- Sarkozy's Obsession Perplexes Turks
- About 20 Representatives Of Turkey Invited To Parliamentary Hearings On Armenian-Turkish Relations
- Pöttering: No Armenia Condition For Turkey
- Turkey Represents Major Threat For Armenia
- Sasunian " Our Aim Is To Get Land From Turkey"
- If Fish In The Bowl Don't Eat Each Other...
- Armenians Demand Justice, Not Recognition By Harut Sassounian
- Is Sarkozy A Monsieur L'hypocrite About Turkey ?
- Ankara Concerned By Russian Suspension Of Key Treaty
- Armenians' Goal Is ‘Territorial Claims & Compensation From Turkey' by Harut Sasunian
- Serge Sargsyan: What Do We Gain, What Do The Turks Gain, From The Present Situation?
- Actions Of Armenian Lobby Negatively Impacts On Washington’s Interests: Deputy Minister
- Turkey Represents Major Threat For Armenia
- Time Is Not On Armenia's Side
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- Media Watchdog Names Hrant Dink 'World Press Freedom Hero'
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- Levon Effendi And The Recognition Of Armenian Genocide
- Lessons Of History: The Question Of Armenian Genocide
- European Council: Turkey's Automatic Accession Questionned Some are already celebration!, S.S.A.
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- U.S. House Of Representatives Passes Genocide Accountability Act
- Bulgarian Orthodox Church Synod First Described 1915 Events As Genocide
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- Turkey Vs Armenia To Stay On The Pitch
- Helping Foes, Alienating Friends Nicole Pope
- Clean Hands: Erdogan Should Keep His Promise
- Hypocrisy, European Styleby donviti
- Sarkozy's Visit To Algeria Underscores Different Stance On Genocide Allegations
- Khachik Ter-Ghukasyan: Armenian-Turkish Border Will Remain Closed Unless Armenia Stops Endeavors For Genocide Recognition
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- Treatment Of Foundations In Turkey Threatens The Survival Of Non-Muslim Communities * A history of confiscations, by Talin Suciyan
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- Turkish President, French Prime Minister Discuss Armenian Genocide YEREVAN (Armradio)
- Turkey Eyes Armenia’s Renunciation Of Genocide Recognition As Only Way To Normalize Relations /PanARMENIAN.Net/
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Sarkozy's Obsession Perplexes Turks
December 17, 2007, Barçin Yinanç
Remember the headlines of the Turkish media when Nicolas Sarkozy became France's President last summer.
“He will change.”
Some optimistic journalists were expecting Sarkozy to change his objection to Turkey's membership in the European Union.
Not only has he not changed, he has gotten worse!
The prevailing feeling among Turkish diplomats in Ankara can be summarized as one of total perplexity. He has become obsessed by Turkey. It is almost like a pathological case.
Rumor has it that Sarkozy personally reads the dossiers on Turkey. He personally calls the French ambassador to Brussels, and gives him instructions on Turkey. Notorious for his temperament, it is not difficult to imagine him yelling on the phone:
“I do not want to see the words accession or membership, in any documents on Turkey. Did you get it, Monsieur L'Ambassadeur?”
No one in Ankara can make sense of Sarkozy. He sees no problem giving a red carpet welcome to someone like Libyan Leader Colonel Muammar Gadhafi, sparking controversy all over the country when even his top aides criticize the visit. Yet a country like Turkey is …expendable for Sarkozy.
Everybody knows how populist politicians are. There are quiet a few of them in Turkey. Hence, it did not come as a big surprise when Sarkozy decided to make the motto, “Turkey has no place in the EU,” a theme of his electoral campaign. The glorious French electorate thought that putting roadblocks in Turkey's EU path will solve all their problems and voted for “Sarko.” It's their problem; everybody has the right to have delusions.
The Turkish side knew that Sarkozy will knock on the door of his EU colleagues in the early days of his tenure to make his case against Turkey.
It further knew that, “friends of Turkey,” in the EU would push him back and try to soften Sarkozy's position.
But it was also not delusional that Friends of Turkey would succeed to convince Sarkozy to back off.
So the Turkish side was getting ready for the fact that somehow a middle of the road formula would be found to appease Sarkozy, without truly hampering the accession process.
Ankara was obviously annoyed when Sarkozy first floated the idea of forming a Mediterranean Union as an alternative to EU membership, or forming a wise men group to discuss the future of the EU, hoping it will come up with a conclusion that Turkish membership will be catastrophic for the 27-nation bloc. But it was hoping that both ideas would be watered down by the “Friends of Turkey,” to present a face saving way to Sarkozy without really threatening Turkey's accession process.
Business as usual? Is that a joke
Ankara was also getting prepared to swallow France's decision to block talks in certain areas, with the argument that they suppose integration. Of the 35 chapters, or policy areas, in EU membership negotiations "only five suppose the integration inside the European Union, and 30 may be accepted as a sort of partnership. So we'll open the 30 first and it will take years and years," French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner has said, following a meeting between Sarkozy and Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, on the sidelines of U.N. General Assembly last September.
During the meeting, Sarkozy's line, according to the Turkish side was along these lines: “I have not changed my position on Turkey's EU accession. But let's continue to improve our bilateral relations.”
Though the Turkish side was not happy with this “Business as usual,” approach, it nevertheless accepted the French proposal to form a working group to overview relations.
When French and Turkish foreign ministry officials met, the Turkish side left the meeting with the understanding that France's obstruction will be limited to blocking five policy areas and it will let the talks continue on the rest. Just as Ankara was getting ready to live with that, it realized it was too naïve to think that the French will stop at that point.
“We won't let talks on new policy areas begin, without a decision on the wise men,” said the French. And then, they asked for the words “membership and accession” to be scrapped from EU documents.
Turkish diplomats are extremely frustrated. But a proper strategy on how to deal with Sarkozy is lacking. Some still believe in the virtues of dialogue. We need to keep the channels of communication open. We have to continue to talk to the French, says one group. But there is another group that believes dialogue proves to be counterproductive. We are talking with the Turks. They understand our position, you don't need to worry, the French seem to be telling their EU partners when they try to make a case for Turkey. “We have been hearing that the French are trying to appease our allies in the EU by giving the impression that we are talking to the French and that there is an understanding between the two sides. It is simply not true,” said a Turkish diplomat.
The Turkish side seems to be confused on how to handle the situation with Sarkozy. But it should not waste time in devising a proper strategy. Having bilateral talks with the understanding of “business as usual,” and then having a battle of pulbic “statements” does not help.
About 20 Representatives Of Turkey Invited To Parliamentary Hearings On Armenian-Turkish Relations
Yerevan, December 15, Noyan Tapan. On the initiative of the RA National Assembly Standing Committee on Foreign Relations, the extended parliamentary hearings "Armenian-Turkish Relations: Problems and Prospects" will be held on December 19-20. The standing committee's chairman, representative of the ARF Armenia Supreme Body Armen Rustamian told NT correspondent that quite a large number of participants have been invited to the hearings, including about 20 representatives of Turkey: officials, experts, and reporters.
According to A. Rustamian, the purpose of the hearings is to specify the opportunities of parliamentary diplomacy in order to examine, assess and help eliminate the causes of the current crisis in Armenian-Turksih relations. "It is impossible to speak about the foreign political doctrine and the development prospects of our country without considering Armenian-Turkish relations as a whole and developing a concept based on our opinions," he said.
In reponse to the question about possible speculation on the problem to be discussed - prior to the presidential elections, A. Rustamian said that "the presidential elections cannot bypass this problem either because the number one task of the president is to organize and head politics". In this respect he considered it to be correct that the political forces present their clear views, including to the publc. The views of the ARF have remained the same: there will be no normal Armenian-Turkish relations without the fulfilment of two preconditions: recognition of the Armenian Genocide and maintaining neutrality in the Nagorno-Karabakh problem.
Pöttering: No Armenia Condition For Turkey
A protestor holds an Armenian flag during a demonstration in Brussels against Turkey’s EU membership.
The European Parliament wants Turkey to "face its past" but will not ask it to recognize Armenian claims of genocide at the hands of the Ottoman Empire to become a member of the European Union, the parliament's German President Hansgert Pöttering reiterated yesterday.
"We have told Turkey that it should recognize its historical responsibilities. We cannot go beyond that," he told reporters at a press conference in Brussels, on the sidelines of an EU summit. He said history could teach people lessons to prevent the repetition of tragic past events, adding that a process of moral and mental digestion should be completed for this first.
Turkey categorically rejects Armenian charges that Armenians were killed in a systematic genocide campaign during the World War I years in eastern Anatolia and says as many Muslims died in the course of a civil strife, when Armenians took up arms and revolted against the Ottoman Empire in collaboration with the invading Russian army in hopes of creating an Armenian state in part of eastern Anatolia. The Turkish government has proposed formation of a joint group of historians from Turkey and Armenia to study the history, but Armenia has declined to take the offer.
When EU leaders were holding their one-day summit in Brussels, a group of some 400 Armenians gathered for a protest near the summit hall against Turkey's accession to the EU. They held banners reading "Stop!" as they demanded the EU halt accession talks with Ankara and criticized the 27-nation bloc for being too soft on Turkey.
Pöttering appeared to be playing down concerns over freedom of expression in EU candidate Turkey, saying he did not agree that there was no freedom of expression in Turkey and that there are problems with freedom of the press almost everywhere in the world. But he openly criticized Ankara for its lack of progress in religious freedoms, citing Turkey's refusal to recognize the "ecumenical" status of the Greek Orthodox patriarch based in Istanbul and to reopen a Greek Orthodox seminary on an island off Istanbul, closed since 1971.
15.12.2007, Today's Zaman with wires Brussels
Turkey Represents Major Threat For Armenia
14.12.2007, /PanARMENIAN.Net/ "Turkey is still in search for a national-strategic identity. It has been experiencing this process for over 70 years already and the final variant is unknown yet. However, one thing is clear: Turkey represents the major threat for Armenia," member of the Armenian National Assembly's committee on European integration, political scientist Armen Ashotyan said in an interview with PanARMENIAN.Net.
"From the global standpoint, the Armenian-Turkish relations are the pillar stone of geostrategic construction in the region. Normalization of relations at all levels will lead other to reconsideration of their positions in the region. It specifically refers to Russia, Iran, Georgia and Azerbaijan. Many are interested in normalization of relations. The U.S. and EU are demonstrating the highest activity; however, Russia is still idle. Maybe, its restraint is conditioned by a possibility of closure of the 102nd base. But our relations have a broader foundation than mere military cooperation," he said.
Sasunian " Our Aim Is To Get Land From Turkey"
The New Anatolian / Ankara, 14 December 2007
One of the leading personalities of the Armenian community in the US, journalist Harut Sasunian said, the ultimate goal of the Armenians was the recognition of their claims and getting amends and land from Turkey.
Owner and editor of the California Courier Sasunyan said in an article published at the AZF Daily (an Armenian website) that "the ultimate goal of the Armenians for decades has been the recognition of their claims and getting amends and land from Turkey", and suggested it was time for Armenians to proceed with the phases following recognition. Sasunian urged Armenians to voice their demands in the appropriate national and international fora. TNA
If Fish In The Bowl Don't Eat Each Other...
December 15, 2007, Sila Özçelik Impression, SINGAPORE - Referans
When the tired Chinese taxi driver could not find the exact location of the Conrad Hotel in such a small city where it takes only 10 minutes to travel from one end to the other, I thought to myself, `each fish has its own world as big as the bowl it swims in.'
The Chinese man works as a taxi driver from 5:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., earns 1,500 Singapore dollars a month and is proud of being a `Singaporean,' he said. He is just one of the 4.5 million people of various ethnic origins living in this small island country. Perhaps the only similarity between this Chinese man's `jar' and Turkey, where people from many different ethnic and religious backgrounds -including Kurds, Circassians, Armenians and Assyrians - live together, is simply the following: `Multi-culturalism.' However, his bowl has no little fish trying to eat each other or blurring the water...
Wherever one goes or whoever one talks to in Singapore, a state as small as a city that could go unnoticed on a map of southeastern Asia if not marked, people from diverse parts of society all point out the same phenomenon: `Multi-nationalism.' Singapore is a multi-national, multi-cultural, multi-religious and multi-lingual society. Chinese people make up 76.2 percent of its population. Malays constitute 13.8 percent while Indians constitute 8.3 percent. The remaining 1.7 percent is composed of citizens of other national origins. When walking in the huge shopping centers built on every corner, one's ears are bombarded by broken English or other languages one either does not understand or has never heard, like Mandarin. Indian construction workers take a break from building a Starbucks near the famous Merlon monument and some Malay finance experts in traditional turbans take notes at a café. In another corner, it is not surprising to see an apparently Western couple doing their morning exercises in a botanic garden. This is a place where Buddhists perform their daily prayers at the `Goddess of Power' temple in the nearby Indian town before beginning their work while Muslim Malays come together in mosques and Christian Singaporeans in churches. After all these differences of language, religion and ethnicity - from Chinese taxi drivers to British CEOs of pharmaceutical companies, Malay tour guides to Indian scientists - everyone is united under a single identity of `Singaporeanness.' What is more, they express this on all occasions and refer to it as the biggest secret behind their economic success.
You are either Singaporean or not:
The government, on the other hand, believes that the most important formula to keep such a mixed society unified is building a `national identity,' and it is constantly organizing campaigns focusing on `being Singaporean.' One noticeable campaign is `single passport' implementation by the state. The Singaporean government is absolutely against dual citizenship. Therefore, if you want to be a Singaporean citizen, you have to give up your other citizenship completely. The `You are either Singaporean or not' approach is probably the best indication of the state's efforts to unite society under a single national identity. As a matter of fact, it was this constructed identity of `Singaporeanness' that saved Singapore from ultra-nationalist streams demanding freedom that dominated the agenda of many South Asian countries in the early 20th century. However, being home to various ethnic, religious and linguistic roots since before the Japanese invasion, the secret of success of this small island country in holding its society together is its ability to perfectly integrate all these different elements into the economic machinery. In short, different ethnic groups have been integrated into business and economic life so adequately and efficiently that they have all been turned into inseparable elements of social life. Thus, the real mechanism providing social control in Singaporean society since those periods has neither been the police nor the judiciary. It would not be wrong to say the protectors of social order in Singapore are rich Indian leaders and the British and Chinese businessmen who established businesses when the country was a British colony.
'State knows best for society'
On the other hand, considering its gross domestic product (GDP) is $1,491 per capita, Singapore has apparently achieved a miracle thanks to its multi-culturalism and its economic policy based on port trade. But Singaporeans seem to have sacrificed from their collective consciousness for the sake of economic welfare. This country of bizarre rules and regulations such as the ban on smoking in public spaces, a punishment of at least $1,000 for spitting chewing gum on the street and the deportation of homosexuals makes one feel like society is responsible for the state rather than vice versa. From a Durkheimian perspective, there is a problem of `collective consciousness' in Singapore caused by society's not being multi-aspect and having an extensive structure only in the economic sphere. In other words, the society cannot move as a single organism, which causes a mechanic society to be born. However, society's trust in the state is so strong that even businesses make investments with the idea that the `state knows best for society.' Singaporean representatives of Pfizer, a leading company in the pharmaceutical sector, one of the most attractive areas for foreign investors, openly say the state knows best for society. Perhaps Singapore is one of the best examples of how such a mixed society can be held together tightly both in social life and in the economic sense, despite being a tiny island country. Hence, it is apparent that no matter whether the bowl is big or small, every fish can float in the same bowl if it really wishes to.
Armenians Demand Justice, Not Recognition By Harut Sassounian, Publisher, The California Courier
AZG Armenian Daily #231, 14/12/2007, Armenian Genocide
The National Herald, a Greek-American weekly, published a lengthy interview with this writer last week on the issue of genocide recognition. This column was prompted by the ideas expressed in that interview.
The Armenian Cause is not about genocide recognition, but the pursuit of justice which entails that the Armenian victims receive reparations.
Remembering the Genocide is also about keeping the hope and dream alive for succeeding generations of Armenians -- that some day, they will regain their historic lands.
Armenians need to rethink their approach to the pursuit of their cause and present their demands in a more effective manner. The House of Representatives has already adopted an Armenian Genocide resolution twice in 1975 and 1984. Pres. Reagan issued a Presidential Proclamation in 1981 that refers to the Armenian Genocide. More than 20 countries, the European Parliament, a U.N. human rights panel and many genocide and Holocaust scholars have acknowledged the Armenian Genocide. Therefore, continuing attempts to seek genocide recognition from the international community is no longer necessary and distracts from the pursuit of more significant Armenian political objectives.
Armenians have been saying for decades that they have three demands: "Recognition" of the genocide, "Reparations" for losses, and "Return" of their territories -- in that sequence. They have repeated these three R's so often that even Turkey's leaders, who closely monitor Armenian statements, have learned them by heart.
Consequently, Armenians and Turks now have the same distorted view of what the Armenian Cause is all about. Both sides mistakenly believe that once the Genocide is recognized by Turks and others, Armenians will proceed to make demands for reparations and lands. This is the main reason why Turks so adamantly refuse to acknowledge the Armenian Genocide. They fear that acceptance of the Genocide would obligate them to pay reparations and return the usurped Armenian lands.
And knowing well the sequence of the three R's, Turks cleverly refuse to acknowledge the Genocide -- the first demand -- thus preempting the remaining two Armenian demands.
Armenians should not fall in the Turkish trap of getting stuck on demand number one. Since genocide recognition has already been accomplished, they should immediately proceed to the second and third demands.
There is no prerequisite that the Turks -- or the U.S. or anybody else, for that matter -- first acknowledge the Genocide before Armenians can take legal action.
Armenians should present their demands to appropriate national and international courts, regardless of whether the Turks recognize the Genocide.
Is justice served when someone murders your family, and the criminal's descendants who still live on your property simply admit 100 years later that such a crime actually occurred? Would you just thank the murderer's descendants for acknowledging the crime or would you press to get your family's stolen property back?
The acknowledgment of the Genocide by Turks or others is not an occasion for Armenians to jump for joy.
Genocide is an undeniable fact. Armenians know it happened. The civilized world knows it happened. Many Turks also know it happened. The acknowledgment of a historical fact cannot be viewed as a demand. Justice requires that the criminal be punished, reparations paid, and the ill-gotten fruits gained through genocide returned to their rightful owners.
Obviously, the Turks are not going to voluntarily return the Armenian lands even though Armenians have a just claim to those territories. Nobody gives an inch of land to anyone unless forced to do so. So how does such a claim become reality? It can be done by keeping the hope and dream alive and passing them on to the next generation, the way the Jews did by proclaiming "Next year in Jerusalem" for two thousand years. The just demand for the recovery of their historic lands can disappear once Armenians lose all hope and unilaterally give up their dream.
There is no country in recorded history whose borders have remained unchanged. Mighty empires have come and gone. Likewise, the Republic of Turkey will not have the same borders forever. No one knows what can happen in the next 30 years or 300 years, but if Armenians relinquish their claims now, they would have lost the chance of recovering anything forever. Armenians must continue to remind their offspring for generations to come that those lands which were unjustly stolen from them will eventually return to their rightful owners.
Rather than demanding genocide recognition, Armenians should seek justice.
Is Sarkozy A Monsieur L'hypocrite About Turkey ?
December 16 2007, Özcan TIKIT, Cafebabel Istanbul
EUROPEAN leaders signed Lisbon Treaty and the draft about Turkey's accession membership. As result of French President Nicolas Sarkozy’s effort, unfortunately a common mentioned word “Accession” in reports about Turkey's candidacy of EU membership, was dropped from EU’s Turkey report. Certainly, dropping the Accession word describing relations between Ankara and Brussels caused an disapponiment in Turkey.
Sarkozy’s effort to delete “accession” word from draft was not a surprise for me but I am surprised with Turkish PM Recep Erdogan’s declaration. Erdogan accused Sarkozy with “HYPOCRISY” acting. So, can we call Sarkozy, Monsieour L'Hypocrite?
Erdogan claimed Sarkozy supports Turkey’s membership while talking with Turkish politicians but trying to halt negotiations in Brussels. Anybody can claim Erdogan’s definition about Sarkozy’s politic attitude was false, but when it comes to Turkey’s EU membership he has always been a hardly opposing leader.
Actually I have never been and will never be surprised in the face of such oppositions about Turkey from Sarko’s front. Let me remind you some of Sarkozy's usual declarations since Ankara began enty talks in 2005.
December 2006: "I have often been asked about the place of Muslims in France, because of concern in the United States, my dear friends, let's be consistent. What's the point of worrying about our ability to integrate Muslims in France or in Europe if at the same time, and just as forcefully, the United States asks us to accept Turkey in Europe? Even if you consider that we have a problem with Islam, in which case, you have to give us time to find the ways and means to create a European Islam and reject an Islam in Europe. But don't then give equal support to the integration of a country like Turkey, with 75 million inhabitants. Consistency is part of the relations between Europe and the United States." (Washington Post)
April 2007: “The real problem lies with Turkey; I can not tell young French school students that Europe’s borders lie along Syria and Iraq. If we accept Turkey then, putting aside the Ukraine for a moment, we have to accept Lebanon, Israel, and the Magrib. (Le Figaro)
May 2007 : Said he will “launch a debate on Turkey’s EU membership,” and he will be against such membership. (The Times)
June: 2007: Sarkozy made his opposition to Turkey joining the EU a central element of his presidential campaign, telling voters that Turkey was geographically not part of Europe and arguing that the country had no place in an already overstretched union. (Liberation)
August 2007; Sarkozy will not block EU negotiations with Turkey because Ankara is in sensitive era. (Turkey was busy with Presidential and parliament elections)
Probably we will hear more and more these kind of unfair controversies from conservative front of Europe. Turkish politicians should ask themself about what they have done to weaken Sarkozy since 2005, they will realize, in fact they had done nothing about social and law reforms. Armenian journailst Hrant Dink has been the victim of 301 law, after and before this murder, lots of European and Turkish allies called goverment to amend this law but goverment insisted and didn't take heed them.
Instead of accusing Sarkozy and sparing its valuable time, Turkish goverment should criticize itself and accelerate democratilaziton reform packages. Turkey can encourage its European allies to frustrate Sarkozy, by approving reform packages.
Ankara Concerned By Russian Suspension Of Key Treaty
December 17, 2007, BARÇIN YINANÇ, ISTANBUL - Turkish Daily News
Turkey is concerned that Russia's decision to suspend its participation in a key European arms treaty might threaten the already volatile situation in the Caucasus, the Turkish Daily News has learned.
Last Wednesday Moscow froze compliance with the Conventional Forces in Europe (CFE) treaty limiting post-Cold War arms levels in a long-running row over the stationing of Russian forces in Georgia and Moldova which Moscow says are merely peacekeepers.
“The suspension is not provided for under the terms of the CFE treaty. It is therefore illegal in the eyes of the Alliance,” said a Turkish official from the Turkish delegation in Brussels where NATO is headquartered. “NATO does not recognize the Russian unilateral move,” said the same official to the Turkish Daily News in a telephone interview.
The Turkish government does not anticipate an immediate Russian decision to move its military troops in violation of the treaty. “Our understanding is that Russia will drag its feet as far as the verification mechanism is concerned,” said a Turkish source familiar with the issue.
Signed in 1990 and modified in 1999, the CFE places precise limits on the stationing of troops and heavy weapons from the Atlantic coast to Russia's Ural Mountains – a mammoth agreement that helped resolve the Cold War standoff.
Russia attributes its freeze to the failure of 26 NATO members to ratify a revised 1999 version of the treaty. It complains that the treaty as it stands restricts its freedom to deploy troops in its own territory. Russian complaints are also based on its reaction to the eastward expansion of NATO, which has handed membership to a number of ex-Warsaw pact countries.
Russia has also been riled by U.S. plans to deploy an anti-missile shield in two former Soviet satellite states. NATO countries have said they will only ratify the CFE treaty once Moscow lives up to a pledge made in 1999 to pull its troops out of the former Soviet republics of Georgia and Moldova.
“What matters is how the Russians will implement this decision,” said a Turkish diplomat.
In the first practical effect of the suspension, Russia did not provide information it is required to disclose under the treaty last Friday in an annual exchange of documents in Vienna. Russian officials, did not rule out increasing troop levels, which is a source of concern for Turkey.
Turkey has been engaged in dialogue with Moscow on the issue, the TDN learned. “Russia claims it is facing a terrorism threat and cannot deal with it properly due to the restrictions imposed on it by the Treaty. We have told the Russians that we cannot see any immediate terrorism threat directed toward them,” said a Foreign Ministry official.
A Russian redeployment of troops at the expense of the Treaty worries Ankara, since it will adversely affect the already fragile situation in the Caucasus.
The independence aspirations of the breakaway regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, have caused tension between Georgia and Russia, ever since the former declared its independence. Russian peacekeepers have operated in those regions since the early 1990s. Russia is regularly accused by Tblisi of siding with the separatists.
Talks aimed at resolving the conflict have been held since the mid-1990s. The Turkish government fears a Russian decision to increase its troop levels in the region will further complicate the already difficult diplomatic process aimed at finding a peaceful solution to the problem. “A decision by Russia to move its troops to the region will not help the diplomatic process, to the contrary it will increase the tension,” said a Turkish diplomat.
Despite Moscow's unilateral move to freeze its compliance with regard to the Treaty, talks are continuing between Russia and NATO. But neither side is optimistic about a quick solution, since Washington is unwilling to review its plans to deploy an anti-missile shield in Poland and the Czech Republic and NATO is unwilling to ratify the revised version of the Treaty before Russia keeps its commitment to withdraw its forces from Georgia and Moldova.
Armenians' Goal Is ‘Territorial Claims & Compensation From Turkey' by Harut Sasunian
December 14, 2007, Washington – Anatolia News Agency
One of the leading figures of the Armenian diaspora in the United States, journalist Harut Sasunian, said yesterday that the eventual objective of the Armenians is to get international recognition for the alleged ''genocide'' claims and to obtain territory and compensation from Turkey. He suggested that a new strategy should be devised to attain this goal.
Serge Sargsyan: What Do We Gain, What Do The Turks Gain, From The Present Situation?
12th December 2007
Armenia favours Turkey’s bid to join the European Union because it might improve the prospects for overcoming the strained relations between Ankara and Yerevan, RA Prime Minister Serge Sargsyan said in an interview with the Financial Times.
“I think it would be good for us if Turkey’s desire to become a member of the European Union were satisfied,” Mr. Sargsyan told the Financial Times. “Maybe the problems between us could find a solution within an EU framework.”
“Turkey has no diplomatic relations with Armenia and closed its borders with its smaller, poorer neighbour in 1993 in solidarity with Azerbaijan, its regional partner. Armenia complains the closure has severely disrupted its foreign trade. Turkey made its move in response to the capture by Armenian forces of Azerbaijani territory during a war over the predominantly ethnic Armenian enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh, which lies inside Azerbaijan.
Turkey and Armenia are also at odds over the mass killings of Armenians in 1915 in the Ottoman Empire, an event that Armenia regards as genocide, but which the modern Turkish state refuses to recognize as such,” the Financial Times reminds.
Mr. Sargsyan, 53, who is the early favorite to win Armenia’s presidential elections on February 19, said he hoped Turkey would produce proposals for improving ties with Armenia after the vote. Referring to Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkey’s Prime Minister, he said: “I don’t think it’s correct to say he’s not committed to establishing relations with Armenia. We’ll see what happens in the future.”
Mr. Sargsyan, describing himself as optimistic that Armenia and Turkey would make progress, asked: “After all, what do we gain, what do the Turks gain, from the present situation? Even in the time of the cold war, when Armenia was part of the Soviet Union and Turkey was in NATO, we used to have a certain relationship with Turkey.”
“A railway line was built through Armenia to Turkey. A high-voltage electricity line was built between the two countries. Why should my wish for relations not be logical now?”
Actions Of Armenian Lobby Negatively Impacts On Washington’s Interests: Deputy Minister
13.12.07 , © TREND news Agency
Azerbaijan, Baku / corr Trend K.Ramazanova / The actions of the Armenian lobby in the United States, directed against Azerbaijan and Turkey, negatively impacts on Washington’s interests in the region, Hafiz Pashayev, the Azerbaijani Deputy Minister, former Azerbaijani Ambassador to the United States, said. He was addressing the international conference ‘ Azerbaijan – Turkey – USA’ in Washington on 12 December.
“A negative impact in a powerful country like the United States within the political lobbying system, from a small group who has ethnic interests for national security and foreign policy, is very dangerous,” Pashayev said.
According to Pashayev, the US Government frequently makes decisions in favor of lobby groups, which finally leads to geopolitical and strategic losses for the United States. “The US policy on the construction of the Baku-Akhalkalaki-Kars railway is a good example of this. Though the project meets the geopolitical and economic goals of the US foreign policy, anti-Turk and anti-Azerbaijani forces in the United States lobbying the US Congress have prevented the US being involved in this vital regional initiative,” the deputy minister.
Turkey Represents Major Threat For Armenia
14.12.2007 , /PanARMENIAN.Net/ “Turkey is still in search for a national-strategic identity. It has been experiencing this process for over 70 years already and the final variant is unknown yet. However, one thing is clear: Turkey represents the major threat for Armenia,” member of the Armenian National Assembly’s committee on European integration, political scientist Armen Ashotyan said in an interview with PanARMENIAN.Net.
“From the global standpoint, the Armenian-Turkish relations are the pillar stone of geostrategic construction in the region. Normalization of relations at all levels will lead other to reconsideration of their positions in the region. It specifically refers to Russia, Iran, Georgia and Azerbaijan. Many are interested in normalization of relations. The U.S. and EU are demonstrating the highest activity; however, Russia is still idle. Maybe, its restraint is conditioned by a possibility of closure of the 102nd base. But our relations have a broader foundation than mere military cooperation,” he said.
Time Is Not On Armenia's Side
December 14, 2007, Semih IDIZ
As Armenians prepare for their presidential elections to be held in February, Armenia and the Armenian Diaspora are seen to be increasingly debating the question of relations with Turkey in a manner that suggests a serious divergence of views emerging among them.
There seems to be a growing struggle between the “realists” and the “pipe dreamers,” mostly of Dashnak ilk, on the topic with acrimony flying in both directions.
Former President Levon Ter Petrossian, much vilified by the Dashnak's for his moderate (and realistic) approach to Turkey, promises to change things if he is elected. The Dashnak camp, lead by out-going President Robert Kocharian, is – as expected – accusing him of “preparing to sit the country on Turkey's lap.”
While not slated to win, Petrossian nevertheless has undeniable facts on his side which have to be taken into notice by the electorate. The most glaring fact is of course that the “Kocharian period,” for all the bombast and bravado it entailed, has brought little to this country in terms of helping it break out of its poverty and isolation.
Sefa Kaplan, a well known journalist for Hürriyet, was in Yerevan recently to attend a conference and talk to a group of young people. His article on the subject in Tuesday's Hürriyet indicates that there is more on the mind of Armenian youth than getting Turkey and the Turks to eat humble pie.
Remarks, published in the Financial Times this week, by Serge Sargissian – Armenia's prime minister who is expected to win the presidential elections – were also interesting for revealing a nascent desire for some kind of a new chapter in relations between the two countries.
Sargissian, who is known to be a “Kocharian man” readily, admits that neither Armenia, nor Turkey gain anything from the present situation. He also bemoans the fact that when Armenia was part of the USSR, and Turkey was in NATO, the two countries used to have a certain relationship that is lost now.
“A railway line was built through Armenia to Turkey. A high-voltage electricity line was built between the two countries. Why should my wish for relations not be logical now?” Sargissian was quoted saying.
These remarks in fact hint at Armenia's real concern. The Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline has bypassed this country. So has the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway line project. The Armenian Diaspora tried hard to prevent these projects but failed totally. It is clear that these economically strategic projects will lead to new ones which Armenia will not be a part of again.
So what Sargissian says about neither Turkey nor Armenia benefiting from the current situation is not completely true. It is apparent that Armenia is losing much more than Turkey is. A brief conversation I had with the mayor of Kars a few days ago also proves this.
I asked Naif Alibeyoglu, who was in Ankara on business, if they still wanted the border between Turkey and Armenia opened, as they did in the past, because of the economic advantages this would bring to the economically depressed Kars region.
