- Armenians Should Take $20 Million Offered by Turkey as Partial Payment By Harut Sassounian
- 5 Members Of Turkish Family of Armenian origin Found Dead In US
- SOCAR & Turcas Submits Down Payment For Petkim
- Sarafian & Karageuzian Q & A Session-The Blue Book' Doc Screen in Pasadena, May 29
- Turk Politician And Journalist Hold A Heated Debate
- PEN Canada To Toronto District School Board: Uphold Freedom Of Expression
- Turkey And The Caucasus: A Caucasian Cheese Circle
- "Armenia Could Have Withdrawn Its Troops From Seven Regions Of Azerbaijan For Turkey To Open The Borders Immediately"
- Turkish Official's Claim About Closed Armenian Archives Denied
- Armenian Mp: Armenia And Turkey Interests Don't Coincide
- Olive Branch To Armenia
- The Situation Of The Armenian Immigrants In Greece Is Terrible!
- Mosaic Institute Hosts Turkish Armenian Business Development Council in Toronto
- Armenian Genocide Denialists To Face 5 Years In Prison In Slovakia
- # We Shall Give The Money; Open The Archives
- Turkish Historian Performs Publicity Stunt In Armenian Genocide Issue
- Alan Kasayev: With Armenia’s Help, Russia Controls The Whole Region
- "Borders With Armenia Will Not Open Until Yerevan Settles Its Problems With Ankara And Its Regional Ally Azerbaijan"
- Book Review - What Makes a Terrorist: Economics and the root Causes of Terrorism
- Book Review: The Armenian Rebellion at Van, Amazon book review by David Saltzman
- Armenians Recall Valley Prejudice By Doug Hoagland
- Canada's Shameful Legacy Of Aborginal Abuse By Dave Bennett
- Does Swedish Archives Confirm It Was a Genocide?
- A Kind Of Disgracefulness!
Armenians Should Take $20 Million Offered by Turkey as Partial Payment By Harut Sassounian
The California Courier
The largest Turkish daily newspaper, Hurriyet, carried the following sensational headline in its May 20, 2008 edition: "Turkey offers $20 million aid to open Armenian archives."
Yusuf Halacoglu, chairman of Turkey's state-funded Turkish Historical Society, told Hurriyet that he had offered Armenians $20 million to open the ARF archives in Boston which he says include "very important documents" regarding the Armenian Genocide.
Halacoglu said that he made this financial offer after Armenians allegedly told him that they do not have the necessary funds to organize these archives. He claimed that "Armenians do not want to have the archives opened because such efforts will start a real debate over the genocide claims."
In recent years, Halacoglu has made many bizarre statements on the Armenian Genocide, bringing nothing but ridicule upon himself, his fellow genocide denialists, and the Turkish Historical Society. This latest offer is yet another wacky statement by this charlatan, masquerading as a historian. It shows his own, and his government's desperation in trying to counter what Hurriyet describes as the Armenian Diaspora's increasing worldwide activities in recent years for the acknowledgment of the Armenian Genocide.
There are several falsehoods in Halacoglu's statement. First, he does not say which Armenians, if any, had told him that they lack the necessary funds to catalogue the ARF archives in Boston. It is a pretty sure bet that he has never contacted a single ARF official regarding the status of these archives. If he had, he would have learned that these archives are already open to any serious scholar. I am also quite certain that no ARF official has ever told Halacoglu that the archives are not catalogued due to funding issues, because many of the documents have already been published in several volumes. Since Halacoglu knows neither Armenian nor any other language besides Turkish, he would be unable to read a single document located in these archives.
Halacoglu claims that he had conveyed his offer of $20 million to "two Armenian historians, Ara Sarafian and Hilmar Kaiser," and had not received an answer. Betraying the depth of his ignorance, Halacoglu cannot even tell that Hilmar Kaiser is a German and not an Armenian!
Tatul Sonentz-Papazian, who managed the ARF archives in Boston until 2000, was quoted by the Armenian Reporter as saying that, contrary to Halacoglu's claims, the cataloguing of the ARF documents through 1925 were completed in1995. Mr. Sonentz-Papazian told the Armenian Reporter that Hilmar Kaiser, whom he had seen as recently as a month ago, did not convey such an offer from Halacoglu. Ara Sarafian also contradicted Halacoglu's claims by telling the Reporter that he had not been asked to convey such an offer to the ARF. "This is obviously a publicity stunt," Sarafian was quoted as saying. "Halacoglu thrives on such publicity."
Furthermore, there is no evidence that the ARF archives will lend any credence to the cause of genocide denialists. Gerard Libaridian, who was incharge of the ARF archives in Boston from 1982 to 1988, posted the following explanation on the armworkshop website on March 26, 2007: "I doubt that they [ARF archives] will shed much light on the genocidal process itself, since the leaders of that party, both national and local, were among the first victims of that process=80¦. These archives, of course, cannot be lumped in the same basket as state archives, since the Dashnaktsutiune [ARF] is a political organization and not a state."
Halacoglu would do well to be more concerned about the accessibility and integrity of Ottoman/Turkish archives rather than those of the ARF. In the May 25, 2008 issue of the Turkish newspaper, Taraf, researcher Ayse Hur, in a detailed and lengthy report, courageously exposed the destruction and manipulation of the Ottoman archives. The Taraf article is appropriately titled, "Leave the Tashnak archives alone and look at the Ottoman archives." Over the past nine decades, the Ottoman archives have been cleansed from all incriminating documents and made available mostly to denialist "scholars" hired by the Turkish government.
My advice to the officials in charge of the ARF archives is to take the $20 million being offered by the Turkish government and declare that sum to be a partial compensation for the billions of dollars of damages suffered by Armenians during the Genocide. Whenever Armenians have an opportunity to recover even a small portion of their immense losses during the genocide, be it money, personal property or other assets, they should grab it without hesitation!
5 Members Of Turkish Family of Armenian origin Found Dead In US
The decomposed bodies found last weekend in an oceanside home were identified Tuesday as three generations of a Turkish family.
Manas Uçar, 58, and his wife, Margrit, 48, immigrated from Turkey years ago, and their twin 21-year-old daughters, Margo and Grace, had just completed bachelor degrees in biology. The fifth victim, the family's maternal grandmother, 72-year-old Fransuhi Kesisoglu, was a legal resident, said Lt. Erin Giudice, spokeswoman for the Orange County sheriff. Turkish news reports said the family was of Armenian origin.
Deputies had visited the home overlooking the Pacific twice in the past two weeks, prompted by calls from a concerned neighbor and worried relatives. But deputies found nothing suspicious, and the callers conceded the family may have taken a vacation. On Sunday, two brothers forced their way into the house, only to discover the bodies.
Giudice said neither homicide nor suicide had been ruled out, but she stressed that the community was not in danger and no suspects were being sought. Autopsies are not yet complete and toxicology results could take up to eight weeks, she said.
Manas and Margrit Uçar were found in a downstairs closet, with two handguns near the bodies. One of the handguns was registered to Margrit Uçar and both husband and wife were shot, Giudice said. The daughters and grandmother were found in the attached bedroom and the twins were in the bed, she said. Their bodies were too decomposed to identify any gunshot wounds. Because the house was built into a cliff, the bedroom suite where the bodies were found was below ground level, shielded from view and well-insulated, Giudice said. "Everything was closed up," she said. "The family and the neighborhood thought they were on vacation."
Margo and Grace Uçar both finished work toward bachelor degrees in biology at the University of California, San Diego, this past winter, said Pat Jacoby, a spokeswoman for the university. Manas Uçar came to the United States in the 1970s and was on the Syracuse University faculty about five years, said Eugene Drucker, a retired Syracuse professor who supervised Manas Uçar's doctoral dissertation in mechanical engineering. Uçar's wife, Margrit, also immigrated from Turkey and received her US citizenship in 1987 while in Syracuse, according to an article in the newspaper The Post-Standard.
Manas Uçar became a consulting engineer after leaving the university, then moved to California in the mid-1990s, Drucker said. The Web site law.com lists Uçar as an expert on accident reconstruction, specializing in fires, explosions and seat belt use.
29 May 2008, AP SAN CLEMENTE
SOCAR & Turcas Submits Down Payment For Petkim
Turcas Petrol A.S. has announced that SOCAR & Turcas Energy JV, the winner of last year's Petkim privatization tender, paid $1.02 billion to the Privatization Administration (ÖIB) yesterday as the down payment of the agreed upon sum.
Azerbaijan's SOCAR-Turcas-Injaz consortium had submitted the second highest bid in the tender on July 5 for the block sale of a 51 percent state-owned stake in Petkim -- Turkey's largest petrochemicals producer. After a commission overseeing the privatization of Petkim decided to reject a bid by Kazakhstan's TransCentralAsia Petrochemical Holding consortium, which had outbid all five of its rivals with $2.05 billion, the Azeri consortium was promoted as the winner. The Kazakhs were not chosen because one of their partners has close relations with the Armenian diaspora. According to the contract conditions, the deadline for completion of the transfer process of Petkim is May 30. Resources close to the ÖIB said the transfer could occur within the next two days.
29 May 2008, Today's Zaman With Wires Istanbul
Sarafian & Karageuzian Q & A Session-The Blue Book' Doc Screen in Pasadena, May 29
By Nora Vosbigian
LOS ANGELES - A unique full length observational documentary about the denial of the Armenian Genocide, the US premiere of "The Blue Book", will be screened on May 29 in Pasadena, Calif., in the presence of the filmmaker Gagik Karageuzian and historian Ara Sarafian.
