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21 January 2008

2300) Media Scanner 25 Jan 2008 (140 Items)

  1. Hillary Clinton Supports Adoption of Armenian Genocide Resolution; Pledges to Recognize Genocide as President ANCA
  2. Deep Gangs, Wide Gangs
  3. Deep State Gang Planned To Kill Pamuk
  4. Youtube Ban Puts Media Freedoms Under Spotlight
  5. Crackdown Raises Hopes For More Cleaning Up In Deep State
  6. Cloak And Dagger Nicole Pope
  7. Elimination Of Gangs A Must For Consolidation Of Rule Of Law Fatma Disli
  8. So Ergenekon Turns Out To Not Just Be A Legend!
  9. Youtube Is Back...Access Should Not Be Blocked Again!
  10. Unconditional Diplomatic Relations With ArmeniaOmer Engin LUTEM
  11. Bad News To Visitors/Readers From Turkey
  12. Matters Of Protection By Kristen Stevens
  13. Soldiers On Trial For Negligence In Hrant Dink’s Murder AFP
  14. Hrant, 'Justice' And The Government
  15. High Time For A Full-Fledged Crackdown On Gangs
  16. Turkey Determined To Purge Its Gladio
  17. ‘State Against Deep State’ Lale Sariibrahimoglu
  18. Istanbul Raid Nets Gladio Remnants
  19. A Portrait Of A Nationalist Lawyer: Kemal Kerincsiz
  20. “Chief of Istanbul Police Negligent in Dink Murder”
  21. Ex-Anti-Terror General Charged With Coup Attempt
  22. Nationalist Arrests Seen As Test For Turk Democracy By Gareth Jones
  23. Erdogan Advises Obama To Outgrow Amateur Talk
  24. The Turkish-Armenian Border C. Cem OGUZ
  25. Nationalist Lawyers and Retired Army Officers Detained in Weapons Arsenal Case
  26. Arundhati Roy Regrets Never Meeting Hrant Dink
  27. What Hrant Left Behind Ece Temelkuran
  28. Turkey Arrests 30 Suspected Extremists Radio Netherlands
  29. Istanbul Raid Nets Gladio Remnants
  30. Gendarmerie Knew About Dink Murder Plot, Witness Testifies
  31. Court Of Appeals Reverses Local Court Ruling On Pamuk Case
  32. DTP’s Türk Demands Deeper Investigation Into Dink Murder
  33. Last Call For 301 Berat Özipek
  34. Minister Urges Probe Into Police Role In Dink
  35. The Gov't Failed In The Hrant Dink Case
  36. Migrants Are Traitors, Refugees Potential Criminals
  37. Obama Pledges Recognition Of Armenian ‘Genocide’
  38. Blockade For Armenia
  39. Turkish Minister Urges Probe Into Police Role In Dink’s Murder AFP
  40. Turkish Ultranationalists Try to Silence Prominent Canadians
  41. Chronology II: Hrant Dink’s Murder
  42. Turkish-Hong Kong Team Claims Finding Noah's Ark
  43. "Obama Calls For Passage Of Armenian Genocide Resolution" Anca.og
  44. Taner Akçam made a research in the archives of Turkish Prime Ministry
  45. Bryza Denies Comments On Turkey-Azerbaijan Ties
  46. God Punished Caricaturist... Letters to the TDN Editor
  47. 'Full Throated Support'
  48. Making The World A Safer Place Nicole Pope
  49. Tears And Victory For Clinton Vural CENGIZ
  50. Hillary Wins White House (In Dreams Of Turkish Officials)
  51. His Uncle Was Judged For Betraying The Ottoman
  52. Bulgarian Lawmakers Vote Against Bill Backing Armenian ‘genocide’ Claims
  53. Turkey Finds Most Coverage In Greek Cypriot Media In 2007
  54. Ankara, Baku Should Stop ‘One Nation’ Rhetoric, Says Bryza
  55. A TV Debate On Armenian-Turkish Relations Ara S. Ashjian
  56. Turkish Premier Says Armenian Diaspora Seeking Indemnity Over 1915 Events MADRID (A.A)
  57. Greece: ''Greek-Turkish War'' via Hollywood
  58. On the Roads of Anatolia - Van By Yüksel Oktay
  59. Turkish-Southern Caucasus Regional Relations In 2008
  60. Historical Possibility To Regulate Armenian-Turkish Relations
  61. Black Sea Region Never Existed
  62. The Turks' Notorious Reconciliation
  63. US Jewish Lobby's Turkish Interests Support Is Display of Friendship to Muslims & Jews
  64. U.S. Never Denied Mass Killings Of Armenians In Ottoman Empire
  65. Bryza: Armenia Right To Urge Turkey To Drop Preconditions
  66. Talking Turkey
  67. Identity And History By Dogu Ergil
  68. Marcom's Book About 1915 Genocide To be Made Into Hollywood Movie
  69. Foxman Assures Gul That Genocide Bill Is Not Relevant
  70. Bush Visits Bethlehem, Reminded About Armenian Genocide
  71. Young Blood For Turkish Lobbying In Washington
  72. Understanding The ‘Other’: Whose ‘Truth’ Is Correct ?
  73. Turkish And American Ties Potentially Damaged By Spies
  74. Denmark Does Not Recognize Armenian Genocide Claims: Minister
  75. Jewish Community Supports Turkey
  76. H.Res 106 Affirmation Of The U.S. Record On The Armenian Genocide
  77. Armenia: Smear Tactics Feature Prominently In Early Presidential Election Campaigning Haroutiun Khachatrian
  78. "Once You Take A Bribe You Become A Hostage" A1+
  79. The Turks In Numbers Equilibrium By Burak Bekdil
  80. St. Paul Year To Put Turkey In Limelight
  81. No Progress Fixed In Armenia-Turkey Relations In 2007
  82. Exhibition To Feature Western Armenia
  83. Is Injustice The Source Of Terrorism? by Bekir Çinar*
  84. Canadian Turks Protest Armenian Genocide Class
  85. H.Res.106 Supporter Tom Lantos Completing Service In House Of Representatives
  86. Ankara Makes Caucasus And Central Asia A Diplomatic Priority - Turkish President
  87. U.S. Presidential Hopefuls Deciding On Armenian Genocide Recognition
  88. "For Sale: West’s Deadly Nuclear Secrets" Whistleblower Sibel Edmonds Claims
  89. AXA Compansates Genocide Descendents
  90. Turkish Radio And Television Corporation To Broadcast In Armenian
  91. Head Of Turkish Historical Council: Armenian Gangs Massacred 532,000 Turks
  92. History Course Proposal Upsets Canadian Turks
  93. Damascene Delicacies: Mysteries Lying In A Lion’s Mouth
  94. Triple Jeopardy: The Nazi Plan To Kill WWII Leaders In Tehran
  95. Film Studies In The Age Of Youtube: Q&A With Alice Kelikian
  96. H. Res. 106 May Be Put On A Vote In Mid-January armradio.am
  97. Turkish Legislators Join Dink Murder Investigation
  98. Turks Miss Golden Opportunity By Refusing To Go To Yerevan By Harut Sassounian
  99. Historian Not Allowed Entry To Turkey
  100. A Hidden City Under Snow
  101. ‘Rebellious Son Of The Baglama’ In Limelight With New Album
  102. To Be Grass On The Elephants’ Battlefield Beril Dedeoglu
  103. A Genocidal Legacy By Bethany Stotts
  104. Message From The President Of The Zoryan Institute
  105. Young People Gather For Dink
  106. Let Us Go A-Wassailing! It’s Twelfth Night
  107. Billionaire Kerkorian Sells 5 Million MGM Shares To Dubai World
  108. The Armenian 'Genocide' Bill Will Knock On The Door Again Mehmet Ali Birand
  109. Deconstructing Pamuk, A La Berlinski
  110. Say To Compose Ballet On Akhtamar Legend
  111. Report: Dink Assassin Biological Age Determined To Be 19
  112. Tensions Mount By The Shores Of The Black Sea
  113. Armenian Tale Of Turkish Genocide Simply Untrue
  114. The Enemy Of My Friend Is My Enemy? The Jewish Diaspora And Genocide Denial
  115. How I Became A 'So-Called' Turk? Ziya MERAL
  116. Unveiling The PKK By Bruce Fein
  117. Armenia: Move To Abolish Controversial Legislation
  118. A Very Brief History Of 2007 Mustafa AKYOL
  119. Hoping For Good Tdn Editorial By Yusuf Kanli
  120. Mystery In Bronze Hands Of Antakya City Vercihan Ziflioglu
  121. Ter-Petrosian Can Help Mend Fences With Turkey, Says Ret. Diplomat
  122. Armenia In 2007 Omer Engin Lutem
  123. US President Approves The Bill To Cut Assistance To Armenia By $17.5 Million APA
  124. Justice Delayed :Security Worries Stall Recognition Of Armenian Genocide Denise McGill
  125. The End Of A Year
  126. “He Was A Man Deeply Connected To The Natural World“
  127. Over 100,000 Migrants Captured In A Decade In Edirne
  128. The Crime Behind The Criminal Wars! : [Letter To The Editor] Zaman
  129. Academician Responds To Armenian Parliament Demands
  130. One Turk's View Of The French Revolution
  131. Armenians Debate Ties With Turkey
  132. Hrant Dink
  133. Russian Media Manipulated
  134. US Archive Unveils Greek Plans For Attacking Turks In Thrace
  135. [The Economist] Turkey And Its Christians
  136. No Inadequacies In Dink Investigation, Claim Inspectors
  137. The 'New' Turkey And Greece
  138. ANCA: US to Send $58.5 Million to Armenia
  139. Armenian National Committee Of America : Note Cause: Generating Positive Media…
  140. Poll: Armenia Should Lay Claims To Genocide


Hillary Clinton Supports Adoption of Armenian Genocide Resolution; Pledges to Recognize Genocide as President
January 24, 2008 ANCA

Hillary Clinton Supports Adoption of Armenian Genocide Resolution; Pledges to Recognize Genocide as President

“Our common morality and our nation’s credibility as a voice or human rights challenge us to ensure that the Armenian Genocide be recognized and remembered by the Congress and the President of the United States.” -- Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY)
-----------------------------------------------
WASHINGTON, DC – Democratic Presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton, in a forceful statement shared today with the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA), called for Congressional passage of the Armenian Genocide Resolution and pledged that, as President, she will recognize the Armenian Genocide.

"Armenian Americans from across the United States welcome Hillary Clinton's strong support for the adoption of the Armenian Genocide Resolution, and her pledge to recognize the Armenian Genocide as President of the United States," said ANCA Executive Director Aram Hamparian. "Hillary Clinton's statement, which reflects her consistent track record of support in public office, speaks powerfully to our community's deeply held concerns regarding the recognition of the Armenian Genocide, the expansion of the U.S.-Armenia relationship, and a fair and democratic resolution of the Nagorno Karabagh conflict."

As a Senator, Hillary Clinton has, since 2002, has cosponsored successive Armenian Genocide resolutions. She joined Senate colleagues in cosigning letters to President Bush in 2005 and 2006 urging him to recognize the Armenian Genocide.

In recent weeks, the ANCA has invited each of the candidates to share their views on Armenian Americans issues, and to comment on both the growing relationship between the U.S. and Armenian governments and the enduring bonds between the American and Armenian peoples. Questionnaires sent to the candidates have invited them to respond to a set of 19 questions, including those addressing: affirmation of the Armenian Genocide, U.S.-Armenia economic, political, and military relations, self-determination for Nagorno Karabagh, the Turkish and Azerbaijani blockades, and the genocide in Darfur. Presidential hopeful Senator Barack Obama (D-IL) issued a statement earlier this week.

Armenian Americans, in key primary states and throughout the country, represent a motivated and highly networked constituency of more than one and a half million citizens. The ANCA mobilizes Armenian American voters through a network of over 50 chapters and a diverse array of affiliates, civic advocates, and supporters nationwide. ANCA mailings reach over a quarter of a million homes, and, with the addition of email outreach, action alerts reach well over 500,000 households. The ANCA website, which features election coverage from an Armenian American point of view, attracts over 100,000 unique visits a month. The ANCA also has broad reach to Armenian American voters via a sophisticated media operation of newspapers, regional cable shows, satellite TV, blogs, and internet news sites.

To learn more about the Hillary Clinton campaign, contact:
Hillary Clinton for President
4420 North Fairfax Drive
Arlington, VA 22203
Tel: 703-469-2008
Website: www.hillaryclinton.com

As always, the ANCA welcomes feedback on its service to the Armenian American community. Please forward your thoughts and suggestions about the 2008 Presidential election by email to anca@anca.org.
#####
Statement of Senator Hillary Clinton on the U.S.-Armenia Relationship

Alone among the Presidential candidates, I have been a longstanding supporter of the Armenian Genocide Resolution. I have been a co-sponsor of the Resolution since 2002, and I support adoption of this legislation by both Houses of Congress.

I believe the horrible events perpetrated by the Ottoman Empire against Armenians constitute a clear case of genocide. I have twice written to President Bush calling on him to refer to the Armenian Genocide in his annual commemorative statement and, as President, I will recognize the Armenian Genocide. Our common morality and our nation’s credibility as a voice for human rights challenge us to ensure that the Armenian Genocide be recognized and remembered by the Congress and the President of the United States.

If the mass atrocities of the 20th Century have taught us anything it is that we must honestly look the facts of history in the face in order to learn their lessons, and ensure they will not happen again. It is not just about the past, but about our future. We must close the gap between words and deeds to prevent mass atrocities. That is why I am a supporter of the Responsibility to Protect. As President, I will work to build and enhance U.S. and international capacity to act early and effectively to prevent mass atrocities. The Bush administration’s words of condemnation have not been backed with leadership to stop the genocide in Darfur. I support a no-fly-zone over Darfur. I have championed strong international action to ensure that the government of Sudan can no longer act with impunity, or interfere with the international peacekeeping force, which is essential for the protection of the people of Darfur.

I value my friendship with our nation’s vibrant Armenian-American community. This is in keeping with my dedication to the causes of the Armenian-American community over many years. I was privileged as First Lady to speak at the first-ever White House gathering in 1994 for leaders from Armenia and the Armenian-American community to celebrate the historic occasion of Armenia’s reborn independence. I said at the time that America will stand with you as you realize what the great Armenian poet, Puzant Granian, called the Armenian’s dream “to be left in peace in his mountains, to build, to dream, to create.”

I will, as President, work to expand and improve U.S.-Armenia relations in addressing the common issues facing our two nations: increasing trade, fostering closer economic ties, fighting terrorism, strengthening democratic institutions, pursuing our military partnership and deepening cooperation with NATO, and cooperating on regional concerns, among them a fair and democratic resolution of the Nagorno-Karabagh conflict. As President, I will expand U.S. assistance programs to Armenia and to the people of Nagorno-Karabagh.

I look forward, as President, to continuing to work with the Armenian-American community on the many domestic and international challenges we face together, and to build on the strong foundations of shared values that have long brought together the American and Armenian peoples.
http://hyelog.blogspot.com/2008/01/hillary-clinton-supports-adoption-of.html


Deep Gangs, Wide Gangs
Bulent Kenes b.kenes@todayszaman.com
With each gang connected to the "deep state" that is unearthed and shut down, unfortunately, the image of Turkey as a "country of deep gangs" is further consolidated. Nevertheless we should be optimistic. However, the optimistic feelings and expectations we have recently had are not the first of such. We had similar feelings 11 years ago in the aftermath of the Susurluk scandal. Purportedly, "Susurluk was a breaking point," and "nothing would be the same again."

A truck in Balikesir's Susurluk district crashed into a vehicle in which there was a high-ranking police chief, a prominent politician and a person sought by the police on gang/counter-guerilla charges. This incident revealed to us, tangibly and for the first time, the deep and dirty relations that had developed around the state-politics-gangs axis. We went to our beds for days with the hope that the end of gangs would finally come and woke up with the hope that the deep state would finally cease to exist. So, what was the result? Nothing, only more confusion and frustration.

The name of retired Brig. Gen. Veli Küçük, who was taken into custody the other day as part of the Ergenekon operation, first started to be mentioned after the Susurluk scandal. Despite this, he was among those who had refused to testify to Parliament's Susurluk investigative commission, and no force was able to compel him to make a statement. And whenever a dark event, a provocation or an assassination by unknown perpetrators took place, his name was somehow mentioned in connection with the crime. However, he must have been supported by a very influential force, since nobody was able to touch him.

During the operations carried out against terrorist group Turkish Hizbullah in 2000, we mentioned his name quite often, because many rumors were circulating about the place where Hizbullah had been organized, armed and trained by the Gendarmerie Intelligence Group Command (JITEM) founded by Küçük; yet JITEM's existence was always denied at an official level. The commonly held opinion was that the Turkish Hizbullah had been founded by JITEM to fight the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) through illegal means. After the PKK's leader, Abdullah Öcalan, was caught, Hizbullah was struck a deadly blow, as viewed in horrendous TV scenes, its houses used as graves and its leaders killed in the operations.

The dark and dirty events with which Küçük's name was linked were not limited to the aforementioned. Wherever there was a sinister event, his name was mentioned. New clues found today suggest that Küçük was behind the assassination of Professor Necib Hablemitoglu, an academic famous for his controversial remarks. Similarly, there is a suspicion that he is also behind the armed attack on the Council of State in 2006, the bomb attack at the daily Cumhuriyet, the murder of Hrant Dink and the horrific missionary killings in Malatya.

We should also not forget the claims that the Ümraniye gang, unearthed recently, Fikri Karadag, a retired colonel who makes the members of his association take an oath of allegiance over a gun to kill or be killed, and the leader of the infamous "Vatanseverler," or the Patriotic Forces, Taner Ünal -- all upstart neo-nationalist leaders -- are all somehow connected to Küçük. These are the people and events that have suspected ties to Küçük. And if we think about the illegal activities, murders and other incidents perpetrated by the crime gang he leads, although he is not suspected in most of them, we can imagine what sort of evil the Gladio-like gang led by Küçük might have caused.

I should also note that the latest operation has inspired hope in me. However, I'm already preparing myself for great frustration, because I have rightful concerns that Turkey -- which couldn't turn the Semdinli and Susurluk events into a chance to put an end to the crime organizations intertwined in the depths of the country and society like an octopus -- may also not be able to put this chance to good use, either. In fact, it is high time Turkey ended the notorious legend of the unquestionable and untriable "deep state," whose depth and size still cannot be estimated.

On the other hand, who can claim that those who abuse sacred values likes patriotism and love of the nation for their base and treacherous aims, and who plan and perpetrate heinous political murders and bloody acts to stir up civil commotion, targeting the country's integrity and order, are alone? Is there anybody who cannot see that this evil will not end with the arrest of some 30 people? Anyone who places the dark events that have happened in this country over the last 15 years side by side will see the extension of this deep gang into politics, the military, some so-called civil society organizations, the media and even in the world of the economy.

The hope-inspiring development we have been witnessing for a few days is currently limited to the uncovering of only one side of a gang. Also, in addition to those who have supported these cursed formations physically or intellectually, can we think of the journalists, politicians, soldiers, bureaucrats and so-called civil society leaders who, as we have witnessed innumerous times, deliberately pinned all the sins committed by these gangs on innocent segments of society in their own interests as separate from these gangs?

What I really want to say is that the Gladio-style gangs don't get organized only vertically; they expand their influence also through horizontal contacts. While delving into the vertical depth of these organizations, we should not neglect their horizontal extent.
25.01.2008


Deep State Gang Planned To Kill Pamuk
Since the detainment earlier this week of dozens of members of a crime gang, part of a shadowy network that masterminded many attacks in Turkey whose perpetrators have not been found, an investigation into the gang has revealed more of the group's plans, newspapers reported on Thursday.

The gang was plotting to kill Nobel Literature Prize-winning author Orhan Pamuk and had already hired the hit man to do the job, the investigation found. Thirty-three suspects accused of being part of the gang, which calls itself Ergenekon, were detained by the Istanbul Police Department's counterterrorism unit in Istanbul and other parts of the country in dawn raids on Tuesday, the culmination of an eight-month operation. The police have been observing the actions of the suspects for three-quarters of a year as part of an investigation into a house full of explosives and ammunition found in a shantytown in Istanbul's Ümraniye district in the June of 2007.

The investigation has found that the gang is linked to a clandestine phenomenon referred to as the "deep state" in Turkey that stages attacks using "behind-the-scene" paramilitary organizations such as Ergenekon to foment public opinion according its own political agenda. Ergenekon is the title of a legend that describes how Turks came into existence.

This particular gang is suspected of involvement in a number of political attacks on individuals and institutions, including the murder of ethnic Armenian journalist Hrant Dink. At least eight of the suspects are retired from the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK).

The suspects, who include retired military generals, journalists and underground bosses, have not yet been charged and are still under interrogation, but the police found a list of people the gang had planned to assassinate, including pro-Kurdish Democratic Society Party (DTP) deputies Ahmet Türk, Leyla Zana and Sebahat Tuncel; Diyarbakir Mayor Osman Baydemir; Nobel Prize-winning author Pamuk; and journalist Fehmi Koru, who is also a regular columnist for Today's Zaman.

Pamuk was their next target

Charges of denigrating Turkishness had once been brought against Pamuk over remarks he made to a Swiss newspaper about the number of Kurds and Armenians killed in Turkey. Pamuk was apparently the next planned assassination on the gang's list. According to daily Posta, Ret. Maj. Gen. Veli Küçük, who was detained in Tuesday's raid, had contacted through Muhammed Yüce -- a former army sergeant -- Ret. Col. Fikri Karadag, requesting he find them a hit man to do the job. Karadag is the leader of the ultranationalist Association for the Union of Patriotic Forces (VKGB), whose leaders are already under detainment facing several charges for crimes from theft and felony to blackmail and extortion. Also, at least two VKGB members were detained in relation to the Ergenekon investigation in Diyarbakir on Wednesday. The hit man they found was identified by the police as Selim A. The Ergenekon crowd found YTL 2 million -- the pay promised to Selim A. -- and a Glock revolver for the assassination. Selim A. was captured after the police found out about the plan by monitoring phone conversations. In addition to Selim A. and Küçük, Karadag and Yüce were also detained in Tuesday's operation.

An unresolved murder resolved?

Police have found evidence linking the Ergenekon gang to the assassination of Necip Hablemitoglu, shot to death in 2002 after concluding that residents of the Bergama region campaigning against gold prospecting in their area were manipulated by Germans protecting their economic interests, in a comprehensive study he conducted on the subject. An Izmir businessman questioned over the Hablemitoglu murder as a key suspect was later killed by a hand-grenade thrown into his Alsancak office, which was allegedly the work of the gang to keep him silent. The businessman reportedly threatened the gang, saying he would confess if they failed to pay him the money they promised for the academic's assassination.

The man to lead the investigation

Various reports that appeared in Turkish newspapers on Thursday praised prosecutor Zekeriya Öz, who is leading the Ümraniye arms depot investigation, for his bravery. Daily Taraf said the main reason the Ergenekon suspects were able to be found was that the fearless prosecutor did not give up on following through on the investigation until the end, despite threats he received from retired TSK members Oktay Yildirim and Muzaffer Tekin, who were detained in the initial stage of the Ümraniye investigation.

Taraf quoted a senior police officer as saying he is like a "kamikaze." The same source told the daily: "He would not have been able to take the investigation so far without solid evidence. Istanbul Police Chief Celalettin Cerrah even stopped when he saw the names the investigation was leading to, but Öz did not stop. Mr. Öz is a fighter, and he believes in the supremacy of law. The prosecutor conducted a very lengthy investigation process. He spent days and nights at the police department."

Meet the gang members

The suspects detained in Tuesday's operation included Küçük, a retired major general who is also the alleged founder of an illegal intelligence unit in the gendarmerie, the existence of which is denied by officials; the controversial ultranationalist lawyer Kemal Kerinçsiz, who filed countless suits against Turkish writers and intellectuals who were at odds with Turkey's official policies; Fikret Karadag, a retired army colonel; Sevgi Erenerol, the press spokesperson for a group called the Turkish Orthodox Patriarchate; Güler Kömürcü, a columnist for the Ak?am daily; and Sami Ho?tan, a key figure in an investigation launched after a car accident in 1996 near the small town of Susurluk that uncovered links between a police chief, a convicted fugitive who was an ultranationalist and a deputy. Ali Yasak, a well-known gangster linked to the figures in the Susurluk incident, was also detained in the operation.

Special Bureau chief also detained

Yet another suspect was taken into custody on Thursday as part of the Ergenekon operation. A man named Erkut Ersoy, who founded an organization called the Special Bureau Intelligence Group -- which according to Ersoy himself has submitted intelligence to certain state agencies since 1998 -- was detained. Ersoy is known to be a good friend of Karadag. This unique organization is a private intelligence unit whose employees collect information as regular intelligence officers.

In an earlier interview with the press, Ersoy said that 756 people from a variety of fields, from students, doctors and housewives to lawyers, worked with the Special Bureau. Ersoy said that his organization was similar to the "White Forces," a special unit made up of civilian staff under the TSK's Special War Department. Ersoy also claimed the group had people from the Turkish General Staff and the National Intelligence Organization (MIT) as well as police officers among its staff. He stated that they reported individuals or vehicles that seemed suspicious to the relevant authorities.

According to Ersoy's own description of this rather strange company, he set up the Special Bureau to solve problems his acquaintances from various official intelligence units would frequently talk about. "We said if there is such a demand, we should have it [this organization]. This is how we set up the group in Istanbul." Special Bureau agents say they fight every terrorist organization, particularly the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), and against Armenian genocide allegations.

This unique structure is according to Ersoy not an alternative to the state's own sources of intelligence. "We are not rivals to them, nor do we desire to take on their duties. We are only supporting the state's security institutions. We help them to complete certain things faster and get results. Some people are afraid to apply directly to the police for their own reasons. We act as intermediaries. Soon we will set up a [hot] line to report crimes. All our work is done with the knowledge of the state's own intelligence agencies. They protect us. We wouldn't have been able to do this otherwise."

Ersoy also said their bureau was open to everyone who wanted to be recruited, as long as they were patriotic or sympathetic to nationalists. "We are a nationalist group, at the end of the day," he had said. Istanbul Today's Zaman
25.01.2008


Youtube Ban Puts Media Freedoms Under Spotlight
”Access to this site has been suspended in accordance with decision No 2008/11 of 16.01.2008.” is the message users encountered when trying to load ‘YouTube.’

Repeated bans on access to the popular video-sharing Web site YouTube in the past week have not only frustrated Turkey’s millions of Internet users but have also revived concerns over freedom of the media and freedom of speech in general in the EU candidate country.

On Jan. 17, an Ankara court decided to ban access to the site because of a clip that was allegedly disrespectful to Atatürk, founder of the Republic of Turkey. According to the daily Milliyet, the clip, created and posted by a user with the handle “Turkomaymun,” had presented the Turkish leader as a monkey.

In March 2007 a Turkish court had blocked access to YouTube after a video had appeared showcasing Atatürk as gay. In that incident the ban was lifted two days after it was issued, after YouTube removed the offending videos and its officials assured Turkey it would do its best to prevent a repeat of similar incidents.

According to Turkish law, a court ban blocking access to a certain site can be removed only if the service provider -- which in this case is YouTube -- removes the video. And although YouTube officials said they were ready to cooperate with Turkish authorities to ensure Turkish users’ access to the popular Web site, another court in the central Anatolian province of Sivas issued another ban a few days after that of the Ankara court for videos insulting Atatürk, President Abdullah Gül and Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The Sivas court imposed a second ban on YouTube after seeing that there were more of similar videos.

The repeated YouTube bans have drawn strong reactions in Turkey and abroad, and international organizations promoting freedom of the press and expression have spoken out against the ban. The IT Association Law Work Group deemed the ban “censorship.” Other Web sites collected the signatures of people who were opposed to the ban. The Paris-based Reporters without Borders (RSF), pointing to similar implementations in Brazil and Iran, had called the complete ban on access “a radical and disproportionate precaution” against “a few documents of an offensive nature.”

Indeed, YouTube is not the sole case, though it is perhaps the most notable one in Turkey’s record of Internet censorships, many of which remain unnoticed or at least uncommented upon.

Access to the famous Web log (blog) publisher’s site wordpress.com has been suspended by a civil court in Istanbul since August 2007. According to the Web information service Heise, the same applies regularly to tens of Turkish online portals, among them sites like www.superpoligon.com as well as cultural news site www.antoloji.com. In addition many Kurdish portals are banned regularly on the grounds of disseminating propaganda for the terrorist Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

“This way, one controversial posting can be used to close down an irritating Web site,” commented a representative of the Turkish Association of Journalists (ÇGD).

Users of Internet cafés, popular particularly among teenagers, are feeling the effects of the restrictions the most. Since last year special filters, the settings of which are provided by Turkish security authorities, are obligatory in such places, preventing users’ access to hundreds of Web pages.

Heise sees one part of the problem in the new “Law to Prevent Crimes Committed in the Electronic Sphere” passed in May 2007. Actually meant to prevent a wide range of crimes committed via the Web, it also gave way to prosecuting “crimes” committed in the electronic world concerning the image of Atatürk. According to Heise, this law is nothing more than “another Article 301 of the Turkish Penal Code [TCK] in a different and Internet-applicable outfit; the borders between Internet censorship and the censure of the free press start to vanish,” the Web portal writes in a statement.

‘2007 a sad year for free speech’

The YouTube bans come amid more criticism on restrictions on free speech in Turkey. On Jan. 18 the Countrywide Network in Turkey for Monitoring and Covering Media Freedom and Independent Journalism (BIA2) released its annual report for 2007.

Titled “A Sad Year For Free Speech,” the report notes that 55 people were tried under Article 301 in 2007, nine of whom were convicted. Out of a total of 199 people on trial, 37 were being tried for “insult” or “slander,” 23 for “inciting hatred and hostility,” 14 for “attempts to influence the judiciary,” eight for “alienating the public from military service,” and one for “membership in an illegal organization.” In addition, 83 people faced charges of terrorism.

Moreover, newspapers have been forced to reveal their sources and journalists have had to practice self-censorship, according to the report. In 2007, the European Court of Human Rights ruled that Turkey pay 123,912 euros (YTL 219,080) in compensation in rights cases. “All these are indications showing that the freedom of expression in Turkey is still obstructed,” the report states.
25.01.2008 Kristina Kamp Istanbul


Crackdown Raises Hopes For More Cleaning Up In Deep State
The detention of dozens of members of a crime gang that was reportedly plotting to kill Nobel Prize-winning novelist Orhan Pamuk has caused expectations among observers that the government is committed to combating shadowy networks within the state even though similar incidents, "Susurluk" being a case in point, have not resulted in rooting out such gangs.

"I don't agree with the conviction that Susurluk didn't produce any results. With Susurluk, Turkish society saw that some public figures who had previously seemed untouchable were arrested, and there were many arrests related to Susurluk," said Sedat Laçiner, chairman of the Ankara-based International Strategic Research Organization (USAK).

The term "deep state," representing renegade powers inside the state, became popular after a car accident in 1996 -- widely known as the Susurluk incident -- in which a deputy and a senior police official were traveling together with a most-wanted criminal. The incident at Susurluk was the first to bring out into the open the fact that national intelligence units employ some people to do their dirty work.

Laçiner said that if the government consistently goes after the criminals and finds support from the public and the media, the cleaning up in the state will start.

Recalling Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's vow to combat such gangs, Laçiner added that there is not much space left for such shadowy powers to maneuver.

"These forces have been trying to weaken the government by exaggerating its frictions with the military. But the government combined efforts with the military to fight terrorism," Laçiner said. "They have also tried to use the Islamic features of the government to pit it against the European Union. For example, they started to organize the killings of some Christian priests in Turkey as if the government has problems with the Christian world."

With an operation called "Ergenekon" police have so far detained 35 people, including former army officers and lawyers known for their far-right views, following the seizure of explosives and weapons at a house in Istanbul last year.

The group, known as Ergenekon, or the Kizilelma Coalition, and led by a retired major general, was reportedly planning a series of bomb attacks and assassinations aimed at fomenting chaos before mounting a coup against the Turkish government in 2009.

The Ergenekon network was reportedly behind the 2007 slaying of Turkish Armenian editor Hrant Dink, the murder of an Italian Catholic priest in 2006, the killing of a judge in an attack on Turkey's top administrative court in 2006 and several bomb attacks on Cumhuriyet daily.

Ufuk Uras, a deputy and leader of the Freedom and Solidarity Party (ÖDP), said the Ergenekon operation is a litmus test of democracy and the supremacy of law in Turkey.

"Inactivating such gangs which are understood to be a part of the deep state is a test for democracy and the rule of law," Uras said in a written statement. "As our history shows, if such steps to root out rogue elements are delayed, problems grow larger. Revealing the Susurluk gang was the first step, but only a few hit men have been punished."

Uras noted that politicians and legal practitioners who take steps to eliminate these gangs would be historical figures whose names will be recited with honor.

Bülent Orakoglu, former intelligence chief of the national police and the author of a book trying to decipher the links between the state and renegade elements, said he was expecting such an operation because of recent detention of people involved in gangs.

"But this is not a simple organization. It has connections both inside and outside of Turkey. They have money. … They have staged deadly attacks, be it against Christians or others, when the government was trying to take positive steps in line with democracy," he said.

He added that these people use nationalism and sometimes even religion to legitimize their attacks and receive sympathy from the people who are not connected to the organization.

"When the public starts to see that these are dirty people who use the name of the country, the flag and nationalistic pride for their own benefit, they will not support feeling sympathetic toward them. And they will be finished when we start to see arrests of more and more people who have infiltrated the military, the bureaucracy, the security forces and even the media."

Ultranationalists claim Turkey's honor has been sullied especially if a prominent figure catches international attention while opposing the state version of events on issues like terrorism and Armenian genocide claims.

Novelist Pamuk fell out of favor with nationalists after saying Turkey was responsible for the deaths of ethnic Armenians during World War I and Kurds in recent decades.

Journalist Avni Özgürel, a journalist who studied shadowy networks, said he awaits action from prosecutors before raising his hopes of a clean-up in the deep state: "I'd like to see what they've been accused of and if they will be punished for these accusations before making a comment. We saw such detentions in the past, but those captured were released after a few days."
25.01.2008 Yonca Poyraz Dogan Today’s Zaman, Istanbul


Cloak And Dagger
Nicole Pope n.pope@todayszaman.com
As recent arrests ordered by Turkish authorities begin to shed light on the activities of underground organizations in Turkey, another cloak and dagger scandal that has Turkish ramifications is gathering momentum abroad.

The story involves Sibel Edmonds, a former FBI translator of Turkish origin turned whistleblower, and it gives a new twist to allegations that made headlines as far back as 2002.

The young woman, who speaks fluent Turkish and Farsi, was hired by the FBI after the Sept. 11 events to translate intercepted telephone conversations of potential suspects. She was fired six months later after complaining through the official chain of command that some of her colleagues were deliberately refraining from passing on incriminating transcripts.

Edmonds' dismissal at the time and her allegations may have gone largely unnoticed if the Justice Department, then led by Attorney General John Ashcroft, had not invoked the state secrets privilege to throw a blanket of secrecy over her statements.

Since then, Edmonds, dubbed an "inconvenient patriot" in a Vanity Fair article, has campaigned tirelessly to lift the gag that prevents her from speaking out. Her struggle has been endorsed by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) as well as by the American writers' group PEN, which gave Edmonds an award.

An appearance on the "60 Minutes" show on CBS and a documentary produced by French television have further boosted Edmonds' credibility. An internal FBI investigation also admitted the charismatic whistleblower had been dismissed following "valid complaints" about the translation department.

Edmonds' allegations have now resurfaced in greater detail and are spreading around the world after the Sunday Times, owned by Rupert Murdoch and therefore unlikely to lend credence lightly to allegations against associates of the Bush administration, published an in-depth article in early January.

The article, based on Edmonds' statements, claims that high-level US officials were involved in the sale of nuclear and military secrets to Pakistan and other countries. Turkish individuals and Turkish organizations, it alleges, were used as a conduit to negotiate the deals. The secrets are said to have made their way to A.Q. Khan, the Pakistani scientist accused of selling nuclear technology to third parties.

Responding to the exposé in The Times, the FBI has denied the existence of a file containing evidence of an international network that includes Turks and Israelis. The newspaper, for its part, claims to have written proof the document exists.

Edmonds could not, legally, name the individuals involved in the shady sales but nameless photos of important figures, some of whom are known to be close friends of Turkey, have appeared on her Web site.

The story outlined by The Times reads like a spy novel, and its veracity remains to be demonstrated. But no one has so far accused Edmonds of being a crackpot fantasist inclined to conspiracy theories, nor has she been shown to have a political agenda.

Detractors point out it is unlikely that a translator working on random transcripts would obtain enough information to patch together details of complex deals and expose a spider web of contacts.

The criticism is not without merit, but Edmonds has provided enough details to suggest a thorough investigation is needed on both sides of the Atlantic -- if nothing else, to clear those who may have been wrongly finger pointed.
25.01.2008


Elimination Of Gangs A Must For Consolidation Of Rule Of Law
Fatma Disli f.disli@todayszaman.com
The police crackdown on dozens of people who have suspicious links to Turkey’s deep state, which has masterminded a series of attacks in the country, found extensive coverage in almost all Turkish dailies yesterday, since the media have long been expecting the state to do away with these illegal formations. Having come so much closer to eliminating these gangs, which are a major obstacle to Turkey becoming a truly democratic country where there is supremacy of law, the state is now expected to act courageously and explain the many attacks carried out by these gangs.

Talking about past failures in dealing with these gangs although their involvement in many attacks was crystal clear, Milliyet’s Hasan Cemal appeals to Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan to help bring this operation to a successful conclusion. Cemal notes that the security and judicial bodies can deal with these gangs to a certain extent, but that it is political will and determination that will bring an end to them. “Esteemed prime minister, this concerns you,” says Cemal to Erdogan.

Another columnist in the daily Milliyet, Taha Akyol, discusses the “gang culture” that resulted in the emergence of such gangs, and he differentiates it from the typical culture of violence. He says the most distinctive aspect of these gangs is their claim that their actions are done in the name of patriotism, neo-nationalism and nationalism, which he thinks stains these values. In Akyol’s view, patriotism can only be regarded as a lofty value when it is expressed in compliance with the law. “Today, the murders committed with the involvement of these shadowy gangs and this gang culture have dealt a major blow to Turkey’s image. It is a national duty to strengthen the rule of law in Turkey by cracking down on these gangs and all illegal formations,” he contends.

Yeni Safak columnist Ali Bayramoglu terms the recent detention of dozens of gang members as a turning point in Turkey’s recent history. “The state is against the deep state,” he notes. After marking the first anniversary of the death of Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink, who was killed by an ultranationalist youth in a plot allegedly masterminded by these so-called patriotic gangs, Bayramoglu sees this operation as a political antidote to the concerns of all who feared that the culprits of the Dink murder would never be brought to justice. He draws the following conclusions from the operation: “This operation has revealed that the security forces and relevant institutions are working to discover the networks behind a series of terror acts, including the Dink murder and the brutal killing of three Christians at a publishing house in Malatya last year. This operation is the evidence of the state’s admission that there is a ‘behind the scenes’ aspect to the incidents in question. The operation is the expression of a determination to deal with these gangs on the part of the state and security forces.”

Sabah’s Mahmut Övür complains that the military forces of which some members have been accused of having links with these gangs for years have not made the slightest effort to look into the allegations. “Why doesn’t the military question its members involved in the Susurluk case, an event that revealed a relationship between the security forces and illegal organizations, to make depositions? Why doesn’t the military show the same determination that it shows in fighting corruption with uncovering the links of its members with gangs?” asks Övür, noting that if Turkey can manage to do this one day, it will then be able to fully rid itself of such networks. “Or else it is doomed to become a Third World country,” he warns.
25.01.2008


So Ergenekon Turns Out To Not Just Be A Legend!
The bombs thrown at the Cumhuriyet newspaper buildings, the attack on the Council of State, the Hrant Dink murder, the massacre in Malatya and so on and so forth.

All of these incidents were organized by senior-ranking Ergenekon members. Police had worked for a long time on this case, but Turks across the nation were only able to find out about Ergenekon two days ago. It might have taken a long time, but in the end precautions have finally be taken against developments like the increase in antidemocratic leanings, incidents which bring Turks and Kurds eyeball to eyeball, and events that make minorities in this nation say to one another “Turkey is no longer a country inn which we can live.” Former military officers, the mafia, journalists and others -- alright, the picture is complete. Ergenekon, it turns out, was a high-level organization and there are dozens more smaller organizations that you can be sure worked under Ergenekon. So this recent police operation aimed at breaking the Ergenekon organization was a serious step in exposing all the levels of these kinds of groups.
25.01.2008 Nuh Gönültas, Bugün


WWI-Era Mass Grave With 20,000 Skeletons Found In Bitlis
A mass grave has been discovered in the eastern city of Bitlis containing an estimated 20,000 corpses, sparking claims that they are the bodies of Turks killed by Armenian gangs and Cossacks.

The bones in the graveyard found in Mutki belong to children, women and the elderly, as well as soldiers, the Cihan news agency quoted Törehan Serdar, head of the Association of Victims of World War I Massacres by Armenians, as saying. Serdar claimed that in 1915, when the Russian military invaded the city of Bitlis for the first time, Cossacks and local Armenian gangs massacred approximately 20,000 people in the Kavakbasi village of Mutki.

Serdar said those who carried out the massacre buried the dead in mass graves to conceal the evidence of the violence. He said although research teams have established that skeletons found in the mass grave belong to Turks, work investigation of the site in not yet complete.

Examination of the site has been interrupted by poor weather and hindered by the roughness of the terrain, noted Serdar. He said as soon as the weather conditions improve, teams will resume work. “The violence here will be shown as proof. The Armenians know how to accuse Turkey of genocide with bills, but they either do not know their history or they simply choose to ignore it. Here is proof of who really massacred whom,” added Serdar.
25.01.2008 Today’s Zaman with wires Istanbul


Youtube Is Back...Access Should Not Be Blocked Again!
In a democratic and transparent society, everyone must be allowed to choose for themselves what information they want to access. Filters can only be put in place by Internet users themselves.

Bia News Centre,RSF 25-01-2008 Erol ÖNDEROGLU

After two Turkish courts in succession banned access to the video-sharing website Youtube.com from 17 January, the visual material in question was removed from the site. Turkish Internet users were able to visit Youtube again on the evening of Wednesday, 23 January.

For a week Turkey could not access the site, which millions of people visit worldwide, because a video was considered to represent “an insult to Atatürk.”
The international Reporters Without Borders (RSF) and the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) published general recommendations for Internet use in June 2005, with the express intent of ensuring freedom of expression on the Internet. It is timely to remember their suggestions...

Six recommendations

This declaration by Reporters Without Borders and the representative of the OSCE (Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe) on Freedom of the Media aims to deal with the main issues facing countries seeking to regulate online activity. Should the Web be filtered? Can online publications be forced to register with the authorities? What should the responsibility of service providers (ISPs) be? How far does a national jurisdiction extend?

Reporters Without Borders thinks the six recommendations go beyond Europe and concern every country. It hopes they will provoke discussion in the run-up to the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS).
Full text of the Declaration

1. Any law about the flow of information online must be anchored in the right to freedom of expression as defined in Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

2. In a democratic and open society it is up to the citizens to decide what they wish to access and view on the Internet. Filtering or rating of online content by governments is unacceptable. Filters should only be installed by Internet users themselves. Any policy of filtering, be it at a national or local level, conflicts with the principle of free flow of information.

3. Any requirement to register websites with governmental authorities is not acceptable. Unlike licensing scarce resources such as broadcasting frequencies, an abundant infrastructure like the Internet does not justify official assignment of licenses. On the contrary, mandatory registration of online publications might stifle the free exchange of ideas, opinions, and information on the Internet.

4. A technical service provider must not be held responsible for the mere conduit or hosting of content unless the hosting provider refuses to obey a court ruling. A decision on whether a website is legal or illegal can only be taken by a judge, not by a service provider. Such proceedings should guarantee transparency, accountability and the right to appeal.

5. All Internet content should be subject to the legislation of the country of its origin ("upload rule") and not to the legislation of the country where it is downloaded.

6. The Internet combines various types of media, and new publishing tools such as blogging are developing. Internet writers and online journalists should be legally protected under the basic principle of the right to freedom of expression and the complementary rights of privacy and protection of sources. (EÖ/TK/AG)


Unconditional Diplomatic Relations With Armenia
Omer Engin LUTEM, 23 January 2008, ERAREN

Leyla Tavsanoglu’s interview with Armenia’s deputy Foreign Minister Arman Kirakosian was published on the 20th of January in the Turkish newspaper Cumhuriyet under the heading “No Preconditions Attached” (“Hiçbir Önkosulumuz Yok”).

During this time last year, Kirakosian, having come to Istanbul to attend Hrant Dink’s funeral service, expressed that his country was prepared to establish unconditional diplomatic relations with Turkey. Although his words gave voice to Armenia’s widely known and longstanding position, they made the headlines of various newspapers as if they expressed a policy change on the part of Armenia. To rectify this error, on the 26th of January last year, we posted a comment in this daily bulletin under the heading “The Proposal of Establishing Diplomatic Relations with Armenia Devoid of Any Preconditions.” Although this commentary retains its validity even today, it will be worthwhile and in place to address this issue once again, as Kirakosian reiterated his “unconditional diplomatic relations” proposal.

In the first instance it will be appropriate to delineate the outstanding problems between Turkey and Armenia.

The first problem relates to the mutual recognition of each others territorial integrity (or inviolability of borders). Without such recognition, it is not reasonable for Turkey and Armenia to establish normal relations. The border between these two countries was established by the 1921 Treaty of Kars, which was signed by Armenia and remains in force as of this day. However, the Armenian Government has refrained from signing a document denoting that both countries recognize each others territorial integrity. Turkey has viewed as unsatisfactory the occasional verbal pronouncements by Armenian authorities to the end that the Kars Treaty is in force. One can surmise that the essential reason behind Armenia’s reluctance to officially recognize Turkey’s territorial integrity rests in her desire for Eastern Anatolia to be pegged as Western Armenia, as is so done in Article 11 of The Armenian Declaration of Independence (which is an integral part of the Armenian Constitution). It shouldn’t be too difficult to speculate that an agreement to be signed pertaining to the mutual recognition of each others territorial integrity, would be set forth as violating the Armenian Constitution by ultra nationalist Armenian circles.

The second problem relates to the genocide allegations. Article 11 of Armenia’s Declaration of Independence refers to “achieving international recognition of the [so-called] 1915 Genocide” as a task the Republic of Armenia “stands in support of.” It is known that the Armenian Government, although not to the extent of the Armenian Diaspora, is also exerting efforts towards the recognition of this genocide claim. To cite a recent example, Foreign Minister Oskanian sent a letter to Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi calling for the adoption of draft Resolution 106 pertaining to the Armenian genocide allegations. Nonetheless, Kirakosian speaks with an air that seems oblivious to such activities and alleges that Armenia does not retain the clout to pressurize the Diaspora Armenians.

The third problem pertains to Karabagh. As is known, Armenian forces occupied not only Karabagh (which is legally a part of Azerbaijan) but also 7 Azeri provinces surrounding this region. As a result, approximately one million Azeri’s had to abandon their homeland and flee to Azerbaijan. Sharing strong historical, ethnic, and cultural ties, Turkey has supported Azerbaijan in this conflict. Furthermore, to end the Armenian occupation of Azeri territories, in 1993 Turkey closed its border with Armenia. Although Kirakosian claims that Turkey should not take sides on this matter as she is a member of the OECD, this argument lacks any legal ground.

If the three problems mentioned above were to be brought to a solution, Turkey would be ready and willing to establish normalized relations with Armenia. However, for many years Armenia has insisted on the establishment of relations devoid of any pre-conditions. This means that Armenia plans to continue to not recognize Turkey’s territorial integrity, continue to put forth genocide allegations, and keep the lands they occupied in Karabagh and the surrounding Azeri territories. In short Armenia aims to take all without conceding anything. To this end, the Armenian “without pre-conditions” formula is used to leave a positive impression on those who are ill-informed on the subject matter.

The Armenian approach which has continued for years has not only precluded the settlement of its disputes with Turkey and Azerbaijan but has also hindered its inclusion in the ventures for cooperation between the nations of the Southern Caucasus. With this in mind, it would be in place to conclude that Armenia’s interests lay in the new government (which shall be formed as a result of the upcoming presidential elections) to pursue a realistic policy altering the present state of affairs vis-a-vis Turkey.


  • Bad News To Visitors/Readers From Turkey

  • More than 20 % Of Our Visitors are From Turkey and we may have an upcoming bad news for them:
    You may not be able to access to our site soon.
    There has been WordPress Ban, YouTube Ban . . and one of our sites were disabled by Google owned Company for few days without any explanation.
    Perhaps The Next would be you won't be able to access to this site again very soon.

    How does it happen?
    Let's say:
    • You start a free blog under Google owned blogger/blogspot.com and publish an erotic sentence or something against Atatürk
    • Someone else takes that one sentence to a tiny court in Turkey
    • The court sends a a ban order through Turkish Telecom
    • No one in Turkey could be able to access to, not only that page or that site, but all the sites come under the blog provider
    • Simple, isn't it!

    So, in a very near future, when the visitors from Turkey cannot access our site, will know how.

    Please Get Ready For That

    What Can You Do !
    • a)Shut Up and wait it happens
    • b)Start Lobbying From Your Own Circle in Reference to This Archaic Practice

    Lara-Murat-Seda

    What Happened And How We Have Already Been Affected:
    • Most Of Our Videos Stored in Google Owned YouTube still inaccessible due to Turkish Court Ban
    • Some of our images and pdf files served from another site has been disabled without any explanation. Many visitors couldn't access to Our E-Books and some image files for few days. We, then, relocated those to other site, and we have restored many items manually, today Google owned company sent us an apology without any explanation again and saying that they now have re-enabled the site/files etc as a result of our inquiry.
    Lara-Murat-Seda



    How Dare, YouTube?
    Yavuz Baydar y.baydar@todayszaman.com
    Very few people -- perhaps some out of sheer ill intentions -- would argue that Turkey is not now enjoying more freedom to access, share and debate information and ideas than it was, say, 10 years ago. As such, it is taken for granted that the climate of freedom has changed considerably since the early days of the millennium. The EU process has also been of immense help.

    Yet, despite this relatively improved picture, the basic freedom to reach information and express ideas is still under the same threat, partly due to existing tendencies to suppress it through legislation. This is not just about Article 301, which made the phrase "insulting Turkishness" an element of universal ridicule.

    About two months ago, I wanted to read a blog, as recommended by a friend of mine. But to my desperation, I could not enter the Web site www.wordpress.com, which, I came to found out, was totally banned in Turkey. A colleague of mine later that day told me that a tiny court in the Fatih district of Istanbul had banned it two days before.

    The reason? Nobody seemed to know. I could not let go. I called a newspaper lawyer, who called the court and found out. Access to wordpress.com was denied nationally because a small and aggressive quasi-religious sect called "Adnan Hoca," had filed a slander complaint. My lawyer, a rational person, tried to question why the court had not just denied temporary access to the blog in question, rather than blocking the "main gate." The people in the court could not answer. "Because they did not understand what I was talking about," laughed the lawyer to me, adding, "If this is the way we will enter the EU and be part of the democratic global village, I guess we must forget it."

    It took a considerable amount of time before people could access blogs at www.wordpress.com, but the sense of horror that "the farce" would repeat itself never disappeared. And it did repeat itself. Last week, an Ankara court blocked access to the popular video-sharing Web site YouTube because of clips allegedly insulting Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the founding father of Turkey. It was the second time Turkey banned the site for such reasons. Last March, another court blocked access to YouTube for two days after a complaint that some clips on the site insulted Atatürk.

    Every time this happens, it seems, the world finds out more quickly than it does about bans taking place elsewhere. Apart from Article 301 and some other articles in the penal code, it is now clear that we shall continue to face restrictions of freedom on the Internet as well.

    The latest report on Turkey from the non-profit Freedom House organization says: "An estimated 21 percent of the Turkish population was able to access the Internet in 2006, and the government refrains from restricting the Internet, although on occasion it has accessed user records in the name of national security. Police must obtain permission from a judge or higher authority before obtaining such information."

    It misses a crucial element. The new so-called Internet Law, which is called the "Law to Prevent Crimes Committed in the Electronic Sphere," actually leaves room for misinterpretation of its content. Furthermore, this law, passed in haste -- when Turkey was in political turmoil -- in May of last year and approved in haste by then-President Ahmet Necdet Sezer, contains even "crimes committed against the image of Atatürk," linking to an age-old law from the early '50s. The law was meant to prevent mainly child pornography, gambling, prostitution and drug abuse, but in the last moment additions also regarding "erotic content" -- vaguely formulated -- were added.

    Now we are facing an established new problem. As long as this law is meant to "prevent crimes against Atatürk" and "prevent erotic content," any individual will be able to file a complaint somewhere in Turkey and, in most cases, prosecutors and judges who know practically nothing about the nature of the Internet will continue to act as the Ankara court recently did. Believe it or not, we will face a similar apathy to that inspired by Article 301, with people shrugging as Turkey is once again compared to China, Iran, Belarus or Saudi Arabia.

    Another wave of restrictions seems to be making headway toward Parliament now: amendments to the Radio Television Supreme Board (RTUK) Law containing ambiguous formulations on "public morale" that give the board broad authority to ban, for example, a TV channel that would broadcast a Victoria's Secret ad. Any single complaint would suffice.

    A new trend is reappearing that is a cause for concern. The "sensitivities of the majority" are on the rise as an argument for major decisions. There is every reason to be watchful now. Arguing exclusively for lifting the ban on headscarf and looking the other way when other freedoms are restricted is the wrong path.
    23.01.2008 /Zaman

    Access to Youtube Blocked
    For the last six days, Turkey has banned access to the complete Youtube site because of the content of one video.
    B?a news centre 23-01-2008 Erol ÖNDEROGLU
    Access to the video-sharing site Youtube was banned with a court decision from the Ankara 12th Criminal Court of Peace. When the ban was lifted, the Sivas 2nd Criminal Court of Peace banned access again.

    Anyone trying to access the site is met with the message, “Access to this site has been suspended in accordance with decision No 2008/11 of 16.01.2008.”
    "A radical and disproportionate measure"

    On 17 January, the Ankara 12th Criminal Court of Peace decided on the ban because the content of one video “contained disrespect towards Atatürk and Turkishness.”

    International freedom of press and expression organizations have condemned the fact that access to a whole website has been suspended because of one video.

    A similar problem was experienced in March last year because of a video said to contain an insult towards Atatürk. The Paris-based Reporters Without Borders (RSF), pointing to similar implementations in Brazil and Iran, had called the complete ban on access “a radical and disproportionate precaution” against “ a few documents of an offensive nature.”

    Access to Wordpress suspended since August

    Meanwhile, Internet users trying to access the Wordpress.com site since August 2007 have been met by the message “Access to this site has been suspended in accordance with decision no: 2007/195 of T.C. Fatih 2.Civil Court of First Instance” (EÖ/TK/AG)

    YouTube Ban Reduces Turkey to the Ranks of Backward States
    f.disli@todayszaman.com
    It has been four days since access to popular video-sharing Web site YouTube was blocked in Turkey because of clips that allegedly insulted the founder of the Turkish Republic, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk. This was not the first time such a ban had been put into place in Turkey; the same Web site was blocked last year for similar reasons. The YouTube bans in Turkey, which is already under heavy pressure from the EU to expand the scope of freedoms and abolish a notorious article in its penal code that the EU deems violates free speech, has once again highlighted the country’s troubled record on free expression and raised concerns about it losing prestige because such bans are only imposed by backward states.

    Sabah’s Emre Aköz thinks that just like all the bans, the YouTube ban also serves for the opposite goal. He explains why: Those who block access to the Web site think that they will protect youth with such bans and stand up for the memory of Atatürk and the Turkish identity. But just the opposite thing happens. As more people heard of the ban, they sought other ways to see the Web site and watch the anti-Atatürk clips in question, something they would probably ignore if there was no ban. According to Aköz, this ban also demoted Turkey to the ranks of undemocratic regimes which frequently resort to such bans and gave ammunition to the opponents of Turkey’s EU bid, who can now say: “We told you these guys are pro-ban. They lack tolerance. They cannot bear hearing criticism. Here is the evidence.” And one ridiculous aspect of the ban, says Aköz, is the fact that those who complain that Turkey is slowly being turned into Iran, an Islamic country, and defend the YouTube ban at the same time, are actually themselves turning Turkey into a country like Iran. “Because Iran is among the several countries where YouTube access is banned,” he quips.

    Saying “Banning YouTube is not as easy as banning headscarves” in the headline of his article, Posta’s Mehmet Barlas also touches upon ongoing headscarf ban debates while expressing his discontent over the YouTube ban. The reason he thinks banning YouTube is more difficult than banning those who wear a headscarf from attending universities is the inability to control the virtual world. “Can we now say that we have taken the virtual world under our control by banning YouTube? No. The virtual world is incredibly large, it is both close and far away and a digital world,” he explains. Just like Aköz, Barlas also notes that there are thousands of ways to access YouTube even though it has been banned by court decision. “Blocking full access to a Web site, although possible to block only those controversial videos in this information era, is like blocking access to a school due to an unruly student or banning civil aviation due to an accident,” he argues.

    Star columnist Ahmet Kekeç likens the YouTube ban to bans imposed on some books that were found to be “dangerous” by the perpetrators of the 1980 coup in Turkey. “Actually there has not been much of a mentality change since then although the objects of the bans have changed. They banned books yesterday and ban Web sites today,” he says. Voicing his respect for the court’s decision, he does not avoid criticizing it, either. “Will the state decide which Web sites we should follow or not? It is none of anyone’s business. And yet, the Internet provides a space of freedom that cannot be publicized,” Kekeç remarks. Fearing the continuation of such bans he calls on opinion leaders to raise their voices about such prohibitions while also teasing defenders of the ban. “While we expected it from political parties who allegedly have a ‘secret agenda’ to turn Turkey into a backward state, it has happened through the hands of a ‘modern’ institution,” he contends.
    23.01.2008


    Matters Of Protection
    January 24, 2008 By Kristen Stevens

    In the year since Turkish-Armenian editor Hrant Dink's murder stained this country's fabric, my husband and I welcomed our fair-skinned son, a Turkish citizen, into the world. Living in Turkey, I cannot deny that I am scared for his safety and his future. Since his birth, three Protestants were strangled after extensive torture in Malatya because of their faith and attempts were made on the lives of clergymen in several cities. So far authorities have shown nothing but disregard for the recent escalation in violent hatred here along ethnic, religious and nationalist lines. Soli Özel, an international relations professor at Bilgi University, wrote in daily Sabah last week, “The political authority hasn't clamped down on the matter determinedly in any of these cases and hasn't openly declared that what was done was evil.” Nor have they done anything to scrap Article 301 even as it continues to hinder free speech and condemn people like Dink to petty convictions that only serve to fuel nationalist hatred.Two days before the anniversary of a murder born of growing intolerance for minorities and free speech, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan set the public discourse over the flames of a different freedom: the right of women to wear Islamic head cover in school. He announced that his government would change the constitution to lift the ban on religious headscarves in public universities.

    Flawed mission

    The prime minister extols the virtues of one freedom of religion and not others, revealing a flaw in the government's mission. They want to sell the West on the idea that American-style freedom to worship (secularism) suits their own cause of upending one of the country's founding principles that limited the influence of religion on the state (laicism). If they were smart salesmen – or virtuous in their ideology – they would not choose one religion's exemption from the law over another's. By ignoring the trampled freedoms of religious and ethnic minorities to worship and express themselves, the government sets itself up to lose in the secular arena as well. But the real losers are members of the next generation who saw images of an ethnic Armenian Turkish journalist lying face down shot after being convicted of insulting Turkishness. Leaders must take measures to reassure kids that the same won't happen to them if they speak or write freely. In what might turn out to be a bold step in the right direction, Turkish authorities arrested 30 people on Tuesday suspected of a series of politically inspired killings and attacks. Among them is a well-known lawyer involved in court cases against Dink and Turkish Nobel prize winning author Orhan Pamuk, whose case is ongoing. Maureen Freely, a writer, journalist and translator of Pamuk's books who grew up in Istanbul, told me during an interview on Monday that the nationalist perspective could evolve into something more benign through conversation and inclusion. “For Turkey to truly prosper, people have to have room to maneuver,” said Freely, who was in town to remember Dink.Meanwhile over the weekend a Turkish court blocked access to popular video sharing Web site YouTube for the second time this year. At fault was a video insulting Ataturk, founder of the republic. But nationalists posting death threats on Web sites are protected. I stood holding my baby son on Saturday as nationalists chanted insults when Dink's wife Rakel addressed the crowd where her husband was shot. Do they enjoy more freedoms than our children will?


    Soldiers On Trial For Negligence In Hrant Dink’s Murder
    January 24, 2008 Istanbul – AFP

    Two gendarmerie soldiers went on trial Tuesday accused of covering up intelligence about the plan to murder Armenian-Turkish journalist Hrant Dink months before it occurred, the Anatolia news agency reported.

    They are the first members of the security forces to stand trial in the Black Sea city of Trabzon, where the murder was allegedly planned, amid widespread allegations that some officers condoned the killing and did not act to prevent it.

    The 52-year-old Dink, whom Turkish nationalists hated for calling the World War I massacres of Armenians genocide, was shot dead on Jan. 19, 2007, outside the offices of his Agos newspaper in central Istanbul.

    The self-confessed teenage gunman, alleged mastermind Yasin Hayal and 17 suspected associates went on trial in Istanbul last year.

    Hayal's uncle testified Tuesday that he had informed the two defendants – members of the Trabzon gendarmerie, a paramilitary force policing rural areas – that his nephew was planning to kill Dink, and accused the pair of trying to cover up the tip-off.

    "I told them that Yasin Hayal was planning to kill Hrant Dink three or four months before his murder," Coskun Igci told the judge, adding that the soldiers also knew that his nephew was looking for a gun to buy.

    "Several days after Dink was killed, they came to me and asked me not to speak to anyone about what we had talked before," he said.

    The defendants, who were not present at the hearing, risk between six months and two years in jail for "abuse of power."

    Dink's murder has prompted fresh calls on Ankara to eliminate the "deep state" – a term used to describe security forces acting outside the law to preserve what they consider Turkey's best interests.

    Lawyers for Dink's family say the police withheld and destroyed evidence to cover up the murder, including footage from a bank security camera in central Istanbul near where Dink was killed.

    Prosecutors say police received intelligence as early as 2006 of a plot to kill Dink being organized in Trabzon.

    In September, two policemen went on trial in the northern city of Samsun for their role in a scandal that saw security forces pose for "souvenir" pictures with the gunman after he was captured there a day after the murder.

    Dink had won many hearts in Turkey with his efforts for Turkish-Armenian reconciliation and more than 100,000 people marched at his funeral. Thousands marked his murder's first anniversary last weekend.


    Hrant, 'Justice' And The Government
    January 24, 2008 Cengiz ÇANDAR

    I wrote articles about the murdered Armenian-Turkish journalist Hrant Dink throughout last week even though I was abroad. Many other writers penned down articles about Dink closer toward the weekend. Some papers took the issue to the headlines on the anniversary day of Hrant's insidious and perfidious murder as some brought “unanswered questions” about the “ongoing murder investigation” to the daylight.

    On the day of Jan. 19, a commemoration service was held at 3:00 p.m. in front of the Agos weekly's building where he was shot dead and a meeting was organized at the Lütfi Kirdar Congress Hall on that night. Hrant was also remembered at his grave on Sun.

    As people were leaving the cemetery I came back to Istanbul. I couldn't attend any of the services including the meeting at the Lütfi Kirdar on which participants commented “It was an event not to be missed at all.”

    The time difference, Internet and phones in Washington helped me to feel connected to the commemoration services and the night of remembrance

    I was happy to hear that thousands gathered in front of the Agos building and about that “unforgettable night.” I hear, as though, thousands resonating as the suppressed voice of the social conscientious beyond the Atlantic.

    Primary reason of my happiness on this sad commemoration day was the spirit of the first anniversary of Hrant's departure and the slogan born out of such spirit, “For Hrant; for Justice!” and likewise the punch line of the speech made by Rakel, Hrant's beloved wife, “Justice requires courage!”

    That was exactly the “leitmotif” of why I insisted on writing about Hrant throughout the last week: Justice!

    To bring back Hrant is impossible. We cannot ask him back anymore. But justice might be brought back. We want “justice.” That's why I kept writing to voice the demand of “justice.” Unacquainted thousands focused on the same “leitmotif” as I and Rakel did, it was “justice;” and was pretty darn meaningful.

    What is missing or what is wished for is being demanded. The “justice” in the Hrant Dink murder case that hasn't been around for a year.

    The gov't is responsible of assuring justice sovereignty

    The address to direct the demand of justice, which inevitably morphed into an “international expectation” due to Hrant's distinguished personality, is the government, or the political administration I should say. The government is not directly responsible for the murder but for the sovereignty of “justice”.

    President Abdullah Gül, during his trip to the Syrian capital of Damascus recently, let Yervant, Hrant's brother, knew “he will personally follow the murder case”; it was very good to hear this but on condition that if his action speaks louder than his words.

    It was also nice to hear what Culture Minister Ertugrul Günay said of Hrant: “He was one of the most beautiful men of our country, a real citizen of the Republic of Turkey; he was my dear friend.”

    Genuine sensitivities of Mr. President and Mr. Minister help us relieved.

    Yet Günay adds, “I hope that culprits receive due punishment. This is what I expect from justice.” Just “hoping,” however, doesn't help. We have been waiting for “justice” for a year and nothing has happened.

    The matter is “execution”; revamping justice mechanism that is not functioning properly, or not functioning at all. The matter is to clean out the “security bureaucracy” which evidently played role in this murder. This is what we “expect” from the government.

    I mean the transfer of the “Hrant Dink murder case” to the “independent” judiciary as the requirement of the “separation of forces” doesn't help because the matter rests with the “administration” rather than, or beyond, the judiciary.

    Last year not even a single minister attended the funeral service of Hrant. This year if Mr. President would have been in Istanbul instead of Damascus and the culture minister instead of Antalya and most importantly if Mr. Prime Minister (along with a few veteran newspaper owners or a few editors-in-chief in addition to couple of tycoons from institutions) would have appeared in one of the “commemoration services,” in the Patriarchate or at the cemetery, we would have been quite hopeful that “the case will be followed-up” and “justice will be served.”

    Political bill

    The government is also expected to know that the sloppy investigation will cost a very heavy “political bill.”

    The government should better realize “political” dimension of the issue, forget about the “humanitarian side” of the story.

    When the connection between the Greek intelligence and the Abdullah Öcalan of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) came to light in 1998 for instance, Greek Prime Minister Costas Simitis took action and routed the “Greek deep state” completely. In order for Turkey to do the same as Greece, the country has now the opportunity to make the “justice mechanism” to work in the Hrant Dink case. That'd be perfect if the government can use this opportunity.