“No” he said going on to add, “Those days are over. We asked them to cooperate with us but they had other things on their minds and we had no time to waste. We now have the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway and that is providing new opportunities for us.”
It is a fact that while the Kocharian administration, supported by the Dashnaks, was pursuing a foreign policy aimed primarily at forcing Turkey to recognize the events of 1915 as “genocide,” things that pertain to the real world were developing in the background that Armenia missed out on to the detriment of its own citizens.
Pointing to this dilemma for Armenians, Levon Ter Petrossian was quoted recently as suggesting openly during a political rally that the Armenian Diaspora's interests and the interests of The Republic of Armenia do not necessarily overlap.
It is not surprising, given this, that he is so hated by the Diaspora. The best proof of this is perhaps a recent comment by Harout Sassounian, the publisher of “The California Courier.”
While not known outside his community, Sassounian is said to be influential among Diaspora Armenian's in the United States. Mr. Sassounian says in a piece he wrote on Dec. 5 that “The Armenian Cause is not about genocide recognition, but the pursuit of justice which entails that the Armenian victims receive reparations.”
He adds that “Remembering the genocide is also about keeping the hope and dream alive for succeeding generations of Armenians – that some day, they will regain their historic lands.”
Admitting that “Nobody gives an inch of land to anyone unless forced to do so” and underlining the importance of keeping the Armenian dream alive through generations, Sassounian concludes as follows:
“The Republic of Turkey will not have the same borders forever. No one knows what can happen in the next 30 years or 300 years, but if Armenians relinquish their claims now, they would have lost the chance of recovering anything forever.”
If Armenians in Armenia prefer to go down this road, rather than the realistic road suggested by Mr. Petrossian, or the one that Mr. Sargissian is now trying to hint at, this means they have a long wait on their hands.
It also means that during this time they will continue to evacuate their country, which has provided them with little over the past 10 years in terms of the basic things that ordinary people all over the world want. UNDP and IBRD figures indicate openly the mass exodus out of Armenia today.
As for Sassounian's remark that “the Republic of Turkey will not have the same borders forever” history tells us that Turkish borders have been more secure over time than have Armenian ones - and we go all the way back to Roman times when we say this.
The logical thing to do would be for Armenia to concentrate on what it has, and to improve on this (including by means of better relations with Turkey), rather than wait forever until the pipe dreams of some of their leaders and opinion framers are realized.
Sassounian must know, of course, that remarks such as his only make the hardliners in Turkey more hard-line towards all things Armenian, rather than serve the search for a workable modus vivendi between Turkey and Armenia, and the two nations.
It is clear from his remarks, however, that this is the last thing Diaspora Armenians want.
This is probably what lies at the bottom of the divergence that appears to be developing among Armenians on the question of relations with Turkey.
This divergence will probably grow as more Armenians realize that time in not necessarily on their side. At least not in the way they think.
Greek Americans Stand With Armenians In Recognizing Armenian Genocide
/PanARMENIAN.Net/ The wall of genocide denial, obstructing the recognition - and future prevention - of the scourge of genocide is finally crumbling, Greek NEO Magazine says.
“Despite decades-long, state - sponsored and now multi-million dollar campaigning by Turkey to distort history, buy off politicians, and threaten the interests of nations with the courage to recognize history, the issue of the Armenian Genocide by Ottoman Turkey between 1915 and 1923 has again come into focus.
“Armenians have not been alone in this fight for justice. Greek Americans have been a longtime ally, working hand-in-hand with Armenians for official recognition of their past. Like the Armenians, they too are the orphans of genocide. Between 1914 and 1923 Ottoman Turkey slaughtered over a million Greeks in Asia Minor and Pontus and burned the Greek city of Smyrna annihilating its population. The Pontian Genocide shattered the lifeblood of an ancient community, completely removing any collective Greek presence in Asia Minor--a land they had inhabited for three thousand years. In 1997, legislation was introduced in Congress commemorating the Greek genocide. Met with opposition from Turkey, the resolution did not leave committee.
“The success of Armenian and Greek advocacy is that they have finally been able to break the wall of denial; the facts of the Armenian Genocide are no longer debated. It is uncertain when the resolution will come to a vote in the House, but Armenian and Greek Americans will continue to stand together to convince elected officials that there is no better time to recognize genocide than now,” the article reads.
Let Turkey Feel Like A Rainbow
December 13, 2007, Vercihan Ziflioglu, Antakya – Turkish Daily News
According to the photographer, Atilla Durak, Turkey is losing its 'Ebru' (marble art). In his exhibition, which is traveling around the country and will soon open abroad, he displays photos of 44 ethnicities
An impressive photography exhibition highlighting Turkey's cultural diversity through colorful portraits of its people made its way to the southern city of Antakya where it has been hosted since Dec. 8.
Photographer Attila Durak's acclaimed exhibition “Ebru,” on display at the Hatay Culture Center, also hosted a panel discussion where anthropologist Leyla Neyzi of Sabanci University, lawyer Fethiye Çetin and poets Akif Kurtulus and Mehmet Ali Solak all contributed to a heated debate with Durak. Members of the audience directed quite interesting questions to Durak and one of the most intriguing comments was a self-criticism by a lawyer who wanted to remain anonymous.
“I want to make self-criticism,” said the woman as she spoke about about Turkey's attitude toward Afghani immigrants in Ovakent, Hatay. Another member of the audience made a comment about Durak's work. “I see scenes setup in your photographs. I wonder if people from these 44 ethnic backgrounds smile in real life the way you portrait them,” they said.
In the guestbook a 13-year-old child wrote: “We built this homeland together.” Durak pointed out that people were also engaged in amazing dialogues during Diyarbakir and Kars panels. In the question-answer section at the panel in Kars, someone asked author Takuhi Tovmasyon, who is of Armenian origins, “We went through difficulties at least as much as Armenians did. How would you explain this?” Tovmasyon replied, “Both you and I have a thorn in our side. It hurts as we walk along. You help me to take it out and I will do the same for you. After the panel, I will cook halva at the restaurant for the memory of all the deceased and will be waiting for you there.” After the panel Tovmasyan and the lady asking that particular question cooked halva together.
“Ebru” welcomed visitors in July at the 1001 Direk Cistern located in the Sultanahmet Square, Istanbul. Following other displays in Diyarbakir and Kars, Durak's exhibition will remain open in Hatay until Dec. 19 and will be moved to Europe in 2008 after an Anatolian tour.
To transfer the exhibition to Armenia, Durak needed both material and spiritual support. The photographer drew attention to the concept of “tolerance” in Turkey and said that there is a long way to go before the country embraces tolerance fully. The project was supported by the Open Society Institute, the Spunk Foundation International and Henrich Böll Stiftung Foundation, as well as about 30 more organizations. Renowned British thinker John Berger wrote the preface to the book that published as part of the exhibition and Alan Duben, Ara Güler, Takuhi Tomasyan, Herkül Milas, Murat Belge and Elif Safak along with many other thinkers, authors and artists provided assistance with their articles.
Obstacles in the hearts
A group of eight including members of the media engaged themselves in another exciting conversation at the dinner party thrown after the panel. Concept of cultural diversity was discussed during the dinner, which later on turned into a discussion platform to shed a light on solutions and what people can do about the future. The dialogue between two journalists, one Turk and one Armenian, - attracted the attention of others as well. “We youngsters can overcome traumas. We can talk about all the pain felt about what happened and how it happened in the past. Let's discuss them if necessary and find a way out. Cultural activities are important but we should do more. Let's rid obstacles in the hearts of Turks and Armenians,” said the two who were both in Istanbul. The two visited the only Armenian village outside Armenian, Vakifliköy, in Hatay. Both then carried out an Armenian tradition which involves burning incense.
Then everyone lit a candle and prayed together. Durak shared one of his memories. “I was born in Gümüshane. I trespassed into orchids and stole apples or pears, so I was beaten a lot. I was being congratulated for shattering down the stained glasses of the last Armenian Church in our county. My mother told me that she ruined icons in the church, so I broke the stained glasses.
Armenians, Greeks and Jews were our next-door neighbors; however, they always remained as ‘others.' In my adolescence I always wondered about ‘others' and thought we were not fair to them. That, the ‘Ebru' appeared right at this point.” Durak expressed that he was troubled by terming Turkey as a mosaic. “I am bored with the Orientalist mentality. Turkey shouldn't be described as a mosaic. We are given life by Ebru where colors meet water.”
Over the years Durak photographed people from 44 different ethnic With the help of his friends, Durak deepened his research and collected information on different cultures. He then spent some time with people from different ethnicities: He dressed up the way they do, lived with them for months, and adopted their eating habits.
Durak emphasized every ethnicity in Turkey has its own unique problems and some have no problems with others. “We are far away from tolerance; we are selfish and have a weak social memory,” he said. Dialogue is the key to healing trauma among societies, said Durak.
But during the shots he realized a bitter fact, “I was able to take photographs of only 44 ethnicities. However, there must have been over 70 ethnicities in Turkey."
Nursen Nerci - Antakya: Until I came to Hatay from Bursa I didn't know about other cultures living in Turkey, and was not interested in them either; I had my prejudices. But once I arrived I changed my mind. Here we witness tens of cultures living together. I met Armenians, Alevis, Assyrians and Arabs in Hatay whom I never knew before. But they are less in numbers. In fact, we all are the same in essence, if only we get to know each other better. At the exhibition were surrounded by color photographs. I took a quick tour in the exhibition. The ethnic cultures of Turkey are as though gathered here in this hall.
Mehmet Yakar - Antakya: I am a teacher trying to explain peace and friendship to children. I took my students to the exhibition. We should be patient toward each other and approach each other with love. This is vital to overcome issues. In my class, I have many students coming from different ethnicities including Armenians, Alevis, Arabs and Assyrians. I am trying to explain to them that they should not see each other as “others.”
TÜSIAD: French Objection To Turkey Pathological
The wording of an EU statement on enlargement that failed to openly confirm Turkey's objective of full EU membership, and in particular the role played by France in the making of the statement, sparked harsh reaction from leading representatives of the Turkish business world as well as from the Turkish capital.
A foreign ministers' statement on the EU's enlargement strategy on Monday omitted the words "accession" or "membership" in connection with Turkey, saying instead they looked forward to "intergovernmental conferences" with Turkey and Croatia later this month.
The wording of the text was the result of objections from France, whose president, Nicolas Sarkozy, is a staunch opponent of Turkey's accession to the EU. Ankara began negotiations for membership in 2005 but France, which advocates a special partnership with Turkey instead of full EU membership, refused to allow mention of "accession conferences," the usual wording for talks with candidate nations Turkey and Croatia.
"The illegal resistance shown by a democracy against another democracy -- which could be considered as pathological in this direction -- is in contradiction with idealism, which is a basis for European integration and sets a block in front of development of natural relations between the two countries," the influential Turkish Industrialists and Businessmen's Association (TÜSIAD) said in a statement released Tuesday, in an apparent reference to French efforts in the generation of the EU statement.
TÜSIAD also noted that it was not possible to understand efforts by France, which will take the rotating presidency of the union in the second half of 2008, to block off roads to EU membership for Turkey.
The Turkish capital quickly responded to the EU statement via a written statement released by Foreign Ministry spokesperson Levent Bilman late on Monday, only hours after the EU statement's release.
"Even though the declaration confirms Turkey's full membership objective ... the fact that this was referred to in an indirect way has led to serious displeasure," Bilman said in his statement, which came in the form of a response to a question from a journalist.
Without naming France, Bilman put the blame on "the stance of one member country [which] cannot be met with understanding." He, nonetheless, added: "On the other hand, we welcome the efforts in our support of other member countries that form the majority within the EU."
At Monday's meeting, Britain, Sweden and other supporters of Ankara's bid wanted the 27-nation union to renew its commitment to admit Turkey to the bloc if it meets all the membership criteria, but yielded after a short debate, diplomats said.
"… Omitting of the word accession is far from seriousness and is an approach in violation of the principle of pacta sunt servanda [agreements must be kept], which is one of the basic values of the EU," Haluk Kabaalioglu, the head of the Economic Development Foundation (IKV), an NGO representing the Turkish private sector's interests regarding the EU, also said in a written statement released yesterday.
12.12.2007,Today's Zaman Ankara
Ask for More U.S. Aid to Armenia and Karabagh, December 14, 2007
ANCA Action: Reverse Proposed Cuts in Aid to Armenia Call your Legislators TODAY
ANCA Action: Start off Strong in 2008: Pass H.Res.106 Email your Representative TODAY
1) Advocacy Week 106 Takes Capitol Hill by Storm
2) ANCA Welcomes Senate Passage of Sudan Divestment Bill
3) Search & Shop for the Armenian Cause with GoodSearch
Update: The ADL Controversy
ANC Efforts Prompt Glendale Unified School District to
Postpone ADL Seminar [Read Release]
Several More Massachusetts Communities Withdraw
from No Place for Hate [Read Release]
1) Advocacy Week 106 Takes Capitol Hill by Storm
Rep.Mike Conaway (R-TX-11) (center) joined by (from left to right) ANCA-WR Executive Director Andrew Kzirian, ANCA-WR Chairman Raffi Hamparian, Texas ANC Chairman Vatche Hovsepian, Idaho ANC Activist John Kazian, ANCA Capital Gateway Fellow Dan Stepanian Bennett, ANCA Gov't Affairs Director Kate Nahapetian and Glendale ANC Intern Arby Eivazian.
Washington, DC – The Armenian National Committee of America – Western Region (ANCA-WR) is pleased to report that human rights advocates from all over the western United States traveled to Washington, D.C. to participate in “Advocacy Week 106” from Monday, December 3 through Friday, December 7. The Armenian Genocide resolution (H. Res. 106) passed through the House Committee on Foreign Affairs on October 10, 2007 by a vote of 27-21 despite unprecedented opposition by President Bush and other facets of the administration, including current and former high-ranking cabinet officials from the Departments of State and Defense.
“We have seen scores of constituents expressing deep concerns over the inaccurate, misrepresented and distorted nature of media coverage on the resolution in October,” stated ANCA-WR Executive Director Andrew Kzirian. “These human rights activists traveled to Washington, DC to help set the record straight and remind Members what the resolution is really all about – ending the cycle of genocide and not succumbing to Turkey’s denial,” he added. Read More. . .
2) ANCA Welcomes Senate Passage of Sudan Divestment Bill
Sen. Chris Dodd (D-CT)
WASHINGTON, DC – The Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) hailed U.S. Senate passage of legislation which would allow state and local governments to divest from companies supporting Sudan’s genocidal regime.
The resolution, introduced by Sen. Chris Dodd (D-CT), was adopted just before midnight yesterday evening, despite ongoing opposition from the departments of State and Justice. A similar resolution was overwhelmingly adopted by the U.S. House this July by a vote of 418-1.
“We join with all our allies in the Save Darfur Coalition in welcoming the adoption of this anti-genocide measure, and in extending our appreciation to Senator Dodd and all those who moved this measure through the U.S. Senate,” said ANCA Executive Director Aram Hamparian. “We look forward to working with our friends in the House to see this measure adopted as quickly as possible so that it can be sent to the President for his signature.” Read more. . .
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Turkey: Seeking An Outlet For Expansion
Turkey is flexing its muscles as it seeks an avenue to expand.
Turkish President Abdullah Gul arrived in Kazakhstan on Dec. 12 for a three-day visit primarily aimed at furthering Turkish business interests in the region. The visit is symptomatic of a country seeking an outlet for its rising power and ambition.
Turkey is a rising power economically, militarily and politically, with an economy worth some $400 billion and the second-largest military in NATO. Yet it is also a country rather conflicted about its place in the world. Since the end of World War I the Turks have existed in a sort of cultural limbo, shunning their Islamic and imperial past, yet being denied full membership in the West in general, and the European Union in specific.
Over the past decade, the Turks have come to terms with the idea that they have made it as far into Europe as Europe will allow: They enjoy a customs union with the European Union, an agreement functionally equivalent to the U.S.-Mexico relationship via NAFTA. But EU membership is out of the question. Now, they are casting about for a new national goal.
The lands surrounding modern Turkey echo with the voices of Turkey's imperial past. All provide certain opportunities for the expansion of Turkish influence, yet none of the options leap out as being obvious --and none will be easy.
In Central Asia, cultural links to the region's Turkic peoples may give the Turks access -- but the Russians have deeper and more recent ties, while the Chinese are splashing around more money. The Balkans provide Turkey a chance to leverage NATO links and cultural connections and force the Europeans to treat them with respect, but ultimately it is Brussels and Washington who most reliably shape events in Southeastern Europe. Working in the Caucasus helps buffer Turkey against a resurging Russia, but there is strong competition from not only Russia, but also Iran and Armenia. The only reason Iraqi Kurdistan has proven so hot-button in recent months is because the Turks perceive Kurdish autonomy across their southern border as a direct threat to the unity of Turkey itself. Like in its other spheres of potential interest, Turkey has no particular advantage in operating to its south either.
Yet Turkish power continues to rise, and it is only a matter of time before it seeks an outlet. Its economy has stabilized after a 2001 crash, and has grown strongly ever since. The government is consolidated under a single party to a degree absent since the time of Kemal Ataturk. The military is strong, flexible and deployable.
This broad-spectrum strength allows Turkey to have its fingers in a lot of different pots. The only thing lacking is a strategic decision by the Turks about which direction is most important to Turkey. Once that decision is made, there are no internal barriers to Turkish movement.
Stratfor, Dec 12 2007
A NYT Reporter Finds The Best Definition For Armenia
She Says That Armenia Is Their Promised Land Without The Promise :And “There Is No Future In Armenia”
Curious to investigate to find out where the much- talked-about Armenian Tsunami would generate from, and wishing to find out how the Armenian youth lived, an American reporter. Ms. Susan Sachs of the New York Times wrote an article. This was also based on her earlier visit to Armenia’s capital Yerevan. She said in part: “I simply wanted to talk and find out ‘how Armenian youth lived. But being unable to find any traces of revolutionary moods in Armenia, Ms. Sachs, who was also New York Times’ Istanbul Bureau Chief, says she came to the conclusion that “THERE WAS NO FUTURE IN ARMENIA” I hope that Bernaed Ohanian of the National Geographic is reading this !
A PROMISED LAND WITHOUT PROMISE
The above portion of the story by Karen Vitanesyan, of the Armenindicates that the name of Ms. Sachs New York Times article carried the full title of “ For Young Armenians A Promised Land Without Promise”
The article has also been reprinted in the International Herald Tribune under a title Young Armenians Puzzled Over Their Homeland, a much softer interpretation of Ms. Sachs’ intended title.
In the past, when we at the Turkish Forum wanted to call attention to the deplorable living conditions in Dictator Robert Kocharyan’s Armenia, we never split words to describe the situation there. Recently, when the Foreign Minister of Armenia , Vartan Oskanian insulted the Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan , by not only curtly rejecting the Turk’s conciliatory proposal made a week earlier, but also finding enough courage to call Mr. Erdogan’s government in Ankara simply “ A Shameless group of Genocide deniers.”
No similar reciprocating answer was yet issued from Ankara. This is something worrying many Turks. One columnist wrote that in the olden days this despicable description slung to the Turks’ honorable nation could produce much strong results.
To return to a more serious matter, let us find ourselves finally face to face with the geopolitical realities, or as the Germans call it realpolitik . When the dreaded April 24 arrives to confront us, as it does every year, if by the time you read these lines, and if you see or hear of a communiqué from the Bush White House, which is devoid of the infamous “G” word, then you can breathe easy. Because it’ll mean that the once predicted Armenian Tsunami was over and The” Sinking Ship” of Kocharian’s Armenia lies in ruin.. I personally did not expect anything less from their hyped up adventure.
ON ANOTHER SUBJECT : IS EUROPE A CHRISTIAN CLUB?
Why of course it is! I do not for one minute like to impose myself upon anybody, where I am not welcome. Therefore, Turkey would be better off if it stayed away from those racist, religiously fanatical places such as Hungary, and especially Poland.. When visiting Turkey the Polish President Aleksander Kwasniewski was singing the praises of the Turkish Republic and wanted to see the Turks enter the European Union. But his uncouth Speaker of the Polish Parliament, Vladimir Timoshevitch may have spoken for both of them. When he said in an impolite language the following:
«Turkish authorities do not wish to account for their own discrimination against the Armenians.» «As of the question whether there was a genocide or not and whether Turkey is guilty - there is no doubt and Turkish documents confirm it,» Timoshevich underscored. «I understand it is psychologically hard for Turks, moreover that the events took place 90 years ago,» Timoshevich noted. However, in his words, such a response by Turkey is «incorrect and I do not accept such criticism.»
"Christian Poland Recognizes Christian Armenia's Genocide Fable"And Another Catholic Country, Hungary, Did The Same
* * *
Jan Sobieski-The Polish King Who Helped The Austrians Stop The Turks In Vienna-1683- His Religious Descendents Sided With Christian Armenians Recently And Voted Against The Turks In The Genocide Issue
A FEW LINES BORROWED FROM THE EUROEAN HISTORY
"In early Modern Europe one of the most powerful states was the joint Kingdom of Poland and Lithuania, covering an area which would have included modern Poland, Lithuania, Belorussia, Slovakia and much of Ukraine. The following is an account of the victory of King Jan Sobieski in 1683. A hundred or so years later the 18th century was to see both Poland and the Ottoman empire suffer a relative decline in power in comparison with the newer formations of Prussia, Austria and Russia: by the end of the 18th century, Poland had been gobbled up by these states, and Ottoman Turkey endured a protracted conflict over which European states were going to dominate its territories.."
FOR WHOM DID SOBIESKI FIGHT IN 1683?
The Victory which the King of Poland has obtained over the Infidels, (the Turks) is so great and so complete that past Ages can scarcely parallel the fame; and perhaps future Ages will never see any thing like it. When he was asked how big his love for Austrians was, for he had come all the way from Poland with his great army, King Sobieski is rumored to have said the equivalent of the following modern slang:: "Hell!, I did it for the Glory of Heavens of Christendom."
FOR WHOM DID HIS PROGENY VOTE?
Well, the modern day descendents of the Catholic King Jan Sobieski in Poland of the 17th century, have followed his route today and voted in their Parliament for the fairy-tale genocide notion. Like the rest of the 7 or 8 European countries, the essence of the history of the genocide had no value in discussion. It seems that neither the Poles nor their Catholic brothers the Hungarians have voted for the Armenians, per se, but they voted for the Kingdom of Heaven, where resides the comfortable domain of Christendom.
THE POLISH PARLIAMENT IGNORED THE TRUTH
Turks are ready to face the record of history. Are Armenians ready to confront the truth? No! Turks accepted and do have respect for their history with all their ups and downs. But the Armenians, not only do not accept the historical facts but they reject their history by rewriting it to suit their own ulterior political objectives.
Claims by Armenian nationalists and Armenian Diaspora in the US that the Ottoman Empire perpetrated “Armenian genocide” is a maliciously distorted version of a forced relocation act (1915) which the Ottoman Government was obliged to impose upon Armenians insurgents living in east Anatolia's "war zones"
Militias and irregulars within Armenians operating as “fifth column” assisted the army of Czarist Russia and disrupted from behind the supply lines of Ottoman forces fighting them on the Eastern Front. Although militarily justified, relocation proved grievous for all; Armenian immigrants unfortunately suffered many victims; casualties hit also the officials responsible for the conduct of relocation. On this act “genocide” deception is cultivated.
WHAT IS THERE BEHIND THIS PROPAGANDA ?
Armenians broke the covenant of eight centuries old co-habitation under the Ottoman rule, not the Turks, those who claim “genocide” never mention that two-thirds of Armenian (as estimated by various foreign scholars) survived relocation; Armenians in western Anatolia and Thrace lived their normal life without deportation or any molestation; many continued serving the Ottoman public administration,but in eastern Anatolia, Armenians as subjects of the Empire fought against Ottoman soldiers, joining the forces of "Entente" Powers such as France and England..
A supposed ethnic cleansing order written by the Ottoman government could never be found anywhere since 1915; because there was none. Armenian claimants of “genocide” have yet to present a speck of uncontestable evidence to prove their allegation. All they produced so far is proven to be false in forged documents (Declaration by American historians and Academicians 1985).
These evidences raise the question; On what ground does the “Armenian genocide” stand? The truth is that there neverhas been an “ARMENIAN GENOCIDE” : ZERO TIMES ZERO IS STILL A ZERO.
This farce organized annually and carried out on the 24th of April is an exercise in futility; the curtain should come down for good. It is time to act seriously and responsibly. With reverence, we owe to the memory of all the victims of Turkish – Armenian Civil War to reveal the facts of history of that era.
With this purpose in mind Turkey has opened its national archives; Armenia, in fact, all those states actively involved in that critical period should do likewise. Turkey also proposes that a joint commission composed of historians from Armenia and Turkey undertake an impartial thorough review and investigate in-depth the Turkish – Armenian Civil War including the alleged “Armenian genocide” under the impartial supervision of UNESCO or any other world Court , acting as international notary public, in order to bring forth a comprehensive and factual account of the period.
Are The Armenians Ready To Confront The Truth? The Answer Is A Resounding "No” Because The Whole Christian World Is Behind Them, Including The New Pope, In Vatican Dominict XVI
An Editorial, Mahmut Esat Ozan, Chairman-Editorial Board, The Turkish Forum-USA
Mel Gibson's Movie Denial
A story has appeared on a Turkish news website claiming that a group has starting an email campaign against Mel Gibson and his new movie, a claim his rep is denying.
According to todayszaman.com, The Foundation for the Struggle Against Baseless Allegations of Genocide (ASIMED) has targeted Gibson to attempt to dissuade him "from playing a role in a film that underscores claims of an alleged genocide of Anatolian Armenians by Ottoman Turks during World War I."
A Professor at Ataturk University told the website that, "We have begun sending documents about the truth of the situation to Gibson. We started an e-mail campaign to urge him to decline the role and to not allow this film to be shot at his production company."
The 'Lethal Weapon' star's representative has denied any such involvement with the production, telling TMZ that, "We don't know where that started. He doesn't know anything about the project. Never heard of it."
11 December 2007, Celebrity Truth!
Maybe the Turkish Jews are worried about their involvement!
Posted by Festus, 11/12/2007 6:35pm (1 day ago)
I saw Mel chatting on ArmenianMatch the other day, is he looking?
Posted by Kim Kardashian, 11/12/2007 1:53pm (1 day ago)
I hope Mel Gibson will now make a movie about the laughable Turkish denial tactics. The "Alleged" Genocide is only "Alleged" by the uneducated Turks, Many EDUCATED Turks know the reality and have excepted it.
Posted by Turkish Denial!, 11/12/2007 12:42pm (1 day ago)
There is nothing alleged about the Armenian Genocide. It is a fact. Just go to the US archives and you will find 37000 pages concerning the systematic brutal, deliberate attempt by the turks to exterminate the Armenian population. The turks have spent tha last 90 plus years reconstructing history by trying everything against massive amounts of eveidence to avoid justice and would like mel gibson and anyone else to help lie for them. Turks are par with nazis.
Posted by thetruth10001, 11/12/2007 10:17am (2 days ago)
The Story Of Armenian Orphanage On Big Screen
The Ottoman Bank Museum will screen the documentary “Kirlangicin Yuvasi” (The Nest of the Swallow) today at 6 p.m. and 7 p.m. at its movie theater as part of its weekly movie program.
Directed and produced by Bülent Arinli and narrated by slain Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink, the film recounts the story of the Armenian Children’s Camp, an orphanage in Istanbul’s Tuzla district where Dink served as director. 13.12.2007
Media Watchdog Names Hrant Dink 'World Press Freedom Hero'
December 12, 2007, VIENNA – AFP
The International Press Institute named Hrant Dink, the murdered editor-in-chief of the bilingual Turkish-Armenian weekly Ago, as one of its World Press Freedom Heroes on Monday.
"Hrant Dink's nomination as our 52nd World Press Freedom Hero is a tribute to his bravery, but also an acknowledgement of his significant contribution to freedom of expression and press freedom in Turkey," IPI Director Johann Fritz said.
Dink, a well-known Turkish-Armenian editor and columnist, was murdered in Istanbul on January 19, 2007. He was shot twice in the head and once in the neck by a nationalist outside the offices of the newspaper he set up in 1996. He had run into trouble with the law for articles about the 1915-17 massacres of Armenians under the Ottoman Empire during World War I and received a six-month suspended sentence in July 2006 for denigrating "Turkishness." Dink was also facing prosecution for a second article condemning his conviction, and had received death threats.
The murder trial opened in Istanbul on July 2 with 18 people charged in connection with his assassination.
"The murder of Hrant Dink deprived Turkey of one of its most courageous and independent voices and it was a terrible event for Turkish press freedom in general," Fritz said as he handed the IPI award to Dink's widow, Rakel.
Dink was one of at least 91 journalists murdered so far in 2007, IPI said.
"In most cases, these murders occurred with impunity. We call on governments around the world to ensure that those responsible for these heinous crimes are brought to justice," Fritz said.
At Dink's funeral on January 23, 100,000 people marched in protest at his assassination, chanting, "We are all Armenians" and "We are all Hrant Dink."
New Report On Minorities' Efforts For Equality In Turkey
December 12, 2007, ISTANBUL - TDN
Millions of ethnic, linguistic and religious minorities remain unrecognized by the Turkish state, face discrimination and are now increasingly under threat as a result of a growing wave of violent nationalism, according to a recent report by the Minority Rights Group (MRG).
Whilst the accession process to become a European Union member has forced Turkey to make significant strides in minority rights, much more remains to be done, MRG, a nongovernmental organization working to secure the rights of minorities worldwide, said in the report.
"Turkey's multi-cultural heritage is one of its biggest assets. But this positive aspect is not embraced at the highest level. Instead, mention of minorities and minority rights triggers nationalist reactions by certain sectors of society” Ishbel Matheson, the organization's head of Policy and Communications, said in a statement posted on MRG's Web site.
The only protection for minorities in Turkey has been set out in the 1923 Treaty of Lausanne but in practice its scope is limited only to Armenians, Jews and Greek-Orthodox Christians.
But Turkey is home to a vast number of minorities including ethnic Kurds, Caucasians, Laz and Roma. These groups are legally not recognized as minorities and are very limited in their rights to use their languages in schools and in the media. Their religious rights are also curtailed, the report underlined.
Ottoman Roads To Serve Tourism
December 11, 2007, ERZURUM - Anatolia News Agency
As part of a project jointly initiated by Azerbaijan and Turkey, the regions where the Ottoman army passed while rescuing Azerbaijan from Armenian occupation in 1918 will be turned into tourism spots.
The aim of the project is to raise awareness of history among the young generation. The project titled “Historical Victory and Martyrdom Path of Ancestors,” was a proposal of the Azerbaijan Culture and Tourism Ministry. A Turkish and Azerbaijani delegation of 33 people including university students and lecturers conducted investigations in the Anatolian cities of Igdir, Kars and Erzurum and the Black Sea city of Trabzon.
Culture and Tourism Ministry Foreign Relations Office Turkic Republics Department Director Bülent Arasli said the Caucasus Islamic Army, which was sent to Azerbaijan in 1918 by the Ottoman state, had ended the Armenian occupation.
Arasli said the project's goal was to teach the importance of the Ottoman Empire to future generations, adding, “the project is a sign of loyalty of the Azerbaijani government to the Ottoman Empire. The delegation will also visit Azerbaijan in coming days.”
He said memorials for martyrs will be established in many cities of Azerbaijan for the Ottoman soldiers. “Also, the 90th anniversary of the Caucasus Islamic Army's coming to the Azerbaijani capital Baku will be celebrated at a festival next year,” he added.
Within the scope of the project a project has been prepared to convert the road, which the Caucasus Islamic Army took to go to Azerbaijan, a tourism destination. Memorials for martyrs that were destroyed in the time of the Soviet Union will be restored and new ones will be built as well.