Produced by Ani Sounds Productions of London, "The Blue Book" is its first documentary production.
The film is an observational documentary about Ara Sarafian's work engaging the official Turkish denial of the Armenian Genocide. The film starts in London but most of it is in Turkey.
Karaguezian said the film was prompted by a petition the Turkish Grand National Assembly had sent to the British Parliament, wanting the British to declare the 1916 Blue Book "The treatment of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire, 1915-16, a forgery.
"Ara wanted to oppose the TGNA's efforts by demonstrating the authenticity of the 1916 report and debating the denial of the Armenian Genocide. Several members of the British Parliament also wanted to respond to the Turkish petition. "I felt this was an ideal opportunity to record, first hand, the blatant denial of the Armenian Genocide, and the difficult task of resisting it. So, I asked Ara if I could follow him and film his efforts."
Karaguezian added, ""Although I had been interested in Turkish-Armenian issues, especially the Genocide, since I was a teenager, I had always foundit a complex and emotive subject. Working with Ara, I was able to witness his meticulous and disciplined approach to the issue. This helped me develop a more structured way of looking at what happened in 1915. I think I gained a morelevel headed understanding of the Armenian Genocide."
The Blue Book is a raw look at the official denial of the Armenian Genocide in the twenty first century, the filmmaker explained. "I think this is partof its strength, since you see discussions between historians, politicians and different commentators as they take place, which can be very revealing." "The denial of the Genocide has many aspects to it, but for sake of clarity, I chose to concentrate on this particular instance involving the 1916 British Parliamentary blue book. This focus was frustrating since I knew the subject needed more than one film to truly cover the complex issues concerning the Armenian Genocide and its denial. "
The London premiere was very successful, the cinema was full and many reviews were written in newspapers, magazines and on different blogs. The audience was mixed and the main feed back was an appreciation of Ara's approach to his subject.
Karaguezian said he hoped the film will show the deceptiveness of politicians and commentators who deny the Armenian Genocide, when there are clear records of what happened in 1915. "I also hope the film will give Ara some recognition and support for his work. Much of it is still little known in the Armenian diaspora."
"The Blue Book" will be screened on May 29, 7:30-9:20, at Laemmle's One Colorado, 42 Miller Alley, Old Pasadena, CA 91103. Tickets are $12. This premiere will be followed by question and answer session with Gagik Karageuzian and Ara Sarafian. For more information, contact email@example.com
Turk Politician And Journalist Hold A Heated Debate 20 May, 2008
“Even God cannot change the past”, declared Cem Toker, Turkish politician and Leader of the Liberal-Democratic Party of Turkey at the international conference organized by the Eurasia Foundation Representative Office in Armenia and Analytical Center on Globalization and Regional Cooperation.
Quite surprisingly frank ideas were heard at the conference. The Turk politician, whose party is not included in the Turkish Parliament, presented the process of his country’s integration into the EU. He stated that Turkish national parties were not even willing to converse with the representatives of European Institutions.
Toker also noted that he had been in close relations with the assassinated Armenian journalist Hrant Dink who, having spent his childhood with Armenians, had devoted all his life to the democratization of Turkey.
“Turkey proudly states that 99.9% of its population are Muslims. And where are the Armenians, Jews, Greeks? Why are they gone? Doesn’t it mean that something is definitely wrong? You can see the investments of the Armenian people while walking in Istambul. I am greatly displeased with Turkey’s attitude towards Armenians”, declares Toker.
Amber Zaman, a Turkish journalist, contradicted him in the description of the current situation in Turkey. Zaman, who introduced herself as a free journalist, is the wife of Joseph Penington, the US temporary Chargé d’Affaires in Armenia. Mrs. Zaman stated that Turkey’s steps towards Democracy are quite evident.
“Turkey still has much to do but it has made a great progress towards democracy lately. Ten years ago the Kurds were imprisoned simply for calling themselves Kurds. Whereas, today they are even allowed to have broadcasts in their mother tongue. Besides, the capital punishment has been abolished in my country. You give a tough assessment of the situation, Mr. Toker”, noticed Amber Zaman.
In reply to the journalist’s views Cem Toker noted: “The abolition of the capital punishment has nothing to do with Democracy. Does it mean the USA is not a democratic country? As for the Kurds they are only 30 minutes on the air.” Meanwhile politician and diplomat Davit Hovhannissian was making a report on the current state of Armenian-Turkish relations. The politician noted that the First President of RA Levon Ter-Petrossian carried out a very reserved and cautious policy, taking into consideration Turkey’s attitude towards the Genocide of 1915, whereas Robert Kocharian put the recognition of the Armenian Genocide on the agenda of foreign relations. However, in neither of cases did Turkey change its attitude towards Armenia.
Davit Hovhannissian also declared in his speech that the tense relations between Armenia and Turkey were profitable for the latter. “Firstly because it keeps Armenia out of the regional projects and consequently Armenia’s influence in the Region is weakened. Secondly, Turkey can use the absence of diplomatic relations and the tension in threatening actions of diplomatic level.”
PEN Canada To Toronto District School Board: Uphold Freedom Of Expression
TORONTO, May 27 /CNW/ - In a strongly worded letter to John Campbell, chair of the Toronto District School Board (TDSB), PEN Canada urges reversal of the Board's recent decision to remove Extraordinary Evil: A Brief History of Genocide, by Barbara Coloroso, from the resource list of a new Grade 11 course on genocide and crimes against humanity to be taught next year.
"PEN Canada would like immediate clarification regarding the basis on which the Board has moved ahead to remove Extraordinary Evil from the resource list for this course," said Nelofer Pazira, President of PEN Canada. "Under the circumstances, PEN has to question why the TDSB is engaging in what can only be described as censorship."
The TDSB has determined that the proposed Grade 11 course, to be called Genocide and Crimes Against Humanity, will contain a module on the killing of over one million Armenians in Turkey in 1915, and that that massacre will be defined as genocide. However, the Director of Education recently upheld a recommendation of a review committee that the book by Barbara Coloroso be removed from the resource list for the course. That decision is now being reviewed by the Program and School Services Committee of the Board.
"In Canada, everyone has the right, within the bounds of the Criminal Code as it pertains to hate speech and similar actions, to a fair expression of views," said Ms Pazira. "Removing this book constitutes the suppression of an important perspective, for the students in this course, on the Armenian genocide."
PEN Canada notes that the Canadian government recognizes the Armenian massacre as genocide. In April 2004 Parliament passed, with an overwhelming majority, the following motion: "this House acknowledges the Armenian genocide of 1915 and condemns this act as a crime against humanity." This motion was re-affirmed by Prime Minister Stephen Harper in 2006.
PEN Canada believes it is the duty of public institutions in a democracy, such as school boards, to defend vigorously the right to freedom of expression. Anything short of this is an extremely dangerous precedent for any public institution, and especially for one of the largest school boards in the country.
"We urge the Board to reinstate the book as resource material for the course," said Ms Pazira in her letter to Mr. Campbell. "It is essential that you and your fellow trustees respect freedom of expression and not allow this book to be censored as the result of pressure from partisan organizations."
PEN Canada is an independent non-profit organization committed to defending freedom of opinion, as guaranteed by Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR). We campaign on behalf of writers around the world who are persecuted for the expression of their opinions. In Canada we speak out regularly to defend the right of freedom of expression as enshrined in Section 2(b) of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
Turkey And The Caucasus: A Caucasian Cheese Circle, Economist May 22 2008 UK
The Secret Diplomacy Of Cheesemaking
ON AN icy February morning a clutch of Turks and Armenians huddled in a hotel in Kars, with Turkish intelligence officials looking on. On May 14th their secret, a giant round of cheese, was unveiled in Gyumri, over the sealed border in Armenia. Under the label of "Caucasian cheese", the yellow slab symbolises reconciliation between Turkey and Armenia, and across the Caucasus.
The idea of a regional "peace" cheese (Georgia and Azerbaijan are involved too) met suspicion when mooted a year ago, says Alin Ozinian of the Turkish Armenian Business Development Council. "We didn't know how the authorities would react," said Zeki Aydin, a Turkish cheese producer, who made the ten-hour trip from Kars to Gyumri via Georgia. "We want our borders to be reopened, good neighbourly ties, so we took a chance," said Ilhan Koculu, a fellow cheesemaker.
Vefa Ferejova, an Azeri campaigning to bury the hatchet with Armenia, was also there, saying "We are told to hate Armenians: I will not." Armenia and Azerbaijan are at loggerheads over Nagorno-Karabakh, a patch of land that Armenia wrested from Azerbaijan in the early 1990s. This prompted Turkey to seal its border (but not air links) with Armenia in 1993. American-brokered peace talks have failed, and Azerbaijan now threatens to resort to force.
Yet there are hopeful signs that Turkey and Armenia may make up. Turkey's president, Abdullah Gul, was among the first to congratulate Serzh Sarkisian, who became Armenia's president in a tainted election in February. Unofficial talks to establish diplomatic ties could resume at any time. Indeed, there is a whiff of desperation in the air. Turkey's ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party is under threat of closure by the constitutional court for allegedly wanting to bring in sharia law. AK's overtures to Armenia may be aimed at garnering some Western support.
