolution came up now and why some congressmen who normally would have voted against it changed their minds. Pelosi is definitely influenced by the large numbers of wealthy Armenians in her own district and more generally speaking in key blue states like California and New Jersey. This is ethnic politics at its finest, where the national interest takes a back seat to long simmering animosities and events that took place long ago and far away. The argument that the resolution is being promoted to force Turkey to establish diplomatic relations with neighboring Armenia is a complete red herring as the problem between the two countries goes back to Armenia's seizure of Nagorno-Karabakh from neighboring Azerbaijan in 1988-1994. The Turks regard the Azeris as fellow Turks and have refused to regularize relations while the enclave continues to be largely in Armenian hands. The political animosity between Turkey and Armenia therefore has nothing to do with the events of 1915 and will not be resolved by accusing the Turks of genocide.

More curious still is the actual voting in the House Foreign Affairs Committee on the resolution. Normally, the Israel first crowd lines up to protect Turkey as Ankara has been a reliable Muslim ally to Tel Aviv. Outspoken Abe Foxman, who heads the Anti-Defamation League, has vacillated on whether or not to support any official recognition of the Armenian genocide. Groups like B'nai Brith International and the Jewish Institute of National Security Affairs have refused to endorse recognition. Foxman in particular has been criticized by other Jews who object to his constant citing of the Holocaust while wavering over the Armenian claim to having had a similar experience. In Congress, the House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Tom Lantos of California is so close to Israel that he often acts for that country as a spokesman. Lantos has ambitions to become Secretary of State in a Hillary Clinton administration, so it is possible that he is attempting to establish his credentials as a statesman and an independent voice, but he always looks to Israel's interests first and it may be that the Israel lobby is concerned by the increased Islamic manifestations in Turkey and is delivering a warning shot to Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Seven out of eight Jews on the Foreign Affairs Committee followed Lantos's lead by voting in support of the resolution. One other theory is that diminishing Turkey's regional role will enhance the need to rely more on Israel, making it perforce the "indispensable" U.S. ally in the Middle East and a third possibility is that pressuring the Kurds will speed the break-up of Iraq, which could be construed as being in the Israeli interest. If any of those arguments is driving the genocide resolution process the end result will be bad for the United States and not necessarily good for Israel. Embroiled in Iraq without any easy way out and heavily dependent on the supply line passing through southern Turkey, Washington has much more to lose than to gain by turning Ankara into an enemy.

Comments (96)
Zentomato ( I'm a fan of Zentomato)
I think it is a very decent thing to do to recognize the 1.5 million Armenian deaths of nearly a century ago. But I question the timing of it. Could the timing be more worse? I think not. This boils down to the influence of a particular special interest group exercising it's power in our Congress for it's own benefit. How is this good for the interests of the American soldier in Iraq at this time? How is this good for the security interests of the United States?
07:24 pm on 10/15/2007
leftLibertarian ( I'm a fan of leftLibertarian)
Hey Pelosi, how about sponsoring a bill condeming Bush and Cheney's genocide in Iraq?

Too spineless?

Thought so....
06:11 pm on 10/15/2007
hyedray ( I'm a fan of hyedray)
It is easy to dismiss this resolution, and call it "bad timing" or foolish. Many have, and will continue to say "who cares." Clearly, most here, seem to feel as though this is a pointless resolution.

Then again, some of us live with notion that out ancestors died for nothing. Those that survived the horros of genocide live with the nightmares of watching their mothers raped before their eyes. Witnessed their parents, bothers and sisters, grandparents being mutilated slowly; body parts being hacked off as the soilders laugh over their screaming tortured victims.

Not pretty is it.

So when many say that this is pointless, and foolish, I ask that you close your eyes for just a moment and ask yourself how you would feel if you were a witness to these atrocities, and then were told that it never happened by the torturer himself.

The Ottoman empire might be long gone. Those soilders of the very same empire, along with their government and the purveyors of this genocide may be long buried. But the CURRENT Turkish government continues the conspiracy and the denial of the Armenian Genocide to this very day?"nearly 100 years after the fact.

In the event you don't grasp it, imagine that the current German government never admitting the horrors of the holocaust. And further, criminalizing even mention the holocaust. Imagine 6,000,000 Jews who died for absolutly nothing?"simply exterminated.

This is what has happened to the Armenians.

As for America and it's history of genocide and atrocities; they are and continue to be revealed and well documented?"againts African Americans, Native Americans and others.

Either this nation is against genocide or not. If the so-called moral right wing in charge of this country really cared about life, they would actually work to stop war, and speak out against it?"not promote it and start it.
04:53 pm on 10/15/2007
LongBeachDave ( I'm a fan of LongBeachDave)
Excellent post, well said, and I just ask everyone to take the time to read the chapter "The First Holocaust" in Robert Fisk's excellent book "The Great War for Civilisation" and then tell me that this is the "wrong" time to bring up this issue. I personally do not care if the current Turkish regime is our "ally." They should be willing to admit that the government of the early 20th century had a government sponsered program of genocide, and the current government needs to stop telling it's own people that it is against the law to even mention it.
Reply | Parent | posted 06:32 pm on 10/15/2007
bten ( I'm a fan of bten)
There are people still alive who remember the genocide against armenians. It is quite the insult to compare it to ancient history.
04:02 pm on 10/15/2007
sharkcity ( I'm a fan of sharkcity)
This is stupidity. They keep funding the wars and DEA raids on Cancer and aids patients. Now they want to sell our national interest out to the Armenian lobby?

Turkey was against the War in Iraq and has excellent realations with both Isreal and Iran. They sould be courted as stablizing force. They welcomed The Jews fleeing Europe. Don't forget the Ottomans and Allies took far more losses. 400,000 at Galipoli alone. The Armenians were fighting on the side of the Russians. There were mass killings as in any war. Not quite the parameters of a genocide. In fact many Armenians still live in Turkey.
02:53 pm on 10/15/2007
UltraClassic ( I'm a fan of UltraClassic)
People like me who don't trust far democrats in general and Pelosi in particular see this what what it is, an effort to poke the eye of a country that is providing some help (not a lot) in the Iraq effort. It's an end-around play to jerk around with supply lines and logistics going through that country.

This is pathetic. If Pelosi cares so much about murder en masse, she and her far left buddies should get their rears in gear on Darfur. But this is not going to happen. After the efforts by the far left to destroy our efforts in the war on terror, they will never be taken seriously again when it comes to military action. Who would take them seriously on anything other than taking money from one group and giving to another? That, they can do very well.
02:48 pm on 10/15/2007
audiophileguy ( I'm a fan of audiophileguy)
Despite any semantic arguments over whether the Armenian disaster qualifies as "genocide", this was a truly significant and horrible event. However, as a committed Democrat, I am as puzzled as many of other posters regarding the wisdom of bringing forth this particular resolution at this particular time. We have a misguided war in Iraq, and a government moving towards a war with Iran; this is not a reasonable time promote further discord with Turkey, who has been a reliable ally in the region. Where are the resolutions to end the Iraq war and prevent the Iran war? Where are the resolutions to forbid our countrymen from extraordinary rendition and torture? Is this really the most compelling priority of our day? This resolution is further evidence that there is no wisdom in the Democratic leadership.
02:44 pm on 10/15/2007
arkansawtravler ( I'm a fan of arkansawtravler)
Did you ever think this might also be about sticking it to GWB. The Pols have never been above revenge and penetration however slight is sufficient to raise the angst level or create favorable conditions for a deal. And it is just the sort of underhanded tactic the repugs have used on the Dems for years.
02:25 pm on 10/15/2007
SteveRoach ( I'm a fan of SteveRoach)
Billionaire Kirk Kerkorian, 90, was born in Fresno, California, to Armenian immigrants. Kerkorian didn't learn the English language until he was 9 years old. He dropped out of school to become an amateur boxer. He joined the British Royal Air Force and was a pilot in the second world war.

Kerkorian has enough money to buy and sell the U.S. Congress many times over.
02:19 pm on 10/15/2007
LongBeachDave ( I'm a fan of LongBeachDave)
and this means????
Reply | Parent | posted 06:33 pm on 10/15/2007
jeffepops ( I'm a fan of jeffepops)
This may be a case of Pelosi doing the right thing for the wrong reason.

If Turkey finds this resolution -- which attributes the genocide to the Ottoman Empire, not the modern, semi-democratic state -- then one must wonder how strong our relationship with Turkey is.

If the United States can stand criticism of its own historical wrongdoings -- Native Americans, Slavery, Viet Nam, Iraq -- by other nations, why should we expect less of our allies.

The Armenian Genocide may be old news, but the Turkish government still censors and arrests its own citizens from publicly speaking out about the deliberate and systematic slaughter of between one and two million innocent victims. We can not be silent partners in this cover up.

This is the time to learn whether Turkey truly deserves a place at the table in the European Union and free nations, or remains trapped in its despotic theocratic past.
02:16 pm on 10/15/2007
lindaras ( I'm a fan of lindaras)
>>Outspoken Abe Foxman, who heads the Anti-Defamation League, has vacillated on whether or not to support any official recognition of the Armenian genocide. Groups like B'nai Brith International and the Jewish Institute of National Security Affairs have refused to endorse recognition.
02:00 pm on 10/15/2007
FearlessFreep ( I'm a fan of FearlessFreep)
What if the Germans were denying the Jewish genocide?
Reply | Parent | posted 02:06 pm on 10/15/2007
hyedray ( I'm a fan of hyedray)
My point as well. THANK YOU!
Reply | Parent | posted 05:49 pm on 10/15/2007
Stillanidiot ( I'm a fan of Stillanidiot)
My grandparents fled from the Armenian Genocide in 1915. They escaped Eastern Turkey, but not before seeing their children slaughtered.

They made their way to Lebanon and then France where my grandmother and the rest of the women in their family remained while my grandfather and his brother found work in central America.

It took the men two years to make enough money working in the cane plantations to bring themselves, their wives and remaining children to the United States.

My grandparents settled in Chicago and raised 3 more children, two boys, my uncles and a girl, my mother.
My grandmother succumbed to tuberculosis when my mother was twelve.
My uncles served their country honorably in the Second World War. One in the Pacific and one in Europe where we were fighting against tyranny imposed by the man who when someone asked him how he could get away with annihilating an entire race of people replied;

"Who remembers the Armenians."
If we don't shine a bright light on tyranny and murder whenever it occurs, now or ninety two years in the past or three hundred years ago then our constitution really is just a "goddamned piece of paper". And we have no business calling ourselves a democracy.

So it's an inconvenient time to acknowledge what most of the rest of the free world takes as a historical fact?
I would propose to all of you so called progressives and all of you freedom loving patriots who inhabit the right side of the spectrum that truth and justice matter most in times of inconvenience.
The sons and daughters of the victims of the Armenian Genocide are still alive as are their sons and daughters and we look to you to speak the truth and really believe in those ideals embodied in that piece of paper.
Armenian Americans fought for this country, in WWII, Korea, Vietnam and they are fighting today in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Mindless and irresponsible legislation?
Not as long as Armenian Americans are giving their life's blood in service and defense of this nation, it's not.
01:55 pm on 10/15/2007
unemployedprogressive ( I'm a fan of unemployedprogressive)
To stillanidiot above:

You have made some valid points, but as usual the Congress has its' priorities wrong. Before we mess with Turkeys' shortcomings, we should pass a resolution that acknoledges our genocidal actions toward Native Americans. Next we need to acknoledge our inhumane treatment of the slaves we brought from Africa. After that we need to acknoledge our policies of indentured service that we inflict on migrant Hispanic workers. After that we should probably apologize for funding the IRA for all those years. Then and only then should we turn our attention to Armenia.
Reply | Parent | posted 03:13 pm on 10/15/2007
milo9 ( I'm a fan of milo9)
My condolences for your loss. But as to our national policies, I have this xenophobic wish that old feuds remain in the old country.
As to Nancy Pelosi putting the issue on the table at this time, one has to wonder if she's trying to throw the election.
Reply | Parent | posted 03:53 pm on 10/15/2007
hyedray ( I'm a fan of hyedray)
THANK YOU. Excellent post
Reply | Parent | posted 05:51 pm on 10/15/2007
jacobomorales ( I'm a fan of jacobomorales)
give me a bloody break everyone....

part of spreading democracy around the world is learning to listen and accept responsibility for your acts (refering to Turkey). Turkey is part of the region and learning about democracy...some lessons are harder than others.

now we have to find a political balance before anything is said....

you can't have it one day one way and another the other....
01:44 pm on 10/15/2007
sheila ( I'm a fan of sheila)
i came up with a theory on this which may or may not make sense. i figure that turkey is already in a mini-war with the kurds and is within days if not months of a full-on attack on kurds in northern iraq - - - where all the OIL is. so, since we are gonna defend the OIL anyhow (and incidentally, the kurds), which means fighting the turks, which means losing that cargo access anyhow, this may be a pre-emptive move to capitalize on the inevitable and get some (choose one or more) concessions, allegiance, military alliances, spies, OIL CONTRACTS, etc. from the armenian and kurdish people in the region. it is also (more remotely) possible that there is a russian diplomacy tie-in here, as the russians have been very pro-armenia on this issue...

in other words, i suspect this is more complex than just some knee-jerk, ill-timed bow to the 50-year plight of armenians in america to gain recognition. for those posters who think it has already happened twice, no it hasn't - a resolution has come up twice (1984 and 1997) but was shot down by congress for political expedience. we are also the 24th country signing on to this resolution...
01:33 pm on 10/15/2007
Ferhat ( I'm a fan of Ferhat)
(OK it was three parts - sorry!!)

We live in a difficult world where we've made some curiously bad decisions. Compounding our original sin with further stupidity is not the solution.

If the Armenian-Americans want there day in court - they can have it - in objective reputable academic journals, but not at the expense of our national interests and our troops.
01:29 pm on 10/15/2007
ApolloSpeaks ( I'm a fan of ApolloSpeaks)
For those who want to isolate America, alienate its allies and weaken its position in the troubled Middle East this resolution will advance your cause.

01:29 pm on 10/15/2007
Ferhat ( I'm a fan of Ferhat)
Likewise, it is certainly not up to the US House to take a position on this issue, especially as the posters have noted here, it simply lacks the credibility and the expertise to do so.

Some very prominent historians have concluded that the incidents that occurred, while horrific and terrible, are not tantimount to genocide - whatever its legal definition happens to be. Other prominent historians disagree and argue that there is enough evidence for the atrocity to be defined as a genocide. So why not let them figure it out? Who named the US Congress as the moral arbiter of this entire affair?

I admit that Turkey could do more to be transparent on this subject. But let's face it, as some of the posters have noted here, are we rushing to condemn ourselves over the wrongful deaths of Native Americans, Koreans, Vietnamese, Iraqis, etc etc. Of course not. History is a bloody messy business full of moral ambiguities and this is an argument that has no end. Is there a civilized way to wage war and kill people?

Let's get off our annoying moral high horses.
(Darfur anyone? 50 million Americans with no healthcare? Bosnia? Entitlement deficits? Education? Don't we have bigger issues to deal with here?).

Finally, before people start to criticize Turkey for not cooperating with the US during the Iraq invasion, a) go back and read about the diplomatic ham handedness of the US before the invasion - there happened to be a change in administration in Turkey and the US refused to wait for the political handover; b) the war was opposed by 90% of the Turkish people, who I think as we all now appreciate, were justified in their opposition - Turkey's democratically elected leaders represented the will of their people.

Turkey borders Iraq and prior to the first Gulf War, generated about $3 billion per annum in trade which dried up when the war started and since sanctions were imposed on Iraq. It is economically rational to argue for concessions that account for lost trade and the diversion of resources.
01:29 pm on 10/15/2007
hyedray ( I'm a fan of hyedray)
While America has its own short comings (we agree on that) I think you are drinking too much Turkish Kool Aid. If the murder of more than 1,000,000 people is not considered genocide by "very prominent historians" then those so-called historians need to have their heads examined. Further, Could you please provide the names and reference of these "prominent historians?" My granfather wouldn't make up a story in which he watched his mother murdered at the hands of Turkish soilders when he was 9 years old. Debate? Ha....thats a laugh!
Reply | Parent | posted 05:57 pm on 10/15/2007
Ferhat ( I'm a fan of Ferhat)
Sure here are the names of about 45 prominent US academics. I'm sure someone else can dig up another 45 who agree with the definition. That is precisely the point - there is a great deal of academic debate by serious scholars and experts as to whether or not what happened constitutes a genocide or not. I don't want to diminish the experiences of your grandfather - far from it - in fact I am hugely sympathetic. But my sympathy for the plight of the peoples of Eastern Anatolia - Muslims and Christians alike - doesn't give me carte blanche to define the episode as a genocide. But then again, maybe it was. How do these things get defined anyway - a pretty gruesome task, but historical accuracy clearly matters here.

Rifaat Abou-EI-HaJ Professor of History California Stale University at Long Beach
Sarah Moment Atis; Associate Professor of Turkish Language & Literature, Univ. of Wisconsin at Madison
Karl Barbir, Associate Professor of History, Siena College (New York)
Ilhan Basgoz, Director of the Turkish Studies, Program at the Department of Uralic & Altaic Studies, Indiana University

Daniel G. Bates; Professor of Anthropology, Hunter College, City University of New York
Luke Bates; Professor of Art History, Hunter College, City College, of New York
Gustav Bayerie, Professor of Uralic & Altaic Studies; Indiana University
Andras G.E. Bodrogligetti, Professor of Turkic & Iranian Languages, University of California at Los Angeles
Kathleen BurriIl; Associate Professor of Turkish Studies, Columbia University
Timothy Childs, Professorial Lecturer SAIS, Johns Hopkins University
Shafiga Daulet, Associate Professor of Political Science University of Connecticut
Roderic Davison, Professor of History George Washington University, Washington. D.C.
Walter Denny, Professor of Art History & Near Eastern Studies, University of Massachusetts
Dr. Alan Duben, Anthropologist Researcher, New York City
Ellen Ervin, Research Assistant Professor of Turkish, New York University
Caesar Farah, Professor of Islamic & Middle Eastern History, University of Minnesota
Carter Findley, Associate Professor of History, The Ohio State University

Reply | Parent | posted 08:00 pm on 10/15/2007
Ferhat ( I'm a fan of Ferhat)
Michael Finefrock, Professor of History, College of Charleston

Alan Fisher, Professor of History, Michigan Stale University
Cornell Fischer, Assistant Professor of History, Washington University (Missouri)
Peter Golden, Professor of History, Rutgers University, Newark
Tom Goodrich, Professor of History, Indiana University of Pennsylvania
Andrew Gould, PhD. in Ottoman History, Flagstaff, Arizona
William Griswold, Professor of History, Colorado State University
Tibor Halasi-Kun, Professor Emeritus of Turkish Studies, Columbia University
William Hickman, Associate Professor of Turkish, University of California, Berkeley
J.C. Hurewitz, Professor of Government Emeritus, Former Director of the Middle
East Institute (1971-1984), Columbia University
John Hymn, Professor of History, Glenville State College, West Virginia
Halil Inalcik, University Professor of Ottoman History & Member of The American Academy of Art & Sciences, University of Chicago
Ralph Jaeckel, Visiting Assistant Professor of Turkish University of California at Los Angeles
Ronald Jennings, Associate Professor of History Asian Studies, University of Illinois
James Kelly, Associate Professor of Turkish, University of Utah
Kerim Key, Adjunct Professor, Southeastern University Washington, D.C.
Metin Kunt, Professor of Ottoman History, New York City
Frederick Latimer, Associate Professor of History, Retired, University of Utah
Avigdor Levy, Professor of History, Brandeis University
Bernard Lewis, Cleveland E. Dodge Professor of Near Eastern Histor, Princeton University
Dr. Heath W. Lowry, Institute of Turkish Studies, Inc. Washington, D.C.
Justin McCarthy, Associate Professor of History, University of Louisville
Jon Mandaville, Professor of the History of tire Middle East, Portland State University (Oregon)
Reply | Parent | posted 08:03 pm on 10/15/2007
Ferhat ( I'm a fan of Ferhat)
Mr. Giraldi,
(Sorry two part post...)

An excellent post which I hope provides your readers with a bigger perspective on the issue.

The actions of the Democrats and Pelosi are indeed disgraceful and provide ever more ammunition to critics who argue that Democrats lack the capacity to manage in times of crisis (I'm a Democrat myself and find these actions mind bogglingly absurd).

I will leave a few thoughts on the issue:

1) Pelosi and the democratic majority have utterly failed to influence decision making in Iraq. Her term as Speaker, lamentably, has been a failure, considering this was the watershed issue of the 2006 election.

2) Pelosi and other House members have made a concious decision to place the lives of US soldiers and our operation in Iraq at huge risk to appease an obscure albeit wealthy regionally concentrated influential ethnic group.

I don't like the war anymore then the next person, but it is the height of irresponsibility to do anything that puts the lives of 150,000 troops at further risk. Our troops and their families have displayed nothing less than courage and dignity and sacrifice. They have carried out their duties and should not be penalized further. I cannot recall a more irresponsible moment in the history of the US Congress (other than providing authorization that enabled Bush to launch the War against Iraq).

Leaders lead. Pelosi has failed to lead and is therefore taking the pitiful approach of slinking through the back door. If the Democrats want to end the war, they should do, and as the majority party have the wherewithal to do, in a way that dignifies the legislative branch. She and her colleagues should be ashamed of themselves.

3) Like it or not, there remains great academic debate about whether or not the atrocities committed against the Armenians constitute a Genocide. I'm not a historian so its not up to me to decide one way or another.
01:28 pm on 10/15/2007
LongBeachDave ( I'm a fan of LongBeachDave)
Well, if the systematic murder of at LEAST one million people is not considered genocide, what exactly would you call it? And when would be a good time? Twenty five years from now, when we will still be in Iraq, maybe in Iran, maybe in Turkey? Who knows what the world will be like 5 years from now? If we can pass a resolution "condemning" an ad in the New York Times, we can certainly spend a day discussing why the current Turkish government makes it a crime to brand the killing of the Ottoman government 90 years ago as genocide.
Reply | Parent | posted 06:50 pm on 10/15/2007
Ferhat ( I'm a fan of Ferhat)
Over 60 American academicians who specialize in Turkish,Ottoman and Middle Eastern studies from prominent universities such as Princeton, Columbia and UCLA wrote a letter to the House, which was simultaneously published in New York Times:

?? As for the charge of ?"genocide?" no signatory of this statement wishes to minimize the scope of Armenian suffering? throughout the years in question, the [Eastern Anatolian] region was the scene of more or less continuous warfare, not unlike the tragedy which has gone on in Lebanon for the past decade. The resulting death toll among both Muslim and Christian communities of the region was immense. But much more remains to be discovered before historians will be able to sort out precisely? the [nature of] the events which resulted in the death or removal of large numbers of the eastern Anatolian population, Christian and Muslim alike.?".

One of the signatories Bernard Shaw noted that "the issue is not whether the massacres happened or not, but rather if these massacres were as a result of a deliberate preconceived decision of the Turkish government," adding that "there is no evidence for such a decision."

That letter was written in 1985. Maybe new evidence has come to light since then. Maybe not. Who knows? I'm not a historian. I doubt you are, and I am certain that none of the members of Congress have the capacity to analyze the events in a substantive way that would refute the view of these experts. So what I'm saying is that apparently a number of prominent experts refute the claim. The quotes I provided seem to summarize the position quite succinctly. The timing of the issue merely represents poor political and leadership judgment on the part of Pelosi et al.

The more I read about this, the more I?"m surprised that Armenians are not alarmed that this supposed sacred issue is being prostituted so that a castrated Democratic party can score political points on GWB.
Reply | Parent | posted 07:52 pm on 10/15/2007
Rudym ( I'm a fan of Rudym)
Okay Pelosi, lets start working on the future. I think we have plenty more problems facing our future because of lack of foresight by useless politicians.
01:05 pm on 10/15/2007
dukeman ( I'm a fan of dukeman)
Why did I vote for Democrats last Fall? Not for this nonsense.

Get the war stopped. It is people who are alive now that Congress should be thinking about, not long dead victims or criminals.
01:05 pm on 10/15/2007
Dandy12 ( I'm a fan of Dandy12)
Of course people shouldn't forget atrocities.
Yet, the timing of this is extremely poor, when we need allies. It is to a lesser degree similar to calling the Iranians names/assigning labels, while knowing there is no solution at all in Iraq without their assistance. Our entire foreign policy is imploding upon us!
12:56 pm on 10/15/2007
hawkeye58 ( I'm a fan of hawkeye58)
This is the dumbest thing I've heard of in recent times. It serves no purpose other than to alienate a country that has, thus far, been completely cooperative with the U.S.

This is an incredibly sensitive issue to the Turks. I traveled to Turkey last year, and the tour guide brought up the genocide accusation and defended Turkey.

For anyone who may not know, Turkey is a Muslim country with a secular parliamentary representative democratic republic. Just the kind of government the United States is telling the rest of the Muslim world they should have.

Instead of praising this very successful example of a Muslim democracy, we will insult them needlessly.
12:44 pm on 10/15/2007
mkam39 ( I'm a fan of mkam39)
I was totally stunned when I heard this! Turkey has a government we should be supporting. We do have a military base there, and there could be dire results because of this stupid idea. If the Turkish army enters Iraq, we will have more trouble. Could the House please get to work on the real problems we face today and tomorrow!!!!!!
Reply | Parent | posted 01:38 pm on 10/15/2007
thromulese ( I'm a fan of thromulese)
What is next? Maybe a resolution declaring Hitler a bad man?

I simply cannot believe the house wasted their valuable time on this meaningless issue. I rarely/never agree with king george and his minions, but I do agree that this is the wrong message at the wrong time.

Why piss off turkey now? With border battles already taking place between Iraq and turkey. We need our allies turkey to keep the peace in the region. The last thing we need to do is piss them off with some stupid resolution about something that happened almost 100 years ago.

My message to Nancy:

Hey Nance, please start worrying about the death, carnage, corruption and war crimes taking place right NOW in Iraq and Danfur and other hot spots.

Leave history to the historians.

12:39 pm on 10/15/2007
paixa3 ( I'm a fan of paixa3)
If Mrs. Pelosi wants to demonstrate against mass slaughter, she should lead cutting of ALL FUNDING (except returning the troops home) for the IRAQ WAR.
12:32 pm on 10/15/2007
FogBelter ( I'm a fan of FogBelter)
Mr. Giraldi, as I understand it this Armenian Genocide Bill has been circulating around Washington for decades. I know from the Armenians I have come in contact with over the years that this Genocide Recognition is extremely important to their community. It is not like we are rewriting World History. The Turks might not like being reminded of the Genocide of the Armenians, but they only have ownership over 50% of that history, the other 50% is owned by the Armenians whose families were affected by the Genocide.

It may be an inconvenient time for this bill to come to a vote, but now that has come out of committee it has to be addressed as is historically appropriate. To overlook history and responsibility for political expediency falls way short of the morality that is the foundation of our nation.

I'm certain when the Comfort Women Bill comes before the Congress to address the abuses of Imperial Japan the Japanese Government will be unhappy as well, but it benefits no one to give a pass to egregious actions of a state ... no matter whose toes are stepped upon.
12:31 pm on 10/15/2007
LongBeachDave ( I'm a fan of LongBeachDave)
I am wondering just exactly when the opponents of the timing of this bill think it WOULD be an appropriate time...next year, 5 years from now, 25 years from now? I am very sorry that the present Turkish government does not want people to be reminded of what the Moslem Turkish government of 1915 did, but if they cannot live up to their own history, what kind of an ally are they anyway?
| Parent | posted 07:14 pm on 10/15/2007

FogBelter ( I'm a fan of FogBelter)
Mr. Giraldi, as I understand it this Armenian Genocide Bill has been circulating around Washington for decades. I know from the Armenians I have come in contact with over the years that this Genocide Recognition is extremely important to their community. It is not like we are rewriting World History. The Turks might not like being reminded of the Genocide of the Armenians, but they only have ownership over 50% of that history, the other 50% is owned by the Armenians whose families were affected by the Genocide.

It may be an inconvenient time for this bill to come to a vote, but now that has come out of committee it has to be addressed as is historically appropriate. To overlook history and responsibility for political expediency falls way short of the morality that is the foundation of our nation.

I'm certain when the Comfort Women Bill comes before the Congress to address the abuses of Imperial Japan the Japanese Government will be unhappy as well, but it benefits no one to give a pass to egregious actions of a state ... no matter whose toes are stepped upon.
| posted 12:31 pm on 10/15/2007
LongBeachDave ( I'm a fan of LongBeachDave)
I am wondering just exactly when the opponents of the timing of this bill think it WOULD be an appropriate time...next year, 5 years from now, 25 years from now? I am very sorry that the present Turkish government does not want people to be reminded of what the Moslem Turkish government of 1915 did, but if they cannot live up to their own history, what kind of an ally are they anyway?
| Parent | posted 07:14 pm on 10/15/2007
sparafucilli ( I'm a fan of sparafucilli)
I propose that the House pass a resolution condemning all past genocides acknowledged or otherwise. The bill should be "form" like, leaving blank spaces for perpetrators, victims and time period. Example: "We, the members of the US House of Representatives, on behalf of the people of the USA hereby condemn 'Homo sapiens" for their genocidal treatment of "Homo neanderthalensis" during the time period 40000 to 10000 BP (before the present) or thereabouts".
| posted 12:14 pm on 10/15/2007
outnow ( I'm a fan of outnow)
Turkey is a looking glass into which Americans peer cautiously, debating fundamental American values. The European Union has excluded Turkey. Our policy is so ambiguous that I can't even
follow what really happening. Turkey sees us as being "completely hypocritical." Turkey was a "staunch ally up until the invasion of Iraq."

American has embroiled itself in so many conflicts-of-interest around the world that all rational people question our sanity and motives. What are U.S. "interests?" These "interests" are defined in our national security documents as "commercial." Our founding documents do not make this assertion about foreign policy. George Washington's admonitions about "avoiding foreign entanglements" are no more clear than in this unfortunate dilemma.
| posted 12:06 pm on 10/15/2007
CommanderWhitehead ( I'm a fan of CommanderWhitehead)

Here's a idea for Speaker Pelosi.

How about a resolution that condemns us for...oh, I don't know...let's say for killing nearly one million Iraqi's...over the past five years? That's a good one to begin with.

(We can skip the half million Iraqi children that Clinton/Gore/UN sanctions murdered during the 1990s.) What with everyone's feeling so good about the Clintons...and Gore's prize and all. (The same one they once gave to old man Henry Kissinger, if I recall.)

I shouldn't want to introduce too much "inconvenient truth" and wind up "harshing everyone's mellow", as it were.

| posted 11:59 am on 10/15/2007
PeteBogs ( I'm a fan of PeteBogs)
this resolution almost seems like a roundabout way of drawing down the war effort... whatever works...
| posted 11:58 am on 10/15/2007
iburl ( I'm a fan of iburl)
All this roundabout bullshit ISN'T working. We need real leadership, not this B.S.. What is the freaking point of condemning the Ottman empire?! We need to stop committing genocide in Iraq ourselves before we start pointing the finger at turkey for stuff that happened 100 years or more ago!
| Parent | posted 01:35 pm on 10/15/2007
UltraClassic ( I'm a fan of UltraClassic)
You are so right Pete, Pelosi's efforts will make our relationship with Turkey more tense than it already is and likely end the small amount of help they give us.

Pretty pathetic Pete, Imagine yourself a commander on the ground having to deal with the results of Pelosi's nonsense such as disrupted supply lines. But it's obvious that some folks have no problem with that at all, quite obvious.
| Parent | posted 03:37 pm on 10/15/2007
snaggster ( I'm a fan of snaggster)
Yeah Pete, imagine sending troops into a city like Baghdad in Hummers w/o armor when you know that there are IEDs everywhere. It's obvious that the Republicans that did that have no regard for our troops or Iraqis. Imagine that!
| Parent | posted 04:23 pm on 10/15/2007
pzdoff ( I'm a fan of pzdoff)
Thank you for the wonderful history lesson Mr. Giraldi. We all know this mass murder happened one hundred years ago. To me that means that the murderers have had one hundred years to own up to it, which they haven't done. So I say quite simply, fuck them and the horses they rode in on,. If their Little Turkish feelings are hurt, too bad. It is what it is.........murder, and they SHOULD be made to answer for it.
| posted 11:55 am on 10/15/2007
paixa3 ( I'm a fan of paixa3)
Same for the USA in Iraq. What is good for the goose, is good for the gander.
| Parent | posted 12:33 pm on 10/15/2007
claytongrayum ( I'm a fan of claytongrayum)
This is stupid. People in Iraq are dying now. People in Suddan are dying now.
| posted 11:48 am on 10/15/2007
LongBeachDave ( I'm a fan of LongBeachDave)
Uh, people everywhere are dying now, that does not mean we should not ask the current Turkish government to own up to genocide that was committed by the Ottoman Muslim government of 1915 against the Christian Armenian population in their own country. Just admit that it happened, own up to it, stop making it a crime to even mention it in Turkey. Jeez, if they can't take these simple steps just because it might hurt their feelings, then too bad.
| Parent | posted 07:42 pm on 10/15/2007
desertdweller ( I'm a fan of desertdweller)
I fully support this action. It is long overdue and has relevance to today's situation in Darfur. We stand by as innocent people in Darfur are abused, raped, and murdered. Our government will not confront the government of Sudan because it is considered an ally in the global war on terror. The U.S. stood by in the 1950s while China destroyed the Tibetan culture and contunues to condone this atrocity. What about Rwanda? Did we not have any strategic interests there? By not speaking up, we are in effect, deniers of history.
| posted 11:47 am on 10/15/2007
knowhelpnow ( I'm a fan of knowhelpnow)
Hogwash all of it, if we just stay out of everyone's business we would be better off. Take us back to pre WW11 if after WW11 we had gone back to our ways we wouldn't be in the messes we are in now.
The world will always have these atrocities going on, it has happened since the beginning of the humans as a species or if you like Cain and Able.
| Parent | posted 12:32 pm on 10/15/2007
RDixon ( I'm a fan of RDixon)
Nancy " rubber stamp" Pelosi.
| posted 11:44 am on 10/15/2007
charlietuna11 ( I'm a fan of charlietuna11)
I BELIEVE IT WAS THOMAS MOORE WHO STATED THAT NOTHING IN LIFE GOES UNRECORDED.I KNOW THE ARMENIANS REPRESENT A SMALL FRACTION IN OUR COUNTRY SO I WILL BE SHOCKED IF CONGRESS REALLY DOES SOME THING MEANINGFUL FOR A CHANGE.IVE ONLY MET A FEW ARMENIANS IN MY 75 YEARS.THEY RIGHTLY GRIEVE THE FACT THE WORLD REFUSES TO RECOGNIZE THEIR GENOCIDE.AS FOR THE GENTLEMAN WHO FEELS TO MUCH TIME HAS ELAPSED AND WE SHOULD JUST MOVE ON,I WOULD REMIND HIM HOW THRILLED THE ARAB COMMUNITY WAS WHEN POPE JOHN APOLOGIZED FOR THE CRUSADES THAT STARTED IN 1099.HOW HAPPY THE JEWISH COMMUNITY REACTED WHEN THAT SAME POPE APOLOGIZED FOR THE ANTI-SEMITISM CREATED BY HIS CHURCH.THE ALLIANCE WITH TURKEY IS IMPORTANT,BUT NOT IF WE ARE TO SACRAFICE OUR PRINCIPALS AND INTEGRETY.DO THE RIGHT THING CONGRESS.ALLOW THE ARMENIANS CLOSURE ON THIS SAD HISTORICAL TRAJEDY.
| posted 11:42 am on 10/15/2007
historyprof ( I'm a fan of historyprof)
The fact that over 1/2 million Armenian-Americans live in California, primarily in Los Angeles, Glendale, Fresno, and San Francisco might have something to do with Pelosi pushing this bill.