    Unless Turkey makes the “justice mechanism of the Hrant Dink murder case” work, there could be no progress in the European Union membership bid, let alone the actual accession. A country having such a flimsy justice and security system cannot even get close to the EU. No one should be surprised if the investigation of the “Hrant Dink murder case” turns into a problem between Turkey and the EU.

    Besides the United Nations forms a “special court” to handle the assassination of Lebanese Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri: An unmatched “International Court of Rafiq Hariri Assassination” is set to precedent for that political assassinations will not go unpunished from now on in the Middle East.

    If the Hrant Dink murder case investigation in Turkey is deflected on purpose, the country will be a place to exercise “freedom to commit assassinations,” as it was in the past.

    At this point the question we might, or should, ask is this:

    “The political power” for over a year, hasn't touched the controversial Article 301 of the Turkish Penal Code – even making calculations for not to get into any discussions with the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) – and just watched the Hrant Dink murder turning into the “murder of justice”. And now the government seems to go for cooperation with the MHP in the “headscarf pitched battle”, which has just resumed. I wonder if the government thinks to have the support of “liberal” and “democrat” public opinion of the country as a piece of in the bag.


    High Time For A Full-Fledged Crackdown On Gangs
    Fatma Disli f.disli@todayszaman.com

    The fact that police on Tuesday detained 33 suspects accused of involvement in a series of attacks, assassinations and murders as part of renegade groups hidden with the state hierarchy has raised hopes about an eventual and full-fledged crackdown on Turkey’s shadowy deep state, a term for hard-line nationalists in the security forces prepared to subvert the law for political ends. Although suspicious relations between the security officials and illegal crime organizations have surfaced on many occasions -- the murder of Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink being the latest -- these relations were covered up in various ways, and none of the culprits behind the scenes have been brought to justice thus far. Yet, this recent operation has lifted hopes over Turkey becoming a country where there is truly supremacy of law.

    Star columnist Mustafa Karaalioglu laments that Turkey’s failure in cracking down on the deep state has helped perpetuate these illegal relationships. He thinks that these gangs, which are deemed major threats in other countries, have started to be seen as “Turkey’s reality,” paving the way to the burgeoning of many small and large gangs, not only in big cities like Istanbul and Ankara but also in smaller ones. “They have started to see the state as their own property, although they don’t heed any of the state’s values. They established their own state in their insular worlds,” he says. What he finds most striking is the fact that these gangs do not try to conceal that they are engaging in illegal activities in the name of the state; rather, they feel proud about this and see their actions as justifiable. Karaalioglu states that Turkey has reached a point where it can no longer tolerate the presence of these gangs as the country is making remarkable progress in its democracy. In light of this, he suggests that if the state would like to win the sympathy of the public, it should give an end to its shady relations and completely root out these gangs. “As of Tuesday, a significant process started that has shown everyone that the justice system is working in Turkey. Dealing a blow to the key figures of gangs who seemed untouchable increases the public’s faith in the justice system; yet, if this operation does not go further, it will inevitably cause disappointment,” he warns.

    Bugün columnist Gülay Göktürk is also hopeful about the progress of the recent crackdown on the gangs operating within the state. She calls on both the police and the government to take bold steps in dealing with these illegal formations. Dwelling on the reasons as to why these gangs have not been dealt with up until now, she claims there is a small group within the state that will be exposed to personal harm if the gangs are done away with. As for the majority within the state, she says they also act hesitantly in dealing with the gangs due to their entrenched attitudes toward state secrets. “They want to arrogantly hold the confidentiality weapon, the notion of state secrets, in their hands. They do not want to share state information with the public,” Göktürk clarifies.

    Yeni Safak’s Ibrahim Karagül speculates on the timing of Tuesday’s operation in light of the fact that these suspects have long faced accusations and that they were known to have links with a series of murders and other illegal incidents. “Did the police discover something new? Have they been followed for eight months so the police can gain concrete evidence? Then what could be the thing that will finally corner these suspects? We will learn soon,” says Karagül, expressing hope that an investigation into the suspects will answer all his questions. He also shares the same concerns with the other writers over whether the police crackdown on the gangs will continue or get stuck at a certain point. “The answer to this question is related to the traditional sharing of power in Turkey,” he notes.
    24.01.2008


    Turkey Determined To Purge Its Gladio
    The suspects arrested in police raids as part of the Ergenekon operation Tuesday were taken to the hospital for a routine physical check-up on Wednesday.

    The prime minister has said a police inquiry resulting in the arrest of dozens of people, including ex-army officers and lawyers, shows the determination of Turkey to bring an end to state and military-linked gangs.

    The suspects have not been charged, but analysts agree that the 33 detained on Tuesday suspected of membership in a nationalist group, calling themselves Ergenekon, are part of a shadowy network that masterminded many attacks in Turkey.

    The discovery is not the first of its kind. In the past two years, the country's security forces unearthed a number of clandestine gangs countrywide. These groups, known to the public by such names as Atabeyler, Sauna and Ümraniye, or Ergenekon -- the latest one to be brought to light -- have tried to create chaos in the country at crucial times such as last year's presidential election. However, despite the fact that all these organizations were uncovered, with many of their members being discovered, no significant punishment has yet been imposed on the members of these gangs.

    These gangs are apparently linked to a clandestine phenomenon that functions similarly to Operation Gladio -- a post-World War II NATO operation structured as "stay-behind" paramilitary organizations, with the official aim of countering a possible Soviet invasion through sabotage and clandestine operations. In fact, many analysts believe such networks of groups in Turkey today, sometimes referred to as the "deep state," are remnants of the Turkish leg of the actual Gladio.

    Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Wednesday praised the security forces for the recent operations, speaking to the members of the press after a meeting with the Turkish Tradesmen's and Artisans' Confederation (TESK). He said his government has been fighting gangs and organized crime with resolve. "This has been ongoing for four to five years. In addition to our security forces there is also a process that the judiciary has been conducting. This is something we are happy about. This last incident concerning such crimes has shown in the clearest way that the executive branch and the judiciary are working in a wonderful solidarity," he stated.

    "All democrats in Turkey have been looking forward to this sort of action by the government ... Everybody is now hoping something will happen but people remain very suspicious," said Cengiz Aktar, a professor at Istanbul's Bahçesehir University, to Reuters.

    "This is a very important test for the government, they will be judged by this ... If these people [are guilty and] are convicted, it will be very good for Turkish democracy as well as for our efforts to join the European Union," Reuters quoted Aktar as saying.

    Ergenekon members trying to take power in their own hands

    Aykut Cengiz Engin, Istanbul's chief prosecutor, in a written statement announced that earlier bans on reporting about the investigation remained in place. However, all Turkish newspapers, with the exception of a few ultra-nationalist ones, covered the operation nevertheless. "Never gone this deep before," read Yeni Safak's headline yesterday. "The state takes on the deep state," Sabah said in one of its headlines. "A deep blow to a deep gang," said Star. "Operation against coup supporters," said Radikal, highlighting the military ties of the group.

    The nationalist gang is suspected of involvement in a number of violent attacks, including the killing of an Italian priest in 2006, the assassination of Armenian journalist Hrant Dink and the murder of three Christians in the city of Malatya last year.

    The suspects were detained in Istanbul and other regions in dawn raids Tuesday, the culmination of an eight-month operation, the police said. The police have been observing the actions of the suspects for over eight months as part of an investigation into a house full of explosives and ammunition found in Istanbul's Ümraniye district eight months ago.

    Meanwhile, four more people were taken into custody in the southeastern city of Diyarbakir in the afternoon yesterday as part of the same operation. Among the four, at least two are members of the ultra-nationalist Association for the Union of Patriotic Forces (VKGB), whose leaders are already under arrest facing several charges for crimes from theft and felony to blackmail and extortion.

    Engin's statement said until Tuesday's detentions, 15 people had been arrested as part of the Ümraniye operation, which was launched on June 12, when an arms depot was found in the district. He said all 15 were arrested facing charges of "establishing and running an armed terrorist organization," "membership in this organization," "conspiring to encourage military member for not obeying orders," "acquiring information on state security," "possession of a serious amount of dangerous guns and ammunition" and "being in possession of explosives."

    The suspects of Ergenekon

    Engin's statement also listed the names of the 33 people taken into custody. The suspects include Veli Küçük, a retired major general who is also the alleged founder of an illegal intelligence unit in the gendarmerie, the existence of which is denied by officials; the controversial ultranationalist lawyer Kemal Kerinçsiz, who filed countless suits against Turkish writers and intellectuals who were at odds with Turkey's official policies; Fikret Karadag, a retired army colonel; Sevgi Erenerol, the press spokesperson for a group called the Turkish Orthodox Patriarchate; Güler Kömürcü, a columnist for the Aksam daily; and Sami Hostan, a key figure in an investigation launched after a car accident in 1996 near the small town of Susurluk that uncovered links between a police chief, a convicted fugitive who was an ultranationalist and a deputy. Ali Yasak, a well-known gangster linked to the figures in the Susurluk incident, was also detained in the operation. Fuat Turgut, the lawyer of a key suspect in the Hrant Dink murder, was also taken into custody. Police said Turgut, who was detained in another town on Tuesday, was brought to Istanbul yesterday.

    The chief prosecutor said earlier court orders on the Ümraniye probe have classified the case as "confidential" and issued a press ban on coverage of the investigation. He cited two different court's decisions from June 15 and June 21. He said care shown in regards to abiding by the confidentiality decision and the press ban on the investigation is "necessary for the proper conducting of the investigation."

    Also on Wednesday, the police conducted searches at the office of attorney Kerinçsiz and the office of the Turkish Orthodox Patriarchate as well as at several other places related to the suspects.

    The operation also revealed that the Ergenekon gang was preparing for attacks and assassinations directed at political figures. Documents obtained by the police during the raid confirm that in the past two years the group seriously considered assassinating Osman Baydemir, a member of the pro-Kurdish Democratic Society Party (DTP) who is currently mayor of the mainly Kurdish southeastern province Diyarbakir.

    DTP refuses state protection

    Meanwhile, the recent operation showed that many DTP members who had been offered private bodyguards by the state, including former DTP leader Ahmet Türk, Istanbul deputy Sebahat Tuncel and Diyarbakir Mayor Baydemir, had refused 24-hour body guards assigned to them by the police force.

    When asked about the situation, Türk said he was not worried. "I believe in fate." He noted that he was aware of assassination attempts against him, but said he was not afraid. On the recent operations, Türk said it was very important that members of the Ergenekon gang were captured, but he warned that the suspects could be "protected" by some powers, which is usually the case with criminals that have links to the military. "It is necessary for democracy and law that there is a crackdown on these organizations. I hope that all these organizations will be exposed with determination," Türk said.
    24.01.2008


    ‘State Against Deep State’
    Lale Sariibrahimoglu loglu@todayszaman.com

    This was the front-page headline of mainstream daily Sabah's Jan. 23 issue, covering a recent roundup of 33 people from retired generals to lawyers and journalists under an operation launched by the Istanbul police against a far-right nationalist group accused of setting up a gang to commit mainly political crimes.

    This gang, allegedly calling itself "Ergenekon," was first discovered several months ago when police raided a house filled with explosives in Istanbul's Ümraniye district. At the time, several individuals were taken to jail, including a retired captain, Muzaffer Tekin, who allegedly has links to the murder of a Council of State judge in Ankara in 2006.

    The latest operation, the result of eight months of work, included the detention of a retired general, a retired colonel and a journalist as well as a lawyer who brought charges of "insulting Turkishness" against novelist Orhan Pamuk, the 2007 winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature in Istanbul and other regions following raids carried out at the break of dawn. Some of those taken into custody are suspected of involvement in the murder of Turkish Armenian journalist Hrant Dink and other violent attacks.

    The suspects are accused of many individual crimes, but what they have in common seems to be the links they have to clandestine gangs that function similarly to Operation Gladio -- a post-World War II NATO operation structured as "stay-behind" paramilitary organizations, with the official aim of countering a possible Soviet invasion through sabotage and clandestine operations. In fact many analysts believe such networks of groups in Turkey today, sometimes referred to as the "deep state," are remnants of the Turkish leg of the actual Gladio. (Today's Zaman, Jan. 23, 2008).

    Ret. Gen. Veli Küçük, among those detained in the latest operation, is an alleged founder of a clandestine unit in the Gendarmerie General Command who is also implicated in the infamous Susurluk gang scandal.

    As a matter of fact, the existence of gangs in Turkey, which have recently mushroomed, has become public knowledge as a result of a famous car accident that took place on Nov. 3, 1996 in the Susurluk township of Turkey's Balikesir province.

    This scandal has since then been known as "Susurluk" and is frequently referred to indicate the state's ongoing ineffectiveness in the fight against gangs.

    Susurluk in fact revealed state-mafia ties, and the then government did admit to illegal ties between the state and the right-wing mafia.

    The fatal traffic accident took place in Susurluk when a truck collided with a Mercedes. The occupants of the Mercedes were found to be the deputy of a political party and a security chief as well as a criminal-turned-state employee (Abdullah Çatli) and his alleged lover, a blonde former beauty queen. The only passenger to survive the crash was Sedat Bucak, a Kurdish clan leader and a former politician.

    According to an Istanbul court verdict dated April 11, 2002 concerning Susurluk, former official of Turkey's National Intelligence Organization (MIT) and former officer of the Turkish Armed Forces' (TSK) Special Operations Korkut Eken and former deputy head of the Police Special Operations Bureau Ibrahim Sahin were sentenced to six years in prison each for leading a criminal gang, and 12 other suspects to four years each for being members of the gang.

    The court verdict on Susurluk held that the government had hired death squads to kill people seen as threats to national security while quoting the suspects as saying that they believed they had been acting in the name of the state. "The suspects' defense did not bear out the facts as reflected in their case files. For the Turkish Republic to entrust domestic and external security to murderers, drug smugglers and the owners of gambling joints is unforgivable and unacceptable behavior," stressed the same verdict.

    But the court's verdict did not satisfy the public at the time over whether the Turkish state was determined to fight against the mafia. This suspicion has been backed by revelations made at the time by seven former senior generals including a former chief of general staff in support of Korkut Eken, who was put in jail before being released.

    The common thread in all of these gangs from Susurluk to Atabeyler and Ergenekon are that they have an ultranationalist agenda, sometimes forming alliances with extreme leftists called the "Kizilelma Coalition" (Red Apple coalition) and sometimes with extreme fundamentalists to undermine the state.

    The current Justice and Development Party (AK Party) government has also been criticized for not taking strong action against the acts of organized crime posing the most serious threat to Turkey's security.

    However, the latest massive operations against the Ümraniye group have given some hope to the Turkish public that the current political leadership may this time be resolved to dig as deep as possible to bring to the surface the masterminds of organized crime.

    The fact that the majority of Turkish papers carried the latest operations on their front pages, some of which urged the political leadership to take swift and determined action against the gangs while some Sabah daily branded the latest gang a "terror organization" with the headline "State against deep state," should further encourage decision makers to dig as deep as possible to bring to the surface and finally to justice the key players seeking to undermine the state hierarchy.
    24.01.2008


    Istanbul Raid Nets Gladio Remnants
    Retired Capt. Muzaffer Tekin , a key suspect in the murder of a judge at the Council of State in 2006, together with retired Major General Veli Küçük (wearing a cap), the alleged founder of a clandestine unit in the gendarmerie, and lawyer Kemal Kerinçsiz at a ceremony on April 9, 2006.

    Thirty-three suspects accused of being a part of a gang that has links to renegade groups hidden within the state hierarchy have been taken into custody by the Istanbul Police Department's counterterrorism unit.

    Retired Gen. Veli Küçük and journalist Güler Kömürcü were also held in the operation, although the latter was released in the evening. The 33 individuals taken into custody on Tuesday included Küçük, a retired major general who is also the alleged founder of an illegal intelligence unit in the gendarmerie, the existence of which is denied by officials; the controversial ultranationalist lawyer Kemal Kerinçsiz, who filed countless suits against Turkish writers and intellectuals who were at odds with Turkey's official policies; Fikret Karadag, a retired army colonel; Sevgi Erenerol, the press spokesperson for a group called the Turkish Orthodox Patriarchate; Güler Kömürcü, a columnist for the Aksam daily; and Sami Hostan, a key figure in an investigation launched after a car accident in 1996 near the small town of Susurluk that uncovered links between a police chief, a convicted fugitive who was an ultranationalist and a deputy. Ali Yasak, a well-known gangster linked to the figures in the Susurluk incident, was also detained in the operation.

    The gang is suspected of involvement in a number of political attacks on individuals and institutions, including the murder of ethnic Armenian journalist Hrant Dink.

    The suspects are accused of many individual crimes, but what they have in common seems to be the links they have to clandestine gangs that function similarly to Operation Gladio -- a post-World War II NATO operation structured as "stay-behind" paramilitary organizations, with the official aim of countering a possible Soviet invasion through sabotage and clandestine operations. In fact many analysts believe such networks of groups in Turkey today, sometimes referred to as the "deep state," are remnants of the Turkish leg of the actual Gladio.

    The suspects, who were detained after police monitoring of their phone conversations, were being interrogated, police said. The police have been observing the actions of the suspects for over eight months as part of an investigation into a house full of explosives and ammunition found in Istanbul's Ümraniye district eight months ago.

    Yesterday's arrests are part of a series of raids by counterterrorism police teams organized recently in the cities of Istanbul, Adana, Izmir, Düzce and Malatya, Istanbul Governor Muammer Güler said yesterday speaking to members of the press. Sources at the Istanbul Police Department say yesterday's arrests brought the number of suspects detained so far in the operations concerning the group to 60.

    Suspect Küçük is allegedly the founder of a clandestine organization known as the Gendarmerie Intelligence and Counterterrorism Service (JITEM), which is commonly believed to be behind many bombings, attacks and assassinations attributed to other groups. Although officials have repeatedly denied that such a unit exists, it is widely accepted in Turkey that the gendarmerie in fact has a special team for behind-the-scenes operations.

    Plotting to kill Pamuk

    Police sources say the suspects were considering a number of possible assassinations. The names the police found on a "death list" compiled by the group had on it the names of pro-Kurdish Democratic Society Party (DTP) deputies Ahmet Türk, Leyla Zana, Sebahat Tuncel, Diyarbakir Mayor Osman Baydemir, Nobel Prize-winning author Pamuk and journalist Fehmi Koru, who is also a regular columnist for Today's Zaman.

    Evidence showed that the group operated through a structure they called "Ergenekon," the name of a legend that describes how Turks came into existence.

    Assassinations, bombings and attacks against Christians

    The group is also suspected of involvement in the murder of journalist Hrant Dink in January of last year, a shooting at the Council of State in 2006 that left a senior judge dead, a hand grenade attack on the hard-line secularist Cumhuriyet daily's Istanbul office and recent non-fatal attacks on two priests. The number of people in custody on suspicion of having links to the gang is said to have surpassed 50 with the recent detentions, sources say.

    "It is a huge operation. I am very curious about its result," Justice and Development Party (AK Party) deputy Dengir Mir Mehmet Firat said, commenting on the operation.

    The adventures of Veli Küçük

    Küçük, who is likely to prove a key suspect in the investigation into the shady links the suspects have to each other and possibly gangs within the state and the military, had been seen on many occasions with Kerinçsiz, an ultranationalist lawyer who filed criminal suits against Armenian journalist Dink, who was shot dead outside his newspaper office by an extremist teenager last year, and Orhan Pamuk, Turkey's first and only Nobel Prize for Literature winner, as well as many other writers and journalists for "denigrating Turkishness," defined as a crime under Turkish Penal Code (TCK) Article 301. All those facing charges had expressed opinions contradictory to official state policies on a number of issues.

    The media had previously printed photographs of Küçük, showing the retired general standing next to Alparslan Arslan, the hit man in an attack on the Council of State in May 2006, in which a senior judge was killed.

    Küçük's name had appeared in newspaper reports shortly after the killing of Dink on Jan. 19, 2007. Erdal Dogan, an attorney for Dink, in a statement made shortly after the killing had stated that Küçük had harassed and threatened Dink on several occasions. "Hrant Dink told us that he was threatened on the phone by Veli Küçük a few times five or six months ago. We didn't give it too much thought then because he was receiving hundreds of threats. But he himself said he was much more unnerved by Küçük's threats than the hundreds of other threats," said Dogan in his statement.

    Aydin Engin, a journalist and columnist for the Agos weekly -- which was launched and run by Dink until his death -- in a statement he made after Dink's death, stated, "When they were throwing change at us and swearing at us and attacking us during Hrant's [301] trial, Veli Küçük was there in the courtroom with the friends of Kemal Kerinçsiz."

    Dink's brother Orhan Dink had testified in the Dink murder trial, saying: "My brother had said, 'Küçük came to the court and wouldn't leave us alone.' Now, we all know the history of democracy in this country. We do know what Küçük means and also what Kerinçsiz really signifies. My brother was saying, 'I am being made a target.' He took the Küçük group very seriously. He knew that both Kerinçsiz and Küçük were extremely serious and dangerous."
    23.01.2008 Baris Altintas Istanbul


    A Portrait Of A Nationalist Lawyer: Kemal Kerincsiz
    Kemal Kerincsiz, the nationalist lawyer taken into custody in relation to a secret weapons arsenal found in Ümraniye, Istanbul in June 2005. Kerincsiz is a brand name among nationalists.
    Bia news centre 24-01-2008 Nilüfer ZENGIN

    Kemal Kerincsiz is a lawyer and founder and administrative board member of the “Lawyers’ Union.”
    Stopped Armenian conference

    He first came to public attention when he filed a complaint to stop a conference entitled “The Ottoman Armenians in the Period of the Declining Empire” scheduled for May 2005. The conference finally took place on 23 September, but only because the organisers were able to circumvent the ban by hosting the conference at a venue not mentioned in the ban.

    Nationalists from the Great Union Party (BBP) and the Workers’ Party then stood in front of the conference venue to throw eggs and tomatoes at the participants.
    Demanded more severe punishment for Hrant Dink

    When Agos editor-in-chief Hrant Dink was sentenced to a suspended sentence of six months imprisonment for “denigrating Turkishness” in 2005, Kerincsiz appealed against the decision, demanding a more severe punishment. In his letter of appeal, Kerincsiz argued that “the defendant has a tendency to commit crimes” and that “his actions have created a wave of anger in Turkish society.”
    Filed complaint against Orhan Pamuk

    In the same year, Kerincsiz filed a criminal complaint against writer Orhan Pamuk for “denigrating the army.” He also appeared on television, arguing that the controversial Article 301 was a “necessity.”
    Intimidation in court

    When Hrant Dink, Agos journalist Aydin Engin, section editor Arat Dink and responsible manager Serkis Seropyan were taken to court as defendants in a case of “attempting to influence the judiciary” on 16 May 2006, they were verbally and physically attacked at the court hearing. Kerincsiz and his associates applied to become joint plaintiffs in the case. Coins and pens were thrown at the defendants and their lawyers. Kerincsiz called for the judge to be withdrawn, accusing him of bias. The prosecution refused both the application for joint plaintiff status and a change of judges.
    Assault at TESEV book launch

    On 6 July 2006, the Turkish Economic and Social Studies Foundation (TESEV) launched its book “Facing Forced Migration: The Construction of Citizenship after Displacement in Turkey”. Kerincsiz and seventeen others verbally abused some people and some people were physically attacked.

    Speaking to bianet after the attack, which he himself only watched, Kerincsiz said: “We do not approve of violence. Do not connect us to violence. This is not the inquisition trial that you can judge without trial here. The things TESEV said at this meeting were the same as the statements of the PKK. Naturally, the citizen’s reactions are justified reactions.” (NZ/TK/AG)


    “Chief of Istanbul Police Negligent in Dink Murder”
    Istanbul 24-01-2008
    According to the inspectors attached to the Ministry of the Interior, the Istanbul police was receiving plentiful intelligence warning of a planned attack on Hrant Dink, but neglected to act on it.

    Inspectors attached to the Ministry of the Interior have evaluated Istanbul Chief of Police Celalettin Cerrah’s statement to the Parliamentary Investigatory Commission as “unreliable.” Cerrah is said to have acted in a grossly negligent manner in the Hrant Dink murder.

    According to an article by Milliyet newspaper’s Önder Yilmaz, both the expert witnesses and the inspectors attached to the ministry have found Cerrah’s statement incredible.
    Cerrah: "No concrete danger to Dink's life

    According to the inspectors, Cerrah did not carry out his duty of control. The report says:

    “According to Cerrah, this letter (a warning sent from Trabzon on 17 February 2006, that is a year before the actual murder) did not mention any concrete danger to Dink’s life. It only, so Cerrah, spoke about an action planned to get political reactions. However, the intelligence sent by Trabzon contained a concrete and clear conviction.”
    "Letter should have been taken very seriously"

    “The target and the attacker had been chosen. Dink had been chosen as a target. His life was in danger. The reasons for an attack were clearly laid out. The letter also argued that the structure and determination to carry out such an attack were present in the attacker, as shown by the previous attack on McDonald’s (in Trabzon). That letter should have been taken very seriously.”

    “When you speak about an action targeting Dink which “was planned to get political reactions,” then that also means that Dink’s life was in danger. It is clear that this concerned Dink’s right to life, the integrity of his life and other fundamental rights and freedoms which needed to be protected. This evaluation shows that the Istanbul Police did not take the necessary steps and did not follow the prescribed procedure.”
    Premature claims that murder was carried out by individuals

    Shortly after Dink’s death, Cerrah said publicly that there was no political dimension or link to any organisation behind the murder. In his statement to the Parliamentary Investigating Commission he had argued that the intelligence coming from Trabzon was low-level and vague.

    Responding to the accusation of the expert witnesses that there had been negligence in the case, Cerrah had launched a counter-attack: “Those expert witnesses are staff from the Ankara Intelligence Department. They are biased. They are against us.” (KM/TK/AG)


    Ex-Anti-Terror General Charged With Coup Attempt
    Retired army officers Kücük and Kardag, nationalist lawyers Kerincsiz and Turgut arrested for charges of plotting against the government. The operation embracing 33 pople relates also to unresolved murders.
    Bia news centre 23-01-2008 Tolga KORKUT

    Retired Major General Veli Kücük, nationalist lawyer Kemal Kerincsiz, lawyer Fuat Turgut, who is the defense lawyer of Yasin Hayal, a murder suspect in the Hrant Dink case, Aksam newspaper journalist Güler Kömürcü, retired Colonel Fikri Karadag, who is the leader of the ultra-nationalist Kuvayi Milliye Association, and Turkish Orthodox Patriarchy spokesperson Sevgi Erenerol, are under police custody.

    All 33 taken from their homes on Tuesday (22 January) are charged with forming a clandestine group to plot against the governmnet, and attempts at the lives of Kurdish politicians, a well as storing weapons in a secret arsenal.

    Immediate broadcasting and publication ban

    According to the NTV news, the Istanbul Chief Public Prosecution made a written statement about the detentions and then immediately announced a broadcasting and publishing ban on the case.

    The detained persons underwent a medical check-up and were then taken to the Anti-Terrorism Branch for questioning. The house of Veli Kücük in a village in Bilecik, Western Anatolia, was searched.

    According to the CNN Türk news, those taken into custody are being questioned for “obtaining secret state information, disclosing secret state information, and taking part in the creation of a terrorist organisation.”

    The Radikal newspaper today reports that 40 homes in Istanbul, Bursa and Izmir were searched by the police. The newspaper also adds that the current investigation may shed light on the attack on the State Council in Ankara in 2006, in which one judge was killed and four wounded, bomb attakcs on the Cumhuriyet newspaper, in which bombs of the same series as found in the arsenal were used, as well as the Hrant Dink murder.
    Nationalist connections and the "Deep State"

    Fourteen people had been arrested previously, including retired military captain Muzaffer Tekin and writer Ergün Poyraz. Tekin has been alleged to have been involved in the planning of the attack on the State Council.

    Lawyer Kemal Kerincsiz, known for causing the trials of writers like Orhan Pamuk and Elif Shafak under Article 301 and for attempting to become a third-party plaintiff in the trial against Hrant Dink, was the defense lawyer for Tekin and Poyraz.

    Veli Kücük’s name is linked to the notorious Susurluk scandal which rocked Turkey in 1996 and revealed connections between politicians, the police and organised crime. The scandal did much to confirm the public skepticism that a "deep state" controlled the country. Kücük is also related with threats against Hrant Dink.

    Minister of the Interior Besir Atalay said: “We are watching the developments. The prosecution has got everything under control. A statement will be made in Istanbul.” (TK/AG)


    Nationalist Arrests Seen As Test For Turk Democracy
    Jan 23, 2008 By Gareth Jones - Analysis
    ANKARA (Reuters) - A police inquiry resulting in the arrest of dozens of people, including ex-army officers and lawyers, could test Turkey's democracy and its ability to fight ultra-nationalism as well as help its campaign to join the EU.

    Turkish authorities announced on Tuesday the detention of 33 people as part of an eight-month investigation into a cache of explosives and weapons seized in an Istanbul shanty town last year. The detained have not yet been charged.

    Newspapers and analysts say the investigation extends far beyond the weapons case and say the detainees are part of a shadowy "deep state", code for hardline nationalists in Turkey's security forces and state bureaucracy ready to take the law into their own hands for the sake of their ideological agenda.

    "The state takes on the deep state," read the headline of Wednesday's pro-government Sabah newspaper.

    The liberal Radikal daily said those arrested had tried to foster "the climate for a coup", hinting they had powerful backers in a secular military and bureaucratic elite that deeply distrusts Turkey's AK Party government and its EU reforms.

    Officials have confirmed the names of many of those detained but have so far declined to give details of the accusations against them. The detained include a retired colonel who heads a far-right group known for its elaborate oath-taking rituals.

    Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan and Interior Minister Besir Atalay were personally involved in the decision by Turkey's counter-terrorism unit to detain the suspects, newspapers said.

    "All democrats in Turkey have been looking forward to this sort of action by the government ... Everybody is now hoping something will happen but people remain very suspicious," said Cengiz Aktar, a professor at Istanbul's Bahcesehir University.

    "This is a very important test for the government, they will be judged by this ... If these people (are guilty and) are convicted, it will be very good for Turkish democracy as well as for our efforts to join the European Union."

    Several other criminal cases believed to involve the "deep state" have petered out due to a lack of political will, analysts say.

    MURDER PLOTS

    The Milliyet daily quoted police sources as saying the suspects, members of an illegal gang known as "Ergenekon", had been plotting to kill prominent Kurdish politicians as well as Turkey's only Nobel Prize winner, the novelist Orhan Pamuk.

    Pamuk fell foul of nationalists after saying Turkey was responsible for the deaths of more than a million ethnic Armenians during World War One and of 30,000 Kurds in recent decades. Nationalists say such claims sully Turkey's honor.

    The Sabah daily said the "Ergenekon" network was behind the 2007 slaying of Turkish Armenian editor Hrant Dink, the murder of an Italian Catholic priest in 2006, the killing of a judge in an attack on Turkey's top administrative court in 2006 and several bomb attacks on the left-leaning Cumhuriyet daily.

    There is no evidence of a link between these different incidents, though Turkish media have long speculated about possible "deep state" involvement in each of these cases.

    Several youths are now on trial over the Dink murder, which triggered mass protests in Istanbul against ultra-nationalism. Another youth has been jailed for the murder of the priest in his church in the Black Sea city of Trabzon.

    Among the detainees is Kemal Kerencsiz, a lawyer who brought cases against both Dink and Pamuk under article 301 of Turkey's penal code that makes it a crime to insult "Turkishness". Dink had received a suspended sentence under 301 before his murder while Pamuk was acquitted on a legal technicality.

    The government is expected to reform article 301 in the near future amid heavy pressure from the EU, which sees the law as a major impediment to freedom of expression.

    Turkey began EU membership talks in 2005, but negotiations have slowed sharply amid disputes over human rights and Cyprus.

    (Editing by Paul de Bendern and Peter Millership)

    © Reuters 2008 All rights reserved


    Erdogan Advises Obama To Outgrow Amateur Talk
    January 23, 2008 ANKARA - Turkish Daily News

    Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan dubbed Barack Obama, one of the Democratic frontrunners in the U.S. presidential elections who promised to recognize the killing of Armenians in 1915 as “genocide,” an amateur of politics without explicitly mentioning his name. “Presidential elections campaigns continue in the United States. Some politicians' discourse demonstrates that they do not have an adequate knowledge of their country's policies,” said Erdogan in his Justice and Development Party (AKP) meeting yesterday. He noted that Turkey nurtured good relations and a strategic partnership with the United States. “Everybody knows that adoption of such a resolution would cause irreparable damage to Turkish-American relations,” Erdogan said. Ankara-Washington relations cannot be subdued by lobbies, slander and petty internal political calculations, Erdogan said. “A day may come when you will have to choose between 70 million Turkey and two million Armenia. One has to think carefully before uttering such words. I suggest that he outgrow the amateur period of his political career,” he said.


    The Turkish-Armenian Border
    January 23, 2008 C. Cem OGUZ

    In Turkish-Armenian relations, as must be clear by now, the most used word, or concept, is “normalization.” What this essentially means is the opening of the 325-kilometer-long Turkish-Armenian border that Ankara decided to close in April 1993 in response to Armenia's ambivalence over the recognition of its common border with Turkey and Armenian aggression directed toward Azerbaijan in the Nagorno-Karabakh dispute.

    For many years, there was not much room for maneuvering left to the Armenian government pressure Turkey to open the border. However, after the European Union Council gave the candidate status to Turkey in 1999 and accession negotiations with Turkey were opened in 2005, things have started to change. Since then, calls on Ankara to unilaterally open the border have dramatically increased. The EU in particular frequently echoes our Armenian friends when referring to “the last closed border in Europe.” In a way, the Armenian government has successfully followed the Greek Cypriots' footsteps and “Europeanized” the problem. For instance, Armenian Foreign Minister Vartan Oskanian, in a speech at the European Parliament's Foreign Affairs Committee in October, reportedly described Turkey's closure of the border as “a violation of the Copenhagen criteria.” Presumably, the current situation is negatively affecting the relationship between the EU and the Caucasus.

    Objections to pro-opening arguments

    Many people, not only in Europe but also in the United States, who assert the urgency of Turkey opening the border, believe that, in the light of past European experiences, the most stable borders are those open to intense cross-border interactions. The opening of the border, they say, would provide interdependency and that the acculturation that would emerge would eventually help both sides to understand each other better. They further argue that it would help create an environment in which both sides can handle sensitive issues in a constructive manner that would gradually lead to an effective process of normalization.

    Those inside Turkey, on the other hand, add that the closure of the border not only hampers the country's relations with the West but also destructively complicates its EU bid. Accordingly, the opening of the border would allegedly impede the proliferation of resolutions by Western countries' national parliaments supporting the Armenian “genocide” claims.

    I have objections to both, to those inside Turkey in particular. First and foremost, expecting Turkey's opening of the border to impede such genocide resolutions is not much more than self-deception, if not naiveté. That the closed borders hamper Turkey's relations with the West as well as complicate its much-sought EU bid is true. Apparently, however, these Turkish intellectuals who voice such concerns seem to have unfortunately forgotten that the Turkish people's sense of belonging is not only to the West. The Western orientation of Turkey is of course of great importance. But the Turkish identity comprises two other basic components, namely being Turkish and being Muslim. Turkey's commitments to the West should not devalue its commitments to either the Turkish world or the Islamic realm. As I have said in the past, I wholeheartedly support my country's EU membership, though I have some reservations that force me to be skeptical. Yet, this country should only become a member, if its “differences” are accepted as well. To put it more bluntly, I humbly do not want Turkey to become Goethe's Faust selling out his soul to Mephistopheles. Besides, only such a Turkey would contribute to the dialogue of civilizations and would strategically help the EU to become a global player.

    Regime change in Armenia is a must

    I hear these intellectuals voicing their reservations to Turkey's commitments to Azerbaijan. I hear them asserting that Turkey's closed-door policy has failed to yield concrete results such as the resolution of the Karabakh dispute or Azerbaijan's Armenian-occupied territory. I hear them claiming that Turkish-Azeri relations are underpinning Turkey's policy options. I need to remind them, however, where the current standoff in both issues basically stems from. And it is in that regard that I will object to our Western friends' aforementioned noble assertions.

    Turkey's unilateral opening of the border would eventually lead to a situation resembling that on the tiny island of Cyprus, at present mainly characterized by Greek Cypriot leader Tassos Papadopoulos' non-conciliatory approach. No doubt, in a similar way, it would strengthen the Armenian regime's belief that there is no need for compromise for either Turkish-Armenian relations' normalization or a resolution to both the Karabakh dispute or Armenian-occupied Azeri territories. In that regard, the sole responsibility is on EU and the U.S.'s shoulders. EU circles should never forget that it is not Turkey's closed border that hampers the relationship between the EU and the Caucasus. Unfortunately, it is the current Armenian regime's unrealistic policies that lead to the Armenian people's regional isolation giving the impression of being encouraged by both the EU and the U.S. I hope that the result of the Armenian presidential elections will change that picture.

    “The price of greatness,” said Winston Churchill, “is responsibility.” As a Turk, I know what Turkey's responsibilities are and I am ready to accept their burdens. I really wonder, in turn, whether anyone from those Western circles, as well as my beloved compatriots, who consistently exert pressure on Turkey to open its borders with Armenia have ever seen the miserable living conditions of the gackins, the Azeri refugees from Armenian-occupied lands. If this is indeed a matter of ethics, especially for those in the European Parliament and the U.S. Congress, why do they not show the same sensitivity... Why do they not help the Armenian public foster conditions in which taboos such as the “occupation” or “Greater Armenia” can be discussed freely... Why do they not help the Armenian intellectuals bring that country's people to see their past in a less distorted fashion as well…

    Do you now understand why the border should remain closed? And be sure, “my Turkey” will definitely be of more help to both the EU and the West than that univocally presented by my beloved intellectual compatriots mentioned above.
    * The writer can be contacted at ccem@bilkent.edu.tr


    Nationalist Lawyers and Retired Army Officers Detained in Weapons Arsenal Case
    Bia news centre 23-01-2008 Tolga KORKUT
    The prosecution has announced that retired army officers Kücük and Kardag, as well as nationalist lawyers Kerincsiz and Turgut are among the 33 people taken into custody in the weapons arsenal case in Ümraniye.

    Yesterday (22 January) 33 people were taken into custody in relation to the investigation of a secret weapons arsenal in Ümraniye, Istanbul.

    Among them are retired Major General Veli Kücük, nationalist lawyer Kemal Kerincsiz, lawyer Fuat Turgut, who is the defense lawyer of Yasin Hayal, a murder suspect in the Hrant Dink case, Aksam newspaper journalist Güler Kömürcü, retired Colonel Fikri Karadag, who is the leader of the ultranationalist Kuvayi Milliye Association, and Turkish Orthodox Patriarchy spokesperson Sevgi Erenerol.
    Immediate broadcasting and publication ban

    According to the NTV news, the Istanbul Chief Public Prosecution made a written statement about the detentions and then immediately announced a broadcasting and publishing ban on the case.

    The detained persons underwent a medical check-up and were then taken to the Anti-Terrorism Branch for questioning. The house of Veli Kücük in a village in Bilecik, Western Anatolia, was searched.

    According to the CNN Türk news, those taken into custody are being questioned for “obtaining secret state information, disclosing secret state information, and taking part in the creation of a terrorist organisation.”

    The Radikal newspaper today reports that 40 homes in Istanbul, Bursa and Izmir were searched by the police. The newspaper also adds that the current investigation may shed light on the attack on the State Council in Ankara in 2006, in which one judge was killed and four wounded, bomb attakcs on the Cumhuriyet newspaper, in which bombs of the same series as found in the arsenal were used, as well as the Hrant Dink murder.
    Nationalist connections and the "Deep State"

    Fourteen people had been arrested previously, including retired military captain Muzaffer Tekin and writer Ergün Poyraz. Tekin has been alleged to have been involved in the planning of the attack on the State Council.

    Lawyer Kemal Kerincsiz, known for causing the trials of writers like Orhan Pamuk and Elif Shafak under Article 301 and for attempting to become a third-party plaintiff in the trial against Hrant Dink, was the defense lawyer for Tekin and Poyraz.

    Veli Kücük’s name is linked to the notorious Susurluk scandal which rocked Turkey in 1996 and revealed connections between politicians, the police and organised crime. The scandal did much to confirm the public's suspicion that a "deep state" controlled the country. Kücük is also said to have threatened Hrant Dink.

    Minister of the Interior Besir Atalay said: “We are watching the developments. The prosecution has got everything under control. A statement will be made in Istanbul.” (TK/AG)


    Arundhati Roy Regrets Never Meeting Hrant Dink
    Bia news centre 23-01-2008 Kudret COBANLI
    Speaking at the Hrant Dink, Human Rights and Freedom of Expression Conference in Istanbul, Roy said that she had to live with the misfortune of never having met Hrant Dink.

    One event commemorating the first anniversary of the murder of Agos editor-in-chief Hrant Dink took place at the Bosphorus University in Istanbul on 18 January.

    A conference entitled “Hrant Dink, Human Rights and Freedom of Expression” hosted Indian writer and rights activist Arundhati Roy. It is planned to have an annual Hrant Dink Memorial Lecture.

    In her lecture entitled “Listening to Grasshoppers,” Roy expressed her regret at never having met Hrant Dink.
    "Those wearing white berets are your war"

    Speaking about her reaction to the murder, she said: “Personally, my first reaction was to find out everything I could about 1915, read history and listen to witness accounts…now I have got an opinion on this issue, based on facts, but as I said, I did not come here to tell you that. Those wearing white berets (referring to murder suspect O.S.) are not my war, they are your war. I have got other kinds of people with white berets in my own country, and wars to fight against those carrying the torches.”

    Roy spoke about the covered up realities concerning the concept and experience of genocide using historical data and examples from her own country.
    Roy spoke to a full conference hall, and among the listeners were Hrant Dink’s widow Rakel Dink and his daughter Sera Dink. Rakel Dink came onto the stage after the lecture, thanking Roy for being a “person of struggle” and presenting her with a plaque. (KC/NZ/AG)


    What Hrant Left Behind Ece Temelkuran January 22, 2008
    In the year since Armenian journalist Hrant Dink was murdered, Turkey has seen a nationalist uprising and apocalyptic scenes on its streets

    Recently, a couple of high school students sliced their fingers and made themselves bleed on purpose. They used their blood to paint a Turkish flag. It wasn't a small one, either. They framed the picture and sent it to the chief of military. He cried when he received the "bloody mail"; and reporters were there to witness and report about the sacred flag.

    The story of the bleeding didn't end there, though. A few days ago, a conservative and nationalist newpaper (Tercüman) decided to print the picture of the flag drawn with children's blood. And so the blood multiplied as the circulation of the newspaper increased.

    If this doesn't seem strange at first, a bit of perspective soon allows you to see the apocalyptic scenery here, which resembles Bosch's paintings of hell. And you realise that the apocalypse started when our friend the Armenian journalist Hrant Dink was shot. He was shot a year ago this week, and a Hollywood-like series of events ensued. People who were touched by the horrible incident were on streets, thousands of them shouting the slogan: "We are all Armenian, We are all Hrant Dink." The slogan touched the weakest link in Turkish nationalism and a counter-slogan by the established writers and prominent opinion leaders was brought to the public stage: "We are all Turks!"

    The fever of McCarthyism, as we all know, is the most contagious fever of all and the Turkish public was contaminated overwhelmingly. Soon after this, and just before the elections, the protest demonstrations against the ruling party AKP's Islamisation policies - called "mild Islam" - were combined with this nationalist uprising under the name of "flag meetings". All of a sudden, things got out of control and the streets were full of young rednecks calling to account anyone who didn't hang flags from their balconies. One night Istanbul's Kurdish districts almost reached boiling point, as young men gathered in front of buildings and shouted for Kurdish people to come out. While the media didn't do anything to praise these scenes, it still - with the exception of a few columnists who dared to speak of their concern about the nationalist atmosphere - approved the driving force behind them. Things got so serious that I remember how one night, during a political meeting of intellectuals in Istanbul, we talked about establishing an emergency network so that if something should happen to one of us the others would find out about it.

    After a little while we understood what this contrived crisis was about. The army, together with AKP, decided to carry out a big campaign against PKK. The war began. The news bulletins immediately took on the appearance of Fox TV during the Iraq invasion. "We" was the subject, "cleaning" was the verb and the targeted object was always "them", as if Kurds don't live in Turkey. As if the militants of PKK who are bombed don't have relatives in the Kurdish part of Turkey. But who would dare to ask such questions when the streets were strewn with flags and the nationalist gangs were made out to be the "legitimate" ones?

    The war - or, as they call it, the "operation" - is still going on: a hygenic war where you see only the rifles, bombs and thermal camera footage broadcast on the TV news, accompanied by a primitive militaristic commentary. Not forgetting, of course, the footage of martyrs' coffins with sad music playing in the background, as if this whole thing is not happening to us but is part of some Middle Eastern version of Saving Private Ryan. But the film that began with the shooting of Hrant and the nationalist uprising that followed brought us to where we are now. Schoolchildren, probably with their parents' and teachers' consent, send their blood to the chief of the army in a glittering frame.

    This is the apocalypse of Turkey. The apocalypse in which most of us cannot dare to say that blood only stains a flag.

    And if the Turkish flag needed to be a deeper shade of red, Hrant's blood was more than enough. My dear friend was writing his last article 52 weeks ago, saying that his heart was a "timid pigeon" waiting for bad things to happen. Now, after his death, we have all stepped into an era where I can say: "They shoot the pigeons, don't they."

    Guardian Unlimited © Guardian News and Media Limited 2007.


    Turkey Arrests 30 Suspected Extremists
    Radio Netherlands 22 January 2008
    Istanbul - The Turkish authorities have arrested 30 people suspected of a series of politically inspired killings and attacks.

    A number of high-ranking former officers and two lawyers are among the suspects.

    Some Turkish newspapers report that they belong to a group of fundamentalist nationalists.

    The suspects are held responsible for attacks on priests, on a Turkish newspaper and on the journalists Hrant Dink.

    An underage boy has confessed to the killing of Hrant Dink, but many Turks suspect that an extremist group planned the crime.

    One of the suspects is a well-known lawyer who was involved in court cases against Hrant Dink and the Turkish author Orhan Pamuk, who won the Nobel Prize for literature.

    They were both charged with insulting the Turkish identity.


    Istanbul Raid Nets Gladio Remnants
    Retired Capt. Muzaffer Tekin (far left), a key suspect in the murder of a judge at the Council of State in 2006, together with retired Major General Veli Küçük (wearing a cap), the alleged founder of a clandestine unit in the gendarmerie, and lawyer Kemal Kerinçsiz at a ceremony on April 9, 2006.

    Thirty-three suspects accused of being a part of a gang that has links to renegade groups hidden within the state hierarchy have been taken into custody by the Istanbul Police Department's counterterrorism unit.

    Retired Gen. Veli Küçük and journalist Güler Kömürcü were also held in the operation, although the latter was released in the evening. The 33 individuals taken into custody on Tuesday included Küçük, a retired major general who is also the alleged founder of an illegal intelligence unit in the gendarmerie, the existence of which is denied by officials; the controversial ultranationalist lawyer Kemal Kerinçsiz, who filed countless suits against Turkish writers and intellectuals who were at odds with Turkey's official policies; Fikret Karadag, a retired army colonel; Sevgi Erenerol, the press spokesperson for a group called the Turkish Orthodox Patriarchate; Güler Kömürcü, a columnist for the Aksam daily; and Sami Hostan, a key figure in an investigation launched after a car accident in 1996 near the small town of Susurluk that uncovered links between a police chief, a convicted fugitive who was an ultranationalist and a deputy. Ali Yasak, a well-known gangster linked to the figures in the Susurluk incident, was also detained in the operation.

    The gang is suspected of involvement in a number of political attacks on individuals and institutions, including the murder of ethnic Armenian journalist Hrant Dink.

    The suspects are accused of many individual crimes, but what they have in common seems to be the links they have to clandestine gangs that function similarly to Operation Gladio -- a post-World War II NATO operation structured as "stay-behind" paramilitary organizations, with the official aim of countering a possible Soviet invasion through sabotage and clandestine operations. In fact many analysts believe such networks of groups in Turkey today, sometimes referred to as the "deep state," are remnants of the Turkish leg of the actual Gladio.

    The suspects, who were detained after police monitoring of their phone conversations, were being interrogated, police said. The police have been observing the actions of the suspects for over eight months as part of an investigation into a house full of explosives and ammunition found in Istanbul's Ümraniye district eight months ago.

    Yesterday's arrests are part of a series of raids by counterterrorism police teams organized recently in the cities of Istanbul, Adana, Izmir, Düzce and Malatya, Istanbul Governor Muammer Güler said yesterday speaking to members of the press. Sources at the Istanbul Police Department say yesterday's arrests brought the number of suspects detained so far in the operations concerning the group to 60.

    Suspect Küçük is allegedly the founder of a clandestine organization known as the Gendarmerie Intelligence and Counterterrorism Service (JITEM), which is commonly believed to be behind many bombings, attacks and assassinations attributed to other groups. Although officials have repeatedly denied that such a unit exists, it is widely accepted in Turkey that the gendarmerie in fact has a special team for behind-the-scenes operations.

    Plotting to kill Pamuk

    Police sources say the suspects were considering a number of possible assassinations. The names the police found on a "death list" compiled by the group had on it the names of pro-Kurdish Democratic Society Party (DTP) deputies Ahmet Türk, Leyla Zana, Sebahat Tuncel, Diyarbakir Mayor Osman Baydemir, Nobel Prize-winning author Pamuk and journalist Fehmi Koru, who is also a regular columnist for Today's Zaman.

    Evidence showed that the group operated through a structure they called "Ergenekon," the name of a legend that describes how Turks came into existence.

    Assassinations, bombings and attacks against Christians

    The group is also suspected of involvement in the murder of journalist Hrant Dink in January of last year, a shooting at the Council of State in 2006 that left a senior judge dead, a hand grenade attack on the hard-line secularist Cumhuriyet daily's Istanbul office and recent non-fatal attacks on two priests. The number of people in custody on suspicion of having links to the gang is said to have surpassed 50 with the recent detentions, sources say.

    "It is a huge operation. I am very curious about its result," Justice and Development Party (AK Party) deputy Dengir Mir Mehmet Firat said, commenting on the operation.

    The adventures of Veli Küçük

    Küçük, who is likely to prove a key suspect in the investigation into the shady links the suspects have to each other and possibly gangs within the state and the military, had been seen on many occasions with Kerinçsiz, an ultranationalist lawyer who filed criminal suits against Armenian journalist Dink, who was shot dead outside his newspaper office by an extremist teenager last year, and Orhan Pamuk, Turkey's first and only Nobel Prize for Literature winner, as well as many other writers and journalists for "denigrating Turkishness," defined as a crime under Turkish Penal Code (TCK) Article 301. All those facing charges had expressed opinions contradictory to official state policies on a number of issues.

    The media had previously printed photographs of Küçük, showing the retired general standing next to Alparslan Arslan, the hit man in an attack on the Council of State in May 2006, in which a senior judge was killed.

    Küçük's name had appeared in newspaper reports shortly after the killing of Dink on Jan. 19, 2007. Erdal Dogan, an attorney for Dink, in a statement made shortly after the killing had stated that Küçük had harassed and threatened Dink on several occasions. "Hrant Dink told us that he was threatened on the phone by Veli Küçük a few times five or six months ago. We didn't give it too much thought then because he was receiving hundreds of threats. But he himself said he was much more unnerved by Küçük's threats than the hundreds of other threats," said Dogan in his statement.

    Aydin Engin, a journalist and columnist for the Agos weekly -- which was launched and run by Dink until his death -- in a statement he made after Dink's death, stated, "When they were throwing change at us and swearing at us and attacking us during Hrant's [301] trial, Veli Küçük was there in the courtroom with the friends of Kemal Kerinçsiz."

    Dink's brother Orhan Dink had testified in the Dink murder trial, saying: "My brother had said, 'Küçük came to the court and wouldn't leave us alone.' Now, we all know the history of democracy in this country. We do know what Küçük means and also what Kerinçsiz really signifies. My brother was saying, 'I am being made a target.' He took the Küçük group very seriously. He knew that both Kerinçsiz and Küçük were extremely serious and dangerous."
    23.01.2008 Baris Altintas Istanbul


    Gendarmerie Knew About Dink Murder Plot, Witness Testifies
    A witness has testified that at least two members of the gendarmerie force in Trabzon had been clearly warned beforehand of the killing of Hrant Dink last year.

    The trial of two gendarmerie officers on charges of dereliction of duty by failing to undertake necessary measures to prevent the murder of ethnic Armenian journalist Dink started in a Trabzon court on Monday. Gendarmerie intelligence officers Sgt. Maj. Okan S. and Spc. Sgt. Veysel Sahin are being accused of failing to act within the scope of their powers to prevent the murder of Dink, even though they had solid intelligence on the plot to assassinate the journalist months before the incident.

    Dink was shot by an extremist teenager on Jan. 19, 2007, outside the Agos weekly building, where he was the editor-in-chief, in Istanbul's Beyoglu district. The ensuing investigation revealed that some of the suspects who were later found to be the masterminds of the murder had links to police officers.

    The first witness to testify in yesterday's trial was Coskun Igci, the ex-husband of the aunt of Yasin Hayal, a prime suspect in the Dink murder investigation. Igci testified that he had notified the two gendarmerie officers at least two-and-a-half months ahead of the murder of his nephew's plans to shoot Dink.

    The witness said Hayal, who is currently in prison pending trial in the Dink murder, had told him openly about his plans for the murder. Igci stated that he informed the two gendarmerie officers of the plans to kill Dink about two-and-a-half to three months prior to the murder. He testified that Hayal and his friends told him about an earlier visit near Dink's house and the environs of the Agos weekly in Istanbul, which he relayed to the two gendarmerie officers now being tried. He said the two officers warned him not to talk to anyone about what he knew shortly after the assassination.

    "When I heard from Yasin Hayal that Hrant Dink was going to be killed I conveyed the information to friends in the gendarmerie about two-and-a-half to three months before the murder. I knew that both of the suspects were with the Trabzon gendarmerie intelligence unit. I did not see them for a while after tipping them off. The day after the murder, these two friends came to see me and they said they would like to talk to me. We met in Degirmendere. They asked me not to mention that I knew about the plot and that I had told them of the murder plans. We met again one day after that. They repeated the same things from the day before and demanded that I not talk to anyone about the incident and not share any information," Igci testified.

    Igci said he had known both of the gendarmerie officers being tried since 2004. He noted that he had known Sahin as "Engin abi" and did not know the name of Okan S., referring to him only as "abi," a Turkish word meaning older brother. Investigators of the Dink murder have also found that the group of ultranationalist youths who plotted the murder was organized in a similar hierarchy of "abi" and "büyük abi," or brothers and big brothers.

    'He spoke to me of the murder plan very clearly'

    Igci testified about Hayal, stating: "He came to me and said, 'In Istanbul there is a journalist of Armenian origin. He runs a weekly newspaper called Agos. He writes articles in this newspaper and on the Internet that are insulting. We will kill this one.' And I asked: 'How are you going to kill him? Do you have money or guns?' Then he told me they were going to travel to Istanbul and kill him and that they had made a blueprint of the area of his home and office. He also said he was not alone in this, but he did not tell me who these other people were."

    The witness said Hayal had YTL 300 and offered him the money to find him a gun.

    "And I told these two friends on trial about this gun issue. The gendarmerie officers asked me to take Hayal's YTL 300. The money was in 50 lira bills. I had written down the serial numbers of the bills. Later I asked the suspects what I should do with the money. They asked me to keep the money for a while. Yasin Hayal was calling me continuously asking me what I did with the money and if I had gotten him the gun yet. The officers were asking me to engage with him some more. Finally Yasin said: 'You took my money and spent it. Give me my money back or give me the gun.' So I explained the situation to the suspects here. They asked me to give the money back and so I did."

    In response to a question on whether he had contacted any public officials other than the two suspects, the witness said he had not.

    Lawyers demand merging of case files

    Meanwhile, Ergin Cinmen, an attorney for the co-plaintiffs, requested that the court rule the case outside its jurisdiction under Article 83 of the Turkish Penal Code (TCK), which defines dereliction of duty by public officials as failing to take necessary measures despite having knowledge of what is being planned. He argued this was not a simple dereliction of duty case but a major offense.

    Cinmen said the offense falls under the jurisdiction of a higher criminal court and that it is outside the jurisdiction of the Trabzon 2nd Peace Criminal Court. He requested that the case be merged with the murder trial of Dink in Istanbul because the Dink murder is an "equation with too many unknown variables."
    23.01.2008 Erkan Acar, Hasan Demir Trabzon


    Court Of Appeals Reverses Local Court Ruling On Pamuk Case
    The Supreme Court of Appeals yesterday nullified a local court ruling that dropped a civil suit against Nobel Prize-winning novelist Orhan Pamuk for his controversial remarks about Armenian allegations of genocide that were published in a Swiss magazine in 2005.

    A civil suit had been filed by a group of five people, including relatives of martyrs who claimed that Pamuk put the blame for atrocities committed against Armenians during the collapse of the Ottoman Empire on the entire Turkish nation with his remarks. During an interview to Swiss Das magazine Pamuk had said: "We killed 30,000 Kurds and 1 million Armenians in these lands. Nobody but me dares to say this in Turkey," in remarks that drew ire from the Turkish public -- particularly from nationalist circles.

    Istanbul's Sisli Third Civil Court of First Instance dropped the case in a 2006 ruling on the grounds that there had been no violation of the individual rights of the plaintiffs in Pamuk's remarks. The plaintiffs appealed the court decision.

    After reviewing the local court's ruling, the Court of Appeals nullified it on the grounds that there was no definition of individual rights in the Turkish legal system and that the scope of individual rights was not definite.

    "It has been left to the judiciary to decide on what goes into the definition of individual rights. Both in legal doctrine and judicial rulings, it is acknowledged that individual rights include individuals' physical, emotional and social values as well their profession, honor and dignity, freedom, health, race, religion and bonds of citizenship," read the court ruling. The court noted that the plaintiffs had a legal right to file a complaint over Pamuk's remarks because they were linked with citizenship bonds. The court asked for the review of the case in consideration of the fact that the plaintiffs had a legal right to file such a case.

    The court ruling has opened the way for thousands of families of martyrs to file cases against Pamuk. The lawyer of the plaintiffs, Kemal Kerinçsiz, who is a well-known ultranationalist, said earlier that all the families of martyrs would file cases against Pamuk and take away his Nobel Prize money if the Supreme Court of Appeals nullified the local court ruling.
    23.01.2008 Today's Zaman Istanbul


    DTP’s Türk Demands Deeper Investigation Into Dink Murder
    Democratic Society Party (DTP) parliamentary group leader Ahmet Türk said a deeper investigation should be launched into the assassination of Hrant Dink, the former editor of the Armenian-Turkish weekly Agos.

    Delivering a speech at the DTP parliamentary group meeting on Tuesday, Türk said the Dink’s murder should be thoroughly investigated, noting that several other Turkish intellectuals may be the victims of similar assassinations unless the shroud of fog surrounding the Dink murder is dissipated. “We may witness similar shootings in the coming days as long as honest judges and prosecutors are removed from office,” he said.

    Dink was shot dead in front of the Agos building on Jan. 19, 2007 by an ultranationalist teenager. “Someone may shoot you some day if the shroud of fog behind the Susurluk, Semdinli and Dink cases is not dissipated. Those who consider themselves the ‘state’ may become the target of bullets some day,” Türk said.

    Stressing that Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has adopted a stance toward the headscarf problem similar to his stance on the Kurdish issue, Türk accused Erdogan of bringing Turkey’s deep-rooted problems to the national agenda without offering a concrete formula to solve them. “Erdogan is not courageous enough to bring sensitive issues to Parliament’s agenda,” he said.

    Türk said the Islamic headscarf is a matter of human rights and freedoms, adding that his party is keen to discuss the headscarf ban with those who consider wearing the headscarf a freedom of belief. “We believe that the headscarf is a woman’s right. It should not be considered a political symbol. Each person has a belief and a philosophy, and so do the Alevis. We need to evaluate the demands voiced by the Alevis,” he added.

    Slamming the campaign launched by the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) for the upcoming local elections, Türk said: “Erdogan believes he can deceive the public in the provinces of Diyarbakir, Mardin and Tunceli with five kilograms of coal, five kilograms of pasta and five kilograms of sugar. The public desires peace. The people cry out for peace. Can coal and pasta stop this cry? Can they ensure peace? How many factories have you founded in the eastern and southeastern regions so far? Our public will not be satisfied with some coal and sugar,” he said.
    23.01.2008 Today’s Zaman Ankara


    Last Call For 301
    We are marking the first anniversary of the murder of a wonderful person, Hrant Dink.

    It seems an incredible misfortune that these days in which the Dink case still continues, a case that has had more than its share of “negligence” and has never managed to move much beyond the figure of the triggerman involved in his shooting, we are still discussing Article 301 of the Turkish Penal Code (TCK). If you are really afraid that by getting rid of Article 301 some people will be “left free to insult Turkishness,” you are wasting your fear on empty threats. Before the elections, we warned you that “playing for the nationalist vote will not win you anything.” And that’s what we are seeing now. There will always be people who will blame you, whether you completely get rid of Article 301 or even just change it. So why don’t you just eliminate it altogether so that we can all be free of it?
    23.01.2008 Berat Özipek, Star


    Minister Urges Probe Into Police Role In Dink
    January 22, 2008 Ankara - Afp

    Turkey's justice minister has called for a "serious" probe into claims that security forces were involved in the murder last year of Armenian Turkish journalist Hrant Dink.

    "Certain members of the security forces are said to be linked to this murder," Justice Minister Mehmet Ali Sahin said in an interview published Monday in the daily Sabah.

    "Every allegation must be considered a tip-off and seriously investigated," he said.

    Thousands marked the first anniversary of Dink's assassination on Saturday with protestors accusing the authorities of ignoring the alleged protection the suspected gunman and his associates received from the police.

    "If what they (the police) did was a crime, they must be definitely punished," the minister said.

    Dink's murder prompted fresh calls for the elimination of the "deep state" -- a term used to describe security forces acting outside the law to preserve what they consider Turkey's best interests.

    Lawyers for Dink's family say the police withheld and destroyed evidence to cover up the murder, including footage from a bank security camera in downtown Istanbul near where Dink was gunned down on January 19, 2007.

    The charge sheet says police received intelligence as early as 2006 of a plot to kill Dink organised in the northern city of Trabzon, home of self-confessed teenage gunman and most of his 18 alleged accomplices currently on trial.

    A taped telephone conversation between a policeman and a suspect shortly after the killing suggests the officer knew of the plot in advance. The tape, leaked to the media last year, includes degrading comments about Dink.

    Dink, 52, campaigned for reconciliation between Turks and Armenians, but nationalists hated him for insisting the World War I massacres of Armenians under Ottoman rule was an act of genocide -- a label Ankara fiercely rejects.

    Only four members of the security forces have been indicted in connection with the murder, but face minor charges unrelated to the killing itself.

    Sahin also said a draft proposal to amend the controversial Article 301 of the Turkish penal code under which Dink was given a suspended six-month jail sentence for "denigrating Turkishness" would be submitted to parliament in the coming days.

    The law has been criticised as a threat to freedom of speech in Turkey, which is engaged in membership talks with the European Union.


    The Gov't Failed In The Hrant Dink Case
    January 22, 2008 Murat YETKIN

    Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan claiming leadership in the Alliance of Civilizations should pursue perpetrators with the motive of transforming Turkey into a hell for non-Muslims.

    Members of the government boil over when this is told. “The murderer is behind the bars,” is the reflexive respond they give. However, they do not believe the case is closed by putting O.S., the alleged killer, behind the bars as we commemorate the first anniversary of the Armenian-Turkish journalist Hrant Dink's murder on Jan.19.

    If they'd have believed so, a commission hadn't been formed to investigate the Dink murder case. A parliamentary representative with journalism background chairs the commission, Bursa Representative Mehmet Ocaktan of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP). He wrote the following in the Yeni Safak daily's Jan. 23 edition last year:

    “Now, the killer of Hrant has been caught. This, perhaps, could be a comfort to the least. For that it is in place to congratulate the posture of the government and the achievement of security forces.

    “Is this enough? Not at all…

    “We shouldn't forget that Hrant Dink had been worn out by the storm of ethnic violence and hatred as his body and spirit tormented by treating him as a minority of the minority. People had waited to lynch Hrant Dink at court houses, as a rehearsal of an attack in a way. This is a real shame for all of us.

    “We have to face with this shame of people living side by side in a country of love for centuries being captured by the hatred for each other as we have to question how people plan lynching campaigns against others thinking differently.

    “Because our hands are smudged with blood.”

    Ocaktan is lucky. Not every journalist is blessed by the leadership of an entity assigned to investigate such a case.

    But I have reservations about how deep this sub-committee under the Parliamentary Human Rights Commission will get into this murder case. This is not because I am suspicious of Ocaktan's intentions but about the distrust I have toward the statements of government institutions which did not allow probes against the state officials in Trabzon who are involved in the Hrant Dink murder case and primarily the Interior Ministry which promoted the alleged security superiors.

    In the subject matter neither the previous Interior Minister Abdülkadir Aksu nor the current minister, Besir Atalay, gave satisfactory information. What is being hidden and why? Who is being protected? Nothing is clear.

    Erdogan has the responsibility

    But all relevant bodies in the government and the Interior Ministry in particular should eliminate all bad apples otherwise:

    1- Number of bad apples will increase

    2- And remarks to prove bad apples are “individual” ones will not be convincing at all.

    An impression occurs that the government protects and acts in favor of some certain public servants within the state structure linked to the attacks against non-Muslims.

    The Amnesty International (AI) issued one of the most critical statements on Turkey the other day and demanded the Turkish government shed a light on the details of the Hrant Dink murder case. The AI's criticism is in place, for even Erdogan says some parts of the case are in the dark.

    Unless perpetrators or brains behind such incidents are brought to the justice new events will occur. For instance, if the murder of Priest Andrea Santoro in Feb. 2006 would have been pursued diligently had the killing of Dink in January 2007 had been prevented. And obviously if the Dink case would have brought to daylight completely, the massacre took place at the Zirve Publishing House in Malatya would have been discouraged.

    But have we learned any lesson? Hardly. The young man, for instance, threatening a non-Muslim cleric in Trabzon again was released later on. At this point, not just the government but judicial bodies should be criticized. However, the government, as the executive body, failed in the Dink case.

    Erdogan trying to set an example by co-chairing the Alliances of Civilization should also pursue perpetrators with the motive of transforming Turkey into a hell for non-Muslims. He might start with by asking insistent questions to Atalay and Istanbul Security Director General Celalettin Cerrah.

