28 June 2008

2513) Media Scanner 28 Jun 2008 (107 Items)

  1. Classic - The Idle Years by Orhan Kemal
  2. Dink’s First And Only Book Published
  3. Inviting Gul To Armenia Would Be Unbelievable Progress, Bryza Says
  4. Hrant Dink’s First And Only Book Is Published
  5. Turkish Cultural Worker Sacked Over Holocaust Comparison
  6. American Armenians Look Forward To Every Step Obama Makes On His Way To White House
  7. Sarkisian Signals Support For Turkish Genocide Proposal By Emil Danielyan
  8. Armenia Should First Recognize Karabakh’s Independence, Russian Expert Says
  9. Pennington: There Is Willingness Among Many People In Turkey To Talk More Honestly About The Past
  10. Pennington: Armenia Is Lucky That Marie Yovanovitch Was Nominated To Serve As The U.S. Ambassador
  11. Armenian President Plans To Invite Gül To World Cup Qualifying Match
  12. Pro-Armenian Senator Delays Us Ambassadorial Nominee’s Confirmation
  13. Lale Sariibrahimoglu todayszaman.com Lobbying For Arms
  14. Turks And American Indians By Louis Proyect: The Unrepentant Marxist
  15. U.S. Department Of State Hopes For Soonest Normalization Of Armenia-Turkey Relations
  16. Lev Spivak: Armenian Genocide Discussion In Knesset Is A Fact That Should Be Accepted
  17. System Of Down May Represent Armenia At Eurovision 2009?
  18. European Court Rules Against Turkey In Deaths Of Greek Cypriots
  19. Will The President Of Turkey Come To Yerevan?
  20. “g” Factor: Did Genocide Or Gay Trouble U.S. Envoy?
  21. Pennington: U.S. To Promote Armenia-Turkey Reconciliation
  22. Nominee Refrains From G-Word, Says Armenian Killings Were Ethnic Cleansing
  23. Menendez Slams US Position on Armenian Genocide, June 23 by greek_news
  24. Anti-Defamation League denies Armenian Genocide?
  25. Redefining Turkey's Strategic Orientation (Richard Griragosian)
  26. One Week after Sweden Rejected Recognition of the 1915 Genocide
  27. Another Challenging Call From Anca For Open Auction : Contribute Cash Now - Buy 3rd Seat In Capitol Hill
  28. ANCA appoints-approves US Ambassador to Armenia
  29. Key Senate Panel Seeks Greater Accountability for Crimes Against Humanity
  30. The Armenian Question And The Attitude Of The Us
  31. Senator Puts One-Month Hold On Bush's Nominee For Armenia
  32. Novel Strategy To Avoid The ‘G-Word’
  33. ATAA Statement Enters House Foreign Affairs Committee Hearing Record on Southern Caucasus
  34. Turkish Diplomat: "We Have Three Main Demands From Armenia"
  35. Is Historical Accuracy a Casualty in `East of Byzantium'?
  36. Paradise Lost Smyrna 1922: The Destruction of Islam's City of Tolerance by Giles Milton
  37. The Swedish Parliament, With An Overwhelming Vote Of 245 - 37
  38. RAND Corporation: Armenian Genocide Resolution Passage “will Do Nothing To Foster Turkish-Armenian Reconciliation”
  39. AAC Constantinople Patriarch Goes On Sick Leave
  40. 70 Per Cent Of Turks Eye U.S. As Enemy
  41. Armenia Wants Normal Relations With All States In Region, Including Turkey
  42. Rand Corporation Designs Four Scenarios For Turkey's Future
  43. The Swedish Parliament And The Armenian Genocide Allegations
  44. How Turkey Should React To Sarkozy?
  45. Historians To Find The Truth Not Politicians, Says Gül
  46. Azerbaijani Support Against Allegations
  47. RAND Scenarios
  48. Rand Corporation Designs Four Scenarios For Turkey's Future
  49. An Open Letter To People Of Anatolia
  50. Obama Reaffirms Commitment To ‘genocide’ Recognition
  51. Publisher Sentenced Over Book On Armenian Killings
  52. The Push For Us Ambassador's G Recognition
  53. "Christians In Ottoman Empire" International Conference To Be Held In Canada In 2009
  54. Ben Cardin: In Armenia We Need An Ambassador Who Understands Historical Facts
  55. Congressman Berman Urges Turkey To End Counter-Productive Practice Of Closed Borders
  56. Hearings On Armenia Held At U. S. House Foreign Affairs Committee
  57. House Foreign Affairs Committee Grill Assistant Secretary On Armenian Issues
  58. Daniel Fried: Turkey Needs To Come To Terms With A Dark Chapter In Its History
  59. It Has Been President Bush’s Policy Not To Use Term ‘genocide’
  60. Us Urges Armenia To Recognize Turkish Border
  61. Armenian Assembly of America www.aaainc.org Press Release
  62. Armenia Shall Overcome
  63. Us Official Urges Turkey To Face Past Regarding Armenians
  64. ANCA Commends Congressman Berman For Conducting House Hearing On Armenia
  65. Congressman Berman Urges Turkey To End Counter-Productive Practice Of Closed Borders
  66. Daniel Fried: Turkey Needs To Come To Terms With A Dark Chapter In Its History
  67. Relations Not To Be Re-Established Between Turkey And Armenia: Chairman Of Turkish Parliament
  68. Obama Calls For Religious Freedom For Fener Patriarch
  69. Armenian Genocide Teaching Gets Final Approval
  70. Bruce Fein: U.S. must stop doting on Armenia
  71. They work like ANTS! We sleep, like GIANTS! S.S.Aya : AncaUpdate: Call Bush Officials to ask questions about Turkey's blockade, the Armenian Genocide and Azerbaijan's increased aggression against Karabagh, urge your senator to ask questions about Turkey's gag rule on U.S. affirmation of the Armenian Genocide as well as other U.S. - Armenia concerns.
  72. Laciner: Obama May Uphold Genocide Claims
  73. Lake Van’s Forgotten North Shore
  74. Note on Armenian Allegations - Recent Developments by TurkishForum
  75. “I Love & Respect Humeini; I Don’t Love Ataturk”; Shari’a Desired: Two Islamist Turkish Students On TV
  76. Minister Babacan Meets With Obama Aides In Washington
  77. Obama May Uphold Genocide Claims
  78. French Senate Delivers Blow To Anti-Turkey Plan
  79. Turkey: A Slow-Fuse Time Bomb
  80. 'Neither Obama Nor Mccain Problem Solvers'
  81. Swedish Parliament Refuses to Recognize the 1915 Genocide
  82. Dr. Lusine Sahakyan To Present “ The Epic Novel About General Andranik”
  83. Bosphorus Quartet To Perform In Yerevan On June 18
  84. Senate And House Hearings To Focus On Armenia And Caucasus Region
  85. Experts Concerned Over Military Expenditures Increase In South Caucasus
  86. Question And Answer Forum In U.S. Embassy
  87. “they Are Not Guilty That Stayed Alive”
  88. Egbert Jahn: Armenian Genocide Debate May Fade After Turkey Joins EU
  89. Armenia Terminates Turkey’s Full Influence On South Caucasus
  90. Uk Government Advisory Body Agrees To The Validity Of The Name "Armenia" In Turkey
  91. Analysis: Are Armenian-Turkish Relations Headed For Breakthrough -- Or Breakdown?
  92. Mccain Or Obama: What Is The Turkish Bet?
  93. Garry Kasparov And A New Kind Of ‘extremism’
  94. Too Many Holocausts : Toronto School Trustees Face The Conflicting Wrath Of Many In Bid To Limit Genocide Course
  95. Long In Diaspora, Armenians Return Home
  96. USD 2 Billion Required
  97. London Hosting Exhibition 'Azerbaijan: Past, Present And Future'
  98. Ex-House Speaker Hastert Finds New Home
  99. Obama Wins Out, Hastert Cashes In, ANCA Speaks Up by ANCA
  100. Former Indian Mp Compares Attack Of Indian Army Against Sikhs With Armenian Genocide
  101. Analysis: Are Armenian-Turkish Relations Headed For Breakthrough -- Or Breakdown?
  102. My Dream For Turkey, By Boris's Great-Grandfather by Norman Stone
  103. Turkish-Armenian Relations Norman Stone
  104. American Researcher Justin Mccarthy: “if Armenians Want To Annex Nagorno Karabakh To Armenia, They Should Return Historical Lands Of Azerbaijan”
  105. Goal Of Historians Is To Write Truth, Of Azerbaijanis And Turks ? To Inform The International Community About It: American Expert
  106. Mccain Or Obama: What Is The Turkish Bet?
  107. Ankara Weighing Challenges Of Probable Obama Period

Classic - The Idle Years by Orhan Kemal
The Times review by Margaret Reynolds, From The Times, June 27, 2008,
Orhan Kemal (1914-70, above) is one of Turkey's most famous and popular modern writers. He wrote novels, plays, short stories and screenplays. And yet, this translation of his early semi-autobiographical novels - Baba Evi (My Father's House) and Avare Yillar (The Idle Years) - is the first of his works to appear in English.

Kemal was born Mehmet Rasit Ögütçü in Ceyhan, a village in Adana, Turkey, at the beginning of the First World War. The old empire was still in place with its corrupt factions and extremes between rich and poor. But the upheavals that led to the construction of a modern republic were under way. Kemal's father eventually became a Member of Parliament and a minister, and his mother was a secondary school graduate and an intellectual. While he was a child, however, the family were driven into exile in Syria and Lebanon and the young writer's education was chaotic.

These early experiences form the basis of The Idle Years. Like his creator, the unnamed narrator is born to a well-off family whose impressive “chestnut-moustached” father was a lieutenant in the artillery corps. But then his father's political activities make them outlaws, and bare survival is all.

Kemal's style seems simple, but it is necessary to read between the lines. In Konya the child sees a protest in the streets: “We want Shariah! We don't want this foreign government!”. Days later, when the Army arrives, he witnesses another scene: “The horsemen rode by...Hats and moustaches resplendent under the glorious sunshine. These were followed by the Don't-Wants, the peasants in their caps, hands tied behind their backs”.

Being a child, the narrator and his brother go on playing. But their game is to arrest one of the family's hens “by order of Their Majesties”, try the accused, condemn it, and hang it from the mulberry tree to be beaten.

Kemal knows suffering, and yet goes on believing.
The Idle Years by Orhan Kemal translated by Cengiz Lugal, Peter Owen, £11.95


Dink’s First And Only Book Published
An international foundation that was founded to promote Turkish-Armenian relations following the 2007 murder of famous Turkish-Armenian writer and journalist Hrant Dink, has published Dink’s first and only book.

The International Hrant Dink Foundation’s publicity cocktail for the book “Two Close Nations, Two Distant Neighbors” was held on Thursday at the Tütün Deposu in the Tophane quarter of Istanbul, with the attendance of the murdered journalist’s wife, Rakel, his daughter, Sera, Etyen Mahçupyan, who took over the post of editor-in-chief of the Armenian daily Agos after Dink’s demise, and a number of other journalists, academics and intellectuals, such as Ali Bayramoglu, Prof. Ahmet Insel, Esber Yagmurdereli and Hakan Tahmaz.

The guests at the cocktail had their copies autographed by Rakel Dink.

The 104-page book was readied for publication by Mahçupyan, who said it was Mensur Akgün, the director of the Turkish Economic and Social Studies Foundation’s (TESEV) Foreign Policy Program, who had requested that Dink write such a book. He said that the book ended up having a tone that was in line with Dink’s approach, rather than what Akgün had requested. “So Akgün wanted some changes to be made to the book, as it was, to him, ‘a little far’ from the reserved stance he had initially intended it to have. However, he later said that publishing the book had now become an issue of paying homage to Dink and that it would be better if it was published by the International Hrant Dink Foundation,” Mahçupyan explained.

In a short speech, Rakel Dink said: “We live on for the continuity of that courageous voice. He used to speak out for justice without asking questions or questioning things. We should follow in his footsteps for the sake of justice. Let my husband’s ears ring.”

“Hrant Dink never wrote a book. He used to make fun of this situation, saying, ‘I’m a writer without a book.’ This humorous approach also points to the fact that Hrant was a man of action. As the founder and editor-in-chief of Agos, he developed a style and a way of action, primarily on Turkish-Armenian relations, one of the main problems in Turkey. He also contributed to the democratization process in Turkey,” according to the poster that invited people to the publicity cocktail. In the book, Dink talks about the importance of Turkish-Armenian relations.

He writes that he dedicated the book to the Armenians, Turks and Kurds killed during the forced migrations of 1915. “Are we going to act like the perpetrators of the great disasters of the past or are we going to write new pages in a way befitting a civilized person by extracting lessons from those errors? This is the biggest responsibility incumbent on us. It’s my most important duty to make efforts for the improvement of Turkish-Armenian relations,” he writes.

The book also notes that the biggest step in Turkish-Armenian relations was taken by the late founder and leader of the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), Alpaslan Türkes. “The unobtrusive meeting of Alpaslan Türkes, the most hawkish man in Turkey, and Armenian President Petrosyan in France was an important step in that sense. This meeting was, of course, not official. However, it is a fact that it was more important than the official ones. It turned out to be an important balancing factor.” 28 June 2008, Fatih Vural Zaman


Inviting Gul To Armenia Would Be Unbelievable Progress, Bryza Says
27.06.2008 ,/PanARMENIAN.Net/ U.S. Deputy Assistant of State for European and Eurasian Affairs, Matthew Bryza said that inviting Turkish President Gul to Armenia would be unbelievable progress.

The Armenian President announced his intention to invite Abdullah Gul to Yerevan for a soccer match between the Armenian and Turkish national teams.

“I know President Sargsyan well and I think that his positions are somehow different from positions of his predecessor. I have an impression that Sargsyan and Aliyev are closer that Kocharian and Aliyev were. Both Presidents demonstrated a pragmatic approach and each was ready to listen to the opponent,” he said.

The U.S. diplomat voiced hope that a framework agreement on Nagorno Karabakh will be signed till the yearend, RFE/RL reports.


Hrant Dink’s First And Only Book Is Published
Dink’s book in which he discusses the Armenia-Turkey relations that he saw as the key to solving the Armenian problem. “Iki Yakin Halk Iki Uzak Komsu” (Two Close People Two Far Neighbors) is published by International Hrant Dink Foundation.

Bia news center, 27-06-2008

International Hrant Dink Foundation has published Hrant Dink’s book titled “Iki Yakin Halk Iki Uzak Komsu” (Two Close People Two Far Neighbors), which Dink had written, before he was murdered, for Foreign Politics Program of the Turkish Economic and Social Studies Foundation (TESEV).
“Dink’s Memento”

Etyen Mahçupyan, who prepared the book, said in the preface he wrote that “This book is an invitation…invitation to the heart, to love, to the conscience, to all of humanity…This is a memento of a man of action who made his mark on our souls, who soften up all of us with a single touch…”

According to Mahçupyan, what the director of the Foreign Politics Program Mensur Akgün expected from Dink was “a balanced monographic text towards solution, dealing with the dimensions of the relations between Turkey and Armenia, but at the same looking at the relations between Turks and Armenians in the background as well.” However, Dink realized that Akgün would not have found the text he had written in 2005 suitable. In fact, Akgün asked for some changes in the book that he thought was a “bit” far from the distant approach that was asked. Later Hrant Dink was taken from us.

When Akgün said that publishing this book was a matter of a debt of loyalty and that it was more fitting that the International Hrant Dink Foundation published it, the book became published under the editorship of Mahçupyan.

Mahçupyan writes in the preface, “It is difficult to believe, but this book had completely gotten out of my mind. Perhaps losing Hrant had forced my inner world reject everything that was connected to him, fearing that he would be replaced. However, in time, this book became one of the means of healing my soul.”

Dink tells in his book how important the relations between Turkey and Armenia are for the solution of the “Armenian Problem”, the disagreement in the Turkish-Armenian “lack of any connection”.

The book includes the complete text of Dink’s famous speech titled “Su çatlagini buldu”, which was given at BilgiUniversity, the text of Armenian Foreign Minister Vartan Oskanyan’s 2005 call to Turkey and Dink’s speeches given at the commissions in the Turkish Parliament.
The responsibility of filling in the blank pages

While dedicating the book to the Armenian people, who, after living on this land as a productive people for thousands of years, were, during those painful years, taken away from the land where they used to live and their ties with life and the civilization they created were ripped off, and to all the innocent Anatolians, whether Armenian, Turkish or Kurdish, who lost their lives during this period, Dink adds the following:

From the perspective of the Turkish-Armenian relations, our common destiny that began the centuries ago and that will go for centuries is once more right before us.

Our ancestors filled in their own pages more or less.

The real problem is how we will fill in the blank pages today.

Are we going to behave like those responsible for the great catastrophe or like those who have taken their lesson and are trying to fill in the pages like civilized people? This is the greatest responsibility put in front of us.

Those who escape from this responsibility or those who still want to fill in the pages with bad and painful incidents are actually not any different from those who are responsible for those pains suffered in the past.

We, those who feel responsible, must not allow them monopolize the job of filling in these pages.

Dink’s book is an important source for those who want to fill in the blank pages in a different way, for those who care about this. At the same time, as another example of his ability to enter dialog even with those who were trying to shut him up through harsh means, it is an invitation to everyone. (TK/EZÖ/TB)


27-06-2008, Turkey Youtube Censorship Bypassed by More and More Turkish Citizen by Xavier
The popular service Youtube is a wonderful tool to promote all kind of information. But some countries find this too dangerous for multiple reasons (mainly political and/or religious). Have a look at the map below. It represents a world map of countries were Youtube is/was blocked:

I’m the owner a rootshell.be, a service which offers free UNIX shell accounts and for a few weeks, I detected more and more requests (759 to be precise) coming from Turkey. People were asking SSH tunnel to access youtube.com from Turkey.

I analyzed my web server log files and found that my site was referred on a big portal called pclabs.gen.tr (here is the posted article: www.pclabs.gen.tr/2008/06/02/youtube-ip-engeline-yasal-guvenilir-ve-kesin-cozum/ - Is there a Turkish speaking people who could translate it for me?). They explain how to use a SSH tunnel to access Youtube. Result: 4163 videos have been viewed thru SSH tunnels on rootshell.be in June 08.

The fact that they use my service is not the problem here, everything is logged and restricted to least privilege. But, it demonstrates that filters set by authorities in Turkey or ongoing projects like the one in France will never be the right solution.

We can split this problem in several cases:
Filters are applied to protect users against external risks (example: pedophilia). Filters will never do the job with 100% of reliability. It’s mandatory to perform education in parallel (don’t disclose personal data, don’t surf on suspicious web sites, …)

Filters are applied to prevent the users to access illegal online resources (mainly multimedia files). In this case, it’s prohibited by laws and filters must be in place but in the right way. Protocols used by most Peer-2-Peer networks are also used to spread legal files such new Linux distributions or contents.
Filters are applied to prevent the users to access immoral resources (religious or political). In this case, the danger comes from a main authority which decide if some information is immoral or not. I’ll not debate about religions or politic here, authorities have maybe good reasons to restrict some information but, like in case #2, they cannot block a service which can be also used for “classic” purpose.

What’s your opinion?
blog.rootshell.be/2008/06/27/turkey-youtube-censorship-bypassed-by-more-and-more-turkish-citizen


Turkish Cultural Worker Sacked Over Holocaust Comparison
26/06/2008
The head of a Turkish cultural centre in western Germany has been sacked after comparing Turkish-German relations to anti-semitism in the 1930s

Berlin -- A German institute of Turkish studies sacked its Turkish-born director Thursday after he said Turks in Germany and other European countries suffered discrimination similar to that suffered by the Jews in the Holocaust.

The Essen-based Centre for Turkish Studies, which is funded by the state of North Rhine-Westphalia, said it had decided to sack Faruk Sen for the comment and for previous remarks that presented a distorted picture of relations between Turks and Germans in Germany.

Sen had contributed to polarization, rather than integration, the institute's central aim, it said.

Sen, who has led the well-known institute since its founding in 1985, said he would launch a legal appeal.

Speaking to the German daily Tageszeitung from Istanbul, he described the decision as an "overreaction by the executive" in remarks to be published Friday.

More than a month ago, Sen compared discrimination against Turks in Western Europe with the persecution of the Jews by Germany during World War II in an article in the Turkish newspaper Referans.

He subsequently distanced himself from the remarks and apologized. DPA


American Armenians Look Forward To Every Step Obama Makes On His Way To White House

27.06.2008 /PanARMENIAN.Net/ Armenians For Obama joined political leaders and fundraisers earlier this week at U.S. Senator Barack Obama’s first major event in Los Angeles since he became the presumptive presidential nominee for the Democratic Party. The fundraiser, held on June 24th at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, drew together political leaders and Hollywood stars and provided an opportunity for Senator Obama to learn more about the 500,000 Armenian Americans who live and work in and around the City of Angels.

In his remarks to those in attendance, the presidential candidate emphasized the urgent need to change the environment in Washington. He also stressed the importance of unity not only within the Democratic Party but for the nation as a whole, emphasizing that we all have common goals and common dreams for ourselves and for our world, the ANC-PAC told PanARMENIAN.Net.

"We were pleased to be part of a successful event for Senator Obama," commented Armenians for Obama Chair Nora Hovsepian. "The Armenian American community looks forward to being there every step of the way for Barack Obama as he makes his way to the White House. It is energizing that so many Republicans, Democrats and Independents in our community have united to support Senator Obama. We are enthusiastically looking forward to Senator Obama becoming President Obama next year," Hovsepian added.

"In my discussion with Senator Obama tonight, I emphasized the moral strength of his position on the Armenian Genocide and ending the twin Turkish and Azeri blockades of Armenia. He reassured me that he is committed to these issues and expressed gratitude for our support in the Armenian-American community."

Earlier this week, Obama submitted questions on the Armenian Genocide to Marie Yovanovitch, President Bush’s nominee to be U.S. Ambassador to Armenia. The Senator serves on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, which must confirm Yovanovitch before she can assume her post in Yerevan.


Sarkisian Signals Support For Turkish Genocide Proposal By Emil Danielyan
Signaling a policy shift, President Serzh Sarkisian confirmed Thursday that he is ready to accept, in principle, Turkey’s proposal to form a commission of Armenian and Turkish historians that would examine the 1915 mass killings of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire.

But he made clear through a spokesman that such a commission should be created only after Turkey agrees to unconditionally establish diplomatic relations and open its border with Armenia.

The proposal was formally made by Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan in a 2005 letter to then Armenian President Robert Kocharian. Erdogan suggested that the would-be commission determine whether the Armenian massacres constituted genocide and said his government would accept any conclusion reached by it.

In a written reply, Kocharian effectively rejected the idea and came up with a counterproposal to set up a Turkish-Armenian intergovernmental commission that would deal with this and other issues of mutual concern. Other Armenian officials, backed by local and Diaspora scholars, dismissed Erdogan’s move as a Turkish ploy designed to scuttle international recognition of the Armenian genocide. They also said that by agreeing to the proposed study the Armenian side would question the very fact of the genocide.

“We are not against the creation of such a commission, but only if the border between our countries is opened,” Sarkisian declared during a visit to Moscow earlier this week.

Sarkisian’s press secretary, Samvel Farmanian, reaffirmed this in a statement issued on Thursday. “We are not against any study of even obvious facts and widely accepted realities,” he said. “Agreeing to a study does not mean casting doubt on the veracity of facts.

“However, the creation of such a commission would be logical only after the establishment of diplomatic relations and the opening of the border between our countries. Otherwise, it could become a tool for dragging out and exploiting the existing problems.”

Farmanian’s statement came amid an uproar from the country’s main opposition alliance led by former President Levon Ter-Petrosian. In a statement on Wednesday, Ter-Petrosian’s Popular Movement condemned Sarkisian’s “dangerous” remarks, saying that the new Armenian leader has agreed to a proposal “calling into question the fact of the Genocide.”

Farmanian rejected the opposition claims. “It is strange that the genocide issue is being exploited by individuals who had done everything in the past to condemn that tragic page of our history to oblivion,” he said in a jibe at Ter-Petrosian’s more conciliatory line on Turkey.
www.armenialiberty.org


Armenia Should First Recognize Karabakh’s Independence, Russian Expert Says
26.06.2008 /PanARMENIAN.Net/ Armenia’s position is tat Karabakh should be independent, a Russian expert said.

“It’s another matter whether NK will join Armenia as a confederation or function as an independent state,” said Mikhail Alexandrov, head of the Caucasus department at the Institute of CIS studies.

As a matter of fact, we have a similar situation as in case in Abkhazia and South Ossetia, according to him.

“The Karabakh problem, against the West’s wishes, will not be resolved, since Serzh Sargsyan will stand firmly in defense of national interests of the Armenian people. Watching Russia’s position on Abkhazia and South Ossetia, Armenia will urge Russia to smooth its position on Karabakh. However, Russia expects Armenia to be the first to recognize independence of Nagorno Karabakh,” Alexandrov said.


Pennington: There Is Willingness Among Many People In Turkey To Talk More Honestly About The Past
26.06.2008 /PanARMENIAN.Net/ Reconciliation is an extremely important issue in my view for both Turkey and Armenia for the future of both countries and for the stability in the region, according to Mr Joseph Pennington, the U.S. Charge d’Affairs in Armenia.

“I’ve worked now for many years of my career in both of those places and so I have a real personal interest in this issue. And we, you know the United States for a long time has supported increased cultural, social ties, the ties we call people-to-people contacts between Turks and Armenians,” Mr. Pennington said in an interview with PanARMENIAN.Net.

“And just as an example, tomorrow night I am going to open a performance at Komitas Hall of the Bosporus Quartet of Istanbul. The Komitas Quartet performed in Istanbul last week. And it is one example. There are many projects like that that we support and will continue to support. We think that those kinds of contacts – conferences, exchanges, academic debates and so on, they help to break down barriers and ultimately help to push the political process forward. And we also continue to work at the levels of governments to try to encourage the two sides to take steps to overcome their differences. And we certainly hope that in the not-too-distant future there will be some progress at that level as well,” he said.

Asked to comment how Turks treat Armenians and what’s their attitude toward the 1915 events, Mr. Pennington said, “I first worked in Turkey from 1995-1998, so back 10-13 years ago, and I can say that the difference between those years and now in terms of this debate is very clear. I think there is a much greater willingness among many people in Turkey to talk more honestly about the past and look at those events more openly. And if you look in the Turkish media, you see a quite lively debate about Armenia and about Turkey and Armenia. And it’s part of an overall opening in Turkey in terms of activating civil society and democratization. Of course, there are also problems, and we saw the convictions under article 301 in Turkey for a number of years and certainly there are still people who don’t want to have this discussion and people who tragically were willing to resort to violence against Hrant Dink when he spoke about it. But I can tell you that I met with Hrant in the last week that I worked in Turkey back in 2006 and Hrant’s approach was that the most important thing that we - all of us - Armenians, Turks and international community...Hrant was convinced that by improving that relationship, that would encourage a greater and more honest look at the past. And so that’s the direction that we try to work in.”

Joseph Pennington:
U.S. wants to continue Millennium Challenge program in Armenia
The Armenia-U.S. relations are developing dynamically. The U.S. continues to render assistance to Armenia for formation of civil society and implementation of democratic reforms. As a co-chair of the OSCE Minsk Group, the U.S. promotes resolution of the Nagorno Karabakh conflict. However, the U.S. Embassy in Armenia has been functioning without Ambassador for 18 months already. PanARMENIAN.Net requested U.S. Charge d’Affairs Joseph Pennington to comment on the Armenian-American relations and development prospects.

26.06.2008
What is the present level of Armenian-American relations?

There is a historical aspect to it, with obviously deep cultural ties because of the Diaspora and there is, of course, also the political dimension of the relationship…and economics and trade and a business relationship as well…and military relations, for that matter, through NATO. Of course all of those aspects of the relationship are important and our partnership in most of those areas is beyond question. And so I would say as a general comment, our relationship is very strong in the sense that we have cooperation across a broad range of issues.

How would you describe the relationship in terms of political, economic developments?

Obviously we believe that we have played a constructive role over the years, since the independence of Armenia, in Armenia’s economic development and the development of democracy here. The U.S. government has allocated more than - or almost - 2 billion USD over the years in assistance to Armenia. And that continues today both in our ordinary bilateral assistance and also in the MCC Program. Of course the MCC program is also affected by political developments and reform.

Is the suspension of MCC compact possible in Armenia?

The short answer is yes, it is possible that there could be problems with the MCC program and Ambassador Danilovich has made that clear in letters to former President Kocharyan and President Sargsyan. And the reason for that is not because the United States is looking to reduce our support to Armenia or to punish Armenia is some way, but the reason is that the Millennium Challenge Program itself is based on an agreement between the U.S. government and the Armenian government that yes, the assistance will be provided, but also with the reforms in the democratic area. And the events around the election campaign, the election day, the recounts, the post-election situation that lead ultimately to violence and the state emergency - all of those things are things that called into question the current authorities’ commitment to democratic reform. And so what we have said both privately to the government and publicly is that we want to continue the Millennium Challenge program because it will help hundreds of thousands of Armenians out in rural areas, but at the same time we can only do that if the authorities return Armenia to a democratic path and regain momentum on democratic development.

Please speak about American-Armenian military cooperation both within the framework NATO and outside of it?

Well, of course the most visible and well-known example of military cooperation is through the partnership program that Armenia has with NATO, which Armenia has made good progress on fulfilling the commitments under its purpose. There is also of course the cooperation and the contribution that Armenia has given on the ground in difficult places like Iraq and Kosovo which is tremendously appreciated by the United States. We specifically are very pleased that as of about a week ago, Armenian has doubled its commitment to troops on the ground in Kosovo. And at the same time, the United States military provides in a number of military areas assistance to Armenia whether it’s for equipment, training, help with drafting strategic military documents and so on, civilization of the military. And so there are a lot of aspects to the military relationship which we think is developing well.

Hearing on the nomination of the U.S. Ambassador to Armenia will start tomorrow? Will they be successful or not?

First of all, we are very pleased that we have a great nominee, Ambassador Yovanovitch. I think Armenia is very lucky that that appointment has been made. We look forward to her coming and she will do a fantastic job. Of course in our system, as you are aware, there is this Senate approval as required of the nomination and the process will start Thursday on the hearing. We are hopeful that the process will go without significant problem and that Senate will approve Ambassador Yovanovitch and that will happen quickly. We think Armenia deserves to have a fully represented U.S. mission here that includes an ambassador but of course the Senate has its own business to do and I can’t predict the outcome, but we are hopeful that it will be positive and that we will have an ambassador soon. No one will be happier that I will be to see her to come.

We are afraid that the story with Ambassador Hoagland will be repeated again.

I certainly hope not. I think it would be negative for both the United States and the U.S.-Armenian relationship but that is not in our hands, that’s in the Senate’s hands and we’ll see how it comes out.

Do you share the position of the Minsk Group as a Co-Chair country?

Right, we have been through many years an active participant of the Minsk Group process and we see that process as the appropriate avenue. We were very pleased to see from statements through governments that the last meeting went well. And we hope that that meeting is something that can be built upon. We expect the co-chairs back in the region probably by the end of this month to start the next round of the process. But in our view, of course, there is no alternative. And we will continue working very hard with our partners.

If Azerbaijan starts war, what will be the reactions of the United States?

I am afraid that’s just a hypothetical question that I can’t really answer. But we would expect and hope that that hypothetical never comes to pass.

Recently different ways of reconciliation have been observed on the public level between Turks and Armenians. Is it possible that these contacts might serve ground for further strengthening of the relationship?

First of all, this is an extremely important issue in my view for both Turkey and Armenia for the future of both countries and for the stability in the region. I’ve worked now for many years of my career in both of those places and so I have a real personal interest in this issue. And we, you know the United States for a long time has supported increased cultural, social ties, the ties we call people-to-people contacts between Turks and Armenians. And just as an example, tomorrow night I am going to open a performance at Komitas Hall of the Bosporus Quartet of Istanbul. The Komitas Quartet performed in Istanbul last week. And it is one example. There are many projects like that that we support and will continue to support. We think that those kinds of contacts - conferences, exchanges, academic debates and so on, they help to break down barriers and ultimately help to push the political process forward. And we also continue to work at the levels of governments to try to encourage the two sides to take steps to overcome their differences. And we certainly hope that in the not-too-distant future there will be some progress at that level as well.

You have worked in Turkey. How the treat Armenian? What is their attitude towards the events of 1915?

It’s a very interesting question. I first worked in Turkey from 1995-1998, so back 10-13 years ago, and I can say that the difference between those years and now in terms of this debate is very clear. I think there is a much greater willingness among many people in Turkey to talk more honestly about the past and look at those events more openly. And if you look in the Turkish media, you see a quite lively debate about Armenia and about Turkey and Armenia. And it’s part of an overall opening in Turkey in terms of activating civil society and democratization. Of course, there are also problems, and we saw the convictions under article 301 in Turkey for a number of years and certainly there are still people who don’t want to have this discussion and people who tragically were willing to resort to violence against Hrant Dink when he spoke about it. But I can tell you that I met with Hrant in the last week that I worked in Turkey back in 2006 and Hrant’s approach was that the most important thing that we - all of us - Armenians, Turks and international community...Hrant was convinced that by improving that relationship, that would encourage a greater and more honest look at the past. And so that’s the direction that we try to work in.
«PanARMENIAN.Net», 26.06.2008


Pennington: Armenia Is Lucky That Marie Yovanovitch Was Nominated To Serve As The U.S. Ambassador
26.06.2008
/PanARMENIAN.Net/ “We are very pleased that we have a great nominee. We look forward to her coming and she will do a fantastic job,” Mr. Pennington said in an interview with PanARMENIAN.Net.

“Of course in our system, as you are aware, there is this Senate approval as required of the nomination and the process will start Thursday on the hearing. We are hopeful that the process will go without significant problem and that Senate will approve Ambassador Yovanovitch and that will happen quickly. We think Armenia deserves to have a fully represented U.S. mission here that includes an ambassador but of course the Senate has its own business to do and I can’t predict the outcome, but we are hopeful that it will be positive and that we will have an ambassador soon. No one will be happier that I will be to see her to come,” he said.

“If the story with Ambassador Hoagland is repeated again, I think it would be negative for both the United States and the U.S.-Armenian relationship but that is not in our hands, that’s in the Senate’s hands and we’ll see how it comes out,” Mr. Pennington added.

On March 28, 2008, Pres. Bush nominated Amb. Marie L. Yovanovitch to serve as
America’s next Ambassador to Armenia. Previous nominee as U.S. Ambassador to Armenia, Richard Hoagland, was subject to two legislative holds by Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ) and was ultimately withdrawn by the Administration, following the nominee’s statements denying the Armenian Genocide.

Senators Menendez, Boxer and Obama submitted to Ms. Yovanovitch 8 questions for a written response. The confirmation consideration is expected after July 4.


Armenian President Plans To Invite Gül To World Cup Qualifying Match
Serzh Sarkisian, the president of Turkey's estranged neighbor, Armenia, has said he plans to invite Turkish President Abdullah Gül to Yerevan to watch a soccer match together between the two countries' national teams.

"I intend to take new steps toward establishing relations with Turkey. I will probably invite Turkish President Gül to Yerevan to attend a soccer match between the Armenian and Turkish national teams," Sarkisian, who was sworn into office in April, was quoted as saying by Armenian media earlier this week at a meeting with members of Moscow's Armenian community.


In November, Turkey was pitted against Spain, Belgium, Bosnia, Armenia and Estonia in group five of the European qualifying competition for the 2010 World Cup finals in South Africa. Armenian media said that the Armenian and Turkish national teams would play a match in September in Yerevan.

While there was no official response to reports on Sarkisian's remarks in Ankara, a senior US diplomat has welcomed them in Washington.

"It's an amazing development. Both leaders of Armenia and Azerbaijan seem to be pragmatic, practical and ready to explore each sides needs when it comes to a Nagorno-Karabakh settlement," Matt Bryza, deputy assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian affairs, told reporters. Armenia's position on the establishment of relations with Turkey is exact, and there can be a closed border between neighbor states in the 21st century, Sarkisian also said.
26 June 2008, Today's Zaman With Wires


Pro-Armenian Senator Delays Us Ambassadorial Nominee’s Confirmation
US Senator Barbara Boxer has secured a one-month delay in procedure for confirmation by the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee of the administration's nominee for US ambassador to Armenia, Armenian media reports say.

Boxer, a Democrat, secured the delay in response to the State Department's delay in providing timely written responses to the eight sets of written questions submitted to career diplomat Marie Yovanovitch, current ambassador to the Kyrgyz Republic, by members of the panel, influential Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) Communications Director Elizabeth S. Chouldjian said, PanARMENIAN.Net reported yesterday. Last week, during her confirmation hearing before the Foreign Relations Committee, Yovanovitch responded to a salvo of questions posed by Democratic Senator Robert Menendez, who blocked the Bush administration's previous nominee over his refusal to call killings of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire in the last century "genocide," in line with the US administration's policy.

Nevertheless, Yovanovitch rejected use of the term "genocide" to describe the early 20th century deaths of Ottoman Armenians out of political considerations, saying that using the term would contradict the US administration's policy on the issue.

Boxer released a written statement in which she criticized US policy on the Armenian issue, especially taking into consideration the fact that the administration has called killings in Darfur genocide, but refused to do so in the Armenian case. 26 June 2008, Today's Zaman


Lale Sariibrahimoglu todayszaman.com Lobbying For Arms
Lobbying for arms is a costly business for taxpayers. While this has always been the case, the situation worsens for taxpayers in countries that are not ruled by democracies because the absence of democratic rules hinders transparency, accountability and good governance, resulting in the wasting of the country's economic resources.

Despite some improvements in its democratic standards as a result of certain military and civilian reforms that have taken place in the recent past, Turkey's military, in particular, and civilian institutions, in general, are not subject to the scrutiny required by good governance, through which taxpayers can know where their money has been going.

Since the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) still enjoys an autonomous and privileged position in Turkish society that prevents them from being overseen by civilian authorities, I will focus on the negative impact of the absence of an accountable military sector and the repercussions for an already-fragile economy.

Under the 2003 and 2004 military and civilian reforms, Turkey's previously military-dominated National Security Council (MGK) was civilianized with the appointment of a civilian as its head.

The Turkish military's budget has become subject to the oversight of the Court of Auditors on behalf of Parliament. But neither of these reforms was significantly felt on the ground due to the absence of a strong will within Parliament for putting them into force.

Moreover, a regulation required for the Court of Auditors to inspect state-owned immovable property, such as real estate, used by the military has not been passed by Parliament despite its adoption in 2004 of an amendment under which secrecy over military assets was lifted with an amendment to Article 160 of the Constitution.

Parliament has not established a commission to oversee the arms purchases currently being made by a committee composed of the prime minister, the chief of general staff and the minister of defense.

Debates at Parliament's Budget and Planning Commission over the Defense Ministry's budget have also fallen short of an intense and detailed discussion on the military's budget. Extra budgetary funds earmarked for defense are not open to the public, either.

Thus, the lack of the democratic oversight of the military sector causes serious deficiencies in furthering democracy in Turkey.

Adding to the problem is the ongoing military-initiated plans to remove the current ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) from power. The AK Party is currently facing possible closure by the Constitutional Court on charges of anti-secular activity.

What has been frustrating is the absence of a political will within Parliament and the government for implementing even existing laws that are vital not only for furthering democracy, but also for directing economic resources to social sectors, such as education and health.

Civilian oversight of the military will also considerably decrease suspicions in the minds of many Turks that arms purchases are not done correctly and that unnecessary purchases of arms have been negatively affecting their economic situation.

Mehmet Altan of the Star daily rightly stressed in his June 24 column that the problem lies in taboos regarding both military procurement and the commission fees going to defense industry lobbyists.

He recalled that in Turkey the arms sector is never discussed before the public in a transparent fashion.

"Whose hands is the arms sector in? How much do they get in commissions? The public does not know. That issue is a taboo," he said in his article.

It is true that another core problem within the Turkish arms sector is the secrecy surrounding commission fees. There are no known laws that regulate such fees, prompting speculation that there have been unnecessary payments to lobbyists.

As long as this secrecy is not dispelled, we will continue paying high prices for arms, regardless of their real value.

I know, for example, one case that is still the subject of a pending court case. A retired colonel sued a Turkish businessman for not paying him the $4,000 commission fee that he agreed to pay in return for arranging meetings with bureaucrats dealing with arms.

Those fees are later reflected in the price of the arms that Turkey has been buying, making them more costly.

In order to prevent such unnecessary and illegal costs, some Turkish bureaucrats have urged defense contractors not to use middlemen for arranging meetings with them and instead contact them directly regarding any legal questions on a project.26.06.2008


June 25, 2008, Turks And American Indians By Louis Proyect: The Unrepentant Marxist
One of my favorite TV shows is The Turkish Hour, which runs on the local cable access channel in New York on Sunday night from 10 to 10:30pm (yes, I know it should be called The Turkish Half-Hour). You can watch segments from past shows at their website.

Last Sunday night, there were two eye-opening segments on admittedly remote connections between Turks and the peoples of North America. Even if they are impossible to establish with 100 percent accuracy, they certainly are intriguing.

In the first segment, we see a meeting at the Turkish Center in New York with American Indians performing music and dance, while scholars from both Turkey and North American Indian nations exchange ideas about the possibility that the two peoples are related ethnically!

That thought first entered my mind when I discovered that the word for boat in Turkish is “kayik”. (When the ‘i’ is not dotted in Turkish, it is pronounced almost like “uh”. With the dot, it is more like the ‘i’ in it.) A kayak, of course, is the boat favored by Inuits in Alaska and across northern Canada.

It is generally accepted that the Inuits and other indigenous peoples came across the Bering land bridge between Asia and North America up until about 5000 BC. It is also generally accepted that they originated from Eastern Siberia, the homeland of the Turkic and Mongol peoples.

Polat Kaya, a Turkish engineer and amateur scholar, wrote a paper titled “Search For a Probable Linguistic and Cultural Kinship Between the Turkish People of Asia and the Native Peoples of Americas”, a version of which can be read here. Kaya’s ideas are highly speculative, but other more mainstream scholars have made some of the same points. For example, Rene Bonnerjea’s “A Comparison between Eskimo-Aleut and Uralo-Altaic Demonstrative Elements, Numerals, and Other Related Semantic Problems” that appeared in the Jan. 1978, International Journal of American Linguistics.