Armenian-Americans are still very passionate about getting the world to acknowledge their genocide by Turks nearly a century ago. The U. S. could negate some of the ill will in Turkey that passage of this resolution will cause if Congress would simultaneously pass a resolution condemning the genocide of Native Americans by those of European ancestry.

Also, if the government of Turkey would acknowledge that Armenians had been slaughtered by a previous government nearly a century ago, and that the current rulers apologize for and regret that genocide, then this issue could inch toward reconciliation.
| posted 11:34 am on 10/15/2007
bookish ( I'm a fan of bookish)
I live in Fresno and have talked with survivors of the Armenian genocide. One tiny, toothless (from starvation) old lady told me how she used to smuggle food to her brother, who was hiding in a crypt.

That being said...this Congress has far more pressing issues to address.

Nancy and Harry have shown themselves to be worthless and weak.
| Parent | posted 12:08 pm on 10/15/2007
nuthinbutnet ( I'm a fan of nuthinbutnet)
I am completely at a loss now. Bush can commit Omnicide (the killing of life as a whole), the biggest war crime their is, and we condemn something that should be water under the bridge. I can't believe we live in these hyprocritical times. If Pelosi don't watch it, she's going to get canned by Sheehan. The people like you and I are really pissed off at this point. We don't need any of this stupid stuff right now. With impeachment off the table, she has only confirmed one thing. That democrats and republicans are all made from the same fabric. Shame. I really do believe that Dr. Paul is the solution. Vote for him.
| posted 11:34 am on 10/15/2007
JimR ( I'm a fan of JimR)
Excellent point. Gee, is there any kind of current military action that is resulting in the deaths of vast numbers of innocent people? Hmmm....
| Parent | posted 12:07 pm on 10/15/2007
Amhet ( I'm a fan of Amhet)
Yea. Rwanda. Ethiopia. Sudan.
| Parent | posted 03:15 pm on 10/15/2007
JimR ( I'm a fan of JimR)
Not to mention the war in Iraq, which was the main reason Democrats were given control of Congress.
| Parent | posted 06:06 pm on 10/15/2007
paixa3 ( I'm a fan of paixa3)
I would love to see Cindy eliminate Nancy. That would be quite rich, so to speak.
| Parent | posted 12:35 pm on 10/15/2007
massimo1 ( I'm a fan of massimo1)
Let the Armenians find the descendants of the last Ottoman emperor or the Young Turks, and ask for acknowledgement and apologies from them. This Kemalist Turkish goverment came into existence several years after the event. Asking them to be accountable is insulting to their national pride. I don't blame them for being pissed off. Pelosi and her minions should be holding Bush's feet to the fire over Iraq, not performing in this stupid, pointless sideshow. Of course, this is the same Ms. Pelosi who took impeachment, her main anti-Bush weapon, off the table as soon as she could.
| posted 11:30 am on 10/15/2007
AriN ( I'm a fan of AriN)
All those comments praising Turkey and their status as an ally of the United States unfortunately are so hollow. Is the author so uninformed?

Did we already forget that at the beginning of Iraq war Turkey did not allow us to open a Northern Front? Moreover their public opinion is the most anti-American among all countries surveyed by PEW research. This survey, by the way, was done before talks of Armenian Genocide Resolution surfaced.

It is an outright lie to call Turkey a democratic country when the pictures of an assasin of a prominent dissident journalist circulates with approving government officials, as was the case for Hrant Dink.

How about their treatment of their biggest minority, the Kurds? It speaks volumes about their democracy when they don't even recognize their existance and call them offically as "mountain Turks".

Let's not also forget that Turkey has a lot more to lose than U.S. if they cut their relationship with us. With their country so much hated in Europe, the only reason their E.U. talks have gone forward is thanks to us. Europeans live a lot closer to Turkey and they are well aware of their despicable record in democracy and human rights. Every single European poll shows that majorities in Europe want to keep Turkey away from the European Union. We have lobbied the British to keep their candidacy alive.

What about the yearly foreign aid they receive from us? the military aid? What would happen to their military planes if we stop servicing them? Would they be able to fix it on their own?

So what do we have to lose, an access to one airport. The Turks, meanwhile have to lose their candidacy to European Union, millions of dollars of financial aid, unreplacable amount of military aid, and bilateral trade with us.

Giraldi may want to look at the map of Europe. Every single major country in Europe, including France, Italy, Germany, Poland, and Russia already recognize the Armenian Genocide. Does he want us to win the prize with Iran for denying Genocides or Holocausts?

posted 11:25 am on 10/15/2007
secondharmonic ( I'm a fan of secondharmonic)
What AriN said. Look, the Turks desperately need the moneys their Gastarbeiter bring in; moreover that was the previous (and not really well remembered regime, except for their one-time military conquests). Moreover again, IIRC the US Congress HAS apologized for the slaughter of Indians and for Slavery -- something which the RW castigated Carter and Clinton about. Lastly, the levelling of Baghdad that occured in the early 14 century was under a lieutenant Khan, under the Great Khan, not Timur. See the historical novel "Das Buch von Eden", written in 2003 by Kai Meyer, and dealing with those events.
| Parent | posted 12:37 pm on 10/15/2007
Annoula ( I'm a fan of Annoula)
EXACTLY RIGHT, AriN!
According to Mr. Giraldi, the US should recognize ONLY those crimes whose perpetrators are not friendly or useful to the US [after all, we wouldn't want our "good friends", the Turks to get angry at us, right????]
If the sole passing of a non-binding resolution by Congress is enough to compromise US-Turkish relations and make the Turks reconsider their loyalty...what does alone say about Turkey as a "staunch ally"??????
Could it be that they are friendly to us ONLY IF we do what they like (and send them lots of money!) and don't ask for anything in return?????
Good-weather friends are always easy to find!
Why did everybody jump on Ahmadinejad when he questioned the Holocaust a few weeks ago but nobody ever objects when Gyul and Erdogan blatantly and systematically deny the Armenian genocide?
How many standards does this country have when it comes to judging barbaric acts?????
It looks like it is time to reconsider ALL OUR ALLIANCES.
But, more importantly, it is time to take a good look at OURSELVES and decide if we ever practice what we keep preaching to others...
Our HYPOCRISY has become too evident to the rest of the world.
| Parent | posted 12:52 pm on 10/15/2007
ljsfolly ( I'm a fan of ljsfolly)
I recently read that the past should remain in the past for this issue as it will affect the safety and the actual lives of those soldiers we have in the middle east. With 70% of all of the military arms and flights going through Turkey at this time to stir up a fight which will further destabilize the middle east makes little sense. I agree what the turks did was a horrible thing but for this moment in time is our soldiers lives being put at more risk worth the blasting from our congress? The article says it all but the need for justice for a long ago event has to not be on the table right now. For the glory of a few who can say they stood up for the dead in the past when they will not stand for the lives of the people now is not something they should be proud of. If they must stand may it be to stand up to this horrible person and those who represent him in our own country.
| posted 11:24 am on 10/15/2007
i'm peach bush ( I'm a fan of i'm peach bush)
I propose a Non Binding resolution condemning Non Binding resolutions. I recommend spitting in the wind it would make Congress look more productive.
| posted 11:18 am on 10/15/2007
The Truth ( I'm a fan of The Truth)
The only tax payer waste of time and money is the 26 Billion dollars we gave to Turkey at the start of the Iraq war. Turkey, that so called "ally" that you rave about, didn't let the American 4th ID troops go through. Anti American and Anti Israeli attitudes make up the common fabric of Turkish society. No minority has rights in Turkey. These are genocide perpetrating people that not only have not acknowledged the Armenian Genocide but have never been remorseful or apologetic. Last, Giraldi, should we forget the Rowandan Genocide, Cambodian Genocide or the Holocaust. After all, they all happened in the past and according to your logic, it does us no good so why acknowledge those? Or is just the Armenian Genocide disposable? Nanci Pelosi is doing the right thing. It is about time!
| posted 11:10 am on 10/15/2007
Kendo Nagasaki ( I'm a fan of Kendo Nagasaki)
The US killed three million South Vietnamese.

You know, those people we saved from communism.

Prez Johnson should receive a posthumous Nobel Peace Prize.
| posted 11:05 am on 10/15/2007
dBlogger ( I'm a fan of dBlogger)
Yeah, what about the Vietnamese genocide, Nancy? If I remember correctly, you even were AGAINST that particular war.
| Parent | posted 11:25 am on 10/15/2007
dBlogger ( I'm a fan of dBlogger)
Maybe we should start by cleaning our own house first: how about a resolution condmening the massacre of the Native Americans?
| posted 11:04 am on 10/15/2007
JimR ( I'm a fan of JimR)
Yup. Maybe the should name the bill the "Pot Calling the Kettle Black" resolution.
| Parent | posted 12:11 pm on 10/15/2007
carlgt1 ( I'm a fan of carlgt1)
oh for god's sakes, the Armenians have been working for awhile, every year trying to get some justice in the US system.

If we're really supposed to take horrors from Armenia throgh Darfur seriously, I would hope not to hear pundits & Republicans whining that it's a "bad time."

If Turkey is a psychopathic country that refuses the truth on their genocide of the Armenians, who the hell wants to add them as "allies?" Kick out the idea of them joining the EU (and civilization) as well.

If this is the best that "Islamic Democracy" can do -- then Bush & his klan really were idiots!
| posted 10:57 am on 10/15/2007
2warvet ( I'm a fan of 2warvet)
There have already been 2 resolutions passed in Congress in past decades. Why do we need another one? Especially for somegthing that happened a hundred years ago. This is going to do nothing but create issues with Turkey. And if you haven't noticed, we really need them as allies in this region.
| Parent | posted 11:25 am on 10/15/2007
LongBeachDave ( I'm a fan of LongBeachDave)
We need to do this because the CURRENT Turkish government refuses to acknowledge that these atrocities even occured. It is important for the accurate, historical record of this genocide to be officially acknowledged by all. The same is true for our own genocides against Native Americans, and the hundreds of thousands of Vietnamese, Cambodians, Iraninas and Iraqis that we have helped to perpetuate, or actually did carry out. I don't care how "strategic" a country is for us...if they cannot face up to the truth and reality of their past, they don't deserve our support. Read just one chapter of Robert Fisk's "The Great War for Civilisation" and you will soon see why it is so important.
| Parent | posted 11:51 am on 10/15/2007
JimR ( I'm a fan of JimR)
Yeah, well our CURRENT troops stationed in Iraq rely on the use of Turkish air space for supplies. This resolution could put them in jeopardy. I believe genocides should be condemned, but the safety of the troops takes precedence right now. The Armenians who were slaughtered can't be saved. But our troops can still make it out of Iraq alive, and that should be the top priority of Congress.

(By the way, I do not support the war, never have, so save any pro-Bush accusations.)
| Parent | posted 12:18 pm on 10/15/2007
LongBeachDave ( I'm a fan of LongBeachDave)
Our troops were refused entry into Iraq through Turkey by our "staunch ally"...why do you think they would come back home that way? We can remove our troops through Kuwait, the same way they came in, and we could do it in 2 months time. But we won't, no matter who is in the White House. It has NOTHING to do with Turkey at all.
| Parent | posted 08:00 pm on 10/15/2007
Pippilin ( I'm a fan of Pippilin)
I'm with you on this issue. If we absolutely must have 'allies' such as Turkey, who needs enemies?
What difference does it make how long ago 1.5 million Armenians were slaughtered by the Young
Turk government of that country? Persecution is ongoing to this day.
The EU has huge reservations about admitting Turkey because of the Armenian holocaust. Why are WE so touchy about standing on principle? Or... maybe we aren't capable any longer of seeing the moral principle at stake here. In the U.S. of today, the end always seems to justify the means, right?
What is so obscene about Turkey's response to the genocide is not primarily it's denial that it occurred, but its dogged refusal to accept
responsibility for it.
"Methinks the lady doth protest too much."
| Parent | posted 11:50 am on 10/15/2007
Amhet ( I'm a fan of Amhet)
"oh for god's sakes, ...every year trying to get some justice in the US system."

I have a couple comments on that....
1. Why does Armenia need "justice in the US system"? Why is it that the US needs to provide justice for something that happened during WWI in eastern europe??

2. At the end of WWI, the Ottoman empire fell. The lands occupied by the Ottoman empire were broken up which included (now) Iran, Iraq, Armenia, Kurdistan and other countries. Notice I said countries, not nations. The only nation to remain intact was Turkey. Upon the collapse of the final Ottoman sultan, Mustafa Kamal rebuilt the entire political system as a Republic. Islam ras retained as a practicing religion but the government would remain secular. Part of the harsh terms of the peace treaty of WWI included reparations and apology for the deaths of ethnic Armenians, as well as internationally recognized state of Armenia.

3. We have already had two non-binding resolutions calling this a genocide. Why do we need another one? Is this something we need to apologize for? How many times have we apologized to the american indian? blacks? mexicans? Why dont we just make a blanket apology to the world for everything we've ever done or may do. Do we need to apologize to the latin americans for Spain spreading disease to the indigenous tribes? Or the Cambodians for installing the Kumar Rouge? Laos for bombing the communists hiding there?

Sorry, bit of a tangent there.... Anyway, this is just typical Reid/Pelosi stuff... Cant get budgets done but they can bring up old stuff to screw the war effort.
| Parent | posted 02:59 pm on 10/15/2007
dBlogger ( I'm a fan of dBlogger)
I'm patiently waiting for Madame Speaker to introduce a bill condemning the genocide in Iraq.

Moral highground indeed. She looks like a fool to the world.
| posted 10:52 am on 10/15/2007
paixa3 ( I'm a fan of paixa3)
ditto
| Parent | posted 12:36 pm on 10/15/2007
brooklynbilly ( I'm a fan of brooklynbilly)
I wonder how much money Nancy has taken from local Armenian rug merchants.
| posted 10:41 am on 10/15/2007
Annoula ( I'm a fan of Annoula)
Brooklynbilly :
Never as much $$$$ as Bush and Cheney have taken form AIPAC and the Turkish Lobby!!!!
| Parent | posted 12:57 pm on 10/15/2007
Stefano ( I'm a fan of Stefano)
Since when did Congress become the home of all these "ceromonial" resolutions. I'd be happy if they passed one eliminted anything "non binding." This resolution is silly. Any study of history shows that this was indeed genocide, but why would we even bother condemning it while Darfur continues unabated. Even Clinton pressured Congress to drop the resolution back when he was in office. It might be a ploy to get Turkey to kick us out of our airbase there. This could be seen as an end around to stop the iraq war, but it is quite short sighted. I'm sure we would just build a bigger one in Iraq or Kuwait, and the Dems would be attacked for playing politics with our troops. I really don't understand the timing on this.
| posted 10:32 am on 10/15/2007
Macready ( I'm a fan of Macready)
Brilliant post . . . thank you for posting it . . . rather than putting impeachment on the agenda our fearless Democrats and Speaker Pelosi are actually engaging in a stupid mindless irresponsible bit of legislation that is 100 years out of date . . . it boggles the mind that they are wasting precious time and tax payers money on this and at the same time alienating Turkey and for no good reason . . . basically WTF do they think they are doing?
| posted 10:29 am on 10/15/2007
PaulMauriceMartin ( I'm a fan of PaulMauriceMartin)
While I'd normally be in favor of a bill like this, I have to say, the timing here eludes me.

Paul - originalfaith.com
| posted 10:28 am on 10/15/2007
LongBeachDave ( I'm a fan of LongBeachDave)
When exactly would be a good time to do this?
| Parent | posted 08:01 pm on 10/15/2007

Dap ( I'm a fan of Dap)
Dear Mr. Giraldi,

Well Sir, it seems that we (you and I) are in the same stream of consciousness on this one. I'm glad to see that at least one other person has came to the same conclusion.

This resolution in all reality serves no one, not even the Armenians. Agape.
| posted 09:56 am on 10/15/2007
Annoula ( I'm a fan of Annoula)
Following your logic, what was the point of getting mad at Ahmadinejad for denying the Holocaust??? Does it help the Jews in any way???
It's just a MORAL thing to do.
There is NEVER a good time to pass a resolution that could be unpleasant or inconvenient.
But it is the TRUTH and denying it, only helps the next perpetrators to get away with it...
| Parent | posted 01:02 pm on 10/15/2007
JimR ( I'm a fan of JimR)
The TRUTH is, passing this resolution will very likely result in the loss of Turkish air space to resupply U.S. troops in Iraq.

The perpetrators of the genocide are all dead, by the way.
| Parent | posted 06:09 pm on 10/15/2007
Dap ( I'm a fan of Dap)
Poppycock!

Logic is the science of reason, not sophism and fallacious arguments.
| Parent | posted 06:39 pm on 10/15/2007
inthenitemare ( I'm a fan of inthenitemare)
Nancy, this is what you've decided you're going to take a stand on???? WTF??
| posted 09:52 am on 10/15/2007
Dap ( I'm a fan of Dap)
WTF indeed!
| Parent | posted 09:58 am on 10/15/2007
outnow ( I'm a fan of outnow)
Nancy, get it together and deal with the real issues. That's why you were elected. No, you can't please everyone.
| Parent | posted 11:11 am on 10/15/2007
Oldchef ( I'm a fan of Oldchef)
I have to agree. There are any number of more important matters that need to be brought up for a vote. Impeachment's off the table, but let's bring up something to further screw up things in the middle east. WTF indeed.
| Parent | posted 10:37 am on 10/15/2007


Grandstanding Has Consequences
by Michael Rubin National Review Online October 15, 2007
www.meforum.org/article/1765

Last week, a congressional committee passed a resolution condemning the Armenian genocide. There is no doubt that up to a million Armenians died during World War I, although historians still debate whether their deaths constitute deliberate genocide or are collateral casualties of war.

House Democrats brought the resolution to a vote despite entreaties from the White House to postpone it. For Congress, though, the resolution was less about rectifying history than grandstanding. House Foreign Affairs Committee chairman Tom Lantos (D., Cal.) called a vote. It passed. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.) pooh-poohed the episode. This was not about Turkey, she explained, but rather "about the Ottoman Empire." Unclear, though, is why congressional Democrats felt the urgent need to condemn an entity that hasn't existed for 85 years.

Unfortunately, grandstanding has consequences. Turkey recalled its ambassador; and now the State Department finds itself now devoid of leverage to prevent a Turkish incursion into Iraq to fight Kurdish terrorists. Pelosi's posturing has put U.S. use of the Incirlik Air Base in Turkey to supply our forces both in Afghanistan and Iraq in jeopardy.

If only the Armenian Genocide resolution was an isolated event. It's amateur hour in Congress. The efforts of Sen. Joseph Biden (D., Del.) to divide Iraq on ethnic and religious grounds threaten to spark civil war just as U.S. servicemen make inroads in preventing it. Biden's motivation may be to garner media attention. He has succeeded. The problem, though, his statements get more airtime in Iran and Iraq, where revolutionary mullahs use his pronouncements to convince Iraqis that U.S. forces seek to destroy Iraq rather than rebuild it.

The list goes on. In May 2006, Rep. Jack Murtha (D., Pa.) said that U.S. Marines executed Iraqis "in cold blood." Overnight, his clip became an Al-Jazeera favorite. Islamist terrorists used Murtha's words to justify their murder of Americans. Now, a court martial has dismissed murder charges against the servicemen Murtha accused; Murtha has yet to apologize.

Other congressmen see intelligence briefings as an a la carte menu for chest-thumping leaks than part of confidential oversight duties. Every leak splashed across a New York Times undercuts the war on terror.

Junkets also have a cost. Basking in the glow of Pelosi's headline-garnering visit to Damascus — again in contravention of a State Department request — Syrian leader Bashar al-Asad upgraded his support for Hezbollah and his nuclear dealings with North Korea.

The resolution, while important to the Armenian-American community — perhaps less so to Armenians living in Armenia who worry much more about economic development — also raises a host of questions about how Congress picks and chooses which atrocities to weigh in on. While Condoleezza Rice seeks to bring Beijing on board with Iran sanctions — a Herculean if not impossible task — will the House Foreign Affairs Committee condemn Beijing for the millions who perished during the Cultural Revolution? Their murders — politically motivated and, as far as the historical record is concerned, far more deliberate and coordinated — also occurred much more recently. Perhaps the House Foreign Affairs Committee will also act to bring Iraqi President Jalal Talabani and Iraqi Kurdistan Region President Masud Barzani to justice for ordering the disappearance and summary executions of perhaps 3,000 Kurds during the 1994-1997 Kurdish civil war. This is not to suggest that such cases should not be pursued. But, the House Foreign Affairs Committee is not the place to pursue such historical investigations; universities are.

In an election season, Pelosi, Biden, and Murtha, may have no greater goal than to garner headlines, but U.S. servicemen fighting terrorists in Iraq and Afghanistan do. Countering proliferation and fighting terrorism will dominate diplomacy regardless of who next occupies the White House. There's no time for amateur hour. As U.S. troops continue to sacrifice to defend U.S. national security, it is unfortunate that headline seeking congressmen seek to make their job that much harder.

Michael Rubin, editor of the Middle East Quarterly, is resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute.


Workers At Incirlik Base To Defy US
October 16, 2007 ADANA – TDN
Workers at Incirlik airbase in the southeastern Anatolian province of Adana and trade union activists have agreed to protect the nation's interests in case the base is shut down in reaction to a draft bill in the United States Congress recognizing the killings of Armenians in 1915 as “genocide,” the Anatolia news agency reported yesterday.

The interests of the country are above anything, said Enis Sönmez, the representative of Türk Harb Is trade union, in which more than 1,000 workers of the airbase are members. “We take the issue from the point of the nation's interests, not from the economic side,” Sönmez said.

Meanwhile the passing of the draft bill in the Foreign Affairs Committee of the U.S. Congress has the workers worried, said Vedat Agaoglu, the head of Incirlik workers' Solidarity Association, but their concern is only about the country's interests, he said. “We accept being unemployed if the nation's interests are at stake,” he said.


MHP's Aktan: Shut Down Incirlik Base
October 16, 2007 FULYA ÖZERKAN Turkish Daily News
'What happened has happened. Turkey must retaliate against it,' Gündüz Aktan says, urging the government to impose strict measures against the US

With bilateral ties with Washington already under severe strain over the Armenian “genocide” resolution and the situation in northern Iraq, a senior parliamentarian of the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) has called for tough sanctions against the United States in retaliation.

“Turkey's reaction must be to do what is expected: Shut down Incirlik air base and slow down U.S. logistics to Iraq via Habur border gate,” Gündüz Aktan told the Turkish Daily News yesterday.

Aktan, a retired ambassador, was a member of a Turkish parliamentary delegation that lobbied in Washington last week against a measure labeling the killings of Armenians at the hands of the Ottoman Empire as genocide. The contentious resolution was marked-up by the U.S. House Committee on Foreign Affairs last Wednesday and will be put to a vote on the House floor next month.

“What happened has happened. Turkey must retaliate against it,” said Aktan. He warned the country might otherwise pay a higher price and eventually lose ground on foreign policy.

“This is not a matter of making a choice but is what needs to be done,” he added.

Nüzhet Kandemir, another retired ambassador, called on the government to weigh all the risks and make thorough calculations over potential retaliatory moves against the United States.

“ These moves should not be discussed in public but should be considered secretly and seriously on the condition of being implemented when the time is ripe,” he told the TDN.

Kandemir admitted that the genocide resolution has dealt a blow to the efforts aimed at mending fences between the longtime allies after the rejection of a U.S. troop deployment motion prior to the Iraq war in 2003 in the Turkish Parliament.

The problem stems from the fact that the “relationship between Turkey and the United States is mis-qualified” according to veteran diplomat Inal Batu.

“Strategic partners act as one state and two nations but this is not the case in terms of Turkish-U.S. ties,” said Batu.

He underlined that the passage of a “genocide” resolution in the House panel, Turkey's rapprochement with radical Muslim group Hamas and energy agreements with Iran despite Washington's clear and vocal objections revealed the two countries were not strategic partners but “merely allies.” “If we look at the issue from this perspective we will not be misled,” he said.

Army considers military sanctions

The adoption of the resolution caused uproar in Turkey and was deemed as an insult by most Turks. Chief of General Staff Gen. Yasar Büyükanit earlier said, “The United States has shot itself in the foot,” in the strongest comment yet from the Turkish side.

The deputy chief of the general staff, Gen. Ergin Saygun, joined the growing chorus of criticism and said the vote in the U.S. committee over the alleged genocide was “inexplicable,” at a time when 20 percent of Azerbaijani territory was under Armenian occupation. He was referring to Nagorno-Karabakh, Azerbaijani territory invaded by Armenian troops.

Gen. Saygun said it was up to the government to determine Turkey's reaction to the non-binding Armenian resolution. However, he said the military, too, is considering some sanctions against the U.S. in the same way it did against France when the French National Assembly adopted a bill last year penalizing any denial of the alleged Armenian genocide.

Turkey-U.S. military relations have been very close since Turkey joined NATO in 1952 and both countries are jointly involved in several missions.


Come, Let's Turn A New Page
October 16, 2007, Mehmet Ali Birand
We are stuck with the Armenian genocide allegations now. The Armenians worked hard at it, while we remained indifferent. In the end, we were branded by international public opinion. Since we can’t be at odds with everyone, we must make a new beginning. We should confront the genocide allegations with a brand new attitude.

It is over. Let's not fool ourselves. We will never get rid of this genocide label unless we change our attitude. The Committee has passed the genocide bill. Next month, it will be on the House of Representatives agenda and it will go through with even more ease. Despite the unbinding nature of this project, we are hurt by the Committee's approval. We are badly disheartened. This has confirmed our belief that American internal politics are run by spineless, ignorant people with little minds. Our anger and reactions are completely justified. However, we must not forget that it is not the end of the world. On the contrary, we have to live with international truths. The world belongs to the richer and the stronger. Let's make our reaction felt, but let's also use our minds. Let's protect our long-term interests. Our country has been wounded. The Armenians have scored another point in this game. However, all is not finished. Here's my suggestion…Let's take the initiative from now on. Let's do something beyond shouting and yelling. Let's not waste all our energy on punishing the American politician. This time, let's act with our minds. Let's remain cool-headed. Let's calculate the odds and make plans. Let's turn the Armenian game upside down. Until today, we first chose to ignore the genocide allegations. Then, we tried to resist being cornered. Since we failed to make real efforts to prove how right we were, nobody heard our voice. All we did was watch and get angry. Let's do the opposite now. Let's get beyond genocide allegations by using diplomatic tricks and taking intelligent steps, instead of making do with documentaries or flimsy books and leaflets. Let's get rid of our complexes and let's take daring decisions. Let's get rid of articles like the 301 of the Turkish Penal Code. Let's convince our Azebeijani brothers. We've seen how useless our past policies were and how they've collapsed in every sense. Let's learn our lesson and emerge from these events with a fresh attitude.

Come, let's discuss genocide…To make a new beginning or to turn a fresh page entails many hardships. We shall have to broach subjects that we have always avoided before out of pride or distaste. If we don't take this step now, we shall find ourselves in worse situations in the future. It will be much more difficult then.Like human relations, international relations also depend on timing more than anything else. If you leave until tomorrow what you must do today, if you delay a step that you should take now, tomorrow will be too late. You will then have to double or triple your efforts to deal with the same issue. This is how the current situation looks for Turkey. It will either adopt a brand new attitude or face a much worse situation in the future. It will either completely change its politics or continue to mark time and lose.In foreign affairs, a new set of highly credible policies have to replace the present ones. If we don't want to be permanently branded with the genocide label, we must do more than saying, “There was no genocide.” We must be bring out the truth about what really happened and refrain from hiding anything. A second important step will be to replace the term genocide with a new word or a sentence that really qualifies the events and to insist on using it. We must organise conferences and seminars directed at Western universities. In internal politics, the change must be headed by the creation of a milieu where we can discuss the events of 1915 without complexes.Turkish society must get rid of article 301 in order to be able to discuss that period in detail without fear. Turkish society must no longer be threatened by beatings or protests for thinking differently. We must really open all our archives. If we have nothing to hide, we must stop playing small games and we should encourage general transparency. If Turkey can do all that, its international credibility will rise. Our suggestions to form a mutual commission will then be taken seriously. The Armenians will no longer be able to avoid working with us. If we continue to do nothing despite all that's happened until now, we will not be able get rid of this label, no matter what we do. Neither objections, nor closing our borders to countries that accept the genocide will save us. In the end, others will start beating on our doors in other ways…

* The translation of M.A.Brand's column is provided by Nuran Inanç, nuraninanc.@gmail.com


Ambitious Men
October 16, 2007 Ilter TÜRKMEN

History is full of countless examples of tragedy and injustice caused by men whose ambition knew no limits. The legends written by such men lead to hate and animosity between people and nations that are kept alive for decades or even centuries. One such example that has done enormous harm to Turkey was Henry Morgenthau, who served as the United States ambassador to the Ottoman Empire from 1913 to 1916. He wrote a book called “Ambassador Morgenthau's Story” that was printed in 1918 after his departure from Turkey. This book is still used as an important reference by upholders of the Armenian genocide allegations. The recent decision passed by the U.S. House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee also cites this book among its sources.

Morgenthau was a businessman who assisted President Woodrow Wilson during his electoral campaign. In return for his services, he had expected to be appointed to the cabinet, preferably as the secretary of treasury. When he was appointed to Istanbul as ambassador instead, he complained that Jews were always sent to Turkey (this tradition also continued to a great extent after Turkey became a republic). He asked to be sent to China, but Wilson stood by his decision.

In his book called “The Story Behind Ambassador Morgenthau's Story” historian Heath Lowry writes that Morgenthau's primary objective at the outbreak of the First World War was to turn public opinion against Germany and Turkey in order to push the U.S. into war on the side of the Allies. Lowry emphasizes that this was the reason behind his irresponsible use of the “Armenian genocide” theme. He says that the main reason to lend incredibility to Morgenthau's accusations is the striking discrepancy between his accusations and the diary he kept in Istanbul. Nevertheless, the chapters of Morgenthau's book were published in 1918 by newspapers that totaled nearly three million in circulation.

Morgenthau's ambition to influence U.S. policy with his own views was also transferred to his son, Henry Morgenthau Jr. who achieved what his father had failed to do and became the Secretary of Treasury during President Roosevelt's term. In his book called “The Conquerors,” Michael Beschloss, the famous historian and specialist in the U.S. presidency, analyses the anti-German policies of Roosevelt and his successor Truman during World War II. He says that as news of the Jewish massacre in Germany and the German-occupied countries began to leak to the outside world, Morgenthau Jr. made unsuccessful attempts to get Washington to react. At that date, some traces of anti-Semitism still lingered in the U.S. America had no intention of harboring Jews who had fled from Eastern Europe. America was also concerned that to focus on that massacre (the terms holocaust and genocide had not been invented yet) would be detrimental to its aim to beat Germany as soon as possible. Roosevelt was tired of Morgenthau Jr's pro-Jewish projects and his suggestions to tear down all industry and bring poverty to Germany. After Roosevelt, Truman also grew so weary of Morgenthau Jr's relentless insistence that he once said, “The Jews claim to be God's chosen people. However, I am sure that God's reasoning is much more sound than that.”

Truman's serious dilemma

Beschloss also writes that Truman was confronted with a serious dilemma as he was about to leave for the Postdam Conference. Since he had been sworn in as president at Roosevelt's death, his former office as vice-president was still vacant. The Constitution of that time indicated that in such cases, if the President died, he was to be replaced by the Secretary of State. The next in line was the Secretary of Treasury. Since the Secretary of State was to accompany Truman to Potsdam, in the event of both of their deaths, a Jew would become president. Morgenthau Jr. was immediately forced to resign to prevent this from happening.

Naturally, a lot of water has flown under the bridge since 1945. The Jewish Lobby reputedly directs the whole U.S. foreign policy. Could so much power be likely to backfire one day, especially under the light of the outrage created by the war in Iraq?

* The translation of Ilter Türkmen's column is provided by Nuran Inanç. nuraninanc@gmail.com


The Washington Post Has To Apologize To The Jewish Community
Ekrem Dumanli e.dumanli@todayszaman.com

It doesn’t seem possible! The Turkish Jewish community gives an ad to The Washington Post, but the newspaper doesn’t publish it the day they requested.

But the ad will serve a certain purpose only if it is published that particular day. If published on some later date, it will be pointless.

We can summarize the situation as follows: The Armenian genocide resolution was to be discussed owing to intensive efforts by the Armenian lobby. The claims included in this resolution are obviously unfair toward Turkey. To prevent its passage, the Jewish community of Turkey prepared an ad to be published in The Washington Post and paid the cost of the ad to the paper, amounting to $43,000. The Washington Post didn’t publish this ad. President of the Turkish Jewish community Silvyo Ovadya says that the newspaper put forward claims of technical difficulties. After that they asked for their money back, and in the meantime they said they would file a lawsuit for non-pecuniary damages. According to Ovadya, officials from the paper said that they had just installed a new advertisement system and noted that they could publish the ad a day later. What purpose would it serve then? What mattered was the publication of the ad in The Washington Post on the day the resolution was being discussed. “I don’t believe there were technical difficulties involved. To me, they did not publish it deliberately,” says Ovadya.

