30 September 2008

2605) Media Scanner 1 Oct 2008 (57 Items)


  1. Armenia Receive 3M Euros from EC
  2. 10 M USD To Armenia
  3. Armenians & [Anatolian Greeks] Shall Become Our Citizens Again
  4. Ambassadorial Nominee Affirms Ottoman Turkey's Attempted Extermination Of Armenians
  5. U.S. Ambassadorial Nominee For Turkey Doesn’t Dispute Morgenthau’s Record On Armenian Genocide
  6. Problem Of Armenian-Turkish Relations Will Not Be Solved Under Current Or Future Generations Shahnazarian
  7. Does The Diaspora Play Role In Armenia's Development?
  8. Dynamics of Azeri-Armenian-Turkish Relations: A Three-Legged Chair H Sassounian
  9. H Sassounian: U.S. Presidential Candidates No Longer Need To Say Genocide
  10. Obama, Turkey & Genocide Resolution
  11. Armenia's Economy Could Be Damaged By Opening Of Border With Turkey
  12. Armenians Don't Need To Beg U.S. Presidential Candidates To Say Genocide Again & Again
  13. Press Conference Of Three Ministers
  14. Behavior Of US If Turkey Recognized Genocide
  15. Turkey’s Armenia Policy S Kiniklioğlu
  16. Typical Profile of Politically Persecuted Tigran Paskevichyan
  17. Gul Is Blackmail Vis-À-Vis Possible Opening Of Armenian-Turkish Border
  18. Coordinating Council Armenian Organizations of France Press Release
  19. Turks Have No Friends But Turks / Hate Crimes Target Turks Abroad
  20. BOSTON Museum of Fine Arts celebrates the photography of Yousuf Karsh
  21. "Serzh Sargsyan Seems To Realize The Cost Of Self-Isolation"
  22. Turkey's Initiative: Prospects For Armenia V Grigoryan, Hayots Ashkhar
  23. Unreported Front Of The 'War On Terror' By B Snook
  24. Gül’s Visit to Yerevan is on the Agenda of the USA Congress
  25. Outcome Of The Hatred Monuments
  26. Turkey Has A Rough Road Ahead By R M Cutler
  27. R Giragosian: Genocide Issue Poses Most Serious Obstacle For Turkish-Armenian Reconciliation
  28. Versality Of Ottoman Rums, A Ferentinou
  29. NY Meetings Critical For Turkey-Armenia
  30. Excluding U.S. from Caucasus
  31. Unique Art Bazaar In Yerevan
  32. High Hopes For Three-Way Meeting In NY
  33. AAA calls on ambassadorial nominee for Turkey to recognize Armenian Genocide
  34. Turkey Ends Its Long Policy Dependence On Azerbaijan
  35. Gul Aims To Create A Positive Climate Between Turkey & Armenia armradio
  36. L Melik-Shahnazaryan: Opening Of Border Pregnant With Serious Dangers, armradio
  37. Armenian President Praises Progress On Turkey Talks VOA
  38. Turkey Tries To Oppose Official Yerevan To Diaspora
  39. A Papian: Armenian-Turkish Relations Wrong Development: Armenian Diplomacy's 50 Years Efforts=0 N Tapan
  40. Baroness Cox Awarded RA PM's Memorial Medal, armradio
  41. Sargsyan: Together With President Of Turkey We Decided Not To Leave The Problems Of Our Countries To Next Generations, ArmInfo
  42. AAA Praises Senators Kerry & Menendez For Tough Questioning Of Bush Administration's Ambassadorial Nominee For Turkey
  43. Symposium On Adana Massacre Of Armenians Held In London In Mar 2009, Panarmenian
  44. Rising Hopes Of Better Relations Between Two Historic Enemies The Economist
  45. Track two diplomacy working between Armenia, Turkey H Cemal
  46. Ex Ambassador To Canada, Historian, Political Analyst A Papian Speech In NJ Clarifying The Validity Of Wilsonian Armenia Boundaries G Kazanjian, NY
  47. Turk At Genocide Memorial In Armenia, Blogian
  48. Turkish Diplomats Allowed To Attend Armenian Receptions
  49. NY Talks Raise Hopes For Armenia Rapprochement
  50. Autumn To Give Answers To Lots Of Questions, V Barseghyan, Hayots Ashkhar
  51. FAON: Dutch Students Of Marmara University Obliged To Attend Lessons On Armenian Genocide Denial
  52. Gul To Erase Problems Between Armenia & Turkey ,
  53. Railroad Crossings: Georgia Conflict Draws Attention To Armenia Transport Communication, A Ghazinyan
  54. Talking To World: Sargsyan Defends Karabakh's Rights At UN, By S Khojoyan
  55. Written Questions On Prosecution Of Temel Demirer Federation of Armenian Organisations in Netherlands
  56. Responding To Biden, Ambassadorial Nominee Affirms U.S. Genocide-Era Diplomatic Record On Ottoman Turkey's Attempted Extermination Of The Armenians ANCA
  57. Sarkissian At The Un: "The Time Has Come To Resolve The Armenian-Turkish Problems" , Stéphane / armenews
. .


Armenia To Receive 3 Million Euros Under Food Security Program Of European Commission
www.nt.am/ YEREVAN, SEPTEMBER 29, NOYAN TAPAN. Armenia will be allocated 3 million euros under the Food Security Program (FSP) of the European Commission, NT was informed by the Armenian Mission of the European Commission.

The FSP is an instrument for keeping a balance of payments and state budgetary assistance in Armenia. It has provided assistance to Armenia's state budget since 1997 (1996 FSP). Until now 10 annual programs have been implemented, under which grants of 96.5 million euros of direct budgetary assistance have been provided to Armenia and 5.5 million euros has been allocated for technical assistance and implementation.

The goals of FSP are in line with Armenia's Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper and aim to support the efforts of the government and society to reduce poverty through sustainable economic growth and development and ensure the process of reforms in agriculture.

A special goal of the program is to support the Armenian government with improvement of the planning, management, servicing and efficient implementation of state programs, and with provision of agricultural services aimed at reducing food shortage, in particular, raising the efficiency of livestock farming and phytosanitary policy.

With this new 3 million euro program, the total contribution of the FSP to Armenia's development will make 105 million euros.


10 Million Usd To Armenia And 17 To Ukraine Panorama.am 29/09/2008
Russia will dispose 27 million USD to Armenia and Ukraine for strengthening security of the atomic power station, announced Sergey Kirienko, the director of "Rusatom" State Corporation in MAGATE summit in Vienna.

According to him 17 million USD will be disposed to exploit Chernobil atomic power station as soon as possible and 10mln to Armenia to increase security of the power station.


Armenians And [Anatolian Greeks] Shall Become Our Citizens Again, 8 September 2008 TARAF, by Nese Duzel. Translated to English by Ara Topouzian

"What had happened is conduct unbecoming to the Republic. If I was in charge, I would also apologize... We must apologize from the Armenians and Greeks for the suffering we caused. This is what a state like ours should do... Armenian issue is solved by the politician, not by the historian. I do not believe the truths are not known. Historical truths are known. The real problem is how these truths will be perceived and how it will influence the future."

[Duzel] In response to an invitation by the president of Armenia, President Abdullah Gul went to Yerevan to watch the soccer game [between the Turkish and Armenian national teams]. We have a dispute with Armenia over historical events. Was not the Armenian president's invitation to Gul before the resolution of this dispute a political risk for himself?

[Vural] Of course it was a risk. The decision to invite the Turkish president to the soccer game was not an easy decision for Armenia. We view the world solely through our own lens. We must also look at events from the perspective of others. There is a neurosis about Turkey in Armenia. Consequently, it is not easy to make any decision related to Turkey. Politicians may have to pay--indeed have paid--a high price for such decisions.

[Duzel] Who paid such a high price?

[Vural] Former President Levon Ter Petrosyan was ousted from office because he sought a solution to the Karabakh problem and to establish ties with Turkey. They made him pay the price of establishing ties with Turkey.

Today, even though a major portion of the people of Armenia want relations [with Turkey] to develop and the borders [between the two countries] to open--the Turkey dossier is not so easy to handle as it is thought.

[Duzel] Is it easy to handle the Armenia dossier in Turkey?

[Vural] It is also difficult in Turkey. However, the reality is that the problem between us and Armenia is not something that can be resolved by historians alone. That is because this is psychological and political issue rather than a historical matter. There is a certain psychology, distrust, fear, and terror that the events of the past have created among people.

[Duzel] Do you not think that Armenian and Turkish historians can solve this problem if they discuss the events of the past freely and describe them objectively?

[Vural] A solution to this problem cannot be found via history alone, because a solution requires overcoming the psychological problems this issue has created among people. A solution requires the creation of a climate of trust in which the two peoples can draw closer with affection and respect and where they can talk to each other with ease. This is not a situation that historians can overcome. The Armenian question is a problem that needs to solved by politicians, not historians. History can only shed light on certain issues and play a role that facilitates a soluti on. That is all.

[Duzel] Do you think that any diplomatic steps will be taken in the aftermath of the [Turkish] president's visit to Armenia?

[Vural] I expect and hope that they will be taken. This visit may serve as the foundation of a new beginning between Turkey and Armenia. Diplomatic relations between the two states must be established without delay.

[Duzel] What do you mean by "diplomatic relations"?

[Vural] "Diplomatic relations" means Turkish diplomats are resident in Yerevan and Armenian diplomats are resident in Ankara. This would mean a normal relationship between the two states, which would mean the opening of borders between them. The first step in the normalization of relations must be the exchange of representative missions in the two countries. We have to sign an agreement and say that "we will exchange embassies with each other."

The opening of the borders is not a necessity just for the Armenians. I have seen that border gate.

[Duzel] What did you see?

[Vural] I went to the Alican [Margara] border gate [from the Armenian side]. I waved to our soldiers from afar. This gate is 10 to 15 kilometers away from Yerevan. Look, we have been in contact with Armenia, which gained independence after the dissolution of the Soviet Union, since 1991.

[Duzel] How so?

[Vural] For example, I am the first Turkish ambassador who visited Armenia. At that time I was [Turkish] ambassador to Moscow. This was the time when Armenia was on its way to becoming independent. Shnork Kalustian, then the Armenian patriarch in Turkey, had died during his visit to Yerevan. I sent a message to the Armenian president. I wrote in my message that "taking an interest in the funeral of the patriarch, who is our citizen, and facilitating the return of his remains to Turkey is my duty" and that "I am prepared to contribute in every way, including attending any ceremonies that may be held."

[Duzel] Did you do this in consultation with Ankara?

[Vural] No, I did it at my own initiative, because the patriarch was a Turkish citizen. He was the spiritual leader of one of our religious minorities. There was no relationship whatsoever between Armenia and Turkey. At that time, Armenia was one of the constituent republics of the Soviet Union. =3D2 0As Turkish ambassador to Moscow, it fell within my purview like the other Soviet republics. [Kalustyan's] funeral rites were conducted in the Armenian church in Moscow. I attended that ceremony to the astonishment of the Armenians who were there. They were really taken aback by the presence of a Turkish ambassador at a funeral ceremony in an Armenian church. This was my first contact with Armenia as ambassador.

[Duzel] Did these contacts with Armenia continue? If they did, how did they go?

[Vural] The contacts continued. They invited me to Armenia on a winter day. Ter Petrosyan was president. Armenia was in dramatic conditions. It was suffering tremendous deprivations, including the lack of any electricity. I had a long and very useful meeting with President Ter Petrosyan about ways of developing Turkish-Armenian relations and dissipating hostility between the two nations. Ter Petrosyan shared my views.

[Duzel] What did Ter Petrosyan, who is the leader of the main opposition party today, tell you?

[Vural] He said: "I cannot forget the agony of the past, but I do not want to be stuck in the past. As a responsible statesman, I have to think about the future of my grandchildren. I sincerely want the development of relations with Turkey." At that time, Turkey was perturbed by developments such as Armenia's new constitution and declaration of independence.

[Duzel] Do certain expressions in the Armenian constitution and its declaration of independence still annoy Turkey?

[Vural] They still annoy Turkey. However, Ter Petrosyan gave me the impression that these issues can be overcome and I conveyed this situation to Ankara in a lengthy=3D2 0report. Subsequently, republics seceding from the Soviet Union declared their independence. At that point, I returned to Ankara and all this information was evaluated.

[Duzel] Yes.

[Vural] During those meetings, it was decided that Turkey should recognize the independence of all the republics and that it should establish diplomatic ties with all of them except Armenia. Unfortunately, Turkey did not establish diplomatic ties with Armenia. This is a period that I have always seen as "lost years" for Turkey and that I have found most regrettable. This is the year 1991 and immediately after that. By 1993, matters were completely out of control, and Armenia occupied Nagorno Karabakh.

[Duzel] Had diplomatic relations with Armenia been established then, what would be happening now? Would the Armenian question have been resolved?

[Vural] There would still be an Armenian question in Turkey, but Turkey would be a country that has normalized its relations with Armenia. Both sides would have benefited from this normalization. In other words, we would have had a different evolution and a different game, and this would have had an effect on the Diaspora Armenians. However, we could not create this equilibrium like a great power. I also think that this normalization would have helped to improve ties between Armenia and Azerbaijan. The occupation of Nagorno Karabakh could perhaps be prevented. However, we did not pay the necessary attention to Ter Petrosyan then; we failed to help him and to seize the moment. Later, Ter Petrosyan was ousted and [Robert] Kocharian became president. Kocharian pursued radical policies of Armenian nationalism. Had we helped Ter Petrosyan to alleviate the deprivations in his country, nationalism in Armenia might not have been so rabid.

[Duzel] At that time [Turgut] Ozal was president and [Suleyman] Demirel was prime minister of a True Path Party-Social Democratic People's Party coalition. Who opposed the establishment of diplomatic ties with Armenia? Was it the bureaucrats or the politicians?

[Vural] Many people within the bureaucracy of the Foreign Ministry opposed this. Ozal was very upset that this opportunity was missed. The [Armenian] declaration of independence naturally made many references to western Armenia--that is Turkish soil--and pledged efforts to win recognition for the genocide. That gave the impression that Armenia has territorial claims on Turkey. All these could have been overcome with the establishment of diplomatic relations. I already had prepared some proposals to change the declaration of independence. However, there was opposition to this at the time.

[Duzel] Why was there opposition?

[Vural] I see that as a lack of courage. I reported my meeting with Ter Petrosyan but [ellipsis]. Had we established diplomatic relations, Turkey would not be in the tight corner it is now across the world over the Armenian question. It would not have been so easy to condemn a Turkey that maintains very good relations with Armenia. We should not be too preoccupied with the matter of genocide on this issue.

[Duzel] So what must we do?

[Vural] We are an important country of this region. Peace and stability in this region is to our advantage. From a wider perspective, the normalization of relations between Turkey and Armenia are very important in terms of the interests of Turkey, Azerbaijan, and Armenia. When I say "we should not be too preoccupied with allegations of genocide," I mean the following: Allegations of genocide have become a vehicle of survival for the Diaspora. The allegation of genocide has become an industry; it has created its own people, entrepreneurs, politicia ns, artists, and money mechanisms.

[Duzel] Has not Turkey become too obsessed with genocide by not establishing relations with Armenia?

[Vural] In effect, yes. The development of relations between Turkey and Armenia would not entirely push aside allegations of genocide but [ellipsis]. Ter Petrosyan once pointed at the Alican border gate and told me: "Look, if this gate is opened, people will see and know each other; they will commingle with each other. We will end up buying many things we need from you. This will help the resolution of the problems of the past."

However, we have a strange reticence. We are a country with too many red lines and taboos. We are told that "Armenia is hostile to us" and that "it has territorial claims on Turkey." It is time to distinguish between rhetoric and the realities of life.

[Duzel] What are the realities of life?

[Vural] People may say, demand, and dream certain things rhetorically. They may dream about a very large Armenia. There is no limit to dreaming. However, the realities are evident Can Armenia take any land from Turkey? Which sensible person can contemplate that? The number of soldiers in our armed forces is as big as the entire population of Armenia. We must have more confidence in ourselves.

[Duzel] The man in the street may harbor fears or may be made to harbor fears, but how do you explain the phobias and red lines of military and civilian bureaucrats who know the realities?

[Vural] This is Turkey. The Foreign Ministry is cautious, as expected.

Acting with extreme caution is a rule of that profession, but no problem can be solved without taking any risks. This also partly reflects a desire to avoid the risk of being criticized by the Turkish public. The entire problem is this: There is a certain circumstance and you can either become the slave of that circumstance or find ways of changing it. We became a slave of the circumstances.

[Duzel] Turkey became a slave of the Armenian question.

[Vural] Yes. We should have sought another equation to solve this issue, but the risk was not taken out of fears of making mistakes and facing criticism at home. As a result, we reduced ourselves to the point of doing nothing.

[Duzel] As diplomatic relations develop with Armenia, will the events of the past be discussed?

[Vural] They will be discussed inevitably. In my opinion, this is not an impediment blocking the normalization of relations. The term "genocide" is a descriptor that was created long after our historic events. However, this descriptor has become largely banal today. Every inhuman act is termed "genocide" at some point. There is little doubt that the events we went through had very painful and tragic aspects. There is also little doubt that the Armenians see them as a tremendous act of injustice against them.

It is fact that they think that they were forcefully uprooted from the places where they were born and raised. You cannot erase those sentiments.

You cannot tell them not to think this way. Nonetheless, you can tell them:

"Yes, these events occurred, but we cannot spend our lives on those events. We have another life ahead of us. Let us build that life together in friendship."

[Duzel] Does Armenia really expect only this little from Turkey in connection with history? Is it enough to say these to them to establish peace?

[Vural] The Armenians will of course stir up the issue of genocide. They will seek ways of doing that. There will always be movements to make the entire world accept this position. In the meantime, the establishment of a "joint history commmission" between the two countries may, at first glance, be a good step forward, but I think that Armenia is not in a position to make a significant contribution with respect to history. In my opinion, the problem is not in history. I do not share the assumption that the historical facts are not known. The facts are known. Very many things are known. The whole problem is how these known facts are perceived, what marks they have left, and how those marks can affect the future.

[Duzel] I did not understand.

[Vural] An Armenian may sincerely think that what happened to his nation was genocide. We may think otherwise. If we get stuck on this, we cannot get anywhere. Arguing that=3D2 0"the historians should clarify this to us" means giving too much importance to historians. Every historian has a different interpretation of every event. The problem revolves around how the psychological problem will be overcome. Ter Petrosyan told me: "Let us put that issue to one side. Let us look at the future. It is obvious that we will not reach an agreement on this issue. We should allow the two peoples to commingle by other means. Let us bypass the genocide issue this way." I also think that this is what needs to be done. There is no point in delving too much into this issue.

[Duzel] There is a very large Armenian Diaspora, mainly in the United States and France. Will they not insist on the recognition of the genocide?

[Vural] Of course they will. However, if relations between Turkey and Armenia improve, the Diaspora cannot have its present influence. This is because the people of Armenia will see the concrete benefits of good neighborly ties. When the borders open, trade will grow and th ey will become rich.

[Duzel] Could Turkey acknowledge that the Ittihadists perpetrated a great massacre of the Armenians?

[Vural] That would be hard. I think that we painted ourselves into a corner. Initially, we acted as if nothing like this happened. Now we are saying that "yes, some things happened but they were reciprocal." I do not know where these discussions may go tomorrow, but I think certain psychological steps may be taken on this issue.

[Duzel] What can be done?

[Vural] What would I do if I was in a position of authority? I would say: "All Armenians and members other minorities who20lived within the current borders of Turkey at the time of the Ottoman Empire and who were subjected to deportation in one way or another--even if this deportation was to other regions of the Empire--will be admitted to Turkish citizenship automatically if they request it." I do not know how many people would take up this offer, but, at a minimum, people who were driven out of their villages, towns, or cities by force would have been told: "The republic is granting you and people of your ancestry the right to return and to become citizens of this country." People who apply would be granted this right.

[Duzel] So what would happen to the properties and assets the Armenians left behind during the deportation?

[Vural] These can be discussed. A fund may be established. The return of the properties and providing a full accounting for them is now very difficult, but a symbolic reparation is possible. What matters is that we show that we are not insensitive in the face of a painful situation, that we empathize with the situation, and tha t we are considering certain ways of compensation as a humanitarian responsibility. I would actually apologize.

It is quite debatable under what conditions but [ellipsis]. Regardless, if someone is forced to leave this country [ellipsis]. I do not mean this only for Armenians. I also mean it with respect to people who left after the 6-7 September [1955] incidents. I mean it with respect to our Greek citizens.

[Duzel] When you say "apologize," what form of apology do you have in mind?

[Vural] These events are unbecoming for Turkey. We do not approve them. The people who were forced to leave this country have our sympathy. We see them as our brothers. If they wish, we are prepared to admit them to Turkish citizenship.

[Duzel] And we apologize for the pain we have caused them.

[Vural] Yes. For the pain [ellipsis]. Yes. These are the best steps that can be taken. This is what a state like ours should do.
www.taraf.com.tr/yazar.asp?mid=1841


Ambassadorial Nominee Affirms Us Genocide-Era Diplomatic Record On Ottoman Turkey's Attempted Extermination Of Armenians, armradio 27.09.2008

Ambassador to Turkey designate James Jeffrey, in response to questions from Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman and Vice-Presidential candidate Joe Biden (D-DE), affirmed that official U.S. diplomatic reports by Ambassadors Morgenthau and Elkus and other Armenian Genocide-era U.S. diplomats in the Ottoman Empire did, in fact, describe the attempted extermination of the Armenian population, reported the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA).

"Although falling far short of a clear and proper recognition of the Armenian Genocide, Ambassador Jeffrey, in his response to Senator Biden's questioning, moved U.S. policy in the right direction by publicly agreeing - after long years of official disregard, disrespect, and dismissal of Ambassador Henry Morgenthau's proud legacy - that our nation's diplomatic representatives to the Ottoman Empire did, in fact, document the Ottoman government's clear intent and systematic campaign to destroy its Armenian population," said ANCA Executive Director Aram Hamparian. "We want to thank Chairman Biden for his thoughtful inquiries that led to this reaffirmation of the American record, and to, once again, express our appreciation to Senators Menendez and Kerry for their incisive lines of questioning during the Foreign Relations Committee's confirmation hearing earlier this week."

Question:

What concrete steps will you take to press Turkey to recognize the Armenian Genocide?

Answer:

The United States has strongly encouraged Turkey to come to terms with the dark spots in its history and believes that establishing an honest dialogue within Turkey on these events would help facilitate reconciliation, economic prosperity, peace, and stability in the region and would help encourage a full understanding of these terrible events. If confirmed, I will strongly support this effort, and in particular will emphasize its importance to bilateral relations.

Question:

Do you dispute that U.S. diplomats serving in the Ottoman Empire during the Armenian Genocide documented a systematic, government-sponsored campaign "with intent to destroy, in whole or in part" the Armenian population?

Answer:

No. I have read many of the historical records from 1915-1916 related to U.S. diplomatic reporting on these events in Turkey, and I do not dispute that Ambassador Morgenthau, Ambassador Elkus, and other diplomats during that time period reported on what they described as an attempt to exterminate the Armenian population.

Question:

Article 301 of the Turkish Penal Code is used by the Turkish government to stifle the debate on the facts of the Armenian Genocide. As the U.S.

Ambassador to Turkey what specifically will you do to press the Turks to repeal Article 301 and promote freedom of speech in Turkey?

Answer:

The Administration is encouraged by recent amendments to Article 301, an article which had previously criminalized "insulting Turkishness;" the amendments reduce the possibility for imprisonment and require the Minister of Justice to determine whether to accept a case for prosecution. While the amendments do not go far enough to meet European and American standards for free speech, the Minister's new role should help reduce the number of cases brought by overzealous prosecutors for political and ideological motives.

If confirmed, I will continue to press the Turkish authorities to further this progress by ending legal action against citizens for expressing their views, whether under Article 301 or other laws used to prosecute individuals for their speech, and to fulfill Turkey's OSCE and EU commitments.

Question:

What specific steps will you take to address Turkey's ongoing blockade of Armenia, different from what has been attempted before?

Answer:

If confirmed, I will continue U.S. efforts to support the normalization of Turkish-Armenian relations and the opening of Turkey's border with Armenia.

I am encouraged by increasing exchanges and commercial activity between Turkey and Armenia over the past several years, including the historic visit by President Gul to Yerevan at President Sargsian's courageous invitation, and will endeavor strongly to further such cooperation.

Improvements in travel between Turkey and Armenia over the last few years bode well for further economic openings between the two countries. Turkey lifted visa restrictions on Armenians in 2002. Armenians receive 90-day visas upon arrival at any Turkish port of entry. According to official Turkish estimates, more than 70,000 Armenian citizens live and work in Turkey without interference, sending substantial remittances back to their home country. Commercial flights operate twice weekly between Yerevan and Istanbul; during summer months a weekly charter service operates between Yerevan and Antalya. During the crisis in Georgia, Turkey permitted all flights to and from Yerevan to transit Turkish airspace. Trade between the two countries, mostly via Georgia, is valued at about $60-$120 million annually. If confirmed, I will seek to build on these opportunities as part of the normalization of Turkish-Armenian relations, including in close consultation with our Ambassador to Armenia.


U.S. Ambassadorial Nominee For Turkey Doesn’t Dispute Morgenthau’s Record On Armenian Genocide 27.09.2008
/PanARMENIAN.Net/ Ambassador to Turkey designate James Jeffrey, in response to questions from Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman and Vice-Presidential candidate Joe Biden (D-DE), affirmed that official U.S. diplomatic reports by Ambassadors Morgenthau and Elkus and other Armenian Genocide-era U.S. diplomats in the Ottoman Empire did, in fact, describe the attempted extermination of the Armenian population, the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) told PanARMENIAN.Net.

"Although falling far short of a clear and proper recognition of the Armenian Genocide, Ambassador Jeffrey, in his response to Senator Biden’s questioning, moved U.S. policy in the right direction by publicly agreeing – after long years of official disregard, disrespect, and dismissal of Ambassador Henry Morgenthau’s proud legacy - that our nation’s diplomatic representatives to the Ottoman Empire did, in fact, document the Ottoman government’s clear intent and systematic campaign to destroy its Armenian population," said ANCA Executive Director Aram Hamparian. "We want to thank Chairman Biden for his thoughtful inquiries that led to this reaffirmation of the American record, and to, once again, express our appreciation to Senators Menendez and Kerry for their incisive lines of questioning during the Foreign Relations Committee’s confirmation hearing earlier this week."

In questions submitted to the Amb. Jeffrey, Sen. Biden asked: "Do you dispute that U.S. diplomats serving in the Ottoman Empire during the Armenian Genocide documented a systematic, government-sponsored campaign ‘with intent to destroy, in whole or in part’ the Armenian population?"

Ambassador-Designate Jeffrey provided the following response: No. I have read many of the historical records from 1915-1916 related to U.S. diplomatic reporting on these events in Turkey, and I do not dispute that Ambassador Morgenthau, Ambassador Elkus, and other diplomats during that time period reported on what they described as an attempt to exterminate the Armenian population.