Throwing caution to the wind, I will accept Kaya’s amateurish speculations on their own terms, if for no other reason it opens up huge avenues of literary and philosophical investigations about mankind’s common ancestry.

Kaya includes a table demonstrating the similarities between the Turkish words for father (ata, as in Ataturk, or “father of the Turks”, the name adopted by Mustafa Kemal; in more intimate settings, the word baba is used) and mother (anne) and various American Indian peoples. The Eskimo word for father is atataq and mother is ananaq.

Going even further out on a limb, The Turkish Hour had a segment on possible ties between Turks and the Melungeon people of Appalachia, a group that I had never heard of before. The term Melungeon seems to be derived from ‘mélange’, or mixture, a reference to the mixed ethnicity of this group. A wiki article on the Melungeons states:

A common belief about the Melungeons of east Tennessee is that they are an indigenous people of Appalachia, existing there before the arrival of the first white settlers. But genealogists working in the late 20th century have documented, through a range of tax, court, census and other colonial, late 18th and early 19th century records, that the ancestors of the Melungeons migrated into the region from Virginia and Kentucky as did their English, Scots-Irish, Irish, Welsh, and German neighbors.

The likely background to the mixed-race families later to be called “Melungeons” was the emergence in the Chesapeake Bay region in the 17th century of what historian Ira Berlin calls “Atlantic Creoles.” These were freed slaves and indentured servants of European, West African, and Native American ancestry (and not just North American, but also Caribbean, Central and South American Indian: see Forbes (1993)). Some of these “Atlantic Creoles” were culturally what today might be called “Hispanic” or “Latino”, bearing names such as “Chavez,” “Rodriguez,” and “Francisco.” Many of them intermarried with their English neighbors, adopted English surnames, and even owned slaves. Early Colonial America was very much a “melting pot” of peoples, but not all of these early multiracial families were necessarily ancestral to the later Melungeons.

“The historical and anthropological evidence … suggests that in general a significant portion (though not necessarily all) of the ancestry of the Magoffin County, Kentucky, and Highland County, Ohio, enclaves originated principally from an admixture of African Americans and Whites in the early colonial period (from the late 1600s until about 1800) and secondarily from an admixture with presently unknown Native American groups in the mid-Atlantic coast region.”

The article also dismisses the claim of any kind of Turkish connection:

More recent suggestions by amateur researchers as to the Melungeons’ ethnic identity include Gypsy, Turkish, and Jewish. There is no evidence that Melungeons themselves ever claimed any of those ancestries. Nor does any creditable historical evidence exist to support such theories. There is ample evidence from the research of David Beers Quinn and Ivor Noel Hume that all the Turks rescued by Drake in the sack of Cartagena were repatriated to their homeland.

The reference to Turks being rescued has to do Drake’s freeing of Ottoman Turks being held captive by the Spaniards in the Caribbean. They were originally enslaved by the Spanish in Europe and brought over to the New World where they worked as galley slaves. Apparently Francis Drake brought 500 of these men to Roanoke, Virginia where they were going to be ransomed back to the Ottoman Empire. Some Melungeons believe that the Turks were never returned and remained in Virginia where they became their ancestors.

The Melungeons, who are generally understood to be part American Indian, might have been descendants of a group of people who shared blood ties to the freed Turkish slaves, Roanoke colonists and native peoples. One amateur Melungeon historian writes:

About one hundred miles inland, from Roanoke Island, and adjacent to the South Carolina border, was an area called Robinson County, North Carolina. In 1719, a group of hunters and trappers strayed into the hilly landscape and stumbled upon a tribe of Indians. The Indians had light skin, gray/blue eyes and light brown hair. But most astonishing was the fact that they spoke nearly perfect Elizabethan English. These Indians said that their ancestors “talked from a book.” Their customs were similar to the early English Roanoke Colony. This sighting brought about a theory that the starving colonists at Roanoke took refuge with the Croatan Indians during the first winter when Governor John White didn’t return. To this day the descendants still live in Roberson County, North Carolina. They are known as the Lumbee Indians. The surviving remnants of the Roanoke settlement may have been assimilated into the indigenous tribes. The existence of fair skinned Indians in Roberson, North Carolina substantiates the theory that the Roanoke colonists and perhaps the abandoned Turks and Portuguese and Moors blended in with the Croatan and other Tidewater, Virginia Indian tribes, including the Powhatan and Lumbee Indians. Dr. Robert Gilmor, a Melungeon researcher, suggests the people of the legendary “Lost Colony of Roanoke” intermarried with the Powhatan Indians who had already intermarried with Jamestown Colony. Adding the surnames White and Dare to the Indian population.

Now some of you might remember that the Lumbees have a very proud tradition of fighting racism. In 1957, when Robert F. Williams was arming the NAACP in Roberson County against Klan terror, he found allies in the Lumbee Indians who had been the targets of racism themselves as Timothy Tyson recounts in “Radio Free Dixie: Robert F. Williams & the Roots of Black Power”:

The rout of Catfish Cole’s bedsheet brigade by the Monroe NAACP on October 5, 1957, crushed the evangelist’s aspiration to unite the Ku Klux Klan in the Carolinas under his charismatic leadership. His manly honor in tatters, Cole retreated from Union County to Robeson County in southeastern North Carolina to rebuild his following. “Both counties,” one observer noted, “were Catfish Cole’s territory.” In Robeson County, which had a history of strong support for the Klan, Cole hoped to rally his forces in a population divided almost evenly among African Americans, whites, and Lumbee Indians. “There’s about 30,000 half-breeds in Robeson County and we are going to have a cross burning and scare them up,” Cole announced. Asked whether he intended to use violence to stop the race-mixing in Robeson County, Cole replied that the guns his Klansmen carried “speak for themselves, and if they don’t, they will.” On January 13, 1958, the Klan burned a cross on the lawn of an Indian woman in the town of St. Pauls as “a warning” because, Cole claimed, she was “having an affair” with a white man. The cross burnings continued, with the former carnival barker ranting at each gathering about the terrible evils of “mongrelization,” the loose morals of Lumbee women, and the manly duties of white men “to fight [America’s] enemies anywhere, anytime.” As one visitor to Monroe later wrote to a friend, “Cole was in a particular mad dog fury” because of rumors that Ava Gardner, eastern North Carolina’s own homegrown movie star, was having a Hollywood affair with Sammy Davis Jr., whom Cole contemptuously referred to as “that one-eyed nigger.”

The climax of the Klan’s Robeson County campaign was to be a heavily armed rally on January 18, 1958, near the small town of Maxton, at which, Cole predicted, 5,000 Klansmen would remind Indians of “their place” in the racial order. “He said that, did he?” asked Simeon Oxendine, who had flown more than thirty missions against the Germans in World War II and now headed the Lumbee chapter of the Veterans of Foreign Wars. “Well, we?ll just wait and see.”

Cole’s references to Lumbee women were particularly galling. Robeson County sheriff Malcolm McLeod visited the grand wizard at his South Carolina home and “told him that his life would be in danger if he came to Maxton and made the same speech he?d been making.” That Friday night, as a few dozen Klansmen gathered in a roadside field in darkness lit only by a single hanging bulb powered by a portable generator, more than five hundred Lumbee men assembled across the road with rifles and shotguns. The Lumbees fanned out across the highway to encircle the Klansmen. When Cole began to speak, a Lumbee dashed up and smashed the light with his rifle barrel. Hundreds of Indians let out a thunderous whoop and fired their weapons repeatedly into the air. Only four people were injured, none seriously; all but one were apparently hit by falling bullets. The Klansmen dropped their guns and scrambled for their cars, abandoning the unlit cross, their public address system, and an array of KKK paraphernalia. Magnanimous in victory, the Lumbees allowed the white supremacists to escape. The war party even helped push Cole’s Cadillac out of the ditch where his wife, Carolyn, had driven in her panic. The grand wizard himself had abandoned “white womanhood” and fled on foot into the swamps. Laughing, the Lumbees set fire to the cross, hanged Catfish Cole in effigy, and had a rollicking victory bash. Draped in captured Klan regalia, they celebrated into the night. “If the Negroes had done something like this a long time ago, we wouldn’t be bothered with the KKK,” Oxendine said in a remark that kept his Lumbee troops clearly on a side of the color line different from that of African Americans.

Now, I have no idea whether the Turks are related to the Eskimos or the Melungeons, but I would suggest that this is a powerful theme for an epic novel. Start with a character crossing the Bering land bridge from Eastern Siberia in 7000 BC and his ancestors ending up fighting General Custer, or maybe an Ottoman slave’s ancestors confronting the Klan in 1957. Now that’s a novel that I would buy, one with a message—namely that we are all brothers and sisters under the skin.
louisproyect.wordpress.com


U.S. Department Of State Hopes For Soonest Normalization Of Armenia-Turkey Relations
25.06.2008 /PanARMENIAN.Net/ The U.S. Department of State shares our European Allies’ hope that Turkey and Armenia will soon normalize their relations, said Matthew Bryza, Deputy Assistant of State for European and Eurasian Affairs.

“This will involve a decision by Turkey to restore diplomatic relations and reopen its border with Armenia, and Armenia’s recognition of its existing border with Turkey. We hope such steps will also lead to a heartfelt discussion of the shared and tragic past of these two friends of the United States,” he said at Washington Institute for Near East Policy.

“In Europe, the United States remains convinced that Turkey’s eventual membership in the European Union will benefit Europe and Turkey alike. Turkey’s blend of democracy, secularism, and rule of law can help us all deepen our understanding of how to integrate our Muslim populations into our mainstream societies while countering extremist recruiters. Meanwhile, Europe’s criteria for accession to the EU provide a set of incentives for sustained reforms which, while in Turkey’s national interests, are often politically difficult to make,” he said.


Lev Spivak: Armenian Genocide Discussion In Knesset Is A Fact That Should Be Accepted
25.06.2008 /PanARMENIAN.Net/ Discussion of the Armenian Genocide in the Knesset is a fact that should be accepted, according to Lev Spivak, director general of Israel-Azerbaijan international association.

“I am confident that the bill will be voted down and will nevertheless put forth again and again. Majority of the Israeli people, including politicians are indifferent about the issue, to be more precise, they are not aware of it. Israeli press paid some attention to the bill because the discussion of t was accompanied by a scandal. But the story is not over yet. Sooner or later the issue will be discussed by Knesset’s committee on foreign policy and defense. It means that it can be put on vote again,” he said, 1news.az reports.


System Of Down May Represent Armenia At Eurovision 2009?
25.06.2008 /PanARMENIAN.Net/ After Armenia received its best result in Eurovision Song Contest ever this year with Sirusho, the world-famous rock band System Of A Down shown a keen interest in representing the country in Russia next year, independent French journalist Jean Eckian told PanARMENIAN.Net.

However, the soloist of the American band, Serj Tankian, has openly stated in a recent visit in Finland that this will be under one condition: if the lyrics of his song mention the Armenian Genocide.

"Eurovision would be an excellent way to make this theme known. We must seriously think of this," Tankian said in response to a question posed by Finnish News Agency.

System Of A Down is very politically active and are noted for the liberal political views expressed in their songs, tackling myriad subjects including the War on Drugs, religion, drug use, and especially censorship. They have actively campaigned to get Turkey to recognize the Armenian Genocide and the subject is often-tackled in their songs. They are also a part of the Axis of Justice, a non-profit political activist organization fighting for recognition of the polemical issue, believed to have taken part in the early 20th century. Ironically, the band has many Turkish fans as well.

Previously similar themes have been tried at Eurovision with mixed success. In 1976 Greece sent the song Panaghia mou, Panaghia mou about the invasion of Cyprus, in 1993 Bosnia-Herzegovina performed Sva bol svijeta about the war in the region, and it is also believed by experts that the 1996 United Kingdom entry Ohh Ahh Just a little bit also has a hidden message about genocide.


European Court Rules Against Turkey In Deaths Of Greek Cypriots
The European Court of Human Rights yesterday ruled against Turkey in the deaths of two Greek Cypriots in 1996 on the divided island of Cyprus, sentencing Ankara to pay almost 400,000 euros to relatives of the two for both pecuniary and non-pecuniary damages.

The claimants in the case were 12 Greek Cypriot citizens, relatives of Anastasios Isaak and Solomos Solomou who died in 1996. Isaak had participated in a Greek Cypriot demonstration organized by the Cyprus Motorcycle Federation (CMF) to protest the Turkish military presence in the northern part of Cyprus. Tensions arose when the authorities of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (KKTC) announced that they would organize counter-rallies with the participation of the Turkish extremist Grey Wolves group and that they would fire at Greek Cypriot demonstrators. The claimants as well as the Greek Cypriot government alleged that during the demonstration Isaak was kicked and beaten to death by Turkish and Turkish Cypriot policemen and counter-demonstrators. As for Solomou, having attended Isaak’s funeral, he entered the buffer zone with other demonstrators near the scene of the killing and, in protest, climbed up a flagpole flying the Turkish flag. He was shot and killed.

“Under Article 41 [just satisfaction] of the European Convention on Human Rights, the court awarded 80,000 euros to Anastasios Isaak’s widow for pecuniary damages. For non-pecuniary damages, the court awarded 35,000 euros each to Isaak’s widow, his parents and to Solomou’s father, and also 15,000 euros to each of Isaak’s and Solomou’s siblings. The applicants in both cases were also awarded 12,000 euros for costs and expenses,” a press release on the court’s Web site said yesterday. In both cases the court noted that the Turkish government had failed to produce any evidence showing that an investigation had been carried out into the circumstances of Isaak and Solomou’s deaths.
25 June 2008, Today’s Zaman


Will The President Of Turkey Come To Yerevan?
Turkey has indeed become the hostage of Baku, as well as its interests, its energy supplies and nobody knows how long it will still last.
24.06.2008
The announcement that the President of Armenia Serge Sargsyan made in Moscow, may change the situation in the region. The matter concerns the possible normalization of the Armenian-Turkish relations, which is necessary to the USA, EU and Turkey itself. This may be the very decisive point in the negotiations with the EU. For the USA the safety of the pipelines is also very important, since Azerbaijan and Turkey are not able to do that.
/PanARMENIAN.Net/ During the meeting with the Armenian community in Russia Serge Sargsyan announced that Armenia keeps up to one clear point of view in the issue of establishing relations with Turkey: in the 21st century two neighboring countries may not be separated by closed borders. According to the President of Armenia, the Turkish party suggests creating a commission, which shall study the historical facts. "We are not against such a commission, but only when the borders between two countries are open. Otherwise, it may become a good way of abusing and prolonging the issue for long years," he mentioned. "In the near future I intend to take new measures in my course of establishing relations between Armenia and Turkey. Most probably I will invite the President of Turkey Abdullah Gul to Yerevan to watch the football match between our countries together," announced Serge Sargsyan. It is worth reminding that the President of Turkey was among the first ones who congratulated Serge Sargsyan with his appointment on the post of the President of Armenia.

However, it is still too early to speak about any approximate date of opening the Armenian-Turkish borders. But the fact that the President of Armenia is open to the dialogue is already good. In fact, the recommendation of the US State Department may be realized in the beginning of the dialogue. But as the Armenian party has always said - there must be no preconditions. The Turkish party has many of these preconditions: the recognition of the Moscow Treaty of 1921, the Karabakh Conflict and the Armenian Genocide in the Ottoman Empire. As it is known to everyone, the Armenian party has no preconditions. Naturally, Armenia will continue being the guarantor of the safety of the people of Nagorno-Karabakh and will achieve the international recognition of the Armenian Genocide. Turkey must understand that it is easier to recognize the Genocide than spend millions and blackmail the entire world. And in this issue Ankara is standing on the way of Azerbaijan. One may still understand Baku: in the absence of real allies in the issue of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict resolution, she counts on Turkey, as a country which is more or less closer with her views. And as it has already been said more than once, Turkey has indeed become the hostage of Baku, as well as its interests, its energy supplies and nobody knows how long it will still last, but it is rather interesting what Azerbaijan's reaction will be if Abdullah Gul really comes to Yerevan. If the President of Turkey really wants normalization of the relations and gives a positive answer to Sarsyan's invitation, this will be a great break. On the other hand, this kind of invitations are usually given only when there is a preliminary agreement at least on the level of the Foreign Ministries of both countries and necessarily through the mediation of a third party, which in this case is the USA. Russia does not participate in this dialogue, because she does not control the situation and as it seems does not want the opening of the borders, having all the reasonable fears that this will drive Armenia apart from Russia and the Russian influence.

As for the recognition of the Armenian-Turkish, and also earlier the Soviet-Turkish borders, here things are a bit more complicated. On May 30, 1953 the government of the USSR made an official announcement about the absence of territorial claims towards Turkey, having the Kars region, Erzurum and Surmalin district on mind. The USSR broke down and now the independent Armenia is not the assignee of the Arm.SSR, but of the First Republic of Armenia and consequently, has no responsibilities towards the treaties and agreements of the USSR.

During the hearings in the US Congress Assistant Secretary, Bureau of European and Eurasian Daniel Fried announced, "The USA thinks that a part of the problem solution is opening of the Armenian-Turkish borders. The existing status-quo is no good for either of the countries. The USA assists the dialogue and the cooperation between the Armenian and the Turkish people through conferences, meetings and program exchange. Establishment of the relations between Armenia and Turkey is a very sensitive issue. Turkey must put up with the black pages of her history; mass killings and deportations of the Armenian people in the Ottoman Empire. This is not easy, like it was not easy for the USA when she took her time to recognize the black pages of her history. In her turn Armenia must be ready for the recognition of the borders and not to come up with territorial claims towards Turkey and must suggest constructive approach to the efforts of Turkey," said Fried. The interesting thing in this announcement is that Fried did not mention anything at all about Turkey's possible participation in the regulations of Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.

According to the US Charge d´Affaires to Armenia Joseph Pennington, after the presidential elections in Armenia some icebreaking has been noticed between the countries and this may become a very good start for both parties to find a way for compromise. "For reaching certain progress in the two-sided relations the official Yerevan and Ankara must cooperate, and the USA will only assist the establishment of the relations," emphasized Joseph Pennington.


“g” Factor: Did Genocide Or Gay Trouble U.S. Envoy? Blogian on 24 Jun 2008
In a few hours, the U.S. Senate will vote on Bush’s Ambassadorial nominee to Armenia. We predict that Marie Yovanovitch will be confirmed. And the question is whether the previous nominee was denied because of not using the word genocide or because of being gay.

Making clear that she can’t use the word ‘genocide’ in referring to the Armenian extermination of WWI due to Bush’s foreign policy not to use the term, ambassadorial nominee Marie Yovanovitch’s Senate hearing became quite stressful last week.

She will most likely get the Senate confirmation given her honest hint that ANY Bush nominee would follow the order not to use the term genocide. Yet it wasn’t easy to deliver this message.

A photo posted (surprisingly) by the State Department sponsored Voice of America’s Armenian page, shows Marie Yovanovitch cleaning her nose during the hearing. More interestingly, the Armenian report refers to the Armenian genocide without quotation marks - something that U.S. State Department officials are not allowed to do themselves.

While it seems like Yovanovitch will be confirmed as the Ambassador despite that she follows her employer’s orders, one wonders whether the Genocide issue was the decisive factor in previous nominee Richard Hoagland’s failure to get the confirmation.

On January 12, 2007, the Armenian-language Hayastani Hanareptutyun (Republic of Armenia) wrote of some concerns in Armenia about Hoagland’s open homosexuality. According to the newspaper, the editor of Armenia’s Azg Daily, Hakob Avetiqyan (Hagop Avedikian), said during a press talk seating along with an ARF (Dashnaktustyun leader):

:(This was a very inconsiderate appointment [nomination] despite the question of the genocide. Inconsiderate, because sending somone who doesn’t have traditional sexual orientation to Armenia - a country where tradition-worshiping is a quite important factor - is not in the interests of the United States.)

As unzipped reported last year, Armenia’s anti-Semite and homophobic leader of “Armenian-Aryans” Armen Ayvazyan thanked those who ““freed the Armenian nation from the sad perspective of having a sick Ambassador, who was also denying the reality of the Armenian Genocide.” While Ayvazyan is not, to say the least, a popular figure in Armenia, Azg Daily editor’s open announcement that it is not a good decision to send a homosexual ambassador to Armenia seems worrysome.

Indeed, the editor was seating next to one of the leaders of the ARF (known as ANCA in the U.S.), the organization which heavily campaigned against the Hoagland nomination in 2007. This year, interestingly, ANCA hasn’t been actively campaigning against the new nomination. One reason might perhaps be the recent image-damaging violent post-election protest in Armenia. The new ambassador might be a compromise for continuous U.S. assistance to Armenia despite the recent poor democratic record.

Hoagland’s G-factor still seems important. Was it his refusal (without another choice) to say “genocide” or him being gay that cost him his job? Or maybe because tensions were high given the firing of Ambassador Evans - the only U.S. official in the Bush administration who openly recognized the Armenian Genocide?

3 Responses to ““G” Factor: Did Genocide or Gay Trouble U.S. Envoy?”

Hayaser on 24 Jun 2008
yavanovich is another zionist JEW, who has to follow orders given to her by her masters of the universe zionist jews.
she has no choice to deny genocide, even Evans denied our genocide when he was set up for confirmation hearings. only now years later after experiencing Hayastan and us Hays he came to grow to love/adore us and now he decided to disobey direct JEWISH orders and admit to genocide and he was not scared and he shouldn’t be. although now his career is over, but he still stands proud for openly supporting Hays for genocide recognition and i comend him for it. whether HOAGLAND MOAGLAND is GAY or NOT, no foreign ambassador of any country who denies the AG should not be allowed to serve as that ambassador to Hayastan

and PRAISE ARMEN AYVAZYAN for being iskakan HAYASER
I praise him for wanting to KEEP HAYUYUN and HAYS as ARYANS, because that is who we are. we Hays are the original ARYANS. Aryanism began in the plains and caucas mountains of Hayastan. ARYAN HAYS FOREVER. those who refer to themselves as HAYS and denounce this ARYANism should cleanse & remove themselves of Hayutyun, and NO….Ayranism is not that zeig hail hitler shit, real Aryanism is not swastika nazism shit. i denounce all skin heads who have ruined Aryan identity

Hrag on 24 Jun 2008
This was an old rumor but there is no evidence to prove that Hoagland’s dismissal had anything to do with his sexual identity. Lest we forget, he did serve in the more homophobic nation of Tajikistan before being considered for Armenia.

armen on 24 Jun 2008
i protested against hoagland’s nominee because he went out of his way to deny the armenian genocide by raising doubt on its history and using the same lines of denial as Turks do. I will not protest against the new proposed ambassador because she did not deny the armenian genocide but instead said that the official US policy which is out of her control doesn’t permit the use of the word “genocide”. So the difference in the two candidates is huge, whereas one used denialist argument and the other said she is officially not allowed to use that word to describe the mass killings (the current cirmustances leave no option for US diplomats).

Moreover, this is the first time I’m hearing Richard Hoagland is gay, if anyone suggests those protesting hoagland for that purpose, then they probably have no clue regarding the diaspora’s struggle for genocide recognition led by ANCA.
blogian.hayastan.com


Pennington: U.S. To Promote Armenia-Turkey Reconciliation
23.06.2008 /PanARMENIAN.Net/ The U.S. will work for the Armenian-Turkish reconciliation but the governments of the two states should seek for ways to establish diplomatic relations, according to the U.S. Charge d’Affairs in Armenia.

“Some progress was fixed after the Armenian presidential election. This could be a good basis for a compromise,” Mr. Joseph Pennington said when opening the NATO Week in Armenia today.

“Yerevan and Ankara should work jointly to reach a compromise while the United States will help the process,” he said.


Nominee Refrains From G-Word, Says Armenian Killings Were Ethnic Cleansing
June 21, 2008 Ümit Enginsoy, Washington - Turkish Daily News

George W. Bush's pick for ambassador to Armenia stuck to the administration's policy and declined to qualify World War-I era killings of Armenians in the Ottoman empire as "genocide," despite intense questioning by a pro-Armenian senator during a confirmation hearing Thursday. Instead, career diplomat Marie Jovanovitch characterized the incidents as "mass killings, ethnic cleansing and forced deportations."

Senator Robert Menendez, a Democrat from New Jersey who considers himself a champion of the Armenian cause, questioned Jovanovitch about the Armenian killings toward the end of the hearing of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee regarding several ambassadorial picks for European capitals.

Although visibly tired of Menendez' insistent questions, Yovanovitch said, it is job of the president and the secretary of state to make policy on the determination of how to characterize the killings, saying she believes it was a "policy decision" not to qualify the incidents as genocide, declining to declare her own view.

At the end of the questioning, Menendez scolded Jovanovitch, saying U.S. diplomats "are not able to recognize a historical event." But later he said he had "great admiration for Yovanovitch."

It was not clear whether Menendez, who blocked Bush's previous pick for Yerevan when Richard Hoagland declined to use the g-word to characterize the killings, would also put a hold on Yovanovitch.

Bush wants Turks to reconcile with past:

Yovanovitch said in her introductory remarks that "the U.S. government recognizes and deplores the mass killings, ethnic cleansing, enforced deportations that devastated over one-and-a-half million Armenians at the end of the Ottoman Empire."

"The administration understands that many Americans and many Armenians refer to the atrocities of 1915 as genocide. It has been President Bush's policy as well as that of previous presidents of both parties not to use that term." she said. "The president's focus, the administration's focus, is not only to remember the past so that it is never repeated, it is also to focus on the future, to create an environment that encourages Turkish citizens to reconcile with their past and also with the Armenians."

The U.S. ambassadorial position in Yerevan has been vacant since May 2006 when John Evans, the last ambassador, was fired in the wake of his remarks qualifying the killings as genocide, in defiance of Washington's official policy. Bush sought to replace him with career diplomat Hoagland, who then was effectively vetoed by Menendez.

Nominee's fate unclear:

Senior U.S. officials need the Senate's approval to take up their posts. Under U.S. law, even a single senator has the power to put a hold on nominations of senior administration officials, including would-be ambassadors, although such moves are generally rare because they put the dissenting senator under intense pressure.

Although Menendez may not place a hold on Yovanovitch, any other pro-Armenian senator may also choose to do so. Barbara Boxer, a Democrat from California, for example, said, "I look forward to hearing ambassador Yovanovitch's thoughts on the Armenian genocide," suggesting that she may instead be the dissenting senator this time.

Yovanovitch is presently the U.S. ambassador to Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan. The Bush administration made clear that it desperately wants to see Yovanovitch confirmed by the Senate. Former Senator Bob Dole, the Republican presidential nominee in the 1996 elections and a political figure very much admired by Armenians, introduced Yovanovitch to the committee with glowing remarks.

A genocide resolution came close to passage in the U.S. House of Representatives last fall, and only strong Turkish warnings that such a move would destroy the relationship with America and the Bush administration's focused efforts caused it to be shelved.But analysts here warn that Turkey almost certainly will face the same problem in Congress next year. Making things worse for Turkey, top Democratic presidential contender Barack Obama strongly supports the Armenian position.


Menendez Slams US Position on Armenian Genocide, June 23 by greek_news
New York.- By Apostolos Zoupaniotis
Senator Robert Menendez sharply criticized the official U.S. position on the Armenian Genocide, during a confirmation hearing at Senate’s Foreign Relations Committee of the Ambassador designate to Armenia Marie Yovanovitch. Introducing a series of documents and arguments that proved that what happened in 1915 was indeed Genocide, Senator Menendez grilled Yovanovitch, whose nomination in uncertain.

Greek News presents the excerpts of the dialogue between Menendez and Yovanovitch, as they were recorded by the Federal News Service.

SEN. ROBERT MENENDEZ (D-NJ): Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Let me congratulate all the nominees on their nominations and your willingness to serve. We appreciate that.

Ambassador Yovanovitch, let me start at the outset by acknowledging and thanking you for your 22 years of very distinguished service to our country. I appreciate your service.

In your opening statement, you acknowledge the mass killings, ethnic cleansing and forced detentions that devastated over 1-1/2 Armenians at the end of the Ottoman Empire; is that correct?

MR. YOVANOVITCH: Yes, sir, that's correct. It's the administration's policy to acknowledge these historical facts.

SEN. MENENDEZ: Would you agree with the characterization -- and if I may, Mr. Chairman, I'm going to be referring to a series of documents, so if I could give the ambassador a copy of them so she could have them in front of her, that would be helpful. And I'd ask unanimous consent that these documents be included in the record.

SEN. CARDIN: Without objection, the documents will be included in the record, and -- (inaudible).

SEN. MENENDEZ: I would ask you, would you agree with the characterization by President Bush on April 24th of 2004, which is the first referenced item before you, where he says, and I quote: On this day we pause in remembrance of one of the most horrible tragedies of the 20th century, the annihilation of as many as 1.5 million Armenians through forced exile and murder at the end of the Ottoman Empire." Would you agree with that? I just need a yes or no.

MR. YOVANOVITCH: Yes, sir.

SEN. MENENDEZ: Okay. Thank you.

Would you agree that the use of the words "ethnic cleansing," which you used in your opening statement, would include the deliberate inflicting on a group of conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part? Would you agree that's what generally ethnic cleansing would be defined as?

MR. YOVANOVITCH: There's no –

SEN. MENENDEZ: Let me read it -- say it again to you so you've got it before your answer.

The deliberate inflicting, on a group of individuals, of conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction, in whole or in part.

MS. YOVANOVITCH: The question that you're asking, and I hope you understand my answer, the determination of that is a policy decision that I'm not authorized to make right now. It's a decision for the administration, for the president and the secretary.

SEN. MENENDEZ: I respect your answer. I'm not asking you, what is the policy or a policy? I'm simply asking, you used the words in your opening statement -- ethnic cleansing. And I'm asking you a simple question.

Would you describe ethnic cleansing as a deliberate inflicting, on a group of individuals, of conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction, in whole or in part? And if the answer is no, then tell me what you mean by ethnic cleansing.

MS. YOVANOVITCH: There is no question that at the end of the Ottoman Empire, there was mass murder. There was starvation. There were deliberate rapes. There was forced exile of one-and-a-half million Armenians at the end of the Ottoman Empire.

SEN. MENENDEZ: And is that what you describe as your definition of ethnic cleansing, those facts?

MS. YOVANOVITCH: Yes.

SEN. MENENDEZ: Would you look at the document that references number two there, which says -- these are documents, that I'm going to be referring to, by American officials at the time of history.

And I would ask you whether the statement by then-U.S. Ambassador Morgenthau who wrote, on July 16th, 1915, it appears that a campaign of race extermination is in progress under a pretext of reprisal against rebellion.

Is that a fact that you would agree with, as reported, as historical fact, that Ambassador Morgenthau reported?

MS. YOVANOVITCH: Yes. It's certainly a fact here -- I'm reading off of this handout that you gave me -- that Ambassador Morgenthau reported this.

SEN. MENENDEZ: Thank you.

Would you look at number three, where it says, where U.S. Counsel, in Aleppo, Jesse Jackson reported to Ambassador Morgenthau on June 5th, 1915, that it is without doubt a carefully planned scheme to thoroughly extinguish the Armenian race.

Is that what Counsel Jackson said in his statement to Ambassador Morgenthau?

MS. YOVANOVITCH: Yes. According to this document that you've given me, that's correct.

SEN. MENENDEZ: Number four, where U.S. Counsel, in Harput, Leslie Davis reported to Ambassador Morgenthau on July 24th, 1915, quote, "It has been no secret that the plan was to destroy the Armenian race as a race. But the methods used have been more cold- blooded and barbarous, if not more effective, than I had first supposed."

Is that the statement issued then by the counsel?

MS. YOVANOVITCH: Yes, as I'm reading this from what you've given me.

SEN. MENENDEZ: And finally, on number five, where the U.S. ambassador to the Ottoman Empire from 1916 to 1917, Abram Elkus, telegraphed the secretary of State on October 17th, 1960, and said, quote, "In order to avoid opprobrium of the civilized world, which the continuation of massacres would arouse, Turkish officials have now adopted and are executing the unchecked policy of extermination through starvation, exhaustion and the brutality of treatment hardly surpassed even in Turkish history." Is that a statement that was issued at that time by the U.S. ambassador?

MS. YOVANOVITCH: Yes, as I'm reading it here now.

SEN. MENENDEZ: Now, the final reference I want you to look at is number six. And would you agree that Article II of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, of which the United States is a signatory party to and ratified, a copy of which I have before you, states under Article II, in the present convention, genocide means any of the following acts committed with the intent to destroy in whole or in part a national, ethnic, racial or religious group as such: killing members of the group, causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group, deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part? Is that a fair statement of the reading of Article II of the convention?

MS. YOVANOVITCH: Yes, sir.

SEN. MENENDEZ: Is that a yes?

MS. YOVANOVITCH: Yes, I'm sorry. Yeah.

SEN. MENENDEZ: Yeah, okay.

Therefore -- and I -- Mr. Chair, if you'll indulge me -- therefore, would not the facts that you acknowledge -- and please listen to my question -- would not -- intently -- would not the facts that you acknowledge in your opening statement and those facts that you have recognized as historical facts during the period of 1915 to 1923 meet the definition of Article II that you just -- I just had you read?

MS. YOVANOVITCH: Thank you. It's certainly true that this is the definition of genocide here, and I'm familiar enough with the record to have read some of the accounts from our embassy and our consulate at the end of the Ottoman Empire which are truly shocking in terms of scale and the individual stories, as individual families and the things that happened.

It's the responsibility and the duty of embassies and consulates to inform and represent honestly, faithfully, objectively to the department, to Washington, to the president.

And it is the president, it is the secretary of State that makes the policy, that makes the determination of how to characterize -- (inaudible).

SEN. MENENDEZ: And I am not asking you for a declaration of policy. I have not even asked you about a maybe more ultimate question. What I'm asking you, as a career Foreign Service officer, well-educated, with a lot of experience -- would the facts, as recognized by President Bush in public statements, as recognized by you in your opening statement and in terms of the historical documents that I presented to you -- would those facts fall in line -- clearly you mentioned the killing members of a group. You mentioned murder in your opening statement.

MS. YOVANOVITCH: I did.

SEN. MENENDEZ: That's killing members of a group, is it not?

MS. YOVANOVITCH: Yes, it is.

SEN. MENENDEZ: Would it not be fair to say, in furtherance of some of the questions I asked you, and I think you very appropriately answered some of the acts that took place, not only the murders and rapes and forced deportation of people or forced exile of people, would that not clearly be causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of a group?

MS. YOVANOVITCH: Yes.

SEN. MENENDEZ: And clearly, it would also be deliberately inflicting on a group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part. Obviously, those who were murdered in mass numbers, 1.5 million, obviously those who were exiled, obviously those who, through other actions, were taken place -- that would fall into that category, would it not?

MS. YOVANOVITCH: It's a policy decision, sir.

SEN. MENENDEZ: I want to thank you for your honest answers.

Mr. Chairman, if I may -- I appreciate your indulgence. I will have a series of other questions for the record. I don't want to delay. But what's going on here -- it is a shame that career Foreign Service officers have to be brought before the committee and find difficulty in acknowledging historical facts and find difficulty in acknowledging the realities of what has been internationally recognized, Mr. Chairman. Not because I say it; I don't hold myself out to be that type of a scholar.

But the fact is that the International Association of Genocide Scholars, the preeminent authority on genocide, has unanimously -- not equivocated -- unanimously declared the Armenian Genocide a genocide. And it is amazing to me that we can talk about millions, you know, a million and a half human beings who were slaughtered.

We can talk about those who were raped. We can talk about those who were forcibly pushed out of their country. And we can have presidential acknowledgements of that. But then we cannot call it what it is.

It is a ridiculous dance that the administration is doing over the use of the term "genocide." It is an attempt to suggest that we don't want to strain our relationships with Turkey.

But I have to say the fact that we are sending off our diplomats in such a manner; that they are not able to recognize a historical event that is clearly documented by credible, objective historians, an event that is so tragic, an event that the recognition of which is personal for millions of Armenians and descendants of Armenians, many of whom are Americans, is also something that I think is detrimental to our foreign policy.

Mr. Chairman, we have actually had the U.S. ambassador to -- former U.S. ambassador to Armenia attend every year in April the commemoration of the Armenian genocide. It is amazing that we send a U.S. ambassador to the commemoration of an Armenian genocide -- which I would hope that if your nomination is ultimately approved by the Senate, that you would commit yourself to attending -- and yet we cannot -- how do you go and go to a commemoration of the Armenian genocide and never, ever use the recognition of that fact?

I believe acknowledging historical facts as they are is a principle that is easily understood both at home and abroad. So while the administration believes that this posture benefits us vis-a-vis our relationship with Turkey, I think they should also recognize that it hurts our relationship elsewhere, and it tarnishes the United States' history of being a place where truth is spoken to power. And acknowledgement of our failures in the past make us stronger, not weaker, and recognizing the evils of the past do not trap us, but they set us free.

That is what I hope we can be able to achieve, Mr. Chairman.

I have great admiration for Ambassador Yovanovitch. She is the designee here, and having to respond to questions. And as I told her privately, I would be pursuing the line of questioning. I appreciate her intent to be as frank and open as possible. And Mr. Chairman, if you have a second round, I have a different set of questions for one of the other candidates.

SEN. MENENDEZ: Ambassador. Would you, if you were to be confirmed by the Senate, make a commitment to this committee that you would attend the Armenian genocide commemoration, which is held every April 24th, as Yerevan, as previous ambassadors have?

MS. YOVANOVITCH: If I were confirmed, I would certainly commit to attend to Armenian Remembrance Day.

Anti-Defamation League denies Armenian Genocide?
Listen to or download "Anti-Defamation League denies Armenian genocide?"

Massachusetts resident David Boyajian wrote his local newspaper questioning the Anti-Defamation League's (ADL) position on the Armenian Genocide. He set off a virtual firestorm of activity in Massachusetts communities reviewing the ADL's No Place for Hate project.

Boyajian, a longtime activist in the Armenian-American community and freelance writer, expressed outrage that the ADL national director Abraham Foxman had refused to recognize the Genocide. Neither would Foxman and the ADL support House and Senate resolutions that would make genocide recognition official.

We spend the hour with David Boyajian in a wide ranging conversation that includes audio testimony from genocide survivors.

www.radio4all.net/pub/files/sgalleymore@hotmail.com/3035-1-20080623-david_boyjian_mix.mp3

Redefining Turkey's Strategic Orientation (Richard Griragosian)24 June 2008, : Turkish Daily News
If the many abrupt shifts in security and geopolitics stemming from both the global “war on terror” and the war in Iraq, the Republic of Turkey represents one of the most dynamic models of profound change and strategic reorientation. As a model of change, Turkey continues to face its deepest and potentially most disruptive degree of change, with a profound reexamination of the very tenets of its national identity, driven by a combination of internal reforms and external challenges. But more recently, there has been an equally significant strategic reorientation involving Turkey's role within the region and its future position in a broader international context.

In terms of a powerful strategic reorientation, Turkey has already moved well beyond an initial period of redefining its post-Cold War role, long defined by Turkey's position as a frontline NATO member and as a key U.S. military partner. Instead, Turkey has graduated to a more sophisticated recognition of its strategic significance, reflecting an imperative of looking to the EU to replace the loss of its traditional Cold War role as a “frontline” Western ally, but also incorporating a more recent emphasis on a greater self-sufficient and assertive role as a regional power.

One of the most recent elements of Turkey's strategic reorientation is also the most dramatic –a move away from a role within a larger multilateral Western alliance toward a more unilateral assertion as an aspiring regional power. This reorientation encompasses both a renewed Eastern shift toward the South Caucasus and Central Asia and a greater level of engagement within newer global and regional security structures and arenas.

This rather profound move has been largely driven by Turkey's frustration with its often delayed and overly complicated path toward the European Union. Despite the obvious economic and trade benefits of EU membership, the appeal of joining has lost much of its initial lure. Tension between Brussels and Ankara over the pace of economic and political reforms as prerequisites for ascension talks was not the only factor contributing to Turkish frustration, however. After a round of elections within the EU, the political transition in three key European powers, Germany, France and the United Kingdom, Turkey's candidacy was increasingly treated as either more of an American priority or an unnecessary burden.

Expressed as an over-ambitious component of EU enlargement, French President Nicolas Sarkozy has downplayed much of the progress Turkey has achieved to date and has proposed to downgrade the Turkish bid for membership to an offer of “privileged partnership” instead. Backed by German Chancellor Angela Merkel, this recent French counter to Turkish hopes for finally garnering what Ankara sees as a just reward for unprecedented patience, has only been strengthened by a marked decline in British support, as Prime Minister Gordon Brown has shown much less of a commitment to Turkish EU membership than his predecessor Tony Blair.

The Turkish reaction, notable but natural, was viewing such an offer of privileged partnership as an insult, even sparking Mehmet S,imsek, Turkey's Minister of State responsible for economics, foreign trade and the treasury, to warn that Turkey would accept nothing short of full EU membership, adding that “we cannot accept dilution of the (EU's) commitment to Turkey.”

The result from such a negative shift among the three leading EU member states has been somewhat destabilizing for Turkey, and seriously devastating for the most determined proponents of a Turkey within the EU. The implications from denying Turkey an avenue to the European Union are not limited to damaging Turkey, however, but also diminish Europe itself. As Parag Khanna affirmed, “Europe increasingly needs Turkey,” which he defines as representing a “geopolitical asset (that) Europe cannot do without.”

The recognition of Turkey as a strategic asset is not limited to Europe, but also includes a broader role as a component of Western security in general and as a contributor more than a consumer of security within the context of the global war on terrorism more specifically. Turkey and the global war on terrorism

As a contributor to security, Turkey holds an essential position within the post-Sept. 11 security architecture and the subsequent U.S.-led global “war on terrorism.” Specifically, Turkish membership within the EU inherently offers a greater significance and relevance for both Brussels and Washington due to the strategic necessity of having an Islamic, but secular Turkey as a full member of the “Christian European Union.” This view has also largely conformed to the strategic view of many within the Turkish nationalist camp and among the Turkish military who held that the question was now no longer one of Turkey needing Europe, but rather, of Europe (and the West) needing Turkey.