This is a heavy accusation against a world-famous newspaper, because deciding whether the ideas in the ad are right or wrong and silencing (censoring) the Jewish community by citing technical reasons is not an attitude befitting The Washington Post.

The New York Times vs. Sullivan case, reviewed in schools of journalism across the United States, stemmed from a similar situation. The paper that published the views in an ad was sued, and the case became an important example in terms of freedom of speech and thought. The mistake made by the local court was rectified by an upper court and that ad eventually produced a case that could be considered a precedent on the important subjects of freedom of speech and editorial responsibility.

The accusation of the Turkish Jewish community is not one that can be easily brushed aside. The Washington Post has to apologize not only to the Jewish community, but to all its readers. In fact, if there is hidden censoring involved in the case, this means the paper submitted to the Armenian lobby, acted in a prejudiced fashion, steered away from objectivity, took sides and resorted to censoring by not giving space to the opposite view.

The American public has always been listening to the genocide claims from a single channel -- extremist Armenian organizations. However, Turks also have many historical facts to share. If we are to summarize the events, the events in question took place in 1915 and they were definitely not genocide, because a systematic ethnic cleansing carried out against a certain race was certainly out of the question. In the years that coincided with the collapse of the Ottoman state, Armenian gangs cooperated with the Russian and French armies and perpetrated terrorist attacks against Turks, which forced the Ottoman state into making the decision to oblige Armenians to emigrate. The state officials who treated the emigrating Armenians badly were all subjected to various sentences. There are documents in the archives that can prove the massacres perpetrated by Armenian gangs, however nobody is interested in that aspect of the matter today; they heap accusations only on the Turks.

During the bitter events that took place in 1915, the Ottoman Empire was still alive. After the event in question that happened during the hopeless and dark days of Word War I, Turks founded a new state in 1923. The sultanate was abrogated, the republic was declared and a new state emerged as a result. If we are to go back to 80 years ago and delve into the events of the time, calling the parties involved to account for the years of war, which Western country can we not accuse of perpetrating genocide? Can the most heated supporter of the Armenian claims, France, account for the genocide it carried out in Algeria? And are the things perpetrated by Italians in Libya not genocide? Moreover these things did not take place 80 years ago, they happened only four decades ago. If one says to those trying to denigrate and discredit Turkey, “Let the sinless one among you throw the first stone,” everybody will have to drop the stones in their hands. Let alone going back four decades, weren’t the Western states behind the ethnic cleansing in Bosnia? Did they not condone and even secretly encourage it?

Turkey has been making two important suggestions to the Armenian Diaspora without any response from them. “Let’s delegate this issue to historians rather than politicians, and let them decide what happened in 1915,” Turkey says, but the Armenian lobby doesn’t reciprocate. Turkey also says, “Let’s open our archives and let the truth be revealed, and if you are not OK with this either, appeal to the European Court of Human Rights; Why are you after political shows? Now that you been declared as being victims, why don’t you appeal to the court of human rights?” The Armenian diaspora is silent.

The scandal that happened in The Washington Post catered to the suspicions surrounding the Western media that it unconditionally submits to the Armenian lobby and turns a deaf ear to Turks; what we have as a result is an unjust publication policy. The American media has lost its credibility owing to the things it did before and after the Iraq war. At least the doubts that its legendary principles are no longer well practiced are growing. The attitude taken up against the ad of the Jewish community has deepened this suspicion. The newspaper has to make a persuasive statement without fail and apologize to the public.
16.10.2007


Challenging The World
A powerful Turkey certainly scares some: a few of our neighbors who have an eye on our lands, or some fanatical groups operating in our neighbor’s territory.

Apart from these, why should one be afraid of a strong and developed Turkey? Will it not be better if they sell us more goods and purchase more products from us? Can building a better future for Turkey be possible via clever plans, considering world balances and calculations for big interests in the world or via losing our mind being driven by “everybody may be an enemy” paranoia and opposing the world? Why do I write this? I write this to prevent us from making ourselves full of sentimentality while arguing about how we will react to the US support of the Armenian resolution and what kind of an operation we will conduct against terrorism in northern Iraq. I write this to prevent the negative consequences of acting with anger. I write this to make us move with clever plans whose consequences are thoroughly considered.
16.10.2007 TAHA AKYOL, MILLIYET


A Comprehensive Solution Model For Allegations On Armenian Genocide
by DR. KEMAL ÇIÇEK*
At the session on Oct. 10, 2007, the US House of Representatives Committee on Foreign Affairs endorsed the resolution proposed by California Representative Mr. Schiff and his colleagues on Jan. 30, 2007, by 27 against 21.

Following the decision, Turkish President Abdullah Gül made an official statement where he noted that the unacceptable decision by the Committee on Foreign Affairs was simply invalid for Turkish people. I think that this statement implies that Turkey will refrain from taking concrete steps that would seriously affect bilateral relations with the US. In the presidential statement, it is also noted that some politicians considered domestic political calculations when dealing with serious international issues. This part of the statement can also be taken as a lenient approach to the US administration. Obviously the presidential statement did not make references to probable sanctions simply because the president is not an executive actor. However, even the statement by the Foreign Ministry contained a simple condemnation and noted that the Armenian approach to maintain dialogue was the right approach.

Meanwhile, Parliament deputy Egemen Bagis, who had meetings with the House of Representatives in Washington to prevent the adoption of the resolution, said the rise of the number of representatives who opposed the resolution to 21 was satisfactory. Bagis’s lenient approach is worth consideration. These statements show that Turkey will not consider a package that contains serious measures that would cause deterioration of relations with the US at least until the draft resolution is taken to the agenda of the House of Representatives. The messages delivered by the US which urged Turkey not to take immediate steps should also be viewed from this perspective. The statement by the US administration noting that the administration would exert the maximum effort to prevent the adoption of the resolution in Congress points to the same reality. However, the statements do not change the fact that the Armenian genocide resolution will remain on the agenda of the US for at least a month.

At the next step, the decision already taken on the Armenian resolution will be taken to the House of Representatives in a week and voted upon in mid-November. There is little chance that the resolution will be rejected at this stage as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi aligned with the Armenian lobby and put pressure on the Democratic members to ensure the passage of the proposed resolution. Therefore, if the resolution is forwarded to the House agenda, most probably the 226 members who already signed the resolution will vote for it, while the consent of just 218 will suffice for its adoption.

US foreign policy to be shaped under proposed resolution

It is imperative for Turkey to consider the draft with determination and inform the US administration and public of its probable consequences. Some commentators’ emphasis on the non-binding character of the resolution is misleading and shows that the content of the proposal was not reviewed carefully. Above all, referring to the non-binding quality of the draft resolution might lead to a misunderstanding that it would not be a problem for Turkey at all. However, the draft calls on the president to consider this a legal tool in determination of foreign policy. It also asks the president to declare April 24 a commemoration day for the Armenian genocide and deliver a message noting that 1.5 million Armenians were systematically and deliberately exterminated in 1915 every year on that date. More importantly, the Republic of Turkey is directly held responsible for the so-called genocide. This implies that the draft resolution will open the door for demands of compensation and reparations from Turkey if it is adopted by the full House. In fact, Armenians have already launched a legal war through lawsuits filed with American and French insurance companies. The willingness of the insurance companies to respond to the Armenian demands and resort to friendly settlements is an important success for the Armenian lobbies. It should also be recalled that Armenians ensured the adoption of a binding bill at the French Parliament, following a non-binding resolution in 2001, and that a binding draft proposal is waiting before the Belgian Parliament for final approval. Parliaments of other countries will surely follow suit if the US Congress adopts the present draft resolution. This will make Turkey and the Turkish nation the second nation that committed the crime of genocide. However, the opened archives and the publicized documents demonstrate that Turkey has been subjected to a lynching campaign. There is plenty of information on the Web site of the Turkish Historical Society (TTK).

Our unknown and right theses

Obviously, it would be naïve to think that the draft resolution passed by the US Committee on Foreign Affairs is a simple decision with no binding effect. Reluctance to recognize the draft will have serious consequences. The Turkish government should make a statement immediately and declare the adoption of a package of concrete measures. We should proceed in accordance with the remarks by Democratic Senator Sherman, who noted that Turkish Republic would go back to a normal state of affairs following a few days of anger and protest, which would mean that we accept our indifference to the case. For this reason, concrete steps should be taken from now on to prevent adoption of the resolution and a national action plan should be implemented. As a historian, I hold that explaining the flaws of the draft and the historical facts should be included in our priorities. The signatory congressmen noted that they believe there was commission of an Armenian genocide. They also note that Turkey did not explicitly forward its own theses against the allegations.

At this point, I would like to review the measures voiced by some academics and the opposition. Clearly, the most exciting way to retaliate would be to close down the Incirlik military base. Obviously, it is not possible to take such a move because of NATO agreements. Moreover, this would also negatively affect Turkey’s strategic importance and considerations. The readiness of the US to launch a base in northern Iraq is ignored. However, it is also known that the use of the base by the US is beyond the limits of and framework drawn by the relevant NATO agreements. Therefore, it seems reasonable to restrict the use of the base by the US in the operations in regards to Iraq. No doubt, this will be an effective measure in the short run as the Incirlik base is more appropriate than the others in the region for the US for logistical purposes. It is still strategically important for the US military presence in Iraq.

Although the proposal to withdraw the Turkish troops in Lebanon and Afghanistan seems to be very reasonable, its impact on the American congressmen is pretty doubtful simply because the Democratic members already oppose Bush’s operations in these countries. Therefore, withdrawal from Lebanon and Afghanistan would help the Democrats, who want President Bush to be put in a difficult position. Moreover, the presence of Turkish troops in both countries to combat terrorism would contribute to Turkey’s image in Western public opinion. Withdrawing Turkish soldiers from the terrorist battleground would lead to accusations against Turkey and undermine its effectiveness inside NATO. This could lead to isolation of Turkey from the world. It would be difficult for an isolated country to publicize its arguments. As an academic who witnessed the negative atmosphere against Turkey when the famous March 1 motion was rejected by the Turkish Parliament, I strongly believe that any steps to be taken should not isolate the country from the world. I uphold that refraining from being included in the US plans regarding the Middle East would mean destruction of our strategic importance by our own hands.

We have learned from past experience that calls for boycotting the countries which passed laws that supported the Armenian allegations were fruitless. To this end, it should be pointed out that closing down the Habur border gate may cause increasing Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) influence over the people in the region, who would suffer from unemployment in connection with this move.

Therefore, the short-term measures to prevent the engagement by the House of Representatives in the Armenian genocide resolution should be directed against Armenia and the Armenian diaspora rather than the US. I personally believe that the persons and the institutions rather than the countries should be targeted within the struggle against the Armenian lobbies. My proposal is to activate measures against Armenia first. Unlike the demands by some circles and the EU, opening the borders to ensure Armenia’s participation in dialogue activities should be discarded. Turkey should implement the policy of isolation more harshly. The illegal workers coming from Armenia to Turkey should be deported. This move will lead the Armenians living in Armenia to react against the diaspora. Based on my personal observations, Armenian people oppose direct involvement of the diaspora in the rule of the country and its growing influence in domestic politics. Many Armenians I have talked to said the diaspora moved Turkey to adopt harsher policies vis-à-vis Armenia and caused pricing increases in the housing and real estate market. Within the same strategy, persons and institutions working in or for the Armenian lobbies should be declared persona non grata and should be included on Turkey’s black list. The Armenian behavior in response to the appointment of an ambassador who declared he did not recognize the Armenian genocide to Yerevan should be a prime example for us. For this reason, the only way to ensure that the Armenian genocide resolution is not adopted in the US and other countries is to implement a comprehensive action plan and promotion schedule.

All expat Turks should be assembled within the Turkish Promotion Foundation or another civil society organization. Permanent committees should be established in all countries and these committees should have a goal of combating the actions that would undermine Turkey’s image. Businessmen and other sources should allocate substantial funding to these organizations. These committees should be independent yet accountable to Parliament for their budgetary affairs. However, use of the funds should be subjected to the tender law. The committees’ main goals should include translation work, employment of researchers, establishment of different institutes, support of existing institutes, granting scholarships and establishment of think tanks. The number of centers working on the Armenian question should be increased in Turkey. The TTK should be restructured. Recall that allegations of the Pontus and Assyrian genocides will follow if the resolution is adopted. Unless harsh measures are not taken against the resolution in the US, the draft bills on the Pontus and Assyrian genocides will be discussed in the parliaments of different countries. If the above measures are implemented, Turkey’s proposal to appoint a joint commission of historians which will address the Armenian question will be better explained. I think that this proposal is the best maneuver of Turkey vis-à-vis the Armenian allegations. Unfortunately, this initiative was not adequately promoted and the Armenian lobbies took the drafts that penalized the denial of Armenian genocide to the parliaments of different countries to render this proposal ineffective. Our media and universities failed to effectively respond to these attempts that destroyed the environment of free speech. This indecisiveness and lack of planning culminated in the adoption of the draft by the Committee on Foreign Affairs simply because those hostile to Turkey had gone unpunished and unsanctioned up to that point. Armenia is hiding the fact that it illegally holds 20 percent of Azeri territories under occupation by keeping the genocide allegations alive. The government should work to abort this plan and develop a state policy accordingly.

*Kemal Çicek is a professor in the department of history at Karadeniz Technical University
16.10.2007


Questions Regarding National Sensitivities [LETTERS TO THE EDITOR]
I have written to you before and appreciate the frank responses I have received. I am an interested individual, somewhat to the left in politics, I have no personal agenda and represent no ethnic or cultural group or interest.

I loathe our current US administration, believe Bush and Chaney are guilty of crimes against humanity and believe our country's invasion of Iraq and support of Israeli occupation of Palestine will one day be widely acknowledged as the national disgraces that they are. God forbid we start killing Persians as well.

My first question, then, is this: Why is there such visceral objections in your country when others publicly acknowledge that the treatment of Armenians during the period between 1895-1920 was a dark and regrettable chapter in the behavior of a number of people acting in the name of your country but that it's part of an unenlightened past that we are all free from? Even the most jingoistic Americans seem able to acknowledge that our country's treatment of Americans of Japanese ancestry during World War II was shameful, as was our country's enslavement of Africans during the 19th century and its tolerance of its legacy well into the 20th century. Those are historical facts, and the fact that we and others take note of them does not compromise or diminish who we are now.

My second question is this: Assuming the world is wrong or misinformed about what happened vis-à-vis the Armenians, so what? Why threaten to allow the ignorance of others to poison your relationships with them? Methinks, in that respect, Turks protest too much (with apologies to Shakespeare).

Finally: Do Turks really look at the US's mess in Iraq and the Israelis' mess in Palestine and say "We want some of that?" Why do Turks think the occupation of Kurdish areas of Iraq will be any less of a misery for Turkey than our entanglement in Iraq is for us? It seems that if the events of the last 30 years have taught us anything, it is that war should always be a last resort for civilized and rationally-behaving countries!

Marc H. Eppley

Esq.; Hatfield, Mountcastle, Deal, Van Zandt & Mann, LLP; Attorneys and Counselors at Law; 2990 Bethesda Place, Suite 605-C; Winston-Salem, North Carolina 27103 16.10.2007


The Timing Is Not Helpful [LETTERS TO THE EDITOR]
Dear People,
Most Americans who know anything about Turkey know that Mustafa Kemal Atatürk's Turkey is not the same political entity that caused the death of so many Armenians back around 1915.

No, it was the Ottoman Empire -- an empire that had an illustrious past, but became "the sick man of Europe" by the time this disaster happened. Shortly after that, the Ottoman Empire collapsed and in Turkey, Kemal Atatürk founded a new, much more democratic government.

Some feel that the Armenian genocide happened out of Ottoman weakness, not strength. That it happened because of fear, not confidence.

Why the US Congress has chosen this time to recognize the tragedy, I don't know. It should have been recognized back when it happened. To be sure, the US Congress and sometimes the US presidents are more recently given to acknowledging the errors of the past. However, the timing is not particularly helpful for the relations between our two nations.

In any case, most Americans do not blame you, the present day people of Turkey, for an event that happened before you were born and before your government was formed.

Alex Koponen, Fairbanks, Alaska, USA 16.10.2007


Armenian Patriarch Calls Congress Resolution ‘Domestic Policy’ Tool
Voicing his community's objection to a resolution approved by a US Congress committee branding the 1915 killings of Anatolian Armenians as genocide, the spiritual leader of Turkey's Armenian Orthodox community on Sunday pledged to exert efforts to prevent the resolution's approval by the US House of Representatives.

Speaking to reporters over the weekend in the town of Demre in the Mediterranean province of Antalya, where he visited the St. Nicholas church, Patriarch Mesrob II (Mutafyan) said the Armenian issue has always been used as "domestic policy material" and is constantly brought to agenda in the United States. Mesrob II urged keeping the Armenian community in Turkey out of ongoing controversy over the issue. "We've been concerned because this resolution will have an impact on the lives of Turkish citizens of Armenian origin living in Turkey. We are against this resolution. We have always been against this resolution. We will write whatever necessary to related officials in the US. We will exert the necessary efforts for preventing its passage," he said.
16.10.2007


European Parliament Hosts Two-Day Congress Of Armenian Diaspora
The Strasbourg-based European Parliament has been hosting a two-day gathering of European Armenians, kicking off on Monday in Brussels, marking the 20th anniversary of the recognition of Armenian genocide claims by the European Parliament.

The gathering, titled "The 2nd Conference of European Armenians," is supported by the group of the European People's Party (Christian Democrats) and European Democrats in the European Parliament, while the Party of European Socialists' group had already announced that it would not participate in the congress. At today's session, Armenian Foreign Minister Vartan Oskanian is to deliver a speech to the congress, the timing of which is noteworthy for Ankara. At a time when the Turkish capital threatens to cut off ties with the US due to a resolution approved by a Congress committee that brands the 1915 killings of Anatolian Armenians "genocide," the Armenian diaspora is widely expected to call on members of the European Parliament to make recognition of Armenian allegations by Turkey a condition for its membership in the European Union.
16.10.2007, Today's Zaman Ankara


Armenians Continue To Antagonize Turkey, Pm Heading For Washington
New Anatolian / Ankara, 15 October 2007

Armenians are encouraging the U.S. lawmakers to continue to push ahead and approve a resolution on genocide as their prime minister heads for Washington on Wednesday for talks with U.S. officials.

The visit comes a week after a congressional committee ruined relations with Turkey by approving a resolution labeling as genocide the World War I-era killings of Armenians by Turks.

The timing of Prime Minister Serge Sarkisian's visit is bound could cause more resentment in Turkey. Ankara has lambasted Armenia for encouraging the U.S. House of Representatives to pass the resolution.

Diplomatic sources claimed Sarkisian is expected to discuss economic cooperation and security issues in two days of talks with senior officials including Vice President Dick Cheney, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Defense Secretary Robert Gates.

Sarkisian plans to be in California Oct. 19-23 for meetings with Armenian-American groups. California is the bastion of the rich Armenian lobby that worked hard to convince the U.S. congressional panel to approve the resolution.

The trip comes at a time that relations between Washington and Ankara have reached a new low, as Turkey is making a series of gestures to display its protest of the congressional move.

A day after Wednesday's vote in Washington, lawmakers in Armenia's parliament greeted the committee's approval of the resolution with a standing ovation.

"We express our gratitude to our colleagues in Congress who demonstrated great moral qualities and, not giving into different pressures, voted for the resolution," said Tigran Torosian, chairman of the National Assembly.

Armenia's President Robert Kocharian urged the United States to go even further. Speaking in Belgium Thursday, he urged "a full recognition by the United States of America of the fact of the Armenian genocide."

President George W. Bush has continued the policy of previous presidents that recognizes the events almost a century ago but refrains from describing them as an orchestrated genocide.

The Armenians are telling the U.S. congressmen that Turkey’s fury will be short lived and that they should not bring the resolution to a vote in the full House of Representatives without any delay.

Rep. Adam Schiff, whose district around the city of Los Angeles includes a large Armenian American community, was the leading lawmaker who pushed for the resolution after heavy lobbying by constituents.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who also represents many Armenian Americans, seems determined to bring the non-binding resolution to a vote in the full House probably next month. It is unclear if and when the Senate will follow suit.


Secretary Of State Pelosi The Armenian Genocide Doesn't Belong In U.S. Foreign Policy Right Now.
October 16, 2007
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, famous for donning a head scarf earlier this year to commune for peace with the Syrians, has now concluded that this is the perfect moment to pass a Congressional resolution condemning Turkey for the Armenian genocide of 1915. Problem is, Turkey in 2007 has it within its power to damage the growing success of the U.S. effort in Iraq. We would like to assume this is not Speaker Pelosi's goal.

To be clear: We write that we would like to assume, rather than that we do assume, because we are no longer able to discern whether the Speaker's foreign-policy intrusions are merely misguided or are consciously intended to cause a U.S. policy failure in Iraq.

Where is the upside in October 2007 to this Armenian resolution?

The bill is opposed by eight former U.S. Secretaries of State, including Madeleine Albright. After Tom Lantos's House Foreign Affairs Committee voted out the resolution last week, Turkey recalled its ambassador from Washington. Turkey serves as a primary transit hub for U.S. equipment going into both Iraq and Afghanistan. After the Kurdish terrorist group PKK killed 13 Turkish conscripts last week near the border with Iraq, Turkey's prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, asked the parliament to approve a huge deployment of the army along the border, threatening an incursion into Kurdish-controlled Iraq. This of course is the one manifestly successful region of post-Saddam Iraq. In a situation teetering on a knife-edge, President Bush has been asking Mr. Erdogan to show restraint on the Iraq border.

Somehow, none of this is allowed to penetrate Speaker Pelosi's world. She is offering various explanations for bringing the genocide resolution to the House floor. "This isn't about the Erdogan government," she says. "This is about the Ottoman Empire," last seen more than 85 years ago. "Genocide still exists," insists Ms. Pelosi. "We saw it in Rwanda; we see it now in Darfur."

Yes, but why now, with Turkey crucial to an Iraq policy that now has the prospect of a positive outcome? The answer may be found in the compulsive parochialism of the House's current edition of politicians, mostly Democrats. California is home to the country's largest number of politically active Armenians. Speaker Pelosi has many in her own district. Mr. Lantos represents the San Francisco suburbs. The bill's leading sponsors include Representatives Adam Schiff, George Radanovich and Anna Eshoo, all from California.

Pointedly, Jane Harman, the Southern California Democrat who Speaker Pelosi passed over for chair of the intelligence committee, wrote an op-ed for the Los Angeles Times Friday, questioning the "timing" of the resolution and asking why it is necessary to embarrass a "moderate Islamic government in perhaps the most volatile region in the world."

Why indeed? Perhaps some intrepid reporter could put that question to the three leading Democratic Presidential candidates, who are seeking to inherit hands-on responsibility for U.S. policy in this cauldron. Hillary Clinton has been a co-sponsor of the anti-Turk genocide resolution, but would she choose to vote for it this week?

Back when Bill Clinton was President, Mr. Lantos took a different view. "This legislation at this moment in U.S.-Turkish relations is singularly counterproductive to our national interest," he said in September 2000, when there was much less at stake in the Middle East. According to Reuters, he added that the resolution would "humiliate and insult" Turkey and that the "unintended results would be devastating."

If Nancy Pelosi and Tom Lantos want to take down U.S. policy in Iraq to tag George Bush with the failure, they should have the courage to walk through the front door to do it. Bringing the genocide resolution to the House floor this week would put a terrible event of Armenia's past in the service of America's bitter partisanship today. It is mischievous at best, catastrophic at worst, and should be tabled.

Wall Street Journal www.opinionjournal.com


Turkish - U.S. Ties Near The Breaking Point
10/15/2007 BY SEMIH IDIZ
MILLIYET- Last week I had the opportunity to sound out the situation in Washington for three days. Circles close to the administration and Turkey analysts at leading think-thanks told me that the Bush administration was taking Ankara’s warnings over the Armenian resolution very seriously.

The way the administration rushed US Defense Undersecretary and former US Ambassador to Ankara Eric Edelmen to visit Ankara, along with Assistant Secretary of State Dan Fried, is proof of that.

But at this point the Bush administration has become a ‘lame duck.’ Democrats who support the Armenian resolution, led by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, are carrying out a merciless war of attrition against the Bush administration.

US experts fault the Bush administration’s failings for the situation. Supporters of the resolution have been attacking the administration’s argument that US interests could be damaged.

They claim that Turkey is bluffing, adding that Ankara, well aware of the importance of its ties with the US, won’t shoot itself in the foot.

Armenia is also pressing ahead with its lobbying efforts. Armenian Premier Serzh Sargsyan is planning to travel to Washington on Wednesday.

According to Washington insiders, Sargsyan has two goals:

First, he reportedly wants to counter the Bush administration’s argument that if Congress passes the resolution, an improving dialogue between Turkey and Armenia would suffer a setback. He will reportedly say that brief contacts at certain international platforms do not constitute dialogue. Secondly, he will argue that Turkey’s claim that its stance on the events in 1915 is more sincere is ‘artificial.’

Following the murder early this year of Hrant Dink, which ended up benefiting the Armenian lobby, the suspended jail sentence handed down last week to his son Arat Dink – just as the committee was considering the resolution – also helped those who support the resolution.

Pointing to this case as well as our controversial Article 301, Sargsyan is expected to claim that Ankara’s proposal to establish an impartial commission of historians is disingenuous.

In summary, Ankara has to prove that it’s not bluffing. Otherwise, steps which don’t really hurt the US will obviously be used by the Armenian lobby.

Anyway, in this atmosphere, recent efforts by the US State Department’s Nicholas Burns to revive strategic ties seem dead. On the contrary, ties between the two countries are growing more frayed and nearing the breaking point. We’ll see whether this will be bad or good for the two countries.

Monday, October 15, 2007


The Lose-Lose Resolution
Nancy Pelosi, the Speaker of the US House of Representatives, announced yesterday that the resolution about Armenian issue would be voted in a couple of weeks. As I told days ago, now everyone is linking the process to Iraq issue.

The Republican administration worries a lot, as the U.S. Under Secretary of State Nicholas Burns said the administration was "deeply disappointed" by the vote but hoped Turkey, "one of our most valued and important allies worldwide," would not retaliate.

Turkey already showed its firm stance by calling its ambassador back, but some American politicians still overestimate the Turkish reaction, wrongfully presuming that its effects won't be long-lasting. They are forgetting that French airplanes still can't use Turkish airspace and French firms are still categorically excluded from all public contracts in Turkey. Just because they approved a similar bill before...

Democrats have already showed that they would stay as populist, narrow-minded politicians, who think that they can be historians if needed. Not only they can't see the ethical question here, but also they can't comprehend the possible harms that an approved resolution would bring to all parties.

A MESS FOR THE USA
Cost of Iraq: Republican Represantative Dan Burton says: "This is crazy. We're in the middle of two wars and we've got troops over there that are at risk, and we're talking about kicking the one ally that's helping us over there in the face."

Even the Californian chairman of the committee in the Congress, Tom Lantos, accepted that the measure could cause U.S. troops "to pay an even heavier price." Let's don't forget that he voted aye. Any negative Turkish response (including the closure of Incirlik, which is the main supply base of American forces in Iraq) would cost the USA millions of dollars, if not billions. Moreover, the non-existent stability in Iraq might become a dream, if Turkish troops invade whole northern Iraq.

Bilateral Relations: Bush already told that "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.

Anti-American sentiments in Turkey would get a boost, so strong that its effects would be seen for decades. Even I -as someone who believes in mutual interests of Washington and Ankara- felt the same way after I saw the following words of a Democrat senator on CNN: "If Turkey says there was no genocide we have to set it straight," he said, "US-Turkey relations are more important to Turkey than to us, they know it. i am convinced about it."

But Steven Court, Council on Foreign Relations expert, warns that "Turkish response to such a resolution wouldn't only be some simple diplomatic moves; because it would have an effect that would 'ignite' the Turkish public."

In two days, I received three chain emails from two different email groups. Two of them were calling for a boycott for American products. One of them was calling for signing of a protest letter which would be sent to all credible American institutions, including the governmental ones and the media.

Turkish government and Turkish military has got one voice probably the first time in last 5 years. After PM Erdogan's criticism, Turkey's military chief General Yasar Buyukanit has also shown his anger. He said: "I can tell you that if the resolution is passed in a full session, military relations will never be the same again. The United States is clearly an important ally. But an allied country does not behave in this way."

A MESS FOR TURKEY
Turkish army would make a cross-border operation soon or late. It is a fact that everyone must accept. Some American officials, and even EU Socialists, told that they can't object a limited operation into northern Iraq. Since 1992, Turkish army conducted five cross-border operations which were all successful in military terms. The next one will probably be successful as well, if you only consider the difference between casulties of Turkish troops and PKK terrorists. A 10-15 kilometers depth buffer-zone would be helpful, but it can only be a temporary measure.

There is also a lower possibility of a massive invasion of the north, in order to replace Northern Iraqi leaders who secretly support PKK. I doubt that such an operation will have significant effects in the long term, but on the other hand, political and economical backslash can make Turkey suffer after alienating the USA and the EU totally.

All in all, any kind of harsh response from Turkey would not be in accordence with Turkish interests as they won't solve PKK problems or Armenian campaign.

A MESS FOR IRAQ
Oil prices have already rised in the world market after rumours about a possible Turkish operation. The unstable Iraq would be hit from its north this time, which has been relatively calm. If Northern Iraqi forces choose to resist Turkish troops who are in search of PKK terrorists in the mountains, then it would be as catastrophe for them, as Turkish army, NATO's second largest, is able to win any war in this geography. If Northern Iraqi military doesn't respond, then their claims about their sovereignity would be damaged vitally.

A MESS FOR ARMENIA
As Washington Post reported today, the real problem is the current economical level of Armenia. It is hard to understand why Armenian diaspora is spending billions of dollars for lobbying, but not investing in their homeland.
Armenia is still one of the poorest countries of the world and this resolution won't make the situation better for them. Nor it succeed to make Turkey open its borders to Erivan. "Armenia will altogether lose (the prospect of) positive openings in the future," Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan had said recently.
* * *
It is clear that everyone will lose a lot if this resolution is passed. Everyone except PR companies that Armenian diaspora pays millions of dollars every year...

Let's hope that Pelosi wakes up before the alarm bells ring.

at 11:40 PM


8 comments:
paul said...

Armenians spend "billions" on lobbying efforts??????
12:04 AM
sincerae said...

I feel so sorry for the Turkish people on so many levels.
12:21 AM
Sincerae said...

To criticize one's country is to do it a service. . . . Criticism, in short, is more than a right; it is an act of patriotism —
a higher form of patriotism, I believe, than the familiar rituals and national adulation. William Fulbright
12:58 AM
Metin said...

billions of yen???
1:42 AM
Metin said...

You can't compare Turkey's relations with France with Turkey's relations with the U.S.A.

And believe you me, Turkey has more to lose a disruption of relations with the US than the US does.

Having said that, 'boycotting American products?'

Does that person not understand what that means? Is there any more Americanization left to exist in Turkey?

This is not a Democrat vs Republican issue either. There's enough of them on both sides.

As I commented on your other post:

"Even the people that voted NO are not necessarily denying a Genocide did not occur. They are simply referring to its 'timing' by saying 'not now,' (because of the current US interests in Iraq), whereas others are saying 'if not now, when."

My contention is that this resolution is NOT really about Genocide versus 'Genocide' but rather other overt and covert factors . . ."

I also said last week:

"The rumors now here in the U.S. is that Turkey (as a reaction to the vote) is now considering military excursion into 'American' territories of Iraq.

Once again, designed to infuriate American public opinion."

And . . . I posted this on my blog:

". . . it's a lose-lose as this comment left on the Jerusalem Post shows, "The alliance with the Turkish state is very tempting, but an alliance with the 'diasporan' Armenians could even be more profitable."

By the way, former Speakers of the House (Dennis Hastert, a Republican, and Dick Gephardt, a Democrat) did not bring the resolution to a full vote on the floor of the House because they were paid hefty sums by the Turks.

Do you know anything about any possible motive if Pelosi is not on the payroll.

Gephardt currently works for a lobbyist firm DLA Piper, representing the Turkish Government.

Ironically, it was Gephardt who recommended Pelosi to the top post.
2:01 AM
Sincerae said...

The Democrats are smarter than a lot of people think. Since they have not been able to do anything with Bush in ending this war in Iraq which is already lost, I think they have taken an alternate route: alienate Turkey. If they alienate Turkey and the military base, airspace, and supplies are cut off, then the war will be terminated. If Turkey is reckless enough to go into Iraq and get bogged down, let Turkey do it. The Democrats know the US will never get out of Iraq the way things are going as long as they do it Bush's way.

If Turkey is worried that it will have to compensate Armenians monetarily, Turks must be more out of touch with reality than I thought. I seriously doubt if the Armenians are expecting Turkey to hand them billions of dollars in reparations. They know Turkey doesn't have enough to take care of it own citizenry. If Turks are howling this loud because of money, they are wasting their breath.

"Democrats have already showed that they would stay as populist, narrow-minded politicians, who think that they can be historians if needed."

Oh, really?! Well, call me a populist, narrowminded, socialist, Christian, pacifist. I don't trust the Democrats very much, but I trust them a little more than those warmongering, militaristic, extremist Republicans whose idea it was to go after your co-religionists in Afghanistan and Iraq. Remember Cheney, Wolfowitz, Perle, Rumfeld, and Rove? All are Republicans. But maybe the latter the group is more appealing to Turks since you have a long history of militarism. I personally don't support war criminals like Bush and his ilk. I can say it withot fear too. No one is going to shut down my blog or take me to court for insulting "Americannish."

I think if necessary to get aid and build up your country, Turks should admit to anything. You need US money. You should rush to say, "Show me the money!"

America is not worried about Turkey boycotting US products. What products? We don't make anything anymore except military hardware and computer software. We get our junk from China. If Turkey boycotts it wouldn't put a dent in our economy. Seems most of what you get is from Germany and other parts of Europe anyway. So there again, Turkey, not the US is shooting itself in the foot for the long term. Turkey is acting suicidal like Saddam did. Remember him? He thought America needed him too.

If Turkey wants to go into Iraq and get lost in that blackhole, I am sure that the US government would love for someone to do their dirty work for them. Great Britain will be pulling more of their troops next year. If Turkey wants to take their place in that mess, well, what can anyone say but go on!

I just wish Turks and the Turkish would calm down and start facing reality. This is so incredibly sad.
2:45 AM
Metin said...

The Turks are gonna do what the Turks are gonna do!