Problem Of Armenian-Turkish Relations Will Not Be Solved Either Under Current Or Future Generations, Political Scientist Levon Melik-Shahnazarian Considers
www.nt.am YEREVAN, SEPTEMBER 26, NOYAN TAPAN. The opening of the Armenian-Turkish border is fraught with much dangers, including in economic respect: in particular, it will do much harm to Armenia's light industry. However, as political scientist Levon Melik-Shahnazarian said at the September 26 press conference, the greatest danger is that Turkey will start accusing Armenia of giving camps to Kurdistan Workers Party.

According to L. Melik-Shahnazarian's observation, at present Turkey competes with Russia, Iran and the United States to expand its influence in the region. Touching upon Turkey's readiness to play the role of a mediator in the issue of Nagorno Karabakh settlement, the political scientist said that Armenia does not need such a mediator. According to him, the mediator, which considers itself and Azeris as different elements of the same people, cannot be unbiassed.

L. Melik-Shahnazarian affirmed that the problem of Armenian-Turkish relations will not be solved either under the current or the future generations. "Civilization is the basis of contradictions of these relations. And in order to overcome it we need to live in the same civilization for many and many centuries," he said.

The political scientist in general welcomed RA President Serzh Sargsyan's speech on September 25 at the UN General Assembly. However, he does not agree to the sentence "on occupying Azeri territories." According to him, the President should have said not Azeri territories but territories occupied by Azeris.


Does The Diaspora Play A Role In Armenia's Development?
I was invited by Artur Papyan of the Yerevan Press Club and the Armenian Observer Blog to participate in the round-table discussion/forum, "Diaspora input into the development of Armenia," which was initiated by the World Bank Armenia Office and conducted late this morning.
Participants included professionals, lawyers, and economic advisers from both the diaspora living here as well as a few from Armenia. Essentially it was a two-hour brainstorming session about what businessmen from the Armenian Diaspora could/should be doing regarding Armenia's economic development and how to overcome the obstacles preventing significant investment from happening. There were vital issues discussed during the meeting, notably the lack of trust between Armenians from the diaspora and those from Armenia. Actually, that lack of trust issue was raised by 10 different participants, myself included, as it is the most hindering since without mutual trust and understanding nothing will ever get accomplished regarding strengthening/stabillizing Armenia economically by tapping into the deep Diasporan pool of resources. The following list notes some points which were made in no particular order of importance.

Armenians from Armenia need to get more involved in engaging those from the diaspora.
The Armenian government must be more sincere in its approach to reach out to the diaspora and engage it.

Company registration needs to simplify--currently at least seven forms have to be sealed and filed and endless red tape has to be unraveled; the system is inefficient.

The customs service and management structure doesn't work properly and impedes imports of goods for sale by businesses in Armenia. According to one economist present an estimated 46 cents from every dollar in paid customs duties is given as bribes.

The Armenian government makes it impossible for businesses to work legitimately and does all it can to make money by imposing the payment of bribes and ambiguous fees.

There has been obvious careless, misguided legal reform in Armenia initiated by the World Bank; however, what will it do to fix those mistakes?

Armenian society has stagnated. People who want change are marginalized, persecuted, or both. The go-with-the-flow mentality reigns supreme, with people believing that there is no point in enacting change since nothing will change.

Armenians in the diaspora are considered cash-cows and are to be milked then sent packing. There are incidentally several horror stories to he heard, most notably the tragic Najarian case which Hetq Online has covered substantially.

People who leave the country to be educated must return and should be given incentives to work in the government and thus work for change within.

The Armenian Diaspora's role is limited in a society/government run by opportunists and thugs commonly identified by their nicknames (case in point: Hovik Abrahamyan, who is known as "Moog" or Mouse and controls most of the Syunik region, is expected to become the next speaker of parliament).

Armenians are not unified anywhere in the world, particularly in their own rural communities, which is a huge impediment in Armenia-Diaspora relations and potential undertakings.

The Armenian government and the laws of the country needs to be streamlined. The government must be shrunk down to effectively function within the fiscal limitations of the state budget.

The laws of Armenia do not work and the judicial system is severely flawed.

The Armenian tax service is inefficient, incompetent, and corrupt (a common practice: a state audit of a small business is initiated--when an insignificant issue is found it is exploited in an attempt by the tax authorities to receive a bribe payment so they will go away). Transparency is needed.

Armenians need to know more English, as there is a notable weak stream of information entering Armenia from the West.

These types of forums are of course nothing new. Notably, three Armenia Diaspora conferences have been held in Yerevan in the last 10 years, and although many problems were identified similar if not identical to the ones listed above each time there was no follow-up and thus, no action. In some respects regarding governmental red tape and bribe extortion, problems are a lot worse than they were a decade ago. There has been as far as I can tell no real improvements in Armenia-Diaspora relations in the four years I have been living here non-stop. I have seen one business close run by an Armenian diasporan to be replaced by another, and I only know of a handful of businesses which are run by Armenians from abroad. Other diasporan-run businesses have shut down altogether and I have no idea what happened to the owners in terms of their professional interests. But I do not believe that the World Bank representative who was the co-moderator of the session has taken away anything of real importance from the discussion for use to change the bank's policies regarding how to properly fund the Armenian government.

Fostering ties with the Armenian Diaspora is a full-time job. It will take the initiative and undertaking of some kind of governmental agency--perhaps the newly created yet ambiguous "Armenian Diaspora Ministry"--run by young Armenian citizens who were educated and trained professionally in the West because no one else will be able to do it quite simply, especially those churning through life fueled by their Soviet-era mentalities and best practices. You need to know how to communicate with and think like people from the West in order to reach out to them, and most importantly, listen to them to incorporate the ideas and knowledge they possess in market development. Until the Armenian government and World Bank understand this, they should not expect much from the Armenian Diaspora regarding increased investment in the country. Actually, there is no reason to believe they don't already understand that.

This just in: Armenia has slid in its corruption ranking from 99th place last year to 109th place. The study is conducted every year by Transparency International. On a scale from 1 to 10, Armenia's score is 2.9, down from 3.0 a year ago.
Christian Garbis, September 17, 2008, noteshairenik.blogspot.com


Dynamics of Azeri-Armenian-Turkish Relations: A Three-Legged Chair By Harut Sassounian Publisher, The California Courier

All indications are that Armenian and Turkish leaders have agreed in recent weeks to improve their long frozen relations based on the following terms: Turkey will open its border with Armenia, establish diplomatic relations with Yerevan, and set up several inter-governmental commissions, one of which would deal with Ottoman-Armenian relations, including the issue of the Armenian Genocide.

Many Armenians both in Armenia and the Diaspora have serious problems with the apparent willingness of Armenian authorities to participate in a historical commission specifically devoted to the Genocide. Turkish officials have repeatedly stated that their intent in involving Armenians in a joint commission is to discourage other countries from adopting resolutions on the Armenian Genocide.

Another serious obstacle to Armenian-Turkish rapprochement is the Artsakh (Karabagh) conflict. For years, Ankara had made the withdrawal of Armenian forces from Artsakh a pre-condition for normalizing relations with Armenia.

Last week, the Presidents of Armenia and Turkey as well as the Foreign Ministers of Armenia, Azerbaijan and Turkey were in New York to attend the General Assembly of the United Nations. While it is not known what the three Foreign Ministers discussed in their private meeting, one can gain an insight into their discussions from remarks delivered at the U.N. by Turkish, Armenian and Azeri officials.

Turkish President Abdullah Gul addressed the General Assembly on Sept. 23 and gave a glowing report on Turkey’s recent diplomatic initiatives. His aim was to lure U.N. members into supporting Turkey’s candidacy for a non-permanent seat at the Security Council next month, as well as facilitating his country’s eventual entry into the European Union. In contrast to previous U.N. appearances, when Armenian and Turkish officials would get involved in acrimonious debates, Pres. Gul concentrated on his visits in early September to Armenia and Azerbaijan and expressed the hope that frozen conflicts in the region, “including the occupied Nagorno Karabakh,” would be resolved, “on the basis of respect for the principle of territorial integrity.”

Pres. Serzh Sargsyan addressed the General Assembly two days later, recalling his invitation of Pres. Gul to Yerevan to watch with him a football match between the national teams of the two countries. Pres. Sargsyan stated that he was “pleased with the Turkish President’s bold decision to accept my invitation which made him the co-author of my ‘football diplomacy’ initiative.” The President also said, “I am confident that the time has come to solve Armenian-Turkish problems, and on that issue I observed a similar determination by Pres. Gul. I am convinced that it is necessary to move fast and resolutely in that direction.”

In contrast to his courteous words toward Pres. Gul, Mr. Sargsyan was very critical of Azerbaijan. He discussed at length the status of Artsakh and its right to self-determination, even independence. He castigated the 39 U.N. members who had voted earlier this year for a pro-Azerbaijan resolution on Artsakh which encouraged Azeri leaders to become more belligerent. Pres. Sargsyan concluded his statement by describing Armenians as “a people who had survived genocide.”

Interestingly, Pres. Sargsyan delivered his remarks in Armenian – a first in U.N. history. Despite his fluency in Russian, he chose to speak in Armenian, not one of the six international languages spoken at the U.N. Unfortunately, the circulated English text of the President’s remarks, while generally well translated by Armenian personnel, deviated occasionally from the Armenian original, altering the meaning of some of his words.

Two days later, the Foreign Minister of Azerbaijan, Elmar Mammadyarov, addressed the General Assembly and called for “the withdrawal of Armenian troops from occupied lands and restoration of full sovereignty of Azerbaijan over these territories.” Devoting a major portion of his remarks to the Artsakh conflict, Mammadyarov praised the states that had sided with Azerbaijan in the earlier General Assembly vote.

It is abundantly clear that while Armenian and Turkish leaders are treating each other with courtesy and respect in their U.N. remarks -- indicating that they are making headway in their rapprochement, this does not seem to be the case between Armenia and Azerbaijan. The officials of the two countries used the U.N. podium to publicize their disagreements.

Since Turkey has made the resolution of the Artsakh conflict a pre-condition to normalizing relations with Armenia, it remains to be seen how the on-going war of words between Armenia and Azerbaijan would impact the improvement of Armenian-Turkish relations.

Here is a possible scenario for regional developments in the upcoming weeks or months: After Turkey de-links the Artsakh conflict from Armenian-Turkish relations, it would open the border with Armenia and establish diplomatic relations with Yerevan. In return, Armenia would participate in a historical commission with Turkey and the government of Artsakh may make a face-saving gesture to Turkey and Azerbaijan by withdrawing from a small portion of the buffer zone that has no particular historic or strategic significance for Armenians. However, when Turks and Azeris realize that Armenians are unwilling to make further territorial concessions on Artsakh, Turkey could then break its newly established relations with Yerevan and once again close its border with Armenia.

It is difficult to predict if such a scenario would actually materialize. Would Turkey’s leaders be willing to place their country’s interests ahead of those of Azerbaijan? Would Armenians accept to withdraw from some of the buffer zones around Artsakh?

After the upcoming presidential elections in Azerbaijan and parliamentary elections in Turkey, it would be more apparent if the budding relationship between Armenia and Turkey survives the lack of progress in the resolution of the Artsakh conflict.


President Gul of Turkey - An Islamist in Disguise ? September 29, 2008
The election of Abdullah Gul as President of Turkey on 28 August 2007 is controversial because of his Islamic background. Now that both the Prime Minister and President have religious backgrounds, his election is widely viewed as a threat to the secular ethos of the Turkish State.

Although Mr Gul, in his accession speech, pledged allegiance to the secular constitution and the legacy of Kemal Ataturk, the founder of modern Turkey, there are many who view such commitments as cosmetic.

Mr Gull entered parliament in 1991 as a member of the Welfare Party. This was a pro Islamic party which ruled in 1996, until it was forced out of power by the military. The reason for the intervention of the army was that the party was failing to respect the secular values enshrined in the constitution. Leaders of the party were banned from political office for several years.

Mr Gul reappeared in 1999 as a member of the Virtue Party. This party was also closed down in 2001, for the same reason. However, there was not a disqualification order and Mr Gul was instrumental in founding the Justice and Development Party (AKP). This party won a significant electoral victory in 2002, and has remained in power since then.

The fact that Mrs Gul wears a headscarf in public may seem a barely relevant point to many international observers, but it is deeply significant in Turkey. This is because Turkish women are forbidden to wear headscarves at school, university and in government. Women lawyers are also forbidden to wear headscarves in Court.

This is the legacy of Ataturk who considered Islam part of the Ottoman tradition which he and his followers were dedicated to eradicating from Turkish society. The secular nature of the Turkish state is safeguarded by the Constitution of 1982.

The Turkish establishment, including the military, are deeply committed to the secular ethos. However, they are perceived by many ordinary Turks as out of step with contemporary trends such as economic liberalism and social mobility within Turkish society.

The AKP party reflects the growing aspirations of many Turks for improved standards of living and a pro EU stance, and they compare Turkey's economic performance in recent years with the periods of stagnation and inflation of the post war period.

Mr Gul became president at his second attempt, the first being blocked by the military in May which forced a general election. The AKP were returned to power with an increased majority and the military have not, as yet, intervened.

The newly appointed president's wife, Mrs Gul, was notable by her absence at the Victory Day festivities which celebrate the victory of Dumlupinar, the final battle in the Turkish War of Independence of 1922, as she was not invited by the military. The military have a longstanding practice of not inviting the wives of AKP politicians who wear headscarves to civic events.

It is important to recognise the fragility of democracy in Turkey. The military have ousted four governments since 1960, and their complaints should not be taken lightly.

Mr Gul and the AKP need to tread very carefully during the early months of his presidency, due to the risk of military intervention. One way he could defuse the tension between the government and the army would be to accede to the military's desire to take a harder line against the Kurdish Peoples Party (PKK) insurgents in eastern Turkey and to allow the military to strike at their bases in Northern Iraq.

Kurds have been flocking into Kirkuk in anticipation of a referendum which could grant a measure of devolved power to a relatively autonomous Kurdistan. In addition to the dimension of terrorism, the area is rich in oil and therefore has major strategic importance.

Mr Gul's avowal of secular values is considered a sham by many commentators who point to his Islamic political past. However, it should be noted that many politicians modify their views during the course of their careers.

In the UK, the transformation of the Labour party from an organisation committed to state ownership of major industries and pacifism to a liberal, market oriented economy party is astounding. The fact that the party leaders embraced a bellicose foreign policy with respect to Afghanistan and Iraq provides an example of how politicians can radically change their policies.

Although opportunist politicians change their policies in response to public opinion, and the UK Labour Party is a prime example of this, one can question whether such an analysis holds in respect of religious beliefs. Contemporary events in the middle east indicate that Islam is a matter of deep conviction and not simply political convenience.

On this view, one could argue that it is only a matter of time before the AKP and President Gul adopt a more Islamic tone. This would have significant implications for NATO, of which Turkey is a member, and for Turkey's relations with Israel, which are currently cordial. It would not bode well for Turkey's accession into the EU. www.pulasthi.info


Harut Sassounian: U.S. Presidential Candidates No Longer Need To Say Genocide

The visit of Turkish President Abdullah Gul to Yerevan stirred up a wave of comments both in Armenia and abroad. There was certainly a feedback from American Armenians, who are mostly the heirs of Genocide survivors. Harut Sassounian, the publisher of The California Courier, the oldest independent English-language Armenian newspaper in the United States, presents his view to PanARMENIAN.Net. 30.09.2008

Do you think that the Armenian-Turkish border can be opened after Gul’s visit?

Since it was Turkey that closed the border, it is up to Turkey to open it. Turkey has no right to make any demands from Armenians in return for the opening of the border.

Furthermore, Armenia’s economy could be damaged by the opening of the Turkish border. The Armenian parliament should urgently pass a law prohibiting foreign entities from leasing or buying lands located in strategic areas of Armenia or containing strategic resources. Such a law would ensure the economic and strategic security of the Republic.

How do you assess the possibility of normalizing Armenian-Turkish relations?

It would be naive to suppose that soccer matches, cultural exchange programs or meetings of Armenian and Turkish NGO’s could lead to reconciliation between the two countries period. Serious issues like the Nagorno Karabakh conflict, recognition of the Armenian Genocide and its consequences, and territorial demands can not be resolved by singing and dancing together. Pres. Gul came to Yerevan to support his country’s soccer team. Turkey would have looked bad in front of the West if he had turned down the Armenian President’s invitation.

Russian political scientists suppose that to normalize relations with Turkey, Armenia will have to choose between Karabakh and Genocide recognition...

I don’t think that the President of Armenia needs to choose between Karabakh (Artsakh) and the Armenian Genocide. These two issues are separate, but equally important for Armenia. Turkey should not expect any concessions from Armenia in return for the recognition of the Armenian Genocide which is a historical fact. It is in Turkey’s interest to find the courage to face this shameful episode of its history.

The Nagorno Karabakh Republic is an established state and Azerbaijan has to accept this reality.

The Armenian community of the United States supports those Congressmen who sponsored the resolution of the Armenian Genocide in Congress. What’s your opinion about this issue?

I would like to remind the readers that the U.S. House of Representatives has already adopted two congressional resolutions on the Armenian Genocide -- the first was in 1975 and the second in 1984. Armenians do not need to demand that every newly-elected Congress recognize this fact which has already been recognized twice. The same thing is true for U.S. Presidents. Pres. Reagan issued a Presidential Proclamation back in 1981 which mentioned the Armenian Genocide. In my opinion, another presidential statement or congressional resolution is unnecessary. Armenians do not need to beg U.S. Presidential candidates to say Genocide again and again.

What should the Armenian community of the United States press for?

The United States should be an impartial mediator in the Karabakh conflict, render greater assistance to Armenia and Artsakh, urge Turkey to protect the rights of its Armenian minority, and return historic Armenian churches to the Armenian Patriarchate of Constantinople (Istanbul).


Obama, Turkey And The Genocide Resolution, September 30 2008 Forbes
There is no doubt that much of the Muslim world is rooting for Barack Obama in the U.S. presidential race. The 47-year-old Illinois senator is a favorite son to many in the Middle East who are enamored of his middle name "Hussein" or even harbor the belief that the senator is a closet Muslim having to hide his true colors to get a place in the American political establishment. Still others welcome the idea of an Obama presidency as a shift from the unpopular Middle East policies of the Bush administration.

But here in Turkey, the Obamania in the rest of the Muslim world was quick to fade early in the race. Once intrigued by the young senator and his life story, much of the Ankara establishment and the Turkish elite now say they prefer John McCain to snatch the presidential seat.

And all this has little to do with Barack Obama himself.

Modern Turkey is a nation still sorting through the cultural and political clashes that have emerged with the foundation of a secular modern republic from the ashes of the Ottoman Empire in 1923. It is a nation accustomed to both domestic and foreign conflict and obsessed with the idea of its loneliness on the world stage. So it is no surprise that, on any given subject under the sun, most Turks would ask, "But is it good for Turkey?"

In this case, the political establishment in Ankara and Turkey's secular elite seem to think that Barack Obama is not good for Turkey.

"It all has to do with the Armenian issue," a senior Turkish politician tells me, referring to what is essentially a semantic problem, but one with ripple effects far beyond the confines of this region. Turks and Armenians have long disagreed on what to call the tragic events that took place in the eastern provinces of the Ottoman Empire in 1915. Turks say the forced deportations and massacres of Christian Armenians took place in the context of a civil war and do not amount to "genocide." For Armenians in the neighboring Armenia or spread around the world in a large diaspora, this is the first genocide of modern times and as such deserves a universal recognition.

What does all this have to do with Barack Obama? With almost no direct contact, Turks and Armenians have long been fighting the issue out in distant national forums--most notably in the U.S. Congress. Almost every year, the powerful Armenian-American lobby attempts to pass a resolution from Congress marking the events of 1915 as "genocide." The government of Turkey has its own lobbying effort in Washington, almost solely dedicated to the "Armenian issue," and prevents the bill at the expense of threatening to sever strategic ties with the United States. (Having seen Turkey significantly reduce economic and military relations with France when the French Senate passed a similar bill, Washington knows the issue goes far beyond a semantic exercise.)

Successive American presidents have intervened in the 11th hour to kill off the g-resolution in order not to damage relations with a key ally and next door neighbor of Iraq's. Last year, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other congressional supporters had to drop the resolution at the last minute when the White House warned it would cripple ties with Turkey and impact the war effort in Iraq.

Yet Barack Obama has pledged he would support a genocide resolution. Worse for Ankara, his running mate Senator Joe Biden has long been an ally of Greek and Armenian lobbies in Washington and sponsored bills questioning Turkish policies on Cyprus and Armenia.

"John McCain on the other hand knows Turkey well and can understand our strategic value," the same Turkish politician tells me. Ankara essentially prefers a man who would have a nostalgic appreciation of Turkey's role in the Cold War and in containing Saddam Hussein, and not push for a "paradigm change" in that equation.

"There is also the Clinton factor," a western diplomat notes. Most Turks were enamored of Bill Clinton when he visited Turkey in the wake of a major earthquake in 1999 and pushed for policies that elevated the Turkish-U.S. relationship to a strategic partnership on energy and regional issues. Bill and Hillary Clinton have since visited Turkey and maintain ties with the Turkish government. (Turkey's prime minister, Tayyip Erdogan, makes a point of seeing the former president or his wife on nearly all his U.S. trips.)

"Obama defeating Hillary did not go down well here," says the diplomat.

When Turks watch the results of U.S. elections in November, they will do with an eye toward April 16, the day Armenians commemorate what Turkish officials call "the so-called genocide," and hope Obama will not win.

Asli Aydintasbas is an Istanbul-based journalist and former Ankara bureau chief of the newspaper Sabah.


Armenia's Economy Could Be Damaged By Opening Of Border With Turkey 30.09.2008 PanARMENIAN.Net

Since it was Turkey that closed the border, it is up to Turkey to open it. Turkey has no right to make any demands from Armenians in return for the opening of the border, Harut Sassounian, the Publisher of The California Courier newspaper said in an interview with PanARMENIAN.Net.

"Furthermore, Armenia's economy could be damaged by the opening of the Turkish border. The Armenian parliament should urgently pass a law prohibiting foreign entities from leasing or buying lands located in strategic areas of Armenia or containing strategic resources. Such a law would ensure the economic and strategic security of the Republic," he said.

At the same time he noted that it would be naive to suppose that soccer matches, cultural exchange programs or meetings of Armenian and Turkish NGO's could lead to reconciliation between the two countries period.


Armenians Don't Need To Beg U.S. Presidential Candidates To Say Genocide Again And Again
30.09.2008 PanARMENIAN.Net

The U.S. House of Representatives has already adopted two congressional resolutions on the Armenian Genocide - the first was in 1975 and the second in 1984, Harut Sassounian, the Publisher of The California Courier newspaper said in an interview with PanARMENIAN.Net.

"Armenians do not need to demand that every newly-elected Congress recognize this fact which has already been recognized twice. The same thing is true for U.S. Presidents. Pres. Reagan issued a Presidential Proclamation back in 1981 which mentioned the Armenian Genocide. In my opinion, another presidential statement or congressional resolution is unnecessary. Armenians do not need to beg U.S. presidential candidates to say Genocide again and again," he said.


Press Conference Of The Three Ministers 1 October 2008 by Stéphane / armenews
Aravot, Hayastani Hanrapétoutioun, Hayot Achkhar relate the press conference the three ministers Nalbandian-AE-Mammedyarov Babacan. Minister A. Babacan said: "The idea of the Platform as well as regional problems were discussed. It was agreed to three meetings in order to create a basis for dialogue and mutual understanding. " Referring to the platform of stability, E. Mammedyarov said: "We believe that this is a time coming and is able to illuminate the behavior of each of us." The minister E. Nalbandian called the meeting constructive and said: "We welcome this initiative based on stability, security and cooperation in the Caucasus. Before the meeting of three, I had my talks with Turkish counterpart on the next steps in our two Presidents to full normalization of our bilateral relations. "
Embassy of France in Armenia Press Service


The Behavior Of The United States If Turkey Recognized The Genocide Of Armenians
1 October 2008 by Stéphane / armenews

At the meeting of the Commission for External Relations of the U.S. Congress, the question of what will be the behavior of the United States if Turkey recognized the genocide of Armenians, the candidate for the post of U.S. ambassador in Turkey, James Yao, responded so cryptic that "Washington will decide what to do in light of all factors." The future ambassador said that all initiatives promoting the Armenian-Turkish rapprochement would be supported by the administration and would deploy its efforts for the establishment, without preconditions, diplomatic relations between Armenia and Turkey and the opening of the border, and relate Aravot AZG quoting turshny.com site of New York.
Embassy of France in Armenia Press Service


Turkey’s Armenia Policy Suat Kiniklioğlu
As a guest on a television program the other day discussing recent foreign policy issues ranging from Turkey’s potential Security Council membership to NATO, I suddenly found myself defending our policies toward Armenia.

To my surprise and dismay, the two other participants were vehemently against Turkish President Abdullah Gül’s Yerevan visit and, in no uncertain terms, voiced their opposition to opening our borders with Armenia. True, it should have been no surprise that Ankara’s entrenched power elite does not want rapprochement with Yerevan, but still, I thought the positive atmosphere in the aftermath of the Gül visit had somewhat mollified such resistance. I was wrong.

This is rather ironic because Turkey’s proactive policy in the Caucasus has been appreciated and welcomed by our European and American friends. We have heard nothing but praise from most of our foreign counterparts on Gül’s visit to Armenia. Indeed, Turkey’s Caucasus Stability and Cooperation Platform (CSCP) served as a useful backdrop to President Gül and Armenian President Serzh Sarksyan’s innovative “football diplomacy.” We even heard some Europeans pointing to the need to anchor Turkey firmly into the European Union by accelerating the negotiation process. Indeed, if there was a winner emerging from the Russia-Georgia crisis, it was Turkey. The conflict once again underscored the geostrategic significance of Turkey to our European friends.

Our policy toward Armenia is very much in line with our overall policy toward our neighbors. It is widely known that Turkey has been striving to reintegrate into its immediate neighborhood by increasing its trade and political dialogue with its neighbors. There were two exceptions to the overall success of this policy: Armenia and Greek Cyprus. We are now working to remedy this. President Gül’s visit to Yerevan should be seen as the beginning of new relationships in the South Caucasus that are complementary to our overall policy in the region. In tandem with the intellectual underpinnings of this policy, we first aim to establish diplomatic relations with Armenia and then open our border with the country. Needless to say, this is all done in coordination with Azerbaijan and thus will eventually necessitate simultaneous progress in Karabakh, particularly on the seven regions of Azerbaijan proper which are occupied by Armenia. We hope that Sarksyan will maintain his interest in resolving the problems in the Southern Caucasus, finally allowing this region to integrate into the European geopolitical space. At this point it is necessary to emphasize that Turkey is genuinely interested in normalizing its relations with our neighbor Armenia. As the region’s leading power, Turkey has the self-confidence to reach out to our Armenian friends.

Turkish Foreign Minister Ali Babacan’s meeting with his Azerbaijani and Armenian counterparts in New York went well, and the three ministers have agreed to meet again, probably in late October. As President Gül has said, we are quite hopeful about this new resolution process. The many years of futile efforts under the Minsk Group appear to have come to an end in the sober climate of the Russia-Georgia crisis. Turkey has risen to the occasion, and it is now up to Armenia and Azerbaijan to agree to a workable deal that will hopefully anchor the South Caucasus to Europe. We know that all three states of the South Caucasus genuinely desire this. Now is the time to show magnanimous leadership and untie the Caucasus knot.
29.09.2008


Typical Profile of the Politically Persecuted Tigran Paskevichyan September 29, 2008

Today in Armenia there are over one hundred individuals who are being politically persecuted in one form or another. This hounding of people for their political beliefs started after the February 19th presidential elections. In order not to distinguish between those incarcerated and those being pursued it is possible to employ the term “politically persecuted”, especially since for the most part it also characterizes those individuals who are persecuted not for their political actions but for the positions they take as citizens.