For the Europeans, the Turkish bid for EU membership has generally been viewed as an important defensive move–to both contain and deter discontent and to help understand and integrate Muslims within Europe. For the Americans, this idea of a Turkey within the EU was also a convenient façade to the U.S.-led war on terrorism, providing a counterweight against the mounting interpretation of the war on terror as a war on Islam. Of course, the utility of such a position was abruptly refuted by the realities of both the mounting insurgency in Iraq and the resurgence of the Taliban in Afghanistan.

Yet even if Turkey's negotiations with the EU improve, the damage has already been done. The perception of European reluctance and resistance to a strong Turkey is even more important than the reality, and has bolstered a new, more self-confident and assertive Turkish reaction. Such a stance is most significant because it is now based on shifts in Turkish national security to meet a set of more pressing and worrisome trends. More specifically, these trends are defined by three broader regional challenges: instability in war-torn Iraq, and the related emergence of a Kurdish proto-state; the escalation of tension between the West and an emboldened Iran; and the reassertion of Russian power and influence, most notably in both the Black Sea and the neighboring South Caucasus. A fourth, larger challenge to Turkey comes from beyond the region and stems from a serious deterioration in Turkish-U.S. military relations. The Kurdish challenge

One of the more ironic aspects of Turkey's Kurdish issue is the Armenia factor. This was first evident in early 2007, when the assassination of prominent Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink in Istanbul sparked a renewed focus on Turkey's troubled relations with its small neighbor Armenia. But the most significant aspect of Turkish-Armenian relations is its role in offering a potent economic tool in suppressing Kurdish, and even Islamist, extremism.

Within a broader context, the Armenian issue has traditionally been seen as a threatening element in the deeper debate over Turkish identity, and the Turkish military has tended to be the most vocal and strident opponent whenever the Armenian issue was raised. And although Turkey remains critically sensitive to Armenian attempts to pursue international recognition of the 1915 mass killings of Armenians within the Ottoman Empire as genocide, there has been a recent trend toward recognizing both the necessity and the benefits of normalizing relations with Armenia.5 And it is this new view of the Armenian issue as an integral component of stability and security that is most profound.

The more recent record of Turkish-Armenian relations has also been blighted by both a refusal to extend normal diplomatic relations with Armenia and a trade embargo and transport blockade, imposed on Armenia in 1993 in support of Azerbaijan over the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. Yet by their very nature, these very same tactics are now seen as tied to a discredited approach and a failed policy by a disparate set of Turkish elite. The first component of this elite originates from Turkey's leading business circles, led in part by Kaan Soyak, the co-chair of the Turkish-Armenian Business Development Council (TABDC), as well as the Turkish Industrialists and Businessmen's Association (TÜSI.AD), which sees the reopening of the border with Armenia as offering new opportunities for Turkey well beyond the small Armenian market but as facilitating access and lowering transit costs for broader trade with Central Asia, Azerbaijan, and Iran.6

A second key element of this elite consists of a group of Western-trained young officers brought into senior posts within the Turkish Military's General Staff. These Army colonels authored a preliminary, semi-official internal study in late 2006 that presented several new strategic initiatives, including a reconsideration of Turkey's long-standing hesitance toward addressing the stalemate with Armenia. This spurred a closed, internal debate among some senior Turkish military figures, most of whom were centered around Army General Edip Bas,er and General Staff Chief General Büyükan?t, over the feasibility of a strategic opening toward Armenia.7

For Turkey, however, the potential advantage of opening its border with Armenia is rooted not simply in the benefits of trade and new markets, but centers on the economic aspects of Turkish national security. But the real test will be determined not by Turkish commercial interests, but within the Turkish military, between those who see a necessity in ending the Turkish blockade and embargo of Armenia and those that fear it. The opponents to any breakthrough with Armenia are elements from within the shadows of the Turkish intelligence community, security services and the armed forces, known by some Turkish liberals as the “deep state” that acts independently of elected governments.

The concept of the Turkish “deep state” is not new, but only surfaces at times of crises in governance. The most ominous warning came in an April 2005 speech by former Turkish President Süleyman Demirel, who not only cited the existing of a “deep state” within Turkey, but defined it as “the state itself,” including the military, which “always fears the collapse of the state.” He further described the “deep state” as only becoming active when the state is “brought to the verge of collapse” and noted that “they are not a separate state, but when they intervene in the administration of the state, they become the deep state.”

But as the military now sees the border issue as a tool not a threat, the more conservative elements of such a “deep state” may actually not act, and may even support such a move as a means toward addressing a dangerous trend. More specifically, the Turkish military sees a worrisome trend emanating from Iraq, as the emergence of a Kurdish proto-state is viewed as a critical threat to Turkish security and stability. Fears of regional instability from Iraq are only exacerbated by internal concerns, as the restive Kurdish-populated areas of Eastern Turkey are already showing signs of a reemergence of a strident Kurdish nationalism.

In terms of Turkish security and longer-term stability, the impoverished and remote Kurdish regions of Eastern Turkey pose a formidable challenge for the Turkish military. The most productive strategy in dealing with this threat is one of stabilization, through economic development. And as these Kurdish regions would be the first to benefit from border trade with neighboring Armenia, the reopening of the Turkish-Armenian border offers the only real key to stability and security.

Such an economic view of Turkish national security is also essential to ensuring a more comprehensive approach to containing and combating support for extremism. This is especially critical in light of the January 2007 operation by the Turkish police that effectively dismantled an Islamist network (with alleged al-Qaeda links) in five separate Turkish provinces. Thus, the border opening issue represents not only an economic implement to forestall the rise of Kurdish separatism, but also offers an economic instrument to tackle the roots of Islamist extremism. Conclusion

As Turkey continues on its path toward redefining its strategic orientation, Turkish national security will undergo similar shifts. But the extent of external challenges are particularly daunting and pose what are some of the most pressing threats to Turkish stability and security. These threats are further exacerbated by the near simultaneous set of internal changes now underway within Turkey. Based on this new threat environment, Turkey is now forging a sophisticated strategy of greater engagement coupled with a bolder assertion of power in the region. And while it remains to be seen exactly how this strategic reorientation will conclude, with the instability in neighboring Iraq, the rising threat from the emergence of a Kurdish proto-state and the strengthening position of a nuclear-ambitious Iran, it seems clear that Turkey faces its most profound test.

At the same time, Turkey's strategic significance is only enhanced by the very same set of threats and, for the West, Turkey offers an essential avenue toward containing threats from both Iraq and Iran, checking a reassertion of Russian power and influence, and securing the vital Black-Caspian Seas region. More specifically, Turkey is now engaged in a more robust reassertion of its strategic importance, as a global actor with an emboldened agenda of activity within a number of international organizations, ranging from its traditional partners like NATO and the UN, to the more unconventional, such as GUAM and even the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO).

And most crucially, partly as a result of both frustration with the European Union (EU) and a decline in its relationship with the United States, this new strategic reorientation may very well determine the future trajectory of the Turkish Republic. But the culmination of new threats and dynamic change suggest that Turkey also faces a unique opportunity to emerge as a key partner, and no longer as a proxy, for both Europe and the United States.* Richard Griragosian is an analyst specializing in international relations, with a focus on economics, security and political developments in the former Soviet Union, the Middle East and the Asia-Pacific region. He is a regular contributor to Radio Free Europe/Radio. This article is an abbreviated version of Griragosian's article that was printed in the Turkish Policy Quarterly's Summer 2007 issue (www.turkishpolicy.com).

One Week after Sweden Rejected Recognition of the 1915 Genocide
A week has passed by since the world heard the argumentation of the Swedish Parliament and its decision to reject recognition of the 1915 genocide. A short review of its meaning and effects is warranted.

The astonishment and the regret among scholars involved was great. Already at the signing of the petition addressed to the Swedish Parliament, numerous scholars expressed their regret about the need of such a letter in 2008 and that in Sweden.

This is not only about Turkey and the involved minorities, but it is also about the reputation of Sweden and its political leaders. That a party which is regarded as the founder of Forum for Living History and another which already has recognized the 1915 genocide at its general congress voted against a recognition did not make the issue any better. As one of the scholars wrote, it was highly strange that the Social Democrats, who were the promoters of Forum for Living History (governmental agency which educates the Swedish society and teachers about the 1915 genocide), themselves refuse to recognize the genocide. At their Party Congress in August 2005, Folkpartiet (The Liberals) recognized the 1915 genocide and recommended that `The EU should exert strong pressure on Turkey to recognize the genocide committed against Armenians, Assyrians, Syriacs, Chaldeans, and Pontic Greeks during WWI.' One should practice what one preaches...

In the newspaper Dagen (June 13, 2008), MP Alf Svensson (Christian Democrat) pointed out that the parliament, after all, had recognized the genocide indirectly when it was stated that `The Committee understands that what engulfed the Armenians, Assyrian/Syriacs and Chaldeans during the reign of the Ottoman Empire would, according to the 1948 Convention, probably be regarded as genocide, if it had been in power at the time.' It might look that way, but let see what a refusal to recognize the 1915 genocide for its true nature has meant in Turkey. Precisely as the scholars stated in the petition (signed by over 60 world leading genocide experts), the refusal to recognize a genocide is nothing but supporting and abetting its denial.

The Swedish Parliament's decision was quickly intercepted by Turkish media and the news was published in several newspapers. Hürryet (June 14, 2008) cited Egeman Bagis, member of the AKP party (i.e. the same `democratic' powers which the Swedish Foreign Committee wishes to promote) and advisor to the prime minister, expressing his gratitude for the Swedish Parliament's rejection of `the Armenian allegations' in regard to `the so-called genocide'. The text continues: `Some 300,000 Armenians and at least an equal number of Turks were killed in civil strife when Armenians, backed by Russia, rose up against the Ottomans in 1915.' Thus, now supported by the Swedish Parliament, it is the Armenians who have killed more Turks and Kurds and not the way around, while the `indirectly recognized' genocide is merely `Armenian allegations.' Hürriyet, one of the three largest newspapers in Turkey and maybe the most influential one, is actually regarded as of `liberal' nature. It is often accused for attempts for destabilizing the country and has 'Türkiye Türklerindir' (Turkey belongs to Turks) beside Atatürk's image in its logotype. The newspapers `Zaman', `Turkish Weekly' and others had similar reporting. If now these are the liberal powers in Turkey, one might imagine what the `extremist' organizations have done with the Swedish genocide denial.

Thus, the parliament, exactly as stated in the petition, and quite contrary to what Foreign Minister Carl Bildt and the Foreign Department have tried to pretend to be the case, has now directly contributed to nourishing history revisionism and those currents which make the life of the minorities unbearable in Turkey.

It should be mentioned that on June 17, 2008, the publicist Ragip Zarakolu was sentenced to five months prison for having `insulted the Turkish Nation' in accordance to the infamous paragraph 301. His crime: having published a translation of the British author George Jerjian's book `The Truth will set us Free: Armenians and Turks Reconciled', about the Armenian Massacres of 1915. Thereby one can verify that the alteration in the law which took place in April, 2008, opposite to the assertion of the Swedish Foreign Committee mentioning the `reform package', `freedom package' or the `democracy package', is nothing but a cosmetic change and a masquerade. Furthermore, it was displayed that the recommendation of the Foreign Committee for a rejection of recognition `...in the time being, it would be venturesome to disturb an initiate and delicate national process' is quite baseless. The Swedish refusal to more forcefully and more clearly support the democracy in Turkey can only abet similar actions and decisions in a Turkey which obviously is incapable of reforming itself from within. This can, in no ways, promote the demanded development in Turkey, or benefit Sweden's reputation, or the interests of EU.

The voting protocol was a very interesting reading. Those 37 MPs ho voted for recognition of the 1915 genocide deserve all praise and honor, especially those who defied their party lines and the presented disinformation and instead followed their own principles and the facts at hand. After questioning some MPs who had voted `yes' for rejecting a recognition, it became clear that the knowledge in the issue is almost non-existing. The MPs had, more or less, blindly followed the `recommendation' of the Foreign Department. Thus, some of the blame for the wrongful decision and the disinformation among the MPs must be placed upon our organizations that should, in good time, have had supplied the MPs with correct data, resolutions, reports etc. Therefore, in connection with the elections to the EU Parliament in 2009 and the Swedish elections in 2010, we will make sure that the MPs, unlike those parliamentary members who during the debate could not answer one single question in defense of the rejection decision, at least do not lack knowledge in the issue and will be able to form their own opinion rather than voting in accordance to a directive which demonstrably was based on pitfalls and errors.

Vahagn Avedian Chairman of the Board, Union of Armenian Associations in Sweden Chief Editor of Armenica.org


Another Challenging Call From Anca For Open Auction : Contribute Cash Now - Buy 3rd Seat In Capitol Hill
(A reminding note: Within the total population of some 300.000.000 American people, the number of Americans with Armenian origin is estimated to be around only one million which is about 0.33% of all Americans! Yet, they boast to have already two congrespersons and are working hard to buy the third seat. American voters, should consider if those "jacked-up representatives" will serve the interests of Armenians or U.S.A. first! The tone of the 'usual money call'

is typically agressive and I think, arrogant! (Kill the "genocide"(?) "denier" Jean Schmidt, "don't let anyone argue the [G]word"! (I say: "GEE WHIZZZZ")SSA

AancaUpdate@anca.org 26/06/2008
Subject: Do you want more Armenian Americans in Congress?
David and Elena Krikorian with their children Ariel, Armen, and Alex.
Donate to David Krikorian for Congress TODAY!

Dear Friend:
Do you want more Armenian Americans elected to the U.S. Congress?
I sure do.

Right now we have two - Anna Eshoo and Jackie Kanchelian Speier. But we deserve more.
Wouldn't it also send a really powerful message if a few of the worst Armenian Genocide deniers got thrown off Capitol Hill this November?

Well, this year, we can kill two birds with one stone.

Turkish Americans raised over $10,000 for genocide denier Jean Schmidt in February

How?
By helping David Krikorian, a tremendously talented Armenian American businessman, unseat Congresswoman Jean Schmidt, a shameless genocide denier who has fought tooth and nail against our community's views and values from her very first day in Washington.

David is an incredibly devoted Armenian American, proud of his heritage and personally committed to ensuring that the voice of our community is heard and respected at the highest levels of the U.S. government. As the hard-working Chairman of ANC-Ohio he has been a strong and effective leader, both state-wide and nationally.

Armenian American family man and entrepreneur David Krikorian

David, a self-made entrepreneur and devoted family man involved in local civic affairs, has decided to run as an Independent to challenge Schmidt, a deeply flawed, highly unpopular, and polarizing figure in her southern Ohio district. We respect David's values and vision, know that he will be a strong addition to Congress, and want to do all we can to help him send Jean Schmidt packing.

Please join with me in donating financially to David's campaign. Large or small, every donation counts!
Whether you can send $23, $230, or the maximum of $2,300, your secure on-line donation will make a real difference.

With warmest regards,
Aram Hamparian
Executive Director

P.S. Electing strong and proud Armenian Americans like David Krikorian represents the cutting edge of the Armenian Cause. Please send your secure on-line donation today.

ANCA appoints-approves US Ambassador to Armenia
Question: Did Senator Boxer read RAND Report posting plus OIL report ?
(S.S.Aya)

AncaUpdate@anca.org 25/06/2008
Subject; Boxer Secures Greater Transparency on Ambassadorial Nomination

June 24, 2008
TOP STORY: Sen. Boxer Ensures Senate Panel Has Time to Review U.S. Ambassador to Armenia Nomination
Key Senate Panel Seeks Greater Accountability for Crimes Against Humanity

State Department Failed to Provide Written Responses to Senate Inquiries in a Timely Manner
WASHINGTON, DC – Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) today secured a one-month delay in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee’s consideration of the confirmation of U.S. Ambassador to Armenia nominee Marie Yovanovitch in response to the State Department’s delay in providing timely written responses to the eight sets of written questions submitted to her by members of the panel, reported the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA).
“Senator Boxer not only provided Senators with the opportunity they would otherwise have been denied to meaningfully review the nominee’s responses, but also, very significantly, ensured that all Americans citizens – including Armenian Americans and those who share our commitment to ending the cycle of genocide – have a chance to study her answers and take part in the civic discourse over a diplomatic posting that has been the center of national attention since the Administration’s firing of Ambassador John Evans over his truthful remarks on the Armenian Genocide,” said ANCA Executive Director Aram Hamparian.

“Throughout this process, we have been deeply gratified by the vigorous oversight exercised by so many Senators over a set of deeply flawed policies toward Armenia and the region, particularly the excellent line of questions posed by Senator Bob Menendez at last week’s Foreign Relations Committee hearing, and the extensive written inquiries that he and his Senate colleagues – panel Chairman Joe Biden, Barbara Boxer, Robert Casey, Norm Coleman, Russ Feingold, John Kerry, and Presidential candidate Barack Obama – have submitted to Ambassador Designate Yovanovitch.”

As of close of business the day before the Committee was set to vote on the nomination, the nominee had yet to respond to all Senate inquiries, with several responses only being provided hours before the scheduled vote. The Senate Committee vote will likely be held following the July 4th Congressional recess. Ambassador Designate Yovanovitch’s currently available responses are posted on the ANCA website. Read Amb. Yovanovitch's responses and more. . .

Key Senate Panel Seeks Greater Accountability for Crimes Against Humanity
WASHINGTON, DC – An overflow crowd was on hand today for an unprecedented U.S. Senate hearing exploring means of ensuring greater accountability for perpetrators of crimes against humanity, reported the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA).

Chaired by Assistant Majority Leader Richard Durbin (D-IL), who heads the Senate’s Judiciary Subcommittee on Human Rights and the Law, the hearing provided legislators an opportunity to hear from experts regarding the crafting of U.S. laws to empower the prosecution of individuals who have committed genocide and other crimes against humanity.
“This subcommittee is focused on legislation, not lamentation,” proclaimed Chairman Durbin at outset of the hearing. In his remarks, he focused on the ongoing genocide in Darfur, making it clear that “part of the solution is to arrest and prosecute the perpetrators of these horrific crimes. Otherwise they will continue to act with impunity.” The Illinois Senator emphasized that U.S. efforts will “ring hollow unless we lead the world in punishing those responsible for the gravest human rights violations.”

A main theme that ran throughout the hearing was the lack of U.S. laws that would allow for the prosecution in the United States of those who have committed mass killings on foreign soil. Several Senators noted how the absence of this legislation undermines the ability of the United States to hold accountable those responsible for the Darfur Genocide and the crimes currently being committed in Chad.

The Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) will be offering written testimony to be submitted as part of the permanent record of this hearing. Read more. . .
Published by the Armenian National Committee of America


Omer Engin Lütem The Armenian Question And The Attitude Of The Us 23 June 2008, ERAREN
On 18 June 2008, during the meeting regarding the Caucasus held in the Committee on Foreign Affairs of the House of Representatives, the Assistant Secretary for European and Eurasian Affairs Daniel Fried made a long speech emphasizing Georgia, Azerbaijan and Armenia. No doubt, due to his high position in the American Foreign Affairs, his words can be regarded as the official attitude of the US.

The Turkish media welcomed the speaking of Fried concerning the relations between Turkey and Armenia with a great interest. His statement on the recognition of Turkish border by Armenia was gladly saluted. It ought to be stated that it is not new and State Department officials, maybe not frequently, have made this statement before. On the other hand, it is not possible not to recognize a border drawn by an international agreement, and, thus, Turkey’s attitude, in that respect, ought to be considered normal. As a result, because of her reluctance on recognizing the border, Turkey has not established diplomatic relations with Armenia.
Daniel Fried, along with the subject on the relations between Turkey and Armenia, pointed out some other matters. First of those was about the neccessity of the openning of the border. As known, Turkey has stated that the openning of the border is related to the solution of the Karabagh issue, or, at least, to the serious attempts to solve it. Armenia, on the other hand, wants Turkey to open the border without any precondition. Since Fried did not mention any condition on this matter, he actually agrees with the Armenian view.

“Turkey should face the dark part of her history”. These words of Daniel Fried are actually identical with the Armenian views; because, this statement explicitly means that Turkey should recognize the Armenian genocide claims. Moreover, it can be presumed that Fried actually means that if Turkey faces her history, Armenia should recognize the existing border between the two countries.

As known, the genocide issue is a very sensitive subject for Turkey and the Turks. Apart from a very little group, nobody accepts these allegations in Turkey. Also, Turkey is by all means against any attempts using these claims for some political matters such as Turkey’s EU accession and Turco-Armenian relations. One day before Fried’s statement the President of Turkey, Abdullah Gül, in a speech made in the XIth International Congress of Social and Economic History of Turkey confirmed the attitude of Turkey towards the issue by underlining the fact that Turkey is in peace with her history, and historical events should be left to historians for evaluation.

Under the light of the matters mentioned above, when we study again Fried’s statement, we observed that he unsuccessfully tied to set up a balance between Turkey and Armenian interest but he is rather close to the Armenian views.


Senator Puts One-Month Hold On Bush's Nominee For Armenia
26 June 2008, Turkish Daily News
Pro-Armenian Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer Tuesday placed a one-month hold on U.S. President George W. Bush's pick for the ambassador to Yerevan, hinting that she or a like-minded senator may permanently block the nomination on grounds that the nominee is declining to characterize World War I-era killings of Armenians in the Ottoman empire as "genocide." The Senate Foreign Relations Committee Tuesday was due to vote on the nominations of 22 would-be U.S. ambassadors, including Marie Yovanovitch, the pick for the Armenian capital.It eventually confirmed 21 of them, delaying only Yovanovitch's case until the committee's next "business meeting," probably in mid-July, a committee official told the Turkish Daily News. The reason was Boxer's hold."Senator Barbara Boxer today secured a one-month delay in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee's consideration of the confirmation of U.S. ambassador to Armenia nominee Marie Yovanovitch in response to the State Department's delay in providing timely written responses to the eight sets of written questions submitted to her by members of the panel," the Armenian National Committee of America, or ANCA, said in a written statement."Senator Boxer not only provided senators with the opportunity they would otherwise have been denied, to meaningfully review the nominee's responses, but also, very significantly, ensured that all Americans citizens – including Armenian Americans and those who share our commitment to ending the cycle of genocide – have a chance to study her answers," said Aram Hamparian, executive director of ANCA, the largest U.S. Armenian group.Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama and Sen. Joe Biden, the Democratic chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, were among the senators sending written questions to be replied by Yovanovitch, the ANCA said.Richard Hoagland, Bush's earlier nominee for Yerevan, could never win the Senate's confirmation for the post, as Democratic Sen. Robert Menendez, another strong supporter of the Armenian cause, blocked his nomination two years ago on grounds that he had failed to qualify the Armenian killings as genocide.

History repeating itself?

Menendez last week also interrogated Yovanovitch during her confirmation hearing at the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Despite Menendez' insistent questioning, Yovanovitch, like Hoagland, declined to use the g-word.Analysts said that Boxer, Menendez or any other like-minded senator might permanently block Yovanovitch's nomination too.The U.S. ambassadorial position in Yerevan has been vacant since May 2006, when John Evans, the last ambassador, was fired in the wake of his remarks qualifying the killings as genocide in defiance of Washington's official policy.Bush then sought to replace him with Hoagland, whose case was later understood to be doomed.Senior U.S. officials need the Senate's approval to take up their posts. Under U.S. laws, even a single senator has a power to put a hold on nominations of senior administration officials, including would-be ambassadors, although such moves are usually rare because they put the dissenting senator under intense pressure.A genocide resolution came close to passage at the U.S. House of Representatives last fall, and only strong Turkish warnings that such a move would destroy the Bush administration's focused efforts to cultivate U.S.-Turkey relations caused it to be shelved.But analysts here warn that Turkey almost certainly will face the same problem in Congress next year. Making things worse for Turkey, Obama strongly supports the Armenian position.


Armenian Opposition Member Arman Musinyan: "For The First Time The Person, Considering Himself The Head Of Armenian State, Has Placed In Doubt The Very Fact Of "Genocide Of Armenians"
26 June 2008, Today AZ
"Self-declared President of Armenia Serzh Sargsyan has placed in doubt the fact of "genocide of Armenians" in the Osman Turkey during his visit to Moscow", said spokesman for the first President of Armenia, leader of opposition Levon Ter-Petrosyan, Arman Musinyan during the meeting with journalists in Urbat club.

Musinyan thus assessed the announcement of Serzh Sargsyan, who admitted possibility of creation of the Armenian-Turkish commission on studying the 1915 events.

"Thus, for the first time a person, considering himself the head of Armenian state, has placed in doubt the very fact of "genocide of Armenians". In this connection the Center of National Movement, led by Levon Ter-Petrosyan, will make the due statement", said Musinyan.





Novel Strategy To Avoid The ‘G-Word’ 19 June 2008, Turkish Daily News
About this time two years ago Richard Hoagland, the U.S. ambassador to Tajikistan, whom President George W. Bush wanted to send to the same post in Armenia, was sweating during his confirmation hearing before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Ultimately, Hoagland's refusal to use the “g-word” cost him the chance to take up residence in Yerevan.

Will the same fate today befall Marie Yovanovitch, the White House official nominated for the job who goes before the same panel? Maybe yes, maybe no. But an apparent “two ambassador strategy” devised by the U.S. State Department is set to play out and may save the day.

Two years ago, pro-Armenian senators relentlessly pressured Hoaglan to characterize the World War I-era Armenian killings in the Ottoman empire as "genocide." Hoagland tried to sidestep the questions by sticking to the official U.S. position that avoids using the g-word.

Hoagland still won the committee's approval, but later, before his confirmation came to the Senate floor, Senator Robert Menendez, a New Jersey Democrat championing the Armenian cause, placed a hold on Hoagland's nomination, effectively killing his chances to become the U.S. ambassador to Yerevan. Menendez, and most U.S. Armenians, say the United States should not be represented in Armenia by a "genocide denier."

Under American law, all senior administration officials, including ambassadors, must win the Senate's approval to take up their posts. But even one single senator has a right to block a nomination, though such vetoes are rare because they normally put the dissenting senator under enormous pressure.

In this case Menendez has suffered no visible side effects from his hold on Hoagland, amid an extraordinary show of hostility between Bush's outgoing Republican administration and the Democratic-controlled Congress.

Eventually, the White House had to withdraw Hoagland's nomination last year after it became clear that Menendez would not lift his veto.

Does history repeat itself?
Hoagland's doomed nomination came after a May 2006 incident in which the White House fired John Evans, the previous U.S. ambassador to Armenia, in the wake of remarks that qualified the Armenian killings as genocide, in violation of the official U.S. policy. The United States has had no ambassador in Yerevan for more than two years, and is being represented there by its deputy chief of mission.

Two years later Yovanovitch, the U.S. ambassador to Kyrgyzstan whom Bush has nominated this time for Armenia, will appear at her confirmation hearing at the Senate Foreign Relations Committee today to be grilled by pro-Armenian senators.

Menendez has already threatened to block Yovanovitch's nomination if the new nominee, like Hoagland, declines to characterize the Armenian killings as genocide. If, on the other hand, Yovanovitch uses the g-word, it will mean a categorical change in official U.S. policy and will risk a collapse in the whole U.S.-Turkish relationship.

And there is the separate case of James Jeffrey, a senior diplomat whom Bush has recently nominated for the ambassadorial post in Ankara to replace outgoing Ross Wilson. Like Wilson's predecessor, Eric Edelman, now the Pentagon's number three official, Jeffrey is a high profile figure in the Bush administration.

Originally an army officer, Jeffrey has had a long career at the State Department. From 2002 to 2004 he was the ambassador to Albania, then worked in Baghdad as the number two U.S. diplomat. On his return to Washington, he became Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice's top Iraq adviser and is presently serving as Bush's deputy national security adviser. Jeffrey's confirmation hearing at the Senate Foreign Relations Committee should come later this year.

Will the tactic work?
To relieve Yovanovitch from the relentless questioning from pro-Armenian senators, the State Department has devised a trick, one source said. Under the plan, Yovanovitch and Jeffrey are expected to attend today's hearing together.

When the senators ask genocide-related questions, Yovanovitch can turn and say, "These are matters that need to be addressed by my colleague heading to Turkey," according to the source.

As the Turkish Daily News went to press yesterday, it was not clear if that plan would remain in place and, if so, if it will work at all.

An analyst here familiar with the Armenian-Turkish conflict and its repercussions in U.S. politics said he believed both Yovanovitch and Jeffrey would face major confirmation problems at the Senate.

"I don't think this trick, if used, will work. Menendez, although he is not a committee member, and maybe some other senators probably will not be content with evasive answers, and Yovanovitch is also likely to face Hoagland's fate," said the analyst, who asked not to be named, qualifying the matter as a sensitive issue.

"In Jeffrey's case, most Democrats view the man as a key member of the Bush administration, and some Democratic senators may seek to block this nomination by the outgoing Republican president whom they hate," the analyst said.

A genocide resolution came close to passage in the U.S. House of Representatives last fall, and only strong Turkish warnings that such a move will destroy Turkish-American and the Bush administration's focused efforts caused it to be shelved.

Obama's letter:
But next year similar resolutions are expected to follow on both the House and Senate sides, and what is worse for Turkey is that Barack Obama, the presumed Democratic presidential nominee, backs the Armenian position.

Obama reiterated Tuesday his support for the Armenians, saying the United States should recognize the Armenian killings of the early last century as genocide.

"I share your view that the United States must recognize the events of 1915 to 1923, carried out by the Ottoman Empire, as genocide. As you know, this resulted in the deportation of nearly 2,000,000 Armenians, of whom 1,500,000 men, women, and children were killed," Obama said in a letter he sent to Ken Hachikian, chairman of the Armenian National Committee of America, or ANCA, the largest U.S. Armenian group.

"We must recognize this tragic reality. The Bush administration's refusal to do so is inexcusable, and I will continue to speak out in an effort to move the administration to change its position," he said, according to an ANCA statement.

Obama pledged earlier this year that if elected president in the Nov. 4 elections, he would recognize the Armenian killings as genocide, though he did not specifically reiterate this pledge in his latest letter to Hachikian.


ATAA Statement Enters House Foreign Affairs Committee Hearing Record on Southern Caucasus, June 18, 2008
Washington, DC - On June 18, the House Foreign Affairs Committee (HFAC) held a hearing, "The Caucasus: Frozen Conflicts and Closed Borders". The HFAC Hearing was an opportunity for members to make comments and ask questions to Ambassador Dan Fried, Department of State Assistant Secretary for European and Eurasian Affairs, regarding the situation in the Caucasus.

The HFAC accepted the Statement of the Assembly of Turkish American Associations (ATAA) by President Nurten Ural concerning:
Armenia's aggression against and violent occupation of Azerbaijan, massacres of thousands of Azeris, and displacement of over one million Azeri refugees from western to eastern Azerbaijan;

Armenia's illegal blockade of the Nakchivan territory of Azerbaijan, as recently reported by Congressional Research Services;

Congressional Research Services' report that Turkey's closed borders with Armenia does not constitute to a blockade or embargo against Armenia;

Turkey's efforts to normalize relations with Armenia, including facilitating trade transit, engaging in over $200 million in trade, accepting immigrant workers, providing of visitation visas at the Turkish-Armenian border entry ports, allowing two air corridors and over 100 flights per month roundtrip from Turkey to Armenia, proposing to establish a joint historic commission to study and rule on the events defining the Armenian Revolt and Insurgency (1880-1919) and 1915 Ottoman relocation of Armenians from the war zones.
Many of the HFAC Committee members who participated were from California and spoke to represent their Armenian constituents. HFAC Chairman Berman, whose office had met with former ANCA Chairman Mourad Topalian, who was convicted of weapons and explosive charges that federal authorities connected to at least three incidents of Armenian terrorism, led the general attack on Turkey and the Turkish people.

Berman expressed that because since 1992 Armenia has demonstrated "resolve" on the issue of Nagorno-Karabakh region of Azerbaijan, Turkey should give up its strategy of trying to change Armenia's mind through a border blockade of Armenia. He further expressed that because it costs $2000 extra per truck to transit from Turkey to Armenia through Georgia due to the closed land border, under such financial hardships, Armenia was forced to develop relations with Iran.

According to President-Elect Evinch, who attended the hearing, "Chairman Berman's underlying position seems to endorse Armenia's violent invasion and occupation of Azerbaijan under an absurd interpretation of the right of self-determination regarding Nagorno-Karabakh, an area one-third the size of Hawaii island and in the heart of Azerbaijan. Berman forgives Armenia for developing an economic and military alliance with Iran, and blames Turkey's border closing for Armenia's irresponsible actions." Evinch continued, "This view caters to the interests of the Armenian American lobby, not the United States."

Evinch added, "$2000 spent extra on transit per truck, is $2000 less Armenia can use for its military aggression against Azerbaijan. If Armenia seeks to reduce the cost of its aggression by forging an alliance with Iran, it will have admitted that its "resolve" will be at the cost of Armenia's integration with the West. This policy caters to Armenian ultra-nationalists, not to Armenia's best interest.

Some HFAC members accused Azerbaijan of preparing for a war with Armenia, based on statements made by the Azerbaijan President. Evinch expressed, "What's lost upon the California members of the HFAC is that Azerbaijan's territory is occupied by Armenia, and Azerbaijan has one million internal refugees because of that. It is the duty of the government of Azerbaijan to protect its citizens. I would expect no less from the United States government if Florida were invaded and occupied by Cuba and one million refugees had fled to Washington, DC for protection."

Some HFAC members, particularly California representatives Watson, Schiff, and Sherman, pressed Ambassador Fried on whether and why the United States does not define the Armenian case as genocide. Watson stated that she represents many Armenians in her district, Hollywood, and demanded a "yes-or-no" response. Ambassador Fried responded repeatedly that the United States "does not use the word", as that would prejudice rapprochement efforts between Turkey and Armenia.


Turkish Diplomat: "We Have Three Main Demands From Armenia"20 June 2008, APA
“One of the problems with Armenia is that Armenia doesn’t recognize territorial integrity of our country. Armenia claimed the territory of Turkey in its declaration of independence in 1991.

Although Kars treatment signed in 1920 is in force today. Kars treatment defined the border lines and Armenians should recognize it”, Omar Lutem, retired ambassador and chief of the Armenian studies office of the Eurasian Strategic Research Center told APA Turkish bureau. Touching upon the US Assistant Secretary Daniel Fried’s call on Armenia to recognize Turkey’s borders, the former diplomat said it was very important step. “Armenia pays no heed to the Turkey’s demand for a long time. Now US high-ranking officials raise this issue. I believe Armenia will be forced to listen to it”. Responding the question about the US and Europe’s regular calls on Turkey to open the borders with Armenia and their current call on Armenia to make step, Lutem said: “US makes efforts to solve the Armenian-Turkish issue for a long time and to achieve long-term peace in the Caucasus. It is not a new policy. Daniel Fried’s address shows that Americans will take more interest in this issue in future. It shows that the West will increase pressure on Armenia in the near future. Turkish diplomacy put the issue of recognition of the Turkey’s territorial integrity on agenda during all discussions related to Armenia and runs Armenia into difficulties. They know well our efforts made over the past 17 years. Fried made very important statement at the Congress”. The former ambassador said Turkey had 3 main problems with Armenia: “Recognition of Turkey’s territorial integrity, giving up the false “genocide” claims and solution of Karabakh problem. We mean the liberation of 7 regions nearby Nagorno Karabakh and the solution of Nagorno Karabakh problem within the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan. We will never change our demands”.


Is Historical Accuracy a Casualty in `East of Byzantium'?15-06-2008 KarabakhOpen
A new production is brewing in Hollywood, one that will recreate a much celebrated event from Armenia's heroic past: the Vartanants War. As was reported in the May 31st edition of The Armenian Reporter, a new film titled `East of Byzantium' is in the planning stage, whose producers are currently holding fundraisers to finance the production. If the roster of the individuals involved in the upcoming production is any indication, the film promises to be in the best traditions of Hollywood's epic movies: Roger Kupelian, the man behind the visual effects of The Lord of the Rings Trilogy and the Flags of Our Fathers; Serj Tankian from the System of a Down, who will write the music score; comedian Vahe Berberian, etc. In fact, the producers consider the film to be the Armenian `Braveheart'. Surely, such an undertaking deserves applause and all the encouragement and success.

As most would agree, film and cinematic art in general offer the most influential medium in influencing popular perceptions and forming public opinions. Therefore, accurate depiction of the historical events and their overall context is of paramount importance. Yet, the scant information that is publicly available already offers cause for concern. Specifically, the article published in The Armenian Reporter and titled `L.A. organizations will join forces to fundraise for an epic film on Armenian history' (pg 8, www.reporter.am/pdfs/A0531-W.pdf quoted Mr. Alex Kalognomos, director of the Arpa International Film Festival, who noted that ``The characters of East of Byzantium are epic men and women of Armenian history - Gregory the Illuminator, Vartan Mamigonian, and the great warrior goddess Anahita.'' It must be noted that this quote not only mispronounces the name of the Armenian pagan goddess Anahit, but it also mischaracterizes the true nature of this deity.

First, the name of the goddess in Armenian is Anahit. Anahida (or Anahita) was the name used to refer to the same (or similar) goddess in the old Persian pantheon. Strabo, the Greek geographer, in narrating about Armenia refers to the same goddess as Anaitis. In fact, if one refuses to use the accurate Armenian version Anahit, it would be more logical (yet still incorrect) to use the Greek version Anaitis rather than the Persian Anahida. Afterall, the ancient Greek civilization, in contrast to the ancient Persian civilization, lies in the foundation of the Western civilization, to which this film production belongs. Nevertheless, calling goddess Anahit as Anahida (or even Anaitis) in `East of Byzantium' would be equivalent to calling William Wallace in `Braveheart' with his Arabic (or French) version or pronunciation.

Second, Anahit was not the goddess of war, but that of motherhood and fertility. Here is how Sargis Haroutyounyan describes Anahit in his book on ancient Armenian myths and tales: `The most worshipped and loved goddess Anahit was the daughter or the wife of Aramazd. She was a mother goddess, depicted with a child in her hands, with a special hairstyle unique to Armenian mothers and women ¦ As a mother deity Anahit was the embodiment of motherhood, harvest and fertility' ( www.armenianhouse.org/harutyunyan/04-gods.html#2 ). Please note that Sargis Haroutyounyan is the editor-in-chief of the Journal of History and Philology of the Yerevan State University's Armenian Philology department, head of the department of archeology, history and mythology of the National Academy of Sciences of the Republic of Armenia, doctor of philological sciences, professor. In short, he is considered an authority on Armenian mythology. Even if Anahit was confused by another deity in the same region and was assigned some features of divinity of war (e.g. its counterpart in the Assyrian/Babylonian pantheon, goddess Ishtar, who was the divinity of love, fertility and war), Anahit was still worshipped in Armenia as the goddess of motherhood and fertility. In the Armenian pantheon the god of war was Vahagn.

As noted earlier, it is of utmost importance that such a significant period in the history of Armenia is presented in an accurate manner. It is not yet known what other inaccuracies exist in the script or what other unintentional misrepresentation could creep in as an inevitable result of artistic freedom. As is customary, the development of the script and further production of `East of Byzantium' should include the advice of trusted and respected scholars of Armenian history. It would be rather prudent to enlist experts from Armenia's own academic circles, in order to exclude the possibility of `alternative' (i.e. false or inaccurate) interpretations of Armenian history present in foreign academia. Otherwise, knowing the enthusiasm with which Armenians embrace any presentation of Armenian history or culture in the mass media, a new generation of Armenians could potentially develop the wrong perception of that period in our own history. This also concerns the foreign audiences, who would base their understanding of Armenian history and civilization solely on cinematic interpretations.

Stepan Sargsyan Contributing Correspondent (Los Angeles), ARARAT Center for Strategic Research


Paradise Lost Smyrna 1922: The Destruction of Islam's City of Tolerance by Giles Milton
A powerful account of one of the most horrific humanitarian disasters of the 20th century
The Sunday Times/UK June 15, 2008, The Sunday Times review by William Dalrymple

For centuries, the great city of Smyrna was a European foothold on the Anatolian coast. The British Levantine Company had had a factory there since 1667, trading in raisins and carpets, and even then the place was renowned for its lively social life. Francesco Lupazzoli, the priapic Venetian consul, lived on a diet of fruit, bread and water and a few slices of unseasoned meat, yet survived until the age of 114, and fathered 126 children on his five wives and innumerable Smyrniot mistresses.

By the end of the 19th century, Smyrna had grown into one of the largest, richest and most cosmopolitan cities in the Mediterranean. It contained large Armenian and Jewish communities, plus at least twice as many Greeks as then lived in Athens. There were 11 Greek newspapers available in the city, as well as seven in Turkish, five in Armenian, four in French and five in Hebrew. Smyrna was also home to a collection of amazingly rich Anglo-Levantine families. The Girauds owned the Oriental Carpet Manufacturing Company, which employed 150,000 people, while the Whittalls controlled an even larger fruit exporting empire. These clans inhabited vast palaces and were serviced by a string of opera houses, theatres, department stores and brasseries. According to one visitor, even their hair salons `were reminiscent of ballrooms'. There were no fewer than 17 companies dealing with Parisian luxuries for these families. It is the lives of these dynasties, recorded in their diaries and letters, that form the focus for Giles Milton's brilliant re-creation of the last days of Smyrna.

In the course of the late 19th century, the Ottoman empire lurched from disaster to disaster, slowly and bloodily shedding its Greek, Bulgarian and Egyptian fringes. To make matters worse, it backed the wrong side in the first world war, thus losing its remaining possessions in the Hejaz, Palestine and Syria. Yet through all this, Smyrna flourished as if on a separate planet. Protected by Rahmi Bey, its liberal Ottoman governor, Smyrna continued to prosper while nearby the caliphate collapsed, the Armenians were led off to their genocide and allied troops died in their tens of thousands trying to capture Gallipoli. Pictures taken in 1917 show the Smyrna Opera packed to bursting with Edwardian gentlemen in black tie, enjoying Rigoletto only a few miles from the landing beaches where so many of their compatriots had died.

Then quite suddenly, in 1922, four years after the end of the first world war, Smyrna was snuffed out in a single week of mass-murder, rape, looting, pillage and one of the greatest acts of arson in the 20th century. At the end of it, the New York Times ran the headline: `Smyrna wiped out.' As Milton points out: `It was not hyperbole; it was a bold statement of fact.'