Mr Sarkisian's government is heading for trouble when gas prices double this winter. An end to Turkey's blockade could temper popular unrest. But hawks in Turkey and Armenia can still count on Azerbaijan. Allegations that Armenia is sheltering Kurdish rebels have stirred anger in Turkey. Where did they come from? "The Azeri press," snorts Mr Aydin. Even the best cheese cannot change everybody's attitudes overnight.
"Armenia Could Have Withdrawn Its Troops From Seven Regions Of Azerbaijan For Turkey To Open The Borders Immediately"
24 May 2008 Today.Az
Ankara is well aware that much is left until the resolution of Nagorno Karabakh conflict but Armenia could have withdrawn its troops from seven regions of Azerbaijan.
The due announcement was made by professor Mustafa Aydin, chief of department for international relations of the University of Economy and Technologies in Ankara.
"The Presidential elections in Armenia on February 19 give hope for normalization of the Armenian-Turkish relations. At least, thus is considered in Turkey and proven by intentions of the new President of Armenia Serzh Sarkissyan.
The Turkish Foreign Ministry considers that Armenian diplomacy is too "Soviet", old-fashioned and clumsy. Our diplomacy is more of a western pattern, which stipulates for joint steps. Restoration of the St.Cross church in Akhtamar on the Van lake is a serious step of the Turkish government and we expect Armenia to make response steps", noted the Turkish professor.
He considers that one of such steps may become softening of Armenia's position in the resolution of Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. "Ankara is well aware that too much is left to the resolution of the conflict, but Armenia could have withdrawn its troops from seven regions of Azerbaijan. In this case Turkey would have opened the border, closed in 1993. Nevertheless, I am sure that relations between Armenia and Turkey would normalize soon", said Mustafa Aydin.
Turkish Official's Claim About Closed Armenian Archives Denied
May 24, 2008, The Armenian Reporter, by Armenian Reporter staff
Halacoglu Put His Foot In His Mouth Again!
The archives of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (Dashnaktsutiun) through 1925 are open to scholars, confirmed Tatul Sonentz-Papazian, who took responsibility for the archives in Watertown, Mass., in the late 1980s. His statement came in response to a campaign by the head of the ultranationalist Turkish Historical Society, Yusuf Halacoglu, to raise doubts about the Armenian Genocide by claiming that Armenians are suppressing certain records.
"The Dashnak archives in Boston are very important. They contain the answers to many of the questions asked today," Mr. Halacoglu said, according to a May 20 report in the Turkish daily Hurriyet. "The Dashnaks were until now saying that they cannot open their archives because they do not have the money to catalog it. So I said: 'We will give you whatever money you need, just as long as we can have the archives opened.' However, there was no response."
In a phone interview with the Armenian Reporter, Mr. Sonentz-Papazian said that the cataloguingof the archives through 1925 was in fact completed in 1995. Those archives, which include thousands of documents from Asia Minor, the Caucasus, and ARF bodies in the rest of the world, have been microfilmed and have been available for the scrutiny of scholars, Mr. Sonentz-Papazian said.
The archive has been used by various scholars including historians Houri Berberian, Vincent Lima, and most recently Dikran Khaligian.
Five thick volumes of documents from the archives have been published to date. The first four were prepared by the late Hratch Dasnabedian. The fifth was prepared by Yervant Pamboukian. Mr. Pamboukian told the Reporter that he is working on the sixth volume. He added that the entire microfilm collection is being converted to a digital format by an outside contractor.
In the Hurriyet article, Mr. Halacoglu is quoted as saying that he offered $20 million to the ARF to facilitate the cataloging and opening of the archive. "I asked historians Ara Sarafian and Hilmar Kaiser to convey this proposal to our colleagues there."
Reached by the Reporter, Mr. Sarafian denied having been asked to convey such a proposal. "This is obviously a publicity stunt," he said. "Halacoglu thrives on such publicity." He added, however, that issues remain with the accessibility of other Armenian archives outside Armenia.
Mr. Sonentz-Papazian said that he had seen Mr. Kaiser only a month ago and no such proposal had been conveyed.
Armenian Mp: Armenia And Turkey Interests Don't Coincide By Melek Tuzluca
Journal of Turkish Weekly, May 22 2008
Armen Ashotuan, Armenia MP and member of the ruling Republican Party of Armenia thinks that the true and announced interests of Turkey and Armenia do not coincide, Pan-Armenian reports.
Mr. Ashotuan said "If the interests, which are just declared, can be compared, so the true interests clash only. Ashotyan gave a lecture in "Global Challenges and Threats: Are Joint Efforts between Armenia and Turkey Possible?" international conference in Yerevan.
"If Armenia needs Turkey as a steadily developing neighbor, Turkey needs Armenia at the instigation of world powers and major international organizations," the MP Ashotuan added.
"Armenia's global and regional interests focus international recognition of the Nagorno Karabakh Republic, open communication and recognition of the Armenian Genocide. Turkey is aspired to join the EU and maintain Turkish unity," he noted.
* 'Turkey-Armenian Co-operation is not a Dream'
Turkish scholars however do not share Armenian MP Ashotuan's pessimism. Dr. Sedat Laciner, head of the USAK, told the JTW that Turkey and Armenia can develop good relations and closer ties are good for both countries:
"Armenia is a tiny country with limited natural sources, small economy and limited population. It has no sea way. Under these curcumstances, Yerevan should solve its problems with the neighbours to survive and to be really an independent country. Turkey is the best (if not the only one) way to reach the West. Similarly Turkey needs Armenia for better transportation ways to Central Asia's Turkic republics. Also Armenians are very part of Turkish identity and past."
Armenia does not recognise Turkey's national borders and claims the eastern part of Anatolia is 'Western Armenia'. About 20 percent of Azerbaijain has been under Armenian occupation.
Olive Branch To Armenia, Turkish Press, May 22 2008, Turkey
Ankara, which offered to establish dialogue with the newly elected Armenian administration, is waiting for Yerevan`s reply.
Turkey has extended its hand to Armenia in an effort to put an end to a dispute of 234 years between the two countries.
President Abdullah Gul, Premier Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Foreign Minister Ali Babacan congratulated Serzh Sargsyan upon his election as the president of Armenia and offered to "improve the relations" between the countries.
The Situation Of The Armenian Immigrants In Greece Is Terrible!
According to a report that was published on 13 May 2008 of the Paratiritis newspaper issuing in Greece, Armenians, who emigrate from Armenia to Greece encountered various problems.
As known, lately, there is a serious increase in the number of the Armenians, who immigrate to the European countries. The most important cause for the immigration is economical problems. It is noted that natural disasters (earthquakes), wars and political regime influences the immigration and leads Armenians to leave their country.
One of the most preferred countries is Greece. It was stated that the number of Armenians, who immigrated to Greece has reached to 15,000 and 5,000 had obtained citizenship and most of them have settled to Athens, Thessaloniki, Northern Greece and Trace.
Being obliged to reside illegally in Greece is the prior problem of the Armenian immigrants. It was also stated that marriages among Greek citizens and Armenian citizens do not supply immigrants getting a Greek citizenship. Lilit Sarkisyan, Athens Consul General of Armenia, indicated that they are continuously in contact with Armenia in order to supply the Armenian immigrants’ legal residence permission and to convey Greece accurate identity information. The afore-mentioned statement expresses that a part of the Armenian citizens left their county with illegal methods and attempted to conceal their identities to avoid the pressure and violence environment in their country.
Sarkisyan’s recommendation to the Armenians, who do not have the right to stay in Greece legally for “showing respect to the laws of Greece and returning back to Armenia, is a clear evidence, which indicates that Armenian administration is facing a serious problem.
It seems that Armenia would face some serious diplomatic problems with some countries because of her citizens, who leave their country from illegal ways and who are dispersed all over the world. As a result, one thing never changes; Armenia exports problems to the world…
Mosaic Institute Hosts Turkish Armenian Business Development Council in Toronto
TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - May 27, 2008) - The Mosaic Institute (www.mosaicinstitute.ca) invited to Toronto, Kaan Soyak, the Co-Chair of The Turkish Armenian Business Development Council (TABDC) (www.tabdc.org) to address a group of Canadians of Turkish and Armenian origin at a dinner reception on May 22. The Mosaic Institute, a Canadian NGO, seeks to address conflict regions of the world by facilitating dialogue between their respective diaspora communities in Canada. The TABDC is the international leader in promoting improved Turkish-Armenian relations.
The mission of the TABDC is to seek normalization between Turkey and Armenia by opening the border between the two countries, which has been closed for more than a decade. In addition, the TABDC advocates establishing diplomatic relations between Turkey and Armenia.
Kaan Soyak, the Turkish Co-Chair and Arsen Ghazarian, the Armenian Co-Chair, established the TABDC in 1997, as a think tank NGO dedicated to improving relations between Armenia and Turkey.
At the reception, Mr. Soyak discussed the activities of the TABDC, including cultural and business roundtables between the two countries, as well as "track II" diplomacy efforts.
The Embassies of both Turkey and Armenia in Ottawa sent senior representatives to the Toronto meeting convened by the Mosaic Institute. In addition, Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada sent a senior diplomat to be present at the Mosaic Institute event.
"There was a wonderful atmosphere of respect and willingness to listen" said Vahan Kololian, Chairman of the Mosaic Institute. "Clearly the TABDC is doing important work in the Caucuses region, and it is important for them to know that many in the Turkish and Armenian diaspora support their efforts."