The politically persecuted can be divided into 4 main groupings. 1) Members of organizations grouped around opposition presidential candidate Levon Ter-Petrosyan 2) individuals who played an active role on election day; managers of campaign headquarters and proxies 3) rank and file demonstrators 4) others.

This is not a rough classification. In certain cases those belonging to one group can show up in another as well. Take Petros Makeyan for example. Taking the motives of his arrest and trial into consideration he can be placed into the third grouping but he actually represents the first given that he is the President of the “Democratic Fatherland Party”. There are also many parallels in the second and third groupings. People who serves as proxies on election day were arrested and charged with being rank and file protestors. For example, Tigran Baghdasaryan, Aram Bareghamyan, Khachik Simonyan and others.

Gagik Jhangiryan is the main representative of the fourth group of so-called “others”. The prime reason for their persecution doesn’t fall within the other three groups. One can state that the reason for Jhangiryan’s involuntary isolation is connected more to October 27th than to the incidents of February-March 2008.

In this group are also those persecuted on familial grounds - Isahak Malkhasyan (the brother of Myasnik Malkhasyan), Vardan Jhangiryan (the brother of Gagik Jhangiryan). Also in the fourth group is Anoush Ghavalyan, the Pizza Di Roma employee. She was arrested solely in order to get her to testify against Khachatur Soukiasyan.

Even though there are more than twenty parties and NGO’s in the movement headed by Levon Ter-Petrosyan, chiefly included in the first group are representatives of the Armenian National Movement, the Republic Party, Democratic Fatherland Party, the “Aylntrank” (Alternative) Civic Initiative, the “Armat” Center and those in the “Yerkrapah” (Defenders of the Land) ranks.

In this way, the regime attempts to convey to the society here at home, and why not, to international bodies, that what’s involved here isn’t a pan-national movement but rather a so-called attempt to regain power by the Armenian National Movement (ANM). For the most part, those organizations who share the same fate of being persecuted as the ANM are derived from that party. Such is the case with the “Aylntrank” Initiative, the “Armat” Center and the Defenders of the Land Union. The Republic Party can also be said to have derived from the ANM if we don’t take into account the unique conditions of its creation. The exception is “Nor Zhamanakner” (New Times) as it has no ties to the ANM.

With the exception of one or two, the charges levied against the political players representing the first group are essentially the same and unprovable. The authorities, with this long-term prospect in sight, have come up with a publicity stunt with which they try to prove that the leading forces of the Movement, being former officials or deputies, have tried to take over the reins of power through a coup. The selection was done in such a way that included in the ranks of the politically persecuted are the former Prime Minister Aram Sargsyan, former Ministers Alexandra Arzumanyan, Smbat Ayvazyan, Souren Abrahamyan and others, former mayors, district leaders and high ranking police officials.

The objective of the political hounding of working Deputies in the National Assembly (Sasoun Mikayelyan, Myasnik Malkhasyan, Hakob Hakobyan and Khachatur Sukiasyan) was to avert the collapse that had already started in the National Assembly. If Mikayelyan, Malkhasyan and Hakobyan hadn’t been National Assembly Deputies they would probably be free today and the persecution of Khachatur Sukiasyan would have been limited to economic penalties.

The classification of the second and third groups of the politically persecuted is rather complex since, as I’ve already stated, many with the attributes of being campaign managers and proxies were charged with so-called mass disturbances, resisting police officers and other such actions. Here too there are many ANM members and Defenders of the Land people. Typical representatives of the second group are Petros Makeyan, Shota Saghatelyan and Ashot Zakaryan who attempted to prevent election fraud in Gyumri. There’s Harutyun Urutyan, who tried to prevent fraud in Maralik. Sofya Kalantaryan is another. She got hit with an administrative penalty for working against election fraud in Vanadzor. There’s Housik Baghdasaryan who was sentenced in Masis for illegal arms possession and Hovhannes Harutyunyan who was sentenced for the same violation in Arabkir.

Essentially, Karapet Roubinyan, Aram Manoukyan and Ashot Manoukyan are being pursued for the same reason even though the motives for the pursuit or the charges already levied against the arrested not always are connected to their activities during the electoral process.

The authorities were pretty picky when it came to choosing individuals belonging to the third group (rank and file demonstrators). In this case too the overriding interest wasn’t any so-called struggle for the rule of law but for publicity. This group includes Vahe Ghazaryan ( the son of Romen Ghazaryan, Chief of the Presidential Guard for Levon Ter-Petrosyan), Souren Sirounyan (a member of the Guard for Internal Affairs Minister Vano Siradeghyan), Sirounyan’s brother and Vardan Ghavalbabunts, Vano Siradeghyan’s chauffeur.

By singling out these individuals from the tens of thousands of protestors and by making false accusations against them the regime wished to show the public that these former officials who were absent from the Armenian scene for so many years were influencing the state of affairs through these coercive methods. Law enforcement, in order to substantiate the influence wielded by Vano Siradeghyan, had earlier resorted to making an absurd move. This was to arrest Seryozha Siradeghyan, the 73 year-old brother of the former Minister of Internal Affairs and Yurik Mamyan, his sister’s husband for allegedly possessing weapons and ammunition.

The charges levied in all four groups are so contrived and baseless that any one of the accused could be substituted by anyone on the outside and not so jailed.

In reality, by not being able to isolate all the participants of the Movement (numbering in the hundreds of thousands) or its principal leader and organizer, Levon Ter-Petrosyan, have tried to put together a mosaic picture of sorts. Thus, the average individual subjected to political persecution is a male between the age of 40-50. He was involved in the Karabakh movement and in the early days of national building. He was a higher education and state governance experience on a variety of levels. Most likely, he actively participated in the Karabakh War. At one point he resigned from his former position and refused to cooperate with the illegitimate authorities. He feels the danger threatening the nation and is ready to struggle in the name of freedom, justice and political liberties. These are attributes, whether taken individually or collectively, that characterize both Levon Ter-Petrosyan and those participating in the Movement.


Abdullah Gul Is Blackmail Vis-À-Vis The Possible Opening Of The Armenian-Turkish Border
29 September 2008 by Stéphane / armenews

Turkish President Abdullah Gul said Saturday that an environment was found to solve the problems of the region including Turkey, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Russia and Georgia.

He said that opening the border with Armenia was linked to the solution of existing problems.

"The aim of the talks with Armenia is to start a dialogue that will end the problems. If these problems are solved during this process, so we can have any kind of cooperation, including the opening of borders, full relations and solidarity broader economic matters, "said Chief of the Turkish journalists in the Turkish House in New York.


Coordinating Council Armenian Organizations of France Press Release Paris, 25 September 2008

Senators call for: "The denial is a crime. To punish him I want a law! " On Wednesday 1 October at 18.00, the Coordinating Council of Organizations Armenian de France (CFC) is organizing a rally before the Republican Senate

Objective: To seek review and vote on the bill penalizing denial of the Armenian genocide of 1915, passed on 12 October 2006 by a very large majority of members.

To date it has not yet been considered by the Senate.

Yet the Armenian genocide is still a matter of words and acts Holocaust deniers.

The need for a law to protect against attacks deniers and interest such a text for the values of the Republic and civil peace will be recalled by speakers at the rally.

During the gathering readings showing the speech by Bernard-Henri Levy (meeting of January), the letter from presidential candidate Nicolas Sarkozy and catch words of elected officials and people from civil society will be made.

Also note the presence of Jacky Mamou, president of the Collective Emergency Darfur, representatives of Kurdish and Cypriot communities, and support from Patrice Leconte and Ariane Ascaride.
---------
1 October 2008
Attention Ladies Of The Senator The Senators And Gentlemen French

On 12 October 2006, MEPs adopted by an overwhelming majority the proposal law punishing the denial of the Armenian genocide of 1915.

The Coordinating Council of Armenian Organizations of France (CFC) is aware that the past two years, various deadlines so that election policies have delayed making the agenda of this text to the work of the High Assembly. It demands consideration by the senators in the delay.

Such a law raises questions of society and values, issues economic and indeed political. The CFC wants to answer a point view citizen.

Below are four of the main issues raised by this law and provide answers what the CFC:

• Why a law punishing the denial of the Armenian genocide?
• Freedom of expression is threatened?
• Posture and sham dialogue.
• What is the French Senate?

I. Why a law punishing the denial of Armenian genocide?

A genocide is not a simple historical fact. It is above all a political crime which is the planned extermination of a people, its culture and its identity. His denial therefore requires a political and legal response.

The political response: It was given by the voice of a law on 29 January 2001, and Article single "France recognizes publicly the Armenian genocide 1915.

The legal answer: It requires the criminalization of Holocaust denial, which is not an opinion but a history of political rhetoric, unfounded Scientific, already present in the crime.

The purpose of Holocaust denial is at best to disqualify the crime or to trivialize, then to deny and erase the collective memory. This rhetoric is a disturbance of public order that goes beyond the sole interest of communities concerned and outraged. It undermines the moral values of society by allowing worst lies in trivializing the most serious crimes against humanity for lead ultimately to its justification.

Many countries have already integrated the punishment of Holocaust denial in their arsenal legislature. France has done for crimes against humanity committed during World War II following the profusion of about challenging the reality of Shoah (Gayssot Act).

It has become necessary to criminalize denial of Armenian genocide at a time when Turkey is in Europe's denial of State, using its influence political and economic erase the memory of the trace of Humanity Armenian genocide.

This law responds to a need legal but also an emergency response to the multiplication in France and in Europe about events and to deny the reality of the Armenian genocide, for example:

- Organization of an event in Lyon in opposing the erection of a Memorial to the Armenian genocide.

- Desecration of memorials in Paris, Lyon and Marseille.
- Censorship of exposure of the Armenian photographer Antoine Agoudjian to Valentigney (Doubs)

- Organization demonstration in Berlin to commemorate the memory of Talaat, one of the organizers of the genocide of 1915.

- Conferences deniers in Switzerland (the speakers were sentenced by the Swiss Federal Tribunal).

- Attempt to create a chair in Turkey at the Institut des Sciences Politiques de Paris, with targets of propaganda.

These actions, openly organized and financed by a State, all aimed at repeal laws or resolutions passed by the elected sovereign peoples Europe.

Beyond the memory protection and dignity of French citizens, the objective the ratification of an anti-denial by the French Senate is to protect the French law and acts of memory of French citizens against interference of a Third State in which voit recognition of the genocide of 1915 an obstacle essential to its accession to the European Union.

II. Freedom of expression is threatened?

In France, as in many European countries, freedom of expression always been regulated by law so that abuse does not affect the honor and respect for others.

This limitation to freedom, which is also a right for those who are victims of abuse, is regulated by the Law on the Press of 10 July 1881. Criminalizing denial of Armenian genocide it would infringe on freedom expression?

It adds a new offense along with the challenge of the Holocaust. This limit Freedom of expression is, at least as justified as that which applies to insult and defamation.

The historical research will not be further threatened by this law which will only qualification policy of this event without ever interfering in the scientific field. What historian acknowledged he was hindered in its work since the promulgation of the law Gayssot? None, to our knowledge. The Court European Human Rights, written by M. Faurisson after conviction, acknowledged that, far from impeding the work of researchers and scientists, Gayssot Act was contrary to preserve civil peace, while stressing that the denial was always his foundation, a racist and xenophobic society.

The crime of Holocaust denial is the perpetrators of misleading rhetoric, which does not meet the standards and methods of historical investigation. It can not therefore involve historians, but only impostors, those who made the choice of lying to trivialize racism and xenophobia.

These are the reasons that led many intellectuals to support publicly and forcefully the law punishing the denial of genocide Armenians, including Bernard-Henri Lévy and Michel Onfray, whose commitment for freedom of expression is recognized by all.

III. Posture and sham dialogue?

To believe in its willingness to dialogue, Turkey, through its first Minister, proposed to Armenia to establish a joint commission of historians on the issue of Armenian genocide, displaying a posture dialogue.

This request of Turkish authorities for such a commission is, indeed, reduce the issue of Armenian genocide at the only debate between two states, that Some historians reflected by the reduction of ethnic history and aims to excluded from the debate any State or any other institution that would take a position on the reality of the genocide of 1915.

The hint of the ethnic Turkish state is to argue that events 1915-1918 are the result of the clash of two ethnic groups that have made the war on equal terms, denying the fact today that a State has proved deliberately eliminated some of its citizens, men, women and children, previously stigmatized, isolated and deprived of any means of defense. Historians of different nationalities have unanimously demonstrated the genocidal intent of the State Turkish 1915.

In response to the proposal of the present Turkish government, the Armenian State proposed the establishment of an intergovernmental commission with the aim of solve all problems between Turkey and Armenia, including the lifting of the blockade of Armenia by Ankara. To date, the Erdogan government has gave no response to this proposal. Despite the injunctions of the Union European, the blockade that Turkey imposes on Armenia since thirteen years is continues.

Dialogue on the Armenian genocide in Turkey itself, the fact remains, too, the appearance as shown by the prosecution (for example, the Nobel Prize for Orhan Pamuk peace), convictions (the Turkish publisher Ragip Zarakoglu) and killing (the journalist Hrant Dink). Many other Turkish intellectuals who had the courage to break the taboo of the Armenian genocide are being charged under a penal code where the only use of the phrase "Armenian genocide" is sentenced to three years' imprisonment.

Dialogue with the Armenians, prohibition of dialogues between Turkish citizens? This is
that the posture of dialogue becomes a sham.

IV. What is the French Senate?

The French senators and senators have long sought freedom to include in their agenda the discussion of texts that were not presented by the government. This right was granted by the recent constitutional reform.

The CFC calls for the senators and senators now exercising this right they have so long demanded by putting the law on the punishment of Holocaust denial genocide of Armenians in the agenda of their work.

Coordinating Council Armenian Organizations of France


Turks Have No Friends But Turks / Hate Crimes Target Turks Abroad

© This content Mirrored From  http://armenians-1915.blogspot.com Thermometer readings indicate Turks are cold toward other countries, reveals a survey by the German Marshal Fund. On a 100-point thermometer scale, the Palestinians take first place with 44 degrees, whereas Americans come at the bottom along with Israelis, ranking 14 and eight degrees respectively. This proves the word ‘friend’ does not exist in the dictionary of foreign politics. .

The title actually is one of the pillars of Turkish foreign policy. Since the Republic was founded at the end of the War of Independence following the occupations of the great powers, the Turkish people have always had reservations toward others.

On the other hand, the Republic's key task was to build self-confidence among people. That's why the founder of modern Turkey, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, advised Turks to be proud, work hard and have self confidence: “Be proud, work hard and have confidence!”

Foreign affairs in this day and age however has to rely on new concepts. “There are “allies” not “friends” and there are “countries in conflict” not “enemies.” The word “friend” does not exist in the dictionary of foreign politics. Even allies can experience conflicting interests at times, while two countries in conflict can still have common interests.

Foreign policy on slippery ground

Foreign policy and foreign politics often proceed on slippery ground. Changing times and conditions may push you to adopt a different approach to a particular country. Together with a few other foundations, the German Marshall Fund of the United States compiles an annual public opinion survey titled “Transatlantic Trends,” examining American and European attitudes toward the transatlantic relationship and global challenges in 12 countries, including Turkey.

The purpose of the foundation, which I sincerely support, is the preservation of transatlantic relations. The study examines what citizens on both sides of the Atlantic think about a broad range of topics.

In the Turkey-related section, the study reveals how Turks feel about others. On a 100-point thermometer scale, with 50 degrees representing neutral, Turkey continues to view itself at 80 degrees – nearly 40 degrees “warmer” than all others. Over the past year, Turkish warmth toward themselves has increased six degrees. But it did drop from 86 degrees to 80 degrees this year.

Iran 32, U.S. 14, Israel eight degrees

Turks are cold toward other countries. For instance, Turks feel relatively warm toward Palestinians, with 44 degrees, a two-degree increase since last year. Over the past year, Turkish warmth toward the European Union increased seven degrees to 33 degrees. Iran follows with 32 degrees. China is, interestingly, at number four with 31 degrees on the scale of warmth Turks have toward countries. The level of warmth we have toward Russia is settled at 18 degrees. We are cold toward the United States and Israel. Both increased three degrees this year and settled at 14 and eight degrees, respectively. As we feel a 14-degree warmth toward our biggest allies, the U.S., we feel cold toward Israel as its most favorable ally.

On the other hand, Turks feel warm toward Iran at 32 degree, which is the number one enemy of the United States. Yet, we feel 2.5 times warmer toward Iranians than Americans! In the post-Bush period, the U.S. should think up new approaches to conquer the hearts of Turks and the Turkish government!

Cüneyt Ülsever, September 30, 2008


Hate Crimes Target Turks Abroad
A fire in the German city of Ludwigshafen that killed nine people of Turkish descent last March prompted speculation that it was a racially motivated arson attack.

An annual survey of hate crimes by the New York-based nongovernmental organization Human Rights First (HRF) shows that Turks living abroad are subject to many types of hate crimes and that in Turkey, despite legal safeguards, societal abuse and discrimination based on religious intolerance also occur.

Hate crimes based on sexual orientation are also a problem in Turkey. The survey, which examines the 56 European and North American countries that make up the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), notes that Turkey as well as many other countries does not have an effective monitoring system in place for hate crimes.

This year the survey paid special attention to violence against Muslims, keeping track of it in a separate category. The survey shows that the geographic scope of anti-Muslim violence encompasses the entire OSCE region. Muslim women, because of the way they dress, are frequent targets of hate crimes.

"European and North American governments are failing to keep pace with a wave of violent hate crime that continues to rise across the region. Racism, anti-Semitism, xenophobia, anti-Muslim and anti-Roma hatred, religious intolerance, homophobia: the list of biases that fuel these crimes is a long one. Attacks range from lethal assaults to threats and harassment to vandalism and desecration of religious and community property" the report suggests.

The survey points out that although there is ample evidence of violence targeting Muslims and those perceived to be Muslims across Europe and North America, only five governments -- Austria, Canada, Sweden, the United Kingdom and the United States -- publicly report on violent incidents motivated by this form of bias.

HRF indicates that acts of aggression against Muslim individuals and places of worship are committed in the context of a longstanding strain of political discourse in Europe that projects immigrants in general and Muslims in particular as a threat not only to security but to European homogeneity and culture.

"Women who wear the hijab are particularly vulnerable to harassment and violence by those who wish to send a message of hatred. While law enforcement officials have responded to some of the more serious cases in several countries, underreporting remains a key problem, as most victims refrain from reporting attacks to the police," the report underlines.

It points out that incidents of violence and harassment against Muslims have become an everyday occurrence in many countries. Certain events periodically exacerbate the situation.

"Since 2001, foreign and domestic events have repeatedly led to periods of violent backlash against Muslims and those perceived to be Muslim in North America and Europe," the report suggests. Examples of this backlash mention in the report include events which occurred in Denmark after its embassy in Pakistan was bombed:

"On June 2, 2008, a car bomb exploded outside the Danish Embassy in Islamabad, Pakistan, killing six people and wounding dozens, in an attack thought to be linked to al Qaeda threats in connection to the reprinting of caricatures of the prophet Muhammad. The bombing appears to have sparked threats and acts of violence against Muslims in Denmark. On June 2, 2008, in Copenhagen, Kasem Said Ahmed, the former spokesperson of the Islamic Faith Society (IFS), was punched in the face after being asked if he was an imam. The victim believed the attack may have been a backlash response to the bombing of the Danish Embassy in Pakistan. That same day, the IFS reported that two women were threatened by hooded men on the way to a mosque in the Norrebro section of Copenhagen. The Islamic Faith Society says it also received hate mail demanding that it leave Denmark."

Racism and xenophobia

The report underlines that racism and xenophobia victimize a wide range of communities across Europe and North America because of their ethnicity and skin color. These communities include minorities, immigrants, citizens and non-citizens, longtime residents and newcomers. According to report, the Roma population is one of the main targets of these kinds of hate crimes along with Jews. The HRF elaborates on the racism and xenophobia in different countries and underlines the situation of Turks in Germany:

"In Germany, members of the large Turkish minority -- both German citizens and non-nationals -faced harassment and violence in many parts of the country. People of African and South Asian origin were also among the targets of persistent and sometimes extreme violence there. Foreign-owned shops were targeted for vandalism and arson; members of minorities were attacked in the street, at public events, and on public transport. In the state of Brandenburg alone, according to the NGO Gesicht Zeigen (Show Your Faces!), there were eleven recorded attacks on immigrant-run businesses, as part of what a representative of the organization called ‘a strategy to destroy livelihoods and drive out immigrants.' Members of minorities in Germany are routinely referred to as Ausländer (‘foreigners') regardless of their actual citizenship status."

Enlargement of EU new source of hate crimes

The report draws attention the enlargement of the European Union and the emerging patterns of racist violence which reflect immigration from new member states to other parts of the EU:

"Politicians across Europe capitalized on growing public xenophobia, contributing to anti-immigrant rhetoric and blaming immigrants for political, economic, and social problems. In a number of countries, social and political problems were blamed with new vigor on immigrant workers, including those from within the expanded European Union."

Hate crimes in Turkey

The HRF survey specifically discusses Turkey in the chapters on violence based on religious intolerance and violence against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered (LGBT) individuals.

The report says freedom of religion is generally respected by the government and by most religious groups in Turkey and recognizes that conditions for religious freedom have improved in the past decade. However, some Muslim and Christian religious minorities continue to experience restrictions including "state policies and actions that effectively prevent [them] from sustaining themselves by denying them the right to own and maintain property, to train religious clergy, and to offer religious education above high school."

The report underlines that despite the legal safeguards, societal abuses and discrimination based on religious intolerance occur in Turkey.

"Although all non-Muslim groups have been victims of bias-motivated violence in the past, in recent years, predominantly affected are those groups, such as the relatively new Protestant community, that are engaged in legally-protected proselytizing activities, as well as Roman Catholics. Additionally, there have been reports of harassment by police of members of the Alevi Muslim minority community," the report indicates.

According to survey, the Turkish government generally responds adequately to the most serious attacks, conducting investigations and prosecuting perpetrators. It gives the example of Catholic priest Father Andrea Santoro, who was killed in 2006 and whose murderer was sentenced in 2007 to 18 years, 10 months' imprisonment.

The report underlines that threats and violent attacks have taken place in the context of sometimes contradictory positions taken by government officials regarding certain aspects of religious freedom.

"To some extent, this reflects a society that is grappling with the growth in numbers of Protestant Christians who are ethnically Turkish, a relatively new phenomenon. For example, the Interior Ministry's Director General of Laws Niyazi Güney declared to Turkish parliamentarians that 'missionary work is even more dangerous than terrorism and unfortunately is not considered a crime in Turkey.' In contrast, when asked by the media whether missionary work was in fact a danger to Turkey, Religious Affairs Director Ali Bardakoğlu responded by reaffirming the right to share one's beliefs: 'It is their natural right. We must learn to respect even the personal choice of an atheist, let alone other religions.'"

Regarding hate crimes based on sexual orientation, the HRF cites a report by Human Rights Watch.

"The vulnerable social position of gay men and transgender people was characterized as ‘living in fear' and ‘a social hell.' The interviewed lesbian and bisexual women reported pressure, often extreme, from their families. Some were constrained to undergo psychological or psychiatric ‘help' to ‘change' their sexual orientation. Many faced physical violence. This situation has been referred to as a balance between ‘silence and violence.'"

The HRF also gives advice to governments when combating hate crimes: "Acknowledge and condemn violent hate crimes whenever they occur; enact laws that expressly address hate crimes; strengthen enforcement and prosecute offenders; provide adequate instructions and resources to law enforcement bodies; undertake parliamentary, inter-agency or other special inquiries into the problem of hate crimes; monitor and report on hate crimes; create and strengthen antidiscrimination bodies; reach out to community groups; speak out against official intolerance and bigotry and encourage international cooperation on hate crimes."

30 September 2008, AYŞE KARABAT Zaman


© This content Mirrored From  http://armenians-1915.blogspot.com BOSTON Museum of Fine Arts celebrates the photography of Yousuf Karsh

Self-portrait Yousuf Karsh, Canadian (born in Turkish Armenia), 1908-2002 about 1962 Photograph, gelatin silver print *Lent by the photographer's estate *Photograph c Estate of Yousuf Karsh *Photograph courtesy, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston .

When taking his world-famous portraits, Yousuf Karsh sought to reveal his subject's "hidden" character by capturing ephemeral emotions concealed beneath the mask of celebrity.

Combining a courtly demeanor with darkroom brilliance, the Armenia native photographed royalty and despots, starlets and artists transforming their public faces into iconic images.

In celebration of the 100th anniversary of Karsh's birth, the Museum of Fine Arts is exhibiting a broad sampling of memorable black-and-white photographs that display his eye-catching artistry throughout the arc of his career.

Pablo Picasso gazes with penetrating eyes past a vase bearing the figure of an amply endowed nude. Regal yet reserved beneath her crown, Princess Elizabeth stands at rest in her royal gown. Pale as a corpse, a cadaverous Andy Warhol holds a paintbrush in his delicate, hairy hands.

The just-opened exhibit, "Karsh 100: A Biography in Images," comprises about 100 images including famous personalities and lesser-known landscapes, experimental shots and photos of Canadian laborers and landscapes that show another side of the artist.

Organized by curator Anne Havinga, the exhibit presents a balanced, visually pleasing portrait of one of the 20th century's great portrait photographers.

The MFA's Estrellita and Yousuf Karsh senior curator of photographs, she attributed Karsh's ability to freeze a subject's character in memorable images to "his uncanny ability to make people feel at ease."

Born in 1908 in the former Eastern Ottoman Empire, now present day Turkey, Karsh achieved international recognition following decades of diligent preparation. After relatives were killed during the Armenian genocide, his family moved to Syria and Karsh was sent in 1924 to live in Canada with an uncle who was a professional photographer. Impressed by his nephew's ability, his uncle sent Karsh to Boston to serve as an apprentice with John Garo, an experienced photographer who became his mentor.

Karsh's best-known work, a portrait of a defiant Winston Churchill that launched his career, resulted from a fortunate mix of the photographer's determination and instinctive professionalism, Havinga said. Allowed only two minutes to photograph Churchill, who was visiting Canada just weeks after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, she said Karsh "respectfully" plucked a cigar from his lips, prompting an expression of indomitable will that came to represent British resistance.

Opening the exhibit, Estrellita Karsh said her late husband photographed "people who mattered, people who left their mark on the world."

"I hope this exhibit shows what kind of person Yousuf was. I think it shows the intertwining of his personality and work because they are one and the same thing," she said.

Shedding a different sort of light on Karsh's personal and technical approach, the exhibit also includes one of his large-format cameras, preparatory studies for his portraits and a revealing transcript of a conversation with Albert Einstein during a 1948 photo session that clearly intended to put the great man into a pensive mood.

In a revealing back-and-forth, Karsh asked Einstein about possible connections between music and mathematics, the likelihood of Russian imperialism and whether he felt optimistic about the future during the atomic age.