Closed Borders Will Be Opened With Football
Sefa Kaplan, Turkish Daily News, Turkey, Dec 12 2007
Everybody wonders whether there will be problems in the forthcoming World Cup qualification group games between Turkey and Armenia, but media and diplomats in Yerevan believe that the matches will help the two countries launch a process of dialogue
As Armenia and Turkey are scheduled to meet on the football pitch - countries with severed diplomatic ties - Armenian writers and diplomats agree that the game is a real opportunity to launch a process of dialogue to solve existing problems.
Although Turkey and Armenia have played on lesser stages and most recently were drawn in the same group in the UEFA European Women's U19 Championship's qualifying rounds, the draw for the World Cup 2010 qualification groups means the countries will play each other for the first time at that level.
That first big encounter will open doors to the two countries' troubled relations. For some, this is a must, not just an opportunity.
"If you are not happy with the relations between you and your neighbor, you can move out of your building," said Levon Ananyan, head of the Armenian Writers Union, to the daily Hurriyet. "But that is not the case between Armenia and Turkey. Those countries will always be geographic and historic neighbors and will live together," Ananyan said.
What is needed most is that the two peoples know each other, and football is a chance for that, said Ananyan.
These games can work if they can help develop dialogue between the countries, said Vladimir Karapetyan, a spokesman for the Armenian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, agreeing with Ananyan. Karapetyan recounts his journey from Yerevan to Kars two years ago. It could take two hours to go from the Armenian capital to the eastern Turkish city, but it took 15 hours for him to get there because of the closed borders.
The Armenian side will do what it can to improve the relations, Karapetyan said.
"We, as the Armenian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, will invite Turkish governmental administrators to the game and will come if invited," said Karapetyan.
Karapetyan is also sure that Armenia will at least win the game in Yerevan. Games like these are played in a derby atmosphere and have unpredictable results, said Armen Nikogosyan, editor of the weekly football journal "90 Minutes."
The media of both countries should act responsibly, said Boris Navasardyan, head of the Press Club of Armenia, adding that Turkey's 12 points to Armenia in the latest Eurovision Song Contest were warmly received and the game can have a similar impact.
What's On The Armenians' Mind ?
Hayots Ashkharh Daily, Armenia, Dec 12 2007
And thus, the NA Standing Committee on Foreign Relations is organizing parliamentary hearings devoted to the following topic: "Armenian-Turkish Relations; Problems and Perspectives." The hearings are scheduled for December 19-20.
According to official reports, "wide-ranging discussions will be initiated during the hearings, with the purpose of clarifying the causes of the problems existing in the Armenian-Turkish relations, estimating their character and specifying the potential and the mechanisms of parliamentary diplomacy in the process of regulating those relations."
Well, by interrupting one another for two days, the MPs and the participants invited to the hearings will speak about initiating a dialogue with Turkey and the profitableness of continuing it. They will speak about the fact that it is necessary to improve the relations, as it is very important for the establishment of peace in the Caucasus. If the members of the Armenian pan-national Movement are among the invitees, there will even be discussions on Turkey's possible role in the Karabakh settlement process.
And whether or not we want it, we'll start thinking that the native activists are kind to pour forth so many good intentions in such a short time. And this was done with regard to Turkey. And what's more, these people positively combine it with the Karabakh problem and the establishment of peace in the region.
The prelude and the starting point are not something new; they are old. Many years ago and within the course of years it was a thousand times repeated that we were very desirous to have diplomatic relations with Turkey. As to Turkey, it responded a thousand times within the same time period that it was unwilling to have such relations with us unless we ceded Karabakh to Azerbaijan.
With the help of Levon Ter-Petrosyan and Zhirayr Liparityan, Vahan Papazyan and Alik Arzoumanyan we arrived at the conclusion that our economy would prosper if Turkey raised the blockade. Turkey swore on the memory of Ozal, Chiler, Demirel, Gyul and Ataturk that it would not raise the blockade unless we ceded Karabakh to Azerbaijan.
We will not cede Karabakh to Azerbaijan. Therefore, there will be no diplomatic relations and the blockade will not be raised. At least in the visible future. But as the native activists like to repeat, "We do see the profitableness of initiating a dialogue with Turkey and continuing it".
So did we at the beginning of the '90s. It is Turkey that doesn't see it. As to us, instead of making the world hear and see that Turkey behaves as enemy, we all time whimper that we want to be on friendly terms, whereas Turkey doesn't. Without appreciating its profitableness. Of course, it is first of all for us.
I repeat, the matter has even gone so far that our people have started speaking about Turkey's "positive involvement" in the process of achieving the "peaceful settlement" of the conflict. Perhaps, this is not obvious absurdity and treachery, but rather - delicate diplomacy which we do not simply understand.
No, say what you may, but the diplomacy of our activists will eventually lead to a war with Turkey - touch wood. Because Turkey may start suffering from mass psychosis as a result of making futile efforts in an attempt to understand what the Armenian wants and says.
We expressed our opinion about the borders of Karabakh long ago.
They are well-aware in the Caucasus of what we do and how, while the Armenians are hinting at some dialogue and initiating some discussions in the National Assembly. What for?
What's on the Armenians' mind this time? Allah knows.
'Wake Up, You're Losing Your Country'
By Alexia Saoulli, Cyprus Mail, Cyprus, Dec 12 2007
CYPRUS is at serious risk of being overrun by immigrants, if the Movement for the Salvation of Cyprus is to be believed; failure to clamp down on the influx of legal and illegal foreigners, they say, will culminate in an irreversible situation where the majority of the island is made up of non-Greek Cypriots.
"We are fighting for our national identity... We are sounding the alarm bell and saying wake up, you're losing your country," Panicos Arsalides said yesterday.
Arsalides was speaking at a modest gathering of the Movement for the Salvation of Cyprus. The Movement, formed about a year ago, is concerned that the growing number of immigrants on the island will irrevocably impact the island's demographics over the next 30 years.
"If there is a five per cent increase in the number of immigrants every year, aided by our low birth rate, in 30 years there will be about 600,000 immigrants and 520,000 Greek Cypriots," he said.
Speakers at the meeting gave examples of other European countries facing similar predicaments and questioned how Cyprus was expected to cope.
One theory put forward was that the influx of immigrants was a design by Turkey to take over the island.
"Illegal immigrants are brought to the free areas by the Turkish mafia... It is undoubtedly a plan... A large portion of them speak Turkish as their mother tongue and say they are Kurds," the participants heard.
Many nodded their heads in agreement, while others voiced their approval aloud.
"The situation is at the point of no return. If we are negligent, in another year or two it will be irreversible," Arsalides said.
The 28 people who turned up to listen to the panel of seven Movement members were told that in light of a Cyprus problem solution, Turkey would use the immigrants as a negotiating tool to excuse the huge number of settlers in the occupied areas.
"They'll say they are seasonal workers the way we have immigrants who do seasonal work, except theirs speak the same language, are the same nationality and have the same religion.... They'll say they can't get rid of them," Arsalides said.
The economist also likened Nicosia's Ledra Street on a Sunday to Lahore in Pakistan.
"From the Ochi roundabout to the mosque when it is Bairam [Islamic festival] there are around 10,000 children. Is that not something to worry about? We have a problem," Arsalides said.
He said Cyprus had to open its eyes and set up a line of defence to protect itself from the wave of immigrants flooding the island like "a tsunami".
"The excuse we keep hearing is that our economy needs immigrants.
This has no basis because it has never been investigated. Who benefits from this situation I don't know," Arsalides said.
The Movement's president, Petros Stylianou, said they had been unfairly labelled racist and almost called uneducated.
"We are none of these things," he said.
Arsalides added: "What the Turks didn't take [in 1974], the immigrants will. Wake up... And they say we are racist. In several years, Greek Cypriots will make up 20 to 25 per cent of the population and the remainder will mostly be made up of Turks followed by Pakistanis, Bangladeshis, Chinese..."
Movement board member Vias Livadas said the group was talking to lawyers regarding to what extent people who defended illegal immigrants could be held accountable.
"They are accomplices and we are examining to what extent they can be considered accomplices," he said.
Livadas also said the Movement had come across a map published in a Turkish publication depicting Cyprus, Crete, all of the Aegean islands, Salonica, part of Syria, northern Iraq and nearly all of Armenia as Turkish, therefore "proof" of what Turkey believed to be its territories.
The people present at the gathering showed signs of being afraid.
One man said: "We have been terrorised but it is the truth. These are the facts."
The Movement said it planned to make 2,000 copies and distribute the minutes of yesterday's meeting.
How Armenians Can Avert A Third World War
By Edward Papelian, The Conservative Voice, Dec 11 2007
How Armenians Can Avert The Third World War.
What is liberty, justice and democracy about?
There is much talk about "Turkish pride," but what about "American pride"?
On 10 October 2007 the House Foreign Affairs Committee of the US Congress once again officially recognized the Armenian Genocide.
An interesting aspect to this is that none of the 21 dissenting votes disclaimed or denied the Genocide. Instead, they all formally recognized the event but argued against official recognition because of geostrategic concerns alone. Within the parties themselves, 19 out of 27 Democrats and 8 out of 21 Republicans voted in favor. The audience to the vote included Armenian veterans and four wheelchair-bound survivors of the Genocide.
The next step now is the Congressional vote on the official resolution. It should be kept in mind that a clutch of Turkish generals, Islamists and ultra-Nationalists supported by a multi-million dollar public relations campaign on behalf of Turkish holocaust-deniers are intensively blackmailing Capitol Hill.
Denying the Armenian Genocide is also a denial of American History.
Many American politicians, individuals, humanists tried to stop the Armenians Genocide while the Genocide was happening. The American Nation tried to save as much life as possible in 1915-1923 by an unparalleled humanitarian act. But the same United State is now becoming a denial State, by yielding to Turkish threats and blackmails.
The State of Affairs to Date: The Pre and Post History of the VotePrior to the vote, Turkey not only vocally opposed to the resolution but also pulled out all the stops in its attempt to create a negative atmosphere against it. Turkish Prime Minster Erdogan and his party, the AKP ("Justice and Development Party"), stated that the vote would play directly into the hands of the Turkish Nationalists.
Buyukanit, the Chief of the Turkish General Staff, stated on the other hand that the vote played into the hands of the Turkish Islamists. And while in Israel, Babacan, the Turkish Minister of Foreign Affairs, said that if the resolution were passed the Jews in Turkey could no longer be sure of the safety of their lives (even the Mullah Regime never went that far). This impressive display of verbal scare tactics displayed by the members of both administrative camps in Turkey -the two governments in Ankara - in their shared attempt to blackmail their "allies/friends" (particularly the USA) is, in regard to blind Turkish Nationalism, difficult to top.
The consensus was that the resolution would do lasting damage to Turkey's democratic transition process and its EU course. The resolution would fan hate against the USA and thus increase the security risks faced by American and Israeli facilities because the Turkish population might not be controllable. In the course of all this, the basic fact that Turkey was deeply anti-American long before and even without the Congressional Resolution on the Armenian Genocide has been forgotten. This is evidenced by the record-breaking audience numbers enjoyed by the Turkish produced anti-American and anti-Semitic film series Valley of the Wolves Iraq and, furthermore, by the fact that the Turkish government and general population were the initial motivators behind the fundamentalist backlash against Pope Benedict XVI in 2006 due to his criticism of Islamic violence -the strident protestations of Turkey were influential in heating up the Islamic world against Western values and democracy.
Above and beyond this, Turkey has demanded that Israel instruct the "Jewish Lobby" to agitate against the Armenians. Of course the reference to the "Jewish Lobby" is an allusion to the Jewish Diaspora and - as is the case when talking of Diasporas - carries a whiff of world conspiracy and global domination. Thus, the "Jewish Conspiracy" should follow Ankara's tune and eliminate, obliterate, purge (whatever you choose to call it) the "Armenian Conspiracy." Under normal circumstances the concept would be laughable, but laughter is not advisable as it could result in asphyxiation.
The "killer" argument came in the end from the lobby groups on the Turkish government's payroll: the supply channels of the NATO partners, EU accession candidates and closest allies of the USA and Israel to the troops in Iraq and Afghanistan could be broken. Of course, the lobbyists blithely overlook the fact that despite the outright refusal of Turkish support and the corresponding lack of assistance in 2003, the USA was nonetheless capable of bringing an army of over 100,000 to Iraq. (It must also be mentioned here that Turkey stands to gain the most were the US to face defeat in Iraq.)
HR106 is only a moral and humanitarian act. What still remains unsaid is: both the US administration as well as the media conceal the fact from the American public that the transit ways through Turkey to Northern Iraq cut through the homeland of the very Armenians that were transported and slaughtered en mass by the Turkish (see please President Woodrow Wilson's arbitration award). It has been concealed from the American public that many of the military facilities that the Turkish have ceded to the US - at very high prices - are located on Armenian native soil (Western Armenia). The Incirlik Air Base, for example, was built on the private property unjustly confiscated from an Armenian family. The media has also not mentioned that thousands of descendants of those who survived Turkey's attempt to eradicate the Armenian People and other Christians in Turkey and had found new hope and a second home in Iraq have now had their new hope and home once again totally destroyed by a war.
Both the New York Times as well as the international press have reported that Turkey paid the former Representative Robert Livingston 12 million dollars alone for him to put a stop to the resolution on Capitol Hill. The former Representative Richard Gephardt has been receiving a further $300,000 monthly to do likewise. These are but the official amounts; the "dark figures" of the Turkish cover-up, disinformation and denial industry are in all likelihood immeasurably higher.
After pressuring the representatives with so many threats and so much blackmail and coercion, Turkey hoped that all their manipulation would result in a negative vote. Among those who jumped aboard the Turkey-financed train were President Bush, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Secretary of Defense Robert Gates.
An additional argument presented was that the resolution would destroy the reconciliation process between the Republics of Armenia and Turkey. This exacted a reaction from the Armenian government, which retorted with the words that a non-existent relationship cannot be endangered. Furthermore, the Armenian Foreign Minister Oskanian also criticized eight former high-ranking members of the United States government that had gone on record in a letter to the House Speaker Nancy Pelosi as being against the recognition of the Armenian Genocide. Among others, this includes the former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and former Secretary of Defense William Cohen, both of whom are leading a newly launched initiative on genocide prevention! What good is an initiative against genocide if genocide committed by political allies simply gets labeled as a "tragedy"?
Now, despite all the threats and attempts at blackmail, the resolution has gone through. Neither the United States nor Israel have suffered any damage as a result; in fact, the resolution has provided a few small advantages:
One or the other US commentator that normally never forgets to preach morals, God and human rights in his or her articles has found the Congressional recognition of the genocide due to moralistic grounds as a welcome opportunity to settle old scores and attack the supporters of the resolution in a shameless and immoral manner - without ever even having read the resolution or having looked into the Turkish politics of denial.
Following the non-binding congressional approval, a very specific fraction of the media almost methodically discovered a new whipping boy to hold responsible for any and all miseries found in the Near East: the Armenian Resolution. Even the White House hasn't shied from taking every chance possible to hold the Armenian Resolution, the newly discovered scapegoat, against its opponents.
A number of articles in US newspapers and statements of some officials give the impression that we are still in the time of First World War -a time when the German Chancellor of the Reich Bethmann-Hollweg (who shares co-responsibility for the Armenian Genocide) chose to ignore the actions of the allied Turkey due to war-based strategic reasons; the resulting dearth of any and all humane thought and/or intervention is what, in the end, permitted the unconstrained execution of a race by the Young Turkish Regime.
Another dubious columnist even inferred to an "Armenian Conspiracy" to destroy international solidarity and friendship: it seems that history is history and therefore should remain a subject just for historians and not for Congress.
What kind of international solidarity and friendship is based on blackmail and threats? Is the total denial of a crime an aspect of international friendship? What kind of partner threatens to sabotage the war against international terrorism to get what they want? What kind of ally threatens a fraction of its own population -the Armenian and Jewish populations - for its own ends? What kind of "friend" uses minorities as hostage when and as needed? What kind of friend attempts to take advantage of the shadow of the war against international terrorism to solve the problem of a further minority - the "Kurdish Question" - in a criminal manner? Is not the prevention and punishment of genocide also an aspect of the war against international terrorism? If the US government makes itself an accomplice to the denial of genocide by building a partnership with Turkey based on the repudiation and denegation of genocide, are not the wars then fought in the name of humanity nothing more than unadorned hypocrisy and propaganda?
Genocide - extermination of a race - is a political crime. Genocides are not committed by private individuals, but by the state itself.
The reference to historians and historical science in regard to the Armenian Genocide is a tactical and spurious argument to relieve the world governments from the responsibility to act while simultaneously giving the perpetrators carte blanche. The proper reaction to political crimes is therefore only possible through political response - from the parliamentary houses, the politicians and the governments.
Now more than ever the denial of genocide must be responded to, for denial is intrinsic to the methodology of genocide. Genocide is denied even as it is practiced. From the beginning, the perpetrator seeks pretexts and justifications to conceal the real intentions.
Thus, the extermination is referred to as "transporting," as "deportation" or "resettlement" - or even as the "final solution." A verbal code is used to camouflage and thus deny the annihilation, even as it is being committed.
Genocide without simultaneous denial is unthinkable - yes, even impossible. The first thing that must be done is to consider what the perpetrators want to attain through denial. Denial is not just the simple negation of an act; it is much more the consequent continuation of the very act itself. Genocide should not only physically destroy a community, it should likewise dictate the prerogative of interpretation in regard to history, culture, territory and memory.
The Turkish have not only murdered humans and rewritten history, but they continue to legitimize the act as well as the ideology that led to the act. This includes the legitimization of any and all stereotyping of the Armenian people as a dangerous enemy, as a deadly bogeyman in the closet.
Denial is the final step in the completion of a mass extermination -and the first step towards the next genocide. If genocide is committed in Ruanda or Sudan, it is done with the knowledge that the rest of the world will only watch and then forget. They look to Turkey and think themselves safe in the assumption that their actions will likewise remain unpunished! Whether in Sudan or Ruanda or any other potential hotspot of mass murder, the accountable powers-that-be rhetorically ask - as Hitler supposedly did just before invading Poland - "Who, after all, speaks today of the annihilation of the Armenians?"
Governments and politicians of Western democracies that use doubletalk and self-serving domestic "statements" to silence the cries for justice by the victims of genocide as well as the critical voices within their own countries claim that today's Turkey is not responsible for the genocide of the Armenian people. Such statements are nothing less than cynical, for such doubletalk masks the fact that the politics of genocide are thus continued and sanctioned through officially approved denial. Such statements obscure the nationally authorized and aggressive Turkish politics of denial that are being continued and exported under the smokescreen of "protection of the Turkish honor and pride." But is it not a matter of the honor and pride of the United States to support the HR106 and speak the truth about the Genocide?
The statement that the genocide happened 90 years ago or the insinuation that the Armenian Diaspora - the "Armenian Conspiracy" -are endangering world peace because they are motivated by self-swerving interests serve nothing else than to protect the perpetrator. But is it not the purpose and duty of international criminal law to protect the victim? Should criminal law protect the rapist or killer because the victim supposedly "asked for it"? Is international law only a "law for the stronger" and thus only there to protect the state and not the individual? Are terms such as "crimes against humanity," "genocide," "war crimes" and "war of aggression" only there to protect the aggressors and not the victims?
The Armenian Diaspora - the masses of people forced to disperse throughout the world - is a result of the genocide executed by the Turkish; the Armenians, including American Armenians, are not pursuing an arbitrary and unfounded interest, they have a justified demand for justice and recognition. At the same time, this demand is also a concern of the international community of states which created and approved the legislation known as "public international law" or "international criminal law."
It is not just a matter of morality to condemn genocide, it is a premise for peaceful coexistence. It is a cornerstone of international peace, and the looming threat of this very crime is a principal reason behind military intervention and self-defense.
Is the Jewish community the "troublemaker" when the Iranian President Ahmadinejad denies the Shoah? A crime that happened 60 years ago and that he himself did not participate in?
World War Three is going to be started because the Armenians are forcing the Turkish to invade Iraq? This argument once again makes the Turkish the victims of a supernatural power: the "Armenian World Conspiracy." Is this not simply rather a pretext for Turkey to continue the Turkish policies of homogenization which had their start with the Armenian Genocide?
The argument that the nation states should first work through and account for their own history before they judge the histories of others infers in part that the Armenian Genocide is not part of Armenian history but belongs alone to Turkish history, and that the prerogative of historical interpretation therefore exclusively belongs to Turkey.
Furthermore, it also lends credence to the idea that the international community has no right to intervene when nation states commit obvious crimes against humanity. The international community should keep their eyes shut and simply ignore international crime when it occurs, as if "it never happened." But it is this very attitude that has led to and is in part responsible for the genocidal catastrophes of the 20th century.
Whenever the US or France tackles the subject of the Armenian Genocide, Turkey likes to hold up the dark pasts of France and the USA as admonishment that they should not throw stones. But in doing so, Turkey purposely ignores one important aspect: in the USA it is legal to discuss and research the annihilation of the American Indian, and the discussion of the history of slavery is not forbidden. If Native Americans have a concern, they can legally and easily pursue their interest. In Turkey, on the other hand, it is the exact opposite: it is a national crime to discuss honestly the topic of the Genocide. Not surprising in a land where the term "Armenian" used as a derogatory invective and the few Armenians still remaining in their traditional and native homeland (renamed by Turkey as "Eastern Anatolia") are deliberately misused for propagandistic purposes.
Remembrance requires support. And it is the support of the deported and murdered Armenians that we speak of here and now.
An additional argument is that the recognition of genocide damages the "national interests." Anyone that justifies denial and/or runs to support the perpetrators of a crime on the basis of "national interests" only lends credence to the concept that a crime is both legitimate and permissible if one gets an advantage out of it. Anyone that uses the concept of "national interests" as an argument reduces human rights to an arbitrary plaything to be tossed aside as the powers-that-be see fit.
"National interests" that deny human rights, truth and justice are unjustifiable, as they are based on ruthlessness and discrimination and serve little other than to justify denial. But how can this even be allowed? Can a crime against humanity ever be justified? The logical consequence of this policy are the theories of Carl Schmitt - the legal National Socialist political scientist/theorist who justified the Night of Long Knives as the "highest form of administrative justice" in the Deutsche Juristen-Zeitung ("German Jurists' Newspaper") in 1934 -which maintain that only the strong deserve a place in the world. But to believe this exposes one's own nation, people or community - as well as democratic and moral principles - to the continual threat of destruction.
Those who fall in line with this argumentation legitimize past injustices committed and pave the way for future crimes - in the spirit of Carl Schmitt.
Levon Effendi And The Recognition Of Armenian Genocide
Armen Tsaturyan, Hayots Ashkharh Daily, Dec 11 2007, Armenia
Trying to completely devaluate the achievement of our country in the issue of the recognition of Genocide in the last 10 years, during December 8 demonstration Levon Ter-Petrosyan came out with different anti-national statements and conclusions.
The principle chosen by Levon Effendi in the evaluation of Armenian authorities in their policy regarding the recognition of Armenian Genocide derives from his practical interests. Which he formulates in the following way: "Politics is not words but first of all actions and only actions." Based on this principle the ex-president states that, by including the issue of the recognition of Armenian Genocide in Armenia's foreign policy agenda the government in power: " can't differentiate practical politics from making announcements and swaggering" and periodically reach a deadlock.
It is indisputable that during his years of power Levon Ter-Petrosyan didn't even try "to put pressure" on Turkey and the issue of the recognition of Armenian genocide has never been included in the Foreign policy agenda.
Turkey didn't give way to Levon Ter-Petrosyan's friendly gestures and has always imposed new and new pre-conditions for eliminating the blockade. As a consequence the process of the international recognition of Armenian Genocide marches on the same spot, and it was during the power of this very government that this issue recorded decisive success. Those who have any knowledge about arithmetic can count the results and conclude that if in the first sphere the achievements of the former authorities are the same, in the second the present ones have definitely recorded indisputable and apparent results in the issue of the recognition of Armenian Genocide.
Trying to devaluate the achievements in this sphere as well, in his speech delivered in December 8 demonstration Levon Ter-Petrosyan advanced the idea, that by raising the issue of the recognition of Armenian Genocide from the UN tribune the government in power, in reality was trying to make heroes from themselves: " Had Kocharyan and Oskanyan had more serious intentions, they must have started a concrete process aimed at the recognition of the Genocide, by the protocol established under the UN charter, the result of which should have been the relevant resolution passed by that organization."
A question arises here - what do they call the policy of regulating the process of the world recognition of Armenian Genocide, if not increasing the votes in support of this issue, given in the UN and only after that making the issue a matter of discussion in the United Nations Organization?
Is it a secret for anyone that, to settle any issue in UN, you must first of all get the approval of pivotal countries such as the USA, France, Russia and other countries of the Security Council? The fact that the issue of the recognition of Armenian Genocide that has been adopted by Russia and has even obtained a force of all law by France is knocking at the doors of the US Congress and House of Commons of Great Britain, can't be refuted even by Levon Effendi.
What did we get from the parade of the international recognition of Armenian Genocide that has been recorded due to the consistent policy pursued by the government in power?
First: we obtained and in future will obtain new and new guarantees for security from the superpowers and separate countries that have already recognized and will recognize Armenian Genocide.
Second: It was during the recent ten years that the world really came to know our country and our people, and learning about our past, not only did they show interest and sympathy towards Armenia but also made the issue of reinstating the violated rights the components of international politics.
Third: The "power of right" achieved by Armenia in the international arena, became one of those factors that made our "use of force in" Nagorno Karabakh comprehensible for the international community."
Though even now Levon Ter-Petrosyan is trying to "naively" state that only if we establish "kind-friendly relations and atmosphere of trust" with our neighbors, will Turkey definitely recognize Armenian Genocide. A question arises here how is Levon Effendi going to establish the "kind-friendly relations and atmosphere of trust" with our neighbors, when for Turkey the pre-condition of friendly relations is our giving up the "Genocide allegations".
This means either the ex-President is so naive that he didn't manage to learn lessons from the failure of his policy towards Turkey, or most probably he is trying to mislead himself and us.
Lessons Of History: The Question Of Armenian Genocide
Hellenic News of America, PA
http://www.hellenicnews.com/, Dec 11 2007
The Foreign Affairs Congressional Committee voted in the fall for the recognition of the Armenian massacres perpetrated by the Ottoman Turks during the First World War, as genocide. The Speaker of the House, Democrat Nancy Pelosi, has vowed to bring the resolution to the House floor for a vote before her term in office expires a year from now.
This development has caused diplomatic tremors in Ankara and Washington. The two governments are concerned about the political implications of such a resolution, if it were to pass at this critical time of uncertainty and turbulence in the Middle East. After all, the US/Turkish relations have not been in their best state lately, due primarily to the Turkish refusal to allow the US military to open a second front of attack in the North, during the invasion of Iraq in 2003. That refusal, coming unexpectedly from a NATO ally, has proven rather costly to the US war effort in both dollars and American lives.
To complicate things further, the Turkish Government has asked and received authorization from the National Assembly for an invasion and possible extensive military operations in Northern Iraq ostensibly against Kurdish "terrorists," but in reality to get control of some of the rich oil resources in the area. Such a Turkish move would certainly make things even more difficult for the US in Iraq, because it will set in turmoil the only area of Iraq which is relatively peaceful and prosperous, the Kurdish Iraq in the North.
However, a prosperous and autonomous Kurdistan is exactly what the Turks fear most, because it will set a "bad example" for the millions of Kurds in Turkey to imitate. The Turks, therefore, will do whatever they can to prevent a free Kurdish State from coming into being. They will not hesitate to use any pretext, even the Armenian genocide resolution in the US Congress, to move into Northern Iraq and occupy it militarily, just as they did thirty-three years ago when they invaded Cyprus and occupied almost half of the island, under the pretext of protecting the Turkish Cypriots. There are some Turkmen in Iraq too, who may want to have Turkish "protection" from the surrounding Kurds.
But this political maneuvering and shrewd calculations of Turkey's Islamist Government should not be allowed to derail the legitimate process of the US Congress to amend a historical error by recognizing the Armenian genocide with its proper name at last. The Republic of Turkey does not gain anything of moral value by trying to cover up the painful and horrible events that accompanied the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire at the end of World War II, or its own birth in 1923. History has lessons to teach for those who are prudent enough to learn from it and courageous so as not repeat the same errors.
History teaches us that the dissolution of empires is usually as messy or violent as a non-amicable divorce. Various ethnic and religious groups, that had found a modus vivendi under the protective umbrella of a thriving empire, suddenly come to realization that the imperial power is falling apart and cannot protect them any more.
Then, each ethnic group goes its own way and tries to become independent and self-sufficient. Hence the messy process of separating the common-wealth and getting a fair share arises.
In the case of the Ottoman Turks, their coming into Western Anatolia and the establishment of an empire there and in Southeastern Europe was facilitated by the fact that the Christian powers of that time were divided, while the Byzantine Empire had been broken down into a number of principalities as a result of the disastrous fourth Crusade. Thus many Anatolian Christians (Armenians, Syrians, Greeks, etc.) did not resist but rather helped the Turks build and sustain for centuries the Ottoman Empire (14th-20th).
For more than a century the Ottoman Empire had become "the old sick man" of Europe, who would not die, because the Great Powers could not agree how to burry its corpse and divide the spoils. In the First World War it appeared that the dismemberment of the Empire would be accomplished finally. But the rise of Kemalism in Turkey and the threat of the spread of Communism after its success in Russia (1917), combined to keep the whole of Anatolia and a corner of Europe in Turkish hands. Greeks, Armenians, Syrians, and other ethnic minorities were either slaughtered or forced out from the lands where they had lived and prospered for millennia.
The Armenians of Anatolia particularly were targeted in such a systematic way for extermination by massive executions, forced labor camps, violent transportations, and ethnic cleansing that the term "genocide" describes fittingly the brutality of that historical reality. A generation later, Hitler was to use the Armenian genocide as "a model" for his even more horrific conception of a genocidal scheme against the Jews in Germany.
No wonder, then, that many of the Jewish and other survivors feel sympathy for the Armenians and their tragic fate. Many Europeans and American have felt the same sympathy for a long time. Recently, the citizens of European States and the United States have found the courage to apply the necessary pressure on elected officials to act in the direction of recognition of the Armenian genocide by its proper name in memory of the millions of its victims. There is hope that horrors of this magnitude and inhumanity will not be repeated in the future, if humanity remembers them and names them appropriately.
In this light present day Turkey, which is supposed to be secular and democratic, should not be offended if other States judge it politically correct and prudent to recognize the atrocities perpetrated by the Ottoman Empire against the Armenians as genocide.
The Republic of Turkey perhaps should do the same for its own good.
In fact, it would have been better for the image of Turkey and its aspiration of joining the European Union, if it had done so some time ago. Instead of this sensible policy, Turkey threatens the United States with strategic penalties to prevent the resolution on Armenian genocide from reaching the House of Representatives. This is very strange behavior of a NATO ally.
Turkish policy makers probably calculate that they can get now the share of Iraq that they wanted four years ago (2003). At that time Turkey, under the same Islamist Government of Mr. Erdogan, refused to help the Americans by allowing them to open a second front in the North, because the United States did not want it to enter the rich in oil fields of Northern Iraq. Now they threaten to prevent even supplies for the SU troops in Iraq to pass through Turkey. They also threaten to invade Iraq to fight PPK members, using as pretext not just the killing of ambushed Turkish solders, but also the passing of the Armenian genocide resolution in the Congressional Committee of Foreign Affairs.
The Turks may want to repeat the success they had so easily in Cyprus in 1974, when they invaded the island illegally. By threatening to occupy the whole of Cyprus, they managed to hold on to more than a third of it for more than thirty years now. But Iraq is not Cyprus, Kurds are not Greeks, and the US of post 9/11 is very different from its previous self. So, if Turkey moves into Northern Iraq against the expressed will of the US and NATO, if may bite more than it will be able to chew this time. The good luck cannot be on the Turkish side for ever. Kurds and poor Armenians deserve a share of it.
Dr. Christos Evangeliou is Professor of philosophy, poet, and author of several books including the latest, Hellenic Philosophy: Origin and Character (Ashgate, 2006).
European Council: Turkey's Automatic Accession Questionned Some are already celebration!, S.S.A.