There appeared to be a collective recognition that the deep-seated issues of genocide recognition and the territorial dispute between Armenia and Azerbaijan over Nagorno Karabakh, have kept Turkey and Armenia apart.
In summarizing the event on May 22, Mr. Soyak said, "While we recognize these two issues are divisive, it is the position of the TABDC that diplomatic relations and open borders can be achieved, while the genocide issue and the Nagorno Karabakh issue continue to be studied and discussed. Many countries have disputes with their neighbours, but they still have diplomatic relations and promote open borders."
Armenian Genocide Denialists To Face 5 Years In Prison In Slovakia
28.05.2008 PanARMENIAN.Net/ A bill criminalizing denial of the Armenian Genocide will be adopted by the Slovak parliament in late 2008 and will come into effect in January or February 2009.
“Slovakia, whose parliament recognized the Armenian Genocide in 2004, has been operating the law penalizing denial of the Holocaust. Introducing amendments, we expand the law over all genocides, including the Armenian Genocide,” Slovakia’s Justice Minister Stefan Harabin said.
Any Slovak citizen or foreigner who denies the Armenian Genocide will face a 5-year imprisonment, according to him.
“The Armenian Genocide is the most outrageous crime against humanity,” Mr Harabin said, adding that no remarks have been received as regards the bill, which should be passed in any democratic state.
# We Shall Give The Money; Open The Archives
Turkish Historical Society Chairman Professor Yusuf Halacoglu offered 20 million Dollars aid to the opening and classification the Armenian archive in Boston.
Professor Yusuf Halacoglu claimed that the Armenian archives in Boston included very important documents related both the 500 thousand Armenians, who currently live in Turkey, and the 1915 incidents. Nevertheless, Professor Halacoglu was not responded by the Armenian Diaspora until the present time.
Both the Turkish Historical Society and its Chairman Professor Yusuf Halacoglu initiated an attack with documents, translations, and reports against Diaspora. Professor Yusuf Halacoglu stated that they were prepared to give 20 million aid to the opening of the Armenian archives in the U.S. city of Boston, which is the most significant source relating the 1915 incidents.
Professor Yusuf Halacoglu said: “I offered 20 million dollars to the opening of the Tashnak archives. The documents in the archives can easily be classified with this amount of money. However, nobody responded.” And he added that the Tashnak archives in Boston are extremely important. Most of the answers are there. I frankly told the journalists, who came for an interview as well as the members of the American House of Representatives. I also requested from historians Ara Sarafian and Hilmar Kaiser to convey my offer. The Tashnaks had said: “We don’t have the money to categorize this archives, and therefore we cannot open them. I frankly told then: “We can give you the money needed and open the archives.” But they did not respond to my offer.”
Advocating that the Armenian Diaspora has propagated as the Ottoman archives were not open, Professor Halacoglu added the following: “These archives must be open if we would like to understand the incidents that occurred in 1915, how many Armenians were killed, and how many had immigrated. We examined Russian, American, English, French and Iranian archives and collected the documents. I search the answer of the question: “What had happened to the Armenians?” However, we are not able to benefit from the most important three archives. Just because the Armenian archives in the cities of Boston and Yerevan are closed. The Patriarch archive in Kudus is open only for certain people. The ones, who talk over the Ottoman archives, say nothing although they know that these archives are closed.”
Indicating that the opening of the archives in Boston would launch a real debate on the issue, Professor Halacoglu added: “This would directly open a debate over the genocide claims. Armenians are aware of this and therefore they are doing their best not to sit at the table.”
Turkish Historian Performs Publicity Stunt In Armenian Genocide Issue
28.05.2008 PanARMENIAN.Net/ Yusuf Halacoglu, chairman of Turkey’s state-funded Turkish Historical Society, said that he had offered Armenians $20 million to open the ARF archives in Boston which he says include "very important documents" regarding the Armenian Genocide, The California Courier reports with a reference to Hurriyet Turkish daily (May 20, 2008 edition: "Turkey offers $20 million aid to open Armenian archives.")
Halacoglu said that he made this financial offer after Armenians allegedly told him that they do not have the necessary funds to organize these archives. He claimed that "Armenians do not want to have the archives opened because such efforts will start a real debate over the genocide claims." Halacoglu claims that he had conveyed his offer of $20 million to "two Armenian historians, Ara Sarafian and Hilmar Kaiser," and had not received an answer.
“Betraying the depth of his ignorance, Halacoglu cannot even tell that Hilmar Kaiser is a German and not an Armenian!” writes Harout Sassunian, The California Courier editor.
Tatul Sonentz-Papazian, who managed the ARF archives in Boston until 2000, saying that, contrary to Halacoglu’s claims, the cataloguing of the ARF documents through 1925 were completed in 1995. Mr. Sonentz-Papazian told that Hilmar Kaiser, whom he had seen as recently as a month ago, did not convey such an offer from Halacoglu. Ara Sarafian also contradicted Halacoglu’s claims by telling that he had not been asked to convey such an offer to the ARF.
"This is obviously a publicity stunt," Sarafian was quoted as saying. "Halacoglu thrives on such publicity."
Alan Kasayev: With Armenia’s Help, Russia Controls The Whole Region
The South Caucasus is in focus of world powers. Russia’s priorities in the region include political and economic cooperation with all Caucasian states. Nevertheless, the notions ‘strategic partner’ and ‘strategic ally’ are conditioning. PanARMENIAN.Net requested Alan Kasayev, the head of RIA Novosti division for Baltic States and the CIS to comment on Russia’s current role in the region.
Some Russian political scientists suppose that Moscow’s key allies in the Caucasus are Georgia and Ukraine but not Armenia, which doesn’t have an outlet to the sea. What does Armenia for mean Russia, actually?
I am confident that Armenia is really Russia’s strategic ally. It’s quite obvious that with Armenia’s help, Russia keeps control over the entire region. This is strategic partnership. However, being less attractive for investors, Armenia’s doesn’t have enough weight in the region.
The Russian leadership builds up relations with Armenia’s neighbors on the principle of mutually beneficial cooperation. As to Azerbaijan, both Russia and Azerbaijan are both sources of raw materials and business rivals. From this standpoint, relations with Azerbaijan are very important. It’s one the reasons why Moscow doesn’t press on Baku in the Karabakh issue. Russia has to assist Armenia in normalizing relations with neighbors. It tries to perform this mission without pressing either on Yerevan, the ally, or on reliable partners in Baku and Ankara.
Russia-Turkey relations represent no danger for Armenia. They do not develop to the prejudice of thirds states, specifically Armenia. I can even say that current Russia-Turkey relations are better than relations between Turkey and Azerbaijan. The euphoria is over. Istanbul doesn’t eye Baku as a ‘younger brother’ any longer. As to transport projects bypassing Armenia, being mere political projects, they lack an economic constituent.
Is resumption of hostilities possible in Nagorno Karabakh? What assessment would you give to present-day Azerbaijan?
Resumption of military operation is unlikely within next 5 years, at least. Azerbaijan is building up an image of ‘investment attractiveness’, is trying to resolve problems with Iran and determine status of the Caspian Sea, whose basin includes five states, each presenting its claims. I would also like to mention that the election developments in Azerbaijan are complicated by internal instability. The Anti-Armenian propaganda and warlike rhetoric is used with a purpose to unite the nation. You should nor forget that over half of the Azerbaijani population are illiterate rural residents. On the whole, Azerbaijan is poorly developed and poorly educated country living at expense of oil income. Agriculture is not developing. There is no industry with an exception for a couple of refineries. The whole population of the country can’t concentrate in the capital. So, the actively created image of an enemy is one of the elements of consolidation of the society.
How would you comment on Armenia’s perspectives?
Armenia’s development doesn’t depend on Russia, since it’s impossible to fancy Moscow pursuing anti-Armenian policy. The major task Armenia is charged with is to elaborate correct investment policy. Military industry is not operating; the enterprises transferred to Russia within Property for Debt agreement do not function over many reasons. Lacking raw materials, Armenia should make accent on education and IT. Investments in the fields will help development of the republic.
"Borders With Armenia Will Not Open Until Yerevan Settles Its Problems With Ankara And Its Regional Ally Azerbaijan"
Today.Az, May 26 2008
"Borders with Armenia will not open until Yerevan settles its problems with Ankara and its regional ally Azerbaijan".
The due announcement was made by Turkey's State Minister of Economy Mehmet Shimshek.
According to Turkish Zaman newspaper, the state economic minister, taking part in the session on regional development in eastern province of Ighdir, located near the border with Armenia, announced that Turkey, which has a wide purchasing capacity in the amount of $950 bln, does not need economic ties with Armenia.
The State Minister noted that this is Armenia that should undertake measures to normalize ties with Turjey.
"We do not need them, they need us. Turkey wants good economic ties with its neighbors. If Armenians recognize this fact and make a step towards us, we will make a step towards them", said Shimshek.
The state minister added that borders with Armenia will not open until Yerevan settles its problems with Ankara and its regional ally Azerbaijan.
Book Review - What Makes a Terrorist: Economics and the root Causes of Terrorism
Reviewed by Nermin Aydemir, USAK, 6 May 2008
What Makes a Terrorist: Economics and the Root Causes of Terrorism (2007), By Alan B. Kreuger.