Britain played an important role in this disaster. Lloyd George hated Muslims, and especially the Turks. In the course of the Paris conference, at the same time as he casually handed over Palestine (then 90% Arab) to the Zionist movement, he encouraged the ambitions of his friend Eleftherios Venizelos, the prime minister of Greece, to annex chunks of Anatolia. When Venizelos dined at Downing Street, Lloyd George proposed the toast: `May the Turk be turned out of Europe and sent to . . . where he came from.' Lord Curzon agreed: `For more than five centuries, the presence of the Turk in Europe has been a source of distraction, intrigue, and corruption . . . Let not this occasion be missed of purging the earth of one of its most pestilent roots of evil.'

In 1919, while the Paris peace conference continued its deliberations on the future of the Middle East, Greek troops landed in Smyrna under British protection. Blessed by the Greek bishop Metropolitan Chrysostom, they began committing atrocities against the city's Turkish inhabitants, killing large numbers of unarmed citizens. The Greek army then advanced inland, and was soon pushing back Mustafa Kemal Ataturk's new Turkish Republican army.

Lloyd George dismissed Ataturk as a `carpet seller in a bazaar . . . [given to] unnatural sexual intercourse', yet the Turkish leader was more than a match for the Greeks. Arming his troops with weapons procured from Italy and France, both of whom distrusted this Anglo-Greek imperial project, Ataturk stalled the Greek offensive, and cut off their supply lines with his cavalry. By August 1922, the Greeks were in chaotic retreat, committing further atrocities as they staggered back to the Mediterranean. It was Smyrna that paid the price for British and Greek miscalculations. When the Turks entered the city on September 9, few doubted they would take revenge for what had been done to them. Few, however, guessed the scale of the horrors that would be meted out on the city. Estimates vary but some suggest that by the end of the mayhem 100,000 people had been killed, with many times that number turned into homeless refugees.

Perhaps the only flaw in Milton's powerful and moving narrative is the degree to which he depicts Smyrna as somehow an exceptional case: as the book's subtitle has it, he believes he is writing about `the destruction of Islam's city of tolerance'. In reality, both the pre-first-world-war tolerance, and the bloody fragmentation of that multicultural world as the empire collapsed, were part of a wider pattern across Ottoman lands. What is true of Smyrna was equally true of Salonica, Istanbul, Alexandria and Jaffa. For across the Ottoman world, eastern Christians, Jews and Muslims lived side by side for nearly one and a half millenniums. By modern standards, the Christians and Jews (the dhimmi) were often treated as second-class citizens, but it was at least a kind of pluralist equilibrium that had no parallel in Europe until the 1950s.

What one historian has called this hybrid `multiconfessional, extraordinarily polyglot Ottoman' multiculturalism where even `bootblacks commanded a working knowledge of six or seven languages' survived until European ideas of the nation state shattered the mosaic in the early 20th century. Across the Ottoman empire, the century saw the bloody unravelling of that tapestry - most recently in Kosovo and Bosnia, but before that in Cyprus, Palestine, Greece and Anatolia. In each,pluralism was replaced by a savage polarisation as minorities fled or were driven to places where they could be majorities.

Milton has written a grimly memorable book about one of the most important events in this process. It is well paced, even-handed and cleverly focused: through the prism of the Anglo-Levantines, he reconstructs both the prewar Edwardian glory of Smyrna and its tragic end. He also clears up, once and for all, who burnt Smyrna, producing irrefutable evidence that the Turkish army brought in thousands of barrels from the Petroleum Company of Smyrna and poured them over the streets and houses of all but the Turkish quarter. Moreover, it is clear that it was done with the full approval of Ataturk, who was determined to find a final solution to his `minority problem' to ensure the future stability of his fledgling Turkish republic. A relatively homogenous Turkish nation state was indeed achieved; but as Milton shows, the cost was suffering on an almost unimaginable scale and one of the most horrific humanitarian disasters of the 20th century.

Paradise Lost Smyrna 1922: The Destruction of Islam's City of Tolerance, by Giles Milton Sceptre £20 pp426


ATAA - On June 12, 2008, The Swedish Parliament, With An Overwhelming Vote Of 245 - 37 rejected to a resolution that characterized the 1915 Armenian case as genocide. The decision of the Swedish Parliament followed long deliberations.

The resolution was rejected because: (1) the United Nations has never accepted the Armenian case as genocide; (2) the United Nations Genocide Convention does not apply retroactively to events before 1948; (3) there is substantial disagreement between experts regarding the events of 1915; (4) there is concern by experts about broadening the definition of genocide and overlapping with other crimes; and, (5) a legislature should not intervene in foreign affairs and disturb the Turkish domestic process.

ATAA President-Elect Gunay Evinch and 1991-93 Fulbright Scholar on the Armenian issue, commented that that in 1986 the United Nations considered the Whitaker Report on the Crime of Genocide, which attempted to slip in the Armenian case in a footnote: "That caused a substantial debate, the result of which was the UN's decision to `receive' rather than `accept' the report. Receiving is a diplomatic way of rejecting."

Evinch also reminded that in 1917, Sweden lead the formation of the Scandinavian Commission of Inquiry into allegations of Armenian massacres, and reports regarding that the Armenians had engaged in a massive revolt to assist the Russian invasion of March 1915. Similarly, in 1919 the India Muslim Commission of Inquiry was formed to report on the atrocities committed by the Armenian Revolt against Muslims in eastern Anatolia 1880-1919. Both Commissions were discouraged and closed by the British Empire.

The vast majority of experts on the Ottoman Empire reject the Armenian case as genocide -- Bernard Lewis, Guenther Lewy, Andrew Mango, Avigdor, Levy, Stanford Shaw, Masaki Kakiszaki, David Fromkin, Norman Stone, Edward Erickson, Heath Lowry, and Justin McCarthy, to list a few notables.


RAND Corporation: Armenian Genocide Resolution Passage “will Do Nothing To Foster Turkish-Armenian Reconciliation”
16.06.2008 /PanARMENIAN.Net/ Faced with a difficult dilemma due to the ongoing closure case against the ruling Justice and Development Party, or AKP, the United States should underscore its strong support for Turkish democracy, according to a report by a prominent U.S. think tank.

In developing its position the U.S government needs to tread lightly lest perceived interference in Turkey’s internal affairs provoke a counterproductive nationalist reaction, advised the recently released report by the Pittsburgh-based RAND Corporation.

Sponsored by the U.S. undersecretary of defense for policy, the report, entitled “The rise of political Islam in Turkey”, was penned by Angel Rabasa and Stephen Larrabeethe. It examines the ascent of the AKP to power and discusses four possible scenarios for Turkey’s future and their implications for American foreign policy.

According to Rabasa and Larrabee, the United States has a strong stake in a stable, democratic Turkey and in the success of a political model that showcases the coexistence of a ruling political party rooted in Islam and secular democracy. “An unstable Turkey wracked by internal dissension would make it even more difficult to stabilize Iraq and enhance regional stability in and around the Persian Gulf,” said the report.

The U.S. approach would be more likely to be effective if it were carried out in coordination with the European Union, the report continued. Given the sensitivity of the issue of Turkish membership in Europe, the U.S. should quietly support Turkey’s EU membership bid behind the scenes and avoid overt pressure. At the same time, Washington needs to recognize that Turkish membership in the EU would have an impact on American-Turkish relations in the long run given that Turkey’s foreign policy would be likely to become more Europeanized over time, according to the researchers.

“Turkey’s growing interests in the Middle East are likely to make Ankara wary about allowing the United States to use its military facilities for Middle East and Persian Gulf contingencies, except where such operations are clearly perceived to be in Turkey’s interest, predicted the report. The United States cannot, therefore, automatically count on being able to use Turkish bases for its operations and should look for alternatives as well,” said the report’s chapter dedicated to Incirlik

As to the Armenian Genocide issue, RAND Corporation supposes that if the H.Res.106 “were to pass, the Turkish government could come under domestic pressure to take retaliatory action, possibly curtailing American access to Incirlik and other Turkish facilities. The passage of a resolution recognizing World War I-era killings of Armenians at the hands of the Ottomans as genocide will do nothing to foster Turkish-Armenian reconciliation, maintained the researchers, urging the executive branch to work closely with the congressional leadership to keep the issue from poisoning relations with Ankara.”

The Corporation also demanded more U.S. pressure on Iraqi Kurds. “The United States needs to deal more resolutely with the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party, or PKK, terrorist attacks against Turkish territory, according to the report, which added that closer military and intelligence cooperation with Ankara against the PKK needs to be followed up by other concrete steps. In particular, the United States needs to put greater pressure on the Kurdistan Regional Government, or KRG, to crack down on the PKK and cease its logistical and political support of the group,” the report said.

However, the report added that the PKK threat cannot be resolved by military means alone. “While a tough anti-terrorist program is an important component of a long-term strategy to defeat the PKK, it must be combined with social and economic reforms that address the root causes of the Kurdish grievances. In addition, America should encourage Turkey to enter into a direct dialogue with the KRG leadership. There can be no long-term stability on Turkey’s southern border without accommodation of the KRG. This does not mean that Turkey should recognize an independent Kurdish state, but it does need to reach an understanding with the KRG, whose cooperation is essential to reduce the PKK threat,” the report said.


AAC Constantinople Patriarch Goes On Sick Leave
16.06.2008 /PanARMENIAN.Net/ Patriarch of Constantinople, His Holiness Mesrop Mutafyan was operated on for his thyroid gland and will not perform his duties for a certain period of time.

As PanARMENIAN.Net came to know from the Armenian community of Istanbul, the Patriarch went on a 6-month sick leave. “The Spiritual Council represented by Archbishop Aram Ateshyan and Shahan Ayvazyan will assume his duties,” the source said.

Archbishop Mutafyan has headed the Constantinople Patriarchate since 1998. If he is disabled, the Armenian community should elect a new spiritual leader, according to the Turkish Constitution. Afterwards, the candidacy is forwarded to the Turkish government, which approves or rejects it.


70 Per Cent Of Turks Eye U.S. As Enemy
16.06.2008 /PanARMENIAN.Net/ U.S. officials had been hoping that Washington’s recently-launched military cooperation with Turkey in the fight against the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party’s, or PKK, terrorists in northern Iraq would help improve their country’s terribly bad image in Turkey, but a survey proved that this was not the case.

Some 70 percent of Turks view the United States as an "enemy," while only 8 percent considers Turkey's closest Western ally a "partner," according to an annual global attitudes report released Thursday by the Pew Research Center, a think tank here that conducts worldwide polls and surveys. The percentage of Turks having a favorable opinion about the United States rose by three points from last year to reach only 12 percent this year. About 77 percent of Turks had unfavorable views of the United States, the report said. President George W. Bush was faring even worse in Turkey. Only 2 percent of Turks had a favorable view of him.

The Pew report covered 23 countries, and its data on Turkey was gathered through face-to-face interviews with 1,003 subjects from March 31 to April 21, the Turkish Daily News reports.


Armenia Wants Normal Relations With All States In Region, Including Turkey
16.06.2008 /PanARMENIAN.Net/ Open and transparent cooperation with Iran should not arouse concern of our partners, according to Armenia’s Foreign Minister.

“Armenia wants normal relations with all states in the region, including Turkey,” Edward Nalbandian said. “Problems with Turkey should be resolved through constructive dialogue, what will be up to the interests of our nations and the entire region.”

Commenting on the Armenian-Georgian relations, the Minister said, “These relations are not only economic but historical as well. Numerous Armenian community lives in Georgia. All problems emerging between our states should be resolved in the atmosphere of neighborliness,” he said, Nezavisimaya Gazeta reports.


Rand Corporation Designs Four Scenarios For Turkey's Future
June 16, 2008 Turkish Daily News
Faced with a difficult dilemma due to the ongoing closure case against the ruling Justice and Development Party, or AKP, the United States should underscore its strong support for Turkish democracy, according to a report by a prominent U.S. think tank.

In developing its position the U.S government needs to tread lightly lest perceived interference in Turkey's internal affairs provoke a counterproductive nationalist reaction, advised the recently released report by the Pittsburgh-based RAND Corporation.

Sponsored by the U.S. undersecretary of defense for policy, the report, entitled "The rise of political Islam in Turkey," was penned by Angel Rabasa and Stephen Larrabeethe. It examines the ascent of the AKP to power and discusses four possible scenarios for Turkey's future and their implications for American foreign policy.

According to Rabasa and Larrabee, the United States has a strong stake in a stable, democratic Turkey and in the success of a political model that showcases the coexistence of a ruling political party rooted in Islam and secular democracy. "An unstable Turkey wracked by internal dissension would make it even more difficult to stabilize Iraq and enhance regional stability in and around the Persian Gulf," said the report.

The U.S. approach would be more likely to be effective if it were carried out in coordination with the European Union, the report continued. Given the sensitivity of the issue of Turkish membership in Europe, the U.S. should quietly support Turkey's EU membership bid behind the scenes and avoid overt pressure. At the same time, Washington needs to recognize that Turkish membership in the EU would have an impact on American-Turkish relations in the long run given that Turkey's foreign policy would be likely to become more ?Europeanized? over time, according to the researchers.

Alternatives to Incirlik
Turkey's growing interests in the Middle East are likely to make Ankara wary about allowing the United States to use its military facilities for Middle East and Persian Gulf contingencies, except where such operations are clearly perceived to be in Turkey's interest, predicted the report. The United States cannot, therefore, automatically count on being able to use Turkish bases for its operations and should look for alternatives as well.

Armenian resolution
If the resolution supporting Armenians claims of genocide were to pass, the Turkish government could come under domestic pressure to take retaliatory action, possibly curtailing American access to Incirlik and other Turkish facilities. The passage of a resolution recognizing World War I-era killings of Armenians at the hands of the Ottomans as genocide will do nothing to foster Turkish-Armenian reconciliation, maintained the researchers, urging the executive branch to work closely with the congressional leadership to keep the issue from poisoning relations with Ankara.

More U.S. pressure on Iraqi Kurds
The United States needs to deal more resolutely with the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party, or PKK, terrorist attacks against Turkish territory, according to the report, which added that closer military and intelligence cooperation with Ankara against the PKK needs to be followed up by other concrete steps. In particular, the United States needs to put greater pressure on the Kurdistan Regional Government, or KRG, to crack down on the PKK and cease its logistical and political support of the group.

However, the report added that the PKK threat cannot be resolved by military means alone. While a tough anti-terrorist program is an important component of a long-term strategy to defeat the PKK, it must be combined with social and economic reforms that address the root causes of the Kurdish grievances. In addition, America should encourage Turkey to enter into a direct dialogue with the KRG leadership. There can be no long-term stability on Turkey's southern border without accommodation of the KRG. This does not mean that Turkey should recognize an independent Kurdish state, but it does need to reach an understanding with the KRG, whose cooperation is essential to reduce the PKK threat, said the report.


Ömer Engin Lutem The Swedish Parliament And The Armenian Genocide Allegations
17 June 2008, ERAREN
The Swedish Parliament refused last week a proposal concerning the recognition of Armenian genocide claims. The Foreign Affairs Commission, in which the proposal was initially discussed, underlined the following points.

The first point was that the United Nations (UN) did not adopt any resolution either in 1985 or any other occasion regarding the Armenians. The Armenians, in order to make parliaments pass resolutions recognizing the genocide allegations, are claiming that the UN too has recognized the “genocide”. In 1985, an Englishman named Whitaker prepared a report on genocide subject for the sub-committee of the Commission on Human Rights. In this report, the “Armenian Genocide” was named among the genocides committed in history. As a result of the objections of the Turkish representatives who were supported by some countries, this report was not accepted, but only noted. In other words, the report did not ensue. After a while, the Armenian propagandists, by referring to the same report, began to claim that the UN had recognized the Armenian genocide. When the spokesman of the UN declared that a resolution on the “genocide” did not exist, Armenian claims ceases for a while. Yet
later they continued to repeat the same allegations. The draft resolution H. RES.106 submitted to the House of Representatives the same claim on the UN recognition of the Armenian “Genocide” exits.

A few years ago, in a proposal submitted to the Swedish Parliament regarding the issue contained this claim, the concerning commission of the Parliament then declared that the UN did not adopt such a resolution. In spite of that, the same claim again surfaced this year.

The second point that the Swedish Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Commission asserted with regards to this proposal was that the difficulties the Armenians, Assyrian/Syrians and Keldanis had faced during the last years of the Ottoman Empire would have been conceivably considered genocide had the 1948 UN Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide gone into effect in 1915. This statement confirms that the Genocide Convention is only applicable to those cases happened after 1951 in which the Convention went into effect. In other words, it is not applicable to the 1915 incidents. To allege that the 1915 incidents would have been regarded as genocide if the 1948 Genocide Convention had gone into effect in 1915 is merely a hypothesis, and hypothesis has no meaning as far as law concerns. However, it can be seen that the Foreign Affairs Commission, by making the statements above, tried to satisfy the Armenians and Assyrians who submitted the proposal.

The third point was that there was no agreement among the experts on what happened during the last years of the Ottoman Empire. This statement explains that there are experts who do not define the 1915 incidents as genocide. This caused strong objections of persons who submitted the proposal. A text claiming that the Armenians were the victims of genocide signed by some fifty scholars and intellectuals was distributed to the members of the Parliament; but was not effective.

The fourth and last point was related to Turkey and its allegedly still-continuing “delicate national process”. It can be presumed that the Foreign Affairs Commission meant that adopting the draft resolution would nourish the extremist groups in Turkey. It would not be correct to say some parliaments’ resolutions on genocide allegations drew the attention of extremist circles in Turkey. On the other hand, it is true that relations of Turkey with those countries have negatively affected.

On 12 June 2008, the proposal was put on vote in the Swedish Parliament. It was refused with 245 to 37 votes while one abstained. 66 members of the Parliament did not participate in the voting. Almost 70 per cent of the votes used were unfavorable to the proposal, and this is very significant.

No doubt that it was a crushing defeat for the Armenians.

On the other hand, one can say that this voting follows the new trend observed in the European Union for some time considering the Armenian Genocide allegations as a secondary issue. In this framework, the annual reports of 2006 and 2007, prepared by the European Parliament regarding Turkey’s accession to the EU, did not, unlike the previous ones, include genocide allegations. The same trend is observed in France and in the UK. The French penal law proposal aiming to punish people who deny the Armenian genocide claims was not put on the agenda of the Senate. Moreover, the British Government has stated that there is not enough evidence for the Armenian genocide claims.

It has been noted that Turkey’s refusal of the Armenian allegations, and restrictions she brings to its relations with the countries, which have recognized the Armenian claims, convinced some countries that it was preferable to have good relations with Turkey.


How Turkey Should React To Sarkozy?
June 18, 2008 Mehmet Ali Birand
I thought French President Nicolas Sarkozy would loosen up in his approach to block Turkey's way to the European Union. Sarkozy appointed a friend of Turkey, Pierre Lelouche, as his special envoy, and sent messages for better relations with Turkey. He created the image that “he will ease his anti-Turkey stance.” On the contrary, the French President sends new signals every day that he will hunt down Turkey.

If we ask, “What could be the traditional Turkish reaction to Sarkozy?” the answer is simple. Turkish diplomacy, politicians and media can show the fiercest reaction against him.

Turkish leaders might make serious remarks and batter him down verbally to instigate people and Sarkozy might be declared “enemy of Turks.” Political contacts might either be cut or minimized. France might be crossed out in all public tenders and French companies doing business in Turkey face bureaucratic obstacles.

The Turkish armed forces might not buy French weapons and cause trouble for their French counterparts. In such an atmosphere, Turkish public opinion may turn against France.

Campaigns might be organized against French goods and calls might be made for boycotting France. The Turkish media might concentrate on the French massacre in Algeria and “ugly French” kind of documentaries might be broadcast on TVs, municipalities might change French names once given to streets or boulevards as some organizations might leave black wreaths in front of French representative offices.

That is to say, France might be lambasted.

Then we, as the society, might feel satisfied but this might be reflected as the “French hunt in Turkey” in Europe. They might scream out “Barbaric Turks” as Greeks and Armenians foment the fire. In this case, Sarkozy toughens more and other EU member countries, even if they do not believe, might support France, just for the sake of solidarity.

This scenario that I try to give here should not be the one we follow. Unfortunately, this is an indispensable approach we adopt since it is so easy to follow, although we see its negative results.

But this only harms Turkey. We should respond to Sarkozy in a cold European manner not in a traditional Turkish way.
* * *
Five ways to handle Sarkozy:
There are many ways to fight back against the French president's approach to Turkey. However, I made a research on the most crucial and primary ones and I came up with four of them:

The most important trump card Turkey holds against France is the other EU countries supporting Turkey, the European Commission being at top. And there are about 20 of them. Ankara should take the initiative and form an active Turkish lobby. But for that, Turkey should realize the EU reforms and provide new trump cards for its friends in order for them to defend Turkey.

The most powerful Turkish lobby in France consists of French firms having or making investments in Turkey. So we should make them to take action in favor of Turkey along with the other actors in economy and trade, rather than driving them to the wall and making them to regret that they invested in Turkey. They will be pleased to have a role in this bid.

The French security lobby and the French armed forces are natural supporters of Turkey. As it happens today, we should make the French military airplanes transiting over Turkey to take side with us, rather than creating difficulties for them.

The year 2009 is declared the “Year of Turkey” in France. We should definitely make good use of this. Various drives and conferences targeting universities should be organized for French intellectuals. Turkey can easily do all of these, if there is enough political will.

Invite them over here:
Our biggest problem is to reflect our rightful case in the best possible way and to explain Turkish viewpoint. I've been in this business for 40 years. So I've been following the efforts to “promote Turkey,” both inside and outside, for 40 years. We've been complaining about it for 40 years. And we keep talking about our failure in this sense.

But there is one single point that has never changed in the process. No matter how hard or how often we organize conferences outside, or our people show up on international TVs or despite all advertisements or conferences held, nothing is more effective than inviting foreigners over Turkey.

So let's invite foreign faculty members, representatives of non-governmental organizations, foreign journalists or politicians to Turkey. Let's spend our money to take our speakers to abroad but to host our foreign guests here in Turkey. I've seen plenty of examples.

Our European addressees reluctantly lend an ear to information about Turkey in Europe. For instance, in Paris and in a familiar environment, the French or the Dutch cannot fully perceive what these Turkish guests saying. No matter how hard we try, they cannot overcome prejudices they have.

However, if a French journalist or a politician or a diplomat leaves his own familiar environment and comes to Istanbul or Ankara or Kars, in the far east tip of Turkey, that person becomes all eyes and ears to you.

Not hearing or watching but personally experiencing things affect a person and personal experience helps one to rid of prejudices. I am very certain since I had so many experiences. The only way to promote Turkey is to invite our addressees over Turkey.


Historians To Find The Truth Not Politicians, Says Gül
June 18, 2008 Turkish Daily News
It is the duty of historians and scientists to write history, not of politicians or Parliament, the president commented at a conference on Turkish history yesterday.

President Abdullah Gül spoke at the opening of the 11th International Congress of Social and Economic History of Turkey, which took place in Ankara's Bilkent Hotel yesterday. He said the best way to achieve accuracy is to leave the evaluation of historical events to historians.

“Our approach as a state is in the same way on the issue of the alleged-Armenian genocide, which is insistently brought to the agenda,” he said, adding that Turkey has done its best to ensure the allegations are investigated by historians.

“We make all our archives available for researchers. Our most confidential archive is open. Turkey is reconciled with its history and proud of it.”

Gül said it must be the duty of historians and scientists to write history, not politicians or parliaments, adding, “We objected to making politics by abusing sorrows in the past and we think in the same today as well.”

“The fact that we are working together to genuinely find the truth is worthy of applause,” said Parliament Speaker Köksal Toptan during a meeting with representatives from the Azerbaijan-Turkey Historical Research Foundation Monday. The foundation was established to uncover the truth about the Armenian genocide allegations.


Azerbaijani Support Against Allegations
June 17, 2008
Parliament Speaker Köksal Toptan received the Azerbaijan-Turkey Historical Research Foundation's Board of Trustees Deputy Chairman and Chairman of the Azeri Turkish Businessman's Union Ahmet Erentok. Toptan said, “The fact that we are working together to genuinely find the truth is worthy of applause,” and Erentok added that his foundation was established to uncover the truths about the Armenian genocide allegations.
ANK – Anatolia News Agency


RAND Scenarios June 16, 2008
Scenario 1: The AKP pursues a moderate, EU-oriented path
The AKP keeps its power and bars Islamic impulses in its domestic and foreign policies. Public expressions of religiosity occur, but no attempt is made to introduce Islamic law. There is more room for discussion on sensitive issues like the Kurdish and Armenian questions. The AKP simultaneously pursues pro-EU policies and seeks the expansion of ties with the Middle East. This seemed to be the most likely scenario until the closure case.

Scenario 2: Creeping Islamization
The AKP pursues a more aggressive Islamic agenda, boosts ties with Syria and Iran, downgrades ties with Israel, and suspends accession negotiations with the EU, by using its full control of executive and legislative powers, appointments of judges and university rectors, and even by influencing personnel decisions in the military. But this scenario is unlikely since it would spark military intervention and run against the general opposition to Islamic rule among the Turkish people and their choice of a secular state. It also would hamper the credibility of the AKP, which is still committed to EU membership.

Scenario 3: Judicial closing of the AKP
The Constitutional Court shuts down the AKP, increasing the possibility that the party emerges under another name, as happened when Islamic parties (like the Welfare Party) were closed in the past. The closure decision would deepen the crisis, and damage the Turkish experiment of coexistence of an Islam-rooted party and secular democracy. The AKP's closure would also spark disaffection among the Kurds, who support the AKP to a great extent. Finally, Turkey's prospects of EU membership, already facing serious obstacles, would be further jeopardized.

Scenario 4: Military intervention
Tensions increase to the point where the military intervenes, deciding that the AKP crosses important lines. This scenario has two variants; one is a “soft-coup” that involves military mobilization to socially pressurize the AKP to force its resignation, the other leads to a direct intervention that would end in the removal from government and disbanding of the party. But the military surely remembers the consequences of the “midnight memorandum” of April 27, which increased popular support for the AKP.


Rand Corporation Designs Four Scenarios For Turkey's Future
June 16, 2008 Turkish Daily News
Faced with a difficult dilemma due to the ongoing closure case against the ruling Justice and Development Party, or AKP, the United States should underscore its strong support for Turkish democracy, according to a report by a prominent U.S. think tank.

In developing its position the U.S government needs to tread lightly lest perceived interference in Turkey's internal affairs provoke a counterproductive nationalist reaction, advised the recently released report by the Pittsburgh-based RAND Corporation.

Sponsored by the U.S. undersecretary of defense for policy, the report, entitled “The rise of political Islam in Turkey,” was penned by Angel Rabasa and Stephen Larrabeethe. It examines the ascent of the AKP to power and discusses four possible scenarios for Turkey's future and their implications for American foreign policy.

According to Rabasa and Larrabee, the United States has a strong stake in a stable, democratic Turkey and in the success of a political model that showcases the coexistence of a ruling political party rooted in Islam and secular democracy. “An unstable Turkey wracked by internal dissension would make it even more difficult to stabilize Iraq and enhance regional stability in and around the Persian Gulf,” said the report.

The U.S. approach would be more likely to be effective if it were carried out in coordination with the European Union, the report continued. Given the sensitivity of the issue of Turkish membership in Europe, the U.S. should quietly support Turkey's EU membership bid behind the scenes and avoid overt pressure. At the same time, Washington needs to recognize that Turkish membership in the EU would have an impact on American-Turkish relations in the long run given that Turkey's foreign policy would be likely to become more “Europeanized” over time, according to the researchers.

Alternatives to Incirlik
Turkey's growing interests in the Middle East are likely to make Ankara wary about allowing the United States to use its military facilities for Middle East and Persian Gulf contingencies, except where such operations are clearly perceived to be in Turkey's interest, predicted the report. The United States cannot, therefore, automatically count on being able to use Turkish bases for its operations and should look for alternatives as well.

Armenian resolution
If the resolution supporting Armenians claims of genocide were to pass, the Turkish government could come under domestic pressure to take retaliatory action, possibly curtailing American access to Incirlik and other Turkish facilities. The passage of a resolution recognizing World War I-era killings of Armenians at the hands of the Ottomans as genocide will do nothing to foster Turkish-Armenian reconciliation, maintained the researchers, urging the executive branch to work closely with the congressional leadership to keep the issue from poisoning relations with Ankara.

More U.S. pressure on Iraqi Kurds
The United States needs to deal more resolutely with the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party, or PKK, terrorist attacks against Turkish territory, according to the report, which added that closer military and intelligence cooperation with Ankara against the PKK needs to be followed up by other concrete steps. In particular, the United States needs to put greater pressure on the Kurdistan Regional Government, or KRG, to crack down on the PKK and cease its logistical and political support of the group.

However, the report added that the PKK threat cannot be resolved by military means alone. While a tough anti-terrorist program is an important component of a long-term strategy to defeat the PKK, it must be combined with social and economic reforms that address the root causes of the Kurdish grievances. In addition, America should encourage Turkey to enter into a direct dialogue with the KRG leadership. There can be no long-term stability on Turkey's southern border without accommodation of the KRG. This does not mean that Turkey should recognize an independent Kurdish state, but it does need to reach an understanding with the KRG, whose cooperation is essential to reduce the PKK threat, said the report.


An Open Letter To People Of Anatolia
June 16, 2008, Vercihan Ziflioglu - Turkish Daily News
Ece Temelkuran, a prominent Turkish journalist, overcame obstacles in her mind and conducted a research on the Armenians, a people she used to know very little about because of a number of misconceptions and a dialogue of the deaf between two peoples: the Turks and the Armenians

Journalist Ece Temelkuran followed the path of curiosity, a principle sine qua non for journalists, and decided to get to know the Armenians, a people to whom she, like many Turks, was largely indifferent throughout her life, consciously or subconsciously labeling them the “other.”

After making this crucial decision, Temelkuran's first step was to pay a visit in 2006 to Yerevan, the capital of Armenia, Turkey's neighbor country beyond the closed border gates. She spent eight days in Yerevan, chatting with locals and experiencing everyday life in the ancient city.

Following her trip to Armenia, Temelkuran decided to also meet members of the Armenian Diaspora, a prominent group in the media known for its firm attitude towards the problems between the Turks and the Armenians. She flew to Paris and Los Angeles where she met with some diaspora members through connections provided by journalist Hrant Dink, the assassinated editor-in-chief of the Istanbul-based Turkish-Armenian bilingual weekly Agos.

Temelkuran told the story of her one-and-a-half-year long journey to Yerevan, Paris and Los Angeles in her book “Ağrı'nın Derinliği” (The Depth of Ağrı), which was recently published by Everest Publications.

For Temelkuran, Armenians construct their identity based on their past suffering while Turks construct a future for themselves by not remembering the bitter events of the past. She describes her book as a long letter written to those who once had to leave Anatolia but still feel connected to it from the bottom of their hearts.

Temelkuran said she has received many threats since her book was published, “but this does not make me feel scared. If I set the sail for a purpose, then, I have no chance to feel scared. Some should do some things for reconciliation of the two peoples, the Turks and the Armenians,” she said.

In line with the publication of Temelkuran's book, an exhibition was opened in an old tobacco storehouse in Tophane. The exhibition, where photographs taken by photojournalist Yurttaş Tümer of the daily Milliyet are displayed, will be open until June 20.

Inspired by Gabudikyan in finding a name for her book
Soon after she arrived in Yerevan, Temelkuran met Silva Gabudikyan, a legendary figure in Armenian poetry. She interviewed Gabudikyan about Turkish-Armenian relations. Temelkuran named her book “Ağrı'nın Derinliği” because she was inspired by a remarkable statement Gabudikyan made during the interview: “Madam, ‘Ararat' (The Mount Ağrı) might be a matter of height for you but of depth for us,” in reference to the profundity of the meaning attributed to the Mount Ağrı by Armenians.

Shortly after her interview with Temelkuran, Gabudikyan passed away at the age of 86. She was a poet known in Armenia for her dissident identity.

“Before going to Armenia, I had no image in my mind of the people of this country,” said Temelkuran. “Unfortunately, a young Turk whose mind is inculcated with the teachings of the official ideology of the Turkish nation state does not know much about the Armenians beyond his or her feelings of hostility against them.” Temelkuran describes this phenomenon as systemic ignorance, and said, despite her inquisitive spirit as a journalist, she never attempted to search about the Armenians for many years due to a lack of curiosity about the topic.

Questioning Turkish nationalism
“On my way to Armenia, my biggest wish was not to involve in any debates on the events of 1915,” said Temelkuran. “This was because my aim is not to look back, but to focus on the future because I believe constantly revolving around the same debates on the bitter events that marked the past would make no better the both societies,” she noted. Yet, she said she did pay a visit to the museum in Yerevan honoring the alleged Armenian genocide. “The Turkish side in me was fighting with the other half of me. But still, I listened quietly to what was told. And this was really very difficult for me,” she said, pointing to her internal conflict during her visit to the museum.

Loneliness and the feeling of belonging nowhere
“On the way to Paris and Los Angeles I was assuming I would meet some hard nosed people that are called the diaspora Armenians,” said Temelkuran, adding all her thoughts were turned upside down after the trips she made.

“During my interviews, I witnessed that even the most strict French or American Armenians began to sob when we started talking about the lands he or she was born,” she said, noting she overcame all her preconceptions about the Armenians during her experiences in Paris and in Los Angeles. Now, it is time to develop dialogue and compromise; it is just too difficult to live with this cult of pain anymore; we must overcome it, she underlined.

Temelkuran explained her goal in carrying out her study, saying, “My endeavor is to appeal the Turkish youth who hates the Armenians for they do not know about the bitter events that happened in the past.”


Obama Reaffirms Commitment To ‘genocide’ Recognition
US Democratic presidential presumptive nominee Barack Obama has once again voiced commitment to the official recognition of an alleged genocide of Armenians in the final years of the Ottoman Empire.

In a letter sent to an influential lobbying group of the Armenian diaspora, Obama said he shared the group's view that Washington "must recognize the events of 1915 to 1923, carried out by the Ottoman Empire, as genocide."

"We must recognize this tragic reality. The Bush administration's refusal to do so is inexcusable, and I will continue to speak out in an effort to move the administration to change its position," Obama said in the letter, addressed to Ken Hachikian, chairman of the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA.) The letter was published on ANCA's Web page on Tuesday.

"I was deeply disturbed two years ago when the US ambassador to Armenia was fired after he used the term 'genocide' to describe the mass slaughter of Armenians. In a letter to the Department of State, I called for Secretary Rice to closely examine what I believe is an untenable position taken by the US government. A copy of that letter is enclosed for your review," Obama also said, referring to the fact that back in 2006, then-US Ambassador to Armenia John Evan reportedly had his tour of duty in Armenia cut short by the administration because, in a social setting, he referred to the killings as "genocide."

In August the White House withdrew its nomination of a career diplomat, Richard Hoagland, after Democratic Senator Robert Menendez held up confirmation hearings because of his refusal to call World War I-era killings of Armenians a genocide.

Late in March, President George W. Bush nominated another career diplomat, Marie Yovanovitch, who is currently ambassador to the Kyrgyz Republic, to be US ambassador to Armenia.

"The ANCA has spoken to committee members about the value of carefully questioning Ambassador Yovanovitch on the many issues she will face as the US envoy in Yerevan, among them the recognition of the Armenian genocide, Turkey and Azerbaijan's ongoing blockades of Armenia, and the need for a balanced US role in helping forge a democratic and peaceful resolution to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict," ANCA said in its report on Tuesday.

Yovanovitch's confirmation hearing before the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee is scheduled to take place on Thursday.
19 June 2008, Today's Zaman Ankara


Publisher Sentenced Over Book On Armenian Killings
Ragip Zarakolu
A Turkish publisher has been sentenced to five months in prison for publishing a book by a British author about a mass killing of Armenians in 1915. Rag?p Zarakolu was found guilty of “insulting the institutions of the Turkish Republic” under Article 301 of the Turkish Penal Code (TCK) on Tuesday.

The controversial article was recently amended under pressure from the EU to ensure freedom of speech in Turkey. This is the first high-profile verdict to be handed down since then.

Zarakolu’s sentence seems to confirm campaigners’ fears that changes to the law were merely cosmetic. In April it became a crime to insult the Turkish nation, rather than Turkishness. But insulting the Turkish nation is still punishable by up to two years in jail. Zarakolu was brought to trial for publishing a book by British author George Jerjian on the mass killings of Armenians under the Ottoman Empire in 1915.

Turkey denies the killings were genocide, saying both Turks and Armenians were killed, and the issue remains highly sensitive.

Reading the verdict, the judge told Zarakolu he had insulted the Turkish republic and its founders. His own defense -- that he had the right to criticize -- was rejected. Zarakolu’s case was not referred to the Ministry of Justice, as required under the reforms, and he has said he will appeal against the verdict. His sentence will not be imposed until the appeals process is complete.

Standing outside the court, Zarakolu said such rulings had silenced many writers in Turkey but that he would continue to challenge the restrictions. “I was partly expecting this result. But it is a struggle for the truth and it will go on. I do not consider myself convicted. This is a conviction for official history and for denial,” he said.
19 June 2008, Today’s Zaman With Wires Istanbul

New Us Envoy Nominee For Armenia Defies ‘genocide’ Pressure
A US diplomat nominated for the Armenian ambassadorship has refused to call killings of Anatolian Armenians during World War I "genocide," despite pressure from a leading pro-Armenian Democratic senator.

During her confirmation hearing before the US Senate's Foreign Relations Committee on Thursday, career diplomat Marie Yovanovitch, current ambassador to the Kyrgyz Republic, responded to a salvo of questions posed by Democratic Senator Robert Menendez, who blocked the Bush administration's previous nominee over the issue.

Nevertheless, Yovanovitch rejected the use of the term "genocide" to describe the early 20th century deaths of Ottoman Armenians out of political considerations, saying that using the term would contradict the US administration's policy on the issue.

Yovanovitch nonetheless used the terms "mass killings, ethnic cleansing and forced deportation" in her opening testimony to describe the killings.

Armenia claims Ottoman Turks killed up to 1.5 million Armenians during World War I, toward the end of the Ottoman Empire, and labels the killings genocide. Turkey says the killings occurred at a time of civil conflict in which both Armenians and Turks were killed and that the casualty figures are inflated.

When Menendez asked whether her descriptions matched the definition of the crime of genocide outlined by the UN Convention on the Punishment and Prevention of the Crime of Genocide, to which the United States is a party, Yovanovitch said it was the president and State Department who set the policy for defining historic events. Menendez called it "a shame" that career foreign service officers had not been able to use the term, while he described the US administration policy on the use of the term as "a ridiculous dance."

Back in 2006, then US Ambassador to Armenia John Evans reportedly had his tour of duty in Armenia cut short by the administration because in a social setting he referred to the killings as "genocide."

In August, the White House withdrew its nomination of a career diplomat, Richard Hoagland, after Menendez held up confirmation hearings because of his refusal to call World War I-era killings of Armenians a genocide. Late in March, President George W. Bush nominated another career diplomat, Yovanovitch, to be US ambassador to Armenia.

Following the Senate hearing, when asked by Today's Zaman whether he planned to block Yovano-vitch, Menendez said: "I don't know. I will decide after seeing her answers to written questions as well."

US Democratic presumptive presidential nominee Barack Obama is among senators who submitted a set of questions for the record in the importance of official recognition of Armenian killings as "genocide" was emphasized, Today's Zaman has learned.

Republican Senator Robert Dole and Democratic Senator Ben Cardin, who chaired the hearing on behalf of Democratic Senator Joe Biden, backed Menendez via using the term "genocide."

While pro-Turkish-thesis senators did not make any verbal or written statement on the issue, Senator Barbara Boxer, a Democrat, released a written statement in which she criticized the US policy on the Armenian issue, especially taking into consideration the fact that the administration has called killings in Darfur, Sudan, genocide, but refused to do so in the Armenian case. If she can gain the Senate's approval after responding to written questions from the senators, Yovanovitch will depart for Yerevan in order to take office.
21 June 2008, Ali H. Aslan Washington


The Push For Us Ambassador's G Recognition
The US administration, through the new US ambassador designate, Mrs. Yavanovitch, has somewhat softened the stance of its anti-Armenian policy of not recognizing the genocide outright, but Yovanovitch, has essentially described a case of genocide without using the word. At least in outward appearance she comes across as more "understanding" (her words) than Bush's first nominee Mr. Hoagland. One thing she has said that cannot be disputed is that the policy of the decision to use the politically charged word "genocide" remains within the jurisdiction of the president of the United States and his administration, and that an ambassador cannot form or change a foreign policy. The pro-Armenian US public officials then have to decide whether to block all ambassadorial nominations with the hopes that one day this policy will change and wait, or regard Mrs Yovanovitch's "softer" stance as a way out from this polarization.

I would just like to bring to your attention that, at the time of the nomination of Mr. John Evans as the Armenia's new ambassador, had these same Senator and his congressional colleagues put Mr. Evans on the spot for recognizing the Armenian "tragedy" as genocide, he too would have been blocked and eventually replaced.

I personally think that the point has been made, and it is of no use to deprive Armenia from an important ambassadorial position. Let's call the blocking of Mr. Hoagland, who indeed was arrogant in his views, as victory and close this chapter. Things might, or might not, change if Obama becomes president. But what would be even more effective if the new ambassador, after a few years of service in Yerevan, also comes to a firm understanding of the reality of the Armenian genocide and expresses such personal views on the matter.

If Obama, as promised, does respect his pledge of officially recognizing the Armenian genocide, any US ambassador previously posted by president Bush will have to adjust to the new rules and called it a genocide, this would also apply to the ambassadors of Turkey and Azerbaijan.


"Christians In Ottoman Empire" International Conference To Be Held In Canada In 2009
13.06.2008 /PanARMENIAN.Net/ The Canada-based Union of Middle East Christians has organized a reception to honor Arman Hakobian, Armenia’s Charge d’Affairs in Canada, who answered numerous questions of the attendees during the event, the RA MFA press office reported.

The Union is hopeful that the Armenian Embassy will sponsor the “Christians in Ottoman Empire” international conference that will be held in Montreal in 2009.

The Union of Middle East Christians includes the Coptic Orthodox and Catholic Churches, Chaldean and Assyrian Orthodox Churches and a number of others.