Throughout the mid-20th century, Havinga said, "Karsh's name became synonymous with the highest level of photographic portraiture and being 'Karshed' was an honor for sitters."

Visitors to the show will feel as if they're viewing a cavalcade of 20th century stars such as Audrey Hepburn, Ernest Hemingway, Jacqueline Kennedy, Mother Theresa, Rudolf Nureyev, the Duchess of Windsor, Harry Truman, Georgia O'Keeffe and Ronald Reagan.

Jerry Fielder, who served as a consultant for the show, praised Karsh for his meticulous preparation for each photo session and expertise editing his images. The curator and director of Karsh's estate, he explained the artist typically shot with a large-format camera that used an 8-by-10-inch negative that captured his subjects in remarkable detail.

Fielder said Karsh usually shot about 15 negatives for every two-hour session. "Yousuf researched his subjects for talking points during the session. And he had an extraordinary control of light. In the dark room, he was the master of light and composition," he said.

But in the act of shooting, Karsh aimed to capture on film "the vision of people he saw," said Fielder. "He was always looking for what was natural in his subjects."

Karsh's images became so ingrained in the popular mind that viewers passing through the galleries may have the curious sensation of seeing famous people who looked just like they thought they would.

Sitting beneath a horned elk skull, a black-clad Georgia O'Keeffe resembles a monk meditating in an austere cell. Wearing a dark burnoose and white hood, Ibn Abdul Aziz Faisal, who became king of Saudi Arabia, appears to be lost in deep thought. Practically spilling out of her gown, sexy Swedish starlet Anita Ekberg purses her lips and closes her eyes in a seemingly private rapture.

Many of Karsh's best-known portraits feature a subject whose features are illuminated by studio lights set against a dark background.

Sometimes that format contributes to a posture or expression that belies our expectations.

Shot in extreme close-up, Fidel Castro's deep-eyed gaze exudes a somber gravitas. Boris Karloff sits pensively, looking tired rather than monstrous. Appearing atypically nervous in a strapless gown, 28-year-old Jacqueline Kennedy looks quizzically into the camera.

A viewer might reasonably wonder did Karsh actually "capture" his subjects' true characters or merely confirm public expectations of what a statesman, Hollywood ingenue or tormented artist would look like?

In a memoir titled "Portfolio," Karsh wrote of photographing the famous: "The endless fascination of these people for me lies in their inward power."

"It is part of the elusive secret that hides in everyone and it has been my life's work to catch on film. The mask we present to others, and too often to ourself, may lift only for a second - to reveal that power in an unconscious gesture, a raised brow, a surprise response, a moment of repose. This is the moment to record," Karsh said.

Estrellita Karsh expressed hopes the exhibit conveys her late husband's abiding affection for Boston as a place where he established his signature style while living in difficult conditions.

"For Yousuf, it began in Boston. It happened in Boston. He called Boston his spiritual home. He called this museum his university," she said. "The man who lived in the YMCA now has works in the permanent collection of the MFA. The wheel has turned full circle."

THE ESSENTIALS:
The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, is open seven days a week. Hours: Saturday through Tuesday, 10 a.m. to 4:45 p.m.; and Wednesday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 9:45 p.m.; (Thursday and Friday after 5 p.m. only the West Wing is open). www.mfa.org.

By Chris Bergeron/Daily News staff, GHS, Sep 28, 2008, TauntonGazette, WashingtonTimes


"Serzh Sargsyan Seems To Realize The Cost Of Self-Isolation, To Which Armenia Was Led By A Person With A Provincial Soul And Kocharyan By Surname" September 27th, 2008
Day.Az interview with famous political scientist Ilqar Mamed.

- Can you comment on the announcement of President of Armenia Serzh Sargsyan that he proposed to President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev to invest into Nagorno Karabakh to demonstrate Azerbaijan’s interest in the welfare of Karabakh and safe life of its population?

- First, there was a word “Miatsum”. It led to war, in which Armenia obtained Miatsum by the help of the Kremlin, though left without future. Today, the leaders of our neighbors started to recall earlier and more humane words. There words are “common sense”, “trade”, and “good neighborhood”. It is especially positive that the process started with the president of Armenia. I always repeat that the oil and gas reserves of Azerbaijan will be exhausted, but as this implies several decades of stable enrichmente, these reserves bring advantage to Azerbaijan in the sense of Nagorno Karabakh conflict resolution. Therefore, I would not be surprised if the trade between the parties went around the number of zeros and currencies.

I think in a response to Sargsyan’s proposal, Azerbaijan should voice readiness to invest both money and human power into the development of all the occupied lands, including former Nagorno Karabakh Autonomous Republic. The Karabakh population can hardly use the volume of funds, which Baku may invest into Karabakh, for their destination.

- Is it possible to speak of progress in the negotiation process when Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan says: “Our key task in the resolution process is to persuade Azerbaijani side that recognition of the right of “Nagorno Karabakh people” to self-determination is inevitable”?

- I like the creative approach Mr.Sargsyan to speeches in public. Due to the rejoicing words of self-determination, most failed to notice the points, which is frustrating for separatists, for “the recognition of the right to self-determination” should first become a fact to further persuade someone of its inevitability. As there is no fact, there is nothing to persuade people of. Sargsyan shared his regret but not his tasks with his people.

- Coordinator of Armenian National Congress Levon Zurabyan announced that in the result of worsening of ties between the West and Russia and paralysis of the activity of the OSCE Minsk Group, Serzh Sargsyan is holding unilateral talks with Turkey on normalization of bilateral relations and resolution of the Karabakh problem, mostly at the cost of the national interests of Armenia. Why does Armenian opposition consider it to be the betrayal of national interests, if the leadership of this country does not intend to return the occupied lands to Azerbaijan?

- I have worked with Levon Zurabyan in the same international organization and sometimes we shared views on the Karabakh conflict and regional issues. This is such an intelligent and honest person that I do not doubt his sincerity, when he speaks to his people about the politics. But, I hope Levon Zurabyan also realizes that nothing is left from the national interests of Armenia, including in the form, they were declared on the Miatsum wave.

The national interests of Armenia now demand the soonest disavowal of the territorial claims to Azerbaijan, Turkey and Georgia for the development of trade and good neighbor relations with us. If Levon considers that President Sargsyan is protracting these things, then I understand his disappointment.

But Serzh Sargyan seems to realize the cost of self-isolation, to which Armenia was led by a person with a provincial outlook and Kucharyan by surname. The economic advantage of Azerbaijan will become more obvious in the next 10 years, while the Russian-Georgian conflict took away Yerevan’s remaining hopes for time as a factor of legalization of results of military aggression.

The growing Azerbaijan-Turkey-Georgia cooperation in all spheres will inevitably work against Armenia and even Moscow needs Azerbaijan for the normal operation of its military bases in Armenia.

- Members of the US congress - famous lawyer Mark Gerados and consultant on human rights Catherine Porter and more than 100 members of the US parliament voiced support to the independence of separatist “Nagorno Karabakh”. How can it comply with the officially declared strategic nature of relations between Azerbaijan and the United States?

- Unlike some other players, the United States demonstrate real interest in the conflict resolution. Despite what all those politicos say, it was the United States which helped Azerbaijan to attain the steady growing advantage as compared to Armenia. Today we can negotiate with Yerevan from the position of a country, winning the world contest, which is a result of a strategic partnership between the United States and Azerbaijan and this partnership must further expand and deepen. Certainly, this process is complicated and controversial but it is obviously important for our country.

- Is it worthy to reckon on the return of the occupied lands of our country if Russia calls Armenia as its outpost in the Caucasus, while the United States has an influential Armenian lobby?

- I have already spoken of the United States. As for Russia, it is the first time that it is displaying a real interest with the resolution of the Karabakh conflict. After the failure in the conflict with Georgia, the Kremlin wants to show that it breeds not only wars but also peace in the South Caucasus.

Moreover, after the break of relations with Georgia, Russia needs the land and air access to its strategical ally - Armenia, which can only lie via Azerbaijan. On the whole, “lobby” and “outpost” are the arguments of the past, which may fully lose their sense due to the development of dynamics, attached to the region by Mikhail Saakashvili. It brought incredible opportunities for Azerbaijan to actively defend its interests in the Karabakh conflict.


Turkey's Initiative: Prospects For Armenia Vardan Grigoryan, Hayots Ashkhar Daily 26 Sep 2008 Armenia
The Armenian, Azeri and Turkish Foreign Ministers' trilateral meeting that's going to take place today in the frameworks of the 63rd session of the UN General Assembly arouses interest both in the diplomatic circles of different countries and among the politicians and political scientists of Azerbaijan and Armenia.

Over the recent days, the Azerbaijani mass media have been sparing no effort for persuading their own society that Turkey's mediation will push Armenia to concession and may very soon break the unyieldingness of the Armenian side.

The assessments made in our reality in this connection may be conventionally divided into two groups: internal political and expert.

The first group of assessments has been mainly expressed by the representatives of the radical opposition who, assuming the airs of wise people, have finally "revealed" that Turkey cannot be a mediator in the Karabakh settlement talks.

The second group of assessments deriving from serious expert circles views the fact of the trilateral meeting in the context of the concrete current situation in the region and distinguishes it from the settlement of the Karabakh conflict.

At present, the Karabakh settlement format proposed by the OSCE Minsk Group is not only maintained but also applied. So, the Armenian20 President has already managed to meet with the Co-Chairs in the frameworks of his current visit to New York. Furthermore, the latter haven't expressed any objection to the prospect of the meeting of the Armenian, Azeri and Turkish Foreign Ministers, since they do not absolutely consider it to be a serious alternative to the OSCE Minsk Group.

Hence, the main issue does not consist in either Azerbaijan's dream to see Turkey in the role of a full mediator or the absence of Armenia's will. Our country has already expressed its standpoint in a clear manner and agrees to the idea of proceeding with the talks by the mediation of the Minsk Group.

The heart of the problem lies behind the Armenian-Turkish dialogues and negotiations initiated by the real forces leading a battle against one another in the region. Turkey desires to expand its role in the South Caucasus by way of normalizing its relations with Armenia. It has no other way since Georgia and Azerbaijan have already given the country whatever it needed.

Quite different is the nature of the present and past of the Armenian-Turkish relations as their regulation acquires a strategic importance for Turkey in the present-day conditions. In this context, Ankara has become faced with a hard choice which, in some sense, is a kind of test for it.

With the purpose of moving forward with its recent initiative in the South Caucasus,=2 0Turkey has to prove to the other participants of the regional maneuvers that it can renounce its traditional preferences in the relations between Baku and Yerevan and act as a more or less impartial "broker", at least outwardly.

That's why, Baku's recent statements that Turkey may mitigate Armenia's attitude towards the Karabakh issue were followed by the clear-cut and tough answer of the Armenian Foreign Minister: Ankara obviously has much greater potentials and levers for influencing Baku rather than Yerevan with which it doesn't even have diplomatic ties.

Turkey's initiative of organizing a trilateral meeting with the participation of the Armenian and Azeri Foreign Ministers do not, as a matter of fact, imply a change in the negotiation format. The countries acting as mediators in the frameworks of the OSCE Minsk Group will never lose their holdfast of such a serious lever. Ankara has to make a choice between the prospects of becoming either the 'elder brother' of Azerbaijan or a regional superpower. And the seeming "green light" that opens on it way towards the settlement of the Karabakh conflict is the "litmus test" with the help of which all the centers of the power interested in the South Caucasus should draw relevant conclusions in the near future.

The Western strategists believe Turkey has to sacrifice its traditional role of being Az erbaijan's protector and become the regional power which is capable of persuading Baku to accept the Karabakh settlement conditions elaborated by the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs. If the mediator countries are now unable to overcome Baku's persistence, it is for the sole reason that the latter has the "strong support" of Ankara behind its back. So, the meeting of the three countries' Foreign Ministers is an opportunity of "driving out one nail with another".

In such conditions, Armenia could not have deprived either the Co-Chairs or Turkey of such "pleasure" because it loses nothing as a result of such complex maneuvers. But as regards Turkey, it may lose a lot.

A question arises as to whether Turkey will assume the expected role or it will continue convincing Armenia that it has been keeping the Armenian-Turkish border closed since 1993 solely "because of the Armenian aggression in Azerbaijan". We believe that at the current stage of the negotiations, Turkey will avoid making attempts to influence any of the parties in order not to scare Armenia off and at the same time not to offend Azerbaijan. Ankara still hopes to do away with the trap standing on its path, playing on the "field" of the Russian-American discords, i.e. showing each of the parties that the "game" it is playing in the South Caucasus is the one which is adv antageous to it.

Therefore, the ongoing negotiations in New York will, on the one hand, ensure a certain "propaganda effect" for Turkey, and, on the other hand, establish an "additional platform" for the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs, enabling them to test their proposals.

The Unreported Front Of The 'War On Terror' By Ben SnookBits of News, 23 September 2008
In the seas off the Horn of Africa, a multinational naval task force is engaged in regular firefights with pirates seeking to disrupt shipping in the Gulf of Aden. Our reporter asks if a link between the dramatic rise in piratical activity with Islamic insurgents in Somalia has led to the opening of a new front of the 'War on Terror'.

On balance, the Gulf of Aden, despite being one of the world's most strategically important waterways, is not a very nice place to be. As well as summer temperatures regularly soaring well into the 40s, the area is known for its unpredictable weather which can close in at a moment's notice. Furthermore, Somalia's lack of any efficient, centralised government has meant that her unpoliced territorial waters have become rife with illegal fishing, dredging and the discharging of toxic materials. Somalia's once diverse coastline is rapidly becoming an ecological disaster which, thanks to the very considerable dangers involved in going there, has gone largely unreported and unmonitored.

Weather and illegal fishing, though, ought to be the least of your worries, should you happen to find yourself cruising through these busy straits, for the Gulf of Aden boasts more recorded piratical activity than almost any other seaway in the world. Pirates operating out of Somalia, where the country's lawless coastal wildernesses and unregulated cities provide ample cover for the small skiffs favoured by the pirates, have come to terrorise this area in recent years. Initially, these freebooters seemed to work independently as little more than opportunistic maritime muggers; recently, though, there has been a sharp rise in attacks. More alarmingly, there is some reason to believe that the extremist Islamist militants who have come to dominate large parts of Somalia may now have a hand in promoting this activity.

In 2005, there were only two serious attacks in the Gulf of Aden. Even though one of them involved an ambitious and mercifully unsuccessful attack on a cruise liner with rocket propelled grenades, this activity kept to the general pattern that had emerged over the preceding decade: sporadic, opportunistic attacks on soft targets by disorganised, poorly-equipped and disparate bands of pirates. In 2006, the same was true. A handful of largely unsuccessful attacks were launched by different bands in different areas of the Gulf. On the whole, their targets were yachts and freighters but, on one occasion, two US warships received fire in an engagement which did not end well for the pirates.

Generally speaking, these bands of pirates were Somali fishermen angry at the illegal fishing activity that was damaging their livelihood. Amongst them, certainly, were more hardened career criminals but, on the whole, piracy off Somalia in the earlier years of the first decade of the twenty-first century was a limited, local affair which, in most cases, was motivated simply by a desire to protect the dwindling fish stocks off the Somali coast on which the fishermen relied. The small boats used by the fishermen could never hope to compete with the industrial trawlers that had arrived illegally in Somali waters; the only form of redress available to the Somalis was force.

In 2006, the brutal Islamic Courts Union took power in Somalia and piratical activity subsided considerably. Despite being driven by a violent ideology of extremist Islam, the Islamic Courts Union took action against the warlords who had torn the country apart in years of internecine conflict and attempted to rebuild some of Somalia's shattered infrastructure. An important element in this campaign was the prevention of piracy and the disbanding of the pirate crews that had sprung up around the coast. When ICU troops captured Haradhere -a major hideout of Somali pirates - in August, 2006, piratical activity in the Gulf of Aden almost subsided to nothing.

The Islamic Courts Union, however, did not last long. In December 2006, Ethiopia (certainly sponsored and encouraged by the United States) invaded Somalia and overthrew the ICU, replacing them, in theory, with a more moderate transitional government. In effect, Somalia was returned to a state of petty fueding and guerrilla warfare as the remnants of the ICU began to wage a fierce paramilitary campaign against the Ethiopians and forces loyal to the transitional government. It is under these conditions that piracy in the Gulf of Aden has, once again, begun to flourish.

Piracy of any kind is distressing in such a busy shipping lane, but is not unusual: West Africa, the Caribbean, the Indonesian archipeligo and the Philippines are all areas that suffer from similar patterns of activity. In 2007, though, in the vacuum left by the removal of the ICU, the pattern of attacks suddenly began to change. Better-armed groups of pirates using faster, better-equipped ships started attacking soft targets such as pleasure yachts and freighters far more frequently. Before, these sorts of attacks had been relatively rare, attacks on fishing trawlers being far more common. Now, though, it seemed that the pirates' aims had changed. No longer were these fishermen defending their livelihood; now, heavily-armed militiamen began to take hostages, demand ransoms and steal goods. Piracy was no longer a defensive operation, but a financial one.

So far, in 2008, there have been at least 9 serious attacks reported, the most recent being on September 2nd when a French couple sailing through the Gulf were kidnapped from their luxury yacht only to be rescued shortly afterwards by French commandos operating from the frigate Courbet. This sudden and alarming increase in pirate activity in the Gulf has alarmed the international community and there have been calls to strengthen the multinational 'Combined task force 150' that has been charged with combating the problem.

More alarming still, though, is that what used to be a limited operation against piracy has now been turned into a front of 'the War on Terror'. US forces operating as part of the touchingly-named 'Operation Enduring Freedom - Horn of Africa' have regularly engaged pirates and have started to consider combating pirate activity as part of their regular brief. Suddenly, suspicion is rife that proceeds from piracy off the Horn of Africa are funding the Islamist insurgency in Somalia. This is a controversial suggestion, but the change in targets and the increased frequency of attacks might seem to support it.

If it is the case that the Islamist insurgency in the country has resorted to piracy then it would fit a long-established pattern. Ever since the 1980s, elements with a strong Islamic fundamentalist motivation have hijacked conflicts already in progress as proving grounds for their recruits, and testing areas for newly devised tactics. In the wars in Nagorno-Karabakh, Chechnya and Bosnia, extremist Islamic forces sometimes sponsored by groups linked to Al Qaeda entered wars that were already in progress, often as much for the sake of propaganda as anything else. Thus, secular conflicts over ethnicity or resources suddenly became religiously charged and highly unstable as a result. Another favourite tactic has been to attack soft, economic targets: from the 9/11 attacks, to the London and Madrid bombings to the attacks on oil pipelines in Iraq, insurgents have long appreciated the value of disrupting economic and financial infrastructures. As such, the Gulf of AdenEurope to the east via the Suez Canal. Even the threat of piracy has caused insurance and equipment costs for ships using this sea lane to rocket; a successful attack can prove infinitely more lucrative.

The extent to which the new generation of Somali pirates can be linked to the country's 'Islamic insurgents' is open to debate, of course. Thinking at the highest levels, though, seems to make that link, albeit tentatively. Perhaps what we are seeing in the Gulf of Aden is a conflict that is about to be hijacked by a cause with which it has never previously been associated. How NATO acts over the next few months will be vital: storming in, all guns blazing and attempting to destroy the pirate networks by force will not prove successful. Besides, memories of the last time US troops were engaged in Somalia still run deep in the States and no president, not least a new one, will risk a repeat of the Mogadishu debacle. This problem has to be treated with sensitivity and respect. If the international community can unite to protect Somali waters from the many illegal fishing, dredging and disposal operations that are destroying the legitimate livelihoods of many of the country's coastal communities, they may find themselves with an unlikely ally against the pirates. Otherwise, the dark spectre of a naval Iraq represents an important, untapped resource: a seaway up and down which hundreds of unprotected cargo ships and cruise liners travel each week linking looms large.

Gül’s Visit to Yerevan is on the Agenda of the USA Congress
The latest developments that realized lately in the Caucasus and the relations between Washington and Russia, was on the agenda of the both wings of the USA Congress. Daniel Fried, US Assistant Secretary of State, who made a speech at the House of Representatives, brought the issue of Gül’s visit to Yerevan on the agenda.

Delivering a speech at a hearing of the House of Representatives, where USA-Russia relations and the aid that would be made by the USA, were discussed following the crisis between Washington and Georgia, Daniel Fried, US Assistant Secretary of State, said: “The cost of the crisis to Armenia, is high. Of Course, I would like to point out that we appreciate Serj Sarkisyan`s invitation to the President of the Turkish Republic and Gül’s visit to Yerevan as a response, with this occasion.”

Fried stated: “We hope this step will also be a step for diminishing the isolation of Armenia.”

Indicating that Armenia is the first or the second country, which receives the most excessive support per person in the World, Fried noted that they intend to maintain their support.

Nevertheless, pointing out that they encourage both Armenia and its neighbors Azerbaijan and Turkey for solving their problems, Fried said: “We pleased by the invitation of President of Armenia (Serj Sarkisyan), and the President of the Turkish Republic Abdullah Gül’s response to that invitation.”

Stressing that they have been working together with the government of Armenia and they are pleased that their ambassadors will soon go to Armenia, US Assistant Secretary of State, said: “Lifting the isolation of Armenia relatively, is what we hope to see. We wish the borders to be opened and the relations to be developed. And we will work in pursuit of these.” (*)

US Assistant Secretary of State Fried believe that it will take some time of Armenia, which is familiarized with darkness, to get accustom to the neighboring relations with its “bright” neighbor, when thinking that the definition of “isolation” is a natural result of its foreign policy concentrated on attacking and which is actually shaped with obsessive paranoia of Armenia, that has got accustomed to be nourished with hostility.

Moreover, starting to wave in Armenia, the “official” Turkish flags, which are replaced with the ones that were set on fire, raises the international interest at a maximum degree against the possible resistant degrees that will be displayed by the so-called Diaspora. Source: (*) CNN Türk-10.09.2008 http://www.genocidereality.com/newsdetail.asp?id=462


The Outcome Of The Hatred Monuments…
A new phase has started at the relations between Turkey and Armenia. Moderate messages point out to a neighborhood…Well then, is there a noteworthy change at the image, which has turned into a stone, of the Armenian social memory? Is it possible give an end to the “victim” image, which is attempted to spread by the Armenians, with the constructive steps? In another words, what will be the consequences of the Turkey-opponent hatred monuments that are spread all over the World?

The following sight appears when a preliminary research is carried out on the issue…

There are two “Armenian Genocide” monuments in Austria. One of them is at the Armenian cemetery; and the other is at the Armenian Church. The following is written on one of the monuments: “For preventing our children from forgetting...” and it continues: “If our children forget these sufferings, whole the world may curse the Armenian population...”

“To the memory of the Armenian genocide victims” is written on the monument that is situated in Belgium.

Bulgaria also portraits a considerable picture on the “hatred monuments”. The neighbor met all the proposals it received positively beyond questioning its own history. There are monuments to the memory of the genocide victims“ in Filipe, capital city Sofia (right behind the Ministry of Culture), Varna, Burgas and Sılıstra.

And Of Course, the places beyond the ocean was not forgotten...

The first monument in Argentina was opened in 1960’s; the monuments are in the form of the cross. There are three more monuments in Buenos Aires, the capital city of Argentina. The expression of “to the memory of the 1915 victims” is written on the monument. The monument in Rosario was opened during the trade and economical agreement that was signed between the Armenian and Argentina in 2005…

Two monuments are erected in Australia; one in Sidney and the other in New South Wales.

The Genocide (!) monuments in Sao Paolo and Rio de Jenerio/ Brasilia are decorated with embossed designs.

It is indicated that there are a total of 19 Armenian monuments in the USA. The following is written in Turkish and Armenian under the one in California: “Armenian martyrs monument…This monument, which is built by Armenian origin Americans is attributed to the victims of the crimes that were committed against the humans of all the nations and the 1, 5 millions of victims of the Armenian genocide that was committed by the Turkish government.” The opening of the monument had realized in 1965.

For the monuments in the other states, you should take precautions against a severe stomach ache after a small and patience search on the Internet.

In Rhode Island Providance, where no monument was enough for the Armenians, also an “Armenian Heritage Park” was formed. While children, young and elderly, are having a picnic they also learn “What had happened to the poor Armenians (!)” at the heritage of the humanity!

Two monuments have been erected in Uruguay. If you ask the man on the street: “Where is Armenia? What do you want from Turkey? It is an enigma. However, it is one of the countries, which adopt the genocide thesis on the political arena. Strange, isn’t it?

Let’s look at Europe, which has suffered (!) from racism…

France…

This country has almost turned into a heaven, which has almost become monumental over the Armenian grief…

Over 40 monuments are at the various locations of the country. It is almost impossible to pass without seeing one… Only in Marseilles there are 4 monuments. Most of the monuments carry the expressions like: “…who were massacred by the Turkish government.” which are not near a moderate stance and which lead a person towards confusing sentiments.

The race for monuments, which started in 1980’s, spread all over the country like a virus. Valence, Vienne, Grenoble, Gardan, Lyon, Meziu, San Samon, St.Etienne, St.Martan D’air, Sarvio, sas Sur, Toulon, Vitrolles and the others. Monuments are all over the place…

Not peace, friendship, equality, freedom and justice… the sentiment of hatred is on your way in the day and night.

The monument in Germany is in Stuttgart.

The one in Switzerland is a modest one; it is situated on a metal base.

It is rumored that Muslim neighboring country Iran is also involved in the process. The massacre of the Christian Armenian population who has not killed even a single Muslim (!), who has never betrayed (!),opened fire and revolted against their country (!), was claimed by this country…And a note was written under the monument as: “In the name of the countless martyrs of the Armenian nation (!)”…The “pedestals” in the neighbor Iran were crowned by the Armenian racists in the country by means of erecting a hatred monument in the region called Fashami. Giving permission to erecting monuments by a country, which is conservative and infertile on the issue, is though provoking…

Italy saw Milan and Padova convenient for the hatred monuments that are erected by the Armenians…

There are three in Canada. It was considered to situate an additional one in front of the building of the national assembly in Quebec in 2007, which didn’t fit into Montreal and Toronto. Anyone can make a research on the issue and see it by themselves…

Cyprus Greek side preferred using white, which fits for nobility, at the monument in Lefkoşa. As will be recalled the latest monument was opened by Dimitiris Hristoftyas, a government official, in Larnaka.

The Lebanese administration, which finds it difficult to bear even the existence of the Turkish soldiers with humanistic purposes, allowed extremist Armenians to erect four monuments within the country in years.

England approached the issue with caution and it adopted a moderate stance over the monuments on the streets, and imprisoned them at the Armenian Church in London (!).

There is a huge monument in the shape of the cross in the city of Essen/ Netherlands. The monument was opened on 2001 April the 24th.

Ukraine is one of the countries, which has stayed behind the race for the monuments. There are only three Armenian monuments in the country. All of tem were erected in the 1970’s.

We are proud of having the longest border line with Syria… There are six Armenian genocide monuments (!) in the country. (When a new monument was added to the rest, all of whom are at least ten years, the total number of monuments raised to seven.)

Two monuments in Egypt; one in Cairo the other in Alexandria…

A Haçkar monument in Slovakia… (*)
(…)
There may also be others. However, the table above is enough to display the significance of the situation.