European Armenian Federation for Justice and Democracy, Bruxelles, Press Release by Varténie ECHO, 10 Dec 2007
The European Armenian Federation calls upon the citizens of Europe to demonstrate on December 14 in Brussels
The Permanent Representatives of the 27 Member States didn’t succeed last week in reaching an agreement on the draft conclusion that have been adopted by the conference of their Ministries of Foreign Affairs this Monday, December 10th.
The French request to establish a “Council of Wise Men” was accepted by the 27 representatives, under the guise of a ‘Reflection Group,’ dedicated to considering the future of the Union. The sub-text however dissipated into argument over whether the ultimate goal of negotiation concerning Turkey should include the term ‘accession’. France, who openly opposes use of the term and Sweden, who is greatly in favour, clashed and as a result discussions regarding consumer protection and trans-European networks may be postponed despite plans to hold them with the Turkish minister of Foreign Affairs on the 18th of December.
These disagreements now question the conclusion that will be adopted by the European Council on the 14th.
The European Armenian Federation is of the view that by altering the basic essence of these negotiations from one of automatic accession to “accession or privileged partnership,” is a positive move. It reopens the political debate on the key issue of whether Turkeys uniting with the Democracies of Europe is indeed a natural progression for the Union itself.
“Even if today, the Europeans have not yet defined the clear content of what would be the ‘privileged partnership’, we know however that Turkey will try to obtain a maximum of privileges from the EU and that it will confer it exorbitant leverages and that it will reinforce its economic and military power” commented Hilda Tchoboian, the chairperson of the European Armenian Federation.
The Federation recalls that the Second Convention of European Armenians (15-16 October 2007, European Parliament) expressed in its final declaration the Armenian position on relations between Turkey and the EU. The forthcoming demonstration on December 14 in Brussels, will provide the opportunity for European citizens to restate their attachment to the moral value of Justice without which the European, will be unable to stand.
“Whatever the final outcome, accession or privileged partnership, the Council will have to take the responsibility to set Union ethics at the very heart of its relationship with Turkey. We must voice our concerns to the European leaders so that they set forth the recognition of the Armenian Genocide among their demands,” concluded Tchoboian.
The European Armenian Federation calls upon the citizens of Europe, as well as the NGOs and Armenian associations in Europe to come en masse to Brussels on December 14 to take part in this demonstration.
Ter-Petrosian Reaffirms Conciliatory Line On Turkey By Emil Danielyan
Former President Levon Ter-Petrosian reaffirmed on Saturday his conciliatory stance on Amenia’s relations with Turkey, saying that Yerevan should leave it to the worldwide Armenian Diaspora to pursue international recognition of the 1915 genocide. He also deplored Armenian efforts to thwart Turkey’s membership in the European Union.
The highly sensitive issue was a major theme of his latest speech at an anti-government rally in Yerevan, with Ter-Petrosian responding to government claims that his views on Turkish-Armenian relations are “pro-Turkish.”
Echoing long-standing claims by Armenian nationalist groups, President Robert Kocharian said in a newspaper interview last week that his predecessor is “ready to forget the genocide and turn Armenia into an appendage of Turkey.” State television and other media controlled by Kocharian, for their part, have cited Turkish press commentaries saying that Ter-Petrosian’s return to power would be welcomed by Armenia’s historical foe.
“Speaking about my being pro-Turkish are individuals who had sheepishly served Turks during a lengthy period of their adult life,” Ter-Petrosian shot back in a blistering reminder of the fact that Kocharian and Prime Minister Serzh Sarkisian had held senior positions in the Communist hierarchy of Nagorno-Karabakh at a time when it was ruled by Azerbaijan.
Ter-Petrosian stressed that three generations of his family “fought against the Turks in one way or another,” recalling in particular their participation in a 1915 siege of several Armenian villages on the Turkish Mediterranean coast by Ottoman troops.
“My grandfather took part in the heroic battle of Musa Dagh; my seven-year-old father carried food and water to [Armenian] positions; while my mother was born in a cave in those days,” he told the crowd. “If French warships had not accidentally passed by the Musa Dagh coast, then I would not have existed and, to the delight of Robert Kocharian and Serzh Sarkisian, spoken from this podium today.”
“In 1966, at the age of 21, during a demonstration held on the occasion of the genocide anniversary I was arrested [by the Soviet KGB] and kept in a Yerevan jail for about a week at a time when Kocharian and Sarkisian had not even heard about the word genocide,” he said.
Ter-Petrosian said he continues to believe that genocide recognition should not have been included on Armenia’s foreign policy agenda after his resignation in 1998. “It is time to understand by setting ultimatums and cornering Turkey nobody can force it to recognize the Armenian genocide,” he said. “I have no doubts that Turkey will sooner or later recognize the Armenian genocide, but that will take place not before a normalization of Turkish-Armenian relations but after the creation of an atmosphere of neighborhood, cooperation and trust between our countries.”
Ter-Petrosian at the same time rejected as “unacceptable and offensive” Turkey’s calls for the creation of a Turkish-Armenian commission of historians that would be tasked with determining whether the mass killings of Ottoman Armenians constituted a genocide. He also criticized Ankara for its furious reaction to genocide resolutions adopted by various countries of the world under pressure from their Armenian communities.
“Turkey must not confuse Armenia with the Diaspora and must not resent the latter’s behavior because the Diaspora is a consequence of the genocide,” he said. “Had it not committed a genocide, there would have been no Diaspora.”
Armenia’s first post-Communist government headed by Ter-Petrosian avoided raising the genocide issue in its dealings with Turkey throughout its tenure from 1990-1998. The Kocharian administration has likewise stood for an unconditional normalization of bilateral ties. However, it has declared genocide recognition a major foreign policy goal and welcomed relevant lobbying efforts by the Diaspora. The policy change was underscored by Kocharian’s 1998 speech at the UN General Assembly in which he urged Turkey to come to terms with one of the darkest episodes of its past.
Ter-Petrosian dismissed such actions as mere gimmicks that have only antagonized the Turks and made the memory of an estimated 1.5 million Armenians killed in 1915-1918 an “object of immoral haggling” in the international arena. He claimed that Yerevan’s policy and Diaspora lobbying in Europe enable EU governments opposed to Turkey’s entry to the bloc to “exploit the genocide issue.”
“Isn’t it clear that Armenia can neither facilitate, nor impede Turkey’s membership in the European Union?” he said. “So why on earth do we send letters to Brussels demanding that the EU does not start membership talks with Turkey or set genocide recognition as a precondition?”
“Isn’t it obvious that Turkey’s membership in the EU is beneficial for Armenia in the economic, political and security terms?” he added. “What is more dangerous: an EU member Turkey or a Turkey rejected by the West and oriented to the East?
“Or what is more preferable? An Armenia isolated from the West or an Armenia bordering the EU? Our country’s foreign policy should have clearly answered these questions a long time ago.”
The Kocharian administration says that Armenia supports, in principle, Turkey’s accession to the EU but believes that should happen only after Ankara drops its preconditions for normalizing relations with Yerevan. “Armenia does not regard Turkey's potential membership in the EU as a threat to national security,” Prime Minister Sarkisian wrote in a December 2006 article in “The Wall Street Journal.” “Quite the contrary. We hope it will mean that Turkey will change, and be in a better position to face both its history and future.”
In an interview with Reuters news agency last July, Sarkisian accused the EU of turning a blind eye to Turkey’s long-standing economic blockade of Armenia. "Europeans are shy over these issues. They love to talk about human rights, about democratic values but it's much easier to talk rather than to implement anything," he complained.
Armenian lobbying groups in Europe take a harder line, saying that genocide recognition should be a precondition for Turkey’s EU membership. One of them, the Brussels-based European Armenian Federation, plans to stage an anti-Turkish demonstration in the Belgian capital on Friday. The EU’s governing Council is scheduled to meet on that day to discuss stalled accession talks with Ankara.
http://www.armenialiberty.org 10 Dec 2007
We Need 'Tamadas,' Not Historians Or Lobbyists
December 13, 2007, Ziya MERAL
You don't need a PhD in rocket science to recognize the complexity of Armenian-Turkish relations and its infinite regress to the samsaric cycles of prejudice, hatred and “you act right first, then I will too” attitudes.
Within this journey to nowhere, there are two dominant voices: Those who think that if they only had more third party countries or groups siding with them, they would “win” the battle of “truth” against the “deniers” and those who think that if only they had more historical research, books and commissions, they would prove the indisputable “truth” to the shame of the revisionists.
Both of these groups presuppose that this bizarre globalized quarrel is exclusively over the “truth” of past. Yet as the dead bodies lie in silence, the ones who are fighting are present tense actors with their present tense narratives, goals, fears or anticipations. In an ironic way, the dead are still victimized by the living, who politicize and utilize their memories just as their biological bodies were politicized and utilized prior to their murders.
So, the main challenge in front of us isn't whose “truth” will get the upper hand in the international circus, but it is how, if ever, we can tease out the present politics (whether that of identity or saving the face) so that we can genuinely mourn for the dead.
No matter what one thinks, “justice” is never really met after mass atrocities, especially historical ones. Notions of retributive justice embodied by tribunals are of no use when perpetrators exist no more. In spite of the aura of “justice” which they spread, the sheer number of victims and perpetrators mean that they have to pursue a symbolic course, often only condemning key actors. Contrary to their own self-perception, they fail hard in breaking cycles of hatred and preventing future atrocities.
Similarly, cultural factors limit the effectiveness of “justice” set in the courts. For example, even though a court in the Middle East may sentence a rapist, there is a high chance that the family of the victim will not find it satisfactory and pursue a sense of a justice by ways of an “honor killing.” For this reason, wise men and women have sought to pursue culturally relevant ways of working toward justice and reconciliation.
Archbishop Desmond Tutu, who led the famous Truth and Reconciliation Commission in South Africa, combined the African concept of ubuntu with Christian notions of confession, forgiveness and reconciliation. Tutu argued that there was no future for South Africa unless blacks and whites lived together in harmony and this could only be achieved through forgiveness.
In Rwanda, the shortcomings of Western perceptions of justice as embodied in the tribunals have been supplemented by the use of Rwandan gacaca trials. In gacaca trials, the perpetrators are reintegrated to their local communities following a traditional ceremony.
What about Armenian-Turkish relations?
There is no court system in the world that can handle this issue. To even suggest a retributive pursuit is laden with serious conceptual faults. No amount of legislation passed in third party countries will move Turks to be open to correct a past wrong doing. No “objective” history book will be able to be the final word, as collective memories, by their very own nature, remain contested and modified along with contemporary demands. So, we are in need of another solution.
Isn't there anything we can find in the Anatolian cultures that can provide us with a much more relevant way? I believe there is, though it would sound naïve to the realist and punitive “adults” reading this article.
In the Armenian culture, there is the tradition of tamadas, who are prominent men managing the procession of toasts made around a table of food and drinks. In both Turkish and Armenian cultures, sitting around a table plays an important role. It symbolizes welcoming, accommodation, fellowship and celebration. Thus, a drinking table is much more suitable for reconciliation between Turks and Armenians than a U.N. committee room.
Drinking and eating draws us together into conviviality and sharing a personal and vulnerable presence, rather than the impersonal battlefield effect of courts, commissions and assemblies. Sitting around a table with a tamada ensures that everybody's voice and wishes are heard and given equal respect.
After the third shot, one recognizes the lovability of the other enough to reach out and kiss away the personal barrier that separates us from the stranger or unwanted. The eventual procession of the toasts to a closure, when the group feels that enough toasts have been made, means that a healthy mourning process reaches freedom from a melancholic sense of loss that poisons the one trapped in the past.
To be sure, this will not satisfy those who want “revenge” or reinstatement of a mythical kingdom or lost glory or maintenance of pure and heroic pasts. Sadly, justice and reconciliation remain patchy, imperfect and limited in our clay earth. What is left to us is our humanity in its raw form.
Whether we can actualize it to the extent that we can lament together and move beyond black and white narratives of victimhood or innocence, depends not on the U.S. House of Representatives or French parliament or a scholar at Cambridge University, but only on us: Turks, Armenians and a bottle of raki or liqueur with Mount Ararat as the background.
* Ziya Meral is a researcher on Middle East minorities and a writer. He can be contacted at email@example.com
Memory Won't Be Denied, But Don't Legislate History By Ian Buruma,
December 13, 2007
In October, the Spanish Parliament passed a Law on Historical Memory, which bans rallies and memorials celebrating the late dictator Francisco Franco. His regime will be officially denounced and its victims honored.
There are plausible reasons for enacting such a law. Many people killed by the Fascists during the Spanish civil war lie unremembered in mass graves. There is still a certain degree of nostalgia on the far right for Franco's dictatorship. People gathered at his tomb earlier this year chanted "We won the civil war!" while denouncing socialists and foreigners, especially Muslims. Reason enough, one might think, for Socialist Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero to use the law to exorcize the demons of dictatorship for the sake of democracy's good health.
But legislation is a blunt instrument for dealing with history. While historical discussion won't be out of bounds in Spain, even banning ceremonies celebrating bygone days may go a step too far. The desire to control both past and present is, of course, a common feature of dictatorships. This can be done through false propaganda, distorting the truth, or suppressing the facts. Anyone in China who mentions what happened at Tiananmen Square (and other places) in June 1989 will soon find himself in the less-than-tender embrace of the State Security Police. Indeed, addressing what happened under Chairman Mao remains taboo.
Spain, however, is a democracy. Sometimes the wounds of the past are so fresh that even democratic governments deliberately impose silence in order to foster unity. When Charles de Gaulle revived the French Republic after World War II, he ignored the history of Vichy France and Nazi collaboration by pretending that all French citizens had been good republican patriots.
More truthful accounts, such as Marcel Ophuls' magisterial documentary "The Sorrow and the Pity" (1968) were, to say the least, unwelcome. Ophuls' film was not shown on French state television until 1981. After Franco's death in 1975, Spain, too, treated its recent history with remarkable discretion.
But memory won't be denied. A new generation in France, born after the war, broke the public silence with a torrent of books and films on French collaboration in the Holocaust, as well as the collaborationist Vichy regime, sometimes in an almost inquisitorial spirit. The French historian Henri Russo dubbed this new attitude "the Vichy Syndrome."
Spain seems to be going through a similar process. Children of Franco's victims are making up for their parents' silence. Suddenly, Spain's civil war is everywhere, in books, television shows, movies, academic seminars, and now in the legislature, too.
This is not only a European phenomenon. Nor is it a sign of creeping authoritarianism. On the contrary, it often comes with more democracy. When South Korea was ruled by military strongmen, Korean collaboration with Japanese colonial rule in the first half of the 20th century was not discussed - partly because some of those strongmen, notably the late Park Chung Hee, had been collaborators themselves. Now, under President Roh Moo-hyun, a new Truth and Reconciliation Law has not only stimulated a thorough airing of historical grievances, but has also led to a hunt for past collaborators.
Lists have been drawn up of people who played a significant role in the Japanese colonial regime, ranging from university professors to police chiefs - and extending even to their children, reflecting the Confucian belief that families are responsible for the behavior of their individual members. The fact that many family members, including Park Chung Hee's daughter, Geon-hye, support the conservative opposition party is surely no coincidence.
Opening up the past to public scrutiny is part of maintaining an open society. But when governments do so, history can easily become a weapon to be used against political opponents - and thus be as damaging as banning historical inquiries. This is a good reason for leaving historical debates to writers, journalists, filmmakers, and historians.
Government intervention is justified only in a very limited sense. Many countries enact legislation to stop people from inciting others to commit violent acts, though some go further. For example, Nazi ideology and symbols are banned in Germany and Austria, and Holocaust denial is a crime in 13 countries, including France, Poland, and Belgium. Last year, the French Parliament introduced a bill to proscribe denial of the Armenian genocide, too.
But even if extreme caution is sometimes understandable, it may not be wise as a matter of general principle to ban abhorrent or simply cranky views of the past. Banning certain opinions, no matter how perverse, has the effect of elevating their proponents into dissidents. Last month, the British writer David Irving, who was jailed in Austria for Holocaust denial, had the bizarre distinction of defending free speech in a debate at the Oxford Union.
While the Spanish civil war was not on a par with the Holocaust, even bitter history leaves room for interpretation. Truth can be found only if people are free to pursue it. Many brave people have risked - or lost - their lives in defense of this freedom. It is right for a democracy to repudiate a dictatorship, and the new Spanish law is cautiously drafted, but it is better to leave people free to express even unsavory political sympathies, for legal bans don't foster free thinking, they impede them.
Ian Buruma is a professor of human rights at Bard College. His most recent book is "Murder in Amsterdam: The Killing of Theo van Gogh and the Limits of Tolerance."
Bowling For Malatya
Andrew Finkel firstname.lastname@example.org
It’s said about policemen but it’s also true for suicide bombers. A nation gets the ones it deserves. Perhaps the nicest thing I read about Afghanistan recently is the suggestion made on the Washington-based Jamestown Foundation Web site that Afghans are culturally inept -- just too decent -- when it comes to blowing themselves up.
Four out of 10 manage to kill no one other than themselves. Illustrative of this is the person who pulled the cord while in the bathroom of a Kabul Internet café out of consideration for those working on computers in the other room. Indiscriminate murder just doesn’t accord with Pashtun notions of honor and shame. So typically, those who would recruit others to perform these dastardly acts have to reach so far down the social pile that they end up not with the ideologically committed but unfortunates lacking the most basic skills.
Contrast this with the young men in America, the Bonnie-less Clydes who commit deliberate outrages while taking their own lives. The self-styled Rambo who killed 32 people at Virginia Tech and the teenager who killed eight others in a Nebraska shopping mall were shooters not bombers, it’s true, but the principle of terrorizing society with your own demise is the same. The difference between the copycat sociopath who went on a murderous spree in the Finnish town of Tuusula and the bus bombers in Tel Aviv was his isolation from his own community. The suicide shooters are not martyrs to a cause but 19th century-style nihilists, seeking to publicize themselves and their own sense of despair with the deaths of others.
That the murderous adolescents in a Denver high school were not genetic accidents but the product of a malaise deeply twisted through American society was the thesis of the Michael Moore documentary “Bowling for Columbine.” The lurid fascination that incident evoked as much as the event itself inspired a deep soul searching in the United States; it was not really possible to dismiss the morbid fantasies of two youths as “anomic” or “apolitical.” What was wrong in a normal American community to nurture such rejection? That moderately prosperous American families could raise children to treat reality as a macabre video game ungoverned by the basic moral bylaws was a wake-up call. Two years later, after probably the most meticulous act of suicide in human history on Sept. 11, 2001, the alarm clock rang again.
It might seem perverse to write all this as the prelude to a discussion of the horrific events in Malatya in which a handful of youths plotted not so much the murder as the slaughter of three Christian missionaries, a German citizen and two Turks. The case has now become the subject of a fresh judicial enquiry. The reason is that the five perpetrators were discovered not to be members of some Nirvana-inspired fundamentalist cult but highly rational cutthroats who had absolutely no intention of taking their own lives. Instead they tried to cover their tracks by changing mobile telephones virtually every day. There is evidence to suggest they were in contact with people in authority -- police, military officers, local ultranationalist politicians -- and may have been acting as part of some conspiracy. The conclusion is that they acted not from despair but with a confident sense of impunity. Their motives, like those who killed for Columbine, may have been a quest for notoriety. At some level they set out to shock. Yet at another level -- like those who plotted the death of Armenian journalist Hrant Dink -- they anticipated approval for what they had done. They were not defying social norms but doing the “right thing.”
R-I-I-I-N-G. We have a clarion call to Turkish society to look at where messages of tolerance, respect for others and regard for human rights have shallow roots. The lesson many of the newspapers are drawing from the Malatya murders is that the “deep state” is at it again. The headline writers are looking for a diabolic mastermind trying to isolate Turkey from the world, a creature so cunning and powerful that they know he will never be found. Instead, we should be looking deep into society itself.
Eastern Black Sea: Far Eastern Europe
Hasan Kanbolat email@example.com
The North Caucasus region is a physical and political part of Europe. The borders of the European continent are the Ural Mountains and the North Caucasian mountain chain.
And the South Caucasus region is physically a part of Europe, albeit not politically. In fact, Georgia, Azerbaijan and Armenia are members of the European Council. Their national goals are to become members of NATO and the EU. To summarize, the Caucasus extends from the Black Sea to the Caspian Sea through the Caucasian mountain chain that physically divides the region in two from the west to the east. Geographically, the North Caucasus, which is in the north of the Caucasian mountain chain, is in the European continent, and South Caucasus, which is in the south of this mountain chain, is in Asia. Politically, the whole of the Caucasus is a part of Europe.
The region that used to be called the Balkans until the collapse of the Soviet Union and the dissolution of the Warsaw Pact in 1991 has begun to be described as "southeastern Europe." If we are now calling the West Black Sea region "Southeastern Europe," I suggest calling the East Black Sea, namely the Caucasus, "Far East Europe." This way, let's emphasize that the Caucasus is a part of Europe and is inside Europe, thereby making it clear that the Caucasus is a room in the European house.
Following the dissolution of the Soviet Union in December 1991, the Caucasus has consisted from the northwest to the northeast of the Rostov Oblast, the Krasnodar and Stavropol regions (Krai), the Adygea Republic, Karachay-Cherkessia, Kabardino-Balkar, North Ossetia (Alania), the Republic of Ingushetia, the de facto independent Chechnya (Ichkeria) and the Russian Federation, which includes the Dagestan Federal Republics. And from the southwest to the southeast, there are de facto independent Georgia , which includes Abkhazia, Ajaria and South Ossetia, whose autonomous status has been abrogated; de facto independent Azerbaijan, which includes the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic and Nagorno-Karabakh, which is still under Armenian occupation; and Armenia. The northern border of the region is the Don River and the southern border is the Aras River. Some researchers accept the Kuban River as the northern border of the Caucasus. This acceptance leaves the Rostov Oblast outside the Caucasus.
While the North Caucasus is already a political and physical part of Europe, why is the term Eurasia emphasized? Eurasia is actually a description made about the Soviet Union after its dissolution. Eurasia is also a "flexible" term. Today, everybody is trying to create their own Eurasia. The political infrastructure of the Eurasian identity after the Soviet Union was established during Vladimir Putin's presidency. It was once thought that the idea of "Eurasianism," popularized by Russian intellectuals, was going to protect the federal structure of Russia after the collapse of the Soviet Union and it is now viewed as a ground that will create a common denominator with the neighboring countries in the Asian continent from Turkey to as far as China. It can be claimed that this viewpoint is gaining a higher and higher degree of recognition from the decision makers in Moscow and is becoming a state policy. We should also dwell on whether trying to create an ideal of "Eurasian" people is a contemporary version of Russia's former mission of creating an ideal "Soviet people" and "Soviet society." In this regard, it can be claimed that Moscow has started seeking ways to create a common denominator on the ground of "Eurasianism and Common Eurasian House" inside and outside the country.
The Turkic Union Solves The Armenian Problem In The USA
The Turks not being able to overcome own ambitions and imagined “superiority and antiquity” over the Armenians, decided to resort to court of arbitration.
It has already become a sign of “good” tone for Ankara and Baku to speak about the Armenian-Turkish relations or to be more exact about its absence, in all conferences organized either in the USA, Europe or Russia. What should be mentioned here is that all these talks are conducted in the absence of the second party and all chances for compromises or even a simple dialogue which could bring to some agreement are absolutely denied. And as it has already become clear over the last several years, Turkey more and more becomes the hostage of Azerbaijan, who is ready for everything to slander Armenia.
/PanARMENIAN.Net/ However, this is not the most essential thing. According to the Azeri Mass Media, the entrepreneurs, deputies, social-political figures of Azerbaijan and Turkey are going to meet in the USA, where they will participate in the works within the frames of the conference with the theme “Azerbaijan-Turkey-USA relations and their effect on the Eurasian region”. The event is organized with the initiative of the Azeri-Turkish union of businessmen, the Hudson University (USA) and the Institute of Central Asia and Caucasus John Hopkins University (USA). The chairman of the Party of Democratic Reforms, Deputy Asim Molladze is participating in the conference works from Azerbaijan. “The development prospective of the relations between these countries, the broadening of their ties in the sphere of business, culture, politics and the matters of the future strategic cooperation are going to be discussed during the conference. Besides the current problems regarding the Armenian-Azeri-Turkish relations will also be analyzed during the meeting. The meetings are going to be held in Washington and Los-Angeles,” says the Party of Democratic Reforms.
In fact this is not the first time that the USA has held such events and not only with the participation of Turkey and Azerbaijan but with other countries as well. But this is not the thing. It happens so, that Turkey not being able to overcome its own ambitions and imagined “superiority” over the Armenians, decided to resort to court of arbitration, in this case to the USA. They do not lay any hopes on Russia yet, because of 102 military base and the non-identified Turkish-Russian relations. Besides, there is no Russian factor in Iraq or Afghanistan; consequently there is nothing to threaten Turkey with. The USA is just another thing is, and from point of view Turkish speaking states, which is headed by Turkey and by some misunderstanding Azerbaijan, it is a mere sin not to take advantage of another opportunity to pay attention to Armenia, which “for Russia's sake” doesn't give up its principles. This position from point of view of the Turkish authorities has no risk of loss, moreover when they managed to cancel the voting on Resolution 106 about the Armenian Genocide. By the way, they are well aware of the fact that this Resolution will change nothing, since this is merely a moral act. Though in politics, nothing happens for no reason, and thinking ahead, Turkey has decided to ensure its security in the near future. But this, as it shows, is a momentary glory only, which may in future bring to worse losses for the Turkish speaking countries. It is quite possible that soon Azerbaijan will follow its neighbor Iran, announcing that Israel (in this case, Armenia) must be wiped off the face of the earth.
It is quite unlikely that something new would be said during this conference in the USA. Azerbaijan's position ensured by the oil it possesses, and Turkey threatening with the North Iraq, looks almost invulnerable to the USA. At least it will be so for the upcoming year. The truth is though, that it is also possible that the next President of the USA will hold the same policy, for now the most important thing for the USA is to keep Iraq. The rest is a game in front of the public or… simply recurrent provocations organized by Baku and Ankara, which sometimes very unfortunately gets us, the Armenian journalists.
First Person: Taner Akcam, As told to Ed Hammond
FT, December 8 2007
The Canadian immigration officer looked perplexed as he sat across the table from me under the bright strip lighting of the interrogation room I had been held in for five hours. He told me that even he wasn't really sure why I was being detained entering Canada from the US.
I had already answered the scripted questions that everyone who is hauled over by immigration control faces; how much money I had, what the purpose of my visit was, whether I had any contact addresses in the country, what I was going to be doing and so on.
The official even asked me, admittedly looking slightly embarrassed, if I could help him to figure out why I was being detained. I was tempted to say, `If you don't know, how do you expect me to?' But challenging him would only make it look like I had something to hide.
I told him that I'm a Turkish historian whose work focuses on the subject of the Armenian genocide of 1915, and because of this certain groups target me for my views. I had published a book on the subject three to four months earlier and, like many Turkish intellectuals, I had come under increasing attacks from far-right groups who disagreed with my saying that Ottoman Turks were responsible for the deaths of more than a million Armenians in 1915.
The campaign against me started almost as soon as I published my book. Organised groups, who use the Internet to preach hatred, turned up at lectures I was giving to disrupt my speaking or intimidate people attending. I also used to get death threats telling me that my life would be cut short unless I retracted my conclusions on Turkey's actions in Armenia.
Once, when I was lecturing in New York, some people turned up and started to distribute flyers claiming I was a mastermind of terrorist violence including the assassination of Americans. They shouted abuse at me, prevented people in the audience from asking questions and tried to attack me physically.
Since I started work on the topic of the genocide I have had to alter my lifestyle, I must be careful with my public appearances, with what I publish. Not being able to voice an opinion in public is frustrating and scary, but sometimes I have to decide not to provoke the situation. I had to do this recently when tensions were raised by the US House Foreign Affairs Committee passing a resolution condemning the Armenian deaths as genocide. I have to make these decisions on an almost daily basis.
When the immigration officers finally walked me through the Customs barrier, I asked if they could explain why I had been detained. I was shocked by what they showed me. It was a printed page that I recognised. This was my Wikipedia entry ` the online encyclopedia written by the public ` that had been vandalised. I had been held because my entry accused me of being a terrorist and of being involved in plots against the US.
Travel has become increasingly difficult, and I have had to clear up the mess generated by the vandalised entry on the website. Although I feel safe in the US, where I live and work, I try not to travel abroad unless it is really necessary. I recently cancelled a trip to Turkey because it would be unwise for me to show my face there at this time.
It is easy for people who do not agree with what I say to make life difficult for me ` whether it is disrupting my lectures or impeding my ability to move around freely ` but I don't regret having written my book. It is the sacrifice that any Turkish academic must make who opens the topic of Armenia.
I am not outspoken in order to cause trouble, but because I believe wholly in what I say and write. The consequences of this choice are something I live with. But this is our responsibility to humanity, to freedom of speech.
And we must all be responsible for the democracy of one's country.
I Guarantee No Trouble In Armenia-Turkey Match
Armenian Sports and Youth Minister Armen Grigorian is eagerly waiting for the 2010 World Cup group qualifying matches that will be played between the Turkish and Armenian national soccer teams.
Armen Grigorian: We need to emphasize the peaceful dimensions of sports. I can guarantee that during the match that will be held in Armenia, there won't be any trouble.
Grigorian, who was involved in fencing as an athlete, trainer, and director during the Soviet era, is in charge of all his country's policies with regard to sports. Answering questions posed by Sunday’s Zaman, Grigorian commented: “We separate sports from politics. We need to emphasize the peaceful dimensions of sports. I can guarantee that during the match that will be held in Armenia, there won't be any trouble.” Grigorian notes that soccer does not attract fanaticism in Armenia, expressing this ahead of the upcoming historic matches between Turkey and Armenia. “No matter the outcome, may friendship win,” he said.
What do you think of the fact that the Turkish and Armenian national soccer teams were drawn in the same qualifying group for the 2010 World Cup?
I think this is a positive development. But there is a situation which has caught my attention; we have attended many sporting events in past years, and some of these have been in cities like Istanbul and Ankara. Our federation members and athletes have competed, in fact even going on to win titles. For example, in Izmir in 2006, our fencing team took part in a competition. They returned victorious. We have never experienced anything negative from Turkey. In 2003, some Turkish military athletes came to Armenia to compete within the framework of the NATO games. Turkey's flag was flown, and its national anthem was sung -- and again, nothing negative occurred. These same games will occur again in Yerevan in 2008.
As you already know, soccer is not as calm a sport as fencing or weightlifting. There are many fans, including many of whom are fanatical and quite aggressive. Will it be a tough struggle on the field?
Yes, you are right. But I am not expecting anything bad to happen here. Nor do I think anything unpleasant will happen in Turkey. In Armenia, there is no fanaticism in soccer. We see it more as simply a sport. We separate sports from politics. Last year we were in the same group with Azerbaijan. But Azerbaijan applied to the UEFA federation, noting that there might be problems at the match, and we did not wind up playing each other when in fact, we actually would have liked to play matches both here and in Baku.
You are saying that there won't be problems, but there are already some signs to the contrary. For example, in Yerevan at the April 24 ceremonies held by the Tasnak Party's youth assembly, a Turkish flag was burned.
I don't know many details about what goes on in Turkey. But in Armenia, flag-burning only ever occurs on April 24. I am talking about the people who watch soccer matches, and on that front, I can provide a guarantee. In addition, I really don't think we should approach this matter so negatively. We need to emphasize the peaceful dimensions of sports. We are building good relations not only between our athletes, but also between the federations. Last year, there was a group of 30 of us from the Armenian Wrestling Federation who went to Turkey. I was the head of the group. We did great things there in the name of sports and we returned in high spirits. Another activity which is bringing our countries closer together is the Pan-Armenia International Sports Games, which are held every four years. These events are attended by many athletes from all over Turkey, from Izmir, Ankara, and Istanbul. And at the opening and closing ceremonies of these games, you can see the Turkish flag being flown, the emblems from the athletes' various cities and the insignia of the teams. And there are really no problems. This year, the team from Istanbul met with great success and received their trophy straight from the hands of Armenian President Robert Kocharian.