    * Murat Yetkin writes for the daily Radikal. TDN staff translate his articles. The writer can be reached at yetkin@radikal.com.tr


    Migrants Are Traitors, Refugees Potential Criminals
    January 22, 2008 Cengiz AKTAR

    An individual shows three likely behaviors in front of institutions in decline, says Albert O. Hirschman in his “Exit, Voice and Loyalty.”

    When we apply observations of the American sociologist to eastern societies we rarely see the second response, Voice. Consent as fate or Loyalty is most frequently seen in eastern societies. But perhaps leaving, moving out or Exit is the behavior that hurts the most, as people do not leave their birthplace for fun. They quit only under duress; they leave their villages, homes and memories behind, only in difficult times.

    Renowned composer Fazil Say's voiced consideration about leaving Turkey, in contrast to many who are of the same opinion yet are keeping it silent, caused a public stir recently. We, as usual, found ourselves in the middle of discussions based on cheap nationalism. But these lands, for centuries and probably since the beginning of life, have been lands of migration.

    Those who come

    To begin with, Turkish tribes top the list of people coming to Anatolia. Later on, during the Ottoman period, Jews who had to escape from the Spanish reconquista were welcomed. And in the near past, during the 19th and early 20th centuries, Anatolia became the scene of migrations on a massive scale. Muslim peoples of the Caucasus and Crimea sought shelter in the land of the Ottomans due to Russian pressure and Muslims in newly established nation-states in the Balkans moved into Anatolia. They came in haste or in an orderly fashion within agreed population exchanges. In this sense, Anatolia, at least as much as France, is a “land of asylum.” During Nazism in Europe, Jewish scientists escaping from Austria and Germany were granted the right of asylum. It is one of the best practices of modern times.

    However immigrants and refugees in post-modern Turkey have an extremely negative image. Worse, they are seen as potential criminals. They are tolerated as long as they are invisible and the reaction is sheer indifference when they are drowned in the Aegean Sea while trying to cross to Greece. And there are many more to come as the number of illegal migrants in Turkey is estimated to be around 200,000. As for four million Iraqis who escaped to save their lives, they are not very welcome in neighboring Turkey.

    Those who leave

    Those who leave or had to leave are plenty in number. During the 19th century Ottoman Arabs, Armenians, Greeks and Turks in sizable numbers moved to America. In early 20th century Anatolian Rum (Greeks with Turkish citizenship) were part of a population exchange as Armenians disappeared as a result of forced migration and mass killings. In the 1960s remaining non-Muslims left again and millions migrated to Europe as migrant workers. Many Kurds and Turks sought political asylum following the military coups of 1971 and 1980. And today some are still thinking of leaving Turkey. Globalization and tremendous progress in communication and transportation obviously make migration easier.

    Artists indeed top the list of globalists, perfectly in line with the universal nature of the language of art and culture. When Fazil Say talks however, look how the country's prime minister reacts: “Artists of a country do not leave their country. People born in this country live in this country.” These poor remarks could have otherwise applied to poet Nazim Hikmet and composer Gomidas Vartabed who had to leave these lands and died away from home in times when leaving the country was not a common practice!

    Every human leaving his/her country is a loss for that country and everyone coming to a country is a plus for that country. Anatolia is a land in deficit in terms of human resources as it has lost more than it has received.


    Obama Pledges Recognition Of Armenian ‘Genocide’
    US Presidential candidate Barack Obama has pledged to officially recognize the controversial World War I-era killings of Anatolian Armenians as genocide if he becomes president, while also urging US lawmakers to adopt a pending resolution for recognition of the allegations on the controversial issue.

    A written statement penned by Obama and sent to an influential Armenian diaspora organization was made public by the group on Monday. While announcing Obama's statement, the Washington based-Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) expressed pleasure over the statement, titled "The Importance of US-Armenia Relations" and dated Jan. 19.

    Obama wrote that he had a "firmly held conviction that the Armenian Genocide is not an allegation, a personal opinion, or a point of view, but rather a widely documented fact supported by an overwhelming body of historical evidence."

    "The facts are undeniable. An official policy that calls on diplomats to distort historical facts is an untenable policy. As a senator, I strongly support passage of the Armenian Genocide Resolution, and as President I will recognize the Armenian Genocide," Obama said in the statement, which has also been aired on his campaign Web site at www.barackobama.com.

    "I will promote Armenian security by seeking an end to the Turkish and Azerbaijani blockades, and by working for a lasting and durable settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict that is agreeable to all parties, and based upon America's founding commitment to the principles of democracy and self determination," Obama also said.

    Armenians claim up to 1.5 million of their kin were slaughtered in orchestrated killings during the last years of the Ottoman Empire. Turkey categorically rejects these claims, saying that 300,000 Armenians, along with at least as many Turks, died in civil strife that emerged when the Armenians took up arms for independence in eastern Anatolia and sided with the Russian troops who were invading Ottoman territory. In 1993 Turkey also shut its border with Armenia in a show of solidarity with its close ally, Azerbaijan, which was at war with Armenia over the Nagorno-Karabakh enclave, dealing a heavy economic blow to the impoverished nation.

    Last year, despite pleas from the George W. Bush administration, the Committee on Foreign Affairs of the US House of Representatives passed a nonbinding resolution that described the events of 1915 as genocide. Nancy Pelosi, speaker of the House of Representatives and an ardent supporter of the Armenian claims, has so far not brought the resolution to the House floor after a strong appeal from the Bush administration that passage of the resolution would deeply harm relations with NATO ally Turkey.
    22.01.2008 Today's Zaman Ankara


    Blockade For Armenia
    21.01.08
    Azerbaijan, Baku, 21 January / ?rend corr. K. Ramazanova / Barack Obama, a presidential candidate of the United States, called on Congress to adopt the resolution recognizing the Armenian genocide in the Ottoman Empire in 1915.

    Speaking to Armenian electors in the United States, Barak again confirmed his support to the strong Armenian community of the country, which advances general security and strengthens Armenian democracy.

    Obama also promised to try his best to raise the blockade Azerbaijan and Turkey on Armenia and to settle the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.

    The US Congress developed a draft resolution saying that at the beginning of the 20th century the Turks of the Ottoman Empire committed genocide against Armenians. Armenians say over 1.5mln were killed.

    Turkey warned the United States several times that in the case of the resolution being passed; American-Turkish relations may deteriorate.

    The resolution was brought to the House of Representatives by Congressman Adam Shiff on 30 January 2007.

    The American President George W Bush, the US Secretary of State and her eight predecessors opposed recognizing the Armenian genocide and passing the resolution.
    news.trendaz.com/


    US-Armenian Relations really necessary?
    Hmm, Barack Obama says there is a U.S.-Armenian relationship. Let's analyze that, Armenia is geographically isolated country with war-like terrible relationships with almost all it's surrounding nations such as Turkey, Azerbaijan, and Georgia. In fact, Georgia does not recognize the Armenian genocide theory. Seems more like a war-mongering country than a country that supposedly fights "terrorism and extremism" according to Obama.

    Nagorno-Karabagh invasion and massacres of Armenia
    Nagorno-Karabagh, what needs to be settled is, Armenia needs to withdraw its troops because it has invaded the region and massacred Azeris in the area! What more needs to be discussed? What is the excuse Armenia offers? Armenia says "[It use to be our land, and Nagorno seceded and decided to join Armenia]". Seems like a perfectly valid excuse doesn't it? Even the current Iraq war has a better excuse than that.

    Tax payer money going to a war-mongering country?
    Barack Obama then says "and targeted aid", hmm, now why are we giving aid to an aggressive conquering country who still does not recognize certain treaties that even the United States has signed? A country that has been under Soviet Rule for 70+ years, and STILL has Russian bases controlling and protecting Armenia and its politics. Seems like a perfect candidate for US aid doesn't it? Not that it doesn't get enough aid from Germany, Russia, and other countries. If they want aid and help, why don't they repair their relationships with Turkey and Azerbaijan?

    This is the nation that the aid is going to Barack Obama thinks he's a historian
    Barack Obama then says "I criticized the Secretary of State for the firing of U.S. Ambassador to Armenia, John Evans, after he properly used the term "genocide" to describe Turkey's slaughter of thousands of Armenians starting in 1915". Well of course, Obama assumes the term genocide was properly used, because Obama seems to think he's a historian who has studied Ottoman and Armenian history for years, except that he hasn't and even said "Turkey". Turkey didn't exist until 1923, apparently Obama confuses the difference between Turkey and the Ottoman Empire. Or maybe, it's because he has fallen under Armenian propaganda and brainwashing that tries to blame Turkey for non-existent crimes of the Ottoman Empire. Well guess what Obama? You probably lost the votes of thousands of Turks and made yourself look like an ignorant fool to many academics around the world.

    He dares to say something like
    Barack Obama wrote:
    "the Armenian Genocide is not an allegation, a personal opinion, or a point of view, but rather a widely documented fact supported by an overwhelming body of historical evidence. The facts are undeniable."
    Really what facts? There are no facts of the Armenian genocide theory (you need proof of intent by the government). There were Armenian massacres (not even Turks deny this), which was perpetrated by Kurdish bandits seeking money and Turkish villagers seeking revenge for Turkish massacres by Armenians (General Antranik massacred thousands of Turkish villages, and he's regarded as a national hero in Armenia). Even The NY Times newspaper talked about the aggression and horrors of the Armenian rebels against the rural Turkish population, all the way back in 1890s way before the supposed genocide. Guess Barack Obama never read the NY Times, but seems to think he's a historian that knows the truth.


    The point is the Ottoman government was never involved in massacres, and took extra precautions to prevent massacres from taking place, including relocating suspected Armenian rebel villages (not all) to stop the violent civil war.

    Double-Faced Barack Obama
    Barack Obama then says "As a senator, I strongly support passage of the Armenian Genocide Resolution (H.Res.106 and S.Res.106), and as President I will recognize the Armenian Genocide." Is that why Obama hasn't signed the Armenian Genocide Resolution? Perhaps it's because Obama is a cheap corrupt politician that likes to play both sides to every issue, a flip-flopper like John Kerry. Obama keeps repeating past mistakes of other failed Democratic candidates.

    You lost our support!
    The AGH site was actually promoting Obama as a potentially good candidate for president. However, now that Obama has been so inclined to insist on promoting this "genocide" theory that Obama never studied, we will probably change our votes to someone like John McCain, even though we are against the Iraq war.

    Barack Obama doesn't support Israel, Turkey, or Azerbaijan. Flip-flops with Christians!
    Barack Obama you don't support Israel, you don't support Turkey, and you're basically trying to ruin the situation in Iraq. Obama is probably one of the worst democratic candidates I have seen so far, that loves to promote himself on popular TV shows and pretends to know the answer to everything. Just the other day on national TV Obama started promoting himself as a pro-Christian, I bet that would make Obama's Atheist/Agnostic/Secular/Non-Christian votes go out the window. Or wait, I'm sure the next day Barack Obama will claim he's Atheist as well to win them back. I'm sure Barack Obama's double-sided pork-barrel politics will work out (like the way he tried to make allusions to Darfur genocide and pretend like Darfur and Armenian Rebellion are the same issue, when they are the complete opposite).

    Warning to American Voters
    People who read this should be careful who they vote for. Barack Obama likes to play both sides and LEADS his campaign with the idea that HE DOESN'T SUPPORT LOBBYISTS. Yet then he turns around and basically eats out of the hands of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation and ANCA's powerful Armenian lobbies and pressure and bribes from the Armenian government. He plays both sides, tries to appeal to Atheists and ultra-Christians alike. What else is he hiding?

    Armenian Genocide Hoax


    Turkish Minister Urges Probe Into Police Role In Dink’s Murder AFP
    Turkey's justice minister has called for a "serious" probe into claims that security forces were involved in the murder last year of ethnic Armenian journalist Hrant Dink.

    "Certain members of the security forces are said to be linked to this murder," Justice Minister Mehmet Ali Sahin said in an interview published Monday in the daily Sabah. "Every allegation must be considered a tip-off and seriously investigated," he said.

    Thousands marked the first anniversary of Dink's assassination on Saturday with protestors accusing the authorities of ignoring the alleged protection the suspected gunman and his associates received from the police.

    "If what they (the police) did was a crime, they must be definitely punished," the minister said.

    Dink's murder prompted fresh calls for the elimination of the "deep state" -- a term used to describe security forces acting outside the law to preserve what they consider Turkey's best interests. Lawyers for Dink's family say the police withheld and destroyed evidence to cover up the murder, including footage from a bank security camera in downtown Istanbul near where Dink was gunned down on January 19, 2007.

    The charge sheet says police received intelligence as early as 2006 of a plot to kill Dink organized in the northern city of Trabzon, home of self-confessed gunman Ogun Samast, 17, and most of his 18 alleged accomplices currently on trial. A taped telephone conversation between a policeman and a suspect shortly after the killing suggests the officer knew of the plot in advance. The tape, leaked to the media last year, includes degrading comments about Dink.

    Dink, 52, campaigned for reconciliation between Turks and Armenians, but nationalists hated him for insisting the World War I massacres of Armenians under Ottoman rule was an act of genocide -- a label Ankara fiercely rejects. Only four members of the security forces have been indicted in connection with the murder, but face minor charges unrelated to the killing itself.

    Sahin also said a draft proposal to amend the controversial Article 301 of the Turkish penal code under which Dink was given a suspended six-month jail sentence for "denigrating Turkishness" would be submitted to parliament in the coming days. The law has been criticized as a threat to freedom of speech in Turkey, which is engaged in membership talks with the European Union.

    Police said that around 8,000 people had gathered Saturday outside the central Istanbul offices of the bilingual Turkish Armenian weekly set up by Dink in 1996. With black and red banners carrying messages such as "We are all Armenians", those present included members of his family, personal friends, journalists, human rights campaigners and also ordinary members of the public.

    "I am here because we have lost one of Turkey's most beautiful souls," said 47-year-old shopkeeper Mehmet Calik. "He was killed because he was Armenian but also because he spoke the language of truth. We are here to carry on his struggle."

    Turkish newspapers on Saturday were unanimous in calling for the authorities to "shed all possible light" on the assassination. "A year after his death, scandals and dozens of questions remain unanswered," the daily Milliyet said on its front page, noting that "justice hasn't moved forward an inch" in shedding light on the affair.
    www.armenialiberty.org/


    Turkish Ultranationalists Try to Silence Prominent Canadians
    Toronto—The Turkish Government’s propaganda machine tried to intimidate and silence many prominent Canadians who had come forth to make deputations during the monthly meeting of the Toronto District School Board's (TDSB) program and services committee.

    During the Jan. 16 meeting the TDSB committee provided an opportunity to two Turkish representatives (Ozay Mehmet of the Council of Turkish Canadians, and Lale Eskicioglu) and four Canadians (Prof. Frank Chalk, director of the Montréal Institute for Genocide and Human Rights Studies; David Warner, former Speaker of the Ontario Legislative Assembly; Leo Adler, prominent criminal lawyer and human rights advocate; and Hon. Jim Karygiannis, MP) to present their points of view on the board’s Grad 11 'Genocide: Historical and Contemporary Implications' curriculum.

    The Turkish representatives protested the inclusion of the Armenian Genocide in the curriculum. The prominent Canadians’ group praised the TDSB for its moral fortitude, vision, and commitment to develop such a timely curriculum and asked for the inclusion of the Armenian Genocide in the curriculum.

    Mr. Warner read a letter signed by prominent Canadians from all walks of life, urging the TDSB to “stand firm by its decision and not to be swayed by politically-motivated pressure groups.” Among the signatories were Stephen Lewis, Gerald Caplan, Jack Layton, Bob Rae, Joy Kogawa, Amir Hassanpour, Jacques Kornberg.

    During the presentations of Chalk, Warner, Adler and Karygiannis, ultranationalist Turks hackled the speakers and tried to stop them from speaking. Several times committee chair, trustee Chris Bolton, was forced to call for order and ask the Turkish representatives not to disrupt the meeting.

    After the meeting, members of the Turkish group approached some of the pro-Genocide inclusion speakers and taunted them with abuse and profanities. The scene was reminiscent of the trials of many righteous Turkish individuals who in recent years have challenged the Turkish Government on its denial of the Armenian Genocide and have been silenced under Article 301 of the Turkish penal code.

    At the meeting, Aris Babikian, executive director of the Armenian National Committee of Canada, tabled a petition in support of the curriculum. The petition carried 2,643 signatures. Among the signatories were many teachers from the TDSB system.

    For the past two years the TDSB has been developing 'Genocide: Historical and Contemporary Implications' curriculum for Grade 11 students. The course comprises of three genocide case studies: the Armenian Genocide; the Holocaust; the Rwandan Genocide, in addition to other cases of ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity.

    The course has been approved by the Ontario Minister of Education. An overwhelming majority of principals, teachers and program directors have commended the TDSB for this timely project. They have also indicated that they are eager to teach the program.

    In the last two months the Turkish denial machine has launched a vicious campaign of falsehood, misrepresentation, unsubstantiated accusations, innuendo and revisionist historical discourse to persuade the TDSB to remove the Armenian Genocide from the curriculum.
    ----
    The ANCC is the largest and the most influential Canadian-Armenian grassroots political organization. Working in coordination with a network of offices, chapters, and supporters throughout Canada and affiliated organizations around the world, the ANCC actively advances the concerns of the Canadian-Armenian community on a broad range of issues.

    Armenian National Committee of Canada
    January 18, 2008 www.anccanada.org Contact: Kevork Manguelian


    Chronology II: Hrant Dink’s Murder
    Express 21-01-2008 Mehmet Güc/Express

    On the anniversary of Hrant Dink’s murder, the murder trial is still in its beginnings, yet the investigation is deeply flawed. This updated chronology reminds the reader of the complicated connections found in the course of the investigation.

    This chronology is an updated version of a chronology of events which was written by journalist Mehmet Güc and published on the occasion of the start of the Hrant Dink murder trial on 2 July 2007. The events from July 2007 until January 2008 have been taken from a special Hrant Dink edition of the Express Magazine.

    6 February 2004 The Agos newspaper publishes the account of Hripsime Gazalyan, an Armenian from Gaziantep (south-east Turkey), who says that Turkey's first woman pilot Sabiha Gökcen was an Armenian orphan who was adopted after the events of 1915.

    24 February 2004 Editor-in-chief Hrant Dink is called to the Istanbul Governor's Office, where it is said that he was threatened by two people in the presence of the vice-governor.

    25 February 2004 One day later, following the complaint of one Mehmet Soykan to the Sisli Public Prosecutor's Office, Hrant Dink is accused of "degrading Turkishness" (Article 301) in another of his articles.

    26 February 2004 A group of people who identify themselves as members of the nationalist "hearth of ideals" (Ülkü Ocaklary) congregates in front of the Agos newspaper Office, shouting threatening slogans and holding placards, saying things such as "Be careful", "you will be held accountable" and "your hand will be broken".

    2 February 2006 Together with his lawyer, Hrant Dink applies to the Sisli Public Prosecutor's Office for an investigation into a threatening letter he received from one Ahmet Demir, resident in Bursa, who said "your end has come, first we will kill your son and then you".

    19 January 2007 Hrant Dink, journalist and writer, dies after he is attacked when leaving the office of his newspaper at around 3 pm. He is shot three times in his head and neck. Three empty bullet shells are found next to Dink's body. According to the autopsy report, two bullets hit Dink's head from behind. Eye witnesses say that the shooting was committed by a young managed 18-19, wearing jeans and a white beret.

    20 January 2007 It is announced that the murder suspect "O.S." was arrested at a bus station in Samsun (on the Black Sea) at around 11 pm that day. Istanbul Governor Muammer Güler states that the operation is conducted by both police and gendarmerie, and that the murder weapon and the white beret were found on the suspect's person. Later it is also claimed that a Turkish flag was found on O.S.'s person. That night, O.S. is taken to the Samsun gendarmerie station, and three hours later, at around 2 am, to the Samsun police station. Towards morning, the suspect is sent to Istanbul in a special plane.

    20 January 2007 It is announced that a plastic bag containing a white beret, a jeans jacket, a pair of jeans and a T-shirt, all believed to belong to suspect O.S., has been found in a waiting underground carriage at the Sisli station of the Taksim-Levent line.

    20 January 2007 A spokesman of the Yeni Pelitlispor football club which O.S. played for for a while, claimed that O.S. was not the type to carry out a murder but that he might have been manipulated.

    20 January 2007 Muhsin Yazicioglu, general president of the Great Union Party (BBP), states that murder suspect O.S. had no relation to the party's youth branch, the Alperen Hearths, and that his party is being targeted unfairly.

    21 January 2007 In his first statement at the gendarmerie station in Samsun, O.S. has claimed that he went to Istanbul and committed the murder single-handedly after reading Dink's articles on the internet, feeling offended and deciding to kill him. In his first statement in Istanbul, however, he claims that with nine other young men, he went into the mountain pastures of Trabzon and did shooting practice, and that he was chosen because of his weapon skills and ability to run fast.

    21 January 2007 According to several newspapers, including Hürriyet, the bus ticket that O.S. used for his escape to Trabzon was bought by an unidentified woman.

    21 January 2007 Istanbul Police Chief Celalettin Cerrah announces that there is no political dimension or organisation behind the murder and that it was motivated by nationalist feelings.

    21 January 2007 Retired General Kenan Evren, the leader of the 12 September 1980 military coup and the 7th President of Turkey, suggests that there must be an organisation behind the murder: "This murder is not the act of a child or his friends. There is someone in Trabzon. A 17-year-old was chosen on purpose".

    22 January 2007 Istanbul Vali Muammer Güler states that it is up to the prosecution (and not the police chief) to decide whether the murder was organised. He does not add any further comments on the investigation.

    22 January 2007 Abdülkadir Aksu, Minister of the Interior, states in a press release at the Istanbul Police Department: "As a nation, we are deeply saddened by the murder of journalist Hrant Dink. Our only consolation is that we have caught a considerable number of people behind the murder".

    23 January 2007 A newspaper account based on police sources claims that O.S.'s father recognised his son from the television news and informed the police. Furthermore, O.S. bought his ticket in his own name and used an intercity bus with the number plate 34 JAZ 53. He was arrested in Samsun because the military informed the Samsun gendarmerie.

    23 January 2007 Journalist Ertugrul Özkök writes: "After the murder, he did not throw away the two most important pieces of evidence, the gun and the white beret. Even the police is amazed. Have you asked yourself why he did not throw away the evidence? The answer is simple. He returns to Trabzon. There he will boast to his friends that he killed Hrant Dink. Most probably, his friends will not believe him and make fun of him. That is why he takes the evidence, just to convince his friends. And I am frightened of this state of mind. If it were an organisation, then the state's intelligence units, security forces, would destroy it. But how do you destroy this? A quarter or a city?"

    23 January 2007 It is announced that Yasin Hayal has frequently met with a retired colonel living in Trabzon. Colonel H.M.B. has influence in a group in Trabzon and it is suggested that he has influenced Yasin Hayal in planning Dink's murder.

    23 January 2007 The last sentence in O.S.'s 8-page statement to the prosecution is "I regret killing Hrant Dink". O.S. was questioned the day before after being examined by psychologists.

    23 January 2007 According to Milliyet newspaper, the gendarmerie command of Pelitli district in Trabzon (where both O.S. and Yasin Hayal lived) have announce via municipality loudspeakers that nobody should give information to civilians.

    23 January 2007 Erhan Tuncel, an arrested student of the Black Sea Technical University in Trabzon, who is said to have given orders to Yasin Hayal (who in turn incited O.S. to the murder), is said to have taken part in the organisation of BBP leader Muhsin Yazicioglu's Trabzon visits. In a photo taken at a press conference in Trabzon, Yazicioglu and Tuncel are in the same photo. Yazicioglu comments:

    "I do not think that he is a member of the BBP, but he might have frequented the Hearth. Are we establishing a crime from every photo?"

    23 January 2007 At a B-League football match, the Football Federation bans a placard saying "We are all Hrant Dink, we are all Armenian" [the text used on placards at his funeral to express solidarity] from being shown.

    24 January 2007 After being questioned at the police station and being taken to Besiktas court in Istanbul, suspect Yasin Hayal shouts at the journalists:

    "Orhan Pamuk had better be careful!" The same day, in their first confrontation, O.S. asks Hayal: "Why did you make me kill him?" O.S. claims that "Yasin Hayal said 'kill' and I killed him".

    24 January 2007 Trabzon Mayor Hüseyin Yavuz comments on the murder by saying: " It was a murder carried out in an amateur manner. There is no ideological organisation. He was used by a person whose name we know and organised. He was encouraged".

    24 January 2007 Istanbul Public Prosecutor Aykut Cengiz Engin announces that including O.S. and Yasin Hayal five persons have been arrested.

    24 January 2007 The Ankara Bar President's Office demands a discipline and punish investigation into the alleged threats to Hrant Dink by the Istanbul vice-governor and two other persons.

    25 January 2007 Mete Cagdas, a columnist of a local newspaper in Sinop (western Black Sea), brings charges against the organising committee and participants in Hrant Dink's funeral procession for saying "We are all Armenian", claiming that this is contrary to Article 301.

    26 January 2007 On the demand of the Istanbul Public Prosecution's Office, five suspects in the Hrant Dink murder are not charged with founding a terrorist organisation. This is to the advantage of the suspects.

    28 January 2007 In a match between Kayserispor and Trabzonspor, and in another match on the same day, placards reading "We are all Turkish", "We are all from Trabzon", "We are all Mustafa Kemal" are displayed.

    30 January 2007 It is claimed that based on information by "key name" Erhan Tuncel, the Trabzon police informed the Istanbul police of a possible murder 11 months ago. Student Tuncel states that he worked as a police informant and informed the police of the murder plan.

    1 February 2007 According to ANKA news agency, an officer from the Trabzon police said that telephone calls by the Dink murder suspects were listened to from Augst to October 2006. The police allegedly applied for a new court decision in October to continue listening, but that was not granted. Because the suspect Yasin Hayal and his group lived in a gendarmerie zone, the police did not have sufficient authority to continue listening in on their calls.

    2 February 2007 Pictures of murder suspect O.S. appear in the media. The pictures were taken after his capture in Samsun, and he is posing in front of a Turkish flag with an Atatürk quote. It later turns out that the Province Police Chief Mustafa Ilhan and the gendarmerie commander on duty, Captain Murat Bayrak, as well as a prosecutor were present when the photos were taken. Police and gendarmerie officers also made video recordings together with O.S. at the Samsun police headquarters. O.S. is obviously treated as a hero. Some others have taken pictures on digital and other cameras and on their mobile phones.

    2 February 2007 The Turkish Left magazine, which had nominated Hrant Dink in 6th place for the "fascists of the year" in 2006, continues to publish, although the campaign is subject of a court case. The same magazine continues to publish articles which show that it is not disturbed by the murder. In an article by Gökce Firat, entitled "Turkey Has Lost an Enemy", it says:

    "Dink does not become a martyr of the press or of democracy because he was murdered. When he was alive, he was an enemy of Turks and Turkey who defended the Armenian theses against this country".

    4 February 2007 The "police informant" Erhan Tuncel is said to have been involved in the bombing of a McDonalds' branch in Trabzon in 2004. Milliyet newspaper finds out that although it was demanded that he be brought before court by the police after the bombing, he was never present at any hearings and virtually ignored. Although the court wanted Tuncel's telephone calls to be monitored, there was no application made later.

    4 February 2007 At a football match in Afyonkarahisar (central Anatolia), fans on the tribunes shout "We are all Ogün" [the name of the young murder suspect] and wear white berets in his support.

    6 February 2007 It becomes clear that Erhan Tuncel, the student police informant, was among those planning Dink's assassination. He informed the police in February 2006 that Yasin Hayal would kill Hrant Dink, and the Trabzon Police Headquarters informed Police Headquarters in Ankara and in Istanbul. Around 5 months later, gendarmerie officials were also informed. According to Milliyet newspaper, Yasin Hayal's aunt's husband Coskun Igci was arrested in Trabzon on 31 January and questioned at the Istanbul Police Department for Terrorism. Igci said that he had been working as an informant for the gendarmerie since 2004 and that he had informed the gendarmerie intelligence officers of Hayal's murder plan in July 2006.

    12 February 2007 Trabzon Public Prosecutor Fatih Genc twice visits the young assasin O.A., who killed the priest Andrea Santoro in Trabzon in February 2006. Genc asks O.A. if he was incited to the murder. O.A. however says that he was not.

    15 February 2007 Because both Santoro and Dink murders were not classified as "terrorism", the Communication Monitoring Regulations do not allow for the monitoring of the criminal organisation.

    22 March 2007 It turns out that the "big brother" Erhan Tuncel, who has been arrested for inciting the Hrant Dink murder, talked to a police officer called M.Z. from the Trabzon intelligence department after the murder. M.Z. asks questions such as: "Has your group committed the murder? Did it happen like you told me? Did Yasin shoot?"

    27 March 2007 The BBP leader in Trabzon Province, Yasar Cihan, is arrested in the Dink case and says in his statement that in Trabzon everyone knew that Erhan Tuncel and Yasin Hayal were planning to kill Dink. He claims to have tried to make them give up the plan but not to have been able to reach them. The son of Cihan says that he knew Erhan Tuncel at university and that Yasin Hayal was a neighbourhood friend. "I became close to them both at the Alperen Hearths. I have no connection to the Dink murder. I have not seen either of them for a year. I believe that Erhan Tuncel has been used by others."

    27 March 2007 Hrant Dink's son Arat and brother Orhan Dink, with their lawyer Arzu Becerik, meet with one of the prosecutors responsible for the investigation, Fikret Secen. This is the second time they meet with the prosecution. The family has expressed its worries at the efficacy of the investigation.

    28 March 2007 It emerges that the key person Erhan Tuncel was arrested in Trabzon, and that he was then read the statements of the other suspects and then let go. His flatmate Tuncay Uzundal says that Tuncel told him: "Last night they read me the statements of the people they had arrested. They asked my opinion and then let me go". Uzundal also explained some of the relations which Tuncel had with MIT (National Intelligence Service), the police and the gendarmerie.

    Uzundal says that he heard of Yasin Hayal's arrest on television and that Tuncel did not come home until late that night.

    20 April 2007 After the website of the Pelitlispor football club in Trabzon had published messages supporting the murders of Hrant Dink and priest Santoro, support for the murder of three Christians in Malatya on 18 April 2007 becomes apparent at a Malatyaspor website. The Pelitlispor internet site also speaks of the killers in Malatya as the "Malatya knights".

    10 May 2007 In the course of the investigation it turns out that the Presidency of the Police Intelligence Department has destroyed a 48-page report on Erhan Tuncel. Apparently the Chief Public Prosecutor's Office had asked the Presidency of the Police Intelligence Department (PID) for information and documents in a letter on 29 January. A file sent by PID president and former Trabzon Police Chief Ramazan Akyürek on 6 February contains the report.

    However, it is specified in the accompanying letter that the report contains vital information that must on no account be transcribed, and that all the attached files must be destroyed after having been read. In the same letter it is noted that the relevant file is also found in the archives and can always be obtained again. Thus the prosecution destroys the report.

    Police officer M.Z., who was the contact person for Erhan Tuncel, says that Tuncel had told them that Yasin Hayal wanted to kill Hrant Dink. "We took it seriously and began to look around. We monitored Yasin's telephone. When we realised it was serious, we twice sent a report to the Presidency of the PID, and I used Tuncel to try and get Hayal to give up the plan."

    19 May 2007 Armenian schools in Istanbul are sent unsigned threatening letters which read "Last warning and alert". According to newspaper reports, the letters also say "Some Armenians are involved in activities which damage the unity of Turkey". The letters were sent to the Esayan, Getronagan and Tibrevank high schools, and Yesilköy, Topkapi Levon Vartuhyan, Bakirköy Dadyan, Tarkmancats and Karagözyan primary schools.

    1 June 2007 Four auditors researching whether there was neglect on behalf of the Trabzon Province Gendarmerie Command in preventing the murder of Hrant Dink cannot come to a unanimous decision. Two auditors demand permission to question four privates employed in the gendarmerie intelligence, while the two others do not see the need.

    12 June 2007 The Reporters Without Borders (RSF) organisation declare that Veli Kücük , retired brigadier general who is said to have threatened Hrant Dink, has relations to the Death Brigades. The organisation stresses that although the Dink family has demanded his investigation, Kücük has not been asked to give a statement.

    2 July 2007 Because murder suspect O.S. is under age, the first heairng of the Dink murder trial is closed to the press. Suspect Erhan Tuncel claims that he has said everything he knows and that he did his duty (as a police informant). Suspect Yasin Hayal says that Erhan Tuncel was the leader. Hrant Dink’s widow said, “I am not accusing them, but of those whe remain in the dark, who are in darkness.” Birgün and Agos newspapers are accepted as joint plaintiffs.

    13 September 2007 After the Trabzon Governor’s Office refuses permission to investigate some police officers, Dink family lawyer Bahri Belen requests access to the relevant file in order to examine it and take photocopies. The Governor’s Office refuses access, saying that the information is secret.

    17 September 2007 The Istanbul Chief Public Prosecution starts an investigation into singer Ismail Türüt and composer Ozan Arif for a song entitled “Don’t make plans”, which indirectly praises the murder suspects. The Human Rights Association (IHD) and the Association for Human Rights and Solidarity with the Oppressed (Mazlum-Der) filed criminal complaints against Türüt and Ozan Arif.

    28 September 2007 New evidence in the Hrant Dink case emerges. A recording of a telephone conversation between police informant Tuncel and police officer M.Z. shows that the police officer knew about the planned murder before. When Tuncel asks “Did he die?”, M.Z. says, “Of course, the only difference is that [the murderer] was not going to run away, but he did.”

    1 October 2007 The second hearing of the murder trial takes place. Suspected triggerman O.S. says that he was led by Yasin Hayal and that he took drugs before committing the murder. The prison van which brought O.S. to court had a sticker with the nationalist slogan “Love [the country] or leave it” on it.

    11 October 2007 The US House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee passes the Armenian Genocide Resolution. Hrant Dink’s lawyer and his son Arat Dink are accused of “denigrading Turkishness” and a year imprisonment each is demanded.

    6 November 2007 The court decides to drop proceedings against Veli Kücük and nationalist lawyer Kemal Kerincsiz.

    20 December 2007 The Armenian Parliament discusses Armenian-Turkish relations. Minister of Foreign Affairs Ali Babacan, historian Yusuf Halacoglu, writer Orhan Pamuk and academic Baskin Oran are among those invited, but nobody follows the invitation.

    15 January 2008 A recording of a phone call to the Trabzon gendarmerie emerges, in which an anonymous informant tells the gendarmerie officer that O.S. went to Istanbul with his friends. The information given in the phone call was not followed up, and the person making the phone call was not found. (MG/EÜ/TK/AG)

    www.bianet.org


    Turkish-Hong Kong Team Claims Finding Noah's Ark
    It is the first time in the history of the Noah's Ark search that an exploration team is getting a material evidence and graphic documentation. This makes it not only a the significant breakthrough in the Noah's Ark-search, but one that is supported with the most substantial evidence in recent history.

    Qatar's leading English daily The Peninsula has a breaking story today where Satish Kanady writes that scientists from Turkey and University of Hong Kong have found a "material evidence" of the existence of Noah's Ark on the Mountain Ararat near the border of Armenia on Turkey's side.

    "Dogubayazit (Turkey’s Iran-Armenian Border) • For the first time in the seven decade-long history of the search for the legendary Noah’s Ark, a Turkish-Hong Kong exploration team on Tuesday came out with “material evidence”, to prove that the Ark was nestled on Mount Ararat, Turkey’s highest mountain peak bordering Iran and Armenia.

    "A panel of experts, comprising Turkish authorities, veteran mountaineers, archaeologists, geologists and members of Hong Kong-based Noah’s Ark Ministries International, also displayed an almost one-metre-long peice of petrified wood before the media and specially invited international experts."

    The story goes on describing the location on Mt. Ararat where the wooden material is found.

    "“The structure was discovered in the interiors of an unusual cave. The 11.5m wide and 2.6m high white wooden texture was revealed after removing thick layers of volcanic ash on the cave wall,” panel members said at a press conference.

    One of the underlying issues in the search for the Ark is the proper identification of its wood fragments. A petrographic examination carried out by the Applied Geoscience Centre of the Department of Earth Sciences, University of Hong Kong, identified the object as a petrified wooden structure, the panel said.

    “Some of the big holes found on the structure indicate the locations where branches used to grow on tree. In places, original holes are partly or completely replaced by individual minerals and crystalline materials that can be found in rock materials,” said Dr Ahmet Ozbek, a panel member, who is also a faculty of Geology Engineering Kahramanmara Suctcu Imam University." - Source: HULIQ via The Peninsula Online


    "Obama Calls For Passage Of Armenian Genocide Resolution" Anca.org
    January 20, 2008

    "America deserves a leader who speaks truthfully about the Armenian Genocide and responds forcefully to all genocides. I intend to be that President." -- Barack Obama, Democratic Presidential Candidate Democratic Presidential Candidate Barack Obama with Senate Deputy Majority Leader Dick Durbin, ANCA Legislative Affairs Dir. Raffi Karakashian and ANCA Eastern Region Dir. Karine Birazian WASHINGTON, DC – Presidential candidate Barack Obama shared with the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) a strongly worded statement today calling for Congressional passage of the Armenian Genocide Resolution (H.Res.106 & S.Res.106), and pledging that, as president, he will recognize the Armenian Genocide.

    In his statement, the Presidential hopeful reaffirmed his support for a strong “U.S.-Armenian relationship that advances our common security and strengthens Armenian democracy.” He also pledged to “promote Armenian security by seeking an end to the Turkish and Azerbaijani blockades, and by working for a lasting and durable settlement of the Nagorno Karabagh conflict that is agreeable to all parties, and based upon America’s founding commitment to the principles of democracy and self determination.”

    “Armenian American voters welcome Senator Obama’s powerful call for real change in how our government addresses the core moral and foreign policy issues that hold such great meaning for our community,” said ANCA Executive Director Aram Hamparian. “After decades of White House complicity in Turkey’s efforts to block American recognition of the Armenian Genocide, most recently in the form of President Bush’s personal efforts this past October to delay the Armenian Genocide Resolution, the time has clearly come for a President who will personally lead – not obstruct – the commemoration of this crime against all humanity.”

    As a Senator, Barack Obama has spoken in support of U.S. affirmation of the Armenian Genocide and cosigned a letter urging President Bush to properly recognize the Armenian Genocide. He has forcefully called for the adoption of the Armenian Genocide Resolution, but has yet to formally cosponsor this legislation. While visiting Azerbaijan in August 2005, Senator Obama was asked by reporters why he cosigned the letter to President Bush. Obama defended his decision by stating the genocide was a historical fact. The Illinois Senator publicly criticized the firing of former U.S. Ambassador to Armenia John Evans, who was dismissed for speaking truthfully about the Armenian Genocide.

    In recent weeks, the ANCA has invited each of the candidates to share their views on Armenian Americans issues, and to comment on both the growing relationship between the U.S. and Armenian governments and the enduring bonds between the American and Armenian peoples. Questionnaires sent to the candidates have invited them to respond to a set of 19 questions, including those addressing: affirmation of the Armenian Genocide, U.S.-Armenia economic, political, and military relations, self-determination for Nagorno Karabagh, the Turkish and Azerbaijani blockades, and the genocide in Darfur.

    Armenian Americans, in key primary states and throughout the country, represent a motivated and highly networked constituency of more than one and a half million citizens. The ANCA mobilizes Armenian American voters through a network of over 50 chapters and a diverse array of affiliates, civic advocates, and supporters nationwide. ANCA mailings reach over a quarter of a million homes, and, through the internet, updates and action alerts reach well over 100,000 households. The ANCA website, which features election coverage from an Armenian American point of view, attracts over 100,000 unique visits a month. The ANCA also has broad reach to Armenian American voters via a sophisticated media operation of newspapers, regional cable shows, satellite TV, blogs, and internet news sites.
    To learn more about the Obama campaign, contact:

    Obama for America
    www.barackobama.com/

    Sen. Obama’s statement on U.S.-Armenia relations is available on the official campaign website at: www.barackobama.com/2008/01/19/barack_obama_on_the_importance.php

    Barack Obama on the Importance of U.S.-Armenia Relations
    | January 19, 2008 |

    I am proud of my strong record on issues of concern to the one and a half million Americans of Armenian heritage in the United States. I warmly welcome the support of this vibrant and politically active community as we change how our government works here at home, and restore American leadership abroad.
    I am a strong supporter of a U.S.-Armenian relationship that advances our common security and strengthens Armenian democracy. As President, I will maintain our assistance to Armenia, which has been a reliable partner in the fight against terrorism and extremism. I will promote Armenian security by seeking an end to the Turkish and Azerbaijani blockades, and by working for a lasting and durable settlement of the Nagorno Karabagh conflict that is agreeable to all parties, and based upon America's founding commitment to the principles of democracy and self determination. And my Administration will help foster Armenia's growth and development through expanded trade and targeted aid, and by strengthening the commercial, political, military, developmental, and cultural relationships between the U.S. and Armenian governments.

    I also share with Armenian Americans – so many of whom are descended from genocide survivors - a principled commitment to commemorating and ending genocide. That starts with acknowledging the tragic instances of genocide in world history. As a U.S. Senator, I have stood with the Armenian American community in calling for Turkey's acknowledgement of the Armenian Genocide. Two years ago, I criticized the Secretary of State for the firing of U.S. Ambassador to Armenia, John Evans, after he properly used the term "genocide" to describe Turkey's slaughter of thousands of Armenians starting in 1915. I shared with Secretary Rice my firmly held conviction that the Armenian Genocide is not an allegation, a personal opinion, or a point of view, but rather a widely documented fact supported by an overwhelming body of historical evidence. The facts are undeniable. An official policy that calls on diplomats to distort the historical facts is an untenable policy. As a senator, I strongly support passage of the Armenian Genocide Resolution (H.Res.106 and S.Res.106), and as President I will recognize the Armenian Genocide.

    Genocide, sadly, persists to this day, and threatens our common security and common humanity. Tragically, we are witnessing in Sudan many of the same brutal tactics - displacement, starvation, and mass slaughter - that were used by the Ottoman authorities against defenseless Armenians back in 1915. I have visited Darfurian refugee camps, pushed for the deployment of a robust multinational force for Darfur, and urged divestment from companies doing business in Sudan. America deserves a leader who speaks truthfully about the Armenian Genocide and responds forcefully to all genocides. I intend to be that President.

    I look forward, as President, to continuing my active engagement with Armenian American leaders on the full range of issues of concern to the Armenian American community. Together, we will build, in new and exciting ways, upon the enduring ties and shared values that have bound together the American and Armenian peoples for more than a century.

    Above: Kindly Forwarded by Sukru Server Aya



    Taner Akçam made a research in the archives of Turkish Prime Ministry

    Taner Akçam, who is a historian in Minnesota University and whom is reacted in Turkey because of his views in alleged Armenian Genocide discussions, said that archives of Turkish Prime Ministry were opened for the research of his up coming book. He made a speech at Wilson's Center where also Turkish President Abdullah Gül joined during his visit in USA.

    Taner Akçam said that he made a very detailed research in the archives of Turkish Prime Ministry in Istabul for his upcoming book "Armenian problem solved: Policies against Armenians according to Ottoman archives" and printed by Iletisim printing house in Turkey. He added that Ottoman government applied a relocation and collected reports on the relocation from the vilayets (provinces) in a very disciplined way.

    Taner Akçam also said, "It is very detailed in the archives whom is relocated to where name by name, house by house, village by village. There is no big difference between Ottoman and German archives about relocations. I can say that we almost reached everything we looked for in the archives. The only archive which is not opened for research is the Dasnagzoution archive in Boston."
    Ahu Özyurt,Washington, Milliyet 19 January 2008

    Above: Kindly Translated by Onder CIRIK



    Bryza Denies Comments On Turkey-Azerbaijan Ties
    A senior US State Department official denied yesterday comments attributed to him in which he allegedly suggested that the common motto of "one nation, two states" should be abandoned by Turkey and Azerbaijan to help normalize relations between estranged neighbors Turkey and Armenia.

    "I have never said that. This is Turkey's policy and, perhaps, Azerbaijan's and I do not have a right to demand to change it. I have just mentioned the fact of such policy in Ankara and someone misinterpreted my words," Matt Bryza, US deputy assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian affairs, was quoted by Azerbaijani news portal Today.az as telling reporters yesterday in Baku. His comment came in response to mention of Armenian media reports of his remarks on Tuesday in Yerevan, where he participated in an international conference titled "Wider Black Sea: Perspectives for International and Regional Security" as a guest speaker.

    "The US calls Turkey to normalize relations with Armenia without participation of a third country, Azerbaijan, and to drop preconditions. The slogan 'one nation, two states' reigning in Turkey and Azerbaijan should be changed. Armenia is right to urge Turkey to abandon setting preconditions but it should also recognize the borders of modern Turkey," Bryza, who serves as the US co-chairman of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) Minsk Group for the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict resolution, was quoted as saying at the conference by English-language news portal PanARMENIAN.net
    19.01.2008 Zaman


    God Punished Caricaturist... Letters to the TDN Editor
    January 19, 2008

    Dear Orhan Kemal Bey, let me start with a quote, if I may, from Blaise Pascal, the 17th century French theologian/philosopher/mathematician: "Men never do evil so completely and cheerfully as when they do it from religious conviction."

    In comparison to yourself you probably would classify me as a “religious person,” although I would contest it as an interpretation! I just wanted to comment that the problem of “interpretation” in religion (be it Islam, Christianity, Judaism or any other) is in seeing it as one of intellect, i.e. the interpretation of the mind whereas really it lies in the interpretation of the heart. That, I believe, is where the problem lies with those who think they can change people purely through education (even if you can influence much in that way). An obvious example being that of the almost instant evaporation of the 70 years of indoctrination of Soviet Russia. Your heart, your conscience is what can ultimately rule your choices however much you have been taught. That is why we find heroes of conscience through history who went against the tides of injustice. The world needs such people of conscience, with the courage to act, whether they call themselves religious or not.

    Let me finish with another quote which I came across earlier today just before I read your article. Its from the Old Testament, when God is warning the kings: "This is what the Lord says: Do what is just and right. Rescue from the hand of the oppressor the one who has been robbed. Do no wrong or violence to the alien, the fatherless or the widow, and do not shed innocent blood in this place."

    Now tell me what interpretation does this need!?

    "Aha but it says 'innocent'!" the self-righteous will shout as they sit in judgment.

    Until they/we realize that it is “he who is without sin who may throw the first stone.” Zekai Tanyar, Istanbul

    The Turk's notorious reconciliation Dear Mr. Oguz, I read your article "The Turk's notorious reconciliation" and, as before, I have to make a few comments.

    I agree that the genocide issue is a matter between Turks and Armenians. I do not agree that an internal Turkish commission to present the world with a Turkish perspective will carry any credibility if carried out with Article 301 in place. Contrary to your opinion Article 301 is there to specifically prevent the free conduct of such a commission on the “genocide.”

    The difficulty Turkey has is in treating what befell Turks and Armenians as qualitatively and quantitatively similar. I think most people will agree it is not. Masis Ararat, Yerevan

    Turban headache must be resolved

    I am really surprised what some people have in their heads affects how they see what others have on their heads. The hat law, the dress law, the understanding of the style of the headscarf to differentiate those who are making a political statement from a religious one and how we can judge people on what they wear, how much they wear and what they don't wear. Women seem to be the worst offenders regarding their paranoia about the headscarf and the dressing styles of others. What's on top of your head does not necessarily reflect what is in your head although it can reflect your identity.

    It is clear that there are a lot of empty headed people out there. Ameer Raschid, USA


    'Full Throated Support'
    January 18, 2008 TDN editorial by Yusuf KANLI
    The Erdogan and Gül visits the White House open a new era in Turkey-US ties

    For the George W. Bush administration, the “March 1 syndrome” in Turkish-American relations was “long dead and buried,” but the Nov. 5 visit of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdog(an, the consequent Jan. 8 trip to Washington by President Abdullah Gül and the accelerated anti-terrorism cooperation of the two countries have helped to eradicate the remaining psychological effects and replace relations between the two countries on a “strategic partners” basis. Indeed, the stress on “strategic partners” made by Bush – “who hates that terminology” – three times after the meeting with Gül was a demonstration of that...

    The support declared by George W. Bush to Turkey was a “full throated” one, opening a new era in ties.

    These were assessments a friend with insight in developments shared with us in evaluating the “state of affairs” of Turkish-American relations, which have shown significant improvement over the past two months while only last summer Turkey ranked the second country that most disliked the United States (policies)...

    On March 1, 2003 Turkish Parliament turned down a motion submitted by the then Gül government requesting authorization to allow the U.S. open a second front through Turkey into Saddam Hussein's Iraq. The parliamentary action and a subsequent hood incident at Suleymaniyah in northern Iraq in which scores of Turkish soldiers were arrested by the U.S. troops had landed the relations between the two allies in one of the worst crises in 50 years.

    In the aftermath of the March 1 incident the U.S. had started a policy that ignored the “red lines” of Turkey in Iraq. Turks were accusing the U.S. and its “allies” in Iraq of not doing enough against the separatist outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) gang and there were even allegations that some U.S. military personnel was indeed supporting the separatist gang.

    Anti-PKK resolve helped improve U.S. image

    What has changed since then? The answer is rather simple: As we were stressing when the ties were going through those difficult moments, the U.S. started cooperating with Turkey in its fight against the PKK. A perception was created in Turkish society – and also in northern Iraq – that the U.S. “has switched horses” in favor of Turkey; the U.S. started providing real-time intelligence to the Turkish military regarding movements of the PKK in northern Iraq – enabling Turkey to carry out surgical aerial operations against the gang; postponement of the Kirkuk referendum... and the list continues...

    The Pakistan and Afghanistan developments, the Middle East issues and the situation in the Caucasus, the Balkans, the future of Kosovo and such issues about which the countries have almost identical views, the opposition to both Iran acquiring nuclear arms capability – though Turkey supports Iran's right to have civilian nuclear energy – and the unwavering support of the U.S. to Turkey's European Union bid were the contributing elements which together with “revived” anti-terrorism cooperation have helped create a radical change in the perception of the U.S. in the Turkish public. The energy issue, of course, has provided yet another dimension to the ties.

    The defeat of the contentious Armenian “genocide” bill in Congress was another good development, although the probability still exists that even if it does not come up in the U.S. election year the issue will pop up in 2009 or later. The diplomat friend Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, who suffered a defeat, would not want to sponsor the bill again unless she is pretty sure that success is guaranteed, if Turkey undertakes some moves and Turkish-Armenian relations move toward normalization.

    Regarding Iraq, however, as was demonstrated with the recent visit of Turkey's Deputy Chief of General Staff Gen. Ergin Saygun to Baghdad – the first such visit since the Gulf War – for talks with both the American commander and his Iraqi counterpart – the interests of both Turkey and the U.S. are in the consolidation of the central government in Baghdad, which unfortunately is very fragile, depriving it of the power to prod the northern Iraqi Kurds to cooperate in the anti-PKK struggle.

    As regards the “political dimension” in the fight against terrorism – a remark attributed to a senior U.S. official after the Bush-Gül meeting and which was denied by Gül – of course the U.S. cannot demand Turkey enter into talks with the PKK. However, as Turkey's land forces Commander Gen. Bas,bug( recently declared, besides dropping bombs, there are many things one can do in fighting terrorism, including economic, social and psychological measures...


    Making The World A Safer Place
    Nicole Pope n.pope@todayszaman.com
    Can terrorism be tackled through force, security measures and intelligence alone, or does it have roots in legitimate social grievances that have to be addressed?
    This question is one that many around the globe have sought to answer in the aftermath of Sept. 11. And it is a question that is still being discussed, in the different context of the fight against the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), in Turkey itself.

    US Homeland Security chief Michael Chertoff recently reignited the global debate on how to tackle global terrorism when he warned that home-grown terrorism from Europe was now the biggest threat to US security. He did not mention Muslims specifically, but he mentioned the fact that people are traveling from the Middle East and South Asia to stage attacks on the continent. He said US authorities would have to increase checks on European travelers to protect US borders.

    Some would say it is a classic case of the pot calling the kettle black: After all, while Chertoff claims the US is now a safer place, many in Europe believe the neocons' aggressive foreign policy has only fuelled disenchantment and a sense of injustice, thus increasing the risk of attacks and making the rest of the world less safe. In a globalized world, large scale mistakes like the war in Iraq cause ripples way beyond the immediate target.

    Still, the issue is worth debating. For Chertoff, one of the architects of the controversial Patriot Act, much criticized by defenders of civil liberties for casting too wide a net, terrorism is to be controlled mainly through security measures, tight visa controls and better intelligence. Such measures are part of his job description. He can perhaps more easily ignore the social and political dimensions of terrorism since in the States social exclusion appears more likely to erupt in the form of street gangs than in extremist groups using religion to channel their frustrations.

    The fact that Western politicians, these days, find it difficult to be convincing in their promotion of the universality of democratic concepts when they tolerate that young men, who happen to be Muslims, be held without charges for years or sent to prisons abroad as recently highlighted in the movie "Rendition" is not one that politicians like to highlight. But it is not something that can be ignored.

    For Europe, the challenge is to address the security risk and the reality of a new home-grown religious extremism among isolated groups of radical Muslims without fuelling Islamophobia, already widespread, and above all without abandoning notions of human rights and freedom of expression. EU member states have already tightened security and introduced tough immigration rules, but most liberals on the continent still believe that, aside from targeting the extremists themselves through law enforcement, there is an urgent need to address the sense of dislocation and frustration that leads young people to sympathize with them.

    In many ways, Turkey faces a similar challenge in its fight against the PKK. The iro n-fist policies of the '90s did little to improve the political, social and economic climate in the Southeast. Military might alone is equally unlikely to solve the problem now.

    In Turkey, as in Europe, the notion of political solutions is seen, by some, as a naive and impractical response to indiscriminate violence. But hopelessness, injustice and a sense of isolation -- real or imagined -- have always been the best recruiters for extremism, and dialogue is so far the only known antidote.
    18.01.2008


    Tears And Victory For Clinton
    January 16, 2008 Vural CENGIZ

    American politics are no different from any other country's politics. Leaders are doing everything to get elected proving the saying: “A politician's most crucial duty is to get elected,” is correct.

    Barack Obama is a very different candidate than others. He can represent “change” and he can really change things in Washington. First of all, he is a real Democrat because he has less than a million dollars like 95 percent of America's population. Thus, he can understand Americans because he is one of them. Most of other candidates have $30 million or more. Second, he understands the members of other nations because he lived overseas. So, he could change the image of the United States with a new face and ideas promoting understanding and peace instead of superpower acts.

    American people really want change. Only 11 percent of people here approved Congress according to a November 2007 poll and President Bush's approval rate is less than 30 percent. The economy is getting into recession; Iraq is sucking up too much money; people are frustrated with poor education and the extremely high cost of healthcare.

    People had a good understanding until Monday: Only a different politician could make for different politics for the country. Iowa Democrats voted for Obama and everybody had high hopes. Yes, American politics and America could change at last with a young and bright politician.

    Then tears came in the show last weekend.

    Starting Sunday night, all America watched again and again how Senator Clinton got emotional on TV. All national channels and many local stations showed how sad she was many times over. She showed her “sincere” emotions with tears. She put lots of guilt on the shoulders of Iowans. And, the next day she won the primary in New Hampshire. This was a very smart move for her after Senator Clinton's advisors told her she looked too aggressive on debates and she had put a picture of an emotionless lady out there. She needed to show everyone she actually had feelings.

    Actually her words were very interesting when she cried. She said: “I can see what is going on. I see where we are headed. We need to reverse things around.” To people who have studied politics such as myself, she was really saying: “I am loosing ground and all systems may get changed in the country and we all can stay under it together if we do not stop Obama.” However most Americans understood it as she wanted: “I put so much work and I really care for my country, I am a safe nominee who has already been to the White House. I am working so hard and getting nothing in return. Can't you give me just one vote?” Her tears worked very well, people rushed to polls, and she won the second round of the fight.

    People vote with their hearts not with their brains

    Unfortunately, most people vote with their hearts not with their brains. Otherwise, why have Americans kept Bush in office – a man who ordered their sons and daughters to die in Iraq, let gasoline prices climb over $2.50 per gallon for almost four years, and vetoed laws to give healthcare protection to children? Because, the most Americans vote with their religious beliefs not with their economic and political understanding of issues. For example, abortion is a more important issue than war. It is okay to kill hundreds of thousands in Iraq and let thousand young soldiers lose their lives to Iraqi insurgents but it is not okay to end the life of a fetus. Are the democrats more realistic than republicans? Hillary's tears and New Hampshire elections showed that they are not.

    This is not a good record for American democracy. Hopefully, Barack Obama will show in upcoming primaries that leadership requires more than being emotional and showing tears. If American people would like to see some emotions and tears, they should look at the people lost their children in Iraq not to the leader who supported Bush's war act.

    Again, constituents usually do not have rational judgment of leaders. Reagan was an actor transferred from Hollywood to Washington. Now, Fred Thompson of the “Law and Order” series is running for president on Republican side. The other nominees are just amateurs but they are trying very hard. Being a good nominee in the U.S. requires some strong acting after all as Senator Hillary Clinton did Monday. We have a long time to go until November; it looks like we will see more acting to come.

    * Vural Cengiz, MBA, M.A. Econ., B.A. Political Sciences. He is president of the Turkish-American Businessmen's Union. He can be contacted at vurcen@yahoo.com


    Hillary Wins White House (In Dreams Of Turkish Officials)
    Ümit Enginsoy Washington - Turkish Daily News, January 17, 2008
    Clinton team's experience with Turkey is seen as a plus, while Obama is viewed as unpredictable

    While Turkey's state policy formally avoids a posture close to any of the U.S. presidential hopefuls, Turkish diplomats and other high-level officials generally favor leading candidate Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton over her chief rival Senator Barack Obama in the race to capture the Democratic Party's ticket for the November elections.

    "Turkey absolutely has no position regarding the presidential election, which is wholly an internal matter of the United States. But privately individuals have their own views," said one diplomat.

    In private remarks, these diplomats and officials believe that a Clinton presidency will reflect the key characteristics of the eight-year term of former President Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton's husband, arguably the highest point in U.S.-Turkish relationsover the past four decades.

    They tend to view Obama as an unpredictable and inexperienced politician on foreign policy, surrounded by some advisers hostile to Turkey.

    Obama, an African-American politician, who has emerged in his campaign as a figure for change, comes from a minority, a situation which they fear may attempt to transform U.S. foreign policy in ways that may hurt Turkey, if he is elected president.

    Obama's foreign policy advisers include figures such as Samantha Power, an academic on "genocide," who is known for her extremely unfavorable views on Turkey. His key congressional backers include Adam Schiff from California, chief sponsor of an Armenian genocide resolution pending in the House of Representatives.

    Clinton's top advisers, on the other hand, are mostly senior officials from Bill Clinton's term, including former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, former National Security Adviser Sandy Berger and NATO's former Supreme Commander Wesley Clarke, who know Turkey and its sensitivities very well.

    Armenian matters
    Those Turkish officials favoring Clinton believe that under her presidency Ankara is unlikely to encounter bad surprises.

    On Turkish-Armenian matters, both Clinton and Obama have backed some initiatives calling for U.S. recognition of World War I-era killings of Armenians at the hands of the Ottoman Empire as genocide.

    Clinton is among 32 cosponsors of a genocide resolution pending in the 100-seat Senate, but Obama is not. However, three years ago he signed a letter to President George W. Bush calling for the recognition of the "Armenian genocide."

    But despite her cosponsorship in the dormant Senate legislation, Clinton was criticized by the Armenian National Committee of America, an influential U.S. Armenian group, for "voicing reservations" in October about the adoption of the latest House resolution onArmenian genocide claims.

    Some analysts say concerns by many Turkish officials over Obama's potential presidency are baseless.

    "Before the 1992 elections, then President Turgut Özal was close to then President George H.W. Bush, and was openly backing Bush. The Turks then had similar worries about Clinton," said Bulent Aliriza, director of Turkey Project at the Center for Strategic andInternational Studies, a think tank here. "But the Turkish-U.S. relationship flourished to anunprecedented degree during the Clinton presidency. The same may happen with Obama."

    Republican front
    Also Marc Grossman, a former under secretary of state for political affairs and a former U.S. ambassador to Ankara, and Mark Parris, a former ambassador to Ankara, both said separately that regardless of who is elected the next U.S. president, he or she will appreciate Turkey's importance for Washington and act accordingly.

    Turkish officials seem to have no remarkable problems with any of the outstanding Republican candidates, including Senator John McCain, Mike Huckabee, Mitt Romneyand Rudy Giuliani.

    When Giuliani was New York's mayor he backed a number of Armenian efforts, but this was considered normal due to his status as top official of a mega city with many Armenian residents. McCain, Huckabee and Romney are not close to Armenian groups.

    When pressed, some Turkish diplomats will privately say that McCain, a former prisoner of war in Vietnam and one of the most experienced U.S. politicians on national security and foreign policy matters, will be the best option for Turkey.

    Still many Turkish officials have reservations over a Republican victory in the face of the party's hard-line policies in the Middle East symbolized by Bush's decision to invade Iraq, which they say has hit Turkey hard.


    His Uncle Was Judged For Betraying The Ottoman
    The archives of the Greek Ministry of Foreign Affairs, enlightens the past of Nicolas Sarkozy, the French President.

    The information that was presented by the archives of the Milliyet Daily Newspaper put forward that Sarkozy’s big uncle was judged by the Ottoman administration with the accusation of betraying the country and with a demand of capital punishment.

    It was indicated in the volume related with the history of Jews living in the country at the archives of the Greek Ministry of Foreign Affairs, that Ascher Mallah Efendi, Sarkozy’s big uncle, who was graduated from the Galatasaray High School was very active in Thessaloniki and was judged for betraying the country by the Ottoman and also, the persecutor at the court had demanded capital punishment for Ascher Mallah.

    According to the archival information, Ascher Efendi was acquitted from this court and continued his political activities.

    Ascher Mallah Efendi was elected as a senator from Elefterios Venizelos`s Party with 5, 202 votes in 21 April 1929 following Thessaloniki was left under the sovereignty of Greece. A photograph of Asher Efendi was published at the book entitled Nicola Sarkozy`s Theselloniki. It was also indicated in the book that Sarkozy has a relative named Mihail Sarkozy, who came from the ancestry of Hungary and who fought against the Ottoman armies and died. The following was stated in an interesting comment in the book: “How interesting is the thing that is called history. On one hand, a grandchild of a Greek Jew, who is from Thessaloniki, and whose family was given great special privileges by the Ottoman Empire; on the other, a Hungarian’s son, whose grandfathers had fought against Turks. And now, after four centuries, he, himself, is opposing harshly to the EU membership of Turkey!” It was indicated in the book entitled “Sarkozy’s Thessaloniki, Me, A Grandchild of a Greek” that the French President learned about his Jewish roots when his grandfather, Beniko (Benedict) Mallah, who is from Thessaloniki, had gone to France when he was young and became a doctor there and died in Paris in 1972.

    Sarkozy visited Thessaloniki and Istanbul as soon as he was graduated from the high school. His intention was a little bit of nostalgia and a little bit of taking his share of his grandfathers’ heritage. Nicolas Sarkozy struggled ruthlessly with the bankers and the notaries for taking his share from his grandfathers’ heritage who were the famous jewelers of the town. Sarkozy, who convinced the authorities, took 4 thousand Franks. And he violated the rules of Greece, which banned leaving the country with foreign currency, by hiding the money inside his jacket and passed the border. (*)

    The things that were expressed above, displays the fact that Nicolas Sarkozy’s Turkish hostility arises from his genetic coding. On the other hand, it also enlightens his attitudes, which can be described as personality/ identity disorder as “a racist model from the birth”, which has been displayed with an unexhausted hatred.

    Source: (*) Taki Berberakis-Milliyet Daily Newspaper-28.12.2007
    15.01.2008
    http://www.soykirimgercegi.com/


    Bulgarian Lawmakers Vote Against Bill Backing Armenian ‘genocide’ Claims
    Members of the Bulgarian parliament have rejected once again a bill for officially recognizing the controversial World War I era killings of Anatolian Armenians as genocide.

    The bill, drawn up by members of the extreme-right Attack Party, was rejected yesterday with 63 to 50 votes, while 60 lawmakers abstained from voting. This is the third time the bill has been rejected.

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

    Bringing such a bill onto the agenda of the Bulgarian parliament is disrespectful to both the historical facts and the parliament, Remzi Osman, of the ethnic Turkish Movement for Rights and Freedoms, told the Anatolia news agency. "It is not the duty of parliaments to evaluate and judge history. We should leave history to the historians," Osman said.

    Alexandar Radoslavov of the Bulgarian Socialist Party, which rejected the bill, told the parliament that a "feeling of hatred" was the motive behind this bill. "Hatred should not be used in a parliament as a political argument. This doesn't contribute to either humanity or peace," Radoslavov was quoted as saying by Anatolia.

    The Attack Party, meanwhile, announced it would continue bringing the bill before the parliament until it is adopted.
    18.01.2008 Today's Zaman with wires Ankara


    Turkey Finds Most Coverage In Greek Cypriot Media In 2007
    Greek Cyprus ranked first among countries that published or broadcast the largest number of news items, commentaries and television programs about Turkey over the past year, a report released by the Turkish Directorate General of Press and Information showed on Thursday.

    Reviewing a total of 772,843 news pieces, commentaries and television programs through press consultancies abroad, foreign news agencies and foreign radio and television programs as well as Web sites, the directorate discovered that 27,662 of them were news items directly related to Turkey. In the distribution of these news items among world countries, Greek Cyprus represented a 22 percent share, ranking first. According to the report, the Greek Cypriot media mostly covered debates about the divided island and Ankara's evaluations of Cyprus. Ankara does not officially recognize Greek Cyprus over a conflict on the status of northern Cyprus.

    Greek Cyprus was followed by a group of three with 14 percent that included the Turkic republics, Gulf countries and Armenia, which were followed by Germany with 12 percent. Iran ranked fourth, the US ranked fifth, Greece ranked sixth, the UK ranked seventh and France ranked eighth among the list of counties that covered the most news items connected to Turkey.

    According to the report the controversial presidential election process, general elections and then Abdullah Gül's election as president, the Turkish political situation in general and relations with the Iraqi and northern Iraqi administrations in the wake of stepped-up outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) violence were the main issues that drew intense interest from foreign media. In addition, issues such as relations with the EU, the passage by a US House committee of an Armenian resolution that recognizes the killing of Armenians at the hands of the Ottoman Empire in 1915 as "genocide," and developments relating to Cyprus were also among the subjects that found extensive coverage in foreign media.