Unfortunately . . .
8:35 AM
Anonymous said...

I agree with Metin,

Relations with the US is fundamental for Turkey. The US is and cannot be considered an enemy, only a confused ally.

I see the anti-Turkish policies of the US as not being indigenous or in the interest to the US itself, but the result of the huge influence the so-called allies in West Europe have on the US.

I'd even argue that it's not the US but fundamentally a few West European countries, that dominate the EU, the world and the US in that world.

Turkey and the US should see each other as post-colonial friends in the transformation of the colonial hell of the Middle East to a post-colonial paradise.

Better relations with Turkey would give the opportunity to the US to break free from West European conspirators and colonial policies, and to reaffirm their individuality based on the great principles of the founding fathers, American and anti-colonial identity.

As for a return of Turkey in - the by the British illegally taken, renamed and barbarized Mesopotamian province of Turkey - Iraq:

This should happen in definitive fashion (and the hell with EU's opposition, sorry Emre!) with the following goals:

- Bringing justice, order and discipline which only the Muslim and pugnacious Turkish Army is able to achieve in the Middle East.

- Transforming the technical entity of Iraq to a truly post-colonial country, renamed with the historical Mesopotamian denomination, with the Aramaean (Eastern Christian) identity and the past cultures and civilizations of Mesopotamia constituting the pillars of the identity of the new post-colonial Mesopotamia.

- Organizing the country in a confederation with demarked Aramaean, Turkmens, Kurdish, Shia and Sunni zones.

- If the Aramaeans - who should have the largest part of the country, including Baghdad while the Sunny who constitute with the late Saddam Hussein, the oppressing class of Iraq deservedly getting the smallest - wish independence, then the Muslim land of Mesopotamia should be annexed by Turkey.

Turkey should start now by founding an Arameaen university in Anatolia and taking steps to enhance its multicultural identity through teaching various indigenous languages - while banning the colonial language of Modern Arabic - next to Turkish.

Deniz
11:51 AM

The Istanbulian: Personal Chronicles of a Turkish Journalist http://istanbulian.blogspot.com/2007/10/lose-lose-resolution-nancy-pelosi.html


Armenians Who Need Help Today
By Fred Hiatt Monday, October 15, 2007

Imagine what the Armenian diaspora might have accomplished had it worked as hard for democracy in Armenia as it did for congressional recognition of the genocide Armenians suffered nearly a century ago. It's even possible that modern Armenia would be as democratic as modern Turkey.

The Armenian American community notched a political victory last week when the House Foreign Affairs Committee voted 27 to 21 for a resolution demanding that the U.S. government officially acknowledge that Turkey committed genocide against the Armenian people early in the 20th century. The Turkish government insists that, while terrible things happened, there was no genocide. The Bush administration, reluctant to offend an important ally, lobbied hard against the resolution.

There are passionate arguments on both sides of this fight: the urgency of facing history honestly, on one hand; unease over attempting to resolve such matters by political declaration, on the other. But what is sad, when members of Congress are hailing the vote as a victory for human rights, is how poorly human rights fare in Armenia today.

When the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, none of its 15 component republics seemed better poised to evolve democratically than Armenia. A beautiful country of mountains and pastures and vineyards, it had a clearer sense of national identity than most, with a long pre-Soviet history as a nation; its own language, alphabet and church; and a passionate diaspora, many of whose members were ready to bring not only their skills but also their habits of democracy and civil society to Yerevan. Of an estimated 10 million ethnic Armenians in the world, only 3 million dwell in Armenia; more than 2 million live in Russia, but about 1.5 million are in the United States.

Things began well, with the honest election of a former dissident as president. But authoritarian tendencies soon emerged, the former dissident rigged his reelection in 1996, and things went downhill from there. As Freedom House noted last year, "all national elections held in Armenia since independence have been marred by some degree of ballot stuffing, vote rigging, and similar irregularities." Meanwhile, opposition politicians have been jailed, protests have been brutally suppressed, and broadcast media have been taken under government control.

Conditions in Armenia are better than in some post-Soviet republics. Though corruption is endemic, the economy is growing and ranks relatively high in some measures of freedom for private enterprise. A parliamentary election in the spring was conducted more fairly than past polls. The ruling oligarchs tolerate some opposition parties, nongovernmental organizations and non-official newspapers.

But conditions also are a lot worse than in some republics, notably Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. Many members of their diasporas also returned to their ancestral homelands, where they became passionate advocates not only of national rebirth but also of democracy and corruption-free capitalism.

Why the difference? Armenia was sidetracked early on by a war with neighboring Azerbaijan over an Armenian enclave inside that country. The enclave is under Armenian control today, but a cease-fire has not given way to a peace settlement. Consequently, the two main Armenian American lobbying organizations in Washington have focused more on security questions -- opposing arms sales to Azerbaijan, for example, and opposing Turkey, Azerbaijan's ally -- than on promoting democracy in Yerevan. Armenia's rulers have known that, no matter how they trample on individual rights at home, the lobbying groups will cover for them here.

The heads of both U.S. organizations told me that their groups have worked, sometimes quietly, to promote human rights and civil society in Armenia. Undoubtedly their influence would be limited, no matter how hard they tried.

But what if they had tried as fervently as they did to win Wednesday's vote? It's hard not to think that 3 million Armenians might be less poor and more free than they are today.

fredhiatt@washpost.com www.washingtontimes.com Oct 15, 2007


Turkey In The Crosshairs
October 15, 2007
A combination of events — including a dramatic upsurge in violence from Kurdish terrorists based in northern Iraq and a House resolution condemning Turkey for the mass killings of Armenians more than 80 years ago — have created an explosive, dangerous situation on the Turkish-Iraq border that could endanger the resupply of U.S. forces in Iraq.

In recent years, Ankara has been complaining with considerable justification about an upsurge in attacks from northern Iraq by members of the Marxist-Leninist Kurdistan Workers' Party, or PKK. Beginning in 1984, PKK forces (based in Syria and Lebanon) launched a bloody war in southern Turkey in which 37,000 people were killed; the war appeared to have ended in 1999 after Turkey pressured Syria to exile PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan, who has been imprisoned in Turkey for the past eight years. Unfortunately, however, the Kurdistan Regional Government in northern Iraq has failed to crack down vigorously against PKK operatives based in KRG territory. The PKK has made a comeback, and during the first half of this year, it was responsible for the deaths of at least 80 Turks. On Sept. 28, Turkey and Iraq signed an agreement to clamp down on PKK operations in Iraqi territory, but the agreement did not give Turkey permission to pursue PKK operatives inside Iraq. The following day, the PKK ambushed a bus carrying Turkish soldiers and civilians, killing 12 people. Then, last weekend, another PKK attack killed 13 Turkish soldiers.

As anger mounts in Turkey over the PKK, the Bush administration has been urging restraint while simultaneously leaning on Iraq (and Iraqi Kurdish leaders in particular) to take action against terrorists operating from their territory. But last week, as Turkey was burying its most recent war dead and American diplomats were working feverishly to prevent the situation on the Iraqi border from exploding, the House of Representatives (in this case members of the House Foreign Affairs Committee) decided to pour gasoline on the fire, approving a resolution accusing Turkey of committing genocide against against the Armenians between 1915 and 1923. And House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has agreed to bring the resolution to the floor — all the better to ensure that U.S.-Turkish relations, already damaged by the failure of Washington and Baghdad to stop PKK attacks, continue to worsen. Ankara is now hinting that the genocide resolution could cause long-lasting damage to Washington's military relationship with Turkey, a nation critical to the resupply of the 160,000-plus American soldiers in Iraq.

Two things need to happen right away 1) Responsible adults on Capitol Hill need to bury the Armenian genocide resolution to prevent it from doing more damage to relations with Turkey, a critical ally, and 2) Washington needs to press the Iraqi government, especially the Kurds, to act now to put the PKK out of business. That's the way to ensure that Ankara does not take the dangerous, destabilizing step of sending its forces across the border into Iraq.


Turkey Has To Prove That It Is Not Bluffing
Ilnur Cevik 15 October 2007 ilnurcevik@yahoo.com
Turkish leaders are acting with caution not to hurt the country’s vital interests and harm Turkish-American relations. However, neither the Americans nor the Iraqi Kurds should read this as a sign of weakness. This would be a vital mistake that would force Erdogan to take unwanted radical actions.

Turkey faces important decisions and actions on two important areas where mistakes could prove fatal for Turkish interests.

One is the reaction to the passage of the Armenian genocide resolution by the U.S. House of Representatives which has now been sent to the House for a vote.

The other is the action Turkey is preparing against the PKK in northern Iraq.

There are already mistaken views in the United States that we are bluffing and that we may not carry out our threats.

U.S. House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi says Turkey has been threatening action against the U.S. for the past several years if an Armenian resolution is passed and says she does not expect any serious action. She and her colleagues expect Ankara to make a lot of noise and then just accept the facts of life…

People like Pelosi seem to think that just because Turkey made many threats but could not do anything on Kirkuk when the Kurds occupied the city it in 2002 in an example for Turkish impotence.

However, they are dead wrong.

Turkey does what it has to even at the cost of suffering an American arms embargo. Pelosi and friends have to remember the Turkish military intervention on Cyprus in 1974.

They have to see that the Armenian issue is not just a simple process of recognizing an act of genocide committed by some people against the others in 1915. They have to see that the recognition of such an act will allow the Armenians to hold the Turkish Republic accountable to what the Ottoman Turks allegedly did a century ago and will make it pay economically and politically. The Armenians are after blood not just the recognition of their historical mishaps.

So Turkey will put up a fight and if necessary Turkish-American ties will suffer.

This is where our leaders are rightfully acting with caution. This should not be seen as a sign of weakness. Turkish leaders want to show they mean business but they also do not want to create an irreparable situation. Pelosi and her colleagues should see this and appreciate it. Turkish Ambassador Nabi Sensoy has been called to Ankara for consultations but he has not been “recalled” permanently. He is expected to return to Washington before Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan visits the U.S. But no one should make any mistakes that the Turkish government would be obliged to take strong measures against U.S. interests if the resolution actually passes the House. Pelosi says she is set to do this… Let us hope she too sees the light because Turks will be in no mood to appreciate her whims.

On the PKK Turks are in no mood to listen to ifs and buts from the Americans or the Iraqis. The PKK is seeing this and is further escalating its violent campaign to further antagonize the Turkish public and pill up the pressure on the government to act. This way PKK hopes Turkey will enter northern Iraq with a massive force and further strain its relations with the West and perhaps even stall its full membership process in the EU.

We feel Turkey has to take steps to convince the Iraqi Kurdish leaders not to allow the PKK to feel at home in northern Iraq and thus pacify the terrorists. This can be done through friendly persuasion and economic pressures rather than by military force.

Iraqi Kurdish leaders have to understand that Turkey is not bluffing and Turkish leaders do not want blood but they do want results and will be pushed even to order a military incursion if sides do not understand the urgency of the current situation.


Bush Doesn't Plan To Block Armenian Genocide Resolution Associated Press, THE JERUSALEM POST Oct. 15, 2007
US President George W. Bush has no plan to intervene with the top House of Representatives lawmaker to urge her not to bring to a vote a planned resolution to declare World-War I-era mass killings of Armenians a genocide, a spokesman said Monday.

The Bush administration has been lobbying intensely to persuade lawmakers to reject the resolution, which Bush believes would harm relations with Turkey. Turkey has said as much, promising that the document's passage by the full House would cause severe damage to relations.

"There should be no question of the president's views on this issue and the damage that this resolution could do to U.S. foreign policy interests," White House deputy press secretary Tony Fratto told reporters Monday aboard Air Force One.

Ali Ettefagh, Tehran, Iran
Dr. Ali Ettefagh serves as a director of Highmore Global Corporation, an investment company in emerging markets of Eastern Europe, CIS, and the Middle East.


Turkey Must Turn Resolution Into Opportunity
Few subjects set off explosions of national rage in Turkey like the fate of one and a half million Armenians in the darkest days of the First World War. First, some background: Armenians insist they were victims of the first mass genocide of the 20th century, driven from their homes in eastern Anatolia; only a few hundred thousand made it to Syria and Mesopotamia, today's Iraq. Turks, while acknowledging that many Armenians died in 1915-17, have always denied the genocide, despite widely reported evidence of massacres.

The issue burst into an international row - and possibly worse - as the U.S. Congress is demanding that Turkey officially recognize the genocide as fact. Turkey's newly elected Islamist president and his party member prime minister are threatening “serious consequences,” including cancelling arms deals and closing the Incirlik air base, which is a vital transport hub to US military manuevers in Iraq. Turkey’s large international debt also looms in the background and it could complicate matters for both sides. And this hard talk is on top of Turkey's imminent invasion of Kurdish Iraq to sort out PKK terrorists or “rescue” Kirkuk and its Turkomen minority and check on recent oil deals in Kurdish Iraq—and to pacify the army’s enigma about an Islamist president in Çankaya Palace.

Very reluctantly and in small steps, Ankara has moved toward admitting that Armenians, once one of the two favored Christian minorities under the Ottoman Empire, perished of starvation and thirst as the Russians advanced. Nevertheless, and always off the record, Turkish nationalists say that the Ottomans had proof that Armenian nationalists were pro-Russian militia and guerrilla groups and thus they “deserved” it. As always, a bargain can be struck in the Turkish political bazaar—namely, EU membership in exchange for a political whitewash.

This remains a baffling situation because the acts in question were carried out by a different government than the “new, modern” Turkish Republic. However, the vast Ottoman archives remain under strict seal since 1923 and requests for access to such records, even by Turkish researchers and historians, are summarily rejected. One reason is that those records are in the old Arabic script of the Turkish language, before Kemal Ataturk changed the national alphabet. So there hardly any Turkish nationals who can read these materials, nor any government specialists that can edit them. As such, hearsay, nationalist spin and oversized newspaper headlines conveniently generate denials and dismissal of facts. Eyewitnesses and historians, including Gertrude Bell (the English Arabist who helped set up modern Iraq) reported in their diaries of Armenian prisoners and refugees being butchered.

We ought to recall that Turkey, with its army of half a million soldiers, was merely an American ally of convenience during the Cold War. In this new era of confused world order, American policy is influenced by many powerful lobbies, and the Armenian lobby is one of the most successful exile groups in the world. It has a powerful presence in California, Europe, Lebanon, Jerusalem and now its own pro-Moscow state of Armenia in the Caucasus. The Armenian lobby also managed a similar resolution by the French parliament, and that has proved to be a convenient tool for the assertive anti-Turkish views of President Sarkozy.

As I wrote about Turkey's trouble with its minorities, murder and denial are not the most realistic way forward. A democratic society must solve problems with courage and realistic engagement.

Turkey must engage this American resolution, and the rest of the world, as a welcomed opportunity for a wholesale review of all regional events during the 20th century. That includes all issues that have roots during the ill-crafted breakup of the Ottoman Empire and subsequent fabrication of new, and now failed or deadlocked, states (Iraq, Syria and Israel come to mind).

This might be an opportunity for the religious democrats of the Turkish Republic to adopt a transparent policy and distance themselves from the Ottoman religious radicals. The contrast of the Federal Republic of Germany against the Third Reich might serve as a useful example. As such, Turkey ought to submit to cold facts and, when necessary, prove to the world that it is a sober republic and a stable Muslim democratic society-- one that is able to face reality as an adult. Otherwise, Turkey will continue as the longest emerging market and the perpetual EU aspirant, in the waiting lounge of two large Christian clubs of NATO and EU for an invitation.

All Comments (17)
YTS:

Yes, it is time to face reality like an adult. It is too late to deny the past.

October 15, 2007 12:14 PM |
John:

I agree with his authors assessment of the past and current situation of the turks. I also question their inability and unwillingness born out of extreme chauvinism and xenophobia embedded deeply in their psyche preventing them from recognition and reconciliation with their past. Armenian genocide is one part of their long bloody history as well as the current issues they urgently face. I have little confidence in their ability to mature and see them moving towards somewhat similar direction as Pakistan.

October 15, 2007 12:47 PM |
Baris Tarim:

A prime example of a one-sided interpretation of history which overlooks the immense suffering of millions of Turks, Kurds, Azeris and Muslims.

As recently as 15 years ago (not a century ago), Armenia invaded Azerbaijan, drove a million Azeris from their from their homes and massacring them in places like Khojaly and continues to occupy it to this day. What about them? Oh, because they are Muslims - we shouldn't care about them, right?

And trying to pretend that this is not politically motivated is lame. First of all, it is a backdoor attempt by Pelosi to have her way with Iraq. Many people want that war to end, but this is a very sleazy way of doing it - opening up century old history books and digging stuff up to have our way with politics today.

Besides, the elections are around the corner and the fact that the congressman who introduced this resolution has the biggest Armenian community in the US in his district. Not to mention the fact that Pelosi has a huge ethnic Armenian community in her district as well.

So - enough with demagogues. It is not the job of parliaments to make history. Let the historians debate what happened a century ago.

October 15, 2007 1:27 PM |
John:

Baris Tarim, you can whitewash the turkish history and by extension the azeri turks any way you please, and pepper it with deceptions outright falsehoods such as armenian invasion azerbajan. you do a great disservice to yourselves and your future. you cannot falsify history no matter how hard you try. the middle ages is over. wake up from your centuries old slumber. you will endup loosing even your smallest credibility you still enjoy all you have to do is look at your turkish cousins. they are fast becoming another pakistan.

October 15, 2007 2:02 PM |
Ali:

Blah, blah blah. same tune song by many anti-turk, quazi-liberal...still no one claim bring up any empirical data but tales from few survivors, 9 faded photos (God knows of whom), and books written by non-Armenian folks who have never been to Turkey or by Armenian kids whoa are hatful as a result of their great parents murders during the WAR.

Get empirical, not emotional. supporng Armenian claims without any knoweldge is stupid.

October 15, 2007 2:50 PM |
Ali:

why all pro-Armenian folks actually do support the genocide resolution because they hate Turks. Only reason Turks are targeted is because they are the only non-wetsrners who subjegated westerners, it was all the way opposite in history that westreners subjegated everyone else. though luck. stop hating. turk haters...

October 15, 2007 2:54 PM |
Ali:

why all pro-Armenian folks actually do support the genocide resolution because they hate Turks. Only reason Turks are targeted is because they are the only non-wetsrners who subjegated westerners, it was all the way opposite in history that westreners subjegated everyone else. though luck. stop hating. turk haters...

October 15, 2007 2:55 PM |
Anonymous:

ali,

you choose to stay completely ignorant is yours business, but you bring a new meaning to the ignorant and arrogant turk. there are PLENTY of Eyewitness documentary evidence only if you CHOOSE to open your eyes. I know you are not about to do that anytime soon. your interest does not lie with finding out the truth but spread your same old your false denials and propaganda. By the way your repeated idiotic posts does not help your case in any shape or from. the world is sick and tired of your crimes and lies and are not going to take in any longer. your time is up.

October 15, 2007 3:57 PM |
Hakan:

Armenians lost the war, so they might as well get over it.

When the Ottoman Empire fell, millions were displaced and fled to the newly created "nation-states". That's a sad chapter in history, but everyone really needs to get over this.

We have other things to worry about instead of spending time trying to force a peg through a pigeon-hole.

October 15, 2007 4:49 PM |
Anonymous:

hakan,

you can't be MORE mistaken. I know this is your wish. as you are finding out now you cannot sweep genocide under the rug NO matter hoe hard you try. You will have to deal with your past crimes.

October 15, 2007 5:18 PM |
Anonymous:

I have news for you hakan, the horrific mass murder of whole race of defenseless men, women and children how were considered to be ottoman citizens was not and is NOT considered a "war" in in 20th century civilized world. It is the most COWARDLY act imaginable. There you have not "won" anything except the winner of the most heinous honor of mass-murders of innocents. you in the beginning of the 21th century exhibit the mentality of the 7th century tribesmen that left the arabian peninsula. for your kind its as if time has stood still. and yet you are clamoring to become a member of the Europen Union. I pity you greatly.

October 15, 2007 5:43 PM |
Anonymous:

I have some news for you hakan, the horrific mass murder of whole race of defenseless men, women and children who were ottoman citizens was not and is NOT considered a "war" in in 20th century civilized world. It is the most COWARDLY act imaginable. Therefore you have not "won" anything except possibly the most heinous title of the repeat mass-murder of innocents. you in the beginning of the 21th century exhibit the mentality of the 7th century tribesmen that left the Arabian peninsula. for your kind its as if time has stood perfectly still. and yet you are clamoring to become a member of the European Union. I pity you greatly.

October 15, 2007 5:53 PM |
Hakan:

Anonymous: "You will have to deal with your past crimes"

You wish! so how does the world look from the fantasy-land that you created?

I have sympathy for anyone who might have suffered in wars all throughout history, but frankly I cannot be too bothered either way about this - I wasn't there nor was I even alive.

You can take it up with the big man upstairs if you really want.

"as you are finding out now" - Nah, I ain't finding out anything new. Whatever you might believe, nothing will ever change. Hundreds of millions of Americans and anyone who doesn't have a beef with the Turks already won't do anything more than say "oh well, what a pity". Make no mistake: Most politicians are simply using this in a political chess game with Turkey (eg France), not because of a sudden outpouring of sympathy for what might have happened a century ago to the Armenians.

You also need to deal with that and start getting on with your life. Turks already say that many Armenians died and that any sort of human suffering is bad. The dispute over the "g-word" is a more technical and political issue. No Turk is claiming that no Armenian died. Grow up please.

In any case, I find all this a big bore. Some people really DO need to get on with their lives. And everyone needs to take a deep breath and stop spewing lame rhetoric around.

And I have to state for the record that the Armenians are taking the very wrong road with this: Trying to shove this down the throat of anyone with resolutions in sub-committees of parliaments in lands far away won't help Turks nor the Armenians. So change tactics, and try (at some point) to sympathize and empathize with the suffering of Turks, Kurds and Azeris that same period and then you will see that things will be much different.

People who are stuck in the past cannot advance to the future, and frankly I have got other things on my mind.

October 15, 2007 6:00 PM |
Hakan:

As for the silly EU comment:

I don't want Turkey to join the EU.

Why would I want Turkey in a stupid Christian club with an ageing population, collapsing economies and self-righteous imperialist colonizers who can't even get along between themselves?

Most Turks don't want Turkey in the EU - check it out if you don't believe me.

The accession process is much more political than it looks like, believe me.

Anyways, carry on with your tirade. But some people really need to get over this - seriously. It is for the sake of their own mental health!

October 15, 2007 6:18 PM |
Anonymous:

of course hakan, you never ever respond the the real points such as "we won the war". VERY INCONVENIANT FOR you?

YOU are the biggest bore around because you spend all your time and energy SKIRTING the real issue of the Armenian genocide and invent falsehoods and propaganda. You are the one who keeps shoving threats by bluffing to invade iraq so the congress will get scared of you and not proceed with the genocide bill. it's a complete bluff a card that you have played before. The congress is calling your bluff now.

Let me repeat this one more time You turks have not won ANYTHING. you will fail miserably as long as you keep up your lies and propaganda you will have to deal with your past crimes no matter how long you keep up the lies.

October 15, 2007 6:26 PM |
VICTORIA:

if the turks are failing miserably, i think it's news to them.

their economy is doing well, they are educating their children, health care is affordable and accessible-

what i find a bit disconcerting is to define turks as "islamists" (a purely recent and western invented term from fox news maybe 6 years old)
and their leadership as a "religious democracy"

is israel a "religious democracy"?
is america a "religious democracy"?
is india a "religious democracy"?

usually i find mr ettafagh reasonable

but i am seeng some tribal prejudices poking around the corners in his characterization

particularly this comparison-

"The contrast of the Federal Republic of Germany against the Third Reich might serve as a useful example."

subtle but evocative

by making such an unequal comparison mr ettafagh
makes a judgement when he himself states he has no access to the information available to come to any conclusion

it is disturbing

October 16, 2007 2:28 AM |
DRB:

Wow finally an intelligent op-ed piece. I'm in your debt.

"As I wrote about Turkey's trouble with its minorities, murder and denial are not the most realistic way forward. A democratic society must solve problems with courage and realistic engagement."

For a country to move on it must admit it mistakes.

Likewise people should look into themselves, until you get to know yourself you'll never be able to move on, at least not in any viable way.

Please before you leave your comment read what your wrote. Is it actually what you feel, really? Think about it, are you that filled with hatred.

All acts not respecting humanity should be roundly condemned, you cannot condemn one and feel that your job is complete, and you cannot deny one and be a man of honor.

October 16, 2007 2:46 AM |


The Armenian Genocide: an Ongoing Debate
Oct 14th, 2007 by Michael van der Galiën
http://mvdg.wordpress.com/2007/10/14/the-armenian-genocide-an-ongoing-debate/

A lot has been written on this blog lately about what some refer to as the ‘Armenian genocide.’ Most posts were, obviously, inspired by the resolution approved by the House panel recently that labels the killing of many Armenian Christians during World War I by the Ottomans genocide. Not only that, the resolution also makes the Turkish government - which didn’t exist during the period the alleged genocide took place - partially responsible for what happened by expanding the range of the killing from between 1914-1915, perhaps 1918, to 1923 when the Turkish Republic was established. Every co-author of this blog who weighed in condemned the resolution for a variety of reasons, most of them political: the US can’t afford to alienate Turkey right now, because Turkey is an important ally to America and the West in general. There are however, also other grounds on which the text of the resolution can be criticized.

Let me start with the number of casualties. It has become fashionable these days, to charge that 1.5 million Armenians living in the Ottoman Empire - Anatolia to be precise - were killed. However, although the genocide crowd would want you to believe differently, there’s a lot of debate about this number. A significant amount of scholars charge that the most likely numbers is somewhere between 800,000 and 1,000,000. Yes, that’s an incredibly high amount, but it’s no 1.5 million. If you want to talk about a subject as serious as this, exaggerating the casualties won’t help your case.

Furthermore, some of those who criticized me and other co-bloggers argued that we are no better than holocaust deniers. This even though none of us argue that there was no genocide - it seems to me that most think there was, I’m the most crititical one and I don’t even dismiss it, I only say that more research is needed - as such and, even though, the two are complete incomparable. The Armenians organized themselves in militias. They killed thousands, tens of thousands and possibly even hundreds of thousands of Turkish Muslims in their attempt to become independent and to help the Christian Russian forces beat the Muslim Ottoman Empire.

Furthermore, Jews were rounded up and killed in concentration camps on the order of the Nazi rulers. With the Ottomans there’s no bulletproof evidence that the Ottoman rulers ordered the killings of the Armenians. Yes, they ordered the deportation of the Armenian Christians because they had rebelled against them, but that’s not the same as ordering them to be killed. Now, some here seem to assume that many Armenians being killed means that there was a genocide. That’s not true. If we use the definition of genocide we are used to use we need an order from the Ottoman government. Instead, Andrew Mango writes in his autobiography of Atatürk that the Ottoman rulers (and Atatürk and his followers) were disgusted by what some people, Enver Pasja among others, had done.

Admitting that hundreds of thousands of Armenians were killed by the Turks (directly and indirectly) but saying that there’s not proof (enough) that what happened can rightfully be labeled ‘genocide’ isn’t equal to denying the holocaust. Instead, I and many others agree that terrible things happened and that an enormous amount of Armenians were killed. Not just those who fought against the Ottoman Empire but also women and children were killed. Some of them died by violence, others starved, again others died of one disease or another. They suffered tremendously. I’m not denying that. I am denying, however, that looking at the evidence we can conclude that it was a genocide. To truly find out whether it was a genocide or not more research is needed. The Turkish government invited the Armenian government to do this research. However, those who are most passionately calling what happened a genocide refuse to take the Turks up on their offer. I can’t help but to get the feeling that they refuse to do this research because they fear that research will show that there was no determined attempt by the Ottoman government to kill off the Armenian population of Anatolia.

Lastly, some like to refer to the Armenians who survived the deportation as ‘proof’ that it was a genocide. These people went through hell and so we should listen to what they have to say. However, although they can tell what happened to them, they can’t say whether it was genocide or not. They simply don’t know enough about what went on in the higher ranks of the Ottoman government to say anything about that.

For more information about the Armenian genocide I refer you to this pdf containing letters to the editor of Commentary magazine in response to an article written by Guenter Lewy on the subject. The last letter is Lewy’s response.

UPDATE

Reader Nihat points out that the offer of the Turks to research what happens by opening up the archives may not have been as… unlimited as some hoped:

I read it in Fatih Altayli’s column in Sabah daily yesterday.

Turkish History Institute (TTK) President Yusuf Halaçoglu was supposed meet with Ara Sarafyan, the author of Blue Book, which is seen as one of the most important documents backing Armenian claims.

Both sides were supposed to produce various documents to argue their case, the first such meeting.

I was very excited about it…

Suddenly, we were all told the meeting was cancelled. Professor Halaçoglu held a press conference and said Sarafyan had cancelled the trip, presenting an article in weekly AGOS that said the Armenian diaspora was furious about Sarafyan’s trip. That was the reason of cancellation, he said.

Now we learn from Altayli that the real reason why the meeting was cancelled was very different. It appears Halaçoglu refused to open the archives without limits and objected to presenting certain documents.

That’s indeed ridiculous. If Turkey says that it was per definition not a genocide than it should open its archives unconditionally. This is of course a two-way street. The bill shouldn’t be accepted, but Turkey should open its archives completely and let historians do what they do best. If, then, they find documents of the Ottoman rulers telling their inferiors to kill off as many Armenians as possible, Turkey should accept the truth and then we can say with 100% certainty that it was a genocide. If, on the other hand, such documents can’t be found, we can say what we can say today: that many Armenians died, but that it wasn’t a genocide as such.

UPDATE II

Commenter David points out that Bernard Lewis - who basically is the expert in the West on Turkey / the Ottoman Empire - doesn’t believe that what happened constitutes genocide. That’s correct. From (the all powerful) WikiPedia:

There is no evidence of a decision to massacre. On the contrary, there is considerable evidence of attempts to prevent it, which were not very successful. Yes there were tremendous massacres, the numbers are very uncertain but a million may well be likely…[and] the issue is not whether the massacres happened or not, but rather if these massacres were as a result of a deliberate preconceived decision of the Turkish government… there is no evidence for such a decision.

He also said that comparing the holocaust to what happened to the Armenians is “absurd.” He also said:

The deniers of Holocaust have a purpose: to prolong Nazism and to return to Nazi legislation. Nobody wants the ‘Young Turks’ back, and nobody wants to have back the Ottoman Law. What do the Armenians want? The Armenians want to benefit from both worlds. On the one hand, they speak with pride of their struggle against the Ottoman despotism, while on the other hand, they compare their tragedy to the Jewish Holocaust. I do not accept this. I do not say that the Armenians did not suffer terribly. But I find enough cause for me to contain their attempts to use the Armenian massacres to diminish the worth of the Jewish Holocaust and to relate to it instead as an ethnic dispute.

So, my question to those who accused me of being just as bad as holocaust deniers: is Lewis one as well and is it so silly to agree with the words of one of the world’s most well known and best scholars in this field?

Posted in Politics | 63 Comments
63 Responses to “The Armenian Genocide: an Ongoing Debate”
on 14 Oct 2007 at 5:13 pm
1 daveinboca

“The Armenians organized themselves in militias. They killed thousands, tens of thousands and possibly even hundreds of thousands of Turkish Muslims in their attempt to become independent and to help the Christian Russian forces beat the Muslim Ottoman Empire.”

I lived in Beirut & became a bit knowledgeable about the events of the First World War from some Armenians descended from survivors.

Then one of my jobs in the ‘84 Mondale Campaign was to write Fritz’s Armenian Day Proclamation. I did a lot of research as there were political landmines in the event of a mistake.

My under was that along the Russian Front with the Ottomans, the Russians encouraged the Northern Armenians to recruit and organize into units to fight for an independent state. Enver Pasha was Ottoman commander there, if my memory serves, and in order to support the Ottoman war effort, whipped up a political frenzy of ethnic hatred. The Southern Armenians, hundreds of miles from the front, suffered from this witch-hunt.

The Turkish irregulars and other units did round up Armenians with their usual extreme prejudice, sometimes burning down Churches filled with Christians.

Most were rounded up and sent south into the Syrian Desert, where they were set upon by Kurds, their immemorial enemy since pre-historical times. The few who reached Arab zones were treated relatively kindly by the Arabs, who themselves had grudges with the Kurds [”enemy of my enemy…..”] and many settled in Lebanon, where a sizeable Armenian population still lives today.

What the Turks initiated was “ethnic cleansing” with no regard to any rights that the Armenians had as a “Dhimmi” subject people. A war crime, perhaps, but purists like Jimmy Carter would probably balk at calling it “genocide.”

Although it was wartime and questions of loyalty to the state were involved, on-the-ground incompetence & brutality produced a garden-variety of what the modern world experiences as “genocide,” willy-nilly. Though Jimmy would niggle and emit contrary sounds.

Ironically, Sultan Abdul-Hamid II had an Armenian mother who had been Harem wazira, and many other Sultans had been rumored to have had Armenian and Greek mothers.

For Tom Lantos & the Dems to put this resolution forward is almost as incompetent as Enver Pasha’s silly wartime crusade [”that word again”] against Christian turncoats.

on 14 Oct 2007 at 5:14 pm
2 John Moorvartian

Thank you for reporting on this issue. George Bush and the World should understand that this isn’t between Turkey and the United States, and it’s not between Armenia and the United States, it’s between Americans and the United States. We have a right to have the victims of this atrocity recognized. George and his bunch, the Turks, and everyone else who isn’t an American should just shut up and mind their own business. This resolution will pass the full House and Senate, like it or not. I’m really sorry if this insults Turkishness or George Bushness or whatever ego trip the offended party happens to be on but juctice never offends the victim, only the criminal.

John Moorvartian
California

on 14 Oct 2007 at 5:17 pm
3 R

To say that 800,000 to 1 million Armenians died instead of 1.5 million does not lessen the enormity of the crime. The net result was that the 2,700 year Armenian presence in Anatolia was extinguished and all property confiscated or destroyed.

However, the crux of the issue is intentionality. The crime of genocide as defined in the U.N. Genocide Convention requires a finding that an act was committed ‘with intent’ to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial, or religious group.
http://www.unhchr.ch/html/menu3/b/p_genoci.htm

Lemkin, who was instrumental in drafting the Convention, and who coined the term ‘genocide’, had the Armenians in mind as well as the WW2 Holocaust.