What do you think of the Armenian national soccer team? Which players do you have the most faith in?
I believe our soccer team is a successful one. In recent years, they have had many triumphs. As a strong team, we beat Hungary and we tied with Portugal. But then our technical director died. So now we are doing what we can, along with the head of the federation, and preparations are being made for the upcoming matches with Turkey. I think all of our soccer players represent their nation as best they can, and I believe in them. But in particular, I do like the playing style of Edgar Manucharian, who plays on our national team and for Ajax Amsterdam.
What do you think of the Turkish national team?
Turkey is great at soccer, and they have proven this already. The team came in third in the 2002 World Cup, and it is successful in its various European matches. One of the Turkish players I admire most is Hasan Sas [of Galatasaray], who played so well during the World Cup.
Does the Armenian soccer league experience many struggles within its own ranks?
There are eight teams competing against each other within our league. This year, Punik was champion. Most of our national soccer team players actually come from the Punik team.
Are you planning to come to Istanbul for the Turkey-Armenia match?
I'm not quite sure if I can, but I would love to. If I don't have other official business to attend to, I will come. What's more, I'd like it if the sports-based cooperation between these two nations was not limited to just these matches. We could create opportunities for cooperation in different arenas. For example, we have a huge sports complex in the Dzagkadzor region of Armenia. We have signed training camp agreements for the use of this complex with many different countries and teams. So teams from Turkey could also come and train here. I am sure that such sport complexes exist in Turkey. So we could also send athletes to training camps in Turkey. In addition to all this, I believe that Armenia is quite good in the area of sports medicine. We could come up with a range of areas in which we could have reciprocal agreements and cooperative ventures.
Do believe that these matches might have any effect on developments in politics, history or even border closure questions between Turkey and Armenia?
Yes, as I said at the very start, it could have a very positive effect. I am very pleased at this opportunity. Our biggest problem is the closure of the border between our two nations. If the borders were open, there would be an increase in the comings and goings of our athletes between the two countries.
Euro qualifying draw for 2010 World Cup
Group 1 Albania, Denmark, Hungary, Malta, Portugal, Sweden
Group 2 Greece, Israel, Latvia, Luxembourg, Moldova, Switzerland
Group 3 Czech Republic, Northern Ireland, Poland, San Marino, Slovakia, Slovenia
Group 4 Azerbaijan, Finland, Germany, Liechtenstein, Russia, Wales
Group 5 ARMENIA, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Estonia, Spain, TURKEY
Group 6 Andorra, Belarus, Croatia, England, Kazakhstan, Ukraine
Group 7 Austria, Faeroe Islands, France, Lithuania, Romania, Serbia
Group 8 Bulgaria, Greek Cyprus, Georgia, Ireland, Italy, Montenegro
Group 9 Iceland, Macedonia, Netherlands, Norway, Scotland
NOTE: Group winners qualify. Top eight second-place teams advance to playoffs for four more spots.
Armenia played its first official post-Soviet match in 1992
Armenia played its first post-Soviet Union official football match against Moldavia in 1992. It attracted a particular amount of attention for its successful performance in the Euro 2008 elimination matches. It took in only 13 goals during the 12 matches it played, and gathered 9 points. Two of its important successes during these elimination matches were to beat Poland at their own home field 1-0, and to tie 0-0 with the powerful Serbian team. Of the players on the national team, two play during the regular season on Russian teams, four play on Romanian teams, while Armenian football star Manucharian continues to play for Ajax in Holland.
09.12.2007, SELAHATTIN SEVI YEREVAN
Armenia: No Place For Terror Groups On Armenian Soil - Unless of course ASALA involved -, NB
Armenia's Foreign Ministry spokesperson, Vladimir Karapetyan, on Friday denied earlier reports in the Turkish media suggesting that the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), faced with increasing pressure to end its activities in northern Iraq, may be seeking to re-establish its camps in the Armenian-controlled Nagorno-Karabakh region of Azerbaijan.
Responding to reports in Today's Zaman and other Turkish newspapers, Karapetyan noted that Yerevan did not list the PKK and similar groups as terrorist organizations because the Armenian capital hasn't had a particular list of terrorist organizations.
"Nonetheless, it is impossible for any armed group or terrorist organization to get bases either in Armenia or in Nagorno-Karabakh. The allegations are absurd and don't reflect the truth," Karapetyan said. He noted that a Kurdish population lives in certain regions of Armenia. "There are villages on Armenian soil which are predominantly Kurdish populated. Their population is around 50,000-60,000."
08.12.2007, Faruk Akkan, Yasar Niyazbayev Moscow
Mehmet Kamis firstname.lastname@example.org
French President Nicholas Sarkozy’s visit this week to Algeria received public attention in Turkey just as it did throughout the world.
On this visit for a gathering of eight ministers and 150 businessmen, Sarkozy realized he had the title of president of a country responsible for the killing of 1.5 million innocent people. After having subjected the country’s people to inhuman treatment and murder, French interest in Algeria’s rich oil and natural gas reserves is still intact. This was the reason for Sarkozy’s visit. The most important reason -- perhaps the only reason -- for his offering a hand of cooperation to an African country was the natural gas and oil reserves there. During the speeches he delivered while in Algeria, the French president made truly odd statements. For instance, he found colonialism very unjust and condemned it, telling Algerian businessmen, “The colonial system was, yes, totally unfair and also ran completely counter to the principles of liberty, equality and fraternity on which our republic is based.” He also confessed that the 132-year French rule in Algeria was very unjust, saying, “I, who was seven years old in 1962, commemorate the victims with heartfelt respect.” He stressed that he was only a kid during those massacres, implicitly saying, “What am I to blame if my father did all those things?”
One could conclude upon reading his statements that France regrets all those centuries of exploiting this country. So, does France really regret the years of exploitation? Is it basing its policies on condemning exploitation? Of course not! It is possible to say that Algeria is very lucky because they are able to establish ties with France at the presidential level though France took the lives of hundreds of thousands of its people. Other exploited countries are not so lucky. It cannot be said that France treats all the countries it has exploited in the past in such a civilized way. Even though Sarkozy makes such remarks as “it was unfair” and “we regret it” France’s colonialism still continues. They have never granted African countries, which have the world’s richest diamond and gold mines, the chance to manage their own resources. A great majority of the diamond mines in Africa are still managed and used by French and other European companies and what they leave behind for these poor Africans is an amount of money hardly enough to live on.
Let’s listen to what the general coordinator of Samanyolu News, Metin Yikar, who returned from his visit to the Central African Republic a few days ago, has to say, as he has the freshest news for us: “The Central African Republic has never been given the chance to benefit from its own diamond and gold mines, the richest ones in the world. Their diamond mines are still managed and used by France and other European countries, whereas Africans are able to find food just enough to survive. Nobody can make any future plans. They cannot produce anything at all. They can’t even produce a match box. What they do everyday is try to find food to survive another day. People have been programmed to demand rather than to produce. The official language is French and the local tongues cannot even be taught at schools. The administration always has pro-French and French-educated elements. Whenever things start going wrong, someone from the opposition is given monetary and military support to spark a years-long civil war and then, following a coup d’état, they install someone who serves their interests following a coup d’état to take part in the administration again.”
Whenever the issue of Algeria is brought up, Sarkozy implicitly says, “I was only seven at the time, and why should I pay the price for those things?” However, he doesn’t shy away from holding everybody in Turkey responsible for things that occurred during the time of my great-great-grandfather. While trying to get off the hook by attempting to leave the Algerian incidents to be discussed by historians, he doesn’t even mention the massacre of 500,000 people in Rwanda and the currently ongoing French colonialism in Africa. And on top of all this, he delivers speeches in big halls where he says what an unfair thing exploitation is, while his country continues exploiting Africa. Just as the wealth of all other colonialist countries, France’s wealth, too, comes from the pillage and plunder of the rich natural resources of African countries. Just like Pinocchio, Sarkozy’s nose grows as he speaks.
The story of Akdamar
Spanning two continents, the Anatolian peninsula has always acted as a cultural bridge between Europe and Asia and between Islam and other religions.
Akdamar Island, home to the 10th century Church of the Holy Cross -- known to Turks as Akdamar Kilisesi -- is the premier attraction of the Lake Van area.
Being one of the cradles of civilization, Turkey has been home to people from various religions throughout history and still carries the mark of their cultural heritage.
Turkey has a lot to offer in terms of monuments and sacred sites for those interested in history and culture. Being a popular tourist destination, Turkey also has the potential to become a popular spot for religious tourism as well. Throughout Anatolia, there are numerous holy places, such as churches, synagogues and mosques, among which some have won the fight against time while others are in ruins.
Despite the decreased number of minorities currently living in Turkey, their contribution to the shaping of Anatolia's cultural heritage still remains today a reminder of the multicultural society that once lived in these lands.
Church of the Holy Cross on Lake Van's Akdamar Island
Surrounded by almond trees, the 10th century Armenian church known as the Church of the Holy Cross (Surp Hach) represents one of the beautiful examples of Armenian religious architecture. It is located on the island of Akdamar, about three kilometers from the southern shore of Lake Van.
It takes about 20 minutes to get to the island by boat from Gevas. As you approach the island, the pointed church welcomes you and the sun plays tricks on its walls, coloring them red or yellow.
The church was built by the Armenian King Gagik I of the Vaspurakan dynasty. It took six years (A.D. 915-921) to build the church, made of red tuffaceous stone. Until 1915, the church was part of a monastic complex, but only the ruins of the monastery to the south of the church survive today.
Constructed on a cross-shaped plan, the church is based on the traditional Armenian style, which incorporates a dome with a conical roof. But the uniqueness of its architecture stems from the external walls decorated with an extensive array of bas-relief carvings that mostly depict apostles, saints and biblical scenes.
The church is remarkable for having only two small side-apses on the eastern side. Normally a traditional Armenian church would have four side chapels so as to create a rectangular shape for the exterior. The church has four friezes with decoration depicting vegetables under the windows with vine and agricultural designs above them as well as animal and male faces on the roof edges and the drum. Some of the frescoes inside the church are still preserved as well.
Gerus synagogue, gift of Selim II to the Jews
Having been left abandoned for many years, the church underwent a significant restoration worth approximately $1.4 million between May 2005 and October 2006. It was then transformed into a museum and opened to visitors. Being a part of Armenian history, it is expected to attract Armenian visitors despite criticism about its being turned into a secular museum.
Other cities also have impressive non-Islamic architecture
Having been home to a significant Jewish community in the past, Turkey still has Jewish monuments. The Ottoman Empire issued an official invitation to the Jews expelled from Spain and Portugal through the end of the 14th century during the reign of Ottoman Emperor Beyazid II (1481-1512). Following their expulsion, they began arriving in the empire in great numbers.
The first group of Jews was settled in Bursa. Under the tolerant rule of the Ottoman Empire, the Jews embraced Bursa as their home, integrating into Ottoman society. Sultan Selim II had the Gerus synagogue built at the beginning of 16th century to meet the needs of the expanding Jewish population. The name Gerus means "exiled" in Hebrew, hence it symbolizes the new home of the exiled Jews. The synagogue is located on the famous Arap Sükrü Street -- part of the old Jewish quarter -- in Bursa's Osmangazi district. The synagogue is made of hewn stone. The medallions found on either side of the Ehal Akodesh, where the Torah is kept, have Hebrew inscriptions recording the construction date and the name of the master builder.
The synagogue is well preserved and still in use despite the decreased Jewish population in modern-day Bursa. The Jewish community numbers between 50 and 60 households, equal to approximately 200 people. Services are held on Friday evenings, Saturday mornings and during Jewish holidays.
St. Nicholas Church, a popular destination for pilgrims
The southern province of Antalya is home to one of Turkey's most popular pilgrimage sites. The Church of St. Nicholas is a ruined third century Byzantine basilica located in ancient Myra (today's town of Demre). The church includes the tomb of St. Nicholas of Myra and hosts several fine mosaics and murals.
The church was originally built in the third century, but it was rebuilt in the eighth century and it is that structure which has largely survived to the present day. A monastery was added between the 11th and 12th centuries. Damaged by earthquakes and raids, the church has had several renovations and extensions throughout its history. By the 19th century the church was in very poor condition and underwent significant renovation in 1862, sponsored by Tsar Nicholas I of Russia. The bell tower and the upper storey are believed to have been built during that time. Further restorations were carried out by the Turkish government.
The architectural significance of the church lies largely in its remarkable mural frescos that depict religious scenes. The cycle of Nicholas at the church represents a significant step in the development of Byzantine wall painting. The façade of the northern annex is a unique example of its kind in Anatolia.
The entrance of the church is several meters below street level, reached by a descending ramp. The church is adorned with fine marble and faded wall paintings. The nave, which has a set of stepped seats for the clergy, is covered by a groined vault with a covered passage in the apse. The stone altar is surrounded by four broken pillars and the interior is generally well preserved. St. Nicholas' burial chamber lies between two pillars near the southern aisles, behind a broken marble screen. The relics of the saint were stolen by Italian merchants in 1087 and taken to a shrine in Bari, Italy. But the Antalya museum still has also some of his relics. It has a reused Greek-era sarcophagus with a lid that features images of a man and a woman. The cloisters on the north side of the church are in good condition.
The popularity of the church is closely related to St. Nicholas, who is associated with the Santa Claus figure, his miracles in defense of the innocent and the legends surrounding his life. Born in A.D. 300, St. Nicholas became the bishop of Myra, a position that revolves around helping the young and the poor. He is also said to have attended the first Council of Nicaea, held in 325.
St. Nicholas' tomb has been a popular pilgrimage destination since the fifth century and continues to attract thousands of pilgrims to this day. The church is used for religious services for one day each year: the Feast of St. Nicholas on Dec. 6.
The feast mostly takes place in the church. During the celebration visitors to the shrine place candles on and around the saint's crypt, and there is a special multi-denominational service held at the church. Thousands of pilgrims from Italy, Greece and other countries come to Demre each year, and several members of the clergy attend the celebrations as well. Visitors can also see relics of the saint in the local museum. Other than that, it is open for visiting between 8:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m. during summer and fall and between 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. during winter and spring. A small admission charge is required at the entrance.
The Seven Churches of the Apocalypse -- also known as the Seven Churches of Asia -- mentioned in the Book of Revelation, all lay in Turkey's Aegean region.
As Christianity gained popularity during the first and second centuries, the Roman emperors began to be ruthless against the first Christians. Despite the counteractions, Christianity kept spreading in Western Anatolia with the help of apostles such as St. Paul and St. John. As a result of these efforts, the first seven Christian churches were built in western Anatolia. The Western Turkish province of Manisa is home to one of those seven churches, Thyatira. The name of Thyatira appears several times in the Bible.
Near the Akhisar district of Manisa, the visible archeological remains of Thyatira are located in a fenced-off city block. Among the ruins there is a basilica that dates back to the fifth or sixth century. Some of the preserved parts reach about five meters in height. There are also some columns and arches from an ancient portico from about the fourth century. Among the ruins of ancient Thyatira are several Greek inscriptions. Many more have been taken to the local museum in Manisa. Thyatira is situated 100 kilometers northeast of Izmir on Highway 15.
08.12.2007, BÜSRA IPEKÇI ISTANBUL
Relations Between Turkey And France Back On Track
December 8, 2007, ISTANBUL- TDN
Bernard Emié, French Ambassador to Turkey, said on Thursday bilateral relations between France and Turkey are back on track.
Speaking at the Turkish-French Trade Association dinner, Emié explained that following the visit of French Foreign Ministry's secretary general on Sept. 3, officials of both countries expressed their desire to start a new dialogue after a period of political alienation. The relations deteriorated after the French parliament adopted in 2006 a controversial law criminalizing the denial of Armenians' claims on genocide. Pointing out the importance of the “Turkish Season” to be held between fall 2009 and spring 2010 in France, he called on Turkish commercial firms to attend the event that aims to introduce Turkish culture and history to France.
The ambassador emphasized that the dialogue has opened the way for a fresh start at all levels despite the differences and tensions between the two countries. Franco-Turkish relations further strained over Turkey's EU membership. French President Nicolas Sarkozy is an outspoken opponent of Turkey's accession to the EU and claims is not really a part of Europe and instead should be offered a privileged partnership, something that falls short of full membership.
Monday, October 08, 2007
The Heat is ON!
As mentioned in my previous post, the Armenian-American community in Southern California over the past 5 days has mobilized their efforts targeting Congresswoman Jane Harman for succumbing to Turkey and allowing herself to be bullied into changing her stance.
On Friday afternoon I received word that Congresswoman Harman was scheduled to be at a community event in the Lakewood/Long Beach area the following morning for Warren Furutani, a candidate for CA State Assembly. It was this politician's campaign kick off event and I had heard that a group of Armenians were planning on attending to confront the Congresswoman. Since the location of the event was literally two blocks away from my father's business in Long Beach, and I often go there on Saturday mornings to collect the mail and check on things anyway, I stopped by determined to approach the Congresswoman, identify myself as a constituent of hers and give her a piece of my mind.
I got there as the Congresswoman was addressing the hall. I was glad to see that it was an informal gathering in a small location. I knew I would definitely have an opportunity to get near the Congresswoman. The next thing I know AYF members are marching into the event with signs and shouting "Harman is a Liar! Genocide Denier" For a moment I was in shock as I took in what was happening. I wasn't expecting that at all, and I could tell neither was anyone else at the event. The next thing I know I'm seeing Furutani supporters yelling at AYF members and Congresswoman Harman being escorted towards the back door. She was walking right past me and a staffer of hers was trying to block me from getting near her, but when I identified myself as a constituent and stated that I was there of my own accord independent of the protesters, the Congresswoman told her staffer to allow me through to speak with her.
Congresswoman Harman caught off guard
I had a good few minutes alone with the Congresswoman and was able to give her my schpeal. I was able to say everything I wanted to say and hopefully I got my point across. I pointed out to the Congresswoman that I had vouched for her to my community and garnered their support in her past campaigns and how she had let me down. I pointed out that inside the event she had spoken about democracy and how her actions in regards to H. Res. 106 were contrary to what a democracy stands for.
I asked her where her loyalties lie if not with her community and constituents who obviously think she is failing at representing them properly which it is her job to do. Kris, I used your line about how nothing in the Middle East has changed since she signed on as a co-sponsor. She stated she didn't want to hold the current day "democratic" government accountable for something that happened "over a 100 years ago" I pointed out that this is the BEST time to hold them accountable when they are trying to show the world that they are "democratic" and trying to get into the EU. I asked her how she would have liked it if someone had told her grandfather that the time wasn't right for Holocaust recognition. I told her no time is going to be a good time and that this time is as good as any and that I would expect her to be leading the efforts to pass H. Res 106 not leading the efforts to quash it.
I also made it clear that her "over a hundred years ago" statement is offensive to me since it was MY grandfather who survived the Genocide and told me about it firsthand reminding her that the wounds of Armenians are still fresh and not ancient history. She tried to show that she is compassionate by saying that she is dealing with a president in Iran who says the Holocaust didn't happen and she asked if we could imagine how that makes her feel. I agreed that President Ahmedinajad's sentiments are a shame but the way she's been feeling is EXACTLY how we've been feeling since day one and we still feel this way and now she is part of the cause and contributing to it. I asked her how she can live with herself knowing that she is serving the interests of a country that denies Genocide thus making her a contributor to and enabler of Genocide denial. She reiterated that she does not deny the occurrence of the Armenian Genocide however she feels the efforts of Turkey in Darfur need to be taken into account. I found that comment offensive as well. I couldn't believe she was suggesting that Turkey needed to be patted on the back for their efforts in Darfur while still denying the Armenian Genocide.
I urged the Congresswoman to repeal her letter to Lantos, change her stance and vote for the Resolution. I told her it's not to late to do the right thing and redeem herself. I even got up the courage to ask her what had REALLY caused her change of heart and if it had something to do with her personal issues with Pelosi or if maybe the Turkish lobby was monetarily contributing to her campaign. She did NOT answer those questions and dodged them like the good little Politician that she is.
We had a healthy exchange and then were joined by a couple other people who approached her as well. The dialogue and back and forth continued all the while with the AYF members in the background. I do hope a formal letter of apology is sent on behalf of the AYF to Furutani as a gesture to explain that we have nothing against him and are sorry for interrupting his campaign kickoff but we had to do what we had to do. I noticed the disdain of his supporters and staff towards our community so I hope that relationship can be salvaged since he probably will win the Assembly seat.
This fight is STILL NOT OVER! Keep calling, emailing, faxing...Congresswoman Harman still believes the vote will not go forth, her efforts against the Armenian-American community continue therefore so will ours to make her regret the day she betrayed the Armenians!
I'm off to call her office and ask for some statistical data to see how many phone calls, emails, and letters of disgust they got when she initially signed on a Co-Sponsor in comparison the volume their dealing with now.
Here's the youtube clip of the confrontation with Congresswoman Harman and members of the Armenian community http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vxc93X-l64w OR http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GPtJrYgngKo
I was one of the calls of disgust on Friday. I expressed my anger at Harman signing onto the bill to look good to constituents and then turn around and fight against it while still signed onto the bill. The person I spoke to told me that the Congresswoman did still fully support the bill and directed me to her website to presumably read the letter published on it asking Lantos to cancel the vote. I quickly let them know that I had read the letter (and can't imagine how reading it again would allay my anger) and that if the Congresswoman DID fully support the bill she would be fully in favor of it being voted on no matter when. At this point the staffer quickly dismissed me by grumbling that they'd pass the message on (typical congressional staffer line) and hung up.
Please update us on what you find out from the office if anything as soon as possible.
So far today they have not been answering their phones at the DC and El Segundo offices.
Heres the video link:
Good job you guys..I'm proud of our Armenians!
Good job Lori, I'm glad my arguments are making it straight to the top... too bad theyre falling on deaf ears.
I'm glad theyre not picking up their phones right now, that means we're having an effect.
They're picking up the phones in DC- I just called and it was HILARIOUS.
The guy answered the phone all chipper saying "Congresswoman Jane Harman's office". Unlike some people I don't believe in the "insult the Congresswoman" methodology, as a former congressional staffer I KNOW it only makes them more resistent to anything you might have just said and is a terrible idea. Anyway I merely said "I was wondering if Congresswoman Harman had dropped her opposition to H.R. 106..."
From the other end: *silence"
Me: "...the Armenian Genocide resolution...?"
His voice drops considerably and he finally responds: "No. *more silence"
Me: "so... that means she will still not be supporting it when it comes up in committee...?"
Me: "Ok... thanks..."
Thanks for the 411 Paul.
I just called her DC office to find out how many calls she's received from angry constituents when she first signed on as a co-sponsor of the Resolution and how many she's gotten over the past months and the answer was that she only received calls expressing gratitude and thanking her for signing on as a co-sponsor.
I asked him how many calls they've received since she decided to change that stance and the answer was that over the past few days they have had over 500 calls.
Now, is it even shocking that a Congresswoman who has no concept of loyalty to her constituents and community would have no concept of accountability either? She's a not only a contributer to Genocide Denial she is a first hand contributor to the FAILURE of democracy!
Any Lessons Taken from the Above Reporting!, Have YOU noticed how each individuals in the Armenian Diaspora working! Have you noticed that Turkish Friends in general prefer to sit around and wait somebody else to do the work/phone call/face the politicians/write to them! Do you think you can contribute by being a pro active? Or is it too much to bother, you couldn't care less! NB
October 05, 2007
I woke up at 6 am this morning to call in and see if I had to report for jury duty. I did : (
Since I was up I decided to check my e-mail and to my dismay I found an e-mail from the ANCA informing me that my Congresswoman JANE HARMAN who "while publicly serving as a cosponsor of the Armenian Genocide Resolution, is in fact working aggressively behind the scenes, alongside the Turkish government, to defeat this human rights legislation" I could not believe what I was reading I had just sent her an e-mail a couple days earlier about this issue and instead of concentrating my efforts on her I was focusing on my other Congressman Dana Rohrebracher.
Congresswoman Jane Harman of the 36th District (Booooo!)
I instantly called Congresswoman Harman's DC office. I left a message for her staffer that handles foreign affairs, I hung up and called back and demanded as her constituent who campaigned for her and voted for her to know why she had changed her mind. A miffed female staffer put me on hold then returned to inform me that while the Congresswoman believed that the Armenian Genocide happened she doesn't feel this is the right time for this resolution to come up given the current events in the Middle East. I was FUMING! What is that BS excuse? It's never going to be a good time... what if someone had told her that about Holocaust recognition? When did Armenia and Turkey become part of the Middle East? When someone says Middle East I think Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Dubai, Yemen, Israel, Palestine... NEVER Armenia or Turkey!
I proceeded to remind the staffer that as a Congresswoman her boss is voted into office by people like me and her job is to represent me and while I have friends and family in the Middle East I thanked her for the concern but assured her I much prefer she vote on this Resolution. I even expressed my disappointment that as a Jewish-American who has had to deal with the Holocaust being a part of her cultural history that she doesn't exhibit more sensitivity towards the issue of the Armenian Genocide which Armenian-Americans are still dealing with.
I was so put off by her sudden change of heart that I even went as far as asking the staffer is perhaps the Congresswoman's actions have something to do with her issues with Pelosi which she instantly assured me wasn't the case.
Today was a hard day for me, I had to miss work to serve jury duty and complete my civic duty to this country and for what? Because it's such a great country? OBVIOUSLY my voice isn't being heard and issues that I care about are being ignored by my own representative.
Fundamentally there is so much wrong with the institution of democracy in this country that I find it laughable that our government is trying to instill this FAILED system in other countries.
I don't want to sound entirely pessimistic here, we haven't lost the battle yet. I will not give up. Tomorrow morning I will start calling Congresswoman Harman's offices again and I won't stop all day and I hope others will do the same as well. I hope her offices are bombarded with phone calls! I might even resort to faxing in, why not! I am even going to contact my local paper and point out to them what our lovely Congresswoman is up to so they can possibly write an article about her portraying her true shady colors!
I will do whatever I can to show this crooked politician that she CAN NOT mess with Armenians and get away with it. We won't take this lying down...even if that means that I have to go picket by myself in front of her office with a "Honk if you Hate Harman" sign!
If I've managed to move you... and you want to call and give her staff a piece of your mind here's her contact info.
Send her webmail http://www.house.gov/harman/contact/email.shtml
Washington, DCPhone: (202) 225 8220Fax: (202) 226 7290
El SegundoPhone: (310) 643 3636Fax: (310) 643 6445
WilmingtonPhone: (310) 549 8282Fax: (310) 549 8250
I couldnt believe when I read that Harman was pulling her support and, like you, I instantly thought it might be because of her feud with Pelosi. This is ridiculous- she was just cosponsering it because she thought it would never come to a vote and she can just appease her Armenian-American constituency.
In the letter on her website which she sent to Lantos asking him to reconsider bringing the resolution to a vote, she mentioned that she was worried about the situation in the Middle East. What has changed in the Middle East since the time she cosponsered it (last year)? Nothing! The war was going on then and its going on now, Turkey was doing nothing then and is doing nothing now so thats all BS.
It is time to make an example out of her and pour all our money and efforts into making sure she is not reelected and prevent future appeasers from signing onto our issues just for political cover.
Wheres the AYF with their protest? im sure its being planned.
Get ready. Its hard ball time and the other side has the means and the financial resources. Pressure must be maintained and dont assume that those who have signed on to the resolution will stay the course.
To protest this injustice, we are organizing a campaign to make her regret her decision. This Sunday, October 7th from 9 am to 2 pm, we will be setting up tables at Venice Beach and Marina del Rey (popular areas within her district) to pass out fliers raising awareness about the genocide bill and urging her constituents to call her and ask her to reconsider her decision, as well as having some of our own fun mocking her ourselves!!!
If you are interested in taking part in this, please email email@example.com for further details on the exact location or for carpooling purposes.
Hope to hear from you soon!
Thank you for your blog. Unfortunately, I am not in her district..Im in LA..but your blog infuriated me into sending her an email anyway.
Thank you for all the support and for taking the time to express your thoughts to Congresswoman Harman.
How did the events in Venice and MDR go?
December 07, 2007
Armenians File For Compensation In Ottoman Insurance Settlement
Nearly 2,000 Armenian citizens have laid claim to compensation by a French insurance company that had sold life policies to their forebears massacred by the Ottoman Turks during the First World War, a government official said on Friday. The claimants hope to receive cash payouts as part of a $17.5 million deal that settled in 2005 class-action suit brought by U.S.-based descendants of the Armenian genocide victims against the French group AXA. The insurer disbursed last month the first $1 million installment of the money to three French-Armenian charities. They are to receive a further $2 million in the next two months. The rest of the money is go to an estimated 5,000 individual policy-holders mainly living in Armenia, France and the United States. They have until January 7 to file for compensation. Armenia’s Justice Ministry is also involved in the process, receiving and processing necessary documents by Armenian nationals seeking compensation. “We have so far received about 1,900 applications, 700 of which have already been forwarded [to AXA,]” Tamara Shakarian, an advisor to Justice Minister Gevorg Danielian, told RFE/RL. “The rest of them are being processed and will be forwarded soon.” More than 1,200 Armenian citizens have already been compensated this year as part of a similar settlement made by the U.S. New York Life Insurance company with Armenian-American heirs to genocide victims in 2004. Lawyers that negotiated the $20 million deal have similar actions pending against Deutsche Bank and Dresdner Bank of Germany. Shakarian said that individuals hoping to be compensated by AXA have to fill out five-page forms and submit more detailed information about their relation to original policy-holders than was required by New York Life. The Justice Ministry provides them with counseling free of charge, she said. “The process is a bit cumbersome,” said one woman whose family has been paid $2,000 by New York Life and is going to lay claim to AXA as well. “You have to come [to the ministry] in early in the morning and wait for many hours. But maybe that’s the way it should have been.” (Photolur photo)
By Hovannes Shoghikian
MacGahan's reports in the Bulgarian independence
U.S. House Of Representatives Passes Genocide Accountability Act
07.12.2007 14:14 PanARMENIAN.Net/ The Armenian Assembly of America welcomed the passage of the Genocide Accountability Act (S. 888) yesterday as a crucial step forward in closing a legal loophole that prevents the Justice Department from punishing perpetrators of genocide who find safe haven in the United States, the AAA reported.
The vote in the House of Representatives allows non-U.S. nationals who have entered the United States to be prosecuted for genocide committed outside the country. Under current law, genocide is only a crime if it is committed within the United States or by a U.S. national outside of the country. Conversely, laws regarding torture, material support for terrorism, terrorism financing, hostage taking and other federal crimes allow for extraterritorial jurisdiction for crimes committed outside of the United States by non-U.S. nationals.
“The Genocide Accountability Act is an effort to ensure that our United States’ laws provide adequate authority to prosecute acts of genocide,” said Rep. John Conyers (D-MI), chairman of the House Judiciary Committee. “We should not have a situation where perpetrators of genocide are allowed to enter, or reside in the United States and use this country as a safe haven from prosecution.”
“This cannot be the last step,” Conyers added. “If we’re going to fulfill our role in the world as the beacon for basic human rights and freedom from persecution we must continue to develop the humble legislative beginning we have begun today.”
“We are proud to have supported this legislation through the process and concur with Chairman Conyers that this is not the last step,” said Assembly Executive Director Bryan Ardouny. “The next critical step is to confront denial of genocide by approving H. Res. 106, which reaffirms the U.S. record on the Armenian Genocide.”
Representative Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX) said the 20th century has been called “the Age of Genocide,” adding that the genocides in Rwanda, the former Yugoslavia, Cambodia, Germany, and the Ottoman Empire have shown the world “the monstrous potential of totalitarian regimes determined to annihilate entire ethnic, racial and religious groups.”
Rep. Howard Berman (D-CA), who introduced the House version (H.R. 2489) of the Genocide Accountability Act, said that the purpose of the measure is to ensure that the perpetrators of genocide are accountable under U.S. law.
“S. 888 will strengthen the reach of U.S. laws to prosecute any individuals found in our country, who have taken part in acts of genocide, in Darfur or anywhere else,” Berman said.
“Genocide continues to be a threat in the world and we should attack it wherever we find it,” said Congressman Robert C. “Bobby” Scott (D-VA).