Princeton University Press: Princeton, $ 24,95.
Alan B. Krueger, economy professor at the Princeton University and adviser to the US National Counterterrorism Center, studies the effects of poverty and lack of education on terrorism in What Makes a Terrorist. The author bases his book on three lectures he gave at the London School of Economics and Political Science in 2006.
Krueger’s work comes out against the conventional wisdom regarding the link between poverty and illiteracy on the one hand and terrorism on the other. Passing judgment on a general belief which addresses unsatisfactory life conditions and lack of education as the main reasons of terrorism, Krueger attempts to show that that such a causality does not exist. Those connecting underdevelopment with terrorist acts have no systematic empirical evidence, according to the author. Even if poverty and illiteracy affect hate crimes, such consequences only occur indirectly and a very weak causality is the case. The author signifies enhancing civil liberties as the most effective way of dealing with the issue. As a response to poor conditions in Northern Ireland and relatively high level of civil liberties refuting the hypothesis, Krueger chooses to rename IRA’s (Irish Republican Army)struggle as guerilla warfare rather than terrorist activities of a small group.
Quite similar to perspectives analyzing political participation from an economic point of view, Krueger regards a certain level of knowledge and income as a threshold for caring deeply and fervently about an issue. The uneducated and impoverished masses are particularly unlikely to participate in political processes, through either legitimate or illegitimate means, according to the study. Krueger appeals to public opinion polls, biographical information of Hezbollah and the existing literature supporting his main hypothesis in his first chapter. Although the biographical comparison of the deceased Hezbollah militants to the general Lebanese population can be seen as a contribution to the existing literature, the dataset seems to suffer from serious flaws. That the author compares two datasets collected by different agencies, in different times, with different goals in mind and with a highly disproportionate sample amounts yield to significant deficiencies in Krueger’s work. It seems naïve to expect valid results from the comparison of Krueger’s own data set of 126 biographies with the dataset of Lebanese Ministry of Social Affairs Housing survey of 120, 000 people, in this regard. Besides, the author leaves out the high correlations of age and region of residence with terrorist attacks although giving those two main criteria, as well. Unsurprisingly, the data yield Krueger’s most provocative results: terrorists are neither poor nor poorly educated (De Mesquita 2007: 1726). Terrorists are not the people who have nothing to live for. On the contrary, terrorists are those who believe in something so strongly that they are willing to die for it, according to Krueger. Yet, Krueger touches upon an important point by stating that terrorist organizations prefer educated candidates because they are more effective in carrying out difficult assignments (Ibid: 1726).
The writer shifts from individual characteristics to economic and political conditions in the following chapter and conducts his analysis on the country level in this regard. He lists a range of socio-economic indicators, i.e. GDP per capita, civil liberties, GDP growth, population, trade, literacy rate, religion, and investigates the characteristics of the societies of those who raise the greatest number of terrorists. The American professor uses the available State Department data from 1987 to 1997 as well as extending them from 1997 to 2003 for comparing countries. That terrorism studies lack high-quality data disaffects Krueger’s work, as well. Just like the first one, the second dataset suffers from serious drawbacks and it is not very possible to consider it as an important contribution to terrorism studies, either. Beside highly varying statistics from many different sources, the validity of Krueger’s work is further undermined due to omitting Columbia as well as Israel, West Bank and Gaza Strip where terrorist incidents take place the most. In consistence with the findings of the prior chapter, Krueger concludes this section by asserting the greater probability that international terrorists come from moderate-income countries than the poor ones. The study acknowledges the indirect impact of favorable economic circumstances on civil liberties and political rights but does not open space for explaining how this takes place.
The author devotes his last chapter to the question of whether terrorism has substantial consequences on economic well-being, psychology of the population and political system of the country. By giving striking statistics Krueger substantiates his view that terrorism is more a constructed fear than a rational one and pays considerable attention to the role and responsibility of media in this context. Krueger argues that terrorism does not have “that” much impact on economy if only people do not overreact. Yet he neither gives persuading numbers nor analyzes representative studies to substantiate his argument. The last chapter also touches upon the vulnerability of democratic societies against terrorist attack since public opinion carries greater significance than it does in autocratic societies.
All things considered, Krueger maintains his assumption that terrorists are not simply lashing out because they are desperately poor but instead because they are more aware of what is going around them. According to many, the study provides a valuable contribution in terms of understanding the newly emerging international terrorist such as the “prosperous” homegrown of 7/7 (Freedman 2007: 189). Yet, the study does not address to significant differences among terrorists themselves even within the same organization. To illustrate, those laying the ideology of el-Quade do not have the same socio-economic background of those blowing up in Iraq. That an upper socio-economic background yields to many positive outcomes such as increase in social capital, a better integration to the society, a more effective political participation and the like also remain to be untouched. The weight that the study pays on systematic empirical data, however, can be seen as an important contribution in terms of showing what should be kept in mind in future researches. All in all, insisting on a narrow-minded postulation and excluding the compelling data thwarts the chance of making a substantial contribution to the field.
De Mesquita, E.B. (2007), What Makes a Terrorist- Economics and the Roots of Terrorism, Science, Vol. 318 (5857), 1726-1727.
Freedman, L.D. (2007), What Makes a Terrorist- Economics and the Roots of Terrorism, Foreign Affairs, Vol. 86 (6), 189-189.
Krueger, A.B. (2007), What Makes a Terrorist- Economics and the Roots of Terrorism, Princeton University Press: Princeton.
Younglove, A. (2007), What Makes a Terrorist- Economics and the Roots of Terrorism, Library Journal, Vol. 132 (14), 149.
Book Review: The Armenian Rebellion at Van, Amazon book review by David Saltzman
The Armenian Rebellion at Van (Utah Series in Turkish and Islamic Stud)
By Justin McCarthy
Publisher: University of Utah Press (September 29, 2006)
This book puts a magnifying glass to a short period of history in the frontier lands of an immense, but collapsing empire. Yet these events help illustrate the much larger narrative of what happened to the Armenians of the eastern Anatolian portion of the Ottoman Empire, which resonates to this day. As the authors conclude on page 218, “The Armenian revolt in Van province was a pivotal component of the disaster of war in the Ottoman East.” How such feeds the complex debate about whether the Armenians suffered genocide is ultimately left for the reader to determine.
Historians appear to be in fair unanimity about the general events that occurred in and around the poor, yet strategic city of Van, in eastern Anatolia, during late 19th and early 20th centuries. Hotly disputed, however, is how to characterize the Armenian forces that ultimately captured and held the city before handing it over to Russian forces in 1915. Were they representatives of an oppressed minority valiantly gritting out a last-ditch battle, knowing that if they lost, they and their kinsmen would surely find calamity? Or, were they classic guerilla rebels, in a coordinated fight against their mother country to form a new state with the outside support of an enemy state? In other words, was this all a valiant act of self-defense, or a devious act of treason?
The opening chapters of the book lay out not just the physical geography of the area, but the political landscape as well. The authors provide, among other things, a plausible explanation of the dynamics among the tribal population versus the settled and why religion was not a factor in this rivalry. These chapters also discuss, relying primarily on Armenian sources, the founding of Armenian revolutionary movements, their penetration into the Van polity, and their aims against the Ottoman state.
In assessing the First Van Rebellion (1896), the authors provide crucial context to the run-up to the definitive encounters that would take place during World War I, including the miscalculations of the Ottoman central government in creating the Cossack-styled Hamidiye corps, the methods of Armenian rebel supply via Iran, and the machinations of the European powers who were forming contingency plans for the expected dissolution of the Ottoman state. The authors also describe the Armenian rebel strategy, which can be summarized as: massacre-reprisal-European intervention. The first rebellion lasted little more than a week yielding, according to the British, approximately 500 casualties, sixty percent of which was Muslim.
During most of the next 10 years the Armenian rebel organizations consolidated power, often by extortion and physical force, smuggled supplies, and fortified positions. They made periodic attacks, mostly in the Mus-Sasun region, which according to British and Armenian sources, were aimed at sparking a disproportionate response that would then motivate European intervention. This failed. The authors describe one episode in 1903 in which, after a small Armenian rebel force had been repulsed, it claimed that the Ottoman troops massacred an Armenian village. Yet the local British consul, reported back that the massacre was a fiction and that he had slept in that very village several nights after it was allegedly destroyed.
The authors conclude that, based on the level of organization of the rebel groups and the amount of weapons they had cached, it was no longer plausible by 1908 ( the year the C.U.P. became the de facto temporal power in Istanbul) to ascribe motives of self-defense to the rebels. Treason was the goal ascendant and Russia was the wagon to which Armenian separatist aspirations would be hitched. “The Armenians have thrown off any pretense of loyalty … and openly welcome a prospect of a Russian occupation…” wrote a the British Consul in Van quoted by the authors. The authors provide a highly nuanced discussion of how this change of emphasis also impacted the Kurdish tribes, who, though minimally loyal to the Ottoman government saw a worse fate under prospective Russian rule which, they believed, would result in the loss of their lands to Armenians.
As the Ottoman government under the C.U.P. instituted reforms partly aimed at improving the lives of Armenians, the revolutionaries, ratcheted up their activities against all who disagreed with their ambitions, whether Muslim or Christian. In 1912 Armenian rebels assassinated the Mayor of Van in 1912, Bedros Kapamaciyan, an Armenian, because they felt he was too loyal to the Ottoman central government. That the rebels would not relent was quite logical, the authors point out, because the Russians were likely to win the looming war.