Dutch academic Eric Zurcher, whose highly regarded book ‘Turkey: A Modern History’ does not hesitate to categorize the actions of the Young Turks against their Armenian citizens as genocide, recommends the work of Turkish academic Taner Akcam. Akcam has done extensive research in the Ottoman archives and published part of his findings in his recent book ‘A Shameful Act: The Armenian Genocide and the Question of Turkish Responsibility’. Akcam details hundreds of documents demonstrating that the CUP had indeed planned and carried out the extermination of the Armenians and the confiscation of their property.

Akcam is now being prosecuted under art. 301 of the Turksih penal code for ‘insulting turkishness’.

Professor Zurcher also considers that the offer by the Turkish government of a joint commission is not innocent given that Turkey wishes the historians to be appointed by the governments and all discussion of historical issues to be suspended during the commission. Turkey has not offered to re-establish diplomatic relations with Armenia nor to abrogate art. 301.

There is ongoing research in Ottoman, American, German, Russian, Armenian, etc. archives. There are contacts between Turkish, Armenian and other scholars on the issue. However, true scholarship should not be at the direction of governments.

The great majority of historians and genocide scholars consider this to be a genocide, including an increasing number of Turkish ones. It is interesting you cite retired political scientist Guenter Lewy. Lewy of course does not recognize any genocide except the Holocaust.

on 14 Oct 2007 at 5:31 pm
4 Michael van der Galiën

So why not take the Turkish government up on its offer? both the Armenian and Turkish government open up the archives and make all information public. I certainly believe that it could be a genocide, but it’s simply way too early to call it as such with the evidence there is now (including Armenian scholars who use forged documents to ‘prove’ that the ottoman government ordered the killings).

on 14 Oct 2007 at 5:58 pm
5 Quicksilver

It seems very silly to me that the armenian diasporan nationalists who live, eat, drink, sleep “genocide” still havent the gall to go the International court of Justice.
They wont because they simply dont have a case and they know it. Instead, they are trying to get all foreign parliaments to pass these motions accepting their versions to set up claims for money and land (Armenians refer to eastern Anatolia as “Western Armenia”). Have you noticed that all these claims of “genocide” came after the Jews received massive reparations from Germany ? Hmm

Pelosi and the democrats should stick to trying to fix real world issues. Like armenia’s current illegal occupation of 20% of Azeri land and how half a million Azeri refugees now live in railcars because of Armenian terrorism.

on 14 Oct 2007 at 6:04 pm
6 Sluggo

While I don’t question that a lot of Armenians were killed, and it may have been genocide by the OTTOMAN TURKS, why stick a finger in the eye of the current government of Turkey?

Where do we stop? Shouldn’t we go farther back and condemn the Italians for what the Romans did? How about the Mongolians for Ghengis Khan? Chinese for killing so many Vietnamese? Mexicans for the acts of the Aztecs? Guatemalans for the Mayans? This is all a bunch of “feel good” BS. Who will it help?

Back to why stick a finger in the eye of the Turks….the answer is the Democrats are using it as yet another backdoor attempt to derail the effots in Iraq AND Afghanistan by cutting off the route we bring in 70% of the logistical supplies.

on 14 Oct 2007 at 6:14 pm
7 Michael van der Galiën

Sluggo: yes. in fact, you could make a stronger case by accusing the Dutch of genocide against the inhabitents of Indonesia. And what about Native Americans? What about the Spaniards?

Quicksilver: and they also don’t want to take the Turkish government up on its offer of both countries opening up their archives and letting historians sort it out.

STrange huh?

on 14 Oct 2007 at 6:14 pm
8 Tully

While I don’t question that a lot of Armenians were killed, and it may have been genocide by the OTTOMAN TURKS, why stick a finger in the eye of the current government of Turkey?

Because governments are irrelevant in millenia-old ethnic feuds, and because there are no reparations available from a government that hasn’t existed for almost ninety years, only from currently existing governments.

on 14 Oct 2007 at 6:20 pm
9 R

Michael, who says the archives are not already open? What kind of historians are appointed by governments? How can independent scholarship occur when the scholar risks prosecution for insulting turkishness, or worse?

One would have thought that to demonstrate its good faith Turkey would first normalize relations with Armenia.

on 14 Oct 2007 at 6:22 pm
10 Michael van der Galiën

And my guess is you darn well know that the relationship between the two were improving already.

And Armenia is far from innocent. It has committed crimes against humanity as recently as in the 1990s.

on 14 Oct 2007 at 6:24 pm
11 Michael van der Galiën

And: according tojust about everyone who tried to write about it, Armenia doesn’t let those who are critical of the claims in their archives, and Turkey doesn’t let those who claim there was a genocide in. Or if they do, with great trouble.

The offer stands, let Armenia take them up on it.

It’s also remarkable, by the way, that the people pleading for this resolution are Armenians living in America who couldn’t care less about Armenians living in Turkey. Turkey’s Armenian population doesn’t want the resolution to be approved at all.

on 14 Oct 2007 at 6:38 pm
12 Dave

How is a resolution recognising that genocide by the Ottoman regime a finger in the eye of the Turks? It is the present regime in Ankara which cannot dissociate itself from the acts of the Empire. Why do they care that governments around the world recognise an historical event?

By taking this further and even prosecuting those who dare suggest the Ottoman government did perpetrate a genocide, they lower themselves further in the eyes of the civilised world. And all this silliness about a delicate time in US-Turkey relations: either you are an ally or you are not. If the Turks weren’t so beligerent about denying this tragedy, I would think they were just using it as a ploy to excuse their incursions into Iraq.

Hopefully this kerfuffle with the Americans about the resolution will help the member states of the EU realise that for more than geographic reasons Turkish membership is a not good idea.

on 14 Oct 2007 at 6:41 pm
13 Michael van der Galiën

Dave: did you actually care to look at the dates?

on 14 Oct 2007 at 6:43 pm
14 phin

So why not take the Turkish government up on its offer?

On the face of it, that seems like a reasonable request.

The devil however is in the details. What are the terms to be for instance? The Turkish government, past and present, has not exactly been known for its passionate pursuit of truth, whatever that may be, and especially if it makes the Turks look bad, insulting “Turkishness” and all that other bullshit. When one can be thrown in jail, and one’s life be harassed (and even endangered) simply for questioning and challenging the official Turkish version of events and being accused of treachery, it doesn’t engender much confidence in that particular system or its outcomes.

Furthermore, there are roughly 80 000 Armenians or so still left in Turkey. Given Turkey’s particularly atrocious record with her minorities, a negative outcome for Turkey could leave them particularly vulnerable as they suffer the backlash. There is a reason that most Armenian Turks do not want to take part in this debate and it’s not because they really believe the official Turkish version of events. Rather, they HAVE to believe it, IF they know what’s “good” for them.

So I’m afraid that until there is real fundamental change in the way Turks and especially their governments and elites approach not just this issue but all contentions issues re: Turkey, her past, her identity etc, then this option is really a non-starter.

on 14 Oct 2007 at 6:47 pm
15 Nihat

Please stop this false statement about the “offer” on Ottoman the archives.

Do you read the Turkish press? Turkish journalists have reported that this was a false offer.

http://www.turkishdailynews.com.tr/article.php?enewsid=68233

on 14 Oct 2007 at 6:52 pm
16 Michael van der Galiën

Nihat: thanks for that link. It’s important to include that in the post.

on 14 Oct 2007 at 6:58 pm
17 David

Bernard Lewis, probably one of the worlds greatest experts on Turkish history, does not believe that the treatment of the Armenians amounted to genocide.

on 14 Oct 2007 at 7:13 pm
18 Michael van der Galiën

David: correct. Same for Mango who’s quite respected as well. I expect that both these distinguished scholars, who know far more about Turkey / the Ottoman Empire than anyone of the accusers, are nazis in the eyes of the latter.

on 14 Oct 2007 at 7:21 pm
19 phin

Bernard Lewis, probably one of the worlds greatest experts on Turkish history, does not believe that the treatment of the Armenians amounted to genocide

He also believed that invading Iraq was a good idea and that it would be relatively easy. He also believes that Europe will be majority Muslim within two generations or so. He’s an excellent historian to be sure; I’ve read a few of his books. But expertise does not equal infallibility.

on 14 Oct 2007 at 7:23 pm
20 Hope Muntz

“Genocide” means the murder of a people, based on their racial or ethnic identity. Purists may quibble over how many casualties are needed to qualify: millions or merely hundreds of thousands. However, in a small town that number could just be dozens. So what? The net effect is the same–to remove all of those citizens of ‘diverse’ ethnicity by violence from your local region. And that’s precisely what modern Turkey–which includes the military rule of the last few years of the Ottomans, as well as the modern state–has done. First the Jews, then the Greeks and Armenians. Now it’s the turn of the Kurds. It’s hard to imagine now, but under the Ottomans, ethic Turks were actually an elite minority–now the situation has been reversed, not all at once under a Hitler, but slowly over time as the result of a concerted policy.

I sympathize with your Turkish romantic ties, but I suspect they blind you to the truth. And that truth is that the Turkish military are at it again, poised to unleash war on Iraqi Kurds as well as their own. This pitiful House resolution–which comes 50 years too late to have any meaning whatever–is merely a pretext on their part to sever ties with us that became pointless after the end of the Cold War and ended, for all intents and purposes, the moment of the Iraq invasion. The Turks and Kurds are headed for a broad war, and it may very well be that nothing can stop it. If thay comes about, you would do well to read a biography of Charles Lindbergh. Because Turkey, which should be studying a Swiss rather than a Nazi German model for its future, will be on the wrong side of history.

Yet again.

on 14 Oct 2007 at 7:24 pm
21 Paul

“They killed thousands, tens of thousands and possibly even hundreds of thousands of Turkish Muslims…”

It’s amazing that for someone so insistent on even more scholarship on what is already a widely accept historical fact can still sink to the level of throwing out random heresay which is not supported by any serious historian.
Of course some Armenians did help the Russians, after all many of them were Russian citizens themselves and therefore duty-bound to fight against the Turks. Meanwhile there were some from the OE who did join but it is disingenuous to portray what they did as flat out treason while ignoring such things as the Hamidian massacres of 1895 and the long line of mistreatment leading up to 1915. The Armenians of the empire had been disarmed in 1914 and left as sitting ducks, that some opposed such a move after a history of violent behavior against them by their government should come as no surprise. Their numbers were nowhere near that which would have given them the capability to kill hundreds of thousands of Muslims, and it’s amazing how you can cut down and dismiss anything remotely pro-genocide while accepting such laughably unrealistic as this in the name of building your pro-Turkish arguement.

And David- we all saw how well Bernard Lewis’s expert advise on invading Iraq turned out. Even experts can be wrong. And I can tell you that Bernard Lewis, while he does not believe the word genocide applies, does NOT subscribe to Michael’s “hundreds of thousands of Turks killed by Armenians” fantasy quoted above.

on 14 Oct 2007 at 7:36 pm
22 Michael van der Galiën

Paul, are you getting paid for your work or what?

on 14 Oct 2007 at 9:26 pm
23 Paul

No. My ancestors were killed in 1915, their churches in Turkey stand alone in ruins (or in the case of the church my one ancestor was responsible for building and was buried at, it was dynamited in the 60s and his tomb destroyed). The reminders of the Armenian population have been mostly erased from the entire landscape and the fact my ancestors even ever existed there let alone suffered in the desert which is now their tomb are totally erased. Turkey needs to be reminded of this, something they have refused to come to terms with and I don’t think being pro-Turkish means helping them cover up admitting it happened. I am not saying Turkey needs to apologize for what the Ottoman Empire did, I am saying they needed to acknowledge it as a fact of the past and move on together with Armenians. So far they have had nothing to do with that and stubbornly refuse to do anything but the complete opposite.

on 14 Oct 2007 at 9:27 pm
24 Michael van der Galiën

Let me first say that I’m sorry to hear that. As I said, they went through hell and the ones responsible were monsters.

Secondly, so what about the 1923 date?

on 14 Oct 2007 at 9:55 pm
25 tommy

Guenter Lewy feels the archives will reveal little new. The Turks in Turkey clearly want to deny that much bad happened at all and not merely that they aren’t responsible for a legal genocide. They want to forget the whole affair. Of that much they are undoubtedly guilty. Turkish interest groups abroad, who aren’t under the ridiculous legal threat of “insulting Turkishness,” are more honest and will admit what happened was terrible but argue it doesn’t constitute genocide.

I feel there is insufficient evidence to indicate a genocide on the part of Turkey’s central government and some evidence to suggest otherwise. I doubt the issue can be resolved to the satisfaction of everyone since we are talking about an event that happened almost 100 years ago — an event that is closer in time to the American Civil War than the year 2008 — and even pro-Armenian historians suggests the Turks were being sneaky about the way they implemented this supposed genocide: with covert Young Turk cadres running the show and what not. I also think it’s unlikely much new information about culpability will emerge from the Turkish archives though newly revealed documents may reveal more about the nature and extent of the horrors.

If the U.S. were to pass a resolution recognizing the Armenian genocide it would be strictly a symbolic measure. In Europe, unfortunately, measures of this nature carry legal consequences for those discussing the issue. I encourage Europeans to dump all such anti-free-speech measures (including ones against Holocaust denial) and I also encourage Turks to dump their laws against “insulting Turkishness,” open the archives, and let the truth come out. All such things are best resolved through open and honest debate.

on 14 Oct 2007 at 9:58 pm
26 Michael van der Galiën

I agree with that Tommy. In fact I plan on giving some attention to those laws in Europe (which we should get rid of asap).

on 14 Oct 2007 at 10:20 pm
27 Tully

If the U.S. were to pass a resolution recognizing the Armenian genocide it would be strictly a symbolic measure.

It isn’t strictly symbolic when there are current real-world consequences attached. As Lantos himself pointed out.

on 14 Oct 2007 at 11:27 pm
28 Dave

Michael, sorry I’m just getting back to this post. Referring back to comments 12 and 13, to what dates do you refer?

on 14 Oct 2007 at 11:46 pm
29 Tully

The resolution (HR 106) dates the Armenian Genocide to 1014-1923. Historians date it to 1914-1918, inclusive. The other twenty-two nations that have issued resolutions dated them to 1915, or to 1915-1916.

The dates Michael refers to are the shifting of the dating to 1923, which seems nonsensical unless one is trying to assign responsibility to the current Turkish government–founded in 1923.

on 15 Oct 2007 at 12:08 am
30 K

and you also like to bring up Azerbaijan and say that Armenia committed genocide against Azeri’s. Well excuse me, first of all, both countries were having a war against each other, both sides were fully armed and had declared war with each other. But of course Azeri’s only say its genocide because we are “insulting” their turkish cousins with the 1915 genocide. Even well known Turkish historians say that 1915 was genocide - Orhan Pamuk and several others. The man who invented the word genocide said that it happened to the Armenians. The majority of Armenians during 1915 were not armed, but sure some Armenians probably did retaliate. Of course they would, when they see that their families and people are being murdered, who wouldn’t retaliate? And in regards to Azerbaijan, Azeri’s have massacred Armenians during the war but we don’t go on about that because we have a real genocide to get recognized. Islam is a barbaric religion. Kurds are just as bad as Turks, Kurds massacred Armenians during the genocide too. No one ever talks about Assyrians and what they suffered by Turks. I can’t believe i’m still having to defend that fact of the Armenian Genocide in the year 2007.

on 15 Oct 2007 at 12:21 am
31 Paul

Re the 1923 date. Note how the genocide is said to end that year. For all you know the fact it ends in 1923 is attributed to the end of the Empire and rise of Kemal. One thing can end at the beginning of the year and another can begin later in it and have the same year but not be contemporary. I think you are reading too much into this ending in 1923 date. If it went to 1924, you’d have a case, but not so. The date most likely refers to the end of the Ottoman Empire.

on 15 Oct 2007 at 12:26 am
32 Paul

The bulk of the genocide took place 1915-1917, but I think the years are stretched in the bill due to events like the Izmir troubles against Armenians in 1922. The Treaty of Laussane officially ended the Ottoman Empire in mid-1923.

on 15 Oct 2007 at 12:38 am
33 Tully

Not buying that, Paul. The only reason I can see for using the 1923 date is to assign responsibility to the current government of Turkey. Which did not exist at the time of the events in question. Twenty-two other governments in their resolutions dated the massacres to 1915 or 1915-1916, and historians date the Armenian genocide as 1914-1918 inclusive in counting the diaspora as well. That’s five years earlier than the House resolution dates it. Why?

Ataturk’s real rise dates back to 1920 and the formation of the Grand National Assembly, which refused to recognize the Ottoman government and began chasing the foreign forces out of Turkey. The Ottoman Sultanate was abolished in 1922, not 1923.

No, it looks to me as if someone really really wants to push the dating of the genocide past the Treaty of Lausanne, which established the current Republic of Turkey.

on 15 Oct 2007 at 12:40 am
34 Tully

And I still don’t see why that resolution could not conform to those 22 other in the dating. Except that both the UN resolutions covering genocide and US law on same have no statute of limitations, and the current republic was founded in 1923.

on 15 Oct 2007 at 12:43 am
35 Dan Schneider

To those arguing with Michael; note that Michael is using all the tactics that denialists use:

a) he quibbles over #s- 800k or 1.5 mill
b) he accuses the others of manipulating #s, yet comfortably tosses around counterclaims as facts
c) he accuses the other side of having ulterior motives

d) but his side, the accused, could not possibly have ulterior motives
e) he tosses out spurious claims (about opening archives)
f) he backs the work of fringe scholars
g) he dismisses the documented facts by many diverse and indy groups (because they do not square with his facts)
h) he tries semantic dodges (ie- genocide is not just mass murder, but it has to have a smoking gun that the leader ordered it, in writing, and w a bow tie, if can)
i) he does not accept even standard definitions

http://www.m-w.com/dictionary/genocide

Main Entry:
geno·cide Listen to the pronunciation of genocide
Pronunciation:
\'je-n?-?sid\
Function:
noun
Date:
1944

: the deliberate and systematic destruction of a racial, political, or cultural group

j) resorts to blame the victim (a handful of Armenians, in a different part of the country took arms when they heard of what happened to other Armenians, and allied themselves with a foreign power to survive, therefore, their reaction is a post hoc rationalization of the initial crime- how dare a woman stab her rapist?)
k) when challenged, he falls back on all the above, repeats them, as if repetition makes right, and then
l) resorts to naked emotionalism when all else fails.

admin: calling people names is not allowed

on 15 Oct 2007 at 12:45 am
36 Tully

That’s direct ad hominem clear through, Dan.

on 15 Oct 2007 at 12:54 am
37 Dan Schneider

http://www.m-w.com/dictionary/ad%20hominem

Main Entry:
1ad ho·mi·nem Listen to the pronunciation of 1ad hominem
Pronunciation:
\(')ad-'hä-m?-?nem, -n?m\
Function:
adjective
Etymology:
New Latin, literally, to the person
Date:
1598

1 : appealing to feelings or prejudices rather than intellect
2 : marked by or being an attack on an opponent’s character rather than by an answer to the contentions made

A direct point by point revelation of tactics is wholly antithetical to the definition.

So, why are you, like MIchael, so fond of redefining terms when they define things you do not like?

on 15 Oct 2007 at 4:11 am
38 Mike C.

I believe that the atrocities against the Armenians was indeed a genocide. There are several comprehensive books on the subject (the Burning Tigris and 47 others listed at Amazon)

Unfortunately, the pdf link isn’t working at present but I believe that Balakian (the author of “The Burning Tigris”) is one of the author’s that comes in for criticism from Lewy in his response at Commentary. Dadrian, another “authoritative” Armenian genocide historian, has come in for repeated criticism from Lewy for being “guilty of willful mistranslations, selective quotations, and other serious violations of scholarly ethics.”

I have never heard that the Armenians organized militias and killed Turks to achieve independence. I doubt very much that it is true.

Believe it.

on 15 Oct 2007 at 4:22 am
39 Mike C.

If denying the Armenian genocide isn’t equivalent to denying the holocaust, what is it equivalent to?

It’s equivalent to looking at the facts honestly and making a determination based on the available evidence. Calling something a genocide doesn’t make it so. Up to a third of all Cherokee Indians died during the Trail of Tears. Was this a result of a deliberate effort on the part of the federal government to exterminate the Cherokees? No, it was a result of irresponsible cost-cutting and poor planning that left the Cherokees without adequate food and clothing during an especially harsh winter. Was deportation uncalled for? Certainly. In fact, it was carried out in violation of a Supreme Court decision. Was it a tragedy? Of course. Was it genocide by legal definition? No.

There are plenty of people in Turkey who wish to prolong Turkish hegemony and Islamic dominance in Turkey and keep religious minorities in their place. Just try to build a church or synagogue in Turkey and watch what happens.

Irrelevant. Try building a church in Egypt or Saudi Arabia and see what happens. That doesn’t mean the Egyptians or Saudis slaughtered the Armenians.

on 15 Oct 2007 at 4:51 am
40 daveinboca

Just a small footnote: way back when, I was involved in some degree, very small, with the setting up of the National Holocaust Museum in DC.

Originally, it was designed, but not mandated, to also include other significant foreign genocides, and the Armenian mass-murders were included.

But the original building for the Holocaust Memorial was quickly turned into a massive tear-down edifice project for the European Jewish Holocaust. I found that the American Jewish Community wanted no other victims of genocide included in the DC memorial. The Holocaust was unique. My guess is that Lewy fits into that paradigm.

I respect Bernard Lewis highly & have read many of his books and discussed many issues. I believe he may have cut corners on the issue due to his deep Turanian background. Why gouge the eye of a country he knows and understands better than almost any non-Turk in the USA?

I end up, however, regarding it as partly ethnic-cleansing, partly Trail of Tears, partly wartime hysteria…. And perhaps more Kurds killed the Armenians than Turks, though the Turks threw them to the tender mercies of their millenial enemy, the “Mountain Turks.”

I wonder whether we could get Jimmy Carter to pontificate on the issue?

on 15 Oct 2007 at 7:24 am
41 Van Zakarean

The Armenian Genocide is indisputable and irrefutable. To say it is debatable is a crime in every sense of the word. The horrors my grandparetns went through and survived, the lonliness of being an orphan or seeing evryone beheaded… my fingers are trembling with a desire to smack people who say this is a debate.

on 15 Oct 2007 at 8:03 am
42 Tully

If you play the Denialist game, don’t whine if you are called a Denialist.

LMAO. Thank you for confirming exactly what I said. Projection of your own flaws onto others doesn’t make you original, clever, or witty. Nor does it mean the others are possessed of your flaws.

1 : appealing to feelings or prejudices rather than intellect
2 : marked by or being an attack on an opponent’s character rather than by an answer to the contentions made

Exactly what you’re doing, Dan. QED.

A direct point by point revelation of tactics is wholly antithetical to the definition.

Yet you haven’t done that. Indeed, it’s the very thing you seem unable to do, that you refuse to do, that when requested to do ignore to go directly to “Because I said so!” Why not address the issues raised rather than pounding the table? Why not offer evidence in rebuttal rather than name-calling? Why not, Dan?

on 15 Oct 2007 at 10:16 am
43 Michael van der Galiën

I have never heard that the Armenians organized militias and killed Turks to achieve independence. I doubt very much that it is true.

Great. These are the ‘experts’ we’re arguing with.

Dan: you’re the most emotional person here, you ignore all arguments that don’t support your case or viciously attack your opponent. You’re a good writer, I suggest you stick with writing, movie, and literature.

I let someone read your comments and she had a great laugh at your hypocrisy and blindness for your own emotionalism.

Another comment like that and you’re permanently banned.

Fringe scholars: such as the world’s biggest experts, Lewis and Mango?

Van Zakarean what your parents went through isn’t necessarily genocide. They went through hell, but not all hell is genocide.

Tully: exactly.

on 15 Oct 2007 at 3:37 pm
44 Paul

I agree with Jessica. Yes there were some resistence groups- the 40 Days of Musa Dagh being most famous amongst them.

And all this talk of Armenians in the Russian army- well duuh. Modern-day Armenia was a part of the Russian Empire and as such there were numerous Armenians on that side of the border whose duty was to fight the OE. There were also quite a few Armenians who had either immigrated abroad over the past couple decades (usually to escape things like the 1895 Hamidian massacre)- now no longer a part of the Ottoman Empire- who returned to fight with the Russians. They should not be branded traitors as they had renounced their Ottoman citizenship by moving abroad and on top of that I don’t see how one could blame them after the Ottoman gov’s terrible treatment of them and now they saw the survivors being deported in death marches en masse. I’d like to see you muster a defense of the Hamidian massacres or the desire to fight against the empire that was systematically destroying your people.

on 15 Oct 2007 at 3:38 pm
45 in2thefray

I can’t believe the intellectual quibbling over the word genocide. The intentional killing of masses is an universal evil. Be it Pol Pot,Native Americans,Jews,Rwandans,Bosnians, non Soviet Russians or Armenians.

on 15 Oct 2007 at 4:00 pm
46 Michael van der Galiën

That’s because genocide is a legally framed word. Words matter. When you want to label something genocide you should be able to prove it. If there’s not prove, what happened is still horrendous but it’s too early to call it “genocide” in every day language, let alone to let it be labeled as such by government.

Another comment in this thread has been deleted. Everyone who comments here realizes that I’m engaged to a Turkish girl. There’s no need to point that out and especially not in the way it’s being done right now. If you can’t stick to arguments, it’s better that you comment somewhere else.

on 15 Oct 2007 at 4:01 pm
47 Michael van der Galiën

Paul: that’s simply not in line with the facts. It’s mere propaganda. The Armenians were mostly treated well, but the relationship became worse after the nationalist sentiment took over the Armenians who then started rebelling against the Ottomans. Even pro-Armenia scientists are quite honest about that.

on 15 Oct 2007 at 4:22 pm
48 in2thefray

If there’s not prove, what happened is still horrendous but it’s too early to call it “genocide” in every day language, let alone to let it be labeled as such by government.

This is where we’ll part ways. How long do we as humans wait to better ourselves ? I have to tell you that anyone that has a dog in this fight already calls it genocide on a daily basis. I would further state that since Reagan initial assertion the cat is out of the bag. The following “leaders” attempts to rebag it is nonsense.Lastly the United States has the right to act as it deems fit. Ankara,Tehran,London or wherever are secondary.
On a personal note I’ve enjoyed the blog and wish you and all continued success in the future. Attacks on you personally were a little twisted and uncalled for.Take care.

on 15 Oct 2007 at 4:24 pm
49 Jessica Schneider

I guess my opinions don’t matter.

on 15 Oct 2007 at 4:25 pm
50 Richard

Interesting opinion piece by historian Niall Ferguson in the LA Times this morning. He has reviewed the evidence, including the archives of Ottoman ally Austria-Hungary, and concludes there is no doubt this was a genocide. He is however not in favor of H.R. 106:

“Armenian males of military age were rounded up and shot. Women and children were herded onto trains, driven into the desert and left to die. The number of Armenians who were killed or died prematurely may have exceeded 1 million, a huge proportion of a prewar population that numbered, at the very most, 2.4 million, but was probably closer to 1.8 million. With good reason, the American consul in Izmir declared that the fate of the Armenians “surpasse[d] in deliberate . . . horror and in extent anything that has hitherto happened in the history of the world.”

It is absurd, then, that Turkish politicians and some academics (not all of them Turks) insist that the issue is somehow open to debate, though there is certainly room for more research to be done in the Turkish archives. And it is deplorable that writers in Turkey can still be prosecuted for describing the fate of the Armenians as genocide.

Yet I remain far from convinced that anything has been gained by last week’s resolution. Indeed, something may well have been lost.”

His book “The War of the World” is an excellent read.

on 15 Oct 2007 at 4:26 pm
51 Richard

The link for the LA Times piece by Niall Ferguson is:

http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/la-oe-ferguson15oct15,0,2244478.column?coll=la-opinion-center

on 15 Oct 2007 at 4:32 pm
52 Michael van der Galiën

Richard: thanks for that link. About the prosecution of those who call it genocide: I agree, Turkey has to get rid of that law (301). In order to truly find out whether what happened constituted genocide ordered by the Ottoman government or not, debate and research in Turkey is necessary.

Jessica: they most certainly do. Just don’t make it personal.

on 15 Oct 2007 at 4:51 pm
53 C Stanley

From the bit of reading I’ve been able to do, it seems that those who are portraying the Armenians’ actions against the Turks as being purely defensive. The Armenian resistance preceded the deportation orders, and it certainly seemed to have a separatist or nationalist basis. It also seems clear that Russia’s influence in support of this separatist movement was a factor.

So a lot of what Michael (I think) is trying to point out seems more correct than those who are arguing “Of course the Armenians took up arms when they were being brutally deported- wouldn’t you?” because the Armenian resistance was taking place before that happened, not just afterward.

HOWEVER….

I do think Michael, that you need to further consider or attempt to support this point:

The Armenians were mostly treated well, but the relationship became worse after the nationalist sentiment took over the Armenians who then started rebelling against the Ottomans. Even pro-Armenia scientists are quite honest about that.

Who defines “mostly treated well” in this case? Would the nationalist movement have really taken hold, if the Armenians had been perfectly happy with Dhimmi status?

In other words, from what I know right now, it seems that people are incorrect if they think that the Turks were simply aggressors toward the Armenians because of cultural differences- the aggression was in response to a resistance movement which probably could have been considered an insurgency. But I think that it’s of course right to condemn the type of reaction that the Turks had to that resistance movement; then also though to question whether or not the resistance movement itself had any justification. It’s the old story, one man’s freedom fighter is another man’s terrorist- and I just don’t think the facts are at all clear which it is in the case of the Armenian resistance. Valid source references on the particular point of how ‘well’ the Armenians were treated under Ottoman rule would be helpful, IMO.

on 15 Oct 2007 at 5:06 pm
54 Michael van der Galiën

Christine, if you’re really interested, i can e-mail you a list with books you can read?

And - first they were purely dhimmies, which meant that they had to pay more taxes and couldn’t practice all the professions muslim turks could, but later that changed and they grew increasingly successful. so much even so that quite some muslim turks started being jealous, while at the same time armenians became more and more nationalistic, and the two sides had a go at each other every now and then.

on 15 Oct 2007 at 5:32 pm
55 C Stanley

Sure, e-mail away.

Honestly I’m not sure even a good historian can capture this though (but I’d like to see what they say). You can look at the Dhimmi laws that were in effect, but then how did that actually play out? For example, in addition to the extra tax (which in itself is extremely unfair, IMO- one should not have to pay for ones right to practice a religion or to be exempt from practicing someone else’s religion), there were laws preventing Dhimmi’s from testifying in court. So how did that work out in practice? I can certainly imagine circumstances where the Armenians or other non-Muslim members of the population would have no recourse of law for actions that might have taken place against them.

And even in the scenario you describe, Michael, there’s elements of why the unrest happened. If, as you describe, the laws were being eased up to make the non-Muslims more equal- but then when some of them were successful the Muslims became jealous and retaliated? Doesn’t that indicate that the real intent was to keep the non-Muslim population subjugated, at least to some extent? That the peaceful coexistence, or ‘good treatment’ of the non-Muslims was not so good after all? I know I certainly wouldn’t have stood for that, and would have felt justified in fighting against a second class status.

on 15 Oct 2007 at 6:31 pm
56 Paul

OK, so the Hamidian massacres is just propaganda.
I guess I can’t argue against that, you used the p-word. Last I checked well-acknowledged historical facts (no one is trying to use the g-word with the Hamidian massacre, and no one is denying them either) do not equal propaganda, but if you insist on blindly branding them so I guess there’s nothing else left to say.

on 15 Oct 2007 at 6:41 pm
57 Paul

And yes there were some resistence going on before the deportations of 1915- but you keep overlooking instances like the 1895 Hamidian massacres. Yes I’m harping on it, because you Michael look at what was the massacre of 100,000 or so Armenians by order of the sultan Abdul-Hamid II

I know you’ve staked your claim and acknowleding something like 1895 would severely undercut your point that Armenians were treated “mostly well” leading up to 1915 and it was their unprovoked actions which made the deportations necessary (as if women and children led into the deserts to die is justifiable no matter what their ethnic group has done), but it is so out of step with reality that you are just hurting your own credibility here. We can’t have a legitimate debate if you continue on insisting on such fantasies that late Ottoman Armenian life was a walk in the park, that they did not have serious greivances to protest, and that there was no slaughter of Armenians by their own government in 1895, then its your own responsibility to familliarize yourself with something more than the Turkish talking points when blogging so actively on the issue. At this point our debate here is not even a matter of whether the bill should be passed or not but whether or not you will take off your rose-colored Ottoman glasses and actually learn about the history.

on 15 Oct 2007 at 7:18 pm
58 Michael van der Galiën

No Paul it’s true and that was indeed horrible and unforgivable, however, you simply ignore the fact that Armenians were treated well by the Ottomans for centuries and that the Armenians themselves weren’t as innocent as some seem to think they were. They formed militias, they killed people because they were Muslim Turks, they were terrorizing some places, even taking over entire villages / cities.

And I’m well aware of those instances. In fact, the situation was quite well until deep into the 19th century. Up until that time, the relationship was mostly good. Then things started to change: the ottoman empire was weakened, it lost territory continuously, it had to blame someone and something, it was paranoid, at the same time Armenians thought that they could get rid of their Muslim leaders and create a Christian nation so they organized themselves in militias and fought against the Muslims, terrorized people, tried to help the Russians, etc. etc.

The relationship was good for a long time, and then everything got increasingly bad. You, however, seem to believe that the Armenians were persecuted throughout their history, while that’s simply not true. They were relatively well off for a long long time, their influence even grew because foreign countries forced the ottoman empire to ‘emancipate’ the Armenian Christians, this resulted in more economic wealth for the Armenians, etc. etc.

My point is, constantly, that there’s more to the history than some seem to think. I wouldn’t like to live in the Ottoman Empire because although one could live well, Christians had to submit to islamic rule nonetheless, but that doesn’t mean that life was hell as you seem to believe (which leads me to believe that you either don’t know much about it, or, and this is more likely because you certainly seem to be quite well informed at least when speaking about arguments that support your cause, that you simply ignore facts that dispute your view of what life was like because these facts hurt your cause).

on 15 Oct 2007 at 7:41 pm
59 Paul

“You, however, seem to believe that the Armenians were persecuted throughout their history, while that’s simply not true.”