Ben Cardin: In Armenia We Need An Ambassador Who Understands Historical Facts
20.06.2008
/PanARMENIAN.Net/ Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ) castigated the Bush Administration’s policy of Armenian Genocide denial, today, dramatically pressing U.S. Ambassadorial nominee to Armenia Marie Yovanovitch regarding the Administration’s refusal to properly characterize Ottoman Turkey’s systematic destruction of its Armenian population as a genocide, reported the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA).

The Associated Press, in an article today entitled "Nominee Refuses to Call Killings Genocide," noted Senator Menendez’s "intense questioning" and the "prosecutorial style" of his inquiries during the Senate Foreign Relations Committee confirmation hearing. The AP article, which was also carried by MSNBC and other media outlets, quoted ANCA Executive Director Aram Hamparian as saying, after the hearing, that, "we were troubled by Ambassador Yovanovitch’s refusal to offer any meaningful rationale for the Administration's ongoing complicity in Turkey’s denials."

Sen. Menendez, who had placed two consecutive holds on previous ambassadorial nominee Dick Hoagland for denying the Armenian Genocide, meticulously questioned Yovanovitch by presenting historical State Department documents from the time of the Genocide and comparing those statements with her opening remarks.

Following these remarks, Sen. Menendez presented the nominee with several documents quoting U.S. Ambassadors to the Ottoman Empire Henry Morgethau and Abram Elkus, and other U.S. diplomats who served in the region at the time of the Armenian Genocide and documented the destruction of the Armenian population. Sen. Menendez responded, "It is a shame that career foreign service officers have to be brought before the Committee and find difficulty in acknowledging historical facts, and find difficulty in acknowledging the realities of what has been internationally recognized." He went on to state, "And it is amazing to me that we can talk about millions, a million and a half human beings who were slaughtered, we can talk about those who were raped, we can talk about those who were forcibly pushed out of their country, and we can have presidential acknowledgements of that, but then we cannot call it what it is. It is a ridiculous dance that the Administration is doing on the use of the term genocide. It is an attempt to suggest that we don’t want to strain our relationships with Turkey...

"We look forward to carefully reviewing Ambassador Yovanovitch’s responses to the written questions that will be posed by Members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in order to get a fuller understanding of her ability to effectively represent U.S. interests and American values as our Ambassador to Yerevan," added Hamparian.

Sen. Ben Cardin (D-MD) who chaired the confirmation hearing concurred with Sen. Menendez, noting that "there is no question in my mind, that facts speak for themselves, and what happened was genocide... In Armenia we need an ambassador... who understands the historical facts."

Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) has submitted a set of questions for the record in which he reaffirmed the importance of recognizing the killing of 1.5 million Armenians from 1915 to 1923 as genocide.


Congressman Berman Urges Turkey To End Counter-Productive Practice Of Closed Borders
PanARMENIAN.Net, 19.06.2008
Between the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea lie the countries of the Caucasus - Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Georgia. Due to disputes that have festered over the course of many years, there are enough compelling questions involving these three countries and their neighbors to occupy us all day long, Howard L. Berman, chairman of the U.S. House Foreign Relations Committee said in his opening statement at "The Caucasus: Frozen Conflicts and Closed Borders" hearing.

"During the course of this hearing I'd like to focus on the frozen conflicts affecting economic and political integration in the region, and how U.S. foreign policy is responding to them.

"I'd like to start with one of the most puzzling and problematic matters: the Turkish land blockade of Armenia, in place since 1993. It's a punishing policy that holds the Armenian economy back and enormously increases the cost of much of Armenia's trade with other nations.

"The land blockade is also, quite possibly, illegal, as it seems to breach Turkey's undertaking in the 1922 Treaty of Kars to keep its border-crossings with Armenia open. And it violates the spirit of the World Trade Organization, of which both Turkey and Armenia are members.

"It's baffling why Ankara would want to pursue this land blockade, which also harms the economy of eastern Turkey, and is therefore clearly contrary to its own interests. It's no secret that many Turkish businessmen, especially in the east, have been lobbying for lifting the land blockade.

"It also seems manifestly contrary to the strategic interests of Turkey, which purports to be a solid member of the Western alliance. Without an outlet to Turkey or Azerbaijan, Armenia is forced to rely on its connections to two of Turkey's historical rivals, Russia and Iran - and given how antithetical the Iranian regime is to the secular, modern Turkish government, it seems odd that Ankara would want to undertake any actions that will enhance Tehran's influence in Yerevan.

"Furthermore, the land blockade has done absolutely nothing to persuade Armenia to alter its policies on the Nagorno Karabakh issue -the ostensible cause of the land blockade in the first place. Nor is there any prospect that it will do so. Armenia has demonstrated its resolve to support the Armenians of Nagorno Karabakh. Turkey is more likely to win influence with the Armenian government if it pursues a policy of good-neighborliness than if it slams the border closed.

"Why hasn't the State Department - which opposes the land blockade - spoken out more forcefully on this matter? Certainly it's in our interest to diminish Iran's influence among its neighbors, not to enhance it. Ambassador Fried, I'm hoping you'll lay out for us the steps our government has taken and is taking to convince our ally Turkey to end, once and for all, this counter-productive practice of closed borders," Congressman Berman said.


Hearings On Armenia Held At U. S. House Foreign Affairs Committee
DeFacto Agency June 19 2008 Armenia
On June 18 House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Howard Berman (D-CA) led a two hour hearing that included over a dozen members of Congress questioning Assistant Secretary Dan Fried on the U.S. policy of complicity in Armenian Genocide denial, Turkey's blockade, and Azerbaijan's escalating threats of war, reported the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA).

"We want to thank Chairman Berman for this excellent opportunity for members of the Foreign Affairs Committee to exercise oversight over a deeply flawed set of U.S. policies toward Armenia and Armenian American issues - most notably the Administration's policy of complicity in Turkey's denial of the Armenian Genocide, its lack of any meaningful steps to lift Turkey's blockade of Armenia, and its effective silence in the face of escalating threats of war by an increasingly well armed Azerbaijan against the people of Nagorno-Karabagh."

Berman opened the hearing stating, "I'd like to start with one of the most puzzling and problematic matters: the Turkish blockade of Armenia, in place since 1993. It's a punishing policy that holds the Armenian economy back and enormously increases the cost of much of Armenia's trade with other nations." He continued noting that "It's baffling why Ankara would want to pursue this land blockade, which also harms the economy of eastern Turkey, and is therefore clearly contrary to its own interests."

The Chairman's statement and questions were followed by powerful remarks and in-depth inquiries by Armenian Genocide Resolution lead author Adam Schiff (D-CA), Congressional Armenian Caucus Co-Chairs Frank Pallone (D-NJ) and Joe Knollenberg (R-MI) as well as Committee members Brad Sherman (D-CA), Diane Watson (D-CA), Ed Royce (R-CA), and Jim Costa (D-CA), among others.


House Foreign Affairs Committee Grill Assistant Secretary On Armenian Issues
Yerkir, 19.06.2008
House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Howard Berman (D-CA) led a two hour hearing today that included over a dozen members of Congress questioning Assistant Secretary Dan Fried on the U.S. policy of complicity in Armenian Genocide denial, Turkey's blockade, and Azerbaijan's escalating threats of war, reported the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA).

"We want to thank Chairman Berman for this excellent opportunity for members of the Foreign Affairs Committee to exercise oversight over a deeply flawed set of U.S. policies toward Armenia and Armenian American issues - most notably the Administration's policy of complicity in Turkey's denial of the Armenian Genocide, its lack of any meaningful steps to lift Turkey's blockade of Armenia, and its effective silence in the face of escalating threats of war by an increasingly well armed Azerbaijan against the people of Nagorno Karabagh."

Berman opened the hearing stating, "I'd like to start with one of the most puzzling and problematic matters: the Turkish blockade of Armenia, in place since 1993. It's a punishing policy that holds the Armenian economy back and enormously increases the cost of much of Armenia's trade with other nations." He continued noting that "It's baffling why Ankara would want to pursue this land blockade, which also harms the economy of eastern Turkey, and is therefore clearly contrary to its own interests."


Daniel Fried: Turkey Needs To Come To Terms With A Dark Chapter In Its History
armradio.am, 19.06.2008
House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Howard Berman (D-CA) led a two hour hearing yesterday that included over a dozen members of Congress questioning Assistant Secretary Dan Fried on the U.S. policy of complicity in Armenian Genocide denial, Turkey's blockade, and Azerbaijan's escalating threats of war, reported the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA).

"We want to thank Chairman Berman for this excellent opportunity for members of the Foreign Affairs Committee to exercise oversight over a deeply flawed set of U.S. policies toward Armenia and Armenian American issues - most notably the Administration's policy of complicity in Turkey's denial of the Armenian Genocide, its lack of any meaningful steps to lift Turkey's blockade of Armenia, and its effective silence in the face of escalating threats of war by an increasingly well armed Azerbaijan against the people of Nagorno Karabakh."

Berman opened the hearing stating, "I'd like to start with one of the most puzzling and problematic matters: the Turkish blockade of Armenia, in place since 1993. It's a punishing policy that holds the Armenian economy back and enormously increases the cost of much of Armenia's trade with other nations." He continued noting that "It's baffling why Ankara would want to pursue this land blockade, which also harms the economy of eastern Turkey, and is therefore clearly contrary to its own interests."

"Armenia can be a great success story, but its recent history has been one of difficulties. The Armenian people have demonstrated extraordinary resilience through their long history of hardship and tragedy. Achieving independence from the Soviet Union in 1991, the new republic was also rising from the ruins of a catastrophic earthquake in 1988. That event mobilized aid from around the world, including the first U.S. humanitarian mission in the Soviet Union, and a wave of support from Armenian Diaspora groups.

This effort to rebuild was strained by the war in Nagorno-Karabakh, which led to an energy embargo and closed borders with both Azerbaijan and Turkey, exacerbating the post-independence political and economic stresses.

Despite those hardships, however, the last decade has witnessed an economic turnaround in Armenia, with double-digit GDP growth year upon year coupled with low inflation. The Diaspora community around the world continues to extend its hand to Armenia, in both humanitarian and philanthropic giving and direct investment. Through their advocacy and indications of a will to reform, Armenia in 2006 entered into a Millennium Challenge Corporation compact worth $236 million. I also can't let this opportunity pass without thanking Armenia for a recent doubling of its troop level in Kosovo to 70 and the continuation of the Armenian troop presence in Iraq, which numbers 44," the Assistant Secretary of State declared.

He noted, however, that Armenia faces serious challenges today: geographic isolation, widespread corruption, and recent setbacks to its democratic development. Supporting Armenia's regional integration is a particular priority for the United States.

"One major step toward regional integration would be a peaceful, just, and lasting settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. During the past two years, the parties have moved closer than ever to a framework agreement based on a set of Basic Principles developed through intensive negotiations under the auspices of the Minsk Group Co-Chairs," Daniel Fried said.

"Achieving normal relations between Armenia and Turkey is another principle concern. As a key part of that effort, the United States supports the opening of the Turkish-Armenian border. The status quo is not helpful to anyone. Fortunately, some progress has been achieved in recent years: there are regular charter flights between Yerevan and Istanbul and other flights to Antalya; bus connections via Georgia are numerous; and trade with Turkey through Georgia is common. Both countries would greatly benefit from increased, direct trade with the other, connecting their electrical grids, and implementing other measures natural to neighbors. The U.S. also supports more cross-border dialogue and cooperation between the people of Armenia and Turkey through research initiatives, conferences, and exchange programs. An example of this cross-border exchange, supported by U.S. assistance funds, was the performance of the Armenian Komitas Quartet in Istanbul last week, and the scheduled performance of the Turkish Bosphorus Quartet in Yerevan today.

Reconciliation between Armenia and Turkey, however, will require dealing with sensitive, painful issues. Turkey needs to come to terms with a dark chapter in its history: the mass killings and forced exile of up to 1.5 million Armenians at the end of the Ottoman Empire. That will not be easy, just as it has not been easy for the United States to come to terms with dark periods of our own past. For its part, Armenia must be ready to acknowledge the existing border and disavow any claim on the territory of modern Turkey, and respond constructively to any efforts Turkey may make," Mr. Fried continued.


It Has Been President Bush’s Policy Not To Use Term ‘genocide’
20.06.2008
/PanARMENIAN.Net/ I am honored by the confidence that President Bush and Secretary Rice have shown in me by nominating me for the post of U.S. Ambassador to Armenia, Ambassador-Designate to Armenia, Ms. Marie L. Yovanovitch said in her testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on June 19, 2008.

“If confirmed, I pledge to build on my 22 years of service to our country to protect and defend American interests in the increasingly vital region of the South Caucasus. Only in the United States would it be possible for someone like me - a first generation immigrant to the United States - to appear before you as an Ambassadorial nominee. My father fled the Soviets and then the Nazis. My maternal grandfather escaped from Russia after the revolution and raised his family in wartime Germany, where my mother grew up stateless. My parents brought me to this country in search of a safe harbor, a harbor that provided freedom and opportunity, dignity and respect.

“The United States offered our family a second chance, just as so many Armenian-Americans received a second chance in our country after they were driven out of the Ottoman Empire. In no way do I want to equate my own family history with that of Americans of Armenian heritage here in the United States. But I do wish to convey that I understand from personal experience that the events of the past can haunt the present and that individuals, born a generation or more after apocalyptic events, seek recognition of the injustices of the past.

“The U.S. government - and certainly I - acknowledges and mourns the mass killings, ethnic cleansing, and forced deportations that devastated over one and a half million Armenians at the end of the Ottoman Empire. The United States recognizes these events as one of the greatest tragedies of the 20th century, the "Medz Yeghern" or Great Calamity, as many Armenians refer to it. That is why every April the President honors the victims and expresses American solidarity with the Armenian people on Remembrance Day.

“The Administration understands that many Americans and many Armenians believe that the events of the past that I have referred to should be called "genocide." It has been President Bush’s policy, as well as that of previous presidents of both parties, not to use that term. The President's focus is on encouraging Turkish citizens to reconcile with their past and with the Armenians. He seeks to support the painstaking progress achieved to date. President Bush believes that the best way to honor the victims is to remember the past, so it is never repeated, and to look to the future to promote understanding and reconciliation between the peoples and governments of Armenia and Turkey. A key part of that effort is to end Armenia’s isolation in the region by encouraging normalization of relations between Armenia and Turkey and the opening of their land border. The Armenian government has requested that we facilitate this process. It will not be easy nor will it likely be quick, but there are some hopeful signs.

“President Bush believes that normalization can and should be achieved. The result would be an improvement in the life of every Armenian. If I am confirmed, my priority would be to support the efforts of the United States in working towards regional stability by facilitating Armenian-Turkish relations and a peaceful settlement to the Nagorno Karabakh conflict with Azerbaijan. Armenia is isolated from its second largest neighbor, Turkey, and every year scores of soldiers die along the line of contact with Azeri forces in Nagorno Karabakh. The status quo in both situations is unacceptable, a deterioration unthinkable and clearly not in U.S. or regional interests,” Ms. Yovanovitch said.


Us Urges Armenia To Recognize Turkish Border
Friday, June 20, 2008 Ümit Enginsoy Washington - Turkish Daily News
The United States for the first time publicly called on Armenia to formally recognize its border with Turkey as part of proposed measures for reconciliation between the two conflicting neighbors. "Armenia should acknowledge the existing border with Turkey and respond constructively to efforts that Turkey may make," Dan Fried, assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian affairs, told a hearing of the House Foreign Affairs Committee on recent developments in the Caucasus.Also in the written text of his speech at the panel, Fried said, "Armenia must be ready to... disavow any claim on the territory of modern Turkey."A top problem between Ankara and Yerevan is Armenia's insistent calls for the recognition of World War I-era killings of Armenians in the Ottoman empire as genocide.Turkey recognizes Armenia, but has refused to set up diplomatic relations with it and keeps their mutual land border closed in response to Armenia's ongoing occupation of Nagorny-Karabakh, an enclave inside Azerbaijan, and some Azeri lands.Armenia and U.S. Armenians accuse Turkey of subjecting its northeastern neighbor to an economic blockade.

Deeper Armenian goal:
Turkish diplomats say that Armenian efforts for international genocide recognition is a prelude to a larger list of demands, including compensation and even "return of lands."Armenia's constitution does not explicitly recognize the country's border with Turkey, and many Armenians and the Armenian diaspora view part of eastern Anatolia as traditional Armenian lands.Fried's remarks were important in the sense that it was the United States' first public call for Armenia to respect Turkey's territorial integrity as a prelude to better relations.The U.S. official also called on Turkey "to come to terms with a dark chapter in its history.""Reconciliation will require political will on both sides, and does require dealing with the sensitive and painful issues, including the issue of the mass killings and forced exile of up to one-and-a-half million Armenians at the end of the Ottoman Empire. Turkey needs to come to terms with this history," Fried said.

No g-word:
He also reiterated a call for Turkey to open the land border with Armenia, saying both sides would greatly benefit from such reconciliation.Pro-Armenian lawmakers insistently asked Fried why the United States does not officially recognize last century's Armenian killings in the Ottoman empire as genocide."We don't use the term because we do not think that the use of that term would contribute to a reconciliation between Armenia and Turkey, nor would it contribute to Turkey's examination of the dark spots in its own history," he replied.A genocide resolution came close to passage at the U.S. House of Representatives last fall, and only strong Turkish warnings that such a move destroy the relationship with America and President George W. Bush's administration's focused efforts caused it to be shelved.But analysts here warn that Turkey almost certainly will face the same problem in Congress next year. Making things worse for Turkey, Democratic presidential contender Barack Obama strongly supports the Armenian position.


Armenian Assembly of America www.aaainc.org Press Release June 18, 2008
House Foreign Affairs Committee Holds Hearing on the South Caucasus Region Chairman Berman Raises Strong Concerns about Turkey's 15-year Blockade of Armenia While Rep Watson Demands a Response on the Administration's Flawed Policy with Respect to Affirmation of the Armenian Genocide

Washington, DC - Chairman Howard Berman (D-CA) raised strong concerns about Turkey's "punishing policy" of blockading its neighbor Armenia during a hearing on the Caucasus today, reported the Armenian Assembly of America (Assembly). In his opening remarks during a House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing entitled "The Caucasus: Frozen Conflicts and Closed Borders," Chairman Berman stated that "the land blockade is also, quite possibly, illegal, as it seems to breach Turkey's undertaking in the 1922 Treaty of Kars to keep its border-crossings with Armenia open. And it violates the spirit of the World Trade Organization, of which both Turkey and Armenia are members." Berman termed it "one of the most puzzling and problematic matters" that holds the Armenian economy back and "enormously increases the cost of much of Armenia's trade with other nations."

During a question and answer session with Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Daniel Fried, Members of Congress raised key policy and funding issues, including the Turkish blockade, Azerbaijan's ongoing war rhetoric, increased military expenditures, and the Armenian Genocide, among other issues.

In addition to Chairman Berman who correctly pointed out that progress on Turkey's lifting of the blockade should not be linked to the Nagorno Karabakh peace process, Congressman Adam Schiff (D-CA) stated that the blockade "violates U.S. policy." Rep. Brad Sherman (D-CA), while expressing support for the self-determination of the people of Nagorno Karabakh, stated that we have to fight against the blockade and that "there is no excuse for it." Sherman asked what pressure the Administration was putting on Turkey to lift the blockade, of which Assistant Secretary Fried responded that the Administration wants to see lifted and has encouraged both sides to normalize relations.

Berman asked Assistant Secretary Fried to lay out the steps that the government has taken to convince Turkey to end this "counter-productive practice of closed borders," and "why hasn't the State Department - which opposes the land blockade - spoken out more forcefully on this matter?" Rep. Schiff also echoed Berman's request for more specificity and upon listening to Fried's response, concluded that the Administration must do more in this regard.

In addition to the blockade issue, Members were also deeply concerned about Azerbaijan's ongoing warmongering and bellicose statements. Rep. Ed Royce's (R-CA) concerns were echoed by Armenian Caucus Co-Chairs Frank Pallone, Jr (D-NJ) and Joseph Knollenberg (R-MI). Rep. Knollenberg noted that Azerbaijan is a dictatorship that continues its bellicose statements unabated and asked what the Administration is doing to stop the Azeri war machine. Rep. Pallone also raised this critically important issue and called upon the Administration to ensure greater contact between the Nagorno Karabakh government and the Azerbaijani government, as well as confidence building measures. Rep. Pallone further noted his concerns about Azerbaijan's pressure on the State Department with respect to U.S.-Nagorno Karabakh contacts. Fried for his part, responded that bellicose statements are not helpful and added that the Azeris deny that they have any intention of resuming hostilities. Fried also believed that increased contacts overall were important and noted that a solution to the peace process, which the U.S. and the parties are working toward, will be the best way forward.

In perhaps the most intense exchange during the hearing, Rep. Diane Watson (D-CA) focused her attention on the Armenian Genocide and questioned the State Department's policy on instructing its staff not to use the term genocide. In his response, Secretary Fried said that the Administration does not deny the historical events, but fell short of employing the proper term. Stating that the Armenian Genocide, with its "mass killings, murder, mass exile, brutality" is "beyond denial," the Congresswoman asked "Why does the United States not recognize that it was genocide?"

"Was it genocide? Yes or no?" Watson demanded. After several attempts to receive an answer, Watson yielded back her limited time stating, "it is clear that I am not going to get an answer to my question."

Reinforcing Watson, Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA) recalled the efforts and reports of then Ambassador to the Ottoman Empire, Henry Morgenthau, who described in great detail the horrors of 1915. Fried noted that he was very familiar with Morgenthau's reports stating that they were "stark, stunning and sadly accurate and that the intent was not to move people in a peaceful way."

Adding to questions in regard to genocide, Rep. Schiff asked Secretary Fried, "Would you describe the mass killing during the holocaust as a genocide?" "Yes," Fried responded. Schiff then asked, "Would you describe the mass killing in Cambodia as a genocide?" Fried responded, "I'd like to reserve only because I am not as familiar with that." Schiff then asked, "Would you describe the mass killing in Rwanda as a genocide?" Which Fried said "We have used that word, the administration has used that word, yes." Moving on, Schiff asked "Would you describe the mass killing in Darfur as a genocide?" "I'd like to reserve on that but I believe we have used that word," Fried responded. Schiff quickly added, that "You have used that word, I can tell you have, and we should."

In closing his questions, Schiff then asked, "Would you describe the mass killings of the Armenians as a genocide?" Fried responded "This Administration and the President's policy is not to use that word, although I want to be clear, we have never denied the historical facts of the mass killings, murders, forced exiles and brutality that occurred in those years as a matter of historical fact."

On other policy matters, Rep. Sherman (D-CA) discussed Section 907, calling it another part of the embarrassing history of the administration in evading laws passed by Congress and then asked Fried if the State Department counsels its employees to avoid using the term genocide. And again, Secretary Fried reiterated that the State Department follows the President's policy, therefore, since the President does not use the term, neither will the State Department. Sherman also took the Secretary to task on the Administration's proposed assistance cut to Armenia, noting that it was more than fifty percent, from fiscal year 2008. Sherman also sought clarification on whether the Millennium Challenge Account funding served as a replacement or supplement to the Freedom Support Act, of which Fried indicated that it was supplemental.

Assembly Executive Director Bryan Ardouny, who attended today's hearing along with Assembly Congressional Relations Associate Bianka Dodov and Assembly Associate Director of Grassroots Taniel Koushakjian, stated that "We applaud the leadership of Chairman Berman in holding this important and timely hearing in which these critical policy issues were raised. For too long, these issues have been on the backburner and I want to thank the members of the Committee for placing them in the forefront. In a region where the U.S. is facing competition for influence, this hearing sends a clear message that the U.S. is deeply interested in and concerned about developments in the region."

Below, please find excerpts of Fried's testimony:

Testifying on behalf of the Bush Administration, Daniel Fried, Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs, told Members of Congress that Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia are "diverse both in their histories and in the challenges that they face today" adding that "America's policy toward them has been steady, steadfast and supportive."

"The policy of the United States is unambiguous: we want to help the nations of this region travel along the same path toward freedom, democracy and market-based economies that so many of their neighbors to the West have traveled."

Fried painted a brief description of how in 1989, a wave of democracy began sweeping eastward from its origins in Central Europe, questioning how far "this wave of freedom and democracy" will reach, asking, "Will it, and can it, extend to the easternmost reaches of wider Europe?"

"Armenia can be a great success story, but its recent history has been one of difficulties," Fried said. He was quick to add that "the Armenian people have demonstrated extraordinary resilience through their long history of hardship and tragedy."

"The last decade has witnessed an economic turnaround in Armenia, with double-digit GDP growth year upon year coupled with, until recently, low inflation. The Diaspora community around the world continues to extend its hand to Armenia, in both humanitarian and philanthropic giving and direct investment. Through their advocacy and indications of a will to reform, Armenia in 2006 entered into a Millennium Challenge Corporation compact worth $236 million."

Touching on integration in the region, Fried said "one major step would be a peaceful, just, and lasting settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict," while another principle concern would be in "achieving normal relations between Armenia and Turkey." Adding that "the United States supports the opening of the Turkish-Armenian border" because "the status quo is not helpful to anyone."

www.aaainc.org Established in 1972, the Armenian Assembly is the largest Washington-based nationwide organization promoting public understanding and awareness of Armenian issues. It is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt membership organization.
###
Editor's Note: Testimonies attached.
Secretary Fried
www.aaainc.org/fileadmin/pdf_2008_new/Caucus_Hearing_Testimony/Testimony_-_Fried.pdf
Rep Berman
www.aaainc.org/fileadmin/pdf_2008_new/Caucus_Hearing_Testimony/HCFA_Chair-Berman_Statement_Caucasus_Hearing.pdf
Rep Royce
www.aaainc.org/fileadmin/pdf_2008_new/Caucus_Hearing_Testimony/Testimony_-_Rep._Ed_Royce.pdf
Rep Knollenberg
www.aaainc.org/fileadmin/pdf_2008_new/Caucus_Hearing_Testimony/HFAC_Statement_-_Knollenberg.pdf
Rep Pallone
www.aaainc.org/fileadmin/pdf_2008_new/Caucus_Hearing_Testimony/Pallone_-_Foreign_Affairs_Committee_Statement.6.18.08.pdf
Rep Ros-Lehtinen
www.aaainc.org/fileadmin/pdf_2008_new/Caucus_Hearing_Testimony/Ranking_Member_Ros-Lehtinen_Opening_Statement_-_Caucus_Hearing.pdf


Armenia Shall Overcome
20 June 2008
Armenia made European headlines for two reasons in the past few months -- one bad and one good.

The first was unrest in our capital after presidential elections in February; the second was a meeting between myself and my neighboring Azerbaijani
counterpart on June 7.

Both emphasize that Armenia is very much a country in transition, within Europe's neighborhood. Despite the numerous obstacles in our way, however, Armenia is deepening its reforms and strengthening its democratic institutions as part of a path toward sustainable good governance.

Postelection disagreements among parties led to an opportunity for me to work to bring together a wide political coalition, incorporating four of the five factions represented in parliament. An important part of that coalition's mission are the large-scale democracy-oriented, social, and economic reforms we are implementing at the moment. We are working together to comply with the letter and spirit of Resolution 1609 of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) on the functioning of democratic institutions in Armenia.

Concrete Changes
Tangible reform steps in line with international standards include:

-- Amendments to liberalize the Law on Conducting Meetings, Assemblies, Rallies and Demonstrations.

-- Broadening the rights of the parliamentary opposition through concrete legislative changes, guaranteeing an inclusive role in the political system and decision-making processes.

-- The drafting of a comprehensive amendment package to the electoral code in line with Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe recommendations, which includes provisions for participation of intra- and extraparliamentary parties.

-- Significant legislative changes to the TV and radio law.

All of these reforms are conducted with positive expert assessment by the Council of Europe's Venice Commission.

These are, by any measure, decisive steps towards long-term reforms that will address the discontent that emerged after recent elections and guarantee more freedoms for the people of Armenia. We welcome any proposals from the European Union and the upcoming French presidency on supporting this reform process and ensuring that it is implemented effectively.

Independent Findings
Above and beyond PACE recommendations, we have embarked on major law enforcement reform, and a parliamentary ad hoc committee that includes all factions of the National Assembly has been established to investigate the tragic circumstances of postelectoral events. This committee will have the widest possible involvement to study all facts and come up with its own independent findings. Extraparliamentary groups, civil society institutions, and independent international experts are encouraged to participate in these efforts.

We, along with PACE's Monitoring Committee, have observed important progress to date, but there is still much work to be done. Fortunately, the political will exists within our coalition to carry through with our ambitious plans. We recognize that our attractiveness as a partner for Europe and the broader international community is at stake.

History has been cruel to Armenia. Our people have overcome enormous difficulties, both in the distant and very recent past. But we are determined that our country will not remain stuck in permanent transition. Taking our cue from the U.S. civil rights movement, I am confident in saying that, despite the challenges ahead in terms of our democratic development, we shall overcome.

As an enthusiastic member of the European neighborhood, Armenia will eventually ensure that its democratic governance is irreversible.
June 20, 2008 RFE/RL


Us Official Urges Turkey To Face Past Regarding Armenians
A top US diplomat has urged Turkey to come to terms with its painful history regarding the suffering of Anatolian Armenians during World War I, also calling on Armenia to relinquish its territorial claims on Turkey.

Remarks by Ambassador Dan Fried, US assistant secretary of state for European affairs, came on Wednesday during a hearing at the US House Foreign Affairs Committee. The senior diplomat also hinted that the US administration rejects the use of the term "genocide" to describe the early 20th century deaths of Ottoman Armenians for political considerations.

The United States supports the normalization of relations between Armenia and Turkey, Fried noted, giving an address at an event titled "The Caucasus: Frozen Conflicts and Closed Borders." When he was insistently asked by pro-Armenian members of Congress Adam Schiff and Diane Watson why he didn't use the term "genocide," Fried said the US administration hasn't used that term as a policy, although acknowledging presence of painful incidents. He also noted that usage of this term would not make any contributions to Turkish-Armenian relations or to Turkey's come to terms with its history, the Anatolia news agency reported.

"Reconciliation between Armenia and Turkey, however, will require dealing with sensitive, painful issues. Turkey needs to come to terms with a dark chapter in its history: the mass killings and forced exile of up to 1.5 million Armenians at the end of the Ottoman Empire. That will not be easy, just as it has not been easy for the United States to come to terms with dark periods of our own past. For its part, Armenia must be ready to acknowledge the existing border and disavow any claim on the territory of modern Turkey, and respond constructively to any efforts Turkey may make," Fried told the committee in remarks aired on the US State Department's Web page.

Armenia claims Ottoman Turks killed up to 1.5 million Armenians during World War I, toward the end of the Ottoman Empire, and labels the killings genocide. Turkey says the killings occurred at a time of civil conflict in which both Armenians and Turks were killed and that the casualty figures are inflated.

Earlier this week, President Abdullah Gül said that Turkey is a country at peace with its history, while noting that Turkey has opened all of its archives to researchers seeking to investigate the controversial episode.

Turkey closed its border with Armenia in 1993 during a war between Armenia and Azerbaijan, an ally of Ankara. The move hurt the economy of the small and landlocked Armenia.

In 2005 Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan sent a letter to then-Armenian President Robert Kocharian, inviting him to establish a joint commission of historians and experts from both Turkey and Armenia to study the events of 1915 in the archives of Turkey, Armenia and any other country believed to have played a part in the issue around the world. No positive response has yet been made to this offer.
20 June 2008, Today's Zaman With Wires Ankara


ANCA Commends Congressman Berman For Conducting House Hearing On Armenia
19.06.2008 /PanARMENIAN.Net/ House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Howard Berman (D-CA) led a two hour hearing today that included over a dozen members of Congress questioning Assistant Secretary Dan Fried on the U.S. policy of complicity in Armenian Genocide denial, Turkey’s blockade, and Azerbaijan’s escalating threats of war, reported the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA).

"We want to thank Chairman Berman for this excellent opportunity for members of the Foreign Affairs Committee to exercise oversight over a deeply flawed set of U.S. policies toward Armenia and Armenian American issues – most notably the Administration’s policy of complicity in Turkey’s denial of the Armenian Genocide, its lack of any meaningful steps to lift Turkey’s blockade of Armenia, and its effective silence in the face of escalating threats of war by an increasingly well armed Azerbaijan against the people of Nagorno Karabakh." Berman opened the hearing stating, "I’d like to start with one of the most puzzling and problematic matters: the Turkish blockade of Armenia, in place since 1993. It’s a punishing policy that holds the Armenian economy back and enormously increases the cost of much of Armenia’s trade with other nations." He continued noting that "It’s baffling why Ankara would want to pursue this land blockade, which also harms the economy of eastern Turkey, and is therefore clearly contrary to its own interests."

The Chairman’s statement and questions were followed by powerful remarks and in-depth inquiries by Armenian Genocide Resolution lead author Adam Schiff (D-CA), Congressional Armenian Caucus Co-Chairs Frank Pallone (D-NJ) and Joe Knollenberg (R-MI) as well as Committee members Brad Sherman (D-CA), Diane Watson (D-CA), Ed Royce (R-CA), and Jim Costa (D-CA), among others.

During the hearings on South Caucasus issues in the US House of Representatives nothing new was said
Joe Knollenberg and Frank Pallone announced that Azerbaijan is a dictatorship, which continues coming up with aggressive announcements and called the US Administration upon stopping the Azeri war machine.
19.06.2008

The changing oil prices and the restless atmosphere in the Great Middle East, where the USA also includes the countries of South Caucasus, became the reason of the hearings of the Commission on Foreign Relations of the US House of Representatives “the Caucasus: frozen conflicts and blocked borders”. However, practically nothing new was said by the US Secretary of States Assistant on European and Eurasian Issues Daniel Fried or the Head of the Commission Howard Berman.

/PanARMENIAN.Net/ “I would like to start with the most important fact; the Turkish blockade of Armenia, put into action in 1993, continues till present,” with these words opened the session the chairman of the committee, the Congressman Howard Berman. “This policy hinders the economic development of Armenia and impedes its business opportunities with other countries. The blockade of Armenia makes no sense even from the point of view of Turkish interests; it’s very unlikely that Ankara’s policy will make the authorities of Yerevan compromise in the issue of Nagorno-Karabakh. The only political result, which it has already grown used to, is that Armenia, having no outlet to the sea, has to look for alliance with its historical enemies of Turkey; Russia and Iran. In other words, in the Caucasus regional conflicts are easily transformed into international conflicts. And Armenia is not an exception,’ said the Congressman Berman.

One of the most important issues is the problem of Nagorno-Karabakh Conflict regulation. Speaking about a non-optional peaceful regulation, both Howard Berman and Daniel Fried warned Azerbaijan against its militarist rhetoric. “Permanent militarist calls reach us from certain officials of Azerbaijan. We call the Azeri government upon focusing on the peaceful regulation of Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. This will be useful for the regional integration, and will bring to prosperity and stability in the Caucasian region,” said Fried. In his turn, Howard Berman emphasized that the militarist calls of the Azeri authorities regarding the resolution of the situation in Nagorno-Karabakh cause serious agitations. “We are also concerned with the growth of the military budget of Azerbaijan in the expense of oil resources and violations of the regime of the cease-fire in the zone of Karabakh conflict in March 2008, which were cause by the provocations from the Azeri party,” said the Congressman.

In his turn, the Congressman Bred Sherman announced during the session: “We must fight against the continuing blockade of the Armenian borders by Turkey, which has no justification. The co-chairs of the Armenian support group in the USA Joe Knollenberg and Frank Pallone announced that Azerbaijan is a dictatorship, which continues coming up with aggressive announcements and called the US Administration upon stopping the Azeri war machine. Frank Pallone called the USA Administration to take measures for establishing contacts between the governments of Nagorno-Karabakh and Azerbaijan, as well as for creating an atmosphere of trust. He also expressed his concerns about the fact that Azerbaijan puts pressure on the US State Department, trying to impede the contact between the USA and Nagorno-Karabakh.

As for the Armenian-Turkish relations, Daniel Fried thinks that the USA believes that one of the important factors of the resolution of the problem is opening the blockade of the borders. “The existing status quo is bad for both parties. Fortunately, this year there is some noticeable progress: such as opening regular charter flights Yerevan-Istanbul, as well as to Antalya, bus communication through Georgia, as well as business opportunities through Georgia are important to be mentioned among the progresses. All the countries only gain from the growth and expansion of market relations with each other, expand their electric systems. The USA also assists the dialogue and cooperation between the Armenians and Turks by the help of conferences, meetings and exchange programs. The reestablishment of the relations between Armenia and Turkey is a very sensitive issue. Turkey must make it up with the black pages of its history; mass killings and the deportation of the Armenians in the Ottoman Empire. This is not easy, just like it is not for the USA, when it needed time to recognize the black pages of its own history. In its turn, Armenia must be ready to recognize the borders and not to assert any territorial claims against the Modern Turkey and to show constructive approach to the efforts from the Turkish side,” said Fried.

In the global level, the US policy is quite clear in the region even without any hearings; they need a complete and uncontrolled access to the Caspian oil and gas, and that is, the sooner, the better. That is why Azerbaijan and Ilham Aliyev, who leads the country according “democratic and Euro-Atlantic values”, get so much praise. The truth is though, that to show that the USA sees and knows everything, Fried mentioned about the imprisoned journalists and about the pressure on the political figures. He expressed his confidence, that the elections of the President of Azerbaijan scheduled for October will be held in complete accordance with the democratic standards. However, Howard Berman, reminding about the post-election events in Armenia and Georgia, mentioned that Azerbaijan, where the authorities already try to put pressure on the opposition and mass media, may also find itself in such situation. And the fact that it is definitely going to happen, one must not have any doubts about. There is also no need to doubt that the USA will shut its eyes to the mass violations, like it happened in the elections in Baku in 2003. This gives rise to the question; if Armenia had oil, would the events of March 1, 2008 still be judged that harshly? It seems that they would not.

The American diplomat also mentioned three issues, which are very important to the USA policy in the region: walking towards freedom and democracy, security, which includes antiterrorist acts and peaceful regulation of the conflicts and energy issues. “The first strategic interest is spreading freedom and democracy from the Black up to the Caspian Seas. Each South Caucasus country has an important achievement in this issue, but each of them must still do a lot to recognize that democracy is not irreversible. We also work with the governments of Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan for the peaceful regulation of the conflicts in Nagorno-Karabakh, South Ossetia, and Abkhazia, which have become after the breakdown of the USSR. We also cooperate in the fight against terrorism and spreading weapons of mass destruction, including nuclear and bacteriological weapons. And finally, we are certain that the Euro Atlantic community is interested in quick supply of the Caspian gas and oil to the world market, regardless the monopolistic tendencies and geographical location,” mentioned Daniel Fried.
«PanARMENIAN.Net» analytical department


Congressman Berman Urges Turkey To End Counter-Productive Practice Of Closed Borders
19.06.2008 /PanARMENIAN.Net/ Between the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea lie the countries of the Caucasus – Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Georgia. Due to disputes that have festered over the course of many years, there are enough compelling questions involving these three countries and their neighbors to occupy us all day long, Howard L. Berman, chairman of the U.S. House Foreign Relations Committee said in his opening statement at “The Caucasus: Frozen Conflicts and Closed Borders” hearing.

“During the course of this hearing I’d like to focus on the frozen conflicts affecting economic and political integration in the region, and how U.S. foreign policy is responding to them.

“I’d like to start with one of the most puzzling and problematic matters: the Turkish land blockade of Armenia, in place since 1993. It’s a punishing policy that holds the Armenian economy back and enormously increases the cost of much of Armenia’s trade with other nations.

“The land blockade is also, quite possibly, illegal, as it seems to breach Turkey’s undertaking in the 1922 Treaty of Kars to keep its border-crossings with Armenia open. And it violates the spirit of the World Trade Organization, of which both Turkey and Armenia are members.

“It’s baffling why Ankara would want to pursue this land blockade, which also harms the economy of eastern Turkey, and is therefore clearly contrary to its own interests. It’s no secret that many Turkish businessmen, especially in the east, have been lobbying for lifting the land blockade.

“It also seems manifestly contrary to the strategic interests of Turkey, which purports to be a solid member of the Western alliance. Without an outlet to Turkey or Azerbaijan, Armenia is forced to rely on its connections to two of Turkey’s historical rivals, Russia and Iran – and given how antithetical the Iranian regime is to the secular, modern Turkish government, it seems odd that Ankara would want to undertake any actions that will enhance Tehran’s influence in Yerevan.

“Furthermore, the land blockade has done absolutely nothing to persuade Armenia to alter its policies on the Nagorno Karabakh issue – the ostensible cause of the land blockade in the first place. Nor is there any prospect that it will do so. Armenia has demonstrated its resolve to support the Armenians of Nagorno Karabakh. Turkey is more likely to win influence with the Armenian government if it pursues a policy of good-neighborliness than if it slams the border closed.

“Why hasn’t the State Department – which opposes the land blockade – spoken out more forcefully on this matter? Certainly it’s in our interest to diminish Iran’s influence among its neighbors, not to enhance it. Ambassador Fried, I’m hoping you’ll lay out for us the steps our government has taken and is taking to convince our ally Turkey to end, once and for all, this counter-productive practice of closed borders,” Congressman Berman said.


Daniel Fried: Turkey Needs To Come To Terms With A Dark Chapter In Its History
19.06.2008
/PanARMENIAN.Net/ Armenia can be a great success story, but its recent history has been one of difficulties, Mr Daniel Fried, Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs, said in his testimony before the House Foreign Affairs Committee’s “The Caucasus: Frozen Conflicts and Closed Borders” hearing.

“The Armenian people have demonstrated extraordinary resilience through their long history of hardship and tragedy. Achieving independence from the Soviet Union in 1991, the new republic was also rising from the ruins of a catastrophic earthquake in 1988. That event mobilized aid from around the world, including the first U.S. humanitarian mission in the Soviet Union, and a wave of support from Armenian Diaspora groups.

“This effort to rebuild was strained by the war in Nagorno Karabakh, which led to an energy embargo and closed borders with both Azerbaijan and Turkey, exacerbating the post-independence political and economic stresses.