The stage set, the last third of the book describes the main Van Rebellion, which took place after the outbreak of World War I. By February of 1915 Muslims in mixed villages were fleeing to be among other Muslims. Armenians did the same. The confrontation, the authors deduce, was no longer one of Ottoman forces against Russian forces and their Armenian partisans; “[i]t had become a general war between the Muslims and the Armenians.” It raged first outside of the city an then, by late April 1915, in the city itself.
The Armenians, well armed, though without artillery, determinedly held their ground within the city center throughout the fiercest fighting, earning the upper hand by May 17, at which point they burned the Muslim quarter of the city and massacred those Muslims who had not fled. On May 20, they handed the city over to the Russian Army. The Russians rewarded the rebels by installing the rebel leader, Aram Manukian, as governor of the Russian Province of Van, which was short-lived, as Ottoman forces retook the city ten weeks later, leading to reprisals by Muslims against Armenians, who now were in flight toward the retreating Russian lines. Van was to change hands yet several more times during the ensuing weeks before Russian forces established firm control over the area in late September. This time, however, the Russians remained in charge, appointed a military governor, and disarmed local Armenian “volunteers.” Van’s fate changed yet again when the Russian Army decamped to join in the Russian Revolution. Armenians were left in control of the region and formed a government, which even issued its own currency. Despite an influx of returning Armenian refugees, the military strength of the Armenians had waned and Ottoman forces finally reclaimed the city of Van in April of 1918. When an American survey mission led by Captain Emery Niles toured the area in 1919, they beheld a depopulated, utterly devastated region.
Ultimately, the Armenian revolution was a lost revolution, despite what the authors consider its tactical brilliance.
The seizure of Van by the Armenian rebels has become a piece of Armenian folklore. Of critical importance, the authors attempt to square the Ottoman military accounts of the force strength of the Armenians in the city with later Armenian summaries. In the text and in explanatory notes, the authors show that a recent and widely lauded account by an Armenian researcher (Ter Minassian) is likely skewed based on a faulty reading of earlier studies. The authors’ apparent goal is to demonstrate that the Armenian effort in the city was a significant military endeavor, and not a hastily patched together defensive scrum. This portion of the book, on pages 206-210, will likely cause the most controversy among those with hardened opinions on the ultimate question of whether the Van Rebellion could be considered an act of self-defense.
In sum, “The Armenian Rebellion at Van,” is a fine, academic work, devoid of rhetorical embellishment. Indeed, it must be considered the most valuable work to date in the English language on the subject. Yet one does leave it with a few questions. For example, while much is made about the efforts of the Ottoman government to address the conditions of the Armenians in the Van region, little time is spent discussing the overall status of the Armenians in Ottoman society and what may have made them so desirous of European support to upend what the authors call the “centuries-old political and social system in Eastern Anatolia.” Certainly many who will be attracted to this book will have read other works that address this. Also, while the movements of the Russian army in the South Caucasus and the aims of the Czar’s government are amply described, most of the sources for such appear to be secondary. The authors note that Russian sources were unavailable, but do not describe why they were unavailable or what efforts they made to obtain them.
Additional criticism of this book will surely take the form of ad hominem attacks on the authors, particularly Prof. McCarthy, who has been embraced by Turkey. Yet this should render the work no less worthy. Indeed, most who level this charge ignore the wide esteem in which authors such as Vakhan Dadrian, Richard Hovanissian and Ronald Suny, are held in Armenia. This book provides ample notes and other references that will allow it to be critiqued on its scholarly merits. The conclusions drawn by the authors, especially about the complex tribal rivalries seem rational and supported by the evidence.
Finally, those with more than a passing interest in the history of the late Ottoman Empire and the fate of the Ottoman Armenians know that the Van rebellion was a primary impetus for the Ottoman government’s issuance of the infamous relocation orders, which historians agree were poorly carried out with disastrous results for the Armenians. Yet the authors scarcely pay heed to this fact. One can surmise that the reason for this tact is not the authors’ fear that they may be subject to arrest in France or Switzerland and tried for genocide denial, but rather that the rebellion itself is worthy of close examination in its own right.
Today a new city of Van sits 4 km east of the rubble that remains of the old city. But not everything in the area has been allowed to remain in decrepitude. The Armenian Cathedral of the Holy Cross on Akhtamar island had been restored using Turkish government funds, Kurdish labor, and Armenian guidance.
Armenians Recall Valley Prejudice By Doug Hoagland / The Fresno Bee
Sam Kalfayan angrily grabbed the real estate salesman by the tie.
Kalfayan's chest tightened beneath the U.S. Army uniform he still wore after returning from World War II. Kalfayan had risked his life for his country, but now he was being told he couldn't buy a house in a Fresno neighborhood because he was Armenian.
"I was so goddamned mad I could have killed the bastard," recalled Kalfayan, now 97.
He felt as if he had been sucker-punched that summer day in 1945. Yet the property restriction was nothing new. For decades, deeds barred Armenians from some Fresno neighborhoods unless they were servants.
A Stanford researcher interviewed Fresno residents in the 1920s about their attitudes toward Armenian immigrants. Go to fresnobee.com/Saroyan and click on the Articles link to read summaries of their comments.
Prejudice and discrimination greeted Armenians as surely as the Valley's mild weather and towering mountains in the distance reminded them of their homeland.
Early-day Armenians, including author William Saroyan, adjusted. But they didn't forget.
Saroyan's previously unpublished novella, "Follow" -- written about 1930 and now being serialized in The Bee -- touches on prejudice.
In chapter four, protagonist Aram Diranian of Fresno scrawls "American" on an application form when asked to describe his nationality. "My people are Armenians," he acknowledges to an employment-agency clerk who questions this answer.
But he silently thinks: "It would be good to get away from this town. Here he would always be an Armenian, there would never be any escape from that, but in the outer world no one would care what he was, no one would dare look down upon him as an inferior."
Today, the discrimination is illegal and the prejudice has faded.
Many Valley residents know nothing about it. And some older Armenians don't like talking about those dark days.
While young Armenians such as 21-year-old Knar Mekhitarian of Fresno have heard stories of prejudice and discrimination from family members, their lives have been different.
"I don't feel discriminated against, and that's a good feeling," Mekhitarian said.
Yet some older Armenians offer poignant reminders.
"Just being what I am, I feel unclean," said 88-year-old Bob Der Mugrdechian of Clovis, his voice quavering with emotion.
Prejudice "dies hard," and still exists, though subtly, said Dickran Kouymjian, professor emeritus and just-retired director of the Armenian studies program at California State University, Fresno. "It's just gone underground. The great majority of Fresnans has no prejudice toward the Armenians. But there is a residual something. I don't know what you call it. Maybe suspicion."
Some think the fact that many Armenians prospered -- doing better than some established Fresnans -- inflamed passions against them. But their prosperity ultimately led to their acceptance in a society where -- as Saroyan once wrote -- people respect money.
"That damn money did it," said 95-year-old Susie Baboian Hedges, a Fresno Armenian who married an odar -- a non-Armenian. "You can swing your weight around when you have moola."
The most glaring prejudice and discrimination against Armenians in Fresno occurred from the 1890s to the 1940s, and one of the first documented cases took place in -- of all places -- a house of worship, according to historical accounts.
In the 1890s, Congregational minister J.H. Collins demanded that Armenians sit by themselves in church. He also removed hymnals and Bibles from their seats and announced he wanted to rid his congregation of Armenian parishioners. He even came down from the pulpit during one Sunday service to supervise the expulsion of an Armenian from a restricted pew.
Church officials eventually censured Collins, but the Armenians started their own Congregational church. Pilgrim Armenian Congregational Church, now on First Street, still exists.
Businesses discriminated, too. In 1899, The Traders Insurance Company of Chicago sent its Fresno agent a letter instructing him to cancel the policies of Armenians.
They were considered too risky and a "hazard" because they had enemies in the community, the letter read.
Many insurance companies wouldn't sell to Armenians because they were suspected of buying policies on their businesses and then committing arson, said Bill Secrest Jr., local history librarian at the Fresno County Library.
One historian looked into the allegations but found no evidence to support them, Secrest said.
Armenians also faced barriers in housing.
By 1920, most lived near Holy Trinity Armenian Apostolic Church, at M and Ventura avenues, in what was called Armenian Town. Neighborhoods in the "exclusive" Fig Garden, Huntington Boulevard and Sunnyside areas were off-limits to Armenian families, first by tacit understanding among sellers and then by restrictive clauses in deeds, Secrest said.
One property deed from the 1920s says that for 15 years no person of "Negro or Mongolian origin, nor any subject or former subject of the Turkish Empire" could live on the property, except as a household worker.
Armenians had lived in the Ottoman Empire and genocide there killed 1.5 million of them between 1915 and 1923. The nation of Turkey emerged from the empire's collapse in World War I.
Many Armenians came to Fresno as political refugees.
Fresno had never before experienced a big influx of non-European immigrants other than Chinese and Japanese.
The poor felt threatened by the hard-working Armenian merchants and farmers, while the powerful disliked the Armenians' ambition, Kouymjian said.
People, it seemed, felt free to openly express their anti-Armenian prejudice.