Did I ever say that? You seem to be putting words in my mouth. I only went as far back as 1895, certainly within the realm of “the bad times”. I agree that compared to many other empires, Ottomans had a superior tolerance policy. I never disputed that nor tried to make it seem like the Ottomans were terrible throughout history. However, we’re talking about, as you said, the later 19th century on and that’s all I ever talked about. Saying “well Armenians were treated pretty well for MOST of Ottoman history” doesn’t somehow make their condition for the last few generations of that history somehow better or more forgiveable. Also, the junta of leaders from 1913 on was totally detached from the Ottoman past. What the Three Pashas did neither tarnishes the tolerance of the early years, nor does it give the Ottoman Empire a free pass. After all they were ruling what was still the Ottoman Empire so we can’t act as if it wasn’t the Ottoman Empire that did it. The Pashas were responsible and that is that- it is neither a reflection on Suleman the Magnificent any more than it is on the current Erdogan government.

on 15 Oct 2007 at 7:54 pm
60 Michael van der Galiën

The last several? That’s one generation (generation is 20 years) and in that generation it weren’t just the Ottomans who misbehaved, the Armenians did a good job of attacking Turkish Muslims as well.

All of that doesn’t excuse what happened in 1895: that was a terrible crime, nor does it excuse what happened in 1915-1917, but it is important to point out what the historical context was.

Meanwhile, what do you say to Lewis who says that his research has given him the impression that the Ottoman rulers during WWI tried to prevent the slaughter from happening and tried to ensure the safe passage of the Armenians to the best of their abilities?

You say they were in charge thus responsible. To a certain extent you can say that yes they were, but to another extent you have to realize that genocide as defined by courts throughout the decades means that the government must have ordered the killings. If it were officers acting on their own, it’s still a terrible crime, but not a genocide blamable on the ottoman government.

What I find interesting is that some seem to have the impression that calling it ‘genocide’ means that one recognizes and acknowledges the suffering while if one says ‘it’s not possible to call it a genocide just yet’ means that one denies the suffering that took place. That’s of course not true. Whetehr the sultan ordered the killings or whether some Turks acted on their own is irrelevant to the degree of suffering: they suffered tremendously.

In short, Bush worded it quite well.

on 15 Oct 2007 at 7:58 pm
61 C Stanley

You say they were in charge thus responsible. To a certain extent you can say that yes they were, but to another extent you have to realize that genocide as defined by courts throughout the decades means that the government must have ordered the killings. If it were officers acting on their own, it’s still a terrible crime, but not a genocide blamable on the ottoman government.

I still see other levels of responsibility that I believe would still qualify as genocide in that regard, though, Michael. If the govt didn’t directly order killings but also turned a blind eye to them (if they didn’t prosecute officers or soldiers who acted on their own), then the govt should still be held liable. And if the govt ordered these deportations without providing for the care of the people, then they’re liable for that as well. It was there policy for moving these people, and their responsibility to ‘provide them safe passage’. It may well be that these govt officials weren’t motivated by hatred of the Armenians- but if they failed to prevent the inevitable deaths that resulted from their policies, then they could still be considered complicit in genocide.

I agree though that it’s foolish to say that anyone who doesn’t agree with the use of the term genocide is denying that an egregious wrong took place.

on 15 Oct 2007 at 8:10 pm
62 Richard

Michael,

The fact that the Ottoman Armenians lived relatively peacefully for long stretches, the fact that “the relationship was mostly good”, even the fact that there were Armenian rebels, would not negate the fact that genocide occurred during WW1.

The genocide in Rwanda began after Tutsi rebels invaded Rwanda from Uganda, and senior figures in the governing Hutu regime launched a general call to kill the Tutsi minority.

on 15 Oct 2007 at 8:10 pm
63 Tully

if they didn’t prosecute officers or soldiers who acted on their own

They did. The Ottomans prosecuted. Poorly, and politically, and then let the Brits extradite away most of those convicted. But they did prosecute. The Brits quietly released them later, and the Armenians sent out assassination squads to take care of those they could find.

I agree though that it’s foolish to say that anyone who doesn’t agree with the use of the term genocide is denying that an egregious wrong took place.

That would indeed be the core of most of the smoke and heat displayed here. And much of the rest is the insistence that the events of the time were simple and one-sided.
The Van Der Galiën Gazette


An Israeli View of Turkish-American Relations
Oct 14th, 2007 by Marc Schulman
http://mvdg.wordpress.com/2007/10/14/an-israeli-view-of-turkish-american-relations/

The following excerpts are from a paper authored by Gallia Lindenstrauss for the Institute of National Strategic Studies at Tel Aviv University:

At first glance, there is no substantive connection between the recognition of the Armenian genocide and the situation in northern Iraq. However, the action by the Foreign Affairs Committee and the expectation of full House approval in November has strengthened the perception of the Turks that they have less to lose in terms of Turkish-U.S. relations if they do act in Iraq. Given that Turkey is more determined to do so and less likely to heed to American warnings not to intervene, it is possible that the U.S. will decide to minimize the negative consequences of Turkish intervention by providing at least partial cooperation. The publication of reports about secret plans for such cooperation suggests that the possibility has already been extensively discussed by the two sides, notwithstanding American concerns about stability in the Kurdish-controlled autonomous area in the north of Iraq and about a hostile reaction on the part of the Kurds, who have been the most loyal American allies in Iraq. Indeed, these concerns suggest that if the Turks do intervene, the Americans may also have to undertake more aggressive actions. Given American failures in Iraq up till now, it is doubtful whether the Administration can permit another failure in the form of unilateral Turkish intervention seemingly in defiance of the U.S. [My emphasis]

Such intervention would have negative consequences that could by neutralized, at least with respect to Turkish-U.S. relations, if the Americans actually cooperated. By contrast, Turkey is unwilling to compromise on the Armenian genocide issue and the Administration cannot impose its will on Congress. It is therefore difficult to see how the damage to bilateral relations of the likely forthcoming Congressional resolution can be limited.

Turkish policy indicates that while Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdo?an and President Gül are acting to promote domestic reforms that run counter to the Kemalist legacy (e.g., abolishing the ban on the wearing of religiously-inspired headscarves in universities), in foreign affairs they act in conformity with the hard-line Turkish tradition. That is reflected in the intention to intervene militarily in northern Iraq and in the ongoing campaign to confront anyone supporting the Armenian position on the issue of genocide. It is true, of course, that close ties with the United States are also a traditionally important component of Turkish foreign policy, but it is increasingly difficult today for Turks to reconcile the contradiction between their interests and those of the U.S. Since the American invasion of Iraq, Turkish public opinion has also become more and more anti-American, and that influences decision makers to adopt uncompromising positions regarding the Kurdish issue and ignore American attitudes.

Although Turkish-American relations appear to be headed toward a crisis, both sides remain aware of the importance of those ties and therefore try to deal with the challenges they face. For example, the Americans are concerned that Turkey might block a main supply line to Iraq across the Turkish-Iraqi border or prevent U.S. aircraft from operating out of Inçirlik air base. And while the Turks could act unilaterally in Iraq, cooperating with the United States might enhance international legitimacy for such an action and soften the negative consequences for Turkey’s (already poor) chances of being accepted into the European Union; indeed, Turkey would probably prefer that the U.S. itself act aggressively against the PKK so that Turkey would not have to. But despite the common desire not to harm bilateral strategic relations, there is a clash between Turkish and American interests that may very well further convulse the already complicated reality in Iraq.

2 Responses to “An Israeli View of Turkish-American Relations”
on 14 Oct 2007 at 7:07 pm
1 Hiwa Afandi

Very well analyzed!

however the most important factor is missing.

Turkey is sensitive to the Armenian genocide, that is true and Turkey has a problem with the Kurds in that country, this is also true but the main thing makes turkey uncomfortable is the fact that Kurds in Iraq are successful. Turkey refuses to recognize the legitimate (by Iraqi constitution) regional government of Iraqi Kurdistan (KRG).

If turkey was really honest in wanting a solution to the PKK issue via dialog then why don’t they talk to KRG? if there are PKK in iraq then they are in Kurdistan Region not in Baghdad.

Turkey can not stand a Kurdish political and administrative entity in Iraq, and it knows very well that if things go democratically Kirkuk will be re attached to Kurdistan Region.

This is the truth, PKK and Armenian genocide issue in the US are just excuses to destroy the only thing Kurds have.

on 14 Oct 2007 at 11:24 pm
2 Tully

Here come the lobbyists!

The Van Der Galiën Gazette


Pelosi Out-Bushes Bush
Oct 14th, 2007 by Marc Schulman
http://mvdg.wordpress.com/2007/10/14/pelosi-out-bushes-bush/

I’ve lost track of the number of times the Democrats have criticized Bush — rightly so in many cases — for being stubborn, ignoring the facts, denying reality, and so forth. Pelosi seems determined to show that these descriptions are as apt for her — and those she speaks for — as they are for the President.

From the New York Times:

On the ABC News program “This Week,” Ms. Pelosi was asked the tough question at the core of the debate over the Armenian Genocide Act: What if forcing a vote on the resolution were to endanger the security of American troops in Iraq?

“Some of the things that are harmful to our troops relate to values — Abu Ghraib, Guantánamo, torture,” said Ms. Pelosi, whose San Francisco district includes thousands of Armenian-Americans. “Our troops are well-served when we declare who we are as a country and increase the respect people have for us as a nation.”

Is this what Pelosi and some other Democrats mean when they say they support our troops? Do they believe that our soldiers and marines are better served by declaring “who we are as a country” and “increasing the respect people have for us as a nation” than by not creating needless potential obstacles to the withdrawal they so strongly wish for?

I am thoroughly, absolutely disgusted.

Posted in Armenian Genocide, Democrats, Iraq, Turkey | 10 Comments
10 Responses to “Pelosi Out-Bushes Bush”
on 14 Oct 2007 at 11:25 pm
1 Novo

Editor: yeah. Good argument. No ad hominems allowed.

on 14 Oct 2007 at 11:46 pm
2 K

yes a lot of Armenians were murdered in Adana, a key area in regards to the genocide.

on 15 Oct 2007 at 5:41 am
3 Huh

Pelosi believes she can indirectly fulfill her “promise” to get us out of Iraq by pissing off and perhaps even causing deaths in Turkey over Armenia. Maybe they’ll no longer let us fly our troops over Turkey. Whoopee.
At the very least there will soon be more “Death to America” screeching and flag-burning to be witnessed all around.

on 15 Oct 2007 at 7:06 am
4 Jim Et Al

I think “Huh” actually gets it. The Dems haven’t had a lot of luck dealing with Bush straight up. The timing and intent of this resolution will undoubtedly cause a rift between us and the Turks. It’s even possible that Turkey will limit or even eliminate the use of our bases located their. Such an action would complicate Bush’s next war, the one on Iran. Maybe this is backdoor politics at its finest, cutting Bush off at the knees while “innocently” funding the troops in the field. One can only hope the parties responsible for this resolution have seen through the current “diplomatic efforts” being employed in the region, and have responded in a way that frustrates the Bush agenda…

on 15 Oct 2007 at 9:01 am
5 Xel

“I am thoroughly, absolutely disgusted.”

If I had to happily gobble up everything that came out of the big right-wing noise-machine I wouldn’t be feeling very mint and crisp either.

I for one wonder if one should be sucking up to just about anyone simply because they could be of use in the war on something. Seriously now - if the war-supporters had been more than morons then Turkey wouldn’t have been a factor today.

“The U.S bases in Turkey are actually situated on land belonging to the murdered Armenians.”

B-b-b-b-but the troops *might* be endangerified. That’s *disgusting*. *DECADENT*, even!

on 15 Oct 2007 at 9:20 am
6 Cathryn

Editor: Although I agree with the sentiment expressed in this comment, we can’t allow it.

on 15 Oct 2007 at 10:19 am
7 Michael van der Galiën

You people have no idea what you’re talking about, as can be clearly evidenced by your comments. I’m tired of responding to people like that, though, so I’ll just say this: do some reading. Do some research.

Marc: Pelosi doesn’t care about the troops, she cares about the Armenian-American vote.

on 15 Oct 2007 at 12:33 pm
8 Tom

Is this what Pelosi and some other Democrats mean when they say they support our troops?

Is it my imagination, or do many political arguments involve the question of who is “supporting the troops”? Don’t we have other priorities as a nation? Some more important than “supporting the troops”?

Also, I’d to advertise the fact that I have a small weekly feature, “I hate/I love”, at my blog Nursing It!, as well as weekly Dag Hammarskjold quotes. I’ll mention this in the next few posts (assuming Michael doesn’t object to this advertising).

on 15 Oct 2007 at 1:36 pm
9 Michael van der Galiën

Tom - how about I link to it on the frontpgage?

on 16 Oct 2007 at 11:54 am
10 Tom

It’s OK…you already have me on your blogroll.

The Van Der Galiën Gazette


April 24th, 1915
October 16th, 2007 by Brian

April 24th, 1915 is discussed by Armenians as the Armenian Genocide Day. According to Armenians, many of them say the Armenian Genocide started on this date. According to Armenian sources, they say 200 "Armenian intellectuals" were arrested in "Constantinople", according to the "Armenian Genocide" article on Wikipedia. They call it Constantinople even though it was renamed as Istanbul since 1453, I guess it's another low blow for propagandists to keep ancient Christian names on cities that they believe doesn't belong to Muslims.

This information is cited from the book "The Burning Tigris" written by Peter Balakian. was born in 1951, in Teaneck, New Jersey to an Armenian family. Peter Balakian has a Ph. D. in American Civilization, he currently works in the Department of English in Brown University and is a Director of Creative Writing.

This is very interesting, because it seems that Armenians write about Armenian History based on books written by English writers who specialize in Fiction and Creative Writings. Are not historians (preferably ones that are expert in the Ottoman Empire and ones that are not from an Armenian family) suppose to write history about the Armenian Genocide?

If you look at other Armenian sites some say 200 Armenian Intellectuals were arrested, some say hanged, some say tried, and then some sites say 250, another one says 239. It's interesting because it seems like no one really knows what happened on April 24, 1915. Although they seem to agree that the Armenian Genocide supposedly started on that date.

So what do Turkish sites say? Every single Turkish site says 2,345 Armenian Rebel leaders were arrested on April 24th, 1915, and many Armenian revolutionary committees were closed down. This is a severe blow to Armenians, because the Ottoman Archives reveal that the Armenians basically lost most of their independence on April 24th, 1915. In fact, this is around the time when the massacres were coming to an end. With Armenian Rebel leaders behind bars it became harder for Armenian Revolutionaries to wage massacres against Ottoman Muslims. Of course, some Armenians know this but they hide this from each other because they know that it would mean that the Armenian Genocide is just a cover-up in order to exploit the current Turkish government (even though they say the Ottomans are guilty, they refer to the Ottomans as the Turkish government) into paying reparations and give back the lands that Armenians believe were stolen from them thousands of years ago.

If you follow Armenian logic, then you would realize that they are basically saying that us Americans should go back to Europe and give our lands back to the Native Indians. The Canadians should do the same according to Armenians. In fact, they basically believe that conquering is extremely illegal and should be reversed throughout history. This is interesting because they do believe it is perfectly OK to illegally invade Azerbaijan as they did in 1992 after the Cold War and occupied 20% of their territory which they still currently own. If you question them as to why they invaded and massacred the Azerbaijani's during 1915, they'll tell you it was stolen from them back in B.C. times.

Armenians in reality have been fighting since 1890 when they formed the Dashnaks or more commonly called ARF (Armenian Revolutionary Federation) which is a revolutionary organization that was created with the new rise of nationalism and they became active in their attacks during 1890s against Ottoman villages and military supply routes. They killed so many people that Ottoman Muslims had to gang together and fight them back since the Ottoman Empire was so tied up on multiple fronts of all-out-war. Atrocities were committed by both sides and this was what resulted in 300,000 dead Armenians as well as up to 2 million dead Ottoman Muslims during 1890-1915.

April 24th, 1915 marked the end of these massacres and the killings of Armenians, Kurds, Turks, and other Ottoman Muslims had started to fade away. The end of the Ottoman Empire was only a few years away and World War I was starting to show that the Allies would be winning a decisive war. However, the propaganda used by the British during World War I against the Central Powers (The Turks and Germans), was still at full force, since the United States did not yet enter the war, and the British needed to convince Christian America that Christianity was at stake in Europe by fabricating horror stories about Christian Armenians getting killed by the big bad Ottomans.
armeniangenocidehoax.com
Truthocide
http://hammermilldays.blogspot.com
October 13, 2007
Another landmark: this week a House committee approved a resolution recognizing the Armenian genocide of nearly a century ago - a grisly chapter in Turkish history when perhaps 1.5 million Armenians were put to death. To speak of it in Turkey now is enough to get you in trouble with the law, much as it is problematic for Turkish Kurds to converse in their native tongue or make culturally significant apparel choices. (Irony alert: back in 1915, the Turks employed Kurds to do some of the killing of Armenians.) The Bush administration and many G.O.P. congressmen have raised the alarm that such a declaration at this time will threaten the safety of our troops in Iraq... not that safety appears to be anything like a central concern, since they were the ones who sent them over there in the first place. Still, they suggest (with uncharacteristic accuracy) that the Turks will be pissed off about this resolution and that it may result in interrupted supply lines via Iraq's all-important northern frontier. Representatives of the Turkish government have pointed out that, because their country is a democracy, they will have to respond to the will of the people if there is a broad public outcry.

What is worth remembering, even if many of us choose not to, is that the Turkish people are already well and truly pissed off at us over the Iraq war, and that they were against it so overwhelmingly in 2003 that Bush could not use Turkey as an invasion route. (I recall that great defender of democracy Paul Wolfowitz suggesting that the Turkish military should override the public sentiment at that point.) It's hard to imagine that outrage over the Armenian genocide resolution would make the Turks dislike us all that much more. I suspect an even more serious sticking point for them is the close U.S. alliance with Iraqi Kurds, who remain their current obsession. The Turkish government prosecuted a murderous campaign against its own Kurdish population during the 1990s, and the conflict is still smoldering today. Cross border incursions by the Turkish military into northern Iraq have taken place since the U.S. occupation began and will likely continue, particularly if Iraqi Kurds move toward greater autonomy (as Joe Biden and Sam Brownback seem to agree they should). Sure, the past is important to the Turks, but the present is positively urgent.

My own guess (for what it's worth) is that if there were a serious dust-up between Turkey and Iraq's Kurds, Washington would throw the Kurds over the side as great powers have for many decades. In any case, it does strike me as painfully ironic that Congress is calling the Turks out for the Armenian genocide of 1915 when they cannot bring themselves to stop the killing spree that our own country is engaged in right now in Iraq. It's not as if the numbers of people killed are all that different - if the Johns Hopkins study is as close to the truth as many think it is, the total may be around a million by now. So our cry of anguish for murdered Armenian families rings a little hollow, frankly. For fuck's sake, we can't even own up to the millions killed during our savage attack on Indochina back in the 60s and 70s, when perhaps seven times as much explosives were dropped on that sorry region as on every nation combined during World War II. Have we a moral leg to stand on here?

Read the news. Just this week, our military announced that, along with 15 "al Qaeda" operatives, they killed 15 civilians in a single incident, 9 of them children. If we can't stop that, hang the resolutions.
luv u, jp


Ankara Started To Execute Threats? Armenian Citizens Being Arrested In Turkey
15.10.2007 PanARMENIAN.Net/ Armenia’s representative in the Organization of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation, Karen Mirzoyan (residence in Istanbul), confirmed that Armenian citizens are being arrested in Turkey. “I have got information proving this fact. However, I am not competent for such kind of issues and cannot furnish a more precise information,” Karen Mirzoyan said, RFE/RL reports.

Irish Times newspaper reported that some 100 Armenians - illegal migrants - were detained in Turkey for further deportation to the homeland. “Their deportation is viewed as revenge to adoption of the Armenian Genocide resolution by the U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee,” the newspaper said.

Meanwhile, Karen Mirzoyan said that Armenians who illegally resided in Turkey were detained “with a purpose of deportation over violation of visa regime.”


How Many American Soldiers Will Die Because The Democrats' Want To Play A Political Game With Turkey?
First, from the WAPO,

A month later, there isn't much room for such debate, at least about the latest figures. In September, Iraqi civilian deaths were down 52 percent from August and 77 percent from September 2006, according to the Web site icasualties.org. The Iraqi Health Ministry and the Associated Press reported similar results. U.S. soldiers killed in action numbered 43 -- down 43 percent from August and 64 percent from May, which had the highest monthly figure so far this year. The American combat death total was the lowest since July 2006 and was one of the five lowest monthly counts since the insurgency in Iraq took off in April 2004.

During the first 12 days of October the death rates of Iraqis and Americans fell still further. So far during the Muslim month of Ramadan, which began Sept. 13 and ends this weekend, 36 U.S. soldiers have been reported as killed in hostile actions. That is remarkable given that the surge has deployed more American troops in more dangerous places and that in the past al-Qaeda has staged major offensives during Ramadan. Last year, at least 97 American troops died in combat during Ramadan. Al-Qaeda tried to step up attacks this year, U.S. commanders say -- so far, with stunningly little success.

As you can, Iraqi civilian deaths have plunged and the number of US soldiers being killed has dropped precipitously, despite the fact that our troops have been on the offensive.

So, with all this good news coming out of Iraq, what are the Democrats in Congress trying to do? They're actually trying to sabotage the progress we're seeing and create some bad news with deliberately bungled diplomacy,

The speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives insisted Sunday that she would bring to the full chamber a resolution condemning the killings of Armenians nearly a century ago as genocide, even as a Turkish general warned that this could lastingly damage a military relationship crucial to American forces in Iraq.

A House committee Wednesday passed a nonbinding resolution declaring the killings, which began in 1915 in the waning days of the Ottoman Empire, to be genocide, and the speaker, Representative Nancy Pelosi, said Sunday that "I've said if it passed the committee that we would bring it to the floor."

But in Ankara, the Turkish military chief, General Yasar Buyukanit, said that if the full House passed the resolution, "our military relations with the United States can never be the same," Reuters reported. "The U.S. shot its own foot," he told the Milliyet newspaper.

...Strains have been further heightened by Turkish military and political preparations for possible strikes inside northern Iraq against militant Kurdish separatists, something U.S. officials fear could further destabilize the region. With troops poised near the border, the Turkish Parliament is set to debate whether to authorize an incursion. The rising tensions sent oil prices Friday to a record high of $84 a barrel.

The stage is thus set for a major showdown, with unknown consequences, if the full House approves the genocide resolution.

...Ankara's past warnings have not been hollow. Last year, it halted military cooperation with France after French lawmakers passed a genocide resolution.

The Bush administration's paramount concern is that U.S. forces might lose access to a major hub for shipping fuel and matériel to Iraq, a case President George W. Bush made Thursday.

...If Pelosi does bring the matter to the full House, probably late this month or next month, it would be "the most irresponsible thing" to come from Congress this year, said Representative John Boehner, Republican of Ohio, the House minority leader.

"There's no question that the suffering of the Armenian people some 90 years ago was extreme," he said on Fox-Television. But that chapter in Turkey's past, Boehner added, "ought to be a subject for historians to sort out, not politicians."

Now, why are the Democrats bringing this up for a vote now? It happened 90 years ago and it isn't exactly a hot political issue -- or for that matter, an issue relevant enough for Congress to vote on ever at this point.

So, why are the Democrats bringing it up now? This country has made it through 90 years without voting on whether what Turkey did to Armenia was genocide and if we went another 90 years, what difference would it make?

I'll tell you why: because there's actually good news coming out of Iraq. Less Iraqis are being killed. Less of our troops are being killed. The surge is undeniably making a positive impact.

That's bad news for the Democrats politically, so they're deliberately trying to create some bad news. This is a very sensitive issue in Turkey and what they Democrats hoping is that they can force this resolution through, the Turks will get angry and then cut off use of their territory. Then the Democrats, being the Democrats, will, with the help of their pals in the mainstream media, blame the Bush administration's "poor diplomacy" for the whole flap.

Unfortunately, if the Democrats pull off their little political stunt, what it will likely mean is that our troops will have to move supplies over longer, more dangerous routes, which will likely lead to more dead soldiers.

Someone should ask Steny Hoyer, Nancy Pelosi, and the other Democrats supporting this stupid resolution, how many of our soldiers they're willing to sacrifice to declare that the Turks committed genocide against the Armenians 90 years ago?

For me, the answer is zero.

http://www.rightwingnews.com/
Comments:
Posted by gfchicago
October 15, 2007 6:34 AM |

This just shows that the Democrats will try anything to bring about a US defeat in Iraq. There are no depths to which they will not sink.

Posted by CavalierX
October 15, 2007 6:42 AM |
Now, why are the Democrats bringing this up for a vote now? ~ JH
Anything to guarantee defeat.
which will likely lead to more dead soldiers.
A liberal dream come true.
how many of our soldiers they're willing to sacrifice
As many as necessary to achieve their political goals.
There are no depths to which they will not sink.

Posted by CavalierX
October 15, 2007 6:42 AM
The next step will be to bring charges against any Soldier who fires upon the enemy without approval from the courts.

Posted by Don_cos
October 15, 2007 6:52 AM |

This is disheartening. If liberals cannot see people like Pelosi for what they are...what hope do we have for the democrat party?

Im starting to think Nancy and Harry Reid actually take pleasure in the murder and defeat of our soldiers.

To support people like them, you have to be a very sick person.

Posted by Ipwnallah
October 15, 2007 6:59 AM |


Antagonizing Turkey Makes No SenseJANE HARMAN
October 15, 2007

As one whose own family was decimated by the Holocaust, I respond very personally to charges that I would deny the existence of savage acts of inhumanity against a group of people because of ethnic, religious or racial differences - be they Jews, Darfurians, Rwandans or Armenians.

Yet that's exactly what I was accused of last week after I sent a letter to Rep. Tom Lantos, the chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, urging him to withdraw HR 106, which I had co-sponsored earlier in the year. Some Armenian Americans, whose passion I appreciate, have misinterpreted my determination that the time is not right to vote on such a resolution as "denial" of the Armenian genocide. Nothing could be further from the truth.

No question: The debate raging in Washington, D.C., over the Armenian genocide resolution is personal. Similar resolutions have passed the House twice - in 1975 and 1984 - and we are poised to pass another before Thanksgiving. Whether it will be brought to a vote in the Senate remains unclear.

I originally co-sponsored the resolution because I was convinced that the terrible crime against the Armenian people should be recognized and condemned. But after a visit in February to Turkey, where I met with Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the Armenian Orthodox patriarch and colleagues of murdered Turkish Armenian journalist Hrant Dink, I became convinced that passing this resolution again at this time would isolate and embarrass a courageous and moderate Islamic government in perhaps the most volatile region in the world.

So I agree with eight former secretaries of state who said that passing 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 Turkey and Armenia."

Timing matters. I asked a leader in California's Armenian American community just days ago why the resolution was being pushed now. "They didn't ask me," he said. It wasn't his call, and he probably would not have pushed it.

So what is the endgame? I would hope that, regardless of the outcome of the vote, Turkey and Armenia will work toward reconciliation and normalization of relations. About 70,000 Armenians live in Turkey, and Turkey continues to admit more. Yet Article 301 of Turkey's Constitution prohibits insulting "Turkishness" - a disturbing provision that has been used to punish Armenians in Turkey who insist the genocide took place. Surely an act of reconciliation would be to embrace the Armenian population in Turkey and repeal Article 301.

Further, Turkey and Armenia have held recent talks about normalizing relations. They share mutual interests in trade, especially in the energy sector. Now is a good time to engage.

And, of course, there is the need for stability in the region. Turkey shares a border with Iraq, and the need for its continued restraint with the Kurds and for its leadership in promoting stability and resolving the Israel-Palestine issue is obvious. Armenia can help.

In a democracy, groups have the right to protest, and I respect the right of California's large Armenian community to disagree with my position on the timing of yet a third congressional vote on the genocide. But once that vote occurs, that fabulously talented community can channel its passion and energy into productive next steps toward reconciliation.

Condemning horror is important. But moving through the anger and psychic hurt to positive action is true emancipation.

Jane Harman, a Democrat, represents California's 36th Congressional District. This first appeared in the Los Angeles Times

http://www.courant.com

Copyright © 2007, The Hartford Courant


H.R. 106 Effects and Motive Analysis (What sponsors of H.R. 106 are hiding!)
October 15th, 2007

 © This content Mirrored From TurkishArmenians  Site
To pretend H. Res. 106 is about condemning 'another government from another time' and has nothing to do with the Turkey or Turks of today is disingenuous to say the least.

Anyone with any knowledge about this issue knows that recognizing Armenian genocide claims is tied to LAND RESTITUTION CLAIMS.

Armenia does not recognize Turkey's eastern border and considers east Turkey to be west Armenia. This is an ongoing territorial dispute to which history is just one component. THIS is one reason why Turks are reacting as angrily as they are.

Since it was founded, the Republic of Turkey has never sought an expansionist policy. It should be made abundantly clear to the Armenian Diaspora, Armenia and the U.S. Congress, that, as Ataturk once said, Turks will NOT give up one inch either.

If this was about historical truth, and not pandering to Armenian voters and contributers, then when are the Turks massacred by the Armenian militias going to be the subject of a resolution?

The genocide resolution says nothing about the 2 million Muslim and Turkic people forcibly relocated and ruthlessly massacred by Russia aided by ARMENIANS from 1820-1920. Nor does it address the horrid conditions under which Turkic and Muslim people were expelled from the Balkans.

According to ethnographic studies conducted by Professor Justin McCarthy of the University of Louisville, while populations the rest of the world over were increasing, due to war, massacre and ensuing famines, the population of Turkic Muslim people diminished by 5 MILLION between 1820-1923. Turks, however, do not run from one parliament to another screaming "genocide" because they understand, it was war. They do not use their dead for dishonorable means or financial gain.

This resolution also says nothing about the Azeris massacred by Armenians within the last 20 years or the U.N. Resolution calling for Armenians to return territories they've occupied in Karabakh.

If this is about historical truth, why does Armenia refuse to open its archives, as Turkey has? Why does Armenia refuse to take part in a historical commission and engage in a thorough review of these events using all available documents, as Turkey proposes? Why has this resolution not been written by historians?

Why are the views of the 69 historians who objected to the accuracy of H. Res. 106 when it first surfaced being ignored? Who in the US is a more qualified Middle Eastern Historian than Bernard Lewis? The Encyclopedia of History and Historians says nobody.

Apparently, some in Congress with large Armenian constituencies disagree, they feel they are better qualified.

Either that, or they are using despicable means that will put the lives of U.S. soldiers at great risk to get us out of Iraq (what else could the U.S. do if Incirlik is closed and the difficulty of supplying troops increased by an order of magnitude?)

Lynn Esquire armeniangenocidehoax .com


Niall Ferguson: Labeling Genocide Won't Halt It
Armenians Were Murdered, But The Current Turkish Regime Shouldn't Be Faulted For What Happened More Than 90 Years Ago.October 15, 2007

Last Wednesday, the House Foreign Affairs Committee condemned mass murder in the Middle East. Quite right, you may say -- except that this mass murder took place more than 90 years ago.

The committee approved a resolution, which could go to the House floor this week, calling on 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 . . . relating to the Armenian genocide."

Now, let's be clear about three things: First, what genocide means; second, whether or not the Armenians suffered one; third, whether or not it was smart for a U.S. congressional panel to say so.

The term "genocide" is a neologism dating back to 1944, coined by Raphael Lemkin to describe what the Nazis had done to the Jews of Europe. The United Nations Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide sets out a clear definition: Genocide covers "any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such":

* Killing members of the group;

* Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;

* Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part;

* Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group;

* Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.

On this basis, did the Armenians suffer a genocide? For my latest book, "The War of the World," I reviewed the available evidence, including not just the reports of Western diplomats and missionaries but also, crucially, those of representatives of Turkey's ally, Austria-Hungary. It's damning.

For example, according to Joseph Pomiankowski, the Austrian military plenipotentiary in Constantinople, the Turks had undertaken the "eradication of the Armenian nation in Asia Minor" (he used the terms Ausrottung and Vernichtung, which will be familiar to students of the Holocaust). There is also contemporary Turkish testimony that corroborates such reports.

Armenian males of military age were rounded up and shot. Women and children were herded onto trains, driven into the desert and left to die. The number of Armenians who were killed or died prematurely may have exceeded 1 million, a huge proportion of a prewar population that numbered, at the very most, 2.4 million, but was probably closer to 1.8 million. With good reason, the American consul in Izmir declared that the fate of the Armenians "surpasse[d] in deliberate . . . horror and in extent anything that has hitherto happened in the history of the world."

It is absurd, then, that Turkish politicians and some academics (not all of them Turks) insist that the issue is somehow open to debate, though there is certainly room for more research to be done in the Turkish archives. And it is deplorable that writers in Turkey can still be prosecuted for describing the fate of the Armenians as genocide.

Yet I remain far from convinced that anything has been gained by last week's resolution. Indeed, something may well have been lost.

Relations between the U.S. and Turkey were once good. The heirs of Kemal Ataturk were staunch allies during the Cold War. Today, Turkey allows essential supplies to Iraq -- around 70% of all the air cargo that goes to U.S. forces -- to pass through Turkish airspace. Moreover, the regime in Ankara currently offers the best available evidence that Islam and democracy can coexist.

Now consider this: For years, a campaign of terrorism has been waged against Turkey by separatists from the Kurdistan Workers Party, or PKK. The Turks are currently preparing to launch cross-border strikes on PKK bases in the Kurdish region in northern Iraq. To say the least, this will not be helpful at a time when Iraq teeters on the brink of bloody fragmentation.

Does gratuitously bringing up the Armenian genocide increase or decrease our leverage in Ankara? The angry responses of Turkey's president and prime minister provide the answer. On Thursday, President Abdullah Gul called the resolution an "attempt to sacrifice big issues for minor domestic political games" -- an allusion to the far-from-negligible Armenian American lobby, which has long pressed for a resolution like this.

The absurdity is that the genocide of 1915 was not perpetrated by today's Turkish Republic, established in 1923, but by the Ottoman Empire, which collapsed at the end of World War I. You might as well blame the United States for the deportation of Acadians from Nova Scotia during the French and Indian Wars.

"If we hope to stop future genocides, we need to admit to those horrific acts of the past," argued Rep. Brad Sherman, a California Democrat and a sponsor of the resolution. Really? My sense is that all the resolutions in the world about past genocides will do precisely nothing to stop the next one.

And if -- let's just suppose -- the next genocide happens in Iraq, and the United States finds itself impotent to prevent it, the blame will lie as much with this posturing and irresponsible Congress as with anyone.

nferguson@latimescolumnists.com


Turkish Armenians Concerned About Consequences Of H.Res.106 Passage
15.10.2007 PanARMENIAN.Net/ On 14 October, Mesrob Mutafyan, Patriarch of Turkish Armenians, voiced opposition to the Armenian Genocide Resolution which was approved by the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Foreign Affairs.