This explains why neighboring country Armenia has made it obligatory for the young generation to visit the huge monument within its lands and also how the slaughterers of Orly could erect monuments in the name of the first ASALA terrorists in the country…

As a result, while the hatred monuments rise from the granite pedestals, it is not easy to talk about friendship, for it causes a great grief to encounter with the fact that it would not go beyond a single sided good intention.


(*) Most of the information is gathered from a magazine called “Armenika”, which is published Armenians in Greece and the rest, is from the internet.

Ülkü Eryaman A member of the Turkish Forum, GenocideReality.Com


Turkey Has A Rough Road Ahead By Robert M Cutler, Middle East Aug 28, 2008
MONTREAL - The realities of Turkey's economy and politics would alone have killed off the summer revival in the country's stock markets. Russia's invasion of Georgia, on Turkey's back doorstep, made sure.

The benchmark ISE National 100 Index gained as much as 28% from the start of July to August 4 in the run-up to the Constitutional Court decision not to ban the Justice and Development Party of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The index has since fallen from around the 43,000 mark to under the 41,500 level I identified this month as the lower bound of a band of resistances stretching up to 45,500 and dating from the first half of 2006.

(See Turkey ruling spurs (brief) stock revival, Asia Times Online, August 8, 2008).

Turkey is trying to elaborate a new and autonomous foreign policy in unprecedented conditions. For this to be successful, two things are necessary. These are a settling-down of its international region - the Georgia invasion making that look even less likely than previously -and a settling-down of its domestic politics. That also is not certain.

The government is seeking to deepen its energy ties with Iran in the hope that Europe will decide to decrease its energy dependence on Russia by increasing such dependence on Iran. Yet Iran is conspicuous by its absence from Turkey's recent proposal to est ablish a Caucasus Stability and Cooperation Platform (CSCP), which would include Turkey, Russia and the three South Caucasus states, and perhaps others such as the US, at least as observers.

Such a forum is not a new idea. The CSCP is the same idea that Turkey's president Suleiman Demirel proposed in 1999-2000, when it was called the Caucasus Stability Pact, only to see it abandoned by the subsequent government in Ankara headed by his longtime rival Bulent Ecevit.

What is clear is that the CSCP initiative was a surprise to many players.

This is not a fatal flaw but is surely a sign that it has not been adequately prepared. Especially, it is not clear where it would fit into the alphabet soup of regional and transregional organizations already concerned with the region, or in the current parlance what its "added value" would be.

One Turkish analyst has suggested that Erdogan is looking for political cover to improve relations with eastern neighbor Armenia, to ameliorate the economic situation in eastern Turkey. This would be why he visited Baku to discuss the proposal with Armenia's own eastern neighbor, Azerbaijan, which seems less antagonistic to the idea than earlier in the decade, because it is clear that Turkey's blockade of Armenia only increases the latter's dependence on Russia.

(The blockade was instituted in the early 1990s initially due to a dispute involving the Nagorno Karabagh region.) But Erdogan risks creating the impression that he welcomes Russia's participation in the CSCP to decrease Western influence in the region.

That impression is enhanced by the warmth of his welcome last week to Iran's President Mahmud Ahmadinejad, whom he permitted among other things to avoid paying respects at the Ataturk monument, a visit that is diplomatically de rigueur for all foreign heads of state as a mark of respect to the founder of the Republic of Turkey, and to be filmed at length by television cameras at prayer in a major Turkish mosque. Turkish commentators have remarked that this latter gesture, beyond disrespecting the secularism of Turkish political modernity, violates the intimacy of prayer under Islamic religious tradition.

That meeting did not lead to the conclusion of an energy contract, but one should not think that that failure is the result of pressure from the US, which is hostile to Iran's nuclear program. Rather, as the Turkish energy ministry stated, the problem is with the conditions of Tehran's buy-back contracts. The Iranian oil minister retorted that Turkey was "not informed about the culture of the buy-back contracts". According to him, "the price ceiling of the contract is determined after carrying out tenders". Almost needless to say, this is an unorthodox perspective. Nor is Turkey uninformed after years of experience with problems of Iranian (non)fulfillment of past contracts.

Turkish economic advisor s correctly see dangers arising from commodity price increases, financing costs and the absence of production guarantees and insurance costs. Also the present constitution of the Iranian state forbids recognition of jurisdiction of any international court or arbitration procedure. Not just Turkey but every potential foreign investor in the energy sector in Iran faces all these hurdles. Iran has only itself to blame for the absence of Western investment.

The CSCP initiative is Turkey's attempt to provide that Russia's invasion of Georgia does not make additional South Caucasus energy pipelines impossible.

That Russian troops did not destroy Azerbaijan-owned energy infrastructure on Georgia's Black Sea coast, but some reports have put that down only to a saving telephone call from Azerbaijan's President Ilham Aliev to his Russian counterpart Dmitry Medvedev. The Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan (BTC) pipeline, terminating on the Turkish Mediterranean coast, was closed when Russia launched its invasion because of a Kurdish-claimed sabotage of the pipeline, although it is scheduled to reopen in the near future.

Oil from Kazakhstan, to the east of the Caspian Sea, crosses Georgia by rail for export. Just this week such a train exploded after hitting a mine on the newly restored main east-west railway in the country, a mine that was not there before the Russian invasion. After years of discussion, Kazakhstan agreed just this summer with Azerbaijan on the 0Aterms for contributing crude from the Tengiz and Kashagan deposits in Kazakhstan into the BTC.

That is in greater doubt now, as is a trans-Caspian gas pipeline from Kazakhstan's southern neighbor Turkmenistan crossing the South Caucasus into Turkey and from there to Europe. Likewise, Russian energy giant Gazprom's now-repeated offer to buy all of Azerbaijan's natural gas production, for piping through Russia to foreign markets, acquires a new profile under conditions of continuing Russian occupation of Georgian territory.

Turkey had a rough economic road ahead even before the Russian invasion of Georgia. The country's long-term foreign currency debt is rated several notches below investment grade. No current initiative will contribute to solving the most glaring economic problem facing the government, the current account deficit, which was US$1.5 billion in 2002 (the year that Erdogan's party came to power), rose to $37 billion in 2007 and is estimated to exceed $50 billion by the end of the current year.

These days, especially in the Caspian/Black Sea region, pipelines are not big moneymakers. Rather, they are treated as services to the consortium that owns the gas or oil being transported. The CSCP will not solve Turkey's basic economic problems, which arise from its domestic financial and social evolution over the past six years. The outlook cannot be optimistic in the context of the worldwide economic downturn now20beginning.

Robert M Cutler is Senior Research Fellow, Institute of European, Russian and Eurasian Studies, Carleton University, Canada.


Richard Giragosian: Genocide Issue Poses Most Serious Obstacle For Turkish-Armenian Reconciliation 23.09.2008
/PanARMENIAN.Net/ The visit of Turkish President Gul was historic, and the significance of the visit stems from its role in marking the start of a new diplomatic initiative between Turkey and Armenia, Richard Giragosian, a contributing analyst at Jane's Information Group, told a PanARMENIAN.Net reporter.

“Moreover, the state of bilateral relations, or more precisely, the lack of relations, seems to have now assumed a new sense of urgency, as events in Georgia have only speeded up the process of moving toward the opening of the long-closed border between Turkey and Armenia and for the establishment of normal diplomatic relations between the two countries,” he said.

“Improved relations between Turkey and Armenia also serves Russian interests for two reasons, first, due because of Russia’s control and ownership of the Armenian energy, telecommunications and railway sectors, there is now a lucrative opportunity for Moscow to leverage their position in Armenia and use Armenia as a platform to sell electricity to eastern Turkey once the border is open, and to penetrate the Turkish market through their dominant position in Armenia. In this way, a breakthrough in Turkish-Armenian relations also offers a gain for Russia,” he added.

The other reason for this new Russian interest and support is that the possible opening of the Armenian-Turkish border will help the overall Russian strategy of isolating and marginalizing Georgia, especially in the wake of the August conflict in Georgia, according to him.

He said there are also political and economic aspects of the future of Turkish-Armenian relations. “First, the opening of the border provides an important political success, as it demonstrates more than simple good intentions or political will, but offers a concrete step forward. And secondly, in terms of economics, although the gains will not be immediate, will offer the Armenians a new trade and transport route to new markets. And for Turkey, the new promise of border trade will provide the impoverished and under-developed eastern regions of Turkey with energy and trade, offering new jobs and potential prosperity.”

“But the future course of Turkish-Armenian relations will face serious tests over the comings months. Most serious, of course, is the historical agenda item of the Armenian genocide, which must be dealt with in a sincere and comprehensive manner. The Armenian Genocide issue poses the most serious obstacle and challenge for both sides and it remains far from certain whether they can forge a new agreement on this divide,” Mr Giragosian concluded.

Versality Of Ottoman Rums, September 22, 2008, Ariana Ferentinou
"Name: Adam, Eufstathios. Born: 06/10/1881. Occupation: Hangman. City, country of the policy holder: Constantinople, Turkey. Policy date: 03/29/1906. Insurance Company: New York Life Insurance Company.”

This amazing piece of information, which throws a unique beam of light into the life of this Rum who, at the age of 25, was performing one of the most gruesome jobs in the capital of a crumbling Ottoman Empire, would have been lost in history if it was not for the insistence of an American insurance company to retain its good reputation as one of the most trustworthy in the sector. At a time when financial credit reached its lowest ebb, the case of New York Life stands out as curious exception.

New York Life Insurance Company is one of the oldest life insurers operating from its New York headquarters since 1845. Claiming to be “the first” in many fields, it was actually the first American life insurance company "to pay a cash dividend to policy holders since its beginnings. As its logo goes, it is “the company you keep.” Active also outside the United States, the company began selling policies in the Ottoman Empire in 1882 and withdrew from the region during World War I when the regional situation became unstable. By that time, though many of its policy holders – a lot of them Greeks – were either “displaced or perished” during the period of 1915 until 1923. So the company never received any claims and hence never paid any premiums or compensation for many of these clients.

Today, in a strategic policy move the company decided to apply a program by which to compensate heirs of a number of those policy holders who lived in the Ottoman Empire prior to 1915 and who perished as victims of adverse circumstances.

A list ranging from cattle traders to tourists Adam Eufstathios is one of the first in the list of 1031 names that New York Life Insurance Company has published in this 50-page document, which starts with the name of an Abadjidis, Prodromos Hadji Avraam, cattle trader, born in 1881 in Yozgat and was insured in 1908 and ends with Zygomala Alexandre Socrate born in 1879 in "Stamboul, Constantinople" whose occupation is stated simply as an "employee.”

This list, now freely available through the Web site of the company is an amazing picture of the social life of the Rums, during the last years of the Ottoman Empire, and just before their expulsion and population exchange after 1922.

Most of them come from Istanbul (Constantinople) and many live in the wider area around Hagia Sophia stated as Stamboul in their policy document. But they also come from Adapazari, Ordu, Smyrne, Izmit, Edirne, Salonica, Adana, Ak Hissar, Bursa, Aydin, Silivri, Ayvalik, Nigde, Sivas, Saframbolu, Trabzon, Samsun, but also in Paphos (Cyprus), Kairo, Bagdat, Jerusalem. They are mainly tradesmen of fabrics (mainly fine), ready wear, olive oil, tobacco, glass, wood, coal, wheat, cotton and wool, socks, soap, paper, “colonial goods,” luxury goods, animal skin, fruit, gold, books, alcoholic drinks, cheese, etc; but they are also bankers, pharmacists, doctors, teachers, priests, tailors, cambists (sarrafs), locksmiths, ship brokers, shop assistants, florists and confectioners.

However, Isaac Ilia Akkiozoglou from Izmir, who took up a life policy at the age of 39 with American Life, declares his occupation as "tourist!" George Demetrius Anagnostopoulos who was born in Korytza and insured himself in 1901 at the age of 42 was in charge of a gym; Haralambos Andoniadis son of Vassilios born in 1883 and living in Stamboul, was trading in Mohair wool and opium in 1913 when he signed his life policy. Irakles Biyikoglou in 1911 was the manager of the Singer sewing machines shop in Istanbul, and Petros Broussalides in 1906 was selling hats in Konya. Yordan Calaijoglou was a merchant of oil paintings in 1908 in Istanbul, and Jean Petros Kalifatides was trading in pork meat in Trabzon in 1902. In 1910 Andreas Deris, when he took up a life insurance, was the editor of a magazine, George Georgiages was a press distributor in Istanbul in 1912 and Pandelis Ellezoglou, was a judge in Adana in 1909. Kyrillos Nicolaidis was a singer in 1912 in Istanbul and Panayotides Amiros was an assistant to a singer in Istanbul in 1912. Papa Arseniadis, Vassilios works as an official in the Directorate of Ottoman Debts in Konya in 1913. Eustratius Sapoundjaki (probably an ancestor of the present florist) is a flower merchant in Istanbul in 1903. But Constantin Glypsis from Mytelene who was insured in 1900 does not need to do any job as he declares himself "financially independent." And there is Alexandros Moubayadjoglou from Adana who declares himself as a "noble!”

Armenians and Greeks As the company's spokesman William Werfelman explains on the Web site: “In the course of research associated with another historical matter regarding policies sold to Armenians who perished after 1914, the company became aware that Greek policy owners were evidently victims of the same violence in the Ottoman Empire. With the Armenian policy matter now successfully completed, involving benefits paid to heirs of 2,300 Armenian policyholders, New York Life conducted additional archival research and verified that there are Greek policies that may remain unpaid from 1915. We will offer heirs to the Greek policies the same benefits as those provided to persons claiming under the Armenian policies.”

The decision of New York Life Insurance to extend its compensation scheme to cover some 1,000 Greeks was published in the beginning of September in the world press. In Greece it fuelled a sudden interest in family ancestry especially at a time of financial hardship and new stringent economic measures. The total value of the program is $12 million to $15 million and $1 million will go to the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America since “descendants of many of those displaced from their ancestral homelands are now members of the Archdiocese,” the company claims.

As for the rest of the money, will be paid to the descendents of Adam Eufstathios and the rest of 1030 Greeks provided they prove their blood relation. A cumbersome job which involves a lot of paper work and filling out complicated forms. But still you may get something in the end.

Of course I checked the list anxious to find my surname. I knew that there was an illegitimate son of my grand-grandfather who had emigrated to Istanbul from the island of Ithaca around the 1880s. But there was no trace of him afterward and of course I do not possess any documents.

New York Meetings Critical For Turkey-Armenia September 22, 2008, Cansu Çamlibel, Turkish Daily News
The football diplomacy between Turkey and Armenia and the ongoing behind-the-scenes talks with three rounds already completed, will peak on an important stage this week during talks to be held on the sidelines of the U.N General Assembly in New York.

Ankara and Yerevan have been working on a joint declaration of good will, which aims to produce a common language for a normalization of relations. Although there have been encouraging moral developments towards a historic reconciliation, there is still the usual arguments to be overcome.

Establishing a committee of historians between the two countries remains a highly volatile issue, which can only be considered as a part of a wider package according to Armenia. “I have said that before setting up any committee it would be better to establish diplomatic relations and open the border. And then we can establish different committees and sub-committees on every issue,” said Armenian President Serge Sarkisian in an interview with the daily Milliyet yesterday.

Diaspora sensitive Sarkisian's statements reflect the critical nature of the talks in which both sides are trying to clinch a trade off between diplomatic relations and genocide claims. Since Armenia is unlikely to gain support from its population and the diaspora for bringing genocide claims into sharp relief, Yerevan has refrained from putting a strong impetus on the committee itself. There have been recent calls from the Armenian diaspora to Sarkisian's administration to publicly announce that there is no plan to reach an agreement with Turkey to establish a committee to study the events of 1915.

“I find those questions on whether we will recognize the decision of that committee strange. Because in the end a group of academicians and historians will sit down and say something. Let's say I recognized their decision. What if my successor comes up and says ‘I don't'? In other words the decision of this committee can not be binding. This can only be recommendation for governments and decision-makers,” Sarkisian explained yesterday.

Meanwhile, although Ankara is positive about establishing several committees, the focus on a committee of historians still stands as a corner stone since this would deter genocide claims in third countries.

For dispelling the divergent approaches, diplomats abstain from calling it a committee to study the events of 1915 or genocide claims. Simply calling it a committee of historians to study the common history of the two countries, without any emphasis on 1915, would be a rather comforting formula told a source, who spoke to the Turkish Daily News on the condition of anonymity.

Foreign Minister Ali Babacan, who will accompany President Abdullah Gül to the U.N General Assembly meetings in New York, will first hold separate talks with his Azerbaijani counterpart, Elmar Mammadyarov, on Wednesday and his Armenian counterpart, Edward Nalbandian, on Thursday. However, there is no meeting scheduled yet between President Gül and Armenian President Sarkisian, who will both be in New York on the same days.

No reference to the ‘G' word Turkish and Armenian diplomats last week in Switzerland worked on a draft declaration of good will to be announced after the meeting of Babacan and Nalbandian. The TDN has learned the draft aims to underline the political will from both sides for normalization of relations, with reference to the positive atmosphere that has emerged with Gül's Visit to Yerevan. The draft also includes plans to establish a number of committees to study issues, such as economic affairs, including the opening of the border and customs, cultural affairs and diplomatic affairs. There will be no reference to the events of 1915 or other disputed issues.

Meanwhile, Sarkisian, in his interview yesterday, said that Armenia does not have any territorial claims from Turkey, which is historically regarded to be among the disputed issues between the two countries.

The draft is planned as an open declaration and will be legally binding for both sides as it will be announced under the supervision of the two governments. However, the draft still needs further polishing. Although the announcement is initially planned for after the Babacan-Nalbandian meeting, there is still room for delay. Preparing a classified document without announcement to public opinion was one of the options considered, the TDN learned.

After bilateral meetings, foreign ministers of Turkey, Armenia and Azerbaijan are expected to come together for a three-party summit to discuss the developments regarding the dispute over Nagorno-Karabakh, an Azerbaijani territory claimed by Yerevan.

Excluding the U.S. from the Caucasus, September 22, 2008, Barçin Yinanç
It was all over the press last week. At a time when the conflict in the Caucasus reached an alarming level, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan called Foreign Minister Ali Babacan. “Come Ali we are going to Moscow,” he said. They both got on the plane. At the end of a brainstorming that lasted during the three hour flight they landed in Moscow with the Caucasus cooperation and stability platform. And the Foreign Ministry's bureaucracy learned about it from the press.

Although those who are fond of conspiracy theories won't like to hear it, sometimes, there are simple explanations to specific state behaviors. Criticized by the press at the at the early days of the conflict for being on vacation and doing nothing to defuse the tension it appears that the members of government came up with this Caucasus platform in order to calm down the press by giving the impression that they are doing something “concrete.” Thank God (or in fact tanks to Washington) the Georgians started to drag their feet which will hopefully provide the opportunity for the government to think more (than three hours) about whether the platform which covers Turkey, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Russia and Armenia is a good idea.

Turkey's policy under scrutiny Recently Turkey's Caucasus policy came under scrutiny at a security conference in Istanbul organized by the Arı Group. Most of the panelists argued that Russia's invasion of Georgia was intended actually to strike a blow to the east – west energy corridor. Richard Giragosyan, an American Armenian who has been living in Yerevan for the past two years said with its new initiative Turkey took the frozen problems of the region from the US agenda, and put it to the Russian agenda. No wonder how the Russians have jumped on the idea whereas the Americans tried to kill it through Tbilisi.

What is so obvious to a group of experts is not so obvious to the Turkish government.

It appears that no one thought about the implications of giving leverage to the Russians on both Turkish – Armenian rapprochement and the problem or Nagorno – Karabagh through the Caucasus platform. Obviously it will be unthinkable for Russia which is deeply engaged in Armenia not to play a role in the diplomatic processes involving Armenians. But this is the gist of the problem. In a regional platform Russia will undoubtedly make all the others play to its tune, and it will be impossible for Turkey to counterbalance Moscow.

If Turkey wants a solution to Nagorno Karabagh and improve its relations with Yerevan it will need the backing of the United States as well as the European Union which has leverage over Armenia. Only these two power centers can counterbalance the influence of the Russians in Armenia.

The argument behind the Turkish proposal that “regional problems should be solved by the regional players not outside powers,” can only be valid if your regional interlocutors have good will and a spirit of cooperation, a mentality which seems absent in today's Russia. In contrast to the Turkish foreign policy which seeks stability in the Caucasus, Russia derives its strength and influence in the region from the existence of instability. It is thanks to that policy that today it offers the Azerbaijani government a solution on Nagorno Karabagh in exchange for its energy sources.

I had heard previously an Azerbaijani official talking about this proposal but was unable to confirm it. Last week a Russian newspaper ran a report on the offer made to Azerbaijan on similar lines. Considering the current Russian mentality, this should not come as a surprise.

Speaking at the Arı conference Sergei Markov, an advisor to Prime Minister Vladimir Putin was very clear about the Russian position. “If the energy pipelines passes from our territory we support it. If it does not we don't support it,” he said with a tone in his voice as if asking “what's wrong with that.” One can hardly call this a spirit of cooperation based on mutual interest.

Unfortunately the brain storming of Erdoğan and Babacan on a three hour flight to Moscow seems to have ended with the naive belief that Turkey can handle that kind of mentality alone.


QIZ Proposal For Turkey-Armenia Trade, September 22, 2008, Turkish Daily News
As football diplomacy paved the way for a positive dialogue between Ankara and Yerevan, businessmen from both sides have taken action to begin parallel works to ease open the channels of trade. The Turkish Armenian Business Development Council, or TABDC, which has been operating on a non-official basis since 1997, proposed the establishment of a Qualified Industrial Zone, or QIZ, between Turkey and Armenia that would allow co-produced goods to enter the U.S without custom duties and taxes. The proposal was based on a similar model used between Jordan and Israel, who had political disputes.

“The establishment of a QIZ concept has been our leading assignment since 2003. A group of textile professionals visited Turkey and Armenia to promote this concept as the best out of the ordinary model to bring the two nations together,” said the co-chairman of the TABDC, Krikor Salbashian. Although the QIZ proposal was not discussed during the first-ever meeting between President Abdullah Gül and his Armenian counterpart Serge Sarkisian, Salbashian said they had used this historic opportunity to promote their proposals after Sept. 6. Since then, the TABDC has been receiving encouraging response from Turkey, Armenia and the U.S, Salbashian said.

In order for a QIZ to be established the U.S Congress would need to pass a special law. “We believe opening the border between Turkey and Armenia is the key to further promote it with the US Congress,” Salbashian explained.

Meanwhile, the Turkish co-chairman of the TABDC, Kaan Soyak, underlined the importance of key players of the Turkish industry stepping in to undertaking necessary agreements with their Armenian counterparts. Soyak recalled the TABDC had already established links between all parties.


A Unique Art Bazaar In Yerevan September 23, 2008, Vercihan Ziflioğlu YEREVAN - Turkish Daily News
Vernisaj, located in the Armenian capital Yerevan, is a unique art bazaars. Hundreds of traditional Armenian works of art await customers every weekend

A traditional art bazaar in the heart of Armenia's capital city Yerevan offers a unique array of traditional Armenian artwork to shopping addicts every weekend.

Vernisaj is easy to find by walking a bit from Hanrabedutyan Hırabag (Republic Square), from where Mount Ağrı (Ararat) can be seen in all its glory, and passing Vartananatzs Boğoda (Vartananatzs Street).

Crowds flow to Vernisaj every Saturday and Sunday during both the winter and the summer. Bargaining with artists who earn their living by selling art they have produced is very common at this traditional local bazaar. Both local and international customers approach sellers at Vernisaj as though they operate with flexible prices. For example, a work of art normally sold to a local buyer at $20 might be sold to a foreign buyer at $300 if the guy is shy and cannot bargain. But a half-hour bargain might result in buying a unique sculpture or oil painting at a very cheap price.

In Armenia, artwork is attributed great significance. Legal documents are even required to take artwork abroad.

Cotton dolls from Anatolia at Vernisaj
At Vernisaj, numerous works of art produced in different ways await customers on weekends. Khachkars are hand-carved tufa rocks, or wood sculptures, and are one of the best examples of the traditional Armenian art of stone carving. Others include oil paintings, sculptures, clothes, bags and scarves, chess and backgammon sets with unique hand carvings, household goods, and cotton dolls.

Cotton dolls in different colors are a favorite. They salute customers as they stand side by side on the shelves. The dolls wear unique folk costumes that belong to different provinces of Anatolia.

The price for a cotton doll ranges from $30 and $70. At Vernisaj, you can bargain for everything except the cotton dolls.

“Each of these dolls tells a different story from the past,” said Anahid, who was selling dolls she produced for Vernisaj.

“These dolls reflect Anatolia, a land in tales, a land that our grandfathers told us about. Their costumes resemble the traditional folk costumes worn in different parts of Anatolia,” she said.

Dolled up The dolls are made of simple materials such as wool, soft drink taps, knit pieces, etc. Each doll had its own characteristics, said Anahid, adding the design of each doll took at least a few days and as long as a few weeks.

“None of their faces resembles another. Each of them is unique,” she said, as she caressed her dolls, each with a different color, sitting side by side on the shelves.

“But selling these dolls to others gives me pain. If I didn't need to earn money, I'd buy a big house and live in it together with them. I would not have to let them leave me,” she said.

Also at Vernisaj, as eye-catching as the dolls are the Cybele figurines, which are small, naked sculptures with big breasts and holes in their stomachs. Some call them Armenia's porn sculptures. Some of these sculptures are placed on people's tables as saltcellars.

The price for a cotton doll ranges from $30 and $70. At Vernisaj, you can bargain for everything except the cotton dolls.

“Each of these dolls tells a different story from the past,” said Anahid, who was selling dolls she produced for Vernisaj.

“These dolls reflect Anatolia, a land in tales, a land that our grandfathers told us about. Their costumes resemble the traditional folk costumes worn in different parts of Anatolia,” she said.

Dolled up The dolls are made of simple materials such as wool, soft drink taps, knit pieces, etc. Each doll had its own characteristics, said Anahid, adding that the design of each doll took at least a few days and at most a few weeks.

“None of their faces resembles another. Each of them is unique,” she said, as she caressed her dolls, each with a different color, sitting side by side on the shelves.

“But selling these dolls to others gives me pain. If I didn't need to earn money, I'd buy a big house and live in it together with them. I would not have to let them leave me,” she said.

Also at Vernisaj, as eye-catching as the dolls are the Cybele figurines, which are small, naked sculptures with big breasts and holes in their stomachs. Some call them Armenia's porn sculptures. Some of these sculptures are used as saltcellars.


High Hopes For Three-Way Meeting In New York September 23, 2008 Turkish Daily News
Turkey could contribute to a solution to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan, Armenia's foreign minister has said. His suggestion comes just prior to the three-way meeting between the foreign ministers of Turkey, Azerbaijan and Armenia, scheduled for Friday in New York.

“We have made progress during negotiations. Now political will is needed,” said Armenian Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian, private CNN-TÜRK reported yesterday.

The issue will be taken up during the New York meeting. However, Armenia still wants the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, or OSCE, Minsk group to sponsor any solution.

Both President Abdullah Gül and Foreign Minister Ali Babacan had a busy schedule as the 63rd session of the United Nations General Assembly started in New York. Bilateral meetings with several heads of state from Africa and South America, as well as meetings with the Head of the U.N. Development Program Kemal Derviş and U.N. General Assembly Chairman Miguel D'Escoto Brockmann were on Gül's program yesterday.