    18.01.2008 Servet Yanatma Ankara





    Ankara, Baku Should Stop ‘One Nation’ Rhetoric, Says Bryza
    A senior US State Department official has said the common motto of "one nation, two states" should be abandoned by Turkey and Azerbaijan in order to help normalize relations between estranged neighbors Turkey and Armenia.

    Matt Bryza, US deputy assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian affairs.

    Matt Bryza, US deputy assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian affairs, was speaking on Tuesday in Yerevan, where he participated in an international conference titled "Wider Black Sea: Perspectives for International and Regional Security" as the guest speaker of the conference, the Anatolia news agency reported Wednesday.

    The US policy in the Black Sea region is targeted at the formation of a geopolitical cooperation center in various fields, including economy, energy and regional security, Bryza said at the conference.

    "The US tries to find common interests between Russia and Turkey and all other states of the Black Sea basin including the South Caucasus. One of the most important tasks is establishment of diplomatic relations between Armenia and Turkey and opening of the border. This can be a partial opening, encouragement of economic ties and joint economic projects," Bryza was quoted as saying by the English-language news portal PanARMENIAN.net.

    "The US calls Turkey to normalize relations with Armenia without participation of a third country, Azerbaijan, and to drop preconditions. The slogan 'one nation, two states' reigning in Turkey and Azerbaijan should be changed. Armenia is right to urge Turkey to abandon setting preconditions but it should also recognize the borders of modern Turkey," noted Bryza, who serves as US co-chairman of the OSCE Minsk Group for the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict resolution.

    Political leaders in both Turkey and Azerbaijan often portray strength of the bilateral relationship between the two countries with the phrase "one nation, two states," to describe the brotherhood of the Turkish and Azerbaijani peoples.

    Ankara has recognized Armenia since the former Soviet republic gained independence in 1991, but nevertheless refuses to establish diplomatic ties because of Armenian efforts to secure international condemnation of the controversial World War I era killings of Anatolian Armenians as genocide. Armenians claim up to 1.5 million of their kin were slaughtered in orchestrated killings during the last years of the Ottoman Empire. Turkey categorically rejects the claims, saying that 300,000 Armenians along with at least as many Turks died in civil strife emerging when the Armenians took up arms for independence in eastern Anatolia and sided with the Russian troops who were invading Ottoman lands.

    In 1993 Turkey also shut its border with Armenia in a show of solidarity with its close ally, Azerbaijan, which was at war with Armenia over the Nagorno-Karabakh enclave, dealing a heavy economic blow to the impoverished nation. Ankara wants Armenia to abandon its campaign for recognition of the killings as genocide and make progress in its dispute with Baku before formal diplomatic relations are re-established.

    Last year, despite pleas from the George W. Bush administration and personal appeals from President Abdullah Gül, who served as foreign minister at the time, and other prominent Turks, the Foreign Affairs Committee of the US House of Representatives passed a nonbinding resolution that described the World War I-era deaths of Armenians during the final years of the Ottoman Empire as genocide.

    Nancy Pelosi, speaker of the House of Representatives and an ardent supporter of the Armenian claims, has so far not brought the resolution to the House floor after a strong appeal from the Bush administration that passage of the resolution would deeply harm relations with NATO ally Turkey.

    "Turkey is a strategic ally for the US: This has been also confirmed via a recent visit by Turkish Republic's President Abdullah Gül to Washington. You'll remember that relations between our countries had become tense with Turkey's refusal for US soldiers' use of its soil for reaching Iraq. However, nowadays, we have an opportunity for providing peace in the Black Sea region," Bryza was also quoted as saying by Anatolia at the same conference, in an apparent reference to the Turkish Parliament's refusal of US requests to send troops into Iraq through Turkish territory during the buildup to the Iraq war in 2003.
    17.01.2008


    A TV Debate On Armenian-Turkish Relations Ara S. Ashjian, An Iraqi Armenian settled in Yerevan, Armenia
    15-01-2008

    On Jan. 12, 2008, a friend of me in Yerevan invited me to attend a TV debate on Armenian-Turkish relations managed by Armenia TV channel. The debate was between Armenia s ex-prime minister and political leader Khosrov Harutunyan and political scientist Dr. Armen Ayvazyan. As I knew Dr. Ayvazyan s views on this issue I accepted to sit with the group of attendees in the program who would support Dr. Ayvazyan in this issue.

    The debate was especially concentrated on one matter of the Armenian-Turkish relations; the closed borders between Armenia and Turkey. Harutunyan defended normalizing Armenian-Turkish relations, and that Armenia should make initiatives to change Turkey s policy, at the same time considering the EU as a natural ally to Armenia in this issue.

    Dr. Ayvazyan finds that opening the borders between Armenia and Turkey, which currently is not possible as Turkey put several unachievable preconditions to do that, will threaten Armenia s interests. This is because opening borders between the two countries would offer the opportunity to Turk professionals and companies to enter Armenia s economy widely and allows Turkey s intelligence to infiltrate Armenia. Dr. Ayvazyan sees that Armenia does not have defensive mechanisms in economic and national security to face such a case. He also finds that Armenia must follow efficient policy to face the hostile policy followed by Turkey and its strategic partner Azerbaijan towards Armenia. Dr. Ayvazyan stated events from which it can be decided the EU might not be considered as Armenia s natural or strategic ally . He also stated Armenia can t survive on the current area of 29.8 thousand kilometer square, besides territories of former "Autonomous Region of Mountainous Gharabagh".

    Thus, it must raise the issue of the Armenian lands of Western Armenia occupied by Turkey, which is essential in solving the Armenian issue instead of seeking alone the international recognition of the Armenian Genocide.

    Harutunyan stated countries in Europe which have small areas, like Armenia, that had normalized its relations with neighboring countries with greater areas. The comparison here was improper as these countries, unlike Turkey, used to solve their problems in civilized ways. Besides, the people of these countries did not suffer from genocide, and even Germany, unlike Turkey, admitted the dark page of its history and recognized the Holocaust. It also seemed Harutunyan doesn t realize that normalizing relations between parties in conflict can t be achieved till solving existing problems and restoring justice. The successive Turkish regimes seem not to be ready to do this by following hostile policy towards Armenia and denying the Armenian Genocide.

    The three jury members in the program out of four voted for Harutunyan s opinions. They were either young or not specialized people (a young female student in religions, a young man who is the director of an FM radio station, the head of the Photographer s Union and the director of an NGO!!). The attendees should have given the right to voice their opinions on this important issue.

    The program will be broadcast on Tuesday (Jan. 15 at 9:15 p.m. Armenia local time) and will receive votes on both views to decide which view is more accepted by the voters. Dear reader, which view is more practical and closer to you?
    With best regards,


    Turkish Premier Says Armenian Diaspora Seeking Indemnity Over 1915 Events
    MADRID (A.A) - 14.01.2008 - Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Monday, "(Armenian) Diaspora continues to muddle. Following their demarches in various countries they try to obtain relevant or irrelevant judgments."

    Turkish PM Erdogan made comments on Armenian allegations regarding 1915 incidents while speaking at a breakfast organized by Europa Press in Madrid.

    Erdogan said, "the matter (regarding the bill on Armenian allegations submitted to the US Congress) seems to be postponed, particularly thanks to the sensitivity of the US administration. US President George Bush and other executives have exerted intensive efforts. However, I would like to express very clearly that there are very serious prejudices regarding this issue."

    "I wrote a letter to [Armenian President Robert] Kocharyan in 2005 and said this (the allegations) should be assessed by historians. Turkey has opened its archives. There are more than one million classified documents. Turkey has also asked Armenia to open its archives. Kocharyan has not yet responded to my suggestion," Turkish PM remarked.

    Erdogan said, "the Armenian Diaspora is in an effort to get indemnity (from Turkey)."

    "Turkey's cause is rightful. Turkish government opened air corridors to Yerevan and restored Armenian Orthodox church in Akdamar Island in Van Lake. There are currently 40,000 Armenians living in Turkey who escaped from Armenia. We have not extradited them. Armenian citizens living in Turkey do not have problems," Erdogan said.

    Responding to a question on headscarf issue, Erdogan said, "people wearing headscarves can get education in universities in Europe and the United States. Unfortunately, this is a problem in our country. Overcoming this problem will also help to solve the problem of the right to education."


    Greece: ''Greek-Turkish War'' via Hollywood
    January 14
    Ankara.- The production of a major Hollywood movie about the Kurds and the genocide of the Armenians and other Christians in Asia Minor has sparked angry reactions in Turkey. The film will depict the struggles of the Kurds for the creation of an independent state, and will also make extensive reference to the persecution they have suffered at the hands of the Turks. The main roles will reportedly be played by big names like Mel Gibson, Antonio Banderras and Sylvester Stallone, and the scenes will be shot in northern Iraq at an estimated cost of some $300 million.

    The Turks are reportedly furious about the script of the movie, which they have described as pure propaganda, and have warned of a boycott. Turkish newspapers charge a shameful conspiracy of Kurds, Armenians and Greeks against Turkey, in an effort to distort history and to attribute non-existent responsibility to the Turkish people for events in Asia Minor in the early 20th century.
    www.greeknewsonline.com/


    On the Roads of Anatolia - Van By Yüksel Oktay
    January 16, 2008
    The city of Van and a new beginning for the 1,100 Year Akdamar church as a Monument Museum

    April 14, Saturday

    Some refer to the city of Van, which has a long history, many cultural sites and natural wonders, as the ‘’pearl of the east.’’ Yasar Kemal calls the waters of lake Van, known as Van Sea by the locals, as the prettiest blue in the world. Three tousand years ago, Van, known than as Tusba, was the capital of the Urartu Kingdom. Historians believe that the Urartu was active in the region between the 9th and 6th centuries when Asur Kingdom was also active near Van when the famous Queen Semiramis built the famous canals near Van. The Van castle not too far from the city is one of the most magnificient Urartun castles, built by Sarduri I in B.C. 9th century. The Urartu Kingdom is believed to be overrun after 300 years of existence by the Meds from Iran (Note 1)

    Akdamar Church – Now Akdamar Monument Museum,

    One of the most important monuments, the 1,100 year old Akdamar Surp Harc Church, is located on the Akdamar island in lake Van, about 1 km from the shore. The church, built by Vaspurakan King Gagik Artsruni I in A.D. 915-921, is surrounded by almond trees which begin blossoming in mid April, but delayed this year due to cold weather. The walls of the church are covered with figures representing religious themes from the Bible and the Old Testament, as well as figures of animals and scenes form the daily life.

    Akdamar church was officially opened as The Akdamar Monument Museum by dignitaries on March 28, a cold day later showered with snow. The opening date was changed several times (it would have been better to postpone to sometime in May when the almond trees on the island are in full bloom) and in a gesture of recociliation, officials from Armenia and several diaspora members were also invited and attended the ceremonies. The church is not very large, there is nothing in the building now and the cross on top has not been erected, since it is now a Museum and not a place of worship (Photo 1.)

    According to the legend, the name of the island is attributed to the love of a shepherd towards Tamara, the daughter of the Bishop of the church, who dies on a stormy night trying to swim to the island. A modern day version of the legend took place when two members of the restoration group, Emel Guzelgoz and Adnan Vural, fell in love and decided to get married, which took place last week.

    There are other churches in the area such as the Church of Surb Hovannes (St. John) at Carpanak island in Lake Van.

    Monuments from the Selcuks and the Ahlat Cemetery

    Van and vicinity came under the Selcuk rule during the 10th century. The Selcuk cemetery in Ahlat, home to 8,000 four meter high tombstones datings back to the 12th and 13th , is considered the world’s largest cemetery. Currently, the Mayor of Ahlat Mevlut Gulmez has ordered a study to add the Selcuk cemetery in Ahlat to the list of sites on the World Heritage List (There are 9 historical sites on the UNESCO World

    Heritage List, including Safranbolu, Istanbul, and Goreme.)

    As I was driving to Ahlat, I stopped at a Selcuk cemetery near Cevas which had a Monument characteristics of the Selcuk architecture. When I started a conversation with a group visiting the monument, one of them introduced himself as the Mayor of Cevas and told me about the history of the region and invited me to a luncheon with a group from Ankara and the local governor of Cevas. I followed the Mayor, Nazmi Sezer, and the group to a restaurant near by, where we not only had a nice lunch, but also a chance to discus the region and the modern monument erected for the ‘’Beast of Van’’, supposedly living in Van Lake. The captain of the boat that took me to the Akdamar had told me that he has not seen the beast during his 25 years of service in the area. The last time I was in Van, a TV group from Japan had camped near Lake Van to make a documentary on the legendary beast that no one has seen yet.

    Hosap Castle

    One of the landmarks in the region is the ‘’Hosap’’ castle located in the town of ‘’Guzelsu – Hosap’’, 55 kms from Van. The castle, built by Sari Suleyman, the leader of the Mahmudiyes in 1643, under the protection of vthe Ottomans,is located high on a hill and there are lion reliefs and inscriptions over the imposing gate leading to the castle, which was closed to the public due to ongoing restoration work. According to the ‘’koruyucu’’ guard, Nazif Koc, many walls are under poor conditions.The castle is surrounded by three fortification walls, buttresses and watchtowers and has a mosque, a bath, a school, fountain, cistern, dungeons and a pigeon-tower inside the formidable walls. Many young boys were playing in front of the castle, unafarid of the crumbling walls (Photo 2.)

    Hosap Hydroelectric Power Plant

    After passing a military check point coming from Hosap, I drove along the river to visit the Hosap Hydro Electric Power plant, owned and operated by the private sector. The operator greeted me and provided a tour of the 3.5 MW plant which has been operating since 1986. The Ministry of Energy has started a program trannsferribng small hydro-electric power plants, such as Hosap HEPP, to the private sector.

    ,Muradiye Waterfall and The Devils bridge

    The famous Muradiye Waterfall is located 85 kms north of Van, on the way to Dogubeyazit, which is not very high but very picturesque. It is easy to miss the falls since the river and the watefall is located in a shallow valley.

    Van Cat and Yuzuncu Yuz Yil University

    Van is famous for its beautiful white cat which has eyes with two different colors. Van cat is among the many historical marks of Van that can be seen in brochures and posters. Van is also home to the Yuzuncu Yuzyil University which became famous when its rector was alleged in keeping artifacts at his home, which was proven to be false.

    Notes.
    (1) One of the books on the Urartu Kingdom is ‘’Urartu Kralligi Tarihi ve Sanati’’ by Prof. Dr. Altan Cilingiroglu
    AmericanChronicle.com


    Turkish-Southern Caucasus Regional Relations In 2008
    Hasan Kanbolat H.Kanbolat@Todayszaman.Com

    The presidential elections slated to take place in 2008 in the southern Caucasus will be one of the most important topics on the agenda for the coming year in the region. To wit, in Georgia, the Jan. 5 presidential elections have already taken place. The guiding forces in the election results in the southern Caucasus region is not the actual votes of the citizens, but the expressed convictions of the political administrations in power. In this sense, the upcoming presidential elections in both Azerbaijan and Armenia are not expected to bring about much in the way of significant changes to the current political administrations. Within this framework, it is also not anticipated that there will be any concrete developments as far as Nagorno-Karabakh is concerned.

    One of the most significant topics relating to Turkey's affairs with the southern Caucasus region is the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway project. It is expected that in 2008 the Turkish stage of this railway project will have its foundation laid and that construction will begin shortly afterwards.

    Some of the trade projections for 2008 include the foreign trade volume between Azerbaijan and Turkey reaching $1 billion, while Turkish investments are expected to be around $5 billion and construction projects taken on by Turkish developers alone above $2 billion. As it stands in terms of imports, Turkey is number four for Azerbaijan and number six in terms of nations to which Azerbaijan exports. Turkey makes more non-petrol sector related investments in Azerbaijan than any other nation in the world.

    The likelihood that Kosovo will head toward independence in 2008 also means that Abkhazia will increase its demands for independence in the coming year. It also means that the Russian Federation may well decide to recognize Abkhazia officially. This in turn could spark Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili -- who emerged tattered and torn from a recent presidential election -- to use his country's strength against both Abkhazia and South Ossetia in order to shore up power for his own administration.

    Abkhazian leader Sergei Bagapsh is expected to visit Turkey sometime during 2008, a visit which may well be coordinated to coincide with a visit from Georgian leader Saakashvili. In 2007 the Georgian leadership completed work on the most important leg of legislation aiming to allow Ahiska Turks to return to their homeland in what is currently Georgia. It is anticipated that this legislation will go into implementation in 2008 and that, as such, the Ahiska Turkish population will in fact begin to return.

    In terms of foreign trade volume between Turkey and Georgia, it is projected that for 2008, in the wake of a recently signed free trade agreement between these two nations, trade volume could rise to above $800 million, while the value of construction projects being undertaken in Georgia by Turkish developers could exceed $500 million. Turkey has become, in recent years, the number four nation in terms of investment in Georgia. Current Russian-Georgian tension could also rise in the coming year with the help of the problems in Abkhazia and South Ossetia. An additional note is that Georgia is expected to continue its efforts to enter NATO and its Membership Action Plan (MAP).

    In 2008, the individual analysis of Armenia, Turkish-Armenian and Turkish-Armenian-Azeri relations could bring about the formation of new diplomatic relations, though without the opening up of currently sealed borders. On this front, it could well be anticipated that efforts by the US Embassy in Ankara and by certain Turkish intellectual circles may see a notable increase over the coming year. The continuing negative stance by Armenia toward Turkey, combined with its judgmental behavior, will likely block the serious formation of diplomatic relations this coming year. In addition, the question of Nagorno-Karabakh is one that concerns the entire international community, as it relates to Armenia's approach to international law and respect for the principles of land unity. Turkey continues its support for the Prague accords, which came about in 2004 under the initiative of the Minsk Group co-leaders; this accord aims to find a peaceful solution to the ongoing problem in the southern Caucasus as it relates to Nagorno-Karabakh. Ankara, while hoping fervently for the normalization, if possible, of relations with neighboring Yerevan, is resolute in its determination not to take any steps until it sees positive steps on this front from Yerevan itself.
    15.01.2008


    Historical Possibility To Regulate Armenian-Turkish Relations
    The United States of America encourages Turkey to use the historic chance and to open the boarders with Armenia.

    Today the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairman M. Bryza took part in “Wider Black Sea Region, International and Regional Security Perspectives” international conference. He added that the regulation of Armenia-Turkish relations is deeply connected with the NKR antagonisms regulation. “Turkey made terms to Armenia in the regulation of their relations, but US hopes that the terms would be canceled,” he said. According to Bryza, Armenia also can do something, like accepting the boarders of Armenia as they are nowadays.

    As for the NKR question, Bryza aid that the negotiations came to a very serious stage, and the both sides should revise whatever they have presented in Madrid. Bryza said that Armenia and Azerbaijan negotiate willingly and inform the sides about the most important and serious changes.
    Source: Panorama.am


    Black Sea Region Never Existed
    16.01.2008
    /PanARMENIAN.Net/ There is no united Black Sea region, as a matter of fact, Director of the Caucasus Media Institute Alexander Iskandaryan said at Wider Black Sea: Perspectives for International and Regional Security conference in Yerevan.

    “The Black Sea region doesn’t exist. It’s not united either geographically or culturally or historically. The entire history of the region was the history of separation but not of consolidation,” he said. “It was the region of confrontation. “Presently, politicians attempt to form a unified region despite numerous economic projects basing on political interests.”

    “We can speak of commonness of languages and cultures but the future promises more and more discrepancies,” he resumed, Novosti Armenia reports.


    The Turks' Notorious Reconciliation
    January 16, 2008 C. Cem OGUZ

    To many Westerners, Europeans in particular, “the Armenian genocide” is a clear-cut fact. It seems that the only point of contention is how to make Turkey eventually recognize it. Some say that since the Turks have failed to reconcile themselves with their past, they must be forced, either with the help of parliamentary resolutions or political sticks, to admit and accept the “genocide.” This is a stance supported by Armenia and the Armenian diaspora.

    Others, on the other hand, believe that recognition should first come from inside Turkey. It is precisely for this reason that they are attempting to exert pressure on Turkey to abolish article 301 of the Turkish Penal Code. This stance is based on a naive and misleading portrait of an authoritarian state in Turkey, a kind of Orwellian big brother, preventing the Turkish people from doing what they are normally expected to do.

    The eventual result is a classic of black comedy, not only for Turks but also for Armenians. Vice Chairman of the European Commission Franco Frattini's contradictory remarks, during the second convention of European Armenians hosted by the Christian Democrat group in the European Parliament, is the best example in that regard. Contrary to his cautious messages in the meeting hall, Frattini was reportedly unhesitating in revealing his personal “support” for recognizing the events as “genocide” while answering questions by journalists. To Frattini, the best solution for Turkey's coming to terms with the events of 1915 was the German model of recognizing the Holocaust.

    History is the key

    In justifying why the tragic events of 1915 should be considered as genocide, both groups point to the fact that the Armenian claims have been endorsed by a group of academics. In its recent verdict against Turkish Workers' Party (IP) leader Dogu Perinçek, who was sentenced last year by a Lausanne court under an anti-racism law for denying the alleged genocide, for instance, Switzerland's Federal Tribunal ruled that many historians, the European Parliament and numerous national parliaments considered the killings as genocide. The verdict is the best example how each body that takes an affirming position serves to encourage others and helps our Armenian friends oppose any challenge to their version of mainstream historiography. The other side of the coin is persistently neglected.

    In such a milieu, it becomes only the Armenian version of events that are taught to Western kids, and with noble considerations indeed. Just recently, Canada's education ministry was reported to have taken a contentious step to include the alleged genocide of Armenians in the high school curriculum in two state schools, one being in Toronto and the other in York. According to the Toronto District School Board, “the tragedies and horrors of genocidal acts in the past and present must be studied and addressed” and “democracy, justice and rule of law must be understood, claimed and defended by each generation of citizens if we are to confront this demonstration of human evil.”

    It seems that the only option left to Turkey is a profound analysis of history. What I suggest is not the joint commission between Armenian and Turkish historians. As I said in the past, Armenians would not consent to this proposal when they believe the battle is already won. None of historians of Armenian descent would risk being a member of this joint commission, especially if such an archival investigation would definitely display the methodological weaknesses of the accounts they use to claim the events were genocide.

    As unjust as it may be, in the situation described above where much of the rest of the world is in disagreement with us, the onus is on this country to prove the claims wrong. The best thing to do in that regard is to commission an investigation into the matter, with both sides of the argument and supporting evidence laid out and examined without any predetermination of what the result might be. A parliamentary commission to which Turkish historians “with differing views” will be included will be the best solution. Otherwise, what Turkey will have to deal with will be nothing more than a mere cat-mouse game. In fact, a recent news story by Today's Zaman regarding two Justice and Development Party (AKP) deputies' meeting with Democrat Congressman Adam Schiff, the main architect of the recent “Armenian Genocide Resolution Bill,” precisely exemplifies this phenomenon.

    According to the story, one of these deputies, Burhan Kayatürk, related to Schiff “experiences from his own life” regarding the Armenians' atrocities of the time against the Muslims. He told him how his grandfather was killed by his Armenian neighbors. In response, Schiff reportedly admittedly said, “I've never heard these stories before, and quite frankly I'm touched by them.” It was actually for the first time that he was hearing “something different.” I am absolutely sure that Mr. Schiff does not know anything about Ottoman Armenians either. Could he have heard, for instance, that in the run-up to this tragic period, the Armenian nationalists murdered prominent Armenians who warned against risings such as the Patriarch in Istanbul?

    Actually, it is this milieu in which we Turks are expected to become reconciled with our past! And that we call nothing more than mere politics…


    US Jewish Lobby's Turkish Interests Support Is Display of Friendship to Muslims & Jews
    16.01.08 10:27
    Israel, Jerusalem, 15 January/corr. Trend R. Abdullayev, R. Hafizoglu/ Turkey and Israel are strategic partners and the announcement that representatives of the Jewish lobby in the US will support Turkish interests is a demonstration of the friendship between Muslims and the Jewish, high ranking experts said.

    “ Ankara has always considered Israel and the Jewish lobby in the US to be its own true strategic partners,” the ambassador of Turkey to Israel Namig Tan said to Trend on 15 January.

    Abe Foxman, the head of the Anti-Defamation League of the US, a well-known representative of the Jewish Diaspora, announced that the Jewish community is ready to lobby Turkish interests during the Turkish president’s visit to Washington. According to Dunya Bulteni, a Turkish news agency, Foxman said: “The Jews are always with the Turks.” In connection to this the pro-Islamic community of Turkey, Milli Qorus, accused President Abdulla Gul of pro-Jewish policy which runs contrary to Islam values.

    Turkey is the first Muslim country to recognize Israel, the diplomat said. “ Turkey has specific strategic links of military and economic cooperation with Israel, however Turkey cooperates with the entire Arab world as well,” he said.

    According to Namig Tan, the cooperation between Turkey and Israel allows Ankara to accomplish the mission of peacekeeper between Israel and the Arab world. “ Turkey is a unique country of the region and has very good relations with Israel and the Arab world. The Israelites, Palestinians and representatives of the Arab world trust us. Turkey is an ideal country from an intermediary mission point of view that it can regulate the Near East problem. Currently Turkey has the potential to serve as a bridge between East and West, between different civilizations and religions,” Namig Tan said.

    The President of the Congress of Azerbaijanis in the Near East Alex Shapiro Suliman considers the words of Foxman as a true example of the friendship between Muslims and Jews. “Though Turkey has very good relations with the Arab world, Ankara sees Israel and the Jewish lobby of the US through the prism of national interest as strategic allies,” Shapiro Suliman said to Trend on 15 January.

    According to Suliman, the Turkish Diaspora has cooperated with the Jewish Diaspora in issues that presented strategic interest for the region. For example, the lobbying in US Congress in support of the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan (BTC) oil pipeline and in support of abolition of discrimination with respect to Azerbaijan and the 907th amendment to the Freedom Support Act of Congress.

    According to Suliman, such cooperation used to be and will be a great success and it is doubtless that the development of strategic cooperation with America’s Jewish organizations strengthens the alliance of Turkish-Azerbaijani Diasporas in many respects.

    According to Merve Kavachi, an expert at George Washington University, Abe Foxman’s words “The Jews are always with the Turks” cannot be understood unambiguously. “The statements of the head of the Jewish Diaspora were not made in support of the Turkish President,” Merve Kavachi, former MP of Turkey said to Trend from Washington over the telephone. “I do not believe that the Jewish lobby support Islamic adherent Abdulla Gul,” he added. “Such statements serve to cool developing relations between the Arab and Turkish worlds.”

    According to a political expert, George Bush’s recent statement: “ Turkey proved that Islam and democracy can work together” is a moment that attracts attention. “The prime minister of Turkey, Rejeb Tayyip Erdogan, pursues a more moderate policy with respect to the US, Bush recognized the choice of the Turkish people,” the expert said.


    U.S. Never Denied Mass Killings Of Armenians In Ottoman Empire
    15.01.2008
    /PanARMENIAN.Net/ “Every year on April 24 the U.S. President addresses the Armenian nation to express condolences on mass killings of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire in 1915. We have never denied this fact,” U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Matthew Bryza said at Wider Black Sea: Perspectives for International and Regional Security international conference.

    “There are problems with terms top officials use. As to H.Res.106, I am confident that historical issues are not the prerogative of legislators,” the diplomat said.


    Bryza: Armenia Right To Urge Turkey To Drop Preconditions
    15.01.2008
    /PanARMENIAN.Net/ The U.S. policy in the Black Sea region is targeted at formation of geopolitical cooperation center in various fields, including economy, energy and regional security, U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Matthew Bryza said at Wider Black Sea: Perspectives for International and Regional Security international conference.

    “The U.S. tries to find common interests between Russia and Turkey and all other states of the Black Sea basin including South Caucasus. One of the most important tasks is establishment of diplomatic relations between Armenia and Turkey and opening of the border. This can be a partial opening, encouragement of economic ties and joint economic projects,” he said.

    “The U.S. calls Turkey to normalize relations with Armenia without participation of a third country, Azerbaijan, and to drop preconditions. A slogan “One nation, two states” reigning in Turkey and Azerbaijan should be changed,” he said and added, “Armenia is right to urge Turkey to abandon setting preconditions but it should also recognize the borders of modern Turkey.”


    Talking Turkey
    www.washingtontimes.com January 15, 2008

    By Tulin Daloglu - Since the Republic of Turkey was founded in 1923, secularism and the Kurdish national identity have been extremely sensitive issues. And since September 11, the restlessness in Turkish society about these issues, which should have been resolved long ago, has been exacerbated by increased threats along the country's borders that further complicate the trouble. As a result, Turkey finds itself in what is arguably the most crucial turning point in its history.

    Last week, President Bush stressed these two important points when he and Turkish President Abdullah Gul appeared before the cameras after their White House meeting. "I think Turkey sets a fantastic example for nations around the world to see where it's possible to have a democracy coexist with a great religion like Islam," Mr. Bush said. "I view Turkey as a bridge between Europe and the Islamic world. ... It's in the interest of peace that Turkey be admitted into the EU."

    Former Turkish Ambassador Faruk Logoglu said he thinks Mr. Bush's statement is positive, but lacks a critical point that calls into question whether the United States is sincere in supporting Turkey's membership in the European Union. "While [Mr. Bush] was referring to democracy [in Turkey], I believe the thing that was missing in the statement was him not emphasizing secularism," Mr. Logoglu said. Since Mr. Bush's first term, he explained — when then-National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice called the members of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) "moderate Islamists" — in their view, there exists in Turkey both a democratic system of government and an Islamic state as well.

    When First Lady Laura Bush hosted a tea party for visiting Turkish first lady Hayrunnisa Gul, however, Mrs. Bush knew she was talking to a Muslim first; Mrs. Gul's head is covered and she dresses in the Islamic style. However, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, Turkey's founding father, opposed anything that set his people apart — which is why he made external expressions, like the way people dress, so important. Yet, there's an image of Turks in the European Union — an image created by many Turkish immigrants who have taken their headscarves and Islamic-style dress with them when they've gone to live in various European countries.

    That's significant, and while Mrs. Gul has been their face at the White House, "Europe, like many societies, largely defines its identity by who is not us," explained Professor Catherine J. Ross of George Washington University Law School. "Who we are is defined by who is the 'other' — and Muslims and Turks fulfill that role." Speaking about secularism and Islamic identity in Turkey at American University Law School, she raised the example of Turkish immigrants in Germany drawing parallels with their educational and economic status. "[T]he teaching of religious classes in the public schools in Germany and how Turks have not assimilated there is very important," she said. Then she opened this question to debate: If Turks are "[f]ree to wear veils to school ... have they in some way been misled by the fiction... that it would be a positive thing to go public with their religion in a way that [could] actually backfire, as it may diminish their chances of assimilation and success?"

    French President Nicolas Sarkozy has raised yet another question. He says he needs time to "find the ways and means to create a European Islam." And while it's difficult to agree with all of Mr. Sarkozy's criticism on Turkish membership in the EU, his point deserves to be underlined. Evidently he needs time because Europeans are not convinced that Turks have built a "contemporary Islam."

    Ataturk's definition of "secularism" is viewed by traditionalists as a kind of destiny in itself, and they deem it as a form of atheism. On the contrary, like the founding fathers, Ataturk was a deist, who believed in God, but that God maintains no relation in determining people's faith. That's why he prioritized science and wisdom to traditionalist religious faith. Therefore, the larger debate should not be about Islamists or Islamist rooted government in Turkey, but the report card of the Ministry of Religious Affairs. Like the numerous economic crisis that Turkish people have suffered, it's that failure that threatens secularism in Turkey.

    Finally, Professor Feruz Ahmad of Yeditepe University in Istanbul points out a trend that has been growing since the AKP came to power: When a male Islamist marries, his wife stays home — and that could be a problem. Recently, the Turkish media reported a ridiculous claim that working women become "adulterers" — surely a message to Islamist men that they should keep their women at home. Quite simply, it is not the headscarf but what is underneath — the culture that it represents — whether traditionalist Muslims can build a contemporary society is being questioned.

    One can only hope that Mr. Bush sides with Mr. Sarkozy on the need to create a "contemporary Islam" — which means an active observance of secularism that denies "political Islam" — and to better address the challenges of the future.

    Tulin Daloglu is a freelance writer.



    Identity And History By Dogu Ergil
    Part I

    After a few year of high school education I came to believe that history was a legend based on selected facts. With that reasoning, "national history" was a fact based on selected legends.

    Nevertheless, history as a collective experience or the impressions thereof has a role in the constitution of an individual and of social and cultural identities. History tells us who we are in contrast to what we ought to be, which means loading history with ideology. And all ideologies are spiritual arsenal or shields of contemporary fights.

    That is why the narrative attributed to history is so vital. We are all chapters in the collective or grand national narrative that is either our telling or th at is handed down to us by our elders as (if it is) the sole correct story. In this sense we are the stories we tell about ourselves. These stories may be true or false or a mixture of both. But as long as we believe them and act as if they are the reflections of truth, they have the power of influencing or even guiding our lives, individually or collectively. In this way self and/or collective deception is always close home.

    It does not come to us scholars as a surprise that we sort, categorize and periodize events that have happened in the past and attach a meaning to them. So, who we are is vitally important to the sorting and categorization process that we call "constructing the narrative." However, this process ends up in a different understanding of history that means emphasizing as well periodizing some of those events. As we do so, some of the real or imaginary phenomena become central and others are trivialized in "our" history.

    This is often the case because history is generally written by dominant groups or power holders in hindsight from their own time and standpoint that validates their power, privilege or social order as they see best. So we have a serious problem as to the author, or better, "maker" of history. The second important problem is the fact that history is a collective phenomenon that involves multiple actors. But historiography may yield a particular narrative glorifying only one of the actors because of the hegemony of that actor in one particular time and geography. So all historical narratives written or constructed by the excluded may be against the dominant actor that has distorted their common history. If such a thing happens, as it often does, common recollections turn into particular collections of legitimizations and glorifications shattering a common history and distorting the truth for all. The "grand narrative" crumbles into particularistic and antagonistic group stories full of hate and accusations.

    Problem Of Particularism
    Every group (people, nation, etc.) creates a procedure for the memorialization of real or imagined facts. This is for keeping the group (or its consciousness) "in perspective." The "unwanted" or the unsavory are filtered, the reaming facts and deeds are afforded "validity." So the concerned people/group can build a collective identity enriched with emotions like belonging, allegiance, dedication and sacrifice. The validity afforded to the historical narrative provides a collective frame of reference that "marks the land." The focal points or the highlights of the historical narrative are both the victories and the traumas that makes the members of the group value the present. So history is not only the depository of past events, but a below the surface value scale that weighs and gives meaning to the present.

    It is in this context that our identities are formed and sustained. If a historical narrative discriminates and excludes others who have shared it, obviously there will be a heavy dose of antagonism and aggressive feelings manifested when it is presented as the sole truth. On this occasion, bringing differing/conflicting groups in real-life situations is rather hard. The main reason for this is the fact that such an effort will threaten each party's collective identity. The groups have a need to preserve their identity as being separate -- even as contrary -- to their enemies' identity.

    Identity And The Need For Mourning
    What is the way out then? To simplify a complex phenomenon, we may say, "Bring closure through mourning" over the loss of people, land, prestige and so on (crucial valuables) that make up a "trauma." People invest considerable emotion into traumas because of the loss of crucial valuables. Mourning becomes an important and integral part of their identity. It may be equally informative to know that people do not only mourn the loss of their "valuables" but also for the loss of material or human elements that serve as the target of their hate: the enemy, for example. The enemy becomes an integral part of group identity especially if history is built on traumas.

    Mourning occurs because the human mind can only deal with a traumatic loss by emotionally accepting it. This is an internal (psychological) process that builds bridges with the lost persons or material valuables, like land. The mourning process comes to a healthy end when the person or group acknowledges the loss and lays the lost valuable to rest. In fact this process is a mechanism whereby the individual or the group rests its mind over the agony of loss. Only then the lost valuables (persons or objects) become "futureless," meaning they do not keep the mind and the soul of the grieving person or group captive any more. When completed, the mourning process allows the initiation of adaptive liberation from old burdens of history that no more cater for psychological needs. The image of a lost person or thing thus becomes a "memory" and we become ready to accept changes or losses. From then on persons and groups can invest into new persons or things that will be part of their post-mourning identity.

    On the other hand the mourning process may become complicated because the person or group cannot get over its agony of lost valuables. In this instance a mourner cannot accept an apology from another person or group that is perceived as the cause of its loss. The anger and hostility that the mourner harbors are reinforced with a sense of victimization that becomes part of her/his identity as time goes by. To accept a perpetrator's apology means to alter the post-traumatic identity of the mourner, which itself will be a new loss. So it is very hard to accept apologies for those who have not concluded their mourning or who do not want to do so. The humiliation associated with the trauma and ensuing loss prevents the mourner from completing the process and forgiving the perpetrator.

    Such "emotional freezing" in time exhibits itself in political ideologies. This happens especially when losses are caused deliberately by others. The vicious circle can only be broken through a reconciliation process with the perpetrator or by membership to comprehensive (international) organizations that could alleviate the security anxiety of the victim. For example, since Greece's membership in the European Union, its investment in anti-Turkish ideology has been reduced considerably. However, this is not so with the Serbians and Armenians, who have assimilated victimhood into their group identity as a response to their past losses which they still mourn for.

    If a group that is fundamentally traumatized by others (who have become the "enemy" despite a long life together) cannot conclude its mourning in an adaptive way, it cannot successfully reverse helplessness and humiliation. In this instance, the unfinished task of mourning leads to "transgenerational transmission" and is passed on from one generation to the other.

    The person or group becomes a perennial mourner like the Shiites and the Jews. They begin to produce antagonistic ideologies and revengeful strategies against the perpetrator, its heirs or its symbolic substitutes. The "enemy" (object/subject of hate) becomes an integral part of their collective identity. Perennial mourners on the whole do not wish to give up the hope of recovering what has been lost and hatred becomes the fuel of their "long wait" in history. This is how they cope with the helplessness and humiliation suffered during or because of the massive trauma they have undergone. But then, they cannot go through a "normal" mourning process. We see this happen to people living during wars and in war-like conditions. 14.01.2008

    Part II
    When a traumatized group cannot overcome its feelings of resentment, helplessness and humiliation and cannot effectively go through the process of mourning, it transfers these unfinished psychological tasks to future generations.

    Such transmissions may take place through deliberate official policies and formal education, or they may take place unconsciously in the family environment during child rearing. When the group's historical narrative is passed onto the child with stories of ancestors that have experienced a massive trauma and severe losses, children of the next generation(s) are given a serious task that links them with the group's history, which is learned as the sole truth. They are obligated to finish their ancestor's mourning process by reversing pain, shame and humiliation. This is often done by turning humiliation into accusation, helplessness into assertion and hatred into lasting political and diplomatic strategies that would harm the "enemy." This trans-generational transmission connects the members of the group mentally and emotionally and carves out an identity out of a traumatic reading of history.

    Traumatized groups, who may not have the "power" to turn their passivity into assertiveness, may idealize victimhood. Scholar Joseph V. Montville defines victimhood as:

    "A state of individual and collective ethnic mind that occurs when the traditional structures that provide an individual sense of security and self-worth through membership in a group are shattered by aggressive, violent political outsiders. Victimhood can be characterized by either an extreme or persistent sense of mortal vulnerability."

    When victimhood is acquired as a state of mind, not only does it becomes the foundation of group identity but it also deafens the traumatized group to the apology offered by the perpetrators or their descendents. In order to accept such an apology and to forgive the descendents of their ancestors' enemy, the group would have to abandon its shared sense of "idealized victimhood." But then, this is also a traumatic process because its identity is shaped by victimhood.

    Such a "chosen trauma" may assume new functions as it passes from one generation to the next. In some generations when; 1 - the perpetrator or its descendents insist on denying their past wrongdoings; 2 - the group is still under domination; 3 - the group has not acquired enough power and leverage to overcome its helplessness and humiliation, it may sustain its shared and idealized victimhood. Or a subgroup may appear amongst the wider traumatized group that may be called "avengers." Avengers carry no guilt for the wrongdoings and brutalities they commit against the perpetrator or better, their descendents, because their victims are the source of the "original sin."

    Fundamental Human Needs: What Is To Be Done?
    The healing process between antagonistic parties that are linked with a trauma that they differentially interpret and emotionally invest in must begin with "humanizing" the "other" or the "enemy." This requires reconstructing the relationship between the two parties. The process may be a totally rational choice and a deliberate act of both parties, or an occasion offered by another trauma (like an earthquake, drought or war with a neighbor). The helping hand and care extended by the old "enemy" may soften hard feelings (by sublimating them) and usher in more positive ones.

    In other words, the need to sustain victimhood may be transformed when these needs may be met by the positive approach of the old "enemy."

    Individuals and groups have undeniable needs and rights for recognition, dignity and security in both physical and psychological terms. This involves the right to the identity that they attribute to themselves. They aspire for acknowledgement as a group that is worthy of respect and participation in the decisions and policies that are carried out concerning their well-being. A group suffers and feels insecure (victimized) when these human needs are absent or threatened. So contending parties must be sensitive to these needs of the "other" to normalize and humanize relations.

    Effective communication is equally important to pass on the cooperative and peaceful intentions of one party to the other. If one party feels that they are on the losing end of a relationship, this will affect the way the group thinks and interacts with the other. So, a healing process must entail deconstructing unequal power perceptions. No party must feel itself as a continual victim of the actual or imagined aggression of the other party. There can be no solution until that relationship is transformed and both parties feel more empowered and less likely to be victimized again. 15.01.2008

    Part III
    There are situations in which both groups in a conflict see themselves as the "victim" and their opponent as the aggressor. This is a very complicated phenomenon whereby parties compete over who has suffered more and who has been more victimized by the other.
    They may initiate crusades to persuade third parties who the real victim and aggressor is. Their efforts may reach the dimensions of global campaigns that drain most of their energy, which could have been invested into more productive aims.

    To move beyond these deeply rooted conflicts, each group must realize that they have a shared history. This means a long walk in history together. Somewhere along the line, misunderstandings and misdeeds separated them that may have reached the dimensions of massive atrocities and massacres. The reasons behind this separation and the subsequent tragedies that have occurred must be analyzed to understand what went wrong and why both groups went their own way, interpreting past events differently. Analyzing what really happened objectively is a colossal task that must be done by demystifying and de-emotionalizing the past. Nationalism does not allow it. Victimhood poisons it. Vengeance kills it.

    It is indeed very hard to accept that one's enemies may feel victimized, too. For victimhood is not only a matter of self perception, but of a self in a system of relations with others. Victimhood is a state from which all individuals and groups need to recover to dispel the "burden of history" and to lead normal lives in today's world. Acknowledging victimhood as a problem is the first step toward recovery. Part of the healing process for victims is regaining self-esteem by learning that the "other" is also human and has suffered through the traumatic events they have passed through as well. This process allows the groups to begin transforming their antagonistic relationship, which enabled victimization, into something much more positive and constructive, like cooperation in ridding them of their different interpretations of history.

    This purging process must be done to set the record straight. Then contending sides may come together once again in a history that was lost to both of them. This is difficult, but can it be done for the sole reason that any group harbors the innate desire to get rid of the stigma of "victim." For victimhood entails defeat, helplessness and the inability to defend oneself. Reconciliation between adversaries must aim to restore the self-esteem of the "victims." Low self-esteem distorts a group's perception of others. When a group perceives a large distinction between the power, prestige and self-esteem of itself and others, the "others" can be seen as less human. Then it seems morally acceptable to humiliate and even kill the other.

    Basic elements for recovering from the victimizing trauma include the following:

    * Safety from violence and humiliation. Both groups would assure the other side that they would no longer pose a danger to their life, freedom and well being.

    * Unearthing the common past (history) and a general agreement on the history of the conflict that would yield new information and new interpretations of the past. This means "deconstructing the trauma" and its associated identities.

    * Acknowledgment from the other side of their suffering. Public expressions by respected representatives of each group that voice or demonstrate the new relationship and understanding born out of a new understanding of history.

    * Mutual acceptance of responsibility, recognizing one's own wrongdoings and accepting responsibility for them. Ideally these processes should be mutual and reciprocal.

    * Contrition and forgiveness for the past and demonstration of willingness for future cooperation and possibly coexistence.

    * Changing group members' negative perceptions about the "enemy" and re-establishing trust by utilizing the concept of "removing doubt" through dialogue, press releases and history books. Transformation also requires negotiations on the future relationships of the former enemies. Thus each other's humanity is recognized together with its psychological needs, beliefs and values.

    * Transforming public consciousness by utilizing mass media after the leadership of both groups agrees on how to resolve the conflict. This would involve a belief system of common humanity with the adversary. After mass media does its work in disseminating new ideas and interpretations, more informal (civil society) networks must get involved in altering people's attitudes and persuading them. The change should start with altering perceptions of the opinion leaders, who would in turn influence their followers. Social scientific findings indicate that if new attitudes are adopted by 15-17 percent of the population, this can start a diffusion process that can affect the whole society and start fundamental change. Then the "identirati" (that is, those of us obsessed with identity) and the demagogues leave the stage to true leaders and peacemakers who would look to the future rather than to a past that is no more.
    16.01.2008


    Acknowledging The Armenian Genocide Would Be In Pres. Bush's Best Interest!
    By Harut Sassounian, Publisher, The California Courier

    Did Pres. George W. Bush experience sudden pangs of conscience or a miraculous conversion on the Armenian Genocide during his visit to Holy Land last week? Don't bet on it!

    At a time and place that the President least expected, an Armenian clergyman reminded him of his unfulfilled eight-year-old campaign pledge to acknowledge the Armenian Genocide.

    While visiting the Church of Nativity in Bethlehem's Manger Square, the birthplace of Jesus -- jointly administered by the Roman Catholic, Greek Orthodox and Armenian Apostolic Churches -- Archbishop Aris Shirvanian, the head of the ecumenical and foreign relations department of the Armenian Patriarchate of Jerusalem, surprised Pres. Bush by reminding him of his unkept promise to the Armenian-American community.

    Welcoming the U.S. President to this holy site, Archbishop Shirvanian informed him that Armenia was the first country to adopt Christianity as its state religion in 301 AD. That was news to Pres. Bush. The Armenian clergyman then urged the President to support the passage of the pending congressional resolution on the Armenian Genocide.

    Ironically, the Archbishop was talking to a president who had not only violated his solemn campaign pledge, but had done everything in his power to subvert the will of the majority of the House of Representatives to pass a non-binding commemorative resolution acknowledging the first genocide of the 20th Century.

    Abp. Shirvanian was quoted by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty as telling Pres. Bush that he should push for the recognition of the Armenian Genocide "before the end of his term in office." In other words, the Armenian clergyman was politely telling the President of the United States that this year was his last chance to redeem himself politically and morally by acting on his earlier pledge.

    Indeed, during the seven years of his presidency, Pres. Bush has been issuing commemorative statements every April 24, the anniversary of the Armenian Genocide, using all kinds of euphemisms such as massacres and mass killingsto describe the extermination of 1.5 million Armenians by Ottoman Turkey, while carefully avoiding the term "genocide."

    Pres. Bush responded to Abp. Shirvanian's suggestion with an interesting but vague answer. He told the Armenian cleric that he had talked about the Armenian Genocide to the President of Turkey Abdullah Gul during the latter's visit to the White House last week. Pres. Bush also told the Archbishop that he has been thinking about this subject, without saying what was he actually contemplating.

    Before leaving Bethlehem, Pres. Bush thanked the clergymen of the three denominations for the opportunity to visit the Church of Nativity. "It's a moving moment for me and the delegation to be here at the Church of the Nativity,"he said after the tour. "For those of us who practice the Christian faith, there's really no more holy site than the place where our Savior was born."The President added: "It's a fascinating history in this church, so not only was my soul uplifted, my knowledge of history was enriched."

    Abp. Shirvanian should be highly commended for his bold initiative. He did the right thing by reminding the American President that he had an unpaid debt to Armenians, and no matter where he went, he would be confronted with his broken promise.

    However, in my view, Armenians should stop begging Pres. Bush to acknowledge the Armenian Genocide in his final April 24 statement this year. After all,a former more prominent president, Ronald Reagan, did issue a Presidential Proclamation back in 1981 acknowledging the Armenian Genocide. Pres. Bush or any subsequent president who issues such an acknowledgment in the future would be simply reconfirming the well-known facts of the Armenian Genocide.

    If it is true that Pres. Bush is rethinking this issue, as he said he was in Bethlehem, it is my belief that such reconsideration would be in his own best interest, assuming that he ends up acknowledging the Armenian Genocide. By doing so, he would be safeguarding his moral legacy and absolve himself from the sin of making a false promise to Armenian Americans in order to obtain their support for his election to the White House back in 2000.

    It is up to Pres. Bush whether he wants to be remembered as a man who keeps his word or prefers to join the ranks of other genocide/holocaust deniers, like Turkish President Abdullah Gul and Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. It remains to be seen if a miraculous transformation did indeed take place in Bethlehem!


    Marcom's Book About 1915 Genocide To be Made Into Hollywood Movie
    By Josh Getlin, Los Angeles Times/The California Courier

    Jose Rivera, Oscar-nominated screenwriter ("The Motorcycle Diaries"), options Micheline Marcom's "Three Apples Fell From Heaven," a powerful novel about the Armenian genocide.

    Marcom is represented on literary rights by Sandra Dijkstra at the Sandra Dijkstra Literary Agency and on film rights by Liza Wachter at the Rabineau, Wachter, Sanford & Harris Literary Agency. Rivera is represented by United Talent Agency and Rick Berg of Code Entertainment. The novel was published by Riverhead Books.

    Sometimes in Hollywood it's not who you know but how well you know them. Although Rivera and Marcom were represented by well-connected industry players, their recent book-to-film deal was driven more by a personal relationship. Soon after Marcom's novel was published, she met actress and producer Sona Tatoyan at a Los Angeles reading. Tatoyan, like Marcom, is of Armenian descent, and she became passionate about the highly praised book. She gave a copy of it to her then-boyfriend (and now husband), Rivera, who had a similar reaction. As their friendships deepened, the screenwriter became convinced that the bookwas not just a potentially great film, he saw it as the Armenian community's equivalent to "Schindler's List."

    But adapting the novel would not be easy. Marcom's dream-like text shifts back and forth in time, with a profusion of characters. One of the most unforgettable segments is the interior monologue of an Armenian infant who is left with other children under a grove of trees during his family's death march from its ancestral village. "A lot of authors are accused of writing novels thatfeel like screenplays," Rivera said. "But you can't say that about Micheline. She wrote a literary gem. And it's a challenge for a filmmaker."

    Rivera was deeply committed to the project, so much so that he wrote a screenplay based on an oral agreement with Marcom; the two signed an optiondeal only when his agents began hunting for a director. Both see the process more as a labor of love than a legal arrangement. "It felt, and still feels, like Jose's screenplay has been a collaboration between the two of us," Marcom said. "But there are two different creative worlds here, and I'm not involved in the film one all that much. In the end, he'll have to follow his own muse."


    Dialogue Only Way To Overcome Turkish Armenian Disputes
    January 14, 2008 Ankara - Turkish Daily News

    The state of Turkey's frozen diplomatic relations with Armenia seems to be a set of seemingly immense chasms on key political matters, with desperate attempts by actors in civil society to bridge them with dialogue.

    A compilation of perspectives from a series of questionnaires conducted by the Yerevan-based Analytical Center on Globalization and Regional Cooperation, supported by the Eurasia Foundation, among the representatives of both countries, has reasserted this pattern, revealing the entrenched positions of politicians on opposing sides as well as the unending demands for dialogue from civil society.

    Interviewees asserted that Armenian insistence to call mass killings of Armenians at the hands of the Ottoman Empire as genocide, Armenia's occupation of Nagorno-Karabakh (a region internationally recognized as Azerbaijani territory) and closed borders are the three main obstacles to the normalization of Turkish-Armenian relations.

    Former ambassador and deputy chairman of the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP), Onur Öymen, in a question and answer session said that Turkey has established contact with Armenia on technical and diplomatic levels, but stiffens against Armenian diplomats' hard and accusatory manner. “There are serious problems such as Armenian documents that show some parts of eastern Anatolia as being Armenian territory,” he added.

    Politicians' impasse

    Öymen's position stands in stark contrast to the views of Artak Zakaryan, council member of the ruling Republican Party of Armenia, on the diplomatic void between the Turkish and Armenian capitals. “Armenia continues to make the appropriate moves in order to overcome the roadblocks,” Zakaryan said. But Öymen has drawn a different image of willingness of Armenian politicians to initiate dialogue. “The Turkish Parliament made a call, but there was no positive response from Armenia,” he said. Öymen was referring to Parliament's call to establish a joint commission with Armenia to investigate the events of 1915.

    Zakaryan's last word on Turkish-Armenian relations reflects the seemingly unbridgeable positions of the two countries. “Turkey continues the policy of setting preconditions for relations with Armenia, which is, of course, unacceptable,” he said, while Öymen has made improvement of relations with Yerevan conditional on Armenia's renouncement of claims on Turkish borders and on its alleged “genocide” claims, its withdrawal from Nagorno-Karabakh and other occupied Azerbaijani territories, and its allowing internally displaced Azerbaijanis to return to their homes.

    Preconditions the main obstacle

    Hard talk sometimes drowns out more conciliatory voices on both sides that denounce preconditions to starting dialogue. Gegham Nazaryan, member of the Board of the Armenian National Movement (ANM), a liberal political party in Armenia, urged both countries to give up their preconditions and restart diplomatic dialogue.

    “Turkey yields to Azerbaijan's pressure,” he said and urged Turkey to abstain from linking Armenia-Turkey relations to progress on Nagorno-Karabakh. He also slammed Armenian politicians on one of the most sensitive and intricate of bilateral issues. “Armenia's incumbent authorities made the recognition of genocide one of the pillars of Armenia's foreign policy. Genocide recognition must not be essential for the two states' relationship. Armenia's and Turkey's authorities must demonstrate their will not to let other states exploit the genocide issue as an instrument for their own interests,” Nazaryan said.

    Benefits abound in cooperation

    Civil society representatives seem to focus more on the benefits of overcoming political obstacles in Turkish-Armenian relations. Aris Nalci, managing editor of Agos, an Istanbul-based Turkish-Armenian newspaper, whose Editor-in-Chief Hrant Dink was murdered a year ago, pointed to economic incentives for diplomatic reconciliation and the reopening of borders that were closed by Turkey's reaction to Armenian military advances in Azerbaijani territory in 1993. “Economically, there will certainly be development in the eastern region of Turkey. Businessmen in the border region will be able to avoid high taxes and smugglers, and will be able to sell products to Armenia at a lower cost,” Nalci said, adding: “This is important for the Armenian people whose purchasing power is weak.”

    Ural Aküzüm, chairman of the ARI movement, an Istanbul based non-governmental organization that promotes involvement of young people in political matters, said the true beneficiaries of disputes between Turkey and Armenia were third parties. “Trade between Turkey and Armenia takes place over Georgia and Iran. The border being closed benefits the neighboring countries,” he said. But according to Aküzüm, another party in the quagmire of Turkish Armenian relations reaps even more benefits from mistrust than regional actors: the Armenian diaspora.

    The bane of constructive dialogue: Genocide allegations

    The Armenian diaspora is known for its endeavors toward achieving laws or declarations from legislative bodies of countries around the world to force them to recognize the mass killings of Armenians 1915 as “genocide.” Some Armenian politicians have echoed the views of their foreign-based brethren, while other parties involved have agreed that the genocide issue is an unnecessary hindrance to mutual understanding.

    Zakaryan's answers on the desirability of insisting on the alleged genocide question by Armenia unveiled contradictory claims. He said that Turkey's refusal of naming the events of 1915 as genocide resulted from the possibility of moral, economic, or territorial losses, thereby spicing up his view of possible consequences with civil unrest and large ethnic strife. Yet in the very same answer, he said that Armenia sought improvement of the atmosphere of mutual trust in the region by insisting on the genocide claims.

    Öymen has called for more balanced views on the issue. “Armenia should read its own history and objective foreign sources,” he said.

    Aküzüm has pointed to Turkey's efforts to leave historical matters to historians, to avoid any poisonous effects caused by the genocide claims. “Recently the Turkish government has pursued an open policy with regard to the archives. It will contribute to dialogue if the Armenian government pursues similar initiatives,” he said and called for the establishment of a joint independent commission to handle the matter in isolation from politicians' discussions.

    Nalci affirmed that genocide claims have hampered relations. “I believe the Armenian government's attitude may be surpassed by forming good relations with the Armenian public and leaving a positive impression on them,” he said.

    Nagorno-Karabakh a testament to unbridgeable demands

    Nagorno-Karabakh is internationally recognized as Azerbaijani territory, and is under Armenian occupation along with other Azerbaijani territories. Open warfare over the secessionist region, mainly populated by Armenians, ended with a Russian brokered ceasefire in 1994, but peace is yet to be achieved. The matter is a telling example of how irreconcilable politicians' demands of each other can be. Zakaryan has accused Turkey of following a biased policy on the Nagorno-Karabakh issue. “A revision of the Turkish view would contribute much to the improvement of relations and regional stability,” he said. Öymen only agreed in that the issue is a major obstacle to development of bilateral ties: “Turkey did everything it could for this process to conclude positively. But, the presidential election in Armenia left the issue hanging in the air.” Echoing the voices of civil society representatives, Aküzüm said: “If dialogue between Turkey and Armenia were to increase, it would have a positive effect on the resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh issue.”

    The interviews conducted with representatives of Armenia and Turkey were published in the last issue of Turkish Policy Quarterly.


    Foxman Assures Gul That Genocide Bill Is Not Relevant
    ISTANBUL (Marmara)--During his visit to the United States, Turkish President Abdullah Gul met Thursday with representatives of Jewish organizations, among them the Anti-Defamation League, who assured the Turkish leader that the Armenian Genocide resolution pending in Congress should not worry his government or the Turkish people.
    During a meeting with ADL national chairman Abraham Foxman, Gul was assured of the organization's opposition to the Genocide Resolution, adding that the matter was no longer a relevant concern for Jewish organizations, which will continue to oppose the measure.

    Foxman said that his organization was pleased that Turkey had friendly relations with the US, Israel and the Jewish-American community.

    After his meeting with Gul, Foxman told reporters that the Armenian Genocide Resolution had ceased to be an issue, since it was not the Congressional agenda. After reiterating his organization's opposition, he added that utilizing the Armenian Genocide issue for political gain was wrong. He also urged for the creation of a council of historians to assess the events of 1915.


    January 11, 2008
    Bush Visits Bethlehem, Reminded About Armenian Genocide
    Bethlehem (Armradio)--President George Bush was asked to reconsider the Armenian Genocide Resolution by Primate Aris Shirvanian of the Jerusalem Diocese of the Armenian Apostolic Church last week during the presidents working visit to Israel and the Middle East.

    After talks with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, Bush attended Chapel at the Church of the Nativity of Christ where he met with the Christian religious leaders of the community. Primate Shirvanian reminded President Bush that the Armenians were the first nation to adopt Christianity as the state religion. He also requested that the American President reconsider his stance on the Armenian Genocide resolution (H.Res. 106).

    President Bush told Shirvanian that he spoke about the issue with the Turkish President and is thinking it over it.


    Young Blood For Turkish Lobbying In Washington
    January 14, 2008, Elif Özmenek, New York - Turkish Daily News

    For many years now Turkish lobbying efforts in the United States have not proved very influential in promoting bilateral cultural and social ties.

    What has been emphasized in the lobbying activities was only the strategic importance of Turkey for the United States. Predictably, within this scope, youth did not play a big part in lobbying efforts.

    However, for the last couple of years this has been changing dramatically. The recent summer internship program of Turkish Industrialists' and Businessmen's Association United States branch (TÜSIAD-US) and the Turkish Coalition of America (TCA) is an excellent example of this transformation.

    TÜSIAD-US and TCA announced they are now accepting applications for the “Summer of Internship Program,” an eight-week program for Turkish-American students and recent college graduates to work in the offices of members of the U.S. Congress this summer.

    The program is expected to provide an opportunity for Turkish-American students to live and work in Washington D.C. and become familiar with U.S. governmental bodies and policy-making processes.

    Preparing future leaders:

    TÜSIAD-US and TCA, through this program, intend to contribute to the preparation of future Turkish-American political leaders, and enhance the participation of the Turkish-American community in American political life. Internship responsibilities in congressional offices usually include monitoring congressional hearings, performing data entry, answering constituent mail, researching legislative issues, and performing other administrative tasks.

    The number of Turkish immigrants as registered voters is very low, a disadvantage for the Turkish lobby, said political analysts.

    The “Summer Internship Program” will provide opportunities for prospective interns to meet with House and Senate members and engage in dialogue on matters important to bilateral relations. During the eight-week period, program participants will have the opportunity to attend intellectual, social and cultural events, such as meetings at think tanks, congressional hearings, events at the Turkish Embassy and sightseeing tours of Washington D.C.

    At the end of the program, “interns will be expected to present a report evaluating their experience and remain generally engaged within the Turkish-American community,” said the organizations' press release.

    TÜSIAD-US and TCA will each sponsor up to five internships at congressional offices for two months between June and August. These internships will entail a monthly stipend ranging between $250 and $750, based on the needs of the intern, for a period of two months. Being a U.S. citizen of Turkish descent, having relevant educational background and presenting past interest and experience in community and public service will be the criteria for selection.


    Understanding The ‘Other’: Whose ‘Truth’ Is Correct ?

    When I first came to the United States in 1994 as a graduate of history major to pursue an MA degree, I had been shocked many times in the first month that I faced with the same question, the Armenian genocide. I do not remember how many times the conversation with an American began with the movie called “Midnight Express”. Although I was a history major, I had almost no concept of genocide and had little knowledge about what happened to Armenians during WW I. Neither in the history books nor in the social memory and consciousness of Turkish people, the Armenian issue still do not occupy big importance. Even the bloody terrorist attacks on the Turkish diplomatic missions did not put the Armenian issue at the center of national discussion.

    If we look at the present position of the Turkish-Armenian relations, one hardly sees any possible understanding of each other. There are certain and perpetual obstacles for the reconciliation and comprehension of the problem. The first one is the politization of the issue which mostly comes from the Armenian Diaspora. Trying to force the politicians of different countries, who are actually more concern with their home politics and their voters than with the Armenian genocide, to pass resolutions against Turkey is nothing other than politicizing the issue and widening the gap between the parties for reconciliation. More importantly this process paves way to liquidation of history. Needless to say, history has always been a tool in the hands of politicians. Many national histories of kind witness to that fact. While the Armenian Diaspora tries to produce its own version of the history of what had happened during World War I, Turkey creates its own story, mostly in response to Armenian claims. The second step taken by both parties is the feeding of the people with their own biased version of the history of WW I. The passing of resolutions respecting the Armenian genocide in some third party countries’ parliaments does not constitute anything for the historians to use it as the proof of the Armenian genocide. It makes the issue more complicated and political one. In return to this activities, Turkey use its political, economic and diplomatic power to evade the impact of these political activities.

    Personal stories and memoirs occupy more place than the archival sources in the present literature of the Armenian genocide. Since a huge population of Armenians are living in different countries and constituting a powerful Diaspora, past social memories and transmission of these to the next generations become important. In addition to this, the question of why they live oversea countries may be asked and have to be answered. Therefore, the Armenian Diaspora concerning the tragic events that took place almost a century ago during the World War I, in which all the peoples including Armenians and Turks living in the Ottoman Empire were paid a heavy price, is trying to put all responsibility on Turkey’s shoulders which is totally unfair by any standards. This became an undisputed fact for the Armenian Diaspora and never to be discussed or even researched. Accordingly, if one is going to do research and write or talk about the subject, one has to start with after accepting the truth of genocide. This attitude simply implies a modern myth. Armenian Diaspora created this myth and almost equated it with Armenian identity. Thus, Turks have to be known as the murderers and a killer nation in all over the world, while Armenians are the victims and an aggrieved nation.

    If a nation or a group of people uses the adjectives as massacred, insulted, humiliated, repressed while defining their identity, it is not possible for them to have sound thinking and to produce positive policies. Therefore, even trying to talk to these people in order to reach a compromise and a setting of dialog would be really hard to realize. The reason here is that this psychology does not want to check the authenticity of the claims. In their thinking these claims are true and there is no doubts about it. If there will be a compromise, one has to accept these claims as prerequisite. It is thought that any effort to open these claims up a discussion in terms of history or academic thinking would be the same thing as discussing the identity of this nation.

    Certain themes are noticeable in the stories of eye witnesses or the tellers who listened from the eye witnesses. In the first place there are scenes of death involving violence, killing and torture. The rhetoric of these stories contains violence and savagery coercing our imagination. In particular, tragic deaths of elderly, children and pregnant women are explained in detail. Pillaging, robbing and raping are common and almost the order of the day. In some books, presentation of these scenes are very interesting. It is presented ironically that the Armenians, mostly defenseless women and children, were waiting to be killed by the cruel Turks who were not at war in seven fronts for four years and thought only how to massacre Armenians and tried to find ways to exterminate them. In this setting, there were no civil population of Turks, no Turkish families, elders, women and children. Turks were nothing other than the soldiers, only male population who had been programmed to kill and massacre Armenians.

    Today, Turkish public opinion and its approach to the so called Armenian genocide is almost totally ignored in the international circles in general and by the Armenian Diaspora in particular. There is an Armenian Diaspora debating the issue only with the Turkish government. It is important to know what the Turkish public think about the Armenian claims and what their position is. The First World War is remembered with painful events by the Turkish people as is the case for the Armenians. The Ottoman Empire collapsed and after a big struggle against Western imperialism, they were be able to stand up again by creating a new republic. Almost every Turkish family has bitter memories regarding WW I. At this point, Turkish people who lived together with the Armenians for centuries in peace cannot understand the Armenian claims respecting genocide. They do not comprehend the genocide claims and think that this is against their belief and tradition. Moreover, it is asked in full sincerity and confusion whether they had done such a thing. In fact, this sincerity, interjection and disbelief in their question constitute sort of a proof that there were not such a thing as genocide against Armenians during WW I. In the Turkish intellectual circles, these claims are found derogatory and too severe to accept, thinking that even the next generations would be affected by the consequences. Some parties of the Armenian Diaspora stress that they find not the Turkish Republic but the Ottoman Empire and in particular the leaders of Union and Progress Party (Enver, Talat, Cemal) responsible. I am afraid, this does not change anything for the Turkish people because as is the case for every nation, Turkish people also consider that their past and history is a part of their identity.

    Another important reason for the Turkish people’s denial of genocide accusations is the Islam’s prohibition of killing civillians even at wars. What are the limits of warfare and the position of civilians in the wars and wartimes according to the Islamic law and tradition is important to note here.