"Why encourage this decadent parasitic race to emigrate here when there are millions of the finest stock in England, Scandinavia, Germany and France ready to come here?" a Fresno doctor told Stanford University doctoral student Richard LaPiere in the late 1920s. LaPiere, who was writing a dissertation about Fresno Armenians, did not name the people he interviewed.
A teacher asked LaPiere: "Why should we try to assimilate these peoples and disturb the otherwise smooth equilibrium of our race. I believe in race purity and the pride of all peoples in keeping their race pure."
Armenians drew on their own pride to help sustain them, Kouymjian said. They knew their history -- how their kings had battled the mighty Roman Empire and how Armenia was the first Christian nation.
"There was an innate self-confidence," Kouymjian said. "Our history told us we had been valiant, famous and wealthy once and it could be that way again."
Armenians also had learned to live as second-class citizens in the Ottoman Empire, Kouymjian said, and many could handle the early-day hostility in Fresno.
Yet some Armenians were so stung by the prejudice in the Valley that they changed their last names -- eliminating the i-a-n, a telltale sign of Armenian parentage.
Celebrated San Francisco defense attorney Charles Garry was born Garabed Garabedian and grew up in Selma from 1914 to 1929.
He earned top grades at Selma High and should have been a candidate to give the valedictory speech at graduation. But his principal said that was impossible because he was Armenian, Garry told Fresno journalist Roger Tatarian years later.
"... of course you understand," the principal told the Garabedians.
Garry changed his name and didn't return to the Valley for decades. At his 1979 homecoming, according to news accounts, he told a banquet of the Armenian General Benevolent Union in Fresno:
"I hate this place. I hate Fresno County. I hate every part of it, because I have sensed and felt racism to its highest intent. I learned what racism is. I learned what it is to be a member of a minority. I learned what it is to be scorned upon, despised and hated."
Garry -- who defended anti-establishment activists and militant radicals like Huey Newton and Eldridge Cleaver -- died in 1991.
Some families pragmatically accepted changing their names.
"I didn't think nothing [of it] at all because of the prejudice we had here," said 101-year-old Arthur Rustigan, a retired Fresno restaurateur, who was born a Rustigian. His oldest brother changed the name around 1920, part of a trend that was most common in the 1920s and 1930s.
While Rustigan knew the sting of prejudice -- he didn't feel welcome at high school dances and games in the 1920s -- he said it's painful to dredge up the details. "That doesn't set right with me," he said.
The evolution of prejudice in Fresno is seen in the stories told by Rustigan's son, Jack.
He fought with new classmates in elementary school who taunted him after the family moved from Armenian Town to then-north Fresno at McKinley and Blackstone avenues in the mid-1940s. Jack Rustigan, now 70 and a pharmacist, was called a "black Armenian" -- an insult apparently based on some Armenians' olive complexion turning darker after a summer in the Valley sun.
But by junior high school, Jack Rustigan said, he was accepted and he was elected class president at Fresno High School in the early 1950s.
In the 1980s, Jack Rustigan got angry when his then-teenage son -- who felt no prejudice -- wanted to wear a badge to school that read, "Armenian Power."
"I didn't want him to get whacked or yelled at," Rustigan said. "I flashed back to the old days when there was prejudice against us and you didn't flaunt that you were Armenian."
While it might seem odd today when civil rights movements of all kinds flourish, a movement for Armenians never sprung up in Fresno. Kouymjian said he doesn't know why, but believes that Armenians had one advantage over blacks and Hispanics: "They didn't have the strike of color against them."
Fresno author Berge Bulbulian ("The Fresno Armenians: History of a Diaspora Community") said it wasn't in the Armenian nature to take to the streets in protest.
"They were making their lives," he said. "They were happy living in Armenian Town. They could become professionals. They just let it go and it cured itself. Protesting wasn't their way of doing things."
Instead, a generation of people like Sam Kalfayan went to school, got jobs and raised families. After World War II, Kalfayan earned several degrees, including master's degrees in agricultural economics and public administration, and he worked as a manager for several California cities.
A long life has left him with many memories. None seems more vivid than the day in 1945 when he was a war veteran and he wanted to put down $5,000 for a house in southeast Fresno. After being rejected as an Armenian, Kalfayan stormed off to the district attorney's office for assistance.
"My friend and my hero," the district attorney told him, "I'm sorry. I can't help you because this is not a criminal matter. It's a civil matter."
Kalfayan decided not to sue, because he believed a lawyer would only take his money and nothing would change -- though eventually the government did outlaw housing discrimination.
Progress doesn't take away pain, however.
"Some things you don't accept," Kalfayan said, sobs mixing with his words. "That was an insult I couldn't take."
Canada's Shameful Legacy Of Aborginal Abuse By Dave Bennett
30 April, 2008, Countercurrents.org
On April 28, 2008 the Canadian Government announced the appointment of Harry LaForme, the Ontario judge who will head the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. The government’s official website calls it "an initiative meant to raise awareness of the impact on human dignity caused by the residential school experience." The website goes on to say that sixty million dollars will be allocated.
When I was growing up in the early twentieth century, folks called it "the Indian Problem," and I bought into it completely, the way we all bought into the supremacy of the British Empire, and the reading of [Christian] scriptures in our public schools.
According to the received wisdom, Indians were simple people. They couldn’t handle liquor, and they certainly weren’t mature enough to vote. They needed -- and benefited from -- our protective custody. In the prevailing culture of good Christian arrogance these were givens.
In such a climate we stole the birthright of Canada’s aboriginal peoples.
"Our objective is to continue until there is not a single Indian in Canada that has not been absorbed into the body politic, and there is no Indian problem." These are the words of Duncan Campbell Scott who served as director of the Indian Affairs Department for two decades. In 1920, he made it mandatory for all native children between the ages of 7 and 15 to attend residential schools. In this way he was merely following the lead of a predecessor who in 1908 prescribed education as the means to "elevate the Indian from his condition of savagery." For Campbell the mechanism was simple. He delegated a few mainstream Christian missions with the task "to take the Indian out of the Indian." The missions were given absolute authority. It was an abdication of responsibility.
The fatal flaw was that there was no accountability and no provision for oversight. We know now that this is a recipe for disaster.
Given the delegation of absolute power for the custody of children and no accountability required, it was easy for those good missionaries and their -- mostly untrained -- staffs to become sadistic and cruel.
The sensational stories of abuse, sexual and otherwise -- should we care to hear them -- are heart-wrenching. For speaking a native language, meals were denied or a needle run through the tongue. There was deliberate alienation from family and culture. In the words of one survivor, "When you went back home things weren't the same anymore. You were ashamed that you had once lived that way."
A native website recounts one survivor’s story of a girl who received a new dress as a birthday gift from her mother. "... the nun slapped me on my face and sent me to the principal's office...I stood by [a] post for three days with only bread and water and I was forbidden to speak to the other girls. All my privileges were taken away...she made it sound like I was trying to make myself a dirty human being."
Indian agents were recruited to take the children – sometimes forcibly - from their homes. An estimated 100,000 were abducted. Over half of them died in custody from disease augmented by malnutrition and neglect.
The story of the residential schools has been ignored by most Canadians. The history textbooks which my generation had in high school or college gave scant (if any) mention of aboriginal peoples and none of residential schools.
Fortunately things have improved somewhat. Today my grandchildren can opt to take programs in aboriginal studies conducted by serious scholars, many of them aboriginal.
There is another sign of progress. One of the many qualifications required of those who aspire to being named to the T. and R. Commission is the "ability to respect and participate in ceremonies and spiritual practices, and to understand the worldview and transformation potential of ceremonies." Duncan Campbell Scott would never have dreamed of such a thing! But then there is the matter of the ‘genocide cover-up.'
Vendors at the Mohawk Pow-Wow in my community offer a T-Shirt reproducing an ancient tintype showing Native warriors in full battle regalia with the legend : "Protecting Homeland Security since 1492." - clearly a reference to Christopher Columbus. Many believe he was responsible for wiping out the defenseless and non-aggressive Taino who were numbered in the millions in 1492.
But that was another time. That couldn't happen in Canada, could it?
Dr. Roland Chrisjohn is Director of Native Studies at St. Thomas University in Fredericton, New Brunswick. Writing in the native website Turtle Island, Dr. Chrisjohn says, "What happened with reservation schooling wasn't kind of like genocide, it wasn't cultural genocide, it wasn't something approximating genocide. It was genocide. And when I say that, even from First Nations people, I often get these long looks. And nobody who's ever given me those long looks has ever read the UN Convention on Genocide, so I put it in my book.
"If you look at Article 2(e), ‘forcibly transferring children of the group to another group is an act of genocide.’ This is the same UN Convention on Genocide that Canada bound itself to in 1949 and assented to in 1951 in a unanimous vote of both houses of Parliament. So for thirty years or more, Canada knowingly committed genocide."
In his book The Circle Game: Shadows and Substance in the Residential School Experience in Canada, Dr. Chrisjohn expands on the ways our government deliberately fudged the definitions it signed at the Geneva Convention.
What if we accept that the majority of Canadians are to blame for this crime against humanity, this government sponsored identity theft from aboriginal peoples. We ask with a shrug, how can you pin blame on millions of people?
It’s not just a matter of fixing blame. It’s more about fixing deep wounds -- generations deep wounds, fixing outmoded concepts, flawed and arrogant eurocentric concepts.