Babacan was expected to hold talks with around 40 foreign ministers. He was also expected to meet U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel yesterday as the Turkish Daily News went to press.

The global food crisis, U.N. reform and climate change are among the key themes of the U.N. General Assembly this year. Water, terrorism and human rights, nuclear control and disarmament, human trafficking, the situation of Palestinians, humanitarian assistance, and gender equality are other themes.

Azerbaijan positive on trilateral meeting Foreign Minister Ali Babacan on Sunday met with his Azerbaijani counterpart, Elmar Mammadyarov, at the Turkish House in New York. On Friday, Babacan is expected to first meet Nalbandian, Anatolia news agency reported. The three-way meeting is expected to begin after the Babacan-Nalbandian meeting, the news agency said.

Babacan and Mammadyarov were meeting as serious developments were occurring in the Caucasus, Burak Özügergin, spokesman for the Foreign Ministry, told reporters after the meeting. “Turkey was exerting efforts to normalize life in Georgia, and stressing that Turkey saw the atmosphere that occurred after the crisis in Georgia as an opportunity to review some regional problems,” he quoted Babacan as saying.

Turkey wants progress in ending the Nagorno-Karabakh tensions between Azerbaijan, one of its closest allies, and Armenia, which would allow Ankara to take bolder steps in its reconciliation bid with Yerevan. The Turkey-Armenia football match last Saturday has already opened the way for dialogue, bringing down psychological barriers to creating bilateral ties.


Russia and the remaking of the ‘near abroad’ (1) by GÜNER ÖZKAN* The tremors of Russia’s military victory in Georgia are looming over the entire Eurasian landmass, and they are nowhere close to ending. For Russia, winning the war is a turning point on the path to establishing a multi-polar world order by ending the US “uni-polar moment.” Obviously, Russia does not have sufficient capacity to accomplish this on its own.

Moscow’s main goal is, in fact, to remake the “near abroad,” the newly independent states, an area in which it has long felt that it has lost much strategic ground to its competitors, the US and the EU. Dmitry Medvedev, the Russian president, has stressed this explicitly, saying his country has “special” relationships and interests in the “near abroad” and promising to protect them rigorously. So, how likely is Russia to be successful in its efforts to remake the “near abroad”? Some recent reactions and factors regarding the war in Georgia may provide some answers to this question.

End of US ‘uni-polar moment’ in Georgia
Russia’s biggest challenger, the US, could have done no more than provide financial and humanitarian aid for Georgia. US aid delivery to Georgia by warships via the Black Sea did not repel Russia from its position at all. Having poured out money and humanitarian assistance, the current US government is just trying to save Mikhail Saakashvili, the Georgian president, whom Russia has already called a “political corpse.” US Vice President Dick Cheney’s visits to Baku, Tbilisi and Kyiv in early September aimed to prolong the political survival of pro-Western leaders by promising them some security guarantees. But whatever guarantee Cheney is offering is and will remain futile following the recent events in Georgia.

The current US government may want to save Saakashvili for now out of courtesy, but his survival will be decided after the US presidential election in November at the latest, if not before. A Democratic president in the White House will surely look at Georgia and Russia through different lenses. Before all this, the Georgian opposition, which already has serious questions for Saakashvili about taking the country into an unwinnable war against Russia, may oust Saakashvili with an early election. Already, Nino Burjanadze, the ex-chairwoman of the Georgian Parliament, is said to be being groomed by Washington for Saakashvili’s seat. Yet, no matter who the US helps in Georgia for the presidential post, he or she will have to act in line with the terms set by Russia in the region, not by the US. In terms of political leadership, neither the US nor Russia should worry about Azerbaijan, as Baku is ruled by the Aliyev family with the mutual consensus of both Washington and Moscow. This is a fine balance that İlham Aliyev, the Azerbaijani president, does not have the luxury of disturbing. Perhaps for this reason, Aliyev, as reported, has ruled out Cheney’s demand to isolate Moscow by cutting off the oil and gas pipelines currently operating between Azerbaijan and Russia. In Ukraine, the coalition government is about to collapse as Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, the former ally of pro-Western President Viktor Yushchenko during the Orange Revolution, curbed a motion in parliament strongly condemning Russian action in Georgia by joining pro-Russian opposition leader, Viktor Yanukovych.

So Russia does not feel either any serious pressure from ongoing US policies in the region or care much about the rich states’ threats to kick Russia out of the G8 or prevent it from being a member of the World Trade Organization (WTO). Nor does it seem to be really scared of the US missile defense shield agreements with Poland and the Czech Republic, or of the possible hasty admissions of Georgia and Ukraine to NATO. Quite the contrary, no matter how symbolic it may be, Russia is getting ready to conduct a naval exercise with Venezuela in the United States’ “backyard,” the Caribbean Sea.

An ever-divided EU
The Council of Europe at a meeting on Sept. 1 condemned Moscow’s recognition of South Ossetia and Abkhazia as independent states and stressed that a lasting solution to the conflict in Georgia could be found by respecting the principles of independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity in international law. The only concrete step taken by the council was the postponement of the negotiation meetings of the Partnership Agreement between the EU and Russia. The rest of the EU presidency conclusions included either emphasis on the importance of good and healthy relationships between the EU and Russia, or Brussels’ readiness to deploy observer and fact-finding missions to the region. What happened in the council summit was clear: Differing economic, political and security interests of various EU member states stopped them from taking decisive action against Russia. While even the US, with all its global power and unitary nature in policy making, failed against Russia, the EU’s failure, with its diverse foreign and defense policies, is not surprising at all.

Perhaps in order to please those dissatisfied within the EU, Nicolas Sarkozy, accompanied by two other EU high officials, went to Moscow on Sept. 8 to hold another meeting with Medvedev to make Russia fulfill some of the crucial points of the six-point cease-fire agreement of Aug. 12 that Moscow had ignored until then. Sarkozy and Medvedev once again agreed on the withdrawal of all Russian military forces from the territories between Georgia and the breakaway republics of South Ossetia and Abkhazia to pre-war positions. This pullout would be completed by Oct. 1, following the deployment of international monitoring mechanisms, including at least 200 monitors from the EU. Also, international discussions would be held in Geneva on Oct. 15 on security and stability in the region, resolving the problem of refugees and internally displaced persons and any other concerns put forward with the mutual consent of all sides. Many may say that this document is a success for the EU, but it actually bars Brussels from its observer mission in South Ossetia and Abkhazia. This then means that the EU has accepted the de facto independence of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, which Brussels has rejected from the very beginning. International talks in Geneva will cover post-conflict issues, but not necessarily on the future status of the two regions. As Russia has already established diplomatic relations with two regions and is getting ready to finalize the necessary documents to establish military bases in South Ossetia, it will be very difficult, if not impossible, for the EU and Georgia to discuss the status of these regions with Moscow in the context of Georgian territorial integrity. Most likely, the outcomes of the upcoming Geneva meeting and possible subsequent meetings will amount to no more than additional EU financial and logistic support for refugees and internally displaced persons and monitoring missions outside South Ossetia and Abkhazia.

Overall, no concrete result covering either political or economic sanctions came out against Russia. Understandably, Moscow has been satisfied with the division inside the EU leading it to avoid sanctions. Now there is no reason for Russia to hesitate to continue using the rift within the EU for boosting its policies in the “near abroad.”

Eastern support for Russia: the SCO
Unlike with the West, Russia has received strong backing from the states of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), which include Russia, China, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan.

It is true that none of the member states followed Russia’s path and recognized South Ossetia and Abkhazia as independent states during or after the SCO summit held on Aug. 28 in Dushanbe, the capital of Tajikistan. Russia is not, in fact, pressuring any state on the issue of diplomatic recognition of these two regions. Nevertheless, they have all backed Russia’s action in the region. Contrary to the EU and US, which have seen the war in the Caucasus as an issue between Georgia and Russia, the SCO has considered it a matter centered on South Ossetia. This explains the fact that, contrary to the Western approach of accepting the issue as a matter of the territorial integrity of Georgia, the states of the SCO have supported the Russian position by making a direct reference to South Ossetia as a conflict region. Further, the members of the SCO have openly defined Russia’s role in South Ossetia as a position promoting “peace and cooperation” in the region. *Assistant Professor Güner Özkan is an expert on the Caucasus at the Ankara-based International Strategic Research Organization (ISRO/USAK) and a lecturer at Muğla University.
22 September 2008, Monday

Russia And The Remaking Of The ‘near Abroad’ (2) by GÜNER ÖZKAN* The Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) has conformed to the Russian view that the conflict in South Ossetia is tantamount to shaking, if not entirely changing, the global balance of power that has orbited around US supremacy since the end of the Cold War.

So the SCO has seen the unipolar mentality of the US as a source of conflict rather than a cure for the world’s common challenges. Stressing the necessity of a multipolar world for the sake of international security, the SCO has supported the maintenance of a strategic balance of power. The SCO has thus warned that the US endeavor to create a global missile defense system, as in Poland and the Czech Republic, is a futile attempt, as such efforts will neither help uphold the strategic balance nor prevent the spread of weapons of every kind, including nuclear.

So, along with demanding a multipolar international order, the SCO reiterated that Russia has an exclusive right to shape the “near abroad.’”

Rising value of the CSTO Not surprisingly, Russia has received substantial political backing from certain countries within the borders of the “near abroad.” Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan already announced their endorsement of Russia within the context of the SCO. More support has also come from members of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) -- an organization established in 2002 that grew out of the Russian-led Collective Security Organization of 1993 and was meant to improve security relations between Russia, Armenia, Belarus, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. Like the SCO, the heads of state of the CSTO at their summit on Sept. 5 in Moscow endorsed Russia’s role in the conflict region and condemned Georgia’s military action against South Ossetia and “double standards” being pursued by the West on the issue. So, as well as showing that it is not and cannot be isolated, Russia made a comparison between the cases of Kosovo and South Ossetia by putting the term “double standard” in the resolution of the CSTO summit.

Here again, Russia conveyed that diplomatic recognition of South Ossetia and Abkhazia is a matter that should be decided by each member of the CSTO in line with their own national interests. Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko has already announced his willingness to recognize them as soon as parliament returns from summer break at the end of September. After evaluating the changing political and military dynamics in the region, and of course, seeing a green light from Russia, Armenia may also prefer to recognize not only South Ossetia and Abkhazia but also Nagorno-Karabakh in Azerbaijan. In fact, perhaps encouraged by the Russian stance on the recognition of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, Armenian President Serzh Sarksyan pointed out at the summit that all members of the CSTO should adopt a unified position on foreign policy, military and other issues. Certainly, Sarksyan had in mind a united front in the CSTO toward the Armenian-populated breakaway region of Nagorno-Karabakh in Azerbaijan, including possible diplomatic recognition of it. True, Armenia and other CSTO members have still not recognized South Ossetia and Abkhazia. However, it will be very interesting to see what the same states do when Abkhazia soon applies -- as Sergei Bagapsh, the Abkhazian leader, has already announced he will do -- for membership in the CSTO and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS).

Energy pipelines for control over the ‘near abroad’ Russia’s success in challenging the West or exerting its control over the “near abroad” is greatly dependent on where future Caspian oil and gas pipelines are built: passing through Russian territory or not.

Energy pipelines are in fact equally important for both sides. The EU and the US want to reduce their energy dependence on single and/or unreliable sources (the Middle East and Russia). On the other hand, Moscow strongly desires to preserve and increase the huge benefits it is getting from energy exports as Russia is now earning nearly two-thirds of its export revenues from oil and natural gas sales. Most importantly, Russia is spending 30-40 percent of its budget on the defense and security sectors. With all of this in mind, Putin made a verbal deal with Islom Karimov, the Uzbek president, on Sept. 2 on another pipeline to carry around 30 billion cubic meters (bcm) of natural gas per year from Uzbekistan to Russia with a link to Turkmenistan. Russia has already transported a significant amount of natural gas from the region via its pipeline system and made another gas transportation deal (up to 80 bcm per year for 25 years) with Turkmenistan in May 2007. On the other side, Washington, Brussels and Ankara have also intensified their efforts to realize the trans-Caspian pipeline from energy rich Turkmenistan, with possible inclusion of Uzbek and Kazakh reserves, to Europe via the Caspian seabed, South Caucasus and Turkey. The trans-Caspian pipeline, which is currently seen as the most important component of the Nabucco project -- a proposed pipeline to carry the Caspian, Iraqi and other available natural gas yields to Central Europe via Turkey -- has been under discussion since the mid-1990s. There is no way that China will be left out of the pipeline equation in the “near abroad.” Of its various other energy projects in the region, Beijing struck a gas agreement with Turkmenistan in April 2006 for a Sino-Turkmen pipeline to be completed by 2009 to transport up to 30 bcm of natural gas annually for a 30-year period.

In the final analysis, in the “near abroad” theater, many actors are still in the energy and security games that now have to be played under the new power balances created by the conflict in Georgia. Surely, any verbal political and security guarantees given by the US and the EU to the vulnerable regional leaderships in the “near abroad” come nowhere near to matching the military actions of the Russian army. It is likely that international private investors and politically unstable leaderships of the region have already begun to think twice before making up their minds on the paths of future energy lines and on establishing security and political relationships with the external world. Naturally, political leaderships in the “near abroad” have to lean toward the direction(s) posing little or no threat to their rules. Even if some of them show a certain level of resistance to Russia’s pressure, it is unlikely they will turn their faces to the West, but rather to the East, China and other alternatives in that direction.

*Assistant Professor Güner Özkan is an expert on the Caucasus at the Ankara-based International Strategic Research Organization (ISRO/USAK) and a lecturer at Muğla University. 23 September 2008,


AAA calls on ambassadorial nominee for Turkey to recognize Armenian Genocide 23.09.2008
/PanARMENIAN.Net/ The Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, has scheduled the nomination hearing of Bush’s Ambassadorial Nominee for Turkey, James F. Jeffrey, for Wednesday, September 24, 2008, the Armenian Assembly of America (Assembly) told PanARMENIAN.Net.

"We are hopeful the nomination hearing is not a question and answer session, which in the past has resulted in equivocating on the historical fact of the Armenian Genocide and America’s proud record of humanitarian intervention," said Assembly Executive Director Bryan Ardouny. "This represents a critical opportunity for the U.S. Ambassador to Turkey to go further than Ambassador Yovanovitch and this time to squarely affirm the Armenian Genocide. The U.S. record of affirmation is clear as evidenced by the 1951 U.S. filing before the International Court of Justice. The Armenian Genocide is an historical fact and Mr. Jeffrey would be well served to follow in the tradition of Ambassador Henry Morgenthau," continued Ardouny. In addition to its campaign of denial and application of article 301 of its penal code, which punishes discussion of the Armenian Genocide, for more than a decade, Turkey, in coordination with Azerbaijan, has blockaded Armenia. The Turkish blockade not only costs Armenia hundreds of millions of dollars, but also undermines the stated U.S. policy goals of regional cooperation and economic integration in the South Caucasus Region.

While Turkey’s President Gul did accept the bold invitation by Armenia’s President Serzh Sargsyan to visit Armenia on the occasion of a soccer game between the two countries earlier this month, more concrete steps are needed, including establishing working diplomatic relations and a process of normalization that removes blockades, opens borders, restores economic relations, and strives toward the peaceful resolution of differences and disputes in the region. In fact, the U.S. Administration has repeatedly called upon Turkey "to restore economic, political and cultural links with Armenia."

Turkey Ends Its Long Policy Dependence On Azerbaijan 23.09.2008
/PanARMENIAN.Net/ The latest developments regarding Nagorno-Karabakh come as a result of the recent conflict in Georgia, which has only reactivated two important trends: a Turkish bid for regional stability and a need to prevent any outbreak of war over Nagorno-Karabakh, Richard Giragosian, a contributing analyst at Jane's Information Group, told a PanARMENIAN.Net reporter.

“This first factor, related to Turkey’s new diplomatic initiative for regional security and stability, includes a new possible breakthrough in Turkish-Armenian relations, as seen by the historic visit by Turkish President Gul to Yerevan. A related development that has strengthened this chance for a breakthrough in Turkish-Armenian relations is the fact that Russia is now much more interested in supporting this process than ever before,” he said.

But most significantly, Turkey has now untied and de-linked its policy toward Armenia from the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, according to him.

“This Turkish move to end its long policy dependence on Azerbaijan, in which Ankara’s foreign policy options toward Armenia was hostage to Baku, should not be under-estimated and reveals a new bold move by Turkey. The blockade of Armenia has failed and Turkish foreign policy has been too hostage and tied to the Nagorno-Karabakh issue, with little or no gain for Turkey. With this move, Turkey regains its options and flexibility for its foreign policy and Armenia gains a new economic opportunity, which it also needs in the wake of its critical over-dependence on Georgia as its main outlet for trade exports and energy imports,” the expert said.

He said that the second trend concerns new fears of a possible outbreak of hostilities over Karabakh by Azerbaijan, because the Georgian conflict, and its subsequent Russian invasion, only magnified the need for stability and showed the danger of so-called “frozen” conflicts becoming “hot” wars very quickly. “And what is most troubling for regional security is the fact that Azerbaijan may eventually succeed in having the strongest military power in this region. And even more distressing is the fact that Azerbaijan sees a different lesson from the recent conflict in Georgia. Many leading Azerbaijani officers see that the most serious Georgian mistake was not their decision to launch a military campaign to retake South Ossetia, but rather, Georgia’s strategic mistake was launching military operations before they were fully prepared or strong enough. Thus, the Azerbaijani view is that they have learned from the Georgians that it is better for them to wait until they are strong enough and ready to wage war to retake Karabakh,” Mr Giragosian said.

Gul Aims To Create A Positive Climate Between Turkey And Armenia armradio.am 26.09.2008
Turkish President Abdullah Gul said Thursday his aim was to create a positive climate between Turkey and Armenia. "I am very hopeful about this," he said in a meeting organized by the American-Turkish Society in New York.

He said Turkey and Armenia did not have diplomatic relations, and their borders were closed, although Turkey was one of the first countries recognizing Armenia's independence.

"However, the two countries have had humanitarian activities," Gul said, reminding of Turkey's wheat assistance to Armenia in 1990s.

Gul said thousands of Armenian citizens are working in Turkey due to economic reasons and flights and cultural activities are organized between the two countries.

"My recent visit to Armenia was for a soccer game, but I did not only watch the game with Mr. Sargsyan. We had the opportunity to discuss bilateral relations, the Caucasus and Azerbaijan," he was quoted by Anatolian Agency as saying.

Gul said it is necessary to solve regional problems through dialogue, and added he hoped that everything would normalize in the end.

Gul also said one of indicators that relations would normalize was the trilateral meeting the foreign ministers of Turkey, Azerbaijan and Armenia will hold in New York today.

"What leaders should do is to eliminate the problems, not to feed enmities," Gul also said.

Gul said that many projects could be carried out between Turkey and Armenia, like establishing industrial zones at the border, after the problems were solved, daily Hurriyet reported.

Levon Melik-Shahnazaryan: Opening Of The Border Pregnant With Serious Dangers, armradio.am 26.09.2008
The opening of the Armenian-Turkish border is pregnant with serious dangers, including those of economic nature: in particular, it will cause great harm to light industry, political scientist Levon Melik-Shahnazaryan told a press conference today. However, according to him, the greatest danger is that Turkey will start accusing Armenia of providing camps to the Kurdish Workers' Party.

According to Levon Melik-Shahnazaryan, Turkey is currently competing with Russia, Iran and the United States to enlarge its influence in the region.

Turning to Turkey's willingness to act as mediator in the Karabakh conflict settlement, the political scientist noted that Armenia does not need such a mediator. In his words, the mediator that considers its people and the people of Azerbaijan different parts of the same nation cannot be unbiased.

Levon Melik-Shahnazaryan is assured that the problem of Armenian-Turkish relations will not be solved either now or in the time of coming generations. "Civilization lays in the basis of the controversies of those relations, and we need to live many centuries in the same civilization to overcome it," he said.

Armenian President Praises Progress On Turkey Talks , By VOA News 25 September 2008
Armenia's president told the United Nations General Assembly Thursday that "the time has come" to solve Armenian-Turkish problems.

Serzh Sargsyan addresses the 63rd session of the United Nations General Assembly, 25 Sept. 2008 Serzh Sargsyan praised the outcome of a recent meeting with his Turkish counterpart, Abdullah Gul, saying Mr. Gul shares his determination to move quickly and resolutely in that direction.

Turning to another regional conflict, Mr. Sargsyan criticized what he called Azerbaijan's "belligerent" stance on the breakaway region of Nagorno-Karabakh. Nevertheless, he vowed to continue negotiations with Azerbaijan to seek recognition of the largely Armenian-inhabited region, which he characterized as effectively independent.

The Armenian president also denounced the recent bloodshed in the South Caucasus, which he said threatened the entire region and beyond. He said the General Assembly must work to modernize its institutions and prevent a return to Cold War-era divisions.

Ethnic Armenians in the Nagorno-Karabakh area declared independence from Azerbaijan in 1988, triggering a six-year conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia. A cease-fire was declared in 1994, but sporadic exchanges of gunfire continue. The conflict has claimed 35,000 lives.

Azerbaijan's President Ilham Aliyev recently met with his Russian counterpart, Dmitri Medvedev, and called on Russia to continue what he called its "active role" in settling the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.

Turkey Tries To Oppose The Official Yerevan To Diaspora, AZG Armenian Daily 26/09/2008
The enthusiasm in Turkish officials and representatives' speeches on Armenian-Turkish relations prompts that the Turkish government has great expectations of the Armenian authorities. Moreover, as long as the Genocide recognition remains the knottier question for Turkey, the Turkish officials will speak more enthusiastically about formation of a joint body. As enthusiastically that even Turkish Foreign Minister Ali Babacan assured the Turkish and international news agencies on September 10 after Serzh Sargsian - Abdullah Gul meeting that "the issue should be observed as settled, as Serzh Sargsian gave his consent to it (creation of such a body)".

In other words, without even creating such a body and discussing any question, the Turkish authorities try to form an international opinion about stopping the process of the Genocide recognition in order to prepare a diplomatic-advocating march in the nature "We are negotiating. Why are you hindering us from doing it?"

Moreover, not only the Turkish advocacy but also the consent of the executive bodies of the countries that restrain their parliamentarians from raising the issue of the Genocide contribute to the above-mentioned.

Ali Babacan, like other Turkish representatives, show an unusual thoughtfulness for the people of Armenia underlining their sufferings and needs without even asking himself what percent of those sufferings are because of Turkish enmity. Of course, not the compassion is the reason of the Turkish Foreign Minister's crocodile tears but the aspiration to oppose Armenia to Diaspora. "On the one hand the suffering people, on the other hand the well-off and surfeited Diaspora that is in a position of power in Europe and United States", Ali Babacan said adding, "The agendas of these two are different".

We cannot agree with the last expression and want to correct it - the difference is not between the Armenians in motherland and Diaspora, but between the official Yerevan and the people in general.

Yes, the governments sometimes may have agendas different from their people. And the governments cannot demand lands if in case of negative answer they have no ready guns. And not even repayment for the sufferings and losses. But different (agendas) doesn't mean opposite. And the Armenian authorities should be very cautious in their announcements and statements, in order there will not be contrary agendas and in order our opponents will not take the opportunity. On the contrary, the agendas should be systematized, and distribution of roles should be organized.

Ara Papian: In Case Of Wrong Development Of Armenian-Turkish Relations Armenian Diplomacy's Efforts Of Last 50 Years Can Become Equal To Zero Noyan Tapan www.nt.am Sep 25, 2008
YEREVAN: U.S. President Woodrow Wilson's arbitrary decision on Armenian-Turkish state border is considered especially important today, because if Turkey wishes to establish normal relations with Armenia, it should undertake certain steps in that direction. Ara Papian, the former Ambassador of Armenia to Canada, stated in his September 25 interview to journalists. According to him, Armenia showed initiative to start relations with Turkey since getting independent, it is a different matter at what price these relations should be established. "What should we sacrifice and what should we receive? Diplomacy is very like medicine, therefore, steps undertaken should be done by the principle "don't do harm."

Turkey has already started to gain, but what have Armenians gained, it is not clear," he said.

A. Papian said that he returned from New York the day before and has an impression that Americans are surprised at the fact that Armenian-Turkish relations are becoming warmer and why Armenians make concessions. And American Armenians, according to A. Papian, are indignant as such a step regards not only Armenia but also the whole Diaspora. "In case of a wrong development of relations the efforts of Armenian diplomacy of the last 50 years can become equal to zero," he mentioned.

Baroness Cox Awarded Ra Prime Minister's Memorial Medal, armradio.am 25.09.2008
According to today's decision of RA Prime Minister Tigran Sargsyan, the Vice-Speaker of the House of Lords of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, President of the British-Armenian Parliamentary Group, Baroness Caroline Cox was awarded a memorial medal of the Prime Minister of the Republic of Armenia for her considerable contribution to the reinforcement and development of Armenian-British ties and the friendly relations with the Armenian people. Today the Prime Minister handed the medal during the meeting with Baroness Cox at RA Government.

During her recurrent visit to NKR and Armenia Baroness Cox was accompanied by a large delegation of people interested in Armenia and Artsakh, who will become the best friends of Armenia in the future, according to the Baroness.

Greeting the guests, RA Prime Minister Tigran Sargsyan expressed gratitude to Caroline Cox, noting that the Baroness, who has become a legendary personality for our people, is very well-known in Armenia and Artsakh thanks to the various missions she realized.

The Vice-Speaker of the UK House of Lords Caroline Cox told the Prime Minister about her recurrent visit, noting that she spent most of her trip on the sacred land of Artsakh participating in the celebration of the 10th anniversary of the rehabilitation centre established with her assistance.

Baroness Cox thanked the Prime Minister for the awards and the warm words.

During the meeting with Tigran Sargsyan she said to be interested in the possible influence of the declaration of independence of Abkhazia and South Ossetia on the process of settlement of the Karabakh conflict, the current state of Armenian-Turkish relations after the Turkish President's visit to Armenia and well as the approaches of the Armenian authorities on the matter. The Prime Minister presented the official stance of our country on the above-mentioned issues.

Serzh Sargsyan: Together With President Of Turkey We Decided Not To Leave The Problems Of Our Countries To Next Generations, ArmInfo 2008-09-25
ArmInfo. 'During our meeting with President of Turkey Abdullah Gul we decided not to leave the problems of our countries to next generations', President of Armenia Serzh Sargsyan said at a reception organized by the Armenian Embassy in the USA, Permanent Representation of Armenia at the UN and by leading Armenians organizations of America, the presidential press-service reports.

He said he believes that it is time for settling the problems in Armenian-Turkish relations and he is ready for it and his Turkish counterpart is also ready to make difficult decisions. 'All this allows me to hope that we will not continue the way leaving the problems to next generation and will not invent mechanisms of dragging-out', he said. The president mentioned that after the negotiations in Yerevan Turkish foreign minister declared that Turkey is ready to look back to the past, and face the resolutions by the supposed commission.

He also highlighted the readiness of the Turkish president to contribute to settling the Karabakh conflict. 'We have always welcomed any assistance that had favorable impact on the mediation of OSCE Minsk Group and the initiative of the Turkish president may prove such. Our key task in the settlement is to persuade the Azerbaijani party through negotiations that recognition of Nagorny Karabakh people's right to self-determination is inevitable', the President of Armenia said.