    From the Muslims’ point of view, Islam is the religion appointed by God for the welfare of mankind, individually and collectively, in both worlds. It is based on belief in and worship of God, without associating with him any partners whatsoever. Belief in and worship of God requires on the part of a believer deep concern with creatures, animate or inanimate. The deeper one’s belief in and submission to God is, the deeper one’s concern for all creatures. Belief in the unity of God allows no one on the earth to enjoy and exercise absolute freedom in dealing with creatures.[1]

    Islam, literally meaning peace, salvation and submission, came to establish peace, first, in the inner worlds of human beings themselves, making them at peace with God, nature and themselves, and, then, in the entire world and universe. For this reason, peace and order are fundamental in Islam. It always seeks to spread in a peaceful atmosphere and refrains from resorting to force as much as possible. Islam never approves injustice in whatever form it is, and severely forbids bloodshed. According to the Qur’an: “Whoever slays a soul not to retaliate for a soul slain or corruption in the earth, it shall be as if he had slain all mankind, and whoever ‘gives life’ to a soul, it shall be as if he had ‘given life’ to the whole of mankind.”[2]

    There are strict rules regulating how war may be conducted. For example, the following is the order given by Prophet Muhammad to come until the present day to armies dispatched for fighting:

    Always keep fear of God in your mind. Remember that you can not afford to do anything without His grace. Do not forget that Islam is a mission of peace and love. Do not destroy fruit trees nor fertile fields in your paths. Be just, and spare the feelings of the vanquished. Respect all religious persons who live in hermitages or convents and spare their edifices. Do not kill civilians. Do not outrage the chastity of women and the honor of conquered. Do not harm old people and children. Do not accept any gifts from the civil population of any place. Do not billet your soldiers or officers in the houses of civilians.[3]

    Current State of Relations Between Armenian and Turkish Societies

    Today 70,000 Armenian citizens are working in Turkey.
    There are direct flights between Istanbul and Yerevan.
    Numerous contacts are taking place between NGO’s, local authorities and businessmen.
    There was great and spontaneous reaction of Turkish people to the murder of the Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink back in January this year.

    Restoration and inauguration of the old Armenian Orthodox Church of Akdamar in Van, in eastern Turkey was another occasion of good will and dialog showed by Turkish government.

    On both of these occasions, officials of the Armenian Government as well as representatives from the Armenian Diaspora were invited by Turkey to share these moments of grief and joy respectively.

    What to do now?

    Turkish people conceive the events during WW I not the genocide but the tragedy that befell the Turkish, Armenian and other peoples of the then Ottoman Empire all alike.

    A thorough and objective research by the historians and academicians around the world have to be done and put the facts on the table.

    To this effect, Turkey has opened its archives, including the military archives of the period, to the entire international academic community, and has requested all the other parties involved to follow suit.

    Turkey has reason and right to expect the Armenian archives, particularly the Hunchak archives to be opened.

    Turkey proposed to Armenia in 2005 to establish a joint commission of historians to find out the truth about the events of 1915.

    A positive response has still awaited from the Armenian authorities.

    Turkey has also stated its readiness to cooperate with all interested third parties for the conduct of this research activity within their own archives as well, with a view to sharing the findings with the international community.

    Any impartial observer would admit that Turkey has so far displayed magnanimity in its willingness to face its past. Hence she stands ready today to start building a sound future for our next generations through the establishment of viable and peaceful relations without delay. For this, a bit of wise thinking and goodwill as well as refrainment from rhetoric and baseless accusations would more than suffice. This should not be too hard a task for any responsible government or parties to undertake. Turkey has amply and repeatedly manifested her resolve to this effect; now it is high time for the Armenian side to respond in kind.

    [1] Prophet Muhammad as Commander, (London: Truestar Ltd., 1996) p.18

    [2] Qur’an, 24:1-7

    [3] Bukhari, Manaqib, 9. See also, Andrew Miller, Miller's Church History from First to Twentieth Century, (London Pickering & Inglis, 1963) p. 285.



    Bulent OZDEMIR: Assoc. Prof. Dr. of History, Balıkesir University, Turkey, 2007
    Copyright © 2005 Journal of Turkish Weekly www.turkishweekly.net



    Turkish And American Ties Potentially Damaged By Spies
    Michael Werbowski 10/1/2008
    This news item almost reads like a plot line out of the movie thriller "The Translator" or "The Breach." Yet often reality is stranger than fiction in the world of espionage. But the startling allegations -- revelations by Sibel Edmonds (Read: http://www.mynews.in/fullstory.aspx?storyid=1714) -- are likely to overshadow, at least on the sidelines, the White House visit this Tuesday of Turkish President Abdullah Gul.

    Besides spy games, the two presidents have a lot to talk about: the cosier bilateral bonds, more US foreign aid, the US-sanctioned Turkish military offensive against PKK rebels in Iraq, and maybe Iran. However, as the Financial Times article asserts [1], with the "State Department back in control of US foreign in the final year of the Bush administration," Edmonds''' story might stir things up a bit in the background.

    In a recent article in The Times of London [2], Edmonds asserts that high-ranking "moles" within the diplomatic department and in other key US agencies may have provided nuclear secrets via so-called "friendly" foreign intelligence services to Pakistan in exchange for cash payments. This public disclosure might well blight the recently strained now somewhat restored Ankara-Washington strategic dialogue. Furthermore, the former FBI Turkish translator has named the names of those within the US government that have apparently been instrumental over the years in assisting Abdul Qadeer Khan, the Pakistan scientist who helped his country develop the nuclear bomb.

    More Moles Than Holes in Swiss Cheese?
    The United States' security apparatus is supposedly a tightly knit outfit -- impregnable to outside spying operations. But despite extraordinary and often very invasive domestic surveillance post-Sept. 11, US agencies and departments seem more vulnerable to foreign espionage and infiltration than ever.

    The list of Americans who were recruited or were soliciting their services as "double agents" -- perhaps the more appropriate term might be as "traitors" -- is getting longer. In recent history, there was Jonathan Pollard. His case goes back to 1985. Pollard was a naval investigative service analyst who provided classified nuclear related material to Israeli intelligence. In the post cold war era, there was Aldrich Ames' case. Ames was, a top CIA analyst, who more out of greed than ideology spied and handed over secret data information to his Soviet and then Russian handlers. He was caught in 1994. Ames was a scurrilous chap who "compromised" the names of several CIA operatives in Russia who were later "eliminated" by the former superpower's domestic counter intelligence team. Then in 1996, another CIA mole-spy was nabbed.

    Harold James Nicholson was one of the highest-ranking intelligence officers with diplomatic cover. He served as deputy station chief in Kuala Lumpur and also spied for the Russians. Then there was Robert Hanssen, who came from the deepest bowels of the FBI and sold very sensitive secrets, again to the Russians. Some of these duplicitous men spied for years against American interests, others for decades. And now we have these damning suppositions coming from an FBI Turkish translator: that foreign intelligence agents, who had high-level US officials working for them, were go betweens in an operation to sell nuclear secrets to Pakistan, which may have also had links to al-Qaida.

    Whether this spy network is still functioning is not known, at least for now. However, if these alleged activities prove to be true it would be a knockout punch to Washington in its "war on terror" and a terrible embarrassment to a Bush administration already beleaguered by successive scandals.

    Selling Trade Secrets
    Turkey has always been associated with Byzantine spy stories. There was of course the famous World War II Cicero spy case. The country, at the crossroads between East and West, is a corridor for the exchange of numerous trade secrets.

    Turkey is a regional military power but lacks the clout of a nuclear one. Ankara, officially speaking, has no nukes and, unlike Israel, is not suspected of possessing them. Nor does it have intentions to acquire any. Nevertheless, its close proximity to declared nuclear powers such as Russia, and aspiring ones such as Iran and Syria, makes Turkey a prime candidate for such weapons. Yet due to concerted Western pressure it has been denied this privilege.

    Turkey ratified and signed on to the nuclear weapons nonproliferation treaty, or NPT, in 1980. It flirted with the idea of a nuclear weapons program of its own. So much so that Pakistan in the late 1990s offered to assist Ankara in developing nuclear capability [3]. So perhaps it is not surprising that Turkish intelligence (a trusted US ally and NATO member) may have acted as a "conduit" for forwarding US nuclear secrets to a third party such as Pakistan. In any case, whatever Edmonds further reveals, and to what extent it proves to be factual or false, Washington may have to go on a mole hunt soon before another nuclear secret is sold off.

    Notes:
    1. "Outsider Smoothes US Relations," Vincent Boland, Financial Times (Jan. 7, 2008).
    2. "For Sale: West's Deadly Nuclear Secrets," Sibel Edmonds, The Times (Jan. 6, 2008).
    3. "Pakistan's Offer for Cooperation," Deniz Zeyrek, Radikal (June 1, 1998).

    http://www.mynews.in



    Denmark Does Not Recognize Armenian Genocide Claims: Minister
    January 12, 2008 COPENHAGEN - Agence France Presse

    Denmark does not officially recognize that Ottoman-era killings of Armenians during World War I constitute genocide, Danish Foreign Minister Per Stig Moeller said Thursday.

    "In the government's opinion, this is a historical question that should be left up to the historians," Moeller said in a written parliamentary answer, indicating that Denmark would not follow the lead of some 20 other countries, including France, that have labeled the killings genocide. Moeller's note came in response to a question from parliamentary member, Morten Messerchmidt, of the far-right Danish People's Party, on whether "Denmark had officially recognized this genocide." "It is unfortunate that the Danish government refuses to join other countries in recognizing this genocide," Messerschmidt told Agence France Presse. "It is as if they fear Turkey's reactions," he said. Copenhagen's decision "to not recognize this genocide shows that the government indirectly supports Turkey's cowardly refusal to take responsibility for its history the way the Germans did after World War II," he said. The mass killing of Armenians is considered genocide by Armenians but not by Turkey, which rejects the term. According to the Armenian claims, 1.5 million of their kinsmen were killed from 1915 to 1917 under an Ottoman Empire campaign of deportation and murder. Rejecting the genocide label, Turkey states that 250,000 to 500,000 Armenians and at least as many Turks died in civil strife when Armenians took up arms for independence in eastern Anatolia during World War I. A number of countries and official bodies, notably the European parliament, France, Canada and now a United States House of Representatives committee, have labeled the killings genocide.


    Jewish Community Supports Turkey
    January 12, 2008
    President of the Anti-Defamation League Abraham Foxman said Turkey maintains its good relations with Jews in the United States and Israel, after his meeting with President Abdullah Gül yesterday. He said the Jewish community continues to oppose the U.S. bill labeling the killings of Armenians as ''genocide'' and its representatives will soon pay a visit to Turkey.
    NEW YORK – Anatolia news agency


    H.Res 106 Affirmation Of The U.S. Record On The Armenian Genocide
    US Fed News January 9, 2008 Washington
    Rep. Dan L. Burton, R-Ind. (5th CD), issued the following blog entry:

    October 10, 2007, (H.Res. 106) was brought before the House Committee on Foreign Relations, which declared it to be the sense of the United States House of Representatives that the deaths of approximately 1.5 million Armenians in the Ottoman Empire between 1915 and 1923 was in fact genocide. The Committee voted 27 to 21 to approve the resolution. I did not support this resolution and I have urged House Speaker Nancy Pelosi not to bring the resolution before the full House of Representatives for a vote. I am convinced that further consideration of the resolution will seriously jeopardize United States-Turkey relations and, currently, critical Turkish support for United States troops fighting the Global War on Terror in Iraq and Afghanistan. My opinion is shared by all eight living former Secretaries of State, three former Secretaries of Defense, as well as the current Secretaries of State and Defense. In fact, in 2000, the last time this issue was debated before the then-House Committee on International Relations, President Bill Clinton urged then-Speaker Dennis Hastert, to refrain from bringing the issue to a vote because it would irreparably damage our nations' longstanding and deep ties with Turkey.

    Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan even publicly announced
    before the vote that passage of H.Res. 106 would "significantly weaken" relations and true to his prediction the Turkish Ambassador to the United States was recalled less than 24 hours after the Committee vote and Turkey's Parliament moved to authorize Turkish military action in northern Iraq against Kurdish terrorists - potentially threatening our efforts to stabilize Iraq and bring our troops home.

    Last October, the French National Assembly passed a bill that would have criminalized denial of the so-called Armenian genocide. In response, the government of Turkey severed all bilateral military and defense ties with France. A similar reaction by the elected government of Turkey to H.Res. 106 would have in my opinion, critically damaged our ability to supply our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan by restricting or ending our ability to use several key military and port facilities -namely the Incirlik Airbase and the Habur Gate checkpoint.

    There is no doubt that the Armenians suffered a "grave loss" during the mass killings and forced exile which occurred during the late Ottoman period. My heart goes out to the survivors of this enormous tragedy and their families. I know that some people, particularly Armenian-Americans, believe that my reasons for opposing H.Res. 106 are simply wrong. I believe that the actions of the Turkish government since the Committee vote have proved otherwise.

    Nevertheless, I fervently hope that supporters and opponents of H.Res. 106 can eventually come together to depoliticize this issue and support an Armenian-Turkish reconciliation process that responsibly and accurately addresses the events of 1915 to 1923.
    groong.usc.edu


    Armenia: Smear Tactics Feature Prominently In Early Presidential Election Campaigning
    Haroutiun Khachatrian EurasiaNet, NY Jan 9 2008

    With just under six weeks to go before Armenia's presidential election, the field of candidates is coming into sharper focus.

    Overall, nine men are expected to battle for the presidency when the campaign season officially gets underway January 21. But most experts believe the race quickly will boil down to a contest between two men -incumbent Prime Minister Serzh Sarkisian and former president Levon Ter-Petrosian.

    The presidential vote is slated for February 19. Sarkisian has long been viewed as the prohibitive favorite to follow outgoing President Robert Kocharian, who is constitutionally barred from running for reelection. The benefits of incumbency are clearly on Sarkisian's side, as his Republican Party won a landslide victory in the May 2007 parliamentary elections. [For additional information see the special feature Armenia: Vote 2007]. Opinion polls have shown Sarkisian to enjoy the support of roughly one-third of potential voters, enough to give him a commanding lead over the other presidential hopefuls.

    Artur Baghdasarian, the leader of the Orinats Yerkir (Land of Law) Party, and Vahan Hovhannisian, Vice Speaker of the National Assembly representing Dashnaktsutiun (the Armenian Revolutionary Federation), trailed well behind Sarkisian with 13 percent and 6 percent support respectively in the latest poll. Ter-Petrosian was among the six presidential contenders whose polling numbers were running in the low single digits. [For background see the Eurasia Insight archive].

    Ter-Petrosian served as the first president of post-Soviet Armenia, his tenure stretching from 1991-98. In February of 1998, he was forced to resign amid a severe backlash to his suggestion that Armenia make concessions to Azerbaijan in the still-stalemated peace talks on Nagorno-Karabakh. [For background see the Eurasia insight archive]. Ter-Petrosian's successor, Kocharian, has governed since then.

    On the surface, judging by the numbers, it would seem that Ter-Petrosian poses no threat to Sarkisian's electoral chances. Yet, it's plainly evident that Sarkisian supporters within the government see the former president as the most formidable opponent in the field. [For additional information see the Eurasia Insight archive].

    Ter-Petrosian and his aides, for instance, have been denied access to most television channels. The one notable exception is Yerkir Media TV, which is controlled by the Dashnak party.

    At the same time, state-controlled media outlets have provided generous amounts of air time to long-time political enemies of Ter-Petrosian, including Vazgen Manukian, the leader of the National Democratic Party, and Artashes Geghamian, the leader of the National Unity Party.

    Privately operated television stations have generally followed the lead of government-controlled channels. Campaign events organized by the Ter-Petrosian camp have received scant media coverage, despite the fact that several rallies have drawn tens of thousands of spectators. The plainly evident media bias prompted two European officials -- Terry Davis, Secretary General of the Council of Europe, and Peter Semneby, the EU's special representative for the South Caucasus - to register complaints. [For more information, click here].

    If anything, Ter-Petrosian has received even rougher treatment from some print media outlets. For example, the Hayots Ashkharh daily, an officially independent newspaper with a decidedly pro-governmental outlook, splashed two remarkable photo-montages across the front pages of two editions in late December. In one, Ter-Petrosian is depicted as wearing a traditional Turkish fez, a clearly derogatory image given Armenia's long-standing hostility with both Turkey and Azerbaijan. [For background see the Eurasia Insight archive]. In the second montage, Ter-Petrosian's Yerevan home is depicted as flying a Turkish flag from a pole on its roof. The combined message of the two images was unmistakable: a vote to return Ter-Petrosian to power would be a vote to capitulate in Armenia's ongoing diplomatic struggles with Turkey and Azerbaijan.

    Even in a fairer political environment, Ter-Petrosian's candidacy would face substantial challenges. Ter-Petrosian managed to generate initial attention for his candidacy with a series of sharp attacks on Kocharian's administration. [For background see the Eurasia Insight archive]. The task now will be to transform the disenchantment with the Kocharian administration among a certain segment of the electorate into genuine support for his own political program.

    Although about two dozen political parties and civic organizations have endorsed Ter-Petrosian's candidacy -- most of them relatively small in numbers and in influence -- it remains to be seen if he can build an effective organizational network. "He carries the bad heritage of the past ... but he is a good speaker and has [lengthy] experience," the Azg liberal daily summed up on December 25.

    One thing that is working in Ter-Petrosian's favor is the fact that he is willing to operate within the existing political system, and has not been an advocate of revolutionary change. This has enabled him to cast himself as a political moderate. "There will be no revolution. I'll not allow violence and illegal actions from our side " Ter-Petrosian told the Moscow-based Kommersant daily on December 6, responding to the question about his possible actions in the event of vote rigging by authorities.

    Meanwhile, Kocharian's fate after his departure from the presidency remains a subject of widespread conjecture. Speculation is focusing on the possibility of Kocharian and Sarkisian swapping places, with the latter assuming the presidency and the former taking over as prime minister. In October, Sarkisian denied such a possibility, but a December 29 article published by the Haykakan Zhamanak newspaper, citing "reliable sources," said that such an arrangement has indeed been agreed upon.


    "Once You Take A Bribe You Become A Hostage"
    A1+ 09 January, 2008

    Leader of the People's Party (ZhK) and presidential contender Tigran Karapetian is confident of his victory in the presidential election.

    Tigran Karapetian considers himself an alternative and states that "his electorate is the conservative part of the society, adherent to the principles of justice." According to the ZhK leader, he "is the only candidate who represents the interests of this stratum of the society although there are many who defend the interests of the displeased electorate."

    Tigran Karapetian expects tense struggle during the election and calls on voters to refuse election bribes.

    "Once you take election bribes you bound yourself and become a hostage," this is one of Karapetian's slogans. People will get acquainted with the other 19 slogans during the election campaign. The party has already set up pre-election headquarters. The number of regional structures exceeds 100.

    Tigran Karapetian noted that he is not going to offend any of the presidential contenders and considers them worthy rivals. In case of being elected, the leader of the People's Party promised to combat against corruption and to dissociate the branches of power.

    According to the candidate, "if the presidential elections in Armenia proceed according to the Georgian scenario, we will have to go to the streets." Tigran Karapetian expressed the opinion that the authorities will try to hold maximally transparent elections and refrain from gross falsifications. "However, in the regions of the country, there will be "well-wishers,' ready to secure 80% of electors' votes for the candidate from the ruling party."

    As a citizen Tigran Karapetian would vote for himself as "he doesn't distribute bribes." He doesn't think that the TV sets distributed by his company are bribes as he demands nothing in return.


    The Turks In Numbers Equilibrium By Burak Bekdil , January 9, 2008

    Readers of the great satirist, Aziz Nesin, thought his work was fiction. It probably was not.

    This column recently asked whether it can be statistically significant that 47 percent of Turks vote for the party with the most ever friendly ties with Washington, while 66 percent view the same country as the world's biggest security threat (America is a threat, Iran is not!, TDN, Dec. 12, 2007). Probably the most significant answer to that question came from an American reader who kindly reminded us of Aziz Nesin (1915-1995), the greatest Turkish satirist/humorist and the author of some 100 books.

    Shortly before his death Nesin had angered millions of Turks when he said that 60 percent of Turks were stupid. In the face of growing public ire, he corrected his words. Very well, he said, I take back my words, and here is the correction: 40 percent of Turks are clever!

    A tribute to Aziz Nesin

    Of course, there is no practical way to know what percent of Turks are clever. A face-to-face survey can always reveal that ratio to be 100 percent, but that may not be statistically significant, either. Fortunately, we have other numbers that may help us understand, or at least try to understand, the Turkish mental map. A mental map that does not deprive us of Nesin's work.

    For example, we know by official statistics that 46.6 percent of Turks are Justice and Development Party (AKP) supporters, and that 12.9 million live under the official poverty line. We also know that 31.8 percent of the rural population live under the same poverty line. Knowing that AKP is strongest in the countryside, we can statistically conclude that the poorest Turks are also the happiest about their government!

    Recently, Turkey's biggest labor union, Turk-Is, set what it calls the “hunger line” at YTL 697 a month. More recently, the same Turk-Is, now led by an all too AKP-friendly man, agreed to a minimum wage of YTL 435 a month, or 38 percent less than what the union itself set as the “hunger line.” Needless to say, the workers cheered the new wage with unprecedented joy (see newspaper archives for interviews with AKP-friendly workers, many of which hailed the new minimum wage as a victory of a harmonious work between Turk-Is and the government).

    What other “Turkish number” can we talk about? A clear (but immeasurable) majority of Turks wanted to see Abdullah Gül as their president. Meanwhile, various surveys put Turks on top of the global list of ''anti-Americanism,'' the most recent one putting the figure at 91 percent. And what did Mr. Gül say on his way to Washington? The United States is not ''any ally,'' but ''the most important ally.''

    More numbers… 72 percent of school teachers oppose the idea of their children becoming school teachers. Or, one in every three Turkish women faces violence in the family. Or, 92 percent of high school students never read books (other than textbooks). Or, Turkey champions in the rate of increase in child crime. Or, Turkey ranks 64th the in the global corruption index…

    How about that? Eighty-three percent of AKP supporters think women wearing bathing suits would amount to sinning. That makes more than 15 million Turks thinking of ladies in swimwear as sinners. Or that a staggering quarter of Turks thinking it would not be appropriate if men and women worked in the same office.

    Or, the number of visitors to Mustafa Kemal Atatürk's mausoleum, the holy shrine of Kemalists, increased by 400 percent in 2007, the same year that saw the demise of Kemalist politics.

    There is more. In European Union-sponsored research, Istanbul ranked 73rd in a group of 75 EU metropolises and cities in terms of urban quality perceptions of inhabitants. But another survey revealed that the majority of Istanbul dwellers were happy or very happy with municipal services.

    Most recently, a Greek pollster, Kapa Research, took different shots of the Turkish sentiment (along with 10 other nations): 59.1 percent of Turks are hopeful about a better year; 46.6 percent expect better living; although 70.1 percent expect a more expensive living.

    And all of the numbers above come from a country which ranks 92nd in the United Nation's Human Development Index.

    The panoramic picture

    What kind of picture do we obtain when we combine all of these numbers into the same socio-political panorama?

    Almost 13 million Turks are poor, but especially the poorest are very happy with their government; minimum wage earners are awfully happy with their government-friendly labor union for signing a wage that forces them to hunger; Turkish school children don't read and children are becoming petty criminals at rates unseen elsewhere; Turkey's biggest city is one of Europe's worst but its inhabitants are very happy with the municipal services; one third of Turkish women are beaten by their husbands or brothers or fathers; more and more Turks show up at the Kemalist shrine but they go and vote in the opposite direction; almost half the Turks are happy with their government although their country has an embarrassing ranking in the world's corruption league; and, above all, Turks are happy and hopeful for a better future.

    Would all that tell anything “statistically significant?” It would. Especially in the world of Nesin which his readers thought was fiction but probably was not. But I personally think Nesin was being too mean when he suggested that 40 percent of Turks were clever. Yes, he came close to the more accurate number, but still too mean. I would say 46.6 percent of Turks are clever.


    St. Paul Year To Put Turkey In Limelight
    By Nieves San Martín, Zenit News Agency Italy
    ROME, JAN. 8, 2008 (Zenit.org).- Turkey will have a strategic role in the year of St. Paul, since Tarsus was the birth place of the saint, reported the coordinators of the jubilee.

    Benedict XVI proclaimed a jubilee year of St. Paul from June 28, 2008, to the same date in 2009, marking the 2,000th anniversary of the apostle's birth.

    An information bulletin about the year said the Church in Turkey is preparing "with spirit and a special determination they derive from feeling 'one' with the apostle born in Tarsus."

    According to Bishop Luigi Padovese, apostolic vicar of Anatolia, Turkey, "St. Paul can be considered the apostle of Christian identity, in an era like today when any type of religion can be embraced, in a moment in which the many paths toward God are ranked on the same level."

    The Turkish episcopal conference, formed by seven bishops, three of the Latin rite, two Armenians, one Syrian Catholic and one Chaldean, is considering the program for the celebrations.

    The bishops already planned a letter to the faithful of the various rites as well as a pilgrimage to Rome.

    The conference has established contact with Greek Orthodox Patriarch Bartholomew I of Constantinople and with the Syrian Orthodox and Armenian Gregorian Metropolitan Archbishops, in order to organize common ecumenical initiatives dedicated to St. Paul, as Benedict XVI has suggested.

    "The bi-millennium will serve also to call the attention of the Church to the Christian minority communities in Turkey, making them conscious of the situation," added Bishop Padovese.

    One of the first goals for Catholics is to obtain permission from the Turkish authorities in Tarsus to make a permanent place for Christian worship to accommodate the pilgrims who will arrive from the entire world.

    Today, there is only one church-museum without a cross. To use the building for liturgy, previous permission must be obtained and payment must be given to the civil authorities.

    "I asked Prime Minister Erdogan that access to the building, the only Christian place in the city which has not been transformed into a mosque, may be permitted not only to Catholics, but also to all Christians; or that the Christians might be able to acquire land to build a church," Bishop Padovese said. "In Tarsus the museum-church is not needed, but a church where faithful and pilgrims can feel at home and pray."

    "The authorities of Tarsus," he added, "have mixed sentiments: They are conscious of the importance of the city for Christians; they are proud to be fellow citizens with a first-rate person. But at the same time, they show perplexity and discomfort when it comes to handling a situation implying religious tourism with special demands."


    No Progress Fixed In Armenia-Turkey Relations In 2007
    09.01.2008
    /PanARMENIAN.Net/ There was no progress fixed in the Armenia-Turkey relations due to Ankara’s preconditions, says the annual report issued by the Armenian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

    The report says, in part, “Armenia stands for normalization of relations without preconditions via talks. Meanwhile Turkey together with Azerbaijan went on with its unconstructive policy targeted at Armenia’s isolation from regional cooperation programs..

    Armenia-Turkey bilateral contacts took place mostly in the framewotk of international organizations.

    The murder of Agos editor Hrant Dink on 19 January 2007 caused a wave of protest in Turkey, what created a kind of favorable atmosphere for a breakthrough in the Armenian-Turkish relations. RA Deputy FM Arman Kirakossian attended Mr Dink’s funeral. However, Turkish authorities failed to demonstrate political will for achieving progress in relations.

    In March, an Armenian delegation headed by Deputy Minister of Culture and Youth Affairs Gagik Gyurjian attended the opening ceremony of reconstructed Holy Cross Church on Akhtamar island.

    Turkish political and public groups kept on discussing the Armenian Genocide issue, specifically after adoption of the H.Res.106 by the U.S. congressional panel.

    As to relations with Baku, they did not exceed the framework of the Karabakh talks under the aegis of the OSCE Minsk Group. Some contacts took place within international organizations as well as at level of NGOs and media.”


    Exhibition To Feature Western Armenia
    Yerevan, January 7, Armenpress: The Armenian culture ministry and the Shushi Foundation will hold in spring a display of 250 photographs that will be called "Western Armenia (now in eastern Turkey) is the Homeland of Armenians."

    Bakur Karapetian, the chairman of the Shushi Foundation, said to Armenpress the photographs will show the culture of Western Armenia, its monuments, traditions of people, their crafts and traditions between 1860-1915. The exhibition will also show the map of six Armenian provinces in Western Armenia.


    Is Injustice The Source Of Terrorism? by Bekir Çinar*
    It is clear that there are different types of terrorism. Each one of them is a product of a political system.

    None of the political systems, their political establishments, security apparatuses, economic structure and social relations are the same, but there are similarities. Different terrorist organizations will develop differently, but all of them will have to pass through the same stages. The time and duration at the stages will vary, and one stage will not necessarily follow the next one. This is because the progression of some terrorist organizations is quicker than others, depending on the political system that produces terrorism.

    The birth of terrorism is important. However, it is difficult to notice. People tend to not pay attention or even notice a “terrorist” group until such a time as the group actually carries out terrorist acts. For example, the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) was established in 1973, but the Turkish authorities did not pay serious attention to it until 1984, when the PKK engaged in violent acts.

    There are several components to how terrorism begins which I will now investigate. Initially, I will begin with “the three ingredients: a disaffected individual, an enabling group and a legitimizing ideology.” The disaffected individual here symbolizes a person or a group of people who believe that they have been negatively affected by the existing political system. In other words, they feel that the political system has not accommodated them in the way that they want and that there is no place in the political system for them.

    The birth of terrorism initially begins with a political disagreement. The disagreement can have many different reasons and leads people to be “bitterly opposed to the prevailing regime, alienated from all liberal democratic values.” One reason could be that political decisions and political activities, which are conducted by the government, might be seen as unjust, unfair, corrupted, politically incorrect and not considering the interests of “real people.”

    According to the director general of the (British) Security Service MI5, “The 7/7 suicide bombers were motivated by a sense of injustice faced by Muslims in Britain and through the world.” This statement has many significant points which require further investigation. Many may disagree with the director. In order to express the statement, the word “injustice” needs to be defined. What is injustice? “It is ignoring, denying or otherwise failing to respond humanely to the other.” In other words, “The term generally refers to the misuse, abuse, neglect or malfeasance of a justice system, with regard to a particular case or context, such that the legal status quo represents a systemic failure to serve the cause of justice.”

    It is difficult to draw a clear picture about the source of terrorism. Moreover, no one has provided any convincing evidence on what causes terrorism. Studies on poverty and terrorism, ideologies and terrorism, religion and terrorism have proven that these are not sources of terrorism; there are no relationships between them. However, other studies have provided convincing evidence that sources of terrorism are injustice and disagreement with the political system. “The roots of terror are found in and linked to the injustice within a community, within a nation or on the international stage.” Thus, when one starts to investigate an individual terrorist, one might discover that the injustice has taken on paramount importance in his/her motivation to be a terrorist.

    The two-episode show “Britz” on Channel 4 (Pt. 1 Wed. Oct. 31, 9 p.m.-11:15 p.m.; Pt. 2 Thurs. Nov. 1, 9 p.m.-11:25 p.m.) clearly states that injustice plays a great role in alienating people to become terrorists. According to the show’s Web site, the story goes like this: “Sohail is an ambitious law undergraduate who signs up with MI5 and, eager to play a part in protecting British security, begins an investigation into a terrorist cell. His sister Nasima is a medical student in Leeds who becomes increasingly alienated and angered by Britain’s foreign and domestic policy after witnessing at first hand the relentless targeting of her Muslim neighbors and peers.

    “With action set in Pakistan, Eastern Europe, London and Leeds, both feature-length episodes detail a tragic sequence of events from two distinct perspectives. At the heart of this thought-provoking drama is a revealing examination of British Muslim life under current anti-terror legislation. Britz ultimately asks whether the laws we think are making us safer are actually putting us in greater danger.” One states that “departures from the normal standards of criminal law create a culture of exceptionalism that heightens both real and perceived injustice in the eyes of millions and the ‘wartime’ heroics of the dangerous minority.”

    Another good example will be seen in a soap opera on STV, namely “Tek Türkiye,” which is shown every Thursday. It reflects the economic, social and political conditions of the eastern parts of Turkey, which have been neglected for many years. The people lack the basic amenities every individual is entitled to. Consequently, the last 12 episodes of this soap opera have verified that injustice is one of the sources of terrorism.

    These two productions may not illustrate the whole truth. Nonetheless they raise awareness about injustice, which might be one of the real sources of terrorism.
    * Dr. Bekir Çinar is a security analyst 08.01.2008


    Canadian Turks Protest Armenian Genocide Class
    11.01.2008
    /PanARMENIAN.Net/ Over 1,200 Turks in Canada signed a petition against a class that describes the 1915 events as the Armenian Genocide.

    “These are very significant, horrible parts of history, and without sounding hackneyed, we hope we can learn something from them so we can make a better world for our children’s children,” said Trustee Gerri Gershon, of the Toronto District School Board, who proposed the course after a moving tour in 2005 of the Nazi death camps in Poland.

    “This isn’t a course to teach hatred or blame the perpetrators,” Gershon said. “Our goal is the exact opposite: to explore how this happens so we can become better people and make sure it never happens again,” he added, Toronto Star reports.


    H.Res.106 Supporter Tom Lantos Completing Service In House Of Representatives
    10.01.2008
    /PanARMENIAN.Net/ Chairman of the House Affairs Committee, Democrat Tom Lantos (D-San Mateo, San Francisco) is completing his service due to ill health.

    Congressman Tom Lantos released the following statement:

    “Routine medical tests have revealed that I have cancer of the esophagus. In view of this development and the treatment it will require, I will not seek re-election.

    “It is only in the United States that a penniless survivor of the Holocaust and a fighter in the anti-Nazi underground could have received an education, raised a family, and had the privilege of serving the last three decades of his life as a Member of Congress. I will never be able to express fully my profoundly felt gratitude to this great country.”

    Tom Lantos was elected to Congress in 1980 and is in his 14th term in office. His Democratic colleagues elected him chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs in January 2007. He is a senior member of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. The only Holocaust survivor ever elected to Congress, Tom is the founding co-chairman of the 24-year-old Congressional Human Rights Caucus, which Annette has directed as a volunteer since its inception, the congressional press unit said.

    On October 10, 2007, the House Committee on Foreign Affairs under the chairmanship of Congressman Lantos passed the Armenian Genocide resolution, H.Res.106 with a vote 27 to 21.


    Eurasia Insight:
    Ankara Makes Caucasus And Central Asia A Diplomatic Priority - Turkish President
    Richard Weitz: 1/09/08

    Promoting peace and stability in the Caucasus and Central Asia is an “important item” on Turkey’s foreign policy agenda, Turkish President Abdullah Gul said in an address in Washington, DC. Gul’s visit to the United States was devoted largely to heralding the return of a solid US-Turkish strategic partnership.

    Making his first trip to the United States as head of state, Gul, a former foreign minister, portrayed Turkey as a diplomatic trailblazer for the United States in several “hot spots.” In a January 8 policy address given at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, Gul emphasized that Turkey has maintained “good relations with most of our neighbors.”

    Gul compared the South Caucasus to the Middle East in terms of its “underlying instability.” He maintained that Turkey “shares a similar vision with the United States” for the region, with Ankara aiming to help Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia make “their long walk towards a sound democracy.” He also said Turkey was interested in promoting the “development of their fragile economies” and the “settlement of their ethnic and territorial disputes.” [For background see the Eurasia Insight archive]. While acknowledging the lack of a “quick-fix solution” for regional problems, Gul offered that “establishing sound regional cooperation is a good point to start.” He pointed to the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline, the Baku-Tbilisi-Erzurum natural gas pipeline, and the Baku-Tbilisi railway as vehicles for both the prosperity and stabilization of the Caspian Basin.

    While such initiatives have helped Turkey solidify ties with Azerbaijan and Georgia, they have not helped Ankara normalize relations with Armenia. [For background see the Eurasia Insight archive]. Gul did not elaborate on any specific measures that could alleviate the persisting enmity in Turkish-Armenian relations, or promote lasting peace settlements in Nagorno-Karabkah, Abkhazia or South Ossetia.

    Striving to further illustrate Turkey’s regional security role, Gul cited Afghanistan, where “we have been projecting an active, positive contribution since the September 11 terrorist attacks.” These contributions include twice commanding the International Security Assistance Force, providing substantial civil and humanitarian assistance, and helping revitalize Afghanistan’s economy through the presence of large numbers of Turkish contractors.

    Gul also mentioned that Turkey was using its “historically close relations” with Islamabad to promote security cooperation between Afghanistan and Pakistan. Last April, the Turkish government invited Afghan President Hamid Karzai and his Pakistani counterpart, Pervez Musharraf, to attend a summit in Ankara. At that meeting, they pledged to deny sanctuary, training and financing to Islamic militants and exchange intelligence on terrorist threats. [For background see the Eurasia Insight archive].

    Gul went on to described Iran as representing “a complex picture in our region.” While affirming that Turkey “actively supports a diplomatic settlement of the conflict about Iran’s nuclear program,” he cautioned that “we strongly oppose nuclear proliferation and nuclear weapons in our region.”

    In his joint press conference at the White House earlier on January 8, US President George W. Bush hailed Turkey a strategic partner of the United States, saying that Ankara and Washington in recent months “have worked hard to make [relations] strong.” He stated that the two governments “deal with common problems,” though the only issue Bush specifically cited was the “continuing fight against a common enemy, and that's terrorists.”

    Bush reaffirmed his administration’s support for Turkey’s entry into the European Union (EU), pointing out that “Turkey sets a fantastic example for nations around the world to see where it's possible to have a democracy coexist with a great religion like Islam.” In addition, he argued that Turkey’s accession to the EU would be “in the interest of peace” because Turkey could serve as “a constructive bridge” that brings Europe and the Islamic world closer together.

    In describing his private discussions with the Turkish president, Bush revealed that the two touched on “the need for all of us to help secure more energy supplies.” The US president also informed Gul about his upcoming Middle Eastern tour. It was the type of conversation, Bush said, that occurs “when two friends are in the room together.”

    During a subsequent teleconference, a “senior administration official” explained that the Turkish-American relationship qualified as a “strategic partnership” due to “the fact that we deal with a whole range of issues with Turkey, not just bilateral issues, but issues, security issues around the world.” The official indicated the Bush and Gul exchanged ideas on an array of foreign-policy topics, including Kosovo, Afghanistan and Pakistan.

    Gul placed the bilateral relationship within a larger multinational context: “We share a common vision and we work together, and the relations between the two countries are such that they have an impact not only on the two countries, but also on a regional and global scale.”

    Editor’s Note: Richard Weitz is a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute in Washington, DC.
    http://www.eurasianet.org/

     © This content Mirrored From TurkishArmenians  Site
    U.S. Presidential Hopefuls Deciding On Armenian Genocide Recognition
    07.01.2008
    /PanARMENIAN.Net/ The winners of Iowa caucuses, U.S. Senator Barack Obama (D-IL) and former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee (R), are both on record as having recognized the Armenian Genocide, reported the Armenian National Committee of America
    (ANCA).

    Senator Obama has spoken forcefully about the moral imperative of U.S. recognition of the Armenian Genocide, specifically calling upon the Bush Administration, in letters and public statements, to end its "wrong and untenable" policy on this issue. During his three years in the Senate, however, he has yet to join with his legislative colleagues in cosponsoring the Armenian Genocide Resolution. Senator Obama also voted in the Foreign Relations Committee to approve the highly controversial and ultimately unsuccessful nomination of Dick Hoagland to serve as U.S. Ambassador to Armenia, despite bipartisan Congressional opposition and widespread outrage among Armenian Americans over the nominee’s denial of the Armenian Genocide.

    As Governor of Arkansas, Mike Huckabee issued a proclamation recognizing April 24, 2001 as a Day of Remembrance of the Armenian Genocide. The declaration memorialized the "the death of at least 1.5 million Armenians by the Ottoman Turks and the forced deportation of countless others." The official statement also noted that, "the Armenian people have not received reparations for their losses" and that the present Turkish government engages in a campaign of "denial of the Armenian Genocide."

    "For Sale: West’s Deadly Nuclear Secrets" Whistleblower Sibel Edmonds Claims

    A WHISTLEBLOWER has made a series of extraordinary claims about how corrupt government officials allowed Pakistan and other states to steal nuclear weapons secrets.

    Sibel Edmonds, a 37-year-old former Turkish language translator for the FBI, listened into hundreds of sensitive intercepted conversations while based at the agency’s Washington field office

    She approached The Sunday Times last month after reading about an Al-Qaeda terrorist who had revealed his role in training some of the 9/11 hijackers while he was in Turkey.

    Edmonds described how foreign intelligence agents had enlisted the support of US officials to acquire a network of moles in sensitive military and nuclear institutions.

    Among the hours of covert tape recordings, she says she heard evidence that one well-known senior official in the US State Department was being paid by Turkish agents in Washington who were selling the information on to black market buyers, including Pakistan.

    The name of the official – who has held a series of top government posts – is known to The Sunday Times. He strongly denies the claims.

    However, Edmonds said: “He was aiding foreign operatives against US interests by passing them highly classified information, not only from the State Department but also from the Pentagon, in exchange for money, position and political objectives.”

    She claims that the FBI was also gathering evidence against senior Pentagon officials – including household names – who were aiding foreign agents.

    “If you made public all the information that the FBI have on this case, you will see very high-level people going through criminal trials,” she said.

    Her story shows just how much the West was infiltrated by foreign states seeking nuclear secrets. It illustrates how western government officials turned a blind eye to, or were even helping, countries such as Pakistan acquire bomb technology.

    The wider nuclear network has been monitored for many years by a joint Anglo-American intelligence effort. But rather than shut it down, investigations by law enforcement bodies such as the FBI and Britain’s Revenue & Customs have been aborted to preserve diplomatic relations.

    Edmonds, a fluent speaker of Turkish and Farsi, was recruited by the FBI in the aftermath of the September 11 attacks. Her previous claims about incompetence inside the FBI have been well documented in America.

    She has given evidence to closed sessions of Congress and the 9/11 commission, but many of the key points of her testimony have remained secret. She has now decided to divulge some of that information after becoming disillusioned with the US authorities’ failure to act.

    One of Edmonds’s main roles in the FBI was to translate thousands of hours of conversations by Turkish diplomatic and political targets that had been covertly recorded by the agency.

    A backlog of tapes had built up, dating back to 1997, which were needed for an FBI investigation into links between the Turks and Pakistani, Israeli and US targets. Before she left the FBI in 2002 she heard evidence that pointed to money laundering, drug imports and attempts to acquire nuclear and conventional weapons technology.

    “What I found was damning,” she said. “While the FBI was investigating, several arms of the government were shielding what was going on.”

    The Turks and Israelis had planted “moles” in military and academic institutions which handled nuclear technology. Edmonds says there were several transactions of nuclear material every month, with the Pakistanis being among the eventual buyers. “The network appeared to be obtaining information from every nuclear agency in the United States,” she said.

    They were helped, she says, by the high-ranking State Department official who provided some of their moles – mainly PhD students – with security clearance to work in sensitive nuclear research facilities. These included the Los Alamos nuclear laboratory in New Mexico, which is responsible for the security of the US nuclear deterrent.

    In one conversation Edmonds heard the official arranging to pick up a $15,000 cash bribe. The package was to be dropped off at an agreed location by someone in the Turkish diplomatic community who was working for the network.

    The Turks, she says, often acted as a conduit for the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), Pakistan’s spy agency, because they were less likely to attract suspicion. Venues such as the American Turkish Council in Washington were used to drop off the cash, which was picked up by the official.

    Edmonds said: “I heard at least three transactions like this over a period of 2½ years. There are almost certainly more.”

    The Pakistani operation was led by General Mahmoud Ahmad, then the ISI chief.

    Intercepted communications showed Ahmad and his colleagues stationed in Washington were in constant contact with attach?s in the Turkish embassy.

    Intelligence analysts say that members of the ISI were close to Al-Qaeda before and after 9/11. Indeed, Ahmad was accused of sanctioning a $100,000 wire payment to Mohammed Atta, one of the 9/11 hijackers, immediately before the attacks.

    The results of the espionage were almost certainly passed to Abdul Qadeer Khan, the Pakistani nuclear scientist.

    Khan was close to Ahmad and the ISI. While running Pakistan’s nuclear programme, he became a millionaire by selling atomic secrets to Libya, Iran and North Korea. He also used a network of companies in America and Britain to obtain components for a nuclear programme.

    Khan caused an alert among western intelligence agencies when his aides met Osama Bin Laden. “We were aware of contact between A Q Khan’s people and Al-Qaeda,” a former CIA officer said last week. “There was absolute panic when we initially discovered this, but it kind of panned out in the end.”

    It is likely that the nuclear secrets stolen from the United States would have been sold to a number of rogue states by Khan.

    Edmonds was later to see the scope of the Pakistani connections when it was revealed that one of her fellow translators at the FBI was the daughter of a Pakistani embassy official who worked for Ahmad. The translator was given top secret clearance despite protests from FBI investigators.

    Edmonds says packages containing nuclear secrets were delivered by Turkish operatives, using their cover as members of the diplomatic and military community, to contacts at the Pakistani embassy in Washington.

    Following 9/11, a number of the foreign operatives were taken in for questioning by the FBI on suspicion that they knew about or somehow aided the attacks.

    Edmonds said the State Department official once again proved useful. “A primary target would call the official and point to names on the list and say, ‘We need to get them out of the US because we can’t afford for them to spill the beans’,” she said. “The official said that he would ‘take care of it’.”

    The four suspects on the list were released from interrogation and extradited.

    Edmonds also claims that a number of senior officials in the Pentagon had helped Israeli and Turkish agents.

    “The people provided lists of potential moles from Pentagon-related institutions who had access to databases concerning this information,” she said.

    “The handlers, who were part of the diplomatic community, would then try to recruit those people to become moles for the network. The lists contained all their ‘hooking points’, which could be financial or sexual pressure points, their exact job in the Pentagon and what stuff they had access to.”

    One of the Pentagon figures under investigation was Lawrence Franklin, a former Pentagon analyst, who was jailed in 2006 for passing US defence information to lobbyists and sharing classified information with an Israeli diplomat.

    “He was one of the top people providing information and packages during 2000 and 2001,” she said.

    Once acquired, the nuclear secrets could have gone anywhere. The FBI monitored Turkish diplomats who were selling copies of the information to the highest bidder.

    Edmonds said: “Certain greedy Turkish operators would make copies of the material and look around for buyers. They had agents who would find potential buyers.”

    In summer 2000, Edmonds says the FBI monitored one of the agents as he met two Saudi Arabian businessmen in Detroit to sell nuclear information that had been stolen from an air force base in Alabama. She overheard the agent saying: “We have a package and we’re going to sell it for $250,000.”

    Edmonds’s employment with the FBI lasted for just six months. In March 2002 she was dismissed after accusing a colleague of covering up illicit activity involving Turkish nationals.

    She has always claimed that she was victimised for being outspoken and was vindicated by an Office of the Inspector General review of her case three years later. It found that one of the contributory reasons for her sacking was that she had made valid complaints.

    The US attorney-general has imposed a state secrets privilege order on her, which prevents her revealing more details of the FBI’s methods and current investigations.

    Her allegations were heard in a closed session of Congress, but no action has been taken and she continues to campaign for a public hearing.

    She was able to discuss the case with The Sunday Times because, by the end of January 2002, the justice department had shut down the programme.

    The senior official in the State Department no longer works there. Last week he denied all of Edmonds’s allegations: “If you are calling me to say somebody said that I took money, that’s outrageous . . . I do not have anything to say about such stupid ridiculous things as this.”

    In researching this article, The Sunday Times has talked to two FBI officers (one serving, one former) and two former CIA sources who worked on nuclear proliferation. While none was aware of specific allegations against officials she names, they did provide overlapping corroboration of Edmonds’s story.

    One of the CIA sources confirmed that the Turks had acquired nuclear secrets from the United States and shared the information with Pakistan and Israel. “We have no indication that Turkey has its own nuclear ambitions. But the Turks are traders. To my knowledge they became big players in the late 1990s,” the source said.

    How Pakistan got the bomb, then sold it to the highest bidders

    1965 Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, Pakistan’s foreign minister, says: “If India builds the bomb we will eat grass . . . but we will get one of our own”

    1974 Nuclear programme becomes increased priority as India tests a nuclear device

    1976 Abdul Qadeer Khan, a scientist, steals secrets from Dutch uranium plant. Made head of his nation’s nuclear programme by Bhutto, now prime minister

    1976 onwards Clandestine network established to obtain materials and technology for uranium enrichment from the West

    1985 Pakistan produces weapons-grade uranium for the first time

    1989-91 Khan’s network sells Iran nuclear weapons information and technology

    1991-97 Khan sells weapons technology to North Korea and Libya

    1998 India tests nuclear bomb and Pakistan follows with a series of nuclear tests. Khan says: “I never had any doubts I was building a bomb. We had to do it”

    2001 CIA chief George Tenet gathers officials for crisis summit on the proliferation of nuclear technology from Pakistan to other countries

    2001 Weeks before 9/11, Khan’s aides meet Osama Bin Laden to discuss an Al-Qaeda nuclear device

    2001 After 9/11 proliferation crisis becomes secondary as Pakistan is seen as important ally in war on terror

    2003 Libya abandons nuclear weapons programme and admits acquiring components through Pakistani nuclear scientists

    2004 Khan placed under house arrest and confesses to supplying Iran, Libya and North Korea with weapons technology. He is pardoned by President Pervez Musharraf

    2006 North Korea tests a nuclear bomb

    2007 Renewed fears that bomb may fall into hands of Islamic extremists as killing of Benazir Bhutto throws country into turmoil

    unfortunately, sibel edmonds' claims may have been "well documented" in the u.s., but the majority of that documentation has remained under wraps and sibel has remained under a gag order... the extent of what she has REVEALED is damning enough, i have zero doubt that the rest of what she has to say is much more so...

    it's a sad commentary that a story like this is finally picked up by a credible, mainstream news outlet in the uk, rather than the united states... sibel's offer to violate her gag order if any mainstream news outlet in the u.s. will provide her a forum still stands untouched, and the call to congressman john conyers in the u.s. house of representatives to begin hearings has been consistently stonewalled... maybe the times has broken the logjam...



    Have Your Say

    Raphael Cruz, Reno, Nevada USA

    why is not anything mentioned about Indian nuclear programmes in Western media?? i would be grateful if someone can publish an article on that!!!

    Kanjar, london, uk

    The official in question is Marc Grossman.

    ROBinDALLAS, DALLAS, TX

    Under the US Clinton administration, the doors of the State Department and Justice Department were opened wide to criminal and spy organizations worldwide. This is no secret.

    Of the current US Presidential candidates, only a few are competent to deal with the issue. The US government deals with too many dangerous technologies to be so wide open to the world of crime and espionage.

    Charles Findworthy, Providence, Rhode Island

    The only way this woman is not dead and is able to freely tell her story is because there are powerful people that are allowing her. She is being allowed to leak her story, obviously, because the powerful people that are allowing her too do not have as much power as those she is reporting about.

    We do not know what is going on at any stage leading up to world events but we can see the apocalyptic outcomes that result.

    Welcome to the end of time friends. Endeavor to make your peace with the Eternal Judge; the only one able to make any sense of this world mess.

    jason barndon, perth, west australia

    "The beans", as I read it, are about the nuclear proliferation. They also happened to be involved in 9/11, but isn't giving terrorist organizations nukes, more important than if 9/11 is an "inside job"? Selling nukes is a much more dangerous job, and much more clearly "inside".

    Bill, Dallas, Tx

    Yehuda,

    The article made much reference to Israeli spies, do you still feel the moral outrage or should they be excluded?
    No country is free from corruption it's a human trait and last I checked the US had about 260 million of them, so there are bound to be one or two rotten souls (such as Cheney, of course - he appears to be the anti-christ!)

    Steve Brown, Birmingham,

    What about the German granted immunity in South Africa ? or the Two Germans arrested in Recife Brazil ? home of the pegmatite and rutile Berylyium Be? or do you take us as all fools ? or are we now led to believe, in the trust, loyalty, of Lawyers,Bankers, Politicians, Multinationals, Puppet Governments, and Monarchies? or do you think the Engineers have a Say ?

    G.D.Flynn, Roterdam, Nederlands

    Sibel Edmonds needs to move to a third country and tell everything she knows. Many nations would probably grant her political amnesty or refuse to extradite her. We have traitors literally running around the halls of government power in America, and at the moment there's nothing we can do about it.

    Albany, New York,

    I'm less concerned about the nuclear stuff than I am with this sentance from the article:

    "we can’t afford for them to spill the beans [about 9-11]"

    What are the beans that can't be spilled about 9-11?

    Albany, New York,

    I guess that the belief in free markets dies hard in the USA

    henry laycock, kingston, canada

    Sibel Edmonds has shown great courage. The Times has done well to let her tell her story.

    Old Atlantic, Atlantic City, NJ

    Secrets for sale:
    I find it outrageous; it seems people have lost all values and loyalty. Money seems to corrupt everyone, for the right price they will sell anything, their country their family and eventually will cause the destruction of the world.
    When is our society will learn to recognize that we are heading towards destruction and annihilation.
    We must stand up for values, honesty and integrity.
    Anyone committing treason against the United States should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law, no immunity.

    Yehuda Draiman, Northridge, California

    "The name of the official – who has held a series of top government posts – is known to The Sunday Times."

    So why are you not sharing the name with your readers???
    I want to know the names of all the players.

    Joe, Peoria, AZ


    www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/middle_east/article3137695.ece


    AXA Compansates Genocide Descendents
    By Julien Le Bot / FRANCE 24

    Axa is legally responsible for contracts signed with the Union-Vie insurance company before World War I, over 90 years ago. Axa has been therefore obligated to honour its engagements and pay compensation to the descendants of Armenians who had signed insurance policies and were killed in the genocide perpetrated by the Ottoman Empire from 1915 to 1916.
    “Money is not the essential issue here,” Alexis Govciyan, chairman of the Coordination Council of Armenian Organisations of France and president of the Armenian General Benevolent Union of Europe, told FRANCE 24. “The compensation is symbolic, since it amounts to about 2,000 dollars per family. We are proud of the work accomplished by our lawyers.”

    As many as 1.5 million Armenians were killed from 1915 to 1916 in the Ottoman Empire during what is considered as the first genocide of the 20th century. Their descendants have had difficulties obtaining compensation.

    January 7, 2008 marks a step toward recognition. Descendants of the victims who signed an insurance policy will be able to claim compensation. The insurance has remained unpaid until today.

    Following a 2005 decision in a class action suit in the USA, three American lawyers are seeking to find inheritors of Armenians who were insured by Union-Vie, a defunct French company acquired by Axa in 1996.

    The Armenian genocide remains a controversial political and diplomatic issue, since the Turks refuse to use the term “genocide”, instead referring to the incident as a reprisal. The matter of indemnities, therefore, is symbolically important.

    Axa is not alone

    “Of the 7,000 files relevant to the case,” explains Govciyan, “just over one thousand applications have been sent in. A third of the claimants live in France, a third in Armenia and the remaining third are part of the worldwide diaspora.”

    The Union-Vie life insurance claims by genocide victims are not unique. On the other side of the Atlantic, Vartkes Yeghiayan, a Californian of Armenian descent who is one of the lawyers working on the Axa case, negotiated 20 million US dollars in reparations from New York Life in January 2004, resolving 2,000 Armenian claims. To achieve this goal, he did research all over Europe and found about 30 descendants of policy holders.

    The Union-Vie company has never concealed the fact that at the end of the World War I they had more than 10,000 Armenian insurance holders. The matter was put aside, but about 30 years later, they began to take responsibility for these outstanding policies.

    Lawyers representing the descendants of the genocide victims used California laws to bring the Axa case to a Los Angeles court. In October 2005, an agreement was reached.

    Axa agreed to pay a lump sum of 17.5 million US dollars. The descendants were to split 11 million dollars; 3 million dollars went to humanitarian organizations (the Armenian General Benevolent Union, the Blue Cross and the French-Armenian Fund); and the rest went to the lawyers.

    For Axa, the matter is closed. “The money has been returned to the descendants. We have no comment on the ruling,” said an Axa spokesperson.

    According to Govciyan, Deutsche Bank is the next in line to be approached on the matter of indemnities.


    Turkish Radio And Television Corporation To Broadcast In Armenian
    07.01.2008
    /PanARMENIAN.Net/ Turkish Radio and Television Corporation (TRT) is getting ready to broadcast news in eight different languages including Armenian. State Minister Mehmet Aydin gave a green light to the broadcast.

    TRT was the first to broadcast in foreign languages last season and now the button has been pushed to broadcast in eight different languages including Armenian. TRT General Manager Ibrahim Sahin requested the specialists to work on the broadcast in Armenian and the State Minister Mehmet Aydin also gave a green light. "Why not?” Aydin told CNN Turk.


    Head Of Turkish Historical Council: Armenian Gangs Massacred 532,000 Turks
    Speaking in the eastern Turkish city of Kars at a conference on Turkish history this week, controversial academician and head of the Turkish Historical Council, Professor Yusuf Halacoglu, said "Armenian gangs in the east of Turkey massacred 532,000 Turks."

    Halacoglu, noting that millions of people had lost their lives during World War I, asserted this week "There was total destruction in the Caucuses. 2.5 million people were forced to migrate. In 1914, a full 80% of Yerevan was Muslim. Those driven out of Yerevan and Tblisi numbered 1,300,000. Only 701,000 of these Muslims were able to reach Anatolia safely."

    Asked Halacoglu "What name should be given to all the Muslims who were killed during this period? The western parliaments which have accepted the allegations of so-called genocide need to think about this."
    © Copyright 2006 Hürriyet


    History Course Proposal Upsets Canadian Turks
    By Louise Brown Education Reporter, 2008-01-07

    An unusual new course about genocide to be offered in Toronto high schools this fall has sparked anger among Turkish-Canadians for including the Turkish killing of Armenians in 1915.

    The Grade 11 history course, believed the only one of its kind at a high school in Ontario and possibly Canada, is designed to teach teenagers what happens when a government sets out to destroy people of a particular nationality, race or religion, through three examples: the Holocaust which exterminated 6 million Jews in World War II, the Rwandan slaughter of nearly one million Tutsis and moderate Hutus in 1994, and the Turkish killing of an estimated 1.5 million Armenians between 1915 and 1923.

    "These are very significant, horrible parts of history, and without sounding hackneyed, we hope we can learn something from them so we can make a better world for our children's children," said Trustee Gerri Gershon, of the Toronto District School Board, who proposed the course after a moving tour in 2005 of the Nazi death camps in Poland.

    "This isn't a course to teach hatred or blame the perpetrators – no, no, no," said Gershon. "Our goal is the exact opposite: To explore how this happens so we can become better people and make sure it never happens again."

    But the Council of Turkish Canadians has gathered more than 1,200 signatures on an online petition opposed to the course for calling the Armenian killings a "genocide" and inciting anti-Turkish sentiment. The Turkish government has long denied the slaughter was a genocide, but rather part of the wartime casualties of World War I, with both sides guilty of some provocation.

    "To pick Armenia as a genocide when it is so controversial – especially when there are atrocities by other countries that could have been chosen – is just wrong, and will inadvertently lead to the bullying of Turkish-Canadian children," argues Ottawa engineer Lale Eskicioglu, executive director of the council and author of the petition, which she will present to school board staff at a meeting this month.

    "Children of Turkish descent already face bullying, racism and hatred in the school yards. We rely on our schools to provide a shelter free from hate-inciting propaganda and not contribute to the divisions between ethnic minorities," she says.

    School board Superintendent Nadine Segal says teachers already are being trained to handle these issues "with sensitivity to the cultural mosaic in our schools," and insists the course is not designed to "point fingers, but to examine the early warning signs of genocide and the role of the perpetrator and bystander.

    "Our own Canadian government has recognized the Armenian genocide as uncontestable reality, the original genocide of the 20th century, and the course has been approved by the Ontario Ministry of Education," says Segal.

    "But students will also be doing independent studies of their own choosing that will allow them to examine other examples of genocide. The goal is to help students gain a deeper understanding of human rights and their responsibilities as global citizens."

    Kudos for the new course have been rolling in from historians and human rights advocates, Segal adds, including former United Nations special envoy Stephen Lewis, author Joy Kogawa and genocide historian Frank Chalk, co-director of the Montreal Institute for Genocide and Human Rights Studies at Concordia University.

    The course is being designed with the help of experts from UNICEF, York University, the Canadian Centre for Genocide and Human Rights Education, the University of Toronto and the Holocaust Centre of Toronto. Schools from as far away as Montreal have asked for the curriculum, says Segal.

    Both Segal and Gershon cite the International Association of Genocide Scholars' unanimous declaration of the Armenian killings as "genocide" in 1997.

    However, Eskicioglu calls the course "propaganda by the Armenian diaspora" and notes that although Prime Minister Stephen Harper has recognized the Armenian tragedy as genocide, his government also supports Turkey's call for an "impartial" joint historical review of events – a move Armenians refuse to take part in.

    "We are asking either for the removal of the genocide course from the curriculum," says the petition, "or removing any discussion of the Ottoman-Armenian tragedy from its contents."

    Gershon says she would oppose any such change.
    Toronto Star Copyright © 2008 Torstar Syndication Services.


    Damascene Delicacies: Mysteries Lying In A Lion’s Mouth
    "Bread lies in the lion's mouth" was an old Turkish proverb that we used to hear over and over when we were kids. It meant that it was hard to find a job and even harder to make ends meet, so a loaf of bread on a dinner table was the ultimate reason to express gratitude.

    Qaq available on street corners in Syria is larger and less well shaped than that made at home.

    While I was traversing the cobbled, narrow streets of Damascus, it suddenly occurred to me that something was actually wrong with this proverb. What, in fact, inhabits the lion's mouth is not bread itself, but knowledge. Only those who have a certain know-how can use their talent to acquire bread in real life. How could "we Orientals" have failed to understand what the occidentals have always known: that "knowledge is power" and even a remedy, as Derrida puts it in "Plato's pharmacy"?

    Well, knowledge, being the remedy, was going to cure my urge to find out what on earth was that yellow pastry with a delicious paste in it that you come across everywhere you go in Damascus.

    It all began in a carpentry shop near Armenian Square. "What on earth are those yellow wooden things with flowery patterns on them? Are they for printing designs on textile?" I asked. "No, madam, they are for qaq," was the reply. "Qaq?" "Yes, like food, like cookie, you eat." I finally managed to trace the relation between a "Qaq dough design kit" and a delicious yellow qaq at a qaq stall. Yes, qaq: those cake-like cookies with flower designs on them, of course!

    I went to the an-Noofra Cafe, right behind the Umayyad Mosque to kill some time watching the passers by and to do some further "research" on qaq while puffing some nargeelah. It was a place where a cup of coffee secured a 40-year friendship in one's heart, as another proverb -- most orientally -- indicates. The guy sitting next to me must have been a firm believer of that proverb, I figured. Otherwise, who could explain why he was sending me red roses on his mobile phone screen just after inviting me to a cup of coffee? Anyway, right behind me sat some candidates -- or victims -- for my query on qaq: "Do you know qaq? Do you know why it is yellow? Is it saffron or turmeric they put in it?" "Turmeric" "And what's that paste inside? Figs?" "No, it is dried-date paste." "Dried date-paste?"

    I assured myself that one could not possibly find "dried date paste" in a shop, so I just went through the market. Right before bursting from all the pistachios and sweets I was offered at the nut stalls, I noticed that those elegant rectangular card-board packages with belly dancers on them were actually packs of dried-date paste. It was then, when darkness fell on the domes of Damascus, that I deciphered the mystery of qaq, a Damascene delicacy that you see everywhere but do not know how it came to exist.

    I was "cured" for the time being. I had learned what "qaq" was. However, what if it turns out, perhaps etymologically as Derrida puts it, that knowledge means not only "cure" but, at the same time, "poison"? Well, be that as it may, qaq is by far the most delicious poison one could imagine. Here is the gateway to preparing your own cure: a qaq, or a poisonous passion that will invade your taste buds:

    Qaq recipe:

    Ingredients:500 grams flour, 250 grams butter, 1 teacup cold water, 100 grams powdered sugar, 1 tsp. turmeric, A pinch of salt, 150 grams dried-date paste (you can make your own by mixing butter and dried, de-seeded dates in your blender) A wooden qaq design kit or a flower pattern that you can print on your qaqs. Sift the flour, turmeric and salt together in a bowl and rub in the butter in small pieces. Add the water sparingly to form a smooth dough. Knead the dough and cut out round shapes. Fill each round with dried date paste, close it in your palm and put it inside a qaq dough design tool to leave a flower pattern on top. Bake at 190 degrees for 30 minutes. Bon appetit!

    07.01.2008 FULYA ÖZLEM ISTANBUL


    Turkey's Terror Problem Is Ours By Michael Rubin
    AEI Online January 4, 2008

    A version of this article appeared in the Wall Street Journal on December 18, 2007.

    It has been nearly two months since the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) sparked an international crisis with a major attack inside Turkey, and it has been more than six weeks since President Bush promised Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan that Washington would aid Turkey's fight against terrorism. Heady talk of intelligence sharing and cooperation followed and, indeed, may have been a factor in this weekend's Turkish air strikes on PKK targets in Iraqi Kurdistan.

    Yet at the same time, the Bush administration--more precisely, its increasingly assertive State Department--has embraced an ill-advised diplomatic strategy toward the PKK that will likely backfire on our long-standing NATO ally and could serve to undermine what is left of Bush's global war on terrorism.

    With one hundred thousand Turkish troops amassed alongside the Iraqi frontier, it is understandable that U.S. diplomats want to avert a military crisis. But rather than take a zero-tolerance policy toward terrorism, the State Department is counseling Turkey to offer political concessions. On December 13, for example, State Department coordinator for counterterrorism Dell Dailey said, "We have not looked at a military solution as the solution to the PKK. Our preference is a political solution," both inside Iraqi Kurdistan and inside Turkey.
    Turkey has been a poor ally in recent years, but fighting terror requires alliances to trump politics.

    The desired political solution seems to be Iraqi Kurdish action to close down the safe haven on Iraqi soil in exchange for a general amnesty law in Turkey to forgive most PKK members and perhaps allow other Kurdish language broadcasting and constitutional reforms as well.

    Such a deal at this time would be cockeyed. Turkey has a legitimate grievance against both the PKK and Iraqi Kurdish leader Massoud Barzani. During its October 21 attack on Turkish troops, PKK tactics mirrored those taught by U.S. Special Forces to Barzani's peshmerga fighters, suggesting its complicity in training terrorists. A diplomatic solution should not reward such behavior.

    This need not mean solely a military solution either. Rather, U.S. officials should threaten isolation and a cessation of all financial assistance until Barzani ceases his safe haven. Confronted with such demands since 2003, Barzani has always begged for more time, only to let his promises lag when the diplomatic spotlight passed.

    It is trendy to seek root causes of terror and to discount terrorist ideology. For State Department officials who believe the PKK is just an outgrowth of inequality and discrimination in Turkey, a deal may seem logical. The group's ideology should negate such a compromise. The PKK has its roots in the revolutionary turmoil of the 1970s. Its leader, a university dropout named Abdullah Öcalan, immersed himself in the Marxism and Maoism fashionable among intellectuals of the day and became a committed revolutionary. Cloaking himself in Kurdish nationalism, Öcalan's first target was not the Turkish military, but rather nonviolent Kurdish civil rights groups.