Patriarch Mutafyan visited the Santa Clause Church in Demre town of the southern city of Antalya. He told reporters that the resolution became “a tool of domestic policy in the United States”, and called on people to exclude Turkish citizens of Armenian origin from discussions over the issue.

He promised to do everything in his power to prevent passage of the resolution by the full House.

Recalling that Prime Minister Erdogan earlier proposed Armenia to set up a joint commission of historians to deal with the issue, Mutafyan added that it was “a significant offer”, Anatolia News Agency reports.


Jointly With Armenian Communities, Wac Will Oppose Turkish Propaganda
15.10.2007 PanARMENIAN.Net/ Adoption of the Armenian Genocide Resolution, H. Res.106, by the U.S. House Committee on Foreign Affairs is a good message,” President of the Union of Armenians of Russia (UAR) and World Armenian Congress (WAC), Ara Abrahamyan told a news conference in Yerevan.

Jointly with the Armenian communities throughout the world, the WAC will resolutely oppose Turkey’s propaganda of denial, he said.

“We should not forget that Turkey is U.S. strategic ally and that the U.S. is conducting war in Iraq and Afghanistan. However, I am confident that all Armenian organizations should work for passage of the resolution in the full House of Representatives. Unfortunately, the WAC did not succeed in establishing an office in the United States so far,” Mr Abrahamyan said.

At that, the UAR President voiced discontent with the Armenian media, which, in his opinion, fails to properly cover the Genocide issue.

“We have not yet decided the steps that will follow the Armenian Genocide recognition by the international community. Presently, the most important task for us is recognition. The WAC has published a three-volume edition containing documents and proofs of the fact of Genocide. With consent of the Armenian authorities, we are ready to appeal to the International Court. However, there are reasons not allowing the republic’s leaders to resort to the move,” Mr Abrahamyan said.


H.Res.106 To Be Brought To House Floor Before November 16
15.10.2007 PanARMENIAN.Net/ The U.S. House of Representatives Majority Leader, Steny Hoyer said he expects the House to pass the Armenian Genocide Resolution, H.Res.106 before Nov. 16, when Congress is slated to recess for the year.

Hoyer and Speaker Nancy Pelosi, appearing today on separate news shows, said the threat of Turkish reprisals would not stop the vote. “I said if it passed the Committee that we would bring it to the floor,” Pelosi said on ABC’s This Week program.

Hoyer, a Maryland Democrat, said on Fox News Sunday that he raised the issue repeatedly with Turkish leaders during his 26 years in Congress and “never once” did they say “this is the right time.”

He said that he and Pelosi met with the Turkish ambassador to remind him that the two countries are allies.

Pelosi, a California Democrat, said she has had no appeal from President George W. Bush to block the vote. “We’ve never had a conversation about it,” she said. “I’ve heard from the Secretary of State and others in the administration, but I’ve never heard from the President.”

“This resolution is one that is consistent with what our government has always said about what has happened - what happened at that time,” Pelosi said. “It is non-binding. It is a statement made by 23 other countries. We would be the 24th,” she said, Bloomberg news agency reports.


Second Convention Of European Armenians Due In Brussels Oct. 15-16
15.10.2007 PanARMENIAN.Net/ October 15-16, the European Armenian Federation (EAFJD) recalls the second Convention of European Armenians dated to 20th anniversary of European Parliament’s recognition of the Armenian Genocide.

The Convention will bring together representatives from 29 countries – among which 19 countries from the EU including new member states.

The participants will discuss how to maintain, consolidate and emancipate the Diaspora, how to partake to Armenia’s development and strengthening, how to deal with Turkey’s threats and Genocide denial.

Armenian Foreign Minister Vartan Oskanian, European Commissioner for Justice, Freedom and Security Franco Frattini, Cilician Catholicos Aram I, members of European Parliament, EU Special Representative for the South Caucasus Peter Semneby and OSCE Minsk Group French Co-chair Bernard Fassier are expected to address the Convention.


Turkey Loses Jewish Vote
October 15, 2007
Turkey fails to secure the support of Jewish members in the committee that gives the U.S. House the go ahead to vote on a resolution to recognize the events of 1915 as ‘genocide.

UMIT ENGINSOY WASHINGTON - Turkish Daily News

Last week's congressional panel vote in favor of an "Armenian genocide" resolution has also underlined Turkey's failure to win the backing of the committee's Jewish members despite Ankara's focused efforts to woo those lawmakers and Israel.

Seven out of eight Jewish lawmakers in the 50-member Foreign Affairs Committee of the U.S. House of Representatives, including Tom Lantos, the panel's powerful chairman and the only Holocaust survivor in Congress, voted in favor of the genocide bill in last Wednesday's mark-up. The resolution calls for recognition of World War-I era Armenian killings in the Ottoman Empire as genocide.

Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced late last week that she will bring the measure to a House floor vote before Congress' current session ends on Thanksgiving Day, which is Nov. 22 this year. In such a vote the resolution is expected to pass easily, as it already has 226 cosponsors in the 435-member House.

All eight Jewish representatives in the committee were Democrats, most of whom are involved in a major confrontation with the Republican administration over President George W. Bush's foreign policy.

Among them, the only one to vote against the resolution was Robert Wexler of Florida, cochairman of the Turkish Caucus in Congress.

Overall, the measure passed the committee 27-21 ? 19 Democrats and eight Republicans in favor, and eight Democrats and 13 Republicans opposed ? despite last-minute warnings from Bush and his top aides that the resolution would harm U.S. national interests.

The Lantos factor

Top Bush administration officials and Turkish leaders warn that Ankara may cut its assistance to the United States' efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan in the event the resolution passes on the House floor.

In addition to Lantos, a representative from California, Gary Ackerman and Eliot Engel of New York, Howard Berman and Brad Sherman of California, Ron Klein of Florida and Gabrielle Giffords of Arizona voted for the bill among the Jewish Congress members.

For the Turks, the biggest dismay was Lantos' vote. In a long introduction at the opening of the mark-up, Lantos said: "We have to weigh the desire to express our solidarity with the Armenian people and to condemn the 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 [in Iraq and Afghanistan] than they are currently paying."

And when Lantos announced his vote, Turkish parliamentary deputies and diplomats present at the mark-up were shocked and angered.

This was the third time the same panel approved a genocide bill in the past seven years. But in 2000, former president Bill Clinton personally intervened at the last minute and prevented a House floor vote. And in 2005, the bill passed by the committee reached nowhere as then House speaker Dennis Hastert, a close ally of Bush, refused to bring it to the floor.

Lantos was the staunchest supporter of Turkey in the 2000 discussions of the genocide resolution. But in 2005, angered by the Turkish government's rapprochement with Syria and Iran, he voted for the bill "to punish Ankara" although he admitted that the Armenian killings did not amount to a genocide.

Jewish lawmakers unimpressed by Turkish lobbying

Egemen Bagis, a top foreign policy adviser to Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and a deputy from the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), criticized Lantos' stance, saying, "we have seen that his understanding of history is changing in time."

Despite the color of their votes, Lantos and Ackerman also sought to appease Turkey. Lantos said that he would soon introduce a resolution marking the U.S.-Turkish friendship. Ackerman said: "This has been tough for me... I'm a big fan and supporter of Turkey."

Turkish diplomats had made a major effort to urge the committee's Jewish members to vote against the resolution. Turkey also lobbied Israel, with Foreign Minister Ali Babacan recently visiting Yad Vashem, or the Holocaust museum.

After the Anti-Defamation League, a leading U.S. Jewish group, shifted its position on the controversy in August, recognizing last century's Armenian killings as "tantamount to genocide," Turkey said the resolution's eventual approval on the House floor could adversely affect its close relations with Israel.

But the panel vote proved that Ankara's warning did not impress the committee's Jewish members.

Among them, Sherman, Ackerman, Berman and Engel have consistently voted for genocide resolutions over the past seven years, while Wexler has consistently opposed the measures. Klein and Giffords, two junior lawmakers who are not among the latest measure's cosponsors, acted in line with the majority of their fellow Jewish congressmen.

The Bush administration strongly lobbied on Turkey's behalf before the vote, managing to persuade several Republicans to vote against the genocide measure. For instance, Illeana Ros-Lehtinen of Florida, the ranking Republican member in the committee and earlier a strong supporter of the Armenian cause, voted against the bill.

In another interesting example, Luis Fortuno, a Republican representative from Puerto Rico, said he decided to vote against the resolution after Bush personally called him on his cell phone and lobbied in Spanish.


Top General: US Shot Itself In The Foot
October 15, 2007
In the strongest comment yet from the Turkish side after a genocide bill is marked-up by a US House panel, Gen. Büyükanit warns that Turkish-US military ties will never be the same again if the bill is adopted on the House floor

ANKARA – Turkish Daily News

At a time when the United States is engaged in efforts to ease the strain on bilateral ties, Turkey's Chief of Staff Gen. Yasar Büyükanit has warned U.S.-Turkish military ties will never be the same again if a resolution recognizing the killings of Armenians in the last decade is passed in a U.S. House floor vote.

“The United States shot itself in the foot,” Gen. Büyükanit told daily Milliyet in an exclusive interview published yesterday.

The controversial resolution was marked-up by a U.S. House panel last week and is very likely to be put up for a vote before the full House in November.

“I can tell you that if the resolution is passed in a full session (of the House of Representatives), military relations will never be the same again,” Gen. Büyükanit was quoted as saying.

“The United States is clearly an important ally. But an allied country does not behave in this way,” he added. Gen. Büyükanit said he had conveyed his concerns in both a letter and by telephone to Gen. Peter Pace, chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff.

“The decision made by the Foreign Affairs Committee of the House of Representatives is upsetting. I am Chief of General Staff and interested in security-related issues; I'm not a politician. In this respect the United States shot itself in the foot,” he said.

He expressed hope that the United States would correct this mistake.

Turkey-U.S. military relations have been very close since Turkey joined NATO in 1952 and both countries are jointly involved in several missions, such as Afghanistan.

US calls for ‘restraint'

It was the strongest comment from the Turkish side targeting Washington after the House of Representatives' Foreign Affairs Committee approved the genocide resolution, deemed an insult by most Turks.

Büyükanit's remarks were published a day after U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice “urged for restraint,” from Turkey in its reaction to the resolution and sent two high-ranking officials to Ankara.

Dan Fried, U.S. assistant secretary of state for European affairs, and Eric Edelman, U.S. undersecretary for defense policy, said after talks Saturday with Turkish Foreign Ministry officials the genocide resolution should not affect bilateral ties.

“We will do everything we can so that this resolution will not come to the House floor,” they said in an interview with private NTV television.

Turkey has recalled its ambassador to Washington, Nabi Sensoy, for consultations in reaction to the genocide resolution, a further sign of the deteriorating relations between the two longtime allies.

Fried and Edelman flew to Ankara from Moscow, where they had been on a trip with Rice, in order to try to cool the diplomatic row.

“Secretary of State Rice Condoleezza Rice asked us before we came here to express that the Bush administration is opposed to this resolution,” said Edelman, who was U.S. ambassador to Turkey from 2003-2005.

In Moscow, Rice said she spoke Friday by telephone with Turkish President Abdullah Gül, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Foreign Minister Ali Babacan and urged “restraint,” referring to both the reaction to the genocide resolution and the situation in northern Iraq.

On northern Iraq, the two senior officials promised that they would convey to Iraq Turkey's unease over the presence of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) but they also expressed concern over the possibility of a Turkish military offensive in the region.

Washington is opposed to an operation into northern Iraq by the Turkish military and concerned a Turkish incursion will disrupt one of the country's few relatively stable areas.


The Rope Which Got Thinner
October 15, 2007 Ariana Ferentinou

There are countless linguistic similarities in the way Turks and Greeks are describing their world, inner and outer. Especially, when their outer world is in confused tension and their inner world is in some kind of turmoil, they tend to resort to ancient wise proverbs with subtle messages, instead of the clear no-nonsense speech of a disciple of Western scientific thinking.

So when the Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan used a well-known Turkish proverb to describe the state of the Turkish-American relations, I immediately thought that I understood what he meant.

“When a rope gets thinner, it may break,” he said.

Thin rope is bad news:

Rope is a very powerful element in Greek proverbs, too. A long catalogue in any Greek folklore glossary would show that proverbs with rope often describe situations of extreme danger, tension, lack of a way out, despair etc. And I am sure you will not find any Greek who has not used at least once in his life, the most famous “rope” proverb:

“In the house of a hanged man, they don't talk about rope.”

The state of the rope that ties Turkish-American relations has become an issue of great concern not only for Athens but also for Nicosia.

If the rope gets thinner in Turkish-American relations, that would be a negative eventuality for Athens, commentators are pointing out in Greece. The thinner the rope the less likely it will be for Ankara to listen to Washington's advice for a softer approach to Cyprus or Aegean issues. The thinner the rope, the more likely it will be for Ankara to toughen up it foreign policy on issues like Cyprus, the “ecumenical” status of the Orthodox Patriarchate in Istanbul and the Aegean and thus to succumb to what the military leadership wishes, fear the same sources. And if the rope gets really thin, the Greek lobbyists in the U.S. would really find it difficult to continue promoting Greek interests if Ankara is not listening to Washington.

The speed with which U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Dan Fried and U.S. Undersecretary of Defense Eric Edelman rushed to Ankara, in order to express the American administration's “deep sorrow” over the vote of the resolution regarding the Armenian “genocide” by the International Affairs Committee of the House of Representatives, must be seen with great concern by Athens: If Washington bends backwards to try to placate Turkey over the PKK crisis, maybe it would have to become more lenient to Ankara's possible hard line or demands over issues like Cyprus, the Patriarchate and the Aegean.

Tendency for placating Turkey:

An interesting analysis was published yesterday in the Kathimerini newspaper by its Washington correspondent.

“Because of the open Kurdish and Armenian fronts the Americans are not going to put pressure on “hurt” Ankara to show flexibility on issues of great interest. On the contrary one can envisage a tendency for placating Turkey with moves that may have a cost for Greece or Cyprus. Unless of course, an exaggerated reaction by Ankara on the Armenian issue causes negative reactions in the State Department toward Turkey similar to the ones that have developed in the Pentagon during the last four years,” writes the Kathimerini's well-informed Washington correspondent.

In other words Athens and Nicosia are watching the developments with extreme interest as they see that everything is hanging in the balance, or to use another well-known “rope” proverb “everything is on a tight rope.” Depending on which side this invisible acrobat leans to, the planners of Greek and Greek Cypriot foreign policy will have to decide upon their next steps.

Last useful proverb from the treasure trove of Greek popular proverbs: “It is not the well that is deep, but the rope is short.”


Turkey-US Relations Crumbling
FATMA DISLI f.disli@todayszaman.com
The passage of a resolution labeling the deaths of Armenians during the collapse of the Ottoman Empire as “genocide” by a US congressional committee last week dealt another blow to Turkish-US relations, which had already been damaged by US inaction over Turkey’s fight with the terrorist Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). This last blow from the US, a strategic ally of Turkey, stretched the limits of even Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s patience, who has so far sought to keep relations with the US on track as he challenged the country, saying, “If the relationship with the US is damaged, so be it,” as he was responding to a question about Turkish-US relations. He also noted that just as the US had not sought anyone’s permission when it came from a distance of 10,000 kilometers and hit Iraq, Turkey would not need to seek anyone else’s advice for a cross-border operation into northern Iraq to crush PKK bases, and it will pay the price of such an operation no matter what it is. Erdogan’s challenging remarks showed how serious the situation is as well as bringing relations with the US into the spotlight.

Zaman’s Mümtaz’er Türköne acknowledges that making thorough calculations on the one side and challenging remarks on the other describes the sensitive balance in these areas from which the history of this nation emerged, as he comments on Erdogan’s remarks. He believes Turkey should develop diplomatic trump cards -- just as the US does -- to use against it, particularly as concerns the northern Iraq issue. “There is a super power next to us that is trying to save itself from the swamp it is mired in in Iraq. To enter Iraq is not to be there despite the super power, but to be part of the equation,” he stresses.

Star columnist Mustafa Karaalioglu admits that the target of Erdogan’s challenging remarks is undoubtedly the US, which has so far insisted on remaining inactive over the PKK issue “Erdogan’s statements are both surprising and able to shatter Turkey’s diplomatic engagements with the US. Such statements including so much tension have not been made for years in addressing the US,” he says, underscoring the background of developments that made Erdogan utter these remarks. Examining the US stance on the PKK issue, he says the US somehow motivated the PKK to continue attacks by failing to take permanent measures that would hinder it, contributing to the emergence of today’s disappointing situation.

Radikal’s Murat Belge does not think that Turkey can enter Iraq just because the US did this without seeking anybody’s permission as he stresses that the US violated all the norms of international law by invading Iraq. “While accusing him [President Bush] of not seeking permission to enter Iraq, will we make a similar mistake without getting permission,” he says. On the other hand, he agrees with Erdogan, who said if adverse consequences emerge in Turkey’s relations with the US, so be it. “This is what I wish Turkey’s stance in relations with the US would be,” he remarks, noting that him having such a stance vis-à-vis relations with the US is related to many US actions all around the world that he does not welcome, such as encouraging a coup in Chile or intervening in Bosnia or Kosovo.

Vatan’s Güngör Mengi claims that if Turkey is forced to resort to other means to crack down on the PKK, it can close Incirlik Airbase, which provides the US access to important spots in the Middle East, as well as conduct a cross-border operation, which will show its determination over fighting the PKK.
15.10.2007

What Has The House Committee Achieved?
Sahin Alpay s.alpay@todayszaman.com
On Oct. 11 the Committee on Foreign Relations of the US House of Representatives decided by a vote of 27 to 21 to adopt a draft resolution that condemns the “Armenian genocide.” A similar draft resolution was adopted by the committee in 2000, but then-President Clinton had succeeded in persuading the Republican speaker to withdraw the measure. President Bush, however, seems unlikely to convince the Democratic speaker of the House, who is expected to take the resolution to the floor of the House before Nov. 22. The Senate is unlikely to pass a similar measure even if it is adopted by the House, and the resolution is non-binding. Still, it is worth asking what the House committee has achieved.

For history: During the World War I Armenian nationalists backed by Russia attempted to establish an independent Armenian state in Ottoman territory. They killed a large number of Turks and Muslims in this effort. The Ottoman rulers responded by ordering forced deportation of all Armenian subjects (with the exception mainly of those residing in Istanbul and Izmir) to the Syrian desert. According to objective sources nearly 650,000 Armenians perished on the way due to diseases, starvation and massacres by security forces and bandits. An equal number survived the deportation and migrated to the West, settling mainly in the US and France. Some were saved by converting to Islam. The committee decision does not prove that the Ottoman rulers ordered mass killing of Armenians. Some historians will still consider the event only as a great human tragedy caused by war, and others will still call it a genocide of the Armenians by the Turks.

For the US: The committee vote shows once more that lobbies play an important role in American politics, that the Armenian lobby is growing stronger and that G.W. Bush is a lame-duck president with dwindling influence over the Congress.

For Turkey: The committee vote indicates that Ankara’s efforts to stop the resolution are increasingly ineffective and that even the Americans who oppose it do so in fear of its potential to harm US interests. The Turkish public is now putting greater pressure on the government to take measures to retaliate against the US in response to the committee vote. Turks will now be less inclined to discuss and learn more about what really happened to the Ottoman Armenians in 1915. The anti-US sentiment in Turkey, the US’s closest ally in the Muslim world -- already strong due partly to the death of hundreds of thousands of innocent Muslims in Iraq, and partly to the failure of the US to hinder the PKK from staging raids into Turkey from northern Iraq -- will continue to rise.

For Turkey-Armenia relations: Yerevan’s policy of trying to force Turkey to establish diplomatic relations and to open the borders with Armenia by supporting genocide resolutions in Western parliaments is clearly keeping Ankara from considering any such policy change.

Finally, a few words about how those who support Turkey’s further democratization and closer integration with the West should assess the House committee vote. There is no doubt that the House committee has opened the way for further deterioration of Turkish-American and Turkish-Armenian relations. The voices of those in Turkey who are against further democratization and closer integration with the West, those who demand military intervention in Iraq not only against the PKK but also against the Kurdish regional government, are now louder.

Against all odds, those who are for peace and democracy in Turkey have to continue to call on the Ankara to follow a course dictated by reason and not sentiment. Ankara should carefully weigh the costs and benefits of a cross-border operation into Iraq, of measures against the US and absolutely avoid steps that can hurt Turkey’s long-term national interests. Why not leave aside the debate as to whether it was genocide or not and try to seek better relations with Yerevan by establishing diplomatic relations and opening the borders with Armenia? This may not only open the way for a general Turkish-Armenian reconciliation, but also place Ankara in a better position to help overcome the problems between Azerbaijan and Armenia.


15.10.2007
Turkey To Shoot Itself In The Foot
The Turkish decision to give the green light to a cross-border operation as well as possible retaliation to an Armenian genocide resolution adopted last week by the US House Committee on Foreign Relations will in the long term affect Turkey's political and economic reforms, isolating itself from the world, stated both Turkish and Western analysts.

US Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs Dan Fried and US Undersecretary of Defense for Policy Eric Edelman flew on Saturday to Ankara from Moscow, where they had accompanied Rice.

The current image that Turkey has been portraying -- from the media to the government and the military -- has been the one that does not reflect the common sense that needs to prevail if Ankara does not want to allow itself to be isolated from the world, said a Turkish military analyst.

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said last Friday that he is prepared for a rupture in relations with the United States if his government launches an incursion into northern Iraq in search of outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) terrorists.

"If such an option is chosen, whatever its price, it will be paid. There could be pros and cons of such a decision, but what is important is our country's interests," he said. Erdogan is expected to seek approval from Parliament most likely on Tuesday to launch attacks against the PKK in Iraq.

Similarly, Turkey reacted both sharply and emotionally to the passage of a resolution by the US House Committee on Foreign Relations on Oct. 10 that labeled World War I events in Ottoman territory as “the genocide of the Armenians.” Nancy Pelosi, speaker of the US House of Representatives, indicated last week that she plans to forward the resolution to the House floor early in November.

A Turkish decision to step up the fight against the PKK including a cross-border operation came a day before the US committee’s adoption of the resolution. The move came following the killing of 13 Turkish soldiers in the Southeast near the Iraqi border. All the two incidents, coming one after another, have added fuel to the already existing Turkish frustration over the unresolved PKK terror as well as the Armenian genocide allegations that have haunted Turkey for around 90 years.

‘Shot in the foot’

Chief of General Staff Gen. Yasar Büyükanit told Milliyet daily yesterday, in reference to the Armenian resolution, that the US has shot itself in the foot.

“If the resolution is adopted by the US House of Representatives, this will cause damage to Turkish-US military relations that cannot be repaired,” Büyükanit warned in his statement published by Milliyet.

The adoption of the resolution and the possible Turkish operation into northern Iraq came at a time when military-to-military ties between the two NATO allies have seen considerable improvement since the Turkish Parliament’s rejection of a motion on March 1, 2003 to allow the US military to use Turkish territory for its 2003 invasion of Iraq. This has strained Turkish-US military ties.

Western military analysts agreed with Büyükanit that adoption of the resolution will cause irreparable damage to Turkish-US military ties. But they also cautioned Ankara against the long-term negative effects it can suffer as a result of possible severe retaliation such as the cutting of US access to the Incirlik military base and staging a cross-border operation that may result in things getting out of control in the region.

“We are also afraid that Turkey may end up shooting itself in the foot in the long term,” said one Western military analyst.

In the meantime, remarks made by both Erdogan and Büyükanit over the Armenian resolution have also attempted to deter the House of Representatives from adopting the so called genocide resolution, said a senior Turkish government official.

Long-term repercussions on Turkey

A Financial Times report last Friday that crude oil prices surged to a fresh high of $84 a barrel on concerns that Turkey might soon launch an invasion of northern Iraq in an attempt to hit PKK terrorists sends a message that Turkey may start feeling the heat economically as well.

“Turkey will lose a lot of friends in Europe if oil prices continue going up because of Ankara’s latest policies,” said another military analyst.

Just as Turkey started doing well in both economic and democratic reforms, the reforms have regressed with its policy of fueling already existing nationalist sentiments in the country, said the same analyst.

Civilian, military competition

In both events -- the Turkish decision to give the green light to a cross-border operation and the strong statements made by Turkish decision makers over possible retaliatory measures against the US -- the competition between the Turkish Armed Forces-led bureaucracy and the political power has emerged.

“This is a tragic situation for Turkey that we are witnessing a competition between the military and the political leadership in creating a war-like situation in the country,” said a Western diplomat.

The Turkish government earlier resisted calls by the Turkish military to send troops into northern Iraq to crack down on PKK terrorists, stating that the PKK issue should first be resolved inside Turkey.

The deaths of 13 soldiers in one incident coupled with increased PKK violence as well as the adoption of the genocide resolution have played into the hands of the Turkish hard-liners, provoking the political leadership to take a tougher stance on both events, said a Western military analyst.

‘The US can do without Turkey, but Turkey will lose a close friend’

Among possible Turkish measures against the adoption of the so-called genocide resolution is the ending or limiting of US access to Incirlik Airbase in southern Turkey, through which almost 60 percent of US air cargo destined for Iraq passes. This will be a move complicating US combat operations in Iraq. Such a move is expected to seriously damage Turkish-US ties as well.

But many Western military analysts recalled that the US immediately shifted its war preparation efforts to other parts of the region when the Turkish Parliament rejected a motion allowing US troops to use more Turkish territory for their invasion of Iraq in 2003.

Similarly, if Turkey introduces retaliatory measures such as ending US access to Incirlik, the US will find another way, said a Western diplomat, adding, however, that in the long term, it will be Turkey that will suffer.

“Turkey will lose a close ally, i.e., the US. And the US public will also question Turkish reliability in the relationship,” stated the same diplomat.

The US administration, which has fought against the adoption of the Armenian resolution, has been urging Turkey not to punish the administration and the US public.

US Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs Dan Fried and US Undersecretary of Defense for Policy Eric Edelman both flew from Moscow, where they had accompanied Rice, to Ankara last Saturday in an unexpected visit. They relayed a message to Ankara: Washington has done its best to stop the Armenian resolution, so do not punish it.

Senior US officials also urged that Ankara practice restraint and not overreact to both events.

15.10.2007 Lale Sariibrahimoglu


Damage Control
Bulent Kenes b.kenes@todayszaman.com
Whatever has happened has happened. The acceptance of the Armenian genocide claims in the Committee on Foreign Affairs of the US House of Representatives has strained relations as had been envisaged. The unfair Armenian resolution hurts the sense of justice, having coincided with a period when the terrorist Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) has stepped up its attacks, martyring our soldiers every day -- that is, its having coincided with a period when anger and sentiment have heightened, magnifying the resolution’s potential to strain relations between the two countries.

The US administration must have realized, albeit belatedly, the danger the present course of events are generating, because it has increased its diplomatic efforts to contain the destruction to be inflicted on the relations of the two countries by the Armenian resolution, which is nearly certain to pass on the floor of the House, where the Democrats are in the majority. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice sent Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs Dan Fried and Defense Minister Robert Gates sent Undersecretary of Defense Eric Edelman to Turkey very hurriedly. It is also known that Rice called her Turkish counterparts to placate Turkey.

The political culture of the Unites States is really strange, and to be frank, it is far from sincere. It is possible to provide evidence for this strangeness with its two-faced attitudes on the terrorist PKK and the Armenian genocide claims.

Turkey has, for years on end been insistently calling for the wiping out of the existence of the PKK in northern Iraq, using all diplomatic channels. However, neither Washington nor Baghdad or the tribal chiefs in northern Iraq who are in Washington’s orbit have provided the support and response it wants. Moreover, the promises made in response to Turkey’s pressure and the mechanisms made to this end don’t go beyond time wasting and distraction. Every moment we procrastinate because of the United States serves the beasts based in the Kandil Mountains. These monsters are provided all their logistical needs in comfort and restore their strength for the attacks they will carry out in the future, crossing the border whenever they please and spilling the blood of Turkish youths, whether they are soldiers or civilians.

And when Turkey attempts to do what Baghdad, Washington and the Kurdish leaders have been shying away from doing, when the blood spilt by terrorism and the pain it causes reach intolerable heights, all hell is lets loose. Everyone “who has a mouth” says something about the drawbacks of a cross-border operation. Of course there are potential risks involved in an operation into a country under occupation, where the issue of who is fighting whom has become completely mixed up, where the balance between powers hasn’t been established and where dynamics haven’t settled yet. But is it not unrealistic to expect a country to take into account potential risks when the current risks stemming from its inaction are at their height?

This week the government will submit to Parliament a motion for a cross-border operation. The motion is expected to be supported by all the parties except the pro-Kurdish Democratic Society Party (DTP.) However, even the passage of the motion wouldn’t necessarily mean a cross-border incursion. It is necessary to understand that in the event the reasons for which Turkey will enter Iraq are eradicated, there will be no need for such an operation, despite the existence of a passed motion. Besides Washington and Baghdad, there are also many things that could be done by the regional Kurdish administration in order to prevent a cross-border operation.

What I mean by this is not, of course, that it could put pressure on Turkey to prevent a likely cross-border operation. Just the opposite: They should expel the PKK from the Kandil Mountains to eradicate the reasons for a cross-border operation; disarm the terrorist group; and arrest its leaders and hand them over to Turkey. Otherwise, neither the potential risks it would have to face in Iraq nor the risk of severed ties with the US, nor even the repercussions that would send oil prices rocketing sky-high could stop a Turkey whose limits of patience are so badly pushed. Apparently, the US administration has been following a “damage control” strategy in recent days. They must know that the best way to follow this strategy is eradicating the reasons for a cross-border operation.

In the meantime, I’m very suspicious as to whether the US administration, which doesn’t want to fulfill the responsibilities incumbent on it as a strategic partner, will be able to reach the degree it wants to achieve its damage control when it is too late. The same applies to the Armenian genocide resolution case. It’s impossible to believe that the US administration and the Jewish lobby have been doing their utmost to prevent this unfair and unjust resolution.

We should now suspect the friendship and the strategic partnership of a country that attempts to try Turkish history and convict a whole nation with ill-founded claims. It is nothing but this suspicion that eats away at the minds of the Turkish people and causes anti-Americanism to reach unforeseen heights in this country.

What else should happen and what else needs to be lost in Turkish-US relations in order to grasp that the most successful of damage control strategies is stopping the course of events that will lead to destruction from the onset?
15.10.2007

Head-on confrontation looms over bill
Washington stepped up efforts over the weekend to soothe Ankara's anger over the US House's adoption of a resolution labeling the mass killings of Anatolian Armenians during World War I as genocide, but there do not seem to be even any minor signs of backing down in the Turkish capital, which asserts that the resolution is a fatal blow to the future of bilateral relations between the two NATO allies.

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that Turkey would not be deterred by the possible consequences, if it decides to stage a cross-border offensive into Iraq.

The US administration's efforts to contain possible damage are also facing a daunting challenge from the rival Democrats, who remain determined to press ahead with the resolution despite Ankara's fury and calls from the Republican administration against the motion.

"I said if it passed the committee that we would bring it to the floor," Speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi said on ABC television, claiming that possible reprisals affecting Turkey's cooperation with the US military were "hypothetical" and would not derail the resolution. "Some of the things that are harmful to our troops relate to values -- Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo, torture. All of those issues [are] about who we are as a country. And I think that our troops are well served when we declare who we are as a country and increase the respect that people have for us as a nation."

Despite openly and loudly expressed concerns by the US side over Turkey's intention to launch a military operation into northern Iraq to tackle the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) bases there, a government bill seeking the go-ahead to launch an incursion in the next year is expected to be submitted to Parliament after a Cabinet meeting on Monday.On the military front, the top Turkish commander bluntly warned Washington about the fatal impact of the resolution on the deeply strategic military cooperation between the two countries, describing the resolution as "a shot in the foot" for the US side. US-Turkish military ties will never be the same if US lawmakers confirm the committee vote, Chief of General Staff Gen. Yasar Büyükanit said in remarks published in the Sunday edition of the Milliyet daily.

Republicans are accusing Democrats, who control Congress, of waging an "irresponsible" campaign of dubious historical validity that will hurt US troops in Iraq. Turkey's furious reaction to the congressional vote has fuelled fears within the Bush administration that it could lose access to a crucial military base in NATO ally Turkey, affecting a vital supply line for US troops in Iraq. Adm. Metin Ataç, the commander-in-chief of the Turkish navy, has cancelled a planned visit to the United States in protest.

While acknowledging strains in the US-Turkish relations following a vote last week by the US Congressional committee on the resolution, US Secretary of State Condoleez-za Rice said that she urged restraint concerning Ankara's plans for a military incursion into northern Iraq during her telephone conversations on Friday with Turkey's president, prime minister and foreign minister.

"If terrorism is based in a neighboring country and if that country does very little about it, then it falls upon us to act. After taking this road, the cost is already calculated. The bill will be paid," Erdogan said on Friday, responding to questions about international reaction should such an operation take place. Erdogan, in remarks particularly critical of US demands, stressed that "nobody asked our permission before launching an attack on Iraq from tens of thousands of kilometers away." He also said that his country "had no need of advice from anyone on the subject of an operation" against Iraq.

On Saturday, US Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs Dan Fried and US Undersecretary of Defense for Policy Eric Edelman flew to Ankara from Moscow, where they had accompanied Rice. The hastily held visit came as an apparent signal of the depth of US concerns over the future of bilateral relations as well as of US recognition of the gravity of Turkey's resentment.

Edelman and Fried faced harsh criticism from Turkish officials over the resolution in Ankara, which last week recalled its ambassador in Washington, Nabi Sensoy, as part of its moves to demonstrate that it is not "bluffing." Turkish officials told Fried and Edelman that "if the resolution is passed in the House, it will lead to irreparable damage in our relationship with the United States."

While the White House said it hoped for Sensoy's speedy return to his post, Sensoy, for his part, has made it clear that his being called to the Turkish capital for consultations was "more of a protest." Upon his arrival in Istanbul on Saturday, when reminded of media interpretations suggesting that "he was withdrawn from his post in Washington," Sensoy said: "The term 'withdrawing' is also used for 'consultations' in our diplomatic use [of terms]. This has a sui generis meaning. It expressed more of a protest. It [my being called for consultations] should be considered within that framework."