Armenian Assembly Of America Praises Senators Kerry And Menendez For Tough Questioning Of Bush Administration's Ambassadorial Nominee For Turkey Armenian Assembly of America www.aaainc.org Press Release, September 25, 2008
Armenian Assembly Submits Letter Raising Concerns to Senate Committee

Washington, DC - The Bush Administration's nominee to serve as Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Republic of Turkey, Ambassador James F. Jeffrey, was questioned by U.S. Senators John Kerry (D-MA) and Robert Menendez (D-NJ) during yesterday's Senate Foreign Relations Committee meeting, reported the Armenian Assembly of America (Assembly).

Senator Kerry questioned Jeffrey about a House Committee on Foreign Affairs hearing on June 18, where Assistant Secretary of State Dan Fried stated "that the brutality against the Armenians starting in1915 was 'extraordinarily well documented' and that the assessment of former Ambassador Henry Morgenthau was 'accurate' that is that there is no question that the intention was not to move the Armenian people in a peaceful way."

Kerry also reminded Jeffrey about what Assistant Secretary of Legislative Affairs Matthew Reynolds wrote in a letter to Chairman Joseph Biden (D-DE) that "our goal in bringing archivists from Armenia and Turkey is not to open a debate whether the Ottomans committed these horrendous acts, it's to help preserve the documentation that supports the truth of those events." Reynolds further added that "the administration further recognizes that the mass killings, ethnic cleansing, and forced deportation of up to 1.5 million Armenians were conducted by the Ottoman Empire. We indeed hold Ottoman officials responsible for those crimes."

Finishing with his question he asked, "Can you assure the committee that the Administration is not supporting rhetorically, financially, or otherwise, an effort to convene a commission to settle an historical debate that in effect is not a debate?"

Jeffrey replied, "We are supportive of anything the two sides mutually agree on, and as part of any process there should be a full and open review of the events of that time, provided it's mutually agreed on."

Menendez was quick to question Ambassador Jeffrey about his opening statement by saying, "Ambassador Jeffrey, I'm dismayed as I heard your answer to Senator Kerry, and the statements that Senator Kerry read to you is the response to this Committee and to Chairman Biden, from the State Department." He continued, "Well that's not what the Administration, in their letter said, the goal is not to open a debate, it is to help preserve the documentation that supports the truth of those events. Now, what I heard you respond to the question is quite different, so do you want to clear that up for me? The historical facts, as I see it, have now been admitted to by the State Department and clearly stated as such and I don't get a sense that's what your telling us so that puts a complication in this process. Maybe you can help us?"

Jeffrey responded: "Certainly everything Assistant Secretary Reynolds wrote is U.S. Government policy and I stand by it. What I was trying to communicate was that it's also important for Turks and Armenians to move forward on a joint effort to work on these issues, and come to, to the extent they can, a common view of the historical events."

Menendez continued his questioning and asked, "Well if in fact we already have come to the conclusion that the historical facts, as outlined by Mr. Reynolds on behalf of the State Department in July of this year, are that we indeed hold Ottoman officials responsible for those crimes, why would we support an initiative that ultimately doubts whether those are the historical facts? Why would we be supportive of an effort that ultimately undermines the very position that our State Department has?"

Jeffrey answered, "In conflicts such as this, we believe that, as a general rule, and we apply this across the board in many conflicts, we have and it's our obligation to our own citizens and to the historical record, to have our own views, but also important to encourage both sides of various disputes to try to come to some sort of joint understanding of the past and a joint way forward for the future. Every effort that can be taken for people to review openly the facts of that period would be supported by me."

As the U.S. Senate debates whether to send Ambassador Jeffrey to Turkey, developments continue to unfold in the South Caucasus region which impact America's policies and warrant thorough exploration and evaluation. While much of the media headlines have focused on the Russian-Georgian crisis, as well as Turkish President Abdullah Gul's visit to Armenia at Armenian President Serge Sargsyan's invitation, the ongoing prosecutions in Turkey under Article 301 of its penal code and the importance of a peaceful resolution of the Nagorno Karabakh conflict have not garnered much media coverage.

"At the epicenter of the Armenian Genocide, Turkey is the place where our U.S. Ambassador has a unique opportunity to not betray U.S. principles and can play an important role in helping Turkey come to terms with its past," said Assembly Executive Director Bryan Ardouny. "The U.S. Ambassador to Turkey should be held to the highest standard when it comes to U.S. efforts to combat denial and prevent future genocides. Given Turkey's ongoing denial campaign, the Administration's nominee has an opportunity to reaffirm the proud chapter in U.S. history where our diplomats played a pivotal role in alerting the world to this horrific crime against humanity. Therefore, our expectation is that if confirmed, Ambassador Jeffrey will stand on the side of historical truth and affirm the U.S. record on the Armenian Genocide."

It is expected that Jeffrey will be discharged by the Committee, by unanimous consent with a full Senate vote anticipated before Congress adjourns.

Jeffrey currently serves as Assistant to the President and Deputy National Security Advisor at the White House. A career member of the Senior Foreign Service, he previously served as Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary in the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs. Earlier in his career, he served as Deputy Chief of Mission in Baghdad, United States Ambassador to Albania, and three other assignments in Turkey.

Established in 1972, the Armenian Assembly of America is the largest Washington-based nationwide organization promoting public understanding and awareness of Armenian issues. The Assembly is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt membership organization.
###
NR#2008-068
Editor's Note: Assembly Letter and Video of Hearing found by following links below:

Assembly Letter to Senate Committee on Foreign Relations http://www.aaainc.org/fileadmin/pdf_2008_new/Turkey_Nominee_Letter.pdf

Video of Hearing, Questions & Answers http://www.aaainc.org/index.php?id=376


Symposium On Adana Massacre Of Armenians To Be Held In London In March 2009, © Panarmenian September 25, 2008
To mark the centenary of the Adana Massacres of 1909 a one-day symposium will be held at the London School of Economics on 28 March 2009. The meeting will look back at Adana 1909 to evaluate the humanitarian activity in the aftermath of the 1909 massacres and to explore the response, imagery and meaning ascribed to those events. Since 1909, Adana has continued to resonate as an evocative historic community in the consciousness of the Armenian Diaspora, and it has commanded artistic responses in literature, art and film, Gibrahayer.com reports. Possible subjects might include, but are not limited to, the following: the response to Adana 1909 by observers, survivors, humanitarian organizations and writers; analysis of or new approaches to the classic texts by authors such as Zabel Yesayian, Souren Bartevian, Siamanto, Arshagouhi Teotig or Hagop Terzian; analysis of texts by foreign observers on Adana 1909; Adana in oral narratives or song; the relationship between art, violence and mourning; literary texts or film or artwork exploring Adana as lost (or ancestral) home, images of Adana, memory or Diasporan identity.

Adana Massacre was the second series of large-scale massacres of Armenians to break out in the Ottoman Empire. The atrocities committed in the province of Adana in April 1909 coincided with the counter-revolution staged by supporters of Sultan Abdul Hamid (Abdulhamit) II (1876-1909) A prosperous region on the Mediterranean coast encompassing the old principality of Cilicia, once an independent Armenian state between the eleventh and fourteenth centuries, the province of Adana had been spared the 1890’s massacres. The disturbances were most severe in the city of Adana where a reported 4,437 Armenian dwellings were torched. The outbreaks spread throughout the district and an estimated 30,000 Armenians were reported killed.


Friends And Neighbours ,Sep 25th 2008 | ANKARA AND YEREVAN From The Economist - Rising Hopes Of Better Relations Between Two Historic Enemies
KEMAL ATATURK , father of modern Turkey, rescued hundreds of Armenian women and children from mass slaughter by Ottoman forces during and after the first world war. This untold story, which is sure to surprise many of today’s Turks, is one of many collected by the Armenian genocide museum in Yerevan that “will soon be brought to light on our website,” promises Hayk Demoyan, its director.

His project is one more example of shifting relations between Turkey and Armenia. On September 6th President Abdullah Gul became the first Turkish leader to visit Armenia when he attended a football match. Mr Gul’s decision to accept an invitation from Armenia’s president, Serzh Sarkisian, has raised expectations that Turkey may establish diplomatic ties and open the border it closed during the 1990s fighting between Armenia and Azerbaijan over Nagorno-Karabakh. The two foreign ministers were planning to meet in New York this week. Armenia promises to recognise Turkey’s borders and to allow a commission of historians to investigate the fate of the Ottoman Armenians.

Reconciliation between Turkey and Armenia could tilt the balance of power in the Caucasus. Russia is Armenia’s closest regional ally. It has two bases and around 2,000 troops there. The war in Georgia has forced Armenia to rethink its position. Some 70% of its supplies flow through Georgia, and these were disrupted by Russian bombing. Peace with Turkey would give Armenia a new outside link. Some think Russia would be happy too. “It would allow Russia to marginalise and lean harder on Georgia,” argues Alexander Iskandaryan, director of the Caucasus Media Institute.

Mending fences with Armenia would bolster Turkey’s regional clout. And it might also help to kill a resolution proposed by the American Congress to call the slaughter of the Armenians in 1915 genocide. That makes the Armenian diaspora, which is campaigning for genocide recognition, unhappy. Some speak of a “Turkish trap” aimed at rewriting history to absolve Turkey of wrongdoing. Indeed, hawks in Turkey are pressing Armenia to drop all talk of genocide.

Even more ambitiously, the hawks want better ties with Armenia to be tied anew to progress over Nagorno-Karabakh. But at least Mr Gul seems determined to press ahead. “If we allow the dynamics that were set in motion by the Yerevan match to slip away, we may have to wait another 15-20 years for a similar chance to arise,” he has said.
---------
Comments
---------
-Alex- wrote: September 26, 2008
Interesting how Russia will react. If Armenia is with Turkey and Europe and not with Russia's then it may decide to bully them like Georgians. They may deport Armenians, visas, embargoes...

Random Commentator wrote: September 26, 2008
It is great that Turkey and Armenia may straighten its relations. Likewise, Germany and Poland became friends, upon realization that people responsible for genocides are old or dead etc. Its not that Nazi genocides were forgotten or not prosecuted, its that they dont influence other parts of life.

Certainly Armenia realised that focusing politics and economy on Russia has no future. Russia is not good partner, with weak economy focused on commodities, political unrest and plans to bully neighbors in "old zone of influence". Armenia must seek political links with Europe and economic links with Turkey.

Zeyne Koksal wrote: September 26, 2008
I am very happy to see two sibling nations to start talking again. We've lived together in peace for centuries. I belive with all my heart that we could find a way to live together in peace again. I see no difference in our way of living, traditions and culture. Let's not allow others diversify us over and over again. Let's start our dialogues without blaming each other. Give peace a chance...

Ari Bhabha wrote: September 25, 2008
I'm terribly happy, ecstatic actually, that Armenia and Turkey are making pleasant and substantive overtures to one another. My major fear though as a diasporan Armenian is that history, truth, and indeed justice might be lost in the shuffle.

I am not against the historical commission, because the history which it will "find" is a foregone conclusion; like the TARC commissioned study several years ago, it will conclude that the events qualify as genocide but that the genocide convention cannot be retroactively applied to the Armenian case. Turkey will use this commission as a mechanism to minimize the embarrassment of acceptance. That's all well and good.

But then what? Are the Armenians to be made whole in any sense of the word? I'm by no means asking for border readjustment or social engineering in an already fragile region. But at the very least, certain mechanisms for dual citizenship, a symbolic (or not so symbolic) right of return, and a protection and rebuilding of Armenian cultural sites in Eastern Turkey should be employed. Will Turks accept these things? More practically for the Armenian state, will Armenians be given preferential treatment to use Black Sea ports?

Finally, I believe that this whole process should be separated from Karabakh negotiations. Concessions on Karabakh to make peace with Turkey are an impossibility and blatantly unfair.


Track two diplomacy working between Armenia, Turkey ,Hasan Cemal
While diplomatic efforts for the normalization of relations between Turkey and Armenia are going on, track two diplomatic meetings are contributing to overcoming psychological barriers between the two nations.

In this respect a prominent Turkish journalist, Milliyet columnist Hasan Cemal, whose grandfather was allegedly one of the key figures of the 1915 events and who was later assassinated by an Armenian gang, met with one of the grandsons of his grandfather’s assassins at the beginning of September. This meeting led to excitement among Armenian intellectuals.

“One concrete attempt at historical reconciliation between a very special Turk and a very special Armenian already succeeded,” said Harut Sassounian, the publisher of the California Courier, while defining this meeting. He was quoted by many Armenian Web sites. Armenian intellectuals also expressed satisfaction at Cemal laying a wreath at the Genocide Memorial in Yerevan.

Speaking with Today’s Zaman, Cemal said that while he was in Yerevan for the Sept. 6 World Cup qualifier soccer match between the Armenian and Turkish national teams, he was asked if he would agree to such a meeting.

“I was told that he was not the man who pulled the trigger but one of the masterminds of the assassination of Cemal Paşa. I agreed to meet him. For me, the mutual respect of pain is important, and history should not be a source of creating enmity,” he said.

Cemal’s grandfather, Cemal Paşa, was one of the most important and powerful administrators of the Ottoman Empire during its last years and one of the three top generals of the Committee of Union and Progress (İttihat ve Terakki), which is usually accused of dragging the Ottoman Empire into World War I. Cemal Paşa is also accused of persecuting the Arab citizens of the Ottoman Empire. After World War I, Cemal Paşa fled to Germany in 1918 and then went to Afghanistan to modernize its army. While in Tbilisi, he was assassinated by Armenians, in 1922.

Cemal said he has not yet written down his feelings and ideas about this meeting, but his Sept. 5 article mentioned his “storm of feelings” that came from a visit to the Genocide Memorial.

In the article, Cemal underlined that he learned that it is not possible to ignore history. Cemal mentioned his friend Hrant Dink, a Turkish-Armenian journalist who assassinated in 2007, and underlined that he had learned many things from him, including the importance of the mutual respect of pain. Cemal added that this is why he laid flowers in Dink’s memory at the monument. 25 September 2008, AYŞE KARABAT Zaman


Ex Ambassador To Canada, Historian, Political Analyst Ara Papian Speech In New Jersey Clarifying The Validity Of Wilsonian Armenia Boundaries By Garbis Kazanjian, NEW YORK, NY

Ara Papian discussed The Legal Basis For The Armenian Claims
Are we aware that the stipulations recorded in the Sevres treaty, as prepared by president Woodrow Wilson, are legally and still in force? Yes. And this was clarified, based on facts, by Ambassador, Historian, political analyst, Ara Papian, during a celebration on the occasion of the 17th Anniversary of the Independence of Armenia, organized by ARF "Dro" Gomideh, on Sunday Sept. 21, 2008 at the Auditorium of Dwight-Englewood School, Englewood, New Jersey.

Mr. Papian explained that after theFirst World war, victorious countries, Great Britain, France, Italy and Japan mandated the president of U.S.A. Woodrow Wilson as arbitrator, to prepare a map and boundaries of Armenia. President Wilson included the following provinces, Van, Bitlis, Erzeroom and Drabison to be separated from turkey and to make part of the Armenian Republic. Mr. Papian explained that according to International law, an arbitration has no statute of limitations, it cannot be changed or canceled. Further in the lecture, Mr. Papian mentioned that the Congress of USA, the Four Great powers and 18 allied countries approved the arbitration, including the representatives of Turkey and the newly Independent Republic of Armenia.

Mr. Papian stressed that an arbitration, once approved officially by the two parties is final, has no time limit and no court can change and at any time, the Independent Republic of Armenia can go to International Court and request the application of the Wilsonian Arbitration and this is one reason that Turkey keeps asking that Armenia should agree that no territorial claim shall be demanded from Turkey.

Mr. Papian explained that the Lausanne Treaty is not valid, because according to International law, official representatives of both parties should sign the Treaty, otherwise the document will be considered as non-binding. He added that Armenia was not participating because at that time it was under Communist occupation. The same status applies to the Kars treaty, he explained.

Mr. Papian has studied documents from governments and countries that were involved in Armenian affairs in any role.

Born in Yerevan in 1961, Ara Papian graduated from the Deptartment of Oriental Studies of Yerevan State University in 1984. In 1989 he completed his degree on Armenian History in Yerevan State University. In 1994 he graduated from Moscow Diplomatic Academy and in 1998, from NATO Defense College in Rome. In 1999, he completed a course in Public Diplomacy in Wilton, United Kingdom. Ara Papian's professional experience as a diplomat at the foreign ministry of Armenia started in 1991 with important positions at the Embassies in Tehran, Bucharest (Romania) and from 2000 to 2006 served as Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to Canada. Since 2006 he has embraced the mission of studying,lecturing, writing articles and books dedicated to thebasics of Armenian rights and demands.

The organizers of the celebration of the 17th Anniversary of Independance of the Republic of Armenia, having the lecturer Mr. Papian as the main goal of the forum of a full house, had a rich cultural program including singer Ms. Ani Zargarian, singing the national Anthems of USA and Armenia and other patriotic songs, the opening remarks from the representative of "Dro" Gomideh, Miss Pauline Dostourian, performances by Arev and Yeraz folk ensambles, recitation from Sylva Gaboudikian dedicated to Ararat, by Zevart Balikjian and a band performing on "doudouk" and "tmpouk". A very successful celebration with education and pleasure for the audience.
© Copyright 2008, Armenian News Network


A Turk At The Genocide Memorial In Armenia, Blogian on 27 Sep 2008
More and more Turks have been visiting the Armenian Genocide Memorial and Museum, Tsitsernakaberd, in Armenia’s capital Yerevan. But one of them stands out. Turkish columnist Hasan Cemal, who is the grandson of one of the masterminds of the Armenian genocide, visited the Genocide Memorial in Yerevan this month. Now he has published an article about his visit. Below is the English translation of the Turkish article.

By Hasan Cemal
Alone With My Dear Hrant At The Genocide Monument: Let’s First Show Respect To Each Other’s Pain
YEREVAN

I remember, Hrant Dink once said “let’s first show respect to each other’s pain and sorrow.”
Maybe these words of Hrant and the pain he experienced was what brought me, for the first time in my life, to Armenia , and made me experience at daybreak a hurricane of emotions in front of the Genocide Monument .

The Mount Ararat appears and disappears in the fog. It looks sorrowful. How noble, how delicate it looks with its peak in snow. You feel you can catch it if you reach out.

I am alone with Hrant in front of the Monument, thinking of the pain and sorrow.

I think of respecting the pain.
Understanding the other’s pain.
And I think of sharing the pain.
In the strange silence of the daybreak, I am alone with Hrant. And Rakel’s cry is in my ear…

The tragic pain experienced by the Armenian nation and by him had matured Hrant. Maybe this pain helped him to speak and write in the language of his conscience. One always learns something from others. So I learned from Hrant, in his life and in his death.

I learned that one can not escape history.

At the crystal clear silence of the morning, I thought once more, with Hrant in my mind, how meaningless it is to deny the history, and at the same time, how risky it is to be a slave of history and pains and sorrows.

My maternal uncle’s voice came from afar: “Roots don’t disappear, my son!”

He was a Circassian, of the Gabarday tribe.

But he didn’t mention his Circassian identity; he made clear he didn’t enjoyed talking of the “roots.”

This was our “fear of the state.”

When I insisted, he would say “don’t mention these things.” But near to his death he whispered in my ear: “Still, the roots won’t disappear, Hasan my son!”

People’s roots, the land they have their roots in, are very important. As it is a crime against humanity to separate people from their language and identity so it is an equally great crime to separate people from their roots and lands. And to find an excuse for these actions is an inseparable part of the crime.

Armenians experienced that great pain.

They experienced it when they were uprooted from Anatolia . They experienced it in 1915, in 1916. And the longing for Anatolia never stopped in their soul.

Turks had experienced the same pain, too.

They experienced pain when they were uprooted from the Balkans and the Caucasus, and at the time of war in Anatolia .

Kurds experienced the pain, too.

They experienced pain when their language and identity was denied, when they were expelled from their lands.

I don’t compare pain and sorrow.

That would be wrong.

Pain and sorrow can’t be compared.

Hrant’s voice is in my ear: “Let’s first show respect to each other’s pain.”

Hrant tells silently his own pain: “I know what happened to my ancestors. Some of you call it ‘a massacre,’ some ‘a genocide,’ some ‘forced evacuation’ and yet some ‘a tragedy.’ My ancestors had called it, in the Anatolian way of speaking, ‘a butchery.’

“If a state uproots its own citizens from their homes and lands, and without distinguishing even the most defenseless among them, the kids, women and elderly, expels them to unknown and endless roads, and if as a result of this, a great part of them disappear, how can we justify our deliberations to choose between words to characterize this event. Is there a human way of explaining this?

“If we keep juggling ‘do we call this genocide or evacuation’ if we can’t condemn both in an equal measure, how will choosing either genocide or evacuation help to save our honor.” (*)

Is it necessary to qualify the pain, to categorize it?

Of course, it is not unimportant, insignificant.

But I don’t think it’s a must. The genocide debate locks a lot of things, especially when it becomes a part of the equation among Turks and Armenians, Turkey and Armenia and the Armenian Diaspora.

History gets entangled.

Reason and common sense get entangled.

Dialogue gets locked.

And this entanglement helps “the fanatics.” It becomes easier to produce hate and enmity out of the pages of history.

Yet, what we need is to make the fanatics’ job more difficult. We have to find a way to walk down to road of love and peace without becoming a slave of history, without becoming a hostage of past pain and sorrow.

At a foggy morning, in front of the Genocide Monument , I listen to the voice of Hrant Dink. He asks: “Do we behave like the perpetrators of the great tragedy in the past, or are we going to write the new pages like civilized people by taking lessons from those mistakes?”

Let’s first understand each other’s pain, share it and show respect to it.

Things will follow.

Won’t it my dear Hrant?

You always said “not confession, nor denial, first understanding.” And you knew, as you knew your own name, that understanding was only possible through democracy and freedom.

My dear brother;

The sun rises like a red orange in Yerevan . In the beautiful silence of the morning, I lay white carnations at the monument. You and your pain and sorrow brought me to this part of the world.

Yes, let’s first show respect to each other’s pain and sorrow.
———————————————-
* Hrant Dink; “Two People Close, Two Neighbors Afar” International Hrant Dink Foundation, Istanbul , June 2008, p.75


Turkish Diplomats Allowed To Attend Armenian Receptions
Staff members at Turkish embassies abroad were free to attend Armenian Independence Day receptions held this week in line with a recent thaw in bilateral relations between the two estranged neighbors.

Armenian Independence Day is marked on Sept. 21, which fell this year on a Sunday. The Turkish Foreign Ministry left staff members at Turkish embassies free to decide whether or not to attend receptions marking Armenian independence. In past years, particularly when dozens of Turkish diplomats were killed by the Armenian terrorist group ASALA in the 1970s and 1980s, ostensibly as retribution for the World War I-era killings of Anatolian Armenians, and when the Armenian diaspora mounted a campaign for official recognition of such genocide allegations, the Foreign Ministry issued circulars ordering embassy employees not to attend any receptions held by Armenia.

This year, there was no such circular issued by ministry, which expected embassies to make their own decision to attend or not according to the position of the Armenian society in the country which they are based, in consideration of the stance of parliaments in those countries towards the allegations of genocide and in line with their relationships with Armenian diplomats.

Some embassies approached by the Cihan news agency said they had not received an invitation, noting that no participation at the level of ambassador or deputy chief of mission took place. Some embassies were represented at Armenian Independence Day receptions at the level of counselor, Cihan learned. Meanwhile, an official from the Armenian Foreign Ministry told Cihan by telephone that they sent invitations this year to all countries as they had in the past.

Hopes for dialogue between Ankara and Yerevan have risen after Armenian President Serzh Sarksyan invited his Turkish counterpart, Abdullah Gül, to watch a World Cup qualifying match between the Turkish and Armenian national teams in Yerevan and Gül accepted. The visit, which took place in the first week of September, made Gül the first Turkish president to set foot in Armenia since the country declared independence from the Soviet Union in 1991. Turkish diplomacy has long been underlining that the peoples of Armenia and Turkey are not enemies despite the absence of diplomatic recognition of Armenia by Ankara. 27 September 2008, SEDAT ÖZHAN ÇAM


New York Talks Raise Hopes For Armenia Rapprochement
President Gül, in New York to attend UN General Assembly meetings, rang the opening bell at the New York Stock Exchange on Friday.

The Turkish and Armenian presidents have both said the time has come to solve problems between the two estranged neighbors, raising hopes for reconciliation between the historic enemies.

The foreign ministers of Turkey, Armenia and Azerbaijan met Friday at the UN General Assembly in New York to discuss efforts to resolve a bitter territorial dispute between Armenia and Azerbaijan over Nagorno-Karabakh. In 1993, following the Armenian occupation of Nagorno-Karabakh, Turkey closed its border with Armenia in a show of solidarity with Azerbaijan.

"To leave problems frozen is very dangerous. They can explode at any time," Turkish President Abdullah Gül said during his address at a dinner hosted by the American Turkish Society (ATS) in New York on Thursday evening. "Both Armenia and Azerbaijan are aware of this. I hope in the end everything will return to normal."

In his address to the UN General Assembly, Armenian President Serzh Sarksyan criticized Azerbaijan's "belligerent" stance on Nagorno-Karabakh, but he vowed to continue negotiations with Baku to seek recognition of the largely Armenian-inhabited region, which he characterized as effectively independent. He praised the outcome of a recent meeting with his Turkish counterpart, saying Gül shares his determination to move quickly and resolutely in that direction.

Gül broke the ice with a historic visit to Armenia on Sept. 6 to watch a World Cup qualifying match between the Turkish and Armenian national teams. The visit followed a brief war between Russia and Georgia over the breakaway region of South Ossetia in August. Fearful that the crisis would turn into a region-wide conflict, Turkey called for a regional platform in the Caucasus, bringing together Russia, Georgia, Turkey, Azerbaijan and Armenia. The meeting of Turkish Foreign Minister Ali Babacan, Armenian Foreign Minister Eduard Nalbandian and Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov raised hopes for peace in the area. The Nagorno-Karabakh dispute was at the top of the agenda. International efforts to find a resolution to the dispute have been under way for years but no visible progress has been made.

Normalization of ties with Armenia will have a huge impact on Turkey's role as a regional power, allowing it to secure energy flows from the Caspian Sea. But Ankara is equally careful not to spoil its regional alliance with Azerbaijan, which shares close ethnic and cultural ties with Turkey.

Russia's war with Georgia, which borders Turkey, has added urgency to the diplomatic drive to improve relations with Armenia. Turkey, a transit state for Caspian and central Asian oil and gas exports to Europe, was alarmed by the conflict and wants to play a bigger role in Caucasus security. Better ties with Armenia could also boost Turkey's troubled European Union membership bid.

Gül said Sarksyan's invitation to watch the game in Yerevan was a "brave act" and that he responded with the same bravery by accepting. "My purpose is to create a positive climate between Turkey and Armenia in order to help solve problems and normalize relations," Gül said in his address. "I am very optimistic about this," added Gül, mentioning that the three-way talks among the Turkish, Armenian and Azerbaijani foreign ministers strengthen his optimism. "The situation in the Caucasus and the Georgian-Russian dispute show us that problems must be solved through dialogue," said Gül. "What leaders should do is remove obstacles, not feed enmity."