“Despite those hardships, however, the last decade has witnessed an economic turnaround in Armenia, with double-digit GDP growth year upon year coupled with, until recently, low inflation. The Diaspora community around the world continues to extend its hand to Armenia, in both humanitarian and philanthropic giving and direct investment. Through their advocacy and indications of a will to reform, Armenia in 2006 entered into a Millennium Challenge Corporation compact worth $236 million. I also can’t let this opportunity pass without thanking Armenia for a recent doubling of its troop level in Kosovo to 70 and the continuation of the Armenian troop presence in Iraq, which numbers 44.

“Yet Armenia faces serious challenges today: geographic isolation, widespread corruption, and recent setbacks to its democratic development. Supporting Armenia’s regional integration is a particular priority for the United States.

“One major step toward regional integration would be a peaceful, just, and lasting settlement of the Nagorno Karabakh conflict. During the past two years, the parties have moved closer than ever to a framework agreement based on a set of Basic Principles developed through intensive negotiations under the auspices of the Minsk Group Co-Chairs.

“Achieving normal relations between Armenia and Turkey is another principle concern. As a key part of that effort, the United States supports the opening of the Turkish-Armenian border. The status quo is not helpful to anyone. Fortunately, some progress has been achieved in recent years: there are regular charter flights between Yerevan and Istanbul and other flights to Antalya; bus connections via Georgia are numerous; and trade with Turkey through Georgia is common. Both countries would greatly benefit from increased, direct trade with the other, connecting their electrical grids, and implementing other measures natural to neighbors. The U.S. also supports more cross-border dialogue and cooperation between the people of Armenia and Turkey through research initiatives, conferences, and exchange programs. An example of this cross-border exchange, supported by U.S. assistance funds, was the performance of the Armenian Komitas Quartet in Istanbul last week, and the scheduled performance of the Turkish Bosphorus Quartet in Yerevan today.

“Reconciliation between Armenia and Turkey, however, will require dealing with sensitive, painful issues. Turkey needs to come to terms with a dark chapter in its history: the mass killings and forced exile of up to 1.5 million Armenians at the end of the Ottoman Empire. That will not be easy, just as it has not been easy for the United States to come to terms with dark periods of our own past. For its part, Armenia must be ready to acknowledge the existing border and disavow any claim on the territory of modern Turkey, and respond constructively to any efforts Turkey may make,” Mr Fried said.


Relations Not To Be Re-Established Between Turkey And Armenia: Chairman Of Turkish Parliament
17.06.08 Azerbaijan, Baku, 17 June /corr. Trend News I.Alizade / As long as Armenian-occupied Azerbaijani territories are not released, the relations will not be re-established between Turkey and Armenia. “The Turkish-Armenian relations will not be re-established as long as the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict is not resolved,” Keksal Toptan, Chairman of Turkish Parliament, said on 17 June in Baku.

Keksal Toptan, Chairman of Turkish Parliament, arrived in Azerbaijan on 17 June on a three days visit. Toptan met with the Azerbaijani President, Ilham Aliyev, Prime Minister, Artur Rasizade and Chairman of Parliament, Oktay Asadov. He will also attend the 90th celebration of Azerbaijan Parliament.

The conflict between the two South Caucasus countries appeared in 1988 due to Armenian territorial claims against Azerbaijan. Armenia has occupied 20% of the Azerbaijani lands including the Nagorno-Karabakh region and its seven surrounding districts. Since 1992 to the present time, these territories have been under Armenian occupation. In 1994, Azerbaijan and Armenia signed a cease-fire agreement at which time the active hostilities ended. The Co-Chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group (Russia, France and USA) are holding peaceful negotiations.

According to Toptan, all over the world, Turkey has always supported the Nagorno-Karabakh policy of Azerbaijan and this support will be continued.

Toptan said that Turkey’s policy on the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict is clear and concrete. “Turkey’s position and policy on the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict will not change. At this point, we do not require other thinking. Simply Azerbaijani territories should be returned and peace should be re-established. We do not have other requirements and we do not claim for another’s territories. Requiring lands belonging to us is our right. I believe that some solution will be found in the near future,” he added.
The correspondent can be contacted at: trend@trend.az


Obama Calls For Religious Freedom For Fener Patriarch
US Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama has voiced support for the Istanbul-based Greek Orthodox Patriarchate, calling on Turkey to grant religious freedom to the patriarchate. Obama’s remarks came in an interview with the Greek bureau of Voice of America, Greek media reported over the weekend.

“[Obama] called on Turkey to give religious freedom to the institution, return the property to the patriarchate and allow the opening of a theological school on the island of Halki,” Greek daily To Vima reported.

Ankara does not recognize Patriarch Bartholomew’s international role as the spiritual leader of hundreds of millions of Orthodox Christians worldwide. It rejects his use of the title “ecumenical,” or universal, arguing instead that the patriarch is merely the spiritual leader of Istanbul’s dwindling Orthodox community.

The Fener Greek Patriarchate in Istanbul dates back to the 1,100-year-old Orthodox Greek Byzantine Empire, which collapsed when Muslim Ottoman Turks conquered Constantinople, today’s Istanbul, in 1453.

Turkey has also been resisting EU pressure to reopen the Halki seminary on the island of Heybeliada near Istanbul, which was closed to new students in 1971 under a law that put religious and military training under state control. The theological school once trained generations of Greek Orthodox leaders, including the current patriarch. The seminary remained open until 1985, when the last five students graduated. An ethnic Greek but a Turkish citizen, Bartholomew says the Orthodox community could soon die out in Turkey if the seminary is not reopened.
16 June 2008, Today’s Zaman Ankara


Armenian Genocide Teaching Gets Final Approval
Toronto-The Toronto District School Board (TDSB), at a special meeting on June 12, unanimously approved the teaching of optional Genocide and Human Rights Curriculum to Grade 11 students. The curriculum includes the Armenian Genocide module, in addition to the Holocaust and the Rwandan Genocide.

The decision was the final step in the ratification of the curriculum which TDSB has been developing for the past three years. The vote followed the unanimous recommendation (June 2) of the Program and School Services Committee to adopt the curriculum.

Some 50 members of the Turkish community, carrying Turkish and Azeri flags, protested the inclusion of the Armenian module in the TDSB curriculum.

In the past six months the Council of Turkish Canadians and the Federation of Canadian Turkish Associations have mounted a well-orchestrated and relentless campaign of misinformation, innuendo, intimidation and dishonest tactics to pressure the TDSB to drop the Armenian Genocide as one of the three case studies in the curriculum.

The TDSB offered two hearings to Turkish representatives to air their concerns and register their objections. Furthermore, the TDSB created a special review committee of experts to review the curriculum and address the concerns of the Turkish and Ukrainian communities. The latter objected to the absence of the Ukrainian Famine (Holodomor) in the curriculum.

After careful examination of historical documentation, experts' research, oral deputations of the stakeholders and their written arguments for and against the curriculum, the review committee, the TDSB staff and trustees reaffirmed that the Armenian massacres of 1915 were genocide and should be taught as such.

The Board said the Ukrainian Famine should be addressed by different means during the scholastic year, but not as a unit on its own. Trustee Mari Rutka recommended that a curriculum guide on the Holodomor should be developed for use in all high schools in 2009 and that there should be an annual recognition of the event.

The Genocide and Human Rights curriculum will be taught in Toronto high schools starting this September. Already, 12 schools have listed the curriculum as part of their next school year's programs.

The media--print and electronic--provided extensive coverage to yesterday's meeting and to the approval of the curriculum.

Dr. Girair Basmadjian, president of Armenian National Committee of Canada (ANCC), credited the vigilance and the leadership of ANCC and its -cooperation and co-ordination with the Zoryan Institute, and many other Armenian community organizations and churches,- for upholding the truth and for rendering justice to victims of the Armenian Genocide.

Aris Babikian, executive director, ANCC, said he was delighted to see -Turkish government's and Turkish ultra-nationalists' heavy-handed modus operandi did not succeed in undermining the credibility of our educational institutions. Once again, as in many other jurisdictions, the denialists' bankrupt arguments and revisionist history failed to persuade the TDSB. The Board should be proud of its achievement and its pioneering work.


Bruce Fein: U.S. must stop doting on Armenia
May 28, 2008 Bruce Fein Washington
THE LATE U.S. House Speaker Tip O’Neill observed that all politics is local. But the lodestars should be what’s good for the United States, what advances democracy and human rights, and what promotes peace and regional stability. , plus $236 million from the Millennium Challenge CorporationLast May, at a government-sponsored conference in Yerevan, Armenia’s capital, Gagil Tsakukia, a leader of the Prosperous Armenia Party, urged that 90 percent of Armenia’s foreign relations be focused on Russia and only 10 percent on the West.

Armenia has kind words for Iran, a state sponsor of terrorism. Armenia’s newly elected President Serzh Sargsyan, wanted for crimes against humanity for the massacre of Azeris in Khojaly, recently praised Tehran for its crucial and constructive role in the region. Was he thinking of Iran’s quest for nuclear weapons, its aggravation of sectarian warfare in Iraq, or its sponsorship of Hezbollah’s terrorism? In recent years, Armenian companies were sanctioned for nuclear trade with Iran.

Armenia enjoys warm political and economic relations with China. It predictably votes against sanctions for China’s human-rights abuses.

Armenia holds irredentist ambitions on territory in eastern Turkey, which find expression in its constitution and its claim to land under the stillborn 1920 Treaty of Sevres.

Armenia’s human-rights record reads like a chapter from Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn’s Gulag Archipelego. The State Department’s 2007 country report related that “citizens were not able to freely change their government, authorities beat pretrial detainees, the National Security Service and the national police force acted with impunity, authorities engaged in arbitrary arrest and detention, prison conditions were cramped and unhealthy . . . authorities imposed restrictions on privacy, freedom of the press and of assembly.”

Armenia’s last presidential election was blighted by voting irregularities, violence and manipulation. Dep. Asst. Secy. of State Matthew Bryza has deplored detentions of the political opposition and curbs on freedom of speech and assembly.

On April 4, the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) sent a blistering letter to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. It asserted that that the Bush administration had slighted ANCA’s 13-point foreign-policy agenda “of special concern to our nation’s one and a half million Americans of Armenian heritage.” The letter conspicuously omitted an explanation of how the Armenian-American agenda would strengthen any foreign-policy goal of the United States.

Congress should cease its doting on Armenia. When foreign policy is at stake, members should not become echo chambers of special-interest lobbies with blurred or dubious loyalties. Any further aid to Armenia should be conditioned on the opening of its archives to enable a complete analysis of the Armenian genocide allegation; its restoration of Azeri territory and compensation to victims of its aggression; and its satisfaction of human-rights benchmarks.

No country should enjoy a free lunch from the United States.
Bruce Fein is a resident scholar at the Turkish Coalition of America.
www.projo.com

Disclaimer: Our Media Scanner Posts include only a fraction of the News items selected from up to 1500 Turkish & Armenia Related excerpts we receive every week.

They work like ANTS! We sleep, like GIANTS! S.S.Aya
AncaUpdate: Call Today: Bush Officials Face Scrutiny on Capitol Hill, June 11, 2008
Senate And House Hearings Next Week To Focus On Armenia And The Caucasus

TAKE ACTION: Call your Representative TODAY!
When: June 18, 2008, 10:00am EDT
What: "The Caucasus: Frozen Conflicts and Closed Borders"
Who: House Foreign Affairs Committee Hearing on the Caucasus with Asst. Secretary of State Dan Fried
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Urge Representatives to ask questions about Turkey's blockade, the Armenian Genocide and Azerbaijan's increased aggression against Karabagh. Take Action!
TAKE ACTION: Call your Senators TODAY!
When: June 19, 2008, 2:15pm EDT
What: Senate Foreign Relations Committee Confirmation Hearing for U.S. Ambassador to Armenia
Who: U.S. Ambassador to Armenia nominee Marie Yovanovitch
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Call your Senators and urge them to ask questions about Turkey's gag rule on U.S. affirmation of the Armenian Genocide as well as other U.S. - Armenia concerns. Take Action!

WASHINGTON, DC – The focus of two key Congressional committees will turn to the Caucasus region next week as Senate Foreign Relations Committee and House Foreign Affairs Committee members will, in an exercise of their oversight responsibilities, have the opportunity to question State Department officials on U.S. policy regarding Armenia and the surrounding area, reported the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA).
“In the days leading up to these important hearings, I want to encourage every Armenian American to pick up the phone and to share their thoughts with their legislators who serve on these two panels – the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and the House Foreign Affairs Committee,” said ANCA Executive Director Aram Hamparian. “Simply call the Capitol Switch and asked to be connected to your Senator or Representative, leave your message, and then drop us a note at anca.org with any feedback that you think might be helpful.”
The ANCA has also provided sample phone scripts and contact information for Senators and Representatives at www.anca.org

Assistant Secretary of State for Europe Dan Fried will testify before the House Foreign Affairs Committee on Wednesday June 18th at 10:00am EDT regarding U.S. policy toward the Caucasus region. Chairman Howard Berman (D-CA) and his fellow Committee members will be focusing on a wide range of issues including the ongoing blockade of Armenia, U.S. policy on the Armenian Genocide, and foreign aid. Turkish Ambassador to the U.S. Nabi Sensoy recently denied the existence of a Turkish blockade, arguing that there are many Armenians who serve as “nannies” to Turkish children. The World Bank estimates that Turkey and Azerbaijan’s blockades of Armenia reduce Armenia’s GDP by up to 38% annually.

Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), along with Rep. George Radanovich (R-CA) and Congressional Armenian Caucus Co-Chairs Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ) and Joe Knollenberg (R-MI) recently introduced the “End the Turkish Blockade of Armenia” Bill (H.R. 6079), which calls upon Turkey to end its blockade of Armenia and asks the U.S. Department of State to report on its efforts towards this end.

On Thursday, June 19th, at 2:15pm, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee is slated to hold a confirmation hearing for U.S. Ambassador to Armenia nominee Marie Yovanovitch. On March 28, 2008, Pres. Bush nominated Amb. Marie L. Yovanovitch to serve as America's next Ambassador to Armenia. The ANCA has spoken to Committee members about the value of carefully questioning Amb. Yovanovitch on the many issues she will face as the U.S. envoy in Yerevan, among them the recognition of the Armenian Genocide, Turkey and Azerbaijan's ongoing blockades of Armenia, and the need for a balanced U.S. role in helping forge a democratic and peaceful resolution to the Nagorno Karabagh conflict. These efforts have been supported by extensive on-line outreach and a national postcard campaign to key Senate Foreign Relations Committee members.

President Bush's previous nominee as U.S. Ambassador to Armenia, Richard Hoagland, was subject to two legislative holds by Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ) and was ultimately withdrawn by the Administration, following the nominee's statements denying the Armenian Genocide. The last U.S. Ambassador to Armenia, John Marshall Evans, was fired by President Bush for speaking honestly about the Armenian Genocide. The ANCA led the Armenian American community campaign opposing Hoagland's nomination, stating that a genocide denier could not serve as a credible and effective U.S. spokesperson in Armenia.


Laciner: Obama May Uphold Genocide Claims 12 June 2008, Journal of Turkish Weekly
* US Senator Barack Obama may become the first US president to recognize Armenian claims that their ancestors were subject to a systematic genocide campaign at the hands of the late Ottoman Empire, experts say.

Formal backing of the claims by the US administration could mean a major blow to ties between NATO allies Turkey and the United States. Turkey categorically denies genocide charges, saying instead Turks and Armenians died in a civil conflict during World War I years when Armenians took up arms against the Ottoman Empire in collaboration with the Russian army, which was then invading eastern Anatolia, in hope of creating an independent Armenian state.

"The Armenian issue is just one factor in the Turkish-US ties if everything else goes well," Sedat Laçiner, head of the Ankara-based International Strategic Research Organization (ISRO/USAK), was quoted as saying by the Anatolia news agency. "But if problems emerge, the Armenian question could put oil on fire and we may suddenly see fires engulfing the ties," he added.

US presidents have so far refused to call the World War I events genocide and no US administration has supported efforts in the US Congress to recognize the alleged genocide, fearing it will harm ties with Turkey. But Obama's position may be different. The Democratic candidate for president has pledged to Armenian groups during his election campaign that he will back the genocide claims if elected president.

"Possibilities that Obama will back the genocide claims are still not big, but compared to President George W. Bush, the risk is greater," said Sanli Bahadir Koç, an expert on Turkish-American relations at the Center for Eurasian Studies Center (ASAM). He said Obama would be under pressure to keep his words to the Armenian groups if he is elected. But there will also be others on his team telling him about the importance of good ties with Turkey. "It is difficult to say who will win in this," he said.

Contrary to Obama, Republican candidate John McCain is known to be opposing efforts for US recognition of the genocide claims. Koç said a problem between Turkey and the US on the Armenian issue is unlikely if McCain is elected.

In 1915 the Armenians rioted against the Ottoman State during the First World War. More than 520.000 Turkish and Kurdish Muslims were massacred by the Armenian militants (fedayee). When the local Armenians made co-operation with the occupying Russian forces the Istanbul Government decided to resettle the Armenian citizens ot a safer region in Syria province of the Empire. Many Armenians died on the way and the communal clashes between Kurds and Armenians also cost alot of lives. Armenians label the 1915 events as genocide.


Lake Van’s Forgotten North Shore
10 June 2008, Today's Zaman
Lake Van and its hinterland are the highlight of any visit to Turkey's East.
Set at an altitude of 1,750 meters, ringed by rugged, snow-capped peaks, blessed with a wealth of unusual historical sites and home to some rare and beautiful wildflowers, it is easy to see why the ancient Armenians said of the region and its 4,000 square kilometer alkaline lake "Van in this world, paradise in the next." Few visitors, however, stay long enough to fully explore the lake and its environs. Most visit the southern shore and make a fleeting visit to the wonderful Armenian Church of the Holy Cross on the island of Akdamar, or explore the Urartian citadel just outside the city of Van on the lake's eastern shore. But the northern shore, east of (admittedly uninspiring) Tatvan and west of the equally dull town of Ercis, is if anything even more spectacular and dramatic than the lake's picturesque southern shore.

So what is there to see? First off is the dramatic volcanic peak of 3,050-meter-high Mt. Nemrut (no, not the one with the colossal heads on, that's further west near Adiyaman) around 15 kilometers north of Tatvan. The eruption of this peak some 6,000 years ago blew the top off the mountain -- and at least some of this debris landed right on top of a natural funnel where the westward flowing river exited a wide basin into the narrows of the Bitlis gorge. Thus a natural "dam" was formed -- leading to the creation of beautiful Lake Van. As a bonus the eruption resulted in two lakes forming in the caldera of the volcano. It is possible to visit the seven kilometer diameter crater either with your own vehicle or by taxi or minibus from Tatvan as a dirt road snakes its way up the north side of the mountain -- but be warned, as late as early summer (especially after a harsh winter) the dirt road becomes treacherously boggy with snow-melt. Snow-filled in winter and early spring, the crater is vividly green in spring, with beech, aspen and juniper trees in abundance -- plus reeds fringing the lakes. Many migrating birds stop-off here in spring including stilts, ducks, herons and the scarce black velvet scoter. You can swim in the warm waters of Sicakgöl (hot lake) or even, in the heat of August, those of Sogukgöl (cold lake) in the western part of the crater. On your way up or down from the crater, look out for the black goat-hair tents of transhumant Kurdish families grazing their flocks on the apparently barren volcanic slopes of the peak.

Assuming you have your own transport, it's possible to exit the crater via the eastern rim and follow a tortuous dirt road down to the shore of Lake Van not far from the lakeside town of Ahlat. Spread amongst the sprawl of the modern town of Ahlat is a site every bit as distinctive as Akdamar -- a vast cemetery going back to the time of the Seljuk Turks. Here, dating from between the 11th and 16th centuries, are literally hundreds of finely carved headstones sticking-out from flower-strewn graveyards. The tombstones, some tilted at improbable angles, are beautifully aged and covered with flowing calligraphic Arabic script (mainly in the Persian and Arab languages) and liberally splotched with green-grey lichen. Visit at sunset, with the incised inscriptions thrown into vivid relief and the tombstones throwing a patchwork of ever-lengthening shadows across the parched yellow grass, for best effect. A small but well-laid out museum holds a number of fascinating artifacts from the Urartian era onwards. There are also a number of kümbet tombs, shaped very much like the drum on Akdamar church, with polygonal sides and a conical roof. Up to four bodies could be interred in each tomb, in a semi-underground chamber beneath the main structure (which was used as a prayer hall for the deceased). Some of these tombs were for Mongol chieftains and their relatives, others for Seljuk Turkish or Turcoman notables. There's a decent hotel right on the lake to the east of the town and an excellent restaurant in the center.

An hour east of Ahlat is the charming town of Adilcevaz. There's not a lot to see here, but the town is set amongst lush orchards irrigated by water tumbling down from the slopes of towering 4,058-meter Mt. Suphan, Turkey's third-highest peak a short way north and east. In the hills to the north, a wonderful half-day outing from the town, is the half-collapsed ruin of Skantselorgivank Church. Set on a hilltop but dominated by higher peaks, this once-beautiful medieval Armenian church is built from attractively contrasting black basalt and red sandstone. Above it are the scant but impressive remains of a once mighty Urartian citadel -- Kefkalesi -- best reached by taxi from Adilcevaz. The town's lakefront hotel is passable and there are a number of decent restaurants both in town and on the lakeside. A crumbling Seljuk castle, impressively set on a spur extending towards the lake from the mountains behind, makes a great adventure if you are confident on rough terrain -- and the views of the lake and peaks from the top are fantastic. Easier to visit is the diminutive Tugrul Bey mosque at its foot, a typically Ottoman domed and minareted structure made from the local stone.

To reach the summit of Mt. Suphan you must allow two days and be both fit and experienced. Although not technically difficult, this is a real mountain, with sudden storms a possibility even in the summer and the soft and friable volcanic rock and sand making walking hard going in places. Having said this, there is none of the rigmarole of applying for a permit (necessary to climb the region's other -- and Turkey's highest -- major volcanic peak of Agri) and the views from the top over Lake Van and the waves of peaks running all the way south to the Iraqi border, are arguably more impressive. There are even a couple of attractive lakes tucked into the slopes of the peak and two more in the crater itself. For the really hardy, winter ascents are possible and the peak is attracting an increasing number of ski-mountaineers -- but you'll have to be prepared for temperatures of minus 30 degrees!

The town of Ercis is unprepossessing but it does give access to the fascinating village of Ulu Pamir, 30 kilometers to the north. It is hard to believe that you are in Turkey here as the people are Kirghiz, with distinctive Central Asian features and many still sporting the traditional dress of their original homeland -- heelless leather boots and kalpak hats for the men and scarf-topped pillbox hats for the women. Their journey to these remote highlands (Ulu Pamir is set in a dramatic, green mountain valley which certainly looks like parts of the upland areas in Central Asia) is a story in itself. Fleeing the conflict in Afghanistan in the late 1970s, they set up home in Pakistan. Unsettled, they appealed to their ethnic kin in Turkey -- and in 1982 the Turkish authorities generously airlifted both them and their livestock to "the homeland" in 1982. Of course Ulu Pamir is not a tourist destination in the normal sense -- there are no hotels or facilities -- just the home of this indomitable people (some with felt yurt tents still pitched in their gardens) but each June the village holds a festival. Falconry, horse-riding displays and folk dancing take center stage and visitors are welcomed.

You'd need at least two days (and preferably more) to drive from the city of Van around the lake and visit all the places mentioned here -- not allowing time for walks and climbs of course. But the scenery here rivals that of anywhere in the world for sheer austere beauty -- and an ever-improving infrastructure is making it accessible to more and more people -- so get there before the crowds and discover Lake Van's forgotten northern shore for yourself.


Note on Armenian Allegations - Recent Developments by TurkishForum

| © TurkishForum.com Apr 2008 | | View Online |



“I Love & Respect Humeini; I Don’t Love Ataturk”; Shari’a Desired: Two Islamist Turkish Students On TV

In his TV program Teke Tek [One to One] Turkish journalist Fatih Altayli hosted last night four female university students - two of them Islamist activists defending their right to wear the Islamic scarf in universities. What the two girls said in the program shocked many Turks. During the program the girls said they loved and respected Humeini and upon Fatih Altayli’s question on whether or not they loved Ataturk, they said that they don’t.

The Islamist girls also said that freedom to study in universities with their Islamic attire would not be enough for them and that they wanted the freedom to include working in the public service. Altayli asked them what would guarantee that their next demand would not be to have another law system whereby they would be judged in Islamic courts, ruled by Islamic qadis, in accordance with their beliefs. One of the Islamist girls said, “No one would guarantee that. And why not? We would want that. Why shouldn’t everyone be tried within a law system of one’s beliefs?” Altayli, shocked, said that this would mean having multiple law systems and added that democracy would then become impossible.

Both covered girls refused to credit Ataturk even for the War of Independence that he fought and won, and said that the war was fought by the Muslims, for Islam. They said that Ataturk had just been a good soldier. Altayli then said, “If it wasn’t for Ataturk now you would be ruled by western countries” and the girls said, “Then we would have had more freedoms”.

Fatih Altayli wrote today his impressions from the program at Haberturk.com, after “a sleepless night”.

Altayli wrote: “This is what they [the Islamists] really want. This is what the Republic of Turkey is face to face with. These are their demands even if they don’t voice them all, yet. This is the reason for their reactions to the High Court decision. This is the revenge that they want to take from the Republic. The mask that covers all this is ‘freedoms’; the mask is ‘democracy’; the mask is ‘liberalism’…”

Source: Haberturk, Vatan, Milliyet, June 10, 2008




Source: Memri



Minister Babacan Meets With Obama Aides In Washington
Foreign Minister Ali Babacan met advisors of the Republican and Democratic candidates for the US presidency before wrapping up his lengthy visit to the United States on Monday.

Babacan met with the campaign advisors to Senator Barack Obama, who recently secured the Democratic candidacy after a close race with rival Hillary Clinton, and Senator John McCain, the Republican candidate. Babacan also met with Clinton advisors; the New York senator withdrew her bid for the nomination over the weekend.

During the term of outgoing President George W. Bush, Turkey-US ties suffered a huge blow in 2003 when the Turkish Parliament rejected a US request for military cooperation in the Iraq War. Since then, the relationship has seen several disagreements over the Iraq War and US inaction toward the presence of terrorist operatives of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) in northern Iraq. Relations were put back on track after Bush declared the PKK a "common enemy" and the US military began to cooperate with Turkey in the fight against the PKK in northern Iraq.

The Turkish military has been conducting aerial strikes against PKK targets in northern Iraq since December and in February the army sent troops into the Kurdish-run region to hunt down PKK terrorists there. The US shares intelligence about the PKK to support the operations and Babacan said after talks with US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice that Turkish-US cooperation was under way against the PKK.

Babacan's talks with Obama and McCain aides are the first high-level Turkish contact with would-be presidents. Ankara believes Turkey-US ties will remain strong no matter which candidate is elected, but observers say there are some concerns over the fate of ties if Obama is elected, because the Democratic candidate, unlike Clinton or McCain, may not be fully aware of the importance of good ties with Turkey at the beginning.

Iran's nuclear program, Syria, Turkish-American relations and the situation in Iraq were discussed during Babacan's talks with Clinton and Obama aides, the Anatolia news agency reported. The foreign minister also responded to questions on a closure case against his Justice and Development Party (AK Party). He reiterated that it was not clear when the court would hand down its verdict and that in either case, the verdict would be final. He also expressed his views regarding his party's stance on secularism.

Energy issues and the Turkish economy were among other topics discussed. Babacan also touched on efforts in the US Congress to recognize Armenian claims of genocide at the hands of the late Ottoman Empire and said the issue should not cast a shadow over Turkey-US ties. Babacan left Washington for Paris, where he will attend an international conference on Afghanistan. 11 June 2008, Today's Zaman Washington


Obama May Uphold Genocide Claims
Senator Barack Obama may become the first US president to recognize Armenian claims that their ancestors were subject to a systematic genocide campaign at the hands of the late Ottoman Empire, experts say.

Formal backing of the claims by the US administration could mean a major blow to ties between NATO allies Turkey and the United States. Turkey categorically denies genocide charges, saying instead Turks and Armenians died in a civil conflict during World War I years when Armenians took up arms against the Ottoman Empire in collaboration with the Russian army, which was then invading eastern Anatolia, in hope of creating an independent Armenian state.

"The Armenian issue is just one factor in the Turkish-US ties if everything else goes well," Sedat Laçiner, head of the Ankara-based International Strategic Research Organization (ISRO/USAK), was quoted as saying by the Anatolia news agency. "But if problems emerge, the Armenian question could put oil on fire and we may suddenly see fires engulfing the ties," he added.

US presidents have so far refused to call the World War I events genocide and no US administration has supported efforts in the US Congress to recognize the alleged genocide, fearing it will harm ties with Turkey. But Obama's position may be different. The Democratic candidate for president has pledged to Armenian groups during his election campaign that he will back the genocide claims if elected president.

"Possibilities that Obama will back the genocide claims are still not big, but compared to President George W. Bush, the risk is greater," said S,anl? Bahad?r Koç, an expert on Turkish-American relations at the Center for Eurasian Studies Center (ASAM). He said Obama would be under pressure to keep his words to the Armenian groups if he is elected. But there will also be others on his team telling him about the importance of good ties with Turkey. "It is difficult to say who will win in this," he said.

Contrary to Obama, Republican candidate John McCain is known to be opposing efforts for US recognition of the genocide claims. Koç said a problem between Turkey and the US on the Armenian issue is unlikely if McCain is elected. 11 June 2008, Today's Zaman Istanbul


French Senate Delivers Blow To Anti-Turkey Plan
The Foreign Affairs Committee of the French Senate yesterday cancelled a planned constitutional amendment that makes a referendum on the eventual accession of Turkey to the European Union compulsory and which has been described by Ankara as product of "a discriminative approach" toward Turkey by certain French politicians.

Late last month, the French National Assembly, the lower house of the French parliament, passed a package of constitutional amendments including a provision to make a referendum obligatory for accepting new EU member countries with populations over 5 percent the bloc's total population, which currently stands at about 500 million. With its population of 70 million, EU candidate Turkey appears to be the specific target of the clause.

The provision needed to be approved first by the Senate and a majority of both houses. Yet a French senator had already said last week that a significant number of senators from the French ruling party were opposed to the amendment.

While announcing cancellation of the planned amendment in a written statement, the Foreign Affairs Committee said the amendment would deliver serious damage to France's bilateral relations with Turkey.

The amendment "might be considered as being against Turkey, which is a friend and ally country, and thus might deal serious damage to diplomatic relations between France and Turkey," the statement warned.

The committee, discussing the amendment upon a proposal by its chairman, Josselin de Rohan, proposed that the amendment be deleted from the text. The committee decision, however, does not mean that it will be dropped entirely from the agenda of the French legislative body.

During a plenary session debate on the constitutional reform planned to take place next week, a proposal for deleting the amendment will be introduced. If approved by the Senate, the amendment will be pulled out of the reform package without being discussed at the plenary session. Nonetheless, any member of the Senate can introduce a similar amendment and carry this amendment to a plenary session debate at the Senate.

Sources from the Senate say the amendment's eventual fate is closely tied to the stance of Élysée Palace as well as that of the government. Justice Minister Rachida Dati had supported the amendment when it was debated at the French National Assembly, while Prime Minister François Fillon was reportedly annoyed by it. Sources close to the government have added, however, that it was difficult for the government to object to an amendment supported by President Nicolas Sarkozy.

Sarkozy, the former leader of the UMP, is a vocal opponent of Turkey's bid to join the EU, saying it does not belong to Europe. The constitutional reform package originally abolished a clause calling for a referendum on all future accessions to the EU and left the decision on the matter to the president. But UMP lawmakers, keen not to lose the vote of the French-Armenian electorate, pressed for guarantees against Turkey's possible accession to the EU and proposed the amendment in question.

Jean-Pierre Raffarin, a senator from the ruling Union for a Popular Movement (UMP) and former prime minister of France, last week told French RCF radio that a constitutional provision specifically targeting a certain country was a mistake. "We have talked about this issue in our group. Many members of our group are against this amendment," Raffarin said then. "A certain country cannot be pointed out in a national constitution."

French State Secretary for European Affairs Jean-Pierre Jouyet has also warned that the plan to submit Turkey's bid to join the EU to a referendum is an "insult" that could spark a serious rift between Paris and Ankara.

Also last week, the Turkish capital labeled French lawmakers' approval of the particular amendment as "odd," while warning Paris over the negative consequences of adoption of the clause by the French Senate on "traditional friendship between the peoples of the two countries."

Turkey is annoyed by the "discriminative approach toward Turkey although accession negotiations between Turkey and the EU began with the common target of full membership and with approval of France too," the Foreign Ministry said in a written statement. The statement by Foreign Ministry spokesperson Burak Özügergin was issued in response to an official question.

"It is inevitable that this kind of discriminative approach will harm our bilateral relations and will also have a negative impact on images of Turkey and France in each country as well as on the traditional friendship between the peoples of the two countries," Özügergin said, expressing Turkey's regret over the hostile attitude of certain French politicians. 12 June 2008, Ali Ihsan Aydin Paris


Turkey: A Slow-Fuse Time Bomb June 13, 2008
The AKP may survive the closure case with a few scratches and wait for a change of the supreme court’s composition: more secular judges replaced by less secular ones.

Burak BEKDIL
“I hate you!” This is what the young Canadian-Armenian told me in Yerevan four years ago.“Do you know me?” I asked him, thinking that I had met him only a few minutes ago. “No,” he replied. “How can you hate someone you don't know at all?” I asked, although it was not difficult to guess his answer.“Hating every Turk is my raison d'etre!” he said.

Hate as a raison d'etre:

During the next three days of my stay in the Armenian capital he betrayed his ‘raison d'etre' and became a ‘reluctant' friend – yet a friend. In his eyes, I had seen “hate” so powerfully for the first time since the political extremism of the 1970s when ‘hating the other' was most Turks' raison d'etre. It made me understand, once again, what a man's raison d'etre means when it is sacred to him. Reading the ‘hot' coverage in the Islamist/AKP-friendly press since last Friday I recalled my Canadian-Armenian friend's words. Unfortunately, ‘hating the other' is increasingly becoming the raison d'etre for Turkey's Muslim crusaders.

That sacred raison d'etre and its inevitable repercussions among the Kemalist crusaders are making Turkey a slow-fuse time bomb. Köksal Toptan, parliament speaker, has proposed a bi-cameral system “only to take off the pressure from the Constitutional Court.” That way, he argues, the upper house can check and if necessary correct if a law violates the Constitution. Can parliament speaker not know that every draft bill or amendment first goes to Parliament's constitutional committee where members are supposed to check for ‘constitutionality?' Mr. Toptan's suggestion was only a more polite way of what another senior AKP figure proposed in the form of a draft law.Ahmet Iyimaya, otherwise a respected jurist, proposes to authorize Parliament to suspend Constitutional Court's rulings – if, of course, they do not fit the government's political agenda. Very smart. But perhaps Mr. Iyimaya should propose another draft bill that prohibits military coups!Turkey is not moving in the right direction.

Of course one may ask if it ever has. But these days there are good reasons to be extra pessimistic. Unlike my Canadian-Armenian friend, the AKP will probably not betray its raison d'etre: Islamizing Turkey. Similarly, the ‘undemocratic forces' will not betray their raison d'etre: Preventing Turkey's Islamization.The AKP may survive the closure case with a few scratches and wait for a change of the supreme court's composition of judges – more secular judges retiring and being replaced by less secular ones. But that may not be a reliable strategy for a number of reasons.First, the change may take a few years and till then fresh cases, including closure, can be filed against the AKP even if the present case ends up in light penalties but no-closure. Second, it may not be too easy to change the ‘ideological composition' of the supreme court although an ‘observant Muslim' president –in the words of AKP heavyweight and former parliament speaker, Bülent Ar?nç – will appoint new members. Abdullah Gül does not have the powers to appoint an observant Muslim prosecutor from observant Muslim Kayseri, his hometown, as a supreme court judge. Too bad, President Gül will have to choose among a list of secular judges, perhaps going for the least secular ones, yet secular ones. Supposing the AKP over the next few years managed to change the supreme court's ideological architecture in its favor or bypassed the supreme court by new laws, that may not mean victory for the sacred raison d'etre either. Indeed, eliminating the ‘de jure' blockade may be a tactical mistake for the Muslim crusaders, as in that case a more difficult obstacle will emerge.


'Neither Obama Nor Mccain Problem Solvers'
11 June 2008, ISTANBUL - Turkish Daily News
There is a risk that if Barack Obama becomes president, he might use the word “genocide” for the events of 1915 within his first year, said the director of a prominent think tank.

Sedat Laçiner, director of the International Strategic Research Organization, or USAK, warned that if Democratic presidential candidate Obama wins the election, he will become the first U.S. president to classify the events as “genocide.”

He pointed out the strength of the Armenian lobby and that the greatest support for American-Armenians came from the Democratic Party.

“If Turkish-American relations are going well, the Armenian issue is just a tangent, it can be easily stopped. But if there is so much as a small problem in our relations then the Armenian issue will act like gas thrown on a fire,” said Laçiner.

Laçiner also warned of American involvement in the region: Turkey should not leave developments in the Middle East to America whim, said Laçiner adding that he did not feel that either Obama or McCain were “problem solvers.”

“We will face a new United States. This will greatly increase risks. This sort of change might increase the uncertainties in America's plans in the Middle East, but it will also give more maneuverable space for local forces,” he said.

Laçiner added that Turkey must plant its feet more firmly on the ground, “It must create solutions in the Middle East, sometimes assisting the U.S., and sometimes taking the initiative and using incentives to for regional projects, politics and solutions.”


Swedish Parliament Refuses to Recognize the 1915 Genocide
Vahagn Avedian
Sweden Refuses Recognition of 1915 Genocide

June 12, 2008 Stockholm, Sweden
Swedish Parliament Refuses to Recognize the 1915 Genocide
On June 12, 2008, the Swedish Parliament, with the votes 245 to 37 (1 abstain, 66 absent), rejected a call for recognition of the 1915 genocide in the Ottoman Empire. On June 11, a long debate took place in the Swedish Parliament in regard to the Foreign Committee report on Human Rights, including five motions calling upon the Swedish Government and Parliament to officially recognize the 1915 genocide. In its answer (2007/2008:UU9), a majority consisting of the ruling alliance parties together with the Social Democrats (opposition party) proposed rejecting the motions, whereby the Green (Miljöpartiet) and the Left (Vänsterpartiet) parties announced their reservations, forcing the Parliament to have a debate in the main chamber before the proposal was voted on. The argumentation for why a recognition should be rejected was based on four main assumptions:

• “…no particular consideration regarding the Armenian situation has ever been in form of an UN Resolution, either in 1985 or any other occasion.”

• “The Committee understands that what engulfed the Armenians, Assyrian/Syrians and Chaldeans during the reign of the Ottoman Empire would, according to the 1948 Convention, probably be regarded as genocide,
if it had been in power at the time.”

• “There is still a disagreement among the experts regarding the different course of events of the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire. The same applies to the underlying causes and how the assaults shall be classified.”
• [in regard to the development in Turkey] “…in the time being, it would be venturesome to disturb an initiate and delicate national process.” [which could fuel the extremists in the country]

In an open letter to MPs, I pointed out some major flaws in the stated arguments, mentioning that the Foreign Committee members are either poorly informed on the existing data, reports, conventions and resolutions or they simply disregard the broad information which strongly contradicts their assertions. The UNCHR Whitaker Report from 1985, the resolutions issued by the International Association of Genocide Scholars (IAGS), the UN Genocide Convention, its background and meaning, along with the petition signed by over 60 world leading Holocaust and Genocide scholars (available in 13 languages at http://itwasgenocide.armenica.org) were some of the attachments as evidence for the erroneous and misleading information the report suggested. But, the debate on June 11 proofed that
the decision had nothing to do with the presented facts.

The more the debate went on, the more it was revealed that no MP could explain, less defend, any of the above mentioned arguments, save for maybe the last one. During the debate, Member of Parliament Hans Linde (Left), talking about the arguments stated in the document repeatedly asked the members of the alliance parties to explain the argumentation in the report and answer three simple and straight forward questions, namely
1) Who are these researchers disagreeing on the reality of the 1915 genocide?
2) If the 1915 genocide can not be recognized due to the chronology of the 1948 UN Convention, how come then the Holocaust is recognized? 3) Why should the fear of extremists inside Turkey dictate the freedom of speech in the Swedish Parliament? None of the defendants could give an answer. This actually might be the only light in the otherwise some what embarrassing situation that the MPs were faced with when trying to evade the questions in whole. Mats Sanders (Moderat/Conservatives) had, literally nothing to add but to refer to the report text. Alf Svensson (Christian Democrats), in regard to the “disagreement among researchers”, was asked to name only one serious researcher who renounces the 1915 genocide. He defended the proposition by stating that he “believes in the information they receive from the Foreign Services… I believe that this is the truth, and if it is proven otherwise, then I am truly sorry.” I am not quite sure if Mr. Svensson really believes in what he stated in that sentence. But then again, who, if not a Christian Democrat would safeguard issues such as moral, human dignity, and stewardship.

Mats Pertoft (Green), one of the co-authors of the motions, pointed out that the 1915 genocide was no different from the climate issue. For couple of years ago, there was a disagreement among researchers about the global warming, but now, even though there are some who still disagree, there is a consensus on the issue among an overwhelming majority of the researchers. The same applies to the 1915 genocide. Mentioning the petition signed by genocide experts, Pertoft joined Linde in urging the MPs to at least deny recognition on political basis and refrain from abusing the name of science and renouncing facts. A day earlier, I, together with Linde and Pertoft, partook in a debate broadcasted live by the Assyrian Satellite TV Station Suroyo. The TV station had invited several other MPs representing the “no” side, but in vain. No one was willing to participate. Linde’s radio debate on the subject, scheduled for the morning of June 11, was also canceled since the MP defending the Foreign Committee proposition had backed out in last second. Maybe, just maybe, the text of the petition, sent to all members of parliament, made a difference by stating that “Today, the data and information about the Genocide of Armenians, Assyrians and Pontic Greeks are so extensive that no serious politician can honestly cite insufficient or inconclusive research as an excuse to avoid recognition .” This was at least true in the case of those who chose not participate in any of the debates, rather than compromising their honesty by being forced to follow their party line and defend their denial of a genocide.