    In August 1984, the PKK launched an insurgency in southeastern Turkey. Like Pol Pot's Khmer Rouge, it targeted the educated and modern. PKK terrorists executed school teachers for being public servants. PKK gangs burned medical clinics and murdered their staff. Health care collapsed. As al Qaeda would do two decades later in Iraq, the PKK destroyed critical infrastructure to drive a wedge between the state and the local population. Before ending in 1997, the PKK campaign claimed thirty thousand lives--the majority ethnic Kurds killed by the PKK itself.

    The terror campaign ended not with political concession, but coercion: Turkey threatened to expand its military campaign to Syria, which sheltered the PKK. As the Turkish military mobilized along Syria's frontier, Syrian president Hafez al-Assad blinked and ordered the PKK out. Öcalan sought Greek protection. Rather than try to negotiate compromise with a terrorist, U.S. forces took a no-nonsense approach. U.S. (and Israeli) intelligence tipped Ankara off to Öcalan's whereabouts. On February 16, 1999, Turkish Special Forces captured the PKK leader outside the Greek Embassy in Nairobi. Today, Öcalan serves his life sentence on the prison island of Imrali, but he controls his organization through trusted lieutenants.

    Every time the PKK finds a safe haven, it renews violence. Iran briefly sheltered PKK fighters after their expulsion from Syria. No sooner had the PKK established camps than it restarted its terrorism. Turkey responded by bombing both PKK targets and Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps posts around the Iranian town of Piranshahr. While Tehran seldom takes diplomatic demarches or deals seriously, faced with a military redline, the ayatollahs, too, backed down. No U.S. official, obviously, counseled that Turkey should compromise.

    And yet, in the name of diplomacy, the Bush administration now does. The White House validates Barzani's decision to play the terror card. For the State Department to accept Barzani's excuse--that Kurdish solidarity prohibits a crackdown upon the PKK--is naïve. Kurdish solidarity is an oxymoron. Throughout the 1990s, Barzani fought the group he now protects. His change of heart came after the Turkish parliament's 2003 decision not to participate in Operation Iraqi Freedom. Overestimating the chill in U.S.-Turkish relations, he took a hard line against Ankara. As Turkey at the time offered amnesty to those rank-and-file PKK members without blood on their hands, Barzani welcomed the PKK leaders he once fought. Turkish authorities say they have photographs of senior PKK commanders receiving medical treatment in Erbil hospitals and meeting with Barzani associates in nearby restaurants. Last spring, Barzani threatened in an Al Arabiya television interview to unleash insurgency inside Turkey.

    So as Barzani denies complicity in terrorism, he nevertheless seeks to leverage it into diplomatic gain. To link demands for Barzani to crack down with any Turkish political concession suggests that Bush has learned nothing from his predecessors' failures. The Bush administration's strategy today mirrors the Clinton administration's approach to late Palestinian chairman Yasser Arafat, in which the State Department matched every empty Arafat promise with demands for good-faith concessions from Israel, the democracy he victimized.

    While Kurdish officials tell credulous diplomats that the PKK threat would disappear if only Ankara offered greater concessions, the opposite is true: concessions fuel terror. Any Turkish compromise prior to a complete disarmament and expulsion of PKK terrorists from northern Iraq could encourage Syria and its Lebanese proxies to demand concessions in exchange for insincere promises to cease terror support. Pakistan, too, may once again leverage its support and safe haven for the Taliban and al Qaeda leadership into demands upon both Washington and Kabul.

    Turkey has been a poor ally in recent years, but fighting terror requires alliances to trump politics. Every country has the right to defend its citizens from terrorism. Barzani may give silk carpets to diplomats, provide lavish spreads during their visits, and have his praises sung by high-powered Washington lobbyists, but so long as he provides the PKK a safe haven, he is a terror enabler. Forcing Turkey to negotiate with the PKK or its intermediaries would only justify its terrorism and would be no wiser than counseling compromise with Hezbollah, Hamas, or al Qaeda.

    Michael Rubin is a resident scholar at AEI.


    Interview: An Ottoman Prince In Exile
    On March 5, 1924, a train departing from Sirkeci Station was carrying an Ottoman Empire dynasty which over centuries had extended its control across three continents.

    Beyzade (Prince) Bülent Osman

    Some 140 royal family members who were exiled after the establishment of the Turkish Republic were faced with a life of sorrow and squalor but maintained a never-ending hope of returning to their country one day.

    We were welcomed to Beyzade (Prince) Bülent Osman's home in Tesvikiye. He is the grandson of the 34th Ottoman Sultan Abdülhamid II's daughter, Naime Sultan, and Ghazi Osman Pasha, who was the hero of the Siege of Pleven in 1877. While the paintings on the walls and the furnishings in the living room pointed to a person who had lived in many countries across the world, imperial proclamations with the signatures of Sultan Abdülhamid II and Ghazi Osman Pasha printed on cuff links on his sleeves announced "I am an Ottoman."

    "Sultan Abdülhamid wanted Osman Pasha's son, Kemalettin Pasha, to marry his daughter because he was very pleased with Osman Pasha's success. They had two children; one boy and one girl. The boy was my father, Cahit Bey. He also had one son, me. I married and I have a son, Cengiz, and he also had a son, Selim," the prince details his family tree, smiling.

    Born in France six years after the beginning of their exile, he does not remember many details about that period. The only thing he recalls clearly is the poverty. "I dare say that the first years of the exile were not that hard for my family. They could have worked but they did not know what it means to earn one's bread. There was a little amount money coming from Mosul because the region belonged to Abdülhamid but after World War II the British did not hand over the money," states Osman, adding that even though they applied to the European Court of Human Rights and won the case, no money was given to them.

    Except for a few people, the conditions of exile were very harsh for the dynasty, explains the prince. "There were a few daughters and sons of sultans and they moved to the East. Their parents made them marry Indian, Lebanese and Egyptian princes or princesses. Those countries were thinking that eventually the dynasty would return to Turkey and these marriages would be beneficial for them. Those who married these princes and princesses did not suffer financially; they took their [nuclear] families with them but the rest suffered a lot."

    Osman's family living in Nice in the south of France had lived on lean rations until the 1930s and they eventually had to sell off Naime Sultan's jewelry. Unfortunately it was not very hard to be defrauded by the tradesman because of their broken French. "They were selling my grandmother's diamonds at the given price. Entire fortunes melted that way." The prince makes plain that he did not experience that much difficulty since he was not really aware of what was going on back then while his family was experiencing financial hardship. "I did not experience great suffering in my life; I was a kid with a lot of friends but my parents were different. They had not known what a pleasant life was. My father was looking for a job and he could not find it by any means. Also, there was World War II and he was neither a Turkish citizen nor French. He had this political refugee label on his passport and it was not easy to find a job with that. He was selling razors. My mother was sewing clothes for stores. They were supporting the family with these activities." After some time Cahit Bey as able to take French citizenship but his Circassian mother, Princess Levrans, never accepted French citizenship. Because her French was not very good, they used only French except in moments of anger at home. Prince Osman himself never spoke Turkish in the 1930s, but started speaking it again when he came to Turkey.

    Naime Sultan did not agree to send his grandson to primary school because she believed that they would surely return one day. Cahit Bey on the other hand, who knows French very well because he graduated from Galatasaray High School in Istanbul, was thinking that that they might never return. "My father was saying that we would never return and that we all should learn French. But my grandmother was saying, 'No, Turkish people love us and they will call us again one day.' She really believed in that but unfortunately it did not happen."

    During World War II Italians took back the city of Nice after 100 years and the family's situation became much worse. "But it was real luck that we were in Nice," says the prince. "The mayor of Nice resisted throwing out my grandmother. These people came, settled down and spent all their money here, he said. We cannot just chuck them out; such a thing cannot be done. I will find an apartment for her, he said; and an apartment was found for my grandmother." But unfortunately after a while, the Italians came and suggested that Naime Sultan move to Albania because Albania was occupied by Italians and her second husband, who was dead by that time, was the brother of the Albanian king. Naime Sultan accepted this offer but sadly after a few days of being in Albania she was killed during an aerial bombardment by the British and the remains of her body were never found.

    Although Naime Sultan was opposed to Bülent Osman's training at French schools, he attended primary school during World War II in France. He did many things including car washing and selling small items on the streets on weekends. "There was a Jewish man and I was helping him by selling Kleenex on the street and washing cars. Things like that. In my last year of high school in 1948 I decided to leave." He made a decision to get a real job. "My father was against this. You will go on studying; you will apply to college, he was saying. I said to him, 'Don't be ridiculous dad. We are living among 15,000 people in this city. Even the nearest university is quite far. How am I supposed to go to college while we are barely eating our fill? I am working on the weekends; you are working with my mom. How can I go to college?'"

    Knowing that it would be easier to find a job for a sportsman, the prince, who played basketball, went into the military first. But because he broke his leg during his military service he could not become a basketball player when he returned. He looked for jobs for a long period of time but could not find any. When the war began in North Africa in 1953 all the soldiers were called up again and he fought in Africa for a few months. When he returned to France, he saw a business advertisement for the tire company Michelin. After working for Michelin for five years in France he was sent to Africa willingly to work for the affiliated branches of the company. "They were telling me, 'Bülent, you are repeatedly saying that you want to work outside of France but you do not know any language other then French. What are you going to do in those countries?' 'Look,' I said to them. 'It is much easier to earn money outside. My parents are getting older. The money we have will not be enough. I have to look after them so I have to earn more.' They said okay and sent me to Africa."

    In 1974, when the male members of the Ottoman royal family were permitted to return to Turkey, Bülent Osman's father Cahit Bey decided to return. He desired to take back the heirship of Osman Pasha immediately. "After all he was Osman Pasha's youngest son," says the prince. His father wanted to go to the court but he did not have any money for a lawyer. He gave almost all the money his son sent from Africa to lawyers. "My father did not know Turkey. The lawyers were defrauding him. Since this was the case, after some time I told him that I would not send any more money. I said, 'You will stay in a hotel and I will pay for the room and food'." In 1977 a taxi hit Cahit Bey and broke his leg. He told his son over the phone from the hospital and died in the morning of unknown causes.

    Bülent Osman worked and did amazing business in Africa and Asia for many years. Such that he was called a "fire extinguisher" after awhile since he was shooting wherever the company had trouble. He also met his French journalist wife, Princess Jeannine, during his time in Africa. They lived in eighteen different countries including Nigeria, Zaire, Rwanda, Congo, Chad, Thailand, Hong-Kong, Vietnam and the Philippines. He introduced himself to the Turkish ambassadors wherever he went but they never seemed to see each other again after that first meeting. "They were so afraid of Ankara hearing that they were meeting with someone from the dynasty," he says. "But one day, while I was working in Nigeria, I met Orhan Kulin, the author Ayse Kulin's brother. We were really close to him." When the royal family was permitted to become Turkish citizens, Kulin asked Osman to apply but he refused, saying he was already a French citizen and could go to Turkey whenever he wanted. Nevertheless, Kulin applied for the prince without asking him, but the application was denied although he was both the grandson of Abdülhamid and Osman Pasha. After two or three years, Kulin called the prince to inform him that he could become a Turkish citizen and he died an hour following this telephone conversation. At that point Bülent Osman thought he should definitely become a Turkish citizen and went to the consulate. However, he was not pleased with the last name "Osmanoglu" (the son of Osman) that the consul offered. "I am not Osmanoglu, I said. I am Osman like my grandfather Gazi Osman and my father Cahit Osman," he insisted, and his wish was finally granted.

    He first came to Turkey at the age of 20 in 1950 with his friends by train. "I was really surprised with the things I saw," the prince says. "Nothing was as my parents had told me. Besides I was not that willing to listen to my grandmother's palace stories when I was a kid. A child of that age is more interested in playing in the street with his friends rather then listening to some fairy tale- like stories." He never understood the memories of his parents and grandmother.

    In the 1970s they visited Turkey for a few days a year in order to see Cahit Bey and Princess Levrans. Moving to Turkey, on the other hand, happened through another member of the royal family, Mehmed Orhan Osmanoglu, who had also been living in Nice. In 1922 Prince Mehmed was invited to Istanbul by journalist and historian Murat Bardakçi. After meeting with Bardakçi, Bülent visited him whenever he came to Turkey. Following these visits, in 1992, Bülent's wife requested that they live in Turkey. "I was surprised," says the prince. My wife said to me, "We have lived in many countries but this place is different. I don't know how, but there is something peculiar about this country; there is still humaneness. Look, I am blonde and do not speak Turkish. One can immediately see that I am foreigner. But I know that if I were stranded on the road in the middle of the night somebody would talk to me and they would help me." After these words, the prince agreed to live in Turkey and they bought an apartment in Tesvikiye.

    Bülent Osman is not only an Ottoman prince but also carries red and blue French decorations on his collar. The Chevalier de l'Ordre de la Legion d'Honneur was given to him for carrying food to the French soldiers on the mountains at nights during primary school and because he fought in the French army in North Africa. Chevalier de l'Ordre National du Merite on the other hand was given because he promoted France everywhere he worked. "Throughout the years I worked for Michelin, I tried to do things for France. If there was not a French chamber of commerce in the country where I was living, I created one. Moreover they made me honorary counselor to the French trade ministry."

    He not only promoted France in many countries in the world but endeavored to make a contribution to French and Turkish relations by meeting many Turkish officials visiting France and attending numerous debates at the national assembly. He now states that he knows both Turkey and France and is angry with both -- the French because of their lack of knowledge in passing the draft bill "to penalize the denial of Armenian genocide" and Turks because they failed to take proper measures to avert it.

    One day he saw an illustration of Sultan Abdülhamid II in the act of cutting a baby on a plate in an established French magazine. It was stated in the caption below that a French doctor wrote a book including some photographs of how Turks killed Armenians under the orders of Sultan Abdülhamid. "I called them and pressed them to apologize. I asked them how they could do such a stupid thing. The sultan was already dead in the year they had stated. How could he have done that if he was dead?" says the prince with obvious anger. As a consequence, the next week the magazine apologized. He says these accusations are not just against the Ottoman dynasty but against all Turks and thus people should speak out against them. But he also remembers when Armenians helped when they were in Nice. "They were coming to our homes and teaching us French. They helped with doctors if we were ill. There was an old and very rich Armenian lady who was living in a palatial house. She looked after many people from the dynasty in her house. I have no hostility towards Armenians; I have an immense love for them but politics is something different. I think with this issue [the alleged Armenian genocide], we are 100 percent right."

    06.01.2008 Rümeysa Özel Istanbul


    Interview: Bartholomew: We Don’t Want To Be Like The Vatican
    Based in Istanbul, the spiritual leader of the world's approximately 300 million Orthodox Christians, Bartholomew, has been concerned about "prejudice" against his "ecumenical" or universal title and wants to clear up doubts, saying, "We don't want to be like the Vatican," in an interview with Sunday's Zaman.

    As the city saw the first snow of this season, Bartholomew said he could not get enough sleep, most probably due to "stress." He works until after midnight and then goes to bed only to wake up around five or six, much earlier than his alarm clock goes off, set for seven in the morning. The patriarch explains why he labors for long hours:

    "Our patriarchate has first status among other Orthodox churches in the world. When they have internal problems that they cannot resolve, they come here. We serve as a coordination center. We appoint metropolitans and bishops around the world, from Canada to New Zealand. They come here to take directives and talk about their accomplishments. Because of our role in the Orthodox community, we have many visitors. I make myself accessible to almost anyone and feel a big responsibility to complete everything in time."

    Born on the island of Gökçeada (Imbros) as Dimitrios Arhondonis, Bartholomew assumed his position in 1991 as the 270th head of the 2,000-year-old Christian Church founded by St. Andrew.

    The Orthodox churches of Western Europe, Australia, North and South America, New Zealand, Scandinavia, Hong Kong, Korea, Crete and the 12 islands (Dodecanese) of the Aegean Sea have been directly linked to the patriarchate in Fener, a neighborhood that stretches along a part of the Golden Horn.

    Bartholomew has been recognized as the "first among equals" by the Orthodox patriarchates of Alexandria, Antakya (Antioch), Jerusalem, Tbilisi, Bulgaria, Romania, Russia and Serbia, plus numerous archdioceses including Greece, Cyprus, Albania, Estonia, Poland and Prague.

    His "ecumenical" status has no political attachments, Bartholomew emphasized, wondering whether Turkey wants the Greek Orthodox community to leave the country by not recognizing this title and not reopening the Halki patriarchal seminary on Heybeliada, an island in the Sea of Marmara.

    Noting that not only the Orthodox community but all Christians recognize Patriarch Bartholomew's "ecumenical" title when addressing him, he said:

    "We explained several times that we do not have any political motives behind using this title. We don't want to be a state like the Vatican. This is against the fundamentals of the Orthodox Church. Church and state are separate, and they should remain separate. We have used this title since the sixth century, and it is a historical and authentic title of our patriarchate."

    Turkey has desired to contain Bartho-lomew's influence to Istanbul because of a mistrust many Turks feel toward the patriarchate, primarily due to its traditional ties with Turkey's historical rival, Greece.

    Turkey has refused to accept any international role for the patriarch, but Bartholomew said the ruling party’s leaders and cabinet members have expressed support by saying his “ecumenical” status is an internal matter of the Christian world.

    The patriarch believes some nationalist elements in the country are acting against minority rights and the government’s hands remain tied for now even though Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said last year that Fatih Sultan Mehmet, the conqueror of Constantinople -- today’s Istanbul -- ended the Byzantine Empire in 1453 and kept the patriarchate with the ecumenical title of the patriarch because he had no fear and saw no threat from this.

    As the new year begins, Bartholomew hopes his title will be recognized by Turkey and that the main school of theology of the Eastern Orthodox Church, the Halki seminary, closed in 1971, will be reopened. The seminary was closed under a law that put religious training under state control.

    European Union officials and the United States have repeatedly called on Turkey to open the seminary, which has trained generations of Orthodox leaders, including Bartholomew.

    After its closure, the patriarchate tried to train future leaders of the church by sending them to schools of theology abroad.

    “But most never returned,” Bartholomew said, adding: “We need educated, intellectual theologians. Where are we going to find them? How are we going to elect our next patriarch? Our population is only about 4,000 here.”

    At the seminary there is a bust of Atatürk, the country’s founder, and underneath is his famous phrase: The real guide in life is science, Bartholomew said, and asked, “How are we going to teach science behind closed doors?”

    Under a 1923 treaty with Greece, the patriarch must be a Turkish citizen, a condition set by Turkey for allowing the patriarchate to remain in Istanbul. At the time, the Greek community’s population in Turkey was approximately 180,000.

    Bartholomew said he wrote to the government to remove the condition of being a Turkish citizen to be a patriarch so a qualified foreign national could be elected and then granted citizenship by Turkey. However, he said, they haven’t received an answer.

    ‘What if we leave?’

    An ethnic Greek but a Turkish citizen, Bartholomew fulfilled his military service in the Turkish army between 1961 and 1963.

    “I served with contentment. We serve the country, pay taxes and vote, but are not given rights that Muslim citizens of the country enjoy,” he said.

    Asked why the Greek community’s population in Turkey has declined so much, he answered: “If they were satisfied, they wouldn’t leave. Obviously, they didn’t feel secure here. And the ones who left were valuable citizens for the country.”

    As Istanbul gears up to be the cultural capital of Europe in 2010, Bartholomew refers to the city as a melting pot of all cultures and religions:

    “If Greeks, Armenians and Assyrians leave, we won’t be able to mention that cultural mosaic. Istanbul is going to be the cultural capital. Differences need to be appreciated here, and the state should be protective of its minorities.”

    Bartholomew has had a tenure marked by inter-Orthodox cooperation, inter-Christian and inter-religious dialogue. He has taken trips to Orthodox Christian and Muslim countries, including Iran, Libya, Bahrain and Qatar, countries hardly ever visited by his predecessors. He has held various conferences since 1986 in this regard, some in Jordan and Bahrain, others in Greece, Brussels and Switzerland. He co-sponsored the Peace and Tolerance Conference in Istanbul in 1994, bringing together Muslims, Christians and Jews. Bartholomew noted the participation of Mehmet Nuri Yilmaz, then president of the Religious Affairs Directorate in Turkey.

    His initiatives to advance religious tolerance among the world’s religions have been widely noted, although received with suspicion by some in Turkey.

    “Some see us with suspicion here, but we are sincere. This is the only way to eliminate terrorism and religious fanaticism.”

    Once more referring to Atatürk, Bartholomew said the great leader adopted a philosophy of “Peace at home, peace in the world.”

    ‘Turkey is a European country’

    Bartholomew said that in every forum he has supported Turkey’s EU membership. “The meeting of both cultures in the community of the European Union is a great richness,” he said, noting: “European states such as Austria, which is against Turkish membership in the EU, have been surprised by my support of Turkey. I told them a Turkey that is a member of the EU will find solutions to injustice more easily.”

    Last January, at a Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) session in Strasbourg, Bartholomew repeated the same message:

    “We must mention that the Ecumenical Patriarchate and the surrounding Greek-Orthodox minority in Turkey feel that they still do not enjoy full rights, such as the refusal to acknowledge and recognize the legal status of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, the prohibition of the operation of the Halki Theological School, property issues and many more. We do recognize, however, that many reforms have been made and some remarkable steps have been taken to harmonize the internal law with the European standard and have therefore always supported Turkey’s European inclination in anticipation of the remaining steps to be taken according to the standards of the EU.”

    Patriarch Bartholomew thanked the Turkish government on Jan. 1 at a reception at the patriarchate for granting permission for religious services to be held at a church in ancient Myra -- modern Demre -- this year. Reviewing year 2007 at a New Year’s reception, Bartholomew listed the Ministry of Culture’s permission for religious services to be held at the Church of St. Nicholas among the important events of the year for Orthodox Christians.

    ‘The Green Patriarch’

    The patriarch has gained a reputation as a prominent environmentalist, giving the patriarchate’s support to many international environmental causes. This has earned him the nickname “the Green Patriarch” as well as various awards, including the US Congressional Gold Medal in 1997 and the Sophie Foundation Award in Oslo in 2002.

    As part of the Religion, Science and the Environment (RSE) movement, Bartholomew attended the 2007 Arctic Symposium in Greenland on Sept. 6-13.

    “I saw the melting glaciers releasing tons of water. If the situation continues like this, coastal regions will be flooded. As a result, we will have 50 million environmental refugees in the world in the next 10 years. Some inhabitants of small islands have already left their homes and moved away,” Bartholomew said.

    Former US Vice President Al Gore, now a leading environmentalist, visited Bartholomew at Fener last June to discuss environmental issues of mutual concern.

    Throughout this one-and-a-half-hour interview with Sunday’s Zaman, Bartholomew has tried to erase the prejudice against the patriarchate and repeated on several occasions that he is “sincere” in all of his efforts for peace and dialogue.

    “We are not going to become Muslims nor are the Muslims going to become Christians. All we have is an academic dialogue, not a theological one.”

    Bartholomew emphasized the importance of the “Ecumenical Patriarchate” being on Turkish soil and said, “What I am upset about is that our accomplishments have been recognized all over the world, but not in Turkey, where the patriarchate is.” To be relieved of stress, he takes long walks, mostly along the Bosporus, enjoys the company of children and shops to buy souvenirs from the countries he visits.
    06.01.2008 Yonca Poyraz Dogan Istanbul


    Ihsan Yilmaz ihsan.yilmaz@todayszaman.com Kurdish Diaspora In The Post-PKK Era
    The Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) terrorism problem will hopefully be minimized soon. We have to plan the post-PKK era as the demise of the PKK does not mean the evaporation of the Kurdish question. It is heartening to see that both the government and civil society will steadily increase their efforts, such as investing more in the region, opening more and more quality schools, tackling unemployment, helping the poor and needy and most importantly recognizing the Kurdish identity in tandem with the democratization of the country. I think we also need to focus on the international and transnational sides of the issue in addition to the mentioned commendable domestic efforts. I don’t only mean diplomacy by this.

    For years, Turkish officials had endeavored to convince the outside world that our nation was a monolithic entity and everybody was content with the establishment and status quo; the ones who were causing trouble were either mala fide people or enemies of the nation. We were always upset with the academics and international observers who did nothing more than hold a mirror to our face, or put differently, took a picture of reality as efficiently as only they could. We tried to silence them by saying that they do not know Turkey and that they were trying to undermine the integrity of our state and our nation despite the fact that these people showed all signs of knowing our country better than we were prepared to admit. It had never come to our mind that maybe at least some of these critics were only concerned because they liked us and exerted their time and energy to cordially warn us. Unfortunately, this sticking one’s head ostrich-like in the sand attitude is widespread, especially in the Muslim nations. It is always easier to condemn alien evil forces.

    Currently, with the exception of a few oligarchic elite, we are no longer trying to avoid facing our weaknesses and problems as a more self-confident nation. We now accept that our Kurdish citizens have not been treated well and Kurds have not been the only ones that faced this maltreatment. We acknowledge this in the international fora as well and that is why no one objected to our operations against PKK bases in northern Iraq.

    It is now high time that we acknowledged that we have a Kurdish diaspora issue, and unless we win the hearts and minds of these people, they will inflict more damage on Turkey than the Armenian diaspora in the future, even if we settle all our issues with the Kurdish citizens at home. Diasporas are more inclined to radical views and hostile attitudes. Even if our Kurds at home are happy, the diaspora will always press for more. They will also be more susceptible to international maneuvers and games.

    As far as I can see, Turkey has seen the diaspora issue in only intelligence terms. Yet, not all these people are hostile to Turkey, and even if some of them are hostile to the Turkish state thanks to our oligarchic elite, they are not hostile to the Turkish people. Bridges can easily be built between Kurdish and Turkish diasporia communities. We must also encourage healthy transnational communications between diaspora Kurds and Kurds in Turkey who will hopefully benefit from democratization, socioeconomic development and strengthened ties with their brothers from other ethnic backgrounds, mainly Turks. Turkish officials when they are abroad should not only contact so-called mainstream Turkish associations and groups but also openly Kurdish ones as long as they are not attached to terrorists. We should always bear in mind that these people may not see phenomena around them with our eyes and that dialogue may easily lead to cooperation with them for the common good. All we need is self-confidence.
    06.01.2008


    Triple Jeopardy: The Nazi Plan To Kill WWII Leaders In Tehran

    04/01/2008 18:03 The attempt by Nazi Germany to assassinate the "Big Three" - Stalin, Roosevelt and Churchill - was foiled thanks to Soviet intelligence

    MOSCOW. (Nikolai Dolgopolov) - The British Big Ape Media TV company and the Moscow TV Center are making a documentary series about Russian-British relations over four centuries. The Lion and the Bear, for release in 2008, will mix documentary history, travelogue and personal accounts and will be presented by author, and Winston Churchill's granddaughter, Celia Sandys.

    One of the best sections in the film is devoted to the Tehran meeting of the three leaders in 1943, when Hitler's agents planned to destroy the Big Three in one fell swoop. The attempt was foiled by Soviet intelligence.

    The "Long Jump" operation to assassinate the Big Three was masterminded on Hitler's orders by Otto Scorzeny, an SS thug and daredevil saboteur.

    The first tip-off about the planned attempt came from Soviet intelligence agent Nikolai Kuznetsov, aka Wermacht Oberleutnant Paul Siebert, from Nazi-occupied Ukraine. Kuznetsov, a famed Soviet spy, got an SS man named Ulrich von Ortel to spill the secret over a bottle of good brandy. Von Ortel not only told his "friend" Paul about the operation, but invited him to accompany him on a trip to Tehran to buy cheap Persian rugs.

    "Light cavalry" had no mercy for the Germans

    In the autumn of 1943, fate thrust 19-year-old Gevork Vartanian into the center of the operation. Vartanian was an intelligence agent as well as the son of a Soviet intelligence agent who worked in Iran under the cover of a wealthy merchant. He received his first assignment and the cover name Amir from the resident in 1940.

    He formed a group of seven like-minded people. All were of about the same age - Armenians, a Lezghin and an Assyrian - and they communicated in Russian and Farsi. Their parents had been exiled or fled from the USSR to escape Stalin's gulag. They were outcasts and refugees, but they put their lives at risk for the sake of the Motherland that had rejected them.

    They were new to the intelligence profession and people from Soviet intelligence had to teach them as they went along. The resident called the group "light cavalry" because of their agility and speed. They shadowed Germans and identified Iranian agents. Gevork Vartanian/Amir today claims that the "light cavalry" had been instrumental in bringing about the arrest of several hundred people who posed a great danger to the USSR and Britain, who both had troops stationed in Iran as early as the autumn of 1941.

    On the eve of the Tehran Conference, the Soviet and British field stations were working under tremendous strain. The "light cavalry" received orders to prevent the assassination attempt at all costs. These young men handled the job. I asked Gevork Vartanian whether it was true that on the eve of the Tehran Conference the Soviet and British intelligences moved ruthlessly to detain all the suspects.

    "What did you expect?" Gevork Vartanian replied. "To let the Germans take out the three leaders with one stroke? People were placed under temporary arrest on the slightest suspicion.

    If suspicions were not confirmed, they were released after the conference. On one occasion we had to arrest an Iranian Nazi agent at a wedding party. We got a tip that he was complicit in the assassination plot. As it turned out, it was not the first terrorist attack he had been a part of."

    And no "Long Jumps"

    During the filming at the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service press office, Celia Sandys tried to find out from Gevork Vartanian how they had managed to foil the plot. The slender man in a well-fitting dark suit with the top Russian military decoration - the Golden Star of the Hero - answered in good English and then, at Ms. Sandys's request, repeated the answers in Russian.

    "Six German radio operators had been dropped by parachute into the holy Muslim city of Qum and made it to Tehran. That was the start of Operation Long Jump. The Germans established communication with Berlin. The ‘light cavalry' was given the mission to locate the intruders' radio station in the huge city of Tehran. Day and night, 14 to 16 hours a day we scoured the streets. Eventually we found the place where the group was hiding.

    "From then on the Germans were transmitting messages to Berlin that were intercepted by the Soviet and British intelligence. But the Nazi radio operators were nobody's fools. One of them managed to send a coded message, ‘we are under surveillance.'

    "The principals in Germany realized that the operation was getting off to a disastrous start. The Nazis decided against sending the main group led by Scorenzy to certain death. The Germans failed to make their Long Jump.

    "Your grandfather," Vartanian went on, "was staying at the British Embassy, where he was provided with security guards. But the U.S. Embassy was on the city's outskirts and staying there was too risky. In a departure from the rules of protocol, Roosevelt, after much urging, stayed at the Soviet Embassy, where, of course, Stalin was also staying."

    Churchill's granddaughter was naturally curious to know what security precautions had been taken to guard the Prime Minister.

    "The street between the Soviet and British Embassies, which were located close to each other, had been sealed off. They stretched a six-meter tarpaulin sheet to make something like a passage guarded by Soviet and British machine-gunners.

    "All the participants in the Tehran Conference were able to go back and forth safely.

    "According to some information, the Nazis planned to get into the British Embassy through a water supply channel and assassinate Churchill on his birthday, November 30. But these plans were foiled.

    "In those days I was also there, in Tehran. I was close enough to see your grandfather, Stalin and Roosevelt. What struck me was their confidence and calmness."

    "You must have had a certain amount of luck," noted Ms. Sandys.

    "Yes, of course," Vartanian agreed. "Luck is important for many professions, and all the more so for that of an intelligence agent."

    The opinions expressed in this article are the author's and do not necessarily represent those of RIA Novosti.
    Source: Rossiiskaya Gazeta © 2005 RIA Novosti


    Film Studies In The Age Of Youtube: Q&A With Alice Kelikian
    By Mark Shanahan January 6, 2008

    IN THE AGE of YouTube, college courses devoted to the study of film can seem pretty quaint. Why would students bother with the masterworks of, say, Stanley Kubrick and Akira Kurosawa when they could be sitting at a Mac making their very own viral videos? Forget David Lean, let's talk about lonelygirl15.

    At Brandeis University, the person navigating this culture change is Alice Kelikian, chair of the film studies program. The daughter of Armenian immigrants - her father, Hampar Kelikian, was the surgeon who saved Bob Dole's right arm after World War II - Kelikian has an appealing old-school ardor for cinema. At 13, she went on her first date to see "Doctor Zhivago," and even now she attributes her love of movies to the many Saturday afternoons spent in a dark theater gazing up at Marcello Mastroianni.

    But Kelikian knows that sitting in a theater surrounded by a mesmerized crowd isn't the way most people experience a movie anymore. Increasingly, the language of film is learned online, on television, and even in the back of a minivan, where children are more likely to while away the hours with a DVD than a book.

    In response, Kelikian is expanding the inquiry. She's been chair of the program for two years, and while film purists continue to focus on aesthetics and theory, she's busy creating courses that address style, content, and the latest production techniques. Whenever possible, Kelikian also brings actors and directors into the classroom to speak for themselves.

    "We missed the boat on photography - Brandeis has no program in photography - and there's an understanding that we don't want to lose the initiative on digital media," says Kelikian. "I want students to know what's happening."

    IDEAS: Talk about your background and how you became interested in film.

    KELIKIAN: I started out as premed at the University of Illinois, but I got bored with it by the second week. I decided to transfer and was in the first class of women at Princeton. There were fewer than 25 of us. In 1967, I went to Italy with my father and, there, I began an obsession with all things Italian. I saw Fellini there.

    IDEAS: The man?

    KELIKIAN: The man.

    IDEAS: Was film a big part of your life growing up?

    KELIKIAN: Initially, I only went to films when my father had American doctors over. Movies were a diversion from adult party life. The kids were shipped out when people who drank and smoked came over.

    IDEAS: What is a movie that made an impression on you?

    KELIKIAN: I wasn't supposed to see films that dealt with prostitution, but my parents really loved "Never on Sunday," so the first film I went to see when I had a say was "Never on Sunday," in which Melina Mercouri plays a freelance prostitute. "Butterfield 8" was another one I saw about a call girl.

    IDEAS: But what was the movie that got you hooked on film?

    KELIKIAN: Mario Monicelli's "The Organizer." I saw it when I was 16. It's about an itinerant professor who -

    IDEAS: Is a prostitute?

    KELIKIAN: No. But there is a prostitute in the film. The professor is a socialist who tries to start a labor strike in Turin.

    IDEAS: What excited you about movies?

    KELIKIAN: I was starstruck and, remember, my first language is Armenian and my family was very Armenian-centered. We played with Armenian kids and went to Sunday school, and when the focus wasn't on Armenian-ness, it was on becoming a surgeon. I scrubbed up with my father when I was 9 years old.

    IDEAS: Who's the biggest movie star of Armenian descent?

    KELIKIAN: Mike Connors from "Mannix."

    IDEAS: That's pathetic.

    KELIKIAN: I'm trying to think. There's Charles Aznavour, but he's primarily a singer, and Sylvie Vartan, but she's primarily a singer, too.

    IDEAS: What's changed during your tenure as chair of film studies at Brandeis?

    KELIKIAN: When the program started 13 years ago, the dominant medium in cinema was the motion picture. That remains, but new offshoots have emerged that speak the language of film, like serial cable drama and YouTube. Today, film studies has to include visual culture as a whole: photography, video, animation, even reality TV. The varieties of media, digital and otherwise, change endlessly, and we need to comprehend the revolution.

    IDEAS: Is the cinema culture dead?

    KELIKIAN: I would say so if you're talking about tent-pole studio films, which now derive from popular or children's literature, like "The Chronicles of Narnia," "Spider-Man," and "Harry Potter." In this country, the best movies being made are documentaries. In the past, the documentary was reportage, but now the techniques of fiction film are finding their way into the documentary genre.

    IDEAS: Errol Morris is a friend of yours.

    KELIKIAN: Yes, Errol and his wife have been friends for a long time. He has screened all of his films at Brandeis in rough-cut. I've seen his latest, "Standard Operating Procedure," and it's his best yet.

    IDEAS: Who else have you had at Brandeis?

    KELIKIAN: Eli Wallach. "The Good, the Bad and the Ugly" has a huge cult following. Also, Werner Herzog showed "Encounters at the End of the World." He denounced television and there he was telling the audience they had to watch the "Anna Nicole Show" to understand the Iraq war.

    IDEAS: What does the future of film look like?

    KELIKIAN: We're witnessing the advent of the short film, which is prospering thanks to the availability of global Internet access and inexpensive digital equipment. A language exists now that students can speak, not just interpret. These are very exciting, porous times for moving-picture media, with innovation seeping through in ways unimaginable five years ago.

    IDEAS: Is that good?

    KELIKIAN: I can't judge. It's what's happening. We have to embrace it. I don't know where the digital revolution is taking us, but it's something I want be part of.

    IDEAS: Did your father have a favorite film?

    KELIKIAN: "Looking for Mr. Goodbar" was one of his favorites because it spoke to scoliosis. Isn't that hilarious?

    IDEAS: Where do you watch films these days? At home or in the theater?

    KELIKIAN: At home.

    IDEAS: What happened to that kid who discovered the magic of movies at the cinema?

    KELIKIAN: That kid is older and she discovered the Criterion Collection on DVD. You have to embrace change.
    © Copyright 2008 Globe Newspaper Company.


    H. Res. 106 May Be Put On A Vote In Mid-January armradio.am 05.01.2008

    The Armenian Genocide Resolution (H. Res. 106) may be put on a vote in the plenary session of the US House of Representatives in January 2008, Democrat Bred Sherman declared after the meeting with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

    `The bill will be brought to a vote, when we have the support of the necessary number of Congressmen. Possibly, the voting will take place in January 2008,' Bred Sherman declared.

    Let us remind that Nancy Pelosi had recently reconsidered her decision to put the bill on a vote before November 22. Most probably, the Speaker's doubts connected with the success of the vote are connected with the fact that several members of House of Representatives withdrew their support.

    The Turkish press associates Mrs. Pelosi's doubts with the pressure from Israel. Israeli President Shimon Peres called Speaker Pelosi and Chairman of eth Foreign Relations Committee Tom Lantos to say that the passage of the resolution would cause serious damage to the United States and Israel.

    Turkish Legislators Join Dink Murder Investigation 07.01.2008
    /PanARMENIAN.Net/ Members of the parliamentary committee for the investigation of the assassination of Agos editor Hrant Dink arrived in Istanbul on Thursday to start probing statements on police negligence in Dink’s murder. The delegation will move on to the Black Sea port city of Trabzon, where the murder is supposed to have been planned.

    There are many reports that the police forces were periodically informed of the plotted murder, Today’s Zaman says.

    Another investigation is also under way, headed by Parliament’s Human Rights Committee.

    The Anatolia News Agency said that a five-strong Turkish parliamentary human rights committee held a meeting with Dink’s widow Rakel Dink, brother Orhan, son Arat and lawyer of the Dink family.

    "We have received information that will guide us in our investigation. It was a fruitful meeting," said Mehmet Ocaktan, chairman of the committee.

    Hrant Dink was assassinated in Istanbul on 19 January 2007 by ultranationalist Ogun Samast.


    Turks Miss Golden Opportunity By Refusing To Go To Yerevan By Harut Sassounian
    Publisher, The California Courier

    The Foreign Relations Commission of the Armenian Parliament held its first hearing last month on "Armenian-Turkish Relations: Problems and Perspectives." Generally, parliamentary committees on foreign affairs hold hearings and invite experts to testify on various international issues in order to get acquainted with a variety of ideas and strategies on foreign policy beyond those pursued by the country's Foreign Ministry.

    However, there are several unanswered questions regarding the hearings held by Armenian Parliament, December 19-20, 2007:

    -- What was the objective of these hearings?

    -- Why were they scheduled at this particular time, just two months prior to the Armenian presidential elections?

    -- Why did the Armenian Parliament invite 20 Turks to these hearings?

    -- What were the criteria for the selection of these invitees?

    -- Did the parliamentary commission really expect these Turks to come to Yerevan, or by anticipating their refusal to participate the Armenian side intended to prove to the world that Turks had no interest in having a dialogue with Armenians?

    -- Why were no Armenian experts from the Diaspora invited to testify?

    According to press reports, among the invitees were Turkish professors Fatma Muge Gocek, Taner Akcam, Halil Berktay and Baskin Oran, Nobel Prize-winning novelist Orhan Pamuk, notorious genocide denialists Yusuf Halacoglu (Turkish Historical Society President), Sedat Laciner (International Strategic Research Institute Director), and Former Turkish Ambassador Omer Engin Lutem (head of the Armenian Studies Institute of the Eurasian Strategic Research Center), Turkey's Foreign Minister Ali Babacan, Dr. Can Paker (Turkey's special representative for relations with the European Union), and Armenian Patriarch Mesrob Mutafian.

    In an article written after the hearings, Amb. Lutem gave two reasons why none of the Turkish invitees attended. He said the hearings coincided with a Muslim religious holiday and the invitations had arrived too late. He did, however, state that "such hearings are essentially useful as they are conducive to aiding the parties involved [Armenia and Turkey] gauge each other's viewpoints. For this reason, I would have liked to have been able to take part in the said discussions."

    From the Armenian perspective, it is particularly fortunate that denialists Halacoglu, Laciner and Lutem, as well as Foreign Minister Babacan, did not attend. Otherwise, they would have created a major scandal by disseminating falsehoods about the Armenian Genocide right from the podium of the Armenian Parliament in the heart of Yerevan.

    In my view, the Turkish side missed a golden opportunity by failing to capitalize on the Armenian invitation. Turkish denialists would have not only used this occasion to spread lies on the Armenian Genocide, but also give the false impression to the outside world that Armenia and Turkey are in dialogue with each other and enjoy friendly relations.

    Would the Turkish government reciprocate by inviting Armenian scholars and officials to tell the true story of the Armenian Genocide from the podium of the Turkish Parliament in Ankara? Former Amb. Lutem made such a suggestion: "The importance of such hearings rests in generating greater understanding concerning the views and standpoints of the parties concerned. Looked at from this perspective, it would be worthwhile if the Turkish Grand National Assembly's concerned commissions were to organize a similar meeting in the coming months." Should Ankara follow Amb. Lutem's clever advice and invite Armenian scholars and officials to take part in hearings at the Turkish Parliament in Ankara, Armenians would look bad if they refuse to participate.

    However, now that the Turkish side did not go to Yerevan, Armenians have the perfect excuse for reciprocating in kind. No one would blame the Armenians for turning down such an invitation from Ankara. In fact, the Speaker of the Armenian Parliament, Tigran Torosian, during the hearings, chided the Turks for not showing up. He voiced his concern that Turkey's decision not to participate in the discussions would not contribute to dialogue between the two nations. Furthermore, the Armenian side, in rejecting such a Turkish invitation, could cite the infamous article 301 ("Insulting Turkishness") as its key reason for not participating in the hearings in Turkey. How could Armenians go to Ankara and make statements on the Armenian Genocide, if doing so would cause their incarceration? No Armenian, official or otherwise, should set foot on Turkish soil, until article 301 is completely eliminated, not just amended!

    Historian Not Allowed Entry To Turkey
    07 January 2008, Turkish Daily News
    Mehmet Sait Uluisik, a German citizen of Turkish origins and a journalist-publisher, was banned from entering Turkey without any explanation, the daily Taraf reported yesterday.

    Uluisik has been carrying out studies on Circassian history since 1860 and the role of Circassians in Armenian events in 1915 by using the Prime Ministry's Ottoman archives. He said while he was working in the archives officials employed there kept him under close observation. “Some people were following me when I left the building, they must have recorded me as persona non grata at that time,” said Uluisik.

    Uluisik has been living in Germany since 1984 and his Turkish citizenship was revoked in 1991 since he didn't perform his military service. Uluisik, 47, applied for and was granted German citizenship in 1997.

    Since 2005 he has been working on the Circassian history and has visited Turkey almost 20 times during the last two years for his research. The last time he arrived in Turkey was at Yesilköy Airport in Istanbul on Nov. 20, 2007, where he was handed a paper from the Interior Ministry that declared he is barred from entering Turkey and was deported to Berlin. When Uluisik asked the police officer that handed him the paper for the reason behind it, he learned that the ban was not issued by the police department but came directly from the Interior Ministry. The daily quoted Uluisik as saying that he requested to talk to a parliamentarian to learn the reason behind his ban. “The deputy told me that the ban had nothing to do with the revocation of my citizenship for completing my military duty,” said Uluisik.


    A Hidden City Under Snow
    07 January 2008, Turkish Daily News

    A northeastern province of Turkey, Kars is all covered in snow. The historic and multicultural city, which has a border with Armenia, has many sites to visit and experience. Besides it's ancient caves, churches, memorial statues, Kars hosts one of the best ski runs in Turkey. One can also take a fun ride in a sledge on Lake Çildir

    Kars, a northeastern province of Turkey, shares a border and a collective history and culture with Armenia.

    It is no surprise that the city is known for its snowy climate. Thanks to Kars' geography and high altitude, the snow badly influences life, especially in the villages. The first thing you feel about Kars – if you are not familiar with thermometers descending into the minus degrees – is the extreme weather. But as you start to walk on the streets, the friendly warmth of the people, the historical structure and the delicious meals, cheeses and honey make you forget the cold.

    History is still alive in the city center, visible with Kars Castle sitting at the top of a rocky hill overlooking the surrounding land. The castle dates back to the Bagratid Armenian period with masonry surviving on its north side, but it probably took on its present form during the 13th century when Kars was ruled by the Zakarid dynasty.

    While walking on the streets in Kars you can see stone buildings, no higher than double-deckers, which are remnants from the 40 years of Russian rule over Kars between 1878 and 1918. But there are none of the dead-end streets planned and built by the Russians said our guide Ferdi Tazegül. The former municipality building on Atatürk Street in Kars, also a remnant of Russian times, is being restored as a five star hotel. These buildings, with their gray stonewall architecture, still look magnificent.

    Home to many dynasties: Ani

    If one went to Kars or even neighboring cities it is a sine qua non to visit the remnants of Ani. Ani is a ruined and uninhabited medieval city-site beside the border with Armenia, which the Arpaçay River draws naturally. It takes around an hour to reach Ani from Kars city center and it is better to have more than an hour for touring Ani since many churches and other historical relics are located there over a large area. The ruins of the city walls display how beautiful Ani used to be, and how giant. You can feel you are in a special place when you see the astonishing remnants of the many dynasties that have resided there.

    Around the 5th century AD, Ani was a possession of the Armenian Kamsarakan dynasty, until it was incorporated into the territories of the Bagratuni dynasty, also Armenian. In 1045, after the capture of Ashot and with the rise of pro-Byzantine elements amongst its population, Ani surrendered to Byzantine control. Then Seljuk Turks, Georgians, Mongols, the Turkish Kara Koyunlu dynasty and Persian Safevids in turn ruled over Ani until it became part of the Ottoman Empire in 1579.

    Ani is called the "City of 1001 Churches," and through time has stood on various trade routes. Its many religious places and fortifications were amongst the most technically and artistically advanced structures in the world.

    Kars has a multicultural population today as the city has been resided by many cultures and religions for years. The Karapapaks or Terekemes, a small ethnic group of Turkish speaking people often identified as a sub-ethnic group of Azeris, live there. They mostly moved to Anatolia after the Russian Empire's conquest of South Caucasus where they are called Karapapak in reference to the black hats they used to wear. There are also Molokans, Russian people living in northeastern Anatolia speaking both Russian and Turkish. They are known for being hardworking. “They practiced improved agriculture techniques in Anatolia and most millers in Kars are Molokans,” said the Sarikamis Municipality Mayor Ilhan Özbilen. Although most of them migrated away from Kars in the 1920s and in 1960s there are some older Molokans still living in Kars. There are people of Azeri and Kurdish origin as well as Turkmen people. Özbilen said Turkmen are known as Alevi, a Shi'a strand of Islam.

    A catastrophic battle took place between the armies of the Ottoman Empire and the Russian Empire in and around the city during World War I where 40,000 to 90,000 soldiers died because of cold, hunger, exposure and typhus. Commander Enver Pasha led the army to Mount Allahuekber to attack the Russian army in Sarikamis in order to reoccupy the town lost to Russians in 1878. There are monuments and two statues built in the memory of the soldiers. Sarikamis Municipality Mayor Ilhan Özbilen said many soldiers, mostly from the Black Sea region, died in Sarikamis, many of them at the age of 15.

    Safe skiing opportunity in Sarikamis

    Sarikamis has recently been gaining a reputation for its safe ski centers. One of the best ski runs in Turkey is in the Sarikamis district of Kars, an eastern Anatolia province. Although it is not as famous as Uludag ski centers in Bursa and Palandöken Mountains in Erzurum, Sarikamis has a beautiful, natural and safer ski center. It has 5 stage ski run choices for amateurs and professional skiers. There are yellow pines even at 3,500 altitudes in Sarikamis which opens a corridor for the ski run safe from the snowstorms and avalanches. I was fascinated with the scene of high yellow pines, the trees more than 50 years old, on both sides of the chair lift.

    It was the first time in my life that I tried skiing and I was very excited and worried. The teacher wanted us to stand still and watch his moves; I fell down around three times. He had to stop the lesson to help me stand up. Can anyone learn to ski without learning to stand still on ones skis? I did it. I learnt to ski very quickly but the hard job was to learn how to stop. It was very easy to ski but you have to learn how to stop without losing your control. After two or three trials with the teacher I was free to ski by myself. It is the best sport I have ever experienced. The weather was still cold but I was sweating and smiling all the time.

    Riding on sledges on the frozen lake

    Çildir Lake, a district of Ardahan province, is an hour far from Kars center. Its surface is frozen from December until April. There are sledges carried by horses, which takes you to a short trio on the lake. It was the most entertaining part of my journey to Kars as I got in a sledge with 6 people sliding on Çildir Lake. Everything I could see was white – the skyline was unrecognizable because of the whiteness of the sky and the snowy land. “The ice on the lake breaks into pieces all of a sudden in the middle of the April,” said the driver of sledge, Çoskun Yagantekin, 27. He said he had been working with horses for 20 years.

    Visiting Çildir seems like fun but life here is very harsh, said Yagantekin, adding “we have to take our patients to the hospital with sledges when the railway is closed with the snow.”

    We wanted the drivers to take us far on the lake where fishermen fish through a small hole opened on the frozen lake – just like Eskimos. “We fish carp bream, flathead mullet, mirror carp, yellow carp and black fish around 20 kilos in a week,” said fisherman Cihangir Kiliç. He said they sell one kilo for YTL 6 to mostly residents of Çildir. Some visitors bought these fresh and cheap fish to take their hometown on plane. The surface of the lake is frozen but the water underneath is warm: many different fish survive there. They make a living with fishing except the banned months between May 15 and Aug. 15.

    Where to stay in Kars

    There are two major hotels in Sarikamis namely Sarikamis Toprak Hotel with five stars and Çamkar Hotel with three stars and a new hotel, Ce-Mar, to be opened soon. Toprak Hotel has warm and clean rooms where you can watch the snow and yellow pines through the balcony from your room. Cibiltepe Ski Center and chair lift is close to both hotels. They supply dress and other equipment for skiing. There are several hotels in Kars city center too.

    How to go to Kars

    Turkish airlines has non-stop flights from Ankara to Kars. There are flights, changing at Ankara, leaving from Istanbul, Antalya, Adana, Izmir, Bodrum and elsewhere. Sunexpress airlines has non-stop flights between Izmir and Kars on Monday, Wednesday and Saturday starting from YTL 29.





    ‘Rebellious Son Of The Baglama’ In Limelight With New Album
    Many people met him through his debut album "Yedi Karanfil" (Seven Cloves) released in 1994, which really caught on in that it was one of the most serious instrumental projects ever realized.

    Ahmet Koç, known for the innovative ideas he introduced to the baglama, a string instrument widely used in Turkish folk music, gives a whole new dimension in his most recent album to his project of performing famous foreign songs with the baglama -- a project he has pursued since the release of his album "Paradoks" (Paradox). Koç spoke with Today's Zaman about his latest album, "Sözün Bittigi Yer" (Point of Running out of Words), and his argument that the current view on the baglama and baglama players is out of date. He spoke about what begins when we run out of words.

    You performed famous foreign songs with the baglama in your latest album, which you also directed. Where do you place this latest work among your previous ones?

    It's possible to divide my musical career into two: [The albums] "Yedi Karanfil," "Yedi Veren Anadolu," (Yediveren [a kind of rose where seven buds flower together] Anatolia) and "Yol Türküleri" (Road Folksongs) are made up of Turkish folk songs. But starting in 2005, a new process began with "Paradoks." "Saganak" (Downpour), which I released in 2006, consists of both native and foreign songs. We should perceive the album's title "Sözün Bittigi Yer" as referring to "the place at which words end, the instruments begin [speaking]," now that it's me in question. True, there are points where words don't suffice and fail to convey certain thoughts and feelings. At that point, you can convey those only with your instrument. In my latest album, I have included both native and foreign songs which I know are very loved and well known amongst people, but my first criterion while selecting the songs was not whether they were famous in the first place. For instance, "Poljushke Polje," the opening track of the album, is a Russian folk song. I also played "Element," one of the tunes in the soundtrack of the film "Ocean's Eleven." Sezen Aksu gave me a very important song of hers as a gift, "Tükenecegiz" (We'll Perish). I also played Nilüfer's "Kavak Yelleri" with the baglama in this album.

    Why did you name your album which sparked a new process in your music career "Paradoks"?

    Paradox, lexically speaking, means expressing a different view from the ingrained one, defending a different thesis. As I defend a different thesis with respect to the baglama, I named my album "Paradoks." As I soon found out upon the release of this album, that they had named me "The rebellious son of the baglama." I like this name, to be honest with you. Ultimately, the baglama is our national instrument. There is a segment of society that belittles those who play the baglama, and baglama players are also responsible for this belittling view. Over time, they have come to be uniform in their way of dress and offer the exact same repertoire. People still think of male baglama players as wearing those funny high-heeled sharp-tipped black shoes and always with a pair of white socks. That era is over. Now very modern people play the baglama. "Paradoks" turned out an album that provided an answer to the question, "Can such a person play the baglama in front of an orchestra?" Now my earlier albums are being released again.

    How did you start playing the baglama and what sort of innovative ideas have you brought to fruition?

    Playing the baglama is a family tradition, but it seems that I have managed to be a little different now that the music of Ahmet Koç is famous. The innovation I have brought to fruition … I have made the baglama a more prominent instrument on its own. I'm one of the pioneers of instrumental folk music in this country. Many instrumental albums were released following my "Seven Cloves," before which instrumental music was a type which music producers did not consider worthy of being made into an album.

    You play instruments that belong to different cultures. Can you talk about that?

    I played an instrument called shui in "Paradoks." In this newest one, we used an Azeri instrument called balaban. Balaban is very similar to what Armenians call duduk. In terms of its sound, it resembles the Turkish ney (reed flute). I think culture outstrips politics. That is why I cannot overemphasize the importance of the baglama. Nations have their own folklore and local cultural attitudes. You will enter the EU more with your culture than with your politics. Therefore, asserting your cultural colors and tastes more would introduce a fresher air in the EU.

    What is your next step?

    We shot a video clip for "Poljushke Polje" that will be aired this week. We have a series of concerts in February which will be followed by ones where I will perform with some famous singers such as [pop-rock singer] Sibel Tüzün. I starred in a multi-episode documentary made by Nebil Özgentürk. Each episode was directed by a different director. The one I took part in was directed by Sinan Çetin, and I really enjoyed this five-minute film experience. Also another documentary is being made on a famous film director, whom I will not name now. I have composed the music for that documentary.

    What would you advise young baglama students on the way to being authentic?

    They should listen to all types of music. This will contribute to their musical output. Being the graduate of a conservatory is not a necessity, but while trying to be authentic and to attain a certain level of quality, they should try to be as professional as academics.

    05.01.2008 FULYA ÖZLEM ISTANBUL

    To Be Grass On The Elephants’ Battlefield Beril Dedeoglu b.dedeoglu@todayszaman.com

    Turks usually grow up with suspicions about the foreign world. Because of this accumulated feeling of distrust, they are inclined to expect all kind of wickedness from their neighbors and powerful countries. These negative opinions are frequently exploited in political life and thus, large sectors of the society believe that almost every foreign country is conspiring against Turkey in order to destabilize and disintegrate it. Turkey’s historical background, the teaching methods used to discuss this history and governments’ attitudes play their respective roles in consolidating this belief.

    Suspicion is a reasonable reaction when one talks about international politics. After all, national interests and egoisms are important factors of international life, though it is dangerous to think that national interests can only be realized through conflict and tension. Suspicion can be very harmful for inter-society cooperation, friendship and peace.

    Turkey is conducting comprehensive cross-border military operations in northern Iraq. These operations are aimed at preserving Iraq’s territorial integrity and avoiding the establishment of an independent state in northern Iraq as well as fighting terrorism. Moreover, they constitute a sign of the Turkish-American alignment in the context of re-shaping of the global balance of power through regional outcomes. Turkey’s and the US’ “other” is still not the same actor, however, a rapprochement on this is perceptible. Under these circumstances, curiously synchronized events started to happen: while Turkey sent military troops to the east, military tension has grown in the west, i.e. in the Aegean Sea.

    Every time Turkey launches a strike against the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), probably as a coincidence, we witness provocations in the Aegean, reminding us of the airspace and continental shelf disputes with Greece. So we’re quick to resume discussing who owns the goats pasturing on some remote rocks, which fishermen has violated whose territorial waters; then fighter jets and gunboats make their appearance, politicians mutually accuse each other, tension increases dangerously and social suspicion reach its heights. This is exactly what is happening now. Before asking “Why is there a crisis?” we should ask “Who expects to benefit from this particular crisis?” Of course, the answer is not always easily found. A glance at other events may provide some explanations, as another parallel event happened in Armenia. Turkish press reports that certain Armenian politicians have declared that Armenia is ready to form a joint historians’ commission with Turkey on condition that the latter accept several measures, including the modification of the Turkish-Armenian border. These developments nourish the impression that the PKK, Greece and Armenia are acting together against Turkey. The suspicion regarding this trio has historical roots, it cannot be simply explained by Turkey’s bilateral relations with these actors, for Turkey is used to thinking “Who is behind this?”

    A policy of tension is not useful for Greece, Armenia and the Kurds or for Turkey. As a matter of fact, the growing tension is quite harmful for societies. Although no one can be absolutely sure, maybe these tensions are contributing to the growing anxiety between the US and Russia. Maybe this is the very process persuading Turkey to adopt the same “other” as the US. This choice will, of course, incite Turkey’s neighbors to act the same way. Nevertheless, easing neighbors’ tensions is always more lasting than taking parts in others’ interests’ scenarios.
    05.01.2008


    A Genocidal Legacy By Bethany Stotts | January 4, 2008

    Those human-rights activists combatting genocide in Darfur and lobbying for the Armenian Genocide Resolution would likely be displeased to hear that important massacres and purges may never make the history books as genocide—or be prosecuted—because the 1948 United Nations Genocide Convention does not include social and political groups as possible victims of genocide.

    The 1948 Genocide Convention defined genocide as "any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group." Punishable genocidal actions which can referred to an international tribunal include killing the aforementioned groups, inflicting serious bodily or mental harm, "Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part," preventing births by this group, and "forcibly transferring children of the group to another group." Arguably, many of the Communist purges contained these conditions, with a key difference that they were perpetrated against socioeconomic groups, such as the Gulags or the bourgeoisie.

    Nicholas Eberstadt, American Enterprise Institute Chair in Political Economy, estimated at the AEI conference, "Understanding Political Repression in our Times," that both Mao and the Soviets reduced their population between 5% and 6% during their respective communist transitions. But these crimes won't be labeled genocide any time soon, largely because Soviet lawyers helped form the definition of genocide, argues Norman Naimark, a Professor of East European Studies at Stanford University. "...most of what we're talking about here in terms of the evolution of thinking about genocide was heavily influenced by the Soviets, yet subsequently when we think about genocide we exclude the Soviets—most scholars do—because of what is apparently, or supposedly an intellectual argument based on the Genocide Convention, which [the Soviets] themselves formed," said Naimark. "So the final Genocide Convention then is a concession... and the State Department understood this too. It was a concession to the Soviets, in order to get a unanimous General Assembly resolution on the Genocide Convention of December 1948." he said.

    Paul Hollander, Professor Emeritus of Sociology, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, strongly disagreed with Naimark at the conference, because he believes that Soviet actions, while lamentable, should not be termed genocide because they were not systematically focused on a particular group and lacked the systematic death camp machinery of the Holocaust. A Harvard University Davis Center Associate, Hollander argues that the categories the Soviets used to target victims were more "flexible" than those used by the Nazis, and that these categories were constantly redesigned according to political expedience.

    A. Dirk Moses, author of Genocide and Settler Society, notes that "Despite clear guidelines from Lemkin and the UN, scholars have wrangled with one another over the meaning of genocide or suggested alternative definitions. Part of the reason for this is that Lemkin's writings are open to rival interpretations." Raphael Lemkin, the man who coined the term genocide, originally labeled the mass murder of a particular group as 'barbarism' in his 1933 German essay, "Akte der Barbarei und des Vandalismus als delicta juris gentium," roughly translated as "Documentation of Barbarism and Vandalism under the Law of Nations." In the German article, Lemkin defined barbarism as the "Ausrottung," or extermination of, "ethnischer, nationaler, konfessioneller, sozialer Menschheitsgruppen gerichteten Vergewaltigungen, mögen dieselben politischen, religiösen oder sonstigen Beweggründen entspringen..." In other words, he included the extermination of ethnic, national, creed, and social groups for political or religious reasons as part of his early conception of genocide.

    However, a Polish Jew himself who had relocated to America, Lemkin's own heritage caused him to refocus his efforts against the horrors of the Holocaust and crimes against his fellow Poles. America was aligned with the Soviets during World War II, and Naimark argues that "In 1944 [the War Department is] very anxious for the Soviets to fight on our side. They weren't anxious to offend the Soviets in any way by one of their publications."

    © 2008 Accuracy In Media

    Bethany Stotts is a Staff Writer for Accuracy in Academia, and can be contacted at bethany.stotts@academia.org


    Message From The President Of The Zoryan Institute
    K. M. Greg Sarkissian

    On our 25th anniversary, it is with a great sense of excitement that we launch this newsletter to provide you with information and commentary. Many dramatic changes have profoundly affected the Armenian world since 1982. Accordingly, in planning for the next 25 years, Zoryan must consider how to employ its scholars and specialists to best address the challenges of our fast moving world. I would like to share with you some major factors that influence our thinking in this process.

    Armenia and Karabagh
    The collapse of the Soviet Union led to the independence of Armenia and Karabagh. This created new complexities within Armenia (nation-building, unemployment, restructuring the economy, health care, education, etc.), in relations with its neighbours (security, border issues and claimed territories), and in relations with the Diaspora (its role, participation and influence in nation-building).

    Armenia will continue to be challenged by issues of long-term security, prosperity and progress, in the absence of normal relations with Turkey, its largest neighbour and biggest security threat. Azerbaijan is using its oil revenues to purchase arms-spending $1 billion in 2007 alone-and could reopen the war on Karabagh at any time. Uneasy relations with Georgia and the West's issues with Iran, Armenia's largest trading partner, further complicate the security and economic situation.

    Genocide and the Relationship with Turkey Turkey's AKP-led government has been seeking EU membership for economic benefits, to promote its westward-looking identity, and to open up freedom of religion, as Islam, the country's dominant religion, is restricted under the current Kemalist constitution. To meet EU standards, Turkey had to legislate many reforms and confront longstanding taboos. In the process, the Armenian Genocide has also come to the fore as a taboo for Turkish society to reckon with. For their part, European countries are using the Turkish state's denial of the Armenian Genocide as a tool to block Turkey's accession to the EU, complicating Turkey's already difficult relationship with Armenia.

    While today the reality of the Armenian Genocide has been widely accepted, tragically, genocide has become a frequent phenomenon to resolve political conflict (Rwanda, Bosnia, Kosovo, East Timor, Darfur, etc.). Consequently, there is a new urgency for genocide studies to raise public awareness crucial for prevention.

    Diaspora
    Globalization has made Armenia a part of this interdependent world, an exhilarating, yet potentially dangerous situation, as it is not yet able to integrate into the world economy. How can the Diaspora and Armenia jointly convert this into an opportunity, utilizing the fact that 5/8 of Armenians are dispersed worldwide?

    Conclusion
    Considering the above, how should we, as Armenians, be thinking about our shared responsibilities, shared benefits, and shared values? Zoryan, as a national resource, whose mission is to think critically about the contemporary issues facing Armenians, must raise such questions, in order to develop new perspectives and ideas, for both current and future challenges.

    In this vein the security of Armenia is our most important shared responsibility. We have to adopt a pragmatic approach to our problems. We have to have an effective way of resolving our own differences, and those with our neighbors in the region. This could only be achieved by understanding our present and how we got here, in an objective, analytical manner in order to develop a national agenda which reflects our shared values. To this end, Zoryan, by bringing Diaspora, Armenia and genocide-related issues to international academic forums, provides understanding and generates goodwill towards Armenians. It also undertakes research, analysis, publication, conferences and university programs to inform and influence not only specialists and opinion-makers but also to empower the next generation to face the future with confidence.

    I urge you to get involved, be a Zoryan "Friend," and support our mission.
    Thank you.


    Young People Gather For Dink
    Vercihan Ziflioglu, Istanbul - Turkish Daily News, January 5, 2008

    Artists, intellectuals will be lending their voices to articles written by Hrant Dink, murdered journalist, publisher and founding editor of the bilingual Armenian-Turkish weekly Agos, to commemorate the first anniversary of his assassination

    Armenian, Alevi, Kurdish and Turkish young people in Turkey have formed a group called “Hadig” to commemorate Hrant Dink, editor-in-chief of bilingual Armenian-Turkish weekly Agos, on the first anniversary of his assassination. The word “Hadig” literally means “grain” in the Armenian language. The 14-member group composed of university students gathering through a civilian initiative formed the Tilili Project that took its name from a sentence in Dink's article titled “Armenian Identity”. A total of 19 articles written by Dink between 1996 and 2007 for bilingual Armenian-Turkish weekly Agos were chosen to give voice to the framework of the Tilili Project. The number 19 symbolizes the date Jan. 19, the day Dink was murdered in front of Agos' building. Dink's articles were read aloud by some of Turkey's respected artists.

    Again symbolizing the date Dink was assassinated, 19 artists and intellectuals are participating in the project, where the biggest surprise is the recorded voice of Dink himself while reading his article titled “Su Çatlağını Buldu” (Water finds its crack). Hadig members Sibil Çekmen and Yeliz Kızılarslan told the Turkish Daily News that the Turkish media influenced Dink's assassination by focusing only on his articles that focus on the Turkish-Armenian issue. For this reason, they say, the group will present 19 different articles by Dink, each reflecting his different opinions on various issues.