Report: Turkey shells Iraq border areas

Turkish troops have begun shelling areas across the Iraqi border in the autonomous Kurdish region, a news report said yesterday. "The shelling began on Saturday night around 10 pm (1900 GMT)," Agence France-Presse quoted an Iraqi officer as saying, speaking on condition of anonymity. "It carried on sporadically," he said, adding that the shells had struck vacant areas without causing any casualties. A witness said the shells hit around villages in the Al-Amadiyah area about 15 kilometers from the frontier and 50 kilometers northeast of the town of Dohuk. Wahid Kista, 42, who lives in the village of Kista, said by telephone the shelling was targeting villages in the Mt. Metin area "where the PKK [Kurdistan Workers' Party] has bases."

Iraqi and Turkish officials met in Baghdad on Friday in an attempt to reduce tensions. A terse statement from the Iraqi government gave few details of what Iraqi Defense Minister Abdel Qader Mohammed Jassim and Ambassador Derya Kanbay discussed.

15.10.2007 Ankara Today's Zaman

[Letters To The Editor]Racism Didn’t Have A Place In Turkish Or Ottoman History
I am an American and I feel very strongly about what the House in the US did and wish to submit this letter.

It is not enough that this country did not learn from Vietnam and Iraq, as the House now wants to rewrite history concerning the Armenian Turkish conflict. The problem is, the West is trying to judge history with respect to its own historical and cultural references. Racism is a Western concept which didn’t have a place in Turkish or Ottoman history and the West cannot understand anti-racist Ottomans. Annihilation is a Western concept and the West cannot understand the Ottomans which chose to let live instead of wipe out. Assimilation is a Western concept and the West cannot accept the fact that different ethnic groups could have lived together.

The mainstream Western understanding has given the word “culture” a specific meaning and does not understand culture beyond that. It chooses to denigrate what it does not understand. The problem is, the last real empire that the West had was the Roman Empire. Later so-called “empires” were only colonial formations, not real empires, and depended on exploitation and repression. Like Ilber Ortayli said, the last Roman-type empire was the Ottoman empire.

You can’t really expect the (declining) Western powers to understand and appreciate something that is really different from their understanding of politics. That’s like Americans appreciating Martian culture and politics. However, while the House voted to acknowledge the Armenian Genocide, it disregarded the Azerbaijan Genocide of 1905-1907 by the Armenians.

When will the House stop robbing Peter to pay Paul?

Renee Abramson
Framingham, Massachusetts, USA

Turks are offended, and rightfully so!

Members of the US House of Representatives passed a measure condemning Turkey for genocide against the Armenians during World War I. As an American, I beg you not to be offended. The condemnation has little to do with Turkey or its peoples.

The US is approaching its presidential elections. The opposing party, the Democrat Party, is attempting to disrupt our country’s friendship with Turkey in order to embarrass President Bush. By undertaking this measure, the Democrats hope to strain our relationship in order to encourage the Turkish government to halt its assistance to the war on terror and to the US in particular.

Don’t be fooled or offended. The vote by certain members of our Congress does not reflect the positive feelings we in America have about Turkey and its peoples.

Why not pass your own condemnation of America’s genocide of its Native American population. For nearly 300 years, we slaughtered the indigenous peoples living in what is now America, FOR SPORT! Over 20 million were massacred. Our treatment of millions of enslaved Americans from Africa is another event worthy of your condemnation. From 1838 to 1850, it was no only legal, but encouraged by our government to shoot members of the Church of Latter-Day Saints (Mormons) on sight! I could go on and on.

I promise you that there is a lot in America’s past that is very ugly.

That doesn’t mean we can’t recognize our errors and grow to be better nations. That’s what you and I are doing now.

America and Turkey need each other. All intelligent and educated citizens of our respective countries recognize this fact.

All Turkey needs is a better press agent in the US to stave off the pressure brought to bear by the Armenian populace in the US. That fact, along with the intelligence and foresight to realize that all these harsh words have little or nothing to do with Turkey, will allow you to laugh at us. It’s just an election period here in the US. Don’t be impressed by political slander from those who try to appeal to the uneducated.

America’s most famous author, Mark Twain, once said about our homeland, “No one ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of an American!”

Bill Thompson
Huntington Beach, California, USA; bill@tvinc.net


15.10.2007

Policy of 1915
 © This content Mirrored From TurkishArmenians  Site
by Mümtaz’er Türköne
The rise of an incident that occurred nearly a century ago as one of the most important problems of Turkish foreign policy is very unusual. To formulate a law in regards to events that took place during World War I is a rather interesting decision for the US Congress, especially considering what took place during World War II and the Cold War, both of which stand between then and now. There is a pretty unusual situation here.

There should be a plausible explanation for this. Why does such an old incident bother Turkey? Why does the US Congress go after this meaningless genocide legislation?

Why genocide comes to the agenda?

The most important reason seems to be the internal problems of the Armenian diaspora. Only a small portion of the Armenian population lives in Armenia. There are large Armenian communities all over the world, particularly in the US and France. The Armenians who live separately in other countries need to keep the bonds among themselves intact. Sustaining such bonds and preserving one’s identity is a basic human need. The events of 1915 play a significant role for the sustainability of these bonds between the Armenians who come together to remember these incidents and bring them to the agenda of the country where they live. They inform the conscience of the new generations regarding their past and identity. The Armenians maintain the relations between their communities in different parts of the world in this way. 1915 turns into a common denominator between Armenians all over the world. To make put the special agenda of a certain community on the agenda of mainstream society is seen as a huge success. This could be observed in the process by which the US Congress made progress towards the recognition of the so-called Armenian genocide.

The second important factor can be found in current approaches to minority problems. The Armenian question was a minority issue for the Ottoman Empire under the war conditions in 1915. The minority issues that are being discussed in different parts of the world also determine relations to the past. An old story like that of 1915 becomes attractive for today’s minorities as they consider such questions. Thus, people start to pay attention to this particular issue.

US domestic politics and diplomacy:

Are these two factors enough to explain the eagerness of the US House of Representatives to proceed with their recognition of the “Armenian genocide”? Not yet. There must be something in the current political landscape to explain this eagerness. So attention should also be directed to current diplomacy and domestic political balances.

The Armenian genocide issue comes on the agenda in the US every year immediately before the presidential elections, which are held every four years. Both the Republicans and the Democrats show interest in this issue constantly sustained by the Armenian lobby. The question remains on the agenda for a while and is destined to be shelved following the elections. In this way, the Armenian genocide resolution is kept on the agenda as a domestic political issue all the time. But this time the case is different. For the first time the issue was discussed very seriously. This time, a concrete result is expected. Therefore, it is essential to see that American diplomacy was involved in this decision to use it as a trump card against Turkey.

Turkey is one of the most influential allies for the US in its way out of the Iraqi quagmire. The US needs trump cards to transform the strategic partnership between the two countries into a strong cooperation. Seen from this perspective, the Armenian genocide resolution, currently being discussed before the US Congress, which is seriously considering the proposed resolution, is a useful means of imposing pressure for the US diplomats. It is very reasonable for the American side to use the proposed Armenian genocide resolution as a trump card against Turkey in return for its assistance with regard to the Iraq issue. The use of such tactics is not new; it has been used in the past by US diplomats. But something is different this time. The US has to take radical decisions in regards to Iraq. It needs Turkey more than ever at this stage so the trump card to be used needs to be stronger. This is the central reason that the US Congress has chosen to deliberate on the Armenian genocide resolution with such earnestness.

Turkey’s approach

As a state whose diplomatic traditions and reflexes are strong on such issues, it is only natural for Turkey to react. We are talking about a diplomatic tradition by which the Turkish state intervened in European internal balances and subsequent developments as a European state. Turkey is very well aware of the meaning of the prevalent eagerness to present this issue as a diplomatic problem.

Harmony between the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) government and the military wing is a result of this diplomatic maturity. Recently Chief of General Staff Gen. Yasar Büyükanit said the attempt of a strategic ally to legally recognize these historical incidents in such a way as to accuse Turkey was incomprehensible. This statement, in fact, summarizes the subject. Büyükanit describes the Committee on Foreign Affairs as having shot itself in the foot with the recent vote. The Turkish side is more concerned about Iraq. It holds that the US does not provide the necessary support in the face of escalating terrorism. Turkey plans to launch a military cross-border operation to deal with this rising problem. It perceives the recent action by the House of Representatives as inconsistent with friendship at a time when it is getting ready to ask permission from Parliament for such an operation.

For this reason, the remarks of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who expressed anger with the US, in relation to the cross-border operation should be taken as normal. His insistence that Turkey is ready to pay the price for such an operation is also a warning to the US.

What really happened in 1915?

Remembering what the 1915 incident represents to Turkey independently of this recent diplomatic row is also important for understanding the anger on the Turkish side.

World War I was a way of sharing imperialist spoils. The war broke out because Germany and Italy were late in this imperialist sharing. Ottoman soil was an important part of these imperialist moves. The government aligned with Germany in the war out of consideration of the seriousness of the situation.

Because the weakest link of the multinational empires was the ethnic question, the minorities in the Ottoman state were provoked during the war. In war conditions under which males were fighting at the front and the remaining population was defenseless, the Armenian gangs backed by Russia committed violent acts inside Ottoman territories. The Van insurgency that broke out immediately after the war started made the situation very urgent. The Ottoman state resorted to forced migration to resolve the problem. Horrible events happened during the migration. Many Armenians died. But the fact is that Russia, England and France are more responsible than the Ottoman state is in this case. Now, current imperialist considerations rather than the incident itself are behind this diplomatic question.

There is no doubt that Turkey has the right to defend itself in this case.

15.10.2007


European Armenian Federation for Justice and Democracy Bruxelles
Press Release For immediate release 14 October 2007 Contact : Varténie ECHO

Franco Frattini, vice-president of the European commission to inaugurate the 2nd Convention of European Armenians

The European Armenian Federation has just released the final program of the Second Convention of European Armenians. In addition to the attendance already-announced prominent leaders, the Federation informs that Mr Franco Frattini, Vice-president of the European Commission and Commissioner in charge of “Justice, Liberty and Security” will attend the welcoming ceremony of the Convention.

« We are very honoured and very pleased of Vice-president Frattini’s coming. This is a strong political act through which the European Commission indicates that it can take into consideration our European citizens’ expectations” commented Hilda Tchoboian, the chairperson of the European Armenian Federation.

The European Armenian Federation recalls that this outstanding convention will gather people from 29 countries – among which 19 countries from the EU including numerous new Member States. For most of these newcomers, this Convention will represent their first participation to a paneuropean event.

The final program of the Convention is now available on the website of the European Armenian Federation.

The Federation reports that in addition to Mr Frattini and other speakers announced yet, Mrs Oomen-Ruijten, the European Parliament’s rapporteur on Turkey could also take the floor at the Convention.


European Armenian Federation for Justice and Democracy Bruxelles
Press Release For immediate release 12 October 2007 Contact : Varténie ECHO

2nd Convention of European Armenians:

29 Countries Represented –the Film “screamers” Will Be Screened In The European Parliament In Tribute To Hrant Dink

The Euro-Armenian Federation announces that 29 countries will be represented in the Second Convention of European Armenians which is due to be held soon. The participants - mainly leading members of the Armenian Diaspora of Europe – and other personalities with responsibilities in the political and associative domains are interested in the Armenian Question and will be attending from the European Union Countries - Germany, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Denmark, Spain, Estonia, France, Greece, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Romania, Slovenia, Slovakia, Sweden, the Czech Republic and the United Kingdom. Furthermore, participants will travel from Armenia, Canada, the United States, Georgia, Iran, Lebanon, Norway, Russia, Switzerland and Syria.

“The capacity of the convention to mobilise demonstrates the extent to which the Armenian issues constitute a focal point of interest for a number of important European citizens and also for many international observers” commented Laurent Leylekian, the executive director of the Euro-Armenian Federation.

In addition, the Federation announces that the film “Screamers”, an exceptional documentary co-produced by the BBC, which by analysing the workings of denials of genocides demonstrates their similarities, will be screened in the European Parliament after the first session, from 6:30pm to 8:00pm and in the presence of the film’s director, Carla Garapedian who is a winner of the prestigious Emmy Award.

“With this unique venue, we will be able to show to those European political personalities who often continue to ignore the perverse speeches of denial and the abjectness of denying. At this hour, when the European Parliament appears to give in and surrender its weapons to the denials of Turkey, we hope that this screening will be able to remobilise the consciences in face of an ideology which has proven to be dangerous” concluded Laurent Leylekian.

The screening of “Screamers” will honour the memory of Hrant Dink, Armenian journalist in Turkey, who in January 2007 was assassinated in Istanbul because he advocated for his country’s recognition of the Armenian genocide. The current court case against the assassin and his associates highlighted the direct responsibility of the Turkish official ideology - racial and denialist - on the motives of the murder as well as the collusion between the state apparatus and the killers.

Kindly Forwarded By Sukru Server Aya


US Congressional Resolution Angers Turkey
Jennifer Macey, ABC Transcripts (Australia), The World Today, October 12, 2007

PETER CAVE: Turkey has recalled its ambassador to Washington in protest at a congressional resolution describing the Ottoman massacre of Armenians 90 years ago as genocide.

President George Bush says the vote by the Congressional House Committee could threaten relations with a key NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organisation) figure. And senior members of the Turkish Government are now talking about banning the US military from using its air bases, which could have a serious impact on US efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Jennifer Macey reports.

(Sound of protesters chanting)

JENNIFER MACEY: Groups of anti-US demonstrators took to the streets of Turkey's main cities on Thursday to protest against the US resolution, branding the mass killing of Armenians as genocide.

The Turkish Government led its own protest by recalling its ambassador to the US. Speaking to reporters outside the Turkish Embassy in Washington, Nabi Sensoy says he is returning to the capital Ankara for up to 10 days.

NABI SENSOY: This is a normal affair, especially after certain important developments take place. So, in this case the Turkish Government decided that I should go back to hold consultations in Turkey.

JENNIFER MACEY: On Thursday, members of the Congressional House Foreign Affairs Committee voted in favour of labelling the massacre of Armenians in 1915 by Ottoman forces as "genocide".

The non-binding vote is the first step towards holding a vote in the Democrat-controlled House of Representatives. The vote recognises Armenian claims that up to 1.5-million people were killed in a systematic campaign to force Armenians out of what is now eastern Turkey, and it has been welcomed by the President of Armenia, Robert Kocharian.

ROBERT KOCHARIAN (translated): We hope this process will lead to a full recognition by the United States of America of the fact of the Armenian genocide.

JENNIFER MACEY: While Turkey recognises large numbers of people were killed during World War One and the collapse of the Ottoman Empire, it denies that genocide took place.

The Turkish President, Abdullah Gul, denounced the resolution as having no value to the Turkish people. Ambassador Nabi Sensoy again:

NABI SENSOY: People think that it is only the Armenians who perished during the events of 1915. They keep forgetting that hundreds of thousands of Turks also perished during the same events in the hands of the Armenians.

JENNIFER MACEY: The vote has also been criticised by the US President George W. Bush who had urged the Congress to vote against the resolution.

GEORGE W. BUSH: 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.

JENNIFER MACEY: Turkey is strategically important to the US with the military depending on Turkish roads and airfields as a base for its operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.

There's now a very real threat that Turkey may restrict access to the US military, a threat that Egemen Bagis, the foreign policy adviser to the Turkish Prime Minister, was willing to air while in Washington.

EGEMEN BAGIS: Despite our warnings, US Congress wanted to play hardball. We know how to play hardball as well. There were claims that Turkey was bluffing, and I can assure you, they should ask Canada, they should ask France if we do bluff. We don't.

Since the French Parliament passed the Armenian resolution in their Lower House, French military aeroplanes have not been given permission to enter Turkish airspace. I am not saying that might happen. I am saying there might be consequences, there will be consequences, I don't know what those consequences will be.

JENNIFER MACEY: The Congress vote comes at a delicate time in US-Turkish relations. The Turkish Parliament is considering allowing its military to pursue Kurdish PKK (Partiya Karkeren Kurdistan) rebels in Northern Iraq, a move strongly opposed by the US.

Whit Mason is the managing director of the consulting firm, Political Risk Analysis, and an expert on Turkey. He says this is yet another diplomatic blow for the country, which is already feeling rebuffed by the Europeans over their opposition to Turkey joining the EU.

WHIT MASON: It's not that they would go out of their way to impose severe sanctions on the US or to come up with an extreme response, but they have to be sensitive to public opinion, and public opinion has been radicalised via this feeling that Turkey is being cornered by the EU and by the US on the PKK issue.

And if yet a third thing were imposed on them, as the Turks would see it, in the form of this resolution on the Armenian genocide, I think the Turkish Government would feel obliged to take strong measures.

PETER CAVE: Whit Mason, the managing director of the consulting firm Political Risk Analysis, ending that report from Jennifer Macey.

Turkish Press Oct 14 2007

Armenian Patriarch Mesrob Mutafyan: We Oppose This Resolution
10/14/2007

DEMRE - Mesrob Mutafyan, patriarch of Turkish Armenians, said on Sunday that they opposed to the resolution regarding Armenian allegations on the incidents of 1915 which was approved by the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Foreign Affairs.

Patriarch Mutafyan visited the Santa Clause Church in Demre town of the southern city of Antalya.

He told reporters during the visit that the resolution became a tool of domestic policy in the United States, and called on people to exclude Turkish citizens of Armenian origin from discussions over the issue.

He said that they will do everything in their power to prevent passage of the resolution by the full House.

Recalling that Prime Minister Erdogan earlier proposed Armenia to set up a joint commission of historians to deal with the issue, Mutafyan added that it was a significant offer.

October 13, 2007
Who's Behind The Armenian Genocide Resolution?
Who's behind the Armenian genocide resolution? Tom Lantos (D-Tel Aviv) is involved, so you could take a wild guess. We’re told it has something to do with the strength of the Armenian Lobby! Juan Cole says its the pro-Kurdish branch of the Israeli Lobby winning out over the pro-Turkish branch of the Israeli Lobby. He lost me there. On its face, it looks like a big Lobby loss, as the Lobby protects Israeli ally Turkey, and has its own reasons for downplaying the importance of any holocaust that doesn’t involve the Chosen People. There’s a sort of holocaust beauty contest going on, and other genocidal mass murders diminish the beauty of the winner.

Who's behind the Armenian genocide resolution? Its pretty simple, isn’t it? It is the timing that is odd, so the timing should tell us something. Why stir up this issue and cause problems with Turkish-American relations at this particular time, when Iraq is a mess and the Kurds are making the Turks very nervous? The keystone to the Zionist Plan for the Middle East is breaking Iraq into three parts. The rupture was supposed to occur almost immediately after the American attack. Since that didn’t happen, the ‘surge’ was created to cause massive additional violence with the idea that the country couldn’t hold together under the strain. Unfortunately for the Zionists, the ‘surge’ has actually made the Iraqis even more united, as they don’t want to give the Jews the pleasure of seeing Iraq destroyed. State Department diplomacy is the only thing calming the Turks down enough to keep them from a full-fledged attack on Kurdistan. The resolution has so enraged the Turks that it is the Zionist hope that the State Department will no longer be able to stop the Turks from attacking. Putting Kurdistan into play is intended to cause Iraq to fall apart. The Israelis have decided to instruct their American operatives that breaking Iraq up is so important to Zionist colonialism that Israel is prepared to sell out both its supposed allies, the Turks and the Kurds (not to mention the Americans!).

The resolution has nothing to do with appeasing the powerful (!) Armenian lobby, and does no favors to either the Turks or the Kurds. The only beneficiaries are Zionists who want to use a Turkish attack on Kurdistan to break up Iraq.

For what it's worth, I might mention that Meretz, the pseudo left wing party in israeli politics (and a very unedifying little party it is too) has always worn its anti-nazism on its sleeve and under Yossi Sarid was especially resolute in demanding that the Turkish state be held to account for the Armenian Massacres.

You may wonder why they did this, whether they were consciously trying to undermine the regional zionist alliance. If you know anyone onvolved with Meretz, ask them
Rowan Berkeley

Haim Saban
jr | 10.14.07 - 1:02 am | #

waddayamean, 'chaim saban'? explain yrself.

btw, fisk today tries to do gangster:
"O'm not at all certain that the CIA did not have a scam drugs heist on board"
http://news.independent.co.uk/ fi...icle3055834.ece
Rowan Berkeley | Homepage | 10.14.07 - 1:28 am | #

I don't know... the Armenian Lobby does have some clout. There are over a million of them in the US (mostly in Southern California), they tend to make good money, and they care a hell of a lot about getting the US government to recognize the "Armenian Genocide".
Reader | 10.14.07 - 1:30 am | #

by the way, a good insult to use against actual zionist cadre is "I hope they send you to Africa!"
Rowan Berkeley | Homepage | 10.14.07 - 1:30 am | #

I think you're correct in attributing the Armenian House resolution to something akin to a Holocaust beauty contest, Xymph. However, I also think that if Turkey decides to crush Kurdistan then Kurdistan will be crushed and there'll be no need to slice off a Kurdish statelet in Iraq.

An attack by Turkey will probably be supported by Iraqis who don't want their oil supporting a Kurdish state. In the short term this would give the US's Gay Mardi Gras joke of a military a brief respite from murdering Iraqi women and children and kidnapping and torturing unarmed Iraqi men.

The truth appears to be that Turkey sees an empowered and united Kurdistan as far more of a genuine existential threat than the Parasite State's self-inflicted unpopularity in the region. No-one in their right mind would have lit this fuse - another reason to assume that Israel's insane ideologues are behind it. It's not beyond the realm of possibility that Israel wants Uncle Sam to put Iraq on hold and beach itself on the rocks of an attack on Iran; this being the best scheme they could come up with on short notice.
Hoarsewhisperer | 10.14.07 - 2:29 am | #

The State Department emissaries just sent to Turkey are ... Edelman and Fried!
Yeah, xymp, that pair will persuade the Turks not to do what the jews want them to do ...
smekhovo | 10.14.07 - 2:52 am | #

By the way, the Armenians have been trying to get such resolutions passed for many decades.
If you think their happening to succeed just now is a coincidence, I may mutter something about bridges in Brooklyn ...
smekhovo | 10.14.07 - 3:17 am | #

Might have some propaganda value if the Turks declare war on Iraqi Kurds, which they appear to be well on their way to doing. One may presume this is yet another unintended consequence of the US Occupation of Iraq, for which anti-Turk rhetoric might come in handy for controlling the domestic discourse. Sort of silk purse from sow's ear kinda thing.
righteo | 10.14.07 - 3:34 am | #

hey, does the fact that US is allying with PKK imply that the old kurdish leaders, barzani and talabani, have become unreliable?
Rowan Berkeley | Homepage | 10.14.07 - 4:01 am | #

"On its face, it looks like a big Lobby loss, as the Lobby protects Israeli ally Turkey, and has its own reasons for downplaying the importance of any holocaust that doesn’t involve the Chosen People. There’s a sort of holocaust beauty contest going on, and other genocidal mass murders diminish the beauty of the winner."

You lost me there yourself. Obviously you have never heard of donmeh, or pretend not to have. Square the circle.
Anonymous | 10.14.07 - 4:03 am | #

On the subject of Holocaust beauty contests...

Xymph's linked Fox report spells out the fact that until the ADL got around to a grudging half-hearted approval of Armenian history as genocide, "America" was never going to be allowed to describe it as such. Which tends to confirm the theory that the only demographic America's legislators feel truly independent from is the vast majority of American voters who pay their wages...
Hoarsewhisperer | 10.14.07 - 4:17 am | #

well, anonymous, why don't you "square the circle" and explain whate the hell you mean?
Rowan Berkeley | Homepage | 10.14.07 - 4:52 am | #

Maybe they want to point out that the Israeli lobby is not the only tribal lobby in town. This Armenian resolution undercuts the main argument in the book that the Israeli lobby is the only lobby that can get the US to act against its own interests. Look now, there, the Armenian lobby just got the US to piss off a close ally in the war on insurgents in Iraq. How about that? Now you have to talk about lobbies: many ethnic, religious and tribal lobbies that push and pull the country in different directions. The issue is muddled. This strategy that has been used against accusations of dual loyalty, or more like disloyalty before.
wind | 10.14.07 - 5:25 am | #

Yeah, I can just see Mearsheimer & Walt bringing out their sequel The Armenian Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy. Poor old Abe Foxman won't know where to spit.
righteo | 10.14.07 - 6:28 am | #

After that Mearsheimer & Walt will continue their seriesThe Irish Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy.

Potato Famine Guilt hasn't been done nearly enough. Museums, reparations, movies, survivor testimony, memorial days, classroom instruction, 'Never Again (Until The Next Time)', sacred sites, holy of holies, The Diary of Phytophera infestans public readings, Wicked Albion indoctrination events, the Corn Laws. When's Eire gonna get nukes?
righteo | 10.14.07 - 6:43 am | #

This CIA-nonsense-site is doing it's best to make you believe everything happening on earth is being planned. It's written - as most of it's
"comments" - by paranoid idiots.
Anonymous | 10.14.07 - 7:07 am | #

smekhovo | 10.14.07 - 2:52 am | #

In his tenure as US ambassador to Ankara Edelman did more to harm US-Turkish relations than anyone has ever done. Part of this may just be his Ashkenaz obnoxiousness, but there may have been an Absicht...
US taxpayer | 10.14.07 - 8:13 am | #

Well, if the Turks attack the Kurdish camps of PKK in Iraq, they will actually save the Iranians the trouble.
Iran is very tempted to do it at the moment. Because from there come a lot of terrorist attacks inside Iran, even more than inside Turkey.
U.S. Sponsoring Kurdish Guerilla Attacks Inside Iran
So if Turkey is taking care of some of the problems the Iranians have with terrorism,without the Iranians having to get involved,(and Turkey is not on the to attack list at the moment) there is one less reason the Neocons can spin into a cause for war.
erlenda | Homepage | 10.14.07 - 8:14 am | #

Anonymous | 10.14.07 - 4:03 am | #

Have the Saloniklar ever been involved with the holocaust industry? They got out fine thanks to Lausanne.
US taxpayer | 10.14.07 - 8:15 am | #

Great blog, elenda.

Good to see you here.
US taxpayer | 10.14.07 - 8:16 am | #

http://www.iamthewitness.com/ove...of- Ottoman.html

The puppet masters behind the "Young Turk"-movement and the Armenian Genocide.

Ataturk was a "Donmeh" jew.
HC | 10.14.07 - 8:18 am | #

righteo | 10.14.07 - 6:43 am | #

It is true that Ted Kennedy and other Irish-American senators pressured the senate to loosen visa restrictions on alleged terrorists during the '90s.
US taxpayer | 10.14.07 - 8:19 am | #

Sorry, dead link - same article via

http:iraqwar.mirror-world.ru/article/139294
HC | 10.14.07 - 8:28 am | #

Er... except that Lantos, as a closet Zionist and in-House Lobby asset, spoke to the resolution. And in doing so explained that it would probably increase the risk to (y)our (expendable) 'boys and girls' in Iraq. That can hardly be described as putting American interests, or even Americans, first. Not that it's a bad thing to drop a spanner in the Iraq works. But the Lobby's fingerprints and Lantos' DNA are all over it.
--------------------
by the way, a good insult to use against actual zionist cadre is "I hope they send you to Africa!"


RB, they've been actively engaged in perpetrating a Holocaust rivaling the one they've whined about for 60 years, and insulted our intelligence to boot. And you recommend swapping vapid insults with them?
Hoarsewhisperer | 10.14.07 - 8:47 am | #

I recoome3nd continual resort to vapider and vapider insults, dear boy.
Rowan Berkeley | Homepage | 10.14.07 - 8:57 am | #

Hoarse, and erlenda, and HC, and many others: good comments. Thanks.

Speaking of genocide and atrocities, I wonder why it is that the atrocities currently on-going in Burma have a profile on the world's stage that is lower than a snake's belly.

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/ tol...icle2525112.ece

Cal Dalton | 10.14.07 - 10:32 am | #

The Turkish army chief says relations with the US will "never be the same again" http://www.rbc.ru/ rbcfreenews.sh...014175537.shtml
smekhovo | 10.14.07 - 11:30 am | #

Great post re. Christian zionism at Erlenda's house:

http://www.peacebytruth.com/main...in.php? Post=297
US taxpayer | 10.14.07 - 11:39 am | #

this is to be expected - the Jews are the biggest back-stabbers on the face of this earth!!!

As for the Turkish military - it seems to be infested with Donmehs and Alevis - just like many of the Media personalities, Entertainment figures, famous journalists, important businessmen, and Political hotshots are in significant part Donmehs
Salman Hossain | 10.14.07 - 1:29 pm | #

We must be missing the simplest and most basic explanation for the current mess, because we are distracted by superstitious bullshit about donmeh etc.

The simplest and most basic explanation is as follows.

Deal are set up when money changes hands and (occasionally, but usually in false names) documents are signed.

If the CIA is making one set of deals with one set of militias, and Mossad are making another set of deals with another set of militias, then you get crossed wires.
Rowan Berkeley | Homepage | 10.14.07 - 1:31 pm | #

Pootiepoot "informed about an attempt on his life, to be made during his visit to Iran on Monday"
http://top.rbc.ru/politics/14/ 10...html#top_static
smekhovo | 10.14.07 - 1:57 pm | #

Have the Saloniklar ever been involved with the holocaust industry? They got out fine thanks to Lausanne.
US taxpayer | 10.14.07 - 8:15 am | #

They are protected, you see, as are the crimes of the judeo-bolshevik and the National Socialists. That is the trouble with lies: you must keep on lying or they all collapse, and you lose control of history and thus the present (and vice versa - it works both ways). Oh what a tangled web we leave, when at first we set to deceive!

The question to ask is why now? After almost a century of occult?

The only logical answer is to radicalize the Turks into war: to pour gasoline on smoldering Iraq. Ordo ab chao.

This resolution pleases no one: that is the point, except the historic antagonists and perpetrators. Tribe membership has its rewards.

For a thorough, and to my way of thinking correct analysis, read:

http://jewishracism.blogspot.com/

This blogger also has written a free book: The Jewish Genocide of Armenian Christians, available here.

I also recommend his video and sound interviews on the second link.
Anonymous | 10.14.07 - 2:14 pm | #

Typo: "leave" is "weave" of course.
Anonymous | 10.14.07 - 2:16 pm | #

National Socialist crimes are protected? Sorry, not following you.
US taxpayer | 10.14.07 - 2:34 pm | #

Yeah, I can just see Mearsheimer & Walt bringing out their sequel The Armenian Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy. Poor old Abe Foxman won't know where to spit.
righteo | 10.14.07 - 6:28 am | #

I suggest you look for a sudden proliferation of articles and books about the influence of various lobbies on the US foreign policy by the likes of Noam Chomsky. They will claim that Israeli is a lobby like any other only more successful. The establishment, which seems to be a euphemism for WASPs, needs to stop whining and to recognize that wealth hoarding and unbound consumption are not the only two goals worth pursuing. When those Jewish donors, among whom there are certainly lots of middle class households, give money for a cause they forgo consumption. Why don’t WASPs do the same.
wind | 10.14.07 - 3:23 pm | #

There are two ways to occlude the truth:

1. Enshrine the lie.
2. Taboo its exposure by investigation.

Also known as:

1. Thesis
2. Anti-thesis

aka the Hegelian Dialectic.

See two converging sides of a triangle. The truth is the hypotenuse, the shortest side, that which joins that which is seemingly in conflict, in common: synthesis.

Occam's Razor.

Thus, what is common or shared between ostensibly opposing sides is the line of truth.
Anonymous | 10.14.07 - 3:31 pm | #

Delphi has spoken.
US taxpayer | 10.14.07 - 3:46 pm | #

Jewish donors middle-class households? Don't make me laugh.
smekhovo | 10.14.07 - 3:52 pm | #

Smekh, every synagogue (with a handful of exceptions) supports the Lobby. To join substantial contributions are required, not just from the billionaires.
US taxpayer | 10.14.07 - 4:12 pm | #

http://xymphora.blogspot.com/2007/10/who-behind-armenian-genocide-resolution.html


Armenian Resolution:Democrats Commit Their Own Genocide
October 14, 2007 By Con George-Kotzabasis

Only someone with the chutzpah of intellectual arrogance and a parvenu in realpolitik and foreign affairs could be behind such a remarkably doltish resolution that puts an arrow through the heart of a much needed ally, such as Turkey, at a time when the US is engaged in war in the Middle East.

The Democrats with this resolution, from Lantos to Pelosi and Reid, have shown themselves to be immaculate political tyros in the affairs of foreign policy and war. They have committed by the passing of this resolution their own genocide. The "genocide" of the alliance with Turkey, which is so vital to America's foreign policy interests in the Middle East, and to the protection of US troops in Iraq whose major part of supplies for fighting the war come through Turkey.

By the passing of this totally irresponsible resolution the Democrats have cancelled themselves out from governing the country at this critical time when America confronts and fights a mortal foe. And the Lantos' resolution will go down in the annals of American politics as the great caricature that it's in statecraft.


Identifying "PKK" Terrorist Organization As "Kurdish Rebels" Supports Terrorism!

The PKK is listed as a terrorist organization internationally by a number of states and organizations, including the USA, NATO and the EU.

PKK conducts terrorism activities since 1974 as defined in US legislation section 212 (a)(3)(B) of the INA (8 U.S.C. § 1182(a)(3)(B)) and as defined in section 140(d)(2) of the Foreign Relations Authorization Act.

(http://www.state.gov/s/ct/rls/fs/2002/12535.htm)

According to State.gov PKK is a secular, leftist insurgent terrorist group that originally aimed to establish an independent Kurdish homeland in the ethnically Kurdish regions of the Middle East, which overlap the borders of Turkey, Iran, Iraq, and Syria. More recently, the group has claimed to be seeking greater political and cultural rights for Kurds within Turkey rather than a separate homeland.


The PKK was founded in 1974 as a Marxist-Leninist group seeking to establish a Marxist Kurdish state in Southeast Turkey. The group launched a guerilla war against the Turkish government beginning in 1984 that claimed as many as 35,000 lives.

In the Press briefing on Oct 17, 2007 the NATO Spokesman, James Appathurai stated that NATO considers the PKK to be a terrorist organization.

The United States Department of State lists the following items as additional considered beneficial effects of designation:

* "Supports our efforts to curb terrorism financing and to encourage other nations to do the same.
* "Stigmatizes and isolates designated terrorist organizations internationally.
* "Deters donations or contributions to and economic transactions with named organizations.
* "Heightens public awareness and knowledge of terrorist organizations.
* "Signals to other governments our concern about named organizations.


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