Others who spoke in favor of S. 888 on the House floor yesterday included Representatives Stephen Cohen (D-TN), Randy Forbes (R-VA), Mike Pence (R-IN) and Christopher Shays (R-CT).
The Senate bill, introduced by Senators Richard Durbin (D-IL) and Tom Coburn (R-OK), is the first piece of legislation produced by the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Human Rights and the Law. In February, the Assembly called on Congress to strengthen international legal protection against genocide and its denial in testimony submitted for the Subcommittee’s hearing on “Genocide and the Rule of Law.”
Ardouny also commended Durbin, along with Senator John Ensign (R-NV), for spearheading legislation in the U.S. Senate (S. Res. 106) that would reaffirm the historical fact of the Armenian Genocide.
In addition to the Assembly, the Genocide Accountability Act has been endorsed by numerous organizations including African Action, the American Jewish World Service, Amnesty International USA, the Armenian National Committee of America, the Genocide Intervention Network, Human Rights First, Human Rights Watch, Physicians for Human Rights, Refugees International and the Save Darfur Coalition.
Bulgarian Orthodox Church Synod First Described 1915 Events As Genocide
07.12.2007 13:30 PanARMENIAN.Net/ Holy Synod of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church sent condolences to Catholicos of All Armenians, his Holiness Garegin II over the Armenian Genocide at the hands of the Ottoman Empire in 1915.
It’s remarkable that term Genocide is used in the message.
“The Ottoman Empire subjected Bulgarian people and Church to severe persecution. This proves that two Christian nations had a similar destiny. Over 70 thousand of Armenians, heirs of the Genocide victims, live in Bulgaria nowadays. May the memory of Turkish yataghan’s victims live forever,” the message says, the RA MFA press office reported.
Since the founding of the Republic, Turkey’s archenemies have been those whose who harbor legitimate claims against their territory: Greeks, Armenians and Kurds. Ankara’s deepest fears always involve some conspiracy consisting of several of the aforementioned groups collaborating against them to dismantle modern Turkey.
Usually these claims are nonsense, if not utterly absurd.The plot of a Turkish bestseller, Metal Storm, dicussed previously at Coming Anarchy, cuts to the heart of Turkey’s paranoid nationalism and its current conflicts with both the Kurds and Armenians. The plot? America invades Turkey and divides the country between the Greeks and Armenians. It may sound far fetched but this populist and reactionary book plays on the country’s ultimate fear: the disintegration of Turkey into various ethnic homelands.
With that in mind, a recent article in Today’s Zaman,a English-language Turkish daily, alleges something along the same lines.
The Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), faced with increasing pressure to end its activities in northern Iraq, may be seeking to re-establish its camps in the Armenian-controlled Nagorno-Karabakh region of Azerbaijan, intelligence reports indicate.
[...] Confronted with an increasingly hostile environment, the PKK has already begun evacuating its camps in northern Iraq, according to recent intelligence reports from the region. PKK administrators are now having talks with Armenia to relocate their camps to the Armenian-controlled Nagorno-Karabakh region of Azerbaijan, intelligence reports suggest. PKK leaders have also been talking to 12 Kurdish villages in Armenia, located near the border with Turkey.
While not necessarily unlikely, it would seem to be awfully convenient for Turkey given the escalating situation in northern Iraq and southeastern Turkey. However, it would not be the first time Turkey’s enemies collaborated. Greece, Iran, Syria and the USSR have all armed and train the PKK at various points in time and Greece is has continued to even through the 90s and most likely today. It is therefore hardly unthinkable that Armenia would do the same.
With the green light to launch operations in northern Iraq, Turkey has nevertheless dropped off the radar. While the occasional anti-terrorist operations make Turkish news, they almost always are within Turkey itself and few real attacks have been carried out within Iraq as far as we know. However, with the many weeks of warning, the PKK had plenty of time to shut down its bases in the Qandil mountains and scatter or relocate. Equally predictable was that the Turks would expect this which also explains the lack of public fireworks there. Any guerilla group needs the spotlight but as international attention grew and everyone who picked up a paper suddenly knew the locations of PKK bases, the time had come for a change.
Yet, today there are few hospitable places for the PKK to go. While operations naturally continue in Turkey and Iran (by PJAC), both Syria and Iran no longer support the PKK making moving physical bases and training areas very difficult. North Iraq was long a safe haven for all of the Kurds, law-abiding citizens and PKK members alike. As that day comes to an end and Iraqi Kurds are less willing to risk their autonomy and success for their kin across the border, the PKK has two options: melt back into the population until things cool down or move shop.
In most people’s mind, Armenia usually conjures up the faces of local immigrants or perhaps vague ideas about genocide at the hands of the Turks. However, less known is that mountainous Armenia as well as Azerbaijan are both home to a very small number of Kurds. In fact, maps of Kurdistan usually include a sliver of each. Thus, the PKK could indeed have connections to the Caucasus although these groups are not only small and isolated but may not be as sympathetic to the cause. In addition, the PKK has developed links with radical Armenian organizations such as ASALA giving it a potential second network of support or at least contacts in the region.
The Caucasus is full of ethnic strife, long standing grudges and unfinished conflicts and Nagorno-Karabagh is no exception. Largely isolated from the world, poor and mountainous, it is both mountainous and difficult to travel through, both advantages to the PKK. Armenia, of which it is a de facto part (despite a laughable facade of independence), does indeed seek to settle the conflict between it and Azerbaijan but never plans to relinquish control of the area. Thus, they lose little by allowing the use of the territory by the PKK. However, one major obstacle exists: the location. Nagorno-Karabagh may be safely located a fair distance from Turkey and in a difficult to traverse area, but there is a major downside. Launching attacks into Turkey would be considerably difficult. Border countries like Syria, Iraq and Iran have longer, mountainous borders which are easier to sneak through. The distance from Stepanakert to the nearest border area with Turkey is around 115 miles through some of the highest mountains of Armenia proper.
While a PKK relocation to Karabagh is merely unconfirmed intelligence at the moment, Armenian support would be neither unthinkable nor unlikely. However, were Karabagh to be used by the PKK it would likely be for smaller scale training operations rather than a base from which to launch attacks against Turkey. In addition, it seems all too convenient for Turkey that their Kurdish and Armenian “problems” can now be publicly linked together and used to further the government’s aims both domestically and internationally. Whatever the reality, a skeptical positions remains the best for the moment.
NOTE: “Kansas” is a term used by those traveling and living in Armenia and Azerbaijan to refer to Karabagh. Discussing the situation as a foreigner is not always a good idea. Similarly, Israel is often referred to as “Disneyland” among outsiders while in Arab countries.
COMMENTS / 5 COMMENTS
Great post—and fun endnote. I also have been amazed at the paranoia and conspiracy theories at root of so much thinking in Turkey when visiting there and when talking to Turks overseas. Ever heard the fun one that, Turkey actually has more oil than Saudi Arabia—but the Americans are keeping Ankara from developing it! The fun never stops in Anatolia.
Curzon added these pithy words on 07 Dec 07 at 2:04 am
Reminds me of Tom Clancy’s”Debt of Honor(1994)” and Michael Crichton’s”Rising Sun(1993)”.
Oh wait I’ve almost forgot about George Friedman&Meredith Shephard’s”The Coming War with Japan(1991).
Ofcourse,I can find ten times more of the equivalent in Japan.
Aceface added these pithy words on 07 Dec 07 at 4:42 am
This is a counter-intuitive bit of propaganda put out by the Azeris. We traveled through Lachin (the region between Nagorno Karabagh and Armenia proper) last summer. Not a Kurd in sight.
Armenia and NK would have no interest in encouraging the PKK or Kurds in general. Armenians have no great affection for the Kurds who were the instruments of the Ottomans prior to and during the genocide and they have enough problems with their neighbours without aggravating the situation by bringing in the PKK. Also ASALA and other radical Armenian organizations have been inactive for over 20 years.
Finally, as you correctly point out, it is difficult to see what strategic geographic benefit it would be for the PKK to be located on the other side of Armenia from Turkey.
The region did have Kurds prior to the war but these were Muslims who fled. Armenia has a population of approximately 50,000 Yezidis who are split in their identity with some identifying as Kurds and others as a separate ethnicity. One Yezidi told me that though the Yezidis speak the Kurmandji dialect of Kurdish, the Kurds are Muslims and therefore the enemies of the Yezidis. During the Karabagh war Yezidis actually fought against Kurdish Muslims in Lachin and Kelbajar.
British journalist Onnik Krikorian has written several articles on the Yezidis of Armenia:
R added these pithy words on 07 Dec 07 at 3:38 pm
This is a story whose sole ‘source’ is from Turkish intelligence sources. Sorry, for me, as soon as I got to that I would not read any further. You should’nt take any story from Turkish intelligence sources seriously.
The profound struggle of the Kurdish people for their freedom in Turkey has been subject to the most incredible psychological warfare and disinformation. It is this disinformation campaign that is the reason for most of the misunderstandings about the Kurdish Freedom Movement.
To read the story referred to would have the reader believe that the PKK is in disarray. There is another story in Zaman today that also qoutes from further Turkish intelligence ‘sources’ that the PKK are split down ethnic lines and there is infighting. The reality is that the Turkish establishment are shitting themselves as the Kurdish movement is at its strongest in history and they are desperately trying to position themselves as to any up and coming development. Many believe that a ‘solution’ to the Kurdish Question is not far off while others think not and despair at further deteriation of events.
We all wait with baited breath as the next few months are crucial.
This story could be buttering up the Turkish domestic audience to believe that the Turkish military have defeated the PKK and now Turkey should settle The Kurdish Question on its own terms.
Yeah, I generally feel the same as Hevallo—except that as paranoid as Turkey is about its hostile neighbors, Armenia is even more blatant in its utter hatred of Turkey. I really wouldn’t put it past Armenia helping out the PKK in anyway that it can.
Curzon added these pithy words on 08 Dec 07 at 3:08 am
PKK to Kansas?
On Sarkozy’s Visit To Algeria
07 December 2007, Omer Engin LUTEM / ERAREN
French President Nicolas Sarkozy paid an official visit to Algeria this week.
As of this day, painful memories of the colonial period persist between both countries. Following the Second World War France wanted to maintain control over Indochina (comprising Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam) and Algeria during the abolishment of its colonial empire. To this end France engaged in long wars in these areas. However, these wars were to result in defeat and consequently France’s withdrawal.
The hostilities that took place with the Algerians during the war of independence waged between 1954-1962 were particularly violent. Some have estimated that more than 1 million Algerians lost their lives in the course of this war. Following the independence of Algeria, economic relations were established between the two countries based mainly on petroleum and gas trade and the presence of Algerian workers in France. However, the treatment of Algerians at the hands of French soldiers and gendarmerie forces was not forgotten and in fact the suffering caused became more acute with time. As such, 40 years after these events transpired demands were voiced to the effect that France must apologize from Algeria.
As can be deduced, in order to suppress the large-scale demonstrations (each reminiscent of an uprising) waged in big cities from time to time on the part of North African Arabs, in order to further economic relations, and in particular to effectuate the Mediterranean Union Project proposed in 2005 by Sarkozy, France must retain close relations with Algeria. In fact, this was the aim of the French president’s recent visit to Algeria.
As expected therefore, the painful memories and suffering of the past featured prominently during the said visit. Sarkozy emphasized how the colonial system was unjust and that during the Algerian war of independence terrible murders were committed and that both sides suffered innumerable deaths. However, he did not apologize but stressed that there was a need to look to the future and not the past.
Stating that a joint evaluation of history needed to be conducted, Sarkozy proposed that both Algerian and French historians need to jointly analyze this painful period.
As can be seen, Sarkozy did not envisage extending neither an apology nor the payment of compensation for these past events. In actuality it is not appropriate to raise such demands after treaties ending wars have been signed. This being said, militant Armenians are striving to portray as genocide what in essence was a relocation that took place even further back in history. In tandem with this they are putting forth several demands that stretch as far as territorial claims on Turkey.
Against this backdrop, President Erdogan sent a letter to President Kocharian in April 2005 proposing that a joint historical commission comprising historians and other specialists from both countries be established for the purpose of analyzing, by way of archives, the events of 1915 and that the conclusions to be drawn are made public. It should be recalled however, that President Kocharian has not responded favorably to this proposal.
One can not help but notice that Sarkozy made the same proposal with respect to Algeria. In essence there really is no other way to go about dealing with controversial historical events.
On a final point it should be stressed that Sarkozy’s proposal weakens Armenia’s stance vis-à-vis rejecting the establishment of a joint historical commission and in fact has led to the latter proposal (supported by certain countries) to garner more appeal.
"Advocacy Week 106" Held In Washington
08.12.2007 PanARMENIAN.Net/ Human rights advocates from all over the western United States traveled to Washington, D.C. to participate in "Advocacy Week 106" from Monday, December 3 through Friday, December 7, reported the Armenian National Committee of America – Western Region (ANCA-WR).
"We have seen scores of constituents expressing deep concerns over the inaccurate, misrepresented and distorted nature of media coverage on the resolution in October," stated ANCA-WR Executive Director Andrew Kzirian. "These human rights activists traveled to Washington, DC to help set the record straight and remind Members what the resolution is really all about – ending the cycle of genocide and not succumbing to Turkey’s denial," he added.
Convening at the ANCA’s Washington headquarters, constituents from Idaho, Arizona, Texas and California conducted over 150 meetings on Capitol Hill with Members of the House and Senate. Although not usually in session at this time of year, Congress will likely convene well into December to address various pieces of appropriation legislation. Constituents viewed this extra time in session as an opportunity to help raise awareness of recent developments regarding the resolution and the Turkish government’s denialist activities.
Introduced by Representative Adam Schiff, the Armenian Genocide resolution (H. Res. 106) passed through the House Committee on Foreign Affairs on October 10, 2007 by a vote of 27-21 despite unprecedented opposition by President Bush and other facets of the administration, including current and former high-ranking cabinet officials from the Departments of State and Defense.
Diplomat Talks Turkish Politics
Ambassador discusses EU bid, Armenian genocide at Winthrop dinner
CRIMSON/ RACHEL M. DOUGLAS
Turkish diplomat and former Deputy Representative to the United Nations Altay Cengizer dines with students in the Owen Room in Winthrop House last night. Cengizer emphasized the country’s role in the global community.
December 05, 2007 By DANIEL C. BARBERO
Turkish Ambassador Altay Cengizer discussed Turkey’s role on the global political stage yesterday at a dinner discussion hosted by International Relations on Campus (IRoC).
Turkey has made headlines in the past year with its continued effort to enter the European Union, its denial that Turkish massacres of Armenians in the early 20th Century constituted genocide, and its recent military incursions into northern Iraq to attack Kurdish militants.
Cengizer—who is currently a fellow at the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs—said that he doubts that Kurds will seek independence from Iraq, but said that Turkey is not opposed to Kurdish independence in principle.
“As long as they choose what they want to do in a democratic process, we will have no problems with them,” Cengizer said.
Cengizer said that Turkey was willing to work with Armenia to form a historical commission that would review the large-scale killings of Armenians during World War I, adding that “Turkey is ready to accept findings of that commission.”
“They were certainly killed of course,” Cengizer said. “We are saying ‘massacres.’”
The Armenian question has been just one of many stumbling blocks in Turkey’s relations with the West.
Germany and France have opposed admitting Turkey to the European Union, partially because of the country’s large size, developing economy, and cultural differences.
“These are devilish questions,” Cengizer acknowledged. However, he said that Europe needs to look beyond those differences and recognize the benefits of Turkey’s entrance.
Cengizer emphasized Turkey’s global strategic importance, telling the audience of about 10 students that Turkey is “the most industrialized country between Tokyo and Vienna.” He added that Turkey “is the only Muslim country growing democratic roots.”
Noting Turkey’s unusually strong economic position, its role as a friend to both sides in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and good relations with Europe and the United States, Cengizer said Turkey “is at the very center of things.”
Cengizer added that he believed the “fundamentals” of Turkey’s relationship with the United States were good, clouded only by a “cursory” treatment of Turkish political issues by the American media.
Event organizer Ryan L. Newbrough ’09 was enthusiastic about the dinner discussion, which was held in Winthrop House’s Owen Common Room.
“Our goal this year is to have one IRoC dinner discussion a week,” Newbrough said.
Attendee Tess M. Hellgren ’11 said Cengizer “was really interesting, and he did a good job of explaining the history.”
Copyright © 2007, The Harvard Crimson, Inc.
Would Turks Announce It? , Lragir, Armenia, Dec 4 2007
`Two Jews meet, one asks the other where are you going Abraham, he says to Gomel. The other says don't lie, I know you are headed for Gomel. Abraham says he is going to Gomel for the other to think he is not going to Gomel, the other disbelieves because he knows for sure he is going to Gomel.' The ex-minister of national security Gurgen Yeghiazaryan told and explained this joke to reporters on December 4, who is now a member of the civic movement entitled Legitimate President 2008.
Gurgen Yeghiazaryan recalled the joke in speaking about the government propaganda device against Levon Ter-Petrosyan, that Turks allegedly back Levon Ter-Petrosyan. Gurgen Yeghiazaryan says the government has found a Turkish newspaper which agreed to write that it is necessary to support Levon Ter-Petrosyan, which is presented in Armenia as evidence that Ter-Petrosyan gets Turkish support.
`Now assume the Turks support Ter-Petrosyan. I am asking a question -would they write about it? Knowing that 99.9 percent of Armenia feel sick on hearing Turk, would they talk about it? If the special services are really interested, would they state to back Levon Ter-Petrosyan?' Gurgen Yeghiazaryan says. He says all this is evidence that the Turks are helping the present government. `Directly. Nothing else comes to mind. And they try their hardest to ensure the involvement of their marionettes in the process,' Gurgen Yeghiazaryan says.
Congress Of Azerbaijanis In Middle East Is Genuine Lobby Of Turkic World For Protection Of Azerbaijan And Turkey – Turkish Ambassador To Israel
Israel, Jerusalem / Trend corr R. Abdullayev / The Turkish Embassy in Israel intends to support and provide assistance to Diaspora projects, as well as to humanitarian and cultural programs initiated by the Congress of Azerbaijan in Middle East, Turkish Ambassador to Israel Namig Tan said at a meeting with the representatives of the Congress in Tel-Aviv on 2 December.
As for bilateral relations between Azerbaijan and Turkey, the Ambassador noted the unity of language, culture and mentality, and said that these relations are based on the principle of ‘one nation, two states’. “ Azerbaijan and Turkey have a common history. Our nations were living together and creating together for many centuries. Our traditions, culture, language, roots are a powerful ground for further development,” the President of the Congress Alex Shapiro-Suliman said.
Turkish Ambassador highly appreciated the participation of the Congress’s representatives in the 9th Meeting of Friendship, Fraternity and Cooperation of Turkic States and Communities which took place in Azerbaijan and noted that the meeting was a very prominent event for the entire Turkic world. “Today all Turkish and Azerbaijani Diaspora organizations in all countries act jointly and they stick to a unified position. In order to prevent the measures intended against Azerbaijan and Turkey they use each other’s opportunities and take a rather valid joint position on important strategic issues,” Tan said. He stressed that in the Congress he sees genuine representatives of the Turkic world’s lobby who are ready to protect the interests of Azerbaijan and Turkey in this strategic region in the world.
According to the Turkish Ambassador, Turkey and Azerbaijan are rare countries and well-organized, well-financed Armenian lobby opposes them. “World’s Armenians hold a campaign against us. They make groundless accusations and claims against us. They make hostile steps, which cannot keep us indifferent. We should be ready. We should confront it with our policy, our truth, our propaganda, our force,” the Turkish diplomat said.
Dispatching Pkk Troops In Karabakh Insensible
By H. Chaqrian, translated by A.M. AZG Armenian Daily #223
Turkey, Blinded with Illusions, Efforts to Chantage Armenia
Turkish press has some kind of habit of accusing Armenia for anti-Turkish actions from time to time.
The accusations for the most part are grounded with anti-Turkish conspiracies ascribed to Armenia.
This time the Turks chose to speak about "negotiations between PKK troops, suffering from unfavorable positions in North Iraq, and the Armenian authorities about new deployment bases". On December 3 "Zaman" newspaper publiched an article on this subject with a header of that sort, having as background a similar publication by "Aksam".
In sense of spreading dubitable information "Aksam" is a rather convenient newspaper, and is usually used for such matters by the authorities of Turkey, who prefer to "spare" more serious mass media. "Zaman", in its turn, is more cautious about slandering Armenia, in despite of being published in Azerbaijan, too.
In any case, according to "Zaman", the PKK troops were forced to leave North Iraq under the pressure of Turkey's military operations, after which a number of PKK commanders, Armenians by origin, decided to head to South Caucasus and take cover in Karabakh, "occupied by Armenia". Turkish intelligence, allegedly, succeeded to discover these plans.
Moreover, "Zaman" states that the PKK has established contact with Armenian Diaspora organizations, which promised to take the PKK members to some country in Europe and from there transport them to Nagorno-Karabakh. It is also said that the authorities of Armenia house Kurd immigrants from Syria and Lebanon on the territory of NKR and permits PKK to spread among them their newspapers and to broadcast radio.
It is explained that President of Turkey Abdullah Gul, during his visit to Caucasus in November 2007, took promises of Mikhail Saakashvili and Ilham Aliev to prevent PKK actions in South Caucasus. In the meanwhile a legislation bill on prevention of Kurdish invasion to Azerbaijan was submitted to "Milli Meclis", the parliament of Turkey. The bill is to be discussed one of these days.
Obviously, these explanations have nothing to do with the alleged Armenia-PKK contacts. The "explanations" speak rather about Turkey's efforts to consolidate Southern Caucasian states against PKK. Having no opportunity of including Armenia in this alliance, Turkey finds nothing better to do than blackmailing Armenia. Naturally, the Turkish authorities also seek to defame Armenia by its connection to PKK, which is considered by Turks a separatist and a terrorist organization.
How Armenia can benefit from deploying PKK forces in Nagorno-Karabakh and against whom the PKK militants are to struggle there remains a mystery. We have no idea whether the Government of Turkey has answers to those questions. One thing is certain: both the Armenian and the Kurdish questions are matters of great importance for Turkey, and issues of big politics.
An Old Culture, Laz Becomes A Documentary
December 6, 2007
The life of Laz people who reside in the Black Sea region whose history dates back to the ancient times has become the subject of a documentary film sponsored by the European Union and the Turkish Culture Ministry
Vercihan Ziflioglu, ISTANBUL - Turkish Daily News
Despite a history that dates back to ancient times, little is known about the Laz territory. But a documentary film by director Funda Torun, of Laz origins, has been created to show the life and traditions of Laz people, their part in mythology and their evolvment into a branch of the Colchis civilization as well as a part of modern western Georgia and the Turkish Republic.
Sponsored by the European Union and the Turkish Ministry of Culture, a team of volunteers conducted comprehensive research in Georgia and the Black Sea region.
Torun gave detailed information about the religious beliefs, the traditions, the lifestyle and the important inventions by the Laz people in an interview to the Turkish Daily News. She also spoke about their demographic distribution and the different stages in the making of the documentary that is dedicated to those who lost their life after the Chernobyl disaster.
After showings in the Arhavi and Findikli counties, the Laz documentary will be showcased at film festivals around the world. The first stop is the Nurenberg Film Festival in March 2008.
History of the Laz people
The Laz language is called Lazuri and “Nena” has similarities with Georgian, Armenian, Svanian, Greek and Turkish, all belonging to the Caucasus language family in the branch of “Zan” and “Kokhian.”
Lazuri in particular is related to Mingrelian and to Georgian (south Caucausus languages). Today, Lazuri is outdated and is usually spoken by Lazs over the age of 60. Lazuri, which is a verbal communication language, has no written language on its own. Nevertheless Lazs have a rich literature in the area of the Lazica Kingdom. Tales, myths and poetry were transformed into literary language in the 20th century.
Today most Laz speakers live in northeast Turkey, in a strip of land along the Black Sea coast. They form the majority in the Pazar (Atina), Ardesen (Artasen) and Findikli (Vice) districts of Rize, and in the Arhavi (Arkabi), Hopa (Xopa) and districts of Artvin. They form a minority in the neighboring Çamlihemsin (Vijadibi) and Borçka districts. There are also communities in northwestern Anatolia (Karamürsel in Kocaeli, Akçakoca in Düzce, Sakarya and Bartin.)
The Lazs adopted Orthodox Christianity from Paganism in the fifth century A.D. and later, in the 16th century, converted to Islam (Sunni Muslim in particular) in great numbers. Today, a part of Muslim Lazs living in the Black Sea region consist of people with Greek background.
Archeological excavations in Georgia shed light on documentary
People living in the Black Sea region who all have a different dialect are all considered Lazs by those living in Turkey but this does not reflect the truth because Lazs have their own language and alphabet, Torun said. She added that the Laz culture is about to be forgotten and this is why they decided to make the documentary. The key feature of this film is that findings brought to light during the excavations are presented to the world for the first time. “When you do this in other parts of the world, you make high amounts of money. But our aim is to keep the culture alive,” Torun said.
The 20-person team requested the help of Zurab Cemal Vanilisi, a Georgian expert on Laz people, for the documentary. Most team members are of Laz descent and the Turkish Embassy in Georgia also provided support during the research, Torun said.
Serender, the first cold storage room
Lazs migrated in the 1893 Russian-Turkish war a second wave followed in 1914. Russian attacks were the reason behind the first migration. Lazs moved to Adapazari and Sapanca in the Marmara region after that, Torun said, while she added that the second wave forced Lazs to settle in Adapazari, Sapanca, Düzce and Akçakoca.
The Laz language and culture are about to be forgotten and the language in particular is evolving into Turkish more and more each day. The situation is not much different in Georgia either. The language is influenced by the Georgian language there, said Torun. Language, culture, inventions, the daily lives and festivities of Lazs are reflected in this documentary.
Legend has it that God distributes land among peoples. Lazoglu (son of Laz) calmly waits behind God. “Why are you waiting for?” God turns back and asks Lazoglu. When he remains silent, God says, “I will give an exuberant land of mine. May your land remain fertile ever.”
One of the most important inventions by the Laz people is the cold storage rooms called “serender.” Mounted on four or six wheels, serenders store cold air through six different angles and keep food fresh during winter. Another feature they have is to protect food from mice. Special wooden wheels prevent the mice to climb up but do not kill them. “Lazs do not fight with nature,” said Torun. “They just redirect it.”
Torun also provided information about “Litropi,” a festival celebrated by Lazs. On Aug. 20 each year, Lazs dive into seas at the point where fresh water streams meet seawater water and wish for good health, and the water is carried to house to give to the elderly. This tradition still lives on among Lazs in Turkey and Georgia.
Foundation Law On Shaky Foundation
December 6, 2007, ISTANBUL - Turkish Daily News
The new draft bill on Foundations Law that is awaiting approval in Parliament will cause more problems, let alone solve existing ones, agree legal counselors from minority communities in Turkey. Tackling the issue during a press conference organized by the Turkish Economic and Social Studies Foundation (TESEV) yesterday, the NGO and counselors called on Parliament not to pass the draft but expressed little hope that they would be successful.
“Even though we are discussing different communities, it is the citizenship issue that lies at its roots, and the relationship between the state and its citizens,” said Dilek Kurban, the director of the Democratization Program at TESEV, during her opening speech.
Lawyer Kezban Hatemi, who represented the Greek community at the conference, said: “The community foundations problem is a problem of Turkey's democratization.” She added that minority rights should have been handled and solved within the Turkish civil law but that the issue only came to the agenda during the European Union (EU) accession process. “And it came to agenda as breach of basic rights and freedoms,” she added.
“The rules of Muslim and Christian faiths are different. But when they were taken under the same directorate, they were put in the same basket,” said Hatemi, adding, “This made the competent representatives of both [Muslim and non-Muslim] faiths very uneasy.” She said the new law would pave the way for seizing property that belongs to minority foundations. “This is against our constitution, against European law, against the European Human Rights Accord, and against the Lausanne Treaty,” she added.
If the law passes, it will legalize the practices that were implemented based on subjective judgments, said Hatemi.
Lawyer Erol Dora, the legal representative of the Assyrian community in Turkey, said that even though all non-Muslims living in Turkey were covered by the Lausanne Treaty that ensured their rights were maintained, the special statutes were not applied on the whole for the Assyrian community. “I think it is because the Assyrians lived in the country, especially in southeastern Turkey and they did not know their rights,” said Dora.
He explained that one thing that made the Assyrian community different was that many have left for other countries. “The fact that they are returning shows that there are developments in Turkey in terms of democratization,” he said, adding that some face problems when they return as their lands, now outgrown with wild trees are considered as forest area or registered under public domain. “And this causes grief on the part of the Assyrians,” said Dora.
“The new law refers to article 101 of our civil law, which states that a foundation could not be established to support a certain ethnicity or community. Therefore, the new law gives a right but takes it away by the reference it makes,” said Dora.
Lawyer Diran Bakar, the legal representative of the Armenian community said that if the draft became a law, it complicated the return of real estate to the foundations. “The draft is not clear on what would happen to the real estate that is now held by third parties,” he said, adding: “It would be impossible to take back the real estate that was passed to third parties. The state might need to pay indemnification in such a case.”
“I think that whatever we say here, the draft will pass as it is. What will we do then?” asked Bakar, answering that they would probably apply to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR). He added that the new law would pave the way for new cases at the ECHR, and the Turkish state in return will end up paying more indemnifications.
Another lawyer representing the Armenian community, Sebu Aslangil said that from a legal point of view, the draft resembled a labyrinth because of the language used. He added that the draft introduced the term “in the disposal of” which meant that if the properties were taken from the possession of the community for one reason or the other, the community no longer had any rights to it.
Aslangil said he was consulted during the preparation period of the draft and that the previous version was better than the final draft. “Because it did not have the reciprocity concept or the 1936 declaration concept. But somehow, the draft was turned into something that is far from its primary aim,” he said. He added that he agreed with Bakar that the draft would pass at the Parliament.
Turkey Vs Armenia To Stay On The Pitch
December 6, 2007, Celal Demirbilek, Istanbul - Hürriyet
Speaking to daily Hürriyet in Istanbul while on a business trip, Chairman of the Armenian Football Federation Ruben Hayrapetyan expresses his happiness at drawing Turkey in the next World Cup qualifiers and hopes that it can lead to the strengthening of relations
Being in the same group with Turkey in the forthcoming World Cup 2010 qualifiers is cause for hope that a friendly bond will be established between the two countries, said Armenian Football Federation Chief Ruben Hayrapetyan.
The Armenian nation was happy with the draw, as it is a big chance to build friendship between the two nations, Hayrapetyan told the daily Hürriyet in Istanbul while on a business trip.
“We are two neighboring countries, and we have to have better relations,” said Hayrapetyan, adding that he believed that good things are to come.
The two countries' national teams have played before at lower levels, but never at the top level. Armenia and Turkey will play five games next year comprising of encounters between the national teams, U-19 national teams and U-21 national teams.
The schedule has not yet been decided but, for Hayrapetyan, that is not a problem, as the Armenian federation will give the Turkish federation the option of choosing where to play the first game.
That first game may be a historic one, believes Hayrapetyan, as it will be of great help in opening the closed border gate between Turkey and Armenia. To make this wish come true, Hayrapetyan is ready to do what it takes, and he will contact his Turkish colleagues to make it sure that both games are played in a friendly atmosphere. He also has a request from the Turkish fans.
“Turkish fans should not see us as enemies,” said Hayrapetyan. “I send this same message to Armenians, too. Let the players step onto the pitch with an ovation. Let the game start and end nicely.”
‘Bridge of peace':
The chairman underlined that both sides have to act wisely and start seeing each other all over again, and used the expression “there is no love that has only one side.” Those sides do not have a problem on a personal level, according to him. As an example he cited a situation when both teams once stayed at the same hotel in the Netherlands and nothing bad happened. For him, the problem is political, which has nothing to do with sports.
“Let the politicians stay in their room,” said Hayrapetyan. “As the chairman of the Armenian Football Federation, I will never let politics be involved in sports.”
He said sports have always been a “bridge of peace” and the future Turkey-Armenia game will be another example for that.