    The Tilili Project's display poster includes depictions of four pomegranates because this fruit symbolizes fruitfulness, blessing and togetherness in traditional Armenian culture. Kızılarslan said, “We put pomegranate grains on the display poster because we are each grains of this country and when we come together we form the unity and integrity of Turkey. May the grains of the pomegranate not disintegrate.” The Turkish audio version of Dink's articles will be available on headphones during “Apartment Project” that will take place Jan. 4-20, 2008. The project is expected to travel to Europe and the U.S. with English and French versions of Dink's recorded articles.

    ‘Tilili' for grief and cheer

    The Tilili Project does not include Dink's disputed article “Armenian identity” that later was the subject of charges against him and a trial. Çekmen said they had trouble deciding whether to include this article in the project but left it out in the end to avoid facing potential legal cases. “Also we thought that Dink is not a figure known for or composed of his disputed articles on the Turkish-Armenian issue,” she said, adding, “Rather, we would like those who come to listen to his articles to perceive and comprehend him with all of his different personal characteristics”.

    Kızılarslan explained the meaning of the word “Tilili” or “zılgıt” as the shrill voices Anatolian people traditionally utter during eulogies when they mourn someone's loss or a sad event or during cheerful events like weddings, etc. Çekmen said, “This project is also a zılgıt that belongs to us, the youth. We suffer. Our pain is so acute. But now it is not the time to submerge people in pain. We should do it as a favor for this country. We are excited about our project because we will be able to introduce Dink to people with his other sides, such as a grandfather who wrote letters to his not-yet-born grandchild.”

    Kalan Music voluntarily opens its studios to 19 artists

    The project's display poster also includes the following expression: Turkey's young people are conscious of the current issue in the country. Çekmen and Kızılarslan, explained the meaning of this expression saying, “We do not consider them a minority. The word minority causes pain in our hearts. We belong to a whole, a unity, and problems of this country are also our concerns”. It is time for action in the name of this country, they emphasized, adding, “Hrant set out for peace and we, with a sense of fraternity among us, should follow his path with self-confident steps”.

    The project was prepared in three weeks time. Kalan Music, Turkey's pioneering independent music company that honors peaceful coexistence of different ethnic cultures in the country through its business, opened the doors of its studios to the project with the support of Turkey's respected artists and intellectuals including: Mehmet Ali Alabora, Okan Bayülgen, Haluk Bilginer, Yetkin Dikinciler, Halil Ergün, Arsen Gürzap, Banu Güven, Nejat İşler, Tuncay Kurtiz, Fikret Kuşkan, Ömer Madra, Lale Mansur, Meral Okay, Dolunay Soysert, Nur Sürer, Çetin Tekindor, Serra Yılmaz and Deniz Türkali, and Pakrad Eustukyan. The voices of these well-known people reading texts written by Dink have been recorded. Based on the Hadig group's selection, Dink's articles were divided among artists and intellectuals.

    ‘There may be reactions but we believe in common sense'

    Çekmen's explained why the project was not realized by Armenian community foundations but within the framework of “Apartment Project”: “If such a project were undertaken by Armenian community foundations, then, people would refrain from attending. Rather, we wanted to appeal to the whole. Thus, a community foundation alone could not be an organ appealing to an entire people. We feel ourselves as parts of a whole and do not want to remain hidden behind concepts of community or minority”.

    Even though the Hadig group suspects they might receive negative reactions against the project, its members say they believe in commonsense. Stressing that Dink's biggest dream was peace, harmony and friendly relations between different segments of society, Kızılarslan and Çekmen said, “If we as young people succeed in doing good things in the name of friendship and peace in this country, this would certainly make Hrant happy.” Kızılarslan is an masters student in the Cultural Studies Program at Istanbul Bilgi University and Çekmen studies Cinema and Television at the same university. She has decided to make her first feature film about Turkey-Armenia relations but stopped writing the film's screenplay after Dink was murdered.

    “I used to believe that everything would go on all right. Just as I was taking the screenplay to Hrant, I learned that he had been shot. I just could not put my hand on that screenplay again. Along with Hrant, my hopes were also shot down on January 19, 2006. But still, I am going to finish my project and dedicate it to Hrant in the name of friendship and peace. This is a responsibility.”

    Serra Yılmaz, theater actress: In my own perspective, the murder of Hrant Dink was a kind of Sept. 11. The process that began with the assassination of Dink showed how badly the legal system functions in our country. Rather than whether the case will have a result or not, how it will result is much more important. What I am interested in is whether the real criminals, the backstage perpetuators of the incident, will be found or not. I will take part in any commemoration program or any activities for Hrant.

    Deniz Türkali, actress and playwright: It is an honor to take part in such a project. If only he had been alive so that no such projects would have to happen. Jan. 19, the day Hrant was murdered, was one of the worst days of my life. We live by forgetting everything we left behind, but we should not forget what should not be forgotten. And we should not forgive those who have no right to be forgiven.


    Let Us Go A-Wassailing! It’s Twelfth Night
    Gül Demir And Niki Gamm, Turkish Daily News January 5, 2008

    [HH] Certainly Twelfth Night was religious in character coming as it does 12 days after Christmas on Jan. 5. But it undoubtedly dates back even further to pre-Christian rites although its origin is lost in the mists of time [HH] Twelfth Night was also the night when owners and peasants might change places under the direction of a Lord of Misrule who symbolized the world turned upside down as during the Roman Saturnalia

    Ottoman poetry is very interesting in that it has many levels of meaning and can be enjoyed at its superficial best or for its deeper layers of meaning. It always has meter and in some instances rhyme. Most often when it has many levels, the poetry belongs to the mystic, lyric genre. So reading about one's love, birds, trees, rings, etc. can mean just that but as well true love means God, trees refer to attractive young men, etc.

    Then how is one to interpret one of the best known Western Christmas carols –
    The Twelve Days of Christmas?

    On the first day of Christmas,
    my true love sent to me
    a partridge in a pear tree.
    On the second day of Christmas,
    My true love sent to me
    Two turtle doves,
    And a partridge in a pear tree.
    * * * *

    On the twelfth day of Christmas, my true love sent to me Twelve drummers drumming, Eleven pipers piping, Ten lords a-leaping, Nine ladies dancing, Eight maids a-milking, Seven swans a-swimming, Six geese a-laying, Five golden rings, Four calling birds, Three French hens, Two turtle doves, And a partridge in a pear tree!

    The religious meanings assigned to the numbers are familiar. The one true love is God, the two doves are the Old and New Testament and so forth through the whole of the song. (See box) So from an exciting song of dissipation we go to the religious.

    Certainly Twelfth Night was religious in character coming as it does 12 days after Christmas on Jan. 5. But it undoubtedly dates back even further to pre-Christian rites although its origin is lost in the mists of time. Over the centuries it began to be associated with the Christian Church and in particular, the birth of Jesus Christ and other events around the time of his birth. We actually don't know the exact day Christ was born and even if we did it would be complicated by any number of calendars that existed then to organize time. Although everybody is in agreement that it wasn't Dec. 25, this is the date accepted by almost all Christians with the exception of Armenian Christians who celebrate Christmas 12 days later on Jan. 5 and 6.

    Twelve has a variety of religious or mystical meanings from the Old Testament and the New Testament of the Bible. In Eastern Orthodoxy, there are the 12 great feasts. Shia Islam has 12 imams. In Greek mythology there were 12 principal gods in the Olympian pantheon while the chief Norse god, Odin, had 12 sons. And then there is Twelfth Night (Jan. 5) on the eve of Epiphany.

    Epiphany is considered the day when the three wise men came from the East to offer valuable gifts to the newly born Christ child – gold, frankincense and myrrh. However there are some who believe it was on this day Jan. 6 that Christ was baptized. Actually we never learn whether there were only three wise men and where was East for the people who wrote this down? Did they mean Persia? India? China? We know that the Magi as they were called were followers of Zoroastrianism, an ancient religion of Persia. They are mentioned in the Koran as well.

    The early Christians pulled a confidence trick in piggybacking Christmas on an already well-celebrated festival, and that is the Roman Saturnalia held for a number of days in the second half of December. The Saturnalia seems to have started as an agricultural festival in honor of the god of agriculture, Saturn, in the third century B.C. and continued until the fourth century A.D. when it was absorbed into the Christian celebration of Christmas. The festival also seems to have traveled North where it met with a Scandinavian festival about the same time and West to England. One has to assume that it meshed with festivals already being celebrated there.

    So what would happen on Twelfth Night?

    Christmas was a season of merriment and visiting, home life, festivities, decorations, gifts, feasting and drinking. In the Middle Ages people could expect traveling players to stage nativity stories, jugglers and musicians. These used to go from one well-to-do home to another where they would be wined and dined and paid for their performances. Twelfth Night on the other hand was the night that the decorations came down because to leave them up longer would bring bad luck.

    Part of the celebrations for Twelfth Night was embellished with wassailing or serenading the lord and lady of the manor or leading (wealthy) citizens. There were traditional songs, some of which have morphed into Christmas carols such as “let us go a-wassailing.” Large amounts of wassail would be consumed, adding to the merriment. The heads of the households thus approached were expected to provide the wassail and give money as well. Large bowls were made up for the drink and carried into the room where it was to be drunk with great ceremony. There's even a song to go with the occasion.

    The Wassail Song

    Here we come a-wassailing Among the leaves so green;Here we a-wassailing So fair to be seen.

    Love and joy come to you,And to you your wassail too,And God bless you and send you,A happy New Year,And God send you,A happy new year.

    Mulled ale (heated, sweetened and flavored ale), curdled cream, roasted apples, eggs, cloves, nutmeg, ginger and sugar made up one of the original recipes that made up the wassail cup drunk on Twelfth Night. There are several recipes that use wine or beer instead of ale and don't include cream and eggs. Today eggnog seems to have replaced the original because of the time and difficulty of cooking your own.

    Twelfth Night was also the night when owners and peasants might change places under the direction of a Lord of Misrule who symbolized the world turned upside down. A special cake would be prepared that had a bean and a pea in it. Whoever found these two were proclaimed the Lord and Lady of the Bean and all had to do whatever he or she wanted. This apparently is more or less what happened during the Roman Saturnalia during which slaves would be able to do anything a master could such as eating at the same dining table.

    There is Shakespeare's play, Twelfth Night, as well with its story of mistaken identities and twins separated at birth, role reversal and quite good songs and repartee that makes it a favorite among the Bard's romantic comedies.

    Twelfth Night has really remained a British tradition and one hopes that it continues to be celebrated in the future.

    Religious symbolism of the Twelve Days of Christmas

    One True Love refers to GodTwo Turtle Doves refers to the Old and New TestamentsThree French Hens refers to Faith, Hope and Charity, the Theological VirtuesFour Calling Birds refers to the Four Gospels and/or the Four EvangelistsFive Golden Rings refers to the first Five Books of the Old Testament, the "Pentateuch,” which gives the history of man's fall from grace.Six Geese A-laying refers to the six days of creationSeven Swans A-swimming refers to the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit, the seven sacramentsEight Maids A-milking refers to the eight beatitudesNine Ladies Dancing refers to the nine Fruits of the Holy SpiritTen Lords A-leaping refers to the ten commandmentsEleven Pipers Piping refers to the eleven faithful apostlesTwelve Drummers Drumming refers to the twelve points of doctrine in the Apostle's Creed

    Billionaire Kerkorian Sells 5 Million MGM Shares To Dubai World
    29.12.2007
    By Margarita Snegireva. State-owned investment company Dubai World said on Friday it bought 5 million shares of MGM Mirage, the world's No. 2 casino company, raising its stake to 6.5 percent.

    MGM Mirage is a Las Vegas, Nevada-based business engaged in the development, ownership and operation of hotels and casinos throughout the world. The company began operations on May 31, 2000 after the completion of a merger of MGM Grand Inc. and Mirage Resorts, Inc. It is currently the second largest gaming company in the world. Billionaire Kirk Kerkorian and his Tracinda Corporation are currently the majority owners of MGM Mirage. Kerkorian was also the former owner of the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer movie studio, from which the predecessor corporation MGM Grand, Inc. derived its name.

    As of 2005, the company owns 831 acres (3.4 km²) of property on the Las Vegas Strip. Its yearly revenue is around $7.4 billion USD.The company also owns the recently completed hot spot MGM Grand Detroit , in downtown Detroit, Michigan.

    Dubai World, which is seeking to become a high stakes player on the Las Vegas Strip, paid $424 million, or $84.80 each, for the shares, according to a U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission filing.

    The seller was the Lincy Foundation, a charity founded by billionaire investor Kirk Kerkorian, whose Tracinda Corp holds more than 51 percent of MGM Mirage shares.

    Dubai World is an investment company that manages and supervises a portfolio of businesses and projects for the Dubai Government across a wide range of strategic industry segments and projects that make Dubai a leading hub for commerce and trading.

    Dubai World was established under a decree ratified on March 2, 2006 by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President & Prime Minister of UAE and Ruler of Dubai.
    © 1999-2006. «PRAVDA.Ru


    The Armenian 'Genocide' Bill Will Knock On The Door Again
    Mehmet Ali Birand January 2, 2008

    For sometime we were getting prepared to suspend relations with the US. A disaster, however, was prevented when the Bush administration blocked the Armenian ''genocide'' bill at the last minute. What happened afterwards? Nothing; we forgot all about it as always. If we continue to act similarly the bill will knock the door again, that’s for sure.

    We are so much consumed in the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) and northern Iraq-related issues that we almost forgot about other issues on the agenda.

    Remember, we had engaged in a fierce struggle in recent months and remained in the middle of storms due to the ''genocide'' bill pending at the U.S. House of Representatives regarding the so-called Armenian genocide allegations. Ankara run riot. Delegations paid visits to Washington one after the other. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan fiercely reacted to the bill. We diligently discussed potential measures Turkey might have taken in case the proposal was approved.

    During the discussions, experts who are familiar with the issue were saying, “This is it. This time no one stop the bill. It's over.” It was even said we need a miracle to repel the bill. Armenians on the other hand were so sure of themselves. They thought the bill was in the bag.

    Incidents were rather the reflection of the U.S. domestic policy, not of the efforts to be congenial toward Armenians or to merely punish Turkey. With this proposal Democrat majority was after beating the Republicans in the U.S. Congress.

    Turkish-American relations were being tested again but the Bush administration made an unexpected counter-attack. In fact a battle had begun to even surprise lobbyist in the U.S. capital. In a letter campaign former state and defense secretaries showed their reactions as the president of the United States George W. Bush personally made phone calls to key representatives. The U.S. administration clearly voiced how bilateral relations with Turkey are of importance for them.

    In the end “expect the unexpected” became a reality and the signatures collected to support the bill were withdrawn one by one. Nancy Pelosi, leader of the U.S. House Democrats, had to throw the towel.

    Turkey won, so did Bush.

    In Washington I met officials of the Bush administration and lobbyist involved in the subject.

    Resubmission of the bill in 2008, as the election year, is less likely, they say.

    However, let's be careful because the Armenian bill will relapse in 2009.

    If we close the case and forget all about it, as we previously did, and continue with our lives as if nothing happened, the bill surely will knock the door again.

    We bought time with Bush's move, but…

    The Bush administration created an incredible advantage for Turkey in the issue of Armenian genocide bill.

    Perhaps approval of the bill at the House had no “binding” effect but for Turkey this would have been a morale collapse about the so-called genocide allegations. No matter how fiercely we had reacted and how firmly claimed our case in international arena, we would have lost our power of persuasiveness. No matter how much we had tried hard, the thought of “Turks committed genocide against Armenians,” spread already, would have been riveted for good.

    If the U.S. House had taken the expected step this would have mean losing the fight that we were already having trouble.

    The Bush administration, with the stance against the bill, helped Turkey gain advantage over the case. However, you cannot even guess how valuable this gain is.

    We should do well in this process and create a more effective preemptive mechanism in the House, when needed.

    Let's not expect that miracles happen all the time.

    Moreover, we should consider that Democrats as potential winners of the U.S. elections may show sensitivity the way the Bush administration did and that “Let's finish it once and for all,” they may say.

    What should we do then?

    Here are a few concrete examples:

    - We should pull in, let's say, the Brits to initiate a “Joint Historian Committee,” as suggested by Turkey, because the project is weighed more if was launched by a third party.

    - We should open the border gate to Yerevan to increase commercial activities.

    - We should have more sports and cultural activities with Armenia and increase the number of messages to Armenia.

    This list may be lengthened.

    Officials in Ankara should begin to ponder and start works for serious planning.

    Otherwise we will lose this game; so let's not cry afterwards.


    Deconstructing Pamuk, A La Berlinski
    January 2, 2008, Yasemin Sim Esmen, Istanbul – Turkish Daily News

    An Istanbul-based American journalist and writer has landed herself in the hot seat following her criticism of Turkish Nobel prize-winning writer Orhan Pamuk's latest book, which has been translated into English as “Other Colors.” A writer with a sharp sense of humor, Claire Berlinski, has been much criticized in the Turkish media, in particular for calling Pamuk a “melancholy egomaniac” and asking her readers to imagine going on a date with Pamuk.

    “Turkey's persecution of its writers does much more to harm its reputation – and to encourage the dreariest stereotypes of Turkey – than Pamuk ever could,” said Berlinski, criticizing his prosecution based on the infamous Article 301 that punishes “insulting Turkishness,” even though she is critical of Pamuk for promoting stereotypes about Turkey, such as the concept of being caught between East and West.

    Berlinski has a much more livelier, joyful image of Istanbul (and life itself, too, it seems) than Pamuk does. She wrote that Pamuk belongs to a class of Turks “much given to examining their own misery and alienation and finding them intensely significant, much in the way the 19th century romantics admired their own tuberculosis.” Yet she does not discount the possibility that Pamuk feels both melancholy and depression very genuinely. “These moods have certainly given rise to great literature: Pamuk's seagulls were anticipated, for example, by Poe's ravens. If you can make it interesting, terrific. My complaint about Pamuk's melancholia, at least as he describes it in ‘Other Colors,' is not that I suspect he does not really feel it. It is that he does not succeed, in my eyes, in transforming it into art,” said Berlinski.

    A critique of Orhan Pamuk's latest novel has landed its author, Claire Berlinski, who is known for her sharp sense of humor, in the hot seat.

    Berlinski, an Istanbul-based American journalist and writer is the author of three books, “Menace in Europe: Why the Continent's Crisis is America's, Too,” “Loose Lips,” and “Lion Eyes.” Yet what suddenly put her on Turkey's radar is her “Pamuk: Prophet or poseur?” review published on Dec. 22, 2007 about Turkish Nobel prize-winning writer Pamuk's latest book, which has been translated into English as “Other Colors.”

    “Does Pamuk promote stereotypes of Turkey? Yes, that was sort of the point of my review. But I should also add that writing a book that recycles a few clichés is no grave moral crime,” said Berlinski, adding, “this cannot be said of the effort to put Pamuk behind bars. Turkey's persecution of its writers does much more to harm its reputation – and to encourage the dreariest stereotypes of Turkey – than Pamuk ever could.”

    Berlinski has been much criticized in the Turkish media, especially for calling Pamuk a “melancholy egomaniac” and asking her readers to imagine going on a date with Pamuk.

    “He shows up at the café wearing a black turtleneck, brandishing his annotated copy of Notes from Underground, making sure the title faces out. Within minutes he tells you that, unlike everyone else in Turkey, he reads. ‘Books are what keep me going,' he says,” Berlinski wrote, who is not impressed and somehow annoyed by the way Pamuk repeatedly points out that he loves reading and that this is not a passion shared by his fellow citizens.

    Depression, melancholy, and a special kind of fascination

    “But this book is about Pamuk himself, particularly the challenges of being a great writer and a severe depressive,” wrote Berlinski, adding that Pamuk's melancholy is another point she feels is stressed a bit too much throughout the book, giving a feeling that Pamuk is a “lugubrious poseur.”

    She has never met Pamuk in person. This is the impression she got from the book, said Berlinski. She does not discount the possibility that Pamuk feels both melancholy and depression very genuinely. “These moods have certainly given rise to great literature: Pamuk's seagulls were anticipated, for example, by Poe's ravens. If you can make it interesting, terrific. My complaint about Pamuk's melancholia, at least as he describes it in ‘Other Colors,' is not that I suspect he does not really feel it. It is that he does not succeed, in my eyes, in transforming it into art,” said the writer.

    Her review of “Other Colors” might incline the reader to think that Berlinski is “anti-Pamuk.” This is accentuated by her remark that one can get such a book published and sold only after winning a Nobel Prize, which she said Pamuk did partially thanks to his political statements to a Swiss weekly news magazine that “30,000 Kurds, and 1 million Armenians were killed in these lands and nobody dares to talk about it.”

    “Pamuk is a talented writer, but no one in his right mind believes this was an award based on literary merit,” wrote Berlinski.

    But Berlinski is not anti-Pamuk, she is just critical of “Other Colors.” “I don't think his fiction lives up to his reputation, but frankly, not much could. Some of it reflects real talent. As for his non-fiction, ‘Istanbul: Memories and the City' was a much better book than ‘Other Colors,'” she said, adding, “I learned many things about Istanbul from it that I had not known simply from looking at the city myself. I found his chapter about disasters on the Bosporus quite memorable; I think of the survival guide for people whose cars have flown into the Bosporus whenever I walk across the Galata Bridge.”

    Failing to make fun of his own kind

    “What seems to escape him is that, in stressing how much he reads and the quality of his taste, he does not display his distance from the social cohort from which he emerged. Rather, he marks himself as its caricature,” wrote Berlinski. She wrote that the “young women from this social class dye their hair purple and weep a lot. The older women complain of migraines.” “You can find women with purple hair and women with headaches in many countries,” said Berlinski. A vigorous writer with a sharp sense of humor who lived in France before moving to Istanbul, Berlinski cited the French haute bourgeoisie as an example: “The French haute bourgeoisie is not much like the Turkish haute bourgeoisie, however. One would make fun of it in an entirely different way. The French would not boast of reading good books (this would be taken for granted), but of reading books written by obscure Peruvian feminists and printed on bio-dynamically-grown hemp,” she said.


    Say To Compose Ballet On Akhtamar Legend
    Renowned pianist and composer Fazil Say will compose a ballet piece for the romantic and tragic love story referenced in legends of Akhtamar Island in the eastern Anatolian province of Van. Say, with this piece, intends to create an international project in which 100 Turkish and 100 Armenian dancers will take to the stage together in the performance of the work.

    Say said that they recently met with Culture and Tourism Minister Ertugrul Günay over breakfast and they talked about staging Say's "Nazim Hikmet Oratorio" in two events abroad, noting that he is planning to stage it in Germany at the opening of this year's Frankfurt Book Fair, where Turkey will be featured as a guest country. He added that the oratorio will also be staged in April in Moscow in connection with the Turkish-Russian Friendship Week and that the Culture and Tourism Ministry State Polyphonic Choir and the Presidential Symphony Orchestra (CSO) would take part in the performance. Say also noted that he told the culture minister that he wanted the oratorio to be staged in several cities around the country. "I conveyed my desire to stage it in 10 or 15 cities. He said he would consider it," Say stated.

    Say further mentioned that Günay proposed that he should compose music on the poems of Yahya Kemal Beyatli, noting that he is not able to do it for the time being because he is working on other projects; Say said after studying the poet's life in detail, he might start to work on it. Say, who has just completed his latest violin concerto titled "1,001 Nights in Harem," said: "I have plans to compose three more grand works. First I have to put them in order."

    Concerning the ballet work that he will compose based on the legend of a romantic and tragic love story on Akhtamar Island, known for its historic church, Say said: "I want this to be Turkish-Armenian joint production. This is because the Akhtamar legend belongs both to Turks and Armenians." Say noted that he wants to see Turkish and Armenian dancers on the same stage. "I took the first steps for this project in 2004. But because of the tension caused by [the remarks on the Armenian genocide of] writer Orhan Pamuk, we had to freeze that project. ... Furthermore, the murder of Hrant Dink led to difficulties. … In the past, we had talks with the Yerevan Ballet and Orchestra for such a project. But no progress has been made for several years. Now, I am planning to resume this work," he said. Say further explained that his second upcoming project was to compose a musical piece concerning Nazim Hikmet's "The Epic of Sheik Bedrettin," where he again plans to employ a huge cast. Say's third project is to compose a symphony on the city of Istanbul.

    The Akhtamar legend, which is considered the origin of the name of the island, is about Tamara, the beautiful daughter of the clergyman residing on the island. According to the legend, Tamara fell in love with a Muslim shepherd from a nearby village. Every night, the shepherd would swim to the island in order to meet Tamara. To show her location to him, Tamara would light a candle at night. Having learned of his daughter's love affair, the clergyman lit a candle on a stormy night and went down to the coast, but he frequently changed his location to exhaust the shepherd. Finally, the young boy drowned, but he shouted in his last breath, "Oh Tamara." The girl heard his last shout, and she, too, committed suicide, throwing herself in the lake. The island's name is said to come from the boy's last words, "Oh Tamara."
    03.01.2008 Today's Zaman Ankara


    Report: Dink Assassin Biological Age Determined To Be 19
    The young man who shot ethnic Armenian journalist Hrant Dink to death on Jan. 19 last year was not 17 as the law has presumed him to be, but rather was biologically a 19 year old on the day of the murder, though this may be due to other factors such as genes, hormones or diet, a recently released forensic report has stated.

    The prime suspect in the killing of Agos' Armenian-Turkish language daily Editor-in-Chief Dink, identified by his initials O.S., was 17 years old at the time of the murder to according his identification documents. Under Turkish law, persons under 18 are treated as minors. However, the report noted that O.S.'s age might still be correct -- and not registered incorrectly as suspected -- in the population records, but simply showed him to be older due to factors such as his diet, hormonal balance or simply genes.
    03.01.2008 Osman Arslan Istanbul


    Tensions Mount By The Shores Of The Black Sea
    The struggle between East and West is set to envelop the entire region during the coming year
    Doug Saunders January 2, 2008

    If, in the coming year, you find yourself relaxing on the beach in the Bulgarian resort of Bourgas on Europe's little-noticed east coast, you may soon realize that you are in the centre of one of the world's most lavish and portentous conflicts, one that involves a dozen countries and the nuclear powers of the Cold War and is likely to produce explosions in 2008.

    Look up the coast, just to the north, and you will see U.S. bombers and surveillance planes taking off in increasing numbers from Bulgarian and Romanian seaside bases as the U.S. and NATO militaries shift their major installations From Germany to locations along the formerly communist Black Sea coast. In 2008, a year after the European Union added Bulgaria and Romania, two former Warsaw Pact nations, to its membership, NATO will make its most aggressive bids to win over the rest of the region. The North Atlantic Treaty Organization's annual conference will be held near the sea in Romania, and the most explosive item on the agenda will be the proposed membership of Georgia - a Black Sea country that, if it joins, will expand the territory of this Cold War military alliance to the deep interior of the former Soviet Union.

    Moscow is already reacting with anger to the expanding presence of NATO on these shores, which had previously been entirely within Russia's sphere of influence (only Turkey has traditionally been a NATO member). Half a dozen "frozen conflicts" in Georgia, Ukraine, Azerbaijan and Moldova appear ready to erupt into full-scale secession wars in the coming year; in every case, the militant movements appear to have Russian backing.

    For the 100 million people who live around the shores of the Black Sea, 2008 may well feel like a return to the Cold War. This time, though, it's not clear which side any nation, any region or any people are on: Like South America or Southeast Asia during that previous Washington-Moscow standoff, the Black Sea region has become an endlessly contested ground, subject to shifting influences as money and weapons are dumped into unsuspecting populations.

    In recent years, that conflict has played itself out most visibly in Ukraine, whose elections have been dramatic showdowns between Russian-supported forces and Western-backed democracy movements. This year ended with pro-Western Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, who took office on Dec. 18, accusing Moscow of actively funding the opposition's parties.

    The struggle between East and West is about to envelop the entire Black Sea region during the coming year, often with military implications.

    The sparring is likely to begin as early as Saturday, when Georgia's five million citizens go to the polls in a presidential election and a referendum on the country's proposed NATO membership. The vote was called after weeks of violent mass demonstrations in November against pro-American president Mikheil Saakashvili. The demonstrations, which Mr. Saakashvili and a number of outside organizations say were backed by Russia, were met with brutal police repression. Georgia, like Ukraine, appears to be divided in half between voters who support the European Union and NATO and those who prefer a return to Moscow's influence.

    But there are even deeper divisions in Georgia, and in a number of its Black Sea neighbours. Breakaway regions, which hope to form their own nations - usually because their people are more loyal to Russia - have seen low-level conflicts fraught with occasional bombings and acts of violence for years. In 2008, any one of them could become full-scale war.

    Georgia's troubled regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia have become increasingly violent in recent months, their independence movements staging bolder attacks against government facilities. Neighbouring Azerbaijan has had growing frictions in its region of Nagorno-Karabakh. And on the other side of the Black Sea, the Moldovan breakaway region of Transnistria, which is loyal to Russia, has seen increasing tensions.

    These landlocked slivers of Black Sea real estate could well become conflict zones this year, for reasons rooted in another landlocked country that lies closer to the Adriatic Sea. In late January or early February, the Serbian province of Kosovo is likely to declare independence, an act that is backed by the European Union and the United States.

    Russian President Vladimir Putin has warned that if Serbia, a Slavic-speaking country, loses its disputed Albanian-majority province to Western influences, it will have a hard time guaranteeing the integrity of Georgia and Moldova. Many observers see this as a thinly veiled threat: If Kosovo goes, then so goes Abkhazia, South Ossetia, Nagorno-Karabakh and Transnistria. Some observers already say that arms are flowing into these breakaway regions.

    "The chance of some kind of armed flare-up in at least one of those conflict zones in the coming year is disturbingly high," says Thomas de Waal, an expert on the Caucasus at the Institute for War and Peace Reporting. "The consequences could be catastrophic."

    Why are Brussels, Washington and Moscow devoting so much time, money and armaments to a stretch of shoreline that has previously languished in uneasy obscurity? Some of it has to do with geography: Georgia, Turkey, Armenia and Azerbaijan sit near the border of Iran, and there is a strong desire to have a Western-loyal buffer of nations and defence installations surrounding this constant site of conflict. Another reason might become visible if you sit long enough on the beach in Bourgas.

    Further out to sea, you might spot Russian ships laying an enormous undersea pipeline, known as South Stream, that will carry billions of cubic metres of natural gas from Russia, across the 900-kilometre width of the Black Sea to Bulgaria, and on to energy-hungry Western Europe.

    And just behind you, running up the Bulgarian shore, will be the tail end of South Stream's Western-funded competitor, known as Nabucco, which carries equally enormous amounts of gas from Iran and Central Asia through Georgia, Azerbaijan, Armenia and Turkey before it supplies Europe. These pipelines, carrying Europe's Russian fuel supply and its hard-fought Iranian alternative, provide the economic backdrop for this set of emerging conflicts.

    Europe is enormously reliant on Russian gas and oil to heat its homes - some countries, such as Germany and Italy, are so completely dependent that they would face an immediate crisis if the pipelines from Russia were curtailed. (This occurred briefly in 2006, during a dispute between Russia and Belarus over pipeline rights, and caused a sizable shock.) As a result, the supplies of petroleum and gas from the Adriatic Sea through Azerbaijan and from Iran are considered vital. (This is an important reason why the EU has been reluctant to participate fully in sanctions against Iran over alleged nuclear weapons activity.)

    So much of this dispute - though not all of it, as some would suggest - is rooted in the West's need for energy security. If non-Russian sources of fuel are to be securely provided, then the loyalty of the countries to the east, south and west of the Black Sea is vital. From Moscow's perspective, if its continued dominance is to be maintained (and good prices upheld for its supplies), then pipelines will need to pass through the west, north and east of the Black Sea.

    Some countries, notably Bulgaria and Romania, stand to benefit either way: Both Adriatic-Iranian oil pipelines and Russia's new pipes will enter Europe through their impoverished territory.

    As you relax on the beige sands of Bourgas - an increasingly popular vacation getaway for both Central Europeans and for Russians - these rising tensions might be visible along the shoreline and across the water. But they're likely to seem especially bizarre when you return to your hotel, which is almost certain to have EU flags flying on its awning - and to be owned by Russian tycoons.
    *****
    The Push For Independence
    Autonomous aspirations of these three Black Sea regions threaten to flare up in the coming year. TRANSNISTRIA, MOLDOVA A sliver of land on the Nistria River, Transnistria broke away from Moldova in September of 1990. A brief war killed hundreds before Russian troops intervened. The region of 550,000 people is dominated by Russian-speaking Slavs, who pressed for independence fearing Moldova's Romanian-speaking majority would one day join Romania to the south. Around 1,200 Russian troops remain. Transnistria covers one-eighth of Moldovan territory but is home to the bulk of Moldova's industrial base.

    ABKHAZIA AND SOUTH OSSETIA, GEORGIA Home to 200,000 people, Abkhazia is sandwiched between the Black Sea and the Caucasus Mountains and was once a renowned tourist destination. It fought a 1992-93 war against Georgia and effectively rules itself. It was isolated for years after the war but has since forged closer ties with Russia, which has given Abkhaz residents passports and pensions. South Ossetia fought to throw off Georgian rule in the early 1990s. A ceasefire was signed but the violence has threatened to reignite. Russia has peacekeepers in both regions.

    NAGORNO-KARABAKH, AZERBAIJAN
    Sporadic clashes in Nagorno-Karabakh between Azeri and local ethnic Armenian irregulars began in 1998, escalating by 1992 into full-scale hostilities between Azeri forces and troops from Armenia. About 35,000 people died and hundreds of thousands fled before a ceasefire was signed in 1994. The territory remains part of Azerbaijan but is controlled by Armenian forces. A major BP-led pipeline linking Azerbaijan's Caspian Sea oil fields to world markets passes a few kilometres from the conflict zone.
    Reuters


    Armenian Tale Of Turkish Genocide Simply Untrue
    I am an Israeli Jew, originally from the former Soviet Union, and have no dog in the Turkish-Armenian fight.

    Nevertheless, the history of Armenian-Turkish relations is a difficult and complex one, and Jonathan Tobin did it a disservice when he wrote to support the Armenian claim of genocide (A Matter of Opinion: "Choosing Allies Over Principles," April 26).

    During World War I, the nationalist Armenian movement was egged on by Czarist Russia to revolt against the Turks. This was designed to protect the flank of the Russian Empire from an attack by Germany's ally Turkey.

    The Armenians obliged and unleashed an unprecedented terrorist campaign against ethnic Turks that resulted in the deaths of tens of thousands of civilians.

    The Ottoman Turks ordered the Armenians ousted from the affected areas. In the process, many were killed by the Kurdish gangs, many died of infections and starvation -- although it should be stated that Turks were dying like flies as well, and from the same causes.

    But there was no genocide, because of the lack of intent or organized action on the part of the Turkish government to exterminate Armenians as such. The "ethnic cleansing" was limited to Eastern Anatolia. No Armenian in Istanbul was expelled or harmed.

    The Armenians want to preserve the status of victims, not unlike the Palestinians. For years, Armenian terrorists killed Turks all over Europe, sent letter bombs, and set explosives in Turkish cultural centers.
    Ariel Barkan, M.D.
    Ann Arbor, Mich.


    The Enemy Of My Friend Is My Enemy? The Jewish Diaspora And Genocide Denial
    Noah's Ark

    With all due respect to the numerous Jewish-born humanists, historians, writers, individual personalities, Chief Rabbi, Yona Metzger and many other that have had the courage to take a stand for the recognition of the Armenian Genocide and justice for this crime, it is none the less obvious that the official representatives of Judaism and above all Jewish/Israeli politicians still have a lot to catch up on.

    Even though the internationally recognized and respected Jewish jurist and human rights activist Rafael Lemkin already concerned himself with and recognized the systematic destruction of the Armenians as a "murder of race" at the start of the 1930s, the fact remains that justice for the Armenian Genocide is still being aggressively denied by influential organizations of the Jewish Diaspora as well as by the State of Israel itself.

    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" - "moving to secure places" 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. As the victims- Armenians - "never exists".

    The Turkish have not only murdered humans , destroyed an ancient culture/civilization and rewritten history, but they continue to legitimize the act as well as the racist 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?"

    The Republic of Turkey has denied the Armenian Genocide for the past 84 years, and politicians in Israel and a vast majority of officials of Jewish Diaspora are aboard their boat now. In the USA, for example, the Jewish Anti-Defamation League (ADL) not only denied the Armenian Genocide in the past but also actively fought against the Congressional Resolution for the Recognition of the Armenian Genocide. At the end of August 2007, the ADL finally recognized the Armenian Genocide through gritted teeth. The acknowledgment given, however, was qualified to such an extent that one could have done without it. A similar statement of recognition was also simultaneously supplied by the American Jewish Committee.

    Presently, the AIPAC totally denies to have ever fought against the official recognition of the Armenian Genocide by the US government and now presents itself as being neutral in regard to the subject. (And apparently "neutral" is just what they are.)

    Pierre Besnainou, the acting president of the European Jewish Congress (EJC) until early 2007, stated in 2006 that the Armenian people should stop making fools of themselves: there has been only one genocide in modern times and as everyone knows it was that of the Jews - an Armenian Genocide never happened. (We have yet to see what the attitude of Moshe Kantor, the current president of the EJC, is in this regard.)

    In 2001, while he was the Israeli Foreign Minister, Nobel Prize winner and current President of Israel Shimon Peres described the Armenians as "meaningless" ("Armenian allegations") Moreover, this year President Shimon Peres and the current Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni did a heroic act that in no way pales to the statements regarding the Holocaust expressed by the President Ahmadinejad: Peres affirmed Israel's attitude to the "Armenian Question" and promised the Turkish Prime Minster Erdogan to lobby against the Armenians, while Minster Livni prevented the Knesset from officially recognizing the Armenian Genocide.

    The statement given: "Genocide never happened. There was a "tragedy" with victims on both sides. Please reconcile yourselves now and start a dialog." Once again, a replay of the Turkish argument of shameless denial by a Israeli official: "There were mutual killings and No mass Killings."

    Just recently Israeli President Shimon Peres let himself be vocally celebrated by hundreds of Genocide deniers in the Turkish Parliament, including numerous Turkish fascists, racists, ultra-nationalists and fundamentalists In Ankara, President Shimon Peres reiterated his support for the denial of the Armenian Genocide and conveyed his full acceptance of the Turkish politics of lies and denial. But it cannot escape the notice of an experienced politician like President Shimon Peres that the Genocide deniers in Ankara are no longer simply satisfied with the repudiation of the Armenian Genocide.

    Turkish Prime Minster Erdogan and the other Turkish nationalists have long since joined forces to create panturanic - "Pan Turkish"- institutions with the specific aim of try(ing) to prove the 'illegality' of the existence of the Armenian people to the world.

    When the French Ambassador to Great Britain, Daniel Bernard, referred to Israel as "this shitty little country" in 2001, there was a storm of protest and he was quickly labeled an Anti-Semite. But what should an Armenian call someone that denies the Armenian Genocide and refers to Armenians as "meaningless"? If that were even just all that is being done: 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.
    Why Do Jewish Organizations and their Functionaries Deny the Armenian Genocide as Turkey Does Deny recognition and Justice for this Crime?

    How can this act of denial be harmonious with the Jewish moral concepts and identity in light of the xenophobia, racism, Anti-Semitism, hostility and intolerance that the sorely tested Jewish People are themselves confronted with on a daily basis? Genocide is racism: it is the most paramount and aggressive form of racial discrimination, and is aimed at the obliteration of the existence and life of a people only because they belong to a specific community or collective - a community that is defined by the aggressors as "the others," as "the alien."

    Two reasons are commonly given for the "placating" activities of the international Jewish community in regard to Turkey's denial policies: Israel needs Turkey, and the Holocaust is unique. On occasion a third reason is also offered: to do otherwise would result in repercussions against the Jewish community in Istanbul. (Although if this were true, the US Congress and Senate could never pass any resolutions against Iran: as is well known, numerous Jewish people also live in Tehran, Yazd, and Isfahan for centuries!) Statements such as those are, in the end, nothing but hollow attempts to justify denial-
    The attitude of Jewish Organizations and their functionaries in regard to the Armenian Genocide not only results in their involvement in the guilt of the perpetrators but also produces a culpability of their own as well.

    An attitude such as theirs supports and perpetuates the bogeyman image of the Armenians that has long been cherished by the Turkish while simultaneously strengthening the Turkish nationalistic self-image. Above and beyond this, when Jewish functionaries describe the Ottoman Turkey as a paradise of earth, they both distort history and negate the inhumanities experienced by the Armenian People; instead, an unmerited image of a heroic and pro-Judaic Turkey is propagated throughout Jewish communities and private homes.

    Thus, in turn, within the sphere of the Jewish Diaspora and even Israel itself, a new generation grows that is spoon-fed the misconceptions of the valiant Turk and perfidious Armenian. In regard to this current situation, is oddly ironic that the modern usage of the word "Holocaust" - used so often by international communities to describe the Shoah - was first introduced to describe the Turkish bloodbath suffered by the Armenians in Adana in 1909. (Ferriman, Z.D.: The Young Turks and the Truth about the Holocaust at Adana in Asia Minor during April 1909; London, 1913.)

    The Enemy of My Friend is also My Enemy
    Is the demonization of the Armenian Community within the Jewish Diaspora done with this concept in mind? Some examples among others: In July 2007 an article was published in the "Jüdische Zeitung" ("Jewish Newspaper") in Germany which totally supported and serviced the policies of genocide denial and victim-perpetrator-reversal as practiced alla Turca.

    The "Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs" published in November this year in its webpage an article written by Ms. Aydan Kodaloglu, an advisor to the former Turkish President Turgut Özal; in her article, Kodaoglu attempted to make the denial of the Armenian Genocide (even more) palatable for the Jewish and Israeli population. (Ironically enough, according to Nüzhet Kandemir, the former Turkish ambassador to the USA, President Turgut Ozal was himself on the brink of recognizing the Armenian Genocide.)

    In turn, in the Jerusalem Post Joel J. Sprayregen (the former National Vice-Chair of the ADL and a member of the Executive Committee of the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (JINSA)) took the Armenian resistance during the Genocide to justify denial alla Turca - "There was no genocide" - he was referring to history fakers - despite the fact that he must be fully aware that one could easily reinterpret reality and deny the Jewish Holocaust through the misrepresentation of the Warsaw Uprising, the Theresienstadt- deportation camp, the "sale" and departure of the Jews to Switzerland during the Holocaust and survival of millions of Jews people ...

    And in the US, one could easily come to assume that Washington Times - which often reads as a copy of the Turkish press - aims at leading a war against the Armenian Genocide Resolution (HR 106) in the US Congress.
    Holocaust-denier, David Irving, is serving more and more as example as a paradigm for the denial of Armenian Genocide. Mr. Lenny Ben-David, former undersecretary at the Israeli Embassy in the US and A adviser for five years to the Turkish embassy in Washington, until earlier this summer, In his article published in the Oct. 5 issue of the Jerusalem Post, titled "Turkey and Armenia: What Jews should do," Not only denied the Armenian Genocide and creates hysteria and Armenophobe but in his article he gives a lot of credit to the fabrication of Turkish and Azeri nationalists and fascists. This is again not a hidden fact even for this politician that the aim of Turkish fabrications against Armenians in the next step includes: suggesting removing Armenia from the maps, as a people and country which doesn't exist...

    If you assume A Armenian student from Jerusalem will be allow in an official ceremony in Israel to refer to the Armenian Genocide, you are mistaken. This shouldn't come to you as a surprise either; in Istanbul the remaining Armenian children from "Western Armenia" (After Gencode renamed to "Eastern Anatolia") are forced to write essays how their ancestors committed "genocide against Turks" (This is just distressful, nauseating, sadistic and perverse.)

    Denial is known as a second killing (a "bloodless-killing"). There is an aggressive denial of Armenian Genocide on going by Turkey. Unfortunately, a big part of officials of Jewish Diaspora and Israel are involved in the denial of Armenian Genocide and this act - their involvement in denial - doesn't differ much from the involvement of German military officer in Armenian Genocide in 1915 (This reference should make clearer - to help to reach a better understanding- what really the denial of Armenian Genocide by Jewish politicians means for Armenian people and other Christian people who were subject of genocide by Turkish!)

    If politically allies do it, it's not genocide but "Tragedy". There are Turkish "palace historians" that aim to erase all references to "Armenia" and "Armenian people" in the libraries of the world. This is a fact that is easily documented. Professor Dr. Yusuf Halaçoğlu, the racially motivated President of the Turkish Historical Society with the assistance of Turkish fascists, extends great effort on proving the non-existence of the Armenian People and, in turn, the state of "Armenia." The statements of many Jewish Diaspora officials that "there was no Armenian Genocide" play directly into the hands of the official policy Turkey and the Turkish Nationalists and fascists.

    A nation that has been the victim of genocide should not be forced to prove the fact of genocide. For a nation to support the perpetrators of genocide by placating the world with official statements supporting the Turkish government's shameless policies of denial is disgraceful and appalling; for a nation that itself has likewise suffered an attempted obliteration to do so is incomprehensible. The "placating" efforts by Jewish officials and functionaries are doomed to backfire: the denial of the Armenian Genocide in no way helps to make Israel stronger or to increase the security of the Jewish People.

    Turkey and Turkish nationalists have always used other people for the implementation of their inhuman policies against "non-Turks" in order to achieve their own final goals, if not their own "final solution"

    Words such as dialogue, reconciliation, and rapprochement are terms that awaken fundamentally positive associations, but they are being used without any reflection upon or reference to historical fact or fairness, let alone justice. It is beyond understanding that the newspapers of the Jewish Diaspora present the Armenians as the "irreconcilable" or "troublemaker", as the "true" disruptor in international relations, when it is the Turkish that continually attempt to illegalize or negate the discussion. (What dialogue would the Jewish Nation have with Germany had Germany demanded and been permitted to forbid the acknowledgment of the holocaust and justice?)

    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?

    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 again 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 Diaspora 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.

    A question that might arise when reading this text is why do I only write about the Jewish Community and Israeli politicians? Well, this is due to the following fact: aside from the Turkish themselves, Israeli politicians and the Jewish Diaspora are the only ones that go beyond the "simple" denial of the Armenian Genocide (and denial of Turkish genocides against other Christian people, e.g. The Assyrian Genocide) to both aggressively practice a virulent policy of denial and likewise try to inspire others to do the same.

    For example, the unprecedented dedication with which Shimon Peres supported the "fight" against the Armenian Resolution in the US Congress while Bill Clinton was still president.

    The relationship between the Jewish People and the Turkish is based on lies and the denial of the Armenian Genocide - the denial of the 1.5 million Armenians that died by the hands of the Ottoman Turkey from 1915-1923. It is a relationship that is based on criminal complicity in hushing up a horrific transgression against humanity and that totally disregards all concepts of moral and justice.

    Namik Tan, the Turkish Ambassador to Israel, described this relationship in September 2007: "The Turkish People make no differentiation between Israel and the Jews of the world. To us, you are all one. We have no pact with Israel, but rather with the whole Jewish world. If the Jewish lobby disappears, Israel loses its importance to us. Therefore, Israel takes the responsibility when a Jewish organization speaks of Genocide."

    The truth will set Turkish and Jewish officials free. Implementation of international agreed reforms for "Western Armenia/ Turkish Armenian" and eliminating - "getting rid" - of a nation/people by Turkey are not the same. Only the fact of genocide can keep alive disinformation policy, the genocide denial industry and the nationally authorized and aggressive Turkish politics of denial. Israeli/Jewish officials should advice their "friends/allies" in Ankara to stop making fools of themselves. Armenian Genocide was proved as Armenian Genocide was happening.

    The whole world was witness of this genocide. Besides this: Armenian Genocide is well documented above all by Turkish war time ally Germany (even though a part of this documents being destroyed in1919 and 1940s.)

    According to Taner Akcam, a nonconformist Turkish historian, "The denial of the Armenian Genocide is the basis of Turkey's existence." At the latest, Namik Tan's statements above and the aggressive denial of Armenian Genocide by President Shimon Peres also reveal and proves that the relationship between Israel and Turkey is also based the denial of the Armenian Genocide (raison d'État instead of right to truth and justice.)

    One cannot help but wonder how long a relationship built on boundless dishonesty, immorality, denial and lies is capable or destined to last... Indeed, it is truly incomprehensible that the Jewish Diaspora denies the Armenian Genocide for the "good" of Israel. What lasting "good" has ever come from the denial of genocide, from the denial of truth, from the denial of the justice?


    Author's Note: I am aware of the fact that my analyze of Jewish Denial of Armenian Genocide may upset some so please feel free to write comments on it . And, in the meantime, the author likes to let you know: who ever denies one genocide he/she denies all genocides. Jewish denial of Armenian Genocide kills not only the Armenian Genocide but in the end this denial kills The Jewish Holocaust too...

    E-mail: noahsark2008@yahoo.com

    http://www.juedische.at/TCgi/_v2/TCgi.cgi?target=home&Param_Kat=16&Param_RB=&Param_Red=9034

    "die jüdische" 01.01.2008


    How I Became A 'So-Called' Turk?
    Ziya MERAL January 3, 2008

    In his challenging book “Identity and Violence” Nobel laureate Amartya Sen argues that our identities are constructed not only through our own efforts but also by the enforcement of our setting. For example, an Irish man may consider himself ‘white' and can have strong feelings against people with darker skin colors. However, it is only recently that the English have considered the Irish ‘white.' The Irish have been seen in lesser terms than the ‘actual whites.'

    The exclusion of the Irish from the noble ‘white' community obviously has nothing to do with color, as one doesn't really get whiter than an Irishman. Whiteness is a social construct and the ‘real whites' are considered so because of their privileged place within the community of ‘whites'.

    Recently, I have learned the hard way that ‘Turkishness' too has its own share of social enforcement and exclusion. I have always seen myself as a Turk. Turkish is my mother tongue. I was born and have spent most of my life in Turkey. I am a Turkish citizen. I genuinely love my country and I am committed to its future. All the members of my family are ethnic Turks, with the exception of one grandma who is Kurdish and my great grandmother who was a Greek convert to Islam. All these years I assumed that these were what made one ‘Turkish.'

    Yet, my ‘Turkishness' has been challenged. This first happened when I turned 18 and, out of my disillusionment with Islam, I decided to follow the Christian faith. Though none of my family members are devout Muslims, I spent the following 11 years trying to explain that I love my country, do not work for the CIA and have no part in plans to reinstate the Byzantine Empire. My apologetics have not been too successful as since then I regularly hear the rhetorical question; “What kind of a Turk are you?”

    As my ‘Turkishness' began to be questioned by my community, I too started losing my attachment to it. I studied in East Asia for three years and then continued my studies in the UK for three more years. Having studied five different languages (and messing them all up) and traveled to more than 20 countries for research or school reasons, I must admit that I love Japanese food and Shusaku Endo more than I love lahmacun (Turkish pizza) and Murathan Mungan.

    When fate and academic interest in collective memory, ethnic conflict and transitional justice put me right in the middle of Turkish-Armenian relations, my Turkishness entered a new stage.

    A clumsy newspaper called Avrupa Gazetesi – Turkish but printed and distributed in Europe – published a puzzling piece about a conference in which Dr Fatma Gocek and yours truly were going to speak to lobby for the Armenian cause. I only smiled, since I not only did not know Dr Gocek, nor have ever been invited to such an event, I was not even in the UK during that time.

    The correction, which Avrupa Gazetesi published, was too late to stop the ripples. Soon, a host of nationalistic websites and e-groups elaborated further with titles such as “A new addition to the list of Traitors” and I was declared to be a ‘missionary', ‘Armenian lobbyist', but most significantly a “so-called Turk”. Thanks to these nationalist groups, I learned that there are two kinds of Turks: Turks-in-essence (özde Türkler) and so-called-Turks (sözde Türkler).

    Some advice!

    There is a moral to my identity career. First one is practical: if you don't want to lose your ‘Turkishness' please don't follow my footsteps, it would only lead you to anomie and significant loss of social capital.

    The second one is theoretical. It appears that ‘Turkishness' is defined by religious affiliation plus historical and political opinion. Though most of these nationalist groups will give wild reactions when being a Turk is reduced to being a Muslim and Islam is seen as what makes us Turks, nevertheless adherence to the official and dominant views seem to be the criteria for judging to what degree someone is a Turk.

    Apparently, citizenship, place of birth, mother tongue and personal feelings of the individual towards his or her country means nothing. One's ‘Turkishness' is validated and enforced by a quasi-official criterion and its willing executors, who have the market monopoly.

    If this is so, then ‘Turkishness' is an ideology which one assumes through alignment of personal opinion. As ideologies inescapably shift and modify themselves, those who are privileged to be Turks-in-essence have to continually keep up with subtle changes so as not to be kicked off the list. Thus, it is quite tiring to remain a Turk and to maintain the boundaries of ‘Turkishness'. You never know when the next de-selection will be and who will be joined to the ranks of the outcasts.

    * Ziya Meral is a researcher on Middle East minorities and a writer. He can be contacted at ziya_meral@yahoo.com

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    Unveiling The PKK January 3, 2008
    By Bruce Fein - Contrary to media reports, the Marxist-Leninist terrorist Kurdistan Workers' Party's (PKK) ambition is not regional autonomy in Turkey.

    Its goal, as proclaimed in the PKK's Manifesto (Oct. 27, 1978), or self-styled "Declaration of Independence," is an independent socialist state of Kurdistan on territory under the sovereignty of Turkey, Syria, Iraq and Iran.

    The chief target of the PKK's terrorism, however, has been Turkey. The PKK has been responsible for about 40,000 deaths there, or 13 times the September 11, 2001, casualty figure in the United States, including a chilling number of fellow Kurds who reject the PKK's violence. In customary parlance, the PKK's banner is treason.

    Some media reports also wrongly assert or insinuate that Turkey's citizens who sport Kurdish ethnicity groan under discrimination or oppression that explains or partially justifies the PKK. Turkey's Kurds are equal under the Constitution. They are equal by every political, economic or social benchmark. They enjoy equality in the franchise, the right preservative of all rights. While the vast majority has chosen to support Turkey's mainstream political parties, Kurds enjoy the option of supporting the pro-Kurdish nationalist Democratic Society Party (DSP). In the most recent national legislative elections, the DSP attracted a tiny 3 percent of the vote. A fringe party, the DSP leadership resists renouncing violence and terrorism as a means of political dissent.

    Kurds are fairly represented in the corridors of power. They serve at the highest levels of the executive, legislative and judicial branches. Kurds have been president, prime minister, and the leader of the National Assembly. Kurds similarly flourish in the arts and entertainment. There is no stigmatizing "ethnic" line or segregation between Kurds and non-Kurds in Turkey. Intermarriage is commonplace.

    Kurds enjoy equal access to jobs, business opportunities, education, housing, credit and otherwise. Nondiscrimination is the legal and operative rule. And equal access has been matched with equal Kurdish success in these endeavors. While there is no Kurdish underclass, Kurds do reside disproportionately in the less developed areas of southeast and eastern Turkey.

    Kurds enjoy the same freedom of political association, freedom of expression and freedom of religion as other Turkish citizens. Turkey's democracy has been responsive to Kurdish special aspirations and grievances. Broadcasting in Kurdish is now permitted, as is private instruction in the many Kurdish dialects. The latter has languished, however, because Kurds in Turkey have preserved their languages and covet fluency in Turkish for the same reason Americans of disparate backgrounds strive for fluency in English.

    As previously noted, a substantial percentage of Kurds reside in the southeast, which has historically suffered economic underdevelopment. Over the last decades, the government of Turkey has responded correspondingly by pouring in approximately $20 billion to jump start the southeast with infrastructure or otherwise. Featuring the Great Anatolia Project with 21 dams and 19 hydroelectric stations on the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers, the government's economic development program is reminiscent of the Tennessee Valley Authority in the United States under President Franklin D. Roosevelt. In tandem with the government, private Turkish charities devoted to health care and sister philanthropic endeavors have poured aid into the southeast.

    Turkey has also offered an olive branch to the PKK. Amnesty has been offered to PKK members who have not been involved in attacks; and, on Dec. 9 Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced he would propose legislation broadening the amnesty's reach.

    Turkey's Kurds overwhelmingly repudiate the PKK because Turkey's democracy works for them. The number of Kurds attracted to the PKK's Marxist-Leninist terrorism is estimated at 3,000 to 10,000, or a microscopic percentage of Turkey's Kurdish population. The PKK has retaliated against Kurds for their rejection with indiscriminate violence and assassinations. The PKK's degeneracy is further corroborated by its resort to narcotics trafficking to raise funds to support their nefarious tactics and ambitions. According to the French, 80 percent of the heroin in Paris is smuggled into the country by the PKK.

    The PKK cannot credibly deny the equality and flourishing of Kurds under Turkey's ever-strengthening democracy. It has no inspiring rallying cry like the American "No taxation without representation." Instead, the PKK embraced Marxist-Leninist claptrap that has been consigned to the dustbin of history to expiate its mindless terrorism and 40,000 deaths.

    Most recently, the PKK shed its Marxist-Leninist trappings in favor of equally repugnant and unjustified ethno-nationalist terrorism.

    Bruce Fein is resident scholar at the Turkish Coalition of America.


    Armenia: Move To Abolish Controversial Legislation
    Critics say article in country’s criminal code could be used to detain anti-government protestors.

    By Gayane Mkrtchian in Yerevan (CRS No. 425 03-Jan-08)
    With presidential elections in Armenia less than two months away, the opposition is seeking the abolition of a controversial article in the criminal code that it says can be employed by the authorities to stifle protest.

    According to Article 301 of the Armenian criminal code, publicly calling for a violent seizure of power or the overthrow of the constitutional system is punishable by a fine equivalent to 300-500 times the minimum salary in Armenia (about 25-40,000 US dollars), detention for two to three months or imprisonment for up to three years.

    Zaruhi Postanjian, an opposition member of parliament with the Heritage Party, is seeking to have the article removed from the criminal code by means of a special draft bill being put before parliament.

    “Where is the line drawn?” asked Postanjian. “When does a person’s statement or public appearance constitute a punishable act?”

    “It violates and restricts citizens’ right to free expression and is an instrument in the hands of the authorities, being used to silence opposition figures,” she said.

    Postanjian says Article 301 violates rights guaranteed under Article 27 of the Armenian constitution and Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights.

    “Prosecuting a person under Article 301 is a gross violation of his or her right to free expression,” she said. “Article 3 of the Armenian constitution says, ‘The state ensures that citizens’ fundamental rights and freedoms are protected in line with principles and norms of the international law.’”

    However, government supporters respond that citizens’ rights are protected by the constitution and that the article defends the state against the possibility of violent opposition.

    Aram Safarian of the pro-government Prosperous Armenia faction in parliament says scrapping the article would “pitch the country into anarchy”.

    “We do not live in a country where the authorities demonstrate an inclination towards violence,” agreed Armen Ashotian, a deputy with the governing Republican Party.

    “Even if the bill is passed [to abolish the article], the president won’t be able to sign it, because it is unconstitutional.”

    Ashotian cited Article 43 of the constitution, which says that basic rights and freedoms can be restricted in the interests of state security and maintaining public order.

    To the disappointment of its supporters, the bill is unlikely to be debated in parliament before March, meaning the article will still be in force in the run-up to the presidential elections due on February 19.

    The article has been employed on several occasions in the last few years, on each occasion when the political temperature has been high in Armenia.

    In the spring of 2004, police arrested a number of opposition activists at protest rallies in Yerevan, citing Article 301.

    The previous year, several people in the town of Armavir were arrested on the same charge. Among them was Azat Gasparian, 45, a lawyer, who played an active role in the rallies protesting against the presidential election of 2003.

    He and four friends were found guilty under Article 301 and sentenced to two months in the harsh Nubarashen prison after attempting to ferry busloads of people from Armavir to Yerevan to take part in a rally.

    While Gasparian is still a prominent opposition activist, every time a rally is due to take place he is summoned to a police station and warned that he may be “disturbing public order”.

    “They warn me that I should not go too far and threaten to stitch up a case against me up if I do,” he said.

    Independent parliamentarian Viktor Dallakian also fell victim to Article 301 when he addressed a public rally in March 2004, at which he said that the Armenian people had the power to get rid of the governing authorities.

    “I did not call for a violent overthrow of the constitutional regime,” said Dallakian. “I was released only after the visit of Vladimir Pryakhin, head of the OSCE office in Armenia, to the prosecutor’s office.”

    Another opposition parliamentarian, chairman of the National-Democratic Party Shavarsh Kocharian, also said he had been charged under Article 301. After the presidential election in 1996, he was accused of attempting to organize a coup d’etat and faced the same charge following the April 12, 2004 events.

    In 2006, charges were laid against Zhirair Sefilian, a veteran of the Nagorny Karabakh war and founder of the movement Armenian Volunteers Association, and against fellow veteran Vardan Malkhasian.

    Sefilian had said at a meeting of the association, in reference to the seven Azerbaijani territories around Nagorny Karabakh, now under the control of the Armenian side, “We will break the heads of those who try to surrender the liberated territories.”

    Lawyer Vahe Grigorian, who acts for Sefilian, said in his defence, “However harsh, the statement cannot be interpreted as a call for a violent seizure of power. However, this did not stop them from charging them under Article 301. They are political prisoners, who are being prosecuted for their opinions and activities, rather than for a criminal offence.”

    The two men are still in prison.

    Postanjian says she is trying to enlist the help of international organisations to get Article 301 abolished, and has also secured the help of Armenian human rights ombudsman as mediator.

    “The human rights defender has applied to the Venice Commission [of the Council of Europe], asking for its opinion on the article in the shortest time possible,” said Postanjian.

    Dallakian says there are two ways to solve the issue - either to abolish the article altogether or reword it to make it less ambiguous.

    “It should be more clearly written what is meant by ‘calls’ [to overthrow the authorities],” he said. “Is it when people say “let’s take up arms and give them hell”, or when they just talk about ‘armed struggle’? There must be absolute clarity, otherwise you may be accused of attempting to overthrow the constitutional regime with one loud sneeze.”

    Gayane Mkrtchian is a correspondent with ArmeniaNow.com in Yerevan
    www.iwpr.net/?p=crs&s=f&o=341726&apc_state=henh

    © Institute for War & Peace Reporting
    48 Grays Inn Road, London WC1X 8LT, UK


    A Very Brief History Of 2007
    Mustafa AKYOL January 3, 2008
    Keep enjoying Turkey in 2008. If you are looking for trouble, as Elvis once put it, you've come to the right place

    The year that has just passed was quite a notable one for Turkish history as it presented Turkey both at its best and at its worst. Here is how.

    The most notable phenomenon of the year was, arguably, the political conflict between the proponents of democracy and oligarchy. The latter framed themselves as “defenders of secularism,” and depicted the other side as “Islamists and their allies.” Some foreigners even bought into this caricature that fits well into the global preoccupations of the post-Sept. 11, 2001 era. In fact, the real question was whether a democratically elected government, which this time happened to be the Justice and Development Party (AKP), had the right to govern the country according to constitutional rules. That's why many secular liberals supported the “Islamist” government in the face of secular illiberals who were craving for a military intervention.

    The democratic milestone:

    In the end, the Turkish people had the final say on July 22, 2007. The general elections held on that historic day constituted a milestone in Turkish political history. The incumbent AKP won an astounding 47 percent of the votes – the highest public support in 50 years. Some ultra-secularists have taken a lesson from that. The military soon softened its rhetoric, and, after a brief hesitation, decided to cooperate with the government and, most notably, the newly elected President Abdullah Gül. (Mr. Gül's presidency was what had made the secularists, including the military, lose their temper just a few months ago.)

    Sadly, other secularists, most notably opposition leader Deniz Baykal, insist on using pre-July 22 politics of fear. Well, fear is a good thing to sell if you have nothing else to offer.

    A more lethal threat Turkey faced in 2007 was the “surge” in attacks by the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party terrorists, the PKK. The PKK started its war against Turkey in 1984 at a time when the Kurdish language was banned and the country was just tormented a brutal military dictatorship. “Fighting for Kurdish rights,” could have sounded like a decent claim then. But since 2002, thanks to the EU reforms and the Kurdish-friendly AKP government, Turkey made many reforms which granted crucial freedoms to Kurdish citizens. In the face of such improvements, the “surge” in PKK's violence could not have been attributed to any justified political demand. In fact PKK's goal has become the sustenance of itself, more than achieving something for the Kurdish people.

    The AKP government has been leading a careful and calm counter-terrorism initiative, which respects international law and refrains from creating a Turko-Kurdish conflict as it was hoped by the PKK. This should go on, along with substantive “carrots” to be offered to the PKK, such as an amnesty law that will encourage a farewell to arms. The government, if it is brave enough, can do that in 2008. We will see.

    The banality of fascism:

    In 2007, horrible things happened in Turkey, too. The murder of Hrant Dink, a citizen of Armenian descent and a prominent intellectual, was a day of infamy for the whole country. Three months later, another evil crime took place in Malatya: Three Protestants were brutally tortured and murdered at a Christian publishing house. In both of these cases, the killers turned out to be ultra-nationalist youths provoked by widespread paranoia in the country about Armenians, Christian missionaries, and all sorts of “the other.” Moreover, as the legal processes have unfolded, it turned out that these fascist killers were encouraged by some of their elders who apparently had ties with security forces. It turned out that, within the state, there is a mentality which regards Christians as “potential traitors” and who see the fascists who attack them as good, patriotic kids who have just gone a bit too far.

    Another scandal which unveiled the dark depths of the state was the fate of the infamous “Semdinli case.” This was about another crime committed by some other “good kids.” Two army officers and one PKK-member-turned–informant was caught after bombing a Kurdish bookstore in Semdinli (east of Turkey, province of Hakkari) in November 2005. Their court case had turned into a scandal, first because the prosecutor, who alleged ties between these suspects and the state apparatus, including the military, lost his job overnight. The case was later transferred to a military court, which freed the suspects in its first hearing.

    All such episodes are horrible, and facing such facts sometimes make one lose hope for Turkey's future. You feel like democracy, equality, rule of law, rights and freedoms are all one big bad joke. Yet there are many people in this country who genuinely believe in and bravely stand for those principles. Moreover, as our democracy evolves, greater segments of the society agree with them.

    Perhaps the continuous conflict within this country between the proponents of democracy and tyranny is what makes it so interesting and attractive. 2007 would hardly be such mind-boggling one in, say, Luxembourg, Norway or Switzerland. So, keep enjoying Turkey in 2008. If you are looking for trouble, as Elvis once put it, you've come to the right place.

    Hoping For Good
    Tdn Editorial By Yusuf Kanli January 3, 2008
    Turkey is at a crossroads… We will either take some bold political moves and help the disintegration of the terrorist gang, or will face an even more escalated problem soon

    A saying goes “Let's hope for good, let it be good...” Hoping for good without any reason might be a philosophical approach that may help the psychology of a person, but would things develop toward good just because we hope for good? I have serious doubts.

    We were talking with a “leftist” politician in Hakkari a while ago. He was once in a senior position with the local organization of the perennial opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) but like folks having similar or identical world view has long abandoned the CHP and indeed was very critical of the policies the current Deniz Baykal leadership of the party was pursuing regarding the Kurdish issue.