Two politicians defied their parties. Yilmaz Kerimo (Social Democrat), an ethnic Assyrian was one. The other, Lennart Sacrédeus (Christian Democrat), going against his party line, took the podium defending a recognition of the 1915 genocide and ended his statement by adding: “I know that we will stay here again in one year debating the very same question…Turkey will be hit by bad will for every debate in every parliament where this question is deeply associated with Turkey. I think that we acknowledge and can understand the background for why the issue is locked in Turkey; but the truth will set you free and it applies to Turkey and the legacy after Atatürk.” The truth will set you free, but Swedish politicians today displayed that they are neither ready to acknowledge the truth nor willing to set Turkey free from its dark burdensome past.

The debate lasted over three hours, during which the present audience agreed upon one certainty: no one of those recommending the rejection of a recognition could, based on the alleged arguments in the report, explain,less defend their case. It was soon obvious that there simply were no sustainable arguments to be given to explain why Sweden can not recognize the 1915 genocide. The “no” was purely a political decision for maintaining good relations with Turkey, nothing else. But could such a decision actually benefit Turkey? Or Sweden? Or EU? In my opinion, similar decisions and signals are nothing but doing Turkey, and not least oneself, a disservice. What kind of message do we send to a Turkey in urgent need of reformation and democratization when we tell them that it is actually acceptable to cover up crimes and deny facts and the truth? What kind of a democracy does Sweden and EU nourish in Turkey? Notwithstanding, I can not imagine a single Armenian who would not welcome, by European measures, a reformed and democratized Turkey as their neighbor. The same would apply to Assyrians, Greeks, Kurds etc. But, the kind of signals which the Swedish Parliament today sent surely cause more damage to the Turkish process of becoming a more open society than the opposite.

Another paradox in Sweden became evident, namely the existence of the Living History Forum, a government agency created in the wake of the International and Intergovernmental Genocide Conference in Stockholm, 2004. On their web site the mission of the agency is described as following: “The Living History Forum is a government agency which has been commissioned with the task of promoting issues relating to tolerance, democracy and human rights – with the Holocaust as its point of reference.

By spreading knowledge about the darkest sides of human history, we want to influence the future.” The Living History Forum lists the 1915 genocide as one of the genocides in the 20th century and educates the Swedish society about what really happened in the Ottoman Empire during WWI. It seems highly ironic that the Swedish Government and politicians do not practice what they preach. “By spreading knowledge about the darkest sides of human history, we want to influence the future.” Suddenly, Darfur makes total sense. The world which Swedish politicians, or any other politicians for that matter, shape by influencing the future with their denial of genocide is the kind where we do speak of, not a historic, but an ongoing genocide, that in Darfur; and we will most certainly experience yet many more.

The phrase: “history must be left to historians” is often used by the Turkish state and those politicians around the world who do wish to avoid treading Turkish toes by recognizing the 1915 genocide. I did not realize until today how true that phrase is. Actually, I totally agree with the Turkish state on this one: history must be written by historians, not politicians. Today, however, Swedish MPs wrote their own new version of the history, a revised alternative suiting their political agenda, denouncing a broad data and consensus put forward by the expert scholars in the field. I hope that Swedish leaders, as well as all political leaders, would in future leave the research to researchers and base their decision making on presented facts put forward by scholars. Sacrédeus’
prophecy will be fulfilled as the 1915 genocide will most certainly be discussed in the Swedish Parliament again and again. As an answer to the last question I got in the TV debate, about how we will continue when the highly expected rejection in the Parliament comes, I replied “We will go on remembering the genocide of 1915, even after its recognition. We have already started the preparation for the manifestation on April 24, 2009, which, as the last two years, will take place in front of the Swedish Parliament. But, I hope that this time, instead of calling upon the Parliament to recognize the genocide, we will thank the MPs for having recognized it.”

Vahagn Avedian
Chairman of the Union of Armenian Associations in Sweden
Chief Editor of Armenica.org


Ararat Foundation Press Release “Ararat Foundation” “Ararat” Center for Strategic Research
CA 91214 Tel: 818-303-5566
Dr. Lusine Sahakyan To Present “ The Epic Novel About General Andranik”

The general public is cordially invited to a lecture and discussion on “ The Epic Novel about General Andranik “ by Lusine Sahakyan, Associate Professor of Turkish Studies and Director of the Center for Ottoman studies at the Yerevan State University.

Lusine Sahakyan’s editorial efforts culminate in presenting the reader with a work that was originally recorded and revised in 1960s-1980s by a survivor of Western Armenia dialectologist-ethnographer Suren Sahakyan as the “ Story about Andranik “ epic novel. This folk story is a unique example of an epic created in 19’th-20’th centuries, a wonderful product of Armenian collective thought, manifesting an attitude towards a heroic and a national liberation struggle. The epic novel is comprehensive equivalent of national hero’s life achievements.

This very special event will take place on Thursday, June 12, 2008 at 7:00 p.m. at Glendale Central Library, 222 E. Harvard St., Glendale, CA. The event is open to the public and admission is free.


Sweden’s Refusal To Recognize Armenian Genocide To Harm Turkey
12.06.2008 /PanARMENIAN.Net/ Vahagn Avedian, Chairman of the Union of Armenian Associations in Sweden, told PanARMENIAN.Net that he addressed an open letter to Swedish MPs to point out some major flaws in the stated arguments, mentioning that the Foreign Committee members are either poorly informed on the existing data, reports, conventions and resolutions or they simply disregard the broad information which strongly contradicts their assertions.

“The UNCHR Whitaker Report from 1985, the resolutions issued by the International Association of Genocide Scholars (IAGS), the UN Genocide Convention, its background and meaning, along with the petition signed by over 60 world leading Holocaust and Genocide scholars were some of the attachments as evidence for the erroneous and misleading information the report suggested. But, the debate on June 11 proofed that the decision had nothing to do with the presented facts.

The more the debate went on, the more it was revealed that no MP could explain, less defend, any of the above mentioned arguments, save for maybe the last one. During the debate, Member of Parliament Hans Linde (Left), talking about the arguments stated in the document repeatedly asked the members of the alliance parties to explain the argumentation in the report and answer three simple and straight forward questions, namely 1) Who are these researchers disagreeing on the reality of the 1915 genocide? 2) If the 1915 genocide can not be recognized due to the chronology of the 1948 UN Convention, how come then the Holocaust is recognized? 3) Why should the fear of extremists inside Turkey dictate the freedom of speech in the Swedish Parliament? None of the defendants could give an answer. This actually might be the only light in the otherwise some what embarrassing situation that the MPs were faced with when trying to evade the questions in whole. Mats Sanders (Moderat/Conservatives) had, literally nothing to add but to refer to the report text. Alf Svensson (Christian Democrats), in regard to the “disagreement among researchers”, was asked to name only one serious researcher who renounces the 1915 genocide. He defended the proposition by stating that he “believes in the information they receive from the Foreign Services… I believe that this is the truth, and if it is proven otherwise, then I am truly sorry.” I am not quite sure if Mr. Svensson really believes in what he stated in that sentence. But then again, who, if not a Christian Democrat would safeguard issues such as moral, human dignity, and stewardship.

Mats Pertoft (Green), one of the co-authors of the motions, pointed out that the 1915 genocide was no different from the climate issue. For couple of years ago, there was a disagreement among researchers about the global warming, but now, even though there are some who still disagree, there is a consensus on the issue among an overwhelming majority of the researchers. The same applies to the 1915 genocide. Mentioning the petition signed by genocide experts, Pertoft joined Linde in urging the MPs to at least deny recognition on political basis and refrain from abusing the name of science and renouncing facts. A day earlier, I, together with Linde and Pertoft, partook in a debate broadcasted live by the Assyrian Satellite TV Station Suroyo. The TV station had invited several other MPs representing the “no” side, but in vain. No one was willing to participate. Linde’s radio debate on the subject, scheduled for the morning of June 11, was also canceled since the MP defending the Foreign Committee proposition had backed out in last second. Maybe, just maybe, the text of the petition, sent to all members of parliament, made a difference by stating that “Today, the data and information about the Genocide of Armenians, Assyrians and Pontic Greeks are so extensive that no serious politician can honestly cite insufficient or inconclusive research as an excuse to avoid recognition.” This was at least true in the case of those who chose not participate in any of the debates, rather than compromising their honesty by being forced to follow their party line and defend their denial of a genocide.

Two politicians defied their parties. Yilmaz Kerimo (Social Democrat), an ethnic Assyrian was one. The other, Lennart Sacrédeus (Christian Democrat), going against his party line, took the podium defending a recognition of the 1915 genocide and ended his statement by adding: “I know that we will stay here again in one year debating the very same question…Turkey will be hit by bad will for every debate in every parliament where this question is deeply associated with Turkey. I think that we acknowledge and can understand the background for why the issue is locked in Turkey; but the truth will set you free and it applies to Turkey and the legacy after Atatürk.” The truth will set you free, but Swedish politicians today displayed that they are neither ready to acknowledge the truth nor willing to set Turkey free from its dark burdensome past.

The debate lasted over three hours, during which the present audience agreed upon one certainty: no one of those recommending the rejection of a recognition could, based on the alleged arguments in the report, explain, less defend their case. It was soon obvious that there simply were no sustainable arguments to be given to explain why Sweden can not recognize the 1915 genocide. The “no” was purely a political decision for maintaining good relations with Turkey, nothing else. But could such a decision actually benefit Turkey? Or Sweden? Or EU? In my opinion, similar decisions and signals are nothing but doing Turkey, and not least oneself, a disservice. What kind of message do we send to a Turkey in urgent need of reformation and democratization when we tell them that it is actually acceptable to cover up crimes and deny facts and the truth? What kind of a democracy does Sweden and EU nourish in Turkey? Notwithstanding, I can not imagine a single Armenian who would not welcome, by European measures, a reformed and democratized Turkey as their neighbor. The same would apply to Assyrians, Greeks, Kurds etc. But, the kind of signals which the Swedish Parliament today sent surely cause more damage to the Turkish process of becoming a more open society than the opposite.

Another paradox in Sweden became evident, namely the existence of the Living History Forum, a government agency created in the wake of the International and Intergovernmental Genocide Conference in Stockholm, 2004. On their web site the mission of the agency is described as follows: “The Living History Forum is a government agency which has been commissioned with the task of promoting issues relating to tolerance, democracy and human rights – with the Holocaust as its point of reference. By spreading knowledge about the darkest sides of human history, we want to influence the future.” The Living History Forum lists the 1915 genocide as one of the genocides in the 20th century and educates the Swedish society about what really happened in the Ottoman Empire during WWI. It seems highly ironic that the Swedish Government and politicians do not practice what they preach. “By spreading knowledge about the darkest sides of human history, we want to influence the future.” Suddenly, Darfur makes total sense. The world which Swedish politicians, or any other politicians for that matter, shape by influencing the future with their denial of genocide is the kind where we do speak of, not a historic, but an ongoing genocide, that in Darfur; and we will most certainly experience yet many more.

The phrase: “history must be left to historians” is often used by the Turkish state and those politicians around the world who do wish to avoid treading Turkish toes by recognizing the 1915 genocide. I did not realize until today how true that phrase is. Actually, I totally agree with the Turkish state on this one: history must be written by historians, not politicians. Today, however, Swedish MPs wrote their own new version of the history, a revised alternative suiting their political agenda, denouncing a broad data and consensus put forward by the expert scholars in the field. I hope that Swedish leaders, as well as all political leaders, would in future leave the research to researchers and base their decision making on presented facts put forward by scholars. Sacrédeus’ prophecy will be fulfilled as the 1915 genocide will most certainly be discussed in the Swedish Parliament again and again. As an answer to the last question I got in the TV debate, about how we will continue when the highly expected rejection in the Parliament comes, I replied “We will go on remembering the genocide of 1915, even after its recognition. We have already started the preparation for the manifestation on April 24, 2009, which, as the last two years, will take place in front of the Swedish Parliament. But, I hope that this time, instead of calling upon the Parliament to recognize the genocide, we will thank the MPs for having recognized it,” Vahagn Avedian said.

On June 11, a long debate took place in the Swedish parliament in regard to the Foreign Committee report on Human Rights, including five motions calling upon the Swedish government and parliament to officially recognize the Armenian Genocide.

On June 12, 2008, the Swedish parliament, with the votes 245 to 37 (1 abstain, 66 absent), rejected a call for recognition of the 1915 genocide in the Ottoman Empire. On June 11, a long debate took place in the Swedish Parliament in regard to the Foreign Committee report on Human Rights, including five motions calling upon the Swedish Government and Parliament to officially recognize the 1915 Armenian Genocide.

In its answer (2007/2008:UU9), a majority consisting of the ruling alliance parties together with the Social Democrats (opposition party) proposed rejecting the motions, whereby the Green (Miljöpartiet) and the Left (Vänsterpartiet) parties announced their reservations, forcing the Parliament to have a debate in the main chamber before the proposal was voted on.

The argumentation for why recognition should be rejected was based on four main assumptions: “no particular consideration regarding the Armenian situation has ever been in form of an UN Resolution, either in 1985 or any other occasion; the Committee understands that what engulfed the Armenians, Assyrian/Syrians and Chaldeans during the reign of the Ottoman Empire would, according to the 1948 Convention, probably be regarded as genocide, if it had been in power at the time; there is still a disagreement among the experts regarding the different course of events of the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire. The same applies to the underlying causes and how the assaults shall be classified; [in regard to the development in Turkey] in the time being, it would be venturesome to disturb an initiate and delicate national process.”


Bosphorus Quartet To Perform In Yerevan On June 18 armradio.am
11.06.2008
The esteemed Bosphorus Quartet from Istanbul, Turkey will perform at Komitas Chamber Music Hall in Yerevan on June 18, 2008. The concert is part of a cultural exchange between Armenia and Turkey made possible by Eurasia Partnership Foundation (EPF), in cooperation with the United States Agency for International Development and the Komitas State Quartet NCSO. As part of the exchange, the Yerevan Komitas State Quartet will perform in Istanbul on June 13, 2008.

The Bosphorus Quartet will perform pieces by European, Turkish, and Armenian composers: Debussy's "Quartet", Shostakovich's "String Quartet No. 8", Selman Ada's "Kleine Jazz Suite", Serdar Yalcin's "Together and Stringed Songs" and, as an encore, Komitas/Aslamazyan's "Habrban." The Quartet, managed by Murat Gurol, brings together Seda Subai, 1st violin; Ceren Gurkan, 2nd violin; Deniz Yucel, viola; and Rahan Apay, cello.

The two concerts will continue the 2002 musical exchange between the Komitas State Quartet and their Turkish counterparts. "This project intends to forge a musical bridge between Armenia and Turkey, celebrating the artists of each country while establishing a practice of cultural cooperation," says Gevorg Ter-Gabrielyan, Country Director of Eurasia Partnership Foundation in Armenia. "EPF believes that supporting cross-border grass-roots initiatives between Armenian and Turkish civil society activists, businessmen, journalists, and artists will accelerate the normalization of relations between the two countries."


Senate And House Hearings To Focus On Armenia And Caucasus Region
11.06.2008
/PanARMENIAN.Net/ The focus of two key Congressional committees will turn to the Caucasus region next week as Senate Foreign Relations Committee and House Foreign Affairs Committee members will, in an exercise of their oversight responsibilities, have the opportunity to question State Department officials on U.S. policy regarding Armenia and the surrounding area, the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) told PanARMENIAN.Net.

Assistant Secretary of State for Europe Dan Fried will testify before the House Foreign Affairs Committee on Wednesday June 18th at 10:00am EDT regarding U.S. policy toward the Caucasus region. Chairman Howard Berman (D-CA) and his fellow Committee members will be focusing on a wide range of issues including the ongoing blockade of Armenia, U.S. policy on the Armenian Genocide, and foreign aid. Turkish Ambassador to the U.S. Nabi Sensoy recently denied the existence of a Turkish blockade, arguing that there are many Armenians who serve as "nannies" to Turkish children. The World Bank estimates that Turkey and Azerbaijan’s blockades of Armenia reduce Armenia’s GDP by up to 38% annually.

Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), along with Rep. George Radanovich (R-CA) and Congressional Armenian Caucus Co-Chairs Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ) and Joe Knollenberg (R-MI) recently introduced the "End the Turkish Blockade of Armenia" Bill (H.R. 6079), which calls upon Turkey to end its blockade of Armenia and asks the U.S. Department of State to report on its efforts towards this end.

On Thursday, June 19th, at 2:15pm, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee is slated to hold a confirmation hearing for U.S. Ambassador to Armenia nominee Marie Yovanovitch.

On March 28, 2008, Pres. Bush nominated Amb. Marie L. Yovanovitch to serve as America’s next Ambassador to Armenia. The ANCA has spoken to Committee members about the value of carefully questioning Amb. Yovanovitch on the many issues she will face as the U.S. envoy in Yerevan, among them the recognition of the Armenian Genocide, Turkey and Azerbaijan’s ongoing blockades of Armenia, and the need for a balanced U.S. role in helping forge a democratic and peaceful resolution to the Nagorno Karabakh conflict. These efforts have been supported by extensive on-line outreach and a national postcard campaign to key Senate Foreign Relations Committee members.

President Bush’s previous nominee as U.S. Ambassador to Armenia, Richard Hoagland, was subject to two legislative holds by Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ) and was ultimately withdrawn by the Administration, following the nominee’s statements denying the Armenian Genocide.

The last U.S. Ambassador to Armenia, John Marshall Evans, was fired by President Bush for speaking honestly about the Armenian Genocide. The ANCA led the Armenian American community campaign opposing Hoagland’s nomination, stating that a genocide denier could not serve as a credible and effective U.S. spokesperson in Armenia.


Scholars In Armenian Studies Convene In Cambridge
11.06.2008
/PanARMENIAN.Net/ Scholars in Armenian studies convened in King’s College, Cambridge University for a two-day workshop organized by Dr. Bert Vaux, University Lecturer at the Department of Linguistics, the RA MFA press office said.

Robert Thomson, Galouste Gulbenkian Professor of Armenian Studies (emeritus), Timothy Greenwood, Lecturer in History, University of St, Andrews, Christina Maranci, Arthur H. Dadian and Ara Oztemel Professor of Armenian Art, Tufts University, Kristine Rose, Book Conservator, Chester Beatty Library, Elizabeth Redgate, Lecturer in the School of Historical Studies, Newcastle University, James Clakson, Senior University Lecturer in Classics, Jesus College, Cambridge and Theo Van Lint, Galouste Gulbenkian, Professor of Armenian Studies, Oxford University contributed to an interesting discussion of a variety of subjects in linguisting, art and related crafts such as book-binding and others.

Dr. Vaux is the author, among many other titles, of the acclaimed book "The Phonolgy of Armenian" and a textbook on Eastern Armenian.


Experts Concerned Over Military Expenditures Increase In South Caucasus
12.06.2008
/PanARMENIAN.Net/ Global military expenditure totaled $1,3 trillion last year, fixing a 10% increase against last year’s data, according to Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI).

The major spenders are the United States with $578 billion and Russia with $45,6 billion.

However, experts are concerned over the growth of military expenditures in Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan.

Spending 5 per cent of its budget for military purposes, Tbilisi exceeded expense items 28 times.

Azerbaijan has increased military expenditures half as much.

Yerevan doesn’t spend much. Its military expenditures amount to $272 million. But the country receives extra assistance from Russia and Iran, whose funds can exceed local defense expenses, analitika.az reports.

The database on military expenditure covers 168 countries and contains consistent time series for the period since 1988. SIPRI military expenditure data are based on open sources only, including a SIPRI questionnaire, which is sent out annually to all countries included in the database.


Question And Answer Forum In U.S. Embassy
11 June, 2008
In response to a request from the MCA-Armenia Stakeholders’ Committee, a presentation and discussion of the 2008 MCC Indicator Scorecard for Armenia took place at the Embassy of the United States of America. The Indicator Scorecard was presented by Alex Russin, MCC-Armenia Resident Country Director. Following the presentation, a question & answer forum was held between the MCA-Armenia Stakeholders’ Committee and Mr. Joseph Pennington, U.S. Chargé d'Affaires, wherein Stakeholders’ Committee members asked questions regarding Armenia’s current political status and how it may impact further MCC funding.

MCA-Armenia Stakeholders’ Committee is a consultative body composed of 15 elected volunteer members representing Armenian civil society and relevant program beneficiaries, with the mandate of ensuring broad participation in program implementation, monitoring and evaluation.


“they Are Not Guilty That Stayed Alive”
13 June, 2008
The freedom fighters (hereinafter azatamartiks) of Shirak Marz made an appeal to His Holiness Karekin II, Catholicos and Supreme Patriarch of All Armenians.

“Patriarch of Armenians, we do not want to storm your soul and tranquility by reminding you of the tragic events of March 1. We do not want to remind you of the slaughter of Armenian people who, with the name of God on their lips, like those looking for the flower brabion, were seeking justice at the Square of Freedom for 10 days. Ten days which were followed by political persecution and arrests,” runs the appeal of the Gyumri office of the Yerkrapah Union of Volunteers.

As a result, hundreds of honest, free and law-abiding citizens, political activists, azatamartiks and commanders of the liberation war were appeared in jails. By the way, some of the arrestees are members of the National Church Council, Ashot Zakarian, Sasun Mikayelian, Hakob Hakobian, Miasnik Malkhassian, and many others. They are all worth mentioning as on October 27, 1999, they elected you but today they are imprisoned with put-up charges based on false evidence of people who have sold their conscience to Mammon.

Trials resemble judgments of the era of the inquisition, and it would be like committing a sin if we used the word justice. And all this happens in Armenia, with your silent indifference. Thus, if we commit a sin with our unawareness and ignorance, it means the fault lies either with the pro-government media or with the silence of the Holy See for confidence in the authorities and the government has vanished. The country’s reputation is soiled, which will result in unpredictable consequences. If this tense and heated climate of intolerance continues, the state will considerably weaken, and eventually faith in the person of the catholicos of all Armenians will be shattered.

We hereby appeal to you. It is time you used the power of your patriarchal seat and supported the devout and faithful children of the Armenian Apostolic Church who sacrificed everything for our faith, independent state and are not to blame for having stayed alive by God’s mercy. So do make a patriarchal appeal to the government to listen to your authoritative voice and restore the rights and freedoms of people set by the Constitution. Set free all the political prisoners because the Armenians worldwide will never tolerate tyranny in Armenia with its inhuman expressions, and if people believe the void and bombastic promises and forgive them, God will not forgive those who ignore God’s commandments, including you. Do prove that you are the person chosen by God’s will and you are the patriarch of all Armenians.”


Egbert Jahn: Armenian Genocide Debate May Fade After Turkey Joins EU
07.06.2008
/PanARMENIAN.Net/ Central and Eastern Europe suffered from both Nazi and Communists, a German professor said.

Political programs of mass annihilation may be named not genocide but policide, professor Egbert Jahn said in his speech during “Fall of the Berlin Wall: from Budapest to Vilnius” international conference in Warsaw.

The Armenian Genocide perpetrated by Young Turks in 1915 may be interpreted in a similar way. But the Genocide debate may subside after Turkey joins the European Union,” he said, DELFI Baltic states’ portal reports.


Armenia Terminates Turkey’s Full Influence On South Caucasus
10.06.2008
/PanARMENIAN.Net/ Turkey’s geostrategy is based on several principles, according to an Armenian expert.

“These are strengthening of relations with Georgia and Azerbaijan, determination of borders of its influence as regional power, cooperation with Russia and complete isolation of Armenia,” said Ruben Safrastyan, Director of Caucasus Institute.

Armenia terminates Turkey’s full influence on the South Caucasus, according to him.

“Meanwhile, Turkey’s relations with Georgia cover not only economic but also the military sector. Ankara assisted Tbilisi in modernizing the military base in Marneuli, adapting it for its own needs. As to relations with Azerbaijan, Turkey holds leadership in the volume of commodity turnover and investments here. Ankara also helps Baku to guard the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan and Baku-Tbilisi-Erzrum pipelines. All this, in addition to the burden of its Ottoman past, proves that normalization of the Armenian-Turkish relations is impossible in the near future,” Dr. Safrastyan said.


Armenia Solidarity - Nor Serount Cultural Association
c/o The Temple of Peace, Cardiff

Uk Government Advisory Body Agrees To The Validity Of The Name "Armenia" In Turkey
In response to an enquiry from Armenia Solidarity, a reply received this week from Paul Woodman on behalf of the "Permanent Committee on Geographical Names" (a British government advisory body ) contains agreement on the validity of using Armenia and Armenian Highland to describe an extensive part of present Eastern Turkey.. His reply contains the following statement:

"There is therefore absolutely no problem in showing the Armenian Highland should a cartographic editor wish to do so, and we would support such an inclusion wholeheartedly. It is a standard English conventional name for an established feature. If it does not appear on the maps where you might expect to see it, it is not necessarily for some political reason but more straightforwardly because of the unresolved question concerning its extent. It clearly relates to present-day Turkey and Armenia (where it is Haykakan Lerrnashkharh), but some authors ascribe it further eastward into Azerbaijan and Iran as well, to encompass the three great lakes of Van, Sevan and Urmia. It is therefore something of a locational headache for a cartographic editor."...

"Your application of the name "Armenia" remains absolutely valid in its own cultural-historical context."

Armenia Solidarity / Nor Serount Cultural Association have been in consultation on this issue with the scholar Rouben Gallichian, who has traced the gradual disappearance of Armenia from Western maps from 1923 onwards, and the disappearance of Armenia from Turkish maps from the mid nineteenth century. His work and this new statement will be presented to the UK government.

The Permanent Committee for Geographical Names is situated at the Royal Geographical Society It is an independent inter-departmental body which was established in 1919.Its web-site is www.pgcn.org.uk.
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The original request was as follows:

FAO Permanent Committee on Geographical Names

Dear Sirs, Madames,

I understand that you were founded in 1919. I write to find if you able to give an explaination for the disappearance of the Geographical term "Armenia" from the maps of Turkey from 1915 onwards. (ie in the world maps produced in Britain)

I assume that your organisation had a hand in this process. Surely the fact that the entire population of Turkish controlled Armenia were either massacred or deported does not justify the deletion of all traces of Armenia from the maps of Anatolia?

I am not referring here to the Armenian Republic which was established in the eastern extremity of historical Armenia.(which was situated in a large area of eastern Anatolia.)

Also the terms Armenian plateau and Armenian Highlands have disappeared by the same process

I ask also if this process was unique ?(ie the rather sudden deletion of a name used since biblical times, -probably in 1923 )

Yours sincerely,
Eilian Williams


Radio Free Europe, June 6, 2008
Analysis: Are Armenian-Turkish Relations Headed For Breakthrough -- Or Breakdown? by By Richard Giragosian

Since his inauguration less than two months ago, Armenian President Serzh Sarkisian has been hobbled by a daunting set of challenges, ranging from internal political tension that shows little sign of dissipating to a looming economic crisis driven by sharp price rises for food and energy that is only expected to worsen in coming months.

Yet even against this backdrop of internal challenges, there have been recent signs suggesting a possible new opportunity for a breakthrough in Armenia's strained relationship with its western neighbor, Turkey. Even before his election as president, Sarkisian outlined his vision of how Armenian-Turkish relations could be positively transformed by Turkey's admission to the EU. In an article published in December 2006 in "The Wall Street Journal," and again in an interview with the "Financial Times" one year later, Sarkisian expressed support for Turkey's bid for EU membership, albeit for purely pragmatic geopolitical reasons, suggesting that EU membership would make Turkey "more predictable" and thus strengthen Armenia's national security.

In a positively worded message on February 21, Turkish President Abdullah Gul -- one of the first foreign heads of state to congratulate the new president -- expressed the hope that Sarkisian's election victory "will permit the creation of the necessary environment for normalizing relations between the Turkish and Armenian peoples, who have proven over centuries they can live together in peace and harmony." "I sincerely hope that...an atmosphere based on reciprocal trust and cooperation can be established that will contribute to regional peace and prosperity," Gul added. A subsequent letter from Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Foreign Minister Ali Babacan last month similarly noted the need for a new "dialogue" with Armenia.

In response, the new Armenian Prime Minister, Tigran Sarkisian (no relation to the president) was quick to "reaffirm" Armenia's desire for a "constructive dialogue and the establishment of normal relations without preconditions." This was also echoed in a second formal response from Armenian Foreign Minister Eduard Nalbandian, who admitted that earlier efforts to bring about an Armenian-Turkish rapprochement "failed," and called for a fresh approach and "new style" to be followed by unspecified "positive steps." Speaking in Brussels on May 28 at a session of the North Atlantic Council, Nalbandian again stressed that Armenia sets no preconditions for the normalization of relations with Turkey. He further noted that the preamble to the Individual Partnership Action Plan (IPAP) Armenia signed with NATO in 2005 affirms that "Armenia seeks normalization of relations with Turkey and is determined to pursue constructive dialogue, including direct talks with Turkey, towards this end."

At one level, the exchange of letters and professed readiness to embark on a new dialogue seemingly reflect a renewed sense of optimism, especially as Armenia has reiterated that it has no preconditions to any normalization of relations with Turkey. Yet such optimism -- if indeed it is sincere, and not pro forma --could prove misplaced in light of a sobering record of earlier half-hearted diplomatic initiatives and ill-fated unofficial attempts at forging a common ground between the two countries.

Over the past 15 years, there has been only minimal contact between Armenia and Turkey. That absence of formal relations stems from two main impediments: Turkey's support for Azerbaijan in the conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh and its reaction to attempts by the worldwide Armenian diaspora to obtain broad international recognition of what they call the Armenian genocide of 1915. These two factors have come to dominate Turkish policy regarding its small neighbor, resulting in the imposition of an economic blockade in 1993 and a stubborn refusal to even establish formal diplomatic relations.

But to date Turkey has gained little from that policy and, in fact, has actually lost significant diplomatic and economic opportunities. Moreover, many Turkish officials have privately admitted that Turkish foreign policy regarding Armenia has become far too limited and seemingly hostage to Azerbaijan's implacable opposition to any improvement in relations with Armenia.

Despite the poor record of past initiatives, the potential benefits from even the most basic and rudimentary form of engagement are clear for each country. For Turkey, opening its closed border with Armenia would constitute a new strategic opportunity for galvanizing economic activity in the impoverished eastern regions of the country, which could play a key role in the economic stabilization of the already restive largely Kurdish-populated eastern regions and thus address a significant national security imperative of countering the root causes of Kurdish terrorism and separatism with economic opportunity.

Likewise, an open border with Turkey would offer Armenia not only a way to overcome its regional isolation and marginalization, but also a bridge to larger markets crucial for economic growth and development. In addition, the commercial and economic activity resulting from opening the Armenian-Turkish border would foster subsequent trade ties between the two countries that, in turn, would lead to more formal cooperation in the key areas of customs and border security. And with such a deepening of bilateral trade ties and cross-border cooperation, the establishment of normal diplomatic relations would undoubtedly follow.

Thus, the opening of the closed Armenian-Turkish border could not only bring about a crucial breakthrough in fostering trade links and economic relations, but may also serve as an impetus to bolster broader stability and security throughout the conflict-prone South Caucasus.

Yet the divide between potential and reality seems as wide as ever, as participants at a one-day conference on Armenian-Turkish relations in Yerevan on May 20 acknowledged. Organized by the Yerevan-based Analytical Center on Globalization and Regional Cooperation with the support of the Eurasia Partnership Foundation and USAID, the conference brought together several leading Armenian and Turkish experts and analysts for an open discussion of the prospects for a normalization of relations between the two countries and helped to dispel some of the more disturbing stereotypes of Turks that have come to drive Armenian perceptions.

As one of the participants later wrote in the May 22 issue of the "Turkish Daily News," the conference was able to forge a shared recognition of "a lack of clarity and a gap between declarations and practice on both sides." Highlighting a new sense of optimism, Diba Nigar Goksel, a senior analyst at the European Stability Initiative and the editor-in-chief of the English-language "Turkish Policy Quarterly" (TPQ), went on to stress that "it also seemed hopeful that the sides could move closer to a shared view of history, as long as they set reasonable expectations," adding that "sometimes it takes a trip eastward to appreciate how far Turkey has traveled and the untapped potential it has for more influence."

But at the same time, the conference seemed to confirm that any breakthrough in Armenian-Turkish relations hinges above all on timing, given that in the past each side has on more than one occasion extended a cautious hand to the other, but those overtures have never coincided. This divergence has also assumed a new political dimension, as the new Armenian government is in desperate need of a strategic breakthrough in foreign policy as it struggles to overcome the ongoing internal political crisis.

Yet even this imperative for progress from the Armenian side is not enough to overcome the stalemate in relations, as the truly revolutionary degree of change now under way within Turkey suggests little likelihood for a breakthrough. And while the dynamic process of redefining and reassessing the very tenets of Turkey's national identity and strategic orientation may present a new opportunity for modifying its failed policy toward Armenia, Turkey seems wary of alienating its traditional ally Azerbaijan. As recently as May 26, the Turkish daily "Zaman" quoted Economy Minister Mehmet Simsek as saying that the border with Armenia will not be opened until Yerevan solves its problems with Ankara and with Turkey's "regional ally," Azerbaijan. Simsek added that Armenia has more to gain than Turkey from establishing "normal relations" between the two countries, and therefore Armenia should take the first step toward rapprochement. Therefore, while it may seem attractive to blame Turkey for failing to seize the initiative and reap the benefits from a fresh approach toward Armenia, the real impediment lies in Turkey's desire to allay Azerbaijani concerns, at least in the short term.


Mccain Or Obama: What Is The Turkish Bet?
Saturday, June 7, Barçin YINANÇ

The possible U.S. recognition of World War I-era killings of Armenians at the hands of the Ottoman Empire as genocide will no doubt deal a serious blow to Turkish-American ties. Hence, Republican presidential nominee John McCain's refusal to pledge recognition of Armenian claims of genocide, in contrast to the Democratic nominee Barack Obama, might lead some to argue that Turkey would be better off with a U.S. administration under McCain's leadership. That assumption would mean jumping to conclusions too quickly.

McCain, Turks, Armenians?:

It is not because McCain underestimates the importance of Armenian votes that he refuses to bow to Armenian pressure. He does so because he knows the importance of Turkey for U.S. interests. “He has been many times to Turkey and he has positive feelings about Turkey,” says former Turkish Ambassador to Washington, Faruk Logoglu who has met him several times. The comments below are those of McCain, who voiced them only a couple of months ago:

“It should be obvious to all that Turkey is an essential member of the Euro-Atlantic community and an integral part of Europe. Obstacles of prejudice, ethnic stereotype, and bureaucratic gamesmanship that block Turkey's path to Europe do not reflect well on the fairness of our institutions and do damage to our security. Turkey is a front-line state in the war on terrorism, just as Germany was a front-line state in the Cold War.”

On a personal basis, between the two candidates McCain is no doubt the one with the best understanding of Turkey's importance. But what is good for Turkey in the short term is not necessarily good for the world at large, and what might be bad for the world at large might be bad for Turkey in the long term.

Let's elaborate: The foreign policy areas where the two have diverging views are of primary concern to Turkey, such as Iraq, Iran and the Israeli/Palestinian dispute. Obama's policy of engagement and dialogue instead of a deterrence policy based on the threat of the use of force will ease Turkey's uneasiness as far as relations with Syria and Iran are concerned, since the Turkish government prefers a positive engagement policy with both.

McCain, on the other hand, is likely to pursue the Bush line. He won't tell U.S. allies, “you are either with me or not.” To the contrary, as Richard Burt said last week at a panel organized by the Turkish Industrialists' and Businessmen's Association and the Brookings Institution, he would consult more and listen more to his allies. But he would ask in return for more from his allies, too, an expectation underlined by Burt, who is an advisor to McCain. It would then be rather more difficult for Turkey to say no to certain U.S. demands especially in view of the efforts spent by a McCain administration to block the Armenian resolution in Congress. Meanwhile, although Obama's pledge to leave Iraq would rather suit Turkey's interests more, since it would not prefer to have a permanent U.S. presence in the region, what kind of an exit strategy will be implemented and what kind of an Iraq will Obama leave behind also matters. An unhealthy exit strategy, a premature early withdrawal and a possible reliance on the northern Iraqi Kurds to leave Iraq as quickly as possible might end up bringing serious headaches for Turkey. The personal characteristics of presidents matter, but so does the team they will bring to Washington. Obama has advisors like Philip Gordon who has a good grasp of Turkey and its potential. His key congressional backers include Adam Schiff from California, the chief sponsor of the Armenian resolution pending in the House of Representatives.

Personalities that surprise:

McCain's advisers include veteran party strategists and former top policy makers like Henry Kissinger, Richard Armitage and Brent Scowcroft, all quite familiar with Turkey. On the other hand, his team includes neo-conservative names like Randy Scheunemann, whose reputation as a hard-liner on the global projection of U.S. power is known and disliked by certain Turkish circles. Everything else aside, as Marc Parris, the former American Ambassador to Ankara, pointed out, “Personalities, ideologies can surprise us.” U.S. history is full of presidents who said one thing during the campaign and did something else in office. Hence, what matters for the Turkish side at this stage is to forge relations with the key names in both camps. According to one official in Ankara, the Turkish side has been quite active in doing just that not only with the McCain team, where the names are more familiar, but also with Obama's people.


Bulent Kenes b.kenes@todayszaman.com Garry Kasparov And A New Kind Of ‘extremism’
If I was asked "What is the concept that has left its mark on the last 20-30 years most prominently?" I would probably say "extremism" without a moment's hesitation.

The revolution in Iran carried out by the Iranian people under the leadership of a religious figure to put an end to the despotic and collaborating regime of the shah, the Chechen fight for survival, the acts of terrorism perpetrated by al-Qaeda and the armed attacks of the resistance fighters in Iraq have all been subject to attempted explanations through this word.

While "extremism" is more associated with religious movements involved in terrorism and violence, it has also been made into a very effective device to defame those who have different philosophies on life and hold different worldviews, so much so that a certain segment of Turkish society still shamelessly portrays a movement -- that is the world's most moderate and tolerant organization and the most receptive of interfaith and intercultural dialogue and contributes to world peace in the most lasting manner with its worldwide educational and cultural activities -- as "extremist." During a speech delivered at a dinner privately held for high-ranking media managers as part of the World Association of Newspapers (WAN)-World Editors Forum (WEF) Congress, held in the Swedish town of Göteborg, we understood the full potential for the abuse of this word and the extent to which its meaning can be expanded.

Apart from the content of this speech, the life story of the person who delivered it is familiar to many and, without a doubt, features events that would strike many as interesting. The person who delivered the speech was Gary Kasparov, the world's greatest chess master, and I think you can already guess what I want to tell you. Kasparov says that he now uses his achievements in chess, which made him a legendary figure, and the tactics and strategies he developed for this game in the political realm. Kasparov, who keeps berating the Kremlin administration with his quick wit and extremely sharp style, succeeded in evoking a well-deserved feeling of admiration in the listeners who showed a keen interest in his speech.

For the last eight years, Kasparov has been directing very serious criticism at the Kremlin administration -- led by Vladimir Putin up until a short time ago -- in regard to violations of democratic rights and economic weaknesses, and he has been waging a remarkable struggle for democratic and civil rights through the civil movement he leads and the rallies and demonstrations he organizes. Of course, the attribute Moscow has come up with to describe Kasparov is very familiar: "extremist."

Kasparov -- who we can define as, at most, a liberal democrat, given his rhetoric, demands and actions -- has been arrested a number of times for his "extremist" activities. To highlight how ironic the accusations made about him are, he pointed out that even Grigory Yavlinsky, one of the most liberal and democratic figures on the Russian political scene, was also defined as an extremist by Putin's administration.

The biggest weapon of the civil movement, called "The Other Russia" and led by Baku-born Kasparov, which defends democracy, human rights, freedom of thought, speech and press, and individual rights and freedoms and fights for a fairer income distribution, is its civil activities.

Kasparov noted that Putin is still wielding as much influence as before despite the fact that the presidential office now belongs to Alexander Medvedev, adding that the world media have been wrongly buying into Russian legends in recent years. He provided a good number of examples of these false legends. Contrary to what is prevalently believed, it's not Russia or the Russian people, but a certain segment of Russia that has grown more affluent, he said, stressing that the Russian people are still faced with great financial pain because of a corrupt income distribution system, despite the fact that the country's gross domestic product (GDP) has witnessed a huge increase compared to eight years ago. Emphasizing that this year 82 Russians ranked in the Forbes' list of billionaires even though none were on the list eight years ago, Kasparov reiterated that Russia had not become richer; rather, a certain clique of Russian elites famed for their close ties to Putin have acquired vast wealth.

Kasparov contended that Moscow has become the world's costliest metropolitan area, having overtaken even New York and Tokyo. He also claimed that a significant number of Muscovites were literally fighting for survival on less than $100 a month due to the skyrocketing real estate prices and living costs in the city. He noted that Russia's economic growth did not have the slightest positive impact on the lives of 85 percent of the Russian population. The greatest problem of the Putin era was favoritism and corruption, Kasparov said. He noted that the country that saw the biggest amount of direct investment in Russia according to official records was Greek Cyprus, hinting that siphoned-off public resources were laundered through Greek Cyprus.

Arguing that Russian elections were neither fair nor transparent, Kasparov maintained that the purpose of the Other Russia movement was not to win elections but to simply have real elections held. Speaking quite passionately, he called on world leaders and the world media to renounce their current policy of portraying the Putin administration as successful and of not seeing its violations of democratic and human rights. The Putin administration uses such attitudes among foreign leaders and media as a source of legitimacy to repress its opponents, Kasparov noted, drawing the audience's attention to the fact that Russia was the second country after US-occupied Iraq with the greatest number of slain journalists and saying that this was not a coincidence.

What do you think? Does Kasparov really deserve to be called an "extremist" because of his statements?
06.06.2008


Too Many Holocausts : Toronto School Trustees Face The Conflicting Wrath Of Many In Bid To Limit Genocide Course By Brett Clarkson, Sun Media, Canada
Tears flowed, shouting matches erupted and a chorus of boos rang out after a Toronto District School Board committee voted last night to go ahead with a controversial Grade 11 course on genocide.

The packed meeting at the school board's headquarters on Yonge St., at Sheppard Ave., saw a delegation of Ukrainian Canadians pleading with the board to include the 1932-33 Soviet-engineered famine that killed millions of Ukrainians included in the course.