Hayrapetyan thinks that Turkey is the group favorite alongside Spain. He counts Turkey as one of the countries that have made a breakthrough in international football in recent years and has a bright future. A big fan of Turkish midfielder Emre Belözoglu, Hayrapetyan thinks that the Newcastle player “works like an engine.” He also admires Turkey coach Fatih Terim and calls him a “football expert.” His words show his interest in Turkey, contrary to Turks, who usually have little knowledge of Armenian football. The games between the two countries are likely to change that.
Extra motivation against Turkey:
Armenia is positive about the draw, and not only in terms of it providing a start to dialogue, but also that the group is suitable for the country's qualification hopes for the World Cup.
Initial views after the draw were that any other team from the second pool would be better, wrote Suren Musayelyan, the sport section writer for the Web site Armenia Now (www.armenianow.com), in an online interview with the TDN.
“But perhaps that's not football-wise, but given the troubled relations,” wrote Musayelyan, saying that Armenia will benefit from the situation football-wise. “Turkey is a strong side in the first place and in this case Armenia will also have strong motivation based on the perceived "off-the-pitch" importance of the matches in both communities.”
He added that he is “absolutely convinced” that there will be no security problems in Yerevan.
The rest of the group, including Spain, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Estonia is considered favorable for Armenia, Musayelyan said.
Helping Foes, Alienating Friends
Nicole Pope firstname.lastname@example.org
Turkey has once again made the headlines abroad with Article 301. “Trial of publisher revives row over Turkish ‘insult’ law,” read The Guardian newspaper on Dec. 5, highlighting the trial of publisher Ragip Zarakoglu for translating into Turkish a book on the vexed Armenian question.
Ironically the book by British author George Jerjian, “The Truth Will Set Us Free: Armenians and Turks Reconciled,” had also drawn flak from the Armenian diaspora. Good or bad, the merits of the book are not the issue. What is on trial, again, is Turkey’s level of tolerance for views that diverge from the official line. That such court cases are still common is illustrated by the lists regularly compiled by human rights organizations.
With the next hearing scheduled for January, the Zarakoglu trial -- and others like it -- will continue to provide opportunities for negative publicity. Whatever the outcome, Turkey will have once again unnecessarily exposed itself to international criticism. Aside from providing ammunition to those who oppose Turkey’s European Union membership bid, these trials fuel enmity and xenophobia in Turkey itself and they make the job of Turkey’s supporters abroad much harder, particularly when assessed in combination with the murder of Hrant Dink or of Christians in Malatya.
Many intellectuals in Europe condemn the attitude of European politicians like Nicolas Sarkozy and Angela Merkel, who would like the European Union to turn the clock back and renege on its commitments toward Ankara. But these liberal people, who have a positive approach to Turkey and support its candidacy, are also the ones most appalled by the lack of tolerance for freedom of expression revealed by these court cases.
President Abdullah Gül, during his recent trip to Paris, reiterated his support for a revision of the law and Justice Minister Mehmet Ali Sahin has just announced that a proposal for amending Article 301 would shortly be submitted to Parliament. But if the government is serious about revisiting Article 301, why has it taken it so long to address the issue? This infamous legislation is not just a source of domestic concern; it actively undermines Turkey’s diplomacy and the credibility of the government’s pledge to resume its reform drive.
The recent report on the judiciary published by the Turkish Economic and Social Studies Foundation (TESEV) showed that blaming the trials of the past couple of years on the implementation of the law rather than the article itself was not the right approach. It is not realistic to expect judges and prosecutors to exercise restraint in their interpretation of this catch-all legislation when the survey suggests many of them are still unsure if they should give priority to protecting the state or the rights of individuals. According to the report, 51 percent of magistrates questioned saw human rights as a possible threat to state security and more than half only followed European Court of Human Rights decisions relevant to Turkey in the media. Clear legal guidelines are therefore needed.
The government wants a new, liberal constitution, but has shown itself reluctant to take swift action on Article 301. Is the confusion expressed by some judges and prosecutors matched by contradictory feelings in political circles? If Turkey wants to avoid negative headlines in the future, the government’s reformist message must be loud enough to be heard at all levels of the state -- but also crystal clear and free of any ambiguity.
Clean Hands: Erdogan Should Keep His Promise
This country is fed up with the recent spate of killings. The assassination of Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink, the murder of Italian Catholic priest Andrea Santoro and killings of three Christians in a publishing house in Malatya.
The problem is clear: All these killings point to the existence of a "deep state." Investigations launched into such killings and the links between civil servants and murderers can neither be deepened nor concluded as they are blocked by civil servants themselves. Politicians should take action to shed light on shadowy links in such murders. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan should remember and keep the promises he delivered on the eve of parliamentary elections. He promised to fight gangs to the end and close down all criminal organizations.
06.12.2007,Ali Bayramoglu, Yeni Safak
Hypocrisy, European Style
Here at Dellib we like to give you the world view of things. You know, stuff you won’t find on the local papers. So this is a special post from a man I will call “The Turk” he’s the only one I know, besides the ones that own all the diners on the East Coast.
I do not know if you knew that Sarkozy is/was in Algeria very recently.
What’s surprising and appalling is Europe’s, Mr. Sarkozy’s hypocrisy. As you may know, some Europeans, especially Sarkozy, at every opportunity in the past, has “reminded” Turkey to “accept” its past and accept the claims of the “so-called Armenian Genocide”: and went even so far as attempting to make this a precondition on EU accession talks.
However, Sarkozy, when asked about the tragic 10 years (1952-1962) of Algerian struggle which left 2.5 million Algerians killed, for which the Algerian government has repeatedly asked for an official apology many many years, said: “I told Abdelaziz Belkhadem (Algeria’s prime minister) that you can’t ask sons to say sorry for their fathers’ mistakes”.
Whooo-haaaaaw….Check that out….He also continued saying “You need to leave past, historic events to historians, not to politicians” Whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaat???? Hold on a second…Mr. Sarkozy right…It’s not Arkin speaking there???
Wow. What a change of policy all of a sudden. The French parliament has recently approved legislation that makes denying the so-called Armenian genocide a crime, punishable by a prison sentence. However, when it comes to the dark past of France, Paris is OK to leave the argument to historians.
Regarding French crimes and mess killing by French during the colonial period (I more call it imperialist period, invasion period), which included concentration camps and torture and mess killings, Nicolas Sarkozy insisted that suffering took place on both sides and that no official apology would be made, despite repeated calls from the Algerian government in recent years…
Come on now……..
DelawareLiberal.Net Dec 6
Sarkozy's Visit To Algeria Underscores Different Stance On Genocide Allegations
French President Nicholas Sarkozy has completed his second official visit to Algeria without any sign of apologies for the genocide that some circles claim France carried out in Algeria during its 130 years in power there.
Sarkozy, who was greeted warmly by Algerian citizens during his visit, has commented earlier on allegations of wrong-doing by France in Algeria "Let's leave history to the historians." This stance stands in stark contrast to the recent vote in French Parliament to pass legistlation officially acknowledging Armenian claims against Turkey of genocide.
Addressing students at Algeria's Mentouri University during his visit this week, President Sarkozy commented on the period of French colonialism, noting "Most of those who moved here from France did so with good intentions. They came to work and to build things. They were not aiming to enslave or colonize. But colonialism was in itself an unjust system." Sarkozy asserted that during this period and afterwards, both sides had been hurt. Algerian President Abdulaziz Buteflika watched the speech in person.
© Copyright 2006 Hürriyet
Khachik Ter-Ghukasyan: Armenian-Turkish Border Will Remain Closed Unless Armenia Stops Endeavors For Genocide Recognition
/PanARMENIAN.Net/ “Turkish public opinion and the Azeri factor prevent Turkey from opening the border while recognition of the Armenian Genocide may undermine legitimacy of the Kemalist state,” Professor of international relations and politics at the San-Andres University of Buenos Aires, Khachik Ter-Ghukasyan said in an interview with PanARMENIAN.Net.
“The matter is not economy but mere politics. Armenia is too small to seek for product market in Turkey while Turkish goods can kill Armenia’s economy. However, there is the European Union which demands open borders. It’s noteworthy that the EU prefers the AKP to Kemalists. Nevertheless, the Armenian-Turkish border will remain closed unless Armenia stops endeavors for the Genocide recognition,” he said.
Turkish public opinion and Azeri factor hamper opening of Armenian-Turkish border
Situation in the South Caucasus and Middle East changes rapidly and processes that seemed unbelievable not long ago do become a reality. Naturally, what is going on in the world affects Armenia directly or indirectly. Professor of international relations and politics at the San-Andres University of Buenos Aires, Khachik Ter-Ghukasyan comments to PanARMENIAN.Net on regional and international developments.
Parliamentary organization of South America recognized the Armenian Genocide lately. How do you assess this fact?
As you know, on 19 November by a majority vote MERCOSUR bloc members – Argentina, Paraguay, Brazil and Uruguay – approved the Human Rights Committee’s decision to recognize the Armenian Genocide. The parliament calls on the states which haven’t recognized the Genocide yet to make the decision. MERCOSUR’s measure proves that the Armenian factor is gaining political weight in South America. I should mention that the motion was initiated by Uruguay, the first state that recognized the Armenian Genocide in 1965. The statement was signed by parliaments of Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay and Paraguay. Venezuela is expected to join them. Chile, a very likely candidate for MERCOSUR membership, made a similar decision earlier. As to Paraguay, recognition of Genocide is a unique phenomenon, since there is no Armenian community living in this country. This move is of strategic importance for Armenia’s foreign policy and I welcome Robert Kocharian’s edict on establishing Embassy of Brazil.
We can conclude that MERCOSUR is not guided by the U.S. Congress which froze the Armenian Genocide resolution…
We should not forget that the United States experiences shaky political situation at the moment and such a resolution can’t be adopted at once. Majority of Congressmen recognized the Armenian Genocide as a historical fact, however, vote would be inexpedient now. In general with adopting the resolution, the U.S. will contribute to consolidation of Armenia’s state defense.
Situation in Middle East and Iraq is also tensed. The problem is not Kurdistan but in Iraq’s further partition. Those who bind H.Res.106 with the Kurdish issue are deeply mistaken. Turkey would launch operations against Kurdish rebels anyway. It’s quite another matter whether it will succeed. Opposition between Shiites and Sunnites is going on there.
As to Middle East, the main thing for the U.S. is not the Palestine-Israel conflict but opposition with Iran, which has a serious potential to become a regional power with its nuclear program.
Baku’s calls for war have become more frequent recently. What’s you opinion about it?
Statements of the kind are first of all tools of pressure on the population, let it happen in Azerbaijan or in any other state. On the other hand, Ilham Aliyev can make such statements due to $1 billion defense budget. However, it doesn’t mean that he will be allowed to deteriorate the situation. Neither the U.S. nor Russia will tolerate it. It’s bluff and speculation. Azerbaijan is well armed and we should not forget about the syndrome of the defeated that reigns there. Calls for war are just meant to unite the nation.
How do you see the future of the Armenian-Turkish relations?
Turkish public opinion and the Azeri factor prevent Turkey from opening the border while recognition of the Armenian Genocide may undermine legitimacy of the Kemalist state. The matter is not economy but mere politics. Armenia is too small to seek for product market in Turkey while Turkish goods can kill Armenia’s economy. However, there is the European Union which demands open borders. It’s noteworthy that the EU prefers the AKP to Kemalists. Nevertheless, the Armenian-Turkish border will remain closed unless Armenia stops endeavors for the Genocide recognition.
Preserve Medieval Monuments By Not Restoring Them, A Historian Says by Anoush Ter Taulian
NEW YORK -- On November 15, Scottish architectural historian Steven Sim presented a slide show and lecture about the remnants of the Armenian cultural heritage in Turkey, at the Diocesan Center in New York. The speech -- one of two Mr. Sim gave in New York (see the sidebar story) -- was an adjunct event of the "Armenian Monuments of the Nakhichevan Region" exhibition, which was concurrently on display at Harvard University.
Mr. Sim's presentation showed how one dedicated individual can make an important contribution to preserving that cultural heritage. His search for the monuments of historic Armenia has taken him, alone, into some remote and inhospitable parts of what is now Turkey and Azerbaijan.
His study of Armenian monuments had been ongoing for nine years before Mr. Sim ever set foot in present-day Armenia.
Anahit Ter-Stepanian, an adjunct art professor at Sacred Heart University in Connecticut, who organized the November 15 event in conjunction with the Diocese's Krikor and Clara Zohrab Information Center, described "Sim's first encounter with Armenian buildings... when he was traveling around Turkey in 1984. He has visited Turkey every year since 1989, taking over 20,000 photographs, while exploring and documenting the region's surviving Armenian monuments. In 1999 he created a website on Armenian architecture, www.virtualani.org, which receives worldwide inquiries."
Ms. Ter-Stepanian continued her introduction by noting that the Yerevan-based organization, Research on Armenian Architecture, sponsored Mr. Sim's 2005 trip to Nakhichevan to document the conditions of the region's Armenian churches. Mr. Sim also supplied testimony in 2006 to Charles Tannock, a member of the European Parliament, that led to the passing of a European Union resolution condemning Azerbaijan's destruction of the khatchkars in Julfa. He was invited by Switzerland's Armenia Parliamentary Group to be a part of a delegation that met with UNESCO to protest the inactivity regarding the destruction of the Julfa Armenian graveyard.
In his presentation, Mr. Sim first discussed the Turkish government's recent restoration of the Church of the Holy Cross at Aghtamar. He questioned the quality of the reconstruction and showed how it did not maintain the integrity of the original church. For instance, instead of using the original type of lime cement, the restorers used ordinary cement, which is not long lasting and must be replaced in three to ten years. The Turkish team also made fundamental changes that are contrary to the ethics of restoration, according to Mr. Sim; he gave as an example the stripping away of the original earthen roof and replacing it with a pitched stone roof.
Mr. Sim's slides of last spring's Aghtamar re-opening showed scenes now familiar to many Armenians: the gigantic red Turkish flag draped on the front of the church; the thousands of Turkish-flag balloons that were released at the ribbon-cutting; a large sign reading, "Respect the History, Respect the Culture" -- even though the church was being presented as a museum, and is not allowed to function as an Armenian church.
Commenting on what he termed a botched restoration, with a low level of workmanship and lack of understanding of Armenian architecture, Mr. Sim said: "If you can't preserve the original aspect of the building after restoration, then it should not be restored."
He added: "Artifacts [like pottery or carved stone fragments] that were uncovered during the restoration have just been left lying around, to be lost or stolen; they should be preserved in a museum."
* Painstaking documentation
According to the last official list of Armenian buildings made by the Armenian Patriarchate in Istanbul in 1911, there were over 1,639 parish churches, 700 monastic churches, and 210 monasteries in the Ottoman Empire. The Patriarchate's figures did not include the hundreds of other Armenian Protestant and Catholic churches throughout Ottoman Turkey.
Mr. Sim has painstakingly documented the ongoing destruction of many of these Armenian monuments. On Ktutz Island in Lake Van stands a 14th-century church, St. Hovannes, which has been vandalized by Turks who have scribbled their names on the walls. Near Ani there used to be five churches in the 10th-century Khtzkonk monastery, but in the early 1960s soldiers from the local Turkish army base used dynamite to blow up the churches; only one survives today. Local vandals routinely tear up church floors searching for gold allegedly buried by the former Armenian inhabitants.
Ironically, some churches that have been used as barns, mosques, gymnasia, or storage facilities have been better preserved. Mr. Sim told how the Church of the Apostles in Kars was used as a warehouse for petroleum in the 1930s. (It is now used as a mosque.) The 16th-century Phirus Church near Lake Van is now a mosque -- even though Armenian churches typically face east, and mosques in the region face south.
Mr. Sim has also visited monuments in more remote locations which are better preserved. Near the village of Terjan stand a pair of six-meter-tall, 12th-century khatchkars -- remarkably still standing. In Hayots Dzor -- the "Valley of the Armenians," home to the fortress of the legendary Haik -- there still stands the 17th-century nunnery of St. Marina, once a popular pilgrimage site dedicated to a young woman who lived a clandestine existence as a male monk.
Nevertheless, "It is distressing to return each year and see less and less," Mr. Sim lamented. "These monuments have no future without conservation. The seventh-century Church of Mren, the oldest surviving example of an Armenian domed church, is in a border military zone and officially people are not allowed to go there. It has a large crack and is severely damaged, and will collapse completely unless urgent repairs are done," he said.
* Policies of neglect
"The Turkish government has a policy of neglect," Mr. Sim said, adding surprisingly, "and Armenian organizations have the same policy of neglect." He said he considered it "unrealistic" to hope that these Armenian monuments might be reclaimed by the Armenian Church, and advised Armenians to give money to the Turks who own these buildings to encourage their ongoing maintenance.
Equally surprising, Mr. Sim said he thinks the monuments should not be rebuilt, because the monuments themselves are also "Genocide survivors" which should be preserved as they are, so as not to destroy the evidence of the Genocide. (It would also be contrary to current conservation practices to completely rebuild the buildings, he said.)
"There are still a lot of Armenian village churches, graveyards, and castles to discover," Mr. Sim said. "It is a race against time. Some Armenian with financial resources should try to preserve a few churches to set an example. For $100,000, five or six ancient churches could be saved. Now there is massive urban development [in Turkey] and there is little of Armenian origin left; most Turkish cities contain few buildings that are older than 50 years of age, regardless of how ancient those cities are. After the founding of the Turkish republic, Turkey undertook a relentless drive to modernity, and because of this most people in Turkey do not see any value in preserving old things. Armenians must act fast, because within 30 years there will be few monuments left to save."
In a question-and answer-session at the end of the presentation, members of the Armenian community expressed different views on what could be done to preserve the monuments.
Rachel Goshgarian, director of the Krikor and Clara Zorab Center, suggested that the Land and Culture Organization, which had established building programs in Armenia and Artsakh, could start a similar project in Turkey. She encouraged every Armenian to contribute to the upkeep of the monuments.
Mr. Ter-Stepanian noted, "The Armenian community is in a very difficult psychological and emotional state. Is the need to preserve the Armenian cultural heritage a part of our values? What kind of support do we give Armenian scholars and researchers?"
Hrand Markarian, who wrote a book about historical Western Armenia, Liturgy: Sound of Stones, said the monuments were confiscated under a Turkish law that declared them abandoned property, in defiance of the fact that they belonged to the Armenian Patriarchate in Istanbul; he said they were never abandoned and should therefore be returned. He also questioned the decision of the Turkish government not to allow Armenian architects to work on the restoration of Aghtamar, but added resignedly: "It is not easy to get through the legal quagmire of Turkish laws designed to prevent Armenian ownership of Armenian properties."
Mr. Sim replied to this point that an argument about abandonment versus confiscation has no bearing on how to preserve the monuments; that most of the surviving disused churches are in private ownership; and that it was "a fantasy to ever expect them to be returned to the Armenian Church." He added that the preservation of churches "would be a threat if the current owners in Turkey believed that there was a possibility their property would be confiscated and given back to Armenians." The result would be to accelerate the destruction of such monuments.
In a brief post-lecture interview, historian Aram Arkun, a specialist in the Genocide period, said, "Saving these Armenian monuments is a complex issue because Armenians don't have free access to their buildings, and Armenians who visit them are treated with suspicion. There are so many of them that the cost of renovation would be very expensive, especially when the border between Turkey and Armenia is closed. Certainly, better Turkish-Armenian relations would help. But UNESCO is not actively helping, and the likelihood is that many of these monuments will disappear."
He added: "Ultimately, one of the potential components of reparations demands for the Armenian Genocide -- if Armenians are ever in a position to make them -- would be the return and restoration of these monuments."
At Columbia, Steven Sim Reveals The Glories And Troubles Of The "City Of 1001 Churches"
by Lori Khrimian
NEW YORK -- A day after his Zohrab Center lecture, on November 16, Steven Sim delivered a second speech, this time at Columbia University's Roone Arledge Cinema. The program, made possible by Dr. Anahit Ter-Stepanian and jointly organized by the Columbia University Armenian Center and the university's Armenian Students Association, revolved around the history, re-discovery, and current status of Armenia's once-glorious capital city, Ani.
A millennium ago, Ani rivaled Byzantium as one of the great cities of the Christian world, home to Armenia's kings and its catholicate. By the beginning of the 11th century, with a population well over 100,000, Ani became known throughout the Near East as the "City of 40 Gates" and the "City of 1001 Churches."
Architectural historian Steven Sim's presentation at Columbia centered around a captivating slide presentation, with images culled >From the nearly 50 trips he has made to Ani in the past two decades. He was introduced by Aram Arkun, a historian and board member of the Armenian Center, and by Dr. Ter-Stepanian, who stressed the importance of Sim's work in awakening a broad public awareness of Ani's rapid destruction.
Sim began his presentation with a space satellite view of the Turkish-Armenian border along the Akhurian River, where the outline of the walls of Ani was clearly visible.
Armenian medieval architecture, with its simple and solid-looking forms and distinctive appearance, is famous for its superior masonry, volumetric clarity, and the organic unity of the interiors and exteriors of the churches, noted Sim. The Cathedral of Ani (989-1001), with its pointed arches, clustered columns and piers, is among the masterpieces of medieval architecture: the work of the celebrated architect Trdat, who was invited to Constantinople to repair the dome of Hagia Sophia when it was damaged by an earthquake in 989. Remarkably, the dome built by Trdat still stands after 10 centuries.
After showing the rich variety of the city's architectural wonders, Sim said, "Ani's many churches, palaces, and fortifications were amongst the most technically and artistically advanced structures in the world at that period."
As for the destruction of Ani in recent years, he said that during the 1980s and 1990s, when the site of Ani was under the control of the Turkish army, very little damage was done to the remains by treasure hunters. In 2004 the Turkish Ministry of Defense passed the responsibility for the day-to-day control of the archaeological site to the Turkish Ministry of Culture. According to Sim, although it is now possible to visit Ani without a permit and to take photographs, the transfer from soldiers to civilian guards has created undesirable results.
"These guards are engaged by the Ministry of Culture to protect Ani," Sim said, "but they use their position of authority to roam the ruins and dig anywhere they think may contain treasure." He showed several "before and after" photos, taken this year, documenting the destruction of graves and monuments caused by treasure hunters.
Major destruction to Ani is facilitated by so-called archeologists, Sim continued, "who sit in their offices in big cities, while the laborers remove the earth and everything else from the archaeological sites without any documentation."
Repeating the counter-intuitive conclusion of his previous day's lecture, Sim said that "Neglect, earthquakes, cultural cleansing, vandalism, quarrying, amateurish restorations and excavations -- all these and more have taken a heavy toll on Ani's monuments. Yet still Ani survives." He quoted a French archaeologist who opined in the late 1990s: "The best thing that people can do for Ani right now is to leave it entirely alone."
Richard Hovannisian Recounts His Trip To Western Armenia
* Karen Khanlarian delivers a portrait of the Hemshin Armenians
by Anoush Ter Taulian
NEW YORK -- An overflow crowd of over 100 people gathered to hear Professor Richard G. Hovannisian speak of his recent trip to Western Armenia. At the same event, researcher Karen Khanlarian discoursed on the surviving Armenians in Anatolia. The November 9 lecture was sponsored by the New School's "Diversity Committee," in conjunction with the New York chapter of the Armenian Youth Federation.
"The first generation of Armenians in America had no choice but to be Armenian, but their children and grandchildren select what aspects of being Armenian they want," Mr. Hovannisian said. When he was growing up, he said, he didn't feel comfortable being Armenian, because there was prejudice against Armenians in Fresno. However, he recalled, the Fresno Armenians around him showed a fierce pride whenever they heard the names of Armenian villages -- even if they didn't know where those villages were.
Mr. Hovannisian said he had always hesitated when asked about visiting his family's region of Kharpert; knowing what he would see, he feared going. When he finally did decide to visit Western Armenia, Mr. Hovannisian said he felt pain in his knowledge of the exact places where Armenians had been slaughtered.
During his presentation, Mr. Hovannisian showed slides of Kemahk Gorge, where thousands of Armenians were marched to their deaths, and Goljuk Lake near Kharpert, where thousands of Armenians were killed. Everywhere he went, Mr. Hovannisian recalled, he was followed by Turkish police, and when they lost him for six hours, he had to sign a paper saying he was not conspiring with Kurdish rebels.
His trip made him a witness to the destruction of Armenian civilization, Mr. Hovannisian said. When he visited an Armenian monastery in Baiburt which was being used as a stable, a Turk who knew he was Armenian told him, "You will never get it back. I will burn it down before I give it to you."
In Moush, he found Kurds selling the stones of an Armenian monastery. In his family's village of Yereki -- where the cabbages grow so big that people can sit on them -- Mr. Hovannisian met a family of Armenians who told him: "The Turks stole our land, and we had to buy it back to live on it."
Throughout his trip, Richard Hovannisian said, his driver was a Hemshin Armenian -- a member of a distinctive Anatolian population of Armenian descent. The driver spoke a little Armenian, and would point out how the Turkish police switched cars following them.
Everywhere, the Turkish desecration of the landscape was evident. The site of the historic Armenian Euphrates College is now built up with condos, noted Mr. Hovannisian, and he lamented the fact that historical Armenia is now filled with 20 to 30 million Turks and numerous condo developments.
* Culture preserved in writing
The evening's second lecturer, Karen Khanlarian, a researcher with the International Institute of Earthquake Engineering and Seismology and a lecturer at the Islamic Azad University in Iran, presented a report titled, "The Contemporary Life and Culture of the Armenians of 'Anatolia.'" An excellent translation of his talk was given by Aris Sevag, writer and translator (and the former longtime managing editor of the Armenian Reporter).
In discussing the Armenians of Asia Minor, Mr. Khanlarian divided them into three groups: The "official," the "Islamicized," and the "crypto" Armenians. He estimated that outside of Istanbul, there are only 5,000 "official" Armenians in the region, living mainly in historical Cilicia.
Mr. Khanlarian cited the creativity of "official" Armenian writers who have enriched cultural knowledge by their portrayals of Armenian provincial life in novels and short stories. Megerdich Margossian, born in Dikranagerd in 1938, wrote In Those Parts of Ours and other books describing the church services, wedding feasts, and everyday facets of village life. In the short story "May the Roots of this Centuries-old Tree Remain Young," Hagop Arslanian, born in Tokat in 1933, described the life of the Armenians of the village of Gemereg in the 1950s.
In such regions, in the decades following the Genocide, it was hard for Armenians to open schools and churches. But conditions are slowly changing, Mr. Khanlarian said, and in 2003 a ceremony dedicated to the 100th anniversary of the birth of Aram Khachaturian was held in the garden of the newly built church in the village of Vakif, with numerous Armenian pilgrims present. Despite ongoing severe hardships, the "official" Armenians have withstood the forces of assimilation to be a direct link to the region's indigenous Armenian origins.
According to Mr. Khanlarian, the biggest group of Armenians in Anatolia are the "Islamicized" Hemshin Armenians, numbering a few hundred thousand. Their origins can be traced to the eighth century, when the Armenian princes Haman and Shapuh Amaduni lost their domains in Artaz to the Arabs, and moved to the Pontic mountains with 12,000 Armenians, into a town whose name evolved to Hemshin. In the 18th century, they were forcibly converted to Islam, although now there are both Sunni and Christian Hemshins who have migrated widely.
* Remnants of an older culture
Today there are over 400,000 Hemshins, half of whom are Muslims, Mr. Khanlarian said.
The northern Hemshin Armenians, who live in Georgia and Russia, speak the Hemshin Armenian dialect and are Christians, while the eastern population also speaks the Hemshin Armenian dialect, but are Sunni Muslims. Nevertheless, they stubbornly maintain aspects of Christian (and pre-Christian) Armenian custom, such as the observance of Vartavar. Their culture is filled with jokes and storytelling based on more ancient Armenian stories and fables.
In his well-prepared presentation, Mr. Khanlarian showed video of Hemshin boys and girls doing circular dances while holding hands -- a practice not ordinarily found in Sunni Muslim culture.
The ethno-religious transformation in Western Armenia also includes the "crypto" or "hidden" Armenians. In order to maintain their physical existence during the Genocide, these were forced to alter their identities as Armenians. Some continue to uphold Armenian traditions in secret, and intermarry with each other. Some are waiting for a time when they can openly state their Armenian roots and convert back to the Armenian Church.
According to Mr. Khanlarian, presently more than 700,000 crypto-Armenians live in historical Armenia. He told of a crypto-Armenian family in the village of Govdoon, near Sebastia: "According to a Lebanese-Armenian tourist, a man living there in the 1950s, whose real name was Mikayel but who was called 'Kurd Ahmad,' had an Armenian wife and three daughters, and hadn't come across any Armenians in 30 years. Unknown to the Turks and Kurds, he conducted classes in Armenian language and history with his children at night, using a few old textbooks, and diligently taught them their mother tongue."
Mr. Khanlarian suggested that now more than 37 percent of the population in Turkey does not consider itself Turkish. Out of an estimated 1,350,000 ethnic Armenians still living in western Turkey, he estimated only 700,000 still remember their national origin.
But those who haven't forgotten their roots do not want to become lost in turn. Mr. Khanlarian quoted 40-year-old Armen Martirossian, a resident of Moush, as saying: "Don't forget us. There are many Armenians surviving in Moush, Sassoun, Vardo, and other areas.... [They are] Armenians who were afraid until recently to reveal their identity, but who today are expressing themselves courageously, and are struggling to remain Armenian."
Armenian Reporter, www.reporter.am
Treatment Of Foundations In Turkey Threatens The Survival Of Non-Muslim Communities
* A history of confiscations, by Talin Suciyan
Before his assassination in January, Agos editor Hrant Dink was very concerned with the issue of the confiscation of the property of non-Muslim community foundations in Turkey. It was this issue, perhaps more than anything else, that made him a target of ultranationalists.
The issue is a crucial one because policies implemented since the 1970s have aimed at starving non-Muslim communities of their financial means, thus in the long run erasing their existence for good.
The communities need their properties to finance their institutions -- churches, schools, hospitals, cemeteries, and charities that care for the elderly and those in need.
Mr. Dink showed that confiscating the properties of non-Muslim communities and selling those properties, most often to ultranationalist groups, has become common practice in Turkey. Media outlets owned or affiliated with such groups thus often targetted him.
* Decades of confiscation
The story starts with the Statement of 1936. Through that regulation, the government required community foundations to make a list of their properties and submit the list to the government. The regulation did not become a major issue until 1974.
All along, Republican Turkey had been implementing economic policies aimed at weakening non-Muslim communities. There was the Wealth Tax of 1942, a one-time levy imposed on assets rather than income; by valuing the assets of wealthy non-Muslims much higher than their actual worth, the government seized their assets.
There were the pogroms of September 6-7, 1955 against non-Muslims. A bomb planted in Thessalonica in the house of Mustafa Kemal, founder of the Turkish republic, served as an occasion for organized groups of people to attack and ransack shops and houses belonging to non-Muslims. Some 37 people were killed and 200 women raped. (See Speros Vryonis Jr., The Mechanism of Catastrophe.) Later it was revealed that the bomb was planted by a state agent.
In 1964, residents of Turkey who held Greek citizenship were forced to leave the country with no more than 20 kg (44 lbs) of their belongings and no more than $20. They were paying the price for the conflict in Cyprus.
* A search for Jesus
In 1974, with a decision of the Court of Cassation, the government started to confiscate and then sell properties that belonged to non-Muslim community foundations. It argued that non-Muslim communities did not have the right to acquire or own any properties other than those listed persuant to the Statement of 1936. This decision was widely condemned as a wilful violation of the Treaty of Lausanne (in which Turkey guaranteed non-Moslem minorities "the same treatment and security in law and in fact as other Turkish nationals" and, in particular, "an equal right to establish, manage and control at their own expense, any charitable, religious and social institutions, any schools and other establishments for instruction and education"). It was also seen as a violation of the Turkish constitution, which guarantees the right to own property, and the European Convention on Human Rights.
Following this decision, the General Directorate of Foundations (GDF) launched another policy to liquidate the foundations. It decreed that it would govern "foundations that are not serving any community anymore." Thus, if a foundation owned a property it no longer used directly, it could no longer control that property. The GDF then started looking for churches, schools, and other institutions to take over.