    As is now, the country was discussing during those days as well whether the fight against terrorism should be centered solely on use of force or the government should try to bring down terrorists from the mountains through some political, psychological, social and economic measures.

    “Bringing down terrorists from the mountains and taking measures to prevent new additions to the group from the cities is a must,” he said, obviously requesting not to be identified by his name. “The problem is if they come down with their arms, that is if they bring terrorism from the mountains into the cities, that will be a catastrophe for our region, and other parts of the country, particularly the big cities. Measures should be taken to persuade the people on the mountains to lay down their arms and return to cities. The state, on the other hand, must rehabilitate them into society...”

    Furthermore, he underlined, even if terrorists laid down arms and returned to cities through a magic formula the state and government would offer, unless they could be rehabilitated into society and helped to develop a sense that they have a future “It won't be a big problem for them to rearm and become active, this time in cities...”

    He was careful not to use the word “amnesty” or “repentance law” or any kind of parliamentary move that would amount to that because of the allergy in some sections of Turkish society, but was implying clearly that even an amnesty would not suffice in ending terrorism and the Turkish state must take some serious additional measures, such as providing employment or some sort of a sense of future otherwise people coming down from the mountains would soon have no other alternative but to become criminals in the cities.

    Over the past three months, in various eastern and southeastern cities, we listened to similar assessments by local politicians and businessmen. Most of them supported either the CHP or the center-right parties in the past, but now they were rather “sympathetic” toward or have already joined the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) because they believe the AKP approach to the Kurdish issue was different than that of all other parties and provided them hope for a “peaceful resolution...” Indeed, was not that the reality revealed in the July 22 polls which made the AKP the first party almost in entire eastern and southeastern Anatolia despite all the pressure from the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) separatist terror group to vote for the independents supported by the Democratic Society Party (DTP)?

    The continued operations of the Turkish military – reluctantly given a go ahead by the AKP government and opposed by the DTP for obvious reasons – are building pressure on the PKK and making it more and more difficult for the gang to stay on in northern Iraq. Once the PKK feels compelled to move out of northern Iraq – even if it can find some refuge in Armenia or in border regions of Iran and Syria benefiting from the demographical and geographical conditions – it cannot escape from a process of disintegration. There are reasons for Turkey to hope for such a development.

    A pressing need

    The real problem, however, will start to emerge at that point if Turkey is slow in offering a way out to the members of the gang who want to abandon the gang and the mountains. If Turkey cannot offer them a rehabilitation program – which must include some sort of an amnesty – it is obvious that the process will end up carrying terrorism from the mountains into the hearts of cities.

    Opposing the AKP for this or that reason is of course the right of the opposition parties and the AKP-skeptical individuals of our society. However, any sober mind would understand why the prime minister keeps on stressing the need to prepare a legal and political framework to prevent people from cities joining the gang and rehabilitate those that may come from the mountains into society.

    This is a pressing need to make Turkey hope for good. If we cannot prepare the requirement of hoping for good, the consequences might be very serious tomorrow.


    Mystery In Bronze Hands Of Antakya City
    January 3, 2008 Vercihan Ziflioglu Istanbul - Turkish Daily News

    ‘The architectural structure of Antakya reflects the traces of ethnic cultures that once lived in the city,’ says tour guide Zübeyir Yilmaz, as he points to ancient bronze doorknobs in the form of female and male hands, unique works of art once used to inform a house owner whether a guest at the door was male or female

    A wander through the streets of Antakya, a city referred to as the ''Queen of the East,'' enables one to quickly perceive the extent to which it's architectural fabric reflects the traces of its uniquely multi-ethnic character. It is not surprising that Antakya has been home to many Anatolian cultures for centuries, where people coexist in peace and harmony to this date.

    Three-floor historic houses with strikingly original door styles dot Antakya's tiny streets – once a populous city in ancient Syria – with the largest one being two meters wide. Many doorknobs that resemble male and female hands seem also exotically mysterious. Zübeyir Yilmaz, a tour guide in Antakya, told the Turkish Daily News that these doorknobs represent a centuries' old tradition that help a house owner to understand whether visitors at the door are male or a female. Yilmaz said it is impossible to encounter these doorknobs anywhere else in the world. and it is impossible to manufacture similar ones simply because no one knows the mysterious technique of how to make them.

    But Antakya's multicultural fabric has been gradually fading away in recent years. Even though a large part of city's ethnic groups including Alevis, Arabs, Assyrians, Jews and Armenians have migrated to big Turkish cities and to Europe and Syria, Antakya has recently turned out to be a global magnet.

    Yilmaz said many Europeans and Canadians have developed an interest in the historic buildings of Antakya and began to buy and restore these buildings during the last few years.

    One of Christendom's prominent centers, Antakya, or the biblical Antioch, has a long history that dates back to 303 BC. Among the city's many churches, the Cave Church of Saint Pierre has a distinguished place. Once the church en route to Aleppo was home to the earliest Christians. The ancient city of Seleucia de Piera, 30 kilometers from Antakya and dating back to 300 BC is another gorgeous historic site that should be visited.

    Various cultures embellish Antakya cuisine

    Lying near the Orontes River and on the bottom of the Habib al-Najjar Mountain, Antakya is located 28 kilometers from the Mediterranean Sea, some 80 meters above sea level.

    While wandering through narrow Antakya streets where one can grasp the patterns and the minutiae of everyday life of this biblical city, it is not surprising to hear people speaking different languages in different dialects at every corner. This multi-ethnic coexistence is what makes people of Antakya consider living in this beautiful city as a “privilege.”

    Nursen Renci, is one of the city dwellers enjoying that privilege who used to live in Bursa before she got married.

    “Before I came to Antakya, I used to have prejudices against some ethnic cultures existing in Turkey because I did not know them. But my prejudices vanished in Antakya,” she said, adding, “I began to feel neutral for ethnic identities of people whom I used to perceive as ‘others.' One of my next-door neighbors is an Armenian. Another one is Arab while another one is Assyrian. And they are no different to me.”

    Eliya Çapar, another Antakya resident, said: “Music we have fun with and food we eat are the same because we have no differences to each other.” A primary school teacher, Mehmet Yakar, added, “I teach about the ethnic cultures on this land to my students, who are Alevi or Armenian or Assyrian, but breathe the same multicultural atmosphere on the same school desks”.

    Multiculturalism reflected in architecture

    The architecture of Antakya reflects the multicultural character of the city, Yilmaz said.

    Yilmaz said the bronze doorknobs were manufactured in the form of male and female hands many centuries ago and were used to inform a house owner whether a guest at the door was a male or a female. Doorknobs in the form of woman hand carry a ring on the ring finger and a small marble in the palm.

    “If a guest was female, then, she would use the door knocker in the form of woman hand and house owner would understand that the guest at the door was a female and vice versa,” Yilmaz said,

    Doorknobs also have separate sound characteristics for woman and man but the mystery of these sound characteristics has not been solved yet. Yilmaz said many doorknobs were stolen and dismantled but it is still possible to encounter ones on the doors of restored or renovated houses where expatriates who settled in Antakya live.

    Where to stay in Antakya

    The Savon Hotel located on the Kurtulus Street is a chic accommodation alternative. Built as a soap factory in 1860, the hotel functioned as olive oil factory until the 60s. Left to it destiny after the 60s, the building operated as a boutique hotel from 2001 to 2003. The Savon Hotel, 185 kilometers from Adana Airport, 90 kilometers from Aleppo and 300 kilometers from Beirut, has a bed capacity of 36. It has four super luxury rooms, two with Jacuzzis, and three suites.

    www.savonhotel.com /Tel. 0326-214-6355

    Cave Church of St. Pierre: It is the most prominent historical site dating back to the earliest Christians. It is located on the highway reaching Aleppo. The cave is 10 meters wide, 13 meters long and 3 meters high.

    Çevlik (Seleucia di Pieria): Is located on way to Samandag and is 30 kilometers from Antakya. The ancient city that was established in 3000 BC is home to ancient temples that belonged to the earliest Christians.


    Ter-Petrosian Can Help Mend Fences With Turkey, Says Ret. Diplomat
    January 3, 2008

    ‘Ter-Petrosian’s good intentions towards Turkey were appreciated and I think perhaps we would have a better situation in the Caucasus today for everybody if his policies had prevailed,’ says Sanberk

    ANKARA – Turkish Daily News

    Ahead of next month's presidential elections in Armenia, a veteran Turkish diplomat expressed hope that the next leader of the neighboring country will help normalize bilateral ties instead of getting stuck in differences.

    As the countdown started for the Feb. 19 polls in Armenia, there is a competitive race between the incumbent president, Robert Kocharian, and popular former President Levon Ter-Petrosian who led Armenia to independence in 1991. Many political observers in Turkey believe the election of Ter-Petrosian, who is considered a soft-liner on the Nagorno-Karabakh dispute and relations with Turkey, will contribute to rapprochement between the two countries.

    “All I would say is that we in Turkey hope there will be a president in Armenia who wants détente and cooperation with us and is less concerned by past grievances, and can also help settle your country's [Armenia's] disputes with Azerbaijan. That last detail may not necessarily be quite as difficult as it look. So we will look smilingly on anyone who comes to us with a real olive branch, whoever he is, old or new,” Özdem Sanberk told Armenia's Mediamax news agency in an exclusive interview.

    “But yes, President Ter-Petrosian's good intentions toward Turkey were appreciated and I think perhaps we would have a better situation in the Caucasus today for everybody if his policies had prevailed,” he added.

    Diplomatic relations between Turkey and Armenia severed after Armenian troops occupied the Azeri territory of Nagorno-Karabakh. Ankara now says normalization of ties depends on Armenian withdrawal from Nagorno-Karabakh as well as on progress in resolution of a series of bilateral disagreements including Armenia's stopping to support diaspora efforts to get international recognition for an alleged genocide of Armenians at the hands of the Ottoman Empire.

    Sanber said public and symbolic steps are needed to break the ice on ties. “Do you remember the American-Chinese table tennis match which preceded the rapprochement between those countries? If we can hold our World Cup qualifying soccer match in a mutually respectful attitude, that might be it. But of course football is a passionate sport: one might say that it is a sport which creates more heat than light. So it may not be suitable. But I hope we can find something sooner or later.”

    He underlined that diplomatic relations must be based on a clear understanding and a consensus approach, at least on essential matters.

    “There is no point in setting up a house which will then blow down in the first wind,” he said.

    Armenia In 2007
    Omer Engin Lutem 03 January 2008, Eraren

    The 2007 parliamentary elections in the Republic of Armenia resulted in the governing Armenian Republic Party (ARP) gaining the majority of votes and the formation of a coalition government together with the Prosperous Armenia Party (a staunch supporter of President Kocharian) and the Armenian Revolutionary Federation. As such, the election results did not entail a change neither in terms of domestic nor foreign policy orientations.

    The most significant development taking place in 2007 was the rise of National Defense Minister Sergei Sarkissian. Deemed the most influential individual in the government due to his control over both the army and the police force, Sarkissian assumed leadership of the ARP after the death of Prime Minister Andranik Margarian. In addition, the ARP’s success in gaining a majority of votes in the Armenian National Assembly has established Sarkissian as the front runner in the upcoming presidential elections to be held on February 19, 2008.

    Another significant development vis-a-vis domestic policy, has been Armenia’s first President Levon Ter-Petrosian’s return to politics and announcing his candidacy for the presidency. In his presidential campaign he mainly criticizes the corruption prevalent during Kocharian’s term in office and the deficient polices pursued towards Turkey and Azerbaijan. Judging by public opinion polls, Ter-Petrosian’s chances of winning appear dim. Nonetheless the elections will not take place until one and a half months and a lot could change till then.

    In 2007 Armenia continued to witness a steady increase in economic growth, once again attaining a rate exceeding ten percent (%13.6). It would be in place to attribute the victory of the ARP in the parliamentary elections to this economic success. It appears that the two major trump cards in the hands of Sarkissian in the upcoming presidential elections are political stability alongside economic growth.

    On the issue of foreign politics, although Foreign Minister Oskanian defends the policy of complementary (that is, developing good relations and cooperating with the U.S. and the E.U.; Russia and other strong countries), Armenia appears to be leaning specifically towards Russia. Meanwhile, Russia, by way of procurements, has dominated the country’s energy and transportation sectors. It should not be forgotten that Russia has a primordial role with respect to the defense of the country and the only Russian military base in the Southern Caucuses is situated in Armenia. In addition to these occurrences, 2007 has witnessed important developments in Armenia’s relations with Iran.

    On the other hand, no success was attained on the issue of Karabakh. The main reason accounting for this has been disagreement over what status should be afforded to this region. While Armenia is of the view that Karabakh should become an independent state, Azerbaijan defends that the region should be granted wide-scoped autonomy but is to remain in Azeri territories. On the other hand, the joint presidency of the Minsk Group maintains that the status of this region should be left to a further date, but that other related issues should be resolved without delay. Armenia seems not to be in a hurry to solve the Karabakh issue. This stems in part due the continuation of the status quo granting the Karabakh administration a kind of quasi independence and in part due to disregarding Azerbaijan’s ever-increasing calls for freeing the occupied territories through the use of force.

    In addition to the aforementioned, 2007 has witnessed serious drawbacks regarding Armenia’s policy vis- a- vis Turkey.

    Despite all efforts, the U.S. House of Representatives did not adopt a resolution recognizing the Armenian genocide claims. As long as the belief that Turkish reactions to such a resolution will bear a negative impact upon the security of U.S. troops in Iraq and in Afghanistan, it appears unlikely that a resolution on that subject shall be passed. Although the French National Assembly adopted a draft bill criminalizing the denial of the Armenian genocide allegations, this bill still has not been brought to the Senate floor. It appears that France, focused on keeping Turkey away from the gates of the EU, does not want to additionally deal with the “genocide” issue at present.

    On another note, the Kars-Ahalkelek railway line is soon to materialize, despite Armenia’s support from the U.S. and the E.U. This project has generated apprehension in Armenia out of concern that its realization would lead to the country’s isolation. It is probable that Turkey and Azerbaijan will not want to include Armenia in future projects as they do not want to cooperate with this country unless outstanding issues are resolved.

    During Kocharian’s term in office, no serious effort was displayed to resolve Armenia’s outstanding issues with Turkey and Azerbaijan, in which a status quo born of a deadlock was embraced as a viable solution. However it would seem that this policy has outrun its course. Thus it appears likely that the president to be elected in February this year may try, albeit unwillingly, to develop constructive relations with both its neighbors.


    US President Approves The Bill To Cut Assistance To Armenia By $17.5 Million
    03 January 2008, APA

    US President has signed the 2008 fiscal year aid bill which is to provide $17.5 million less to Armenia compared to 2007, APA Bureau reports.

    The bill, signed by President Bush, is an unchanged version of the budget expenditures item passed by the both houses a day earlier.

    The 2008 overall package, known as the omnibus bill, envisions providing $58.5 million in economic assistance to Armenia within the Freedom Support Act.

    The omnibus aid bill includes $19 million for Azerbaijan.
    Also, the United States will render $3 million in foreign military financing (FMF) assistance to Armenia and Azerbaijan in equality.

    The 2008 budget items infuriated the US-based Armenian organizations


    Justice Delayed :Security Worries Stall Recognition Of Armenian Genocide Denise McGill 1/04/2008

    Last October, the U.S. Congress caused an international firestorm by considering a resolution that labeled the killing of Armenians by Ottoman Turks "genocide." But the resolution stalled on the House floor, averting a diplomatic crisis between the U.S. and Turkey.

    The incident serves to spotlight complexities in American-Turkish relations that are compounded by long-standing appeals for justice. In 1915, 2 million Armenian Christians lived in the land that is now Turkey. By 1925, at least 1 million Armenians were dead, and most of the others had fled. The reason for the great loss of life is a matter of acrimonious debate, reverberating all the way to Capitol Hill nearly a century later.

    Karekin II, pontiff of the Armenian Apostolic Church based in the Republic of Armenia, is spiritual leader to perhaps 7 million Armenians worldwide. In October, he toured America to drum up support for the House resolution.

    Many scholars say Armenians were victims of the first 20th-century genocide. But most Turks, descendants of the Ottomans, disagree. Their historians say the Armenians were casualties of World War I, not genocide victims.

    As Congress considered the resolution, Turkish opposition was fierce and swift. Protesters marched on American consulates, while the Turkish government, a NATO member state, warned that passage of the resolution would forever change Turkey's relationship with the U.S.
    Backlash Feared Inside Turkey

    Today, Armenian communities flourish around the world, with perhaps 500,000 Armenians in the United States alone. The Republic of Armenia, established in 1991, is delicately nestled between regional powerhouses Turkey and Iran. But a mere 70,000 Armenian Christians remain in Turkey, the birthplace of Armenian identity some 5,000 years ago. The Armenian Apostolic Church formed here in A.D. 301.

    Mesrob Mutafyan, patriarch of the Armenian Church in Turkey, opposes the genocide resolution on the grounds that it may fuel a backlash. "Who is most vulnerable?" he asks. "The minorities inside. It harms our relations with the majority in the country." He spoke with Christianity Today during an interview near Istanbul.

    Ethnic Turks and Armenians have an uneasy coexistence. The Armenian Church in Turkey has an estimated 40,000 regular attendees, and Turkish Armenians have a well-deserved reputation as the world's most church-attending people group. But there are only 48 churches and 25 ordained priests. The government closed all Christian seminaries in 1969.

    The government has also removed traces of Armenian culture from locations vacated during World War I. That has sometimes meant destroying Armenian churches and cemeteries. In a famous case last year, Armenians restored a church in eastern Turkey, but were not allowed to put a cross on top or to hold services.

    Security is a constant worry. Mutafyan has received many death threats. The government assigned him a bodyguard for a time, and incidents decreased. The church hires security forces to protect its 20 elementary schools.

    "Turks are usually hospitable people," says Mutafyan. "On the other hand, ultranationalism in Turkey is rising and there are those who are afraid that minorities may be targeted."

    The pontiff Karekin II, on his U.S. trip, downplayed any risk to Armenians in Turkey. Karekin told CT, "Truth cannot be a hostage to the extremists."
    Traditional Churches Growing

    The patriarch Mutafyan, 51, has broad shoulders and a trim, graying beard. The spiritual leader of the Armenian community exudes authority and warmth in a single glance. Often quoted in Turkish media, he is a man of few, carefully chosen words. He is widely popular for his charm and intellect, and for his ability to navigate the political high wires of his public station.

    Mutafyan received guests, including CT, recently at his residence on an island outside Istanbul. In English, he volunteers that he completed his undergraduate degree in Memphis. "There are Christians there who don't even drink Coca-Cola," he says jokingly. Once he's determined that none of his guests are from Memphis, he orders Cokes for everyone.

    But his demeanor turns grave as he looks over new photos of a vandalized church. More than buildings, his first priority is the spiritual development of his flock.

    Mutafyan had a pivotal religious experience as a teenager. He was strongly influenced by his father, a devout believer. The young Mutafyan chose celibacy, not required for Armenian clergy, and threw himself into ministry. Indeed, he is credited with bringing a spiritual renewal among Armenians in Turkey.

    Under the previous patriarch, Kaloustian, then-bishop Mutafyan started discipleship groups for prayer and Bible study some 20 years ago. Today, small groups are key to growth among Turkish Armenians.

    Mutafyan spends much time petitioning the government to grant permits to restore church ruins and allow religious training. "Where do we send students?" he asks. It's expensive to train leaders overseas. His church receives no outside funding. "Our church fries in its own pan."

    Mutafyan disputes the claim that he tiptoes around the genocide issue. "I have said many times that the ruling Committee of Union and Progress [Turkish government in 1915] took the wrong decision of punishing all Armenians in the Ottoman Empire," says Mutafyan. "Many perished in the Syrian Desert." He believes the goal should be changing citizens' attitudes toward their neighbors. The Republics of Armenia and Turkey share an international boundary but have no open border crossings. "I hope that Turks and Armenians would try to be more empathetic," he says.

    That would be a small start. In the meantime, Armenians in Turkey will continue to bear the brunt of public declarations made on the world stage. "The more there are difficulties," says Mutafyan, "the more people are driven to church." And when they do come, their patriarch prays they will be ready for God to transform their lives.

    Copyright © 2008 Christianity Today





    The End Of A Year Fatma Disli f.disli@todayszaman.com

    This has been a long year for Turkey and a very critical one. There have been many developments good and bad; exciting and heartbreaking. This year had its share of memorable historical moments, and quite extravagantly so, as many of the most important events deciding Turkey’s fate -- such as this year’s presidential election and the historic majority vote for the current government in the general elections -- all took place this year. Writers in the Turkish media shared their evaluations of the passing year.

    Bugün’s Gülay Göktürk started out her column by saying that although it is very difficult to draw a conclusion as to whether 2007 was overall a “good” or a “bad” year, everybody agreed that it has been a most important one. “We are all aware that it is a milestone year, just like 1950,” she said, recalling the first time the Republic of Turkey had multi-party elections. However she noted that analysts seem to have varying opinions on Turkey’s course. “For some of us, 2007 is a year of disaster, when our country turned toward a dark future with leaping steps; for some others it is a wonderful year in which we finally saw the face of comfort after rough times.” She said 2007 has been a year of “settling accounts” between the civilian powers and the military bureaucracy. She wrote that Turkey has undergone impressive transformation in terms of lessening the influence of the powerful military throughout the year; adding that the society was actively involved in shaping this democratic tendency at every minute. In conclusion, she said 2007 was a good year in her opinion, and the fact that a majority of the people played a role in this critical process was what made it a beautiful year.

    Sabah’s Mahmut Övür most certainly agreed with Göktürk in that 2007 has been one of the most critical years Turkish politics has seen. “One would not be exaggerating if he said 2007 was about ‘witnessing history,’” he wrote to strongly emphasize his point. According to him, the presidential election process was the year’s highlight, as it was where the showdown between the people and the powerful military was most conspicuous. He said the killing of ethnic Armenian journalist Hrant Dink by “dark powers,” political tension and discussions about the anti-free speech penal code Article 301 were remarkably important events showing that Turkey was finally at a juncture. He said the opposition “failed a test” when they did not support the government and that the people gave the best response to them at the ballot box. The AK Party’s stance in the face of the military memorandum was also courageous. He concluded by saying that 2007 would be a very important year for young people studying political history.

    Unlike, Göktürk and Övür, Radikal’s Ismet Berkan did not think 2007 was a good year. “This foul year is over,” he titled his article. He said the killing of Dink was an awful way to start off a new year, with what’s worse being that the man who incited the hit-man who shot Dink was a police informant. Other than that, the economy is slowing down, the fundamental political problems of the country have been suspended, none of the discussions we have had led anywhere, he said, adding: “In short, 2007 has been a disgusting year. I am really happy that it is over and I hope the newcomer [2008] will not make us miss this one.”

    Milliyet’s Mehmet Barlas had a more pragmatic view of the year. “A new year is only the change of numbers of the dates on the calendar. It is as if on the night of Dec. 31 the curtain will close, and then when it opens a new play will start. Is it possible to see the old play once again? However, we know that the play is always the same one. The curtains that open and close are only our imagination.”
    31.12.2007


    “He Was A Man Deeply Connected To The Natural World“
    Edik Baghdasaryan November 26, 2007

    Ara Toranian is the Editor-in-Chief of the monthly “Nouvelles d’Armenie” published in France. During Monte Melkonian’s imprisonment in Paris, he edited the paper “Hay Baykar”.

    - Ara, how and where did you meet Monte?

    - It must have been either 1979 or 1980 in one of ASALA’s training camps in Lebanon.

    - Who was Monte for you on a personal level? A friend? A soldier?

    - He was more than a friend. Above all else he was a person for whom I had a great deal of admiration. I admired his sense of purpose, his physical bravery and his moral courage. Thus, to call him my friend would sound a bit pretentious, as I would never measure myself as being on his level. I viewed him as an exceptional human being for whom I had a great deal of respect and admiration. That’s not to say that I totally agreed with all the actions and initiatives he took during his years of struggle. There were certain aspects of the positions he adopted that, while I couldn’t say I found disagreeable, I found I had no rational alternative for. In the 1980’s Monte leaned to a more overt Marxist ideology, something particular to a certain strain of American youth and that I found unappealing. Putting all this aside, it was his sense of devotion, his character and sincere patriotism that was so alluring. This was truly something extraordinary.

    - Why did so few of the other ASALA members go to Karabakh?

    - First I think that when the Karabakh issue came to the fore there was little left of the ASALA structure. Secondly, ASALA was never large in scope nor presented a large force. It was a secret organization whose members displayed more qualitative virtues than quantity. To believe that ASALA had a membership of 1,000 would be false. When the Karabakh movement started ASALA was going through a crisis period. The internal split in ASALA occurred in 1983. Monte was one of the few who remained that continued their mission in Karabakh. He wasn’t the only one, there were a few others as well, but only a handful. Monte was probably the one who accomplished the most.

    - One of your staff was with Monte when he as arrested the second time.

    - Yes, that’s true.

    - Why do you think the police knew Monte’s whereabouts?

    - Basically, the police did their work well. Monte had announced his presence in France a few months before his arrest when he testified on behalf of jailed Armenian activist Gilbert-Levon Minasian. He was to give evidence that Levon was with him on the day that the activist was accused with engaging in an armed operation. As a result of his first imprisonment, Monte was denied entry into France. From the day Monte testified the police were looking for him and knew he was an ASALA leader. The police did their job and found him. I think it was difficult to remain undercover in France especially when traveling within the Armenian community. I believe at the time Monte made a few slip-ups. He should have been more cautious and have avoided contacts with others. But I believe he felt the need to explain his position to certain people within the Armenian community. He wanted to share his thoughts about the new organization he looked to form, to convince people of its merits and to outline the work that needed to be done. Remember that all this took place after the split in ASALA and because Monte was seen as a traitor and an agent by Hagop Hagopian’s followers. Thus, Monte needed to clarify his positions and political platform and it led him to take risks, ultimately exposing his whereabouts to the police. The French secret police did their duty and they were able to arrest him. We were saddened by this action since, by arresting him, they were imprisoning a person who fought against ASALA’s blind acts of terrorism, like the Orly operation, on French soil. Thus, we couldn’t comprehend the French police’s frenzied targeting of Monte while his mortal enemy Hagop Hagopian, remained at large and with all the resources at his disposal to carry out such injurious acts against innocent citizens.

    I remember the time I saw him barefoot at one of the training camps. I was on June 8th, when the Israeli army invaded Beirut. I saw him barefoot carrying a Kalashnikov rifle. Perhaps he was a bit of an environmentalist who liked to go around with no shoes - a manifestation of his love of the natural world. In fact I believe Monte was more a child of the village than the city. He displayed this throughout his life of struggle. I think he felt more at ease in a Lebanese training camp or in Karabakh rather than in the uneasy confinement of Paris or some other European metropolis. I believe he was a man deeply connected with the natural world, that he was part and parcel of that world.

    Paris, 1997 Translated by Hrant Gadarigian


    Over 100,000 Migrants Captured In A Decade In Edirne
    Illegal migrants numbering as much as the population of an average Turkish city have been captured over the past 10 years in the westernmost city of Edirne, according to police records.

    The number of would-be migrants who were apprehended trying to illegally cross the border on their way to European countries in the past 10 years is 129,792 -- the size of an average Turkish city. The police say close to this same number of migrants is estimated to have successfully reached European countries via Turkey during the same period.

    According to the records, the police, gendarmerie and border patrol teams caught 14,510 would- be migrants in 1998, 21,869 in 1999, 16,473 in 2000, 8,298 in 2001, 10,398 in 2002, 6,887 in 2004, 8387 in 2005 and 12,263 in 2006. In 2007, 13,664 migrants were caught as of the beginning of December.

    Officials say the migrants are very costly for Turkey. Every migrant caught trying to cross the border illegally is first taken to the Edirne Police Foreigners' Department, where the legal process is started. Officials say the cost of the illegal migrants, including food, shelter and deportation to home countries, in 2007 was YTL 1.5 million. In 2006, YTL 1.11 million was spent on illegal migrants.

    According to figures from the first 11 months of 2007 the largest number of illegal migrants trying to cross illegally into Europe was from Iraq, with 5,065. The Iraqis were followed by 5,050 people from Palestine and 1,668 from Mauritania.

    Of those who were captured in 2007, 7,637 were deported and 92 were referred to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.

    The migrants captured in Turkey come from about 80 different countries. Although most people caught trying to cross the border illegally are trying to escape from countries in conflict, some citizens of developed countries are also among the captured.

    In the past 10 years, people from the following places have been caught trying to cross the border illegally: Albania, Azerbaijan, Angola, Afghanistan, Germany, Bangladesh, Bulgaria, Belgium, Myanmar, Bhutan, Brunei, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Algeria, Chad, China, Russia-Chechnya, the Dominican Republic, Armenia, Ecuador, Indonesia, Ethiopia, Morocco, the Philippines, South Africa, Gambia, Ghana, Greece, Jordan, South Korea, Guinea, Georgia, Palestine, France, the Ivory Coast, India, Holland, Iraq, England, Iran, Sweden, Israel, Cambodia, Congo, Kenya, Comoro Islands, Serbia, Cameroon, Liberia, Lithuania, Lebanon, Libya, Macedonia, Malaysia, Mali, Egypt, Moldova, Mauritania, Nepal, Nigeria, the Maldives, Uzbekistan, Pakistan, Peru, Rwanda, Poland, Romania, Russia, Senegal, Somali, Sierra Leone, Sri Lanka, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, Uganda, Jordan , Peru, Rwanda, Poland, Romania, Russia, Senegal, Somali, Sierra Leone and Zimbabwe.

    A long, hard journey

    Most of the would-be migrants say they set out in hopes of making it to Italy, Germany, France, Holland or Belgium, where their friends and relatives who have settled earlier can help them find jobs.

    The migrants pay between $500 and $1,500 on average to human smugglers and set out on their journeys through mountainous areas or by sea, risking their lives. Migrants who make it to Turkey tend to settle in the Istanbul districts of Laleli, Çaglayan and Aksaray, where they find daily jobs so that they can save money to pay the human smugglers.

    Those who make it to Greece continue on to other European countries if they manage to avoid arrest in this country. Some are captured before reaching their final destination while others drown in the Meriç River between Turkey and Greece or in the Aegean. Some freeze to death in the mountains. Those who die in Turkey if they have any documentation on their bodies are delivered to the diplomatic mission of their country, while those without identification are buried in a cemetery for the homeless.

    "It is impossible to predict when death will come for you in our country," says Masoud Hussein from Iraq, who was caught trying to cross the border. Masoud had left his parents and brothers in Iraq and set out for Europe. "The only hope I had was to reach my relatives in Europe. I want to live the rest of my life in better conditions. I have been caught, but I will try this again. I have no other choice."

    Afghan citizen Ziya. A. was also apprehended. Chaos added to poverty and misery has rendered the country unlivable, says Ziya. Like Masoud, he is also determined to pursue his flight to the end.

    45,000 illegal immigrants captured in Turkey in 2007

    In the past year, 40,572 individuals who entered Turkey illegally in hopes of moving on to European countries have been captured by Turkish gendarmerie units, according to data released by the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK). The most intense illegal immigrant traffic was on Sept. 28, with 667 individuals captured while trying to illegally cross the border. Meanwhile, hundreds of Turkish citizens involved in human smuggling have been referred to courts in the past year.

    02.01.2008 Today's Zaman Edirne


    The Crime Behind The Criminal Wars! : [Letter To The Editor] Zaman
    Dear Mr. Kenes,
    A strong reason to publish someone is credibility, and I would think Joschka Fischer has tons of that. I read his piece about Afghanistan, which showed a serious lack of knowledge as to American policy in the region and the dynamics of the region.

    I would assume that Today’s Zaman decided to publish the piece because Turkey is part of NATO and Afghanistan is just a stone’s throw away. You were correct in your decision, but the piece is full of wishful thinking and does not really give your readers facts upon which they can develop an educated opinion.

    If NATO is not united in Afghanistan, it is not because of a flaw within NATO itself. The flaw is in the reason why NATO went to war and how NATO was convinced to go to war.

    If we are to give NATO the benefit of the doubt and think of it from a European perspective and an EU perspective, NATO as an organization should be very sensitive to the issue of illegal wars and war crimes and we have to assume that Article 5, which was declared for the first time in NATO history in reaction to the attacks of 9/11, was based on solid evidence that a foreign nation was involved in the attacks on a NATO member.

    I have not seen that evidence. I don’t think you have seen that evidence. I doubt very much your average European citizen has seen that evidence. The only evidence I know of from that period that showed bin Laden to be involved in the 9/11 attacks was the video released by the Pentagon on Dec. 13, 2001.

    I analyzed those 55 minutes of tape frame by frame, all 90,000 frames, and, being an Arab speaker and with the help of a Saudi translator who understood the dialect and had done the translation for ABC News, listened to the entire tape and not just what bin Laden said. I was able to determine that the tape was the result of a sting operation run by US intelligence with the help of Saudi intelligence and that the confession was recorded on Sept. 26, 2001, 10 days before the invasion of Afghanistan. Either a transcript of that tape or a portion of it was supplied to NATO as evidence. Or the tape itself might have been shown and the work attributed to Saudi intelligence without disclosing US activities.

    If the US was involved, which my analysis shows it was, and it was close enough to bin Laden to tape him, why not kill him or capture him? Also, if we look at it from the perspective of international law, the Geneva Convention and the UN Charter, the US and NATO and all members of the UN are to resolve their difference peacefully and avoid war. Such evidence should have been made public when obtained, and I am sure there would have been more than enough international pressure on the Taliban to surrender bin Laden. The Taliban themselves were asking for such evidence in exchange for bin Laden. If the Taliban refused, then the war would have been legal and NATO and the US would be off the hook.

    Bin Laden’s latest audio recording, in which he alludes to the illegality of the war in Afghanistan, is not a joke. He purposefully did not supply the evidence. His latest audio was not intended for the European populations but to the leadership, which understands what he is talking about. Bin Laden will release the evidence when it suits him best.

    The existence of such evidence might explain why there is this discrepancy between the various NATO countries. You might say they are divided into three camps: Those who knew of the evidence and didn’t care, those who knew after the fact and didn’t care and those who actually care about international law.

    The following are two articles I have written:

    “The Crime Behind The Criminal Wars!”

    This summarizes the analysis of that confession tape.

    “The Mass Killing of the Good Options - That is what Annapolis is about!”

    This sheds some light on US policy for the region. I tried to find an address for Mr. Fischer to send them to him. In the second article, I do not mention how Turkey fits into the analysis, but Turkey will certainly be impacted. The proposition of “with us or against us,” which was improved -- it is now asked of individuals not countries -- and resubmitted at Annapolis, will also be submitted to the Turkish population. In a way, it was actually submitted a few months prior to the last Turkish elections and it will be submitted again. It will be resubmitted after the PKK are squeezed out of Iraq and sent to Syria.

    I thank you kindly for your time. Even though my outlook seems very pessimistic, I have not been wrong since 1978. That is when I started doing such analysis, a skill I developed while I was at Bogazici University, for Lebanon at first, and from there it grew.

    I wish I was wrong but it is the only analysis that fits all the pieces of the puzzle together so neatly.

    Warmest regards,
    Maher Osseiran, Westport, CT, USA 02.01.2008


    Academician Responds To Armenian Parliament Demands
    The New Anatolian / Ankara 01 January 2008

    A Turkish scholar, who is also the chairman of the Association to Fight Against Baseless Genocide Allegations, said Monday that Armenian lawmakers were living in a world of dreams, while commenting on demands of the Armenian parliament.

    "Armenian parliament once again stated expressly that they will not give up emity," said Savas Egilmez, a professor at Ataturk University, in eastern province of Erzurum.

    In a special session on December 19 and 20, Armenian Parliament asked Turkey to annul article 301th of Turkish Penal Code and re-draw the border between the two countries according to (the null and void) Treaty of Sevres, Egilmez recalled.

    "They prepared a bill of 14.5 billion USD regarding the incidents of 1915," Egilmez recalled. "They are living in a world of dreams," he said.

    Egilmez said Turkish people expect an apology from Armenia for massacres committed by Armenian gangs during the WWI.

    "In order to establish political and economic relations with this country, Turkish people expect Armenia to apologize for massacres, demolish the so-called genocide monument and remove several articles and allegations (that are against Turkey) from their constitution ," he added.


    One Turk's View Of The French Revolution
    I've mentioned before that the Turkish Daily News is an interesting read, especially the opinion pieces, which really show the freedom Turks have to speak their mind.

    From Mustafa Akyol comes this piece reflecting on the failure of the French Revolution to create a society that could keep up with the English speaking world, which has dominated global affairs for the last 500 years or so. The fact that it's coming from an entirely different world view helps make the analysis even more interesting.

    France today is in a parlous state and the expectation is that Sarkozy will be able to energise French workers to increase the number of hours they actually work (note that efficiency is on a par with the rest of Europe) and when they retire and start receiving benefits.
    Today Edmund Burke’s genius is manifested not only in the supremacy of the Anglo-Saxon ways over that of the French, but also in the utter failure of imitations of the latter.

    Chou En-Lai, the late prime minister of communist China, was once asked what he thought about the French Revolution. He declined to comment, and explained, “It's too early to tell.”

    That was in the early 1960s. Perhaps today it is a little bit less early to comment on whether the French Revolution really was a good idea. That seminal event – which inspired not just the French but also many other revolutionaries in many countries all around the world, including Turkey – has borne some notable fruits by which we might judge their political roots.

    The next sick man of Europe?

    To be blunt, today France is on a slippery slope toward becoming the next sick man of Europe. Its economy is in bad shape, in particular compared with its historic rival, the United Kingdom. French society is growingly nationalist, protective and even xenophobic – evidenced by its obsessive reaction to Turkey's European Union membership process. (Again, compare that to the Britain's self-confident and all-embracing attitude.) In world politics, the influence of France is in continuous decline, and has become not a creative but a reactionary force in the face of Anglo-Saxon supremacy. No wonder that the man who promises to restore France's good-old days, Nicolas Sarkozy, tries to do that through Anglo-Saxon ways.

    Even French culture, of which virtually all Frenchmen are proud, is in acute crisis. Several weeks ago, Time magazine's cover story was titled, “The Death of French Culture.” “Once admired for the dominating excellence of its writers, artists and musicians,” the story noted, “France today is a wilting power in the global cultural marketplace.” This has something to do with the protectionist, statist and socialist attitude so prevalent in the country. “There is a strain in the national mind-set that distrusts commercial success,” Time noted. “Success is considered bad taste."

    French Enlightenment revisited

    But why? Why does the common French mind prefer statism to free-markets, nationalism to globalism, and, moreover, despair and melancholy to hope and joy? According to historian Gertrude Himmelfarb, the answer lies in the foundational ideas of French society. In her book, “The Roads to Modernity” she contrasts the French Enlightenment with that of the British and the American. The former, according to her, “was excessively preoccupied with reason and insufficiently concerned with individual liberty.” (Hence the tyranny of the Jacobins and the guillotine.) In contrast, “the British Enlightenment was underpinned by ideals of social virtue; compassion, benevolence and sympathy.” British thinkers were also “tolerant and pragmatic.”

    Attitudes toward religion were also a fundamental divide. According to Himmelfarb, the French Enlightenment saw religion as “the enemy” while the Anglo-Saxons regarded it as “ally” in modernization. Unlike the French, the American and the British did not wage wars on churches and the clergy. Instead, they drew spiritual support from religion for individual entrepreneurship and social reform.

    Probably no one foresaw the doomed destiny of France as clearly as the Irish statesman and philosopher Edmund Burke (1729-1797. In his most famous work, Reflections on the Revolution in France, published in 1790, Burke argued that the revolution was not a signal of a representative, constitutional democracy, but rather a violent rebellion against tradition and proper authority, and an experiment disconnected from the complex, natural (and divinely ordained) realities of human society. In the face of French obsession with “reason” as a constructive and autocratic force, Burke defended tradition, liberty and evolutionary change.

    The France in Turkey

    Burke was right. Today his genius is manifested not only in the supremacy of Anglo-Saxon ways over those of the French, but also in the utter failure of imitations of the latter. In that regard, Turkey is a perfect case study. Right from the beginning of the republic, the Turkish state and the elite emulated all the ideas of the French Enlightenment and tried to impose them on society. The veneration of “the Republic” as if it is an end in itself; the obsessive hatred toward traditional religion and the conception of secularism (laïcité) as an alternative faith; distrust toward freedom and free markets, and a deep-seated belief in protectionism and “statism”, are all ideas that the Turks borrowed from the French and made far worse.

    But of course – and thank God – not all Turks bought into the same ideas. Some of them have found an alternative road toward modernity, a one that is similar to that of the Anglo-Saxons. Turkey's center-right politics, best represented by the governments of Adnan Menderes (1950-60) and Turgut Özal (1983-93), have corresponded to that. This political line defended freedom and tradition in the face of an authoritarian and ultra-secularist establishment. Menderes paid the price by being executed by the military in 1961. Özal was abhorred, and continuously blocked, by the Kemalists.

    During the 2000s, the AKP has done a great job by moving away from the Islamist line to the conservative/liberal tradition of Menderes and Özal. By doing so, it has started to transform Turkey's conservative Muslim masses, who have always despised their Jacobin rulers (for good reasons) and held modernity to be the problem. With the AKP experience, these masses have started to realize that the problem is not modernity itself, but rather a specific way of attempting to get there.

    Meanwhile the Turkish champions of that specific way are growingly insecure, reactionary and xenophobic — a devolution which parallels the experience in its motherland, France, and which signifies that the French Revolution was a lot less progressive than its protagonists assert.

    Alas, Burke should have lived to see all this.
    (Nothing Follows)
    Posted by Jack Lacton
    http://ker-plunk.blogspot.com/
    Kerplunk - Common sense from Down Under


    The New Anatolian Dec 25 2007
    Armenians Debate Ties With Turkey

    The Armenian National Assembly on Thursday and Friday held two days of hearings on Turkey-Armenia relations, during which Armenian Revolutionary Federation Political Director claimed the border between Turkey and Armenia was drawn by the 1920 Sevres Treaty, to which the Ottoman Empire was a signatory and claimed the current border that was inherited from the Soviet Union should be renegotiated.

    In testimony presented to the hearing, Giro Manoyan claimed that Armenia, as a member of several international organizations, has recognized the borders inherited from the Soviet Union, whereas the legal border is the one outlined by the internationally adopted 1920 Sevres Treaty.

    He suggested that the National Assembly adopt legislation that prohibits the Armenian government from signing any treaty or document that does not recognize the boundaries set by the Sevres Treaty.

    Manoyan also recommended that preliminary programs be implemented to engage the executive and legislative branches in the discussion of the aforementioned argument within the international community.

    Manoyan also said the closure of the border by Turkey was key factor in addressing Turkey-Armenia relations, claiming that Turkey's failure to recognize the so-called Armenian Genocide and adopt measures for proper reparations and restitutions also impeded the process of normalizing relations.

    He also emphasized that the 16-year history of the Republic of Armenia has demonstrated that threats and short-term or temporary steps do not yield tangible results in this process.

    The Parliamentary hearings were initiated by the National Assembly's Standing Committee on Foreign Relations.

    Participating in the hearings were the Foreign Relations Committee Chairman and ARF Supreme Body Representative Armen Rustamian, the Speaker of the National Assembly Tigran Torosyan, Vice Speaker and Presidential Candidate Vahan Hovannesian, the Director of Turkish Studies at the Armenian Oriental Institute Ruben Safrastian, Armenian Foreign Minister Vartan Oskanian, EU Special Representative Peter Semneby, Director of the Armenian Genocide Museum-Institute Hayk Demoyan, and a number of other politicians, foreign diplomats, and representatives from Armenia's intelligentsia. A journalist from the Turkish Armenian Weekly Agos was also present.

    Also invited to the two-day hearings were two dozen prominent Turks, including Foreign Minister Ali Babacan and Nobel Prize-winning novelist Orhan Pamuk. But none accepted the invitation.

    Committee Chairman Rustamian outlined that the purpose of the hearings was to clarify the reasons of the current crisis in the Armenian-Turkish relations, to assess the nature of the existing problems and to make clear the opportunities and mechanisms of parliamentary diplomacy in the normalization of relations.

    "This hearing is long over due," he said. "There has been no issue that has had such significance in the history of our nation--for its past, present and future. It was clear that our parliament had to engage in such process to clarify its goals. I am expecting comprehensive, deep and interested discussions."

    Rustamian added that the lack of relations between the two countries exceeds the boundaries of the two states and have a great impact on contemporary geopolitical developments. The Parliament had to get involved in the process, he said.

    During his speech at the hearing, Vice Speaker Hovannesian, a member of the ARF Bureau, stated that Armenian-Turkish relations have entered a dead-end.

    "As long as Talaat Pasha, Enver and Jamal are seen as national heroes in Turkey, "nothing will change," he added.

    He claimed Turkey is run by a totalitarian regime and said Armenia cannot cooperate with a dictatorship.

    "Like a dictatorship, Turkey tries to control not just the present, but also the past, he claimed. He claimed Turkey has blocked serious investigations into the Armenian Genocide claims.

    The parliamentary hearings must lead to a consensus on what Armenia expects from Turkey, Hovannesian stated. The hearings must lay out what Armenia considers to be proper reparations and retributions and the Turkish Parliament should be informed about it, he added.

    Hovannesian added that reforms in Turkey are being made in a distorted fashion. Turkey's admission in the EU will be a defeat, he claimed. "Turkey will not adopt European values. Instead, Europe will end up adopting Turkish values, which are completely alien to the EU."

    Foreign Minister Oskanian said Turkey's precondition that Armenia must abandon genocide recognition is inadmissible for Armenia.

    "Turkey wants fulfillment of its preconditions first and only then establishment of diplomatic relations and opening of the border," he said during his address to the committee. "Show me a European state which kept borders closed because of problems with neighbors."

    Oskanian said, Turkey's entry to the EU "would be good for us in the political, economic and moral senses." But he made it clear that Armenia believes it should happen only after Ankara drops its preconditions for establishing diplomatic relations with Yerevan and opening the Turkish-Armenian border. He said his government is worried that the EU will be more lenient towards the Turks than it was towards the former Communist states of Eastern Europe.

    "Our concern is whether the EU will be as fair and demanding as it was towards other [nations seeking EU membership] or will take a political decision on Turkey's membership for other considerations," he said. "The international community rates opening of the border as the primary condition. Show me a European state which kept borders closed because of problems with neighbors," the Minister said.

    "Any country would want its neighbor to be predictable and act within the framework of a clear value system," said Parliament Speaker Torosian, who is also a leading member of Sarkisian's Republican Party. But he rejected Turkish demands that the Armenian Diaspora stop campaigning for international recognition of the Armenian genocide and Turkey's compliance with EU standards.

    While the EU stands for an unconditional normalization of Turkish-Armenian relations, it has not included the issue on the agenda of its accession talks with Ankara.

    Peter Semneby, the EU's special representative to the South Caucasus, avoided any criticism of the Turkish policy on Armenia as he spoke during the hearings. He said instead that Yerevan should not be worried about a growing Turkish presence in the region.

    "It's in Armenia's interests that Turkey plays a larger role in the South Caucasus and that it gets a stake in the well being of the whole region," Semneby said.

    Torosian, however voiced his concern that Turkey's decision to not participate in the discussions would not contribute to dialogue.


    Andrew Finkel a.finkel@todayszaman.com
    Hrant Dink
    I devoted my last column to the runners-up in a competition I run every year in my head. It gives me no pleasure to announce the winner.
    Hrant Dink is no less deserving of the title Man of the Year for having survived less than three weeks of 2007. It was on Jan. 19 that a teenage boy, a mind blinded by pseudo-nationalist cant and stained with ignorance, shot Hrant down on the sidewalk outside the very newspaper which he edited.

    I do not mean this to be a morbid or sentimental award, the laying of a wreath beside the memory of a colleague whom I liked and respected. Hrant dominated events in Turkey during 2007, not just because of the terrible manner of his death, but for the integrity with which he led his life. It was that life which inspired the dignified response of outrage at his assassination -- a massive protest which I believe helped change the ground rules of Turkish political life. We no longer look under stones, hoping to find a mature civil society independent of the state.

    I heard the news of his death on my way back from the offices of this newspaper -- then newly launched. Within a short time I was standing across the street from where the shooting had taken place, reporting for CNN. Television news, between you and me, is not always the most satisfactory medium. It allows you to speak but not always report and I was rooted to the spot -- on a ventilation shaft for the Metro -- to allow the cameras the best vantage point. I became apprehensive as I saw a crowd gathering behind me. The offices of Agos newspaper are only a few blocks from the Sisli Criminal Court, where in previous months I had seen Hrant confront jeering demonstrators at his own trial and my first shocked reaction was that this, too, was a shameful assembly of bully-boy rightists come to gloat at his death. The reality gradually dawned how wrong I was and that these were “the others” -- people stricken with anger and grief, declaring that the attack had not been in their name but against everything they believed.

    In the days that followed their numbers swelled; it felt as if an entire city turned out to accompany Hrant’s funeral cortege. It was a moment of crystal sanity. Many have written about the de-politicization of Turkey after the 1980 military coup and the get-rich-quick decades which followed. Others have complained about the shallowness of the Turkish press, the way it has herded public opinion down a narrow nationalist cul-de-sac. The solemn procession of ordinary citizens who marked Hrant’s passing was a rebuke to those who believed that Turkey could be so easily polarized and manipulated. The year 2007 was one of public activism -- people spoke out at what they perceived to be an erosion of Turkish secular traditions, they publicly mourned soldiers killed in conflict with the PKK, they rallied at election time to support the government. No matter the cause, these were exercises of freedom of which Hrant would have approved.

    If Hrant managed to bring out the best in a country of which he was a fierce patriot, he also exposed a terrible nerve. The inner daemon which prompted him to speak out confronted the ghouls of intolerance, of authoritarianism, of self-righteousness and simply those who wanted both himself and the Armenian community in Turkey to remain silent. Like the teenage assassin who denied him life, there are those who still deny his humanity, who cry “We are not Hrant” and “I feel no empathy for anyone who does not mirror what I think myself to be.” Hrant was a threat in the same way that an innocent child threatens a sullied mind. Who was really responsible for his persecution, why is his son still being pursued in the courts, why is Turkey still unable to confront shameful things in its past? His life was spent asking big questions which go unanswered.
    30.12.2007


    Ekrem Dumanli e.dumanli@todayszaman.com
    Russian Media Manipulated
    Turkey’s Workers’ Party (IP) Deputy Chairman Semih Koray recently went to Russia, where some of the statements he made were given credence by the Russian media. If you ever say such things to someone living in Turkey, undoubtedly you will be responded to with a sarcastic smile -- because the party in question has no prestige in Turkey. For instance, this party garnered only 0.37 percent of the vote in the general elections held on July 22, (It received 0.51 percent in the 2002 general elections and 0.18 percent in the 2004 local elections.) We are talking about a political structure that has tribal elements. At one point in time they spoke of communism; now they seem to have embraced a fascist discourse. Analyses made relying on the statements of this party or its representatives are misleading because the party’s ideas are marginal and can be considered to be on the fringes of the political spectrum. The only thing it does is ignite enmity among people and states.

    Koray’s statements in Russia clearly show the party’s extreme ideas. For example, this man complained about Turkey to Russia. He claims that the terrorists who carried out attacks in the Chechen region, China’s Xinjiang region and in New York against the Twin Towers were trained in Turkey. Lending seriousness to this striking allegation, he did not forget to say, “We warned the government about these issues.” The Russian media must have considered these allegations and the one who made them noteworthy enough to publish the statements. A great mistake. These men are known for their xenophobic discourse, and they are not taken seriously by the Turkish public. Hence, every Turk who learns about the statements made in Russia will be surprised and say: “Come on! When did those guys become friends with Russia?”

    As a matter of fact, the Turkish government has established bridges of friendship with Russia that are unprecedented in history. The warm relations between Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Russian President Vladimir Putin have not been experienced by any of the countries’ former politicians in the past. The peoples of both countries have come to know each other better, and sympathetic relations have made a contribution to regional peace. The IP may feel uneasiness over this at most, because their party leader and administrators are Maoists. Hence there is a widespread belief in Turkey that they have historically detested Russia. At some time, some of the members of this party were accused of being agents, carrying out and organizing assassinations and bearing responsibility for the killing of people whose photos they published in their newspaper. In brief, they do not have a clean criminal record.

    One of the other subjects that the IP was disturbed about was the existence of Turkish schools in Russia. Koray claimed that these schools were harming Turkish-Russian relations. A quite ridiculous allegation. The schools do not harm the countries’ relations. On the contrary, they bring the education, culture and peoples of the countries together; they reconcile the societies. The relations could be damaged by those who ignite hatred with extremely nationalist discourse. The Turkish schools have established bridges of peace in every country they operate in. Yet the person making such unfounded allegations is the representative of low-profile party that voices extreme ideas and has a narrow vision. Once, these people even caused a conflict among people embracing a left-wing ideology in Turkey -- they created a Maoist-Leninist fight and caused a pro-Russia/pro-Chinese division. When communism weakened, this group opted for extreme neo-nationalism as its new stance. However the Turkish public paid no heed to their patriotism and love for the nation. That is why they are recklessly attacking the Turkish government and the Turkish schools that aid in the promotion of Turkish-Russian relations. I really felt uneasy over the fact that the Russian media took notice of the statements of this marginal party, which is infested by former members of the intelligence office and former generals. The Russian scientist Leonid Syukiyaynen, having seen the statements of IP representatives in Russian newspapers, said, “Such publications indeed cause tensions in bilateral relations.” Very right. It is necessary to not act as tools of agents striving to spoil Turkish-Russian relations. I hope that as the Russian media gain more information about Turkey, such manipulations will be prevented.
    27.12.2007


    US Archive Unveils Greek Plans For Attacking Turks In Thrace
    Diplomatic archives unveiled by the US State Department have revealed that Washington prevented planned attacks by Greece on Turks in Thrace during the period following the Turkish military intervention on the Mediterranean island of Cyprus in 1974.

    The US State Department last week released the historical record titled "Foreign Relations of the United States, 1969-1976, Volume XXX, Greece, Cyprus, Turkey, 1973-1976," which includes documentation that illuminates the critical connections between regional concerns and bilateral issues. Upon releasing the volume, the State Department said "it provides a fascinating window into the ways in which the Nixon and Ford administrations managed a foreign crisis in the midst of a US domestic one" -- referring to the Watergate scandal.

    In mid-July 1974 the Nixon administration -- then in the midst of the Watergate scandal -- learned that Turkey had militarily intervened in the eastern portion of Cyprus to protect Turkish Cypriots. US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger tried to facilitate a settlement to the crisis, conducting "shuttle diplomacy" between Athens, Ankara, Nicosia and elsewhere. With the resignation of President Nixon on Aug. 9, the crisis became the responsibility of President Gerald Ford.

    "When intelligence warned of dire developments, the State Department acted to prevent them. When, on the other hand, intelligence failed to provide explicit warning, the State Department failed to act," says a study prepared in January 1975 by the intelligence community staff and presented to then-Director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) William Colby.

    The study, which is included in the newly released volume, says the Greek threat of a Thrace offensive took place between July 20-25, 1974. However, the three lines outlining measures taken by the US to prevent the Greek offensive are among those "not declassified." The volume also revealed that Washington acknowledged Athens' responsibility for the developments that eventually led to the ethnic division of Cyprus.

    "We have dismissed our duty. Our position is the right one. We can't go into every hot operation. We were working with all the parties. Remember, the situation was precipitated by the Greek government, and one that was disapproved of by the US and the world. When they did it, they couldn't take advantage of it -- but the Turks could and did. Now we are assured there will be some moderation in the negotiation. My relations with the Greek community have always been excellent. They don't think so much of me right now but I think they will come around as things go forth," President Ford was quoted as saying in a conversation that took place in Washington on Aug. 20, 1974, with Kissinger.

    25.12.2007 Today's Zaman Ankara


    [The Economist] Turkey And Its Christians
    Respecting the religious freedom of non-Muslims is essential to Turkey’s hopes of joining the European Union. Laws against Christians repairing their churches have been relaxed.

    Overriding objections from pious constituents, the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) has just restored an ancient Armenian church in eastern Turkey. School textbooks are being purged of an anti-Western bias. Yet many Christian grievances remain. The prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, resists calls to reopen the Greek Orthodox Halki seminary on Heybeli Island off Istanbul, shut down in 1971. Turkey refuses to recognize the ecumenical title of the Greek Orthodox patriarch, Bartholomew I, the spiritual leader of over 200 million Orthodox Christians. The patriarch, a loyal Turkish citizen, has lobbied hard for Turkey’s EU membership. But this has only reinforced suspicions among ultra-nationalist detractors, who accuse him of trying to “Christianize” Turkey and wanting a Vatican-style state in the heart of Istanbul.

    31.12.2007


    No Inadequacies In Dink Investigation, Claim Inspectors
    A highly controversial investigation into the murder of Turkish Armenian journalist Hrant Dink which involved a number of contradictions has no loopholes, according to the Prime Ministry’s Inspection Council.

    Dink was shot dead by an ultra-nationalist teenager outside his office on Jan. 19. Throughout the investigation, a number of suspicious points hinting at police involvement have led the Dink family to conclude that the assassination was being covered up by either the police or the judiciary -- or maybe both. Rakel Dink, the slain journalist’s wife, had applied to the Prime Ministry’s Inspection Council regarding the suspicions around the investigation. The Prime Ministry’s Office responded positively to the application and started an inquiry into the investigation process. After working for eight months on the application, the Prime Ministry office’s inspectors concluded that there were no loopholes in the investigation.

    The inspectors based their finding on intelligence reports, phone conversation transcripts and official correspondences between the Police Department of Trabzon and Istanbul. Dink’s killer was from Trabzon. Another prime suspect in the operation, who was the one the assassin said incited him, was a police informant with the Trabzon police. The investigation had revealed that the Istanbul police had been tipped off about the plans to kill Dink many times.

    The inspectors ruled that no document or information on any of the suspects, including the former police informant, was being hidden. The Human Rights Committee in Parliament is currently also carrying out an investigation into the Dink murder.

    Fethiye Çetin, a lawyer representing the Dink family said: “There was no need for this investigation to last eight months. Some documents are very obvious.” She added that she and the other lawyers hadn’t yet seen the council’s report.

    01.01.2008 Today’s Zaman Ankara

    The 'New' Turkey And Greece
    AZG Armenian Daily #239, 26/12/2007
    It is a fact of life that whatever happens in Turkey has a direct impact in Greece. So tight is the two countries' entanglement that Ankara's relations with other capitals influence Athens's relations with third countries and organizations, as we have seen repeatedly in the case of the United States, NATO and the EU. Sometimes, Turkey's direct impact on Greece is minimal, usually because our neighbor is preoccupied with some of the other major issues that concern it. But the dynamics of conflict within Turkey sooner or later translate into spectacular foreign policy. This is sometimes a consequence of Turkey's sense of insecurity; sometimes it stems from a sense of its being the dominant power in the region; often it is an extension of the power game being played in Turkey's domestic politics.

    Today Turkey is in the middle of a great transformation. For us in Greece, it is difficult to understand that our neighbor has been at war for the last 20 years. The Kurdish separatist war may have been on the backburner for the past few years but in recent months it has flared up dramatically, driving Turkey to declare itself ready to invade northern Iraq where it claims the rebels have bases. This threat may be dictated by the balance that has to be struck between Turkey's government and its restive military leaders but is most likely no bluff. Turkey is prepared to throw its conscripts - and its reputation as a military power - into a war with a tough and greatly experienced adversary, such as the Kurdish fighters have proved to be, in unpredictable, mountainous terrain. Not only do the Turks have to worry about their adversaries, but they also have to push ahead over the very strong objections of their principal ally, the United States. Washington fears that Turkey's invasion of northern Iraq could jeopardize security in the only part of Iraq that is relatively stable.

    On another major front, Turkey has warned the US against Congress declaring that it recognizes the eradication of the Armenians in Turkey as genocide. Ankara has made it quite clear that if the resolution goes through, the US may lose at least some of the assistance that it gets by way of material and warplanes transiting Turkey on the way to Iraq and Afghanistan.

    When Turkey does not shrink from a direct confrontation with the US on issues that constitute the superpower's greatest military and foreign policy challenges of a generation, can anyone doubt that Ankara will hesitate in carrying out whichever policy it chooses with regard to Greece and Cyprus? And what mediation could we then expect from the US?

    Turkey will always wield its two greatest weapons: its strategic importance and the size of its armed forces. It shows them off and hides them at will. Proclaiming at once that it is under threat and that it is invincible, it provides services to others and launches threats. The result is the tolerance of allies and the withdrawal of rivals. Greece has often paid the cost of forgetting this.

    Domestically, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's government has shown repeatedly that it is a player to be reckoned with in its clash with the Turkish establishment. Within this context, Turks yesterday voted in a referendum on Erdogan's proposal that the country's president be elected by popular vote (and no longer by parliament). This is yet another step toward politicians' emancipation from a state that is still controlled by a tight network of military officials, judges and other state functionaries who serve the ideology of a secular state at the expense of popular will and freedom of expression. This clash of the titans has become entangled in Turkey's efforts to make the political, economic and social changes that will allow it to accede to the European Union.

    With Turkey in the middle of great changes whose results are still unpredictable, Greece seems to be stuck in a one-dimensional policy that goes no further than supporting Turkey's accession to the EU as long as Ankara meets all the criteria, as if this were the automatic solution to all problems in Greek-Turkish relations.

    But what will happen if Turkey - either by its own choice or other factors - does not join the European Union? Do we have any estimate as to what this country will look like? Do we know what kind of relationship we might have with it? Do we have any idea regarding how we will deal with Turkey without the good offices of any mediators?

    Whatever happens, Greece and Turkey will remain neighbors. A relatively painless coexistence will demand great skill, seriousness and planning - all factors which cannot be left to chance or intermediaries.

    By Nikos Konstandaras, KATHIMERINI English Edition


    Hi Folks Money Circulating Pump Works... Campaign Financing Self Financed... Still They Will Ask Again All Members To Send Their On Line Checks ... Enjoy It...SSA
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    ANCA: US to Send $58.5 Million to Armenia
    December 28, 2007
    ANCA Action: Urge Pres. Bush to Sign the Sudan
    ANCA Action: Start off Strong in 2008: Pass H.Res.106
    Email your Representative TODAY
    1) Pres. Bush Signs Omnibus Aid Bill Allocating $58.5 Million to Armenia; Maintaining Military Aid Parity with Azerbaijan
    2) ANCA and Save Darfur Coalition Urge Pres. Bush to Sign Sudan Divestment Bill
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    1) Pres. Bush Signs Omnibus Aid Bill Allocating $58.5 Million to Armenia; Maintaining Military Aid Parity with Azerbaijan WASHINGTON, DC - President Bush signed the fiscal year (FY) 2008 overall appropriations package this week, known as the omnibus bill, which included $58.5 million in economic assistance for Armenia and maintained Armenia and Azerbaijan military aid parity, reported the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA.) The Armenia economic aid figures are $17.5 million less than the FY 2007 figures but represent a significant increase over the Administration's request of $35 million. Congress also approved $3 million in foreign military financing (FMF) assistance to Armenia and Azerbaijan, reversing the Administration's latest bid to retreat from its 2001 pledge to maintain parity in military aid to Armenia and Azerbaijan. "We are troubled by the reductions in aid to Armenia and Nagorno Karabagh, particularly in light on the ongoing economic costs of the Turkish and Azerbaijani blockades, as well as Baku's increasingly violent rhetoric about restarting its war against the Armenians," said ANCA Executive Director Aram Hamparian. "We thank all of our friends in the Congressional appropriations process who, working against significant competing budgetary pressures - were able to deliver figures higher than the President's request, and also to maintain military aid parity." Read more...
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    2) ANCA and Save Darfur Coalition Urge Pres. Bush to Sign Sudan Divestment Bill WASHINGTON, DC – The Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) joined with the Save Darfur Coalition and a range of faith-based organizations yesterday in urging President Bush to sign the Sudan Accountability and Divestment Act into law. The legislation, adopted unanimously by the House and Senate despite opposition from the Departments of State and Justice, would allow states and localities to divest from companies involved in certain Sudanese business sectors and allow mutual fund and private pension managers to cut ties with those same companies. In a December 21st letter to President Bush, signed by over thirty groups including the American Jewish World Service, Genocide Intervention Network, Jewish World Watch, National Council of Churches, and the U.S.-Armenia Public Affairs Committee (USAPAC), organizations noted that “signing of the bill, supportive public statements issued along with the signing, the vigorous implementation of this bill, and additional pressure on Sudan to end the violence are all necessary ingredients of a comprehensive US policy -- and will send a message to the Government of Sudan that there are serious consequences for its ruthless violations of international law.” Read more...
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    Armenian National Committee of America
    www.anca.org
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    Here is another one dated 20.12.2007 reconfirming request with good news (?) from Washington!
    Note Cause: Generating Positive Media…
    S.S.A.

    "Ken Hachikian ANCA" anca@anca.org
    "Ken Hachikian / ANCA" 20/12/2007

    Dear ,

    I just got back from Washington and I can tell you first hand that 2008 is going to be a year full of tough battles and great opportunities for the Armenian Cause.
    And you can get us off off to a strong start.
    So, please take a moment right now to send a secure on-line donation. It's quick, easy, and hassle-free.
    You'll get peace of mind from knowing that, for the next 12 months, your voice is being heard on the issues close to your heart:

    Ending Turkey’s denial of the Genocide.
    Building a stronger, safer Armenia and Karabagh.
    Generating positive media for Armenian issues
    In 60 seconds or less, you can send $50, $100, $250, $1,000 or whatever fits your year-end budget. Every dollar makes a difference.
    As a small token of my appreciation, I’ll rush you a special 2-hour DVD of this year's heated Congressional debate on the Armenian Genocide Resolution.
    Warmest Christmas wishes to you and your family,

    Kenneth Hachikian
    Chairman
    PS - Please take just a minute this Christmas to send a secure on-line donation for the Armenian Cause, and I'll rush you a 2-hour DVD of the debate on the Armenian Genocide Resolution.


    Poll: Armenia Should Lay Claims To Genocide
    26 December 2007, Panorama

    Today finished the project “People’s President” SMS poll, organized by “Radio Hay”. The project started in November 17. What should be the policy of the Armenian president concerning the relations of Russia and Europe? The poll results showed that 50% of population quoted for “Armenia should play neutral position and create balanced relations both with Russia and Europe”.

    Another question was asked “Armenia should strengthen its relations with Europe, regardless of Russia’s position”. The most astonishing thing is that this variant received higher marks (28%) than its negative variant (22%).

    As for Armenian genocide and Armenian Turkish relations the majority of participants (98%) quoted for having demands in this issue. And, finally the last issue was NKR question. The participants of the poll quoted for keeping the peaceful negotiations with Azerbaijan, and get the final results without carrying out military activities.