Turkish Canadians also protested the inclusion of the 1915 Armenian genocide in the curriculum. Armenian Canadians, on the other hand, lobbied the board to keep the slaughter of 1.5 million of their ancestors -- at the hands of the ruling Ottoman Empire -- in the course.

The three-member committee voted in favour of director of education Gerry Connelly's recommendations to base the course specifically around the Holocaust, the Armenian Genocide, and the 1994 Rwandan genocide.

But the decision isn't final.

The recommendations will go to a vote of the full board of trustees within three weeks, Connelly said.

She added the course's intent isn't to deem certain genocides more worthy of study than others, but to use the three cases as examples.

"It's not a survey course of all the genocides," Connelly said. "The intent is to take these as an example and use them in order to help students become more critical thinkers and to understand the impact of crimes against humanity and to actually go out and be advocates to ensure this never happens again."

'I WAS INSULTED'
Members of the Ukrainian community said they were "insulted" by the decision.

"I was insulted; our community was insulted," said Markian Shwec, president of the Ukrainian Canadian Congress.

Armenian Canadians expressed relief the board didn't heed the Turkish-Canadians demand to expunge the Armenian genocide from ther course. Outside the meeting, Turkish Canadians who dispute the Armenian claims that they suffered a genocide, argued with the Armenian Canadians.
www.torontosun.com


Long In Diaspora, Armenians Return Home Associated Press June 8, 2008
YEREVAN, Armenia: What would prompt a young family to abandon a comfortable life and move to a poor country where running water is still a luxury for many, politics are messy and the threat of war looms large?

For Aline Masrlian, 41, her husband, Gevork Sarian, and their two children, it was their motherland calling.

"It is something special when you live in your own land," said Masrlian, who moved here after her family had lived for generations in Syria.

Lured by the economic opportunities in a fast changing country and the lure of home, some people from Armenia's vast diaspora are moving to the land that their ancestors had long kept alive as little more than an idea. Longtime residents, meanwhile, are no longer fleeing the country in large numbers.

While 3.2 million people live in this landlocked Caucasus mountain nation - the smallest of the ex-Soviet republics - an estimated 5.7 million Armenians reside abroad. The largest disappears are in Russia (2 million), the United States (1.4 million), Georgia (460,000) and France (450,000), according to government data.

Most of the diaspora, like Masrlian's family, are descendants of those who fled the killings of up to 1.5 million Armenians in Ottoman Turkey during World War I - a tragedy Armenia wants to be recognized as genocide but modern Turkey insists was an inherent part of the war's violence.

Much later, others ran away from the economic collapse that Armenia suffered following the 1991 breakup of the Soviet Union, when electricity was available only several hours a day, people had to chop down trees for heat, and bread and butter were strictly rationed.

The devastating conflict with neighboring Azerbaijan over the disputed territory of Nagorno-Karabakh, in which over 30,000 people have died, compounded the exodus. An estimated 500,000 people left the country in 1992-94, many heading to Russia.

However, over the past four years Armenia has registered an overall population inflow of 33,200, the first positive trend since gaining independence in 1991 with the Soviet collapse, said Vahan Bakhshetian, a migration expert with the Territorial Management Ministry. While it's difficult to tell how many Armenians are returning permanently, Bakhshetian said the trend offers hope.

"We are now seeing many of those who had left return," said Foreign Ministry spokesman Vladimir Karapetian.

Among the returnees are many from the Russian diaspora. Some are lured back by economic improvements here, while others are escaping growing xenophobia in Russia, where attacks on dark-skinned people from the Caucasus are frequent.

Garik Hayrapetyan of the United Nations' Population Fund said Armenians also are no longer leaving in large numbers, but he cautioned that the emerging repatriation will not be sustained without economic and political progress.

For many, the country's biggest asset is its rich cultural heritage. Two millennia ago, Armenia was a vast kingdom stretching between the Black and Caspian seas. Eventually it was divided and absorbed by bigger states, including the Ottoman empire and czarist Russia, and later the Soviet Union.

Armenians like to brag that Noah's Ark came to rest in their country, on the biblical Mount Ararat - though the snowcapped mountain is now part of Turkey, overlooking Yerevan. The country is said to be the first state to adopt Christianity as its religion.

Still, in many ways Armenia remains an unlikely place to attract returnees. Despite economic progress in recent years, over a quarter of the population lives in poverty and the average monthly wage is a meager $275.

Outside aid is crucial. Diaspora Armenians send millions of dollars for investment and aid projects, and much of the population survives on individual money transfers from relatives abroad. The International Monetary Fund estimates that remittances make up 10 percent of the country's economy.

Those sending money are moved by the same love of country that draws Armenians back. James Tufenkian, an Armenian-American, has invested some $30 million in reviving the traditional carpet industry - largely destroyed in the Soviet era - building hotels and running charity efforts. Today, he provides jobs to over 1,000 people here.

Tufenkian, 47, said he decided to help after his first visit at the height of Armenia's economic decline in the early 1990s.

"I felt like I had a chance to do something to improve people's lives, that it was my homeland calling," Tufenkian said in a telephone interview from New York.

Today, Yerevan is slowly transforming itself from a run-down city into a vibrant, modern capital. The downtown boasts Western boutiques, expensive restaurants and young people in trendy outfits.

Yet the rest of the city, perched on steep hills, is a bleak mix of Soviet-era concrete apartment blocks and dilapidated two- and three-story houses with laundry hanging on balconies. The air is heavily polluted, mostly from the exhaust of the battered Soviet-era cars that clog the city. Some districts in Yerevan continue to have shortages of running water, which were common in the 1990s.

While Armenia is considered one of the freer countries among post-Soviet republics, its fragile hold on democracy became apparent earlier this year. Eight people were killed in clashes between government forces and opposition activists protesting election results. The Nagorno-Karabakh conflict also keeps tensions high.

But ask Gevork Sarian about life in Armenia, and the emigre who returned from Syria with his wife and children talks more about finding a homeland than about the wider political climate.

The bearded, smiling Sarian attended university in Yerevan in the early 1980s and said he always wanted to return. The family moved back in 1998, and he started several successful businesses, including a lingerie store run by his wife.

Now 46, Sarian said he had felt separated from his Syrian neighbors. "Even if they look at you in a good way, you are still a stranger - this is the feeling of Armenian diaspora everywhere," he said.

His 15-year-old son Ardag added that in Armenia "you feel that it is your country."

Repatriation wasn't as easy for Aline Masrlian, the wife in the family. She recalled a middle-class life in the northern Syrian city of Aleppo, with running water available 24 hours a day and the markets full of fruits and vegetables. In Yerevan, when the family first arrived, water was on just two hours a day, sometimes the only bread she could find was stale, and she missed the job she had loved, as a construction engineer.

But 10 years later, sitting in a new, spacious apartment decorated with family photos, Aline said she has no regrets. "I decided that this is my country."

More recent returnee Zorair Atabekian, 36, hopes for a similar future. He came back in 2005 after five years in Canada, homesick and hoping to go into business. Though he still earns far less selling jewelry in Yerevan than he did running an apartment design firm in Montreal, he said he knew his decision would eventually prove right.


USD 2 Billion Required Hayots Ashkhar Daily
June 07, 2008, Armenia
A sum of around 2 billion US Dollars is required for the construction of the new 1000m/Wt. energy bloc of the Armenian Nuclear Power Plant (ANPP) for ensuring energy production with a capacity of around 7.5 billion kilowatts per hour.

As informed yesterday by ARMEN MOVSISIYAN, Minister of Energy and Natural Resources, the sum required for the construction of the new energy bloc is to be provided by foreign countries and private companies whose choice is still under discussion.

As regards increasing the safety of the operation of the Power Plant, a sum of 80 billion US Dollars has been allocated for that, however, the operating safety system does not yet meet the present-day international safety standards. With the purpose of finishing the activities related to increasing the level of safety, additional sums in the amount of USD 40 million are needed.


London Hosting Exhibition 'Azerbaijan: Past, Present And Future' TNA June 5 2008 Azerbaijan
UK, London, 5 June / Trend News corr G. Ahmadova/The School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) of the London University is hosting an exhibition ' Azerbaijan: Past, Present and Future', organized by the UK-based Odlar Yurdu organization. The exhibition is assisted by the Azerbaijani Embassy in London. Representatives of the diplomatic corpse, students and professors, as well as representatives of the research centres and scientific circles of the UK, participated in the opening ceremony.

Stands with information and photos about the history, culture, art and economy of Azerbaijan are displayed at the exhibition. Special stands devoted to the Armenian occupation and history of Nagorno-Karabakh, catalogues with different information on the subject are also available.

A special video film about Azerbaijan was demonstrated during the opening ceremony. Azerbaijani Ambassador to UK, Fakhraddin Gurbanov, delivered a speech. He spoke about Azerbaijani history, culture, literature and current political course. He noted that the exhibition would play an invaluable role to popularize the truth about Azerbaijan amongst the western community.

The exhibition will last for a month. That is the first event held in such a prestigious high school as SOAS.


Ex-House Speaker Hastert Finds New Home
Former House Majority Leader Will Now Work for DC Lobbying Firm, By Justin Rood June 3, 2008

Former House Majority Leader Dennis Hastert settled in yesterday to new digs in the Washington, D.C. offices of Dickstein Shapiro, a law/lobby firm.

Hastert was said to have been the longest-serving Republican House Majority Leader in history, holding the post from January 1999 to November 2006, when Democrats wrested control of the House away from the GOP in the midterm elections.

Hastert's time as a leader on Capitol Hill was brushed by multiple scandals. Perhaps the most damaging came from Hastert's reported failure to act on knowledge of inappropriate contacts between then-Rep. Mark Foley, R-Fla., and teenaged former House pages, as confirmed by the House ethics committee's report on the matter. Hastert disputed the report's conclusion.

A 2003 letter Hastert wrote aiding certain Indian tribes threatened to draw him into the Abramoff scandal; Hastert denied wrongdoing. ABC News reported in May 2006 that Hastert had come under investigation in connection with the Abramoff probe. Justice Department officials initially denied he was under investigation, but later said he was "in the mix." No charges were brought.

In 2006, reporters and good government groups made hay over Hastert's involvement in funding a highway project, which helped him make $2 million when he sold land he owned nearby. Hastert's lawyer said there was no connection between the highway project and the land deal.

A 2005 Vanity Fair article alleged Turkish groups and individuals at the Turkish Consulate in Washington, D.C. had discussed funneling tens of thousands of dollars to Hastert in exchange for political favors; his spokesman at the time denied Hastert had any knowledge of Turkish groups and had done no favors.

Hastert's new firm has done work for the government of Turkey and Turkish companies, a spokesperson confirmed Monday. She could not say whether or not Hastert would be working on projects involving that country.
Copyright © 2008 ABC News Internet Ventures


Obama Wins Out, Hastert Cashes In, ANCA Speaks Up by ANCA 06/06/2008
ANCA Welcomes Obama Clinching Democratic Presidential Nomination
ANCA Confronts Turkish Gag Rule on Armenian Genocide Recognition
Take Action: Send a Free ANCA WebFax to you Legislators to End Turkey's Gag Rule
Exposing Genocide Denial: Southern Poverty Law Center Intelligence Report Documents Turkey's efforts to Buy off Congress and U.S. Academia. Read Coverage. . .

State of Denial: Turkey Spends Millions to Cover Up Armenian Genocide, Lying About History

Ex-Speaker Hastert Joins Lobby Firm Representing Turkey
Speaker is Latest in Long Line of Former U.S. House Members Joining Firms Representing Turkey’s Interests
WASHINGTON, DC - Former House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-IL) became the latest House member to join the army of Washington, DC public relations firms working to cover up Turkey's crimes, reported the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA).

Dickstein Shapiro, LLP announced that the former Speaker joined their team in a press release last week. The firm, which represents a broad range of entities including General Motors, Kraft Foods and Pfizer, also represents the Government of Turkey "in connection with the development and financing by private sponsors of the Baku-Ceyhan oil pipeline and TransCaspian gas pipeline spanning from the Caspian Sea to the Mediterranean." According to an ABC News story, "Ex-House Speaker Hastert Finds New Home" by Justin Rood, a Dickstein Shapiro representative "could not say whether or not Hastert would be working on projects involving that country." Read More. . .
To read the complete ABC News story and to offer your comment on this coverage, visit:
www.abcnews.go.com/Blotter/story?id=4990933&page=1

ANCA Welcomes Obama Clinching Democratic Presidential Nomination
ANCA Endorsed Candidate in January During Heat of Presidential Primary Contest
WASHINGTON, DC - The Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) applauded Presidential hopeful Barack Obama's hard-fought victory in securing a majority of the delegates needed to become the presumptive Democratic nominee for President of the United States.

“As we stated back in January, during the heat of this hotly contested and highly competitive primary season, Senator Obama clearly represents the candidate best positioned to bring about fundamental change in how the United States addresses Armenian American issues,” said ANCA Executive Director Aram Hamparian. “We welcome this powerful milestone in his campaign for the Presidency and join with Armenian Americans from across the country in congratulating him for this great and historic success. At the same time, we want to share our respect for Senator Clinton, our profound admiration for the tremendous race she ran, and our appreciation for her strong and steady support for issues of special concern to our community.” Read More. . .

ANCA Confront Turkish Gag Rule on Armenian Genocide Recognition
"It's time to end the gag rule on the Armenian Genocide and send an Ambassador to Armenia who can speak truth to power" - ANCA Board Member Raffi Hamparian

Los Angeles, CA - Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) and Armenian Youth Federation (AYF) leaders launched a multifaceted nationwide campaign today urging that the next U.S. Ambassador to Armenia speak truthfully about the Armenian Genocide. Announced at an ANCA Western Region organized press conference in Los Angeles, CA, held at Rose and Alex Pilibos Armenian School, the effort is part of the "End Turkey's Gag Rule" campaign, calling attention to Turkey's multi-million dollar worldwide Genocide denial drive.

With hundreds of Pilibos students gathered behind the podium, Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) Board Member Raffi Hamparian and Armenian Youth Federation (AYF) Central Executive Representative Vache Thomassian addressed the media regarding the campaign and stated that Armenia has had no U.S. Ambassador for over a year because President Bush refuses to send a diplomat there who will tell the truth about the Armenian Genocide. Read More. . .


Former Indian Mp Compares Attack Of Indian Army Against Sikhs With Armenian Genocide
06.06.2008
/PanARMENIAN.Net/ Simranjit Singh Mann, former member of Lok Sabha (Parliament of Punjab) and President of Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), political party which hold majority in the majority in the Parliament, evoked the Armenian Genocide in comparison with the attack of the Indian army against the Sikh rebels on June 6, 1984, independent French journalist Jean Eckian told PanARMENIAN.Net.

Asserting the independence of Khalistan, Sikhs and their leader Shiromani Akali Dal were labeled as extremists by the Indians and were attacked in the Golden Temple complex in Amritsar during an operation named Blue Star.

Simranjit Singh Mann urged from the Parliament to apologize for the operation. He termed the attack as genocide committed against the community, and said that it was tantamount to the Armenian Genocide in the Ottoman Empire.

An Australian doctors' group is pushing to have former prime minister John Howard charged with war crimes for sending troops to Iraq.

The Medical Association for the Prevention of War said the war was illegal because it was not backed by the United Nations.

Association spokesman Robert Marr said Mr Howard committed Australian troops to the war on the basis of misleading information about weapons of mass destruction.
He said the medical group was supporting a legal brief prepared by International Criminal Court Action Victoria that would be sent to the court. Dr Marr said more than 650,000 Iraqi citizens had died as a result of the war.

Howard War Charges Bid
www.theage.com.au/national/howard-war-charges-bid-20080602-2kwg.html



Analysis: Are Armenian-Turkish Relations Headed For Breakthrough -- Or Breakdown? By Richard Giragosian
Since his inauguration less than two months ago, Armenian President Serzh Sarkisian has been hobbled by a daunting set of challenges, ranging from internal political tension that shows little sign of dissipating to a looming economic crisis driven by sharp price rises for food and energy that is only expected to worsen in coming months.

Yet even against this backdrop of internal challenges, there have been recent signs suggesting a possible new opportunity for a breakthrough in Armenia's strained relationship with its western neighbor, Turkey. Even before his election as president, Sarkisian outlined his vision of how Armenian-Turkish relations could be positively transformed by Turkey's admission to the EU. In an article published in December 2006 in "The Wall Street Journal," and again in an interview with the "Financial Times" one year later, Sarkisian expressed support for Turkey's bid for EU membership, albeit for purely pragmatic geopolitical reasons, suggesting that EU membership would make Turkey "more predictable" and thus strengthen Armenia's national security.

In a positively worded message on February 21, Turkish President Abdullah Gul -- one of the first foreign heads of state to congratulate the new president -- expressed the hope that Sarkisian's election victory "will permit the creation of the necessary environment for normalizing relations between the Turkish and Armenian peoples, who have proven over centuries they can live together in peace and harmony." "I sincerely hope that...an atmosphere based on reciprocal trust and cooperation can be established that will contribute to regional peace and prosperity," Gul added. A subsequent letter from Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Foreign Minister Ali Babacan last month similarly noted the need for a new "dialogue" with Armenia.

In response, the new Armenian prime minister, Tigran Sarkisian (no relation to the president), was quick to "reaffirm" Armenia's desire for a "constructive dialogue and the establishment of normal relations without preconditions." This was also echoed in a second formal response from Armenian Foreign Minister Eduard Nalbandian, who admitted that earlier efforts to bring about an Armenian-Turkish rapprochement "failed," and called for a fresh approach and "new style" to be followed by unspecified "positive steps." Speaking in Brussels on May 28 at a session of the North Atlantic Council, Nalbandian again stressed that Armenia sets no preconditions for the normalization of relations with Turkey. He further noted that the preamble to the Individual Partnership Action Plan (IPAP) Armenia signed with NATO in 2005 affirms that "Armenia seeks normalization of relations with Turkey and is determined to pursue constructive dialogue, including direct talks with Turkey, towards this end."

At one level, the exchange of letters and professed readiness to embark on a new dialogue seemingly reflect a renewed sense of optimism, especially as Armenia has reiterated that it has no preconditions to any normalization of relations with Turkey. Yet such optimism -- if indeed it is sincere, and not pro forma -- could prove misplaced in light of a sobering record of earlier half-hearted diplomatic initiatives and ill-fated unofficial attempts at forging a common ground between the two countries.

Over the past 15 years, there has been only minimal contact between Armenia and Turkey. That absence of formal relations stems from two main impediments: Turkey's support for Azerbaijan in the conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh and its reaction to attempts by the worldwide Armenian diaspora to obtain broad international recognition of what they call the Armenian genocide of 1915. These two factors have come to dominate Turkish policy regarding its small neighbor, resulting in the imposition of an economic blockade in 1993 and a stubborn refusal to even establish formal diplomatic relations.

But to date Turkey has gained little from that policy and, in fact, has actually lost significant diplomatic and economic opportunities. Moreover, many Turkish officials have privately admitted that Turkish foreign policy regarding Armenia has become far too limited and seemingly hostage to Azerbaijan's implacable opposition to any improvement in relations with Armenia.

Despite the poor record of past initiatives, the potential benefits from even the most basic and rudimentary form of engagement are clear for each country. For Turkey, opening its closed border with Armenia would constitute a new strategic opportunity for galvanizing economic activity in the impoverished eastern regions of the country, which could play a key role in the economic stabilization of the already restive largely Kurdish-populated eastern regions and thus address a significant national security imperative of countering the root causes of Kurdish terrorism and separatism with economic opportunity.

Likewise, an open border with Turkey would offer Armenia not only a way to overcome its regional isolation and marginalization, but also a bridge to larger markets crucial for economic growth and development. In addition, the commercial and economic activity resulting from opening the Armenian-Turkish border would foster subsequent trade ties between the two countries that, in turn, would lead to more formal cooperation in the key areas of customs and border security. And with such a deepening of bilateral trade ties and cross-border cooperation, the establishment of normal diplomatic relations would undoubtedly follow.

Thus, the opening of the closed Armenian-Turkish border could not only bring about a crucial breakthrough in fostering trade links and economic relations, but may also serve as an impetus to bolster broader stability and security throughout the conflict-prone South Caucasus.

Yet the divide between potential and reality seems as wide as ever, as participants at a one-day conference on Armenian-Turkish relations in Yerevan on May 20 acknowledged. Organized by the Yerevan-based Analytical Center on Globalization and Regional Cooperation with the support of the Eurasia Partnership Foundation and the U.S. Agency for International Development, the conference brought together several leading Armenian and Turkish experts and analysts for an open discussion of the prospects for a normalization of relations between the two countries and helped to dispel some of the more disturbing stereotypes of Turks that have come to drive Armenian perceptions.

As one of the participants later wrote in the May 22 issue of the "Turkish Daily News," the conference was able to forge a shared recognition of "a lack of clarity and a gap between declarations and practice on both sides." Highlighting a new sense of optimism, Diba Nigar Goksel, a senior analyst at the European Stability Initiative and the editor in chief of the English-language "Turkish Policy Quarterly," went on to stress that "it also seemed hopeful that the sides could move closer to a shared view of history, as long as they set reasonable expectations," adding that "sometimes it takes a trip eastward to appreciate how far Turkey has traveled and the untapped potential it has for more influence."

But at the same time, the conference seemed to confirm that any breakthrough in Armenian-Turkish relations hinges above all on timing, given that in the past each side has on more than one occasion extended a cautious hand to the other, but those overtures have never coincided. This divergence has also assumed a new political dimension, as the new Armenian government is in desperate need of a strategic breakthrough in foreign policy as it struggles to overcome the ongoing internal political crisis.

Yet even this imperative for progress from the Armenian side is not enough to overcome the stalemate in relations, as the truly revolutionary degree of change now under way within Turkey suggests little likelihood for a breakthrough. And while the dynamic process of redefining and reassessing the very tenets of Turkey's national identity and strategic orientation may present a new opportunity for modifying its failed policy toward Armenia, Turkey seems wary of alienating its traditional ally, Azerbaijan. As recently as May 26, the Turkish daily "Zaman" quoted Economy Minister Mehmet Simsek as saying that the border with Armenia will not be opened until Yerevan solves its problems with Ankara and with Turkey's "regional ally," Azerbaijan. Simsek added that Armenia has more to gain than Turkey from establishing "normal relations" between the two countries, and therefore Armenia should take the first step toward rapprochement.

Therefore, while it may seem attractive to blame Turkey for failing to seize the initiative and reap the benefits from a fresh approach toward Armenia, the real impediment lies in Turkey's desire to allay Azerbaijani concerns, at least in the short term.
June 6, 2008
www.rferl.org/featuresarticle/2008/6/450be754-9944-40b9-8f88-9682f945330e.html



My Dream For Turkey, By Boris's Great-Grandfather by Norman Stone
23rd April 2008
Norman Stone on the dramatic life and death of Ali Kemal, one-time interior minister of Turkey and our mayoral candidate's forebear

Boris Johnson is one eighth Turkish. His great-grandfather (there is, if you abstract the fez and the moustache, a family resemblance) was a well-known writer, Ali Kemal (1868-1922) who came, because of his politics, to a tragic end. He knew England very well, and when the British occupied Constantinople for four years at the end of the first world war, he collaborated with them. They had left the Sultan on his throne, and there was a puppet government which controlled a few back-streets. Poor Ali Kemal made the awful mistake of becoming its minister of the interior for some three months. As happens with collaborationist regimes, he quarrelled with his colleagues (there is a very funny scene of this sort, about Vichy France, in Céline's D'un chteau l'autre, where Alphonse de Chteaubriant ends up throwing the crockery). Then he spent his time on journalism, and taught at the university: he knew a great deal about literature. But a nationalist resistance built up in the interior (based on Ankara) and when, late in 1922, it triumphed, Ali Kemal did not leave.

It was crazy: the Sultan himself was smuggled out in a British ambulance to Malta, and the Ottoman dynasty was thrown to the four winds. History does not reveal the reasons for Ali Kemal's staying. At any rate he was picked up, while being shaved at the Grand Cercle d'Orient in the European city - it was the Levantines' club, and only Turks of a high rank were admitted - and put on a train for trial in Ankara. His captor, Nurettin Pasha, had lost his two sons in the war, and had gone a little mad. Somehow, he allowed a mob to take Ali Kemal off the train at Izmit, the old Nicomedia, and they lynched him. The episode is written up in Louis de Bernières's Birds Without Wings.

That book is a homage to the Turkey that might have been, with Greeks and Armenians taking their place. Ali Kemal thought that that should have happened. That was why he supported the British, in whom he put his faith. But at the time Lloyd George was really after the partition of Turkey: Greater Greece, Greater Armenia, even an Anglo-Kurdistan, with bits and pieces for the French and the Italians. There would have been a rump Turkey, run by a puppet Sultan. Ali Kemal was the puppet of a puppet. Everyone, including himself, let him down. The story ends, none the less, with some uplift. He had had two wives, one British - hence the Boris connection - and, after her death from childbirth, one Turkish. Boris (and his father, Stanley Johnson) has done him proud. On the Turkish side, there was a boy, Zeki Kuneralp, who was very bright and needed a state scholarship. Kemal Atatürk, the chief target of Ali Kemal's journalistic attacks, was by then the Turkish equivalent of de Gaulle. He said: give that boy the money. Zeki's son is now a chief negotiator on the subject Turkey-in-Europe. Another son is a leading publisher.

Curiously enough, Ali Kemal wrote a book, predicting what would happen to his progeny. It is called Fetret, meaning 'interregnum', and the word itself has some significance. In 1402, the first Turkish (or, more accurately, Ottoman: 'Turk' until the 20th century was a word used by foreigners) state was overthrown by Tamerlane, and for three decades there was in effect a war of succession, between men who identified with the east and men who identified with the west; that war, in various forms, has gone on to this day. You could have used that word to describe the Ottoman empire of the later 19th century and this is reflected in the architecture. The Sultans had given up the old Topkapi Palace, and moved to the Dolmabahce Palace on the Bosphorus, over which the spirit of Queen Victoria hovered. Old Stambul had become a museum piece, and even then a chief building in it - now a school - was the Caisse de la Dette Ottomane, the headquarters of foreign money-men who were collecting the debts from charges on the railways or the customs. The heart of town was the European quarter, Pera, with the Cercle d'Orient where Ali Kemal was finally caught. Now, what was a bright young Turk to make of all this?

In 1840, there had been some hope. At the time of the Crimean war, even Karl Marx applied himself to learning Ottoman Turkish, because he thought that 'the Asiatic Mode of Production' would adapt to capitalism in a modernising Turkey (or Egypt). But by 1870, the debts had gone up and up, and by 1890 more or less everyone was writing off the Ottoman empire as yet another derelict non-European concern - what was soon to be called 'the Third World'. Not just the Greeks but now also the Armenians, who had been called 'the most loyal' of the Sultan's Christian subjects, were falling prey to separatist nationalism. Sultan Abdul Hamit reigned for 30 years and reckoned that modernisation could happen, provided politics did not get in the way. He practised a sort of absolutism, but promoted schools to train his officials, whether civilian or military. These schools in effect produced an opposition to him, of young men who spoke good French and who knew something about Europe. Ali Kemal was one of these, dreaming of a liberal and European Turkey. Most of his peers - they can loosely be called 'Young Turks' -were meritocrats, often from the southern Balkans, but Ali Kemal was socially a cut above them, the son of the head of a guild, living in quite grand circumstances in a villa above the castle of Rumeli. As such, he must have had some private money, because he spent much of his time abroad, and married an Anglo-Swiss wife, Winifred Brun, in 1903. She died, leaving two children, in 1910, and, when the radical Young Turks were briefly out of power in 1911-12, he went back to Istanbul, marrying again.

Then the Young Turks, led by the formidable and ruthless Enver Pasha, came to power again, and took Turkey into the first world war. Ali Kemal sat it out, disapprovingly, in Bournemouth, and the two English children were brought up by their grandmother in a village near London. Fetret is a book dreaming of the Turkey that his little son will one day see. It is liberal, modelled on England. It has room, and more than room, for Christian minorities, but it is Turkish. It is Muslim, but the Islam is generous and tolerant. It adheres to its own identity, especially linguistic, but the young must learn French, because French literature is far ahead of any other.

Ali Kemal (incidentally a pseudonym: he was originally called 'Ali Riza', after one of the very first, tentative, Turkish nationalists) apparently belongs quite high up the tree in Turkish literature. I have to say 'apparently' because he wrote in Ottoman Turkish, and that is a very far cry from the modern language: my copy of Fetret has a small dictionary at the back, translating the old (Arabic and Persian) words for today's readers. When Kemal Atatürk took over, he changed the script, and drastically modernised the language; and in the Sixties it was even mutilated (there is a superb book on this by Geoffrey Lewis, A Catastrophic Success). Turks disagree quite violently as to the language reform: slavish imitation of the West, or Turkey's ticket to the modern world? Ali Kemal, who read and wrote very widely, was clearly in two minds. He was quite right to disapprove of the Young Turks' taking Turkey into the first world war. That produced endless disasters, including the loss of a quarter of the population - Turkish, Greek, Armenian and Kurdish.

Ali Kemal hoped that the British would pick up the pieces and realise his ambitions. His timing was quite wrong; and he ought to have gone with the people who joined Kemal Atatürk in the depths of Anatolia. But he was a decent man, living a lonely life as an exiled litterateur, speaking broken English to a small son who must have seen him as a sort of Martian, and dreaming that one day the little boy would see a different Turkey. And lo and behold.
The Spectator, 22 Old Queen Street, London, Copyright ©2007 by The Spectator (1828) Ltd.

On Turkey and Armenia Jun 5th 2008, Economist Turkish-Armenian Relations
SIR – It is very good to read (“A Caucasian cheese circle”, May 24th) that Turkish and Armenian businessmen are trying, across their closed border, to get something going, even if just a symbolic joint cheese (it is a species of Gruyère, apparently introduced in tsarist Russian times, and not bad).

They need each other. North-eastern Turkey has been doing better in the past few years because of the Baku pipeline and the proposed Kars-Tbilisi-Baku railway line, but would do better still if trade could be properly opened up. On its side, Armenia is a landlocked little country with a GDP per head one-quarter that of Estonia and which has seen a precipitous decline in population since independence (some of it through migration to Istanbul). Co-operation makes obvious sense.

However, the Armenian diaspora has poisoned the relationship by its endless insistence on having this or that foreign legislative body, from Congress to Cardiff city council, “recognise” as “genocide” the tragic events of 1915. But the great bulk of specialists in the time and region, starting with Bernard Lewis at Princeton, are sceptical as to whether “genocide” is the right word for a tragedy in some degree provoked by the Armenian nationalists of the time. The most succinct statement of the problem comes in “The Chatham House Version” by the late Elie Kedourie of the London School of Economics. This is, as the Turkish government says, an historical matter that should now be left to historians. I am certain that Armenian businessmen, desperately anxious for better relations with Turkey, entirely agree.
Norman Stone
Oxford
(“A Caucasian cheese circle”
www.economist.com/opinion/displaystory.cfm?story_id=11412925


American Researcher Justin Mccarthy: “if Armenians Want To Annex Nagorno Karabakh To Armenia, They Should Return Historical Lands Of Azerbaijan”
06 June 2008, APA
“Armenians’ extending propaganda of the so-called genocide is connected with politics.

They want to win in the political arena, that’s why they attempt to make use of the history”, Professor at the University of Louisville, American researcher, who exposed Armenian genocide claims, Justin McCarthy told journalists in Baku, APA reports. He said that Armenians historically had negative relations with Turks.

“Besides, Armenians have strong Diaspora and this factor plays its role. Unfortunately, it is very difficult to change this situation”, he said.

The researcher said the main aim of historians was to reveal the truth, and the aim of the Turkish and Azerbaijanis was to bring these truths to the notice of the world community.

Justin McCarthy also took a stance on the Armenians’ Nagorno Karabakh claims.
“If Armenians consider that Nagorno Karabakh should be annexed to Armenia, they should take into account that great part of Armenian lands are historically lands of Azerbaijan and these lands should be returned to Azerbaijan”, he said.


Goal Of Historians Is To Write Truth, Of Azerbaijanis And Turks ? To Inform The International Community About It: American Expert 06 June 2008, Trend Az
The development of false propaganda on the so-called Armenian genocide by the Ottoman Empire pursues the political aims, the American historian Justin McCarthy said. “They want to win in politics, therefore they are using history,” the American expert said to media in Baku on 6 June.

“On other hand, the Armenians always had negative and tense relations with Turks during the entire history. The Armenians have a very strong Diaspora which has been established for long years, the fact which plays its role. It is very difficult to change this situation right now,” McCarthy said.

According to expert, the goal of the historians is to write a truth and the goal of Azerbaijanis and Turks is to inform the international community about this truth.

As to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, McCarthy said that ‘if Armenians believe that a part of Nagorno-Karabakh should be Armenia’s territory, then it is necessary to take into consideration that a large proportion of the Armenian territory is the historical lands of Azerbaijan and thus they should be returned’.

Justine McCarthy is author of 11 books dedicated to Turk-Armenian problem. His works have been translated into Arab, Turkish, Russian and other languages.


Mccain Or Obama: What Is The Turkish Bet? June 7, 2008 Barçin Yinanç
The possible U.S. recognition of World War I-era killings of Armenians at the hands of the Ottoman Empire as genocide will no doubt deal a serious blow to Turkish-American ties. Hence, Republican presidential nominee John McCain's refusal to pledge recognition of Armenian claims of genocide, in contrast to the Democratic nominee Barack Obama, might lead some to argue that Turkey would be better off with a U.S. administration under McCain's leadership. That assumption would mean jumping to conclusions too quickly.

McCain, Turks, Armenians?:
It is not because McCain underestimates the importance of Armenian votes that he refuses to bow to Armenian pressure. He does so because he knows the importance of Turkey for U.S. interests. “He has been many times to Turkey and he has positive feelings about Turkey,” says former Turkish Ambassador to Washington, Faruk Log(og(lu who has met him several times. The comments below are those of McCain, who voiced them only a couple of months ago:

“It should be obvious to all that Turkey is an essential member of the Euro-Atlantic community and an integral part of Europe. Obstacles of prejudice, ethnic stereotype, and bureaucratic gamesmanship that block Turkey's path to Europe do not reflect well on the fairness of our institutions and do damage to our security. Turkey is a front-line state in the war on terrorism, just as Germany was a front-line state in the Cold War.”

On a personal basis, between the two candidates McCain is no doubt the one with the best understanding of Turkey's importance. But what is good for Turkey in the short term is not necessarily good for the world at large, and what might be bad for the world at large might be bad for Turkey in the long term.

Let's elaborate: The foreign policy areas where the two have diverging views are of primary concern to Turkey, such as Iraq, Iran and the Israeli/Palestinian dispute. Obama's policy of engagement and dialogue instead of a deterrence policy based on the threat of the use of force will ease Turkey's uneasiness as far as relations with Syria and Iran are concerned, since the Turkish government prefers a positive engagement policy with both.

McCain, on the other hand, is likely to pursue the Bush line. He won't tell U.S. allies, “you are either with me or not.” To the contrary, as Richard Burt said last week at a panel organized by the Turkish Industrialists' and Businessmen's Association and the Brookings Institution, he would consult more and listen more to his allies. But he would ask in return for more from his allies, too, an expectation underlined by Burt, who is an advisor to McCain. It would then be rather more difficult for Turkey to say no to certain U.S. demands especially in view of the efforts spent by a McCain administration to block the Armenian resolution in Congress. Meanwhile, although Obama's pledge to leave Iraq would rather suit Turkey's interests more, since it would not prefer to have a permanent U.S. presence in the region, what kind of an exit strategy will be implemented and what kind of an Iraq will Obama leave behind also matters. An unhealthy exit strategy, a premature early withdrawal and a possible reliance on the northern Iraqi Kurds to leave Iraq as quickly as possible might end up bringing serious headaches for Turkey. The personal characteristics of presidents matter, but so does the team they will bring to Washington. Obama has advisors like Philip Gordon who has a good grasp of Turkey and its potential. His key congressional backers include Adam Schiff from California, the chief sponsor of the Armenian resolution pending in the House of Representatives.

Personalities that surprise:
McCain's advisers include veteran party strategists and former top policy makers like Henry Kissinger, Richard Armitage and Brent Scowcroft, all quite familiar with Turkey. On the other hand, his team includes neo-conservative names like Randy Scheunemann, whose reputation as a hard-liner on the global projection of U.S. power is known and disliked by certain Turkish circles. Everything else aside, as Marc Parris, the former American Ambassador to Ankara, pointed out, “Personalities, ideologies can surprise us.” U.S. history is full of presidents who said one thing during the campaign and did something else in office. Hence, what matters for the Turkish side at this stage is to forge relations with the key names in both camps. According to one official in Ankara, the Turkish side has been quite active in doing just that not only with the McCain team, where the names are more familiar, but also with Obama's people.

French Senate may block anti-Turkey referendum clause
A significant number of senators from the French ruling party are opposed to a constitutional amendment that makes a referendum on eventual accession of Turkey to the European Union compulsory, a French senator has said.

Jean-Pierre Raffarin, a senator from the ruling Union for a Popular Movement (UMP) and a former foreign minister of France, told French RCF radio that a constitutional provision specifically targeting a certain country is a mistake, the Anatolia news agency reported. "We have talked about this issue in our group. Many members of our group are against this amendment," Raffarin said. "A certain country cannot be pointed out in a national constitution."

The French National Assembly, the lower house of the French parliament, last week passed a package of constitutional amendments including a provision to make a referendum obligatory for accepting new EU member countries with populations over five percent the bloc's total population, which currently stands at about 500 million. With its population of 70 million, EU candidate Turkey appears to be the specific target of the clause.

The provision needs to be approved first by the Senate and a majority of both houses. The senate deliberations on the package are expected to take place next week. If eventually approved by the senate and a majority of both houses, it will make France the first country in the world whose constitution contains clauses specifically targeting a foreign country.

The controversial amendment is a divisive issue within the French government. French State Secretary in Charge of European Affairs Jean-Pierre Jouyet has warned that the plan to submit Turkey's bid to join the EU to a referendum is an "insult" which could spark a serious rift between Paris and Ankara.

If the plan goes ahead, Turkey might spurn President Nicolas Sarkozy's project for a Mediterranean Union to improve links between European countries and states around the Mediter-ranean rim, including Turkey, Jouyet said in an interview with Agence France-Presse (AFP) late Thursday.

"Parliament is sovereign and it does what it wants, but by taking the risk of this amendment, we are taking the risk of a more serious rift than we think with Turkey," in particularly in terms of trade, Jouyet was quoted as saying by AFP. "If they feel that it is France ... which is creating the obstacle, it will be difficult for them to feel really at ease in the Mediterranean Union," he said.

Socialist opposition deputies and some members of the UMP objected to the amendment during its first vote in the National Assembly. Earlier this week, Ankara condemned the French Parliament's move, warning Paris over the negative consequences of adoption of the clause by the French Senate on "traditional friendship between the peoples of the two countries."

Sarkozy, the former leader of the UMP, is a vocal opponent of Turkey's bid to join the EU, saying it does not belong to Europe. The constitutional reform package originally abolished a clause calling for a referendum on all future accessions to the EU and left the decision on the matter to the president. But UMP lawmakers, keen not to lose the vote of the French-Armenian electorate, pressed for guarantees against Turkey's possible accession to the EU and proposed the amendment in question.


07 June 2008, Today's Zaman Ankara Weighing Challenges Of Probable Obama Period
As Barack Obama takes a huge stride toward becoming the first black US president, the relative unpredictability of changes in US foreign policy in the event of his eventual presidency has led to concern in the Turkish capital -- particularly due to Obama's inexperience compared to other candidates and his clear support for the official recognition of an alleged genocide of Armenians in the final years of the Ottoman Empire.

Obama defeated Hillary Rodham Clinton for the Democratic presidential nomination on a promise of hope and change for Americans weary from years of war. Obama's victory sets up a November election contest against Republican John McCain that looks to be a clash of generations as well as a debate on Iraq, The Associated Press said yesterday -- summarizing what the contest between Obama and McCain means for the US.

As for Turkish decision makers and politicians, there are a number of reasons to take into consideration while weighing between possible McCain and Obama terms. Apparently, McCain's experience, including his knowledge of Turkey's strategic importance for Washington as well as his friendly attitude toward Turkey concerning Armenian allegations of genocide, make him a more favorable candidate for Ankara. Nevertheless, Turkish officials have ruled out such a choice while also playing down any kind of uneasiness with Obama's foreign policy rhetoric.

"This is an issue for US Democrats, and Turkey does not have any particular preference between Obama and McCain. Obama's remarks on the Armenian issue are actually not very different from those of past presidential candidates. It is a strong possibility that he will try to be more balanced on this issue once elected," Suat K?n?kl?og(lu, a deputy of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party), told Today's Zaman yesterday.

Obama says he would withdraw US troops within 16 months of taking office in January 2009. Some analysts say that this is a disadvantage for Turkey as a quick withdrawal of US forces would leave it to deal with a neighbor in an even deeper quagmire.

Kiniklioglu, who was head of the German Marshall Fund's Turkey office before being elected to Parliament in July 2007, believes that a quick withdrawal is not in favor of US interests and that any move to withdraw if Obama is elected would be on a small scale in order to satisfy domestic expectations in the US.

On the Iranian issue, another important foreign policy issue of close interest to Ankara, Obama and McCain have very different approaches.

McCain backs much tougher financial and trade sanctions against Tehran, while Obama's position is open to dialogue and seems closer to Turkey. Ankara firmly favors the resolution of the Iranian nuclear dispute via diplomatic means.

Kiniklioglu said he believed that McCain would not ignore regional partners' stances on the Iran issue, particularly that of Turkey. "He would not like to repeat mistakes made ahead of the Iraqi war by ignoring regional partners," he said.

Egemen Bagis, a top foreign policy adviser to Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdog(an, sounded confident concerning probable effects of the outcome of US presidential election over US policy toward Turkey.

"Whoever is elected in the end, we will respect the outcome of the US citizens' will in compliance with our stance asking for respect for democracy in Turkey. Nonetheless, sitting in the presidential chair has always made one better understand Turkey's strategic importance to the US and its people, no matter what the president's ideology may be," Bagis, in charge of the AK Party's foreign policy affairs, added.
05 June 2008, Emine Kart Zaman