Anti-Americanism conjunctural
Responding to a question, Gül admitted that there was a degree of anti-Americanism among the Turks, just as in many other parts of the world, but he declared that this was against specific US policies, not Americans.

"This is not against the United States, not Americans. And it is easy to understand because there have been some implications from the Iraq war," Gül said. "I believe this is conjunctural." He also said the Turkish government has been closely cooperating with the United States on every issue and rejected suggestions that the government was fueling the anti-American sentiments of the Turkish public.
Experts: Peace drive with Armenia right step but imminent result unlikely

Recent efforts to normalize relations between Turkey and neighboring Armenia are a step in the right direction, but the process has failed to produce any results other than a softening in the political rhetoric, diplomats and foreign policy analysts have indicated. "The Armenian side hasn't taken a step back. There is only a change in the rhetoric," said retired Ambassador Murat Bilhan. "Armenia should be aware that this is a give-and-take process, but it does not seem to be ready to give anything," he told the Anatolia news agency.

The Turkish, Armenian and Azerbaijani foreign ministers met yesterday on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York. The meeting comes after a historic visit by President Abdullah Gül to Armenia earlier this month to watch a soccer game between national teams of the two countries. Turkey was one of the first countries to recognize Armenia after it declared independence from the Soviet Union, but there have been no formal ties between the two countries since 1993, when Turkey severed its diplomatic relations and closed the border with Armenia in protest of the occupation of a chunk of Azerbaijani territory by Armenian forces over a dispute on Nagorno-Karabakh.

Turkey has been leading efforts to initiate talks on the Nagorno-Karabakh dispute, and the three-way talks are a first step in this direction. A breakthrough is unlikely to emerge in the short term, given the approaching elections in Azerbaijan and the fact that Armenia would not take any radical step without the blessing of Russia, said Yıldız Deveci Bozkuş, an expert at the Ankara-based Center for Eurasian Strategic Studies (ASAM). Ankara Today's Zaman 27 September 2008, TODAY'S ZAMAN


Autumn To Give Answers To Lots Of Questions, Vardan Barseghyan, Hayots Ashkhar Daily, 26 Sep 2008
Armenia

In our view this autumn promises comparably complex and unpredictable events to the subjects of the political life.

Pro-Levon opposition promises to abruptly liven up the struggle, certain political developments are also anticipated in Azerbaijan linked with the forthcoming presidential elections. Georgia is in a sharp confrontation with Russia and its ex sovereign republics. Iran is facing new intimidations by America, the future of Armenian-Turkish relations is rather vague and finally based on the before mentioned picture certain foreign powers have desire to imitate the settlement of Karabkh conflict.

In the target of the before mentioned contradicting signals this autumn Armenia's internal political life will unavoidably bear the impact of the sharp competition taking place in the region and around it, as well as the results of certain social-political developments taking place inside the country, such as the mounting prices.

The political forces, which refused to join Armenian National Congress, remained on their positions. They continued to keep certain balance between the pro-governmental and pro-oppositional camps. This circumstance of course raised the possibility of the future political reforms in Armenia.

But the fans of revolutionary concussions don't like the unpredictable process of the already l ost "autumn round". That is why Armenian Pan National Movement together with its satellites, as well as the architects of the complex geopolitical games taking place in the region try to give "non-standard settlements".

Similar "non-standard settlement" is also noticed in the abrupt swiftness employed in the regulation process of Karabakh conflict, which is far not conditioned by the concerns to find swift solutions to similar issues, but rather the desire to change the status quo of Armenia and Azerbaijan.

After overcoming the post-election crises, Armenia will become a more independent and self-confident player in the whole region of South Caucasus.

But it is enough to press our country in terms of Karabakh issue, to make the future events unpredictable.

We shouldn't also overlook the fact that the poor sector of the society is very disapproved of the mounting prices and powerlessness of the authorities to control the uncontrolled activity of the rich.

Similar facts can also serve as a reason to destabilize the country's internal political situation.

There are certain political forces that can use the before mentioned foreign pressures and internal developments as real possibility to start revolutionary concussions.

So the comprehensive assessment of Armenia's internal and external situation brings to the conclusion that this autumn can turn to the period of serious20challenges. But if autumn turns to be quite and peaceful, the destabilization of the internal political situation will be excluded up to the next presidential elections.


FAON: Dutch Students Of Marmara University Obliged To Attend Lessons On Armenian Genocide Denial
26.09.2008
/PanARMENIAN.Net/ The Federation of Armenian Organizations in the Netherlands (FAON) has protested to the Dutch Minister Ronald Plasterk of Education, Culture and Science against the fact that ERASMUS students of Marmara State University in Turkey, are obliged to attend a four days’ course with a program, which includes, among others, such subjects as the denial of the Armenian Genocide and the Turkish point of view on Cyprus, Inge Drost, spokesperson for Abovyan Cultural Center, told PanARMENIAN.Net

The FAON states that the Netherlands should stop this ERASMUS program with respect to Turkey as a protest against the manner that these students are treated.

The FAON emphasizes that Turkey, as a candidate state for EU has absolutely not shown any progress in the field of the recognition of the Armenian Genocide. There is still no freedom of expression about the Armenian Genocide. Even now under the amended Article 301 of the Turkish Penal Code, prosecution still takes place of people, who speak about the Armenian Genocide. In such a manner proceedings were started recently, with authorization of the Minister of Justice of Turkey, against writer Temel Demirer, because of his press conference last year, the day after the assassination of the Armenian Turkish journalist Hrant Dink. The FAON indicates that expressions of the Turkish denialist policy take place in all kinds of ways. Similar with the Hawk Lessons are the courses, such as the lessons given to Dutch Turks, who fulfill a shortened or normal conscription in Turkey. Also in the Netherlands the Turkish and Dutch public are influenced by the activities of the Turkish Embassy, by means of Turkish TV programs transmitted via the Dutch cable, and by some Turkish organizations in the Netherlands. Often there is fear for the “long arm of Ankara”, as a result of which many Turks do not dare to protest against such activities. Others, particularly Right Nationalist Turks, are very active in spreading the denialist material, among others, by means of Internet.

As a result of the news on the Turkish interpretation of the exchange program with the Erasmus University, the FAON repeats its earlier requests to include teaching pack in the Dutch educational system for providing the youth with objective information, which can prevent difficulties between population groups in the future. This teaching pack might include several genocide events, for example the Holocaust, the Armenian genocide and the genocide in Rwanda, in order to provide all young people with more knowledge and understanding of the subject.

Concerning the situation in Turkey, the FAON assumes that the Dutch politicians, who wanted to wait for the practical consequences of the amended Article 301 of Turkish Penal Code, will now clearly renounce the interpretation of this Article by Turkish government about the freedom of speech and the denial of the Armenian Genocide.

Gul Going To Erase Problems Between Armenia And Turkey , 26.09.2008
/PanARMENIAN.Net/ The Turkish president said Thursday he wants a positive climate to eliminate the problems between the two countries.

"I am very hopeful about this," he said in a meeting organized by the American-Turkish Society in New York.

He reminded that Turkey and Armenia do not have diplomatic relations, and their borders are closed, although Turkey was amid the countries, which recognized Armenia’s independence in 1991.

"However, the two countries have had humanitarian activities," Gul said, reminding of Turkey’s wheat assistance to Armenia in 1990s.

"My recent visit (to Armenia) was for a soccer game, but I did not only watch the game with Mr. Sargsyan. We had the opportunity to discuss bilateral relations, the Caucasus and Azerbaijan," he said.

Gul said it is necessary to solve regional problems through dialogue. “One of indicators that relations would normalize is the trilateral meeting the foreign ministers of Turkey, Azerbaijan and Armenia will hold in New York on Friday,” he said. "What leaders should do is to eliminate the problems, not to feed enmities.”

Gul said that many projects can be carried out between Turkey and Armenia, like establishing industrial zones at the border, after the problems are solved, Hurriyet daily reports.


Railroad Crossings: Georgia Conflict Draws Attention To Armenia Transport Communication, By Aris Ghazinyan
Mindful of its vulnerable geopolitical location, Armenia has spent nearly 20 years looking for a way around the communication impasse that it had been driven to by Turkey and Azerbaijan.

The victory gained by ethnic-Armenian defense forces in the Nagorno-Karabakh war ideally should have ensured access to a major transport junction in the region, Yevlakh-Mingechaur. Control over that section would have fundamentally changed the whole geopolitical situation in the region, would have sharply reduced the post-war ardor of Baku conditioned by "oil diplomacy" and would have had a crucial impact on the course of the peace talks. But that didn't happen and the Azerbaijani blockade of Armenian communications imposed in 1989 is still being maintained at the state level.

The latest developments in Georgia even more aggravated Armenia's situation, since the prospect of resumed operation along the Abkhazian section of the Trans-Caucasian Railway has been removed from the agenda for a long and very indefinite time.

Meanwhile, official Yerevan had serious expectations from the restoration of this rail link so vital for Armenia. An inspection of the section was made in 2005, for the first time in many years. Still 13-15 years ago, this rail link provided Armenia with a guaranteed gateway to Russia and European countries.

The section of the railway was blocked by official Tbilisi as a consequence of the conflict in the territory of Abkhazia. Yerevan had repeatedly stated its readiness to assist in the reopening of the railway section. Ex-president Robert Kocharyan several times drew the attention of the Georgian leadership to the fact that the absence of railway communication via the Abkhazian section first of all blocks Armenia.

"Abkhazia is not an enclave as it is linked with Russia by land and sea," the Armenian leader repeatedly stated to Georgian counterparts, Eduard Shevardnadze and Mikhail Saakashvili. "The point of the blockade of Abkhazia is not clear in such a situation. The only country that suffers real losses from this is Armenia."

In October 2005, then Defense Minister Serzh Sargsyan made a sensational statement: "The Georgian side has given its consent to reopening the Abkhazian section of the Trans-Caucasian Railway." Moreover, he said that in the very near future Armenia, Georgia and Russia would set up a consortium for resolving that problem.

Russian Transport Minister Igor Levitin, who came to Yerevan shortly, also made a very optimistic statement then: "The inspection of the Abkhazian section of the Trans-Caucasian Railway will be complete in several days. We know which sections of the railway require construction and which require reconstruction."

In December 2005, self-declared Abkhazia's President Sergey Bagapsh said that the inspection of the section was over, 194 kilometers of a railway from Psou (Russian-Abkhazian border) to Ingiri Station (Zugdidi region of Georgia) had been checked. A protocol between Georgia, the Russian Federation and Abkhazia that the railway had been inspected was also signed then.

"On the next stage we should determine who specifically will finance this project. There are different proposals, including about setting up a consortium that will include Russia, Abkhazia and Georgia. Negotiations about this are currently in progress, with involvement of Armenia, which also needs a railway," Bagapsh said then. It was then that trilateral negotiations between Georgia, Russia and Armenia were held.

Moreover, beginning from February this year, the Armenian Railroad CJSC was given into concessionary management to the South-Caucasian Railroad CJSC, which is a 100 percent subsidiary of the Russian Railroads OJSC. It was planned that many organizational and especially financial problems would be solved in this very plane. It was expected that the construction of a railroad linking Armenia and Iran will begin along with the re-operation of the Abkhazian section of the Trans-Caucasus main line, and thus Russia will reach the Indian Ocean. Corresponding negotiations between the Armenian and Iranian sides were held early this year.

Nevertheless, the events around Georgia brought all efforts to naught. It is because of this that the issue of the possible reopening of the Turkish-Armenian border and restored communication along the Gyumri-Kars railway became urgent again. President Serzh Sargsyan stated the importance of this in September. Simultaneously, in Moscow, President of the Russian Railroads OJS Company Vladimir Yakunin reported to Russian President Dmitry Medvedev about the condition of the railroad in Armenia. The meeting was held in early September, but no official report about the contents of that meeting followed. Possibly, the matter concerned prospects of laying railroad communication linking Armenia and Iran.

In any case, immediately after the talk with Dmitry Medvedev the head of the Russian company arrived in Yerevan. In the Armenian capital he stated that nothing new could be said about the resumption of the railway link between Armenia and Turkey.

Speaking about the construction of a railway between Armenia and Iran, Yakunin emphasized that there is no term yet set for the realization of this project. "The matter concerns the area of interstate relations and interstate negotiations. It requires serious re-developed, since the project is very expensive, but we agree that the preliminary project should be re-developed. We already have some projects that enable us to conduct negotiation, including in the international arena, about certain transport corridors advantageous for Russian Railroads and advantageous for the countries through which these corridors lie, advantageous, naturally for the Republic of Armenia."

The events in the region unfold so fast that perhaps by the end of the year it will be possible to speak more concretely about "Armenian priorities" of the Big Communication Game.

Talking To The World: President Sargsyan Defends Karabakh's Rights At UN, By Sara Khojoyan
With Turkey-assisted Armenian-Azerbaijan negotiations held at the level of foreign ministers on the sidelines of the 63rd session of the United Nations General Assembly, Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan used the UN floor to reemphasize the right of nations to self-determination as a competitive norm of international law.

Speaking from the high tribune on Thursday, Sargsyan also chided the New York-based global organization for encouraging Azerbaijan's increased war rhetoric with its recent resolution.

Sargsyan stressed that time has come for the right of nations to self-determination to become a matter for serious consideration.

"We are far from the thought that every bid for self-determination should be resolved through secession. But we also see that more and more often it becomes an option for settling existing problems. Meanwhile, when a people, nevertheless, does realize its inseparable right, all unanimously begin to call such a case an 'exception'."

"To be effective and stable, the realization of the right to self-determination through secession must receive agreement from all parties involved. This is the reason why we continue active negotiations with Azerbaijan, aspiring for the recognition of the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic that has de facto lived with a status of a state independent from this country [Azerbaijan] for nearly two decades."

The Armenian president also spoke about the UN vote on a resolution dealing with "the situation in Azerbaijan's occupied territories" that was passed in March (with 39 states supporting it, seven voting against and 100 states abstaining).

"Several months ago, 146 countries that participated in the vote within this building, with only 39 'for' votes adopted a resolution that has a certain relation with one of the episodes of the Nagorno-Karabakh settlement process."

"A decision on an intricate and sensitive problem that has deep roots and has gone through painful and bloody developments and has received massive efforts aimed at finding a peaceful resolution was made just like this, with a motivation of mainly supporting one of the sides. And the result was very predictable - a new wave of war rhetoric in Azerbaijan, false laurels in political speculations, etc.," said Sargsyan.

Stressing that the countries informed about the conflict, including the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairing states - the United States, France and Russia - either abstained or voted against the resolution, Sargsyan raised the matter of awareness:

"Is there a need for blood to be shed again for understanding that frozen conflicts need a professional and informed approach and that they cannot be resolved through organizing votes at different forums?"

"We have already passed a serious way with the mediation of the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairmen. Is it impossible not to raise new obstacles to this process?" he added.

Speaking about the situation in the South Caucasus in the wake of the brief Russian-Georgian war in August, the Armenian leader voiced the opinion that "a collective demand for excluding a repetition of similar developments" should become the primary objective during the current session of the General Assembly.

Stressing the importance of regional cooperation as a basic means to grapple with the existing challenges, the president emphasized that Armenia has always been for such cooperation: "What is needed for this is open borders, intercrossed communication ways, interlinked economic systems."

Singling out the September visit of Turkish President Abdullah Gul to Yerevan in the context of Armenian-Turkish rapprochement, Sargsyan said: "I was glad about Gul's bold step to accept my invitation by which he became the co-author of my proposal of 'football diplomacy'.

"We discussed numerous bilateral and regional issues. The most important is that we agreed not to leave the existing problems to the next generations. I believe that indeed time has come to solve problems in Armenian-Turkish relations and I also saw President Gul's readiness in this matter," Sargsyan said., ArmeniaNow

Written Questions On Prosecution Of Temel Demirer Federation of Armenian Organisations in The Netherlands (FAON), www.faon.nl Press Release
The Hague, 25 September 2008 - The Federation of Armenian Organisations of the Netherlands (FAON) was informed that Members of four factions in Dutch Parliament, namely the Christian Union, the CDA (Christian Democrats), the SGP (Political Reformed Party) and the VVD (Liberal Party) have submitted Written Questions to the Minister of Foreign Affairs about the permission of the Turkish Minister of Justice to prosecute the Turkish writer, Temel Demirer, because of his remarks on the Armenian Genocide the day after the assassination of the Armenian Turkish journalist Hrant Dink.

Written questions by the MP¹s Voordewind (Christian Union), Ormel (Christian Democrats), Van der Staaij (Political Reformed Party) and Van Baalen (Liberal Party) to the Minister of Foreign Affairs on the permission to prosecute the Turkish writer

The Written Questions are as follows:

1. Have you been notified of the news that the Turkish Minister of Justice has granted permission to prosecute writer Temel Demirer pursuant to Article 301 of the Turkish Penal Code because of utterances on the Armenian Genocide? 1)

2. In which cases has the Minister of Justice given permission to institute a criminal case by invoking this Article after it had been amended under the EU pressure?

3. Which conclusion do you draw from this situation also considering the background of the answers to the earlier written questions on the condemnation of a Turkish writer due to publication of a book on the Armenian Genocide (nr. 3045), where you asserted that you could not at the time evaluate the effect of the amendment of Article 301 properly? Doesn¹t this make clear that the amendment of Article 301 has, neither in material nor procedural sense, produced the intended result and that the further amendment of the Turkish Penal Code is necessary? If not, why?

4. Which measures are you going to take, bilaterally as well as in EU connection in order to make it clear to the Turkish government that the continuing violation of the freedom of expression, also in view of the motion of Rouvoet et al. adopted by this Parliament, is unacceptable?

1) ?Ministry of Justice gives permission for trial of writer Demirer under article 301¹, www.bianet.org en ?Writer to face prosecution under 301¹, Today¹s Zaman, 10 september 2008


Responding To Biden, Ambassadorial Nominee Affirms U.S. Genocide-Era Diplomatic Record On Ottoman Turkey's Attempted Extermination Of The Armenians
Armenian National Committee Of America www.anca.org Press Release, September 26, 2008

WASHINGTON, DC -Ambassador to Turkey designate James Jeffrey, in response to questions from Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman and Vice-Presidential candidate Joe Biden (D-DE), affirmed that official U.S. diplomatic reports by Ambassadors Morgenthau and Elkus and other Armenian Genocide-era U.S. diplomats in the Ottoman Empire did, in fact, describe the attempted extermination of the Armenian population, reported the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA).

"Although falling far short of a clear and proper recognition of the Armenian Genocide, Ambassador Jeffrey, in his response to Senator Biden's questioning, moved U.S. policy in the right direction by publicly agreeing - after long years of official disregard, disrespect, and dismissal of Ambassador Henry Morgenthau's proud legacy - that our nation's diplomatic representatives to the Ottoman Empire did, in fact, document the Ottoman government's clear intent and systematic campaign to destroy its Armenian population," said ANCA Executive Director Aram Hamparian. "We want to thank Chairman Biden for his thoughtful inquiries that led to this reaffirmation of the American record, and to, once again, express our appreciation to Senators Menendez and Kerry for their incisive lines of questioning during the Foreign Relations Committee's confirmation hearing earlier this week."

In questions submitted to the Amb. Jeffrey, Sen. Biden asked:

"Do you dispute that U.S. diplomats serving in the Ottoman Empire during the Armenian Genocide documented a systematic, government-sponsored campaign 'with intent to destroy, in whole or in part' the Armenian population?"

Ambassador-Designate Jeffrey provided the following response:

No. I have read many of the historical records from 1915-1916 related to U.S. diplomatic reporting on these events in Turkey, and I do not dispute that Ambassador Morgenthau, Ambassador Elkus, and other diplomats during that time period reported on what they described as an attempt to exterminate the Armenian population.

The full text of Senator Biden's four questions and Ambassador-Designate Jeffrey's responses are provided below.
#####
Questions for the Record Submitted to Ambassador-Designate James Jeffrey by Senator Joseph R. Biden, Jr. Senate Foreign Relations Committee
September 24, 2008

Question:

What concrete steps will you take to press Turkey to recognize the Armenian Genocide?

Answer:

The United States has strongly encouraged Turkey to come to terms with the dark spots in its history and believes that establishing an honest dialogue within Turkey on these events would help facilitate reconciliation, economic prosperity, peace, and stability in the region and would help encourage a full understanding of these terrible events. If confirmed, I will strongly support this effort, and in particular will emphasize its importance to bilateral relations.

Question:

Do you dispute that U.S. diplomats serving in the Ottoman Empire during the Armenian Genocide documented a systematic, government-sponsored campaign "with intent to destroy, in whole or in part" the Armenian population?

Answer:

No. I have read many of the historical records from 1915-1916 related to U.S. diplomatic reporting on these events in Turkey, and I do not dispute that Ambassador Morgenthau, Ambassador Elkus, and other diplomats during that time period reported on what they described as an attempt to exterminate the Armenian population.

Question:

Article 301 of the Turkish Penal Code is used by the Turkish government to stifle the debate on the facts of the Armenian Genocide. As the U.S. Ambassador to Turkey what specifically will you do to press the Turks to repeal Article 301 and promote freedom of speech in Turkey?

Answer:

The Administration is encouraged by recent amendments to Article 301, an article which had previously criminalized "insulting Turkishness;" the amendments reduce the possibility for imprisonment and require the Minister of Justice to determine whether to accept a case for prosecution. While the amendments do not go far enough to meet European and American standards for free speech, the Minister's new role should help reduce the number of cases brought by overzealous prosecutors for political and ideological motives.

If confirmed, I will continue to press the Turkish authorities to further this progress by ending legal action against citizens for expressing their views, whether under Article 301 or other laws used to prosecute individuals for their speech, and to fulfill Turkey's OSCE and EU commitments.

Question:

What specific steps will you take to address Turkey's ongoing blockade of Armenia, different from what has been attempted before?

Answer:

If confirmed, I will continue U.S. efforts to support the normalization of Turkish-Armenian relations and the opening of Turkey's border with Armenia. I am encouraged by increasing exchanges and commercial activity between Turkey and Armenia over the past several years, including the historic visit by President Gul to Yerevan at President Sargsian's courageous invitation, and will endeavor strongly to further such cooperation.

Improvements in travel between Turkey and Armenia over the last few years bode well for further economic openings between the two countries. Turkey lifted visa restrictions on Armenians in 2002. Armenians receive 90-day visas upon arrival at any Turkish port of entry. According to official Turkish estimates, more than 70,000 Armenian citizens live and work in Turkey without interference, sending substantial remittances back to their home country. Commercial flights operate twice weekly between Yerevan and Istanbul; during summer months a weekly charter service operates between Yerevan and Antalya. During the crisis in Georgia, Turkey permitted all flights to and from Yerevan to transit Turkish airspace. Trade between the two countries, mostly via Georgia, is valued at about $60-$120 million annually. If confirmed, I will seek to build on these opportunities as part of the normalization of Turkish-Armenian relations, including in close consultation with our Ambassador to Armenia.


Serge Sarkissian At The Un: "The Time Has Come To Resolve The Armenian-Turkish Problems" , 27 September 2008 by Stéphane / armenews

"I represent a country which in recent weeks was in a situation unacceptable," said Armenian President Serge Sarkissian at the 63rd session of the UN General Assembly on September 25.

"The blood has been shed in the South Caucasus and again, innocent people died because we, the leaders have failed to make a peaceful resolution to conflicts. The disturbing expression of "cold war" has again emerged and the main task of the Assembly must be a joint request to explicitly exclude such contingencies. In fact, I call for the establishment of a viable new structure, because it is impossible to address the challenges of today exclusively with structures established after the Second World War. The world continues to unbearable challenges of today - including terrorism, international crime and drug trafficking - by institutions which provide the smoothing simply controversial. Regional cooperation can be among the essential means to meet such challenges and Armenia has always promoted this approach as the most effective way to address existing problems. Open borders and economic systems in correlation are also crucial.

Faced with rising food prices and fuel, the world continues to witness unilateral sanctions and border closures. Existing problems with neighboring States can not be solved without dialogue and with this in mind, I am pleased with the bold decision of Turkish President Abdullah Gül to accept my invitation to come to Yerevan in the framework of an initiative diplomacy of football. The time has come to resolve the Armenian-Turkish problems and I am sure of the need to place me firmly in that direction.

"Two serious lessons"
The events in the South Caucasus have been very serious lessons for the world. First, I think that the UN must strictly follow the spirit and wording of its charter. If any member state increases its military budget, among other things, it must be firm and rapid response. Prevention is better than cure. It is also time seriously to consider the right of peoples to self-determination and I am opposed to the idea that each claim must be solved by secession. There is no doubt that to be viable, such a result must be approved by all parties involved, is why Armenia continues to negotiate with Azerbaijan in the structure of the Minsk Group of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) seeking recognition by the countries of the independent republic of Nagorno Karabakh, which is independent for two decades. These people were subjected to a brutal war for years and were on the verge of extinction. They have no army, no capacity or intention to occupy any Azeri territory.

A few months ago, a resolution in connection with the conflict in Nagorno Karabakh was adopted with only 30 favorable votes out of 146 states. (...). I hope that the real interest of Azerbaijan is in a peaceful and comprehensive resolution of the conflict. The process reached through the mediation of the Minsk Group aims to achieve this goal and Armenia has undertaken serious work with the mediation of the co-chairmen of the Minsk Group ".

Noting that this year marks the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Convention for the Prevention of Genocide, Serge Sarkissian said that such anniversaries were more than merely "important".

"Armenia will do everything possible to be continually lawyer of the Convention on Genocide. Armenia has important things to do to ensure the full implementation of the Universal Declaration. On this road, Armenia tries not to repeat the mistakes of others, "concluded the President of Armenia.

1 comments:

Lucrèce said...

« Over 40 monuments are at the various locations of the country. »
Not so various. If you look at map, you will that all this cities are in the Rhône's valley, or in Provence, i. e. the regions were the Armenian community is strong. In the Great West, in the North and North-Eastern France, where is almost no Armenian, you will see no kind of monument about the so-called genocide, and the great majority of the local politicians have nothing to do with the Armenian nationalists.

Post a Comment

Would You Please Update/Correct Any Of The
3500+ Posts by Leaving Your Comments Here
- - - Your Opinion Matters To Us - - -


We Promise To Publish Them Even If We May Not Share The Same View

Mind You,
You Wouldn't Be Allowed Such Freedom In Most Of The Other Sites At All.

You understand that the site content express the author's views, not necessarily those of the site. You also agree that you will not post any material which is false, hateful, threatening, invasive of a person’s privacy, or in violation of any law.

Please read the post then write a comment in English by referring to the specific points in the post and do preview your comment for proper grammar /spelling.

Note To Spammers
If you believe Your Comments will ever appear here, You are DREAMING

You need a Google Account (such as Gmail) to publish your comments


Publishing Your Comments Here:
Please type your comment in plain text only (NO Formatting) in an editor like notepad first,
Then copy and paste the final/corrected version into the comment box here as Google/Blogger may not allow re-editing/correcting once entered in some cases.
And click publish.
-If you need to correct the one you have already sent, please enter "New Comment" as we keep the latest version and delete the older version as default

Alternative way to send your formatted comments/articles:
http://armenians-1915.blogspot.com/2007/05/Submit-Your-Article.html

All the best