Fortunately there has been a resurgence of awareness -- as reflected in books exploring aboriginal issues by a new generation of scholars and other professionals [e,g, lawyers and social workers] many of whom are aboriginal themselves.
What do I hope this Commission can accomplish?
Worst case scenario: Aboriginal people write it off as yet another meaningless report. And other Canadians hide behind that lame excuse ‘Well, everyone else did it!’
Better scenario: Canadians of all backgrounds are moved to truly recognize the survivors and their descendants, acknowledge their pain and comprehend the totality of their loss.
In this respect we can learn from the Australians, who also had residential schools for Aboriginal children -- their own "Stolen Generations." A government website tells how a National Sorry Day was set up as an annual event to offer people "the opportunity to be involved in activities to acknowledge the impact of the policies of forcible removal on Australia's indigenous populations." (In 2005 Sorry Day was renamed as the National Day of Healing for all Australians.)
Suppose we are moved to act in some way, what can we do about it that can actually have some impact?
I suggest that one step is to applaud the Canadian government for setting up the Commission. And let them know that you expect them to act boldly, creatively. That we Canadians don’t begrudge the sixty million tax dollars they have committed, but we are holding them accountable to ensure that the money is well spent.
Dave Bennett is a Writer and Activist, living with his wife in Belleville Ontario, Canada.
Does Swedish Archives Confirm It Was a Genocide?
A recently conducted study at the Uppsala University has revealed highly interesting information in the Swedish Archives, which once again confirm the researchers' view of the events in the Ottoman Turkey during the First World War: the Christian minorities, the Armenians in particular, were subjected to genocide.
The massacres in Ottoman Turkey during the First World War claimed the lives of approximately 1.5 million out of a world population of four million Armenians, while over 250,000 Assyrians/Chadeans and equal number of Pontic Greeks. In 1923, for the first time in over 2,500 years, Armenians no longer lived on 85 % of their fatherland. Thus, the Armenian genocide was, in a sense, a successful genocide, acquiring the perpetrators an Armenia without Armenians. The conducted survey covers the period between 1915 and 1923 and includes, among others, reports which the Swedish Ambassador, Cosswa Anckarsvärd, and the Swedish Military Attaché, Einar af Wirsén, both stationed in Constantinople, sent to the Foreign Department (found in the National Archive) and the General Staff Headquarters (found in the War Archive) in Stockholm, respectively.
In total, about eighty documents were found with direct relevance to the so-called Armenian Question, of which some are over-explicit in their message: the Turkish Government conducted a systematic extermination of the Armenian Nation. On July 6, 1915, Ambassador Anckarsvärd, writing to the Swedish Foreign Minister, Knut Wallenberg, concludes: “Mr. Minister, The persecutions of the Armenians have reached hair-raising proportions and all points to the fact that the Young Turks want to seize the opportunity, since due to different reasons there are no effective external pressure to be feared, to once and for all put an end to the Armenian question. The means for this are quite simple and consist of the extermination [utrotandet] of the Armenian nation [emphasis added].” Anckarsvärd's reports until 1920 persisted in the same insight.
At several occasions, the Ambassador points out that “It is obvious that the Turks are taking the opportunity to, now during the war, annihilate [utplåna] the Armenian nation [emphasis added] so that when the peace comes no Armenian question longer exists.” In a later report (1917) he underlines that the massacres are not clashes between the Muslim and the Armenian populations, but “that the persecutions of Armenians have been done at the instigation of the Turkish Government [emphasis added]...” As an explanation to the prevailing famine in Turkey during 1917, the Embassy Envoy Alhgren mentions the shortage of workers, which is claimed partly to be a result of “the extermination of the Armenian race [utrotandet af den armeniska rasen] [emphasis added]”. Major Wirsén's reports to the General Staff concur with Anckarsvärd's analysis. In 1942 Wirsén published his memoirs, entitled Minnen från fred och krig (“Memories from Peace and War”), reflecting upon his time as Swedish Military Attaché in the Balkans and Turkey.
In a chapter entitled Mordet på Armenica.org www.armenica.org firstname.lastname@example.org
en nation (“The Murder of a Nation”), Wirsén renders his observations of the Armenian massacres: “Officially, these [deportations] had the goal to move the entire Armenian population to the steppe regions of Northern Mesopotamia and Syria, but in reality they aimed to exterminate [utrota] the Armenians [emphasis added], whereby the pure Turkish element in Asia Minor would achieve a dominating position.” In the conclusion of this chapter he recalls his conversation with the Turkish Grand Vizier Talaat Pasha and notes: “The annihilation of the Armenian nation [emphasis added] in Asia Minor must revolt all human feelings…
The way the Armenian problem was solved was hair-raising. I still can see in front of me Talaat's cynical expression, when he emphasized that the Armenian Question was solved.” The mentioned quotations are a fraction of the information presented in the study. In addition to the mentioned archives of the Foreign Ministry and the General Staff, the reports from the Swedish missionaries and the Swedish newspapers were also included in the study and concur with the same view. The surveyed documents are mainly in regard to the Armenian Question, but the data bed indicates that other Christian groups, such as Greeks and Syriacs, were affected by the same fate.
The study clearly emphasises the concept of “bystander”. While the word itself implies that the bystanders do not participate in the genocide, some contend that they are far from just a neutral viewer to the tragedy, but passive participators in the annihilation. The British statesman and political thinker Edmund Burke's statement captures the essence of the bystanders to genocide: “the only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” The documents clearly indicate that the Swedish Government was well informed about the state-orchestrated extermination of the Armenians.
They also disclose that the Government, fully in accordance with the policy of a small state, consciously chose not to intervene in the matter, neither during the massacres nor after when the League of Nations suggested Sweden as a mandate power in Armenia. While resorting to isolationism during the period of the implementation of the genocide, Sweden followed the general stream, in particular that of the Major Power's, during the post-war period when the question of securing the future of the Armenian Nation was discussed. Sweden, as all other states, chose to secure its national interests rather than standing out from the rest by advocating Armenia's right and the question of punishing the perpetrators of the Armenian genocide. The present-day Swedish Government does not seem to be willing to become involved in the question either. Just last fall, the Foreign Minister Carl Bildt, during an interpellation in the Swedish Parliament, refrained from officially recognising the 1915 genocide, partly by referring to “the need of additional research about what really transpired in the Ottoman Empire.”
The surveyed documents should at least quench that need; the official reports from the Swedish Ambassador and the Swedish Military Attaché in Constantinople are unambiguous: Armenians were subjected to genocide. The study in its whole is included in a master thesis paper which will be presented in the Higher Seminar at the Uppsala University's Department of History.
A Kind Of Disgracefulness!
Aydin Boysan, who is one of the significant architects of our country and who goes to the fore with his journalist identity, quotes a teasing and an extremely valuable anecdote to us once again. Orson Wells is playing the leading role…
The story is as following:
Orson Wells is the great theater and movie actor of the last century…He gets invited from every city and every institution for delivering speeches.
When he gets on the rostrum, he realizes that the hall is very empty and there are only a couple of audiences.
He starts his speech as following:
“I am a theatre director. I am theater and movie actor. I write books and scenarios. I deliver radio speeches and play plays for radios. I also paint and play the piano and violin…”
After taking a deep breath he asks the audiences:
“If there are so many lecturers on the rostrum and so few audiences, what is it if it is not a disgrace?”
Of Course, it is possible to create many alternative ways or scenarios from this quote. Nevertheless, when the issue is examined on the basis of baseless claims, it is inevitable to encounter with a portrait, which coincides exactly the above-mentioned quote.
Turkey displays an Orson Wells character at the Armenian issue.
Turkey, which is on the rostrum and which delivers a speech, is:
Scientific; because she determined a scientific methodology on the archives, as a consequence she is an active and objective archivist.
She made a friendly call to her bordering neighbor Armenia and offered to discuss an historical issue via “mutual history commission” that would be formed by both sides; so, she sides peace.
Despite the tension that is attempted to be created, she allows many Armenian citizens to work in its country; therefore she is supportive.
It is one of the leading countries, which had sent voluntaries to Armenia during an earthquake disaster in 1990’s; so, she is humanist.
She does not assign issues, which are based on claims to the parliaments of foreign countries with the purpose of putting pressure; as a result, she is a good historian and a diplomat, who is distant to shallow thoughts.
Contrary to her neighbor, Turkey never pursuits creating fake social memories and a racist and sly symbolism, which would be transferred to the next generations in the schools; because, she is optimistic, which is not based on Mythos, but facts; and as a consequence, she is humanist, not a racist.
It is evident that Turkey never avoids confronting her history. She can defend the conferences that are organized in his country with a peerless fussiness. And as a result, she can turn her point of view into a freedom platform, which many Armenian activists freely express their views since; she is natural and mature in a fearless conscious, which does not abstain from her history…
Of Course, she is possible to make the list longer…
However, this situation does not prevent the related and clear questions come to minds”. What is it if the following are not a disgrace?
“If there are few countries, which prefers to listen Turkey, when there is a lecturer on the rostrum, who has loads of merits.”
When it is read from the opposite;
“If the issue which they purified from history with racist statements, is carried to a political chaos by Armenian activists, who attempt to create a society in the pursuit of a century long lie, while they do not have any merit.”
And isn’t it a disgracefulness if countries, which had experienced genocide in their history, applaud a play with fake strategic touches by spending ticket money to it.