The GDF gave itself the right to decide on behalf of the foundation that owned a church or a school whether that church or school was needed by the community. This law has changed recently.
Another method of taking over the administration of community foundations relies on the fact that many properties were registered in the names of saints, an Ottoman-era practice.
Officials of the GDF went out and looked for a person named "Jesus, son of Saint Mary" at the given address of a foundation. Not finding any such person, the officials would decree, "there being no such person, the foundation should be administered by GDF."
Recently, the English-language newspaper Today's Zaman published a news item on community foundations, "Turkish minority foundations own over 2,000 estates." The item began, "The foundations established by various minorities in Turkey own over 2,000 items of real estate, most of which are located in Istanbul districts where real estate prices are generally higher, according to a recent study conducted by the General Directorate of Foundations."
The news item gave the names of the foundations along with the number of properties each one owns. Can the GDF answer the question how many thousands, tens of thousands of properties, reaching how many billion dollars of value have been confiscated and sold to third persons? It would be a great research topic for GDF, for the next time.
* New regulation
Since confiscations continued and the Turkish legal system offered no respite, non-Muslim community foundations started turning to the European Court of Human Rights. For instance, the Armenian Hospital Foundation brought a case to the ECHR, protesting the confiscation of properties acquired between 1943 and 1963. The Turkish government agreed to return the property. In another case brought to the ECHR, a building that had belonged to the Greek High School had been sold to third persons by the state. Turkey ended up paying compensation for the property to the tune of 890,000 euros.
With the issue internationalized, the government prepared a new law last year, which was vetoed by then-president Ahmet Necdet Sezer. The law is back in parliament, pending a vote.
In a panel discussion on the matter, Kezban Hatemi, a lawyer and legal consultant of the Greek Patriarchate, said that Mr. Sezer regarded non-Muslim "community foundations as 'foundations belonging to foreigners' and vetoed the new law. In the reason of his decision, it was stated that they (community foundations) are 'very dangerous,' and in case they are given properties, they would become powerful." Ms. Hatemi said, "No property is given to anyone; confiscated properties should be returned to their owners."
* "Legalizing the illegality"
The pending law is not enough to solve the problems of non-Muslim community foundations, lawyers and community members insist. Nevertheless, the law would enable
* the acquisition of legal personality for foundations registered in the names of saints in the case of those not yet taken over by the GDF;
* the return of properties that have not been sold and are still under the control of the state;
* the acquisition of new properties by foundations, with the right to
use them as they wish.
In the same panel discussion, Prof. Hüseyin Hatemi said the new law "legalizes the illegality." He said the new law does not include and should have included the following:
1) Returning or paying compensation for properties that were confiscated by court orders;
2) Returning or paying compensation for properties that were sold to third parties by the state;
3) Returning the confiscated properties of community foundations, which were confiscated on the basis of not having legal personality (meaning the ones registered in the names of saints);
4) Returning to foundations the control of properties whose administration was taken over by the GDF;
5) Ending the confiscation of the properties of the non-Muslim community foundations.
Until the new law is put in place, the GDF can continue its practices. The latest example is the Greek school in Edirnekapi. The school is not in use anymore because of a lack of students. The GDF took the Aya Yorgi Church in 1991 under its control, arguing that there was no community left. In May 2007, the GDF rented the school, which is in the garden of the church, to a third party, for the purpose of opening a café and billiard saloon. According to the Ministry of National Education, it is prohibited to use schools for other than educational purposes. Although the Greek Patriarchate sent a letter to the governor of Istanbul, no answer has been given, Agos reported on November 9 in a story by Dilek Kurban.
The governing AKP does not intend to make a radical change in its attitudes toward the non-Muslim communities and their problems. It rather gives enough space to forces that would like to see non-Muslim minorities as "internal threats." The AKP's attitude toward the new law for community foundations and Article 301 of the criminal code (which criminalizes "insulting Turkishness") is almost the same. The AKP government does not consider abolishing it. The AKP wants to make changes to Article 301, just like the changes it proposes to make in the law on foundations.
You Can’t Insult Turks, Mohammad, Spanish Royalty
1 December 2007 - Issue : 758
Europeans think Muslim humour is an oxymoron, and many jumped to the defence of a Danish newspaper two years ago when it printed cartoons of the Prophet Mohammad that were, let’s say, rather unflattering, setting off jihadic jitters in the Muslim world and threats against the cartoonists, the newspaper, and the whole country of Denmark. Let’s not squash freedom of expression, European Union officials said, while trying to balance their tight-rope walk by declaring that it was unseemly to attack religious beliefs, a classic case of politicians talking out of both sides of their mouths at the same time they were firmly putting both feet in.
They wanted it both ways, of course, to allegedly support freedom of speech while mollifying people they felt were dangerous. The EU is also livid over Turkey’s notorious Article 301 which makes it a crime to “insult Turkishness.” And apparently it’s kind of okay to make fun of Mohammad in Europe, but it’s not okay if the target is Spanish royalty. Two Spanish cartoonists who lampooned Spanish Crown Prince Felipe and Princess Letizia by depicting them engaged in a sex act have been fined 3,000 Euro for “insulting the monarchy.” Wonder what the Turks think of that? The cartoon showed the royal couple in a popular caninestyle position, with the prince saying “Do you realise, if you get pregnant, this is the closest I will ever come to working for a living?” The cartoonists said they weren’t poking fun at the royals, who apparently never have sex, but a government ruling granting 2,500 Euro for the birth of every child.
The court, taking a cue from Turkey, rejected this argument saying criticism of a government edict did not require illustration with the Spanish royal couple, which may be partially true since a judge would have been better. The court said the cartoon on the cover of the satirical magazine El Jueves – had “vilified the Crown in the most gratuitous and unnecessary way.” It was a typically wonderful European judgment though, since the EU is so good at being both silly and hypocritical at the same time. While the crown princes of politics in the EU cowered and refused to criticise Spain, only five of the 785 Members of the European Parliament properly pointed out the indefensibly recreant and craven double standard.
The cartoon was reprehensible, but it wasn’t a crime and nobody in public life is above being offended. “When Muslims in Europe and around the world protested about the ‘Danish cartoons,’ Liberals and others insisted that the right to freedom of expression must be upheld,” they said, adding that the same principle applied to Turkey. But, said MEPs Sarah Ludford of the United Kingdom, Sophie In’t Veld and Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert of The Netherlands, Adina Valean of Romania and Marco Cappato of Italy, “It is … hypocritical for a leading EU country like Spain to have a criminal law which allows such a conviction for making a joke about a member of the Royal family.”
They added, “These examples of hypocrisy make a mockery of European pretensions to uphold a consistent set of values. If Europe is to avoid being seen as having double standards in preaching to others principles that we fail to uphold on our own territory, then laws which penalise jokes - however insulting - at the expense of established institutions like the monarchy and the Church must be swept away.”
Meanwhile, Spain’s Infanta Elena, the eldest daughter of King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia, separated from her husband Jaime de Marichalar, the Spanish royal house announced. No cartoons were available. Now teddy bears have been dragged into the fray. A British teacher was arrested in Sudan for insulting Islam’s prophet after she allowed her students to name a teddy bear Mohammed. “How can you call a bear Mohammad?
Mohammad is the holy prophet of Islam,” a government spokesman said. This isn’t funny, of course, because insulting Mohammad is a grave offense, even in Europe, but not in the United States, where there are no sacred cows, as the infamous Screw magazine has done for years, putting politicians and celebrities in a toilet of bad taste – legally. That’s why it’s called freedom of speech. Life imitates art, however, and the Mohammad cartoons have come full circle. Swedish artist Lars Vilks, already under a death threat for a cartoon depicting Mohammad’s head on the body of a dog, says he’ll turn it into a musical called “Dogs.” We can’t wait for the Spanish version.
Copyright © The Media Company S.A, www.neurope.eu
Turkish President, French Prime Minister Discuss Armenian Genocide
YEREVAN (Armradio)--Turkish President Abdullah Gul met with the French Prime Minister Francois Fillon Tuesday to discuss terrorism, the Armenian issue and the European Union, the Turkish Daily News reports.
On the question of the Armenian genocide, which was on the agenda of the French Parliament, G?l said, "This is the business of historians and scientists, not politicians. Turkey has opened its archives to research on this issue."
Commenting on prerequisite reforms placed on Turkey for its EU membership bid, Gul remarked that EU reforms and negotiations are merely political and technical issues.
"Turkey's road map is very clear," Gul said. "We should take care of our business." Any reforms that will be implemented will be done for the "benefit of the Turkish people," he added.
Answering a question about an earlier proposal by French President Nicholas Sarkozy to establish a Mediterranean Union as an alternative to Turkey's EU membership, G?l said, "Turkey is a Mediterranean country. The Mediterranean Union is not an alternative to Turkey's EU membership."
President Gul was in Paris for the General Assembly of the International Exhibitions Bureau where he gave a speech in support of Izmir's (Turkey's largest port city) candidacy to host EXPO 2015, a world fair whose location has not yet been determined.
November 28, 2007
Turkey Eyes Armenia’s Renunciation Of Genocide Recognition As Only Way To Normalize Relations
/PanARMENIAN.Net/ “The Armenian issue has again caused Turkey’s headache, for the Armenian Genocide recognition affects the core of Turkish identity,” Director of the Institute of Oriental Studies, Professor Ruben Safrastyan said during round-table discussions titled “Turkey after presidential elections: constitutional changes and internal transformations.”
According to him, a European survey showed that 37-38% of Turkish population believes not to be Turks.
“Turkey eyes Armenia’s renunciation of the Genocide recognition as the only way to normalize relations. The rest is a political game. If Armenia makes concessions on the issue, Turkey can even arrive at a favorable decision on the Karabakh conflict,” he noted.
Isolation Of Armenia At Any Price Is Morality For Russians Hakob Badalyan
Lragir, Armenia, Nov 27 2007
When the U.S. House brought up the issue of recognition of the Genocide, the Russian politicians and experts reacted right away, sending their emissaries to Armenia or addressing Armenians from Moscow with judgments that the United States took that move out of its own interests and aims rather than morality. In fact, one needs not be Russian to understand this. Also it is not difficult to understand why the Russians worry. There was fear that the Armenian resolution would push Armenia to make its relations with the United States warmer. Besides, there is danger that this process may bring about certain tendencies in the Armenian and Turkish relations, namely establishment of relations. Turkey may at least pretend taking certain moves to temporize and undermine the U.S. House initiative.
Meanwhile, the improvement of the Armenian and Turkish relations is not favorable for Russia. That is why the Russians recognized the Armenian genocide in the early 1990's. And there was no crumb of morality in it. Which is normal, by the way. It is abnormal that for the Russians it is moral when they pursue their interests, and when other states pursue their interests, the Russians think they are self-interested. What was the interest of Russians to recognize the Armenian genocide? In fact, the recognition delays the Turkish-Armenian conciliation because after recognition Turkey has no motivation for conciliation with Armenians. The vivid evidence to this is that after the recognition by Russia and France the Armenian and Turkish relations did not improve, and Turkey's stance toward the recognition of the genocide did not become milder by at least one millimeter. It means an increasing degree of independence of Armenia.
When the Armenian and Turkish relations improve, Armenia gains certain independence in the sense that at least the degree of our country's security increases. This degree is different in the case of unsettled relations with Turkey and in the case of improvement of these relations.
Meanwhile, a change in the security mode of Armenia automatically makes the Russian military presence in Armenia unnecessary. Not immediately but in the course of time. Along with the improvement of Armenian and Turkish relations the withdrawal of the Russian military bases from Armenia will start, which may take years but will be inevitable. For its part, it will be the definitive withdrawal of Russia from the Caucasus even though this country controls almost 90 percent of the energy sector of Armenia, which is equal to military presence. However, the economic expansion is also greatly determined by the fact that the physical security of Armenia is guaranteed by Russia. In other words, with our present economic capacity the Russian assistance is the only way to maintain the military balance in the region. Meanwhile, if a steady tendency of improvement of relations with Turkey appears, the danger of resumption of the war in Karabakh will vanish. Consequently, when our dependence on Russia in terms of security weakens, this enables conducting an economic policy independent from Russia, based on the interest of Armenia. Naturally, considering this prospect, Russia cannot welcome any process that contains certain elements of Armenian and Turkish dialogue deep inside. The vivid evidence to this is the Russian and Georgian relation. It seems that Georgia is causing tensions with foolish actions. In reality, those tensions favor Russia because by cutting communication with Georgia it pushes this country to look for ways out in cooperation with Turkey and Azerbaijan, which leads to such projects as Kars-Akhalkalaki. Such projects increase the isolation of Armenia from the world, in other words, the dependence of Armenia on Russia.
An Article On The US
Contrary to what is often thought about Americans in many countries, the US is the world’s most aristocratic and elite country.
But this aristocracy has not come into existence by bonds of blood or land ownership, but by high-quality education in the world’s top 20 universities. Thousands of great scholars picked up from other countries throughout the world are currently breathing new life into the American educational machine. And some 300 million “equal” Americans play the roles assigned to them among the cogs of this machine and accept it all for the sake of “equality.” We, on the other hand, sabotage every deed of aristocrats who strive to provide better education for society in the name of republicanism. I believe what we need to do is establish new institutions with the objective of training our own elites while providing standard but high-quality education for the rest.
26.11.2007, ESER KARAKAS, STAR
Putin, Gul Satisfied With Russia-Turkey Relations
PanARMENIAN.Net/ November 30, Russian President Vladimir Putin had a telephone conversation with President of Turkey Abdullah Gul.
The two leaders exchanged views on the current state of Russian-Turkish cooperation and the development prospects for relations. The two Presidents said they were happy with the rapid development of bilateral ties, which in many areas can already be characterized as an advanced and multi-faceted partnership.
The leadership in both countries sees continued all-round development of cooperation between Russia and Turkey as an important factor in ensuring security and stability across the Eurasian region.
Mr Putin, who sent Mr Gul a telegram earlier in the day following the plane crash in Turkey, repeated his condolences during the telephone conversation.
The telephone conversation took place on Turkey’s initiative, the Kremlin’s press office said.
PKK Looks Into Relocating To KarabakhErcan Yavuz
Today's Zaman, Turkey, Nov 30 2007
The Kurdistan Workers' Party (Pkk), Faced With Increasing Pressure To End Its Activities In Northern Iraq, May Be Seeking To Re-Establish Its Camps In The Armenian-Controlled Nagorno-Karabakh Region Of Azerbaijan, Intelligence Reports Indicate.
After the PKK lost its support from Syria, which was confronted with military and diplomatic pressure from Turkey in the late '90s, the terrorist group found a safe haven in the mountains of northern Iraq, a region now facing a serious threat of military incursion by Turkey.
Following Turkey's intense diplomatic efforts to find support for its fight against terrorism, northern Iraqi leaders and the US have recently hinted that they will be backing Turkey's right to protect itself from the PKK, whose members cross the border and stage brutal attacks within Turkey. The leader of the regional Kurdish administration in northern Iraq, Massoud Barzani, who had previously taken little action against the PKK presence in the region, recently vowed to make the presence of the PKK in northern Iraq "impossible" so long as the group did not lay down its arms.
Confronted with an increasingly hostile environment, the PKK has already begun evacuating its camps in northern Iraq, according to recent intelligence reports from the region. PKK administrators are now having talks with Armenia to relocate their camps to the Armenian-controlled Nagorno-Karabakh region of Azerbaijan, intelligence reports suggest. PKK leaders have also been talking to 12 Kurdish villages in Armenia, located near the border with Turkey.
Nagorno-Karabakh is an enclave located in Azerbaijan that has been under Armenian control since 1993. Since Iraq has stopped allowing the PKK to get food and supplies in the region and has also stopped admitting the militants into northern Iraqi hospitals, the PKK has been trapped inside the mountainous region of northern Iraq.
Faced with this situation, the PKK administrators have decided to move 10 of their camps from the Kandil Mountains and are in search of a new country that will welcome them. Currently an estimated 450 PKK leaders are believed to be hiding in northern Iraq. The intelligence reports on the PKK's relocation considerations came from an ex-PKK member using the code name "Şahin" (hawk), who surrendered to Turkish security forces after he fled the PKK's "Carcela" camp in northern Iraq. He said the group had evacuated most of its camps in northern Iraq to avoid a potential military strike by Turkey.
Failed to convince Iran
The PKK initially considered moving its camps to Iran, where the camps of its sister organization, the Party for a Free life in Kurdistan (PJAK) are located. However, recent Iranian operations against PJAK and improving relations between Turkey and Iran -- including intelligence sharing -- forced the PKK to reconsider.
Meanwhile the government of Azerbaijan has requested detailed information about PKK militants in its territory, since the terrorist group has recently increased its activities on in Azeri territory.
Concerned about the fact that most PKK terrorists have Turkish passports, which confer special access privileges in Azerbaijan, the Azeri government has offered cooperation with Turkish security forces. It is also preparing to pass a new law that will prevent even sympathizers of the PKK, which it considers a terrorist organization, from forming any associations in the country. A senior official from the Azeri Justice Ministry was in Ankara on Nov. 28 to talk about the details of the bill.
Plans for Şuşa, Lacin and Fuzuli
Armenia is making a special effort to settle the PKK in Nagorno-Karabakh, alleged Mehmet Azeriturk, the secretary-general of the Federation of Turkish-Azeri Associations, speaking to Today's Zaman. "Armenia is making an effort to bring PKK militants into the cities of Şuşa, Lacin and Fuzuli, to be able to keep these cities it has occupied." If these three cities fell under the PKK's control, a buffer zone would be formed between Azerbaijan and Nagorno-Karabakh, Azeriturk warned.
Although Armenian officials deny any contacts with the terrorist PKK organization, they say it is possible that local administrators in Nagorno-Karabakh may have had such talks.
Hasan Sultanoğlu Zeynalov, Azerbaijan's consul-general in Kars, eastern Turkey, was the first to warn of the talks between Nagorno-Karabakh administrators and the PKK. He said, "There is a single country left in the region where the PKK could go, and that is Armenia. Our research has led us to confirm that some PKK administrators went to Armenia to have talks there -- about which we immediately informed the Azeri government and the Turkish government."
He said although Kurdish villages in Armenia near the border were an option, the PKK would prefer Nagorno-Karabakh, a relatively more remote and safe region.
Former Soviet Republics And Turkey Back Economic Zone In Caucasus
By Lale Sariibrahimoglu, Eurasia Daily Monitor, DC
Nov 30 2007
With the November 21 launch of the long-stalled Baku-Tbilisi-Kars (BTK) railroad project that will link Azerbaijan and Georgia with Turkey, Ankara has made headway toward its goal of creating an economic zone in the Caucasus. But there are still obstacles to overcome before making that scheme fully functional; specifically the ongoing territorial dispute between Armenia and Azerbaijan, as Turkey has sided with Baku.
International financial institutions refused to support the scheme because Armenia was excluded from the railroad project, prompting the three countries of Azerbaijan, Georgia, and Turkey to finance the $420 million project through their own means.
Since Turkey closed its border with Armenia in 1993, Georgia has played a major role in Turkey's access to Central Asia, while also serving as a transit route for carrying Azerbaijani gas and oil via Turkey to Europe, bypassing Russia.
Georgia's dispute with Russia over Moscow's alleged support for separatists in Abkhazia and South Ossetia also endangers the viability of long-term economic projects in the Caucasus.
However, Turkey is pushing ahead with projects that Ankara thinks will contribute to the stability of this fragile region.
Turkish President Abdullah Gul, attending the opening ceremony in Georgia together with Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev and Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili, said, "This project is very important for the regional peace, stability, and prosperity" (see EDM, November 27, 28).
The railway, which will eventually connect Far Asia with Europe, is also open to other countries, Gul said, sending a message to Armenia.
"The railroad scheme does not only link Baku with Turkey's Kars township, but it will also connect China to London under which rail cars leaving China will pass via the Caspian Sea [using ferry boats], as well as Baku, Tbilisi, and Kars before reaching Istanbul," he said. "Via Istanbul, the railroad will be connected to Europe, passing under the Bosphorus Straits through the Marmaray project [already] underway, reaching to the English Channel and then to London. Today here, we are in fact taking a step toward the realization of a big project that will change history" (All Turkish dailies, November 21).
The idea to connect Turkey to Central Asia via Georgia with a railway emerged in 1993, pre-empting an earlier plan to link Turkey with the existing railroad to Central Asia via Armenia. At that time Ankara closed its border with Yerevan due to its ongoing occupation of a portion of Azerbaijan's territory as well as the Azerbaijani-Armenian dispute over the enclave of Karabakh.
Ankara also blames Yerevan for not abandoning its policy of claiming territories from Turkey, as well as its refusal to accept a 2005 Turkish proposal to set up a panel of historians to investigate the allegations of an Armenian genocide committed by Ottoman Turks during World War I. Turkey denies the genocide allegations.
In the meantime, President Gul predicted that the railroad project will revitalize the historic Silk Road, now dubbed the "Iron Silk Road," while thanking Kazakhstan's President Nursultan Nazarbayev for his commitment to allocate 10 million tons of goods to be carried via the new railroad (Milliyet, November 21).
A joint economic zone is beginning to emerge, as Azerbaijan, Georgia, and Turkey become more connected to each other via road, air, and railroad links, Gul stated, indicating the gradual realization of a Benelux model in the Caucasus that Ankara first proposed in the mid-1990s.
"These are very exciting big projects. Once upon a time, such projects were described by some as a dream. But today all those projects are becoming a reality. The BTK railroad will become operational soon, as has been the case with the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline, now carrying Caspian oil to Europe as well as the Baku-Tbilisi-Erzurum gas pipeline [carrying Azerbaijan's Shah Deniz gas to Europe via Turkey]," he said (Milliyet, November 21).
Meanwhile, bilateral trade between Georgia and Turkey is planned to reach to $1 billion by the end of this year, as the two countries negotiate a free-trade deal and an agreement to prevent double taxation.
"Allegations For The Armenian Genocide Weaken Turkey"By H. Chaqrian
AZG Armenian Daily,29/11/2007
Confesses a Retired Turkish Ambassador
Alongside the worldwide process of the recognition of the Armenian Genocide, the positions of the Turkish negationism are being shattered. With the ideology of negation depleted and the resources of counter-measures wasted, the Turkish authorities have realized that the recognition of the Armenian Genocide is unavoidable, and this notion have brought them to the edge of desperation.
In sense of confessing the ineffectiveness of Turkey's counter-measures against the adoption of resolutions on the Armenian Genocide, the recent round table discussion, organized on November 22, Ankara, was rather remarkable.
The discussion was organized at the initiative of "Baskent" University's Strategic Center.
Ex-Ambassador, opposition MP Sukru Elekdal, head of the Armenian Studies Institute Omer Engi and professor of Armenian studies of the Turkish Science Society Kemal Cicek were the main figures of the discussion.
The round-table discussion was opened by the head of "Bashkent" University Strategic Center, prof. Selcuk Uslu. In his speech he noted that the discussion is rather about Turkey's policy on the Armenian Genocide recognition, than the events of 1915 themselves. "it seems like Turkey has not worked out a consistent policy against the allegations of the 'Genocide' of the Armenians," he said.
Rector of "Baskent" University Mehmed Haberal pointed out the necessity of historical verification of the 1915 events, and prof. Unsal Yavuz stated that Turkey's publications on 1915 are insufficient to influence the international social opinion.
Professor Cicek said that the Armenian lobby in the world is influential enough and explained that fact rather by foreign assistance, than by the authority of the Republic of Armenia. He reminded that Armenians do not want Turkey to merely ask for pardon, but they seek compensation and have territorial claims.
Ex-Ambassador Lutem referred to Turkey's past mistakes in policy on the Armenian Question. He said that those mistakes were unconscious, as Armenian claims about the Genocide occurred only in 1950's, to which Turkey paid no serious attention and responded only in the 1980's. He also underlined that the Armenian Question became subject of serious international discussion only after the period of ASALA terror was over.
He suggested twofold model of struggle against Genocide recognition. In foreign policy Turkey must implement political and economical sanctions against the states which recognize the Genocide, and in the sphere of historical science Turkey must thoroughly criticize the works of a number of Armenian historians, so as to be able to deny the claims of the Armenians.
In the end of his speech Lutem warned, "Do not think that those measures will prove productive in and instant. We have faced this stalemate as a result of a long-term process, and it shall take years to neutralize its consequences".
Another Ex-Ambassador Elekfag stressed, "The allegations of the Armenian Genocide, carried through long 92 years, are weakening Turkey both economically and politically". To his opinion, the Armenian propaganda unleashed an information war, which Turkey has almost lost. Due to this circumstance Armenia has obtained certain political positions, which Turkey cannot match or counter-balance.
Armenia Promises To Close Soviet-Era Nuclear Plant
Armenia approved a plan on Thursday to shut down its sole nuclear power plant, following years of pressure from foreign nations concerned about its Soviet-era design and safety.
The government gave no date for closure of the Medzamor reactor, which is composed of two WWER-440-230 units, each with power levels of 408 megawatts, located not far from the capital of Yerevan, 16 kilometers from the Turkish border. The Armenian government decided to open the second unit in the reactor in 1993 due to high energy needs and thus the second unit was started up in 1995. The Medzamor reactor provides up to 40 percent of Armenia's electricity needs and is predicted to continue to do so until 2016. Since Yerevan decided to upgrade the reactor the Turkish Atomic Energy Agency (TAEK) has been involved in following related developments and taking the necessary precautions from the Turkish side.
Since 1995 Armenia has been under constant pressure to close the plant ahead of its 2016 operational end-life due to safety concerns and possible design flaws. The European Union has pledged millions in loans and other assistance to help close it.
The shutdown could cost up to $280 million, Armenian Energy Minister Armen Movsisian said.
Armenian officials have long refused to shut it down without first procuring another source of electricity. Last week the United States said it would fund a preliminary feasibility study on building a new nuclear plant.
President Robert Kocharian has said that building a new, 1,000-megawatt plant -- double the energy capacity of Medzamor -- would cost more than $3 billion. In 2004 Russia's state-run electricity grid operator, RAO Unified Energy Systems (UES), assumed financial control of Medzamor in a deal struck to relieve Armenia's massive debt to Russian energy suppliers. The UES and Armenia now share management of the plant.
01.12.2007, Today's Zaman with wires Ankara
Zeynalov Denies Warning Over PKK-Armenia Connection
Azerbaijan's consul general has denied suggestions that his government supplied Turkish and Azerbaijani officials with information linking the Armenian Secret Army for the Liberation of Armenia (ASALA) terrorist group to the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK).
Azeri Consul General in Kars Hasan Sultanoglu Zeynalov made a statement about a news article published on Nov. 30 by Today's Zaman which stated that the PKK, faced with increasing pressure to end its activities in northern Iraq, may be seeking to re-establish its camps in the Armenian-controlled Nagorno-Karabakh region of Azerbaijan. Zeynalov emphasized that he had never said, "We informed both the Azerbaijani and Turkish governments of the situation."
In his statement Zeynalov said: "Many press and media organs have revealed the connections that exist between the PKK and ASALA. We also read in the newspapers that some PKK militants seized by Turkish security forces both dead and alive were actually Armenians. These connections between the PKK and ASALA were revealed by independent press and media organs, not by us. However, it is out of the question that we have warned either the Azerbaijani or the Turkish government about PKK efforts to buy land in Armenia or Nagorno-Karabakh. We don't have a duty to warn governments, and we have done no such thing."
04.12.2007, Today's Zaman Ankara
Azerbaijan: Challenged But On The Rise
Murat Yulek email@example.com
The change in Azerbaijan is quite visible six years after my last visit. Baku is becoming a dynamic city with a busy airport, many new and renovated buildings and a lot of traffic.
Many construction sites in the city show heavy building activity, while various English-language newspapers in hotels and business centers hint at the growing number of expatriates. Many new cars, as opposed to all the Ladas and Volgas in my visits starting in the early 1990s, are another indicator of growing income.
Macroeconomic figures support these observations. Supported by combined export revenues of $44 billion between 2003 and 2006 (with another $17 billion expected this year), Azeri gross domestic product (GDP) grew at an average of 10 percent in 2003 and 2004, rising to an average of 27 percent in 2005 and 2006. This year the growth is projected at 29 percent. This mostly comes from the oil sector, but growth in the non-oil sector is also respectable, with an average of 11 percent in the last four years.
Oil prosperity comes at a cost though. Appreciation of the currency makes Azerbaijan a likely showcase of Dutch disease, despite rapid growth of the non-oil sector. Excluding the non-tradable oil sector, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) points to slower growth, to the order of 4 percent, for the non-oil tradable sector for this year.
Income distribution is another major issue, although World Bank studies show declining poverty, dropping from 40 percent in 2003 to 24 percent in 2005. Recently, fiscal and monetary policies have been expanding rapidly thanks to oil income. Supported by that expansion, inflation driven by non-tradables is on the rise; end of year consumer price index (CPI) inflation reached 11 percent in 2006 and is projected to rise to around 20 percent this year. The country may rapidly become more difficult to live in for lower income segments. Common sense advice would be not to spend too much of the oil bonus, thereby maintaining price stability; to spend it in the right areas (such as physical and human infrastructure); and to develop the non-oil sector, which is likely to be damaged severely by oil. The last aspect is much harder to do than to say.
The good news is, Azerbaijan is rapidly expanding its physical infrastructure in the non-oil sector in parallel to its oil sector. That effort goes beyond the country’s boundaries. Recently for example, construction of a $400 million railway project connecting Baku to Kars (Turkey) through Tbilisi (Georgia) was launched by the presidents of the three countries. Envisaged as part of a modern-day Silk Road connecting China with London, the railway is expected to carry up to 30 million tons of cargo annually with the inclusion of Chinese freight.
Landlocked Armenia manages to be excluded from such projects as well as other regional cooperation projects. Highly dependent on foreign aid, such exclusion is likely to perpetuate the current poverty the country is struggling to free itself from. The Azeri side naturally does not feel much impetus to cooperate with Armenia, which is effectively sitting on a significant part of Azeri land as an invading force. Even without that fact, the 1992 memories of hundreds of thousands of displaced Azeris coupled with damaged houses, forests, cultural sites and infrastructure at the hands of superior Armenian military forces, as well as mercenaries, are too fresh in the minds of the Azeri people. So are the memories of the overnight massacre in the town of Khojaly committed by Armenian forces in 1992. Once again, Armenian insistence on the invasion and non-apologetic approach punishes its own people most of all.
Parliament Of South America Recognizes Armenian Genocide
29 November 2007,AINA
Deputies from Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay -- all members of the South American Parliamentarians coalition, known as MERCOSUR --adopted on Monday, November 19 a resolution recognizing and condemning the Armenian Genocide. The meeting was held in Montevideo, the capital of Uruguay.
In a unanimous decision, the Human Rights Committee of the parliament recommended the adoption of the resolution.
According to the Armenian National Committee of South America, the resolution says, "The Parliament of MERCOSUR condemns the genocide committed by Ottoman Turkey from 1915-1923 which took the lives of one-and-a-half million people. The Parliament expresses its support to the righteous cause of the Armenian people. The Parliament also appeals to governments and parliaments, which have not recognized and condemned the Armenian genocide, to adopt similar decisions."
The resolution was introduced by representatives from Argentina and Uruguay. MERCOSUR member states Argentina and Uruguay have already recognized the Armenian Genocide. Chile followed suit this year.
MERCOSUR, established in 1986, is one of the largest intergovernmental organizations in South America. The associated members of MERCOSUR are Bolivia, Chili, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru.
Response in Cyprus
"The recognition of the Armenian Genocide by the South American parliamentary organization is yet another victory on the long road-path of recognition by the whole international community" said Hagop Manougian, Director of the Armenian National Committee of Cyprus and added.
"Once again the international community sent an unequivocal message to the Turkish Government that the Ankara authorities should come to terms with their history and atone for their predecessor's crime against humanity. Any efforts to deny the Genocide such as the recent congregation of the denialist "Talat Pasha Committee" movement, headed by Rauf Denktash, in Turkish occupied Cyprus are doomed to fail as the truth will finally triumph."